Last Updated on April 13, 2020 by Mark Ferguson
I am a big believer in making big goals and one of my goals is to purchase 100 rental properties by 2023. I have been a real estate agent and investor for more than 15 years, and I love the income my rental properties provide. Buying 100 rental properties will allow me to retire with more than enough money to reach my current dreams and goals. I do not want to buy 100 properties quickly without concern for the returns or risk. It takes a lot of money, time, and effort to buy 100 properties in the right way. I only buy houses that are well below market value and have great cash flow.
I first wrote this article in 2013, but have tried to update it frequently. I now have 20 rentals that make me over $10,000 a month after expenses. I am way behind on my goal, but many things happened that I could not have predicted like our housing market going crazy. I have bought commercial properties in the last few years instead of residential because they have been better money makers in my market.
Why I made a more challenging goal
In 2010, my original goal was to buy 30 rental properties in ten years. I based that goal on what I thought I could realistically achieve when I started buying rentals. A couple of years ago, I realized my goal was too easy because I knew I could buy 30 houses in ten years. I had given myself no room for improvement in my investing strategies or real estate business! At the start of 2013, I reworked all my goals including my rental property purchase schedule. My new goal was to buy 100 rental properties by January 2023 because it challenged me and would make me work hard. I had no idea when I first made this goal how I could buy 100 rental properties, but that is why we make big goals; to challenge us to do more and to change the way we do things.
Why real estate?
I want to buy 100 rental properties because of the income and freedom that 100 houses will give me. I make over 15 percent cash on cash returns on my rentals because I purchase them below market value with great rent to value ratios. If I can buy 100 rental properties with the current cash flow requirements I have, I will make a lot of money. According to my calculations, I will be making over $900,000 a year in cash flow, have at least 60 houses paid off, and have over 11 million in equity in my rental properties. Those figures are not adjusted for inflation and assume no appreciation or rent increases. That kind of income should allow me to afford whatever my family and I want and allow us to do whatever we like. We only live once and I want to get everything that I can out of life.
The first part of this article discusses the philosophy behind buying 100 rental properties, why it is important to have big goals, and why it is important to think big. The second half of the article discusses the numbers and a detailed purchase schedule.
Is it possible to buy 100 houses?
To be completely honest, I do not know how I am going to buy 100 rental properties by January 2023. I do not make nearly enough money to buy 9 or 10 houses a year. I have barely been able to buy three houses a year. I bought my first rental property in December 2010, and I started my rental property purchase goal on that day. I should have had three by December 2011, six by December 2012, and nine by December 2013. I started out very slow buying only one rental in my first year. I have picked up speed and as of March 2016, I own 16 rentals, still behind where I had hoped to be. That does not mean I will not reach my goal. The reason I have not purchased as many rentals lately is they are much harder to find in our market. Our prices have increased significantly making it harder to cash flow. I have been buying many more fix and flips since I cannot find rentals.
Why do I think I can purchase 100 rental properties by January 2023 if I am so far away? After reading and listening to books on how to become wealthy I started reworking my life goals. A couple of ideas are repeated in books and audio tapes beginning with Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Think and Grow Rich was published in the early 20th century after Napoleon Hill followed Andrew Carnegie for decades. Carnegie was one of the richest men in the history of the world and wanted someone to study rich people in the world and write a book about how and why they became rich. Because Carnegie was one of the richest people in the world, he was able to grant Hill access to most of the world’s wealthiest people. Think and Grow Rich is now known as one of the first self-help books, and many of its basic ideas are still taught today by the world’s most famous life coaches and teachers.
How will my attitude affect my success?
Being positive is a theme that is repeated in every self-help book and audio recording I have ever listened too. I am a strong believer that our attitude has a huge influence on our success in life. The books range from slightly crazy to extremely scientific reasons for how being positive can greatly affect the success we have in our lives. You may have heard of the law of attraction, which states that the universe will return to us whatever we put out. If we are positive and happy, we will get positive and happy things back. If we are negative and sad, negative and sad things will come our way. I am a very logical and scientific person and was not sold on this idea right away. I had to know why this would happen. How could being positive magically bring positive things into our lives?
