Kate Yanov Birtch

In a way, it’s a bit surprising that Kate Yanov Birtch is
still in the real-estate market. “I bought a condo in
Phoenix in 2007. It was the worst market at the worst
possible time,” she says, laughing. “But I learned my
lesson from that. And then I moved on.”

Born in Walnut Creek, California, she now splits the year between Hawaii and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and has spent time all around the world in between. Which seems fitting given that Kate is best known these days as a leader in the short-term rental space.

Kate started running marketing for a medical device company in San Francisco but decided to trade in a safe career for a more adventurous life. So, she picked up and left for Waikiki, Hawaii in TK year. She found a home to rent in a quiet neighborhood three blocks from the beach and got permission from her landlord to sublet it. “I ended up making enough from that house to put a down payment on a condo,” she says. From there, her burgeoning Airbnb business was off to the races. In the TK years since, she’s bought and operated short-term rental properties in Vietnam, Hawaii, Austin, and Tulsa.

Kate, who’s now married with two “fur babies,” founded Property Protect in 2017. Her startup offers automated, affordable insurance for short-term property owners. It’s a tool to give peace of mind and security to a class of landlord who desperately needs it. Like all successful founders, Kate used her experience to find a hole in the market and then filled it.

When she heard about Fund.me, Kate was impressed by the way a Fund.me team member and Josh had found a fix for another crack in the short-term rental market. For entrepreneurial short-term landlords like Kate, bank loans are difficult to secure. She was drawn to Fund.me because they offered hard-money options specifically crafted for hustlers like her: tech savvy and fast-moving, with innovative ideas about real-estate investment.

“My whole mantra in life is: figure out who is the most digitally focused. I want the whole entire journey to be a hundred percent online,” she says. “The great thing about Fund.me and their hard- money loan is it’s helping to educate people on this other avenue to take as a short-term rental owner. It allows them to start to formulate the short-term rentals as a business. A lot of people still think of this as a side hustle.”

Before buying a new property, Kate dives into recon mode. For real-estate investors like her — with three, five, or even ten short-term rental properties — it stops being a gig; it’s a business. Unlike a long-term rental landlord, Kate has to factor in occupancy rate, cost of utilities, and even the possibility of regulatory changes. It’s no coincidence that the meticulous founder has been extremely successful in the space. “Make sure your numbers are accurate and don’t exaggerate,” she says. “Be very realistic and do a lot of research.”

Not everyone can head a successful startup while owning a fleet of short-term rentals. But anyone who knows Kate — via her writing, her Investor Underground Facebook group, or in person —knows she has some great advice for how to take the leap into the real-estate market. “Find a way to house-hack a property. Find a duplex, or triplex, or even quadplex to buy and, you’re going to live in it, so you can get a loan that is for an owner-occupant. Then you can rent out the unit and that’ll help pay off the mortgage.” she says. “Fix it up while you live there, and then you can take out equity and buy another place. The way to do this is to start very humbly and let other people pay your mortgage.”

Kate can give you the roadmap to owning in today’s tricky real-estate market. Fund.me can give you the hard-money loan to get you there.