MortgageReal Estate

Hard-up for cash? Sell your home and then buy it back

Sale-leaseback startup EasyKnock offers an equity-release solution for homeowners in a bind

Your house is your biggest asset. You love it and you don’t want to move. But you could really use some liquidity and your FICO score is lacking, which means a home equity loan is not an option.

EasyKnock says it has the answer.

The New York-based startup will buy your house, hand you that equity in cold hard cash, and then rent it back to you for as long as you like. You can renew your lease annually for as long as you like, then buy the house back when you’re ready or decide to move on.

EasyKnock knows its clients are those whose financial situations prevent them from qualifying from traditional financing. Because it’s not a lender, it can follow less stringent standards, eschewing credit score and focusing on cash flow to determine if a client can afford the rent.

As the landlord, EasyKnock is responsible for keeping the home habitable and paying for essential maintenance and repairs. But because of the dynamic, there’s less oversight than you might experience with a traditional landlord.

In business for less than a year, EasyKnock's biggest markets are Texas, Georgia and Florida, and the company said it has plans to launch in Nashville next.

CEO Jarred Kessler said the company expects to buy 150 homes by year end and to roll out nationally in the next two years.

Kessler said the main objective is to help homeowners get back on their feet. They want their clients to eventually be able to buy back the house if that’s what they want.

“Most people love their home and they want to buy it back,” Kessler said. “There are people who get in a better financial position and just love their home, and there are people who are just buying time and trying to figure out the next move.”

Kessler said Easyknock is not looking to compete with reverse mortgage companies or HELOC lenders – it wants to partner with them.

“We’re not looking to compete, we’re trying to collaborate,” he said, adding that EasyKnock recently partnered with LendingTree and plans to announce similar partnerships soon.

“We’re really focused on the people who are getting turned down, we want to help them,” he said. “Our goal is to become the destination for turndowns and help create more flexibility for homeowners.”

 

 

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