PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As inventory drops and prices rise, house hunting in Portland has only become more competitive – but with the launch of a new digital real-estate platform, Portlanders can now buy and sell their homes without ever leaving it.
Orchard, a digital real estate tech company that looks to streamline the home buying process, is officially available to Portland locals starting this month.
The new launch is Orchard’s introduction to the Pacific Northwest, though the company’s services are currently available in nine other markets across the U.S.
In Portland, recent RMLS data shows the number of homes for sale has dropped 23% when compared to this time last year, and nearly 20% of homes are being sold above the listed price.
Orchard CEO and Co-Founder Court Cunningham told KOIN 6 News he believes this new and innovative way to buy and sell homes will remove stress and barriers for Portland residents, and help them navigate the increasingly competitive housing market.
“Orchard is the modern way to buy and sell a home,” Cunningham stated. “We put all the elements you need for a home purchase -from home search to mortgage to the title, and real estate brokerage on one digital platform. So everything’s in one place.”
In addition to this, Cunningham told KOIN 6 News Orchard helps users make cash offers on homes, further increasing their odds of closing a sale by turning them into non-contingent cash buyers.
“We allow our consumers to buy their new home first,” Cunningham explained. “And that’s really powerful because in the traditional world you’ve got to sell your old home first, put your stuff in storage, and find temporary housing in order to unlock your home equity and buy a new home.”
He continued, “In our model, that’s not how it works. You buy first, you move on the same-day from your old home to your new home, and then leave the home-selling-hassle to Orchard.”
The company which originally launched under the name Perch in 2017, before rebranding as Orchard in 2020, offers three distinct services for users.
“Move First” is targeted towards those who are looking to buy and sell homes with the company “List” aims to help residents who wish to sell through Orchard but may want to move outside the company’s current markets, and “Buy & List” provides standard listing options for in-market buyers and sellers.
“We have a lot of people in the Portland market who are just really afraid,” said Heather Filbert, Portland Regional Sales Manager. “It’s such a tight competitive market, and they’re really afraid to even get out there and compete. This takes away the fear and the uncertainty and gives them the ability to make a cash offer and compete.”
Filbert continued, “Everyone’s just kind of sitting there, so my hope is that this will help unlock that market gridlock that we’ve seen here in Portland.”
Filbert, like the other Orchard agents in Portland, is local to the area. A detail Cunningham said is crucial to the success of a real estate transaction within a local market.
“We live here, we work within the community, and we have some agents that have been realtors for 20 years in the area,” Filbert said. “I think it is really important that we have that local market knowledge.”
While the company does have minimal restrictions regarding which homes they will purchase, residents can fill out Orchard’s online form to quickly receive an initial home value estimate.
Cunningham told KOIN 6 News the company hopes to go national within the next three years.
Following the launch in Portland, he said Orchard will go live in Seattle next month and continue to expand to other cities before the end of 2022.