Another Opendoor selling experience
We just closed yesterday and I thought I’d share my experience selling to Opendoor. Our house was in Campbell CA (part of San Jose). I got a quote from Opendoor months ago and it was decent, but not too exciting. As we got closer to listing, I got another quote and it was about 10% lower than the first.
We started talking to a local agent (just talking) and he recommended the house be empty, so he could stage it, etc. It sounded like tons of work and stress because, even though we had already bought a new house, we didn’t like leaving the house empty while we moved 400 miles away. Also, by this point, cracks were beginning to show in the once-robust Bay Area housing market.
I went and got another quote from Opendoor (the quotes expire after a short period of time), and they came in about halfway between the first too, which I considered pretty good. The realtor we knew had a house similar to mine for sale a few streets over. It sold for way less than we all thought, with only 3 people making offers. It’s typical to see 30+ in our area. I mentioned the OD offer to the realtor and he said it wasn’t a bad price – probably in the range of what he would expect to get.
We accepted their latest offer and they’re very clear that you can cancel anytime, for any reason. I figured I’d ride it our and see how the market fared. We chose a 60 day escrow, so we had some time. All it took to make their offer official was pictures of the house. No one ever came to look at it – at least not that I’m aware of. So, we went under contract with their meager earnest money deposit. I forget how much it was, but a couple grand or so.
Everything was going smooth. They used a company called Spruce to do the escrow and title. Everything is done through docusign and the title came back and we were now just waiting the 60 days to close. That gave us plenty of time to pack and prepare for the move, both mentally and physically.
Here’s where things got a little dicey. If you have questions, you are supposed to contact your “experience partner”. They are listed on your portal as your primary contact. Whenever I had a question, I’d reach out (email/phone/text) and not hear back. I’d call their one generic phone number, leave a message, and they would then find someone to answer your question. Then my contact got replaced with another guy, who was a little more responsive, but not much. He’d be out of the office a lot of the time, so some rando would take over.
As the market started going soft, I was terrified that they’d back out or revise their offer. I was sure it was going to happen, because interest rates threw cold water on our market in a big way. It got to the point where I purposely didn’t contact them out of fear that I’d raise a red flag.
The other problem is that since you don’t have a realtor, there’s no one advocating for you. No one is making sure things are done and than nothing falls through the cracks. Believe me, their model has some big cracks in it. You really need to stay on top of them. As we got toward the closing date, I stopped calling OD altogether and went straight to Spruce. They aren’t much more responsive, but at least you can cut out the middle man.
I’d continually ask them if everything was good and if they needed anything from me. I made sure I had all my ducks in a row, because I didn’t want to give OD any reason to re-evaluate the deal. The day we were supposed to close, it just didn’t happen. A whole bunch of excuses, with the promise they’d close first thing in the morning. We were moving the next day and I told them again to make sure they had everything they needed from me. I spoke with Spruce at 6am PST (I don’t know where they’re at) and was told everything was on track to close. Around noon, they emailed and said it was done and they were recording. My computer was literally the last thing to pack. I put it, my router and modem in a box and threw it in the car and hit the road. We said “goodbye” to that house.
We’re driving down I-5 thinking everything is done and I get and email that says the banking info I sent them wasn’t acceptable. They needed it in some official form. The five times they told me they had everything was just so much lip service. They sent me a form to print, fill out, and scan back to them. Obviously, standing in a parking lot by the side of the road made it a little difficult to do what they wanted. Of course, I couldn’t get a hold of anyone who could help and ended up leaving a message of what needed to be done, which was that they needed to fill out the form and then I could docusign it on my phone (it didn’t allow me to fill out any fields – just sign).
Somehow, the right person got my message and in half an hour, the filled-out form appeared in my email. We were able to close at the very last minute – only a day late.
All in all, it wasn’t a horrible experience, but I’ve bought and sold numerous houses, including one FSBO. I have a decent idea of what needs to happen and when. Several times, I had to push them along and make sure things got done. There’s nobody on your side – you are it. If I was a first-time seller, I would have been lost.
Pros: – Easy to sell – no cleaning, no staging, no one so much as looking at your house. – Good price for us. We happened to time it right. After we accepted the offer, housing prices dropped 10% practically overnight. I am 100% sure we got more through OD than we would have on the open market, but our timing just happened to make it work that way. – Less worry as you can control the closing date, even changing it at the last minute. You can also choose to rent back at a nominal fee. – No inspection or appraisal.
Cons: – No realtor, so no one has a vested interest to make sure the deal happens. – Difficult communication with the OD team. If you need a quick answer, forget about it. Any worry gets compounded because you never get a “warm fuzzy” from them. – The uncertainty of doing business with them causes a lot of stress. It’s an unusual way of selling a house and they need to work on the customer experience. – You need to stay on top of things. Nobody seems to care if they close on time or how smoothly the process goes. If this is your first rodeo, make sure you are prepared for delays. – You put the house key in a lockbox and leave. If you haven’t closed at that point, it can be quite frightening.