Around 2003 I was recruited away by Pacific Republic Mortgage to start my own branch. At the time it seemed like a smart move. I was funding anywhere from one to five million in loans a month and taking home more money than we could ever have imagined. Loomis Construction was also thriving with the building boom. We were getting creamed in taxes however and so we invested in more real estate. If we sold something we did a 1031 exchange versus pay the gains. In that year real estate was still doing very well, everywhere. We sold the Penasquitos property in California for three hundred and nineteen thousand. Needless to say my dad had to eat crow that year. We bought two properties with the money. I viewed real estate as our way to retire someday. If only I had seen the storm brewing. Everything was carefully calculated and I figured if our combined income went to fifty percent of its current level we would still be ok. I thought I was being conservative. We had always done poorly in the stock market and we felt like real estate was safe, an asset we understood.