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I guess the best way to start this blog is by way of an introduction. My name is Raymond Sullivan and I am an Associate Broker with Coldwell Banker Friends and Neighbors Realty. Once a month I will be posting here to give you a basic guide to Real Estate investing and property management. I have been asked many times to outline my experiences and how I got started in investing and this seems like the perfect forum to do so. Each month I will focus on different topics that we encounter in the business and I will explore them so that you may learn and benefit from my mistakes.....I mean experience.
So I guess the best place to start is in the beginning. I was a chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston for six years. I loved to cook and still do, I just don't want to do it for a job. While at the hotel I met a gentleman by the name of Louis Pierre, a Haitian immigrant. He was one of the most genuine people I had ever met. I do not remember how the topic came up but it was before service and he came up to the line and said something to the effect of "Ray, you are very smart, one of the smartest people I know, why are you cooking? Ever thought of Real Estate?" First time I ever really thought about it, honestly! Well, it turns out Louis Pierre was quite a real estate mogul. He invited me to lunch at the employee cafeteria to talk real estate and I was happy to accept. He started the conversation by stating the following, something I will never forget, "You Americans have no idea the gifts that are here in your country." Wow, what a start! Louis then begins to tell me his story. He came here to find a better life for himself and his son and to get away from the bloodshed, political corruption and poverty of his homeland. He came here with nothing, nothing but a dream! He was now working at the only five star, five diamond hotel in the city and earning a good salary. He never told me what he made but I could estimate at somewhere between 30 and 40 thousand. Not bad and a lot of people would be happy with that. However, he was not. He wanted more and that is why he got into real estate. After several lunch conversations I found out that he had invested in several multi-family apartment buildings in the greater Boston area. I say several because I do not know exactly how many. I did find out that he grossed about 12,000.00 a month and he took home about 5,000.00 a month in passive income from the rentals. When he told me that I had my "ah ha" moment. He basically maintained the buildings, paid the bills, worked full time took home a salary and oh by the way took home an extra 5k a month.
Well, to say I was inspired was an understatement! I read every book I could get my hands on (thanks Dad for that little habit, I am a little OCD). In the end I read about 50 books and researched numerous other articles, websites, etc. But the one book that touched me the most was "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki. I know he has many fans and detractors alike, but count me as one of his fans. It allowed me to look at money totally differently then I had in the past. The whole good debt, bad debt thing made me understand the power of assets and the black hole of "doodad liabilities." From that point in my life I had one vision, one mission and that was to change how I lived my life and how I lived my financial life.
It took about three years to get on track. There were stop lights in my life, many thought it was a bad idea. I will not name names because they know who they are. Folks just thought I was crazy to be a landlord, oh the horror stories, nightmare tenants, leaking toilets, liabilities, you name it I heard it. After a while I just stopped listening. And when I did, I started living for myself and not others. That is FREEDOM! In 2003 I formed Sullivan Ventures, LLC for real estate investing. I tried to make deals and buy my first property. What I found was I was just short on practical experience in making offers, negotiation and the overall real estate transaction. So when you don't have that experience you get it. You can either get a Realtor to get you through the process as Robert Kiyosaki advises or you can become one. I became one on the recommendation of my Realtor, Dotti Payne. She said if I ever wanted to get into real estate call her up, so I did. I became a Realtor in 2004 and bought my first three unit in February of 2005. At the time I did not have two nickels to rub together. My wife was just starting her new position and I was just starting mine. I state this because people always say to me I can't do what you do because I don't have any money, I always reply OPM=Other Peoples MONEY!!!! Not mine, theirs!
So the journey has taken us to 2008 and you ask "well, how have you done?"Well, We now own 5 buildings, 17 apartments and one office space. We generate about 15,000 in gross income a month and net about 5k a month. Net worth has grown in four years from 50k to 3.2 million. I currently have two more deals in the works for a four unit and a single family. I have opened Sullivan Property Management and Leasing. Look for the website in about a month or so. Many clients do not want to manage their investments so I offer this service through this company. I still sell real estate for Coldwell Banker Friends and Neighbors Realty and help many clients achieve the same goals I had. I look forward to helping many more both in person and through this blog.
The moral of the story is, if you have dreams and you want to accomplish them don't let anyone hold you back. The three F's can be your doom if you let it, Friends, Family and Fear. Once you overcome the three F's you will experience a freedom like no other. Look around you, there is inspiration everywhere if you choose to find it. I found mine, his name was Louis Pierre, where will yours come from? Talk to you next month!
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.