Month: March 2016
Without an introduction, I would be left to discuss myself in the third person and I’ve often denigrated people who speak in the third person so here is a page about me, primarily in the first person!
Michael John Mally is an artist and real estate investor living in San Diego…
Sorry…I live in San Diego and do artsy things and talk about houses…That’s not much better but it’s a start! Ever since I was a kid I knew that art was in my blood. I loved to draw and my first canvas was my bedroom wall (to my mothers detriment!). It was a big, slightly bumpy, canvas that I could color until my heart was content or my mom heard me. Then I got to think about my art with a spanking. As she tells the story, it didn’t deter me enough and I was right back at it.
My father had the great idea to call up his friend at the San Diego Tribune and buy an end roll of newsprint. Then I could roll out a big sheet and color until I ran out of ink. I frequently would spend the better part of a Saturday in my room coloring, drawing and letting my imagination run wild.
As I grew older and watched my dad work on projects in the garage of our house right off Mission Village Dr. I loved the house. In our garage my dad would tinker and I would build, unbeknownst to me, my first sculpture art. My dad would often take apart the screws, nuts and bolts when he needed them so my art was…”repurposed” back into it’s original form. I would love to have some of that! Kids, make sure you take you sculptures and hide them so your parents can’t take them apart!
As I grew I still loved art but went through a rough patch in my life…You guessed it, my parents got divorced. Oddly enough they lived in the same house for about 6 months after their divorced was finalized. They both were trying to save money to move on with their lives. During the 6 months of fighting and 6 months of divorced living together my parents reconciled. They were divorced but never actually lived apart. To this day they have been married for 47 years! That includes the 6 month of divorce so I guess they have been married 10 years and 37 years if you’re specific.
My passion for art really took off in high school. Mrs. Benson and Mr. Holmes were my two art teachers and both had a great love for art. The more time I spent in their class the more I knew what I wanted to do…I wanted to get a big roll of newsprint and never leave the house! That was my goal in life. What could I do to earn money that would allow me to focus on my passion, art.
Turns out real estate investing was the ticket! My parents were not wealthy, but they had done well to have two houses paid off. As an only child, I discussed my passion and they were supportive. Like the prodigal son they gave me some of my inheritance so I could invest in real estate. I started locally and flipped a house down the street. I made $22,648 on that deal. It was exactly the push I needed to focus on real estate full time. For me “full time” was about 20 hours a week and the rest of the time I read art books, spent time at galleries and anything I could do to immerse myself in art.
Flipping houses was great, but it was hard work. To make that first deal profitable, I did almost all of the work myself. I tiled a bathroom, twice. The first time I tiled the shower I had never done any tile work, but a book showed me how simple it would be. I came in the next morning and half of the tiles had fallen off the wall and almost all of them had slid down the wall. It was a full day of just cleaning it up. I realized that I drywall plaster is not the same as thinset. You can laugh, and thankfully, I can too. That day, there was no laughing.
Another blunder, since we’re talking about keeping me humble, was with my newly installed hardwood floors and carpet. I ripped out all the old flooring, had a carpet company put down carpet and I did some new wood flooring. Since this house was on a raised foundation there were a few areas that squeaked when you stepped on them. You see where this is going?
I said to myself, “Michael John Mally, you can do this!” So I got my nail gun, crawled under the house with a flashlight and had my dad step on the carpet to make the boards squeak. As he found a squeak I would put a few nails in to tighten it up. It worked beautifully! We moved to the kitchen and then the bedrooms. After about 4 hours on my back crawling around in “dirt” (it didn’t smell like dirt…) I was finished. He couldn’t find any more squeaks. The next day I went into the house with my shoes off, new carpet right? I immediately punctured the bottom of my foot in the living room. The nails were too long and went through the floor right into the carpet! My dad didn’t feel it with his shoes on. The hardwood floors looked like they were bubbling, but really the nails were just pushing up.
Needless to say I didn’t want to keep flipping houses. Over the years I have flipped a few more houses, but buy and hold is definitely my favorite strategy. I own a few houses here in San Diego and few out of the area. The rental income is enough to cover a modest living and allows me to do what I love.
How’s that for an interview that only went into the third person once or twice!
Michael J. Mally would like to thank you for reading all the way to the end!