Last September, wedding photographers Adriana Krause and Stephan Alvin did something unusual. They bought a second home during a global pandemic.
The home, a cabin in Oakhurst, California, is their business’s headquarters, located near Yosemite National Park where they shoot small ceremonies. When they’re not in California, they’re in Rio de Janeiro, where they purchased a condo in July 2020.
Krause, 29, and Alvin, 38, split their time between the two cities. When they’re in one home, they rent out the other on Airbnb. The resultant income, in just nine months: $18,000, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.
“It took months of work to make both places feel like home,” Krause tells CNBC Make It. “But now, we only work one hour per week.”
That hour is spent confirming bookings and coordinating cleaning staff to ensure the properties are ready for the next guests. But the real estate side hustle is a risky and costly venture. Together, the couple’s homes will cost roughly $487,000 between renovations and both mortgages, according to Krause.
Krause and Alvin’s photograph business specializes in small ceremonies and elopements in Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park.
Stephan and Adriana Photography
While the revenue from Airbnb bookings hasn’t yet covered the homes’ price tags, Krause says the couple — who made $215,000 from their photography business last year — is on track to cover their bills, and then some. Profits pending, they have a grand plan: Once their second home is paid off, they intend to put that passive income toward travel.
“It’s both a safe and crazy way to start a business, because nobody really wants to rent out where they live,” Krause says. “But we’re both willing to take calculated risks, and the rewards have been pretty huge.”
A three-bedroom condo in Rio
Krause and Alvin met while working as skaters for Disney on Ice. In 2018, they retired from showbiz, got married and moved into an apartment in Fresno, California, near Alvin’s family. Within a year, they started their wedding photography company.
Krause and Alvin perform at an ice show in Brazil in 2018. They skated with Disney on Ice for six and 11 years, respectively, and visited every continent but Antartica.
Stephan Alvin and Adriana Krause
Living in Fresno while working hours away in Yosemite and Sequoia National Park wasn’t exactly convenient, and Krause says the city “never quite felt like home.”
“Business was going great in 2019, and we had put all this work in to make 2020 great,” she says. “But when the pandemic happened, we found ourselves wondering, ‘Why are we living here?'”
The couple pooled their …….