The last several weeks have been frenetic, since announcing Vontive and navigating the turbulent housing market and economy. We are committed to investing time, thinking, and energy into writing informative blog posts. As a starting point, we wanted to start sharing our strategy.
Our market is investment real estate. Our current focus is residential investment properties. Over the last decade, real-estate investors bought more than 2 million properties in the U.S.
As an aside, we are often asked, “How do you size your market?” All real-estate purchases and mortgages are a matter of public record. We query a national database of these public records and search owner names to flag investor-owned properties. Owner type is not a structured attribute, so we search for words in the owner name like “LLC,” “Trust,” “Corp,” “Inc.,” “Investment,” and “Investments.” From there, we can analyze the market characteristics of investor-owned real estate.
Mortgage lending for residential investment properties is a $300+ billion per year gross-merchandise value (“GMV”) market. This mortgage market is extremely fragmented:
- The top 25 lenders have less than 20% market share; in contrast, the top 25 conventional mortgage lenders control nearly 90% market share.
- Product standardization is immature, and so is capital markets infrastructure to flow capital from financial institutions to lenders and their borrowers.
- This market does not have a commercial technology ecosystem. Investment mortgage lenders are cash flow sensitive and cannot effectively build their own software.
The investment mortgage market is attractive to financial institutions seeking low-volatility yield that is uncorrelated with traditional equity and debt markets. For example, short-term debt to purchase and renovate real estate prices 550-900 basis points over the one-month SOFR rate and has a seven-month weighted average life.
Vontive is creating the technology to standardize this fragmented market. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are synonymous with the conventional mortgage for homeowners and an analogy for how we’d like Vontive to be the de facto mortgage for investment real estate.
Our technology is a loan-application, risk-analysis, and loan-origination system built on a comprehensive data foundation. We offer a bolt-on, no-code solution for B2C brands to offer investment-property loans. We produce reliable mortgages for their customers and precisely underwritten, transparent and safe assets for the capital markets.
Our technology will transform the fragmented market we are addressing and create an entirely different experience of getting a mortgage. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are synonymous with the conventional mortgage for homeowners and an analogy for how we’d like Vontive to be the de facto mortgage for investment real estate. We foresee the mortgage becoming a digital commodity and the embedded platform to originate, distribute, and service loans capturing significant enterprise value.
Part 1: Eliminate Friction
Real estate investors seek best execution. Its first dimension is certainty: real estate investors know upfront when they are eligible for debt, and that their loan will close fast. Financial institutions that require full underwriting to fund a mortgage cannot deliver certainty or speed because collecting information, analyzing risk, and making decisions are manual and time-consuming. Therefore, real estate investors pay cash or use hard money whenever avoiding friction is their primary need.
Our strategy starts with shortening the time to close mortgages and expanding the scope of underwriting, relative to what traditional lenders can do without technology. Better data collection, analysis, and transparency transforms how financial institutions can evaluate the inherent risk of mortgages—enabling the second dimension of best execution, market-best pricing, to be addressable.
Part 2: Embed with Trusted Brands
The second part of our strategy covers mortgage distribution and growth. Many retail brands, ranging from Proptech companies to traditional real estate businesses and from Fintechs to banks and credit unions, serve real estate investors and are highly trusted. The primary products and services of many of these businesses depend on mortgage debt. Our strategy is to give these businesses a bolt-on, white-label solution to offer mortgages, where these retail brands focus on customer acquisition and Vontive fulfills debt for their customers.
Part 3: Funding through Direct Integrations
The third part of our strategy reduces risk when we fulfill mortgages. Eventually, a debt marketplace will replace the traditional funding process by supplying mortgage assets and yields to financial institutions that commit liquidity through direct platform integration.
Part 4: Become Digital Connective Tissue
Embedding mortgage fulfillment with trusted retail brands, integrating financial institutions to create liquidity, and achieving growth as a platform will create connective tissue between mortgage participants—borrowers, lending intermediaries, and the capital markets. This connectivity will commoditize loans but create value from orchestrating mortgage distribution.
Additionally, digital connectivity will lay critical infrastructure to distribute other financial products through retail partners to real estate investors.
Our strategy depends on the following assumptions to be true:
- Real estate investors will adopt a mortgage with bank-grade underwriting, if their workload and closing timeline are equivalent to buying a property with cash.
- Subject to delivering best execution, real estate investors will turn to brands they already work with to obtain a mortgage.
- For most retail brands, developing their own investment mortgage technology is not feasible, and they will not switch from embedded to their own technology.
- Standard mortgage products can address most investment strategies. For example, Vontive fulfills short-term debt to purchase and modernize properties or build new homes and long-term debt for rental properties.
- Financial institutions will provide liquidity through technology integration and scalable, replicable financing structures.
Our go-to-market experience has already proven relevant retail brands want to bolt an investment property mortgage onto their business.
We will add more content about our market, technology, and efforts to standardize the investment property mortgage. If your business works with real estate investors and would like to bolt on a mortgage company, or you are interested in joining our journey, we look forward to connecting with you.