Entering and Growing in the Flaming Triangle Real Estate Market: Real Estate Companies Are Focusing on Technology


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – If the Triangle housing market wasn’t already hot enough with prices and demand skyrocketing, tech-driven real estate companies are invading the region and North Carolina to provide more choice, more information — and more. instant purchases.

Recently, tech real estate company Orchard opened its platform in North Carolina, making it available in the Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham real estate markets, giving homeowners the opportunity to buy their next home before selling their current home. .

Opendoor announced it had expanded to Asheville in mid-February and announced on Wednesday that it was expanding to every city in the Triad. The iBuyer opened markets in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham in 2018, as well as more than 20 other real estate markets across the country, including six in North Carolina. “We assess future markets by looking at a region’s growth, fundamentals, demographics and housing stock,” said Charlotte-based Opendoor chief executive Jon Enberg. “Each of our new markets is growing faster than the previous ones,” he added, noting that while the company has no new expansion plans, the company “is striving to double its markets in 2021. “.

And in January, Atmos, a custom home building technology platform whose founders have ties to the Triangle, also became available in every market.

That’s not all. Other established tech-based companies continue to make acquisitions and add products, including Zillow, which recently announced that the company had acquired online home display company ShowingTime for $500 million, and Cary-based Fathom Realty acquired an additional brokerage firm and a technology company. in the last few months.

And don’t forget Raleigh-based startup Reignlist, a new nationwide listing service that bills itself as a “one-stop-shop for all things real estate” where licensed realtors can post a professional profile, along with all their ads, for free.

About the orchard

“A lot of people will say we’re an iBuyer, but we’re not,” said Court Cunningham, CEO of Orchard WRAL TechWire. “They don’t help you get into your new home, they don’t help you list your home.”

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Open in seven other markets and based in New York, Orchard advertises itself as “a guaranteed, no-obligation put option,” on its website.

Orchard is different from iBuyers like Opendoor, Cunningham said, and other tech startups like Knock or Ribbon that have already opened operations in real estate markets from North Carolina to Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham. “Our model is far superior because it gets you the full value of your home 95% of the time,” Cunningham said. “With Orchard, you only pay 6%.” Unlike Orchard, Cunningham said, other companies rely on a business model that includes a service fee on top of a typical 6% commission paid on the sale of an owner’s home.

The new platform promises to be a “one stop shop” for all things real estate

Orchard offers two options, one for sellers who are not also looking to purchase a new property which involves putting the home up for sale on the open market, essentially taking the same process a homeowner could or would follow with any which other real estate broker company licensed to do business in the markets in which it operates, but providing this guaranteed offer. This offer allows owners to test the open market first and receive maximum value for their property, Cunningham said, before making a decision on whether to accept an offer from the company.

It’s a value proposition that Cunningham expects to resonate with the people of North Carolina, at a time when the state ranks as the fourth most attractive market in the United States, Cunningham said. , “based on size, growth and macroeconomic tailwinds”.

On the purchase side, Orchard offers the “Move First” service, in which they allow current owners to unlock the equity in their current property in advance to make a more competitive offer on a different property. If this equity is not enough, the company also offers a product, “Boost”, which offers its customers the possibility of making an all-cash offer.

“If you use Offer Boost, Orchard will reserve your new home for you with our money, and after your old home is sold, you will buy it back from us without interest,” reads the website of the company that markets the service.

“We allow you to buy before you sell, which is really magical for people,” Cunningham said, noting that for every customer Orchard helps with a transaction, seven potential customers are referred to the company.

About Atmo

Atmos believes that in markets with high competition for existing properties, the only viable answer for buyers looking for the perfect home is to build their own. Their platform, which uses technology to design an entire home based on the contours of a selected lot, aims to guide homebuyers through the construction process, from lot selection to structural and aesthetic design. , including financing and construction. And, they use technology integration as a core selling feature for their service, noting on their website that the process is “powered by technology from start to finish.”

It’s not just new entrants to local North Carolina real estate markets who view technology products that reduce market friction as disruptive.

About Zillow

In the statement announcing the acquisition of ShowingTime, Zillow said the company’s technology would increase tour volume and transactions for industry partners, including Zillow Master Agents, who pay fees to Zillow. to receive this service.

“Many Zillow Premier agents already use ShowingTime and appreciate the ease it brings to scheduling visits,” the statement said. “Zillow buyers who request visits are high-intent buyers, and ShowingTime’s service enables smoother visits for these buyers and sellers.”

Zillow, like other tech companies that buy and sell real estate in North Carolina, is a licensed brokerage. And, Zillow is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, a membership group of real estate professionals who have chosen to join the national association and abide by a strict code of ethics, including strict adherence to all antitrust laws.


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