33 Sue Jensen, Lender and Real Estate Investor
Bill Fairman (00:05):
Hi everyone. It is Bill and Wendy again with Carolina Capital Management. And we are here with one of our good friends and investors, Sue Jensen.
Sue Jensen (00:13):
Not a good friend, Dear friend.
Bill Fairman (00:15):
Okay. Dear friend, Sue Jensen.
Wendy Sweet (00:15):
She is one of my besties.
Bill Fairman (00:19):
So Sue, give us an idea of how you got started in investing in the first place.
Sue Jensen (00:26):
Okay. So my husband and I were in our 50s.
Bill Fairman (00:31):
Sue Jensen (00:31):
Yeah! A couple months ago. We realized that we were behind the eight ball in saving for our retirement. It was coming up fast. So, we started stuffing money aside into our 401k or 403 B saving our money as much as we could. And I said to Dale, I want to start learning about investing in real estate because I know that is a way to really aggressively get this to grow. He did not really understand where I was talking about. He thought I wanted to be a realtor and I said, no, investing a real estate. And I said, I just want to take, start taking some courses. So I started doing that and then in the meantime, in 07, 08.
Wendy Sweet (01:16):
At time we live in infamy.
Sue Jensen (01:19):
Everything went downhill and crashed and we lost a bunch of money in our 401k.
Wendy Sweet (01:25):
Was it invested in a stock market?
Sue Jensen (01:27): Yeah, Stock markets and mutual funds and all of that. So I said, you know what, we have no control over this. I want to take control. So I started learning, going to conferences and and taking courses and we bought, we ended up buying three houses to invest in, two rentals, fine hold and one for a fix and flip.
Wendy Sweet (01:52):
Now you were in New York, but you bought these houses and were they in New York?
Sue Jensen (01:57):
One was in South Carolina. Two we are in North Carolina because we knew that we would end up down there and retiring because our kids were down here and they were having kids of their own. So we knew, okay, we are going to be near the grandkids. Forget the kids. The grandkids is what we wanted to close with. So we started buying and plus the market was so much better in the Carolinas and it was not New York because he bad place to try to invest in New York. So we bought those three houses and they were a big hassle to us. We were not looking to increase our work and this was increasing our work. It was adding a lot of stress to our marriage. Dale does not like being a landlord plus we have a long distance landlords, we did not have a whole lot of control. So when something went wrong, like a dishwasher went bad when we are trying to get people to shop for us it was just a big hassle. So, the way I met Wendy was I called the President of the REIA, down in Charlotte.
Wendy Sweet (03:00):
The Real Estate Investor Association.
Sue Jensen (03:02):
JC Underwood. And I asked him, can you give me a a property manager? I need a good property manager. He gave me a name and I said, can you give me another name of someone that uses him? And he gave me Wendy Sweet. So I called Wendy and I started talking to her and we talked and we just really clicked and I said to my husband later, I really like this woman. I just, you know, we just clicked right away and she was so helpful. You were so helpful to me to learn not only what I was doing, but another way of investing, which was lending money, just what she was doing, which I was fascinated with. I thought, what you were lending money to people. Yeah, we are like a bank and I put these people together and so I said, I got to learn more. I would call her up time and time again. She had spent all this time explaining it over to me. So Dan, tell me again what you do, and eventually I said to Dale, we have got to go down there, we have got to fly down and meet Wendy and her team because this may be the answer to what we need to do. This may work really well for us. It was more passive and better rate of return. So we did that.
Bill Fairman (04:18):
One of the things we always preach, it is better to control the asset without being responsible for the asset and you do not have to worry about tenants and toilets, trash and all that stuff.
Sue Jensen (04:30):
We had termites, we had mold. I mean we had all kinds of stuff.
Wendy Sweet (04:33):
Yeah! You get experience all of that. Yeah. And I remember too, when you guys came down, I got to meet you and Dale sitting in his chair like this the whole time. He was not happy.
Sue Jensen (04:45):
He was gonna grill her.
Wendy Sweet (04:48):
And he did.
Sue Jensen (04:49):
At first I was embarrassed, but then I saw that Wendy did not mind it at all and it was great. I was enjoying it.
