New apps and programs that aim to disrupt the real estate industry are launched so frequently that it can be difficult for agents to keep up. It can be even more difficult to identify the latest tech trends and see which might enhance their business and which might be new competition.
Below are four real estate tech companies that are looking to change the way that agents and consumers interact with real estate.
Divvy Homes is a new real estate company that aims to simplify the process of moving from renting to owning. With Divvy, buyers can pick out the home they want to purchase and Divvy will buy it. Buyers put down around 2 percent on the home and make monthly payments that include both rental and equity payments. The goal is that the equity portion will build 10 percent of credit over three years. The three years is meant to allow residents to pay down other debts and demonstrate enough steady income to be mortgage-ready. At that point — or earlier if the resident is ready — Divvy gives the resident the option to buy out the remainder of the home with a mortgage, using the credit as a down payment.
Knock began in 2016 by listing homes for customers as a brokerage, but if the home didn’t sell in six weeks, the company bought the property at a guaranteed price. Now the company is expanding its services to also include a home trade-in option. Now, users can find the home they want, and Knock will pay for it up front in cash and make repairs or improvements to the home, the cost of which will be rolled into the mortgage; it then gets users’ current house ready to sell, including any repair work and associated costs. The company also says it will get users a guaranteed pre-approval to qualify for a mortgage, and users can move into the new home before the old one sells, with Knock charging a 3 percent commission once the old home sells. The company has been testing this model in Atlanta and hopes to expand to 10 more cities, including Chicago and Miami, by the end of 2019.
Mortgage lender loanDepot launched a new service, mello Home, which connects pre-approved homebuyers with verified real estate agents. This is an expansion of mello, a proprietary digital lending platform launched by loanDepot last year that includes three different segments: a web-based consumer portal, a mobile point-of-sale system and a fully digital mortgage loan application. The new service will be free for consumers, and real estate agents won’t pay fees up-front to join the mello Home network or connect with clients — however, they will be on the hook for a fee on closed transactions.
Letgo has been competing with Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace as a place where users can post, sell and find secondhand items. Now, the No. 3 shopping app will include housing for rent and sale. Letgo users can post photos of and include a brief text description about the property for rent or sale, and interested users can use letgo chat to ask more questions. The platform has been gradually rolling out to its users throughout January and will be available to all U.S. users by the end of the month.