I started doing research on the brain and on how the law of attraction theory worked. I found out that it is not all magic, there are scientific reasons why the law of attraction works. It is based on the subconscious part of our brain and on how it operates our bodies. We know that our conscious mind is only a fraction of what our brain is responsible for. Our subconscious mind is constantly working to keep us alive by telling our heart, lungs, muscles and the rest of our bodies what to do. Most of our movements and actions are performed by our subconscious, not our conscious mind. We do not have to think about walking, talking, driving, writing, or even most of our daily tasks. By doing those things repeatedly, we have programmed our minds on how to do them.
Tying this back into the positive thinking idea, if we are always thinking positively, our subconscious will think positively, too. If our subconscious thinks we are happy all the time, it will do what it can to make us happy. Why do we care what our subconscious thinks? It is much smarter than our conscious mind. The subconscious is responsible for handling millions of tasks at once, while our conscious mind can only handle a handful of ideas at once. If we let our subconscious know what we want it will help guide our lives and help us to get what we want. Whether it is love, happiness, money, or material items our subconscious has much more power than we think. The theory also states that you must think about what you want, not what you do not want because our subconscious cannot tell the difference. If you are constantly thinking about not having money, then your subconscious will do its best to make that come true as well. If you are constantly thinking of not getting sick, our subconscious will do its best to get you sick. Think of being healthy, think of being rich, and think of the good things, not the negatives.
Why such a big goal?
Almost every self-help book will tell you goals are extremely important. Without goals, we have no direction, no path, and no idea of what we really want in life. There are varying ideas of how our goals should be constructed. Some say we just need broad wide-open goals such as being as happy as possible all the time to make whatever is best for you to come to you. Others say to be as specific and detailed as possible with your goals, break your goals into smaller goals, and then have a period for when those goals will be accomplished. Eventually, you will have a detailed blueprint for how you will get to where you need to go.
Some people say you need realistic goals and others say you need outrageous goals. As you have probably guessed, I like outrageous goals! The reason I like outrageous goals is that they are challenging! If I know that I can reach a goal and if I know exactly how to reach it, where is the motivation for me to push myself? I want goals that make me think and reach for new ideas and systems. I have no idea what opportunities or challenges will face me in the future, so why should I limit my future goals to what I can do now? I may have a huge increase in income or find a new system that allows me to buy houses cheaper. I have such a lofty goal because I have no idea what could happen.
Who will I need help from?
Many of the self-help books also talk about how we all need friends, co-workers, or acquaintances to help us reach our potential. Some use the term mastermind to describe groups of like-minded people who meet to help each other succeed by offering advice and motivation. The idea is that the more people to brainstorm ideas, questions, problems, etc. the better the chance a great idea or solution to a problem will come about. I do not have a mastermind group (this has since changed), but I have recruited my best friend to work with me and learn the real estate business. He was a top-level manager in the corporate world and left his six-figure salary behind to learn real estate from me. I benefit by having a new mind to bounce ideas off and have more help in the office. He benefits by getting out of the corporate grind and learning how to be truly wealthy. He also has a flexible schedule and he is not stuck behind a desk all day.
Why focus is so important
The self-help teachers also say how important it is to focus on one task or goal. All the greats had something in their mind that they really wanted. They did not let anything stop them until they got what they wanted or died trying. I have always thought of myself as being able to multitask, a jack-of-all-trades type of person. So far, it had worked out well, but I know I can do better. I know there are things I can improve in my business to make it run better and make more money. I have always thought that I knew everything about finding good deals in real estate. After starting this blog, I have realized that there is a whole world I have been missing in direct marketing to off-market properties. Instead of trying to manage five different sources of income myself, I need to delegate less important tasks to my staff and focus on the real moneymakers. If I can focus intently on a couple different areas of my work instead of just skimming over 50, I know I can improve my numbers significantly.
