Mark Spain vs. Opendoor: Which Is Better?

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By Michael Warford Updated November 29, 2023

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Mark Spain vs. Opendoor | How they work | Offers and fees | Customer reviews | Availability | Alternatives

Mark Spain Real Estate and Opendoor are two iBuyers that make cash offers on homes. They allow you to sell quickly, often in a couple of weeks. These companies may be a good choice for sellers who don’t have time to list on the open market. Like all iBuyers, they only buy properties that are in fairly good condition, are in certain markets, and meet other specific requirements.

iBuyers used to be a good choice for selling fast at a reasonably good price. However, the real estate market has cooled over the past couple of years, and these companies aren’t paying what they used to. Opendoor, for example, is buying fewer homes and making lower offers, while Mark Spain is seemingly prioritizing listing homes on the open market instead of buying them outright.

You should look for alternatives to both companies. If you need to sell fast, your best bet is to shop around. Offers can vary significantly from one cash buyer to another, so comparing them side by side will allow you to get the best deal.

Requesting an offer from a home buying company is free and comes with no obligation to sell, so it’s in your best interests to seek multiple offers.

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Mark Spain vs. Opendoor: Which is better?

Both Mark Spain and Opendoor can make a cash offer on your house. Neither will offer as much as you could get by listing it, but a cash offer is faster and more convenient for certain sellers.

However, there are important differences between these companies. Overall, we found that Mark Spain comes up short against Opendoor. Mark Spain refuses to disclose its fees, and we read numerous reviews by sellers who felt they were “baited” into requesting a cash offer, only to be pushed into using other services they didn’t ask for.

  Mark Spain Opendoor
Offer price❌ Offer price will be significantly lower than market value.❌ Offers have gotten lower over the past couple of years.
Fees ❌ The company refuses to disclose its fees.✅ The service fee is 5% — similar to a traditional realtor's rate.
Customer experience❌ Customers complain about being pushed into listing instead of getting a cash offer.✅ Customer service generally gets positive reviews.
Availability❌ Mark Spain is only available in select cities in the Southeast.✅ Opendoor is available in 54 cities in 26 states, plus Washington, DC.
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Both companies offer less than market value

Both Opendoor and Mark Spain make offers that are below market value. This is true of all iBuyers, which offer speed and convenience at the expense of a high selling price. Offers vary depending on your specific house and market, so it’s difficult to say which company’s offers are better.

However, several customers have complained about Mark Spain offering much less than other iBuyers. For example, one seller claimed that Mark Spain “offered 70k less than Offerpad.” If you're selling to a cash buyer, make sure you get multiple offers to compare.

Opendoor is more transparent about fees

Mark Spain doesn’t share information about its fees, either online or when we ask the company directly. To know its fees, you have to provide a phone number and address so an agent can contact you. Most real estate companies are more upfront about how much they charge.

Opendoor is more transparent about what it charges. Its service fee is 5%, and there's no cancellation fee. Closing costs vary, but they’re usually around 1%.

Repair costs are harder to estimate because they can vary widely (though many sellers said they were quoted around $30,000). Opendoor requires you to use its preferred contractors, which makes it difficult to know if you’re paying a fair price.

Mark Spain may push you into listing

Many reviewers claimed that Mark Spain promised to provide a guaranteed cash offer, but during the inspection, its agents pressured sellers into listing instead.

While listing with an agent on the open market isn’t a bad idea — and is usually the best way to get the most for your house — you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing it. Even if Mark Spain can't buy your house, you may find other buyers who will. Shop around to see what other companies can offer before following Mark Spain's “advice.”

Opendoor is more widely available

Opendoor serves 54 metropolitan areas across 26 states and Washington, DC. Mark Spain is a regional broker in the Southeast that serves 13 metropolitan areas in 7 states. Opendoor operates in almost every market that Mark Spain operates in, so if you're in the Southeast, you can likely choose either one.

Mark Spain vs. Opendoor: How they work

Mark Spain Real Estate and Opendoor both claim they can make a cash offer on your home if you need to sell quickly. Opendoor is an iBuyer, meaning it relies on technology to make near-instant offers and only buys properties in good condition. Mark Spain also only makes offers on properties in good condition, but it doesn’t always buy properties directly.

Instead, Mark Spain sometimes fields offers from multiple cash buyers or works on behalf of another iBuyer. In fact, in some markets, Mark Spain is the listing agent for Opendoor. So in those areas, you may get the exact same service regardless of whether you use one company or the other.

