The FORT Podcast: Brad Hargreaves – Founder & CEO of Common – Making Housing More Affordable through Co-Living and Best-In-Class Property Management

Brad Hargreaves is the Founder and CEO of Common, the nation’s leading residential brand that designs and manages multifamily apartments with more than 6,000 residents in over 10 markets across the country.

On this episode, Chris and Brad discuss how co-living works and why it’s more affordable, how Common works with owners and developers to drive returns and what makes for a great location/market when deciding to develop co-living. Enjoy!

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(2:04) – Brad’s journey into co-living

(3:17) – When did co-living get its label and become a true asset class?

(4:33) – What does Common do & what is the definition of Co-living?

(5:48) – How do your management & lease agreements work?

(9:01) – Why are developers approaching you over traditional Property Managers?

(10:57) – – How do you think about designing to separate yourself from other MF developers?

(15:29) – What’s the trigger in these jurisdictions that gets you classified into co-living?

(17:53) – SRO: Single Room Occupancy dwelling

(19:46) – Why are jurisdictions somewhat against co-living?

(21:09) – What makes a great market for co-living & how do you decide which markets to pursue?

(25:56) – Factors that impact the viability of co-working

(30:03) – Understanding the customer

(31:38) – What’s your revenue model for a ground-up development?

(35:47) – Who is the target customer for co-living?

(41:05) – Are you furnishing the co-living units?

(43:02) – How does the dynamic of 4 strangers living together work?

(47:38) – At what point does management have to get involved in tenant disputes?

(49:43) – How much customization can a tenant take upon themselves?

(52:09) – How do leases & evictions work?

(53:59) – How Common approaches Staffing

(55:45) – How do you think about advertising?

(56:50) – What are your most common unit configuration and square footage?

(57:32) – Thoughts on retrofitting existing structures

(1:00:06) – Is there an opportunity for converting office buildings?

(1:01:13) – Are there any big needle movers that will have an impact on affordable housing & co-living happening right now?


Episode Summary

Brad Hargreaves, esteemed for his incisive acumen in the realm of real estate, graced Chris Powers’ podcast, bestowing listeners with unparalleled insights into the contemporary real estate panorama. A seasoned luminary, Hargreaves’ profound expertise not only emanates from his extensive tenure in the sector but also from his innovative ventures that have reshaped housing dynamics.

At the forefront of the discussion, Hargreaves elucidated the novel concept of room leasing, a disruptive model introduced by his enterprise. Contrary to conventional housing setups, individuals, in this framework, lease rooms without the prerogative to vet their roommates. The primary objective, as Hargreaves highlighted, is to minimize potential conflicts among occupants. To achieve this, shared amenities are provided, ranging from kitchen supplies to bathroom essentials. Additionally, the company undertakes weekly cleaning of common areas and ensures the furnishing of the living spaces. The overarching aim is to curtail areas of potential discord, ensuring a harmonious living environment. For those who find themselves in discordant roommate scenarios, the company offers the flexibility to transfer to another room, emphasizing tenant satisfaction.

Transitioning to a more macroscopic view, Hargreaves shed light on a looming legal decision with significant implications for the real estate domain. The potential Supreme Court ruling concerning New York’s rent stabilization law was underscored as a pivotal development on the horizon. This decision, Hargreaves posited, could have a ripple effect, influencing housing regulations and rent control policies across the nation. Given the conservative leaning of the current court, there’s considerable anticipation surrounding this verdict. A ruling against New York’s rent stabilization could spell transformative changes for housing regulation, potentially upending established norms and ushering in a new era of real estate dynamics.

As the conversation progressed, the duo delved into the operational intricacies of Hargreaves’ business model. Emphasizing the significance of streamlined operations, Hargreaves detailed the challenges and rewards of managing a room-leasing enterprise. The company’s modus operandi, which revolves around direct capital raising from investors, acquisition, and real estate management, aims at creating unparalleled value and ensuring a steady cash flow for investors.

In conclusion, this enlightening dialogue with Brad Hargreaves provided a panoramic view of the present real estate milieu. The episode, replete with groundbreaking insights, stands as an indispensable resource for those eager to decode the complexities of contemporary real estate. With Hargreaves’ expert reflections illuminating the path, listeners are equipped with the knowledge to navigate the intricate waters of today’s real estate domain.


The Fort is produced by Johnny Podcasts

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