Our guest for this episode is Danielle Samalin, CEO of Framework. Framework is a great company in the PropTech space built on a simple, and very powerful idea: Every homebuyer should educate themselves about the mortgage process and the responsibilities of homeownership, and then keep learning to protect their investment. And doing so should be easy and affordable.
Toward that worthy mission, Framework provides education for homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, through an extremely popular online course, plus the Keep mobile app, which helps new homeowners understand how to protect and increase the value of their investment.
We’re excited to have Danielle with us on Finside Chats to learn more about the challenges facing new buyers and the role of technology in improving their experience and outcomes.
3 Noteworthy Takeaways from the Episode
#1: Those who need the most help get the least
Through her own experience growing up in Brooklyn, Danielle learned how unwelcoming and inequitable the homebuying world could be for lower income families. “The primary way for lower income families to build wealth – through homeownership – is rife with information asymmetry,” she describes. “So I was drawn into this career because of a deep commitment to social justice and a desire to change the system.”
“Framework’s journey really began following the 2008 housing crisis,” she continues. “We saw in that crisis how inadequate information, inadequate access to information, can really create devastating results for people who are trying to build long-term financial security. […] So we committed to building a social enterprise to ensure that as many people as possible have the information, the tools, they need to make home buying decisions with confidence. Very simply put, just have the information that you need to buy a home with confidence.”
#2: Fighting inertia
Inequity in homebuying and homeownership stems from long standing financial and informational disparities. But Danielle is optimistic. For one thing, Framework has helped 1.4 million homebuyers better understand the process. And Framework is not alone. “I think that we are moving in the right direction. The fairly recent explosion of this PropTech space, the innovation in the real estate ecosystem, is really promising.”
Despite all the progress that’s been made, she admits, there’s much more to be done. “In homeownership, there's a lot of, well, this is the way we do it, because this is the way we do it. You close your eyes, you sign on the dotted line, it's a painful process,” Danielle explains. “That's just the way it's always been. And now, I think consumers, as well as other players in the space, are saying, you know, why does it have to be this way? And how might we give people the information, the tools, the resources, they need to understand the process really well, to negotiate really well, to understand what to expect the closing table, to understand what to expect in the home inspection. And from there, everyone is better off.”
#3: Mobility matters
We are all constantly learning about new and better ways to use technology to solve problems, share information, and empower better decisions. An important element of that is meeting users where they are. As Danielle asserts, making Keep a mobile app, one you could carry with you, was essential. “The homeownership experience, is mobile, literally. Whether you're searching for a home, going from neighborhood to neighborhood or house to house, or you're walking around your house trying to figure out what to maintain or to repair, it literally is on the move. So you can't really not use technology in that. That's a major shift. And it's a good shift for the consumer and for I think every player in the space.”
“It's not that there aren't other resources out there. It's not that they can't Google this information and get answers. But rather, it's that they Google and get 45 different answers. There's too much information. And they just need […] to know who is looking out for me in this and who's giving me information that is unbiased, exactly when I need it.”
-- Danielle Samalin