Buying houses as an investment is changing Thao and David Nguyen’s lives and the lives of those around them.
In just under five years of serious investing, they’ve acquired more than 50 single-family homes, mostly in Oklahoma City, plus duplexes, other small multifamily properties, and mobile home parks — a total of about 180 “doors,” as investors put it.
“David was working as a chemist at Tinker AFB, for 17 years, and I have been working as a pharmacist at Walgreens, for 12 years,” Thao said in an email interview. “Before 2018, we bought a few rental properties just by chance.”
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Before long, they could afford to go into investing full time. David, 43, quit his job in 2019, and Thao, 39, quit hers at the end of last year.
“In 2018, after attending some seminars, reading some books and meeting some successful real estate investors, our mindset has changed and we have learned that real estate investing is the most predictable way to reach our financial freedom, live the lifestyle we desire and build our generation wealth and legacy.”
It starts with making connections, said Harris, who is co-founder and managing broker of Spearhead Realty.
“There are many things to consider when looking for a potential investment property, and the best way to learn the ins and outs is to meet with people who are successfully buying properties,” Harris said.
Groups meet weekly and monthly to share advice, she said, and “you can even hire a coach to help teach you how to navigate the market.”
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The Nguyens are into it for income, as well as value-added appreciation, meaning they buy some homes, make improvements and sell them, using numerous limited liability companies.
“We buy, fix and hold for rentals; or buy, fix and resell them as flips,” Thao said. “There are so many benefits when investing in real estate. One of wthem is value appreciation.
“The prices of real estate have increased a lot since the pandemic due to the low inventory and the increased demand. Single-family homes have the most appreciation in value, especially those that are in the prime locations.”
Flipping a property after renovations is harder than when they started, she said, since the cost of building materials shot up and contract labor got harder to come by because of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions.
Market appreciation and the income from rent has increased the Nguyens’ net worth “significantly,” she said.
She said it’s all been satisfying, and for reasons other than income and wealth accumulation.
“We have created many jobs, provided great and affordable housing to many families, and made a great impact to many people around us,” Thao said. “Real estate also allows us to gain control of our time.
“Now we can freely make time for our family, for our church or for our friends and community. It also gives us the resources and funds to help many other people or do many things that are more meaningful. It’s our vision and mission to make a positive impact and improve people’s quality of life through real estate investing.”
To that end, they plan to broaden their impact by entering a market segment that is growing, and growing faster, as boomers age.
“We have been working on setting up some residential assisted-living homes and adult day care centers, using my medical background and real estate knowledge. In short, there is no limit of what we can do with real estate,” Thao said.
Success has not come without difficulty.
“Real estate investing has not always been easy and definitely requires a lot of hard and diligent work,” Thao said. “However, we have been enjoying this real estate business very much.
“We are very confident that whether the market goes up or goes down, we shall be successful with real estate investing due to the knowledge that we have learned and the network that we have built throughout the past years.”
Senior business writer Richard Mize has covered housing, construction, commercial real estate, and related topics for the newspaper and Oklahoman.com since 1999. Contact him at [email protected].