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Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, the inventory of available homes across the U.S. remains incredibly low. And that, according to a pair of real estate leaders, means buyers and their agents have to move quickly and figure out ways to get rid of contingencies.

The ongoing trouble with low inventory was the topic of a Wednesday session of Inman Connect dubbed “New Year, New Ways of Doing Business.” The session included Sean Black, CEO of real estate tech startup Knock, and Renee Funk, an eXp Realty agent and team leader in Florida. Both leaders agreed during the conversation that supply is low, meaning buyers are facing more competition and things like bidding wars.

In response, Funk said anyone hoping to get a home right now needs to be “flexible.”

“They need to be nimble, they need to be able to move fast,” she explained. “The ability to lift that contingency of needing to sell another property is critical.”

Renee Funk at Inman Connect Wednesday. Credit: Inman

One thing that Funk and her team have specifically opted to do is partner with Knock. During Wednesday’s session, Black explained that Knock’s signature “Home Swap” offering is designed to do exactly what Funk recommended: lift contingencies. Home Swap includes a bridge loan, up to $25,000 to renovate consumers’ existing properties and integrated mortgage services, among other things. The idea is that consumers can make contingency-free offers on new houses without first selling their old ones.

Knock offers Home Swap to consumers through agents, which Black said was a conscious choice.

“The goal was always to embrace the community that already had the trust of the consumer,” he explained.

Credit: Inman

On the ground, Home Swap has been a boon to Funk and her team. She said the tight inventory creates a bottleneck, which Home Swap helps alleviate. In the end, it also means agents can provide more options for their clients, which helps them provide value and bolster relationship. And relationships, of course, are what make the real estate industry work.

“For those that are focused on relationships first,” Funk said, “it’s only going to continue to improve.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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