May 27, 2022

Living The American Dream with Maricela Soberanes

In today’s episode of Cash Flow Pro, we talk with Maricela Soberanes, managing principal and founder of Up Plex. Marciela moved from Mexico to the U.S.A at the age of 23. She began to study medicine, learned the language, and gave back to the...

In today’s episode of Cash Flow Pro, we talk with Maricela Soberanes, managing principal and founder of Up Plex. Marciela moved from Mexico to the U.S.A at the age of 23. She began to study medicine, learned the language, and gave back to the community by joining the Navy. Her first real estate experience was purchasing a duplex in 2006.

Slowly, she became aware of the power of real estate and passive income. After paying a $250,000 student loan debt in 18 months, she made it her goal to diversify her portfolio and educate herself on what it takes to achieve financial freedom.

Our mission is to divulge financial literacy and create the Up Plex Institute platform to offer educational courses covering the entire spectrum from economic dependency to Financial Independence, Paying off student debt, basics of investing, building wealth, etc.

In this episode, we discuss:
• Starting a new chapter in a new country
• Discovering real estate and using it as a tunnel for passive income
• Vetting operators and sourcing investors
• Location and why it is essential to your business

Tune in if you are interested in learning more about Maricela’s story and how you can create a revenue stream.

Find your flow,
Casey Brown

Resources mentioned in this podcast:


Casey Brown  0:00  
Awesome Hey there and welcome to today's episode of cash flow. Daily real estate investing podcast and YouTube channel. Today I am here with I'm gonna try not to mess this up Maricella. So brownness Marcella, how are you today?

Unknown Speaker  0:28  
Hi, Hey, Casey, doing great. Thank you for having me here. Wonderful,

Casey Brown  0:32  
wonderful Marcela is with a company called up Plex. And she is going to tell us all about her journey and how she got to where she is today in real estate and real estate investing. And so Marcella, I'm gonna let you start, tell us a little bit about your backstory and how you got started.

Unknown Speaker  0:50  
Great, thank you. Thanks, again, for having me here.

Casey Brown  0:54  
You're welcome.

Unknown Speaker  0:56  
I can start as back as growing up, I actually grew up in Mexico, I was born and raised in Mexico and, you know, large family, you know, working mothers taboo, you know, the whole kind of scenario. And when I came to the States, I was 23 years old. I had a business degree back in Mexico, that became useless when I arrived here, because I didn't speak English and you know, to do business you kind of have. So, I didn't speak the language. And my priority was to learn learn the language. And and then like many Americans, you know, we kind of hear like, hey, the next step is to get a house, you know, get a job.

Casey Brown  1:41  
Step right into the American way.

Unknown Speaker  1:43  
Right. I was like, Hey, I'm in America, I must obey by the, by the elders, right. But I did went to school, I got back into college. And eventually, I earned a medical, I'm sorry, a doctor, Doctor degree, and my Stacia provider. And so that was a little fast forward, right. Coming to America, it was a new way of living a huge world of opportunities and a way for me to pay back on this amazing country wants to give, I joined the Navy. For nine years, I'm sorry, eight years, almost nine. And it was just for me, it was a way to give back.

Casey Brown  2:36  
But nobody asked you. Let me ask you just for context purposes, what, what year, what year or years? Are we talking about? Like, cuz I told the gentleman the other day on a podcast, it seems like we all define pre post pre Oh, seven, pre 2007 and post 2007. So give us a little context as to what yours we're talking about here. So we can step into where you came into the game?

Unknown Speaker  3:00  
Yes, yeah. So I came in, came to the States in 1998. Okay. When I was done, it was fine. And I guess for your audience, what they want to hear is how I got started into the real estate, I actually purchased a duplex as my primary home. And I have had that live in one side rented while you

Casey Brown  3:26  
were in the night while you were in the Navy. That

Unknown Speaker  3:29  
was before I went to the Navy. That was in 2006. Before while I was in school, actually, I relocated to Memphis. This is all happening in Austin, right? grad school to Memphis. So in the in 2000. In August, you're making me do math. But 2006 I bought it and then I probably year later. 2007. Actually, yes, I went to the school and graduated nine to Dustin and I came back to Austin and live in the same duplex and continue to rent the other one. I acquire like many Americans, there's a student loans $250,000 that which I paid in 18 months. Wow. I was on steroids.

