If you’re still on the fence about investing in your first rental property, or are filled with paralysis by analysis, todays post is for you.
Hi I’m Steve. I’ve been a client of Torcana (originally) and now West Florida invest since around 2009. Like you, I started by simply reading the emails the team sent me until I finally decided to jump, in and buy a property in Orlando.
The initial purchase process is pretty much what you would expect with any home purchase. Title companies, lawyers, some back and forth signatures, a deposit here, and voila, home purchased. For most of my life, I have invested in real estate and managed it myself. This was my first purchase of a home I did not live close to, and would not be managing. I had no idea what to expect, but I am so glad I ignored that inner voice of fear.
Once I finished all the legal paperwork and owned the home, I was connected with my property management team. They handled everything on the ground. At this point I had not seen the property in person and had no immediate plans to visit it. They looked after marketing the property and came to me with several vetted rental applications to review. I chose one and that was it.
Shortly thereafter rental deposits began showing up in my bank account. Every once in a while I get a call that an appliance needs some love or replacement. My team has a great source of scratch and dent appliances and look after replacing or repairing anything that needs to be done. In 10 years I can count on 1 hand the number of repairs I have done. 1 or 2 AC services, some tile repairs in the shower, just simple normal wear and tear stuff.
My tenants are typically staying with us for 1-3 years, and I’ve never had a check bounce. In late 2020 my tenant decided to move on, and I thought this would be a good time to completely gut and reno the unit. Little did I realize everyone else in Florida had decided to renovate or build new homes as well. Though this was not a big deal, it simply increased the cost of the renovations and took much longer than expected. Just getting a quote for some things was near impossible from vendors who I assume were too busy to even bother quoting my job.
Thankfully my team helped me through the entire reno process, and I never set foot in the unit. In the last 11 or so years I have only been there once while I was on vacation in Florida. I think the biggest change for me was having nothing to do with the unit other than approving decisions for my team who actively manage it. Generally though, with quality units like mine, the tenants are great people. They are willing to pay a bit more for a great location, great home with great amenities. My team has always focused on good tenant profiles. I’ve learned to wait for a better qualified tenant vs settling for the first application with subpar qualities.
Money wise the investment has been outstanding. The value of the unit has increased around 250% since I purchased it. Rent started at around $900 if I recall, and post renovation is now at $1600.00 a month. With the exception of tenant transitions here and there, the unit has been rented pretty much nonstop since I bought it.
Back when we bought it, we had no extra money for investment. Even the down payment was financed on a credit card. Gotta love 0% interest for 12 months. Thankfully, we were able to pay off the mortgage and generate positive cashflow. Working with West Florida Invest has been a seamless wonderful experience for us. The direct team and all the vendors I have worked with through them have made my life so much easier. In hindsight, which I know is a useless thing most of the time, I have often wished I had bought many more units at the time, but my nerves got the best of me. Was I paying too much, or was there a better deal somewhere else? Maybe, but looking back it didn’t matter. I found something I liked, people I trusted, the numbers worked for me, that’s all I really needed. Over my 20+ career as an investor I have finally come to learn that time, above all else, is a magical tool to build wealth.
If you’ve been on the fence about making your first purchase, know you’ve found the right partner. Unlike all the real estate investments I have direct involvement and management of, my Florida investment is completely hassle free. That doesn’t mean nothing ever goes wrong, I just don’t worry about it. Whatever normal stuff is needed it’s nothing more than a simple credit card payment to take care of it.
As you can probably tell I give these guys 2 thumbs up in every way one can give 2 thumbs up.
Easily one of the best investments I have ever made.
Thank you to all the team at West Florida Invest.
Steve and Christine :)
West Florida Invest / Atlas Realty Group
710 94th Ave N, #302, St Petersburg, Florida, 33702
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