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How To Become A Successful Real Estate Investor By Accident With Monick Halm [EP111]

July 26, 2022

How To Become A Successful Real Estate Investor By Accident With Monick Halm [EP111]

Do you want to know how to become a successful real estate investor? Monick Halm was a corporate litigator who became a real estate investor by accident. She's invested in single family, multifamily, mobile home, and RV parks and the latest asset class industrial which has been extremely hot in the market. She's a best-selling author, podcast host, and rock star investor. Listen and learn how you can get involved!

Table of Contents:

Five-Step Process For Passively Investing In Real Estate
Five-Step Process For Passively Investing In Real Estate

Pushing the Boundaries to Be a Successful Real Estate Investor

Pushing the Boundaries to Be a Successful Real Estate Investor
Photographer: Tim Mossholder | Source: Unsplash

Darin: Monick Halm was a corporate litigator who lost her job and had to find a way to make ends meet. So she learned house hacking. Since then, she's grown her real estate portfolio by completing large real estate transactions in multiple asset classes. She continues to push the boundaries on what she can achieve and has this incredible goal of helping one million women achieve financial freedom.

Just a little bit on how I know Monick, this goes back probably close to four years ago. It was my first multifamily networking event and I met Monick and her husband, Peter. They were already experienced investors. I've seen her blow up on social media and she's got her own podcast. She wrote a book, and just doing great things.

Monick, typically, the first question I ask is how many properties and how many units you're invested in. I'm typically having people that are focused on multifamily, but I know that you're invested in a lot of different asset classes. Maybe, share a little bit with the listeners.

Monick: I was making a list because I have a variety of different things I'm doing. I am in multifamily. We're in about 646 units with 3 properties. We've exited out of a few in the past year and a half, but currently that. Then we have a 109-unit mobile home park, 109-spot mobile home park, and 199-spot RV park.

Darin: Where is that RV park?

Monick: It's in Louisiana. We have a single family portfolio, 34 houses, Mississippi.

Why Invest in Different Asset Classes

Monick: Recently, we've been doing a lot in industrial. We had a six-industrial park portfolio of 103 units. We exited that just a week ago, a very good exit. And then we still have 11 other facilities, single tenant.

Darin: Why get into all these different asset classes versus just staying in one lane? You guys are involved in a lot of different things.

Monick: That's a lot of things. I started house hacking and then I was flipping. We were on the single family side or a small multifamily. In 2016, our first syndication was a mobile home park and we had a partner that was really into mobile home parks. He knew we were starting to syndicate and asked if we wanted to help raise money. He'd had a big investor coming from Korea who all of a sudden couldn't bring in the money. He said, "Would you be interested in helping me raise for this?" I was like, "Sure." That was our first deal. Then we had a similar opportunity with the RV park.

Darin: With the same partner?

Monick: Different partner.

Darin: I asked you about the RV park because my wife and I recently bought an RV. We started traveling, I think, at the end of April. We started traveling around and going into different RV parks. It's got me interested in the real estate side of the business as well.

Monick: This one is fascinating. It's not really a vacation RV park, it's workforce housing in Lake Charles, Louisiana. There are a lot of huge mega construction projects there, mostly in the natural gas area, but they're doing billions of dollars worth of projects there.

Life Inside an RV

Monick: The workers that come work on these projects, most of them come in with these RVs. They'll park and live there in the RVs. Our tenants are workers at these large industrial projects nearby.

Darin: It's funny because I was at dinner last night with two guys. One of them, his son is doing just that. His son is buying an RV, because the company he's working for says, "We're going to be moving you around so much that it doesn't really make sense for you to have a year lease apartment. Get an RV. You might be in this state for two or three months and then another state for two or three months." It just makes sense, and somebody's got to provide a place for them to live, right? So, why not you?

Monick: These are highly paid engineers on six figures, but they have these RVs. That's our RV park.

Darin: It sounds like you've been focused on industrial lately. Why industrial versus multifamily? Just in the space, I've heard people talk that the two hot sectors over the last several years have been industrial and multifamily. Two hot spaces, but why industrial?

Monick: We got into industrial in late 2018 but it’s the beginning of 2019 when we purchased the six-park portfolio that we just exited out. We had two multifamily properties in Albuquerque, New Mexico that we sold. Those properties were, they were bears? One was like C-. It was a rough property. We just spoke to our property manager every week and we'd call and just brace myself. I was like, "What happened this week?" You have the fire or the drive-by shooting or the gun that was pulled on the property manager or this.

