Starting with a VA loan, Eric Upchurch built a real estate portfolio with zero equity.
Making it clear that the United States would care for its veterans, Abraham Lincoln coined what would later become the Veterans Administration motto by saying, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and for his orphan.” With these words in mind, veterans who serve honorably find themselves with a variety of benefits before them when they discharge. Some will take advantage of the G.I. Bill and advance their careers through education. Meanwhile, others will make good use of the VA home loan program and build an ever-growing real estate empire.
Army veteran Eric Upchurch (pictured above) chose the latter path. Stumbling into real estate through the purchase of his first home in 2006 with a VA loan, Upchurch took that first purchase with zero equity and turned it into hundreds of thousands of dollars in less than ten years. Some 13 years after he took his first VA loan, Upchurch is investing in multimillion-dollar real estate ventures with no end in sight. Taking a path available to all veterans, but misunderstood by most, Upchurch has shown just what is possible when “Veterans Buy America.”
The Long and Winding Road
Despite having a strong family lineage of military service, Upchurch took the long and winding road to the uniform. Graduating high school in 1998, he and a friend moved from the cornfields of Iowa to sunny California to live the dream. Their initial goal was to break into the culinary world and make it as chefs. While he was met with some success in that arena, it turns out this wouldn’t be his path to riches. Working various jobs along the way, he eventually graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2004. Unsure of what path to take next, his family’s lineage of patriotic service weighed heavily on him in the post 9-11 era.
In possession of a college degree, the Army allowed him to enlist at the initial rank of E-4 with MOS of 15 Golf, Aircraft Structural Repairman. Eric graduated boot camp and was heading to his initial training school with one date in mind — his wedding in the summer of 2005. With the date and location already set, if Upchurch were to fail a test or suffer an injury requiring him to be rolled back to a later class, he would miss his wedding. Motivated to let nothing stand in the way of his upcoming nuptials, he trained intensely and became the Distinguished Honor Grad for his class. Consequently, Special Operations picked him up and he was on his way to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. With multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Upchurch served faithfully until his active separation in 2011.
Building Capital to Buy America
It was then that a fortuitous home purchase in 2006 with his VA loan started to give rise to a growing real estate empire. With the equity he now had in the home as the real estate market rebounded and the rental income to fuel him, in 2012 Upchurch bought another piece of America using a VA loan. Two years later and with a $180,000 profit, Upchurch sold that house to make way for another purchase. Again, using a VA loan, he bought and eventually sold another property for a profit of $250,000. It was clear Upchurch was onto something as he continued to build capital through one real estate venture after another. After years of dedicated military service, his family would now see a future without precedent.
In 2017, he began the investing phase of his real estate career as he became a partner in several multimillion-dollar real estate ventures while continuing to purchase homes on his own. As it stands today, the kid from Iowa who made his first home purchase with a VA loan is now looking at a portfolio worth millions. When veterans invest in real estate, they have the opportunity to own a piece of the land they fought to defend. Moreover, they get the opportunity to build real wealth and financial freedom. What Upchurch demonstrated was the heart and soul behind Marine veteran Andy Williams’ Veterans Buy America initiative.
Both Upchurch and Williams share a passion for educating their fellow veterans about the potential power of real estate. With that in mind, Williams continues to scan the country for veterans following the path that he once took. Veterans Buy America serves as a rally point and beacon for all veterans to realize the potential within them. Upchurch continues to serve this mission as he serves as the COO for Active Duty Passive Income. What remains clear is that Williams is onto something as evidenced by Upchurch’s success and many like him. Through the Veterans Buy America initiative, those who served gain their own financial freedom. That’s something worth fighting for and a mission Williams refuses to abandon.