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Interview With Multi-State Real Estate Investor Deena Iverson

I met Deena & Dennis Iverson in early 2010, they came to me as a sign call on a fixer (borderline tear down) duplex in Everett, WA. Seven years later I am proud to call them my friends, and we’ve done quite a few deals together with me as their agent and them as investors.
Deena and I have also traveled to Detroit (and lived to tell about it), Memphis, Nashville and Indianapolis together in search of another great area to invest.
Deena & Dennis’s real estate investor story is so unique and inspiring, I was thrilled when Deena agreed to an interview because I believe there is much to learn from their experiences with multi-state real estate investing with flipping houses, rental properties (the ugly ones have the best stories), out of state investing, out of state flipping, and their newest venture – a vacation rental.

JB: When did you first decide that you wanted to invest in real estate, and what was the path that got you there?
I had decided at about 30 that it was something I was very interested in, but just was not able to do at the time financially. I owned a trucking business at the time that did not allow ANY free time! (Along with 3 kids) I sold out of the business and worked for a national real estate coach and investor for 10 years beginning in 2006 and that really renewed my thirst. It was a tragic and life changing situation that brought me to the ability to begin this journey. Often times I say it most definitely is a double edged sword. My first purchase was an out of state house. I then decided I needed to do local investing and interview to find an investor friendly and wise broker to help me out! About three interviews later I found Jennifer!

JB: What, where, and how did you buy your first rental property?
I bought a 3 bedroom 1 bath house in Memphis, with cash for $43,000.

JB: What lessons did you learn from this first property? Do you still own it today?
The main lessons I learned were to keep on top of the management company and its reports if they are out of state, as I have found errors in charges on repairs and rekeys. I still have the property and it rents for $725 monthly.

JB: When did you meet Dennis, and did he own rentals when you met?
I met Dennis is 2010 and we hit it off! He is a handy man and did repairs and remodels for people on the side. He did not own any rentals of his own at the time.

JB: What made you continue to buy rentals, and why did you want to buy that super ugly duplex after first investing in the turn key rental?
Lol! Dennis is a man that can do anything on houses, so I had mentioned to him that I was going to look at a duplex right down the road from where he lived. He was very confident that he/we could do everything needed on the duplex to make it a nice place and profitable, so we entered into a business arrangement on the duplex, but soon we were engaged! That duplex, working on it was such a huge project that working together daily for hours enlightened me to the fact that I could totally work and live with this man. We worked very well together, and I could easily envision our future with more projects!

JB: How many rentals do you currently own, and where are they?
We own 12 properties, out of those 12; two are out of state-single family homes (one in Memphis TN, the other in Sharon, PA), four are duplexes and one is a vacation rental property.

JB: Would you mind sharing the value of your portfolio and the annual cash flow it provides?
Approximately $2.1 million dollars/annual positive cash flow roughly $8053.00 monthly (this does not include vacation rental numbers, as this is fairly new.)

JB: How were you able to purchase so many rentals in such a short period of time?
Having cash, Dennis’ W-2 income and refinancing for a lot of  cash from the first purchase (duplex) along with the income of such rentals, and income from flips.

JB: What has investing done for you and Dennis?
It has allowed us to have a hobby together, and has given us a vision and goals that we can achieve in partnership and allowing him to retire from his job 10-12 years earlier than he would have been able to otherwise.

JB: You and I have been on some interesting property scouting trips together, and you own properties now in 3 states. Of all of the areas you’ve bought and visited, which do you think is the best place to invest today?
Oooh that is a loaded and tough question to answer! I really love Memphis, and now Indianapolis since I have traveled there with you as well. I would have to say that each place has it’s own unique special value to me.  Appreciation is slower in other states, much slower, but the cost of buying much lower and the returns are HIGH compared to here in WA right now. When WA prices were down I would have to say WA but with the market being HOT it would be Memphis or Indianapolis.

JB: Which rental property is your favorite, and for what reason is it your favorite?
The first duplex that you sold us in Everett. It is completely remodeled (from foundation up) giving us comfort that there will not be any large maintenance costs for quite a while, and it also is our most profitable rental, generating a income of $1380 monthly.

JB: What is your craziest story that you can share about a specific rental property or tenant related story?
We really don’t have any crazy stories! But, I can say this, maybe. One of our rentals has a garage attached to the house and it is a small single car (very small-narrow) – our tenants live in the house with 3 kids, while their mother lives in a room set apart by curtains in the unheated garage!

JB: You and Dennis have done a few flips, how were you able to do that when you both worked full time?
We set our minds on a completion date and stuck to it (with maybe a few variances but not far off) I worked from home so I was able to go do small things especially toward the end on my own. Dennis gets off at 2:30 so we used up a good 4-6 hours every evening and our weekends working long and hard. Sometimes the kids also came to work with us for some of the tear down or cleanup work which also helped.

JB: What made you two want to flip properties?
The fun of seeing the before and after of what we can do to a property to improve it. The joy of working together, and the profit also helped!

JB: What kind of funds did you need to flip properties?
Cash if they were auction properties, or 25% down of the sale price, hard money loans if you do not have cash of your own, holding costs (costs that you have during the project: insurance, payment to lender if a loan, utilities and permit and contractor and rehab costs).

JB: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started investing in real estate?
Realize it takes money to make money! Do it NOW don’t wait.We wish we would have bought even more and every month that you wait costs you money, and your future lifestyle time if you wait! Find someone who is not just going to SELL you on buying real estate. Find someone that has experience in all of the areas you want to work in and types of projects you want to work on, and be willing to listen to their knowledge. Do not try it on your own, but do your due diligence as well.  Have money, or money lined up because you don’t want to miss an opportunity, look at the market and decide what you want to do and where, (flips, rentals, single, multi-family, in state, out of state) make a plan and MOVE on it.

JB: How long do you think you will continue to invest in properties? Is there an end goal in mind?
We think we are close to our end goal of income, but then other opportunities present themselves so possibly NO end in sight!

JB: What is next for the Iversons?
Who knows! We have met our goal for income but property in Indianapolis is looking really good to us right now, maybe looking toward an apartment building!
If you want to connect with Deena, you can find her in our facebook group Addicted to ROI. She is a regular contributor and a wealth of knowledge!

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About the Author

Jennifer Beadles

I’m Jennifer Beadles, and together with my family, we are living the day-to-day of a financially independent family thanks to our rental properties.

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