Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate
Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate

Lessons Learned From A Decade Of Real Estate Investing

Written by JD Esajian

Don’t miss out on this week’s episode of the FortuneBuilders Real Estate Investing Show where we’ll be joined by FortuneBuilders students Warren and Sue Rodgerson to celebrate one of their biggest deals to date! They share their story of coming from little real estate investing experience, learning the ropes with FortuneBuilders, and ultimately diving into the business full-time to pursue their passion. Discover what it takes to get started in real estate, working alongside your spouse, and the biggest lessons they learned from over 10 years in the business.

Listen to the Podcast Here:

Lessons Learned From A Decade Of Real Estate Investing

Hey everyone, Jeff Rutkowski. here and welcome to this week’s episode of the FortuneBuilders Real Estate Investing Show. I am pumped about today’s episode because we don’t do this a whole often, but when we do, it is fire. What we’re doing today is we’re actually interviewing a couple of our students that have gone to do some great things. Specifically we’re going to focus on an incredibly lucrative deal that they just completed in Northern California. So stay tuned, you guys are gonna love it.

Word of the Week

Before we get into it, the term of the week this week is actually a term known as an exit strategy. So what is an exit strategy? There are actually a lot of different exit strategies to be truthful in real estate. And there’s a saying, we’ve all heard it, that we make our money when we buy but we realize our profit when we sell and that’s where the exit strategy comes into place. So we’ve talked a lot about it on this show and we’ve probably touched on eight different exit strategies over the last year on this show from wholesaling to rehabbing to the BRRR strategy to lease option to subject-to-owner financing all of these different terms.

Probably the most common is wholesaling, rehabbing, and simply buying and holding. There is no right or wrong. That’s one thing we love about real estate. There are so many different niches, so many different ways of exiting deals and monetizing those deals. So that’s your Word of the Week or term of the week, exit strategy. So let’s get into today’s show.

Starting Out in Real Estate

So you came in 2012, we have a DJ and a teacher turned project manager. And then you made the jump into real estate? Did you instantly go full time into the business? Or did you have a transition period? How did that work out?

A transition period? Absolutely. Yeah, for me, it was a little easier, because I was already running my own business and work out of my house, so I could kind of dedicate my time in different ways. Sue was still working for some high end companies as a project manager, right?

Yeah, I was still working definitely full-time, but I had some luxury of I was out and about at different job sites. So we could, I could stop by our job site. I could communicate with him during the day, we could still line up all our contractors and then we could go by during the day and check on them and that sort of thing.

There was a lot of calls on the phone to her. And what do we do here? What do we need to do here? What do you think?

But we were determined to make it work because we wanted to go to him. So it was a glorious day when I finally called him from the car after commuting for two and a half hours from from the city. San Francisco to home because traffic was such a mess. Yep. You said, I want to quit. He’s like, do it.

We had done a couple of three deals, and then we finally got this deal. You guys actually have it on your FB wins. We had submitted this one a long time ago. It was in 2014 or 2015. It was a project that was a hoard. We took 42 tons of stuff out of the property and it was just a hot mess. We did all the construction part in 17 weeks. It was going to be a foreclosure and then it ended up being a short sale Cash for Keys. And we ended up making close to 600,000. We had shared about 70,000 of that the profit with our investors. And we walked out with I think it was 519,000 that was our big springboard to let her quit her job permanently and come into this full time in earnest. And honestly, we should have done it sooner.

Yeah, I mean, if we waited, there was no looking back once we did it. And I think why didn’t we do this earlier? Yeah, yeah. Many more deals.

“It frees up your time, your energy and everything to work towards your own business.”

That, in turn allowed us to buy a vacation rental in Lake Tahoe that we get that is paid for by renters. And since we bought it in 2014, it is more than doubled in value. So that was the best investment that we had and it was a springboard off of up until this deal, the most profitable deal that we’ve had.

Wow, that’s such an awesome story. I love hearing this stuff. I mean, this is this is why we do what we do and this says this has the potential and the power of real estate. So I appreciate you guys sharing that.

Finding the Deal

I want to talk about this deal, though your most recent one in Alameda County, California. So give us a kind of like a high level overview, and we could start with how did you find the deal, that type of stuff?

