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How to Create a $1 Million Real Estate Portfolio

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I’ve done stocks, I’ve done crypto, but real estate was something I really wanted to get into. The number one reason was to gain passive income every single month. If my mortgage is $2,500 a month and I can get $3,000 in rent, then I will have $500 generated passively that I can use for whatever I need. Multiply this with a few more properties, and that income starts to add up considerably. With this in mind, I bought three properties this past year using a customized strategy that works!

My investments

My first property was in Old Kensington, Philadelphia. It was a brand new construction, with a 10-year tax abatement and a one-year builder’s warranty. My plan was to live on the third floor and rent out the three other bedrooms so I could live there for free. The purchase price was around $350,000, and at the time, new houses were going for anywhere from $370,000 to $385,000 in the area. So I already had at least twenty thousand dollars in equity to beat the market.

I purchased this property with my business partner. We split the down payment and got a conventional first-time buyer’s loan. Together we had to invest $18,000 out of pocket to receive $500 each in passive income per month.

The second property I bought was a newly renovated house in an area close to the University of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, I couldn’t command the same loan since this was considered an Investment property. So I had to pay a little more out of pocket; it was around a 20% down payment. So at around $230,000, I had to invest $40,000 of my own money upfront.

However, most houses in the area were going for $250,000 – $260,000, so again, I could beat the market and gain some equity. Even though $40,000 is a lot of money when you consider that I will be making $1,000 per month passively in less than four years, that down payment will be returned entirely.

Just a few weeks ago, the third and final property I bought was in South Philadelphia. This house was newly renovated, which was excellent, but I could not receive any tax abatements for it, which bites. Without the tax abatement, I would have to pay around $500 per month in taxes, as opposed to $60. I used an FHA loan for this property, which means I would have to live in this house. Though, by renting out the other rooms, I can still make more from my tenants than I am spending on the mortgage and taxes.

Related: How To Get Started in Passive Real Estate Investing

My strategy

You must do these three things to find success in real estate investing:

The number one thing I would recommend is finding a strategy that works for you and your investment goals. Now my strategy is cut, dry and simple. I only buy single-family homes that are below the median price and are newly renovated or new construction.

All of my investments follow these rules. If a home isn’t below the median or recently constructed or repaired — I don’t buy it. Many beginner investors jump into properties that are simply not a good deal or are overpriced.

With patience, you can find a nice-looking home in an excellent area for less than the average price of similar homes. It is a big investment, so if it’s not a good deal from the get-go, I will stay away. The capital you save from buying below the median can be saved for emergency repairs, interior decorating, or simply to keep money in your pocket.

I am not making money by flipping houses, and I don’t have the time to deal with repairs and renovations. This is why new constructions are ideal for me to buy. A new property will have little to no repairs needed and is much easier to deal with as a landlord. All of my properties are new, except for one that just received tons of renovations, so I won’t have to deal with any issues or repairs.

Related: 8 Proven Ways to Make Money in Real Estate

The second thing I recommend is getting a real estate mentor, especially if you’re trying to achieve your goals quickly, like me. Whether it’s an investor or an agent, they will help you make better decisions in a market you may not yet fully understand. My mentor is a realtor and an investor, and I couldn’t have gotten this far without them. A real estate mentor will bust their butt to ensure you’re getting a good deal and cut the learning curve in half.

The third part of my strategy is to simply believe in yourself. Investing in real estate is a big step in life, and the curious might be too intimidated to jump in. Any goal can be achieved with practice, patience and a good strategy. Follow your vision.

The rich and successful take small steps to accomplish large goals. Imagine a ladder, and take one small incremental step up every day, rather than being the person who has these monstrous goals but can’t even reach the very first step.

Related: 10 Tips from the Real Estate Passive Income Playbook

Believe in yourself

Using this strategy, I built a 1 million dollar real estate portfolio in just ten months. I started as a total beginner, but with the help of a mentor, I got great deals and excellent properties that generate passive income each month. It was my goal to invest in real estate last year, and now that I have achieved this, I can take another step forward on my ladder and continue to grow.

I hope my story and strategy can help you with your goals in 2023!

Note: It’s important always to research and make decisions regarding any investment. This is not financial advice; information and prices can change over time.

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