Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of wholesaling and investing has been taking place in South Florida, and it hasn’t slowed down. Scott Carson’s guests are Sharon Restrepo and Juan Restrepo from West Palm Beach. Sharon and Juan discuss how they’ve built a buyers and sellers list to help them find deals in their local markets. Join in the conversation and discover how Sharon and Juan are expanding to invest in an outside market. Leveraging time and establishing relationships with other real estate professionals are essential for your expansion, as this powerhouse investing couple learned right off the bat. If you want to learn more, don’t miss out on this episode!
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What You Need To Know About Wholesaling And Investing In A New Real Estate Market With Sharon And Juan Restrepo
I’m Juan Restrepo.
I’m Sharon Restrepo.
We’re here to talk to you about wholesaling real estate and investing in a new market. I know some of you are excited or thinking about going somewhere else. We’re going to show you how you can get there on this episode of Talking with Scott.
I’m jacked up for this episode. You know that I’m always constantly looking for topics that are going to be hammer home for you. You can put the immediate impact into your investing, whether it is in notes or it’s in traditional real estate. I’m excited to have this amazing couple here on the show. From one of my favorite parts of the country, I call it God’s waiting room, West Palm Beach, Florida. It’s a gorgeous area. I bought a lot of real estate down there over the years, invested.
I’m honored to have Juan and Sharon Restrepo join me here on the show. These guys are investors and realtors. They’re doing amazing stuff. They’re going to share some of their insights about how they have gotten to where they’re at now, their real estate business investment side. They’re doing a lot of wholesaling in Southwest Florida. Also, for those of you that are scared to invest in your outside markets, these guys are focusing on another market outside of Florida. How’s it going?
It’s a beautiful day.
It’s called the Chamber of Commerce day.
For those that are reading this, I always like to have a sunny image behind me where I would rather be. I love Austin, but I miss Florida. I miss the sun. I miss the air, the sea, and the beautiful environment there. I’m a little peanut butter and jelly with you guys. Juan and Sharon, can you talk about how you got to where you’re at now? What was your focus? How did you get started? Let’s start with ladies first. Sharon, let’s start with you.
First of all, it’s awesome to be on your show, Scott. We’re honored to be here. Thank you for the opportunity. I love real estate. Before Juan, I married a gentleman who had real estate as his passion. He had to talk me into real estate investing because I grew up in a home where my father taught us, “You go to school, get all the degrees, and go to trade school. You work for somebody,” and that’s it. You never take any risks or do anything outside of that. This is the comfort zone and it’s uncomfortable in this tiny little box.
That was the mentality I had. He had to talk me into this long, safe plan. We had purchased a home. We had some equity. We decided we put it on the market for sale, take the equity, and buy some fixer-upper. Keep doing the slow process. About two weeks after we put our home on the market, my first husband was killed in an accident. I made the decision of if I’m going to live my life or end it, I’m going to pursue his dream, but I had no idea that his dream was my passion. I dove into this business 24/7.
At first, it was to keep me from being so miserable. I started buying fixer-uppers. I made all kinds of mistakes. I was buying from wholesalers. I was like, “They’re making just as much money as me, but I’m doing all this work. I think I want to learn that side of the business.” As fate would have it, my father became terminally ill. This was over many years ago. My family moved in with me because I essentially worked from home.
However, I had to create virtual wholesaling before technology. With a telephone and a fax machine, I began wholesaling homes and created a wholesaling system that you would call virtual now. That was invented. Several years later, I got to meet the one and only. He speaks Spanish. That’s a whole new market. We can do something together. I needed some free labor. It worked out well. We moved here to Palm Beach County and began doing it together.
Congratulations. Anytime you can say, “Hablo Español,” it adds another 100% of clientele to your business?
Yeah, especially out here in South Florida. It’s funny because I was in Jacksonville. When I got out of the service, I went to school. I went to college. I paid my way and took care of myself doing all that. I figured this is what I’m going to do. I got into the airline industry. It was my passion, aviation. I got a degree in aviation management, student loans, all this and that, and debt. I go to work for the airlines. I ended up leaving there, I finally decided, “I’m killing myself,” because I was working so much for this company.
I said, “I’m going to start building my own business.” I got invited to an entrepreneurial thing, “I am doing that.” I made the investment but that took a while to take off. My father then said, “Why don’t you come down here in West Palm and get in the mortgage business with us?” I said, “Okay.” I came down, and then around that time, Sharon and her ex-partner were running an association. I was invited to that, so I started coming there. I was helping this one investor close, finance his buyers, then when he invited me to the meeting, I started seeing the other side of it. I started seeing the closing statement on what this guy was making. I’m like, “I’m doing okay, but he’s doing good.” I became a student of hers.
