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“I’m ready to pull my hair out”

“Can’t afford a place in the city...”

“I am into fashion, not pest control...”

“Moving next month, and have no idea where to begin”
“This bubble* is about to burst.”

*landlords having all the power - taking SO much from tenants and giving back SO little

I’ve heard horror stories.
It ain’t working. Feels like signing a deal with the devil—my soul, for this apartment.
I had no idea it would end up THIS expensive.

The younger generations aren’t happy with the housing options out there. And as they value *convenience* over almost anything else — it’s no surprise.

Think about the last time you moved apartments - how would you describe the experience?

Stressful? Costly? Exhausting? Timely? All of the above?

Let’s pause for a moment and ask a question —

— What do electronics, clothes, and food have in common?

We can’t live without them.

We can get them within minutes, with nothing more than a few clicks.

Competition and technology pushed these industries (and many more) to new heights.

But can you guess what industry stayed far, far behind?

That’s right. Housing.

Which is insane—because our home is one of the most important aspects of our lives.

Just like food, clothing, and our electronics, we can’t live without a home.

Yet somehow, the advancements we are experiencing on a mass scale in so many industries are absent from the housing industry.

To understand just how absent, let’s toy with applying the current standards of the housing industry on the smartphone industry.

If phones were like apartments:

  • In order to find your next smartphone, you will first have to go through a bunch of shady websites and/or people. The details from those websites/people won’t always be accurate, and at times they will even be misleading.
  • Once you do find a phone you like, it’s probably going to be very expensive. You will also have to prove you’re “worthy” of having it, in addition to paying a hefty (broker’s) fee.
  • After that, and before you can actually get your new phone, you will have to come up with a long list of documents and personal information, and sign a very long, complicated, one-sided agreement. If you don’t do that, you just won’t have a phone. And who can live without a phone?
  • Congrats! You finally got your phone. Unfortunately, you will notice it is empty. It is basically a shell. Nothing but a useless piece of hardware. No components, no software, nada. You will have to go to multiple different shops, compare prices, quality and features, and buy everything necessary for your phone to work properly.
  • Almost there! Your phone still doesn’t have electricity, internet and a bunch of other services you need to get the most out of it. So you will once again have to call multiple companies, compare plans and prices, and sign a few more long, complicated agreements.
  • Ahhh, you are finally done. You can lay back and enjoy your new phone-sweet-phone.
  • Or can you? Obviously, you are responsible for the upkeep and repairs of the acomponents and software you purchased. But also note that if something happens to your phone’s hardware you may have to take care of it yourself as well, or beg your provider for help in taking care of something they are clearly responsible for.
  • After all this hard work you will probably want a vacation. Problem is, you can’t really take your phone with you, so you will have to leave it behind and rent another fully working and outfitted phone in the city or country you’re traveling to. This is typically very expensive.
  • But wait, maybe you can cut your losses a little and rent your phone out on “Airpnp” during the period that you are out on vacation. Let’s see... Nope. Remember that long, complicated, one-sided agreement you signed when you got your new phone? It has a section that forbids you to rent your phone out. So if you want to take a vacation you are stuck with one of two options: take a risk and violate the agreement, or be forced to pay for two phones simultaneously.
  • A year has passed and your agreement with your provider expired. Your phone’s monthly payments are going (disproportionately) up. Time to look for another phone/provider. No worries, by now you are used to eating shit and all you have to do is start this process all over again.
  • On the bright side, maybe you can save some money this time by selling the now-used components and software you bought last year. If that sounds complicated, maybe you can transfer your components to the new phone you’re getting instead. Then again, that also takes a lot of time and money...
  • 💩
  • The End 😭

Although this sounds ridiculous, and as if it could never happen, this is exactly what’s happening in the housing industry.

Many would argue that it is the result of limited supply vs. high demand in cities (right), and that you can’t make City Center living both high-quality AND affordable (wrong).

They’d say bureaucracy, regulations, and high barriers to entry are what keeps this industry behind.

And they are right. It is indeed a wicked problem...

and wicked problems require wicked solutions.

We have already seen how intolerable the smartphone industry would be with the current standards of the housing industry applied.

But what if we did the opposite?

What if we took a technological approach and applied it on this old dinosaur of an industry?

Introducing the concept of HaaS - Home as a Service

Today, more than ever before, customers have high expectations of their products, as well as the companies who supply them.

For a variety of reasons, the biggest product of them all - the HOME - currently plays by a different set of rules. However, it is only a matter of time before this changes.

