After completing college in 2011, Kyara Gray’s ambition was to pursue a corporate career and invest in real estate as a side hustle. She had a well-paying job that allowed her to save as much as she could and a roommate to split costs.
Once she and her partner, Khalil Uqdah, decided that they were going to spend their lives together, they started exploring ways to work out how their finances would be in the future. They considered different investment options, ranging from vending machines to DVD rentals.
The duo settled on real estate because of the impact it can have and the potential profit they could realize from it. Gray founded the real estate firm Charm City Buyers with her husband Khalil.
In order to prepare themselves for their new venture, Gray and Khalil took consistent action to get closer to their dreams. “We googled properties, went to real estate investing networking events, researched terms and strategies, and started meeting with people in the industry. Every day we were taking small steps towards our dream,” she told Forbes.
They started off by acquiring a 3-unit shell in a neighborhood that had a tough reputation. They purchased the property for $26k but needed a six-figure renovation to put the property in shape. “So we found a local organization focused on developing communities in that neighborhood. They provided the funding for the renovation which we finished in seven months,” she said.
Within six years, Gray and Khalil recorded more than six figures in rental income purchases. And while building their business to the level that they wanted, they still retained their jobs until five years ago in order to bring in extra income for their real estate endeavor. They also sacrificed their vacations and did not buy their home until they acquired multiple properties.
“We also didn’t tell people about the projects we were purchasing until we had accumulated about ten rentals in our portfolio, which was hard,” Gray said. “It’s tempting to want to post on social media or tell your friends and family what you’re doing, but we focused on the work so we wouldn’t have to deal with naysayers,” she further said, adding that “Khalil would go to Home Depot before work to pick up supplies, I’d tile floors in the evening, he’d paint. We were scrappy until we grew and could outsource those tasks.”
Aside from her real estate business, Gray is also focused on mentoring others who want to be players in the real estate sector. According to her, it is one of the ways to break barriers and create wealth in the Black community.