Small Business and Franchise Success Stories

Entrepreneurship was nothing new to Dennis Fuller—he’d owned service and restaurant businesses in the past, and acted as a franchise consultant for years—but he still felt he needed to take an aggressive approach to saving for retirement.

“The stock market [in recent years] has been very volatile and unsettling. The real estate market has been in decline and I viewed it as a good time to buy,” said Fuller.

He used Guidant’s iDirect service to buy three investment properties with his self-directed IRA and is currently negotiating a fourth purchase.

So, how did he learn of Guidant Financial?

Fuller continues, “I heard about your organization through the many channels of the franchise industry. Upon doing extensive research as to who to utilize for this type of transaction, Guidant won hands down.”

As for the process, Fuller comments that it was easier than he anticipated. “[The Guidant Financial] staff handled everything from forming the corporation to transferring the funds and all the steps in between. [It] also took less time than I originally planned.”

For investors who may have apprehension about this method, he advises them not to worry. “Guidant actually made the process quite easy with their step-by-step guidelines. There was always someone there to respond to my questions in a professional manner. For me, it was exciting to see my goals becoming closer and closer as we finalized the process.”

Of course, there is strategy to being a smart property investor.

“Purchasing the right properties is the first challenge,” says Fuller. “We only buy three bedroom, two bath houses with a garage. This seems to be the most desirable to tenants and the most marketable when we plan to sell our properties. We renovate them like we were going to live in them ourselves. When this is done, they rent quickly and appeal to the right tenants. The next step is to find the right tenants. Most landlords rush into renting to anyone, and then wind up with challenges. We do extensive background checks and have had no problems whatsoever—and we’ve been doing this for four years now.”

His strategy is literally paying off. His investments have exceeded his initial expectations.

“After expenses, taxes and insurance, I am yielding a 9.5% annual return; not factoring in the appreciation value of the real estate,” remarked Fuller. “In this market, I view this as a very strong return. I call it my ‘mailbox money’ strategy. Every month the rent checks come in like a passive investment. When you rent to the right people and you have a very well thought out rental agreement, this can be a very pleasant and prosperous experience.”

Fuller says he’ll also continue his franchise consulting business and make time for his favorite hobby: fishing. “I live in Clearwater, Florida and this area has some of the best fishing in the world.”

So, what’s next for this thriving investor?

“More rental properties! I am aggressively planning for my retirement and with the current real estate market as it is, the timing is right to add to our housing portfolio.”

Sounds like a plan.


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