Real estate investing is something that many people dream of yet few execute. This is especially true for experienced corporate professionals.
Watch the graduation interview from Lynette S., a professional from Columbus OH who completed the Investing Bootcamp and executed her first investment within six months of starting the course!
Well, hello Lynette. Thank you so much for joining me today. I just wanted to chat a little bit as your, dare we say, graduation interview and just how about you introduce yourself, tell everyone I guess your age and introduce yourself and what brought us together.
Awesome, good morning Richelle thanks for having me. I am excited about graduating today. My name is Lynette Smith and I am a co-founder at Wolf Den Properties which is a family owned real estate investment company. I am investing with my son, which I think is very awesome. We are working to create some generational wealth and are very much on that track and trajectory. To give you a little bit about my background. I was an elementary school teacher and then entered the business world right at around 21. I spent about 20 years in corporate America in a sales business development role. I do hold a degree from Indiana University and an advanced degree from the Ohio State University. So I’m very well versed on the business side of things and happy to be here.
Don’t be ashamed, you got an MBA, you’re [inaudible 00:01:13].
An executive MBA from the Ohio State University.
No, we like our fancy degrees out here. We got MBAs, PhDs, Masters, everything. I love it. I love it. So tell us, we got all these fancy degrees and advanced degrees in sales career. Why real estate investing? What got you interested?
I think, my son and I had been kicking around the idea for a while. I had come across a lot of information. I am a lifelong learner, so I’m very curious by nature. I read a lot, I research a lot and I’ve gotten a lot of information that came across my desk about real estate. I’ve always wanted to kind of get my foot wet. I just didn’t know how to get started. So that’s when we found the Housing Joint Venture course talked about it briefly and then decided to jump in.
Okay. And y’all did jump right in. You were like…
December 2nd, right? That’s the first [inaudible 00:02:13] of the year.
Yes, you got it. You got it. January 2nd, 2020.
Yes, January 2nd, 2020 we started.
So where were you researching? Where were you looking for information, if anywhere at all?
Yeah, so there’s a lot of information out there which is a good and a bad thing for me because I’m somewhat of an over thinker, right? So, we were on YouTube, there’s a lot of things on social media, Instagram, and even some real estate companies. Other speakers and real estate investors who found success they offer courses. There was just a lot of options out there and my personal thought, maybe my son has a different perspective, is I wanted more of a hometown feel. I’m from a small town originally and so I needed to be able to connect with the individuals that were teaching the course.
We found that there was a really quick synergy between yourself, John, myself, and Damon once we had our screening call. And I think after that screening call is when we decided there’s no need to keep thinking about it or trying to plan and it’s just time to do it. So we were kind of looking at where there’s books, journals, and articles, the web, as well as social media and other investors.
Nice. Nice. So, after doing all that research and you were looking for other people, what was missing? Like I guess, why couldn’t you do it yourself with the information you were able to find in the inter webs?
Sure, the confidence level, I don’t think was there for me and investing is somewhat in my mind a risk, but it’s a calculated risk, right? And if you’ve taken care of the research, you’ve covered your dots, you’ve done your due diligence, then you’ll feel comfortable taking that risk. Well, before the course, I didn’t even know how to do the due diligence. I didn’t know more than just riding by, at what we thought was an opportunity at a property. We didn’t know what to determine made a good investment. And there was that fear of losing money. I mean, it’s not unlimited over here by in my arena.
So we wanted to make sure that we were studying, we’re students of course. I also should add another component is our mission and vision for our company is to focus on those overlooked populations. And so our company is black owned and we do black business. So our hope and our goal is that everyone that we work with from vendors to construction, general contractors, they look like us because what we’ll be doing is hopefully helping to revitalize the neighborhoods where people like us live.
That’s absolutely beautiful. I think that’s one of the reasons why we resonated, obviously we work with everybody, but we do have a special affinity, I’ll say, to people of color, right? And I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this with you directly, but the official mission of Housing Joint Venture is belonging and pride for all people. And for us, that means on the resident side, very similar to you, we want to really focus on those communities that don’t feel a sense of dignity where they live, right? And they don’t feel that people care because there is a lack of investment there.
And the same thing on the investor side, there’s a huge lack of financial literacy in the black, brown, yellow, whatever community, and so it’s hard to get that first leg, if you don’t even know what finances look like and what financial literacy looks like. And so for us, obviously we teach real estate investing, but that’s just a portion of the full financial pyramid. And, I don’t know how this was important to you, but obviously we start out with, what is your financial foundation? We want to make sure that we’re all talking the same language before we get into some of these fancy stuff that has a little more sizzle, bang, pow.
