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Investor Spotlight Weilan

Summary: The goal of our Investor Spotlight series is to provide you with stories of real doctors and high-income professionals who are at different points in their journey to financial freedom through real estate investing. Today’s spotlight is on Weilan. She successfully acquired 30 units within the first 7 months of embarking on her real estate investing journey. With just her first two purchases, she is well on her way to achieving financial freedom!


[Disclaimer: We are not accountants, lawyers, or financial advisors, so please consult your own team of professionals about the topics covered in this article.]


We interviewed Weilan during our first annual Fast FIRE to Freedom Summit in August 2021. You can watch the interview here to hear Weilan’s real estate journey in her own words!

Weilan lives in Texas with her husband CJ and their two young daughters. Within 7 months of taking the Zero to Freedom (“ZTF”) course, she acquired 2 properties and a total of 30 units. She obtained Real Estate Professional Status in 2021, which sheltered her and her husband’s income. 

So what happened since last year’s Summit? Did she acquire more units? Did she shelter her 2022 income?  Be sure to sign up for this year’s FREE Fast FIRE to Freedom Summit to find out! 

If you would like to learn more about how to achieve REPS status be sure to click HERE to download our FREE REPS Guide.


How did you become interested in achieving financial freedom through real estate investing in the first place? 

Weilan: My journey first started at the end of last year (2020). I attended Peter Kim’s conference, and I saw Leti and Keji’s presentation. Everything they said about achieving financial freedom and investing in real estate really resonated with me. It was something that I had always wanted to achieve but didn’t really know how to go about it. I decided to join the Winter 2021 ZTF class and that was my first experience with real estate. I decided to jump in and go for it with all my might! 


What is your “why” behind this? Was there a triggering event that led you to start your journey of achieving financial freedom through real estate investing?

Weilan: I had a friend who took the ZTF course about a year prior and had great things to say, so that planted the seed, and then I just decided to do it.

What drew me to real estate investing is that there are defined roadmaps. For example, Leti and Kenji teach that there are multiple ways to make money. There are evidence-based ways that have been proven through time to be successful in real estate. I knew that if I could just learn that roadmap and follow it, I could be successful as well. 

Once you decided to pursue financial freedom through real estate investing, how did you get started? 

Weilan: I was part of the Winter 2021 ZTF class. The class started in December and lasted until February 2021. After completing the ZTF course, I decided to jump right in.   

I made two offers on multi-family properties that were not accepted. After losing out on my first two offers I kept searching for properties. I found what ended up being my 14-unit property, on Loopnet. I texted my agent that day and asked to put in a full-price offer and it was accepted! 


Weilan’s First Property, her 14-unit
Weilan’s First Property, her 14-unit

What type of properties make up your real estate investment portfolio? Are they in-state/out of state? 

Weilan: We invested locally in Texas, around the San Antonio area. Right now we own a 14-unit multifamily property and a 16-unit multifamily property.


Weilan’s recently closed 16-unit property
Weilan’s recently closed 16-unit property

How are you balancing gaining financial freedom through your real estate investing with your career(s) and your clinical work?

Weilan: I enjoy my bi-vocational career, serving as a part-time dermatologist and real estate professional. My husband continues to enthusiastically support my real estate endeavors while focusing on his career as a Firefighter. 

Can you tell us about any difficulties or failures you’ve had in real estate investing? Any big learning points you’ve taken from these experiences that you can share with us?

Weilan: As I mentioned earlier, my first two offers on properties were not accepted. The first offer that I made was an all-cash offer on a duplex in San Antonio. And I lost it to a higher financed offer and of course, I was disappointed. However, less than a week later, my agent brought me a 24-unit property. I made an offer at the full asking price. Then, after looking at some profit and loss statements, my agent recommended that we actually take that offer back and offer a lower price because he thought it was worth less.

So I did that and we ended up losing the deal to a higher price offer. That was a learning point for me. What I learned from the ZTF Course is, I am supposed to lock it up and then negotiate later. Not negotiate upfront. That was my mistake. And I learned from that one.

