Moneeka Sawyer

Author Archives: Moneeka Sawyer

Moneeka Sawyer is often described as one of the most blissful people you will ever meet.   She has been investing in Real Estate for over 20 years, so has been through all the different cycles of the market.  Still, she has turned $10,000 into over $5,000,000, working only 5-10 hours per MONTH with very little stress. While building her multi-million dollar business, she has traveled to over 55 countries, dances every single day, supports causes that are important to her, and spends lots of time with her husband of over 20 years. She is the international best-selling author of the multiple award-winning books "Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment" and “Real Estate Investing for Women: Expert Conversations to Increase Wealth and Happiness the Blissful Way.” Moneeka has been featured on stages including Carnegie Hall and Nasdaq, radio, podcasts such as Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod,  and TV stations including ABC, CBS, FOX, and the CW, impacting over 150 million people.

REI Expert Panel Discussion: What You Need To Know About Real Estate Investing

REW Amazing | Real Estate Investing

 

Have you always wanted to get into real estate investing but didn’t know where to start? Then this episode is for you. Today, Laura Powers hosts a real estate investing panel with some amazing experts, Henry Washington, Mike Denman, Patricia Berman, and Moneeka Sawyer. Having their fair share of success in real estate investing, the panelists break down barriers to entry in real estate investing. They make it simple and inspire people to know that no matter where you are, it is possible to get started with real estate investing. Enjoy!

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REI Expert Panel Discussion: What You Need To Know About Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing for Women

I was on a real estate panel with some cool people and the conversation was fantastic. I wanted to share that with you. That’s what this episode is. I hope you enjoy it.

I’m so excited. I’m hosting this Intro to Real Estate Investing Panel with some amazing experts. I’m so excited to have all of our participants and experts here. A little bit about myself. My name is Laura. I’m a psychic medium. I do a lot of different things. I describe myself as a creative entrepreneur. As I started to make more money, I felt the need to learn more about money, how to invest property and how to be smart with money because I didn’t have that growing up in my family. It’s been something that I had to undertake on my own independently. If you don’t know how to handle your money and you get more, you will not accumulate more money, which is the desired goal for up for most people.

Even though I would not describe myself as a real estate investment expert, I’m a novice but I do know all these amazing people that are better at it than I am and that is farther along in their journey. In talking with all of these individuals, I realized they had so much amazing knowledge to share. In particular, focusing on new investors. There are lots of great tips and tools.

It can be somewhat intimidating to start investing in real estate when you’re a beginner, so part of my goal for this panel is to try to break it down, make it simple and inspire people to know that no matter where you are, it is possible to get started in real estate investing. That’s a little bit about me and why I wanted to host this panel. We’re going to introduce the experts one by one and then we’ll dive into some questions and answers.

First, I want to introduce Henry Washington. He’s an author, entrepreneur and real estate investor with more than 70 rental units and dozens of house flips under his belt. He built his rental portfolio in three and a half years. That’s so amazing. I was talking with Henry in my podcast and I said, “This is the length of a Bachelor’s degree if you think of the amount of time in your future for a degree.” That’s what he has done and has these incredible shifts. Henry is the newest co-host of The BiggerPockets Podcast and cast member of the BiggerPockets show On the Market. Thanks so much for being a guest, Henry.

I’m so happy to be here.

Is there anything you’d like to say before we introduce the other guests?

I’m happy to be here. This is super cool what you’re doing. I’m very passionate about real estate investing as a vehicle to build wealth. I love how you’ve mentioned that if you don’t learn how to handle your money, your money will handle you. Everybody wealthy owns the property. Even if you don’t use real estate to build your wealth, most people then put their wealth into real estate to grow it. I love that you’re trying to educate people on how to not only make money but how to continue to have that money grow. Kudos to you.

REW Amazing | Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing: Real estate investing is a vehicle to build wealth.

 

Thank you. That’s a huge goal of mine and with inflation being 9%, it’s more important now than ever. We met at this real estate investing track. I was struck by Henry’s story and how he didn’t have a lot of money saved up. I wanted to give people that background and that’s how we connected. It was inspiring to me because I want everyone to know that you can get involved in real estate even if you perceive that you don’t have capital. There’s always a way. I’m so pleased to have you.

Let’s go to Mike Denman. He is an award-winning filmmaker based out of Denver. He’s worked in marketing advertising for video games since 2011 and real estate since 2015. He’s been at the forefront of technological advancement and connecting people to content through internet apps like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and many others.

He’s adapting his real estate advertising tactics to encourage higher amounts of traffic to short-term rental listings as possible due to his years of iterating the process. He’s been a real estate investor for years. We met through the film industry. I have learned that there are a lot of people that are in film and TV that use real estate investing to build a platform, which is amazing. Mike, go ahead.

Real estate is powerful. When we met, your podcast was first starting and you were seeing where all the trajectory went. You realized real estate was a thing that you wanted to get into. I, separately with Patricia, ended up going through the real estate investing side because she was like, “I want to get more into real estate.” It’s a natural progression but from two different angles.

Mike, I would love to hear if there’s anything else you’d like to share.

A fun thing about how we met is we met at the Women in Film & Media Colorado division. It was a female-led organization that still allowed male members. I was part of their marketing committee for a year or something like that. That’s when I met you and ultimately, all the trajectories that we’ve gone. It’s interesting because of your trajectory when we met, your podcasts blew up and all of these little pieces of the puzzle.

Having the real estate aspect be something that you found is like, “I’m going to put money into money-making things.” This is a surefire approach because everyone knows that you can increase your wealth with real estate. It makes sense that a lot of filmmakers and other people are like, “I have all these things but I don’t have a traditional 401(k).” Real estate becomes a cool add-on to it. It’s all super fun stuff.

I don’t think everyone knows. If you were in creative work, that’s often not as reliable as a regular paycheck because you tend to do a lot of freelancing or any other kind of freelancing work where you don’t have a regular paycheck, then something like this that can build wealth and have income that’s not tied to a paycheck is valuable as well. One of the stats I heard is that the average millionaire has eight or more sources of income. It’s also great for diversifying, even if real estate isn’t your main thing, what a powerful thing to be able to have at least one of your pockets of income.

Our next guest is Patricia Berman. She’s been a real estate investor since 2014. Patricia’s real estate journey began in 2014 with purchasing a primary residence and selling it two years later with a nice appreciation, repeating that process while holding the previous primary residences and running them out as long-term rentals. After a long stint investing solely in the Colorado market, she expanded to Iowa, Texas and California.

In 2022, Patricia took her love for hosting and service and dove into short-term rentals. She is successfully doling out hospitality by managing her two vacation properties with her partner, Mike Denman. Patricia is writing a book on leverage and she hopes to help other people find the courage they need to jump into real estate on their terms. Thanks for joining us, Patricia.

There are many ways to dip your toes into real estate, be successful, and get that stream of income happening for you, no matter what you do, no matter what your strengths are. Click To Tweet

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here and talk about real estate. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to BiggerPockets and realizing that there’s a style of real estate for everybody. There are so many ways that you can dip your toes into real estate, be successful and get that stream of income happening for you no matter what you do and what your strengths are.

I found what I love. We are invested in some long-term rentals but short-term rentals have souped up our portfolio. It’s not for everybody but I love it. The important message is to find what you love in real estate and do it on your terms. That’s what we’re doing. I want people out there to know that you can do this and it’s important to build wealth.

Another reason I wanted to host this panel specifically is that there are so many different ways to approach real estate. The more I got into it, the more I realized that you could flip, hold for long-term and do long-term rentals. You can do short-term rentals.

Also, house hack.

There are so many different ways like multifamily. It opens that door for people to see the different ways. In your case, you’re doing many of these different models. You’re not doing just one but based on your personality, one or more approaches might work for you. If you think it’s about flipping or short-term rentals to open your idea about the different ways that you can approach this, then find a real estate investing pattern and a method that works for you.

It doesn’t have to be one thing or another.

I’m going to introduce Moneeka Sawyer. She is the host of a talk-related podcast, Real Estate Investing For Women. Her expertise and joyous laugh have been featured all over the world in over 50 podcasts, on stages, on radio and TV stations, including ABC, CBS, Fox and The CW. Her multimillion-dollar real estate empire is only one example of her ability to strategize, organize and implement big business plans.

She is the bestselling author of the book, Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment, which has built a multimillion-dollar business through real estate. Moneeka teaches others how to create a blissful and abundant lifestyle. She has traveled to over 55 countries and loves to teach others. I’d love to start with a question to the panelists. If you were starting from square one, what do you recommend? You’re like, “I’ve never invested in real estate. Where do I start? What do I do? What do I learn?”

It depends on age but house hacking is one of the best ways to start a real estate portfolio, especially in this market when you’re looking at something where interest rates are rising and there’s a little bit of uncertainty in the market. Use what you have. When you purchase as a primary residence, you’re going to have access to lower interest rates and reduce your overhead by either renting out extra rooms in your house. If you don’t want to share a space with other people, you can get up to a four-unit property and rent out the other units.

REW Amazing | Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing: House hacking is one of the best ways to start a real estate portfolio.

 

I am a big fan of house hacking. We even did it as a family where we had one extra room and rented it out to women who were single moms and stuff like that. We’ve vetted super well and it worked out well for us. We made a lot of lifelong friends that way. That’s one of the best ways to get started. There are many but that’s my go-to.

There are so many ways to go about it. One of the things that’s interesting to me is even when it’s a tough market for buying and selling as a whole, it’s still a good rental market. Keep that in mind that even if it’s harder to buy something, you might be able even more easily to rent it because people that would be buying aren’t buying. Either Mike or Henry, I would love to hear your responses too.

My response is the same as Patricia’s because that’s the trajectory we are going on. What do you think, Henry?

Getting started is super intimidating to people and it’s, even more, intimidating given the economic environment. People are concerned, “Am I buying at the top of the market? Am I paying more for the money for higher interest rates? Is there going to be a crash?” This war overseas is pushing prices of commodities up. People are like, “Is this the right time?” The answer is it’s always the right time. It’s a matter of what and how you buy.

When I’m talking to people about getting started with real estate investing, the majority of it is about your mindset around real estate investing. We’ve all mentioned it multiple times already in the short time we’ve been on the show. There are so many different ways to invest. A lot of those ways to invest are going to be more beneficial for one person versus another based on their financial situation.

To be able to tell you this is the best method for you is not easy to do without knowing what your financial situation is or what your super strengths are. What people should focus on is first making a decision, deciding you’re going to buy a property, even though you don’t know how or you don’t have the down payment. Maybe you think you don’t have the credit or you can’t find the property to buy. All these factors are going to come into play that we will tell ourselves is a reason we can’t do something.

Take all that off the table and say, “I am going to buy a property in the next 3, 6 or 12 months,” whatever that is for you. You have to make that decision in your mind and heart. Once you are solid on that decision, you’ll figure out a way. The show will reveal itself to you. Here are Laura, Patricia and Mike. You’ll know something that somebody says about a path that maybe makes sense for you. Patricia talked about house hacking. Maybe somebody who’s made the decision to start investing in real estate didn’t know about house hacking but now they know.

They’re going to go do some research and maybe that’s how they get in the game. When you’re starting, it’s more about deciding. “No matter what, I’m going to figure out how to do this and do it.” I promise, once you’ve truly made that decision and you keep immersing yourself in real estate investing culture, information and knowledge and surrounding yourself with people who are successful real estate investors, you will figure out a way to do it.

There’s a way to do it with no money, with some money, with other people’s money and when you buy deals on the market or off the market like house hacking. There are short-term and long-term rentals. One of these strategies will make sense for you. You only have to make a decision that you’re going to continue to educate and surround yourself with people who are doing it. Until that path reveals itself, you got to go down that path. That’s what I tell people who are getting started.

When you keep immersing yourself in real estate, investing culture, information, knowledge, and surrounding yourself with people who are successful real estate investors, you will figure out a way to do it. Click To Tweet

Forgive me. I’m having a lot of problems too. The universe is saying something and I’m not sure what that is. I heard what Henry was saying and one of the things that I say on my show is goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action and create the life of your dreams. What everybody here is stating is first, Henry says you have to make a decision. Everything in our lives starts with a decision and a choice to follow that decision. Once you make that decision, action has to follow because otherwise, it’s only words in your head.

I loved what Henry was saying. I’m so sorry that I missed what Mike and Patricia said. It’s important that we make a goal and make a choice to take action towards that goal. That’s how we create the wealth and the blissful life that we want. I do want to go back and make a couple of comments about what Laura said. She said that most rich people have eight sources of income. Don’t misunderstand that by thinking that it was eight sources of income that you work. It’s not.

Most of those sources of income are passive and the things that rich people work at are the things that they’re passionate about. They’ll have one thing maybe that they are passionate about and they pour their heart into but these passive sources of income are what create the wealth. Henry also said that most wealthy people own real estate. That’s true. They may not have made their money there but that’s where they put their money later, which is what Laura is doing.

She’s modeling that for us, which is beautiful. You have to understand that 8 sources of income do not mean you need 8 jobs. Passive income is the key and real estate is the most stable way to get that passive income. The other thing that I want to say is there are 1 million ways to make $1 million in real estate. Choose one. As Patricia says, there are so many.

The action doesn’t need to look like you went out now and purchased a property. Listen to podcasts like your podcast, the BiggerPockets Podcast and to all of these successful people who have done it in different ways. When you hear one that makes you excited like, “That sounds great.” That’s what I did. Even after I had become a real estate investor, I listened to one with Zeona McIntyre and Avery Carl. I was like, “I’m going to get into short-term rentals.” You have to listen to your gut and heart but start consuming that information because that’s the only way.

That’s the only way that you’re ever going to learn what the opportunities are out there.

Maybe for some other people, it’s not listening to the podcast. Maybe it’s going to Meetups because those are another way.

Networking is a big deal. Thank you so much for mentioning that.

Our community of investors is so huge, welcoming and helpful that it’s like, “Get in where you fit in.”

REW Amazing | Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing: Goals without action are just dreams.

 

You have to understand that because someone else is successful does not mean that you have to do it their way. I love what Henry was talking about. He built all of this passive income in three and a half years. I retired myself in fifteen years because that’s the goal that I had and the choices that I made from my lifestyle. I traveled to 60 countries during that time. I have all these other things that I love to do.

Although I wanted passive income to retire, it didn’t need to happen in three and a half years. I had the time. As you’re looking at what is going to fit for you, understand that Moneeka or Patricia and Mike, Henry’s way or whatever Laura’s way turns out to be, I’m excited to hear, whatever our ways are, it’s opportunities for you to learn but it’s not necessarily going to reach your goals in your way. The way to stay blissful is to make sure that you understand yourself and create a strategy that supports your joy, as well as your wealth. You can have both. I hope that was what you were looking for, Laura.

The next question that I have is, what is your first real estate investing story? What got you into real estate? How did you get started? Let’s start with you, Henry, because one of the reasons to host this panel was to hear your story at Podfest.

I got started a few years ago out of desperation and panic. I had a panic attack because I was freaking out that my wife was going to figure out that I sucked at money and dollars and wasn’t going to be able to afford to provide her with the life that she deserved. I came to that conclusion because we got married fairly quickly. I met my wife and then we got married 365 days later. That was a quick physical transition but as far as mentally and financially, those things didn’t move as quickly as we did. It’s when we decided that we wanted to get married.

I had a wake-up call when we tried to buy a house together. We did all the things. I felt that I did all the things that society tells you to do. I got good grades. I went to school. I got a good degree and a job. I was doing software development and data analytics for Walmart. I was making a great income. We got married and went to buy a house. I’m like, “This is great. I make twice as much as she does. We’ll be able to afford this great house.”

The bank pretty much called me one day and said, “If you want your wife to be able to buy a house, you can’t be on the loan.” My credit was so bad. I made money but I didn’t have any money. There was $1,000 in my savings account. To a bank, I wasn’t bringing anything to the table other than the fact that I had a W-2. That was a big blow to my ego and to me as a person who wanted to provide for my new wife. I got punched in the gut as far as my ability to be able to do that. I had another wake-up call when we were having a conversation one night.

My wife bought that house and allowed me to live with her. Once we moved in, we did the other thing that married couples do, which is talk about your future, kids, dream houses, vacations and things. That’s supposed to be a fun conversation and it wasn’t. For me, I was terrified because I was like, “It’s a dream house but we barely got in this house. I don’t know how to dream house is going to go.” I knew I couldn’t afford it.

It was a starter home. It was a nice home but it was small. After that conversation, we went to bed and I woke up at 3:00 in the morning sweating and panicking because I knew she deserved things that I had no idea how to afford. I had $1,000 in my savings account. I had bad credit, so I did what anybody would do. I started googling, “How can I make some extra money?” That brought me to discovering terms like passive income.

I was like, “How can I make extra money without doing anything?” I started googling how to make passive income and that led me to articles on BiggerPockets and YouTube videos around people who invest in real estate. That was the first time I heard that real estate investing was something that normal people did. Up until that point, I assumed that super-rich people in big companies and things owned real estate and that’s the way it worked. It was an eye-opening moment for me to see that normal people with jobs, kids and families are owning property and they do it all the time across the country. It was mind-blowing to me.

Everything in our lives starts with a decision and a choice to follow that decision. Once you make that decision, action has to follow because otherwise, it's just words in your head. Click To Tweet

I ended up watching this TED Talk from this kid who was 27 years old and had 27 properties. The whole goal of the talk was he was financially free and he used rental properties to get there. I was like, “If this kid figured out how to buy twenty houses and be financially free, I could do it.” I went like, “I’ll do that.” With my bad credit and $1,000 in my savings account and being denied the loan for the house that I was living in at the time, I decided at 3:00 in the morning that I was going to buy real estate. That’s what I did. I woke up my wife and said, “We’re going to be real estate investors.” She was like, “Let’s do it.”

I didn’t know how to do it but I had made a decision. When you decide something, the suffix of the word decide is cide, like suicide. It means to kill off. There’s no other option but to do it when you make a decision. Once I did that, I was like, “I’ll go find people who do it and hang around them a lot until I figured out how to do it.” That’s when I discovered REIA meetings and real estate Meetups. If there was a meeting in my area, I got in the room every single week or month consistently. I wanted to learn and surround myself with people who were doing it so I could learn how to do it.

Between that, I was telling people that I was a real estate investor with only $1,000 and bad credit. I’m a believer that the universe gives you what you put out. If you don’t put out there that it’s what you are and that’s what you want, why is anybody else going to believe you? Why are the things that you’re looking for going to find you? They have no reason to. I was like, “I’ll tell people I’m an investor. Hopefully, that brings me the thing that I want.” That’s 100% how I found my first deal.

Somebody who heard that I was a real estate investor was a friend of mine. He was like, “I heard you’re buying property. I got to sell this house in 30 days. Can you buy it?” I was like, “I can buy it.” I had no clue how to buy it. I ended up putting that property under contract and found out how to do that because I googled how to buy a house without a real estate agent. It said, “Put it under contract.” I googled, “What’s a real estate contract?” I downloaded one, changed the names and we signed it. That’s a terrible idea and people shouldn’t do it but I did it. I was like, “I’m going to figure this out.”

I had to buy it and take it to a bank. The bank said they’d give me money as long as I had 15% of the down payment. They said, “Do you have it?” I was like, “For sure, I have it.” I didn’t have that either. I had to go to my group. That was the power of networking. You mentioned that networking is so powerful and I 100% agree. People don’t leverage networking enough. Everybody goes to 1 meeting or 2 and they network but that’s not networking. That’s only going to 1 meeting or 2.

Networking is consistently showing up and being around everyone who’s doing the things that you’re doing. It’s not only going to 1 meeting or 2. It’s committing to being consistently in those circles because the more consistent you are in those circles, the more people see you as an expert, the more the universe is going to send the right people in deals and things your way. I was so consistently in this group that I had this network of friends.

This investor group is so helpful. They want to see you succeed. People want to help you out. You hear wholesalers say, “Somebody is going to steal your deal.” It’s not like that in real estate. It’s more, so somebody is going to help you make money on your deal. Everybody’s so helpful. I went to my network and I was like, “I got this house. It’s a great deal. I don’t know how to buy it. How are you buying it?”

