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The Broader Opportunity Related to Co-Buying

Some of you may have seen our feature on CoBuy. I had the chance to meet Matt and Pam the other day at Impact Hub, discuss their progress and business, as well as think further about the broader implications and trends of co-buying properties.

I don’t think there is any question co-buying is going to increase. The economic reality of skyrocketing home prices (both sales and rentals) make that a certainty in expensive coastal markets such as Seattle (assuming, of course, home ownership remains part of the american dream).

Down payments for homes are a big obstacle to ownership, and rightly so (making it too easy to buy means people buy homes they can’t afford). Co-buying is one way to pool capital to cover down payments.

Co-buying already happens on the investment side of the industry. My sister’s family have long talked about buying a vacation property with my brother-in-law’s sister’s family — so it’s an option for vacation properties. Another scenario is joint home purchases for couples who are not married. I believe the co-living community is ripe for new ways to split ownership of physical properties.

The process and requirements of co-buying are a bit murky. More transparency — and certainty around process, laws and regulations — can only help advance the movement.

That said, I do believe that to really see this concept take off — people need to gain access to a broader pool of trusted individuals to co-buy with.

Using existing trust networks to help find trusted people to buy with, is an area I’m particularly intrigued with. I believe deeply increasing transparency/access to existing trusted community members can lead to exponential increases in opportunity across all verticals. That belief is at the core of Horizon.

Though both are taking an ownership stake now — I have to believe Point.com (which I’m bullish on), and OpenDoor, are going to “platform” their products and enable peer to peer transactions. If they haven’t already, they’ll realize trust is a massive, massive issue that takes year and years to address.

Overall, I love the co-buying concept and think we’re going to see a number of great products and companies built around it in the coming years.

Have you helped facilitate any co-buying transactions? Do clients of yours ask about it?

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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