- Profit Strategy: Wholesale
- Number of Units: 2
- Amount Earned: $9,600
- Personal Money Invested: $0
- Prior Experience: Interior designer by degree, she spent 2 years in residential real estate. No prior experience in small apartments.
Here’s her story:
Melissa Newell is one of Lance Edwards’ most inspiring success stories, a 90 day challenge winner who closed her first deal in only two months by wholesaling a duplex with 100% owner financing and making $9,600 profit using none of her own money.
She is also a woman of deep faith who says a powerful prayer before every phone call to a prospective buyer or seller that helps her that helps allay bouts of deep anxiety, especially when it comes to discussing personal financial matters. Her words cut to the heart of the matter as they seek comfort and support: “God, I know that you are stronger than my fear, you can take my fear away and give me strength to overcome that fear. So I lay that fear at your feet and ask you to help me with that call.”
“The reason I say it out loud,” Melissa says, “is that when I hear the words, I can absorb the words and more intensely feel the connection to God, who I can visualize standing there listening.”
Melissa has another secret weapon in her arsenal, directly from Lance’s training, that makes a huge difference. “I was talking to him about my fear of making calls, and he gave me an amazing tip. He told me when I’m on a call and start to get nervous, I should stand up and see if that helps calm my nerves. He said that will bring a different perspective. I tried it, it worked and helped me continue the call, going from having a shaky voice to sounding more confident. Since then, I have taken that advice every time I’m on the phone.”
Melissa and her husband Doug, a career Army officer, spent two years on the residential side of real estate, flipping properties, before discovering Lance’s boot camp for small apartments online and enrolling while the two were based in El Paso, TX. One of the ways Lance’s organization helps his boot camp students is sending out query postcards, and she found the seller of the Las Cruces, NM duplex she wholesaled via a phone response to one of these cards. The man and his wife were an older couple that weren’t sure they wanted to manage the property anymore. With her coach Yvonne on hand to help her overcome her initial trepidation, Melissa reached out and built a rapport with him.
He had stated up front that he was just calling out of curiosity and wasn’t sure about selling. He said that he would have to ask his wife. He called back later and told Melissa he had fun talking to her earlier and they wanted to touch base to see what she could do and what kind of numbers she could offer. She sent them an LOI (Letter of Intent), a non-binding proposal between a buyer and seller, with three options. Having long since paid off the property and agreeing to take monthly payments for their property until they cashed out in the near future, they accepted her proposal of seller financing.
In trying to find a buyer, Melissa’s first instinct was to advertise the property online – but when that didn’t work, she remembered Lance’s teaching to always be flexible and think outside the box. In working on a previous deal that didn’t ultimately go through, she had accumulated numerous emails from potential buyers interested in that property. She emailed info about the duplex to everyone she had received emails from and got a “hit” from an out of state investor who was a former resident of El Paso who wanted to invest in a property near there (Las Cruces is 46 miles away). The buyer, who owned multiple properties, asked the management company he works with to run numbers and he came up with a price he was willing to pay.
“We negotiated back and forth, and he came in a bit lower than I had in mind, and I was able to take him up a little,” Melissa says. “He came back up when he learned that the duplex was seller financed and I had worked hard to ensure that it was. My seller wanted 60 days to close on the property and I found the buyer before the closing date. So essentially, I sold the contract to the investor for $9600, which was my profit.”
Upon that first successful deal, she spoke optimistically about her goals to negotiate from 2-3 deals per month. Instead, considering the challenging, overly saturated wholesale market in El Paso – where she and her husband lived until a recent transfer to Ft. Leavenworth, KS – she switched back for a time to flipping single family residences. Now that she no longer lives in El Paso, she is now planning to return to wholesaling.
One of the reasons Melissa is excited about building a successful career in real estate is because it gives her an opportunity to thrive in a business that is at least tangentially related to her passion for interior design, which was her major at Virginia Commonwealth University. She and her two young adult children are proud to be a military family, but she had been frustrated for a long time that Doug’s career and its inherent relocations came at the expense of her ability to find sustainable work in her chosen field.
“I really wanted to help out with the family finances,” she says. “Here my husband put me through school and I struggled to find a job in my field. I really wasn’t sure about my life. Not long after I received my degree, we moved from the area. I was doing an internship while still at VCU, but I couldn’t get a job with that company because they won’t hire you if they know you’re not going to stay long. In that industry, people want you to stick around. I was frustrated with the fact that we spent all that money for a degree that I wasn’t using. I wanted to find something I could do, if nothing else, to feel that my college education wasn’t a waste of time. Real estate is finally giving me that opportunity.”
Melissa makes clear that despite her frustrations, she has no regrets. Her family has been her priority and she was able to spend years as a stay-at-home mom, raising her son (now 22) and daughter (19). She is confident that her initial success after Lance’s bootcamp, and Doug’s participation in and enthusiasm for real estate investing, will ensure that both will be making a living doing that when he retires from the military.
“While it definitely has its ups, downs and challenges, I’ve learned that it’s okay to be a little fearful as long as you take that first step forward in faith,” she says. “I think what I enjoy the most are the wonderful people I have met along the way, folks like Lance, my coach Yvonne, the people in his organization, the realtors, contractors, owners and investors. I have enjoyed building relationships with and getting to know them. There is one investor I know who will actually pray with me over the phone when we’re talking about deals. It’s fascinating to experience a relationship in the business world that develops a rapport where we’re comfortable enough to share our mutual faith in God.”