The Collier Companies’ genesis started in the early 1970s when I worked my way through the University of Florida, in part by managing small rental properties. I developed a love of real estate and during that time I bought my first investment – a single family house, few blocks north of UF’s law school.
My original goal was to just have outside income, something to fall back on or to supplement Social Security when the time came. I monitored the single-family neighborhoods within walking and biking distance of the university, looking for FSBOs (For Sale by Owner). I looked for concrete block construction, figuring it would stand the test of time in Florida’s humid climate better than wood siding. I looked for houses where rents would cover mortgage payments, property taxes, and the insurance. My dad was a civil engineer and raised me to be self-sufficient and a Do It Yourself (DIY) approach was a given, so I was a pretty fair ‘jack of all trades’ handyman. For a long time, I did my own showing, leasing, maintenance and management so they were not a cash expense. I always figured that the time I spent in the evenings and weekends taking care of my real estate, was time that otherwise would have been spent watching TV or something equally non-productive. I thought of my real estate investments as a hobby that paid. I always figured there were ten or twenty things I might like doing in my spare time, only half of them might make money or make me a better human being or live longer and I only had time for 3 to 5 so I always picked ones that provided multiple rewards; just being entertained or amused alone did not pass the test.