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  • Real estate investor Monick Halm was introduced to the business by happenstance.
  • After unknowingly employing a house-hacking strategy, Halm became interested in real-estate investing and started to attend seminars, acquire mentors, and learn about the industry.
  • In just one year’s time — and after spending $60,000 in training — Halm acquired more than 1,000 units employing a real-estate syndication strategy.
  • In order to find the perfect deal, Halm first vets seven specific criteria.
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Real estate investor Monick Halm got her start in the business by coincidence.

“Even though I had a six-figure salary, I could not afford a house in a decent neighborhood in LA,” she said on the “BiggerPockets” podcast. “A friend of mine in a similar situation said: ‘Well, why don’t we buy a duplex? You live on one side, and I’ll live on the other side’ — and I thought: ‘Well, that’s a good idea because I can afford half a house.'”

But instead of finding a dwelling with two equal units, Halm and her friend found a property with one large unit, a downstairs unit, and a converted garage. The two quickly agreed to live together in the larger unit and rent out the other lodgings.

“And then I went: ‘Oh my God, these people are paying our mortgage,'” she said. “I accidentally got into house-hacking, not even realizing that was a thing.”

That first accidental foray into real-estate investing opened the floodgates for Halm. She started flipping houses and buying rentals, but the expensive LA market was starting to suck up her resources.

However, that all changed when Halm met Robert Helms, from The Real Estate Guys radio show. 

“He said: ‘You know, LA is a tough market. I always say ‘live where you want to live; invest where the numbers make sense,'” she said. “Literally, when he said that, that opened up the world.”

Halm and Helms continued to chat for a bit, and during that conversation, she learned of real-estate syndication. It was a new strategy she’d use to build her empire.

Real-estate syndication is a technique that involves bringing large groups of investors together in order to purchase a property. 

“I think my head exploded,” she said. “I always thought you needed Donald Trump’s bank account to do that kind of thing — and I just had no idea that was a possibility for a normal person.”

Shortly thereafter, Halm signed up for Helm’s syndication seminar and was hooked. She knew this is what she wanted to do.

“I invested a lot in mentorship, in trainings — and I think like a good, least, 60 grand that year and probably more over the course of time to learn and train, but it paid off,” she said. “In that one year, we did four syndications. We passively invested in some things and then we syndicated four deals — and we got over 1,000 units in just that first year.”

Halm’s 7 criteria

In order for a market to look appetizing to Halm, she meticulously vets seven different factors.

“When a market has all seven of these factors, it’s hard to lose in that market,” she said. “And when a market doesn’t have it, it’s hard to win.” 

Here’s how Halm’s thinks about each criteria.

1. Population growth

“You have properties, you need people to live in those properties or you need people to work in your properties,” she said. “So if the population is growing, you’re likely to have tenants.”

2. Job growth

“They often come because there are more jobs,” she said. “The people that are there will have jobs. They’ll be able to pay to rent your properties.”

3. A diversified economy

“You don’t want to be in that one factory town — or even in that one industry town,” she said. “You want lots of different types of industries, lots of different types of companies — big companies. A really strong, robust diversified economy.”

4. Landlord-friendly

“You are a landlord, so you want to be in a market where it is easy to be a landlord,” she said. “In LA, if I have a tenant that stops paying then it could take me upwards of nine months to get rid of them.”

She continued: “Contrast that with Dallas, usually within three weeks they could be out.”

5. Business-friendly

“A business-friendly market is more likely to have the job growth … diversified economy, but you are a business when you have real estate,” she said. “That has to do with the taxes and has to do with regulations. It just is easier to do business there.”

6. Market cycle

Halm says that there are four parts to a market cycle: rising, hot, declining, and stable.

“I like to invest in a rising market, that’s when you’re most likely to find the best deals,” she said. 

7. Familiarity

“You or one of your partners needs to be incredibly familiar with the conditions on the ground,” she said. “Sometimes the difference between being on one block versus another block can be the difference between having a successful investment and an unsuccessful investment.”


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