By all standards, Kyle Odum has a great job as the Director of Creative Services for the City of Philadelphia. His group is responsible for all print and graphic designs, internal website design, creation of digital media services, and video production services for the City departments. He loves his work and he’s good at it, but Kyle realized that he can’t pass along a good day job to his family if something were to happen to him. This epiphany led him to the world of real estate investing and Better than Success.
The income that is earned by Kyle and his wife, Anitria, depends upon their ability to get up and do the daily grind. Kyle works for the City, and Anitria is the master baker and creative genius known as Philly Cupcake Lady. “I’ve always known that real estate was a great way to create wealth, but the timing never seemed right to dive in,” explains Kyle. That perspective changed about five years ago when one of Kyle’s closest friends lost his corporate vice president job. “That was a real lightbulb moment. It made me question how I’d support my family and encourage their dreams if I lost my W-2 income.”
Kyle remembers talking with the accountant for the family’s bakery business about how he might want to explore real estate investing some day. The accountant told him about Better Than Success (BTS) and encouraged him to check out a meeting. Kyle took that advice and was immediately impressed with the depth of wisdom and knowledge available for him to leverage within the BTS membership.
“I felt like I was coming in late in the game and I wanted to get up to speed quickly. The beauty of BTS is that it offered me a clear roadmap as to how to succeed,” Kyle explained. Kyle earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from Drexel and is a self-described “numbers guy” who appreciates systems and processes. “BTS made it simple for me. They told me that if I did A, then B, and then C, I’d get results.” He also realized that he wasn’t as much of a novice as he thought, having already established LLCs and cultivated healthy banking relationships.
“The most practical piece of advice I got from BTS was BRRR. Buy a piece of real estate. Renovate. Rent. Refinance. Repeat. It has turned into a personal mantra for me,” Kyle laughs. The BTS connections have also been very important to him. Whenever he needed a contact with a particular expertise that he didn’t have in his own personal or professional network, BTS always came through and sent him in the right direction.
Creating and controlling the Babb economy
With three investment properties and a goal to acquire seven more in the next three years, Kyle’s strategy is to stick with the neighborhoods he knows. The discipline to resist the temptation to compete with deeper pockets for the latest hot neighborhood stems from the example that Kyle’s father set for him, which was that patience in business pays off.
Kyle’s father, Milton, was the oldest of seven children and they lived with his parents and grandmother. Even with three adults in the house, they often couldn’t make the rent payment and Milton was determined to break that cycle. Milton was working in accounting for General Motors when a sales manager told him that the best route to financial independence would be to own a dealership. The sales manager said it would cost about $1 million, but only $100,000 would be needed as a down payment and Milton committed to saving that $100,000 over ten years. He accomplished his goal in just seven years and opened his first car dealership in California, before expanding into Florida and Washington.
Not a spectator sport
Kyle works full-time, but also dedicates a minimum of 5-10 hours each week to do market research and network within the real estate industry. When he is actively rehabbing a home, the time can approach 10-15 hours a week for three to four months.
Kyle’s strategy is to stick with what he knows: properties in and around southwest and northeast Philadelphia, where he has lived for the last three decades. He looks for neighborhoods and properties in which he wouldn’t mind living with his family and feels are safe for his daughters to maintain in the future. Kyle’s tenants tend to be single mothers, so tenant safety is a top priority for him. He typically targets homes between 1,200-2,000 square feet that have a basement and a nice block with parking. Anitria helps with décor and interior design to ensure that prospective tenants feel welcome, comfortable, and proud of the design elements of the home.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that you are providing quality housing where a family can feel safe and secure,” Kyle emphasizes. “I got into this business for the investment potential but I am truly grateful for the opportunities it has presented for me to help others, including my daughters. They are both talented and creative, and this reliable income stream from our properties will give them the financial freedom to work for the love of their craft, as opposed to taking a job to pay the bills,” he adds.
On a Personal Note
Descriptors that Fit:
Electrical engineer,creator, laid back
Considering other perspective
Wife and two daughters
The world is not one size fits all (adopted from Grandmother’s perspective.)
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Best Advice received:
Everything always changes, so you need to be able to adapt.
Advice he gives to others: Find your purpose in life and make sure 1)
you love what you do, 2) the world need what you have to offer, 3)
you’re good at it, and 4) you can get paid for it