With historically low housing inventory and outsized demand for homes, today’s homebuyers need help overcoming the financial limitations of the traditional real estate transaction. We are excited to announce our Series B investment in Homeward, a new kind of home financing company. Homeward partners with real estate agents to make every homebuyer a cash buyer. Homeward’s cash offer solutions eliminate homebuyers’ contingencies around obtaining mortgages, selling their existing homes, and getting appraisals, which enables them to make more competitive offers. We’re thrilled to partner with founder and CEO Tim Heyl on Homeward’s mission to innovate around financial solutions for home buying and selling.
Turning Obstacles into Opportunities
Tim is already an accomplished real estate entrepreneur. By the time he was 24, he was named Austin’s number-one real estate agent by The Austin Business Journal. He ultimately led his own real estate brokerage, The Heyl Group, to be a five-time member of the Inc 5000, as well as one of the top 25 real estate agent teams in the country. As an agent, Tim saw firsthand the same problem over and over again: his clients couldn’t buy a new home without cashing out the equity from their existing home. But they didn’t want to put their existing home on the market until they knew they had a new home to move into.
So Tim tried something radical to solve this chicken and egg problem: in December 2018, he purchased the new homes his clients wanted with his own money. Once their old homes sold, they bought the new ones back from Tim, which freed up their equity. His approach worked, and Homeward and its first service, Buy before you sell, were born. Since then, Tim has built an outstanding leadership team at Homeward. The team has deep expertise integrating home finance, agent services, and consumer technology, which stems from their experiences at multiple other companies, including Better Mortgage and ZipRealty. Furthermore, by partnering with real estate agents, the Homeward team has built critical trust within the industry as they’ve built the company.
Homeward’s Compelling Product-Market Fit
Unprecedented demand for residential housing coupled with low interest rates and historically low inventory has led to an extremely competitive housing market, creating a huge opportunity for Homeward’s success. Before Homeward introduced Buy before you sell, buyers felt rushed to make decisions and often ended up paying two mortgages, moving twice, or missing out on homes they loved. Buy before you sell gave them the flexibility and convenience they needed and as a result, it was so popular that Homeward introduced a second service, Buy with cash. Launched in January 2021, Buy with cash enables all homebuyers — even those who don’t already have equity in existing homes — to become cash buyers. Because cash offers are four times more likely to beat financed bids in a homebuying competition, Homeward’s new offering immediately struck a nerve among homebuyers and their agents. Just two and a half years after Tim bought that first home with his own savings, Homeward reported 9x growth in agent-referred customers and a nearly 5x growth in homes under contract over the previous 12 months.
Scaling the Solution
Homeward recognizes that making a cash offer on a home is just the first step of many on the journey to becoming a homeowner. The paperwork and processes involved can be expensive, inefficient, and cumbersome. So Tim and his team have integrated two affiliate businesses — Homeward Mortgage and Homeward Title — with Buy with cash and Buy before you sell. Homeward now bundles all of the critical financial services necessary to close a transaction, helping homebuyers save time, money, and effort.
Homeward currently operates in Texas, Georgia, and Colorado, and plans to expand their geographical presence over the next 12 months. Tim and the rest of his team will also continue to enhance their tech stack, further embedding Homeward into the software platforms of their agent partners, in order to provide a better experience for both agents and homebuyers.
We are truly excited about Homeward’s vision to empower consumers and their agents to remove financial friction while they seamlessly buy and sell homes. And we are thrilled to welcome Tim and the entire Homeward team to the Norwest family!