With all the wealth-building potential of real estate, there is a tendency to lose sight of what it really means to add value to the lives of others.
Today, we get to know more about Nicole Gauthier and how they are bringing transformation and financial literacy to distressed communities. She also highlights the importance of paying the people the right way and empowering them to know what they deserve.
[00:01 – 07:03] Making a Difference with Impact Investing
- Check out part 1 of the interview with Nicole!
- Nicole breaks down the projects she’s currently working on
- Embodying awesomeness in Wicked Holdings and creating change in distressed neighborhoods
[07:02 – 14:42] Doing Right by the Residents
- Aside from providing employment opportunities to the locals, fair compensation is a must
- Investors need to do a better job of talking to the community and understanding what they truly need
- Nicole shares how she’s able to connect with people from different walks of life
[14:43 – 22:53] Closing Segment
- The final questions
- Diversify with assets that you know
- Nicole shares her strategy in choosing between Baltic Avenue and Boardwalk
- What does Nicole need right now to get to the next level?
- Connect with Nicole!
“As a real estate investor, we have a fiduciary duty towards our tenants to make sure that they’re living in homes that are not falling apart, have heat, running water, and have more than four walls.” – Nicole Gauthier
“I can just ask them and say like, what’s your highest bill? Their highest bill’s probably not going to be anywhere near what our highest bill is. Maybe it’s a hundred bucks, but what’s a hundred dollars, right?” – Nicole Gauthier
“It’s not only about you going into these communities and doing the things that you think that they need. Sometimes it’s nothing like what you’ve expected and you don’t ever know that until you do a deep dive into them and ask them like, Hey, how can I help you?” – Nicole Gauthier
Let’s get connected!
[00:00:00] Nicole Gauthier: You really see like that it’s not only about you going into these communities and doing the things that you think that they need, what they need is not, sometimes is nothing like what you’ve expected and you don’t ever know that until you do a deep dive into them and ask them like, Hey, how can I help you?
[00:01:15] Nicole Pendergrass: So on the active side, what have you done on the active side? And then we’ll get into your company and why you founded your company and who you’re trying to help there.
[00:01:24] Nicole Gauthier: Yeah, for sure. So I guess in multifamily I’ve gotten into, or I guess on the active side, that’s what you had asked. So on the active side, I have a rental that you’re very well familiar with. That was like a full gut rehab, renovation, fun journey. We’ll put it that way.
[00:01:41] Nicole Pendergrass: Super fun, super fun.
[00:01:43] Nicole Gauthier: But it’s cash flowing. It’s stabilized. That was a BRRRR deal. And yeah, so, oh, I guess BRRRR, so it stands for buying and then you rehab, you rent, and then you do like a refinance, and then sometimes there’s an extra R at the end for repeating if you are looking for that extra journey again. Oh, gosh. So yeah, let’s just say that was a super fun experience, but I learned a lot. And it’s cash flowing and stabilized, so I’m happy about that. So we had that and then I also own some property just like Inner City Houston, that I’m going to do, like, a small development on probably duplex. So I’ve been drafting out plans and working with a builder on that to kind of get that going. And then on the active side as well, have done like a joint venture in a short-term rental development, which you and I are partners on. So excited about that, with some other ladies and then also apartments. So I’ve done a deal out in Columbia, South Carolina, and another one in Mobile, Alabama. And then we’re going to about to start a 91 unit for a deal that’s out in Georgia. So yeah, so basically I’m kind of growing in, the apartment world and just doing a little bit of the, you know, the small multifamily slash single-family stuff on the side.
[00:03:03] Nicole Pendergrass: Nice. But that means you’re like, well diversified within the bubble of, you know, real estate, ’cause there’s so many different strategies and routes you could go within there. This is, like, never-ending. But yeah. So, okay. Now let’s pivot and talk about Wicked Holdings. tell ’em about that is your company. What’s the name about and then what is the mission of your company and what are you trying to accomplish through there?
