- What is Orchard?
- How does Orchard work?
- Is Orchard a legitimate real estate company?
- Pros of Using Orchard
- Cons of Using Orchard
- Orchard Reviews and Ratings
- Orchard Alternatives
- Hire a Real Estate Agent You Trust for Your Home Sale
Orchard Reviews: What You Need to Know
The only thing more stressful than buying a house is buying and selling at the same time. If you currently own your home and need to move, you will have to juggle managing the home sale with making offers. You also need to figure out how to move all of your belongings – especially if there are gaps in your closing dates.
This is where Orchard comes in. It allows homeowners to buy their next homes before they list their current ones. This allows them to make competitive offers and move on their own time. There are no uncomfortable gaps where one home is sold, and you need to find your next one.
While this seems like a good premise, it’s important to read Orchard reviews before you work with this company. Learn how its processes work and understand any fine print and fees. This will give you the confidence you need when moving. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Orchard?
Orchard is a real estate company that promises to streamline the home sale process. The first step is to unlock your home’s equity through an initial home value estimate. Orchard will analyze your home’s value and likely selling price in the current market. The company will then approve a loan based on this estimate. You can use the funds to make offers on your next house, either with a competitive down payment or as a cash buyer.
Once an offer is accepted and you close on your new home, you can move in on your own time. Feel free to complete any renovations or upgrades on the house before you transfer your belongings from one space to the next.
Once you are ready to sell your old home, Orchard will take over. The company will photograph, list, and sell your home with its own agents. When your old home sells, you can close the loan you have with Orchard.
For example, let’s say your house is currently worth $400,000 and you want to move to a new area where homes cost around $500,000. Based on your home’s value and what you owe on your mortgage, Orchard might approve a $200,000 equity loan.
This allows you to make competitive offers with large down payments toward your next home.
When your current home sells for $400,000, you pay back the $200,000 equity loan, pay off your mortgage, and pocket any remaining profits.
How does Orchard work?
At first glance, Orchard seems like a great option if you need help with multiple real estate transitions. However, consider the fees that you will have to pay if you decide to work with this company.
First, your equity loan comes with a no-interest fee. This is a good potential alternative to seeking out a bridge loan for your home sale. Orchard is able to offer an interest-free loan because the company knows you will pay it back almost immediately. They wouldn’t profit on the loan because it would be paid and closed as soon as you sell your house. Instead, this real estate firm generates revenue through its fees.
When you work with Orchard, you can expect to pay a six percent fee on the home sale. Orchard says this is no different than working with a traditional listing agent. However, the company also charges a 1.9% program fee if you decide to use the Move First service. This means you are paying close to 8% in fees on your home sale, which can considerably affect your profits.
For example, on a $400,000 home sale, a seller would pay $24,000 in real estate agent fees at a 6% rate. These fees increase to $32,000 for an 8% fee rate – $8,000 more. Make sure the services are worth the Orchard fees.
Another potential concern is that Orchard promises to sell your house without asking you to make repairs or stage it for the sale process. While this is certainly convenient, it also could limit how much you get in your home sale. You might leave money on the table that you could have earned by preparing your home and partnering with a traditional real estate agent.
Is Orchard a legitimate real estate company?
Orchard is a legitimate real estate company. It works with a diverse team of licensed real estate agents who have several years of experience in their fields. The company also has a dedicated lending department that helps with the sale process.
Along with taking advantage of the Move First program, you can also look into Orchard home loans – which is Orchard’s mortgage lending solution. Not only will you list with Orchard, but you will also work with this company as your primary lender. There’s even Orchard homeowners insurance if you need it.
While this company is legitimate, it doesn’t mean that Orchard offers are competitive. Your home assessment might come in lower than you want and you won’t be able to increase the price as you would with a traditional agent.
This company relies on its own algorithms and systems to set prices and sell homes fast. This is an alternative option for home sellers that comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. It’s not the same as working with a licensed broker entity.
Pros of Using Orchard
There are several reasons to consider working with Orchard if you are entering the real estate market. Here are a few benefits of working with this company.
- You won’t risk losing your dream home. You can make an offer on a new house before you sell your current one.
- Take your time in a competitive market. Because your old home isn’t currently on the market, you don’t need to panic in a hot market. Find a home that completely meets your needs and make an offer when you are ready.
- Eliminate uncomfortable middle periods. You won’t have a gap where you sold your old house but can’t access your new one. This allows you to renovate your new home before moving in while avoiding temporary housing.
- You can move in a hurry. This could be a good option if you need to relocate for work or move out from a house if you and your partner separated.
- Skip home improvements before you sell. Orchard will handle the listings and the showings. You don’t have to handle any repairs or open houses.
Orchard’s concierge service could be a good option if you need to make offers fast in a competitive market but don’t want to risk selling your home just yet.
Cons of Using Orchard
Despite the benefits of using this real estate service, there are some drawbacks to letting Orchard work for you. Here are a few limitations to consider.
- It’s not available nationwide. Orchard real estate is only available for sellers in a few cities in Texas, Colorado, and Georgia. There is more flexibility with buying; however, this is far from a national chain.
- You don’t get to set your selling price. Orchard claims that its listing prices are based on the local market. However, many sellers claim the company listed their houses for less in order to sell them faster. Know your home’s market value before you work with this company.
- The fees are high. Orchard’s fees are around 8% of the home’s value if you do the Move First option. This could cost you more than you are prepared for.
