Join me for an interview with a friend, Flower De Raadt of TheRealEstateNewbie.com. Flower’s story is similar to one many face – trying to get started as a real estate investor, all while being a parent, spouse, and dedicated family person. Don’t miss this episode to learn more about Flower, TheRealEstateNewbie.com, and how you can potentially work with her team to buy investment properties in S. Texas.
Mike: Welcome to the FlipNerd.com podcast. This is your host, Mike Hambright. On this show, I will introduce you to VIPs in the real estate investing industry, as well as other interesting entrepreneurs whose stories and experiences can help you take your business to the next level. We have 3 new shows each week, which are available in the iTunes store or by visiting FlipNerd.com. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Welcome to today’s FlipNerd VIP show. Today I have with me a special guest; a good friend of mine, Flower De Raadt, who’s going to talk about her website TheRealEstateNewbie and a little bit about her experience as a real estate newbie, although she’s not really newbie any more. Before we get started here, let’s take a second to recognize our sponsors.
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Flower, thanks for joining us today.
Flower: Hi. How are you?
Mike: Good. Good to see you.
Flower: Good to see you.
Mike: I’ll be excited to see you this weekend at Tim’s expo.
Flower: REIExpo.com, excited.
Mike: We’ve known each other for a little over a year. Obviously, you’re a fellow Homevestors person, as well. You started off as a newbie, somebody that wanted to get into real estate investing and took some time to crack in. There’s a lot of people at that stage, there’s a lot of people that never crack the code or really get started the way that they had hoped to. You’ve fortunately blessed us all with a website called TheRealEstateNewbie.com; sharing some of your experiences. Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself a little bit so we can learn more about you.
Flower: Sure. My name is Flower De Raadt. I am in South Texas; actually have a Homevestor franchise down here where I buy houses, remodel them, and re-sell them, and do some whole selling, provide rental properties for investors on a national … national and international investors on a local level here in South Texas. I’m pretty excited that now I can say I’m on the other side of being a newbie. Many times, you’re learning, and learning, and learning, so I’m really glad that I’m the other side of that.
I’m a mom; that’s my first priority is being a mom to two beautiful girls, 3 and 6-years-old. I’m a wife, and I am just active in real estate. I love what I do and I love the freedom that real estate gives me. I love the ability to inspire other women.
Mike: Tell us a little bit about your story, the back story as a real estate newbie; somebody trying to get started and having a lot of passion and interest in it, but maybe not knowing how to get started, and some of the trials and tribulations that you had to get started.
Flower: I started TheRealEstateNewbie.com as a way to journal my experience learning real estate investing. I knew that the best way to learn is by learning from those that already been there. I said, “What’s the best way to actually learn? Let me pick the brains of those that are active.” In the podcast, I would interview real estate millionaires and I asked them how they were doing. I was really active in that, in picking people’s brains and sharing that information with people as I was learning. As I started to do that, I ended up being on the fence. Many times, we get stuck in the rut of just learning. We get … I think a lot. I was just thinking too much and not really taking action.
It wasn’t until 3 years into it. Of course I was a mom, I had a baby, I just had a second baby. They were little, so I was enjoying just being mom, and being mom to two little girls takes a lot of time; babies at that point. I was enjoying that part while I was learning, still doing some marketing for some authors and speakers. It was just something for me to give back while I was learning. Through that process, I came in touch with a lot of people that encouraged me, inspired me. Finally I said, “Let’s just take action. Let’s do something.” I found some investors in a different market that I said, “Hold my hand and I’ll give you 50% of what I make.” They said OK. They told me what to do.
It’s funny because I already knew what to do; I just needed to implement it. I ended up making $6000 in less than 3 weeks on my first deal which probably took 3 years. Honestly in 3 weeks, I made $6000 and gave them half. It was that just push, that extra push to do the deals. After that, my first year, I did 12 to 15 deals depending on closing dates. I did that many deals in my first year after starting real estate investing fulltime.
Mike: Sometimes it takes just somebody to … for you to know that somebody’s watching you and hold you accountable to yourself. It’s crazy sometimes that folks, at the end of the day, you have to be responsible for yourself. Sometimes just not wanting to face that embarrassment or whatever it might be, the pressure of having to answer the question to ‘How’s it going?’ If it’s not going well, it really helps motivate you.
Flower: I think that’s what a mentor is for, too. It’s good to have a mentor for that reason, because they’ve been there, they’re active in doing it and you want to be at their level. That bar of expectation is risen and you want to meet that. It’s good.
