LUR Anna | Financial Future

 

Many people can attest to the fact that they were able to build a more stable life through a career in real estate, but getting to that point is a journey in and of itself. But if you make the right moves, you will almost definitely find yourself with a bright financial future. Anna Kelley is a real estate investor and founder of ReiMom, LLC. Joining Lisa Hylton, Anna talks about how she was able to pursue and secure her financial future through real estate investing. Let Anna’s inspiring story empower you on your own real estate investing journey!

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Securing Your Financial Future Through Real Estate With Anna “ReiMom” Kelley

I’m excited to have on my show, Anna Kelly. She is a Founding Member of Zenith Capital Group, Apex Multifamily and REI Mom, LLC. She is a former top-ranked Financial Relationship Manager for a private bank and began investing in real estate years ago. Anna has purchased, renovated, and rented millions of dollars in real estate across numerous asset classes while working full-time and raising four active children. She is retired from her corporate career after creating financial freedom through rental property investing. She has active ownership in and manages a rental portfolio valued in over $60 million and has invested in over 2,000 doors as a limited partner. Anna, thank you for coming on the show. I appreciate it.

Thank you, Lisa, for having me. It’s my honor to be here.

I will say that I discovered you through podcasts. You were featured on a podcast and I remember listening to your story and I was like, “This is an amazing woman.” I remember sharing that podcast with someone else who is also a friend of mine and we both said that we were touched by your story of persevering and not giving up despite life not always going the way you guys planned it. Nonetheless, being able to be successful. It’s been truly a story for me as well as to not give up. I want to share with my Level Up audience your story, how you got started, and the essence of why I love your story.

It’s those things that make me thankful that I went through it the hard way. A lot of times, we think we’re going to have this magic bullet and we’re going to get wealthy in real estate overnight. That’s rare that that happens for people, you can plan, and you can do all the right things as I thought I did. You have an economic collapse and things like you can’t expect. It makes it difficult and you think, “How am I ever going to achieve my dreams?” It’s through those downsides, difficulties, and hurdles that you find how strong you can be if you don’t give up. There are great things ahead. It’s inspiring to me to know that somehow my journey and even what I thought were the low points in life can encourage and inspire others to keep going. That means a lot to me.

To get started, what made you decide to invest in real estate?

Lisa, I had no one that I knew that owned real estate. I grew up in Section 8 housing in San Antonio, Texas. Most of my family had not had college degrees. They were in the same cycle of poverty. Through education, being driven to get a degree, and climb up the corporate ladder, I thought that’s how I’m going to escape poverty. By the grace of God, I was offered a job that I was under-qualified for which was starting to be trained as a financial advisor in Bank of America. At that time, as I completed all of my training, we were starting to meet with our wealthy clients in the bank, and talk to them about retail investments, some of my clients had real estate. One of them said to me, as high as the rates were back then that we could give them through annuities for example.

He said, “I make much more than that in my real estate portfolio.” I thought, “Through everything I’ve learned through my training, I never known anyone that had real estate. They’ve never even told me that that’s an option.” It opened my eyes. That was the first time I thought I should think about figuring out how to invest in some real estate. The first thing that I did as simple as it was is I had an expensive apartment in Houston, Texas. I thought I’m throwing away all this money in rent. I have some people I know that own little condo apartments. I should buy a condo and have ownership in my first piece of real estate that I could one day keep as a rental if I ever decided to move out. That was my first move toward real estate. It was simply house hacking and buying something instead of renting.

LUR Anna | Financial Future

Financial Future: You’ll end up making all kinds of mistakes the first time you start flipping houses, but you can’t give up.

 

From reading your story, you then moved into buying larger properties with you and your husband initially. Can you talk about the transition from buying the first condo to buying your first investment property?

Lisa, I had been driven up the corporate ladder as we had said. I thought my way to success was going to be to climb up the corporate ladder. That was my goal until I had a baby. When I had my first baby, he was premature and he was in the hospital. It was delicate for him, for me to go back to work, but I could not afford to live on my husband’s income because he was new out of chiropractic college making about 1/3 of what I was making at that time. I knew I’ve got to figure out a way to get home with this baby. During my maternity leave, we watched lots of HGTV, the first shows that were coming out in 2003 and we thought, “They flip a house or two.” They don’t tell you all the holding costs and the behind the scenes and think you’re going to make millions on a few properties.

