Merchant Mariner, NW Montana and Greensboro N.C.

6 Replies


My name is Dustin Beck. I am new to real estate investing and heard about Bigger Pockets through a friend. I recently graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and currently sail as a 3rd Assistant Engineer in the Maritime Industry.  I spend on average between 7 and 8 months on a ship at a time, and am out to sea most of the that time. When I am not working I spend my time in NW Montana and Greensboro N.C. 

Now, that I graduated, have a job and making money, I am starting to think about my future in the long term, and where I want to be in 20+ years. I personally feel more comfortable investing in real estate because it is more real and tangible then the stock market.

I am currently trying to establish the step-by-stop process to purchase my first rental property. I realize there is more than one way to accomplish this and many variables involved, consequently I am searching for the formula that works best for me!

Any help, tips or comments are much appreciated. Thank you!

Hey Dustin, welcome to Bigger Pockets.  I highly recommend the podcast, they keep you learning and keep you excited.  And other then that just save save save your money so when an opportunity comes along you are ready to pull the trigger.

Dude.  You have no idea how exciting that sounds!  Well, maybe you do... and the fact that you're thinking about the smartest investment choice out therre at your age is even more exciting.  

Rob Sasser is right, save some cash, (which will obviously not be hard to do, out on the ship!!) and listen to ALL the BP podcasts and read the blogs and forums.  There is literally a college course, if not a degree in all that.  there's over 140 hours of blogs, ALL fascinating, with exceptional guests, etc.  And Josh and Brandon are so good about stopping these world class experts whenever they introduce even a slightly advanced term, and have them explain it for anyone who might not yet know the jargon.   So download those before shipping off,, buy the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, and you'll have a ton of knowledge when you come back with cash in hand, ready to start getting wealthy!  

what I, personally would do if I were you?  is find your favorite place in the world (maybe best to start in the USA- though once you have mastered the skills, there are some SICK deals around the world that you might have easy access to abroad), if you can live anywhere and just report to your port of departure.  I assume you'd like to have a home somewhere that you come back to.  If that would be in a nice place where other people like to vacation, I'd find a great house and contact Vacation Rentals By Owner to see about having them manage and short term rent your house while you're gone.  You could have a secure place in the house where you lock up your personal effects.  

Your strategy could be to buy one of these in different climate zones, depending on what time of year you'll be home.  Maybe one at Big Sky for skiiing, one in San Diego or a seaside place, one on Flathead lake!!, a condo in your favorite City!  live like a rock star while your mortgage is getting paid by VRBO, and your housing is free, and in fact paying you a solid dividend with which to buy more properties.   you get the idea.  

The key to this, too, is that you, buying the property as your primary residence, can put little money down, so your return on your cash is astronomical!  The rest of us have to put down 25% to 30% to buy investment properties, while you could easily do 5% to 10%...

In the place you want to start, interview a bunch of Realtors to find a hard working, honest person who REALLY knows the market, and more importantly, someone you feel really comfortable with.  Depending on where you are, it may take a little time to find the right one.  They can walk you through the process of Buying.  That's easy.  They can also send you to a few Lenders to interview and see who you like, who you want WORKING FOR YOU.

Depending on how much time you have when you're home, you could get into flipping houses as a way to build wealth.  Good to have a mentor and have read up on it, but it can be fun and satisfying.  Those properties you can either fix and flip or fix up and hold them long term.  

Network network network.  If your town has a Real Estate Investment Association, go there and meet everyone.  

Good luck! 


Thank you very much for the kind words and great advice. I look forward to becoming part of BP community and reaping the benefits as well as paying it back when I can. Again, thanks for the warm introduction and advice, it is much appreciated.

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