Orchard Real Estate: How it Works, Pros & Cons, Reviews

By 

Andrew Whytock

Updated 

March 9th, 2021

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What is Orchard | How it works | Home criteria | Move First | Fees & expenses | List with Orchard | Locations | Customer reviews | Orchard vs. Knock

🔑 Key takeaways
  • Orchard's main benefit for home sellers is that they make it easy to finance the purchase of a new home before you sell your old one.
  • Orchard has real estate agents who can help you list your home and/or buy a new home.
  • If your home doesn't sell on the open market in 30 days, Orchard will purchase it directly from you.
  • Service fees, closing costs, and mortgage repayment can make buying and selling with Orchard cost up to 10% or more, so you aren't necessarily saving money.

Orchard Real Estate, formerly known as Perch, is a company that helps home sellers to qualify for financing on their new home before they've sold their old home.

To do this, Orchard lets you access up to 90% of the equity in your home before you sell, so that you can make a non-contingent offer on your new home.

This program is called Move First, but Orchard also has their own listing service (List with Orchard) that allows you to list your home on the open market.

Orchard Real Estate currently operates in nine markets across Texas, Colorado, and Georgia.

✍️ Editor's take
While Orchard Real Estate does make it much easier for people who are buying a new house and selling an old one to bridge the financial gap by avoiding paying two mortgages at once, in the long run, it doesn't really save customers money when service fees and closing costs are factored in.

Orchard's website suggests that you only have to worry about paying a 6% service fee, but they gloss over the other costs that are associated with a traditional sale.

Still, if you live in a market that Orchard serves, and you're struggling to finance the purchase of your new home before your old one sells — Orchard might be a good option for you.

Want to save money when you sell your house? Clever can connect you with a top-agent who will list your home for just $3,000 or 1%. Learn more.

Orchard, at a glance
6%
4.6/5
TX, CO, NC, GA
Move First, List with Orchard, Offer Boost, Instant Equity

What is Orchard?

Orchard makes it easier for people to buy a new home before selling their old one. In addition, Orchard can prep and list your home on the open market for you.

There is a 6% service fee for either program. This fee is deducted from your profits when your home sells.

Is Orchard an iBuyer?

An iBuyer is a company that leverages large amounts of capital to buy and sell homes with a low-margin, high volume business model.

Orchard isn't an iBuyer in the sense that their primary goal isn't to purchase and resell homes. Instead, Orchard helps people bridge the gap between their old home and their new one by making financing easier to access.

In some cases, Orchard will purchase homes directly from homeowners, but they let home sellers test the open market first.

Unlike most iBuyers, Orchard is less focused on providing a quick sale than they are on getting you into your new home before you sell your old one.

How Orchard works

Orchard has two programs for customers:

  • Move First: Access equity in your current home to buy a new house before you sell your old one.
  • List With Orchard: List your home on the open market with the help of an Orchard agent. Includes home prep services and a backup cash offer from Orchard in case your home doesn't sell.

Orchard home criteria

Orchard will list and purchase homes that were built between 1950 and 2017. The value of homes that Orchard will purchase depends on the market and is broken down as follows:

  • Austin, TX: $150,000 - $900,000
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX: $150,000 - $600,000
  • Houston, TX: $150,000 - $600,000
  • San Antonio, TX: $150,000 - $400,000
  • Denver-Colorado Springs, CO: $200,000 - $1,000,000
  • Atlanta, GA: $150,000 - $600,000
  • Charlotte, NC: $150,000 - $600,000
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC: $150,000 - $600,000

Move First

As the name suggests, the Move First program makes it possible for you to buy your new home and move before Orchard sells your old home. The steps of the program are outlined below.

  1. Get a home assessment. You can submit information about your home on Orchard's website to request a valuation.
  2. Get up to 90% of your home's value right away. Based on the results of your home assessment and how much equity you currently have in your home, Orchard will give you access to up to 90% of the home's value to purchase your next home.
  3. Purchase and move into your new home. Once you find a new home, you can buy it and move in without waiting for your old home to sell. You only have to pay the mortgage on your old home until it sells. After the sale, you'll have to repay Orchard for any mortgage payments that they made on your new house.
  4. Your old home will be prepped and listed for sale. Orchard will take care of repairs, staging and any other prep work that's needed to list your home. An Orchard agent will act as the listing agent.
  5. The new home is transferred into your name. After the sale of the old home, your new home will be transferred into your name.
  6. You receive the profits from the sale, minus fees and expenses. Orchard will pass along any profits from the home sale to you, minus their 6% service fee and any other expenses.

