🔑 Key takeaways
Orchard real estate helps homeowners purchase and move into a new home while it lists and sells their old one. The company also offers cash-backed financing for home buyers.
Through their signature trade-in service, Move First, Orchard lets you access up to 90% of the equity in your home to make a non-contingent offer on a new house before you sell. Orchard takes care of selling your previous property and deducts their fees and expenses from the proceeds at closing.
If you're buying in a competitive market, Orchard can front you the funds to make an all cash offer, which are generally more attractive to sellers than offers contingent on financing. When the purchase is complete, you'll buy the home back from Orchard using a traditional mortgage.
Even if you're buying outside of Orchard's service area, you can still work with the company's team of in-house agents to sell your home. Orchard's home listing services include a guaranteed backup offer in case your home doesn't sell and interest-free funding for home improvements prior to listing.
While Orchard's convenient, flexible offerings have drawn positive customer reviews, the company probably won't save you any money over competitors. With a service fee of 6%, you'll pay about as much as you would buying and selling with a traditional real estate agent.
Who should use Orchard?
If you live in a competitive market or are struggling to coordinate a home purchase and sale, Orchard's offerings may be a good fit.
Unless you have a lot of cash on hand, it can be difficult to afford a new home before you sell your current one. Orchard solves this problem by giving you access to your home's equity — its market value minus what you still owe on the mortgage — before you sell it.
Known as Move First, Orchard's buy-before-you-sell program lets you use your home's assessed equity to secure a new house while Orchard lists your old one on the open market.
If you're unable to find a buyer within 120 days, Orchard will buy your home for the Instant Equity amount that you agreed to upfront, charging an additional 1% on top of its usual 6% service fee. If you don't like the Instant Equity amount, which will inevitably be less than you could get on the open market, you can opt to continue trying to sell with your Orchard agent.
Orchard could also be an option if you're trying to buy in an area where there's lots of competition for homes. Orchard's Move First program can be combined with an add-on service called Offer Boost, which turns your purchase offer into cash, backed by Orchard's own funds. The cash-backed offer option is also available to home buyers who aren't looking to sell.
Cash offers are one of the fastest ways to close on a home, making them more attractive to sellers. However, since Orchard will technically purchase the home on your behalf, you'll have to pay rent on it until your old one sells, at which point Orchard will settle up with you for their expenses and transfer the title to your name with your pre-approved mortgage attached.
Pros and cons of using Orchard
Your new home purchase isn't contingent on the sale of your old one
No real cost savings compared to listing with an agent
Receive a cash offer if your home doesn't sell on the open market
Only available in certain markets for homes that meet the company's criteria
Take advantage Offer Boost to make a cash offer on a new home
You'll still have to pay back any overlapping mortgage costs
The potential downside of trading in your home to Orchard is that you'll have to work with Orchard's in-house agents — meaning you get to work with someone you already know or use a discount agent that could save you money on commission.
When you settle up at the end of the process, you might end up losing a significant portion of your proceeds to fees and closing costs.
Orchard vs. the competition
Use your own agent
Home prep included
Multiple trade-in options
Orchard offers more than one trade-in option
Orchard stands out from competing home trade-in companies by giving you two distinct options for trading in your home:
- You can access Instant Equity from your current home to make a down payment on your next house.
- Or, you can take advantage of Orchard's Offer Boost option to pay for your new home outright, using Orchard's cash.
Orchard's Offer Boost model is similar to that of other trade-in services like Knock and Flyhomes. With this option, Orchard helps you make a cash offer on a new home and lets you move in right away while they put your previous house on the market.
Once your old home sells, Orchard will transfer the new home title into your name and you'll begin paying your mortgage. In the meantime, Orchard will technically own the home, and you'll be charged a daily rental fee of $50–$150 to live in it. The rent will be deducted from the proceeds of your previous home sale at closing, along with Orchard's service fee and expenses related to holding and selling the home.
While nearly all home trade-in services require you to pay daily or monthly rent to live in your new home before your old home sells, Orchard's Instant Equity option lets you avoid paying rent altogether. Instead, you unlock the equity from your current home to pay down the mortgage and make a down payment on a new home. You'll apply for a mortgage to make up for whatever your remaining equity doesn't cover and start paying it down as soon as you move in.
Both of Orchard's trade-in options come with a 6% service fee, which includes full-service representation from Orchard's team of in-house agents throughout the buying and selling process.
