Mortgage Startup Offers to Finance Buyers’ All-Cash Offers
After completing its first round of venture funding, a Colorado-based mortgage company launched this spring with an appeal to homebuyers vying for properties in competitive real estate markets. They offer to buy a house for its customers and then lend them the money to buy it back.
BoardRE uses its cash to buy homes on behalf of buyers the company has approved for a mortgage. Once the buyer’s loan with Board is ready to close, Board sells the home to the buyer at the same price that it bought it for, typically in two weeks or less. Board generates revenue from the mortgage origination and does not add costs to buyers, sellers or real estate agents who leverage its cash offer service.
The company points to industry data showing that cash buyers are 97 percent more likely to win in a multiple offer situation than mortgage buyers and can close, on average, 10 times faster than those buyers.
Nick Friedman, co-founder and chief operating officer, says they aim to help buyers who as mortgage borrowers, come to the transaction with a “list of disadvantages...Board levels the playing field by providing any buyer it approves with the strongest offer in real estate. With Board, any buyer is an iBuyer, primed to compete against any offer.”
Friedman said they have three closed deals and are now actively working with about 20 new buyers in Colorado and have a waitlist for other states.
“We asked ourselves the following question,” said Friedman. “What is the smoothest transaction experience in real estate today and how do we provide that to everyone?’ It's pretty clear that a cash offer is a whole lot better than a contingent mortgage offer for buyers, sellers, and real estate agents.”
Friedman acknowledges that they are taking on more risk than a traditional lender.
“We are buying homes all cash for borrowers who, even despite our upfront due diligence, may not end up qualifying for a mortgage. For example, a borrower who was initially pre-approved for a mortgage can lose their job or have a sudden expense that negatively impacts their credit score, leaving Board owning a home that it has to sell on the open market. That said, the risks that Board assumes in the transaction is [why] sellers prefer cash deals over ones contingent on a mortgage.”
Of note for real estate professionals: Both the buyer's agent and the listing agent get paid at the all-cash closing.
“Closing costs are the exact same for the borrower as they are in a standard mortgage transaction,” said Friedman. “We cover any additional costs associated with the double closing. We generate revenue when we sell the loan to a mortgage investor (e.g., Fannie Mae) and make 1-2 percent of the loan amount. The borrower only pays the rate that we quote them for the mortgage. Additionally, because all of our loan officers are employed, not commissioned based, our rates are competitive with, if not lower than the major lenders—even despite the additional cost Board incurs with our cash-offer service.”