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.
After graduating from a small town high school in middle Missouri in 1993, I joined the US Marine Corps where I welcomed and quickly adopted all of those traits common to our armed forces service members. I have always considered myself to be a very principled person, but the Marine Corps taught me how to backup my principles with outright conviction. While serving in the military, I was blessed with two children, both in their twenties now who have each brought new life into the world and made me a grandfather. I'm still learning how to conduct myself in my new role, but I am so excited for the privilege.
When I got out of the military, I moved back to Missouri (St. Louis) and began living as a civilian once again. It was scary because I had no job and had to support a family, but I managed to find a job in a factory making car parts in a matter of weeks. That factory taught me humility. I learned that the big bad Marine isn't so tough when you are working 60-80 hours per week and working the graveyard shift. So, on a whim, hope, or just plain stupidity, I decided to move into the tech business after being recruited by a friend. That journey lasted for the next 15 years. It was pure hell. I am not they type of person who can sit still for any length of time, so I bounced around from job to job looking for that next big adventure. It never came.
A New Direction
I'd watch a lifetime worth of flipping shows on television and was absolutely positive that I could be successful at flipping houses. This was the beginning of a journey that took me to the highest heights and lowest depths of human emotion than I can possibly explain here. There just isn't enough time or space on this page. Regardless, I had found my true calling; and it wasn't just the houses. I had discovered a passion that I didn't know existed inside of me. I had developed a passion for the systemization of the real estate acquisitions process. So, I hired a mentor to guide me through the obstacles that I would face in years to come and started building my own systems for marketing, buying, managing and selling homes.
Very early on in my real estate investing career I was exposed to this thing called "creative financing". I was completely blindsided by the idea that I could purchase a house and use the seller's existing financing to pay for it. WHAT? How is this possible? How is this not illegal? Thus, my journey into creative financing and a quest for knowledge about the subject began. Once I felt like I had just enough knowledge about creative financing, mainly Subject-To, I dove in head first and began marketing for distressed sellers. I chose to advertise online and one day after setting up my first marketing campaign, I got a notification that someone, a motivated seller, had attempted to contact me via my website. I mustered up the courage to call the seller back and, to make a long story short, I wrote my first contract to purchase the seller's house "Subject-To" the existing financing.
Closing Company Woe's
I'm not going to bore you with the details of that first deal only to say that I had absolutely zero contacts in this business and resorted to using a "traditional" title company to buy the home. Well, even though I got it closed, the process was broken. This title company had never heard of what I was trying to do and we essentially learned together. I thought "why am I paying these people when I'm doing all of the work?". We eventually got the deal closed. I walked away with a check from this deal in the amount of $41,000. I am now officially "hooked".
This single experience was all it took for me to realize that if I was going to do more deals like this, I was going to have to teach myself how to close the creative deals. And so that's what I did. Since that first deal, I have closed on hundreds of creative subject-to deals all across the United States. I also partner with investors, teach them my systems for buying houses using creative strategies and joint venture on deals all over the country. We've all heard the saying "find something you love and you'll never work another day in your life". Today, if I choose to work 60-80 hours per week in or on my business, it simply doesn't feel like work to me. I wouldn't recommend working that many hours to anyone, but I wouldn't hesitate if I needed to.
Oh, the twists and turns that life takes.
Creative Real Estate Investor