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Toto House # 4 Buy, Rehab and Rent Details

Remember how rough Toto was when we got him? There was an actual shitter in the front yard and Christmas lights in August. 🚽 😂

The inside wasn’t any better..drop ceiling, wood paneling, mismatched flooring, mysterious dead something smell, and lots of stuff left behind by our inherited tenants.

We initially planned to just paint over the panels and replace the drop ceiling, paint cabinets, and replace flooring. But once we got in there, we ended up deciding to go all in and although my budget wasn’t happy with me, I am SO glad we made this choice. We found beautiful high ceilings and a new open floor plan, along with a kitchen that is completely unrecognizable! I am also grateful that I was able to leverage and strengthen my network of local women investhers and the majority of start to finish work and supplies came from all women. WOMEN CAN and ARE killing it in a male dominated space, which makes me want to keep sharing with the next generation of women. 💃🏻

Just look at this beauty we created. 👀 Improvements made include adding a laundry room, closets in all bedrooms, fresh paint in/out, all new windows, new ceiling, new kitchen cabinets/countertops and added a dishwasher, opened up the living/dining area, new bathroom vanity/mirror/accessories and new flooring throughout. We also cleaned all vents, demoed an old shed, added a new retaining wall/crawl space cover in back to protect the foundation, and repaired the roof.

Now..onto the numbers!

Purchase Price: $38,000 (negotiated down from $50,000 because I could close in 3 days)

Rehab Costs: $28,000 (only $18k over my original budget)😅

Other Misc. Holding & Closing Costs: $6,000

All in: $72,000 (we used a combo of our own savings and HELOC to fund the purchase and rehab)

We had multiple applications and Toto was rented in one day for $975 a month. When we first started, we were planning on around $800-$850 a month so we are definitely excited our property manager suggested $175 higher and we got it.

After Repair Value: TBD in late Jan when we hit our 6 month ownership mark and do a cash out refi. Based on comps, looking for something around $100,000 give or take.

While we are waiting to pull our money out and reuse for the next one, we are making some improvements to our first rental (more to come on this) and eyes peeled for that next opportunity. Let me know if you have it or if you have any questions.😉

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Final Food Prep Post

Last one guys..I swear. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with a bazillion in one long post, so this will be my third and final on my food prep containers.

The kids tested these warming bad boys out and said their macaroni stayed warm for the four hours until lunch..once again Karen..move along if you don’t like what we’re eating over here. They even have an adorable built in spoon that we will enjoy exactly one more time before it gets lost. 😜


And my fave is this little personal salad buffet. I mean..you can put ALL THE TOPPINGS..and the DRESSING even. Refer back to my previous post about how all the food shouldn’t be touching until I’m ready for it to touch. It’s also a step further than my weird quirks, since it helps stuff stay fresh. I asked my husband for his review..a man of many words said “I liked it”. And there you have it folks. The best review he’s ever given. 🤷‍♀️🥗

Last but not least..the full lineup that is setting me up for years to come, including my reusable snack bags and salad dressing/dip containers-with links below. Let me know if you have any personal favorites for meal prep!!

Reusable snack bags: (not my exact ones because they no longer sell, but similar)
 

Salad dressing cups:

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The Best Meal Prep Items

With back to school upon us, along with another year of back to work (after a weekend off..lol), I thought I would share some of the containers that I absolutely love!! If you are trying to stop eating out as much, whether it’s to save money, eat healthier, to simplify your life, or whatever your reason, the right containers can set you up for success! It took me under thirty minutes to prep lunches for myself and my five and ten year old for the upcoming week. With the amount of time it takes to run out and grab lunch, along with the cost, I expect to save over $2,600 dollars for me, $1,000 for kids and 7,000 hours of my time. (15 mins each way to grab a $10 lunch x 5 days a week and kids school lunch at $2.50 a lunch x two kids)

The first and absolute favorite is what I refer to as the “food tackle bait” containers. These bad boys are perfect for bento box snacky type lunches, since they have containers perfect for people like me who get weirded out by their food touching. 😂. Also for non-food touching weirdos..it’s still nice to keep things separated and fresh so you can prep in advance. You see modeled here in the back containers with hummus/crackers, guacamole/chips and strawberries, carrots and almonds. Perfectly balanced. 👌🏼 The front container is another awesome one for those of you who like sandwiches of any variety. 🥪 Seen modeled below in the front with an English muffin, peanut butter, celery, apple slices, and pretzel twists, all of which I’m fully prepared to dip in peanut butter. 😋

You guys..I’ve tried a LOT of meal prep containers, and these are hands down the best bang for your buck.  My old ones were cheaper, but they also were cheaper quality and cracked and broke in under two years.  These are heavy duty and also have more space for food.  I’m so excited and I don’t get excited over much, so if you are just as excited and ready to set yourself up for meal prep success, links below to each item.  Follow me for more upcoming posts on ways to simplify your life and save money and your health in the process!

