November 3, 2022

Key Living - Own Real Estate, Not a Mortgage

Donghao Yang
Mortgage nightmare

For most, homeownership in the big city means taking on big debt with big down payments. Homeownership has been the backbone of personal financial freedom and prosperity for generations. However, in major cities like Toronto, it takes an average of 28 years for the typical first-time home buyer just to save up for the recommended 20% down payment. And for those who are able to qualify for a mortgage and buy a home, they often become “house poor”, with monthly payments consuming a large portion of their income.

How Key’s co-ownership model works

Key’s co-ownership model merges the benefits of traditional ownership and renting to maximize the prosperity and well-being of Owner-Residents. Rather than needing to save for a large down payment and qualifying for a mortgage, Key Owner-Residents can build home equity starting at just 2.5% (around $10-15k for most of our suites). 

By partnering with property owners and investors, Key secure suites in premiere buildings. Then give Owner-Residents the opportunity to own as the exclusive resident of their suite. Owner-Residents can then build additional equity at their own pace; equity that moves with the market. Furthermore, as Owner-Residents increase their share of ownership, their monthly residency payment decreases. In addition to the equity benefits of co-ownership, residents have a much higher degree of flexibility when it comes to mobility. 

After the one-year mark passes, Owner-Residents can move out and sell their equity at the new market value penalty free with just 75 days’ notice. Instead of paying the average 6% costs associated with moving, there is only a 1% fee associated with an Owner-Resident’s portion of equity, dramatically reducing the closing costs of moving. 

Lastly, as Owner-Residents build equity in their Key suite, they have the option to qualify for a mortgage and buy the suite after three years. While it is a great opportunity, buying the suite outright is certainly not required; it all ties back into the incredible flexibility that Key’s model enables.

The Founders of Key Living

The leaders of Key Living have a perfect combination of experience and passion. TSVC thinks their experiences could complement and balance each other to succeed.

CEO & Co-founder: Rob Richards 

Rob led (one of the first SaaS companies) as COO through hands-on reference customer wins, a Nasdaq IPO, and a roll-up. Since then, he has advised multiple start-ups and co-founded and built Plaza Ventures into a Top 5 Private VC in Canada (as ranked by the PwC Money Tree Report).

President & Co-founder: Daniel Dubois

After creating, building and selling his last two venture-backed companies ( and ShareShed), Daniel joined Airbnb full-time, where he led and managed growth in their top tier markets.

TSVC Conviction

The software and technology are the key factors that are used to break the traditional model and start from scratch with co-ownership. Selling a fraction of ownership to tenants for a certain number of years would be a brand-new option for homeowners. This new model allows tenants to participate in the rising housing market while enjoying the flexibility of renting. Key offers protection to landlords from rent control and loss when tenants fail to pay rent.  Rob Richards is experienced in hi-tech, real estate, and VC. Daniel is a bright young man with market growth experiences in the U.S. and Canada at Airbnb. He also has rich entrepreneurial experiences. TSVC believes their experiences could complement and balance each other. There are 16+ million rental units in the U.S. that are in buildings with 10+ units. It’s a sizable market even if a small percentage of these units get on Key’s platform. However, Key Living is a Canadian company, it still needs to prove itself in the U.S. market in order to grow into a unicorn.

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