EP 836 – Building Four Plexes In Chicago With Crystal Hammond

Note Closers Show | Crystal Hammond | Four-Plexes

Note Closers Show | Crystal Hammond | Four-Plexes


Scott Carson sits down with Crystal Hammond from the Stacking Deeds Podcast to share her investing journey. She describes how she transforms empty lots on the south side of Chicago by building four-plexes and creating affordable housing. Crystal also talks about about her first piece of property, how she deals with complicated tax regulations, and her long-term strategies to turn the game around in favor of homeowners instead of big-time investors.


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Building Four Plexes In Chicago With Crystal Hammond

I’m excited and jacked up to have an amazing individual on here. I was honored to be a guest in her award-winning show. She’s a multiple winner of the Plutus Awards. She’s the Host of the Stacking Deeds Podcast, one of the greatest real estate investing podcasts. You should listen to it. It’s phenomenal out there. She’s also an active real estate investor, side hustle expert, and home cooker. She likes to share photos online while cooking. She is phenomenal. Who am I talking about? I’m talking about the wonderful, the amazing Crystal Hammond. She joins us on the show. What is going on, Crystal? How are you doing?

I’m great. Hello, everybody.

How Crystal Got Started

Crystal, we’re honored to have you here. People may follow you in lines. Condo Crystal is out there. Besides working as a full-time engineer in our nation’s capital, you’re also investing in one of our favorite areas of the country, Chicago.

It’s on the south side.

I’ve got some stories that we could share. Talk about your investing. How’d you get to where you’re at? Talk about how you got started.

Thanks for having me, Scott. The beautiful thing about hanging out with real estate investors or even knowing real estate investors is that they want you to do the same thing. They know how easy it is. It’s not easy, but the mentoring and stuff like that helps. I got my start way back in 2005. I’m from the south side of Chicago from the hood. The place that I grew up in is a duplex. My mom lived on one floor, and the landlords lived on the first floor, and they were selling it.

This was after I had graduated college. I was living in the apartment life in Chicago. I knew some friends. They would go to these real estate meetings. I was like, “I want to go with you to one of your real estate meetings.” My plan was to meet somebody, become their friend, and say, “I know of this duplex for sale. You should buy it, but don’t raise my mom’s rent.” The beautiful thing about being in a room full of investors is they’re like, “Why don’t you buy it?” I was like, “Me, no. A duplex, no. I can’t buy real estate. Are you crazy?” They’re like, “Do you have a job?” I was like, “Yeah.”

That’s how I ended up buying my first piece of property. It was the duplex. I was happy. I was able to lower my mom’s rent because even though the mortgage itself was less than what I was paying in rent, I was only making $14 an hour. This was my fancy pants post-college job. I had a hard time finding a job as a C student. That’s for another show.

C means you’re cultured. It is the way I look at it.

You’re one of the well-rounded students. I’m nothing against the A and B students. That’s how I ended up getting my first piece of property. It was surrounding myself with a great bunch of people. Month after month, I kept going back to the meetings. I ended up learning a lot about real estate and programs because, even since I was considered low-income, I was like, “What do you mean? I’m rich. I got a brand-new Chevy Cavalier.” I was living a dream and a new duplex.

The city had a program where I got the place remodeled, and they forgave half the loan. After several years, I got a $50,000 loan. I redid all of the electricity and plumbing. I knocked the wall down and made the bathrooms bigger in both my and my mom’s unit. I gave her a new kitchen upstairs. I put in hardwood floors. It was a cool program, and if I had not surrounded myself with other real estate people, I wouldn’t have known about this free money. Even when I closed on the property, I got money back at the closing table because one of the people was like, “Make sure you have the seller pay for the closing cost.” I would’ve never thought to ask for that.

It’s funny because real estate, you think, “Yes, I’m going to buy this property. Things will go to plan.” Nothing went to plan. It was November when we had the contract. We didn’t close until March because the landlord had lived in Mexico by then. They had to come back to America. The wife had died. They had to prove that she died. Always pack your patience because this was a good deal. This was an off-the-market deal. I got a good price. That’s what got my start in real estate. I don’t want to go on too long, but it transitioned me into what I’m doing now, which is building some fourplexes from the ground up and new constructions.