Let me know what you think of these containers and what you plan to do with all that saved time and money!!

Food tackle box container (Please note this is a different but better option as mine are currently unavailable):

 

Sandwich container:

The Pros & Cons of DIY

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, then you will notice that we have made the choice to do a lot of stuff on our own recently. I have been reflecting on this and thought it was worth a post of the good and the bad that we’ve experienced. Hopefully this will help you if you are taking on a new project at home or with an investment property and are trying to decide if you want to hire it out or do it on your own. Let’s start with the pros..

The biggest plus to me is that DIY is a whole mindset. There are so many descriptive words that I feel when planning or doing a new project, like empowered, inspired, creative, confident, etc. that carry over into the rest of my life. It’s hard to explain in words..it’s more of a feeling it creates and a perception of what you are capable of, which is so much more than we all think! So it’s not about the project as much as it is about the growth you experience going through a project of any size.

Another big plus for us working as a couple has been the bonding (in between the yelling and crying of course) and any good project has a little bit of both. 😜 My favorite was the teenager mixing paint at Home Depot who didn’t realize her question about what paint type we wanted would be a trigger. Or the time I got overwhelmed in the electrical aisle but had to shout out “Aisle 20 bay 9” through tears because we had a short amount of time to get supplies, so I persevered through that middle of the aisle breakdown and got the job done. But once you get past those heated moments, it gives us something that is ours and will always be and it has made us stronger as a couple and as parents. We are building a life together for now and the future to enjoy. How freakin awesome is that?!

One more huge benefit is quality control…or just control in general. This can be a double edged sword though, as sometimes you have to allow control over to others or delegate items out that are above your expertise or you don’t have time for. But nobody is going to love your project like you do, so that will shine through in your work. You also get control over the details, timeline, etc.

Of course money is the last major pro that is the most obvious. BUT..please keep in mind that much like quality control, this is another area that it might be worth the money you spend vs your time being spent. Also, sometimes you may not have as much background in something, and because of that, you may end up spending more time/money doing it DIY than it would have been subbing it out.

So now let’s switch to cons. I already covered the control piece and how that can be a con. It can quickly become overwhelming, especially if you are new, to run an entire rehab project and manage any subcontractors and supplies along with all the other things that go with a property. Another con is the amount of time. Sometimes, especially if you have other stuff on your plate, you may think you’re saving money by DIY’ing, but maybe your project ends up taking 4 months instead of 4 weeks. That time is costing you money. Another con is that you can get hurt..literally. Some projects carry risks and it’s not uncommon to get that “blood, sweat, and tears” all in a days work. One of the biggest cons is just the amount of time it took away from our weekends and a few evenings. It’s something that is ok for a short span, but not sustainable to repeat with our other priorities like kids and their weekend sports, running the household and preparing for the next week of work and school.

Overall..I don’t think there’s a right or wrong on whether you DIY or hire out, but I would say to start small and start with what you know. For example, if you’re on your very first project, maybe not do a full gut rehab and just stick to a project that needs paint and upgrading the backsplash in kitchen and changing out the mirror, light and vanity in the bathroom. Then you can decide from there if you want or are ready to take on a bigger project. Also, you may start doing one way, pivot to another, or do a combo of both on each project. I find us usually doing a few things that we can and subbing out the rest, but the next few I may stay more hands off.

Do you prefer to DIY or to hire out?

No Spend Year Update

Because..well..yoga pants. I am now only about 100 days shy of completing my second full No Spend Year in a row and I have felt really good about what it has done for me as a person and to detach from what society a lot of times tells us as women we should do or be like. It has helped with a financial cleanse and to get out of the vicious consuming cycle of buying and having more than I need. It has also made me grow in my journey towards practicing minimalism in all areas of my life. I missed out on a lot of years of acknowledging and appreciating my natural beauty. I’m now more confident in my own skin than ever before and have learned to embrace my grey and wavy hair and eye crinkles instead of cover it all up.

