Aspirations of A Young Investor Wannabe

15 Replies

Hello BP!

My name is Raquel. I'm 21 years old and currently studying economics in college and debating if I really want to transfer to UC Berkeley to pursue my degree. I'm worried about incurring student debt and ultimately holding back my RE goals. I know this is a very gray area, but advice from those with experience would help me immensely in my journey. Laziness does not play into my hesitation of pursuing a degree. I have a 4.0 GPA, am co-president of the Architecture club, and I thoroughly enjoy the process of learning and interacting with my peers. Sometimes I just get this gut feeling that I need to dive head-first into what has been calling me for years...

Let me tell you a bit about my goals! First of all, I have had a passion for real estate since I was about 10 years old, when I began searching Trulia and Zillow to study and "plan" my future investments. I am currently building my credit while living in a four bedroom home where I rent out 3 of the rooms through AirBnB. The rent is now completely covered and I have positive cash flow coming in.

Now that I am living rent free, I've enrolled in real estate classes and plan on getting licensed in order to learn all I can about the housing market here in West Oakland, as well as to build relationships with others in the RE fields. I have also been spending a lot of time on BP listening to podcasts and reading through the forums, which is amazing!

My plan of action is to continue building my credit and experience as a realtor, and to use RE wholesaling to build the initial funds needed to invest in my first multi-family home. Then I will use the BRRRR method (Buy, Rehab, Refinance, Rent out, Repeat) to continue building my portfolio. I'm just not sure where a college degree comes into play.

I appreciate any and all advice. Hopefully soon I will be able to return the favor and offer some of my very own advice!

All the best,

Raquel Pea

Welcome. 

UC Berkeley was an amazing experience. Comparing notes with folks that went to other schools confirms this for me whenever it comes up. I can't decide for you if it is worth it or not. I was there post-Occupy and pre-BLM, so I guess I missed part of the experience (the cause du dour part) however.

I've heard of folks getting involved in RE early, as you have. There's also the whole "get your RE license and do rentals for fellow college kids" route. 

Summer internships in the offices of real estate and/or mortgage firms wouldn't be a horrible idea. You would learn to sell in the RE office, and learn to apply math to real estate analysis in the mortgage broker's office. Some of us actually use algebra on a daily basis, believe it or not. (No offense to escrow officers, but I don't think you'd learn much in one of those offices...)

Awesome to hear about your story and goals!!! I've just gotten into real estate investing am am just trying to find my niche and after listening to the podcast, I think it might be wholesaling. Can't wait to follow your journey and see where RE takes you!!! Oh, and nice to meet you :)

@Raquel Pea it is tough for anyone to say what you should or shouldn't do but from the way you are describing your situation it sounds like you are getting a degree in economics with the goal of owning real estate.  College is a kick start to a career >a career is a great way to build capital> capital and steady employment is crucial for acquiring a loan.  Without college can you find employment that will cover a mortgage?  Unless you plan to sell a large quantity of real estate and become a professional agent/ wholesaler you will need to establish income, college may provide that rout for you.

On the other hand I have a 4 year degree, I think college was a joke, and my college experience played no part in what I do today nor was college every a stepping stone for me. I believe you pay more for less to receive education from people who in many cases have no real life experience. Its safe to say I learned a heck of a lot more failing a start up company then getting a 3.2 gpa in college. I learned to fall up which brought me to REI, oddly enough every time I fell I never received an "F" I just got up and continued on.

Stay active on BP and create a plan is the best advice I can give you. Figure out the steps of acquiring property and make a plan that suites that goal. You may find a solution to REI that gets you what you want without needing a steady income. You may want to acquire property through standard practice which will likely require you to have a job that qualifies you for a mortgage. Make a plan!

@Chris Mason Thank you for the advice. I keep hearing that Berkeley is an amazing experience, so I don't want to brush it off quite yet!

I am getting in touch with some realtors around the East Bay that I'd like to shadow - a great way to learn the marketing and sales side of things...

See you around the forums! 

