Did you do this in middle school? [Candy’s Story]

Candy isn’t like most real estate investors…

It doesn’t have to do with how many deals she’s done.

It doesn’t have to do with the kind of investing strategies she uses.

Candy started reading about real estate investing when she was in middle school. Yes, you read that correctly…middle school. She was fascinated by the idea of being a landlord. Her interest in real estate investing only grew from there.

Fourteen years ago, Candy and her husband started investing to save for their kids’ college fund. Their plan was to buy and hold properties, let the equity increase, and then sell when they needed to. Many deals later, Candy and her husband have a secure college fund – now they are focused on creating passive income!

As cautious and thorough investors, they’ve never lost money on a deal. They always follow this motto: Make your money when you buy the property, not when you sell it. Buy it right.

Listen to our conversation with Candy to hear about the deal she found on MyHouseDeals, more about her investing experiences, and her tips for new investors plus…

  • How to never lose money on a deal
  • How to get started in real estate investing with no money
  • How to avoid common mistakes real estate investors make

NOTE: Candy is a premium member, she received a FULL refund of her upfront membership fee for simply doing a deal! Find out more about our premium membership here.

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Tell us about yourself…

What got you into real estate investing?

My husband and I were looking for a way to save for college for our kids, and that’s what got us started in real estate investing.

Do you guys both have full-time jobs?

Yes. I’m a real estate broker, and my husband is in the IT field.

What was your motivation to get into real estate investing?

Both of us wanted to do real estate investment long before I got my license to be a broker.

The main reason we actually got started in investing was to save for our kids’ college funds. We started out by buying rental properties so the equity would increase over time. By the time our kids are ready to go to college, we would have something to sell and be able to pay for school.

How many deals have you done since starting in real estate?

We’ve done well over 20.

Are you pretty close to meeting your goal or has your goal changed since you got started?

It definitely has changed because we have the college part covered now. Our new goal is to bring in more passive income.

How did you get started and educate yourself in real estate?

I started reading real estate books when I was in middle school, I’ve always been fascinated by the thought of being a landlord and owning a home. Robert Allen was the first real estate investor author that I read. It was probably around 1989 or 1990 when I read his Nothing Down. Later, I moved on to reading Dave Lindahl and my husband and I still follow his advice very closely.

By following these real estate authors, we learned that the quickest way to grow wealth is through real estate. Later on, I went ahead and got my real estate license. Afterwards, I would come across pretty good deals with sizeable amounts of equity. We could go in, fix up the places, rent them out for a profit, and still have a lot of equity.

We knew that if we kept at this process, we would have a sizeable amount of money over time; it was a forced savings plan.

When I work with my clients as an agent, I try to encourage them to do the same thing. Buying real estate is a forced savings plan. It saves you money without money coming out of your pocket.

What was it like doing your very first deal?

It was actually a listing of mine that I had. The seller was in Florida and she didn’t want to go through the whole process of having her home on the market. I told her, “I’ve got someone who can work this for you, would you mind?” That someone was my husband. She was eager and asked me what kind of offer I had. My husband and I went ahead and put our offer in, she accepted, and everything went well from there.

At first, we had to figure things out. I was new to real estate as an agent, so I was just learning how to make rentals successful. Once we figured things out, we rented out the property, and our tenant has been there for 14 years.

Did you quit a full-time job to go into real estate?

My degree was in Communications and I left a job at an advertising agency to go into real estate full-time.

I actually went in to new homes and sold them for six or seven years. I’ve sold well over 200 houses in the new homes build. I had a very successful career in the field before leaving and entering into traditional real estate.

I wanted to get a license because I wanted to be in charge and have my hands on more deals. I needed a little bit more control than what I could get being a passenger on deals.

Was it scary quitting your full-time job?

It was scary, but I really believe that real estate is the key to solving a lot of financial difficulties. Even though I quit my job, I felt like I was going to make it. I believed in myself and didn’t look back.

What advice do you have for people who are just getting started?

I tell them you don’t have to go out and buy the 5 million dollar apartment building on your first go. It’s great if you can, but you don’t have to. Start small. Look for something in your own backyard. Look for something that is a value play. If it’s a win-win for you and the seller, then it works. Simply look for a great deal.

A lot of what my husband and I do now is rehab and we try to create win-win situations for everyone involved.

How did you finance your first deal?

We were able to get a traditional loan. It wasn’t hard getting a traditional loan for an investment rental.

How do people get to the point where they can take on their first deal?

