Do you want a home or an empire?

A teaser conversation with Steph Douglass, Austin based real estate investor and total badass:

So Steph, how did you get into real estate in the first place?

In 2013, I was teaching elementary school in Austin with no real hope for a huge income increase in the future. The Austin rental market was heating up and I was afraid of being priced out of even renting in my neighborhood. Enlisting the help of my mom (also a teacher), I was able to scrape up a down payment for a little house on the east side. I got a roommate, which allowed me to supplement my mortgage, making my living expenses minimal. This also allowed me to ramp up my savings that I would later use for a second home purchase, while also building equity in a growing real estate market.

What does it mean to house-hack and how have you applied this method?

Househacking is treating your house as an income-producing asset. This can happen in many ways, but the easiest is to get a roommate or two. Or you could buy a property with a layout that's easy to section off with a private entrance for a tenant. You can also purchase a duplex or triplex, live in one unit and rent the others or get an Airbnb license to do short-term rentals for your guest room or shed-turned-tiny-home in your backyard. I’ve made my way in real estate by being creative, so the options are truly limitless.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to get into RE investing? How do they get started?

Research, read and build a solid team. Get in touch with someone who has done this before. Enlist the help of a Realtor who is also a real estate investor. Not all realtors will have the knowledge or the know-how to guide you through the process when you’re looking at it as an investment instead of purely purchasing a primary residence. You'll want to know they're in the know and can guide you in the right direction.

For more RE wisdom, join us at April’s Coffee & Coin, where you'll hear all about Steph’s successes, setbacks and actual numbers.