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.
My primary goal is to uplift and provide affordable housing for the community I grew up in, but I also want a better return on the dollars I make than the traditional bank will provide in order to meet my goals. So yes, I’ve jumped on the Tax Lien buying band wagon.
No, I did not pay someone $97 for a course. No, I did not have pay $300 for a Consult. I simply took a few hours in the evening after work to research and learn how the process works. In the words of Brandon Turner from Bigger Pockets, “I did my own push-ups.”
One day I came across an article that explained the difference between Tax Liens and Tax Deeds. Then I came across a map of all the US states and what months they have their Tax Liens and Tax Deeds sales with the redemption period. I printed all this information and I read it. Then I went to YouTube and did a search on Tax Liens and found the perfect video for me. In the video, the person was actually showing what properties they bid on based on their preferences and goals as well as showing the audience how the bidding worked on the bidding website.
The next thing I knew I was buying a left over Tax Lien from Duval County in Florida. A month later, I got a check in the mail. Yes, I was skeptical and I did not know everything, but I knew enough to know how much I could afford to pay for a Tax Lien and what kind of property I was looking for. So I didn’t spend $1000 nor did I spend $100 on my first Tax Lien. I wanted to get my feet in the game and see how it worked For me, that was enough. To date, I have purchased about 5 Tax Liens in different states. I do this with the immediate thought that I’m going to get a better interest rate on my money rather than thinking I’m going to have foreclose on someone’s home. To date I have yet to have to foreclose on a property.
My first real estate experience was being an Airbnb Host. I thought it was a great way to make a little extra cash. After researching and reading about the many regulations and rules by the state of Florida and Palm Beach county on top of managing the Airbnb itself, I gave it a try. After all, I was only renting the extra bedroom in my primary residence.
I filed all the paperwork and received licenses required and I went on the Airbnb website to setup an account. I added pictures to showcase the room, set the schedule and pricing and the Do’s and Don’ts. At first, I set the price low just to see how many inquires I would get. After about a week, I received inquires from the first guest I would accept. After a few guests, I started getting the hang of it.
About 4 months into hosting, I was getting worn out. Between washing the sheets every few days and the cleaning, having guests that didn’t read the Do’s and Don’ts, and guests coming in and out at crazy times of the night, I decided that this may not be for me. So after 6 months, I had my last guests. The overall experience was great. I met some really great people and earned a little bit of money. I would definitely recommend becoming an Airbnb Host to anyone who has the space and looking to make some extra money. I would just caution them to make sure they are comfortable with hosting at their primary residence.