A Successful Real Estate Investor Knows How to Handle a Tougher Neighborhood

Monick: There was always something. The break in came on Valentine’s Day, where the next morning, they found a couple had broken in and they left rose petals and hypodermic needles.

Darin: When you get into syndication, you buy these larger deals, and you're not having to fix toilets and write leases. But if you're in a tougher neighborhood, you still have problems to solve and maybe some other issues.

Monick: It was a lot tougher than we'd bargain for. There was a 1031 exchange buyer who bought them. We were happy to sell them because they were very stressful to own, but they bought them for a four cap. These are really tough, arguably, a D+ property in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We're not talking about B+ in Los Angeles, C- Albuquerque, four cap.

As a seller and for my investors, I was like, "Great." But as a buyer, I was like, "Wait a minute. Don't laugh at this, I don't like competing in this type of market. I don't like being a buyer in a seller's market and going where all the herds are going. Where else can I look? What else is out there?"

Darin: You were saying, "If he's willing to buy at four cap in a tough area in Albuquerque, I'm not going to spend my time trying to compete on these multifamily deals." That's what led you to look at industrial.

Monick: More or less. I don't want to swim in these waters. There are too many sharks. What else is there? We were approached at that point about this industrial project and somebody who'd had many years in industrial. I was like, "Tell me more about industrial. Let me learn about this."

Exploring the Industrial Space

Monick: Even as retail was hurting, office was hurting, as things were going more and more online, online retailers are needing industrial space. They need warehouses and distribution centers. There is a lot of manufacturing in this country. There's food processing. Any industrial properties or any property where industry happens and we do have an industry in this country. There was not the feeding frenzy in industrial. It has definitely gone up. This property that we bought in 2019 for shy of 26 million just sold for 49 million.

There's definitely an increase in pricing and demand, but it was not as competitive. I saw it and I also love triple net leases. When we have our tenants, they pay rent. Plus, they pay all the property taxes, all the insurance, and all the maintenance. If there's an issue with the toilets, they fix the toilets. There's an issue with the roof, they fix the roof. I love it. A lot of the surprises that happen when you're on the residential side that can really mess with your profitability, those things are borne by the tenants.

Darin: Listeners, like she said, all the expenses are taken care of. On a multifamily deal, like in Texas, property taxes can be a big deal when you take it over. You're trying to guess where you think the county's going to come in on property taxes, but you can end up having a big hit. All of a sudden, your valuation is higher each year. In these industrial deals, if it's a triple net lease, then whoever the tenant is, is responsible for the property taxes, which is huge.

How to Be a Successful Real Estate Investor in the Industrial Space

Monick: It's really nice, especially with our single tenant ones. There are just a few moving parts.

Darin: I met a guy that was involved with industrial. One thing that he mentioned to me was that the typically five-year contracts or seven-year contracts and the rent bumps are already built in. He was saying that he thought multifamily was attractive because they're annual leases. Then, if there's a lot of inflation, you can increase the lease rate annually. Whereas on the industrial side, it's pretty much baked in. You can't adjust it once that lease is signed.

Monick: There's a lot more fluctuation on the multifamily side. On the multifamily side, you can do a lot better. Recently, with inflation, rents have increased insanely. You can't always expect those types of rent bumps that people have been seeing. In some cases, over 30% in a year.

For our investors, a lot of our deals, it's usually about 8 to 10% cash on cash, annualized returns looking at the high teens, low twenties, up to usually 17 to 20% annualized returns. Our leases are 20-year leases, with built-in rent increases. We know exactly what our income is and what our expenses, debt service. That's it. We'll hit our protections because the variable is, "What do we exit at?" We're pretty conservative on where we exit. The cap rates have been compressing. Prices are going up. We're tending to be exiting higher.

Ensuring Due Diligence in the Quality of Business

Ensuring Due Diligence in the Quality of Business Helps You Become a Successful Real Estate Investor
Photographer: Annie Spratt | Source: Unsplash

Darin: The other thing that you would have to look at is if it's one tenant that's in the property that you really have to do significant due diligence on the quality of the business that has. It's like having a single family home. If you're 100% occupied and you have the same tenant for five years that doesn't go anywhere, that's a great tenant to have. But, if all of a sudden, they leave, you have to find somebody to take over that property. They go bankrupt.

