Buying Investment Property: Learn EXACTLY How It’s Done With This In-Depth Case Study!

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Simply buying investment property will teach you more about real estate investing than anything else could. But when you first start (or restart) investing, making a purchase is not that simple! You don’t even know all of the steps. So, the goal of this article is to give you the next best thing to a real deal. Using an example, I will share how to buy a rental property with a real-life, step-by-step process. Think of this as riding co-pilot with another investor so that you can learn how to fly.

I have been a full-time investor for 14 years. I’ve flipped properties, rented them, financed them, and everything in between. While all of the real estate tools I’ve used are helpful, my favorite wealth-builder is still the small, simple, residential rental property.

These are the properties that set me free to have time to write this article for you, to travel with my family to Ecuador for a year in 2017, and to explore other things in life that matter to me. That’s why I’ll focus on the small, residential rental property in this example of buying investment property.

For a brief background, the buyer of this sample property is a couple named Craig and Regina. They are in their 30s, and they want to be part-time, buy and hold landlords. They live in a medium-sized, Midwestern university town, which is also where they plan to invest.

I’ll take you through the story of their deal, from the preparation, to the marketing, to the closing of the purchase, and finally to the tallying of their property’s financials.

Because my overview of this sample deal will be long, from beginning to end, I won’t go as deep on each step as I could. If you need more help with a particular step, be sure to ask me in the comments section or check out some of my other articles on buying investment property here on the BP blog.

Ready to learn more about buying investment property? Let’s get started!


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Part 1: A Plan Always Comes First

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Craig and Regina know the benefit of planning. Craig works as a supervisor for a commercial construction company that plans each construction project from beginning to end. Regina is a middle school teacher who plans her entire school year and every one of her lessons. Regina also has a real estate license, which she has used sparingly on the side to help friends and family from time to time.

But they are not sure how to create a real estate investing plan. So, they start religiously reading every BiggerPockets article from real estate planning nerds like Chad Carson and Erion Shehaj, and their plan finally becomes much clearer.

Here are the planning steps they take in preparation for buying an investment property.

What’s Your Wealth Stage?

The first part of their plan has nothing to do with real estate. It’s about wealth building.

Craig and Regina’s goal is financial independence. They want more free time and flexibility to do what matters in their life. This is like the peak of their financial mountain.

But along the way, there are many stages they must cross to get to that peak. I outlined these in detail in “The Comprehensive Guide For Financing Your First Real Estate Deal,” but in brief they are:

  1. Survival
  2. Stability
  3. Saver
  4. Growth
  5. Income

Craig and Regina decide they are in the growth stage. They’ve certainly passed survival and stability, and for several years now, they’ve improved their saving rate to 50% of their income. So they now have $50,000 cash to invest, and they want to grow it into something much bigger.

What’s Your Strategy?

Now that the couple has identified their wealth stage, it’s time for them to focus on a real estate investing strategy. Will they fix and flip properties? Wholesale? Buy rentals? Invest in notes? Or something different?

Regina loves Brandon Turner’s The Book on Rental Property Investing. Craig trusts Brandon’s advice because of his cool flannel shirt collection (seriously, they’re awesome). As a result, they are both convinced buying investment property is the strategy for them.

But beyond that, how specifically do they turn their $50,000 into $500,000 or more so that they can get closer to financial independence?

They decide that they will begin by doing several BRRRR strategy deals in order to make the best use of their $50,000 nest egg. And after several purchases, they will use a debt snowball to own these properties free and clear within 13 years. At that point, they will have sufficient cash flow from real estate to make big life change decisions with their jobs.

Of course, they will also continue living frugally and earning money with their jobs so that they can save as much cash as possible for buying investment property.


What’s Your Niche?

Craig and Regina like their strategy of buy and hold rentals + BRRRR deals + a debt snowball. But they now need to decide what real estate niche they will use to apply this strategy.

After browsing the list of real estate niches in the BP Ultimate Beginner’s Guide and studying the inventory in their market, Craig and Regina decide to invest in small multifamily properties (2-4 units). They like the combination of reasonable cash flow, easy financing, and multiple exit strategies. They are also not opposed to single family houses if the price is right.

Because they are near a college town, they decide that the niche of college student rentals makes sense. Their university is increasing enrollment, particularly in the sub-niche of graduate students who they would like to target as ideal rental customers.

