Megan Hornsby and Harrison Beacher

How 3 Agents Used Real Estate to Pay Off Student Debt

Megan Hornsby and Harrison Beacher

Megan Hornsby and Harrison Beacher

Three millennial real estate professionals say their jobs were key in helping to retire student loan debt and get on track toward a stable financial future.

Tyler Meyer of Shorewest, REALTORS®, in Delavan, Wis.; Harrison Beacher of the Harrison Beacher Group in Washington, D.C.; and Megan Hornsby of RE/MAX Preferred Associates in Maumee, Ohio, spoke during a session at the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago on Sunday about how getting into real estate right out of college gave them the financial means and discipline to escape the student debt trap that plagues so many of their peers.

American students collectively carry $1.7 trillion in outstanding student loan debt—which is second only to mortgage debt—and much of that is owed by millennials, according to data from NAR and American Student Assistance. Only 20 percent of millennials are homeowners, a low number due in part to the debt many are carrying, and 83 percent say their loans are delaying their ability to purchase a home.

Hornsby, who worked as a property manager right out of college, said she was able to pay off her $40,000 debt by buying an investment property in the Toledo area. She and her husband, who’s also a practitioner, bought subsequent houses. Through careful management of their rental and commission income, they were able to retire their debt relatively quickly and amass a sizable portfolio of rental properties.

Beacher, who earned his real estate license after college, paid off his $40,000 in debt over several years by focusing on the first-time home buyer marker. To get started, he leveraged some 3,500 contacts he had on Facebook, many of them his age, and held home buyer seminars. However, what was key for Beacher was taking a disciplined approach to saving. He sought help from a financial planner and accountant from the start and was careful to allocate a percentage of every commission check toward taxes, savings, and his business.

Meyer amassed $39,000 in debt from a single semester before leaving college early and getting into real estate. He reached out to a mentor and brought an assistant on board. The mentor helped Meyer focus on expired listings, and he listed 54 homes over two years. That enabled him to pay off his debt in just 16 months.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at rfreedman@realtors.org.

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