Jamila Souffrant 0:00
You're listening to the Journey to Launch podcast How I Bought My First Real Estate Property at 22 Years Old Plus Lessons Learned That You Can Apply To Your Own Journey.
Welcome to the Journey to Launch podcast with your host Jamila Souffrant, as a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest, and build real wealth. Join her on the Journey to Launch to financial freedom.
Jamila Souffrant 0:37
Hey, hey, hey journeyers I have been meaning to do this episode. For the longest time, I'm going to be talking about my personal real estate journey, my journey to buy my first property at 22 years old in Dumbo Brooklyn. Now, this like decision, this purchase this investment has been like the single biggest thing I've done on my own the riskiest thing I've done and the most financially rewarding thing I've done. And you know, I always kind of mention it, especially like, if you maybe look me up or saw some of my story online, it's usually mentioned, you know, she bought her first property at 22. And that is true, but I've never really gotten a chance other than actually, I mean, I wrote an article about this, I'll link in the show notes. If it's out by now, I'm not sure we'll be out. But I never really got a chance to talk about it on the episode. And I kept saying, I'm going to do an episode just on this experience, because I think a lot can be learned from this because I picked out a few things that really helped me now even looking back at that decision, what put me in a position to be able to do that. Right. So while you may have different tools and different starting point, and just your situation may not be the same as mine, you know, this was years ago, that to pull some educational, inspirational, hopefully, things you can see from this story and apply it to your own life. That is always my goal when I'm sharing my personal story is to hopefully inspire you but also to spark that little light in your head that says Hmm, how can this apply in my life?
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Okay, let's hop to the episode.
Okay, so let's take it back. Let's take it all the way back of how this all came to be. So yes, when I was 22 years old, I put down a deposit on my first property in New York City. It was a small 525 square foot apartment, it was a studio apartment. And it was in the fast developing area of Brooklyn called DUMBO. So Dumbo stands for down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. It's literally right under the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, and across the river from Manhattan. And this studio was in a new high rise condominium development. So it was not constructed yet, you know, talk about this a bit how it was when I went to the sales office. But the area at the time is nowhere near what it is today. There was no development, there was nothing really going on. This was I think the first new development condo in that area. But you know, I didn't know at the moment, but buying that property was not only very dangerous, but really rewarding. So it worked out in my benefit. And I do have another real estate story, I don't know if I have time to share that. Depending on how long this episode gets, I'm gonna have to do a part two of a totally different purchase that did not go the same way as this one did. And that one is also a very interesting case study. So okay, let's take it back.
How did this come to be? How did I at 22, which is a pretty young age, gets serious or want to buy something. So as a senior in college, I really became interested in real estate investing, I'd met a couple older of older folks in the community. So at that time, I was living in the Fort Greene area of Brooklyn. And I met a couple of what I like to call neighborhood millionaires very unassuming. They were usually older. And I remember just a couple of them, where they had bought property back in the day in Fort Greene and Bed Stuy. And you know, back in the day, like in the 80s 90s, when no one wanted to buy real estate in that area, because it was high crime. There were stories about like, I remember those people told me the stories that you couldn't even walk in Fort Greene or Bed Stuy, you know, after a certain time, like it was that dangerous. So these people had the foresight, or just, you know, went against what other people thought was like just saying, and ended up buying brownstones back in the day. And when I came of age, when I became like, you know, in college, the neighborhood was booming. That was when there was a lot of gentrification, it was a safer neighborhood. And so those same properties saw an immense value increase. So I would see these like older people, they were usually older, and like get a little insight in their lives and they did not look wealthy. They look just and you know, wealthy, that's just who looks wealthy, right? Meaning they were not flashy individuals. But they did their own thing. They had their own businesses. One was a grandmother who was taking care of her grandchild, she had the kind, you know, she had the flexibility in her life and her money to be able to help her daughter with her grandchild that always stood out to me. So I was just so like, intrigued by this, because here I am, this is I was in college at this point. So maybe like in my, you know, early 20s before I graduated, and I met these people, and they would say, Oh, I own a brownstone here and a brownstone around the corner. And they that's what they they didn't really have like corporate jobs, they did their own thing. They collected rent, and they were literally sitting on millions of dollars of real estate. And I just was just so impressed by I know that it left such a big impression on me. And I am the kind of person where, you know, I typically can, like if I see something that impresses me, especially if the person is relatable, even if they're not relatable, if there's just one thing about them that I you know, I'm just like, wow, that was interesting. I kind of try to see how I can apply that self to me. So that's kind of what I did. And I knew kind of at that point, like I should buy something if I get in early enough. And so I grew up, you know, I grew up in different parts of Brooklyn. The longest that I did grew up was like in Fort Greene.
