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One Woman's Success Story

by Patience B., Denver, Colorado   

All the Success Stories appear to be written by men, and women only come into it as partners in the deals. I'm not walking out of closings with money-back checks. I'm not doing simultaneous closings and being paid for being in the right place with the right knowledge.

What I am doing is slowly building a portfolio of low income units in duplexes, fourplexes, and converted houses in previously run-down neighborhoods that are suddenly blooming with new life. As prices increase, I sell one or two in that neighborhood and replace them with one or two in another neighborhood.

I specialize in crummy, very small, occupied properties. I raise the rents some and do the emergency repairs (always seems to be plumbing!), and leave well enough alone until someone moves. Then I get out the trash bags, cleaning supplies (including the toothbrush and razor blade), spackling (lots of spackling of different kinds), tools, glues, and get to work.

Good quality semi-gloss paint sprayed everywhere (Behr's Swiss Coffee, an easy name to remember), new vinyl tiles in kitchen and bathroom, used commercial carpet elsewhere, new low-flush toilet, used appliances if necessary, replace all outlets, switches, cover plates, and ceiling lights, wash the windows, and paint the front door a different color and replace the numbers and mail box.

Three to four weeks later, depending on my energy level or other landlording emergencies, the unit is available again at a market, and therefore higher rent (and with a security deposit--it is amazing how many landlords do not charge a deposit!).

My number of units and number of properties is increasing yearly, and the current appreciation of real estate is helping my paper worth. While my gross cash flow is good, not great, my net cash flow depends on what is left after debt and other tenant expenses and, while it varies greatly sometimes, it allows me to live without having a full-time job working for someone else. I am self-employed. I am an entrepreneur. I am independent. And I like it.

 
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