Who am I?
Simply put, I’m just a guy. I grew up with no special advantages or hand outs. My parents worked hard so I was never hungry and I always had clean clothes to wear but we were by no means rich. After high school I did go to college. This is what you did if you wanted to find a good job. Then 2008 happened and finding that job became harder than anyone would have guessed. I had a master’s degree in engineering and every company I called would give me the same line. “We are sorry, we are not hiring right now. And when we do need to hire someone we will rehire someone we have already laid off.” This was bad. Six figures in student loan debt, and competing against thousands of new graduates, and also thousands of more experienced, educated professionals. Fortunately I had a paid internship so I was able to pay my bills. They treated me well but they weren’t in a position to transfer me from my 40 hr/week internship to a salaried position. With some encouragement from a very good friend named Dan, and the realization I was too young and too able for my life behind a desk to begin, I joined the Army. Now I serve full time and invest where and when I am able.
Why Real Estate?
My third year of college I was allowed to live off campus. I found an apartment with two friends and we moved in. It was a low income neighborhood, but because we were all full time students we didn’t qualify for any of the rent control benefits. Bummer. So it ended up being about $450 each to cover all of the bills to live there. Not terrible right? Remember there are three of us paying this and this is a low income neighborhood. All I could think about was paying this money each month and receiving nothing when it came time to move out. Not to mention listening to my very loud neighbors every night and picking up discarded fast food wrappers in the hallway. It didn’t take long to figure out renting was not for me, especially apartments.
How did i get here?
I bought my first house at 21 years old. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a safe and affordable place to live with a convenient commute. Even a home so modest was too much for me alone. My mom co-signed on the loan in order to satisfy the debt to income portion of the loan. I put every spare penny into paying it off so that just nine years later I could free her credit of that mortgage. At my first duty station I bought my second house. This was all I knew about real estate investing. Buy a property, rent it out and eventually pay it off. There was no market analysis or analyzing deals. I did have my boundaries. My friends were buying these big, beautiful houses in brand new developments for two or three times what I was willing to pay. I was very aware of my financial situation and never over extended myself. Through all of my 20’s I lived with a roommate to reduce the cost of living. It wasn’t until my third house that I didn’t plan on a roommate. This was both because I was moving to a new duty station and I had a serious girlfriend. She moved in and we soon got married. At this point in my life I was over half way to achieving the goal I had set for myself a decade earlier. I owned three houses and my goal was five. This is something I was very proud of. I thought the income from five houses and any sort of retirement would be enough and I could be financially free. Then I met the guy who took that little ember inside me and threw it into the hay mow. He was the first self proclaimed real estate investor I had ever met. He introduced me to Bigger Pockets, and BRRRR, and leverage, and I very quickly realized how little I knew. I met Mike in October. By December I had a business entity. In February I closed an off market deal, the first of my houses I haven’t lived in.
What do I do any of this for? Why add any additional stress to my life. The short answer is freedom. I will buy a massive sailboat and sail around the world. I will be free to go where I want, when I want, and stay there as long as my visa permits. This will also open doors for my friends and family to see new places and experience different cultures. In order to accomplish this I will need a lot of time and a whole lot of money. The empire I build over the next ten years will provide me with both.