Absolutely. Absolutely. And that actually helped us as well. We do have a couple of books, no shameless plugs, right? [crosstalk 00:06:35].
We like to read books. These are [our real books 00:06:37] Though, so.
It’s absolutely, I think, paramount that… I should’ve shared my age, so I’m over 40. My son is 25.
You look fantastic.
I’m going to have to get on that regimen.
I will share secrets. Thank you. We actually, we have a different perspective for the most part because of the generational gap, right. Between the two of us. One of the things that I very quickly understood, probably within the first two weeks of the course, was that I was not as financially literate as I thought I was. And I was a little fearful of opening up my own books and just finding out where I stand on paper. And that was one of the first exercises required for our business plan. And I sat on that for a little while because I almost didn’t want to know. And then when I found out I got positive net worth, this is good, okay.
Come on, let’s get pen on paper.
I absolutely agree. I absolutely agree that before you can start creating wealth, you got to know where you are, right? What’s the baseline. So I think in our community, that might be a little bit of… It’s the lack of financial literacy, but it’s also I think that slight fear factor, I know it’s bad, so I don’t want to see it, and it’s an assumption until you know.
Exactly. We didn’t make you share it with us, but it’s about you knowing, right? Just to go from a place of knowledge. Oh, I love it. I love it. So I got to ask, you’re already looking fabulous, obviously. Having very successful career life, is good, if not great?
What were you trying to accomplish? Why add this real estate investing in the mix? Why not just keep it steady?
That’s a great question. Richelle. The timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. I left corporate America last Fall. So the Fall of 2019 and in lieu of that rat race, that mad dash to update the resume and to continue interviewing and going through that emotional roller coaster, I made a conscious and intentional decision to work for myself. So entrepreneurship is what I am personally focusing on now. My son is very much an entrepreneur in heart and spirit. So the synergy is there and I just decided that I want to own my own time. I don’t want limits on my earning potential, which I was finding in corporate America.
I was very high performing consistently and was kind of being overlooked and maybe not being appreciated, I guess maybe is the word that I would place there for what I was contributing. And so the bell, the light finally went off and I decided, why am I not doing this for my own family? I’ve, I’ve made millions of dollars for corporations. I know how to do it. It’s time to do it for my family and to start building the foundation as well as the roadmap for future generations. So that’s, I think what was the initial motivator.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s beautiful. Tell it so straight what’s the difference between the Lynette today versus Lynette eight, 12 weeks ago?
Yes. Eight, 12 weeks ago Lynette was still confident, right? But very much an over thinker. I’m a person that really gets easily stuck by analysis paralysis. So I can and study and study and study and still not feel ready personally, to take a step, or take action. I think the course helped me, so eight weeks later, I’m very confident about identifying potential properties, where to look, I have a business plan for my company. We’re treating this as a business. It’s not just a one of those scenarios and no disrespect to those individuals, but I am business minded. That’s the way I’m wired. So this very much works well for me, this template is to focus on a business where real estate is the products.
Very similar to someone else selling any other product. So eight weeks later, I am officially a real estate investor. And we talked about this in the initial call with you and John about within six months, you’re going to be investing. And I thought, “No, not me.” Like maybe most people do that, right? You set a goal of purchasing our first investment property by the end of June, 2020. And it’s still May and we are now investors. So I’d say the confidence levels there. The information is there. I’d liked the fact that during class, all of our classmates in the course, we could share our experiences and what we learned.
There were different investing levels, so some individuals already had some properties that they had invested in. We were very novice. This is our first time doing any of this. We set up a corporation. So we are formally and officially recognized as real estate investors. So eight weeks later, I’m super confident, excited for what comes next and no longer letting analysis paralysis, hold me back.
That’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. And yes, and so you made your first investment, how I guess prepared or unprepared did you feel for that first investment?
I think I was 100% prepared. We now know how to analyze a deal based on our goals for our company. And I think without learning that that was important, and needed to be a priority that we probably would have gotten lost in finding some really good products. But that maybe just weren’t good fit for what we want the business’ focus to be. And so we create a vision statement, a mission statement of core values, and I’ve found that very easily, you create those things and then you can put them away and not look at them again.
