I still remember the night I made the list. I was babysitting for Tyler and Charlie while their parents went out for dinner and a movie, and after putting the boys to bed, I got to do every middle-school babysitter’s favorite thing: get paid $7/hour to watch TV. I quickly flipped past a Seinfeld re-run and a new episode of The King of Queens and instead settled on a show I’d never seen before.

The premise was this: two neighbors switch homes for 48 hours and in that time, with the help of a designer, carpenter and $1000, they each re-do a room in the other family’s home. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Yes. You’ve definitely heard of it.

It was Trading Spaces and I was hooked from the moment designer Laurie Smith convinced her team to paint their neighbor’s kitchen the color “electric pear.” I happily consumed 3 Trading Spaces episodes before Tyler and Charlie’s parents came home, and I left that night feeling full—my pockets with a freshly-earned $35 and my mind with a whole new life plan. When I arrived home, I promptly climbed the stairs to my bedroom, took out my journal and wrote: “BUCKET LIST: (1) Flip a house.”

As you’d expect, my bucket list has grown and changed since its inception that night. I’ve had to nix some items (it didn’t seem like “Marry JC Chasez from NSYNC” was really necessary to leave on there, once I met my now-husband, Lucas) and I’ve already accomplished others (shall I fully expose my NSYNC obsession and tell you I crossed off “see in NSYNC in concert” TWICE?!) and I expect I’ll continue adding more as my tastes and priorities continue to grow and change. But one item has remained the same, and it’s the very first one on the list.

(1) Flip a house

What my middle-school self didn’t know at the time is this: flipping a house is just one of many options when it comes to real estate investing. Depending on the deal in front of you, you may decide you want to buy an investment property and hold onto it and rent it out, or secure the contract on a property and immediately wholesale it off to another investor for a few quick, easy thousands, or you may want to invest your self-directed IRA in a property through a turnkey company who will do a lot of the work for you.

Okay, wait, now I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

Hi! My name is Abby, and I’m a real estate investor wanna-be. (Let’s be honest, I’m mostly a Joanna Gaines wanna-be, but who isn’t these days??) As you already know, I’ve been dreaming about investing in real estate since I was a little girl, and to-date I’ve fed my dream with intense voyeurism (Thank you, HGTV), but that’s about to change.

My wanna-be status is turning into bucket-list achieving status. I’m stepping out and taking a risk. I’m turning a dream into reality, and I’m hoping you’ll join me on the journey.

My husband (a much more handsome JC-alternative) and I recently put an offer on our first investment property—which has since been accepted—and we are now marching toward our closing date in a few weeks. The goal is to chronicle our experience with this property, so that we can learn from our mistakes and use the power of this online community to hopefully help us along the way. It sounds cheesy, but honestly, I’d love it if our journey inspired some of my fellow wanna-be’s to dive in with us, too.

Buying this property is something I’ve dreamed about for almost twenty years, and something I’ve seriously researched and debated for over three years. So, trust me when I say I know how scary the leap can be. Don’t fear. Next week I’m going to share with you the 4 things you need in place before actually doing it.

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