Scottsdale-based HomeAdvantage®, the largest real estate Credit Union Service Organization, is expanding nationally to help credit unions secure more of their members’ purchase mortgage business no matter where in the United States the real estate transaction takes place. Credit union members can now connect with certified real estate agents and earn HomeAdvantage Cash Rewards in nearly every state and metro area in the U.S.
“Offering a national agent network is transformative to our becoming a central provider of real estate relationships; bringing CUs, members and agents together in a way that hasn’t been possible before,” said Herb Behrens, CEO of HomeAdvantage. “The result of this expanded reach is more leads and loans for our credit union partners and more rewards for their members.”
When credit union members use HomeAdvantage to buy a home, an impressive 85 percent of those applicants stay with the credit union for financing. Members also earn cash-back savings in the form of HomeAdvantage Cash Rewards when they use the program, which average $1,900 per real estate transaction. More than $58 million in Cash Rewards have been distributed during the program’s lifetime.
The HomeAdvantage real estate marketing platform’s frontend tools attract members at the beginning of their home-buying journey. Backend systems and personal touchpoints nurture them until they are ready to transact. One of those critical touchpoints is the connection to a HomeAdvantage-certified real estate agent who is trained to keep credit union financing top-of-mind. The HomeAdvantage network has agents who represent many local, boutique brands as well as nationally-recognized brokerages including Berkshire Hathaway, Century 21, HomeSmart, JMG Group, Keller Williams, Long & Foster, NextHome, Realty Executives and more.
HomeAdvantage’s new national reach is particularly valuable for credit unions that lend in multiple states. “We lend in every state, and so it’s impossible to have a big presence everywhere,” says Larry Jackson, Vice President of Real Estate at Together Credit Union, which has been with HomeAdvantage since 2016. “When a member moves across the country and we can connect them to an agent who is local in that community and certified in the HomeAdvantage network, it makes a huge difference. Not only does the program help us retain critical touchpoints throughout the buying process, but it also empowers us to retain that member’s membership – all without any heavy lifting.”
Though plans to expand began in 2019, the value of a national platform became even more apparent as housing trends evolved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In this new housing environment, there has been a shift because people don’t have to live where they work anymore; they can work where they live,” said David Grey, Chief Experience Officer of HomeAdvantage. “Our expansion is important because we can now help credit unions secure their purchase mortgage pipeline by serving members who choose to move into areas that are outside the reach of their credit union.”
In addition to developing a national agent network, HomeAdvantage is adding new states to its credit union service areas. “Establishing a strong, national agent network to help members buy or sell anywhere in the US is just one part of our national strategy,” said Behrens. “We are also opening up new markets so that we can partner with more credit unions and help more members. By the end of this year, we will have expanded into five new states – Colorado, Michigan, New York, Tennessee and Utah – and will continue this expansion into 2022.”
Formerly CU Realty Services, HomeAdvantage provides real estate services to credit unions across the nation, helping them increase their purchase mortgage business while saving their members money when they buy or sell a home. The company’s turnkey real estate marketing platform is currently offered by more than 126 credit union partners and mortgage CUSOs throughout the United States. Credit union members can use the program to search for homes, research neighborhoods, calculate property values, connect to certified real estate agents and save money at closing. When credit unions offer the program, they can attract and nurture more home-buying members, and consequently close more loans.