It’s on me, he’s saying it’s your decision. It was good on both sides. Was willing to let me step back and let me learn things. It was my ship to drive. It’s a big scary thing and a big decision.
Caveat before I start this blog: there’s nothing inherently special about being a female investor but since they remain a minority in the space, it’s important to spotlight them.
Incredibly reductive picture of Emily:
Published author (+movie credits sold to Paramount Pictures), mother of two, great laugh, Denver resident, New Yorker by birth.)
Primary - Denver, CO
Investment - Bailey (bought + sold)
Investment - Aurora, CO | Purchased June 2020 | $335K | 5 bed, 2.5 baths, 2 kitchens
Tell me a little bit about how you got into investing:
After having my two kids, I came back around to investing when they were a little older. Since my husband works full time, he told me if I wanted to pursue it, he did not have the bandwidth but I should take it on if I wanted to.. And you know, research it, find something good, pursue it.
Part of the reason I like investing is that my professional income is inconsistent (I'm a writer and an editor.) We wanted stability. It’s making me feel more confident about stability and having something for the future.
Tell me more about the investing dynamic with your husband.
My husband didn’t even see the Aurora property. It’s a lot of trust. I felt very unsure about the investment and it was an interesting test of our relationship. We got married really young, so we’ve been married for a long time. We have had more stressful things happen than an investment, but it was really nice to have the trust.
He had to re-emphasize that he can’t help: it’s on me, he’s saying it’s your decision. It was good on both sides. Was willing to let me step back and let me learn things.
It was my ship to drive. It’s a big scary thing and a big decision.
You bought a property a long time ago in Bailey, which you've since sold, but tell me about that a bit.
We learned a lot on the Bailey property. We didn't really research the property management and afterwards found out they had a bad reputation. We asked around with our second investment in Aurora (this time, we talked to 5-6 different companies.)
Any other issues with the Bailey, Colorado investment?
Other things we learned from the Bailey property was to pay more attention to the tenants and the taxes. We still walked away with money, but we didn't utilize the tax breaks the way we could have, and we didn't check in on the tenants at all. They were basically there for ten years. The biggest mistake we made personally was that we rented it out and never stepped in the property again.
What did you differently this time around with property management?
This time around, I had a list of ten companies. I spoke on the phone to 5-6 of those, got a good feeling for them and it gave me an idea of what was realistic. I had a good experience with everyone and went with company that was highly recommended. He advised us before the sale; spoke to the things we should focus on and things to not focus on as much, for example, whether we need to repair the fence or not. Overall, it felt like a good experience.
Tell me about the property you purchased (with me) in Aurora in summer 2020.
When we refinanced our primary, which we purchased in 2012, the price had doubled. We talked about using the equity for remodeling, etc. Our lender was valuable to us because she advised us to do an investment. That triggered me to take it seriously.
What does the investment property in Aurora, Colorado look like?
Two baths upstairs: 1 full bath upstairs and the master has half
Full bath downstairs
Renting full house to one party
Part of what was appealing about the house initially was that the person living upstairs was renting out the basement separately. There is an exterior door and stairs to the basement, with a lock off.
Basement has laundry, kitchen, dining, bathroom. Upstairs has stacking washer dryer, kitchen, 3 bedrooms.
Both units could be lived in independently. We discussed with our property manager but ended up renting it to two families that live together, 4 kids and 3 adults.
How long are the tenants staying? 1 year, unfurnished
Are you cash flowing?
Did you choose your tenants differently this time?
Yeah, it took a little longer than I anticipated. Part of it was that our property manager was holding out for higher tenant scores. After4 weeks, we got a tenant. He/we had to lower price a little bit; they were firm on holding for credit scores. That’s been a positive thing:
It’s been a few months and we've maybe only had 1-2 small repairs.
What do you feel like you still have to learn?
I don’t feel like I still know enough about Capitol Gains. I thought I did. At this stage, we were doing our own taxes and I thought I’d figured out what we would pay in Capitol Gains. I wish we had gone to an adviser and we will next time.
Next steps? Do you think you will invest again?
It does make me want to think about building a portfolio. That's a little intimidating. What does the second one look like? How are we going to fund it this time around? First time, we said single family home, Denver or Colo Spgs. It has been an overall positive.
This is an investment property; don’t want to live there myself, so investment is different. Not so personal. Could I live in this house if I had to? Way to think about the backup plans. Worst case scenario down the road. Not somewhere I want to live, but could.