Imagine moving to Los Angeles with two large dogs. Then try to imagine finding a place to live with those dogs, in a safe neighborhood with a fenced yard…on a writer’s paycheck.

There was only one way to afford such a place: take on a roomate. She was and is a great friend. There is just one small problem. She was even messier than I am.

I couldn’t afford to rent a place on my own. So I did what every struggling young professional should do. I bought one.

It was a run-down, six unit, 1920’s Spanish bungalow style courtyard property. Like “Melrose Place”. Well, sort of. There were holes in the roof, bamboo growing through sidewalks, up through crawl spaces…in short, it was a mess.

But there was one breathtakingly beautiful fact about the property. Rent from the tenants was enough to cover the mortgage, insurance and utilities. All I paid for were improvements.

Six years later, the equity I earned from that property helped me purchase a 23 unit apartment building, the farm I now live on, and the rental house on the property that helps pay the mortgage.

Single family home ownership is for many, the American dream. In my years as a licensed Realtor, I have helped countless home buyers and investors realize those dreams.

Many of my clients have come to understand what I have. Why pay for all of your dream when you can get a tenant to pay it for you?