"There's a lot of innovation going on in the real estate space," says Jarred Kessler, founder of EasyKnock, which allows homeowners to access the equity in their homes. The company buys the house and rents it back to you, allowing you to repurchase it if the time is right. "One of the macro trends is that people want to be renters." He says that younger people just don't dream of buying a home like Baby Boomers and others. "I feel that the trend toward renting is going up. We created a flexible experience where people can be a renter of your own home, own your home but stay in it, or be an outright seller of your home to get cash," he says.
According to Kessler, baby boomers make up a large percentage of American homeowners, with a 2019 study revealing that 76% of Baby Boomers own their own homes. Yet, with home prices and the cost to maintain a home rising, many Baby Boomers are being forced to downsize.
Enter EasyKnock, a company that allows Baby Boomers the ability to avoid downsizing. With 3-year-old company's Sell and Stay program, homeowners can leverage the equity in their home by selling it to EasyKnock, while continuing to remain living in the space, and paying rent to EasyKnock.
"Most companies are creating transactions. We're creating an experience, we're with them short term or long term. We are creating flexibility with the home and empowering people," says Kessler, who as a financial services executive and former global head of equities at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. in New York.
Currently, the company's biggest markets are Texas, Georgia, and Florida, although EasyKnock is active in all 50 states right now. One of their more popular products is Movability, a bridge product where EasyKnock buys the home, but the owner stays put. "Given the surge in the buyer market, we're weaponizing them. We buy the home. And, we have a referral program. If an agent refers us, we'll give them the sale of the home," says Kessler.
He notes that when a real estate agent is working with a person who is selling, that homeowner is nervous about not buying a new home until that one sells. "Will they qualify for a mortgage? After all, their money is tied up in the house that is for sale," says Kessler. That's where Movability comes in.
The company is currently working with Homelight and Lending Tree. "We have four of the top 10 brokerages working with us," says Kessler. "We're trying to empower agents. They're winning, and the consumer is winning," he says.