February 24, 2024

A preschool teacher turned rental property millionaire!? You wouldn’t believe it at first. How could someone like Anne Curry go from making five dollars per hour to bringing in five figures’ worth of rent checks every month? While it didn’t happen overnight, Anne’s story is one that’s repeatable by almost everyone, no matter where you’re starting financially, how much education you have, or your background.

Anne was never destined to be rich. She grew up in a household of non-profit workers, teachers, and those that expected to give more than they got. So when Anne married her husband, a social worker, she knew their chance of owning a home, let alone several, was slim to none. But, her fire for financial freedom and generational wealth never stopped burning, and as soon as she could purchase her first property, she made the jump that changed the course of her life.

Now, as an affordable housing landlord with hundreds of units, Anne is on a mission to not only build wealth but help others follow her same path. She went from having very little money to an astonishingly large real estate portfolio simply by asking questions, offering help, and having a tenacious attitude to build up others, not just her bank account. She explains how ANY landlord can get into affordable housing, the massive benefits that this type of investing offers, and the common myths most people get wrong about section 8 and guaranteed rent.

David:
This is the BiggerPockets podcast.

Anne:
I went from making $5 an hour as a preschool teacher and cleaning houses after school to owning over 300 units.

David:
What’s going on, everyone? This is David Greene, your host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate podcast, the biggest, the best, the baddest podcast in the world joined today with my amazing sidekick, also known as co-host, Rob Abasolo. I call him that, but really, you are the wind beneath my wings. As you guys will hear in today’s show, Rob exists not only on the show, but also in your hearts. Make sure you listen all the way to the end because you’re not going to want to miss that one. Today’s show is awesome. Rob, I’m going to let you tell people why it’s awesome because I usually do that.

Rob:
Yeah. Well, first of all, I really consider myself more the titular co-host, something we’ve talked about in the past. Just a little preview for everybody at home, we actually coined two, I think they’re going to be the biggest terms in real estate in 2023, the BRRRRX and the BOXRRR. We’ll let you guys vote down below on which one of those terms you like the most. But before all that, what we’re going to be hearing today is the story of Anne Curry. Very inspirational story, Dave. Very big fan of this because she went basically from making $5 an hour as a preschool teacher to real estate millionaire. It just goes to show you that we have a lot of people in the audience that they think they don’t have enough money to get into real estate and sometimes maybe you don’t, but I think that the solution to building a real estate empire is sometimes a little easier than you may think.
She shows us so many of the tactics and so many of the serendipitous moments that came up in her life simply by just asking for help and putting herself out there. By doing that, she was able to build relationships, form connections with other people that would eventually lead to this crazy portfolio of affordable housing.

David:
Yeah, and she did it using a method that isn’t the flavor of the month. She didn’t follow what everybody else was doing. Anne’s story is really cool and that anyone here can replicate it because she’s not just jumping onto a bandwagon of whatever the hottest strategy is. Anne is a preschool teacher that became a millionaire. Whatever assumptions that you have about affordable housing, you’re probably wrong and today’s show’s going to prove that. You can get guaranteed cash flow from properties from the government. It works. It can make a lot of money. It can do so in a stable way. You just got to know the right way to do it and in today’s show, we’re going to get into just that. Rob, what advice do you have for newbies? What can they take out of today’s show?

Rob:
I’d say ultimately, find someone that’s doing what you want to do and doing it well and figure out how to attach yourself to them. But if you’re going to do that, ask for how you can provide them value, because at the end of the day, it’s a little bit of a you scratch my back, I scratch your business oftentimes. While there are a lot of people that give back wholeheartedly, you should always try to offer a way to make someone’s life easier if you want to learn from them.

David:
Yeah. And for experienced investors, you may have misconceptions about what managing Section 8 is like. Well, Anne is going to myth bust all of that today. Make sure you listen all the way to the end because we get into some myths about Section 8 housing and Anne sets the record straight. Before we bring in Anne, a very brief quick tip. Just remember that real estate builds wealth slowly. You are playing the long game. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so let go of all that anxiety and fear and worry that you’re going to miss out if you don’t jump in and buy 17 units in the next three weeks that you keep seeing in all these YouTube clickbaiting titles. Real estate works best over a long period of time, so come up with a strategy that is sustainable, will work, and works around your lifestyle so that you can stay in it until it pays off. All right, let’s bring it in. Anne Curry, welcome to the BiggerPockets podcast. How are you today?

