Tag Archive

Tag Archives for " Rentals "

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. Share on X

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. Share on X

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. Share on X

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. Share on X

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.


 Important Links


Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the Real Estate Investing for Women Community today:



To listen to the EXTRA portion of this show go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com

Learn how to create a consistent income stream by only working 5 hours a month the Blissful Investor Way.

Grab my FREE guide at http://www.BlissfulInvestor.com

The Road To Real Estate Success And Why You Don’t Need To Quit Your Job To Invest With Jess McVey – Real Estate Women

REW Jess McVey | Real Estate Success


The road to real estate success isn’t always smooth. When we fall on our knees, it can be hard to get back up again sometimes. But the results can be rewarding if we learn from these experiences. In this episode, Jess McVey shares the ups and downs of her real estate story. Jess started buying rentals when she was young. And then she made mistakes when the market crashed. Although Jess started to back up a bit, that was not to be the end of her journey. Now, she has reached the success she worked hard for. Tune in to this inspiring episode and see how she was able to find success as a real estate investor. Plus, learn why keeping your job while doing real estate makes sense and why it might be the perfect advice for you!

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


The Road To Real Estate Success And Why You Don’t Need To Quit Your Job To Invest With Jess McVey – Real Estate Women

Real Estate Investing For Women

I am excited to welcome to the show Jess McVey. She is from Northwest Indiana. She started by buying rentals when she was in her early twenties and started flipping shortly thereafter. She made some mistakes when the 2007 and 2008 markets crashed. She took a break for about seven years and started back up, flipping in 2015. She started a wholesaling business in 2021. She’s done a lot of stuff. Welcome to this show.

Thank you for having me.

I’m delighted to have you. I want to let you know how I know Jess. I hope you’re going to talk a little bit about this. She was a student of Zack Boothe. When I asked Zack about his successful ladies and the people that he feels proud of, he mentioned Jess. I’m excited to talk to her all about what her journey has been. I know I read your bio, but could you give us a high-level story? What happened?

It all started when I was in college. I was good at school. I never felt right. I was doing well at a job that I had besides going to school. I was looking for something that was going to allow me to retire early. I was already thinking about retirement at nineteen. I know those kids don’t do that. Yeah. You were the rare exception.

I started investing in the stock market in 2000. The tech market dropped and I did badly in the stocks. I started looking at real estate. I started liking what I was reading. I could see myself doing it. I had more control over the investments. I called my dad. I said, “Dad, I’m coming home from college.” He’s like, “Why?” I’m like, “I want to buy rentals. I want to be a landlord?” He’s like, “You don’t know anything about fixing anything?” I’m like, “Yes, but I’ll learn.”

I came home. He helped me move home. Several months later, I bought my first property. After that, I bought eight in several years. As I learned, I took care of all those properties. I’ve managed all of them. I’ve rented them out, did the repairs, hired people if I had to, and I also started flipping. I did a couple of flips. Fast forward from 2006 to 2007, it started getting bad in the real estate market. People started seeing signs that there was going to be a collapse, and it did. I did make some mistakes but reiterated. A lot of people did. I should have been that hard on myself.

It was way more experience investors than me that lost everything they ever worked for in real estate. I had been doing a couple of years in Boston rentals and a couple of flips, but it was hard on myself. I backed away from it. I kept my properties. I hired a property manager. I went to Chicago and lived. I was 28 at the time, still passive investing, taking care of my properties, but I always wanted to get back into it. I was hard on myself, but I never forgot what I wanted to do.

In 2015, I had an opportunity to flip a house. I did it. I was my uncle’s neighbor. My uncle told me about it. I approached them. They let me buy the property. That set me off, and I did 2 or 3 a year because I still had a small child, a daughter. I wanted to be a full-time mom. She went to school in 2021 full-time. That’s when I took it up a notch.

I was doing 2 to 3 properties, flipping a couple of rentals, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19, but as of 21, when I added wholesaling marketing, I did twenty. 20 April of 2020 until 20 April 2022, twenty deals. From April until May 2022, I had 10, but I had to cancel 2. I got eight in the pipeline at some point. Either I own them, I’m getting ready to close, or I’ve already closed them. It’s for 2 or 3 months. It’s pretty good.

