55 year old just starting. Am I crazy or can I do this?

20 Replies

I'm looking at a lease to own on the rent house I'm in. It's in an area that is being slowly gentrified. After I get this rehabbed to rent out, I want to buy 2-4 more duplexes or with conventional financing; planning on living in each a year to get the financing.

I'm a 55 year old female. I work full time and would continue to do so. I would want to be my own property manager which doesn't scare me much as I have good people skills and good maintenance skills.

I'm concerned about getting financing at my age and at my income level. I have scads of other questions and I've been studying up, but I just need to know if I'm being realistic taking into account my age re financing.

I enjoyed your post for the worthy goals you describe, and humorously in the way you refer to your "age". Let's start with the latter, perhaps my perception is skewed but at 55 I'm of the opinion you've just enter a life phase where you can do so much, experience great things, and create great wealth while in the process. My 93 year old grandfather to me recently "I know I've got at least 10 years, but if I could just get another 20". He was speaking in the context of growing his business of 50+ years. A business he still works at 5 days a week putting in 50+ hours. My point here is you are young (I'm five years your junior) and have many decades to grow and operate your yet to be built real estate portfolio. Now go do... As far as your plan, it actually sounds solid, and you want to know why, because you have a plan. It's really that simple. You made a plan, which is way more than many will even attempt, and now it's time to execute. The important thing is to just get started. You can make adjustments as you move along while executing your plan. Now, go do!

Jane, I would encourage you to do what you have a desire to do.  Don't let anything including age get in the way of pursuing your dreams.  You know what you want to do, just do it.  There are financing options out there outside of conventional financing options.

f You Can Dream It, You Can Do It - Walt Disney

You probably are crazy, but would you rather be a 55 year old investor or a 65 year old investor?  Start now.  You will not benefit from waiting.  I am not your junior in age and I am in the process of trying to do several deals at the moment.  I really like your idea of house hacking.  While I am tempted to try it my wife would not move into a house needing more fix up than our current one, and probably would not move out of a nicer fixed up one.

Jane,  I just got started last year at 59.  This is perhaps the 5th profession for me.  I have 4 properties and am seriously working on a 40-unit apartment deal.  I'm loving it and trying to educate myself, network and expand my real estate knowledge daily. This is the perfect profession for us pre-retirees.  I almost do everything turn-key, passive and focus on cash flow and so far it has been a blessing.

I would highly recommend to continue to pursue your dream and enjoy this new "season."

If you have any questions, feel free to ask - on or off-line.

I started at 65, and have 6 properties now (if you don't count the forested lot next to my primary that I don't want to build on).  55 is young - wish I had started then!  You Go Woman!

@Jane Dunn

Jane, you are a woman with a vision and a plan. Go forward as you stand on the rock of experience you built in 55 years.  You are in a great position to use your life knowledge and to keep building from where you are today.  The truth is we grow wiser as we mature and your best years are still ahead.  The day we stop learning, acting on our dreams and reaching goals is the time of true aging.  

Wow, @everyone!! Thanks so much for your various suggestions and encouragement. I've loved the idea of owning property for a long time and it's time to get rid of regrets and take hold of the steering wheel of my retirement. I'm moving forward with my research and hope to meet with a local realtor next week to structure my first purchase. I'll let you know how that goes.

DO IT! you'll be glad.

Your age should have no bearing on your getting a loan; lenders are prohibited from discriminating  based on age, just as they are on race, religion, etc. (besides, 55 isn't old. I hope, lol!)

Keep reading and learning, you may find that your rent-to own plan is a great one, or you may find that you can actually qualify for an owner-occupied mortgage after all. 

Originally posted by @Jean Bolger :

DO IT! you'll be glad.

Your age should have no bearing on your getting a loan; lenders are prohibited from discriminating  based on age, just as they are on race, religion, etc. (besides, 55 isn't old. I hope, lol!)

Keep reading and learning, you may find that your rent-to own plan is a great one, or you may find that you can actually qualify for an owner-occupied mortgage after all. 

 Thanks for the hard info. I'm saving money right now, but I don't want to wait and miss out on this house, if I can come to terms with the owner. If not, on to finding the best deal for my situation.

Jane, Age is only a number! Continue to invest and be young at heart. My believe is that there will be no retirement system available by the time we get to "retirement." If you truly get hooked on this real estate gig, you may not want to retire! You should look at a book written by Joseph Neilson titled "Buy and rent foreclosures: $3 million net worth, $22,000 net worth per month in 7 years. Although foreclosures may not be your desired approach, Joseph didn't get started into real estate until he turned 61! You have a good 5-6 years on him! Wish you the very best in your real estate ventures...

Do it. Age does not matter.

Don't wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait :-)

Hey Jane

"Don't regret the things you do, regret the things you DON'T do."

55 years young is very young indeed.  Time goes quickly and before you know it you will be 65.  That will be the time that most people look to retire and many, many people these days have difficulty retiring due to company downsizing, insufficient retirement savings and the inflatined cost of living.  Ten years from now, you could feasibly have 10 properties each bringing in $100/month in cash flow. 

Live your dream and buy, Buy, BUY.

In my area there is a guy named Joe Neilson (who calls himself The Real Estate Professor) and he started at age 61; at age 71 he now has over 70 properties. You can find his book on Amazon too. 

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I really appreciate all the encouragement, now tell me why this is a bad idea so I can make an informed decision. 55 is not that old in the scheme of things, but when I owned a home in my thirties there were lots of things I could do then that I can no longer attempt.

I will be working at a full time, relatively low paying job until I retire. I will be the property manager and do small things by myself and find good contractors for the big things. I will have small money to start with and have limited cash flow until I can get a few properties acquired.

Right now my area is blue collar, but is gentrifying, so I foresee better rents and better tenants later, but I may have to deal with lower end renters or students until then.

I'm an optimist and I believe in my ability to do this, but I want to go in with my eyes open.

@Jane Dunn

A lot has already been said: the Final word: AGE IS NOT A BARRIER!!!!

Get up and keep going!!!!!!!!!!!!

@Bill Manassero - this is very inspiring

All others,

Thanks the encouragement......

Jane, I just closed on my first rental property last fall, I'm 56 years old. I spent the previous few years doing research until my wife and I were ready to start making offers. We intend to grow the business as much as possible. We both work full-time, she in a white-collar field and I am in the trucking business (one truck operation :)


Don't talk yourself out of it.  You won't get many people in this forum to talk you out of it.  If we didn't believe in RE, we wouldn't be here.  I personally feel joining a RE club was the best decision for me.  I love meeting all of the like minded individuals.  There will be people there who can guide you in your efforts.  Also if you get stuck throw out your question here.  We will get it answered.  

Whatever you do, DO NOT get advise from non RE investors.  Most people will talk you out of it because they don't understand.

It is not all roses.  It is stressful.  It is risky.  There are ups and downs, and it isn't for everybody.  Personally, I love it!!  I knew I wanted to do it since I was 20, but waited until I was 34 to really make a move.  If it excites you, go for it.

Good Luck! 

@Jane Dunn Just think, in 30 years you will be 85, and you could have a few paid off homes, generating income and creating wealth for you if you do this now.  If you don't do this now, in thirty years, you will still be 85.

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