Strange to pair those two things together, but it’s true.. one was the catalyst for the other.
A few months after buying my “new” house in January of 2016, a man with a gun aimed at my head (who turned out to live a couple houses down from me) made me seriously rethink my idea of what was home to me and my kids.
Over the better part of 2016 I had been involved in the felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon case against my newly found neighbor, and during that time I started looking at options to get as far away from him as possible. At the end of 2016, he was sentenced and received some community service, a $500 civil penalty, and sent home.. two houses down from me. I’d never met him, seen him, and it was as random as can be. But I digress..
It takes a team to create success, and my foray into real estate is no different. A few years back I wanted to learn about real estate to potentially become an agent, but mostly to learn about it on the agent/ brokerage side to help me in my future investment strategies. Enter my friend Jake Detweiler. I sent him a message asking for help, explaining my thinking and motivations. He quickly got me in touch with the right person, and before I knew it I was graduating from real estate pre-licensing school. Huge thanks to him for all his help (I still owe that guy a deal in the future!) My heart just wasn’t really into being an agent, so I chose to not take the licensing exam. Instead I went back to work and started reading real estate books on creating passive income from both flips and rentals as fast as I could hit my Amazon “1-click” order button.
Over the next couple years, I chatted with my friend Graham McKenzie (my current agent extraordinaire!) on a handful of trail runs about investment ideas, and how best to get involved in the market. We shared a very similar life path vision, so a decision was made and I bought a fixer upper that I planned on living in it for a few years, and then using as a first property to either flip or rent, thus starting my real estate investment portfolio.
And then this dummy with a revolver came out of nowhere, dropped into a shooters stance, and locked the barrel of his gun onto my face. No words, no warning, totally random. I can now say first hand that a lot goes through your head in a short period of time when you are staring down the barrel of a gun.
Since I didn’t get shot, the plan quickly changed. Get out of this property and get away from the crazy neighbor. The problem? I had only owned the property for a few months (we were barely starting early spring at that point), and I would have to wait at least a year before I could sell it to avoid serious taxes and penalties. Having done no remodel work yet, I was worried about how bad the loss would be.
I’ll say it a hundred times.. but hats off to Graham. We discussed the best strategy to sell, and waited for what felt like the best timing in a luckily solid sellers market. We positioned the house and our asking price the best we could, listed it on a Friday, drove a couple dozen people through it over the weekend, and got a full price offer early the following week. Chaa-ching!!
Outcome? The house just closed yesterday, and a profit of $16,000 was realized. Obviously there are commissions, taxes, and misc fees that come out of that profit.. but once the dust settled, I was able to walk away with a good chunk of money in my pocket a year after buying, and having done no remodel work. It pays to do your homework and buy the right place, at the right price, in the right neighborhood (sans crazy neighbors with guns of course).
I can’t say enough about utilizing your resources and asking questions to learn the process of whatever it is you are doing or interested in.. questions are free, books are a cheap education, and friends are always willing to help. I was fortunate enough to be able to turn a very bad situation into a pretty positive one thanks to some key people who helped me a ton.
So a HUGE thank you to my family, loved ones, and friends for the help when I needed it most (couldn’t have done it without them!) And a big trail runner high-five to Graham for saving my butt! Here’s to a profitable first flip!
I definitely learned a ton in the process, and that will only help in future investment opportunities as I look to continue growing my investment portfolio. I have great people on my team that I can utilize to make the best, most informed decisions I can, and I hope to soon repay the favors that I’ve been afforded.
What’s the biggest take away for me? First and foremost.. money doesn’t buy happiness, and investing is only fun if you don’t take it too seriously.. I’ve made more and lived off less. I’ve been happiest living off less. Enjoy every day with the people you love and care about.. you can’t put a price on that! Do the things that make you feel complete and fulfilled.. the happier you are, the better you are for your family and friends. And lastly.. you can always turn a negative experience into a positive one with the right attitude, perspective, and support from those you surround yourself with!