by December 10, 2012 at 9:00 am 2,760 0

The team at Fundrise . (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Nick Barron. Follow him on Twitter @nbarron; email him at nick[AT]

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 you’re getting the royal treatment.

“Oh, I own this place,” you say. “And it only cost me $50.”

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.

“It’s a tool for building communities,” Ben said. “So everyone can participate in investing in real estate and building their environment.”

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.

“It’s [Real estate’s] the opposite of Wall Street,” Ben said.

Along with another piece of someone’s investment portfolio, Ben sees Fundrise empowering people to greater participation in their communities.

“Who has the power to build neighborhoods?” Ben asks.

The answer, according to Ben and Daniel, is you.

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