The traditional process of buying a house is a traumatic business. From the mortgage applications and search for a property to the signing of the contracts and everything in between, the entire process costs thousands of pounds and takes six months to a year out of every buyer and seller’s life.
The time for a streamlining of the property market has never been so ripe with estate agents unable to arrange property viewings and financial technology providing increasingly agile solutions to a cumbersome, expensive, and time-consuming process
10: Zillow Group
Zillow Group is an American online real estate marketplace company founded in 2006 by former Microsoft executives Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink. It has transformed from a platform that initially sold advertising space to a real estate solution for buyers and sellers. Zillow began offering estate agents and financial services in 2018, and the move put it in indirect competition with its customers. The popular real estate company, which maintains an online database of 110 million homes, now markets itself as a solution that offers faster, a cheaper house buying and selling experience. Zillow has enjoyed great success through its financial services in real estate, with a revenue of US$2.74bn in 2019, up from $1.33bn in 2018.
The New York-based financial technology company provides individuals and institutions direct access to large commercial real estate properties. Cadre’s CEO, Ryan Williams, 31, started buying distressed properties in Atlanta in 2009 when he was still an undergraduate at Harvard and later teamed up with high profile businessmen brothers Jared Kushner and Joshua Kushner to form Cadre. The fintech’s cutting-edge deal sourcing processes enabled it to undercut the typical fees and stress that high investment clients endure when buying into commercial property partnerships. Cadre’s offering provides a wide spectrum of services from investments and transactions and process management. Investors can also trade their interest on the secondary marketplace - introducing additional liquidity into the industry.
Fiserv facilitates real estate loans through its range of solutions and provides services that enable banks, credit unions, and mortgage brokers to underwrite loans more quickly. The service has proved exceptionally popular with commercial buyers, for which traditional loan approvals can take time and stress to arrange. The fintech, founded in 1984, also provides property management services that speed up and automate payment collection and processing, another popular range of products for its commercial clients. Fiserv reported US$10.19bn in earnings in 2019 - up from $5.82bn in 2018.
07: Divvy Homes
A new swing on the rent-to-buy model, Divvy Homes, was founded by Adena Hefets. Hefets was inspired to launch the company after her parents had to buy their home with seller financing because they couldn’t qualify for a mortgage. So far, Divvy Homes has received US$66m in funding. In 2020, the company bought 900 homes and reportedly received 10,000 applications monthly. The company helps serial renters realise their dream by allowing them to save for a deposit while renting.
Need to sell quickly? This dynamic fintech streamlines the home-buying process by enabling sellers to offer their property to cash buyers. The all-cash offers are made within a 24-hour window, and the sale can be completed within two weeks. The Opendoor app launched last year and enables interested buyers to take virtual tours of the featured properties. Openbank has received US$1.3bn in funding from SoftBank, Khosla Ventures, and General Atlantic.
05: Generation Home
Generation Home helps first-time buyers get on the property ladder through its mortgage assessment solution that lets customers know how much they can afford to buy for without compromising their credit rating. The company’s main premise is to help buyers get on the property ladder and start investing in their future, so its platform does not support interest only or buy-to-let mortgages and instead only offers owner-occupied deals.
Launched in 2008 as a non-bank fintech mortgage lender, LendInvest is one of the leading alternative mortgage lenders in the United Kingdom. This company provides fast finance to property professionals as well as small and medium-sized businesses across the UK. Unlike Generation Home, it focuses on commercial properties rather than the domestic market. To date, LendInvest has facilitated more than £3bn in mortgage loans to UK businesses.
Roofstock brings an unusual offering to the market. The company offers to buy and sell properties to investors with sitting tenants to maximise profits and income stability. The digital marketplace launched in 2015 and now buys, sells, and rents properties in 25 US states. Reportedly, the company has received US$133m in funding to date, and according to its most recent valuation, is worth $550m. Roofstock One, a new branch of Roofstock, launched in 2019 and brokers stakes in professionally managed homes for as little as $5k a share.
The idea behind Yourkeys was conceived by the company’s founder, Riccardo Dawson, after spending time working in the property sector. Dawson realised how slow and painful the house buying process was, finding the system “antiquated, outdated and broken”. The Yourkeys platform allows buyers and sellers to speed up time to exchange and track the purchase process in real-time. The company says it offers greater transparency, cost-cutting, and consistency when compared to traditional house buying services.
Emoov was one of the first established hybrid estate agents to enable buyers and sellers to complete their sales through an online process. The London-based company provides all the services customers need to get their house on the market - or buy a property online. In 2018 things looked bleak for the company after its umbrella organisation went into administration. However, Emoov was then acquired by Mashroom Mortgages - who relaunched the business.