Michael Lofton Real Estate Journey: From Losing His Earnest Deposit On His First Deal To Completing 35 Deals In The Last Two Years
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Michael Lofton, and I am a real estate investor based out of Houston, TX. In the last two years, I’ve closed approximately 35 deals consisting of wholesaling, flips, buy & hold, subject-to, wraparound mortgages and note sales. I currently hold properties in Houston, TX and Chicago, IL, I am also considering purchasing properties throughout the Midwest and Southeast regions. During the day, I work as a Human Resources Manager, but have created systems and processes that helps me leverage the time of Virtual Assistants to generate leads for me to contact in the evening. I’m still learning and growing daily as a real estate investor (REI), and am looking to build relationships with realtors, wholesalers, contractors, and other investors throughout the Midwest, Southeast and beyond.
How did you get started in the real estate business?
It’s threefold: my parents owned a rental property in Los Angeles; I watched my brother build a clientele for his RE brokerage and I’ve always been attracted to the concept of “mailbox money” and earning passive income, so I naturally became attracted to real estate investing. I recall Google searching something about “how to make money without working” (lol) and got connected to ‘Bigger Pockets.’ From that day forward, I was hooked to REI and sought information that helped me “learn the language of REI” and take actionable steps toward my goals.
What are some hot markets for real estate that you are excited about?
As of right now, I’m most excited about the following markets: Houston, Austin, Dallas, Atlanta Orlando, and Charlotte, NC. Primary reasons include consistent population growth, favorable income tax, friendly employer and landlord laws, large corporations relocating headquarter offices to these areas, and increased leisure travel to said cities.
How do you source your real estate deals?
Direct to seller marketing (e.g., cold-calling, texting. ringless voicemails, etc.) and referrals from previous clients with vacant properties.
What are some checks and balances you’ve put in place to protect your real estate transactions?
Know your exit strategy from the beginning and establish rules for each exit strategy. If you require a certain dollar amount or ROI percentage for flips/rentals, be disciplined enough to stick to your rules. Don’t underestimate repair costs or consider best-case scenarios to justify your purchase. Use conservative numbers, stick to your “buy-box,” and “have a purpose for every property that you purchase.” (Jemal King).
What is one piece of advice you would give someone starting their real estate career?
You know enough about real estate, so take action now. Taking the next step toward your real estate goals can feel daunting but put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. Secondly, find a credible and experienced investor within your area and find out how you can add value or takeaway stress from their lives/business. Willingly bring something of value to the table–time, private money, network, knowledge, experience, etc.–and I’m certain you’ll attract the right people. As a result, you’ll develop mutual and healthy relationships with experienced investors and gain insight on what to avoid on your REI journey (i.e., wisdom). Finally, do not be a “Solopreneur.” I can’t accomplish ANYTHING without my lender, attorney, contractor, project manager, property manager, inspector, virtual assistants, etc. Your potential/success is predicated on those closest to you, so be willing to share the profits and ensure every team member has opportunities to succeed. Like we say in ‘The Wealth Community’ here in Houston, “No Stingy Energy,” or you will end up repelling the very success that you’re trying to attract.
What is one software you use for your business and recommend to others?
BatchLeads. This company fully understands what investors need to run nationwide comps, get distressed property lists, skip tracing, execute on direct to seller marketing campaigns, and more.
What is your superpower in life?
Resourcefulness, Self-Discipline, and Drive. Fortunately, we live in the information-age so everything you need to know is one conversation or google search away; there is no challenge that comes without a solution. Therefore, I’ll take the information I currently have and keep searching or speak to people with relevant knowledge until I find my desired outcome. Ignorance should never be the barrier to success. Secondly, my self-discipline and drive helps push me past the emotions of not “feeling like” working that day or handling a certain task. I wake up every day and follow the same routine no matter what day of the week it is because I believe in hitting a tree (i.e., the goal) in the same place 1,000 times and not hitting that same tree in 1,000 different places. My routine allows me to be consistent, persistent, and disciplined. Become process-driven instead of relying on outcomes.
What is a failure you’ve had in life that set you up for eventual success?
I lost the earnest money deposit on my first wholesale deal. However, I considered the lesson as “tuition” on how to accurately comp properties, find cash buyers, determine repair costs, etc. I took those same lessons and closed on a wholesale fee for about $7k less than one month later.
What is one book that has influenced your life the most? Why?
That’s a tough question. I love to read books about leadership and sales. But honestly, I would have to say the Bible. My mindset about life, challenges, how I treat others, etc. are all rooted from that source. My second favorite book is probably “The Greatest Salesman That Ever Lived” by Og Mandino. I won’t spoil the book for you, but if you apply the 10 principles/scrolls mentioned in the book, I guarantee you’ll experience 10x growth in your business.