How did you start ?
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How did you start ? (by Roy [AL]) Feb 12, 2021 10:33 AM
       How did you start ? (by NE [PA]) Feb 12, 2021 10:47 AM
       How did you start ? (by MikeA [TX]) Feb 12, 2021 10:53 AM
       How did you start ? (by Gene [OH]) Feb 12, 2021 10:57 AM
       How did you start ? (by Bill [KY]) Feb 12, 2021 10:58 AM
       How did you start ? (by homer [TX]) Feb 12, 2021 11:07 AM
       How did you start ? (by S i d [MO]) Feb 12, 2021 11:14 AM
       How did you start ? (by Dee Ann [WI]) Feb 12, 2021 11:22 AM
       How did you start ? (by Johnny B. [MA]) Feb 12, 2021 12:12 PM
       How did you start ? (by DJ [VA]) Feb 12, 2021 12:13 PM
       How did you start ? (by Ken [NY]) Feb 12, 2021 12:15 PM
       How did you start ? (by 6x6 [TN]) Feb 12, 2021 12:55 PM
       How did you start ? (by WMH [NC]) Feb 12, 2021 1:03 PM
       How did you start ? (by Jane [TX]) Feb 12, 2021 1:07 PM
       How did you start ? (by Deanna [TX]) Feb 12, 2021 1:42 PM
       How did you start ? (by Sisco [MO]) Feb 12, 2021 2:20 PM
       How did you start ? (by Still Learning [NH]) Feb 12, 2021 2:23 PM
       How did you start ? (by Rick [IN]) Feb 12, 2021 2:29 PM
       How did you start ? (by S i d [MO]) Feb 12, 2021 2:34 PM
       How did you start ? (by Allym [NJ]) Feb 12, 2021 3:01 PM
       How did you start ? (by RB [MI]) Feb 12, 2021 3:20 PM
       How did you start ? (by Roy [AL]) Feb 12, 2021 4:00 PM
       How did you start ? (by J.R. [OK]) Feb 12, 2021 4:04 PM
       How did you start ? (by Dave [MO]) Feb 12, 2021 4:23 PM
       How did you start ? (by MMIT [VA]) Feb 12, 2021 4:31 PM
       How did you start ? (by Robert J [CA]) Feb 12, 2021 4:50 PM
       How did you start ? (by myob [GA]) Feb 12, 2021 4:51 PM
       How did you start ? (by myob [GA]) Feb 12, 2021 5:04 PM
       How did you start ? (by gevans [SC]) Feb 12, 2021 5:17 PM
       How did you start ? (by GKARL [PA]) Feb 12, 2021 5:22 PM
       How did you start ? (by Still Learning [NH]) Feb 12, 2021 6:14 PM
       How did you start ? (by PG [SC]) Feb 12, 2021 6:31 PM
       How did you start ? (by Cat [WI]) Feb 12, 2021 8:07 PM
       How did you start ? (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Feb 12, 2021 8:24 PM
       How did you start ? (by Otis [IL]) Feb 12, 2021 11:47 PM
       How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Feb 13, 2021 1:15 AM
       How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Feb 13, 2021 1:36 AM
       How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Feb 13, 2021 1:45 AM
       How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Feb 13, 2021 1:56 AM
       How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Feb 13, 2021 2:29 AM
       How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Feb 13, 2021 2:42 AM
       How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Feb 13, 2021 3:02 AM
       How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Feb 13, 2021 3:17 AM
       How did you start ? (by RB [MI]) Feb 13, 2021 8:24 AM
       How did you start ? (by Roy [AL]) Feb 13, 2021 8:25 AM
       How did you start ? (by Tom [ME]) Feb 13, 2021 8:29 AM
       How did you start ? (by Tex [TX]) Feb 13, 2021 8:36 AM
       How did you start ? (by Tex [TX]) Feb 13, 2021 8:36 AM
       How did you start ? (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Feb 13, 2021 8:40 AM
       How did you start ? (by Roy [AL]) Feb 13, 2021 9:11 AM
       How did you start ? (by Jim [OH]) Feb 13, 2021 1:04 PM
       How did you start ? (by Ponari [TX]) Feb 13, 2021 1:35 PM
       How did you start ? (by DJ [VA]) Feb 13, 2021 5:14 PM
       How did you start ? (by Shelby [IA]) Feb 13, 2021 5:27 PM
       How did you start ? (by Lucy [IN]) Feb 18, 2021 12:45 AM
       How did you start ? (by Tim [CO]) Feb 18, 2021 7:00 PM

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How did you start ? (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 10:33 AM

I have always wondered how people other than myself got into this business of being a landlord. If your parents were LL's and they taught you (the young apprentice) everything they knew about this business, I think that would be the most ideal way to enter this business. Plus, if you inherited their rental properties, that would be another huge advantage!

I want to read everyone's 'how I got started story'. I especially want to hear from people who, like me, went out and paid cash for their first rental house and felt like a fool at the time because they did not know exactly what they were getting into. In 2006, I sat at the closing table with a very nervous sinking feeling in my stomach and all I could think was "I just paid $20,000 cash for a POS house that I know I will never live in. God help me". This story does have a happy ending but I want to read your stories first.

How did you start ? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 10:47 AM

I've never been very good at following rules or going with the crowd. Never wanted a job. Was paying rent as a teenager, did the math and said to myself that I needed to get on the other side of these rent checks.

How did you start ? (by MikeA [TX]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 10:53 AM

My dad had rentals on and off when I was a kid. He owned a real estate company so he would buy and sell real estate like kids traded baseball cards. The rental side was never really a business for him, more like inventory waiting to fix and sell so I didn't get much education on that end of it from him. I did go to a trade school so I would help with the fix side of things. In 1981 he had a SFH that a guy needed to sell to afford to go into a nursing home. The market was crazy then with hyper inflation and he had his cash tied up in other properties. I had $14k that I had saved by working farm labor over the summers so I bought it and rented for 2 years until I graduated college when I sold it doubling my money. That was the seed that sprouted into my current business. I did take about 10 years off between the 1st and 2nd investment while I relocated, got married, paid for my residence, and had a couple of kids. Looking back, I wish I hadn't waited so long to get back in, it would have made me millions more. --64.130.xx.xx

How did you start ? (by Gene [OH]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 10:57 AM

My parents were landlords and I always wanted to own rentals. I had a plan at 18 how it would work, but of course it wasn't easy during the 1980's with few jobs available. I went back to school to get a technical degree that got me a good paying job. I bought a car and financed it through my employer's credit union. When the car was paid for, the monthly payment went into a savings account. Then in 1989 after 4 years, I had enough for a down payment on a house on which I was able to assume the VA loan. I still own that house and it has been good to me through the years.

