Cover image courtesy of an article recently published in Oregon Business. You can give it a read here.
OPENDOOR [a name you may have heard lately, if you’ve been thinking about selling a home].
Would it surprise you, if this real estate professional were to say “move along, there’s nothing to see here folks”? Well that’s my position, because there’s never been a shortage of wholesale “investors” ready and waiting to swoop in and snatch up deals on properties from owners willing to take less than the full market value for their homes, in exchange for a quick close. In fact, I myself took over 50 calls from these types of sharps (in 2018 alone) asking for help in locating just such properties!
What’s missing from the article referenced above is the research showing that this particular company’s claims can often be misleading. The correspondence I’ve seen coming from them directly to the homeowners I’ve interviewed, talks about saving a “commission”, while at the same time they are charging a “fee”. BTW their typical fee is higher than the average commission charged in the Portland metropolitan market. They also clearly imply that homeowners will save money in repairs and/or closing costs, yet nothing in their introductory ad copy seems to back these assertions up. Lots of nebulous language, plenty of loopholes and no iron assurances.
And then there’s this…
An interesting article in an industry newsletter, discussing how Opendoor and one of their competitors have managed to suppress their poor reviews and ratings on Yelp! (itself an unreliable source of quality feedback by the way) by investing in that very platform.
That article can be found here: https://www.inman.com/…/yelp-hides-reviews-pages-for-open…/…
So, Opendoor bought a piece of Yelp, and suddenly their bad PR is now harder to research for the average person.
But yeah, their app looks really rad!
No doubt trading in an old vehicle to an auto dealership is a “streamlined” process. It can also cost a homeowner thousands of missed dollars, over sprucing it up a bit (wash, vacuum and maybe an oil change) and popping it on craigslist or Auto Trader for all the world to see. Now multiply that difference in value to what is often a person’s most valuable asset (i.e. their home) and you can begin to appreciate how bad an idea this is for the average person who’s thinking of selling their home quick & dirty like! The concept of exposing your goods to an open market (not just a few pocket investors) to achieve maximum return is something a rational person of any age can probably understand.
I think we are doing a disservice to this latest generation that the media has dubbed “millennial” by assuming they will take a shortcut around their own best interests just to play with a shiny new bauble. At least I’m betting on folks being smarter than that.
In the end, this feels like just another investment industry player (read Silicon Valley and/or Wall Street) attempting to “disrupt” an existing industry with an eye toward dipping their beaks into the profit stream. Nothing wrong with this, but I’d expect any true investigative journalism to identify these facts as well. You know, like the old saying about free lunches and all that.
Anyway, that’s just this real estate professional’s two cents.
Chad Meier [Living Room Realty]