Short Story of My Life
Below is a little history on myself and some of the deals I have done in my life.
It is some what of a short life story, so make sure you read it to get to know me a little better.
I am starting this off with a field that I consider myself to be an expert in and that is Real Estate Investing. I have been investing in real estate since 1997. I have purchased many properties with no money down and profited from properties that have made me tens of thousands of dollars of profit with little or no work at all. I am going to try and tell my story from the beginning so you understand where I come from, and how I got here.
I had a middle class up bringing. My parents provided me with everything I needed and most of what I wanted, within reason. I always felt in my heart as a kid that I would be rich someday (doesn’t everyone have that feeling?) My parents and teachers always thought so too, but I didn’t know why at the time. I did not know how I was going to do it, but I felt it deep down inside. My mother always thought that it would have something to do with computers. After high school I went in to the Army and served four years as a Helicopter Mechanic from 1988 to 1992. I was stationed in Korea 12 months, Germany 18 months, Turkey and Iraq for 6 months. I served my time and made a lifelong friend, (What’s Up Webb?) but I was glad my time was over, because I felt that there was more money to be made outside the military. After the Army, I came home and got a minimum wage job and lived with my parents. That lasted for about 6 months, then I went to College at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, FL, where I dropped out after 3 semesters and ran up about $15K in student loan debt. I came back home and lived with my parents again. It was 1994 and that is when I met my wife. We both moved in with my parents. I got a job as a correctional officer and started saving money and after about 2 months I had about $1500. one of the other guards that was working there was going through a divorce and they did not want to continue making payments on a 2 bed/ 1 bath singlewide mobile home. It was only about 7 years old and she only owed about $2600 left on the note. Luckily, it was owner financed, so I went and talked to the note holder and they agreed to let me continue to make the payment. I moved in with only my first payment which was $165 a month and after I received my income tax check back, I negotiated another $300 off the sales price, for making a lump sum payment for the remainder of the balance. — Paid $2300 total
This was my first no money down deal! I did not realize it at the time, but it was!
2 years later I sold that mobile home for $6900 and we moved into an apartment.
I lived there for 6 months and could not afford to pay the $750 a month in rent, so guess what I had to do???
MOVE BACK HOME WITH MOM AND DAD!!
I was 27 years old with a wife and 2 kids and I was living at home with my Mom and Dad! What was I going to do??? I had to figure out a way so that this would never happen again. I thought long and hard about it and I started looking at properties, but I did not have any money and my credit was even worse, from all those student loans that I had racked up at college and never made one payment on. IT LOOKED AND FELT HOPELESS! Until one day I found this TriPlex in the small town that we lived in for $75,000 and I thought it was a good deal. There was a 4bed/ 2bath apt. and two 2bed/1bath apartments and 2 of the 3 apartments were already rented out and bringing in $950 a month in rent. I found a mortgage broker that thought the property was a good candidate for 100% financing, but the only way I could get it is if my mother bought it in her name. All she had to do was sign for it and I could get it with no money down, but my Dad said no! He did not want any part of it. (And now I can understand why) After about 3 months living with my parents, and because my folks were getting sick of us being there, my Mom agreed to do it without my Dad and when we closed on the property, we actually got a check back at closing for $1654 (prorated rents) and my first payment wasn’t due for 42 days and I got to collect the rent of $950 again before I had to make the 1st payment. So I was up $2600, the 2 apartments rented for $950 a month and my mortgage payment was $740 a month because of the high interest rate from the 100% financing. and I had an apartment that we lived in rent free.
DON’T TELL ME, YOU CAN’T DO IT WITH REAL ESTATE!!!
I OWE THAT ONE TO MY MOM!!!! SHE IS THE BEST!!!!
As I proceeded to live there for the next 9 years. I got my real estate license right after we purchased the Triplex and I started out as a real estate agent. I worked for a rental company at first and I was a real go getter so I managed to make a steady income of about $600 to $700 a week for a little while, then I decided to try real estate sales. I made a few sales and a few commissions, but I really thought the money was in being an investor, but investors need money right? Wrong!
