PorchPass, a financial technology (fintech) app developed by Braustin Homes, has hired software developer Dirk Elmendorf, Rackspace Technology co-founder, along with Jobward developers Brett Elmendorf, Natalie Karney, and Emily Rodriguez to help scale the San Antonio startup’s fintech platform.
PorchPass is the first fintech app designed for land buyers, sellers, and dealerships in the manufactured housing sector. Braustin Homes created PorchPass as a cash-backed solution to streamline the new home construction process for manufactured homes.
While Braustin Homes addressed the need for a streamlined home-buying experience — something co-founder and CEO Alberto Piña discovered the U.S. homebuilding industry overall wrestles with — one critical piece was missing. These same buyers often struggled with financing a manufactured home’s land and home package. PorchPass gives buyers the power and speed of a cash close in today’s hyper-competitive housing market.
“Our goal in starting Braustin Homes was to help bring more affordable housing options to buyers,” Piña said. We can’t do that alone, but with PorchPass, we can bring the industry along.”
Almost one-third of all mobile home customers who have already been approved for a home mortgage also need a land home construction loan. These often-complicated loans, with high rates and fees, can take up to 140 days to clear, which puts potential homeowners at risk of losing their dream property, given the competitive real estate market.
“Our fintech app allows us to scale nationally,” said Piña. “This industry is broken, which drove us to launch our company. We intend to fix this so more families can buy an affordable home.”
PorchPass also levels the playing field for buyers. Financing in the manufactured home space is “nowhere nearly as competitive as in the traditional home mortgage industry,” Piña explained. “Our fintech app lets our buyers get competitive financing rates to buy their homes. This puts them on par with traditional home mortgage shoppers.”
Elmendorf and his brother Brett are active innovators in San Antonio’s startup community. In 2018, the brothers became co-founders and investors in Brokerage Engine, a web-based software solution for real estate brokerage firms. In 2021, the Elmendorf brothers, plus Natalie Karney and Drew Hicks, launched Jobward, a web-based platform that helps job seekers create customized resumes to apply for a specific job.
The experienced software developer team joins PorchPass at a critical time in the real estate market.
Zillow, Redfin, and Opendoor have all posted significant losses despite the recent boom in the housing market. All three companies entered the loan origination business, buying sellers’ homes, then renovating and flipping them in a hot market with surging home prices and demand. As the 2021-2022 market cooled and with mortgage rates now hovering around 7%, these companies are struggling to manage their losses.
“Zillow and Redfin lost when they used algorithms to price homes, and they lost big,” Elmendorf explained. That’s not the dynamic facing PorchPass, Elmendorf explained to Startups San Antonio. In Texas, there are many locations where a buyer can purchase land and build a manufactured home for less than $400,000.
“In this [fintech] space, there are no jumbo loans for manufactured homes because they tend to be priced under $400,000,” Elmendorf said. As more customers look to buy a well-made, affordable home, the Rackspace co-founder said that demand helps drive Braustin’s growth, especially in Texas.
“Adding Dirk, Brett, Natalie, and Emily allows us to accelerate the timelines to deliver an industry-leading experience for our partners and increase the pace of how many homeowners we get to help,” Braustin Homes chief of technology Cole Wollak said.
Braustin Homes launched a beta test of PorchPass internally late last year before rolling it out to other business partners in January 2023. The pilot has been oversubscribed, and PorchPass is now building a waitlist for this and future financial products.
“What got me to join PorchPass was their mission — building a financial engine that helps people become homeowners,” Elmendorf said. “And PorchPass is starting where we have lots of growth opportunities.”
The featured courtesy photo is of a iPad screen showing PorchPass, a fintech app for home buyers, courtesy photo.