Posted 2 months ago

Getting Started - Our Journey

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Our adventure in real estate started several years ago. Roger said, I’m going to a seminar this evening to learn more about becoming a real estate investor, would you like to come with me? My response was easy – I had plenty to do with my travel agency, Judy Best Vacations, so you go on and enjoy. You can tell me all about it afterwards.

Our Training

When he returned home that evening, he shared some of the ideas he’d heard that evening. The seminar ended with an invitation to a 3-day learning weekend, and those accepting the invitation were encouraged to bring their partners with them to that event. Roger agreed it would be a good idea for me to come along, so I agreed.

A friend had invited me to do something with her that same weekend, so I had to cancel, telling her about the weekend event Roger and I were attending instead. She had heard of FortuneBuilders previously, because her boss had joined it a couple of years before. She warned me that during the weekend, they would ask for a lot of money for further education. I told her we knew that, but thanks for the warning. Roger and I agreed to not spend any further money unless we both agreed. We headed to that 3-day weekend expecting to learn a lot, perhaps without spending a lot of money. 

We’re All In!

By mid-morning on Saturday, we knew this was something we wanted to do. We both were running our own businesses using systems that made them run smoothly and profitably. When the speaker shared that FortuneBuilders had systems in place for each step of the process, we knew that was for us. We loved the marketing systems they offered for finding properties, contractors, and buyers. Their systems for establishing repairs costs, setting a profitable purchase price, and completing the rehab successfully, assured us that we could learn and succeed in this business. They offered us online training, live boot camps, and regular coaching. We knew we could succeed in this business with all these fail-safes. We made the investment for our future.

Learning Our Craft

The first year we studied the curriculum, completed all the action steps, and we practiced our craft. We toured hundreds of homes. We still laugh about some of the nastiest homes we visited in that first year. Most importantly, we connected with real estate investors who were ahead of us in their careers. We listened to everything they said, and we followed every suggestion they made. We were very coachable, an important trait for successful people. 

Just like kids in college, anxious to get on to their careers, we were anxious to buy our first property and get to work on it. But, we made lots of offers on properties, always hoping this offer would be accepted, but alas no offers accepted. While listening to a webinar, another investor said, make five offers per week, and within a month you’ll have a property under contract. I told Roger about that statement, and we told our Realtor at that time, we need to see enough properties weekly to make five offers per week.

We had marketing in place, so we were getting some a few calls every week. And, our Realtor was doing a great job finding us properties on the MLS to tour – foreclosures, short sales, and properties that needed repairs. We thought we were doing great making a couple of offers per week. It required lots more activity to make five offers per week, but that investor’s statement was true. Within a month, we had our first property under contract.

Our First Property

We cancelled that contract during the inspection period, when we learned of some additional repairs needed that would have made it a bad deal. We were still putting in five offers per week, and we got a couple more properties under contract. And, finally, on my birthday, nine months after we started this training, we purchased our first investment property, 2315 S Chester, in Little Rock.

The Chester house was a foreclosure on another investment company, who had started renovations, but had run out of money in the process. They lost several houses to foreclosure, and we were lucky enough to purchase this lovely Craftsman home in the historic Governor’s Mansion district of downtown Little Rock.

We don’t actually do the construction work on our properties. We have contractors who do the work, but we plan the scope of work for the project that they follow. And, we do our own design work, from the colors to the fixtures. This again is part of the systems we learned in FortuneBuilders. It was so much fun watching our dream come true, as week by week, this home was transformed to it’s former glory in just a couple of months of work.

Producing Our First Profits

It took us longer to sell this first investment than it has every rehab since then. Again, we had to learn the Little Rock market, and how to do comps for pricing this historic home. Some of the streets around Chester had a lot of homes already renovated and sold, but ours was one of the first renovated on Chester Street. We learned we were ahead of the market, so folks weren’t prepared to pay the higher prices for a home on Chester that they were paying on other streets. We learned another lesson, and we still sold our first home with a profit.

While we were selling that first property, we started closing on other properties. By the time it sold, we had already sold others, and we were steadily growing our real estate investment business. We were reading lots of books, watching lots of webinars, and attending evening and weekend training sessions offered by anyone that was teaching a new concept (to us) about real estate investments. Each time we left the training with another tool in our toolkit to be a better real estate investor. One of the things we know is this career requires continual learning and the willingness and ability to shift directions quickly as market trends change.

Look At Us Now

Best REI is thriving, and I’m full-time in this business. Right after we sold the Chester house, I got my Realtor license, so we could start buying and selling our own properties. We loved our Realtor, but we wanted to go see houses on our schedule, not dependent on his. And, with my Realtor license, the commissions I earn increase our profit margin on our investment properties.

In those first months, learning and practicing, I felt silly saying I was a Real Estate Investor. I didn’t own any properties yet, I was studying and working the business, but without the results. Today, with lots of properties bought and sold over these years, I am a Real Estate Investor.

It was so much fun for me to revisit the start of Best REI in this blog post. I hope it was an encouragement to you as you start your journey in real estate investing. Just know that you need a source of income, while you are learning and practicing your craft. Don’t go into deep debt to purchase training. That's a mistake we saw others make from that first weekend, and they never flipped a single property. Save up your money a few years or sell something, then pick a company to provide you with this training. Investors like ourselves are willing to help you as much as we can, but we help those who are coachable.

That said, there's lots of free training available right here on Bigger Pockets, and that's plenty to get some folks started. I wanted to share our journey, because investors get started lots of different ways, and none of them is wrong. Learn the business, take action, and get started. After your first step, you are a Real Estate Investor! 



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