Tech firms disrupt the property market

SELLING a home is stressful and time-consuming. You must first put up with estate agents’ admonishments about old carpets that need replacing, then with intrusions by prospective buyers who find more faults. A good offer can take months to materialise, only to fall through later. “It’s just not worth your sanity,” groans Anne Aviles, a schoolteacher in Atlanta.

To preserve her equanimity Ms Aviles turned to a firm called Opendoor. She entered her property details on its website and received an offer of $298,500 in seconds. A few days later the company sent an inspector, who deducted $4,000 for a faulty air-conditioning unit and a shabby paint job. It offered Ms Aviles $278,000, after knocking a further 5.5% off for its own benefit. This price was a bit lower than listings for similar homes. But the hassle-free experience, which took about a week, made up for it. She accepted.

Although listings services such as Zillow, a property portal based in Seattle, began to...



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