@Corwin Hernandez Good hearing from you. :) And yes, wholesaling does sound very attractive. The only issue for me is it's legality. It seems that when done properly, wholesaling is completely legal. So it will just be a matter of studying up on good practice and all the specificities of legal wholesaling. See you around!

@Shawn M. Hi Shawn!

I should have made it clear that I was weighing out the options between two sides. The first is getting my degree in economics to provide me with a stable career and income. This would fund "non-creative" investments, such as qualifying for a loan and then finding renters.

The second side entails putting my degree aside while investing myself 100% into developing as a realtor, building my network and skills, and learning how to creatively invest with JV partners, owner financing, subject to, and lease option.

I know it isn't easy, and maybe even more financially difficult for a realtor, but realty is directly tied to my goals, and that's really appealing! Plus, I like your idea of falling up. Maybe I will learn more through the struggle of learning from my failures than I would taking the safe route..

Any thoughts? :)

@Raquel Pea welcome! Congrats on your success so far. Like @Chris M. mentioned, Berkeley is an amazing place and for undergrad I loved it.

It sounds like you have the drive and determination to make things work. My personal two cents are don't think about it as student debt vs. jumping in full-time. You would be surprised at what you can achieve when you really want things. Once you are licensed you could easily work in RE and go to school and make it work (especially if you are active and smart enough to not be paying rent like you are)! You might not be dedicating all of your resources at once, but likely it is a short amount of time in the scheme of things.

I will say that Berkeley has only opened up doors for me. Although I, like you, knew I wanted to invest in RE at a very young age, I do not regret waiting until after school.

Originally posted by @Raquel Pea :

@Shawn M. Hi Shawn!

I should have made it clear that I was weighing out the options between two sides. The first is getting my degree in economics to provide me with a stable career and income. This would fund "non-creative" investments, such as qualifying for a loan and then finding renters.

The second side entails putting my degree aside while investing myself 100% into developing as a realtor, building my network and skills, and learning how to creatively invest with JV partners, owner financing, subject to, and lease option.

I know it isn't easy, and maybe even more financially difficult for a realtor, but realty is directly tied to my goals, and that's really appealing! Plus, I like your idea of falling up. Maybe I will learn more through the struggle of learning from my failures than I would taking the safe route..

Any thoughts? :)

 My 2cents:  get the degree.  Don't wait, go for it.  You can do both in a balanced approach.  While getting your degree, try to hook-up with a good patient broker that you can work with while working toward your degree.  You can earn decent referral income too which can be a good source of additional income - i get a decent portion of leasing income just from people referring friends to me that they want to lease a space in a retail center (I do commercial leasing too).  Just need a name and a phone #.  And that can supplement your r/e experience and since you will want referrals once you go full-bore into r/e you will have seen both sides of the equation (referrals are leads generation).  

@Raquel Pea Wow! Very impressive so far. Looks like you're off to a great start in what will be a very good career field for you. You have the passion and commitment of a person being called to the priesthood from what I'm gleaning.

The only advice I can offer up about continuing your formal education is that the college experience is a time for grooming, maturing and becoming a more sophisticated and informed contributor to society. It's not a guarantee for success but it's a good start.

It's like I told my two sons who wanted to follow in their Dad's footsteps by becoming a general contractor. They always put up the argument that they were going to be working with their hands and didn't need college while Dad always replied "then you'll be very well educated general contractors". 

Getting a college education was not negotiable in our family. It was either that or the military or a trade school. But if you have the means and the wherewithal education beyond high school is extremely important unless you're a trust fund baby or suffering from a physical or mental disorder. But even at that look what Stephen Hawking has accomplished.

You're very lucky to even be considered for one of the best colleges in the World. So many young folks would give their eye teeth for that opportunity. Consider yourself a very fortunate young lady and keep moving that ball down the field and over the goal line. You won't be sorry.

My two cents - get your degree while continuing to pursue your interest in RE.  A college degree has nearly become a necessity in today's business world and will serve you proudly and greatly in your future endeavors, whether or not the job requires a college degree.

By the way, what year are you in--freshman, sophomore, junior?

I love the ideas posted here; they're terrific: job shadowing, summer internships, continuing to pursue your RE interests (just as you have been) while enrolled in college. Sounds like a solid plan for a bright future.

