The Newbie Odyssey

12 Replies

BP Nation,

As a newbie, this is my first success story. My wife and I started our real estate odyssey in the winter of 2013. Since then it has been an amazing and wild experience. Hopefully, our story can be an inspiration for newbies and an example on why the BP community is critical and priceless.

In 2012, while deployed to Naghlu High, Afghanistan, during my breaks, I discovered Dave Ramsey, where I learned the basic cash flow principles. I was dumbfounded on how I did not know this life-changing concept before. It appears my exuberance and wanting to "live in the now" affected my personal finance goals. Yet, the funny fact, we applied this concept unknowingly to our first home purchase in Austin, TX.

To further illustrate, our diamond in the rough set the conditions for later successes. This townhouse with 2 Bedroom/1.5 Baths at 1,075-sqft was perfectly situated in a rising city that was on the verge of appreciation ecstasy. Lana, my wife and I purchased this property together. She had the funds for the purchase and I had the funds for the rehab. The property was sold including closing costs at $43,320 and the rehab was approximately $10,000, totaling $58,320.

In regards to this cash purchase, it was the most effective financial decision we have ever made. It allowed us to not have a mortgage payment, saving us a payment for other priorities, like our next investment, which was one where we wanted to maximize our return. Later, we attended a “guru” class, particularly Phil Grove’s (don’t worry we didn’t even think about the up-sale scheme), we knew what we wanted to invest in: Multi-Families.

After constant and deliberate searching with a great realtor, Mr. Mike Minns, we discovered a 4-unit quadplex that was perfect for us to “add value” too. We closed on the property, including closing costs at $207,366. I was on a mission to learn everything from Property Management, Maintenance, Rehabbing, Taxes and managing Incomes accordingly. Most importantly, I discovered BP! With the knowledge growing, I was destined to increase rents, improve the units and ensure that I can sell the asset at a high price.

Unfortunately, due to the military, we had to depart the music capital of the United States to a rather unique city, Richmond, VA. Luckily, I was familiar with the area because I was previously stationed there. Before departing, we rented out the remodeled primary residence for $995 a month, resulting in a ROI of 20% of our $58,320 investment! Now, living in a new territory with a short time frame, we wanted to focus on a faster return and less demanding strategy: Wholesaling!

Conveniently, we just established our LLC and marketing for one of our efforts:, a tactic to acquire distressed properties to Wholesale or Flip. Fortunately, we received our first Wholesale Deal in less than a month! A Single Family Residence in need of extreme rehab. After constant negotiation, we agreed with the seller at $27,500 and immediately found an investor for $44,500.

Yet, even though teamed up with an amazing partner/realtor/landscape designer engineer, Stewart Clark (A recruited BP Member), unfortunately it took close to 10 months to find resolutions for all the challenges the property contained. For example, the seller had over $30,000 in personal IRS Taxes, close to $5,000 in Overdue Property Taxes and had an infestation of poor tenants, which did not pay or even contribute to the property’s condition and to make matters worst they were family.

Shockingly, just under two weeks before we were to close, the deal went DARK and the worst-case scenario occurred. Our seller passed away through means only one can make assumptions on how. The property went to the next of kin, which was one of the tenants that would not even consider our original agreement. Clark and I definitely would not forget this experience. I know now to always put a “Death Clause”.

Subsequently, we departed Richmond to the Great Lands of Colorado Springs, CO! This third move was for an extensive time. Lana and I wanted a primary residence that we can Live n Flip. We bought the SFR for $186,766 via the Internet with only footage and Google Maps. Thankfully, the location and the home was everything we could ask: corner lot, walking distance to beautiful parks, close to downtown and an established neighborhood.

After a year living in the house, we have rehabbed and added value to the property. It is on schedule to change from a 3 BD/2 BA to a 6 BD/3BA. Confidently, I expect this home to sell for close to $330,000 or more, depending on the atmospherics of the Springs’ Environment.

During our stay, I focused on transitioning my wife’s career to Real Estate. She is an amazing saleswoman and over 10 years of effective Retail Management. We invested in her to become a realtor and within our year, she sold over $4M in properties and grossed over $130,000. She is on scheduled to be Intern of the Year. This addition to our strategy has expanded our network and added value to our company.

Now, I would like to save the best for last. In regards to the quadplex in Austin, my mission was an utter success. I invested $15,000 to remodel the units and exterior, resulting in a superior rental income increase and closed on the property on my 30th Birthday with a sold price of $369,900, resulting in a Seller Cash Proceeds of $146,541! I love this game!

In conclusion, thankfully, my family is healthy, I have my first child on the way, Olivia, and we are strategizing on what to do next, maybe 10x our goals! Through these passed two years, I have learned that Real Estate is about Relationships, Numbers, Prudent Risk and HUSTLE. BP’s podcasts, articles, network and resources were the ingredients to becoming the priceless catalyst to our success. BP Nation and especially newbies continue with your ambitions and never let yesterday’s disappointments overshadow tomorrow’s dreams.

Bryan Rodriguez

Bryan, great story!  It was nice knowing you in the short time you and Lana were in the Richmond area.  Best of luck to the both of you with your real estate endeavors. 

I appreciate you sharing your story. I know many of us hope to find ourselves in a similar situation in the not to distant future.  

One key attribute to your success that you may have glossed over is your ability to be "flexible". That key factor helped you maintain a level head in multiple locations.  

Thank you for your service and thank you for the inspiring Story


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