Divvy Homes, a startup that helps renters transition to homeownership, recently chose Atlanta as one of its three launch cities, alongside Seattle and Cleveland.
After a consumer chooses a home on the market, Divvy buys it and the consumer puts around 2 percent down. Over the next three years, the buyer pays both rent and equity, with the goal of obtaining 10 percent ownership of the property.
At the end of the three years, Divvy lets the renter put the credit they’ve earned toward a mortgage to purchase the home. If the renter ultimately decides not to buy the home, Divvy will still cash out their equity credits.
Founder Brian Ma chose Atlanta as a launch site because of the diversity of its economy and its recent employment boom.
Ma, who has worked in the real estate industry for 15 years, including a stint at Zillow, also showed interest in Atlanta for another reason — the city’s socioeconomic disparities that make affordable housing a challenge for the lower and middle classes.
“Atlanta is interesting to us because it’s a super diverse economy, and it’s experiencing a lot of job growth and a lot of housing appreciation,” Ma said to Hypepotamus. “For anyone who has just moved, just changed jobs, they’re watching the housing market go up and they can’t participate.”
Divvy currently owns about 12 Atlanta-area homes, and Ma says those numbers are growing each month.
“Our highest priority is to educate, support and partner with our homebuyers to make sure they transition smoothly into homeownership,” Ma said. “Our program is specifically designed to be fair and transparent — we want every home purchase to be a win for our customers.”