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Erin is a tech startup nerd, CrossFit enthusiast, and first-time real estate investor in Denver, Colorado. Erin’s appetite for entrepreneurship led her to join a fast-paced tech startup where she leads customer success and is learning first-hand how to build a business from the ground up.

Her first real estate investment has already shown her the power of house hacking and a clear path to financial freedom. She plans to continue building her real estate investment portfolio with house hacking and leverage this freedom to take even bigger and more exciting risks in her career from joining another early startup or starting her own business one day.

Last week, Jordan Smith mentioned how involved his partner is in his real estate ventures so today we are psyched to have his girlfriend, Erin Knabe, with us on the show! Erin currently works for a software startup AND does house hacking on the side. She may be 26 but she’s well on her way to FI!

In this episode, she reveals how and why she started getting into real estate investing. She also talks about her move from DC to Denver and gives a breakdown of her first deal—a 5-bedroom, 3-bath house. Listen until the end because she dishes out some great advice especially for first-time house hackers.

Listen to the podcast here


 

Back To Basics For First Time House Hackers With Erin Knabe

We really wanted to get Jordan and Erin, who is Jordan’s girlfriend on back-to-back because they have such cool similar stories. We figured it would be good to knock them out one-on-one. Speaking of Erin, she’s got a pretty cool story. What do you think, Z?

I loved it. It was great for us to dig in there. I love seeing how different sides of the relationship see something. I like the man versus woman perspective. It was cool to put their episodes back-to-back.

I love to see couples doing this. One does it in November. The next one does it, maybe in May, whatever. Every six months as a couple they are picking up one property. Every year they are picking up two. That’s really how you build wealth together as a couple. Over time, when your expenses are combined, it’s not like your expenses also combine exactly double. It’s probably 1.5 times when you are together. It’s a tremendous way to build wealth as a couple. If you are reading and you’ve got a significant other out there that’s thinking about getting into this, go back and read Jordan’s episode. Read this one. It will be really valuable for you. Erin Knabe, welcome to the show. How are you doing?

I am doing awesome. Thank you, guys, so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Thanks so much for coming on. You’ve got a pretty cool story and deal here that we really look forward to getting into. Before we get started and tell the juicy stuff, how did you learn about financial independence?

My first true origin of a version of financial independence would probably be from my father. It’s not necessarily perfectly analogous to how you define it. My dad started his truck repair business as a side hustle out of his van, working as a diesel mechanic at different truck shops while he was doing that on the side. Seeing the wealth, the life he was able to build for himself, working for himself, being an entrepreneur, I knew I wanted to do that from a young age.

More on the investment side, more on what you typically define as financial independence, investment, and a little bit more passive. Right after I graduated college, probably six months after I started my job, in fall 2018, I was working as an executive recruiter. I love startups. I geek out over entrepreneurship. I wanted to work for this executive recruiting firm that we recruited for these startups.

I just was not happy though. It was too transactional and salesy. I was doing a lot of cold calls, which is a good experience right out of school but it’s tough. That lit the fire under my butt. I’m going to call out Jordan. His episode is going to air right before mine. He really was the one. He was deep into the research as far as real estate investing and financial independence. He’s the person that steered me in the direction of financial independence through real estate investing.

It’s always good that when 2 people, 1 couple get together and have that same goal, that’s powerful. It sounds like you have this scene planted in the back of your head, somewhere from your father. You saw how he could grow wealth and all that. Your eyes may not have been open to this until maybe Jordan brought you on or whatever it is.

Sometimes you’ve got to touch the fire to make sure that it’s hot. You hear people starting their own business. Sometimes it sounds hokey and all that. It just really sucks working for somebody else oftentimes. You felt that and that drove you to want to achieve this financial independence. Jordan helped you see it through real estate investing. Z, is there anything else you wanted to add to that?

I was wanting to talk about how we define FI. She was saying that a little bit earlier. I was thinking for me, it comes from passive income being more than what your expenses are. It doesn’t necessarily have to come through real estate. It can come through index funds. It can be your real estate cashflow. I wanted to talk about that. I wasn’t sure if Craig had some different definition for it but just wanted to touch in on that. A lot of people go, “How do you define FI? How do you decide when you are there?”

