My First BRRRR – By the Numbers

Signing the closing documents for the cash-out refinance at First American Title in Edmond, OK.

On August 11th, 2020, I had a conversation with Michael Barnhart of Adventurous REI that inspired me to use the BRRRR strategy (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat) to purchase an investment property. I decided on a market, put together a team, and started looking for properties. Four months later, on December 10th, 2020, I closed on a duplex in Oklahoma City that already had tenants and needed mostly cosmetic renovations.

Nearly 7 months after that closing, on June 1st, 2021, I signed the closing documents for the cash-out refinance which was the final step in my first BRRRR. 

I learned a lot from this experience which I will discuss more in-depth in my next article, but first I want to share the numbers! Was it a home run, a base hit, or a strike-out? I’ll let you decide! Send me a message on Instagram @honorandequity or doug@honorandequity and let me know your thoughts!

The Purchase

Purchase Price………….$100,000

Closing Costs……………$2203.02

Agent Commission….$0

I used private money at a 10% interest rate to fund the purchase price. My agent brought me the deal, and she was paid her commission by the seller. The closing costs included title fees, title insurance, the home inspection, the notary’s fee, and other minor administrative costs. I had to pay a notary to bring me the closing documents because I was on a work trip in North Carolina at the time of closing. 

The Rehab

I estimated the rehab cost to be $20,000 and my private lender agreed to lend this amount in addition to the $100,000 purchase price. The rehab went over budget by $5,115.80, and I contributed the capital to cover the additional costs.

 

Foundation

5 Steel Piers Installed……………………………………….$2,875.00

Exterior

New Gutter System…………………………………………..$1,439.67

New Porch including railings…………………………..$3,500.00

New Fascia and Trim…………………………………………$4,000.00

Paint entire exterior incl

new fascia and trim………………………………..$2,000.00

Remove overgrown vegetation……………………….$125.00

Plumbing

Faucet repairs……………………………………………………..$75.00

Water line repairs……………………………………………….$75.00

Kitchen

New tile in both kitchens installed…………………..$2,500.00

Windows/Doors

New windows for both sides, installed……………$5,676.13

New trim, caulk, and paint around

new windows……………………………………………$2,250.00

New storm door…………………………………………………..$300.00

Replace back door threshold on both sides…..$300.00

Estimated Time to Rehab………………………………….3 months

Actual Time to Rehab………………………………………..6.75 months

Total Rehab Cost…………………………………………………$25,115.80

You can see the new fascia, trim, and paint on the exterior of the home. The overgrown vegetation you see here will be resolved this week as one of the final tasks needed to put the home on regular home insurance.

Renting the Property

Thankfully, the property was already rented to solid tenants at closing, so there was rental income from day 1. The current tenants have leases through November of 2021 and January of 2022. They wisely renewed their leases once they heard the property was selling so they could lock in their current rate for another year! My property manager says that because of the work that has been done on the property, we will be able to raise rents $100-200 per side once the current leases are up. 

Current Total Monthly Rental income……………………$1,465

Estimated rental income once current 

leases are up……………………………………………………..$1,765

Total Rental Income from the first close to refi

(December 2020 – June 2021)………………………..$8,266

The Refinance

I worked with a mortgage broker to help me find a bank that would do an 80% LTV (loan to value) cash-out refinance with no seasoning period. This is a key component of the BRRRR strategy, because I wanted to pull as much capital out as possible and not have to wait 6 months for the loan to ‘season’. 

Property Appraisal……………..$161,000

Closing Costs………………………$1,994.44

Loan Term…………………………….20 years

Loan Interest Rate……………….4.75% (Fixed for 3 years, then variable)

Loan Principal………………………$128,942.44

Origination Fees………………….$2,848.00

Appraisal Fee……………………….$600.00

Monthly P&I…………………………$838.15

Total Capital Invested…………$8,365.80

You may have noticed there are a lot of fees and costs associated with these transactions. Real estate has high transaction costs relative to other goods and services. I paid a total of $7,645.46 in closing costs and origination fees for the initial purchase in December and the refinance the following June. This is important to keep in mind when analyzing potential deals. 

