Origins of the trademarked term ‘Rent Estate’ ®
sands of deals across the U.S. Two thousand miles away in Phoenix, Ortner was encouraging people hit hard by the crisis not to short-sell their homes or to enter foreclosure, but to instead rent out their homes with the help of Rent- ers Warehouse’s management. “They weren’t specifically invest- ment properties — many of them were homes where people lived, and they had to downsize for whatever reason or relocate to find work,” Ortner said. “Many of our early marketing campaigns were around the idea don’t foreclose, don’t short- sell. Rent out your home, we’ll teach you how to do that and live to fight another day. Renters Warehouse really hit its stride through what we call accidental landlords, meaning people who never really thought that they were going to own real estate as an investment or buy their particular home to rent out as an investment, but the circumstances led them to do so.” In 2013, Ortner became president and CEO of the Renters Warehouse, headquartered in Minneapolis. He helped lead the company to manage what’s now worth more than $3 billion in residential real estate across the U.S. While they had met a handful of times before, it wasn’t until 2018 that the two men realized how well their visions and companies aligned. Rand said that although both companies were successful, each had limitations. “Last year, a client asked, ‘Do you do property management,’ and I said ‘No’ for the fourth time that week,” Rand recalled. “It occurred to me, I wonder if Kevin is being asked, ‘Do you sell rent- al properties’ as often as I’m asked if I manage rental properties. So I texted him, ‘Do you feel like you're a puzzle piece instead of the whole puzzle?’ He said come to Minneapolis, and I hopped on a plane three days later.”
If you ever interact with Renters Warehouse, a curious term is likely to stand out.
The phrase “Rent Estate” is strategically used throughout Renters Warehouse’s website, blog articles, and social media, beckoning visitors to learn about its mission to revolutionize the single-family rental industry. The term, which was trademarked by Renters Warehouse in 2015, is a part of the company’s goal to transform how everyday Americans perceive real estate investing as unattainable and risky. Think Realty spoke with Renters Warehouse CEO Kevin Ortner about the origins of the phrase and why the company created it. Here are some excerpts from that conversation. What is Rent Estate? Rent Estate is essentially using real estate over the long term to create wealth. Rent estate is real estate for the rest of us. It’s about democratizing real estate investment, and making it less scary or unknown to the ordinary American.
Why did you create the term? It helps differentiate us within real estate investing. When we talk about real estate investing, it’s different from what so many people think of. In the era of HGTV and all these flipping shows, many people think how you invest in real estate is to buy a piece of property, fix it up, and sell it. That’s not what we believe in and that’s not what we do. Our approach is less sexy than that because it’s not $25,000 or 50,000 profit in a couple months, but it’s much less risky and it’s easy for everyone to execute.
What was the trademark process like? We’ve tried to trademark other terms and we weren’t successful because they were too general and had to be used in the industry. We were really excited we were able to trademark this one. We had some legal counsel involved, and it was about a six-month paperwork process before waiting on the government. Why should investors consider Rent Estate? Rent estate is a long-term play that takes advantage of all the great things that come with owning real estate, including income on a monthly basis. You can depreciate the home on your taxes and you can build equity over time. You’re also going to get the appreciation that comes from the market and you can leverage that. How is Rent Estate more accessible? Rent estate is the only investment an ordinary American can walk into a bank and borrow money to buy. If you went to your banker and said, ‘I want to borrow $100,000 to buy Apple stock,’ they're going to laugh you out of the bank or call security. But if you go to that same banker and say, ‘I want to borrow $100,000 to buy an investment in real estate,’ you’d get the money right away. Why that's important is because you can buy into this type of investment for much less cash down. You don't need $100,000 to buy that $100,000 investment. You can have $20,000 and then on top of it, you use someone else's money — your tenant’s — to pay that mortgage down.
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