Michael Harwood

Quick Facts:

  • Profit Strategy: Rehab & hold
  • Number of Units: 2
  • Personal Money Invested: $30k
  • Prior Experience: With a background of 35 years of working in finance and accounting, Michael had previously acquired 14 single family rentals since 2017

Michael’s Story

Michael tells a familiar tale. College, work, family, and striving for retirement. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and worked for more than 25 years in that field. 

Michael’s Call to Action

Michael decided to take charge of his life and his future. As a W-2 employee, he never felt like his destiny was in his own hands. He explains, “I felt like I was working hard for other people. If I was successful, then I would get promoted so that I could work even more. And I said to myself, ‘this doesn’t make much sense.’ I wanted to see what else is out there.”

In 2017, Michael and his wife sold their personal residence, and they profited. It was decision time. What should they do with the money? He wasn’t comfortable putting it into the stock market. He didn’t want to park it in savings. He decided to invest in a single-family home to use as a rental. His future as a successful real estate investor was born.

Over the next few years, he continued in this vein: purchasing single families by leveraging the others. Things were going well, but he could do the math. After all, he was an accountant. It would take a long time to reach his financial goals doing it this way. He began researching multifamily. He knew this strategy would enable him to grow faster.

Michael realized he didn’t know enough about the details of a multifamily deal. He began studying up on it and, in the process, discovered Lance’s book, then his videos, and finally, his Bootcamp. These tools enabled him to purchase his first multifamily — an 8-unit building in Chicago.

Now he has some experience. In addition to his first 8-plex, he purchased several other duplexes. He’s fixed some of them, flipped them for a profit, and has held on to others as rentals. He’s been selling his single-family properties to leverage the profits to purchase multifamilies. 

Michael’s Vision Unfolds

Michael sought another stream of income and found it in small apartment investing. He likes the feeling of having “mailbox money.” 

He began asking himself, “What if I started working on real estate part-time and worked towards it being a full-time venture? That idea motivates me to get up in the morning.” He clarifies that his job in corporate finance and accounting isn’t bad. But he loves the idea of not having to deal with “complicated numbers and reporting systems” to earn money — and ultimately create wealth.

His Mindshift

Michael started thinking about money differently. He developed a direction he didn’t have before. His goal shifted to being an “accredited advisor.” He defines this term as having a million dollars or more of net worth outside of his personal residence. “I started thinking of wealth as net worth and cash flow. When I went through that mental shift, my financial situation increased.” He expands on this improvement, “I have a ten-fold opportunity in real estate that I didn’t have before. I decided I was no longer giving my money to somebody to put it in an IRA to go through the ups and downs of the stock market. Now I have someone paying me rent which pays the principal, and I benefit from appreciation. I now have new opportunities. Those excite me.” 

Michael’s Goals

Michael has well-developed goals. “My goal is to earn $80,000 a year through passive income. I want to minimize my debt and tax obligations.” 

He wants to travel to exciting places with his family. He has a son, two granddaughters, and an elderly mother whom he desires the freedom to visit. He seeks the flexibility and wealth to be able to see friends and family and impact their lives. 

A Rough Lesson

He experienced some significant bumps along the way. He describes a highly challenging situation. “I rented a place out to someone, but I didn’t know that he sublet it to his family, including an ex-con. The leaseholder was collecting rent from them, but I stopped receiving rent when a disagreement broke out. This happened during the pandemic, and I didn’t see money for a few years. The place was trashed. I couldn’t take any legal action. I finally got the guy out, and someone stole the air conditioner I had sitting out while fixing the apartment. My family hears these stories and is shocked. I laugh and know I own other units and can keep moving toward my goals.”

Michael’s Obstacles

His first significant obstacle was fear. “I had to learn to trust people. I discovered I had this mistrust of people. I was skeptical and thought they had something up their sleeves that would benefit them rather than me. I needed to get better at reading other people and situations.” 

He also experienced challenges with early repair bills from residents who had trashed an apartment. The cost to clean it up and the loss of rent were harsh. But he kept the faith that everything would work out.

His Life Changed

By seeking more flexibility and a renewed focus for the “last third of his life,” he has new options. Real estate gives him a way to meet his financial goals and attain freedom. Real estate investing has provided “a light at the end of the tunnel.” He’s zeroed in on what is authentic, meaningful, and contributing to his life. He clarifies, “I can add value to other people’s lives. That’s a game-changer for me. I’m achieving that through real estate.”

From his experiences with investing in small apartments, Michael focused on a purpose. He’s creating a legacy. His ability to read people and communicate with his wife has dramatically improved. His fear has dissipated. He further describes, “I learned how the world works. I see people with fantastic wealth, fantastic properties, and fantastic lifestyles. I feel like that is within my reach.”

The Future is Bright

Michael’s rents have increased, and he’s found some great deals. The value in his investments appreciated. He’s saving money on his taxes. Now he is pulling back on his 40-hour work week and spending more time with his family. Michael’s confidence has grown, and he knows how coachable he is. He’s focused and driven towards an exciting goal. Life is good.

His Advice

Michael offers a variety of sage advice, “be coachable. Learn at an accelerated pace. Overcome your fears and stay open to opportunities. Don’t get too high, and don’t get too low. Have balance in your life and take care of your loved ones. Play the long game because this isn’t going to happen overnight.” 

Maintain. Perspective.