Anne:
I am so good and so grateful and honored to be here, so thanks for having me.

David:
We are very glad to have you. You have a pretty impressive real estate portfolio that I want to learn more about, but before I do, let me ask you, what was life like before real estate for you? What were you doing? What was your life like? What was it like to be Anne?

Anne:
Well, I was a preschool teacher and I was making $5 an hour teaching school. Then from school, I would go clean houses for another $5 an hour. I grew up in a family that was all in the helping profession. They were all in either nonprofit work or helping work, teachers, nonprofits, social work, that type of thing. Since that was all I knew, I thought, well, I guess I’ll go be a teacher too. It was a beautiful family because they all had these great hearts and was all doing good. So it was high marks on making a life that was making a difference, but it wasn’t creating a life that was creating any kind of wealth. When I taught preschool making $5 an hour, I also married a social worker. So together, again, we’re creating a good life with a lot of meaning, but we weren’t creating any kind of wealth. Looking back from this beautiful family of great hearts, I watched them, again, it was a beautiful family, we had a lot of love in our house, but if there was any kind of crisis, it was always revolving around money.
So if the car would break down, it was money. If there was an unexpected expense, it was this crisis of money. I just remember thinking to myself, I want to do this different. Is there a way to blend a life of meaning in nonprofit social work and helping profession, but also make a difference and create wealth for our family? So that’s really what my husband and I set out to do.

Rob:
Let me ask you one more thing about that, because it’s too casual. The way we’re saying $5 an hour is like, oh, it was $5 an hour.

Anne:
Yeah.

Rob:
On the surface, that doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but I know that was 30 years ago and maybe inflation. Did it feel like more money at the time, or is it as little as I’m thinking here?

Anne:
It’s as little as you were thinking, but it also was more than it is now. That was back when you could buy a candy bar for 15 cents or 25 cents. So we got to put it in perspective, but it still wasn’t enough money to do all the things that I wanted to do. When I had my first child, I was just like, I have got to do this. I must. It’s no longer something that I want to do. It just became a must for me. I must be able to provide the things that I wanted to provide for my kid. So fast-forward, my husband and I are married and he goes into the helping profession. His boss is a 70-year-old man who was in the helping nonprofit profession and he owned some rental real estate. Again, it’s like this stacking of like, okay, they’re in the same profession, but they have rental real estate. Maybe I can too.
One day we were with his boss and he pulled us aside and he said, “Just because you’re in this work doesn’t mean that you can’t own a home,” and that was the first time that I’ve heard that. He said, “What you need to do is if you don’t have the money, you can borrow the money. But after you get your first house, what you need to consider doing is take that house, live in it, fix it up, refinance it, pull that money out and go buy another house.”

Rob:
So this is a BRRRR, right?

Anne:
The BRRRR, yeah. He was 70 years old and this is like 25 years ago and he’s describing the BRRRR method, but there was something inside of me that was just like, okay, if he can do it, then I can do it. So he described what seemed like a simple concept, if you just do this. The thing about me is I’m a good student, so if I see somebody doing something and they tell me to do it, I’m going to go do it. Now why reinvent the wheel? So he’s describing the BRRRR method. We borrowed some money from my husband’s aunt, Sharon, for the first down payment on our house. We bought that house for $64,000. We didn’t have a lot of money, but I got creative and we painted the walls and we did the landscaping and this and that. We lived in that house for eight years until our kids were six and eight. It was only 950 square feet.
We were bursting out at the seams in this house, but I remembered what he said, and he said, “Live in that house until it’s worth more to where you can pull that money out and then you can rent that house and then go buy yourself another house.” He described it like owning boxes. He said, “Your first house is little box. Over time, that box has is going to become worth more money. What I want you to do is take that money out of the box and go buy another box.” So we did just that.

David:
I think we need to start referring to this as the BRRRRX method.