How did you start ? (by Bill [KY]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 10:58 AM

I got into rentals as a hedge against the stock market. Save money from W2 job, buy a house. Rinse and repeat. No inherited rentals here but do hope to change our family tree by providing that to my kiddos.

How did you start ? (by homer [TX]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 11:07 AM

In 1992 the wife and I purchased a SFH to live in. We lived there for 9 years. Found another place that had a little land, and was a bit bigger and purchased it. Took a couple months to fix up and move into, but I really liked fixing it up. On the first one we paid $61k, I never did a thing, not even paint, just kept the grass mowed. When we sold, after finishing getting out, it sold for $92 k......BAM. a light bulb finally went off in my head. We made over 30 grand, and did NOTHING! So soon after I started looking at small 3-2-2s in my town, and got addicted to buying and fixing. I only wanted a couple, but we have ended up with 29 ! My parents and grand parents were/ are landlords, in North Ga, but I haven't received any of those yet, but one day I will. I grew up with people bringing rent every weekend, but the light bulb didn't come on for me until I had sold that personal house.

How did you start ? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 11:14 AM

I got interested in real estate in college, but not land lording per se. I knew I wanted to buy my own home ASAP so I wouldn't be paying rent to someone else, but the thought that I could actually COLLECT rent from someone else was still a ways off.

Fast forward to the summer after my Junior year: I was working at Applebees and one of my co-workers told me how he already owned his own home that he'd bought at age 21, and he rented out 2 of the 3 bedrooms for enough to cover his mortgage payment, so he was living 'Payment free' while owning his own house. I wasn't interested in roommates, but the idea had appeal.

The summer after I graduated I took my real estate test and got my license to sell houses. One of my clients was an older handyman looking for somewhere to park his spare cash. We went to a couple of auctions for houses seized in drug raids and also toured several other properties. He never bought anything from me (super picky!) but I learned a lot analyzing returns to try to find something that would interest him.

3 years later in 2005 I was no longer a teacher and I had let my sales license expire, but I decided I wanted to try owning rentals. I read a few books (Fixer Jay DeCima, John Schaub, etc) and other than that just looked at houses for awhile. Bought the first one in April that year....$30,000 for a "freshly rehabed" (i.e. basic paint and carpet lipstick rehab) and rented it for $450. My first tenants paid for about 6 months before they stopped and I had to evict them. When then were gone, my beautiful new carpet was already trashed, but I cleaned it via a professional and it lasted another 4 years until some roach tenants utterly destroyed it.

Now, here I am...16 years later. A lot has changed. I've learned a ton from the people on this site and others. It's been a wild ride at time, but overall it has been great!

How did you start ? (by Dee Ann [WI]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 11:22 AM

In my late teens I read a book about a couple who built their fortune buying a house at a time, fix up, roll it over to the next, bigger house to do the same until they had a million $ home. The seed was planted.

Fast forward to mid twenties and a few downturns in life:

Bought my first duplex with a fiance; after getting disengaged got a quit claim deed from him, was left with a duplex, and all related bills.

Healthwise was very ill; categorized by the State as disabled at my worksite due to second hand smoke. Got fired from my management job at ATT at 27, used the lawsuit win against the company as a downpayment on my 2nd duplex.

Took a couple years to get my health in order. On a morning walk passed a place I used to rent 10 years prior, ended up buying it from my previous landlord.

A few years later the house behind us ended up in foreclosure, tried to buy it from owners, they couldn't agree; ended up buying from the bank as no one at auction bid on it. It's my favorite property, right next to a Glen where deer practically eat out of your hand.


How did you start ? (by Johnny B. [MA]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 12:12 PM

I always enjoyed negotiations and did a lot of buying and reselling of things on Craigslist for a profit (not real estate). After many years of doing this the excitement wore off and I wanted to focus on bigger ticket items. So I bought my first rental (a condo) about 10 years ago during the last real estate crash. I didnít really know anything about being a LL, but learned slowly over the years by reading books and trial and error. I really enjoyed it and kept buying over the years whenever I could negotiate a great deal. Part of the excitement for me is finding and negotiating a great deal (Iíve purchased many off market properties). Any fool can buy a property on MLS for market priceóor higher the way things are these days.

How did you start ? (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 12:13 PM

Bought a first home to live in by assuming a VA loan in 1990. Seven years and three kids later, bought a bigger house and rented out the first. We were friends with a couple at church who were landlords (had rented from them for 2 years before buying ours). I had always been a handy person, and - even though I grew up dirt poor - my mother had taught me how to handle money. (It's amazing how much she managed to do with such a little bit!)

I approached a landlord at the house across from our first home when I saw him there one day. Asked him how he screened people and share any info you can with me. He sent me to a lady who ran a NTN (National Tenant Network) office. She & her husband are long-term landlords in this area. She/they taught me a LOT - and still are friends today. Pretty sure they led me to Jeffrey & his training, too. Or else I just heard him at the local investors meeting.

I pulled my spouse into rentals kicking & screaming - I had to do everything with the rentals as his only input was income. OK

With his good income & my good credit, we bought (fully financed in personal names) two more rentals near our new house.

I think he liked them better 6 years later when we split up & he got a nice chunk of equity from them all being sold.

I converted the master suite in my home into a MIL studio w/ kitchenette & rented it out to help make ends meet. After the kids were older, & I could get back on my feet, I knew I wanted to get rentals again. I took some (very overpriced guru) courses, formed an LLC, got HELOC on my personal residence & bought a fixer to re-sell for seed money, in addition to the HELOC.

How did you start ? (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 12:15 PM

My dad had rentals from the time i was 3 and i went with him every saturday morning to work on the houses,the deal he had with my mom was he could buy all the houses he wanted as long as he didnt spend his regular job income on down payments or closing costs so he got real good at making a deal work with nothing out of pocket,he had a bank that would lend 80% of appraised value on a purchase and often he walked out of closings with cash in his pocket.That is where i learned how to put a deal together.When i was 20 i told him i wanted in and i found a 3 unit and he had the money to buy it so we were partners for awhile.I learned to do the repairs from my dad,he would spend tuesday and thursday mornings on the job site and teach me something new each time,that and taking parts to the local hardware store and asking what do i need for parts and they explained to me what to do.My dad never did it full time,he sold insurance which allowed him a lot of flexability so when i got to a point that i didnt need the partnership i just kept buying on my own.Back then rentals were class c,never heard of anyone owning a class b for rental purposes till many years later

How did you start ? (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 12:55 PM

I grew up poor living with my divorced mother and older sister. My mother was very uneducated and lived on welfare. We moved fairly often and I went to several different schools over the years. Sometimes I would end up going to a few different schools in one year. Needless to say, I couldn't keep tract and have trouble learning to this day. I was also never allowed to spend the night with school friends or even leave the yard. So, I didn't learn a whole lot from other people either. I never went to college as I had no money or guidance to speak of and I hated school.