When you have a goal, you want to tell people your goal. People know that I was also a real estate investor. A friend of a friend was like, “You should tell Crystal that the City of Chicago has a program where they have vacant lots for a dollar.” I was like, “Tell me more.” By this time, I was living here in the DC area. You didn’t have to live there. You still had to own. My mom still lives there, but I still own that duplex. If there are any city-owned lots that have to be on the same block, you can buy them for $1. I bought the first two because you can apply for a two-part address, and the city moves at the speed of the government. It took about two years to close on those first two.

When you have a goal, be sure to tell people all about it. Share on X

They’re like, “We’re going to have the program once a year.” That was in 2017. They didn’t have it until 2020. Since I had three addresses this time, I applied for the remaining three. That took another round of packing your patience because I didn’t close on those until 2023. I closed on two during the pandemic. I didn’t have to fly to Chicago for that. That was good. Fast forward to now. I have the five lots bought for $1 each. Thanks to the city program. This is another testament to patience because I’ve been quietly paying the taxes and the tickets because if you don’t keep the grass cut, you get a ticket. I learned that the hard way.

It’s not the good type of weed in other parts of the country.

That’s the easiest ticket they can write. I wasn’t there to see. I had gotten a couple of tickets before they made their way to my mailbox. I was like, “This is not fair.” I’ve been paying the taxes. It’s funny because back in 2005, when I first bought the duplex, the people who were in the real estate meetings were like, “One day, a developer is going to come. Your property values are going to go up.” I was like, “Yeah, I can’t wait.” Here I am. I wait. Nobody ever came.

I’d never thought that I would be the developer that would someday come along to develop the neighborhood. I waited until I met the right people because this is an area that I know nothing about. It’s a new construction. I waited, but I still told people about my goals. Finally, I have the right people, some people I went to college with. I’ve reached out, and they know a lot more than I do. They’re helping me get everything on the right track to wait and get these five now fourplexes built.

That’s where I am now. I was telling you when you were on our show. You have to get that zoned for a single-family or a duplex. I’m like, “No, I know what used to be on the block because I grew up on the block.” There were sixplexes on each lot. This is what would happen. A shoddy investor would come in that didn’t care about the neighborhood. They would do a crappy renovation and throw any section eight tenants in there. Those tenants would wreak havoc on the neighborhood, and they were gone as fast as they came.

Some of them were burnt down. That’s why they’re all vacant lots now. There used to be vibrant places there. I didn’t want to be that shoddy investor who comes in and doesn’t care about the neighborhood because that was a vicious cycle of getting nowhere. Those ended up as vacant, burnt-down lots. It’s my opportunity to bring luxury housing to the place that I grew up in. It took a while of waiting because now I’m waiting for the rezone to get them back zoned to the fourplexes. The first time, you have to put your boots on the ground. I had to talk to my people to get a meeting with the alderman in the first place. It’s a lot of FaceTime, banks, funding, and hard money. It makes your head spin.

Putting Up Four-Plexes

That’s what I wanted to ask you about that. You have the ID to put a fourplex in. Did you purchase planes for that?

I had to hire an architect. That would draw up the plans. He has to come out to the site and order surveys to make sure what the meets and bounds of the property lines are. That’s out of pocket. For the architect, I pay over $20,000 for the plans. It’s 22 pages of plans because it has to be the H fact. It’s things I would never think of.

You got a copy of it right there.

I want to get them framed.

That took a while. How long did it take for him to do the plans? Is it a couple of months or relatively quickly?

It would be a good idea for me to put all the timelines together for how long it will take. It didn’t take him crazy long. It was cool to get the ball rolling on that. From the architectural plans, you get to apply for a permit. We put in an application because the architect has to do that. He’s licensed. He puts in the application for the permits, and you wait. They were denied because of the zoning. It was funny because there was a credit thing on there. I was like, “What is this?” I had gotten a ticket, but it hadn’t been mailed yet. I was like, “It’s not even due yet.” They’re like, “We’re making sure you pay it.”

After I paid that ticket for the grass, I got taken off, but we were waiting on the letter from the alderman because, hopefully, I’ll be at the next city council meeting. The city council and the other alderman have to vote on it because you talk to the people in the neighborhood to see. You’re like, “Are you okay with this?” It’s a good thing that’s where I grew up because I know all the people that still live there.

In the hurry-up and wait, not anticipating it taking this long for the zoning, the permits have all expired. I found this out. You have to start all over with the permit process. That’s money down the train. This is great because I’m happy I’m making all these mistakes early on. If I were in a bigger time crunch, which is because I’m paying money now. This is a tuition. I’m also learning a lot. This will not happen again. This is the last time this is going to happen. I’m happy to be making mistakes because I’m documenting, and this will not happen again.