They talked me through how to go find the money. Somebody said he could leverage a 401(k) to buy it. I was like, “I will have to go find a 401(k).” My wife had the 401(k). I went to her and I was like, “Remember that time I said we’re going to buy a property? We need to borrow $20,000 from your 401(k) to buy this house.” She said, “Let’s do it.” We bought the house. The bank called after we bought it and said, “That house had a bunch of equity. We’ll give you a line of credit on the equity so you can go buy more deals.”

I went from a panic attack to owning a house 90 days later and the bank calling me and saying, “Here’s $20,000 to go do it again.” That is mind-blowing when you’re panicking about money 90 days before that. That’s my intro to real estate investing and what changed my life. Once I bought that first one and I saw how powerful it was, I said, “I’m going to buy as many as I can as fast as I can.” That’s how we got into it.

REW Amazing | Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing: Real estate is the most stable way to get that passive income.

 

It was such an inspiring story. That was a big motivation for me to host this particular panel. I love this because so much of this is about faith. It’s about making a decision that something’s going to happen, even if there is the perceived idea that you don’t have the resources or you don’t know how. Also, get in the room. Connect to the people that are doing it. Learn from them and get connected with a supportive network. I’d love to ask that same question to Moneeka. Can you share your intro story to how you got into real estate investing and what happened to you?

My intro story to real estate happened before I was born. It started with my parents. They had an arranged marriage in India, came to this country with $200 in their pocket and didn’t know each other very well. Suddenly, they’re starting a new life because things were bad in India. They wanted a better life for themselves and their family. One of the things my dad had heard was that the golden ticket to wealth in the United States was to buy real estate. They’re thinking about this. They want to buy a primary residence.

My mom’s a doctor and my dad’s an engineer. My mom is saving all of her nickels and dimes that she makes. She’s sewing little cushions for her sofa that she made. She’s making curtains. Imagine this doctor doing all these things and saving every nickel and dime so that they can buy real estate because that’s the dream. I was born 2 years later as their 1st child. Filled with that feeling of love, joy and hope for this new baby, they finally bought their first home. They bought their primary residence and then also an investment property soon after that.

They bought their primary residence when I was born. Three years later, they started their investing journey. It’s been my whole life. Fast forward fifteen years, they were able to pay for my college education and my wedding with real estate. They did the same for both of my sisters. My whole life, I had seen what real estate could do. I’d also seen my dad’s stress with tenants not paying rent, dealing with the different mortgages and juggling all the different phone calls from their tenants, the toilets and the termites. We hear about this stuff and this is what scares people away from it. I saw that.

I have to tell you, I had dug my heels in. I was like, “I do not want that life.” One of these things that I learned about real estate was it’s a long game. You want to be in there for a long time. If I was going to do a long game, I was not going to do something that was going to be miserable. I was clear on that. I decided, “No, thank you.” I graduated from college during a recession. I couldn’t find a job. I had a great degree from UC Berkeley.

I remember one day sitting with my dad and I’m like, “How am I going to do the adulting thing? What’s going to happen to me?” My dad said something to me that night that changed everything. He said, “Do you know, Moneeka? Everybody has stress, fear and money problems. Do you want poor people’s money problems or do you want rich people’s money problems?” My first thought was, “Do rich people have money problems?” They do but they are better problems.

My whole mindset changed. It was like, “I want this.” I got a low-paying job. I took whatever I could get. I swallowed my pride with a UC Berkeley degree. I did what my mom did. I started saving nickels and dimes so that I could buy my first piece of real estate. In the meantime, I fell in love. My sweet husband and I decided we wanted real estate. For our wedding, we asked everybody no gifts. We wanted a down payment for the house. Everybody gave us money.

We put together $10,000 and then went for an FHA loan. We’ve tried that but it didn’t work for us. We put down 5% on a $200,000 property. We were broke but we had this house. This is how we got it. In those days, we called house hacking getting a roommate. We got a roommate and that’s how we afforded our first house. We lived with this roommate for a few years. We got an equity line on the home once it had appreciated and then did it again. We rented this out.

That’s how we got started and the rest is history. My very first rental home was a nightmare. It was like my dad’s because that’s what I had learned. That’s what had been modeled for me. We sold that first property. My husband’s like, “You are so going to regret this,” and he was not wrong. We got rid of that property because I was like, “I can’t stand this headache,” but then with the next one, I realized what real estate could do for us.

Just because someone else is successful does not mean you have to do it their way. Click To Tweet

Henry, thank you for that decision idea. I made another decision that this was going to be the thing that I did but it was going to be happy for me. I was going to create my model. I was going to streamline my processes. I was going to create something that I could live with for the rest of my life, which is what I did. That’s how I began. For the first 4, 5 and 6 years, I would buy a primary residence because they’re the easiest to get into. They require the lowest down payment. The loans are easy to qualify for. You have to pay rent, so you might as well pay yourself.

I buy another primary residence and then rent that out. That’s how I got started until, eventually, I had enough equity in my homes that I could go shopping. It was like a monopoly. “I can go buy ten,” but it took a little time to get there and I had given myself the time. I wanted to do this in a way that felt good to me. That was my journey.

It’s important to focus on doing whatever you need to and get it going. It may not feel easy in the beginning. When you’re starting something new, there’s a certain amount of resistance you have to work through. That’s one hard part. The other thing is making decisions that may be in the short-term don’t feel the best but in the long-term are going to be beneficial. You have this pocket of money and put it into the house, so you don’t have that money anymore. That can feel not so great. You’re like, “I don’t have that $10,000,” or whatever it is that you put into a house or, “I’m getting a roommate.”

In the long-term, that’s going to be a good decision. Not to get too caught up in whatever’s happening at the moment. If it fits into your long-term vision for yourself, know that it can be worthwhile. It was on another podcast interview where you talked about how when the recession hit, the housing crashed. You made the tough decision to move out of your house and rent it so that you could keep it. That was not easy but in the long-term, it was a great decision for you.

There’s no clear path to wealth. One of my coaches said to me, “The person with the most flexibility wins.” The word pivot was used during the pandemic a lot. If you’re able to dance with what’s happening out there in the world and your life, you’re going to be able to create more of that wealth more easily. Many people that were in my situation lost everything. I lost several million dollars in six months in 2008 in 2009 but I made some different decisions than other people. I didn’t freak out, get scared or think the market was ever going to come back.

I decided, “This sucks. What am I going to do?” What I was going to do was hold my properties and figure out how to make it work. All of us have choices in every moment. Our knowledge, as Henry, Patricia, Mike and everybody’s talking about is to get educated. As you’re in those environments hearing the conversations and you’ve got that education, it makes it a lot easier to do that dance, pivot and change your strategy based on what’s going on. You’ve got a wealth of information that’ll help you to build your financial wealth.

That story made me want to give your mom a big hug. To come over here with $250 and she started saving her nickels to help buy that property, I want to hug that lady.

My parents are amazing. I’m so blessed.

Another thing to stress is it seems to me there is likely to be another recession here with inflation being so high. We’ll see how long and serious this goes but it still can be a good time for you. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a time to be in real estate or you’re going to lose everything. You have to be aware and make smart decisions based on what’s happening.

REW Amazing | Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing: If you can dance with what’s happening in the world and your life, you can create more of that wealth easily.

 

With that determination and will, you can still make it work even in this perceived challenging time. Most millionaires are made and billionaires too, often in times of economic downturn. What is challenging in some ways is a bigger opportunity in different ways. Much of this is about reframing as well.

Real estate is the best recession-resistant vehicle to invest in because rents go up as inflation goes up. There are other factors too. That’s oversimplifying it but real estate is the vehicle that can help us to weather that inflation storm, depending on how you invest.

We were talking before about how everybody needs a place to live. Maybe eventually it’ll be fully in VR and that won’t even be the case but at least for the perceived future, people need a place to live. People will always need that, whereas other things are negotiable. You need food and a place to live.

Real estate is a finite resource. A lot of people don’t realize that, especially in areas where growth has already happened and there are restrictions on open space and building. Considering the idea that it’s a finite resource, you got to get yours.

Where people can work from remotely anywhere, it’s opened up a lot more different real estate markets that people hadn’t necessarily considered living in before because they’re like, “It’s not accessible to my job.” These rural markets have amazing and affordable properties. Even when we went out to Iowa and we started doing our long-terms in Iowa, it was this scary first out-of-state thing. It was freaky but it works out because different areas have different regional economics. Ultimately, you can invest with lower amounts of money but still bring in some cashflow.

We cashflow beautifully on properties that we purchased for $125,000 each. People need places to live. They need nice, beautiful spaces. To build on what Henry and Moneeka said, it’s important in real estate. You want to sit with yourself and figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. What do you want to do? What energizes you? The best way to be successful is to be authentically yourself. I try to tell people this all the time. Be authentically yourself. It’s a struggle for us. Every day, I’m wondering, “Maybe I should do this but that doesn’t suit me.” I’m trying to always center back on being authentically ourselves. When you are, you have more potential to get further.

I’ll comment on the whole flexibility thing. If you’re ultimately not a real estate investor and you think about being flexible, it’s that uncomfortability of having a roommate or those things where you wouldn’t necessarily normally do it. If you move out of your house for a little while, which we’ve all done, you move out of your primary into another primary, you get that primary going, the house is where you make a home at that moment and it’s a thing you’d build on, you get a little bit uncomfortable for some periods. You have to be okay with some of those levels of comfort. It’s like, “You can go a couple of years without having a walk-in closet that you love.” If you have a place that you are like, “This is going to be great to rent out,” spend a year there and then move on to the next property.

Wealth is built outside of your comfort zone.

One of the things I tell my tenants is, “You’re paying my mortgage. She can sit there paying your own.” I tell my tenants to leave me. I’m telling everybody, “Leave your landlord,” because you’re going to pay somebody’s mortgage. When the recession got tough, my husband lost his job and stuff like that, when we moved out of our dream home, where we built our whole life together. We finally bought our dream home and then we needed to rent it out.

The more consistent you're in networking, the more people see you as an expert, and the more the universe will send the right people and deals and things you're away. Click To Tweet

He finally got a job and we moved into a dump. When I walked in there, it smelled like dog pee. Everything inside has been spray-painted gray. It was horrible. I walked in there and broke down crying but it was all we could afford and they will not pay rent. We had to buy it because that’s one of my policies. Don’t pay somebody else’s mortgage. Whatever we could do is what we did and it worked out beautifully in the end. That flexibility thing is so important. It can be your superpower to build that flexibility muscle.

This is good in life, not just real estate investing, if you can see the whole picture. We’re getting close to the end of the hour. Patricia and Mike, briefly, if you could share a brief version of your first real estate investment and then we’ll wrap up.

I’m originally from New York. I grew up in Brooklyn. This is a very rent culture city. Unless your parents had generational wealth and had a home that they owned already, you typically rented and don’t buy because it seems so daunting and scary. I moved out to Colorado in 2011. I purchased my first home ever in the beginning of 2012 for $305,000. Two years later, we sold it for $400,000. Even to purchase that house, I took a loan against my 401(k) to make that happen. I love paying myself back.

Henry said I didn’t know how I was going to fund the down payment. I thought I would take money out of the disbursement but I was researching and found out you can take a loan against your 401(k). You pay yourself back with interest and I was all about that life. I also learned that it doesn’t hit your debt-to-income ratio. That’s a small tidbit for people out there.

I was bit by the bug. I bought another place in 2014 for $245,000. I sold it 2 years later for $320,000. I was like, “I am getting into real estate.” I made that decision because this was working out. Why wouldn’t you get into real estate? This is crazy. The Colorado market had risen quite a bit and it continues to appreciate year over year for crazy numbers. That’s where it was.

I started by renting out a room. We then moved out and bought another place and rented that place out. We moved out of that one and rented that place out. That’s how we built our real estate portfolio and gained access to home equity lines of credit. That’s how our journey began. In 2021, we sold one of our most appreciating properties.

We jumped into the short-term rental market with a lot of appreciation that we had gained on one of the houses that we owned in Golden. Here we are and we’re doing well. We own two short-term rental properties plus our long-term. We plan on continuing this journey of purchasing long-term and maybe purchasing another luxury short-term rental.

I do advertising mostly for video games and real estate as well because I like it. When she started doing short-term rentals and came to me saying, “I’m not getting any bookings,” I was like, “It’s okay. I’ll run some ads.” She’s like, “Don’t tell me it’s okay.”

“What are you talking about? Do you know what the mortgage is?”

REW Amazing | Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing: Real estate is the best recession-resistant vehicle to invest in because rents go up as inflation goes up.

 

I’m like, “That’s all good.” I’ve been running advertising on Facebook, Instagram and different things like that for so long, especially for real estate. I was like, “This is going to be easy.” I started running ads for short-term rentals and it got easy. We were able to bring in massive amounts of people and increased our Law of Averages to get bookings.

I have this lever I can turn on and off and she feels like, “We’re getting views and bookings. I feel like it’s normal.” I’m like, “It’s cool.” I’ve been able to take that, create a system, help out a bunch of other short-term rental hosts and develop even advertising methodologies for them to follow us that way so they can find success on their own. I’ve pivoted my business a little bit to focus more on that in 2022.

I wrote a book, How to Excel at Short Term Rental: Advertising. I have a whole bunch of things happening in the real estate investing side of things, shifted and pivoted more of my day job focus and then I’m like, “I have more fun and a little bit more exciting times. I get to talk to all these cool real estate investors.” Instead of making the videos for real estate investors who are 20-year-old kids who learned how to wholesale at 18 and have 30 properties, which is amazing.

I was like, “I don’t know how to do that.” To Henry’s point, I was like, “You have to surround yourself with these people.” Ultimately, when you start talking to other investors and we find the different flavors of real estate, there are all these things that you can end up benefiting from by providing services for it.

I’m glad that you brought up short-term rentals because that’s a viable option. It’s a very different business model but I was talking with a friend here in Las Vegas who has three short-term rentals that bring in about $1 million a year. It can be real income. You have to know the rules and everything. In certain places, it’s allowed and not allowed. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that it’s legal but it can be a viable path to income.

There’s been a huge influx of investors who were rushing to short-term rentals but that’s where Mike comes in because if you’re treating it like a business, you should be advertising it. The more people who see your property is casting a wider net of people who are likely to book your property without waiting on the platform to get you invested.

There’s going to be a lot of cross-pollination within the panel itself. I’m excited for all of you to connect. I was like, “I can’t wait for you all to meet each other.” For anyone who’s reading, I love these panels. You and everyone can already see how amazing all of these individuals are. They have so much knowledge in different areas and backgrounds, which I love.

If you want to further your connection and learn more about real estate, I’m hosting an 11th-Month Real Estate Magical Mastermind. I’m calling it magical because I know that it will be. All these fabulous panelists are experts in the class. I’d love to have you. You can find out more about that on PowersHour.biz. You can look under the classes.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about it. It’s at [email protected] to contact me. I want to thank all of you so much for your time. I’m excited to see what happens, hear more about your journeys and learn more. Even though I’m posting this real estate class, I’m learning from all of you and I’m so grateful. Everyone’s going to learn from you as well. Any final closing thoughts that you have that you want to give out to people as we wrap up? I’ll start with Moneeka.

The best way to be successful is to be authentically yourself. Click To Tweet

I already gave you my closing. Goals without action are just dreams, so take action. I do have one other thing that I want to mention that is very relevant because we’re not all real estate investors. Remember that bliss is your birthright, so choose bliss every single day.

Henry, how about you?

I gave some mindset at the top of the show to talk about how to get started. I’ll give some tactical at the bottom of the show. Actual tactical things you can do to get started investing in real estate. You have to put the blinders on because it’s so flexible. There are so many ways to get started. It’s going to be overwhelming. There are so many options for you. Find the lowest common denominator among all the options and that is typically always going to be a good deal. It doesn’t matter how you’re going to monetize a property.

If you’re going to flip it, rent it, short-term rental, long-term rental, wholesale or wholetail it, all of these strategies require you to buy something at a discount that’s a good enough deal so that when you add value to it by fixing it up, putting tenants in it or furnishing it and renting it out, you can turn a profit. If the lowest common denominator is finding a good deal, then that’s where your focus should be. Don’t worry about all the other stuff like who’s going to finance it, who’s going to work on it, who’s the contractor going to be, who’s the title company or who’s the real estate agent. None of those things matter until you find a deal.

Find a deal. Figure out what a good deal looks like in the market. If you’re looking to buy real estate, you can do that simply by networking and asking people what they’re buying. Figure out how you’re going to find those good deals. You can google, “How do I find under-market value real estate deals?” You’ll get a ton of options. It’s direct mail, cold calls, on the market or off the market. There are all these strategies.

Pick the one that you think you can implement the easiest that you can apply the right amount of money and time to. Do it relentlessly consistently until you get a deal. Once you get a deal, you’ll be so motivated to go figure all that other stuff out that I’ve mentioned before because you’ll have that thing in your hand that you so worked hard for. People will line up to give you those resources because you’ve brought them something of substance. Take everything off the table, put your blinders on, figure out what a good deal looks like and be relentlessly consistent about finding one until you do.

Patricia and Mike, any closing thoughts for the two of you?

Be authentically yourself. Sit with yourself for a little while and figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. What do you like to do as it relates to real estate? What do you think you want to do? What are you willing to try? Take action on those things. Learn more about how you can get involved. If you try something and you don’t like it, you don’t have to stick with it. There are so many different ways to get involved. Most importantly, start educating yourself about the different ways or what it is you want to do.

In the corporate world, Patricia, we call that a SWOT Analysis. You sit down and do your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You write them all down. That is your point of attack.

REW Amazing | Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing: Bliss is your birthright. So, choose bliss every single day.

 

Also, make the decision. “I’m going to get involved in real estate.” That’s what you got to do. Don’t lose yourself in it.

One thing I’ll leave off with is even after you’ve dove into something, it’s okay to spaghetti test. Everything is a test. It’s not anything you have to commit to. I try a bunch of things at once. I see what sticks, resonates and reflects the value that we have. The reality of investing in the short-term and long-term where we hadn’t done that in 2022 is a freaky thing. Be like, “I know systems that work and the ways in which we can increase some of the viability of it.”

As you go into something, there are always ways that you can increase its effectiveness of it. You can get more investors to even add to it. It syndicates. There are all these things that you can do with other people’s money, like seller financing options. Finding those off-market deals and getting people to even be involved and you renting from the person who owns it. You are paying them their actual fee instead of a bank and you take over the actual deed later on. There is all this different stuff that takes conversation and trying it out. Explore and be unafraid to try new things.

Everyone, thanks for participating. I appreciate your time and energy. I’m excited about the mastermind.

Thank you for having us.

If you’d like more information about me, you can go to my website, PowersHour.biz. You can find me on Twitter @ThatLauraPowers, Instagram @LauraPowers44 and also on Facebook. Thanks for reading.

 

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Get In The Real Estate Game With Kenny Simpson And Krystle Moore – Real Estate For Women

REW Krystle | Real Estate Game

 

The real estate industry presents various opportunities where you could grow your wealth. There are many ways to succeed in real estate, but you must get started. Listen to your host Moneeka Sawyer as she talks with Kenny Simpson and Krystle Moore about tips on how you can get in the real estate game today. It’s not yet too late. It’s time to get your action plan together. In this episode, Kenny and Krystle share the importance of constantly growing and not making decisions based on fear to achieve your goals and attain financial freedom. They discuss the benefits of owning multifamily properties and what kind of investments will help you beat inflation. Tune in to learn how to be in control of your financial future.

 

 

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here


 

 

Get In The Real Estate Game With Kenny Simpson And Krystle Moore – Real Estate For Women

I am so excited to welcome to the show, Krystle and Kenny. Krystle Moore is the Founder of Pacific Shore Capital, San Diego’s leading expert in commercial financing and real estate investing. She began her career at the age of nineteen. With over eighteen years of experience, Krystle has funded over $1 billion in loans, helping over 1,000 clients with their commercial and multifamily financing needs. Between managing over 1,000 units, rehabbing, and designing countless properties, she is committed to sharing her immense knowledge and industry expertise with our clients.