Monick: Mostly, the types of industries we invest in right now or the way we do it is something called a sale-leaseback. It's basically a company that has the property already, they own it. They want to sell it, but they still want to use it. They’re usually selling it to get equity out of that property. There are also tax benefits. There’s a variety of reasons why they might want to sell, but they sell it and then they lease it back. That's why it's called a sale-leaseback. You go from being the owner to the tenant. It's nice as we really have very few moving parts. We don't have to touch the property and do anything to it.

The main issue of due diligence as you pointed out is the company. We have to do a lot to make sure that the company is not going anywhere and looks like it's set to stick around for 20+ years. Most of our companies are much older. I think the youngest one we've done was a 17-year-old company, but they've been around quite a few decades.

A Successful Real Estate Investor Invests in Solid Companies

Monick: They're super solid, eight to nine, sometimes even 10-figure businesses, but usually eight to nine figures that are just solid companies. Not necessarily ones that you've heard of, but it's like a fencing company.

Darin: Due diligence-wise, you could look at their P&L and their balance sheet over the last several years and see that they're healthy, they're growing versus not. Unless they're cooking the books, but assuming that the books are good, you can see their growth trends and the health of the balance sheet.

Monick: As part of the lease, we get their quarterly financials. We see how they're doing. If things go awry, then we have a lot of runway to deal with it. That's our worst-case scenario, losing that tenant. It's not as easy to replace an industrial tenant.

Darin: Depending on the type of property it is and how it's being used and all that. What was your background before you got into real estate?

Monick: I was a lawyer. I was a corporate litigator. My last job was actually as a patent litigator.

Darin: You don't want to run into Monick on the other side.

Monick: I hated being that. I was so miserable. I'll give you a little anecdote. One Tuesday morning, I was having this excruciating abdominal pain that I went to the ER. When the doctor told me that my appendix had ruptured and that I'd be in the hospital for several days, I ended up being in the hospital for nine days. I'd have at least 30 days afterward to recover. My first thought when he told me this was, "Thank God. I don't have to go to work for at least 30 days."

The Price of Not Pursuing Your Passion

Darin: Oh, no.

Monick: That was my second thought. Oh, no.

Darin: Listeners, there's probably somebody that has a job that they don't like. Be true to yourself and find a way to get out. There's no reason to stay in a job that's making you feel that bad.

Monick: That miserable. Can you imagine preferring to be in the hospital with a life-threatening, excruciating illness than being in the office? That's how miserable I was.

Darin: You were an attorney and then was it you or Peter or both that decided to get into real estate?

Monick: I got into real estate while I was still an attorney by accident. I was taught you go to school, you get the best job you can. You become a doctor, lawyer, professor, or engineer. Of those options, I chose law. Then at some point, you buy a house that you're going to live in. You buy your car, and a house, put some money in a 401k, and work until you're 65 or 70. Then you retire, play golf for a few years, and you die. That's the secret to wealth, health, and happiness.

Darin: You make it sound so fantastic.

Monick: That was the story I got.

Darin: That's the way I grew up too. Most people are raised that way.

Monick: That’s my story. I was like, "I'm dutiful. I'll do what I'm told." That's what I did. I followed that path exactly, in law school, I was on the partnership track in a law firm and hated my life. But at some point, I was like, "I guess I need to buy that house. That's what you do."

The Start of Becoming a Successful Real Estate Investor

Monick: I live in LA, and this was back in 2005. LA, even back then, a starter home in a semi-decent neighborhood was upwards of $600,000, $700,000. Even though I had a six-figure income, low six-figure income, it was tough to afford that by myself. A friend suggested we buy a duplex.

I said, "Okay since I could afford half a house, we did that." Instead of finding one house with two equal sides, we ended up finding this old craftsman that had a bigger downstairs, a two-bedroom upstairs, and this converter garage in the back. We each took a bedroom in the bigger unit and then rented out the upstairs and our back house. Then, I was house hacking before I knew that was a thing. I was just like, "Wow, this is awesome. These people are paying my mortgage. This is great."

When I met Peter, he had a duplex, and we got a single family rental together. We got married in 2007. Last week, we celebrated 15 years. I got pregnant. A week after I told my boss that I was pregnant, he called me into his office. I thought I was going to get a bonus because I've been working so hard many days past midnight. Instead, I got fired. I don't think it was right, but anyway.

Darin: It was the best thing.

