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

 
 

"There's something magical happening in Houston, and [VCs] want a piece of it." Photo via Getty Images

Houston's seen a growth in startup and venture investment — even amid the pandemic — and a group of Houston innovators sat down for a virtual event to discuss what's lead to this evolution.

The Greater Houston Partnership hosted an installment of its Houston Industry Series focused on Digital Tech on Thursday, September 24. The panel of experts, moderated by Krisha Tracy of Google Cloud, discussed how they've observed the paradigm shift that's occurred in Houston over the past few years — and why.

Missed the discussion? Here are some significant overheard moments from the virtual event.

“I think there really is an interest for venture capital here, both locally and also welcoming it from outside of Houston. … There’s something magical happening in Houston, and [VCs] want a piece of it. I think that magical piece is a renewed interest in collaborating.”

Stephanie Campbell, managing director of Houston Angel Network and co-founder of The Artemis Fund. "I think a lot [of this progress] is due to the GHP, Houston Exponential, and the founding of the HX Venture Fund to bring those venture funds to Houston to say, 'what's happening here?'" Campbell adds, saying that this connectivity and collaboration that's happening in Houston VC is unique.

“I think there’s a misconception around all we do is oil and gas and life science in Houston, but when you think about what VC-backable companies look like, they’re tech, they’re B2B SaaS, they’re highly scalable, and they don’t tend to be capital-intensive types of things we see corporate venture backing.”

Campbell says, adding "the connectivity and the interest in VC is really taking off. It's an exciting time to be in Houston and Texas in general."

“Plug and Play’s ventures team is based in Silicon Valley and one thing they enjoy about meeting Houston-based founders is valuations tend to be more reasonable than in the Bay Area."

Payal Patel, director of Plug and Play Tech Center in Houston. "There are gems to be found," she adds.

“I don’t know what it is — if it’s something in the water or just Texans being very friendly, but the investors here share deal flow. It takes a village, and I think we all understand a rising tide lifts all boats."

Patel says on the collaborative nature of Houston. "It's really magical."

“What you’re witnessing is a city that has been waiting for industrial innovation to reach the point where it can be adopted at a really high scale, and that happened around 2017.”

Jon Nordby, managing director at MassChallenge Texas in Houston. Nordby adds that MassChallenge in Houston hasn't been keen on consumer tech, or the "grilled cheese delivery apps," as he describes. "We like companies that are in love with problems, not so much in love with solutions. … We build really meaningful tech."

“Over the last year or two, we’ve seen that sleeping giant get awoken. Open and external innovation is newly adopted by more legacy industries where it wasn’t before — and that’s just created a mountain of opportunities for startups and investors alike.”

Nordby says on the shift toward this meaningful, problem-solving technology, which Houston is full of, as he observes.

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