JP & Associates Realtors (JPAR) has found a new way to make its agents more money off the transaction, announcing Tuesday a joint mortgage venture with fintech startup Avenu and its IntroLend platform.
The IntroLend platform is an app where consumers can receive mortgage offers from three different sources, including a wholesale lender that works with the company. JPAR is creating its own limited liability corporation to launch its own branded platform, where agents can buy into owning a piece of the platform.
Agents won’t be violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), according to Geoff Lewis, the president of Vesuvius Holdings, the parent company of JPAR, because they’re not directly steering a consumer to a specific lender in exchange for a kickback fee.
“They’re not directly receiving dividends based on the deals they actually refer to the mortgage entity,” Lewis said.
Agents instead make money off the overall success of the company, since they become owners. Agents are also presenting the consumer with mortgage offers from three different lenders and can even recommend lenders they have a previous relationship with, for inclusion in the app, so they’re not directly steering the consumer to one lender.
“If they have a lender they like working with, a loan officer that’s their favorite, they can invite that loan officer to participate in IntroLend,” Lewis said.
Participation in the venture is currently only available to agents in Texas affiliated with the company – on both the own-side and franchise side – but Lewis said the company is working on getting licensed in more states.
To participate, an agent needs to have been affiliated with the company for at least one year. Units are priced at $500, according to Lewis. Agents that have been with the company for one year, can buy-in at up to $1,000. Agents affiliated with the company for two years can buy-in at up to $5,000. Someone that’s been licensed with the company for three years or more can buy-in at up to $10,000 and someone that’s been licensed with the company for four years can buy-in at up to $20,000.
“The levels indicate the maximum that they’re allowed to invest,” Lewis said.
Lewis declined to share specific financial projections and returns for agents, but said that the company expects the venture to scale quickly and provide a nice return for agents.
Overall, the launch of the new venture is another way for JPAR to continue the massive growth its seen in the space. It gives the company another service in addition to its iBuyer, tech platform and agent healthcare offerings.
“One of the things that we’ve said all along is that we’re a next-generation brokerage,” Lewis said. “We’re innovative, cutting edge and agent-centric with our 100 percent commission, transaction fee model.”
“This is just another innovation that shows we’re focused on being agent-centric and we believe this will be very important in recruiting and retaining agents,” Lewis added.
JPAR won’t be the first company in the space to launch its own IntroLend platform – although the uniqueness of allowing agents to buy-into ownership of the mortgage company is a first.
Earlier this year, eXp World Holdings announced a partnership with IntroLend to create a lending platform that will integrate with eXp Realty’s existing technology. EXp will act as a mortgage company that refers lending opportunities to existing preferred lenders, CEO Glenn Sanford told Inman.
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