Joel C. was a first time investor, but his goals were different than most first timers. He wanted to invest in real estate so that he would have enough passive income to create stability for his future family.
“I had been doing research and reading books for years, so I knew how much time was involved,” said Joel. He turned to a real estate agent to help him get started and take some of the pressure off figuring it all out by himself. “I finally realized that if I want to be an entrepreneur and an investor, I couldn’t do it all myself. I had to find an expert who could do that work for me.”
Joel’s agent started by putting him on a drip email campaign that would send him information about properties in the area. He knew what he wanted was cash flow. “I could look at these properties and make sure the numbers worked. If it didn’t I’d just delete it and move on,” he said.
If the numbers worked out, he and his wife visited the properties with his agent. “When we went to the properties he gave me expert advice, sometimes for and sometimes against purchasing the property.” Eventually, they found a property, and qualified for an FHA owner-occupied loan.
“We’re getting the house for free because someone else is paying the mortgage,” said Dani. “It’s not like we have an abundance of money coming out of nowhere, so we really had to plan for what we wanted to do.”
“In 10 years I’ll be investing in large apartment complexes. It’s something to look forward to,” he said.” Ultimately, the combination of research, a clear plan, and expert advice from his agent helped Joel and Dani take the first step towards achieving their wealth-building goals.
The more he explored real estate investing, the more he came to appreciate the many unique benefits of real estate as an investment vehicle. ”The incredible thing about real estate is being able to write off all of the expenses, such as interest, property taxes or management fees. Depreciation is a big write-off as well,” he said.
John was able to use these benefits even when the market wasn’t great. “When I bought our first home in Hawaii, the prices dropped the next year. Despite the drop, we were still able to sell the house in four years. We sold it for twice the amount we’d bought it for.”
As opposed to some investors who might be more comfortable trying to rehab & resell the properties, John believes that there is more to be gained from investing in properties and letting them pay for themselves over the long run. “Some may disagree with me, but I think you make more money in the long run that way. My wife and I own over 50 properties now. We have a LLC that holds our properties to protect ourselves.”
John doesn’t limit himself to one type of investment, but is willing to look at any type of real estate investment as long as the math makes sense. This includes mobile homes.
“I call them metal boxes that spit out money. The overhead is low and the rents are reasonable. The thing is to keep renters in them. Vacancy can be a challenge—in fact it’s probably the biggest challenge for investors—but if you plan ahead you’ll be fine.”
The key to success, John says, is to make informed and rational decisions with your investments. “Don’t get emotional about the property. It’s hard, but you’ve got to keep emotion out of it.”
“It wasn’t easy, especially for [someone in] my generation,” said Katy. “I graduated college in the middle of a recession. My own father was a real estate investor but he over leveraged himself. I saw exactly what doing that can do to a family, so I was very scared at the idea of investing in real estate at first.”
Katy and her fiancé, Danny, were renters like many other millennials. They had discussed the idea of buying real estate and even buying an investment property, but as Katy mentioned, they were hesitant. However, when their apartment complex informed them that their rent was going to be raised by 17% in one year, they got the push they needed.
As they began exploring their options, Katy and Danny were struck with a great idea: invest in a duplex. They could live in one side of the duplex and rent the other side out. She contacted an agent to begin searching for the property that would meet all of her criteria. “We wanted each unit to be 2 bedroom and 2 bath so that renters could be roommates and have their own space.”
Having an agent was a crucial part of the process for Katy. She had a lot of questions and her agent answered all of them. “My agent was there for me to help explain these things to me. I couldn’t have done it with out him.”
From the time they seriously began looking at properties to the time they closed, it took a total of three months. Their agent found the property that filled all their needs, helped them qualify for an FHA owner-occupied loan, and worked with them through the entire process. In fact, the property they found already had a tenant.
The tenant now pays more than half of their monthly mortgage payment. “It’s changed our lives to be able to have that kind of decrease in living expenses,” she said.
It has also created cash flow that has helped them build their cash reserves and is moving them towards their goal of buying more properties in the future. “In fact, my future mother-in-law now wants to buy three properties!”