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!
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. Click To Tweet
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.
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. Click To Tweet
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.
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. Click To Tweet
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.
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.
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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.