First Time Investor: Al Williamson of Leading Landlord

This Is Why Some Real Estate Investors Focus On Inner Cities

al williamson
Credit: alexandarilich

first time investor

Al Williamson is a leading real estate expert who specializes in revitalized neighborhoods. Williamson shares his insider advice to help you make your first deal. 

1) What’s your real estate investment strategy?

I’m a multifamily apartment investor. A buy and hold guy. I like to buy well-positioned distressed properties and work with the community to create a desirable neighborhood. Then I develop additional cash flow streams for properties to further increase the net operating income. I end up with great performing assets.

2) How did you finance your first deal?

I borrowed a little money from family, took a secured loan against my Honda Civic, and got an FHA owner-occupied loan to buy a three unit building. My wife and I moved into one of the smallest units.

3) Why are you interested in revitalized communities? What potential do they have compared to an already stable community?

The larger the problem, the bigger the financial reward. In inner cities, they lack leadership and advocacy is typically the biggest problem. I enjoy providing those missing attributes. This makes inner-city investing perfect for me.

4) What are two to three tips you can give a first-time investor on how to attract private money?

A – Cultivate a reputation of keeping promises to others and especially to yourself.

B – Do the work to collect supporting information in order to persuade a private lender that you know what you’re talking about.

C – Make sure your investors win first.

5) What should a first-time investor consider, a single-family or multifamily home and why?

A small multifamily because it takes the same level of effort to acquire it, you’ll have more than one income stream making your revenues more robust, and it’ll give you the opportunity to live on-site and defray your personal living expenses.

6) Tell us about your book Building Wealth with Inner City Rentals?

It’s the story of my personal journey and three years of research as an investor who’s benefited from two neighborhood revitalization efforts. It is a roadmap for others who want to make a fortune helping a troubled neighborhood get back on its feet. The book also explains how to avoid hours of frustration, overcome obstacles, and create meaningful wealth for you and your family.

7) What else would you like to say?

More entrepreneurial people of color should take advantage of building their wealth by building up their own neighborhoods. It’s an ideal way of monetizing your street smarts and improving other people’s lives at the same time.

Al Williamson is the author of Building Wealth with Inner City Rentals. Follow his journey at