Knock offers similar services with the option to you use your own agent
Knock is another home trade-in service that allows buyers to purchase a new home before they sell.
With a similar 4.8 customer rating, Knock offers many of the same benefits as Orchard, including an interest-free loan of up to $25,000 to fix up the house you're listing and a guaranteed backup offer in case the home doesn't sell.
Orchard vs. Knock
⭐ Average customer rating
💵 Service fee
1.25% + $1450
🏠 New home mortgage/rental fee
0.5–1% applied to mortgage
Direct mortgage payment to lender OR $50-150 rent to Orchard when you use Offer Boost
50 metros across AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, MN, NC, SC, TN, and TX
11 metros across CO, GA, MD, NC, TX, and VA
🧑💼 Agent commission
Included in service fee
🛠️ Assistance with repairs
Interest-free Home Swap loan (up to $25,000)
Deducted from proceeds
Knock's trade-in service, Home Swap, is similar to Orchard's Offer Boost. When you qualify for Home Swap, Knock will purchase a new home on your behalf and let you move in right away, transferring the title to your name once your old home sells.
However, rather than paying rent on your new home like you would with Offer Boost, Knock charges a monthly fee of 0.5–1% that goes straight toward your mortgage, much like it would if you used Orchard's equity option. The caveat is that you'll have to use Knock as your mortgage lender, so you won't have the opportunity to shop for a better interest rate.
Compared to Orchard, Knock advertises a lower service fee of 1.25%, plus $1,450 for loan processing — though this is in addition to the 4–6% you'll pay to an agent for helping you sell your home and make an offer on a new one.
Where Knock can potentially save you money over Orchard is in giving you the option to choose your own agent — meaning you could choose from a growing pool of agents offering incredible service for a flat 1% commission vs. the typical 3%.
A discount agent could help you save even more
Clever partner agents are committed to providing incredible service for a low 1% commission or flat fee of $3,000 when they sell your home. By working with a discount agent, you can save thousands of dollars in commission while still taking advantage of a trade-in service like Knock.
Having an agent who is independent of the trade-in company means you'll be more likely to get objective advice about which services and add-ons make the most sense for you. And, instead of having multiple contacts at different points of the trade-in process, you'll have a dedicated agent on your side to help you navigate each step.
Clever can match you with top local agents who can help you explore your options to get the most out of buying and selling a home.
Flyhomes offers a buyer incentive (but no home prep)
As an Orchard alternative operating in several of the same metros, Flyhomes charges a low 1% service fee for their trade-in service, which is waived completely when you use their mortgage lender to purchase your next home. However, you'll still need to pay an additional 2–4% to cover the buyer's agent commission when you sell your current home.
Flyhomes is also available in several areas where Orchard isn't, including California, Massachusetts, and the Seattle metro area. While Flyhomes' footprint is larger — and their fees are lower — you may not get as much from your home sale as you would working with Orchard.
Orchard vs. Flyhomes
⭐ Average customer rating
1.25% + $1,450
🏠New home mortgage/rental fee
$100–200 / day to Knock
Direct mortgage payment to lender OR $50-150 / day to Orchard*
35 metros across CA, CO, MA, OR, TX, and WA
11 metros across CO, GA, MD, NC, TX, and VA
Included in service fee
🛠️ Assistance with repairs
Deducted from proceeds
*Rental fee only applies when you use Offer Boost
At $100–200 per month, Flyhomes' home rental fees are some of the highest in the industry. They also charge 6% short-term loan interest on your new home until your old house sells. If it takes a full 30 days to close the sale of your previous home while you live in your new one, you could end up paying as much as $9,000 in rental and interest fees using Flyhomes.
Like Orchard, Flyhomes' trade-in service includes full-service agent representation and assistance with deep cleaning and staging your home before you sell. But unlike Orchard, it doesn't offer any help with home repairs prior to listing.
Orchard real estate, at a glance
💰 Orchard fees
⭐ Average customer rating
✅ Programs and services
Move First, List with Orchard, Offer Boost, Instant Equity, Concierge
11 metros across CO, GA, MD, NC, OR, TX, VA
Phone: (844) 819-1373 | Email: email@example.com
Orchard's real estate services can help you make a more competitive offer on a new home, while also avoiding the financial burden of paying two mortgages when buying and selling at the same time.