I told him that one life coaching program I had.
We’ll get to that dynamic of working together too. The market has changed so much, especially in South Florida. If you look at what happened several years ago and it being an epicenter of the recession. At one point, they said that 30% of Florida was vacant. You had all this international money coming in, but it led to a lot of opportunities out there. I love that area. It’s due for a great time too. Are you seeing that a lot?
We are in a crazy seller’s market. COVID has a lot to do with it because I believe a lot of people are afraid to show their home. They’re holding back on selling. We get asked this question a lot, probably you do as well, what do you think post-COVID is going to happen? A lot of people think we’re going to have this major correction. Personally, I don’t think the banks are going to dump a lot of properties. They’re too smart. They know better.
What we’ll see is all these people that waited until COVID was over, they’re going to go, “Look what my neighbor got. Now, let’s put our house on the market.” We’re going to see a whole bunch of houses come on the market with a bunch of sellers that think they’re going to get with their neighbors got. When the supply increases, we’re going to have an adjustment, but I don’t see the market tanking. I don’t think we should hold off from buying. If you’re a smart investor, you still do your numbers and purchase smart.
I look at everything from my conversations with bankers and different funds out there, with all the government loans being in default, but they’re just kicking the can down the road another six months, giving people opportunities to get back on track. I do think we are going to see a bigger downturn in the commercial space with defaults, vacancies. That’s going to be the epicenter this time around.
You’re still going to have investor loans and student housing. Your returns are down quite a bit because people aren’t going to class or not living on campus. The cities that surround those campuses are struggling as well. It’s not going to be the REO wave 2021. It’s the debt buying side or if you can step into the commercial space and regentrify a lot of stuff there. You have had such a huge impact the last several years in West Palm Beach. A lot of commercials have been built up. It’s always been great in West Palm Beach, but there are also some shady areas there that have regentrified in the last several years.
We’re seeing a lot of commercial buildings. We’ve got some that are related to Jorge Pérez. He’s putting up a huge office building downtown. There’s a lot going on there. A lot of investment has been taking place and it hasn’t slowed down. If you drive by there, these guys are still building. It’s not like before during that crash where you started seeing empty skeletons and buildings sitting there like they run out of money. Such is not the case.
We’re still in the middle. I know the election has happened, but nothing’s been defined yet. What’s going to happen post-election and post-COVID? Depending on which administration comes in, it’s like, “We’re going to do this,” and it could affect that. There’s some sway here, but we’re seeing the market is still strong here in South Florida. Overcoming the COVID, during our summit, one of the guys that we interviewed was talking about how they pivoted.
They’re providing to serve as, “We will have an open house and we’ll come in and clean the house at the end of the day.” The takeaway is, “That’s a smart thing.” That’s an entrepreneur thinking about, “I need to pivot.” We need to say, “What’s going on and how can I adjust to the market, so we don’t slow down?” That’s the exciting thing, again, here in South Florida. We’ve seen prices steadily growing. We have this seller’s market. We’re still seeing competition. You put the house out there. You’re probably going to get a bit more than asking.
Sharon, we were talking beforehand. You mentioned running an association. You had an investment club of some sort? How did that start off and how has that been an impact on your business?
That was always great, whenever you can bring people together that are like-minded. We brought continuing education and workshops. It’s the place for people to come together locally. That retired some ago, but the people who were active, you’re still in communication with. We never took advantage of technology like we’re doing since COVID. It’s been good for us because we’re able to connect, not just with those folks, I’m sure you know, you’re already online, but with so many more around the country. We’ve been able to have a further reach. We do a lot, not just ourselves, but we duplicate what we do for clients. Whether people live here or not, or have their money here or not, they send it to us and we steward it for them in real estate. Being able to reach more people and make them aware of what we do, it’s been good for business as well.
It was good for us for all those years. It gives you a name. Anytime you get on a platform, that immediately gives you credibility, no matter where you’re at, in any industry or anything like that. The moment you take the platform, you’ve been given credibility. That was gold. It helped us build the business that we did and do the type of business that we’ve had over the years. It was definitely a blessing.
