Our Personal Journey to Building Wealth Through Real Estate Investing

When Patrick and I got married our net worth was negative over a hundred thousand dollars. Student loan debt, credit cards, unpaid taxes and million tiny poor decisions contributed to that. Fast forward to now, and we have powered our way almost back to zero debt, a positive number in our net worth with 2 fully paid off cars, 2 investment properties and a beautiful home.

Now it's time to walk the walk of the talk we talk. When we got married, we made a promise to each other that we would never have a car payment. Sure enough, shortly after we got married, we needed a new car. So, what did we do? We literally bought a grandma car. It was our friend’s grandmother’s 2001 Cadillac Catera that she had been given upon graduation from law school. We paid her and her huband $3000 cash for the car (her husband requested that to be in $100s so he could "make it rain") and Patrick drove it for 18 months.

Fast forward to today. We started our own business a little over a year ago and have a beautiful, amazing daughter. Things sure do change when you have kids, right? We have decided to embark on our next family promise - never having a mortgage payment ever again. What the what?!?

Total financial freedom can mean many things to many different people. For us, it means to never have to make a business decision based on our personal finances. It means unlimited opportunities for the future and leverage.

When your why is big enough, the how will come. Ok, so how? We are going to start by selling our house. We have had the amazing opportunity to purchase another investment property way under market value and have set a goal to pay it off in 3 years. 36 months. We will take the proceeds from the sale and use part to pay off our last remaining debt, part for the down payment and a small amount for paint, flooring and a few small updates.

The first home we purchased was in 2012 for $160,000 (current market value today is $275,00). We kept that home as a rental and moved to our current home at the end of 2014 which we paid $340,000 and will be putting on the marker for $429,000. In 2015, we had the opportunity to purchase another investment property in our neighborhood for $300,000 (current market value today is $400,000). We did a 1031 exchange with an investment property we owned up north for that purchase. It was one of those "right place at the right time" while walking the dog late one night. As you can see, all of these properties are within less than 2 miles.

At this point we owned 3 properties, but our 2 investment properties are just breaking even. We're in it for the long term, but we started flirting with an uneasy feeling of not having enough saved when inevitably something would go wrong. Let's not also forget that we took the leap to start our own real estate company at the end of 2015.

Our original plan was to move back into our first investment property - the one we moved from in 2014. We owed the least on that house, so it would be the easiest to pay off. One catch, we have a unicorn of a tenant. For anyone who owns investment properties, you know that it's worth doing whatever it takes to keep them.

Since forming and maintaining relationships in our old neighborhood, we have had a "coming soon listing" across the street on Kandy for 4 months. The seller has been trying to get the house ready to go on the market in that time. So, last Tuesday (3/7) I called Patrick and said "Let's make him an offer". It's a win-win. He doesn't have the hassle of going on the market and we get to have another future investment property. He said "Are you sure? Don't you want to see it?" to which I replied "No, it will distract from the goal." So we signed the paper work on Sunday (3/12) and then did our inspection and my first walk through on Thursday (3/16). I will be sharing full financial details once we are closed.

Here is a peek inside the house:

We are so excited to share this journey to debt freedom. Our hope is to set an example of making a sacrifice in the short term for long term future gains. Want to know more? We are so excited to share our message that we want to send you a free gift of the resources we used on this journey - The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey & The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller.

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PS: We're going to paint the front door pink!