Hey readers! Wow!!! It’s been a year since I closed on my first investment property that I am currently housing hacking with the bear. It definitely has been quite the experience the last year. Moving out of my parents home, finding tenants, dealing with house issues, trying to make our apartment feel like home and all while dealing with a global pandemic about 4 months after closing and being virtually stuck inside! I have to admit, since the 2nd floor unit that we are currently occupying is about 450 sq. feet, it wasn’t the ideal situation for a global pandemic. But what can you do right? Life comes at you in so many different ways. We went from wanting to make our home feel like home into 2 office spaces in our 2 nook areas and our living room into a dining/living/workout area! We’re still working out the whole space thing which is a challenge and can be a little expensive since we have to buy certain furniture that will work with our space. Anyway, I wanted to share what I’ve learned as an investor this past year. I’ve definitely learned so much and I hope my experiences and this website helps you! Let’s get in to it!
Planning is one of the biggest things I’ve learned this past year as a real estate investor, landlord and homeowner. Prior to getting a property I planned a lot and when I finally got the property, I thought I could take a break from it. That didn’t last long, we had plans to get our driveway done that got pushed back to July. That required planning. We had to look for tenants after closing. That required time to plan a strategy on how we will find and vet our tenants. We had to move in, that was a challenge! The bear would tell ya it was rough, we didn’t even have a vacuum until like March! One important lesson I learned the past year, we have to plan more. I love planning, but man, this was a different level of planning that had to be done. Everything moved so fast from closing, I always tell people that it’s like November happened and then all of a sudden we are here now in the present time. As if the last year has been a blur, it still is somewhat of a blur to me!
I won’t lie, I thought I had enough cash after closing to spend on the house. I did have at least 4-5 months worth of mortgage payments saved up already, but what I didn’t realize is how much me and the bear would be spending on our apartment. The holidays were also around the corner… I didn’t have to overextend or dip into my savings or anything like that to finance our furniture, but I definitely could’ve saved more money to buy quality furniture and supplies. I mean, we didn’t even get sufficient dresser(s) for both of us until this past summer @ IKEA. We tried the minimal spending on certain furniture and while it worked out for some things, it definitely didn’t work for everything. We realize now next time we move into a new home and we need essential stuff like vacuums and dressers ASAP and have the extra cash to spend on it! Or even better…apply for a new credit card with a good rewards bonus and use the credit card to get a bonus reward…and then pay for it with our cash!
Definitely learned professionally and personally, it’s important to be consistent. Whether it is completing maintenance requests for tenants, communicating to tenants, staying up to date with market trends, consistency is a key to staying up to date and a key to becoming a successful investor. As a landlord I’ve learned to always be consistently communicative when providing service to my tenants. I would hate to leave some doubt in their minds if their requests for maintenance would be fulfilled in an appropriate time frame. I consistently communicate with them and send them updates and results after maintenance requests are completed. I keep it appropriately transparent with my tenants and they return the favor by doing the same when they find minor issues or minor occurrences happen in the unit such as scratches on the floor or doors. I consistently keep myself to date with real estate related news every day or every other day. Had I not kept myself updated, I wouldn’t have known to refinance my property in June and save almost $200/month!
I’ve learned and am still learning to take care of myself and to reward/celebrate the small victories day in and day out. I preach the need for us to be financially responsible and to invest for our futures but it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of every day life. One of biggest and most important lessons I’ve learn from the bear is to celebrate yourself and your accomplishment(s). I bought a f*cking investment property worth $450,000 (actually the worth $485,000 now according to real estate websites like Zillow or Redfin hehehe) at the age of 23 years old, I’m a landlord and have awesome tenants, I invest in stocks, I dedicate majority of my time and energy AFTER work to learn, understand and analyze the market (both stock and real estate), I track my spending on a weekly basis and I drive myself to the point of borderline obsession on different ways to generate multiple streams of income to put myself on the path to financial independence. All this while adjusting to post graduate school life, moving out of my parents house and moving in with my significant other (the bear). When you think of it in your mind, it doesn’t feel like a lot. When you put it down in writing, it’s a hell of a lot in one year (not to mention a global pandemic that has spiked the highest levels caution in me that I’ve never experienced before). Can you see why I struggle with self care??? lol It’s hard to remember about yourself at the end of the day. However I’ve acknowledged that I need to take care of myself and I’m in the process of doing just that. If you’ve read this far, don’t ever forget to treat yourself and celebrate your wins. Don’t ever let anyone downplay your accomplishments, you’re a hell of an amazing person to accomplish what you’ve accomplished.
I’m realizing now how incredible of a journey I’ve started and I’m trying my best not to take any moment for granted. I crave success and it drives me to newer heights, but I cannot forget to enjoy the journey, enjoy the little victories and enjoy the big victories as well. I acknowledge everything I am able to do is such a privilege, not everyone is able to put themselves in the position to build wealth at a young age. Building wealth isn’t only difficult, it’s difficult to start, build the discipline and build the mindset to keep going. I hope all my opinions and experiences help you excel in your own journey. I really can’t wait for what is next and what I can accomplish as an investor. For now, I’m enjoying, reflecting and appreciating what I’ve built so far.