RE investors with humble origins?

64 Replies

@Caleb Johnson

Thanks for your post! This one it's home for me as well. My dad is a huge motivator for me to find financial success. He did his best raising us kids and now I'm doing my best to be in a position where I can help him financially or spend time with him as needed. My dad is 56 and works in a wood shop making custom HVAC grills for homes. And even though he's only got his GED, he's still had custody of three crazy kids starting at 5 years old and younger and raised us to be good people and always encouraged us to go to college. Now my sister has a great job in sales, my brother is an electrical engineer, and I am a full-time real estate investor. I like to think that he was indirectly responsible our careers but directly responsible for our success due to his sacrifices and parenting style.

I also started off with the house hack just like you. Actually did two back-to-back for a total of about 7 years. It's a great way to start and I recommend it to basically everybody that will listen.

Good luck on all your future deals and if I'm ever seriously looking at investing in Mesa or even if I'm just there on vacation to get away from the Fargo winters, I'll shoot you a message for sure!

Thanks again!

@Roger Bremmer

Keep at it! That's the whole point of starting this thread was to find people who succeeded even in the most unlikely scenarios. Hopefully these stories can help show even one or two people that it's not impossible! Keep educating yourself, create a strategy that fits your needs, and then apply at least a little effort every day towards your goals and I have no doubt that you will get your first property in no time! Best of luck!!

@Justin Polston

Hahaha this is amazing! I imagine there is ton of opportunity to continue this little enterprise all through elementary school since kids cannot get enough sugar, ever. Just some quick math and that's about $4,000 profit per school year assuming no summer school lol. What an awesome lesson to be able to internalize at such a young age. It took me much longer to even theorize about that and longer still to implement and internalize LOL I guess I'm a late bloomer.

Just checked out your profile as well, and looks like you are pretty active in flipping, buying holds, and being an agent! When did you discover real estate and can you describe a little bit about how your first deal or two progressed? I love the light bulb moment in everyone's story when they realize real estate has the power to change lives!

@Riley Way

Thanks for sharing! Growing up in a low-income family definitely leaves an imprint on the mind. I sometimes wonder about the differences on how kids are raised with or without financial literacy lessons from their parents. Childhoods really do shape the rest of your life, and I'm glad that you were able to hit that reset button and join the Navy. That's such a difficult but pivotal decision for young person to make. I'm sure you could write for days on experiences and lessons from the Navy!

I love that you are using that driving passion cultivated from the military and applying it to every facet of your life. Even being in the beginning stages of your real estate journey, as long as you are following the plan you set for yourself and it's fulfilling your needs, then disciplined action will get you to your goal!

Thanks again for sharing!!

@Joe Splitrock

Thanks for posting this! The spirit of my post was never to discount anyone or any profession. You are 100% right that there are tons of success stories of people who have done extremely well in life with their career after having started with nothing, or less than nothing! I have only respect for those individuals. Seeing how hard my brother and his friend group worked to become engineers (electrical), I would say it's probably more difficult than investing in real estate. My main goal with this post, and maybe it's not super clear but I think it is, was too give a voice to those who use real estate as the main vehicle to change their circumstances and work towards a life of their dreams! Those were the stories that I was interested in hearing, that's all. And hopefully in the sharing of these stories, we can help someone who can relate to being in tough circumstances in life. Even if they take a real estate success story and use it as motivation to go become a doctor or lawyer, that's great!

Real estate is the best method for the average person to accumulate wealth! I have that in my original post and I see that in first sentence of your profile description! So I know we agree :)

I really appreciate your post because I'm sure you're not the only person who thought that when reading this thread. Plus, you know your bigger pockets thread is not legit until there's some contention!

@Erik Stewart

I’ve always dreamed about RE investing, but when I mentioned it to my wife she at first was sick of living in apartments and duplexes during college and wanted a home, so my wife and I bought a fixer upper as a compromise. My wife and I never had appropriate financial education growing up, and do not come from wealthy families.