[00:03:30] Nicole Gauthier: So, Wicked Holdings is the company that I founded back in 2021, January of 2021. It’s still a little bit of a baby. It’s about a year and a half old. And Wicked, so I’m from Canada. So Canada there, like, up north, like, the words wicked, stoked. Like, we say things like that and it means, it just means like, awesome. So when I thought of like my company, I was like, you know what? Like, I want to meet other awesome people and I want my company to embody just awesomeness. And so that’s where Wicked Holdings comes from. And we are a company that focuses on empowering others and I’m big on like social impact investing. So everything that’s kind of on the residential slash, like, small multifamily side. So not where I have like private, you know, I’m raising private equity or have other investors in on the deal. This is just like family stuff for me and, you know, my kids and my husband, but that is where I go into like distressed communities, Inner City Houston. And I like to invest in there because I like to get to know the residents. I like to provide great housing for them where, you know, it’s been a problem in these distressed communities where you see a lot of homes that are like falling apart and they just, like, have been neglected for so long yet there’s people that are living in there with like no heat, no electricity, no running water. And there’s still paying like market rents. And it’s just like, why are you doing that? And you feel bad ’cause you’re like, okay, well as the tenant, they should know better. But then at the same time, they don’t because that lack of financial literacy skills has really just held them back. And so that’s why I go into those communities ’cause I’m like, okay, well, you know, like for example, as a realtor, you have the fiduciary duty to take care of your people that you are showing homes to, and making sure that they are buying something that is like a smart buy and hopefully that they’re listening to you. Well, as a real estate investor, we have a fiduciary duty towards our tenants to make sure that they’re living in homes that are not falling apart and that has heat and have running water and have like more than four walls, you know? And so that’s why I specifically go into there and it’s just to you know, improve the community, uplift the community. I like to talk to the residents about financial literacy. I like to just help them out. And I also, whenever there’s like other little jobs, like for example, when we were doing the rehab and I needed like the lawn and stuff done in between that time instead of hiring, like the guys that come out and do like our lawn out here in, like, the suburbs I had found someone that was local, that lived in the area and got to know him. And so now I have him do the lawns and stuff that are in that area as well. And it’s just like a little side, you know, side, like, hustle and stuff for him, but I know that it makes a difference cause I can pay him probably way more than what other people are paying. And I know that cause I was like, name your price. And one thing that I really want to start doing is like when I go out and I’m meeting other people that are in the community that are, like, asking me, or I’ve got them, like, for different jobs or whatever, I can just ask them and say like, what’s your highest bill? And I mean, their highest bill’s probably not going to be anywhere near what our highest bill is. Maybe it’s a hundred bucks. Like, I don’t know, but what’s a hundred dollars, right? So instead of, you know, maybe a job doing the lawn might cost me 50 bucks. If they tell me, oh, my highest bill’s like a hundred, then I’d just be like, okay, well here’s a hundred bucks. That goes towards, like, your highest bill. Like, here you go. It’s nothing for us to go out there and try to make a difference and improve the lives of other people. And so that’s why I focus on communities that are like that.
[00:07:03] Nicole Pendergrass: Wow. That’s very impactful. I love that. And even just thinking of taking that, because even when I’m hiring people for, you know, my own properties or specifically the one that I’m self-managing, just going and asking, you know, what’s your highest bill or what price do you want? And, you know, it’s funny, I go back and I think about it for a guy that I did hire to help with, like, the garbage removal from like the tenants and putting that out to the street. So I asked him one time, I just said, you know, how much do you want? ‘Cause I inherited him from the seller mm-hmm and he was paying a certain amount per month. And so that just kind of continued with me throughout and the seller’s like, oh, don’t worry, you got to, you don’t got to pay a lot, you don’t got to pay a lot, blah, blah, blah. And so we had just gone into that routine where he was doing the same thing all the time, but he was very reliable, great hard worker that was never, like, issues, you know what I mean? And then when I finally moved from, and I would give him, like, every year I would increase it and then it would be same for the year. I’d increase it a little bit. But then when I was moving, I was telling him, look, I’m going to need more extra eyes on the place. You’re already coming by a lot, so, you know, what would you want? And the price was like quadruple what I had been paying him and at first, I was like, man, but then I thought about it and said, you know what, I should have actually probably been paying him that the whole time. Like, I wish he had would’ve asked or said something to me earlier. And I don’t know because I never asked him. But as soon as I asked him, then he did, you know what I mean? ‘Cause he’s a lifesaver and right now he actually retired, but he got me somebody else to take his place who’s doing the same, you know? So it’s, like, those communities, when you treat people right and you know, and I’ve made sure that his payments would be on auto-pay so it would get electronically deposited to him every month. Like, so he didn’t have to wait, you know what I mean? If he’s taking, if he’s doing what he needs to do on time and really taking care of, helping me take care of the property, then I need to take care of him, you know, on time. People shouldn’t be waiting for payments, but yeah, so that was a whole divergent thing. But sorry about that.
