Loftium gets it: Everybody deserves the opportunity to be a homeowner

Russell Okung
2 min readSep 21, 2017

Always a fan of innovation, when I heard about Loftium’s business model, I knew I wanted to learn more. After living in Seattle for several years, and returning regularly to engage with the community and the students in my Nonprofit Foundation, I’ve continued to be actively involved in finding new ways to build and leverage skills of people in underserved areas of the city. This includes finding new areas of opportunity and eliminating the barriers in-place for people to live and have experiences they would normally be excluded from.

For most, the idea of homeownership is just a pipedream, especially in a city like Seattle with median home prices of $690K, up 15% over the past year (Zillow). When Loftium Founder, Yifan Zhang, realized there was something unique she could do to serve the non-elite, generating income for them, and for a business herself, she formulated a plan for homeownership to no longer be an impossibility for those without “the parents to help, or the high income to save while paying rent”(NY Times).

Using an algorithm to assess the amount of income an extra room can generate, Loftium will commit to a down payment of up to $50K. Structured as a revenue sharing agreement, not a traditional loan, homebuyers under Loftium’s program are required to list their extra room year-round. Another benefit to the homeowner is that if the room isn’t booked enough to generate the expected income, that is Loftium’s burden, not the homeowner’s. “We are trying to put as little risk on the homeowner as possible,” Ms. Zhang said. “That money up front is yours as long as you abide by the contract.” (NY Times)

Launching in Seattle provides the opportunity for Loftium to test the model on a smaller scale, and for homeowners needing some help with their down payment to test the real estate market, and make their dreams come true, with the goal of generating extra income based on budget and location, not just getting the prettiest house. I’m looking forward to how my fellow Seattleites take advantage of this program. Let’s keep innovation churning by bringing creative and diverse perspectives together to bring more opportunity to our communities!