IN SCOTTIE SMITH II'S FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE, IN 2005, AT THE UNIVERSITY of North Texas in Denton, Texas, a professor challenged the class. "If you do not own property at the end of this class, you have not learned anything and I did not do my job."
While taking that freshman course, "Introduction to Real Estate Principles," his professor, John Baen, gave the class the challenge. Smith did not immediately embrace the dare but, by his sophomore year, he was on his way. Using $5,000 in scholarship funds as a down payment, he purchased his first home for $88,000.
"It was my first experience with the real estate market," he says. "Things were different. You could walk into any bank and sign a piece of paper and they would give you a loan."
The idea was to live in the home and rent out the other three bedrooms. But when he received a second scholarship of $3,000, which covered his housing expenses for the next three years, he decided to rent the entire house.
"I rented it out to friends, who stayed there for my entire college career," he says. I rented it out for $500 a room. I was making $1,500 in rent and clearing $800. My mom had this going joke. She said you are the only college student I know who isn't broke."
"After the first property, I got hit with the bug," he says.
Before he was 21 he bought three investment properties, and sold two of them. The first one, which he had rented to friends, he purchased for $88,000 and eventually sold it for $120,000 in 2015. The second, he purchased for $40,000 and sold it for $55,000 in that same year. The third property he purchased for $7 5,000, spent another $40,000 in renovations, and sold it for $145,000 earlier this year.
Today, Smith, 29, owns four town homes and is working to build a new development in South Dallas. He has also built a real estate agency, Scottie Smith II & Associates, which he has tasked with increasing homeownership among African Americans in the Dallas area.
Smith graduated from North Texas, where he majored in finance and real estate. But his interest in real estate was at its peak when the 2008 crash happened and funding dried up. So it was time for Plan B.
He then received a scholarship to attend the University of Notre Dame, where he received a masters' degree in accounting in 2010. That led to a five-year stint with the accounting firm Ernst & Young. But accounting was not his passion.
Overworked and bored out of his mind, he wanted out. Smith knew...