We flipped a house but it did not go well. We made all kinds of rookie mistakes doing that. My husband said, “We’re never going to flip again.” I thought the only way for this to happen is for my husband to quit working for other people as an associate, making beans for pay, and to start his own practice. We decided to move from Texas to his rural little town in Pennsylvania where he grew up to start his practice. We had been looking for space to lease. We saw a building for sale on the main street in our town that had two apartments above it, four garages behind it, and another apartment on top of the garages. That’s how a lot of the businesses in our town were set up because they were converted mixed-use buildings. I ran the numbers. I said, “It would be smart for us to have tenants to help pay the mortgage on the building, end up paying much less than we would lease a space, and worst case we could move into one of those units.”

Our first foray into an investment property was buying that property for my husband to start his business in. Because we couldn’t get the tenants out, they had been in a longer-term lease, I saw the four-unit building for sale at the same time. I said, “We should buy this four-unit too and we’ll live in one unit.” We had downsides from my nice house in Houston, moved into this teeny tiny two-bedroom apartment with two kids. We became instant landlords of two buildings. We only did it not because we were thinking we were going to become millionaires in real estate, but because we knew real estate and cashflow from those rentals would help us to survive if I lost the job that was giving me a work from the home trial for a few months or if this business didn’t do well. That’s how we got started.

Let’s fast forward into the period of working at AIG. You’re experiencing the turmoil of being an employee during the time of the recession, wanting to continue to build real estate, and how your relationship with real estate also changed during that time too.

There were many ups and downs. We thought we were making wise financial moves even though we knew to start a business, we were taking on hundreds of thousands of debt for my husband to start his practice. I was a little nervous about that, to say the least, but it was the height of the economy. We hired business consultants that told us, “All this investment you’re putting in, you’re going to make it back in 2 to 3 years, and then it’s all income.” Little did we know that we were about to hit one of the worst recessions and real estate collapses in my lifetime. We started everything in ‘07, ‘08 went well, and then at the end of ‘08, we started seeing some jitters. I thought, “Let’s keep buying real estate,” but my job was fairly secure by that point.

Many people think they’re going to get wealthy in real estate overnight. Click To Tweet

My work-from-home gig turned permanent. I was doing fine, but I was working 70 hours a week at that point, helping my husband start his business, training his staff, and learning to do medical billing while working. I had a third baby and we had these rental properties that we were fixing up nights and weekends between work and his practice and, all of a sudden, the economy fell out, and quickly, AIG almost went under. For those that don’t know about it, AIG was one of the largest mortgage insurers, but they also had something called credit default swaps where they ensured the financial stability of other big institutions. When those other big institutions all fell quickly in succession, AIG was on the hook quickly for billions of dollars in insurance they had to cover.

They almost went under, the government bailed them out, and we were warned layoffs are coming, everybody needs to get ready. At that point, I’m scared I was going to lose my job. My 401(k) took a huge hit. I lost between two-thirds and three-quarters of my 401(k) quickly because I was invested in many of the stocks that were hit. All I knew to do was take what little I had left in my 401(k) and I borrowed it. I borrowed it as a down payment to buy another four-unit because I thought I’m going to lose my job. I’ve already lost most of my retirement. My husband’s business is barely breaking even. All I know that works that I can have some cashflow is by buying another property. I bought that other property but after that, banks would not lend to me.

I kept thinking if I could get more real estate, I could make us even more stable and at least weather the storm until I could find another job. The lending dried up. Nobody would lend on rental real estate much less to someone with hundreds of thousands of dollars in business startup debt and who worked for a company that was going under. My dreams of growing bigger in real estate were stymied and put on hold for a couple of years. I didn’t know a whole lot about syndication and working with other investors. At that point, we were trying to stay afloat and keep working on the ones that we did have to try to make them worth more money until banks would finally start lending to me again.

Through all of that, you guys still continue to invest in real estate. It’s a true testament of taking your 401(k) money and what you saw that was left to then buy that four-unit as opposed to allowing it to keep going down into the market.

It went against everything that I had been taught as a financial advisor. They say, “When the market is collapsing, don’t sell. If you sell, you realize those losses.” When you’re about to lose your job, your husband’s business and the market is tanking, it’s like, “This is the only asset that I have is this 401(k) and I’m going to utilize it as best as I can.” I’m thankful that I did borrow that money and make some more cashflow to be able to live on during that downturn.

