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Meet the startups fighting Bay Area's soaring housing costs

Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News on

Published in Home and Consumer News

"We have a good education, we have good jobs, and we still can't afford to buy," she said. "So what does that mean for the majority of the population?"

Starting in mid-November, HomeSlice will help groups of potential homeowners navigate the hurdles and complications of collectively buying a home. HomeSlice's website helps home buyers agree on details such as how the property will be maintained, how shares will be divided, and how decisions will be made, and then turns that information into a co-ownership agreement that can be made legally binding.

The company also helps connect clients with real estate agents and lenders, and plans to eventually roll out an online marketplace where users can buy and sell slices of homes.

"I think the notion of homeownership is going to change over the next couple years," Roumiantseva said. "People are just fundamentally rethinking how they're using assets, how they're buying assets -- getting more comfortable sharing."

STARTUPS TAKING ON THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS

HomeSlice: This Berkeley-based startup makes it easier for groups of people to buy a home together. HomeSlice helps potential buyers draft a co-ownership agreement, and connects them with real estate agents and lenders.

The company plans to launch a beta test of the platform in mid-November. To learn more visit home-slice.io.

Landed: Launched in 2015 by two recent Stanford Business School grads, Landed helps Bay Area teachers afford a home in their school district. The startup connects a teacher with investors who contribute to their down payment and in return receive equity in the home. To learn more visit landed.com.

Roofstock: Oakland-based Roofstock runs an online platform where landlords can buy and sell properties in which tenants are already living. The unique business model prevents renters from getting displaced when a building changes hands.

So far the startup has sold about 1,000 homes in the Bay Area, and is operating in more than a dozen other markets around the country. To learn more visit roofstock.com.

Starcity: Starcity is tackling the Bay Area's housing shortage by creating new rental units. The startup, launched about a year ago, buys vacant hotels, commercial buildings and other unused spaces, renovates them and converts them into communal housing. Renters have their own bedrooms, but share kitchens and other common areas. Starcity runs two buildings in San Francisco, and is developing another six. To learn more visit joinstarcity.com.

Haven Connect: This Berkeley-based startup, which launched its first pilot program in June 2016, streamlines the process of applying for affordable housing. People can apply online, quickly filling out paperwork for multiple properties at once. To learn more visit havenconnect.com.

Affordable Equity: Oakland-based Affordable Equity is pioneering a new type of landlord-tenant relationship. The startup, which is gearing up to buy single-family or small multi-unit, low-income buildings, will offer its renters equity in its properties. To learn more, or donate to help fund the project, visit chuffed.org/project/affordable-equity.

(c)2017 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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