Have you ever wanted some free advice on Birmingham real estate investing?

Then you have come to the right place. This short video is the same advice I gave a friend on Birmingham real estate investing.

[TRANSCRIPT] Hey. What’s up, everybody? Matthew Whitaker.

I just wanted to give you some quick advice from gkhouses.

I had a friend call me yesterday, and he’s looking to get into real estate investing. And I was reminded of something that I thought was really important that I thought I’d share with you.

Become a specialist

My best advice for somebody who’s getting into real estate investing is to specialize in one area.

I think too often…and I did this when I first got started…we get really focused on something broad like all of Birmingham and looking for the best deal in Birmingham.

And particularly, in this competitive environment, it’s important for you to find one area that you understand really, really well.

That way, you know what a deal looks like, and when a deal comes across your table, comes across your computer, you can go out and buy that deal really fast.

That’s what I’ve found that some of the best investors do. They just understand areas really, really well, and when the opportunity comes along, they are ready to jump at it.

Especially when you’re getting started, learning just one area is a lot easier than learning all of Birmingham or all of Nashville or all of Little Rock.

So that’s my best advice. If you’re getting into investing in real estate, focus on one area. Learn it really, really well. Once you’re an expert in that area, then you can move on to another area.

This is Matthew Whitaker with gkhouses and if you ever need some advice, check out all of our videos or give us a call. We love to help investors make great decisions about Birmingham real estate investing!

Want to rent your Nashville house fast?

Rent Your Nashville Home FastUnfortunately, there is no silver bullet when it’s time to rent your Nashville house.

And to highlight the issue, the most common questions we receive at gkhouses is, “How long will it take you to find a tenant for my home.”

This is a valid question. And it’s a question that you need to consider even before renting your home.

But while it’s a valid question, it is also a tricky one. We don’t believe that there is a clear-cut answer to the issue. How quickly you rent your Nashville home depends on several factors.

In this article, we are going to discuss three tips to rent your Nashville home fast.

1. Price

You may feel this is a bit too obvious, but I can promise you that it isn’t. When we bring this point up to owners, a lot of time they dismiss it because they have a set price in their head for rent.

No matter what your neighbor receives in rent or what your friend told you should charge if it’s not market rent, you won’t rent your home fast.

Prospective tenants are smart. And they don’t necessarily want to pay more than they need to for rent. Especially if they’re signing a one-year lease.

That is why your rental home price needs to be what the market is willing to bear. In Nashville, it’s especially important because if you start off too high, your best prospective tenants could find something similar for less down the road.

Even in a hot housing market like Nashville, finding a great tenant fast is no guarantee if your home is not priced right.

2. Product

Your home is the product. In our article about how to keep a tenant for 20 years, we specifically speak about the house is an essential factor.

Not just in the way you present and market the home, but also in the layout. A house with a funky floorplan, a steep driveway, and a next to a busy road usually won’t rent in the first ten days.

The perfect tenant for this home is not the everyday tenant. It is going to take one that is special.

We also like to stress to owners how important it is for the house to be in great shape. Many homeowners (especially if they’re investors) want to save money. We understand the importance of stretching your dollar.

However, providing a tenant with a great house to live in might increase your chances of keeping them for a long time.

I have personally had tenants in my houses for over nine years. One of the reasons they have stayed so long is that I provided them with a great home from day one.

A simple tip is to look at the paint job in your bedrooms. If you have children and one of the rooms is pink, you may consider painting it a neutral color. Your goal is to appeal to the broad market of potential tenants who can afford your home.

3. Time of Year

It’s true, our Nashville property management business picks up tremendously in the late spring. Everyone knows that the summer is the best time to sell a house. The same is true if you want to rent your home.

Your chances of finding a great tenant increase starting in May. It’s not surprising since most people prefer to move in the summer.

Sometimes they prefer to move because of school schedules. Or they may prefer to move during summer because of the beautiful weather. No matter the reason, if you have the opportunity to rent your Nashville house during summer, it’s your best bet!


If you want to rent your Nashville house fast, think about the three things in this article – Price, Product, and Time of Year. These are the three factors that will most determine if your house is on the market for a few days or for several weeks.