Bill Fairman (05:00):
We love educated investors and we love educating investors as well. So, we want those grillings. That is the only way you are going to feel comfortable. So, at what point did you start investing putting your money into a self-directed IRA? How did you even hear about it? You know, there is only like 5% of the population that even knows about self-directed retirement.
Sue Jensen (05:21):
Yeah! So it was two courses that I had been taken before this, The Rich Dad, Poor Dad Course and a Course on Tax Liens. I was also investing in tax liens and they both talked about self directed IRA. So then I started going to equity trust conferences. So, we really ramped up our self directed IRAs. We actually have five of them right now and our family has them. But that is best way to say you can start investing.
Wendy Sweet (05:47):
Bill Fairman (05:49):
By the way, all, well most the vast majority of your self directed IRA custodians are a great tool for education.
Wendy Sweet (05:59):
Bill Fairman (05:59):
They do not promote any particular investment, but they educate you on what type of investments that you can utilize in your self-directed retirement account. And one of the worst things people do when they open up a self-directed retirement account is that they do not invest in anything.
Wendy Sweet (06:16):
They let it sit there.
Sue Jensen (06:16):
Yeah, it is not working at all.
Bill Fairman (06:18):
Not only are you not making money, but you are losing money because guess what? They charge fees. So, once you make the decision to put money into an IRA, you have to deploy that capital somewhere and there are tendencies of people to, I do not know, failure to pull the trigger because they think kind of over analyze things and are a little bit nervous. Sue did not do that. She jumped in with both feet.
Wendy Sweet (06:45):
And they want you to deploy it because they are going to make more money every time you do deploy it and invest it. But they want to give you options. That is what I love about all the different IRA companies. You can sign up on any of the self-directed custodian websites and get into all of their webinars, their seminars, the different events that they put on there, teach you about self directed IRA thing. But they also hook you up with other people of different ways you can invest your money. They are not endorsing anybody, but they are saying, hey, look at all these options that you have out in front of you. So that was a great move for you to do that.
Bill Fairman (07:23):
One of the ways to invest is in the stock market.
Wendy Sweet (07:27):
That is right. I would not do it this week though.
Sue Jensen (07:29):
Maybe a few more days.
Bill Fairman (07:36):
But that is the problem in stock market. But if you are still a stock market person, you can still do it in yourself.
Wendy Sweet (07:39):
Yeah! That is right.
Bill Fairman (07:39):
So, what at this point in your investing is more important to you? Is it being very active in the investments or being more passive?
Sue Jensen (07:52):
Definitely more passive. And that is why I like working with Wendy and Bill, with you guys. I got money in your fund. That is even more passive. But it is so much nicer, especially for us. We are supposed to be in our retirement days.
Wendy Sweet (08:11):
So you have loved retirement.
Sue Jensen (08:13):
I know. I have got the wrong line.
Bill Fairman (08:17):
You do not retire, you just move on to what is next.
Wendy Sweet (08:19):
Yeah! That is true.
Sue Jensen (08:20):
But you guys do the heavy lifting and you have like 30 years of experience in this industry, in the financial industry. You know, what a good borrower looks like. And you know what a good property looks like so much better than I do. So, I could maybe, you know, get up a borrower and say, Oh, they seem nice. They seem like they got it together, but you got.
Wendy Sweet (08:46):
They told me they pay.
Sue Jensen (08:47):
But you guys know how to choose them and you know all the the underwriting and you hold the draws and you make sure the inspections are done and the title search and all that stuff that protects you. You guys know how to do that so much better. And so you just put me together with a borrower alert and move from loan to loan to loan. And our return has just been awesome.
Wendy Sweet (09:18):
That is great. And I am really glad you brought up what you did too about doing heavy lifting because even with the knowledge and the experience that we have, there is still bad things that can happen. You can still lose a property and you have a borrower that does not pay and you have been through that with us.
Sue Jensen (09:33):
We were in together.
Wendy Sweet (09:35):
That is right.
Sue Jensen (09:35):
We had that one, bad egg.
Wendy Sweet (09:38):
So can you tell us about that, how you felt going through that? Because we all, you know, it was a good year that we had to deal with all of that. So how did that affect you? How did you feel going through that and what was the outcome for you?
