Everyone has their own unique real investing journey, but the common factor is that no one starts out from the top. Starting out in real estate is its own process, but with advice from the best, perhaps you won’t feel so lost. Monick Halm goes into her story of starting out as a real estate investor. No path to true success is straightforward, but if you heed Monick’s advice, you may just find yourself getting there much faster.
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My Real Estate Investing Story – Self-Interview With Monick Halm
In this episode, I’m your host and I’m also the guest. I’m answering the same questions because a lot of people have wanted to know what my story is, how I got started, what I have learned, and where I stumbled and fell. I’m going to answer those questions that I normally ask the guests. I’m asking them to myself. The first question, I always start at the beginning. How did I get started in real estate investing? I got started by accident. I knew nothing about real estate investing. I was an attorney in a law firm.
I was always taught that the way to be successful is to become a doctor or lawyer. If you’re crazy, become an engineer or professor. I became a lawyer. It was 2005 and I was trying to buy a house in Los Angeles where I lived, even though I had a pretty good salary, finding anything decent was hard by myself. A friend of mine was also looking for an apartment or a house to live in and struggling. He suggested that we buy a duplex together. He lived on one side and I live on the other. I thought that’s a great idea. I can’t afford a whole house by myself but I could afford half a house.
We went hunting for the place and we found the beautiful home but one of the units was a lot bigger and nicer than the other. He was a friend of mine from law school. We’d known each other for a long time and we’ve been roommates in several cities around the world. We decided that instead of each taking a place in the home or a separate unit, we would share a unit and rent out others. There was also a converted garage that we were able to rent out too. We got in and became landlords and I noticed something, “This is amazing. People are paying our mortgage.” I was paying less in taxes. That was a lot cheaper than even when I had been renting. I was totally into that.Invest where the numbers make sense. Click To Tweet
I never thought about real estate investing as a career until much later. After that, I met my husband, who had a duplex. We sold his duplex in around 2009. We had some money and we were looking at those flipping shows on HGTV. We thought that sounds like a lot of fun. We have some money now that we could use to buy some properties on sale at that point. It was during the downturn. Property values were way down, so we were able to get homes, fix them up, and sell them for a nice profit.
We were doing that until about 2016, when the property values were getting expensive. The market was competitive and it was harder and harder to find deals that made sense. The thing about flipping is, it is like a short-term job. If you work it for a few months, hopefully, for us, usually 5 to 6 months, in the end, we would sell the place, make a little profit, and we’d have to start all over again. I thought that it wasn’t a passive income and it was short-term. I wanted something we could buy and hold on to. Buy it, put some people in and it continues to cashflow. We were looking for a fourplex in Los Angeles and I have a hard time finding anything affordable.
At that point, I met a man who eventually became my mentor, Robert Helms, The Real Estate Guys Radio. It’s a way more popular show than this one. It’s the number one real estate investment podcast in the country, maybe in the world. Robert Helms has probably done hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of real estate investments in his life. I was grateful to get his advice. He told me a few things that totally shifted what we’re doing. One, we were looking in Los Angeles and he said, “Live where you want to live. Invest where the numbers make sense.” I had not thought of investing outside of where you live. It never occurred to me. It’s obvious in hindsight, but I always thought you had to touch your property and manage it yourself. That was a huge a-ha revelation for me.
The other thing he told me was that you could buy a fourplex by yourself, which is limited to your capital and credits. Alternatively, you could bring a group of investors together and you could buy a 100 or 200-unit apartment building. That blew my mind. I had no idea that it was a thing you could do. I thought you had to have hundreds of millions, of billions of dollars in order to do things like that. I also realized, I wanted to be around people that thought that big. I went home that night. I told my husband that we’re going to learn from this man. We went and signed up for his syndication seminar and learned how to do that.
That’s what we’ve been doing ever since. We’ve been bringing groups of investors and properties together. Also, we’ve bought some properties that passively other people have put together deals and passively invested. We’ve actively invested. We brought people together to purchase a mobile home park, a couple of apartment buildings in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Also, a 199-unit RV park in Lake Charles an hour in Louisiana and out we’re doing some ground-up development. That’s where we are at and how I got started.
Your Biggest Mistake
The next question that I often ask my guests is, “What was your biggest mistake in your real estate investing career, and what did you learn from it?” I have had many. It’s hard to limit it to one but I can say that the biggest ones had to do with not having the right team members or people in the places on the bus. Your team is your foundation for successful real estate investments. The team you have will make or break you. We have had issues where property managers that we’d hired were reputable on paper. They should have been great and were super nice people when you were talking to them, but this did a terrible job of managing our properties.
