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

 
 

Emily Cisek, CEO and co-founder of The Postage, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss tech optimizing after-life planning, B-to-C startup challenges, and a national expansion. Photo courtesy of The Postage

Anyone who's ever lost a loved one knows how stressful the process can be. Not only are you navigating your own grief, but you're bombarded with decisions you have to make. And if that loved one wasn't prepared — as most aren't — then the process is more overwhelming than it needs to be.

On top of that, Emily Cisek realized — through navigating three family deaths back to back — how archaic of a process it was. Rather than wait and see if anything changed, Cisek jumped on the market opportunity.

"I just knew there had to be a better way, and that's why I started The Postage," Cisek, co-founder and CEO of the Houston-based company, says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "My background had historically been in bringing offline businesses online, and I started doing some research on how I could make this space better. At the time, there really wasn't anything out there."

The tech-enabled platform allows users of all ages to plan for their demise in every way — from saving and sharing memories when the time comes to organizing pertinent information for the loved ones left behind. And, as of last month, users can no generate their own last will and testament.

"We launched the online will maker — it wasn't in my roadmap for another six months or so — because every single person that was coming in was looking at something else on our platform, but then going to the will part and asking, 'Hey is this something I can create here?'" Cisek says.

Recognizing that this was a good opportunity to generate new users, Cisek quickly added on the feature for a flat $75 fee. Then, members pay $3.99 a month to be able to edit their will whenever they need to and also receive access to everything else on the platform.

Cisek saw a huge opportunity to grow with the pandemic, which put a spotlight after-life planning. The silver lining of it all was that more people were discussing after-life planning with their family members.

"We're having more open dialogue about life and end-of-life planning that I don't see any other scenario really bringing that to light," she explains. "In some ways, it's been positive because having the conversation with people has been easier than it had been before."

While anyone can access The Postage's platform, Cisek says she's focused on getting the word out nationally. Following some imminent funding and partnerships, national marketing and growth campaigns are on the horizon.

Cisek shares more on her career and he unique challenges she faces as a B-to-C entrepreneur on the podcast. Listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


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