Real estate investing is definitely a team sport. Your success as an investor is determined by the strength of your relationships and team. Monick Halm’s guest today has definitely figured out how to make the most use of this. Iris Veneracion is the Founder of InvestClub, a dynamic real estate community in SoCal. Iris talks about investing in the right market and learning from the right people. She also shines the spotlight on Airbnb and why she prefers it as an ideal platform. Learn more about real estate investment as Iris emphasizes the importance of partnerships and teamwork in this business.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Power Of Relationships – Interview With Iris Veneracion
Our guest for this episode is the Founder of InvestClub, which is a dynamic real estate community in Southern California. She’s a full-time investor. She specializes in fix and flips as well as buy and hold. She likes to flip for the lifestyle and hold for freedom. She’s utilizing the short-term vacation rental platform to double and sometimes triple her market rents to supersized cash flips. I love that she’s all about flipping, buy and hold, and vacation rentals. She believes in the power of partnerships, relies on resources, has great relationships, and stands behind the benefits of being part of an active real estate community. She’s the creator of the 60-Day Challenge, which is a unique hands-on butt-kicking real estate extreme experience available to Southern California investors. Her club meets on the third Wednesday of the month in Fullerton, California. I’m thrilled to have you here. Welcome, Iris.
Thank you, Monick. I’m happy to be here. Thank you for allowing me to be able to share my story and hopefully, help some women in the process to get to do this real estate thing. I love real estate. I’m passionate about it. Anytime I’m able to share some tips or lessons, I’m always loving doing that. Thank you for having me on the show.
That’s exactly why I wanted to invite you. You have a great story and such great lessons. Let’s start with your story. How did you get started in real estate investing?
This happened back in 2003. I was in mortgage finance. I was in the periphery of real estate, not the investing side but the finance side. I remember doing loans for not only homeowners but also investors. I remember that some of the toughest loans I had to finish or get approved were investor deals. When I got down to looking at the numbers, I found it fascinating. I realized there’s this other side right, not only the finance side or the real estate agents, as we commonly know real estate to be. There was this whole other investing side. I was curious about that. Around the same time, I read this magical purple book that people refer to as Rich Dad Poor Dad. It opened my eyes about business, being a business owner and investor, and having money work for you.
I had this perfect storm. One day, there was someone in my office that came up to me and said, “Do you want to flip a house?” I’m all, “What?” For some reason, I said, “Yes, let’s check this out.” We flipped our first house. This was back in 2003. I did everything wrong but somehow managed to still make a profit. If you recall, at least for the readers that are here in the States, 2003 was the boom. The prices were going up. You couldn’t make a mistake. I entered the market at the right time. After that first flip, I made half my annual salary and I was hooked. From there, I started getting into flips. I realized something important, though, at that time.
Once I sold the property, I no longer owned the assets. I understood early on that it wasn’t about flipping. Flipping is a job. I always like to say, “I flip for the lifestyle because who doesn’t like big fat checks?” You also have to hold for freedom. I like to hold properties for passive income. I don’t want to speak for everyone, but a lot of us do this because we want freedom. We want to be able to make our choices and do what we want when we want to do it and not have anyone else dictate to us when or what we can or cannot do. It’s entrepreneurship that is also exciting for me as being a full-time investor. That’s how it all started.
You’ve been flipping ever since 2003. You also are doing buy and hold. What are your investments? What are you doing these days?
I’m in California. The prices rose quickly in 2003. In 2003, everything was expensive in California. I knew that if I wanted to hold anything for passive income, I would have to go out of state. I did invest a lot out of state. Go where the money makes sense. I created a portfolio of out of state properties that grew quite large in a short period of time. I always make this joke. When you’re a California investor and you go to other states and you see the prices, you’re like, “I want five of those. I’ll take three of these.” You can pick whatever state you want. I acquired a lot in a short period of time. What I didn’t have in place were my systems for management, managing the managers, how you maintain these properties, and whatnot. Shortly after 2006, 2007, the market tumbled. The downturn happened. That hurt a little bit. What I realized in the downturn was that all of a sudden, there were all kinds of opportunities in California where I live. That was exciting for me. I did my best to liquidate everything I possibly could out of state and brought all my investments here.
To answer your question, my investment focus is to solely buy and hold in Southern California and flip in Southern California. I share this long-drawn-out story because the point I want to make with that is that I know I’ve been able to do a lot of strategic things. Even today, people are like, “California is still pretty expensive.” When I bought out here in California, I was able to buy in outlying areas like San Bernardino and the Inland Empire. I even went up north in Bakersfield and Kern County, where things were less expensive and could cashflow. That was exciting. As the market proved, I was able to use strategies like 1031 exchange. I sold a few properties to buy better properties in LA in Orange County. When you’re able to step up, it’s a lot easier to buy nicer A-neighborhood properties that cashflow well. In the past years, I’ve been transforming my portfolio from the D and C to B and A neighborhoods in better areas. It’s the process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Everyone can do it. If I can do it, anyone can do it.When you are able to step up, it's a lot easier to buy nicer neighborhood properties that cashflow really well. Click To Tweet
It’s reassuring for me to know somebody being able to do well in California where I live. It is quite expensive.