With their wealth stage, strategy, and real estate niche in mind, Craig and Regina begin preparing to take action.

Part 2: Preparation for Profits

“Everyone has a plan ’til they get punched in the mouth.” —Mike Tyson, former heavyweight boxing champion

Plans and strategies are nice, but the reality of life often knocks people out of those plans very quickly. Craig and Regina are determined to focus and get things done. They are busy with their jobs and family, but they know momentum early in their real estate investing efforts will pay huge dividends later on.

So, they carve out time and begin working on these next steps each day in preparation for buying investment property.

Study the Basics of the Market

To make their plan seem more real, Craig and Regina begin by studying their market in more depth. They want to know what’s really happening with property sales and rentals.

Because Regina has her real estate license, she has some experience studying comps through her MLS access. She learns that on average small multi-units sell at about $25,000-$30,000 per bedroom and rent for about $250 per bedroom per month. So a triplex with 2 bedroom units (6 bedrooms total) would usually sell for $150,000 and rent for $1,500/month.

Regina also notices that some of the same type buildings vary significantly in rent.  An older unit that needs work rents for $250-275 per bedroom per month.  While a few nicely updated units rents for $400-$500 per bedroom, and brand new units rent for $700-$800 per bedroom.

These numbers seem to indicate an opportunity to buy properties and raise rents to add value. Craig and Regina know they’ll have to do some hunting to find the right deals, but they’re excited about the opportunity.


Clarify Property Criteria

During their study of the market, Regina and Craig begin building a profile of an ideal investment property. They may never find the perfect property, but the profile will help them filter the most desirable deals.

Regina notices that the properties with the highest rents are the ones closest to campus. The farther from campus, the lower the rent becomes. This means proximity to campus is a very important criteria. Regina also learns that many students like riding public transportation because they don’t have to pay for gas or deal with the shortage of parking on campus. So a location on the bus route is also important.

Using those lessons, plus a list of other property-specific criteria, Craig and Regina build their profile of an ideal property.

When envisioning buying investment property, their ideal candidate looks like this:

  • Walkable to campus
  • Near the bus line
  • Maintenance-free exterior like brick siding and metal trim
  • A lot above street level with a reasonable grade to avoid water problems
  • On a crawl space for easy access to the plumbing and structure of the building
  • No trees near the building that could cause damage, fill up gutters, or clog sewer lines
  • Hardwood floors or solid surface other than carpet to avoid turnover costs

Armed with these property criteria, Craig and Regina also begin working on the money.

Get Preapproved for Financing

By networking on the BiggerPockets forums and marketplace, Craig finds a mortgage lender who preapproves them for a conventional investor loan. If they do a loan today, the terms would be 30-year fixed, 4.5% interest, with 25% down on a purchase or 30% down on a cash-out refinance (see the Fannie Mae Matrix for current conventional loan criteria).

While Craig and Regina are happy with the permanent financing, their lender tells them that the property must be in relatively good condition in order for a loan to be approved. If it does have problems, they’ll need to find another source of purchase financing, fix the property up, and then use a refinance to get permanent financing.

Craig and Regina know they could talk to hard money lenders, many of whom advertise on BiggerPockets. But they listened to a BP Podcast about Getting Started With Creative Financing, and they decided working directly with a private lender would be a preferred option for them in buying investment property.

They network and find a local landlord investor named Kathy who has a self-directed IRA with over $200,000 in liquid funds. Kathy is willing to provide up to a 1-year loan at 8% interest with interest only payments. Craig and Regina will also have to make a downpayment of 10% of the purchase price and pay for repairs themselves.

With those financing terms in mind, Craig and Regina work on preparing their personal cash funds.


Prepare Cash Funds

When they studied the market, Craig and Regina saw a range of purchase prices for buying investment property from $100,000-$200,000.

Using this data, they assume a purchase price of $150,000 as an example. Their private lender would require $15,000 down, and they would have $2,000 or so in closing costs, inspections, etc. If a rehab required $30,000 in cash funds, they would need $47,000 or so out of pocket.

Craig and Regina have $50,000 saved, so they have just enough!

Because the funds are so tight, they also prepare credit lines at Home Depot, Lowes, and with their bank just in case they needed an extra cash cushion short-term.