So my grandmother also by like, whether luck or faith, she also became one of these investors' but not on purpose. My grandmother I told this story before she immigrated here Actually, she is the one that took me on the plane, she always says I was her carry on luggage. Like I sat in her lap from Jamaica here, she brought me up here because my mom was already here trying to establish herself. So my grandmother literally landed here with really nothing. And she worked for she did like she was a nanny for wealthy, or, you know, the upper class people in the city. I remember she has she was working for a family in Park Slope at one point. And so that was her job. And she was always ambitious, but her dream was to own real estate. So she also became one of these, like, unassuming, I would say, Now, you know, just millionaires because she ended up buying a three family house in Fort Greene. I was very young at the time, I you know, so I had no clue was going on. But she ended up buying something because she wanted to have something of her own. So she ended up because she saved because she was a saver I was talking about, you know, the one thing on my family is, I didn't know about investing, but saving was a big part of it. Like they were very resourceful. So she was able to get a three family house and at the time she bought the two family house in Fort Greene, people also told her like, what are you doing? Like, this is not that great of an area, even though like, you know, oh my gosh, hindsight is 2020. It's like, the best area if you wanted to buy something at that time for investment purposes. But she didn't know that she just wanted a piece of the American dream, she wanted a place to call her own. And it happened to be a three family. So she moved in, she, she took the first floor, and then my mom and myself took the second floor and moved into the second floor. And then we they rented out the third floor.
So I grew up in this neighborhood, I think I forgot how old I was. I was like maybe like 11 or 12, maybe a little younger when we moved there. And I kind of came to age came of age in this neighborhood. So when I got like, you know, just a little bit more aware of what I wanted to do with my life. And then I want to be you know, to make money and all these things. I saw that even my grandmother who had no like, you know, it's not like she was strategically buying this property, because she knew in 10 15 20 years, it would be valued at so much. She just wants to do it. So with that I thought to myself if these people, you know, especially my grandmother who didn't intentionally like want to, like become, you know, real estate investors, why can't I do this like, and I think this is like, the baton that is passed down to us from generations is like when our parents or grandparents come here as immigrants with nothing and they make something of themselves they get it together and do the most I always look at my husband's like even family and I'm just amazed at what you know that they were able to buy a home, they're Haitian you know, and navigate, you know, different a different language, you know, and be able to do that and I'm like, Well, our generation as their children as their grandchildren should surely like if we have the opportunities that we've had here should be able to do better. So that was like, my whole mindset. And that's why I really like it piqued the interest of me while I was still in college, that I would buy something I was like, You know what, this seems like a good way to you know, basically get some wealth going more wealth in our family. So that was really important.
So now when it came time that I wanted to buy something, right so now I'm like okay, I do want to buy something. I know it's possible I see these people succeeding in it like Why not? So at the time I didn't make that decision. I think I was maybe like a junior in college, junior or senior in college so I started to look around the neighborhood to buy something and my goal was to buy a multifamily property because again, I saw all the the examples I saw people who made money is that they bought three family four family like brownstones or houses so that they can live in one and rent the others out have the rent pay for the mortgage and and some more. So that was my goal. I started looking but at the time I started looking it was the real estate It was like the bubble was bubbling meaning like the prices for property were like at that time were crazy and you know looking back now Oh my I wish the prices were what it were back then. But I guess I could remember going to Bed Stuy looking at like a two or three family house and it was like seven or $800,000 and it still needed work. Now that today is a steal. If you know show me a brownstone in Bed Stuy, or Fort Greene area, Brooklyn for seven or 800,000. Like that is a steal. But back then, that was a lot of money, especially for like a 21 22 year old. So I really, really started looking and I went like on, you know, to like a couple open houses and I was looking online and I'm like, I can't afford this. It was really kind of discouraging for a moment because I was just like, What am I supposed to do? I can't like, at that time I was had an internship, but it wasn't like consistent money. It was just money that I earned while I was in school.
