Rookie Podcast 119: A Single-Mom’s Second Chance at Success with Real Estate Investing

Rookie Podcast 119: A Single-Mom’s Second Chance at Success with Real Estate Investing

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Real Estate Rookie Podcast

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Susan Reehill has defied the odds time and time again. She was a teenage mother, having her first son at the young age of sixteen. For most young and single mothers, the chance of becoming a homeowner, let alone an investor is slim, to say the least. At forty-two years old, Susan decided to make two big jumps in her life and career: graduate from college and buy her first home. She succeeded at accomplishing both.

As the years passed by, Susan wanted to be a closer distance to her local downtown area. So, she decided to look at buying a new home. When her old home was having a hard time selling, she decided to try and rent it out, which she did with very little property management knowledge or landlording skills. Her tenant brought in ten different individuals to live with her, half of which weren’t authorized on the lease. In only six months, her tenant did more damage to her house than Susan had done in the several years she lived there.

But, this didn’t stop Susan’s will to create long-lasting wealth. She began listening to more real estate podcasts, one of which was the Real Estate Rookie podcast. She ended up joining Ashley’s first round of the Real Estate Rookie Bootcamp, where after 90 days Susan was able to score a phenomenal deal, over $100k+ under the asking price!

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Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Ashley:
This is Real Estate Rookie 119-er.

Susan:
Most of my friends don’t know that story about me, but that’s why I share it, is because I think it’s important for people to know, it doesn’t matter where we come from. It matters where we’re going. I can change my today. I can change my tomorrow. And I can change my tomorrow for my kids and my grandkids. And that’s what excites me.

Ashley:
My name is Ashley Kehr, and I’m here with my cohost, Tony Robinson. And you know what’s extra funny today? Is that before we even started recording, our guest, Susan, today said, “If I can request, can I be on a niner episode?” And it just so happened that she is.

Tony:
The way that the world works, right? 119-ner or 101 niner, I don’t know how to make that one work, but …

Ashley:
Yeah, that’s the request. It’s not like, do think you guys can help me analyze this deal real quick or something? It’s, I want to be on a niner episode. I love her. Susan is our guest today, and she was actually one of the bootcampers and the very first Real Estate Rookie bootcamp ever that I did. We’re into our second one right now. She was awesome to have in the group. At the end of the 90 days, she got her first deal, literally on the last day of the bootcamp. So, you guys listen in to her story and how she grew up, and definitely the mindset shift that she had.

Tony:
Yeah. She’s got a story that reminded me a lot of Nick Cooley’s from episode 109. Nick, if you guys didn’t hear, go back to that episode. He has this ice cream sandwich story, and Susan’s story remind me a lot of that, just overcoming adversity and using that as encouragement or as a reason to persevere and to find more for yourself. Even outside of the real estate investing, just like her approach to life, her tenacity is something that you guys can all learn something from.

Ashley:
Let’s bring Susan onto the show. Susan, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining us. Let’s start from the very beginning. Who are you? What do you do for work? And how did you take that first step into real estate? What made you want to be a real estate investor?

Susan:
I am excited to be here. I live in Tacoma, Washington. I travel for work in the medical field. I help patients get access to medications. I navigate insurance system and the medication system and healthcare. I have two grown sons and I have two grandsons, and I’m a brand new investor. I’m excited to be starting in my mid-50s. My real estate journey has been well, I started, I bought my first home when I was in my late 40s. Ashley, if you don’t mind, I’m going to back up a little bit.

Ashley:
Yeah, definitely. Go ahead.

Susan:
Yeah. So I grew up in a single parent home. My mother was a single parent. We went through homelessness. I was a teened mother. My oldest son, I had him when I was 16-years-old. I know Tony, you can relate to that, being with single teenaged parents. I was telling Eric, the producer, I worked two jobs to take care of my son as a teenager. One of my jobs was a store clerk, an overnight store, like at a 7-Eleven, it was called Save a Stop in Oklahoma City. I was 19-years-old when that store got robbed and I got abducted.
Being in that environment, as you can imagine, comes with its own set of issues. I was just working two jobs to take care of my kid. I was going through traumas such as that, that came with being in poverty and living in bad neighborhoods. Fast forward to when I was in my early 40s, when I was 42-years-old, I was able to buy my first home, and that was in 2009. I bought my first home. Actually, I need to retake a little bit of that just to back up a tiny bit. Fast forward, through the years, I started college, when I was 42-years-old.
I was working in the medical field and I was getting tired of getting passed up for promotions. At around that same time, I, sorry, I was in college, I had my youngest son at home. I have two sons total. They are 12-years apart. My youngest son was, I think he was early teenager. I started college. I like to say that I crammed my four years into five and a half years while working full-time and being a single mom.
In 2009, I had progressed enough. I was raised to believe that I would never go to college and I would never own a home. Lo and behold, I was able to start college. After that, I was like, well, wow, maybe I can own a home. So, I had progressed enough, and by 2009, I bought my first home, and I bought it for 195,000. It’s probably worth 600,000 today. Unfortunately, I don’t still own that. We will get into that story in a little bit, but that was … That was my first home purchase. That was my first foray into real estate.