How about any big successes? Anything you learned from good outcomes that you can share that might help other real estate investors?

Weilan: I ended up negotiating $200,000 off the price of my 14-unit. It turns out the listing broker hadn’t actually walked the property. Clearly, the seller had been at the property before many times, but maybe didn’t ever review the offering memorandum. 

The property is made up of a 10 plex and a fourplex on adjacent tax parcels. They share the same parking lot. The 10 plex was marketed as being all one-bedroom units, but it turned out, that the property consisted of eight one-bedroom units and two studios. The fourplex was marketed as being three, three-bedroom units and one, two-bedroom unit. But it turns out there were three, one-bedroom units. And then there was a two-bedroom unit. So part of the negotiation was really calculating, well, how much does that mistake cost me? How much lower in value is this property? We calculated that the property ended up being worth $180,000 less than my original offer. 

The property also had two laundry rooms that weren’t working properly. So that was something I knew I could easily renovate. Also, the property had 15 storage units and a little manager’s office on site. I am renting out one storage unit for $35 a month or two for $60 a month to tenants. 

I pre-purchased renovation materials before closing, and we began renovations two days after closing. Our first unit was renovated after 1.5 weeks and using virtual staging, I showed the current tenants what their units would look like after renovations (see image). All of the tenants who qualified ended up staying, despite increasing rents from about $400 per month to $795 per month, plus paying for utility bill backs and pet rent. Seven months after closing on my 14-unit, all of the units were renovated. The most impressive rent increase was the 2-bedroom which was about 1000 sq ft. It cost about $12,000 to renovate and update it into a 3 bedroom, and we took rents from $600/month to $1495/month.

One of Weilan’s Renovated Units with Virtual Staging
One of Weilan’s Renovated Units with Virtual Staging

On inspection day, I had two separate contractors come and give me a bid for renovations. The bid ended up being over $300,000 which was more than I anticipated.  I was able to work with my agent to trim the fat off of that bid, down to $220,000. 

So that is how I ended up negotiating $200,000 off my first property! With the final price, my property ended up with a cash-on-cash (COC) return of about 15%. 


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Where are you now in your real estate investing journey? What are your goals for where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years from now?

Weilan: My goal is to obtain 100 units in 5 years. However, I think I can probably do that in 3. I will also have the opportunity to buy more properties by either doing a 1031 exchange with one or both of my current properties, or a cash-out refinance. 

Watching myself develop throughout the journey has been the fun part! And I know we’ve talked about goals and goal setting, but I think the most powerful thing is, not necessarily getting to my goal, but the transformation within me that’s occurred to be able to reach my goal so far. I’m really still very early in my journey, but I have had a lot of personal transformations while going through this whole process. I have grown a lot. 


Do you want to learn how to creatively fund your real estate portfolio and achieve financial freedom? Join the conversation! Follow our Semi-Retired MD  Facebook page and join our Doctors or Professionals  group!

Semi-Retired M.D. and its owners, presenters, and employees are not in the business of providing personal, financial, tax, legal or investment advice and specifically disclaims any liability, loss or risk, which is incurred as a consequence, either directly or indirectly, by the use of any of the information contained in this blog. Semi-Retired M.D., its website, this blog and any online tools, if any, do NOT provide ANY legal, accounting, securities, investment, tax or other professional services advice and are not intended to be a substitute for meeting with professional advisors. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of competent, licensed and certified professionals should be sought. In addition, Semi-Retired M.D. does not endorse ANY specific investments, investment strategies, advisors, or financial service firms.


Hi, we’re Kenji and Leti

we provide coaching and mentorship for doctors and high-income earners

Several years ago, we were newlyweds working as full-time hospitalists. On paper, it looked like we had everything: the prestigious careers, the happy marriage, the luxurious rental home, the cars, etc.

But in reality? Despite having worked for several years, we had very little savings. Despite our high income, we had very little freedom in terms of time or money.

One thing was clear: we had to do something.

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