Why visualizing the goal being achieved is important
Many great athletes will tell you how important visualization is to succeed in sports. Great golfers visualize exactly how their shot will look before they hit it. Basketball players repeatedly visualize hitting the game-winning shot. The wealth teachers are all huge supporters of visualization. They say visualization will give your subconscious a clear picture of what you want and then your subconscious will do its best to make it happen. If you want to change your life, start visualizing how it should be every day. Better yet, go see, touch, and smell the things you want. Test-drive the car you always wanted, look at your dream home, or immerse yourself with the things you want and your subconscious will get to work. I wrote a ten-year dream story on exactly how I wanted my life to be. I described a beautiful house and in three months, I bought that house. I was not even planning to move and in no way thought I could afford a house like the one I have now, but it became a reality.
Using all I have learned to reach my goals
Based on the ideas I have just discussed, I think I have a good chance of reaching 100 rental properties. I still do not know exactly how it will happen, but I know it will or I will find a better and more challenging goal. I have to train my subconscious to help me reach my goal. I have to be positive all the time. I have to think about my goals constantly and break it down into manageable pieces. I must have help and I have to focus more intently on my important goals. I also have to visualize myself already achieving my goals and having everything I want. Even if not all of this makes me rich, worst-case scenario, I am a positive, determined, focused person who knows exactly what he wants.
Breaking down big goals makes them more realistic
I have broken down other goals in my life, but I have yet to break down a goal this big! I am going to work through the goal while writing the blog and see where I end up in 9.5 years. I wanted to write this article to help convince myself that it is possible to buy 100 properties. The first part of this article was all about my mindset. Now, let us get down to the numbers. Here is a year-by-year breakdown of how I plan to purchase 100 rental properties.
With my current income, I can purchase three rental properties a year and I have purchased that many in the last three years. I should be able to do a cash-out refinance on at least one rental property in 2014 and get enough money to buy another property. I am also counting on my new attitude and work ideas to create enough extra income to purchase one more rental property. I also just acquired a HELOC on my personal residence for $60,000. I think that will allow me to purchase one more rental. New goal for 2014 is to purchase six long-term rentals.
I will have 15 houses with about $9,400 in monthly cash flow. That is $112,800 a year all going toward paying off mortgages on my properties. I will have paid off one house at the beginning of 2014 and will pay off one and a half more in 2014.
In 2015, with income and savings, I should be able to purchase four properties. I should be able to do another cash-out refinance and buy another rental property as well. I also believe my continuous improvements will allow more increases in income, through either listing or flipping houses. The increased income will allow me to add another rental and HELOC another as well. I am hoping the addition of my friend beginning to work with me will bring in more income from his real estate activities, which will allow another purchase. My goal for 2015 is to purchase nine rentals.
I will have 24 houses with about $15,200 in monthly cash flow. That is $182,400 a year all going toward paying off mortgages. I will pay off the other half of one property and two more rentals in year two and will have four properties paid off.
I believe I will increase my income and savings enough to be able to buy five rentals. I will have 24 rentals and I should be able to refinance at least two of those properties. That will allow two more purchases and the HELOC should add the flexibility to add another rental. I am still planning to add to my income every year with increased business. This year I see a big jump in income with my friend being around for his third year and our new marketing and listing techniques taking off. I see three more rental properties being purchased from new income. My goal for 2016 is to purchase 11 rentals.
I will have 35 houses with about with about $22,200 in monthly cash flow. That is $266,400 a year all going to pay off mortgages. I will pay off four and a half more properties for a total of eight and a half properties paid off.
From my current income, I will be able to buy eight rental properties. I will continue to refinance two properties a year, which will allow at least two more purchases. I am also going to use the HELOC to buy another, and I am still planning to increase my income. I am going to stay conservative and assume enough income to buy one more property this year. My goal for 2017 is to purchase 12 rental properties.
