This success story is long overdue and with the help I have got from CRE Online, I hope my story can encourage people in their own journey.
In 1996, I became a single mother of a two year old. I sold my business and officially became self-unemployed. Wondering how to have a fresh start, I moved to California from Minnesota with next to nothing. My credit was half-ruined by my ex-husband. I had no income. I have some business experience and no money.
I have studied and learned from this site since 1996. I went to the CRE Online Convention in 1998. I came to California because of the weather and because Ed Garcia and William Bronchick are both from there. I figured I knew at least two top guns there should I ever need help. I trust them and they, indeed, gave me so much help that I can’t thank them more.
Moving into a total foreign state with high cost of living was difficult. I had no support, no family, no friends. However, somehow I knew I was going to make it in real estate investing. First, I got my real estate salesperson license and started to investigate local real estate. (Whenever I ran out of money I would take assignment from employment agency just so I have enough to get by.)
I was determined to know my local city. In 60 days, I knew the streets by heart and I could estimate the value right off. In six months, I met my current husband and got married. (Talk about finding partners!) We started looking together and bought our first home at $240,000 in 1999. Today, it is worth $320,000.
In October 1999, we found a local property listed for $279,000, we got it for $225,000. It was a divorce situation, and the property was in terrible showing condition. My real estate commission was used to fixed it up.
People and investors were skeptical, saying the margin is not enough to do it. We hesitated but finally decided to just do it. We wanted to pick a property that’s close to us, and we know the area is appreciating. We figured even if we don’t make money on it, it would be a good warm up exercise and establish some relationship with lenders, contractors, etc.
We were going to flip it, but the unexpected happened. I got pregnant. I could not work for months. We decided to just rent it out for a year. A year after, my daughter was born. And we sold the house for $320,000. That’s about $90,000 in profit!
And people were telling me it’s not enough margin, including seasoned investors.
I guess when the average property value in an area is high, you cannot just use percentage as your guide. The dollar amount must be taken into consideration. Granted the risk is higher. But we reduce the risk by picking properties that are within a 5-minute drive to us and in an area we know is promising.
Today, I have obtained my own broker license, and we are happy building our portfolio. We have two happy children, and my husband is preparing to quit his regular job. We are taking our 3-week vacation overseas in December. I am very happy to become useful to people around me (buyers, sellers, contractors, inspectors, bookkeepers, etc.)
I’ve seen people who are moving from state to state posting questions on the Real Estate Forum. I’d like to encourage them. Yes, it can be done. If a single mother with a young child, bad credit, no income can do it, so can anyone. Moving to a new place and starting a new life is scary, especially if you know no one. Don’t let the fear stop you. The world has become a smaller place and people are still people.