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This episode reviews last week’s inauguration of President Joe Biden, examining which housing issues the new administration has already taken action on.

Biden’s executive order will extend foreclosure moratorium

President Biden revealed his plan to sign 17 executive orders his first day in office, including am extension of the eviction and foreclosure moratorium to at least March 31.

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HomeBridge’s Brian White on diversity at a practical level

HomeBridge's Brian “Woody” White discusses ways to increase diversity within the housing finance industry.

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SoFi wants to make it easier for borrowers to take out a home improvement loan

Partners with Kukun to provide homeowners with more info about loan benefits

SoFi is preparing to arm borrowers with more information to help them decide whether taking out a home improvement loan is the right decision for them.

The growing lender announced this week that it is partnering with Kukun, a data and analytics company that is aiming to reshape the home improvement industry using AI-driven technology.

Through the partnership, SoFi will use Kukun’s technology to provide prospective borrowers with new tools that will help them determine how much a home improvement project would cost and how it could affect the value of their home.

According to the companies, the tools will help borrowers estimate costs and return on investment on home improvement loans for various projects in amounts from $10,000 to $300,000.

“One of the top reasons people take SoFi personal loans is for home improvement, so we want to offer people the best resources to make decisions,” said Bob Buch, vice president of sales and business development at SoFi. “We’re proud to be working with Kukun to bring even more tools and resources to our members that can help them achieve their financial goals.”

SoFi currently offers home improvement loans of $5,000 up to $100,000, so the play here is pretty clear: Make it easier for homeowners to see if a home improvement loan is worth it, then offer them a home improvement loan.

“Partnering with an innovative brand like SoFi was a natural extension for us,” Kukun CEO Raf Howery said of the partnership. “SoFi has customized Kukun’s best-in-class data-set, analytics and tools. SoFi’s audience stands to benefit immensely from this new capability.”

SoFi isn’t the only lender aiming to make it easier for homeowners to decide if a home improvement loan is worth it.

In August, Goldman Sachs’ personal lending venture, Marcus, announced that it was partnering with housing data provider HouseCanary to launch a “home addition calculator,” which helps homeowners calculate the estimated value of their home if they completed an addition to their square footage.

Goldman Sachs’ tool takes public information and market factors, including sales and listing data from MLS and county assessor records, in addition to other factors, to estimate a property’s value after an addition, whether it’s adding a new bedroom or bathroom, putting in a pool, or simply increasing the square footage of their home.

And now, SoFi will be offering homeowners a similar tool, although SoFi’s tool differs in that it also offers a view into home renovations in addition to expansions.

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