“Happiness is only real when shared.”
-Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
I never imagined I would be writing a post for a blog. Honestly, I don’t know if anyone out there will want to hear what I have to say. After receiving some encouragement from our friends, I hope to help others in our situation who believe diving into investing is an overwhelming experience.
Adulthood is a funny thing. When I was in high school, I had a very clear vision of how my life was going to go and who I was going to be. I was going to become a Navy nurse and do humanitarian missions. I would get married, see the world with my husband, and eventually have a ton of kids. I would also be an amazing photographer on the side and submit the occasional photo to National Geographic. Once I graduated college, I began to realize just how fluid everything is. I am married to a wonderful husband and we are slowly working on seeing the world. I am a Navy nurse, though I have not deployed yet and photography is a casual hobby. Although I have a lot of growing to do, I have come a long way and learned a lot in the process about myself, the world, and how home is where your loved ones are.
I grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester with loving parents, Mary and Jim, two younger brothers, Tommy and Patrick, and our wonderful family dogs. My childhood home is a two-story colonial with a white fence and an American flag waving from the pole out front. My dad was an engineer for Naval Sea Systems Command- a government agency- and is now happily retired. My mom recently retired from the Navy Nurse Corps and currently works in nursing informatics. Early on, our parents taught us about saving money. We earned a small weekly allowance for completing chores, eventually opened savings accounts, and gradually learned some fiscal responsibility. Ultimately, my strategy with money was to budget, save, and spend wisely. This strategy has worked for my parents, as evidenced by my dad’s ability to retire in his fifties and by their waterfront vacation home in Brigantine, NJ. Why shouldn’t I do the same thing? This was my mindset before my husband caught on to real estate investing, and slowly, but surely, I am coming around to the idea that there may be some real potential for us in investing.
When Anthony first came to me with the idea of real estate investing, I perceived it as a form of escapism. Truly, my reaction was “you want to do what now?” At that time, he was part of a submarine crew that had a grueling hours and a toxic work environment. He first approached me with a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad in October 2018. By Thanksgiving, he was off that boat, on to a new command and things were looking up. By January we were preparing to close on a four-unit property in Portsmouth, Virginia. At that time, I was in complete denial about the whole thing. This made our move from our four-bedroom, two and a half bath home in Virginia Beach to a studio apartment even more difficult. I was still holding on to the idea that if we strayed from conservative budgeting we would be not only without money, but we could end up without a place to call home. I’ll let Anthony go into the details of all the work we put into our Virginia Beach home and the journey to get there. This is how to survive the stress of these first six tumultuous months in real estate investing:
Set goals and stick to them! We sat down towards the beginning of this and set long and short-term goals for investing and our finances. We made a deal that we would not move on to the next property until we had renters in all our units and a few months’ rent in reserve. This was specific to buying and holding properties and we are thinking a bit broader now, but it was a good starting point. It gave us something to return to and talk about when ambition was threatened by fear.
Pay off debts promptly, but don’t overstretch. We had the option to pay off my car loan and Anthony’s career starter loan early, but we knew we had termites and other vermin to deal with in our current property. We waited a few months and still managed to pay off our loans early, but we were also able to deal with our pest problems.
Regularly talk about money. I hate talking about money. I always have. When we first started investing and we had so many costs upfront (i.e. upgrading flooring, fixing damaged windows, and dealing with all the surprises of a new home), I especially hated talking about money. However, it helped us work together towards paying off our debts and planning out how we can make the most of our money each month. It has been a huge help in moving forward as a team and improved our communication.
It took us a while to get on the same page and we still have to balance each other out now and then. Anthony is incredibly smart and always dedicates himself to a project, but we always have new things to learn. One thing that we are figuring out is which tasks Anthony can delegate to me and which should be delegated to others. At one point, I had to sit him down and explain that I was not comfortable doing some of the things he was asking me to do. Recently, he sat down and taught me how to do the things that would help him out immensely. I am currently working on editing our blog, designing business cards, and looking up information on brokers in my spare time. It may not seem like much, the time that he took to teach me was important and we work much better as a team now!
Hands down, the most important advice: Have a little faith, a few good friends, and a lot of wine. My friends and family have been my anchor in all of this. I cannot tell you how good it is to have best friends who will pour you a healthy glass of wine and listen to you vent about your crazy adventures. Whether it’s termites, squirrels in the walls, stolen appliances, or something else - there is nothing you can’t overcome with a wonderful partner and equally amazing friends and family.
This has been a journey. It has involved a lot of hard work, a few arguments, some crazy hours, and an insane amount of patience. It has helped us grow as a couple and taught us a lot of lessons very early on in our marriage. It has not been an easy journey, but as we continue to move forward with our lives and business, I am truly seeing how this will help us achieve our dreams.
To continue following our journey, check out our blog. There, you’ll find book recommendations, podcasts and additional resources to get you started as a Real Estate Rookie. Stay tuned for more blogs on networking, my beginner properties, my brief stint as a new construction developer, and more. Feel free to contact us or mention in the comments topics that interest you.
About the Author
Peggy Pinto is a Navy Nurse, wife to Anthony, a Submarine Lieutenant, and doggy-mom to a rescue, Rudy. Currently stationed in Norfolk, VA, she has stood by Anthony’s side as he grows, learns, and acquires property as a real estate investor. Since acquiring 8 units in three months, Anthony has expanded into apartment building investments, utilizing Michael Blank’s Ultimate Guide to Building Apartment Buildings with Private Money course. Their company, Pinto Capital Investments, focuses on the Kansas City, North Carolina Triad (Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh), Hampton Roads, and Philadelphia markets.
If you want to know about getting started with Real Estate investing, how to transition into apartment investing, or how to become a passive investor, contact us at [email protected], on Facebook, or ADPI’s #StartTheSpark.