Who is Anna Tai?
That’s me. I’m a long-time resident of Honolulu for over 20 years, that’s more than half of my life. I was born in Hong Kong and raised in Macau, China.
I’m a board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition with over 10 years of experience taking care of medically-fragile children in the Department of Defense system.
Tripler Army Medical Center
I love my job, I love seeing infants, young child and adolescent overcome their illnesses, get better and grow to their fullest potential.
I’m a single parent with a talented and gifted child who attends Punahou School. My ex-husband is not involved in providing financial support.
So I solely support myself and my only child.
In 2009, I inherited some money when my late beloved father passed away after battling chronic lung disease.
This inheritance helped me purchased my first residence in Waikiki in 2009.
With just one parent, one income and a Punahou School tuition, I have to be shrewd and creative with my finances. I need another source of income for security, ideally passive income, so I can continue to spend quality time with my daughter.
A friend got me into real estate, so I got a real estate agent license. Then, I realized I didn't enjoy selling homes. Not just that, when I first started, no one wanted to help. There's no guidance of any sort. I showed homes, do contracts, everything the first time by myself with no guidance. My broker just told me to keep setting appointments, and I set up many appointments. Of course, I ended up with many junk leads, because most of these people have no money. No one explained to me that I need to qualify my leads.
But I learnt about about money, investment and building wealth. And I actually enjoy educating people about how money works, how to make money work for them.
The other thing I like about being a life insurance agent is that I got to work with great people who really want you to be successful. We're each our "individual business owner", but we care for each other. My friend would always come with me to meet with my clients when I first started out.
We are all doing the same thing, but no one feels that anyone will take their business away.
I maintain both the real estate license (inactive RS-74734) and life & health insurance license (401852) with continuing education. So more education on real estate and finance laws and regulations.
Anyway, that's my finance background.
Because I purchased my first condo at below market price, the value has not been impacted by the effect of the 2008 real estate burst that swept the country.
The property value continues to go up every year. And I started to ponder about the equity sitting in my property that I would not be able to use unless I sell the property, or that’s what I thought or knew at that time.
Long story short…I came across the idea of real estate investing in 2014 and realized this could be the opportunity to generate passive income.
I do not know much about real estate investing. So I started reading every article and every book I can find on finance, investment and real estate investing. I also subscribed to audible.com , so I can listen to some of the books in the morning while getting ready.
Real Estate & Business Books
Eventually, I stumbled upon Bigger Pockets (BiggerPockets.com) a website dedicated solely to personal finance and real estate investing.
I read and learn about everything on real estate - types of real estate investing, wholesaling, bird-dog, fix-and-flip strategies, buy-and-hold strategies, how to analyze cash flow on rental properties, how to calculation CAP rate, how to calculate ROI.
I scan the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and Craigslist everyday to study the Honolulu market, attend open houses, talk to realtors, attend real estate investors’ meetings, attend tax strategies workshops, etc. I learn about direct mailings to find sellers.
I also learned how to build my own websites. I have two other websites:
Real Estate Investor Meeting
Another miracle happened that year. God sent me my new best friend, who has helped me through with some tough times in my personal life. And guess what, my best friend is also an experienced real estate investor.
K and Me
Ultimately, she is also my mentor and sounding board for my real estate decisions.
Through some act of God, I was introduced to the Sweep Strategies (SweepStrategies.com). I was able to pay off my mortgage with a home equity line of credit.
Fast forward to 2015, I refinanced my mortgage with a home equity line of credit. And the equity from appreciation of my first property is enough for a down payment for a small condo in Waikiki.
I chose to invest in Waikiki because I know this neighborhood like the back of my hand. I know the average market price, the average rental income, the restaurants, the shops, places to park for free.
So I purchased my first rental property in July 2015. I paid below asking and market price through some tough negotiations. Another good friend of mine, who I consider my financial advisor, never lets me pay anything in full price.
Shortly after, I also purchased two timeshares in West Maui for $1 each (this is not a typo). These are my vacation rentals for additional income.
Working a full-time profession, taking care of a teenager on my own (driving to school, tennis practice, hang-out with friends), and building a finance and real estate business is difficulty, but very fulfilling.
I thank God every day for the path he has chosen for me. Without my daughter being the motivation in my life, I would not have achieved what I have today. And I’m very much grateful for that.
Just a side note, besides all these, I play tennis, golf and stand-up paddle frequently too.
So, I do believe, with faith and persistence, you will find what you're looking for in life. And I hope the information on this website will help you find what you’re looking for in your life too.