Sue Jensen (09:51):
Well, when we went into this, we knew that without any investment, there is always risk. There is nothing that is for sure. So even though everything looked good and went really well and our first few years with you, we started in July of 12 with our first loan.
Wendy Sweet (10:06):
Sue Jensen (10:06):
We have now gone up about 60 with you and four or five privately.
Wendy Sweet (10:12):
Sue Jensen (10:12):
In our first few years, I did the math last night. So we, that is when interest rates are really high.
Wendy Sweet (10:20):
We are getting 15%.
Sue Jensen (10:21):
15% plus renewals. So we actually doubled our money in about four years.
Wendy Sweet (10:29):
Sue Jensen (10:29):
Yep. I mean, I wish I had put out a lot of money. But we, you know, we have put a good chunk in. And we were just amazed at how different it was and how good it was. But then we hit that bad borrower, all of us did. And especially I was one of those that had several of his loans. So, things got rough because we had to take all those houses back and finish them up.
Wendy Sweet (10:58):
Did you have to take them back?
Sue Jensen (10:59):
I did not have to take them back. I just prayed, God help this woman.
Wendy Sweet (11:05):
Sue Jensen (11:07):
Let me know. That was rough I felt for you. But I knew that you were going to do the best that you could with what you had to work with. And yeah, a lot of us lost some principal. We lost some, but really during that time I work that out too. We were still making about a 6% return during those two years that was the.
Wendy Sweet (11:30):
Worst start to the finish, right?
Sue Jensen (11:31):
Yeah! So we went to like a 15% to a 6% and now we are up to about a 12% return.
Wendy Sweet (11:37):
Sue Jensen (11:37):
So yeah, it was a dip. But you know, you guys learned a lot. We all learned a lot. You made some adjustments. You got an even better team. So I was very encouraged by being able to go through that. Plus I saw you guys take personal, hit yourself.
Bill Fairman (11:56):
I need to put makeup over the bruises.
Sue Jensen (11:59):
Oh men, yeah. I mean you guys took losses before some of us took loss and you went without pay for awhile because you were so concerned for your clients and stuff. And I really, that is what I appreciate and that is what Dale appreciates is, you know, if we are going to go through hard times, it is not just going to be okay. The client’s lost money, that is what we use to deal with financial advisor. Yeah, you lost money. It will come back in 10 years. You guys were not like that. You guys were, you know what we are not taking a paycheck for a while until we get this back up to par and we saw you do it and now we are on the other side of it.
Bill Fairman (12:39):
Our business cannot operate without investors. So, you know, we treat your money like it is our money. Now let us get back to the experience part of it. Yes, Wendy and I have tons of experience in this business but, and it is very helpful. But this industry is constantly evolving.
Wendy Sweet (13:00):
Yeah! A lot of change.
Bill Fairman (13:00):
That is one of the reasons I like it so much is because there is always change and it never gets boring.
Wendy Sweet (13:08):
Yeah! That is not the word I used.
Bill Fairman (13:08):
But there are certain constants that stay in place and that is figuring out risk and you are always going to have a loser, now and again. I follow and I do not want to get morbid here, but I follow crash in airplanes and why they happen and it is never one thing. It is always a chain of events that occur. It is never just one little accident and that caused it. It is always a chain of events. When you do have one that goes bad on it, it is not just one little thing. A chain of events happen and then then they kind of snowball. So it just feels worse than it actually is. Anyway, I appreciate you hanging out with us and even though that you did lose money at one point in the long run and any kind of investment, especially in real estate, is a longterm commitment. And if you are day trading as it were, you do not want to be in real estate anyway because yes, you can make them as many, but yes, you can lose a bunch of money, but in the long run it is going to always go up in bay, right?
Sue Jensen (14:14):
Right. Well, what I also want to say about along those lines is that you guys surround yourself with very smart people and I appreciate that you are constantly hearing to other masterminds. You are learning all the time so that you not only become more knowledgeable, but you become more wise because you are talking to so many other people in the industry that have their eyes open their ear to the ground and they are trying to figure out what could happen, what might happen, what is happening, what is working, what is not working, so that you can stay on top of it. And that gives me security and I depend on you guys.
Bill Fairman (14:53):
It is like paying a small amount of money to learn from other people’s mistakes that are paying a large amount of money from learning from your own.