Private Money Lending

I used private money (a loan from an individual to another individual or entity) to fund the purchase price and rehab. I like this funding strategy because I’m able to provide value to the lender via interest income, and the lender makes a solid return on a low-risk deal. The loan is collateralized by the property itself, meaning that if I did not pay her back she would be able to take ownership of the property. 

Lending Costs

Principal………………….$120,000.00

Interest rate……………10%

Lending Period……….6 months 23 days

Total Interest Paid….$6,750.00

So was this deal a home run, base hit, or strike out? Send me a message on Instagram @honorandequity or an email to doug@honorandequity.com and let me know!

RElationships: Q&A with Proper Pivot’s Founder, Justin Melendez

Justin with his wife Pamela and daughter Audrey

Justin Melendez is an active duty Army warrant officer, real estate investor, and founder of Proper Pivot, LLC . He has experience with buy-and-hold investing, short-term rentals, and flips, with a focus on the Fayetteville, North Carolina market. He lives in Augusta, GA with his wife Pamela and daughter Audrey. 

What is your ‘why’?

The military has been a demanding job for me over the last 10 years with training, overseas deployments, and unpredictable schedules, and will continue to be demanding until I retire in roughly 10 years. So it’s important for me to earn passive income to give me more free time with my family. I have a wife and one daughter right now, and potentially more children in the future. I don’t want to have to do a W-2 job to support my family and trade time for money. I want to earn money on my own terms. 

How did you get started in real estate?

My wife and I bought our first property in North Carolina in 2013. We started out living on base like many others were doing, but we wanted the opportunity to put our money towards something that could grow, rather than just give our housing allowance to base housing. We lived in that first property for 3 years but realized we needed something bigger so we looked into selling it, but the home’s value did not increase enough for us to break even on the property. This encouraged us to look into renting the property. We realized we could rent out the home for a few hundred dollars more than our mortgage payment so we decided to rent it out instead of sell the home. 

Around this time I was introduced to Dave Ramsey, the personal finance radio personality. He stresses the importance of controlling your spending, having a budget, and limiting all debt except for your home mortgage. Soon after that, I was introduced to Bigger Pockets by a friend at a going-away party who owned several out-of-state properties, and it was that intro to the Bigger Pockets world that really set off a spark for me to learn about real estate. Chad Carson’s book “Retire Early with Real Estate” was inspiring for me as well. 

Why did you start your real estate company: Proper Pivot?

Starting a real estate/investing company was never something I dreamed about or wanted to do. I never even considered a career in real estate when I was younger. However, I realized after I did my first flip that I should form an entity to do business correctly. It was a profitable flip, but the finances were messy and I should have structured it in a way to protect myself better. Since it was successful, I wanted to do more flips, and I knew the right thing to do was to form an entity and go through the process of learning how to start and run a business successfully. Proper Pivot is a reflection of my family: me and my wife and my daughter investing in real estate through this company. 

How did you decide on the name Proper Pivot?

I’m an IT nerd by trade: computers and networks are my thing. In cyber-security, a pivot is when you move laterally within a network. The name is a reflection of this concept and how that applies to me and my family. There are so many ways to be successful in real estate, so I wanted to keep that concept in mind when we created Proper Pivot. We will continue to adjust and be flexible throughout this journey to be successful and achieve our long-term goals. Regarding the Proper Pivot logo, I knew I wanted a nerdy spin on that concept and apply it to real estate, hence the glasses and house in the logo. 

What software or tools do you use in your business that have provided significant value to you?

I have a list of tech that Proper Pivot uses in the business. If I had to narrow that list down to two that provide the most value, the first would be REIReply. It has provided the most monetary benefit for us since we started using it. We have acquired 3 properties with REIReply – one we kept as a rental, and two we have wholesaled to other investors. (REIReply is a marketing platform used by wholesalers and real estate investors to source leads with motivated sellers. Features include text messaging, cold calling, ringless voicemail, email, and it has a robust CRM (customer resource management). 