Anne:
Then I met my second mentor and really met his wife at a women’s event that I was at. I just asked the question. I said, “Oh, what does your husband do?” She said, “My husband just manages our rental real estate portfolio.” And I said, “Oh, that’s interesting.” I said, “How many houses does he have?” She said he has 50 single-family houses and his job is to manage them, and it was at that moment. I had never heard of such a thing. Remember, there’s no cell phone. There’s no internet at that point, so you’re not getting great podcasts like you guys put out where you have… I hear about people that do these things, so that was a revelation to me. I just said these simple words. I said, “Would you introduce me to him?” and so she did. When we met, I just said, “Tell me about how you did that,” just asking simple questions and that became another one of the things that I did.
I didn’t have experience. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have the background, but I was able to ask some questions. So I said, “Just tell me how did you do that?” He explained how he did it and then I said the simple words, “Would you help me do that?” For seven years, he just took me under his wing and I just volunteered to do whatever he needed help with. I said, “I will clean your toilets. I will scrub floors. I’ll cut hedges. I’ll do whatever you ask me to do if you’ll just teach me.” Somebody had said to me, “If you want to create a great life, just create big goals and don’t worry about how you’re going to do it.” So when I met my mentor that owned 50 single-family homes, I had a goal in my heart that I, one day, wanted to own 50 single-family homes. Fast-forward 18 years, and I bought 50 single-family homes in one transaction, so that’s part of the story.

Rob:
All right. Let’s back up a little bit there. I want to just recap. I feel like we’ve just really seen the greatness unfold here and I want to make sure I’m getting the story right. So you’re a preschool teacher. You’re making $5 an hour. You married a social worker who is presumably in the same financial position as you, I’d imagine. You find out that your grandpa owns real estate that ignites this fire on you. You meet a mentor who introduces you to the concept of BRRRR, and then you stumble across a second mentor. That intros you to someone that owns 50 single-family homes. At that moment, that was like a, whoa, I can own 50 homes? Is that right?

Anne:
Oh, that’s so right. Again, going back to really not having the great tools that there are today, all I really had was this thing inside of me. I get this thing where I must do it. So when I heard that, it just became my must. Again, the great advice that I got from another one of my, what I would call a mentor more in the mindset space, just said, “Create goals even if you don’t know how.” Then I think what I figured out was if I just ask enough questions, then I’m going to get the answers. All great things happen through people, every single time. Every time you create a goal and you don’t know how, you’re going to meet somebody and that’s just the way the world works in my estimation.

Rob:
See, what’s really cool is that it seems like the true beginning of Anne Curry in the real estate world is asking two very simple questions, which was, can you introduce me to this person and can I help you or can I help you on your properties? It just goes to show that we are all so tripped up on never getting started over something as easy as you could just walk up to somebody and say, “Can I help you so that maybe one day you can return the favor?” It’s really cool to see that this was really the catalyst for where you would go.

Anne:
Yeah. It’s probably why I’m so passionate about helping people either get started or get to the next step. I’m absolutely passionate. In fact, I feel like it’s my moral obligation to help people. What that looks like now is we’ll have free events in our community where we will teach people and I’ll take people along beside me and teach them how to do it because I feel like… I call myself a least likely, so now I’m passionate about helping other least likely people also make their stake in real estate because it’s the wealth building. Money’s just a tool, so what you get to do with money is worth all the power it comes from.

David:
What are some of the next set of goals that you have for your future?

Anne:
Yeah. I’m always working off a next set of goals. When I made the 50-house goal, that was about 20 years ago, and again, we were just getting started, so none of that made sense, but I had a goal of owning 50 single-family rentals. I wanted to run a marathon. I wanted to make $20,000 a month in active income through my real estate license which I got later. I want to make $40,000 a month in passive income and I wanted to help my kid get through college by paying it forward with cash. That was 18, 20 years ago and it took 15 years to realize all those goals. So now I’m working on my next set of goals, which is we’ve moved into some development opportunities, so ground up from [inaudible 00:15:11] to apartments. So we have some projects going with that.
More of my goals now are about creating the generational wealth. How am I going to pass down not just my money now, my tangible wealth, but my knowledge wealth to my kids, my grandkids, my daughter’s here and she’s now working for me and she’s working on her first rental, and then passing it on to the least likely just like me? Either they don’t have the resources or they don’t have the knowledge. It’s that kind of stuff that now my goals are built around and what I’m so passionate about.