I will have 47 rental properties at this point with about $31,400 in monthly cash flow. That makes $376,800 a year all going to mortgage payoff! I will pay off the half of a mortgage left over from 2016 and five more properties in 2017, making 14 properties paid off.
From my current income, I will be able to purchase nine rental properties. I will refinance two more properties and use the proceeds to buy two more rentals. I may not have enough money in the HELOC this year so I will not count on that, but I will count on my income increasing enough to purchase one more rental. My goal for 2018 is to purchase 12 rental properties. Note: To buy this many properties I will need about $300,000 in cash for repairs and down payments.
I will have 59 rental properties with a monthly cash flow of $41,000. That makes $492,000 a year all going to mortgage payoff. I will pay off seven and a half more properties in 2018 making 21.5 properties paid off.
From my current income, I will be able to purchase ten rental properties. I will refinance two more properties and use those proceeds to buy three more rentals. With inflation and appreciation, I should be able to refinance the properties for more money than in previous years. I will not use increased income to buy another property. If my income increases, I will use it for fun stuff such as vacations or cars! My goal for 2019 is to buy 13 rental properties.
I will have 72 rental properties with a monthly cash flow of $51,600. That is $619,200 going toward mortgage payoff. I will pay off the half mortgage from 2018 and nine more properties in 2019 making 31 properties paid off.
From my current income, I will be able to buy ten rental properties. I will refinance two more properties and use that money to buy three more rentals. I will not count on any more raises in income since I do not need it at this point. My goal for 2020 is to purchase 13 rental properties.
I will have 85 rental properties with a monthly cash flow of $63,400. That is $760,800 a year going towards mortgage payoff. I will pay off 11 more properties in 2020 making 42 properties paid off.
From my current income, I will be able to buy ten rental properties. I will refinance two more properties again and purchase three more rentals with that money. My goal for 2021 is to purchase 13 rental properties.
I will have 98 rental properties with a monthly cash flow of 75,600. I will have $907,200 a year going towards mortgage payoff. I will pay off 14 more properties in 2021 making 56 houses paid off.
I only need to buy two more properties to reach my goal! I made it ahead of schedule and when I started writing this article, I was not sure how I would be able to reach 100 properties by 2023. I do not need to refinance any properties at this point and I can start using my income any way I want or I could retire!
I will have 100 rental properties with a monthly income of $82,400. I will have $988,800 a year going to whatever I want it to go to at this point. I can stop paying down mortgages if I want to or I could keep buying properties if I get bored. I came really close to the figures I estimated before writing this article. Falling just short of one million in income from my rental properties (which was more than I thought) and just shy of 60 properties paid off.
Assumptions in my plan to purchase 100 rental properties
You may be wondering how I came up with my figures. To be honest I used very basic figures to make things easy on myself.
- I assumed $600 in monthly cash flow per property. I am making between $500 and $700 per property now.
- I assumed each mortgage that I paid off would increase monthly cash flow by $400.
- I do not assume any inflation because that would cause the numbers to be much more difficult to figure!
- I assume my portfolio lender will continue to lend on as many properties as I want. I will have 43 houses financed at one time and then those will start to decrease as I pay them off.
- I assume I can continue to do cash-out refinances with my portfolio lenders.
- I assume interest rates will not increase significantly.
- I assume rental rates will not go up.
Additional benefits of rental properties that my income projections did not account for
Rental properties have great tax advantages, which I discuss here. Every rental property can be depreciated, which will save me thousands in taxes each year. I assume my rental properties will not appreciate, but they have already seen huge appreciation in the last two years, increasing my net worth by $600,000. I assume rents will not increase, but my rents have increased as well over the last couple of years. I rented my first rental property for $1,050 a month in 2011 and it now rents for $1,300 a month. I will most likely be better off than my projections indicate if I can buy 100 rental properties.
