Crushing it, with $3000 a door!

29 Replies

Hello Bigger Pockets!

I'm the guy with two first names. ;)

Before I get to how I cash flow $3000 a door. (Actually it's $3000 per single family home) Let me first give you my story.

I have been a long time reader of Bigger Pockets and figured it's time to share my story and maybe motivate some to take that first step.

First I'm the youngest of eight children. My dad was a Marine and after that always had his own business. He taught us to work hard and believe me in our house you worked or didn't eat. I know that sounds terrible but actually I'm a better person today because of it.

Best advice my father every gave me was, son you will never get rich working for someone else. He was right although I didn't really follow his advice. Because I knew I would also join the military. My family has a long history of military service going back to the revolutionary war.

In high school I worked for my father's construction company, the local grocery store and started my own lawn service. All while playing sports, band and other things like FFA and 4H. I was making so much money I quit high school and got married. I did however get my GED which I knew I would need to join the military.

So after I quit high school I read a book from some real estate investor from Florida. Sorry I don't remember the name of the book or the author. But he said there's enough rental property within five miles from you to retire on. That's all I took away from the book. 

When I turned 18 I bought my first rental for $7800 cash. I rented that house for $450 a month and after  five years sold it for $32000. I never put any money into that house but what I paid for it.

At 19 I joined the military and started buying houses at every location I was stationed at. I would buy a house and live in and fix it up. Once in rental shape I would move into my travel trailer until I had enough to buy my next rental. I just keep doing it over and over. 

At 29 I passed the one million net worth mark and married my 3rd wife. To all you young folks divorce is the biggest killer of net worth. Believe me, marry the right person the first time. If they don't understand personal financial and have a plan for the future move on.

After 23 year's in the military I went from private to sergeant major but was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately the military medically retired me. I honestly would have stayed 35 year's because I loved being a soldier.

I forgot to mention while in the military I always had a second job. I worked at McDonald's as a assistance manger. Worked for FedEx, did new home warranty repair and was a paramedic.

When the military retired me I had 32 doors spread out across the country. This was in 2007. I sold all my rentals before the crash. No I didn't know the crash was coming. I sold because I didn't know if I was going to survive cancer. I put all that money into a low cost index fund.

Moving forward I have been cancer free since 2010. We currently own 9 doors, 4 that cash flow from 500 to 1000 a month and 5 that cash flow 3000 a month. We are closing on another on the 26. 

Now I know as a long time reader here someone going to say bull hockey you can't cash flow $3000 a month on one door. But I will tell you, you can in the right market with the right rental. All 5 soon to be 6 are new homes. So our capex is really low. 

How did I discover this market well I have a friend who has 15 rentals. They range from D to C+. He was cash flowing pretty good but wanted to increase his rent's. As a recovering addicted and now a drug & alcohol counselor. He started a non-profit that provides counseling and housing. Bingo he rent's rooms not house's to the non-profit client's.

I studied what he was doing and I looked for an opportunity similar to what he's doing without the non-profit aspect. It's true I really have 15 doors soon to be 18. But these are 4 bedroom houses and I only rent 3 bedrooms because they only have 3 baths. 

Anyway that's my life in a nutshell. I hope my story will inspire some new investor's to take that first step and some old pro's to think outside the box. 

Please don't ask where my rentals are or if I need a partner. My bank gives me conventional loans @ 5% down with no PMI so I don't need financial help either. Actually we could pay cash for these homes but as long as interest rates are this low we are going to keep financing.

Wow!  Great!  That is incredibly inspiring.   Thank you for sharing.  happy that you are in better health now and that you are crushing it!  How did you keep yourself motivated during the harder times?

@Kalyanii Kennedy

Thank you! I hope my story can help others take the first step.

Actually the hard times were really tough. I lost my career and didn't know if I was going to survive. On top of that I had PTSD issues I hadn't delt with yet. I sold all my properties that I worked very hard to get. That in itself caused a lot of depression. But I did it so my wife would always be taken care of if I died. 

On a positive note we have never touched any of that money and the market has been extremely good to us. My story is really simple I just keep buying houses even when everyone around me said I was crazy. We now are doing more with less properties and I really can't believe home great real estate has been to me all these years. Keep the course, work hard and never give up!

@Clifford Paul , well done, "guy with two first names". You have all the makings of being able to sell your secret sauce by way of yet another guru seminar upselling program.

But, please, don't! 

Just like AirBnB, which can get even better returns than yours, people shouldn't be encouraged to spend money for "education" that likely won't suit them! [Hopefully, preaching to the choir.]

Thank you for your service too. All the best...

@Brent Coombs

Thank you! 

Me a guru! LOL I'm just a guy that read one book when I was 17 and said I can do that. I worked very hard while my buddies we're drinking and partying the nights away I was at my second job. They are all still working and hoping to retire by 70. I spend my days rescuing dogs and horse's and playing with my 12 grandkids.