David:
I think something fascinating about your story, Anne, is on one hand, your value system wasn’t centered around money. You were a social worker. You married somebody that I believe you said was in education. There wasn’t a ton of money coming in, but on the other hand, you had grandpa who had this wealth of knowledge of how to make money that you didn’t even realize was right there, and just a couple of words from him opened your mind to possibilities like, what? Grandpa owns that property? We own land? He had a very simple approach to building wealth that over a long period of time did really well. It almost sounds like once you realize there’s information all around me that I don’t know is there, you start asking everyone, “Well, how do you do this?” or “Can you introduce me to someone?” I think that’s a fantastic piece of advice that so many of us are waiting for life to bring something our way.
Like, well, I just were praying, “God, will you just send somebody or will you send me a million dollars,” when if we would just go seek, we would go ask, if we would go look for the thing we want, it might be right there. Do you have anything to say on just that approach?

Anne:
We have a 60-unit apartment building and it’s in what I would call the affordable housing space. How that got started was my mentor that had the 50 single-family homes, a lot of his rentals were in the affordable housing space. So I cut my teeth on learning affordable housing through him. I remember early on, he would take me to our local housing authority and introduce me to the people there and just say, “This is Anne. She’s going to own rentals. I want you to know who she is. She’s going to be a great housing provider.” At the time, I didn’t really understand fully what all of that meant, but he taught me about Section 8. A lot of his tenants had voucher. The Section 8 is just a housing program that allows these tenants to have vouchers. So when they can’t afford rent on their own, the government comes behind them and supports them by giving them a portion of their rent or all of their rent in what’s called a Section 8 voucher.
When you hear a Section 8 tenant, a tenant is a person that needs housing and they happen to have a housing voucher. My first tenant in my first rental was I had a Section 8 housing voucher. Some of my best tenants had Section 8 housing vouchers. So relationship with the housing authority started really, really early on and it’s thanks to my mentor that exposed me to them and their group.

Rob:
I want to get into the affordable housing piece because I know that this was a really big piece for how you built your portfolio, but can you just back us up a little bit and just give us an understanding of what your portfolio is today so that we know really how much of a role the affordable housing had in it?

Anne:
Oh, sure. Okay. We have a 60-unit affordable housing apartment building. We have 168 units that we bought a year ago that have a mix of affordable housing and just market rent. Then we have some other development opportunities. We have a five-townhouse project that we’re going from the ground up. We have a mix of some single families, some duplexes, triplexes that we rent to Section 8 tenants. We have 90-unit ground up construction. So we’ve definitely grown. Then we have a 30-unit that we’re working with the city and that will have a affordable housing component. The 50 single-family homes were all in an affordable housing community that I ended up buying from the local Tacoma Housing Authority, which I can unpack that a little bit. Back to this expansion and contraction with these local housing authorities, always in expansion, always in contraction.
When they are in contraction, sometimes that means they have to take some of their buildings out of their portfolio so they can sell them, recapture some income to be able to go buy new product. So in the case of our 60-unit, so it has this affordable housing component to it. It’s cool the way it worked out. When the housing authority bought it, they bought it also with a grant in place and that grant came from the local redevelopment council. It was at $1.5 million and that was to renovate it when they had renovated it 18 years before they sold it to me. The cool part about that is that that $1.5 million doesn’t have to be paid off as long as you run the building with this affordability component to it. Where that was a benefit to me when I bought it from the Tacoma Housing Authority, that ran with the property. So I assumed that 1.5 million-dollar grant as a second that has no debt service and is totally forgiven as long as I run that property as an affordable project through 2031. So that’s a cool opportunity.
For the housing authority, the benefit for them was they needed to sell that 60-unit because it was 18 years passed when they had last renovate it. They didn’t have the cash. They’d have to pay prevailing wages, which is 30%, 40% more than what I would have to. So they made the choice, which is always an uncomfortable choice for them because they’re not about taking housing away. So when they had a private person come and be willing to buy that and also run it as affordable housing, that’s where that synergy started to take place, but it goes way back to creating that relationship a long time ago and having them feel like they can trust you with the little, then they’re also going to trust you with the bigger stuff.