So I even looked in New Jersey, I remember I almost went to contract on a property in New Jersey, because we, you know, I went out there, I was like, Well, if I can't afford anything in Brooklyn, in the area that I want, because I knew I wanted it to be in like, you know, closer to the city bedstuy, Fort Greene, then let me go to Jersey, because I was also interning the job that I had. It was in New Jersey. And even that, like something felt off with that. Lo and behold, though, I was doing my research, and I saw this advertisement, and it would believe it was online. And it was saying, oh, new construction, condo, luxury condo in Dumbo, Brooklyn. And the price range it started it said 300 K, and then up, you know, like studios to the penthouse. And that 300 k caught my eye because again, at that time, I was seeing things that were like seven 800,000. And in my head, I'm like 300,000 seems like a steal. So with that, I went to the sales office in Dumbo. Now just to remind you Dumbo stands for down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass that is literally like maybe 10 minutes from Fort Greene, Brooklyn where I grew up. And I don't remember like at 21 I believe I can't believe I can't remember if it was 21 or 22. I don't ever really remember ever going to Dumbo that it was only 10 15 minutes away from me. But I saw this advertisement. I took my mom right took my mom with me. And I was like, Come on, let me check this out. It's a new construction. Let's see what this is all about. remember going to the sales office. And there was nothing in the area of Dumbo. It was just like, you know, warehouses. But it was close to the water it was close to it was even closer to Manhattan. So I saw something there. When I went there. I was like, wow, what into the sales office and of course, new development. So there was no The ground was not even broken in terms of the construction being started. But they had really nice displays of what this condominium unit would look like. Like they showed all the amenities they would have a doorman, a gym, a yoga like studio. And I was like, wow, this sounds like something that I can do. And I remember looking at the apartment list, and the cheapest apartment started at, like $338,000 Yeah, that was probably the cheapest. If there was cheaper, it was already taken by the time I got there. And then of course, it went all the way up to the million when it came to the penthouse. And I literally just looked at the cheapest one that was left. And I was like, Okay, I think I'm gonna go with that. So it was like the cheapest and smallest unit that I could barely afford. Because remind you I'm still in college at this point, about to graduate, but I'm just like, Well, you know, the 700 $800,000 multi units are not going to work. So let me try this. This is like a half the price and it's in Brooklyn. And you know, they were also the developers also sold the vision of Dumbo. You know, they talked about all the just the new construction that was coming to Dumbo all the amenities. You know, the Brooklyn Bridge Park, there was no Brooklyn Bridge Park. So anyone who's familiar with Brooklyn, we'll know kind of what I'm talking about. But right now, if you go to Dumbo, like beautiful miles and miles of just water way access, and you know, this ferries that go there, like where people can commute to work to city, and there's parks, and restaurants. But back then it wasn't much of that. And what they talked about how Dumbo was going what Dumbo could be. And I I bought into the dream. So I remember leaving there and saying to myself, and so what you needed at the time to secure the apartment was 10%.
So the apartment I bought was like 338,000 that's what I cheapest one. So I need a 10% they said you need to 10% to save the apartment, meaning no one else will come in after you after you left the sales office and buy that apartment. So you need 10% to save it. And then 10% at closing plus closing costs. So the key here and what really saved me and able to be able to do any of this. I mean, there's there's a lot of there's a list of things that I'll go through it. But was that because they hadn't they did not start construction yet it would take about two years for this building to be built. So I thought to myself, if I can just come up with the first 10% I have two years to save the additional 10% and closing costs and be prepared financially to move into this unit. So remember leaving and you know my mom was with me and if you know if you listen to the episode with my mom, I'll link that in the show notes. I could not have asked for a better mother in life and support her because she always just she knew I was I was always ambitious and she never tried to, you know, squash, or turn off that light of mine inside. And so she encouraged me she was such a pivotal role in being able to do this because she was just like, Okay, if you want to do this, sure. And so I put on a 10%, my mom did gift me a portion of that first 10%. And I'm going to go into a little bit more that when I go through the list of things that allowed me to do this, but she helped with the first 10%, I already had money saved because I had been interning through inroads at my corporate kind of internship. And at this point, this is also a key to remember, because I was interning at inroads and I did that for three years at the same company. Before I left to go to my senior year in college, I got a full time offer. So I knew full time offer to work at that company once I graduated. So I knew that I had a job. And that job is the full time offer. I remember it being $55,000 with like a signup bonus of like 5000, again, for a college student going into their senior year to know that when they graduated, you I had a job like that was amazing. So I thought to myself, well, finding that 10%, which we did fine. So I had that money saved from my internship because they paid me and I saved like majority of my internship money. So I had my internship money, I had my mom's where she helped me put the first 10% down. So together, we were able to get to that first 10%.
