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  • Steven Fletcher

Creating the Foundation

I got started by taking out an FHA loan for a duplex in a transitioning neighborhood right outside the French Quarter of New Orleans.


This deal was the most nerve-wracking as it was the first time I executed a real estate investment alone.


There was no team at that time- it was me crawling under the house alongside the inspectors hoping to validate some of my underwriting, introducing myself to insurance brokers to shop around policies, sourcing contractors through referrals, tee'ing up final repairs in advance of hopefully sourcing a great tenant, and actively managing it over the course of the next year.


I executed on the business plan and the property has continued to perform very strongly over the last 2.5 years. We beat projections partially because my underwriting was influenced (and still is) by the anxiety of somebody who personally felt the downside risk.

A small duplex like this isn't a newsworthy event but allowed me to cultivate a process and establish a team that would allow us to take on bigger deals.


From that time, I was able to bring in a partner and we acquired a larger, commercially zoned duplex a short distance away in another neighborhood I had developed in for years (my prior job). Extensive renovations were needed and we quickly leveraged the contacts/processes we made during the first purchase to ensure a quality product.

We had a good property manager that we'd taken reps with, a fleet of great contractors, quick moving attorneys that understood how we operate, and an insurance broker that would fight for us.


Same process: underwrite conservatively, triple check all applications, execute quality renovations on time, source good people for the nice unit you just completed, and then steward it well.


Exact steps but applied to a larger project that required more touch points.

Our third purchase was the largest at the time- a historic 4 unit apartment complex. We went back and forth with the ownership for many months before moving forward with the acquisition. We hit our projections on this deal, another notch in the belt and hopefully another step forward.


A few months after this purchase, we identified another 4 unit apartment complex less than a mile away and in a much more established corridor.


This due-diligence process presented countless firsts. The house was essentially unsellable because it didn't have its own sewer line, had active termites, football sized holes in the siding, angry tenants, you name it.


With the help of our team, we found solutions for each major issue and had firm estimates well before the end of our inspection period. We leveraged these and acquired the property.

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As we scale into larger unit counts and new markets today, I'll always recognize that these smaller deals ultimately allowed us to prove our process and get started.

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