Posted over 1 year ago

My First 12 Months as a Real Estate Investor…Here’s my story…

My First 12 Months as a Real Estate Investor…Here’s my story…

On March 31, 2016 I purchased my first investment property… What a journey the first 12 months were!! 

I’ve been an entrepreneur my entire life, and have rarely worked for someone else. I had some luck in my early 20’s and was making very good money, and then I made the decision to merge my business into a partnership with a competing company, thinking together we could take the company nationwide…two and a half years later…I lost everything, was broke, in debt up to my eyeballs, lost my car, lost my home, was homeless and hit ROCK BOTTOM!! I had to borrow $150 from my Church to help me get to another city and move in with some family to get back on my feet.

I spent the next five years trying to get ahead again, while having a real J-O-B, or “just over broke”, and I later started a small side business.

In 2011, I came up with a way to eliminate most of my monthly bills, and live basically free, by going to college on scholarship, and taking a part-time job coaching college athletics. The scholarship included a meal plan, and I was able to live rent-free by being a Dorm Parent and living in the dorms. By doing this, along with my other part-time business, I drastically reduced my monthly bills, and within four years was able to pay off most of my debt, paid cash for a nice used SUV, while also saving up $30K in savings. My side business was growing still, and I was making pretty good money again.

So, in December of 2015, while on Christmas break, I began looking for additional ways to invest my savings to grow additional income and diversify more, after my previous experience of losing everything. I considered several business ventures, franchises, etc. and just happened upon an online advertisement for real estate investing. Growing up with a Grandfather who was a home builder and property developer, and also my father had some rental properties, when I was younger, I had a little knowledge of real estate, and knew they did well in it. After researching online for a few months, I discovered Bigger Pockets, and learned a lot more by reading the forums. I finally decided this was something that I felt I could do.

So, in March 2016, I began searching for a cheap property to purchase, with the intentions of purchasing it, rehabbing it and renting it out. I finally found a foreclosure property, in a small-town I was familiar with, that I was able to pick up for under $10K. I figured this would be a good one to start with and learn. Worst case scenario, I could always sell it for close to what I had in it.

After closing, I immediately placed a sign in the yard that said “For Lease or For Sale”, figuring this would help generate some interest while I did the rehab work. Within the first week, I had over 20 calls before I had even started doing any rehab. Several of the callers stated they had been looking for a fixer-upper in the area, and would like to see the property. So, I went ahead and showed the property to several of them while starting on the rehab. A few weeks later, I received a contract to sell the property “as is” for $19,900. I couldn’t believe I was able to flip it that fast without fully rehabbing it.

So, while waiting on that deal to close, I started searching for another property. I located several potential deals, and once the first deal had closed, was able to purchase a HUD property for $32K that didn’t need much work, and I knew based on my research that it should rent for over $800mo.  Again, I placed a sign in the yard that said “For Lease or For Sale” and also listed it on CraigsList. It only took about $2,000 to touch up a few things. Again, I started receiving a lot of calls about renting it and a few interested in buying. Within less than a month, I was able to sell it for $45K.

I was hooked at this point!! Started with $30K and was able to make close to $20K profit within my first 90 days. I now had close to $50K saved and decided to leverage zero interest credit cards to have even more capital for rehabbing properties. It was time to put my marketing and sales background to work, and jump in full-time. So, I registered my company name and domain 4Lease4Sale (was amazed this domain was available) and started building a website that would look professional for buying and selling real estate, and leasing properties. I later would add several other motivated seller websites and landing pages to separate my company page (geared towards selling, leasing and investors) and the motivated seller sites (geared towards buying).

Since that I’ve been able to rehab and flip or wholesale flip a dozen more properties, have increased my current equity in properties owned by over $265K, have a few properties generating just under $5K monthly in mailbox checks, and have started Joint Ventures with a few Wholesalers to help save me time in negotiations, and to be able to do even more deals.

I've learned so much the past year, and most of the knowledge came from the many great people on BP, who were all more than willing to share their vast knowledge and guidance. Where else can you network daily with experienced investors, who have been in the game for many, many years and a lot of them are millionaires from the real estate industry... Thank you BP!!

My goal for 2017 is to flip 20 properties, and continue to build more capital, and add some mailbox money. I have purchased seven so far, this year, sold five and already have multiple offers on the two other I own …so right on pace.

My advice to others just getting started… You can't be afraid to fail, if so do something else. Everyone who’s successful in life at any business, probably has failed more times than they succeeded, believe me I have…but what makes them different is the tenacity to get back up and fight for their dreams and grind every day.

You've got to stop trying to figure things out and START DOING THINGS!!As I tell everyone I talk to, don't get caught up in "analysis paralysis" over contemplating wanting to know every detail. Just do it, jump in feet first, and GRIND!!Find a way, think “outside the box” and get creative. But remember, activity creates activity and to be very successful in this business, you have to treat it like a BUSINESS!!If you only invest a few hours per month, you’re only going to get a few hours of profit.

Good Luck, Keep Grinding and hitting Home Runs!! – - (

Comments (26)

  1. Hey Jeff!! First off- super amazing story. My question- how did you find this property? Also, what made you invest in the area you chose? Did you become familiar with the area after researching it first, or did you personally know the area already?


  2. Claudette

    What an encouraging experience. I'm just starting. I'm 77 years old and can't  wait to find my first piece. Thanks for the motivation message. I so agree with Tim Emery just make it happen.


    1. Thanks Claudette and good luck with your search.

  3. Wow!!! Such a great story... Congrats to you... Looking forward to my start

    1. Thanks Rose, and best of success to you.  Just get out there and get started, and feel free to ask advice on BP along the way.  There's many BPer's more then willing to help.

      1. Congratulations on your success. I found a foreclosure for $53,000. It says "Live bidding is ACTIVE for this property". I'm learning on the run. How do I make it happen? Any advice is appreciated.

  4. Great inspiring story. Congrats and best wishes to you.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Jennifer.  Glad it inspired you.

  5. Such a great post about starting small and building something great.  Good luck to you this year.  It sounds like you're off to an awesome start.

    1. Thanks for the kind words.  Wishing you nothing but SUCCESS as well!!

  6. Great post!  Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Thanks, hope it will motivate others starting off

  7. Amazing story!!! I am just beginning my journey and your experience is inspiring. 

    1. Thanks Jermaine. That's my goal, to always remember what its like to be starting out and motivate others through my experience. Its all about paying it forward, even if that's just in the form of motivation. Just jump in and get started, ask for help along the way, but you don't need to know everything to get started, there's plenty of BP'ers who will gladly help answer questions.

  8. awesome job!!!!

    1. Thanks Gregory.

  9. Great story, Jeff!  Thanks for sharing, and congrats.

    1. Thanks John.

  10. Thanks for the pep talk. needed it

    1. Glad I could motivate you Jacqueline. Sometimes we all need a check up from the neck up to get our minds right and refocused.

  11. Thank you for sharing your story

  12. Great content! 

    1. Thanks David

  13. Great success story! I like the just do it mentality. So, many people are scared, learn your numbers and make it happen. 

    Thanks for the blog Jeff

    1. Thanks.  Exactly, just get started and be a "DOER" not a "TALKER".