Housing Headlines: HomeSafe, Redfin, and NterNow

Technology

Housing Headlines takes a look at the latest news in housing, real estate, fintech, and beyond; featuring new product updates, launches, expansions, integrations, announcements, and more.

Finance of America Reverse, a reverse mortgage originator, announced it has made enhancements to its suite of HomeSafe products.

The enhancements bring a level of flexibility not previously available on HomeSafe Select, the company said in a release. Now, homeowners can access a revolving line of credit where up to 75% of available funds can grow for future use, increasing the homeowner’s potential borrowing power as they age.

These product enhancements are designed for those who have varied cash-flow needs and when other financing options won’t work for them, the company said.

The new HomeSafe Select is designed to create options for drawing down from their credit line later in retirement thereby giving themselves all the benefits of a large credit line without having to accrue interest between now and the time they need it.

“This bigger line of credit option is a major development for seniors and underscores why I joined a team that consistently strives to deliver new and improved solutions in response to market demand,” said Dan Hultquist, vice president of organizational development at Finance of America Reverse, in a statement. “While our HomeSafe Select product is already popular with homeowners, they now have the peace of mind that a line of credit can provide, without the burden of a required monthly principal and interest payment.”

Redfin, a tech-powered real estate brokerage, announced it has improved the accuracy of the Redfin Estimate and expanded coverage to five new metro areas and several additional property types, including land and multi-family properties.

Redfin Estimate is a calculation of a home’s worth, built on Redfin’s propriety machine learning algorithm that uses billions of data points about properties across the country, according to the company. Redfin improved the accuracy of its estimate for off-market homes by 70 basis points, as the median error improved from 6.3% to 5.6%.

“Everyone wants to know what their home is worth, which is why the Redfin Estimate drives so many homeowners to visit our site and start a conversation with a Redfin agent,” said Redfin CTO Bridget Frey in a statement.

“In real estate, every tenth of a percentage point matters and can represent hundreds or thousands of dollars in a home’s value,” Frey added. “Agents know that a smart, data-driven pricing strategy is often the difference between a home that sells quickly with multiple offers and one that sits on the market.”

Redfin says it has improved the accuracy of the Redfin Estimate for both off-market and on-market properties. For homes actively listed for sale, the Redfin Estimate error rate improved by 5 basis points, improving from 1.62% to 1.57%. These accuracy gains for both on- and off-market properties were measured by comparing the performance of the previous algorithm to the updated algorithm between February and August 2019.

NterNow helps builders accommodate and follow-up with DIY home buyers. Now, homebuyers can access locked new homes unassisted, according to a release from the company.

“NterNow captures these leads at the exact time a prospective buyer wants to see more than what’s visible by peering into a window,” NterNow creator and CEO Lynne Davis said in a statement. “It really is, pardon the overused expression, a win-win. Homebuyers get to tour the locked home, and homebuilders’ agents get the prospects’ contact information so they can follow up on those leads.”

During a follow-up call, agents can gain feedback and other information about the tour from the visitors of the home, just as they might from visitors at an open-house event.

NterNow-enabled homes are accessible after a user, either by downloading the NterNow app or calling the NterNow call center, provides verifiable identification and successfully answers a set of security questions. To keep the home secure, the one-time-use code is provided only for a brief moment to allow entry to the home before it locks again.
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