Single Income Family to Accredited Investors On Firefighter Pay

28 Replies

Would it be too much to say that Brandon Turner and Bigger Pockets helped us thrive in the era of COVID? I don’t think so. We’ve gone from two full-time jobs to one and we’ve become accredited investors almost by accident. But it started years before this virus existed. It started as a hobby. The point of this post is not to brag at what we’ve done; it is to express gratitude to this BP community and network for the education and encouragement it has given us in our journey. It is also to help those struggling to get started to believe that it is possible. If a firefighter and educator can do this, so can you! It takes time and commitment but it is very achievable.

My wife Veronica immigrated to this country at the age of 8 with her family and nothing else. Her parents worked multiple jobs to accomplish their American Dream. She followed the established path to a Master's Degree and a great job as an Assistant Principal in a large high school but she was never home. I am a firefighter and love my job but we never had time together as a family. Real estate is what allowed Veronica to quit her job, increase our net worth, and be home with our kids when they needed to do distanced learning during Covid.

How does BP factor into this? We found the Bigger Pockets Podcast driving down a highway in the deep south during a road trip years ago. I was always interested in real estate but was always discouraged by the horror stories of midnight phone calls and trashed houses that I heard (mainly from people who had never owned rentals). We listened to every episode with this kid talking about sleeping in his Prius while traveling the country on a budget. He was so young and so positive and he was smart! We were probably listening on some antiquated iPod after just discovering what a podcast was - back when Brandon and Josh hosted and Detroit was the big joke. I couldn’t get enough!

Veronica and I got married and turned my Bachelor pad into a rental and had no idea what we were doing. Veronica went along with it because I sold her on how it could help us pay for college for our kids. We literally followed the tenant to the house she was moving out of to use her copier to make duplicates of the lease because we hadn't planned it all out. It's a little embarrassing in retrospect but it also makes me proud that we didn't wait until we knew "everything" and we took action. Well the tenants tore out all the copper wiring like all the naysayers told me they would - JUST KIDDING! The tenant moved out of this house after a year and she left it better than she found it! We were starting to think maybe not all of those horror stories were true.

We started to save money for a down payment with a goal of ten houses in 20 years - before I retired. Another great tenant moved into the bachelor pad and we almost had the money for another down payment. It took three years to be ready to buy house number two! When we finally pulled the trigger, we bought a nice little house that needed basically paint and baseboards and when we were done we thought HGTV would be knocking on our door for a show contract at any minute! They didn’t. We were also, coincidentally, broke as we had scraped together everything we had to make that down payment and pay for the repairs. It had taken three years to accumulate that much money. To let it all roll on one deal was scary to say the least but again we rented this house to great tenants - but we didn’t ask to use their copier!

House Number 2: Paint and baseboards - no HGTV contracts : ( 

A couple more years and a lot of overtime hours and we were ready to buy our third property. We knew this was a real way to wealth; albeit a slow one! We once again got this one rented quickly to another great family. Meanwhile we were listening to Bigger Pockets and reading every book we could find about creative strategies while we were still investing the old boring way - with big down payments. One day Brandon unveils this acronym - "BRRRR". I listened and my mind was blown!

We were talking about what we were doing and how great our tenants were with enthusiasm to anyone who would listen. A couple from church mentioned they would be interested in partnering with us. I couldn't believe it. Private money found us instead of us finding private money. It was actually scary to hear people wanting to invest with us. What did we do next? I did what I do best - talk! I briefly described how private lending works (from what we had heard but not yet done). They said that sounded like exactly what they would be interested in and we showed them the next deal we found. They have now lent us approximately a million dollars and have been paid back with interest on every one of those dollars.

The types of rehabs (including massive foundations) that we would get comfortable with later: (still no HGTV contract) 

In the four years since door number three, we’ve grown to twenty doors now and our next benchmark is 30 doors but the real success story is that Veronica was able to quit her job three years ago and work from home. We were able to buy houses with virtual closings from trailheads in the mountains while we raised kids, spent time together, travelled (about a month a year), and we were prepared when this pandemic appeared. We hunkered down like the rest of the world but we were together. I would bathe in disinfectants and then hug my kids after a shift at the fire station. We grew a garden. We rode horses. We built an off-road trailer and camped in the mountains. We weren’t driving fancy cars but we were together and we were secure. We were living our “why”. This is what it was all for.

We’ve now done flips, owner finance deals, private lending, and our favorite - rentals. Our focus is still rentals. What we accidentally created while pursuing cash flow was net worth. We looked at our financial statement during a re-finance and were shocked to see that we could now easily qualify for accredited investor status by the net worth qualification. I could not believe it! This isn’t the kind of thing you ever expect when you start a career as a firefighter or an educator. That number was powerful but what it represented to me was safety in the midst of chaos. Our life is simple but it’s the life we designed. We aren’t building a massive machine but know that we could if it fit our “why”.

We really hope that this motivates or inspires you. We know there are many who have done more deals and grown faster but we’re very happy with what we have been able to do and it is very much thanks, in part, to the Bigger Pockets podcast, books, and resources. One day we will share our story on the podcast in more detail - we want to inspire others the way we were inspired. And as my Grandaddy always used to say, "keep the main thing, the main thing"!