You brought up that I do short-term rentals. I use platforms like Airbnb, which has blown up through the years. They’ve done a lot, advertising wise. They’re well known. Not only do I like to use Airbnb when I take my holidays, but I also am a host in Airbnb. I’m going back to the idea that some of these homes are more expensive in some of these areas. If you’re able to use a platform like a short-term vacation rental, you can create a lot more cash flow than your average market rents. It’s a great way to be able to cashflow higher-end properties. It’s an exciting platform.
I’m a big fan of Airbnb and those short-term rentals. I’ve used it personally. I’ve been the host as well as a user. One of the things that I found tricky is the management of it. It’s a lot more management intensive. How do you manage all of your properties using Airbnb? Do you have outside management? How do you do it?
No. Believe it or not, I manage it myself. I did a talk on Airbnb in one of the clubs. I wanted to see how much time I was taking in managing the properties. Airbnb has such a robust platform. Also, the Avios and all the other short-term rentals, you can answer and accept guests through this great online platform. It comes to your phone, iPad, or computer. You can decline a guest. The biggest thing is making sure your calendar is kept up. Airbnb is good with that and with leaving reviews. I clocked myself and I realized that I was spending 2 to 3 hours a week on the management part.
The one biggest system that you need to have for Airbnb is a good cleaner that understands the business and how the house has to be set up in the standards that it needs to be kept at. You need a good cleaner in that platform, taking a little bit of time to review your guests, and making sure you have things like automated check-in. You don’t have to show up to give them a key. They can let themselves in. It’s been easy. The biggest challenge about starting in Airbnb is getting it set up. You had to buy furniture, start the cable, put a TV in, and buy the towels and sheets. After that, if you use the platform wisely and put in as much information as you can, it’s hands-off to me.
For sure, it’s doable. Having a good cleaner is a good system.
You need to have a backup cleaner, too.
This is a question that I love to ask all the guests because I find that we learn so much more from what goes wrong than what was right. Having things go smooth and easy is great but it’s often in our mistakes that we learn and grow the most. What has been your biggest mistake in your real estate investing career so far? What did you learn from it?
I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Here’s what I believe. There’s been good markets and bad markets. Knowing what to play in what market, you can make money in any market. I’m meeting investors that have never been in a downturn. My biggest mistake was not following the market. When it comes to real estate investing, you have to get educated and get the skills on how to do something. There are many ways to make money in real estate. There are many niches that you can attack. Equally as important is not only how you do something but when you do it. My biggest mistake was not understanding my market or not following it as precisely as I should have. I started listening to economists.
In our local area, Bruce Norris studies a lot of reports and speaks a lot. He holds great events. He does market timing reports. My biggest mistake was not listening to him back in 2006 when he was telling everyone to unload. The way he describes it is like, “You’re in a state of euphoria. You don’t want to believe the market is turning. You keep on doing what you’re doing.” If I had listened to him, I probably wouldn’t have lost as much money. There’s a second lesson to this. You can never stop. We’re always going to make mistakes. You only truly fail if you stop and quit. I know a lot of people that lost money in the downturn. They’re doing even better because they “learned from their mistakes.” Never quit. You only fail when you quit.
It’s not a failure. It’s feedback. I love that point about paying attention to the market. There’s a lot more than the market. It’s the market cycle. What’s the market cycle that you’re in? There are many different markets. Each submarket has its own cycle. Being able to pay attention to the cycles, where your properties are at or where you want to buy is the key, for sure. That’s good advice. The flip side of your biggest mistake is, what are you most proud of?
It’s going to be somewhat of a shameless plug. You mentioned earlier that I am a founder of InvestClub, which is an awesome real estate in Southern California. I have to say that it’s probably something I’m proud of because I did start that club when the market was down. This was in 2007 when I started this club. My colleagues were like, “What are you doing? Everybody hates real estate right now.” I intrinsically knew that, “We have to create a support group of people that hate it need to get back up.” Relationships are important in this business. Like the club we created, the community around it, the people that attend, and the speakers that educate. It’s my baby and it’s grown. Everyone I’ve met, the relationships, the referrals, even the deals, and private money has all come out. I know people that have partnered with people, people that they met through the community. I would love for all your readers, if they’re here in Southern California, please visit us because we’re fun. We like to have fun and make money. That’s our theme.
I had fun. That is something to be proud of. I always say that real estate is a team sport. You cannot do it alone. You need a good team and relationships in order to be successful. Clubs like Iris’s are a perfect place to go and meet amazing people who you might be able to partner with and work with. You’ve been at this, through upturns and downturns since 2003, what do you attribute to success?
