Marine Captain Juan Cristales turned a $400 investment into millions.
Like most men who joined the Marine Corps during the relatively peaceful 90s, Juan Cristales couldn’t have envisioned the hardships and sacrifices that awaited him. Cristales originally enlisted in 1996, and the Marine Corps recognized his leadership potential and selected him for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program. Receiving his commission at the height of the GWOT conflicts, Cristales volunteered for the infantry knowing where that would place him. Fast forward to 2015 after a decade of deployments, and Cristales found himself ready to retire as a Captain. Fortunately for Cristales, a mere $400 investment in a real estate class years prior set the stage for a retirement and transition plan that Cristales could never have envisioned for himself. On track to acquire and move over $10 million in real estate this year alone, Captain Juan Cristales embodies the power and potential of what is possible when Veterans Buy America.
Born to Lead
Cristales’ first eight years in the United States Marine Corps were benign to say the least. It consisted of four years serving in supply and then four years attending the University of Houston while pursuing his commission. However, that would all change. When Cristales received his commission in 2005, the world was a very different place than when he first enlisted. Due to the pace of war, infantry officers were in high-demand and the Marines were looking for a few good leaders to lead a few good men in combat.
Without hesitation, Cristales volunteered for the infantry. By 2006, he was serving as an infantry officer in Iraq leading Marines with 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines in combat during the height of the insurgency. Deploying again in 2008 and 2011, Iraq seemed to become a second home for the young officer. Yet, Marines needed leadership as if their lives depended on it, and Cristales wasn’t one to let them down.
Building a Plan for the Future
With an eye on the future and what that would mean for his family, Juan made a fateful $400 investment that would secure the future of his new family. In 2011, Cristales paid $400 for an online course that showed him the power and possibility of rental properties. Realizing an opportunity to replace his wife’s income so that she could stay at home with their two children, he set out to purchase six rental homes. The homes then generated enough positive cash flow for his wife to spend more time with their children while Cristales, yet again, set off for the Middle East.
He deployed again in 2013 to Afghanistan and after an opportunity to retire early in 2015, Cristales finally knew he had had enough of war. Supporting his family was now his singular mission and that $400 investment was about to pay off in a big way. With three sons to lead into the future, he knew he needed a bigger plan. Cristales was ready to try his hand at fixing and flipping properties. His first acquisition was in late 2015 and by 2018, he was flipping over 30 houses a year. Through his companies Local House Buyers, Inc. and Relentless Acquisitions, Cristales has moved millions in real estate.
Veterans Buy America
Cristales met real estate thought leader and fellow Marine veteran, Andy Williams. Andy has taken up the mission to show his fellow veterans just what is possible when Veterans Buy America. “Who better to own a piece of America than those who fought to defend it” is the mantra that guides Andy’s mission. Far beyond just a veteran’s employment initiative, Veterans Buy America is about veterans building real transformational wealth.
Most veterans join the military with little more than the clothes on their backs. If they properly plan their ventures into real estate, they will permanently alter the course of their future. In just four short years full of opportunity and a few lessons learned the hard way, Cristales’ story represents the full power and potential afforded to veterans in real estate. From 2005 to 2015, Juan spent more time fighting on foreign real estate than he did at home. Now, he gets to own a piece of home and lead his family into a peaceful future.