From Homeless to $900k in Profits: An Inspiring Journey

From Homeless to $900k in Profits: An Inspiring Journey

4 min max read

Ray Zhang's story proves that with perseverance and hustle, anyone can achieve financial success in America. In a recent interview on The DealMachine Real Estate Investing Podcast, he shared his incredible journey from being homeless in Hawaii to running a successful land-flipping business.

Ray's Humble Beginnings

Ray moved to America from China 11 years ago with a dream of changing his life. But soon after arriving in Hawaii, he found himself completely broke and homeless, living out of his Toyota Camry.

As a non-English speaker in a new country, his options were limited. But Ray refused to give up. He got creative about making money:

  • Sleeping in his car in parking lots and college campuses to get free wifi and showers
  • Picking up free furniture and household items left on curbs and then re-selling them
  • Flipping used cars for profit

He hustled day and night, saving up enough to eventually get an apartment. But real estate investing remained his biggest passion.

The Big Failure That Almost Broke Him

After saving up some seed money, Ray attempted to invest in a media company back in China. He invested his entire net worth of $20k to own 10% of the company.

It turned out to be a scam, and Ray lost it all.

"Never trust anyone, any particular entity, any company to invest all your net worth. It doesn't matter who he is, even if he's the president of Wells Fargo Chase." - Ray Zhang

This failure only made Ray more determined to succeed. He continued working odd jobs and flipping items until he had enough money to try real estate investing again.

Discovering Land Flipping

After years of attempting to wholesale houses unsuccessfully, Ray discovered land flipping. He came across a Facebook group of land investors and asked where the best places were to buy land.

They mentioned Costa County, Colorado. Ray found a subdivision there with 300 available lots. He called the owner and negotiated a deal to buy 10 lots for $1,000 each.

Then he took to the Facebook group again to find buyers. Within just 4 days, he resold all 10 lots for $2,500 each, netting him $15,000 in profits!


Growing His Land Business

Emboldened by his early success, Ray threw himself into land investing:

  • He sent direct mail to landowners in counties with lots of recent land sales
  • He made offers to buy the land at 40-55% below market value
  • For each offer, he included his phone number, email, and a DocuSign document so sellers could easily accept
  • When sellers called him back, he negotiated the price even lower by pointing out flaws with the property

This brilliant system allowed Ray to buy land extremely cheap. And once he owned it, selling was easy:

  • He simply hired a realtor to list the land on MLS
  • There was much less "emotion" involved compared to houses, so buyers jumped at vacant land deals

Within just 4 months, Ray wholesaled 150 land deals and made over $900k in profit last year alone!

Lessons Learned

Ray credits his success to a few key mindsets:

  1. Perseverance - Never ever give up, no matter how many setbacks you face
  2. Provide Value - Find ways to make other people's lives better
  3. Leverage People's Money - You can do big deals even without cash of your own

He also emphasizes the power of Facebook groups and direct mail for finding discounted real estate deals.

Ray's Advice to New Investors

"The biggest mindset change is realizing how ridiculously cheap you can buy land for."

Land investing has many advantages over houses:

  • Owners have little emotional attachment to vacant land
  • There are fewer buyers bidding up prices
  • You can close deals entirely online and from anywhere in the world

The biggest takeaway is that achieving financial freedom is possible for anyone. You don't need money, experience, or connections. You just need an unbreakable will to never stop hustling and providing value.

Ray now enjoys a comfortable lifestyle with his wife in Florida. He spends his time coaching other investors to replicate his success.

You can connect with Ray and learn more strategies on his Instagram @VirtualFlipLand.

Benjy Nichols

About Benjy Nichols

Benjy has been a media specialist at DealMachine for the last 2.5 years. He produces, writes, shoots, and edits our media content for our member's DealMachine and Real Estate education.