My list of banned items includes clothes, accessories, shoes, purses, makeup, professional haircut/dye. So when I did my No Spend Year in 2019, the only fails I had were buying a new pair of sunglasses and a thing of nail polish. Honestly, since I stayed under $10 for the year, I still view it as success. Like I mentioned above, the success came in so many more ways than monetary.

Now, here we are in 2020, and I find that my situation has changed a little with the “new normal”. Since I am no longer going places, mainly going into the office, my style and comfort level needs have changed quite a bit. Since I’m not wearing dresses and professional clothes, I NEED more yoga pants..lol. I am really excited to have enough yoga pants in the rotation to support me during the day and when I exercise and when I sleep. Give me all the yoga pants!! No regrets!!

Have you done a No Spend Challenge before and were you able to stick with it?

Five Quick Time Management Tips

Louder for the folks in the back. 🗣

I will take a productive day over a busy one any damn day. In fact, I have designed my lifestyle and trained myself on how to be more intentional with my time and energy. I have always found it interesting to watch people that can’t get their work or personal tasks done in the allotted time. Some even wear it like a badge of honor when they are working nights and weekends just to keep up, but it’s not a badge of honor and it’s definitely not a status symbol to be busy. It is our responsibility to stop this before we have another generation of stressed out, anxious, tired, overwhelmed “busy” kids.

In fact, I have found that being busy is more likely to uncover 3 things going on. The first and biggest is an inefficient use of time. Next is overthinking and lacking the ability to quickly make a decision and move on to the next task at hand. Finally, it can also uncover a perfectionist who is more focused on everything being perfect than everything getting done. So much time wasted on the above.

Obviously there are cases where the amount of work expected and the time provided to complete are off balanced, but I can promise this is a rarity. If you are one of those people that’s not managing your time, not able to make a decision quickly, and trying to make everything perfect, there are options to help you grow and get better with your time. Whether in work or your personal life, here are my 5 secrets to maximizing your energy while minimizing your output.

  1. Create a focused list first thing in the morning of 2-3 items that will serve as your goals or focus that day. If you are spending more than a few minutes on something not on your list, then just stop. It’s that simple.
  2. Time block either 30 mins or 1 hour and spend that time only doing what aligns with those 2-3 items. Don’t check your phone or emails during this time and it is best to start first on your biggest and scariest task. This not only gets it off your plate, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment and energy to complete the next task. Then take a 5-10 minute break to get up, walk around, grab a snack or whatever before you start the next time block. This may be one of the best kept secrets! It really helps focus on one thing vs multi-tasking, which has been proven to not be effective.
  3. If other items do come up, and they will, just block them out until your time block is up. You do have to plan for these unexpected tasks in your day though. Make sure you are keeping an hour or so a day set aside to handle new tasks that need completed quickly. Follow the time blocking tip to handle, along with OHIO mentioned below. Lastly, it is perfectly OK to say no. Try it once and see how good it feels and how easy it is may surprise you! No explanation needed. Also, I think a lot of people feel like they are doing the right thing by saying “yes” to everything, when in fact you are likely hurting yourself, your other priorities, and whatever you decide to take on if it’s not within your areas of focus or you don’t have capacity for it.
  4. OHIO-Only handle it once is another one of my favorites. If it’s something that you know could possibly come back onto your plate at some point, try and anticipate what could cause that to come back and go ahead and address it. This is especially effective if you have an email that has several questions. Sometimes it is easier to just call the person and answer all questions, along with asking them if they have other questions. This cuts down on the back & forth emails that require you to think about it and focus on it for several rounds of back and forths. Put yourself in the other persons shoes and think what questions you may have and just answer all of them.
  5. Delegate!!! My best example of this is house cleaning. I know my weakness is cleaning and it takes up a large portion of my weekend. I started delegating this to a professional about two years ago, and have never looked back. I am now able to focus my time and energy on my family, my health and growing my business. All of these items make it worth every penny spent and it gives me the opportunity to bring in more money through growing my business that easily covers this expense. Delegating work to the right person gives you more time and energy to focus on the items you are good at.

