Brian Rios is a full-time real estate investor. In 1998, he moved here with his mother from Mexico City. In 2018, he started the business that would become HobKnob by renting out the bedrooms in his personal home – similar to something Brian did in college to afford rent.
But when he was let go from his job, this young father knew he would have to get creative to keep paying the bills.
“A lightbulb went off in my head,” Brian explains. He realized he could actually get a bigger house with more rooms – and pay less for it – if instead of college students, his roommates were working adults like him. At the same time, he would be filling a clear need in the rental market for affordable, flexible accommodations for adults.
HobKnob offers fully-furnished rentals and professional “co-living” to individuals seeking a simple, safe, flexible and cost-effective lifestyle. It can also offer a sense of community to someone who might otherwise feel alone. They offer both private rooms and full apartments within Louisville and Southern Indiana. HobKnob is comprised of 65 units – with a goal to double in size to 130.
“I soon realized that there was an opportunity to help people who couldn’t afford to come to Louisville on their own find reliable roommates and ensure everyone paid rent on time,” Brian explains. This sort of non-traditional setup was ideal for healthcare professionals, pilots, graduate students, interns, visiting contractors and more. “No one wants to worry about signing a long lease, putting utilities in their name, regularly deep cleaning, paying for general needs items and buying furniture that they may only use for a few months.”
The journey hasn’t always been easy. In 2021, Brian was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor; he had emergency surgery just a few days after his diagnosis. “When I first woke from surgery, I could not speak, write or type,” he explains. He had to relearn all of this while relying on his team and family to help him make it all happen. “The brain tumor really puts into perspective how short life is, and how we don’t know if today will be our last day on this earth.”
Brian remains grateful to those who have helped him. “You can not accomplish big goals without a team; find your team! None of this would be possible without my mother, Anayeli Douglas,” Brian says. “My son and my mom have been my greatest influence to become a better person in life. Recently, my fiance, Trang, and my Operations Director, Jesey, have been a substantial influence on the direction of my life and HobKnob.”
He adds, “I know that God had – and continues to have – bigger plans for me, my family and my business.”
Brian is a big believer in dreams. “Our encouragement daily is for everyone to find financial freedom,” he says. “Find what motivates you to push through the hard seasons of life and never be afraid to be unconventional in your ideas. The greatest things in life are on the other side of fear.” •