How This Company Makes Investing in Real Estate Abroad Easier and More Affordable

By launching with three Barcelona units, the brand-new Lilo Collection hopes to offer fractional condo ownership opportunities across Europe.

A pool on the rooftop deck at the Lilo Collection, Barcelona Collection

Javier Marquez/Courtesy of Lilo Collection

Now there’s a new way to cement your commitment to a destination. The London-based startup Lilo Collection is introducing what it calls “invest and experience,” by allowing travelers to buy a fraction of a luxury property in the world’s most coveted cities.

That means instead of just renting out these turnkey high-end homes, travelers can actually own a piece of them, in one-eighth share increments. 

“Lilo makes investing in, experiencing, and collecting premium property shares effortless and beautiful,” said co-founder Emily Chan, who started the company with Christopher Lass six months ago. “We take a highly bespoke and personal approach, carefully curating a selection of premium property listings in the world's most sought-after cities, and making sure we find the perfect property for you.”

Interior of an apartment at the Lilo Collection, Barcelona Collection

Javier Marquez/Courtesy of Lilo Collection

But the best part is, they take the hassle out of navigating the red tape of international investments. In fact, that’s exactly the point. “With Lilo, owning a property is as simple as it gets,” she told Travel + Leisure. “The Lilo experience is purposely designed to remove all the typical logistics for the investor that tend to make property purchases stressful and onerous. The admin burden is placed on us, so that your buying experience can be as hassle-free and pleasurable as possible.” There is no set-up required as the company takes care of the details.

While the idea may seem similar to a timeshare, Lass explains how it’s completely different. "Lilo co-owners have legal ownership of the property, whereas timeshare holders do not,” he said. “Because of this, members of the Lilo community can also capture full value appreciation on the property should they decide to sell their share in the future.”

Last month, the company launched its first collection of homes in Barcelona with three homes in the Eixample district. Two of the homes are in The Gràcia building right on Passeig de Gràcia. The three-room, 1,270-square-foot unit starts at €396K per one-eighth share. The two-room, 646-square-foot unit is offering its shares for €195K. Both include access to a communal rooftop pool. The third property, called The Onda Penthouse, is a three-room, 1,238-square-foot unit that has its own private rooftop for €178K per share.

Each share gets investors 45 days per year, and people can invest in one to four shares of a unit. (They need not wait for all shares to be purchased to start living in their new home.) 

A bathroom and living space in an apartment at the Lilo Collection, Barcelona Collection

Javier Marquez/Courtesy of Lilo Collection

Spain’s second largest city was an obvious choice for Chan and Lass to focus on for Lilo’s debut collection since “it has an infectious energy and houses a vibrant and creative hub right on the Mediterranean,” Chan said, while Lass added that the Eixample neighborhood is “like walking through an open-air museum” with “architectural jewels of Catalan modernism, luxury boutiques, and cosmopolitan terraces, [and] some of the world’s most delectable restaurants.” (He also raved about some of his favorite eats in the area, like El Nacional, Disfrutar, Gresca, Mont Bar, Paco Meralgo, Lasarte, and Moments by Carme Ruscalleda.)

The décor within each unit is also specifically curated with items sourced from top manufacturers. “This gives every home a unique character and plays with the concept of creating collectors' value,” Chan said. She admits she’s a huge fan of the custom-made coffee tables made in one of the oldest marble quarries in Carrara, Italy. “Every piece is unique and specifically designed for Lilo," she said. "Also, our sleeping standard is otherworldly. We have these incredibly comfortable beds from Vispring, they have been making luxury beds for over 100 years — I probably sleep better in a Lilo apartment than in my own home!” 

Details on the rooftop deck at the Lilo Collection, Barcelona Collection

Javier Marquez/Courtesy of Lilo Collection

The idea behind the company was first planted during Chan’s childhood as she moved around in Australia, and then eventually to the U.K. “This constant flux at such a formative age made me develop a fascination with how change fuels reimagination, and I saw such an opportunity within the property investment class,” she said. When she met Lass through mutual professional contacts, the idea became a reality, as his tech background and her real estate and finance expertise “meant that we could bring our two worlds together to carve out a unique product,” Chan said. 

Their current focus is Europe since that’s their homebase — with ownership opportunities in London, Berlin, and Lisbon, all in the pipeline. But they eventually hope to go global with properties in “some of the world's most sought-after cities across an array of different continents,” Lass said. 

But when it comes down to it, it’s all about human connection. “By owning a property, you become part of our visionary global community,” Chan said. “Members can connect to inspire each other and trade property shares or time quotas across collections.”

Not only does the ownership stake present an investment opportunity, in that investors earn a portion of the appreciation value if the property is sold, Chan also points out that real estate is, really, the ultimate collectors' item. “When referring to collecting, people think of art, cars, and watches,” she said. “Real estate, however, is also a highly personal and emotional investment that perfectly reflects the concept of collectibles: investments that give joy and connect to us on a personal level. In this area, real estate is one of the most sustainable investments one can make in their future.” 

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