Passive income is greater than your expenses. However you get it, whatever way you want to get, is up to you. It just has to be totally passive. If you were to not do anything, then it’s passive. If you were to get hit by a bus, then the money would still come in. That’s the idea of a passive income.

I would even argue that if you were doing very minimal tweaking around in the week when I considered myself FI, I was doing five hours of random stuff. I was like, “Five hours a week. I will call that passive.”

Erin, Jordan got you on this financial independence. When did you and Jordan get on that same page?

He was probably already there back in 2018. I wasn’t. I wasn’t happy with the current job that I was in. I was starting to look for ideas and businesses that I could start. I have this vision in my head that I do want to start a business someday. I didn’t really have a direction at the time. Probably when I started to get into it was mid-2019. Jordan kept on bringing up, “You should read these books. You should listen to this podcast.”

I don’t know if he talks about this. Jordan loves the hustle and finding deals. He does stuff with credit cards. He’s always trying to find the sale. I’m like, “What is this real estate thing? This is risky.” I feel like he just loves the art of the hustle. He broke me down. The first book I read was, Rich Dad Poor Dad. I feel like that’s everyone’s first book.

From there, I read, 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, not a real estate investing book but it is about creating passive income and optimizing your time. The Rich Dad Poor Dad book gave me more of that, “This real estate thing could be real and interesting.” I started listening to some podcasts here and there. Jordan would just send me stuff. It really became real was when I read your book, Craig, The House Hacking book.

I hear that’s an amazing book. We went down that same path but almost opposite. I found out about financial independence through Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Workweek. He was the first person that I heard break it down and be like, “Think about your income on a monthly basis and not an annual basis.” He talks about this Ferrari or something like, “This Ferrari costs $800 a month. You can achieve that but make sure your passive income is at least $800 a month so you can afford it.” I don’t care about a Ferrari but the whole concept of monthly is so much easier to think about and digest than annual. Rich Dad Poor Dad steers you in the way towards real estate and all that stuff. I’m glad you liked my book, too. That’s exciting.

After I read your book, that’s when it really became real and it hit me. I was like,” I could do this tomorrow if I wanted to.” The way you break it down so simply. It’s definitely not like a get-rich-quick scheme. At the same time, it felt very foolproof. I was thinking through worst-case scenarios. “What if I can’t find renters? What if I have to evict someone?”

What I was paying for rent in DC was outrageous. Even if I came out here and I didn’t get renters for a little bit, I would still be doing better than my money burning, paying rent every single month. Even if I had one roommate with the numbers that I was looking at, I would be paying the same amount that I was paying in DC. If I had two roommates, then I would be paying less than I was paying in DC. Even that by itself was so exciting to me. That’s when it became real. It’s probably spring of 2020 when I was doing some of those mental exercises as I was reading your book.

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That’s such a great way to look at it. What are you spending now? What is it going to take to get back to the level I am now but with a property? Even if you are spending the same exact amount, you are going to be ahead because of the appreciation and everything else, other than the cashflow. When you break it down, you are paying $1,200 a month, whatever the hell it was. It doesn’t even matter.

It’s like, “You are telling me that I have to rent out four bedrooms for $250 each. Tell me you couldn’t get that tomorrow.” You need to keep increasing the price. Where does that cross of supply and demand meet? Usually, in the Denver area, it tends to be around $650, $700 and we will get into your numbers here shortly. I just love that. Z, is there anything you want to add there?

I’m curious how you ended up in Denver after DC. Was that because Craig is out here?

That had a little something to do with it but it’s something that Jordan and I had talked about for a little bit. We knew that we weren’t going to stay in DC forever. There were a couple of places that we were looking into. I love San Diego and Austin. Those are some places that were on the list as well. I feel like Denver was the one place that we both agreed on, which was the highest on our list for both of us.

I have a brother who lives out here as well. The house that I bought is 1.5 miles from my brother’s house who lives out here. I did not do that on purpose. It just worked out but it made it a lot easier. We both love to ski and snowboard and the area here is so cool. He was like, “I’m reaching out to Craig and he’s out there. There’s a network out there. This could be a perfect spot for us.”

When was it that you moved to Denver? That’s when you really started taking action from your moose.