I had the tremendous pleasure of meeting Marcus T. Allen Ph.D. (Tim Allen) (This guy has a PHD in real estate) and he was a professor teaching real estate at one of the nearby colleges.
I started telling Tim Allen about some of the bargains I come across from time to time, but could not afford to do, because I didn’t have much money, so he said if I found a deal, then bring it to him and if it was a good deal, he would put up the money and we would split the profit 50-50. The first deal we did was a camper we bought for $380 and sold for $1150 in 7 days. He doubled his money and I made some easy cash with nothing invested. Then I started to find single wide mobile homes in little rental trailer parks, that I could buy for about $1000-$2000, so we would buy them and then owner finance them to people for $500 down and $250 a month for 2-5 years. There were people standing in line around the corner to have us finance them. We continued to buy and sell a few and we sold a few more campers in the meanwhile as well, I finally got up to 6 mobile homes and 6 rental apts. I acquired 12 rental units in all, mostly using Tim’s money and then me doing the work and us splitting the cash.
My 2nd mentor was Mr. John Hockey
TIM AND JOHN WERE BOTH AN IMPORTANT PART OF ME BEING A SUCCESS TODAY!
I felt like I was on the verge of taking it to the next level, when I lost everything (except the triplex)! I WAS DEVASTATED. I had worked for the last 3 years acquiring properties and doing deals, and it was all gone in about 2 months (except my triplex). I was so devastated that I had to change my life and ended up quitting real estate and got a real job, pumping insulating foam into concrete block walls. I HAD LOST HOPE AND GOTTEN DISCOURAGED! —-
But I was working my butt off doing VERY DEMANDING WORK, and I was gone all the time, 5-6 days a week, in a different hotel every night. IT SUCKED!
I had a wife and 3 kids and was only home 1 maybe 2 days a week. THAT IS NO WAY TO LIVE YOUR LIFE! Don’t let it happen to you! I worked there for about 8 months and during that time I did a lot of thinking and missing my family. I had to figure this back out, so I took a continuing education class for my real estate license. I quit that job and then started doing real estate sales again. During that time when I worked there, I was in the office a lot and I got to use the computer quite a bit. Computers were all new to me! I quickly began to see all the possibilities of the internet and having a computer, so I bought a computer.
The First Item I Ever Put On Ebay!
My uncle had a 1977 ford truck with a slide in camper in the back and he wanted to sell it for $500, but for some reason couldn’t find anyone to buy it, (probably because he wasn’t trying to hard) so, since I was also buying and selling stuff, I told my uncle to drive it over to the house and I would put it in the front yard and put a for sale sign on it. To make a long story short, Someone offered me $800 for the truck, but they did not want the camper, so we pulled it out and put it on stands in the yard. I gave my uncle his $500 and I kept $300 and I still had the camper. I advertised the camper on the local radio station for about 2 to 3 weeks and had 1 or 2 calls but nobody serious. I was only asking $100. I got to the point that I was advertising for someone to just come by and make me an offer and I guaranteed that they would take it home with them. PRETTY SERIOUS HUH?? I really just wanted it out of the yard. It was a pretty good camper and I didn’t really know why it wasn’t selling, (I do now) Then one day someone mentioned ebay to me. I got online and checked it out and I figured what do I have to lose, so being a NEW EBAYER and not really knowing how to write a good ad, I took 3 exterior pictures and wrote a 2 line description of the item and put it on ebay with $1 no reserve auction or buy it now for $500 It was 6pm at night when I listed the item and by 9am the next morning when I checked my account, I had sold the item for $500 to a guy in Georgia and the money was already in my account. WHAT??? What was going on? How could this be? Is this for real? IT WAS GREAT! So I knew where there was another camper for sale for $250, and it needed some tires (Cost $80 and about 2 hours of my time). I changed the tires and took 10 pictures and wrote a 5 line ad and started the bidding at $1 it sold for $1026 in 7 days. I THINK I HAVE STRUCK GOLD!!! SO I WAS ON A MISSION, to find every camper I could find. I’ll bet I sold close to 200 campers that year. I was running an ad in the local newspaper that said I buy used campers and