Note Closers Show | Crystal Hammond | Four-Plexes

Four-Plexes: It is not that bad to make mistakes early on. It just means you are learning a lot.


The great thing is you’re learning all this stuff, documenting and sharing it. You become an expert at this. That’s the thing I was going to ask you. You’ve got five of these. You’re expecting a fourplex. What happens if they don’t approve the fourplex? They want a duplex on it. If the city doesn’t approve it, what’s your plan B on that, Crystal?

The plan B would have to go back to the architect and say, “Can you redraw chop off the top two floors?” That’s what we’ll have. The cost will have to come with that. We’ll have to ask the architect to chop off some floors. We do have the letter from the alderman saying yes. That’s amazing, but we have to wait and get on the docket for the city council meetings.

Financing Strategies

Once that’s approved, how are you financing? Do you have a bank that’s financing? Are you financing the hard money investor funds? Can you share your finances with our audience?

In the beginning, I had a hard money loan for about $150,000. That was what it would take to get the process started. You have to pay the architect and the lawyer to do this rezoning. You can’t walk off Scott Joe and do it yourself. This is not DIY. The lawyer is charging about $5,000 per property for the rezone. I’ve had to pay for a money guy, the one that knows how to structure financing.

I will have to get an actual construction loan, but the construction loan people want to see your permits first. You are approved to put shovels in the ground because imagine had I got the construction loan months ago based on the word the alderman or the word of getting everything. They’re like, “No because I would be paying a monthly construction payment and have nothing to no shovels and grounds.” That’s a good protector of surrounding yourself with the people who know more than you.

Another thing that I know now is to make sure you Google Grants because there are pre-development grants out there. I applied for four. I’m looking for more pre-development money because I didn’t have enough to get the plans for all five of the buildings. I didn’t even own all five of the buildings in the beginning. I’ll have to start this process over. Once this first one is done, I will be doing back flips and side flips because it’s like, “We did something right. Let’s get this pre-development money.”

After pre-development, you get the actual construction loan from a bank, and you hope you don’t get redlined. I’ve gotten redlined in this neighborhood before because I bought it back with the great interest rate debate. I bought my property back in 2005, and interest rates were sky-high back then. My interest rate was 7.5%. It was an amazing deal. At that time, interest rates were not considered high.

Don’t let interest rates keep you out of the game because a good deal is a good deal. Look at what this good deal has led me to all these different lots. You never know what a deal is going to take you from that initial small step. After the building is built, you get construction to permanent loan. That’s when you are on autopilot with the renters and all the fun stuff.

We didn’t talk about the contractors. I have five contractors come out and make bids. I love plain old Excel. I created a spreadsheet to compare apples to apples. I put each name and each line item for what they charge, like the plumbing and the lumber, so all the estimates could be equal to pick who would be the best. Do your due diligence. Take your time with this. I’m glad it took so long to get the letter from the alder because it gave me extra time to vet the construction team and see what they’ve already built.

You could even Google this, or I could share with you some of the stuff aligned by item for all the stuff that goes into pre-development. Luckily, the site cost was only $1 for me, but sometimes, it’s way more. The cities have land banks because Chicago doesn’t have that program with the dollar lots anymore. 2023 was the last closing. They do have the shy block builder program, which they sell them in lots. I would’ve been able to buy all five at once instead of nickel and dimming, waiting for one. They’re making the process more efficient for investors. I’m remote, too.

I love Chicago architects. They have three-story and four-story brownstones. We’ve owned quite a few by buying the debt, and you’re taking it back. It’s always gorgeous. When you’re driving around, you see these beautiful houses with the big square red X on them. When I first started being a real estate investor back years ago and being a coach for folks, I remember going out and buying three-story brownstones for $1 in DC back in the day.

Paying Taxes

Cleveland has something similar to this. It’s important. Check with the city because the city wants somebody to come in. They’re willing to bend over backward when they’ve got a lot of blight. You bought these for $1. You’ve been paying taxes. How much are you paying in taxes on the lots each year? Has that been reduced some or not?

It makes no sense every six months. You pay twice a year. For two of the lots, the taxes are over $700 every six months. It’s funny because, for some of them, the taxes are more than the taxes on the duplex that’s there, which makes no sense. You could do a tax appeal where you have to give them proof like, “For this lot that’s right next door, these are the taxes.”

