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The Inside Scoop on Sundae’s Work Culture

February 15, 2022 | Zach Child Zach Child

Get an inside look at the core values that Sundae embodies. See how these seven unique values translate into one cohesive mission to help customers get the best outcome.

When Josh Stech met Andrew Swain in late 2014, neither of them expected to eventually start a business together. Both held leadership roles at LendingHome, in sales and finance respectively. During their time at LendingHome, both Josh and Andrew saw how homeowners looking to sell off-market were preyed upon by predatory buyers. There was a clear need in the market for a company that sellers could trust, and that’s where Sundae fit into the equation.

Back in 2019 when we launched Sundae, the team began obsessing over finding a way to get a better outcome for our sellers. Our small team, packed inside a small office space, worked long nights to tirelessly make Sundae a reality. Fulfilling our mission was always top of mind, and finding those outcomes was what we all commonly worked toward.

That still holds true, even as our team has grown to over 300 people. Sundae’s mission has allowed us to grow and earn recognition as a potential billion dollar startup according to Forbes. Receiving $80M during our Series C round of funding helped push Sundae into the national spotlight. Our team constantly strives to maintain a small company feeling within a large company setting.

Our core value structure, coupled with our vision to help homeowners is what makes Sundae so appealing for the majority of our employees. The Sundae family, also known as “Famdae,” continues to grow and adapt to a changing environment. But one thing never changes: our desire to get our customers the best outcome. 

Here are each of the values that have helped get us where we are today:

One team

One team means winning together. At Sundae, we recognize that diverse teams create the best results. Many of our teams consist of members who are spread across the nation, each bringing their own unique experience in the field. Although we are spread apart, we all come together to make Sundae’s mission a reality.

Collaboration is key. This value is the only one that is prioritized above the rest. In the words of Josh Stech, CEO, “diversity is the fabric that holds Sundae together.” In order to continue to build this business, we need a diverse group of opinions, backgrounds, and experiences all centered around a common goal. 

Relentlessly customer focused

Our team is focused on understanding and solving the problems that sellers and investors face. To keep up with our growth, we have expanded many of our customer service roles. Meeting the needs of our customers, regardless of circumstance, is something we strive for in every transaction.

We take feedback to heart, and are always looking for ways to improve our customers’ experiences. The seller stories featured on our blog are focused around how Sundae was able to help a customer in their time of need. These stories are intended to capture the emotion of the experience, so our interviews are comprehensive and tailored to each customer. Every seller has a unique story, so capturing their experience is paramount. Although the reasons for selling vary widely among sellers, each story works to portray the same message: Sundae is here to help.

Empathetic in all we do

We care passionately about helping people in their moment of need. Our belief is that profit comes from doing the right thing. 

Meet Market Expert Michelle Taylor (Cal DRE 02013601). No one personifies this value better than her. Michelle acts as an advocate for sellers, and consistently goes above and beyond. She noted that “this value really is the North star for Sundae and our team. Wanting to do right by people is something we strive for every day.”

Selling a home is an emotion-laden experience for some. Homeowners looking to sell fast often come to us in their time of need. Ensuring that each customer is properly attended to is key to Sundae’s success. Our ability to always get customers the best outcome, even if that means ultimately selling with someone else, is what we strive for.

In pursuit of the truth

We push beyond symptoms to understand root causes. We balance quantitative metrics and qualitative feedback and always face our reality head-on. 

Our research team stays up to date on current market trends. Newsletters, webinars, and email updates are just a few of the ways we package current market trends for sellers and investors. See our January Market Minute for an example of packaged content. 

We aim to be a resource, both for homeowners and for investors. Our team is very receptive to feedback, and we constantly implement feedback into our operations. Constructive feedback is appreciated, and we hope that our customers feel we listen to them.

Helen Villiers (Cal DRE 01776685), one of Sundae’s resale managers. Helen spends most of her time helping customers through our closing process. In her words, “if we are to understand our customers, we need to understand why they are looking to sell. It is our job to listen to our sellers, have compassion and be empathetic. By pursuing this truth, we fulfill our mission in getting the best outcome for our customers.”

We want to go a step further and provide our sellers and investors with more extensive analysis. Educational materials such as webinars offer additional resources to investors on our platform. The idea is to equip investors with knowledge that they can then use to inform their business decisions. When our customers win, we win.

Transparent

We are transparent, both with our customers and with each member of the Sundae family. 

With Sundae, costs are transparent, so the offer that sellers receive is what they’ll get. Our clear presentation of offers ensures that sellers know every detail about the sale. To Madhav Ranjan, Sundae’s Senior Vice President of Product and Engineering, this value is what pushes Sundae into the future. “I love the transparency that Sundae offers; our willingness to share both the good and the bad with our customers is what sets us apart from our competition.”

On the investor side, our transparency is what sets Sundae apart from our competitors. Properties on Sundae’s Marketplace include everything investors need to make an informed decision. Every property includes a detailed packet so investors aren’t surprised when they’re handed the keys. Investors will never be blind sided by issues with a property they have purchased. We do our best to help provide the necessary resources for due diligence whenever possible.

Innovative

Back when Sundae was first introduced to the world, we operated as a broker between sellers and investors. Over time, we discovered that acting as the middleman between two parties was inefficient. We thought, “there has to be a better way to help more homeowners.” 

That’s when we came up with the idea of a marketplace where investors could directly bid on properties both inside and outside their local markets. Instead of acting as a broker, we could facilitate transactions all in a centralized place. Now that the marketplace is just over a year old, we can say with certainty that the number of sellers and investors we’ve helped since launching has significantly increased versus when we operated as a broker.

If you take a look within Sundae, you’ll see we prioritize ensuring our employees have health benefits. Unlimited PTO, competitive pay, and maternity leave are all things we offer to the members of the Sundae family. Providing employees with such benefits has a direct impact on their wellbeing. We’ve also started encouraging employees to take ‘mental health days’. Prioritizing both physical and mental health is paramount to ensuring everyone is happy and healthy. 

Decisive

Being decisive means being willing to make decisions in the face of uncertainty. Our operations are flexible so that we can meet the needs of every customer. We provide alternative solutions when Sundae isn’t the right fit. In order to improve our operations, we experiment with alternative solutions so that we can be as efficient as possible.

Off-market real estate had a bad reputation with owners. There are many stories about wholesalers who deploy tactics that maximize their profits while homeowners miss out on the upside. We took a decisive stand against wholesalers this past summer and created a campaign to help arm sellers with everything they need to identify and handle these bad actors.

In addition to our stance on wholesalers, we’ve also worked tirelessly to make the distinction between iBuyers and Sundae. While both Sundae and iBuyers offer sellers a convenient way to sell, we offer transparency throughout the process. Rather than one offer for a property, there’s an opportunity to get multiple offers using Sundae’s Marketplace, allowing owners to get the most out of their home sale.

The Sundae promise

Our mission is to help customers find the best outcome when they sell or purchase a property. Each member of the Sundae family has these core values in mind as they go about their day-to-day operations. If our values align with your own, don’t hesitate to visit our hiring page to apply for an open position.

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