Savannah Arroyo knows what it’s like to live on a nurse’s salary. She started looking for other ways to make money when she and her husband had their second child. They used real estate to build wealth and now have more than $9,500 coming in every month from additional income and live in a nearly $1 million home.
Her journey to real estate mogul started in 2020 when she was working full-time as a nurse in Los Angeles. She had to cut her maternity leave short because her family needed the paycheck and went back to the facility during the COVID-19 pandemic to find it hemorrhaging nurses. She told MarketWatch that she had to furlough nurses without pay and that she was asked to work in the ICU despite her lack of experience.
“I need to find a different way to make money,” Arroyo told herself at the time. Neither she nor her husband learned about investing money when they were young. Her parents lost their home in the 2008 housing crisis. Her husband Lupe is the son of migrant workers from Mexico.
But Arroyo was determined to learn about investing so she could grow her money. She relied on YouTube videos and podcasts to expand her knowledge of the subject.
“Real estate showed up again and again and again, and for obvious reasons,” she said. “It’s one of the best ways out there to grow wealth. I mean, there’s a reason millionaires own real estate.”
The couple decided to get a second mortgage on their home in L.A. and used the money to make their first real estate investment, two single-family homes in Atlanta with a $40,000 down payment on each. But they soon started to focus on multi-family homes, which are increasing in popularity all over the country.
“We knew that this was our key to financial freedom and for us it was like, okay, we don’t have any money to start,” she said.
They also started using syndications to fund their investments by pooling together other investors’ money to purchase properties they couldn’t afford on their own. The couple reached out to friends and family and were able to raise $250,000 in capital along with another $100,000 from their retirement accounts. The first multi-family home they purchased was for $1 million in Oregon.
“As I started doing it with our network of family and friends, I realized healthcare professionals would benefit immensely from this,” she said.
So, she started Networth Nurse, an online financial education platform designed for healthcare professionals, with her business partner Ky Arnold, another provider, and her sisters. They now own five syndicated properties through their Willow Investment Group, including a 12-unit, 18-unit, 24-unit and 36-unit apartment complex in Oregon and a storage facility in Arizona. Two-thirds of their investors work in healthcare, according to Arroyo.
“We got super strategic and leveraged real estate again,” she added, “and ended up ‘house hacking’ our way into my ideal house in an ideal neighborhood.”
Once they got into the rental business, they spent a total of $7,500 to fix up their L.A. home with new carpet, keyless entry, and a fresh coat of paint. They now rent out their home for 30 days or more to traveling nurses for around $3,000 a month. Her husband even quit his full-time job last year to focus on their new financial wellness B2B platform for healthcare professionals.
They use that money and their regular income to make rent on their new home, which has 700 additional square feet, in Northern California, estimated at nearly $1 million.
After three years of making deals in the industry, Arroyo said she is “obsessed” with the process of buying and selling properties. “It’s changed my life so much, and I’m still so passionate about sharing it with healthcare professionals.”