Also, Dealcheck.io is a great website and app we use to analyze properties. We can look at comparable properties, the report generation tool is more aesthetically pleasing than many other websites that do this, and it’s relatively inexpensive. The app is highly functional too, so we can drive around neighborhoods, plug in our numbers, and get a clear idea very quickly of whether a property will work for us or not. 

Dealcheck.io actually helped me lock up a deal in a matter of minutes. A wholesaler had just listed a property on Facebook, so I messaged him about it and he gave me the code for the lockbox. I went over to the property and looked it over, ran the numbers through the dealcheck.io app, and sent him an offer which he accepted. If it wasn’t for that app, I wouldn’t have been able to act so quickly on that property. 

What do you want your legacy to be?

The term ‘legacy’ seems profound, but put quite simply, as the son of an immigrant and a product of the lower middle class, I aspire to influence the culture within my family as it relates to wealth and money. Ultimately, I’d like to build off of the hard work that came before me and continue to put this family in a better position to succeed and be free. If it all goes right, and I have some cycles to spare, hopefully I leave valuable assets behind for my children to leverage. 

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Justin Melendez, founder of Proper Pivot LLC. Make sure you check out his website and follow him on Instagram and Facebook @properpivot!

Investing in Real Estate while Active Duty

When people find out that I do real estate investing in addition to my “9-5” as an active duty Naval officer, they tend to be surprised. It can definitely be challenging at times, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. However, in order to reach my long-term goals, I know that investing in real estate in my free time is an absolute MUST. 

I know there are a lot of fellow military members out there who have similar goals, but they just don’t know how to get started or what it will take to achieve those goals. 

If you want to be successful in real estate while serving your country, starting with the right mindset is absolutely critical. There are also some practical steps you can take every day to make your goals become a reality.

Focus On Why

Having a strong ‘why’ is critical to achieving any goal, and real estate is no exception. Any journey worth taking will have significant obstacles along the way. Are you mentally strong enough to push through these obstacles and stay on the path to success? Your ‘why’ does not have to be limited to your business or personal life. I have strong ‘whys’ for both my personal life and for Honor and Equity.

For example, one of Honor and Equity’s long-term goals is to be able to provide free housing to veterans. I have no idea how H&E will achieve this, and it may take years to accomplish, but the only way H&E will not hit this goal is if I quit. When I hit obstacles, I just take a step back, take a deep breath, and think about how awesome it would be to help out veterans in need of a good home. It helps me re-focus on the big picture and on why I’m doing this. 

If you are married, I highly recommend working on your personal ‘why’ together with your spouse. My wife and I have a long-term goal to completely replace our W-2 income with passive income from real estate and businesses by the time we’re both out of the Navy. This goal will give us the freedom to live where we want, spend more time with friends and family, and only do work that gives us a strong sense of purpose. 

If you want to learn more about the value of a strong ‘why’, I go more in-depth in this article.

Your Network Determines Your Net Worth

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

Real estate is a team sport. There are simply too many elements in real estate investing to reasonably expect to do them all by yourself. Some of these elements include finding deals, closing deals, financing, project management, improving and repairing properties, finding tenants, managing tenants, and bookkeeping. If you try to do all of these yourself, you will likely fail. 

If you are just getting started in real estate investing, the first thing I would do is join a mastermind group with a focus on real estate. In doing so, you will surround yourself with people much more experienced than you and will benefit from their experiences and wisdom. Real estate investors are highly motivated to help others! Don’t be afraid to ask for some advice. 

You should also consider partnering with someone you trust when you’re getting started. Make sure your skill sets complement each other. If you are more of a numbers guy/gal and enjoy analyzing the deals and figuring out the financing, then you should partner with someone who excels at managing a project, communicating with vendors, and perhaps finding the deals.  

Regardless of who you work with and what task you’re doing, make sure you are providing value to others. No one likes the person who only takes from others – be it time, money, or advice. I recommend adopting a generous mindset and focus on helping others however you can. It will come back to you!

