I started real estate investing back in March 2001. I was a techie and as a result of the dot bomb crash, I found myself unemployed and figuring out my next move. Always was intrigued with real estate investing so started with my first wholesale deal (made $18,000). I wasn’t too excited because I thought maybe it was a lucky break. It wasn’t until my next transaction with a short sale/retail flip (made $10,000) that I got really excited thinking… yeah, I can do this.
About a year later I found CREOnline.com. My first post was in May 2002. I am not a fan of paying for seminars, boot camps or expensive books. I learn by doing and this website had all the resources I needed. Shortly thereafter, I started renovating houses with two partners in Fort Lauderdale and we were just ahead of the bubble. We were renovating 3-4 SFH properties each month and the money was pretty darn good. Back then, I posted my “Rehabbing Houses Top 10 Tips” on CREOnline in their Money Making Ideas section and surprisingly after all these years, it’s still there. Check it out at http://www.creonline.com/rehabbing-houses-part-one.html
But like every seasoned investor comes the hard knock story. With the crash 2007, things turned ugly. I was in debt over $1.5 million and while I was still doing deals, it was all going to pay off my debts. Market dried up in South Florida and it was time to move on. Being single with nothing to keep me in Fort Lauderdale, I moved to Birmingham, AL in September 2011. No tears for me please. I knew the risk. This is what I do. Why Birmingham? That’s another post.
Since I started, I estimate that I have flipped well over 600 properties. I’ve done just about every strategy you can imagine. Wholesaling, short sale, performing/non-performing notes, sold bulk REO packages, renovated, property management, rentals, leasing. I have bought houses in Florida, Georgia, Ohio, New York, and even flipped 20 mobile homes in North Dakota in February (darn cold) in the oil fields.
Here in Birmingham, the plan was to provide a turnkey service to investment groups. In the beginning, it was me with one small investment group and one rehab crew. I was doing it all. Buying, project managing renovations, leasing, property management, accounting, etc. Long hours but I stuck to the plan. Besides, I was getting multiple sources of income from flipping, contracting fees, leasing fees, propert mgmt and real estate commissions (I obtained a realtors license because you need one in Alabama to property manage).
Of course being one person I could not keep up the pace. I tried to clone myself but could not find the right mini-me. I handed off leasing to other agents, then property management and this past Summer, hired one of my ex-business partners and moved him and his family up from Miami to project manage the renovations. By doing so, leaves me completely focused on acquistiions and flips.
After 2+ years in this market, I am working with several investment groups. My project manager manages 6 full time rehab crews, I have leasing agents, a property management company and now my broker’s license. I employ about 30 people including the title companies that handle the closings. I have bought and flipped about 175 properties in Birmingham which are now all under management.I am now buying 10-15 properties each month with plans to expand to other markets in early 2014. Life’s good. Supporting a lot of families and increasing the values of the areas we buy in add to my personal well being. Oh, I am now debt free.
I guess you can say I am a CREOOnline.com success story. If I had not found the site when I did, I am not sure what I would be doing today.
So to all of you newbies out there, with a lot of effort and hard work, you can do this. Here’s my advice. Treat it as a business and come into it eyes wide open. Use CREOnline and listen to the experts on the forums. Start with one strategy and stick to it until you have done multiple deals before you add other strategies. Avoid analysis paralysis. Above all, have fun.
Good luck to all.