Since time is a non renewable resource, time management skills are something that more people should be focused on improving instead of continuing to work “harder”. I also honestly have zero patience for those that believe they have to “hustle and grind” from sun up to sun down and are spreading that nasty rumor to the rest of us. Those that fall for the hustle and grind are setting themselves up for a lifetime of inefficiency IMO. Y’all go ahead..I’m going to focus my energy on the two or three tasks that are most aligned with my goals and then I’m going to take a nap. 🤷‍♀️

Anyone else on the work smarter not harder team?!

House #4 Purchase Details

Have you ever bought a house in a pandemic? This was actually our 3rd closing since Corona hit, so we know the drill pretty well. My favorite was the refi on our personal house that we did in our driveway, wearing masks and gloves on a garage sale table…because..who’s going to let a little pandemic stop them from reaching their financial goals?! Not the Templeton’s!! Shoot..I even put on my fancy muscle tank and best jean shorts to mark the occasion.

But..I am here to tell you all the numbers, since that is one of my favorite parts of these house posts. (Mainly because I’m super nosey and want to know all the details of other people’s purchases, so happy to share when I buy one)

Here they are:

We bought The Toto House off a wholesaler who was asking $50k and had another offer for $40k. I told him I was all in at $38k and could close within a few days. He accepted our offer, even though it was lower, because the other guy was flaky and he liked that I would close fast. We paid $40,141 total and had the shortest and least amount of paperwork in the history of time. So short that I almost forgot I was buying a house and my husband had to remind me we needed to ask for the keys. 😅 This experience of negotiating with all cash and an easy fast close makes me want to do all cash from this moment on!!

Our goal was to use our HELOC on our personal home, but our bank is not into fast and easy closings..lol. It’s a month in and we still don’t know when or how much we are approved for, so this was bought with our savings and part from a private loan.

We are estimating about $10,000 in rehab costs, another $2,500 in closing costs for the refi, and low comps in the area are right around $75,000. If we appraise at the lowest expected amount of $75,000, then 75% LTV would be $56,250. When we stay on budget, we will be all in at $52,641. So we should be able to pull all of our money out and also make about $3,500. If we underbid the rehab, then that $3,500 also gives us some flexibility within our budget or on the appraisal, both learnings from my last project. (We did also already account for 10% contingency)

Excited to get started on this as our first DIY renovation. (will sub out floors but plan to do a lot of the rest on our own) Of course this is just the B in BRRRR and I will share any and all details along the way. Let me know what questions you have!!

The Power of Negotiating

Have you ever wondered what’s negotiable? The simple answer is everything is!! Yet not everyone uses the power of negotiation to get what they want or what they deserve.

Some of the most common areas that negotiation comes into mind is for a job salary, or maybe for major purchases like a car or house. But not everyone may realize other things you can negotiate, so I’ve compiled a list to give you some ideas and to get you thinking on creative ways you could negotiate these items.💡

1. Electronics

2. Furniture

3. Medical bills

4. Fees such as interest rates, overdraft, late fees, etc.

5. Job title

6. Job benefits package

7. Real estate

8. Renovations

9. Income tax

10. Services of any kind

11. Food

12. Education

13. Credit card debt

Now that I’ve got your wheels turning, I know there are really 3 types of negotiation tactics to consider.
1) People who believe they cannot negotiate or quietly take the first offer fearful of missing out.
2) People who aim high and believe in splitting the difference to come to terms.
3) People that are ready to speak up with valid points to support what they want and are not afraid to stand firm or walk away if needed.

The 2nd option is great for someone who is new to negotiating, however, option 3 is what you should be aiming to reach. Your first few will always be a little rocky, but as you practice and win a few, you will start gaining confidence and figuring out your personal negotiation style.

Then you can start coming to the table with 2-3 facts clearly outlined to support your side. It’s very important to master the art of knowing when to present them and then knowing when to stop talking, sit quietly, even with awkward silence, and wait for their response to your request. The worst that can happen is they say no. Which a no is your opportunity to be prepared to thank them and walk away. No usually means not right now, but you will be surprised how many of these “no’s” will turn into “I’m listening now” in a few days or weeks time, when the other side realizes your offer was strong and they will respect your ability to stand firm. Mindset is key because if you don’t believe you deserve it then nobody else will believe it and they will see right through you, so start by always knowing your worth and never compromising on it.

Keep in mind also that not all negotiations involve money either. For example, sometimes time may be on the table, such as in real estate. I was able to make a lower cash offer because I also knew that I was able to close in under a week, which made my offer strong. Time is also something that can be negotiated in a benefits package if you are offered a certain amount of time off in a benefits package..you can always ask for more!