But I knew I had two years to save up for the additional 10% and the closing costs. And that was all going to be me like that was going to be me, fast forward. And it was crazy. Because I graduated from college. Now I'm in contract for this condominium unit. And the thing about it is putting that 10% down was risky, because you can't get it back if you decide that you're not closing. But I just knew there's something in me that knew that this was like, the right thing to do. Because I just saw so much promise in the area. And my worst case scenario was like, you know, what, if I can't close on this, because I can't afford it, I can't get the additional 10% the additional what $33,000 plus the closing costs in two years, then maybe I'll be able to sell the contract the purchase contract, right. Like at least I'll be able to sell it for what I went into the contract for, you know, with it for, you know, because I didn't think that the the failure would be on the building itself or the area, meaning I felt it was a solid investment and building and a solid area. So if it wasn't going to work, it was going to be because of me because I couldn't come up with the money. So I waited two years for this condominium to be built. And I used to pass this every day going to work. So I would commute from Brooklyn to New Jersey. And I'd have to go over the mannhattan and bridge every day. And I remember for those two years, I would pass it and you know, you see nothing. But as you're going over the bridge and you start seeing the development go up store, you know, one floor by one floor. Patience is like an understatement. And having to watch this building go up. But I also knew that I wasn't prepared if the building was ready the next day I couldn't have afforded to move in. So it was almost just like the many stars that needed to align. That was one big one, the fact that I had to wait even though I didn't, you know, it was like crazy to wait two years, it was it was necessary, I wouldn't have been able to move into the apartment if I didn't have those two years. So I was also able to at that point, stay at home with my mom.
So when I graduated from college, I was able to move back home with my mom and save money that way. So every single penny so when I started to work, remember I had this full time offer, I started to work full time. So it really the timing was right also because after that 10% was put down, I started to work full time. And all my money, most of it went to savings. Because I even did the math, okay, I'm making this much money now. What will be my potential mortgage payment once I move in, oh, it's gonna be this. And I kid you not when I did the math, my rent, my mortgage payment was like the same as what my my check, my monthly check would be. And I was like, okay, so not not only do I need to save the 10% in closing costs, I need to save living expenses. So again, taking a huge risk because literally like graduating, even when I graduated, like the money that was making was good money, but it wasn't. It didn't give me much room to also like pay for other things other than the mortgage.