Monick: The best thing he ever did for me because I was pregnant. I thought, "I don't know if I'm going to be hired right now and then I'm going to take maternity leave. I'll wait until after I give birth, take a short maternity period, then I'll look for another job."

A Blessing in Disguise

Monick: My daughter was born in late August of 2008. Within a month after she was born, the markets crashed. The economy went into free fall, a terrible time to find another job, which was a blessing because I really hated law. I had to find something else. We ended up selling one of our duplexes and started flipping houses. Actually, real estate saved us financially.

Darin: You're not the first story I've heard where it's been accidental real estate. I've heard people say that they were in a single family house. Suddenly, they got relocated and it wasn't a good time to sell. They rented it. Then, they saw the cash flow and they were like, "I'm just going to hold onto this. I'm going to start doing this more often."

Listeners, everybody starts with one investment. Everybody starts with none, and you can start with a single family home, a duplex. You can go right into large-scale multifamily syndication or any of these other asset classes that we were talking about earlier. But it's a way to grow your wealth while you're not having to work every day.

Until you see it, until you see the cash flow coming in, it's hard to understand. People that are in real estate are like, "This is the best thing ever." Then people that are still in that life that you were talking about, get a good job, climb the corporate ladder, put a little bit of money in the 401k, they can't understand it. What's your advice to people that are in that world and you're trying to explain, "Look, you're missing out." How do you explain it to people?

A Successful Real Estate Investor Knows How to Create Crisis-Proof Finances

Monick: I recently did a TEDx talk. In my talk, I was talking about, "How do you create crisis-proof finances?" Because at that time, when I got fired and then 2008 happened, we were in a serious crisis. I've done everything. We even had some real estate, I had some investments and we had savings. The average American, I think, has less than $1,000 of savings. I think there's 61% or something with less than $1,000 and 40% has less than $400.

Even when you've gone to school and you have a good job, we're only taught to trade our time for money. If it's fine, you're like, "I have a great job and I'm making six figures. I'm fine." But if you can't work for whatever reason, you get sick, you lose that stream of income without you. I think of financial stability as a table and our streams of income are the legs of that table. Most of us are taught to have one leg on our table. Something happens and there goes your leg, and it comes crashing down.

To have financial stability, you want multiple legs on your table. You can lose a leg and you still have plenty of legs holding you up and you want to have legs that most of the legs are not dependent on your time. If you can't work for whatever reason or you don't choose to work or you can't work, then your table stays steady and your table stays firm. You're gone, but your legs and the real estate are still working for you. It's holding you up.

The Security of Multiple Income Streams

The Security of Multiple Income Streams
Photographer: Dan Nelson | Source: Unsplash

Darin: I've never heard that discussion before and it put that way, but it makes so much sense. I used to be in that world where one financial stream was it. Most people are sold the fact that that's the secure way to do it. It's security. But just like what happened to you, you were pregnant. All of a sudden, you get called into the office and you get let go. You don't get anything on the way out, zero.

Monick: They gave me two weeks.

Darin: There are certain people that it's a downsizing of a company and maybe they get a year of severance or something, but then it's over. You're on your own and you have to figure it out. Over time, building multiple streams of income is just a smart way to go about it. I wish I was taught that at a much earlier age.

Monick: Me too because it was really horrible. As we enter another recession, it's important for me to let people know have your money working for you. So you don't have to work for your money. That is what will create true financial stability for people and freedom. You have enough of those passive streams of income that it exceeds your expenses, and you can maintain your lifestyle. Then you work because you want to, not because you have to.

Darin: It's one step after another. There are some people that sold their company, they have a ton of money that they can get into these deals and put in a lot of money. That's the value they bring.

The Best Time to Invest in Real Estate and Become a Successful Real Estate Investor

Darin: But there are other people that are on the fringes saying, "I don't have a ton of money. I'd like to do this, but I don't know how." But you gave a perfect example as you and somebody else went and got a house. It wasn't a traditional duplex, but it was where you guys lived in one part of the house and you rented out the other.

There was a great little book. If you are a beginner, haven't invested in real estate, and don't really understand all the concepts, Jake and Gino wrote a good book. I can't remember. It's something about bees, but I read it and it's an easy read. One person just rented out a room in their house. Suddenly, they started seeing the value of that cash flow, and then they went onto another property and another property. It can be done for sure.