David:
All right, so let’s recap here. You’ve got a 60-unit of affordable housing, several single-family homes, the five-town home land development deal, three acres in a residential area that’s been rezoned to multifamily where you’re engineering a 90-unit site, and then also you’re developing a 30-unit apartment complex building. Is that correct?

Anne:
That’s right, yeah.

David:
So you went from $5 an hour to everything I just said.

Anne:
That’s right, yeah. That’s right. None of this is like get rich quick thing. You’re talking about what happened over 30 years of just staying consistent and keep going and asking good questions and asking how and having great mentors and having the people in your life that can show you the way and then just being [inaudible 00:22:49] determined to just keep making it work.

David:
Well, I wanted to ask you, is this because of the BRRRRX method? Did you get the first couple of properties, refinanced them, buy new boxes, pull equity out of those boxes to buy your next set of boxes? Did grandpa’s advice carry you to what we just described?

Anne:
Yes, it’s definitely the BRRRRX method. I love that new term. I think it has legs. I think it’s going to go somewhere,

Rob:
Why don’t we call it the BOXRRR, like B-O-X-R-R-R?

Anne:
Yeah.

Rob:
Maybe that makes more sense, David. I don’t know. Does that track?

Anne:
Yeah, it tracks. Yeah. Back to your point, David, it really was scaling up. I started with one little rental house that we had this Section 8 tenant. I did all the work myself. So going back to no internet, no [inaudible 00:23:35], no David and Rob to tell you how to do this kind of stuff. I would just go to Home Depot when I was working on that first house. I didn’t have money. All I had was the ability to ask questions. I would drive over to Home Depot and I would look for people that knew what they were doing. Usually, they were men and they were at Home Depot too. I would just tap them on the shoulder and I was in my 20s and I’m a girl. I would just say, “Excuse me, sir. I have a toilet and it’s doing this. How do I do that?” So I just ask questions all the way through fixing up this first rental property myself. I was the girl that had paint in my hair and paint in my clothes because I did all the painting. I figured it out.
The only thing I didn’t do was the electrical, but all I had again was just a few bucks and the determination and the ability to ask questions. So fixed up that first house myself. I think it took me nine months to get it into rental shape. Then we got our first tenant and then we let that equity rise. So I bought that little house for 60 grand and did all the work to it. Then nine months later, we refinanced and it got a appraised value of 120. So it was again, BRRRRing my way through. At the same time, we took the cash that we had gotten out of our first original house and we bought another house to go live in. So I just kept creating and it was just very slow and doing the fix up myself, getting my hands dirty, asking all the questions, doing it again.
Then the real breakthrough came when I want to scale up into multifamily. This was probably 10, 11 years after I bought my first rental. Put together a few little single-family homes when I thought, now I want to own a 20-unit apartment building. That was my big goal. Man, if I could do that. Remember, I wouldn’t ask myself how I’m going to do it, but I just had that goal. 20 units, that would be so great.

Rob:
How many had you already finished before that 20-unit?

Anne:
Oh, I probably had five or six little single-family homes that we had bought. That was a huge goal. I didn’t ask myself how I would do it, but shortly after, I was at a nonprofit fundraising dinner and I happened to be sitting at a table and this gentleman that was probably 25 years older than me sat right next to me. I said, “Hi, I’m Anne.” He said, “I’m John.” I said, “Well, what do you do?” and he said, “I’m an apartment developer. I own 300 units.” I just said, “Would you tell me how you did that?” and for the whole dinner, I think two hours, we talked about real estate. At the end, I said, “Would you show me how?” and he said, “Yeah. Come to my office tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM.” He gave me an address. I showed up and he said, “Let me tell you how.” He was the one that introduced me to my commercial broker who helped me scale up and actually buy that 60-unit.
So serendipitously, my commercial broker had the relationship with the local housing authority and he had the contract to be able to sell the properties that they owned.

Rob:
Wow.

Anne:
So that’s the other part of that story. I have very serendipitous relationships and I just feel like, again, everything great happens through people and it happens through relationships. You just never know who you’re going to meet, so have the goal, create the goal. Don’t ask yourself how you’re going to do it. The how always shows up. Just have the goal and have that determination and you’re going to get there.

David:
So Anne, is it fair to say that all of your down payments for future properties came from equity from the past properties?