Casey Brown  4:22  
Yeah. Talk about a somebody that's taken action. I don't I don't know that. Our audience could really find anybody that takes more action than paying 250,000 student loans off in 18 months. I mean, my gosh, that's, that's $15,000 a month. Right. And that math it's it's it's pretty close to it's 14 Anyway, man alive. Wow. Good, wavered way to go. Good for you. So alright, go forward. I had to I had to stop and take that in for a second.

Unknown Speaker  4:51  
Thank you. Thanks. You know, so that I talked about that because I think you know Have you done that the wow factor, right, but now that I know how to actually invest my money and have the money paid for death for, you know, luxury what, you know, the other other liabilities, I could have invested that money and then with the profits aren't gonna pay the death and then continue to have my money that later on hopefully and invest in passively. And I didn't know this I didn't know I could do I could invest passively and have the earnings for from that to pay the debt, right. Because I think people need to hear that needs to hear that, you know, the way we invest now, so I guess I'm gonna bank a little bit. So I continue to build my portfolio. At that point, it was just me and I bought a house and then two more four plexes. And I was running this by myself working remotely working in different states. As you can imagine, a lot of work, you know, but it was, it was it was building the business. And then I met my husband, also in the Navy. And we joined, we joined forces, and we continue to acquire properties. We have her actually, when I deployed, I spent a lot of time educating myself into how to use the real estate actually to build wealth, and not necessarily just, you know, like one house at a time. So I learned about syndications. But when we were looking into it with my husband, we were both active in the military, so we could deploy it at any time. And it just wasn't a good time to take other people's money and try to invest it right. So continue to acquire and build our small portfolio, a small multifamily portfolio. And when I will say now COVID, year 2020. We have he was retiring from the military 27 he retired that year. And my contract as an anesthesia provider was what I lost the contract. And it kind of forced us to take a deeper look at the real estate as a as an option to build continue to build wealth. And that's when we actually stop acquiring this small multi families and went into apartments indications

Casey Brown  7:31  
Wow, in I mean, that whole story, just if that doesn't prove what what this country has to offer. I mean, there you've got a story of somebody that came to the States didn't know. Uh, I mean, I'm assuming you didn't you obviously hadn't you didn't have a network of any kind, right? I mean, you just basically showed up on the United States doorstep and said, Hey, I'm here, I'm ready to get my doctorate. And, and and I mean, you obviously had, there was some opportunity at some point that allowed you to, to, to pursue all of this, but I mean, talk about a story of capitalism, and just just just capitalism in general, where you're saying, Hey, I showed up here in 1998 11 years later, I had a degree and $250,000 in debt. I knocked that out, oh, six, I bought our house hacked before house hacking was a thing. And then paid your student loans off, like, for all intents purposes, immediately, I mean, 18 months is nothing. But so so and that was your degree was in you got your doctorate, you said but that was anesthesiology, I assume Correct? Yes. Which which is which is which, really, for context, in my knowledge is probably one or used to be one of the best paying jobs in the medical field was anesthesiologist. I mean, that was that was basically the top and I don't know that some of the risk now doesn't outweigh the pay, I don't know that the pay is quite as equal to the risk is it or adverse to the risk as it used to be? But you paid your loans off, then you started then you then you just you basically just flourished from there. And then and was able to get married and I mean, that's just if that's not a story of just overall Americanism and and and just beauty I don't really know what is. Now what I have to ask this for the listeners out there who've been following me know that I have a I have. I have a long lost brother from Mexico as well who, much like yourself migrated to the United States, basically showed up on the United States doorstep. I was given the opportunity. And I notice how I've phrased that given the opportunity to sponsor him to become a United States citizen back in 2015. So he and I are still married for I think, three more years. But nevertheless, it's it's such a fulfilling story to say, hey, here's somebody else that that went through this process, and has added to, you've done nothing but add to the equity of our country, if you will. So I have to worry about in Mexico did you come from

Unknown Speaker  10:36  
I was born in a little town and San Luis Potosi. And when we moved to Mexico City when I was about five and a half years, and polish and Mexico, and when in Tampico, which is by the Gulf of Mexico, I wrote a book on my growing ups and traveling to visit my grandma. And just just to share that,

Casey Brown  11:00  
sure, sure, well, and we'll get to, we'll get to that, because I'd like for you to share that with the audiences. And as you can tell, this is a subject that's very close and very near and dear to me, simply because I feel giving opportunity to everybody is is is just a necessity. And it's it's not a although sometimes it's not the American way to just to do things, some ways that are being done. But nevertheless, it is we are given the opportunity. And it's how we treat those opportunities that define where we go forward. From there, you were given an opportunity, and you obviously took it. And as my grandmother used to say, took the bull by the horns and got it done. So congratulations, obviously, we thank you for your service to the to our great country as well. But you know, so now let's kind of transition this talk now that we've had the cultural discussion, and, and we've we've tackled all of that. I want to hear, how did the real estate syndication world and what year did you initially kind of start saying, hey, this might be something I think, and I believe your husband is in business with you? Is that correct? Yes. That's what I thought so, so what year and how did you start? Obviously, the house hacking and that kind of stuff that you noticed? And, and that worked, obviously, how did you start saying, Hey, I think I want to get into raising money or being a part of this, this network of capital raisers and so on.

