- Profit Strategy: Buy & hold
- Number of Units: 1 – a group home that houses 12 people
- Amount Earned: $3,000/mo after all bills are paid
- Prior Experience: None. Started her career in radio broadcasting and news, sales, and then most recently was working at Amazon.com.
Here’s her story:
Driven by her goal to leave the corporate world to create a thriving business of her own, Mikelanne Burk has been on an extraordinary journey these past five years that’s taken her from working at Amazon and investing in single family homes to – with the help of Lance Edwards’ training – closing on her first multi-family home housing special needs people.
While enjoying a solid sales career with the world’s largest retail site, the Edmonds, WA based investor and Rob Krebs, her boyfriend of 20+ years, started training on purchasing single family properties through tax lien and deed auctions. Many of their investments involved partnering with colleagues on the East Coast where they discovered more auction opportunity. Her plan was to chip away at learning and start acquiring these homes with an eye towards eventually leaving Amazon and doing real estate full time.
Her steady planning turned into a powerful whirlwind of fresh life decisions when her mom died unexpectedly at age 73 in 2016. “My mom was my best friend, a wonderful woman whom I adored and looked up to, who always had more energy than anyone around her,” Mikelanne says. “I knew I wanted to make changes in my life, but her passing was a definite reality check that life is short. Before she passed away, she had asked me when I was going to get started on the stuff I had been so passionate about.
“The months after that, I felt like I wasn’t grounded and was just floating along in a daze, but then I knew it was time to take action,” she adds. “Some of the training programs Rob and I had gone to talked about mindset and motivation, and it hit me that the only reason I was still at Amazon and not venturing into real estate full time was fear. It was a mega ‘a-ha’ moment. I realized that if I don’t start taking the steps now, all the amazing things I wanted to put in my path in the future wouldn’t be there.”
In May 2017, Mikelanne resigned from her 12 year employment at Amazon. “I had an incredibly positive experience there,” she says, “and working for them gave me a lot of the tools I would need to become successful in real estate. I learned the basics of building and scaling a business and also was part of a culture with a powerful work ethic. But I was ready to start focusing on doing things that I considered most important to me.”
Nine months after leaving Amazon, Mikelanne heard about Lance’s program and bought his book How To Make Big Money in Small Apartments. She was excited by his explanation that investors didn’t have to graduate into multi-unit properties and the fact that it was a great way to increase revenue exponentially while growing one’s business. She attended his boot camp in May 2018.
“I was extremely impressed with how he explained HOW TO very thoroughly,” she says. “I had been to many real estate oriented trainings and left very motivated but not always with the precise steps on how to succeed. Lance actually went through each step in his training. It was a lot to learn but it was all right in front of me! He also illuminated the fact that the multi-family properties niche is much less competitive than single family auctions, where people often overpay and properties are harder to come by.”
After the Boot Camp, Mikelanne was eager to return to the Seattle area and get started on looking for small to mid-size apartment. She and Rob had previously talked about programs that are specific to multi-family special needs units. The couple started looking for a house that would allow up to 20 individuals this opportunity and was connected to a program where others would run the home. A man that Rob had met in a real estate class had a pastor friend connected with Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission who was hoping to open such a program for “second chance” individuals who needed room and board while getting back into the workforce.
Mikelanne and Rob met several times with the group from the Mission and saw that they were the real deal who would be willing to manage the group home and attend to its tenants’ needs. After sending out flyers and checking out a few suitable houses they found on MLS, they connected at a neighborhood association meeting with a man who was living with a roommate in a large house in the Rainier Beach area South Seattle that had a nice sized yard, two separate kitchens, a common room for group projects and “big enough” bedrooms.
The home, which had apparently housed other relatives at various times, was owned by the man’s mother who lived in California. The owner had recently remodeled it and was interested in selling. Taking Lance’s teachings about the vast “mailbox money” potential of such properties to heart, Mikelanne reached out to the woman, sent her an LOI and made her an offer. Though the owner did not agree to seller financing, Mikelanne used the prospect of that and other slight deficiencies – like a shifting backyard pipe and the fact that they were going to have to add more rooms to make the house viable for the program – to get her to agree to a price $120,000 below what she originally asked for.
“By mid-September, we closed on the house that is now home to 12 people and growing,” Mikelanne says. “We used Lance’s program to figure out the monthly costs and maintenance and saw that it would indeed generate great cash flow, even after the bills and house loan were paid. We also employed Lance’s strategy to secure bank financing and were able to get a reduced mortgage rate. This single opportunity allows us to bring in over $3000 a month after all the bills are paid. We are so excited and know for certain we can do this. There is another group home we may look at investing in as well, since word has spread. If we can own a few of these types of multi-unit properties, we’ll be able to more than cover our monthly bills.”
Excited about investing in her and Rob’s future and feeling they are on the right track, the two are looking for more multi-unit apartments both in the Seattle area and in the Midwest. “A few years ago, I would have never believed that this was possible. This has sped up the process for us to achieve our life’s financial goals, which allows us to spend time on our highest priorities – including family, helping others learn how to do this and traveling.”