Pearls of Opportunity with Whitney Elkins-Hutten
COVID-19 is not the first public health crisis Whitney Elkins-Hutten has had to navigate in her professional career. With an education in public health and a fascination with epidemiology, she worked in Wyoming for the Center for Disease Control in 2002. There, she instructed public health officials on how to administer the smallpox vaccination and monitor for anthrax exposure and other bioterrorism elements. It was during this time that she also found herself house hacking, entirely by accident.
With her first property, Whitney realized the only way to stay financially afloat was to pack it with roommates. At the same time, the home needed significant cosmetic repairs that she didn’t have the cash to invest in. So, Whitney bought a book from Home Depot and became self-taught in refinishing floors, installing countertops, and hanging drywall.
“Fast forward 11 months later, I was still working at my public health job when I sold this house and made $52,000 in profit. But the cool thing is that I hadn’t been paying for rent the entire time,” Whitney reflected. “My roommates had offset my mortgage and had actually been putting money in my pockets. So I made way more than $52,000 in one year.”
This realization set Whitney’s real estate strategies into motion. Within two-and-a-half years, Whitney and her husband scaled to owning 30 units largely by utilizing the rehab strategy that had piqued her interest in real estate to begin with.
“I had already invested in passive properties with my self-directed IRA,” Whitney said. “I kept looking at these passive investments and the way they were performing in my portfolio, thinking, ‘Why don’t I just do this and not have to spend all this time and energy building it up actively?’ That’s really kind of where we made that huge switch from single-family investing into honest-to-goodness, passive investing.”
Just as she did with learning to refinish houses, Whitney saw the need to become more knowledgeable in the passive investment space. She began connecting with several mastermind groups to expand her network, which led her to attend her first Best Ever Conference in 2017.
“I thought I had done a lot of due diligence, and then you walk into an environment like that. I love being the dumbest person in the room. That’s exactly how I felt,” Whitney said. “From just different ways of investing, to how to actually interpret economic reports that are being put in front of you, you get a full understanding of all the education, network, time, and leverage that these operators build prior to the investment. It’s not just about putting a good deal out and running it.”
At the conference, Whitney found herself running into the same 20 women again and again, welcoming new conversations each time. One of those conversations happened to change the course of her professional career.
“I kept running into the same women the entire time, and one of them was Annie Dickerson. We met at the Best Ever Conference and hit it off. [Her business] Goodegg Investments was looking for somebody to come in and help out with some operational things and build up the investor relations side of the business,” Whitney said. “I wanted to get more involved on the active side of the deal just to expand my network, but I also wanted access to more deals. I figured that joining the team was a good way to get access to deals earlier in the pipeline.”
Almost three years later, as the Director of Investor Relations and Operations, Whitney continues to empower those who aspire to achieve financial freedom through passive investments. But the lessons learned at the Best Ever Conference remain an essential component that weaves into each of her investment strategies.
“Real estate is truly a relationship business. I think that’s hard to understand when you come from single-family investing because it’s so easy; you were the operator. The property management is a vendor when actually they should be treated as the business partner,” Whitney said. “But when you transition into multifamily real estate, or just these larger real estate deals, it’s really all about the various relationships and partnerships.”
About the Author:
Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios. www.thelabcollective.com
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.