Nothing is more empowering than participating in a community of women that nurture each other’s dreams and visions through comradely sharing and uplifting conversations. Women Real Estate Network (WREN) offers just that to women who invest in real estate. Leading its Los Angeles chapter is Jennifer Maldonado, who joins Monick Halm in this episode. Jennifer tells us the story of how she gave up her six-figure corporate job and made the leap to her real passion, real estate. Jennifer’s purpose in life is to help other women succeed, whether in helping women become successful homeowners or in having enlightening conversations with other women in real estate.
Listen to the podcast here:
Leaping From Corporate To Real Estate – Interview With Jennifer Maldonado
Our guest is somebody who is inspiring. I’m thrilled to have her here. Her name is Jennifer Maldonado. She served as an Industrial Engineer for Top 500 Fortune companies, saving them millions of dollars in short-term periods. She took a leap of faith, quit her six-figure income job, and became a real estate investor and life coach. She’s well-known for her creative ways of identifying opportunities and paying investors great returns with mitigated risks for many real estate strategies. As per the Huffington Post and Los Angeles Business Journal, “She is an inspiration, a great strategist, and a savvy real estate investor.” It’s her heartfelt mission to transform the lives of thousands of women. She leads and creates different women communities, like me. She is passionate about helping women get into real estate investment. I am thrilled to have her. Welcome, Jennifer.
Thank you, Monick, for having me. I’m excited to be in your show and share our passion for real estate and women investing.
Let’s get into your story, which is great. You’re an engineer. You’re working for a Fortune 500 company. You have a six-figure income. How did you get started in real estate investing?
I’m going to tell you a little story about how all of these happened, Monick. When I was eight-years-old, my mom asked me what I was going to do when I grow up. I told her, “Mom, I’m going to work in a chocolate factory and in a place where they do baby lotion because babies smell good.” That’s how I ended up working for Nestlé and Johnson & Johnson for a decade and saved them those millions of dollars as an engineer. Both were my dream jobs. However, there’s a time in our lives that we’re looking in the mirror of meaning and we ask ourselves, “Why we do what we do?”
In that time, we must embrace who we are, advance further and faster without breaking integrity with ourselves. We shall aspire, be free, and inspire others. That moment happened for me in 2012, when I was offered the promotion of the six-figure income to lead manufacturing operations for the biggest facilities for Nestlé. Instead of taking that promotion, I decided to follow my heartfelt mission, as you say, transforming the lives of thousands of women. I quit my job. It was nerve-wracking. I was driving out of Nestlé and it was such a happy moment. At the same time, I made the right decision.
The funny thing is I didn’t tell my parents until two months later. My parents went crazy on me and I understand why. My parents didn’t have money. They believe that you work hard for money in a secure job, you pay bills, and you retire with a decent lifestyle. They still believe in social security and pension plans. They believe that that will help. That wasn’t my agenda. My gut knew there was something else. I decided to speak to someone special for me, which is my older brother. We talked for hours about why we do what we do. We laughed together. We remember crazy moments about our childhood.Business decisions are not emotional, but we do have gut feelings that we should not ignore. Click To Tweet
He brought a memory about us playing Monopoly. I used to suck at playing Monopoly. I was bad. Sometimes, I was learning from them what they were doing to beat me up. As I’m learning about how they were playing the game, I became better than them and then they were not able to beat me. My dad told me that I needed a lot of money to invest in real estate because I told him, “Dad, I wanted to have properties one day like these games.” When I saw that in your book, about the myth that you have to have a lot of money to invest in real estate, I believed that for a long time. My brother recommended me that awesome book, Rich Dad Poor Dad. It’s like the Bible for every real estate investor.
It sure is.
Every successful investor read this book. I read it in two days. I was into it. I did Google, enroll in real estate classes that week and I got into my first multifamily in Southern California, specifically Burbank. It was about time, but I got in. I had $200,000 in equity. I was able to cashflow here in Southern California.
That’s hard to do.
The factor was timing and buying at the right time.
When did you buy that property?
It was 2012.
Was this after you quit your job?
I got it approved and I quit. I quit after I got my first shake. That was interesting. I’m like, “This is the start of an amazing and fun journey.” I gave my resignation letter, which was amazing. I had a female boss and she started talking to me about empowering women and how important it is that we don’t leave our corporate careers for personal family reasons. There was a little bit of factor of that too because I needed to have access to my mom easily. However, I’m looking at her and I said, “I appreciate the conversation that we are having. I also want to share with you that I’m leaving, not because I don’t want to deal with the corporate world. It’s because I have a dream that I want to pursue.” She respects that. She supported me. After that, she was asking me how I was doing. It was a great experience. It was that time when I went back to my childhood memories, what did I enjoy, and who I was as a person that I decided what my destiny was in other words.
