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By Emmet Pierce
The Greendoor property technology platform simplifies the home-buying process by matching buyers with dwellings that require mortgage payments they can afford.
“We are the only company I know that allows a homebuyer to search homes for sale by the monthly payment that they can afford, rather than searching in a certain neighborhood for a certain price,” said CEO and Founder Bill Lyons.
Lyons’ goal is to change the way people think about buying a home. San Diego-based Greendoor, which was started in November 2018, works with companion company Griffin Funding. When home shoppers choose a Greendoor real estate agent and prequalify for a home loan through Griffin Funding, Greendoor agrees to make their first monthly mortgage payment.
“Although other companies offer purchase rebates, no one else is actually crediting and paying the first mortgage payment,” Lyons said. “There aren’t many buyer-focused property technology platforms out there. Most are designed for sellers, not buyers.”
Griffin specializes in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and self-employed loans while providing both traditional and non-traditional loan services.
“We do jumbo loans, FHA loans, conventional loans, the California down-payment assistance loans, but we focus on taking care of veterans and the self-employed,” Lyons said.
Griffin has access to wholesale rates and originates loans throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Texas, and Washington. If home shoppers prefer to work with another mortgage company, they don’t need to take out a loan with Griffin in order to receive a mortgage payment rebate from Greendoor.
“All they have to do is get prequalified with Griffin Funding,” Lyons said.
The online Greendoor platform is easy to use. Buyers can search for homes by monthly payments they can afford or by price reductions, so they know which sellers are motivated. The site initially assumes that buyers will place 5 percent down on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at the prevailing interest rate of the day. However, users can refine their search to reflect exactly the type of financing they plan to use to get a better idea of what they can afford.
“It’s really an affordability search,” Lyons explained. “They can change the terms of the loan and the down payment. If they are a veteran and going to be putting zero down or getting a loan from a family member, the results will change.”
Keeping it simple
A Greendoor agent will be there to walk home buyers through the escrow process and guide them to a successful closure of the home sale. The agent’s fee is covered by the seller. “A lot of people think they have to pay a real estate agent to help them buy a home,” Lyons said. “They don’t realize the seller is the one who pays the commissions.”
It’s important to use a buyer’s real estate agent since they legally are required to protect the buyer’s interest, Lyons noted. In contrast, an agent representing the home listing has a fiduciary duty to the seller. Greendoor agents are full-time professionals who work exclusively for the Greendoor. They are experts in the San Diego real estate market. The size of their commissions is linked directly to their customer approval ratings.
For those new to residential real estate, buying a home can be a confusing process. Greendoor is designed to simplify the process.
“Our licensed real estate agents will do all of the heavy lifting, touring homes, making offers, and assuring that all the legal paperwork is done,” Lyons said.