Real Estate Millionaires

List Of Real Estate Millionaires That Started From Nothing

May 14, 2024

Produced by:
Richard Stevens

Richard Stevens is an active real estate investor with over 8 years of industry experience. He specializes in researching topics that appeal to real estate investors and building calculators that can help property investors understand the expected costs and returns when executing real estate deals.

Reviewed by:
Carmel Woodman

With over 8 years of expertise, Carmel brings a wealth of knowledge as the former Content Manager at a prominent online real estate platform. As a seasoned ghostwriter, she has crafted multiple in-depth Property Guides, exploring topics such as real estate acquisition and financing. Her portfolio boasts 200+ articles covering diverse real estate subjects, ranging from blockchain to market trends and investment strategies.

The simple truth is that anyone get started in real estate investing and there are a number of different ways to achieve success in this industry.

In this post, we list a number of real estate millionaires that have grown highly successful real estate portfolios through hard work, careful planning and a keen eye for opportunity. If you’re thinking about getting started, these success stories might provide the impetus you need to take the first step. Let’s dive in.

List of Real Estate Millionaires From Humble Beginnings

Chad Carson

Chad _Coach_ Carson

Escaping The Rat Race with House Flipping & Rental Properties

Coach Carson is more than just a real estate investor; he’s a guiding force for those seeking financial freedom and a richer, more fulfilling life. Through his platform,, he aims to liberate individuals from the constraints of financial stress, enabling them to focus on what truly matters in life.

His entrepreneurial journey began with humble roots, starting fresh out of college with just $1,000 in his bank account. Like many, he found himself ensnared in the 9-to-5 grind, working tirelessly to stay afloat financially.

However, Carson’s story took an upward turn when he discovered the transformative power of real estate investing. By acquiring and profiting from investment properties, he found a way out of the rat race, eventually achieving early retirement at which point working for money became optional. Through his experiences, he realized the immense potential real estate holds as a tool for reclaiming one’s most precious resource: time.

Over the course of his career, Chad has flipped dozens of properties, and he has a rental portfolio worth considerably more than one million dollars.


How Did Chad Make His Money:

In the early days of his entrepreneurial journey, Chad spent most of his time flipping houses together with his main business partner. However, he has since shifted most of his energy and capital into rental properties, mainly because the income is considerably more passive than house flipping. In addition, he has built up a well-oiled real estate investing team, which vastly reduces the amount of time he spends actively managing the business. Instead, he focuses on managing the property managers, which takes less than 10 hours a week.

His main methods for generating income through real estate investing include:

Mark Ferguson

Mark Ferguson - Real Estate Investor

A Prolific House Flipper & Rental Property Investor

Over his career, Mark Ferguson has flipped over 230 houses, acquired more than 200,000 square feet of rental properties, and sold over 1,000 houses. Additionally, Ferguson owns multiple businesses, including laundromats, a liquor store, and a car wash. He founded InvestFourMore, a successful real estate blog and podcast, which propelled him into writing books and being featured on national platforms like Forbes. Ferguson’s success story includes transitioning from a struggling solo flipper to a prolific REO agent, expanding into rentals and commercial properties, and establishing his own brokerage, Blue Steel Real Estate. He also ventured into brick-and-mortar businesses, demonstrating his diverse investment portfolio beyond real estate.


How Did Mark Make His Money:

He is a prolific house flipper. It’s safe to say that anyone with over 200 successful flips can be considered an expert. More importantly, 200+ profitable flips will have an amazingly positive impact on your bank balance.

One of the benefits of being so experienced is that Mark is able to invest in most market conditions, including stable markets, seller’s markets and buyer’s markets. On average, Mark’s goal is to make $25,000 or more per flip. If we do the math, that would equate to a net worth of more than $5 million based on house flipping alone.

In addition, Mark has a rental portfolio consisting of more than 20 investment properties. He is a big believer in using rental properties to fund your retirement rather than investing in the stock market. He also hates the fact that most retirement calculators force you to consider when you are likely to die as part of the calculation. He loves the fact that a good rental property can generate solid returns, for as long as you need it to.