You remembered where you were. You got Rich Dad Poor Dad. You took some classes. You got your first property. That was 2012. Where are you now?
Interestingly enough, my Nestlé promotion was supposed to be in Bakersfield, California. I have been there not to lead manufacturing operations, but to help people get their homes. I have multifamilies in Bakersfield. We have been doing lease options. We have put strategies and systems in place to make sure that we educate our tenant-buyers in many ways and make sure that they try to acquire their dream homes. In reality, traditional systems don’t do this to help their clients succeed. We want to make sure they succeed.
We have this amazing tenant that we were expecting her to close. We have gone beyond building not only a business relationship but a personal relationship with them because these women have a beautiful story. She went through many challenges in life from abuse to difficult times to where she is today. We have been honored and we have been given the opportunity to help this woman get into her dream home. That’s fulfilling. That’s what I’m doing. I also have multifamilies in Arizona, Houston, Texas with partners and some development projects here in Southern California.
I can see you have that same passion that I do for this. I’m curious about how you’re working with tenants to help these women in Bakersfield to get into their dream home. Is it a lease to own?
Yes. These are lease to own properties. We have a different process. We make sure that these people are not far away from achieving their goals with different systems and accountability people that help them get there to make sure that they close. One of the challenges in the lease options is that a lot of people do not follow or do not have the habits to prepare themselves to be an owner. We make sure that the mortgage brokers and the tenants are working together hand to hand and speak to that. We have other support groups that help these people to make sure that they achieve that. We’re looking forward to handing the keys, as an owner, to these amazing women that we have been working with.Education makes you a savvy investor. Click To Tweet
Well done. I love that win-win. Are these single-family homes or condos? What are they exactly?
This is why I’m passionate about what we are doing. We are taking duplexes and placing these tenants. We are helping them to understand how to invest in real estate. Little by little, we are helping them not to own homes but also become investors to help them achieve those goals. That’s something that we’re doing differently.
They’ll live on one side and they can rent out the other side.
We have a few single-family homes. We are targeting multifamily even if we have to develop the multifamily to help the tenant buyers to go through that process. We would prefer multifamilies.
They can become owners and landlords. That’s great. I would like to ask because I feel like we learn so much more from what doesn’t work out and when things are going smoothly. What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
I had a partner that I was lending money to do some rehabs here in California and Port Richey in Florida. I did the due diligence in the properties and the deals were there, but my challenge is that I never did the due diligence on him and his company. We closed three deals in California. I got comfortable with him and with the real estate paperwork. I lent him some money with a promissory note. I did not record that in the county. He rehabbed the property, sold the property, and what’s interesting is that I find out that he has some challenges with child support. Child support took most of the earnings. I tried to talk to him to understand what was going on and why he hadn’t paid me when I knew that the property was closed. I asked him to pay me through escrow because he was giving me a lot of excuses.
I delayed getting into the right actions in place right away until it was too late. He walked away with the money. He moved to Florida. The interesting thing is that my intuition developed. Before getting into the deal, something told me that there was something wrong and I ignored that. The business decisions are not emotional but we have those things that we call gut feelings that we should not ignore. That was an expensive lesson. I have to share with everyone reading, always do your due diligence in the property, but also the person on the company. Get paid through escrow whenever possible. Always record your paperwork. This is because it will save you not only money in court but a lot of headaches. I’m on a challenging path, especially that he moved to Florida.
Those are all great lessons. I don’t know if I wrote about recording the paperwork in my book, but you definitely want to do due diligence on the people you work with and trust your intuition. It’s something when I talk about partly, “How do you invest like a goddess? How do you invest like a woman?” “Pay attention to that woman’s intuition. When it tells you, ‘Something is off here,’ listen to it.” I never regret listening to it. I always regret ignoring it. You learn may be out some money for it. It’s probably a mistake you’re not likely to make again. On the flip side then, what are you most proud of?
I’m one of the founding members of one of the fastest-growing women real estate network communities, WREN Inspires. We create such an amazing environment where women help each other excel and empower each other. We are sharing experiences, resources, and helping one another grow personally and professionally. We are having fun, there’s wine involved, and everything is together. Here in our environment, there’s no fluff, no peach sales, or anything like that. It’s about having pure, authentic conversations and sharing priceless knowledge in real life, real estate hacks. Women get to talk personally with all of the amazing speakers who we bring to these events and they’re women investors. The most beautiful thing is that productive partnerships and relationships have grown from these networks of women.
