If we have learned one thing during this pandemic, it’s that no matter how brilliantly laid your plans are, you have to chuck them to the bin if the situation changed so badly that it wouldn’t work no matter what. Luckily for them, Taylor Adams and her husband are one real estate power couple who are not beyond house-hacking their way out of almost any conundrum! A serial entrepreneur and real estate investor based just outside of Boston, Taylor found her niche in real estate in 2016 and founded JT Adams Properties with her husband. She also has a passion in educating other women on how they can launch their own successful business, gain additional streams of income and create the life they’ve always wanted. Joining Monick Halm for this conversation, she shares how they hacked their Massachusetts and Tennessee properties to suit the radically changed markets during the pandemic. She also shares the top takeaways from her career that she wants other women investors to learn from.
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House Hacking With The Ultimate Pivot Goddess, Taylor Adams
I’m excited about our guest, Taylor Adams. She’s similar like a soul sister. We share a similar mission to help women in the investing space. She’s a serial entrepreneur and a Massachusetts native who has a passion for business education and helping others achieve their goals. She has a BS in Business Administration with a focus in Entrepreneurship and a Master’s in Organizational Leadership. She and her husband launched multiple startups from 2012 to 2015, and finally found their niche in real estate investing in 2016, when they founded JT Adams Properties. Since then, she’s focused her attention educating others on how they can launch their own successful business, gain additional streams of income, and create the life they’ve always wanted. She’s also a brand-new mama. She just had a baby. I’m glad she’s willing to take the time away from her baby to be with us. Welcome, Taylor.
Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
I’m excited to have you. You’ve been an entrepreneur, done lots of different things, what got you into real estate investing? How did you get started?
We accidentally fell into real estate investing. We were starting a bunch of different companies. My husband is a software engineer. I am an entrepreneur at heart. I always wanted to be my own boss. We were searching for that thing, that one we were passionate about, but also would help us to be able to achieve our goal of working together in a company. We found that we didn’t have a passion for some of the other things that we started like, “We’ll create an app.” That just wasn’t for us. Back in 2016, when my husband and I were thinking about buying our first home, we had just gotten married and we were starting to think about what that next step looked like for us moving out of our apartment.
We were looking around at single-families and he was like, “What if we looked at a property where we could live in one unit and rent out the other unit?” This was before we even knew what the word house hacking meant. We didn’t know that was a thing. We started looking around and we ended up purchasing a two-family property to house hack. We were like, “This is awesome.” We get someone to help pay for our mortgage. That’s when we started getting into bigger pockets. One of his colleagues said, “What you’re doing has a name, first of all, and you should research more, find out more.” We did that and we wanted to keep going, keep investing and we live outside of Boston and it’s very expensive here.
As we wanted to buy more properties, we were like, “In ten years, we can buy the next property because we’ll be able to afford it.” That is long from now. I don’t want to have to wait ten years. I remember vividly reading this article about this woman. She was living somewhere down South. She and her husband purchased a six-unit property. They were able to do that because it was cheap. I was talking to my husband about it and we were saying, “That’s great if you live somewhere where it’s cheap and you can do something like that.” It was an a-ha moment for us where we were like, “Why can’t we do that? Why can’t we purchase in an area that’s way cheaper than the Boston area?” That led us to investing out of state, which has been such a game-changer in our investing journey. After the house hack, we started exploring the markets in the SunBelt and we landed in Tennessee. Now, we have a couple of properties down there and it’s grown from there, but that’s how it initially started. We fell into it and bumbled our way through it, which has been fun so far.
One of my mentors taught me and I had to also learn the hard way, “Live where you want to live, invest where the numbers make sense.” I live in an expensive market in Los Angeles. Tell me a little bit about your Tennessee investments. What are you investing in there?
When we invested in Tennessee, we were like, “Let’s start with a single-family property because it’s ‘easy.’” It’s what we thought. The thing about a single-family property is that it’s one door. There’s one person paying your mortgage. If that person moves out, you have nobody paying your mortgage. We realized that we wanted to be in larger properties down there. That led us to the next property that we ended up buying, which was a five-unit. That was our first foray into the more commercial space, plus four units. Now, we have those two properties down there, which has brought us to a total of eight units which is fantastic. We love Tennessee for its cashflow.
