Real estate tech startup Orchard moves the home-buying experience completely online and gives buyers the option to put down all-cash offers in Charlotte’s hyper-competitive market.
Why it matters: With user-friendly platforms like Zillow and Redfin, 90% of buyers now find their home online, Orchard CEO Court Cunningham tells me.
- Orchard embraces that reality and wants to make the process easier for homebuyers.
- Charlotte’s familiar with virtual home-buying technology: LendingTree, an online loan marketplace that specializes in home mortgages, is based here.
How it works: If you’re looking to buy, you can take a quiz on Orchard’s website, and it’ll spit out ranked matches based on your wish list.
- For all qualified buyers, including first-timers, Orchard will front the money so you can put down an all-cash offer on homes priced $150K-$1M. (That’s a big deal.)
- Current homeowners looking for a new home have the option to buy through Orchard, and if they do, Orchard maintains and handles the sale of their old home.
- The entire closing process is done online through Orchard’s suite of services, including the home loan, title and insurance.
State of play: We know Charlotte’s inventory is low and homes don’t sit on the market for long. I asked Cunningham if he thought buyers only looking online might miss out. Short answer: no.
- Cunningham said Charlotte recently had 900 transaction in a week, and around 600 is average. To him, that’s a sign Charlotte is a hot market.
And though inventory is tight, being an all-cash buyer gives Orchard users an edge.
Yes, but: There are some limitations on the all-cash option. You have to qualify, just like any mortgage, for one. And homes over $600K incur additional fees (standard is 6%).
- “If you qualify for a mortgage you probably qualify for Orchard,” Cunningham said.
The bottom line: A booming real estate market and increased tech capabilities continue to shape the home-buying game in Charlotte.
Editor’s note: We’ve corrected this article to reflect the maximum cash offer available through Orchard, which is $1 million (not $600,000). The maximum of the old home that Orchard helps buyers sell is $600K.