As businesses fight to stay afloat amidst the financial challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, many have moved to staff cut-backs. San Francisco-based iBuyer Opendoor is the latest to take sweeping measures—letting go of over 600 employees, about 35 percent of all staff.
The layoff was the latest in several changes to adapt to the new pandemic-stricken economy. In March, Wu announced that Opendoor was temporarily shuttering its offers program but would continue to sell off any existing inventory.
“While we’ve temporarily paused new acquisitions, we still have Opendoor homes on the market that are being purchased,” an Opendoor spokesperson told RISMedia in an interview at the time.
As of March 31, Opendoor was continuing to offer third-party cash offers, where available, and was offering to connect sellers with partner agents for those interested in putting their home on the market. In addition, all self-tours for Opendoor homes were suspended; however, the company said it would make “special accommodations” for agents to schedule showings in non-occupied homes with their clients.
Several other venture-backed companies and iBuyers have made similar changes, including Compass, Zillow Offers, RedfinNow and Offerpad. Zillow Offers terminated some of its existing contracts and Compass laid off 15 percent of its employees.
Eric Wu, CEO of Opendoor, released the following statement:
“COVID -19 has had an unforeseen impact on public health, the U.S. economy and housing. Given the shelter-in-place guidelines, we’ve seen declines in the number of people buying, selling and moving during this time of uncertainty. In response, we’ve announced to the company that we’ve made the difficult decision to reduce our team by 35 percent. This was necessary to ensure that we can continue to deliver on our mission and build the experience consumers deserve.
We are doing everything we can to support our teammates who will be leaving us, including eight weeks of pay and reimbursement of 16 weeks of health insurance coverage. Also, I’ll be donating my 2020 salary to our Opendoor Employee Relief Fund to help those who may be in more challenging financial or health circumstances due to COVID-19. A number of our executives will also be contributing to the fund to help our impacted teammates.
I want to thank all of our teammates who’ve shown up every day for our mission, to help our customers, and to change an industry. They’ve helped 75,000 families, couples and individuals move and made our customers’ lives a lot less stressful because of their hard work.
Though this was difficult news to deliver, our focus here at Opendoor remains the same. We continue to work passionately to simplify the customer experience, transform the entire category, and empower millions of homeowners with the freedom to move.”
As the coronavirus and its impact on the industry unfold, RISMedia is providing resources and updates. Get the latest.
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.