For whatever reason, when I was a young teen, I decided that I was not going to live on welfare as an adult. Long story short, I became a saver as that seemed to be my way out of my situation. I set goals and went after them. Of course, I also am not very educated and have learned most things the hard way and have a long way to go. I wasted a lot of money over the years on trucks. Other then that, I saved.

When I turned 23 I put a down payment on a FHA loan on the little 1910 home that I still live in today. I still love my home. A few years later I got married (poor wife)(or, should that be, what was I thinking) and I got her on the saving track, sort of.

I am not really sure why or how but, at some point, I got the idea that it would be a good idea to get into RE somehow, even though I knew nothing about it. So, a few years went by with this thought in the background of my mind. One day I went just driving around the neighborhood and saw this foreclosure that is now my rental. I asked my wife if she would mind if I bought it. Now, I still have no idea what I am doing at that point(well, now either I guess) but I bought it and fixed it up. Like you Roy, I paid cash for my first rental and was nervous about it and had no clue what to do.

I have never been a very patient person and so, the whole time that I was fixing up the home, I was trying to decide if I should rent or sale. I finally decided to rent it (what was I thinking) and yes, it tried my patience and still does, although it is getting easier as I learn here.

I don't know what took so long but I finally realized that I should probably try and learn how to do this better and I ended up on this site and found all of these awesome LL's willing to share there wisdom with someone like me. Poor LL's.

How did you start ? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 1:03 PM

We were landlords a few times unsuccessfully. I bought my first house in 1984 and sold it six weeks later and made $11k profit. Put that into another personal house in VA. We lived there until we needed a bigger place, but we were such slobs we couldn't list it until it was empty. So we rented it instead. Had a few decent tenants and one asked to buy the place, so we sold it and made a $25k profit.

After several years in our subsequent home, we moved to a home out in the country and rented out the townhouse. It don't go well and we ended up selling at a huge loss in the late 90's.

That ended our LL days until 2003, when house prices were going up so fast we didn't know if we'd ever be able to afford a retirement home. So we took out a map, looked for water, decided on NC and bought ourselves and up-down duplex. We figured we could live upstairs and rent the downstairs for extra income after retirement...but then we rented both spaces.

And it went on from there...we got hooked. Never did live in that house. But even though we continued to buy and did okay, we had some HORRIBLE tenants and tenant experiences. Until we went to our first convention in 2010. Since then we've done very well, managed our growth our properties AND our tenants pretty well!

How did you start ? (by Jane [TX]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 1:07 PM

At 24, I bought my first condo after working for a year as software engineer at Siemens and rented the the extra room to a coworker.. Then I got interested and started reading REI and going to local RE clubs. A year later, I quit grad school and used the tuition money and bought a larger town home at small discount and rented extra bedrooms and basement to coworkers. Got a RE license at 26 trying to figure out how to buy low and sell high. My boss gave me warning about no second career and I told him I will quit :) No one in my family did anything in REI and my relatives said I was crazy taking so much risk and leaving behind a good career and a Computer Science degree that I studied so hard for. I never went back. I did flips, wholesale and put all money into long term rentals. been financially independent and living off rental income since age 30 ( I am 45 now) .. The first 5 years was hard. Definitely keep your living expenses low. I had decent income from rentals but I still kept old cars, no crazy expenses, and buy it right. It gets better and better as loans get paid off, and as I build up more experience. Now in mid 40s, both my husband and I are retired and live a very comfortable life with lots of free time on our hands.

How did you start ? (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 1:42 PM

For years we'd discuss rentals as a hypothetical worth considering-- if you had extra money, where would you put it so that it would benefit you the most and grow the best? I read all the books, and would talk to him about it, but that's all it would be was talk. We paid off my student loan from undergrad. We worked full-time and put ourselves through our advanced degrees with no additional debt. We saved up for a down payment. We bought ourselves a house in a place we expected to stay for the rest of our working lives. We paid that off. I'd mention that (address) was for sale, and we might or might not look at it, but we never did anything.

The thing that changed his mind was talking to an attorney friend who shared our hobby with us. Yeah, law was good, he said, but he made his real money with his apartment complexes in Houston. They probably chatted for a good two hours one night, talking about it... and that was what gave him the inspiration to hop on board.

One day I gave him my usual update as to a house for sale. It was a block away from ours. It was a 480 sf 1/1 that looked like a dollhouse, but you could smell it from the street. You had to squeeze past the hot water heater if you wanted to take a shower. The windows were horrible. The carpet and paneling were full of I-don't-want-to-know-what. It was being sold by a burned-out landlord who rented to the first person with money. The most recent tenants to trash it was a woman, her four kids, and her druggie boyfriend. He was kind of clueless as to why this wasn't working out, but he was ready to escape the cycle. For sale for $7k! It was such a crummy house, I didn't even bother taking pictures of the inside. I hardly remembered a thing about it, except what a dump it was. There was no way that DH was going to jump on that.

And he totally surprised me. He was willing to risk $7k + renovation costs. He and a friend put in a tremendous amount of sweat equity, pulling out carpet and replacing subfloor and tearing out the old paneling. They watched a ton of YouTube videos, like "how to install windows". We had professionals move the hot water heater to the only closet, since we couldn't afford tankless. We tiled it with cheap 35-cents-a-square-foot stickytile on clearance from the flooring store. We painted it inside and out. We got a new fridge, and cleaned up the old stove. We bought it at Easter 2010, and had our first tenant by Thanksgiving. She was a waitress at a local restaurant.

Two weeks later, she was picked up on outstanding warrants that hadn't shown up in screening. Her boyfriend came and got her stuff. Oops.

It stayed vacant until February, when a nice family decided to rent it. It was such a neutral place, it was a perfect retreat for their kid with sensory issues. They kept it until the mom was diagnosed with cancer, and they had to cut back on expenses.

