You walk into a restaurant with a couple of friends. The hostess greets you by name, asks if you want your regular table.
Your friends are impressed. They want to know why youâ€™re getting the royal treatment.
â€śOh, I own this place,â€ť you say. â€śAnd it only cost me $50.â€ť
This is the kind of story Fundrise and its co-founder, Ben Miller, want to help make happen in DC and across the U.S.
Fundrise is crowdfunding for real estate. Through the site you can buy into a piece of property, and can potentially earn money back, over time, on that investment.
Ben and his brother, Daniel, started the site, part of Rise Companies, which has eight full-time employees and also owns the site Popularise, to give more people a chance at participating in real estate investment.
Ben also hopes Fundrise allows people to have a greater sense of ownership in their community.
â€śItâ€™s a tool for building communities,â€ť Ben said. â€śSo everyone can participate in investing in real estate and building their environment.â€ť
Through Fundrise you can buy units, or shares, of a real estate investment.
The first such investment was 1351 H Street, a limited liability corporation representing property on H Street NE, which will house a business operated by the people behind DURKL and Toki Underground. The business is expected to open in Spring 2013.
While you will reap financial rewards of owning a piece of property through Fundrise, Ben cautions in real estate a return on investment can take time.
â€śItâ€™s [Real estateâ€™s] the opposite of Wall Street,â€ť Ben said.
Along with another piece of someoneâ€™s investment portfolio, Ben sees Fundrise empowering people to greater participation in their communities.
â€śWho has the power to build neighborhoods?â€ť Ben asks.
The answer, according to Ben and Daniel, is you.