You can make money in real estate without actually owning any property. Most people don’t realize this. Three ways to do so are wholesaling — which is basically flipping a contract, vacation rental arbitrage — which is renting a home or apartment and then subletting it on sites like AirBNB and Home Away, and also equity crowdfunding like NuuRez. Everyone thinks to be an investor you have to own the home, but there is a lot of money to be made without even using your credit or personal funds.
As a part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Noelle Randall.
Noelle Randall’s real estate experience has been instrumental in her personal success, as well as the success of countless professionals throughout the United States. Noelle is the founder and president of FDR Horizon Enterprises, a private real estate equity firm and brand manager. The company owns a diverse portfolio of real estate and is considered an industry leader. Noelle proudly boasts two advanced degrees — a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut in Urban Planning and a Master’s degree in Economic Development from Penn State, and most recently a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Baylor University.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
Thank you for having me. I had been in the banking and mortgage industry for some years and I noticed that my clients who were investors were cashing out big checks. Bigger than I was making even in my six-figure VP position. So I asked one of them one day what he was doing and he explained to me that he was flipping homes and wholesaling. That’s what lit the fire to start my investing career.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occured to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
The most amusing story to me now is how I started out. I thought I could just buy a house, fix it up, sell it, and make a profit. I was so green and novice in the beginning that I was making all kinds of novice mistakes. Those mistakes landed me bankrupt and living in my mom’s basement with my family. The greatest lesson I learned from that is to dig deeper and seek out coaching. I took what little information my mortgage clients were giving me and ran with it without really understanding a lot of the mechanics behind being a successful investor. This is amusing to me now, but then it was devastating.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am so excited about my latest venture — NuuRez. It is a real estate investing crowdfund where investors can put up as little as 500 dollars and earn dividends based upon the performance of the properties in our portfolio. It will help those who want to invest in real estate but don’t have the time, deep pockets, or know-how to get in the game and still make money.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My companies stand out for a few reasons. Noelle Randall Coaching has a savvy, scrappy team of investor-coaches who help our students become successful investors too. These coaches are success stories from the program so they really move the company forward while being entrepreneurs themselves. FDR Horizon — my real estate holdings company — is diversified in a few areas of real estate, so we are able to be nimble and hedge ourselves against economic shifts a little more than the investor who focuses on one area. And NuuRez focuses mainly on vacation and short term rentals.
Managing all of these companies is work. But I don’t see many other Black women real estate entrepreneurs doing what I do. When I enter rooms, most times it is white men at the table. So I stand out wherever I go.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My goodness, YES! I am so grateful for my very first coach. He helped me climb out of a very dark place. As an achiever, it is hard being knocked off of your square. I was at my lowest point, even though I was a VP earning a decent salary. I was used to winning, but my first try at real estate investing took me out the game. Meeting him and being taught not only how to invest in myself but how to wholesale and do some other things in real estate other than be a landlord or flip was the key to me getting to the place where I am today. I can’t put into words what that relationship means to me. That one connection has not only helped me and my family, but the hundreds of students I have coached, people who have worked for me, and so many others.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing and Public Relations fields, is a women dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?
I honestly think women can be too timid. Society tells us to stay in our place, be quiet, be agreeable, don’t be the “bitch”, and take whatever we can get. But men don’t operate like that. Not to be funny, but I’ve been in the room with a lot of men who don’t know any more than me but they project themselves like they do. And this confidence is what gets them higher salaries and positions. Women have everything it takes to dominate in the C-suite. We are smart, savvy, inventive, resourceful, and we know how to build fruitful relationships. We just need to assert ourselves more. And men need to make room for us without relegating us to “our place” because of our gender.
What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?
This is a GREAT question!
1) Society can honor women for our unique gifts and contributions. Too many times we are not respected for what we have to offer. We shouldn’t have to conduct ourselves a certain way or conform to these roles that are expected of us. Let us be human for once without being penalized for our femininity.
2) Companies can create intentional space for us to be supported and grow in our careers. It is a shame that in 2020 women make a 80 cent on every dollar a man makes. And its worse that Black women only make 65 cent to the dollar. We do the same work and most times exert ourselves so much more just to be seen and heard. The good ole boy system has to come down.
3) Individuals should be the voice for us — men and women alike. If a man sees something that is unfair or inequitable happening to a woman, he should consider how he would feel if he were in her shoes. So many times we say “what if that were your daughter or your mother”. But no, what if that were YOU. And women need to be allies with one another. Don’t let another woman suffer in silence or not be spoken for. Join forces with her and lift her up. There’s strength in number.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Two of the biggest challenges that I see are the gender wage gap and the silencing of women in the boardroom. I have literally given my brainpower to projects only to have men walk away and act like they owned the idea. Meanwhile they were making more money and doing less. If we were truly given credit for our work, it would be undeniable the value that we bring to the table. Then this battle to earn equitable pay wouldn’t even exist.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?
