GI186: Assisted Living Investing with Camilla Jeffs

Camilla Jeffs is a mom of 5 and has been investing in real estate for nearly 20 years; investing in; live-in flips, single family rentals, small multifamily and most recently large multifamily and assisted living.

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Announcer:
Welcome to the Global Investor Podcast, a show that focuses on helping foreign investors enter the lucrative US real estate market. Host Charles Carillo combines decades of real estate investing experience with a professional background in international banking to interview experts in all areas of US real estate investing. Now, here’s your host, Charles Carillo.

Charles:
Do you have money sitting in the stock market? And you’re worried about it or worse. You have money sitting at the bank, not keeping up with inflation. My name is Charles Carillo, founder and managing partner of Harborside Partners. And since 2006, I’ve been investing my money and my family’s money into income producing properties. These are real assets, real properties with real addresses that produce real cash flow. At Harborside Partners, we provide passive investors who love real estate with a turnkey investing solution. If you want to put your money to work in real estate, but can’t find deals, don’t have the time to get funding in. The last thing that productive people want to do is manage real estate. We find the deals. We fund the deals and we manage the tenants, the termites and the properties. Partner with us at investwithharborside.com. That’s investwithharborside.com. Go to investwithharborside.com. If you love real estate, you like the idea of passive income and believe that income producing properties will appreciate over time. Go to investwithharborside.com. That’s investwithharborside.com.

New Speaker:
Welcome to another episode of the Global Investors Podcast; I’m your host Charles Carillo. Today we have Camilla Jeffs. She is a mom of 5 and has been investing in real estate for nearly 20 years; investing in; live-in flips, single family rentals, small multifamily and most recently large multifamily and assisted living. So thank you so much for being on the show.

Camilla:
Thanks so much, Charles. I’m really happy to be here.

Charles:
So give us a little background on yourself over, you know, prior to getting involved with real estate and kind of why you got involved with real estate, a little professional and personal background.

Camilla:
Sure. So I got involved in real estate very young and at the time my, my husband and I got married young. We were both still college students and we were, you know, trying to figure things out. And basically as it goes, as you’re college students, you’re poor, you have no money, right? So we’re trying to find a place to live and the only place that we could afford was this was someone’s converted garage apartment thing, <laugh>. And it was, it was a dive, right? And, but you know, sometimes those are the funnest places to live when you’re <laugh> when you’re just married and getting used to each other. But we were living there and the land lady came around to collect their rent one time, and I knew she owned several rentals, so I just kind of asked her. I just said, you know, how do you, how are you doing what you’re doing?

Camilla:
And she, she responded back. She’s like, well, you know, you could do it too. I’m like, no, no, I don’t have any money. She’s like, well, no, no, what you should do is you should buy a house. And I’m like, really, lady? I have no money. <Laugh>, did you not hear me? I’m renting your nasty garage apartment <laugh>. And so she said, no, listen, you can go and buy a house, house that has a basement apartment in it and you can rent out that basement apartment and then you could live there for free or just a, a small monthly amount. And I was like, Hmm. And then that’s exactly what we did. We went out and we bought, so we went from living a nasty garage apartment, and we bought a six bedroom home that had a pool in the backyard, <laugh>, and we rented out the basement, had a kitchen in the basement and we rented that out and we were paying $150 a month to live there, so we were paying less in the garage apartment. So I always say that I got into real estate out of necessity because I couldn’t afford anything else. Like we could barely afford a a nasty garage apartment, but, and so we got something cheaper that paid us, which was pretty awesome.

Charles:
Wow, that’s awesome. Yeah, house hacking is such a great way of getting into real estate and it’s you can’t really lose per se with it because you’re getting this long-term debt. And if you have a way of getting consistently the other rooms, or like you said, basement rented out, it’s it’s safer. I know somebody that bought like single family houses and they would have like roommates and I was like, yeah, well what happens after like two years when you kind of don’t want roommates or something like that? It’s much different. Like you had a separate actual unit where mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you, everybody has their own ingress and egress, so you don’t really have to run into each other or like using common areas. So that’s a, that’s a great way of doing it.

