We are living in a society that champions home ownership but offers only one main route to get there. And for the majority - it's unaffordable.
The benefits of shared property ownership are often overshadowed by horror stories and stereotypes, making it difficult to build awareness of a more accurate view.
The dominant housing options are so ingrained in Americans' perception of housing that most can't imagine any flexible possibilities existing in-between.
Yet this "third option" is full of untapped benefits. How might we get more of the mainstream to consider shared equity as an alternative to owning / renting property?
We believe shared property ownership has the power to address serious housing issues we're facing as a culture. It allows its members to invest in property affordably. It offers privacy but is also built upon real relationships with neighbors if you need human interaction (especially in our world of isolation and digital distraction).
This project attempts to bring more awareness to the option and facilitate the process so people can overcome their fears, avoid the pitfalls, and reap the benefits.
We are proposing a more proactive, design-focused campaign that embraces other relevant sectors - including affordable housing, community & economic development, policy, real estate, and technology.
Read more about our multiple efforts under "Design Iterations"
Our commitment to systems-thinking demands us to investigate root causes. With this in mind, our interview questions for users are shaped by some foundational questions that we ask ourselves as a team.
We conducted user interviews with homeowners, renters, realtors, co-op shareholders, industry leaders and neighborhood organizations to validate our initial assumptions.
Thanks to the many stakeholders who offered their valuable feedback.
Based on our research, we brainstormed numerous ideas/features for our proposed solution. They ranged from a network of corner stores with a central distribution center to a cooperative model.
The design direction we took prioritized features that emulated the traditional real estate process.
Shared equity is an affordable housing option that is not well-known and shrouded in myths. In fact, it is a model that allows you to custom-design your housing you can be proud of, can afford, with people you trust, and to invest in your neighborhood.
This is an issue that requires many simultaneous approaches. These are some that we are working on:
Fireplace is a tool we're developing to help groups of people evaluate their own group of people. It makes the daunting process of involving others easier by understanding important information about each other from the beginning. Sign up for updates!
A vision board is a good starting point to get your unique vision out of your head and onto paper. This is useful to show potential co-op members to immediately see which values/goals are shared. If you need help, this is a service we offer!
We presented some of our efforts at the annual Co-ops and Communities event hosted by CCLF and NASCO on Saturday, June 27, 2015. Thank you for all of the wonderful feedback! Check out the agenda and stay tuned for this year's event.
For our group compatibility tool, we are measuring engagement on our landing page and tracking beta tester interest.
Other sources of benchmarking include our Good Housing newsletter, our Facebook page, our in-person workshops and events, and the services we offer.
Please contact us about how to get involved.