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Austin Real Estate Investment: My Story Buying a Cash-Flowing Duplex

Austin Real Estate Investment

I just bought a duplex in the surrounding Austin area and wanted to update you guys!

Most of you know me as the ‘Her.CEO girl who buys websites’. At least that’s how I imagine you all think of me.

Well guess what? I just bought a duplex.

austin duplex investment

Before I dive in, I just want to say thank you to my websites for making my duplex purchase possible. Ok diving in.

I’ve been looking in Austin, Texas and the surrounding areas for the past 4 months, and just closed on a property today.

Now, you’re probably thinking what in the world is she doing? She should only be buying websites, not real estate, so she can keep teaching me things and write more website case studies!

Her posts are my favorite part of each day. At least, that’s what I am imagining you’re thinking. I’m guessing that’s pretty accurate. My Her.CEO website posts and emails are the favorite part of many people’s days. Haha I’m kidding guys.

I’ve been thinking about investing in real estate for some time now, and I’m very happy I ended up being able to do so.

Why? Mostly due to my thoughts on stocks and inflation.

I started writing this post, which actually started out as an email, trying to fit all my thoughts on stocks and inflation right here, but then I realized it was way too long. So, subscribe to the Her.CEO newsletter here to read the full post, or head over to posts 2 and 3 where I explain why I took most of my money out of stocks recently, and why I’m investing more in assets due to my thoughts on inflation.

Current Austin, TX Real Estate Market

Hint: It’s Hot

I want to give a quick shoutout to Her.CEO email list reader and real estate investor Nadav, who I’d connected with recently and who gave me some real estate tips before I made my purchase.

He told me hasn’t been investing in real estate this entire year, even though he usually buys properties regularly, due to the high buyer competition and prices in hot areas right now. 

I saw this to be true where I was looking in the Austin, Texas area as well. Almost no one was listing their home for sale, and there were tons of people flocking to Austin from all over, particularly California.

Everyone is coming to Austin.

It doesn’t help that Tesla, Oracle and others are moving their headquarters to Austin, and that businesses like Samsung are continuing to pour billions to expand in the Austin area.

With interest rates as low as they are right now, there are many people looking to buy a new house as a home-owner or an investor, so there was a ton of competition for barely any for sale listings.

I started looking in November of 2020, and there were already dozens of offers on each house slightly above list price. After Christmas and in early January, prices had gone up 20% or more from when I started, and people were bidding insanely high to the point the winners of houses would be basically breaking even each month if they had put down 25% and were renting the houses out as an investment property.

To give you guys an idea, the Austin market is currently so hot with so little supply and so much demand, the norm was / is for houses to go on market, and then accept an offer and go off market that same day or the very next day.

Real Estate Investing Tips

Tips From Her.CEO Reader Nadav that are applicable to both real estate and website investing.

Nadav, the Her.CEO real estate investing veteran, gave me two real estate tips that I took to heart:

1) Find Deals – In any type of market, even in hot markets, there are always deals to be found. Look out and be patient for those.

2) Look for things you can Improve – Don’t be afraid of renovation or buying something you need to improve.

These tips are also incredibly applicable to website investing. Website multiples have been rising rapidly. I remember when I first started buying websites 4 or so years ago and the going multiple was 20X the monthly profit valuation. Nowadays, the average is closer to 32X, all the way up to 60X for some highly in-demand sites.

However, it is still possible to find deals if you look hard enough, or if you have good relationships in the space.

Nadav’s second point, don’t be afraid of renovation or improving a property, is also the #1 thing I look for when buying a website, because even a site priced at a higher multiple, if you know you can improve it, either through driving more traffic to it, or by increasing the revenue per visitor, then it can still be an insanely good deal.

Website SEO quick wins VS Real Estate quick wins

There are a lot of SEO quick wins you can do to quickly drive more traffic to a site, and drive more traffic over time, maybe I’ll do an email that goes into that at some point.

One example of a quick website SEO win, similar to one may quickly renovate to make it look nicer on the surface, is: Increasing website revenue per visitor

Increasing revenue per visitor you can do a lot of ways, the most common are through switching and testing ad networks, or switching from affiliate to ecommerce, or offering more products or services or sponsorships on the site. I could also go into that more in a future email, both are huge topics.

My Austin Duplex Investing Story

Here’s how I ended up with my first duplex in the surrounding Austin area:

I started my real estate search in person when visiting family in Austin for Thanksgiving and Christmas. During this time I made an offer on a duplex slightly above list but didn’t make it into even the top 4 cut.

In January, I doubled down on my search, completely via FaceTime with my realtor, who is amazing, if anyone is looking for or to sell a place in the Austin or surrounding area feel free to let me know and I can connect you.