Pros & cons of Move First

Pros
  • You don't have to pay two mortgages at the same time.
  • The purchase of your new home isn't contingent on the sale of your old one.
  • Flexibility — Orchard can still buy your home from you if it doesn't sell on the open market.
  • There is no termination penalty, so you can cancel at any time.
❌ Cons
  • The mortgage on your new home is deducted from your profits when the sale of your old home closes.
  • Orchard is only available in nine markets.
  • There is a strict qualification criteria for homes.

Orchard Move First fees & expenses

Aside from Orchard's 6% service fee, there are other expenses that you should consider when you're thinking of doing a buy and sell with Orchard.

Even though you don't have to pay two mortgages at the same time, you still have to repay Orchard for any mortgage payments that they make on your new house before your old house sells.

You'll also have to continue paying your old mortgage until the house sells.

Orchard claims that their agents negotiate so that sellers pay no closing costs, but you'll still have to pay traditional closing costs for the home that you buy.

There are a number of variable costs that will all be deducted from your profits from the end of the transaction.

Costs associated with an Orchard transaction

Old House
New House
Repair deductions
Closing costs

Utilities and taxes

Mortgage repayment

If you get an estimate from Orchard, be aware that having to deduct all of these costs at the end of the transaction will reduce your profits.

Your Orchard Home Advisor will explain the process to you, so make sure you use that opportunity to ask more questions and find out exactly what you'll be paying for.

Offer Boost

As part of the Move First program, Orchard offers a feature called Offer Boost.

If you choose to use Offer Boost, Orchard will make an all-cash offer on your next house. A cash offer can be more attractive to sellers, especially in a competitive market.

There's no additional fee for using Offer Boost, but there is a catch.

If you use Offer Boost, you have to be pre-qualified for a home loan through Orchard Home Loans. The loan origination fee for Orchard Home Loans ranges from 0-3%, so you may end up paying a hefty fee just to access Offer Boost.[1] Loan origination fees typically range from 0.5-1%, so if Orchard's fees are as high as 3%, they're much higher than the industry average.[2]

Not only that, but according to Orchard's FAQ page, you'll pay $30-50 per day for using Offer Boost after your old home sells.

List with Orchard

Listing with Orchard is similar to working with a traditional real estate agent, with the added bonus of $1,000 worth of home-prep included.

The 6% service fee still applies, and sellers have the option to sell their home directly to Orchard if it doesn't sell on the open market after 30 days. Alternatively, sellers can continue to try selling the home on the open market after 30 days.

  1. Get an assessment. Orchard can use the information you submit to determine if your home qualifies and figure out what the best listing price is.
  2. Orchard will prep and list your home. Orchard's listing package includes a 3D tour, staging, and cleaning. Additional repair costs will be deducted from the profits of the sale.
  3. Sell your home on the open market. An Orchard agent will market your home to potential buyers and work to find the right buyer as quickly as possible.
  4. OR, sell to Orchard. If you end up selling to Orchard after first listing on the open market, there's an additional 1% fee.

✍️ Editor's note
While it's difficult to say exactly how much Orchard might pay for your home if it doesn't sell on the open market, it's safe to assume that it will be less than fair market value.

If Orchard wasn't able to sell your home on the open market in 30 days, they may have difficulty reselling it, so they'll need to preserve their margins by maintaining a competitive listing price.

Instant Equity

As part of Orchard's listing service, you have the option to access "Instant Equity" as a seller.

With Instant Equity, your home will be listed for 120 days. If for some reason your home doesn't sell during the 120 day period, Orchard will buy your home from you for the Instant Equity amount that you agreed to upfront.

If you don't want to exercise the Instant Equity option after 120 days, you have no obligation to keep your listing with Orchard.

Pros & cons of listing with Orchard

Pros
  • Home valuation in 24 hours.
  • Orchard creates a 3D tour of your home so more people can see it.
  • Cash offer from Orchard if your home doesn't sell.
  • $1,000 for home prep included.
❌ Cons
  • Given the 6% service fee, the cost is essentially the same as listing with an agent at another brokerage.
  • Only available in nine markets.