My husband and I found the properties and used hard money. You have to factor that into your buying process. If I know I’m going to use hard money lenders, I need to have great relationships with them so that I am able to negotiate prices down, including interest rates.

I would tell people hoping to take on their first deal that they need to get out, make relationships, and use hard money lenders. A lot of people say “no” to hard money lenders, but I would say definitely use them to help you get where you want to go.

Obviously, you also have to save money, but you can look for opportunities to wholesale. Wholesaling is a great way to make money. We’ve done wholesale deals before and it’s a great way to get the money you need to do rehab or rentals.

Tell me more about the deal you did on MyHouseDeals.

We were looking for our next rehab and we were able to find it on MyHouseDeals. We purchased a 3-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom home, and it was priced at $132,000. It needed about $60,000 to $80,000 in rehab, so I thought that was a great deal. The wholesaler did an excellent job of negotiating the terms and he had the house under contract at the right price. It just made sense for us to go ahead and purchase it. We were able to do the rehab and we sold it for around $300,000.

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Do you guys both do this full-time now?

My husband still does IT. I’m pretty much occupied with rehabbing houses full-time. I’m a real estate broker, but I’m also there on-site with the rehab.

Tell me about one of the biggest mistakes you’ve ever made in your career.

We’ve actually never lost money with any of the deals that we’ve done, so we haven’t had that kind of experience with making mistakes. The biggest mistake we made was when we sold something a little too early.

There was a property that we decided to wholesale. We picked it up and got it for $20,000. We put maybe $1,000 into it, and then we turned around and sold it for $50,000. In hindsight, it was a property that we should have held onto because it went up in value so much. Selling it is our biggest regret.

What advice do you have for avoiding that mistake in the future?

At the time, selling worked for what we were doing, but sometimes you have to take a step back and look at what the long-term plan is. It’s hard to tell because real estate goes up and down and you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.

Trying to take a long-term look at your strategy is important. You should figure out if you really need to sell properties now. Ask yourself, “Is this a flip property or is this a hold property to sell for a later date?”

How do you avoid losing money on a deal?

My husband and I are very conservative with our money. As an agent, I’ve seen people buy things way too high. We always go by the motto, “You make your money when you buy the property, not when you sell it.”

We faithfully abide by that concept. We’ve never lost any money on a deal because we buy properties right. We’re finding the right deals, fixing them up, and doing flips on them. We’ve done rentals and we’ve done wholesales.

How do you thoroughly evaluate a deal?

We check to see if the person’s behind on their mortgage when it’s a wholesaler because we’ve had wholesalers try to sell us houses that are about to go to auction. We also check to see if there’s a second mortgage on properties. We check to see what other liens are out there on a property and how many people are actually on the title.

Because I’m a broker, I have access to this kind of information and check out this data a little bit more than other people do. A lot of people will get a lead off the internet, and they’ll go to contract only to find out that the person’s bankrupt or has three other people on title.

My husband and I get all of the facts up front, so that requires us to do a little bit more research. We look into what other investors are paying in an area to make sure we’re not paying higher. We ensure that we’re within the market and not going above. We do solid market comparisons that require some experience with real estate. It’s a little bit easier for me to do comparisons than for the typical investor because I’ve got access in MLS.

What’s your favorite kind of deal to do?

Flipping. I love flipping because it allows us to be really creative and to put our stamp on things.

What kind of people do you have on your team?

We have our contractors and they’re on for almost every job. We’ve done a very good job of not being burnt with our contractors. 80% of our them have been with us since we’ve been in business, so we pretty much use the same team of people.

What else would you tell a new investor?

I would say just get started.

When people come to me and say they want to invest in a property, there’s a lot of hesitation. They’re worried about making mistakes but a lot of times in real estate, you just have to start.

You have to go ahead and pick an area, check if the area historically sells well, and find out if there are buyers you want to attract. Once you pinpoint that area, just go for it. Send out postcards, work with your agent to find information on MLS, and contact relevant wholesalers. Just start!

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Posted on Jun 13, 2018

Author: Alison Reeves

After working for a large wholesaler in Houston for 4 years, Alison joined MyHouseDeals as Marketing Manager in 2016. Alison finds the ever-changing nature of real estate investing and marketing exciting, and loves working for a web services company that is hyper-focused on its customers. When she’s not marketing for MyhouseDeals, Alison enjoys cycling, running, fostering homeless dogs, and enjoying all of the art/music/outdoor public activities that Houston has to offer.

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