In the meantime, DH had really enjoyed the whole process of reclaiming such a crummy place. And even more, he really enjoyed the process of making a deal. He bought the first house for $7k... the next house was, like, $4k. Equally crummy in its own way, but a whole new set of anecdotes... And then we ended up buying a new primary residence, so we converted our old house into a rental... oh, and my old employer forced me to cash out my retirement account, so let's use that money to buy this bank foreclosure for $16k... and so on.

DH will still say that he overpaid for that first crummy house. I agree. Knowing what we know now, and knowing our market, $7k was way too much for it. But if that's what it took to get us moving on this path--- them I'm totally all for it. :)

How did you start ? (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 2:20 PM

In 1987 at the age of 23 , I was getting my work through a labor union hiring hall and was earning $25-$30k per year. I saw the need for a more stable income stream. My goal was $1,000 per month rental income with no debt, I bought my 1st rental house for $12,500, it rented for $250 per month in 1987. I had bought my own house at age 20.

1990 saw me buying, repairing and selling used mobile homes (renting some as well).

I have a lifelong friend who shared similar goals and we shared a lot of information, learning faster than we would have as individuals. Later this friend and I partnered in our sales /leasing businesses.

While, I didn't grow up in the rental business and did not inherit property or money, I always sought the advice of businessmen and this helped me tremendously hearing the experiences of others was calming to think on when I was in over my head. I doubt I would have stayed the course without the contact of people who shared their mistakes and successes. I hope this forum helps new investors in a similar manner.

How did you start ? (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 2:23 PM

My husbandís dream was to own rental property. It became my reality after purchase and it turns out Iím pretty good at it. My background is teaching elementary school. There are a lot of similarities between tenants and kids. Clear communication, clear expectations and hold your ground are imperative. I learn more all the time and have my own toolbox now.

How did you start ? (by Rick [IN]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 2:29 PM

6x6(TN) You are the Biblical definition of a man! It is people like you who made the U.S. the greatest country on earth. My God continue to bless and prosper you.

How did you start ? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 2:34 PM

Great stories! Roy, this is a cool topic. Thanks for starting it. I hope some more of our long-time friends post their details here. NE, I suspect that your story has some more interesting twists and turns than just 3 sentences....

How did you start ? (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 3:01 PM

When I was a child my dad gave me a wooden orange crate to put toys in. I immediately turned it into a three story apartment with furniture from my doll house.

Fast forward, a friend of Dad's passed away and left him some valuable items which sold at auction. He wanted to invest but was afraid of stocks (bought thiokol one week before Kennedy was shot and lost my college money). So he asked me because I am psychic and I told him he was handy with tools and had enough in the basement and he could be a landlord and fix buildings he bought. So he bought one with a burned out center as a starter and fixed it. Then he bought 7 more.

Meanwhile I was working corporate and the Clinton Dept of Ed attacked my company and 300 people got fired. So I started working on the rentals. Dad had passed and left them to Mom and she was floundering. A friend from his Lodge was taking advantage and she had loser tenants in some. So I said I would work on the buildings and I did.

First thing I got a sump pump repaired. Then I got rid of the painter who was stealing from her and painted the apartments myself. There were 20 units and I got everything upgraded and decorated and over time, new heaters etc. Sold all but 3 now as I was feeling that I would not be able to work that hard. Did all the landscaping too. Mostly no pay but I had a place to live and food. When I got on Medicare it was better. A local plant had closed and many tenants moved.

Sure enough I had cancer and cancer surgery and really can't work that hard anymore at age 74 but I am managing and the tenants have all been good in two buildings for 20 years and one building seems to have a lot of short term folks but that's OK. --108.24.xx.xx

How did you start ? (by RB [MI]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 3:20 PM

Concise response :

Negotiated a Land contract and bought my first

residential home at 22 years old.

How did you start ? (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 4:00 PM


I am hoping that Jeffrey Taylor will give his 'rags to riches' story here. I have met Jeffrey at 4 Mr. Landlord conventions but have never heard anything how he got his start in this business.

Jeffrey- I know you are reading this. So just jump in and give us your story.

How did you start ? (by J.R. [OK]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 4:04 PM

At 25, my husband at the time was buying toys and selling them for profit on ebay. He then read Rich Dad Poor Dad and we decided to do something bigger. So we bought our first investment house. (We were still renters at the time.) We accidentally got a 15 year mortgage on it instead of 30. That made for little to no cash flow for a long time but it's paid off now and cash flowing nicely. He used the cash out that we got on refinancing to buy the next house and continued this process. He handled all of the buying and managing and I handled the bookkeeping and the raising of our daughter.

Nine years later, we split up and split the properties (he had accumulated 54 SFHs). So here I was, the bookkeeper, with 27 of my own rental properties. I tried his management style and that brought death threats and trashed out houses. So I started using all of the parenting psychology books I had read in raising our daughter and still use that to this day when dealing with tenants. He also did not seem to maintain the properties and on top of that they were overleveraged with his method of accumulation. It has taken me over 10 (difficult) years but I finally have a profitable rental business!

How did you start ? (by Dave [MO]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 4:23 PM

I was working in a department store, electronics section on commission, at the same time taking classes for the Missouri real estate test.

My dad sent me the Carlton Sheets no money down program. I called like the scripted read and was able to buy a small duplex from a couple for

$16k I had to come up with $1200. down and was able to secure a bank loan for my first investment. One side rented for $250 and the other side a studio for $180. Fast forward I developed a relationship with a bank and could buy properties that needed work and pay myself through the loan funds and was able to leave the department store and work on my own houses.

Banks would loan 80% of the appraisal, not 80% of purchase at this time. This was how I was able to get my freedom.

I did get my real estate license and bought stinking old houses nobody wanted and would fix up and rent. Flipped a few better ones to pay the bills down. Realtors used to say this is a house for David, and laugh. I let my license expire, like did.

Since I didnít have much money when I first started out I would go to the local homeless shelter, and pick up help for the day, to gut out houses, tear off roofs. I would pick out the best guy and pay him $1.00 more an hour to manage the crew. Most of those guys had some construction experience.

I could get help for $5.00 an hour.

Roy, this topic brings back lots of memories.

How did you start ? (by MMIT [VA]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 4:31 PM

I suffered from paralysis of analysis for 25 years. I watched and analyzed real estate deals, found lots of good deals, but, was always afraid to pull the trigger.

Wife came by work one day and said ďWeĒ are going out for lunch. Instead of going to lunch, she took me to a real estate auction and said we were not leaving until we bought a house.

There were 20 class c houses being auctioned that day.