Mark Spain services Opendoor services
  • Guaranteed Offer
  • Market Listing
  • Find a Home
  • HomeNow
  • Sell to Opendoor
  • Opendoor Exclusives
  • Buy & Sell
  • Buy with Opendoor
Show more

How Mark Spain works

Mark Spain Real Estate is a real estate brokerage headed by Mark Spain, a real estate agent who previously worked with Keller Williams. The brokerage was founded in Atlanta in 2016 and has grown rapidly, with offices in major cities throughout the Southeast. It’s repeatedly been named one of the fastest growing companies in America by Inc. Magazine.

Mark Spain offers a range of real estate brokerage services, primarily for sellers. These services include Guaranteed Offer, Market Listing, and Find a Home. It also offers HomeNow, a home rent and lease program.

Guaranteed Offer

Guaranteed Offer is for sellers who want to sell as quickly as possible by getting a cash offer. The program is similar to Opendoor’s iBuyer program. In fact, in some markets, Mark Spain is affiliated with Opendoor, meaning there’s very little difference between using either company.

Like Opendoor, Guaranteed Offer only purchases homes that are in good condition and in competitive markets. However, Mark Spain doesn’t always buy your property itself. Instead, the company looks for offers from cash buyers on your behalf and may field multiple offers for you.

Here are the steps to use Guaranteed Offer:

  1. Fill out a short online questionnaire about your property.
  2. Mark Spain Real Estate contacts you to verify if your property meets its requirements and may make you a preliminary offer, which is contingent on a walk-through.
  3. A Mark Spain real estate agent conducts an in-person walk-through. While this is to verify your house’s eligibility and revise the offer if needed, the agent may pressure you into listing on the open market instead.
  4. Mark Spain may request that you make certain repairs before it makes a final offer. You may also be able to compare offers from multiple cash buyers.
  5. You can choose to accept any of the offers and close within 21 days, or you can walk away.

Market Listing

Mark Spain’s Market Listing program is its traditional listing agent service. With this option, you sell your home on the open market with a Mark Spain agent representing you.

You can contact Mark Spain to set up a consultation with one of its local agents, and you’ll receive a comparative market analysis detailing how much your home could sell for. If you choose one of its agents, you’ll sign a listing agreement.

This is essentially the same process as listing your house with any other traditional agent.

We found no evidence you’ll get any savings. The only potential benefit is more marketing resources. Because Mark Spain is one of the biggest brokerages in the Southeast, it claims to have more resources for marketing your home, including traditional marketing, Google Ads, and social media.

Mark Spain also provides customer support seven days a week and lets you cancel your listing for free.

Find a Home

Mark Spain mostly focuses on sellers, but it does have buyer’s agents. These are traditional full-service agents that find homes for you, negotiate with sellers, and help you make a competitive offer. There are no savings or perks of using a Mark Spain buyer’s agent compared to one from another brokerage.

The houses Mark Spain lists are available on its website. You can see details and photos about each property, request an in-person or virtual tour, or send a request for more info. You’re not obligated to use a Mark Spain agent to make an offer on a home listed by Mark Spain. You can use your own realtor.

HomeNow

HomeNow is a type of rent and lease program for those who want to rent a property and potentially buy it in the future. With this program, you rent a home that’s for sale for up to five years, after which time you can choose to either buy the home outright or move.

To qualify, you need an annual household income of at least $50,000 and proof of stable employment. Eligible homes must have no rental restrictions, be priced between $100,000 and $450,000, have at least two bedrooms, and sit on less than three acres of land.

How Opendoor works

Opendoor was founded in San Francisco in 2014. It was one of the first iBuyers, and it's become the largest iBuyer in the country.

The company has a number of options for sellers, including its standard iBuyer service (Sell to Opendoor), third-party cash buyer service (Opendoor Exclusives), and home trade-in service (Buy & Sell) for those who buy and sell with Opendoor at the same time. It also offers off-market homes for buyers and title insurance.

Sell to Opendoor

Sell to Opendoor is the iBuying service the company is best known for. With this option, Opendoor buys your house for cash, allowing you to close within weeks without having to list on the open market.

However, offers are lower than market value, and only certain homes qualify. In general, your home needs to be in good condition, be built after 1930, have clear ownership, and be valued under $1.4 million.