Although they do not plan to use an LLC yet, they do set up two separate business bank accounts. The first will be a rental operating account, and they fund it with $1,000. The second account is for savings/reserves, and they fund it with the other $49,000.

Following their BRRRR strategy, they hope to buy fixer-upper properties below the after repair value. They then plan to refinance at 70% of the new value after 6 months to pull out some or all of their cash funds to use when buying investment property next time.

Create Financial Goals for Deals

Craig and Regina now focus on financial goals for their deals. These numbers will help them analyze deals, make offers, earn profits, and meet their financial goals.

Although they read many fancy analysis formulas in their favorite book about real estate cash flow by Frank Gallinelli, they decide to keep their criteria VERY simple for now:

  • Margin of at least 20% of the full value after remodel. For example, if a property appraises for $200,000, they want a $40,000 margin, which means they must have no more than $160,000 invested.
  • Cash flow of at least $100 per unit. For a triplex, that is $300 per month.
  • Cash on cash return of at least 10% after refinancing with a permanent loan.

Because they will use the Debt Snowball Plan when buying investment property, the free cash flow will be the engine that takes them to their goal faster. So the $100/month is critical.

The cash on cash return goal prevents, for example, a $2,400/year cash flow with a $50,000 cash investment. That would only be 4.8% return and would not be sufficient. And the 20% margin gives them a little peace of mind and a margin of safety for uncertainty.

Create a Marketing Plan to Find Deals

Craig and Regina’s chosen niche presents several opportunities for potential motivated sellers. They will look for burned out or retiring landlords, owners with financial distress (foreclosures), and inherited properties.

To find these sellers, they plan to regularly employ the following marketing efforts:

  • Daily Multiple Listing Service (MLS) search
  • Direct mail to all owners of small multi-unit properties in their target area
  • Networking with local real estate agents, mortgage lenders, attorneys, CPAs, and other local professionals
  • Driving and walking for dollars, looking for vacant properties, talking to neighbors, and hand-picking hidden gems to follow up on
  • Preforeclosure and eviction lists—sending letters to those who meet their criteria
  • Car magnetic signs that say “I Buy Real Estate” with their phone number

The key to their strategy will be to keep many “fishing lines” in the water. They never know which method will help them with buying investment property, so they’ll just try a lot of them.


Gather a Dream Team

This ambitious couple recognizes that their own success depends on a solid team. They borrow a mind map diagram of a sample investment team from Chad Carson’s BP article “Your Team: The Main Ingredient of Stardom.”

Using that diagram as a guide, they add to the team they were already assembling in the previous steps:

  • Mortgage lender
  • Private lender
  • Real estate attorney and closing agent
  • Real estate broker (Regina’s broker, for advice and help)
  • Property inspector
  • Handyman subcontractor
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Painter
  • HVAC contractor
  • Property manager (to help with leasing)

The process of preparation lasts several months. But now they are finally ready to move fully into action mode.

Part 3: Take Massive Action on Buying Investment Property

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s game time for Craig and Regina. The plans are made. The preparations are in place. Now, if they truly want to take action in buying investment property, it’s time to make things happen.


Regina works off of their simple marketing plan (see above) to create her weekly and daily to-do lists.

She begins with the MLS since it’s the easiest. She creates a filter that automatically emails her every multi-unit property that gets added to the market, has a change in price, or expires.

Using the tax records software that comes with her MLS access, she prepares a mailing list of all owners of the properties that meet their defined criteria. The list contains 500 names.

Each evening for the hour after the kids go to bed, Regina and Craig fold and stuff envelopes instead of watching TV. A side benefit is they have great conversations and talk more together than they have in years!

Regina also figures out how to pull the preforeclosure and foreclosure auction lists in their county. She scans the list every week, and when a property meets their criteria, she adds it to a spreadsheet and sends the owner a series of three handwritten letters. She includes single family houses in this search to expand her potential market.

Craig joins the local Chamber of Commerce and begins meeting other local professionals. He passes out business cards that clearly say he buys local investment properties. He and Regina both put the “I Buy Real Estate” magnetic signs on their cars. 

Finally, for exercise each Saturday morning, Craig and Regina push strollers with their two young kids through target neighborhoods. They talk to lots of wonderful people, and they also spot many hidden property gems to follow up on.