[00:08:57] Nicole Gauthier: No, no, it’s good.
[00:08:58] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah, I love, I love the whole social impact and being very intentional and purposeful about where you’re investing and why, but still reaching out into other asset types within the real estate. So you’re, like, well rounded. So you still get to do what you want to do to create change in communities, but then you could still be involved in these other projects that can probably help elevate your family’s, you know, living in financial future and generational wealth too. So it’s all, like, a combination.
[00:09:28] Nicole Gauthier: It’s funny that you say that, too, about the person, the previous seller that told you like, oh, like you don’t have to pay how much, like, you don’t have to pay much. Because the same thing happened to me, with the guy with the lawn. So when I was taking over this house and like before I had actually purchased it, the wholesaler was taking care of the yard for me. So again, it’s like, he didn’t have to do that, but it was really nice of him to do that. And so when I had kind of taken over, I was like, Hey, I know you’ve been using a guy that’s in the area, like, what’s his contact information and how much does he charge? ‘Cause I was just curious, you know? And so he told me and I was like, dang, like that’s not very much for like a yard that size, but okay. And so I had told him that and he is like, he goes, oh, well, yeah, like they don’t need much. He’s got a very, like, fair price. And I’m like, it’s not about them needing that much as much as it is like, dude, you’re making a fee on this. You could have paid him more than that. So that’s kind of how I knew like what he had been like paid before and I made sure to like, go pretty well above that percentage-wise. And then also too, in talking to, I went to like an open house in one of the areas that I was investing too, and I saw that across the street, there was like a bunch of houses that had just been built. So they were doing like a build-to-own kind of, not even a community. It was maybe like six houses, like all in a row, but it was kind of sad ’cause you look at it and you’re like, oh wow, there’s six brand new homes and then across the street, they’re all like raggedy and falling down, like, ugh. And so I noticed being at one of these events that the lady across the street that lived in one of those homes that was, like, falling apart was there and she looked, like, very uncomfortable. And I don’t know, you know, how I am. I like to kind of read people and really kind of, I don’t know, I just notice things about people. And so I noticed that there was something a little bit off. And so I went purposefully to go and try to like connect with her and whatnot. And I got some pretty good insight as to, like, how the community was feeling, how she was feeling about all of, like, the changes and stuff that were happening where she came from, and what kind of work and stuff that she was doing. And it’s just, man, like, you really see like that, it’s not only about you going into these communities and doing the things that you think that they need. What they need is not, sometimes is nothing like what you’ve expected and you don’t ever know that until you do a deep dive into them and ask them like, Hey, how can I help you? What is the issue? Like, what are you most scared about? I already know. Like, they’re all scared about being displaced and they’re all scared about, like, increased rent and now they’ve got to go, like, move into another neighborhood that has, like, no infrastructure and no government funding or anything. And they’re kind of like being kicked out. So it’s like, okay, well, how can we either avoid the displacement or find, like, a happy medium? And that goes to talking to the residents and figuring out what they need. And I think that more of us investors need to do that ’cause we lose sight of that sometimes.
[00:12:21] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah. That is super, super powerful, talking to the residents, because that will guide what you need to be doing as an investor, especially as an impact investor and not following the status quo of investing ’cause there’s status quos everywhere, right? And so even in the investing world, it’s always about like value add, but value add also kind of indicates, you know, increasing rents drastically sometimes if they’re not to market, but then how is that affecting the residents and people of the area? Like, they have to move out ’cause now they can’t afford it anymore. Like, a place they were in for 10 years or whatever the case is. But I love taking that experiences and that mindset of trying to find that happy medium. Like, where can you still increase some returns, especially for yourself and your investors, ’cause it’s still like, it’s not charity. But you still don’t want to just displace. So I think there’s a lot of people trying to come up with the answers for that, but keeping that at the forefront I think is very important.
