Anne Curry
Ex-teacher shares her path to real estate success and offers tips for women to invest wisely and build wealth through property. Instagram / @annecurryhomes

Fueled by a desire to secure a brighter future for her family, Anne Curry, who began working as a preschool teacher earning $5 an hour, has transformed into a successful real estate investor. Now, her portfolio boasts 300 units and 12 apartment buildings scattered across Washington and Arizona.

In a recent interview with GOBankingRates, Curry shared insights into her real estate investing journey and offered valuable tips for individuals seeking to build their own property portfolios. First, we will discuss three questions she asks before investing in property.

Three Questions Every Investor Should Ask

According to Curry, selecting the right properties for purchase, flipping, or renting is paramount for success in real estate investing. To guide her decision-making process, Curry adheres to a rigorous self-assessment, asking herself three key questions before committing to any property:

Question 1: What Is The Area Like?

Curry's first question delves into the neighbourhood's overall character. She mentally evaluates the area's suitability for families and potential residents through on-site observation. She specifically looks for signs of growth and development.

Question 2: Will It Cash Flow?

Curry's second question centres on the property's cash flow potential. While aesthetics can be improved, positive cash flow, with the potential for further growth, is paramount. Although immediate substantial returns aren't guaranteed, properties with projections indicating future cash flow growth within a reasonable timeframe are more likely to be sound investments.

Question 3: What Is Your Exit Strategy?

Curry's framework's final question centres on establishing a well-defined exit strategy. She acknowledges that investors eventually aim to sell properties to reinvest in larger assets or generate liquidity.

Recognising that unconventional layouts or less desirable locations can hinder future sales, Curry emphasises the importance of considering a property's long-term marketability from the outset.

From Classroom To Investment Capital

Curry's professional journey began in the world of early childhood education, a path she pursued based on external influences.

"Growing up, my parents always told me that I would make an amazing teacher or caretaker of children as a career path," Curry said. "When my husband and I got married at a young age, I fell into a preschool teacher role to help put my husband through college and support our living while simultaneously making my parents happy in this career path."

However, the financial reality of this career path didn't align with her vision for her and her husband's future. Though some members of Curry's family dabbled in real estate ownership, she and her husband, upon marrying, recognised the unlikelihood of homeownership given their combined careers: his in the non-profit sector and hers in education.

Following the birth of her two children, Curry attended a community event where she encountered a woman whose husband managed a portfolio of fifty single-family rentals. This chance encounter sparked a realisation within Curry; owning and renting real estate emerged as a clear path to provide for her family and secure her children's future college education.

Impressed, Curry requested an introduction to the woman's husband. He became Curry's first real estate mentor, providing her with invaluable hands-on experience in both flipping and selling homes, as well as acquiring and managing rental properties. As Curry remarked, "From there, the rest is history!"

Embracing Mistakes As Stepping Stones

Curry readily acknowledges encountering numerous setbacks throughout her journey. However, she emphasises that these missteps ultimately served as valuable learning experiences.

"Some mistakes were on a property that I bought that maybe shouldn't have and vice versa," she said. "I also look back and regret selling certain properties too early and not being patient with the maximum amount of market appreciation. And, of course, there are stories of hiring bad contractors where I look back and want to both laugh and cry."

Emphasising the importance of perseverance, Curry advises aspiring real estate investors to remain undeterred by setbacks. "Even as hard as I tried not to make mistakes, when you are learning and growing, mistakes and learning lessons are inevitable," she said.

Selling Strategies: Patience And Profit

Curry prioritises long-term holdings to benefit from equity growth and mortgage reduction via rent payments. However, she acknowledges exceptions:

  • Market Timing: Selling before the market peak to maximise profits.
  • Strategic Upgrades: Selling to reinvest in larger properties.
  • Neighbourhood Decline: Selling if the area becomes unsuitable for renters.
  • Flipping Properties: Selling renovated properties for reinvestment.

Curry's Core Advice

Curry emphasises patience for aspiring investors. She advises that real estate wealth creation is a slow and steady process, not a get-rich-quick scheme. Owning rentals offers long-term benefits like appreciation and passive income while flipping properties requires constant effort. For Curry, slow wealth-building through rentals is a sound strategy.

The path to success in real estate transcends gender. This is evident from the achievements of countless women, including the 15 wealthiest individuals worldwide, who have built their fortunes through diverse means.