The journey of a real estate investor is not often straightforward. There are unlimited possibilities; thus, the path twists and turns at odd and unexpected places. However, if you keep at it, you will get where you want to go. Jamisa McIvor is the CEO of Rosebud’s Investments. Jamisa shares her transformation from novice to full-fledged real estate investor with Monick Halm. If you’re also just jumping into the real estate sphere, Jamisa’s story has many lessons you should learn sooner rather than later.
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The Journey Of A Real Estate Investor – Interview With Jamisa McIvor
I’m excited to have a badass extraordinaire Jamisa Mclvor with me. She’s a wife, mother and groundbreaker with an amazing testimony. She’s the deed holder of eighteen properties, all in which she’s purchased with only one mortgage. Starting out as a novice investor in mastering the craft, she became the CEO of Rosebud’s Investments, which is very popular amongst new investors and people who may be looking to get started and is not sure how. She’s taken her innovative spirit and created a strategy that makes real estate investing as simple as can be for people of all ages and walks of life. She did an intellectual with ambition and a strong desire to uplift and build those around her, which I love. I’m super excited to have her with us. Welcome, Jamisa.
Thank you for having me.
How did you get started in real estate investing?
It was an accident. I was nineteen years old. I’m very close to my grandparents. My great grandmom raised me and then my grandmom, which is my dad’s mom, that’s my great-grandmom’s daughter. I spent a lot of time with older people. I have been one of them. I’m a very responsible young lady. I’ve always been like that because I’m the eldest of about ten siblings. We had this thing where I would take her food shopping or take her to the doctors. It’s simple granddaughter, grandparents stuff. One day while we were food shopping or I might have been dropping her off at this point, she had asked me what would happen to her house if something was to happen to her.
I didn’t know the answer to that because I have a question. First of all, “What’s happening to you?” That was my first thought line. The second thought is, “It’s the house. What happens to the house? They stay there.” I don’t know. I didn’t have knowledge on ownership or anything like that so I didn’t know the basics. I just know that this was the house and she lived there. At this point, my mind didn’t go past the thought of renting, because I had my own place at that time. I was renting so I didn’t know. She made a request. She said that if anything happened to her, would I be willing to look after it? “You’re the most responsible person. I want this to be a family house that people stay here. They’ll pay you rent. You give me some little rundown because this is all we have. I want to make sure it’s okay.”
“No problem. I can do that. I’m nineteen years old. I’ll be doing that, whatever.” She meant it. She was serious. The next few weeks after that, she was crushing on me to figure out how to do what she asked me to do. “Did you figure out how we do it? How do we put it in your name? What do we need?” I was like, “She means it. She’s asking me to do stuff.” I was asked to do research. I’m good at it. I’m very inquisitive, very curious and I like to learn. Somewhere along the lines of me googling and talking to people, I figured out about a dollar deed of transfer. At that time, it was me signing a piece of paper and I went on the deed with her and we set the paper off to the side to collect dust. That’s all that happened.
Still for me, it wasn’t a real thing. A year and a few months after that, she passed away and that’s when everything came full center for me because at that moment, I realized what she had asked me to do and what I agreed to do. She meant it if something happened to her, she wants me to take care of this house. At the time for me signing the paper, I did it but I didn’t know what I was doing because she lived there. Everything has remained the same. Me helping her pay bills and stuff, that’s normal to me. Me being fully responsible for a house, that’s not normal. She asks for money, I would give it to her, but then I didn’t know what she did with it. I didn’t know about paying taxes and stuff.
She passed away and I said, “I’m the eldest of about ten siblings, but then she also has children.” My father being one of them. I have an aunt and three uncles and they’re all about twice my senior. It didn’t work like dead on. I want to say she passed away. That same day, they were changing the locks on a property. The next day they were making arrangements for what they were going to do to the property. I’m grieving like taking it all and grandmom will no longer hear. They’re like, “We’re going to sell it. We’re going to do this and we’re going to do it.” My great-grandmom was like, “Do you want to tell them that that’s your house and they can’t do it?” I’m like, “Not right now. Do I have to say it now?” She said, “You might want to look at what they’re doing. You might want to speak up.”Most of the time, people's minds don't go past the point of renting. Click To Tweet
I’m very small now, I’m very small then and I’m not aggressive. I’ve learned to be more assertive than passive, but my personality is still not one like, “I don’t have it in me. That’s my house.” That’s inappropriate. Can we get over the fact that she’s not here first before we try to make monetary gain off of it. Eventually, I did end up letting them know like, “This is my house.” I don’t know if it was better before they knew or after they know because they did everything they were doing prior to knowing times ten. I started breaking in, unplugging a deep-freeze. It became a thing. Money brings the best and worst out of people sometimes, especially needed people that are closest to you. Originally, she had said that she wanted this to be a family house. She also said this is all we have. That stuck out to me. She told me she didn’t want this house to be sold.
