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Founder Q&A: This Startup Wants to Turn Out-Priced Millennials Into Real Estate Moguls

Philip Michael
2 min read
Founder Q&A: This Startup Wants to Turn Out-Priced Millennials Into Real Estate Moguls

According to some of the latest Census data, roughly a third of 18 to 34-year-olds in the United States live at home—and not by choice. From an investment standpoint, for one reason or another, this group is being forced out of the action, despite a growing interest in real estate as an asset class.

(Interesting tidbit: According to a survey, 40% of Americans don’t know which investments perform the best. Meanwhile, Fannie Mae says a staggering 85% of Millennials think real estate is the best available asset class, despite being priced out.)

Not to mention, Millennials—often first-time buyers—are competing with seasoned investors who can leverage more resources and experience.

It gets worse: In bigger markets like San Francisco and New York, prices have been driven to levels that force younger, potential investors to stay on the sidelines.

Related: CEO Interview: Insider Tips on Property Analysis, Areas to Invest & Off-Market Deals

Under the tagline “Real Estate For All,” Co-Own Homes, a Harlem-based real estate startup, wants to tackle that issue with a unique concept that pairs potential real estate buyers who otherwise would’ve been priced out.

Leveraging the tenants in common setup (TIC), founder Deondra Carter has created an ecosystem of lenders, brokers, and a pairing system that will allow buyers with smaller salaries in bigger markets to literally co-own multi-unit properties, while collectively cashing in on the appreciation.

I sat down with Deondra to discuss the setup, how it works, why there’s a void and how the TIC model can save future investors from being priced out.

Founder Q&A: Deondra Carter, Co-Own Homes

Tell us about Co-Own Homes. What is it and how does it work?

DC: Co-Own Homes matches potential homebuyers and helps them purchase 2-4 unit properties together. Each buyer lives in their own unit, while splitting the cost of purchasing and maintaining the property.


What’s the void in the market and why did you decide to tackle it?

DC: The NYC market has priced out a lot of potential homeowners. They are stuck paying rent or trying to buy a property through an affordable housing lottery, which can take years. I wanted to help more people purchase a home and potentially build wealth. For most people, the road to investing often begins with building equity from their first home.

What about the investment process? If you’re pairing strangers, who makes the final decision what property to buy?

DC: Co-Own Homes pre-qualifies and introduces each TIC member to ensure they will all get along. We match buyers based on desired neighborhood, budget, group size, etc. The group decides on the property based on what’s available for sale. The group will work with attorneys to create a comprehensive agreement that protects each buyer’s interest in the property and establishes house rules.


Related: Getting Started with Real Estate Investing: An Interview with My Real Estate Mentor

It’s a great alternative for homebuyers who are priced out of homes and now can own shares. How would it work for investors?

DC: The TIC model is used often in large commercial properties. Potential investors can pool their resources together to purchase a property, share the equity, and cash out after a refinance. Another option for new investors with limited budgets is to form a TIC in a multi-family property, live in it for a few years, convert it into condos, and hopefully sell each unit for a profit.

If you’re in the New York area this afternoon, come join the Co-Own team’s investment event “How To Turn $40k Into $1M” in Brooklyn Heights with open bar and snacks. Yours truly will be speaking as well. 

What do you think about Co-Own Homes’ premise?

Leave your questions and comments below!

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.