The Real Deal National

How Opendoor founder Eric Wu got started in real estate

Wu bought his first home when he was still a student at the University of Arizona
May 26, 2019 11:00AM

Opendoor CEO Eric Wu

Opendoor CEO Eric Wu

Eric Wu, founder of the real estate start-up Opendoor that lets users buy and sell their homes online, first broke into the industry back in college, when he used his scholarship money to buy about 25 properties.

Wu realized while studying at the University of Arizona that he had collected enough scholarship money to cover a roughly $20,000 downpayment on a three-bedroom home by his school’s campus in Tucson, according to CNBC. Soon after, he refinanced his mortgage on that home to afford a downpayment on a second home — the pattern repeated itself until he owned more than 20 Arizona properties.

Wu also spent a lot of time learning to write computer code and build websites in college and, with those skills, in 2008 he co-founded RentAdvisor.com, a platform where people could post reviews of landlords and neighborhoods for renters trying to figure out where to live.

RentAdvisor was sold to Apartment List in 2013, and Wu co-founded Opendoor the following year. The company now has more than 1,300 employees and has raised $1.3 billion in outside funding, with investors including Softbank’s Vision Fund and Travis Kalanick’s fund 10100.

Wu told CNBC the idea for buying a home when he was still so young came from his mother.

“She was a single mom and really hated wasting money, and [she] believed that renting was really a waste of money, so she bought her first home when I was 2,” he said. “That principle ended up sticking with me.” [CNBC] – Eddie Small