Camilla:
Yeah. Yeah. It worked out great for us. It, it, it really did.

Charles:
So after I take it, after this experience is what really kind of pushed you along into getting further along in real estate. And what was, I mean, what did you do after that mad, you know, what did you do after this house hack? What was your next kind of forte into it?

Camilla:
Yeah, so the house act really got me thinking about real estate and, and the power of real estate. And so so I decided to, you know, double down and figure this figured out. So at I, I read every book I could find on this on the subject, and you know, there were not, there were not podcasts back then, so I, it was basically just book reading, book learning. And, and so as I learned, I, you know, I, I happened upon the book that was, that had the strategy one house at a time. And, and basically the strategy was buy a new house every two years. You move in you live there for two years, then you move out and rent it for three years, and then you can either sell it at that time and with no capital gains tax, or you can continue to rent it if you, if you’d like, if it’s, if it’s going well for you.

Camilla:
So I was like, okay, that sounds like an interesting strategy. Maybe that’s one we could do. Again, not much money, right? We don’t have very much money. We’re, we’re both still trying to finish college and, and and, and working part-time minimum wage chops. So the next step we took was we bought a fixerupper and we decided, well, let’s, let’s buy something we could add value to and try this one house at a time strategy. So, and so that’s what we did and we basically did, I call it live in flips now. So we, you know, moved in, we fix it all up ourselves and then we move out and rent it for three years and then we would sell it after that. And we proceeded to do that like clockwork every, every two years for for about 10 years. We, we would get a new property, we’d acquire a new property.

Camilla:
And then I felt like that was slow, that was going slow because at the, now, now by, you know, 10 years later I’m, I, I feel like I know what I’m doing. And so then got into small multi-family and launched my own property management company as well. And we just really started going, right, well, 15 years into this, to our investing journey. We have five children and we’ve been doing everything ourselves this whole time. And I just got burnt out. I was, I was in this, I, I was in a space where I, I thought, you know, this is just, it’s so much work, right? And, and the cashflow is not super great. It’s a little bit of cash flow, but, you know, cuz investing in, in single family homes, although you, you can, you know, you can hit a home run.

Camilla:
But mostly we were hitting first base. Like we, we were first base, second base type type hitters. And so we’re trying to figure out what do we do? Cuz we’re, we’re just spending so much time and these properties are dragging the kids there, you know, and, and it’s good training for them. I don’t regret it at all. I think I thought it was good training. They, they grew up in real estate, which I didn’t, and I didn’t have that opportunity. And so I tried to find a different way and that’s when I landed on passive investing, like joining a group investment in you know, apartments or commercial real estate. And I was, I was blown away by the concept <laugh> because I, I thought what you, I can just invest my money instead of going out and buying, you know, if it’s taking my 50,000 and buying a single family home, I can put it into an apartment.

Camilla:
Someone else will do all the work. I don’t have to do any of the work. I don’t have to spend any of the time, any of the stress up on it. And I’ll get very similar returns to what I was getting, doing everything myself in the single families. And that’s what blew me away. And I thought, this is, this is amazing. And so passively invested for for a bit and then decided that I needed to share the, the information with other people. And so I launched Steady Stream Investments, my company as an education company to educate passive investors how to get involved and everything that they need to know from A to Z and, and helping them find opportunities to invest in.

Charles:
Oh, that’s great. Just one thing before we kinda get to what you’re doing now and passive investing, which I definitely wanna dig into. What were you doing with how were you financing? Because if people don’t understand, like you were saying, you do, you can li own a place for five years, live in there for two, you have three years that you’re, it’s not your residence and you can still sell it. And capital gains, I imagine there’s some cap to that, but we we’re not, you know, that’s probably, probably not applicable to what we’re talking about. But how are you getting financing if you did it every two years? Because you know, these are near, these are close by, so you’re not able to get f h a I imagine between them. Correct. Because they’re within a hundred miles. So how are you doing that all conventional? We

Camilla:
Were just, yeah, we’re doing conventional. Okay. 20% down <laugh>. Yeah. Like all of our own cash. All of our own money. We, I, I had heard of creative financing and I was scared of it and mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and I thought, nah, I, I don’t, I i, I don’t know how that works. And I was scared that it would go all wrong for us. So we’d literally diy, which was, which, if you do it that way, you’re gonna have slow growth like we did, right? Like we could only get one property every two years cuz we had to save up the down payment to be able to get that property.