As you think about moving from that where you guys were at that place, and then continuing to then grow your business when the markets did start to lend again, what are some of the lessons that you feel like you’ve learned from your journey so far?

The main thing was never to give up and you have to take your future into your own hands. We are taught in society that our way forward to success financially is education, getting a good job, staying in that job, putting a little bit of sight in the market. Maybe when you’re 65, you’ll have enough to retire. Some of us were also taught to become entrepreneurs. I quickly realized during that collapse that what I thought was stability through a job and through entrepreneurship was much riskier than what we’re told. Real estate was the only thing that I could depend on because people always need housing. I wasn’t out there flipping properties. For the most part, I was buying small residential, four-unit apartment buildings. When people are hurting financially, they still need a place to live. I quickly learned that the rental real estate was more stable than anything that I had ever been taught, including through my financial advisory training.

It made me know that as soon as I could figure out a way to get more real estate, I believe that much quicker to the path of financial freedom. My goal wasn’t the money, Lisa, it was home with those babies. I found out I was pregnant with a third one right about the time everything was collapsing and I thought, “How are we going to do this?” I had a period of hopelessness where I thought everything I’ve worked hard for is collapsing. I had a choice to either keep wallowing in my tears or waiting for something to happen or to figure out a way to take action and take control and get home with those babies. That’s what motivated me.

The drive and having a purpose greater than the money is the only thing that’s going to get you out of financial harm or financially difficult times because the pursuit of money in and of itself isn’t that attractive other than survival mode. You’ve got to have a bigger reason and a bigger purpose. Taking control of your future, mustering up the grit and resilience to do whatever you have to do even if you’re afraid to figure out a way creatively to make something happen. It’s what I learned that I had within myself that I didn’t realize I had within myself at that time.

How do you generally play in real estate these days?

Over the last several years, Lisa, when banks did start lending again and I found a way to buy real estate creatively through seller financing without having to go through banks, I created this five-year plan to buy enough rental property to allow myself to retire and finally quit my six-figure job. I retired last May 2019. I did that one rental at a time buying four-unit apartment buildings. Right before I decided that I have enough cashflow now coming in that I’ve replaced my income, replaced a little for things like schooling for my children and vacations, I knew I needed to pay off some of the debt that I had acquired to take on those properties. I knew I needed to start getting into larger multifamily deals where I could wipe out some of that debt, start making chunks of cash, and then adding more cashflow to my portfolio. We could then start going from having our needs met to have a lot of extras. I started buying larger apartment buildings.

I have JV’d about 200 units with two partners. That means we’ve joint ventured. The three of us have purchased those apartment buildings together and we’ve done the same thing that I did on my own, but on a larger scale. I started doing some syndications. Syndications are basically when you buy a much larger apartment building and you pull the money of many investors on bigger deals. Your ownership is a smaller percentage of ownership compared to what you have on your own or with a joint venture. The properties can be bought much larger properties and sometimes much nicer properties through syndication. I’ve begun to buy primarily apartment buildings. I’ve stopped buying the smaller 2, 3, and 4-unit buildings and I’ve been buying anything from ten units to about 150 or 200-unit apartment buildings.

Can you talk a little bit about building the team, finding the players that you want to JV with and that you want to invest with? How has that process been for you?

I treaded carefully and I waited too long to start partnering, to be honest with you, Lisa. Part of that is I went through a very difficult situation in ‘09 when everything was collapsing. I was convinced that I was going to buy apartment buildings at that time. I hired a coach who was going to partner on some deals and it turned out that she ended up being a fraud. She ended up in prison and she took a lot of smart people for a lot of money. It jaded me for a while from working and trusting anyone else because it rocked my sense of discernment and people. I had a good discernment of people up until that point. I thought we’ve lost so much.

I can’t put my financial future in the hands of other people so I didn’t partner for a long time. When I knew I was ready to retire and I wanted to do larger buildings, I knew I was going to have to let go of that need for total control. I was going to have to start finding people that I could trust because I had become a jack of all trades. Between my husband and I, handled everything from purchase to property management to disposition, lending, construction, everything. I knew that if I wanted to experience real financial freedom, which is freedom of your time, I’ve worked hard to be home with my babies. It was important to me that I would work until 3:00 every day. The moment they came in the door from school, I was wife and mama and not thinking about real estate or having to do stuff on my own.

