My Real Estate Story: How Arvi Started Real Estate Investing Right Out of College
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?
My name is Arvi Carkanji. I was born and grew up for most of my life in this small European county called Albania.
I moved to the US when I was 17 years old and went to college in Buffalo NY where I met my life and business partner, Dave. I am mostly a flipper and wholesale investor.
However, I do like rentals and keep long term properties if they are a good fit for me.
When did you decide to get into real estate? What was the aha moment for you?
I jumped into real estate right out of college. I had been applying for jobs and nobody was giving me callbacks.
I was speaking with my dad about it and it was his idea for me to look into real estate and see if I can make something out of it.
My “aha” moment was when I attended this 3-day real estate seminar and I saw all the potential that real estate could be and how successful you could be doing it.
To build wealth, you can either start a business, invest in the stock market or real estate. Why real estate?
I’ve never been a fan of the stock market because I can’t understand it to this day.
The risk is too big for me and even growing up without thinking about real estate I would tell myself I have to find something else to invest my money that is not stock but that I can also understand.
So stock and bitcoin are not for me.
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?)
Every person’s situation is different, so in my opinion there really is no wrong way to start.
I know very successful investors that are making money actively in flipping and working a full-time job and vice versa. It just depends on your situation and how much you are willing to grind.
I had a job when I started investing and then I quit it I believe after 5 months of investing.
Tell us about your first home/deal. How did you find it? How much did it cost and do you still own it?
I found my first deal through the MLS with an investor-friendly realtor. I bought it for $39,000 put around $65,000 into it and then sold it for $120,000, took me about 7 months to complete.
As you can see. the numbers are not great and I didn’t make much money in it (if any) but the experience I gained was definitely worth it and it made me grind harder to find the next one. I was able to finance it with a private money lender.
What are some mistakes you made during your real estate journey?
My two top mistakes are hiring the wrong contractor and overpaying for properties when I first started out. No matter how much learning you get on this I feel like you are bound to make mistakes.
Was there any time during your journey where your friends and or family challenged your plans to get involved in real estate?
I wouldn’t say challenged exactly but I did get a lot of questions like how are you going to do this? are you sure you can handle it? is this the right thing to do?
As an investor, what is your real estate investing strategy and how do you determine if a property is worth the investment?
I run my properties all through the same formula: After Repair Value (ARV) – 75% – minus repairs.
That’s the main way I qualify them and then if I am keeping them as rentals I want to make sure they will cashflow as well.
Do you invest in state or out of state and which would you consider to be harder?
I invest in state currently. However, I am now living in Nashville and investing full time here. I still have 2 properties back in Buffalo where I used to live and I keep them as rentals and manage them from far away.
I think out of state is definitely harder and that is one skill I have not worked on yet – buying in a market I am not familiar with.
Were any resources such as blogs, books, podcasts particularly helpful to you to get started? How did you find the inspiration to get started?
Yes absolutely. Biggerpockets being the main one, so many business books (not so much real estate per se), a lot of youtube videos.
In terms of inspiration, I was sick of trying to depend on other people not calling me back for an interview and depending on them to make money so I took matters into my own hands. Lol!
Let’s talk about leverage: would you advise reinvesting your profit to pay down the loan or acquiring more using your profits?
Right now, I am using my profit to acquire more properties. Maybe I will change my mind on that in the future, but rentals are a long term play for me and I have plenty of time to wait for that.
Some people might be in a different position in life so they can choose the opposite. It all depends on what your end goal is.
If you could go back in time and advice your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give him?
I would have started investing in real estate since 18 and not gone to college.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change anything because everything I have done, all mistakes have helped me become a better investor, a better person, and a better businesswoman. I am a hard believer in failing 100 times and getting up 1000 times.
What advice would you give anyone who is trying to buy their first home or become a real estate investor?
Make sure you run your numbers and do due diligence on your contractors, but also get started, stop waiting!!
What markets do you primarily invest in and which do you avoid completely?
I primarily invest in Nashville TN right now. I would personally avoid markets with very high property taxes and also very expensive markets like California
How can our readers keep in touch with you?
You can reach out to me through my instagram .
Congratulations Arvi! Wishing you much success in your real estate investing journey!