This month’s Student Success Story features Brian and Pauline from Texas. Here’s the inspiring story from Brian of how his life was completely transformed because of real estate investing!
BRIAN AND PAULINE’S SUCCESS STORY
I started investing in real estate because I saw a Carlton Sheets infomercial when I was 19 years old. I knew immediately that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to have financial freedom. Plain and simple. Back then I was likely thinking about the cars I could buy, beachfront mansions and girls in bikinis. I remember talking to my mom and her immediate reaction was to say, “Oh honey, you don’t want to do that. Real Estate Investors take advantage of people in bad situations for profit.” What a horrible thing for her to say! I remember feeling like I’d been condemned for considering such a thing. Years went by and the thought of being an investor never left my mind.
I bought my first house, a personal residence, in 1997 and nearly lost it in foreclosure about 5 years later while I was going through a divorce. I called a “WE BUY HOUSES” number that was posted on the side of the road. The investor was not able to buy my house but I did get some good information from him and I ended up selling my house about a week before it was going to be auctioned. I still remember talking with that investor and how he helped me at a time that I felt like my life was spiraling out of control. I was thankful for his understanding and compassion.
THE PERFECT STORM
In 2006 I was living next door to a property in Mountain Home, ID that had been for sale for a couple of years. The property had a log home, a shop, and a manufactured home all together on 2 acres and the asking price was $174,000. The owners had moved to Florida. The shop was being used for storage, and the houses were both rented. I loved the log house and the shop. I knew that if I could get the place at the right price I could rent out the houses to pay the mortgage and have the shop to use for myself. That is exactly what I did. One day when the owners came into town to visit family, and to check on their property, we had a conversation about the property. I knew I wouldn’t qualify for a loan for another year due to the foreclosure and other marks on my credit score, but the owners agreed to sell me the property for $150,000 on a 1 year owner contract. I really had no idea what I was doing, but the seller was knowledgeable and the title company was very helpful. Over the course of that year I sub-divided that property into (2) 1 acre lots, I gave the log house some curb appeal, and spent a little money updating the interior. The manufactured home was in great condition so I didn’t do a thing to it. At the end of that year, the log home and shop together, on 1 acre appraised, at $194,000. The Manufactured home on 1 acre appraised at $150,000. I owned one property free and clear and had a mortgage on the other that was being paid by the rents, and I got to use the shop.
That deal was an investor’s perfect storm. I was in the right place at the right time with the right people, and in a financial position that made me comfortable to get into that deal. THAT DEAL DID NOT MAKE ME AN INVESTOR!
My friends and acquaintances called that my Donald Trump moment (some may recall he was an investor before he was president). Many people called it a once in a lifetime deal. But, the successful people I knew and looked up to congratulated me and they seemed to have a new respect for me.
Of course I did what any truck driver would do if they just made a $194,000 dollar deal. I got a HELOC against the manufactured home and bought a truck. This is clear evidence that I was not a real estate investor yet!
Fast forward about 8 years. I’d sold the truck and my equipment, and I moved to Texas to open a new branch of the company that I had been managing in Idaho for the past several years. I lost my job in July of 2015.
The challenges were the lack of a steady income while I still had bills to pay, but I was determined to succeed. Many people say that, but I’ve found that few truly mean it. I struggled. I lived on credit, I risked every thing I had, and I even sold some things that I didn’t need like a hot rod truck, a motorcycle, and other things that were less important to me than my success. I was going to make it work or go broke trying and that option was (and still is) OK with me. It’s only money. So many people say, “Yeah right, ha ha. It’s only money.” But it is true.
Once I got over the worry of what I might lose, and concentrated on what I would gain, I realized that what was most important for me was not the money, it was time.Time to spend with family, time to talk with neighbors, time to walk on the beach while the normal clock punchers are at work, time to do things on my schedule without reporting to a boss. That kind of time translates into true freedom. Until somebody experiences what that is really like, I don’t think I can articulate it in a way that they would understand.
The steps I took were easy. I went to the seminar to learn how to do this and I started doing it. I located deals, built relationships, and closed deals.
TIPS FOR STUDENTS
1) Fake it till you make it. You don’t have to know everything about everything. In fact all you need is a basic understanding of the steps. Your title company and lender do most of the work once you’ve put the deal together.
2) Don’t feel guilty about success. We are indoctrinated from the time we are very young that we will get a job, work 40 hrs, collect a paycheck, and have weekends off. When you first stop doing that it will likely be an uncomfortable feeling.
3) Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Change is uncomfortable, risk is uncomfortable, for many, stepping outside of the box is uncomfortable. But, if you want the rewards you need to embrace change and get used to pushing your boundaries.
4) Don’t let negativity take you off your path or stop you in your tracks. There will be people in your life who will tell you that this is all a scam and it can’t be done. It can be done, it’s not a scam and the only person who can make it happen is the person in the mirror.
5) Self affirmations are a great way to get your mind right for the day. Every morning I tell myself “I’m HAPPY I’m HEALTHY, I’m SEXY and I’m RICH!” Try saying that to yourself without smiling. Starting the day with a smile makes every day a great day for a new adventure!
ADVICE FOR INVESTORS
Advice for new investors…get off your butt and try something. If you want to make it work, get up and try. Look for a house. Talk to the sellers. Learn from each experience and do it again. Start with wholesaling, but keep your mind open to other possibilities. While you’RE busy looking for dimes, don’t step over dollars. Motivated sellers are people who have a problem that needs to be solved. Solve their problem.
It gets easier and easier to stay motivated when you are cashing $20,000 and $30,000 dollar checks. I could go get a day job and probably get an okay wage but then I’d have a JOB. I’d have to get up and go to WORK. I’d have to answer to a BOSS. No thanks, I’ll live life on my terms.
So how has Real Estate Investing changed my life? It’s everything I mentioned. I have time to do things I want to do. I get to choose when to do the things I want to do. I don’t have to answer to a boss, and punch a clock, and trade my time for their money. I have become a coach and a speaker, and I have been invited to speak about my experiences with other real estate investor training companies too. I speak about building relationships and the methods I use to increase my odds of getting the deal, even if I don’t have the best offer. I am a Real Estate Problem Solver.
Success Path gave me the education that helped me feel confident to succeed in this business. I am proud to share my knowledge and experience with people who are interested in taking control of their financial future.
Some of the homes Bryan and Pauline have worked on: