• simplyalisonbrown

Our full Real Estate Journey (thus far)

This is longer than I like to post so I am posting it here for anyone interested.


2000-2013 – really on my own not doing any RE investing. I still did important work regarding money but I was a completely different person.


2013 – married Billy. He already had a house bought in 2008 for 76k. Which at the time was a lot of money and what the house was worth. He likes to explain that when the crash happened he did not notice a difference. When you are not investing but already pretty close to the bottom you don’t notice a “dip”.


By 2013 he had used this house to house hack – rented out the spare bedroom to offset/pay his mortgage.


The house had greatly appreciated in value. We could how rent it out entirely by 2014 and be cash flowing nicely. The mortgage was under $900 a month and we could rent it out for $1200 to $1500/month due to desirable neighbor (2 miles from downtown)

BUT we had to find a place to live and our next move was to buy a duplex or triple or quadraplex and those can be tough to find. We needed to find one we could live in and rent out the other unit(s). And the Nashville market was getting hot.


2014 – we found a duplex in Donelson that was adorable. Brick ranch style, so cute. Move in ready with a few cosmetic tweaks (paint). We leveraged my 401k savings for our down payment. I honestly did not let myself stop and think about this too much. We were buying real estate. This made sense to me. Also, I was young and had plenty of time to amass my retirement savings.


So, from 2014-2016 we lived there. Cash flowing on the first home and only owing about $100/month on the duplex. But during this time we weren’t necessarily flush with cash. Billy did a number of startup and self employed things so we basically lived off my income. It wasn’t a walk in the park but I knew we were trying to do something bigger than just pay our bills and build up our savings account.


We got pregnant in spring of 2016 and house hunted for what felt like YEARS but it was really only months. We put in so many offers but Nashville was getting really competitive so we kept getting beat out. One house in particular, we lost to a cash buyer, who offered an escalation clause with no ceiling and no matter how the inspection came back the buyer would not ask the seller for anything! This was a crazy time.


In the summer of 2016 (July) we finally got an accepted offer on a 3 bedroom 1 bath ranch that we knew we needed to do some renovations to before moving in. We added a bathroom, did some minor interior changes and added on a wonderful screen porch. This house was 1300 sq ft and is the largest house we have ever owned. We love it and the added bonus of awesome neighbors makes us question if we will ever move.


Vine ridge – 2016-2017 – triplex that we furnished and updated with 2 other partners (we got in with sweat equity and some money spent on the updates)with a plan to short term rent. This only lasted about 4 months. Better and more profitable move was to rent out regularly but furnished top unit.


February of 2017 – our daughter is born. This was probably a huge motivator for my husband. Because he pressed into figuring how to do a syndication and buy a multifamily really hard all starting in 2017. I was in the haze of caring for a newborn, returning to my job fulltime, making sure medical bills were getting paid, and keeping our life running. So I am glad he could be the trailblazer here. Otherwise, who knows where we would be today. He does a good job to pursuing things before we are "ready".


Pro tip: you will never be ready!


2018-2019 – Constantly looking for how we are going to do a deal, we tried to sell our duplex and single family home at the same time but alas, the market had other plans. So we sold the duplex and had capital gains to deal with. Easy peasy, you do a 1031 exchange.


Long story short that first attempt to do the 1031 failed. We did have a large tax bill in 2018. We handled it and took this as one of our biggest learning lessons.


By 2019 we had sold or were in process to sell the SFH. Again capital gains needed to be dealt with. 1031 exchange here we come. We somehow managed to get into both an 82 unit apartment building syndication and close by July of 2019. This was basically all my husband’s doing. He found the deal, vetted it, got it under contract. Then said, "oh, crap! what do I do next?"


He relates it to the dog chasing cars – he finally caught one and wasn’t sure what to do next. He picked up the phone and starting asking for help. And his network came though. Hooked us up with a very detail oriented and efficient partner out of Atlanta. At the time of closing we had not met him in person and I believe to this day I have met him face to face once and Billy has yet to meet him.


But we still had capital gains to deal with that were NOT 1031 exchanged into this deal. So, that same summer, while doing the first syndication and both working W2 day jobs, we found and closed on by October an office building in my hometown of Sheboygan, WI. This again required raising funds (finding investors) but on a much smaller scale. We have 6 investors total of which we are one on that deal.


Also, in 2019 we, and I mean me, got serious about doing this together. Our daughter was older now and I was out of the newborn fog. I was tried of feeling left out and not being my own student of what we were doing with some of my money. And I was using my time to help manage the asset of our new apartment building. So, I wanted to get up to speed on what we were doing.


That’s when we joined a mentoring club and I really committed to growing my own knowledge alongside my husband.


And here we are in 2020. Which honestly looks radically different than how we imagined while sitting at a life changing inspiring goals planning weekend, hosted by the Real Estate Radio Guys in January. BUT it is still going to be awesome. Just different than how we imagined.



*PSA – the Goals Retreat is hosted every year and it was hands down the BEST way to start our year. Single or married, in real estate or not – I HIGHLY recommend this event. Contact me for more details for January 2021 info.

2 views0 comments