The company offers three main programs:
- 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.
- Buy with Orchard: Work with an Orchard agent to shop for homes and make a cash offer with a guaranteed close.
An iBuyer is a real estate company that makes near-instant cash offers on select homes.
Although Orchard does sometimes purchase homes directly, its business model is focused on helping customers access financing to buy a new home before their old one sells. In most cases, you'll still sell your old home on the open market.
Orchard real estate's Move First program makes it possible for you to buy your new home and move before Orchard sells your old home. Orchard will work to sell your home, and you'll receive any additional proceeds from the sale, minus Orchard's fees and expenses.
The process is simple:
- Complete a home assessment. Start by submitting basic information about your home (such as the age and address) online.
- Access your equity. Based on the results of your home assessment and your current home equity, Orchard will allow you to access up to 90% of your old home's value to pay down your mortgage and make a down payment on your next home.
- Purchase and move into your new home. You can buy a new home and move in right away! Orchard will cover mortgage payments on your old home until it sells.
- Prep and list your old home. Orchard will take care of repairs, staging and any other prep work needed to list your home. An Orchard agent will act as your listing agent. After your old home sells, your new home's title will be transferred to you.
- Settle your bill. You'll receive the profits from your old home's sale, minus your overlapping mortgage payments and Orchard's fees and expenses.
Up your purchasing power with Offer Boost
Orchard's Offer Boost add-on lets you combine the assessed equity from your home with a pre-approved Orchard Home Loan to make an all-cash offer on your next house — giving you an edge in competitive markets.
With Offer Boost, Orchard will essentially buy the house on your behalf and then transfer the title back to you with the loan attached. Though there are no extra service fees, Orchard Home Loans' origination fee can be up to 6x more than a traditional lender.
You'll also be assessed a rental fee of $50–$150 for each day that you live in the new house before your old one sells. Orchard will collect their fees and recoup their expenses from the proceeds before transferring any remainder over to you.
Can I sell my home to Orchard?
Orchard real estate purchases select homes directly from sellers. Your home may qualify if:
- It was built between after 1920
- It's not currently on the market
- It's located within one of Orchard's service areas
- It fall within Orchard's approved home value range
Note that approved home values vary regionally — for example, while home values in most areas must be between $150,000 and $600,000, expensive metros such as Denver have a higher cap of $1 million.
It's safe to assume that Orchard pays less than fair market value for homes that don't sell on the open market. According to its website, Orchard pays "up to 90%" of your home's value — but keep in mind that your offer could be for much less.
Orchard's closest competitor, Knock, is transparent about the fact that it pays 80–85% of fair market value.
List with Orchard
If you only need to sell — or are buying outside of Orchard's service area — you can still take advantage of Orchard's unique selling advantages by using List with Orchard. The process is similar to working with a traditional real estate agent.
- Complete a home assessment. Orchard uses the information you submit to determine if your home qualifies for its program and to calculate the best listing price.
- Let Orchard prep and list your home. Orchard's listing package includes up to $1,000 of prep work, including a 3D tour, staging, and cleaning. Additional repair costs will be deducted from the profits of the sale.
- Close the deal. An Orchard agent will market your home for 120 days and work to find the right buyer as quickly as possible.
As part of its listing service, Orchard provides a guaranteed backup offer in case the market takes a turn or an initial offer falls through. If your home hasn't sold within 120 days of listing, Orchard will pay you the initial assessed value, what it calls the "instant equity" amount.
List with Orchard carries the same 6% service fee as Move First. If you choose to sell to Orchard before the listing period has ended, there's an additional 1% fee to cover the costs of holding your home until it can be resold.
While Orchard claims that 95% of their home listings sell for more than the instant equity price tag, the guaranteed offer gives you peace of mind in case you need to sell on a specific timeline.
Buy with Orchard
Regardless of whether you need to sell a home, you can unlock Orchard's cash-backed offer to buy. Orchard charges 4% for the service, which comes out of the seller's proceeds at closing.
As a buyer, you pay nothing out of pocket. However, if you choose to use Orchard Home Loans to fund your purchase, you could be in for much higher loan fees — costing you an extra $10,000 or more than other loan competitors according to one customer's review. So, be sure to comparison shop before you decide on a lender.
Here's how Buying with Orchard works:
- Get pre-approved. Get pre-approved for a mortgage through Orchard, who will shop for lenders on your behalf.
