Real estate investing can pave the path to financial freedom. But for active duty military members like Derek Horn, investing while overseas comes with unique challenges for military real estate investing.

In this post, we’ll explore how Derek went from an accidental real estate investor to a passive investor partnering with a real estate syndication firm. Discover how military members can overcome obstacles to build rental property portfolios and achieve their definition of financial independence.

Getting Started in Real Estate Investing by Accident

Like many new investors, Derek first purchased an investment property by accident. After renting for many years during military transfers, Derek and his wife Jennifer decided to buy a home in North Carolina.

They purchased an older home needing lots of renovations. Derek ended up doing extensive repairs, nearly causing a divorce in the process! Once the updates were finished, Jennifer wanted a different house. So they bought another home to live in, renting out the first investment property.

“So we went from one door to, to three. Kind of overnight, it was a family deal. So we got a nice sweet deal on that.”

After renting that first accidental investment home, Derek acquired two more properties from his mother-in-law. Within a few years, he and Jennifer continued buying rentals in Texas while stationed there.

Overcoming Military Real Estate Investing Challenges

Active military members face unique real estate investing challenges. Frequent moves limit investing to long-distance rentals. Frequent deployments overseas make hands-on investing difficult.

Being stationed in Japan intensified these investing obstacles for Derek. Limited to searching online listings or relying on remote property managers, he struggled to find deals actively.

“I had at the time a fair amount of money sitting in the bank and I couldn’t, I couldn’t find deals fast enough to get the capital and utilize it effectively.”

The 13-hour time difference also made it tough to communicate with property managers at convenient times. While Derek could email, receiving maintenance calls in the middle of the night wasn’t ideal.

“I don’t want to be receiving phone calls from tenants at two o’clock in the morning.”

These realities pushed Derek to start seeking passive real estate investments.

Discovering the Power of Passive Real Estate Investing

Craving a more hands-off way to invest, Derek discovered real estate syndications. He invested as a limited partner in an office building syndication and self-storage facility syndication.

Partnering with experienced sponsors allowed Derek to leverage expertise and make investments completely remotely. The passive nature of these deals provided cash flow without late-night maintenance calls.

“It seemed like it’s like a triple win, I guess, for us.”

Rather than selecting individual rental properties, Derek could invest in portfolios and asset classes he didn’t have experience. Syndications opened up investments like self-storage and commercial real estate unavailable to him otherwise.

Derek also appreciated the timeline flexibility of syndications, with five-year investments aligning well with his upcoming retirement.

“That gives me a year to, to get back, maybe rent a house figure out what I’m going to do with regards to, you know, either job or, or investing, or if I want to start a business or whatnot, get those tax returns if I need them, get proof of income and stuff like that. And then I’ve got my return coming in and hey…Hey, babe, let’s go, let’s go buy that house that we’ve wanted to buy.”

The hands-off nature and timeline of passive real estate investing proved a perfect fit for Derek’s military lifestyle.

Looking to the Future as an Active Military Passive Investor

Looking ahead, Derek plans to continue building his rental portfolio along with passive real estate investing through syndications.

Owning rentals provides an investing outlet when back in the US, while syndications allow investing freedom when overseas. Derek also plans to transition some single-family rentals into multifamily properties for better cash flow.

“Honestly, a combination of active and passing, basically what we’re doing now and expanding is… Is where I foresee myself and Jennifer going once I’m, I’m able to retire.”

Derek also helps other military members start their own investing journey. He leads an Active Duty Passive Income group, providing a community to discuss overcoming military-specific investing hurdles.

No matter what the next chapter looks like, passive and active real estate investing will pave the road to Derek’s financial freedom.

Start Investing in Real Estate Passively as a Limited Partner

Active military members face unique challenges when investing in rental properties. Discover how real estate syndications can provide passive income no matter where your military career takes you.

As a limited partner, you can invest in larger commercial and residential real estate deals run by experienced sponsors. Leverage expertise and capital without picking up a paintbrush.

Are you ready to start achieving your definition of financial freedom through multifamily apartments, self-storage facilities, medical properties, and more?

Listen to the full podcast episode for an in-depth look at Derek’s journey from an accidental investor to a passive investor partner. Discover even more about overcoming the challenges of active military real estate investing.

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