Originally posted by @Mary Ann Casey:

My two cents - get your degree while continuing to pursue your interest in RE.  A college degree has nearly become a necessity in today's business world and will serve you proudly and greatly in your future endeavors, whether or not the job requires a college degree.

By the way, what year are you in--freshman, sophomore, junior?

I love the ideas posted here; they're terrific: job shadowing, summer internships, continuing to pursue your RE interests (just as you have been) while enrolled in college. Sounds like a solid plan for a bright future.

Leap, and the net shall appear.

Originally posted by @Mary Ann Casey:
Originally posted by @Mary Ann Casey:

My two cents - get your degree while continuing to pursue your interest in RE.  A college degree has nearly become a necessity in today's business world and will serve you proudly and greatly in your future endeavors, whether or not the job requires a college degree.

By the way, what year are you in--freshman, sophomore, junior?

I love the ideas posted here; they're terrific: job shadowing, summer internships, continuing to pursue your RE interests (just as you have been) while enrolled in college. Sounds like a solid plan for a bright future.

"Leap, and the net will appear." (John Burroughs)

Are you married?  lol Seriously though go meet a husband. (At Berkeley maybe I should just say significant other and let you decide the sex)

Get your degree.  I've been on both the corporate and entrepreneurial sides of real estate.  A degree from a top school is a pre-rec to get in the door at any of the funds, REITs, etc.  I can tell you that also when raising capital having that degree is a big help.  

Don't worry about the debt part of it.  College loans are pay as you earn for the most part now.  APPLY FOR AS MUCH SUPPORT AS YOU CAN!  

With all of that being said I'm a college drop out.  So that I don't have to type it all again link is below:

http://www.businessinsider.com/james-paine-west-realty-advisors-2015-3

Thank you to everyone who has lended me advice! @Ryan Landis @Brian Serina @John Arendsen @Mary Ann Casey @James Paine  

It seems there is a general consensus, and I've taken it to heart. I will be continuing into Berkeley to obtain my degree while balancing my RE education and mentorship. Thank you guys for the extra push and foresight!

Immensely appreciated,

~ Raquel Pea

P.S. @Mary Ann Casey Soon to be a Junior!

@James Paine Not married yet, a tad bit too soon for me. Haha Maybe after Berkeley!

@Raquel Pea ,

Welcome to BP! You hit a bunch of my keywords, so I thought I'd hop in and say hello. I invest in the East Bay. Sounds like you're in West Oakland.. I own a duplex with another BP member around 32nd & Chestnut, along with some other Oakland and Richmond properties. I also do Airbnb rentals and some other stuff. So we have some in common.. Although I'm practically an old man compared to you, at 31!

You talked about your real estate goals. But what are your life goals? Why are you in real estate? What is the end goal? Just love real estate and want to make deals and rehab properties all day? Travel the world? Manage/own a brokerage and/or RE investment company? Those goals might add to the school vs RE discussion. My goal getting started was to be able to wake up when I want and wear flip flops. And I love traveling. So I created a bunch of cash flow to free me from my job - through a combination of W2 supporting RE, until I could break free. What do you think best gets you to your life goals?

Quitting the w2 this year to travel on my RE income, and my best advice would be to buy when the economy is not doing well! (and don't waste your money on stuff and things!!). Besides that, I love FHA loans for 2-4 unit properties - especially in the Bay. (Hopefully 4plex prices in good Oakland areas will drop back below $1.2MM in the next downturn). My w2 job after college definitely helped make that happen. But I didn't know about real estate then what I know now, so you're many steps ahead of me when I was 21. I got my last 2 deals done without needing bank financing or a w2. So not required if you find good deals and people.

I got my degree in econ and minor in finance at SFSU and met a lot of great people - but I bet you would meet a lot of even more important and meaningful connections at Berkeley, especially with your networking interest, if you chose to do so. (btw, I ended up doing a great master lease deal with the cousin of a friend that originally developed from tutoring econ in college - with the deal coming years later). Education isn't just about education. If you're good at networking though, I'm sure you'll do great either way, whatever you decide.

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