Is a Community Land Trust the Right Buyer for Your Property?

Our broker Max Rattner recently closed an impossible deal. The property was an eight-unit multifamily in Berkeley, but with a code violation, a majority of the tenants under Section 8, and roughly $500K of deferred maintenance.

Seller, buyers, tenants…everyone’s in a rough spot there.

But like a young George Bailey, Max’s team found a miracle of modern real estate: The Community Land Trust.

Land Trusts have existed since the time of kings as a means of public stewardship of land. Typically they’re public spaces like parks. But in 1968, several activists began what has become a growing trend of housing CLTs in the US.

CLTs are non-profit orgs that will acquire your property at market value and then own it permanently. Yet they’ll then “sell” equity in the property back to tenants, in what’s essentially a long-term lease. In lieu of paying (rising) rents, tenants earn a stake in homeownership. When a tenant then chooses to sell, he/she receives a portion of the property’s appreciation, while the Trust remains owner.

In an era of difficult housing affordability, CLTs are growing as an option for many people. There are SEVEN of them in the Bay Area alone. And for property owners, a CLT might present an opportunity to sell a challenging property at a fair price.

Those transactions still aren’t easy. Nonprofits are traditionally short-handed and bootstrapped. Their resources for navigating transactions are limited. But that’s where our agents fill an extra role in expediting deals. Max Ratter, Kevin Flaherty, Derrick Reedy and Tina Qi architected this sale perfectly, and know this landscape better than anyone.

We’ve made this nuanced option a specialty, and if the situation is right for you, we can open your property to a Community Land Trust.

So if you’re sitting on a property you may have thought was limited, think again. Contact us any time and we can explore this unique option.