She did the bidding, but, was outbid on the first 19 houses.

When the bidding started on the last house, she said ďWEĒ were going to have the highest bid on this house.

She won the bid at $22,000!

It was already rented with a long term tenant for $600/month.

That was 12 years and 22 houses ago!

Now she tells me no more houses! --70.188.xx.xx

How did you start ? (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 4:50 PM

Started working in the Jewelry field at age 14 making good money. On my 16th birthday I want to buy my first new car. A Honda Civic. After asking some key questions, I discovered that a car is NOT an investment but a liability. The car was going to cost $7000 plus sales tax, destination charges, then add insurance. Out the door I was looking at spending $9,000. I asked if I sold the car a year later, what could I get for it. I was told around $5000. I was not prepared to loose $4000 in one year just because I purchased a new car. Forget that. Instead I bought a used Dodge Dart.

I saved my money and looked towards investing in something that also granted some tax advantages. The answer was real estate.

So before my 18th birthday I went looking at a few homes for sale. Then on my 18th birthday I looked at 3 homes my agent picked out. I made an offer and it was accepted. I got a loan and closed the deal within 60 days.

One of my grandfathers was a jeweler and the other grandfather was a contractor. So I had working with my hands in my blood.

By the time I tuned 19, I owned 2 more homes. By 20, another two homes. In time I got my contracting licenses and went into apartments, strip malls, retail and larger stuff with a few partners.

How did you start ? (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 4:51 PM

Roy this is from my earlier post with you. Although we discussed why people didn't make it this is relevant to your new post here.

AND yes I did exactly the same thing in 1986 -- took all the cash I had in the world and brought a foreclosure--- what an id it I was.

I worked 2nd shift-- even though I could hold days. WHY? I would get up at 7am-- bring my work cloths to the job site and at 2pm -- my wife --= who was there beside me-- would say time to get ready for work. I would shower at the new investment and go to work. Get off at 1130PM head home and next day do the same thing. My off days and vacation days were spent buying and working on rentals until we had 80 of them. Roy when I had lunch and break times -- my fellow mechanics would laugh and ridicule me and my "get rich" schemes. When I left at 50 yrs old on my Leave of Absence my fellow mech's acknowledged by saying-- well we see who's laughing now.

When I pulled up in front of the VP of maintenance he came over and said -- we must be paying these mechanics way to much. TRUE story. In my new "Prowler"

Out of 21 persons we know who thought this was get rich quick-- my wife and I were the only ones left. THEY GAVE UP ROY. They wanted it right now-- not 20 years from now.

So I laugh when I hear folks say "we just couldn't do it". THEY DIDN'T HAVE WHAT IT TAKES-- THATS WHY THEY FAILED.

To my thinking over 50% of the folks here have what it takes-- some deviate from course and that never works.

How did you start ? (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 5:04 PM

All very inspiring story's-- thank you. You folks are luck and don't know it. Back in 86 we barely had 2 phones in the house-- let along Al Gore's internet!!!! (remember he said he invented internet)

How did you start ? (by gevans [SC]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 5:17 PM

Kicked around the idea for 18 years. Daughter decided she needed a place of her own. She put a deposit on a crackhead trailer in a crackhead trailer park. As daddy, I couldn't bear the thought... I bought a MH on a private lot the same day and rented it back to her for less than she would have paid for the crackhead place.

The lot owner told me "whenever you sell, I'll buy".

Two years later daughter got married and moved into her new husband's house. I called the lot owner. He said "we are selling everything and want to buy?"

I thought about someone else owning that lot...and bought it. We rented that place for $350, that was 23 years ago.

I worked a full time job and we always plowed the rental money back into rentals. Started with mobile homes on private lots, moved up to brick SFHs. Quit my day job at 58. Boss couldn't believe I was serious. He said "you'll be back". I wasn't. And I make more than him now.

BTW, the first rental I considered was a quad in Va. Beach, back in 1980. I could have bought it then for $79k. It would have paid for itself from day one with positive cash flow, but I was scared of that "huge" debt.

Same property sold a year ago for $1.2 million. Shoulda started sooner... --69.80.xx.xx

How did you start ? (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 5:22 PM

My tenure as a real estate investor isn't as long as many others here. I've been in a full time business for 35 years and real estate is a relatively new business for me.

For years I prepared taxes for people who invested in real estate and most were making marginal profits and then one client went all out investing in property to grow his portfolio and I watched him create an income of 100,000+ a year which got me to thinking. I came into an inheritance at one point and decided that I was going to get me some property and since I started late in life, I decided I had to scale and decided to start with a four unit. This happened to be a mixed use property that involved a commercial loan which I was completely unfamiliar with at the time along with how commercial properties were valued. I bought it at retail as well. This was a good place to make my mistakes and cut my teeth on and I kept it for 6 years and sold it for a nice sum early last year. In that same 6 year time span, I bought a rooming house and two other multi's, all of which were distressed and purchased at bargain prices. It seems my direction, which wasn't planned, is to buy distressed properties, invest and turn them around forcing both equity and cash flow. My objective was to create retirement income and once I complete my last renovation and get it rented, I will have met my target "pension".

My plan at this point is to continue to run my CPA practice albeit on a reduced schedule and consolidate /manage the properties I have. Real estate and the CPA practice go together well and contacts on either end drive either business.

How did you start ? (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 6:14 PM

MYOB, you are right about having what it takes. Most people we know hear my stories and swear they will never own rental properties because of them. They do however call me to ask questions with issues in their own homes and how to solve it or who to call.

How did you start ? (by PG [SC]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 6:31 PM

My story is different than most who have posted. For 32 years I had a great W2 job that paid well and I enjoyed the work. - Retired 2013 with all the benefits.

Rentals has always been a part time thing for me - just kind of fell in to it. Always had 2 or 3 just kind of collected them.

My first rental house was a family - wife's grandmother - farm house that we bought in the 90s - terrible house - the best thing about the house was the kitchen sink - I had to re plumb - rewire - fix the windows and doors - add closets and on an on. all in about 30k - Finally got it rent ready - I posted a for rent sign - no screening just talked to the prospect - only had one tenant that I asked to leave because of a dog issue - I had no clue about about being a LL - after 10 or so years sold it for 75K.

Today I have two nice B+ units and that is all I want. --184.21.xx.xx

How did you start ? (by Cat [WI]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 8:07 PM

We started out, in early 1970s by buying a mobile home in a mobile home park to live in and I think we paid $8k for it. Don't remember for sure. The owners had bought a house and couldn't afford the bills on both places. They let us just take over payments on it. We were so excited to be able to do that and get our own "home". Sold it years later for $5. It was a 1973 model.