She wanted me to upkeep it and maintain it. Easy enough but not with the people that were involved. It was like she told me to do two different things, maintain the house and I don’t want people arguing. It was impossible for the two to happen at the same time. Starting out, I said, “Let’s fix it.” I didn’t have to live there. At first, I said, “This would be a good idea to live there because I was somewhere else paying rent.” This property is debt-free. This would be great. I would live here and pay taxes. Grandmom has deferred maintenance. You don’t live there without pulling the drop ceiling off, taking the panels off the wall, getting the plastic off the couch. You can’t even move in that house. “Let’s come together and fix it up.” It didn’t work out.
Their intention was never to be a family for the greater good of anything. I went on my own mission and I started with Angie’s List, if I’m not mistaken, and some neighborhood contractors. I’m getting quotes. How much would it be to remove this wall? Recessed lights. This is what I had in my place. What would it cost to make the lights go? I was asking certain questions. It was a lot. It was way more than I could afford at that time being a cashier. It was the oddest thing. Every single person that walked through that door made me an offer to buy the house. One day, I won’t lie, the mailman even asked because he brought it up. I can’t make it up.
Where is that house?
It was at South Philadelphia. They call it Newbold or Point Breeze. That’s when I say it’s so funny to get them to relive it. They were like, “This is a whole lot of work. It’s going to need a lot way too much for you. Let me buy it right now.” I had this one contractor who was so serious, he wanted to write me a personal check on the spot. He was like, “My checkbook is at the new truck. Walk me out right now. It needs a lot. You won’t get more than about $50,000 or $60,000 for it. I’ll give it to you right now in cash. I’ll write you this check.” I remember I was a cashier and I’m like, “At ShopRite, we don’t take personal checks.” There was a neighbor right next door to my grandmom. He was a brand new guy who lived there with his family, well-shaped, three-piece suit. Why he’s living next door to my grandmom, I’m going to question it. He’s a cool guy.
He has a nice house, three-story. A few years before that, there was no house there. A few years before that, there was an abandoned house there. The way that his house looked, almost every other house on the block looked like that as well. It was uniform. Everybody has a three-story rooftop deck and the story is persistent with that block. It was a point in time where everything was abandoned and then if you stood at the corner, it’s hollow with the exception of maybe 4 or 5 standing houses. My grandmom’s being one of them. I’m not paying attention to what that means. I’m not paying attention to why that is. He looked out for me when I wasn’t there though. When my family would come, he would give me a call like, “You’re back. What do you want me to do? Do you want me to lock the property up? I’ll make sure this is fine. I’m going to call the cops. They’re in there.” One day he said, “Have you thought about selling it?”
That was something that I was battling with internally because it was getting out of hand for me. It was something that I couldn’t do. “I can’t take care of it. You’ve got it extremely hard for me. I live maybe 35 to 40 minutes away. I’m not going to keep coming to babysit this house, but she said she didn’t want me to sell it.” That was one of the things that I battled with. He said, “The guy that helped me buy my house, he told me his name and that he’s a realtor. I’ll give you his card.” That was it. At this point, my neighbor was sick of my family, making all that noise next door. He had given me the realtor number. I gave him a call. I did not know much about real estate still and I didn’t know exactly what a real estate agent was outside of they buy and sell real estate but I felt comfortable knowing that it was backed by a company.
If something goes wrong, the guy didn’t write me a random personal check. There are contractors, other things involved that put me at ease. Although I didn’t know what I was doing, I felt comfortable with the guidance that I would receive from a professional. I had given him a call and we had a meeting. We sat down at some type of coffee shop. He sat down and he talked to me. He said, “What do you want to do? Is it free and clear?” He talked to me about what will happen, “We’ll do a title search on it and then we’ll put it on the market. We’re going to list it at $115,000 and then we’ll see what happens.” I’m thinking about the other people who came with the $50,000, $60,000 offers like, “You won’t get much more than this.” When he said $115,000, I was like, “Is this guy serious? I don’t know. He’s a professional. Let’s see what happens.” It was maybe 5 or 6 days after the consumer notice, someone noticing us listing it that we were at a bidding war.