I bought the house before I moved out here. Jordan came to me at the end of the summer of 2020. It was August time of 2020. He had switches flipped and he was like, “I’m moving out to Colorado. I have already reached out to Craig and I’m buying a house. I don’t have a house yet but I’m telling you I’m doing this.” I was like, “I don’t think I’m ready to drop everything and move out to Colorado but I support you. I know that you need to do this now. I do want to do this eventually. I just don’t know if I’m ready to do it this moment.” My lease was coming up on my apartment.

It’s COVID, I’m not doing anything. I’m paying crazy rent in DC. My lease ended. I moved home. My plan was to continue to save my money. I told him, “I will be moving out there in six months to a year probably.” That was my timeframe. I visited Jordan in November 2020. The real estate moved so fast out here. I found a house. I fell in love. The numbers work. I’m ready to go.

To be clear, you were in DC in an apartment. Is your home also DC area?

No, I was in DC in the apartment. I’m from New Jersey originally. I moved back home to New Jersey for a couple of months.

You went from DC, Jersey for a couple of months. Obviously, living with your parents is easy. They are usually pretty flexible, letting you in and out of their lease. November comes around, you visit Jordan and you decide to look at some houses. Tell us a little bit about how that experience went.

The goal was to come to visit Jordan for the months, hang out, and casually look at real estate. You can’t really casually look at real estate. Zeona actually took me on a couple of showings. I was looking at Zillow every day. Jordan was helping me, too. He obviously had gone through this, seen it happen, seen some of the mistakes that he had made, things he wish he had done or things he would have looked for.

It happened incredibly quickly. The house was on Zillow. It was on the market but they had just dropped the price into my price range. It finally popped up on our search. We saw it that night. We drove to the house to come see it. They already had an offer in hand. That night I had to decide, “Am I going to make an offer on this house or not?” I was supposed to be living with my parents for a couple of months, six months, a year. I lived with my parents for a month and a half and then closed on December 15, 2020.

Things happen so quickly in the real estate market. David Bandler was on a previous episode. He literally found out about house hacking, and then was in his house back a month later. It is like, “Holy crap, you put a lot of trust in us.” That’s how quickly you have to move especially in these busy markets. They are off the market like that. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the house that you did end up buying and falling in love with?

I’m in the Northglenn area. I would love to get your feedback on this. The ideal area is to be Northwest of Denver. In between Denver and Boulder is the hot spot because you are in between those two big areas. Northglenn is a little bit North. It’s not exactly directly in between the two. It’s close enough and it’s a cute area. I’m happy with it. The 5-bedroom, 3-bath house, when I put an offer on the house, I offered $5,000 over the asking price. I offered $479,000.

I offered $6,000 in appraisal coverage just because I knew they had an offer at hand. I was trying to be aggressive. I wanted the house. One of the challenges I came across, was the house under-appraised by $24,000. That was a big blow and challenge when I was putting the offer on this house. I ended up having to pay that appraisal coverage.

What does that appraisal coverage mean? Run us through $6,000 of appraisal coverage, $24,000 difference. That doesn’t quite add up. Explain how that all went down and what appraisal coverage is.

I didn’t know what appraisal coverage was. I was working with Nick, one of the guys on your team. He was like, “This house is going to be hot. You need to be aggressive. You should offer this appraisal coverage.” I was like, “I have no idea what that is. You have to explain that to me from scratch.” What it is if the house under appraises, then you are covering $6,000. If it under appraises more than $6,000, you are going to pay that $6,000. Whatever the rest is, they are going to lower it down to that price.

If you have $6,000 in appraisal coverage, that means that if the house appraises for $6,000 less than what you are buying it for, then you have to bring $6,000 more cash to the table to make up that difference. If it’s any more than $6,000, the seller needs to reduce the purchase price or whatever it is to fill that gap. With a $24,000 difference, you are coming out ahead still because if you bought it for $480,000 and it appraised at $450, you are buying it as if it’s $455,000. There’s some debate there because the appraiser has one opinion but then another appraiser has another opinion and all that stuff.

Even with that, I still was really excited about the house. The numbers still worked at $479,000. I was getting it for less than I had anticipated. Even though I could have paid $6,000 less but lesson learned, it was my first deal. I’m still happy with how it turned out. What is your guy’s take on that?

