Local Investor - Sharing my Story and Looking To Hear Yours!

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Hey, thanks for stopping and clicking on my post! My name is Sawyer and I truly believe that RE is more of a people business than it is an asset business. That's why I’m grateful to connect with anyone on here who is open to exchanging ideas, wisdom, lessons, ect from their experiences in the expansive industry we have come to know and love. You truly never know how someone you meet whether it be through a social forum or at a bar, is going to change the dynamic of your business and/or life.

Anyways, my passion for real estate investing began in sort of a bizarre way; it more or less blossomed out of the experience I had suing my college landlord. That story is intensely long, and I've already had to delete it twice while writing this post, so as a means not to bore you all to sleep, I'm going to leave that part out. The shortened version is this--college slumlord fools dumb college kids to pay an exuberant amount per person as a security deposit, landlord does not return said security deposit regardless of the condition of the property and video/photo evidence we have, we sue him...battle him in court for 13 months, we win in small claims court representing ourselves and garnish his bank account. 

Normally the above would steer most people clear of real estate investing and develop the perspective that ALL investors are just cheap-bastards looking to make a buck, but I more-so developed the mindset that "hey, if I can take down a slumlord like this and teach him a lesson maybe I can prove that there is a proper and dignified way to invest". I didn't want anyone else to experience that and ever since then I wanted to develop myself, grow my wealth and real estate knowledge so I could do it the RIGHT way treating people with respect and fairness. 

Flash-forward 4 years into the future and I've finally started to gain some momentum. As we've all learned from BP, Real Estate is a long-term play, not a get rich quick scheme. Over the past several years, I have worked business development for Marcus & Millichap, acquisitions for a real estate developer known as Relief Properties, and been an Underwriter for a hard money lender called Fund That Flip. During my years of employment I allowed myself to learn many facets of the industry, including real estate sales/marketing, acquisitions, raising money, project management and real estate analysis/underwriting. In the back of my mind while working for each person, I always knew in my heart working for someone else just wasn't going to cut it for me. So...I decided over those same years to apply those skills I was developing my own business. 

I began acquiring my own properties, with my first one being an FHA house hack where I rented rooms in the house to pay my mortgage. I learned construction and how to renovate through doing the work on my first two properties and ended up selling them each for over a $30K profit after all carrying/holding costs. I started to realize how lucrative, process oriented, scaleable, and fun this business could be. I launched my business this year at the beginning of 2020 called American Freedom Homes and went ALL IN. I'm currently and happily self-employed, have 3 new projects on the books and looking to scale up!

Over the next several years I aim to continue growing and pivoting into developing a massive rental portfolio of extremely well-constructed rentals with excellent processes in place that provide tenants the highest quality of living. 

IF....you took the time to read any of this, I just want to say "thank you" and if you're open to sharing your story and/or would like to connect/work together now or in the future please leave a comment below!

I look forward to hearing from all of you!

Hi! Thanks for the post!  I too am in Cleveland Ohio.  I am very focused on buying an existing Residential Assisted Living business or a home to be converted.  I have done flips in the past but no rentals as of today.  Are you in any local REIAs?


Hey @Ann Shanley , thanks for replying! That's a pretty interesting niche to get into, assisted livings. What got you inclined to search for that type of asset class? And as of now I am not in a local REIA, but I intend to get more involved, do you have any suggestions?

Hey @Sawyer Dina , I enjoyed reading about your REI journey. Sounds very similar to my situation as well (not the lawsuit though lol). You are a bit farther on your journey than I am. I got interested in RE in college when I majored in finance. As I looked into RE, it was something that truly seems to click with me, and I have been gradually educating myself over time. After graduating college, I eventually transitioned into the CRE underwriting position that I am currently working. I am glad to be gaining the knowledge on the debt side, but would like to move to the equity side in the near future. Hoping to use the knowledge from that to break out on my own as you have done and control my own future. For now, i will keep learning as I look for my first deal.

Great to hear your story and best of luck for your business in the future.

Hey @Stephen Roesler ! I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my journey, I'm also happy to hear from other investors and learn about their journeys' as well. 

You made the right move majoring in finance, I wish would have done that back in college. I majored in marketing, which definitely helps but I tend to enjoy the numbers side more. And that's great you are working underwriting! That is in my opinion one of the best positions to learn the foundations of real estate. If you get really good at understanding values, costs, and overall finance you will be able to make smart investment decisions in real estate rather than forcing deals.

 I wish the best to you in your career!