Gravy is an app to help renters become homeowners, and it supports that goal with savings trackers, goal customization, long-term saving assistance and consistent education on home ownership.
Gravy is a financial wellness app centered on helping renters save for a home.
Platforms: iOS; Android
Ideal for: Realogy agents; mortgage advisors; first-time buyer agents, renters
Top Selling Points:
- Familiar “airline miles” model
- “Forced” saving based on rent payments
- Mortgage education features
- Gravy Rewards system
- Compares desired markets with savings goals
Gravy’s heart is in the right place, as is its UI/UX. My biggest concern is the housing market ultimately reaching a point where it encourages apathy, and thus discourages use.
What You Should Know
Gravy users earn rewards of five percent of their monthly rent payment when paid on time. The beautifully designed app is inspired by fintech user experiences, but it’s not weighed down by all kinds of account access features or internal up-sells. The app’s purpose is to help renters become homeowners, and it supports that goal with savings trackers, goal customization, long-term saving assistance and consistent education on homeownership.
Gravy needs its users to know that a mortgage does not require a 20 percent down payment. Yes, obviously having that much helps a great deal, but it’s largely out of reach for most of today’s aspiring homeowners, many of whom could afford the monthly commitment but not the extra savings required to achieve that down payment goal.
This fact visibly upset one of the app’s founders as we chatted about it during our demo. That’s good. There is authentic passion behind this product, and that’s what it will take for housing to become more inclusive.
Gravy’s tools help users monitor their savings goals in conjunction with the median price of a home in their desired market. They can adjust interactive sliders to get an idea of where they stand.
Accumulated savings, which can be manually transferred to a Gravy account by linking with standard banking apps (a Plaid pass-through), are tracked alongside Gravy Rewards, which can be further enhanced by working with one of its partner agents or mortgage professionals.
If you use a Gravy partner when it comes time to buy, you’ll get $1000 toward the deal, and since your mortgage rep is in the mix, they’ll be able to verify the source of the funds.
Gravy also refunds $1000 at closing as part of a Homebuyer Bonus and puts $250 into an account upon setup.
For now, Gravy is partnered with Realogy brand brokerages. For the sake of scaling, I would expect them to reach out to other companies as they go.
Partner agents can be searched for in the app and users can connect with them via email or phone directly from Gravy.
It should be noted that Gravy’s savings accounts are FDIC insured, too. This makes the app a fintech in spirit, but its slick, spartan user experience would suggest otherwise.
Deposits can be set up to run automatically; savings progress is clearly tracked, and can be categorized by rewards and actual cash.
Real estate agents who work with first-time buyers or who use buyer education seminars as marketing tactics could deftly leverage this app to stay connected to participants. Those who work with renters could benefit from recommending it, too.
And on that front, Gravy peppers its interface with informational snippets on homeownership, the mortgage process and other useful financial soundbites. Its blog is full of resources, there’s chat assistance and it’s planning on rolling out a shared savings program for others to contribute to a person’s account.
Sometimes, I think the real estate industry has forgotten that it can’t live on homeowners forever. That lead pool is limited.
And even though the new buyer pond may be a tad more shallow, it’s still stocked — you simply need the right lure.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe
Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.