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Ark7, the transparency-centered app that leaves no investor behind: Tech Review

Mobile or browser, Ark7 offers investors at every level a chane to buy into the real estate economy
Real estate investing for all

Ark7 is a mobile and browser application helping accredited and non-accredited investors alike invest in real estate.

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Ark7 is a tech-enabled real estate equity investment platform. 

Platforms: Browser, iOS for mobile
Ideal for: Investors, agents with investor clients

Top selling points:

  • Single-family rental focus
  • Share-based investment model
  • Access for all investor levels
  • Monthly dividends
  • Highly transparent data/process
  • Local third-party management, where available

Top concern:

Ark7 uses Zillow’s algorithm to predict appreciation. This is fine, but it would be worth considering other industry vendors to provide multiple valuation predictions.

What you should know

Ark7 is a mobile and browser application helping accredited and non-accredited investors invest in real estate. The company buys rental property (primarily single-family but some multifamily) under an LLC and sells shares of that entity at varying prices determined by the investor’s comfort level.

Share prices are determined by the property’s value and thus can be widespread across markets. The company is active in seven states, with extensive market and regional data for investors to consider. The company requires a three-month minimum hold on its properties. Users are provided a very consumer-facing UI/UX to peruse, analyze and buy into properties, as well as monitor each investment they make and track pending dividends. The company told me it has close to 32,000 active users, pays out $1.4 million in dividends monthly, and its portfolio is worth around $16 million.

There’s a youth movement afoot in proptech.

Ark7 was founded by an ex-engineer at Google, LinkedIn and Uber, but my demo was given by a student at Cornell. A few weeks later, I demoed a product founded by some students at Harvard. Fractional, similar to Ark7, was built by a team of young entrepreneurs, too. Both Ark7 and Fractional founders told me that part of their motivation for launching companies is their cynicism about ever being able to own a home, at least any time soon. Thus, this is how they become part of the real estate economy, by becoming owners of a different kind.

Moreover, they want others to share in that idea by creating ownership models in which many income levels can participate.

Ark7 buys rental properties, preps them and 20 percent of the time, and hires local management firms for lease-up. It then markets that home in its app, complete with accurate financials, market data and a Zestimate of its future value. Per my above concern, Ark7 can immediately benefit by plugging in some additional valuation products. Plunk, CORE Present and Redfin all come to mind here.

The company includes its fees in the financial breakdowns of each property, which is three percent for sourcing, and up to 15 percent for management. It can be lower, depending on the market.

Do note that even with properties it manages, Ark7 relies on local vendors for repairs and emergencies, etc. It also staffs customer service teams to address any investor concerns. This is designed to be a very passive investment, so those investors who scrutinize eyry expense for a property two states away would be better off buying something more proximal to where they live. Still, I’m sure that user demand will push them to ensure the needs of the very hands-on investor can be met, as the software is architecture and designed to soften the commitment of money, to not give users a reason to worry. Clarity does that.

Ark7 starts looking to offload inventory after five years, according to its plan, but I wonder if a blanket tenure will serve every market. Property values can rise and fall quickly, so careful in-house management of each market’s dynamics will be crucial to investor satisfaction. I didn’t think to ask about this on our call, but then again, these questions are why I write reviews—so readers can ask them.

The software also gives users a comprehensive portfolio view of their investments and dividend status and also a learning center of sorts. In it, investors can learn more about the process, investment strategy, NOI of all properties and, for the most part, everything one may want to know about the dollars and cents of Ark7’s model. Once more: this company shares everything, which is a smart way to stave off upset investors and pull in savvy ones.

Market-wide, it looks like investing may be down for a bit, as Inman reported on June 1 that investor home purchases fell by 49 percent during the first three months of this year compared to 2022, according to a new report from Redfin, the steepest drop on record since Redfin began tracking investor-specific purchases in 40 major metro areas in 2000.

Still, Ark7, like Fractional and Groundfloor, understands that people feel better in groups. Knowing others are in something with you offers comfort and confidence. Will it always work out? Of course not. But to benefit from a prevailing wind, you have to be in the boat.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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