In this article, we continue 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 was raised in real estate. I remember my great aunts telling me how they owned property in upstate New York, and actually throughout the summers growing up in Southern California, I filled my days cleaning rentals or walking neighborhoods doing a laborious task called “farming” for the agents in my family. Almost everyone in my family at one point has had a real estate license.
My very first investment on my own was in East Orange, New Jersey with a small group of entrepreneurs who remain friends to this day. We opened a group home that catered to the mentally ill.
What are the top two characteristics you exhibit that have made you a successful investor?
Ultimately, I think creativity and persistence have kept me at the forefront of the investor pile. Let’s face it, it’s a crowded sphere out there, but somehow the real estate ecosystem has enough for us all. Remaining creative with my approach to this asset class and its problems has allowed me to make my mark in the note industry. Persistence for me has been the most surprising of them all. As an entrepreneur you just put your head down and work tirelessly towards your vision and the next thing you know five or six years have passed and you are making a difference in the lives of others. It’s truly a great experience.
How do you manage work/life balance?
Ha! Well that was tough at first. I have to say not much of that was required until my son was born. Becoming a mother helped me get a real clear vision on what work-life balance meant to me. I can honestly say I built a firm that is pioneering the family work space. It’s all about culture, and it’s almost an unspoken truth amongst our community that we all do this for family. So I am always around for family emergencies, when the opportunity arises. I schedule time to volunteer at my son’s elementary school. Living in Southern California I often find myself on a beach riding a “LIME” or “BIRD” scooter, and during holidays we make sure to travel and see family. Carving out time to stay active and in love seems to make all the difference!
What are your goals for 2019?
Man! Glad you asked. The Vice President of the firm and I recently sat down and decided we are not going to set personal goals in 2019, simply because since we’ve gotten together we’ve blown those we set out of the water. Therefore, this year we have launched a campaign to change the lives or legacies of 5000 people in five years. So we’ve, in essence, set a five-year goal that we will tackle one year at a time with our strategic partners. We are on a roll! We’ve taken a lot of steps including some new hires, new systems and we’ve even launched our final training piece: the online training! Your readers can find more about it at NoteAssistanceProgram.com. This is a highly-anticipated component to our already spectacular platform. It has more than 30 videos outlining our unique approach to note investing. The Note Assistance Program has already financially repositioned hundreds of investors nationwide through our note labs and our Hands-On Training. Adding the educational videos allows for a more home-study feel.
What is the one strategy you’re focused on in 2019 that you feel will bring you the greatest success?
First position performing notes! We have gained our reputation from judiciously navigating the waters of the non-performing note world. This year we are capitalizing on the mailbox money!
Look, you can’t be afraid of hard work; however who needs it?! We have dedicated a quarter of our Note Lab to the performing note investor and have established very strong relationships with some solid banks and are delivering tons of new A and B paper that normally is reserved for insurance companies and larger funds. We host four note labs a year: two in Los Angeles, one in San Francisco, and one in New York during the summer.
What are the three factors that you look at in your market to determine whether a deal is a good deal?
We teach investors to do things backwards here at The Note Assistance Program. To us, a good deal has to pencil-out before the buy. This means multiple profitable exit strategies (at least eight), projected timelines and a fair acquisition price that allows those strategies to materialize. Carefully considering these three items will ensure you can make money with the asset.
Favorite market to invest in? And why?
With notes it’s hard to have a favorite. We are very broad in our investment strategy. It allows us to invest in great states like Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina and Georgia. These are a few of my favorite states to buy paper. It’s mostly the communities and the laws in these states that make it easier to maneuver. Michigan, for example, is great because it’s a real active community, people are living out there, and that makes a lot of room for creative solutions. Michigan is non-judicial, requires about 30 days of publication time and Sheriff Sales when required. You will find that time is money when you are a banker.
What’s your greatest investment success story?
I think the firm itself is my greatest investment success story, and this is simply because I am a product of the program, and so are most of the people I surround myself with at this point. I’ve managed to get the attention of the right people and I mean that in so many ways. We work with attorneys, borrowers, investors, heck we even get to help and work with children through various sponsorships in our communities. So, for me, the greatest success story is the reach the firm has, not just nationwide, but across communities, ages, professions and income levels. It has allowed us to empower so many.
Best piece of advice for new investors?
Don’t give up. Overnight successes are not a thing. Be prepared to put two-to-three minimum laser-focused years behind to see material changes. For many members we find we are often shocked when we reach that next level because we have our horse blinders (blinkers) on so tight we didn’t even notice the shift.
Words you try to live by?
I spent my freshman year of college in Atlanta, Georgia at Clark Atlanta University. It was a tough year of transition for me, but one thing I took from there was the motto: “I’ll find a way or make one!” That moved me to the core at that age and I look at what it took for the firm to get here and what it is going to take to get where we are going. Those are the words I live by.
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