They let in tenants that were not qualified and didn’t pay rent. They did not take care of maintenance issues promptly or at all. They weren’t paying our vendors and the bills. It was a mess. We had to fix it. Otherwise, we were going to lose the properties. They were sinking the ship very badly. There have been other times where we’ve had the wrong people doing the job and usually, that’s when you start losing money. Typically, it is fixable if you can get the right person in the job and they can turn things around. Our biggest mistake was hiring the wrong people.A good team is the foundation for successful real estate investment. Click To Tweet
Another mistake along that vein was one where we were refurbishing apartments and we went with the cheapest person, who didn’t have the right experience. He wasn’t the best contractor. The project that we gave them was way over his head and he was cheaper at first, but then it went way over time. It took a lot longer for him to finish than we needed it. There were a lot of cost overruns and mistakes. We were trying to save money so we went with the cheapest guy and we ended up losing money and losing time. We went and hired the best guy that we could find and he ended up saving us money and time. Work with the best. One of the badass women real estate investors I know says, “Work with the best. They won’t cost you money. They’ll make you money.” I have found that to be true. My biggest mistakes are always not following that advice, not working with the best, and not making sure. Even when they should have been the best on paper but they weren’t.
What am I most proud of? That’s another question that I will often ask. A couple of things, one is, I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time. I say we because I work and partnered with my husband, Peter. I’m proud of the fact that we have taken action. There are a lot of people that talk about doing things. They’re getting ready to get ready and they’re almost ready. I’m proud of the fact that we jumped.
When I found some training that I knew would help us, I jumped and I took the training. We went out there and looked for places and partners. We took opportunities that came and we said yes. I’m proud of that. Because of that, we’ve had some stellar results because we took a lot of action. We’ve made mistakes, for sure and there were always learning but we were generally failing forward. Moving forward, even when we messed up, or it’s not even forward.
There’s a picture that what people think it looks like is this straight line going uphill like a graph where it goes from the bottom and it goes straight. Over time, up, up towards success. That’s what people think it looks like or what it looks like. The graph is this curvy line that turns back, circles back and the trajectory is upward but there’s a lot of downhill and falling back in the process. It’s not easy, necessarily, but it’s doable. If you take the right steps and you know what to do. If you take action, and try to get the best advice, you can. I’m proud that we did that. We took action and we have something to show for it.
The next question that I will often ask is, “To what do you attribute your success?” One is taking action. I attribute my success to having mentors and taking the time to be educated. I sometimes kick myself or want to kick myself a little bit, but I try to be kind to myself and not do that too often. I think about, “What if I had started way back when in 2005 or earlier and knew then or even instead of flipping knew about syndication, where would I be now?” That’s not helpful to do but the point is, when you know better, you do better. When you’re around people that think big and are doing the thing you want to do, you’re more likely to be successful.
A big part of my success has been to be around people that are doing it. It’s getting mentors and being around other successful real estate investors. Partly, I started this show so I could learn myself from these successful women real estate investors. I’m sharing them with the world so you all can learn too. I’m learning and connecting with them. That’s been a wonderful thing. I take the time to go out, network, learn, and get mentors to get educated. That has attributed a lot to my success. Parading relationships with people that are doing the thing and taking action.
Women In The Field
The next question I normally ask is, “What advice do you have for a woman starting out in this field?” The advice that I give on how to get started in real estate investing as a busy professional woman is to get educated and learn. Before I was educated, not only did I make some mistakes that I could have avoided, even worse than that, I was beating myself up for not taking action that I could have taken if I’d known better. The more you know the better you can do and not only do you not make mistakes, but you also don’t miss out on opportunities that are out there because you can understand them. An uneducated investor is a disaster waiting to happen.Be proud of the fact that you have taken action. Click To Tweet
The next thing is to get clear on your desires around real estate investing. There are so many different ways to be in this game. If you don’t have a lot of time, a lot of my ladies out there are busy professional women, and you’re going, “I’m a mom. I have this more than a full-time job. Where am I going to find the time?” You can invest passively. You can get into investments and be making a nice return in a real asset. You’re building your legacy and all that wonderful stuff and not be doing the work. That’s an option. Maybe you have more time than money. There are better ways of getting in the game that way too. Maybe you love to rehab things and you want to know a lot about DIY, you can do that. If you don’t want to ever have to deal with anyone’s toilet, you can find ways of investing where you’ll never have to touch the toilet, call a plumber, or any of that stuff.
You have property managers or other active investors in the syndication doing it for you. There are a lot of different ways to be in the game and it’s important that you get clarity about your desires and your resources. The resources you need for real estate investing, time, money, experience, and relationships. Whatever you are missing, if you want to get a sense of what you have, that you can apply to that and you also want to find out, what you need and you’re missing, because you can always partner with other people that have what you’re missing.