Make the Most of the Time You Have

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

Juggling a full-time job such as a military career with real estate investing on the side is demanding, however, my Navy job always takes priority over anything real estate-related. Managing my time effectively is crucial, and it’s always something I’m trying to improve upon. 

Something I have learned the hard way is: don’t try to do too much in one day or one week. The intensity of my work schedule ebbs and flows, so some weeks I have more free time to work on the business/real estate than other weeks. I’ve learned to adjust my weekly business goals to make them attainable based on my work schedule. The weeks I didn’t do this, I found myself overwhelmed and frustrated at the total workload. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so I have to constantly remind myself to adjust my weekly and daily goals to make them attainable and not overwhelming. 

If you want to succeed at anything, you must take consistent, daily action. I started using a daily planner to help me be more consistent. Last summer, I used Brandon Turner’s Intention Journal, and while I enjoyed it, I have since transitioned to the Panda Planner Venture Edition. It is reasonably priced ($13 on Amazon), and has sections to write down business-focused elements such as your core purpose, core values, and long-term goals, in addition to quarterly, weekly, and daily to-do lists. 

I wake up early every day (usually by 0530) to work on the business. This gives me a couple of hours each day to reply to emails, analyze properties, create content, or whatever I have prioritized for that day. 

I use my daily planner to track not only business items, but also use it to make sure I exercise and read every day, and I use the notes section in the back to write down ideas, meeting notes, and more. 

Bonus Tip: You Don’t Have to Live Where you Invest

This concept was first introduced to me by David Greene’s first book Long-Distance Real Estate Investing – one of my favorites. Once I realized that you don’t have to live where you invest, it opened my eyes to the endless opportunities available to investors. Most people believe they have to live in the same location they buy property. This is simply not true. Why do we feel the need to walk through a home before we buy it? Unless you’re a professional inspector or appraiser, this doesn’t add much value for a home you will never live in. People are uncomfortable buying a property they haven’t seen before, but are perfectly comfortable buying shares in a publicly-traded company they know almost nothing about.

If you are facing this mental hurdle, I challenge you to look past the emotional components of this limiting belief and try to think more logically about it. Read the aforementioned David Greene book, and connect with other investors who have overcome this mental hurdle. You’ll be glad you did!

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you’re interested in more real estate, personal finance, and investing insight, follow @honorandequity on Instagram and Facebook. If you want to connect, send me an email at doug@honorandequity.com!

Honor and Equity 2020 Year in Review

What a year! I started 2020 in Iraq – halfway through a 6-month deployment. Neighboring Iran attacked our base with ballistic missiles, which was a significant moment in U.S./Middle East relations. The COVID pandemic soon overshadowed the attack. Thankfully the pandemic didn’t delay our return from deployment in late March, but we came back to a very different America. 

I was excited about not having to go to work for the first month or so after returning. This freedom meant more time to read, relax, and spend time with my soon-to-be-wife, Caitlin. I enjoy reading, but I was voraciously consuming books, sometimes reading over 100 pages per day with all that downtime. We had planned to be married on May 9th in Miami (we live in San Diego), but like many people in 2020, we had to adjust our life plans. We were married here in San Diego, with only a few family members in attendance. It wasn’t the wedding we expected, but it was pretty fantastic, to be honest. Getting married to Caitlin was, without a doubt, the happiest and most significant moment of the year for me. 

Joining A Mastermind Group

The second most significant moment was when I decided to join a real estate mastermind group for military members and veterans. A friend and mentor named Stuart Grazier (of Storehouse 3:10 Ventures) co-founded the War Room mastermind with David Pere (From Military to Millionaire). I was inspired to join a mastermind group after reading “Tribe of Millionaires,” an allegorical book produced by the founders of Gobundance outlining the benefits of joining a mastermind. (Check out my article about mastermind groups here). Being surrounded by motivated individuals with goals that align with yours is critical for personal growth. I started virtually meeting active duty service members who own multiple properties – and not just single-family homes; I’m talking apartment complexes, RV parks, and mobile home parks. I thought, “Wow, I need to up my game!” So I did