Sue Jensen (15:03):
I have had to learn from there.
Wendy Sweet (15:03):
That is for sure. And it is really important to not be the smartest people in the room. We are good with that. We are not the smartest ones in the room.
Sue Jensen (15:14):
Wendy Sweet (15:14):
It is a blessing to be around people like that that are, they kind of have the same values that we have to and that can help lift us up when you know, when we need help and, we are thrilled to be able to help them as well.
Bill Fairman (15:30):
I always quote our friend Glenn Stromberg. I have never had an original idea in my life. I just surround my self with much of smart people and I copy what they did.
Wendy Sweet (15:39):
That is right. Just redo it.
Bill Fairman (15:41):
They do not reinvent the wheel. You just copy what they write.
Wendy Sweet (15:45):
That is right.
Sue Jensen (15:45):
That is the smarter way to do.
Bill Fairman (15:45):
So in closing, listen, I appreciate your time, come visit with us. So apparently your experiences. May I ask that question?
Sue Jensen (15:57):
I would say it is been life changing.
Wendy Sweet (15:58):
Oh wow! Thanks!
Sue Jensen (15:58):
I am not just saying that is it is true. It is been life changing for us. We can live the lifestyle that we really wanted to but did not think that we would be able to in our retirement years. You know, with my husband, he a Pastor for 40 years and then you know, me just starting to save later on in life. We thought, you know, how are we ever going to make this work? But just from that phone call when I felt like we were put together for a reason and that, you know, that click where I said, you know what, I think there is a destiny in, there is something in our future with this company here. And I am so glad that we stuck it out even through the tough times because we have been blessed and we have been able to be generous. We have been able to do the things that we want to do because of our dealings with you.
Wendy Sweet (16:54):
Awesome. And that goes both ways. We are, we too are blessed and good thing God knows what he is doing, right?
Sue Jensen (17:00):
I know. Good thing He’s listening once in a while.
Bill Fairman (17:05):
The best couple minutes that can be paid to us. And you have already done that, from other.
Wendy Sweet (17:10):
Many times ever.
Bill Fairman (17:11):
Beause we have gotten other investors, through Sue.
Sue Jensen (17:16):
Family members, friends are all church.
Wendy Sweet (17:18):
That is right.
Bill Fairman (17:20):
I want to add something to. Sue volunteered. She was a director of a REIA group.
Wendy Sweet (17:25):
That is what I mean. She flunked retirement.
Bill Fairman (17:28):
That is a thankless job. A lot of the people that are there are brand new to real estate and they sit in rooms on their hands. It is hard to rally the troops and get occasionally Wendy will come in there and do the whoop boot thing.
Sue Jensen (17:43):
Such a good job.
Bill Fairman (17:47):
People would wind up. But you did an incredible job of, so we have been involved in that REIA group for hell since.
Wendy Sweet (17:54):
2003. Two, 2002. Okay, 2001 and that is my last offer. It was 2001 and September. I remember it well.
Bill Fairman (18:07):
But you do not have to join every group. You do not have to be involved in real estate to invest in real estate. We do what you had be educated. But, what we do is passive.
Wendy Sweet (18:21):
Right. For others, not us.
Sue Jensen (18:24):
Not for you.
Bill Fairman (18:24):
You do not need it to be a second job.
Wendy Sweet (18:27):
That is exactly right.
Bill Fairman (18:29):
Thank you so much.
Wendy Sweet (18:30):
Yes, thank you so much.
Sue Jensen (18:30):
Bill Fairman (18:30):
Thank you for the ride out here. Because I know it was a long way, because I have to drive it every day.
Sue Jensen (18:37):
So you know?
Bill Fairman (18:37):
So that is it for our show today. Please follow and share. Like there is some.
Wendy Sweet (18:48):
Links around here somewhere.
Bill Fairman (18:50):
Links as well for archive stuff. We will see you on the next show. Thank you.
Wendy Sweet (18:57):
Hey, thanks so much for joining us this time, and if you really like this show, you will have an opportunity to see even more. You can choose up here. You can choose over here. You can choose down here, right? Awesome. Do not forget to like and subscribe to our page and we look forward to seeing you again soon. Thanks.