Knock, knock

How this Texas real estate startup is saving homebuyers and sellers thousands of dollars

Door is changing the way Houstonians buy their homes. Courtesy photo

Alex Doubet has a plan to shake up Texas real estate. The innovative businessman is taking his disruptive brokerage company statewide. Door, now has imprints in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. And that, he says, is great news for homebuyers and sellers.

"The average homebuyer is paying 6 percent in commission," he says. "And that adds up. Our service, on average, is saving people $12,000 when they buy a house."

When the Dallas-based Door launched in 2015, it shifted the real estate paradigm. Gone was the idea that a homebuyer or seller had to pay a commission to a real estate agent. Gone was the idea that a homebuyer even needed a real estate agent.

"Ninety-five percent of people who are buying a house look online," says Doubet. "They're not necessarily calling a real estate agent and having that agent find houses for them."

The key to Door: Simplicity
So, Doubet took that kind of DIY approach and tweaked it. Every one of his agents is an employee, not an independent contractor. For each sale, the buyer and seller pay a flat, $5,000 fee. Doubet's idea was to be a one-stop shop, where homebuyers could not only find and purchase a home, but also have assistance with mortgage lending and home titles.

"My plan was always to save people money and give them the best experience," he says.

Having now expanded across the Lone Star State, Doubet says that he's ready to share his company's expertise with customers in Houston. Because they're employees, Doubet's agents are focused on providing a high-quality, tailored experience for consumers — not pushing them toward properties that might net a fat commission.

Door has harnessed technology, too, recognizing that most people today transact business in the online world.

"It's something of a brave new world," he says. "But we're using technology to deliver better outcomes for our buyers and sellers."

Buyers will find Door agents are able to work with them to identify properties, schedule home tours, coordinate offers, and assist with the closing. Meanwhile, sellers' agents deliver market analysis, meet the seller at his or her home to do an evaluation, and set up stagings and photo shoots for the listing. Door agents work with their buyers and sellers, as well as with each other, sharing resources and expertise, and making certain that their clients feel like individuals.

Real hot
Clearly, the company is making an impact. Door has a 4.9 star rating on Zillow. And recent news reports from the DFW area indicate the company's processes are hot with millennials, who are known for their own tech savviness and preference for quick, online transactions. Every one of the company's agents is a licensed real estate agent and Door is a member of MLS.

"People are starting to realize there is an alternative to how we buy and sell real estate today," says Doubet. "And we're making sure our clients have a stress-free, easy, cost-efficient experience."

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This story originally appeared on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

this one's for the ladies

Texas named a top state for women-led startups

A new report finds that the Lone Star State is ideal for female entrepreneurs. Photo via Getty Images

Who runs the world? According to Merchant Maverick's inaugural Best States for "Women-Led Startups'' study, Texas is a great place for women to be in charge.

The Lone Star state cracked the top 10 on the list, earning a No. 6 spot according to the small business reviews and financial services company, which based the study on eight key statistics about this growing segment of the economy. Colorado (at No. 1), Washington, Virginia, Florida, and Montana were the only states to beat out Texas on the rankings—leading the Merchant Maverick team to conclude that "the part of the country that lies west of the Mississippi is great for startups led by women entrepreneurs."

Women-led startups in Texas received $365 billion in VC funding in the last five years, the report found. This is the seventh largest total among U.S. states. Too, about 20 percent of Texans are employed at woman-led firms, which is the fifth highest percentage among states. Roughly 35 percent of employers in Texas are led by women.

A few other key findings that work in female founders' favor: The startup survival rate in Texas is nearly 80 percent. And a lack of state income tax "doesn't hurt either," the report says.

Still there are shortcomings. On a per capita basis, only 1.27 percent of Texas women run their own business. The average income for self-employed women is also relatively low ranking among states, coming in around $55,907 and landing at 31st among others.

This is not the first time Texas has been lauded as a land of opportunity for women entrepreneurs. A 2019 study named it the best state for business opportunities for women. Houston too has proven to support success for the demographic. The Bayou City was named in separate studies a best city for female entrepreneurs to start a business and to see it grow.

Still, as many findings have concluded, the realities of the pandemic loom for all startups and small business owners. The Merchant Maverick study was careful to add: "The pandemic has changed the economic landscape over the past year, and often for the worse.

"This means that not every metric may be able to accurately gauge how a state might fare amidst the pandemic," the report continues. "To help factor in COVID's impact, we included some metrics that take 2020 into account, but it will be a while until we get a full picture of the pandemic's devastation.""

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