The Dirty 30: A tax lien property purchased for $850 while still in college
27 Jan 2013

The Dirty 30: A tax lien property purchased for $850 while still in college

Marcel Umphery started investing in real estate at 22, paying only $850 for a tax lien property. As a wholesale investing coach for Flop2flip, he enjoys revitalizing Baltimore through his investments while teaching others how to do the same through his Real Estate Investing Inner Circle Coaching program.

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Name: Marcel Umphery
Current Age: 31
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Started investing at: 22, a house in East Baltimore acquired through tax liens for $850 and sold 21 months later for $25K.

How much real estate do you currently own?
Since the crash of the market in 2008, I pretty much liquidated my entire portfolio and focused more on debt-free real estate investing. Using none of my own cash or credit, I wholesale properties to other real estate investors and I buy, fix up and sell a house each quarter.

How did you get started in property investing? What inspired you to put your money in real estate at such a young age?
Growing up, I had always wanted to be a professional athlete. I loved sports and I liked the lifestyle you are awarded when you become a professional. When that dream did not come true, I decided to look into other ways that would afford me the same lifestyle and the freedom from the 9-to-5 rat race.

I started investing in property in my sophomore year of college when a close friend introduced me to tax sale investing. In college, I began buying and selling property with no cash or credit, and I rehabbed houses for big profits.

I saw the positive effects that my real estate investing had on the community.

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In Baltimore City, there is a documented 47,000 vacant homes. It really makes me happy when a family moves into a property I control, or when I see someone else invest in a place I have fixed up and sold them.

Your generation seems to be redefining what it means to be successful. What does success look like to you?
As I get older, I see success differently than how I did in my early 20’s. Many folks in my generation define success by how nice of a car you drive, the clothes you wear, and where you live. I have since realized that those are material things you can have if you desire them, but success is a whole lot bigger than that.

Success to me is about the legacy that you leave when you’re gone and about the people you help while you are here.

It makes me feel really good when I can share my knowledge and experiences, whether they are good or bad, with someone who is just getting started in their real estate investing business.

What’s your best advice for someone wanting to start investing early? Do you have any investing mentors?
I have a motto that I go by: I always surround myself with people who have more and know more than I do. My advice is to educate yourself as much as possible and if you can afford a mentor, get one. It will shorten your learning curve tremendously. I would also recommend that you focus and master one niche of real estate investing before jumping into others.

What are your future investing goals? Can you share a little bit about your plans?
My future investing goal is to grow another rental portfolio. In this current market, you can purchase real estate pennies on the dollar and ride the wave of appreciation over the next 10 to 20 years. I also plan on expanding and growing my Real Estate Investing Inner Circle Coaching program.