Charles:
So when you were when you were doing this, cuz that’s, that’s definitely, I see it cause it’s very capital intensive and very time intensive with the way you’re doing it now. Obviously 15, 20 years down the road, you’re gonna have a lot of equity in those properties most likely. But it’s a very slow way of growing. Which, which, which we’re talking about here. But what were you, you said you set up a property management company. When did you, when did you do that? They, did you do it for those smaller properties or did you do it once you got into larger properties? I just didn’t know where that was in your timeline.

Camilla:
Once I got into small malts, that’s, that’s when I launched the property management company

Charles:
Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> and gimme like what, what, like what was the benefit? Because I feel it’s a great way because it’s very fee intensive and I’ve owned small multi-family for many years. We just sold our last ones, but like 15 plus years started buying an oh six and very fee intensive and self-managed ’em with a couple handyman like for six years and then we self-manage ’em. So what were you finding, what was the reason and that you made the decision to to, to start managing ’em yourself?

Camilla:
Well, I mean it just came down to cash flow, right? Yeah. Like, you know, if we, because we were inexperienced bookkeepers and an inexperienced bookkeeper, you would still write that out as a fee. Like basically you would pay yourself for being the manager of the, of the property. So you have that line item. We didn’t think that way. We weren’t that sophisticated in the beg in the beginning. And so it was just all about saving money and not having to spend ex excess money when we could just do it ourselves now as a mindset issue. And it’s a mindset issue that I’ve had to really work on the, the DIY mindset to, you know, trying to do everything ourselves because it, it definitely, I mean it worked, right? We got a bunch of properties, but our growth was, is very slow compared to, you know, a bunch of, bunch of colleagues that I know today that have been able to buy 10 properties in two months because they are partnering and they are not doing everything themselves.

Charles:
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s definitely a mindset, but I think everybody has to deal with it cuz I’ve, I’ve definitely had to deal with it and it was like, you look back while you’re saying that, I think about all times I did bookkeeping on, on stuff I own and you’re like, oh my God. And when we outsource that years back, it was like the best thing I ever did in my life. I was like, this is, even if you’re not spending that much time, sure you’re sending to someone that’s, and it’s gonna be a lot less time than you do because they’re professional at what they do and we’re not professional bookkeepers and all this kind of stuff. So it’s it’s difficult. It takes a a definitely a mindset mindset shift. So let’s talk about like passive investing cuz you got into that. And for you, what was the number one benefit you see of passive investing?

Camilla:
My time freedom.

Charles:
Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah.

Camilla:
Yeah, time, like emotional and, and my emotional stability because <laugh> the stress of properties, the stress of being a landlord is a lot. I, I mean, I’ve, I had, I had situations that I hope nobody ever has to deal with when I was dealing, you know, when I was managing all those properties. And, and really professional property managers do it way better than, than, you know, mom and pop people do because because they have systems in process and they have rules and regulations and, and you know, you have to, I remember at one point I had, someone was telling me, Camille, you’ve gotta pick your charity. Like your business can’t be your charity. Yeah. Because I was feeling so bad for some of my residents, they’d come in like, I just can’t pay rent this month. And I’m like, well, I know you’re in a hard spot. It’s okay. Maybe next month. And that’s no way to run a business, right? Yeah. And, and so pick your charity. So you’re, you’re donating to charities, but your business can’t be the charity,

