When I spoke to Michele Serro, the founder and CEO of Doorsteps, today, I was reminded the importance of flexibility in the real estate business.
Doorsteps is a fairly new company — about a year old — yet made many changes in its short life span. The online company provides information, written by industry experts and insiders, to help homebuyers avoid all of the home-buying mistakes that have given the home-buying process a bad rap.
By walking potential buyers step-by-step through the process of buying a home, Doorsteps gives these hopeful consumers a dose of reality, helping them recognize whether or not it’s the right time to buy a home.
"The way doorsteps work is its sort of a journey," said Serro, who added that Doorsteps moves curious buyers to confident buyers to committed buyers.
The company was founded as an agent-focused tool. Real estate agents could utilize the website for $25/month and offer it to as many potential buyers as they wanted.
However, according to Serro, a large number of buyers not yet committed to an agent were curious about the home-buying tool, yet not ready to sit down with a Realtor. That’s when everyone at Doorsteps realized it was time to make this tool available to buyers as well as agents.
The tool is free to buyers, and lets them have a first-hand peak at what they will face when buying a home. "We try to account for the emotions that are going to happen," said Serro.
When people understand what’s going to come next, their anxiety levels go down, Serro noted. People do want to engage in the process of buying a home early prior to talking to someone, she said.
With buyers now using the online tool, Doorsteps began to notice that the home-buying experience is a very emotional one and that, for first time homebuyers, the lender is often the first person to engage with the buyer to help them understand the financial aspect of everything.
And so, as of Tuesday, Doorsteps expanded its platform even more, now catering to lenders as well. With this addition, lenders can invite buyers early on in their home search. This is beneficial to buyers as well as lenders, who often have a hard time managing a relationship with buyers early on, according to Serro.
The cost for lenders is the same as agents, at $25 per month. "The process is very similar," said Serro. "We had a lot of loan officers that were requesting the tool."
For the cost of the tool, lenders and agents are given a dashboard in which to manage their customers as well as a personal site in which to connect with buyers.