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Ashley Hamilton Flipped A Tax Refund Into A Million Dollar Real Estate Portfolio

Miles Kelley
Ashley Hamilton Consults

A single mother making $22,000 a year as a waitress in Detroit wanted more. But Ashley Hamilton wasn't exactly the ideal candidate for a business start up loan. Determined to make a move, Hamilton took her 2009 tax refund and combined it with her savings. Using that money, she was able to purchase a 3 bedroom home for $6,300. And she hasn't looked back since. Because the Detroit real estate market had a low entry point during that time, Hamilton’s tax refunds and savings were enough to get her started.

Ashley Hamilton

Ashley Hamilton

Every year since, she has purchased single-family properties in Detroit, and paid cash for them. She did rehabs, and used the properties as buy and hold rentals. Initially, Hamilton’s plan was to buy one property every year with her annual tax refunds. But she was able to expand her portfolio by saving the rents she collected from tenants and eventually finally gaining access to loans.

“Not having money worked for my benefit. I got a tax return at the end of the year. By me only making around $20K and having two kids, I was able to get a $5K-$6K refund.” – Hamilton told the BiggerPockets podcast.

Now she has a portfolio of 24 rentals and five vacant lots. And she owns 14 of her properties free and clear. Hamilton has paid off and has complete ownership of these assets. When Ashley purchased her first property, she saved money to paint the house, hire a plumber, and make the place livable. And due to the fact that she purchased the property with cash, she was able to eliminate her biggest expense… rent. So the money that would have went towards rent, was able to go toward her next property. Her success in real estate investing basically  comes down to one simple strategy: Buy, Repair, Rent, Refinance, Repeat.

Ashley dreamed of becoming a millionaire by 30 and knew that real estate was a practical way to achieve that goal. Hamilton often shares how she grew up poor without any entrepreneurs or investors in her family. But her commitment to always find a way helped her to think outside the box. As a single mother with two children, Hamilton understood how real estate investing could move her beyond her waitress salary.

“I was willing to live how most people won’t because I wanted to be financially free. I knew I had to have passive income so I didn’t have to work as much.” – Hamilton on the importance of seeing her children grow.

Hamilton recommends that aspiring real estate investors have a well thought out plan. Always be prepared if things don’t go as planned. She started with her tax refund and eliminated her rent expense. Then she focused on living frugally and continued to use her funds to buy properties with cash. Now, Hamilton offers courses to provide others with the resources and information to get started.

And despite building a million dollar real estate portfolio, her hustle doesn't stop there. Real estate is her main source of income, but Ashley considers herself a “Jill of all trades”. Up until February of this year she continued to work 20 hours a week at a bank. Although she had a couple of six-figure businesses, she still decided to work 20 hours a week to have a steady source of W-2 income. She owns a property management company. And she also coaches on her Instagram page. But her most important job is still being mother of her two teenagers. And through it all she is still doing active renovations for flips and managing her properties.

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