Orchard Real Estate Locations

Orchard operates across the following markets in Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, and Georgia:

  • Austin
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • San Antonio
  • Houston
  • Denver
  • Colorado Springs
  • Charlotte
  • Raleigh Durham
  • Atlanta

Orchard customer reviews

Orchard has positive reviews on two different third-party review sites:

  • Trustpilot — 4.6/5 based on 137 reviews
  • Better Business Bureau — 3.86/5 based on 7 reviews

What people liked about Orchard

Positive reviews of Orchard real estate highlighted common themes like:

  • the ease of buying and selling without having to pay two mortgages at once
  • the efficiency of Orchard's home advisors
  • the professionalism of Orchard's customer service team

Lora said that the process was easy and transparent from start to finish:

Cabot said that working with Orchard removed the stress from trying to buy and sell at the same time:

Larry said that Orchard gave him flexibility when he needed more time to close on his new house:

What people didn't like about Orchard

Themes from negative customer reviews of Orchard include:

  • Bad home prep (poor cleaning, cheap repairs)
  • Expensive repair estimates that drastically reduced the final profit from selling the home
  • Poor communication between sellers and the Orchard team

It should be noted that many of these negative reviews were submitted prior to Orchard's rebranding when the company was still called Perch.

It's possible that the service has improved since the company's rebranding, but it's also possible that the new name was a reaction to negative feedback that was undermining the company's credibility.

Carrie complained that Perch (Orchard) dropped the initial valuation of their house by $36,000 solely because there was a busy street and an electrical tower behind their property:

LIndsay said that despite a good inspection, Orchard's final offer dropped significantly:

Marissa said that a lack of communication and responsibility resulted in her bad experience as a home seller:

Additional services

Orchard's additional services can be used by home buyers and sellers as part of their transaction, but customers aren't required to use them.

It's best for customers to shop around and compare prices to make sure they get the best possible deal.

These services include Orchard Title, Orchard Home Loans, and Orchard Homeowners insurance. Orchard is able to provide some of these services through partnerships that they have with third-party companies.

For example, Orchard Title provides title insurance through First American Title Insurance Company.

Orchard Title

Orchard Title provides customers with title insurance, settlement and escrow services, and property searches.

Orchard customers can use Orchard Title during a purchase or a sale, but they are not required to.

Title services are provided through third-party partners like First American and Notarize.com.

Orchard Home Loans

Orchard Home Loans is Orchard's mortgage lending solution. Currently, Orchard Home Loans only operates in Texas, Colorado, and Georgia — three of the four states where Orchard buys and sells houses.

Orchard customers are not required to be pre-qualified through Orchard Home Loans unless they use Offer Boost to make a cash offer on their next home.

Orchard Homeowners Insurance

Orchard Homeowners Insurance is an online portal that allows customers to request and compare quotes for homeowners insurance online.

Orchard partners with Young Alfred, an insurance marketplace, to offer this service.

Orchard vs. Knock

Knock is another home trade-in service that allows buyers to move into their new home before selling their old one.

While Orchard offers home prep and listing services to make selling your old home easier, Knock's services are more strictly confined to lending via bridge loans.

Unlike Orchard, Knock offers a $25,000 advance toward repairs and improvement of your old home, which must be paid back after closing.

While Knock appears to have a much lower service fee, it's important to point out that the Knock service fee does not include agent commissions. Orchard, on the other hand, builds agent commissions for their own agents into the fee.

» READ: Our full review of Knock.


Knock
Orchard
Service fee
1.25%
6%
Average customer rating
4.8/5 stars
4.6/5 stars
Can you move before selling?


Non-contingent offer support


Assistance with repairs
Interest-free Home Swap loan (up to $25,000)
Repair/upgrade costs are deducted from profits.
Backup offer


Contact Orchard

Phone
(844) 819-1373
Email
hello@orchard.com
Website

ARTICLE SOURCES
[1]

Orchard. "Affiliated Business Arrangement Disclosure Statement." Accessed March 5, 2021.

[2]

US Lending Company. "Everything You Need to Know About Loan Origination Fees." Accessed March 5, 2021.

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