What Is Homebound and How Does it Work?

Sean Ho Lung, Homebound's CEO, answers your questions about getting started with Homebound so you can reach your financial goals.

Image of the author

Let's start with the basics. What does Homebound do?

We’re a free online resource for Canadian real estate investors. We make it easy for people to find alternative ways to invest in real estate and we match them with the best private investment companies to reach their goals.

The process is simple. You answer a few questions online around your risk tolerance, income, and real estate preferences. This helps us figure out a short list of companies to match you with. So when you’re serious about investing with a particular company, then we can help connect you directly with their managers.

We know that jumping into any investment – especially real estate – can be scary. So we have a support team to help answer any of your questions along the way.

The one thing I've seen is that Canadians value real estate more than ever. Why would I use Homebound instead of immediately buying my own investment property?

That's a great point. When you think about traditional real estate investing or direct ownership – the most common method of either buying, renting, or flipping a property yourself – I typically think of three major problems. 

First, it’s really expensive to access great investment properties – especially in the Greater Toronto Area. With today’s prices if you don’t have enough money, you’ll be probably be taking on a lot of debt. So generally, investors might be putting themselves in a tough “cash-poor” situation.

Second is, it takes a lot of time to plan and build out a diversified real estate portfolio; where you might be betting on one individual location for years. Not to mention, it’s also very hard to do this well on your own.

Third, the experience is stressful. Things like doing your own individual research, tenant screening, property management, or dealing with legal issues can be overwhelming on top of your already busy schedule.

At Homebound, we use technology and our partnerships to solve these three problems. So instead of having to actively manage everything on your own, we’ll help you navigate the real estate investment industry – saving you time and money – and connect you with the investment managers that fit your passive investment goals. We also provide unbiased content to help you learn more about the different types of alternative real estate funds through a unique experience that's super user-friendly and accessible.

That's interesting. What kind of alternative real estate investment companies would I find as a Homebound client? Is it one size fits all, or am I given different choices based on my profile?

You’d be given a short list of companies based on your investment preferences from the questionnaire. The alternative real estate companies we send you would fall under four different investment strategies: income properties, new developments, private real estate investment trusts (REITs), and mortgage investing.

Then our matchmaking algorithm would check the database for your potential matches based on the ideal preferences outlined from both sides.

Ultimately, we’ve done the due diligence to identify over 30 companies with decades of proven track records and the industry experience to serve you better.

So would I be investing in real estate directly through the Homebound platform or the investment companies?

No, you can’t invest through our platform. You would invest directly with the investment companies externally.

In the future, we’d like to get to the stage where Canadians can invest in a Homebound fund directly. But for now, our secret sauce is aggregating all these awesome investment companies and their complex financial data for you. 

We also hope that by facilitating a more open conversation around real estate funds, that we can break a lot of educational barriers for investors who didn’t know about this other world of real estate investing. We're pretty active in our own communities, where I curate a weekly newsletter with financial tips and inside stories from executives of Canadian investment companies.

So in the meantime, we’re more than happy to connect you with the right investment companies and help you own real estate you believe in. And if you’ve found the right match, the companies’ investment teams will take you through their own onboarding process.

Okay, full transparency. How does Homebound make money?

It's quite simple. We get paid by the investment companies who pay an annual membership fee to be on our website. Each investment company pays us the same flat fee and we don’t get any additional fees from investor leads or referrals.

We prefer this setup because it ensures that we’re as objective as possible when matching investors with companies in our network. You’re always our top priority and we're here to make sure we provide helpful tools and information, even if it means we'll never make a cent.

So are you saying that if I spent my time doing my own research, I could just contact these firms outside of the app?

Yes, you absolutely could do that. But, it really comes down to your convenience and confidence. We know first-hand how overwhelming and stressful doing your own research can be. We think it’s a win-win scenario – for you, investment companies, and us – since we’re not incentivized by any referral fees. Plus you get streamlined access, based on your profile,  to awesome investment companies you probably never knew about.

Homebound makes it easy to find alternative ways to invest in Canadian real estate.

Read next:

Homebound is real estate investing made possible for you.

Take our two-minute quiz to get matched with Canada's best real estate options for your needs.

Start for Free
No commitments required, it’s all for free