Anytime you can bring people together and give, that’s one of the big things. Some people make mistakes. We’ve seen in different groups where they’re not giving. It’s all about, “How can the group affect my bottom line,” versus the other way around? You’ve got to have that servant mindset in mind when you do put together a meetup group, a real estate club, or some sort of association of bringing people together to give. It comes back tenfold if you have a genuine heart. I know you guys both do on that. You said using fax machines to wholesale properties. I love that. It’s a little antiquated these days, but what are some of the things that you find that are working for you in wholesaling either you’re finding deals or finding buyers, and helping you take that next level?
We’ve been doing it for so long. The thing that we all know is the consistency of putting yourself out there and marketing yourself. Being in every kind of group there is. As you’re saying, bringing value to the group so people see who you are and connect with you. Fortunately, we’ve been doing this for so long in the same backyard that we’ve been able to grow in credibility. “I need to sell my house fast, let me call Sharon and Juan.” “I need to buy a house cash, let me call Sharon and Juan.”
We’ve been able to put together a great database of clients and be a good source for people who need to unload something quickly. It has helped us spend much less on marketing to cold traffic because of it. When you can pick up the phone and somebody says, “Sharon, I’ve got a seller who needs to unload this house. Will you pay X?” I could make a deal with no competition. How do you compare that to anything? I would tell anybody to network consistently. When you get an opportunity to look at a property, look at it. If it’s not for you, don’t just disappear. Call back and say, “Thanks for the opportunity. This one is not for me.” Communication is key. It’s golden. That’s what I would stress, consistently keep your face in the game.
I love what you said there, communicate with issues. There are a lot of wholesalers out there, I call them Joker brokers because they get a deal and they just slap it out there without doing any due diligence, without viewing the property. “It only needs $5,000 or $10,000 in repairs,” when it’s got a lien on it and not a true lien.
Every deal always needs $10,000 worth of work. I’m like, “Your picture needs $10,000 of work.”
That’s the truth. You said something good, being out there. A lot of people getting in the real estate field, whether it’s investors, new realtors, or other people out there, don’t want to put themselves out there. They’re scared to market themselves. They’re scared to show up continuously because, “I don’t know, I don’t have a lot of experience.” The only way to get experienced is to put yourself out there and stub your toe a few times.
I have a great analogy I always tell my students. Everybody wants the needle in the haystack. They want it handed to them. I always say, “If you want to find the needle, you got to play in the haystack.” All of a sudden, you’re stuck with it, and you’re like, “What’s that? Here’s the needle,” but if you’re not in the haystack, you’re not going to find the needle.
I love that analogy. You’re getting phone calls from people there locally, but Florida is like Texas. We get a lot of people coming into the state there for you. How are you connecting with new investors or new potential buyers? Is the majority of your stuff local people that you’re working with?
I would say the majority is probably local people. The ones who are not local need our hands and feet. They rely on our services. I would say that person becomes a client, if you will. It’s better for us to have a client than just a buyer on a list. You can have a list of 5,000 people but five are your players. It’s always a numbers game. What we ended up doing to eliminate the majority of a waste of time is we set up an escrow program, like taking the number at the deli. I’m sharing this because anyone can do it. We have an absolutely refundable escrow agreement. You put $5,000 in escrow with my attorney, fill out this paper showing me what you want, what’s your budget, and what you’re looking for. When that deal comes on my desk, you get first dibs at it before I send it out to the 3,000. That has been amazing for us.
That’s a phenomenal idea. We’ve used escrow a lot of times. You know somebody’s serious if they’re putting $5,000 sitting with an attorney. You know that they’re not going to have to run around trying to make sure that they have $1,000 in their escrow account.
They already gave me proof of funds. We’ve eliminated all of this. I know they’re real. It’s not like I’m going to keep their money. If they find something from someone else, they can apply that $5,000 to that deal. It’s a win-win, but it’s great for us because we don’t have to waste our time marketing it to the 3,000, which how many of those are going to try and door knock my seller behind my back anyway? That’s been amazing for us.
Can you talk a little about that because we do see that with wholesale? You see people that go behind your back. How frustrating is that in a lot of ways?
Not at all. This is the thing, we’ve been at this for so long, you know who the players are. When we ran the association, we knew the other association leaders in the area. If somebody is going to do us wrong, we talk. We would have regular meetings with the other leaders and say so and so. “That guy, he’s no good.” “Don’t deal with her.” It’s by playing the game when you’re in there, you start to recognize just by the way they say things, the way they come at a situation. It’s like, “This guy.” For us, it’s that gut feeling, that Holy Spirit feeling. “I don’t know if that’s going to be something we want to go out to.”