From $115,000, we had hit $150,000. Still in my mind, I didn’t say, “Why is there a bidding war? Why do people want this?” I didn’t even clean it out. I don’t even think I got to that point. I didn’t touch it. Her furniture was still there. I was like, “$152,000, that’s a far cry from the $50,000 that they said that was all I could get.” Day seven, I was like, “Let’s take the highest one.” I don’t care if it was cash, financing or whatever. It ended up being a cash offer which was good, but we ended up maxing into $152,000 and a week after that, we closed because it was debt-free. She had no debt on a property at all. It was a smooth transition from table to bank. I remember selling a property for $152,000 and I get this check from the title company and they gave me this bottle of champagne. I remember looking at it and I cried. That was the most money I had ever seen in my life.
I’m almost twenty years old and I don’t know what to do with the check. I’m like, “Do I take it to the bank.” I have the same bank today. Back then, I was the overdraft queen. I’m disputing. It’s not me. I don’t even eat your plate. I’m walking here with $100,000 check like, “How’s it going to be? They won’t think I did something wrong.” This was my mindset. It was so poor at that time. I remember taking it and they were telling me what I needed to do. We were breaking down the increments. We started clearing a little bit at a time. At that point, I had made my mind up. I didn’t feel bad about selling grandmom’s house at that time. I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I’m going to be honest. I couldn’t afford to upkeep it. I didn’t want to live in it and I wasn’t going to pay for a place that I didn’t live. It was what it was. I did make up my mind that it wouldn’t have been in vain.
You sold this house. I’m assuming that’s what you used as the seed to get to your twenty properties. Tell us what did you do? How did you get that next one and then what have you been doing since?
What happened after that was the realtor sent me down with a financial advisor because he was scared for me. He was like, “That’s a lot of money. What are you going to do?” We sat down with a financial advisor and he says, “We could put it on a Roth IRA or something like a college fund.” I was like, “You’re telling me to give you all my money to go back to work? I’m not going to do that.” After that, the realtor noticed what path I was on and said, “What are you going to do with all that money?” I said, “I’m going to buy houses.” Mentally, I knew one house got me that much money, I should get more houses but naturally, I wanted to replace my income. I knew that I didn’t want to go to work. I was like, “Let me buy houses.” I told the realtor. That’s what I was interested in. He introduced me to an investor. This is my first time making a distinction between an agent and an investor. I’m like, “There are two different types of people.” I sat down with the guy. The guy was like, “I have some houses for sale. I heard you were interested in buying them.”
We were sitting down and talking informally. We met at a restaurant or something and we were talking about it. He said, “What’s your budget?” Me being me, I told him the truth, “I have $152,000?” “How?” I was very honest. I told him the truth, “My grandma had a house, I sold it.” He said, “You sold it where?” I said, “South Philly?” He said, “You sold it for $152,000.” I said, “Yes.” He was like, “You could’ve sold it for $300,000. Why would you do that?” I was like, “That’s what he told me to do. Did I do something wrong?” He goes into the spiel about equity, how it’s being clear, and how could it get a hard money loan or a purchase and rehab loan. All of these things that I didn’t know and I was like, “Okay.” At that point, I’m interested in the idea. He had houses for sale in a nutshell, because he was in a hard situation where he was in the middle of a project, ran out of capital, so he had to sell off some of his stuff.
He’s in the middle of playing Monopoly and I jumped on the board with him, “I need houses. What are we going to do?” That day, we went to go and see 2 or 3 of them. One of them had a tenant, so I immediately inherited some passive income on the spot. That was my first one. He sold me another one, which was horrible to the eye. I’ll call it the treehouse. It was $6,500. That’s what I had purchased it for. He originally asked for $12,00. I was like, “No. It was $6,500.” He had purchased it for $2,500 though from an auction. At that time, I had purchased it from $6,500 but in the back of my mind, I made a mental note. “He got this for $2,500. We need to find out where.” That was my first intro to the auction. I got three houses from him at that time and he was a referral from the agent. The first one was with a tenant which was great. That instantly replaced my income. She was paying $1,000 a month. I was like, “I don’t make this as a cashier so I’m good.”
