As a medical professional, my initial years were dedicated to honing my medical skills and evolving into the PA I aspired to become. Yet, as I entered the fourth year of my practice, my restless mind began yearning for something beyond medicine. For a long time, I had the desire to invest in real estate and had been advocating for this to my husband. When he finally read the infamous Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, he began to understand and share my vision, which led to us eventually creating a wholesaling team.

The Beginning of Real Estate Investing

One day, my husband returned from work, inspired by the book Kiyosaki’s words, and told me, “I want to sell my Ford Raptor, buy a more affordable car, and use the difference to start investing in real estate.” His words were music to my ears; he had finally embraced my vision. Having been a frequent listener of The Bigger Pockets Podcast for several years, I seized the opportunity and delved deeper, exploring options and developing our action plan. After selling the truck and acquiring a cheaper new vehicle, we had a solid $20,000 to kickstart our real estate investment journey.  I explored various methods we could begin with, which I’ll discuss further, but a creative finance group particularly piqued my interest. I invested in a mentorship program and eagerly absorbed everything I could about real estate investing.

Different Types of Real Estate Investing

BRRRR

The BRRRR strategy: Buy, Rent, Rehab, Refinance, and Repeat. I initially envisioned utilizing this approach to scale our portfolio. The timing was impeccable, with low interest rates creating an ideal market landscape for success using this strategy. The BRRRR method stands out as a potent means of wealth creation through real estate investing over time. It revolved around acquiring undervalued properties, enhancing their worth through renovations, and renting them out to generate a consistent income stream. Once the property is rented, you can leverage the refinancing benefits. This allows you to extract equity and reinvest it into additional properties, facilitating investment growth.

Of course, it’s not without its challenges- the method requires upfront capital for acquisitions and renovations and a discerning eye for profitable deals. Moreover, renting properties can be labor-intensive, necessitating active engagement in property management and upkeep. While I found the BRRRR strategy appealing, I ultimately opted for a different route due to uncertainties regarding deal flow and the substantial capital requirement needed for this particular investment method.

Fix and Flip

Fix and flipping presents an exciting opportunity wherein you acquire undervalued or distressed properties. The goal is to then transform them through renovations, and sell them at their new (higher) market value for a profit. I was initially drawn to the allure of fixing and flipping, much like the captivating transformations showcased on TV. Imagine the thrill of handpicking design elements for homes and making distinctive decisions that set your property apart! However, the fix-and-flip strategy has its complexities. It demands meticulous planning, consistent deal flow, adept project management, and either readily available capital or access to financing.

Flipping also comes with its share of risks, such as unanticipated renovation expenses, market shifts, and the challenge of timing the market for optimal returns. To successfully scale this strategy, it’s essential to adopt a hands-off approach to construction while remaining hands-on in deal selection, ensuring the properties chosen align with your vision and investment goals.

Wholesaling

Wholesaling involves playing the role of a “contract-holder” or “middleman,” bridging the gap between property sellers and potential buyers. The typical wholesaling process requires the wholesaler to identify a potential property and secure a “contract to sell/buy” at a negotiated, often discounted, price. This method typically targets distressed and motivated sellers. Subsequently, the wholesaler markets the contract to a list of buyers and “assigns” the contract to an end buyer, typically another investor or rehabber, at a higher price. The assignment fee, representing the difference between the contracted amount and the investor’s purchase price, becomes the profit for the wholesaler- all without ever taking ownership of the property themselves.

Undoubtedly, real estate investing offers many opportunities, which can be both a boon and a challenge for investors like me. The temptation of the “shiny-object syndrome” in real estate investing is a challenging obstacle. Hearing stories of people making hundreds of thousands of dollars through various real estate methods can be enticing, often leading to thoughts like, “I can do that, too.” However, I’ve come to realize that attempting to pursue every avenue of real estate investment can spread you thin and hinder your progress. The key is to focus on a specific strategy and master it rather than trying to juggle multiple methods simultaneously.

Wholesaling real estate

Why I Chose to Wholesale Real Estate

After immersing myself in the mentorship program, I persuaded my husband to establish a wholesaling team. We quickly realized that I was the visionary, while he excelled as an integrator in our partnership. If you’re curious about these roles, I recommend “Rocket Fuel” by Gino Wickman and Mark Winters, a book that played a pivotal role in our understanding of our respective roles in the business.

Benefits of Wholesaling

One primary reason I opted for wholesaling was its potential for swift entry into the real estate investing world without the need for extensive experience or capital. At that point, I lacked the funds to invest in another rental property and was unfamiliar with raising private money. Moreover, I didn’t feel confident enough to purchase and flip a house. Yet, I yearned for an approach that would allow me to learn the ins and outs of investing while generating profits.

Wholesaling provided me with just that. It taught me how to excel at property valuation, understand market dynamics, and effectively communicate with sellers. Although our wholesaling operation eventually grew to require significant financial input, with weekly operations exceeding $1,200 and a team of five virtual assistants (VAs), our initial steps were more modest. Initially, we hired one VA for calls and texts while my husband and I managed the rest of the operation.  

The beauty of wholesaling, in my view, is the continuous deal flow it offers. I had big dreams of eventually building a substantial wholesaling team, closing ten deals a month to feed into our fix-and-flip venture, and selecting properties to keep as our own rentals.

Many seasoned investors affirmed that wholesaling is an excellent entry point to real estate investing. However, it’s crucial to understand its limitations- by itself, it doesn’t generate long-term wealth. If the deal-making stops, the cash flow ceases, and there’s no rental income or depreciation to sustain profits.

Where We are Now with Real Estate Investing

Over two years, we successfully operated our wholesaling business, generating a substantial amount of money. However, I couldn’t find a way to extract myself from the day-to-day operations. Every attempt to step back resulted in faltering acquisitions or dispositions, pulling me back into the thick of things. Since I have a full-time job, it is imperative that I not be involved in every step of the operation. I’m actively working on finding a solution to this issue, but for now, our team has scaled back. While our deal flow has decreased, we’re comfortable completing one profitable deal per month.

My goal for the next six months is to gradually scale the operation to a more “manageable” size, aiming for consistently completing five deals per month on the wholesaling side, all while maintaining a hands-off approach. A valuable lesson I’ve learned is that opportunities are always present.

My objectives are gradually shifting, moving towards amassing long-term wealth and exploring diverse avenues beyond just being a landlord. This past year marked a significant milestone for us, as my husband became a licensed real estate agent, selling residential properties in our local market. This development provided the impetus for us to venture into fixing and flipping, something we’ve been interested in for years. We’re on the brink of completing our first flip and eagerly looking forward to doing more soon.

What’s Next

My real estate objectives for the upcoming year are multifaceted. First, I aim to expand our flipping business, targeting 3-5 successful flips in the coming year. Concurrently, I plan to reinvigorate our wholesaling operation, consistently closing five monthly deals. Additionally, I’m eager to explore avenues that present opportunities for long-term wealth accumulation by strategically scaling these facets of our business.

If you have any questions regarding team building, utilizing virtual assistants, or the systems I’ve employed throughout this journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  I obviously don’t have all the answers, but I’m willing to share my experience with you. As my real estate investing journey evolves, the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired will provide a solid foundation. My dedication to continuously learning and adapting remains unwavering. My goal is to propel my business forward and lay the groundwork for sustained wealth accumulation for my family.