My Realty Gains
Author and Real Estate Innovator, Mechiel transformed her career from an IT professional to a full-time Real Estate Investor. Moving from a job she was passionate about but had no control over her schedule or life, she discovered the potential of Real Estate Investing. She was hooked! As an innovative problem solver, accomplished project manager, master connector and fearless action taker, she navigates investing opportunities and challenges head-on. After years of experience in single-family homes and multi-family properties in different states, she is now involved in developing an RV Park.
What You’re Going to Learn:
Mechiel Kopaska’s journey into the Real Estate Investing
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – Tell us a little bit about your journey in Real Estate besides IT, how did you solely move into Real Estate full time? How did you start to do it?
Mechiel – I had a friend, Patsy. In 2000 she was living in a townhome and she wanted to sell it, so she listed it, but nobody was betting on it, and she wanted to move from Tampa up to Charlotte. And so she came to me one day and she said, why don’t you just buy it?
I’m like, I don’t know how to buy Real Estate but she knew I had a little bit of money and it was only a $50,000 investment so I said, Okay I’ll do it. I ended up and bought her townhome, and I got a buccaneer’s ticket in the process, but anyway, it allowed her to move to Charlotte.
Now I had this townhome, but I didn’t know how to get renters, I didn’t have a maintenance crew, I didn’t know any of that. I learned by a fire hose on all of these things and so that’s what got me started. Once I did that, another unit came up available in the same neighbourhood, and I went and bought that one, and that was the second one in my portfolio. And then over the years, my portfolio just got bigger because I enjoyed it and I was learning more and I was learning the value of passive income.
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – You started with one townhome that you stumbled upon because your friend asked you to do it. How long ago was that, Michelle?
Mechiel – That was in 2000.
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – It was not that long ago. Yes, it seems like 22 years ago from now, if you think about it. But 2000 wasn’t that long ago from a real estate perspective because we had 2008, and 2009 slums and stuff like that. But those who bought in 2000, obviously that property would have appreciated quite a bit now.
What promoted Mechiel Kopaska to enter the world of Multifamily Syndication?
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – So you went from one townhome to multiple townhomes, and how many properties do you have? What is your transition into multifamily and to RV parks?
Mechiel – This is a long transition period. I started in 2000, and over the course up until 2008, and 2009, I had acquired eight properties in total, and I was self-managing them. And I was working full time as an IT project manager. So it can be done. Anybody can do it. If I can do it, everybody can do it. But I will tell you that I still hadn’t learned all the lessons that I wanted to learn. But because of that passive income in 2017, I was able to quit my job. And when I quit my job, then I went and took a six-month class with Robert Kiyosaki online and it cost me a lot of money, but I didn’t care. I wanted to get an education so I took the class online. And then after that, I wanted to do more in real estate. And that’s what kind of prompted me to get into the Multifamily.
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – Interesting journey.
What strategies you should be mindful of while doing Real Estate?
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – Looking back, what could you have done differently if you have to do it again? What would be your strategy?
Mechiel – There’s one thing that always I look back to. One is I didn’t have a tribe. Nobody was helping me, and I didn’t even know that there were people out there that could help me. So had I joined up with a mentor, perhaps, or someone that could have taught me things, I probably would have learned a lot quicker. But as it was, I was out there on my floundering and it wasn’t until I took the Robert Kiyosaki class that I started joining different groups, and real groups in the area, and that just opened up a whole new world to me. I have met amazing people in this space, and now my education level has skyrocketed. And I know a lot more about real estate than I ever did when I first started.
How can someone from W2 Class start to begin a Real Estate Investing journey?
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – I know we are talking from a passive standpoint. How can somebody from W2 be involved in Real Estate?
Mechiel – I was just a single person. The only regret that I do have is that I didn’t get out of the rat race. It took me 17 years to get out of the rat race. Had I gone and found my tribe and whatever, I would have been out of that rat race earlier.
What I did, as I was working full time and had these eight assets, right. And it became cumbersome because I was travelling every week and I would be gone. I used to have horses. I had to give them up because I couldn’t even care for them. Actually, I got fired at one point and that inspired me even to do more. But I went into consulting myself and now I was in control of my hours. So after that consulting gig was up, which was about two years, I went back and took a part-time job, just a part-time job so they could get me through the hump. So in other words, I work 32 hours a week. The other time I spent doing Real Estate. So I gradually worked my way out of that job.
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – Awesome.
What is your experience in multifamily?
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – Tell us a little bit more about your Multifamily experience and RV experience.
