In this success story interview, Charese Johnson walks us through her experience of purchasing an amazing rental property. She gives advice on how to develop the proper frame of mind and how to use available resources and a solid team to get the job done. If you’re looking for a great example of how to proceed with a real estate deal, in spite of some frustrating hurdles, read on.
- Having a Positive Mindset
- Building a Solid Team That You Can Trust
- Going with the Flow
The image below shows the details of the deal Charese found on MyHouseDeals:
What sparked your interest in real estate investing?
I’ve been interested in real estate investing, I’ll say for the past five or six years. As with most people, you just look into it but you never really do it. I’ve been looking at properties and they’ve been a little on the high end. I have a friend and she’s very resourceful. She was telling me about the website, MyHouseDeals, where they list homes that are being sold at wholesale prices, they’re owned by the bank, or owned by owners that want to sell them at a discounted rate.
So, I signed up for MyHouseDeals. And by looking on your website, I was able to see houses that fit in my budget. When I saw that, that was the green light to go and try to purchase something.
Was it difficult to take your first step?
I wouldn’t say difficult, but the thing is that I was extremely cautious and maybe like a little bit too cautious. It took me longer because I was trying to make sure that I know everything about the process of purchasing houses, either to rent or to fix and flip, instead of me just knowing most of it and just stepping out there and doing it. We don’t know all the things about everything.
Once I got on your website and I saw the possibilities that were out there, I was less cautious, but more informed. I can say that.
How did you build your knowledge up in real estate investing?
Talking to people. I also have an accounting firm and I have clients who own property, and talking to them on a regular basis about the pros and cons, what they did wrong, and what they should have done right.
Learning from them, listening to them helped me out a lot. Also, YouTube is always a good source of information about what to do when you invest in property. That’s basically it, clients and just YouTubing it the entire way.
How much did “mindset” play into you getting the ball moving and putting action and movement behind what you wanted to do?
That’s a good question, because people don’t realize how mindset really guides what you do and also how you do things. Because before you can manifest it, you have to first think about it. Once you think about it, and then whatever you do, you pray or you meditate, or you just move forth – that’s how it becomes reality.
So for example, having that mindset of just knowing some of the pros or cons, like on any type of venture you take, that’ll get you mentally ready to jump into it and just do it. Whether it fails or it goes right, just go into it with the mindset that you can do it and with the mindset that if it doesn’t work out the way that you think it should work out, it should be a learning lesson. I’ll do it better next time. That’s all.
How has real estate investing changed your lifestyle?
It was a good thing. Because I have an accounting firm and also do financial planning, I say that you can build wealth through real estate and that’s one of the reasons why I’m doing it. I want to build generational wealth for my family.
But secondly, I understand with real estate you just have to stay focused and stay with it and on it.
I also realized that for you to be successful in real estate you have to have a reliable team to help you. I’ve been blessed to have a team of people, like maintenance people who are doing an excellent job with the property. And, I can trust them, which is important too. It’s very important. Trust is important and they’re reasonable, price-wise. Having a reliable competent team is important, very important. That’s what I realized working in real estate.
So how did that help you as far as growth as a person?
This experience has made me become more defined in a lot of areas. For example – especially being a female, being a female in a role of leadership, in a role of delegation. Most of my team are men and they mean well, but sometimes, just because they might have more experience than you do, they might just think they know what you want. I’m saying that because I’ve had to say, “This was not what I’m looking for in this property. This is what I want you to do.” It’s like, “do it this way” without feeling that I have to explain in detail why. Just like parents raising kids. Sometimes we just tell our kids to do things without needing to tell them why. Why? Because it could save their life.
So same thing with them. I’ve had to learn that I don’t need to explain myself to them about everything. Just as long as you’re doing what I need to be done with the property, then I’m good. I’ve learned that.
Secondly, because I do believe in the law of attraction and because I’ve taken this journey on, doors have opened up to me and for me, and information is coming to me just in reference to wholesaling. Tips are coming to me, people are coming to me with more information of how I can benefit or move forward within this journey.
If you could describe your real estate experience in one word, what would that be and why would you choose that word?
I would go back to say team, and again, the reason why I say that is because when you build up an effective team, you’ll have every component that you need to make this journey successful.
That includes having somebody when you’re going through something within his team framework, when you feel stressed out, a team member that can pray with you. Or maybe like when you don’t know how you’re going to fix this, then the maintenance man, he can come in and let you know because he’s done this before, we’re going to work this out.
