The traditional picture of new home construction is turned into a modern one when the real estate agent is taken out completely and a computer screen replaces the blueprints, design swatches, and spreadsheets. A new digital platform known as Edgewise is doing just this, by making the buyer-to-builder home construction model an easy and affordable possibility.
The platform allows buyers to purchase brand new or in-progress properties online. Users can take care of the bulk of their business with the builder online, including reserving lots, making and negotiating offers, uploading financial documents, and paying deposits. To cater to the 41% of Americans who prefer a newly-built home over an existing one, Edgewise has programmed a “Design Studio” into their online platform. This feature allows buyers to make their own design choices and upgrades in their property. In turn, builders can send updates of the home’s construction progress through photos and videos.
Edgewise has revolutionized buying new home construction by making it much more accessible and affordable for Americans across the country. Home buyers with any budget size can build a custom home because they get to choose their home’s features and negotiate directly with the builder. New homeowners also do not have to pay for costly repairs to old homes. About 34% of home buyers who purchased new homes wanted to avoid renovations and problems with electricity or plumbing, ultimately saving them money.
According to Bobby Juncosa, the founder of Edgewise, the platform saves money for both buyers and builders by cutting out the necessity of real estate agents and their typical 6% commission with them. Buyers can still use these middlemen if they prefer, but Juncosa designed Edgewise with direct buyer-to-builder transactions in mind.
For the purchasing process of pre-existing homes, real estate agents seem barely necessary as the Internet takes over the job of providing all of the information a buyer needs. Websites such as Zillow allow buyers to compare their home’s price to others in the neighborhood. Other realtor responsibilities are typically done by third parties now, with the agent just acting as a go-between who can be cut out to save on cash.
Kimberly and Tom Lehman were early Edgewise buyers who started the home buying process using a traditional real estate agent, but eventually cut ties. They ultimately bought their new home on their own using Edgewise’s tools. As millennials who bought their home while in their late 20s, they were drawn to the ease and affordability of the digital platform. Millennials have been Edgewise’s largest client base, reflecting the generation’s love for digital customization and their increasing domination of the housing market. Out of all age groups in 2017, millennials registered the largest gains in home ownership.
With the support of a mass of millennials behind them and 30 different builders that span the United States, Edgewise isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon. The platform plans to add features to improve a buyer’s post-purchase life, with community portals and warranty repair tools. With a 4.4% growth in the property management industry between 2012 and 2017 also bolstering the market’s move towards streamlined managing systems, Edgewise is set for success and millennials are set for newly built homes at affordable prices.