I was born and raised in beautiful Vicenza, Italy – only 40 miles from lovely Venice on the Adriatic Sea. I used to hang out at the top of this hill as a teenager, where I could see the whole city stretched out before me.
n 1985 I relocated to United States, moving to Honolulu in 1987 where I became a college student at Hawaii Pacific University; just 4 miles from the beaches of Waikiki. I began developing a keen interest in real estate, so I started reading everything I could find – watching late night infomercials and buying courses by Dave Del Dotto, Robert Allen and Carlton Sheets.
My Real Estate Career Begins
That same year I became a real estate agent, to help pay for my college studies. I joined Dolman and Associates in Honolulu, and right away I was inspired by some of the top agents on the island. I began following their lead and in my first year in the industry, I became a multi-million dollar producer!
In 1991, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and moved to Missouri that same year. Once on ‘the mainland,’ my real estate career really took off. I started to purchase properties with no money down, using creative financing.
I continued my education by earning an MBA in Finance, still working part-time in real estate. Then I began a new career as an assistant controller in metal commodities, planning to climb the corporate ladder and keep real estate as a side business.
From Part-Time to Full-Time
By the mid-1990s I had already acquired a sizable portfolio (over 20 properties) consisting mostly of multi-families for rental income – and I was barely 30 years old! I was making more money in part-time real estate (less than 10 hours a week) than my full-time corporate job, so in 1996 I decided to flip the switch and devote myself entirely to real estate. Once I was able to immerse myself full-time into real estate investing, my career skyrocketed.
In 1997, I began sharing my knowledge of real estate investing, proven strategies and creative financing techniques by hosting real estate seminars. And, given the widespread use of the Internet, I decided to also share my practical knowledge and experience as well via online mentoring and coaching. In 2010, I opened The REI Lab, Inc. – the culmination of various companies I had started and closed in the past.
The Next Chapter Unfolds
With a love for laid back lifestyle and great weather (I really missed being near the water), I decided to relocate once more in May of 2015. This time the move was to Broward County, Florida; midpoint between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
The Miami-Dade area is full of opportunities, and over half the real estate transactions here are for cash – more than twice the national average according to the National Association of Realtors!
What prompted you to start educating and mentoring other investors?
I’m excited about the real estate investing market and wanted to share my knowledge and proven strategies with others struggling to get started. I know how important mentors can be, and I wanted to empower others and encourage their growth.
What is one of the more frequent questions new students ask?
I am often asked: How can someone find the time to break into real estate investing while still working a full-time job or raising a family, or both? My answer? I did it, and so can you! While raising 4 children, I built a profitable business and am still able to take the time to enjoy vacations whenever I need them.
What sets you apart from so many other real estate mentors?
My students tell me I am very approachable, unlike other trainers and coaches they’ve taken classes from who only instruct and don’t talk to them as equals. That means a lot, because I am personally invested in each student’s success.
How do you keep your edge in this ever-changing industry?
With 30 years in the industry, I have an eye and the aptitude to understand what works out there and how to help you stand out as an investor – which is the key to survival in this business, right there! I travel to several metro cities in the U.S. – at least once a month –to hold live events, workshops and expos, which gives me the opportunity to observe the changes in the local economy and network with the local real estate professionals as well.
How can your students keep up with all the new things you learned?
Each week I write a blog post about new trends and demand in today’s real estate market, as well as useful tips and more. Most of the time I am ahead of the curve – I will write about a strategy before it becomes mainstream.
I also invite my subscribers to mastermind calls, where I discuss relevant topics, answer questions, and network with investors nationwide. It is a great way for us to communicate, so you can fully understand the intricacies of creative real estate investing. You’ll get your real estate questions answered, while you participate and profit from the interaction.
Webinar workshops are available with me each week – designed to inform and train you on the most profitable real estate strategies out there. They are full of solid training and structured in a way that you can use the information today to start or improve your real estate investing career!
Do you have online courses for independent study available?
Absolutely, yes. There are 11 main courses to choose from, as well as bonus modules – free when you sign up for a course right after a webinar! Check out the REI Courses page and fill out the form displayed there if you want my personal advice on which one to start with. Any questions, just use the support buttons within your dashboard for a fast response!
What is the one thing that holds new investors back from breaking into the business?
Definitely TMI! Most would-be investors start out with really high hopes and way too much information. Unfortunately, this leaves them stuck at square one; not knowing what comes first or how to apply what they’ve learned. If what other so-called experts have told you isn’t making sense, or you’re having difficulty putting any clear process into motion, I would love to help you achieve your dreams!
If I do the work, can I be sure of success?
1989 was a perfect year to be born – into a new generation fueled by a culture of standing up for your hopes and dreams, and daring to want more. I was the first born American child of a resilient Italian immigrant woman, née Laura Longeno. And though my birthplace in Honolulu, Hawaii was home for only 2 years, I still managed to soak in this peaceful place.
Little did I know then that the real estate career supporting my mom’s college education, and the sunshine and sea we both loved, would both become an integral part of our future.
Waynesville, Missouri would become our next move but far from the last. It was followed by a flurry of cities demanded of an army brat; including New York, St. Louis, Omaha, and later Fort Riley, Kansas. Growing up with 3 younger siblings, I assumed the role of Mommy #2 and learned early to manage my time and make things happen quickly.
Opportunities were always there – for 15 years I was a ballerina, along with my sister Alexandra. Spending 4.5 hours in the studio every day was a lot, and though those years are commemorated with a tattoo on my back, I felt like it wasn’t my life. That said, the experience showed me that accomplishment comes with hard work.
In college I aimed toward the health industry because I enjoy helping others, graduating with a Medical Assistant diploma. Life was moving right along, and before I knew it, I was married and bringing an adorable little boy into the world.
There weren’t really work opportunities in my field in Fort Riley where my husband was stationed, so I took 4 part time jobs working from home to be there for my son. Hunter gave me even more reasons to do things well and right. I added another tattoo (a compass) to help steer me on the right path. It’s on my wrist, so I can’t ignore it.
Over the next few months I started working full time for my mother, in her real estate business; administration and marketing. As luck would have it, another move was in the cards when Laura made the decision to relocate her business to Miami. It seemed right for me too, and so in May of 2015 we arrived in this sunny place alongside the ocean, with palm trees and I instantly knew I was home.
Eventually, I worked myself up to affording a place of my own in a really nice neighborhood. I was proud of myself but still felt like my life was missing something; I was meant for more. Seeing the kind of money Laura’s students were making was intriguing and I thought it was worth of try.
Going into my mother’s business wasn’t my plan – I wanted to blaze my own path – don’t we all? One day I was in the audience at a real estate convention where Laura was speaking. The event organizer Linda Pliagas was sitting next to me, and she leaned over and told me, “Wow, the way you look at your mom I can see how proud you are of her.” It was an epiphany – I wanted my son to look at me that way some day!
Moving forward now, I’m learning to help others get out from under difficult situations. I’m less shy now – and finding my voice in my late 20’s is an accomplishment I’m proud of. Turns out real estate may be my calling after all – it’s certainly changed my life – for the better. And, my mom and I actually work better together than separately; she’s my #1 best friend.