You should consider using Homeward if you're looking to buy a new home before you sell your old one or want to make a cash offer on a home in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, or Texas.
Whether you need to trade in your home or buy your first one, Homeward will help you make a cash offer. Cash offers are more likely to be accepted because it gives sellers the simplest path to closing — there’s no need for them to wait around for a buyer’s financing to come through.
With Homeward, you choose your own agent, giving you the possibility to work with a discount broker to save on commission. Homeward also offers more transparency than competitors about fees and other costs, has great customer reviews, and provides a solid backup offer if your trade-in home doesn’t sell within six months.
Homeward’s fee of 1.9% is higher than similar services, but this cost can be completely or partially offset by discounts if you choose to use Homeward Mortgage.
✍ Expert tip: We recommend that you use Clever Real Estate to find an agent before you sign up for Homeward. You'll save thousands of dollars on realtor commissions — effectively offsetting Homeward's fees!
Homeward vs. the competition
If you want to use your own real estate agent to trade in your home and your current home doesn’t require a lot of repairs to get it ready to list for sale, we think Homeward is your best option. (If your home needs some TLC before listing, you might want to consider Knock as an alternative.)
Customers rate the service highly, mentioning its responsive customer service and good communication.
Homeward is transparent about the fees and other expenses you will incur. Other home trade-in services make it difficult to determine a specific number for costs.
Also, Homeward’s backup offer for the trade-in service is one of the best out there. The company will buy your home if it doesn’t sell within six months, paying 93–95% of fair market value, according to company representatives.
Benefits of Homeward
You can choose your own agent
The biggest difference between Homeward and other trade-in services (with the exception of Knock) is that you can bring your own agent to the process.
This could be a plus for people who have an agent they trust, or for people who wish to use a discount agent to save on commission. Of course, this also means that you and your agent will be responsible for listing the original home once you move out. This gives you more control over the listing and the agent commission, but it’s more legwork for you.
Fees can be offset using Homeward Mortgage
The company provides credits at closing if you use its in-house Homeward Mortgage as your lender, effectively eliminating or reducing the service fee.
Homeward’s initial service fee of 1.9% goes down to 0% if you use Homeward Mortgage as your lender for its Buy with Cash service. For the Buy Before You Sell service, the fee is reduced to 0.5% if you use the in-house mortgage service.
Flyhomes, one of Homeward's competitors, also offers a rebate that eliminates its 1% fee, but the company requires you to use its in-house agents.
Transparent rental costs
Most home trade-in services require you to rent your new home from them until your old home sells. Once your old home sells, you’ll buy the new home from the company and begin making actual mortgage payments.
Homeward charges 0.7% per month for rent, prorated by the day and deferred until closing. Many services are less straightforward about what they charge for rent, making it an uncertain expense.
With Knock, you begin making a regular mortgage payment once you move in, and Flyhomes says it’ll charge somewhere between $100–200 per day, which is a wide range.
Orchard has the best deal on rent, charging $50–100 per day until the old home sells.
Rental cost on a $300,000 home
Listing price guarantee
Homeward is usually able to provide a floor price guarantee on your home, offering to buy it for that price if it doesn’t sell within six months. Homeward says that it typically pays 93–95% of fair market value for homes, which is more than what other services usually pay.
Orchard makes a similar guarantee, paying out after only four months, but it’s unclear how much it usually pays.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s unlikely your home won’t sell within a few months. Most homes will sell for a fair price within that time frame. But if you’re worried about your home sitting on the market without a sale, the backup offer can be reassuring.
Who should use Homeward?
Homeward is ideal for you if:
If you're in a competitive market, making a cash offer on a home is a great way to increase the chances of your bid being accepted, like this Homeward customer. But most people don’t have that much cash just lying around, so they turn to home trade-in services to front the cash for the offer, later buying the house back using a traditional mortgage.
Homeward’s Buy with Cash service allows you to do just that. Homeward’s Buy Before You Sell service takes this a step further, giving you a chance to make a cash offer on a new home before you even sell your old one.