Unknown Speaker  12:39  
Yeah. So you talked about it earlier, the network that you that I had, I didn't know I person, not one. So platform, when, in 2020, we found a mastermind community gray as the real estate related and we join, and before then it was just me, and then me and my husband, or my husband and I. And then when we found this committee, it was just so empowering to be around people that had some of the same dreams. And we think alike, and you know, as an entrepreneur, you, you know, you always either find yourself alone or like trying to reinvent a wheel, you know, and have this opportunity to network with so many people that we're trying to do. We're just empower us to believe that we could do bigger things and, and help others and bigger communities. So we then join another mastermind community, specifically for apartments indications, this was in 2020. And we started selling or small portfolio with, like, making profit, because we have bought, and then really good time and the market was turning around. And as we were selling, we were also transitioning into investing. We invested in eight or nine passive investment opportunities, then that helped us see how other different groups were doing syndications, how they were running the business. We, you know, invested in five different markets in five different states. And different housing. We have a plus main a class housing, we have some hotel conversions, workforce houses, so we wanted to see a whole spectrum of properties and businesses being run. So we invested in nine months, we put into five different selling knobs or is seven or nine dedications, and that build those to about 1200 apartments, again, passively. And then, as we were doing that we also build in our own community, complex community, and network. At one point, we were given the opportunity to join a team and we came as a general partners and help them close enough that was actually to profit two groups, we then became general partners. And then right, so we went forth for different syndications as general partners. And that puts us another 1200 apartments, that we have some some GP position, and to those

Casey Brown  15:26  
for a total of how many across GP and LP,

Unknown Speaker  15:29  
they'll be about 2500

Casey Brown  15:34  
or so. So about 12 and 12, or 1215 1250, something like that. Oh, wow. And then on the GP stand point art. So let's, let's step back a little bit, for the purposes of somebody that's initially thinking about investing with an operator or something like that? What are some of the what are some of the things that you looked for in an operator when you were going or a deal, if you will, when you were when you were looking at investing passively to begin with?

Unknown Speaker  16:05  
So that's a really good question, you know, that the knowledge that we have gathered from, you know, started to invest, too now, there is no, I will say, there's not a book to show you how to so many. To add, right, and a lot, that has the potential to invest are hesitant, because they hear a bad story or something terrible happened, somebody lost money. So it's, it makes it really difficult for people to deploy and to trust you. So for us, the fact that we don't passive investing, and we still do passive investors, we want to invest our money. And so we don't have that many deals coming, right. So there's also other markets that we want to explore, and we are not there. So we invest passively. So I can that I can totally relate to somebody that is just looking from afar, and wants to get there and wants to put their money to work, and they don't know where to start. So the things that I will say, you know, no, have a relationship with a person, you know, even even say, Google it, we were in a lending conference not long ago. And that's the lender, that's what the lenders do. And see what the what the person's background is, you know, get to know their family, ask them about, are they do they have another job, and, and they that's taking away from you for managing your money, right? So know, that team, who else is involved, because there's many times as you know, a syndication is not going to be done by one person. So just because you know, that one person, do you don't know who that person is in business with, right. So the whole team, and, and, you know, should ask them to show proof of if they haven't done it yet, that there's somebody in the team, the team has the experience, ask for the proof, you know, even talk to them to connect with another investor that they have been invested with. And, you know, a couple of them, we do that for investors all the time. You know, it is, like I mentioned as a community, so hopefully, our investors will meet other or investors and we get together, you know, and, and we have happened. So it shouldn't be a hidden secret that

