Investing in Real Estate? Steer clear of speculation, focus on cash flow.

This week I had the privilege of attending a ‘Lunch and Learn’ put on by one of our team’s partner lenders, The Dorman Team at Evergreen Home Loans.  I took down lots of notes and learned so much that I immediately had to share with the rest of my team and also emailed some notes to a few clients that I know are either already investing in real estate or are considering investing.  So, I figured I’d share a tidbit here as well because I think the information is very simple but also very useful.

So the Lunch and Learn was covering the topic of “How to Qualify for Multiple Investment Properties”.  Mike Dorman lead the class and instructed us based off of his personal experience.  He’s purchased a lot of investment homes since his early twenties and made a lot of mistakes along the way. His first intro speech was about focusing on current cash flow only, not speculation of being able to buy and sell and make a profit. If you are planning to flip and sell, you must be very strategic and know your numbers if planning on doing that. Also, hire a great inspector and Real Estate Agent.

There are many things to take into account when looking to buy an investment property and accounting for cash flow.

To begin with, Mike said that you absolutely should NOT even consider buying an investment property unless you have $50,000 in the bank. This is a good starting point of financial security in knowing you are in a good place to begin investing.  You can purchase with less than 50K, just put enough down so you are making at least $200 per unit a month in cash to cover expenses. If you have a 4-plex, you should shoot for $300-$600 depending on the age of the property. You don’t want to be strapped to where you cannot take care of the home. The more down-payment you can apply, the better your cash flow will be because your monthly payments will be lower, obviously. Mike gave some examples in a spreadsheet of a $250,000 home with a $50,000 down payment vs. a $100,000 down payment. The home with $50,000 down had a cash-flow of $66/ month after all expenses and the home with $100,000 down had a cash flow of over $300/month.

He said that a conservative estimate on vacancy and what the underwriters use is to assume you will always have 25% vacancy. You should never assume less than 10% vacancy.

On average, account for one month’s rent to be used towards maintenance of the home annually and consider deducting this into your rent amount itself.

You really should hire a property manager. The money spent on a property management company will pay for itself both in the rental amount charged and your time spent managing it otherwise.  Property managers will help you get higher rent amounts similar to an agent selling your home vs. selling on your own.   They do a much better job of screening tenants. Mike gave an example of two brand-new homes in Orting that prior to hiring a property manager, he had to replace carpet and re-paint three times costing him 7K each time a tenant moved out, and this was because of his poor choice of tenants.  Since hiring a property manager, that hasn’t been a problem. For a good property manager, expect to pay 10% of your rental amount.  He mentioned that you shouldn’t try to find the cheapest property manager because you get way you pay for; he wants his property management company to be successful so that they can also do a good job at property management. (Good lesson for anything we hire out!)

He said, do NOT buy ‘nice big homes’, because every time a tenant moves out, the expectation is to clean the place up to be a ‘nice big home’ again, which is costly. Buy simple family homes, 3 or 4 bedrooms with 2 bathrooms. Do NOT buy homes with Septic tanks because of the costly maintenance and issues that can arise with septic tanks.

Mike also supplied us with some breakdowns of the differences in requirements with Freddie Mac vs. Fannie Mae for investment properties, what the down payment requirements would look like, and more.  I would suggest that if you are interested in investing at this time, reach out to Mike and his team and he can help you look at your options.

Hope this was helpful, it certainly was for me!





De-cluttering my life

I recently joined a Real Estate team, Press Play Realty and they required that I read the book ‘The One Thing’. I had heard a lot of “The One Thing” lingo talked about at the office so I had a general idea that it meant focusing in on the one thing that you should do to make your life easier and more successful.

I love this quote from Gary Keller in the book:

“The doors to the world have been flung wide open, and the view that’s available is staggering. Through technology and innovation, opportunities abound and possibilities seem endless. As inspiring as this can be, it can be equally overwhelming. The unintended consequence of abundance is that we are bombarded with more information and choices in a day than our ancestors received in a lifetime. Harried and hurried, a nagging sense that we attempt too much and accomplish too little haunts our days.”


This really resonated with me in the sense that I often try to do too many things at once but I am also easily distracted by my surroundings. I actually didn’t at first connect this to my home and wanting to minimalize here too, but oddly enough I’ve ended up in this place where I want to get rid of all the clutter and distractions at home to make life more simple here as well.  My husband asked me what got me started on all of this just yesterday and I told him I wasn’t even sure. He likes the idea of getting rid of stuff too, but I have an inkling that he may think I’ve gone a little cuckoo as I’ve slowly torn apart our home little by little in the evenings this week.

I’m a total YouTube and podcast junkie, I’m always listening to something inspiring when I’m getting ready for my day, so I think I first heard the idea of minimalism from another YouTube entrepreneur but I’m not totally sure. Actually now that I really think back, it may have gotten recommended in my YouTube feed after looking up how to pack everything in a carry-on for a two week trip because the concepts are similar (we are leaving for Europe in a couple of weeks and want to take everything in our carry-ons).  In general, I think it all just kind of connects with ‘The One Thing’ for me because no matter what you do in life, the more you can simplify it, the easier it will be and the more likely you are to accomplish whatever it is you’re trying to get done. Whether it be picking out your outfit in the morning or trying to find your next real estate client 🙂  I also think the inner desire for this goes along with wanting to have a farm someday and live “the simple life” …if there is such a thing.