If you want to do all of this while using an agent of your choice, Homeward is a great fit. Finding a discount brokerage with 1% agents is a great way to take advantage of this feature and maximize your savings.
Another way to save using Homeward is to use its in-house lending service, Homeward Mortgage. You’re not required to use it as your lender, but doing so will earn you credits at closing that will bring the fee for Buy Before You Sell to 0.5% and will eliminate the Buy with Cash fee altogether. Homeward Mortgage has good customer reviews and competitive rates.
The best alternative to Homeward: Knock
Knock is a good alternative to Homeward if your home requires repairs before listing. Like Homeward, Knock allows you to use your own agent, but it also lends you up to $25,000 for home repairs to spruce up the house and get it ready for showings.
Knock is available in many of the same states as Homeward — and many others in which Homeward is not — so it could be a good alternative if you don’t live in Homeward’s service states of Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, or Texas.
But unlike Homeward, Knock doesn’t offer a rebate to offset its fee: You’ll pay 1.25% plus a flat service fee of $1,450.
Best for customers who want a one-stop-shop: Flyhomes & Orchard
Flyhomes has a 1% fee that’s offset to 0% if you use its mortgage service. The company also offers to cover some of the closing costs, which could mean thousands in savings.
One drawback with Flyhomes is that its rent charge of $100–200 per day is higher than other services.
Orchard, like Knock, will front costs for repairs on the home to be listed, which can be deducted from the proceeds of the sale later on. Orchard also has the best deal on rent, charging $50–150 per day.
Orchard will also buy your home if it has been on the market for four months without selling.
How to use a discount agent with Homeward
Homeward allows you to use your own agent for its services, which can provide some unique benefits, such as working with a trusted partner and even saving money on commission.
Even though Homeward has decent reviews for its customer service, it can still be helpful to have an advocate who understands the process and is able to explain the details of your sale. This will be especially handy if you're trading in a home, which is more complicated than a traditional home purchase.
More importantly, you can choose to go with a discount brokerage, which could potentially save you thousands of dollars in commission fees. And you’d still benefit from having an experienced real estate professional in your corner throughout the process. Saving this much on commission would effectively cancel out Homeward’s service fee!
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Is Homeward legit?
Homeward can help you buy a new home before you sell your old one. It's a legitimate company offering home trade-in services in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, and Texas.
Founded by Tim Heyl in 2018, Homeward has had several rounds of funding over the years, most recently getting $371 million in May 2021.
Homeward is headquartered in Austin, TX, and has three divisions: Homeward Cash Offers, Homeward Mortgage, and Homeward Title.
Where does Homeward operate?
Homeward offers home trade-in and cash offer services in only four states: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, and Texas.
If you live in one of the states where Homeward is available, here are other options also available in your state:
Homeward competitor availability by state
If Homeward isn’t available in your state, consider Knock, which is much more widely available.
Homeward reviews from customers
Overall, when combing through customer reviews of Homeward, we noticed a trend of clients praising the company’s customer service and communication. Homeward has an average rating of 4.7 across 500 reviews.
Customer pleasantly surprised with transparency
There are a lot of moving parts in a home trade-in, and all of the transactions can be challenging to keep up with. Homeward has earned high scores from reviewers for being transparent and in continuous contact with customers
This customer kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but they were pleasantly surprised to learn that there was no “catch” — Homeward made sure everything went smoothly.
Cash offer helps buyer finally make winning bid
Giving customers a way to put down a cash offer on a home is one of Homeward’s core benefits.
Bringing a cash offer to a seller is a huge advantage in a competitive market. It makes your offer stand apart from others that may be requesting finance contingencies, which are special favors the buyer asks of the seller.
For example, a buyer might ask to delay closing to get more time to sell the old home or to wait for financing to come through. Cash offers don’t need these contingencies because they’re ready for the seller immediately.