In order to have more time, I knew I had to give up more control and find people I could trust. I started thinking about, who do I know that I could potentially partner with that’s already in real estate? That already has the experience, has some experience in some areas that aren’t my favorite thing to do, where we would make a good fit in terms of our experience level, skillset, and net worth and liquidity so that it was balanced. I wanted to make sure that I was going into business with someone who had as much to lose as I did and as much to protect us. I ended up having lunch with someone who was another investor that I was an acquaintance with over a couple of years. We started talking about potentially doing bigger apartment deals together. Right after that, I started telling people I’m looking to buy bigger apartment buildings.

I had already owned more four-unit buildings than anyone else in my area. A lot of the estate attorneys, the title companies, and the agents and brokers knew if something was on the market, I was one that was interested in buying. I started putting it out there that I’m looking for bigger apartments. I found a partner, we decided let’s do one deal together. If we could find one building that it was a good fit for our investor profile on what we were looking for, let’s do it and let’s see how it goes. If it goes well, we’ll do another one. We decided we’re not creating a company right off the bat when we have never worked together, but let’s do a deal. After we did a deal, it went well. We did another one, it went well. We did a third one and now we’ve started a company where we are now looking for larger deals to syndicate and run together. We took baby steps of trust, working together, and jelling before we started a company.

LUR Anna | Financial Future

Financial Future: You have a choice to either wallow in your tears and just keep waiting for something to happen, or figure out a way to take action.

 

Would you say that’s the advice you would give to people thinking about partnering with others is to take those baby steps?

Real estate can be the bigger deals you go after, the more difficult it is to unwind a relationship that goes bad. Unfortunately, most partnerships do end in disillusion at some point. That’s mostly because people don’t take enough time to vet upfront whether or not you would make good partners. There’s much more that goes into good partnerships than, “We like each other and we’re friends and we think we have some skills that are complimentary.” You’ve got to get to know people for a long time before you know their integrity. How they’re going to handle stressful situations? How they’re going to treat you and others during those stressful situations?

It’s whether they have the aptitude and all of the areas they say they do to make it successful. People rush into partnerships without having days of conversations that get to know whether or not you’d make a good team. That can set you up for years of financial stress if you have to unwind apartment deals that are expensive. Doing it on a deal-by-deal basis, worst case you have one deal that you need to get out of and you sell it or you figure out how to make it work until you go through your financial divorce. It’s wiser to do it on a small scale, grow together, and then see whether you want to continue to grow together.

Transitioning a bit to two things. The first is talking about being a mom and building a business. Advice for that woman who’s reading who wants to level up in real estate but is working full-time and isn’t sure whether she can do this. What would be your advice in terms of taking those steps forward?

The biggest thing is believing in yourself and being committed that if you say you want to start a business, you’ve got to go all-in. We want to dabble. What happens is if you’re committed to, “I can do this, I’m going to try.” When it gets hard, you think, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard. I’ve got too many things going on.” You have to make a full commitment that, “This is why I’m doing this, here’s my purpose, know what it is and be committed to playing the long game.” You don’t have to become an overnight success instantly. You can make progress toward growth to building something that you believe in. It’s going to help your family over the long-term and that you commit that you’re going to do it. Come hell or high water, when the going gets tough, you’re going to at least make some progress every week towards your goals with your business and with your real estate investments if that’s what it is. For me, there were many ups and downs and many challenges where I had weeks that were difficult from work, the kids, their school, and their activities.

All of a sudden, things go poorly with an apartment or you have several emergencies and you think, “I don’t have enough time in a day.” I learned to give myself grace that being superwoman is not all it’s cut out to be. We overwhelm ourselves. As women, we have to juggle a lot and we think, “We can handle one thing more.” When something falls apart and we do well in 2 or 3 things and something else falls apart, we beat ourselves up and we think we’re a terrible wife or terrible mom. I learned that you have to have balance, not put too much pressure on yourself, give yourself grace, but be able to ebb and flow where you have periods where you’re superwomen and you need to relax, not do anything and play the long game one day at a time, one step at a time, making forward progress in everything that you need to do without feeling like you have to be perfect in order to do it.

My next audience is someone that I know too well, who’s sitting in their cubicle. “I still work my corporate job,” who’s sitting in that cubicle farm is what I call them, reading this blog, and thinking, “I am interested in investing passively in multifamily investments.” They’re concerned about taking that risk, what they need to look for, and how they even get started in terms of finding those operators and those people that they can trust. As someone who has that deep experience of being on the ground and operating, because you’ve operated your own and then being a syndicator yourself, what advice would you give to this person who’s thinking about investing passively?

