My Real Estate Story: How Becky Is Achieving Financial Freedom Through Real Estate

My Real Estate story is a OneSavvyDollar series where we interview millennials who have successfully invested in real estate because; “real estate is an imperishable asset, ever-increasing in value. It is the most solid security that human ingenuity has devised. It is the basis of all security and about the only indestructible security”.- Russell Sage.

Can you tell us a bit about you?

I am a native New Yorker, a cancer researcher by day, and a real estate investor by night.  I lived abroad in my 20s where I owned a tour company in Spain and a bar in Portugal.

I fell into real estate investing when my husband wanted to buy a house so I obliged.

I wanted to come up with a way to make money off our living so we first bought a Duplex and ever since I have been hooked on the buy & hold strategy.

Now, I am the founder of Lady Landlords, an educational place for women to gain the confidence and knowledge to be successful in real estate.

When did you decide to get into real estate? What was the aha moment for you?

My husband is an immigrant to the United States and it was his dream to own a home.

I couldn’t care less and just wanted to continue to travel. I compromised on him getting a house but it had to be a way for us to make money.  That’s how I got hooked.

To build wealth, you can either start a business, invest in the stock market or real estate. Why real estate?

I do the other two too but real estate investing has two main benefits over the others.

First, you can leverage a little money to gain a lot much faster i.e a small downpayment to buy expensive cash flowing property. Secondly, I find real estate to be a wealth equalizer meaning everyone can get involved in real estate in some fashion regardless of background.

Most people think you have to quit your job to invest. Did you keep your job or are you involved in real estate full time? How has the experience been (either way?)

I still have my day job as a cancer researcher as well as my side hustles. I plan on quitting my day job in 3.5 years and retiring at 40. I’ve kept it so far as I have a very high savings rate so it allows me to buy more properties faster with traditional mortgages.

Tell us about your first home/deal. How did you find it? How much did it cost and do you still own it?

The first property was a house hacking duplex which I bought using a realtor. I bought it for $465,000 with a conventional loan and I still own it.

What are some mistakes you made during your real estate journey?

I have had horrible luck with attorneys. I remember this one episode with an attorney I had to sue.
So at the walkthrough, we noticed some leaks, told our attorney and she talked to the sellers who agreed to do the work after the closing. There was no mention of escrow and we didn’t know any better at the time.
The day after closing, the seller says a handyman is needed. The handyman says a plumber is needed. The seller refused to pay for a plumber. We hired a plumber as it’s a rental and we need to get moving.
Had to open up pipes and covered our entire basement with poop as well as the other leak coming from the roof seller refused to fix.  Spent about $7,000 that we were not expecting.
Also because of the leak over the years the property sat, there was a $7,000 water bill that the title company missed that became a lien on our taxes a few days before closing (which they also missed).
Ended up getting the title company to foot the bill that they missed and sued our attorney for letting us close without escrowing money.  We won that lawsuit.
It took me a few deals to find the right attorney to get the job done.

Was there any time during your journey where your friends and or family challenged your plans to get involved in real estate?

Nope.  My friends and family know I will accomplish anything I set my mind to.  I’m the risk-taker in the relationship so my husband balances me out as the down-to-earth guy.  He keeps me in check, but I still get my way 🙂

As an investor, what is your real estate investing strategy and how do you determine if a property is worth the investment?

I look for anything I can make money off of.  I have always owned my own businesses so I have a good eye for opportunity and problem-solving.

I usually stay around the multi-family under five units in C neighborhoods for a long-term buy and holds.  I have a knack for numbers but cash flow is king for strategy right now.

Do you invest in state or out of state and which would you consider to be harder?

I own both in-state, New York, and in the Dominican Republic.  I think they are different but neither is harder than the other.  To me, if it is more than an hour from my home, it might as well be in a different country.  That’s where I draw my line.

Were any resources such as blogs, books, podcasts particularly helpful to you to get started? How did you find the inspiration to get started?

All I had at first was my realtor and mortgage broker who taught me everything when I bought the first property.

I didn’t read anything or listen to anything; it never crossed my mind, to be honest.  I used that same realtor and mortgage broker 3 more times since then.

Let’s talk about leverage: would you advise reinvesting your profit to pay down the loan or acquiring more using your profits?

That’s person-specific.  I always encourage people to know their goals and stick to them.  No two people have the same objective.  For me, I stay liquid as much as possible as I’m in the acquisition phase.  At a point, my strategy will flip flop and I won’t buy more, just pay off the real estate I have quick.

I bought 10 doors in 2 years with this strategy.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would’ve started buying properties years ago.  My regular 9-5 makes good money and I could’ve been retired by now.

What advice would you give anyone who is trying to buy their first home or become a real estate investor?

Do it, take action, get in the game!

What markets do you primarily invest in and which do you avoid completely?

NYC & its northern suburbs and the Dominican Republic.   I will look at any area but avoid places I know absolutely nothing about.

How can our readers keep in touch with you?

In my Facebook group, BeckyNova24 on IG  as I have tons of resources there.

________________________________________

Congratulations Becky! Wishing you much success in your real estate investing journey!

About Ogechi

Hello, I'm Linda Ogechi. I'm a financial educator, real estate investor, and founder of OneSavvyDollar. I write to empower you into saving more, paying off debt, increasing your net worth, and building real wealth so you can achieve financial freedom

Connect with me on Instagram