Years ago when I was single I lived in a neighborhood full of duplexes. The whole subdivision was for single people. Everyone rented by the room. I lived there for a couple of years. There was an empty lot at the end of one of the cul-de-sacs. It dawned on me one day that I should find out who owned that vacant lot. So I did. It was an elderly gentleman and the phone call went like this: Hello sir. My name is Eric and I live in the subdivision where your vacant lot is located. Would you be interested in selling it? He said, uhhh, ya sure, hell, I'll sell it. And just like that I bought a lot. Here's the thing. I HAD NO MONEY. But I was a licensed general contractor and I knew how to build houses. At that time I was partners with a good friend and we walked into a local bank and applied for a construction loan. We needed a loan for $250,000 and we didn't think we had a prayer. We were sure the bank would laugh at us. We didn't have a clue what the hell we were doing. The bank didn't either because they gave us the loan. That was one stupid banker! I still remember closing and giving Mr. Banker out first invoice to pay for the lot and building permit. We walked out a few minutes later with 2 checks. I couldn't believe it. Our construction loan was for 9 months. We built the duplex and had it rented to 10 single girls in 4 months. This duplex had 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, a 1 bedroom apt. in the basement and a 2 car garage. . .on each side. Ya that's right, it was an unofficial 4 plex. My partner and I moved into the basement and had 10 single ladies living above us. Oh, we also had a 12 person hot tub on the deck out back. Life was good. We still had 5 months on our construction loan and we collected rent for 5 months and stuffed it into our pockets. Not to mention we paid ourselves about $25k each from the construction loan. And lived in the basement for free. No, we didn't work any trades with the ladies upstairs. I've been asked that a million times. As our 9 months came to an end we went to see Mr. Banker about a 30 year loan. Our numbers were solid. We were bringing in $2,600 a month in rent. Keep in mind we weren't collecting any rent from the basements. Our mortgage would have been around $1,700 PITI. This was a no brainer. And guess what Mr. Banker said? He said NO!! We couldn't believe it. This was the same guy dumb enough to give us a construction loan. So we took our deal to 5 or 6 other banks and they all said NO! So we said ok, to hell with you bankers and hired a Realtor and listed the duplex for $359,900. It took 3 months to sell and close and all that stuff. We sold it for $359,900. Those 3 months Mr. Banker was screaming at us to get his construction loan paid off. We just collected 3 more months of rent and then each of us walked out of closing with a check for $42,000. Try doing this today. Bankers hands are so tied up by the Feds they can't make a decision without congressional approval. And don't ever mention "sweat equity" these days. That's grounds for immediate loan rejection and being physically removed from the bank by armed guards. Sorry, had to rant a little bit. Anyway, that's my story of my first ever Real Estate deal. It was a sweet one.
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