About five years ago, Henry Washington found himself googling “how to make more money” at three in the morning. The results offered a variety of suggestions, but Henry noticed a quick trend: terms like cash flow, appreciation, passive income, and generational wealth keep showing up. It was time for him to try his hand at being a real estate investor.
While these were key terms, he noticed there was only one answer connected to all of them: real estate. The more he read the more he became certain that real estate was the only strategy that achieved all of those goals.
So he decided then and there – at 3 in the morning – that he was going to become a real estate investor and figure out how to use real estate to achieve his goals of financial freedom and long-term wealth. He woke up the next morning, told his wife that they were going to become real estate investors, and 90 days later purchased his first property.
Five years later, they own over 80 rental units and he’s published a book, become an investing mentor, and been featured on numerous podcasts, tv shows, and publications. By all accounts, Henry is a successful investor, but he’s also an exceptional person. He’s passionate about helping others and committed to giving back to his community.
There’s so much that both aspiring and experienced real estate investors can learn from him. We’ll share just a few tips here, but we also recommend that you follow him on social media or visit his site to learn more about his process and philosophy.
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There’s Power in Deciding when being a Real Estate Investor
One message that Henry consistently shares is the power that comes from deciding. He talks a lot about his initial decision to become a real estate investor and that first deal that he did, which changed his life.
His message to other investors is pretty simple: decide what you’re going to do and then do it. Make that decision your plan a and your plan b. You don’t have to know exactly how you’re going to do it, you just need to know what you’re going to do and commit to figuring it out. For him, the key is the power that comes from deciding.
This is a message that a lot of people share, but one that Henry’s lived. He decided that he could and would figure out how to make money investing in real estate. Five years later, he’s met and exceeded all of his initial goals.
Most Important Lesson from Real Estate and Investing: It’s Not About Real Estate
In a recent podcast, Henry was asked about the most important lesson he’s learned from real estate investing. His answer was surprising: he said I’ve learned that real estate isn’t about real estate at all, it’s about people. More than anything, it’s a people business.
He went on to say that once he stopped focusing on making a deal and started focusing on how he could help the person that he was dealing with, everything changed for him.
Now, he looks at each interaction from the perspective of how he can be of service to the person he’s interacting with. This shift in focus has actually led to more deals falling into place and better outcomes for all.
Applicable Tips for Landlords Investing or Managing Rentals Today
Henry’s philosophy and mindset offer helpful guidance for investors, but he also offers lots of practical tips to help Landlords with day-to-day decisions.
- Don’t get scared off by rising interest rates. Even with rising interest rates, Washington thinks that single-family homes are a strong investment. He looks at the supply and demand issue across the country and believes that demand will only continue to outpace supply in the coming years. The result is that investors holding single-family homes will continue to do well.
- The key is finding a deal. Whatever type of property you’re purchasing, Henry says the buying principle is the same: if you get a good deal you’re going to make money. Obviously, the key question is how you know if it’s a good deal. He suggests the 70% rule. Aim to buy a property at 70% of its value, or at a 30% discount. This is a quick way for investors to analyze properties and determine if they’re going to make money.
- Look for simple ways to add value to your property. Something as simple as an accent wall can help you get a little more rent each month. For bigger projects, look for creative ways to add a bathroom – for example, borrowing space from a large laundry room – or ways to upgrade the kitchen.
- Don’t overlook expenses when calculating cash flow or returns. When you look at cash flow, you can’t just look at how much rent you’ll get every month. You have to subtract from that amount any mortgage payments, insurance payments, and taxes. In addition, it’s important to account for vacancies, capital expenditures, and maintenance costs. To get a real understanding of how well a property will perform, it’s vital to account for some of these inevitable expenses.
Keep Learning from Henry
We’re so grateful to have Henry in our community of Landlords and proud that he uses our Leases and forms as part of his being a real estate investor. He’s a wealth of information and we encourage you to follow him on social media, read his book, or sign up for one of his courses.
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You can also visit ezLandlordforms.com to get access to all the documents and forms he uses in his daily property management.
Kevin Kiene, ezLandlordForms Founder/CEO
Kevin is passionate about helping others to become a better Landlord by providing tools and education to help them thrive.