Kenny Simpson, Head of The Simpson Team, is San Diego’s premier residential financier and real estate investor. He has worked with over 1,000 clients on 1 to 4-unit financing, helping them shift their mindset, and have confidence about qualifying for a loan, whether for a primary residence or investment properties. He is a Co-host of San Diego’s most popular real estate podcast, Get in the Cashflow Game with K&K. Kenny has over seventeen years in the business, including his own investment and management experience, having managed over 1,000 units, helping rehab, and design countless properties. Welcome to the show.

Thanks so much for having us.

I’m excited to have you on the show because I want my ladies to know this. It’s important to have mentors in the industry that have been here through the cycles. You guys went through the 2008 and 2009 crash. Many people that are in real estate now got in the last 10 to 12 years. They got in at the bottom when things were easy to get into. They didn’t have to ride that wave. That wave was a rough one. I love that you guys have been in the industry long enough to know that things can go bad and what to do when that happens. Congratulations on your success around that. I’m so excited to be having you chat with my ladies about financing.

I’m excited too. I’m passionate about women being involved in their financial future. I was honored to be able to be on the show.

Thank you so much for that. What’s important for us to all understand is that as women, we need to be in control of our financial future. We’re not taught that as younger women. We have to figure that out ourselves. Our allies, the men in our lives, are an important part of that success. Kenny, I super appreciate your support of our ladies. My husband is the same way. My husband is not as involved in my business though. He is a good support staff. This is big. Could you talk a little bit high level about how you got into the industry and what your story is?

I got started when I was nineteen. I was taking some community college classes. Quite frankly, my family couldn’t afford to pay for college or anything like that. It was all on me. As a young 19-year-old, I thought, “Why am I paying to go to school? I should get paid to do this.” I needed to pay my bills. My mom worked as a rep at Washington Mutual at the time. I was begging her to give me an in, call somebody, and let them interview me. That’s all I’m asking for. Don’t give me a handout, but give me an opportunity. When she felt I wouldn’t embarrass her, she finally gave me a couple of recommendations.

I interviewed and did residential for about four months, but I always wanted to do commercial. I did what they tell you to do, “Tell everybody. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Eventually, someone is going to give you a shot.” I met my first client at the gym. I was super into fitness at the time. I winged it from the beginning. I had no idea what I was doing. He knew that anyways. That’s how I got my first deal. From there, it was a good time. We were on the upswing on 2003. His partners referred me to their partners and his partners’ partners. It was a snowball effect from there.

Why were you so interested in commercial rather than residential?

REW Krystle | Real Estate Game

Real Estate Game: We’re taught to get an education and a good job. That may have worked a long time ago, but now, having a W2 job your whole life is not going to work out well for you when it comes time to retire.

 

I thought to myself, “I’m not as the emotional touchy-feely first-time home buyer. I wanted to work with business people.” On the commercial real estate side, even when you’re getting a real estate commercial loan, it’s a business loan. We assume that you’re a sophisticated business person. That’s why we don’t have RESPA and all these other crazy things that came as a result of the 2008 financial crash. I liked working with more sophisticated investors, generating wealth for people, and figuring out how to get more cashflow. That’s what lights me up. That’s why I went in that direction.

Kenny, how did you get started?

It’s a bit similar. I was in college, paying for my own way too. I had a lot of friends. In 2002 and 2003, they started making a lot of money around me in real estate and I’m sitting there going to college day after day. I woke up one day and I said, “I’m over this.” I want to go to work and make money. I always wanted to be in real estate, not sure which aspect. A friend reached out and said, “Do you want to come and join my team?”

I started off in the business as a loan processor which is good. It gave me a lot of well-rounded skills and I learned the background. Quickly, we ended up starting a branch, and then several years later, I’m here as a mortgage broker and enjoying what I do. I dove in and figured out residential was the way. I knew I didn’t want to sell real estate. I didn’t know I wanted to do financing, but now that I’m into it, I enjoy it.

I was a mortgage broker for years and it was so much fun like the puzzle of a loan package. Whether it’s commercial or residential, it’s like a puzzle. Putting the whole thing together, getting exactly the right product for the right person and the right property. There are so many moving parts. I love that you started as a processor because so much of the time, the processors don’t understand what mortgage people go through on the front end.

We’re trying to put together a puzzle. They’re trying to get it to underwriting. They’re the middleman. They are a key part of our success. Many of them don’t understand what it takes on both of those sides, the front end and the real back end. That’s amazing that you did that. What an asset for you because you understand them then.

The business has come a long way with technology. Lenders have tried to figure out how to make the process as easy as possible. As we’ve gotten further away from 2008 and 2009, Fannie, Freddie and a lot of the banks have eased up on some stuff and got a little bit more realistic. The pendulum swung way too far then way too far the other way. We’re getting some normalcy. It’s helpful because getting a loan sometimes cannot be fun. As we all know, it’s paperwork and it’s a stressful time when you’re buying a house. We try to make it easy as possible.

You wanted to talk about multifamily properties which is a topic that my audience is interested in. Let’s start by talking about why. Why did you get started in multifamily to supplement your income and how does that work?

The thing is we’re all taught in school to get our education, go out and get a good job. That may have worked a long time ago, but if you’re living in a major metro like us in San Diego, it’s not cheap to be here. Having a W-2 job your whole life is not going to work out well for you when it comes time to retire, even if you contribute the max to your 401(k) and things like this. We backed in to see what lifestyle we wanted to have.

A lot of real estate investors don't pay taxes. They provide housing and in exchange for getting a lot of tax benefits. Click To Tweet

I had the benefit of seeing that since I was nineteen. I got to see tax returns. I worked with a lot of real estate investors that own multifamily. It seems like they didn’t have to work. They were always on vacation. Their idea of work was driving by the properties or having lunch with brokers. It seems so fun for me. I’m like, “I love to fill my days doing this.” I started realizing the cashflow that they were getting because it doesn’t look like that on tax returns.

That’s the benefit of being a real estate investor. A lot of real estate investors don’t pay taxes. They provide housing. In exchange for that, they get a lot of tax benefits. I find that multifamily is the absolute safest investment vehicle that has the most tax benefits. That is why I truly believe in owning multifamily properties.

I would like to add something interesting that shines a light on my own life. That’s similar to what you said, Krystle. First of all, Krystle, congratulations on starting at nineteen, both of you guys. The younger we started, the more opportunities we have to create huge amounts of wealth and a huge legacy.

Those of you ladies reading that are 19, 18 or 20, you need to get started. Even later in life, there are so many opportunities. I always say there are a million ways to make $1 million in real estate, but the sooner you get started, the easier it is. Congratulations on you guys. To anybody who’s reading that’s young, get started. It’s important. The thing that I wanted to comment on is my husband and I bought another property, a primary residence. I was dismayed at what we can afford.

There were a couple of things that I noticed that I want to highlight to my ladies. Because of the write-offs, the depreciation, and all of that stuff, in real estate, it looks like you’re making no income. Plus, you get to do a ton more write-offs. For me, I’m showing huge losses. That means we pay fewer taxes. What that also means is that because of me, we can’t qualify for loans. My husband does all the loans.

This is how we’ve distributed it. What’s also interesting about this is when we were young, our first house was $200,000. Our next house, five years later, was $700,000. Our next house was $750,000. What’s interesting is that even now, all we qualify for is $750,000 to $800,000. Why? My husband is a superstar at work. He gets nice raises, 3% to 6% raises each year. Think about that. Have property values gone up faster than 3% to 6%?

What do we qualify for? It’s still about the same number of dollars because he has only been going up 3% to 6%. We can do a little bit more if we dig into the numbers. There is stuff because of losses and stuff like that shows up on the tax returns. That’s not about me. Everybody who’s reading this, take that in. It has been 25 years that he and I have been together buying real estate. We still qualify for the same property value now almost that we did twenty years ago.

If you are going to rely simply on your W-2 income, are you going to be able to grow your wealth? We have to buy in bad neighborhoods to qualify for our loans. We didn’t have to use to do that. You hope that in life, you’re improving your lot. You’re improving the neighborhood. You’re improving the house size. Why are we not able to do that?

There are a lot more conversations around that. I don’t want to say that that’s the end of the story. It was an interesting thing for me to notice. How is this even possible? We have been in the business for 25 years. We made some adjustments. We did some different things, stop writing off things, stop taking losses or do some other things that we can do. If you’re just relying on your W-2 to plan your future, that’s what you’re in store for. It does not keep up with inflation. It does not keep up with house prices. The cost of living is going up. Your income will not keep up. It’s important to find ways to supplement that income. Does that make sense?

REW Krystle | Real Estate Game

Real Estate Game: Multifamily is the absolute safest investment vehicle that has the most tax benefits.

 

That is such a good point. We’ve always been commissioned-based. We’ve never had that idea. Even thinking about a W-2 job, that’s what we’re trained to do. That’s the safety that we run to and the safety is not winning in this environment.

In any environment, it’s never one. If you look at W-2 versus housing prices, over time, we’re not able to keep up. People have to move to cheaper areas to afford the homes that they like or you need to be a dual income. You’ve got to do something other than being a W-2 employee to keep up with housing prices. There are some interesting things there.

First, that’s your cost of living. The other thing that tells us is real estate is a good investment. It is increasing significantly faster than inflation and our incomes. It’s not true in every single market. If you do your homework and you pick the right markets, that is true. Ladies, I’ve never said this on the show. It’s important to understand where you’re headed if you’re not going to invest in real estate and you’re not going to create those other streams of income and cashflow.

I have a good example for your story on that because you do bring up a valid point. I do residential financing. Krystle is different. A lot of her clients might not even have a job. They might be real estate investors. Mine typically have a job and they’re just getting started or some. I happen to do her clients, but I have a client that worked at Qualcomm for 25 years. He did the retirement. He did the stock thing but never bought real estate or bought a house, and the crash came.

He said, “I’m going to go in and buy real estate. This is it. This is my time.” I remember meeting him. We probably ran into him 5 or 6 years after the crash. He bought all this real estate. He went crazy and worked crazy hours. I remember sitting down for lunch. He goes, “It’s crazy. I worked 25 years as a W-2 employee for Qualcomm.”

He did well and saved for retirement. He’s a conservative guy. He’s like, “I built more wealth in five years from real estate and cashflow than I have ever done with this job over 25 years.” He realized and said, “I should have started younger.” To prove your point, this is why you start younger and as soon as possible. What you can do at 5 years, 10 years or 20 years is unbelievable.

I am so grateful that for some reason, I figured that out also when I was in my early twenties. There’s a huge amount of my audience that is not in their early twenties. They’re in their 40s and 50s. There are many different ways for you to make money in real estate. If you’re not getting started early, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not the end of the game, but it is easier and takes less effort to build that wealth if you start younger. There’s a compounding, inflation, appreciation, and all of those things that aid intuitively and naturally so you don’t have to think about it.

Getting started is the most important part. It doesn’t matter how old you are. We have clients who got started later in life. We have a huge investor we know here now who didn’t get started until he was 35. He was a musician playing in bars. He borrowed $3,500 from his broker to buy his first property. He owns over 6,000 units now. He’s in his late 60s. From 35 to let’s call it 65, he owns 6,000 units, 100% by himself in San Diego, the most expensive market in the country. There are stories for every person. It’s not like if you didn’t get started in your twenties, it’s over for you. Get started at any point in time and you will exponentially improve your life going forward.

I’ve talked about this on the show all the time. Before you pick a strategy, you have to figure out who you are and where you’re at. What is your risk tolerance? What are the things that you’re trying to achieve? Part of that has to do with the timeframe that you have to achieve your goals. How much time do you want to spend each week and each day, but also how much time do you have? That’s one of the components to think about when you’re picking your real estate strategy. You’re not out of time, but more time gives you more opportunities. Kenny, what do you look for in an investment property?

Start younger in real estate and start as soon as possible, because what you can do at five years or 20 years is unbelievable. Click To Tweet

We have this conversation a lot because we do get referred to a lot of first-time home buyers and also first-time investment property buyers. I have the same conversation. I said, “Why are you buying a house or an investment property?” I then said, “You need to answer that question.” I tell people that a husband and wife should be on the same page. If you don’t have a husband or a wife, then you don’t have to be on the same page with anybody. It’s your own money.

That’s the question. Sit down and say, “Why?” The other questions are, “What are the goals? What are you looking to do? What is the plan?” Some people are like, “In five years, I want to make $5,000 a month in income.” When you come up with the why, the plan and the goals, then we back into, “What kind of property do you want to buy? Are you going to buy a single-family? Are you going to buy a four-unit? Are you going to buy a five-plus?”

We always push, if you can, to buy the most units as possible because that’s what we push to. At the end of the day, if it’s your first deal, you might not understand it. If it’s your third deal, you’re like, “I should try to buy as many units as possible.” When you’re looking for your first real estate investment property, when you answer all those questions, it gets easier. If you’re getting pre-qualified with somebody like me, we back into it, “How much money do you have? Is it just you or are you bringing in other partners?”

We then back into, “This is what you can afford. This is what the gross rents need to be. This is how we can get you a loan.” Krystle could be a little bit different because the property has to qualify. When people say, “What are you looking at in your investment property?” I’m more like, “What’s your why? What’s your game plan? What can you afford?” From there, then we go, “Where are the areas we might want to look at?”

For example, here in San Diego, you might not want to go buy an investment property. We have to drive 45 minutes away every time you have to go somewhere. Maybe you’re going to look for something closer. My idea for your first property is if you can buy close to you or near you, it’s easier. Especially if you’re buying it, rehabbing it, and managing it, you want to be close by. What I’m looking for is probably not the first question I ask. It’s more backing in and getting all those questions answered and all the pre-qualification. I feel it makes it so much easier to identify what you want.

That’s exactly how I operate and used to work also with my clients. I love that. Krystle, how about your perspective on that?

It’s similar to Kenny. A lot of times when I’m working with new investors or even people who own a couple of 2 to 4-unit investment properties, and now they want to take the next step, it’s great that Kenny and I worked together because people don’t know when they’re making that crossover to apartments that the property has to qualify. They come to me and they say, “I have X amount down. I can get 75% LTV, right?” Technically, yes, but the property has to support the cashflow.

This is why having your criteria, your goals, and understanding exactly what you’re looking for is so important. You can go buy a 2 to 4-unit property and put 25% down and cashflow negative. If you don’t do your homework upfront and you don’t understand how to run cashflow, and you don’t have criteria, you could be in a property that doesn’t even cashflow. On apartments, we won’t let you do that. It’s difficult to fail. At the same time, you might have to come in with a lot more money down than what you anticipated.

The first step for me is talking to someone in getting qualified. It’s not just a broker. A good broker is going to want you to be in contact with a lender as it is, but you want to take a handful of deals to your lender and say, “What do I qualify for on these deals?” You can start understanding all of the different terms that we use in multifamily. It’s much different.

REW Krystle | Real Estate Game

Real Estate Game: Getting started is really the most important part. It doesn’t matter how old you are. So it’s not like if you didn’t get started in your twenties, it’s over for you. Get started at any point in time and you will definitely exponentially improve your life going forward.

 

Every building that you look at is a business. I’m underwriting the business. That business needs to cashflow. Based on that, I can tell you what loan I can give you. For most of us, if you don’t have a loan, you don’t have a deal. We usually start there. Pre-qualifying for multifamily is a much easier process than it is for residential. It’s a different way of looking at it if you’re used to residential.

I want to highlight quickly and summarize for my ladies. I’ve said this before on the show, but I want to say it again. The big difference between lending in residential and in commercial is in residential, you qualify. In commercial, the property qualifies. There are completely different ways of analyzing whether you’re qualifying or not.

Keep that in mind when you’re looking at switching over. Maybe you’ve got 1 to 4 units. You’ve been doing residential. If you’re going to switch over to multifamily, understand that the big key to remember is it’s not about you. It’s about the property, which can be amazing if you don’t have the income or the credit. There are a lot of things that we need in residential that we don’t need necessarily in commercial. That’s true, correct?

That is correct. In your example of you guys buying a house and the fact that you only qualify for about the same as you did over the last twenty years or whatever, that doesn’t necessarily hold true in multifamily. I have plenty of real estate investors who cannot get a home loan but can go get a $5 million apartment loan.

Isn’t that amazing?

I like to say we use common sense.

It’s also interesting how we define common sense, but it’s a business loan, so you don’t have to qualify. Your business has to qualify. I love that. Let’s talk too about how to maximize your ROI.

One of the things that are so important when you’re buying a property is when you’re looking at properties, for example, some people might say LoopNet is the worst place to find apartment buildings. I’ve heard that so many times. I found some of my best deals on LoopNet. Why is that? I can look at a building and see the income potential that other people didn’t see. I get it and I get deals because of that.

When you’re looking at properties to invest in, you want to look at other ways that you can increase the ROI. The beauty of multifamily too is that the higher your NOI, your net operating income, the higher the value of your property. We value properties based on the cap rate. If you can increase the NOI, and multiply that by the cap rate, then you’ve already got an exponentially higher value.

It is advisable in high inflationary environments that you should be running to real estate. Click To Tweet

I look at other things. When I walk into a building, I not only look at, “Does this building have RUBS, utility billing? If the landlord is paying all utilities or some utilities, can I come in and charge the tenants for their utilities to offset that cost?” A lot of buildings are doing that nowadays. “Is there storage? Is there parking? Are there other ways that I can increase?” In California, we have ADUs, which not every state may have. You can add an Accessory Dwelling Unit. “Is there a potential for me to add some ADUs or granny flats on the property? If I make small improvements to the property, can I increase the rent? Does that make sense?”

Also, I take a look at expenses. “How can I cut expenses?” Sometimes I go in and energy costs are astronomical. They haven’t converted to LED. The trash bill might be high. You can go renegotiate. There are a couple of different trash providers. You can negotiate the price down. There are so many ways to increase your NOI on a property. You have to be a forensic investigator when you go in and look at a property to see how you can maximize its potential.

Ladies, as you’re reading this, there are a lot of terms thrown out there that can be a little intimidating. Understand that that’s why you need a pro. When you’re looking at your financing and starting this journey, talk to somebody like Krystle. She’ll explain all those numbers and the way that the lending works around this so that you can understand it. Once you’ve talked to a pro, now you know what to go out and look for.

One thing that has been helpful for us in our business and also with other clients is when you’re looking at somebody to work with, it would be helpful that that person is also a real estate investor because they understand. They’re looking at the property as if they owned it. They know things that someone who has never invested in real estate would never know because they’ve never been there.

It’s helpful when you’re looking for somebody to work with that you go to somebody like that because we can be more of an advisor. I’m not just going to come and throw out loan options for you. I’m going to say, “What if we can do this? Maybe we can increase rents during escrow to push loan dollars. Maybe I can get this insurance quote down.” I’m doing everything I can to maximize your loan or get you the loan that you want. That’s the person you want on your team.

That’s going to be true, whether you’re buying a single-family, multifamily or commercials like offices, retail, or whatever. Anybody that you have on your team should be investors themselves. If they’re not walking the walk, they don’t understand your pain points. They also don’t understand the opportunities. That’s a good point. Kenny, do you want to add anything?

Some of the obvious things for ROI is you go into a dilapidated unit. You go put your cabinets, flooring, countertops, and all that. That’s a way to generate higher rent. That’s going to increase the value of the property. The other thing here in California that is huge is jet parking. I know that sounds weird. You have a garage. You have access to storage. We try to put laundry-in units, instead of a laundry room because people pay $100 to $150 more for a garage and $150 more for a laundry-in unit. We’ll also put AC and wall AC units in because people will pay more money.

As you get further along in the journey. We had the privilege of managing a lot of units. We learned a lot. We tested it. We would say, “Let’s remodel this unit. Do all this fancy stuff. What did we get? Why do we keep this one plain Jane over here?” We realized you’re getting a lot more money. It was worth it long-term. When you sell the building, some of these are going to pay you a premium.