Anne:
Actually, on that 60-unit that I bought, I actually had a partner. I didn’t have the cash. I had a great deal. The numbers all made sense. I went into it scared because I had never done this before, but I had the people that were looking it over for me and telling me that this is a great deal. When I didn’t know how, but I had the deal, I just turned to my husband and I said, “Do we know anybody that has some cash that would want to invest in real estate?” We looked at each other like, who would that be? He came up with a name. I was scared to death, but I called a meeting with this person and I just said, “Hey, I’ve got this deal. It’s a 60-unit. Here’s all the numbers.” I came very prepared. I put all the numbers in front of him and he said, “Yeah, I think I actually want to do that,” and I just remember that shock.
I was so scared to go meet and I was so nervous and just like this, really? I probably thought it was funny that I looked at him like, really, you want to do that? But that became a cool relationship. He was a partner on the 50 single-family houses that we bought too. It’s always the hardest yes is the first one. Then after that, if you do what you say you’re going to do and you perform and you’re good to people, then the second yeses are usually easier. So that’s how it was with that partner.

David:
It sounds like everything was scaled with a combination of value add approaches. So you looked at properties that you could add value to, sound operations, refinancing to pull money out of these deals and buy future deals, and then partnerships. What I love is that you did this over a extended period of time. You didn’t try to build financial freedom in 24 months so that you could immediately retire and make risky decisions or buy too much real estate. You waited until a property was stabilized. You pulled money out of it. You found another partner. You took on the next project, which I can testify too, I often try to do too many things at one time and then they all go poorly and you lose money, not because you bought a bad deal, but because you were stretched too thin. So I think that there’s some really sound wisdom in there.
All right. So next, we’re going to dive into how and why affordable housing is such a valuable part of your portfolio. But before we do, we’re going to play a little game called, You’re Wrong About. So we’re going to read a myth about affordable housing, and then you’re going to tell us if it’s true or false. I will start. Myth number one, if I have Section 8 housing, I will end up dealing with a bunch of tenant problems.

Anne:
Yeah, myth. Remember, these are people. They happen to have a housing voucher. A housing voucher doesn’t make them good or bad tenants. What I would say is screen just like you normally do. But there are some benefits to accepting these tenants that have these vouchers. One of them is that they really don’t like to move because moving is expensive. Imagine, when you move, you have to put deposits on utilities, you have to change your cable. You have to get the moving truck. It’s expensive to move. So they typically will stay longer than another tenant. So really, it’s just all about screening. Some of my best tenants were my Section 8 voucher tenant.

David:
Okay, Rob, you want to take number two?

Rob:
Yeah. Myth number two, if I’m just getting started in real estate investing, there’s no way I can do affordable housing for my first deal.

Anne:
Yeah, myth again. My first rental, I accepted a voucher, a tenant with a voucher. That is your entry into affordable housing. Where it goes from there, is just this synergy of meeting with your local housing providers, which is every community has a housing authority. So just creating that relationship. It can just look as simple as just meeting with them and just saying, “Listen, I have rentals. How can I be assistance to you?” That is such a powerful statement and a powerful question. I just used this actually last week because we bought 168 units about a year ago. I’ve had a few meetings with the new local housing authority in the community that I bought. I met with them and I just said, “Hey, I’ve bought these 168 units. I want to help provide affordable housing. How can we work together?” and there’s so much power in that. If you have one or you have 168, you can ask that question and they’re going to tell you what they need. So anybody can jump into this space.

David:
All right. Myth number three, Section 8 isn’t as profitable as other types of rentals.

Anne:
Yeah, myth. A lot of people don’t understand that Section 8 will usually pay at least market or sometimes above market. Now they’re not going to publish what they will pay for, let’s say, a five-bedroom house, a two-bedroom apartment. That’s not published anywhere. But if you look at the history, and it’s been the same since I jumped into affordable housing 20 some years ago, they are usually at market or above. The other cool thing about some of these housing providers are going to give you some grant money for fix up. Is it more profitable or less profitable? I would say it can be as profitable or sometimes even more profitable than just market rate tenants.

Rob:
Wow. So it’s fair to say that whatever assumptions that people have about affordable housing, they’re probably wrong. I think that these are the top three myths that we hear very often whenever we talk about the subject, but you gave very good explanations as to why it’s a very feasible real estate niche within the investing community.

