March 31, 2023
  • Dominic Kosteris labored two employment and lived with his mothers and fathers prior to acquiring his initial household in 1996.
  • In 1997, he obtained his to start with financial commitment assets and commenced earning rental money.
  • He scaled up in the aftermath of the 2008 housing crash and purchased aggressively through the pandemic.

Dominic Kosteris has been operating for most of his everyday living. 

“I was delivering newspapers when I was in eighth quality,” the 54-calendar year-previous higher school historical past instructor instructed Insider. 

His paper route was in Chicago, exactly where he is lived because he was a toddler. 

Kosteris’ parents emigrated from England to the States when he was two yrs old. They taught him the value of maintaining a superior chunk of his paycheck, he reported: “I am fairly frugal. Which is a trait my mothers and fathers passed down. They were Globe War 2 refugees and told stories about how they would have to ration their foods.”

Currently, Kosteris technically would not have to operate, thanks to the actual-estate portfolio he’s created about the previous 27 yrs. He owns 64 one-relatives households, which Insider verified, which includes the just one he life in. 20-five of them are entirely paid out off. 

His earnings fluctuate but at the finish of every thirty day period, just after he pays his mortgages and other housing expenses, he income up to $45,000, he stated, incorporating: “Which is if I’m not reinvesting.” It really is significantly more than his teaching income and far more than plenty of for him and his household to dwell on, he included. Even so, he chooses to continue on operating his day work.

“I enjoy what I do,” said Kosteris, who’s been educating for 31 years. “Also, if I retire now, they would tax the heck out of my pension.”

Dwelling at household and doing the job 2 careers ahead of obtaining his very first house in 1996

Kosteris graduated credit card debt-absolutely free from Chicago State University in 1991 and, “like just about every good minimal Greek boy, I stayed at dwelling with mother and dad,” he claimed.

Living with his mom and dad authorized him to conserve most of his revenue — and for a few of years, he had two incomes: his whole-time education and learning income as well as a section-time wage from the nearby grocery retailer he’d been performing at considering that he was a teen. 

“I was nevertheless operating at the food stuff shop stocking fruits when I very first started off educating, so I was in a position to help you save a good deal of funds,” claimed Kosteris. 

He took those financial savings and purchased a $53,000 two-bed room townhouse that he financed with a a few-calendar year adjustable-level mortgage (ARM) and 10% down payment. 

It was one thing his mentor at the time encouraged him to do, he explained: “There was a man who lived in my community who I knew rather nicely and he’d been shopping for and keeping true estate. I figured I would decide his brain. I just asked him dilemma following dilemma and he was incredibly accommodating. I would go on ride-alongs with him to see tenants and to The Residence Depot, and I imagined, ‘I consider I can do this.'”

Kosteris was 28 when he purchased his first residence and moved out of his parents’ put.  

“I like my relatives, but opening the doorway and not waking anybody up — it felt actually, truly good,” he recalled.

His regular monthly housing payment, together with his property finance loan, arrived out to about $335 a month, he said. Rents in the region, however, ended up going for about $750. That is when he began pondering about acquiring and renting property as a way to make some side money.

“Four hundred bucks in 1996 was a lot of income, so it actually piqued my desire,” recalled Kosteris. 

He acquired his very first investment decision residence in 1997: a $59,000 solitary-loved ones residence that he also financed with a 10% down payment. His grocery-stocking job, which he did amongst 1985 and 1994, aided him appear up with the upfront fees, he stated: “When I worked there, I bought into their income-share system, which is form of like a 401(k). When I left there soon after 9 a long time, I amassed all-around $11,000, so I experienced a good war chest at the time.”

Kosteris filled the property with a tenant and started out profiting about $500 proper absent, “so I did it all over again,” he claimed. 

The subsequent two qualities he purchased were being in Hammond, Indiana. He discovered out about them by his serious-estate agent, who had in-guidelines dwelling there. He nonetheless owns the pair of houses but has not invested out of Chicago considering the fact that.  

