Adobe Stock/Brian Jackson

Single family rental units can now be bought with ease, thanks to new online tools like Roofstock or OwnAmerica. The platforms allow investors to trade homes and collect rent as easily as if they were trading stocks, as the platforms help investors not only buy the property, but finance, lease, and manage it as well, says Jeff Andrews in this Curbed article.

Roofstock is just one of many SFR investment platforms that have sprung up since the housing bust in 2008. The platforms also give investors the same data and tools that big institutional SFR operators like Invitation Homes used to buy single-family homes out of foreclosure in bulk after the financial crisis. OwnAmerica, an SFR listings service similar to Roofstock, lures in potential sellers by offering this data for free if they register their SFR unit on the site. The data includes the property’s monthly rent, annual taxes, and projected price appreciation, in addition to information on neighborhood quality and schools.

OwnAmerica and Roofstock work like a listing service for SFR properties the same way Zillow is a listings service for owner-occupied housing. The companies don’t own the houses, but charge sellers a listings fee and advertise the home to potential buyers. And the demand for SFR properties has never been stronger, as there appears to be a mad dash to acquire units from mom and pop investors and institutional SFR operators alike. With home prices in most markets having fully recovered from the bust in 2008, companies like Invitation Homes are getting cozy with home builders in effort to get supply straight from the source. There’s even been entire single-family neighborhoods built solely for a company to rent it out.

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