Our Journey with Real Estate Investing
At the beginning of 2020, we were excited for a new year and new possibilities. Our friend Jill who works with a company called Active Duty Passive Income made a social media post about real estate investing and it sparked curiosity. We learned a lot from the ADPI community and their book, "Military House Hacking". Amanda's brother and sister-in-law are into real estate investing and flipping and so they were a great source of info too. As we started learning about investing, COVID hit and the world shut down. It really changed our perspective on money and our financial goals. It just made sense to start investing in real estate, and as we crunched numbers we realized it would be amazing if we could make house hacking work for us. We were a family of 7 and so we were skeptical, but we knew it was the right move. Solomon was given new orders to the Great Lakes area, so we decided to go all in with house hacking a multifamily unit. We ended up buying a duplex and living in one side while renting out the other. Our side was 900 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Our saving grace was a large yard and unfinished basement. By house hacking, we were able to live simply and save to afford buying other rentals. Since September 2020, we have bought many houses and multifamily buildings, totaling 25 units. We recently moved into our 2nd house hack- another duplex, but this time it is a little bigger with an extra room and bathroom! We have learned a lot and keep getting asked a lot of questions about our journey. Below is a Q&A of our most commonly asked questions. We were also interviewed on the Active Duty Passive Income Podcast. Check it out here!
Questions & Answers
Q: How did you manage one bathroom with 9 people?
A: For the most part, it wasn't as big of an issue as we thought it would. It was a good opportunity for our boys to learn to wait patiently, knock, clean up after themselves, and share. It also taught them to budget their time better. No waiting until last minute to use the toilet or you are stuck waiting even longer if someone is in the bathroom already! Luckily most of our children are young and so the time of day they bathe wasn't too important. Sunday mornings we woke up early for church so all the boys showered the night before, leaving Amanda to be able to use the shower in the morning. Amanda did her hair and makeup in her room which helped save space and time in the bathroom. We also had a solid white shower curtain up, so if someone needed to use the toilet while someone was showering, there was a little more privacy. Adding the twins added more cribs, seats, and diapers, which took up more space around the house, but it still worked!
Q: How did you all fit?
A: We simplified our lives and our stuff. We have come to learn that many things we thought were "necessities" really aren't. We downsized decorations and furniture, and we donated a lot of clothes, toys, and equipment we just weren't using. Things we want to keep for a future bigger home have been kept in storage boxes. Our boys do not have bed frames. Instead, they all have mattresses on the floor that they can fold or stack during the day for extra floor space. They are great for jumping on and gymnastics too! Sticking to a monthly budget has really helped prevent us from filling our small home with things we don't really need too.
Q: How do you manage all the properties?
A: We use a fabulous property management team. They charge a reasonable rate and have gone above and beyond to take care of our properties and tenants. We take pride in providing good housing and pray for our properties and those that live in them and those that take care of them.
Q: What advice do you have for someone just getting starting with real estate investing?
A: Have fun learning! Read books, listen to podcasts, get to know realtors, lenders, attorneys, contractors, and property managers in the area you are considering. Start investing in an area you know well or where you will be living. Also, real estate investing is not for everyone. It might not be for you, but learning about it may spark other ideas and options for you that could help you save money or generate income in other ways.
Q: What are some of your favorite resources for learning more?
A: We like listening to Bigger Pockets Podcast and learning from Active Duty Passive Income. Some favorite books are "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and "Cash Flow Quadrant" by Robert Kiyosaki, "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill, "Tax Free Wealth" by Tom Wheelright, "Building Wealth For the Kingdom" by Devin D. Thorpe, "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt, and "Long-Distance Real Estate Investing" by David Greene.