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  • Writer's pictureKaleigh Sullivan

Selected 2019 Top 100 People in Real Estate

Updated: Oct 7, 2019

If you had asked me where I would be 5 years ago, I would not have guessed this! 5 years ago, I was a recent college graduate with over $80,000 in student loan debt for a degree that I was not utilizing. I was managing a gym full-time making $13/hr plus small commissions and working two, at times three, part-time jobs to help cover my bills. My student loan payments alone were about $1,000 a month and with my cost of living expenses on top of that?! Let's just say, my budget was tight. Life was good, but life was hard. I think a lot of people go through this phase after college graduation - what seems to be never-ending bills and no idea where life is taking you. It's not an easy time.

During this time, my family was also impacted by a very tragic accident - one that not only changed our lives but changed the lives of many others. I wanted to help in any way that I could and this gave me the greatest motivation. If you listen to a lot of successful people, you will find them telling you to "know your why". My Family became my ultimate "why" and there was nothing that could stop me from wanting to do more. You can either look at tragedies, negative experiences and/or people's opinions as something that will bring you down, or you can use it as your motivation and inspiration. The choice is yours. It really is.

Because of this, I had the extra drive and determination to explore other options for my life. I couldn't keep using my student loans and life experiences as reasons for being stagnant. I followed up with a job recruiter and we sat down to talk about what I wanted to do. I explained that I had my Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology, but I really had no idea what to do with it without more schooling. My original plan was to go on to be a physician's assistant, physical therapist or occupational therapist, but more debt wasn't an option for me. She told me to forget about what I can't do and told me to tell her what I love to do. Ugh, such simple but perfect advice. We talked about things I love to do.

I know it sounds silly, but despite knowing my love for HGTV, interior design and real estate in general - I never connected the dots. As I was explaining my passion for this, the recruiter said..... so what about real estate? *light bulb*

This began my career in real estate. The job recruiter helped me get a job in commercial real estate. Shortly after that, I bought my first *accidental* house-hack. For those of you that have followed me for awhile, you know the story, but for those of you that have not, I'll briefly explain. Stay tuned for a more extensive blog on the house-hack and the numbers itself.

Essentially, I was browsing the internet and came across a 5 bedroom house. I found two other people to buy it with me because I knew my debt-to-income was too bad to secure a loan on my own. We bought the house. I lived in it for free and found tenants for the other 4 bedrooms. The rental income from the tenants covered the mortgage and the other two owners made a couple hundred a month from them. We also were making enough to save money each month in case of repairs. To this day, we have never used our own money to make a mortgage payment on this house. Our equity is increasing, our mortgage loan is decreasing and the house is naturally appreciating. A win-win for everyone.

I had NO idea what I was doing, or how powerful this house-hack was. I was able to save so much more money because my cost of living went down significantly. I still worked multiple jobs just because the more, the better. After understanding the value of what had just happened, I could not stop wanting to learn more about real estate.

These two events were the start of my real estate journey. As time goes on, I will continue to share my journey with you because I want everyone to know that it is possible. There may be some sacrifices that you have to make along the way but the long-term benefits are there. There is no wrong, or right way to do it. There is no perfect time to start - just take steps forward. Everyone's journey, path and timeline are different - but this was the start of mine!

So 5 years ago, would I have pictured where I am today? Would I have thought that I would be selected for The 2019 Top 100 People in Real Estate? Absolutely not. What I did know is that I wanted to be doing something I loved and I wanted to help as many people as I could. I knew that I needed to set goals and that I had to try hard to achieve them. And I know you can do the same! It just takes action.

I am excited for the next 5 years to come. Our business is growing and we have a little one coming in the next few weeks - an addition to my "why"! I hope you stay tuned for more on our journey. We hope that we can inspire you and help you achieve your goals along the way!

Here is the link to magazine article:

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