Getting to know our “Building Wealth” guest Blogger!
Photo Jul 27, 12 03 28 AM
So my crazy green girlfriend has asked me to guest blog on her website. I was told to begin with a brief bio that gives a quick overview of my real estate experience. First, my name is Curtis and I have been investing in Real Estate for over 25 years. I don’t think of myself as one of the Great Real Estate investors that are out their, but through trial and error, I have developed a real estate formula that works!
Fresh out of the U.S. Army I began investing in single family homes at the ripe old age of 23; when I knew everything. I bought three homes that were delivered on a silver platter and all three failed. Yep, good time! Back then I didn’t realize I would become a serial entrepreneur. As I’ve grown into the business man I am today, I’ve realized that I have the ability to retain lessons learned through failure, or at least do my best to understand and respect them.
Like most young men, I jumped right into the American dream. Corporate job, bought my first family home, financed two cars… Oops! Totally broke. I thought this was what I was “supposed” to do? How could I be broke? I was on the path to success. Right? Everyone told me so.
Shortly thereafter my father gave me an opportunity to run payroll and accounting for his small upstart painting company. I self-taught myself accounting as there was no teacher or internet. I literally had to rebuild weeks of data to beat the concepts into my brain. For the record, this was a WOW moment! By starting over so many times I learned the basic accounting principles. Life lesson #1. Balance sheets don’t lie.
My Corporate America dream job moved me to Orlando, Florida in 1995. I moved my way up the ladder quickly as I did everything my boss wanted and more. In 1998, at 28 years old, I cashed out my 401K and started my own company. I had no fear and didn’t even know to be scared. After all, my previous failures became the basis of knowing what NOT to do. My company grew quickly and gave me the financial foundation to invest and build a Mini Storage facility with my Father as a minority shareholder.
To save money, instead of renting hotel rooms, my father and I began buying single family homes to house our construction workers. Mistakes were made, we purchased junk, we overpaid, we financed badly. Now I realize, these were the absolute best lessons I could have learned. Once again, failure was right beside me, teaching me time and time again.
Today, we control nearly 30 properties and have a full understanding of what a good deal looks like and more importantly, what a bad deal looks like. I still work daily in my construction companies and love it, but the financial risk in construction is immense! My father many sayings, one of them being, “Don’t be a bag man for the bank”. What he meant is by overpaying for a property the bank would be the only winner in the deal. The bank would make money while you worked 50 hours a week to pay your minimum payments.
I now know the secret to successfully investing in real estate. I am proof that you do not have to be a rocket scientist to be successful in real estate. If you are looking to get rich quickly, move on. If you want to be wealthy and are willing to invest and work hard over a long period of time, then I can help you achieve your goals. My goal with my crazy green girlfriend is to be self-sufficient through passive income by pursuing a purpose that we love.
I have created basic formulas to follow, some simple things to do, not do and a few good habits to develop. I will share all of this with you throughout the “Building Wealth” series! In the “Building Wealth” series, we will also discuss the how, why, and what of our real estate investing.
Life lesson #2. Money makes its own rules. Once you understand them you can quit banging your head against the bank wall!
Now, let’s get started!