We’re cashflow focused and these properties are self-funded. It’s a market that makes sense for us because the barrier to entry is low. For instance, the single-family property that we purchased down there, it was only $65,000 which makes me want to cry when I think about the price of the properties up in this area. For the five-unit property that we have down there, we get $120,000 for that property. With both of those properties, we are cashflowing something around $1,700 per month with a little money invested into those properties because the ratio of the purchase price to actual cashflow and the rent that you’re getting down there is crazy good. We want to continue to invest in cashflowing areas like that. We’ve gone back and forth about, “Should we move into different properties and focus on more of an appreciation play? Should we focus on other options?” I think what the pandemic has taught us is that a cashflow market is what makes sense for us.Take action now. The right moment will not present itself. You have to take the initiative to do it. Click To Tweet
Cash is King as they say. How did you build your team? Are you self-managing? How are you managing the properties?
The house hack that we live in, my husband and I are self-managing that and it’s been easy. We did turn the other unit into an Airbnb right before the pandemic hit and then we had to turn it right back to a long-term rental, but the beauty of us self-managing it, we were able to do that rather quickly. We have a property management company that we work with down in Tennessee. When we moved into Tennessee, we did research on the different property managers in the area that we’re managing a mid-range number of properties. We didn’t want somebody who was super huge and we couldn’t get their one-on-one attention. We didn’t want someone with no experience.
We wanted a well-connected person. We ended up narrowing it down to about five property managers. Because we’re doing a lot of conversations over the phone, we wanted to find somebody who we felt comfortable with talking over the phone and not with my husband, but with also with me. I feel like, as a woman, you want to make sure that the people that you’re bringing on and onto your team are not just looking for the man to talk about the thing. I’ve found that in real estate investing in general. That’s something I was hyper-aware of. I was like, “If we’re moving into something like this, I want to be able to feel comfortable talking to this person and that they’re going to respect my involvement in our business.”
Not think of you like the little lady that’s like, “Let me talk to your boss.”
I wanted to avoid that. The property manager that we ended up bringing on, he’s fantastic. We’ve only been down to Tennessee once, which shows how amazing our property manager is. We went down to meet him and it was pretty funny. We sat at the table and he was mapping out for us, “This is a good area. This is a bad area. This street is good.” In the area where we invest is street by street. We were talking to him and he takes the papers and he directs them to me. He’s like, “Let’s talk with you about this,” because I was like, “I want to know everything you have to do to get into a great area around here.” My husband is a quiet guy. He sat back and let it happen. I was like, “You’re my guy. I like you.”
How has the pandemic affected your investments?
It’s been a crazy journey. We had big plans for 2020. With the existing properties that we have, I’ll start there and then I’ll talk about what we were planning on doing. We had our second unit in our house hack as an Airbnb, and it was doing fantastic because in this area in Boston, a lot of people are coming in to visit their kids at school, they’re coming in for conferences. We were constantly booked and then we’re close to Salem. Halloween was crazy. It’s all of those things that require large groups of people that you don’t have. Once the pandemic happened, there were some regulations that were placed in Massachusetts and many states restricting who you could accept as Airbnb guests, which were only essential workers.
That was challenging to balance. We weren’t seeing the guests that we had been seeing and we were seeing our numbers dropped. We decided, “Now is the time. Let’s switch it back to a long-term rental and give that a go.” That’s been great so far and wonderful that we were able to pivot in that way, but that wasn’t the plan. As far as our Tennessee properties, luckily, they’ve been pretty stable. I feel like they have stabilized this year more in some other years, which is odd given the pandemic itself. However, the area where we were invested in Tennessee is supplied chain-focused and the supply chain now is huge. If you’re in a supply chain industry and your properties are in an area like that. FedEx is based in Memphis where our properties are, and it’s huge. Everybody is ordering online. That has been great for our properties.
As far as our plans for 2020, we were going full force into syndication 25-plus units in the Southern New Hampshire area. We were under contract with a property right before the pandemic hit. Luckily, we didn’t know this. Once we were going through our due diligence period, we realized that some of the numbers that they had provided weren’t going to work. This deal didn’t make sense and we backed out the next week, they will shut down. Maybe it was a good thing that didn’t work out because the vacancy rate was high on that property and we were going to have to bring it up to capacity and that would have been challenging. Blessing in disguise that didn’t work out.
