What's it like to get started as a small scale developer?


Kea Wilson is Strong Towns' Director of Community Engagement and, as of a couple days ago, the proud owner of a new four-family building in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. This is the second property that she and her partner have purchased and managed as landlord and developers and today we brought her on the Strong Towns podcast to talk all about that experience. (She's also been detailing her journey toward purchasing this property in a series of articles on the website this week.)

In this in-depth and honest podcast conversation, Kea and Rachel discuss:

  • What does being a developer look like and why do it in the first place?
  • How do you weight the costs and benefits of a given property (both monetary and non-monetary), and make the choice to pull the trigger on a purchase?
  • Is it possible to provide quality affordable housing and still break even or make a profit as a small scale developer without deep pockets?
  • What are the challenges and benefits of being a landlord?
  • How can we incentivize more landlords to care about their tenants and neighborhoods? What financial, social or political systems would need to change to make this the norm?