Recently, Summit Assets Group CEO, Lori Greymont, was interviewed by Real Estate Investors Beat. In this interview Lori talks about her approach to real estate and the most important lessons she has learned in over 25 years of investing and working in real estate.
Find a mentor and take action
With over 25 years of experience under her belt, Lori Greymont started investing in real estate while she was still in college. As an accomplished investor, Lori learned how to overcome some of the struggles of being a woman in the real estate industry and hopes to help others do the same.
Name: Lori Greymont
Location: Morgan Hill
Started investing in: 1989
Years spent investing in real estate: 25+
Estimated portfolio size: 50+ single-family homes and has bought and sold over 1500 to clients since late 2009
When did you start investing and how did you get started?
I started in college. I bought a 3 bedroom house on a HUD program with $500 down and 18% interest rate. I rented out 2 bedrooms and finished out the basement as an apartment. It was my first experience receiving cash flow and I was hooked.
As a woman in the real estate industry, what inspired you to get started?
I grew up in the shadow of a powerful business woman, my mom. She would get an idea, make a decision and just do it—from opening restaurants to buying houses with no money down.
Every few years, we would move into a “broken” house and rehab it. Then when it was finished, we would sell it and move again. I watched how she would do some research and quickly make a decision after a short amount of time and I grew up thinking that was normal until I started working with other investors.
I have come to realize that too many people get stuck in the decision stage and never move forward.
The only thing in life we never get back is time.
So what if you make a mistake? Try again. If you let time slip by and you never try, you are left with regret. I want to live my life to the fullest—that sometimes means failing, but you can never find out if success is there if you don’t try.
Do you recommend women get into property investing?
I think everyone should be in real estate investing. If you look at where most of the wealth is built, you will find it in real estate—for several reasons: it’s real, it’s insurable, it’s in demand, it appreciates in value faster than inflation as an average and it can be leveraged. You can’t do that with traditional investments like stocks so it’s safe if you invest with the fundamentals in mind.
Have you encountered any challenges that you think are unique to being a woman in real estate?
In my current business, I often work with contractors that are rehabbing my homes. I have been rehabbing since I was a teen, meaning physically doing the work. So now that I am the owner hiring the work to get done, it’s not uncommon for a contractor to offer a solution that costs more than necessary.
I will listen, then tell them how I would like them to do it and pretty much don’t leave any ambiguity that I am correct. I usually get the response of “Oh, I didn’t think of that,” or “Yes, that will work.”
I always offer my input and see if they think it would work.
Unfortunately, there are some people who have an issue with a woman directing the job. I’ve learned to part ways amicably and move on.
The hardest thing I think, as a woman, is to fire someone. We are built for relationships and people view us as “kind” so when we have to do something that ruffles that perception, it’s hard for both us and the person we are letting go. I often give people a second and third chance, but it comes down to what I want to create in my life.
If the relationship is not working for me, it most likely isn’t working for them either. So, I ask myself the following questions: What will happen if I continue this way and what will happen if I don’t continue this way? The answer gives me the strength to have the necessary conversation.
What do you love most about investing in real estate?
People. I enjoy helping people get over their fear of whatever is holding them back from making an investment. I also enjoy the hunt of the deal. I love cash flow each month off the properties. I’m also partial to single-family homes and building. It comes down to the improving or adding value for me and making a positive impact.
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
My biggest accomplishment has been building a multi-million dollar company during the great recession and helping many other investors get into solid investments when most people were fearful. My early adopter investors are now very happy with the growth and appreciation they have seen in the past few years.
Have you made any poor investment decisions? If so, how would you have done things differently?
Of course! I always say a sign of an expert is someone who has made a mistake and stayed in the game. The saying is, ‘if you fall off the horse get back on.’ There is good value in that because you learned something in that process. Why not apply what you learned?
The biggest mistake I made was buying a 40-acre parcel of land with the expectation of appreciation. The reason it was a mistake is because land doesn’t generate income. We had a seller carry mortgage, so we had expenses, no income and decreasing value. Needless to say, we forfeited it back to the owners, causing myself and others to lose our down payment money.
The lesson to learn in this is real estate doesn’t always go up and you should buy on the fundamentals of cash flow. Anything else is a gamble.
What do you think are the most important things every investor should know?
It used to be location, location, location, but I have found that there really are 5 keys to successful investing. They are:
- Market timing—you need to understand where in the real estate cycle your market is.
- Your plan—invest for what meets your goals, don’t follow what everyone else is doing.
- Location—this is important in regards to picking a marketplace that has a strong economy and a neighborhood that meets your investor goals.
- Team—this is probably the most important component with long term holds. 90% of your success is based on how well you select and manage your tenant.
- Numbers—it’s critical to know what the real numbers are and to make sure they meet your goals.
What would you advise a young woman who is thinking about getting into real estate investing?
Just do it. Find a mentor and take action.
What are your investing goals for the future?
My passion this year is to help others achieve the success they desire. We continue to support investors who want to get solid passive cash flow from turnkey real estate investments through my company, Summit Assets Group.
I have created an all-women’s mastermind group, called the Impact Circle, for investors and business owners that are ready to positively impact their futures. This group brings investors together to catapult each other to success with power, passion and purpose. I’m excited about what we can do together.
Written by Investors Beat