You've heard of crowdfunding to help launch new companies, or help out after natural disasters, but how about to buy real estate?

Thanks to new Arizona laws allowing this type of investment, a Phoenix group is giving it a try. They're letting anyone invest in buying an apartment complex.

A 1960s apartment in downtown Tempe is now "owned" by more than 100 people, all of them Arizonans.

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"The unique thing about our projects is they're all here local," said Jamison Manwaring, co-founder of Neighborhood Ventures. "So we say you can invest in your own neighborhood."

Neighborhood Ventures plans to use those funds to renovate and then resell the apartment.

It's part of a first-of-its-kind real estate project here in the state.

They set the minimum investment at $1,000 and raised $500,000 ahead of their deadline. Manwaring says the average investment was $5K.

They're guaranteeing a 12 percent annual return.

"Most people would rather invest in something they can see and touch rather than the stock market because it's a roller coaster," said Manwaring. "And we work hard for our money and we don't want to lose it."

[READ MORE: Antigone employees crowdfund to buy bookstore]

Previously, investing in commercial property was only an option for the wealthy.

"We're changing the way the business is being done," said John Kobierowski, Neighborhood Venture's other co-founder.

Now they're opening it up for everyone, like Diane Creason.

"This is kind of one of those times where you're like, 'Wow, am I going to miss out or am I going to participate?'" said Creason. "Hopefully, it works out really well and it's money that I keep investing and going forward with,"

If all goes as planned, they'll leave the neighborhood with a newly renovated building, and leave dozens of local investors with extra cash in their pocket.

[MORE: You don't have to be a billionaire to invest in startups]

The finished apartments will rent for market rate. They were in the past renting for a lower rate due to their state of deferred maintenance.

Neighborhood Ventures is already working on their next project, another apartment complex in Phoenix.

"We're looking for neighborhoods that are on the fringe or in the middle or turning over," said Kobierowski.

Their goal is to do 20 buildings in the next few years.

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