Making Offers

After a couple of months of marketing activity, potential deal opportunities begin trickling in. Craig and Regina make offers on 10 MLS listed properties, but their offers are too low.  

Their walks in the neighborhood don’t end with buying investment property, but they do learn a lot more about the nuances of the neighborhoods. And some of the people they meet will be solid referral sources down the road.

They send 500 letters to multi-unit owners and receive 25 calls. Fifteen of the calls are dead ends because the callers either tell them to stop sending letters or are just curious but not interested in selling.

But 10 of the calls are interested in selling. Craig and Regina meet the owners of all 10 properties and make offers on all of them using a simple one-page memorandum of offer. Five owners are a little offended because the offer is below their expectation and say no thank you. Four more say they can not accept the offer right now, but they agree to let Regina and Craig follow up later.

But one owner of a fixer-upper duplex (2 bedrooms, 1 bath on each side) comes down from $80,000 and accepts an offer for $50,000!


Craig and Regina’s hard work during three months of preparation and two months of marketing has paid off!


The Property

The duplex meets many of the criteria set by Craig and Regina. It is brick, has a crawl space, is near the bus line, and is relatively close to campus (2 miles). It does not have hardwoods, but they can put down solid surface floors during the remodel.

But Craig and Regina got a good deal because the building has MAJOR wood rot and floor structure issues in the crawl space. In fact, one of the bedroom floors is sagging down and is in danger of falling into the crawl space! The slope behind the house pushes water into the crawl space, and it consistently sits with water.

Craig’s experience in construction really pays off now. He knows he can fix the structural issues, but he’s concerned about solving the water issues. So, during a 14-day due diligence period, he gets a licensed mold remediation and moisture specialist to give him a quote.

For $8,000 the contractor will remediate mold, install french drains in the crawl space and along the back wall, and bring moisture levels down to normal. Craig also plans to do grading work behind the house to improve the flow of water away from the foundation.

The rest of the cosmetic work should cost $20,000. So, for approximately $30,000, they can fix up and turn this property around.

Contract & Closing

Regina uses her real estate agent purchase and sale agreement to put the property under contract. When buying investment property, they will purchase it in their personal names and not an LLC. First of all, they will have to have the property in their names for a refinance loan. Second of all, they just want to keep things simple for now. 

All along during their property search and offers, Craig and Regina kept in touch with their private lender Kathy. In fact, they used Kathy as a sounding board to make sure they were analyzing the deal correctly.

Once the offer is accepted, they call Kathy and she prepares the funds for closing. Her self-directed IRA will loan $45,000, and Craig and Regina will pay for the $5,000 balance of the purchase price. They will also pay for closing costs and all repairs. Their estimated cash investment will be:

$5,000 down payment

+ $2,000 closing costs

+ $3,000 interest/holding costs

+ $30,000 repairs

= $40,000 total cash investment

Regina sets up the closing and title search with the closing attorney on their team. She requests title insurance for their private lender, who sends her promissory note and mortgage documents to the attorney.

The closing goes smoothly. The seller walks away with cash. Craig and Regina walk away with a deed to a run-down duplex and $45,000 in debt. But they all walk away happy!


Part 4: Go Make Some Money!

Of course, the real work begins after Craig and Regina finish the process of buying investment property. Acquisitions are fun, but now they have to turn this vacant, non-performing building into a money-maker.

They set a goal of remodeling the units within 30 days, filling them up with tenants within another 30 days, and refinancing the short-term loan within 6 months.

Improve the Property

Craig would like to do a lot of the work himself, but he already has a full-time job supervising construction crews on his big commercial construction projects. Because they need to get this property remodeled and rented quickly, they hire subcontractors to do most of the work.

Craig supervises the progress, and he gives a lot of feedback along the way. He finds deals on materials that save them thousands of dollars. It’s a good thing because they are over budget on other items.

Their remodel includes:

  • Moisture/mold remediation work
  • Repair all damaged wood and floors
  • New roof shingles
  • New gutters
  • Paint exterior trim and doors
  • Add railings to porches
  • Light landscaping
  • New floor coverings (carpet + luxury vinyl tile)
  • New electrical outlets, switches, and light fixtures
  • New kitchen counters, cabinet pulls, appliances
  • Paint all walls, trim, ceilings, doors.
  • Sand and polyurethane kitchen cabinets
  • New bathroom fixtures in tub and sink
  • Replace several old baseboard heaters and new window A/C units

Because of Craig and Regina’s diligence and good contractors, the project is finished in 30 days. But it is over budget at $35,000 instead of $30,000. Luckily, they had sufficient cash to cover the overage.