I remember very clearly that our MH payment was $82.17 per month and our lot rent was $35. I am shocked by the lot rent that rental owners get these days. I am so surprised and jealous that some landlord here have been able to buy places for $7k, $12k, etc. That is awesome.

We decided in the early 80s to look for a house closer to our families and after only looking at a couple, we purchased one. Not sure why we didn't look at a lot more. Started on a land contract with the owners at 13% interest. That was a bargain then as the going rate was around 18%. After a few years and lots of research, we decided to buy and rent out our first rental property. We looked in a town closest to us first but the properties were so high, we were not interested so we started looking in a bigger city in the opposite direction.

When I was around 25 yrs old, I saw an ad in the paper one day by a very small time real estate agent for a 5 bedroom house for around $20k. There were 4 bedrooms up, a tiny kitchen, a dining room, a huge parlor, a living room, a bedroom and a bathroom downstairs. The mother had a BIG family and decided to sell it. She didn't need a big house anymore with her kids now all adults and had moved out. I think we may have even paid full price or close to it. We may have put in an offer for a little less than asking price. It took a long time to get the deed around to be signed. I think there were like 14 kids all living all over, LOL.

We had planned to turn it into an up and down duplex. Did not even think to check zoning but luckily it was zoned R2.

First thing we did was clean up all the smoky walls from the oil furnace and replaced that old thing.

We went to work upstairs installing a kitchen and updating the bathroom. We had not worked on any buildings up to that point. It was a definite learning experience. Put all the remodel expenses on the credit card and the bank mortgage for the house, was $288 month. Thinking back I am sure we paid a huge interest on that. This was in 1989.

We made the big parlor downstairs into a huge bedroom and moved the kitchen to the dining room as the kitchen was so tiny where it was. Made the little original kitchen into a bedroom. That made it into a 3 bedroom apartment. Upstairs we had a kitchen, living room, bathroom and 2 bedrooms.

Our first tenants in both apartments were awful. Upstairs tenant used a fake name and stopped paying rent. Lower tenants spent all their money on new drapes, blinds, towels, rugs, and other stuff and stopped paying rent. We learned as we went through issues and got them both out with new tenants.

Used the equity in that duplex and our house, and bought a 3 unit in 1992 for around $39k. One big 3 bedroom up and two smaller apartments downstairs.

In 1995, we bought a 105 acre farm (by using other property equity, that had 2 (2 bedr each) small houses that we rented out and also rented the cropland. One house was well taken care of, the other one smelled awful from them never cleaning and putting their dog in the basement to use as a bathroom.

We bought it so my late fiance could have a place to hunt. There was just very few places to hunt around here unless you owned it. Sold it in 2006, and during the time of offer and the closing, my fiance passed away of a heart attack. He had lost his passion for hunting after one by one, his hunting party dwindled to only two other people who didn't get along with each other.

Used equity in those properties to buy both a large single family house in a small town and a 3 unit in the larger city, both in 1999. Sold the house in 2005 after finding out that it was hard to get rented as no one really wanted to live in that town.

In 2002 we bought a 6 unit (5 one bedroom and studio apts and an old 3 bedroom mobile home) for 72K. This was our last rental property, purchased only 4 years before my late fiance passed away, exactly a month to the day after his mom passed away.

After that I bought a 26 unit storage business and hated it. Worst purchase I did. After I bought, they popped up all over the place so I had to keep rents low because of competition. Finally sold it 10 years later at over a $25k loss. Was just glad to get rid of the burden of meeting people wanting a unit at 20 below and also to get rid of the $900 month just for the mortgage payment. I paid $108k. Worst mistake ever. Just glad I sold it but I hated taking a loss like that.

Lastly when a house next to mine (with my extra lot between) when on the market as a foreclosure, I ignored it at first when listed for $139K and the drop in price was not much over time. Finally I started seeing activity over there, with more showings so checked the price. It had dropped to 1/2 price. I was interested to have a nicer house for company, family reunions, holidays and to do my charity work at. It would also give me a lot more storage areas (garage and shed).

Previous owners had moved out of state and never drained the lines. Even though a company was supposed to have winterized it, etc, the pipes froze, the water pump cracked in half and the carpets, etc had been used by the pets, when they were not taken out to go to the bathroom. I did a LOT of work on it and will be selling it this year or probably more likely next year. Family now does not want to travel here for reunions from way out of state at their ages and I am getting rid of the charity work (too much entitlement). I no longer need it for what I originally bought it for. Will be glad to save all the monthly expenses and mortgage I am paying on it. Don't want to rent it out as the rent would never cover the bills and I just want to be done with it. Don't want to give tenants a chance to damage all the work I put in.

That is my story. Sorry so long but it took 32 years from the time I bought my first rental, to today.

How did you start ? (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 8:24 PM

I screwed up - that is how I started.

I started out with nothing - and I still have most that.

Where it sounds like most of you had a solid plan, I didn't. Instead I had hard work and time on my side when I bought my first MFH.

I was a journeyman in the Navy (E-5), and was authorized to live out in town.

I bought a crappy place, in a crappy location, with crappy tenants and I learned how to be miserable. I also learned not to scrap the bottom. So why did I do what I did......casue I was an E-5 in San Diego. Just because you do something you really shouldn't. I wasn't getting paid enough to buy my own place so I bought the cheapest place I could afford...a beat up triplex.

Being on a ship, my own 3 bedroom place came complete with beer cans and empty pizza boxes from being a crash pad for my shipmates. This went on for a year or so. The bills were getting paid - barely and the frig was always full of something left over.

The ship went on deployment, and I tossed the keys over to the same realtor that sold me this place with simple directions - run this place and rent out my unit - we will be back after deployment.

When I returned I fully expected the tenants living in my unit to just move out that day. NOPE - they had a one year lease. So I knew I wasn't going to stay on the ship, so I asked that realtor for money and some advise. Without me drinking, burping and farting in that unit - the entire building was making money.....and in my eyes it was good money.

HMMMMMMmmmmmmmm I need to buy this realtor a cup of coffee. He told that tenants had rights and I could just boot people out. The place even looked better. He recommended I buy another triplex, in a little bit better place.....where the number made even better sense. I thought owning more than one MFH was illegal or something.

