Invest with your heart and not just your wallet with Maria Zondervan – Payneless Flipping Podcast

In this video, we’re going to have a special guest, Maria Zondervan. Find out why you need to Invest with your heart and not just your wallet and learn from her experiences. Check out this video to learn more.

What is going on investors Thrive nation. This is Nathan Payne on the Payneless Flipping podcast where I bring you experts that help you learn how to get into real estate. So you don’t have to make all the mistakes yourself. So I brought on Maria Zondervan to tell us a little bit about how she is investing with her heart. And also, you know, with her wallet, but you know, doing the same thing. And that’s, that’s what it’s all about. You want to feel good about what you do. So, Maria, thanks for coming on here. And the goal of the whole podcast is so it’s not painful for people to get into real estate so they can learn from our experiences from your experience, so they don’t have to make all those mistakes that you know, we made in the beginning. So how’re you doing? Maria?

I’m doing great. Thanks so much for having me.

A pleasure. Pleasure. So Maria, you know, this is the first time we’ve met and I love me new people. But for people that don’t know who you are, that are gonna watch this and listen this or watching this live. Tell us who you are, and how you got into real estate.

Yeah, you know, it was one of those accidental things. So I actually got into real estate when I was in college. One of those day infomercials set ahead saw was up late night studying and I ended up buying that I was like, you can’t buy real estate with no money. This is a joke. Yeah, I’m gonna spend my money on this course. Yes, money I ever spent did have Money for Textbooks after that, but that’s all right.

Wow. You just went for it. Why? Or why not?

You know, when you’re called soon, what do you got to lose? My name, so I, that’s amazing.

Okay, so you bought the course? Did you? Did you immediately take action on the course? Or would you just like, look, look at the information and learn?

No, I absorbed it. I mean, I like really, really absorbed it. I took it like it was a college course, you know, like, there’s going to be a test. Well, the test was going out there knocking on doors, and I actually ended up buying my first place got in on a lease option, which is probably something that people are familiar with now, but it was rather unheard of back then. But did that before I even graduated college. So I had my first place before I graduated before I had my job before I got married any of that good stuff.

Wow. Did you move into this yourself? Or did you do it the lease option where you like it? Gave it to someone else? And you know,

no, we I moved into it myself. But did house hack because I couldn’t afford this place was a huge four bedroom house on acre law with a pool. I mean, I had all that. And again, I was a broke college student. So I could not afford that. So kind of house Act, which was not a term that people had heard of back then. But I basically rent it out that half the property kind of split in half. And that helped to pay pay for

Yeah, wow, that’s that must have been the party house, huh?

Well, there was some jumping off the roof and into the pool.

But you know, that’s amazing. Okay, so what happened after that? Like, did you say, Did you Did you graduate with a degree and pursue that? Or did you just like, Hey, I like this real estate thing.

I liked the real estate thing. But it was never my passion. And I’ve always been one that hold passion. I just wanted to make sure there was a backup plan and that I was building something for the future. It wasn’t really about money now. So I actually went into wildlife biology. So I became a wildlife biologist and of working with endangered species here in Florida, where we got some crazy critters, so worked with some crazy critters for years and years love that but continued to buy real estate along the way the whole time. The nice thing about real estate is that if you set it up correctly, it can kind of run in the background you know that acquisition part can be painful. Sometimes tenants can be painful, but it’s not day to day job is you know, so just kind of kept accumulating it anytime I moved whatever house I was living in and keep it rented out move to the next one and yeah, just kind of did that. Wow,

I want to know about these critters though. Well, Kyle, you said these were some wild critters like what was some what are some that pop up in your head that you remember that you

I mean? It’s it’s Florida so of course we get alligators and snakes all over the place. That’s pretty common. But I’ve also worked with the far more mundane creatures, you know, eagles, woodpeckers scrub jays lots of different birds and tortoises. And you know if it flies, slithers or crawls, or even swims in Florida probably worked with at some point, my goodness

, yeah, I went to Florida with my wife to the keys and we saw manatee, we’re swimming. I think we’re big. We’re big bird watchers as well. I don’t know if you’re a bird watcher. But literally Yeah, yeah, we go out there. We have like ice bird. We have all these bird’s eye view of these apps and Berlin and we listen to the birds and that’s you know, we were looking for some cool birds in Florida. We saw some good stuff.