Tony Robbins says something to the effect of, “There’s no lack of resources. There’s only a lack of resourcefulness.” You can always learn how to be more resourceful so you can always get to where you want to go. You can find that you can become resourceful enough to get the right people on the bus with you. That’s the advice that I would give. Get educated, get clear on your desires, around your resources, and the plan for investing that factors all of those things in. I would also say to get mentorship so you have somebody who you can rely on who’s been there and done that so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
At The Beginning
The next question that I ask is, “What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know?” I wish I’d known about syndication at the beginning of my career. I would have put my money passively into things when I was a busy lawyer. Maybe after a while, I might have gotten into the action side, but I would have had a lot more and be a lot further along, if I’d known about that way back when. I wish I’d known that at the beginning but my path was my path. I appreciate every second of it and where I am now.
I wouldn’t change a thing because I’ve been able to get to this place by doing it. I forgot to talk about Real Estate Investor Goddess. How did I get to do this and why did I get to do that? When I was at that first syndication seminar back in January of 2016, I was so excited by the information that I was learning and I was like, “Yes, this is it.” A lot of it was way over my head. I had no idea what they’re talking about a lot of the time but I was still so excited about the possibilities of what it is, what it could be, how win-win it was, and how it creates real wealth and how you help other people create wealth. I was so excited.
They were also talking about if you’re going to syndicate think about your network. Who do you want to work with? Who do you think will build your brand and network? What do you want to be about? I had been in between being a lawyer and being in real estate full-time. It became a career and an abundance coach for women. When I was there, I was excited but I looked around this room of about 120 people and there were maybe nine women in the room. There were so few women there, so few of us.
The seminar was on a Friday and Saturday, I remember. I spent the night at the hotel Saturday night and Sunday morning I was in the hotel gym on the elliptical and I was thinking about that. Who I want to work with? Build your brand and network. It came like a download to me all real estate investor goddesses. I want to work with women. I want to work with goddesses. When I say goddesses, I mean women who understand that we are sisters to one another and we each have at least a drop of the divine within us. There’s this magic within us. I wanted to work with women like that. I wanted to bring more women into the room. I believe that when women have time and money, this is one of the best ways to create time and financial freedom. When women have that, they give back. They give back to their families, communities, and the world. I wanted to get women changing the world.An uneducated investor is a disaster waiting to happen. Click To Tweet
As I was on that elliptical, the idea for Real Estate Investor Goddess came to me. The idea for the book that I would write the Real Estate Investor Goddesses Handbook came to me. It took me about a year and a half to get it out but it was all downloaded to me at that time. This is what I created. I’ve since created a program, the Real Estate Investor Goddesses Wealth Builders Program. It’s for women who are starting out but want to get that education, mentorship and be able to build relationships with other women.
Real estate investing can be a bit of an old boy’s network and I want to create a sassy sisters’ network. A network of women that are doing the deal, can support, work with one another, and partner together. There’s so much power in a group of women that have each other’s backs. The Real Estate Investor Goddesses Wealth Builders Program is designed to get you taking all the steps that you need to take, in order to invest in your first property within a year and hopefully more than once within a year and go through all of the pieces. You’re getting the education, making a plan and you’re going to be able to find your market, the properties, and figure out how you can pay for it. Also, how you can do all of this in a way that is divinely feminine and uniquely feminine that honors the women that we are.
If that sounds of interest to you, I invite you to go to my website RealEstateInvestorGoddess.com that’s a great place to connect with me if you want to connect with me further. If you go to the website, you can go to programs and you can find out all about The Real Estate Investor Goddesses Wealth Builders Program. I want to invite you to join us. We don’t have a lot of space. I only have twenty in levels 2 and 3. It has levels but you check it out. If you’re being pulled and there’s something in you that says, “Yes,” your intuitive guidance is pulling you in that way. I’m a big believer in following your intuition. That’s the other advice I would give to women. Always follow your intuitive guidance. If your intuition is saying, “Yes, this is what I needed,” I invite you to join us.
A quick trinity is how we end every show. A trinity is a brag, gratitude, and a desire. Brag is about celebrating what is going well in our lives. I brag about The Real Estate Investor Goddesses Wealth Builders Program. I’m super excited about it and the women that are showing up for it. I’m excited but I also brag in a non-real estate way that I’m doing a cleanse. I’m feeling good and clear. I’m excited. I’ve lost a couple of pounds and feel good, so that’s my brag. I’m grateful for all of you, the readers. I’m grateful that you’re here on this journey with me and that you’re taking action. Hopefully, you’re taking action but at least you’re getting educated and that is one form of action.
At the end of the Wealth Builders Program, we’re going to have a mastermind in Los Angeles. We’re all going to this virtual program. We have women from all over the country. I am so excited and desiring the hugs, dance breaks, and the transformation that’s going to come from that day in the program. I desire phenomenal and ridiculously amazing results for all the women that show up. I desire them to show up fully for themselves, families, and their world. I desire to be amazeballs. That’s my trinity. Thank you for being here. Join me next time for another amazing Real Estate Investor Goddess episode. Bye.
- The Real Estate Guys Radio
- Peter Halm – LinkedIn
- Real Estate Investor Goddesses Handbook
- Real Estate Investor Goddesses Wealth Builders Program
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