Carnegie Mellon University

Nikhaar Shah, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Home.LLC

Reinventing Real Estate

Nikhaar “Nik” Shah (HNZ 2012) wants to make it possible for buyers to purchase their own homes.

By combining investing with down payment assistance, his startup Home.LLC’s unique model is doing just that in the United States’ priciest cities.

But he isn’t stopping there — Nik has a broader take on the company’s mission.

“There are really two fundamental problems in this world: income inequality and climate change,” Nik says. “My skills and experiences prepared me to solve income inequality.”

For many Americans, home ownership is the key to building wealth and lessening the equality gap. However, in cities like San Francisco or New York, the majority of would-be buyers are locked out of the market because they can’t save for a 20% down payment while also paying high local rents.

That’s where Home.LLC steps in and partners with first-time homebuyers. The company invests with first-timers to fund their down payment and secure a mortgage. When the property sells, Home.LLC gets a share of the profit or a share of a loss. Realizing most first homes are sold again within five to seven years, and knowing many appreciate over that time, the company’s model benefits from the equity growth that’s also building wealth and opportunity for their clients.

“We think it's a win-win solution,” Nik says. “It's very clear how well it's working based on the almost $2 billion of homes that we have on our waitlist. We're working hard every day to help more and more families achieve the American dream.”

Story by Elizabeth Speed