Adena Hefets helps low-income Americans become homeowners - here's how

No. 10 on The Jerusalem Post's Top 50 Most Influential Jews of 2022: CEO of Divvy Homes, Adena Hefets.

 Adena Hefets, the CEO of Divvy Homes. (photo credit: Courtesy Adena Hefets)
Adena Hefets, the CEO of Divvy Homes.
(photo credit: Courtesy Adena Hefets)

Many 35-year-olds dream of starting a successful company, becoming a CEO, or making their way onto illustrious lists such as Forbes’ 40-under-40 or The Jerusalem Post’s 50 Most Influential Jews. Adena Hefets, co-founder and CEO of Divvy Homes, has accomplished all three of those dreams, and she’s still got some gas in the tank.

With a BS in policy analysis and management from Cornell University and an MBA from Stanford University, Hefets has an impressive academic repertoire – one that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with her extensive career experience.

While she studied for her first degree, Hefets interned at Goldman Sachs. After graduating, she took her fresh degree to Merrill Lynch, where she began work as an investment banking analyst, transitioning to Bank of America when it acquired her former employer.

After two years as a private equity associate at TPG Capital, a year as product manager and financing lead for Square, Inc., and a year as a venture capital investor at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Hefets finally found her true calling in 2017, when she co-founded Divvy Homes.

House and calculator [Illustrative]. (credit: INGIMAGE)House and calculator [Illustrative]. (credit: INGIMAGE)

How does Divvy Homes help Americans become homeowners?

Divvy enables low-income Americans to feasibly become homeowners by allowing them to pick out a house they would like to own eventually, buying it for them, and renting it out to them while also collecting gradual down payments, with the ultimate goal of enabling the buyer to transition to a traditional mortgage.

Hefets’s motivation for developing Divvy stems from her personal experience with the US’s problematic housing market. Her parents met in Israel when her father picked up her mother who was hitchhiking. When they moved to the US, her family wasn’t able to obtain a mortgage. As a result, they were forced to turn to seller financing – a risky, often predatory, process – in order to afford a home. In a recent podcast interview she recalled her family having to live “paycheck to paycheck” and not being able to save. 

Hefets quickly learned that homeownership can be one of the primary factors in advancing low-income families’ personal wealth. 

“We saved in our house and it was the only asset that we really had. And so I was definitely motivated to be able to provide for myself.”

Adena Hefets

“We saved in our house and it was the only asset that we really had,” she recalled. “And so I was definitely motivated to be able to provide for myself.”

In today’s market with mortgage rates rising, Divvy is facing increasing demand. “Mortgage rates are going up and home prices have been rising pretty consistently over the last two years. The reason why that helps drive demand [for Divvy Homes’ services] is the more mortgage rates increase, and the more home prices increase, the harder it is to actually get a mortgage,” she explained in an interview for the Inman Innovator Award which she won in August. “And the reason why is because most mortgage originators have a fixed DTI [debt-to-income] ratio, which means they’re going to be able to buy less home. In addition to that, the down payment that they need has also increased. And so it causes people to seek out alternative forms of financing.”