When you’re doing ROI, what are you doing for the short-term for the rent game, but also what is a potential buyer if you are going to sell that property and exchange up for something bigger? Are they going to pay you a premium? We’ve found that there are a lot of buyers, especially here in California, who might be in a different part of their life and age.

REW Krystle | Real Estate Game

Real Estate Game: Your first property should be close to you so that it could be easier managing it.

 

They’re like, “We own this property. It’s got a lot of issues. We don’t want to deal with it. We have it free and clear. We want to sell it.” When you want to buy something that has market rents, is completely rehabbed and completely done, we will pay a premium for that. There are many reasons why you would increase the NOI and fix up the building, not just for the cashflow, but it could be if you’re going to sell in exchange for the building.

We refinance too. That’s another key.

This is an intuitive thing, ladies, to think about. When you walk into a house, if you look at it and go, “It needs air conditioning. This fridge is old. This doesn’t look nice. It was livable,” and then you walk into a comparable property that’s got air conditioning, it looks nice, and it’s a home for you and your family, would you pay a little bit more? It may not be dollar-to-dollar, but there’s this intuitive sense of, “I would much rather live here?” This is how I run my business too.

I want to make sure that people walk into the house and have a sigh of relief, “I could live here. This is so nice. This is so much nicer than these other places. I can do laundry inside. I can park my cars without getting sap all over them. I don’t have to pile the kids into the car and run to the car wash every week.” There are these intuitive feelings that we have in our gut when we’re moving into a home. Taking care of those pieces may not necessarily be a direct relation dollar-for-dollar, but you will notice it’s so much easier to rent, sell or maintain if you’re doing those things.

Not to mention retention too. That’s one of the things that we found. When you put laundry and/or AC unit, people stay longer. That reduces your turnover costs and vacancy. That’s our goal. We want you to get cozy and stay there.

Most of my tenants stay between 10 to 12 years for exactly that reason. They love the property. They don’t want to have to move to someplace else that’s not as cozy. I’m proud of my tenants. They usually buy something. Once they’ve lived in a happy home, they’ll usually buy something, which I love. It encourages them. They understand what it feels like to live in a place that feels like home.

Let’s talk about inflation. Everybody is talking about this. There’s a lot of fear around this. I can understand the fear, but we have had inflation before and real estate investors still have done well. It’s something to be aware of. It’s something to consider, and it’s something that you can use to your benefit. It’s not a time to sit on the sidelines and go, “It’s inflation. We’re not going to touch real estate.” I would like to get both of your guys’ perspectives on that, both in residential and commercial.

Frankly, I would advise in high inflationary environments that you should be running to real estate. Most of us want to feel the safety that we have all this cash in the bank. The truth of the matter is that the higher the inflation, the less your dollar is worth. You’re losing money by keeping money in the bank. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be able to pay for your expenses for 6 to 12 months, whether it’s in your business or your personal life. You need to be able to cover your costs for a period of time.

In terms of the fear of inflation, I get that. The best thing to do in a market like this is to understand that there are things that you can’t control. While you need to be aware of them, you should not make decisions based on fear. You need to make decisions based on getting the knowledge, understanding where you’re at, and that you can’t change it, but you can have some control in your personal life about growing your wealth, making smart financial decisions, and changing some habits. It’s more like, “Let’s get an action plan together,” rather than, “Let’s be scared and be paralyzed.” This is the problem. Most people freeze because they’re scared. That’s the worst thing you could do in an environment like this. The most successful people take action.

The most successful people take action. Click To Tweet

How about you, Kenny? What do you think?

For residential, because people are buying their homes, their costs and bills have gone up. If you bought a home, the rate is high. We’re in the camp that rates will come back down in the future. In 2020 and 2021, we saw all-time crazy low rates. We saw inventory at all-time lows. We saw buyer demand crazy. That resulted in crazy inflation in real estate. People overpaying all this stuff. We come to 2022, demand is going down. Supply is coming up. Some are selling for different reasons. Now, the buyers are going, “What should I do here?”

I tell everybody, “We have already seen price reductions. Some things are coming down and cooling off.” People are sitting here and listening. You hear this over and over. This is the story we’re having. “Should I buy now? Should I wait?” There’s probably a window from now until when the Fed says, “We’re going to do QE again.” That is quantitative easing. It means they’re going to put money back into the system. Now they’re taking it out at a rapid rate.

If you look at the ocean, it’s a low tide. They’re pulling money out. The water is draining out and they’re going to flood the system back. When that happens, interest rates will drop. Demand will go up. People feel more confident, but that’s also when everybody decides, “I’m going to get off the fence and buy.” Between now and whenever QE is, if we knew, we would write a book. This is what it is. We wouldn’t be here. This is the time to buy.

I would encourage people to look at inflation. It is now to your advantage. If you know rates are high and you think, “I’ve done my homework,” there are plenty of YouTube videos, podcasts and stuff to study, that interest rates go up and they’re going to lower the interest rates. Even if I lock in at a high-interest rate, I get a deal on a house. Let’s pick a house. A $500,000 house in 2021 was selling for $550,000.

The $500,000 house listed now is getting an offer at maybe $500,000 but they’re asking for a $15,000 lender credit. That is a huge difference between what was happening now and yesterday. If you’re seeing that, you are getting a discounted house. If you have a higher rate, it might not feel good, but if you can be in the camper, you’re refinancing in a year. You’re getting a lower rate and you’re not in the camp where everybody else is. You now have to buy. You’re amongst all these people and this whole wave of people that are going to come in.

I think now is the time to do it. Inflation is fearful for most because they don’t understand it. Putting your money in the bank is when they’re paying you 2% and inflation is 8.5%. We know it is more than that. You’re getting crushed. You might see a dip in real estate for now because of inflation and the rates are being manipulated up. In the long-term, you’re going to wish you look back. This is an opportunity to buy.

I loved your analogy of the ocean and the tides because that is how real estate is. There are low tide and high tide, and seller’s markets and buyer’s markets. It has been that way since the beginning of time. To understand that what’s happening is not permanent. You’re not married to the system. The system is going to change and you get to pivot and adjust based on what’s possible.

Even though interest rates are high, rents are raising higher. Interest rates are going up. They have gone up to 2% in the last few months. That’s too high. Anyways, they have gone up quite a lot. What have rents got up? Rents have gone up 30%. Even if you buy a place and you’re paying more, you’re getting significantly more in rent.

REW Krystle | Real Estate Game

Real Estate Game: Most of us want to feel the safety that we have all this cash in the bank. But the truth of the matter is that the higher the inflation, the less your dollar is actually worth. So you’re losing money by keeping money in the bank.

 

Inflation is playing on your side. You can be afraid of interest rates. You’re also losing a huge amount of money in the appreciation. The market is cooling down. We might see some corrections. Over time, if you guys can see me on YouTube, the real estate market is market specific. This is not true everywhere. In general, you have a correction and then it goes about higher. Over time, the general curve of real estate goes up.

In 2008 and 2009, we saw some people weird. It was a complete crash. Still many markets are significantly higher than they were before that crash. If you’re looking at real estate as a long game, what rates are doing is going to influence inflation, inflation influences rents, which influences your cashflow. Over time, appreciation is steady growth. There are different strategies in different markets, but I can’t say, “Don’t invest in real estate.” You have a good opportunity to benefit from inflation by investing. Would you guys agree?

Yes. Not to mention that you talked about buyer’s markets and seller’s markets. It shifted to a buyer’s market. You don’t have to go out and put an offer on a property, non-contingent, money-hard, day one anymore. You can ask for your proper due diligence timelines. You can get your financing contingency and your appraisal contingency because it’s not a seller’s market anymore.

It’s a much safer time, especially if you’re new to investing, to get that time to do your due diligence. Whereas before, it was this extreme pressure situation. You’re competing with all of these people. Nothing makes any sense. You just want to win. Now you get a lot more time to do your due diligence and research and make sure that you’re making the right decision when you’re making offers.

That’s a good point because it’s so much less stressful. You’re not scrambling constantly. Also, your taxes are based on your purchase price. In 2021, if you bought something for $550,000, as long as you own that property, you are going to have increases every single year based on a property value that started at $550,000.

If you buy it and it’s at $500,000, even if you’re paying a higher interest rate, you’re paying less in taxes. It could balance it out. You get exemptions on your tax returns too. It’s all a numbers game. Instead of running away in fear, take a look at the way that the numbers are working out. You may be pleasantly at what the opportunities are. If you take a look, you will be pleasantly surprised by what’s going on.

This is the thing. I’ve seen this so many times, even with clients who were experienced real estate investors. Every time they close a property, they go, “I don’t know. I don’t think it was a good deal. I think I overpaid.” Of course, you feel that way. You just paid the market price for the property that you bought. Let’s talk in three years and tell me how you feel. With property management, I did budgeting all the time for our clients. Every year I would have this budget and then, at the end of the year, I would look at it and calculate what their actual returns were on their properties.

In year one, they would be like, “That’s all right.” Year two, “Okay, fine. It’s a little better.” Year three, they’re like, “This is great. I made a good decision.” Everything feels expensive on day one because you are paying the market price. Sometimes you’re going to get a home run, but you can’t count on a home run every time. If you pay a market rate for a deal, and 3 or 5 years from now, you will look back and be happy that you did.

Even in the financial crash of 2008, our apartment values didn’t go down for us at least. There were some pains in a lot of parts of the country, higher vacancy, management companies going bust, mismanaging properties, and things like that. You’re going to have to watch those things. If you can hold on and responsibly manage your real estate, you’re going to win in the end.

Stick to your discipline. Know your numbers and know what you want to buy. Click To Tweet

I feel like I could talk to you forever. We’re getting to where we don’t have time. I want to make sure that we complete the show and then we’ll talk some more in EXTRA. In EXTRA, ladies, we are going to talk about hacks to get your first deal. We’ve got two people. We’ve got commercial and residential. Both of them are going to weigh in on that. I’m super excited to be talking about that in EXTRA. Before we move towards the end of the show, could you tell us a little bit about how people can get in touch with you? You got a free offering for my ladies which I’m excited about.

We are almost done with a course on how to buy multifamily properties. It’s called the Real Estate Hustle Course. We’re going to offer the first ten people who DM us to Get In The Cashflow Game. That’s on Instagram, @GetInTheCashflowGame. We’ll offer the first ten people free beta access to the program. It will be a subscription-based program. People who will come into it are going to pay a monthly fee. We’ll give your first ten readers free access for a year.

That is so generous. DM is a direct message, ladies. It’s a DM on Instagram and it’s Get In The Cashflow Game. We’ve got so many ladies. I did a poll. I was like, “What social media are you on?” They’re all like, “I’m not on social media.” That’s what that means. Thank you so much. That was a generous offer. I love that. Are you guys ready for our three rapid-fire questions? I’m going to ask each of you separately.

Let’s go.

Who wants to go first?

I’ll go first. Krystle asked me to go first.

Kenny, tell us one super tip on getting started in real estate investing,

One super tip in getting started is listening to podcasts like this. We live in a day and age where you can go on YouTube, Apple or anywhere and find so much great content. It’s unbelievable. That is where you should start. Swallow and absorb as much content as you can.

What is one strategy for being successful as a real estate investor?

REW Krystle | Real Estate Game

Real Estate Game: The best thing to do in a market like this is to understand that there are things that you can’t control. And while you need to be aware of them, you should not make decisions based on fear. You need to make decisions based on getting the knowledge.

 

Stick to your discipline. Know your numbers and what you want to buy. Don’t start wavering on that and making bad decisions. Stick with what you set out to do. Don’t start doing crazy things and getting out of your comfort zone just to do a deal because they can come back to bite you in the butt.

What would you say is one daily practice you do that contributes to your personal success?

I am an early riser. I get up probably between 3:30 and 4:00 AM. I’m not saying I recommend that, but I would tell anybody is whenever you get up, maybe you get up an hour extra and take that time. I call it “Me Time.” If you have two kids or if you’re a mom, tell your husband, “You’re going to watch him,” but go spend an hour on making yourself better, whether that’s learning about real estate, meditating, or going for a walk. That hour extra added up over one year over 20 to 30 years, I guarantee you, will change your life.

Thank you for that, Kenny. Krystle, are you ready?

Those are some good answers. Let’s see if I can come up with something original. I promise you it won’t be telling people to get up at 3:30 or 4:30.

That was painful to listen to.

I’m tired just thinking about it.

It’s true. Each of us is different. We’re all built differently. When you’re picking your strategies or how to run your life, be aware of who you are. That works for Kenny. It wouldn’t work for me, but it works for Kenny. If it works for you, that’s awesome. No judgment at all. Krystle, tell us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate.

The super tip is to get started. First, you want to know your criteria because you’re not going to go anywhere without knowing your criteria and your goals. Once you identify that, you get off the sidelines and get in the game because you’re going to keep analyzing over and over. If you don’t get started, you’ll keep analyzing and never do anything. Know your criteria and your goals and just move.

Investing in yourself is one of the best decisions that you can make. Click To Tweet

What is a strategy for being successful in real estate investing?

My strategy for being successful is that I’m constantly growing and learning. I not only have listened to podcasts, YouTube, and things. If you have the benefit of investing in yourself, that is one of the best investments that you can make. I had a hard time with that over the years. I would invest in real estate any day, but then investing in myself for marketing or courses seemed silly, which now I know that’s silly. I have a mentor. I am in coaching groups. Kenny is part of mastermind groups. We are investing in ourselves, growing our knowledge, and being better every day. That is how we’re able to be more successful every day.

What do you say is a daily practice that you do that contributes to your personal success?

For me, I keep up with the news. It goes along with all of the podcasts and things. I don’t turn on the news in the morning, but I look at things on my phone. I listen to people that I respect in the industry, whether it’s economists or real estate investors. These are people I’m always trying to stay up-to-date with the newest strategies. Who are the newest lenders? Maybe there are newer types of loans available. Maybe there are other things I can do to improve my portfolio.

For example, we’re looking at doing solar and common areas to increase cashflow. It’s all these little things that I’m looking at to do to better my investing, but also me as a person. I focus on that. I don’t listen to the noise of the media, but I do look at people that I know and respect and people who are where I want to be. I look at what they’re doing.

I love all of it, but that last point of looking at people who are where you want to be. Don’t listen to the people who are not. It’s important to stay focused on the people that are where you want to be. They’re going to help you to get there faster. This show has been amazing and I’m so excited about what we’re going to be doing in EXTRA. Thank you so much for what you’ve contributed so far.

Thanks so much. This has been so fun.

Ladies, we’re going to be talking in EXTRA about hacks on how to get your first deal. If you’re subscribed to EXTRA, please stay tuned. There’s more. If you’re not, but would like to be, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenEXTRA.com. You get the first seven days for free. Check that out. For those of you that are leaving us, thank you so much for joining Kenny, Krystle, and me for this portion of the show. You know how much I appreciate you and I look forward to seeing you next time, until then, remember, goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon.

 

Important Links

About Kenny Simpson and Krystle Moore

REW Krystle | Real Estate GameKenny Simpson is San Diego’s premiere Residential Financier and Real Estate Investor. He’s worked with thousands of clients on 1-4-unit financing, helping them shift their mindset and have confidence about qualifying for a loan whether for a primary residence or for investment properties. He leads the Simpson team and is the host of San Diego’s most popular Real Estate Podcast, Get in the Cashflow Game with K&K. Kenny has over 15 years in the business, including his own investment and management experience having managed over 1000 units, and rehabbing and designing countless properties as well.

Krystle Moore is the founder of Pacific Shore Capital and San Diego’s leading expert in Commercial
Financing and Real Estate Investing. She actually began her career at age 19 and now, with over 16 years of experience, Krystle has funded over one billion dollars, helping over 1000 clients with their commercial and multifamily financing needs. Between managing over 1000 units, rehabbing and designing countless properties, she is committed to
sharing her immense knowledge and industry expertise with her clients. Krystle’s expertise has been featured in SD Voyager and the San Diego Business Journal and she spoke on investing in Real Estate for the “MAX NOI” event. She shares insights and strategies as the host of San Diego’s most popular Real Estate Podcast, Get in the Cashflow Game with K&K as well as her Pacific Shore Capital YouTube Channel.

 

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Profiting From Commercial Space Conversions With Beth Kromer – Real Estate Women

REW Beth | Commercial Space Conversions

 

Commercial space conversion is a value-add strategy that has seen an uptick in opportunities lately. Because of the pandemic, many commercial spaces like retail stores and office spaces have closed down and remained vacant. Coupled with the extreme housing inventory shortage we’re experiencing, this created a unique opportunity for brave investors to make profit from converting commercial spaces into residential rentals. It’s not as challenging as many people might think, and the returns are pretty significant. Beth Kromer, the co-founder of VADU (Value-Added Dwelling Unit), talks about this with Moneeka Sawyer in this episode. VADU is a female-owned and operated company based in Northern California that provides expert advice and oversight for property owners wishing to create residential housing out of existing commercial property. Beth talks about their business and services and how one could convert commercial spaces for profit. Join in to learn more!

 

 

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here


 

Profiting From Commercial Space Conversions With Beth Kromer – Real Estate Women

I am excited to welcome to the show, Beth Kromer. She is a neighbor of mine in Miranda. I’m excited to be talking to a California person. Beth is the Cofounder of VADU, which is Value Added Dwelling Units. She has had a successful career in coaching, mentoring, and leadership in large corporations and startups.

Beth has also constructed, owned and rented multiple properties, including ADUs in the Bay Area and Sun Valley, Idaho. Beth has a property financing, purchasing and management background, a Master’s of Public Administration in Housing, and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. She lives in Nicasio in Marin with her husband, Robert and her dog, Ralph, and manages their ADU. Welcome to the show.

Thank you so much for having me. I am absolutely delighted to be on the show and to talk about one of my absolute favorite topics.

Beth has this amazing backdrop. It’s her living room window with the beautiful California mountains. I miss it so much because I moved from San Jose to Sacramento. In San Jose, we had the little Santa Cruz mountains behind me that I could stare at and enjoy every day. As much as I love Sacramento, it does not have mountains. I’m loving that view. Ladies, you should go to YouTube and check it out. Beth, could you tell us a little bit about your story? How did you get into what you’re doing?

The company that I cofounded with my business partner, another woman whose name is Margaret Carrigan, we both have backgrounds in real estate. She is appraising and I have a lot of commercial property ownership and also residential with my husband. A couple of years ago, she and I were talking about business opportunities. I am incredibly passionate about the idea of putting it out to two rental units within our houses in the conversion of commercial property.

Here in California, we have a lot of new legislation that highly supports the conversion of property into residential so that we can get more housing into our neighborhoods, which is desperately needed. we started this business. Our website is MyVADU.com. We are in the business of assisting and helping property owners put more residential units within their property.

It’s desperately needed. We look around us and it’s so interesting to see how things are converting after COVID. It seems like everything is changing. There are many places that are boarded up and commercial property owners are feeling the pain of not being able to find renters, losing their renters or their renters not renewing their leases because people don’t need office space as much.

Now, people are more working at home. It is interesting to watch how this conversion is going to happen. I’m excited that you’re spearheading how to help those of us who have commercial properties to relieve the pain or convert to something that’s much more profitable and easier to deal with. Talk to us a little more about creating the housing within the properties that we have.

That most people intuitively, if you visit downtowns or you will work, you know that the demand for commercial space is particularly office space. We can talk about retail, but if we want to talk about our office space, it is significantly down and 27% of all office space in the United States is vacant. This is what while into the pandemic. For all intents and purposes, it’s not going to come back. This demand for office space, where people went into an office on a daily basis, was something that was flipped on its head. Even if businesses think, “I’ll have a hybrid thing where some people come back,” sometimes that demand for office space is not there, which you know, but maybe a lot of people don’t know.

REW Beth | Commercial Space Conversions

Commercial Space Conversions: There are certain types of offices that are easier to convert than others. Not super-easy, but there are others that are more challenging.