Ashley:
Susan. What a story. I am just so proud of you. As I mentioned in the intro, Susan, I went through the bootcamp together. She was in the first ever Real Estate Rookie Bootcamp. Susan, I’m just so excited for you and to … I had never known that part of your story in the very beginning and what you’ve overcome and being abducted and also growing up thinking that you can’t buy a house, you can’t go to college, and you did both of those things. That’s really amazing. Yeah.

Tony:
Before we keep going, and just, this reminds me also, if we go back to episode 109 with Nick Cooley, and he shared his ice cream sandwich story. Rookies, if you guys haven’t heard that, go back and listen to that. That was one of my all time favorite moments in the episode, and Susan, this is right there with it. I love your story because you’re defying so many odds along the way, right? You became a parent at 16. And if you look at the statistics for teenage parents, they are very grim. The vast majority, many do not graduate from high school, even a slimmer amount graduate from college, few become homeowners.
There are so many obstacles that are placed in their way and you’ve overcome a lot of those. You became a parent at 16. You made the awesome decision to go back to school in your 40s, which at that point, there are so many adults that would say that ship has sailed for me or I can’t go to college because I’ve got two kids, but in your mind it was like, no, I have to go to college because I have these two kids. It’s a different perspective.
Then, not only that, then you go on and say, I want to become a real estate investor in your 50s. It’s just, there are so many like societal norms that you’re breaking through. Not even norms, like stereotypes, I think it’s a better word, that you’re breaking through, and I really do hope that your story inspires a lot of other people who are going through some of those challenges and overcoming them. So, thank you so much for sharing that.

Susan:
No, thank you. That’s the whole reason I share that. Most of my friends don’t know that story about me, but that’s why I share it, is because I think it’s important for people to know. It doesn’t matter where we come from. It matters where we’re going. I can change my today. I can change my tomorrow. And I can change my tomorrow for my kids and my grandkids, and that’s what excites me.

Ashley:
That’s so true, Susan. What made you want to become a real estate investor? So, you went to college, you’re being promoted in your job, you buy your first house, but what makes you think investment for real estate?

Susan:
When I bought my first house, I was an accidental landlord. So, I own that house. I bought it in 2009, and in 2016, I wanted to move to downtown Tacoma. Tacoma’s where I live, and I wanted to live closer to the waterfront. Just to be transparent, I wanted to be a bike ride away from the bars, and that’s where I’m at. I bike everywhere and I can bike down to the waterfront and I can go meet my friends for happy hour, and I can go bike around one of the oldest forested areas in the US.
I love Tacoma, and I love where I live at. I just wanted to have it just more, just where I could be out biking more, and just my passion is biking and running and walking and being outside and that type of thing. So, I bought my house. What was a shocker to me is, by 2016, when I went to talk to my credit union and get a loan for my new home, and I wanted to get pre-approved, I knew that much, I’ll go get pre-approved.
I said, “Oh, okay, so do I have to sell my house first?” And then I was looking for a two month rental. If I put my house on the market, I go rent for two months. My credit union said, “Oh no, your credit is good enough. You pay your bills on time, and you seem to be good with your money. So, we can just go ahead. You can buy a house without selling the other one.” I mean, that was a shocker to me. I thought people had to sell one home to buy the next. I bought this home, and my house was on the market, my original home.
That was in 2016, and it didn’t sell right away, and I put out a Facebook post, and I think I put out there like, I’m try to sell my home, but I’ve heard I could rent it out. And I had so many responses. People from Texas contacting me that they were coming up to Washington looking for a home to rent. So, I rented doing what very little research I did. I rented to the first person that applied and technically cleared. I rented to a very nice young lady who had … She was pregnant and she had a son and she had her boyfriend.
So, I rented to those four folks. Oh wait, well, three plus the baby, plus … But she said her dad passed through sometimes on his way from Texas to Alaska because he’s a fisherman. I said, “Yeah, your dad can be there. We can write them into the lease.” The short story to that is I rent it to basically four people. She moved 10 people into my home, and they did, I ended up, without knowing the right verbiage, I ended up giving her cash for keys to leave after six and a half months. So, they did more damage in seven months than I did to my home in seven years.
I had to pour thousands into my home to get it back up to where I had left it. For instance, they installed a satellite dish on the side. They had some third-party contractors come out. They put 40 holes in my brand new siding. And when I call brand new siding, it was seven years old at that point. But I had an immaculate home. So, they did more damage in seven months than I did in seven years. I thought I was a horrible landlord. I said, I can’t do this landlording because I care too much about my home.
So, I ended up putting my house on the market. I got, I want to say 28,000 over asking in 2017. I had multiple offers and I sold it for a little less than 300,000. So my purchase price was 195, sold it for about 300,282, I believe, and that was in 2017, and today that house was worth almost 600,000.