Charles:
Right? Yeah. And it’s, it’s a two-way street with those, with those type tenants and everything like that. And you wanna be fair and always be fair, but it’s also one of the things too is, hey, I’m gonna provide this, you know, clean housing that’s in good shape and condition and I’m gonna take care of it. And then, you know, but when it comes to the first of the month, that’s where it comes back. You know what I mean? And it’s, it’s difficult and you really have to train tenants from the beginning on that. And it’s difficult to do a midstream, it’s kind of from the beginning you can kind of put your foot down and if you hold that line, you’re good. But it’s difficult unless you bring in like another manager and you’re like, oh, this person’s now taking care of it and they can come in and now they’re like, listen, this is, we’re not paying rent on the 15th anymore. You know, so it’s, it’s like, you know, or you can pay it, but you got a late fee and it’s, it’s amazing like with all different tenant stories of, you know, stuff that happens of how they do it. But so let’s talk about like what you’re doing now. You you’ve changed your focus. You went to small multi-family, you’re into larger multi-family. Like what’s your current investment strategy with your business now?

Camilla:
Yeah, so current strategy now is, is all in in commercial real estate. So I, I love the economies of scale of it. I love that you know, the professionality of it, that it’s run as a business. I love the partnering aspect that you don’t have to do everything yourself. You can rely on other people. And and, and you know, at first that was another mindset shift that I had to go through was because I, I was used to having control of every single detail. But now, you know, I thought it would be a bad thing to give up control, but it’s actually a really great thing for me, <laugh>, because I don’t have to do everything myself. I can focus on my one niche. I can, I can focus on investors and educating and, and doing the things that I love, and then someone else can go find the property, someone else can, you know, be the one that’s like putting together the construction plan and you know, all of that stuff.

Camilla:
The things that I don’t necessarily love to do. And I, I like that too. And, and so that’s kind of, right now we’re all in, in commercial. And by commercial I mean multiple asset classes in multiple markets. I like to diversify and I’m very conservative investor. So I wanna make sure that the properties that I’m investing in have the stability to last through recessions. And the coolest thing about multi-family is that it is it’s so recession resilient. Even the oh 8 0 9 crash, right? Like single-family homes took about 10 years to recover the equity. They lost multi-family took one and then just kept going. And so it, it will hit small dips, but in the single family, there’ll be big dips and multi-family will be like little mini ones that and, and will be okay as long as you’re managing it, right? And you, you’ll have professionals managing the thing. And then the other asset class that I really like is assisted living or, you know, in the senior living asset because there’s, there’s just so many benefits and the demand is really high and will and will continue to grow for years and years to come.

Charles:
That’s interesting. Cause that’s the one thing I want to like talk about too is I’ve personally never invested into assisted living. And I’ve heard a number of people talk about it and you know, you go to conferences, you hear about it and you hear people’s strategies and oh, that’s very interesting. And you kinda like, wanna, before I bring like investors in something like this, I like to invest into it for a few years and like figure out exactly what I’m doing, but mm-hmm. <Affirmative> what I find with assisted living, obviously I’ve never done it, so just kind of step in. But I really see it as two businesses in one where you have, you know, you have the real estate and you have like managing that. So you buy this property, it has to be managed, everything they would manage with a regular commercial property, whether it’s multi-family or whether it’s like a larger office, whatever it is. And then the second thing is you actually have to now your second, you know, your, your second business is really the assisted living portion of it. And that’s kind of like, so can you give an overview of like why you like assisted living with, it sounds like there’s a lot more headaches with it and I mean, you know, how does that work?

Camilla:
Yeah, I mean, you’re exactly right. It, it is, it is two businesses in one. It’s a real estate business and a healthcare business because we hire doctors and nurses and the staff to take care of the residents and the residents need care. It’s not, we’re not just providing a house, you know, like you would a regular tenant and say, okay, move yourself in and do what you want and feed yourself. Right? We are there feeding the residents, we are there taking care of them. Someone’s on call 24 7, we’re managing their medications. And, and all of that. So here’s the thing, I’m a real estate girl. I I didn’t know much about healthcare. So what I need to do is if I wanna get into assisted living, I need to partner with a, with someone who knows healthcare, who’s been there, done that and, and knows how to run an as run an assisted living facility.

