Much to my chagrin, Frank Cava graduated from the University of Florida (Go, Dawgs!) with a degree in Construction Management. During his job search, Frank learned about a company located in the DC Metro market that he thought would be a strategic company to work for. The role was construction manager, but they were also willing to train and educate him in other areas. Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free So, Frank took the opposite migratory pattern of the Snow Bird and headed north—away from sunny Florida. Building a House While the training and education that this employer was going to provide was a huge plus, the determining factor was that they offered an employee incentive for those who wanted to build their own house. It actually didn’t amount to much savings (only $3,000), but it was enough to encourage him to build versus rent. When it came time to take advantage of the employee incentive, he was a couple years out of college and single, so he decided to throw caution to the wind and build a 2,500-square-foot house. It cost around $350,000 and had a mortgage of $5,000 a month. Here’s where the risk comes in: Frank was only getting paid $4,000 a month! While this was a gamble, it was calculated, as he planned to rent out all the other bedrooms in the house (including the ones in the basement) to help cover the mortgage. Ultimately, Frank house hacked his way into his first property. And this house would serve to be “the seed that started it all.” Related: Best Deal Ever Show #11: $2 Million in Equity on 1 Deal in 1 Year! Refinancing and Reinvesting Shortly after 9/11, mortgage rates plummeted. Frank was able to refi into a much more affordable payment and take out $50,000 cash, which he then used to buy an investment property. A few years later, he sold his original house and the investment property, using the proceeds to buy an 8,000-square-foot house for around $850,000. Frank eventually sold that house for $1.5 million. Exiting the Rat Race Frank’s strategy from the beginning had been to play the long game. This inevitably allowed him to build up enough funds that, at age 34, he was able to quit the rat race and take the step that many would say he had been destined to take since he was five: He started his own company. Related: Best Deal Ever Show #10: Substitute Teacher Makes $80K on First Land Deal Today, Frank employs 17 people, pays another 150 subcontractors, and is one of the top five homebuilders in Richmond, Va. He has around 200 rental properties, mainly due to his flip-flopped approach to investing. Where most investors renovate for the cash flow and buy and hold only a few properties, Frank has figured out how to buy and hold more than he renovates. If you have been a listener of the BiggerPockets Podcast, you have undoubtedly heard Brandon Turner say something along the lines of, “Just do a deal. Your first is the most important…” This statement was very true in Frank’s case, as it was the success of his first deal that was able to catapult him into his first million—AND starting his own company. Questions about Frank’s strategy? Let’s talk in the comment section.