 

Commercial leases tend to be very long. It could be 5, 10 or 15 years. What we’re seeing is lots of vacant office space. A lot of the owners are holding that can’t sell it and they certainly can’t rent it, but they might still be getting some revenue in. We’re getting to see that we have owners of commercial space who are desperate. They cannot rent this. There is no demand for it. We have a housing crisis, so we do not have enough housing and rental. With the interest rates going up, a lot of people are starting to rent because they feel they cannot purchase house rental prices. Many of our communities have gone up to 10%, 20% or 30%. To some places, it’s up as much as 50%, like Florida and Bay Area.

It was such a logical, natural conclusion to say, “We have office space that’s vacant.” We know what type of offices can be converted. Commercial space like offices has higher regulations than residential ones. Life safety cones can be flipped pretty easily. We can talk a little bit about what it takes to convert an office space into residential, but it’s not as challenging. As many people might think, the return on investment is significant, especially when you’re thinking of zero renting ability lease, there is no income to being able in the Bay Area to easily rent a one-bedroom apartment for $3,000 or $4,000 a month. The difference is astounding.

I live in Sacramento. My husband took a walk and went to Kaiser one day. I picked him up. One of the things that he mentioned, and I hadn’t seen this yet, but now I’m starting to pay attention, is that he had to walk through downtown and there was a particular area. This is a huge redevelopment area in Sacramento where they’ve got this gorgeous building called The Sawyer. We looked at buying there just because we wanted to live in The Sawyer because we’re Sawers, and it was funny.

One condo there was going for $3 million. We are not doing that. It’s funny but not worth that much. It was interesting to me that in this area, they were selling these condos for this much money, but all the office buildings are boarded up right across the street. How is it that you can have this expensive high-level type of building and then right across the street, have everything boarded up?

What was sad, and he mentioned this to me, is that there’s so much boarded up that those people that own the commercial property down the lane will never be able to rent. It’s got to start over where there’s still some activity happening over at the beginning that that owner might be able to rent. Nobody wants to be in the office space that’s open amongst all these boarded-up buildings. I was like, “As an owner, how do you deal with that?” What we’re seeing is that it is residential, they’re able to sell these high-priced places. My thought was, “Can you convert all these boarded-up buildings into commercial?”

In our first commercial conversion, we were taking office space that was from a law firm and converting it into a single residential unit, multifamily. A couple of things that are super interesting about what we do at my company, which is fun too, is that we concurrently work with the municipality and also the owners. The reason is that pre-COVID, lots of towns would say, “We only want commercial ground level.”

For whatever reason, for zoning purposes, they felt like, “We want commercial,” then mixed-use. The top half could be residential. There is zero demand for this ground level. There are restaurants, coffee shops and some boutiques and little retail shops that are great. To your point, if there aren’t office workers and residential who want to put a coffee shop up, it’s all boarded up around them.

We speak to elected officials and we have influenced towns to change their zoning. You might think that this is incredibly difficult. It does take some time, but the downtowns want to have occupancy and residential units. In California, we’re mandated to do this. We’ve been able to influence them. There are certain types of offices that are super easy to convert or others. There are others that are more challenging. If it’s an office building that’s relatively new and built within the last 30 to 40 years, it will have the correct type of seismic, which is a big deal here in California. You don’t have to go into a lot of engineering and restructuring. What we need to do with residential units is we have to have windows and exits.

Oftentimes it’s making sure that the building is huge, but a little bit narrower and that there can be a window in the front and a door in the back. We simply segregate each unit, put in bathrooms and kitchens, some plumbing and visual, heating and air conditioning. That’s the extent of it. It’s not that complicated, especially since a lot of offices are already segregated into space.

What we find is that we will give the path to people to be able to convert, to make this profitable, which is a win-win for communities, renters and the owner of the property. A huge bonus of this is that when people live in these spaces, they don’t have to have a car. They can just walk to amenities. They’re living and working from home. We have found huge demand, but with a little bit of influencing.

Converting an office space to residential is not as challenging as many people think, and the return on investment is significant. Click To Tweet

Do you personally go and help talk to the communities, the building departments and the planning departments or do you teach people how to do it?

Our business model is we get it into a community and start influencing the elected officials, the planning, zoning, and building folks. We try to encourage them to think about what, “This is a solution to a multifaceted problem that you have. You have a problem that you don’t have enough housing. We have a problem that we have this vacancy that we have a lack of vibrancy of our downtown.” It’s a little bit of a hard sell because we have to influence people to change their zoning.

It is usually hard.

We are the first that are doing in these towns. Once we feel that we owe the argument, we can influence and we do that on behalf of our clients. Our clients hire us to make sure that it is legal, allowable and doable. We do an assessment before we even start to make sure that this can happen quickly, within a budget and that we have reason to believe that we can influence getting approved before we even pull a permit.

We help our clients or we’d navigate the entire process from that to having architect builders. We are not general contractors or architects. We are agnostic. We work locally. We help the owners from start to finish. We worked as consultants with them to make this process work quickly and efficiently. We also go through all the financials for them, and they help people rent out the property if they need assistance with that.

There are three things I like to cover. First is if you already have a property, you gave me a little bit about that, but a deep dive into what is the path to get it into becoming residential. The other one is, would you consider it a good idea to buy some of these boarded-up commercial places and then convert them? Is that a good investment opportunity? The last one, and I know that you love talking about this, is how to utilize areas in our own home to create revenues. Those are the three things that I like to talk about. Where would you like to start?

It’s interesting because I follow your train of the path, and I’m like a dog with a squirrel. I’m like, “I like all of the topics.” Perhaps to start with the beginning, if we have people that have vacant commercial office space or even rental health space that they are funding, they can operate it. What we offer is that we free of charge. We’ll do an assessment of the property.

If that is zoning, the year it was built and we can fairly quickly give people a heads up of a rough estimate if this is a red, yellow or green built. Green built would be something that we think is super easy to have a return on investment in a few years, which is astounding. We don’t have to talk about cap rates here.

My husband and I used to purchase commercial property. The return on investment can be 20 or 25 years. We’re talking about 4 to 5 years, which is a big deal. The very first thing to do is if you happen to have a twenty-story office space that is humongous in the middle of a city, that is going to be a very difficult conversion. If you can just think about it, there’s no light or air in the middle of the building if you have an office space that is narrower.

REW Beth | Commercial Space Conversions

Commercial Space Conversions: About 50% of our office space is probably going to remain vacant.

 

Traditional offices in smaller or medium-sized downtowns, those can easily be converted. We can give an assessment right off the bat. After that, we have two different paths. We can act as consultants and give people the path so they can work for themselves. We’ll do a desktop exercise for people that navigates them through the entire process or we work for the owners as a percentage of the build costs or the rebuild cost.

All of our clients have started con to that one because of all the work that it takes and we know how to do that. The very first thing is an assessment of the property. 75% to 80% of all office space can be converted, but not 100% percent. It could be converted, but we look at the cost of that. The first group of people that we work with are folks who could be small businesses like a legal firm that we work with, a husband and wife. They had ten office spaces in their downtown place vacant for two years. There’s no chance that anybody is coming back. Upstairs was residential, with super high ceilings and narrow, long, beautiful concrete floors.

It’s like a loft experience that we were able to convert into residential housing, which gets rented like that. We have demand for the two people to rent it before it’s even finished. Some of them know it is real estate. If it’s commercial real estate, it’s all about, “What are you renting for? What can you get per square footage?” What’s beautiful about this is then you can think about, “Do I keep it and be a landlord, or do I sell it?”

At this point, you’re selling multifamily residential real estate, which is highly in demand. Try to sell vacant commercial office space in the small town of San Rafael, which has all the commercial real estate rentals. There are over 100 office buildings in one town that are completely vacant. I watch it all the time. There’s no demand. You cannot rent it out. If it is vacant and you can’t rent it out, your selling price is going to be very suppressed. During COVID, what skyrocketed was residential and warehouses. That’s the real estate that boomed. Commercial real estate for offices is in an incredible slump, and I predict it’s going to get even more suppressed.

Don’t you think that people are going to come back into their offices at all?

No. There were surveys are happening. They say, “I’d like to go back every once in a while.” As we spoke about at the beginning of the conversation, my husband and I also own a rental property in Sun Valley, Idaho, which is a gorgeous location, well known for its skiing and outdoor font. During COVID, when we would visit there, I would see people working who were on the ski slopes.

I do think there were creatures that love to be together. There’s a lot to be said about face-to-face interactions, but I think that people also cherish being able to live where they want to live and have the ability to travel. A high price will be coming back. By definition, 50% of our office space is probably going to remain vacant.

We moved to Sacramento. I can work anywhere, but David’s job is in tech. His company went virtual during COVID. They committed after Facebook and Google led this movement of, “Everybody can work anywhere. We’re not going to adjust salaries. You can work anywhere,” then Google and Facebook changed their mind. They’re like, “We’re going to adjust salaries based on where you go to,” because people were going to Idaho and getting California salaries like, “That’s pretty awesome.”

The company has realized that it can cut back on expenses. Google, Facebook, and Apple are doing the same thing. They’re saying, “We’ve got these big campuses. If you want to work here, you have to come back.” We’ve moved. We can’t go back. We are two and a half hours away. He can’t work in the office anymore unless we move back to that area, which we don’t want to do.

What I’m hearing so much is the big corporations are now saying, “We are going to utilize this real estate that we have a commitment to.” We’ll see a level of success. They’re trying to figure it out. What you’re saying is these smaller commercial spaces are less likely to have that same movement back into the office.

There is tremendous demand for residential rental property, and almost none at all for retail and office spaces. We already have the solution. It's already built. It's vacant. It's waiting for us to do something with it. Click To Tweet

There are two things that are in play here. I do come from this world where huge corporations have these campuses and they’re like, “It’s easier to manage people if I can see them.” I don’t quite understand that in tech because everything is measured by what you produce, write and create. Let’s take the very large corporations out of this saying that we are not converting nor thinking about converting Apple headquarters into residential. They’re of their own entity, but there are two things that are happening.

Let’s say that you had a company of twenty people and you would have a choice of making those twenty people highly dissatisfied by saying, “You have to come in every single day for 8 hours a day and 5 days a week. You have to live in Downtown San Francisco,” which you may not want to live in. You might want to live somewhere else. You have a group of employees who don’t want the solution, and to you business owner, if you do want that, you have to pay for all that and office space, or you could not pay for the office space and say, “Team, go work where you want. We’ll measure your productivity, not your presence.” I saved millions of dollars over the course of several years by not having to pay for office space. I think about it in that context.

There are the sunken costs of Apple and Google. They’ve got these huge places and what are they going to do with them? You have other companies who are trying to make a choice point, “Do I sign a ten-year contract for office space in a downtown area that’s going to cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, and to make my employments on dissatisfied,” or let them create their own offices to me, the owner for free?”

That’s the piece of the equation that we haven’t quite seen play itself out because I think a lot of people don’t know that commercial leases are very long. You can’t just say, “I want out.” What I think we’re seeing in year 2, 3 or 4 is people are not taking new leases as they did before, but we are seeing all the 5 to 10-year that end and are not renewed because they’re sitting vacant. It’s not a good business decision to have long-term office leases, in my opinion.

Do you think that the people that own the commercial properties will sign shorter leases?

They may sign shorter leases if they can even find anybody who would take even a short lease. What do we do? We do what worked for us in the past. We have a lot of people who own commercial real estate offices. This has been highly lucrative with very little vacancy with the long lease triple neck, where the attendee pays for everything. It’s been great. The whole world has changed. Our perception of it has not changed completely and people that own hope that this is coming back are glomming onto things that you’re talking about like Apple.

Talk to midsize companies where there’s a huge scarcity of workers, especially technical workers. If you aren’t Google and you have to compete to get technical workers who there’s a scarcity of, you’re going to let them work where they want to work. The lagging indicator is the commercial office space owners who are hoping and are still getting revenue. Many of them, even if it’s vacant, if it’s boarded up, you and I think, “They’re getting no revenue.” They probably still are getting some revenue, but that’s not going to happen for a firm.

Leases haven’t run out, is what you’re saying.

The owners of the companies had the lease go bankrupt or default on it. They have to keep paying it and renegotiate it. Maybe they’re paying a lesser amount. When we are seeing hundreds and office spaces and buildings that are going to be vacant and growing month after month, we all should be watching that 27% or 28% of complete office vacancy that’s going on.

REW Beth | Commercial Space Conversions

Commercial Space Conversions: Commercial leases are very long, and you can’t just say, “I want out.” It’s not a good business decision to have long-term office leases.

 

You’re talking about offices, not retail space.

The 27% or 28% is only office space. Now we can talk about retail. If you happen to own retail space during COVID, and even before that, there’s so much that it has been said that COVID accelerated trends that were going to happen. Who completely won during COVID was Amazon. Delivery to a home is a gift now. if you think like, “I need a little thing for my kitchen. Am I going to go to a store or order it on Amazon and get it within hours of the next day?” We’ve all been conditioned to something that we’re going to anyway. Every retail company is feeling this. I was shocked. I didn’t realize that 75% of Starbucks business is either online or pre-ordered or goes through a drive-thru. We are quickly moving to a digital non-interface transaction to get things like food and shopping.

We used to go downtown because we worked there. Everybody eats lunch and has coffee. Now people are working downtown, so you don’t go get coffee and lunch there, but people still would like to live and work downtown, perhaps in their own space. The retail that might work going forward is boutique and charming little places where you can find things you want to touch and try. The restaurants or coffee shops are all great. I question whether people will want to drive downtown and buy something that they could purchase simply online, which does not need you to touch, look and interact.

Our retail suppression is huge and it is not coming back. It’s a whole other conversation, but for the intents and purposes of real estate, we’re thinking, “There’s a huge opportunity here, tremendous demand for residential rental property.” Condominiums, no demand, very little retail demand for a little office space, almost no demand, but if we want to have these coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants thrive in our downtowns, we have got to get people back in. We have the solution. It’s already built. It’s vacant. It’s waiting for us to do something with it.

Can you talk to me a little bit about what a conversion might cost? I know this is a huge wide open question. Let me give you a little bit of context. Ladies, if you have a deeper question or a different question, please contact Beth. She’s going to give you contact information. This is specifically for me because I’m right in the middle of my own things. I’m going to share this with everybody. I have been building a multi-use condominium complex. I have 2 condos and 1 little commercial unit. The zoning was commercial, but they allowed mixed-use. It took us ten years to get that through. We’ve been sitting on this property for a very long time.

Ladies, I think that this is valuable for you to read because I’ve talked about this project a lot. This is an update on what’s going on. Because of COVID, lumber costs went up and we’ve had a huge amount of problems with the supply chain, all of those things that you have been reading about that Moneeka is dealing with. This project that was supposed to have been done in January 2022, even December 2021 was close to done, but it’s that last 10% that takes 90% of the time with construction.

We’re at that point of trying to get it done. I’m super excited about it still. We’re still in those last few moments. Now we’ve got our two condos up above. They’re spectacular and beautiful, then we’ve got this commercial space down below. It is zoned retail. We were originally thinking office space because it’s a destination place. It’s a walkable area, but it’s hidden. It was behind other buildings. It’s not accessible for walking traffic. It’s kind of a destination commercial spot.

We were thinking that maybe we could get a variance and get it as office space instead of retail. As you and I are having this conversation, the first thing that comes to mind is we’ve got this commercial space. Just for perspective, once we sell the two condos, we will have made a very nice profit. We don’t have to sell the commercial space down below and have thought about keeping it and renting it.

Keep in mind that it took nine years to get the variance on our zoning from retail to multi-use. If we talk to the city about possibly converting this commercial space, goodness gracious knows how long that’s going to take. What’s going on in my mind as you and I speak that is, does it make sense to start that conversation? Should we not build out the commercial because maybe we should wait and then convert it into a studio apartment later instead of building it out? Do you see what I’m saying? Do you have any ideas around that context?

I have tons of ideas about that. Is your space in California?

Look at how many vacant office buildings are for sale. If you can go in and get a really good price and purchase something and convert it, you probably are going to be making a profit in just a few years. Click To Tweet

It is in Los Altos.

First of all, congratulations on doing what you’re doing. It took us three months to get an exception, to be able to put a presidential and ground level in San Rafael. We’re greenlit in three months and our clients are like, “That seemed to take a long time.” I’m like, “No.” What many people probably don’t know is there’s an actual state law that says, “Mixed-use and commercial residential property, you have to be allowed to put residential in ADU.” It is a law and that has to be zoned. The local groups cannot block it.

First and foremost, that’s one of the things that we do in my company. My cofounder and I in our group, we absolutely know California Law. It is all in favor of putting residential units. I love that. People are like, “What? You can put mixed-use in commercial space?” Absolutely. Excessively it won’t link you to an ADU Law. You can convert things that have been put in boiler spaces, storage, basement, garage of mixed-use commercial space. It must be allowed to be an ADU.

We talked about that quite a bit. However, we don’t want to stop there. We believe that with the element plan in California and a quick synopsis of it, the state of California mandated that every single county in towns within the state be put in more residential housing. If they don’t do it these next years, we’re at the beginning of an eight-year plan. All penalties come in. Municipalities are desperate to get residential housing because they don’t want to give up their authority on what will happen if they don’t do that. We simply come in, talk to the municipality and say, “We have the solution. It’s right here. What would it be the sense of blocking it?”

We would throw in affordable housing once again in our neighborhoods. A one-bedroom apartment rented at $3,000, believe it or not, is considered affordable housing. It’s affordable, but it’s also profitable for owners. If it weren’t profitable, we’re not going to get housing. I talk about that a lot because I am a property owner. I do rent it out, but I don’t do it simply out of the goodness of my heart. We also make passive income.

If we don’t have it profitable for property owners, then in my estimation, it’s not going to happen. There’s a win-win here. Your property, if it were me, I would seriously consider residential because where you have your building that’s a huge demand for residential. It’s incredible. You would have people lining out the door as it goes to trying to give rent concessions or, “Please come and you have an office here.” Why don’t you ever run into someone who can live and work there? That’s my thoughts on that. I hope I have answered that question for you.

I love women with strong opinions. I am one. That’s awesome. The thing that’s going on in my mind is we had nine years to get the variances, get everything through. We’re on the back end of finishing the building. Should I approach the city now or get all the approvals as it is, sell the two condos, then go back and say, “Let’s do something with this commercial because of the current circumstances?” I’m afraid to get them pulling all of our approvals that then we can’t sell the two condos. We’ve got a huge loan on this.

I appreciate your concern because we have done a lot of building and I understand you don’t want to take anybody off. What I would recommend is that you would work with us and because we aren’t you. We simply come into municipalities with a mindset of, “We’re here to give you municipality a solution.” We do it very neutral, diplomatically and friendly. We even ended up talking to elected officials like mayors because they love this idea. We’re not making it about this particular, your singular issue, but the more holistic problem that the municipality is having. We’re here to help you find solutions. It is great publicity to do something like this for the municipality. They’re excited about that. To be incredibly self-serving, I would love that.

We do things like that. We do work with just very particular issues. The other thing I think about is that we gently, firmly and friendly remind municipalities and counties what the law is because they don’t know. We show it to them early. We are like, “Do you know that you ministerially have to approve this in 60 days?”

REW Beth | Commercial Space Conversions

Commercial Space Conversions: California law is all in favor of putting residential units in.

 

When you’re talking about your odyssey a few years, when we’re talking about ADU, the state of California said, “You have to approve plans within 60 days and you cannot block it unless it has to do with life safety code.” What has happened in the past that took many years to do even to get variances? I’m not even quite sure you need a variance to make that presidential. I wouldn’t even question that. That’s already in California. It could already be mandated in the state of California.

We don’t use the word Mandated. We say, “Did you know?” We educate people quite a bit because it’s in our best interest. Getting back to cost, I know I skirted that because, during COVID, one of the things that we do quite a bit is we do so much pre-work and think this through. Here is my opinion. Anybody can build anything that’s super expensive. If you have no budget, you can do anything. The real interesting problem to solve here is how to build an economically, but good so that it’s profitable. We have architects that work not on a percentage as a bid but give us a bid based on their hourly rate. That right there is hugely different.

