• Action 9: Online home selling trend investigation

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Selling your house has never been this easy or this fast: That's what Opendoor claims. It’s the largest online company offering to buy your house within days.

     

    But Action 9 found potential sellers who say it's not a good deal, and they could have lost thousands of dollars.

               

    Todd Ulrich investigated how much it costs and found some sellers who swear by it.

     

    Home sellers can enter an address online and get an offer to buy it within hours.

               

    Chyanna Long and her husband did that, not knowing much about Opendoor.

     

    Give them the chance. See what they had, what they're all about,” Long said.

     

    She said Opendoor offered $147,000 to buy her house. First, the company inspected her house. She claimed the company found the home needed $12,000 in repairs, including a new roof.

                

    Opendoor also charged a 7 percent fee, and together with the repair cost, that dropped the price by $22,000.

     

    Kind of insulted, really,” Long said she felt.

                

    She said an insurance inspection found she didn't need a new roof.

                

    A realtor said the home could list for $160,000 with just 6 percent commission, so the couple didn't sell their home to Opendoor.

     

    “We would have lost a lot of money,” Long said.

                  

    Action 9 found similar complaints about low-ball offers and surprise repairs.

                  

    Margarent McDonald said Opendoor found her Longwood home needed $28,000 in repairs. She said at first Opendoor would not explain what the repairs were.

     

    You know they weren't responding. They weren't acting professional,” McDonald said.

     

    Opendoor bought and sold 1,700 homes in Central Florida since 2017.

                 

    Sellers, like Nancy Ferri, liked the price and loved the convenience.

     

    “We were extremely happy. We actually got a higher price than we expected, and convenience was number one,” Ferri said.

     

    Opendoor sold her home in just 30 days.

     

    Company managers say repair costs are fully disclosed, fees are fair and so are the initial offers, and customers want that.

     

    They value that speed. They value that convenience. They value that control over the transaction you won't have in the traditional process,” said Opendoor manager Candice Bradley.

       

    Opendoor says it makes most of its money from fees, but it turns impressive profits selling some homes, too.

     

    The company bought an Orlando home and sold it four months later for a profit of $35,000.

                 

    To determine if that’s money the original seller could have made, real estate experts say it’s important to determine what your home is worth first.

     

    I would definitely interview another agency or real estate company to see what's selling in your neighborhood and what the values are,” said real estate expert Thad Chapka.

     

    Long said she'll avoid online home selling.

     

    “That sounds great if you don't know you can get better,” she said.

     

    It's a growing trend. Offerpad is another company doing instant sales, and Zillow, which tracks real estate values, is expected to do the same.

          

    Opendoor officials said its average fee is nearly 8 percent and the fee can range from 6 to 13 percent depending on market conditions.

     

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