Orchard introduces home buyer AI dashboard

Orchard has introduced a new platform created specifically for digital minded home owner-to-buyers who value one stop shop convenience. The new Orchard Dashboard enables homeowners to manage their entire home selling and home buying transactions, from property search to mortgage loan closing, on one digital platform.

The New York based home buying marketplace said it launched the Orchard Dashboard in line with its goal to deliver an end-to end digital real estate sales experience including all-digital mortgage and closing powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

“The traditional way of buying and selling a home has barely evolved over the last 50 years. The experience is almost entirely offline, requires the customer to coordinate between five different parties, and causes unnecessary confusion and stress,” said Court Cunningham, CEO and co-founder of Orchard. “The Orchard Dashboard simplifies the process by providing a transparent, easy-to-use online platform.” 

The Orchard model enables homeowners to buy before they sell. First, Orchard customers secure their new home using Orchard’s cash, “while having the certainty of selling their old home with Orchard, all for the same fee as a traditional broker,” according to the company website.

The dashboard platform allows users to have control over home search, listings, showings, mortgage and closing. Features include:

  • Contracts and documents users can sign with a few clicks and easily accessible records
  • Real-time feedback on the customer’s home listing from potential buyers who toured the home, number of showings, and pricing history
  • Ability to share a listing and 3D home tour of the home across social media 
  • A personalized timeline and explanation each home buying/selling step
  • Access to an online mortgage application that can be filled out in a few minutes
  • Insight into what to expect in the closing process

“Homeowners and buyers tell us clearly every day: they want a simpler home purchase and selling experience – like on Amazon or Carvana,” said Cunningham, the dashboard is Orchard’s response to customers across its markets in New York, Colorado, Georgia and Texas.

QuadReal acquires $1.6B stake in student living CRE

Two longtime, global real estate investmentNorth American partners have finalized a co-ownership agreement. 

QuadReal Property Group, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, has acquired a 50% interest in the U.S. student living platform of CA Ventures, a Chicago based, global investment management firm that specializes in a range of niche commercial real estate (CRE) asset classes, including student living.

The transaction formalizes the conversion of QuadReal’s existing student, entity-level investments with CA Ventures, “to an ownership stake in the company,” according to a joint statement. 

The transaction includes a $1.6 billion commitment from QuadReal and “other CA investment vehicles strategically designed to support the continued growth of the firm’s student housing portfolio in the United States.”

“This is a celebrated milestone for our student living business and the beginning of the exciting next chapter in our longstanding relationship with QuadReal,” a valued and trusted partner to CA since 2017, said Tom Scott, CEO at CA. QuadReal has played “an integral role in the strategic growth and transformation of our student living business.”

Currently, CA manages $13 billion in assets across the United States, Europe and Latin America, which includes student housing, senior living, multifamily, industrial and medical office, and residential assets. QuadReal manages a $44.2 billion portfolio across 17 countries, and real estate and mortgage programs of Canada’s largest investment firms.

Both companies reportedly see growth opportunity in recession-resilient qualities and maturation over the past decade of the U.S. student-housing niche. Since its inception in 2004, CA has created a scalable, development and operational model delivering more than 60 student housing communities with 35,000 beds in college communities across the country. QuadReal has invested alongside CA over the past few years.

“Student housing is an area of investment conviction for us based upon our research and our experience in the U.S. working with a dedicated team like CA,” said Jonathan Dubois-Phillips, QuadReal’s president of international real estate. “Even as this year is delivering unexpected dynamics to the landscape of higher education, students studying in the U.S. need safe and comfortable homes away from home, close to campus and their social and academic networks.”

In 2020 CA delivered nine student housing communities with nearly 4,000 beds, all completed in time for the 2020-21 academic year despite the pandemic, the company said, and feature “signature CA design trademarks,” such as expansive indoor and outdoor amenity space, and integrated technology within each unit to navigate social distancing needs. 

According to CA, the rapidly changing situation on university campuses has measurably increased year-over-year leasing activity. CA and QuadReal expect to see increased interest from investors and lenders in this asset class and plan to continue to focus on new development and acquisition investment opportunities.

“The resilience of demand in this space has been particularly evident during the pandemic. Our core, same-store portfolio has already pre-leased to 95% for the 2020-21 academic year and we are projecting positive leasing momentum through yearend,” said Nishant Bakaya, chief investment officer at CA. “We feel strongly that post-COVID student living will emerge as one of the best-performing real estate asset classes.”

First American shares data with Cherre 

Data sharing can significantly affect the quality of analytical insights. First American DataTree LLC is sharing market information with Cherre, a provider of automated real estate data collection and analytics. Under the agreement, Cherre announced customers of both companies have the option to incorporate DataTree’s property information into their proprietary connected data “for analysis and better decision making.”

The First American affiliate company delivers to mortgage companies and real estate businesses nationally document images from a repository of nearly 7 billion documents, alongside property data and property reports. The company also leverages other broader capabilities provided by First American and DataTree to offer property and home equity research, and ownership, risk mitigation and property verification information. 

Cherre customers now will have access to such data resources and can discover real time property tax, homeowners’ association data and other valuable property reports and datasets.

“DataTree offers an unparalleled variety of datasets in the real estate industry,” said Grant Wood, vice president at Cherre. “Collaborating with DataTree will enable Cherre customers to connect and explore unique datasets alongside other core real estate data for deeper insights.”

Cherre focuses on empowering companies to instantly tap and explore all their information from disparate real estate data bundled into one single source. Cherre enables customers to uncover granular insights, automate workflows, and build models and visualizations based on statistically powerful real estate data pools.

This solution serves the modern mortgage and real estate professionals “who value data quality, coverage, currency, and completeness to fuel their business,” and appreciate access to data insights across all stages of the homeownership and mortgage life cycles, said Matt Key, sales director, First American DataTree. “We’ve combined the unrivaled depth and breadth of First American data assets with Cherre’s like-minded commitment to customer service.”

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