Okay, let's fast forward. Two years later. Finally, this building is complete. And I did my best to save up that 10% for the additional money that it needed to close and the closing costs and I had the money. So I went into contract at 22 ended up closing on the unit at 24. And moving in, by the time I closed on the unit in Dumbo. It had appreciated I went into contract for it. I think it was like you know 338 338,000 by the time like I closed on it, you know how they have to do the appraisal and you know to get the mortgage I believe by then it was like 500 something maybe like high 400 either high $400,000 value or the low $500,000 value. So I had a ready seen appreciation. And I you know, of course, I kept in touch with the market because I was always interested in real estate, right? So I kind of knew as even those two years are passing that, okay, this the property values is appreciating. So no matter what I'll be able to at least get out of this and possibly get my, my down payment back if I can't close. And so yes, it worked out because I closed that 24 on this unit, had the had the money saved up and was able to move in. And looking back at those moments. And those years of my life like my early 20s it was such a gift. Because I mean, you couldn't tell me anything
to be 24 living in this Dumbo. So now Dumbo was a little bit more developed, there's more opportunities coming to the area. And I and I remember being like one of the earlier people who bought in the building, and being one of the youngest that moved in. Plus, no one else looked like me. I felt like I was just like little black girl in this area, with people wondering probably like, What is she doing here? Not in a bad way necessarily. But it was just like, I felt really proud of being able to do that, in that area at that time. And so I lived in that apartment. So I lived in an apartment, you know, and for a few years, a couple years enjoyed my life. I think I talked about this. I definitely said this on social media. But even in that time, I had an older car. I remember upgrading because, you know, I was not as into my finances. Even though I did a lot of great things in my 20s I was not as I would say strategic. So I remember also in my 20s buying a luxury car. But I did wait till my older car like conked out, which is actually broke down in the Holland Tunnel. Can you imagine that? My car that I had for years throughout college, it broke down in the New Holland Tunnel. And I was like, Oh, no. Okay, we need a new car. And I ended up buying a used car. But it was a luxury car. So here I am in this like, you know, nice luxury condo building with my nice luxury car like I was living the life in my early 20s like, and then eventually, you know, I got engaged and ended up moving out of the condo, but I rented it out. So I still own that Dumbo unit today. And I rent it out. And so it's been at just a amazing experience. It's obviously appreciated even more since I left. And you know, the market has definitely changed with the pandemic. I've been lucky enough only to have this is go I'm going on my third person renting in the time that I've left, you know, over like, probably over 10 years since I left or about 10 No, maybe like a little under 10 years since I left. Dumbo. I left that unit. So I've usually had like long term renters my first renter was amazing. Like he stayed there for like, I don't know, five, six years, he never I never heard from him. It was such a like, I would go there to renew his lease. And he'd be like, oh, by the way, the microwave is broken. And like, oh, why didn't you tell me he was like, it's been months, but I don't use it. I'm like, okay, I still own it to this day, I have no plans on selling it. It's like, emotionally, it's more than just a unit of property. I know financially, I couldn't, you know, stand to gain a lot of money if I were to sell it. But at this point is bigger than that. I feel like, at this point, I couldn't find anything in Dumbo right now. I mean, I couldn't even move my family, like it's a studio apartment, the five of us could not live in that studio apartment. So for me, what I envision is a way for my family, like my children to continue on with the wealth baton. And if I teach them, right, and, you know, they'll be able to hold this or use this as leverage to also continue to build wealth, just like I used my grandmother's inspiration to help me figure out that I wanted to, you know, do something like this. And so, you know, I've even had offers from the next door unit owner to buy my property without an agent. So to save money there to buy my property, um, so that they can, like knock the walls out and create like a bigger apartment. And I was like No, and I've had offers to like for someone to buy it. But I'm like, No, this is so much more than just like the money while the money is cool. And I'm grateful that it actually appreciated and worked out in my favor.
This is my pride. It's my legacy. I mean, I don't want to tie my my worth is not tied to this apartment. Right? I want to be clear about that. Because I think it's really important that we don't tie our worth too much to physical things that can be taken away. But we should also be proud of the things that we've accomplished and done and be smart about like these tools. And so for me The fact that right now, I mean, maybe in a couple years I'll be able to buy in Dumbo again, I can't re enter that market. There's not too many people who look like me that own in not only that building, but in that area, it's like one of the most expensive places to buy real estate in New York. So it's almost like I'm making a statement for my family. For my people that listen, we can do this, we can be here. And it's my real estate story. And I do have some lessons learned. So I just wanted to give you a background of how that all came to be. But there's also things in here, when I look back at being able to do this that really contributed to the success of this, hopefully, you can pull out some own less your own lessons from this apply to your life. Again, I know, the things are totally different. Now, the market is totally different. And you may if you're especially if you grew up in like New York, or somewhere, I think it's like, it's hard, right? Because like, if you grew up in an area, like in New York, sometimes the areas that you grew up in, you can't afford to buy in, and you have to venture out, you know, somewhere else. But I'm hoping that sharing, like these takeaways will kind of help get your juices flowing on what you can do in your life.