Whenever new houses and duplexes appeared on market, almost every day, he would send me a hand-picked list of the best listings for my criteria “cash-flowing duplex or single family in the Austin or surrounding area, more focus on surrounding areas due to Austin’s high prices in relation to rent.”

The best Austin Realtor = Chris

It took me 4 realtors to finally find Chris, the one I liked, because the rest had simply set me up on MLS auto searches, as opposed to actually taking the time to find the best deals that were relevant to me. Chris was the only one who understood what cash-flow was as well. I’m picky with who I work with, and it also took me 3 tries to find my current accountant. 

I ended up writing offers for a handful of single family homes in the Hutto, Round Rock, and Austin area, as well as a handful of duplexes in similar areas including Austin and other surrounding areas, and even one in San Marcos that ended up having foundation and other issues which I ended up pulling due to that.

Kind of cheating to figure out what we should bid

My realtor Chris would always talk to the agents the day before bids were due and get an idea of what the highest bids were so mine could be competitive. On one duplex near Dell’s campus in Austin, we used his intel and I bid the exact price of the actual winning bid, but we had a few less seller favorable contract terms so I ended up not getting it. That was a blessing in disguise because I ended up getting a much less expensive duplex in better condition that I like even more.

The duplex I ended up getting was a duplex I had initially bid on and lost. My initial bid was higher than the original winning bid, which my realtor Chris had helped us semi-figure out the range of by talking to the other realtor in advance. The original winning bid likely beat mine because it was all-cash for both duplexes the owner was selling at the same time.

How I saved $20K and got an off-market duplex

My bid lost out, so I moved on and kept looking at and bidding on other places. A few weeks later, Chris texted me, “You want Luther? They terminated on that one. He [the listing agent] said I’m the first and only one he’s called.”

I ended up making an offer on it, competing against no one this time, since my realtor and I were the only ones they had reached out to, offering $20K less than my original bid, and they accepted.

Then I was able to get $5K more off in the option period, as there was an HVAC that needed a small drain line fix, and a few other small handyman repairs.

The woman who owned the two duplexes was selling as she and her husband were retiring, and she had owned them for 25 years as her “babies” that she renovated very well and took care of in terms of property and tenants.

We like to buy from retirees? I do

The strange thing is, my two best performing websites, I purchased from two people also retiring. My takeaway here is I like buying from retirees selling their businesses, real estate, websites and other assets, because retiring can be an actual motive to sell a high-quality asset. 

I closed on my duplex March 1st.

My closing date was March 1st, and I now own a beautiful, cash-flowing duplex in Georgetown, Texas, only 30 minutes and miles from central Austin.

Ok, this picture isn’t great and the day was bleak, but I took it from the appraisal form. 

austin area real estate investment

I ended up getting a really great deal on it, and it was so much less expensive with a much better cash-flow ratio than any other winning duplex bids I saw during my entire 4 month search period. Needless to say I feel very blessed and happy to have found it.

As Her.CEO reader Nadav would say, I think I ended up finding a good deal.

Real estate vs Websites as an asset

Real estate is also an asset similar to websites, although it is usually only accessible at a higher price point and multiple. The main difference is you can usually get loans for real estate while they can be harder to come by in a conventional way for websites.

Mortgage loan rates are also at an all-time low right now. I took a small loan and did a very large down-payment, and my loan was only 2.875%, which I know is crazy low.

Keep an eye out for my thoughts on why I bought real estate, mostly due to an uncertain future for stocks and inflation, Part 2 & 3 of this email, which were too long to include here.

In Part 2 & 3 I’ll talk about why buying assets right now is very important (in my opinion I’m not a financial advisor or trying to influence anyone..I’m simply talking about my own thoughts and actions right now *end disclaimer here*).

Feel free to reply if you’ve bought any real estate recently, if you’re buying or selling near Austin right now, or if you have any other questions about my process & as always I love emailing with you all!

You can always send me an email at stacy@her.ceo

Also, of course my Ad & Affiliate Disclaimers: I often feature products in the form of paid ads which are clearly marked in the email. Also, I often use and recommend affiliate products (only really good ones I actually like and use). If you use any of these products with my link or code, I get a commission, which is something I have to let you know. I’m also letting you know I get compensated for any ads in this email. You can always ask me about specific products or send questions and I read (and currently try to reply to) every one, so always feel free to send your questions.

Financial Disclaimer: *Nothing in this newsletter is financial advice, and I’m not a financial advisor. I simply share my own thoughts and actions about my own choices and thoughts. You may find or talk to your own financial advisor if you are looking for financial advice or direction.*

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