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Meet the Investors: Law Enforcement to Landlord With Alyson Anderson
Andrew Koenig
May 16, 2023

What’s up, BiggerPockets? Alex Felice here again with another episode of “Meet the Investors.” In this edition, I introduce you to Alyson Anderson. I call her “the tiny terror of real estate.” And she’s going to tell you her story.

Meet the Investor: Alyson Anderson

Hi, I’m Aly Anderson. I’m a real estate agent and investor and superfan of BiggerPockets. My husband and I currently own four rental properties and have been doing this for eight years. We have two beautiful sons and I’m excited to share my story with you.

The reason I got into real estate was actually by accident. I was in the police academy and didn’t have very many funds, so I started looking around to see what was available. Well, I found one property. It wasn’t much money and we could put money into it to allow us to live. So we bought the property. We did a 203K, we worked on it, we lived in it.

Well, we had two big dogs. And it didn’t exactly fit our two big dogs, so we decided it was time to find another property.

So we moved out and turned this into a rental. With that, we realized that there was some stability and we were able to make money off of fixing up a property and making it work. So we got excited. We then began finding other properties, analyzing the deals, rehabbing them, and it grew into a business.

BiggerPockets was able to help me find tenants. I simply Googled BiggerPockets and found that they were able to help me in any way possible. They provided me with education, forms, essentially anything, any kind of questions I had.

So I had the property. I just needed to know “what next.”

With that, I was able to find quality tenants, quality referrals, and quality people to help me along the way. They gave me advice. I was able to listen and learn through podcasts, read books, and find essentially any answer possible. There was always someone that knew more than me and knew how to help.

Related: Meet the Investors: I Quit My Government Job to Do Real Estate (& Never Looked Back) With Tanya Salseth

My First Real Estate Investment

Let’s talk about my very first rental property. We bought it for $95,000. We spent $55,000 to rehab the property. We’re currently getting $1,500 a month for it.

We’ve had these amazing tenants in for two and a half years, and if we sell it, we’d be able to sell it for over $250,000. This property is relatively maintenance-free with it being a full rehab project.

The other properties in our portfolio are a little different. We cash-flow those and have paid cash for them. They are also rehabs, just like this property, and they are able to provide that stability and that extra oomph to get stuff going.

Throughout this whole process, we’ve done a few flips. That’s just to add some income, have a little fun, learn something different, and grow.

Through BiggerPockets, we were able to get resources such as contractors. We have little ideas. I use the BiggerPockets rehab book a lot just to see whether contractors were giving me the correct quote. It was my Bible for a lot of it.

And I learned with this property that our contractor ripped us off. I learned that, yeah, we struggled a little and we paid way too much for this property.

Related: Meet the Investors: BRRRR + Airbnb = The Perfect Mashup Strategy With Shelby Osborne

How to Get Started as a Real Estate Investor

Let me tell you how I did this all before I turned 30.

1. Invest Local

I know a lot of the neighbors around here. In many of my properties, I use local high schoolers to help me cut the grass. If anything happens with my rental properties, I have neighbors to call. I have good people who care about this community and want a quality tenant in that’s going to take care of my property and make sure everything is running smoothly.

2. Be Deliberate

Make sure you are taking the crawl, walk, run experience. But don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes absolutely happen. With this property, I spent way too much on the contractor. He was a guy that didn’t really know what he was doing.

It was a 203K loan and he didn’t understand the draw schedule. So with that, he spent too much. He truly didn’t understand what was going on. And we did have to get some lawyers involved and had some issues. But I’m still making money on this property and I have really good equity.

3. Choose Your Friends Wisely

You need to be around people that are far more educated than you. You need to learn from them and grow. Learn from their mistakes, learn from their successes, work with them, ask them questions, send them a text message once in a while. They are a huge resource, especially locally. You learn from them and you’re going to grow and go super far.

This property is two minutes from the water. Not only am I able to spend quality time with my family, but I can enjoy the water, peace, and quiet. This is why I love real estate.

Have you ever ended up overpaying a contractor?