Meet the Investor: Real Estate Investing Interview with Ryan Waggoner

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I think it equally important to talk to new investors as it is to talk with more established ones. From the newer ones you get a fresher perspective on the challenges of getting started. With that in mind, today’s real estate investor interview is with a relative newbie.

Meet Investor Ryan Waggoner

How long have you been investing in real estate?
I’ve only been actively investing for about 2 years now.

Are you a full time or part time investor?
I’m a part-time investor. By day, I’m a product manager for a large internet company.

How did you get started investing?
I first became interested in real estate investment when I was about 20, stationed in Italy with the Navy. I was going to be getting out of the military in a couple years, and I wanted to get off on a good foot financially. I read everything I could get my hands on regarding investing of all kinds, but I was especially attracted to real estate investment, not only for potentially lucrative returns, but also because I love real estate itself.

I was discharged from the Navy at age 22 and went back to school to finish up my degree in business. My wife and I purchased a 4plex with nothing down (80/20) and lived in one of the units while renting out the others. I graduated 18 months later and we moved to California, but we kept the 4plex. I’m 24 now and I just purchased my second property, a rehab in Colorado.

What is your focus (area of expertise)?
I have no expertise at all, but my focus right now is rehabs of single-family foreclosures in the Colorado Springs market in order to build up cash to purchase positive-cashflow multi-family properties in Colorado and North Carolina, which I plan to begin later this year.

How many deals have you done in your career?
I have only done two deals so far: the 4plex and a rehab of a single-family HUD foreclosure in Colorado Springs. I bought the property with a partner in January 2007 and we just finished the rehab and put it back on the market. My partner is a general contractor who handled the actual rehab, so that’s worked out very well, especially since I’m 3 states away.

Do you have your real estate license?
No.

What advice would you give to a beginning investor?

  1. Do your homework on the basics of real estate investing. Read books, talk to experienced investors, and look at a lot of properties. Practice running the numbers and don’t be optimistic.
  2. Come up with a realistic plan that meets your personal financial goals and put the plan on paper. I repeat, have a written plan.
  3. Just do it.

What was your toughest deal?
I self-managed my 4plex for those 18 months while I lived there and dealing with low-income tenants was very difficult at times. Additionally, because of the fact that I had almost nothing to put into my first property, the monthly cashflow just wasn’t there in the beginning and trying to pay the bills with a vacancy and a tenant who wasn’t paying was very challenging. Fortunately, my second deal has so far been a very smooth deal.

What would your dream deal be?
Anything with positive net cashflow with no money down 🙂

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the rest of us?
Don’t expect real estate to make you rich overnight. Not to sound like a broken record, but learn as much as you can, write down a plan, and go out there and make it happen. You will have failures and setbacks, but stick with it. You’ll be glad you did.

What do you think about BiggerPockets.com?
I’ve just recently discovered BiggerPockets.com, but I’m a fan of what I’ve seen so far. There’s a lot of good information out there and BiggerPockets.com seems to be doing a good job in collecting it all in one place. Keep up the good work!

Ryan Waggoner

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded BiggerPockets.com when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 600,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.

5 Comments

  1. Excellent advice. I would even recommend learning to evaluate properties by taking an appraisal course at a local community college. You need to be able to run the numbers to see if properties can cash-flow or net a return as an investment.

    Especially in a market where appreciation is declining, real estate valuation tools prove to be crucial in success.

  2. Nice to hear about others who are just starting out in the world of real estate. We kept our first house that we bought while still in college and rented it out when we graduated and moved. It’s been a great experience and I’m currently looking for my next rental property while saving for the down payment.

    I’d recommend finding a great mortgage broker who can shop your application to at least 100 different lenders. You need someone on your team who’s in the business everyday.

    Nice blog by the way.

  3. Hello Sir

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  4. Great resource! It is great to hear that people are getting into real estate investing more and more. It is not too dificult to get into. If you are just getting started, I would reccomend consulting an experienced Realtor. Most Realors will represent you through the whole process at no cost to you. Time to take advantage of this market!

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