New Tenants, Higher Rents, Stable Cash Flow

A property manager is one of the members of Craig and Regina’s team. They work out an arrangement where the property manager will lease the unit in exchange for one month of rent.  

This leasing arrangement is easier given their full-time jobs. But after leasing, Craig and Regina will manage the tenant and the property.

The property manager recommends offering the units for rent at $600 per month for each 2-bedroom unit. That is $50/month higher than they originally estimated.

Within 30 days, the manager finds qualified tenants for both units. Each side has two roommates who together sign a 12-month lease and pay a $650 deposit plus $600 first month’s rent.  

Craig and Regina set up a free Dwolla account and share it with their tenants. Both sets of tenants agree to pay them online each month through Dwolla.

Finally, the new landlord couple can relax, collect rent, and take stock of the whirlwind of activity they’ve experienced for the last seven months. But they’re not done yet. They need to get ready to refinance soon.


Refinance (Complete the BRRRR)

The mortgage lender is on alert after the property is remodeled and rented. He waits 4 more months in order to season the property for a total of 6 months from the purchase date. Then he submits Craig and Regina’s application for a loan of $84,000 using all of their up-to-date personal financials. He is also prepared with before/after property pictures and a detailed repair list from Craig, just in case the lender or appraiser need a justification of a new value.

The property appraises for $120,000. This is perfect because the maximum loan amount for a cash-out refinance is 70% of the appraised value. And 70% of $120,000 just so happens to be $84,000! Their rate is locked in at 4.5% for 30 years.

After the refinance closing, Craig and Regina go out for a celebration dinner with Kathy, whose IRA account has just been paid off. Kathy smiles and tells them to call her first for the next deal. She’s happy to loan money again, and she won’t require a 10% down payment after their great performance on this one.

Craig and Regina’s cash balance after the closing looks like this:

$84,000  new loan proceeds

– $3,500 refinance closing costs

– $45,000 loan principal payoff to Kathy

= $35,500 cash-out from refinance

+   $5,000 left in bank account before closing

= $40,500 total cash in bank after refinance

So, their net cash investment in this property was only $9,500 ($50,000 – $40,500)! If Craig and Regina can repeat their success a few more times, they’ll be well on their way to using their original $50,000 to move towards financial independence.

Part 5: The Big Picture

This has been a busy journey for Craig and Regina. Let’s see if the they have moved forward with their big picture plan.

Did They Meet Their Financial Goals?

During the preparation phase, the couple set financial goals for their deal. Did they meet those goals? Let’s see.




As you can see, Craig and Regina’s deal hit all three goals! While every deal won’t turn out perfectly, they are happy with this result after all of their hard work.

Does This Deal Help With the Overall Strategy?

In the short run, Craig and Regina will add $3,000 per year to their bank account. They can use that to save up for another deal, and eventually they can use it to begin their debt snowball to attack and payoff their debts one at a time.

In the long run, this will be a solid rental for them that will produce income and likely appreciate well. They have solid financing with plenty of income to cover their mortgage, so they should also be able to weather most future economic ups and downs.

Overall, this deal fits in very well with their real estate strategy.

But even more than the financials, Craig and Regina proved to themselves they could buy a profitable rental property. They are now overflowing  with confidence!

Plus their success has given them the real estate investing bug even more. They can’t wait to get back to work on buying investment property again!

We’re republishing this article to help out our newer readers.


Has this step by step example of buying investment property been helpful for you? Did you learn anything? Is there anything Craig and Regina could have done differently? How similar or different is this to your own plan?

I look forward to continuing the discussion on buying investment property in the comments section below!

