Lendai lends a hand to foreign investors looking at American real estate
The company uses three different algorithms to pair foreign investors and local properties
“We're making mortgages exciting - I know that mortgages are a boring thing for most, but our mortgages are exciting because we are doing premium loans, to premium buyers, for premium properties, in a certain market,” explained Yair Benyamini, CEO of Lendai. The AI-based financial portfolio lender uses three algorithms to help match non-US residents to US-based real estate. It’s a market, according to Benyamini, that brings in $37 billion a year from countries such as Canada, Australia, and of course Israel.
“It’s a financial gap in the market when even though there is a good property to invest in the U.S, and a good customer overseas, it doesn’t matter... because they’re not located in the same place (and) the regular banking system just says no on both sides so they can’t finance those properties.”
Lendai is made up of a streamlined online process that can award mortgages to non-U.S residents in a matter of days. According to Benyamini, the average American takes 41 days to receive a mortgage, and Lendai quickens this for non-residents to 14-21-days. Once approved, the loan can be used to finance a second vacation property in states like Florida, or even their new primary home in red states such as Ohio, Arizona, Texas, Indiana, and Georgia - which flipped blue in the 2020 election but remains Republican on a local legislative level.
“Putting aside New York and California, the majority of foreign investors are in red states because it’s easier for investors to invest there,” Benyamini explained. The Florida market is 23% of all foreign investors in the U.S, much more than any other state.” Lendai currently only operates in seven mostly red states, but already covers 50% of the market for foreign investments in the U.S due to their tendency to be more investor-friendly and vendor-friendly than blue states.
“The Canadians from Montreal and Toronto will buy in Florida, Michigan, Indiana; the Canadians from British Columbia will buy in Arizona, Texas… they’re going south of the border to whatever they will find. The British are buying all over the place, the Australians are buying in Georgia, and everyone loves to buy in Florida. they’re buying the sun, the beaches, the ecosystem,” Benyamini explained.
Aside from offering overseas buyers a platform and way to purchase American property, it also has a B2B partners platform that works with realtor property managers, developers, loan officers, and those who have a U.S-based operation and working with foreign investors. While he couldn’t disclose these partners right now, Benyamini claims the company has “more than 60 partners who manage thousands of clients and tens of thousands of properties in the U.S.”
Interestingly, Benyamini shared that it is the Canadians who are the largest share of overseas residential real estate investment from overseas. While the top spot would flutter between Canada and China, the former is taking the top spot in recent years due to the trade war still felt from the days of the Trump Administration. Lendai doesn’t even work with China, which may be picking up commercial buildings all over the world but isn’t as focused on residential buildings in the U.S. “It's also easier for us to work with western countries when we know the risks are lower,” he added. “Because we’re doing cross-border transactions to real estate, so we have to be very exact with what we're doing and build high-grade policies.”
Lendai was founded in 2019 and includes Erez Dricker as its CTO, Tim Mironov as its Chief Data Scientist, and Boaz Leviatan as its CFO and Credit Manager. Described as ‘veterans of Israeli banking systems’ and ‘actual geniuses’, Benyamini is confident that Lendai will help non-U.S residents tap safely and efficiently into the American housing market - the largest real estate market in the world.
“Even if you’re working in a niche, like our niche, it’s a $500 billion dollar niche… We have a huge market and we’re gonna rule this market with our technology and our marketing strategy,” Benyamini claimed.