If you would like to speak with our Nashville team leader, call us at (615) 925-3880 ext 3. You can also fill out the form on this page.

The numbers for the Birmingham Real Estate market are in and they are fascinating!

If you can believe it, the real estate sales market in Birmingham, Alabama is even hotter than it was back at the time of the real estate market crash in 2007 and 2008.  Take a look at these graphs from the Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE).

The median sales price for a Birmingham home is up almost $30,000 from the high in 2006.

Check this out.

Average days on market is way down.  Even down compared to the height of the real estate bubble.

Homes listed is also way down.

What does that mean for the rental investor?

  1. There is a natural churn of rental homes right now.  We are experiencing it with our portfolio as I’ve heard other managers are.  People who were reluctant landlords can now sell their home since sales prices are up.
  2. There is still a need for rental homes.  43% of household heads rent.  That is up from 35% in 2006 which was the height of the bubble.
  3. Where are these new renters coming from?  Easy, baby boomers getting out of homeownership.  (Yes, you read that right).  And Millenials who are delaying homeownership.
  4. Bottom line, there is a need for more housing units and they are being built at a staggering pace right now.

Click this link if you’d like to see the full ACRE Report.



I was fortunate enough to get to be on David Lamb’s, The Blueprint Podcast.  Check out this teaser for it he just posted.  The show will post on Monday.

The Blueprint Podcast Matthew Whittaker of GK Houses


David Lamb sits down with Matthew Whittaker of GK Houses. GKHouses started at the beginning of the 2008 housing market crash. They have since become the largest property manager in Birmingham and ope…

Home sales continue to climb in sweet home Alabama.
Home sales continue to climb in sweet home Alabama.

Alabama has continued to enjoy growth in its home sales market.  It is up almost 8% over November of last year.  This is great for investors who are looking to capture some appreciation in addition to a well cash flowing market.

Check out Bryan Davis’ article if you’d like to see more industry data and see the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s forecast for the upcoming year.

As an investor, your goal is to reach the mountain top. Find out what Phil Knight warns you about that mountain top.
As an investor, your goal is to reach the mountain top. Find out what Phil Knight warns you about that mountain top.
As an investor, your goal is to reach the mountain top. Find out what Phil Knight warns you about that mountain top.

I recently finished reading the book, Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight the founder of Nike.  For anyone who loves entrepreneurship and the idea of growing a business, his story is a fun one to read  .

One part of the book stuck out to me which I think is applicable to those of us who are investors and/or building a business.

At the end of the book, when Nike goes public, Knight mentions that he doesn’t feel relief.  Nor does he feel stress.  What he feels most is regret.

For the guy who built Nike from a distributor of Japanese “Tiger” shoes to one of the largest shoe companies in the world, to feel regret when his company “made it,” seemed a bit odd to me.

The book goes on to say that the reason he feels regret is because he wishes he could build it all over again.

I think that is very important for those of us who invest and “build things” to remember.  Far too often we are waiting on reaching the next step in our businesses to make us happy, and here is a guy who has reached the ultimate step and his only wish is to be exactly where we are . . . still building it.

It has been told to us a million times, but I think it is worth repeating.  Enjoy the journey, because when the journey’s over you will realize that the fun was all in that journey.  If you don’t take a step back and appreciate that, you will get to the end and realize all you’ve missed.

That is a horrible thought.

It is never fun to open a letter from the city and realize you owe them hundreds of dollars.
It is never fun to open a letter from the city and realize you owe them hundreds of dollars.

While the focus has been mostly on Donald Trump, our newly elected President, one amendment passed in Jefferson County, Alabama that affects landlords and tenants.

The bill now says that tenants are solely responsible for garbage at the home.  This is a change from the norm, where in places like Fairfield, if the tenant didn’t pay, then the landlord was stuck holding the bill.  I’ve personally paid hundreds of dollars for this to keep a lien from being placed on one of my houses.

If you’d like to read the bill you may do so here.  If you’d like to hear a well done back story from Fox, you may see that here.  If you’d like to read the results, you may do so here.

We’d also love to answer any questions about how this might affect you!

Wayne hugging Bryan for the last time - these two appreciate a good hug.
Wayne hugging Bryan for the last time - these two appreciate a good hug.
Wayne hugging Bryan for the last time – these two appreciate a good hug.

