Stephen Jagger has had a lot of irons in a lot of fires, but all of his endeavours share a common purpose – helping others succeed.
He is an entrepreneur, author, and speaker, and has worked all over the world building technology companies, many focused on bettering the real estate industry. Today, his time is focused on one mission: democratizing access to real estate investing so that homeownership is accessible to all.
Traditionally, Canadians save up a large pile of money for a down payment and live in the home they purchase. Investment beyond that – the kind that can build wealth – is often out of reach for the average person – particularly in metropolitan areas like Toronto or Vancouver. With prices continuing to climb over recent years, many people simply can’t even get their foot in the door to buy a starter home of their own.
“Mike [addy’s CEO], Adrienne [addy’s CFO], and I have been fortunate to be able to buy some real estate and have done well in that,” Jagger says. “We had the luxury of buying 20 years ago and reaped the benefits of previous markets.”
Under today’s conditions, the same actions wouldn’t bear the same results. Starter houses are expensive and condos are getting more and more expensive and smaller at the same time.
“Every day it seems to get harder and harder for the average person to get involved in the real estate asset class – it’s discouraging for many,” says Jagger. “The number of conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues about being locked out of the market got us wondering why it had to be this way. We set out to change the rules and thus, addy was born.”
Unlocking access to real estate
There were two main challenges: how do we reduce the cost of a real estate transaction and how do we reduce the amount of money needed upfront by the average person to get their foot in the door.
To tackle these challenges, they designed addy around their understanding of the costs involved in buying real estate. A traditional real estate transaction involves Realtors, a notary, lawyers, home inspectors, wire fees to move money, and more. “In order to open up real estate investing to Canadians and reduce the cost of a real estate transaction, we built a platform to achieve just that,” he says.
With reduced transaction costs, they then worked closely with legal and regulatory bodies to develop a process that enables hundreds or even thousands of people to invest in a single property. Today, resources are pooled, properties are vetted and managed by experienced real estate experts, and Canadians reap the benefits without having to acquire deep levels of real estate investing knowledge themselves.
“We are redefining what homeownership is,” Jagger says. “An addy homeowner is able to live where they want and still be invested in the market without making life-altering sacrifices.”