They’re advancing further and faster. I’m excited about what’s coming. We have an outstanding event, Ignite Your Fire Within in California. This is an event by women investors for women, about women. In reality, we don’t care if you are starting or you’re an expert, as long as you are ready to be inspired. Make those new connections to take your business to the next level. Learn from those opportunities. Women are making 200 rehabs a year. Women are developing hotels in Belize. Women are working with $35 million on transactions, multifamilies, and so much more. All of these, whoever comes to the event to unlock that full potential as real estate professionals. Monick, you worked out some discounts for your people already because you experienced the value of the community.
I do. I want to do a plug for this event too. It’s going to be awesome. I’ve gone to meetings and they’re full of amazing women with big hearts in real estate investing. Real estate investment is a relationship business. It is about who you know. You want to surround yourself with great people, people of high integrity. Not everyone is of high integrity. This attracts great people. I’m going to be there. It’s called Ignite Your Fire Within. If you go to IgniteYourFireWithin.com and you use the code GODDESSESIGNITE, you’re going to get a special discount. Normally, it’s $149 for the ticket, but using that code is only $99. You definitely want to use that and come on out. It’s going to be an incredible day and tons of amazing women will be there. You all should come.
We want to give your community an opportunity to experience this event. Not only because we love the work and what you do, but it’s also because we want to see other women succeed in real estate. It’s awesome when you hear other women, “I can see myself in her shoes. I did my first real estate deal. I get my deal funded with a partnership.” It’s the experience that these women have when they attend the event. This is going to be an event, where we are expecting more than 100 women coming together. They are going to talk about real estate, what’s going on in the real estate industry, and how to overcome challenges as a woman in this industry. I’m excited about that. We’re proud of what the Women Real Estate Network has become.
You’re a full sister. This is my passion, as well. It’s why I started Real Estate Investor Goddesses. WREN is a community after my own heart. I highly recommend you all check it out. You should be proud that you’ve started this organization and of all of the things that this group has done and that you’ve done as part of it.
It’s quite fast too. We already have four chapters, one in Seattle, one in Orange County here in California, and another one in Los Angeles. We started at Phoenix. We’re going to keep extending soon. We’re discussing what the next step is for WREN. We’re talking about a lot of women coming together. When women come together with the same intentions, magic happens.Real estate can be a vehicle for you to be able to do the things that really matter to you. Click To Tweet
If you all live in any of those spots or maybe you want your city starting a local chapter, then you can check out the website. Jennifer, you’ve been at this for years. It sounds like you’re in 3 or 4 different markets. You’re doing a lot of amazing things. To what do you attribute your success? What advice would you give to a woman starting out?
Off the top of my head, there are three main things. One of them is to get educated. Education makes you a savvy investor. No matter what kind of investing you do, when you get educated, you get yourself in a position that helps you not fall under a lot of the different challenges that you can fall into when you are not educated. That’s one of them. That’s something I did right away. The second thing that was smart is I was a newbie in the team always. I was a baby. When the WREN started, I was the youngest one. It was a little bit intimidating but I networked with people that will lift me higher. The people that were surrounding me, they were the ones challenging me. They became my mentors and partners. In our hearts, we were seeing each other succeed. That’s part of the female energy. That’s why we love to be together as women because we want to bring that energy to the max so all of us can succeed.
The third thing is, when I made a decision to invest in real estate, I did it for the right things. I did it with purpose. I did it for the right reasons. I always loved real estate. I had that little myth that you needed to have a lot of money to invest in real estate. I registered that. The reason why I wanted to get real estate is that I saw how real estate investing can be a vehicle to do all the things. Spend time with your family, travel a lot, and do the things that matter the most to you. I did it for those reasons and keeping that in mind. I still like the strategies that will benefit or will support the lifestyle I wanted to design. When you commit yourself and make sure that your mind, heart, and actions are in alignment, you will notice that things start flowing. I would say those are the main three things. Do things with purpose and the right reasons. Educate yourself and network with people who have more experience than you.
That’s good advice. What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you already know?
There were many technical things. First of all, there was a game out there that they called CASHFLOW. There have been groups dedicated to playing this game. When you start playing this game, you start practicing what you will do in real life and your mind opens a lot of possibilities on how you can make this happen. That was the first step. That was the first thing I wish I would know right away and how important it was. I would have started networking and talking to people about what I wanted to do earlier. This helped me move even further and faster. As you say, I would have jumped into bigger deals right away at that time and not being limited by the mentality that I could use my money. Those two things I wished I would’ve known that before. That would’ve been awesome.
I hear you, especially with knowing that you’re not limited by your capital and credit, that was a big one for me. I was like, “I would have been in a different place right now if I’d known that years earlier.” We are where we are. Thank you for sharing your advice. Hopefully, that’ll help somebody else get through quicker. Before we do your trinity, how can people find out more about you and get connected to you?
