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Will open offers platform Doorsey change home sales? It could, yes

The intent behind Doorsey is to make the deal more transparent, to put it all up on the table so the entire open market can see what they're competing for
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The intent behind home sales platform Doorsey is to make the deal more transparent, to put it all up on the table so the entire open market can see what they’re competing for.

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Doorsey is an open-offer platform for homebuying.

Platforms: Browser

Ideal for: All agents and homebuyers

Top selling points:

  • Highly detailed listing pages
  • Full transparency of current offers
  • Free for agents
  • Video, rich content uploads
  • All contract terms provided upfront

Top concern:

Mainly adoption. This is ultimately a better way to buy a home — but not necessarily for first-timers. Companion mobile apps could add more value as well.

What you should know

Doorsey is a better way to buy a home. An open offer platform that lets everyone in on what a home is all about, the browser app is modeled conceptually after, a highly trafficked classic and luxury car buying website. Doorsey allows sellers and their listing agent to put it all out there, all inspections, all the drywall cracks, bad color choices and outdated appliances.

However, all the good stuff is there, too, including current offers, deal terms, questions from competitive buyers and local insight from other agents and bidders.

One’s first inclination is that such a platform empowers investors or those more comfortable with buying sight-unseen. Well, yes and no. The smartest listing agents will use Doorsey to its fullest extent, uploading as many photos, video content and immersive media tours, such as Matterport, as they can.

Doorsey also encourages inspections, which it handles via its own third-party professionals, thus avoiding the inevitable, but entirely nonsensical “I don’t trust other inspectors” argument.

Doorsey listings also put all the seller’s deal terms, from dates to disclosures, up front for all to see.

Ultimately, all this information can make listings on Doorsey that much more attractive to investors, who often rely on instincts and experience to bid sight unseen.

But, here’s the thing: Doorsey is after listings for the common homebuyer and active, everyday market, such as higher-end, well-maintained suburban homes that simply would never cash-flow or offer any sort of immediate return.

The intent behind Doorsey is to make the deal more transparent, to put it all up on the table so the entire open market can see what they’re competing for. It has never made a lot of sense for listing agents to not disclose competitive offers, or to wait around according to inspection periods for a buyer to decide if they really want a home.

There’s no reason or drawback to sharing what the latest person is willing to pay for a house. In fact, it’s a smarter way to do it. It saves buyer agents’ time by knowing exactly when their client is out of the running, and it serves the seller well by ensuring every interested buyer is qualified and capable.

There’s a concept in sales and auctions called the “Linkage Principle.” It refers to the idea that a buyer will offer less for something when they need to compensate for discovery of the unknown. In turn, the more a buyer knows upfront, the less risk they perceive in the sale.

The sales process unveils itself on Doorsey one bid and comment at a time. The buyer’s name, price and published insight are on full display, and from those comments comes wisdom. Questions about the community, how to handle a slight repair or when the tile was installed can all be handled in the sunlight, answered by anyone following along.

Doorsey is the app I long hoped Relola was going to become for our industry. (Relola is succeeding under a different model, but one still rooted in colleague collaboration.)

Listings have time limits, but as the clock winds down, every last minute bid starts another three-minute clock, avoiding the random last second winner. This ensures that everyone is firing from the same position when the property enters that final window.

Doorsey encourages its photographers to open cabinets and capture closet interiors. The same goes for the exterior. Every primary photo of main rooms and features will have narratives attached to them, each offering more on their own than entire MLS description allows.

Doorsey is also adding meta-tags to critical interior photos that will share appliance data, including links to manufacturer websites. If there’s a red tag, it’s not included the sale. Items with green tags come with the house. Of course, those items are also listed in the terms sheet.

A series of tools accompanies each listing page, too. There’s a payment calculator, a document repository and an in-person tour scheduler. Agents can also create profile pages on Doorsey so everyone knows who is who, which I feel adds an additional touch of openness.

Plus, all of the information on each listing and its offer cycle is presented in a very nice user-interface design. Images, comments and information menus are intuitively organized and coordinated to ensure users don’t miss important information or are in any way pulled away from what matters about a property.

I’d like to add that in my last full time role in the industry, I worked at a multi-family brokerage selling apartments in this exact way. We didn’t have a cool online portal through which to facilitate deals, but we encouraged buyers to do all of their due diligence up front before submitted an offer.

In other words, know what you want before you try to buy it. Get inspections, take photos, and let us show you the property without any makeup. Our seller clients knew that when a formal offer came in, it had a very high percentage of closing.

There’s no reason residential homes can’t be sold in the same way.

The company is ramping up its inventory, active at the moment in Washington state, San Diego and Atlanta. It’s actively seeking new listings. The only thing to not like about Doorsey is that it’s not what you’re used to. And that’s the point.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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