So I actually got to manage the biggest hotspot in Florida now, which is the Lake Apopka wildlife drive. I think we’ve recorded over 365 species of birds out there so are youkidding me?

Wow, let me guy come down. Check it out.

I definitely do. Yeah, we’re my wife is really big into that. She’s from Toronto, Canada and well up in that area. So they all love the birds. So that’s how I she got me into it. And I’m like, Let’s go walk in the woods and look for birds. So that’s cool. That’s cool that you do that. Well, super popular,

super popular. Yeah. So yeah, so it was not your traditional real estate trajectory. But I’ve always been one that keep your options open. So even though I got a wildlife degree actually end up getting a master’s degree in environmental policy. I also got a associate’s degree in business because I was like business, you need that for everything. Right? So yeah, while I was getting education, let’s get something I can fit into other things. And that’s come into play now, later as I have switched, right.

Wow. Okay. That’s amazing. So you you’ve been acquiring assets along the way. And now would you say full time it’s multifamily? Is that what you’re going? Oh, yeah.

Yeah, that’s, that’s all I’m doing now made that switch in 2019. You know, we’ll talk about our big wives. That’s pretty big. Why? My, my oldest son has has autism. As he was maturing into adulthood, scores come in turn, he started asking like, what’s, what’s next? Will he ever be able to be completely self sufficient? Do I need to support him for his whole life? What happens will now not here anymore? Where will he live? How will they support themselves? I need to plan for that, and planning for that, and then scaling faster than I had been doing in, in real estate. And so I said time to go full time and did this while I Found You was awesome, still love it still go out in the woods and play? If we’re now in volunteer and do it, but but it was time to do that and scale faster, you gotta go into multifamily. And that is the way to scale fast.

I love it. Okay, so are you specifically looking for multifamily in specific markets? Or is it anywhere you can find them? How’s that work,

growing markets, stick to the growing markets, I know, you can make money in stable markets, you definitely don’t want to be in the ones that are dropping. When people are moving away from that. I prefer to be in the growing markets. It’s just a safer place to be Florida, of course, is has huge growing market. But it’s also super overpriced at the moment. So get properties in the Carolinas, Ohio get South Dakota deal right now. So you never know where you’re gonna find them. My, you know, always willing to look anywhere as long as it makes sense.

How can you tell if it’s growing? Is there like a website that just tells you if it’s a growing market?

It’s a simple simple as Googling, you know, is such and such city growing or what is the population growth rate of gotcha, all those statistics will pop out for you. And sometimes I go through, there’ll be negative, it’s like, okay, no, I don’t want to go there. Okay.

I would just assume that any major metro in the United States is growing. Is that not true?

Not true. I mean, we see people exiting out of parts of California and New York, and there are other sectors where people said, Hey, we can work remotely now. So we can live anywhere, we’re gonna go where the sun shining, and we don’t have to shovel snow, and we’re just not quite as expensive to live. So I’ve seen a lot of people migrating to different parts of the country.

Interesting. Any place that you’re like, a little shocked by me, you said South Dakota, I’m a little shocked. But by that, just

Yeah, so that was actually a surprise. Somebody, you know, approached me about this particular property and cycle I don’t know anything about South Dakota, first of all, so I’m gonna have to do a whole lot of research. But this was Rapid City, South Dakota, which is the second largest city there, it was a 268 unit property beautiful and 29 acres. I’m like, This is gorgeous. But what brings people here, and then the more I dug into, I’m like, Wow, this place is growing faster than the national average, like seven times faster than that. This is awesome. And most people didn’t know about this little market, right? It was kind of hidden, so still able to get it at a killer price off market, you know, things that would be impossible for me to get here in Florida. So gonna bring our investors some really big, big money on that one. So looking forward to that we’ll be closing September.

