My interest in real estate started when I was a pre-teen. I watched and learned from my entrepreneurial parents. They owned an apartment building in Washington DC and a single-family rental in Maryland. I was always included in discussions about management of the business. I tell people all the time I did not re-invent the wheel I just followed the blueprint my parents taught me. To this day they have several residential and commercial properties in Prince Georges County and Dorchester County, Maryland.
I started my career as a residential real estate appraiser. I had many investors pay me over my typical appraisal fee to do market surveys and determine the investment needed to flip properties. I was told from my clients that I had a knack for seeing the beauty in ugly buildings. One day I realized the value in what I was doing for my clients. I was an integral part in their success. At that time, I decided I should do the same for myself. The difference was I wanted to invest in the long game not the fast money. This is when I reached back to my parent’s blueprint.
I started with 3 townhomes and rented out individual rooms. I converted 3-bedroom townhomes to six units. The rooms for rent were furnished with used hotel furniture. Some of the rooms had a full-size bed, one dormitory size refrigerator, and one long dresser. Providing furnished rooms served two purposes. It added value and made evictions efficient.
Three years after Lynn and I married, we started Vizion Realty, LLC. The rooms for rent were seed money for our first million-dollar multifamily building in Prince George’s County, Maryland. We purchased on a street that had one of the worse reputations in the county. The 10-year plan showed future development was coming to the area. Our 1st multi-family purchase was two adjacent 15-unit buildings. The projected 10-year growth did not happen as expected due to the US economic collapse in 2007.The growth came a few years later and we sold the buildings for more than double what we paid. The proceeds allowed us to grow our portfolio to Virginia.
Our lessons learned can encourage others and save them time and money.