- Profit Strategy: Buy & hold
- Number of Units: 6
- Amount Earned: $925/mo
- Personal Money Invested: $0
- Prior Experience: Prior to closing their first deal, Casey and Chris had been real estate investors for about 11 years with single family homes
Here’s their story:
For many real estate investors, the profits they make from their deals help fund a lifestyle free from the stress of the corporate, 9 to 5 world and full of luxury “toys” and lavish vacations. For Casey and Christy Speer, who are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in 2019, the incredible real estate empire they’re building is all about doing the Lord’s work – or what Christy says, “allowing us to be positioned financially so we can do whatever, wherever and whenever God directs us.”
In fact, the Indianapolis couple’s exponential success with single family homes (150 and counting!) – and resulting expansion into owning a real estate brokerage, property management company and general contracting business – all began as an answer to prayer. In 2007, the longtime Faith Promise missionaries were funding their trips on a shoestring, with regular paychecks supplemented by cash advances on their credit cards.
“Because trips with this organization are completely self-funded, we were praying and asking God for the best way to secure enough funds to ensure that we could go anywhere He needed us to,” says Casey. “Through research, we learned the top industries in the world that created the most self-made millionaires. We came up with real estate investing and the stock market, and we started investing in both. We knew we were headed on the right path when we were able to buy our first house in Columbus, Indiana, which retailed for $150,000, for less than $35,000 at a sheriff’s sale. We put $130,000 in rehab costs into it and still made over $100,000 on our first deal. Christy was part of these deals from the start, and joined me full time in 2011.”
Over the years, Casey and Christy’s success in investing has self-funded missions trips together to Japan, Mexico, Haiti, Canada, Belize and other Central American countries. For part of that time, Christy was bound to North American travel by her work as an operations and marketing executive for Crown Financial Ministries. Casey has taken solo missions trips to England, France, Ecuador, Tanzania, India, China, Japan and Rwanda, etc. – 18 countries in all!
Early on in their investment career, the Speers learned a pivotal lesson that helped accelerate their earnings and profit potential: that they didn’t have to use their own money, or even private investors to fund their deals. They learned how to buy property with owner financing, and about how to generate residual and passive income. Casey defines residual income as “money that comes in month after month that you’re managing and overseeing personally,” while passive income is “when you have all the money coming in every month from rentals but it’s taken care of by someone you’ve hired, so that you can concentrate on other things.” Casey enjoys calling the latter “pajama income.”
“The key to everything,” Christy says, “is learning about all the various tools available to us, including zero down and owner financing, wholesaling, subject to properties, lease options and options and mortgages. We feel that God’s given us a big toolbox that we can use along the way.”
The Speers’ involvement with Lance Edwards, which has helped them expand their horizons into small apartment investing, came via Ron LeGrand. Inspired by their initial successes and wanting to secure every advantage possible, Casey and Christy became students of the nationally recognized author and real estate expert and trainer. At one point, LeGrand tried to recruit them as mentors/coaches. Over the years, they heard Lance speak at some of LeGrand’s events – and in 2018 decided to go with Lance’s marketing package and enroll in his boot camp.
“We found that we could plug his process, especially the mailing and follow-up elements, into the internal processes that we had developed for our single family home investments fairly easily,” Christy says. “Casey and I analyze the numbers and our support process in house pulls comps for us. He or I then make the calls and decided whether to proceed with an LOI and any appropriate follow-up. We have what we call a ‘tickle system’ that we have employed in our entire business, and we have added the potential apartment deals into that mix.”
Casey and Christy’s first small apartment deal, which earned them a spot on Lance’s Apartment Champions web page, was a property in Louisville that came from their targeted mailings. They thought it might be a quick wholesale deal, but as they got into it and Casey kept negotiating the price down (a process he equates to “a dance”), they realized it made more sense to buy and hold because of its potential as an ongoing income generator. One of the units in the historic building was a four bedroom, two bath dwelling that rented for $1100 and it was already in HUD Section 8. That unit alone would pay for their principal, interest, taxes and insurance each month. The building also had five units with one bedroom, one bath.
The owner was an older gentleman and motivated seller who, Casey explains, “just wanted to get rid of it.” His asking price was $150,000. After following Lance’s process, generating the LOI and getting it under contract, Casey negotiated a first round reduction to $130,000. After inspections, he got it down to $120,000, which is what The Speers bought it for. Since then, they’ve been on a small apartment roll, buying three duplexes outright in Indianapolis and a four unit in Louisville which they financed through the bank. These are also buy and holds.
“It’s pretty simple,” Christy says. “Small apartments are an opportunity to have multiple revenue streams from a single property.” Casey adds, “When you think of the time, attention and effort that goes into the process, due diligence, research and contracts to do a deal on a single family home, why not spend the same amount of time on a small apartment that will generate much bigger monthly numbers for us?”
The Speers believe that, Lord willing, they will soon have enough income generating properties in their portfolio to allow them to spend all their time dedicated to world missions and His Service. Yet even as they attend to the real estate in their own backyard, they are spiritually cognizant that every aspect of their work as investors is an extension of their ministry.
“We consider our tenants and residents and anyone who has a mortgage under us as our ministry on any given day,” Casey says. “As our lives developed together, we found that we were both motivated people and big thinkers who saw the world as our mission field. Our prayer to the Lord then as now is to use us as his hands, feet and mouthpiece. That has always seemed very natural to us. Everything boils down to having a goal and an accompanying motivational action plan to get you there. As 19th Century British missionary C.T. Studd once said, ‘Our life on earth will soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”