In this article we pick up our Women to Watch series, featuring seven standout female real estate investors to watch in 2019. Read the full intro here.

How did you get started investing in real estate?

I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 20 years and 10 years ago I had an “opportunity to start over.” I was in a car accident, I was hospitalized, and spent the next 18 months healing. My lesson — life is short. I started asking myself “Am I living life the way I really want to?” The answer was, “No.” I wanted a different life. I wanted to have more time to spend with my family, travel the world, take people with me and I realized that would require time and money freedoms. I literally started googling “passive income.” Real estate kept coming up. I decided to go for it. And the truth was I knew I needed to change and I didn’t know how. My brother took care of me during my rehabilitation and suggested I go to a Tony Robbins event once. Well, I did. After that I started my journey as a real estate investor. I began by flipping houses in LA and then taking that capital to invest in buy and holds for cash flow and long-term wealth. Now, I flip and I’m in my first development deal and own single and multifamily in various areas. Oh, and I’m a trainer at Tony Robbins in my spare time.

What are the top two characteristics you exhibit that have made you a successful investor?  

  1. Wanting my outcome more than I want to stay comfortable. I believe that achieving any goal means leaving the familiar and venturing into a new area. Doing something you’ve never done before is a planned conflict with your status quo. Many people don’t like to leave their present comfort zones, and therefore never set goals or try anything new and never make meaningful progress. Action forces us to risk being wrong, make mistakes, to learn, expand and grow.
  2. Having a network of abundant resources. Networking and having resources and ideas in seconds is VERY valuable. This brings me to why I started the Women’s Real Estate Network (WREN). At one point I wondered where all the women investors were. Out of my need, I founded the Women’s Real Estate Network. We are a networking organization for women investors, by women investors. We’ve grown like crazy in the last couple years. We have five chapters in LA, OC, Seattle, Phoenix and San Diego.

When I don’t know what to do, my projects are going off the rails, getting perspective and seeing other people doing great stuff is really valuable. My network has helped me be the investor I am today. They are a sounding board, resourceful and always remind me I don’t have to do this all alone.

How do you manage work/life balance?

With a huge sense of humor! (Just ask my kids)

What are your goals for 2019?

Real estate wise, I’m in three development projects in Los Angeles. So, one goal is to finish them up. I will be taking on new projects cautiously considering the market right now. With regards to WREN, I hope to reach more women with the message of empowerment and the possibility of financial and time freedom through real estate. Oh, and personally, I’m getting married!

What is the one strategy you’re focused on in 2019 that you feel will bring you the greatest success?

We are in a changing market. Because of that, I will definitely focus on staying on top of economic information and predictors. In a changing market I think you need to stay flexible and be a creative problem solver. I’m going to get creative moving forward. Look at situations in multiple ways, come up with multiple answers, I think that will serve me well this year.

What are the three factors that you look at in your market to determine whether a deal is a good deal?

  1. Where is the property? Yes, it’s about location.
  2. Run the numbers multiple ways. I like to have multiple exits. Can a flip I’m working on become a hold property? Can we utilize it as a rental? Are there any other value-adds to the property that can be utilized?
  3. Do I have the right team? Have partners and a team of people who are smarter than me and can execute the work needed. Having the right team as a sounding board for my projects: hard money lenders, partners, realtors, contractors. And having the right team to execute the work is a must.

Favorite market to invest in? And why?  

Well, that really depends on what I’m investing for: capital or cashflow, money-in-hand or mailbox money? My favorite is really going to be determined on what outcome I’m looking for in that market.

What’s your greatest investment success story?

My first flip because I got into action and I did it. It wasn’t my biggest financial gain. It wasn’t the most complicated deal. It was my greatest success because it helped me prove to myself I could do it. I think I spent more than a year thinking about, analyzing and looking for my first deal. After the first one, I did three more the next year.

Best piece of advice for new investors?

Grow your network! Get into a group with like-minded people. When you do, it will give you perspective. A lot of times people are trying to figure out HOW to do something, when in reality you might just need to find the right WHO, because the right WHO already knows HOW to do it. When you put yourself in the same space as successful entrepreneurs and real estate investors you have a greater chance to become just like them.

Words you try to live by?

I live by my favorite quote. “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Zigler.  Honestly, that’s what WREN is all about, too!

Connect with Deborah:



Facebook: /wreninspires

Categories | Article | Profiles
Tags | Women
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