- You don’t get to hire your own agent. You will be working with Orchard real estate agents to sell your home. If you don’t like the work that person does, you might have limited options when firing them.
Along with the high cost, one of the biggest concerns is a lack of flexibility. Orchard homeowners don’t get to control which agent they work with, what the listing price is, and what fees they owe. In other real estate transactions, the sellers can negotiate all of these – even down to the Realtor fees.
Orchard Reviews and Ratings
One of the best ways to get to know Orchard is by reading online reviews. You can see what other customers have said about the buying and selling process and whether they would list with Orchard again. Here are a few places across the web to find Orchard reviews to see what similar homebuyers have to say.
Better Business Bureau
The first place to start is the Better Business Bureau, where Orchard has an A rating and has been accredited since 2018. However, the company has also received 12 complaints in the past three years and has a rating of 3.17 out of 5 stars. Here are a few Orchard reviews:
- “This company says one thing and does something completely different. Their website says that after the initial payment and you have moved into your new house you get to control what the house is listed for on the open market, but that is so far from the truth.” – Jeffrey F (two stars)
- “In a buyers market, on the brink of a recession, my house went into contract in 4 days. I attribute this to the Orchard team’s knowledge and expertise.” – Craic C (five stars)
- “The guaranteed offer is only for the desperate. The Move First program sounds great on the surface, but do your due diligence before agreeing to anything.” – Bad C (one star)
There are nearly 600 reviews of Orchard online and the company has a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Many comments highlight how easy it was to list with Orchard because their homes sold quickly. However, the negative reviews touch on poor quality concierge service and lower profits than the customers would have received with a traditional home sale.
- “Not having to show our home while living in it was awesome. Everyone was so helpful and answered all our questions…The whole process took less than 60 days. “ – Salinas Family (five stars)
- “I was never certain that my auto-assigned agent had my best interest at heart. He would never explain anything, was unresponsive, and generally abrasive when he actually did respond.” – Steven B (one star)
- “The buying of our new home was amazing. The selling process was dreadful due to a lack of communication from our listing agent and several opportunities that we felt would have been easier had we been provided with an agent who perhaps had a few more years of experience.” – Garland Home Owners (three stars)
It’s worth noting that Orchard does respond to negative reviews. This means if there is an issue with the Orchard program, it could be addressed in the future.
If you still want to read Orchard reviews, check out the comments posted on Yelp. Orchard has not claimed this business and there are only six total reviews. The company has 1.6 stars out of 5.
- “The cash offer they give you on your home is the tax-apprecised value. This is not the same as the market value.” – C.P. (one star)
- “Too good to be true. Hidden fees, they don’t have your back, and they are hard to work with. Do not trust them. Just use a traditional local realtor who has your best interest in mind.” – Elle W (one star)
Many homeowner concerns seem to focus on real estate agents who are not supportive and processes that don’t offer a lot of flexibility. If you hire a Realtor outside of Orchard, you can set your home price and they have to earn their commission.
Because Orchard is a fee-based company, its Realtors might not have a strong incentive to perform at their best. They also might be overlooked if they are salaried employees or juggling too many clients at once.
There are multiple ways to streamline your property sale instead of working with Orchard.
Here are a few other real estate organizations that can help you out and make your offers competitive in the open market.
Instead of working with a single company, get to know the licensed real estate agents in your area who can brainstorm solutions to streamline your move. With FastExpert, you can research agents in your area and choose the best one for your needs. You can hire a Realtor who understands how tricky it can be to move in and out of multiple homes at once.
Before you contact Orchard, use FastExpert to get a clear understanding of your home’s fair market value, your expected closing costs, and other fees that come with getting your home sold. You will then know whether Orchard’s fees are worth the extra cost compared to the services they provide.
It’s possible to sell your house and still live there. Some buyers might be open to a rent-back agreement, where they close on the home and rent it out to the owner for a few months. These agreements can last between 30 to 90 days on average.
During this time, you can take the cash profits from your home sale and make an offer on your next home. You can even close on your new home and move out of your own place slowly. As the former owner, you will become a tenant who pays rent to the new owner until you move out.
While this eliminates the need to work with Orchard, not all buyers will be open to the deal. Some buyers are eager to get into their homes and don’t have three months to live in another place.
Bridge loans are meant to be short-term loans. They usually last between 90 days to six months. You could secure a bridge loan if you want access to cash to buy a home before you sell your current one. This could allow you to make an offer and move in before you sell your existing property. Once you sell your house, you will pay back the loan.
The main drawback to these loans is that they can be expensive. They also might impact your ability to secure a mortgage if you need one.
Even if a bridge loan isn’t right for you, your financial advisor might be able to recommend alternative options that are similar.
Hire a Real Estate Agent You Trust for Your Home Sale
While Orchard Real Estate has a strong business concept and addresses a clear pain point for customers entering the real estate market, it might not be the best choice for your needs. You might be able to save a lot more money by seeking out alternative options, like bridge loans or rent-back agreements after your home sells. If you decide to work with this organization, have a clear picture of the value of your property on the open market and your total closing costs. This way you won’t be surprised by hidden fees.
If you want to consider other real estate agents in your area instead, turn to the professionals at FastExpert. You will have more control over the sale and flexibility than if you hire an Orchard agent. Visit FastExpert today and see how we can help you.