Monick: I just want to offer my website, reigoddesses.com. I have a free guide, Investing in Real Estate from $1 to $1 Million: Investing Strategies for Every Budget and Every Goddess. You can go on, and grab that for free. On that, you'll see that available there. I share different strategies, 12 strategies. If you're thinking, "I don't know if I have enough money," I share four strategies that are little to no money down. If you're thinking, "Maybe I have some money but I don't have time. Who has time to go to all these open houses? I don't have time. I'm too busy." I'm like, "Well, I share four strategies that are minimal time."

There's No One Size Fits All in Real Estate Investing

Monick: If you're thinking, "But I don't want to be a landlord. I don't know if I want to get a call in 3:00 in the morning about toilets or deal with tenants and termites and ever have to evict somebody." Then I share four strategies where you don't have to deal with tenants. Real estate investing is not one size fits all. There's a way to do it that will suit your budget, your temperament, and your desires but it's important to just get in and get your money working for you. Start building those legs under your table.

Darin: Just get in, I love that. I’m always talking about you got to take action at some point. You could listen to podcasts, or read books, but you have to buy something at some point. Listen, just get in. I love that and check out her website because those are real strategies. One thing I love about the real estate world is there’s really no ceiling. It's like whatever you can think in your head. It changes over time. You start out with one property, and then suddenly, you start thinking, "What do I want to do next?"

Maybe, get into a different asset class or maybe it's just to do a larger property, but there are shopping centers, there are office buildings, there are skyscrapers, and there are resorts. There are all different types of asset classes that are real estate related that you could get involved in. But the first step, you actually got to buy something. Some learning lessons, any learning lessons that you can share with the listeners?

Did Monick Knew She Would Grow Up to Be a Successful Real Estate Investor?

Monick: I think you were going to ask me about growing up.

Darin: I was going to ask you how you grew up. Did you know that you would be successful when you were a child?

Monick: Did I know that I would be successful? I have really great supportive parents. I'm a first-generation American. My parents are from Haiti. They've always said, "Monick, you can be anything you want to be." Parenthesis though, that was if you're a doctor, lawyer, professor, engineer, because that was what success was. I thought I would be one of those things. I never doubted that okay, the path is for me to go to school and then to graduate school and then go on one of those four paths.

Darin: The transition from being a lawyer to real estate, how did your parents take that? Now, I'm sure you've shared financially where you were and they're like. "Great move." But in the beginning, were they like, "Really?"

Monick: Well, I did not quit to do what I do, I was fired. I fell into it. They were always supportive of what I was doing. It was never like, "Oh, no, you shouldn't be doing that." It seemed like the next step and the next step. I had an older brother too that had been doing real estate. He'd been talking to me about it for years. I just could not hear him. At certain times, he would tell me about syndications. He was telling me about this. When he was speaking, it was like, "Womp, womp, womp." I just could not hear him talk.

What Requires a Paradigm Shift

Darin: Now, you are on the other end. I'm sure that you can see people in your mind that when you talk to them, whether it be friends, family, colleagues, whatever, you could see that their lips move, but they're not going to take action. They haven't drunk from the Kool-Aid, they don't see the value in it. They're fearful. Whatever the case may be, they're not ready for it yet.

Monick: It requires a paradigm shift.

Darin: Talk about that paradigm shift.

Monick: One of the first paradigm shifts is to shift from thinking that money is something that you get when you trade your time for it. The cash flow quadrant. I was at an event on a cruise. Robert Kiyosaki was speaking, and he was talking about the different mindset levels on each of those. There's an employee mindset, a self-employed mindset, a business owner mindset, and there’s an investor mindset. At the employee mindset level, you can be a super successful, super well-paid employee. I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad thing.

Darin: There are people that love what they do. So be it. That's good.

Monick: Do what you want to do but get your money working for you as well. Also, have your money working for you. You have all those legs at the table. If that's all you're thinking, "I just trade my time for money and my goal is to get a better job." They're not thinking about tax benefits normally, it's just like, "I work." That's that mindset. It's a certain one.

Trading Time for Money

Monick: Then people go, "You know what? I want to be in charge of my own thing and I'm going to be self-employed. I'm going to create my own little thing." But when you're self-employed, you're still trading your time for money. Now, you own the job as opposed to somebody else owning the job, but you're working for that client.

When I heard Robert Kiyosaki speak, I realized I had that self-employed mindset. I wasn't fully in the business mindset yet. I was still working way too much in my business and I didn't have a business that was more working for me. Then you get to the business mindset.