The second thing is we make decisions based on what is available, practical, and beautiful, but what we’ll be able to put in, in rent at the price point that we’re targeting. When we are building, we pick what’s available. What are the refrigerators we put in? The ones that are available. What is the flooring that we’re going to put in? Durable, beautiful and available.

The contractors that we’re going to use, we’re going to predominantly pick them up when they’re down season, the rainy season. We don’t have a problem with subcontractors or contractors because we’re working side an envelope. In the State of California, you cannot pour a foundation after October 15th because of the rain and the floods that can happen. By definition, our conversions are all interior, so we don’t have any limitations with that.

There are things that you can think about. I’ve built with my husband beautiful houses, but that is not interesting to me. What is super interesting is good housing that can be rented and then owners can make a profit. People that reading, which I’m so happy about women, we are so good at this. We know how to make homes, how to work within constraints and people.

We know how to influence people without being super aggressive. We sneak in and we get this stuff done. I can do a spreadsheet like no one else. People double-check my work because they can’t believe the return on investment is as good as it is, but my spreadsheets are good and it’s profitable. We do not take years. We take months to convert.

Let’s go to the next piece, which is do you think that it’s a good investment to buy some of these commercial properties? There are a lot of commercial property owners that are just desperate. For my belief and tell me if I’m wrong, they’re going to be selling for pennies on the dollar because they can’t rent it out. They don’t understand the idea of conversion unless they’ve read this show. Many of them don’t understand that.

Does it make sense? Commercial property is more expensive than residential in general. Even pennies on the dollar might not be a good deal. Could you speak to that whole thing? Does it make sense as an investor in residential to buy some snap up some of these commercial office spaces and then convert them? What do you think?

That’s exactly what some of our first clients are doing. We converted their already owned property and they loved it so much. They’re like, “I immediately going to buy more.” Commercial property could be more expensive, but necessarily not in Northern California. It depends. When you’re going to sell a commercial property or purchase it, you are looking at what type of rent you’re going to get per square foot.

That’s the whole thing, right? It’s all based on revenue. If you want to leverage it or get a loan, and if it’s already rented, it’s so much more valuable. If it’s vacant, you’re just going to do speculation. I would not buy commercial space right now that is vacant and speculating that you’re going to rent into retail or office space.

You want to buy things before everybody decides they want to buy it. Click To Tweet

That is not a conscious decision. However, if you come and just look at how many vacant office buildings are for sale, there are so many. Who’s going to buy them? We give people estimates before we even start working with them. We can’t guarantee it, but we know what things cost. If you can go in and get a good price, purchase something and convert it, this can be profitable in a few years, which is amazing. What is even more interesting is what if you purchased it, converted it, occupied and then sold it?

My husband and I sold residential property because there was a feeding frenzy Now we’re going to be purchasing more because it is slowing down. I think that if you want to buy property. You want to buy things before everybody decides they want to buy. It’s human nature that you’re like, “I need to buy a house now. I’m going to outfit the next person by 5% or something.” Let’s all decide that’s an emotional decision, and I get it. For commercial right now, you have no competition unless you want to buy warehousing. Warehousing is very high priced, but downtown vacant office space is cheap.

That’s all relative. The other piece that I wanted to talk to you about is turning spaces in our homes where we live and already own our own residential real estate and how to convert some of that into highly profitable spaces. We are out of time, though. What I’m thinking we’re going to do is take that to EXTRA. Does that sound fun?

That sounds wonderful.

Ladies, we’re going to be talking about how to turn your home into a profit center if you want to. We’re going to do that in EXTRA. Before we close down the show, could you tell everybody about how they can reach you because I’m sure lots of people has questions for you?

The best way to reach me is by email at [email protected] or the website, MyVADU.com. The company’s name is VADU. That’s the very easiest way to get ahold of me. I always respond to emails. I love talking about space. We absolutely will do a free consultation. We usually say it’s about a half hour, but it usually runs until 2 to 3 hours. What happens is that people become so interested.

Our conversion rate of clients is super high. We know the space and we’d like to talk about it. If you get a hold of me, if it is a property that you own, that you’d know somebody that owns it, or you’re thinking of purchasing, we do like to know the property because it is going to be dependent on that property because we will tell people if it is not a good idea to convert or if you do, it’s going to be expensive. We do talk about the particular property.

This has been amazing. Thank you.

You’re welcome. It’s been such a pleasure.

I’ve had so much fun. Ladies, stay tuned for EXTRA. We’re going to be talking about turning some of your personal space into profit space. If you are subscribed for EXTRA, stay tuned. If not, please go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com and you can sign up now. For those of you that are leaving us now, thank you so much for joining Beth and I for this portion of the show. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon. Bye.

 

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From Stress to Bliss In Business And Life With Moneeka Sawyer

REW Moneeka Sawyer | Stress To Bliss

 

When you’re frustrated, you may notice something unexplainable happening in your body, which doesn’t feel good. How can you turn stress to bliss? Join your host Moneeka Sawyer as she dives deep into building authentic happiness, emotional intelligence, and self-discovery. She discusses how the power of being in a bliss mode affects your business and whole life. Nothing changes until you take action and you determine your life with the choices that you make. So why not choose to be happy? Tune in to learn valuable insights about managing our emotions and embracing the joys life has to offer.

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here


 

From Stress to Bliss In Business And Life With Moneeka Sawyer

Real Estate Investing for Women

In this episode, I have something a little bit different for you that I wanted to share. Originally, my flagship book was called, Choose Bliss. For a long time, I talked a lot about that. I traveled around the country and whatever, and then I moved into Blissful Investor. I started this show and all of that stuff. During this time that I’ve been so focused on Blissful Investor, I haven’t been asked to talk about Choose Bliss very often. I’ve been on television a couple of times. During the pandemic, I was on television, talking about Choose Bliss. When you’re on TV, it’s like a 3, 5, 7 or 10-minute spot. It’s a short period of time. They’re usually asking questions.

I was asked to do a 30-minute talk on Choose Bliss. I have to confess I was a little bit wary because I haven’t been talking about it for a long time. To be honest, I personally have changed quite a bit since I wrote that book. That book was the beginning for me. It felt channeled. There’s so much about it that I learned as I read it because I don’t remember everything. I’m still me, but the book inspires me often. I have evolved and changed. When I got asked to talk about it, I thought, “I just can’t pull up one of my old talks that I used to do. I needed to create something different.” I did that. I did my first talk about Choose Bliss since the pandemic. It was so much fun.

I did something completely different. It’s very interactive. I had so much fun presenting it. It was delightful for me. I thought that you ladies might appreciate it. I’m hoping that you will benefit from it. I would love to hear your feedback on it because it’s the new format that I’m looking at doing for my Choose Bliss talks. If any of you have any advice, I’m always open. If you feel that it’s valuable, I would love to hear that too. I wanted to share that with you. I hope you enjoy this. I also hope you have an amazing week. I’ll see you soon. Thanks.

Moneeka Sawyer has often been described as one of the most joyful people you will ever meet. I can attest to that. For over a decade, she has been helping successful professionals, executives and entrepreneurs ease anxiety, overwhelm and stress so that they can experience more joy, ease and success in all areas of their lives. She is the author of the international best-selling book, Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment, which is honored by the prestigious Quill Award for best literary work from the governor of the state of Maryland and several other awards.

Moneeka is known as the blissful millionaire. She is a TEDx speaker. She hosts the highly acclaimed podcast and nationally syndicated radio show, Real Estate Investing for Women. She has been featured on stages with Suzanne Somers, Martha Stewart, Ice-T and Coco, and places like NASDAQ, Harvard, Carnegie Hall, and on TV, NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox reaching over 150 million people.

She was also interviewed by my hero, Hal Elrod of The Miracle Morning community on his podcast. That was huge because I’ve never met anybody who’s been on his show. With that, I want to introduce you all officially to Moneeka. Moneeka, it’s a pleasure to have you here. We look forward to learning from you and smiling by the end of the day.

Thank you so much for inviting me here, Anastasia. I’m honored to be spending this time with everybody. I was here a couple of weeks ago, and Anastasia mentioned what it is that I took from Hal Elrod’s show. It warms my heart when people integrate what I talk about. Sometimes as a speaker, you’re talking out of the ether. Many of you are speakers so you know. You don’t know what happens. Thank you, Anastasia. I’ve been smiling ever since because of that.

It’s nice to meet everybody. What a wonderful conversation. I love that everybody does introductions. I get to know all of you. Before we start, I would like all of us to ground for a minute. Would you guys join me, please? Let’s take a couple of deep breaths in and push that breath down to the ground so we can all be present. Let’s do that together.

Thank you for joining me in that. I like to start every day with a little bit of grounding so I can be aware of my bliss. We’re going to be talking about bliss. I want to start with this. Did you know that your mind in bliss mode, which is different from neutral mode, stress mode or negative mode, gives you a huge advantage in life and business? Many of you understand about mindset. I’m sure that you’re aware of that, but I’m not just talking about the positive mode. I’m talking about bliss mode.

Definition Of Bliss

REW Moneeka Sawyer | Stress To Bliss

Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment

Let me define what I mean by bliss. Bliss is a deep sense of joy and contentment, and the confidence that you can handle anything that comes your way. Bliss is about emotional mastery and emotional resilience. Why is this important? What does this have to do with our life or business? Warren Buffett says, “If you can’t control your emotions, you can’t control your money.” If bliss has to do with emotional mastery and emotional resilience, you can see how this relates to Warren Buffett’s world of business. I hope you can also see how it relates to everything else we do in life.

If you can control your emotions, and I like to say manage rather than control, if we can manage our emotions, we’re able to make better decisions that will support the joy in every area of our life, whether it’s our health, working out, what we eat, relationships, business or investing. We talked a little bit about real estate. All of those things are going to be affected by how we make decisions. If we make decisions based on the filters of bliss, we’re going to make decisions that are more supportive of the joy of our life. I hope that makes sense to everybody and that feels relevant.

I put together something special for this group. This is not my normal talk. When I visited before, I noticed how interactive all of you are and how much great wisdom is already here about mindset, bliss and joy. I wanted to have an experiential talk rather than just talking at you. I hope that’s okay. I hope you’ll join me and be fully engaged as we move into this experience of bliss. This is going to be funny because we’re going to start with the unblissful piece. I promise I will pull you out of that fast, and you will end the day feeling blissful.

Frustration

What I would like to do is for all of us to think about something that makes us unhappy, something that causes frustration, and might cause a reaction in you in a normal circumstance. Maybe it’s getting cut off at work. Maybe it’s thinking about the school system. Maybe it’s watching the news. For me, one of the examples that I like to give is if I wake up in the morning and my website has been hacked again. I don’t know why this happens so much to me. You can imagine that something like this will send my head into a complete tailspin.

I want you to have this experience in the same way. At that moment, what can happen to me is my head would go into a tailspin and then the story started. My monkey brain goes crazy. I’m like, “Again? I can’t believe this is happening. I hate tech. It never supports me. What am I going to do?” My mind goes on and on. Eventually, I worked myself up into tears, call my webmaster, and then he takes care of it. Still, I’m in this state of frustration, which is hard for me now to focus on the other things in life that I would like to be doing. It takes me time to come back to my bliss state.

That’s the thing that I’m looking for. I would like you guys to think of something like that, that sends you or could possibly send you into that feeling of frustration. Think about it. I want you to feel it. I promise we’ll get you out of there, but I want you to feel into it. As you’re doing that, I also want you to notice what happens to your body. We’re going to talk about this in a second, but I’m going to stop talking for a minute so you can get into that mode.

Bliss is a deep sense of joy, contentment, and the confidence that you can handle anything that comes your way. Click To Tweet

Are we all there? It’s interesting from my perspective to watch what happened with all of you. Everybody was smiling. We were all happy. Now everybody is like this. Notice what happens to our bodies. When I get frustrated, you saw what happened. My hands went to my head. My head is down. I’m all scrunched over. My shoulders are forward. My lower back hurts. There’s physiology also that happens when we’re feeling that level of frustration.

More About Bliss

Now let’s switch gears and we’ll talk about bliss. What I want you to think about now is something that makes you feel happy and good. This is going to be a bliss trigger for you. For me, I’m lucky that I have a bliss trigger that happens every single morning. I get my little puppy out of his crate. He’s all wiggly, waggy and adorable, and wants to be cuddled. We get to cuddle in the morning. One of the things that I reminded myself of way better than meditation, although I do meditate, to put me in a specific bliss mood at the moment is cuddling with him, feeling the joy, and breathing into that joy so I can take that joy with me into my day.

What I would like you to do is take a minute. This one, I want you to feel into it because I want to pull you out of that yucky feeling you just had. Think of something that makes you feel good. This is going to be a bliss trigger for you. It’s something that feels yummy, that makes you feel happy and smile. I want you to write down a couple of trigger words for that. For me, it would be, “Morning with my puppy.” That way, you know you can go back to it. I’m going to be quiet for a moment and let you guys think of that and then write down some trigger words.

I’m watching people’s faces change, but I’m noticing a couple of faces haven’t changed yet. Are we all there? Give me a nod if you’re feeling. Susan, thank you so much for that comment. We’ll get back to that later. How are you guys feeling? When you think of something that brings you joy, it happens emotionally. You can’t help it. Our minds affect our bodies and our bodies affect our minds. You’re feeling joy.

I want you to take a look at your bodies and what’s happening there. For me, when I think about my puppy, notice that I’m sitting up straight. My shoulders are back. I’m smiling, eyes forward, and so much more engaged with the group. My head isn’t down like this. There’s a complete physiological change that happens. When you’re in this bliss mode, now you can look at things from a different filter.

What I want you to do is now to think back to that yucky situation we introduced earlier. Think about that and notice what happened to you. Did you slump over? Did you have the same reaction that you had before, or is it different? Do you feel differently about it? Would you react differently to it? For instance, in my computer hacking situation, let’s say I had this lovely moment with my puppy in the morning. I’m feeling all blissful. I go to my computer and I noticed that my computer has been hacked.

REW Moneeka Sawyer | Stress To Bliss

Stress To Bliss: Your mind in bliss mode gives you a huge advantage in life and business.

 

In this situation, I would probably take a couple of deep breaths as I did with you earlier. I feel my frustration. I would then immediately call my webmaster and have him handle it. Now it’s off my plate. It’s out of my day. It only caused a little bit of frustration and I’m back to work without much interruption. Can you see that in bliss mode, I’m much more productive, I’m much more joyful, and I’m making better decisions? Does that make sense? Did anybody else have the same experience? I would love to hear some feedback from you guys, maybe 1 or 2 people. Yeah, thank you, Susan.

I start my day quite early with exercise classes from Sloan Kettering on Zoom. When Zoom throws me out or freezes, it does set my head spinning. It’s my fault, but that does change my mode.

Susan, did you feel a difference when you thought about that first and then we went into bliss mode and then you thought about it later? What was the difference between those two ways of looking at the same situation?

When I thought about what makes me smile every morning, I smiled.

How did you react to the Zoom dropping you off?

Let’s not have it happen with you. I won’t know for a minute. Those things happen intermittently. They happen and it’s how we perceive them.

When you're in the bliss mode, you can look at things from a different filter. Click To Tweet

We can create filters on how we perceive them. If you’re going to put on filters, you might as well put on filters that support your joy, don’t you think?

That’s a good line.

Choose Bliss

Here’s another line that I love. This is not mine. A friend of mine gave it to me. I’m going to read it so I get it exactly right. “Your mind on bliss always finds better solutions to anything that comes up than a mind without it.” You guys have had this experience. I hope that demonstrated my perspective on what bliss is. This is why I called my book, Choose Bliss, because living a blissful life is a choice. What filters you see the world through is your choice. You’ve experienced this right now. You could choose to go into it in your normal reactionary mode, which is how most of us live, or you can choose to prime yourself with bliss and then go into your world in that way.

Bliss Tool And Moments

The next thing is that you can use your physiology for bliss. I’ve given you one tool. It is to create a bliss trigger. That’s the first tool that I’ve given you. I like to make sure that you guys have things to take away as Anastasia did from one of my other conversations. You’ve got a bliss tool. I want to make sure that you hold onto that. You’ve got some trigger words. What I would like you to do is think right now of a couple of other bliss moments that you can utilize.

This is why I want you to do this, we’ve all been in business for a long time. We’ve all lived full lives. We all know that when stress happens, no matter how much training we’ve had, stress takes over frequently. A challenge can take over. In those moments, it’s hard to be like, “I should be thinking blissfully. This is what I’m going to do.” Instead, you’re starting to have that reaction. If you’ve got scripts already prepared and memorized, you can immediately replace the monkey brain that’s happening for you with a new script that will give you joy. That’s why I like people to have prepared in their mind moments that they can now turn to and decide to live to change the filters at that moment.

What I would like you to do is take a minute and think about a couple more. We got one. I want to give you three because one isn’t always going to do it. I would like you to have three. Think about two more moments that would give you great joy. Write down some trigger words. I’m going to be quiet, so you go ahead and do that.

REW Moneeka Sawyer | Stress To Bliss

Stress To Bliss: Notice what happens to your body when you’re in bliss mode or dealing with frustration.

 

Let me know when you guys feel like you’ve got a couple that you can utilize and you’ve written around some trigger words. Go ahead and nod. I’m hoping that all of you have those. I would like you to leave this presentation with some tools in your bliss tool belt. I hope you got that so you can utilize them. Even if you don’t, you got time. This is a practice that you want to do for the rest of your life. This is one other thing that I want to say about living a blissful life, it’s not necessarily easy. It’s a habit that we create.

Anastasia mentioned something about when I walk into a room, people see me as the most joyful person in the world or whatever it is. The reality is I have bad days too. Being blissful does not mean that you do not have the full range of emotions. You can go from depression to ecstasy. We all have emotions. Those emotions are our right. They teach us. We have lessons. They tell us what’s going right and what’s going wrong. They tell us what to aspire for. Our emotions are a good thing.

A blissful person doesn’t live in the range of emotions. They experience them and then they come back to the core state of bliss that they can call home. Living in that place is a habit. It’s a habit of creating the right filters. It’s a habit of training our minds. If you want that and you want to be able to do it consistently, you have to practice. You need some of these tools. You need to practice again and again. It’s not necessarily easy and it takes time. It’s like brushing your teeth. You don’t get to do it once and then have it be over. Your teeth will all fall out.

You want to make sure that you’re doing this every single day to support yourself. It’s an effort, but it’s worth it. If you make those habits or if you create that in your life and you make those filters, now you get to live a blissful life most of the time. You also make better decisions in your life. You also are more productive like we talked about. There are many more advantages to living a blissful life. It gives you that advantage in life.

Now that I’ve given you one tool, let me give you my second favorite tool. That is to pay attention to your physiology. You already have this experience of walking through what a difference it makes when you’re sad, upset, angry or frustrated. What happens to your body? For most of us, our shoulders will fall forward. We contract. It will show up in different ways in our bodies. When you’re in bliss mode, you expand. This doesn’t look natural, but we do expand.

That physiology is an indicator, first of all, of whether we’re feeling blissful or not. It can also be a leading indicator. Maybe we wake up on the wrong side of the bed or maybe something is starting to happen in your day and you’re starting to collapse, just do the things that you would naturally do. It’s different for everybody. You had this experience before, so you’re aware of what your body does. What does your body do when you’re blissful? Now, position your body in that way. For me, I’ll pull my shoulders back. I’ll start to breathe more deeply. When I’m upset, I breathe much more shallowly. Breathe more deeply. I’ll put a smile on my face. I’m not faking the smile. If you put it on your face, maybe it will become real. It is an indicator for me if I’m feeling good or not. It is whether I’m smiling or not.

When your mind is with bliss, you always find better solutions to anything that comes up than a mind without it. Click To Tweet

Control

I’m not going to go on this tangent, but there is scientific evidence that when you smile, all these muscles in your face react. There’s a release of endorphins. Smiling is scientifically good. It makes you happy. Even physiologically, the act of smiling tells your body, “I’m happy. I’m feeling good.” With that physiological response, we can create a posture of bliss to then create the mood of bliss. I’m telling you this because I want you to understand that you have absolute control over your bliss. We can do it with our minds by using the bliss triggers. We can do it with our bodies. In both cases, when you get into a moment that’s feeling unblissful, all you have to do is a little tweak and suddenly your mood alters.