A couple of things. I would start reading up on how multifamily buildings are run and valued. I don’t think anybody should invest in something they don’t understand. That’s one of the first mistakes that people make. Even with the stock market, if you look at what the stock market has been doing over the past few days, because of the Coronavirus we’re moving into correction territory, the stock market is overvalued. What happens, Lisa, is most people go to a broker or they go in there 401(k) and they say, “What are the options available? This one looks like its returns are good, I’m going to invest in it.” They put their money into things like the stock market without understanding anything about how these companies are valued and whether they’re buying at a good price.

That ends up hurting people in the markets. The same thing happens in real estate. People say, “That looks like a good deal. These look like nice people I can trust, I’m going to invest in it.” That’s not enough. We need to understand what we are putting our money in and understanding how it’s valued so that we know the risks of whether there’s upside in a deal that says there’s an upside and what the worst case and the downside is. There are books out there that’ll tell you at least the basics of how to be a passive investor or educate yourself by reading. There’s a book called Multi-Family Millions by Dave Lindahl. That’s one of the first books that I read on multifamily that helped me understand why investing in multifamily buildings can be attractive and how they’re valued.

Even if you’re not going to be an operator, at least read a book like it that tells you this is the basics of how these things are valued. This is how my money is going to make money or lose money. Once you’ve done that, look for operators who you know and trust that have a track record that you can tell that they have integrity. Ask them questions about their failures and what they’ve learned from them. How they’re mitigating risks now so that they don’t make the same mistakes in the future. Make sure that they have financial acumen, they understand real estate cycles and economic cycles like recessions and corrections.

Ask them how they’re going to operate a building in such a way that it can resist a recession and come out resilient during a recession because we’re heading toward recession in the near future. You want to make sure you’re dealing with someone who has the experience, integrity, financial acumen, and a track record that goes along with the type of assets they’re investing in before you make an investment decision because the operator is as important or more important than the asset itself. Anything can look good on paper if the operators are making their spreadsheets and say what they want to say. Unfortunately, like in stock, some overpromised and under-delivered, the same thing can be found with operating those on an investment property.

Your answer to that question brought up two things for me. One is pending potential recession and then the other is asset management. Diving a little bit into the fact that we have been in this bull market for years, a strong economy, lots of returns, high stock market, high real estate prices, and compressed cap rates. Continuing to buy real estate in this ever-changing market, how do you manage your strategy of buying real estate considering that we could go into recession? What are you doing these days differently to ensure that you winterize or recession-proof your property?

There are a couple of things, Lisa. In terms of property selection, I’m careful about where I buy properties and the types of properties that I buy. The old adage of location is super important in real estate. It’s still one of the most important aspects of finding a good investment. I only invest in areas where there is growth, people are moving to the area, jobs are coming to the area, no more than 25% of the employment is generated by one company. That if there is a recession and that employer goes out of business, you’re not going to suddenly lose a quarter of your people that could be renting from you. I only invest in areas with good school districts. What happens is when there’s a recession and people start losing their jobs, people may have to downsize into the type of place that they live, but they’re going to stay their job, other jobs in case they lose their job. They’re going to do anything they can to keep their kids in good school districts.

By having a property that is in a good school district that’s near employee employers, that is going to help you to keep people during a recession. If you’re buying somewhere that’s far away from employers or they’re in poor schools, as soon as people lose jobs, they’re going to get up and they’re going to leave and go toward a place that has better schools for their kids and better employers. Location is the number one investment criteria for me. The second thing is looking at the opportunity and trying not to overpay. It’s difficult to do that because we’re at the height of a market. In building cycles and real estate cycles, you go from recession, recovery, growth, and then you hit hyper supply or too much supply.

You have to take your future into your own hands. Click To Tweet

When you hit that, you start coming back down toward recession. We are at the hyper-supply mark before it or on the other side of it. It’s hard to tell until you’re looking hindsight. We can tell with all the economic indicators in many of the major metros in the United States. We are at a state of hyper supply. Supply and demand are critical in finding the right investment property. If you’re looking in areas where they’re in hyper supply and your occupancy is low, if there’s a recession, it might go even lower. I want to be in markets where they’re not yet at hyper supply and there are more people moving in and needing housing than the housing that’s available. That’s going to be critical in any kind of recession that people don’t have too many options of where they can live so they’re going to stay put where they are.

