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A number of technology executives, whose companies focus on automating different parts of the real estate transaction, took to the stage at Inman Connect Las Vegas to share ideas on ways to remove friction from the deal.
Josh Jensen of Inspectify said the absence of a consistent process in how home inspections are completed and its data delivered, has been mucking up the works for decades.
“The way we work with brokers is by driving standardization,” Jensen said. “If you inspect the same home five times with five different inspectors, you’ll get five completely different reports, that creates a ton of inefficiency.”
The deal shouldn’t be negotiated twice — once at contract then once after inspection, Jensen said.
He believes pre-inspections by an independent party that are delivered in the same format to all parties regardless of location, can be of tremendous value to the industry.
“It’s simply stated, not simply done,” said Shawna Hernandez, about Endpoint’s mission to digitize the closing process.
“We are focusing with great intention on balancing the process and the technology pieces,” she said. “I’ve been listening to a lot of the folks here who are thinking about what we can do for the industry, and one thing that continues to come up is that this a human-centric endeavor.”
Proptech companies and investors now have the option of embedding a digital closing platform into their applications using a new suite of application programming interfaces (APIs) from Endpoint, First American Financial Corp.’s digital title and settlement services subsidiary, according to an Inman report.
Flyhomes offers buyers several ways to purchase, such as providing them directly with cash resources and a buy-before-you-sell program. In that way alone by providing options to the traditional method the deal can get better, according to Adam Hopson, vice president of strategy and growth for the firm.
Hopson said that even though the cash offer isn’t as needed to stand out in the current market as it was in the last two years, it still has merit.
“Even in the competitive situation, we were winning at lower prices, too,” Hopson said. “That made for amazing client experiences.” Flyhomes is experimenting more with that now, Hopson said.
“If you’re going to be the only offer on the house, maybe you can get it for $25,000 below asking price with a traditional offer, but with a cash offer, maybe you could get it for $50,000.”
The buy-before-you-sell program has merit in any market, according to Hopson.
“Because no one ever wants to move in with family while they find their next home,” Hopson said. “It all comes down to what the consumer wants.”
Hernandez agreed telling the audience that it’s “super important” to build a platform that can react to consumer demand.
“There are instances where velocity and speed are super important for the transaction stakeholders, and there are other situations where people want to take their time, and have things to do around the house [before the move],” she said.
Relative to serving the people in the deal, Jensen worries that the trend of waiving inspections actually created more hurdles for the future of the transaction, or at least it should have for sellers.
“There’s nothing more terrifying than buying a home without an inspection, but it’s even worse for the seller,” he said.
Jensen explained that if there’s no external due diligence done on the home, the seller has to ensure their disclosure is perfect.
“How can we build trust between the buyer and the seller on the overall condition of the house?” Jensen said.
He asked the audience to imagine a world where every listing comes with an inspection.
“And we have all this great data on the home, and how that could be embedded into the mortgage process, and the closing process.”
“That to me is how you unlock the true future of the transaction,” Jensen said.