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Kaleb Morris

Property Manager, Table Property Management

Table is built by investors. That means we are building this company for ourselves as much as for our clients. It’s pretty rare and definitely cool. We want to share our deals with you. We want to let you see the ups, and downs. To learn from them the same way we have. We share case studies, but we wanted to share something more personal. Something that felt a little closer to home. So we’re taking you back to the beginning and telling you all about our very first deals. This is Kaleb’s.

How old were you when you bought your first investment property?

I was 27!

What did you buy?

The house I rented for 8 years.

It is a little shotgun style house and belonged to my great uncle. It had been rented out by other family members over the years, and had been sitting vacant for about 5 years prior to me renting it.

It was a shell when I first saw it, dilapidated and full of holes, rotting subfloors, no bathroom, no kitchen, extensive pest issues, and vandalism. I worked on it almost every day for eleven months while working full time and going to school full time. I lived in it and worked alongside my grandpa and great uncle to remodel it.

They helped with the cost of materials and I did the labor. My grandpa would drive down from Tulsa for a couple days a week to teach me whatever I needed to know to do the work. I would spend the rest of the week doing that task. I initially did not move in with the intent of purchasing it. The house is pretty average and not much to look at, but it holds a lot of sentimental value with all the quality time my grandpa and I spent working on it. 

Was it a good investment? (AKA- would you buy it again now)

Would I purchase it again?
For sure. 

Would I do it the same way?
Hell no. I learned a lot of lessons on this one that will definitely help guide my future purchases.

It was one of those once in a lifetime deals that you only get with luck. It allowed me to get my foot in the door of investing without as much risk or uncertainty as I may have otherwise encountered. Even then, the work I had to do to finally make the purchase was an absolute shit show.

My great uncle verbally committed to sell it to me for $22,000. A month later he got COVID and passed away. I began working with my great aunt on the purchase a few months after that, entered into a contract with her. We learned there was no will so we had to go through probate. I chose to do myself on behalf of my great aunt because she was not in a financial position to pay an attorney. Since it was uncontested I figured I would teach myself how to do this. I thought it would cost me ~$1,000.00 and I would be done in a month. It was mind numbingly complicated and about 6 months to complete.

In the end, I missed a step and the process had to be done all over again. This experience taught me to let the experts handle it. They did it better despite all my hard work. In the end I ended up spending an additional $8,000.00 in attorney costs because by this point tension had crept in between myself and my aunt. I needed an attorney to help me keep the deal together. I finally entered into the second and final contract to purchase the property 9 months after starting everything.

Was it hard to get a loan? How much cash did you need?

Not at all. I worked with a small local bank to get a 3.5% interest loan with $0.00 down. It was a no brainer. Because of the tension that had crept into the deal near the end I did end up paying all the closing costs and the $8,000.00 in probate on the sellers behalf. This was still an amazing deal with the low purchase price and the equity I got on the back end of it. 

Did you have anything go wrong in the first year?

I bought it knowing a few items that needed to be addressed. There was an add-on that needed foundation work, one of the exterior doors had water damage around the frame and subfloor, there was extensive erosion on the side of the house causing foundation issues that required excavation and a retaining wall to prevent future issues. 

How long did you keep the property?

I still have it, I don’t plan on selling it anytime soon.

I live in one of the bedrooms and rent out the other bedroom on Airbnb. I usually make enough to cover the mortgage and utilities each month and am paying down the note as fast as possible.

What advice would you give to someone buying their first investment property?
  • Understand that something unexpected will come up, and nothing ever goes as planned.
  • Do your due diligence up front, not after the fact.
  • Dig in hard and fast with research and a lot of questions on the front end so you can understand the process, what to expect, what to plan for, and what you may not be able to plan for.
  • Understand that this is your investment, meaning this is your liability, and it is your responsibility to know what you are getting into and to protect yourself. A good team helps you with this, but you should not think that a good team means nothing will come up, because it will. When something does come up, work with your team and not against them. 
You’re a property manager… you see it all. What advice would you give about investing in general?

The rosy idea of getting a nice property with a lovely tenant that loves the house just as much as you do, takes the best care of it, always pays rent on time, and communicates well doesn’t really exist.

Those people buy their own home.

  • Investing in real estate will help you build wealth over time. Investing in real estate will not get you there immediately.
  • Your investment will probably work against you if you aren’t willing to invest into it after the purchase. There are sacrifices with every decision. If you want to build a stable portfolio that will serve you in the long run, investing more up front is worth it to attract good tenants and prevent larger maintenance issues down the road.
  • Large maintenance issues will most definitely still come up in some form or another.
  • Tenant issues will come up as well.
  • Invest in your relationship with your property manager and management team. Learn the process when issues arise. The role of a property manager is to handle problems, so what you’re dealing with may be new to you but it’s likely another day in the life of your manager. Engage in a conversation to learn more about their perspective, next steps, possible outcomes, best case and worst case. The more your manager knows about your long term and short term goals, and your preferences in those hard situations, the more closely their decisions will align with your preferences. 

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300 NW 61st St. Suite 205
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

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PO Box 18463
Oklahoma City, OK 73154