Hello everyone, today we have a great guest and friend, Melissa Gagliano of LIREIA. Melissa is a mother of 7, accomplished real estate investor, serial entrepreneur, and founder of a large real estate investing group in Long Island New York called LIREIA.
Joe: How are you doing today Melissa?
Melissa: I’m good Joe and you?
Joe: Great, excited to have you with us today.
Melissa: Thank you Joe, I’m excited as well.
Joe: Ok to start, how did you get into real estate investing?
Melissa: I started learning how to be a real estate investor in 2003. My ex-husband and I were watching television when one of those real estate investing infomercials came on, my ex-husband dared me that i couldn’t do it, so naturally i needed to prove him wrong.
Joe: That’s great Melissa, since then you have rehabbed over 200 units, purchased and sold mortgage notes/tax liens, managed a portfolio of over 360 units, been involved in over 200 varied real estate transactions, and raised over 3 Million in capital, all while being a mother of 7, is this correct?
Joe: Wow, not really sure where to start, can you tell me a little about that?
Melissa: Sure, I wish I could say all of my endeavors were a success but the reality is, it’s hard to be a real estate investor. Real estate investing takes skill, studying, fortitude, and there is no formal educational training available except a lot of fake gurus who over promise and very rarely deliver on any helpful instructions, just offering another product to buy.
I decided to check out my local REIA (real estate investment association). I loved it. Here were like-minded people, who wanted more than this ordinary 9-5 working life. People were willing to share their ideas, their experiences, and connections. I immediately embraced this community of investors, both wanna-be and actual investors. Later I purchased the organization with my partner Edward B. Seidner (co-founder of Jennifer Convertibles). Together we found power in creating “mastermind alliances”. We created a portfolio of over 360 units and learned invaluable lessons in real estate.
Joe: I couldn’t agree with you more Melissa; i am a firm believer in associating yourself with like-minded individuals as well. Ok, so now you surrounded yourself with the right people, educated yourself, what was the next step?
Melissa: Right, well at the time, i owned a small travel agency and managed to save up about $50,000 to invest in real estate. In addition, I applied for business lines of credit. I had excellent credit and loans were easy in those days. Also in those days mortgages had 100% financing with stated income so that made it easier, but ultimately cost me my good credit. However, the business lines of credit were the best and I still recommend it, and YES you can still get funding in today’s credit crunch. This is how i did my first 11 deals.
Joe: Melissa can you share some of the lessons you have learned over time from your first deal up until the present day?
Melissa: Sure Joe, Here are the points i would stress to up and coming real estate investors:
1. Network With Like-Minded People
You need the support from other “like-minded” people as well as in your family/circle of friends. You cannot do it all yourself, Real estate investing like it or not requires team work. I can’t tell you how many people dismiss this, I think because we don’t like going out of our comfort zone. This is deadly. Every time I reach out to network I find someone I can reference back to, especially at business or real estate events. There is no substitute for a strong network., it must be YOU who goes out and meets people face to face. Break out of the comfort zone and you might find you grow more as a person as well as become the real estate investor you want to be. That’s how I met my partner Ed and we are accomplishing great things together.
2. Positive Thinking
Positive thinking is crucial to overcome any barriers in life and accomplish great things. Overcoming challenges and a ”never quit” spirit is needed in order to move forward. I encourage you to read, read, and read as many positive success books you can get your hands on; Napoleon Hill, Robert Kiyosaki, Dale Carnegie, Michael Gerber, etc. Skill is easy to learn, attitude isn’t. I read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill every day. Think it’s just nonsense? Well, try it for yourself, do what chapter 2 states and watch how your life changes. I know it changed mine. When you feel like you’re down and out, getting up is more important than you realize. It’s how I was able to do so much… keep that Chumbawaba song in your head “I get knocked down but I get up again you’re never going keep me down.” Fortitude it works.
3. Be Transparent And Organized
Let’s be honest, investors have deals thrown at them day after day. Many investors start to look more at the individual rather than the deal itself. Investors understand that as conditions change, they want to invest in people who can roll with the punches and not just lie down when times get hard. Let them know when things are going wrong and when they are going as projected. Always welcome suggestions, you may just find the solution you are looking for from your investor’s input. This was a very painful lesson for me to learn both emotionally and financially. Not knowing how to deal with investors when issues arose was not pleasant for anyone. Do not think you have to solve all the problems. Transparency, being organized, and keeping good communication will go a long way even when the deal isn’t going how you want it to. It keeps investors loyal to you.
4. Learn The Power Of Leverage And Giving
Time, money, knowledge, management, reputation and resources, these are the key components to leverage. Partner on projects with others when you can. This has unlimited potential and can take you further than you ever imagined; you get what you give so give abundantly. When you run low on capital this is an awesome skill to have. Partnering will give you experience, less risks, more knowledge, and more assets. I love partnering on projects. This helped when my credit was ruined and I went through my divorce. Although, be careful emotionally, you may not be ready to take on the world at that moment so know what you can handle in moments of tragedies.
I continue to grow because of real estate. It allows me the flexibility to be there for my children when they need me, take time when I want it, and now work with my new fiancé. (See there is a happy ending) During all the life changes of marriage, divorce, single mom, and now extended step family, I can say real estate investing is greatly rewarding. I encourage more people to get involved. Learn from experienced investors that are doing the transactions, not always selling you “how to” DVD’s and books.
Joe: Melissa i just want to thank you for opening up to everyone here, there are many great tips and experiences shared here. I look forward to our next interview.
Melissa: Anytime Joe.
Joe: If anyone would like to learn more, you can visit Melissa at LIREIA’s meetings held the second Tuesday of every month at the Huntington Hilton in Long Island, New York or visit her website at www.lireia.com
Melissa’s direct email address: firstname.lastname@example.org