Tony:
Let’s pause on that for a bit, Susan, because there’s a couple of things to unpack there. But before we keep rolling, I just want to reset the table a little bit. How many total real estate deals have you done since that first, including that 2009 purchase of that first house? Three total. Beautiful. I love it. A rookie in the real sense of it. That very first deal, it goes, kind of horribly wrong, right? You get this tenant that you don’t want. Why does that not stop you from going on to deal number two and number three. What was going through your mind to say, okay, maybe I can do this, even though the first one didn’t go how you planned it to.

Susan:
That is 100% BiggerPockets and Ashley Kehr and our rookie bootcamp, I’m going to say it. Because deal number two is my current residence and I had to have a place to live, and even I can do the math. I used to wait tables. I used to be really good at math because I waited tables and I could do math in my head. Then I went to college and I can’t do math anymore. But even I could do the math that I could pay less on a mortgage than I could for rent in Tacoma. That’s the house I have right now, is my primary residence. I started a new W-2 job in February. I got laid off twice during COVID. Despite that, I’m debt-free, I’m pretty good with my money. I’m not the best, but I’m good.
Then, so I had a little bit of savings, debt free except for my house. So, the layoff wasn’t as scary as it could have been. In February, I started a new job. I had a coworker, we were on an hour’s long ride together, and we was talking about podcasting or podcast. We started talking about what podcast we listened to. And he said he listened to mostly real estate. And I said, oh my gosh, I would be interested. I don’t know anything about real estate. You know, what can you hook me up with? So, he hooked me up with BiggerPockets. He hooked me up with the Real Estate Rookie.
I listened. I just started binge listening and I joined our real estate rookie Facebook page. I want to say it was two weeks later, Ashley posted this beta bootcamp experience. She said, it’s for a hundred people, and I was one of the first to sign up. I was so excited when they sent me the acceptance letter that I got in. I prioritized that time. I made that, even though I was working, that was my time. It was like, I want to say one o’clock on a Tuesday PSD. I prioritize that. I put that on my calendar. I made every single call that Ashley held.
I felt like, if she’s giving her time to us, and that first one was complimentary, I just made sure I was there. I was faced forward. I had my camera on, I want to say 80% of the time. Sometimes I’d get pretty busy in the background. It was so messy.

Ashley:
The one thing I was going to say to you, Susan, was that you were very active during all of the calls, that you were always engaged into the chat or talking on camera. I think that makes a big difference. If you are going to sign up for something or you are going to listen to someone talk about real estate, or you’re going to be with this community of people, whether it’s virtually or in-person, make sure that you are engaged like Susan was, because, I mean, you took away a lot from it. We’re really excited to hear about your deal that you got.

Susan:
It’s your fault that have my first investment property. I’m so excited. Yes.

Tony:
Susan, if I’m hearing correctly, it was having that community of people around you to show you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I think that’s a super important point for the rookies that are listening, is that you’ve got to find your group. Me and Ash talk about the Real Estate Rookie Facebook group all the time, right? 30,000 strong, one of the most active, engaging real estate groups that are out there. If you come from a place where you don’t have people in your circle who are investing in real estate, it can seem scary, it can seem daunting, it can seem impossible at times.
But if you have a group of people where every single day someone’s saying, “Hey, I just closed on my first deal. Hey, I just closed on my first deal. Hey, I just closed on my first deal.” After a while, you start to think, well, if Tony could do it, if Ashley could do it, if Susan can do it, I feel pretty confident that I can do it too. I love that the journey was with the community that made it work for you.