Wishing you the best,

Will and Veronica Pritchett

My man. This is the coolest post I’ve ever read. Thanks for the shout out and the reminder of my Prius trip 😂 - congrats on your success so far, and for where you’re headed! 

This is awesome!! Definitely an inspiration to many of us on the same path and all it took was a ton of hard work and dedication. Keep killing it!!

@Brandon Turner I am so glad you saw this post! You really have been inspiring on this journey of ours. Keep up the positive encouragement to your audience - it matters. It kept us motivated when things seemed overwhelming. We hope to share our story on the podcast one day. Aloha!

Amazing story @Will Pritchett ! It’s so inspiring to see folks just like me but in steps closer to where I can see light at the end of the tunnel. (Or is it just the start of the tunnel? :) )

So many blog posts about having 400 doors in 2 weeks or 1,000 properties in 48 hours! 😂 I love how REAL and relatable this story is. 

It would rock if you were a guest on the bigger pockets podcast! The relatable podcast episodes are just the best!!


Good luck with your journey and keeping the main thing that main thing!

@Josiah Sia thank you so much! I’m so glad you received value from this post. Sharing what we have learned has been such a rewarding aspect of this business.

The older I get, that faster time flies. So glad I took action in the early days of the BP podcast after years of allowing naysayers to discourage me. It has taken longer that some people’s journey but it also feels like we started yesterday. We’re further now than we ever imagined we’d be.

Time has made some of our mediocre deals look a lot better! Keep the focus and you will attain your goals.

Best of luck,

Will

@Will Pritchett 's story is not only the most relatable, but it shows what hard work and focus produces. Being Frugal is a part of it. Working your butt off is the other part. Will does both. Plus he happens to be a great guy. That always helps!!!

Soon I will be able to say I know someone personally that was on the podcast!!


@Maxine Adorno thank you so much for reading our story. We want to inspire others the way Brandon and Josh and David inspired us. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to tell it at some point in greater detail.

Best,

Will

@Rick Pozos thanks buddy! You’ve been part of our local network since I think we were on door number one! I appreciate your kind words. It definitely takes work and focus but most anyone can do it if they want it bad enough.

You are right about frugality. We certainly don’t live a lavish life but we live a life we love.

I appreciate your support throughout this journey!

Take care,

Will

@Will Pritchett  I’ve had the honor and pleasure to have met Will and Veronica. They’re amazing people with such authenticity and are always willing to help others. Reading this story of y’all’s journey Will is so inspirational. What y’all have accomplished thus far is so amazing and a lot more success to come. I’m looking forward to your episode on BiggerPockets! Keep sharing your life journey, you’re a great writer my friend!

@Gregorio Martinez thank you Buddy! I appreciate your kind words. You guys are doing great things in real estate as well! The most surprising thing to me is how collaborative investors have been - how open to sharing their tools and techniques. I expected it to be a closed group but from our first REIA meeting, people were sharing ideas - which were often over our head back then. We now want to share what we've learned with newer investors.

Thank you for your support and keep up the good work!

Best,

Will

@willpritchett  such a great post!! I’m also firefighter and currently on shift reading this. Thank you for sharing your story and for motivating me to continue on my real estate investment journey. Congratulations on all your accomplishments and stay safe! 

Nate Hawley

@Nate Hawley man, I appreciate the feedback. I absolutely say to stay the course. We’ve grown at our pace. It’s easy to compare to others who are growing faster but we’ve got to keep the focus on our overall goals and why we are doing it. I’m up at five am doing my morning routine at home and at work (if we haven’t been up all night) to keep my focus. It’s great to hear from a fellow firefighter. Best of luck in your endeavors in real estate and firefighting.

Stay safe,

Will

@Will Pritchett Great story and post.  This is great motivation for those of use still in the early stages of this journey.  I am building my portfolio in @Brandon Turner and @Joshua Dorkin favorite location to pick on, Detroit.  Finishing rental number 4 this month and looking for number five.  

I like your story because it seems very reachable from where I am at.

Thank you.

@Will Pritchett Your story is incredible and drives me to push harder. I'm a 21 year old college graduate who is working full-time and learning about investing. Sometimes my friends think it's silly that I work so hard but your stories remind me that the goal is possible.

Thank you so much for sharing.

@Joe S. We're averaging 8-10 percent interest only for the short term money (less than a year) currently. We now have more money available than deals but we always offer the deals to our first lender first for taking the chance on us. If they have other uses for their money, we'll alternate through others. I hope that helps. Thanks for reading our story!

@Michael S. Thanks so much for reading this. I appreciate the feedback on it being reachable. I hoped it may do that for someone. The huge players that syndicate are doing great things too but it seems out of reach or not in line with life goals for some of us. My way doesn't pay for private jets but that wasn't the goal. Keep up the good work. You are over the hump and they will continue to get easier!

Thank you,

Will

@Misael Carlos Vera man, thank you for reading it. If I had had BP at your age I think I could have been so much farther ahead. Congratulations to you for learning at a young age. We love to help younger people see that this is possible. I’m glad it connected for you. Congratulations on the degree too. Education gets a bad rap sometimes lately but I still think it’s a good fit for a lot of people. I went back and finished my bachelors at 30. You’re ahead of the game. Keep your focus and build to YOUR goals, not anyone else’s.

Best of luck,

Will

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