- Cody Berman learned about real estate investing at 19. After college, he bought his first property.
- He saved and invested in index funds to grow his money, and lived frugally to keep expenses down.
- He also picked up many side hustles, and bought his properties strategically.
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When Cody Berman was a college senior, he got the idea that he wouldn’t have to work for anyone if he could find a passive income stream. His golden ticket to financial freedom came by way of real estate investing.
Berman, who is now 25, brings in $4,700 a month in passive income from his four rental properties. He took six steps to reach financial independence.
1. He learned what he could about real estate investing
When Berman was 19, he was introduced to real estate investing through the corporate world. He took an internship with a private equity company that specialized in buy-and-hold commercial real estate investing. The year after, he interned at a bank doing commercial real estate lending.
While these two internships weren’t directly related to residential real estate investing, they helped build a foundation of financial and investing basics. “At that point, real estate was more of an abstraction than something I could actually use in my own personal finance journey,” says Berman, who is based in Massachusetts and is the co-host of The FI Show.
It wasn’t until his senior year of college that Berman dove headfirst into learning about financial independence; after that, the idea that he too could become a real estate investor seemed feasible. He consumed everything he could on creating passive income — podcasts, personal blogs, YouTube videos — and investing in rental properties kept coming up again and again.
2. He spent a lot of time researching properties
When Berman started looking at rental properties, the first thing he did was work with his real estate agent to set up auto alerts. To narrow his search, he set specific criteria. For instance, the properties had to have at least two units, be under $300,00, and be located in certain counties. Berman would get email notifications every time new properties popped up that met his criteria.
Berman spent dozens of hours analyzing different towns, looking at the price versus rent ratios, and doing a bunch of number-crunching and analysis to pin down exactly where he wanted to start investing. “Rather than randomly scouring Zillow or Realtor.com, it was a fantastic way of finding new potential properties,” says Berman.
3. He saved aggressively
Berman saved as much as he could for a down payment on his four…