How I Got Started

How I Got Started

I bought my first investment home in June 1979.  I come from a long line of real estate professionals, so it was not surprising that I turned 25 and that same month bought my first rental home.  It also didn’t hurt that my favorite board game growing up was Monopoly – although I always seemed to be the guy owning the railroads.  Buying a piece of property, even in a game, has always been very intriguing.

When I was nine or ten my dad took me to one of his rental homes and we worked together removing wallpaper.  As we worked, he explained the value of owning rental homes.  He owned a real estate brokerage with about 15 agents selling family homes in the Phoenix area.  He also owned about 30 rental homes.  I found out as I got older that he thought owning rental homes was a more secure income stream than owning a real estate company.  That Saturday afternoon, working with my dad, a very small spark was ignited in me – it was almost like having Monopoly come alive, no longer just a game.

 I continued working with my dad, or at times guys that worked for my dad, preparing rental homes for new tenants.  On my 16th birthday my dad dropped me off with paint, paint supplies, and a radio at another rental home.  I spent the day making that home look fresh and clean.  My friends all thought I was in some trouble  They couldn’t imagine why I would want to spend the day pushing a paint roller or holding a brush.  That was a great day.  I felt happy or excited or just satisfied – I was creating a nice place for another family to live and my dad could make money in rent – it seemed perfect.
It makes sense that when I went to college I would end up with a bachelor’s degree in Real Estate from Arizona State’s College of Business (it wasn’t a straight line – I was an economics major for the first four years).  Sixteen of us graduated that semester, I was the only one who wanted to work in residential real estate, the other 15 all went to work for corporations that owned large amounts of real estate.  I saw myself working, just as my dad (and I found out later, my grandfather), helping families find the homes of their dreams.  It was the best decision I could have made.