I began my real estate investing career in 2006 with what I like to consider a false start. Flags on the field, back it up 15 yards…or realistically, 5 yrs :).  At what we now know was the height of the local market in Birmingham, AL, I purchased a 1950s ranch style SFR with the plan to live in and flip.
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real estate investing pensacola fl

Being my first attempt at a flip and working a a full-time job I knew it would not be the quick 30 day schedule that’s portrayed on TV. Single at the time, I knew I could live through the construction zone. Ironically and amazingly, the bulk of the construction happened after my girlfriend, now wife, moved in. I am VERY thankful as she became key in the design and helped with me with the manual labor on items we could do ourselves. Another blog idea…Know Your Limits. I may link back to this later, but knowing your limits in repair/maintenance is key to producing a good product and my limits would not be so low if I would have taken some of the best advice I ever received (from my dad).

Entering my sophomore year of high school, my father wanted me to spend each summer working with a different tradesman. He helped build houses on the side, so we had the connections of guys who could teach me right and make it fun. His plan was for me to spend one year with an electrician, next year with a plumber, 3rd year with a carpenter. The only thing is, I had a devastating fear of being electrocuted (still outsource most all electrical issues), cutting my fingers off and I didn’t want to deal with other people’s…poop (thank goodness for professional plumbers!). Needless to say I  regretfully didn’t take my father’s advice – I was a teenage kid, definitely thought I knew more.

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Back to my false start…as we were paying more for labor we should have been able to perform on our own (thanks teenage me), the Birmingham market started tanking hard and in a couple of years we were like many people, upside down. We didn’t see much a choice but to bunker down and finish remodeling. By 2010, my day job provided an opportunity for us to move to Pensacola, FL, and always wanting to live on the coast, we took it.

Before moving to Pensacola, we had to make a choice (1) sell our house and take a major financial hit (2) turn our house into a rental and hope the market recovered sooner than later.  Not having the means nor wanting to take a major financial hit, we converted our Birmingham house to a rental and with it, I was re-introduced to the idea of passive income.  Unfortunately this time it was negative passive income. Following our move to Pensacola, each spring was the time I touch based with my realtor. “Not yet,” he would tell me. “If you can hold onto it for a few more years, you’ll be in a lot better position.”  And he was right. We held onto the rental property until 2014 when the market allowed us to exit nicely with equity to reinvest in Pensacola, FL.

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It would be an understatement to say my real estate investing debut was a learning experience. However, my rookie season experience has pushed me to learn more, study harder, and really focus on the numbers – after all it is investing. At the time this post was written, we have made 15 offers in the last 3 months yielding no deals. I did receive an astounding “F&$% you and your calculator” response from a for sale by owner, so I know I’m doing something right. Believing in the process and highly relying on the numbers will help me not fall back to the way this all began and ultimately protect mine and my partners’ money.

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Oh and if you want to see photos from the original remodel, a few are located on our site: http://www.palmettosunproperties.com/remodels.html
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