But we have to keep those at the forefront and everything that we do needs to fit that model because we spent so much time creating that. I’m excited, honestly, I’m still dumbfounded. I was dancing the whole day, loud music, excited. Because this is something very new. And I have my career was very much consistent and gave me lots of things that were predictable. And that was how I maneuver through that career. And so this is a whole new ball game for me. So it’s exciting to learn new things, but to also have a quick win. To get that confidence level up, improve ourselves.
Oh, phenomenal. Phenomenal. So let’s say that you put it on a scale of one to 10, like if one was very low, but 10 was very high. How would you rate your investing confidence before the boot camp? And afterwards?
Before the bootcamp, I would definitely rate it at maybe a three or a four easily. After the boot camp, I’m very confident in an eight or nine, we’ll say 10 yet, because we’re just getting started, but give us another six months right? And we’ll be ready to make it at a 10.
I mean, I’ve done tens, almost hundreds of deals at this point. And I don’t know if I’m a 10, like you always have that little bit of thing in your stomach, you know what I mean?
Yes, you can always get better, right? There’s always more to learn, so I don’t want to…
Right, right. The whole purpose is not to be unrealistic, we’re not trying to get tens, right? We’re trying to get confident enough to take action and do that consistently, so that’s awesome. So we’ve alluded to it a couple times, but obviously you were in the Feal Estate Investing Bootcamp, why’d you join it?
Well, I’ll tell a short story about how we were connected. So when I exited corporate America in the Fall of 2019, I like to stay busy and I didn’t have like a formal schedule that I kept. So I met a young lady. She’s also an entrepreneur, she’s a dentist. And I was volunteering with her. That’s just who I am, I just don’t want to sit still and not be productive. So I thought, well, let me, I went in to be serviced as a patient. And then we kind of hit it off. We talked, I spent a couple of days with her and we were getting to know each other right? In the office, in her office, which was newly opened. And she mentioned that she had a good friend that was very much doing some of the same things that I was expressing to her, that I had interest in.
And she said, “Hey, I’d like to make the connection.” And I kid you not. We opened up our phones because Housing Joint Venture has its own site on LinkedIn. And I said, “Listen, what’s the individual’s… What’s her name again?” And when she said “Delia”, I said, “I know that name.” I was already following John, your husband on LinkedIn. I think I started following like a year before the actual connection. So I had the interest I just, analysis paralysis, I wasn’t taking action. So with that, I felt like the universe was speaking to me like, “Okay, you need to meet this young lady, Richelle.” We had a quick conversation. And I think, I’m a person that really is guided by feelings and my gut, I trust my gut. We had a great initial conversation. We had a follow up conversation, which included my business partner, my son. And I just think the synergies were there and we were ready to go.
Nice. Nice, nice. All about inspired action. I mean it’s serendipity.
So what were you hoping to gain what were you hoping to accomplish by taking the course?
That’s a good question. I don’t really know that I had a ton of expectations other than learning more about how to invest, where to invest, and were not to invest. I think those were the top three things I thought, “Well, I should get that from the course.” What we actually gained though. I mean, we have just a plethora of information available to us through the portal, which we’re very grateful for. I’m very excited about a lot of the stories that you and John shared about experiences you’ve had and why you have certain things and policies and procedures in place. I mean so, as an investor, sometimes you don’t think about it from the business perspective. You need to have policies and procedures in place. The what-ifs because something will happen. We’re just excited about all the information that’s available to us and ready to go.
Nice. Let’s talk a little bit about the process, tell us about the program and how it works, what do we follow over those eight weeks from your perspective?
Sure. So what we were excited about where the standing weekly calls the group calls gave us an opportunity to ask a lot of the questions. First off, it gave us time to study that weekly curriculum because we needed time to do that. I know some individuals are still at their nine to fives. I fortunately am not, so I did study full time. I liked the format where we could study for a week and then make sure that we were on a call with the cohort to ask questions, discuss what we learned, make sure there was clarity.
And then there was always some homework. And so I actually liked that, take some tasks away and do something. So we would study each week, we dialed into a team call each week. We also took a trip, during our construction module, which I loved because I’m very visual. So being able to actually go see products and properties was awesome because it helps solidify what I was learning in the classroom in the real world. So we could actually see where a floor needed to be replaced or why you would not replace something or how your strategy could change, meaning you invest in it today, but this might be a longterm investment, these upgrades, these renovations to increase the value and so on and so forth. Great format.
Absolutely. I’ll just mention, obviously Lynette is local in Columbus, so got a little extra, extra loving by being local, but…
If you’re local.
Nice. If you could highlight just one thing about the course, what would it be? Was there any portion of it that stood out in particular to you, that was maybe particularly helpful or meaningful?