One of my most random negotiations included 8 month pregnant me at a car dealership with a craving and making sure they added a pizza on top of all the other items I wanted on my SUV. I am a believer that if you aren’t asking, you could quite literally be leaving food on the table.🤰🏼🍕

One of my favorite recent wins was the $12k below asking I was able to negotiate on our recent home purchase. I used time as my offering instead. I knew he had an offer above what I put in by $2,000, but I told him I was able to close quickly. Turns out he wanted the guarantee of a quick close (in 4 days) more than the $2,000 and waiting for that other person to gather their funds and possibly not being able to.

Share your negotiation wins with me!👇🏼👇🏼

My Debt Free Year In Review

Let me start by saying that losing $165,000 in debt FEELS REAL GOOD..like REALLY REALLY GOOD. This may be one of the top reasons that I keep shouting about the debt free community and trying to recruit all of you to join me. Believe me when I say that a debt free head just hits the pillow different at night.

So I’ve now had a whole year to reflect on my decision to get out of debt and wanted to share three things from my reflection with you. So keep reading to learn why I got out of debt, how I got out of debt and how I have and will continue to keep the debt off.

THE WHY-YOLO..so that was my mentality back in my late teens and twenties, but I interpreted it wrong. I thought it meant that I should party it up, buy what I wanted when I wanted it, and just be making minimum payments for a lifetime..the American Dream. Pay for everything on credit and work until my mid sixties and make jokes with everyone else along the way about how “I will never pay these student loans off” or “At this rate I will be working until I die”. Looking back, YOLO now means to me that you in fact only live once. So live the life you want and not the life society tells you to. Figure out your own path and your own way to to make a living.

THE HOW-I contribute 3 things to my how. One being a mindset shift. If you don’t first believe that you can be debt free and that you also deserve the freedom of a debt free life, then no budget or even a large sum of money will be able to help you. The second was zero budgeting during the payoff. This just means that I literally took every additional penny that I had and put it to work for me paying off the debt. I turned down a lot of stuff during this time, including eating out or going on a bunch of trips. I got dramatic with my expenses and cut them down to the bare minimum. (or so I thought) Then I woke up one day and realized that I was making excuses for some expenses that weren’t necessary, such as two newer cars that we didn’t need, and an SUV that sucked down the gas. I was also still budgeting for clothes, hair and makeup. When I cut down to the ACTUAL needs..I found out that none of that stuff was included. Actual needs are just that..basic food, shelter and transportation are it…period. So once I got rid of all the excess through a No Spend Year and getting rid of the cars, things really started to accelerate. The 3rd item that helped was the debt snowball method. Every single extra penny went towards the smallest debt, paid that off, then rolled that into the next smallest, and just kept going. When I got towards the end, I also dabbled with the debt avalanche for a student loan that had a high interest rate.

KEEP IT OFF-I have come across a lot of temptations now being debt free, including getting an itch for a new car occasionally or to upgrade in other ways. I think it’s human nature and it’s hard to deprogram from a lifetime of consumerism and instant gratification. It would be very easy to get led right back down that dirt road to debt. But I’m proud to say we haven’t. I ultimately switched from zero budgeting to value based budgeting. So now, if it’s something I value, such as my family, health, or education, then I will spend the money on it. When you know your values and align your spending with them, then you will notice that most of the items that require consumer debt don’t fit anywhere in the budget. The occasional big items, like upkeep for our family home, just require me to save up until we can pay cash for them, and we keep that emergency fund for the unexpected. The rest, like family and education usually are worth the most yet cost the least to add value in my life.

So as you can see..no get out of debt quick scheme or magical inheritance or lottery winner over here. Just some boring stuff that paid off in our current lives and will continue to do so over the long term as we head down a trail we are blazing on our own that builds wealth.

Review Of Our First BRRRR

We are now onto the Final R in the Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat, so I wanted to share the final numbers and the many of newbie mistakes that were made on our first BRRRR. Let’s start with the final numbers.

