New company offers alternative to home equity loan

U.S. & World

(NBC) – Chris Driskell needed cash to invest in his real estate business, and while he had plenty of equity in his home, he couldn’t access it.

“If my credit score was a few more points, or you know, I made the banker happy that day, I probably would have made more money, but that’s not the way the world works,” said Driskell, an Easyknock client.

Enter Easyknock, a barely two year old company that will buy your home from you but let you stay on as a renter. At any time during the lease, you can buy your home back.

“Easyknock is a company that is allowing people to access equity in their home that have been shut out by the traditional lending market,” said Jarred Kessler, Easyknock CEO.

Easyknock makes money through monthly rent and extra fees.

At the end of the lease, which can be up to five years, the tenant has to choose between buying the home back or selling it to someone else. Easyknock doesn’t want to keep it.

“We are not in the business of continuing to own homes,” Kessler said.

So far the company has bought about one hundred homes in five southern states but with a recent infusion of one hundred million dollars from investors. Kessler said he expects to expand to 36 states and 2000 homes this year alone.

For Chris Driskell, the financial process was pretty easy. But he admits there is an emotional downside, especially if he is unable to buy it back at the end of his lease.

But there are benefits as a renter too; like not paying property taxes, homeowners insurance or any of the maintenance on the home. For now, Easyknock is contracting out its rental management business, but as it expands, expects to bring that in house as well. 

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