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House Hacking Basics: Be in an environment where your mental health and physical health are doing great so you could be a better person.

 

It’s worth more because of the way the market has been so crazy. Getting your foot in the door is worth it all. $6,000 is nothing over 30 years if you look at how you are doing a loan.

A hundred percent agree with that. People get caught up in the little numbers when they are doing their deal, especially a house hack. It means way more to get in and get going. It has appreciated a lot since then but including the rent savings and the loan pay down, I bet you have already saved $6,000. Otherwise, you would be living at home with your parents, flying back and forth. You would be competing in this market. People would laugh at $6,000 appraisal coverage. You didn’t know that then but it’s still good to know.

Her house is so beautiful. I didn’t see it in person but I saw all the photos. You can see the off-gray and the white. It’s beautiful in her photo. She got a place that’s totally done. Sometimes that’s worth a lot just to be able to have move-in ready and not have to fix anything.

That’s something people look to be able to add value to a house by making repairs or do-it-yourself stuff. I knew that wasn’t going to be me. I have no experience with that. I also have no experience with hiring contractors. Not saying it can’t be done but for myself personally, I felt like I was going to overspend. I was going to have to hire out someone else to do it. I have no idea what these things should be costing. I would have to do a lot of time and research to be able to do that. This house felt like a good opportunity for me, turnkey.

I say this probably on every episode but I’m going to say it again because it’s so important. You hear on BiggerPockets all these different things that, “You need to add sweat equity and that’s how you make a lot of money in this business.” It’s one way to make money. When you are house hacking, what you did is the perfect thing. When you are doing a rehab, you are putting $10,000, $20,000, which could go towards your next down payment on your next house hack. You are putting that into your property. You are not collecting rent. You are living in a construction zone.

A property that needs work is great if you are burring or even if you are doing a traditional rental property. For house hacking, you are in a race against that one-year clock. If you can’t do your rehab that’s $20,000 and then saves another $20,000 within that year timeframe, you are hurting yourself. What you did is actually perfect. I would recommend a lot of first-time house hackers to go that way. Z, anything to add?

I would totally agree. When it’s your 1st or 2nd house you don’t really have to do any work. As you go along and you learn things naturally from having to hire a plumber or something that comes up, that’s a good way to get at your foot in the door and learn a little bit without overwhelming yourself. That’s a great way to start.

Let’s get into some of the numbers. We know $479,000 is the purchase price. How much did you put down?

It was less because of the pricing. It was actually $461,000. The down payment was $30,000. I already said 5-bedroom, 3-bath. As far as the expenses to get it ready to go, furnish the living spaces. It didn’t have a washer and dryer, which was actually pretty expensive, and then some of the other prep works. All in, that was about $3,500 with the washer and dryer being $1,600. That was a lot of that. All in the mortgage, which is the PITI is $2,082.

It’s actually interesting. I have something to add here. I would love to get your feedback or advice. I made this decision. I didn’t really consult with anyone else on it. I put 5% down on house. That means you have to pay that PMI. The mortgage lender offered me to pay down that PMI in one go, pay it in a lump sum, and then I wouldn’t have that on top of my mortgage.

I ended up doing that because it took almost $250 off my mortgage every month. For me, this being my first house hack, I wanted to be able to feel very confident that I could pay the full mortgage by myself every month. Worst case scenario, I had no renters and I had to do that. I don’t know if that was a good idea or not but I did it and I want to get your opinion.

We can run through it together. $250 a month you are saving, how much extra was it to pay down that PMI?

It was right around $5,000.

$250 times 12 is $3,000. If $3,000 is what you are saving in year one for a $5,000 investment. That continues until you refinance, you are getting a 60% return on your investment by doing that additional $5,000. If you are happy with a 60% return, then it was a pretty good idea.

It’s clever. I have never heard of doing that. Power to Mike, he’s very clever.

The other option was to put down 10%, which would have been double the money. It would have been $60,000 down. It took less off the mortgage payment. It didn’t take off $250 a month of a mortgage payment. I’m like, “That makes no sense. I’m not doing that.” I’m happy.

Lender-paid PMI is a good thing or you pay it upfront. As long as you have that loan outstanding for at least a year, so you can make your money back, it’s certainly worth it. You bought it for $461,000, you’ve got $35,000 into it after the down payment and the furnishings. Your monthly payment is $2,082. What are you getting for each room?

