I am creative real estate investor and mentor to aspiring real estate investors across the United States and Canada. I began my real estate investing career with no help and no idea about what I was doing, other than what I "learned" by watching house flipping shows on television. Nevertheless, I dove into this business head first and haven't looked back.
I caught the entrepreneur bug early on in life. As a kid, I'd always wonder what it would be like to be "the boss".
My parents were hard-working, blue-collar people who went to a job every day. I always admired them for their work ethic, even as a youngster. I had no idea that watching my parents plug away at their jobs day after day and year after year was actually instilling these traits into me. For all of the hard work they were doing, I never could understand why we were poorer than the other kids on the block. I wondered why WE never got to go on vacations, or why WE always wore knock-off Nikes. We didn't "fit in" with the normal crowd, and It didn't make sense to me. Nevertheless, I had a relatively good childhood filled with fun and laughter, a lot of outdoor activities, and "running the neighborhood".
As I made my way through grade school, then middle school, and finally made it to high school, I started to do those things that high schoolers do. I was what you might call a bit of a "partier". I had a blast, but I always had a part-time job in high school; something that, by this time, was 100% engrained in my mind and was just a way of life. Work made me feel good about myself. After graduating high school, I married my 1st wife and enlisted in the United State Marine Corps.
Then something happened that would change everything...
After graduating from Marine Corps Bootcamp, I was sent to several different temporary duty stations around the country, finally ending up at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. My wife, at the time, worked part-time at the regional hospital in town, but she always worked evenings and many weekends, so we rarely saw one another through the week. We hated it! So, we did what any “rational” couple would do and we decided that she should quit her job. We had no idea how we were going to make it, but we knew that something had to give, so we plowed ahead scrimping and scraping by, incurring thousands and thousands in credit card debt to stay afloat. We even bought groceries with credit!
One day in early spring 1995, I'd had enough and came up with this idea to help my unemployed wife start a cleaning business and, believe it or not, she made really good money with that business. The problem was that it was exhausting work and she quickly lost interest. That's when, late one night, I saw an infomercial on TV talking about how to buy houses and flip them with "No Down Payment". I whipped out the credit card once again and ordered this course from Mr. Carleton Sheets. From that point on, my life would never be the same.
Today, almost 25 years later, I am real estate investor, coach and mentor to students all over the United States and what some may call a "creative financing expert". It still sounds very strange when I hear people refer to me as an expert in anything! I have creative real estate investing students from New Jersey to California and everywhere in between.
And I have that chance encounter with the Carlton Sheets infomercial to thank for all of this.
I'm doing what I love today and have too many reasons to list for continuing to stay on this path. As a creative real estate investor, I have the honor of helping homeowners who, in many cases, have nowhere else to turn when they have a problem with a house. I can do things for homeowners that make other real estate investors cringe, simply because many of them don't understand how I get these deals done.
I guess you could say that I'm proud that I have the skills and knowledge to be able to help people by buying their house when no one else would even make an offer on it. It makes me feel "worthy" of my craft.
Most of all, I love showing other investors how they too can benefit by learning how to buy houses creatively. Many of my students become Rockstar real estate investors that end up making a fantastic living and get the opportunity to tell their boss to shove it. Man that feels good!
I truly believe that those lessons I learned by watching my parents toil and toil at their jobs only to barely scrape by in life taught me a wonderful lesson. It taught me the importance of perseverance and education and not the type of education that you would typically think of. I'm talking about the street smart, "school of hard knocks" type of education.
I've never believed in taking the easy way out of anything. "Anything worth doing is worth doing right" I always say.
What I do is so important to me because I have EARNED it. I earned the right to be called a US Marine. I've earned the right to be called a creative real estate investor and creative financing expert. It embarrasses me to hear other people tell me these things, but it also feels really good.
The fact that I get to share what I have learned with others is the proverbial icing on the cake. To have these opportunities... well... Sometimes I have to pinch myself.