It is important to point out that Mark started out as a traditional real estate agent. This allowed him to develop genuine expertise in real estate market analysis. He then ventured into house flipping, rental property investing and alternative opportunities like coaching and publishing eBooks.

His overarching methods for generating income ultimately boil down to:

Carl & Mindy Jensen

Carl and Mindy Jensen

Masters of the Live In Flip

Carl and Mindy Jensen have found success in real estate investing through live-in flips, a strategy where they buy properties, live in them for at least two years while making improvements, and then sell them for profit. Their journey began with minor repairs like fixing a malfunctioning shower, leading them to tackle more extensive renovations such as adding a second story to a house. By living in these properties, they’ve been able to take advantage of tax benefits, avoiding paying taxes on gains up to $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for married couples.

They emphasize the importance of patience in finding great deals, preferring to wait for ideal opportunities rather than settling for mediocre ones.

Their approach involves thorough research, including assessing neighborhoods with signs of growth and studying property listings meticulously. Despite the challenges of living through renovations and encountering unexpected costs, Carl and Mindy have reaped significant financial rewards from their efforts. They’ve made hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit from each property, reinvesting their earnings to further grow their wealth in real estate.

Through their experience, they’ve learned valuable lessons about the importance of diligence, realistic expectations, and leveraging resources like YouTube for DIY projects, ultimately achieving financial independence through their real estate ventures.


How Did Carl and Mindy Make Their Money:

Carl and Mindy achieved financial independence through a combination of real estate investing, strategic financial management, and continued work after reaching a sufficient level of wealth. Their approach involved:

Active Real Estate Investing (Mainly Live-in House Flips): They actively engaged in house flipping and remodeling, leveraging their skills and knowledge in the real estate market to generate wealth.

Strategic Financial Management: Mindy mentions tracking spending and creating a budget based on where their money is going. This suggests a disciplined approach to managing their finances, ensuring that they allocate resources efficiently towards their goals.

Continued Work: Despite having enough wealth to retire, both Carl and Mindy chose to continue working. Mindy mentions enjoying a job that helps others and utilizing her financial knowledge. Carl, on the other hand, left his job early but continued to pursue various projects and tasks, reflecting a desire for productivity and engagement even after achieving financial independence.

Overall, their path to financial independence involved a combination of income generation through real estate, prudent financial management, and a deliberate choice to continue working in fulfilling roles after reaching their ultimate goal of financial independence.

Ryan Pineda

Ryan Pineda - From Couch Flipper To House Flipper

From Couch Flipping To House Flipping

Ryan Pineda’s journey to becoming a successful real estate investor is a testament to persistence, adaptability, and seizing opportunities. Initially starting as a realtor in 2010, Pineda quickly realized that real estate wasn’t his passion. However, after being released from his professional baseball career with the Oakland A’s in 2013, he embarked on a path of exploration, trying out various side hustles including substitute teaching and flipping couches to make ends meet. Despite initial setbacks, Pineda found success in these ventures, accumulating enough capital to execute his first flip in 2015, which yielded a profit of $25,000.

This initial success fueled Pineda’s ambition, and he began reinvesting his earnings into subsequent deals, rapidly scaling his flipping business. By persistently rolling profits into new projects, he was able to flip five homes in his first year, twenty in the second, and scaled up to almost 150 by the fourth year. Alongside his flipping endeavors, Pineda also delved into other aspects of real estate investing, including purchasing rental properties and experimenting with Airbnb rentals. Despite encountering challenges and setbacks along the way, Pineda remained resilient and adaptable, continuously learning and evolving his strategies to navigate changes in the market and industry landscape.

Pineda’s success extends beyond traditional real estate investing, as he has also ventured into emerging trends such as NFTs while also learning how to leverage social media to share his knowledge and experiences with others. Through dedication, hard work, and a willingness to embrace new opportunities, Pineda has built a thriving empire in real estate and diversified his portfolio into multiple successful businesses. His story serves as inspiration for aspiring investors, demonstrating that with persistence and determination, anyone can achieve success in the world of real estate.

