Monday, March 4, 2013

Informational Interview by Javier Guzman

Fernandez Martinez is a Real State Investor from Stockton CA. He has been investing in properties and managing them for over 25 years now, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. This is his story.

Q. How did you get started in Real State Investments?

A. “It all started when I was 20 years old. A godfather on mine wanted to sell me a piece of land very cheap in Mexico, so I bought it. Much later in life, I ended up building my dream home on it. In that same year when I was still 20, I bought my first house, it was old with much work needed and I bought it for $20,000. I fixed it up and started renting it, while still living in my parents’ house to save the money. I also used to work in the fields at the same time. I was a big saver; I used to save as much of my money as possible, when all of my friends were buying new cars, I was still driving an old truck just so that I could keep saving money. Two years later I bought a commercial property that used to be a pet store for $25,000 and would rent it out for $600 a month. From there on, the cycle just repeated itself. I would collect rent, save it, and buy another property. And if the price of one of my properties were to go up, then I would sell it and look for another one. That’s how I got started.”

Q. What types of Real State properties do you focus on?

A. “I focus on properties that I can purchase for a low price, on the more economical side; I don’t focus on luxury homes. I fix them and then either rent them or sell them. I also focus on agriculture. I couple of years ago I bought 10 acres of land and planted cherry trees, and that just became another source of income. I also buy commercial properties and if possible try to open a business, if not I rent them. My most current investment was a property with two small houses in the front and with 10 acres of grapes, the houses are already rented and I am excited to see what the small grape orchard can produce.”

Q. What are some of the things that you look for when purchasing a property?

A. “The price, trying to get it the lowest as possible. I then think if it’s possible to rent it, if there is a market for it, while still making a profit. To see if you can rent it, look at the location do some research on that location. If demand for rent is just not high in that area, look at what you could get if you were to flip it, resell it.”

Q. What are some of the things you do to try and minimize risk?

A. “I try to see what similar houses go for, what their value is, and try to buy something that is undervalue, or on the lower end. I also try to see if there are ways in which we can boost the value of a property in need of fixing without much work or investment. You can then see if buying certain property will give you a profit either from renting it or selling it and if so, this will give you much more comfort in taking the risk. I also diversify the properties that I buy, as I mention earlier, I have properties that I either resell of rent, I have commercial property that I either resell or rent, I have agriculture land that I harvest and I also have properties in Mexico. All of these are different sources of income, so if the housing market goes down, I have commercial properties that might be doing well, and that really reduces risk. If both the residential and commercial markets go down, I can still rely on my orchards. So diversification really reduces the risk. And its always a great year when all of the areas are doing good.”

Q. What skills are needed to be a successful Real State Investor?

A. “Be cautious and patient. Being inpatient may cause you to make the wrong decision when choosing to buy a property. I believe its best to lose a good opportunity than to rush things and make an uninformed decision that can cost you greatly. I don’t mind losing a good opportunity because their will always be new good opportunities to come and even better ones. So be patient, it will be pay off.”

Q. What are your major responsibilities?

A. “Being responsible about your payments, due dates, deadlines for paperwork. Fixing the house fast without cutting corners, because the longer this takes, the more potential money you are loosing. Looking for someone to rent it and making sure that everything in the house is fully functional to keep the tenant happy and collect rent. If I have to sell it, I get in contact with my agent and work with him to sell it fast.”

Q. What is the most stressful part of your job?

A. “When you made a cash offer and you feel like you wont be able to complete the money. Then you must rely on other people to let you borrow money or try to get a loan. The other stressful part is waiting for an answer. It may be waiting to see if the offer you made is accepted or not, or waiting to see if you will get approved for a loan.”

Q. What is the most rewarding aspect of you job?

A. “When you get a great price and you make a big profit and you know you made a good investment.”

As you can see, Fernando Martinez is considered a successful investor and has asked me to share one last thing. He is a person with not much of an educational background, just a high school diploma, came from a very low-income family and used to work in the fields. Yet with hard work and dedication and not much help, he became a successful investor. He believes that any student looking to be involved in the Real State market can and will be successful with hard work and dedication, because they already have the upper hand and that is their education. Hopefully this story helps inspire students.  

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