We’re excited to launch “Meet the Investor” — a series of Q&A sessions with a few of the many Fundrise members who are currently invested in offerings on our platform. With this series, we hope to give you the chance to learn about the background and investment strategy of a few Fundrise investors.

Name: Michael Brownlie

Investor in: 1351 H Street NE

Occupation: Public Policy Analyst

How did you hear about Fundrise?

I heard about Fundrise through friends. I’ve lived in DC for more than 10 years and I’ve seen many of the neighborhoods I’ve lived in grow and change during that period. My wife and I bought a condo in the area around U Street NW about five years ago, and it has been fascinating to watch the area transform.

As the neighborhood transitioned, I saw the parallel growth in rents and property values. So I have been interested in investing in real estate for a while, but until Fundrise came along, I was really limited in how I could do that. My wife and I had been limited to buying another condo or residential property, or maybe going in with a buddy and owning something like 5% of a bar. Investing through Fundrise is a much more structured and smart way to invest in real estate, and to diversify.

How did it fit in with your investment strategy?

I also invest in mutual funds and stocks. What I appreciate about my investment through Fundrise is that with a fund or stock, as closely as you may read the prospectus or any other information about that investment, you’re never going to understand it as well as you understand the investment in your own neighborhood.

When investing, I look for a solid return, acceptable risk, and an investment that I can learn about, if I don’t already know and understand it. We have also been making a conscious effort to make greener, more socially responsible investments. Our investment in something local, which benefits the surrounding community, fits in with that strategy. And, the simple fact that I was able to invest in real estate in a way that wasn’t before possible made it really appealing.

What are you looking for in your next Fundrise investment?

As far as my next investment goes, I’d like to see something in my immediate neighborhood, like on the corner where I live. I also dream about investing in a new stadium for DC United, but that’s a little more far-fetched. For now, I’m enjoying watching my current investment and I like receiving updates about the building and seeing how the property is progressing. For me, Fundrise is a fantastic opportunity to potentially make money investing in something tangible in my neighborhood.