Anne:
Yeah, and what’s cool is you get to blend that doing good and helping people along with creating an income or creating wealth in the real estate space and provide great housing and just like you would for anyone else. Then it’s a win-win.

David:
Okay, as promised, we are going to get into hands-on tactics of how you use your strategy. First question, how do you find your affordable housing deals?

Anne:
Yeah. Well, you can find them through, so there’s brokers in your area that have these relationships with the housing authorities. The housing authority will contract with these brokers to sell some of their product when they are in a contraction mode. The housing authorities themselves, that’s going to be your greatest path. Again, you’re going to have to start small with the relationship, create the relationship, be willing to help solve their problems. Ask them, just be willing to ask them, what do you need and how can I help? Because a lot of the times, they’re even looking for landlords just to get some feedback from. Hey, we’re thinking about this or we’re changing our policies on that, what kind of feedback can you get? So just volunteer your time and create the relationships.

Rob:
Yeah. On that note, how do you go about building those relationships?

Anne:
Yeah. Well, like I said, just asking great questions. Be a resource. Be somebody who is going to them and saying, “I want to help.” Because a lot of times, in their work, people are always needing from them. I need housing. I need vouchers. I need money. They’re always getting the I need and very rarely are they having somebody come to them and say, “How can I also help solve what you need to solve?” like I did in that new community with my 168. I just said, “Hey.” And it doesn’t have to be 168. It could be one. When I first approached them with my mentor and created that relationship, I had one house, but I just said, “How can I help? What do you need? I just want to be a solution finder for you.”

David:
How do you use the prevailing wage to your advantage in these deals?

Anne:
Yeah. These housing authorities are government entities and they have to pay what’s called prevailing wages, which just means it’s about 30% or 40% more than myself as a private sector person have to pay. What does that look like? When you’re hiring a contractor, they’re paying 30% or 40% more. When they’re installing windows or a roof, they’re always paying 30% to 40% more. So it becomes very unaffordable for them to do projects. When they’re in expansion and contraction, when they need to sell off inventory like the 50 houses or the 60-unit apartment building, then that has really come to the end of its useful life. They need to sell that off and be able to put that money that they receive from the sale into newer inventory that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to keep them up or renovate them. So as a private person, you have an advantage where you can take that product and really do it yourself, but that’s how you can use those prevailing wages too or them having to pay prevailing wages to you not to your advantage.

Rob:
What are the different types of affordable housing?

Anne:
Yeah. There’s HUD housing, which HUD provides the Section 8 voucher, so you have that whole component. There’s something called USDA. Those are more in your rural areas. There’s individual entities, maybe called redevelopment councils in your areas and they’re all about creating affordable housing. They can have grant monies. There’s a lot of money out there because we’re in a housing crisis, but we’re also in a affordable housing crisis. So there’s a lot of entities that are creating grants to help spur on more affordable housing. It’s really just making contact. Start with Google. Just Google, what are the housing providers in my area? That’s where, if I was going to tell somebody to start, I would just start right there because that’s a lot of relationship creating and there’s going to be a lot of stuff that is going to spur off of that.

David:
How does someone find those phone numbers that they want to call them?

Anne:
Yeah, Google. That’s the beautiful thing about the age that we live in is that you can pretty much Google anything. I live in Tacoma, Washington. Wherever you live, you can just Google housing authority in my area. When I made contact within that new market that I’m in and I needed to create that relationship, I simply just Googled. I just called him up and I said, “Hey, this is who I am. This is what I have. I’d love to talk to your housing director. I’m not asking you for anything.”

David:
That’s perfect. So ask for the housing director. That’s the best person to talk to?

Anne:
Yeah. I went straight for the housing director and I made sure that they knew that I am not asking you for anything. I’m coming to you because I have something and I want to partner with you to create solutions for you, wherever that is. That’s the question I’m going to be asking is, what do you guys need? Here’s what I have and how do we work together for the good of the people?

David:
All right. Well, Anne, this has been fantastic. I’m curious, Rob, what are some of your favorite pieces of advice that we got today from Anne?

