My name is Michael Urti and I am an entrepreneur, real estate broker and investor in the Wilmington, NC market. After working the typical 9-5 job for 10 years, I grew tired of working countless hours on a fixed wage for someone else’s benefit. I wasn’t sure how or when I would be able to make any kind of major moves to change my situation. I had owned a home in New Jersey with a $2300 a month mortgage and the income from my job was pertinent in us being able to pay it. So, like many people out there, I found myself unable to take a leap of faith due to the financial responsibilities I had.
At 30 years old, I decided to start putting the wheels in motion toward living life on my terms. I owned a home, had good credit and had an opportunity to purchase a health club business that was profitable. Although I didn’t have the money to purchase the health club, we were able to find a way to make it happen. My business partner shared the risk with me, the business was profitable, our resumes were reflective of the business we were purchasing, and we had collateral to secure a loan. It was a recipe that enable us to secure the business even though we weren’t the most financially able at the time. Two important lessons I learned from this experience was:
- Fortune favors the bold. At the time, going to a bank and asking for a 1-million-dollar loan seemed outrageous. I only owned my house for 2 years, had a modest salary and had limited cash but I knew I wanted to start owning something. What I learned is how commercial lenders work; what they look for in both personal assets (background, business experience) and financial (real estate equity and cash). Had I talked myself out of it, I wouldn’t own the business today, received the education having gone through that process and the opportunities that followed wouldn’t have been possible either.
- Learn to be comfortably uncomfortable: Putting your house on the line for a business takes a lot of conviction. It was totally out of my comfort zone, but by doing so, I have developed a tolerance to taking risk that has set the stage for future ventures. I may be a little more conservative in the future, but that’s a determination I am able now able to make .
A year later, I started to look at my living situation. I owned a 4-bedroom, 3 bath house and it was just me and my wife. Our property taxes kept going up and up and I disliked my job. Although I owned the business, we weren’t taking much money out of it as we reinvested in new equipment and renovations. So, I was still in the same situation I was prior to having the business. I still needed to work to cover my mortgage and I had the stress of a business loan. That’s when we decided to take another leap of faith and move out of NJ. My wife and I found a 3-unit condo in Carolina Beach, NC and the light bulbs went off. We live upstairs and rent the other two units below us. We could generate $2400 a month in rent while also living in the top unit. Our principal, interest, taxes and insurance went from paying $2300 a month in NJ to earning $200 a month in NC…and we are 2 blocks from the beach!
I don’t say any of this to brag by any means. We are blessed to have been able to recognize and act on opportunities when they have presented themselves. In addition, I am personally grateful to have a wife who shares a similar outlook on risk, business and life. We are now real estate brokers in Wilmington, NC with a passion to encourage first time home buyers to get out of their comfort zone and finally stop renting. I stress first time home buyers because I know so many people, sitting on some cash still paying someone else’s mortgage. The moral of the story is that our decision to act and be bold opened a sequence of opportunities that would have never been possible. Purchasing our first house enable us to purchase the health club business. Appreciation in our first house enabled us to sell it for a profit and invest in in a 3-unit condo. Having our mortgage paid through rental income in our triplex enables us to save money every month etc… Had we still been renting, none of that would have been possible. We also work with investors seeking properties to buy and hold (both vacation and residential properties) and fix and flip. Our goal is to provide our clients with a thorough analysis of a property’s investment potential to ensure they are making a sound financial investment.
This blog serves as an avenue for us to educate and inspire others to jump into the world of home ownership and/or real estate investing. With more and more millennials delaying or forgoing home ownership, we feel it is our duty, as millennials to educate others to stop standing on the sidelines and dive in.