About Author

Chad Carson

Chad Carson is an entrepreneur, writer, and teacher who used real estate investing to reach financial independence before the age of 37. He wrote an Amazon best-selling book Retire Early With Real Estate, and his story has been a featured on Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider,, the BiggerPockets Podcast, How to Money, ChooseFI, and more. Chad and his business partner currently focus on long-term rental properties and private lending in and around the college town of Clemson, South Carolina. Their portfolio of 90+ units includes houses, small multi-unit apartments, and mobile homes. In 2003, Chad and his business partner began real estate investing from scratch. They started by wholesaling and fixing-and-flipping properties. They also learned to rely on non-conventional financing sources like private lending, seller financing, and lease options, which remains their expertise today. After surviving the 2007-2009 real estate downturn (with scars to prove it!), they transitioned to more of a focus on student rentals. You can find more of Chad's writing (as well as podcast episodes) at


  1. Jerry W.

    Chad, very good article. I enjoyed reading it. There were a lot of little tips on many of the different stages put in that were examples of techniques talked about on BP. One important thing for future investors to realize is that there will be a significant amount of time involved. I actually had to take a break in reading your article as I was sleepy. Not because of the article, but because I went to bed at 11:00p.m. and got up at 6:00 a.m. I took two hours after work to draft up a lease for a new renter and call and talk to her about it, she will read and hopefully sign it tomorrow. I also spent 30 minutes reviewing information online about a property I made an oral offer on this weekend. I also did a quick scan for any new properties on 3 sites where FSBO folks list. After eating some leftovers I was scanning through BP and read your article. I have one more house to rent to get up to full occupancy on my houses, but I have 3 apartments (out of 12) that are empty. The apartments however are managed by a local realty company. In looking online I noticed that they are not listed for rent online on Craigslist or Zillow. I will call the realtor about that tomorrow. I spent the weekend measuring and buying a cook top insert, which I installed on Sunday. I estimate I saved close to a thousand dollars by measuring, shopping, and installing the cook top myself. I also have a list of 8 more major items to do sometime over the next month.
    Now keep in mind I have about 30 units so most folks will not be this busy right away, and I know I need to hire more work out. Margins are a lot tighter here than many places so I save where I can. I also hit a milestone on snowballing you mentioned in your article. I paid off an old mortgage that had a payment of $400 per month. I plan to add $400 per month every month on another mortgage that is not due to be paid off for another 4 and a half years, it will instead be paid off in 2 and a half years. Paying that mortgage off will free up an additional $600 per month to be used on another mortgage.
    Sorry to be so long winded but I wanted to give examples of how accurate your article was to real life. This is one of the best articles I can recall reading from you, thanks for taking the time to share it.

    • Chad Carson

      Thank you, Jerry! Your example of everything that you do in a day is a very helpful addition to this article. It brings a reality check. No one needs to get into this thinking they won’t have to make some sacrifices. Your time and money will be committed for a while – but when it starts snowballing (congrats on your first payoff!), it sure is fun. And before you know it, that snowball gets big enough to have momentum on its own without so much continues work. Best of luck, Jerry! I always like hearing your perspective.

    • Rich E.

      Great reply Jerry. Sounds like everyday of my life! I too need to hire more out but it is hard when you know you can save the money and the hassle of getting someone to do it right. Hopefully, this will all pay off in the furture.

      • John Daly

        Assembling a team is so important and saves time, ultimately. I love the mention of having cash reserves. Especially starting out. I, too, went a little over budget on a renovation I did earlier this year. I had cash reserve to pay the extra $6000. It was nice not having to borrow that extra money and also decreases the stress levels during that whole process. Excellent article.

  2. Alejandro Riera

    Wow! Excellent article. It describes with much detail an ongoing investment.
    Thanks for putting in simple words a complex process.
    Of course there are going to be deviations from the original plan, but if you have a plan, is more easy to solve those.

    • Chad Carson

      Thanks Alejandro! Glad it was helpful. You’re right – there are always deviations from a plan. But I hoped this would show people what is possible, in detail, step by step, to get from start to finish with a deal. Once you know that, you can adjust as needed.

    • Chad Carson

      Hey Mike, I can’t take credit for the BRRRR strategy name. I think it was Brandon Turner who named it, or maybe he borrowed it from someone else. Someone let me know if I’m wrong on that.

      The important part is you’re doing it! And I assume it’s working for you.

    • Chad Carson

      Great to hear, Issaac. Being small time is just fine. We all start somewhere. And the great thing about real estate is that you can get a lot of horse power financially with a small number of properties. So just keep moving forward, and definitely use this awesome resource at BP to help along the way.

    • Chad Carson

      HI Karen. Thank you for the compliment. I’m glad you liked the part about property criteria. Building those criteria ahead of time has been so helpful in my own investing business. It makes hunting more focused and fruitful.

