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When Detroit waitress Ashley Hamilton received her tax refund in 2009, she began her immovable journey.
Unfortunately, the banks weren’t making loans, and she didn’t have credit cards to fund her dreams. So Hamilton used his savings and tax refund to get a three-bedroom house with a basement for $ 6,300.
Every year, she would buy single-family properties in Detroit, pay them in cash, do drug rehabs, and use the properties as rental purchase and retention.
Initially, Hamilton’s plan was to buy a property each year with his tax refund. But she was able to accelerate her portfolio building goals by saving the rents she received from tenants and later accessing loans.
Now, the young investor has a portfolio of 24 rentals and five vacant lots. According to his Instagram page, 14 of his properties are free and clear. All 14 properties are repaid and Hamilton owns full ownership of the real estate assets.
“Not having the money worked to my advantage,” Hamilton told the Bigger Pockets Podcast. “I received a tax return at the end of the year. By only earning about $ 20,000 and having two children, I was able to get a refund of $ 5,000 to $ 6,000.
Since Detroit’s real estate market had a weak entry point during this time, Hamilton’s tax refunds and savings were enough to get it started.
From tax refund to the real estate portfolio
Hamilton dreamed of becoming a millionaire at age 30 and knew that property investment was a practical way to achieve his goal.
Hamilton often recounts how she grew up in poverty without any entrepreneurs or real estate investors in her family. But her dedication to always finding a way has helped her think outside the box. As a single mother with two children, Hamilton understood how real estate investing could take her beyond her waitress salary of $ 22,000.
She realized that if she could buy 10 properties and sell them for $ 100,000 each, she could become a millionaire. Although Hamilton did not join the millionaire club at age 30, she had a portfolio of 10 fully paid-for properties for the use of her savings and tax refunds.
“I was ready to live like most people won’t because I wanted to be financially free,” says Hamilton, explaining the importance of having time available to watch his children grow up. “I knew I had to have passive income so I didn’t have to work so much. “
When Ashley bought her first property, she saved the money to paint the house, hire a local plumber, and make the place habitable. Because she bought her property for cash, she was able to eliminate her biggest expense: rent. She saved the money that would have been allocated to rent to buy her next property.
Its success in real estate investing comes down to one simple strategy: buy, fix, rent, refinance, and repeat.
Building a massive real estate portfolio from scratch
In February, Hamilton decided to quit his job as a part-time bank teller and go into full-time entrepreneurship. Even though she had a few six-figure businesses and a million dollar real estate portfolio under her belt, she still decided to work 20 hours a week to have a stable source of W-2 income.
“I finally did. It is long overdue. I know a lot of people ask me why I am still working there. But the truth is, I really enjoyed what I did. I was also recycling wealth and using a ton of leverage last year, ”Hamilton shared on Instagram.
She adds, “When you use one of those real estate strategies like Brrrr, hack a house, or buy and hold, most of the time you will need some sort of W-2 income to be approved for loans. That’s why a lot of people get stuck after just one or two transactions. I know everyone says they want to hurry up and quit their job. But unfortunately, it’s just not smart, especially at first.
Hamilton recommends that aspiring real estate investors have a well thought out plan and be prepared if things don’t go as planned. She started with her tax refund and eliminated her rent expenses. Then she focused on a frugal life and continued to use her funds to buy properties with cash. Today, Hamilton offers courses to provide others with the resources and information they need to get started.