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Life & Work with Onofre Lopez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Onofre Lopez.  

Hi Onofre, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
During my time in the military, I had always thought about what it would look like when I was no longer a service member. What was I going to end up doing? It bothered me. Currently, stationed in San Diego, and going into my late 20s, I decided now was a good time to begin looking to the future. As most do, they turn to their friends, family, and of course YouTube for inspiration. All three of them had mentioned that real estate was a good means of acquiring financial freedom. During these past few years, I’m sure all of us can attest to the various markets and the volatility that has occurred. So, while the iron was still hot, I decided to purchase my first investment property and turn it into a short-term rental business. At the time, I didn’t know much about real estate, my wife would argue I still don’t. I took the leap and fought through my analysis paralysis to eventually come out on the other end with a successful small business. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Granted, I went into this thinking I was going to have a means of “passive income,” which ended up being a complete lie I told myself. In my case, starting a short-term rental has been quite an endeavor. I bought my first property thinking that I would be able to purchase it and have people staying at it a week or two afterward. I did not expect that there were going to be improvements to the property and that I would have to establish a management system in order to manage the property as a short-term rental. This ended up taking me about two months of some “sweat equity,” and a lot of long nights to get it up and running. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I graduated in 2011 from Dallas, TX, and immediately joined the United States Navy. It was early enough that I had to have my parents sign a permission slip in order to join due to my age at the time. Upon joining I decided I wanted to become a Navy Diver. I had experience diving prior to the Navy and thought I would enjoy doing it while enlisted. I’ve been employed as a diver for 10 years now and have loved all of it. At work, my peers might say that I’m known as the funny or sarcastic one of the groups. I’ve always been proud and taken pride in what I do for the Navy, and believe that if you enjoy what you do it’s not really considered a job. I would say that when compared to my peers I tend to find the good in a bad scenario or situation and I’m rather easygoing. On the side, I run a short-term rental business as a means to keep me busy when I’m not actively working on diving for the Navy. This way I have a means of income and work for when I do eventually retire or get out of the Navy. 

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
I believe the vacation rental industry will begin to outpace the hotel industry as we saw what Rideshare did to the Taxi industry. Every year the vacation rental businesses grow exponentially and allow individuals and their families a means to experience destinations in a more immersive and unique way as opposed to staying at a hotel. The industry experienced a surge during the Pandemic due to travelers being quarantined to their own homes and wanting to get out and travel again. I don’t foresee the momentum slowing down anytime soon. I suppose we will continue to see vacation and short-term rentals grow into the future and outpace other similar industries like hotels. 

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