Our plan for 2020 was to focus heavily on large multi-family properties value add through syndication. Once the pandemic happened, our investors sat back and they were like, “We want to hold onto our money a little bit and see how things play out.” We’re like, “We’re going to do whatever our investors want us to do.” We did the same thing and we took that as a moment to re-evaluate what we were doing and what we were focusing on, and what’s going to make the most sense as we continue through this pandemic.
As we see what happens with the economy and the different areas, prices are still high. I’m fascinated by what we’re watching here with the market. What we decided to do instead was to focus more inward on our self-funded properties again. We were like, “This is a great opportunity.” Our two-family that we house hack, we were planning on staying here for about five years and going to do all the work ourselves and move to a house that we were going to build after that and we’ve lived here for a few years now. Once this happened, we were like, “We have all this time. Let’s renovate the property, let’s get it ready, refinance it, get another house hack right now.” That’s the path that we’re going is we were able to figure out a way to get this property to cashflow. We don’t have to condo-wise it, which we originally thought we were going to have to do. We can move out. We can go into a three-family, let’s say, not too far away and keep building our units that way and keep investing in cashflow in areas like Tennessee and other areas in the SunBelt. The best-laid plans, but you have to be willing to pivot when you can.
2020 has been the year of the pivot. I want to ask you a question that I ask all my guests, and I found that we get the most gold from this which is, what was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
I think the biggest mistake that I’ve made in my investing journey is I waited too long to get started. My husband and I reminisce, sometimes we think about what we were doing 3, 4 or 5 years before we started investing. We were like, “We were wasting money on rent and million things that we were doing, going out to many wine tastings and all these things that we could have been putting into our investing.” The biggest takeaway from that is that you have to take action now. You can’t wait for the right moment because at that moment, it will not present itself. You have to take that initiative to do it. Don’t wait for something to tell you it’s the right time, because the right time is right now.
There are always opportunities. It’s about finding what makes sense. You may not be able to do the same things every time, but there are always opportunities in real estate investing at any moment. What are you most proud of?
One of the big things that I’m most proud of right now is that we were able to pivot and we were able to see that instead of sitting back and being like, “We can’t invest until we know what’s going on with the world, because who knows how long that’s going to take, first of all?” Instead of being like, “Let’s reevaluate. Let’s figure out a way.” We’ve done that in two ways. Through our pivot into, “Let’s go deeper into house hack and into a cashflow market,” is one. The other piece is I was looking for a community of women locally who were doing the same thing that I was doing. I wasn’t finding those people. My former college friend who is now my business partner, Beth Mulholland we reconnected after college.
We were both in the same boat. We were investing and we wanted to find that community and we couldn’t find it. There was a gap there. We decided to try and fill that gap. Right before the pandemic, we were like, “We can’t have in-person events anymore. What are we going to do?” We also pivoted and we started a podcast. We started a network and built a program to educate women on how to invest in real estate. I’m proud of both of those pivots because it’s an example of you have to work with what you have. If you let all the dread roll in of everything going on, you’re going to get stuck. One, that’s not a good feeling, it’s not going to make you feel good. Two, you’re not going to get as far as you hoped that you would. You need to keep persevering because you never know when it’s going to be that exact moment when things will suddenly change for you. Those are what I’m most proud of.
What do you attribute to your success?
I attribute my success to my husband, my partner in all things, business, life. He is my biggest supporter and encourager. Even when I am like, “I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if this is right. Am I making the right decision? Should I do this instead?” He’s like, “Stop, Taylor. You need to do what’s best for you and you need to do it right now. You’re not doing this for me, nor for whatever, you’re doing this for you.” I don’t know about other people, but I need to hear that because I’m definitely the type of person who wants to make sure that everyone else is okay. For me, he makes sure that I’m okay and he supports me in everything that I do. He is my biggest contribution to my success.Life starts outside of your comfort zone. Click To Tweet
I’m also partnered with my husband, who’s my backbone. What do you think helps you guys be able to work well together?