[00:13:18] Nicole Gauthier: Yeah. And it’s hard. It’s hard to find those answers, but I mean, you sometimes just come across it, just even driving for dollars and just pulling over and talking to the neighbors. And I think that that’s, like, a piece that I learned, from my dad early on. Like, we grew up in Canada and we lived there for, like, almost 20 years, I’d say, almost 20 years. But my family’s from Louisiana. So, like, the way that my brother and I grew up in upper middle class was like totally different than, you know, how some of my other family had grown up. And so going back home and visiting, we really saw, like, a different way of life and a different way of living. And I think that’s why I’ve become like a bit of a chameleon where I can kind of blend in to, you know, highly, like, affluent type, you know, environments and speak that sort of language. And then I can go into kind of, like, rougher areas as well and kind of speak their language. And I think that stems from childhood, rolling around and like, I will say some of them were project areas and pulling over and seeing like, my dad just to everyone. Like, everyone knew him and whatnot, but he was an engineer, like professionally trained. So it’s not that, you know, he was part of that, but I don’t know. It’s a piece of where I’m from, I guess, you could say.
[00:14:25] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah, it makes you comfortable even going into those areas. So it’s not like you feel like, oh, you got to clutch your pearls, you know? And that is where you can create the impact ’cause like you said, if you were scared, you wouldn’t be able to get out your car and talk to people and get on and really like connect with them. So I think that’s great.
[00:15:50] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah. So we are wrapping up now. I’m going to be asking you my final questions that I ask every guest. And Warren Buffett said that diversification is protection against ignorance. What do you take that to mean? Like, is diversification good or bad? Should you be doing or should you not be doing? What kind of ignorance are you protecting?
[00:16:13] Nicole Gauthier: I think that you can only diversify into assets or things that you are familiar with or that you’ve educated yourself on. Like, for me, I would have no business, no right way of even thinking if I, like, all of a sudden decided I’m going to go invest in art or I’m going to go invest in NFTs. Like, I don’t know what damn thing about, like, either of those things. So why am I doing that? But I know about real estate and I know about stocks and I know about that sort of stuff. So I can invest in that sort of stuff. But when I see, like, Bitcoin mining and all that stuff, that is ignorance to me because I don’t know anything about it. It’s not calling anyone ignorant, it’s just, I don’t know anything about it and it would be ignorant of me to invest in something that I’ve, like, no clue what it means.
[00:16:54] Nicole Pendergrass: Yeah. And you know what? I think that’s part of his thing ’cause he’s, like, never lose money, but how do you not lose money? You need to know what you’re investing in. You have to, you know, have some information on that. Okay, great. I love that answer. Okay. So have you played Monopoly before?
[00:17:09] Nicole Gauthier: Yes, I played Monopoly Junior.
[00:17:13] Nicole Pendergrass: I guess that counts. I’ve not played Monopoly Junior, so I don’t even know if they have the same ones, but Boardwalk versus Baltic Avenue. So the most expensive property versus the cheapest property, which one are you buying in your strategy to win and why?
[00:17:27] Nicole Gauthier: And I can only buy one? Okay, so I have a follow-up question on that. With the one that is the least expensive, is that…
[00:17:35] Nicole Pendergrass: Wait, wait, you are the only one who has ever asked me a follow-up question to that question.
[00:17:40] Nicole Gauthier: Really?
[00:17:42] Nicole Pendergrass: Yes! Follow-up question, what’s the follow-up question? I want to know the question.
[00:17:45] Nicole Gauthier: I want to know if this is a D-class neighborhood, a C-class neighborhood. I want to know.
[00:17:51] Nicole Pendergrass: No, you have to make your own assumption on what type of neighborhood that is.
[00:17:54] Nicole Gauthier: Why? Well, that’s like investing in, like, a class AA, like A property in an, A neighborhood that’s like super expensive. I don’t know. I want the one that’s like appreciating, not already, like, at its highest point. But I can’t invest in the little one if it, like, the cheapest one, if it’s like in a sh*tty neighborhood. I don’t like that one. Girl.
[00:18:16] Nicole Pendergrass: You got to make your own assumptions. Tell me what the criteria is around the property and why you bought it.