Let’s apply the principles of HaaS:

Build high quality, “Plug and Play”, finished products (homes) for the end-user to enjoy.

Company will control the entire ecosystem - from the hardware (the structure itself, including furniture and appliances), to the software (the services).

Design beautiful, highly functional homes.

Deliver superior customer service and experience through transparency, flexibility, and ease of use.

Consistently innovate, shift and improve through “hardware” and “software” updates.

Make homes affordable.

Connect people.

Why is HaaS the future of living?

It is estimated that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities*, this will force changes and innovation in the way we live and interact
Customer standards and expectations are higher than ever, it is only a question of time before every landlord will have to comply with these new standards
The development of technology and the circular/sharing economies will continue to fuel innovation in cities
There is a global shift in focus to life-experiences, wellness, and work/life balance and it will help redefine the way we treat the concept of a “home”
Technology-induced loneliness and lack of real human connection will highlight the importance of belonging in a real and active community

The following will fuel globalization and more frequent travel, meaning people will be less tied to a single home:

Faster and more affordable (or even free) transportation
Higher quality internet worldwide
The continued growth of international business and remote work adoption
Continued exposure to different places and experiences (Via social media, VR, AR, etc.)
The adoption of concepts such as UBI (Universal Basic Income)

*Source

In the past couple of years, many concepts have already started taking action. Some of the most noteworthy are:

(Click company name below to view)

Urby — Roam CoWeLiveLive ZokuCommonOllieSoho HouseTheCollectiveOutsiteSelinaAirbnb + Niido — Venn

Despite multiple concepts popping up, a clear leader in the industry is yet to be established. This is mostly due to the following reasons:

Too much “Co” in “Coliving” - many of the companies feature roommates, cramped personal spaces, and shared staple amenities such as bathrooms and kitchens. Not an ideal experience for most.
Targeting a narrow and unstable customer base - many of the companies market and build their businesses solely around remote workers / “digital nomads”.
Contradicting and confusing mixed messages - many of the companies operate and price similarly to hotels, but market for longer-stay customers. Additionally, they speak about the value of “community”, yet appeal to mostly tourists and “nomads”.
Limited flexibility - many of the companies still require traditional commitments such as 6 or 12 month leases.
Bad design - many companies designed their apartments and common spaces in ways that feel mass-produced, and have a student-dorm look & feel.
Still expensive - most companies, while delivering a more convenient and streamlined experience, end up being too expensive. Many times priced even above the already outrageous market rent prices.
Some interesting supporting articles:

(Click a letter to read an article)

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP — Q — R

So how do you flip the housing industry on its head?

How do you do to homes what Apple did to smartphones back in 2007?

First, by understanding it is inevitable and believing it is possible.

Second, by focusing on the customer.

We’ll finish up by going back through some of the principles of HaaS—

—this time talking about (some of) the ways we can make those principles a reality.

Affordability

Most people don’t spend 365 days a year at home, yet they pay for 365 days. When home is given as a service, you don’t have to pay for the time you don’t use your home. The company will manage short term rentals, making a premium, while guranting the tenants’ rent reimbursement.

Smart architecture, design, and furniture can help make homes more affordable too. Today, you can get the “feel” and functionality of 600 sqf for example, from a 400 sqf space.

Shared amenities and items that aren’t used on a daily basis (think surfboards, electric bycicles, even a pasta maker) can also help free up unnecessary space and clutter in the indivdual homes.

Flexibility

When home is given as a service, you have a lot less to worry about and take care of. Less bills, less errands, less material belongings to weigh you down. This will allow tenants to spend less time trying to figure things out, and more time doing what’s really important to them.

Not having to pay rent when not using your home is sure to promote more travel, experiences, and overall freedom and flexibility.

Belonging

It is a shame most neighbors these days don’t have any meaningful interactions with one another. When home is given as a service, it is only natural that connecting people will be a core value. This can be done through innovative home and building designs, as well as community events, services and a central hang out place (cafe/restaurant).

With the world becoming smaller and smaller, and people spending more and more time traveling, working, and living in multiple locations, they will start expecting the brands they choose (i.e. hotels, airbnb) to give them a sense of belonging, of connection. The concept of Home as a Service is destined to become international and will deliver more value to its customers with every new location that opens. When you build a brand that people love, are excited about, and want to be a part of, the opportunities are limitless.

The future of Home as a Service is coming.

The only question is — who will make the jump, and execute it best.

Created By
Aviv Schwietzer
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