Susan:
Absolutely. Yes. Even yesterday, Ashley had a live webinar, which I don’t know why more people don’t hop on those. I’m on almost every week, I’m doing the live like, how to get your first property. I’ve got my first property, but I just … I always get something from it. In the chat yesterday, Ashley, I saw through the hundreds of messages, somebody said, “Oh, we need to all network and get together.” I was like, Real Estate Rookie Facebook page, it’s there. The network is there.

Ashley:
Well, thank you for promoting it for us. Because we love when more people join the Facebook group, because it really is beneficial. There’s so many resources out there and connecting with people. But Susan, let’s hear about this deal. I know a little bit about it, but start from the very beginning because Tony doesn’t know the background story and the deal, I guess.

Susan:
Sure. The background is basically, when I joined the Real Estate Rookie Bootcamp, as we were going along and I was learning, one thing I heard from you, Ashley, consistently was to, and I hear this on the podcast, make it known what you’re doing basically. I have a real estate agent here in Tacoma. She is not an investor herself yet. That did raise a little frustration that actually it worked out. It worked out really well. She knew I was looking for a single family home with, or a duplex in my area, in my zip codes, and I know my area.
I got a call one night. During the bootcamp I’d made at least five to six offers. As a matter of fact, that last day of bootcamp, Ashley, we were talking, there was about seven of us that were really engaged and we were all having that conversation of, I got the opportunity to share the story of, I had just lost the deal that I was really wanting, but the numbers didn’t work for me. Then we had that conversation that it was out of my comfort zone by about 300 and some odd dollars a month. Then having the conversation with you and some of the other engaged members, I found out that maybe I could have made that work after all, but it didn’t.
I was sharing the story of how I didn’t get a deal during our 90 days. That evening, my real estate agent called me. She was stuck in Texas. She was stuck in Dallas on a plane change with some bad weather or something. She called me and she said she had an east coast investor that she had brokered a deal for 110,000 under asking in the Seattle Area market, and he was pulling out. He was getting cold feet because this is not his neighborhood. So, we talked about, he had two contractors go through, so I knew what the rehab costs were going to be and purchase price, the folks listed it for sale for $550,000.
I got it for $440,000. Yeah, and the rehab costs is, we had two beds between $50,000 to $80,000 and a conservative ARV would be about 650.

Ashley:
Susan. That’s awesome. The first question that kind of popped into my head here that I think would be great for rookie investors to know is, how or why did that realtor call you? Of all people, why, with this great deal, what did you do to be that person that she’s calling for this deal?

Susan:
I took advice from the real estate rookie group and from the podcast and from you, and I let it be known what I was looking for and what I was doing. So, she knows me. We’ve been friends for a long time. She helped me purchase my home, or she helped me sell my last home. And she was looking with me to purchase my next home. That would have just been single family home, maybe house hack type deal. So, she knew what I was looking for. We ended up finding a five bed, two bath, and I’ll definitely add one more bathroom to it, and I will house hack this next deal.
Because I did go with a conventional loan, because while I do have some savings, I didn’t have the 20% down plus coast closing costs for that. That would be over $100,000 in cash to bring to the table. I didn’t have that, but I did have 5% down plus closing costs. With a conventional loan, you don’t have to be in the house for X amount of time. Like FHA, I think it’s like, what? One year or two year VA. They have those rules. Conventional loan, you don’t have those rules. I could be in the house literally for two weeks and meet that requirement.

Tony:
So, your plan is to house hack this next property. The house that you’re sitting in right now, while you’re talking to us, what happens to this property? Does this become just all tenants or are you planning to sell this one also? What’s the plan with the house you’re sitting in right now?