These are many assumptions and one or more of them may not work out as I plan. However, other factors may help me do even better than I planned or balance out any roadblocks I run into.
- New ways to find properties: I am going to start direct marketing to off-market owners. This should allow me to buy properties even further below market, and I may even find a few owners who will finance down payments. I recently realized I could use my IRA to buy properties!
- Private money: One of my goals is to find new sources of private money that will allow me to finance more repairs and down payments. This would allow me to put less money into properties and buy them faster.
- New income sources: I have no idea what the future holds as far as opportunities and money. I may find a gold mine that will allow me to buy properties for cash and not have to worry about financing at all!
- I assume I will not do anything with the houses I pay off free and clear, but if needed to I could easily get a line of credit or refinance one of these houses to bring in enough money to buy a few new properties.
What will I do in 2023 if I reach my goal?
I have many things I would love to do if I did not have to work. Here is a list of a few of the things I would love to do with one million dollars a year coming in and no job!
- Start a pizza restaurant
- Start a car dealership
- Travel the world with my family
- Donate time and money to those less fortunate
- Play in the World Series of Poker
- Attend a Super Bowl
- Play golf all over the world
- Buy a Lamborghini Diablo (done!)
- Buy a beach house
- Help teach others about real estate (doing my best now)
I have a much longer goal list than what is above and I hope to do many of these things before 2023. I know I will have time, money, and the freedom to do these things at that time.
I plan to purchase 100 rental properties by January 2023, but I realize that may not happen. If something better comes along to change my plan, I am ready to embrace fully any new opportunities.
Update on my plan 2014
I have already changed focus slightly in 2014 to fix and flipping over buying long-term rentals. I have done this for two reasons:
1. There have been more fix and flip opportunities than rental opportunities in my market.
2. The money from flipping will help me buy more rentals; rentals take a great deal of cash.
It seemed crazy to think I could increase my income enough to buy this many properties when I first made this goal in 2013. However now that it is late 2014, I can easily see myself making more than enough money to buy 100 rental properties and have plenty of money left over to do other fun activities. At some point, I may decide it is better to buy larger multifamily buildings than single-family homes, but for now, I see more opportunity in the single-family market in my area than multifamily.
Update on my plan 2016
The market has gotten even crazier in Colorado. Houses I was buying for $100,000 are now at least $160,000 or more. The rents have not increased nearly as much as house values have increased. It is very hard to find rentals and I have stopped buying them in Colorado. I have started to look at other states including Florida for a new market.
I also stopped paying off my mortgages early. I decided my money was better used to buy as many homes as I could. It has paid off buying 16 rentals in the last five years since our market has gone up so much. I have invested about $300,000 in buying my houses and my equity is close to $1.5 million. I have even decided to sell some of my rentals and re-invest that capital into more properties in another market.
I wrote this goal out in 2013 and updated it in 2014, and it is now 2016. I think goals are vitally important to achieving what you want in life. Will I reach this goal? I do not know. If I don’t reach it, will I be a failure? No! I am already way ahead of where I would have been without this goal. That is the point of goals, to motivate you to go farther than you think you can.
Update on my plan 2018
Right now it is the middle of 2018 and I have not come close to where I should be with my goal. Am I disappointed? No. Many things have happened that are out of my control; good and bad. The biggest challenge I have faced is the housing market in Colorado. Prices have almost tripled since I made this goal. Some of the rentals I bought for less than $100,000 7 years ago are worth close to or more than $300,000 today. I can no longer cash flow on residential rental properties in my market. I have thought about buying rentals in Florida, but in the end, decided to buy commercial properties here. I even bought a 68,000 square foot strip mall this year. I am buying rentals worth a lot of money, but not as many as my plan called for. Sometimes we have to change our plans based on changes in our lives or markets.
I have also focussed more on flips because I can make money with those in my market. I flipped 26 houses last year!