How did YOU buy your first 10 rentals?

25 Replies

First, how many rentals do you currently own?

Second, how did you acquire each of your first 10 rentals?

Third, how long did it take you to get your first 10?

You don't have to give a blow-by-blow account, but maybe a broad overview like first 4 were conforming mortgages, second 2 were sub2 deals, next 3 were bought using a line of credit against the first 4..etc.


first 10 had mortgages, conventional.

one of them i believe was borrow money from family to get it cash since we could not get a loan.

More than 10.

Very carelessly.

Not very long.

It was in early 70's and FHA loans were simple assumption and values were going up 20% per year. Assume a loan with less than 5% down and 20% per year caused a mushroom effect on net worth. Different and slightly more difficult now. Is still accomplished these days, just different strategy.


I like this thread and have similar questions. I have 2 properties and want to cash out refinance this summer. Is anybody having problems with that? What kind of terms is everyone getting For what kind of properties?

I wish I could get to 10. But it's slow going.

I like this thread. I don't have 10 unfortunately... but 10 will likely be the "I made it" amount. I currently have 2 duplexes. Both purchased conventionally. Hoping to purchase with better financing options next time. 

We have a boatload(it seems)

We got the first 3 paid for, and then leveraged them to buy more. First with 6 HELOC's and then a commercial Line of credit.

Got to 10 in a little under 2 years.

2 keys:


cheap houses

10 rentals

1st was owner occ triplex - fixed up and moved out- kept as rental

all others -living way below my means- buy with hard money to acquire and rehab - rent - rate & term refi- conventional money.

One thing my wife and I did was - finance one in my name, then one in hers, then mine, etc. This allows us both to go to ten financed properties, using the same reserves required.

13 with 14 under contract. 

1 was conventional loan. The other 12 portfolio loans. All bought from mls. 

Started Dec 2010 and bought my last February 2015. 

More than 10 rentals.

All using portfolio loans.

Took a couple of years.

12 Single family rentals

Mix of loans and strategies.  Once we turned on direct marketing, it took just a couple of mailings to get a bunch of properties.  We fixed and rented, or fixed and sold most of those. Right before the Big Crash, we sold off felt frothy in our market and we wanted out.

From 2012 to now we have been buying and holding, with 20-25% down, so it is taking longer to acquire.  We're also raising 3 kids so excess cash finds its way into their bellies and pockets, LOL. 
1. OO 3/2 SFR conventional loan, lived in while fixing, then sold.
2. OO 4/3 SFR, occupied, then rented, sold to tenants.
3. NOO 3/2 SFR, conventional, fixer, then rental. Sold.
4. NOO 3/2 SFR, probate, conventional loan, rented and later sold to tenants.
5. NOO 3/2 condo, borrowed from my mom.  Fixed, rented, sold...had to f/c on buyer. Fixed and sold again.
6. NOO 3/2 SFR, the owner carried the note.
7. NOO 2/2 SFR, fix and flip.
8. NOO 3/2 SFR, sub2, fix and flip.
9. NOO 3/2 SFR, sub2, fix and flip.
10. NOO 3/2 SFR, sub2, fix and flip.
11. OO SFR 4/3. Lived in while fixing, sold.
12. NOO SFR 3/2. Flipped.
13.NOO 3/2 SFR. Sub2, fix and flip.
14. OO 4/3 SFR, conventional. Sold.
15. NOO turn key rental, conventional.
16. NOO turn key rental, conventional.
17. NOO turn key rental, conventional.
18. OO 4/3, VA.
19. NOO turn key rental 2/2, conventional.

20 Properties Total

16 SFR

4 Duplexes

Paid cash for the first property

Portfolio loans for the rest

I have credit line secured by the 1st one that I paid cash for

The bank also gave me a fairly large unsecured line of credit

Both credit lines allow me to purchase properties for "cash" for quick closes

It took me about 18 months to get to 10 and about 3 years to get to 20

3 years to hit my first 10 properties.  It took for 4 conventional loans and 6 portfolio loans.  Keeping the W2 income was key.


I have a dozen properties right now, and have sold more than that. The first couple years, I'd sell 2 and keep 1 to build cash flow. By the third year, it was 1:1 and I pretty much keep it there. I'm accelerating my pace this year, though.

I started by forming an LLC, getting a small guidance line with a local bank, and have kept increasing my business with them ever since. Have always done commercial loans with a portfolio lender.

More than 10

Mix of foreclosure courthouse step purchases and leads through local broker, sometimes including MLS REO listings

Less than a year

I will weigh in because seems like my strategy was different than most.  Instead of using debt, I use OPM, or at least I did back when I could offer investors strong cash flow in 2011.  I am not using that strategy anymore, but it is how I got to 10 in less than a year, although had to give some ownership away obviously as acquired thru partnerships.  

@Travis Sperr Was your wife employed?  I'm guessing so since Freddie/Fannie wouldn't loan to someone who doesn't have a W2.  Awesome strategy by the way!  Does this mean you were able to get 20 Fannie/Freddie loans between the two of you?

Bought #1 in 2004 as a home that became a rental - traditional mortgage

#2 in 2012 - traditional mortgage

#3 in 2014 - traditional mortgage

#4 in 2015 - traditional mortgage

Looking to buy #5 in 2-3 months - this will be a combo of 401k loan for the down payment and traditional mortgage

Our purchases have sped up as I learned more, got more comfortable and got more income coming in to support it all.

@Russ Beck My wife is employed w2 makes a good salary. It doesn't take much when disciplined. Even our primary is only in her name, she reminds me regularly!  20 was the goal at one point, and we are able to because of the structure, but recently moved to using the cash flow to payoff our rentals. Pricing got to a point where the returns are not what we are looking for. 

This is a great thread!  I'm not at 10 yet...

I currently own 5 properties, with 4 offers submitted

First property, SFR, purchased in 2007 as owner-occupied (OO) with conventional financing. 2nd property, SFR, purchased as OO in 2009 with VA loan. Third property, SFR, purchased as OO in 2013 with VA loan. 4th and 5th properties, both 4-plexes, purchased in 2014 with conventional financing. My next 5 purchases will be with conventional financing, which will being me to ten properties probably by the end of year. So short answer: ~ 8 years. I will then move on to portfolio/private lending as purchasing accelerates. Giddy up!

I used money

Originally posted by @Nicole Jones :

I like this thread. I don't have 10 unfortunately... but 10 will likely be the "I made it" amount. I currently have 2 duplexes. Both purchased conventionally. Hoping to purchase with better financing options next time. 


you sound like my realtor who also buys houses... she thinks that her and her husband can retire when they hit 8 houses.

@George P. Ahh.. I didn't say anything about early retirement :) nor did I say that would be the end. I just merely said that would be the "I made it" amount :)  But thank you for the comparison. 

Threads like these should state the value of the home and what they cash flow for or what you made on the flips. Buying 10 shacks is not impressive to me nor is owning 10 homes that cash flow $100 a month. 


Mostly seller-financed multi-families from older tired landlords 2003-2005.  The single-families my wife and I have always bought individually.  Haven't bought or borrowed since 2011. No credit cards or non-RE loans of any kind. Paying things off and enjoying the serenity!  

All with portfolio loans... what kind of terms (rate/years) are you getting? I'm going crazy about explaining every tedious little transaction in my accounts when getting a conventional loan, is it worth it?

@Nicole Jones Beware of talk like "10 will likely be the "I made it" amount". Don't just think of tomorrow appreciate today. The bar will inevitably move to 15-20-50...and you will never be happy.

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