Welcome to Picket Fence Investment

Thanks for taking the time to visit Picket Fence Investment online. Here’s some more information about me, how I approach real estate, and the services that I offer.

I'm a real estate investor (and licensed real estate agent with Exit Realty Metro (MN) and Homestead Realty (WI)) who focuses on purchasing distressed rental properties and helping others do the same. I help other investors navigate the investor's market to build their real estate portfolio, and I sell homes for a flat fee of $3,000 plus 2.5% co-broker commission. For more information, you can visit Picket Fence Investment  on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, visit my or email me. 

I’m originally from Milwaukee, moved to Minneapolis in 1997, moved over 20 times between 2004 and 2012, and settled back in Minneapolis in 2013. I purchased my first rental property in 2014 and now own over 20 rental units. Real estate moved from a hobby to a part-time business for me in 2018. 

I am by no means rolling in cash (and proudly enjoy Sports Clips haircuts and obsessing about airline miles for my vacations) so I'll let the other real estate investors out there post photos of fancy cars and exotic vacations on their websites (that's not my style). However, real estate has helped me catch up on my retirement savings and provides a nice second source of income, which helps me stress less about taking on as many clients in my day job (or charging those clients a ton of money).

What is my day job?  I’m a political consultant that has managed campaigns, led field programs, designed trainings, or consulted on over 50 campaigns in 18 US states and 8 countries. Occasionally real estate and politics cross paths and I love helping responsible real estate professionals build campaigns to garner political support for their projects. If you're ever curious about my political work, you can read more here.

Outside of work, I’m recently married and live in downtown Minneapolis. I’m an avid traveler that has visited 54 countries (and love hearing travel tips), a martial arts fan with black belts in two martial arts, and I read a book every week (and always love good reading suggestions). 

How did I get involved with real estate?
I started investing in real estate to catch up on retirement savings. And I didn’t start out with much money - I looked for every creative way I can to find properties for little to no money down, using hard money loans, contract for deeds,  private funding, and leveraging my retirement accounts.  I’ve found properties on the retail market (MLS) by moving quick and efficiently, but I focus more on and finding properties on the investor market (through auction, wholesalers, and more).   

Throughout this work, I’ve learned pretty quickly that there really are two real estate markets. The retail market is what we’re all used to seeing, where traditional real estate agents help buyers find  on the same websites as everyone else, and finance their purchases with 20% down and 30 year mortgages (and pay for the rehab costs on top of that).  

Then there’s an investor market, where investors analyze properties differently, find properties in non-traditional ways, and take different approaches to fund those deals.  I want to help clients understand the difference and effectively navigate the investor market and get great returns on their real estate investments.

How do I approach real estate?
There are four main ways you can get a return on your real estate investments: appreciation, equity, tax deductions, and cash flow (rental income). 

The common “flip” - where you buy a house with cash and sell for a profit - can build wealth in one of those (equity), but you miss out on others.  My focus is to purchase properties that meet all four types of return; I’m looking for distressed rental properties that I can rehab (building equity, appreciation, and tax deductions) and cash flow.

I launched Picket Fence Investment in 2018 to help grow and expand my investing and to help others do the same. 

What Services Do I Offer?
Now, as I’m a licensed agent with Exit Realty Metro (MN) and Homestead Realty (WI), I offer services to sellers and buyers but with a different and fresh approach.

My goal is to raise the quality of service in the real estate business and do all I can to make it easier to buy and sell property, especially for investors who are trying to navigate the investor market. The industry is changing, and folks who work in real estate need to offer more than opening lock boxes and filling out forms. We have to start adding value, training, and offering more options and models of service.  With so much change happening, I’m excited to be in the real estate industry and look forward to doing all that I can to help make this process work a little better.

I'm launching a few programs in the months ahead:

  1. A first-time investors program to help creative investors make their first real estate investment and build long term investment plans. I am ready to help first time investors in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, and want to help a small group of creative investors who want to house-hack, explore ADU's (alternative dwelling units), add units to their existing properties, owner-occupy a multi-family property, or find other creative ways to invest.   Check back on the blog for more info, or sign up here.
  2. Foreign investors program. I've traveled frequently and lived abroad, and have met people who want to invest in real estate in the United States. There’s a bit of a process for investors who aren’t US citizens and to help make that easier, I've vetted and negotiated pricing with attorneys, accountants, and lenders who can work with these investors to help them set up systems and processes to invest in real estate.  Sign up here for more info.
  3. Listing homes for a flat fee of $3,000 plus a 2.5% co-broker commission. Most agents charge people 5-7% to sell a home. On a $200,000 home, that means costs of $10,000 to $14,000. If the buyer has an agent, half of that usually goes to the buyer's agent (co-broker commission), which means that the listing agent earns $5,000 to $7,000.   I don't think that it needs to cost that much to sell a home - and I'm going to do my part to change that. I charge a flat fee of $3,000 plus 2.5% co-broker commission (paid to the buyer's agent) - a pricing that could save as much as $4,500 in commissions on the sale of a $200,000 home. If your home is worth more than $200,000, the savings go up. You can check out your potential savings or learn more here.
  4. Milwaukee Investments for Minneapolis Investors.  Minneapolis and Milwaukee are very different markets. Many Minneapolis investors are frustrated with limited availability and low returns on their rental properties. Milwaukee is consistently named one of the best markets for investing in rental properties and I'm launching a program to help Minneapolis investors explore this market. You can sign up for more information about this program here.
  5. More options for buyer agent services. Later in 2018, I'm offering some non-traditional ways to help investor and non-investor buyers. Agents representing a buyer are typically paid a flat commission for purchasing the property, no matter the amount of work that's done.  I want to offer other options, including hourly fees, retainer based, and project based buyer agent services that help save money for buyers that are a fit.  If you're curious, sign-up here.

If you need real estate help that doesn't fit into one of those five categories, please let me know. I have a great group of colleagues at Exit Realty Metro (MN) and Homestead Realty (WI) that I partner with to help on projects that don't fall into those main area.

I'll roll out regular tips and updates in the coming weeks. If you’ve ever thought about investing in real estate please feel free to reach out on Facebook, my website, Twitter, via email, or on LinkedIn.  Thanks for your interest and hope that we can connect!

BRRR: The Main Method I Use to Build My Real Estate Portfolio