Mike: I know over time that your website, TheRealEstateNewbie, has evolved and slowed down because of kids, and speeded up sometimes. I think a lot of people with websites go through those things where they have a grand plan and life gets in the way. Not just websites, life gets in the way with a whole lot of things. Tell us a bit about the website and who your … initially who you were aimed at in terms of helping, and then how that’s transitioning into what it is today or what it’s going to become.
Flower: TheRealEstateNewbie was geared towards newbie investors; people that were learning and were in my shoes. It was interesting to see who was reading it, and looking at the demographics, who my audience was. It was everybody from women, to moms, to older people that were going into retirement that were trying to figure out a second career choice or a way to grow their retirement funds. It was from men that were looking for second careers or ways to provide for their family more. It was across the board. It wasn’t just women, which I thought it might be, but it was everybody wanting to learn how to do real estate investing.
It was geared towards that and it still is. It’s more evolving now because of where I’m focused since I’m active and fulltime in real estate. It’s geared more towards the passive investor. It’s more about somebody that wants to learn real estate investing but necessarily doesn’t have the time. Many times, we go to all these seminars and we try and learn all these strategies, and then they tell us, “Just focus one strategy. Just focus on one thing.” Maybe at time, I don’t even have time to do that because you’re a fulltime doctor, you’re a fulltime chiropractor, or you have a fulltime business. Now it’s like, “How can I teach you how to do real estate investing passively, quickly, easily, but still be educated so that when you are working with the active fulltime investors you can … you know what they’re talking about, you know what they’re doing and you know how to protect your money?”
Mike: I think there’s a lot of folks that don’t get into real estate specifically because they don’t have a team. They don’t have people that are looking out for them or their best interests. They feel like they have to do it themselves, and they just get frozen and not know what to do. In terms of where you started off with the site and your adventure of trying to teach others from your experiences how to get into real estate investing or take it from doing your first deal and then moving up from there; why don’t you talk a little bit about why you think so many people never make it even to that first deal, or if they do make it to that first deal, maybe not beyond. What holds them back? What keeps them from moving forward?
Flower: I heard that from the conferences and seminars, those 1-day, 3- day seminars that are all across the country that come into your city, that only 10%, 1%, or 5% will actually do a deal from that room. All these people will spend all this money on education and not put their money into doing deals. That’s actually a big pet peeve of mine. I’ve had many people, many gurus, try to be on my blog or my show, and I’ve become more selective of who I allow on there because I want to be authentic and I want to bring only resources that are actually going to chance somebody’s life.
I’m a big promoter of Homevestors because I’ve success in my life through it. I’ve seen many, many people become successful through Homevestors and change their family tree because of it. Fulltime active, they’re now fulltime active investors. Just being surrounded by a group of people that are successful is … makes you successful too. That’s been … you’ll see on there that I only promote things I believe in and products that I know will change somebody’s life. My goal for the blog and the podcast is for somebody who reads it to feel safe reading that blog and to feel like that it’s … I’m being authentic with them and I’m not just there to pitch them a product for an affiliate commission, but that I’m there to promote [inaudible: 10:40] for me.
Mike: Why do you think … part of the challenge is, I think with a lot of the seminars, boot camps, and weekend things, you know a lot of them; it’s a bigger … I don’t know if it’s a bigger business, but real estate education is a big business, people make a lot of money. The unfortunate thing is a lot of those folks that are running those types of organizations or businesses make the money whether the people ever buy or sell houses, so they’re not aligned. It is what it is. In all honesty, you can’t get too mad at some of the ethical ones. It’s not that they’re all unethical; most are not. It’s just human nature that folks think that I’m going to go take a boot camp and then I’m going to be wildly successful. I’m going to take a pill and drop 50 pounds, but I don’t have to do anything. I see all of these diets that you don’t even have to exercise, you don’t even have to change your diet, just start taking this pill. It’s like, ‘Hold on. There’s something wrong with that.” I think a lot of it is just personal responsibility. People need to learn to take personal responsibility. They just generally understand that anything you want in life takes hard work.
Flower: I tell everybody that … I put it in my blog and people that I meet in person, that I meet at these events, because I go and I scout them out, and I try to see if it’s something that I want to promote. I’m there to learn, maybe I’ll pick up something new, maybe I’ll pick up a good little tidbit. What I’ll do is I’ll go to these events and I’ll listen, I’ll learn, I’ll go as a student. I tell people next to me, people that I meet that are at these events, “If you’re going to buy that course, you better take action. There’s no point in you buying that course and putting it on the shelf. Don’t buy it and then blame the course, blame the speaker.”
Mike: Blame yourself.
