New lease on life for foreclosed homes

A company known for purchasing foreclosed single family homes and turning them into rentals has announced it is bringing its services to West Oakland and the San Antonio neighborhood.

Waypoint Real Estate Group is entering a $20 million partnership with nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners to buy foreclosed homes in the neighborhood and lease them to tenants. Waypoint will acquire and manage the properties, while Enterprise will work with prospective tenants, officials and other nonprofits to support the project.

As part of Waypoint’s services, tenants are given credit counseling, budget advice and credit that may be used toward eventually owning the home they are renting, according to co-founder Colin Wiel:

“Basically what we do is single-family rental. So we’re buying homes, renovating them and renting them out, which is our core business model.”

Wiel said he hopes to operate in more neighborhoods in the future. Based in Oakland, Waypoint was founded by Wiel and former Cal and 49ers kicker Doug Brien.

Weil said that one of Waypoint’s goals is to rescue homes and reinvent renting:

“We buy all our houses from banks. Sometimes, we’ll buy a house and the former owner is still there, in which case, we approach them and tell them about our program and encourage them to become a Waypoint resident.”

The company plans to begin with 20 acquisitions in Oakland this summer, with another 80 purchases by summer 2013.

The company currently owns 1,500 once-foreclosed homes, with many in struggling Contra Costa and Solano counties. They aim to have 15,000 by the end of next year.