Real Estate Investor Success Story:

From Curiosity to Confidence

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"Do you trust me?"

That was the question on the table.

Macario Escamilla, a sales manager for a local car dealer in San Antonio, TX at the time, had reached out to a friend for advice. He was interested in ways to make additional money. Sure, he was highly successful selling cars and managing an entire sales department, but he wondered if it was the quickest path towards building true wealth and financial freedom. Besides, just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you should stick with it for the rest of your life.

Macario was curious about real estate investing. He purchased his first home at age 23 for $139,000 back in 2007, lived in it for a few years and then rented it out after that. Real estate intrigued him; the thought of turning old properties into new sources of income was an appealing prospect. But more than that, the idea of turning an old house into a new home for a local family was something that excited him.

Meet Macario Escamilla III

esCASAmilla Investments, LLC

So Macario did what anyone should do when wondering about the future. He called a good friend for advice.

This particular friend was one of the top licensed real estate agents in San Antonio. Macario wanted to talk with him about the logistics, legality and prospects of real estate investing. So Macario called him and that’s when he was asked the question.

San Antonio - Barbe House - Before

San Antonio - Barbe House - After

“Do you trust me?” his friend asked a second time.

“To an extent,” Macario cautioned with a laugh. “Depends on where this conversation is going.”

His friend chuckled before explaining he was literally standing next to a person who could help him at that very moment. “I’m actually here with a friend of mine who I think can help. His name is Gabriel Esparza and he’s a real estate agent with New Western Acquisitions. I think the two of you should talk.”

Getting Started

Building a Fruitful Relationship

Within a matter of days, Macario reached out to Gabriel.

“The first thing I noticed about Macario was the number of questions he asked, because he asked a lot,” Gabriel remembers with a smile. “Good investors always do.”

Macario did more than just his homework on the industry. He talked with other real estate brokerage firms, too.

“Because I honestly didn’t understand the process, I spoke with several other companies at the same time I was talking with New Western”, Macario confesses. ”But what I found was a few just didn’t seem educated enough to answer my questions. I also noticed a lot of wholesalers would say anything to sell me a home. Even if what they said wasn’t 100% accurate. That’s a deal-breaker for me.”

After gathering as much information as possible and weighing the risks, Macario purchased his first investment property from New Western. One that targeted both his needs and preferences. It was a small house (only 700 square feet) and he invested $40,000 into the renovation (which he did himself), but it was the perfect property to begin with. He and his partner still own that property and rent it out on Airbnb™.

San Antonio - Barbe House - Before

San Antonio - Barbe House - After

Going Solo

Taking On A Historic Fixer Upper

With that first deal under his belt, Macario gained not only confidence in himself but trust in New Western. Macario worked with Gabriel to find a good property for his first solo project. “He wanted to build a portfolio and one day retire off his real estate investments,” Gabriel recalls. “Most investors tend to hide their cards so to speak, but Macario has been upfront about everything from Day One. And that has really allowed me to understand what he needs.”

In 2018, Gabriel let Macario know about an available property that fit his criteria, a historic home built in 1913 located near downtown San Antonio. 

It was the property that put Macario’s life on a completely different track.

“I walked the property and knew the bones were good,” Macario recalled. “The area was great and it had a lot of potential.”

San Antonio - Barbe House

What made the investment even more worthwhile was the historic features within the house itself. The craftsmanship throughout the property was impressive and deserved to be restored. But historical homes come with their own set of issues—namely, the rigorous permit process.

Renovating a historic home is not for the faint of heart. In addition to potential layers of previous repairs over the decades to contend with, investors are often forced to deal with layers of bureaucratic red tape to get the proper permits. And this doesn’t even begin to address the potential challenges of having to meet current codes in an old structure.

San Antonio -
Barbe House

Run The Numbers

Days on Market:13
Purchase:$227,900
Rehab:$100,000
Resale:$465,000

Macario purchased the property from New Western and got to work. He developed an updated floor plan and researched all the requirements renovating a historic home demands.