I need to do that. That’s been on the to-do list for a while. Hopefully, you will get your back taxes. They’ll give you that money back for however long you think you’ve been misappropriating your taxes because that makes no sense. It’s a matter of printing off the tax, finding out the tax bills, and finding out where I mail the info. You sit back, hurry up, and wait again.

We do that here in Austin. Texas has got one of the highest property taxes out there. Every year, we appeal our taxes. You go in front of the county. It’s always interesting to see because you have all these comps that justify a lower value. Most of the time, they go right in the middle. Between yours, that doesn’t make it. It’s still over high.

Thanks for the little bit of a break.

If it’s a homestead, you get a bit of a homestead break, or the governor is trying to sign the big tax reduction for homesteads here. It’s interesting to see that. Trying to get the city to give you money back is always like pulling teeth and slow. It’s rough out there.

They don’t miss when you owe them because, after the closing, I was like, “I know taxes are coming. I was saving in case.” It took them a few years. They’re like, “We forgot to charge you for that first year. Here’s your first bill for two years of taxes.” I was like, well, “Good thing I already know to expect this.” The taxes aren’t that bad. They’re a couple of hundred bucks based on the assessed value. That’s a good lesson for the readers.

That’s the thing I always tell people. If you’re buying an outdoor property, you have to prepare for taxes. You’re going to see some increase in the taxes once the first one is built.

I don’t know who you talk to, but there is a way for you to not be the jerk of the neighborhood. Everybody’s taxes go up because of your buildings. They can put a freeze on those taxes for the existing homeowners. They can go decades on that tax freeze. Yeah. Each place is different. Make sure you talk to people, know them, and ask these questions because real estate people love to share information and all the mistakes we’ve made.

These aren’t the only mistakes I’ll make, but I’m happy to be making them and learning from them because if everything went smoothly, what have you learned? How much fake hurt you when everything’s gone smoothly? You don’t know how to pivot or have the tools or resources. It reminds me of when I had my cavalier. When it would break down all the time, it’s like, “I know that noise. My car makes that noise to us. That was the radiator or the fan belt.” It is funny that you get to make mistakes, and it’s comparable to car problems.

Making a mistake will not hurt. If everything is going smoothly, you will not know how to pivot and you cannot gain the resources you need to succeed. Share on X

South Chicago

Southside Chicago also had some great stuff. I believe the Obama Presidential Library is built down there.

I’m further south from that. That’s in the 50s, 700s. I’m more 80s. I’m close to Indiana. We got the beautiful lakefront.

I was cracking up with you guys on the Stacking Deeds Podcast. It was a couple of episodes ago. You were talking about crime maps. I’ve always chuckled because Chicago was one of the first cities that had an interactive crime map. You could type in the specific address of a property. It would pull up. It was color-coded. You could see the Latin Kings, the Bloods, or the fuzzy Crime Lords. We would joke about that like, “There’s only been fort murders in this neighborhood in the last several months.”

We’ve done some buying tours by driving around Chicago on the Southside. You start seeing that the community has started to fight back with the neighborhood. They watch programs, a lot of redevelopment, pride of ownership, and emotional equity. They are trying to change the name and the story of what happened in the Southside, which is great to see because it’s such a strong city with many opportunities.

It’s a matter of changing a narrative. I want to see a neighborhood full of homeowners, not a neighborhood full of investors who don’t live there anymore and don’t take care of the buildings. You can tell that the tenants take good care of the buildings, and they should own those buildings. My goal is to turn the buildings back over to the neighborhood. They have some nice new affordable housing.

How do you make affordable housing affordable? It’s going to take hundreds of thousands of dollars to build the fourplexes. That’s where the government steps in. There are programs. If it’s within a certain distance of public transportation, there are grants out there. You have to start getting in tune and talking to the locals. Chicago is divided into war. They have an alderman, but there are community groups and community funds. The CDFIs are community development financial institutions. It’s their duty and job to correct the wrongs of the bigger banks. We’re not going to name names.

Note Closers Show | Crystal Hammond | Four-Plexes

Four-Plexes: It will take hundreds of thousands of dollars to build four-plexes and make affordable housing. But always expect the government to step in.