We come to recognize. We also deal with whoever our seller is. We coach them, “This is what’s going to happen. This is what you can expect.” At the same time, we cloud the title. Long and short of it, we know how to cloud the title because we have had it happen. Not a lot, but we have had it happened and we got paid. It’s a big price, but the Bible says, “Be as innocent as a dove and as smart as the serpent.” We know the tricks. We’ve been around. We’re not dumb. We’re not ignorant. We know. We play by the rules. We have a cloud title, and you’re going to have to pay us.
Let’s talk about that. A lot of people don’t realize that’s an opportunity to protect themselves. Are you slapping a lien on the property that clouded for a while for whether your wholesaling fee, percentage, or something? What are you doing to protect your investment?
We record a two-party memorandum. We explain to the seller that this is a standard business practice for us. Most contracts say that this contract is not recordable. We give our students forms and clauses to protect themselves. They just have to add this clause that supersedes that, that says, “All parties agree that this memorandum is going to be recorded.” It’s $10, $11 to record this memorandum. It clouds the title.
Now, when the seller, whether he intends to or not intend to, or whether the other buyer knows he’s going behind your back or not, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to get the phone call that says, “We’re trying to close this deal. We need you to sign a release.” You’re like, “That’s interesting. I’m trying to close the same deal.” We get paid, “We were going to make $10,000 assignment fee, we’ll sign a release for $10,000.” They might counteroffer. They might negotiate. If they truly knew they did wrong or didn’t know, they can say, “This deal is dead. I have to deal with them.” I would say at least half a dozen times in our history, it saved us. We got paid and we got the deal.
That’s what happens when you play the game. You might get hurt once or a couple of times. You get burned, you learn. When I was in the aviation field, every FAA regulation is written in blood, somebody died. That’s why the regulation was made. Did you get burned? Guess what? We got a new step in our procedures, watch out for this or do this. You add to your procedures. You’re going to learn 1 or 2 ways. You can invest in your education. I know you offer your classes and so people have to invest in that to learn how to protect us. Even all the technical knowledge, you’ve got to get in the game. You can learn how to bat a ball by reading a book, but until you get in front of that pitcher, you’re not going to know.
You want to get in front of a live pitching as soon as possible. That’s the thing, all the education, podcasts, virtual workshops, or stuff like that are great for the knowledge base, but it’s like paying to go to become a brain surgeon and never operating. You can’t do that. We used to do the same thing in doing a lot of shorts on negotiations. We do a lot of work for both parties to negotiate with the banks to do short sales. Often, come to closing table and you would get a phone call, “We need you to remove this for your fees. You’re supposed to get paid.” I’m like, “We spent six months working on this deal. We’re going to get paid.” Do you see a spike in short sales in your area or no?
I have not, but I can’t tell you that I’ve been looking.
You are doing stuff there in West Palm Beach, but also, you’re exploring out in the great wilderness in a new market. Let’s talk about that. What’s made you decide that you’re, “We’re going to look at some place, a secondary market to be invested in?” What’s been the mindset behind that?
We had a second home in this area before and we loved it. I’ve been in Florida for over 45 years. Sharon was born and raised here. There are no seasons here. We’d like to see some seasons. We started seeing it as, “There are opportunities in this market.” Prayer as well. We felt like the Lord said, “This is a new market I want you to start looking into.” In doing that, we said, “We’re not just going to go out there and start throwing money out there. Let’s research the market.” We’ve got some feet on the ground over there. We said, “Feed us whatever is going on.” Sharon started networking in the area. We’ve been looking at deals over the years. This look good. We then started looking at how we could do what we do here and it’s like, “This might work.” Now, it’s a matter of getting out there and jumping in the hay.
Sharon, let’s talk a little about that. Obviously, if you’ve lived there before and had a house there, that’s helpful. What are some of the initial steps that are important that you would recommend to people out there looking to invest in a new market that has helped you out?
What confirmed it for us in this particular area of North Carolina we were not familiar with. We had an employee that worked here for us for a couple of years that relocated there. Her husband worked on homes here for us. She ran our property management. When she got there, she got her real estate license. That was helpful. That was about a few years ago. She was the one who was saying, “You have to come invest here, Sharon. There’s no one that’s doing procedures like you that I can see.”