So, you have employees, you have systems, and you have things that will work largely without you. You can be away from it, it'll work without you, and then investments as well. As an investor, it's a different shift, because, on the right side of the quadrant, it's trading your time for money. On the left side, you're creating things or investing in things that are working for you and giving you money without you having to put your time in or put the minimal time in.

Darin: For the listeners' benefit, the left side of the quadrant, as you mentioned, both the employee and the self-employed, that's where you're taxed the most. Then on the right side, the business quadrant, and the investor quadrant, is where you're taxed the least. When you're taxed the least, that's where you get to save the most. Not save, but you're able to take home the most net of taxes.

Wealth-Building

Wealth-Building
Photographer: 金 运 | Source: Unsplash

Monick: It's not just what you make that matters when we're talking about wealth building. It's what you get to keep. That was the other paradigm shift that I received. I always thought that the more you make, the more you pay in taxes. We have a progressive tax system. That was what we were taught. You make more money; you pay more taxes. I didn't realize that owning businesses or real estate doesn't work that way. Especially with real estate, you're often making money, but losing on paper for taxes. You're paying less in taxes. I was like, "Oh, really?"

When I first found that out, I had a friend of mine who had been a super successful businessman. He had three multimillion-dollar businesses, found himself owing $500,000 to the IRS one year, and then he found out about the tax benefits of real estate investing. So, he bought an apartment building in Memphis, Tennessee. He's banking six figures a year. But because of the way the tax code is structured, that purchase brought his taxes from $500,000 to $0.

Darin: Huge difference. Then you think about how that compounds over time. That 500,000 is now in an investment that's making him money versus just being sent to the government. But then, there are certain people that are outside of the real estate world. They're like, "That's not fair. Why is that the case?" Well, the government puts together incentives to try to help grow the economy. He bought that apartment building, but he had to hire a property management company. There are jobs associated with that.

Monick: Company housing.

Economic Drivers

Darin: He may have done a rehab on the property and hired a rehab company to come in. He made the property nicer by putting capital into it. There are a lot of economic drivers from that.

Monick: There's a book called The Color of Money. They were talking about why they first started giving incentives for owning real estate, either having your own or as where'd you live in or as an investment property. It started in the 1940s after World War II, they started to give tax incentives for owning real estate because they thought it would help counteract communism. They thought if people owned property, then they wouldn't want to be communists. That's when that began.

Darin: Both residential and commercial started that way.

Monick: They wanted to get people to own property, so they wouldn't become communists. There are a variety of different reasons why the government decides to incentivize things, but fair or not, that's how it is. That is the game. Those are the rules of that game and you can benefit from them just like anybody else. Just play the game so that it works for you.

Darin: I don't know what the right words are, naive or I fell into being like most people that taxes, I'm just not going to spend my time to really understand it. Then when you start to realize the financial impact when you understand it, it can be life-changing. That's another thing to tell people. The tax benefits of getting involved in real estate is huge and you shouldn't neglect to educate yourself about that.

A Successful Real Estate Investor Values Education

Monick: It's not just what you make, it's what you get to keep and you get to keep so much more. Often for business owners, once you start making a lot of money, a savvy CPA will say, "You know what? You should look into buying some real estate. You'll pay less taxes." But how are you going to know until you know? It's good to educate yourself.

Darin: You're an inspiration to investors in general. You're an inspiration to women to become investors. You have a podcast called Real Estate Investor Goddesses. Talk about what role that plays for you in trying to get the word out and help other women to build their own empires.

Monick: I went to my first syndication seminar in January 2016. A lot of it was over my head. I didn't know many of the terms they were talking about, but I knew I love this. Like, "I don't understand this totally yet, but I will, and I love it. I would do this. It was amazing." I remember the Friday and Saturday night, they had a little networking party. We stayed over in the hotel that night.

Sunday morning, I'm at the hotel gym. I'm on the elliptical and I'm just processing the weekend. They were talking about, "Who do you want to work with? Build your brand, build your network." Between being a lawyer and doing what I do now, I actually became a coach, an abundance coach for women. I was working with women around money. I’ve been thinking about how amazing real estate is, especially for women, because we have a lot of economic challenges.

All the things Real Estate Can Erase

Monick: We tend to get paid less for the same amount of work, and that income gap doesn't show up in real estate. People pay market rent. Whether you're a man or a woman who's a landlord, they're paying the market. There's a mommy tax if moms have to go away to have their kids and they lose years of seniority and career-building time.