I spend time on Facebook. They can find me at Jennifer Maldonado-Cintrón. I have different pages. They can add me as a friend. They can find me in Women in Business Redefine or WREN Inspires. I will be able to answer their questions, connect with them. My website is JenMaldonado.com. In any of those three places, people can find me.
We have time for a quick trinity. What are you celebrating and bragging about?
I’m celebrating good things. First, we got our millionaire project that was funded. It was cool. Something I can’t stop jumping about is the WREN event. We have over fifteen speakers with different expertise in the same spot with different real estate strategists. Over 100 women already confirmed coming to get empowered, inspired, and get resources and connections. It’s a beautiful thing. I need to brag about that one.
Well bragged. What are you grateful for?
I’m originally from Puerto Rico. I’m blessed that my parents and my brother are safe. They didn’t have any material losses either. They have what they need. I’m grateful for the way that people have responded and supportive. There have been many heroes on this journey for my country. We need that, especially with what happened in Vegas and all of that. There are still many good people out there supporting these challenging moments. I even have contractors calling me from Florida to see how they can help me rebuild my lovely Puerto Rico. I don’t know how to express that. It’s in my heart.
I’m grateful that, too, your family is safe. Lastly, what do you desire?
I’m in a new stage of my life. I am ready to have a wonderful man willing to laugh and support each other. I understand how important it is to have a life partner in our life. Especially for women with big visions, a man, or a significant other that supports our crazy ideas sometimes. That’s something that I want.
So shall your desire be or so much better than you can imagine. Thank you, Jennifer. I’m happy that you were able to join us. You can find out more about her on Facebook, Jennifer Maldonado-Cintrón. Probably the best way to find her is on WREN Inspires and Women in Business. To connect with me, go to RealEstateInvestorGoddesses.com or Real Estate Investor Goddesses on Facebook. We will talk to you next time. Thanks again for coming out for another inspiring Real Estate Investor Goddess story.
- Jennifer Maldonado
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- WREN Inspires
- Ignite Your Fire Within
- Jennifer Maldonado-Cintrón – Facebook
- Women in Business Redefine – Facebook
- Real Estate Investor Goddesses
About Jennifer Maldonado
For the past decade Jen has been recognized by Fortune’s Top 500 companies like Johnson & Johnson and Nestle as a continuous improvement business expert and high-performance leader. She managed and led challenging projects as an engineer resulting in millions of dollars savings in short-time periods. In 2012, she decided to take a leap of faith and changed her career trajectory to become a real estate investor.
After her first year in real estate investing, Jen found her passion for raising capital. She successfully raised capital to fund real estate equity projects, acquisitions of non-performing notes, rehabs, multi-family units & other private loans that totaled $65M in assets. In 2015, a Huffington Post Journal interview recognized Jen as an inspirational and revolutionary real estate investor, consulting business owners and entrepreneurs to reach their full potential by tapping into owning their power and create wealth through real estate.
As one of the executive leaders and speakers of WREN Inspires (fastest growing nationwide womens real estate network), Jen has impacted the lives of over 2,000 aspiring and professional women real estate investors. Jen has been honored with the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE) award “Women who Rock 2020 in Los Angeles”. Her influence as a capital raising strategist, while mentoring women to develop high performance skills in real estate, earned her two consecutive nominations as Corporate Advocate and Rising Star at the 2016-17 Women’s Summit lead by Los Angeles Business Journal.
She’s a co-author of the 2019 book “You Got This! – Tips for Women Who Want to Rock at Real Estate Investing”, which was ranked a “#1 New Release” on Amazon.
Jen’s skills allow her to discover hidden performance assets, untapped markets and creative ways of identifying opportunities. In today’s competitive real estate markets, Jen has consistently found opportunities that net 10 – 20% returns for her investors. Currently, she is developing multi-units with her partners and actively developing affordable housing for veterans.
As a speaker in podcasts, radio shows, real estate clubs, events, universities and workshops, Jen delivers powerful, inspirational and transformational messages to nationwide audiences of entrepreneurs, corporate professionals, college students and women’s groups. Her topics include real estate investing, raising capital, financial intelligence, leadership, influence, business systems, and high-performance teams. Jen draws from her professional and business experiences, utilizing relevant and practical information. She leads the audience both emotionally and logically to create shifts they need to excel and thrive in their work and lives. Jen continues to inspire and be a guiding light by authoring books and speaking about women’s causes in the fields of real estate, self-help, self-care and community.
She is one of the founding members and Executive of the Women Real Estate Network (WREN Inspires). As pioneer of the first chapter WREN, Jen’s mission is to help women achieve their real estate goals further faster with savvy real investments in real estate.