Vet Student & rookie investor in Tucson looking for guidance

19 Replies

Hi there!

My name is Stacey. I'm currently a veterinary medicine student at the University of Arizona and brand new to the world of real estate investing. I'm looking to network with other investors both locally and out of state to continue learning, make friends, and find my first investment property. 

When it comes to funding and partnerships, I feel a little stumped. As a med student, I'm sitting on a lot of student loans at the moment and zero income. I'm not letting that deter me, I'm just not sure how to take my first steps. How do I find funding (private or conventional) and/or partnerships as a rookie investor that can't contribute to a deal financially or with experience yet. I'm all ears for those that are willing to share your thoughts on this. I'm very clear on my "why", I just need some guidance on the "how". 

For those farther along in your investing, did you seek out a mentorship with a seasoned investor when you first started? Is this something you highly recommend?

I appreciate all the insights, conversations and advice here. This community is awesome! 

Thanks in advance.


Hi Stacey. When I started, many years ago (before blogs or podcasts were a thing),  I read a lot of real estate investment books, attended a slew of real estate and other investment seminars, and started interviewing realtors in top market areas. What happens when you truly invest yourself in learning about investing, is you start building momentum and getting passionate/excited/obsessed about investing- it's beautiful. There's something amazing that happens, when you start to PAY to learn about real estate investing, rather than just doing what's free. Even better, is paying and physically being among active investors, rather than just learning Online or from books- it takes it to a whole other level.

A byproduct of this, is you surround yourself with successful, self-motivated people. This will raise you up.

I guess what I'm saying is, truly invest yourself in this, and surround yourself with highly successful investors... somehow. Most Average Joes focus on what they don't have, poverty and loss. The successful focus on creation, and they typically work much harder than the Average Joes. I know I do. I'm writing this, after popping into my office at 3:30AM, because I know I won't have time to get it done tomorrow, as I have higher priority tasks, then.

Of course, this doesn't mean you have to work all the time to be successful. But, when I am in a growing stage (like I happen to be right now) I push and do it as quickly and as well as I can, so I can jump on the next thing. In fact, I don't feel tired or stressed- I feel excited and so dang fortunate. Life is just... amazing. 

FYI, my comment are based on your expressed desire to form relationships and partnerships and feeling stumped with investment. You've been working hard on your education and you likely feel you don't have much room for anything outside of that, which I totally get. Just know, you'll get out what you put in. If you start forming trust-based relationships with investors, without knowing them, putting in the work, etc, it can easily come back and bite you in the end.

I highly recommend you learn the craft and THEN seek these relationships. Ironically, the relationships WILL come, as you get more informed and passionate about investing- and then the relationships will be better, stronger, and with passionate partners who are self-motivated. This is who you want to work with.

Thanks so much, Chad! I really appreciate your very thoughtful reply and advice. I’ve definitely got the obsession part down and I’m consuming as much information/education as possible. Bigger Pockets has been huge in my learning thus far thanks to their podcasts and forums like this one. 
I’m filling in any spare minute I have with building the foundation you mentioned. If there are any particular books (besides Rich Dad Poot Dad) or classes that you recommend, I’d be interested to hear about them! Thanks again.

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ANYTHING written by Brandon Turner is GOLD! 

try "Investing In Real-Estate With No or Low Money Down" by Brandon Turner, amazing book so far and fits right in the category you're asking a question about! hope that helps.

We were stationed at DM quite a few years ago; we started a Cash Flow Game meetup.  One of our friends recommended an investor savvy Realtor, and we started looking at houses.  We started to attend AZREIA meetings, and attended seminars to learn a variety of skills.  We decided which ones we wanted to do, and then we took action.  I did direct mail and door knocked pre-foreclosures.  Was up to 3 houses a month, and we had to change strategies when we got orders to England. 

I recommend you start at AZREIA and then ask around for the people who are actually doing deals, rather than just tire kickers.  Always ask for referrals for the folks you need next: lawyer for entity structure, lenders that work for conventional, lenders for renovations, good flooring installer, best termite bond person, etc.

Thank you so much, Kerry! I really appreciate that advice. I’ve attended one AZREIA meeting event so far and I plan on making it a habit. 
Did you establish yourself as an LLC before your first purchase or did that come later? If you were starting over again today, would you do anything different?

Thank you again for your time!

Thank you for that introduction, and welcome to BiggerPockets. I hope you continue to learn from everyone on this platform. If you have not, great books to read are:

  • -Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • -The Millionaire Next Door
  • -Cash Flow Quadrant
  • -Tax Free Wealth
  • -Set For Life
  • -Rental Property Investing
  • -The Millionaire Real Estate Investor
  • -The REAL Book of Real Estate
  • -So Good They Can’t Ignore You

You are more than welcome to reach out if you have any questions. 

Good Luck and go make it happen!

@Stacey Thomas . Bear down!!! Good seeing u of Arizona peeps going into real estate. Did my msc there. Graduated in 2018. Look into house hacking. Tucson has a crazy market for it. Don't have money for a downpayment for FHA loan? Use NACA loan. I currently tried purchasing around park place mall but I was outbid because my offer was low. First things first, educate yourself. Read on house hacking, as you're reading, you can be looking for deals. Sfr, multi family etc. We can also chat privately if you're up to it.