Camilla:
You bring those two things together and right now we’re building we are building brand new construction for these FAC facilities. And we’re, and we’re doing ’em in, in a boutique niche style. So we, we like the, I don’t like the big giant ones that look kind of like a hospital. Like I wouldn’t wanna put my grandma in there, my mom in there. We we’re building is, we’re building large homes and, you know, with, with like 16 bedrooms in each home, and it’s complete with its own kitchen and, and library and, you know, place for the residents to really feel like they are still in a house. Because one of the hardest things, if you think about moving your grandma or your mother or father, whatever, into assisted living is they don’t wanna leave their house because they love their home. And so if there’s a, if there’s a step that’s easier on them, you know, where they can live in this bigger home with other people their age, it seems to go a lot better, right?

Camilla:
Our the families that place their residents with us, they love it, they love the concept and they, and they feel like they’re, they’re loved ones are taken care of much better in this type of niche boutique style. But yeah, so you have to keep that in mind that if you’re investing into assisted living, you’re investing into two businesses. You know, both real estate and healthcare. The nice thing is both those businesses are stable, right? They’re both very stable businesses. They’re not businesses that are gonna go away anytime soon. Real estate is here to stay, healthcare is here to stay. And in fact, if you think about it right now in 10, in the next 10 to 20 years, the number of people over age 85, which is typically, you know, between in the eighties is typically when they move into assisted living, right?

Camilla:
That will grow 111% over the next 20 years. So it is absolutely needed, which is why I’m so super excited about it now because we get in there, we build ’em all now and then we lease them up, you know, course it takes five, five-ish years to get it all built and leased up. And by the time that we’re done building and leasing, that’s when the huge demand is right there and we’re ready and primed and ready to offer it up. So that’s what we’re excited about is, is what’s happening with the the future of assisted living.

Charles:
So I’ve never had a close relative in assisted living before. And how does this work? Cause this must be like a hundred thousand dollars a year, I would imagine, you know what I mean? For someone to live in one of these maybe at least 70, I mean, for everything put together. So are they, are these people paying out their own pocket? Is this like long-term insurance that they have going into it? I imagine it’s a a mix of both.

Camilla:
Yeah, it’s a mix of both, you know, and, and with the, with the projects, you know, some of them are we, ours is a little more high end, like the boutique niche style right, is a little bit more high end. So it does, it cost, it cost more. But a lot of times the the, you know, the, the loved ones have insurance, right? For have elderly care insurance that they can use or the families are paying or they just have the funds that available to be able to pay for this type of this type of thing. Now, if they don’t have the money to be able to pay for what the product that we’re providing, then there’s other things out there that they can use too. And there is Medicare too, some, so sometimes Medicare will cover some of the assisted living costs, but you’re right, it’s not, it’s not cheap. It’s, it’s definitely not cheap. Because it’s 24 7 care.

Charles:
Yeah. Okay. It was just, I, I remember an investor telling me this one time we were driving by one years back and he’s like, well, there’s only so many wealthy people. It’s like a beautiful complex. And I was like, and I, I not knowing anything, I thought, well that’s a very interesting concept. I don’t even thought about, you know, you know, paying, I don’t know. You know, it’s not something you really think about how people are paying cuz you’re like, oh, there’s insurance, but does everybody have insurance? I mean, healthcare, you know, so,

Camilla:
And the other thing to remember is that residents aren’t there for a really long time. Yeah, yeah, right. It’s the end of their life. And, and so they’re there on average, they’re there between 12 to 24 months. Oh really? Oh. and so it’s not a super long time that they’re in assisted living.

Charles:
Okay. All right. Well that, that makes it, yeah, makes sense now. Exactly. But, so let’s talk about a little bit about you. You I’m not sure exactly when you did it, but you quit your W2 and to focus completely on real estate investing in your, your large family. Tell us about like, the decision and like how you prepared for it. Cuz I think this is something that people wanna start active or maybe passive in real estate, but you know, making, whether if it’s in real estate or in another business, they wanna make the jump to being their a full-time, you know, entrepreneur their own, you know, their own boss. So kind of how did it work for you? What did you do and kind of what kind of mindset shift did you have to make for that?

