Physician from Oregon trying to work smarter

17 Replies

Hi!  I am a family medicine physician who practices in Portland, OR.  I have been working hard but not as smart for my money.  I am interested in learning ways to use my work ethic to my benefit.  My goals are to use buy and hold properties to provide passive income for myself and my family and stop running on the  hamster wheel that is my office all week long.  I look forward to learning and developing my plan over the next several years.  I would appreciate input on any Portlanders' experience in the buy and hold market right now as well as recommendations on an accountant who won't just tell me to talk to a financial consultant about bonds and stocks and maximize my 401K.  Thanks!

Welcome to BP @Account Closed !

My favorite book recommendation is "The Millionaire Real Estate Investor" by Gary Keller. I follow the net worth model in my REI and you'll find it in that book.

If you join a local REIA and get to know people in the business, you can make friends with people who can really help you put the pieces together and get a good understanding of what's reasonable to expect in your market. You can make some of those connection right here on BP if you use the "Find Members" option under "Network" at the top of this page.

Best of luck to you in your investments!

@Account Closed Welcome to BP. There are a couple of local real estate groups on the Portland area. Both Northwest REIA and Rarebird hold monthly meetings and plan plenty of time to network before and after the meetings. I would recommend that you check then out.

Also, be sure to check out the Resources section on BP, you'll find a lot of material that will help you get started.

@Kristen Carr

An IRA or 401k can be invested in real estate rentals in addition to equities. Essentially the only types of investments that may not be held inside an IRA or a 401k are the following:

  • Artwork,
  • Rugs,
  • Antiques,
  • Metals - with exceptions for certain kinds of bullion,
  • Gems,
  • Stamps,
  • Coins - (but there are exceptions for certain coins),
  • Alcoholic beverages, and
  • Certain other tangible personal property.

@Account Closed

Nobody watches your money better than you. I have found you need to be involved in decisions about your money working for you. Your money needs to work hard for you. 1-2% in CDs won't help- that is lazy money. I do "buy and Hold" and it works because it is tangible, insurance, financialable and easy to understand the risks and rewards unlike stocks and bonds. I use tax advantaged plans including IRAs, 401k, HSAs, and ESAs to invest in properties thus I have my tenants pay for my retirement, health care, and education for grandkids. The tenants go to work to help take care of me and my family. Try to get your investment income to surpass your earned income to start  with and the future will clear up. You sound like you are on the right track-Good luck. 

Welcome to BP!

Some good tips above! Wish I could tell you about your market, but I really can't other than it should be active and as stable as others your size. 

While you may not want to self manage initially, I still suggest you learn the basics of real estate as it is different than other investments. 

If you attend any investment or RE meetings, leave your checkbook at home! You'll probably start a rolling wave of partnership offers, be careful who you jump in with!

There are some good accountants and CPAs here on BP, thanks to technology they really don't need to be down the street, but familiar with your state tax requirements which are usually not difficult. 

Your time is valuable, surround yourself with the best "team" you can. You don't every need to open a guru book! 

I suggest you consider two attorneys, one better skilled in real estate contract law, corporate law, estate planning awareness, another who hammers out evictions and takes care of routine matters. You may find that in one firm, but I prefer specialists.

Look for a good commercial insurance brokerage, you'll be looking at several options for liability protection, use them. 

Get to know the commercial real estate brokers, the specialists in commercial and multi-family, they may or may not be Realtors. Many provide consultation besides sales representation.

Get with you bankers, establish banking relationships with more than one lender, you aren't going to any bank asking for money, you're offering the bank a profitable business relationship, take on the right attitude from day one. That means too, you need to understand the numbers and basic finance. Some things you just can't outsource.

Use your social centers of influence, real estate is a social business. 

Most of all, learn the basics of real estate, it will save and make you money in the long run! 

Good luck :)

Welcome to BiggerPockets, Kristen!

I second Robert's recommendation of The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller. 

