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Changing behavior

You change behavior over the long term.

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Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

We'll benefit every community stakeholder on every economic level. Making information transparent and connecting people will ultimately strengthen communities and local business, specifically financial services because they'll be able to gather realtime data they've never had access to before helping them development new services and programs geared to reach specific end users. We'll allow them a way to maintain a monthly dialog with users to help them stay on the path.

How is your idea specifically using the power of communities to improve financial opportunities and resources?

What the founder of Tactile Finance learned about the real estate and banking industries isn't even the half of it. I think real estate more than banking prefers it's customers with as little info as possible. Most real estate companies are more worried about their bottom line than building sustainable communities. They ignore the part of housing, residential rentals, where most low-middle incomers dwell. And where the most support is needed for property owners to reduce risk so capital flows.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I was able to discuss with a community bank, how they could get better and more info on renters from the property owners they finance. They only make multifamily loans and the gov't wants to make sure the funds are really improving communities. I did classes at the CHA on sustainable communities for a year and talked to countless owners renting to low income people on housing assistance vouchers. And I operated a property management company for 10 years, I understand how to help this market.

What skills, input or guidance might you be seeking from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

http://firstround.com/review/Dropboxs-Head-of-Design-on-the-Dawn-of-Personalized-Products/ I initially thought we had a ux designer but have discovered I was mistaken so I still need help there and also looking for a dynamic programmer. Both people need to design and program with an eye on where their industry is headed as much as where it is now. And both should have the ability to create on their own from a concept. Some only thrive when being given explicit direction, need free thinkers.

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual


Mary's Watch, Inc. is a property and data management platform that offers cost effective communication tools to the housing industry. These tools connect all users to one network which feeds into a database allowing people to collect, store, share, and analyze data in real time, while still maintaining control of their own data. Much of the data is collected automatically, removing the input burden from users. We collect payment, behavioral and maintenance histories so we help neighborhoods tell their story with documentation.

It's easier to make a $60 or $150 credit card payment than a $900, $1200, $2500 rent payment. Shouldn't making those payments consistently tell the real story of your ability to pay your obligations. Only large property owners can afford to report to credit bureaus the small guys have very little to no support.

And since small property owners and those who own/manage multifamily properties professionally or for themselves make up the largest portion of affordable housing providers outside of the government, wouldn't they make the most logical place to start rethinking how we report payment histories and what's done with the information?

With the data we'll provide the banking industry, the insurance industry, and the not for profit industry we should be able to work together to raise the economic level of every neighborhood across the globe. Being able to get messages out to the low income and middle income markets also means we get to message the people who finance them and the people who own the properties they live in. That list now includes private equity firms, real estate investment trusts and other funds. Removing risk for everyone in that market will help open the flow of capital to what have been considered risky areas, therefore relieving economic pressure and paving the way for all of the fantastic ideas submitted to OpenIdeo, especially in emerging markets.

Only with an established network can we connect the renter to the Nest thermostat in the unit and help them see how they can help control cost. It will also help prepare them for ownership of any kind in the future. A network helps to create transparency in the marketplace (the neighborhood), transparency removes risk, which opens doors and opportunities. So when a renter won't change their negative habits his next landlord can easily see the pattern and protect themselves as they see fit. With this kind of network we can figure out how to build credit based on your reputation individually or as a neighborhood business. So I'm inviting the OpenIdeo community to join together with us as we work toward some real tangible solutions for the world. 

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Spam
Photo of Greger Fredrik
Team

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Spam
Photo of Davis Carlos
Team

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Spam
Photo of BT
Team

One more point I should make that most people overlook. Property owners and renters all have to show someone their financial information to be a participant in the industry. Tell their financial story if you will. Owners show it to get a mortgage and renters show it to prove they can afford the apartment. Then they show it again when they look to buy but to a different mortgage lender than the owner uses. And most people move from mom & dad's home or a dorm to an apartment first not a home. The MacArthur foundation's study shows over 75% of home owners expect to rent one day. And being able to combine your real estate portfolio and your equity portfolio in a finance management system also should have some tangible value for users. Like being able to transfer money to make investment purchases faster and easier. Imaging going from excess rent collected to buying Apple stock all with your investment advisor in the loop, in a few clicks. That's where I'm headed with this.

