OUR FIRST APARTMENT BUILDING
In 2018, we made the decision to purchase our first 28 unit apartment building in Kansas City, MO. We documented our goals, created the financial model, investigated markets, hired team members, and finally began making offers on specific properties. Gladstone was a beast to say the least. Many units looked like scary movies, concrete was poured into plumbing pipes, and most everything needed replacing. We financed the down payment for the building and construction budget using savings and cash from a HELOC we refinanced out of our primary home. The project manager created a budget, proposed sub contractors, we negotiated a retrade with the seller and we closed for $835k plus $420k the construction budget. We started remodeling in Oct 2018, after three months of closing. During those 3 months we achieved positive cashflow after expenses! We can tell you first hand the next 15 months were more than challenging ... I would call it somewhere between 'discouraging' and 'run away'. Dealing with contractors mis-quotes, mistakes, and schedule misses, it became a game of what did we miss this week. New tenants found issues with the remodeling and noise of construction. Every new unit leased felt like a small win, though with 28 units total, it seemed never ending. We made the decision to remove the project manager and work directly with the contractor to save ourselves money, which we quickly ran out of. We dipped back into our pocket more than once bringing the total construction budget to $500k. In November of 2019, we finally completed most of the construction and went on a leasing run at $635/mth+$35 which is $35 more than our original target. In Spring of 2020, we leased a number of units above $650/mth + $45/mth. We also noticed a change in the neighborhood, not as much crime, more young families, and the remodeled park at the end of the block was looking really good! As Covid hit in March of 2020, we decided to list the building for sale, despite our strategy being to refinance and pull our original capital out. Within 2 weeks we had multiple offers on the building including one for $1.8M, $500k over our purchase+construction amount. We ultimately decided to refinance into a small Freddie Mac apt building loan with a 10 year low fixed interest rate, 3 years of interest-only, non-recourse debt and 90% of our original down payment pulled out of the project. The financials were solid and we closed in 60 days. The longer amortization period and lower interest, offered greater cashflow than before, even though we pulled out cash. Why would we pull out cash? Considering the tax advantages, long term growth, and the opportunity to reinvest, we stayed the course with our plan and pulled out cash. You will never be too prepared for your first project. Note we did not have any partners, just our team and coaches. After 2 long years, many lessons learned, and a few waves of good luck (great preparation), the investment is paying off, literally. This project now pays half of our monthly expenses. The neighborhood has became a thriving community which is cleaner, safer and still affordable. We decided to purchase an 18-unit apartment building only 6 months after purchasing Gladstone, using our lessons learned, we came in $40k under budget and 6 months ahead of schedule. We took Maple to permanent debt in August 2020 with similar terms to Gladstone. We feel more free today knowing our real estate investment income can cover our basic living expenses and one day may be sold or refinanced to pay for kids' college, a rainy day or retirement. Although why would we retire, we are having too much fun. Our goal is to help you achieve financial freedom by, sharing our experience, creating your plan with you, coaching you through your first project and partnering on our next project.