Here are the steps to using Opendoor’s iBuyer service:

  1. Fill out a questionnaire with basic info about your property.
  2. Opendoor gives you an initial cash offer, which is contingent on an inspection.
  3. Complete your home inspection either in person or virtually. You can also upload photos and videos.
  4. Get your revised cash offer, which may be lowered to account for repairs. You can walk away from the offer without penalty.
  5. Use your online dashboard to choose your closing date. If necessary, you can also request to stay for up to 17 days after closing for a daily fee.
  6. Complete the instructions on your dashboard on closing day, including uploading photos.
  7. Opendoor deposits funds from the sale of your house into your account within a few days of closing.

Opendoor Exclusives

Opendoor Exclusives is similar to Sell to Opendoor. Opendoor still makes a cash offer, but then it solicits offers from third-party cash buyers for 30 days. If no cash buyer makes a better offer than Opendoor in that time, Opendoor increases its offer by $5,000.

While the process takes longer than Sell to Opendoor, you still get a guaranteed cash offer that's likely better than Opendoor’s initial offer (although still less than market value).

Buy & Sell

Buy & Sell is a limited home trade-in service from Opendoor. Essentially, this program just means you use Opendoor to sell your current house and buy your new one. The main advantage is that you can better coordinate the closing dates on both transactions so you don't pay two mortgages at once.

Buy with Opendoor

You can also use Opendoor to buy your next home. You can find homes for sale on Opendoor’s website, including ones Opendoor owns. When you find one you like, you set up a tour, get pre-approved for a mortgage, make an offer, and close.

However, there are some differences compared to buying a house the traditional way. When touring homes that Opendoor owns, you can conduct a self-tour by unlocking the door through the Opendoor app. Opendoor may also suggest getting a mortgage from its partner Lower, but you have no obligation to do so.

The company may also try to pair you with an Opendoor buyer’s agent when you request info about a property, but you can use your own agent. During closing, Opendoor requires you to use its in-house title insurance company.

Offers and fees

How much do Mark Spain and Opendoor pay for homes?

Like all cash buyers, Mark Spain and Opendoor won't pay market value for your home. Opendoor used to pay close to market value, but since 2022, its offers have deteriorated. While individual offers vary, one customer noted that Opendoor offered 18% under market value for their home.

Mark Spain claims that Guaranteed Offer is “the most competitive all-cash offer in the industry,” but it provides no evidence to back this up. The customer reviews we uncovered suggest Mark Spain’s offers are also well below market value.

What fees do Mark Spain and Opendoor charge?

  Mark Spain Opendoor
Service fee (cash offer option)Unknown5%
Commission fee (traditional listing option)~5.5–6%N/A
Estimated closing costsUnknown1% (plus late checkout fee)
Estimated repair costsUnknownBased on inspection
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Mark Spain fees

It’s unclear what Mark Spain Real Estate’s fees are because it doesn’t publicly share them. We reached out to the company about its fees, but it refused to give us a direct answer.

Media outlets, including The News & Observer and the Hamilton County Herald, have tried to uncover Mark Spain’s fee structure with no success. This secretiveness is extremely rare among iBuyers and real estate brokerages. We would be wary of working with any company that isn’t upfront about what it charges.

We did find employee reviews from former Mark Spain real estate agents who claimed that their agent commission was 3%. While we were unable to independently verify that figure, if true it would be about the standard rate for a traditional listing agent. Combined with a standard buyer’s agent fee of 2.5–3%, that suggests the total commission when selling with Mark Spain is around 5.5–6%.

Finding fees for the Guaranteed Offer program is more challenging. Mark Spain is affiliated with Opendoor in some markets, which suggests that the company may simply charge the same service fee as Opendoor’s 5%. Since the company also claims to solicit offers from multiple buyers, it’s possible that fees vary depending on the buyer.

Opendoor fees

Opendoor charges a 5% service fee for its iBuyer program. Closing costs are typically around 1%, but they can vary. There's no cancellation fee if you back out of the deal before closing.

If you decide you want to stay in your house after closing, you can do so for up to 17 days with Opendoor’s extended stay program. However, you'll be charged a daily rate in line with your home's rental value in your market.

Repairs can be especially costly when selling to Opendoor, and they could lower your initial offer by tens of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, they're impossible to predict.

Opendoor will quote you a fee for repairs, which will be deducted at closing. You can walk away from Opendoor’s offer once you get a repair quote, but if you move ahead, you have to use Opendoor’s preferred contractors.

