Power buyer UpEquity is kicking off the New Year by making its digital mortgage platform available in California, enabling homebuyers in competitive markets to gain an edge by making all-cash offers.

UpEquity is now licensed in 11 states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas — and plans to add eight additional states in 2022.

Co-founded in 2019 by Tim Herman and Louis Wilson in Austin, Texas, UpEquity announced a $50 million Series B funding round in October, bringing the total raised to date to $77 million.

In announcing the availability of its Buy with Cash service in California, UpEquity said it “is expanding rapidly into new markets” by obtaining licenses and expanding its Realtor partnerships in new states, and launching localized marketing campaigns to drive awareness in major metros.

UpEquity allows clients to work with their real estate agent of choice, and doesn’t charge fees for its Buy with Cash service other than the usual costs associated with a home purchase backed by a mortgage, such as appraisals, taxes, and closing costs. The company takes on the risk that it may have to purchase a home if the client backs out through commissions it earns from brokering or selling the mortgages it originates.

In states where purchase contracts are assignable, UpEquity provides contingency-free financing, without actually purchasing the home up front. In states that don’t allow assignable purchase contracts, the company purchases the home up front and then provides the mortgage.

Seattle-based rival Flyhomes recently announced it will help cover expenses such as title insurance and appraisal fees on its short-term bridge loans, but only when homebuyers work with a Flyhomes Brokerage agent. Homebuyers represented by other agents pay closing costs, and could also be on the hook for a 1 percent convenience fee if they obtain their permanent financing from another lender.

Power buyers like Knock, Homeward, Orchard, Ribbon, and Reali say they can “turn any buyer into an iBuyer” with their cash offer and “buy-before-you-sell” services. The mechanics of the process — including funding methods (conventional loan, equity advance, buy-then-repurchase), transaction fees (flat fee or percentage fee plus closing costs) and ancillary features (appraisal protection, inspection guarantees, home-sale prep) — can vary from company to company.

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Email Matt Carter

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