It’s a little bit like magic. The more you do it, the more you get to experience that blissful life that will support everything that you want to do, your productivity, good decisions, good relationships, good business, and good investing. It affects everything. Was that valuable? Did you guys feel like those are some yummy tools that you can use in your toolbox? That’s bliss for a lot of people, I have to confess.

Ashley, you guys have so much wisdom in this room. I’m going to want to hear more about your bliss practices when we get into the Q&A. Keep those in mind because I would love for you to share those. Susan shared about laughter in the morning, and then about bacon. We’re going to talk about that. We need to wrap up, unfortunately, because I don’t have a huge amount of time.

There are two more practices that I want to share with you. One is in the form of a gift and one I will give to you because it’s quick. The golden ticket or the master key to bliss is gratitude. It turns out that your bliss is directly related to your gratitude and how much time you spend in gratitude. This topic is important that I wrote a full chapter of it in my book, Choose Bliss. It’s a deep concept. It’s not just, “Thank you,” although that is good. That’s a great place to start, but there are ways to do it that will enhance your bliss.

The interesting thing about gratitude is you can do it wrong. Some people will do gratitude practices where they’re avoiding lack. They say it in a way that makes them scared to lose it, whatever it is that they’re grateful for. You don’t want to be doing a gratitude practice that causes fear. In my chapter, I talk about the right way to do a gratitude practice. Since I don’t have the time to go over it right now, I would like to give that to you as a gift.

It’s CoreBlissLife.com/survey. I have a little appreciation form for you guys to give me feedback on. If you don’t want to fill these forms out, don’t worry about it. You can go down to the bottom and say, “Yes, I want you to gift,” and give me your email address. That’ll be fine. If you do feel like giving me feedback, I would be honored to hear your thoughts. I respect all of you in this room and would love to hear from you. If you would rather not do that, go to the form, get your free gift, put in the email address, and then use the next couple of minutes while people are filling out the form to write down some practices that you personally do to achieve bliss in your life, or maybe write down some things that you’re going to use from this presentation going forward in your life.

REW Moneeka Sawyer | Stress To Bliss

Stress To Bliss: In bliss mode, you tend to be more productive, joyful, and making better decisions.

 

Extra Credit Strategy

Thank you to those of you who filled out the form. For those of you that want the chapter, I will get that out to you as soon as I can. As I promised, you got an extra credit strategy that I want to give you before we open up the floor for Q&A and your comments. Here’s my extra credit strategy. It is called Stop, Drop and Breathe. This is my favorite one because it’s quick and easy. You can do it anywhere, anytime with anyone. It’s super effective.

This is how this works. Imagine that you’re in that yucky moment. For me, it was my computer getting hacked. I start to notice the monkey mind is going. Understand that a situation does not cause a reaction. The story in your head about the situation causes the reaction. What you want to do is that you catch, “There’s this story starting to happen in my mind. I’m starting to slump. I’m starting to have a reaction.” First, you stop. For me, quite literally from my office, I will say, “Moneeka, stop.” If I’m in a grocery store or in public, I might snap. I have some triggers to stop the monkey mind.

Take your mind and drop it down into your heart. Literally remove it and take it into your heart. That’s the drop. Now take three deep breaths in through your nose. Have that breath go all the way down so it’s tickling the back of your belly button and then breathe out through your mouth. That’s an energizing breath. You want to do three of those or as many as you can do. If you could only do one, you do one.

Notice my voice has dropped. My frustration has gone. Now you’re in a place to be able to respond again from a filter of bliss. Use this all the time. This is my favorite strategy because I use it the most. You can use it in a second. You don’t need to engage your brain. You just engage your body, which is significantly easier.

This one is a little bit of a challenge in the beginning because a lot of people can’t get the breath. We can’t stop the brain or the monkey mind. We can’t get the breath. Don’t give up on it if it doesn’t work the first time. If you practice it 6 or 7 times, you’ll start to notice, “That’s easier.” All these bliss practices take a little bit of practice, but they’re totally worth it. This one is the easiest one to get access to immediately. It has been an honor to chat with you and to spend time with you.

I hope that the experiences and the tools that I gave you were valuable and will help you to live a more blissful life. I know there’s a lot of wisdom in this room. I would like to hear from you. What is it that you do to create bliss in your life? What is it that you loved that you think you will take forward into your life starting right after this meeting to create more bliss in your life? Would anybody like to share? If you have questions for me, please feel free to ask. Anastasia go ahead.

Living a blissful life really is a choice. What filters you see the world through really is your choice. Click To Tweet

First off, I want to go back to that exercise that you had because I’m fully aware of the whole body posture. I’ve tested it on myself, just something and how I feel right now versus being up and aware. It changes how I feel. This idea of having a positive trigger or a bliss trigger that I can go to not only get me out of the space that I’m in. In my case, I was thinking of wildfires. I was upset over what was happening in Arizona because I have friends there. Bringing back all the stuff that happened to the Bay Area and our families brought me down.

The things I was thinking about were my grandchildren, being with my family, my 60th birthday, the tea and the croquet, all this stuff. I could envision myself, my family, and my granddaughters at that party and how much joy that brought me and bliss. To go back to the wildfires, I did find in my body the differences. When I was thinking about the frustration, sadness, anger and fear, my chest tightens, then we go to happiness and I’m feeling more free. I can breathe better. When you had us come back, my chest didn’t tighten as much. I could feel the sadness again over the wildfires, but it didn’t physically affect me as much as it had after I had been in that state of bliss.

I feel like prophylactically, I should be thinking about these on a regular basis as protection. It’s like a Pepto-Bismol coating on my stomach. If I drink it every day, it’s going to help make it easier for me to not go into that space. That was an interesting experiment for you to have us do. I appreciate that. I want to bring back this thing that you talked about on Hal Elrod’s show that I use all the time. That is similar to your stop, drop and breathe, but to stop and call myself out with, “Anastasia, are these thoughts serving you?” I don’t know about everybody else, but my monkey brain goes down in different directions.

How many of us have had a negative dialogue with somebody? An argument with someone that you are imagining in your head that hasn’t even happened, may not ever happen, but I’ll even go through various iterations of it. It didn’t quite turn out the way I want it so then I’ll change my argument with this person to another argument, and then another argument. The next thing I know, I’m spinning myself and then I have to stop, “This hasn’t even happened.”

I’m all upset, usually in the shower, too. I’m angry at this person. I’m angry at my inability to get them to see things from my viewpoint. What I realized is it is so far from reality. I have to stop myself. I literally would say, “Anastasia, are these thoughts serving you?” It brings me dead in my tracks. I have no choice but to shift. I usually laugh at how ridiculous I am. Sometimes it’s harder to get out of that, but I will say that it serves me. In fact, I’ve got a new monitor now, but I got to do this again. I had a label right at the top of my monitor that said, “Anastasia, are these thoughts serving you?” It is a visual reminder to stop myself.

Viktor Frankl, if there’s one person that I can most understand what he’s talking about when we have a choice, that man has shared with us about choice. It is powerful. I reflect back and I imagine myself in a concentration camp in his situation having a choice as to how I feel. They can take everything away from you, but they cannot take away your choice for how you feel. Your statement that reminds me to stop and are these thoughts serving me brings me back to choice. I want to thank you for that.

REW Moneeka Sawyer | Stress To Bliss

Stress To Bliss: When you get into a moment of frustration, all you have to do is a little tweak and suddenly your mood alters. It’s a little bit like magic. And the more you do it, the more you get to experience that blissful life that will support everything that you want to do.

 

Thank you. Anatasia made a good point in that our bliss triggers can be primers for your day. They can also be the cure for your fall from bliss. You can use them on the front end and at the back end. I recommend that you do because you always want to start your day blissed out. Your brain is in bliss. You can also use it as a cure later. Thank you for saying that. I meant to say that in my presentation. I’m glad that you caught that, Anastasia.

The other thing that I want to say is that people think that life has to be complicated and if it’s not complicated, it’s not good. If a strategy isn’t complicated, it’s not good enough for me. It’s not scientifically proven, Whatever it is, I like simple strategies because it’s the simple strategies that you can implement immediately in a moment that can change everything. I love the one that you mentioned. I love these simple strategies.

One other thing that I wanted to mention is we just got out of a pandemic and we were dealing with the war in Ukraine. There are all sorts of stuff that we hear about in the news. Those things cause stress in our bodies and our minds. How much stress is going to be determined by us? We can’t change the school system by ourselves. We can’t change what’s going on in politics. We can’t change what’s happening outside of us, but we always have control of what’s going on inside of us so just remember that. I love what you said about choice, Anastasia. They can take everything, but they can’t take your choice. Thank you so much for that. Does anybody else want to give us something that they use to create bliss in their life? Susan, and then we’ll go to Craig.

I don’t know if any of you remember the photographer Anne Geddes who did the baby pictures and she put the babies in the flowers. For all of you who have grandchildren, I love seeing baby pictures. Whatever is happening, if I have a friend who sends me a video of his grandson or granddaughter, I stop and watch it. If they don’t send me, I’ll send them notes going, “I haven’t seen a picture. That’s cruel of you.” It’s Anne Gedddes’s idea of pictures of these babies smiling. I don’t care about pets. Don’t send me anything with the pet, but the little infants doing wonderful things.

I would jump on what Anastasia said. I do the same thing. I have these great conversations in my head. I was told there’s a psychological term for it. It’s called catastrophizing. One friend, when she asked me why I didn’t write fiction, I said, “I don’t have that great imagination.” She said, “Are you kidding? That story you told me, you have more imagination than anyone I know.”

We make things up, but also nature. As I am sitting here, I look out across the mountains. I see trees. That’s why I don’t spend a lot of time in my formal office. Bliss is something that is a choice. Certainly, Viktor Frankl and many survivors of many horrible things have said that they make choices. They also make some other kinds of payments. I thank you for this because it’s a good reminder that if I know I need to start my day with humor, not to shortchange myself on seeing things that live. Thank you.

People can take everything, but they can't take your choice. Click To Tweet

I love that, Susan. Thank you. Craig, and then Christine.

I was going to say something about choice. Similar to Anastasia, I finished reading Viktor Frankl’s book. It’s all about the choices we make. It’s always good to have a bag of tricks. What am I grateful for? If feel a little anxious or something, I feel what I’m grateful for. It’s important to have a daily trigger. A great example of this is seeing Randal Reeder in his truck with his farm hat and his shirt. That gives me great joy. I’m going to retain this image for the rest of my day. Thank you, Randal. Also, the posture thing. Our wellness and hope expert has so much to say about that. If all else fails, in my kitchen, I have a red box with a glass cover on it and a piece of bacon in there. It says, “If all else fails, go for it.” That’s all I have for you.

That was awesome, Craig. Thank you. Christine, what would you like to share?

Everyone is mentioning Viktor Frankl. He was one of my professors in a couple of classes. I had a unique experience when I was en route to my Master’s and Doctorate in Psychology. It’s an inspiration. I’ve had some amazing professors. He was one of them. I appreciate your learning from what he has written as well, but being there in person with him was truly a learning experience as well. You being here in person is also a very special experience. It also makes me fall to mind things that have made my life special. Music has certainly been one of them. I’ve learned and performed music all over the world in many languages, not always or not typically in my case. At one time, it was for money when I was a student. A lot of times, it’s sharing.

I found that music in people’s lives and hearts can be a trigger to good memories and positive things, not so much as performance, but if shared back with them with the correct pronunciation of their languages and things they learned as children, things that are not children’s or baby songs, but messages and things that mattered to them. That has been one of the things that I’ve been able to get back, and it goes back and forth, to watch the joy and the specialness of things that were music to people, to learn in a positive context if shared back with them in a way that is respectful of the languages and the cultures, not destroying them by not properly saying them or understanding what the message is. That has been one of the things I have found that has been effective to interchange and reciprocate.

Christine, thank you for that. You bring to mind this idea of the givers high and being of service. Even in enjoying music, the way you talked about it was in service to the audience that’s hearing it, not mutilating their language. Service is another one of the chapters of my book. It’s a huge pillar of bliss because when we get out of ourselves and we’re taking into account somebody else, we now have something so much bigger than ourselves to be paying attention to and being of service to others in all different ways, whether it’s speaking their language correctly, whether it’s smiling at them, holding a door for them, or contributing financially or with our time. Those things all give us a server’s high.

REW Moneeka Sawyer | Stress To Bliss

Stress To Bliss: Simple strategies that you can implement immediately in a moment can change everything.

 

I could talk about that for 2,000 years. I love that. There are so many things that prove that we can go and do things in service. Music has been clinically proven to improve people’s moods. It can be a trigger and an anchor as it is a sound. Adding in that, Christine, this attitude of service was beautiful. I’ve never quite heard it that way. Thank you.

One additional thing that I have found. I was a parent. I can repeat things correctly, but it’s the context also, the message of people’s music, the special things that they started out with. Something special and it’s respectful and it’s something that they appreciate.

Thank you. Does anybody else have anything they would like to add or any questions they got?

I want to go off of Susan’s thing about babies. The one thing that no matter where you’re at or whatever, baby giggles and babies laughing bring a smile to my face. It’s pure joy.

I love that, Tony. At night, I have my Instagram account up on my phone. My husband laughs at me. Everything on Instagram for me is about animals. I love elephants. I love the majesty of lions, and I love ducks. I scroll and I see all these reels about all these animals. It sends me off into this blissful sleep. You’re not supposed to have screen time before you go to sleep. For me, this works to send me into my sleep smiling. I wake up much more naturally on the right side of the bed. I’m much happier when I wake up usually if I do that. I love that. It’s children’s giggles for you. For me, it’s animals. I hope you guys found this talk valuable and that you enjoyed it.

It was excellent. Thank you for joining us, Moneeka and for your talk.

 

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Helping Solve The Affordable Housing Crisis By Investing In Mobile Home Parks With Charlotte Dunford – Real Estate Women

REW Charlotte Dunford | Mobile Home Parks

 

Real estate investors have two options: wait and do nothing or be creative and find opportunities. One of the hottest of these opportunities right now is investing in mobile home parks. In this episode, Charlotte Dunford, the managing partner of John Creek Capital and Investment Managing Company, sees a great opportunity in mobile home parks, which is a long-ignored niche that people were not looking at. She shares why she is attracted to mobile home parks, given their nature; it fights off inflation and is also recession resistant. And because of this nature, the mobile home park industry and the market is not as correlated to the overall market health. Tune in and learn how Charlotte tackles the affordable housing crisis by investing in mobile home parks.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here


 

Helping Solve The Affordable Housing Crisis By Investing In Mobile Home Parks With Charlotte Dunford – Real Estate Women

Real Estate Investing For Women

I am so excited to welcome to the show, Charlotte Dunford. Charlotte is the managing partner of Johns Creek Capital, an investment managing company that focuses on mobile home park investments with a total investor subscription amount of over $4.2 million. Numbers-wise, they have twenty park investments, and Charlotte, herself, has also created over $500,000 of assets value in the past. She comes from humble beginnings and is a first-generation American citizen and college graduate after leaving China with just her belongings at age sixteen. Welcome to the show, Charlotte. How are you?

I am doing well. Thanks so much for having me.

I am so excited about this conversation. We have not had anybody come on the show and talk about mobile home parks. I am super excited about that. Before we dive into that, could you tell us your immigration story and all of that stuff?

I came from China. I pretty much jumped on the plane and left for the United States when I was sixteen years old to go to a high school here in America. It was Pennsylvania. I did not speak any English. I did not have money, not even a cell phone, or anything. I remember being picked up from the Philadelphia airport and being dropped off. He drove through the woods like a forest wooded area and to my host family’s house. It is a host family I never met before. To me, it was all new. I had to try to integrate and learn the language, learn the culture, and try to climb up the American society through different steps. First, I studied hard to get into a top college here in the south, an engineering college at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Shortly after graduation, I was able to land a job here in Alpharetta as a business analyst and also doing real estate on the side. I found that using my salary to qualify for larger deals became more difficult as my salary was not going up at the rate of me wanting to acquire. Therefore, I quit my job. It was risky for me and it was a calculated risk because, at the time, I have only been working for one and a half years. My husband did not have a job because he was still at school. He just graduated, so he did not have a job. I quit my job. My little bit of savings and other investments we had were not enough to launch a company, let alone make it succeed.

However, I was thorough in my education and also learned a ton before I quit my job to educate myself on how real estate works and had to start learning from scratch. Fortunately, I was able to do deals when I was still holding my job. I had some experience. After I quit my job, I was quick to start the Johns Creek Capital and grow the company with my partner from 2 parks in 2019 to 27 parks.

Why did you leave China?

There are a lot of Chinese immigrants everywhere and they leave for different or similar reasons. I wanted to pursue better opportunities because in a communist regime, such as China that I grew up under, owning real estate or having any business, you have to have relationships with the government or your family needs to be very wealthy to be able to make the cut. For me, nobody in China owns their own real estate. They lease it from the government for 70 years. The lack of capitalism or entrepreneurial opportunities and a better environment for people like me to grow in was what prompted me to travel to the United States to pursue a new life.

You made that decision at the age of 15 or 16. That is incredible. I want to dive into this a little bit deeper because I want to understand the mindset. I am a first-generation American. My parents are first-generation. It depends on how you define it, but my parents came here as immigrants. There is an immigrant mentality that happens that us Americans, even me as a first generation, having seen my parents, I do not have that drive. They come here for better opportunities because they see something that is not working in their home country. They do not come here, against popular belief, to mooch off the government to try to take our jobs or to do any of this stuff.

They come here because there is something that is not working at home and they want out so bad. They are willing to leave their families, everything they know, and their culture, even if they do not speak the language, to come to create something better for their life to have more choices. We all know that I am all about choice. In most parts of the world, you do not have the level of choice that you have here in the United States. Most immigrants come here and they work their butts off to create something better because it was so hard to get here. At the age of 15 or 16, how do you make that decision?

I never saw the opportunities in China for me, like a lot of people or kids who come to the United States, they come with their parents or a relative. I came by myself. My parents never came with me. They did not even attend my high school graduation. It is that they are very far away. They do not speak English. They are not familiar with anything here. I came by myself. I made the decision because from a young age, I was inspired to achieve more and I did not see the opportunities for me in China. Even in the school system, I knew that I did not belong there.

This independent move on your own, talk to me about how that shifted your mindset. How did it change your outlook on success?

I had nobody. I had to start from scratch. I had to learn English. I had to get along with the host family and get along with the locals and make myself useful. From a young age, for a girl who had to adjust to that, a young girl who was just trying to make it. I was constantly in survival mode. When you are in survival mode, being embarrassed is the least of your worries. That gives me the assertiveness that is required to do what I do. Also, in that survival mode, I knew that was a decision that I cannot go back on. I have to succeed.

Having this belief of having to succeed no matter what, really propels you towards your goals. I think that changed me forever. I was already a very motivated and driven person, but that made me even more ambitious and driven because the more efforts or sacrifice I put into something, the more outcome I would like to see. There is no stopping me now or ever since I got here.

REW Charlotte Dunford | Mobile Home Parks

Mobile Home Parks: Not many people are hunting the ocean in mobile home parks.

 

I love what you just said about being in survival mode. Being embarrassed is the least of your problems or your concerns. It is so interesting how many of us will make choices because we do not want to look stupid. We do not want to do the wrong thing because we have got choices. We have got all of our security, our homes, our parents, and our money. We have got the luxury of being embarrassed. When you are just surviving and you are in a completely different place with very little support, you had your host family. That is fantastic.

My parents did not even have that. You have yourself. You do not have the luxury of being embarrassed, of not being bold, of not pushing yourself to the absolute limits just to survive. It is a beautiful story. Talk to me about how you got into real estate. It sounded like you knew about real estate even in China. Could you tell me a little bit about your real estate story?

Chinese always love real estate, especially when I was growing up. Buying a house and holding that house is always a good investment in Chinese society. However, under the regime, you are not allowed to own your own real estate. You only lease it from the government for 70 years and you have to renew the lease. You never own anything. You have a lot less rights. Owning real estate is extremely hard in China. It is much harder than it would be in the United States. I came here thinking that this is an opportunity that I would never dream of having where I was born into.