I distinctly remember a post that Stuart Grazier made in our War Room Facebook group in which he challenged everyone to create a ‘thought leadership platform.’ This platform could be a blog, a YouTube channel, a Twitter account – basically any medium through which you can talk about your journey and experiences in real estate. I knew this was something I had to do, so I took action and created Honor and Equity, a personal finance and real estate blog for military members, veterans, and their families. I didn’t know how to design a logo, start a website, create content, or dance in TikTok videos, but I figured it out (minus the TikTok vids!) with the help of family, friends, and fellow War Room members. I’ve always enjoyed talking with anyone who will listen about personal finance, investing, and real estate. The platform would help me share what I have learned with others and document my journey. 

Investing in Oklahoma City

Photo credit Gerson Repreza via unsplash.com

I try to connect with a different War Room member every week because each person has a unique military and investing background. I enjoy hearing about what everyone is working on and what they have done in the past. One of these conversations inspired me in a significant way. Michael Barnhart is an active duty Navy officer like myself currently stationed in England. He told me about how he and his wife were aggressively pursuing real estate in the Midwest utilizing the BRRRR strategy (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat – a must-read book by David Greene, by the way). This conversation was my lightbulb moment: if this guy is doing the BRRRR method from England, why am I not doing something similar from San Diego? Almost immediately, I started researching markets and eventually decided on Oklahoma City (check out my article about why I decided on OKC). I re-read Long-Distance Real Estate Investing by David Greene and read his BRRRR book while carefully putting together a team of real estate professionals in OKC to help me achieve my goals. 

Progress has been slow, but I write down my goals every day to stay focused and stay in the right mindset. We finally closed on the first property – a duplex – on December 11th, and everything is going smoothly so far. The home is already rented and needs mostly exterior cosmetic work. We are going to do all the rehab work with the tenants in place and the work should be complete in January/February after which we will do a cash-out refinance. My goal is to acquire two OKC properties per quarter, so if you know of anyone involved in real estate in Oklahoma City, send me a message! I post updates occasionally via the @honorandequity Instagram page, so make sure you’re following to get the most up to date information.

Beyond OKC, we also own a single-family home (SFH) in Pensacola, and we just closed on our third SFH in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We closed on this home in Milwaukee and the duplex in OKC within about 4 days of each other, which doubled the total number of doors we own (3 doors to 6 doors)! Back in April of this year, we invested in a mobile home park (MHP) syndication in Cañon City, Colorado (check out the article here). My favorite part about that MHP investment is I know about half of the other investors (who are also on active duty). The team who put the deal together is led by a husband and wife team (both Army veterans). You may have noticed a theme with my network: I like to work with fellow military folks! I think that someone with 10+ years of service in the military tends also to be someone you can trust that communicates well and has grit and integrity – the same type of person with which you want to invest.

The Milwaukee turnkey properties we own are performing better than expected (thanks Storehouse 3:10 Ventures!), and I hired a new property management company back in May, which was a fantastic decision. The Pensacola property is the star-performer, though: of the properties we own, it has the highest cash-on-cash return and has appreciated the most since it was purchased in 2016. 

Honor and Equity in 2021

Photo credit Immo Wegmann via unsplash.com

H&E has grown a lot since its inception in the summer of 2020, and we will experience substantial growth in 2021. This growth is driven by a desire to help fellow military members and veterans in their personal finance and investing journey. One of my favorite parts about doing this is connecting with people, so if you want to connect or know someone who might want to, please reach out!

Priorities

  • Grow Honor and Equity via the creation of content designed to inspire and educate others within the scope of personal finance, real estate, and investing. 
  • Grow our portfolio in OKC via flips and BRRRR’s. Partner with others to scale and expand with the long-term goal of providing investment opportunities to other military members and veterans.

Thanks for reading this article! Please send me a message on Instagram @honorandequity or send me an email at doug@honorandequity.com!

