A couple shakes hands with a real estate agent in their new house.

Opendoor upping incentives for agents 

The iBuyer hopes to attract more agents with an expansion of their loyalty program and increased commissions.

April 4, 2023
3 minutes

Key points:

  • Opendoor is expanding its Agent Access program to include buyer agents and adding a referral bonus.
  • As a promotion to woo new agents, the company is also bumping commissions from 1% to 3% on an agent's first three transactions.
  • The company reports that the number of agents completing multiple transactions with Opendoor has risen considerably since 2019.

Opendoor is betting that once agents work with them, they'll be sold. And they're doubling down on that position by expanding their agent loyalty program to include buyer agents, launching a nationwide referral program and, temporarily, tripling the commission they'll pay.

"Give us an opportunity to prove ourselves, and we think you'll like what you find," said Will Holmes, Opendoor's head of agent growth.

As the nation's largest iBuyer, Opendoor has faced skepticism from many agents because of the reduced commissions — just 1% — they pay representing agents.

But starting April 4, the first three transactions an agent completes with Opendoor, whether representing a buyer or a seller, will earn a 3% commission. It's a temporary promotion to draw attention to other significant changes in Opendoor's relationship with agents.

The first is the expansion of its Agent Access loyalty program, which works like a coffee stand punch card, except instead of a free latte you'll earn $5,000 or more. Each transaction earns points. Accrue enough points in a year, you'll get a bonus. Accrue more points, get a bigger bonus.

Until today, only agents representing sellers accrued points. Now agents representing buyers of Opendoor homes can also earn points.

"Our Agent Access program launched in 2021 to demonstrate to agents that we recognize that they provide valuable expertise and time not only to customers but to us," Holmes said. "This, to me, is just a natural kind of progression in looking at the relationship holistically."

Holmes says repeat business is already up. Since 2019, the number of agents who have done multiple transactions with Opendoor has increased ninefold, not just because of the loyalty program but because "when an agent tries us out, they like us."

The second big change announced today is that Opendoor has established a referral program, offering a 1% commission to agents who refer clients who complete transactions in any of Opendoor's markets nationwide. The idea is to compensate agents for sales in states where they aren't licensed.

"Referrals are not a new business model," Holmes acknowledges. But "we're quite a unique partner in that respect because we operate in 53 markets across the country."

Opendoor has been actively wooing agents, calling them a key to the company's success, and working to strengthen the relationship.The new offerings don't just benefit agents, Holmes said, but will help Opendoor move closer to being the preferred transaction platform for buyers and sellers. The way to do that is by "making the  transaction simpler, easier, more efficient for consumers and their agents," he said. "We want to provide the best experience possible for both the client and the agent. If we do that with them initially, they'll come back." 

Many of the changes are in response to agent and consumer feedback, Holmes said.

"This comes from traveling the country, listening to agents, sitting down to coffee," he said. "We're constantly looking to evolve … to propel real estate forward."

Holmes said today's announcements are going to be significant for the company's future. "This is going to be a pretty exciting milestone," he said. "We're going to be able to deliver on some things we've been hearing from agents about how Opendoor could be a better, more reliable partner. … We're really pumped about it."

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