Entrepreneurial Stories – Barnes Properties
Barb Getty is the sole owner of Barnes Properties in Indianapolis, IN. She’s a real estate investor, landlord/author (see attached cover art) but real estate investing wasn’t part of the plan … she was a stay at home mom of three teenagers when her 17-year-old son was killed in a car accident. Her daughters were 16 and 14 at the time. To make matters even worse, her 21-year marriage collapsed eight months following the death of her son. After purchasing and fixing up a small home for her and her girls, she took her skills to the next level, and bought her first duplex. Today, she owns and operates 27 units in Indianapolis, has a property management company and does consulting.
How did you finance your start up?
This was very tough. I started my business at the lowest point of my life, with no credit, little money or experience. I’d never had accounts or credit cards in my name as a married person, so I had no credit history. The banks wouldn’t consider me for a loan, so I had to pay cash ($19,000) for my first duplex. I put $7000 into it, and sold it a year later for more than twice the purchase price . . . and bought two more!
What were the obstacles to starting your business (educational requirements, certifications, licensing, insurance, etc.)?
Financing was a challenge, of course. But after I bought the second and third properties and rehabbed them, I was able to get mortgages on the finished products, and pulled cash out that way. And bought more! Another huge challenge was tenant management. This is what drives most people out of this business. Personally, I was too trusting, choosing to think the best in people, always. I – finally – had to tighten up, because I was losing money, waiting on tenants to pay me, hoping they would, trusting they would . . . they were living free, and I wasn’t making any income!
How did you find suppliers/services you needed to get started?
I joined my local real estate investors’ association and networked with other landlords to find good sub-contractors. I tried to do a lot of my own work, to save money. (Why pay someone to do something I can do myself?) But for those jobs I didn’t want to take on, networking was helpful. I also used Craig’s List.
What does your typical day look like?
I really don’t have a “typical” day, and this is what I love about my work. I may be working on rehabbing a place I’ve recently purchased, or cleaning and repainting a unit that has become empty, or showing a couple units that are vacant. Or, maybe I’m not working that day at all. This is the joy of owning my business and answering to no one but myself. If I need the day off, I take it.
What are you working on right now?
I’m expanding the property management segment of my business, and am working right now with a CA investor who wants to buy several middle-income single-family rentals here in Indianapolis. Prices here are excellent, and the rental market is strong.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
There’s a new book recently released titled “Entrepreneur Intervention: Triumphs and Failures of Entrepreneurs.” It chronicles the lives of 28 people who created their own successes; the interviews are both compelling and inspirational. I wish the book had been around when I started.
What advise would you give others?
Before you start your entrepreneur journey, read everything you can about your particular industry. Talk to people in the industry. Clean up your credit. And be organized in your approach. In other words, prepare well, trust yourself, and GO for it!
How do you connect with your customers and how can people reach you?
Connect (how can people connect with you, a link to your site, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc). I’m not big on Twitter (@thelandlordIndy) but I’m active on Facebook (The Landlord Chronicles and Barb Getty) and I write a fun, informative blog at www.thelandlordchronicles.net. My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my book, The Landlord Chronicles: Investing in Low and Middle Income Rentals can be purchased through my blog or on line (Amazon).