It could have been just another day for Mikhail Avady at the Atlanta Technology Village. As a hub for growing startups, Atlanta Technology Village was a frequent stop for MBA students at Emory University. That day, an entrepreneurship professor asked Mikhail if he would be available to give a tour to a group of incoming students. Little did he know, Sophia Li, his future wife, would be one of his tour guests.
After successfully mastering the educational realm, earning a collective three master’s degrees between them, Sophia and Mikhail each have their own flourishing professional career. Sophia is a senior sales engineer for a technology company, while Mikhail is a senior executive at a thriving tech startup creating a dynamic conversational text marketing platform. However, beyond their professional success, their shared passion and ownership in real estate investments allow them to grow and flourish together.
Sophia was the first to take a step into real estate in 2016 by purchasing a single-family home in the Atlanta area at just 25 years old.
“I bought my first single-family rental home partially because of the influence from my parents because I’m from China; Chinese people love real estate a lot,” Sophia said. “I was renting an apartment at that time because my rental property was in the suburbs.”
Shortly after Mikhail saw Sophia’s investments in real estate, he began to explore investment options, as he was looking for a way to diversify his assets beyond cryptocurrency. He had familiarity and comfort with the cryptocurrency market since he had previously started and run a cryptocurrency mining farm. Therefore, real estate was a logical choice for both Sophia and Mikhail to use as a wealth-building asset.
“We wanted to make a slow but consistent investment into single-family, and we didn’t want to overexpose in some of the other assets, so we were looking for other areas of investment,” Mikhail said. “We have some friends that are builders, and it became apparent that the more doors you have, the more you can scale. But we don’t have the time to do any of that. So we thought, ‘Where else can we put money into real estate?’”
Today, they manage both single-family and multifamily syndications. Operating as a team, they evaluate all current and potential investments while bringing their unique points of view and different risk tolerances to the table.
“We have very different risk tolerances,” Sophia said.
“I do our risky stuff; she does our safe stuff,” Mikhail shared. “She keeps me from making stupid investments, and I think sometimes I try to push her into some.”
Aside from their difference in risk tolerance, Sophia and Mikhail are united in their ability to look at real estate from a long-term perspective. So much so, that when they purchased their current home, they planned from the beginning to move out and turn it into a rental property after two years.
That timeline has since moved up as the couple will be welcoming their newest tenant, their first baby, in October.
“When we bought our house, a townhouse, we were considering it not only a primary home but also as a rental after two years,” Sophia said. “That’s why we’re doing a renovation on one of the rentals I bought. We’re going to renovate and move there because it’s a bigger single-family house, while we’re going to rent our current townhouse out. But it’s good because we prepared for this to be a rental.”
Sophia and Mikhail also are aligned in their strategy to diversify their investment portfolio to include passive investing as a vehicle to help them reach their long-term investment goals.
“We have a certain amount of passive income that we want to reach, and this is one of our strategies towards getting there,” Mikhail said.
“I think our long-term goal is probably to have a good amount of passive income, so we don’t need to worry too much about the future, and to have the freedom of choice,” Sophia said. “I feel like I'm most confident about real estate because it’s stable, long-term, and it generates equity.”
About the Author:
Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios. www.thelabcollective.com