Susan:
Well, I’ve learned from a very smart man that short-term rentals are actually a pretty good deal, and I’m in the medical field. I do have that connection where I can literally … I’m really good at networking. We haven’t gotten to that part yet, but my super power, I believe, is that working, and I can see that relaying to real estate investing. I can literally walk into the hospital and track down the right people to talk to, to kind of build that relationship and rent this out, either to locum tenants or do the short-term rental.
I feel like in Tacoma though, our short-term rental market might be more summerish, and summer is a blink of an eye in the Seattle Area. I do know about locum tenants are doctors or nurses that travel. They have contracts anywhere from like six weeks to six months, that type of thing. Usually, the hospital covers those costs for them. I have this two bed, one bath home, and the wall you see behind me, it’s going to come out. It’s going to be open concept. When I get to the back, my back deck, when you walk through my house, I have a deck that’s … It’s a large deck.
It really extends the amount of property I have, and I have a view of Mount Rainier. I think that is … There’s so many hospital systems right around here. That’s my plan. It doesn’t stop there though. I have a full basement to finish, and I think … I was thinking more like the full basement could be a short term rental or maybe that’s where I live or … That’s a little more up in the air right now. I have a little bit of that something shiny syndrome. Ashley, we talked about that. I do have to narrow that down, but I do have a solid plan, but there are a couple of options, multiple options for what you can do.

Tony:
But I think that’s the cool part is that you do have a few exit plans with this one property, and that’s the beauty of real estate investing, is that there’s very few times where there’s only one right answer. Usually, in the world of real estate investing, many answers can be the right answer. It all depends on what your goals are, what strategies you’re comfortable with. I mean, this sounds like it’s going to be a slam dunk for you, both with the new property that you got, that you got a great deal on it. The rehab seems pretty reasonable. ARV is going to be great.
Then, with the house you’re sitting in right now, that’s going to turn into a big cash cow for you also. Going back to the house that you have, that you just recently purchased, where are you guys at with the rehab? Are you just starting? How’s that process been for you?

Susan:
That’s interesting. The sellers still live there. I closed almost a month ago. That’s an elderly couple. It was like a make me move situation. Even though they initially put their house out there, they had horrible pictures. She had run a daycare and there was like laundry everywhere and kids stuff everywhere. Just these horrible pictures, but the house itself, I did the inspection, it’s very sound. Part of that deal though, for getting the $110,000 off was letting them live there until the end of August.
I have gone over there after the house closed, I went over, I took some flowers from my garden, those sunflowers are from my garden. I took some flowers for the Mrs and met the couple, super nice folks, and they just really needed the money to move. So, they closed on their house just last week. So, they’ve got a couple of weeks. I learned all this from the podcast. I offered, can I get a U-Haul for you? Can I help you move? I did it. I just said, “Do you need assistance moving?” I said, “I’m willing to help you.” And she’s like, “Oh no, we got kids.”
I said, “I know kids can get busy. So, just here’s my number, if anything happens.” And I said, “Don’t worry about getting all the stuff out.” I said, “Because I do have to get,” and this was the painful part, I said, “I do have to get a dumpster. I will be taking the carpet out because my son has allergies.” But at one point the owner, he sold carpet. So, in every room, there’s a different type of carpet, different color there’s carpet on the walls, you guys. Carpet on the walls.

Ashley:
I saw one of those house like that recently. It’s my first time, but yeah. If you have not seen that, you have to Google it. You guys Google, carpet on the wall.

Tony:
Do you just take the vacuum and go vertically? Is that what you do?

Susan:
I will post pictures of the wall to carpet on our rookie Facebook page. So, if somebody wants to search my name, they can find the post and find the picture [crosstalk 00:25:19].

Tony:
I’ve never seen carpet on a wall before. That is a new one for me. Susan, once these previous owners actually vacate the property, you have it empty, then you’ve got to start the rehab. A lot of rookies, I think, are fearful of taking on rehab projects as potentially their first investment. How did you prepare yourself to get this rehab done? I guess, first, how did you find the general contractor and then, how are you feeling comfortable with the prices that they gave you, and how do you plan to manage this whole project?