I’m charging $600 a month for the two downstairs bedrooms, plus $80 in utilities, $680 for both of those. Upstairs, there’s another bedroom with a private bathroom. That one I charge $650 a month plus $80 in utilities. There’s a garage parking spot, which I charge someone $10. I felt like that was fair. Who gets it? The person who pays $10. There is another bedroom that I don’t plan on filling while I live here. That’s the room I’m in now. I’m in the office room.

It sounds like you are straight-up break-even, right?

I’m not. Internet and utilities have pretty much consistently been around $200 a month. One month, I paid $435 total for the month to live. I’m paying a little bit.

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You are paying a little bit, especially after you pay the utility bill after you’ve got your reserves and all those other things. Let’s say $400 a month to live in a beautiful home. You have a private office. You were paying how much in DC?

You don’t want to know, $1,600 a month.

No brainer, right?

Yes.

What if I told you, you could save $1,100 a month, have your private office, have a house, and build equity? Except it’s not like a super schemey pitch. That’s exactly what you just did. People always think you have to catch every single deal when you are living in it but you don’t. If you are just saving on rent and building equity in the property, it’s amazing.

I wanted to bring this up because this is one of the things that I actually took from your book. You talked about how there’s that sliding scale of how much you are willing to sacrifice or be inconvenienced versus ROI. There was an example. I don’t know if it was you or one of your friends who was living in the living room with a divider. Was that you?

That’s me.

If someone wants to do that and they are all about the ROI, go for it. I know myself and I’m not that person. My environment, a place that I’m happy with is important to my mental health and my physical health, the whole nine yards. Sometimes there’s a little bit of that toxic hustle culture that you have to be all or nothing. From my perspective, I’m doing way better than the person who’s too afraid to even try or to try to find something that’s going to work for them. I love that you brought that up in your book. You have to decide what works best for you.

That’s it. I have definitely subscribed to that toxic hustle culture, especially a few years back when I was doing that. I always urge people, “You want to push yourself as much as you can, along that comfort continuum towards profitability to a point that you can sustain it.” If you are trying to live behind a curtain, you have to do it for a year. You can only do it for a month. You are going to go rent a luxury apartment to counterbalance it. That’s not going to do any good. What you did was great. It was great for you. That’s really all that matters. Z, anything to add there?

I was going to ask Erin about the renters, how that all went for her. I know when Jordan was looking to get renters, it was a little bit bumpy for him. I’m curious if she learned from some of his mistakes and how long it took her to fill the rooms.

It took me a little bit to take his advice. I learned from his mistakes. I felt right out of the gates, I wanted to try to charge more than what I ended up charging. I made the posting and wasn’t getting enough hits on the post. I was weeding out too many people with the price. I started all the rooms at $700, not including utilities or maybe it was like $680 or something. I don’t remember exactly.

Jordan was saying, “I did the same thing. It was too high. We were finding people in the wintertime as well. You have to factor that in.” As soon as I dropped it, I’ve got a lot of hits. Once I’ve got to that right price range for the time, I’ve got a lot of people. I have fantastic roommates. They are awesome. It’s a lot of fun.

How did you find those fantastic roommates? Did you advertise your listing in a certain way or a massive pool of people that you’ve got to handpick from?

I posted on Facebook Marketplace as well as there’s a ton of Facebook housing groups like Denver Facebook housing groups that Jordan went through and he added me to all of them. I was able to post-paste on all of them, look through those groups, look for people that I thought could potentially be a fit, and reach out to those people. One of my roommates came from me reaching out. The other two had reached out to me and inquired about that. I did also boost my listing. I did that for a month. That was the advice that Jordan had given me. It’s $1 a day on Facebook to boost your listing for a month. That’s what I did.

I want to reiterate that you were so saying that sometimes when you do cheaper, you get this big pool. What I love about that is you have tons of people to choose from. You can really make it a space that feels good. It’s like having roommates that become friends that, if it was Craig, he tries to sell houses to.

For you, maybe it’s somebody that you enjoy having a beer with at the end of the day or people that will be in your life longer. It makes it easier to have roommates when maybe before you were living by yourself and you are like, “I’m never having roommates again.” Roommates can actually be pretty fun with the right people.