So tell me about the acquisition part. You obviously you’re getting, you’re getting investors doing the syndication and raising money, but like, how are you acquiring these properties?

Let’s do partnerships. A lot of them are not deals that I have sourced to South Dakota one, for example, that was another team lead sponsors, where they brought me in after the fact which is really nice that they had that kind of trust in me. So that happens a lot. You know, it’s all about networking, who you know, they always say your network was that your net worth is equal to your network or the other way around.

I was getting mixed, I think I think they both work both ways. Yeah. But I think

the point is, I get in the right rooms with the people get to know the big players out there and team up with them because you always want boots on the ground and any place that you buy so if I find a good deal in Tennessee, I’m not gonna try and take that down myself. I’m gonna find someone tendency to partner with you know, but I’ll hit help them. I’ll do whatever I can for and vice versa. people reach out to me when they need help because they’re overwhelmed. They’re busy running their property. So maybe they need somebody to handle investor relations or or bringing those investors or whatever it takes. It’s a team sport, which is another reason I love multifamily because you don’t have to do all the things. You don’t have to be the person that finds the deal, or finds the investors or runs the property or handles all the The day to day minutia are deals with property management, you just have to be good at one of those things and then find people to do the other things. Right.

I like that to focus.

You got to do it all.

Yeah, yeah. It’s very true. So what part of Florida Do you live in? And by the way,

I’m in Orlando. Yeah, we’re getting those hurricane bands coming by now. But yes, so we’re safe and the power is on. Okay. The Big Ben got the worst of it. But yeah, it’s hurricane day here today.

Wow. Well, do you do you happen as you’re in your network and like doing real estate deals? Do you happen to come across a lot of single family opportunities are not not really, um,

you know, somehow I’m on all the wholesalers list. So I get a lot of those. And of course, I go to all the local meetups, and there’s lots of things coming through there. So yeah, I still see those sometimes get tempted by those. I have to keep telling myself, you know, that’s not my world anymore.

Yes, I focus, right.

It’s a good deal. It’s right around the corner. But, but I’ve got a kid, my youngest son, Alex is now getting into it. And so now I kind of start feeding those to him. So he’s had a couple of properties under contract, unfortunately, they fell through so he was getting a little discouraged. I’m like, You can’t give up in this game. You know, it only takes one to really hit to do really well here. Doors.

Yeah, yes. The reason I asked you is because I actually do deals like my markets. I focus on single family or Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa, Orlando area, and Salt Lake City, Utah. So for example, if your son needs any help, I have amazing buyers out there that, you know, if he’s like, Hey, I can’t move a deal or even if he needs help, you know, we can help out with that. So wonderful. Thank you though, of course. So tell me about this artistic, this this? I’m not sure how that ties into the multifamily. Tell me about tha

Yeah, yeah. So I started a nonprofit called Valhalla villas. So Valhalla that’s, you know, the Viking equivalent of heaven, I guess. And my main company, blue Vikings capital. So it’s got this Viking theme going because I’m originally from Sweden, so. And so Valhalla villas is nonprofit, and it’s got the mission of providing affordable housing to autistic adults, and the services they need to live independently. So that takes the burden off the parents who are wondering, you know, where’s this child gonna live? Are they gonna be able to be independent, who’s gonna look after him, especially if something happens to me. So yeah, so that’s, that’s the mission there, we are hunting for a cool complex near the University of Central Florida now, so if anybody out there is listening, and they know of a willing seller 50 to 100 units around the University of Central Florida, that is where we are hunting right now. Because they have a really cool program where the students can, some students who are specializing in special needs education and such can live with autistic adults and teach them the ropes of independent living before they’re fully on their own. So it’s really cool program, we just need to find the right place for that to watch. But yeah, we buy these places, just like any other syndication would bring investors in. Sometimes that’s even parents have other special needs, you know, either the people who might end up living there, or other people or special needs parents who want to set something up and like it forever hold, but they can put in a trust for their special needs kids. So it’s just a great investment opportunity that they don’t have to worry that their child might inherit it and not k

Okay. That’s interesting. So so as people invest in this nonprofit, there, you’re going to use that money to find a property, you’re saying in Central, where do you say, Florida, okay. And then there’s the school there has people that can help, you know, the people with autism or special needs and prove their skill set. So eventually, they can move out on their own? Is that how it works?