Purchase Price: $37,500

Repairs/Holding/Closing Costs: $55,400

Total of our money left in the deal: $12,000

Appraisal: $100,000 (We are still in shock that it came in this low, as we were expecting more in the $110-$125k range)

Ideally, the whole point of the BRRRR method is to end up with instant equity and be able to pull out all or a portion of your money so you can use it for the next deal. Well, we are leaving ALL of our money in the deal and we ended up doing 85% LTV instead of 75%. Ouch..that really BRRRNs. (see what I did there) Am I saltier than the sea about how it turned out and the appraisal coming in super low? I sure am. BUT we also learned SO MUCH that we wouldn’t have if we didn’t go through this process. So, I wanted to share it all with you to ensure you don’t make the same rookie mistakes that we did on your first BRRRR.

1. We went through a wholesaler. Which means we paid for their services of finding and negotiating this off-market deal. We could have easily saved around $10,000 if we would have gone direct to the seller and took out the middle man during the acquisition process.

2. We subbed out all of the work. This means that we did not put in any sweat equity, except that one time I stood in the pedestal sink and painted the bathroom just out of stubbornness and not liking the color. Sweat equity is one of the ways we could have saved big on costs, but we would have had to spend our time, so there is always a trade-off either way. After reviewing all of the work that was done, we could have easily saved another $5,000-$10,000.

3. We used a hard money loan, and in exchange we paid a lot in holding costs. Next time we will explore other ways to fund the deal that don’t come with such high costs, such as a HELOC or private money. Holding costs were even moreout of control with COVID related delays, but we could have saved another $2,500 at minimum if we didn’t have such high holding costs.

4. I am just going to be honest here..we dropped the ball big time on the market analysis. I am not an expert, nor did I consult one and just went with what I was seeing online and didn’t research the appraisal process. If I had my real estate license and could have pulled comps, then I could have been more familiar with the area ahead of time. I would have been more conservative on the appraised value we expected to get back and that would have had an impact on all of the other numbers we ran. I also feel like there were a few things that we could have tweaked during the renovation to get a better appraised value. Overall, there was probably another $10,000 in equity we may have missed out on here.

What Went Right

Now that we have discussed the doom and gloom and all that money we left on the table, lets switch gears to what went right.

1. WE LEARNED. You can read all of the books, listen to all of the podcasts, and follow all of the most amazing Instagram accounts out there, but there is no substitute for hands on experience. We now know the entire process and have broken every aspect of it, so we now know how to fix it for next time.

2. WE EXPECTED TO LEARN. Since we knew it was our first BRRRR and major renovation, we were hoping for the best but also planned for the worst. We are OK leaving our money in the deal.

3. WE GREW OUR NETWORK. We had to find all of the necessary resources for each step of the BRRRR process. For this one deal, we worked with a wholesaler, hard money lender, general contractor, a few subcontractors, real estate attorney, loan officer, and property manager.

4. WE HAVE ANOTHER CASHFLOWING ASSET. After it’s all said and done, our monthly mortgage will be around $690. We are getting $1100 in rent each month. Since we replaced all cap ex items during the renovation, we shouldn’t have to worry about anything major needing replaced right away. After all expenses, we are bringing in $250 a month in cashflow on this one. I will take it!

Am I ready for our next BRRRR? I’m honestly not sure if we will continue with this strategy or switch it up, but I am ready for our next house. We have some ground to make up for since 2020 has been a shit show of a year so far on many levels. But for our real estate business, we still have a goal to double our doors from 3 to 6 this year, so we will definitely have to get creative to accomplish this. Let me know if you have any ideas to share with me to help us double our doors!

A REAL Behind The Scenes on Real Estate Investing

As a new real estate investor, I am always seeking out information and I do a lot of reading of posts on social media and blogs. I like to see the real life posts that cover the good, the bad, the mistakes, and the realities of the work put in by more seasoned investors. Much like all aspects of social media sharing, I find myself constantly seeing fantastic results and amazing deals and cashflow number. Someone that just bought a 3/2 duplex that cost them $70k and only needs $5k of work and will rent for $1500. Like “too good to be true, one lucky deal of a lifetime” kind of numbers and that’s about it. (Keep in mind that just because someone says they are an investor, doesn’t mean they are a good investor or giving good advice, so make sure to do your due diligence, even as you read through my posts)

There are a few accounts out there that cover it, but I rarely see mistakes or major setbacks being posted. So where’s the real life? The mistakes you made in estimating expenses? Those houses you have sitting vacant and can’t find a tenant, or the ones that still have a tenant in that’s not paying rent? The missed day of playing outside with your kids because you’re putting in work again?