Those are my two fundamental important factors and then price. Things are overheated especially in major metros, where what’s happening is because of the economy and stock market jitters, big institutional investors like REITs, insurance companies, and corporations are buying up multifamily housing especially newer multifamily housing. They are moving from meeting big income and growth to wanting to preserve their capital and not lose it in the stock market. What that’s doing is it’s creating so much competition, not just from people like us that are small-time investors or institutional investors and that drives up the prices. Where they’re content to make 4% or 5% on their money, there’s a lot of risk for small people like us to go in and buy something that’s only going to put off 4% to 5%.

What if furnaces go out or roofs blow off and you’ve got to put a lot of capital into it? Your returns are not going to be a good risk-adjusted return compared to other things you can do passively. You’ve got to be able to buy deals off-market that aren’t yet being put out there for lots of competition. I’m very patient and I’m not buying anything that’s on the market that’s larger because I know that the price point isn’t going to allow me to profit. I’m being strategic about trying to find off-market deals. Everything that I closed on in 2019 has been an off-market property that truly was not yet listed where there wasn’t a competition and that allowed me to buy at a good price point despite the hype in the market.

When you talked about being strategic to find off-market deals, does it help that you’ve had lots of experience investing in real estate? You’ve had lots of these relationships, through that is how you get some of these deals?

It is important because if you’re coming out new to a market, brokers hear 10 to 15 calls a day from new people that are saying, “I want to take down a deal.” Brokers will want to list properties they know can close and can sell. They need to be able to say to those sellers, “I’m listing properties that I know we’re going to find a buyer that has the experience that can close and not leave you in a bind, not being able to come to the closing table.” With larger multifamily, you need more liquidity, more net worth and more experience to take them down. Brokers are only going to talk to you if you have some experience or at least you and your team together have that experience, net worth and liquidity.

For me personally, I’m looking at slightly smaller multifamily deals in my market like 75 to 150 units and a lot of it is word of mouth. My title companies, my insurance, my agents for real estate, even residential agents, sometimes they’ll call other agents and say, “Do you have anyone that has apartment buildings? I have a buyer that’s looking.” Making those connections with people that already know your name and they know that you’re capable of taking deals down is important. Not only with the on-market properties, but with the off-market properties that you can get ahold of if you can figure out who has them and build a network of people looking for you.

That brings me to my next question, which was about asset management. When you responded to the question before, you talked about the operator being important and being able to execute on those business plans. Can you talk a little bit about from your experience the top two things in asset management that is important that your operators should be doing, especially as you’re coming in as a passive investor to any of these kinds of investments?

Working with a strong property management company that has experience in that area that knows that market is important. Sometimes operators will go new into a market and they work with a small property management company who’s going to give them the best deal on the percentage that they’re charging, but they don’t have a lot of experience in that particular market. More of a recessionary time in our country than what we’ve experienced over the last few years, it’s important that if people start moving and losing jobs.

Property management companies know the market. They know the other apartment complexes. They know what they’re going to have to do to keep people and to incentivize people to move in. An asset manager who has a good relationship with an experienced property management company is important. Having an operator who has experience because then they’ve assets managed other properties and they know how to make a property successful. If you’ve got someone who’s hiring an asset manager that’s brand new, they had some experience on a small scale, you’re taking on a little more risks than you are working with an experienced team.

LUR Anna | Financial Future

Financial Future: Make sure you’re dealing with someone who has the experience, integrity, and a track record that goes along with the types of assets they’re investing in.

 

This brings me to my level up a round of questions. There are three of them. The first is what you are grateful for in your life?

I’m grateful for my time with my family. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to reach that level of financial freedom not because of the cash, but because it allowed me to finally be able to control my time and to be able to spend more time pouring into my kids than I ever have been able to before.

What do you attribute to your success and continuous growth?

Truly the grace of God. Honestly, there’s so much that we can do to try to take control and do things, but my faith. It’s knowing that I believe that God is faithful to work all things out for the good of those that love Him and seek Him, I could not have done any of this on my own strength.

Lastly, what do you wish you had known at the beginning of your real estate journey that you now know?

