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Q&A with Mike Cieri: Opendoor’s VP of Buyer Product

Written by
Opendoor Team

April 26, 2021


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Much like selling your home the traditional way, buying a home can be just as stressful, uncertain and sometimes feel unattainable for many consumers. That’s why at Opendoor, we’re working to reinvent the entire consumer real estate experience, buying, selling, financing and all of the intricacies in between. Our vision is to turn a broken process into a seamless and modern digital experience that helps put homeownership in reach for everyone.

Today, we’re pleased to announce that Mike Cieri has joined us as the new Vice President of Product for the Opendoor Buyer Team. Reinventing an entire category is an ambitious goal, but we know with the right vision, team and execution, we can make it a reality. To introduce Mike, we had him share some of his thoughts on joining Opendoor and the future of home buying.

What led you to join Opendoor?

I’m incredibly excited to join Opendoor for a couple of reasons. The first is I deeply believe in Opendoor’s mission, and I’m passionate about helping people find and ultimately live in a home they love. Having a home that gracefully serves a person’s needs is a fundamental component to a happy, fulfilling life. As a father of two, I personally have felt the gratification that comes from waking up every morning in a home that supports our family’s growing needs. All too often, for a wide variety of reasons, this is not the case and people unfortunately are in a home that is not right-sized for their current life situation. The problem is compounded by the fact that life is so dynamic, especially in today’s age, where family and career changes can quickly lead to a need for a new home.

The traditional real estate transaction is simply not built for that, and no longer aligns with the changing realities of the 21st century for many people. Getting more people into homes that work for them, and that they love, ultimately leads to happier people living more fulfilling lives. That’s a worthy purpose, and one I’m excited to work on for many years.

The second reason is the Opendoor team. I’ve had the chance to get to know many of them informally over the last few years. I’ve been incredibly impressed with the team building our home buying experiences, and I’m excited to dive in and work with them. Additionally, many former colleagues of mine from Square have helped build Opendoor since the beginning, and I feel a similar DNA and sense of purpose at Opendoor that I always felt at Square.

Tell us about your role and what you are hoping to accomplish.

I’m joining as VP of Product for the Buyer Team, and will lead Opendoor’s portfolio of products focused on helping home buyers find and buy the home of their dreams. I couldn’t be more excited about the position and what we are embarking to do. Opendoor has all the right pieces in place to build the best home buying experience for the 5 million people who buy and sell a home in the U.S. every year.

Today, we are at the beginning of that journey. Ultimately, I want to see our home buying products and services lead the industry nationwide, and be a household name for anyone looking at improving their home life. I think we have the potential to make the process much simpler, less expensive, and ultimately more successful for everyone.

What are the biggest challenges you and your team are solving for?

I’m just getting started, so this answer may change as I ramp up, but two challenges on my mind that I think we’ll continue to face are focus and commitment. When I considered this role, I talked with a number of people who had recently gone through a home buying experience, and asked how the process was for them. Answers ranged from “OK” to “Terrible.” The reasons they gave were all over the map – some had multiple bids they lost due to offer contingencies, some had escrow or mortgage partners who dropped the ball, which prevented a deal from closing, some couldn’t unlock the equity in their existing home fast enough to get their true dream home in time, just to name a few. There is no shortage of challenges facing today’s home buyer; the challenges are acute, numerous, and are all over the map.

It’s going to take focus and discipline to zero in on which areas to solve, and when. Ultimately, we envision a rethink of the end-to-end process, and the challenge will be in the sequencing and ensuring we solve each piece step-by-step with adequate focus. The second piece is commitment. We’ll need to recognize that the home buying process is deeply entrenched, and has remained relatively unchanged for a long, long time. A rethink of the approach is likely not going to happen and take hold over night, and we’ll need to have the stomach and commitment to nurture the change over time as more people become aware of, and comfortable with, a new and improved way to buy a home.

Prior to joining Opendoor, you worked at Square for seven years. What excites you about joining Opendoor and transitioning into the real estate space?

At Square I felt a similar alignment with the company’s purpose of economic empowerment that I feel with Opendoor’s mission. Additionally, I felt a personal passion to help small businesses, similar to the one I feel to help people live fulfilling lives in homes they love. That makes the transition easy in many ways, as my alignment with the company’s purpose, as well as my passion for the customer, remains strong at Opendoor. What’s unique about Opendoor and what really propelled me to leave Square and join was how much is left to accomplish. There is so much opportunity ahead of us to rethink the home buyer process, and I’m excited to help push that forward in what I’d call early innings.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I’m lucky to have a beautiful, young family. I have a 6 month old daughter and a 3.5 year old daughter, and my wife and I spend a lot of time with our kids. When I’m not catching up on sleep, I love to cook, run, hike and eat out. I love living in San Francisco and being a part of a multicultural and dynamic city. Our weekends and free time are frequently spent exploring all the city has to offer with our children (and hopefully soon without them once we find a good vaccinated babysitter!).

Interested in joining our team? Opendoor is hiring across all team. Check out our current open positions!

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