Emily Hubbard is a Founding Partner and head of Client Relations and Marketing for Sage Investment Group, an organization that now works to turn underutilized properties into attainable housing, delivering solutions that are better for the health and safety of our communities and welfare of our planet. Emily is responsible for engaging with current and potential future investors to support Sage’s capital needs for upcoming acquisitions and projects. Emily works closely with the acquisitions and finance teams to ensure all capital needs are forecasted well in advance of closings. Emily has an extensive background in real estate, sales and fundraising, and has been a passionate real estate investor since 2010. She has brokered over 40 million in residential real estate and has pitched over 100 million in marketing campaigns to Fortune 500 companies. She is a former IN board member at the Fred Hutch Cancer Center supporting fundraising for cancer research.
- How did you initially become interested in real estate and what did the early stages of your career look like?
o My husband, Ross Hubbard, and I first became interested in real estate in 2010. We heard an ad on the radio describing how to purchase foreclosed property with little money down and were immediately intrigued. Our first rental property was a foreclosure purchased on the courthouse steps sight unseen. We kept building our portfolio and eventually became curious about how we could expand. We began to ask ourselves, “how can we do what we are currently doing on a larger scale?” and this was the genesis moment for Sage Investment Group.
- What was the vision for your company when you first launched Sage Investment Group?
o Attainable housing is so badly needed across the country. We founded Sage Investment Group with the goal of being able to offer more attainable housing solutions in communities that need them the most. Today Sage owns 22 properties, representing 1,360 units across five states.
- What is Sage Investment Group’s mission?
o Sage works to turn underutilized properties into attainable housing, delivering solutions that are better for the health and safety of our communities and welfare of our planet. The Sage team is comprised of experts in property investment and development, who care deeply about the communities in which they purchase and rehabilitate multifamily residential properties. Collaborating with governments, nonprofits, and other businesses, Sage is proud to provide permanent, stable, long-term housing solutions in each community it serves at approachable price points. And by combining the stability of multifamily investing with a proven growth model, underpinning a portfolio of real estate holdings that historically outperforms other investment options, Sage serves its accredited investors.
- Why is the work that you are doing with Sage Investment Group important?
o Housing is one of the biggest issues our country is facing. So many folks cannot afford safe, modern, beautiful housing, and we are working to help fill this gap. We strategically seek underutilized properties, and with our proven model, are able to sustainably transform them into attainable housing options. By repurposing existing buildings, Sage is also helping to reduce construction waste, which the EPA estimated at 600 million tons in 2018. We charge one monthly fee that includes utilities, and all our buildings have a variety of onsite amenities. We build housing that we would want to live in, and we are incredibly proud of the work we have done to offer over 1,300 units across the country to folks that need it.
o We know that Sage is only a small part of a much larger collective effort to bring a variety of attainable housing to the market. We hope that by showing other developers our model for success, others will follow in our footsteps, creating additional forms of housing in communities all across the country.
- What hurdles have you overcome along your journey – from finding investors to property remodeling to building relationships with local communities?
o It really does start with investors as we cannot move forward on a property without funds. I see each investor that works with Sage as a partner – we are all collectively moving towards the same goal: To provide safe and attainable housing options for those in need.
o Each property has its own distinct challenges. Whether it is the ups and downs of the acquisition process to unforeseen setbacks during renovations, we are becoming more adept every day at navigating the unique nature of this industry and continue to streamline our process.
o Working with the community is core to the work we do – we even have a full-time Community Relations Manager on our team who works tirelessly to ensure we are making a positive impact. We regularly meet with folks from local law enforcement, government officials, community groups and non-profits to make sure we are thoroughly thinking through the impact we have on communities.
- Can you share any success stories?
o Sage is approached daily my hard-working people in desperate need of safe housing. There is a vast portion of the population that doesn’t qualify for services but with sky high housing expenses can hardly find any housing options this missing middle is in desperate need of attainable work-force housing. We recently opened a property in Fife that within weeks was 70% occupied, including by several tenants that were previously living in their cars not because they were unemployed or had bad rental records but because of a lack of housing options. We are proud to provide them a safe, comfortable place to call their own.
- What does a typical day look like for you?
o One of the best aspects of the work I do is that there is never a dull day! Whether it means being out in the field looking at potential acquisitions, discussing next steps with our contractor team, pouring through professional photography of a newly finished project. I wear many hats and enjoy each and every one of them. The only constant is it starts and ends with my kids the rest is a wonderful adventure in between.
- What do you love the most about your job?
o I truly believe that the work Sage does positively impacts so many. Internally, we have 14 full-time employees as well as contractors and partners across the country. It’s important to the Sage leadership team that we create a positive, uplifting work environment. With our properties, we are transforming them in a sustainable and thoughtful manner from being underutilized or at times derelict to beautiful, modern long-term housing units with vast amenities at an attainable price point. And for our investors, many of whom are women or people of color, we provide an incredible ROI. I know that each day is an opportunity to change lives, and I take that role very seriously.
- You’re an advocate for folks to invest in real estate that do not fit the typical investor mold. Why is it important to you to show others how to become successful investors?
o Building wealth through real estate has historically been less accessible to women, young folks, or people of color. But I have seen how smart investing can help generate passive wealth. I love sharing my story and teaching folks how to become an investor because I am a firm believer that real estate investing is NOT just for one demographic – it is for everyone. And anyone can do it!
- What advice would you give to folks that want to become a real estate investor but don’t know how to get started?
o My best advice is to begin by addressing the analysis paralysis. There are so many ways to invest in real estate that there is not a “one size fits all” approach for anyone. Seek out different avenues of information, whether it be podcasts, social media, books, or speaking with others, then dive in. I have seen so many people wait years to take the plunge into real estate investment, and they have lost thousands if not millions in opportunity cost in the process.
- What is next for Sage Investment Group?
o Sage will keep looking for more opportunities across the country! We are currently expanding and prospecting in Dallas, Austin, and Houston TX; Boise, ID; Chattanooga and Oklahoma City, OK; Columbia, SC; Charlotte, NC; and continuing to scale in existing target markets like the Seattle-metro area.