There is power in leveraging other people’s time, money, and experience. Going at it alone, you can sometimes go far, but you can always go further if you work with other capable, smart people with integrity and some resources that are willing to partner up with you and help you to go further.

Thank you for coming on the show. I appreciate it. You dropped many great nuggets. I love your story. If my audience wants to learn more about you or get in touch with you about anything that you’re offering, where can they go to learn more?

You can find me at REI Mom on Facebook, its @AnnaREIMom. My website is REIMom.com for speaking, coaching related information, and real estate resources. If you’re interested in passive investing, ZenithCapitalInvestments.com.

Thank you, Anna. I appreciate it.

Thank you for having me, Lisa.

I love interviewing people. I enjoyed interviewing Anna and hearing her story. There is something about talking with fellow females, who are investing in real estate, who comes with this drive and determination to make things happen in their life, and to be able to provide those opportunities and quality of life for their family. It’s beautiful and I enjoyed it. Some of my insights from the shell with her where she talks about the two lessons that she learned, which was one, never give up. Her story is amazing. There were many times that she could have been like, “I’m not going to do it. I’m going to stay status quo,” but she never gave up. Two, take your future in your own hands. Don’t sit back and allow some other people to make decisions for your life. Take your future in your hands, get educated, learn, and take action. The third thing was drive and having a purpose greater than the money.

This was good because the desire to make money will bring you only so far, but you need to have the drive to say, “Why are you doing this?” To provide the financial freedom for your family, legacy, and an ability for your family to have a stable foundation so if anything was to happen and you were to lose your job, they wouldn’t be in need and beyond the street or be at the mercies of other people as a result. Her story about how she even invested, seeing the last bit of her 401(k) money, and taking that to buy a property that cashflowed which for her was better than letting it stay in the market, going down and then not catch her going is important. There are key items there. Some of the other items she talked about were the advice for women or people interested in investing in real estate. Believing in yourself, be committed, and make a full commitment. There are going to be times when it’s going to be hard.

Many partnerships do end in disillusion at some point, so you have to be careful who you work with. Click To Tweet

You’re going to have all the work responsibilities that you need to take care of but then you’re also trying to build your business by real estate. It’s going to feel as though it’s overwhelming but without a doubt have to stay fully committed to making it work. Play the long game. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Staying focused on the long-term, you can make progress come hell or high water and give yourself grace. When everything is going crazy and say, “I’m going to keep doing the best that I can, keep moving forward with your best effort.” Her advice for passive investors. Reading up on how multifamily buildings are run and valued. This is a part of understanding what you’re investing in and how it is valued before you start investing in multifamily syndications.

She recommended the book, Multi-Family Millions, by David Lindahl. Failures which is understanding from the sponsors, how they have approached their own failures over time, and how they’re mitigating risks going forward. Ensuring that they understand market cycles that going back to you reading and learning about real estate which then enables you to assess whether the sponsor that you’re talking to is understanding market cycles themselves. Track record, you want to understand what deals they have done, have they had any deals that have come full cycle, and what that process looks like, understand who the operator is because you might be talking to different people on that particular team.

You want to understand who the operator is and understand their track record as well. Regarding investing in recessionary markets, no one knows when the market could go into recession. Investing in areas where there are a strong population and job growth. She talks about investing in areas where there are good school districts. That’s also a great point to consider, to think about, and to make sure because people are going to want to have their children going to good schools. Other than that, I appreciate her coming on a show rich with some good action points, as well as points to go forward think about to the extent that you’re interested in investing real estate on your own, building a business, or investing passively. There are lots of good nuggets here. I appreciate Anna for coming on. Thank you. Until next time, keep leveling up.

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About Anna “ReiMom” Kelley

LUR Anna | Financial Future

Anna Kelley is the founding partner of Zenith Capital Group, Apex Multifamily, and ReiMom, LLC. She is a former top-ranked Financial Relationship Manager for a Private Bank and began investing in real estate 20 years ago.

Anna has purchased, renovated, and rented millions of dollars in real estate across numerous asset classes while working full time and raising 4 active children. She recently retired from her corporate career, after creating financial freedom through rental property investing. She has active ownership in and manages a rental portfolio valued over $60 Million, and has invested in over 2000 doors as a limited partner.

Anna actively seeks out the best multifamily investment opportunities for her partners and investors. She is a sought after speaker and enjoys helping others to overcome fears, increase knowledge, and minimize risks in real estate. She is also an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author.