The other one needed work. I didn’t touch it right away. He thought it would be a good idea to segue into being an investor, “This will be your first project. It will be great. There will be equity.” I wasn’t quite ready to do that. I didn’t go inside the house. It was so bad looking. At the door, I looked and I was like, “Oh no.” I let that house sit there for about 1.5 years before I decided to bother it because it was out of my league. I got it for $6,500 and it was fine. It didn’t bother me. I just let it sit there. The other one needed some minor work to it like some paint. We replaced the baseboard heaters that were there. We added a new stove. I want to say maybe $3,000 and it was up and running. We have two tenants and then we have one house that’s not the prettiest to look at. That was my first step into purchasing homes. That was simple.
Are you buying houses from auctions?Find a first project to help you segue into being an investor. Click To Tweet
Yes and no. This is the thing. When I first went to an auction, I was baffled by the nature of how it worked. The properties were starting at $1,500, you only needed $600 to play the game. I’m the only person there that’s as young as I am. There are not many women. I’m like, “Are you serious?” I purchased the property for $1,700 and in my mind, “I knew I could have done this as a cashier.” I’m like, “I could have saved $1,700. This is crazy.” When I got there, I was turned out. I’m like, “This is a real thing. I have to tell people.” In the beginning, I did go to auctions to purchase, but then as I started to tell people, that’s how Rosebud’s came to life.
I would be telling people, giving them my whole idea and the possibilities, and they will be going to these auctions, buying houses, pennies on a dollar or getting them and flipping them quickly, making $60,000 to $70,000 and they’re calling me like, “Thank you. It worked.” I was like, “You’re welcome.” Somewhere in there, it was like, “This is a business. Figure it out.” I filed for an LLC. I did it myself. I was like, “Get a business. That’s an LLC.” All of these things are gradual with trial and error situations. I got so many clients that I couldn’t go to the auction anymore. If you can imagine, you’re my client, I’ll take it to the auction and I’m bidding against you. It’s like, “No, miss. That’s not why I am here.” I was in the auction and we grew from there.
The question I ask everybody, we get so much more knowledge from what doesn’t go right and what does go right. What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
It’s so crazy. I don’t acknowledge mistakes ever or failure. I look at it as a learning experience. If I could say anything, it would be panicking. When I originally saw the property, I didn’t do any research prior to selling the property. I tried to get it fixed. I tried to do that part of it, but I never knew about equity. I never knew about any of those things. I didn’t take the time to learn. I knew I had to do something and I rushed that process. If I waited a little bit longer, I would have figured out how I could have got that $300,000 instead of the $150,000 or how I could have not sold it at all. There were options for me to keep the house and put the equity. I want to say that was a blessing and a curse of it all because that is what got me my start of course. If I had to do it over, I wouldn’t change much about it. I would change how I did it.
What are you most proud of?
My ability to be very optimistic and to persevere. Some people are very discouraged. It’s a total mindset thing. Before wealth, millions, equity, and all of those things, my mind was set on winning. It grows prosperity, progression always. No matter what I was doing, it was always a step up from whatever I had done prior. To not have many role models, I’m the leader. I was young. I was nineteen, then I turned twenty but it has always been me that guided myself. I was the one to seek knowledge. I was the one to network and meet new people. Coming from my household, I’m the first millionaire of my family. I’m the first entrepreneur.
I was able to change generations. I’m a mom, but I remember telling about my great-grandmom in the beginning. I was able to retire her. I was able to reach back because legacy is not about who comes after you. I believe it’s about who came before you as well because they’re not here anymore. It was my job to keep the bloodline and the lineage alive and make them proud of something like stand for something. This is your family and this is your last name. I want to say I’m most proud of keep going. I didn’t know much, but I didn’t let that stop me. I know people who would have been like $152,000 and I could have sold it for $300,000. This is not for me. I would be like, “Where’s the rest?” I was able to make that $250,000 relatively quickly after I thought I lost it by educating myself. I’m proud of myself with it. Most people don’t do it.
What advice do you have for a woman who’s starting out in this field?