“That second purchase of mine, Barbe, was really a stepping stone for me. That really set my career off because I learned so much in that process. And I had the right mindset,” Macario said. “I didn’t cut corners. Sure, I could have saved thousands or made thousands more. But I did everything right; I did everything right behind the walls. I even had contractors say ‘you can do this or that, but you don’t have to’. I told them I need to do everything right because that’s how I was raised.”

By the time the project was completed, the numbers proved Macario’s approach was the right one. The Barbe house was purchased for $227,900, the estimated CMA was $385,000, he invested $100,000 into restoring the property and it sold 13 days later for $465,000.

This was Macario’s first big flip and it was just the beginning of his success story.

San Antonio - Barbe House

Take Off

Becoming A Full-Time House Flipper

“I could tell after this investment that Macario was great at this” Gabriel observed. “He possesses every trait a top-tier investor needs. He’s very oriented to solving problems. In fact, he’s one of the best problem-solvers I’ve ever seen. He’s also really, really good at negotiating. But the biggest thing is his attitude. He has such a positive outlook on things and tackles every problem head-on. Especially historic properties like this Barbe house. He had completely transformed this investment property into a show home within five months. Just amazing.”

Macario’s real estate investing took off. He continued his successful streak flipping homes in San Antonio and it wasn’t long before Gabriel spotted an off-market deal that had Macario’s name written all over it. Macario went to the property and liked what he saw.

San Antonio - Mason House - Before

San Antonio - Mason House - During

San Antonio - Mason House - After

“I always encourage investors to walk the property with someone they trust,” Gabriel advises. “General contractors, subs, even family. Have those people walk around with you before making any decision. Generally, those people have the knowledge and opinions that will help you map out the problems and solutions. As you get more experienced, you’ll be able to do that yourself.”

San Antonio -
Mason House

Run The Numbers

Days on Market:27
Purchase:$181,300
Rehab:$100,000
Resale:$378,000

Macario purchased and restored the entire house on Mason Street in San Antonio. Unlike the Barbe house, it wasn’t in the historic district, so he had the freedom to do just about anything he wanted within code. Because he’s now a licensed general contractor with his own construction crew, he was also able to cut his costs. 

The Mason house was purchased for $181,300, the estimated CMA was $315,000, he invested $100,000 to make repairs and updates, and it was on the market for just 27 days before selling for $378,300.

Lessons Learned

Advice for Real Estate Investors

“When you’re just starting out as a real estate investor, you pay people who know more than you up front” Gabriel explains. “But as you get more experienced, you start learning more and more. You begin to understand how much certain problems will cost to fix, what works and what doesn’t in a given neighborhood, stuff like that. Until then, you pay for what you don’t know on the front end. It’s something everyone goes through.”

This doesn’t mean every real estate investor should focus on obtaining his/her general contractor license or run their own construction crew, but it does mean they’ll need to pay someone for the expertise they don’t have just yet.

Macario agrees for the need of a crew that does everything right, but he’s not necessarily talking about the construction side of the business.

“The chance of you getting a contract on a flipped property goes up 77% if you have a staged home.”

San Antonio - Mason House

“My advice? Spend the money on staging. I have a great team that stages very well. And this includes a great photographer.”

As with everything else in life, there’s a right way and wrong way to invest in real estate. Gabriel’s seen both and has additional recommendations for avoiding the classic mistakes.

“Cities have really cracked down on permits recently. A lot of investors were doing work and not getting the proper permits. Don’t cut corners. It’s simply not worth it. It’s better to just pay what you need to in order to get it done properly.”

Day One

Turning Opportunity Into Freedom

No one could argue Macario’s success as a real estate investor. He’s come a long way since he first answered that loaded question, “Do you trust me?” Looking back over the last few years, it’s safe to say he’s glad he took the leap.

“New Western gave me an opportunity to buy property on Day One and now, because of them, I quit my job and became a successful, full-time investor. It’s changed my life.”

“And now I’m able to control my life and work for myself. I built a team around me and a name that I stand behind now. But it all started with New Western.”

“I wish I’d met you guys five years earlier,” Macario laughs, “I’d be so far ahead right now!”

Investor's Deals

Purchased: $227,900
Rehab: $100,000
Resale: $465,000
Purchased: $181,300
Rehab: $100,000
Resale: $378,300