Those Who Know, Teach
All I am really an expert at is making mistakes and learning from them. The key being, I learn from my mistakes. By paying attention to the mistakes I make, I have become an expert at not making the same ones twice. Along the way, I’ve become an expert at teaching others about the business and how to avoid those same mistakes.
I am not pretending to be something I am not. I am not saying I am better than others who teach people how to invest in self-storage or other forms of real estate. I am not an expert at money or financial success – although I have gone from being bankrupt to being a multimillionaire.
What I am saying is that if you want to shorten your learning curve and avoid the mistakes that I, and so many others, have made in their self-storage career – then I invite you to join us on this amazing journey in the self-storage business.
…is to supply the tools that can give EVERY self- storage investor the ability to profit in the hottest form of all real estate. We also strive to create a community where thousands of self-storage professionals from all over the world can come together in support and celebration of each other’s success.
Please join us on this magnificent journey to enjoy the real estate business you have always dreamed of by downloading our free resources, attending our free webinars, and browsing our catalog of educational tools for the serious investor.
My real estate career began back in 1993 after purchasing a home study course by one of the top “Guru’s” in the country on how to invest in real estate with no money down.
And I, unlike so many other people who buy courses and then stick them on the shelf, actually watched those tapes and read the manual. And guess what? It worked! I bought my first piece of investment real estate (pictured below) for $30,000 with $0 money down!
The one that started it all, the 8719 E. Catalina property!
Once I bought this home, I followed the steps in the home study course which showed me how to increase the value and force appreciation in my new investment.
I rehabbed that first house myself and moved a tenant in at $550 per month. This gave me a $150/month in positive cash flow after the mortgage, insurance, and taxes. Shortly after that, I had the property re-appraised. I refinanced it and pulled out $15,000 which was used to buy 2 more just like it.
I was hooked!
Approximately 6 years and 20 rental houses later, I decided to quit my day job to transform my real estate hobby into a full time business. I was married now and my wife and I were expecting our first child. My first full year in the real estate business went very well and we had acquired several more homes and an apartment complex (pictured below).
By now, I believed I had finally made it, I was living the dream!
As a result, I decided to show my friends and family how successful I was by buying a new car, taking my family on expensive vacations, shopping for the latest clothes, and by basically buying and doing whatever I pleased.
I continued to acquire more rental houses and apartment complexes. At one point I had amassed over 400 rental units.
Then came the tragic events of September 11. As you will recall, this day shook our country to the core. In the months afterward, the fed dropped interest rates to record setting levels to boost the economy and our tenants began leaving in droves to take advantage of all the $0 Down-1st time home buyer programs that were being offered.
As a result, our vacancy rate had taken us below our break even point within a matter of months.
In addition, our insurance rates had soared after the attacks. A statewide property tax increase on all our properties a year later delivered the final blow. I continued to borrow from our credit lines. Both our business and personal credit cards each month were maxed out in order to make our mortgage payments, pay our employees, keep the lights on, and to provide the basic needs for my family.
We slashed every possible expense in our business and personal budgets. When that wasn’t enough, began selling off our rental houses and apartments in an effort to keep from sinking. At home, my wife began selling everything in the house that wasn’t nailed down on EBay®. It was working, but we were still holding our breath every 30 days in hopes the money wouldn’t run out before the month end did.
And Then the inevitable Happened. Our family was in the checkout line at Wal-mart one night when our credit card was declined. The credit card had been declined before...
But this time, our debit card was also declined. My wife and I didn’t have enough cash between the two of us to pay for our groceries. The day I feared had finally come; We were broke! I was a real estate millionaire without a penny to my name. I felt as if I was going to pass out right there in the store. I pulled out another credit card…..declined, and another…… declined, and another, all declined. Finally, the last card in my wallet was accepted. My wife and I collected the kids, our bag of groceries, and drove home without saying a word. I felt like the biggest failure in the world. I couldn’t even provide for my family.
Something had to Change and Decisions had to be made
That night, I did the only 2 things left to do. First, I prayed. I prayed that I wouldn’t have to file bankruptcy and for direction in my crumbling rental empire. The second thing I did was sit down and take a long hard look at where I had been, where I was, and where I wanted my life to go. I knew exactly where I didn’t want it to go! My mother-in-laws. If things were heading where the compass was pointing, that being having to file bankruptcy and lose everything I owned, that’s exactly where I was going! Something had to change!
I estimated the cost and hassle of hiring and firing several employees. I added up the cost of their theft and falsifying payroll reports, which ran into several thousand dollars more in losses and lost productivity over the years. I became even more depressed at how bad things had become.
I had dreamed of owning my own business and enjoying the benefits of being my own boss. The promise of a better life and the creation of wealth through real estate was my goal. In a quick turn of events, it had all become my nightmare in a matter of just a few short years.
So, the conclusion I met was that my dream job was to build a low-risk, high cash flow real estate business without all the hassles of tenants, toilets, or trash. Great! Except that what I wanted, didn’t exist. It was nothing but an impossible, pie in the sky pipe dream.