Craig Crelop aka “thefiguy” is a financial analyst at BiggerPockets blog and is one of BiggerPockets most prolific and popular bloggers. An aggressive pursuer of financial independence, Craig had a net worth of negative $30K in 2016, then saved and invested and achieved financial independence by 2019. His story has caught the attention of major media outlets, including the Denver Post, BBC, and other real estate/personal finance podcasts. He hopes to inspire the masses to use their finances to achieve financial independence. Follow him on Instagram @thefiguy!
What is the mission of BiggerPockets blog? Why is it called BiggerPockets?
BiggerPockets is a resource for real estate investors. We help the average person achieve financial independence through real estate investing. We are a social network, content hub, and provider of many tools to help people invest in real estate.
How did real estate investing allow you to achieve success?
Real estate investing and house hacking and particular has allowed me to eliminate my housing expense for the last three year and build extraordinary amounts of wealth through the three properties that I have purchase. It made me go from a net worth of negative $30,000 to financially free in 3 years.
What is the biggest challenge facing the housing market nationally and in Southern California?
In today’s market, you aren’t just going to find deals. You need to make them. So you need to get creative with your investment strategy; figure out what House Hacking or investment strategy works in your area and pursue it!
What impact will ADUs have on real estate investing?
ADUs will allow for easier short-term rentals. It will allow for luxurious house hacking which means, people can purchase their dream homes, throw an ADU in the back and make money off of that. An ADU will not only increase the value of the home, but also help them cover the mortgage.
Would expedited permitting by cities have an impact on real estate investing? How?
Yes, it would. There are many rehab projects that in order to accomplish need to be permitted. If the cities made this process faster, people would be able to make entire new units out of their basements that they could rent out either long or short term. This will help them pay off their mortgage and will be a form of house hacking.
What advice would you give a first-time real estate investor?
The first step in real estate investing is education. I would recommend taking at least six months to get on BiggerPockets. Read the books, the blog, watch the webinars, ask questions in the forums, and go to real estate meet ups. This will get them comfortable and excited to start investing.
What hurdles did you face when you started in real estate investing?
My first experience house hacking was when I purchased a duplex in Denver, CO. I rented out the top and lived in the bottom. However, the rent from the top wasn’t covering my mortgage and I was determined to live for free.
For that reason, I made a quasi-bedroom out of my living room by putting up a curtain and a cardboard box and sleeping on a futon behind there. So the hurdles there were just staying motivated and disciplined and understanding that me sleeping in my living room while other people were sleeping in my bedroom was for a finite amount of time. Once the year was up, I was able to purchase my next place. Now I had my own bedroom and rented out the other rooms in my single-family house. It worked out great at the end.
Are you satisfied with the performance of your book?
The House Hacking Strategy: How to Use Your Home to Achieve Financial Freedom is my first book. I poured my heart and soul into it so I sure hope it does well. I think it will help a lot of people achieve financial independence, particularly through real estate investing. I may write other books later, but I have nothing in the works right now.