My first flip paid off my student loans!!!

45 Replies

It was 2014. I had followed a girl from Columbus Ohio to Cincinnati. We were living together for a while when be both slowly realized that maybe cohabitation was not for us. So I began looking for rooms to rent.. I was on the tenant end of a few people house hacking. Realizing the potential of passive income, I knew it was something I could do. So I took a risk. With little money or time, I became a member of the local REIA.

After a few weeks of being the shy one in the back of the room, I started asking around. Somehow, one night I was introduced to a young lady that would fundamentally change my outlook on life, wealth, and avoiding the rat race I was so desperately chasing.

She said that she had a house that may fit what I was looking for. We eventually drove over and I immediately said no. The bushes were overgrown, the kitchen, bath, and fixtures were all from 1960. Ugly green carpet. Strange room with no purpose. It was a mess. I couldn't do it. It was too much. I owned little to no tools, i had never hung drywall, and my painting experience was limited to watercolors.

We moved on to a few other houses and while I'm sure her patience was running thin, she asked me to look at the first house again with an open mind. She taught me how to look past the peeling wallpaper, the missing appliances and the pet urine smell. Somehow, she convinced me of the houses potential.

She agreed that they would fix up the house enough that I could get an FHA loan. Kind of a Pre-Hab. I helped pick out all of the furnishings for the bathroom and kitchen and we were off.

I’ll never forget the first night in the house.I slept on a bed that came with the house in the back bedroom trying to silence the voice inside my head saying “what did you just do? You’re going to fail”. I would get home from work and .. I guess work. She and her boyfriend at the time would leave me a list of things to do. I would work until 11pm any night that i wasn't traveling for day job.

The renovation took over 6 years of on again, off again progress. Some years more than others. It saw over 12 different tenants that helped me house hack. The work was done mostly by myself but once my wife came into the picture, things really took off.

She is a firecracker. She is a school teacher which is a huge asset in a relationship with me and my childish antics. The first night I brought her over, the conversation before entering the house was a 10 minute preface of why there is building material everywhere, dust in the sink, an old broken fish tank in my bedroom. I’m still amazed she didn't run away screaming. I knew my vision, she believed in me and progress came quick… until a year ago, May 12 2018.

We had started a family and nothing is more motivating than getting scolded by the wife when she finds tools laying around within reach of the new bundle of joy.

Here is a list of the renovation tasks

Replaced every piece of trim in home (yes, every single piece)

Build a rear covered porch

Replace gutters and soffit

Replace water heater

Replace all windows

Refinish hardwood floors

Replace all doors in home with prehung solid core doors

All new hardware

All new kitchen and bath

Add a master bath with soaking tub (with inspections)

Add a master closet

Rewire master (with inspections)

Replace master carpet

Install hardwired fire alarms

Install recessed can lighting throughout.

The list goes on and on.

I used a total of 2 contractors. One of which took me for over 3k. (but now, even my lawn guy signs an agreement) The lessons learned from this house will guide me for the rest of my life. I know what I will and won't do. I learned the value of my time. I learned that sometimes it really sucks to live in a flip. I learned that everyone thinks you’re crazy and that you will fail.

With all of these lessons, the biggest I took from this experience is how insignificant the frustrations are. On my last day in the house (yes we sold it about a month ago) I was taking final pictures and reliving some of my most difficult times. That corner I assumed was square but my cabinets showed me otherwise. That copper pipe that wouldn't take solder and leaked 5 times before I got it. Messing up the last piece of trim in a room only to find out it was the last you had and Home Depot closed 6 minutes ago.

When my wife and I stood in the front yard with our baby in our arms, none of it mattered. A dream had came true. Not a blessing, Not luck, But a dream that we tackled together. All we wanted was to make enough money from the house to pay down my student loans.

But as of 11:45am today when I hit the “process payment” my wife and I owe NOTHING to anyone. Cars, Cards, Loans it's all paid. The feeling of those chains breaking is indescribable.

If you are reading this, I want to make something clear. This is not a get rich quick business. But it is a way for average or even below average people to get ahead in life. Neither my wife or I came from money. I grew up lower middle class. I was the first in my family to go to college and at graduation I owed the government and Wells Fargo over $65,000 and I had a sub par education making less than 30k/year.

Put together a plan, Join REIA, Commit, Succeed

You can do this.

I will try to get some pictures up here later.

@Theresa Harris

We are building a nice little nest egg from our newly found financial freedom. We have a number we want to hit in the next few months and from there we will be buying our first rental multi. After that, we will continue to develop our portfolio so I can become a stay at home dad.

@Joan Defenbaugh

Age is a number. In my opinion it's an asset. Your life experiences will help you in this journey. I personally couldn't sit idley by knowing this method to wealth was just sitting here. I have told people that of I didn't continue to rehab or rent or flip, that it would be one of the biggest regrets in my life.

@Joan Defenbaugh

It’s never too late. People make their greatest leaps forward after 50. Learning and progressing is all part of life. You have skills someone else needs and they will help you succeed. This business like all businesses are built on relationships.

I used a total of 2 contractors. One of which took me for over 3k. (but now, even my lawn guy signs an agreement) The lessons learned from this house will guide me for the rest of my life.

@Joshua Herland could you elaborate on this? What type of terms do you have them agree to and how did the one take advantage? Thanks for sharing your experience

@Joshua Herald

Wow man, that is a great story! I’m sure it was crazy at times, but that all sounds so exciting and fun to me. Getting to flip a house, becoming a landlord, learning and grown in the job, and most exciting PAYING OFF THOSE STUDENT LOANS!!!

Looking forward to seeing some before and after photos if you got them.

Fantastic story. I hope it inspires others. Congratulations, and I hope you share with us your next success story, which I'm sure will take much less time than your first one.

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