Susan:
I got lucky in that sense, Tony, that the investor, the original investor that pulled out of this deal that allowed me to slide right into this deal, that investor had two contractors that walked through. I do have both of those contractors’ information. The thing is I may not use them. And here’s the tip for that. I’ve been hearing on the podcast and network, and I go to three different meetups. That meetup is the one where I’ll see you this weekend, Ashley.
I go to three different meetups. Through there, I have … The first time I went in, I was petrified. One of our local real estate agents said, “Hey, I’ve got this.” I think it was Theory Real Estate that was offering the hall, the space, and he just posted this out here. I had just met him on the Facebook page a day or two ahead. He invited me to his meetup, I walked in there. There was easily, I want to say 60 or 80 people at this meetup. I knew no one. So, my goal was just meet and talk to a couple of folks.
I ended up leaving with six, very solid contacts. Out of those, I found a person who owned a company, a landscaping company. I met the two owners of a landscaping company that came and rehabbed my backyard for me. Through them, I met a contractor. The bottom line is I don’t have my contractor settled yet. I was petrified. When I bought this house, I was just as petrified as I am excited. I’m in my 50s, I’m buying my first investment property. What am I doing? I think it’s okay to be afraid, honestly. I think it’s okay to be scared and you just work through it, you just walked through it, you just go through it.
I know I’m going to be on the other end of this. I know I am. I know this is going to be a success as long as I continue to network and call on people that know way more than I do about everything I need. For instance, I can paint. I can pull carpet out. I can go in there. I’ve watched enough Investor Girl Britt videos. I can go in there. I can do some demo. I’m meeting people through my meetups. I have no doubt I could get a demo crew, and it’s just from meeting them and networking, and such as that. I hope that answered your question, Tony. Sorry. Got a little long there.

Ashley:
No, that was great, Susan. For anybody, if you have any doubts listening to this podcast, Susan is an expert networker, because I woke up one morning to a picture of her and one of my really good friends, Nate Robins, a selfie of them. She networked with him, connected with him. I think that the point there is, is that, to get your first property or your next property, you don’t have to have every single thing figured out and planned right away.
It is okay to figure some things out as you go. And you’re in a position where you don’t have to start the rehab and get the rehab going the day they move out, and you still have some time and you know that you have options. You have those two contractors from the other investor. You have another contractor you know from networking. I think that’s a really important piece for rookies to take away, is that, it’s okay if you don’t have every single thing figured out. It’s great if you do. But if you’re somebody who procrastinates anyways, like me, sometime it is better to have this pressure like, I bought this house, it’s mine now. I have to go by the contractor or I have to do this now.
Don’t be afraid to take the leap to get your first property if you don’t have everything figured out. I think the fact too, that you’re not on a timeline too. So, you didn’t borrow hard money where you’re paying a large interest rate and have to pay that back in six months. You’ve got your conventional mortgage on it. You are in a position where you can pay that mortgage. I think that’s a big thing too, is look at what the situation you’re putting yourself in and see what you need to plan for ahead instead of just jumping in.

Susan:
Can I add one thing on that conventional mortgage? With a conventional mortgage, if you have less than 20% down, you have to pay something called PMI, which is that mortgage insurance. I was petrified of that. I’m like, I don’t want to pay mortgage insurance. When I bought this home, when I bought my primary residence that I’m in right now, I closed out my retirement, my 401(k) to get … So, I wiped out all my retirement in 2016 to get the down payment for my current home. And that’s okay. I’m okay with that.
I didn’t have the 20% this time. What it turned out to be is minuscule. It’s $81 a month. My PMI is $81 a month on 418,000. That’s the amount of the loan out of the 440, and I had the 5% down. $418,000, $84 a month, and I was like, I can pay that. I’m going to do the BRRRR method and I’m going to refinance out of that when it makes sense. I believe, within a year, it’ll make sense, and then I’m not paying that 84,000, but I also pull my money back out of it to get another deal. I’m not going to wait that long to get my next deal, but I do plan on pulling my money out and have that capital to work with again.

Ashley:
I think that’s a great point and I’m glad you brought that up. First of all, I’ve been thinking that, if you get your first deal, say a lot of people get it with FHA loan and then it’s like, okay, well, how do I get my next one? Are the conventional loans out there where you, if you’re going to live in the next property, you can do only 5%? That’s actually what my sister is pre-approved for right now. She has an FHA on her first house hack. Now she’s looking to move and she is going after that 5% conventional loan.
That’s a great option for anyone trying to figure out how to get their next property. Then just the fact that you brought up of the PMI. $81 a month, how much more of a down payment would you have needed if you did that 20%?

Susan:
I would’ve needed $88,000 instead of $22,000.

Ashley:
And think about how long that would take you to save up that amount of money, where you’re able to get into the property now. You’re still going to cashflow on the property. I think that, that is a huge point, and that’s a great … I’m so glad you brought that up because I don’t think it’s talked about enough because it can be, oh, I don’t want to pay PMI. It’s another expense. It’s increasing my mortgage payment. Well, if the numbers still work, it’s still a good deal.

Susan:
Yes. I agree with everything you just said, and I just realized that’s three houses for you in your market, Ashley, $88,000.