I said, “Start putting me in all your feeds, let me watch the market.” That’s what we were doing. That’s what we were praying about. I went up there before. Now, I’m leaving to look at properties to purchase. Initially, because we weren’t sure and we don’t want to waste anybody’s time, we went online and set up Zillow and Trulia searches, or whatever for the types of properties we’re looking for to start watching.
We have watched over the last few years, the properties go up in value. I’ll note something that an investor had to purchase and then I go back and see what did he sell it for, how they are doing, how many investors are in that market, and etc. I said, “Let me do a search and get on all the wholesalers’ list.” I love buying from wholesalers. I’ve been getting properties from wholesalers now for over a year. We’re looking at those as well and going through the process of comping them even though we weren’t ready to buy yet.
Building up the inspectors, the vendors, the people we need, and even looking at those prices because you don’t know what you don’t know. You can’t assume anything. We don’t even have basements here. To buy a property that has a basement that was built 100 years ago is different. We’re learning all through that. Central AC install is 3 or 4 times as much money as we would spend here. I don’t even know why yet. I don’t understand that.
I’ll leave and then we’re going back again in a few weeks together. I’m set up to look at properties. We post a lot of lives and we’re going to be walking people through our journey, etc. I know what we need to have in place, the vendors, the relationships, and so we’ve been using this 2020 to gather that and put that together. Meet the attorneys that I want to close the deals. Everything that you would need to start on the right foot in another place.
That’s one of the biggest things that we teach about. If you’ve got vendors in your area that you work with, they’re everywhere. The little small amazing tool called the internet allows you to find a lot of things, Juan?
Yeah. That’s how we met. That’s how we’ve gotten to know each other. At the same time, Sharon has also gotten into some groups. That’s what they do in that area. She’s hearing. She comes in, and she gives payment but she gets value. She knows she’s going to learn a lot more hearing what these guys are talking about going back and forth. “I’ve got this, I got that.” “Somebody knows about this.” That’s the thing, because of this internet, we have this ability. At the same time, before you would contact the Chamber of Commerce, “What’s going on in your area?”
Even that stuff you can do online, or pick up the phone and introduce yourself. I had a friend of mine, he does multifamily apartment buildings. Sometimes he would call the Chamber of Commerce because he knew he was coming into a certain market. For him, and even for us, the big thing is jobs. You always hear location. No, it’s job. That’s what you got to look for when you’re looking in a new market.
He did the same thing. He called them, and they met him at the airport. They drove him around and catered to the guy. He was like royalty. They were looking, and they were excited to have him. He knew what was coming. He saw the telltale signs, “Something’s getting ready to happen over here. I’m going into this market.” That’s what we’re doing. “What’s going on? What are the jobs that are being created? Who’s the big cheese coming in here?” At the same time, I’m going to watch, “Who can be coming out?” That’s what we look for is jobs.
He mentioned something good. I went on Facebook on the groups that are in that area. I’m like, “I am flying in. I have a day to look at properties. I want deals in these areas. If you have anything that’s a deal, and you are leaving me some equity, email the deal to me at this address. I will see it and I will buy it.” At the same time, I don’t know what I’m going to need. I emailed my banker, I said, “Give me a proof of funds letter for this amount,” because I don’t like to give more than my purchase price on the contracts. I’m going ready for opportunity and that was what I reported. You can’t wait for an opportunity to get ready because everybody else who’s ready, and there’s a lot, will take that deal from you. I say there’s a lot, but there are few that are ready.
There’s a lot of people that play that they’re ready, but only 5% to 10% of people out there are ready and put a plan in place. You have done your work. You put a business plan together for the market and focused on it. You’re doing your boots on the ground. That’s one thing. It’s cheap to fly if you’re going to invest in an area. Get on a plane, fly around, fly into it and spend a day looking at 20, 30 properties. You’ll learn more looking in the market than anything else because it’s hard to tell what’s going on in the school across the street or the neighborhood from Google Maps.
We’ve got some old towns here that got rich-looking names, but if you went into that neighborhood, it’s a war zone. It’s not far from the water. You wouldn’t pay a premium for that property, but you don’t know that looking on a map, on Google Maps or whatever. You’ve got to be down there or have somebody down there. A lot of times, it is better that you’re down there, so you get an idea. For us, it’s been a blessing that we have an agent that we know and trust. You can be falling into the same thing where you have an agent that’s only out for the commission and looking out for himself only. He’ll tell you what you want to hear, next thing you know, you’re in deep.
