Real Estate Investment Secrets From a Former Hill Staffer

Eric Wohlschlegel was a 29-year-old working on Capitol Hill when he bought his second house in 1999. At the time, the young, salaried Hill staffer was making $55,000 a year and found himself fascinated with real estate — not to mention, he was wanting to escape the constant cycle of renting.

“I simply did not want to rent,” Wohlschlegel says.

Now, almost 17 years later, Wohlschlegel has amassed an impressive five property portfolio of homes throughout the city and in Palm Springs, CA. Wohlschlegel, who works in media relations by day, personally property manages his five rental properties, by night

How did he manage to amass his portfolio into what it is today?

“There really isn’t a secret,” Wohlschlegel said. “It was a matter of stumbling into a good investment.” The first home in Capitol Hill that he purchased doubled in value in the first two years, when Wohlschlegel was just 26.  It was a 5 bedroom 3 story federal style Victorian close to the Supreme Court.  
You can’t buy half a studio apartment for what I paid for it.” Since then, all his properties have significantly gained value over time some doubling in value and some quadrupling.

As soon as he purchased the first house, he rented out the basement. When the adjacent property became available, he was quick to purchase and rented out the three units, there.

“By renting those three units, it paid for both mortgages and utilities. So I was able to live for free,” Wohlschlegel said. “People thought that was kind of a phenomenon.”  He created a blog to feature homes in Washington about 5 years ago.  He has a “passion” for showcasing the beautiful homes in Washington and helping to inspire people to invest.  The blog is called The Cribline.

Is managing five properties hard? Wohlschlegel compares each of his five properties to having children.

“It’s not like one day I woke up and had five houses to manage,” he says. “I learned. I began develop relationships with contractors, and the heating and cooling people, and pest control companies. It became easier after the first one.”

Wohlschlegel says that anyone looking to rent out their property should take the time to properly vet any potential tenants, citing a credit check as one of the most important parts of being a successful landlord. He also encourages landlords to take advantage of the resources available -- , from the National Association of Realtors to a good home inspector when purchasing an investment property.

With the hopes of being able to retire and live off the income from the rental properties, Wohlschlegel has no intentions of selling his properties any time soon.

“It’s a lot of work,” he says. “But I’m in it for life.”

If you're interested in learning more about investment properties contact The Marsten Group for additional information.