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The Real Estate Adventurer

Don Chambers

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Over the years of working in software engineering, I have seen firsthand a plethora of information available on many technical topics. Information on learning a new programming language is plentiful and free. There are many sources to learn how to change your car’s oil, wire a light switch, or even ride a bike. However, there is almost no reliable information on real estate investing.

Most of the information on real estate investing will lead to a sales pitch. I made this site to counter that.

My Background

I have been investing in real estate since 2007 and currently own over 70 single-family rental properties. For over a decade, I have been an avid house flipper and lend money so others can participate in real estate investing. In addition, I now own a property management company with two employees that primarily manage my properties.

See my Rent Roll

In addition to real estate investing, I own a small software consulting firm. I hold a Master’s degree in Computer science and have worked daily as a software developer for over 25 years. This background gives me an analytical approach to real estate investing. As a result, I always use data and research when making investment decisions.

How I Got Started


In 1990, my journey into the world of real estate began with the purchase of a real estate course. The allure of Dave Del Dotto’s late-night TV advertisements promising a pathway to wealth and a luxurious lifestyle convinced me to invest in the course. However, it quickly became apparent that the course was far from what I had anticipated. It consisted of a collection of books, which I diligently read cover to cover, only to discover that the information provided was vague and lacked practicality.

Watch Out for the Gurus

With each page turned, the realization sank in that the course was essentially worthless—a mere waste of time and money. In hindsight, I should have been more skeptical, recognizing the course’s sales pitch designed to appeal to my desires and separate me from my hard-earned money. The advertisements’ emphasis on a luxurious lifestyle seemed more focused on how to spend money than on real estate strategies. To my disappointment, the books themselves contained blank pages, directory listings, and other irrelevant content. I wish there was a B.S. checklist back then.

I Almost Gave UP

Despite the setback and the realization that I had fallen for a scam, I remained committed to my real estate aspirations. I diligently examined countless houses, investing my time and energy into a pursuit that yielded no tangible results. However, after a couple of years, I came to a crossroads. The dream of becoming a real estate investor began to fade, and I made the difficult decision to shift gears.

Returning to school, I redirected my focus toward a new passion—computer science. The decision to study computer science was driven by a desire to explore a field that offered practicality, tangible skills, and a promising career path. While real estate had proven to be a detour, the experience taught me valuable lessons about skepticism, due diligence, and the importance of investing time and effort in endeavors with proven potential.

My First Deal: A Costly Lesson

My dream to invest in real estate didn’t die. Despite the disappointing experience with the real estate course, I couldn’t shake off my fascination with the industry. Over the years, I continued to think about real estate and nourish the idea of becoming a real estate investor. Whenever I had the chance, I would browse through books at the local bookstore, seeking knowledge and insights. However, the available resources often fell short, offering only vague information that left me yearning for more.

Nevertheless, my determination persisted. I spent countless hours researching and educating myself on real estate investment strategies, rental properties, and market trends. The more I delved into the subject, the clearer my vision became. My ultimate goal was to acquire one, or perhaps even two, rental houses.

In 2007, seventeen years after my ill-fated real estate course purchase, I found myself working as a software developer. During this time, I encountered a fellow co-worker, whom we’ll call Wally. Wally presented himself as a wholesaler in the real estate business, although his interpretation of the term differed from its modern-day usage. He pitched me a promising deal, leveraging his superior negotiation skills to secure a great property.

The Pitch

According to Wally’s proposal, I would purchase the house, paying an additional fee on top of what he negotiated. In return, he promised to assist me in obtaining a construction loan and managing the project, providing formulas, negotiating tactics, and guidance on property management. He even offered to introduce me to reliable contractors. After the renovation, Wally claimed he would find a tenant and help me refinance, allowing me to extract cash from the investment.

Excited about the opportunity, I proceeded with the deal. Wally presented me with a house priced at $19,000, which included his $4,000 fee. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I would later discover that the same property had been listed in the MLS for $15,000. It became evident that I had been duped into paying a fee for a property readily available through traditional channels.

The Realization I had Been Scammed

The projected repair budget for the house was estimated at $15,000, implying a total investment of approximately $34,000. However, as the project progressed, the costs spiraled out of control. Frustrated with Wally’s lack of transparency and failure to introduce me to any contractors, I made the difficult decision to terminate our working relationship. By that point, I had already invested around $41,000.

It became painfully clear that Wally’s pitch had been nothing more than an elaborate scam. His initial promise of being able to acquire the property for under $35,000 proved to be an illusion. Had I been more knowledgeable, I would have recognized that my investment in that house should not have exceeded $25,000. The project went over budget, and with the termination of our agreement, I was left to bear the consequences.

