Rosewood – Sweet Equity

After having purchased my home in 2002 using the Austin down payment assistance program, I was left with the money I’d been saving. In 2003, I used that savings to purchase my first rental property. Then, in late 2003, I cashed out my Roth savings account and talked my parents into going halfsies on a second rental property.

In 2005 I found my drive to purchase housing unabated.  However, I did not have any money. But I did have quite a few credit cards, and the offers for new cards and zero percent balance transfers came in almost daily. Absolutely determined, I fearlessly, and quite possibly recklessly, entered into another rental real estate purchase: The Rosewood house.

The Rosewood house was put on the market in August 2004 for $73K, and sat there for a year – and for good reason. The building conditions were terrible, and every sane investor considered it a tear down. Then I came along with a misguided optimism and began rehabilitation work. For ten months I spent every available evening and weekend hour toiling. Towards the end, I began to lose steam in the face of an unending mountain of work. I flew my parents and brother down from Washington state to help with a final push to get the house ready for leasing. The fact is, I needed a break from my folly.

Enter Mark and Scottie. They were getting desperate for housing, and I mentioned that I had a house that I was working on, but that it was not finished. They said they didn’t care, saw the house, and moved in with the walls half-painted. Ten years passed…

While I got a clear wake up call in 2011 about the sustainability of the venture, it wasn’t until the tax spike in 2014 that I started thinking about taking action. I couldn’t simply raise the rent, as the lipstick on the pig had worn off a long time ago. The roof leaked, the house was effectively sitting on the dirt, insect-infested, no climate control, and impossible to clean. Mark and Scottie moved out in September 2016, but Christa and I began exterior work in June.