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Los Angeles-based real estate investor, Zabrina Horton, has carved herself a unique niche within the vast industry. As the founder of Dream Worthy Investments, what sets her apart from others within the field is that she helps investors strengthen their credit profile so they can qualify to invest in multi-family units that are affordable. Such an investment can also double as a primary residence if the investor decides to live in one of the units. As she calls it, “the two-for-one strategy” is also a buy and hold strategy.
“There are a lot of benefits to investing in an owner-occupied primary residence,” Horton explained in a recent interview. “For example, you can live in one unit and rent out the other one, two or three units. You would collect rent from your tenants, and that rent can basically pay your mortgage for you.”
Another benefit of using that strategy is that it increases the investor’s equity. It also gives freedom to do things such as refinance—take money out of your home with a loan and then use that money as a down payment on a second property. This could be repeated over and over, causing your house to become a cash machine. Of course, having good credit is key to the success of this strategy, and that is exactly where Horton comes in to help position her investors so they can get the best rates available because of having a strong credit score.
“If you go the traditional route, which is through a bank or conventional lender, they require that your credit score be a minimum of 680, or at least somewhere close to that,” she says. “They may work with someone who has a little bit less, but 680 is usually the minimum score that is required. I help people raise their credit scores in a couple of different ways, but the main way is by sending dispute letters to credit agencies. By doing so, you can get any negative or late items removed from your credit report and ultimately raise your credit score. For example, if you have a 550-credit score, you can raise your score by approximately 10 to 30 points for each negative item that is removed from your report. A higher credit score gets you a lower interest rate.”
While she is based in Los Angeles, Horton admits that it is challenging to get the two-for-one strategy to work effectively in the City of Angels. Detroit; Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana; Kansas City, Missouri; and Charlotte, North Carolina are the U.S. cities that Horton is actively investing in and are good candidates for both the buy and hold and the two-for-one invest strategy. If you intend to be an owner-occupied investor or use one of the units as your primary residence, you would have to live in the city your property is in. But even if you don’t live in one of the cities listed above, making use of the two-for-one strategy can still be a good investment.
“I live in Los Angeles, and I invest out of state,” Horton shares. “The entry price point in other states is so much lower. You could buy a duplex for $50,000 in Detroit, but here in Los Angeles, a duplex can cost anywhere from $750,000 to $1,000,000. By investing out of state, I can get in at a much lower cost and potentially start cash flowing on that investment immediately.”
To hear Horton talk about real estate investing, it’s easy to think that she has been in the industry her entire life. But that’s not the case. Before transitioning into real estate investing full-time, Horton worked as an entertainment publicist for over 25 years. The last 12 of those years, she worked for a major television network until she was laid off after returning from maternity leave. “When I was laid off, it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it forced me to move from being a part-time to a full-time investor,” says Horton. “Now, I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Horton describes being in corporate entertainment as a great and fun experience. While working as a publicist, real estate investing was her side hustle. Now that she is a full-time investor, she has so much more opportunity and flexibility. As a wife and mother of a 3-year-old, she is able to spend more time with her family and enjoy regular life during her son’s formative years.
Horton will lend her expertise to the compilation book, Wealth for Women: Conversations with the Team that Creates the Dream – the Top Female Professionals Who Can Help You Get Wealthy in Real Estate. Wealth for Women led by Monick Paul Halm, founder of Real Estate Investor Goddesses, and features a collaboration of interviews with real estate syndicators and ancillaries who share insights in their specific area of expertise. The book is published by Smart Hustle Publishing, LP, and is scheduled for release on Amazon.com in the fall of 2018.
To learn more about Zabrina Horton and her ‘Two-for-One’ real estate investments, visit www.myfes.net/ZHorton.
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