In a traditional real estate transaction, the buyer and seller are each charged a 3 percent fee, totaling 6 percent in commissions. Alex Doubet thinks that's ridiculous.
"I'd estimate that the majority of people today are finding their own home," Doubet says. "Through websites, apps, friends — it can feel like you're doing all the work. So why is someone else making all the money?"
So in 2015, the now 28-year-old Doubet founded Door, a new kind of brokerage firm that charges the buyer and seller each a flat fee of $5,000. That doesn't make Door a discount company, however. The licensed agents provide full-service assistance from start to finish, helping with everything from staging to getting the listing out to the closing. And sending a thank-you note, of course.
"I watched my mother sell the Highland Park home I grew up in, and it wasn't a great process," Doubet says. "There was no transparency, and she ended up paying tens of thousands of dollars by the time it officially sold. And her agent didn't even say thank you."
The agents Door uses are employees rather than independent contractors, which Doubet explains translates into someone who wants to make sure you've had a great process rather than someone who's already out scouting their next deal.
The agents are also technologically savvy, relying more on the internet as a means to get eyeballs on a listing than glossy postcards or other disposable collateral. And when it comes to those listings, Door agents take care of staging, professional photos, and even 3-D models to help ensure theirs stand out to prospective buyers.
Once the process hits closing, specialized management software helps Door agents make sure they never miss a step and that you also understand what's happening. For while agents do this every day, buying or selling a home is something most of us only do a handful of times.
What if you're one of the brave souls who's looking to buy in this hot market? Door helps in much the same way, handling negotiations, contracts, and closings, but with more and better communication. And if for any reason the fees surpass $5,000, you get the extra back at closing.
Right now Door is operating in eastern Dallas-Fort Worth: Collin county, Denton, North Dallas, Plano, Frisco, and Allen. The hope is to be available throughout Texas soon, a goal that's looking likely based on the impressive commissions and transactions the company has already racked up. Doubet estimates they've already passed the $10 million mark.
"There are only two countries in the world where it costs 6 percent to sell a house: the U.S. and Canada," says Doubet. "In Western Europe, total commission tends to be below 2 percent. Here, you look at the closing statement and the tens of thousands of dollars that you spend, and it feels out of alignment with the process. There’s zero reason is has to be that way."