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I have been investing in real estate since 2004 when I bought my first home in the Poconos in Northeast Pennsylvania. It was in a weird, slightly run down vacation community, and the purchase price was around $65k. We sold it for close to $100k about 2 years later, and had covered the mortgage the entire time we owned it by renting it on the weekends we didn’t use it. Not exactly high rollers, but I turned the $20k I made from working a second job for 14 months into about double that after closing costs. We moved to Pittsburgh, PA and bought 2 houses- one to live in, and one for cash flow. A year later, we added a third. With 2 babies and one on the way, it got to be a bit much to handle, so we took a break for a bit.
The market crashed in 2008 and in 2010 I realized that this was our moment to get back to the Bay Area where we could actually buy a house since values were so down. We visited in January 2011 and moved in June as soon as the kids were out of school.
We rented for a year, as I watched the market. I studied real estate. I got a job with the San Francisco Apartment Association. I got a job as a part time property manager making the saddest hourly wage you can imagine. In 2012, I passed the real estate exam, and we purchased a cosmetic fixer house in the Dimond District, FHA, with 3.5% down and closing credits from our bank. Filled with clown paintings, mirrors and wicker, it was not exactly my dream home, but I knew it would get us where we wanted to be financially. Over the next few years, owning in Pennsylvania was getting too stressful with small kids, a failing marriage and an increasingly stressful real estate career. We sold our remaining properties in Pennsylvania, and in 2014 bought a little vacation home in Napa County on Lake Berryessa. By far, this was my favorite investment.
Skip to 2020. I met someone and got married again. Everything was stable and interest rates were insanely low. The Napa County lake house was paid off, so this was my opportunity to cash out some equity and leverage my way back into investment real estate. And that is what brings us here, to this moment. We bought 2 duplexes and 2 single family homes in/near Pittsburgh, PA (Pro tip: buy what you know). We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities all over the country and hope to quickly grow our portfolio to have a diverse group of homes in clusters around the country.