An Honest Review Of Orchard For Home Buyers & Sellers
What You Will Read In This Article
Traditionally, when people are looking to buy a new home, they either need to make an offer with a contingency — which is not a favorable option, especially in a hot real estate market like the one we have in 2021 — or sell their home first, put their stuff in storage, and move into a temporary home until they find their next one.
A growing number of companies have entered the real estate space in order to shake up the traditional model. One such company is Orchard, which operates in a variety of markets across the country.
What is Orchard?
Orchard is a fintech real estate brokerage that offers a number of services to home buyers and sellers alike. Orchard also has a full-service title insurance agency and mortgage team.
Orchard is a licensed broker entity with teams of licensed real estate agents in each of their markets. Their agents are called “Home Advisors,” and according to Orchard they all “have years of real estate experience in their local markets.”
Orchard’s fully integrated platform aims to solve every customer pain point in this process — helping them to buy their new home before having to sell their old one, making competitive cash offers on their behalf for their new home, and allowing them to manage the entire process online — all for the same cost as the traditional broker.
How Does Orchard Work?
Orchard has multiple services, depending on where customers live or what their goals are.
Their Move First offering, which is their most popular program, helps home buyers make a strong offer to buy their next home before selling their current one, using Orchard’s cash. Orchard evaluates a customer’s home, then extends up to 90% of their home’s value to them so they can go out and buy their next home without a contingency. Then, after they move out of their old home, Orchard will prep, list, and market the home to get them top dollar. Orchard also has an Offer Boost option to turn buyers into all-cash buyers.
You can also List With Orchard, where a dedicated Orchard listing agent helps to prep and market your home for sale. With this service, Orchard provides a guaranteed home sale, in case the market changes or a seller needs to move on a specific timeline.
Orchard’s Buy & List is similar to a typical brokerage experience, where you can buy a new home and list your old one for sale, for a fee that is typically less than a typical agent fee.
In addition, Orchard Concierge makes repairs and updates to customers’ homes before they list on the market, without any upfront costs to the homeowner.
With Orchard, an interesting differentiator is that you always have the option of testing the market. Unlike with an iBuyer, Orchard lets you capture additional money from home buyers above any cash offer Orchard extends to you.
How Much Are Orchard’s Fees?
Orchard’s fees are generally in line with what you see on the traditional real estate market, though the exact numbers depend on what service you’re using. Typically, the fee is between 4-6% of your home sale price.
Move First, for example, is 6%, while Buy & List is 4%.
Working with Orchard
The process for working with Orchard depends on the program you use. Because Move First is the company’s most unique and popular, let’s focus on that.
- Request valuation: Use Orchard’s online form to share details of your home and receive an initial home value estimate.
- Conduct home assessment: An Orchard home quality specialist will evaluate your home, note any upgrades that weren’t included in the initial estimate (as well as what needs to be repaired before the house goes to market), and provide a final valuation.
- Go home shopping: You can then start your search for your next home in earnest, knowing that you’ll have up to 90% of your home’s value up front to buy your next home.
- Move out, and move in: Once you buy your new home, you’ll move out of your current home and right into your new space. As you settle in, Orchard cleans, photographs, and lists your old home to find you a buyer.
- Sell for top dollar: When your home sells, if it sells above Orchard’s original valuation, you get that amount, minus Orchard’s fee.
This whole process is integrated with Orchard’s mortgage and title services. You can also utilize Concierge to make updates to your old home and potentially increase valuation.
In Which Markets Is Orchard Available?
Orchard currently operates in the following markets, with plans to continue expanding:
- Atlanta, GA
- Austin, TX
- Charlotte, NC
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
- Denver-Colorado Springs, CO
- Houston, TX
- Montgomery County, MD
- Northern Virginia
- Raleigh-Durham, NC
- San Antonio, TX
What People Are Saying About Orchard
In addition, Orchard as a company has 4.8 stars out of 5 on Glassdoor.
This is a crowded, varied space with lots of different types of businesses vying for attention, or offering a unique service that might appeal to different consumers.
Here are a few companies that are similar to Orchard in some regard:
The primary goal of Orchard’s Move First service is to give people the money they need to buy a new home without having to sell their old one first. Selling your home first means you may need to move out before you have a place to live.
There are some traditional financing options you can use to bridge this gap, rather than using a company like Orchard. Bridge loans, or home equity loans or lines of credit, are the most common. The difference is that these loans will charge interest, and failing to pay these loans on time could put you at risk of default.
You can also put offers on a new home with a contingency in place — such as that you will only buy this house if your old one sells within a certain time frame. The issue here is that, in a competitive market, other offers may not force the seller to wait on you to sell your home, and you could lose out on your dream house.
Orchard, particularly with its Move First service, addresses a widespread problem in the world of real estate, one that is especially frustrating in a hot market where homes are moving fast. Because Orchard doesn’t move to buy your home outright but helps you put it on the market to receive the best offer possible, with fees comparable to the typical agent, there are few downsides to trying the service.
About the Author: Kris Lippi is the owner of ISoldMyHouse.com, the broker of Get LISTED Realty and an official member of the Forbes Real Estate Council. He actively writes about real estate related topics such as buying and selling homes, how-to guides for around the house and home product recommendations. He has been featured in Inman, Readers Digest, Fox News, American Express, Fit Small Business, Policy Genius, Lending Tree, GoDaddy, Manta as well as other major websites. Read more about us here.