They let stuff deteriorate or let it go. It’s been an opportunity to go in and protect it. We had some stuff that we ended up having to board up for a while because it would get vandalized. We had a vendor that would put institutional metal doors on it. It would stop people from breaking in. Every once in a while, we get a phone call, “The door was stolen.” I’m like, “How did they steal the door?” They’re like, “We don’t know, but it looks like somebody went with a saw and saw it off.”

People are stealing in ATMs like there’s nobody’s business now.

Long-Term Strategies

There’s a camera on there. It’s GPS locating all of that stuff. You’re only going to get a little bit. You’re building these up. You’re going to rent or owner finance them. What’s your long-term strategy once they’re built and occupied?

That’s another thing. You have to be flexible. Let the market tell you what to do. It’s going to depend. The plan now is to partner with a couple of housing authorities in the area who can bring workforce housing. They have different kinds of housing initiatives, even for children who have aged out of foster care. There are many possibilities of how to fill the homes. That’s the next step. I also want to get more land and do more in the neighborhood because these first five are going to make a difference. I want to make a big difference and impact.

I never knew that it would end up being me. I was like, “Somebody needs to come fix this.” Thanks to FinCon. We met at FinCon originally. I’m surrounding myself with people who want to do great. We’re not in this for the money because how many hours do we podcast, and you don’t see anything in the early days? We want to share these new things we’ve learned.

Because I want to share, I teach classes and show people, “I’m an engineer. I know how to look at something and figure out how it’s made. I want to show you guys how I learned.” We all have unique voices. People are looking to learn from different, unique voices. This has all been done before. Has it been done my way? Clearly not. We’re doing things in different ways and learning from people to connect with other languages.

I love your backstory about becoming an engineer. You’re like, “I’m going to be an engineer. I know what an engineer does.”

I know they make money. I don’t know what they do. I’m like, “What do engineers do?”

Condo Crystal

I have a question for you. With what you’re doing, how did you get the name Condo Crystal? Can you talk about that?

I was looking for short names because my original blog name was Sophisticated Taxpayer. I’m like, “Who was going to type all that in?

It’s not SEO-friendly there, Crystal.

I was the Sophisticated Spender, and I’m like, “That’s still too long.” It was going to be Condo Lisa. I was like, “Just Condo because that’s going to get lost on some people.”

You are the host of the Stacking Deeds Podcast, which is a phenomenal podcast. You guys are coming up on your 50th or 60th episode?

We’re in the 40s.

January went flying by.

January was long, and it flew. It was cold everywhere.

You’re doing such a great job. Alan started it off.

Alan has another podcast, the House Money Media. I’ve been on their show a couple of times.

We had Lauren on our show talking about short-term rentals. We’re going to get Alan and the other guy on there. What’s been the biggest surprise for you with the podcast? What’s been the thing that you never thought that would happen?

I have learned and made connections and am able to speak. I’ve been able to speak at Podfest and FinCon, sharing podcasts and stories. I’ve learned so much. It’s funny because I teach fitness. I’m a Zumba instructor. The reason I’ve wanted to be a Zumba instructor is it was selfish. I could have a class full of my favorite songs. With podcasting, I get to get all of my budding real estate questions answered. I wouldn’t say it’s a selfish reason, but when I did start off, we were like, “Give us your questions.”

When there are not a lot of questions, I’m like, “I want to learn more about this topic. Let me invite this person who can talk to me about it. I’m a beginner with the readers. We’re on this journey together of learning. Buying notes is not as big as a lift as lifting a hammer. I can do this. I love learning about different ways to invest and get involved.

Talk to people who know more about you. It is a good part of being a beginner. Share on X

A great thing about having the show is learning from other individuals. I always laugh. It’s good to be a little selfish, having somebody that you want to learn from and being able to pick their brain. It helps your audience. I always like asking questions because if something pops into my mind, I guarantee somebody reading has the same question. There’s no dumb question out there. That’s the beauty of it. You got the five. When you think long term, what’s your goal with A, what are you going on in Chicago, and B, with the Stacking Deeds Podcast for you?

For Chicago, all five should be built in five years. That’s the timeline. I want to be working on my bigger buildings. I went to a party and the place that the party was a nice place. We were in the party room where someone lived. We were admiring. I was like, “I can’t wait to build something like this.” Somebody was like, “You think you can build something like this?” I was like, “Yes.” That made me mad that they’re like, “What are you talking about?” I was like, “That’s my vision.”

