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How We Retired Early with Real Estate: An Inspiring Success Story

Good morning, everyone! I’m Daniel from Capella, and today I’m thrilled to share an incredible tale of financial freedom. I sat down with Erica Butler from GED Properties, who, along with her husband Tiger, retired from her 9-to-5 job in just a year and a half through savvy real estate investing.

Starting the Journey

Erica and Tiger began their investment journey after realizing that their traditional careers weren’t aligning with their life goals. Despite having college degrees and good jobs, they found themselves with less money and time than they’d hoped. Seeking a change for a future family, they jumped into real estate, inspired by friends already in the field.

Breaking Free from Employment

Their first significant breakthrough was landing six contracts in one month while still working their day jobs. It was hectic, but it proved the potential of their new venture. After some heated debates, Erica finally left her job. She hasn’t looked back since, enjoying a more flexible lifestyle and the freedom to work on her terms.

Key to Success: Networking and Learning

One crucial aspect of Erica and Tiger’s success is their commitment to continuous learning. They attend numerous networking events, absorbing strategies from seasoned investors. This proactive learning approach has been instrumental in their ability to replicate successful techniques and adapt them to their unique situation.

A Favorite Investment: The Pre-Foreclosure Win

One of their favorite deals involved a pre-foreclosure home. They sent out a mail piece, which led to a call from a tenant—who happened to be the sister of the property owner. After confirming that the tenant could continue paying the mortgage, Erica and Tiger reinstated the loan. They invested $10,000 and ended up with a house worth $170,000, significantly boosting their net worth.

The Magic of Simple Fixes

Another great deal they made was acquiring a property for $80,000, planning to flip it. Instead, they listed it on the MLS without any significant renovations and sold it for an additional $35,000. Simple estate sales and minor cleanups often suffice to turn a profit in this hot market.

Effective Marketing Strategies

Their marketing strategy is a mix of direct mail, door hangers, and skip tracing. They excel at finding vacant houses, often through direct mail, which many new investors might shy away from due to perceived competition.

Erica advises new investors not to avoid tactics others are using but to execute them better. They even collect other companies’ marketing materials for inspiration to ensure they stay ahead in creativity and effectiveness.

Building a System for Growth

Erica’s primary goal now is to bring Tiger into the business full-time and scale up their operations. They already have a solid to-do list that keeps them on track daily. The plan includes hiring additional help to manage the increasing workload and continue growing their portfolio.

Sub2 and Owner Financing

Erica and Tiger are moving away from wholesaling, focusing instead on owner financing and ‘Subject To’ deals to build passive income. They like to structure deals that leave loans in place, offering creative financing solutions that work for both parties.

Advice for New Investors

For those keen on venturing into owner financing or other complex real estate strategies, Erica emphasizes the importance of seeking expert guidance. The process, though rewarding, involves many moving parts that require careful navigation.

Looking Forward

Erica and Tiger dream of traveling the world, funded by their passive income. With their current trajectory, they’re set to achieve this in just a few years. At mid-20s, their story is a testament to the potential of real estate investing to transform lives and provide financial freedom.


Erica and Tiger Butler’s journey from traditional employment to financial freedom through real estate investing is a powerful testament to the potential of strategic investments and continuous learning. Their story highlights the importance of networking, adaptability, and innovative marketing strategies in achieving success. By focusing on simple yet effective real estate deals and leveraging owner financing and ‘Subject To’ deals, they have built a path to passive income and a future filled with travel and freedom.

Their advice to new investors is clear: stay committed, seek expert guidance, and always strive for creativity and excellence in your endeavors. Erica and Tiger’s inspiring journey proves that with determination and the right approach, financial independence is within reach.

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