This customer mentioned how helpful Homeward was at helping her overcome being outbid over and over as she made offers on new homes. Homeward’s cash offer helped her finally make a successful bid.
Problems with title company were resolved
This customer had trouble with the title company but found Homeward to be very accommodating, even adjusting the rent to compensate for the delay.
It’s common to read complaints in reviews about miscommunication like this during closing, because it can be frustrating. It’s less common to see a reviewer point out that the company made things right.
Customer says Homeward acknowledged failure
Customers give Homeward high marks for good communication overall, but a small number of reviews prove that the company is not perfect. Miscommunication during the closing process can jeopardize the entire sale if it’s bad enough. That seems to be what almost happened in this case.
This customer was very dissatisfied with the closing process, but updated their review to say that Homeward acknowledged the failures on its end and refunded the customer’s fees.
Interestingly, this customer notes that their agent helped untangle the mess for them, which demonstrates the value of having and being able to choose an agent you can trust.
How does Homeward work?
Whether or not you need to buy a new home before you sell your current one, Homeward can help. Once you’re approved, Homeward fronts the cash for an offer on the new home, making your bid stand out.
Here’s how the home trade-in process works:
Step 1: Get approved for a specific amount so you know what homes you can afford.
Step 2: You and your agent will submit an offer request to Homeward. You’ll sign Homeward’s Service Agreement Addendum and choose a lender, too.
Step 3: When the seller accepts your offer, you’ll pay an earnest money deposit and option fee, if applicable. You’ll also work with a lender to finalize the details of your loan.
Step 4: Move into your new home. You’ll work with your agent to put your old home on the market within 2 weeks of buying the new home.
Step 5: Sell your existing home with your agent.
Step 6: Secure a mortgage and close on your new home by buying it back from Homeward.
Things to watch out for
Look out for troubles with title services. Many reviews talk about Homeward’s clear communication, but a few negative reviews point out problems with its closing agents and title company. Make sure you and your agent agree to keep on top of everything required of you to close on the home.
Be ready to list your home once you buy. Once Homeward buys the new home for you, you’ll agree to put your home on the market within two weeks. Be sure that you and your agent can get the home ready in that amount of time before you make the offer on the new home.
Pay attention to the appraisal value and your purchase price. When you first make an offer on the home, Homeward will conduct a preliminary appraisal. If the preliminary appraisal value is below the purchase price, you’ll need to make up the difference:
- Buy with Cash: You must make a deposit equal to the difference.
- Buy Before You Sell: As long as the appraisal is within 10% of the purchase price, there’s no need to make a deposit. If the appraisal is below 90% of the purchase price, you’ll need to make a deposit for the difference to bring it to 90%.
Homeward says you can get into your new home in as few as 14 days if your offer is accepted that quickly.
Once you purchase your new home, you need to agree to put your home on the market within two weeks. After that, you just need to wait until your old home sells. When it does, you’ll settle up with Homeward and buy your new home from it.
Can you buy a newly constructed home with Homeward?
Yes! Homeward will require information about the new home’s specifications, price, proposed completion date and percentage of completion.
Knock, Orchard, and Flyhomes allow you to buy new construction homes as well.
Buying with Homeward
Homeward can bolster your chances of buying in a competitive market with a cash offer. Sellers prefer cash offers over financed offers because they won’t need to wait longer for financing to come through.
Homeward’s Buy with Cash program is more affordable than other cash offer services, as long as you use Homeward Mortgage to get a credit at closing. The fee for Homeward’s Buy with Cash program is 1.9%, but that is offset to zero if you use Homeward Mortgage to finance your loan.
Homeward also offers you the flexibility to use your own agent, an opportunity to save even more if you decide to go with a 1% commission agent.
You’ll need to put down a 3% earnest money deposit (EMD), compared to the 2% you need to put down for the Buy Before You Sell program.
What is an earnest money deposit (EMD)?
An EMD is a sum of money provided by the buyer to show they're serious about purchasing the home.
