I’m a long-time video game programmer out of Seattle (more specifically Kirkland). I started with a (now failed) game company and remained in the industry for well over twenty years. There’s definitely been good and bad times.
Only recently, though, have I had a well-enough paying job that’s let me build up something beyond my 401k contributions. Granted, I’ve dabbled in stocks and mutual funds for a very long time. The stocks have been mostly failures, though, with one surprising success, while mutual funds have mostly gone nowhere.
Though I’m not looking to get rich fast, I’ve found typical investing strategies to be painfully slow. In many cases they’ve been worse than just leaving money in cash. Ultimately, I feel lied to, though not as much as watching so many older friends and family fail and fall into bankruptcy. I don’t want that future.
I’ve owned a condo here in Kirkland for almost a decade now. That’s been a hard ride. It’s taught me in the future to have (a) all the insurance possible and (b) avoid HOAs. It’s also taught me that my home is NOT an asset. A house is more like a bank account that takes 2/3 of my deposit up front. It’s gone up a little in value, sure, but so has everywhere else. It isn’t like I’m going to give it up and live nowhere.
For a while I rented it out while I was living elsewhere. That was a mixed experience, too. While I ‘made’ a decent chunk, after the mortgage and dues I was probably breaking even. Not to mention how stained they left my carpet. In addition, I realize I made a terrible landlord as I was too nice. If they were having a bad month I’d let them pay less or skip.
Funny enough, it was a book on programming that suggested real estate investment. The author mentioned he’d started buying rental properties and made enough to retire early and write books on programming.
Inspired by that, I started with Rich Dad, Poor Dad a few months back. Then, I started finding books on real estate investing, which I’ve been devouring ever since. You may often find me at the excellent downtown Kirkland library, going through their selection and really focusing on learning.
One thing it’s taught me is that there are a lot of questionable get-rich-quick and no-money-needed schemes out there!
At this point, I’m ready to start researching areas and learning what constitutes a good sustainable deal. And what financing plans to go with. I’m not starting out with nothing, at least, and have great credit after paying off a mortgage for so long.
I’m thinking about the new(ish) Woodinville/Bothell corridor along 527, the less crime-ridden parts of Everett, and Auburn (as friends down there tell me the city is cleaning up its act and crime is shifting out of the area). All of those places I’m decently familiar with, they’re good for commuting, and probably not terribly overpriced.
In addition, I’m thinking I’ll probably start with simple ‘bread and butter’ places. Two bedroom houses that aren’t too run down or complicated.
I know I’ll need to find a good property manager, as I have a long bus commute (Metro!) and zero time during the week. Availability is definitely a wrinkle, but some of the stuff I’ve read inspires me that I can still make it work.
Maybe it sounds like I’ve thought this through a lot. I have, but I’m not dead set on anything yet and still very much in the learning phase. Much like I tell my yoga teachers, there’s no rush. I’ll be happy getting better every week!
With all that out of the way… Hello everybody!
Welcome to BP. Wish you the best of luck. If you ever need assistance with finding properties down in Pierce county, let me know.
Jason - thanks for the post and welcome to BP ..>Dave Skow
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