First of all, I love that you started young, and I know we all can’t turn back time, but it makes my heart sing when I hear about young people that are in it. They’re thinking about their future. If you’re young, if you’re in your twenties, see what happens.


Don't give up after making big mistakes. Share on X


Don’t give up if you make a mistake. If I would’ve kept going, I would have been retired now. I’ve seven years of experience in doing and making, but still, I’d probably have instead of 24 doors, I probably have 48 or 50 units, 48 properties, or however you want to cash flow, more rentals, but I took a break.

There are experienced investors that lost everything in the crash in 2007 and 2008. Yeah. It’s interesting to me that you, like me did not. You held onto your properties, took some time off, and let them ride. That was good to hear. Why do you think that worked for you? For me, I always say that I wasn’t over-leveraged. It’s because rents went up, and I had a financial cushion. I was able to ride that wave that way. That was hard on people. What was it for you?

Why it worked out okay is because I did buy them net traditionally, I put 20% down. Most people agree with this. Even if you see market drops and maybe flipping doesn’t pan out, usually the rental market isn’t quite as affected. That’s not to say the pandemic didn’t work best with people’s rents. It was a whole different animal. For the most part, we have market downturns or recession rents. Still, people have to be able to live in a place. I wasn’t affected too much with the rental market. They were rentals, and they were cash flowing, breaking even.

Another thing is, which I never had to do is I do have a good job. If I ever had to, I could have put money into my rentals. I never had to until this day. I bought somebody at once that I could have stomp pay for other ones. If I have a $3,000, $4,000 bill, something big, I got the other ones to pay for it. That helped me and a good rental market. With the area I am in, Indiana, it’s not that place to stay rented. There’s a demand for it. It’s safe. There aren’t a lot of turnovers. That’s the reason it helped me get past all that turmoil that happened in the first few years of the recession.

I heard you say that you’re an employee.

Back then, when I had money, I was in bartending, managing bars, and was a yoga teacher. 2015, 16, 17, 18, 19, the pandemic. I could have made that a lot easier by saying the pandemic ended my yoga career because I didn’t want to teach online. I didn’t want to teach outside of the studio. A pandemic happened, and that’s why I stopped teaching yoga. When I did it, it was $100 a week. I was doing my real estate and my rentals, bringing cash flow in. I’ve owned them for a while. Rent has gone up. I lived off that too.

Now my business is I work for myself for gem house buyers. Before I did have, I was a yoga teacher for several years, and a bartender before that would allow me to have the funds to buy the properties in a traditional way. I didn’t know anything about creative financing, wholesaling, or seller financing. I didn’t know any of those all real estate stuff that people learn. I didn’t know that back. I put 20% down on all the properties because I had a good job, and I was 22. What else did I have to do with the money?

Many people have this aspiration. When I quit my job, I’m going to start investing in real estate. The best way to start is when you’ve got a job, and there are many reasons for this. It adds in anything that you might want to add. First of all, yes, there are lots of awesome creative financing ways to go. If you have no way of getting cash, that’s great.

The easiest way to get into real estate is to have a job, qualify for traditional financing, put 3.5% half to 20% down, whatever you can come up with, and based on the program that you choose, buy a house, house hack or rent it out. Primary residences are the easiest to finance and get into, and you need to pay rent anyways. It might as well pay yourself rather than somebody else’s mortgage. Utilize that money to get into the next house. Keep your job so that you can do it again. Until you’re big enough, maybe 1, 2, or 3 properties. You’ve got enough equity in one property that you can fold it back out.


REW Jess McVey | Real Estate Success

Real Estate Success: The rental market isn’t entirely as affected by market drops. When you have a market downturn or recession, people still have to live in a place.


Real estate does not have to be a full-time thing for me. I tell people all the time, “I work 5 to 10 hours a month on my real estate business. Now, it’s even less.” It’s not a full-time thing. Eventually, you can get to where you’re retiring. You’re working that little bit of time, whatever now most of your time is spent on what you would prefer to do. I love when you talk about, “I was working, and that’s how I got the money.” People forget that’s the easiest option out there. If things go wrong, you’ve still got your income. You’re still making money. I love that you modeled that. Thank you, Jess.

To add to that about you have a job, keep your job, and do real estate when you add that extra layer of, “I have to make money from this. I can’t survive.” You will not think properly. You won’t make a decision that is not as clean. You’re a little more desperate. Especially if you’re trying to learn real estate, you don’t even know about it.