Casey Brown  18:20  
keeps everybody keeps everybody happy when they feel connected, and they feel like and that's, that's a big part of our program is well, it's the same thing. It's, it's, you know, don't you don't if you don't have anything to hide, you don't anything to hide, I mean, just just tell tell it like it is. And, you know, somebody was asking the question yesterday, well, how do you sell that to investors? And I said, I don't sell it in any kind of way. Just tell them what it is. And if they like it, they like it. If they don't, then, you know, maybe maybe we're just not a good fit, or maybe it's just not exactly the, the what they're looking for. And, and, you know, that's it's when you turn it into a sales kind of a salesy thing, it just is not, it doesn't hold the same water, I guess, if you will, it's, it's got, it's got that feel to it. So yeah, when you have that authentic feel of, hey, we're a community we're investing together. Because let's be honest, at the end of the day, that LPS of the deal are, are maybe not on first term with each other. Maybe they don't even know each other. Maybe they never met, maybe they don't even know each other exists, but they're still they're somewhat partners together in the same deal. So they have a common thread. And so yeah, I mean, you know, but you just there again, every deal is different, but But yeah, you that's, that's a community part of it. I love that you're hitting on that. So go ahead. I'm sorry.

Unknown Speaker  19:43  
No, I think we have same way of thinking and a lot of our investors come from the medical community. So to be working with them along the way, you know, trillion, you know, being in the same hospital and I don't ever want to feel like oh man, this that communication didn't go out or, you know, sometimes bad news have to be delivered. But the important thing is that you deliver you like deliver and explain. And most people is going to understand, rather than trying to, you know, alter that information and, and, you know, like sugarcoat it, you know that it just doesn't go well. So, transparency, you know, people will understand as long as you are completely transparent, you know, the way we communicate with our investors. Like, if I drop that somebody else has the access to the same information. So it shouldn't be a, it's almost like, take your way, take yourself out of the way, right? That's right.

Casey Brown  20:38  
That's right. That's right. And you just, you just yeah, you make it all about the deal. I mean, you know, the deal is what we're all here for anyway, you know, we're all here for returns, we're not here so that we have a fuzzy feeling in our stomach, and, and everybody feels cozy. I mean, we want to feel cozy, we want to have that fuzzy feeling. But we also want a good deal that's going to yield results, give us what we want, and move on from there. And then of course, then then look for a repeat deal later. So now that makes perfect sense. Now, tell us a little bit. So I can only imagine you said a lot of your investors come from the medical field. Now. And that's, again, that's a big, big pool of people that look for our type of investments, because medical field, and I always always say this, I've said this in many, many podcasts, and that the the common the commonality is the processes. But you know, engineers, and the medical field professionals are just wild about these passive income things because they don't have the time to go manage, they don't have the time to go pick up the the pieces or change light bulbs, or punch toilets or deal with termites or deal with a bad tenant, they don't have the time to do that. They want somebody else to do it. And they're willing to pay a you know, whatever, whatever the fees to the syndication are to make that happen. But they ended up with income in the end that they can duplicate and grow. And so where do you find a majority of your investors? And I'm assuming that some are referrals, and some are people talking amongst the medical professionals, but where do you tend to find investors?

Unknown Speaker  22:18  
Well, yeah, you're right, a lot of it comes from people that I've worked with before. And they, they weren't they, they trust us, and they want to bring their friends to make the make money. But um, you know, we have a community online, that all is about to have one to 1000 people that are medical, and then what I do is just share information, share educational opportunities, and just give, share, share, share, like, I don't ask,

Casey Brown  22:49  
is that through like a Facebook group? Or is that through a website or something?

Unknown Speaker  22:54  
It's drug webs, I meant to Facebook and specifics. A community, they are very, and to the real estate, some of them are with other assets, other type of assets. So I think I failed to mention that we still do widow lending, like private lending money. So some, some of the, they're actually looking for capital, and we lend capital for those purposes. We do have notes, and we have self storage facilities and mobile home parks. And those are joint ventures ship ships, so they're smaller, they're not syndicated. But so we like to keep, or I'll say, diversification within the real estate investing as well. And because of that, I, you know, often ask, I mean, answers to questions that they have as they're trying to do their, their investments. So it doesn't have to be, you know, we try to give as much as possible, and have them do come back and they said, I'm tired of trying to do this by myself. How can I join you? How can I invest with you? And,

Casey Brown  23:59  
and I'm sure it's there doing things just like this podcast and other podcasts. I mean, you try to you just you just continue to add, you know, the thing is, is that everybody thinks that you're gonna go out and you're just gonna pick up investors like, like, there's investors just out here waiting, and I'm just all I gotta do is go talk to him, and they're gonna while they're just gonna run trip over themselves to try to get in my deal. And, and unfortunately, that's not I say, unfortunately, I don't even think that's unfortunate, because a lot of those people are people you wouldn't want to end up working with or being tied to anyway. So what I'm getting at is is that that how you present yourself and you bring it all back full circle, that's, that's really, that's, that's really awesome. So that's a good talent to I mean, that your, your whole community there that you're talking about. And like you said, you just provide value, you give value and you just you can, you can do anything. You can do anything in this world. So congratulations on everything you've accomplished. What were do so geographically speaking, do you have any types of, of areas that you focus on? I know you mentioned there, some smaller deals and mobile home parks and some smaller deals, maybe in self storage, and so on. But, but geographic, let's talk geographic geography first. And then we'll talk asset class,