A couple of the IRA guys posted above. IRA/401K are important tools, too. Mine have grown faster since I've incorporated real estate into them.

Make time for educating yourself even though you are very busy.  If you look at it from a business perspective, you've been building your income statement, but real estate will allow you to build your balance sheet, which in the long run is more important.  

We're glad you've joined us!

@Account Closed   in our market we don't use attorneys for the items you mentioned.. Good RE broker and our title and escrow companies are all you need for your basic RE transactions. If and when you get into very large and complicated commercial deals development deals etc there are some very good RE attorneys in town. but they are 400 plus an hour.. so for plain Jane stuff your fee's would kill you and its just not necessary.. We also have eviction companies that handle evictions better than most attorneys as that's all they do and charge a flat fee of 600 bucks or so.. that's the way to go.. But with less than 1% vacancy evictions are not as common as the mid west cash flow markets that's for sure.

Thanks for the advice guys!  Since my office is quite literally next door to Lucky Lab - if you go there you may park in my parking lot, I will likely start there.  I have a couple of broker connections but need to see how comfortable they feel with multi family buy and holds.  

I appreciate all the feedback on the 401K/IRA investing also. Not a way that I thought about using those funds. I have to look at my options as far as existing funds and then be smarter with putting future funds in the right place it sounds like. I feel much more confident in the real estate market for long term growth than the stock market so I definitely want to balance my portfolio a little better. I have done some minimal research and will do some more with the many chime ins for that.

@JayHinrichs and @Randy Johnston thanks for your local advice!

@Account Closed   NP  one thing you will notice as you get into RE its very regionalized and the process's are quite different in many states than what we do here on the West coast.

The major one is on the east coast and much of the mid west .. is that attorneys are the norm and the first hint of anything and folks recommend you talk to an attorney.

Were here on the west coast we rarely if ever would talk to an attorney as there just is no need our title and escrow companies are owned and operated by the National title insurers.. Were as in other parts of the country attorneys must prepare certain docs etc and they are agents for the national title insurers..

I do substantial business with both.. and from my experience our title and escrow companies are far more efficient than closing attorney shops I have dealt with...

I had two closings last week were the closing attorneys made Scribner errors that we had to clean up.. That just NEVER happens with our title and escrow companies.. and I now realize why you really have to scrutinize attorney state docs and such..

Great broker   Great escrow officer  and if your getting financing a great mortgage broker ,, along with your GC team is what is needed in Oregon to do business.. and that is were your focus should be... I would also recommend you create a relationship with one of the community banks here in our market.. they are very community oriented   Credet unions as well they will finance deals...


@Jay Hinrichs undefined

I realize the westies are different up there, however, she said multi-family, our DFW attorney is $500 an hr, so what? I'm sure the small specialty shops, the title company, the brokers can iron out most things in houses and small multi family, some 12 unit block. 

I suspect her expectations are above that level, like a 40, 60 unit complex, perhaps 120. Contracts can be 200 pages easily, a Section 42 Tax Credit program for multi family can hit over a thousand pages, no title company or legal eagle office will run a tax credit program through. It requires a good corporate attorney that specializes in larger commercial properties, management compliance and taxation. Paying 20K on a good attorney is better than paying a broker's commission that only, on occasion, gets involved in a larger multi family deal. It's above the head of clerks as well.   

But I agree, we have those options here as well, yes, right here deep in the Ozark hills, LOL :)

@Bill Gulley   at 80 to 100k per door a 40 unit is going to run 3.5 to 4 million.  May be aggressive for someone's first buy in RE  LOL... usually have to work up to those.

Your not going to do tax credit deals in Oregon.. they are snapped up by companies that specialize in that space.. I tried one on the Oregon coast on a 120 unit new build and got shut out.  Now if we were doing a Mello Roos or 1915 act bond issue for a development then yes you need bond council etc etc... I suspect this OP is just looking to buy some rentals a nice 4 plex here will be 350 to 700k ...

But a good commercial broker and escrow and title company will handle 5 million multi deals no problem no attorney needed.

