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By Calvin Cooper, Co-Founder & CEO of Rhove

Frankly, equity crowdfunding isn’t going to cut it. Not in real estate, at least.

The future of real estate needs to be about “resident ownership.” Equity crowdfunding may be sufficient in raising capital for startups, but real estate is inherently social and intertwined with our daily lives. It is ripe for resident capital participation. People everywhere should be able to own the places they live, work and play. It’s a simple idea but one that is only just now taking hold thanks to changing regulations and innovative technology platforms.

This type of equity participation is not for developers who need the capital, but rather for developers who want the benefits of resident ownership such as encouraging people to take better care of their space. Funding in real real estate is abundant so this is truly about community inclusion and not tapping sources of capital.

It’s a future that real estate developers throughout the U.S. cold call me about because they don’t want to get left behind. America is in a housing crisis and the market is demanding change. My company, Rhove, launched renter ownership in 2020 in partnership with award-winning multifamily builder Kaufman Development. We partner with organizations that truly understand the community inclusion part.

It’s more urgent than ever. At more than $440,000, the median price of a home is out of reach for most Americans who are stuck renting with no equity and no pride of ownership. Among those that can afford a starter home, more than 70% of Millennial buyers regret their purchase. It turns out that people like the equity of homeownership, but they don’t want the headaches that come with being a homeowner – costly maintenance, rising property taxes and more chores and responsibilities. People actually like the renting lifestyle with amenities and flexibility. In fact, more than 10% of Millennials plan to rent forever. Yet, the average renter will spend over $200,000 in lifetime rent with nothing to show for it. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Imagine if people could keep the renting lifestyle, gain more creative control of their environment and get the opportunity to buy into the equity value that comes with real estate ownership. The “renter ownership” market will create this superior value and experience that allows people to lead more fulfilling and rewarding lives.

This is a trillion-dollar market that is highly fragmented with real estate developers in every community. That means platform technologies that developers can easily plug in at scale necessary to build the future of real estate ownership, experience and finance.

However, this is more than a financial imperative. This is about citizenship and belonging. Constitutional Framer and 2nd US President John Adams once wrote that “The only possible way of preserving the balance of power on the side of equal liberty and public virtue, is to make the acquisition of land easy to every member of society.”

Real estate is inherently social and plays a unique role in our lives. The everyday Americans frustrated by their housing experience need to make it happen. People everywhere should be able to own the places they live, work and play. Ownership should be everywhere the people are.

And now is the time as a monsoon of capital and creativity create new ownership experiences in real estate.

While equity crowdfunding opens doors to new sources of capital, community ownership breaks down the walls of participation and social belonging.

Calvin Cooper is Co-founder and CEO of Rhove. Founded with the goal of turning every renter into an owner, Rhove empowers everyday people to invest in and own the places they live, work and play.



Oct 11, 2022




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