I would say just start. You’re never going to know everything about the field. Some people want to master what they want to get into. You should get into what you want to master because experience is the best teacher. You can read a ton of books or you can listen to a ton of podcasts but no two deals are the same. They can be very similar but no two deals are ever going to be identical. I want people to get into the habit like if you’re a woman into something that you want to do, just start from wherever you are. Be prepared to make mistakes, but do what they say in terms of fail forward. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake because that’s the only way that you’re going to learn. Everybody makes mistakes. I’m still doing now even at my level, but it’s about how you view your mistakes. What did you take from them? Do you get something that’s valuable enough to help you progress the next go-round?
What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know?
If I would’ve known about equity and BRRRR method, things would have been slightly different. It wouldn’t have been much different because I’m not in a bad spot.
How can people reach you to find out more about you and what you do?
Rosebud’s Investments, that’s everywhere. My grandmom’s name was Rose. I created the company after her. Both words are plural. The website is www.RosebudsInvestments.com. Instagram is @RosebudsInvestments. Facebook is Rosebud’s Investments too. Even in number, it’s (267) 419 ROSE.
It’s time for our Trinity, which is the brag, gratitude and desire. What is one thing you are celebrating right now? What’s your brag?
The world is going through a lot of crazy stuff. Everybody is in a panic about the market crashing and I am completely under leveraged. My debt to income ratio is 8%. I have one mortgage out of twenty houses and I’m so happy that I’m okay because people are like, “You can’t take advice from somebody who didn’t survive the crash.” The crash was scary because a crash is like a bubble, what happened? What people fail to realize is the only people who are at risk are the people who were over-leveraged. We don’t owe anybody. You have some pieces that you could potentially move around the board and still be okay like, “I could sell it. I’m not going to be underwater.” I feel good that I went in the way that I did. Most people told me not to. You’re going to be house rich and cash poor. It happened to me so many times but in my mind, I was never fully comfortable with the idea of leveraging. I didn’t like it. I’m so proud of myself for following my gut instinct because now people are like, “My tenants are in pain and I’m behind on my mortgage.” That is something that I’m proud of.
What’s one thing you’re grateful for?Mistakes are learning experiences. Click To Tweet
The opportunity to educate people. I’m grateful for so many things like being a mom and being able to change the trajectory of the way my children will grow up versus the way I did. It sounds so crazy like, “Generational wealth and I want to break generational curses.” You hear that all the time. To be somebody who’s doing it is cool. I’m grateful that I’m able to do that and pass on the knowledge for another mom, wife or woman who might not be a mom or a wife yet, but she will be one day. Even if she’s doing it for herself, giving people actual hope to show them that I was a cashier and now I’m not. You can do this and here’s how.
Last but not least, what’s one thing you desire?
I wish I had a magic wand so that I can tap the brains. This is a quote from Harriet Tubman, “I would have free many more slaves if only they’ve known that they were slaves.” I run into that often. When he’s telling a story, people get blocked about it like, “You don’t have any inheritance.” I went to the auction and got a $1,700 house. You can do that without an inheritance. People shut off the fact that they can do it too, because of how I did it. That’s the biggest piece of the puzzle. There’s another quote, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you’re right.” That’s a thing and I want people to know how powerful the mind is. My biggest desire would be to break the mental blocks. I want to knock the bricks down with the hammer in their head like, “There’s light on the other side of it.” That’s one of my biggest desires.
That’s why I do this show because I want anybody who’s thinking, “I can’t do it.” I hear a story like yours and go, “She was nineteen. She was working as a cashier. She becomes a millionaire.” Anybody can do it. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your wisdom. That was great. If you want to connect with Jamisa, go to RosebudsInvestments.com. You can find me at REI Goddesses on social. Check us out. You can join our Investor Club there to find out about passive investing opportunities. Join us in our Facebook group where we have thousands of women from all over the country and the world. We’re in twenty countries now that are crushing it in real estate and supporting one another. Come and join our sisterhood. Thank you again, Jamisa.
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About Jamisa Mclvor
Jamisa McIvor is a 26-year-old wife, mother and groundbreaker with an amazing testimony! Currently the deed holder of 18 properties, all in which she’s purchased with only one mortgage!
Starting out as a novice investor, and mastering the craft. She became the CEO of Rosebud’s Investments which is very popular amongst new investors and people who may be looking to get started and are not sure how. She has taken her innovative spirit and created a strategy that makes real estate investing as simple as can be for people of all ages and walks of life!
She is a truly gifted intellectual, with the ambition and strong desire to uplift and build those around her.
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