My dream is to build something cool and not to forget about different neighborhoods because a lot of dollars, even for affordable housing, people are making a lot of money off of affordable housing, but they’re not putting the care attention that it needs. There’s a lot of affordable housing where you can rent to own those places instead of the government funds a lot of this. We need to get ownership back. Ownership and equity are great.

With the podcast, I want to have all the great real estate and real estate littles on the show. I love sharing and hearing about when someone does something and it’s their first investment. You’re scared of the unknown. I’m scared of the unknown. Pulling back the curtain is empowering. I like hearing these first stories about how you got your first syndication. We both had a chat with Dear about syndications. I have been wanting to learn about them, but who do you ask? A lot of times, we don’t know who to ask. It is great that we’re in this great community where we can ask each other.

Note Closers Show | Crystal Hammond | Four-Plexes

Four-Plexes: When someone makes their first investment, they are scared of the unknown. But when they learn to pull back the curtain, it feels empowering.


I went to FinCon Ski and Beach. This was a relaxed way. We’re on the beach chatting about limited partnerships, partnering with people, and what terms to use. When I got that hard money loan, I was able to call one of the guys. I had the loan people on one line, and I was like, “Hold on. My mom is calling.” I called one of the people from FinCon. I was like, “They’re saying that this is the interest rate, and these are the fees. What fees can I get them to reduce or delete?” He’s like, “No, this fee is BS. Tell them to take that off.” He ended up saving me so much money from this fun, relaxing beach trip. That’s another thing that I like about hearing stories and not being afraid to ask.

There are two things. I want to go back to that lady or whoever told you. What do you think you can build that? Some people have these limited beliefs in themselves. Here in Texas, we say, “Bless their heart.” In the worst spots, we had better pray for them. You’re only limited by what you can imagine and what questions you’re willing to ask to get to the next. How do I get started with that? How do I do that? What do I have to do next?

Most successful people out there are giving their time or expertise to help you overcome those things. That’s why it’s great to hire coaches and have mentors. There’s still a lot of great networking that takes place at these events through other real estate podcasts because we all have a giving heart more than anything else or have a servant leadership mindset in a lot of cases to make things happen.

I’ve asked many people questions, and they have never gotten back to me. They’re busy. Keep asking. Ask someone else or ask it a different way. There are many different ways to get that ask, touch, and follow-up. I’ve been bad at following up. Sometimes, it’s hearing other people’s techniques and asking or doing research.

That’s the thing that we always say, “80% of sales happen after the fifth contact.” As long as you understand that, follow up, touch base, and do not be annoying.

It’s not being a stalker.

Sometimes, you have to do that in a creative way, especially with the government. It’s good to follow up. That person is not too busy to talk to me. They’re busy, but they’d be glad to talk with you if you follow up as a gentle reminder in a lot of cases.

I’m also going through the women-owned business certification. That is a beast. I filled everything out wrong. This was back in September 2023. Here it is, February 2024, and I’m now hearing back like, “Everything is wrong.” I got on the phone with the guy. He walked me through the whole process because every question I thought was a dumb question. I was shy and afraid to ask, but I was like, “I’m going to ask him anyway.” He was like, “I’m glad you asked instead of making an assumption.”

A lot of people don’t even know because you get the agent’s address. He’s like, “That’s not your headquarters address. Please don’t register the agent’s address on your application.” They do a site visit. He’s like, “We’re not going to visit a PO Box somewhere.” That was something I didn’t know. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or email this whatever.gov because nine times out of ten, I did not hear anything back. The people who got back to me were the passionate ones and the ones who were full of information. We were on the phone for over an hour, explaining how the process worked and what I had done wrong.

We’re all going to make mistakes. That’s the biggest expense. A lot of those programs that are intimidating stops people from applying for a lot of them. There are a lot of grants and opportunities out there. We see that on the note side. There are a lot of programs for borrowers that are behind on their mortgages or rent.

One of the things we’re talking to address borrowers is like, “You’re here. Reach out to this institution, charity, or church group. There are a lot of places that will come to the table and help you stay. If you want to stay, it’ll help you stay on your feet. We’re willing to work with that group to help you stay in the house or start making your mortgage payments on time to get you in a bad situation.” We all dealt with financial hiccups. It’s a hurdle that you’ve been through. Besides going through the process, is there something that stands out that keeps you driven, Crystal?

