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Single-family rentals and the large corporations investing in them can all be a part of the reworked American dream, according to an industry pioneer.
Doug Brien, founder and chief executive officer of Mynd — the proptech company that aims to make it easier to buy and manage single-family rentals — told attendees at Inman Connect Las Vegas on Thursday, that he believes the American dream centered around homeownership is outdated, given the devastation wrought by the 2008 housing market crash.
“I believe that there is sort of a rethinking of the American dream happening right now,” Brien said. “It’s not that people don’t or shouldn’t aspire to own a home, we’re just seeing people delay that decision for a number of different reasons.”
“If you look back at the foreclosure crisis — you know the old adage ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ — a lot of people did, and when they lost their homes, it was catastrophic,” he added.
Brien was responding to Inman reporter Jim Dalrymple’s question about some of the lines of criticism geared toward the single-family rental industry — which is increasingly becoming the domain of large institutional investors.
“People are a little bit disgruntled by this,” Dalrymple said. “Does it get in the way of the American dream to have corporations owning whole neighborhoods?”
Brien countered that the current shape of the economy has allowed people to be more flexible and mobile in where they live, creating more demand for rentals.
“The other thing we’ve seen happen is just being more mobile and being able to go where the jobs are is something that a lot of young people want,” he said. “If you’re to ask the people that are renting our homes and actually have a professional service and lots of choices of homes, I think they would say ‘wow this is really nice.'”
Brien did allow that the emergence of institutional investors on the single-family market has made it more difficult for some buyers to purchase homes but said services like iBuyers could help give them an edge.
“Certainly I can appreciate those that get outbid,” he said. “If you’re a homeowner trying to compete with an institution, that’s like going to a gunfight with a knife.”
But institutional investors aren’t exiting the single-family sector anytime soon, Brien said. For agents looking to work with investors, he advised an all-or-nothing approach, with investors more likely to work with agents who specialize in investments.
“It’s one thing to say ‘hey I do investments’ and it’s another to say ‘I focus on investments,’ he said. “We get approached all the time, we do work with agents but they are the only ones who are experts in their GO.”