Over the past 12 months Mike and I have made some pretty big changes in our lives! Some of the biggest changes were getting married twice (thanks Covid) and beginning to invest in real estate. Friends and family have asked so many questions about our venture into real estate…and after answering the same questions numerous times, we realized there are probably lots of people who have these same questions! So maybe you’re reading this because you know us and support us (even though you’ve already heard all of this before 😊), maybe you’re reading this because you’re nosy (I’ve found myself in this bucket a time or two), or maybe you’re reading this because you’re interested in diving into real estate investing! Regardless of why you’re here, WELCOME! Thanks for being here! I can’t promise it’ll all be pretty, but I can promise to share it all with you! So here we go…
Rewind to October of 2020…After 8 months of binge watching more TV than we would like to admit (Tiger King included) I started to look for other ways to use the extra time at home. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to start a business or some sort of side gig. My parents are both entrepreneurs themselves. They aren’t millionaires in a monetary sense but they made their own schedules and they were extremely active in our lives. In high school and college, I played volleyball all over the country and they never missed a game. I’d like to think it’s because I am their favorite child but if we’re being honest, they were able to be there because they had the flexibility to set their own schedules. This was extremely attractive to us as we were about to get married and hoped to one day start a family.
When you hear real estate investing, it sounds so posh. You know, the rich do it with help from expensive lawyers and accountants. But really, it’s simple. Define your goals, research the options, research the markets, and just get started. So, that is what we did.
Great. We have an idea of what we want to do, but now where do we start? Well, I started by reading a book.
I ordered Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki (it’s less than $10 on Amazon). I truly believe you have to be in the right mindset when you read this book for it captivate you. Turns out I very much was…I read it in 2 days! I was ready to do something big and it got my wheels turning, but I wanted more.
Being the analytical person I am, I need numbers and data to fully understand and learn a new concept. So, again, I looked for a book. I found a book called Skip the Flip by Hayden Crabtree. It was simple. It had real life numbers and examples, so I was hooked. He’d included his email address in the book so I reached out. (I’m the embodiment of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie)
What came next did cost us some money. We decided to invest $3,000 on a coaching/mastermind put together by Hayden. I would like to acknowledge that for us, it was worth it. However, THERE IS SO MUCH OUT THERE FOR FREE! The reason I say it was worth it for me personally, is that networking and putting myself out there is definitely not in my comfort zone (this blog post is a lot for me). So, the fact that these 1:1 connections and small groups were setup FOR me, made the investment worth it. Through the weekly virtual classes, I learned the basics: how to underwrite, what deal structures exist and just general knowledge about the industry. About 4 months in, we bought our first place: a triplex in Tipton, Indiana. And we were off!
Choosing Tipton was a no-brainer. I grew up there. My parents still live in the area. It was a safe choice which made it the right choice for us. The units needed varying degrees of updates, one of which required larger renovations. We knew this going into it and knew that with the help of my dad, that we could tackle this ourselves and didn’t need to hire the job out. We should be clear that when I say my dad helped, I mean he ran the show and Mike and I just took orders from him! After 6 weeks (of living with my parents as newlyweds and working on the renovations after work and on the weekends), we’d completed the remodel and had all 3 rented out very quickly. This deal was huge for us because it renders a 38% cash on cash return.
When I wasn’t helping with the renovations or working at my day job, I was researching, listening to podcasts, and doing everything I could to find all the information about investing in real estate. That’s when I came across an old volleyball friend’s online post about retiring from her “W-2”. I immediately reached out and she told me about many different online groups including one she’d started called, Aspiring Women Achieving More (AWAM). A few days later, I dialed into my first ‘Friday Accountability Meeting’ with the rest of the ladies in the group. I was exposed to women doing huge things. The deals they worked on were bigger than I could imagine and their knowledge was deep. The best part was that they were open and easy to talk to, and happy to teach me. Then I became laser focused on figuring out HOW we achieve our goal.
Our goal has always been to make double our “nine-to-five” salaries in 5 years. It wasn’t until we had a property under our belt and being exposed to people who are actually doing what we’re just starting to do, that we sat down and drew out what that journey may look like. The real estate landscape is massive and ever changing so flexibility is key. We wanted to get aggressive but didn’t want to put all our eggs in one basket. After consulting our current financial situation, we decided we wanted at least 10 units by the end of the year. In October of 2021 we closed on a 7 unit. However, we weren’t done.
We wanted to own as many doors as we could on our own. Sole ownership equals more returns for us! We were running low on cash, and I had recently been hearing a lot about the returns and cash flow in short-term rentals. This also gave us the opportunity to expand into another asset class that could drive more cash flow and ultimately diversify our portfolio. I could go on and on about how we decided to jump into this (definitely for a different post), but the short of it is: we pulled the trigger in a Wisconsin market and in November 2021, closed on our first short term rental! We not only exceeded our goal for the year but also jumped into a new area of the real estate game.
I know this first post seems rosy, I can tell you it wasn’t easy and honestly there were plenty of bumps in the road that kept us up late or worried we were crazy. And they keep coming. But we continue to believe in this path for us and hope by sharing, others can see a path to financial freedom that fits them!
More to come!
Loren & Mike