Stacey Stanley

Quick Facts:

  • Profit Strategy: Wholesale
  • Number of Units: 15 units total (9 unit and 6 unit buildings)
  • Personal Money Invested: Only $600 total in deposits ($100 and $500)
  • Amount Earned: $40k total ($15k and $25k)
  • Prior Experience: Fix-and-flips, fix-and-rents, buy-and-holds with single family homes prior to the 2008 crash in which she lost everything to bankruptcy
Stacey with her $15k check
Stacey with her $25k check

Stacey’s Call to Adventure

Life had become challenging for Stacey. Being self-employed meant irregular and unpredictable income. Her work was in music and engineering, which she enjoyed. But the financial struggle was real. 

One day in 2006 or thereabouts, she stumbled upon a newspaper ad for real estate investment training. She’d always had a passion for homes. She decided to go out on a limb and enroll in the program. 

For the next couple of years, she traveled the country and attended numerous courses and workshops. She spent thousands of dollars and significant time learning the business. The training was highly flawed, she realizes now in hindsight. The primary method they endorsed was using your credit cards to buy houses. She recounts, “I had tons and tons of credit cards back then! These were the days when you could buy a home in a distressed area in Detroit or Kansas City for a couple of thousand dollars!” She did it all — fix-and-flip, fix-and-rent, buy-and-hold. 

Then the great economic crash of 2008 hit! 

She lost it all. Everything. Well, just about everything.

After being buried alive in mounting debt, she filed for bankruptcy. Digging herself out of this hole would prove to be her awakening. But not before she must revisit the grind.

Stacey’s Road of Trials

Living without credit after filing bankruptcy means every penny must count. And count twice. She took a job driving for Lyft. It was terrible money and a thankless job. She hated it, but what was she to do? She had piles of debt looming over her. Her previous failures had left her without confidence, without assurance. 

On top of it all, she was scheduled for intense knee surgery. She’d be out of work for months. She began searching for a solution that could change the direction of her life. 

Her Dream

The initial goal — which she couldn’t see past at the time — was to free herself from debt. There were other goals — her big Why — but for starters, she just focused on the debt. 

She found an ad for Lance’s boot camp. “Is this the answer to my prayers,” she wondered. She enrolled in the boot camp, and literally with a cane in hand, embarked on her new journey. 

Now some people would be surprised by this decision. After all, hadn’t she lost everything in real estate just 9 or 10 years ago? That was the case, but Lance’s program dangled an irresistible carrot: she could make money without risk by doing apartment wholesaling. She learned the skills well — how to analyze and evaluate apartments long-distance and how to “sell.” Now she just needed to put them into practice.

Unfortunately, because of her financial situation, she didn’t have money to do marketing. She decided to use Craigslist to find her deals. “It was like searching for a needle in a haystack,” she remembers. Most of the properties listed on Craigslist were wholesalers trying to get buyers for their deals. Lots of patience and time were needed to find the right deal. “When you find a good deal, get it under contract right away. If you don’t, someone else will,” she encourages.

She found this great old home with 9 apartment units in St. Joseph, Missouri. The doubts flared up, “it’s priced too high!” “What if I can’t sell it?” Overwhelmed and in a panic, she emailed Lance’s group. While she didn’t have the money for a coach, she found Heather (her email contact) was instrumental in giving advice. She pushed through. 

Once she got the contract from the seller, she submitted the listing to Lance’s group. She also splurged and marketed it on Loopnet. Loopnet enabled her to build a list of buyers. These two resources — Lance’s group and Loopnet — were all she needed to get the job done.

She ended up with 2 full-priced offers. Personally, she liked the “team of guys.” But in the end, she decided to proceed with a woman who was using a hard-money lender. The woman could close quickly, which was critical. The hard money deal turned out to be less solid, though, and after extension after extension, Stacey became increasingly nervous. The deal might fall through.

Then COVID hit. A worldwide pandemic. Banks stopped lending.

Remember, her first real estate venture ended with the worst market crash since the Great Depression. Is her second one doomed to fail because of a worldwide pandemic?

Not for Stacey. No, not for Stacey. She would make this work. 

She went into a frenzy to help her buyer find a lender. Neither she nor the buyer had any success. After months of extensions and negotiations, the deal collapsed. 

She had only asked the woman for a $1K deposit. She had not stipulated a time for the deposit to be nonrefundable. The woman got her deposit back, and Stacey had to start over again. She was devastated because this deal was going to make her $25K. 

She dug in and decided, “I am not going to quit.”

A new buyer surfaced. He lived abroad and asked Stacey to find a domestic lawyer. However, when the lawyer received Buyer 2’s fraudulent check, that deal died too. Finally, Stacey found Buyer 3 — “the perfect buyer.” The new buyer was a woman in California — like Stacey. She loved cool old buildings. Stacey had to adjust the price a bit, so she only made $15K — and it had taken 8 months from start to finish to close.

“That first check was so exciting!” She recounts.

In addition to the “life-changing $15K,” she learned some valuable lessons along the way. She 

learned to require more money down (she insists on $10k down now) and to make it non-refundable after a specified period. 

With this new confidence and swagger, she finished a second deal quickly. The second deal was a 6-unit apartment in Ohio. The seller would accept seller-financing, making it much easier — and faster — to sell the property. After days of hounding the seller, she finally got it under contract. Once again, the listing went on Loopnet and to Lance’s group. One of Lance’s students bought this one. She made $25K. It took 2 months or less from start to finish. Quite a difference from the first deal.

Her success is a display of perseverance. She has that in spades. She shared this wisdom, “A lot of obstacles are in your head. It’s usually the fear of doing something wrong. Push past the uncomfortable. If you hit a roadblock — something you don’t know — are you going to let the obstacle stop you or are you going to find a way to blow through it, climb over it, go around it? Have dogged determination. Make it work. Make it happen.”

Real estate investing enabled her to pay off debt. It gave her more time. But most importantly, it taught her that she could do it. With all hardship she had to face, she got it done. While she recognizes $15K isn’t typically “life-changing,” she feels it was life-changing for her. Before she closed that first deal, she felt intimidated at real estate investor meet-ups. She had no confidence. But after the first deal, she found her swagger. She remembers an event after her first close. She laughs, “I’m an apartment wholesaler! I just did my first deal. Got a second one under contract, wanna buy it?!”

Now she can eye her real dream: retire in 5 years, and marry “a good guy.” They could live it up! Travel! She says, “We’d live wherever we’d want to live. I could finally have peace and flexibility to go and do and contribute. I would know I’m going to be taken care of in my older years with the properties I own.”

Never. Stop. Keep. Moving. Forward.