Landed raises $7.5 million Series A to help teachers buy homes

Teachers are notoriously underpaid, and buying homes is notoriously expensive. This is where Landed, which just raised a $7.5 million Series A round led by Initialized Capital, comes in.

Landed helps educators buy homes by providing them with down-payment assistance. That’s because many teachers leave their jobs due to a lack of stable housing. In Berkeley, Calif., for example, more than half of the school district’s employees reported they considered leaving because of the high costs of housing.

“Our mission is to help these people build financial security and help them remain committed to their communities,” Landed co-founder Alex Lofton said. “We try to stay flexible to people’s realities. We don’t require people to buy in any particular city.”

To date, Landed has helped more than 200 educators buy homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver and Seattle.

Currently, the maximum amount of support Landed gives is $120,000 in the Bay Area, but Lofton says people generally take less than that. Unlike some of the city-run housing programs, there’s no income restriction with Landed.

“A lot of people we work with make a bit too much money to qualify for those programs,” Lofton said.

Landed, which manages the funds it sets up, offers down-payment assistance in exchange for a cut of the home’s appreciated value. Landed, Inc., which is a licensed real estate brokerage, gets money on every transaction.

Given the influx of new cash into the SF Bay Area via IPOs from tech companies, Landed expects the market to become more challenging.

“With all of these economic booms in a market that’s already really supply-constrained with housing, it will be even more challenging,” he said.

While that’s surely discouraging to potential homebuyers, Landed is prepared to expand into additional markets and diversify where it offers support.

“[IPOs] will affect us but it won’t end our mission,” Lofton said. “For the community that we’re a part of, in our backyard, it does make us all here a bit nervous.”

With the funding, Landed will be able to expand to more cities and serve educators beyond K-12.

“I’ve followed the team at Landed for several years in their mission of providing more equitable access to homeownership to some of the most important community members – our educators and teachers,” Initialized Capital partner Kim Mai-Cutler* said in a statement. “Not only is Landed attacking a profound issue affecting teacher retention in metros and school districts throughout the country, this is a promising market opportunity to build a trusted brand and institution to help essential professionals achieve their lifetime financial goals.”

*Kim-Mai Cutler is a former colleague of mine, but this relationship had no bearing on coverage.