The Outcome

Ultimately, it took fourteen long years to sell the property, and even then, it was at a break-even price. The entire experience was a costly lesson in the pitfalls of blind trust and insufficient due diligence. It highlighted the importance of thorough research, independent verification, and surrounding oneself with trustworthy professionals in any investment venture.

While my first real estate investment deal was marred by deception and financial loss, it was a powerful reminder of the importance of learning from mistakes and never underestimating the significance of knowledge and expertise in any field.


Game Start
Game Start

Undeterred by the setback of my first real estate investment, I embarked on a new chapter of my journey, determined to learn from my mistakes and forge ahead. Without the assistance of Wally, I ventured into the realm of real estate once again, this time armed with the knowledge that I still had much to learn.

I purchased two more houses at prices that still reflected my lack of expertise. While I may have overpaid for these properties, the experience was a valuable lesson, highlighting the importance of thorough research and understanding the intricacies of property valuation. As I continued to learn, I developed formulas to determine the maximum purchase price, enabling me to make more informed decisions in subsequent acquisitions.

I Figured it Out

Taking the reins of property management into my own hands, I chose not to hire a property management company. Instead, I embraced the challenge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of my rental properties. This decision allowed me to be intimately involved in every aspect, from tenant selection to maintenance and rent collection. Through hands-on experience, I gained a deeper understanding of the nuances of property management and the responsibilities of being a landlord.

Learning to Be a Landlord

Driven to streamline the property management process, I dedicated myself to creating efficient systems and adopting technology to become an automated landlord. I leveraged various tools and resources to automate rent collection, streamline communication with tenants, and manage maintenance requests promptly. This approach improved the overall efficiency of managing multiple properties and freed up time for me to focus on strategic growth and expansion.

Growing my Portfolio

As I became more confident in my abilities, I continued working closely with banks and sought alternative funding sources to fuel my real estate endeavors. By establishing solid relationships with financial institutions and exploring creative financing options, I was able to leverage capital to acquire additional rental properties. Each acquisition presented a new learning opportunity, allowing me to refine my investment strategies and apply the lessons I had learned along the way.

With every step, I honed my skills as an investor and landlord, meticulously growing my real estate portfolio. The combination of ongoing education, hands-on experience, and a commitment to continuous improvement fueled my passion for real estate investment. While there were certainly challenges and obstacles along the way, my unwavering determination to succeed and build a thriving real estate business drove me forward.

Going Forward

Weasth Chart and Wealthy Man

Today, my journey as a real estate investor continues, fueled by the lessons learned from triumphs and failures. I embrace the industry’s ever-changing landscape, constantly seeking new opportunities and refining my strategies. With each property acquired, I am reminded of the transformative power of knowledge, persistence, and a deep passion for creating long-term wealth through real estate investments.

My Current Portofolio

I currently own and manage a portfolio of over 70 rental houses, which I have acquired over the years. Additionally, I have extensive experience in house flipping, having successfully flipped numerous properties throughout my career. Furthermore, I have become a hard money lender, providing loans to individuals looking to participate in real estate investing.

Sharing Knowledge

In addition to my hands-on experience, I have also ventured into writing about real estate investing. My motivation for doing so stems from a desire to share accurate information and counter the misleading advice often propagated by self-proclaimed gurus in the industry. Unlike these gurus, I offer my knowledge and insights freely without any advertisements or products to sell.

I firmly believe in providing authentic and valuable content to help aspiring real estate investors navigate the complexities of the field. Real estate investing is not a quick and easy path to wealth, as the gurus may claim. It requires diligence, perseverance, and a deep understanding of the market dynamics. By sharing the correct information, I aim to empower individuals with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions and avoid falling into the traps set by those seeking to profit from their naivety.

Empowering Aspiring Investors with Accurate Real Estate Insights

Through my writing, I aim to dismantle real estate investing myths and misconceptions, emphasizing the importance of thorough research, due diligence, and a long-term perspective. My goal is to equip individuals with the tools and insights necessary to navigate the real estate landscape successfully.

In a world saturated with misinformation and sales pitches, I strive to be a reliable and trustworthy source of information for those seeking to enter the realm of real estate investing. By providing accurate and practical guidance, I hope to foster a community of informed investors who can make sound decisions based on facts and analysis.

My commitment to sharing knowledge without ulterior motives or hidden agendas reflects my genuine passion for real estate and my belief in its potential as a wealth-building strategy. My sincerest intention is to contribute to aspiring investors’ growth and success by offering them the guidance they need to embark on their own real estate journeys with confidence and clarity.