With the digital era making almost anything available through a smartphone or computer, several startup companies recognized that buying and selling homes should be no different. Digital real estate companies are starting to flood the market and in the process changing the face of the real estate industry
. Will real estate agents become non-existent in a few years? The answer is most likey going to be a no. However, if these three companies have their way, it will be sooner rather than later.
Founded in 2014, Roofstock is an Oakland-based company that provides a marketplace for single-family rental units. The company offers leasing for single-family homes and made them available outside of the multiple listing service. Using machine learning and AI, rental property owners can market their properties to investors who want to forgo the hassle of managing the day-to-day operations. Roofstock eliminates the need for real estate agents in the rental investment property space.
Founded in 2010, Fundrise combined crowdfunding with real estate to eliminate the perception that real estate investing was exclusively for the rich. Entry-level investors can put up as little as $500 to participate in real estate investments. Small investors can invest in rental properties, commercial properties or eREITs (electronic real estate investment funds). Fundrise’s business model treats real estate investing more like stock investing by paying dividends and earning money from asset value increases.
Opendoor is a company looking to change the way people buy and sell real estate. Founded in 2013, this Phoenix-based real estate company allows homebuyers to list their homes without the assistance of a real estate agent. Home sellers can fix their places up, list them with Opendoor and sell them quickly, according to the company. Opendoor’s goal is to simplify the entire real estate transaction.
Homebuyers can browse listings and schedule a self-guided tour if they find something that interests them. However, buyers must either put in an all-cash offer or get financing from a lender before they can put in an offer. Opendoor offers a 1 percent rebate to homebuyers to help cover closing costs.
With a few taps of a smartphone or laptop keyboard, people can buy or sell their homes in a manner of a few days. Although many of these companies and the technology they use are in their infancy, it may not be long before nearly every homebuyer or seller completes the entire process online.