According to Patrick Legenzoff, yes, yes it is. Hence the Sober Investor brand he’s created. Patrick grew up in a broken home. Drug addict mom. Started smoking weed at nine, graduated to harder drugs at age eleven. In and out of juvie. Drops outta high school. Ends up homeless. Racks up a few felonies for possession. Just a tangled web of mayhem and madness. That continues for years until finally Patrick gets sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Joins AA. Starts to understand why he self-sabotages, how the disease of addiction works. Gets a sponsor, works the steps, begins down the painful, never-ending path of sobriety. Eventually realizes if he would just put the same effort, the same hustle he put into getting drugs, into something more positive, he could be really successful. So Patrick starts a vaping business, that does well. Tries getting his real estate license, but those felonies put a stop to that. Meanwhile, he’s still bartending on the side.
Gets asked to work this private party in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Turns out, it’s for Steve Trang’s 40th birthday. Steve’s a well-known real estate guru. All his real estate guru buddies are there. Jamil Damji, Pace Morby, everyone. Knows right then and there, I gotta be a part of this. Gets his record expunged or whatever, manages to get his real estate license, borrows $5k to buy Steve Trang’s course, learns a ton, makes a key connection, pitches his sober living idea to this big shot investor, right? And the dude agrees.
So that was his first sober living facility. Eight months later, Patrick had scaled to ten different group homes. “My goal, coming into the sober living world,” Patrick says, “was to do better, be better, give a better product than everybody else out there. I wasn’t gonna be a slum lord. I wasn’t gonna put 100 people in one room. But the first house was five bedrooms, I could legally put two people per bedroom. Filled that up in no time. Each person was paying $175 per week, so I was grossing $7k per month from that first sober living house.”
And unlike Airbnb, no crazy competition, no algorithm, no negative reviews to worry about, no hotels lobbying against you, you’re not having people come in and out every couple of days. And let’s not forget, you’re doing some good in the world. You’re providing a safe place where former addicts can surround themselves with others who’re committed to staying sober, for a lot less money than they’d pay to live on their own. And yet, the group living, the camaraderie, decreases their chances of using again exponentially. Who loses in that scenario?
Now, in terms of the business aspect, Patrick says he “gives a manager his own room in each house. I don’t pay him anything but he gets to live there rent-free. And his job duties are helping me fill this house, making sure nobody dies, making sure the house is good, the chores get done. He collects rents for me and he keeps up with the books and promotes on Facebook and on social media. You’d be surprised, people jump at the opportunity to fill this role. People in the AA space just wanna see people do better.”
What about legalities? You do have to get city approval. You do need a manger onsite or you could get fined up to $1,000 a day if they find out you’re running a sober living program on the DL. So yeah, you don’t want those problems, bucko. If you’re gonna do it, do it by the books. Better to be a safe chicken than a sorry turkey. But find your purpose, says Patrick. Do right by people and the money will come. Gotta say, of all the ways to invest in real estate, this is the most appealing to me personally.