Entrepreneur and Real Estate Investor, Tavio Hobson, discusses how Seattle-based company, Loftium, makes homeownership a reality for some.

Growing up and later working in the Seattle area, I saw firsthand how property prices have skyrocketed as it became a tech and business hub. The problem being, the young millennials these corporate hubs want to hire can’t afford to own their home in the area. My point is, the median homeownership age has been on the rise, and while many have attributed this to younger generations’ nomadic lifestyles, that’s not the only factor in this shift. So why am I rambling on about the dismal outlook for homeownership in highly-populated and desirable cities? Seattle based company, Loftium, provides a solution. Currently only focused on the Seattle area, I expect an expansion from these two young entrepreneurs soon, because their company shows unmeasurable promise and a solution for a serious problem many young adults currently face.

As an entrepreneur with a passion for real estate, the Airbnb potential never went unnoticed. That being said, Loftium takes it a step further, by helping prospective buyers with the down payment if they agree to rent out a room on the hosting site for a one-year minimum. In 2015, Seattle welcomed 38.1 million visitors over the course of the year, making it a definite first stop, but expansions plans are already underway. As described in the New York Times, “Loftium expects to appeal to young workers and families who are looking to buy their first home for roughly $600,000 or less. The program is being introduced on a small scale in Seattle, but Loftium said it believed there were about 40 other cities where it could give prospective buyers the boost they needed.” With tourist numbers rising as well as the popularity of vacation rental and couch surfing sites like Airbnb, it seems like an obvious profitable business model.

If you wonder about the strings attached to the new owners, it actually sounds pretty easy considering the company emphasizes how convenient they want to make it for their customers. As Russell Okung explains “Structured as a revenue sharing agreement, not a traditional loan, homebuyers under Loftium’s program are required to list their extra room year-round. Another benefit to the homeowner is that if the room isn’t booked enough to generate the expected income, that is Loftium’s burden, not the homeowner’s.” In putting the onus on Loftium, the company controls the optimal price point for your rental, provide guest necessities like toiletries and even install a keyless keypad to streamline the check-in and check-out process. As described on their website, in handling the hassles, Loftium gives new homeowners the chance to focus on the important things like making their new house a home.

Loftium takes an innovative approach to lending that in the end benefits both the lender and the borrower. Who doesn’t love a win-win?

Originally published at patch.com on March 13, 2018.