I think a Fort Pierce, Florida like that. Fort Pierce has some great-looking properties near the water, but in some cases, it’s rough.
We know exactly.
That’s the good, the bad and the ugly of real estate there for you.
We have a couple of lots there now. They were not lots. They were properties. They’re no longer there anymore. When we bought them, there was a storm. We own that property for several years now. A storm came in and destroyed the cottages we had on this. We got to demo those. It’s been sitting there.
Because it’s Fort Pierce.
You win some. You lose some. You have some great deals that you knocked out of the park. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, for the most part. I love what you’re doing. You can wholesale some properties and make some money. When you’re looking at wholesaling properties, and it’s different per market, what would you say you see is your average wholesaling fee that you’re making in where you’re at? This varies, obviously, on the asset across the board, but anything that you’re shooting for, for it to be worth your time to spend time on?
We’re looking for a minimum of $10,000. In a hot seller’s market like this, that’s probably a good average. When the market is not as hot, we can make a lot more, but it all varies. I would say we average $10,000. For us, we look at a deal as a wholesale strategy first because if we can make $10,000 without ever owning that thing, it doesn’t matter that we’d make $20,000 after 3 or 4 months. It doesn’t work out, even though it sounds like it to people. When you start putting that into a spreadsheet, time, and risk, it doesn’t pay. It’s got to be a lot bigger reward on the other side of it for us to own that thing.
Everything gets tied up into ROI, Return on Investment. I’m a big fan of ROT, Return on Time. If you can make $10,000 in a week, that beats a whole lot of trying to hold out for $20,000 on rehab and then trying to sell it, and if it takes 90 days later to go from there to there, I agree on that for you. With you buying stuff and moving into a new market, are you using your own funds or using other people’s money, investors’ funds to take some stuff down? What’s the play on that?
It’s a little bit of both. We’ve been blessed because of the association. We created relationships with people over the years. We have that. When you have IRA money out there, we have investors that we use our IRA money. When we told them what we were doing, they go, “Wherever you go, we’re going,” because they’ve been so happy with the return that we’ve given them over the years. We’ve had clients that have doubled their money with us. They came in with an X amount, and then made twice as much. It’s like, “I could never have done that in the market.” They’re pleased. We even got people that are going to move there with us if we go.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I don’t know.
You put your systems in place. You’ve got your experience, you’ve made mistakes, and that’s common. You’ve worked through that, you’re adding value, you’ve put your safety measures in place, but then you’re also giving. Sharon, you mentioned you have some groups or things like that, and you’re helping people. Talk a little about that, for those who are reading out there looking to learn more about what you are doing.
We launched a private Facebook community for those real estate investors or people who want to be Kingdom-minded. We do a lot of faith-based-type things, whether we say it all out or not. We started a Facebook group specifically for real estate investors. We bring a lot of value into that group. We have put in several masterclasses, forums, and things that real estate investors need to know. We are going to post the videos and the live of our journey because we feel that you can glean from anyone.
I posted live of what we talked about, what I’ve already done and put in place that they can do it themselves wherever they are at. When I’m looking at these houses, I’m going to post live or take videos. When Juan goes out to houses even here, he’s like, “What’s the learning opportunity that we can take live to our folks?” We do that all over the internet. We said, “We need one place where everybody can come together.” You would think we would have thought of that before, but we’re real estate investors first, and social media second. We were a little slow to the game. We’re excited about that. The smaller the group is, so far, they’re loving it. We’re excited to let people follow this journey and learn from it, or come on to Sharon, I want to be one of your clients too.
It’s such a powerful thing, embracing that these days. I hate to say it, but we’re all investors or realtors, but we’re all in the media space these days more so than anything else to get the word out. It’s gotten so easy with Facebook Live, YouTube lives, or wherever you can do. You put on a virtual summit too, Juan, with a bunch of speakers from across the country coming in and giving value to your audience. Kudos on that. I was honored to be a speaker on that. One of the things I want to bring in, and you mentioned about this a little bit. As a married couple, do you ever feel like all you talk about is real estate sometimes? How’s that dynamic fit in?
It is funny. We went out on the date and I forgot to put in roles. “Let’s not talk about business,” but yeah, sometimes it is. We love what we do. When you share that, it’s fun. You get to talk about it. We’ve gone through some struggles and challenges. The thing is, as a couple, we’ve been able to help each other get through some challenges. One day, I’ll be down and she’ll pick me up. One day, she’ll be down, I’ll pick her up. That’s what we do.