Camilla:
Oh, a hundred different mindset shifts. <Laugh>. So I’ve always been someone who gets really excited about personal growth and, and learning new things and, and, and doing things and kind of being on my own. I, you know, sometimes I wonder if I was a bad corporate employee, <laugh>, but, you know, I, I did fine, right? I mean my, I had good reviews and stuff, but I, I was always like, my brain is, was always itching for more, itching for something, something different. So as I’m, you know, working in corporate and building my real estate business on the side I really started just feeling like I need my time freedom back because here I am, I’m working a full-time job, you know, all day. And then I’m trying to work my real estate business in the evenings and on weekends. And, and I have five children and they’re all teenagers now, and I have very few years left with them, right?

Camilla:
Like they’re, they will be gone very soon. And so I just, I just knew I needed to get my time freedom back and that was the motivation to work really hard on my real estate business so that I could have the time freedom to be able to do whatever we wanted to do as a family. And I could work from anywhere I needed to work. And I could take days off if I want, whenever I wanted to take days off, right? And so that was my, my big motivation. Now, the whole process to get to the point where you actually tell your boss <laugh>, that was a process. And so for me, I, I’m, I take a conservative approach. I’m not one that’s just gonna burn the boats and be like, I’m done. Peace out everybody, you know, <laugh>, I, I, I was more methodical about it.

Camilla:
So I, I said, okay, I have to, first, I have to prove to myself that I’m not gonna put my family in a financial bind because what I didn’t want to do is I didn’t want to exit my corporate job. And now we have, don’t have money to do all the fun things that I wanted to do when I, and I had the time, right? I, you have to have both. You gotta have the time and the money to do the things you wanna do. And, and especially, you know, buying seven plane tickets is a lot <laugh>. So, so I’m like, okay, I have to be methodical about this. So as I approached it, I looked at the I said, I told myself, Camilla, if you can replace 70% of your corporate income at, that’s the point at which you can now exit your job because you’ve proven to yourself that you can do it.

Camilla:
And then as soon as you and I knew as soon as I exited my job, I’d be able to produce that other 30% very quickly. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And that’s exactly what I did. I got to the point where I, where I had replaced 70% of my income and that was the point where I said, okay, boss I’m, I’m leaving. And you know, worked with my boss to make sure we finished up some projects and stuff and, and then exited. But guess <laugh>. But you know, what happened the first, those first two weeks? Whew. It was rough. It was like, because you go from being this, this corporate, you know, this corporate person who has a full schedule, like every second of your day is mapped out. You’re your calendar. There’s no white space. You quit your job, now you’re full-time in your own wor in your own thing, and it’s all white space, right?

Camilla:
And I have to be intentional about filling that white space. And it was jarring for me. It was very jarring for me to, to, to go from that. And then the other jarring thing was just the income, because I was used to the city paycheck, I was used to every, you know, every two weeks it got deposited into my account and I never had to think about it. My account always grew. Cuz we always live below whatever we were making. And so the account always goes up and now my account, you know, goes up drastically when I close the deal and then always, and then just, you know, goes down, down, down, down, down, down, down for a few months and then, oh, back up again. You know? And it’s like this roller coaster ride and it’s very crazy where it messes with my brain to watch my bank account slowly decrease instead of always increasing. But, you know, it’s bigger than it was, you know, last year at this time. So that’s a good thing.

Charles:
There you go. It’s great that you have the proof of concept is such a important factor in anything, like when you’re working your own business or you’re making the leap like you did to going full-time in it. But since you have that proof of concept, then you’re like, okay, now I can like pour gasoline on, you know what I mean? And really take it to the next level. Cuz in the beginning you’re like, you know, that’s why like in angel investing, they’re always like, oh, minimal viable product. You know? So when you hit that, then you’re like, okay, now we can, we have something that people like and we can go from there. But if you don’t have that, it’s kind of difficult for people to believe in, you know, or yourself believe in what you’re doing. So that’s, that’s great. That’s fantastic. So one thing I was, I was reading when I was preparing for this episode and saying that you were, you’re obviously very conservative, you’re very risk averse and safe when you invest. You were doing a lot of projects without debt or with minimal debt. Is that correct? In, in some of your, in previously in some of your projects you were doing,

Camilla:
So one of the, one of the projects we did without, without debt. Yes.

