You Want to What Now? A Spouse’s Response to Real Estate

“Happiness is only real when shared.” -Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

My rock, my anchor, my source of happiness. All these things describe my beautiful wife as we began our tumultuous journey together. Below Peggy talks about her initial reaction to investing and how she grew into acceptance.

I never imagined I would be writing a post for a blog. Honestly, I don’t know if anyone out there will want to ‘listen’ to what I have to say. However, after receiving some encouragement from our friends, I hope to help others in our situation, who believe diving into investing is an overwhelming experience.

Adulthood is a funny thing. When I was in high school, I had a very clear vision of how my life was going to go and who I was going to be: I was going to become a Navy nurse and do humanitarian missions. I would get married and see the world with my husband and eventually have a ton of kids. I would also be an amazing photographer on the side and submit the occasional photo to National Geographic… Once I graduated college though, I began to realize just how fluid everything is. I am now married to a wonderful husband and we are slowly working on seeing the world. I am a Navy nurse, though I have not deployed yet; and photography is a casual hobby. Although I have a lot of growing to do, I have come a long way and certainly learned a lot in the process about myself, the world, and about how home is where your loved ones are.

Where to begin…

The Russell Clan

I grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester with loving parents, Mary and Jim, two younger brothers, Tommy and Patrick, and our wonderful family dogs. My childhood home is a two-story colonial with a white fence and an American flag waving from the pole out front. My dad was an engineer for Naval Sea Systems Command- a government agency- and is now happily retired. My mom recently retired from the Navy Nurse Corps and currently works in nursing informatics. Early on, our parents taught us about saving money. We earned a small weekly allowance for completing chores, eventually opened savings accounts, and gradually learned some fiscal responsibility. Ultimately, my strategy with money was to budget, save, and spend wisely. This strategy has worked for my parents, as evidenced by my dad’s ability to retire in his fifties and by their waterfront vacation home in Brigantine, NJ. Why shouldn’t I do the same thing? This was my mindset before my husband caught on to real estate investing, and slowly, but surely, I am coming around to the idea that there may be some real potential for us in investing.

When Anthony first came to me with the idea of real estate investing, I perceived it as a form of escapism. Truly, my reaction was “you want to do what now?” At that time, he was part of a submarine crew that had a grueling hours and a toxic work environment. He first approached me with a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad in October 2018. By Thanksgiving he was off that boat and on to a new command and things were looking up… By January we were preparing to close on a four-unit property in Portsmouth, Virginia. At that time, I was in complete denial about the whole thing, which made our move from our three bedroom, two and a half bath home in Virginia Beach to a cramped studio apartment even more difficult. I was still holding on to the idea that if we strayed from conservative budgeting we would be not only without money, but we could end up without a place to call home. It was a stressful time, and Anthony and I had put a ton of work into our Virginia Beach Home… that is not an easy thing to walk away from. I’ll let Anthony go into the details of all the work we put into our Virginia Beach home and the journey to get there. In the meantime though…

Pro-tips!

These tips below have allowed us to survive the stress of these first six tumultuous months in real estate investing:

  1. Set goals and stick to them! We sat down towards the beginning of this and set long- and short-term goals for investing and our personal finances. We made a deal that we would not move on to the next property until we had renters in all our units and a few months’ rent in reserve. This was specifically with regards to buying and holding properties and we are thinking a bit broader now, but it was a good starting point. It gave us something to come back to and talk about when Anthony’s hunger for more properties tried to get the better of us.
  2. Pay off debts in a timely manner, but don’t overstretch. We had the option to pay off my car loan and Anthony’s career starter loan early, but we knew we had termites and other varmint to deal with in our current property. We waited a few months and still managed to pay off our loans early, but we were also able to deal with our pest problems in a timely manner (definitely a topic for another time).
  3. Regularly talk about money. I hate talking about money. I always have. When we first started investing and we had so many costs up front (i.e. upgrading flooring, fixing damaged windows, and dealing with all the surprises of a new home), I especially hated talking about money. However, it helped us work together towards paying off our debts and planning out how we can make the most of our money each month. It has been a huge help in us moving forward as a team and improved our communication. We now come together for about 20 minutes twice each month, see where we are financially and make goals for the next two weeks. It has been a game changer!
  4. Team-work and communication are key. It took us a while to get on the same page, and we still have to balance each other out every now and then…  Anthony is incredibly smart and really dedicates himself to projects in which he is invested, but sometimes he gets what my mom and I refer to as “horse blinders” (i.e. you can only focus on what is in front of you and can’t always see the big picture). We are continuously learning from and teaching each other how to look at things differently. One thing that we are currently working on is figuring out which tasks Anthony can delegate to me and which should be delegated to others. At one point, I had to sit him down and explain that some of the things he was tasking me with I was not comfortable doing. Recently though, he took a step back and really taught me how to do certain things that would help him out immensely. I am currently working on editing our blog, designing our formal business website, and looking up brokers for Anthony in my spare time. Although it may seem like a small act, the time that he took (and continues to take) to communicate openly with me about what he wanted meant the world and we are able to work much better as a team now!
  5. Hands down, the most important advice: Have a little faith, a few good friends, and a lot of wine. My friends and family have been my anchor in all of this. I cannot tell you how good it is to have best friends who will pour you a healthy glass of wine and listen to you vent about your crazy adventures. Whether it’s termites, squirrels in the walls, stolen appliances or something else, there is nothing you can’t overcome with a wonderful partner, and equally wonderful friends and family.

This has been a journey. It has involved a lot of hard work, a few arguments, some crazy hours (including staying up until 2am to paint the rest of our house!), and an insane amount of patience (from both of us). It has helped us grow as a couple and taught us a lot of lessons very early on in our marriage. It has not been an easy journey, but as we continue to move forward with our lives and business, I am truly seeing how this will help us achieve our dreams. Thank you for sticking with me through this post…now go out and discover…what’s your dream?

Stay tuned for more blogs on networking, our first and second properties, my brief stint as a new construction developer and more! Please also feel free to contact us or mention in the comments topics that interest you!

About the Author

Peggy Pinto is a Navy Nurse, wife to Anthony, a Submarine Lieutenant, and doggy-mom to a rescue, Rudy. Currently stationed in Norfolk, VA, she has stood by Anthony’s side as he grows, learns and acquires property as a real estate investor. Since acquiring 8 units in three months, Anthony has expanded into apartment building investments, utilizing Michael Blank’s Ultimate Guide to Building Apartment Buildings with Private Money course. Their company, Pinto Capital Investments, focuses on the Kansas City, North Carolina Triad (Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh), Hampton Roads and Philadelphia markets.

If you want to know about getting started with Real Estate investing, how to transition into apartment investing, or how to become a passive investor, check us out at pintocapitalinvestments.com or contact us at pinto.capital@gmail.com, at Facebook or ADPI’s #StartTheSpark.

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