Yes. I think there are two things that I would definitely highlight. The first is the business plan. I have not enrolled in other real estate investment courses, but I suspect that they are not encouraging individuals to create a business plan. They may be, I suspect that’s not the first thing that’s being focused on. So I really appreciated that because we actually have a map. And we’re not just aimlessly riding around and looking for sale signs or boarded up windows and running to the races.
So the business plan definitely sticks out to me. I actually very much appreciated learning about putting together the vendor database. So the vendor database is our document, it’s a spreadsheet where we keep track of our teams, who we’re going to work with. And that includes attorneys, CPAs, title companies, that’s our general contractors, our skilled trades plumbers, electricians. I think it’s a good idea, I’m a note taker by nature. So I would have probably done that anyway, but not in that format and style. So I think it’s important to keep that document a living document, but it’ll help us to create those longterm relationships, but also tracking what are their businesses doing and then make sure that we have the team that we need to accomplish what we want to accomplish.
Nice. You alluded to this a little bit, but let’s go ahead and talk about it. Let’s talk about price and value. Let’s be honest, this is an investment in and of itself in education. How do you feel about the price paid versus the value you received?
I feel first off, some individuals may get sticker shock by the price. But again, I do have an executive MBA and so I’ve paid for some education, I’m a proponent of education. And I don’t think that there should be a limit to the price, unless it’s something that you’re not able to invest in, based on what you’re looking to, to receive in terms of results. I think the initial investment costs was reasonable, based on now being on the end of the course and all of the information and knowledge and experience that we’ve learned and gain. I don’t know how many books or other smaller courses I would have had to throw together to kind of create this in its entirety.
Approximately, this many.
Approximately that many! You can’t see my bookshelf it’s down low but I don’t have real estate books there. I just think that the value is definitely there. The course exceeded my expectations. I will admit and be transparent, I was a little leery because of the amount. Again, now I’m learning that’s real estate, it’s do you want it or do you not want it? Are you going to do it or are you not going to do it? There is no, maybe there is no try. So even my partner, my business partner, my son, I think his eyes got big when I said, “Hey, we’ll do this 24 hours yet? We’re confirming.”
He looked at me. And I said, “Well, yes, we’re going to do this, right?” So tremendous value, exceeded my expectations. We now have access to the Housing Joint Venture website and resources and network and connection community, which is awesome. And we gained some family members.
Yes, yes you did. You got us.
Yay, very much, very much worth the investment for anyone who’s on the fence. If this is something that you want to do, that you’re willing to invest in yourself in, which I think I’m not limited by myself investments, I’m willing to pay whatever I need to pay for my own self enrichment. I’d say do it.
Nice. So if you don’t mind, would you mind telling about that investment number one? If you’re fine sharing?
I don’t remember, was it two, 20, 78?
No, your first investment house.
Oh, my first property, absolutely.
Yeah, that was investment number one.
We are now the proud investors, owners of a three bedroom, one and a half bath, single family property in Dayton, Ohio. The property is currently being renovated. It was a part of the Housing Joint Venture inventory, which is another value to the course. Not only do we learn what we need to learn, we gain the experience, we have the network, but there’s also an inventory there. So whenever you’re curious, you just go on, scroll around, and if you find a deal, that’s a deal that you can do with Housing Joint Venture.
So our first investment was a deal with Housing Joint Venture. We purchased the property for $20,000. We put $5,000 down. The seller is financing this property for us. So we have monthly payments of $300. We are also including the property taxes and homeowners insurance into that cost, and so just under $500 a month will be our payment for the property. Again, it’s under renovations now. So we’re excited about that. And it’s settled in a very, very nice growing, up and coming neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio. So we’re excited about it.
Nice, now I know everybody’s going to know, wait a minute, you took the class and then you bought a house under [HJ 00:25:25] inventory?
Was there pressure?
No, no pressure at all.
Did they tell you, “Hey,” Was there an upsell? I know there’s an upsell, there’s always an upsell, so there’s got to be an upsell.
Check the fine print right?
There was an upsell? They made you buy a house from them?
No fine print and I knew that question was coming up. Here’s how that deal came about. John and Richelle did not contact me. Lynette finally finished the course, received her access to the Housing Joint Venture website and did research because that’s what she does. So I was scrolling around on the site. I was learning about the white papers and the community and the network there. So I connected, I have a profile there and I saw inventory and got curious like, “Well, what is this.”
