What good is any technology in 2016 if you can’t use it on the go?

Opendoor, a well-funded real estate startup that makes online offers on homes and flips them, just took its mobile user experience to the app level for both iPhone and Android customers.

The app allows buyers to search Opendoor’s listings, visit them on their own and connect with the startup for a “seamless purchase process.”

Notably, the startup only makes its own listings available for search in the app. It’s opted not to tap Internet Data Exchange (IDX) feeds from MLSs to serve up properties listed by other brokerages. (Opendoor is both a property owner and a listing brokerage.)

Opendoor made the announcement in both Phoenix (its home base) and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. On its website, Opendoor advertises well over 400 active listings spread across the two cities — including a large pool of “listing soon” properties in Phoenix.

“With the app launch today, we’re putting the homebuyer just a few taps away from hundreds of all-day open houses,” Evan Moore, Opendoor’s head of product, said in a statement.

“This launch is bringing us one step closer to achieving our mission of simplifying the home buying journey for everyone.”

Opendoor has long made it possible for anyone to use a mobile device to let themselves into any of its listings.

This appears to have drawn an unusually large quantity of prospective buyers — and perhaps “lookie-loos” as well — into its homes, with the company’s listings receiving over three times as many visits as the average listing, according to Moore.

Sixty percent of visits to Opendoor listings occur outside normal open house hours, according to the startup. The company’s homes are currently available for visits between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Previously, buyers could pop into Opendoor homes at any hour. Some Realtors had expressed concern over the concept of what Opendoor had called “24/7 Open Houses.”

Asked if Opendoor began restricting its open house hours partly in response to those concerns, Opendoor spokeswoman Mojgan Khalili said the startup made the change “because we saw that less than 1 percent of visitors came in after 9 p.m.”

“We have a support team available to answer questions during open hours, so we wanted to focus that team on the hours that mattered to home buyers and agents,” she added.

 

 

Source: Opendoor media announcement

Source: Opendoor media announcement

According to the announcement, features of the app include:

  • Gain entry to homes straight from your app, every day of the week between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Browse Opendoor homes for sale with a map or list view
  • Filter homes by bed, bath, and/or price to see only those that match your criteria
  • See high-res photos and at-a-glance property details for every home
  • Easily connect with Opendoor experts for a seamless purchase process

Asked why Opendoor’s app doesn’t use IDX feeds to make all local MLS listings searchable, Khalili said “Opendoor listings are available to be toured on-demand, and we wanted to build an app with a consistent experience” — implying that not all property listings can be visited at the drop of a hat. 

Opendoor has emerged as perhaps the most disruptive real estate tech startup, revamping the traditional real estate business model. While the firm currently pays buyer’s brokers, the startup has been adding features that could encourage buyers to purchase its homes without representation.

Opendoor works by making bids on homes using sophisticated automated valuation model (AVM) technology. Sellers who accept the offers can schedule transactions to close in as little as three days after an inspection. The startup fixes up its acquisitions and then sells them using technology including its “all-day open houses” and an online platform for buyers.

The high-tech home flipper made adjustments to its home “money-back guarantee this summer after facing criticism from agents.

In addition to Phoenix and Dallas, it is also buying homes in Las Vegas.

Email Teke Wiggin

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from Opendoor.

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