Are you thinking about selling your home and considering selling to Opendoor? Curious how Opendoor works? Read on for our experience.
We knew when we found out we were pregnant with twins that we’d need a bigger house. We ended up waiting until after the twins were 4 months old to move. At that time, we had 3 kids 2 and under. Though we wanted to move, we couldn’t imagine fixing up the house, staging it, and being out of the home for showings with our three littles. That’s when we found Opendoor.
Our First Home
We had a fine starter home but with three boys, we knew it no longer fit our needs. The home was a split entry built in the 1980s with two bedrooms upstairs and two bedrooms downstairs. This worked great when we had one kid but when our oldest was 2 we weren’t ready for him to be downstairs yet when the twins were born. The twins slept in bassinets in a small nook of our bedroom, pictured below, but it was less than ideal. We knew they’d need to be in cribs soon and trying to figure out who to put downstairs wasn’t going well.
Below is a picture of our “master bedroom” in our first home, with our twins’ bassinets smushed in the nook where my dresser used to go.
Our house was in great shape overall and we had made improvements since we had moved in 5 years earlier. We had replaced the furnace, air conditioning, water heater, redone the upstairs bathroom, and some improvements to the downstairs bathroom. We also replaced all of the windows, siding, and made some improvements in the yard. However, our realtor told us we’d need new carpet and new paint, at least, before putting it on the market. We’d also need to clear out a lot of our stuff. This was completely understandable but with three littles that didn’t seem plausible to do while we were still living there.
Feeling out the Options
Knowing we didn’t want to go through the traditional home selling process, I started contacting some relatively local companies who bought homes and flipped them. After describing our home to them, we realized it wasn’t quite what they were looking for. For flipping to work, they buy homes that needed a lot of work at a low price, and then do the work and sell them at a profit. That’s how they made their money. Our home was in too good of shape for that to work for either of us. Had we gone that route, we’d end up losing a lot of money in order for them to make any money. I appreciated their frankness with me that it wouldn’t be ideal for either side.
Then I came across Opendoor and decided to check them out as well. I quickly learned that Opendoor is different than the others I had contacted, they are not home flippers. They simply want to provide a service to take the burden of selling a home off the seller.
How Does Selling to Opendoor Work?
Opendoor doesn’t flip houses like the other companies I had contacted. Opendoor simply makes it easier to leave your current home behind and move on.
With Opendoor, we were able to sell our home without painting, installing new carpet, and other minor repairs our home needed. Even better, we didn’t need to deal with putting a bunch of our stuff and kids’ toys into storage for showings, didn’t have to vacate the house during showings or open houses, and didn’t have to worry about when the house would sell.
Though we had decided to work with Opendoor, we still felt we needed to have a realtor, at least for buying our new home. We did discuss with her that we were selling our house and whether or not it would make sense to go the traditional route or not.
We were very open with our realtor that we didn’t think we were up to the updates, staging, and showings with our littles. She completely understood and agreed that trying out Opendoor might be a good fit. She hadn’t worked with them before but she seemed excited to learn more.
At first, we considered having her be our selling and buying realtor, but in the end, it made more sense to sell our home to OpenDoor ourselves and just have her represent us in terms of buying a new home.
We had decided in early January we were going to sell our home. We moved into our new home in early March. It was amazing how quickly everything went. I think it was something like 45 days from signing the agreements, to moving in.
Cost of Working with Opendoor
At first, we were concerned with how much we’d leave on the table, so to speak, when selling through Opendoor. We knew they’d offer us less than what we could make if we sold the home ourselves. We also knew that the cost of the painting, carpet and storage unit we’d have to rent for all of our stuff wouldn’t be cheap either. We’d also have the limbo period of trying to sell our house while we also were trying to buy a new one if we went the traditional route. We also were aware of the worst-case scenario, that we may end up having to pay two mortgages and maintain two houses if the first one didn’t sell right away. We really didn’t want to deal with all of that.
Opendoor ended up offering us a base price of just $6,000 less than what we assumed it would sell for on the market. They also charged a 6.5% service fee which was about $19,500 (this was in 2019, in 2021 the fee is only 5%). They also deducted for any repairs that needed to be done, which was about $2,600 in our case, mainly for carpet and paint.
It’s estimated that when selling traditionally, the staging and home preparation costs are usually about 1% of the total value of the home. In our case, it’s estimated those costs would have been about $3,000 or so. With a traditional sale there likely would have been seller concessions as well, which are typically 1.5%-2% of the home value. In our case would have been about $4,500-$6,000. Additionally, with a traditional sale, we may have had to pay for repairs the buyers wanted us to make after the home inspection.
When all was said and done, we were selling a house worth almost $300,000 to them and for the convenience of not having to deal with repairs on our own, showings, etc. we were “out” about $25,000. When adding up how much it would have cost on average to sell our home the traditional route it would have been about the same price once factoring in the typical closing costs of 6%.
Working with Opendoor was amazing. I honestly don’t think we could have handled selling any other way at that time with 3 kids 2 and under.
Buying with Opendoor
Not only were we selling our home to Opendoor, we got lucky that we also found a home that we wanted to buy that was being sold by Opendoor. This meant we got to go visit it anytime and as many times as we wanted. I think we visited at least 4 times before we made our offer on the house through our realtor. The house was about 30 minutes from our current home and we made sure to visit enough to not only become comfortable with it but also to take measurements so we could be up and running as quickly as possible when we moved in.
As I mentioned previously, we did have a realtor on our side for the buying of our new home, even though we went with one that Opendoor was selling. We liked having a professional on our side and she was amazing to work with. She negotiated with them on our behalf to get the price reduced on the new home since it had sat on the market for 3 months. She also was with us through the inspection and closing walk-through, in addition to any other questions we had.
It was great buying and selling through Opendoor because that reduced how many people we had to deal with overall. Not that we don’t like people, just often more people equals more problems in situations such as this. We also got to schedule our closing dates on both homes for the same day and sign paperwork at the same time. We also got a $1,000 bonus for buying and selling with them at the same time (I believe this amount has increased since then).
Opendoor has a great FAQ page regarding selling through them or selling through the traditional route. I suggest checking it out here for more information.
**I want to note that I am in no way compensated by Opendoor for my positive review. I simply wanted to let others know how awesome this process is and how it worked so well for our family.
- Buying and Selling with Opendoor
- How Opendoor Costs Compare with Traditional Selling Costs
- Opendoor isn’t a Flipper
- Common Misconceptions about Opendoor
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As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.