80 Hour Workweeks to $75,000 on His First Wholesale Deal
Eric Brewer had a successful career working long hours at a car dealership. But when he found out he was going to be a father, he knew something had to change. That's when he discovered the world of real estate investing.
In this post, we will walk through Eric's journey - from leaving his 80+ hour per week job, to making $75,000 on his very first real estate wholesale deal. Along the way, he learned critical lessons about real estate finance, working with sellers, and innovating when deals don't go as planned.
Following My Calling Out of the Car Business
Eric started off working at a car dealership, doing whatever he could to move up. He went from parking cars at $7 per hour all the way up to becoming a sales manager and eventually overseeing 5 dealership locations.
The car business was very good to him financially. But he was working 80+ grueling hours per week, not spending enough time with family, and generally living an unhealthy lifestyle.
When Eric found out he was going to be a father, he knew he had to make a change. He decided to leave the car industry so he could focus on being the best dad possible.
"I made the decision I wanted to be a good dad, and that meant I couldn't be a car guy anymore. One of those had to suffer for me to be the best version of the other one."
Eric took 4-5 months off to reflect on his next steps. He consulted with several mentors he trusted, and they suggested real estate would allow him to leverage his sales skills while enabling a better work-life balance.
Getting My Start in Real Estate Investing
In early 2006, Eric linked up with his former boss Craig to start a real estate company focused on fix-and-flipping properties. They took a few classes at a local real estate investing academy to learn the fundamentals.
Here are some key things they focused on initially:
- Building lead lists: They went down to the courthouse to put together lists of pre-foreclosure leads and owners of rundown properties. This was before online list sources existed!
- Learning contracts: They made sure we understood assignment contracts and other terminology before getting started.
- Marketing: They started doing direct mail campaigns targeting motivated sellers.
Within a few months, we bought our first investment property - a rundown house for $70,000. We estimated $40,000 in renovations to get it ready for resale around $160,000.
When Our First Deal Went Sideways...
They were excited to get started on their first house flip. But then their title company dropped a bombshell on them - the property was commercially zoned!
This meant they wouldn't be able to sell to owner-occupant buyers needing a mortgage, because lenders don't finance commercial properties.
At first, they thought this was terrible news. But over time, they realized there was a silver lining:
"The good news is I might be able to sell it in six months for a million dollars."
The property was right across the street from a car dealership Craig used to own. As fate would have it, the dealership was looking to expand its operations.
Over the next few months, they bought the 3 neighboring homes to assemble a full acre of land. Eric and Craig then successfully sold the parcel to Craig's former dealership for $75,000!
So even though their first flip didn't go as planned, they were able to wholesale the entire package for a sizable profit.
Continuing My Real Estate Investing Journey
That first unexpected wholesale deal showed Eric the power of creativity in real estate. When traditional flips don't pencil out, you can often still find win-win solutions through innovative strategies.
These days, Eric focuses more on a technique called "novations" - which allows him to buy properties at wholesale prices but sell at retail values without extensive renovations. Eric teaches this method in his online course.
Eric's business now does over 400 deals per year with a team of 15-16 inside sales representatives. Though he no longer works 80 hour weeks like in the car industry, he is still motivated by helping his team members grow in their careers.
Eric has found that real estate is an excellent avenue for young hungry entrepreneurs to quickly increase their incomes. Seeing his employees take that first step towards financial freedom is what gets him fired up!
Overall, the flexibility of real estate has enabled him to achieve work-life balance while continuing to challenge himself. Eric is thankful for having made the leap all those years ago when his daughter was born.
About Samantha Ankney
Samantha has been a media specialist for DealMachine for 2.5 years. She produces, edits, writes, and publishes all media that is distributed to the DealMachine and Real Estate Investing community.