Authored by: Eden Carswell
*Southwest Airlines voice* Wanna get away? If you’re constantly plotting on vacations and more passport stamps than a flight attendant, you probably do. And why shouldn’t you? It’s a great time to travel while black. We’re in the midst of a beautiful renaissance that’s redefining the black experience, and traveling has become a large part of it. As we’ve claimed our rightful access to resources and knowledge once denied to us by racism and socioeconomic disparities, building our lives around things beyond acquiescence and survival has put experiences and leisure at the forefront of our exploration.
But let’s be real—while an occasional trip is manageable, consistent travel is pricey. Between flights, lodging, and spending money you’ll need once you touch down, it’ll break your pockets faster than student loan debt and have you poverty-punching the air if those coins aren’t figured out. Now, there are many approaches to funding a travel habit: saving up money from a full-time job, doubling up on Uber pickups and Amazon deliveries, or switching from name brands to good ol’ Great Value at the groceries store to save some change. These work for a little while, but expensing a travel lifestyle may mean employing more sustainable methods to stack money.
One way to bring in passive vacation income is through real estate. Whether it’s building a client base and selling move-in-ready homes as a Real Estate agent, or channeling your inner ‘Flip or Flop’, buying cheaper homes to rehab prior to selling, there’s money to make over time if folks trust the process and learn the business. In fact, real estate investors often make rental profits, get breaks in taxes, and see a pretty stable cash flow when they opt in and stick with it.
So how does it work? We asked Christin Marshall, a realtor and wellness entrepreneur native to DC. Known as Crystin in her real estate work and wellness entrepreneurship—she owns Aligned & Wealth-Tea, a brand in which organic herbal teas, guided meditation, and alignment coaching are offered—she champions teaching ownership, and alignment in all aspects of life as the key to happiness and success. A graduate of North Carolina A&T and an avid traveler, Crystin chose to root her real estate career here in DC in response to her parent’s homeownership struggles and the gentrification the city is undergoing. “When I came back, I was happy about the diversity but sad to see so few of us owning property in DC. I knew I wanted to get into real estate and pass on knowledge, showing them how to take advantage of opportunities to own,” she stated. When asked what she believes makes it difficult for the black community to break into real estate, a lack of support (emotional, spiritual, and financial) was the first roadblock on her list, saying that “We don’t have that many people around us to say, ‘let me help you create the path.’” Accessibility to knowledge is another barrier; while other communities are taught financial competency and how to buy/maintain properties by their parents and grandparents, our community has been denied access to the resources needed to navigate the markets and succeed for generations.
Though these and other hardships were faced, Crystin has found success in this field, obtaining her real estate license three years ago and actively selling homes for a year and a half with Thompson Premier Homes Group. She’s used her real estate career to scratch her travel itch, having hopped on flights to Jamaica, Aruba, Colombia, and various other destinations and sharing content surrounding it on her social media pages. So, of course I had to ask, “Sis, how?”. Her expert opinion? Holistic alignment. In her brand name, Wealth is an acronym for Wisdom (knowledge, teaching), Ethereal (spiritual), Anatomic (physical health), Location (where she is in her current space), Township (philanthropy and giving back), and Heart (following one’s passion). To Crystin, it’s important to assess and feed all of these to achieve success, as operating in your most balanced, fulfilled state will yield the best results professionally and otherwise. Referencing T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth, Crystin also highlighted financial sacrifice to own property. “Pay attention to spending and be strategic. 55% of your income goes to essentials and the rest should go into your savings. Line up bills, and create space to bring in financial abundance. Make short-term sacrifices for long-term gain,” she advised. Keeping up with your credit and managing it well are also high on Crystin’s list of tips, as your credit scores are often a make-or-break in whether you can own. Consistency and relentless are also crucial in Crystin’s work—in her experience, especially as a real estate agent, “the checks will come if you show up.” Above all, consulting with a real estate agent or professional in the industry is the most important tip she offered. “The right real estate agent with give you all of the information you need and be emotionally and mentally supportive of you as you start the buying and selling process,” she noted. In any instance that requires you invest a lot of money, doing research and knowing what you’re in for before you make any moves will reduce the likelihood that you’ll take excessive losses or get involved in bad business. Once you start to see income from the homes you sell, continue to put money aside and build a robust pot you can pull from when planning your vacations and experiences. Always consider your budget when selecting places to stay and activities, as affordable is often just as worth it as a lavish excursion.
Before wrapping up, one question nagged at me—what spots are still on her travel bucket list? Crystin has her sights set on Cuba, Kenya, and Egypt in the future, and is excited to continue to grow her businesses to be able to globetrot as freely as she desires.
So, if real estate sounds like it could get you closer to your travel goals, check out Crystin’s social media @crystintherealtor and @wealthyxaf for more detailed tips and tricks of the trade, and remember, “things show up when your life is aligned, and you pour into yourself.” You’re much closer to your ideal lifestyle than you think!