My dad always told me, “no one cares about your money more than you do.” Kim Gillock (owns 5 properties)
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.
Let’s start with an incredibly reductive picture of Kim: mid-thirties, single, works in health care, dog owner. Also: she’s annoyingly good at ping pong, can build trendy barn doors all by herself, and organizes a charity bike race team every year.
Let’s just get into it. Why do you invest?
KG: “I want to have options around retiring early and cutting back my work hours. Because medicine is always changing, I don’t know what the future holds. And if I have kids, this is a good way to help pay for college. Also, I just have more control with this than with the stock market and so I feel more comfortable with it.”
How many properties do you own?
KG: “I own 5 total properties. Three in Denver (two are investments and one I live in) and two in Tulsa. I also manage a vacation rental in Beaver Creek and have since 2014.”
How did you get started?
KG: “I bought my very first property in 2009 and it is where I still live. I wasn’t thinking about investing, but I was thinking about house hacking in the sense that I knew I would take on a roommate to help cover the mortgage.”
And your first investment investment?
KG: “I didn’t do that until 2012. I knew what my mortgage was and what I was getting rent wise for a room at my place and I also believed that people were moving to Denver, so it made me start to think about it. I then read Buy It, Rent It, Profit, which is mostly about buying entire buildings, but it was still helpful on running numbers for individual units. After hooking up with a real estate agent that worked in investments, I bought the first place I saw.”
And what was your time frame for that?
KG: “I started thinking about it in November and my closing was in May, so about 6 months. It took a little longer because the closing process was challenging due to an HOA issue, and I ended up getting a portfolio loan.”
It obviously went well enough since you bought a second investment.
KG: “Yeah, no issues with that one and it’s super cute. I waited 1.5 years before buying my next place in 2014. The market in Denver had shifted, so I ended up buying a place for $88K in Tulsa near the university. I found the place and was nervous for awhile because it had been on the market for a year, but I knew I could rent it out to grad students and law students. And now I cash flow $500 a month on it. I’ve since bought a second property there- which was actually my brother’s, but it’s near the university again so I knew it would cash flow.”
KG: “Well, I wouldn’t invest in a place I don’t know well, and my family lives in Tulsa. I know it and I also have a reason to go back at least twice a year. And, then obviously, if anything happens, my parents are local and can help.”
So, no property manager?
KG: “I’ve been turned off by property managers because during my interview process, it sounded like they would take 1-2 months to flip a place, and I don’t want to have that kind of vacancy. My dad always told me no one cares about your money more than you do.”
In Tulsa you mostly rent to students, what about in Denver? Do you have a renter profile here?
KG: “My renter profile in Denver was initially renting to .... myself! ...but about 5-10 years younger: responsible, stable job, clean and wants to live in a nice place in an urban setting. With the month-to-month rental, I was planning on renting to mostly traveling nurses, but I've had all kinds come through-- a flautist for the central city opera, some freelancers, traveling nurses and a lot of people who are moving to Denver, but don't want to commit to a neighborhood just yet. Its been really fun meeting all the people coming through!”
And is it?
KG: “I’m cash flowing $4-700/month depending on the length of the contract they sign with me.”
What criteria do you use for your investments?
KG: “It has to be a place I would live in. It also has to cash flow, be a city that I have a reason to be in (like family) and a place that’s appealing for younger people- because they may not be ready or want to own.”
What were your fears when you started?
KG: “I think ignorance is bliss. I didn’t really have analysis paralysis because I could run the numbers and see that it would cash flow. It was harder doing it in Tulsa because I really couldn’t figure out why no one had bought that property for a year, but I ran best and worst case scenarios and knew it would be fine.”
Do you think there’s anything different about your experience since you are a female investor?
KG: “People tend to underestimate me, and they also look at me weird because they don’t expect women to do it on their own.”