Unknown Speaker  25:21  
what we do is stay away from states that are not business business friendly, because at the end of the day, when you run a syndication, you run a business, right? So so we stay away from those states. And in pretty much any other states that have the market, you know, we look for markets that are going to either appreciate or provide a cash flow. And again, when we shop around we shopping for what are investors will like, so sometimes, you know, the age of the, the, the asset might be a little more important, because then you can hold, you know, the holds the value better. So we are open to pretty much any state. And because the nature of how we do business we actually team up with with people sometimes, you know, we always try to get somebody that is has boots in the ground that one of our members, or one of the team members, it's close by the property that always sells better when we are presenting that deal to our investors. You have somebody that can literally walk to or drive to the to the property if needed. So we're open to business to any state pretty much we don't limit. The other things that we look for it. Of course, the market, you know, is a thriving market. And, like sometimes the weather we don't we don't live in much, much but like try to stay away from this no, you know, call type of states just because sometimes you need to put more in maintenance. But if it's a good deal, and the deal is gonna pay for those expenses there.

Casey Brown  27:01  
Yeah. That makes sense. Perfect sense. Yeah. I mean, it's obviously at the end of the day, if if a rental car company doesn't want to rent in states that use a lot of salt on the roads, hey, just price that in price when you buy the car price, and then when you rent it out, whatever, it's the same, same scenario. So Well, excellent. Now, we always end these episodes, we're kind of running up on into time here, and always in these episodes, so and I love the stories about going to your grandmother's house. And are you talking about when you were a child and your book, obviously, probably outline some of what I'm going to ask you. But first of all, what's the best book that you've read? Either recently or really anytime, what's what's the best book, and it doesn't even have to be real estate related or investing related, but what's the best book that maybe helped you get the furthest in life at the time.

Unknown Speaker  27:55  
Um, let's say the rocket kill is one and I don't remember the name, he has another one that was very impactful to our business. And and that that we benefit because my husband and I, as you mentioned, we work together nice to partners, you know, not necessarily husband and wife said partners, but business partners you have, what your contribution is to the team, and how you are best valued. So that book, then so enlightening, and you just kind of reminded us how we can work best together. So highly, highly recommended for partners, business partners, and especially rocket fuel. Rocket fuel this

Casey Brown  28:34  
awesome, that's great. Now, the last question are well, I get two more questions left. The last question if far is relating to, to use a person? What is the best trip that you've taken or plan to take?

Unknown Speaker  28:49  
Um, I will say so. commissions and those trips that are always like, it reminds you how much abundance we have in our lives. And when you you know, when you help people, it just, you help one person and then they by that definition, they help their families to help they can perform or it's just, it just brings so much joy. So and like the ones we took the places are beautiful that we try to tag along with with you know, some vacation time afterwards, Colombia was highlights beautiful place, beautiful country. And we were there for a medical mission that it was just the whole package was the perfect combination.

Casey Brown  29:33  
That's wonderful, wonderful. Everything about everything about everything you've said is just been there's been very fulfilling, and I hope the listeners have gained some value and maybe some perspective on where they are and where possibly they're headed in life. And so the very last thing that I want to ask is I'd like to ask you to share with the listeners. How is the best way for them to reach out to you if they've heard something in your story that they want to get more depth on? Or maybe maybe even invest with you or something like that, how is the best way for them to reach out to you?

Unknown Speaker  30:05  
Yes, of course. So you can find me on social media, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, I will share the links with you so I don't have to repeat them. There's my two books are in Amazon. And if they want to email me or just reach out to me and mention your name, your name or your podcast, I can share that for free to add any value that we can, so yeah,

Casey Brown  30:29  
and that's up dash Yes. Awesome. So that's a website they could they could possibly get even get in touch with you there, right? Yeah, yeah. www.op Dash, Plex PL e So anyway, listen, Marcella, I do appreciate your time so very much. And I appreciate everything you've brought to us today. And I thank you so much for sharing your story. And I hope everybody has a wonderful rest of the day. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Transcribed by