These days there are real estate investors doing great work in developing communities. Real estate investors Cory Nemoto and Audrey Kikos are demonstrating the benefits real estate investors can bring to communities and individuals.
Cory Nemoto, co-owner and founder of KÉCŌ Capital, a private real estate lending company based in Honolulu, Hawaii, that flips houses in Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Seattle. The company also lends to investors nationwide. In Hawaii, the housing market supply cannot meet the demand for housing, as its population grows faster than new housing opportunities can be built. Irresponsible development routinely plagues neighborhoods while large corporations construct high rise, luxury condominiums to attract foreign buyers. Very few of these condominiums are actually owner-occupied, as it seems these foreign buyers choose to park their money in Hawaii’s appreciating housing market. As local Hawaii families desperately seek affordable housing, more high-rise condos appear, still out of local homebuyers’ financial reach. In 2020, the median price for a single family home in Hawaii was $870,000, and a condo was $455,000, while the median income currently stands at $80,212. KÉCŌ Capital indirectly seeks to increase the housing market’s inventory by providing affordable capital to companies like Audrey Kikos’ to help them scale their business, thus allowing them to make a greater impact in their communities.
Audrey Kikos’ Redhead Home Properties is a real estate solutions company serving the Los Angeles and San Bernardino areas with the mission to rejuvenate neighborhoods to increase the standard of living and overall quality of housing for residents. She specializes in purchasing, renovating, and selling distressed houses, and her expertise in this area earned her a feature on seasons 1 and 2 of the HGTV show Flipping 101 with Tarek El Moussa to showcase her Woodland Hills house flip. Her business offers a wide range of services, such as foreclosure avoidance, debt removal, and renegotiation.
Real Estate Investors Restore Communities
Nemoto. KÉCŌ Capital and Redhead Home Properties specializes in purchasing distressed homes, renovating them, and reselling them at fair market value prices. Properties that are deemed too high-risk go untouched by banks and other traditional lenders while the communities starve for new housing accommodations.
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Cash investors, such as Nemoto, are able to lend capital to other real estate investors so they can purchase and renovate properties deemed untouchable by banks. These real estate investors then place the newly renovated homes back on the market. In starving markets like Hawaii, this is extremely vital, as the state is in desperate need of more housing options.
Redhead Properties rehabilitates the worst houses in the neighborhood to sell them at or above previous market prices, which raises the value of all the properties in the area, in addition to offering more housing options for the community. In addition to just restoring houses, Kikos’ company takes on neighboring improvement projects, such as repaving roads. After flipping a house, she wanted to repair the road to fully revitalize the community and rallied the neighborhood to raise enough money to repave the road.
Real Estate Investors Revive the Local Economy
Flipping and reselling houses requires a large team to successfully execute. High costs and possible bankruptcy loom over investors as they begin the arduous process of flipping these distressed homes, and selecting experienced and carefully vetted contractors is essential to success. Lending companies, such as KÉCŌ Capital, allows investors to purchase properties and create a trickle-down effect in the local economy. For investors to be successful, they’ll need to employ local contractors, material providers, construction workers, realtors, escrow agents, inspectors, painters, roofers, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, stagers, and more, thus boosting the local economy.
Redhead Home Properties sources contractors local to SoCal and is a family business, with Kikos’ son, mother, father, sister, and best friend helping with various aspects of renovations. Local workers from various industries, such as demo, general contractors, subcontractors, painters, and escrow/title companies, are involved in the renovation process, and Kikos continually maintains relationships with some of the best local businesses in the SoCal area.
Real Estate Investment isn’t just about the money
Real estate investors are often described as only having interest in real estate for the money, and while this may be true for some, Nemoto and Kikos strongly disagree. They know real estate investing is more about helping their communities than just turning a profit. For Nemoto and Kikos, this industry is about helping people and communities.
Kikos’ company provides assistance to homeowners in financial distress and provides opportunities for private lenders or anyone seeking to begin investing in real estate to invest in her company with double digit returns. She started her company to “help provide a real estate investing option that wasn’t ‘only about the money.’” When asked about her company’s missions, she had this to say: “We are about people first, and the money will follow.” Many sellers don’t have the financial means to repair their houses before they’re permitted to sell them, but Kikos’ company purchases these homes for cash, regardless of the condition of the home. This allows those homeowners who must quickly sell their homes to sell them faster, and homeowners are able to leave any trash or furniture they no longer want in the home when selling to Kikos’ company. Redhead Home Properties also can help homeowners avoid foreclosure and with first month’s rent, security deposit, and moving services for their new home.
Nemoto’s company also offers assistance to homeowners in financial distress through a variety of programs to best fit the unique needs of each homeowner. Some of these programs include providing homeowners with cash to save them from foreclosure or settle any delinquent tax issues, taking over mortgage payments to provide homeowners with immediate relief, and paying for essential home repairs that the homeowner cannot afford.
“We’re working to provide investors with the capital and resources to amplify the positive impact they leave in each community they touch,” says Nemoto. Both Kikos and Nemoto’s companies exemplify the good real estate investors can do while simultaneously shattering the stereotypes of some surrounding real estate investors.