Opendoor, one of the leading innovators in the iBuyer market, may be expanding its scope beyond simply buying and flipping homes.
The company may be getting ready to encroach further into the real estate market, if a single, oddly glowing five-star Yelp review of Opendoor is any indication.
According to Yelp user Ann M. of McLean Virginia, she reached out to Opendoor about selling a rental tenant-occupied home of hers in Arizona. She wrote in the review that was having trouble selling the home using local agents due to the presence of her tenants and was willing to sell the property to Opendoor at a low price.
But instead of Opendoor’s usual modus operandi of making her an offer based on its vaunted proprietary pricing algorithm, Ann M. wrote that the company suggested she use its new listing assistance service.
In the end, rather than taking an Opendoor instant offer, Ann M. wrote that she relied on its listing assistance and sold the home the old-fashioned way, on the open market, closing on it in three-and-a-half months. While that may have taken longer than Opendoor’s typical payment in “a matter of days,” Opendoor helped her find a buyer, according to the review.
Ann M. offered a rave review, saying she was blown away that the company would suggest an alternative service that made her more money.
“Opendoor was great,” she posted. “The were patient, kind, responsive and had great follow-up… working with us, our tenants, the buyer …and juggling everything while we made a move to a new house and me breaking my arm and having to undergo surgery.”
She added: “Overall, I’d highly recommend them.” Inman messaged Ann M. on Yelp to confirm and get further details of her story, but she has not yet responded to our inquiries.
Asked about the new listing service, a spokesperson for Opendoor said, “we’re constantly testing ways to continue to exceed customer needs,” but declined to comment further.
This glowing five-star Yelp review for Opendoor is on the high-end of all 97 Yelp reviews for Opendoor so far, with the company averaging three out of five stars. Also notable is that Ann M.’s review does not indicate how much, if any, she paid for Opendoor’s listing service. Opendoor’s Yelp page also features several instances where company reps reached out to customers with negative reviews and attempted to explain what caused their negative experience, or in one case, offered to increase a home valuation.
Opendoor is a buzzy San Francisco startup which launched in Arizona in 2014 and has steadily expanded to a few other markets in recent years. It’s now buying homes at a rate of $100 million per month. It aims to simplify the home buying operation by providing sellers with the important guarantee-of-sale. The process is simple: you request an offer from the company, then a homebuying expert at Opendoor prepares an offer based on a combination of user provided data and market factors.
After the seller accepts the price, Opendoor will arrange for a free inspection. Any work that needs to take place, the seller will cover or Opendoor will deduct from the final price. In days, the seller will have the money, without the hassle of worrying about a sale falling through at the last minute. It also eliminates the need for a listing agent. Opendoor has previously said it lists homes for resale 7-14 days after a seller has closed on an offer.
Buyers, meanwhile, can use Opendoor’s website and smartphone app (Apple iOS and Android) to search for homes for sale, schedule a showing anytime it’s convenient for them, and make an offer, all without the need of an agent.
If the Yelp review is authentic, Opendoor’s test suggests the company is willing to explore a new business model that does not see it take possession of homes, but rather connects sellers with possible buyers, acting more like a traditional brokerage. This would put it in even more competition with other agents and brokerages.
It’s not clear if Opendoor is planning to roll the supposed listing service out to anyone anytime soon, as there has been no formal announcement. However it should be noted that Phoenix was the company’s first market when it launched in 2014. The home Ann M. sold through the listing service was located in Buckeye, Arizona, a western suburb of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Opendoor is currently available in parts of Arizona, “the Phoenix metro area (Maricopa County and parts of Pinal County),” “the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area” in Texas, “the Las Vegas metro area” in Nevada, “the Atlanta metro area” in Georgia, “the Orlando metro area” in Florida, and the “Raleigh-Durham triangle area,” in North Carolina. But job listings on the site point to expansion ambitions in Tampa, San Antonio (Texas), and Charlotte (North Carolina).