Flower: It’s up to you to take action. I say, “Find somebody in the local community. Go to your local REA, find somebody that’s going to mentor you locally and that’s going to hold your hand locally, because at the end of the day, that’s who you’re going to be around 24/7.” I’m always encouraging that at these events.
Mike: Why don’t we talk a little bit about women in real estate investing. It’s obviously a male-dominated field, it tends to be. There are lots of women that are involved in maybe they’re more behind the scenes. As you know my wife would … I don’t know that she’ll ever join me on the show. My wife is every bit as active in our real estate investing as me and helps, really, in more ways than most people know, because I’m the front man. There’s a lot of women in real estate, but not a lot of them are on the front line or on the camera. Talk a little bit about the opportunity that exists for women as real estate investors.
Flower: Sure. There is a lot of women. There’s a lot of couples, teams; husband and wife teams out there. I don’t negate that, I think it’s very important. Actually, my husband’s a Realtor, and we have SouthTexasRentalProperties.com together; him with Texas Value Real Estate and me with Homevestors. We do work as a team. The thing is that he’s fulltime in a different career, so this is my fulltime, that’s his fulltime.
As a woman in real estate, I think it’s important to realize that no matter what, you need a support system, whether you’re a man or a woman. You need a support team around you that’s going to balance you out. It’s funny because today, I felt like being in that movie, ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’; it’s a movie. It’s a funny movie where the lady’s in finances and she’s dealing with kids. Today it felt like one of those days. I was laughing because I was like, “You just got to push through.” We as women, we’re great multitaskers; that’s in our nature. We can do 100 things at once. We can change a diaper, we can do dinner, we can check homework, we can be on a business call all at the same time and do it right. It’s just part of our nature to do that. I tell women, real estate, you don’t have to go out and be hammering a hammer. I don’t do that. I know how to manage systems and I’ve learned, Because of real estate, I’ve learned how to manage teams and how to manage people around me so that they’re handling that stuff that I don’t want to do and I can handle the things that I do want to do. That’s what I’ve learned through this process as a newbie, and then now an active fulltime, and through Homevestors, implementing that into my business is to realize I’m a great multitasker, that’s part of my nature, that’s who I am as a woman. There’s priorities in my life that are more important than others; my children, for example. Today, having to get my daughter from school because she was sick before coming to do the interview; little things like that.
The flexibility that you have and the ability to juggle all those things at once as a woman, we can bring that to real estate and be able to find the deals, meet with the investors, talk to the old lady that’s selling her house. She wants to feel comfortable with somebody that can relate to her. She talks to you like you’re her daughter and gives you a big old hug. That’s the energy that we can bring to this industry that we don’t realize we have that within us. We have that power to be able to transform in different forms in other to relate to different people across the board.
Mike: Attitude is so important in this business and really every business. I think it’s easy to let … life can get you down sometimes. You can let little things ruin your day, your week, or your month. Whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s so easy to get bogged down in the details that don’t matter. You just have to keep plowing forward. Tell us a little bit more about where you’re going with The Real Estate Newbie in terms of you’re trying to work more with folks that are newbies now and help them grow them grow their real estate business through the things you’re doing down in the Rio Grande Valley.
Flower: I’m in South Texas, which is the very bottom of Texas. It’s beyond San Antonio. You realize Texas goes beyond San Antonio.
Mike: It does?
Flower: Yes, it does. That’s where I am now. It’s been an interesting journey. I’ve been all over Texas and lived in other cities. Being back home where my family’s at, being surrounded by a huge Hispanic family; 60 cousins, 12 uncles and aunts. Family’s a big part of my culture. Being here, being where my girls can be loved on by their grandparents has really been able to give a good foundation to start a strong business down here to develop the Homevestors. I’m the first Homevestors here down in South Texas; to bring that down here and to be running all over. It’s actually 3 hours from one side to the other in this territory; to be running from out in the country to out by the South Padre Island, which is a beach on the coast. It’s been fun. I’m finding all these properties and I’m finding all these good deals that people don’t really know about in the rest of the country.
The Real Estate Newbie has been a place where I can say, “Let’s … have you looked at South Texas? Have you looked at this area?” You still have the commodities, you still have people that are working the oil business and that are working in all the other securities that Texas is bringing to the real estate investing world, because many people are flocking to Texas for real estate investing to buy rental properties or buy passive income properties. They don’t realize that South Texas is the hidden gem of Texas. The Mexicans know that; Mexican nationals. We have tons of money being poured into this area from people … they’re bringing their businesses from Mexico or from Latin America. It’s cool to see how this area is growing so fast an how it’s changing rapidly.
