"You know what I've always wanted to do?" a voice from the other side of my office cube wall exclaimed......
It was nearly 5 PM and my tech support job was weighing on me. I'd been handling software trouble tickets for 8 hours straight. Staring at my computer screen for this extended period rendered my eyes dry and tired. Fearing a long discussion, I quietly responded, hoping this discussion wouldn't be a long one. "Let me guess, get the hell out of here? Don't worry we have 30 minutes....."
My co-worker, chuckled, "Well, yes, that too, but what I meant was, I ALWAYS wanted to invest in real estate.....I just wish I knew how to get started"
I continued trying to focus on my 39th trouble ticket of the day, eager to head home to my wife and infant daughter. But I had to admit, I was intrigued, I too had wanted to invest in real estate. I wasn't sure if my co-worker had seen me on one of the many websites I would spend hours perusing during my seemingly endless shift, or if he had overheard my countless conversations with my wife about leaving my software tech support job behind and finally pursuing my goal. In either case, I was determined to seize the moment. Trying to sound more intelligent than I was about the topic and hurriedly replying to the last of my emails for the day, I responded, "That's the easy part buddy, just go buy a house"
He laughed, "Yeah, I guess, but what house and where? I don't want to lose money.....how will I know if I'm buying a deal?"
In my best matter of fact tone, I shot back. "Greg, you'll just know, do the homework", but to be honest, I had no idea. For the better part of a year, I had been leading a double life. By day, I was Software Tech Support Guru, I would field calls and walk very untechnical people through the very complicated software my company offered and I supported. By afternoon and evening, I was wanna-be-real-estate-investor. I was reading blog posts, searching websites, attending my local Real Estate Club meetings and consuming as much information as I could about the topic. I was pretty knowledgeable about the subject, but I hadn't found my first deal and had no idea how I'd pay for it if I did. I had resigned myself to a life of tech support. But I was desperate to do a real estate deal, ANY deal.
I opened one of the local Real Estate Investor Websites and there it was. A prominent ad for a "Downtown Victorian home, priced well under market. Fix it up and sell it for a HUGE profit!"
I read the ad to Greg as if it was my deal and then added, "We should go buy this house....."
Greg was a solid Tech Support Engineer, very linear in nature. I didn't think my "sales pitch" would convince him. I was overcome by surprise when I heard his reply. "Let's do it"
No for most people, this would be the end of the story. It's easy to decide to do something and then fall back into the same habits, but I wasn't going to miss this opportunity. The next day, I had scheduled a showing and during our lunch hour, we headed to our Victorian "Charmer" in downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a sharp agent. An older gentleman who seemed like an incredible salesman. He showed us inside and my underworked creative brain went into overdrive. We could paint this room! Replace the carpet! Swap out the cabinets. Knowing I had no money and limited knowledge about house financing, I looked to see if Greg was as excited as I was. He wasn't. "This is too much work" he argued. The experienced real estate agent was undaunted by Greg's negativity. Over an hour of discussion, he explained that the beauty of the home was its natural charm. He went on to explain what repairs would be ideal to get top dollar for the home. I was sold. Greg, the eternal skeptic, had worked alongside me for over 18 months, he knew that once I set my mind to something, there was little chance of changing it. Almost reluctantly, he mumbled, "Ok, let's do it". My journey had begun.
3 weeks later we had closed on our first "fix-n-flip investment". The house was OLD. It had been Built in 1901. We walked into the foyer area of the home to start our first project. Eager to get started, I looked at my new business partner and asked, "So what do you want to fix first?" Indignantly, Greg shot back, "I don't know anything about fixing houses, you tell me."
"You are hilarious buddy, I know about your construction experience", I quipped.
"You mean my DAD's construction experience?" he replied, clearly starting to get annoyed with me. "I helped my Dad, do some minor construction work, but I was a kid".
"Ok, stop messing around man, we need to get started", I replied.
"I'm NOT messing around, Donny", I did this deal because you seemed to know what the agent was talking about!"
"Well, I DID, Greg, fix this, fix that. But I was relying on YOU to know HOW to do it."
Greg looked like he was going to pass out. "We are Screwed"
And at the time he was right.
We had done EVERYTHING wrong:
1. We had no construction experience
2. We didn't know what the retail price of the property should be.
3. We had no rehab budget to hire contractors.
4. We had purchased a turn of the century Victorian requiring special knowledge and skills.
5. Did I mention, we had no construction experience?
In the end, this worked out, we sold the property as a fixer-upper in the exact condition we bought it in by placing an ad in the paper. At closing, we collected a sizable check for over $16,000 each. It became the biggest story of my real estate career and started me down the path of professional real estate investing. My life was permanently
So how did we do it? How did we manage to make every mistake in the book and still turn a profit? One day over a fine craft beer, I'll share all of the gory details with you, but here are the basics. We took action. We found a buyer, we made money. To this day I credit the real estate agent, that the took the time to walk me through my first rehab deal. Our purchase price was $211,000. We sold the home for $247,000. The appraisal came back at over $260K, so our buyer was happy gaining SOME equity and loved her new home and project. I will always be grateful for the experience, and the profit wasn't bad considering.
Have you been thinking about Investing in Real Estate but don't know where to get started? I can help. It seems self-serving, but my biggest takeaway from that experience was the importance of the real estate agent who sold us the home. Although we had just enough knowledge to be dangerous to ourselves, we still managed to make a pretty substantial profit.
Today, I pride myself on my ability to take complete newbies to real estate investing and help them to avoid the mistakes I made. If you are passed the decision making phase and ready to take action, I'd like to help you. I won't let you make the same obvious mistakes I made. I will assure you that will make your experience positive and profitable. Ready to get started? Reach out to me via text or email, I'd be honored to show you how to begin. Take action today. With the right guidance, You CAN do this too. I'm living proof. And to get you started, I'd like to offer you a free book, "How to be a Real Estate Investor" absolutely free when we do our initial meeting. Though I had been actively investing for a couple of years before the book was released, reading it had an incredible impact on my investing career. It would be my pleasure to give you a copy to start yours on the right foot.
Schedule a call with me here www.calendly.com/donnycoram