Check out a meeting if you are interested in joining a group of people that truly believe in “paying it forward.” – Doug
By Neil Gordon As seen in Buzz On Bizz
Augustans Joe and Mandy Foster are going on a $4,300 working cruise together this year. They’ll set sail on The Art of Real Estate (AORE) Conference Cruise ship this November.
They’ll learn from more experienced investors on the trip and help new investors answer questions.
The husband and wife members of AORE own several three-bedroom, two-bath homes in Columbia County that they rent out.
“We call it our farm area,” said Joe Foster, the owner of a consulting company in the CSRA.
They were the guest speakers at the April 16 monthly meeting of AORE at the Savannah Lakes Pavilion – and one of several married couple investors at the event.
The Fosters told the crowd of 60 fellow members, real estate agents, contractors and guests that their road to investing was filled with a lot of seed planting along the way by some unlikely acquaintances.
Joe Foster met “Sandy the mechanic” in his downtown Augusta shop as a high school student. Foster wanted to talk about jeeps and trucks and Sandy wanted to share his knowledge of real estate.
Fast forward more than a decade later and “Sandy the investor” asked Foster to hear him give a monthly AORE talk. Out of politeness, Foster obliged. He liked it, but also knew he didn’t want to be a landlord.
“I didn’t want to unplug toilets,” he told the crowd who laughed with him in empathy, “or work on HVAC units.”
He was still hesitant to invest but came back next month to hear the speaker/investor Keith Fell.
Fell impressed Foster by sharing his version of what he believed the word “time” meant to him.
Fell told the crowd that TI means “take initiative” and ME means “make excuses.” It may have been the kick in the pants Foster needed.
Each speaker recommends a book to read to help fellow members. Fell chose “Rich Man Poor Man”.
“I hadn’t read a book since college,” gasped Foster to the smiling audience.
His wife Mandy noticed that Foster couldn’t put down the book and finished it the same day.
Mandy Foster just had the second of their three children and was afraid real estate investing would take away valuable family time. She didn’t attend any of the monthly meetings with her husband, but did go with Fell as he showed them six homes he had for sale. They bought one in Martinez.
Mandy Foster noticed there wasn’t a lot of work to do on the Martinez home.
“I thought if all goes wrong, we’ll just live here,” she chuckled.
Still, Joe Foster was hesitant to rent out the property. He delayed on getting projects done and then finally put a “For Rent” sign in the yard, planning to take photos and advertise it, but couldn’t.
“We had qualified tenants to pick and choose from within the first week,” he said.
More than two years later, that tenant is still in the home paying rent on time. There are still few issues with repairs.
At that point, Mandy Foster jumped in and took a landlord course AORE offered one Saturday at the Columbia County Library. She’s learned about screening for tenants, allowing pets, conducting background checks, collecting rents, writing and re-writing leases and more.
“Five minutes into the class I knew it was a good class to be in. I felt empowered, in control, and learned how to work with tenants,” she said.
She runs the business side while her husband looks for properties to buy.
“You should stay in your skill set,” said Justin Anderson, who co-runs AORE with his real estate mentor, Don Morant.
They say AORE is about helping each other to find the right contractors, tenants and even properties – kind of a twist on an old adage, “If you help people get what they want, you’ll get what you want.”
Those two full-time investors have organically grown their real estate training company to Oklahoma City and next to Philadelphia due to meeting students who ended up relocating there.
Anderson and Morant lead the group on the second Saturday of each month and hold a monthly book club meeting on real estate.
April’s meeting created a positive “supply and demand” vibe with the group.
“Inventory is down, home pricing is up and interest rates are about the same,” said Morant, a former longtime government employee turned full-time investor.
Anderson shared a newspaper article with the group that he received from South Florida stating that the return on rental investment there is generally around 7-9 percent, while Augusta is a bit closer to Clayton County, Ga., which has a 25 percent return.
“We live in a gold mine in Augusta, Georgia,” Anderson said.
Attending the Fosters’ talk in mid-April were two investors who planted the seeds for them many years ago – Sandy the mechanic and Keith Fell.
“I was so proud to hear them speak,” said Sandy the mechanic. “I believed in it so much I wanted to share with Joe. My success is others success.”
“I just wanted to help someone get started the way I got involved,” Fell added. “It took me a year of research to start investing, so I gave him my cell phone number and offered free advice.”
He was there for encouragement and now the Fosters and Fell do business together.
Mandy Foster left her career as a school teacher to be home with her kids. She finds AORE’s information sharing refreshing.
“There’s enough business for everyone and everyone is helpful,” she said.
On the November cruise AORE members will share success stories, lessons learned and plan goals for 2017.
For more information on meetings, the cruise and upcoming workshops, visit www.aore.com.