How to Earn More and Save More While Active Duty

Photo credit: Diego Gonzalez via Unsplash.com

Military members have unique opportunities to both earn and save more money while still active duty or in the reserves. You might be familiar with some of these, but it’s easy to forget about them if it’s not built into your habit pattern. Let’s get after it!

Travel and Per Diem

I travel a lot for in my current billet (1-2 weeks per month) and I get per diem for every day I’m away from home. The amount varies depending on location and whether there is a base galley nearby or not, but you’re going to get some money no matter where you go. So travel on as many work trips as you can, be frugal while on those trips, and you’ll have extra cash hitting your bank account a week after you get back.

Shop at the Commissary

This is a no-brainer. Food is the third highest expense for most households (after housing and vehicles) so you can save a ton of money by shopping at the commissary. I do most of my shopping there and the prices simply can’t be beat by local grocery stores, especially here in San Diego. The U.S. government spends an enormous amount of money subsidizing commissaries for military members, so take advantage of this one. Also, make sure you make a list and don’t go hungry!

Bonus Tip: Always refuel your vehicles on base. It’s cheaper.

Ask for Military Discounts

You already know about this one, but how often do you take advantage of it? Most companies have military discounts, but they don’t advertise it, so make sure you ask whenever you’re shopping. Retailers with military discounts include Lululemon, Lowe’s, Patagonia, North Face, Mountain Hardwear, and many many more. Also, if your credit card has an annual fee, give them a call and they will likely remove it.

Don’t Buy that New Car

This isn’t unique to military but it’s so important and service members make this mistake all the time! Don’t buy new cars and don’t buy cars you can’t afford! Vehicles are depreciating asset, which means their value tends to decrease with time. So that sick $45,000 Mustang GT you bought two years ago with a 18% interest rate is probably worth $25,000 today. Wouldn’t you rather spend $45,000 on something that will increase in value – or even better – pay you every month! This is why you need to put money into passive income streams. (Check out my article about Turnkey Real Estate Properties to learn more)

Deployments

You can make a LOT of money while deployed. Obviously this one depends on your branch of service, your military occupation, and many other factors, but it’s worth thinking about. Extra pay while deployed can include: imminent danger pay, combat pay, hazardous duty pay, sea pay, and Family Separation Allowance. These, like your BAH and BAS, are not subject to federal or state taxes as well – that’s a big win! And if you deploy to a combat zone like Iraq or Afghanistan, your base pay will not be taxed either! This can be substantial depending on your pay grade and time in service. Also, if you’re in a combat zone you can participate in the Savings Deposit Program which enables you to earn 10% interest on up to $10,000.

Additionally, your expenses generally decrease significantly while deployed. You’re probably not going out to eat or traveling while deployed, so you can cut expenses while increasing your income.

Most civilians don’t think of military service as the type of occupation that leads to wealth building. This is an over-generalization. Remember, wealth is not determined by how much money you make, its determined by how much money you save and what you do with that excess. It’s very possible to build wealth while in the military, you just have to create the right habits and plan ahead for many years from now. If you only plan two weeks ahead to your next paycheck (like most Americans do), you will never become wealthy.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, please share with a friend and follow Honor and Equity on Instagram @honorandequity.

3 Reasons Turnkey Properties are Great for Military Investors

It was only a few years ago that I started to learn about real estate. I listened to the Bigger Pockets podcast regularly (I still do), and I still reference Bigger Pockets books when I have questions about real estate fundamentals such as managing properties or finding tenants. One of these books in particular was integral in my “lightbulb” moment: “Long Distance Real Estate Investing” by David Greene. The most significant takeaway for me was that I don’t have to live in the same place I purchase real estate. Around the time I finished this book, I listened to a Bigger Pockets episode featuring a guy named Stu that also worked in Naval Aviation who was the co-owner of a turnkey real estate company called Storehouse 3:10 Ventures. I didn’t know much about turnkey, but Stu certainly did and he seemed like a good dude so I reached out to him. Fast forward three years, and I own two properties purchased through Stu’s company, and I’m an investor in a mobile home park syndication partially sponsored by Stu and David his business partner.

