I was blessed to be born on an operating cattle ranch in Monte Vista, CO, along with my three amazing sisters, to an incredible, multi-generational ranching family.
I laugh often as I tell the story that I was born and bred for ranching slave labor. We had over 1,000 head of cattle and approached 2,000 head of sheep, which created an intense, 24-hour a day, working lifestyle. Little did I know, this fairytale childhood empowered me with an important blessing and gift that enabled me to chase my dreams with passion and certainty.
As long as I can remember, my incredible parents encouraged us to pursue our dreams, letting nothing hold us back from the life we desired. We lived at the base of the mountains and I was home schooled until the 8th grade. Every minute that I was not working the ranch, I was off building forts, hunting, fishing and daydreaming with the wildest of imaginations….
My first realization of the power of my imagination and belief in myself came to fruition right after I graduated high school. Within the year, I started a tree trimming business. I had always been fascinated with trees and their ability to so profoundly impact the world with beauty and life. I was honored to work amongst a force that brings life to our planet.
I started with a modest goal: to earn $350 per week; I figured I could live well on that. Within no time, I met and surpassed my goal, married my high school sweetheart, and the company grew to 24 employees. We had large government contracts and residential tree jobs all over Colorado. It was then I knew I had fallen in love with business. I fell in love with the process and the people, both our employees and clients. My love for the people that make the business process possible has matured and expanded to become the foundation of our work today.
Similarly, my love for real estate investing started early. My father, owner of Steffens & Company Real Estate, has been a real estate broker selling ranches all over Colorado since I was young. When I was 16 years old, Dad came to me with an opportunity: He had attracted a piece of land to list that was priced at $24,000 dollars and he was sure it could sell for at least $50,000 or more. He told me if I could find the money, I could buy the property and he would help me resell it. With my childhood imagination and courage fully flexed, I hopped in my jeep that very night in pursuit of the challenge. Within a few hours I came home with $24,000. To make a long story short, through the guidance of my father I bought and sold the property in less than 2 months for $56,000, realizing a substantial profit for my very first investor and myself. Little did I know at the time, my journey had begun.
I was reunited with my love for real estate investing on a random trip to Denver with Jessica, my wife at the time, who remains my best friend and business partner to this day. Jessica had a photo shoot and her photographer let us know that he had just begun investing in real estate. He recommended a book that he read and found valuable, so we bought it and read it on our four hour trip home. A month later, we returned to Denver. With the help of a close friend and investor that believed in our vision, we bought our first house. Jessica and I split the next five weeks between remodeling the house and driving back home to Monte Vista to run the tree business. We’d live in the house for four days a week then we’d drive the four hours home and take care of the tree trimming business for three days. Once we finished, the house sold within just two weeks of being on the market for an amazing profit. This made both our investor friend and us very happy, further inspiring my ever-steady imagination, and fortifying my courage. We sold the tree trimming business and moved to Denver within 2 weeks. This launched my full time real estate investment career.
I began by wholesaling homes and land, before transitioning to renovating, renting and selling homes to buy-and-hold investors which we called “turn-key rentals.” Then the government rolled out the tax credit program for first time home-buyers. We immediately re-adopted the “fix and flip” concept. This proved to be an extremely successful complement to our turn-key strategy.
At that time, we were fixing and selling close to 100 homes a year, but the end of the tax credit program put a screeching halt to the success of our “fix and flip” business model. This was a tough time for R Investments but our investors stood by our side. Driven still by my childhood imagination and belief in myself, I decided to shift my focus. We sold our entire inventory and made the decision to transition into Multi Family Housing investments.
The struggle we faced when the tax credit ended taught me an important lesson. I learned the importance of having assets that maintain cash flow as they are awaiting sale. This concept was a breakthrough for R Investments and is the model we follow today.
Being still the courageous, dreaming little boy, I developed and strategically implemented many unprecedented concepts to the field. Many of these concepts (focusing on retaining residents while we remodel the property, raising the net operating income for a successful resale, and long-term buy-and-hold investors) became profit centers of our current business model.
I am so proud to be part of this incredible company known nationwide as R Investments. My childhood imagination and belief in this company has most recently pushed me to bring our successful, state-of-the-art concept to many states across the nation. As my love for real estate investing continues to grow and mature, so does my love of the people involved as I see how our work positively affects tens of thousands of lives, not to mention entire cities. From our investors to our amazing residents and throughout entire neighborhoods, people are benefiting from R Investments’ vision to change the world through investing in lives and bringing entire communities back to life.