Southern California real estate agent Yvette Thomas is offering a $750 rebate to homebuyers who work with her. The offer comes through crowdfunding startup BoostUp, a savings platform that allows homebuyers to crowdsource their down payment from friends and family and stack additional money from real estate brokerages, agents and lenders in the form of rebates.

  • BoostUp is a savings platform that allows homebuyers to crowdsource their down payment from friends and family and stack additional money from real estate brokerages, agents and lenders in the form of rebates.
  • Agents pay $199 for each deal they close. Brokers pay the same fee, while lenders pay a lead fee.
  • It's free for consumers, who state a savings goal and get a dashboard that shows their progress.

Southern California real estate agent Yvette Thomas is offering a $750 rebate to homebuyers who work with her.

The offer comes through crowdfunding startup BoostUp, a savings platform that allows homebuyers to crowdsource their down payment from friends and family and stack additional money from real estate brokerages, agents and lenders in the form of rebates.

As an agent, she’ll pay $199 for each deal she closes. Brokers pay the same fee, while lenders pay a lead fee. Lenders can work alone or hitch a ride on to a broker or agent’s BoostUp account.

The platform is similar in concept to popular crowdsourcing platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It’s free for consumers, who state a savings goal and get a dashboard that shows their progress.

YvetteThomas_BoostUp_FB-ad

Facebook ad Yvette Thomas is running to market her BoostUp page.

Thomas, who joined the service two weeks ago, has a branded BoostUp page that she can market widely. She doesn’t have any homebuyers in the system yet but is broadcasting it for the first time today with a Facebook ad.

She’s excited by the platform because it allows her to capture consumers very early in the buying process and establish commitment with one of mankind’s strongest glues: money. Plus, first-time homebuyers are her specialty, comprising approximately two-thirds of her business.

Real estate brokers and agents who are trying to reach homebuyers hunting on Zillow or realtor.com — when they are typically closer to buying a home — already know that the space is crowded. BoostUp represents an innovative way to capture buyers at the higher end of the sales funnel.

Consumers can monitor their down payment savings process with BoostUp. See a live example here.

Consumers can monitor their down payment savings process with BoostUp. See a live example here.

BoostUp hopes to help real estate firms and agents serve the huge wave of millennial buyeres just beginning to hit the housing market, said BoostUp CEO John Morgan, calling it a “win-win” tool.

Capturing leads early in the sales process, as far as six to nine months out from purchasing, and getting them to stick with the rebate offer is the firm’s key differentiator, he said.

The Detroit-based startup launched in 2012 to help carbuyers crowdfund and save for a down payment while matching them up with car dealers willing to give them a rebate. The firm has helped consumers buy more than 5,000 cars, according to BoostUp CEO John Morgan.

The firm turned its crowdfunding eye to real estate in July. Over 2,200 buyers are currently using BoostUp to save for a home down payment, according to Morgan.

Yvette-Thomas

Real estate brokerages, agents and lenders with BoostUp accounts get branded BoostUp landing pages, such as Yvette Thomas’ page.

National mortgage lender Quicken Loans signed a deal with BoostUp in October 2014 that gives any homebuyer a $750 credit toward a down payment if they use the servicer to execute their loan.

Fueled by that partnership, BoostUp has helped 30 consumers buy homes — all in the last six months, according to Morgan.

John Morgan

John Morgan

Morgan said BoostUp’s rebate structure allows the startup to steer clear of issues with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, which bars mortgage lenders, title insurers and other settlement services providers from paying referral fees to real estate agents and others in exchange for referring business to them.

The boost from real estate partners can’t be used for qualification on down payment, Morgan said. It’s a credit at closing, he added.

BoostUp’s current model centers on white-labeling its platform for real estate firms and agents, not on curating consumers on the platform and then offering them to partners, Morgan said.

That could change, however, if it gets a higher volume of direct consumer traffic and enough coverage, he said.

Email Paul Hagey.

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