I had a lot of calls. I can’t tell you how many campers I bought for $100 and sold for over $1000 and everywhere in between. See, campers are an item that when you want one for going camping, you are willing to pay what they are worth, but after you have had it for 2 years and you realize that you have only used it twice and you have to move it every time you mow the yard, it becomes a real pain and you are willing to take a discount just to get rid of it. I even got to the point where I would just go out and tell the sellers that I am an ebay seller and that I would like to try and sell their item on ebay. If they wanted $500 I would tell them that I would give them $500 but everything over $500 was for me, and they all would agree as long as they got their money. I CALL THAT A NO MONEY DOWN DEAL! EBAY IS GREAT! I also started doing the same thing with boats, motorcycles, airboats, lawn mowers, vehicles and just about everything else that I could get at a discounted price. Anything that is discounted in the real world, can be put on ebay and sold for market value and for a fast sale. Even with everything that was going in my favor, I still had a hard time making ends meet, and you can forget about saving money. I had student loan debt of about $18,000 and bad credit card debt and the lease I broke at the apartment building and numerous other debts that I hadn’t paid over the years, and to be honest, I had no idea how I would ever pay them off. It was approximately $29,000 of debt
I went through some time paying minimum payments and actually not paying on some of them at all. It seemed all my extra money was going toward bad debt and I wasn’t even getting anywhere with it, so I told my Mom to let me sell the triplex, so I could take the equity and payoff all my debt. It would just about be enough to cover the debt but I would have no where to live. I was so tired of having the debt, that I was willing to do this, just to get a fresh start. My mother asked me why we didn’t get a second mortgage to clear the debt. The TriPlex appraised for $160,000 (because Florida real estate was on the rise) and we were able to take out a $35,000 line of credit and I was able to pay everyone off. I WAS DEBT FREE!!! other than what was owed on the triplex, which was covered by equity in the property. I did not owe anyone. _________________________________________________________________
THAT’S 2 I OWE MY MOM! In reality, I owe her a lot more than that!
Now that everything was out of the way, I did not have any excuse to not make it happen! I had been watching some lots in a Florida subdivision, selling on ebay. I had seen at least 10 different auctions of different lots in this area and most of them were selling between $3500 TO $4500. I came across a guy that had 2 of these lots that he wanted to sell and he was asking $4200 for both lots together. After we paid off my debts with the $35,000 loan, there was about $4600 left over that was sitting in an account. I asked my Mom and she said go ahead. So I bought both lots for $4200 I listed the first one on ebay and it sold in 7 days for $4500 so I got my money back, plus $300 and I still had one lot to sell, so I listed it on ebay started the auction at $1 and it sold for $9100 in 7 days. JACKPOT!!! I am not a gambling man, but I felt damn good at this moment. I had more than flipped my money and it only took 2 weeks. I found another guy that had 2 of these lots and he wanted $2500 a piece, so I purchased 2 and they both sold in side by side auctions on ebay for over $7000 each So I bought 2 more for $3000 a piece and they sold for over $6000 a piece. Then I met a man that had over 13 of these lots that he had bought at a tax sale and he wanted $3000 a piece for them. I knew I could sell them, but I did not have the money to purchase them all, so I told him that I would send him half the money and then he can give me half of the lots and then give me 30 days to pay for the other half, so I sent him $18,000 for 6 of them. I ran 3 auctions. One auction had 3 lots in one auction selling for $21,000 One auction had 2 lots selling for $14,500 and there was one auction with one lot selling for $7500 All 3 auctions sold in less than 14 days and I sent him the money for the other 7 lots. They sold in less than 30 days.
They were selling as fast as I could put them on ebay, and I was always taught, that if something works, KEEP DOING IT!!!
anyway, I sold all those lots, and managed to save a little bit of money, but not as much as you would think.
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY I BUILT UP MY CONFIDENCE!
