Lacey and Trent Griffin-Braaf are landlords with goals and a mission. Since 2015, with the purchase of their first house, they have been building a real estate portfolio with the goal of earning enough money so Lacey could leave her job with the state and stay home with the couple’s children. Their mission is to provide safe, clean, affordable housing. They both grew up in low-income households and had mothers who struggled to get by. The experiences shaped who they are as landlords.
Lacey, 36, who shows followers her projects and shares advice on her Instagram page, @diywithlacey, and Trent, 38, owner of Tech Valley Hospitality Shuttle, have four children, ages 14, 11, 4 and 8 months. The family lives in Clifton Park. Their house has an in-law apartment where Trent’s mother lives.
Q: How did you get started in real estate investing?
A: We knew we wanted to get into real estate for the passive income. We had two children at the time we bought our first house and our goal was always for me to be able to leave my office job and stay home with the kids. We enrolled in a first-time homebuyers program and we were required to make a budget and we stuck to it. We paid ourselves $40 a week each for a really long time. We didn’t go on trips, we didn’t buy name-brand cereal, we lived as if we were living paycheck-to-paycheck so every possible dollar could go to savings. At the time, I was working for ARC of Rensselaer County and Trent was the front desk manager at a hotel, so we weren’t making much money, but every dollar had a place to go.
When we bought our first house, our intention was always to flip it. We renovated the kitchen and bathrooms and put a lot of work into it. After that, we bought a two-family in Troy, and we bought my mother a house. In 2018, we bought our Clifton Park house, and last year we bought a city-owned house in Schenectady that had been empty since 2004. There was no gas line and it was uninhabitable. We paid $22,500 and put $47,500 into it — gutted it, installed new dry wall, all new appliances, flooring, windows, electric, plumbing, patched the roof. It was a big lift for us, but when we rented it, the income from everything together allowed me to cover all our household bills and quit my job working for the state.
Q: What was more exciting: Buying that …….