Contributor, Benzinga
May 12, 2023
Overall Rating:
securely through Collab's website

Investing in student housing presents a unique opportunity to grow your investment portfolio, hedge against inflation and earn optimum returns over time. An estimated 46 million people will reach college age by 2031, further accelerating demand in the already-growing student housing sector. The implication is that by investing now, investors stand to earn massive ROI over time. However, many potential investors cannot access the flourishing student housing market. That’s where Collab comes in. 

Founded in 2020 by serial entrepreneur Qian Wang, Collab is a first-of-its-kind decentralized student housing real estate asset management and investment platform helping community members to own, invest in and manage properties. The platform leverages a vertically integrated, community-driven management system to provide the best investment opportunities and a welcoming environment for its investing community and tenants. 

If you’re looking to actively participate in the flourishing student housing sector and amass wealth, Collab is your go-to platform. Benzinga spotlights Collab, explaining its products and services to help you decide if it’s an ideal product for your real estate investment.


Best For
  • Mid to long-term investors Investors seeking innovative and secure investment vehicles to diversify or grow their portfolio
  • Investors seeking balanced risk/reward opportunities
  • Students/college alumni looking to invest in real estate they are familiar with
  • Investors looking for alternatives assets to hedge against inflation
  • Access to student housing assets near prestigious universities
  • High cash dividend (4%-5% annualized) paid monthly
  • High equity growth potential
  • Excellent service offerings
  • Earn income by helping in property operation and platform development
  • Easy-to-use investment platform
  • Low barriers to entry (start with $500)
  • End-to-end vertically integrated platform for asset management
  • Limited investment product options
  • Low liquidity due to the nature of real estate investment

Collab Ratings at a Glance

Product Offering
Customer Service
Minimum Investment and Pricing
User Experience
Overall Rating

Collab Product Offering

Collab provides investors access to institutional-quality real estate with a low entry barrier, thanks to its fractional share offering. All investors are co-owners of properties and earn monthly dividends when students or tenants pay their rent. The product and services offered by the company are divided into investment offerings and community management.

Investment Offerings 

You can invest and earn a monthly dividend in one of the properties right now. Three other properties will be open for investment soon, with another 5+ in the pipeline in the coming months. Here's an overview of each offering and what it entails.

1742 Spruce (available for investment)

The 1742 Spruce Street is a 10-unit, 23-bedroom and 17.5-bathroom building located a block from the University of California, Berkeley campus. The apartment complex is also within walking distance of the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. Its total value offering is $4,514,621, with 902,924 fractional shares up for grabs at $5 per share. At capacity, it generates $39,616.86 monthly via rental. After a deductible, including operating expenses and debt service, investors are paid up to $15,048.74 in monthly dividends. Investing in the Spruce property is expected to return about 15.2% in annualized rate, meaning if you invest $10,000, you can expect to earn $1,520 per year with cash dividend and equity appreciation combined. Its 10-year average growth rate of 16.9% implies that if you had invested 10 years ago with $10,000, your investment would be worth approximately $26,790 today.

19 Buttonwood #3 (available for investment)

The Buttonwood property is a condo unit with a total offering value of $572,680. The condo unit is a 1,087 SF, 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom, top-floor apartment located at 19 Buttonwood Street, about half a mile from the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus, and a couple of blocks away from the JFK/UMASS T Station. It underwent complete remodeling in 2022. Investors will be able to purchase fractional shares from the available 114,536 shares soon. The property has a 100% occupancy rate. Further detailed investment information about this property is currently unavailable pending the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) approval. The property estimates a 15% expected annual return forward with an average growth rate of 13.9% in the past 10 years.

2340 Hilgard (available for investment)

The Hilgard property is located at Hilgard Avenue in Berkeley, California, a stone's throw from UC Berkeley. It offers one of the best earning potentials, with a total offering value of $2,275,000 and an estimated annualized profit of 14.8%, meaning that a $10,000 investment could return an annual profit of $1,620. Its 10-year average growth rate is consistent with what's available in the sub-market.

371-373 Crown (coming soon)

The 371-373 property is located at Crown Street in New Haven, Connecticut, close to Yale University. The property's total offering value is pegged at $1,260,272. As the real estate investment features on the property are still in the pipeline, a breakdown of the fractional shares and detailed investment information is unavailable. Collab puts the investment return at an estimated 13.8% annualized ROI, with a 10-year average growth rate of 10.8%.