I’m going to say something that maybe is cliché, but it’s the truth. It’s taking action. If you’re going to do real estate, I would highly recommend getting educated in the niche that you’re interested in. More importantly, you’ve got to take action. It’s easy for people to have that shiny object syndrome. Even to my meeting or any other real estate clubs, they’ll hear a speaker talk about something. They get all excited because the speaker’s good at sales or interesting. It’s that shiny object syndrome. You go from one methodology to another and then never do anything. All programs work. In every niche, there’s someone before you that has done it. They’re probably teaching it and know how to shorten your learning curve. The most important thing is you’ve got to take action. You learn everything in the action, not reading a book or sitting in class. You’ll also learn a lot listening to podcasts. Until you go out there and do something, that’s where all the learning is going to occur. I attribute my success to that because every time I took a class, I did it. I did until I close something. In the process, I realized, “I don’t dig this. I want to add this other thing and see how that works.” You can always add to your niches that you use. All programs work, you just have to work it.
That’s true. I’ve been to a lot of training and I’ve been in a mastermind of other real estate investors. There are a lot of people that didn’t take action and they haven’t done much.
They know a lot, but they haven’t done anything.
For a lot of reasons, people spook themselves. You have to take action. You will make mistakes, for sure. We all do. If you’re in the right market and doing the right things, you’ll be okay. What advice do you have for women who are starting out in real estate investment? What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you already know?
I’m going to repeat what you said earlier to reassure that everybody understands this. You don’t have to do this alone. I don’t want to generalize for women, but it’s our nature to try to help everybody else but we fear or we’re too conscientious to ask for help. As I mentioned earlier, get educated into something that you’re interested in, a niche that fits your lifestyle, personality, and time. There’s a real advantage for all of it. You get educated and surround yourself with the people that are doing it. You don’t have to be a lone ranger. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.In real estate, you need to get educated, but equally as important is not just how you do something, but when you do it. Click To Tweet
I always tell people that if it’s 1,000 houses you want to flip, then follow someone who’s flipped 1,000 houses in a year. If it’s something that you don’t want to engross your entire life with because you want to do a few, then follow the person that’s done it before you. It’s the people, the education, and knowing deep down inside that you don’t need to know all the answers. There are plenty of people out there that are willing to help and guide you. You have to stand up and ask for help. It’s okay. That’s my advice if you’re starting out. Conquer the fear. Know you’re going to make mistakes and know you can always reach out for help.
That’s good advice. You can’t do this alone. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do.
I heard something that said that real estate investing is a team sport and wealth building is a team sport.
We’re about to get into our trinity. Before we do that, what’s the best way for people or ladies who are reading to reach you, find out more about what you do, or connect to InvestClub?
We have a website called REInvestClub.com. You can check us out there. It shows when our events are and when we do things. You can reach out to me via email. My email is [email protected] or they can call me at (714) 265-7676. I’d love to meet any of you that are in the Southern California area. Come to my meeting. We meet on the third Wednesday of the month in Fullerton. I would love to see you introduce yourself. Let me know you came from the Real Estate Goddess show. We’d love to meet you personally.
You have such amazing energy. I’m super excited that you’re here with us. We’re going to conclude with the trinity which is a brag or celebration, gratitude, and a desire. Lady, what are you celebrating?
I have this rule that every Friday is Champagne Friday. You have to celebrate all your wins every Friday. If you were to ask me what I’m celebrating at this moment, it’s back to mortgage finance. I guess it brought me all full circle here. What I’m celebrating is the fact that I’m a flipper and I just moved into a house that I was supposed to flip. We finished refinancing it. I’ll tell you this, I am happy because those hard money loan payments are expensive. The interest rates are so low that we shaved off our payment by over $4,000. I always tell people that passive income is important, but so is saving. If you think about it, saving $4,000 a month on a mortgage payment is like increasing your passive income by $4,000. Anyway, that’s what I’m excited about.
What are you grateful for?
I’m grateful for many things. I’m grateful for the people that I’m surrounded by like my team here at InvestClub and my warriors that in the 60-Day Challenge. I’m grateful for everyone that works with me like the contractors that work on my flips, the guy who’s doing the roofing on one of my houses, my electrician, and the escrow officers that handle all my closings. This is a team sport. I am grateful for my team because I cannot do this alone.
That’s beautiful. Lastly, what’s one thing you desire?
I desire a lot of things. I said to my partner, “What are we going to do with all this real estate? We don’t have any kids.” I’m working on having a family. My desire for 2020 is that our fertility doctor makes something happen. We’ve been working on it for a little bit. Send all your good energy so we can actually have something exciting to brag about in the future.
So shall your desire be or so much better than you can even imagine.
Thank you, Iris. Again, you can reach her at the REInvestClub.com. You can reach me at RealEstateInvestorGoddesses.com. We have goodies there. We also provide mentorship for any of you ladies who are wanting support in your real estate investing journey. Reach out to me there and on our Facebook Group. We’re at Real Estate Investor Goddesses Facebook Page. We will catch you next week with another amazing real estate investor goddess story. Bye.
Thank you. Bye.
- Invest Club
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Bruce Norris
- [email protected]
- Real Estate Investor Goddesses – Facebook page
About Iris Veneracion
WREN Executive Team Iris Veneracion is a full-time investor specializing in fix-n-flips along with short and long term rentals in Southern California.
She likes to “flip” for the lifestyle and “hold” for freedom. Iris is the founder of InvestCLUB, a dynamic real estate community in So Cal. She is also the proud mom of adorable, 1year old twin boys.