A typical EMD is 1–2% of the home’s value under a traditional sale, but it can rise as high as 5% in competitive markets.
An EMD isn’t an added fee, as it will be kept in escrow and eventually put toward the cost of the home — but you need to be prepared to have this money on hand before you make an offer.
How does Buy with Cash compare?
Homeward charges 1.9% to use Buy with Cash, which is completely offset by a 1.9% credit if you use Homeward Mortgage as your lender.
By comparison, Knock’s Guaranteed Offer has a flat-fee of $1,450.
Orchard’s similar Buy with Orchard program doesn’t have any associated costs, but you’ll need to work with one of its agents and pay a traditional commission of 4–6%.
How much does Homeward cost
We estimate that using Homeward to trade in your home with a traditional agent and finding your own lender will cost about 9.6–16.6%.
If you want to save money, you can use Homeward Mortgage to take advantage of the discount credits and go with a 1% commission agent. Your cost will go down to about 5.7–12.7%
Here’s how much Homeward would cost when buying and selling two homes, each with a value of $600,000. (To keep things simple, we assumed both the old and new homes have a value of $600,000. If you’re moving from a less expensive home to a more expensive home, the costs will vary.)
Homeward Buy Before You Sell, using traditional agent and own lender
Cost on a $600,000 home
🤝 Service fee
💰 Seller closing costs
💰 Buyer closing costs
🧑💼 Realtor commission
🏡 Home rental costs (30 days)
Homeward Buy Before You Sell, using 1% agent and Homeward Mortgage
Cost on a $600,000 home
🤝 Service fee
💰 Seller closing costs
💰 Buyer closing costs
🧑💼 Realtor commission
🏡 Home rental costs (30 days)
By comparison, trading the same two $600,000 homes would cost between $53,450–89,950 (8.75–14.75% + a $1,450 flat fee) using Knock with a 1% commission agent.
Going with Flyhomes would cost between $39,000–84,000 (6–13% + $3,000–6,000 for rent) if you take advantage of its service fee rebate and closing cost credits by using its mortgage lender and agents.
Using Orchard would cost between $55,500–87,000 (9–14% + $1,500–3,000 for rent).
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Homeward Mortgage is Homeward’s lending arm. Using Homeward Mortgage as your lender offsets your 1.9% Cash Offer fee to 0% and brings the Buy Before You Sell fee from 1.9% to 0.5%.
Homeward Mortgage offers conventional, jumbo, and Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgages. It can also do Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, but you can't use them in combination with the Homeward Cash Offer.
FAQs about Homeward
Is Homeward legit?
Yes, Homeward is a legitimate company offering home trade-in and cash offer services to customers in AZ, CO, GA, and TX. It was founded in 2018 and has since received several rounds of funding from investors, most recently $371 million in May 2021. Learn more about Homeward’s services.
What does it cost to use Homeward?
Homeward charges 1.9% to use its Buy Before You Sell and Cash Offer services. The fee for the Buy with Cash program is offset to zero if you use Homeward Mortgage to finance your loan; the Buy Before You Sell fee is offset to 0.5% if you use Homeward Mortgage.
Once you consider closing costs and rent paid on your new home until the old one sells, we estimate that it will cost between 5.7–16.6%, all in, depending upon your mortgage choices and agent commission. Find out how Homeward stacks up against the competition.
How does Homeward make money?
Homeward’s primary income is derived from the service fees it charges for using its Cash Offer and Buy Before You Sell services. The company also makes money on secondary services, like its mortgage and title companies. Finally, Homeward may make the occasional profit on home price appreciation from its trade-in service. Learn more about Homeward.
The Perfect Property Podcast: An Atlanta Real Estate Guide. "Need to sell before you buy? The Homeward Solution!." Accessed February 17, 2022. Updated September 5, 2020.
Forbes. "Real Estate Startup Homeward Raises $371 Million, Landing Valuation Above $800 Million." Accessed February 17, 2022. Updated May 27, 2021.