Charles:
And like, did you, you said that is, is that something that you would avoid doing again or was that something, I mean, it sounds very safe, but also it can really hamper your returns. I imagine that’s what you’re thinking is

Camilla:
<Laugh>. Yeah. So l let me tell you about my million dollar mistake, <laugh>, right? So we acquired all these single family homes and one of those we did acquire without debt. And because we got, we got caught up in a financial gurus preaching and he’s super awesome, right? Dave Ramsey, he’s super awesome. He does lots of, he has really great advice, right? For people who are in the beginning stages of their financial journey, super great advice, give, have an emergency fund, you know, pay off your debt, all these things. But once you graduate from that beginner stage and you enter the intermediate stage where now you’re, you’re like, okay, I’ve, I’ve gotten rid of all my debt. I have a fully funded emergency fund. Now what now’s investing now it’s the time to really invest. And his idea of investing is debt free investing, right? He doesn’t think you should be in debt for anything.

Camilla:
Well, 10 years into our journey with all these single family homes, we we started really listening to him a lot and kind of getting inundated and, and then I started thinking, man, maybe we’re doing this wrong because we have debt on these properties and, and you know, and I can see the vision. If I didn’t have debt, I’d be having so much more cash flow than if I, you know, if we did have debt. And we got so far into it that we sold most of our properties. Wow. So we could have some that were debt free, right? That was a million dollar mistake because had I not sold those properties, I would have several million dollars from from those properties, right? And so the thing is I have come, I’ve come to realize, and, and even then after that I went and got my m mba A and in my M B A we are in corporate finance class and we learned very clearly, and at the numbers show it very clearly that a corporation, any business run without debt is a poorly run business.

Camilla:
Yeah. You cannot run a business without debt or, or you’re just not gonna, you’re not gonna survive. Which sounds counterintuitive, right? Until you really look at the numbers and you see the proof on paper that you, you need to have some kind of leverage in your business in order to run your business well and bring in the, the right amounts of revenue and grow and scale and all those things that needs leverage and needs debt. So I’m a big fan of leveraging debt for for real estate. Real estate is such a great thing. I’m still not a fan of debt for cars or debt for boats or, you know, those types of things like depreciating assets. No. But anything that’s appreciating, although Covid kind of threw a wa whack into that because some cars appreciated <laugh> through Covid, <laugh> <laugh>. But that’s not normal. No. You know, but anything that’s appreciating definitely can be acquired with debt and it’s smart to do so.

Charles:
Yeah, no, I, I remember listening to his show years back and when he was closing out one of the segments, he goes, you know, this plan gets you to one to 5 million, one to 5 million net worth. It won’t get, like these concepts won’t get you to 5 million above. And you’re like, oh, that’s true. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, that’s completely true. Cause that’s exactly what it is. But most people that really have to, it’s subscribed to it. They really are in tough shapes when you’re, when you’re listening to what their story is. So there you’re like, yes, you shouldn’t have any debt at all because it’s, you don’t know how to like, control your finances, but you’re much more sophisticated investors. So it’s something where you can kind of you know, you can start I I think leveraging a little bit more and you, you get higher returns, but also you’re not gonna be able to win investors or win deals if you’re not taking on debt. Even the most conservative like core investments that are 40, 50% loan of value, I mean, they’re still taking on debt to get some returns on those properties. I mean, they have to, to be able to get it or won’t hold up with inflation and it’s completely crazy. So. Right. But so what are those in the, those your million dollar mistake? What other, what gimme some common mistakes that you might see other real estate investors make as we close up here?

Camilla:
So one mistake I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is the, the mistake of not asking enough questions. And, and so I think sometimes, and I fell into this too, I didn’t wanna look stupid, I didn’t wanna look like I didn’t know what I was talking about. I didn’t want anybody to brush me off, like, because I, I had too many questions. That’s totally the wrong approach. And I think a lot of real estate investors get into this where they are afraid to ask questions. Because here’s the thing, say you ask a question and your worst fear comes true and someone thinks you’re dumb, right? They’ll answer your question and they won’t work with you. But that’s fine. Now you at least know the information, right? And then you can move on. And now next time you go to put an offer on a property and someone says, well, send me proof of funds.

