Investor Spotlight: Elena
We were recently fortunate to be able to interview another one of our valued investors. Elena lives in Westchester County, New York, and has been investing alongside her husband for five years now. As a full-time real estate investor, Elena has learned a ton about real estate, how to comfortably invest out of state and how to match her family’s goals and expectations with real estate property. We hope you enjoy reading about Elena’s experience with real estate investing in general and with MartelTurnkey in particular.
MT: What first inspired you to get into real estate investing?
Elena: My husband and I have always thought about the best ways to gain financial independence, so it was a quick process once we started learning about real estate investing. Our number one goal was to gain that financial independence with passive income. But the second reason is because we both wanted to create a lasting legacy for our family and children. When I think about a legacy, I just loved the idea of having a portfolio of income-producing properties to leave behind. In the beginning, it was about expediting our path to financial independence. The more we learned, the more we realized that real estate investing is a great way to build generational wealth. We started developing a more interesting perspective on accumulating and preserving wealth through generations. We love that we’ll be able to leave behind a portfolio of income-producing properties for our children as it will give them a sort of safety net, something they can count on–not that they have to–but something that is available to them. After all that realization, that’s when I decided to pursue real estate investing full-time.
MT: How have you set up your real estate investing business?
Elena: On the passive side, we roll most of our rental properties into the LLCs we have set up. We’ve set it up this way because it gives us asset protection, more flexibility, and it makes it more straightforward for tax purposes. On the active side, we have our company called E2F Properties, which I’m growing and building daily.
MT: Have you noticed an improvement in your lifestyle or how much time you are able to spend with your family?
Elena: The short answer is yes. But we didn’t start investing in real estate to experience the lifestyle change. My husband enjoys his job, and I enjoy the business of real estate investing. Neither of us minds working hard as long as the work allows us to grow and improve as individuals. I believe that striving to become better makes me happy, keeps me at peace with myself and makes me feel successful. In the beginning, we looked into real estate investing as a way to increase income and expedite financial independence. Once we got into it, I have had a whole shift in my mindset about building generational wealth. And I think that moving toward our goals more quickly and becoming a better, more informed person are ways to improve lifestyle. It goes back to how you use your time. What do you do with your time? Having control and flexibility with how you spend your time is one of the most important assets, in my opinion. People ask me sometimes what I think of success. I think of success as working every day to become a little better and toward having full control of how you spend every minute of your life.
MT: What made you comfortable with investing in out of state real estate?
Elena: For me, I was never not comfortable with out of state investing. Because New York, where we live, is not a landlord-friendly market, we looked to invest out of state from the beginning. We researched many markets where people are doing business and where there is a lot of investment opportunity. I got in touch with some turnkey providers in multiple states, as that was the easiest way to start. And that’s how I started.
MT: How did you find MartelTurnkey?
Elena: It was through a group of investors that we both belong to. I stumbled on the name in an online community. At that stage we had already bought a few properties from other turnkey rental companies, but we weren’t very happy with their products and process. We felt we were just one of many investors, and these properties were average picks. And then we saw Antoine at this investors group. From the first time we spoke with him, we were impressed by how knowledgeable he was. The market knowledge and plans he had for his company convinced us of his competence. We knew from the first conversation that we could become long-term partners. We have since bought many properties from MartelTurnkey and it has always been a great experience.
MT: What kinds of questions did you ask before investing with MartelTurnkey?
Elena: We started by asking a lot of questions about the market. For example, our first property we bought with Antoine was in Memphis and it was a new market for us. All our questions were about the market. Why Memphis, why this zip code, why this area, and so on. The second set of questions were around the property. The process of finding the house, types of renovations he does and so on. Finally, we asked what the process was for us as investors. We didn’t just want to buy a one-off property; we were looking for a good partner. We wanted to make sure that this company, this partner, would be there for the long term.
MT: What has your process been working with MartelTurnkey?
Elena: It’s been very, very simple, to be honest with you. The difference between MartelTurnkey and others is that you can tell they spent a lot of time and effort in making the process as simple and as transparent as possible for investors. They provide you information about the property and put you in touch with a network of professionals that make the purchase simple. I’m talking about lenders, inspectors, property management companies they’re using – the whole experience becomes turnkey. And the best part of that, is that these are the same companies and individuals that they use themselves.
MT: What real estate investment challenges have you had to overcome?
Elena: I think the biggest challenge for us is building a portfolio of properties that is right for the needs of the moment, but also set up to be successful in the longer term. We’re looking at this as a way to create a large portfolio of properties which will give us income to be financially independent and build generational wealth. As such, we have to strike a balance between cash flowing properties and properties in appreciating neighborhoods. Our biggest challenge is striking a balance between looking at the needs of the moment to make sure that we continue to grow the portfolio, while thinking longer term.
MT: What has your experience been like working with MartelTurnkey?
Elena: My experience has been great, and I would recommend them to anyone who is either starting or looking to grow their portfolio. As I said, we have worked with other turnkey providers before who do not offer the same service as MartelTurnkey. I like the fact that they’re knowledgeable and fair. Those are very scarce attributes to find in this industry. Doing it right by their investors is a differentiating factor for them. That’s why I keep recommending them to other people. My experience has been very positive.
MT: What advice would you offer to first time investors?
Elena: Three pieces of advice. 1) Do some research. Do secondary research, get online. There is a ton of information available online; seminars, programs, groups, and so on. Spend time reading through that information. 2) Talk to people. Don’t just rely on secondary research. Do primary research. Find a few people that either did it or are doing it even better and talk to them. 3) Don’t get in the trap of analysis paralysis. If you don’t try and if you don’t fail, then you don’t learn and you don’t grow.
If anyone has questions for you, what’s the best way to reach you?