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Loftium co-founders Yifan Zhang and Adam Stelle take a novel approach to down payment assistance. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Loftium made a splash last year when it launched a novel homebuying service in Seattle. The startup provides customers with cash for their down payment if they agree to then rent out a room on Airbnb and split the profits with the company. Today, Loftium is expanding beyond Seattle proper to the greater metro region.

Homebuyers in Tacoma, Bellevue, and Everett are now eligible for the service, though there is already a waitlist in the greater Seattle metro.

Loftium bills itself as a way to make buying homes more affordable, particularly in expensive markets like Seattle. Home buyers agree to rent out part of their home on Airbnb for 12 to 36 months. Loftium splits the profits from the Airbnb with the customer on a sliding scale, depending on their contract.

“The goal is to ensure that cities don’t become places where only the very, very wealthy can afford to own, that there’s still this ability for middle-class people to be able to own a home,” Loftium Co-Founder Yifan Zhang told GeekWire in a previous interview.

Zhang told GeekWire in an email that expanding outside Seattle will “show that Loftium works just as well outside tourism-heavy, expensive urban areas,” and inform the startup as it expands to more cities later this year.

She declined to say how many homes the startup has helped fund but said most of Loftium’s customers so far are first-time homebuyers and first-time Airbnb hosts. When it launched, the startup was planning to finance 50 new homes in partnership with Umpqua Bank, then scale the business with additional lenders.

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