So now, I would like for you to take us through the experience of your deal. What kind of property were you initially looking for when you visited our site?
I was looking for a cheap property in a really good area, and I wasn’t looking for a duplex. Maybe just a townhouse for a single family home.
When I was looking through your site, I was like, “This is kind of off,” because the thing is that with this property that I purchased, because I saw the property a long time ago before I joined your website. I had a real estate agent contact the other real estate agent to see whether or not could I see the property. Let me back up. First, I contacted the seller’s real estate agent just to see whether or not I could see the property. They told me that the property was not available. So one of my handymen works in that area. He called me, he said, “Charese, the for sale sign is still up”.
I said, “Really?” So I called up one of my girlfriends who’s a real estate agent and I had her call the seller’s real estate agent, and he told her that the property is still available. So she got the code for the door and she and I went to the house, walked in the house. It looked like it was a really nice house. Decent deal, needed some work done to it. But for the price of $45,000, in a really good part of Baltimore City, it was worth it.
So I told my real estate agent/friend that I’m interested. She called back the real estate agent and the agent told her that the property was already sold and she was like, “It is?” He was like, “Yeah, it’s already sold and we don’t think the deal is going to fall through.” So she called me up, I said, “Okay. Well you know what? That house wasn’t meant to be mine. I’m cool. Don’t even worry about it.”
Anyway, about six weeks later, my handyman calls, and he says, “Charese, the for sale sign is back up in the yard.” I said, “What? I don’t think so.” He said, “It’s back up in the yard, Charese, I’m looking right at it.” So he took a picture of it and sent it to me. By this time, I had access to your website. That same week when he called me, as I was looking through houses, looking through houses, looking through houses…that same house popped up on your website. At first it was being sold for $45,000. That same house on your website was being sold for $34,900 or $34,500.
I kept on saying, “Now, is this the same house? I’m looking through it. It looks like it’s the same house.” So I called up the wholesale dealer that was listed on your website and I talked to the guy. His name was Phil. We talked on the phone for a long time. Now, he didn’t know that I already saw the house and that I was interested in the house. He just saw me as a new customer. So he said, “Because I like you, like your vibe and everything, I’m going to give you the code. Go in the house, look around, let me know what you think.” So I said, “Okay.”
So I and one of my other handymen walked in the house and walked around. We were walking around looking at the house and he said, “Charese, you know what? This is the house for you. You need to go ahead and get it.” I said, “What? Again? Second confirmation. This is the house for me”. So I called up Mr. Phil. He was the wholesale dealer and I spoke to him and I told him that I’m interested. I’m closed on the rental property about three weeks later and that was it.
Did you use real estate agents to pull the comps on the rental property or do you use a local resource like an app on your phone?
Well, I have access to a software. I think it’s called Data Tree. With that software, I have access to all of the comps and the title work, all the properties within this country. Deed information, title information, whatever information for the property, I have access to it.
Was there a strategy that you used to negotiate the price?
I just paid the full price for … I think it was $34,900, because the offering was at first $45,000. Property is a duplex, so I have the potential to make two incomes off of one property.
How did you finance the deal?
Paid for it cash. I was able to pay for it cash.
Are your plans to use it as a rental property?
That’s right. That’s right.
Have you encountered any type of issues as far as getting the repairs completed in a rental property?
So far so good. They’ve been on time. They’ve been doing the work. They’ve been doing a little extra for me just because we have history together. So, so far so good. So far so good.
What advice would you give to a new investor who is doing their first deal or is looking to start in wholesaling?
What I would say is that don’t get weighed down or don’t get too inundated with too much information, just because sometimes we just feel like we have to have all this information, just to get started. Just as long as you have the bones and the foundation of what you’re looking for and what you want to do and make sure that you have that funding ready.
You never know when you will see that property that you want. So just make sure that you have your funding set in place before you start looking.
Just go with it.
Go with it and try to build that team up. Go with the flow. Exactly. Go with the flow and try to build that team up as you go along the journey. That’s all. That’s it.
Charese was persistent and was ready to make the move on a great rental property when it became available. She recommends having a positive mindset, focusing on what’s important, forming a great team, and going with the flow as a deal progresses. Good solid advice.
We really appreciate Charese for taking the time to chat with us and share her experience, advice, and wisdom. We wish her much future success!