Mechiel – I’ll say that I have mastered in my terms. After some time, I had mastered it, and it just became a kind of boring. I re-educated myself and took some more classes. And at the offset of that, I was working with the Real Estate Agent, and he was we were doing flips together. In other words, I would supply the money, but he did all the work, which was great for me because that’s when I was working.
But at the end of that, after taking the Robert Kiyosaki class, I was like, you know what? I can do this slip thing myself. I’m going to go fire him. I scheduled a meeting, and we met, and I say a fire. It wasn’t like that. We’re still friends to this day. But I just told him, I said, Jim, you know what? You inspire me to do this on my own, and I want to start fresh. I want to do this on my own. I said I want to make mistakes. And he said, Michelle, don’t. Please don’t do it. I can help you every step of the way. And I said, no. I don’t want your help.
I went and got my Real Estate agent. Now, a different one, and I bought a house, and I was going to flip it. After that, I put too much money into it, and I bought it at the wrong price. And when I went to sell it, it wouldn’t sell. My Real Estate agent, my new Real Estate Agent called me up, and he said, Michelle, I don’t know what happened, but the market in that specific neighborhood dropped by $10,000. And I said I think I know what happened. And he goes, what? And I said, did you hear about on the news, the guy that killed his wife and buried her in the backyard? I said that house is six blocks from my house. I said Nobody wants to live here.
What I call that in my book is the flip that flopped. However, there is a good ending at the end of that, but also at the same time, I bought that house, the same real estate agent had a multifamily eight-unit apartment complex for sale. And I had never owned commercial property before, and I didn’t know a thing about it. But he helped me walk through the steps of doing it, and made me feel very comfortable. I ended up negotiating this deal, and I got it for a really good price. It didn’t come without issues, though. They had a sea wall issue. But I knew that I was going to probably try to get that fixed when I owned it.
My goal was to raise the rent as far as I could. And as people would move out, I would upgrade the units, and then over time, all the units would get upgraded, and then I would sell it. I also borrowed hard money on this deal. So hard money, you pay more interest. It was 10% interest. And I had to repay the loan or refinance within a year. So that year was coming up. And here are some things that I learned about multifamily. One, the area in which this place was located was the only people that lived in this area were people that worked in bars and restaurants. They can’t afford my rent. Plus the property was on the water. It was beautiful. But I couldn’t raise my rent. I learned that hard lesson that there were other investors in my neighborhood and they were paying for water and electricity.
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – Wow.
Mechiel – That reduced my income. At the end of that, getting close to that year, I decided to sell it. After the updates and everything were made, I sold it. But I will tell you that I made $350,000 on that deal in one year.
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – I mean, think about you had eight properties which took you eight years, but in one multifamily property, which took you one year from the get-go, from starting the deal, and you end up making whopping. $350,000 may not be a big amount now for you, but back then, I’m pretty sure that it was a big amount, right? $350,000 from one property.
So this is for our listeners or readers. If you are in Real Estate, you could be a single-family, active Investor, or you could be a Passive Investor. But as you scale up from eight single-family homes in eight years and then one multifamily of eight units in one year and ended up making a good chunk of money. The returns, if you had Investors, would have made money with you. If you had Investors in this deal with you, the depth, the scalability, had it been a 16-unit property, you would have made it even more correct. I’m just trying to emphasize the points, how people can scale up.
Watch Mechiel Kopaska sharing her RV Park Adventures
Prashant Kumar, CCIM – Tell us about your RV park adventure?
Mechiel – I’ve been researching RV parks for two and a half years now. What inspired me was, that my mom and dad used to come from Iowa to Florida every year in their RV, and I would go stay with them for a month and I would go to my job from their RV. I told my dad that I would like to own one of these one day. That was like 20 years ago, right? Here I am now, just starting to do it. So anyway, that inspired me so I’ve been on the hunt.
I have looked I swear I’ve looked at a bunch of RV parks, but nothing has tickled my fancy because of my background in Iowa, living on a farm, I decided I’d rather develop my own because I’m going to get what I want out of the park. And here’s the thing. The park that I’m going to develop is going to be a high technology-based park. I am going to use technology in the park. Now I am working with a consultant. I got another consultant because I’ve never owned an RV park. This guy will do everything from a feasibility study to project management of the job, from dirt to finish. And then he also does the operation side. So he’ll be guiding me the whole way through. So I am very much stoked and there’s an RV park conference next weekend in Daytona Beach, so I’ll be going to that as well.
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