Can you think of a really awesome story about parents, kids, and business? You might cite the Rich Dad Poor Dad book. Or stories of fathers and sons taking over family businesses, like the Waltons. Or the elite families of the past who have owned, grown, built, and destroyed incredible businesses over years or over generations, like the Vanderbilts.
But this isn’t that story. This story is one of time, of education, of humble beginnings, and of incredible joy. It’s about my own family, who has made new beginnings around real estate.
You see, any client can scrutinize, analyze, or question what you are doing. But this normal analysis was compounded and put on its head this week.
I SOLD A HOUSE TO MY PARENTS.
Yeah, I know. Crazy. It takes my breath away, too.
How I Bought, Rehabbed, Rented, Refinanced, and Repeated for 14 Rental Properties
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A Little Background
I can’t put words into my parents’ mouths, but if I had to guess, it would go something like this:
“Nathan was a great kid, full of energy. Never shut up (anywhere, at any time). He is happy, pretty much all the time. Kind, outgoing. Driven like crazy. He will figure out how to do anything, just tell him he can’t do it. And we have NO idea what the hell he is going to do with his life.”
Fast forward to me making a living as a musician for more than a decade, making a record in LA, touring, playing music in front of tens of thousands of people. All the while, I was feeling a tug to a different life. I went into real estate on and off. I lost nearly everything I had in the late 2000s. Into the next decade, I went back into music, worship, and church music leadership. It wasn’t long before I was pulled back into real estate; I felt the calling to be able to bring stability, a greater financial picture, and create a financial legacy for my family.
I can only imagine my parents thinking, “You are doing a ‘fix’ or ‘flip’ WHAT?” I know, Mom. I know, Dad. It’s called real estate investing. It’s probably for crazy people.
My mom and dad have been on this journey, watching as I have learned, bought, sold, made money, gotten kicked down, lost it all, and then back again. All the while, they were quiet, listening, watching, with maybe a few questions here or there. If you haven’t listened to the first podcast I had the pleasure of being on here on BiggerPockets, check out Episode 87 on how we basically lost everything. We filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and had a miscarriage in the same week.
That experience was one of the hardest things I can remember. We lost all the properties I had worked so hard to get. The rental income I thought we would have was gone. The money, blood, sweat, tears, and time — everything inputted to create this life for my wife and future children, gone.
Change of Winds
The change started coming as I shared my story and found relationships through BiggerPockets. People started calling and emailing me. I started having more properties to renovate, more potential deals to do. It didn’t go perfectly, and there are still moments that have been very, very difficult. But overall, I made more money, gained additional experience, and had the opportunity to do more deals.
In real estate, I don’t think you can discount mentors, opportunity, and the time and funds to do deals. The more deals you can do, the more understanding of deals you can have. I remember the first time I made $20k in a day. The deal closed, I read and read, and read again critically over the HUD settlement statement. I tried to understand every last detail, but in the end, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that with one transaction closed, a new home owner had an amazing house, and I split the profits on a flip house — and made half of what the average person likely makes in a year.
As I continued, my journey led me to meet an incredible friend and business partner. We were not alike, but totally alike. We had different skills, but eerily similar passions and drive. We shared in the growing pains and shared in the success. Relationships like these are multipliers and game changers (in life and in business). They make you look back at what you have done and wonder where this person was for those moments.
In my case, my partner brought systems, financing experience, and an incredible ability to be a processor of everything with me. In turn, I was able to spend more time finding deals, doing deals, and creating a bond and relationship with the clients.
This year, we will flip well more than 70-80 houses. It’s honestly hard to fathom for me, even now.
My mom and dad worked hard their whole lives. They worked jobs, my dad as a hospital chaplain, and my mom as a nurse at the same hospital, nearly their entire working lives at the same place. For them, the saving and investing came in the form of their retirement accounts, 401k and IRA — the traditional means of investing, with the thought processes that goes with it. It served them well, and they were able to both retire and enjoy the life they wanted to — traveling, seeing the grandkids, and being actually retired. Whatever that means.
For their effort, I am proud. And so, with great surprise, as my business had begun to take off and we began selling more than a house a week, my parents started hearing stories of what we were doing — the clients in town from all over, the challenges, the crazy houses we bought, and the investment returns that we were achieving for our clients.
Soon, my Dad and I started to have more and more in-depth conversations on real estate. What did the deal actually look like? What kind of passive income could he expect to have? How could we take care of them long-term with investing some of their dollars into real estate? It was not only exciting to talk real estate, but a breakthrough for my own relationship with my Dad in particular. He is excited and getting into learning about real estate.
Their First Deal
My parents have bought and sold a few houses over their lifetime. I think the past few months probably feel like the some of the craziest of their lives, with a number of real estate transactions for investments and personal pleasure. I’m so happy for them. It’s an incredible honor (and scary as hell) to sell your parents their first real estate investment.
Related: I Dropped Everything to Invest in Real Estate With My Significant Other: Here’s My Story
It’s under $100k. The house makes a bit higher than a 1.0 rent ratio. It’s a solid 3/1 in a cute neighborhood, and we rented it within a few days of putting it on the market for rent.
Are you thinking to yourself, “I am just too old to get into real estate”? I have a feeling my parents would have said the same thing. But we talked more and more about how we could help them with cash flow into these amazing years as retirees looking to travel the globe, have fun, and fund their travels. (And Dad, seriously, you should just go get that Lexus already.) We could really put a number of real estate deals together that helped support that lifestyle and goals.
To My Mom and Dad
To be honest, I’m a bit choked up processing this whole thing through words. Almost every day, I have the pleasure of speaking with clients all over the United States, as well as a few from international locations. Our business specializes in divesture plans and acquisition plans, and most of our clients are repeat buyers with real estate or business acumen. But all of that experience, all that business pales in comparison to the desire to make your parents proud and to prove to them they have made a good choice. That is some serious pressure.
If you have pondered having conversations with your son, daughter, mother, or father about real estate (or anything financial), you should. And keep doing it. For my dad and I in particular, it has created an entirely new conversation point — something new to get into and learn about.
So, cheers to you, Mom and Dad. This week, you guys became a real estate investors and will close on your first real estate deal you’re not planning to live in. For whatever it is worth, I couldn’t be more proud, more excited, and more humbled for your business — and for what a cool and wonderful opportunity this entire first deal of yours has been. Thank you, and I love you both.
Have you introduced anyone in your family to the life-changing abilities of real estate investing?
Let me hear your stories below!