Customer reviews

Mark Spain reviews

Mark Spain reviews online are generally good, with a 4.3/5 based on 546 reviews.

However, most of those reviews are from customers who listed with Mark Spain on the open market, not those who used the Guaranteed Offer program. In fact, we found that reviewers who tried to use the Guaranteed Offer program were much more likely to have had a negative experience.

❌ Many Guaranteed Offers customers are pressured into listing

Many customers who contacted Mark Spain for its Guaranteed Offer program claimed they never received a cash offer and were pressured into listing instead.

One customer said, “This company was a nightmare. My husband and I reached out to them due to offering a guaranteed cash offer. We needed to sell and relocate quickly for work. Never got a cash offer. We were coaxed into putting the house on the market.”

In the past couple of years, many iBuyers have been struggling. So it wouldn’t surprise us if Mark Spain is pulling back on its Guaranteed Offer program, at least in markets where it may no longer be profitable.

❌ Cash offers are much less than market value

While Mark Spain claims that its offers are “the most competitive” in the industry, we found customers who felt differently.

As this reviewer said, “MS does not offer the cash themselves. They have 'Investors' who will gladly take your property and in my case, $120,000 less than the asking price.”

iBuyers and cash buyers almost always offer less than market value in exchange for the convenience of a quick sale. But you should still compare all your options before choosing Mark Spain. Even if you decide that selling to a cash buyer is the best option for you, getting offers from multiple investors ensures you’re not leaving money on the table.

✅ Many customers praise the quality of Mark Spain agents

While we had trouble finding positive reviews of Mark Spain’s Guaranteed Offer program, there were lots of positive reviews for individual agents.

For example, this customer’s review was typical of many: “Mark Spain sent a great agent ... to us, and we could not have been happier. He spent a lot of time with us and answered all of our questions. He helped us pick a great price and we got more than we even expected.”

Agent quality is one of the most important factors when buying or selling a house. Interview multiple agents before choosing one. The quality of your realtor is more important than the brand they work for. Their local knowledge and experience go a long way toward helping you meet your real estate goals.

Opendoor reviews

Opendoor reviews are good overall, although recent ones tend to be more negative.

This trend is likely a reflection of a shift in Opendoor’s business strategy in the face of higher interest rates and a cooling housing market. The company is making fewer offers than it used to, and the quality of the offers it does make has declined, which has affected the overall quality of Opendoor for customers.

❌ Buyers complain of bad repair jobs

Many reviews said that Opendoor’s repair jobs left a lot to be desired.

This reviewer’s complaint was fairly typical: “I was told by the realtor that opendoor recently painted the home and put down new floors but once the sale was completed and I moved in noticed the tiles are peel and stick and the paint job is the worst I've ever seen. I don't know what paint was used to paint the interior of the home but it's clearly the cheapest paint they could find.”

If you’re buying a home from Opendoor, look out for hasty repairs or deeper problems that only have a cosmetic fix. We suggest viewing Opendoor homes in person and with your own agent, who can better spot potential issues with the house.

❌ Opendoor’s final offer is often significantly reduced from its initial offer

Many sellers accused Opendoor of making them highly attractive initial offers, only to lower them by tens of thousands (or even more) after an initial inspection.

As one customer said, “They first offered a decent offer, then after they come, they lower the offer. Then add a huge amount for repairs which were not needed.”

If you get an offer from Opendoor, know that it could be significantly reduced. You have no obligation to accept an offer.

✅ Selling to Opendoor is usually easy and hassle-free

Opendoor gets high marks for its ease of use and customer support.

This customer said, “Opendoor made it very easy to show my home, proceed through closing, and sell my home with minimal effort. They were extremely professional and I felt they were by my side every step of the way. Anytime I had questions, I knew I could call and get answers.”

The main advantage of selling to an iBuyer like Opendoor is convenience. Generally, sellers who sold directly to Opendoor were happy with their experience and relieved that they were able to close so quickly. While such convenience does come at the expense of a lower offer, it may still be the best option for you if you need to sell fast.

Availability

Mark Spain Opendoor
LocationsAL, FL, GA, NC, SC, TN, TXAL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, MA, MI, MN, MO, NC, NM, NV, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA
Purchase criteria
  • Post-1950 single-family homes
  • Valued between $50,000 to $1.5 million
  • Owner-occupied or vacant
  • Post-1930 construction
  • Lot size up to 2 acres
  • Valued under $1.4 million
  • Owner-occupied
Show more

Where does Mark Spain operate?