- Shop for homes. Search and tour homes with Orchard's touring specialists until you find the one you like.
- Make a cash offer. Your Orchard buying advisor will help you submit a competitive offer, backed by Orchard's cash.
- Move on your timeline. You can move in as soon as Orchard purchases the home on your behalf. You'll have a 30 day grace period to complete your financing before you start paying your mortgage.
The primary benefit of a cash-backed offer is its attractiveness to the seller, who doesn't have to worry about the sale falling through due to last-minute financing issues. In fact, Orchard claims that cash buyers save 1–2% on the purchase price from submitting a cash offer on a home.
If there's a delay in the closing process, Orchard will step in to purchase the home on your behalf. After 30 days, you'll pay a daily rental fee of about $50–100 to cover maintenance and utility costs until your financing comes through and Orchard transfers you the mortgage.
Buying with Orchard is available in the following markets:
- Austin, TX
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
- Denver, CO
- Houston, TX
- San Antonio, TX
Additional Orchard services
- Orchard Title: Orchard Title partners with third-party vendors (including First American and Notarize.com) to provide customers with title insurance, property searches, and settlement and escrow services.
- Orchard Home Loans: Orchard Home Loans is Orchard's mortgage lending solution. However, its origination fee ranges from 0–3% — potentially adding up to much more than the typical 0.5–1%.
- Orchard Homeowners Insurance: Orchard partners with Young Alfred (an insurance marketplace) to let you request and compare quotes online.
How much are Orchard's fees?
We estimate that you'll pay about 9–14% to trade in your home with Orchard. This includes the standard closing costs associated with buying and selling a home. Assuming a $600,000 home value on both the buy and sell side, you're looking at $54,000–88,500 deducted from your net proceeds.
If you use Orchard's Offer Boost to make an all-cash offer, you'll also be assessed a daily rent of $50–150 for the convenience of living in your new home until your old home sells.
Orchard's service fees for its Move First and List with Orchard programs start at 6% of your home's final sale value. This is in line with the 6% realtor commission you'd pay with a conventional home sale, with half going to the listing agent and half going to the buyer's agent. However, if you went with a discount brokerage, you could potentially save thousands in realtor commissions without sacrificing service.
Selling with Orchard may ultimately cost you more in fees than selling with an agent. However, it comes with the convenience of being able to move into a new home without having to go through the hassle of fixing up and showing your old one. You'll also get the competitive edge of a contingency-free offer and interest-free financing for home repairs prior to listing.
Costs of Selling with Orchard
Cost on a $600,000 home
Seller closing costs
Buyer closing costs
Home rental* (30 days)
$0–150 / day
9–14% + rent
*Rental fees apply only if you use Orchard's Offer Boost to purchase your new home
While Orchard's 6% service fee is high for the industry, you won't have to pay a separate buyer's agent commission on the sale of your old house like you would with an alternative like Knock or Flyhomes.
When using their trade-in service to buy and sell a home, you can also use Orchard's equity option to avoid paying the rent charged by most trade-in services for letting you move into your new home while they carry the costs until your old one sells.
To compare, here's a breakdown of Flyhomes' trade-in fees on the same two homes values at $600,000:
- Service fee: 1% ($6,000)
- Seller closing costs: 1–3% ($6,000-18,000)
- Buyer closing costs: 2–5% ($12,000-30,000)
- Realtor commission: 2–4% ($12,000-18,000)
- Short-term loan interest (30 days): 6% APR ($1,450)
- Home rental costs (30 days): $100–200 ($3,000–6000)
All-in, Flyhomes would cost between $42,000–81,000 (6–13% + $3,000–6,000 for rent). This estimate includes taking advantage of Flyhomes' service fee rebate when you use its mortgage lender. It also accounts for the short-term loan interest Flyhomes charges for holding your new home until your old one sells.
Like Flyhomes, Knock charges a lower 1.25% service fee, but leaves it to you to pay a separate 4–6% agent commission. With Knock, your all-in costs on a $600,000 home trade-would be $53,950–98,950 (8.75–16.25%).
However, Knock allows you to use your own agent, providing an opportunity to save by working with a discount agent charging a lower 1% commission. Using Knock with a discount agent, your cost goes down to $41,950–86,950 (6.75–14.25% + $1,450).