How Did Ryan Make His Money:

  • After being released from professional baseball in 2013, explored various side hustles, including substitute teaching and flipping couches.
  • Using the earnings from his couch flipping business, he executed his first flip in 2015, earning $25,000 in profit.
  • Flipped five homes in his first year, twenty in his second year, and scaled up to almost 150 by the fourth year of his house flipping career
  • Has diversified his financial portfolio with rental properties, Airbnb properties, and building other businesses

Pete Reese

Pete Rees - From House Flipper To Land Flipper

From House Flipping To Land Flipping

Pete Reese’s journey into successful land flipping began around the year 2000 when he initially dipped his toes into real estate by purchasing his own single-family primary residence. After experiencing modest success with his first property, Pete saw an opportunity to repeat the process and delve deeper into real estate investing. He ventured into flipping homes, navigating the market before the crash of 2007-2008. Despite the challenges posed by the crash, Pete found a silver lining as it propelled him into a niche market: listing properties for banks from the REO (Real Estate Owned) side.

This experience gave Pete valuable insights into distressed properties and the complexities of real estate transactions, setting the stage for his pivot towards land flipping. Recognizing the saturated competition in home flipping, Pete sought out alternatives and stumbled upon the concept of land flipping. Intrigued by the potential and lower competition in this niche, Pete began to delve into the intricacies of land flipping, leveraging his expertise in real estate to navigate this new terrain.

Over time, Pete refined his approach, focusing on larger properties and utilizing direct mail as a primary lead generation strategy. He emphasized due diligence, purchasing properties with cash, and reselling them with minimal improvements or additions. Pete’s success in land flipping is not only a testament to his adaptability but also to his willingness to explore unconventional avenues within the real estate market, showcasing how strategic shifts can lead to profitable ventures even in challenging times.


How Pete Reese Generates Impressive Returns Flipping Land:

  • He identifies motivated sellers through direct mail campaigns, targeting larger properties with potential for quick resale.
  • Thorough due diligence is conducted on properties to assess factors like size, location, access to utilities, and zoning regulations.
  • Pete purchases properties with cash, enabling swift transactions and negotiation of favorable terms.
  • Minimal improvements or additions are made to enhance the properties’ marketability and value.
  • Properties are resold quickly, often through collaboration with local brokers to reach potential buyers.
  • By pricing properties competitively and highlighting their unique features, Pete attracts buyers and achieves favorable sale prices.
  • Consistent lead generation, strategic acquisition, and efficient resale tactics contribute to Pete’s ability to generate profits through land flipping
  • He aims to maintain a steady stream of deals, with the goal of closing around ten transactions per month on average.

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin - Founder of Bigger Pockets

Founder of Bigger Pockets

Joshua Dorkin made his money as the founder of BiggerPockets, one of the worlds largest online real estate communities. He started Bigger Pockets while teaching full-time, initially as a hobby to address the lack of genuine real estate advice sources. Over time, it evolved into a lifestyle business, then a full-fledged company, offering tools, content, and a community for real estate investors.

Despite significant growth and success, Dorkin eventually experienced burnout and personal challenges, including a family trauma, prompting his decision to step down as CEO and bring in partners. While difficult, the transition allowed him to focus on smaller ventures and contribute as a valued board member, witnessing BiggerPockets continue to thrive independently.

Ultimately, it was Dorkin’s exit from Bigger Pockets that created the most profitable transaction of his life. According to some sources, Dorkin sold Bigger Pockets to private equity company McCarthy Capital company for more than $40 million dollars in 2018. Importantly, Bigger Pockets was highly profitable before his exit, which would suggest that his actual net worth is well north of $40 million.

How Did Joshua Dorkin Make His Money:

He built a highly successful real estate investing community with over 250,000 members, 700,000+ unique visitors per month and around 5 million page views per month. Importantly, Bigger Pockets generates income through:

  • Advertising
  • Business Partnerships
  • Paid Membership
  • Publishing Company

Ultimately, it was his exit from the company that set himself up for life financially. He built a profitable business over many years, and then sold it to a private investment company for approximately $40 million. His need to work has since come to an end.

Final Thoughts

These real estate millionaire success stories demonstrate that you don’t need a huge amount of money to become a successful investor. Instead, learning how to identify opportunities and then act on those opportunities is arguably the most important skill to develop.

When you are ready to move forward with the purchase of an investment property, New Silver can provide the capital you need close the deal.

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