Homeward Founder Says Agents Can Lead Real Estate Tech Revolution

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Tim Heyl, CEO of real estate startup Homeward, says brokers know the problems that can be solved through technology and investment.

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Tim Heyl’s big idea didn’t come from Wall Street. This comes from his experience as a real estate agent.

Prior to founding real estate startup Homeward, Heyl spent years gaining experience as one of Austin’s top agents. That prospect made a painfully clear fact, he said: the typical funded offer stands little to no chance against an all-cash alternative.

Instead of sitting on the idea, Heyl started a business by making these cash offers available to more buyers.

“I was frustrated to see all of the changes happening, including innovation, but it all came from outside,” Heyl said.

But agents could play a bigger role in real estate innovation in the future, he said. Their insight and knowledge of industry weaknesses is invaluable to investors.

“We don’t pretend it’s all right, but we know where the problems are,” Heyl said of the perspective agents can bring.

The comments from Homeward’s founder and CEO came on Wednesday during a conversation with Brad Inman at an industry event in Las Vegas.

Homeward’s concept revolves around strengthening offers from typical buyers. Most buyers need a mortgage to get a home, but relying on financing can put them at a disadvantage. Homeward makes cash offers on behalf of the buyers and then allows them to buy the home back from the startup through a traditional mortgage.

The company also serves sellers looking to buy, providing them with a way to secure their new home before selling the old one.

After Heyl founded the company in 2018, money followed. Earlier this year, Homeward announced $ 371 million in new funding to help it grow its business. Previous funding rounds had raised over $ 100 million combined.

As real estate agents identify gaps in the services offered in this ever-changing market, Heyl said he encourages them to think like an entrepreneur about possible solutions. There is a lot of room for new startups in this space, he said.

“It’s not an industry where everyone wins,” Heyl said. “There are too many niche issues to solve. “

A big problem on the horizon is the affordability of homes, which may soon reach a crisis point in parts of the country, Heyl said. Solutions for buyers include a technological expansion of co-purchase options, but other ideas could prove fruitful as well, he said.

“There are going to be all kinds of solutions and options,” Heyl said. “And the cool thing is real estate agents are going to be able to put their name on it.”

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