Want to learn more about working with a discount agent? Clever is a free service that connects you with agents from top brokerages including Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and Coldwell Banker. You'll receive full service support while paying just $3,000 or 1% in listing fees. AND, eligible buyers can receive cash back at closing!
Costs of Buying with Orchard
Like a traditional agent, Orchard charges a commission for its buying service, but it's paid for by the seller. There's no additional service fee for the buyer.
However, to qualify for Buy with Orchard, you'll need to be able to finance using a conventional loan, which usually requires a downpayment of 10–20%. You'll also need to submit a 2% earnest money deposit when you go under contract. At closing, you'll be responsible for the typical 2–5% in closing costs that you would with any other home buying transaction.
Other cash offer programs also charge a services fee, but a few of them waive the fee if you use the company's internal mortgage lender.
Total fees for a $600K home
*Fee waived if you use company's mortgage lender
Orchard's Move First is available in select markets across 7 states.
The Buy with Orchard program is limited to Denver, CO, and major metros in Texas.
Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio
Orchard customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Across third-party review sites, Orchard has an average rating of 4.8 from 361 reviews.
✅ Positive Orchard reviews
Overall, Orchard real estate reviews highlight themes such as the:
- Ease of buying and selling without having to pay two mortgages at once
- Helpfulness of being able to make a non-contingent offer on a new home
- Selling for more than expected thanks to Orchard's concierge team and savvy agents
Cabot said that working with Orchard reduced the stress of coordinating a home purchase and sale, since he didn't have to worry about carrying two mortgages. He also called attention to Orchard's fee transparency, appreciating that there were no hidden surprises.
Angela was originally reluctant to try Orchard, fearing that it sounded too good to be true. However, her experience was much better than anticipated. She made more from her home sale than anticipated and the instant equity gave her better bargaining power to secure a new home.
This customer appreciated the increase in equity they saw from Orchard's concierge service, which suggested and took care of repairs to help their home sell for more. In addition to receiving a cash offer well over their initial asking price, they were pleased with the knowledge and professionalism of Orchard's agents on both sides the transaction.
❌ Negative Orchard reviews
Unfortunately, not every customer has a positive experience with Orchard. Themes from Orchard real estate complaints include:
- Inexperienced agents who aren't familiar with the local market
- Poor marketing
- Lack of communication and complications resulting from too many points of contact
Ryan said that, despite the concept being good, there were so many different people to deal with that it was difficult to get answers to important questions. At one point, the lack of communication resulted in Orchard's turning off the customer's utilities while they were still occupying the house.
Esperanza complained about the lack of knowledge and experience from agents unfamiliar with the local market, resulting in multiple pricing adjustments and few showings on the home she was trying to sell.
Shannon pointed to the poor marketing and inattention to detail, including incorrect information on paperwork. She ended up rewriting her listing description to increase the number of views on her home.
A real estate agent can make or break your experience while buying or selling a home. That's why it's important to choose an agent whose judgment you trust — one who knows your local market conditions and the various buying, selling, and financing options available.
Unlike Orchard, Clever matches you with multiple agents from leading brokerages so you can choose the best fit for you. Even better, our partner agents work for pre-negotiated low rates of $3,000 or 1% — allowing you to get great service while earning more from your sale!
FAQs about Orchard
Yes — Orchard real estate is a legitimate business that helps customers buy and sell homes. Its signature service allows you to purchase a new home before your old one sells. However, it's only available in select markets and for certain types of homes. See how Orchard works!
Orchard's charges a 6% service fee to help you buy and sell a home. While you won't have to pay an additional agent commission, you will have to pay closing costs and other expenses associated with their trade-in service. Learn more about Orchard's services and fees.
Orchard is a brokerage and mortgage lender that offers home trade-in services and cash offers for clients. Orchard buys homes on behalf of its clients using cash, then sells the homes back to the clients. Orchard also buys homes from trade-in clients if the home doesn't sell on the open market, hoping to sell the home to another buyer. Learn more about Orchard.
Originally called Perch, the company rebranded as Orchard in 2020. According to co-founder and CEO Court Cunningham, the name Orchard reflects "warmth, friendliness, and humanity." Learn more about Orchard.
Before writing this review, our team spent weeks studying each real estate trade-in service to compare each company across multiple axes. Our research process included:
- Mystery shopping each company
- Interviewing real estate experts
- Conducting a spreadsheet analysis of each service provider's terms and fees