This Black Woman From the Projects of South Philly Built a Million Dollar Real Estate Portfolio at Age 30

Ayesha Selden currently owns over 40 rental properties, thanks to saving early.

By Charlene Rhinehart

This story originally appeared on Black Enterprise

Ayesha Selden has inspired millions with her journey from the projects to becoming a real estate millionaire at age 30.

Now, the Philadelphia native owns over 40 rental properties. She's teaching others about the importance of ownership and what it takes to get started.

"Condition yourself as a saver first," Selden shares during a podcast interview. "There are steps to this game. You can't go from one end of the process all the way to a disciplined investor and think that everything is going to be gravy. I always say that someone who hasn't mastered the art of being a saver first…how are you going to be a landlord if you don't have any money saved? If you can't figure out how to save reserve money, you are going to lose your house and destroy your credit. Figure out how to be a saver first, then investor, and then a disciplined investor."

Getting Started in Real Estate

Selden was raised by a single mom in one of the most under-resourced communities in South Philly. When she was 18 years old, her family moved to a better area. Selden believed that the area she left would turnaround and that her mom's property would become valuable one day. She was right.

"I told her not to sell our house and that she should rent it," Selden shares with Shoppe Black. "She was nervous about being able to find a tenant and sold it in 1997 for $35,000. Within 10 years of her selling, that house was worth 10 times what she sold it for and today, it's probably worth around $500k to $600k."

Related: A Brief Guide to Letting Black Entrepreneurs Be Entrepreneurs

Selden has never forgotten the moment, using the lesson as motivation to become a competent investor.

She started her real estate journey at age 24. Selden bought a foreclosure in Philly for $67,000 using her personal savings. She rehabbed the place, moved in, and got a roommate. Due to house hacking, Selden was able to save more money. She invested in equities and bought a rental property two years later. In 2011, she used the equity from her first house to buy and rehab more properties.

Going From Poverty to Plenty

Although Selden has amassed a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio, she still works as a Private Wealth Advisor. She helps others manage their money since that has been something that has always come easy to her.

"As a kid, money just always made sense to me," Selden shared during her podcast interview as she talked about growing up poor in Philly. "I could always save a buck. If you gave me a $10 allowance, I would have that same $10 six weeks later. "

But it wasn't until she landed a job at a bank that she started to expand her view of money. "I started seeing real money. People started coming in with millions."

The light bulb went off when she realized that the customers did not work. They were investing in stocks, mutual funds, and other assets that worked for them. That's when Selden realized that she needed to transition from saver to investor.

Although Selden has a range of investments in her portfolio, she shares that real estate is her favorite. She has published a digital guide to help more people build their wealth to 7+ figures.

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