Scaling up through the 2008 housing crash: ‘I was like a child in a candy store’

About 12 several years into Kosteris’ investing vocation, the housing current market crashed. 

“During the increase, I form of sat out,” he explained, referring to the mid-2000s, when household charges rose fast in advance of peaking in 2007. “I wasn’t as energetic due to the fact the specials just didn’t make perception.”

When 2008 arrived all-around, however, “I was like a kid in a candy retail store,” he mentioned.

He landed his first offer in March 2008: a home at first mentioned for $55,000 that he scooped up for $45,000. “Had I waited two months, I would have gotten it for a good deal fewer,” he included.

In the aftermath of the crash, “I was shopping for about 4 residences a yr,” reported Kosteris. “I almost certainly could have been a tiny much more aggressive and bought more but my young children were being young and I probably would have skipped out on a lot of their upbringing. You can’t set a cost tag on your little ones expanding up.”

All-around 2010 is when the rental cash flow from his portfolio surpassed his day position revenue.

He started off to working experience “the revenue snowball,” he explained. “The additional homes you get, the more funds you get at the stop of the thirty day period and the a lot less time you have to wait around to help save for down payments.”

Including to his portfolio throughout the pandemic: ‘It was the perfect storm’

Kosteris was in the position to get additional aggressively when home loan desire costs plummeted through the pandemic. 

He is scaled up even extra about the previous two decades than he did in the aftermath of the Great Economic downturn, he stated: “It was like the best storm. A lot of my houses have been just about, or even thoroughly, compensated off I was getting far more funds from rents and then the fascination rates fell and I was coming across some quite fantastic promotions, so the dollars stream at the conclude of the thirty day period was considerably, a lot far better.” 

dominic kosteris

Real estate trader Dominic Kosteris and his spouse and children.

Courtesy of Dominic Kosteris



Moreover, he had implemented techniques and was using technological know-how that built it much easier to deal with his houses and accumulate hire. 

Regardless of proudly owning extra homes, “paradoxically, I expend a ton fewer time landlording than I did three many years ago,” claimed Kosteris, who places in about seven hours of do the job a 7 days on his portfolio. He utilised to knock on just about every individual doorway he owned to accumulate rent each and every month from his tenants, but approximately all of them now have Funds Application or Zelle, saving him time, he explained. 

He is never had a property supervisor, but his wife Maria allows with the business. He also has a “de facto manager,” he reported, who life in one particular of his homes at a low cost in exchange for answering mobile phone phone calls and executing handyman positions as they come up.

Though gathering lease has develop into additional of a seamless method, it can be not normally simple landlording.

“Individuals are complicated, and if you have 61, 62, 63 tenants, you deal with diverse personalities,” he claimed. “I assume currently being a trainer helps due to the fact you have to handle 30 personalities in each individual classroom and you have to find out how to diffuse specified circumstances.” 

As a landlord, Kosteris has uncovered to pick his battles wisely.

For illustration, “if I am building a heck of a entire ton of cash and they are $20 brief on the rent, that is an early Xmas existing,” he stated. “I assume I am reasonable and that goes a extensive way.”

Kosteris ideas to continue on acquiring and renting one-family members houses in Chicago. In 2023, his goal is to increase to 80 homes. By 2025, when he options to retire from schooling, he’d like to have 100. 

Investing in authentic estate started as a way to make some further cash so that, “in scenario anything occurred with my job, I would not be still left out in the cold,” he stated. “I failed to assume I’d ever get this far.”

The economically independent investor’s best guidance is to find a mentor. 

“In any endeavor, whether or not you want to open up a pizzeria or get authentic estate, obtain somebody who’s been there and accomplished it,” he stated. “Shadow them. Take them out to lunch and acquire them lunch — due to the fact the assistance that they’re likely to give you can be priceless.”