Okay, so looking back the factors that contributed to my success, Okay, I'm gonna say this No, this is like random. There's no like, actual order. But I will say first the real estate bubble, and for different reasons, but there was a real estate bubbling, bubbling, the real estate bubble at that time. And like 2005, to like me preach that and five, right to like, 2007/8 price me out of what I want what I thought I wanted to be in. I mean, honestly, I would love to own a brownstone in Fort Greene or, you know, Bed Stuy, but it priced me out of that at that moment. And so I had to look elsewhere. But let me tell you something, when it was time to close on this Unit Two years later, so I think it was 2007 that I closed on this condominium, and the market was in a frenzy still meaning people this is when they were giving out no loan documents, meaning they did not check your income, you can like close on a unit or a property without showing proofing of income, you can just tell them what you earned. At the time that I went to go get this mortgage, my income, like I said, it was barely covering what this mortgage would be, like I didn't have enough like the ratio was not, there was not enough room in the ratio, like if they would have done the math for me to pay for the mortgage and living expenses. So I actually closed on my unit as a no loan doc mortgage, meaning I didn't have to prove my income. Now, if there was not a real estate bubble, and it is like it is now where you know, they're checking and making sure you can afford, as they should, as they should to buy things because so many people lost so much money, you know, over leveraged and got into properties they could not afford. And I honestly was one of them. If you look on paper, I could not have really afforded that apartment. But I was determined. So in the two years that it took for the unit to be built. Like I said, I saved the majority of my money so I knew that okay, even if my income at the moment is not there, I knew it would increase at some point. And I knew that I could sell it at some point if I wanted to if things really got bad, but really the real estate bubble while it was, you know, a crazy time, the no loan Doc, just the way they were doing things allowed me to close if they were checking my my my real income, I would not have been able to close on that unit and the ability to adapt.
So adapting because I had my mindset on a brownstone, a multifamily unit, but I was open to different things. And I think that's really important. Because sometimes what you think will be your thing, what you think will be the path to your success. The success will be there, but your path can be different. And so I was willing to go to New Jersey to look at something I was willing to go to a condo instead of a brown, a brownstone. And so I adapted and I learned to kind of see something different, where the possibilities were and so you can't be so frigid. Sometimes in your goal, you have to allow flexibility, because you could still possibly get to a different goal, even a better goal. But you have to make room for the flexibility and changing your mind and doing something different and supportive family. I mean, mainly my mom, so I talk about this earlier, my mom did give me a portion of the first 10% and then the fact that I was able to live at home the fact that like I didn't have to pay rent like I had to pay for my own like you know, expenses, but she didn't make me pay rent. And it's obvious I wouldn't have been able to do this without her support. And I want to like say because I know there may be some people will say like, Hey, you know, of course your mom helped you. That's like why and I get that she did help me. But my mom also came to this country with nothing. When I tell you she had As a single mom at 20 years old, immigrated here from Jamaica work minimum wage jobs, for her to put herself in a position to be able to help her 20 something year old daughter buy something like this, that ultimately benefits us as a whole as a family. But like she's like, all sacrificed her own money and position to, to give me a boost means everything because what that shows me is that maybe right now you don't have that support, you know, you don't have you don't have a mom, you don't have a mom that can do that for you or family members that you can live with and save money, I get it. But what I look at when I see that is, my mom was able to boost and give me a headstart. And so even if you don't have that, right now, you can do that for someone else, you can do that for your children, you can be someone who, because you're getting your finances in order, because you're working hard, you can give the assistance to your kids to help them do better. And quite honestly, like my mom, like I always say like, I mean, again, I'm blessed to have her. And she but she worked her way up to now where she is financially secure. So while she started without much, now she's at a place where I you know, luckily, I don't have to worry about having to take care of her when she retires. Because as she got her education, she started to make more money, she started to you know, invest in her her 403B and, you know, so she's doing okay, so having her as a support system obviously was a like a huge benefit. But and I couldn't have done it without her. But I look at it as even if you don't have that in your life right now to look at is but you can still be you can still be successful, maybe it won't be as fast or at the rate or as young as I was able to maybe buy something. But even looking at my mom like she is also right now financially secure. Something that 30 years ago when she 40, you know, 30 years ago when she first came here was not the case.