An example of that is at the higher price, I was getting some inquiries from some older people. I was weeding out people my age with the price. With that pool, I was able to go through the interviewing process and pick some really awesome people. I would agree with that.

Do you tell your roommates and your tenants that you are the owner of the property? How do you navigate that? Does it feel weird to charge rent to your roommates and friends? How does that go?

I have been super transparent with them about the whole process. When I was interviewing people, one of the things that I learned from Jordan is that you really have to be strict with your qualifications. I told people upfront and I was like, “I am running this as a business. These are my qualifications. I’m going, to be honest with you. If you don’t feel like you are going to meet one of them, I want to save you the $40 that you are going to put into this background check, that you are going to put into this credit score check. It’s not personal. It’s that I can’t accept you if you are not going to meet those criteria.” That’s how I have run things with that communication and transparency. They know that I own the house. They know everything. The one kid wants to do it. He wants to house hack next time after this lease is up which is bad for me but good for me. I’m happy for him.

By then, isn’t Jordan going to be an agent? You can give him to Jordan right away.

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House Hacking Basics: Your life will increase leaps and bounds when you allow yourself to fail and bounce back.

 

We have already talked about that. I’m handing him over to Jordan.

I wanted to hear about your criteria about those strict rules that you had when you were looking for roommates. Maybe we are going to learn something from you. Craig and I are always making shit up.

I’ve got mine right from Jordan. The strictest one was the credit score above 700. That was a tough one for people to hit. Even I was like, “I feel like this is too high,” but I ended up finding all my roommates have a credit score above 700.

Six hundred but you want somebody with good credit as Craig and I both know.

I’m a 600 person as well. It’s because I’m probably clearly more chicken than you to lose out on lost rent. $700 will make it a lot easier over the course of the year. I have talked to countless landlords that have troubles with tenants. The first question I always ask is, “What was their credit score?” It’s always, “This is the one person that was below my threshold. I didn’t even check this person.” It’s never like, “They had a 750 credit score and was perfect in the interview. They just decided to not pay me rent.” It doesn’t work that way.

There was this one girl who I thought was fantastic. She didn’t meet the criteria. She was pretty far below. Her work was going to help her pay for her housing. She had a lump sum of money. “I was going to pay it all upfront.” I was doing some mental gymnastics and I’m like, “If she’s paying me six months upfront, maybe I should just take it. I should give this girl the benefit of the doubt.”

Who knows how it would have worked out? Jordan sent me some articles on how that can be a little bit of a red flag. Why do they have this low credit score but then they also have this lump sum of money at the same time? Again, I don’t know how it would have turned out but I made the right decision and stuck to my qualifications there.

The lump sum is always a red flag. I go, “Was that really her work? Is this just a story she was weaving?”

We had Jake Lapp on a few episodes ago. He took a big lump sum of cash. It was twelve months. They ended up being like alcoholics. There were just a lot of issues.

In and out of prison.

All that stuff. You think you hit the jackpot but there will be a hangover for sure. Is there anything else you want to share with us on this property, on this deal? We dove into it pretty good.

To round out the numbers, with the 3 roommates, 1 month I paid $435. If I had this room filled, I would be paying $245 a month. Conservatively, if I would prefer to fill this room for $680 and the room that I’m in is the master, which has an attached private bathroom, I could probably get $780 for that. We are right around $975 per month in positive cashflow.

It’s so great that you did that analysis of when you are living there and also when you move out. When you move out is the most important thing. You are going to have your property the longest when you have not lived there. Hopefully, it’s a buy-and-hold for a while. One quick question, do you know how much it would potentially rent for as just a traditional single-family house? Let’s say you don’t want to do rent by the room anymore. Did you run those numbers?

I don’t know.

I can tell you because I know the area quite well. It will be about $2,600, $2,700, $2,800, around there. Even if shit hits the fan, rent by the room, you don’t want to do it anymore, you are not going to get as much cashflow but at least you can still stay afloat until you either continue to cashflow or sell whatever it is. You are never in a position where you are like, “I have to sell.” You never want to be like that.

That’s awesome to know.

Where are you heading next? What’s your ultimate goal?