We graduated from college in 2017 with student loans, my wife is a teacher and I am a medical social worker, so income is not huge like other professionals.

Weeks after graduating college and the week after our wedding, we bought our first home with only 3% down (which was almost all we had). We have done a live in flip over the last 3 years and also started a side business selling cedar shutters, it’s not a lot but the side business brings in 5 figures+ annually. We just sold our home for 11k over asking price and for way more than we put into it and we are now able to pay off most student loans and my wife’s car. I introduced my wife to bigger pockets and their YouTube videos and she has a huge passion for RE investing now also! Currently we are renting from my friend while we actively looking for rentals or flips, and the dream is to scale and get into it full time.

Our lesson is you can surprise yourself how much you can grow forward if you simply choose to put in effort and grow.

Thanks BP!

@Whitney Hutten

Thanks for your post and podcast episode on BP! Every house I buy from now on, I'm going to make sure there's no possibility of a bus coming through the roof LOL.

I love your story about how you got started in real estate with that live in flip. I actually know a couple of investors who only do live in flips and it's a great strategy! It can be very attainable for a new investor. The financing will be the best for owner occupied houses, insurance and taxes would presumably be lower, you can decide your own level of rehab to do when you buy, and if you live there for 2 years or more the profit when you sell will be taxed free (up to a certain point). And if one is handy, they can save a lot of money by not hiring everything out to contractors. But drywall, that is definitely something to hire out, especially if they are like us and mess it up LOL.

Thanks again for your story and I hope it helps someone who might think it's a daunting task to get into their first deal!

@Erik Stewart I wouldn't call it underdog, but people have this misconception that service members don't get paid well. I personally think service members are in a great position to build wealth, and I'm living proof...from broke *** Sergeant, to 20+ units, and leaving the military to take rei/entrepreneurship full-time!

@David Pere

Thanks for your post and thanks for all the content you put up on instagram! I love following your channel!

Hopefully this thread helps to show average people like me that there is a way to build the life they want, and they can do it using real. There is no one size fits all method, there's no real wrong answers, as long as one is committed to doing the things necessary to improve their life, I believe real estate can supplement any goal or lifestyle.

Thanks again for posting and I'll definitely keep myself updated on your Instagram because it's super motivating and informational!

@Jacob Bohrer

This story is so great and perfectly captures the spirit of this thread. It reminds me of the story Brandon tells about how their live-in flip paid for their dream wedding! When you realize what's possible in real estate, that's the moment you get hooked and never want to go back!

Keep up the great work and I'm looking forward to seeing more success in your future!!


Originally posted by @Erik Stewart :

@David Pere

Thanks for your post and thanks for all the content you put up on instagram! I love following your channel!

Hopefully this thread helps to show average people like me that there is a way to build the life they want, and they can do it using real. There is no one size fits all method, there's no real wrong answers, as long as one is committed to doing the things necessary to improve their life, I believe real estate can supplement any goal or lifestyle.

Thanks again for posting and I'll definitely keep myself updated on your Instagram because it's super motivating and informational!

 Thank you for the kind words brother, and I appreciate the support!

Revisiting this post after having posted a few days ago. @Steve Vaughan - love your story, @Chris John  @Anastasia Gamino , (huge respect for ya'll, my mom was a teacher, single parent making 22k/year  mentioned in my post here), and everyone else here... what an awesome thread. I hope this one continues for a while and we can continue to revisit this.

Originally posted by @Erik Stewart :

@Joaquin Camarasa

Thanks so much for sharing! What a journey so far! Congrats on your first couple deals! The first couple are challenging but you learn so much. How did you discover real estate investing and what did you look for in your first deal? Would love to hear more about it!

I did not know BP yet when I got my first property in 2017. It was then when I started to learn the differences in financing and the differences in the amount of downpayment when buying a property in the US and in my own country Spain. I saw there were more benefits to invest here in the US. At that point, I was just trying to live for free. I found a deal in which the numbers worked to househack and live for free. 