Spam
Photo of BT
Team

Leave a comment, let me know if it at least makes sense as a way for people to connect about neighborhood issues.

Spam
Photo of Josh Anon
Team

Hey Brian,
I agree 100% that changing behavior is good, but this seems like a top-level goal to me and not an actionable idea. Do you have some concrete ideas about how to change behavior?

Spam
Photo of BT
Team

Josh, I'll try answering a different way, after rereading my first reply I didn't think it was clear. I hope this is better but let me know if it's not.

My concrete idea to help use the power of communities to financially empower those who need it most is to create a for profit corporation that can, on a long term basis, support the housing communities needs because housing supports communities in many ways. That company would help the residents and owners of the community better understand the data they collect so they make better everyday decisions.

The reason NextDoor, Etsy, Ebay and that bunch are popular and raising huge capital is because they spur local economies by connecting the people of local communities. The real estate market does little to really support the rental housing market only profit from it. And that's where the people who need help the most live, in rented housing. A for profit company that helped pass on necessary information, brought fresh ideas to both sides of the market regarding areas of neighborhood health and finance, and helped connect residents could be of real value in any community. If a company like that existed and supported the largest industry in any neighborhood, rental housing services, in a better more efficient way and helped people better manage their homes and neighborhoods as well as their businesses, you would quickly see everybody live better more sustainable lives. Supporting that industry gives people invested in the community long term, who have shown the ability to manage finances already, the tools and resources to continue to fight for the people who need help the most. By keeping housing affordable and providing jobs and saleable goods to millions of people.

Spam
Photo of Anu
Team

Hi Brian, good concept but how do you propose that the profit corporation is setup and regulated to ensure outcomes are met?

Spam
Photo of BT
Team

Hi Anu, thanks for your question. The answer is simple, we use the regulations already in place for the credit reporting industry first.

The rules may change eventually but then they would be changing because of us or around us. The way we design the solution could be the example we create to help dictate the laws and rules. Also, I would prefer we not do what the credit bureaus do currently but design alternative ways to use payment histories to show an ability to pay debts on time and consistently.

We could become the leaders in that industry and set the tone going forward. As we find designers able to design a better solution, a more personal solution for users we'll be changing the way people live and find housing. We should change the way neighborhood economies operate and how information is exchanged and who receives it. That would be huge!

Spam
Photo of BT
Team

Josh would you be willing to help me with the story of our product and company? I believe you when you discuss the story on your website, I know it's true but I haven't found the right way to tell either story yet.

Spam
Photo of Josh Anon
Team

I can try, but I still don't understand what you're proposing here as an actionable idea...

Spam
Photo of BT
Team

I know it's still a little vague, on purpose, could I give you the details over email? Bt@maryswatch.com, send me an email so I can respond more in detail.

Spam
Photo of BT
Team

I once met a mother looking for an apartment, she needed someone who would accept her housing voucher, some owners have a bad image of voucher holders. Her rent is paid in full by the government, a check comes to the owner the first of every month and they pay higher amounts than the general market. Yet she spent over $300 ($35-$50 each) in application fees just trying to find someone to accept her family and still didn't have an apartment after months of searching. Then when she finds one, they want her to come up with at least 2 months rent as a security deposit, that can be $2000 or more easily. That out of pocket cost helps to determine where someone will live and maybe where the kids go to school and where the person finds employment. By empowering the property owners with better data on applicants we can remove the risk of property damage and of being paid on time and in full, allowing them to accept people with less concern. By empowering the renters we can help them find a place close to better schools, with less out of pocket cost and with more control over how their story is told they find a place faster as well. I'm building property management software that is inclusive of the whole community of users (renters,owners & service providers) and allows them to share the same database of information. By making the software more personally adaptive to our users we should see better decisions made from feeling less risk and having better personal and business management tools. Offering management software, not called "property management" is the actionable step that I hope to use to change behavior. I still tend to be leary discussing it in public forums but I'm working on it. Does that help?

Spam
Photo of BT
Team

Let me also add, housing services is the one industry that just about everybody is a part of, so it allows you to have a money conversation with people AT LEAST once a month. You don't have to wait on them to come to you, you're in their everyday life. So when they are struggling you both know early and resources can be allocated.