Then one day I was sitting there watching some of the ebay auctions and I ran across a 46,000sf 4 story brick school building located in Grafton, West Virginia The beginning bid was $17,000 and the auction only had 4 hours left and there were no bids. I THOUGHT FOR CERTAIN THERE WAS A MISTAKE, How could this big building not have any bids? It must be a piece of junk! Or condemned or something has to be wrong with it. so I read the description and the seller was new to ebay and had a zero feedback rating. His listing had 5 pictures of the exterior of the school and his description of the item was 3 lines long. Luckily there was a phone number in the ad. He only ran his auction for 7 days and he did not pay for any extra listing features when he listed the building. he probably only had about 500 people even visit the auction. I called the guy up and found out that he lived in California and he actually just foreclosed on the previous owner and he had never even seen the building. He had gotten the pictures from a local real estate agent. He had the mortgage and he basically just wanted his money back which was $26.000 was the foreclosure amount. I told him that I did not have all the money, but that I could give him 1/2 of the beginning bid ($17,000) and make $1000 a month payments to him until it was paid off in 9 months. He agreed and I was the high bidder. I told my folks and my Dad thought I was crazy! He could not figure out what I was going to do with a school building. I told him I was going to just sell it and that I thought I could sell it for more than what I paid for it. He didn’t think so!
DON’T LISTEN TO NEGATIVE PEOPLE!! THEY WILL ONLY BRING YOU DOWN!!
THEY DON’T THINK YOU CAN DO IT, BECAUSE THEY CAN’T DO IT!
We arranged for a local attorney in Grafton WV to do the title work and collect the money, so I could go and see the property and then give over the money. I booked a flight and me and a friend of mine (Hector) was off to Grafton, WV We flew out in the morning and was standing in front of the building by 3 pm.
Click the link below to see pictures of me and my buddy Hector at the school that day!
That is me in the orange shirt
Anyway, we looked over and went through the entire property and took about 300 or 400 pictures, because you can not show everything about a 46,000sf building with 5 exterior pictures. That night in the hotel room, I was talking to Hector and he kept saying to me, that $17,000 was alot of money and that he wasn’t sure if I should do it. He said that if it was him and he had $17,000 we would not do it and he would try and open a business, in hopes that he would have a steady job. THIS IS WHERE I POINT OUT, SOME PEOPLE THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHERS. Some people will never get it or understand it. Then I think some people just have it naturally. I call it Hustling! Or The Entrepreneur Spirit. The ability to find an undervalued item and either get it under contract or purchase it and sell it for more. It happens every day in every way, from the smallest individual local merchant to big corporations to different countries. I have always been a hustler. I have always had the ability to find value in something that most people could not find value in. Anyway, back to the school building. Now that was at least 2 people telling me that I probably shouldn’t do it, but I just kept telling myself, that if I was looking for similar building of that size, that there was NO WAY I would ever find one ANYWHERE, for $17,000, or even close, so I just tightened up and followed my gut feeling and I purchased the property. I was writing the ad for ebay on the plane ride home. I got home that day and wrote about a 4 to 5 page description of the building from my personal experience walking through it and included all the pictures of the property. I started the auction at $30,000, because I wanted to make at least $10,000 on this one, but I made a buy it now price of $60,000 hoping that maybe the auction would end in the middle somewhere. I ran the auction for 30 days and paid for every extra feature I could on ebay (about $263 in ebay fees) I got a bid on the 2nd day. then on the 4th day I get a call from a guy that wants to trade me a condo free and clear and give me about $20,000, or $40,000 cash, but the condo wasn’t worth it, and I found myself believing the property was worth more than $40,000. Then on about day 10 I got a call from a lady in California that said she wanted the building, and what would I take for a cash deal right now, I told her I was asking $60,000 for a buy it now, but I would take $55,000, she said that she only wanted to pay $50,000 and that she felt comfortable with that. I lowered it to $54ooo and she said no, then I lowered it to $52,000 and she said no, finally I asked for $51,000 and she said she could live with that, so we had the papers drawn up at the same attorney in Grafton.
IT WAS ONLY 20 DAYS FROM THE TIME I GAVE THEM MY CHECK TO THE TIME I HAD THE MONEY BACK INTO MY ACCOUNT!
I JUST CLEARED OVER $30,000 IN 20 DAYS!