It’s deals, so this property that we purchased actually is not the first property that we inquired about this the second, because we inquired about an additional property that had already been invested in because we’re just a little bit slow to the race. So there is no pressure to do deals with Housing Joint Venture. It’s just a value added piece to learn a little bit more from them. And I will say that you and John were so great this deal with just helping me understand how to read through it and how to proceed, like what are next steps. It was really good practice for us. And so we’re excited about that.
Oh, it’s been our pleasure. It’s been our pleasure. So yes, full disclosure, Housing Joint Venture is seller financing it to, well, the seller, which happens to be one that John and I bought, we are seller financing it to Lynette and her son Damon. So yes, absolutely no pressure. They wanted to have a part about it. And so we were happy we were able to make that an offer to them. So no pressure at all. There was no nothing, no funny business behind the scenes.
No funny business, none at all. We are actually are paying for this.
Absolutely no funny business there, no funny business there. So now that you’re on the other side, you’ve gone through the program, who do you think this is best suited for? What kind of people do you think should consider going through the bootcamp?
That’s a good question. Let me think. Definitely the novice as I was. So someone who’s maybe got an interest, but not know where to get started or how to get started. I think this is a good course for that individual, those individuals. I also think it’s a good course for individuals who’ve already been investing because there’s so much more information that they could probably learn to improve their existing business. If they have one or to actually start a business, if they hadn’t started. So maybe they just invested in one property and maybe got a little overwhelmed.
This course helped me realize how you need to stay organized and to stay on and prioritize different tasks. So the novice, maybe the entry level investor, and I would say even maybe mid level. I don’t know if a seasoned investor would say, “I want to take another course. They may partner with Richelle, you and John, but this is definitely something that’s good for an individual that knows nothing about real estate all the way through the spectrum of an individual that maybe has a little bit of knowledge and has invested, but wants to improve their business and potentially work for themselves.
Nice. Nice. So let’s say somebody is watching this and they’re like, I don’t know this Lynette lady, she’s like all fancy looking, all fabulous, she’s a paid actress [inaudible 00:00:29:13]. What do you say to somebody that is considering, “Should I actually apply to be part of this bootcamp. I don’t know about this.” What would you say to them?
I would say do it. I was hesitant, but being intentional, I think is what helped us gain what we gained, so we were intentional. We could’ve contacted you in December, and waited till June to actually invest and enroll. But I think we were ready and it was like, it’s time. So I think if you’re on the fence, do it. If you think you maybe can’t afford it, find a way, because the value that you get from the course and the program and the network, the Housing Joint Venture network as a whole it’s going to surpass what you’re investing, definitely.
Nice. Well, on behalf of both myself and John, Lynette it has been an absolute pleasure to witness both of you and Damon go from, let’s say wide-eyed and real estate curious to proficient investors. I mean, you all have been… No, yes you did choose to invest in the deal that we had on the platform, but you brought a number of deals and we reviewed them as a group. And it was just such a pleasure to watch your confidence grow over time from, “I don’t know, I want to do this.” To, “This is a deal. This is my criteria, let’s do this. Let’s evaluate this one. And then let’s evaluate this one, and let’s evaluate this one.”
And so the confidence that you all have displayed throughout this journey. It has been our absolute pleasure to witness and just watch you all blossom. And we cannot wait to see you continue to progress. And we’ve seen you go from zero to one and ahead head of your goal, which has been amazing and we can’t wait to see you go to five and 15 and as big as you all want to go. We’re just so happy to be a part of your journey and a part of your team. So thank you for allowing us to participate in your story. It has been our pleasure.
Thank you so much. And we have to let you guys know that we are eternally indebted because we could have, like you said, there are other ways to learn about real estate. And there’s just a lot of information out there, but we feel lucky because we found you and John and their synergy, and we learn exactly what we thought we would learn, and then some, so thank you so much for everything. Especially, the construction module, we took a road trip. I mean, I don’t know that those are things that other courses can provide or will because that’s time out of your busy, busy schedule. But it showed us and was a good testament to how much you believe in trusted us to get this right. And to be successful. So we thank you for that as well.
Absolutely, is there anything else you’d like to add before we sign off?
No. Just thank you guys, both so much. We look forward to sharing more future doors that we purchase with you and we will definitely, definitely stay in touch.
Oh, I love it. I love it. And you know, obviously we are always here for you, so we’ll see you on the next week’s coaching call. If you want to pop on. We can’t wait to see you keep growing and progressing and flourishing.
Absolutely, thank you so much.
Thank you so much. Have a good one.
You too. Thanks Richelle. Take care. Bye.