About 20 years ago, Tony Julianelle lost money on his first property investment.
He was in his early twenties and living in his home state of Nebraska, where he bought six units in a small town with a population of about 6,000 people. He told Business Insider that he lost money on all of them.
For Julianelle, the lesson for him was that, while he could probably end up generating passive income from renting to such a small town in the long run, it would probably take him 30 years to do it. And the returns wouldn’t compare to what he could make elsewhere.
“A good market can even fix stupid,” he said, “but if you’re going to invest in a town of 6,000 people, you should probably live there for the rest of your life.”
Now, after a 20-year career in management at Wells Fargo, where he headed up mortgage lending for seven Midwestern states, Julianelle is the CEO of Colorado-based property management firm Atlas Real Estate, and has developed a personal real estate portfolio worth around $3.5 million, a valuation he plans to grow with yearly acquisitions.