Sales of existing homes hit a 15-year high in 2021—an 8.5% jump over the previous year. Competition among homebuyers continues to be fierce, while housing affordability amid record-level home price appreciation creates additional challenges for prospective homebuyers.

With these factors limiting many Americans from purchasing a home, new real estate models are emerging to help expand access to homeownership. One such model is Landed, which provides essential professionals (educators, healthcare workers, and first responders) alternative financing options to purchase a new home. 

This April, Alex Lofton, President & Co-Founder of Landed, will be among the speakers at Qualia’s Future of Real Estate Summit (FORES). Lofton will discuss new approaches to homeownership alongside Divvy CEO, Adena Hefets. We connected with Lofton before the summit to learn how Landed is thinking about its role in increasing opportunities for new homeowners.

Qualia: You have a unique background that includes working on the Obama presidential campaign. What ultimately led you to found Landed?

LOFTON: While working on a national political campaign as a mobilizer, the organizational values of “respect, empower, and include” left a permanent impression. Since then, I’ve been applying my skills to bring people with diverse expertise and resources together to create tangible value in the world. I did that for a few other start-ups, and now I’m doing it to achieve Landed’s mission. Landed helps essential professionals such as teachers, nurses, and first responders to buy homes and build financial security in the communities they serve. 

Landed’s personalized team includes a homebuying expert and a partner agent to help navigate options for purchasing a home—including a shared equity program, which can provide a 20% down payment without any income restrictions. As the son of a retired public school teacher and a retired social worker, I feel fortunate to build this business from the ground up and provide meaningful value to the people who uphold our communities every day.

Qualia: There are a number of PropTech companies striving to reduce barriers to homeownership through various models (down payment assistance, rent-to-own, etc.). How did you “land” on Landed’s model? 

LOFTON: My Co-Founder & Landed’s CEO, Jonathan Asmis, initially identified the incredible opportunity to scale co-investment models to access what is becoming increasingly expensive residential real estate. This opportunity helps essential professionals to build wealth and, in turn, benefit the communities in which they are homeowners. 

We set out with an objective to scale what cities like San Francisco had already been doing to retain teachers within its city limits. Like these local programs, we decided to offer a shared appreciation down payment assistance program to help individuals stair-step into homeownership. Employers of essential professionals expressed a strong desire to partner with us to ensure their staff was utilizing these types of resources in order to stay in the communities they served and to continue to thrive in their critical professions. Landed was able to do what hadn’t been done before—scale fairly-priced shared equity down payment support sustainably.

Qualia: Over the course of the pandemic, the public has become more aware of the value of essential professionals. Can you tell us more about why Landed is focused on essential professionals?

LOFTON: Those who work for our education, medical, and government systems uphold our society through their commitment to our communities. Retaining top talent in these industries takes a myriad of solutions, such as professional respect, competitive salaries, growth opportunities, resources to build wealth, and long-term housing options. Essential professionals are most likely in the position to take advantage of our down payment program, as they typically can afford monthly rent payments but don’t necessarily have the savings for a large down payment at their disposal. This combination of the critical role these professionals play in our lives and the nature of their employment makes them the ideal candidate for what Landed offers. 

Qualia: This year’s theme of Qualia’s Future of Real Estate Summit is “connectivity.” What does this word mean to you and your goals at Landed? 

LOFTON: To me, connectivity means that everything in our world is interconnected and interdependent. This is why we, at Landed, are so focused on creating products and services that honor the “connectivity” between the lives of essential professionals upholding us every day and the ability for our communities to thrive. The ability to solve challenges and seize opportunities rests on everyone’s ability to accept “connectivity” as the nature of all our existence.

Click here to watch Lofton’s FORES22 session, ‘Approaches to Expanding Homeownership Opportunities,’ alongside Adena Hefets, Co-Founder & CEO of Divvy Homes, and Charlotte Brown, Senior Director of Product at Qualia.