We have two awesome boys. They take up our time. We’ve homeschooled them for a couple of years. They’ve been part of the business since they were young. They hear. We’ve even helped them purchase some properties. We’ve got some pictures. They were 5 or 6 years old at the time. She said, “Bring your money.” They brought their money and gave it to her. They signed some paperwork.
They had to bring ID, they used library cards. We had a closing agent, and make a little mock closing up for them.
It’s a family thing, but we don’t impose it on the boys. We don’t impose college either. They’re great students. They got A’s and B’s. At the same time, it’s like, “I want you guys to have the real-world experience. I want you to understand.” It’s great that you have this thing. As a couple, what they’ve seen is what we talk about. It’s what is talked about at the dinner table. They hear and understand what a foreclosure, rent, tenant, and what repairs are and stuff like that at 10 and 12 years old.
Most kids don’t know, “What’s all that about?” We’ve made it fun. We’ve gone to houses. It’s been fun you even for us as a couple. We’re going to go back to this, where we record it because a lot of times, we go out and have a cup of coffee and enjoy talking. “Let’s shoot this live and share with people that this can be fun.” There’s the hard work, yeah. There’s the paperwork, the drudgery, and all that stuff that has to happen, but at the same time, we can make it fun. We’ll go out together. We’ll go to a property together. Afterward, let’s grab a cup of coffee, hang out and talk about the deal or whatever. It’s been a blessing.
We’re going to celebrate our wedding bliss. Real estate has been a part of our life the whole time. It’s worked together. I tell you what, whether or not you work with your spouse, this is the advice I would give when we had the association, “Make sure your spouse is on board. If they’re not, this will not work.” I would coach some people with that, “Get them on board somehow, let them see that this is going to be worthwhile.” Sometimes, it’s a delivery. People have to learn and deliver this to the spouse. For us, this is what we do. It’s fun. It’s sucks when you lose, but you celebrate the good times. We’ve made some great friends out of this. We have fun.
If your spouse or significant other can be on board, it makes it a whole lot easier and you find success a lot faster, versus the opposite way. Don’t get me wrong, people have done enough entrepreneurial things selling soap or vitamins that they may have burned that bridge at home a little bit. “This is another thing you’re going to do for 90 days?” Anytime you can get your spouse involved or they’re there, you’re rowing the boat in the same direction versus going opposite directions. If you do have a spouse, we always like to say, “Give them a shut-up check.” Get something, a shut-up check worth $500 or $1,000, to give to them, and say, “Here. Go do whatever you want with this.” That’s a whole different mindset change. Shut up checks across America.
I’ve never heard that before. I want some of those.
You can use that and I’ll use your needle in a haystack thing. You have been doing this for many years together. Beforehand, other things that are for you. Your faith plays a big role. Anything that’s happened in the many years that you had to rely on your faith to get you through some things?
That tested our faith and we were like, “What’s going on?” The funny thing is, just because we had been out there already with the association, we didn’t have a huge internet presence, but we had a presence out there. We kept it up there. We kept saying, “Things are going to work out.” We lost a lot of properties. It sucked, big mistakes. Our faith says you have to forgive. A part of that wasn’t our fault. That was some ex-partners that put us into a situation.
The next thing you know, the whole world is imploding, and we’re right in the midst of this. It sucked. We have to learn to forgive because if we held on to that grudge and that bitterness, it’s cancer. You’re then focused on that instead of focusing on, “Let’s pivot. Let’s find the opportunities.” It was that faith that we stuck together and we prayed through it. Next thing you know, we ended up getting a call, you get those phone numbers, and it’s like, “Who’s this?”
She thought it was some spam call. She answered it anyway. It ended up being some guy from Israel. He found this on the internet and was ready to buy because he saw America was for sale at that time like what’s going on now. He started buying properties. We started managing them for him. The next thing we know, this was our payday. This is what’s feeding us. Because of him, he brought us some more clients. We then started building up and building up. We got through it.
Our entire business turned to international clients. It completely grew from out of nowhere. It was totally a God thing. We also shared then. It wasn’t all online at the time. You’re still meeting people in person. “We’re losing properties. You’re not the only one.” We were honest about our situation. We felt that would help more people. The statistics, if you were in real estate, you’re going through some tough times. Many people were taking their own lives over this stuff. People were appreciative that we were honest, forthright and sharing. It helped a lot of people like, “I’ve got somebody to keep my eyes on. If they can try and keep your head above water, let’s do this.”