All of that can be erased with real estate. It's flexible. It gives us time to be women, moms, whatever we want to be. I was thinking about how great it was and then I was thinking about that room. It was a conference of about 120 people there and maybe 8 were women out of 120 and ended up joining this high-end real estate mastermind. There was me and 19 men. It's like, "I shouldn't be the only woman in that room."

Darin: No, you shouldn't, but you know what? You had to be brave and courageous to do it.

Monick: I'd never let it get in my way. In fact, I think it helped me in certain ways. As I was on that elliptical, it came as this divine download. Bring women into this room, bring women into this room. This mission I was given was like, "Here's your mission should you choose to accept it." It's to help one million women create financial freedom through real estate investing. That mission and Real Estate Investor Goddesses were born at that point, not the how. I still don't fully know the how, but it was like, "Here's the next step." Basically, I just got this full-body yes about it and it felt right.

You Can Be a Successful Real Estate Investor if You Listen to the Whisper

Monick: More or less, I said to God, "I'll do this, but you just have to guide me. Tell me the next thing to do." Little by little, that's what's been created.

Darin: Not everybody listens to that whisper. God gives you a little whisper, go do this. People are like, "Why me?" or "I can't do it," or "Pick somebody else." You actually took it and you're running with it, which is fantastic. I've talked to women, and they've told me that over the last five years they've definitely seen more and more women get involved, which is a fantastic thing. The numbers still are not 50/50. There's still a lot of room for that to grow, but I think I heard somebody on a podcast recently say, maybe five years ago, it was like 6% and now it's maybe 20 or 30%, which is a huge increase. There's still a lot of room to grow.

Monick: Still more work to be done.

Darin: We were talking about tax benefits. If you look at a couple, there's what's called a full-time real estate professional. I've seen a couple of instances where the man is a big corporate exec. He wants to stay there and he makes a big W2. Then the wife got involved in real estate. Suddenly, all this depreciation helped cover all the income from her husband. Now, their tax situation is where they're paying no taxes and they're able to take that money and reinvest it.

Had she not gotten involved, I'm sure they still would've been doing just fine. High-paying corporate exec, but that's a huge impact on their family, on their wealth-building opportunities.

Women Can Be Successful in Real Estate

Darin: Sometimes, especially if you were a stay-at-home mom, which is an incredible job, it may be difficult for women to think, "How can I add value financially?" Here's an opportunity to do it and still have the flexibility of your time.

Monick: I think everybody should be investing in real estate. I'm a little biased, especially for women.

Darin: You've seen the benefit. That's the thing. If you went and found the cure for cancer and you had cancer, you took it and it worked, you're going to tell people about it. Look, you bought this property. You were just talking about one property, and you bought an industrial property at 25 million and then sold it for 49 million. That's crazy. You had investors, but you guys made a lot of great money in that. Your investors made great money in that. I've asked older, wealthier people, "Have you seen people that have just saved their way to wealth?"

Monick: Not without growing it.

Darin: It's like real estate, building a business, and selling that business at some point after you've grown it. It could be because it has value. Where if you're an employee, the minute you walk out, you don't get paid anymore outside your severance. If you build a company and you're growing that company, there's value to sell at the end. You own something. In real estate, you own something. My kids were complaining about gas prices. I'm like, "I don't like paying these gas prices either, but I'm glad I own ExxonMobil." My stock price goes up when I pay more at the pump, but where people get hurt is if you don't own assets.

A Bullish Outlook on Real Estate

Darin: I'm biased now too. I've only been in the real estate world for four years, but cash-flowing assets, that is amazing. Where do you think we go from here? Are we on top?

Monick: On top of what, in the market?

Darin: Real estate market. I'm asking you for your outlook. Are you still bullish on buying?

Monick: I think there's not one market. It's not like the Dow Jones, they're different asset classes. They're different in different areas in different neighborhoods.

Darin: What markets, what asset classes are you still bullish on?

Monick: I still really love my industrial right now. I'm still doubling down on those and I'm very excited. As interest rates rise and prices fall, I think it's around 6% right now, it's still historically low. It's still quite low. I think in the '80s, it was 18% interest rates.

Darin: It's just risen so fast that I think it's been a shock to a lot of people.

