Homelight’s acquisition of Eave will allow the startup to offer loans to buyers across California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.

HomeLight, an agent-referral site that matches agents with consumers based on their transaction data, has charged into the mortgage lending sector with the acquisition of Eave, it was announced last week.

Homelight purchased the digital mortgage lender earlier this month, allowing the startup to offer loans to buyers across California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.

“With our mortgage and escrow services, consumers and their agents can focus on the home, and not worry about the painful details,” Saro Vasudevan, co-founder and chief operating officer of Eave, said in a prepared statement. “The frictionless real estate transaction is a reality for HomeLight and Eave. And every real estate agent is included.”

The acquisition could allow HomeLight to improve the quality of the buyer referrals it routs to its agent partners and it moves the startup a step closer to becoming a one-stop shop for buyers and sellers. The acquisition comes shortly after HomeLight began allowing consumers to request bids from multiple iBuyers, such as Opendoor and Zillow Offers.

Terms of the deal weren’t publicly disclosed.

“Eave’s technology is designed to eliminate uncertainty in the home finance process. That helps everyone involved: the buyer, the seller and the agents representing them,” HomeLight CEO Drew Uher told Inman.

“When it’s all said and done, both agents and consumers on our platform will benefit meaningfully from a best in class, transparent mortgage process,” he added.

HomeLight gauges a buyer or seller’s preferences and then matches them with agents based on performance data, such as the time an agent takes to sell a home, the average difference between their list and sales price and how often they cut list prices, among other data. If the data exists, HomeLight also factors in agent partners’ past responsiveness to HomeLight referrals and the quality of the reviews they’ve received from those referrals.

If an agent accepts a lead from HomeLight, HomeLight either signs a referral agreement with the agent or co-lists or co-represents the client with the agent. It collects a 25 percent referral fee from agents if they convert a HomeLight lead into a transaction.

Through its online platform, Eave claims to fully underwrite borrowers in just 24 hours, purporting to “bypass flimsy [mortgage] pre-approvals.” It also touts a guaranteed 21-day close, backed up by a promise to reimburse a buyer with up to $100,000 in lost earnest money should it fail to deliver.

Eave’s goal is to help buyers with mortgages to better compete with cash buyers. For those with “exceptionally strong finances,” it can go particularly far towards this end, by providing support that allows buyers to make offers without some contingencies — presumably, including a mortgage contingency.

HomeLight’s use of transaction data sparked pushback from some multiple listing services in its early days. But HomeLight’s Uher told Inman in 2017 that the company had since figured out how to “coexist peacefully with the industry.”

In recent years, HomeLight has been overshadowed in the industry by bigger and more potentially disruptive companies including Zillow Group, iBuyers such as Opendoor and high-tech brokerages, like Compass and Redfin.

But the company has been piecing together a unique platform that could position it as a frontrunner in the race to provide an end-to-end transaction experience — or make it an attractive acquisition target for a larger firm.

It’s by far the largest site to match agents and consumers based on transaction data, and it recently debuted an iBuyer marketplace of sorts, positioning it to capitalize on the instant offer trend.

In addition, it’s raised a total of $55 million in funding and reports having helped list over $10 billion in homes “by connecting hundreds of thousands of buyers and sellers with top real estate agents and pre-approved cash buyers.”

Email Teke Wiggin.

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