The tech startup Opendoor has created a service that allows anyone to tour a home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Opendoor promotes their service as a “24/7 open house” of for-sale homes. Prospective buyers call or text a number using their smartphone that then gives them an access code to open the door. This allows someone to see a home at any time, without a real estate agent.
REALTORS® have expressed concerns about this model, largely due to safety issues. Sellers should be aware that working with a REALTOR® ensures their home is only accessible by those who are licensed to buy and sell real estate. By using a REALTOR®-only lockbox, rather than a service that allows anyone to access the home, sellers know that the people coming into their home are accompanied by a real estate professional. REALTORS® agree to abide by a strict Code of Ethics, which includes the duty to “make reasonable efforts to protect [a property] against reasonably foreseeable contingencies and losses.”
Homes that use Opendoor’s service are typically vacant and have many cameras installed. But, according to Sandra Hershey, Designated REALTOR® and broker at Red Brick Realty, “I doubt there could ever be enough cameras to outsmart a burglar or thief”.
Jeanette Sletten, REALTOR® with Realty ONE Group, expresses her concerns over personal safety: “If you can get in, who might still be lurking inside?”
Some neighbors are not a fan of the system, either. “The neighbors came over to me and complained they hated it. They felt it placed the entire neighborhood at risk of increased ‘criminal’ activity,” said one homeowner.
The service can make sense for some sellers. Many buyers still drive around neighborhoods when they are looking for houses, and the “24/7 open house” concept makes it convenient for buyers to view homes on-demand.
Regardless of whether or not you choose to utilize Opendoor, remember that connecting sellers and buyers is just a small part of what REALTORS® do for their clients. “Working with a real estate professional from the beginning is critical to a smooth transaction,” said Rebecca Grossman, President and CEO of the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS®, who explained “there are always questions that come up while previewing a home that will go unanswered if a real estate agent is not present during the showing, and this could be a real frustration for a buyer.”
Grossman also reiterated the safety concerns, and added that “the lack of pre-screening to determine if the person accessing the home is a legitimate home seeker” should also be addressed.
About SAAR The Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® (SAAR) is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit trade association serving more than 8,000 members. SAAR members specialize in every aspect of the real estate profession, including residential and commercial sales, property management, as well as supplemental services such as appraisal, financing, escrow, title and inspections. Formed in 1963, SAAR is the only nationally-accredited association in Arizona and has also earned the reputation of being the Voice for Real Estate™ for the Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Carefree and Cave Creek communities. More information can be found on SAAR’s website at www.ScottsdaleREALTORS.org.
REALTORS® is a registered collective membership mark which may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics
Media Contact Lysa Fitzhugh, 480-945-2651, Lysa@ScottsdaleREALTORS.org