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Add House to Cart: Tech Company Introduces One-Click Home Purchases

Buying a home is often one of the most stressful and financially significant decisions of a person’s life. And now, many people can make that purchase as easily as they buy socks on Amazon.

On Tuesday, Opendoor announced that it was introducing “one-click home buying,” a new way of purchasing a home that creates what the release contorts itself to not call an Amazon-like experience for customers by creating a “one-tap,” “fully-digital” checkout flow that makes “a home purchase as simple as any other e-commerce transaction.”

Opendoor, a leader in the high-tech house-flipping market, said it plans to list certain homes for two weeks on its website for less than it will on the public market. The company said the new service, “Opendoor Exclusives,” will sell off-market homes on a “first come, first served basis,” allowing buyers to avoid bidding wars and “go instantly into contract.” 

“To explore and shop for our Opendoor-owned homes, you can visit the Opendoor Exclusives site, tour any home displaying the ‘self-tour instantly’ button, and complete a short verification process. If you want to proceed with the purchase, it’s as simple as clicking the ‘buy’ button.”

Was a home you were interested in purchased by a company? We want to hear from you. From a non-work device, contact our reporter at maxwell.strachan@vice.com or via Signal at 310-614-3752 for extra security.

Concerned that making a potentially catastrophic financial decision as simple as the purchase of gum could end in societal disaster? Opendoor says don’t worry. People who put down a deposit can back out without penalty and receive a full refund at any point before closing, according to the company. 

“I felt like I was shopping for a home on Amazon,” one satisfied early customer said in a press release provided by the company to Motherboard. “It was great!”

To start, the services will only be available in three Texas cities: Austin, Houston, and Dallas-Fort Worth. But it shouldn’t take long for the company to expand elsewhere. Opendoor has been aggressively buying up homes around the country for years and now has a foothold in more than 50 markets. In the first quarter of the year alone, the company purchased 9,000 homes and held a balance of more than 13,000.

Like other so-called iBuyers, Opendoor says it hopes to make the stressful home-buying process more seamless for customers. But the growth of middlemen in the crowded real estate space has been a source of frustration to some potential first-time homebuyers as they grapple with record prices, housing scarcity, rising interest rates, and a growing number of competition from institutional investors, who now make one-fifth of housing purchases.

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