Okay, a savers mindset. So when I started saving most of my money at my internship, I didn't know I was saving it, I just felt like there was going to be something that I needed to save it for. And saving was, again, something really important in our family, even if like they always, even if it's $1, save one cent of that, and that was passed down to me. And it's something that I kept, so even no matter what jobs I got. So I had my internship through inroads, but I also worked on campus, you know, I had my first job at 14. And so, I just always remember saving something and that is my charge to everyone here. While you may have like, you know, debt payments and things going on, even if it's $1, I don't care how much it is, I want you to allocate something that you are saving, because the amount will change as your position and station in life changes as you earn more money. As you know, maybe you get a windfall of you know, a tax return or just something else that occurs. If you are already allocating and knowing like flexing that savings muscle, you can then be prepared to save more when you are able to save more. And so having that money and saving even before I knew what it was for it was crucial.
The next thing, representation matters so much, seeing other people doing something matters, because sometimes there are things that you don't even know are possible, because you don't see someone doing it. You see someone doing it, and it's not just seeing someone doing it, but seeing them do it doing it and saying, huh, why not me?Why not you? And this goes for anything that you're thinking about doing in life, a podcast, you know, like you see someone see me having a podcast and you have an idea for something, why not you? Why can't you start a podcast? Why can't your podcast be successful? You see someone you know, in a career that seems exciting, and you're like, wow, that person must be like lucky. Why can you be Why can't you create your own luck to do that, in terms of what did they do to get there? Is there a way that you can take a similar path or change paths to do it? I just always feel that representation is key. If I did not see those in person, neighborhood millionaires, like if maybe, you know, I had no clue they existed if they never opened up and told me that they own property. And were landlords. If I didn't have my own grandmother as a mirror of what I could be in one day, I don't know that I would have had the guts to go in and buy a property at 22. But it was because I saw these people doing it. And they were normal people, they were not knowing they weren't. I mean, maybe they were worth millions of dollars, but they were regular every day, people from similar backgrounds, or even more, maybe disadvantaged backgrounds. And I was like, Okay, I can do this too. So seeing and seeking out the representation. Maybe it's not immediate for you, but seek it out. There are people who you can relate to, or it may be part of the story. Maybe everything's not relatable, that if you can just see yourself in what they're doing and then apply that you can do it too. You'll get somewhere.
Okay, belief in self is going to be key here. It's one thing to see something Doing something. But then there's another thing to say, Hey, I can do it too. And I believe I do have a strong belief in my abilities. That's not to say I don't have big insecurities, I actually really do. But I'm able to really like, tell those insecurities to shut up most of the time and go after and lean into my ability. And I think that's for everyone, every journeyer listening right now that I know that you're, there's a little voice in your head, sometimes telling you, you can't do something, telling you if it was that easy, more people would have done it. I know, I know those voices still come up in my head. But you must find a way to push past that you must find a way to see where you are now, and see how your abilities have helped you to where you are now. And that is not by accident, you are worthy, you can do it too. Maybe not in the same way. Because we don't have the same tools, we don't have the same starting point. But you can. And so you have to develop that belief in self, you have to surround yourself with people. And I don't want to put it on people to pour into you. But it doesn't hurt to have people who also believe in you. And again, my mom was a big part of that if I had a mom, that was very critical, and maybe not as helpful, maybe my mindset would be a little bit different. But I know for some people that is the case, you don't have supportive people or family around you. But seeking out supportive spaces where they can reinforce your belief is going to be important but bigger than that, because sometimes you won't even get that you have to have that belief in yourself.
And then I would say the risk versus reward, being able to identify that. And this can go for anything that you're thinking about doing whether it is investing in a course, or quitting your job or starting a business for me to buy this property, there was a big risk, right? Like I could have lost that 10% that I put down if I was not able to close. And you know, I don't think I'll have time for this second part, I'll probably have to do a part two of my other real estate story where actually almost did lose, we did my husband, I did something similar. We went in, and we bought a prop condo, put 10% down and literally almost lost at 10%. So that would have to be another story. But I looked at the risk of losing that 10% versus the reward of what was possible. If it worked. This one thing to do something and be like oh my gosh, that was such a mistake. But most times the mistakes do not lead to death. Most times, not 99% of the time, you won't die from your mistake, you may lose some money, you may have your ego bruised, you may lose some time, but you won't die. And for me, I thought the award of having my own place to close on a condo unit in this area that is developing that could be worth a lot of money one day, it's worth it. And so think about for you whether it is buying that course buying that investment property, only you can tell yourself what your risk tolerance is, right?