I brokered a 80 unit for 4.5 and a 32 untit last year for 3.1   no attorney in sight LOL.

We had to remove an easement on the 32 units and we just worked with the title company to get it done.  A good commercial broker can read a prelim as well as most folks and if there is a question we take it right to the folks that insure it.. IE the title company in this case Fidelity and if they need to bring in their legal council they can.. But usually legal council for title companies comes in when something has gone wrong..

I guess if you take a complete newbie to real estate and they are buying as you say a very complicated big ticket item  then yes I could see them wanting an attorney to guide them through.. But for what most folks buy IE 1 to 4 units that are financed by local or national banks  attorneys are just not used here.  Not to mention our EM agreements that are used in the RE community have mandatory mediation clauses we don't go to court.. if we have a snit on a deal we go to the meadiator.

@Bill Gulley   Now I did use an attorney 2 weeks ago to read through my G L policy and umbrellas for my 27 homes I just started .. In Oregon we are on the hook for ten years after the C of O.... and even though the subs have insurance and our general does.. we still need it .. and its expensive.. So on expensive insurance policies 50k plus I always send them to my attorney to review and comment..   and the comment was.. they won't insure anything  and have weasel outs all over.. so we bought the least expensive one which will basically pay for litigation costs if we have some doomsday scenario.

Congrats on thinking outside the box @Account Closed !  As a highly taxes (I mean highly compensated) individual, buy and holds offer awesome tax benefits that note investing, flipping, wholesaling, etc do not.  I think you're on the right track!

For an interesting read when you have time (it's not like a novel, you can read in 5 min chunks), check out The Millionaire Next Door. Stanley's 20-yr research about millionaire's was an eye-opener for me.  Most professionals (docs, lawyers, etc) are in the high-consumption UAW (under-accumulators of wealth) camp with no thought  to what is kept.  No thought to the legacy you could potentially leave your family.   Glad you are here!

@Account Closed

Welcome. Your profession should be the source of all the private money you will need.

Locate and attend 3 different local REIA club meetings great place to meet people gather resources and info. Here you will meet wholesalers who provide deals and rehabbers (cash buyers). Find them through Google and

Two Great reads, I bought both J. Scott The Book on Flipping Houses, The Book on Estimating ReHab Costs

You might reach out to Amanda Han she is a real estate CPA and active on BP.

To find out about an area go to search for ARM certified property managers. Call 5 ask them what they see expenses running per category per unit. What do they see them selling for per unit, what is the market occupancy rate. What are the market rents? Ask them if they know anything coming up for sale. Great way to pick up some good info and possibly a deal.

You can also search for the RMP (Residential Management Professional) and MPM (Master Property Manager) certified.

Download BP’s newest book here some good due diligence in Chapter 10. Real Estate Rewind Starting over

Good Luck


Originally posted by @Steve Vaughan :

Congrats on thinking outside the box @Account Closed !  As a highly taxes (I mean highly compensated) individual, buy and holds offer awesome tax benefits that note investing, flipping, wholesaling, etc do not.  I think you're on the right track!

For an interesting read when you have time (it's not like a novel, you can read in 5 min chunks), check out The Millionaire Next Door. Stanley's 20-yr research about millionaire's was an eye-opener for me.  Most professionals (docs, lawyers, etc) are in the high-consumption UAW (under-accumulators of wealth) camp with no thought  to what is kept.  No thought to the legacy you could potentially leave your family.   Glad you are here!

 Couldn't agree any more with Steve's recommendation of the book The Millionaire Next Door. While published sometime in the mid 1990's the numbers in the book may no longer be relevant, without adjusting for inflation, the precepts in this book literally helped me to see what changes I needed to make if I wanted to become a HNW individual.

I studied, read, and re-read this book so many times there was a point in time me I would actually see the day deference in money choices laying out before me in advance of making investment/expenditure choices. Fortunately, it helped me to reach my end goal. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

We hate spam just as much as you