My Real Estate Ventures

During the peak of my programming career I was making more money than I needed to live - life was good. When some people get their hands on some extra cash, they go out and party and blow it all, some people buy cars & toys, but I chose to invest in real estate. We would buy single family homes, fix them up, and rent them. It was a good investment choice, and the housing market was good to me.

When my unwise friends would have a few bucks in the bank, they would go out and buy a new car. At the end of 10 years, their car was worth next to nothing. During the same time I chose to buy a house, which at the end of 10 years was normally worth a lot more than I paid for it. At the same time I was able to enjoy some income, and other benefits like depreciation & tax reduction.

first house

Our very first house was a small fixer-upper in the Milwaukee area. After some hard work and a few thousand dollars, we ended up with a nice looking property that rented out immediately. I put up a For Rent sign in the yard, and by the time I got home, I had already received 5 calls. After driving right back to the house we signed an agreement and it was a done deal. We still own the house after all these years, and it is still rented.

This continue on for a period of about 10 years - we would buy another house almost every year and repeat the process. We've had our share of good and bad tenants, but most of them good. It was a great experience and I would highly recommend the plan to anyone looking for a good long-term investment choice.

We had bought the video course you see on late-night television all the time by Carlton Sheets. I must say that it was a wonderful course and we learned a lot about the trade. Although we never did by houses using his "No Money Down" techniques, we learned a great deal about markets, and renters in general. How to determine if a house was a good buy, how to select a dependable renter, and how to write a solid rental agreement were all skill learned from the video course. We have bought other courses from TV infomercials that I would not recommend, but this one was a solid winner.

During the house-buying frenzy we were paying a great deal of money in commissions as we bought and sold each property. So - I once again bought a video course on becoming a Real Estate Broker with the hopes of at least being able to get the commissions on the houses I was buying. That worked out well and saved us many thousands of dollars - way worth the price of the course. I still hold a current Wisconsin Real Estate Brokers license to this day, so if you are looking for a property in the beautiful Northwoods here, drop me a note and I'll see if I can help you find a dream home here like I did.

Breeze Realty

We started up a small real-estate business working out of our home during these years to pick up some extra cash. What the heck, we were doing the house hunting anyway. Although we never had more than a dozen or so clients, it paid for the cost of making up the signs and other necessities, including the needed office equipment. That was a another good experience for us at the time.

So - yet another deviation down the path of the computer programmer. At least this skill is something I can always fall back on should the need arise. Of course, the market as of this writing is just horrible, so if I do go back, I think I'll wait for everything to recover.