OK, so I started this blog before introducing myself – how rude…
My name is Nick, and I rarely share this story, so I figured why not do it online, when only the whole online community can look upon it?
Investing in real estate for me is a means to an end, and yet understanding how finances and investing works, and educating others, is my passion.
I started out graduating from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH, with a degree in Politics. Not even “Political Science”, as they said they did not offer that degree – so it was Politics. I learned a lot there, about how government and society operates, but moreso I learned how people function and what influences decisions they make. This came into play later on in my career.
Not having too much of a future in Politics (I did not have the $$ to compete with all other politicians, as history has it that he or she who has the dough, always gets the office), I went into investment banking at Mellon Financial in Everett, MA. Here is where I learned about finances, investing and choices we make, that influence our financial future. I assisted in managing many larger institutional mutual fund clients (one of which I KNOW you have in your portfolio!), and saw how successful they all were during the great economic times, and how everyone sold off during the poor times.
Anyone ever played the board game Risk? I LOVE this game. Perhaps my skirting with Politics influenced it, but I would get together with some friends any chance I could to play – and I usually won. That is, until my “friends” decided I was the biggest threat, and would gang up to eliminate me first from the game. This happened in 2004, and prompted me to go into a light fit of playful depression, and I sat in front of my TV while they continued playing (this was 2AM on a Friday evening). I turned on the TV, and saw this guy claiming how he could buy houses for “pennies on the dollar”, and I could order his how-to system for only $50.
Being in my ultra-sensitive state as it were, I picked up the phone and ordered my very first “readable seminar” on Tax Deeds and Liens from John Beck. In this package, I learned… that I was very good at filing these items in my dusty bookshelf, after I’d only read through them for 20 minutes when they first arrived. I did however, see a quote on the “Quick Start” page:
“If you’re serious about investing, call this number: 800-XXX-XXXX.”
And I did, and then got suckered into my very first phone “bootcamp.” This “bootcamp” was THE most expensive thing I’d ever purchased, including all my cars up to that point, and for some reason, I knew real estate was the key to wealth even then. So I got my 6 credit cards out, and maxed 2 of them by paying the $6K for the bootcamp.
Did I get what I paid for?
Well, I have to say, they forced me to learn how to gather public information, market, and help people facing foreclosure learn their options (well, one I explained options to, the other 24 of them called to yell at me to stop mailing to them). However, one piece of homework changed my life. They assigned me to read the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki.
Upon reading this book, I became infatuated with all of his material, and quickly became a student (and large profit center) for him and his company. I took 6 months to read everything I could get my hands on about real estate investing, including online, books at B&N, magazines, and news articles.
I now had invested over $8K in my education (which at the time, was an UNIMAGINABLE amount of money!), and had not ONE DEAL to show for it.
I tell the story often in my circles about the famous shampoo bottle. I’m losing a good amount of hair now, but at the time, I had a good head of hair, and I made the promise to myself while in the shower (I don’t blame you if you’re unable to imagine it) to have at least ONE deal in the works by the time this bottle had dwindled.
Some time passed, and I still found myself reading, and not DOING. I knew education was vital, and I thought that “I’d do a deal after I felt comfortable.” I realized that may never happen.
So I analyzed myself, and realized I still was not comfortable getting into a deal without someone there to ensure I didn’t screw up, or lose more money.
I then came into contact with a gentleman out of state, who one of my colleagues told me was a straight-up guy, who was making him lots of money. This gentleman used other peoples credit, to purchase homes with the strategy of selling them as lease option deals. I did all the appropriate background checks, and 2 months later, I found myself excited to be closing not one, but 5 deals with this partner, who also was going to be the property manager (being that I was 1000 miles away). Shampoo bottle was near the bottom – I had succeeded!
Alas, time tells all. After 3 months, this “partner” got his upfront money on the deals, and all of a sudden, neither myself or my colleague heard from this guy again. These houses now sat, only 2 occupied, and neither tenant making payments. Not having any experience in property management, lease options, or even having my tenants contact information, I was pretty much toast. I had to learn how to prepare short sales for 3 of these homes on my own, and then attempted to deed the other 2 back to the bank; however, the mortgage company not being too organized, lost all my paperwork and their vocal authorization to take the deeds back meant nothing. These now show up as foreclosures on my credit report.
This all happened 3 years ago, in 2005. Having no credit and no money left, I stuck my head in the sand and all of a sudden became one of those people in denial. Ironic that I at one time, was trying to assist these very people.
It took me a while to realize what had happened, stand back up, and continue my real estate education and career, this time, without money or credit. All these gurus said it was possible – was it? Well, I thought I was as good a candidate as any, so I gave it one more try, and spent the last of my money on more education and creating relationships.
Looking back on it, I learned so many lessons, the biggest one being – never give up. It’s a cliche that rings true for everyone.
Now having completed millions in real estate transactions, and now with 2 offices (Chelmsford, MA and in PA), my business has grown with me. I never stop learning, and the best thought was to look back and see that everything happens for a reason. Without that experience, I may have never taken the first step and TOOK ACTION. I also may never have revised my business model to be so conservative, so that I may have as successful a business as I do now, servicing my investors and sharing the wealth with them.
I welcome others to enter their experiences here should they wish, be they good or bad, as we all have had both. I also will be using this blog as a post for deals as they come up, but I am very curious as to others’ experiences.
Until next time,
President, AA Real Estate Enterprises LLCby