Awesome story, thanks so much for sharing. And thank you for your service, defending our great country.

I hope what stands out for young readers is that you worked very hard and took action. 

When I was young I also worked all kinds of jobs from age 10 on. In my neighborhood I cut grass, did landscaping, washed cars and more. I competed with other neighborhood kids for this work. Then I worked all of high school to save for college, graduating with no debt (disclaimer, I did get some help from my parents). 

I have lived in my current residence for 9  years, a nice neighborhood with many kids. Not once has any kid come to my door looking for work like I use to. I don't ever see them doing anything at their house. All the parents have landscaping companies maintaining their property. They all go to the carwash. Maybe I'm just missing it, but I do not see any work ethic being instilled on young people these days. 

Participation trophies and limited work ethic will not serve young people well going into adulthood. 

Hopefully, your story shines light on this and helps even one person going forward. 

Stay healthy!

Nice inspiring Sunday morning  Post.. I can only add I wish I got the memo in 07 to sell everything.. somehow I missed that one.. but we get stronger through diversity.. 

I have something you going to really like I think that is going to  hit the BP charts on July 4th so standby for News as Paul Harvey would say.. !!!

@Chris Seveney

You are absolutely right. Honestly when I started I didn't know how things would work out. But I did start with a plan to replace my W-2 income with real estate income. I never planned on retiring at 42 but no one can predict the future. I follow a lot of Financial independence blogs and it amazing me how some have done it with so little in savings. One thing most don't take into account is what if you have a health problem. My cancer treatment was 250k and that was almost 10 years ago. There really is no get rich quick plan out there.

@Dave G.

I agree with you about how the younger generation has no work ethic. I live in a very nice subdivision. Houses are mid 500's to 1.2 m. No teenager has ever asked to mow my yard. All my neighbors except 2 have lawn care companies doing their yards. My grandkids only want to mow my yard when they need money for a school trip but none of them want to do it full time. I don't get it if I lived in a neighborhood like this when I was a teenager I could have bought 3 houses when I turned 18. 

@ Jay Hinrichs

I have to say Jay you are one of my real estate heroes on BP. When you post I take notice. 

When I sold my properties I had no clue what was coming. Things really were not looking good for me and at the time. My wife just joined the military and she was afraid she wouldn't be able to keep up with the properties. In hindsight it was a great move taking my net worth to the next level. 

Looking forward to seeing your post.

Originally posted by @Clifford Paul :

@Chris Seveney

You are absolutely right. Honestly when I started I didn't know how things would work out. But I did start with a plan to replace my W-2 income with real estate income. I never planned on retiring at 42 but no one can predict the future. I follow a lot of Financial independence blogs and it amazing me how some have done it with so little in savings. One thing most don't take into account is what if you have a health problem. My cancer treatment was 250k and that was almost 10 years ago. There really is no get rich quick plan out there.

@Dave G.

I agree with you about how the younger generation has no work ethic. I live in a very nice subdivision. Houses are mid 500's to 1.2 m. No teenager has ever asked to mow my yard. All my neighbors except 2 have lawn care companies doing their yards. My grandkids only want to mow my yard when they need money for a school trip but none of them want to do it full time. I don't get it if I lived in a neighborhood like this when I was a teenager I could have bought 3 houses when I turned 18. 

@ Jay Hinrichs

I have to say Jay you are one of my real estate heroes on BP. When you post I take notice. 

When I sold my properties I had no clue what was coming. Things really were not looking good for me and at the time. My wife just joined the military and she was afraid she wouldn't be able to keep up with the properties. In hindsight it was a great move taking my net worth to the next level. 

Looking forward to seeing your post.

July 4th is the reveal  we are super excited.. and hoping the BP folks get as excited as we are !!!

I also survived the Big C .. mine was caught super early cut out and that was 8 years ago.. so all good.. but very very lucky as I went in for something else and it was what they call an accidental finding.. If it was not caught then.. I would not be here today !!! So I am blessed with every day I get to interact on BP.. help my team members do deals put new families into their dream homes.. its all good..  

I have SFRs that do $5-10k+ a month, although as high end vacation rentals they require a lot of work, $3k on a more passive investment sounds pretty nice!  Always nice to read about someone else crushing cashflow.

@John D.

Wow 5 to 10k is crushing it! I never thought I would see 3k per SFRs. My 5 are all crash pads soon to be 6. Closing on the 26 of July. 

The best part is the airline pays me directly. They also pay the cleaning company and laundry service. I pick up lawn care, maintenance and all utilities. My property management company does everything. I should add I get paid per room 60 a night wether some one occupies it or not. I have 12 and 24 month lease in place. I'm surprised more investors are not doing this. 