Community Management 

Collab provides online leasing and property management services in addition to student housing real estate investments. This service is available via the website's "Rental" function. Tenants can access online VR showings, robust Discord-based real-time community support and online in-person tour booking. 

Collab also offers innovative community-based tenant services for daily operations such as repair and maintenance. With the "Task Center" function on the Property Management System, tenants can generate additional income by performing specific tasks. The available services include showing and routine property maintenance. Their Discord channel further curates an open and collaborative culture to let anyone participate in community services. This approach could potentially eliminate some intermediate expenses and generate higher returns for investors. 

Collab enables you to earn dividends from your real estate investments and benefit from the appreciation of property gains, earn extra income by performing tasks and facilitate a seamless and innovative rental experience that allows anyone to invest and earn revenue. Benzinga rates CollabHomes 5 out of 5 on product offerings.

Collab Customer Service

Numerous customer service options are available from Collab. You can contact one of the company's agents via email or by filling out an online form. Collab also provides live chat options. You can connect with the company via social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Discord. These customer service options guarantee consistent and high-quality service delivery, meaning your inquiries and complaints will be handled timely and professionally. There's little to no public customer rating to reference online from reviews platforms like Trustpilot. Nevertheless, reviews found on the company website were overwhelmingly positive. Benzinga rates Collab 4 out of 5 on customer service.

Collab Security

Collab offers Reg A+ real estate investment products with thorough SEC documentation. Collab guarantees the professional handling of users' data and information. While the company may gather user data ranging from personal details to sales or purchase information, this data is used solely for service improvements and complies with strict privacy protection guidelines outlined in the Data Protection Act of 1998.

To guard against data access by an unaffiliated third-party, adequate physical, electronic and procedural safeguards are implemented. For instance, the company encrypts all stored information. The DAO principle also enhances security. Collab upholds strict guidelines for the safety and protection of user data. However, there is still room for development and transparency regarding how it handles user funds. Benzinga rates Collab 4 out of 5 on security.

Collab Minimum Investment and Pricing

Collab does not charge out-of-pocket fees for its products and services. Investors put money in and earn positive returns. The entry barrier is exceptionally low; you can invest just $500 and earn monthly dividends. The annualized dividend ranges from 3.5% to 5.3%, depending on the property and longer-term home price appreciation. Benzinga rates Collab 5 out of 5 on minimum investment and pricing.

Collab User Experience

Collab platform is straightforward to use and intuitive. Whether you're a community collaborator, an investor or a tenant, you can get started in only a few minutes. The company's decentralized approach means less reliance on leasing agents or expensive contractors.

Everyone can get paid to help tenants. The low entry barrier and fractional shares offerings enhance investment opportunities for students or tenants of all net worth, allowing them to earn an excellent return on their investments while enjoying better living experiences. Anyone can rent, help manage and invest in any property on the platform. All CollabHomes investment offerings are SEC regulated. Benzinga rates CollabHomes 5 out of 5 on user experience.

Company vs. Competitors

Collab has a few competitors, like Fundrise and Arrived. All three provide investors with an avenue to profit from real estate. Fundrise lets investors invest in a pool of various types of properties such as multi-family and industrial properties; Arrived allows investors choose to invest in specific single-family properties. However, Collab is solely focused on student housing real estate and builds its competitive advantage through: acquiring assets with the greatest value-add potential around selected college campuses such as UC Berkeley, U. Mass, Rugters U; increasing rental revenue by adding 5-10% leasable area or reconfiguring existing unit layouts; operating the properties using innovative community-based management eco-system. 

Overall Rating

Collab is the first online platform offering Reg A+ crowdfunding student housing real estate products to accredited and nonaccredited investors. The platform vertically integrates every aspect of real estate into a single system that supports tenants, property managers and investors to collaborate in a user-friendly ecosystem. Being built with DAO principles enhances transparency, flexibility and security for all investors. Investors earn monthly dividends, and financial reports are readily available on the website for more transparency. 

Students, tenants or investors enjoy robust online community support and can perform tasks like routine property maintenance to earn passive income while gaining knowledge in property management. Despite lacking mobile applications, the company's web-based platform has excellent usability. However, the company needs to improve its investment options and online presence, not just on social media. Benzinga rates CollabHomes 4.5 out of 5 overall.

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