Adobe Stock/Ivan Kmit

Some new home buyers need that extra push into homeownership if they struggle to have the cash outlay for the down payment. Many companies are trying to find new, innovative ways to help them, by bridging student debt or like this new start up that binds the home owner into an Airbnb rental agreement.

Laura Coe wasn’t planning on joining Airbnb as a host. She wasn’t exactly set on buying a house, either. She was interested and looking, but until recently, buying a home in Seattle’s white-hot housing market still seemed like a long ways off.

Then she heard about Loftium, a startup that ponies up the down payment for first-time buyers. And then everything snapped into place. With that financial support, she was able to put 5 percent down on a two-bedroom Craftsman home in a quiet alley in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Coe says that she’s closing on the house any day now.

“I started a conversation with [Loftium] not that long ago—probably six weeks ago,” says Coe, 29, a senior finance manager at Microsoft. “A couple weeks later, I had gone through the pre-approval process. It moved super quickly. My offer was accepted within 24 hours, and before you know it, I’m closing on a home.”

There’s a catch: For the next year, Coe will have to rent out the mother-in-law unit attached to the house via Airbnb. Most of that revenue from that will go back into the coffers of Loftium, and at least part of her time will be occupied with making sure the rental stays clean, giving guests maps to local neighborhood haunts, placing mints on pillows and the like. Coe says it’s worth it.

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