Almost a year later, the low-mortgage-rate buyer boom is still going strong, even as markets across the country report record-low inventory levels and a dearth of new listings. To help buyers and sellers better navigate a breakneck market, California-based iBuyer Opendoor announced on Tuesday it’s expanded the types of homes it purchases and improved its cash offer turnaround speed.
“Even in a booming seller’s market, there’s a level of uncertainty with financing, inspection and appraisal contingencies that could come in the way,” Opendoor Investment Strategy, Operations, and Analytics Senior Director Amit Arora said in a blog post. “On top of that, 55 to 70 percent of sellers are also buyers, and the ability to unlock equity to win your next home is a top-of-mind issue, driving many homeowners to be hesitant to sell.”
“They may be worried about their ability to find and finance their new home in a timely manner,” he continued. “Today, we are making it possible for even more sellers to move with ease. Opendoor is expanding its buying capabilities across the U.S. to purchase a wider range of homes.”
Opendoor increased the price ceiling in all 27 of its markets, which will vary from market to market. In Los Angeles, for example, the ceiling will jump from $900K to $1.4 million to reflect the National Association of Realtors’ annual home price growth projection of 8 percent. In addition to raising the price ceiling, Opendoor raised the age ceiling to include homes built from the 1930s to the 1950s.
The iBuyer expanded its services in Phoenix, Tampa, Tucson, Las Vegas, Orlando, Riverside, and San Diego to include age-restricted communities, and will also purchase homes in gated communities across an additional 19 markets.
“We also operate in age-restricted communities, which are typically neighborhoods with homeowners over the age of 55 — a market that is expected to reach $732.1 billion by 2027 due to a growing senior population,” Arora explained of Opendoor’s decision to begin serving sellers in age-restricted communities. “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, baby boomers will account for 21 percent of the U.S. population by 2030.”
Lastly, Opendoor has rolled out preliminary instant offers, which slims the offer timeline down from 24 hours to three minutes. The preliminary offer is based on comparable home sales, market trends, and the home details provided during the seller questionnaire. After receiving the preliminary offer, homesellers must still provide a video walkthrough to get a final, exact offer price.
“We’ve built a system that combines the best of human local expertise and sophisticated machine expertise,” Arora said. “These systems account for specific home attributes, recent comparable home sales, and market and economic trends, all updated very frequently. This enables us to accurately forecast home price appreciation, even in a competitive market like today.”
Opendoor has been on the move for the past two quarters, with a slew of c-suite hires to improve the consumer experience, improve revenue and consumer conversion, and shore up the company’s financial and investment capabilities post-IPO.
The company also launched its services in Boise, Idaho; Prescott, Ariz.; Greensboro, N.C.; and Kileen, Texas, inching the iBuyer closer to the 30-market mark. To date, Opendoor has closed more than 90,000 transactions.