I made a promise to myself that I have to start buying real estate as soon as I had the opportunity to, which is right after I landed a job after college to use my salary to qualify for my first single-family home deal. After that, I was able to qualify for another deal. It was a duplex. That is what kicked it off. I quit my job and started mobile home parks because it was a great niche. It was a long ignored niche that people were not looking at. For me, that was a great opportunity.

How are you turned on to the mobile home niche?

I wanted to scale the business. I quit my job and I wanted to go into multifamily originally because the logical thing to do at first is single-family, duplex, 3, 4, 5, and then going to multifamily. The thing is in the multifamily industry, the big boys have been in this game for decades. As a newbie, once you get into real estate and multifamily, that was almost impossible. The brokers will not even talk to you unless you have a pretty big portfolio. That was the red ocean there. I am a big believer in blue ocean strategies, which is a somewhere where not a lot of people are hunting the same ocean. The mobile home park was one of those. I was able to hunt in this blue ocean and get in at a very early part of the cycle to make profits.

When did you get in?

I got in, in late-2019. I quit my job in 2019. I bought my first mobile home park along with my partners. My first private equity deal was n August of 2019 and then the second park in November of 2019. The third park was in December of 2019. 2020 was a big year for us. We acquired many more parks in 2021 as well. We have been closing deals and selling deals and doing the real estate game.

You consider buying mobile home parks more like buying land. Is that true?

Yes. Mobile home parks are a parking lot business. It is a land business. It is not as much of a rental business as multifamily would be.

Talk to me a little bit about the benefits of being in a land of business like that. It is just buying empty land. That is a different land of business. This is a very specific case. Talk to me a little bit about how you view buying this land.

A mobile home park is not an empty land. It is more of a parking lot. It already has utilities set up with homes on it. People are paying a lot fee, parks on your lot. That is where the most valuable things come from. It is the occupied lot with a tenant-owned home on it, paying lot rents versus renting out the mobile home or renting out a home. You have to be in charge of all the utilities, repairs, and maintenance within the home versus a mobile home park business where you do not have the home. You do not want to own the home. You are just in charge of the land, the utilities that are in the park, common area maintenance, general, and then real estate taxes, insurance, and the general parking stuff, not the rental stuff.

The reason why it is attractive, not only because it has a lower expense ratio, it is because the lot rents are incredibly low to start with. It has got a lot more meat on the bone than most other asset classes. A lot of the mobile home park owners are mom-and-pop owners and they do not tend to increase the rent a lot. There is a huge gap usually between the lot rent and the apartment rent, which is another housing product in town, and the market rent. You have a lot more room to make them money. The meat on the bone is the difference between the lot rent into the market with the market handle. There is a lot of room to value add the mobile home park. That is why it is a profitable business.

The mobile home park is an affordable housing business. You are providing affordable housing options for your tenants and giving them that privacy, giving them that home ownership, and boosting the pride of home ownership in the community is what you want. I think it is because it is an affordable housing business and the demand for affordable housing, especially in a recession that we seem to find ourselves in this economy. We become more of a recession-resistant asset. That is why it is attractive. It fights off inflation and recession.

Mobile home parks were a great niche; it was a long-ignored niche that people were not looking at. Click To Tweet

It is not recession-proof, but it is recession-resistant, given the nature of mobile home parks because lot rents are incredibly low to start with. People tend to move to less expensive housing options. Also, our tenant base is not as affected by the recession as many other people would be. For example, a lot of them live on social security income. That is a very stable income source. That is why the mobile home park industry and this market are not as correlated to the overall market health as some other asset classes may be.

You said that there were a lot of opportunities for value add. Talk to me a little bit more about that. When I think about value adds, I buy a place as crappy and I make it beautiful. With a lot that there is already a mobile home on top of or renting, how do you do a value add? What is the process of raising those lot rents? Talk to me a little bit more about how that whole thing works.

The value add of a mobile home park is a neighborhood that you are owning. It is the land that you are owning. Think of yourself as an HOA. You are beautifying the park. You are beautifying the environment around the homes. You are fixing roads. You are fixing potholes. You own the road. You are upgrading utilities. You are adding fences to the neighborhood, making it more pretty, and giving it cosmetic upgrades. You can add a new sign to the community.

You can do all kinds of things to make it cosmetically more attractive. Also, you are responsible for more effective management. You want to build this pride of ownership into your tenants so that they take care of the properties and the park. You are also in charge of common area landscaping, trees, and manicure. All those things are up a value add. Those value add benefits you give to your tenants.

That is when you raise the lot rent. You usually do not want to raise it for more than $50 per year because you do not want to give them too much of a raise that they cannot afford it. $50 per year should not be a problem. As far as raising lot rents, you have to stick to the state regulations. Every state has its own regulations as far as how much notice you need to give your tenants before you can raise the rent.

Some states are 30, 60, and 90 days, but most of them are within 30 to 60 days. You want to give them the notice and you want to work with your tenants and you want to be advocates for your tenants. They are a lot more value out in there. Sometimes the park has a vacant lot and it has already got utilities set up. That is a very expensive process. You can get someone else to move their home into your lot. You can give them some incentives in several months of free rent. That is well worth it to have someone bring a home into your park. Also, you can build back utilities. People tend to use less water when they have to pay for utilities. You can submeter. Those are some of the major ways to value add in a mobile home park.

You mentioned a vacancy. Talk to me a little bit about vacancies and rents. If you went into multifamily, you would be like, “We expect 8% vacancies per year, which means that this many units, we are planning on having this many empty.” Talk to me a little bit about how vacancies work in a mobile home park.

For mobile home parks, the turnover and vacancy are two separate things. The turnover tends to be slightly lower in all tenant-owned parks because they own the home. It is like leaving your home behind. If you own the home, you have to pride ownership of this home. You are a lot less likely to walk away. It does happen, but it is a lot less likely than packing away your stuff and leaving the apartment building. You do not own the apartment building or the condo, but in this case, you own your home. You maybe have a mortgage on the home. The turnover is lower.

Vacancy-wise depends on what you buy it as. If you buy at 80% occupied, it tends to stay that way for an extended period of time. The turnover is more regular in a park-owned home than in a tenant-owned home because the tenants own the home. They would want to take their home with them, but since mobile homes are extremely expensive and hard to move, it is almost impossible to move the home.

How would you feel if you moved in with a 20% vacancy? How do you fill those vacant spots?

You can choose to fill it, which is inexpensive, but very much value add approach. There are several ways to go about it. Number one is to advertise the lot for people to move their own home into the lot so they can bear the costs of moving and home purchase. You have to take care of hooking up the utilities and making sure that utilities are working. That is number one. It is probably the best way, but you do not get those opportunities a lot because it is expensive to move home.

Number two is when you buy a brand new home or a used home and move it to your lot yourself, and then sell this home on a rent credit program, similar to a rental home arrangement. You give it to the tenant based on installments or you sell it to them straight up. Those are the two primary ways to fill lots. The second option is a lot more expensive than the first one, but that is more achievable. You will have to do everything yourself.

Where do you buy them?

You can buy them from mobile home dealers. You can buy them from other mobile home park owners. You can buy from other people who want to sell their mobile homes. The primary source will be a mobile home dealer.

REW Charlotte Dunford | Mobile Home Parks

Mobile Home Parks: Many mobile home park owners don’t tend to increase rent much. So there is a vast gap between the lot rent and the apartment rent, another housing product in town, and the market rent.

 

Where are most of the parks that you own?

Our parks are across ten different states. They are primarily focused in the Midwest and the Southeast. We have a couple up in the Northeast and a couple out West, but most of them are in the Midwest and Southeast.

Why did you choose those markets?

They provide the biggest spread between the cap rate and the interest rate. We want to spread our parks for diversification purposes to diversify our portfolio from a geographic standpoint. Those markets are chosen based on the legislature as well. A lot of times, we do not own a lot of parts in the Northeast, in states like New York or New Jersey, or out West states like California or Oregon or some of the very coastal states. We are in Washington because they are tenant friendly to the point where it makes it extremely difficult to operate in a mobile home park, given the special challenges in this industry. That is why we focus on mostly landlord-friendly places, such as many states in the Midwest and the Southeast.

Could you tell me a little bit more about finding locations and what that process looks like? How do you find the different parks? I understand you want some diversification, which is why you start to go looking. There are some legal things. There are some things about the state laws that impose obligations on some people or not. How do you find the parks, the locations, or the communities? Could you give us some insights on that?

Throughout the time that we have been in the industry, we have built relationships with brokers, sellers, and other professionals in the mobile home park industry that we have enough deal flow going to our desk directly. Once we get those deals, we have a proprietary algorithm utilizing fifteen different parameters to analyze the park and give it a score. The score is going to help us determine how successful this park is going to be. The parameters and the scores are solely based on our own experience and our own data analysis. It is like machine learning, feeding the machine the data that it needs to know the machine starts to learn what is better and was not. It is an algorithm developed by ourselves. It is a simple algorithm, but all the parameters are based on our experience to make a decision.

There are millions of brokers around the country. You are not going to be able to build relationships with all of them. How did you choose which communities to build those relationships in so that those deals would start to come to you?

The brokers we have relationships with usually start with a deal. Mobile home park brokers are not that many. There are a lot of real estate single-family brokers and even multifamily brokers, but brokers who focus or have expertise in mobile home parks are not that many. We usually start the relationship with the deal and see how the broker performs throughout the deal. If we make the deal successful, then usually we would like to continue working with them. The deal is the conversation starter and the relationship starter.

How can people get started investing in mobile home parks?

If you want to start investing passively, you are welcome to visit our website at JohnsCreekCapital.com and talk to me. That way we can get connected. You can invest as an LP, Limited Partner, passively. If you want to start your own mobile home park investing journey, invest actively and turn this into a career, find your niche, and get yourself educated through resources within the mobile home park community. It is a tough asset to manage. You want to understand as much as you can about the asset.

Could you talk a little bit about the challenges of managing a mobile home park? I have friends that have done it and they are like, “It is hard.”

The demographic the mobile home parks have. It is difficult to find good tenants. They are out there. A lot of our parks have wonderful tenants, but there are parks where a lot of tenants are not the most responsible people ever and they would turn your real estate into a mess. That not only does exist in mobile home parks, but I am sure that tenant problems are everywhere. That is in any real estate asset class, multifamily, single-family, or commercial. You have bad tenants and you have good tenants. You want to make sure that you understand the local landlord-tenant laws. Think of the tenants at your mobile home park as a stakeholder because they own their homes there. You want to make sure that there are no bad actors in your company as a stakeholder.

If you have a lot of bad stakeholders, then your company is in danger. That is one challenge. Also, other challenges have to do with the government’s regulations. A lot of times, their job is to find problems in your parks and their job is to find violations that cost thousands of dollars to manage and fix. That is another issue. The biggest money loser in the mobile home park industry is utilities. If you have a utility leak, water leak, or sewer leak, then you not only are subject to the thousand dollars plumbing bills. You are also subject to health department regulations and they could particularly shut your park down. That is a nerve-wracking experience.

The third challenge, last but not the least, is throughout COVID because of the eviction moratorium. Tenants take that as a weapon against the landlords, especially mobile home parks because they take it as they do not have to pay rent. If they own a home that is worth $10,000 and eviction moratorium in some states lasted more than two years. If you have that long of eviction moratorium, they cannot be evicted for non-payment. They can owe you up to $10,000 to $20,000. If they owe you more than what their trailer is worth, they are going to walk away. They are going to walk away, leaving you a problem property, an empty trailer, and trash with things. You are left with an empty trailer that you do not have a title to. You cannot rent out again.

A mobile home park is a parking lot. It is a land business. It's not as much of a rental business as a multifamily would be. Click To Tweet

You have to go through the entire legal process to regain the title, which is another headache and because of the abandoned home, the city is going to cite you for violations of an inhumane environment. You are stuck in the pickle. We have parks where cities go after us for homes that we do not own. During the eviction moratorium, we have no right to evict them, but the city wanted to shut us down for not removing them. We will be breaking the law if we were to remove them. Those are the situations you have to face. You have to be very diplomatic and creative in your solutions to dealing with these people.

Do you have a whole team of people that do those things?

My partner is generally more in charge of the operational side of things. We do have boots on the ground and usually a watch person at each park. For each park, because they are far away from each other, we have a local team. He has good business and real estate experience and management experience. We usually assemble a local team that consists of contractors, government officials, and local park tenants to take care of all the repairs and maintenance issues.

Did you find that during the eviction moratorium, you did have a lot of people not paying rent? What were those numbers like? What percentage stopped paying?

5% to 10%.

That is not as bad as I thought.

It is not as bad as multifamily or commercial. During the COVID pandemic, the hospitality industry went down 70% to 80%. Multifamily went down 15% to 20% and mobile home park revenue went down only by 5%. It is not as impacted, but still, it can be a problem. It becomes more difficult. This is a nationwide problem, not just mobile home parks. All real estate professionals face this issue. It is the lack of labor. Contractors are impossible to find.

Could you talk to me a little bit about what it is like to work with you and your team? If people want to invest in mobile home parks, they want to diversify their asset base, but they do not want to do it themselves. Tell us a little bit about what it is like to work with you and what kinds of returns people can expect.

Working with us, the first step is to go to our website at JohnsCreekCapital.com and have a short conversation with us. We always have an initial phone call with our investors and get to understand their goals, their needs, and their questions. After the initial phone call, we usually follow up with a deal that we have. We will start the relationship from there. Usually, if the investor is interested in a particular deal, the time between they make the commitment, either verbal or heart commitment, to the time of closing is usually 30 to 45 days. You will have access to our online portal where you can have your own investment account, where you have all of your investments listed there.

As far as returns, we offer an 8% preferred return followed by a waterfall structure of 70/30 of 8% preferred return. It jumps by four points each time. It goes up to 12% then the split becomes 60/40. 60 being the investor, 40 being us, and then it jumps by another 4 points at 16%. That is the highest return waterfall in a given year. That becomes 50/50 and stops there.

The preferred rate of return, which is 8%, is accumulative cash on cash rate return, which means that if in a particular given year, the 8% preferred return is not achieved. That means that deficiency whatever the difference is will be carried over to the next year so that the investors will be made whole. However, the 12% and 60% are extra. They are not the preferred rate of return. We will talk more about that on our phone call and all the offering packages we sent you.

What is the minimum investment with you guys?

It is $50,000.

Could you explain the waterfall? People say this on the show so often. I know what it means, but I am sure people are like, “When will someone tell me what that means?”

REW Charlotte Dunford | Mobile Home Parks

Mobile Home Parks: Given the nature of mobile home parks, it fights off all-time inflation high. Still, it’s recession-resistant because many runs are low to start with, and people tend to move to less expensive potting options.

 

A waterfall is a way to align the interests of the sponsors, which are us and the investors together. It motivates the sponsors to work harder at the deal so that we can achieve a higher return for an investor to trigger a split of profits. The higher return we have, the more split we are going to get. That aligns our interests together. You do not want to work with operators or sponsors who do not have the same interests as you do. You want them to work harder for their dollars. That is the structure that we set up. Think of all the cash as a waterfall. Once you hit a hurdle, every return is a hurdle. Once you hit a 12% hurdle, the waterfall starts splitting. That is why it is a waterfall.

The 8% preferred rate of return means that we are not going to get paid unless you get your 8% and anything after that will be split. Once we get our 8% and then it splits and then 12% it splits again. The higher, the return the more split the sponsors are getting. That is, in a nutshell, what waterfall. It is a return structure to align interests together and make us work harder. Overall, all of our offerings offer an approximately 15% internal rate of return over 2 to 3 years, sometimes up to 5 years of holding time. The annualized return is anywhere from 19% to 20% and above, depending on the holding time.

With a waterfall, you have a preferred rate of return, which is what you are guaranteed each year. If there is additional profit above and beyond that, then they get paid different amounts based on what that is. You said that the annual rate of return is between 19% and 20%. Is that because you sell the mobile home park? Talk to me a little bit about that.

Cash on cash annually without a sale. Mobile home park investment has a cycle. It starts low at the beginning because there are things that we need you to fix and their value add opportunities we need to conduct, which costs money. The expenses go up, which means your returns are staying low in the first year. You are usually looking at 4%. Sometimes we do better than that, but conservatively speaking, that is 4%.

In the second year, you are looking at slightly going up to 6% and then it goes up as time goes on after we finish our value add cycle. For example, the one that we sold, we bought this mobile home park in Iowa. We bought this mobile home park in June of 2020 for $325,000. We had an average of over 8% cash on cash per year, even without the sale for this deal. After a 22-month hold, we sold this deal in May of 2022 for $495,000. This deal delivered a total of over 18% internal rate of return and over 19% annualized cash on cash return.

Tell people how they can reach you. This is all very interesting. I have to confess. I am not sure that I would want to play this game on my own. You would need a team that knows what they are doing, but if you are looking to diversify, this is a great opportunity. Tell everybody how they can reach you.

The best way to find me is to go to our website at www.JohnsCreekCapital.com and hit the contact form. I will reach back out usually within the same business day. I would be excited to talk to you about this recession-resistant asset.

Tell us a few more insights and advice on investing in this mobile home market.

The biggest insight or advice I would give is to understand your niche, your parameters, and what you are looking for. We have a saying in the industry, real estate in general, “You make the money when you buy.” You cannot buy when you do not know what you are doing. You cannot just buy randomly just because something is cheap. You have to have a strong reason and strong logic behind the reasons you are buying a particular asset. Know your parameters, know your requirements, and stick with them. That is the number one thing I would advise.

Do you teach any of this stuff or do you know anybody that teaches about mobile home parks and what to look for?

I personally do not teach yet, but I would not mind that being an option in the future. The biggest mobile home park education, I did not personally go to his boot camps or educational programs, but I heard so many good things about it. Go to Frank Rolfe’s Mobile Home University. He has bootcamps that tells you every single thing that you need to know about mobile home parks.

How did you learn?

I learned from actual experience. That is the best way to learn. You can learn everything on a piece of paper and learning everything. You will not get to understand what it is like until you are in the game. You have to buy. You have to get yourself into the actual investing.

Are you ready for three rapid-fire questions?

The mobile home park is an affordable housing business. You're providing affordable housing options for your tenants and giving them that privacy, giving them that homeownership. Click To Tweet

Yes.

Tell us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate.

Take action. Don’t do analysis paralysis. Don’t overthink things too much and then you never take action. Take the best action that you can find and move forward.

What is one strategy for being successful as a real estate investor?

One strategy is to have enough reserves. The one thing you can always expect from any real estate investment are surprises. You are going to have surprise expenses. To counter that, you need enough reserves in your account to account for that. If you do not have enough reserves, you are out of business.

Do you have a formula for that?

We usually use $10,000 plus 6 months of income, at least, in the account.

What is one daily practice that you do that contributes to your personal success?

Reading business books or reading all kinds of good books that educate yourself and inspire yourself to achieve more.

Do you have anything you want to close with before we go?

We live in a great nation with many opportunities that you cannot find elsewhere in the world. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunities that you have in front of you and take action. Do not be afraid of fail. You want to fail early and fail often, but get up often as well. Take action and move forward.

I think that we get afraid of failure because we feel like it reflects badly on us. The problem is that unless you fail, you will never get to the next level. I think about children. How many times did they fail to walk before they took their first step? What if they had never kept trying?

It reflects back on us. That is back to the embarrassment topic. If you are in survival mode, that is the least of your worries. If you push yourself hard, the reflection means nothing. Do not worry about how other people look at you. You have to know what you want and go for it.

This has been an amazing conversation. Thank you for joining us, Charlotte.

REW Charlotte Dunford | Mobile Home Parks

Mobile Home Parks: The mobile home park industry and this market are not as correlated to the overall market health as other asset classes.

 

Thank you so much for having me.

Ladies, thank you for joining Charlotte and I for the show. I appreciate you. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember, goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I will see you soon.

 

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