I’ve been talking to … in The Real Estate Newbie, I’ve been wanting and learning … starting to educate investors, ‘How can you be a passive investor?’ Yes/no; everything you need to know. This is what you need to know. This is how you need to run your numbers. This is how you should evaluate a deal. This is how you need to look for things. Then also, this is what we’re offering in South Texas. You can find those properties at SouthTexasRentalProperties.com.’ Really showing them how we’re another avenue for them for their real estate investing.
Mike: What you’re doing is you’re finding folks to partner with, and then you will help wholesale properties to them and maybe help get them setup with property management or other things that they might need. That’s great.
Flower: Through Homevestors, I do the wholesellings. I buy the properties. We buy them really, really good prices; we’re buying them really, really low, and then we’re just selling them for a little bit more. We’re still getting a really good deal to our investors. Through SouthTexasRentalProperties.com, that’s where we combine Texas Value Real Estate, which is my husband’s real estate agency, it has an in-house property management firm that’s been working with international investors for a long time; realty firm. We’re able to bring MLS deals and also wholesale deals for Homevestors into one place where we can be able to show that.
Mike: Most people, even me, don’t realize how big the Rio Grande Valley is. What’s the population of that market?
Flower: They did a circumference around us, which is interesting. I have the information. I don’t know if you realize, we’re in the Buy to Rent issue.
Mike: I saw your ad.
Flower: We’re in there. I was like, “Wait. Let me bring that up,” because we put all that information. We have an article in there also. We’re … it’s pretty large. It’s like Detroit. It’s interesting. I always have to look things up because I’m not big on [inaudible: 21:00].
Mike: If you want to attract customers to your market, I don’t know if you want to compare yourself to Detroit.
Flower: No, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean Detroit.
Mike: It’s like the Emerald City.
Flower: No, Denver [inaudible: 21:12]. I had to look all this information up. It’s 2.7 million households and it’s projected to grow by 15% in the next 5 years. It’s the 23rd largest US market, equivalent to Denver and Pittsburgh. That’s in 150-mile radius. Just this area itself, like I said, there’s people that are working the oil business that live here and then travel to the west of part of Texas, like San Antonio, to West Texas, and Houston, Corpus. Then there’s our medical industry was growing really quickly. There’s just a lot of infrastructure and growth. You come down here, what you hear anywhere else you’ll think it’s totally different.
Mike: Plus just the affordability of housing is ridiculous there. You can buy rental properties that really can be some great rental properties.
Flower: Yeah, 32. Because we … our culture is big on construction. I’m not mean, I’m just joking around, but it’s true. You’ve got your Paul, Pablos, and Juans and stuff. In this market, we’re largely Hispanic culture. A lot of the construction here is really high-quality and it’s really well done, but yet we’re also … I’m just saying because Hispanic and I can say these about ourselves. We like to buy really low and we like to save money. It’s part of our DNA. The quality is really high, and then the cost is really low. That comes across into what people can buy. That comes across for investors, too.
Mike: Anything else you want to add about The Real Estate Newbie or about the South Texas … make sure I say this right: SouthTexasRentalProperties.com.
Flower: More than anything is, I’m here to be of service. I’m here to be of service and hopefully an inspiration to women, to newbies, and to investors that want to get into this business. I know life is crazy, I know life can be pulling you in different directions all at the same time. I know many times, people are looking for an answer, they’re looking for that extra income, that little bit of extra push that grow their kids’ college fund, grow their retirement fund, or just have an extra $300, $400 a month. Sometimes it’s all you really need. Or just single moms out there that need to find a way to make more money and still have time for their kids to be able to go pick them up from school at the last minute. If I can be an inspiration to you through TheRealEstateNewbie.com or if you want to find properties and buy properties at uthTexasRentalProperties.com, you know I’m available to real estate investors.
Mike: We’ll add links to those below the video. Flower is just a wonderful person. If you have any interest in learning more about her, I definitely encourage you to contact her. Thanks so much for joining us, Flower.
Flower: You’re welcome. Thank you.
Mike: I know I’ll be seeing you soon.
Flower: Yes, I’ll see you this weekend.
Mike: That’s right. Have a good day. We’ll talk to you later.
Flower: Thanks, Mike.
Mike: Thanks for joining. Bye-bye.
Mike: Thanks for joining us on today’s FlipNerd.com podcast. To listen to more of our shows and hear from incredible guests, please access all of our podcasts in the iTunes Store. You can also watch the video versions of our shows by visiting us at FlipNerd.com.