A Slow, Boring, Incredibly Awesome Strategy for Building Wealth Through Passive Real Estate Investing
By Brandon Turner
I want to apologize.
You see, BiggerPockets has a LOT of information. Like, more than you could ever hope to read in your lifetime, and that’s growing every day. Now, while that seems like a great thing (and it is) it does have a negative: shiny object syndrome. And I’m part of the problem, with my blog posts, podcast contributions, and forum posts.
But I know the same thing happens to me. I hear a Podcast guest chatting about their strategy for doing this or that and suddenly I’m intrigued and want to do it also. From flipping to wholesaling to turn key rentals to direct mail and more, I just love learning these new strategies. I love the hustle that these real estate investors have and their commitment to building a big business through real estate.
It’s SO exciting, isn’t it?
But what about those strategies that no one talks about? The not-so-exciting ones? The old-fashioned, simple buy and hold real estate for building wealth?
That’s what I want to focus on today: simplicity. What would happen if you just invested in real estate, simply?
Well, let’s find out!
Below I’m going to walk you through a fairly basic strategy for building wealth through real estate using the fictitious example of Howard and Jane Johnson, both 33 years old. Let’s follow The Johnsons on their journey.
First, let’s lay out some basic principles of The Johnson’s life, so we can get a base line for getting started. Perhaps the numbers are different in your area, but don’t use this as an excuse for why “this strategy won’t work for me.” You don’t know what will work until you start playing with the numbers! But let’s see how they work out for Howard and Jane, and then you can do the math for your area to see how it looks.
Let me introduce you to Howard and Jane.
Howard is a high school science teacher, currently making $55,000 per year while his wife Jane works part time selling items on eBay for another $12,000 per year (while working the world’s hardest job- raising 3 beautiful children at home) for a total annual income of $67,000 per year. After taxes, the two clear $4,000 per month in take home pay from both sources of income. They have approximately $25,000 in savings, in a Roth-IRA. They currently own their own home and pay $1,000 per month for their mortgage payment and are able to save roughly $1,000 per month by living below their means.
The Johnsons begin to listen to the BiggerPockets Podcast and realize they need to do more to secure their financial future, rather than simply relying on Howard’s small future pension. They decide real estate investing will become their path to financial freedom.
Howard and Jane decide that they want to own rental properties, but they do not want to manage the properties themselves. They decide to begin with buying nice properties that need a small amount of cleaning to get rent ready, but no major rehabs. They simply want to buy properties and hold onto them to gain an early retirement.
The Johnsons find their first rental property located a few hours from their home. The property is a side-by-side duplex on the market for $120,000, but because it needs a little bit of work, they offer $110,000 with the seller paying closing costs. They put down 20% on the purchase, (leaving a few thousand left for reserves) Each unit rents for $800 per month, for a total monthly income of $1600.
The Johnson’s run the numbers through the BiggerPockets Rental Property Calculator and discover the following: (click the image to see the full report.)
Notice above in the red, the Johnsons can expect to receive around $456 in cash flow each month, after accounting for utilities, property management, repairs, capex, and all other repairs. The find a great property manager and within a month, they have the place up and running, building cash flow and climbing in value.
Rather than spending the cash flow to live, the Johnsons decide to save all the cash flow and use it to buy the next property…
Year One and Year Two
After 24 months of renting the duplex out (all of year one and all of year two), Howard and Jane have saved up $10,958 from their rental and have now saved another $12000 from their personal savings for a grand total of $22,958. They are ready to purchase again.
Howard and Jane decide to take their finances and make another purchase. For simplicity sake, let’s assume they buy the exact same deal as before, with the same numbers. (In reality, it could be something different, but it’s the numbers that matter. Perhaps it was a 4 plex, or a single family. Who cares. It’s the math that counts!)
The Johnson’s purchase the second duplex and are now able to save $912 per month in cash flow from the 2 properties and $1000 per month from their jobs, for a total of $1912 per month. Over the next 12 months they are able to save a total of $22,944 in combined cash flow and savings from their jobs. At the end of year three, they are ready to purchase again.
Again, for simplicity sake, let’s assume they buy the same property again. Why change the formula when it’s working?
The Johnson’s purchase the third duplex and are now able to save $1368 per month in cash flow from the 2 properties and $1000 per month from their jobs, for a total of $2368 per month. Over the next 12 months they are able to save a total of $28,416 in combined cash flow and savings from their jobs.
This time, for the heck of it, let’s say they take a year off and just save all the cash flow they receive and all the savings from their job. Another $28,416 this year as well, leaving them with $56,832 at the end of year five. It’s time to purchase another property. This time, they decide to go a little bigger.
At the beginning of year six, thew Johnsons decide to keep $6,832 for reserves and use the $50,000 remaining to purchase a nice four-plex, currently listed at $200,000, a few hours from their home. Each unit will rent for $800 per month.
Using the BiggerPockets Rental Property Calculator, we can estimate that the property will produce approximately $1,034 per month in cash flow (click the picture below to see the full report.)….
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