Bear down and look up!!! (PS, that was the commencement slogan for my graduation lol)

Hey Jeroh!  

Nice to meet another UA Wild Cat! Thanks for your message. I had never heard of the NACA loan program until you mentioned it. I checked it out and it looks like a great program! Thank you! I'm currently reading all the Brandon Turner books and listening to ALL the BP podcasts. I'm basically studying real estate as hard as I'm studying in vet school. I've definitely looked into house hacking and I have my eyes on a couple neighborhoods near the University and doing some driving for dollars. There are some really unique pockets in this town! I'm definitely open to chatting with you about it :)

Hey Stacey! I'm from Tucson as well and bought my first investment property there near UA (Ft. Lowell & Park) 6 years ago. The market has done great for me and I still see lots of room for growth. 

House hacking is a great way to get started and how I got my foot in the door as well all on my own. Luckily I had VA loan benefits from my time in the military so I was able to get my first (and second) house with 0% down and no money out of pocket. I know this probably wont be the case for you, but other loan programs exist for as little as 3.5% down. If I had to start over and was in your shoes I would get savvy on seller financing strategies and start knocking on doors. Recent BP podcast episode with Pace Morby, episode 527 I believe, was very enlightening to me on the different possibilities with that. Best of luck on your journey and you are already ahead of the game by taking this first step!

Hello Stacey,

I am a newbie investor that just closed on my first Triplex here in Tucson about 2 miles from the U of A. I'd love to set up a meeting with you if you're open as I know that's what helped me the most starting out. To be able to sit down with a local and ask all the questions that came to my mind. If you're willing, please send me a personal DM so we can discuss further. Thanks! 

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Hey Stacey, I'm also a baby investor. I'm lucky enough to have my younger (but smarter) brother to partner with. We have weekly meetings over zoom where we build knowledge, analyze deals, and plan for our first buy (goal is spring 2022). It is definitely a LOT to learn. My brother is the 'math guy'. I struggle with the whole financial funding and following the ups and downs of the cash flow/expenses. However, I am working on it with every spare moment I have. I call it my 'second job'. And I love it!

My rookie advice to you is what I learned from Scott Trench's "Set for Life" book; be very vocal to everyone that you meet and talk to on a daily basis about your real estate investing plans. He even said in the book that yes, it will probably annoy a lot of people, but you might get lucky with some connection recommendations ("Oh, my grandpa owned a few rentals back in his day, he's retired now and I'm sure he would love to talk to someone that isn't grandma about it! I know grandma would appreciate the break."). Scott also mentioned in the book that LUCK plays a big part in becoming successful. But you have to put yourself in a position to get lucky. Example: studying at home vs studying at a park/library where you can meet people. Maybe take one of your investment books with you wherever you go as that might strike up random conversations with people you encounter.

Good luck! My investing journey started when I was visiting my grandma in Phoenix. Had a long life discussion with her that I don't remember much of. But "Rich Dad Poor Dad" was brought up. I read that and months later I am now here on BiggerPockets on this forum talking to you (instead of getting drunk and playing video games). That book was a huge reality smack in the face for me.

@Stacey Thomas Welcome to BP! Tucson is a great town by the way. As for your question, I recommend reading two of David Greene's books "Long-Distance Real Estate Investing" and his "BRRRR" book. Both are excellent whether you decide to invest in Tucson or in a different area. It's all about putting together a great team!

When it comes to finding private money, I would look to friends and family members first. Just start telling everyone what you're trying to do. Since you won't be able to bring the capital, you'll need to be the one putting in the work, but there are lots of folks out there with capital, but without the time or desire to do all the work involved in getting an investment property. That's where you come in! You can go 50/50 with someone: you do the work, they bring the $$. The other cool part about private money is you can structure it however you want, unlike banks which have very strict rules they must follow.

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress!

@Ross King thanks so much! I've been listening to Brandon Turner's book on purchasing with little to no money down and it's very enlightening. I also listened to the episode with Pace and I've been following him on his YouTube channel ever since. Thanks for the encouragement! I'm so excited to get started!

@Mason Bushman thanks, Mason. That's awesome that you and your brother are a team. I'll check out Trent's book. I haven't read that one yet. And, you're right about talking to people everyday about RE investing! I'm practicing that part. Feels a bit like imposter syndrome at this stage of the game for me but I recognize the power of speaking my goals and intentions into existence. Thanks for the encouragement and good luck to you and your brother!

My wife and I just sold our veterinary practice and have been in real estate about 8 years.  My advice would be to focus on your Veterinary career first.  That is what you have invested a huge chunk of capital (your student loans) into and is going to produce your biggest return (salary as a DVM).  Once you have graduated and worked for a bit then I would get into real estate.  You should have some good cash reserves before getting into real estate, and I wouldn't suggest piling on real estate debt on top of student loans before you have graduated.  My wife and I didn't settle down and start real estate investing until about 10 years after my wife graduated from vet school.  We fell into real estate investing when we bought our clinic and the building, and then bought our first rental house a few years later.  Keep in mind that my wife and I lost everything in the 2007-2008 financial crisis and we learned a lot about the importance of having financial reserves.