Just three?! Well, what excites me most about real estate is the ability to earn whatever I want without a cap on my wages. What I put into it is what I get out of it. I also get excited about the different strategies there are. There is always a way to make money — whether it is a good economy or not so good. Someone is always profiting in real estate. And most importantly, I get excited about being able to provide safety and security for people’s families. Whether that is through employing them, renting to them, or selling them a newly renovated home. Housing literally changes the trajectory of people’s lives. It is a basic necessity. So to be able to help people in that way brings me so much joy.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
The main thing that concerns me about the industry is how predatory it can be. Especially for newbie investors. People can be had quite easily. It is sad to me that people are so willing to take advantage of others instead of helping. Because there is so much more to gain from doing honest business.
Also, the rising cost of housing in some areas is egregious. People should be able to make a living wage and come home to adequate housing. The fact that people are working professional jobs and still can’t afford to buy a home bothers me.
And finally, undercover redlining. It is supposed to be against the law, but as someone who is savvy to mortgage lending, appraisal values, and the industry in general, I know that certain areas are being targeted. And it goes back to my 1st point. Because as areas are being devalued, homeowners aren’t realizing the true values of equity building when it comes to homeownership. So their families aren’t building generational wealth the way others are. And what happens after those areas are driven into the ground by divestment? Someone predatory comes in and buys property up for cheap and hikes the prices up, making it impossible for the native residents to afford their own neighborhoods. I have seen this happen to the elderly especially and it breaks my heart.
In order to reform or improve the industry, I think the regulations that are on paper should be actually followed. The laws are there. But of course there are either loopholes or people simply don’t follow the rules. There’s too much room for people with no integrity to come in and take advantage of people.
What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?
Never ask of your team what you are unwilling to do yourself and treat everyone with the same level of respect. Teams fall apart when there is suspected favortism. Be fair. Be honest. Own up to your mistakes and shortcomings. When you ask for feedback from the team, truly listen to what they have to say. They are seeing things from a viewpoint that you don’t have. As a leader, you’re looking from a bird’s eye view. They’re in the trenches. So take the time to get to know them, listen, and learn from them.
Also, don’t run from conflict. Address it early and head on so that it doesn’t turn into an undercurrent that takes the rest of the team out.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
1) Mindset is everything. People don’t tell you this, but the only way to success is to have a success mindset. You will hit brick walls. It is inevitable. But how you think and process the experience is the difference between a winner and a loser. Most people would have given up after losing everything in real estate. They would have tucked their tails and gone home with their ball and bat. But I knew I had to win. So I was willing to go the extra mile and do what others wouldn’t do to succeed. You can know all of the strategies but still fail with a negative mindset.
2) Real estate is an action sport. You have to get in the game to win it. A lot of folks come to me for coaching after having read books and taken courses elsewhere and they think they know what they’re doing. But without actually getting out there and practicing, you really don’t know anything. People who take inspired action are the ones who win. I have a former student who is now one of my coaches. She is one of our biggest success stories because she took what I showed her and ran with it. Within 60 days, she had made 60,000 dollars on her first investment. This isn’t one of those industries where you learn everything you can and then apply it. You learn by application in real estate. Every deal and scenario is completely different. You just have to have the tools in your toolbox to make it work for you.
3) To succeed as a real estate investor, borrow as much money as you can before you need it so that you have access to capital when you do. Because once you’re in a pinch, nobody is going to lend you money. This is what took me out of the game before. I was in too deep on fixing and flipping but didn’t have backup reserves to float me. Had I built access to lines of credit and other sources, I would have been fine. People teach you that debt is bad. It is only bad if you can’t find a way to get a return on it.
4) You can make money in real estate without actually owning any property. Most people don’t realize this. Three ways to do so are wholesaling — which is basically flipping a contract, vacation rental arbitrage — which is renting a home or apartment and then subletting it on sites like AirBNB and Home Away, and also equity crowdfunding like NuuRez. Everyone thinks to be an investor you have to own the home, but there is a lot of money to be made without even using your credit or personal funds.
5) Don’t buy the crappiest house on the block or in the worst neighborhood just because it is cheap. I see a lot of people buying homes in areas where it will take them way too long to realize appreciation. Yes, you bought the house for a couple thousand dollars, but how much will it take you to renovate it? And what are the other homes in the area appraising for? Will you realize any true value? Real estate investors make money on the purchase, not the sell of the home. So don’t get so attached to properties that you can’t see the actual numbers. Buying in moderate areas or even nicer neighborhoods can bring you more money through appreciation and higher after repair values if you plan to flip it.
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could inspire a movement to bring about the most amount of good, I would usher women into financial freedom. There are so many avenues to make money and close the wage gap but people need to be exposed to them. Real estate is one way and it is the #1 way to build wealth.
How can our readers follow you online?
Readers can follow me online at NoelleRandall.com or on Instagram at @NoelleRandallCoaching or on my Youtube channel under “Noelle Randall” — and be sure to subscribe!
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!