I became a millionaire through real estate when I was about 33 thanks to rentals, being an agent, and flipping houses. I am 38 now and have blown past $1 million in net worth (what I think most of us consider a millionaire) thanks mostly to rentals, flipping, and my blog. One of the best things I did to increase my net worth was to use the income I made from real estate to buy rental properties. I have been in real estate most of my adult life, but finding my niche and true success in the business took me awhile.
How did my real estate career start?
I got a degree in business finance from the University of Colorado after growing up in a real estate family. I actually wanted nothing to do with real estate in high school or college because I wanted to make my own way. In the early 2000s, I could not find the awesome job that I thought I deserved at the time, so I worked for my dad part-time while I figured things out. He was a real estate agent and was very successful.
As a real estate agent in my early 20s, I struggled quite a bit. I was not a very outgoing person, and I was terrible at calling people. I was also always chasing internet leads and the next shiny object to try to make it big. After three or four years of struggles, I decided I had to change things. At this time, I also helped my dad flip houses, and I decided I would do all the work on a flip myself. I replaced windows, doors, baths, the kitchen, fixtures, sheet rock, flooring, paint, and much more. It was the stupidest thing I ever did, but I learned a lot. I learned that my time was extremely valuable; I learned how to fix up a house; and I learned I needed to be a thinker… not a manual laborer.
I ended up losing money on that house because it took me so long to fix it up, my work on it was not great, and I was not selling houses as an agent (or finding new flips). From that point forward, I started to think much more about my life and career instead of just letting things happen. I started making goals, planning, listening to self-help CDs, and taking chances.
How did I start making money as a real estate agent?
Shortly after deciding I needed to take action, I was randomly was asked to perform a broker price opinion (BPO) by a bank. I had no idea what a BPO was. It ended up being a report for a bank that told the bank what a house was worth. It is like an appraisal but is performed by an agent. There was already an agent in my office who listed foreclosures for banks, and now I was introduced to the world of bank foreclosures. I was super excited about my career as an agent for the first time. I loved the idea of listing houses for banks, but I had no idea how to do it. I decided to get way outside my comfort zone and cold call banks asking them how to list their foreclosures. A couple of banks told me some websites to sign up with, and I did it. A few months later, I started getting more BPOs, and then I got an REO assignment. I could not believe the email when I saw it, but they gave me a foreclosure to sell!
I put everything I had into signing up with every bank I could. I went from selling 10 houses per year to selling over 200. I went to conferences, bought courses, and became a completely different person from the one who thought he didn’t need any help or guidance. I went from making $28,000 in one year to making $300,000 (I had to split a bunch of the commissions with my father).
I was making good money as an agent, but what about investing it?
I knew I was making a lot of money, but I felt like it was all going to taxes or expenses. I knew there had to be a better way to invest my money than putting it in an IRA and some random mutual fund. I looked into the best ways I could invest the money, and real estate kept coming up over and over. I bought my first rental in 2010 and ended up buying 16 more through 2015.
I also started to flip more houses as I built systems to handle the REO business. I hired an assistant, then another, and I tried to free up as much time as I could. The REOs and HUD homes were an awesome source of income, but the rentals were even better because they provided money whether I worked or not. I always bought houses below market value, which was a huge boost to my net worth. I would gain $30,000 to $50,000 in equity with every house I bought. I also made from 15 to 20 percent on the money I invested and was loving life. I think I hit $1 million in net worth right around 2013. I also made some other huge changes that year.
How did I propel my business after hitting the one million dollar in net worth figure?
In 2013, I bought out my father since he was ready to retire. I hired my best friend from college to run my real estate team, and I moved into my dream house. Now, I had complete control of everything, and I started to flip more and hire more agents for our team. I went from flipping 6 houses…to 8…to 12…to 18, and this year, I will come close to 30 flips. I am glad I flipped more houses since the REO business dried up with the improving housing market. I went from selling 200 houses as an agent back down to selling 10 again (this year, I will sell about three houses as an agent). I created a team to sell houses for me because selling is not my favorite thing to do. Great rental properties also dried up, which forced me to change strategies.
I stopped buying residential rentals, because they got too expensive, but have bought four commercial properties this year. I have 22 flips going, and you can see all the details here: Fix and Flip Property Case Study Scoreboard
I have blown way past the first million, and things have grown exponentially. However, much of my money is tied up in houses (and acouple of cars) as I try to reinvest as much as I can into the business. I have also created passive income through my blog and my books. I have 6 paperback books on Amazon which make me close to 5 figures per month. I also have coaching programs that help others learn to invest in real estate.
What are my goals for the future?
I try to take time to enjoy my life and my experiences as much as I can. While things have gone amazingly and much better than I ever dreamed early in my career, I am always shooting for more. Trying to achieve more yet at the same time being thankful and content with what you have now is a delicate balance. Every year, I set goals, and write about how my year went. You can read about those goals in the articles below:
Things do not always go as planned, and that is what makes life fun. If we all knew exactly what was going to happen, life would be boring. While I have done some pretty cool things in my career, I still want to do much more. I have a $2,100,000 commercial property under contract right now that I think can be an amazing investment. I may start my own real estate office, and I have many other things I want to pursue in life. I know many people think my love of exotic cars is superficial, but it has been an incredible motivator for me, and I have a long list of dream cars still to buy. If you want to be a millionaire or a multi-millionaire, you need to have goals, a plan, and motivation. You also cannot be afraid of what others think of you.
That is how I made my first million…and then some. It was not easy, and I had to break through many barriers that I set for myself. When I first found out I could afford a Lamborghini much sooner that I had previously believed, I freaked out. I thought to myself: how many people are going to think I am a complete jerk? I realized right then that I still cared way too much about people who I did not know and who had no affect on my life. I knew I was letting society dictate my life. The more control you have over your own life, the more in touch you are with what really makes you happy, and the less you worry about what others think of you, the more successful and happy you will be.