Welp, don’t worry..I got you. The past few weeks have been filled with a hell of a lot of reality over here. To start, we have dealt with our first money pit. It just keeps having one thing after another pop up, including electrical issues, plumbing issues, and a flooded basement after we received 9 inches of rain. They have all been little things but they are starting to add up and wear us down, along with the tenant. We have also dealt with our first three day notice for eviction due to a lack of cooperation and nonpayment. We have since received partial payment and are working on the remainder of May rent, BUT tomorrow is a new month, and let’s be real, not expecting things to be any different for this tenant who is currently laid off due to COVID-19 and says they are waiting on checks. We had to enlist legal help with all the COVID-19 to make sure we could even explore eviction right now. We have also dealt with finding a potential flip with our first partner, then we put an offer in on it, only to realize there’s a bunch of folks out there ready to overpay and it received multiple offers over asking. Lastly, I got to spend a gorgeous day stuck on my laptop spending hours gathering documents for the lender on our cash out refi.

This time for us in our investing business has been scary, exhausting, hard, and educational to say the least. This post is also not meant to discourage you by any means. I still believe in the power of real estate and just want to help you be prepared for the “when it rains it pours” that you will inevitably go through in your investing journey. So, how are we surviving it?

The 3 M’s-Mindset, Money, and Management

Mindset-I will keep it short and sweet. I will take a rainy day in the real estate game any day over sitting on the sidelines. I still feel GRATEFUL even on the worst days to be where we are today with our rentals.

Money-Reserves. This is why they tell you to PLAN AHEAD and have your money right, so it becomes annoying not devastating to your business. Luckily, we were ready for everything that has hit us financially, and are ready for whatever other rain or flooding (literally) that comes our way next.

Management-Also keeping this short and sweet..our property manager has helped us tremendously with all the issues above, and while we could have done everything on our own, I wouldn’t have wanted to. Having a great team is WORTH EVERY PENNY.

So there you go..reality and my reaction, and keeping it real that it’s not all cashflow and smiles every day. I hope this helps others understand a real behind the scenes of real estate investing!

Five reasons why you should be meal planning and prepping right now

If you are like me, maybe you have ran out of that giant box of Cheez-it’s and that Easter candy you were eating for breakfast, and now your stomach has voiced their concerns about your recent choices. If you’re getting lectured by your stomach, you are likely also getting some sideways glares from your budget.

I have a ton of other posts about meal prep for your reading pleasure, but I’ve also shared my top reasons below for why I want you all to join me right now and plan your food for the week ahead.

  1. Much like a budget tells your money where to go, meal planning and prepping does the same for your food, so it helps reduce waste and food boredom. It’s one thing to buy groceries and it’s a whole other thing to prepare and eat the groceries you buy. (Yes I’m talking about that old bag of greens that are going bad in your crisper drawer right now as you read this or that chicken that’s been thawing with no current plans to actually make it to the dinner table)
  2. It reduces the stress of “what are we eating and how will we eat it” and makes it one less thing to worry about. Don’t we all need that right now?
  3. I already mentioned the mental wellness above, but let’s not forget about financial wellness and physical wellness that comes with a healthy balanced diet that you just can’t find at the bottom of that Cheez-it’s box. (trust me on this..I looked)
  4. It reduces the amount of meals you have to think about. If you make a batch of food, just double or even triple the amount, and voila..now you have turned one meal into three. Do that a few times and your whole week of food has been figured out and all you have to do is warm it up and eat it.
  5. It’s grill season. Grill season is the BEST time to start or renew your love for food and prepping. We have so many different dietary restrictions in our house from two carnivores, a pescatarian and a vegetarian, but the grill is where we can all go and get fed from one meal without issue. It’s so easy to toss some cut up veggies in olive oil and seasoning and make a veggie foil pouch right next to some steak, chicken, fish, tofu or whatever you want to grill. I don’t know if it’s me, but food also just tastes better from the grill. Bonus..you can either enjoy family time outdoors while grilling or use the grill and prep as an escape from the family for a bit..depending on how your family is acting that day.

A few of my favorites right now include honey garlic salmon with a mixture of mushrooms/onions/cauliflower cooked in a foil pack and cauliflower in any seasoning with a salad. I’m also going to try a brussel sprouts/sweet potato/pepper combo next with lemon garlic tilapia and chicken for the boys.

What are some of your meal prep tips and favorite grill meals or make in bulk meals?