Many service members recognize the value in real estate as a wealth-building tool, but don’t have the experience or knowledge to get started. The turnkey real estate investing model is perfect for these individuals. I have purchased two homes using this model, and I’m on a waiting list to buy a third in a few months.

You may not always decide where you live, but you can decide where you invest!

What is Turnkey?

Turnkey real estate providers purchase homes, rehabilitate them, and sell the homes to investors. Sometimes these companies also provide property management – these are usually called full-service turnkey providers. When done correctly, this is a win for all involved: it provides a cash-flowing property from day one to the investor, it puts money in the pocket of the turnkey provider, and it provides a newly rehabilitated home to the tenant.

Let’s take a look at 3 reasons why turnkey is a great option for military investors.

  1. Location – Invest Where the Numbers Make Sense

Military folks move a lot – usually every 2-3 years – to locations that aren’t always conducive to long-term real estate purchases. Sometimes the numbers just don’t make sense! When I moved to San Diego in 2018, the type of home I wanted to buy would have rented for less than the mortgage payment, so I didn’t buy a home and chose to rent instead. This is common in high cost of living markets (HCOL) with military bases like Hawaii, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. However, you can purchase turnkey rental properties from anywhere in the world. I purchased two rental properties in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from San Diego – having never set foot in the state of Wisconsin. A friend of mine is on a waiting list to buy a turnkey property, and he and his family are about to move to Japan! Not everyone will be comfortable doing this, but it just shows what is possible if you have a team with people you trust.

2. Price – Turnkey Properties Typically Cost Less than the Average Home

The average home price in the U.S. is typically around $200,000. You can buy a turnkey property for as low as $75,000 depending on factors like location, size, number of bedrooms, etc. You can also obtain a conventional, 30-year fixed rate home loan with 20% down (plus closing costs). That means you can acquire a cash-flowing real estate asset for around $15,000. This makes it a (relatively) affordable real estate investment, which most money-conscious military members should be more than capable of saving towards. It may take some time, but it will be money well spent, and you have much more control over this asset than money in your TSP or IRA. Also, many service members go on deployments to combat zones. This is a fantastic way to save a large amount of money since your expenses will likely be very low, and there’s the added benefit of combat pay, hazardous duty pay, imminent danger pay, sea pay, etc.

3. Simplicity – Turnkey is a Simple, Low-Stress Way to Get Started in Real Estate

When you mention ‘real estate investing’ most people think about home flipping because of all the HGTV shows. Flipping homes for profit is a lot of work, even if you aren’t performing the improvements yourself. You have to identify properties with numbers that make sense, then you have to build a team! You need to find a reliable general contractor, a proactive real estate agent, and money lenders that believe you will provide them a return while also making the project worth your own time and money. Turnkey providers have this system in place already so you can continue your day job in the military weaving that red, white, and blue blanket of freedom for Americans and others around the world. Also, you will learn a great deal about real estate investing by owning a turnkey property, including due diligence when purchasing a property, basic bookkeeping, and interacting with your property manager about tenants, property repairs, and more! Most real estate investors start out in the ‘single family home’ asset class because it is relatively simple and easy to grasp for beginners. Turnkey can be a fantastic gateway to the highly lucrative world of real estate.

Trust is the Key

A crucial element in investing in turnkey properties is ensuring that you completely trust the team you send your hard-earned money to. There are many sub-par turnkey providers out there just looking to make a quick buck. Many investors have lost a lot of money to unethical or incompetent turnkey companies, so make sure you research the company, get references, thoroughly read the purchase agreement, inspections, and appraisals, and do not hesitate to back out of the deal if something doesn’t seem right.

BONUS – You Can’t Use your VA Loan to Purchase a Turnkey Property

Since the Veterans Administration requires you to live in a home you purchase using the VA home loan, you can’t use your VA home loan to purchase a turnkey property. This means you need some cash saved up for a down payment, and you need pretty good credit. But don’t worry if you don’t have either of those yet, just continue to spend less than you earn, pay your bills on time, and your personal balance sheet will quickly start to improve!