My best cash flow property from my other 4 SFRs is $1067 a month. So I really do feel like I'm crushing it. 

Hey Clifford, I’m wondering if your military career ever took you out of country and if you purchased any properties internationally? If so, do you have any advice about foreign purchasing. Thanks! p.s. great story! Thanks for sharing.

@Ryan Williams

Hi Ryan, I was in special operations 19 out of my 23 years. I've been to over 50 countries counting those I have vacationed in. I never did buy anything overseas but I did look into it. I found that a lot of countries have very strict laws ccovering foreign investor's. So I never pursued it further.

Clifford, your story was very much inspiring. Congratulations on defeating cancer my friend! As a Marine who’s currently on active duty and having a history of family members who were in the military to include my dad being a Marine, I can totally relate to your story. Much like what your dad did for you, I’ve started teaching my one and only son to buy real estate and own a business rather than working for someone else. You and your partner have a great strategy, and sounds like you are in a great market. I wish you all the best and look forward to reading more from you.

LJ

@L J.

Gotta love having a Marine Dad right! LOL

Cancer is the great equalizer. It doesn't care who you are. If you survive you will be charged forever and everything in life becomes precious.

Sounds like you have your son on the right track. I wish more parents spent the time to teach their children how to get their money working for them and not working for their money.

How many years do you have in? 

To everyone who has emailed me. I haven't answered your questions because for some reason my email is not working on this site. I also can't get profile picture to upload. Is there a help desk email address I can contact?

I feel like this was click bait...

You never told us how you have single family homes that are making $3k a month? haha 

Did I miss that part? 

great story! I myself am just starting out. My father raised us the same way. Work hard and learn to pay your own way through life. He made sure we knew one day he wasn't going to be around and wanted us to be strong enough and accustomed to supporting ourselves. Love him for it. 

In your story you when describing your buddy's houses you mentioned (D to C+), pardon my ignorance but what does that mean? Lol.

@Natalie Kolodij

Actually I did above when I replied to John D. By the way John D. Is really crushing it 5k to 10k month with luxury vacation rentals.

5 of my SFRs are crash pads for airline crews. I'm closing on # 6 on the 26th of July. All my crash pads are either 12 or 24 month lease. I'm getting $60 a room per night occupied or not. Best part is airline pays me directly and they cover cleaning and laundry service. I pay all utilities, lawn care and maintenance. My property manager takes care of all that stuff. I just check my bank account every 1st of the month. So far no click bait... the money is there every time. ;)

@James Peterson

I love when I hear from others who had similar Dad's. After writing about my father above I thought about rewording it because maybe some people would think he was a terrible father. Actually he was the most honest and trustworthy person I have ever known. He worked very hard every day of his life to raise 8 children. Even when he retired although he didn't need to work anymore financially. He couldn't stop working because that's just how he was. 

Properties are rated A, B, C, D based on neighborhood. Think of it this way in your town there's a neighborhood that everyone wants to live in. Probably has the nicest houses and likely most expensive in town. That's a A+ neighborhood. Then there's the neighborhood everyone says don't live there, high crime, drug dealing etc. D- neighborhood. Best I can do explaining it.

"Now I know as a long time reader here someone going to say bull hockey you can't cash flow $3000 a month on one door"

Bull Hockey. You do not know what your cash flow is. You obviously have not included any long term (life of property) expenses in your calculations. I will assume you base your cash flow on yesterday and todays expenses. That is not how expenses on a income property are arrived at in the real world.

I believe you have above average cash flow just not what you believe you have.

Originally posted by @Clifford Paul :

@L J.

Gotta love having a Marine Dad right! LOL

Cancer is the great equalizer. It doesn't care who you are. If you survive you will be charged forever and everything in life becomes precious.

Sounds like you have your son on the right track. I wish more parents spent the time to teach their children how to get their money working for them and not working for their money.

How many years do you have in? 

Almost 21 years under my belt and I gotta say that light at the end of the tunnel suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. Lol.

I can't take all the credit for wanting to raise my son differently. I've listened to a bunch of Rich Dad's Podcasts amongst others and took hold to "what the wealthy teach their children about money, compared to the poor and middle-class". I grew up hearing get good grades, and go to school so I can get a good job. Well, I always wanted to be an entreprenuer so that wasn't gonna work for me, and thanks to the military I fell into becoming a landlord on accident and I don't regret it one bit. 

@Thomas S.

You are correct Thomas, I don't actually know much other than cash flow today after expensive. I've been doing this way for 35 years now. It's worked pretty well for me so far. When I sold my 32 doors in 2007 my net worth in cash doubled. I never have touched that money. 

I can live very well for the rest of my life without owning my crash pads or my other 4 rentals. I'm certainly not an expert and don't pretend to be one. I'm just a guy telling his story and hope it might inspire someone to take that first step. 

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