Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing with Jonathan Greene

134: Building Handcrafted One-of-a-Kind Experiences with Kristie Wolfe


Building unique, remote short-term rentals can be a complex process, but it can also be gratifying. You’re often taking a property that would otherwise be demolished and turning it into something that can be appreciated for years to come. The guests it attracts typically appreciate its unique qualities, ensuring your asset will be well cared for.

On this episode of Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing, Jonathan welcomes Kristie Wolfe, who builds handcrafted one-of-a-kind experiences for her short-term rental properties. Kristie built her first tiny house in 2011 as a social experiment for her own idea of living simply and deliberately. She currently owns a treehouse in Hawaii, an underground hobbit hole in Washington, a fire lookout in the Idaho Panhandle, and a potato hotel in Boise, Idaho.

Jonathan and Kristie begin their conversation by exploring how she became interested in creating unique homes that offer one-of-a-kind experiences, what gave her the idea she could do this full-time, and what draws her to being off-grid and saving properties that would otherwise be demolished. Kristie shares how she creates connections with her guests using personal touches, the challenges of building and renovating in remote locales, and what it was like to build a Hobbit House. She also explains how the potato hotel idea came to fruition, the time it takes her to build out one of these properties, her plans for future properties, and what she would tell someone else who wants to get into creating niche short-term rentals.

If you’re interested in short-term rentals but want to do something a bit different than the norm, this conversation with Kristie is everything you’re looking for.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • How Kristie Wolfe got into creating unique Airbnb experiences by trying to replace her factory job income
  • Her first property, which she bought sight unseen in Hawaii with owner financing, when it became profitable, and how she found it
  • Overcoming analysis paralysis and the character traits that allow Kristie to move forward quickly with decisions about properties
  • The appeal of being off-grid
  • The pandemic’s impact on Kristie’s business model and why being off-grid proved to be a wise business decision
  • Why she’s building out properties that other people aren’t doing
  • The appeal behind finding and saving a property that no one else wants
  • The two things Kristie does in each property to build a connection with her guests
  • Her repeat customers, what keeps them coming back, and the personal touch she offers to those who stay in every property
  • The challenges of getting materials and teams to properties in remote locales
  • The timeline for completing the projects
  • Kristie’s fire lookout tower projects and what she loves about them
  • Her Hobbit House’s origin story
  • How her guests find her and why social media is important for Kristie’s marketing
  • The story behind her potato hotel and why people love it
  • The cocoon cottage and what took so long to put it together
  • What’s in Kristie’s future plans, and why she likes the idea of redoing an old school, firehouse, or church
  • Her advice for someone who might want to take on these sorts of projects
  • Creating a listing to attract the right guests for your unique property

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