Rob:
Honestly, I think it really started at the beginning for me because it really does just tackle such a barrier and it’s putting yourself out there. If you find out that someone is doing something that you want to do, figure out how to get in a room with that person. In this instance, there’s actually a couple of ways. Anne found someone and she’s like, “Can you introduce me to this person?” Then there was another instance that Anne was talking about where she was at a fundraising gala and she was, I think, did you say Anne, you were sitting next to somebody and you basically introduced yourself? You put yourself out there and then you ended up getting a deal from that. I think it’s just a very simple premise of putting yourself out there when you’re a newbie, making it very clear that you’re just hungry, you’re ready to learn, but more importantly, that you’re willing and able to return value in any way that you possibly can.
That way, at least the person is like, all right, great. I’m going to get value out of showing this person how to invest in real estate. What about you, Dave?

David:
I love the story about how there were people all around that Anne wasn’t even thinking could help with building wealth. That grandpa was right there. The other people in the city were right there. Then once Anne turned that corner, it was like, oh, this is a thing I could do. It just became something she did everywhere. Everywhere she went, she was asking, how can I help you? How did you do this? I’m curious. Tell me about how you got it. She took that approach of, well, there’s got to be a way. But just having that faith that there are people around us right now that we could talk to if we had the eyes to see it and not waiting for someone to come rescue us, I think that’s very important. I often get into that point in my own life where I’m frustrated, I’m struggling and I’m just like, why doesn’t someone come bail me out?
Why doesn’t that perfect employee show up? Why can’t I have someone that makes my life easier as opposed to thinking, well, who’s around me that could help? I thought that was fantastic. Then just that slow method, buying a property, adding value, even if it means a couple of years go by. Keep listening to podcasts. Keep educating yourself. Keep networking. Keep meeting people. Three or four years later, you can pull equity out of it. You get your next deal. It doesn’t have to be a new deal every single month. You don’t have to be churning and burning, selling contracts on $60,000 properties and working yourself to death. Real estate really works well over time. So approach it like a marathon, not like it is a sprint.
I thought there was a ton of good content here. Anne, I want to thank you for sharing this. It’s not often we hear someone that went from $5 an hour to an affordable housing fury like you that didn’t follow a path that everyone else is doing. You carved your own path and I think that’s awesome. For people that want to find out more about you, where can they contact you?

Anne:
Yeah. We’re on Instagram, so Anne Curry Homes. We have a lot of great content there. I love to educate. Like I said, I feel this drive to bring people along, so we have a lot of great education. Then we also have our website, so annecurryhomes.com. You can download a copy of a free book. We host events. We’ll do the live event online too. Anything having to do with DADUs in your backyard to Airbnb, everything real estate, love to have you.

David:
Awesome. Rob, where can people find you?

Rob:
You can find me over on the YouTubes. There’s multiple, Robuilt, R-O-B-U-I-L-T. Same thing for Instagram. And of course, the number one place you can find me is in your heart, David. Where can people find you on the internet?

David:
So good. Did you plan that or is that spontaneous?

Rob:
I did not. No. I was going to say to leave us a five-star review, but the other thing was funnier. And I still got that out, so I guess it’s double boxed.

David:
Oh, man, you are coming along nicely. For all of those that don’t know, Rob used to be the perfectionist on this show. If he said can’t instead of cannot, he’d be like, “Stop, stop. We have to change that.”

Rob:
Start over, please.

David:
Yes. I was like, “Come on man. You can freestyle a little bit,” and in front of our eyes, we’re watching little Robbie grow up into Robert.

Rob:
Did I make you proud, Dad?

David:
Absolutely. I love that, man. You’re turning into Eminem right in front of my eyes. Yeah, you can find me at davidgreene24 or even better, go to davidgreene24.com. Check out my website. See all the stuff that I’m up to, what I’m doing. You can sign in for a free text letter there if you want to know what books I’m reading or where I’ll be speaking or what projects I’m working on. Do that there. Anne, this was fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on today and for sharing what you did. This was a great show and we hope to have you back again. This is David Greene for Rob, growing up in front of our own eyes, Abasolo signing off.

 

Help us reach new listeners on iTunes by leaving us a rating and review! It takes just 30 seconds and instructions can be found here. Thanks! We really appreciate it!

Interested in learning more about today’s sponsors or becoming a BiggerPockets partner yourself? Email [email protected].

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

About Author