Ashley:
Yeah. That’s true.

Tony:
I’ve loved your story so far. So many good things coming out of this. We might have to have you back on after you’ve knocked out a couple more deals so we can see how these things have turned out. I can’t imagine what you’ll be like in five years from now if you keep moving with that same mindset, that same attitude. I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about mindset. Or guess Ashley, anything else from you before we move on to mindset?

Ashley:
No, let’s go into mindset because I feel like Susan is going to have a great answer to this.

Tony:
Susan, if you go back to, maybe even like 2009, or maybe 2016 before you sold that first house, or before you rented out that first house, if you think about some of the misconceptions you had about becoming a real estate investor, some things that you made up to be true in your mind, some fears that you had, some obstacles that you imagined that turned out not to be true, what would those things be?

Susan:
The first thing that jumps out to me, Tony, is the fact that you have to have money. You have to have a large amount of money to invest. That was my understanding, was I had to have a lot of money to invest. For instance, when I bought this home in 2016, I knew, in my mind, I didn’t want to pay PMI, and I wanted to have my 20% down so I closed out my retirement. For me, closing out that retirement, and it was literally $60,000. That, that represented, that was like 12 years of savings, my 401(k). I just wiped out 12 years of savings on one purchase.
My understanding of real estate was like, okay, well now I’ve bought my house and I’ll probably live here the rest of my life and never move again, and hopefully, I’ll have it paid down by the time I’m 75, 80, on my 30 year note. That was, I think, the biggest misconception, is that you have to have a lot of money. We’ve learned so much in the episodes that we don’t have to have that large amount of money. Another thing was that I thought real estate investors were just these greedy, I mean, this is an answer I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a hundred times, where they’re just greedy out for themselves and don’t want to do anything good with your property.
They just want your property just to flip it and make money. That’s not necessarily true either. I was telling a neighbor, I have an elderly neighbor down the alley. I live next to … I live downtown, so there’s an alley in between the blocks. I walked down the alley. I go see Ms. Shirley. She just finished up chemo. Her children already know, her children are not interested in keeping her house. She’s been there 68 years. My home that I’m in right now is 1910. Hers is around the same. I love these old homes. I love the windows, the wavy glass windows, if you have the 1910 windows.
Ms. Shirley and I were talking about, she said, “I heard you just bought a house. Are you moving?” I said, “Yes.” I said, “It’s an investment home.” And she said, “Oh, you’re going to sell your home.” I said, “No, ma’am.” I talked to her about being an investor in our neighborhood. I said, “If it was up to me, I’d buy every home that goes for sale in our neighborhood. I love our neighborhood.” And I said, “I can’t live in all those homes, but I want to keep the characteristics of the house. I want to keep the character. I want to help bring those houses back to life.” That was a misconception I had, is that investors don’t care.
Well, here I am, a brand new investor. I care. I care a lot about what happens to our homes and how we present them and what happens to them if we flip them or if we BRRRR them or whatever we end up doing with them.

Ashley:
Susan, that’s really great. I think that in any career field, that there’s a misconception that there’s good and there’s bad, and there are bad real estate investors or people who don’t care, but there’s also a lot more good ones, I feel like. That’s awesome that it’s almost like you have a why too. You have a why for your real estate, besides your bigger lifestyle, your life why, you have a real estate why, as to why you want to continue to invest in your neighborhood and keep the character within it. That’s really awesome, and I think a lot more people that live in that neighborhood are going to be happy when you buy those homes instead of somebody else who’s probably going to gut them and turn them into something more modern.
Okay. So I’m going to take us to our rookie voicemail question. This is the rookie request line, and you guys can call us anytime at 1-888-5-ROOKIE, and leave a voicemail for Tony and I, and we may play it on our show for a guest here.

Brandon Krinitz:
Hello, my name’s Brandon [Krinitz 00:37:37]. I’m over in Boca Raton, Florida. I’m a 20-year-old college student looking to get into real estate life. I work full-time currently. I’m working my credit up the last two years. I guess my question really is, what is your advice for a rookie like me that does not yet have the mentor? I’m learning every day, doing all I can, but looking for my next step really. So, what would you recommend as for a college student working full-time, still building credit, saving money for their first multi-family home. What’s your biggest step for me to get to where I need to be to make my first purchase? Thank you guys so much.

