• Jana Kelley

How I got started in Real Estate Investing - Jill

My passion has been design and real estate my whole life. I grew up watching my family run a remodeling business. I graduated from the University of Alabama with an interior design degree in 2002. I decided to go to work in the advertising industry instead of design. After eight years, I got the itch for real estate.

In 2010, my dad, my sister and I decided to flip a house. The market was very different back then, and you could find foreclosures on the MLS. We found a house in Alabaster, and made an offer. It was a big project filled with lots of challenges. We filled in a pool, replaced all the windows, and gutted the interior. I loved the transformation of the remodel. We sold the house for a profit and I was hooked.

My dad and I found a local investor that offered a mentoring training program. The program taught us marketing, how to structure a deal, and most importantly, networking with local investors. After the year long program was over, we decided to jump into the rental market.

We bought several houses in Birmingham, including Section Eight properties. Slowly we kept adding houses to our rental portfolio through wholesalers, word of mouth, and marketing. We did not manage the properties ourselves, but instead relied on property managers. I also partnered with my sister and purchased land in Shelby County where we rent out mobile homes.

I have lost count of how many houses I have flipped (probably around fifty). I have many partners that I have worked with in the past. We have bought houses on the courthouse steps, from wholesalers, the MLS, and also marketing. The best way to find a house is by word of mouth when people start calling you with houses they need to get rid of.

My real estate career has been a marathon rather than a sprint. I had to gain knowledge, experience, and have met other investors that have helped me along the way. I still feel like I am just getting started. Real estate has allowed me the freedom to be with my three daughters and provide for my family. Persistence is key. It is okay to go at your own pace as long as you keep working towards your goals.

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