  3. Shawn Tallard

    Super helpful article for me. Thank you! I’m finding BP’s articles often result in me having 3-5 tabs open by the time I’ve read through a particular article because of all the linking to other articles for context. Makes it a little hard to keep focus on the article itself, but all have been great so far.

    • Chad Carson

      Lol, Shawn. I know what you mean about all of those links and tabs. When I’m using an old ipad or something with not enough memory, sometimes my computer just freezes on me. I guess it gets information overload just like we do!

      Thanks for reading and for commenting. Glad it was helpful.

      • Dan Laseria


        An exceptional case study that has allowed me to better visualize the steps I need to take towards building my rental “buy and hold” portfolio beyond the 2 x SF rentals I own. I’m a little bit older, 46 yrs old and a military retiree, but 13 years away from total retirement and have approximately $130K I am looking to invest towards 5 small (2-4 unit) MFs. Article got me thinking about exercising a private lender versus the 30 yr conventional I have been approved for. Do you have an article you would recommend that would allow me to compare financing my investments with private lenders vs the 30yr mortgage I have been approved for?

        Thanks for all your great articles and posts!

        – Dan Laseria

      • Kathleen Harrell

        This is an awesome article. I am just trying to gather information to get my feet under me to start my real estate investing portfolio and this article has some really good points to start with. I am looking to start my own multi-unit (2/4 unit) portfolio and trying to figure out how to proceed with getting a Real Estate license in upstate New York (Schenectady area). You have given me some very valuable information which I will put to good use. Hopefully, I will be investing in the very near future. I also have a few colleges in the area and opportunities for growth.

  4. Craig Johnson

    Excellent article! Thank you so much. I am educating myself at the moment and trying to figure out where my risk tolerance level should be. Articles like this are so helpful in analyzing my personal goals and what it truly takes to make it work properly. Thank you.

  5. Stan Coker

    Chad, I know this is a replay of an older post, but I am new to investing so it is fresh for me. I just told my wife that this is the best article I have read on BP, because it pulls it all together into a “big picture”. It seems like one partner often takes the lead in the investment process (and in our marriage it is me). It is always a challenge to share the info without getting in too deep. Your post hits just the perfect balance of introductory info and practical details. Thanks for the great job.

    • Chad Carson

      Wow, I really appreciate that Stan. It’s a challenge writing to different audiences – because like you said, some people need the big picture and some want to nitty gritty. Case studies are far and away my favorite way to learn because they can incorporate both of those. So, thanks for the feedback. And let me know how you do getting started!

    • John Murray

      You go to the bank and set up a business account both checking and savings, get a Visa too. You have to have a physical address not a PO Box. You can change to a PO Box after the account is set up. You do not have to have an LLC to own a sole proprietor account. LLC is use to protect your assets, I do not have one. It is difficult to get a commercial loan with an LLC. Get an umbrella policy and you are good to go.

  6. John Murray

    A great example of employee thinking, now this is how an entrepreneur does real estate investment. Forget about all the number crunching and cash flow formulas. We do and then we think, the game plan is to take all of our learning and skill sets and begin a mental picture of the outcome of our endeavor. We begin with the end in mind. Constantly we are taking in data, this process is all during waking hours and in dreams. We are different from employees, they are risk avert. Entrepreneurs are working for solutions before they become a risk. We have an end game simultaneous to our game plan, this type of thinking is rare. Most are employee, money driven robots that manage risk and dream their plan. We plan our dreams even when we sleep.

  7. Tirthal Patel

    Great article Chad! I just joined BP recently and glad I came across this article!

    Just one question, in your example, they received $45k from Kathy through her IRA and was able to recoup that after refinancing. Would she get any sort of interest with that initial principal down? Since, otherwise, what would be Kathy’s motivation to continue using her IRA as down for others’ project?

  8. Heshel Mangel

    Firstly, great post! Really enjoyed reading it. I have been reading a lot of posts on BP, trying to get started on that first deal. One question I have is, all the “first deal” posts I’ve read have been in places with relatively cheaper markets. What is someone meant to do when they just live in an expensive (NYC) market? How to get started?
    I’ve thought about wholesaling but that didn’t go too far, and have read that it probably isn’t the best way for a beginner to start out.
    Any advice would help!

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