There are some people who were at that age or with those circumstances would have not done what I did. I'm pretty sure if I went back in Word to like, you know, maybe I was calling into like, like a Suzy Orman or Dave Ramsey and told them about my situation and I want to buy this condo, they'd be like, Hell, no, you can't afford it. You're right. That's why you have to have your own internal guidance system to guide you on these things. Because you know, the price point matters, right? So if you're spending like $500 or $1,000 on a course or something, you know, depending on your situation, you know, for me, I knew that the outcome would be way better than the risk if I lost this. And so if you think about like, you know, if I spent $500 on this course on this thing, if I don't do the work, which you know, hopefully once you put that money and skin in the game, you're going to do the work. But think about if I don't do it Will I still be in the same situation. And for me, I didn't want I didn't want 2/3/4 years to pass and me not to own property. Like Same thing with quitting my job. Like I knew that timing was of the essence. And I would regret more not trying out Journey to Launch full time than staying in my quote unquote safe job. Because again, if I'm not going to die, if I'm not gonna lose every single penny I have, then the risk for me was worth it. So this is why I think I'm able to take a bit of risk and I want you to think about your risk and rewards and if the reward outweighs the risk that you're going to take then to consider for you what that means to take these risks.
Okay, so overall, that is my buying a property at 22 years old story my my condo in Brooklyn, you know, so the thing about it is to like I kind of alluded to this, the pandemic definitely changed things a bit. I had a tenant in there, but he had to actually couldn't renew because of the pandemic. He was someone who actually was he only lived there a couple times a like month because he he traveled a lot for work but he was older. So when the pandemic hit He couldn't, he couldn't stay there any longer. He had to, like, be home. And I had to find a new tenant during all this. And right now, during this, it is a renters market, meaning there's so many units on the market, you know, there's so much more development to write like in Dumbo in downtown Brooklyn. And so I actually did have a little bit of trouble finding someone, but I did I found new tenant, and it just goes to show you like, wow, yes, it this is a great investment. It is a way that my family has built even more wealth, it's been my biggest proponent of wealth, or my biggest part of my portfolio, in terms of wealth, right now. But, you know, that's not to say it doesn't come with you know, like responsibility. It's not to say like, like, you know, just being a landlord is 100%, like, easy. In terms of, you know, there's always a condominium increase that add a tax abatement that ran out. So the cost of having the condo is more than when it was 15 years ago. But to me, the good outweighs any of the bad or things that are happening. And I'm just so grateful. So happy to be able to be put in the position to take this opportunity. When I saw it, and part of it. Yes, it's preparation, and part of it is luck. And I know that you are in your own journey, and you're figuring out maybe what you should do and what you should invest in. I know I got a lot of people who listen, who are interested in real estate investing. But I just want to tell you that your path is going to be all your own. Hopefully, you got some inspiration, and some tips from this. But I'm really glad to be able to share the story with you, I will come back. I don't know when but for part two about the other real estate purchase that did not go as well as this one.
Okay, journeyers, don't forget, I have some time sensitive things that if you want to take advantage of you got to do it right now. Do not delay. One I have a secret podcast series called Financial Independence 101, where you can listen to episodes around the building blocks of financial independence. So these are short episodes to help you and guide you to start your journey. It even comes with a free workbook, you can get access to that series at journeytolaunch.com/secretpodcast. And then do not do not forget to join me on January 14, at 8:30pm Eastern Time for a free class where I'm going to bring together the building blocks, the next steps you need to take and all the things that you can crush your goals in 2021 and beyond. Go to journeytolaunch.com/freeclass to save your seat. I'll see you there.
Now it's time for DCU money Tip of the Week. This is where I share helpful money tip to help you manage your money and reach your goals. This week's tip is to invest the time to learn about a topic or subject matter that will help you reach your goals. Take the time to learn about a specific topic that will help you reach your goals for this year. Take advantage of any resources that you may have available to you. So for example, credit unions like DCU offer free online education for their members on money topics like saving, building, credit, budgeting and so much more. Continuing to listen to podcasts like this will also help you would really take the time to invest to get the knowledge that you need to reach your goals in this year. Okay, for more tools and information to help you on your financial freedom journey, check out dcu.org.
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