Knock is offering homesellers and their agents a new way to secure a new home.

Called Home Swap, the program gives the seller the opportunity to buy and move into their new home before they sell the old one.

The company is essentially a lender. It also offers loans to help fix up and make the older home market-ready, and Knock will even buy it if it doesn’t sell in six months.

Unlike a number of alternative ways to sell homes today, Knock isn’t pushing out the agent. In fact, it’s working its way across the country to identify and certify agents to help their customers.

The only thing Knock is disrupting is the traditional mortgage market.

Knock recently allowed me a look into its “Backyard,” so to speak. That’s the name they’ve given to the online suite of tools Knock agents use to work on deals. (Consumers use, of course, the “Frontyard.”)

The software is web-based, and it offers agents a way to manage their Knock certification and submit properties on behalf of their sellers. Knock allows consumers to submit their properties, as well.

The system facilitates agent training and testing, and agents also use it keep track of leads Knock sends them.

Each lead record has the owner’s details, and then properties are verified through Knock’s local MLS relationships.

The company does not accept every home submitted. Using its data archives and performance metrics, Knock might find some homes pose risk of a slow sale, complicated timing or other issues that would impact how it performs against comps.

Accepted properties are approved for a home visit and surface-level inspection. Given each market’s status with the pandemic, the walk-through might be handled by the seller.

Each room and its qualities and features are cataloged using a dynamic template that adjusts according to each listing, eliminating the “one-size-fits-all” data entry process of most multiple listing services.

Agents (or sellers) upload photos, labels and comments to generate a lengthy report and its potential list price.

Patrick Clark of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties in North Scottsdale recently became a certified Knock agent, and like others, he wasn’t sure what to think of the company at first.

“Our owner introduced it to us, and the first thing I had in mind was that it was an iBuyer,” Clark said on a phone call with Inman. “But as an early beta tester, I wanted to give it a chance, and [I] realized how I could leverage it.”

Patrick Clark

Clark smartly used it as the basis for a touch-point to his contact farm and is now working on a transaction with Knock. He said he may have another underway soon.

“I’ll also get a piece of the buyer commission, too,” Clark said. “They empower my clients to buy and sell in a way that has the potential to bring them more money and less stress; because the numbers are black and white. It’s also pretty COVID-friendly in every way,” he said.

If for any reason sellers are in quarantine, the Knock app can help them get started submitting pictures and room details without having to leave or have anyone visit.

The overall interface is on par with what I’ve seen from some of the industry’s top CRMs and business platforms. It’s sleek, it reflects a consumer-facing approach, and it isn’t weighed down, simply because it doesn’t need to be. The software is more tracking and input than productivity-based, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t keep things and people moving.

Backyard serves to keep agents connected to sellers and their mortgage provider, which is crucial when working through such a new business experience. This isn’t something you’ll see from large national lenders. Maybe a mortgage broker will have a secure document exchange.

Knock runs its own internal processes on their software, too; although, those features are permission-based for employees. Essentially, it’s listing coordination-type workflow, and the company uses project managers and project coordinators to manage their role in the deal.

Agents considering Knock certification as the company rolls toward its goal of 11 markets by the end of year might feel a little more secure knowing that the company isn’t only innovative in the way it lends money. With systems like this in place, I can see why the company thinks it beat its goal.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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