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

 
 

5G could be taking over Texas — and Houston is leading the way. Photo via Getty Images

Based on one key measure, Houston sits at the forefront of a telecom revolution that could spark a regional economic impact of more than $30 billion.

Data published recently by the Texas Comptroller's Office points out that as of last November and December, Houston led all cities in Texas for the number of so-called "small cells." Small cells are a key component in the rollout of ultra-high-speed 5G wireless communication throughout the Houston area and the country.

As the Texas Comptroller's Office explains, small cells are low-powered antennas that communicate wirelessly via radio waves. They're usually installed on existing public infrastructure like street signs or utility poles, instead of the big communication towers that transmit 4G signals.

The comptroller's tally shows Houston had approved 5,455 small-cell sites as of the November-December timeframe. That dwarfs the total number of sites (1,948) for the state's second-ranked city, Dallas.

"Houston is in the vanguard of small cell permitting in Texas, and not just because it's the state's largest city; advocates have lauded its proactive approach to 5G. Other cities, particularly smaller ones, are lagging well behind," the Comptroller's Office notes.

According to CTIA, a trade group for the wireless communications industry, 5G holds the promise to deliver an economic impact of $30.3 billion in the Houston area and create 93,700 jobs. The group says industries such as health care, energy, transportation, e-commerce, and logistics stand to benefit from the emergence of 5G.

"Maintaining world-class communications infrastructure is a requirement for success in a rapidly changing global economy. Small cells and fiber technology are the key foundational components for network densification and robust 5G. Cities like Houston that have embraced the need for this infrastructure will see the benefits of 5G faster than others," Mandy Derr, government affairs director at Houston-based communications infrastructure REIT Crown Castle International Corp. and a member of the Texas 5G Alliance, tells InnovationMap.

Derr says leaders in Houston have embraced the importance of small-cell technology through "reasonable and effective" regulations and processes aimed at boosting 5G capabilities. Three major providers of wireless service — AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon — offer 5G to customers in the Houston area.

"More small cells and fiber provide greater and faster access for the masses, enabling the connectivity that is essential to our businesses today — whether it's accepting payments on a mobile card reader, completing a sale on the go, or reliably reaching consumers where they are," Derr says.

In a blog post, Netrality Data Centers, which operates a data center in Houston, proclaims that Houston is shaping up to be a hub of 5G innovation.

"Houston has always been on the frontline," Mayor Sylvester Turner said during a 5G roundtable discussion in 2019. "It is who we are. It is in our DNA. We are a leading city. We didn't wait for somebody else to go to the moon. Or to be the energy capital of the world. Or the largest medical center in the world. But you don't stay at the front if you don't continue to lead."

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