Interview With Voyage Miami Magazine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lex Levinrad.

Lex, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?

I was a very successful stockbroker and money manager for 12 years in California prior to moving to Florida. I lost my business and my life savings in the Nasdaq Stock Market Crash of 2000. I decided to move to Florida with my wife and two children in July 2003. When I arrived I was unemployed, and looking to get started in real estate. A few weeks after arriving in Florida, I met a guy name Ben who really was a huge part in changing my life. He was a real estate investor.

Towards the end of 2003, I started working for Ben as a bird dog (real estate deal finder). I got paid a finders fee of $5,000 for every house that I found (for him to buy). It was not easy to understand a new business, and  it was very different to investing in the stock market.

It took me almost 6 months to find my first deal (and get paid). I am not going to say that it was easy since I put in a lot of leg work. Keep in mind that I had just recently moved to Florida and I was not familiar with towns and cities around me so I really had to learn everything from scratch.

But once I did that first deal and got paid, and I learned and understood how the process worked it became much easier to find more houses. I found my second house just 6 weeks after the first house. And just 3 weeks after that I found my third house. Most of the houses I was purchasing were from sellers that wanted to sell quickly for a fast cash offer. I also started purchasing houses from wholesalers by calling bandit signs and newspaper classified ads.

Hurricane Frances in 2004 was really what put me in business. There were many people who wanted to sell their hurricane-damaged homes and we purchased a lot of houses in Port St Lucie (where most of the damage from the hurricane was). We specialized in buying hurricane-damaged homes from sellers that wanted to walk away from their damaged homes. The hurricanes of 2005 and 2006 resulted in us buying a lot more homes from a lot of motivated sellers. All of these homes were purchased, repaired and rented. In 2006, I started my own real estate investment company.

In 2008 I founded the Distressed Real Estate Institute to teach new real estate investors how to invest in real estate. Our company specializes in teaching people how to buy “distressed real estate”. We teach investors how to find, buy, fix and flip properties for a profit. In 2009 we started our first live event called the “Distressed Real Estate Boot Camp”. A few years later we added another live training event called the “Fixing and Flipping Houses Boot Camp” to teach investors specifically how to find, fix and flip properties.

Since 2009, we have trained thousands of students from all over the world how to invest in real estate. We now have eight live training events per year and have students from all over the country (and world) fly in to learn our real estate methods. We have received significant media exposure and have been featured on the front page of both the Miami Herald and the Sun Sentinel on articles about flipping houses. We have also been featured on ABC, CBS, NBS, Fox News Radio, and many other media outlets.

Since then, I have written 7 books about investing in real estate and have spoken on stage with some of the biggest real estate speakers in the world. Currently I am a featured contributor to many online real estate blogs and magazines. I also founded the Distressed Real Estate Investor’s Association which is one of the largest real estate investment clubs in the U.S.

Has it been a smooth road?

Starting out as a new real estate investor was very difficult. It was a brand new field that I knew nothing about and it took me at least six months to understand the basic concept of why someone would sell their house for less than what it was worth.

During those six months, I made no money at all. Not having money coming in, even though you are working ten hours a day is very difficult. It is the main reason why most new investors quit. I came very close to quitting. I was literally ready to quit when I decided to start advertising. I placed an ad in the classified section of the Sun Sentinel. Two weeks later a guy called me and offered to sell his house.

I made $17,000 on that first deal and I never looked back.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Distressed Real Estate Institute story. Tell us more about the business.

Our company specializes in teaching new real estate investors how to invest in real estate. We teach investors how to buy, fix and flip houses and also how to buy, fix, rent and hold houses long term.

I am most proud of the success that my students have had. I have many students that have quit their jobs to become full-time real estate investors. I have some students that are now multi-millionaires from investing in real estate.

I am proud of the success of my students and I am proud of the fact that I have managed to effectuate a positive change in someone else’s life. That is why I teach. That is why I do what I do. To effect positive change in other people’s lives.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?

I anticipate that the real estate market will be strong for the next 3 to 5 years. As prices get higher and higher, eventually we will need to have a slowdown. When we do, prices will decline.

However, that may not happen for quite a few years. And prices may increase substantially between now and then. It doesn’t pay to sit on the sidelines in real estate. Buy and hold real estate long term. Florida is the fastest growing state in the U.S. People love Florida. Everyone wants to move here. And they all need a place to live.

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