[00:18:22] Nicole Gauthier: Okay. Okay. I can do that. I can make assumptions. Okay. So if I am investing in the one that is like the cheapest one, but the area changing. I’m making the assumptions that is, this is not a D-class neighborhood, ’cause I don’t invest in those. C class, sure, but I want some change that is signaling that there’s going to be some sort of appreciation with this asset. I don’t want to buy it if it’s like 40 grand and 10 years from now, it’s also worth 40 grand or maybe 20 grand. Like. That’s what…
[00:18:53] Nicole Pendergrass: But what if it’s 40 grand, but its cash flow is a grand a month?
[00:18:55] Nicole Gauthier: Okay, well then that is a different story, ’cause then I can leverage that huge cash flow to go buy that asset that’s more expensive. So then I get both, so, okay. If I’m making that assumption, that one is cash flowing really well. And the other one is not, it’s just straight-up appreciation, then I’ll go for the one that’s cheaper. And leverage that to buy more.
[00:19:15] Nicole Pendergrass: Geez, Louise, you know this is supposed to be like a fire round.
[00:19:20] Nicole Gauthier: Well, you already know me. I told you I was an accountant back in the day.
[00:19:23] Nicole Pendergrass: So that is definitely your accountant brain coming out. Okay, so, all right. This is a new question that I need to start asking. I just came across as I heard somebody else say it, and I thought it was fantastic. So you are the first person that’s getting this question.
[00:19:39] Nicole Gauthier: Okay.
[00:19:40] Nicole Pendergrass: In the next six months to a year, what is the one thing that you are focusing on or the one resource that you would need to catapult your business or personal or whatever, your life, any of your, one of your major goals, what is the one thing that you would need to catapult that to the next level?
[00:19:59] Nicole Gauthier: I would say I need more revenue that’s coming in. I would say revenue just so that I can because you know, like, as you’re starting a business, you’re wearing like literally a thousand hats. And I feel like I might have 2000 on my head right now and how do you grow if you are doing everything? And I’m getting to that point, like today where I wrote down, like, oh, I had a couple of things, couple of projects that I was like, okay, I could use a VA for this, but I can’t, like, not pay them. So having some revenue that’s coming in that’s consistent that I can then use to start hiring, whether it’s an EA or hiring a virtual assistant to help me with some of the things that are like very monotonous, the things that I don’t really just want to do that are kind of like admin type projects and whatnot, that are keeping me from doing more of like the high dollar projects, I guess, you could say.
[00:20:47] Nicole Pendergrass: Okay. So basically, like, capital to hire an assistant.
[00:20:52] Nicole Gauthier: Yeah. I have like a thousand hats on right now, and I don’t have any more arms, so I need someone else. I need some extra arms.
[00:21:00] Nicole Pendergrass: Well, your bun is high enough to hold the hats, you go like this.
[00:21:05] Nicole Gauthier: That’s why I made it. I did this right before I interviewed. I was like, okay, I’m a I’m going to raise my hair up ’cause I got a couple of extra hats that I got to put on later on.
[00:21:14] Nicole Pendergrass: Oh, man. Okay. This was great. Thanks for coming on. I really appreciate you. And can you tell the listeners how they can best reach out to you?
[00:21:23] Nicole Gauthier: Yeah, for sure. Well, thank you for having me on, friend. I’m excited to have been here. The best way that you can get a hold of me is on LinkedIn. So under Nicole Gauthier and that’s spelled G A U T H I E R. Or you can head onto my website at www.wicked-holdings.com. And there is where you can, like, learn a little bit more about me if you care to do so. And you can find out more about the investor process as well as, like, my free guide. And you can book a call with me there too. So it’s easy to get a hold of me.
[00:21:56] Nicole Pendergrass: Perfect. And we’ll have all those links in the show notes. So everyone just go down, scroll below and click on the link, and get connected with Nicole. I’m sure she’s more than happy to tell you, talk to you, help you on your journey, you know, share her resources for anything that can help you in your journey to building wealth.
[00:22:17] Nicole Gauthier: Absolutely. So thank you.
[00:22:18] Nicole Pendergrass: That is a wrap. Bye. Thanks.
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