I envision this being really great for our finances overtime too if I can keep up the minimalist efforts. Let me tell you about my shopping habits.  I have always have been a bargain shopper. I go straight for the clearance racks, I never pay full price for anything except maybe food, and I love to thrift shop. The bad thing about this is that I shop too often so even though I spend really small amounts at a time, it still adds up to a lot. I also have a tendency to buy things just because they are cheap but then they don’t get used because it wasn’t something I actually needed or wanted, which is super wasteful.It certainly doesn’t help that Target and TJ Maxx are both within a five minute drive from my house!

The purge.  That’s what I’m calling it.  Sounds like a scary movie and it kind of looks like one in our spare room right now where I’m storing all the stuff I’m getting rid of. We will be having a yard sale in two weekends before we leave for Europe because why not try to make some money off of our junk?!

Here are the types of questions I’m asking myself as I go through everything in my house:

Have I used this in the last six months?

Why do I have this?

Am I saving this “just in case”? If so, can I re-purchase it later inexpensively for one-time use?

If I were to go shopping now, would I still buy this?

Will my friend/family member that bought this for me actually be mad if I got rid of it knowing that it would make my life less stressful to let it go?  Or would they even know?

Does seeing this item make me feel guilty? (i.e. my scrapbooking supplies because I never scrapbook anymore)

Do I have multiples of this same thing?

Would someone else be blessed with this at our yard sale or at the thrift store?

And a final reminder I always tell myself…none of these things go with me when I leave this Earth so really none of them matter 🙂

Have you been trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle? If so, have you been successful at maintaining a de-cluttered home? How has it impacted other areas of your personal, spiritual, or work life?

Some Pinterest inspiration to leave you feeling inspired to de-clutter too:









HELLO WORLD, a little about me, etc.

I decided to create this blog so I could have one platform to share tidbits about my life, my interests, and my career. Lately, I’ve been anxiously wanting to connect with others in my community that also have honeybees or chickens in their backyards and/or are growing some of their own food. If I’m being honest, it’s my husband, Daniel, who led us in this adventure and does most of the hard work and I basically just reap the benefits and brag about him…

I hope to one day have the same passion about gardening and bees as my husband does. I’m just busy being obsessed with our four chickens at the moment. Their names are Buffy, Chappy 1 & Chappy 2 (lookalikes),  and Snow White. They produce the best eggs in town, in my opinion.  We actually tried to buy a real farm a little over a month ago, one called “Sweet Briar Farms” that came with 135 chickens and the prettiest greenhouses Daniel ever did see, but our offer was outbid by another buyer. It would have been a big risk for us anyways and a lot to maintain, so I think it all worked out for the best. Having gone through that experience though and spending hours dreaming of “what could be”, we now have a vision to someday move beyond just our backyard homesteading operation.

I also have a cat named Tesla that hates everyone except Daniel and me so the only way I can show her sweet side is through Instagram, which I just might do a little too often. Sorry followers.


We moved to Kent, WA from Spokane, WA in 2012. The transition was hardest on me with leaving our family, friends, and church home behind, but after almost four years living in a suburb of Seattle, I think I kind of like it here.   The rain can seem over-redundant at times but all the green around us makes it a reasonable tradeoff for me.  I’m grateful to be a few hours drive from our Washington coastline. I always tell people that “nothing is more beautiful than where the mountains meet the ocean” and that place is basically in our backyard. So, I gladly endure the rain.

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La Push, Second Beach


My husband is an Electrician for Local 46 in the Union (I think that’s the right Local, but don’t quote me) and I am a Realtor with Keller Williams Puget Sound.  “Do you know anyone that is looking to buy or sell Real Estate?” is what I should be asking, so hey, do you know anyone that is looking to buy or sell Real Estate? Kidding, but seriously though. I may occasionally share Real Estate news and statistics if I think it’s relevant to my community or just crazy stories here and there about a day in the life of a Realtor.

I started dabbling in running about this time last year and ran my first half-marathon in July 2015 and am registered to do the same one again this year (See Jane Run, Seattle). I don’t enjoy running, but I appreciate running, if that makes any sense. I like the way I feel after a run and the discipline it teaches me to endure something that is not pleasant knowing that it will have a positive outcome for my health. While we are on the topic of health and me,  I also like doing a Whole30 every now and again. Look it up if you don’t know what it is. I think everyone should know about it and try it.   #itstartswithfood

I just put a hashtag in a blog post, am I supposed to do that? No idea.

I’m not sure where exactly this blog is going. I’m not much of a writer at all, I tend to over-use commas and parentheses.  I’m also terrible at organizing my thoughts and my emotions, which may have already been evident from this post alone.

Anyways, it’s almost 12pm and I usually go to bed much earlier, so I need to wrap this up before my head falls on the keyboard and I accidentally delete all that I’ve written.  Thanks for reading the splatter of thoughts and ideas above! Comment if you have any questions about me, our backyard operation, or… anything I suppose.

Be Blessed!