I would hope nobody would be silly. I stopped. I’m doing what they’re doing, and they don’t know anything about real estate. Make sure you have that job, so you’re not working stressed out of that extra pressure of not succeeding. You have no job, and you’re surrendering trying to find a job. Nobody would be silly enough to stop unless they had a whole bunch of money. If you hit the lottery, I suppose you could quit your job but still do real estate.

If you win the lottery, make sure that you do real estate like that. Don’t spend them at. You invest it.

For most people, it’s cars, houses, and buying primary residences.

You’re like, “No, don’t do that.” I’m with you, shoes, purses, and clothes. Yes, you deserve all those blissful things and plan for the future. Your daughter went to school, and now you upgraded your business or up? What was the term you used?

I added another part of real estate investing. Although some people will say, “It’s not investing. It’s wholesaling.”

Talk about why you did that and how that transition happened?  

I got tired of losing deals. That was why I started the wholesaling. I’ll back up and reiterate what that means. I was buying 2 to 3 properties in 2015. Maybe 2 or 3 in 2016. It’s easy to find those 2 or 3 properties. I bought some from some auctions and sheriff sales. I bought one from Auction.com and REOs. I’d got a couple of referrals.


Keep your job and do real estate. Stop doing what THEY'RE doing. Nobody would be silly enough to stop unless they had a whole bunch of money. Share on X


When I wanted to do more, my daughter was getting older, a little more independent, even a little bit before she went to school full time. I did 3 for 2 or 3 years. Now I want to do five. I was putting offers in and getting outbid all the time. Bigger companies probably have crews working for them, coming with their rehab costs lower than mine. It’s competitive.

I’m looking at wholesalers, emails, and MLS. For the last MLS in multiple listing services, I put an offer that was 53 offers. This was before it was hot. It was like 2018 or 19. I started thinking about wholesaling. I should back up. I did do two wholesale deals, one in 2017 and one in 2019. I have little marketing. I got the property. I was going to keep one as a rental. It occurred to me that I could wholesale it. It was great. I made $17,501 in one month. I didn’t know how to make it a business. I drove around a neighborhood, my neighborhood of rental properties. I was checking on them. I thought, “I’ll look around and see things for sale.” Low and behold, or was. I did that.

In 2019, I did send some letters out, mailers probably behind on their property taxes, and I got one from that. When you interview me, he is like, “Why didn’t you keep going?” I’m like, “I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to scale this.” In 2020, when I started watching YouTube, I found Zack. I liked him, and I signed up for his coaching. He filled the gaps in.

I got blessed because of several years of fixing rentals and learning how to flip. I know how to comp, do comparable properties, and do analysis to make sure it’s a deal. I was blessed that I knew that information. The wholesaling part was like, “This is how you find him. You call him. You send postcards. Do your marketing. He filled that in for me.” That’s how it all worked out for me. I hope that answers the question.

I want to add a couple of things. You say you were blessed because you already had this experience. You know how to mentally have an idea of what values are going to look like, what fix-ups are going to cost, and those sorts of things. Ladies, if you don’t have that experience, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do real estate. You have other blessings.

Let’s got to do a little bit more education first. It’s not hard to learn any of this. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to learn how to go on Zillow and figure out what property sold in three months and how to decide. They look the same square footage. You’re not major calculations. You can learn the stuff in several months. It’s easy stuff.

When I started several years ago, there was none of this stuff. There are no Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin. We are lucky now that we have resources. I want to talk to you a little bit about Zack. You went through YouTube because this is a question that people ask me all the time. I want to find a mentor. I got on YouTube, and there are 50. You put in wholesaling and or whatever it is that you want to do, BRRRR, or whatever it is you want to do. A hundred people out there teaching about this strategy. How do I pick the mentor that’s got integrity, knows what he’s doing, and is going to help me build a successful business? How did you pick Zack?

I didn’t interview too many. I can tell you how I met Zack or how I decided to watch him on YouTube. There’s an app called DealMachine. It helps you add properties if you want to drive for dollars. He was on a podcast like an interview, and I liked him. I’ve checked him out on YouTube. I saw he had a video that said $40,000 in 40 days.