I listened more than I spoke when we had coffee with him. I left San Diego with 13 units when I was on active duty. I was told I was a shoe in for making my final promotion when I was up for retirement. I had a graduate degree by that time........but San Diego also means life in the fast lane. For this country guy, the fastest days here are a slow day there. It is tough to beat the quality of life that I have here 9 months of year. --24.154.xx.x

How did you start ? (by Otis [IL]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2021 11:47 PM

Even though I did great in it, I never really enjoyed school. Moved out on my own a month after I graduated high school and gave college a try. After spending 4 1/2 years at a community college I finally had my associates degree. Got tired of working as a bouncer at bars and dealing with drunks. Ended up getting a decent job at an insurance company. Picked up a wife and had 2 kids at a pretty young age. Kept our first house as a rental and that caused a light bulb to go off. I bought 7 more single family houses. Ended up getting divorced and lost half the equity in all the properties but at least I kept them. Spent the next 2 years as a single dad raising my kids the best I could until I met the woman I was truely meant to be with. We are now a happy family of 5. She brought the best out in me and believed in this crazy idea I had of collecting rentals so we can enjoy an early retirement. We are now up to 21 units and not slowing down. We both still work full time and do the rentals on the side. We are shooting for retiring in 10 years when I turn 50. It makes a huge difference when you have a true partner not only in your corner but also in your life.

How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 1:15 AM

I grauduated high school at 17 one credit earlier I would have been out at 16. But I didnt know mandatory 12th grade history required for the certificate

My parents and my little brother moved to gawd awful desert of arizona

I am not going to waste my time typing all this to see it get wasted by what ever is in charge

How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 1:36 AM

I had a lawn mowing business and snow removal service.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaand a rented garage for my gear .head strong and dumd as the day is long.I hired people to run that .

Wow what a mistake.

I had to do some stuff were I was not able to be hands on

How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 1:45 AM

I can still see the what ever you want to call him.

It is called trust or lack there of

How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 1:56 AM

I hired on with with grumpy electrian and picked eggs on a rolling cart. 4 levels of


How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 2:29 AM

I bought the garage where I had my gear and I had to pay half down just to get a bank loan.

But it came with little house that I had to fix it was all tore up

I did it. By myself I bought my self 4 books .

There was no menards or lowes

How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 2:42 AM

I fixed that one .and repaired alot more .

I was trained. By the best men and women in the world

How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 3:02 AM

he told me . your body will be wore out by the time you are 40.

So make a plan so you do not have to suffer

Do not make my mistakes. The only one that will take care of you and yours.

is you .

Cant argue with that.

I didnt listen. but I paid attention

How did you start ? (by on [WI]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 3:17 AM

I took his advice and used it to my advantage.

Words dont make the world it is work for your dream you f..king dumd m....ter fu..

How did you start ? (by RB [MI]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 8:24 AM

Right on, WI.

"Words dont make the world"

How did you start ? (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 8:25 AM

Now, to finish my story I started yesterday.

I have been self-employed most of my adult life. I spent 24 years as a commercial photographer and running my own business. That experience taught me 2 things which would much later benefit me as LL. (1) How to manage money. The photography business was always a 'feast or famine' type business. In one month, I could bring in $15,000 but in the next 2-3 months, bring in only a meager $3,000 and sometimes nothing during holiday season. Because of this, I had to learn to how manage money and make it last the entire year. (2). I learned how to use the legal system to my advantage. Most of my regular photography clients were legit and paid my invoices. However, there were a few that did not and I would file lawsuits against them in small claims court. I won every case that I filed and eventually got paid the money that was owed to me. My biggest lawsuit was for $20,000 and I used that check to pay off the mortgage balance on my tiny house at the time and that allowed me to become debt free at age 42. 5 years later, my film based photo business was beginning to implode due to digital photography becoming the new norm. I sold all of my film based photo equipment ($30K when new) for pennies on the dollar ($3k) since it was basically worthless now.

About this time (age 47), I read a paperback book titled "Investing in Fixer-Uppers" by Jay DeCima. When I finished the book, my first thought was,...this author has made a fortune buying crummy houses located in crummy neighborhoods. I then read the book again. After the 2nd reading, I thought to myself,..'this is not rocket science,...I think I can do this".

And the rest is history folks.

How did you start ? (by Tom [ME]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 8:29 AM

Bought (for $25 thou) and moved into a vacant warehouse with my brother in 1976 in a run down part of Portland, (I was still young and single of course.)

Now called the Old Port. worth 2.5 million. Still have it and keep a unit there for wife and me.

Bought multis since.

Timing is everything. Luck helps too. (and hard work)

How did you start ? (by Tex [TX]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 8:36 AM

My dad was a builder and growing up when I wasn't around housing I was working on drilling rigs or in a refinery. One I was helping a friend clean out his mothers house which she was going to sell. While cleaning out the house I found a Carlton Sheets real estate course.

Whne I asked my buddy if I could keep he sure it's useless and would probably be a waist of time but I wanted it I could keep.

Looking back 29 rentals later I have to admit the program was very basic information which was all public but it did provide with the foundation and language to start the hustle of the real estate game.

How did you start ? (by Tex [TX]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 8:36 AM

My dad was a builder and growing up when I wasn't around housing I was working on drilling rigs or in a refinery. One I was helping a friend clean out his mothers house which she was going to sell. While cleaning out the house I found a Carlton Sheets real estate course.

Whne I asked my buddy if I could keep he sure it's useless and would probably be a waist of time but I wanted it I could keep.

Looking back 29 rentals later I have to admit the program was very basic information which was all public but it did provide with the foundation and language to start the hustle of the real estate game.

How did you start ? (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 8:40 AM

It is wrong for me to judge a person by the way they look......but I still do in the case of Jay DeCima. Jay does wonderful work fixing up places that would be and maybe should be scratched off by "normal immortals". He does an incredible job making the unthinkable -livable again.

He claims that he makes wheel barrows of money doing this - and I believe that too.

But Jay has a big ol' gap in the front of his teeth. That gap would be noteworthy on most people but on a fixer kinda guy, that sorta ironic.

That said - I have read that book. I also read his monthly articles in AD Kessler Real Estate Magazine. I also read Jeffery's writeups back then OVER 25 years ago!

I would love to hear about how Jeffery started out. --24.154.xx.x

How did you start ? (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 9:11 AM

Ray in PA,

What? Why is having a gap between the front teeth an issue for you?

After the success of my buying, fixing and renting out my first fixer-upper (which was nerve-racking), I wrote Jay DeCima a letter telling him that I had used his book as road map to get me started in this business. 1 year later, I would attend his seminar in Redding, CA and would have dinner with him that evening. Since then, we have stayed in touch and have become friends.