Mark Spain Real Estate operates in major cities, primarily in the Southeast. It has expanded rapidly from its home base in Alpharetta, Georgia, and currently operates in the following locations:

  • Alabama: Birmingham
  • Florida: Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa
  • Georgia: Athens, Atlanta
  • North Carolina: Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh
  • South Carolina: Greenville
  • Tennessee: Chattanooga, Nashville
  • Texas: Dallas–Fort Worth

Some services may not be available in all locations. For example, online reviews indicate that Mark Spain prefers to list homes instead of making cash offers in some areas.

What types of homes does Mark Spain purchase?

Mark Spain has the following eligibility criteria for its Guaranteed Offer purchases:

  • Single-family homes
  • Built after 1950
  • Valued between $50,000 and $1.5 million
  • Owner-occupied or vacant
  • Non-distressed
  • Not bank-owned
  • Not in or near a flood zone
  • No significant foundational issues
  • No unpermitted additions

These are the minimum purchase criteria. Even if your home meets them, there’s no guarantee that Mark Spain will make a cash offer on your home.

Where does Opendoor operate?

Opendoor operates in 54 metropolitan areas in 26 states and Washington, DC. Not all services, such as List with Opendoor, are available in all markets.

Opendoor expanded rapidly during the housing boom that followed the COVID-19 pandemic, but growth has slowed after peaking in 2022. However, it has announced that it plans to begin expanding again in 2023.

What types of homes does Opendoor purchase?

Opendoor generally only purchases properties that meet the following criteria:

  • Single-family houses and townhomes (condos and duplexes in some areas)
  • Built after 1930
  • Valued under $1.4 million (usually $100,000–600,000)
  • Has clear ownership
  • Owner-occupied or vacant
  • Not in foreclosure
  • Not a short sale
  • No damage from fires, floods, or natural disasters
  • No septic systems
  • No unpermitted additions
  • Not in a flood zone
  • No dated building materials
  • No significant structural or foundational issues

Opendoor’s purchase criteria don't guarantee an offer. In fact, because of higher interest rates and a tepid housing market, Opendoor has significantly pulled back from making cash offers in many areas.

Alternatives to using Mark Spain or Opendoor

Sell to another cash home buyer

Selling to Mark Spain or Opendoor isn't the only way to sell your house fast for cash. You can also sell to another company that makes guaranteed cash offers. All of these companies can buy your house very quickly, usually within weeks.

Some cash buyers, like We Buy Ugly Houses, have less stringent purchasing criteria than Mark Spain and Opendoor. They may be a better option if you have a hard-to-sell home, such as a distressed property or one in foreclosure.

Offers can vary a lot from one cash buyer to another. This is why you should shop around and why Clever Offers is the best choice in most cases.

Clever Offers doesn’t buy your house directly. Instead, it solicits offers from multiple buyers on your behalf. You can compare each offer and choose the best deal. Plus, a real estate agent will let you know what your home could get on the open market, so you can better negotiate with buyers.

Top companies for guaranteed cash offers

Company Clever Rating Customer Rating Service Fee Time to Close
Best overall
4.8
5/5 (3,162 reviews)
None
Varies by offer type
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On listwithclever.com
4
4/5 (2,767 reviews)
5%
8–90 days (flexible)
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On listwithclever.com
2.1
4.4/5 (1,356 reviews)
None
3 weeks
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On listwithclever.com
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Compare up to 10 cash offers from trusted home buyers in your area, plus get an expert's opinion of your home's fair market value. Clever Offers is free, and there's no obligation to move forward with an offer. Simply tell us about your selling situation, and we'll do everything we can to get you the best possible offer on your home.

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List on the MLS and use a cash offer as backup

Cash buyers and iBuyers provide speed and convenience, but even the best buyers offer less than you'd get on the open market.

Unless you need to sell right away, you should try to list your house on the MLS with a real estate agent. Many agents have strategies for selling on a tight timeline and may even already know buyers who are looking for a particular type of property.

For added security, you can use a cash offer as a backup. As Barry Richards, Principal Broker at EXIT Realty Garden Gate Team in Springfield, Tennessee, says: “You're going to get the most money when you have people compete with each other, and that's going to happen when you list on the MLS. But you can use that iBuyer's offer as a baseline.”

We suggest finding an agent who understands that you need to sell fast, so the listing agreement can include a termination date that’s sooner than normal. If they can’t sell by that date, you can then sell to a cash buyer instead.

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