Well, our two God sons actually are in business with us. One of them does all of our online marketing. Basically, through his efforts of putting stuff online and starting our funnel, a call came in. We met with the people, they had talked to a few others, and they liked what we had to say we were able to strike a deal with them that work for them, they needed to sell quickly for personal reasons. That’s sort of the the basics.

It was a project that was actually already started as part of the house that they added. They had frame windows and some rough, rough, plumbing, electrical, in addition, that was permitted by the city, but the rest of the house was pretty much I mean, we say it was borderline uninhabitable, they should not have been living in there. But they were living in there. And then we we took it on and then of course, we expanded the scope to remodel the whole rest of the house, and then finish. What work was done was started.


I love it. I love it. Well, let’s let’s let’s talk about marketing for a minute. Marketing is the most vital piece of any business. If we don’t have consistent leads coming in we’re not going to find deals like like the deal that you guys found and all the other ones. I know you guys were I mentioned your internet Quickstart students, but just on a higher level, the internet marketing, how has that benefited your business overall, not just obviously, you found this great deal from it. But expand on that a little bit.

You really need to have a consistent presence out there. And we work in all different ways to do that. As Warren said, our godson also named Warren is between Facebook and Instagram, and LinkedIn. And I think even Google ads and working out there consistently having postings, we have a pretty good presence. And so these people actually found us I think they Googled like sell your home fast or something, I don’t even know. It’d be interesting to know what the word keywords were. That’s how they find found us. They found us by just googling.

Lesson Learned

So we have about a million dollar purchase a $400,000 budget, what would you learn during this project? There’s always something we didn’t plan for. There’s always something or maybe just a challenge you had to overcome. When you look back on this deal what was the big takeaway for you guys?

I was just gonna say the first thing was that we got this off of our online marketing and it was our first big project that came in that way. So that was a big light bulb like, whoo, we got to keep doing this. We didn’t spend money in that or in just our time in that. For me, I have a lot of construction experience. But it didn’t matter. There were so many things wrong with this house, I didn’t see. But just know that that can happen in a project.

And don’t panic, because and you mentioned exit strategy, you have to have that when you go into a project. That’s right. We know I mean, the market in our area was so hot that we could have sold that project at any time to another investor, especially one that maybe would have done it a little bit for a little less money, or maybe they have their own crews or whatever. So we could have sold it and made money. But we decided to put more money into it. Because I mean, we ended up putting about 520 in. We put more money into it and made it a very high end house. Very beautiful, beautifully designed, beautiful tiles, gorgeous kitchen, open it up all the stuff because we knew that would bump us up into the higher price point to sell. And then we could get more profit. And and that’s what happened.

As it turned out we kind of got it when we finally went to sell it, the market was starting to cool already going into that. We figured that if we would have sold a been able to sell a couple of months earlier, could have been a couple 100 grand more.

But we still made $525,000. We were very happy. It’s just all about timing. It wasn’t in the cards to finish it earlier, because we just had a lot more to do on it but you need to know there’s ways to get out if you need to.

Yeah, that’s so important to finding your exit strategy ahead of time. And, and one thing you said that was really I mean, it’s really valuable is like you you went into it planning on a rehab. But Rehabbing is a good exit strategy, you you always can fall back on a quick wholesale if you have to. Not that you want to. But you have that you have that built in. So that is good.


Thank you so much for coming on and taking time away from your vacation. We really appreciate it. And congratulations on all your success. And I know you have a few more deals, big deals coming in the pipeline as well. So maybe we could talk about one of those in the future. But thanks so much, guys. And thank you to everyone that tuned in.

As always us here at Fortune Builders, we are on a mission to empower your purpose through financial education. So if you’ve ever thought about becoming a real estate investor, but don’t know where to start, right below this video, you’ll see a link that says Fortune Builders and that will give you access to a free training, actually training within mero, the owner of Fortune Builders that will tell you exactly how to make the dream of investing in real estate a reality. So if you’re interested, click on that link. Everyone else. Thanks again for being here. Tune in next week to the FortuneBuilders Real Estate Investing Show. God bless you guys. Take care.