Susan:
It sounds like Brandon is on the right track. He’s 20-years-old, he’s saving money and he’s already thinking about investing and about real estate. I think, just listening to the podcast, and he said he wants a mentor. I know that the BiggerPockets website has a lot of great connections, and maybe he could post on there. He could go to the Real Estate Rookie page. He can go to Instagram. I feel like we have more of a community though, in the Real Estate Rookie page. And you say, hey, I’m in Florida. Who else is in Florida? I’m in this area.
I think finding a local meetup is super important and networking that way. Then maybe he could get into working for an investor or working for a real estate agency, or whatever that looks like, like becoming a property manager or … I mean, if he’s in college, maybe he doesn’t have a lot of time, but he definitely would have some time for a meet up and time for, maybe some part-time job. Or even if it’s volunteer work, just to get that mentor in person. That’s what I would do.

Tony:
Yeah. Wonderful advice. Brandon, kudos to you for being 20-years-old and already active in the world of real estate investing, at least from an educational standpoint. Susan, we’re about to wrap up here. Before we do, I want to give a quick shout out to our rookie rockstar. Again, if you guys are not active in the Real Estate Rookie Facebook group, make sure you head over there. Lots of activity, lots of good things happening, but today’s rookie rockstar is Scott Kay. Scott closed on door number two, which is a short-term rental, two bed, two and a half bath, eight minute walk from the beach in Panama City Beach. Yes.
Scott purchased it for $239,000, 20% down payment using OPM, other people’s money. They got it at a four and a quarter interest rate, and their cashflow estimate is somewhere around 300 bucks per month. So, Scott kudos to you for taking it down, and welcome to the short-term rental tribe.

Susan:
That’s amazing.

Ashley:
Well, Susan, thank you so much for coming on with us today, and I can’t wait to see you in person tomorrow night and see [inaudible 00:40:25].

Susan:
Yes.

Ashley:
But please tell everyone where they can reach out to you and find out some more information.

Susan:
Oh sure. I am on Instagram @susanr0120. That is my birthday if anyone wants to send me a card. Again, Susan R. So, S-U-S-A-N-R 0120. Facebook, Susan Reehill. Reehill is R-E-E-H-I-L-L. And Twitter, Susan Reehill, and I am going to start a YouTube channel, but I don’t have a name for it yet. When I do that, I will post it.

Ashley:
That’s awesome. That’s really exciting. I can’t wait to watch it. Make sure you send it to us.

Susan:
I was hoping to get some suggestions from you guys on a name, because I want to do like Suzy Invest, and then I Googled that and I come up with Suze Orman, and it’s just like, that’s not the type of investment I want to do, but Suzy Invest seems to be out there, and then Suzy Fixes It, but Lord knows what I can fix at this point. I’ve got some skills to learn. I just wanted to tell you guys, so, and I told Ashley when we were doing the bootcamp. At that point, I had started, so that was back in the spring, I started these Wine Down Wednesdays with my neighbors, and I invite neighbors over.
I was just pulling wine out of my basement and did Wine Down Wednesday. It was right after COVID, so people were ready to get outside. We just met out on my sidewalk. The latest one I had, so I keep having these through the summer to meet more and more neighbors. I’m on about a four block radius now. Had an alley full of folks a couple of weeks ago and a barbecue. From there I was able to hook my yard crew up, the guys that came, that I met at the meetup, they got four really good jobs out of networking with my neighbors, and then I also get out there that I am looking for homes in my area.
That’s been really great and I learned a lot of that. I got the courage to do that with talking to Ashley at the bootcamp. So, thank you, Ashley.

Tony:
Wine Down Wednesdays. We’ve got to add that to the list for every Real Estate Rookie.

Susan:
Yes, we do. All right. Thank you, you guys.

Ashley:
Susan, thank you so much for joining us today. We loved having you on the show. I hope everyone took away a ton of value from your story. My name is Ashley @wealthfromrentals, and he’s Tony, @tonyjrobinson. Make sure you guys join the Rookie Facebook group, and we will be back with another episode on Saturday with a Rookie Replied.

 

 

Watch the Podcast Here

In This Episode We Cover

  • Breaking through the societal norms of who you’re supposed to be at a certain age
  • Becoming an “accidental landlord” and what everyone should know before they rent their home
  • Making it known that you’re an investor who is actively looking for good deals
  • Why a deal is still a deal even if you have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) 
  • Finding contractors through meetups, fellow investors, and Facebook groups
  • Why you don’t need to be rich to start investing in real estate
  • And So Much More!

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