I definitely want to do this again. I don’t know if I will be right at the year mark. I really like this house and I’m enjoying it. Right around the year, year and a half are when I’m looking to move out and buy my next house. I do like this area. I would like to be a little bit more South. As far as the single-family home with five bedrooms and doing it, I would honestly try to do the same exact thing.

I would try to get something that was turnkey again, that was ready to go. I want to keep on building this. This has been fun. At the same time, I do like the job that I have now. I work for a startup and I really enjoy it. I’m going to continue doing that. Having this passive income just takes the pressure off that I get to do my job, love it, and enjoy it while I am doing this on the side.

I was going to ask you. I don’t think we’ve got into what you are doing now that you move out to Denver. You hated out there but what are you doing here?

Learning how to fail is so important. Fail hard, fail fast, dust yourself off. Click To Tweet

When I’ve first got out of school was a job that I did not like. The job that I have now was the same one I had in DC. They actually had an office there. With COVID and the pandemic and everyone working remote, it was an easy transition for me to say, “We are all remote now. I’m moving out to Colorado. I will still work East Coast hours. Let’s make this work.” I work for a software startup and I do customer success for them. Small company, nimble team, incredibly smart people. I feel like I’m learning so much. I basically run customer success for this small startup. A lot of responsibility on these shoulders but I love it. It’s so much fun.

Continue to do that until it stops serving you. As companies grow, they become a lot more red tape and corporate. It will be nice to have a stream of maybe 5 or 6 rental properties at the time that you can lean on and be like, “I love this company once but it’s just not for me anymore,” then you can go. You are preparing yourself. Maybe that moment hits, maybe it doesn’t. Any other words of wisdom. Z, is there anything you would like to add before we head to the final part of the show?

I’ve got nothing. What do you have, Erin?

My words of wisdom are, “Don’t crunch the numbers like crazy because they are never going to work out exactly perfect but they should be pretty dang close. Crunch the numbers. If it makes sense, go for it.” There’s no other advice than that. Dive head first. See what happens.

Trust the numbers and the process. Let’s get into the Final Four, Z. Kick us off.

What are you reading now, Erin?

The last real estate book I read was Craig’s House Hacking book. I’m going to plug you one more time, Craig. This is a little bit of an unconventional answer. I hope that’s okay. I like to go back and forth between real estate and self-learning and self-improvement as well as personal self-improvement. The last book I read was Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. Phenomenal.

It’s all about trusting your gut, being bold, making mistakes, learning from them, watching for signs and opportunities, and going after them. He does it without being too hokey or spiritual, which would turn a lot of people off. It’s a fantastic book. Whether you are into real estate or something else, it’s a great book for everyone to read.

I actually listened to the audio version of that and I couldn’t stop. It was when there was so much snow in Denver. I was like, “Can I shovel? I get to shovel today,” put on an audiobook and go shovel and listen to Matthew McConaughey.

Does he read it?

He reads it. It’s really good when he reads it.

I was going to say I listen to it on Audible as well. You listen to Matthew McConaughey’s voice in your head. It gets you so fired up. It was amazing.

He’s got that nice slight Southern draw that’s nice to listen to. Enough about Matthew McConaughey. The second question is, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

It’s not really direct advice but learning how to fail is so important. When I came out of school, this hit me like a ton of bricks. You go to school, they tell you what’s on the syllabus. You study it, take tests and get an A. Life is not like that. Fail hard, fail fast, dust yourself off, and just try again. The way our culture is, the way we treat each other, and the way you end up treating yourself, I feel like my performance, not just in my 9:00 to 5:00 job but in my life has increased leaps and bounds because I allow myself to fail.

Failure is so important in growing.

Question number three, what is your why?

This came up a little bit throughout this whole conversation but I get excited and fired up about the idea of building something and being a part of building something. I don’t think I will ever work for a big corporation or a big company. I will either be working for a startup or myself. A lot of people say that and their answer is usually freedom. They want to work for themselves. They want to go on vacation whenever they want. They want to move wherever they want. They want the freedom to do whatever they want. I do want those things. That’s part of my why but I want to have the freedom and the financial stability to take even bigger, crazier, more exciting risks without them having to be a make or break it if I do end up failing.