How did you start ? (by Jim [OH]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 1:04 PM

I went backpacking with six other father son teams out in the Rockies in 2000. We're on a rest break admiring the vistas and the father son teams are all doing pics with fantastic background views. I am watching all this and realize that every dad there was on a paid vacation. I was not as I belonged to a construction union with good pay and benefits but no paid vacation. No work equals no pay. I decided that things had to change. As soon as we returned, I started looking for investment property.

I found a 4 unit apartment building. I talked the owner into loaning me the down payment at simple 10 percent interest. I paid the annual interest divided into monthly payments for an agreed 5 year period. I obtained a 90 percent appraised value loan from a local bank showing that I had already paid ten percent down. On closing day the owner later took me to lunch and said he was there for any questions and advice. I refinanced the property three years later and paid off the owner earlier than agreed. We still stay in touch. I've bought more properties after that first one. My third property I purchased, I got the listing agent to loan me five percent of the listing price. She used her commission to lower her personal funds she loaned me. I refinanced after five years and paid her back and she earned 8 percent interest on the principle those five years.

Always ask for a deal. They may say no but you can never know what the answer will be. The first property flowed negative until I, in the next year, got the rents raised.

How did you start ? (by Ponari [TX]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 1:35 PM

We started by buying a 4 plex in Toronto with 3 friends one of whom we lent the money to get in. After about 18 months there was a profit of $10K each and they all wanted out so we sold.

6 months later hubby was in construction and they were building a townhouse complex. A friend who worked for the same company approached him to go in 50%. We bought in 1988 for $169,900. I had managed it until 1994 when we came to the States and then the friend started to manage - the one tenant stayed until 2019 when we sold for $600,000.

My husband gave me the book rich dad, poor dad and I was hooked. We bought 5 sfh from 2002-2007.

The last house we bought (2/1 1100 sq.ft.) for $204,000 and sold in September for $420,000.

We have 4 paid off sfh and I'd like more but hubby says no - that's enough. We'll see!!!!

I don't post very often - mainly when I have an issue - because everyone on here seems to have the problem solved by the time I see it.

I am grateful to everyone here who has helped me over the years. You are all great.

How did you start ? (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 5:14 PM

I also would LOVE to hear how Jeffrey got started

How did you start ? (by Shelby [IA]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2021 5:27 PM

My husband had a house he was buying on contract since the 90ís, I moved in with him in 2005. We had one kid and one on the way and wanted a bigger house. We could have paid the current house off and sold it , but he wanted to leave it for his oldest son. So we moved into a bigger house and left it. Had him pay us the house payment. Didnít last long before his trouble caught up to him and he was running from the cops again. We took the house back, fixed it up and for some reason still decided not to sell. (Not really sure why). We paid it off and started renting it out. Not long after that, my husband wanted his ex mother in laws house when she passed and we got that. Then we got his aunts house. Only have gone out and bought two with a realtor.

How did you start ? (by Lucy [IN]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 12:45 AM

Around 1968, Dad inherited his birthplace farm from his great grandfather. I was 12 and we lived in a big garage my grandpa had a Tractor sales/shop in during his life, while dad converted the home into a duplex. (great grandpa had been renting it out) I have a vivid memory of the clean out of the house and the former tenants had an old console stereo which there was dog feces on the turntable area. I was grossed out and couldnít believe it. So that was his first rental. This farm was 40 minutes away from our home but it wasnít a big problem because we had grandparents still living nearby who weíd go see all the time. So we could go to both places with purpose. He then bought a duplex in our home town and very gradually increased the rentals, always spending lots and lots of time fixing up and repairing. He only went into debt on the duplex in town, which is the main reason he built his business so slowlyÖcash only for buying and fixing on his income as a Tool & Die maker at a GM plant mom was a stay at home wife and helped him on the rentals. He also bought a few SFHs. In the 80s he asked me to collect the rent while they traveled during the winter. My DH wasnít too interested in rentals as he was a farmer. But as life happens, he was forced off the farm and other avenues of income was needed. He went back to school and became an RN. He did not like all the paperwork that came with being an RN. After dad passed, I managed some of the business for mom. After she passed in 2011, I kept it going with my trusty handyman (who as dadís handyman). My DH and I bought a rental , a 3/2 with a 3 car garage for 34k and put 10K into repairs and improvements. It was a disaster, again with dog feces and cat urine the people foreclosed on left the animals in the house after they moved out (we assume). We put in all new windows and had to replace all the wallboard and insulation beneath the windows because it was so gross with animal stink. Dad didnít pass on too much in the way of management, he did not have many criterion for renters other than money in hand and maybe a job, so he had a lot of problem renters. He ďlikedĒ getting late fees. So the first thing I wanted away from was late fees. I hated the not knowing if Iíll get the rent or have to evict. I found that really stressful. I found this site and started learning what to do (and not do) and Iím still learning. All, ya all, have been a invaluable source of knowledge. We inherited our way in for the most part. Itís still a learning experience. I hate turn overs, but less so now that I have tools to screen and more confidence in getting quality tenants. (Doesnít always happen-but my odds of success are better). Itís providing cash flow and a helping with a comfortable living. Itís fund to look and think about but I doubt weíll expand any further as I am not sure my kids will be taking it over or selling it. Succession is a lot on my mind these days. My handyman became ill several years ago and I tried hiring a couple of different guys but that didnít last long. DH then became our handyman. DH and I both have our strengths and weaknesses which is a pretty good balance and we make a pretty good team.

How did you start ? (by Tim [CO]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 7:00 PM

I found myself a divorced single father of 3 @30yo. In the divorce I kept a rental condo I had bought in 89 for 28k then sold it 10 years later for 104k! I then in 2004 put 60k down on a 335k 4- plex hoping the income would pay my child support so I could still survive. Rents were 500 per unit then. Fast forward 15 years they rent for 13-1400 per unit. The land value shot up in Denver and so itís valued at 1.2M now and almost paid off. I also bought a townhouse from a former coworker that had to leave town in 2002 on a 7 year arm and itís almost paid off as well. Iíve worked in IT 30 years in parallel teaching my kids the value of hard work helping with the rentals. I have niche within the area being on the low end of rents and Latinx essential workers. Iíve never lost a full months rent in 15 years, except when I did remodels of the kitchens and baths to bring them out of 1960s. Prior tenants always brought me their replacements and I just kept raising rents. They just reply GRACIAS SENIOR!

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