He did this challenge, and I watched all these. I liked him. He’s genuine. He’s not a big host. He’s doing well. When you look at his videos, he’s not huge. He’s not getting 1 million views. He’s small-time still. He’s going to be because he is genuine and authentic. I connected with him. I reached out to him, and we talked on the phone. It was affordable. He’s not overpriced on his coaching, at least at the level I picked. You might have something more maybe, but what he offered me, I was like, “That’s a great deal. Add to me.” I signed up for him, but he’s this easy-going, accessible guy. There’s something about how you connect with people.


REW Jess McVey | Real Estate Success

Real Estate Success: Having a job qualified for traditional financing is the easiest way to get into real estate.


His real intention is to help people. That’s part of why I have you on. I’ve had several people on from his group because I feel that from him. I feel his heart. In every conversation that I’ve had with him, I feel deeply that his intention is to help. What is it that you loved most about working with him?

I still work with him. I texted him because I had a question about a property I had on a contract with a seller. It’s the first seller ever tried to walk out from a contract on me, all these deals I’ve done. The first ones that said, “I changed my mind.” I didn’t know how to handle that. I called Zack. He knows so much. If he doesn’t know it, if it’s technical, he’ll might say, “Miguel, one of his team members, knows.”

He knows a solution that I don’t think of. He’s always got all these different situations. He knows how to properly answer them for me. That’s why I like him. That’s why I keep reaching out to him if I need them. Sometimes I think I know more than I know. Sometimes I’m like, “I should probably have.” I have the ability to reach out to him more if I want. I don’t think to ask for help. I try to figure stuff out on my own, which sometimes isn’t the best. In this case, I knew I wasn’t figuring it out. I needed some assistance. He’s experienced. He’s done so many deals. That’s why I like him.

Is he super responsive?

We have group coaching calls, but if you have a deal on the line and you don’t know, he will call you back. He will make himself accessible to you. When it comes to actual questions about the course or a deal in the works, he’ll probably wait until the weekly coaching call. You can ask whatever questions you want. It’s 1 to 2 hours long. Sometimes, it’s been longer than two and a half hours. He will keep going until everyone answers. For the specific deals where you have something right there at the moment, he’ll make himself accessible.

That’s so rare, don’t you think?

Yes, I think so. Some coaches might be more expensive and not be as available

I have not taken Zack’s course because I’m not interested in wholesaling. I’m in retirement mode. I’m having fun. It’s important to me as we talk about him and I share about his coursework with my ladies that we’ve got some truthful, honest perspectives on what he has to offer. He’s a wholesaler. He loves it, and he loves teaching it from what I understand, but everybody I’ve spoken to. I’m glad to hear that. Tell me, Jess, what advice would you give to a new investor?

I would say the first is to get a mentor. I do believe you should have a coach. You could ask questions too. Yes, YouTube and books are great, but there’s a saying I have, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” How do you know what to learn first? If it’s basic real estate, you could find a mentor for that. If there is something specific, you want to learn, whether it’s wholesaling or you wanna be a real estate rental landlord. You want to have a huge portfolio. There’s a mentor for that.


Real estate does not have to be a full-time thing. Share on X


There’s a lot of free besides having a coach. BiggerPockets is good. There’s a lot of education on basic stuff but get an education. There’s another saying, “You’re going to get an education in real estate, whether you like it or not. You do it by making mistakes that are costly, or you do the education up front to help mitigate those mistakes.”Another piece of advice is if you do make a mistake, don’t give up. It works. Nobody’s successful. All the people that are successful that we know about in history usually made many mistakes and failures before they hit it. It sometimes takes years for that because you got to be patient.

Everything that you say, I agree with. Success can’t happen without failure. The only way to reach goals is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and what you already know. Otherwise, you stay stagnant in what you are and what you’re doing. When you’re pushing, you’re going to fail. When you were a baby and learning to walk, you didn’t go get up on your feet and start walking. Maybe some of you did, but most of us didn’t. You had to fall down a couple of times. Sometimes it hurt. You start crying.

We’re that same way. Every time we start something new, we have a new ambition or a new set of goals. We’re that same person. We’re not going to be, “I’m up.” You’ve got to learn. You’ve got to when you’re a baby. You’ve got mom standing there saying, “Come on.” Dad molded you on the other side or whatever. Those are your mentors in those days. That’s what you need, even in your businesses.