@Erik Stewart  

I agree 100%. Once I felt I could confidently have a conversation with other investors, sellers, buyers, brokers, etc. the whole world seemed to open up. 

What made me get into real estate was a pretty organic process. I remember my Dad telling me when I was a kid (probably 10 or so) that he knew a guy that owned something like 50 houses and never had to work again. That was the seed. Fast forward roughly a decade and I had no idea how I was going to do it but I knew I wasn't going to work a job for the rest of my life. The first plan was with a friend who wanted to do a live in flip. Our friendship fell out and I had to start looking elsewhere. Around this time a friend introduced me to Rich Dad. Like so many other people, that book created a huge shift in my mindset. I realized trading time for cash wasn't the only way to do it. I could use other peoples time, and other peoples money. It also sparked my habits that I have maintained since 2016. I read 10 pages from a book every day, listen to at least 15 min of a real estate podcast a day, analyze properties every day, etc. This is where the exponential growth you mentioned comes in. I'm now at a point where I'm learning more from my real life interactions with people in the real estate world, but I only was able to gain the confidence to do that from diligently educating myself. 

The most difficult aspect so far has been... hmm. I would maybe say patience, but there's never really been a point I've considered giving up. There have been points where I started getting frustrated when I felt like I should have had more progress by now, but I never once thought about quitting. If I had to choose I would probably say the hardest thing to conquer for me has been my fear of looking stupid. Embarrassment is a strong emotion for me when I don't have the answer to something I think I should have. With sellers I would worry about them asking me a question I might not have an answer too, then they would know I'm an imposter! Same with brokers. What if I call a broker to ask about a property and they bring up a question that any investor should know and I don't know it? I would look like such an idiot! 

That has had to be my single biggest hold back. And I'd be lying to say it doesn't still creep up from time to time. The difference is over time I have hammered that nerve so that it's not so sensitive anymore, and every time I do, it gets a little easier. 

My Parents divorced at a young age ,with no stable bread winner my mother was on welfare and We were dirt poor living in a beat up rental house for 200$ a month that my grandpa graciously  paid for out of his social security .we never went out to eat or had a decent running family car .with no father figure and a mom on painkillers I was a child left to himself so I raised myself . I stole cars broke into homes and I became addicted to drugs and alcohol in my teens . Fortunately I barely passed high school .

I became a machinist to pay the bills and married my high school girlfriend . I did ok but never had much success all through my 20’s and 30’s . Got divorced and basically drifted .I found my wife and I found God and started to change for the better . Soon my father died poor at 68 unfortunately I had to pay his funeral costs and that event altered my mindset on wealth and how I must Get my act together fast or it would be me in that coffin broke . After much research and an intensive study on wealth creation I chose real estate because it seemed easy enough to do and being I had no people skills or specialized knowledge I thought I could teach myself . 
I knew being I lost so much time wasting my money on stupid crap and never being truly successful that I would need to play catch up and make aggressive action at this stage of my life . In 2018 I bought an apartment building with nearly 100% leverage and no reserves . I then found a seller( burnt out landlord )  who would carry the note on a triplex with 5k down then a few months later he did it again on a duplex , I then saved up my returns and I started working crazy overtime as I became obsessed with finding deals to expand rapidly . Morning noon and night I prayed for deals I hunted for bargains to hit my goals  . I bought two more single family homes all cash 6 months later . I met my buddy from school who taught me the art of seller financing and began to find deals and buy them up splitting the costs and paying all cash . We are in the dust bowl and rarely pay over 10k for livable homes which is great for our model . 
His skills , money connections and business acumen coupled with my street smarts and my unwavering tenacity paid off as we bought up every cheap house in the county I could find . we could grab them and sell them the following week on terms with a down payment to a tenant buyer .
We took all proceeds and kept buying . The snowball grew ..Now 2 years later and owning Dozens of homes we are still going strong and enjoying the ride up . Soon I will likely retire and walk my dog around the lake  doing what I love .