It’s easy when the housing market is in a dip to tell buyers that it’s a smart time to think about purchasing a home, assuming they can afford it — but what about a time like right now, when almost every market is hot and inventory is scarce on the ground?

  • The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed; Opes' staff will remain (and grow), and clients won't be affected, either.

It’s easy when the housing market is in a dip to tell buyers that it’s a smart time to think about purchasing a home, assuming they can afford it — but what about a time like right now, when almost every market is hot and inventory is scarce on the ground?

Now that Flagstar Bancorp, a savings and loan holding company with a network of brokers in all 50 states, has acquired “certain assets” of Opes Advisors (Opes), it could get easier for real estate agents to help buyers (and sellers) figure out what their home transaction decision will mean for their finances, both short-term and long-term. (The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.)

Opes helps consumers find the right mortgage products for home purchases, refinancing, reverse mortgages and home improvement projects.

It also offers a proprietary technology that gives consumers a glimpse of how their loan and real estate asset will impact their financial situation, even decades into the future.

Last year, Susan McHan, the founder of Opes Advisors, predicted that it would probably remain “a West Coast-based firm” with operations in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Arizona — but she’s excited about the possibilities that Flagstar’s acquisition are bringing to her brand.

“It is night and day to be able to have a federal charter to go nationwide with as opposed to how we would have had to do that — state-by-state,” said McHan.

And she added that Flagstar’s mortgage product capability was going to enhance the products in its new Opes division.

McHan will be the president of the division, and she said that the Opes operations, accounting and sales staff will join her at Flagstar, and that she plans to hire some new senior leaders in sales and Opes’ wealth advisor platform. Nothing will change for current Opes clients, she added.

McHan said that Opes is focused on “keeping our unique vertical, which is as a financial advisory company for Realtors and running financial scenarios for the client’s sake.

“It really does allow us a different kind of platform to deal with Realtors wherever they want our services,” she added.

And for what it’s worth, McHan added that sometimes, the answer to a buyer’s “should we make the move now?” question is “yes, absolutely” — even in hot markets.

“We have seen that when buyers can qualify for a mortgage, there’s hardly ever a time when it’s not an amazing time to get in,” she said. “We’re very bullish on real estate.

“I know people are talking bubbles; I don’t live in that conversation at all,” she added. “I’m very bullish. Even with what’s happened in today’s marketplace — we believe it is an opportunity for people.”

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