There are so many things, setting goals and making yourself accountable. I take videos. If people check me out, they’ll see. My video is on my personal page. I plan to put them on my business page, my Instagram. I’ll do videos. They’re live. There’s no script, or I’m going at it. I do that because it makes me accountable because I know people are watching. I’m like, “I got to make sure I do another one.”

That’s my way. That’s a little more high level. People reading could put something out there to people telling what they’re doing. They’re making themselves accountable. People ask them, “How’s it going?” You’re like, “Okay.” You won’t forget. People are reminding you, or you’re posting something on Facebook, and that’s what can be encouraging too. People will like it. This is a little social interaction to help encourage people to be accountable.

Normally, when I talk about accountability, I talk about it with group coaching or whatever. This was such a different perspective on accountability. I love that, Jess.

Thank you. Those videos are my accountability for myself.

Jess. You’ve been amazing. Thank you so much. Tell everybody how they can get in touch with you. I want to hear about your Facebook page, Instagram, and all that stuff. Let people know how they can reach you.

For my business page, Facebook and Instagram. You can reach out to me through my company or me. We’re both on as my personal, and that’s my name, Jesseme McVey. My actual business is Jemm House Buyers. Me, my daughter, and my husband’s initials. It’s also because I look for gems.


REW Jess McVey | Real Estate Success

Real Estate Success: Ladies, if you don’t have experience, it doesn’t mean you can’t do real estate. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do it.


Ladies, you know that Jess is a student and friend of Zack Boothe, who we’ve heard from before. If you’re excited about learning what she learned from him, you can still connect with him and his team. Go to BlissfulInvestor.com/Zack. You’ll get to talk to him or Stephanie, who you’ve already met. They do have someone else who’s going to be working on the phones. I trust that that person will be as fabulous as them. You can go to that link and set up a time to chat with them and see if this business is a good fit for you. We saw what an amazing fit it’s been for Jess. If you’re interested in connecting with them, remember to go do that.

The show notes on the podcast players are, tend to be shorter and don’t always include the links. Go to BlissfulInvestor.com so that you can see the blog posts. That way, you can see all the links, all the gifts, all the connections, everything there for all my show. You can even do is search. My team will have Jess’s contact information and all the links. Do you have anything you want to close with Jess?

I think we did a pretty good job. We covered a lot. If you’re new to real estate investing, don’t give up. I always loved it. Whether you want to supplement your income, or if you want to do a full time, it could be very financially rewarding, and it gives you other rewards as well because you people work for yourself you can spend more time with your family, and you don’t have a boss and all that. Maybe you want it because you want to plan for your future.

To me, it’s the best investment of your time and money out there. They say 1% of the wealthiest people in the world, 90% of them own real estate of the 1% of the world the population. Ut’s a great vehicle to build wealth. Even passive or active investing wholesaling cash in your pocket when you do the deals, regardless of whatever you’re looking for. It’s awesome.

I always say, “There are a million ways to make $1 million in real estate.” You have to pick the strategy that fits best with what it is you’re trying to achieve.

Whatever you pick, if you’re diligent, you will be successful at it. You’ll make money at it. You’ll achieve your goals, whatever you decide to choose to do.

Thank you so much for sharing all this amazing wisdom with us.

No problem, anytime. Thank you for letting me share my story and give some advice to other investors out there. I appreciate it.

Thank you. It’s my pleasure. Ladies, thank you so much for joining Jess and I for this show. You know how much I appreciate you, and I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember, “Goals without action are dreams.” Get out there, take action and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon.


 Important Links


About Jess McVey

REW Jess McVey | Real Estate SuccessWe are professional home buyers, and we are proud to say that we’ve already helped many homeowners sell their homes! For us, the seller always comes first, and that means the deal has to work for both of us. Integrity and education are our principals, and they are the reason why we have the reputation we have today, as one of the most respected homebuyers around the area. We give you full support, and there are no gimmicks or hassling.

We always work with fair offers and great prices, no matter the condition the homeowners are in!

NO financing is required because we have cash in hand to make the close even FASTER! We can close it all in just a week, but you can choose the actual closing date. We work on your terms!


Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the Real Estate Investing for Women Community today:



To listen to the EXTRA portion of this show go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com

Learn how to create a consistent income stream by only working 5 hours a month the Blissful Investor Way.

Grab my FREE guide at http://www.BlissfulInvestor.com