Camilla:
Now you know what even proof of funds means, and, and right. So it’s totally okay to you know, don’t be afraid to look stupid. Or just ask questions because it’s, it, it’s the only way to learn and grow. Cuz all of us start at zero. I call it infant brain, right? If you think about an infant, they have to learn everything. And when they’re at the stage of their, they’re starting to walk, they don’t just stop because they fell down, right? They just keep going and keep trying and keep trying and keep trying. Right At, at some point in every, in everything that we’re gonna do in life, we have to start at 0.0. We start with our infant brain and then we have to just continue moving forward a little bit at a time, a little bit at a time, a little bit at a time. And soon you’ll look back and you’re like, whoa, I’ve grown up. I’m a grownup now. Right. You know, and so it’s, you, you have to be comfortable with that.

Charles:
Yeah, no, I remember getting my first commercial mortgage years, like decades plus back and it was I didn’t know, he was explaining to me what a prepay penalty was, cuz you only done, you only done regular residential, you don’t know what that is. Right? And I was like, step down. All right, that makes pretty sense. I got that, you know what I mean? <Laugh>, but I was like, you know, that’s, that’s 10, 12, 15 years ago, whatever it was. And so you’re like, it’s a completely different, it’s just like you said, you do a little bit, you learn more about it and now you know all the different types of prepay penalties that someone asked you and all this kind of stuff. And you’re, you’re, you’re now somewhat of an expert. So what are, what are the main factors that have come true to your success over your career? W2 into real estate, either or

Camilla:
Never quitting. I mean, as simple as that, right? Like, I mean, there’s, there’s so many things that you, like, profound things you could say, but for me it really is literally never quitting. Having the grit to just keep going. Even, even on the days that I don’t wanna keep going, or even on the, the days that are really hard, even when you get kicked in the teeth and, you know you have to deal with situations you never thought you’d have to deal with you just don’t quit, right? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> success is almost guaranteed if you don’t quit.

Charles:
Yeah. Yeah. It’s crazy. It is. It’s yeah. Consistent things every day and the right things and you become successful after a certain point of time. So, Jamila, how can our listeners learn more about you and your business to the stream investments?

Camilla:
Yeah, please visit my business study stream investments.com. On there I have a free course about all about passive investing. It’s called passive investing Made easy. It’s super simple, breaks it down, especially great for the first time, passive investor, if you’ve never done it before, it’s a really great course to pick up. And then through there, then there you’ll be able to schedule a call with me and I’m happy to chat with you, any of your listeners about investing in general and, and, or if you wanna be an active investor, feel free to reach out and I’m happy to share, you know, lessons learned and, and you know, talk about your journey and what’s happening with, with you too.

Charles:
Well, thank you so much for coming on and looking forward to connecting with you here in the near future and have a great rest of your day.

Camilla:
Thank you.

Charles:
Hi guys! It’s Charles from the Global Investors Podcast. I hope you enjoyed the show. If you’re interested in get involved with real estate, but you don’t know where to begin, set up a free 30 minute strategy call with me at schedulecharles.com. That’s schedulecharles.com. Thank you.

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About Camilla Jeffs

Camilla Jeffs is passionate about financial education, building wealth, and living a life by design. She is the Founder and CEO of Steady Stream Investments, a company focused on providing investment opportunities in large multifamily and senior housing communities. With 18 years of experience investing in real estate, she has done everything from live-in flips, single-family rentals, small multifamily, and now large multifamily and assisted living. She specializes in teaching the first-time investor how to achieve passive income and diversify their portfolio. Camilla believes in the investing trifecta, where one can achieve not only strong financial returns, but create social and environmental impact by providing safe, clean, and affordable housing to entire communities. Camilla is a triathlete, an outdoor enthusiast, and devoted mother to her five amazing children.

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