The first question everyone always asks me is why did I decided to get into real estate. The truth is Real Estate kinda found me. After buying a new car in 2018, I realized I wasn’t saving the money I used to and when I took a deeper dive into my life and how I want to live in my elder years; I realized I have to start making different decisions about my finances.
Even though moving can be a pain, I always like shopping for places to stay. I like going into properties and seeing if my furniture is going to fit, if it will be enough space for visitors, etc. Even now, when I’m not actively looking for another property, I still look at properties. Deciding to get into real estate was kind of an easy choice. I did some research and found out there are so many ways real estate can help people reach that next level in their life. I was really only looking to stack more money for my retirement and get some rotating income. However, plans changed after I started seeing how I can I can make a bigger impact on the community I grew up in by providing affordable housing and helping to rebuild the community.
The impact of the hurricanes in 2005 affected so many people, including people in Mississippi. I can remember the days when businesses did well and were open for longer than 2 years, now it seems like every time I visit, another business has closed or is going out of business. It’s been kind of heartbreaking to see, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and with consistency, I know it will be the city it once was.
For anyone who is trying to get into a new career or hobby, you are always told to learn more about the subject. Real Estate is no different. I’ve read a lot of books about real estate investing. I joined my local REIA (Real Estate Investment Association) and subscribed to a few youtube channels.
I have an audible subscription so I listen to books mostly. While searching for my next book to read, I came across a book published by Bigger Pockets. Bigger Pockets is the largest website of real estate professionals. It’s a great place to connect with people and learn from their experience. The book is called Retire Early With Real Estate by Chad Carson. It’s a really good book filled with stories and experiences of other real estate investors. I found it be very resourceful and one that I will probably have to listen to again as I grow my real estate business.
The one thing that was really special about this book is at the end where Coach Chad gives the readers of the book the chance to share their story and so I did just that. After I finished the book, I emailed him and I wasn’t expecting a response, but I got one along with an offer to share my story on his podcast and youtube.
I recently finished my first rehab project on a rental and I couldn’t be more excited. With the help of my family, the property is now rented. It was a challenging road though. I acquired (free of charge) the property from my mom through a Quit Claim Deed. A Quit Claim Deed is roughly a two page document that is used to transfer ownership of real property from one party to another. It took me a whole year to convince her to do it. She had every excuse in the book saying, “it’s in a bad neighborhood and nobody wants to fix us their house in the neighborhood” and at one point she said she was just going to give it away. About a year ago, she finally changed her mind and came to me and said, you can have it. I found a lawyer that would draw up the paperwork I couldn’t let her just give it away. It was the first home she purchased and it had no mortgage. She lived in that home for over 20 years. It’s the only home my little sister knows and although they didn’t want to leave it, it was the best decision for them after my stepdad passed away.
Two months after I had the warranty deed, I came home to start looking for contractors. The home needed a lot of work since no one had lived in it for nearly 2 years. I interviewed a few and I settled on a contractor who was the cheapest. Yeah, it was a bad rookie move. The contractor basically tore the house apart, only to come back to me and ask me for more money. When I declined, they stopped working on the home. So I was back at square one. Luckily my boyfriend has a friend who lived in Louisiana and was familiar with how the homes are structured so mid Jan, he began to work on the property and all was going well for the few couple of weeks. When I visited in Feb, I was hoping the property would be near completion, but it wasn’t and although I was disappointed, the trip was not a complete waste because I managed not only to find a Property Manager, but also a tenant in the same week. Although I had not planned or even entertained the idea of a Section 8 tenant, it was an opportunity presented to me and I took it. The next thing I knew I was preparing for a Section 8 tenant to move in which required an inspection that is like taking a National Certification Exam (nerve wrecking).
After the contractors had done all they were going to do, which wasn’t the complete job and I refused to pay him the entire remaining balance, my family stepped in to finish the job and after 3 inspections, the property passed and the tenant moved in. Looking back, there are a lot of things in my process I would change. However, the fact that the property is still in our family and it looks better than ever is so satisfying and I cannot wait to take on my next deal after further reflection and a down payment.
As I continue on my real estate journey, I’m finding more ways to invest in real estate. One day I found a way to invest in Real Estate where I didn’t have to go property shopping, looking for ways to fund the property, nor did I have to put in work to rehab the property. I came across an ad for a company that required a minimum of $500 to begin and they did all the work. The company is called Fundrise.
Fundrise is a crowd-funding platform for real estate investors. Investors looking to update or build new properties provide documentation to Fundrise and Fundrise raises the money for them from people like me looking to get a better return on their money than they would from a bank. They have different levels of investors (Starter, Core, Advanced, Premium) and you get to choose your investment level. By that, I mean, do you want to be more or less aggressive with the returns you receive. You can also choose to invest as an individual or as a company without being accredited investor.
In addition to investing in the stock market, I chose the alternative. I’ve been investing for almost 2 years with Fundrise and I really like it. Not only do they do all the work, but they send me dividends on a quarterly basis directly to my bank account and provide updates on how the properties are doing.
If you are interested in investing or diversifying your portfolio and looking for a place to start, I recommend Fundrise and if you’re interested in joining click on the link fundrise.com/r/202ro and you and I both will have our advisory fees waived for 90 days.