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  • Writer's pictureErin Spradlin

Profile of a Female Investor in Denver: Lizzie Carver

It’s really hard for most personality types to get on board with the risk, but it’s the kind of thing that if you are that way- which I kind of am- give yourself the tools where you can try it and actually do it. People would be surprised if they just took the lead.

Lizzie Carver

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 Lizzie:

Self-employed, dog-lover from the DC-area, willing to divert student loan funds for investing success.

Tell me about your current investments…

I recently just sold my investment in DC, and now share an investment with my boyfriend, who owns a duplex. We have been renovating it and living on one side while renting (or rented) the other side out.

I find renovation to be a frightening word. What have you been doing on the place?

We’ve ripped out the outdated kitchen and bathroom down to the studs and added modern touches like open shelving, new paint and trim throughout. We’ve also replaced flooring in living room and bedrooms, replaced interior and exterior doors.

How has this property been going generally?

It’s been stressing us out a little as we plan on going on vacation, and there’s some still some stuff that needs to be done. Also, our tenants left in mid-January unexpectedly (we expected it to be June), so now we are working on getting new tenants. We’re both working full time so it’s been stressful.

You just sold a place in DC. Tell me about that.

I bought it as my primary in 2016, but was always intended to rent it out. I knew I could only really afford a one bedroom (in DC). So it was important to me that I felt I could rent out in a couple years when I wanted something bigger.

And did you?

Yes, and I had a great tenant but because of some HOA issues, had to sell it.

I think a lot of people are afraid of having tenants, you said yours was a good tenant. Tell me more about that.

I have not had any issues, but everyone should be a little paranoid about that: you are letting them into a big investment, you are trusting them to pay every month.

I was really diligent about the screening process. When I first advertised it, this girl came and she was super cool, excited, brought a friend and was talking about furniture. I assumed it would be her. Then I did a credit check and I’ve never seen one that low. And it wasn’t for anything reasonable, it was like not paying basic bills, like gas.

But, ultimately, you did get a good tenant?

I did have a really good first tenant in DC. Once there was a leak from upstairs and he was great at taking care of it. Because he was so awesome about contractors, I’d send him a little gift. We were not friends, but we had a good relationship.

You had to sell because of the HOA. How did you end up doing?

In 2017, I bought it for $279K and I sold it for $318K in 2019. After everything was said and done, netted almost exactly $50K. My intention was then to put the money into a bigger investment out here, but then I quit my job and my focus changed for now.

Did your investment help you quit your 9-5?

I would have never let myself quit my job unless I had a big buffer. I am not living off the $50K, but it provides comfort.

How was it to have an investment out of state? No big stresses from doing it afar. Because I’ve been in commercial real estate for awhile and have been in charge of a lot of commercial tenants, I feel like as long as someone is communicating and you have a plan, I can work with them. You want to have a good relationship with the tenant.

So, now you are self-employed. How are you liking that?

I like it. It’s been 6 months to the day.

Right now, I have to be commuting a bit; in general I think it suits me really well. I struggle if I am sitting in a cubicle for 9 hours. I’ve always felt like I can do my work faster than that. It’s annoying to be expected to stay there.

Why did you do it?

It’s really hard for most personality types to get on board with the risk, but it’s the kind of thing that if you are that way- which I kind of am- give yourself the tools where you can try it and actually do it. People would be surprised if they just took the lead.

And, for me, it meant having somewhat of a plan and having money. I did it so if I quit my job and was bleeding money, I was not dependent on taking any job that was there immediately, because that would have been a worse situation.

Can we plug your business at all?

Sure, my focus right now is primarily focused on business to business corporate real estate; currently working with two national retailers on all things leasing related. I’ve been in commercial real estate for eight years and am always happy to help those interested in learning more about it!

Final thoughts?

I know a lot of people want to invest in real estate and then just don’t because it seems so big and scary...

When I bought my DC condo I was underpaid and rent was so high it was hard to save. I looked a few neighborhoods over and kept an eye on what I would need for a 5% down payment and figured out how to cobble it together (about a third was from getting grad school tuition reimbursement from my employer and, instead of paying off my student loan, using the cash toward my down payment since my real hurdle to buying was saving up the last $5k while paying high rent.) Once I moved, I was in a bigger place and paying less each month and the monthly “savings” went to my student loan payment.

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