When that happened, I had this overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, like
I COULD DO ANYTHING I PUT MY MIND TO AND THAT NOTHING COULD STOP ME!
IT IS TRUE TOO! WHEN I PUT MY MIND TO IT, NOTHING CAN STOP ME!
I have had that feeling only a few times in my life. You get it when a big deal comes through or you graduate college or you pass the real estate agent state exam or when you accomplish something big in your life that you have been trying hard to accomplish. I have found that it is harder and harder to get that feeling with the deals I do. When I make $30,000 on a deal now, I still get a good feeling, but not that feeling anymore! I WISH I DID!!! Anyway, I was on top of the world at that moment. It was great!
Here is another school building in Bushnell, NE that I purchased on ebay for $27,877. I never went to see this property. I just had the owner take about 200 pictures and I rewrote the ad and put it right back on ebay for a $1 no reserve auction and it sold for $45,100
Here is 6bed / 3bath house on 5 acres that I purchased for $55,500–Property is tax assessed at $138,000. I sold for $93,000
From then on I started looking at everything differerent. I started buying acreage in Kentucky, basically because it was cheap and I could flip it, I also kept selling lots in Florida subdivision, but by that time, everybody was in on it. Prices in Florida started rising like crazy and my property value went sky high. I loved living in the tri plex and not making payments, but my family was outgrowing it. I needed a bigger place, but I could not afford one in Florida. So I was looking on the internet and found a foreclosure listing on a 6 bed/ 4.5 bath house on 20 acres for $84,900 in Tennessee. I negotiated it down to $80,000 and we put my triplex on the market. To make a long story short, I sold the triplex for $225,000 (3 times what we paid for it) which was about $100,000 more than I owed on the mortgage and the line of credit combined.
LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHT I had moved in this property and got cash back at closing. I had lived there rent free for 9 years and had the tenants make all of my mortgage payments during that time. I had borrowed $35,000 more against the property that cleared my debt and when I sold it, I walked away with $100,000
MAN, DO I LOVE REAL ESTATE!!! THERE IS NO OTHER PLACE YOU COULD DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS!!!
Then we moved to Tennessee ,but my credit was shot and I did not think I could get a mortgage, but I did.
I had to put down $20,000 on a $80,000 purchase, but I finally got my own mortgage at one of the local banks. I then proceeded to build a relationship with the contact at the bank and she started taking a chance on me, if I would put about 15% down, she would loan me the money, so I started buying a few houses, to flip and it has paid off pretty good. I have never had even so much as a late payment to the bank and my credit score has risen from about a 520 to over a 700 now. I would love to have perfect credit, but until time passes and the old stuff gets off of the credit completely, there really is not much I can do. The bank is on my side now. They see what I have been doing and how successful I have been at it, that they now will do 100% financing on some of the properties for me, if there is plenty of equity, which enables me to do more deals. KEEP THIS IN MIND! If you have bad credit, and someone breaks down and loans you some money, do yourself and your credit a favor by paying the money back in the agreed upon terms or faster. Once you do it a couple of times, they will be more eager to work with you, because you have proven yourself! Since I have lived here in Tennessee I have done several transactions. The prices are lower here in Tennessee than in South Florida, so I am able to do more deals. My brother and I started a company and we currently own over 22 properties. I am not as wealthy as I want to be (Is there such a thing?), but I have also come to believe that being rich is more than just having a lot of money, It is family! It is having the freedom to do what you want, when you want and to not have to work a job that you do not love. I am able to take my kids to and from school, go to the gym in the morning, come home and do a little work on my computer, and basically take life how and I want to take it.
I LOVE BEING ABLE TO DO WHAT I DO!
MAYBE THAT IS WHY IT DOES NOT SEEM LIKE WORK!
I LOVE REAL ESTATE!
IT IS MY PASSION!
If there is one thing I want to impart on you after reading my story, it is that
“IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, YOU CAN ACHIEVE IT!
You should never give up! You should believe in yourself and your abilities!
If you want something, you have to go get it!
NOBODY is gonna do it for you!
GOOD LUCK WITH ALL YOUR ENDEAVORS!