Yeah, so they would be moving out of their parents home. But with some assistance from the nonprofits, there’s a support system in place to help get them to their jobs, or helps them with their social skills, help them with all those independent living skills, like keeping your place clean, handling, your finances, all those kinds of things. And then there’s somebody living kind of with them in their own own room separate that can can keep an eye on things until they’re completely able to live on their own, and then I’ll be there, basically.

Wow, you know, I don’t know if you’ve seen the show. I think it’s love on the spectrum. Have you seen? Yeah, that’s amazing. I love that show. So is it true that there’s just like, a big spectrum of like, someone that’s like, you barely can tell and then it’s very difficult for them to live is that is that you train? People? I have to deal with a lot of that as well, like people that don’t need probably as much as others.

Right? Absolutely. Absolutely. And there, like you said, there are people were the general public may not be able to tell unless they know them really well. See those signs. And then there’s those that really, really struggle, some aren’t even verbal. You know, it’s, there’s a huge, huge spec, and it’s a spectrum. It’s not linear progression where you’re great at all. Things are really bad at all things it’s kind of pick and choose. But the one thing they kind of have in common is all of them have pretty poor social skills. They’re gonna make lots of social blunders. So that can be difficult when you’re venturing out on your own.

You know, I find it endearing. I love it, because they’re just so I feel like there’s there’s honest there. Right, I’m sure you have a lot of stories where it’s like, honestly is like, wow, yeah, which means that but no, it’s it’s like, I think life is a miracle. And just to see all the different, you know, personalities and things that are out there. It’s, it’s, it’s wild. But okay, so. So the goal here is, you know, as you grow your your Y is to set your family up. So if something happens to you, or, you know, later on their setup, is that correct?

That is the goal. And then also the goal of helping other special needs families do the same for theirs. Reading about that now got a new website that’s gonna be launching, doing a lot of webinars through my Facebook group, which is Bright Futures, ESPECIAL NEEDS community where there’s a lot of webinars about, you know, how do you secure that future for your special needs? Child? You know, what kind of wills do you need to set up guardianship? medical stuff? Housing is a big component of that what government assistance is out there? How do you get Social Security? Have you set up special needs trust all of that, we cover that. So the goal is not just helped my son, but to help so many other parents out there. We know a lot of a lot of good personal friends. Right? Here’s my son being in school with these individuals. Yeah. Wow.

Sounds like you’re on a great mission. I’m sure there’s a lot of support out there for you as you get your word out there and your message out there. I’m sure you felt that as you’ve gone out there and telling people right about you’re

really feeling it really feeling it.

All right, well, can you kind of let the the audience know where they can find you if they want to reach out to you or learn more about how they can work with you? Absolutely.

Blue Vikings with an F is the best way. So blue Vikings On there, you can find all my social media links, if you want. Follow me there, I spent nearly a year writing a book all about the step by step guide, basically on how to choose your first passive investment. And then I decided to stop selling that book to just give it away for free. So you can pick that up on the website. And yeah, thank you. Thank you. And then there’s the link to the nonprofits is also on there. So yeah, let’s let’s wait, but it all starts at Blue Vikings?

I love it. Send them one place, right? And then they can figure out where they want to go. Do you have any suggestions or any gold nuggets, anything you want to leave with the audience with before we wrap up? Just

if you’re following your heart, everything else will fall into place. Find your passion and go that route.

Wow. Follow your heart. Follow your passion. I love it. Well, thank you, Maria. It’s been a pleasure. And we will, you know, I love to see your journey as you go. I’d love to see how it goes. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. All right. Thanks for coming.