Monick: It is shocking, and inflation is rising at the highest rate in 40 years. But if you've got the cash right now, it's going to be a really great time to start buying. The important thing is if you can cash flow, you can buy in and you wait. Don't wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait. I remember in 2016, there was a guy that had 10,000+ units and had written a book. He’s a big guy in the field. It was 2016. He's like, "We're at the top of the market. I'm not buying. I've stopped buying multifamily." I was like, "Really? Interesting." He stopped buying in 2016 and then I saw him again in 2019.

A Successful Real Estate Investor Is Not Afraid to Pull the Trigger

A Successful Real Estate Investor Is Not Afraid to Pull the Trigger
Photographer: Sebastian Herrmann | Source: Unsplash

Darin: How's that going for you?

Monick: They were buying self-storage at the time. I was like, "What?" He’s like, "Self-storage. It's hard to move the needle as much." He was selling his worst-performing multifamily and he was starting to buy again. I mean, from 2016 to 2022, there was a lot of growth in that.

Darin: I have people that say, "I'm waiting for a correction." Then when the correction happens, they're too afraid to pull the trigger. Those same people don't ever buy.

Monick: People have been waiting for correction for so long. That was 2016. It's six years later and there's been incredible growth. Can you imagine sitting out on all of that? If the numbers make sense, buy.

Darin: I'm still a buyer, but I am cautious in this market. I would probably advise people, don't go all in right now. But I wouldn't stop buying. I don't know what's going to happen, but if inflation continues and I own assets, then that should rise in value. If we have a big correction, rents could come under pressure and valuations could come under pressure, but we don't know what's going to happen. I'm going to continue to look to buy.

Monick: If the numbers make sense, then buy. They have to make sense, but what's nice is if you're owning real estate right now, the rents are rising. Inflation's going to make the rents and your asset values rise. When you have fixed income debt, it makes your debt cheaper relatively. The debt that you're paying every month, it's worth less and less.

Helping One Million Women Become Successful Real Estate Investors

Monick: Your debt gets cheaper relatively, but the rents increase, and the property values increase. When you own property in this type of market, it's a good thing.

Darin: What's the next big stretch goal for you? You brought up a huge goal of helping one million women create financial freedom through real estate investing. I typically ask what's your next stretch goal, but that is massive.

Monick: I'm still in it.

Darin: That's right. That goal itself is a lifetime. What do you like to do outside of work for fun?

Monick: I love to travel.

Darin: Where?

Monick: On my last big trip in January, I went to Peru. I went to Machu Pichu. We have some domestic travel and then going to Jamaica and Cancun.

Darin: I was going to mention that. You have a conference coming up in Cancun.

Monick: Yes, in January. This is for couples.

Darin: What is that all about?

Monick: It's for couples that want to learn. It's a real estate investing seminar and a couple's retreat, how do you do this process in a way that increases your income and your intimacy? How do we get on the same page, speak to each other, and really talk each other's language? You can make really powerful decisions together and just soar. That's what's that about.

Darin: When is that? How do people learn about it?

Monick: It's January 19th to 22nd, 2023 in Cancun, Mexico. If you go to reisoulmates.com, you can find out all about it.

Darin: You must have a heart for couples and marriages. You're helping grow wealth, but you're also focused on the relationship.

Real Estate Investors Soulmates

Monick: My husband's my business partner. My focus has been on helping women, but a lot of women said, "But my husband at home, he wants to learn this too. He wants to be part of this." Or "He's not sure he wants to be part of it and I want him to be part of it. How do I do that?" That's how Real Estate Investors Soulmates was born from all these women saying, "How do I bring my significant other into this?"

Darin: For the listeners' benefit, whether you're getting in real estate, or you start your own company, that's how a lot of needs get met. You start going down a path, and then, you hear people asking for something. Monick had all these followers and women who wanted to involve their husbands. So, she went and created a way for them to do that. You're solving a problem for people. Thank you for doing that and thank you for coming to the show.

You are always just a fresh ray of sunlight. I miss seeing you. We don't cross paths that much anymore, but I see you on social media. You're doing fantastic things. I appreciate you sharing with us today. Listeners, I hope that you enjoyed that one. Until next week.

How to Reach Monick Halm

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Darin Batchelder


Wealth creation through real estate provided me with a new passion to get the word out and let others know that they have an alternative to investing in the stock market.

If I can inspire and educate just one person to take action that results in life changing wealth creation then the work to launch and grow this podcast is well worth the effort.

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My 5 Step Process for Passively Investing In Real Estate

5 Step Process For Passively Investing In Real Estate

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