New 30-something in Des Moines, Iowa

11 Replies

Hello BP!

I'm John, a Sales Engineer from Des Moines, Iowa and I'm preparing to find my first deal. My wife and I are finishing up some projects on our current SFH and then we're going to do final financial preparations to be able to jump when we find our deal. We are still debating on House Hacking or trying to find a small MFH that we can use our HELOC as the 20% downpayment. In the meantime, I am getting a feel for the local MFH options.

We've been interested in RE for years, but always thought you needed tens of thousands of dollars sitting in the bank to even start investing. Thanks to BP and learning about different financing options, our eyes have been opened. 

The main reason we'd like to get into RE is to help supplement our income since my wife stays home with our 3 young children. Being a single-income family can be tough financially. Eventually I would like to create enough passive income to allow us to have options we don't have now. I'm blessed to work from home with my current job and that has allowed me to spend more time with my family, but it'd be fun to not worry about our finances as much and be able to take more trips and vacations. (And also to buy motorcycles and a fun car, eventually)

I'm currently addicted to the BP podcasts and listen to them while I drive to customer visits around the state. I've even got my wife listening to some of them when we are in the car together running errands, which is a big step in getting her to have buy-in with our future goals.

For hobbies, I enjoy working on cars and motorcycles. I recently sold my personal vehicle since I have a boring work car, so the only fun cars I get to see are at Cars & Coffee. I'm currently working (slowly) on a Suzuki GS500F streetfighter bike, but house projects take priority over fixing toys. I'm also rebuilding a little 50cc ATV with the kids to attempt to teach them some mechanical skills and the final parts came in last week.

I welcome any advice any locals would have and am excited to be a part of the BP Family. Thank you!

Welcome to BP! You're well on your way by reading everything and anything on here, and listening to every podcast. 

The Des Moines Real Estate meet up is the third Thursdays of every month at Ingersoll Tap in Des Moines, from 6-8 pm. This is very informal. Grab a drink and just talk with people, and make contacts. 

My best advice is to get preapproved for a loan first, get a great real estate agent second ( and make a plan with him/her), and don't be afraid to make offers third. The BP calculators can help you with that last one. 

Thanks Anthony! 

I got on Meetup and have marked some local events to go to. I went to the Iowa REIA meeting back a few weeks ago and didn't see much value in paying for a membership yet. I did tentatively plan to go to the DMRE meeting on the 20th though.

Thank you for the procedural advice. I'll have to talk to my broker about getting pre-approved.

@John Crouthamel Welcome to BP family! Sounds like you're on the right track towards your financial freedom. While you're getting educated and plan on buying your MFH property, start building your team. In addition to have a loan officer, or broker, you will need to add to your team at a minimum such experts as GC's, insurance brokers, home inspectors, CPA, attorney. 

Best of luck to you and your wife!

Thank you much everyone for the warm welcome! I appreciate all the advice and will keep absorbing as much information as possible as we finish up projects here and prepare our finances.

@Alina Trigub Luckily my wife's father is a GC, we have solid insurance and mortgage brokers, and an amazing CPA. We at least know of one Inspector in town we won't be using and also will need to find an attorney.

@Lane Kawaoka Ankeny is especially growing like crazy. Should be a solid area with all the growth it's been seeing for the last few years.

Welcome, John! Sounds like you have a solid plan for your real estate investment journey. So glad you've already plugged into the Bigger Pockets podcast - that was a huge source of education for me when I first started.

You mentioned that you had solid mortgage brokers lined up, but if I could add from experience...I would recommend that you talk to multiple lenders (banks, mortgage brokers, credit unions, etc.) My husband and I found that checking outside our usual circle of family bankers and big name mortgage companies ended up saving a lot of money on fees and rates. We were surprised how much price / term shopping saved us on each deal.  

Best of luck to you and I look forward to following your journey!

Hey John, welcome! I just had to read your post to my wife and we both laughed because you must be my brother from another mother. We're currently working on some minor TLC on our personal residence and are going to look into using a HELOC to fund our first flip. My wife works a job she loves and I'm a stay at home dad; 3 kids with #4 due any day now. We're also a single income family and are going to get into RE out of necessity - the most pressing situation being that I haven't driven a stick shift car in about 6 years since I sold my 944 Turbo before we got married. WORST decision EVER!! If I had started RE long ago, we would be so much farther ahead!

Best of luck to you! Don't give up. Your situation can motivate so many people here on BP. I look forward to seeing your progress.


@John Crouthamel welcome to the forum. Des Moines area is awesome. What do you do for sales? I covered Iowa as a sales engineer for 5 years (technically still do...). Definately go to the Thursday meet up on Ingersoll. I do not make many anymore but still very beneficial. 

@Luke Aubut I'm glad you got a kick out of it. Congrats on #4! And you have got to have a fun car/motorcycle in your life! I had to sell my old beloved Subaru since I have a work vehicle now. At least once you get things going with your REI, you can have some expendable income to get another fun car someday. I'm rebuilding a cheap motorcycle to try to get my speed fix. I personally feel so far behind the curve career-wise since I spent 8 years in school to get two bachelors degrees. Worked in the Finance industry for awhile back in 09-12, but that was a bust since Des Moines is a saturated market for business degrees. My goal at 30, was just to start a Real Job, aka an Engineering job. BUT, we need not focus on how far behind we might be to some star 20-somethings. We need to focus on building sustainable passive income to help us retire (if we so choose) before we're 50, right?! Thanks for posting Luke!

@Jedd Braunwarth I just started about 7 months ago as a Sales Engineer for NTN Bearing. I primarily take care of the John Deere accounts since I'm a former JD employee and understand how they work. I'm hoping to make the next Ingersoll meeting if it works out with the Family Schedule. Thank you for the recommendation. 

@Lane Kawaoka I'd be interested in hearing about your Ankeny purchase. I also own in Ankeny, and live here, and my new LLC w/partners are looking for more Ankeny properties. Can you either reply or DM me about your purchase? Do you own more in the area?

@John Crouthamel  Hey man, I'm 49 years old and almost starting over! Still looking at that early retirement. Of course, I'm also a 23 year employee of the federal government. Started over with real estate over a year ago after a divorce 5 years ago. The best time to get that first real estate property was yesterday. The second best time is today!

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