BY: SAMANTHA TAPP
One day I hope to own my house; this is a goal nowhere in my foreseeable future, but nonetheless, it’s a goal. As millennials, like me, have grown up to reach our 20s, it seems that real estate prices have grown just as much in the past 20 years. So step one to be able to reach my goal would obviously be money, but a close second is mobility. I have friends who find it hard to sign just a one-year lease because of the want (and need) to travel and move to new places. Because of the strong desire to travel, even if I could afford a house, it may not make sense if I want to live in Morocco one month and California the next. But, a new startup is trying to solve this problem.
Restate, a startup online community created by Petr Novikov and his brother Fedor, is the newest version of a house swap (not to be confused with my old favourite, creepy show WifeSwap). The community connects people in the United States for home exchanges in a nationwide housing community. Whether it be a new job, a chance to travel, or just for fun, Restate helps people move into another member’s home without having to sell their place.
“We got this idea because we travel a lot,” said Petr to Fast Co Exist. “In the last five years, we both lived in five different countries…we realized we don’t want to tie ourselves to any particular house. But on the other side, renting is hard.”
Operating as a members-only club, membership with Restate is free until a person has a successful move, which is when they pay the $99 per month price of the exchange. Members are free to choose their location, time and duration of the move, with the minimum exchange duration being one month and no maximum limit.
To make it even easier, the site does all the behind-the-scenes work for you. The site goes through a verification process of all members to ensure security of exchanges, and also gives you a selection of properties to choose from while you’re looking. Restate accounts for property differences, since your one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco may be the equivalent of a four-bedroom house in Buffalo. Additionally, if you’re looking to get fancy, you can pay to upgrade to a better property than yours, or if you’re looking to save, you’ll be paid a stipend for downgrading to a cheaper spot.
It’s definitely a good option for the jet-setting businesspeople who find themselves in a new location every month, but it’s also pretty appealing for those who made a huge investment into a property, but still find themselves itching to travel. This is your solution.
Working with the mindset of “it’s like having a home everywhere,” the brothers plan to expand the site to include renters to enable everyone to experience the freedom of mobility, with or without owning a home.
“There are 8 million people, according to a census, who rent by choice- they could buy a house but they don’t want to because they think it would limit their future choices of work or lifestyle,” Petr said. “While we’re starting with homeowners, along way we’re going to add people who don’t have homes.”
Now, all I need is a solution to the problem of actually making enough money to buy a house.