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A look into selling your home, online real estate, early-day hardships and more
As someone who recently bought a house, let me tell you, the process can be a pain - and this is coming from someone who was buying it from a family member.
Now, on the other end, selling a house seems even worse. Making it presentable, getting terribly low offers, and finally the whole realtor process. Now, certainly, there are some all-star realtors out there, but if you don't know what to look for, how do you really know your money is going to the right places and that your realtor is using the most modern tactics to get your home in front of the right eyes.
Surprisingly, real estate is still very much an in-person type of thing with tried-and-true methods holding steady in 2019.
Door.com is changing that, however, with taking the home selling business online and using things like Facebook targeted ads, an online hub for sellers to understand the process, and on-demand photographers to help people sell their homes. Also, and this probably should have been mentioned earlier, but they use a flat fee instead of a percentage, which can help you save quite a bit of money.
I had the chance to interview Alex Doubet of Door.com to discuss the business, plus some of its advantages over traditional real estate. You can find the full interview below.
Care to introduce yourself and your role with Door.com?
I’m Alex Doubet, and I’m the founder of Door, Inc. I’ve basically performed every role here since 2015 (other than actually developing our technology). I started off as a real estate agent, a marketer, customer support, operations manager - you name it, I was doing it.
Now, since our team has grown, I get to focus on fundraising, vision casting with the product team, attending our weekly yoga class and representing the mission of Door.com any way I can.
In just a few sentences, what is Door.com?
Door.com lists, markets, and sells your home for less. We make the selling process easier to understand and follow, and our technology helps homeowners stay on top of their sale every step of the way. Each seller has a team of agents supporting them, answering questions and managing their contracts, online listing, and negotiations.
Our approach makes selling a home less overwhelming, less expensive, and less time consuming than the traditional route. We charge a flat fee of $5K at close, rather than high agent commissions, saving the average seller $10K. Our sellers’ homes spend 14% less time on the market than the national average, so they can move on in weeks, rather than months to a year. We’re based in Dallas, TX and sell homes across 11 states.
What inspired the creation of the company?
My mom sold her home about seven years ago and used a traditional real estate agent and paid the typical 6% commission. She had owned the house for over 20 years and ended up paying over $50K to an agent without getting so much as a thank you note. I couldn’t believe it. Why was it so expensive to sell her home?
The fact that your home equity appreciates over time, and when you go to sell it you give a huge chunk to an agent who doesn’t even send a thank you note didn’t sit right with me. Years later, the fact that you could have a mediocre experience and still pay so much still doesn’t make any sense to me. I’d rather her have that money to retire or do whatever she wants with it, rather than going to someone who couldn’t even say “thank you.”
After digging a bit deeper, I uncovered just how outdated the selling process has become. While other industries have changed because of technology, real estate largely has not. My mom’s experience wasn’t unique, and homeowners deserve to have an experience that benefits and takes care of them, rather than the agent.
What were some of the hardships you faced in the early days of Door?
We’ve gotten a lot of negative feedback from our competitors since day one. Many, though not all, agents are quick to bash us, saying “you’ll get what you pay for” or saying we’re “too good to be true”. Sometimes we’ll even get a bad Google or Facebook review from a real estate agent we’ve never worked with because they don’t believe in our model.
The amount of agents who publicly post about us and our approach is unbelievable. We wish they spent more time on their clients than they do trying to pick a fight with us on Facebook.
Was there a "eureka" moment, where you knew everything was coming together?
When we sold our first home outside of Dallas, all online. Many traditional agents want you to think that the process has to be in person.
But with responsive support, smart home-pricing analysis, modern marketing tactics, strong negotiation skills, and user-friendly technology, we knew homeowners would appreciate the 21st-century process. Now we’re in 11 states successfully managing the whole process digitally.
We touched on what Door was above, but care to expand on that a bit - what does Door offer that traditional real estate services do not?
We charge a flat fee, rather than a commission. With traditional realtors, homeowners will pay 6% of their home value to real estate agents (3% to their agent + 3% to their buyer’s agent) – which on average represents 21% of the equity they have accrued in their home. With Door.com, homeowners save thousands of dollars (average customer saves about $10k). We operate with a flat fee model, delivering great service for only $5k at close – costing our clients on average 67% less than a traditional agent would.
We make the process to sell your home easier to understand. With a traditional agent, the process is walled-off, making it confusing, less transparent, and hard to follow. Traditional agents keep it complicated and a bit like a black box with endless amounts of paperwork filled with unnecessary jargon to justify their high fees. We do the opposite. Our technology platform allows you to understand and follow along every step of the way. Our sellers can follow a checklist online, and see their showing requests, showing feedback and offers come in all in one place.
The traditional way of selling a house is slow going, hurting your sale immensely. People really don’t have the time or the patience for that anymore. We help homeowners get through the process faster. We eliminated open houses because they don’t sell houses (it’s a good way to meet the neighbors – but unfortunately, they already have a house in the neighborhood!). We don’t do in-person meetings, because we can meet a person through video conferencing and review the property with photos more efficiently. We can schedule your photography for your online listing in seconds. We sign all paperwork digitally – no crazy stack of paper forms. We advertise your listing online, rather than through print because that is where homebuyers are searching.
We can’t waste a moment, because every day your home is still on the market is hurting buyers’ perceptions of it.
You help with marketing, correct? What avenues do you use for marketing a home to potential buyers and can sellers see what those marketing efforts entail?
Since 95% of home buyers search for homes online, we focus our marketing efforts online. First, we syndicate your listing to the MLS & top real estate websites (Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, Realtor.com).
To keep buyer eyes on your listing, we will promote it on Zillow as a sponsored listing. Buyers searching in your area will also be retargeted on Facebook with your home. We also offer promotions based on interest, days on market & pricing milestones as necessary. Our sellers can view their online listing’s performance across channels within their Door.com account.
Is the service available across the US or is specific to certain locations?
We’re currently licensed in 11 states: Texas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Nevada.
Plans on expanding the service to new cities/locations?
Yes. We’re always growing and won’t stop until every homeowner can utilize our services.
How much can sellers expect to save using something like Door?
We charge a flat fee of $5K at close, rather than high agent commissions, saving the average seller $10K. Recently, we helped a seller in Colorado save $54K.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions, anything you'd like to add or close with?
Thanks for asking them! Nothing too fancy to add - only that, if you’re looking to sell your home, come check us out. We’re here to help.
I'd like to thank Alex for taking the time to answer some of my questions.
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