This 24-year-old worked as a personal trainer, bartender, and operations manager to buy her first house with just $5k down—she’s making $400 per month in rental income

May 15, 2023, 6:57 PM UTC
Jennifer Ramsey was 23-years-old when she bought her first investment property.
Jennifer Ramsey

Jennifer Ramsey does lots of things. She’s a personal trainer, a private-party bartender, and a nanny. She’s a self-proclaimed “hustler.” And last year, at the age of 23, she bought her first home in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. 

After graduating from Wright State University in 2020, Ramsey decided that she was going to figure out how to buy a home for herself. To her, renting was basically paying off someone else’s mortgage, and she’d rather own. Ramsey approached it like she would any other subject in school and eventually met with a mortgage lender, who explained to her step-by-step what she needed to do to buy a home. Ramsey expected to move forward with a FHA loan as a first-time homebuyer, but she ended up qualifying for a conventional loan because of her higher credit score, her use of her college degree as employment history, her debt to income ratio as she’d already paid off her student loans, and her job at LA Fitness as an operations manager (which she did along with all her side-hustles).

From there, her search began, and Ramsey was keen on buying a duplex. She wanted to live in one unit and rent out the other but realized it was out of her budget. After looking for around three months—and after putting offers on five homes—Ramsey closed on a three-bedroom, two bath, 1,300 square feet single-family home. She purchased the home in January 2022 for $189,000. She put down 3% (or $5,670), and locked in a 3.99% fixed rate on her 30-year mortgage. Her monthly mortgage payment, Ramsey said, was roughly $1,151 her first year, before increasing to $1,576 after her taxes went up. Ramsey’s total costs, she says, including appraisal fees, inspection fees, closing costs, the down payment, among other smaller expenses, came out to around $13,165.

“It’s all literally about discipline,” Ramsey said of her ability to save, adding that she does have an advantage as her mother didn’t charge her rent. Still, her friends would ask her to go on trips and she’d mostly say “no” opting instead to save that money.

Soon after buying the home, Ramsey started renting it out on Furnished Finder, a short-term rental service like Airbnb that typically caters to those that travel for work earlier this year. Her home is already booked through July of this year, so she moved back in with her mom, temporarily. 

“I’m renting it out so that I can save that money to use it to invest in a multifamily next,” Ramsey tells Fortune. “I don’t have any kids. I’m not married. So you know, it’s just like, I lived there for a year, I loved it. But now…I can use that money to invest it in my next property.”

Ramsey is charging $1,950 per month, and she said she’s had no problem renting it out. She’s had two tenants so far, the first were traveling insurance adjusters and now it’s engineers. The rent covers her monthly mortgage payment, and she makes a small profit that’s close to $400 per month. Meanwhile, Ramsey gets to pocket all income from her various side-hustles and the social media following she’s gained from posting about her journey—she’s got more than 322,000 followers on TikTok alone. 

“If I can save $10,000 to $20,000, I can use that,” Ramsey said, as a downpayment to either flip a house or purchase a multifamily home. 

Opting to rent the home, rather than move out of her mom’s house, hasn’t been easy on her. However, she’d rather do that now, and work toward her goal of becoming a full-fledged real estate investor, before she has more responsibilities that come with growing up, getting married, and having kids. Which, Ramsey said she wants eight, having grown up in a big family herself and thinks “eight little me’s would be cute.”

Either way, Ramsey said in her view real estate is an asset, something that can create generational wealth, and she wants to be a leader for her four sisters, and potentially, her future children.

“I have two hard working parents, they both work nine-to-fives…But my mom is a single mom, she’s literally been a single mom my entire life,” Ramsey said. “Just seeing my mom, how hard she works, I want to be able to create something to where I don’t have to constantly work how she is.” 

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