It’s not all good. You learn more about yourself as an entrepreneur, as a professional, in your faith, in going through bad times and struggling things like that. The Big Guy doesn’t give us anything that we can’t handle, even though sometimes it’s like, “Why am I going through this? What did I do wrong?” It’s not that we did anything wrong, we’ve got to grow. If you’re making $100,000, you got to grow into that million-dollar mindset. First, you got to have some thicker skin. Enough people do. They close a business and do something else. I’ve seen a lot of that, this time around, people calling me up, “I tried to do this several years ago and I gave up on it.” I’m like, “Are you going to give up this time because it’s not the same thing? You got to put the work in and the time.” There is no get-rich-quick scheme in real estate. Can we agree to that?
Yeah, and all of your goals are outside of your comfort zone. If you’re comfortable, then you’re not going to get what you want where you’re at.
Big goals for 2021 coming up there for you. When you said that you talk about goals and plans, knowing you guys a little bit, what’s your big goal for 2021?
Obviously, the new market, replicating that, and taking the land. Let’s see what we can do. I’m looking at no buying. That’s always been in the back of my mind. I have to put that as part of my repertoire because that is a great opportunity. It’s a great side business. Your main business presents a good side. Increasing our online presence, educating and helping. We’ve got a great educational platform that we’re building on and making it even better. Helping more people come along.
By us documenting the journey, they get to see, “This is possible. It’s not impossible. There is some work.” They’ll get to see what we’re doing and how we do it. They learn, they take away from this thing, “This is something I can do here.” That’s the big thing for us. Let’s show this. That’s always been our motto, let’s give more than what we get, but let’s give them even more. Let’s show more about how we do. We’ll see the growth from that both on the real estate side and also on our educational side.
We need more people like you that are putting in the work and sharing the journey. It’s not all Lamborghinis and high energy. It’s a lot of work, foot in the ground, even though you guys aren’t the Lambo aspect of things, you’re providing a lot of content out there. What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you or to follow your journey? Is it Facebook or website? What’s the best way for people to reach out to you guys?
The easiest way to follow us, learn more, and come in would be through the Facebook community, it’s Taking the Land Investors on Facebook.
The website is SharonRestrepo.com. We’re constantly rebuilding that. It’s a work in progress, but it’s there. Our value ladder is there for them. We’re able to help people at every different phase of the business having our experience and running the association has always been a blessing. To people, we can help you whether you’re coming in or you’re at this point and you’re trying to turn six figures to seven figures. We’ve got all that. We can help them with it.
I’m excited for you. I’ve loved the Tar Heel state. It’s a great place to invest in, no matter where you’re at for the most part. I look forward to seeing you guys during the growth there and also refer you guys to some business and stuff like that back and forth. Thank you so much. Sharon, have a safe trip. Besides real estate, are you going to take in some of the fine North Carolina cuisines while you’re up there?
That’s for sure. I’m going because I’m speaking at an event, but I’m making the most of it. Enjoying the fine cuisine.
That’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone if there’s an event or something going on. There you go. Congratulations. What are you speaking on?
In real estate, it’s called Christians in the Marketplace, the business and it’s mostly real estate people that are there.
Keep up the good work. Congratulations on all your success. We look forward to next year, 2021, continued growth for you and even more success. Not only for you, but your students as well. Thanks.
That’s going to wrap it up for this episode. A lot of great nuggets from Sharon and Juan. Hopefully, you take those to mind. If you’re in an area that you’re not wanting to invest in, and you’re looking for other areas out there, take what they’re teaching, take what they’re sharing and apply it. Start learning that market. Start putting the puzzle pieces in place to help you build a complete team, complete knowledge of an area. Not everybody knows everything about everything. That’s why you got to rely on people, vendors and experts in an area to understand what’s going on to help you find those opportunities and avoid those pitfalls. Go out and take some extra care and we’ll see you all at the top.
About Juan and Sharon Restrepo
Juan and Sharon Restrepo combine their years of experience and talents to operate several real estate-related firms, including their unique boutique brokerage, 32 West Realty, which caters to real estate investors desiring to invest in the hot South Florida market.
Between the two, they have flipped hundreds of properties, taught countless investors how to achieve success in real estate, and are here today to share strategies on how they are personally endeavoring to Take the Land inside of new territory.
If you are interested in Sharon and Juan’s wholesaling program, go to https://www.sharonrestrepo.com/course. Use “Scott” to receive a 50% discount on the wholesaling program.
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