Saturday, July 1, 2017

How I Got Started Investing in Real Estate

I've been interested in investing in Real Estate for quite a few years, but was held back because I felt like I didn't have enough money on hand and didn't have someone to walk me through the process to make sure I didn't do something stupid.  So I kept putting it off until 2014 when my wife, Kim, started talking with someone at Done For You Real Estate USA.  They were offering a free book the owner had written called The Straight Path to Real Estate.  I read through it and was excited about how he had been able to become financially free in just a few years though real estate.

I found out that the company's strategy is to teach you how to do real estate and even provide a mentor to walk you through the whole process of buying a rental and getting it rented out.  They've also done the research to find out which markets in the US are good for generating cash flow and which markets are solid and expecting to grow in value over the next few years.  At first I was only interested in buying locally since it seemed so risky to buy out of state and not be able to check in on the property.  I could also make a bit more money by not using a property manager.  Eventually, though, I realized that I wanted the real estate to act as an investment rather than a side job.  I didn't really want to be called in the middle of the night or during work about something that needed to be fixed.  Also, the deals in my local market didn't look as good.

It was also through them that I realized I wasn't as money poor as I told myself I was.  I didn't really have much money in my bank savings account, but I did have equity in the house I was living in and I had money in my 401k.  I work at HP, Inc. and my 401k is through them, so I can't just take the money out but they will let me take loans out from myself (up to $50,000 or 50%, whichever is less.  The interest I pay to myself goes back to my 401k account).  About this time we were thinking about buying a new home, so after checking I found out I could take out a 30 year loan from myself as the down payment on the new home.  Then when I sold my current house, I could use the equity from that to use as a down payment on a rental.

So the two things holding me back (lack of money and lack of a real estate mentor) were no longer a problem.  After moving to a new home and selling our current home, I had $40,000 for a down payment on a rental.  We found one in Memphis, TN (a cash flow market) that would cash flow about $270/month and bought it.  Shortly after, the property managers had a tenant lined up with a 3 year lease and $100 higher rent than anticipated, so we would cash flow $370/month.  I'm all for higher rent and a 3 year lease so I don't have to worry about them moving out after a year!

Two years later the monthly checks keep coming in.  There have been a couple minor costs to fix things around the house, but not much, so I'm still quite happy with how the rental is going.

With this new mindset on money, I was able to find enough money in equity and 401k loans to buy even more rentals.  We bought a second rental in Memphis that has the same cash flow as the first.  Then we bought one in Orlando, FL (a growth market) that is cash flowing $526/month with a $45,000 investment and next week we're buying another in Orlando.

My first rental in Memphis, TN

My second rental in Memphis, TN

My First Orlando, FL rental

If you're interested in getting started in Real Estate, you can see some of their current deals on their website  On that site, they'll show you detailed info on each property so you can tell what the expected monthly cash flow is, as well as their estimate on the yearly rate of return if you were to sell 5 years after buying it.  You can even set up a free call to talk with them about your situation and get their advice.  Let them know I referred you.

Buying real estate requires cash and credit.  If you're lacking in credit, but have some cash, let me know and I may be able to help you get started anyway.  By partnering, we can all get what we want!  I've actually partnered with others on two of my properties and it's working out well.  Of course, you want a clear legal agreement, and I've got a legal team who is experienced at this stuff.

Randy Reeder

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