Thanks Wayne, we are going to miss you.

No, Wayne didn’t die everyone.  He is headed off to pursue his passion of construction with Doster Construction.  We wish him lots of luck and hope he will come visit us . . . but he has to bring lunch when he comes.

Wayne has been with us for almost three years.  He was an integral part of the growth we experienced over that same three year time period.  His knowledge of the construction and home maintenance will be sorely missed.

He’s headed south to Orlando.  He maybe secretly going to work for Disney World and just not telling anyone.

Wayne is funny and passionate.  Doster is getting a great guy.

Wayne hugging Bryan for the last time – these two appreciate a good hug.


Are you tired of simply counting the money and reporting the information to the decision makers? Do you want to be a decision maker at a company and help it scale? Are you an entrepreneur that happens to be a CPA or have a Finance degree?

gkhouses.com, Birmingham’s largest and fastest growing property management company, is looking for a future Team Leader who will be an integral piece to pouring gas on our current growth in Birmingham and Nashville and will help us open operations in different cities.

We need someone that thinks both analytically and strategically, is confident (but not arrogant) and has a deep understanding of the creation of accounting and reporting systems and processes.

If this describes you, then we need you on our team.

None of our accounting systems are rocket science, so I won’t go into explaining them. We just need the right team member with an accounting background.


We’ve found that our accounting department is a great way to train the future leaders of gkhouses.com to go run other markets. Who else understands the KPI’s, ROI’s, P&L’s and the PDQ’s?


Click here to apply for this job

Gray Hall, our Leasing Coordinator, working hard leasing houses.
Gray Hall, our Leasing Coordinator, working hard leasing houses.
Gray Hall, our Leasing Coordinator, working hard leasing houses.

This is my third and final post on the WHO of our business.  In my previous posts, I’ve discussed our hiring process and and also discussed how we onboard new team members.

This post is the one I feel like is the most important.  This post is all about leadership development of our team.

I always tell our team, I can teach you how to manage a home pretty quickly; what I’m unsure of is how long it will take me to teach you to be a leader.  That is why at the first of the year, we decided to implement our first ever weekly leadership development meeting.  It began with us simply just reading a book together.  Our first book was Today Matters by John Maxwell.  The reason we chose this book is because of something John actually says in the book, “The hardest person to lead is yourself.”

What our leadership development time together has turned into is something I would never have imagined.  It is a way for our current leadership team to share real company issues with the people in the meeting and get their feedback on how they would handle it if they were the leader.  Real world situations that they will run into in the future when they are the leader somewhere.

This team has also done an awesome job of working ON the business.  We learned this phrase from another book we read called E-Myth by Michael Gerber.  The team is learning how to take a step back from their day to day role as a person working IN the business and evaluate how we can do things better here at gkhouses.  We’ve made some real upgrades to the business through their ideas, that became projects.

We’ve devoured tons of books together too, as we’ve maintained the ongoing discipline of reading a book together.  Some other books we’ve read and the lessons we’ve learned are below.

1. Traction by Gino Wickman – We currently run the Traction model within our organization.  This is not so much about how we manage a home, but about how we manage the business.

2. Good to Great by Jim Collins – By far my favorite book, this book takes “great” companies and compares them to their counterparts who are “good”.  The goal is to see what great does that average doesn’t and glean information about running our business from that new information.  We’ve had some really fun discussions about what our Hedgehog Concept is.  If you haven’t read the book, do yourself a favor.

3. Multipliers by Liz Wiseman – My favorite book of 2016.  This book takes an indepth look at what makes a great leader based on years and years of research in a ton of different companies.  Liz did a great job of not just doing the research, but also painting a wonderful picture of what a real leader looks like.

I’m continually amazed at what the team has learned from the books we’ve read this year.  I’m looking forward to seeing how much they grow the remainder of the year and all of next year.  These are exciting times at gkhouses.

So this concludes my 3 part series.  My goal in doing this?  Simply to help you understand that you aren’t hiring us for price (although we’ve got some pretty darn good ones).  And, you aren’t hiring us for a slick sales presentation (although it is pretty slick).  I hope you hire us for the people we work hard to hire.