Failure is not an option because I’m learning and enjoying the journey. The beauty of this being a side hustle is that I can make a mistake because I want to succeed, get there, and learn. I’m excited to share. That’s what’s keeping me that blind faith and energy because after working a full-time job all day, I’m exhausted. I do volunteer work. It’s rewarding. It doesn’t feel like work because I’m learning, and I’m making such a big difference.

Note Closers Show | Crystal Hammond | Four-Plexes

Four-Plexes: It feels rewarding to do your work knowing that you are learning so much and making a huge difference in the world.


That’s what I was going to ask you there because you’ve mentioned a couple of things. You’re a Zumba instructor, dressmaker, volunteer, home cooker, and Facebook chef, and you’re also building condos besides your regular government job in the area. You are doing a lot there. It goes to prove there’s is enough time in the day if you are dedicated and focused on getting things done.

I get my TV time. I love watching TV. If it’s TV or clean, it’s TV all day. I’m like, “I have time to clean, but I’d rather watch TV.”

What’s your guilty pleasure watching now?

Everybody loves Raymond or The Office. When those are on, I’ll watch it because I can work with having that in the background. I don’t have to pay attention because I know all the episodes, but I don’t miss Jeopardy. I love Jeopardy. I want to watch True Detective. I’m supposed to be catching up on that. I’ll put it on. I didn’t have to rewind it. I lose focus, get to the same place, and rewind it. I was like, “I’m going to watch some TV.” I’m in swim lessons too. I’m learning how to swim too.

When my dad taught me to swim, he threw me in the deep pool.

I got thrown in, but it was scary for me. I’m going to stay away.

Kudos to you. All the things that you’re doing are awesome. We’re going to have to have you back on here once you break ground and share the journey. It’s great to read, Crystal. You were doing a great job with the Stacking Deeds Podcast. Keep up the great work. It was one of the top three that I’ve ever wanted to be on. I want you to know that. What’s the best place for reading this to connect, follow, see, and keep up with your journey while you’re rocking and rolling?

I’m @CondoCrystal on Instagram and Twitter. In a podcast, it’s easier for me to talk. StackingDeeds.net is the website. We would love to hear from you. If you have any budding questions, please reach out. I answer all the emails and all that fun stuff. I will write the show notes. It’s a lot of small-person work, but until we get all big. We’ll see.

Check out the Stacking Deeds Podcast. It’s well worth it. Enjoy it. Subscribe, leave, and review. If you have a question or a new deal, Crystal would love to hear from you. She can get you on the podcast.

That’s what we did in one show about the crime rates. A listener sent in a deal. They’re like, “Should I buy this property? It was a Redfin listing, and we broke it down.” I was like, “They got bad scores.” I was like, “Let me look at mine.” They gave mine an F2. I was like, “It’s harsh.”

It’s also an opportunity.

It’s my comfort zone.

I’ve been shot at in Gary, Indiana, twice. I’ve been threatened in Chicago when I’ve been out looking at assets. It is what it is. I was knocking on doors in Salt Lake City with a coaching student of mine on this house that was going to foreclosure. Our goal was to try to help the investors of the bar that lived in it. It had a screen door about the size of a double-barrel shotgun cut out the screen. A double-barrel shotgun came out. This 79-year-old lady who lived in the house was like, “Get out of my porch. You are going to steal my house.” I’m like, “I’m trying to help. Let me back away.” It’s real estate. Sometimes, you’ll have weird things like that. Funny things like that happen.

I’m glad you’re here with us. Isn’t there a first 48 of Utah?

He wasn’t on it, but it’s okay. We called the cops. They couldn’t find the shotgun. It’s hidden away. It is what it is. She’s fine. Somebody else worked with her. She was able to save her house, which is a good thing. I know you have a busy day. Thank you so much for coming here again. Do like Crystal said, “You’re going to learn by asking questions, showing up, and networking. Don’t be afraid to fail forward.” You learn most from your mistakes and the new lessons out there. Go out and take some action, and we’ll see you at the top.


Important Links


About Crystal Hammond

Note Closers Show | Crystal Hammond | Four-PlexesCrystal Hammond is a multifaceted professional and real estate investor, known for her dynamic approach to side hustling. With a full-time career as an engineer, she has diversified her skills into teaching sewing and fitness classes, day trading, social media management, blogging, and real estate investing, notably engaging in house hacking before it became a mainstream concept. Her endeavors in side hustling have earned her multiple PLUTUS awards as she went on a journey from the south side of Chicago to becoming a co-host of the podcast Stacking Deeds.



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