We love featuring our talented students on the blog, and this month we are sharing Tim and Melody’s story. Here’s the Texas couple’s amazing story and why they decided to become real estate investors.
WHY DID YOU START REAL ESTATE INVESTING?
I can’t say that our original plan was to be real estate investors. We did know that we were spending too much time at work and not enough time with each other or our daughter (Piper) who just turned ten. Our priorities were all wrong. Honestly, if we were going to work this hard for someone, why wouldn’t it be for ourselves and our family? And what are we teaching our daughter about work and money and family…you get the picture.
So, we sat in on the “free” real estate seminar and something they said just clicked. Yes, Melody and I both come from the advertising agency world and have very different skill sets – she with creativity and executive leadership and me with project management, networking and sales. But the reality is… our differences (actually) make us a great team. And if we are “all in” on this (as a business), then we wanted to invest in getting the best possible training and start right away.
The key here is that this is about investing in our family and helping others…not just making money. Although the idea of financial freedom is quite appealing, we knew that it would take a lot of hard work, dedication and an entrepreneurial mindset to become the investors we have the potential to be.
That was last September; and we haven’t looked back since.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED?
I’m sure at the top of the list for everyone, is the money it takes to fund your education and buy your first property. Going from six-figure salary, to “OMG, when are we going to close on this house, so we can pay some bills?”, is not an easy leap. That and convincing our parents that we were not crazy. What, no paycheck, no insurance? However, in time you realize the biggest challenge is not really the money but rather separating your insecurities and fears that are often attached to the idea of money.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
Straight out of Boot Camp, we started networking, joined our local REIA, bought our first property from a wholesaler, used a hard money lender, lined up our contractors and started telling everyone about our new business. Having the weekly support of our mentor, Tim Bell, helped keep us grounded.
The big one, though, was going to the Investor Summit in February. Yes, I took my wife to Las Vegas…for Valentine’s Day…for work. Does that make me a bad husband? The content and relationships and motivation to get out there and succeed has been invaluable. It is true, “it’s like drinking from a firehose.” We enjoyed it so much that we came back in April; okay, Melody won the free trip for the success story on our first flip. And the second time was much more productive, intentional and the networking… I am happy to report that my first wholesale deal is with a student we met in April and are closing this week. Yep, we went back in April, for our anniversary…never going to live that down.
Not only have we completed our first flip, staged it and sold it on the first day…we’re in the process of renovating two others – one in Arkansas that is already sold (owner financed) and a second that we hope to get an offer on this week. We also bought another house and are owner occupying. So many buying and selling strategies…all learned from training we received in this program.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER STUDENTS/PEOPLE WHO ARE CONSIDERING INVESTING?
I think that the one thing that has quickly become apparent is that you can’t do everything. We tried and, well, it’s just not possible. I have this conversation with everyone I meet. Real Estate Investing, like every other success in life, is just an extension of who you already are. You may not realize it a first, but there are so many ways to make money in this business. Just do the part that brings you joy and fill in the rest with your power team. Your team will become your extended family and help you overcome your challenges. At the end of the day this business is about relationships. So be honest, dare I say completely transparent, with everyone you do business with. We are in the business of helping people, and this is your personal and professional brand. The reputation you develop is who people will know you as.
This business changes frequently, sometimes daily or even hourly. You just have to stay focused, be willing to try new things, look at things differently and never give up. I think back to the motto I learned in the Army (and it’s still relevant today) …you have to, “Improvise. Overcome. Adapt.”
HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH?
Melody would probably say that I’m usually the positive and encouraging one, but there have been times where this new journey has taken us to our knees. Which (not surprisingly) is our source of strength. No matter what has happened that day, we always pray together as a family, never go to bed angry and know that God is in control. It’s not easy and you’ll often hear, “really God…how much longer do we need to go through this lesson on patience?” And it’s not about us; truly humbling most days. Just when you think things are completely off the rails, nothing is going as planned, off timeline and over budget, no leads, contractor mistakes…our own mistakes. You see that God has a plan and a purpose and His timing; for Melody and I as well as our family – Piper, our parents and friends. Thanks, God!
HOW HAS REAL ESTATE INVESTING CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
Does it all happen overnight? Of course not. We have been blessed to have the success that we have in a short eight months. The stress and challenges of building our real estate investing business has not been easy, but it has drawn Melody and I closer together. It has taught us how to work with each other, communicate better, be more aware of ourselves and our surroundings. We joke now, because Melody had said that (a year ago, when we were both in successful advertising careers), “we could never work together”. Well, sweetie, we’re doing it!
Check out some of the photos from Melody and Tim’s first-flip! They nearly doubled the home’s value and sales price.