One, we have a similar vision of what we want. We have the same why which is to have the freedom to spend time with our family that we’re growing. That has led us in every decision that we’ve made. We take the time to try and communicate how we want to get there. We have real business meetings. We’ll sit down and we will map everything out. We want this to feel and be a business even before it was a business. We also are insanely passionate about what we’re doing and we will get a big bottle of wine, sit over dinner and talk about real estate, talk about business for hours. We have a similar vision and I’m fortunate that we were able to find this common passion.
What advice do you have for a woman who’s starting out in this field?
Learn from my mistake, from my learnings. Don’t wait until you feel ready to get started in real estate. You’re never going to feel ready and get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable now because you’re going to feel uncomfortable a lot and you need to feel comfortable with that. It’s always going to be something that you’re working on. Every time that we submit an offer on a property, every time we close on a property, there’s that little voice in the back of your head, that’s saying, “Is this is a good idea? Should I do this or not?” You’re like, “No, I did my research. I did what I was supposed to do. I did my due diligence.” You have to be okay with that because it’s going to feel uncomfortable every single time.
Nothing you want is in your comfort zone. You’re going to get out of your comfort zone.
Life starts outside of your comfort zone. I truly believe that.
What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know?
There are many options when it comes to investing. We bumbled through it at the beginning. We didn’t know what we were doing. We thankfully fell into it. If I had known what I know now, maybe we would have made many different decisions. There are many different options to get started that it’s important that you build that network that can help you to find the right resources so that you can invest the way that makes the most sense for you because not every strategy is going to be right for every single person. It varies. It’s a wide scale and you can fall anywhere on that.
Real estate investing is not one-size-fits-all. It’s important that you understand what makes sense for you. Tell our readers how they can find you and find out more about what you’re doing.
I’m active on Instagram. My personal Instagram is @TaylorColemanAdams. You can also find our company, @WomensInvestmentNetwork and our website is ExperienceWIN.com. You can learn all about our podcast, programs, coaching, everything the community has to provide.
It is time for our famed end of show trinity which is a brag, gratitude and a desire. What are you celebrating? What is your brag?
My brag is I had a daughter. Her name is Elodie. She turned a month old on October 17, 2020. This is my first human child. I have a fur child. They are both equally demanding. She’s incredible and adorable. I might be biased but I’m happy. It’s been crazy, amazing so far.
What is one thing you’re grateful for?
I am grateful for my little family. My husband, my baby, my puppy. They provide me with so much happiness, love and support. With everything going on right now, we haven’t left the house in many months. I don’t know what I would do if I hadn’t had that support around me for all of that time. I’m insanely grateful for that.
What is one thing you desire?
My biggest desire is that my husband and I can work together. We’re already doing it on a small scale, but I want him to be able to leave his job and be able to do this full-time with me, both the WIN stuff and the investing stuff. I want to be able to have all of my time with him, which I’m I know will probably drive him crazy because I never stopped talking. I’m an insane extrovert. He’s an insane introvert, but it works.
So shall your desire be or much better than you can imagine. Thank you. This was great and fun. I appreciate you coming on. You can connect with Taylor at ExperienceWin.com and on Instagram, @TaylorColemanAdams and at the @WomensInvestmentNetwork. Connect with me at REIGoddesses.com. There you can find out about our investor club if you’re interested in syndications and our programs and events. Find us @ReiGoddesses on all the socials. Connect and make sure that you like the podcast. You share it with friends and you come back next time for another awesome interview. Bye.
- JT Adams Properties – Facebook
- Beth Mulholland – Instagram
- @TaylorColemanAdams – Instagram
- @WomensInvestmentNetwork – Instagram
- @ReiGoddesses – Instagram
About Taylor Adams
My name is Taylor Adams, I have lived and worked in the Boston area for nearly 10 years. I’ve always been passionate about real estate, I started my college career in architecture, worked for a large real estate firm, then after graduation started investing in real estate, and now work as an agent to help other people find their dream homes!
Whatever you are looking for, whether that be a single family house, a condo, multifamily, or beyond, I’m here to help you find the property that best fits your needs. Even if you aren’t exactly sure what that might look like yet, I’m here to walk you through and help you find that right match. I look forward to working with you!
E [email protected]
P (781) 333-8383
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