When I got started in real estate, I really started from scratch.  I didn’t have much money, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I didn’t know anyone in the business to help me and mentor me.  I wish something like HomeFluent existed, but unfortunately it didn’t and I couldn’t get the practical coaching I needed from anyone.

I read books but most advice was given by people who started out with lots of money, who had connections, or who had taken great risks and been incredibly lucky from investing at the right place and at the right time.

The question I get the most often is: “How did you get started?”

So how did I start out? 

In short, I started out with big dreams, a lot of ambition, and a willingness to learn as much as I could to be successful.

Around 2006, I managed to save just enough money to put a 10% down payment on my first property, the bottom level of a garden house in an affordable area of the city.  I liked that place because it had low association fees and 3 bedrooms.  I moved in with two roommates who paid the rent and I lived there for 3 years while I built up equity, increased the value of the place, and sold it to finance the purchase of two other properties.

There were many lessons learned from this purchase:

  • It’s OK to start SMALL and to start SLOW.
  • I didn’t have much of a long term plan, but I realized after selling that place that I needed a strategy!
  • The place seemed to meet my criteria – something I could afford that would help me generate enough cash-flow to start building equity.  It did that…  But had I been more aware of the market, trends of different neighborhoods, etc, I could have done much better in terms of appreciation and cash-flow.
  • Not really knowing the real market value of the property before placing an offer, I overpaid…  And as common wisdom tells us, we make money in real estate when we buy, not when we sell.