I want to be able to fail and not be a make or break it. If I want to join an even earlier startup and maybe have to take a pay cut, try to get equity, and sell this thing, I want to be able to take that huge risk. I want to start something of my own because I love it. I’m really big into fitness. I want to open a fitness center. It doesn’t have to be the big moneymaker because I have that passive income coming in. That’s my why. I want to be able to take any and all risks that are exciting to me. With those big risks, come big rewards. If they fail, that’s all right. I will try the next one.

It’s so true. You cannot become wealthy without taking these risks. I saw something on Instagram. It was the highest-paid W-2 job. A doctor or something might have been up there at $300,000 or whatnot. At the top was an entrepreneur because unlimited. I’m sure $300,000 sounds nice. I can guarantee you that in 3 to 5 years of your hardcore concerted effort, you can make far more than that to being an entrepreneur. For the last question, you said you read some fiction, right?

Yes.

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House Hacking Basics: You have to decide what works best for you.

 

What fictional character is amazing in their book, show or movie but would be insufferable if you had to deal with them in real life?

That’s a tough question.

Can I answer it?

What’s yours, Zeona?

I thought of Sonic the Hedgehog. I have really liked that game when I was a kid but I don’t think I would want to know him or anything.

Having someone run around you in circles. The Tasmanian Devil, he would be another one. I love that guy.

I’ve got one. It’s not a cartoon character but I love the show, Friends. I’m obsessed with the show. It’s not on Netflix anymore but when it was on Netflix, it literally was on at all times, just my background noise. Phoebe Buffay is my favorite picture. She’s hilarious. She’s so sassy and sometimes rude but that’s what makes her funny. Sometimes shit goes right over her head. She would probably be a horrible person to actually be friends with but on the show, hilarious.

I love Friends and I would say the same thing about Phoebe. Erin, where can people find out more about you?

They could find me on Instagram, @ErinKnabe. They could find me on LinkedIn, again, @ErinKnabe. I don’t have any special handle or anything. Facebook, @ErinKnabe.

There you go, if you are reading this ten years in the future, check out her fitness gym. Erin, thank you so much for coming to the show. It was really great to be able to get you and Jordan on here, back-to-back, and show your different experiences and show that if you put a little trust in someone that’s done it before and someone that you obviously can’t trust, then it could pay off wonders. I’m glad that the house hack is doing you well. Thanks again for coming on. We will talk to you soon.

Thank you, guys, so much. This is fun.

That was Erin Knabe. Z, what’d you think of Erin?

I liked it. It’s so inspiring to see these people. She’s young. When she said that, I was like, “I have this thing where everybody is just my age.” I was looking at her going like, “She’s my age.” No, ten years difference. It’s inspiring to see the young people getting out there and doing it. Like you were saying, it’s so cool that they are in a relationship. They are each picking up houses on their own. If one day they live together, they might have six houses by then. It definitely happens faster if you’ve got a buddy in the mix.

I totally agree. It’s comforting to know that you’ve got a partner that’s doing the same thing. You are going to each learn your different lessons. You can see how much she learned from Jordan because Jordan did it first. She hopefully didn’t make the same mistakes. If she did, she at least learned from them a lot quicker. It’s a great episode. She’s well on her way to doing the things that she loves to do.

By the time she’s 30, she’s going to have five properties at least. Her startup is probably going to be in a different position. I only say that not to be morbid and upsetting but startups grow into big companies. They get bought by private equity firms. I have seen it so many times that the culture changes and you suddenly start to not like it. It’s nice to have that ability to say, “I don’t like this anymore. Let’s jump and leave.” She’s going to have that freedom and it’s going to be very valuable.

I agree.

Z, any other words of wisdom before we head off?

Another great week. I’m happy to be here with you, Craig.

I’m happy to be here with you, too, Z. We will see you in another episode.

 

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About Erin Knabe

Erin leads Quantuvis’ Customer Success Team driving customer satisfaction across leading payer and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. She is a hands-on, value-focused advisor that strategically supports clients in achieving meaningful ROI and cost savings, improved performance, and sustained value through Quantuvis’ platforms.

Erin works in lockstep with customer stakeholders as well as Quantuvis’ executive leadership and technology teams to ensure our platforms continue to address the multi-faceted needs of our clients.