Get ready to be inspired! In this episode of the Underdog Show Podcast, Navy veteran and successful real estate investor Maricela Soberanes shares her journey to success. Despite financial hardships growing up, Maricela’s mother instilled in her the mindset of seeing herself as a success. She started investing in real estate in 2006 in Austin, Texas and successfully built a personal rental portfolio before becoming a full-time syndicator. Maricela is also a self-published author and a medical missionary to third-world countries. Today, she is the Principal and Founder of Up Plex with her husband, Chris Linger.
In this interview, Maricela shares valuable insights and advice for anyone looking to achieve success through real estate investing. Don’t miss out on this inspiring conversation!
The highlights of this conversation are as follows:
- What inspired Maricela on her journey to where she is today?
- Who or what served as her role models?
- What led her to her first career in anesthesiology?
- How did Maricela transition from anesthesiology to real estate investing?
- What eventually led her to the syndication route?
- The biggest obstacles she has to overcome?
- Her advice on tackling analysis paralysis?
- Based on what she knows now, what would her older self tell her younger self?
- The projects she and Chris are working on in the next few months?
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Catch up with Maricela here:
- Website: https://up-plex.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_immigrant_millionaire
The Underdog Podcast host is none other than Pamela Bardhi. She’s rocking the Real Estate Realm and has dedicated her life as a Life Coach. She is also Forbes Real Estate Council.
To know more about Pam, check out the following:
- Website: https://pamelabardhi.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pamela_bardhi
- TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@pamela_bardhi
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@elevatethroughrealestate
Ready to elevate your life and take ownership of your power? Join Pamela for a 15-minute call to set clear goals and build your game plan today! Visit http://meetwithpamela.com/ to schedule your session now.
Want to elevate and protect your hard-earned assets and your family? Tune into our free masterclass on how to protect your assets: https://www.youtube.com/@elevatethroughrealestate.
Click To Read The Transcript
Maricela Soberanes Shares Her Inspiring Wealth-Building Journey
Hi, I’m Kevin Harrington, an original shark from the hit television show Shark Tank and you’re listening to the underdog podcast
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Underdog Podcast. Today I have an incredible guest here with me, Maricela, how are you?
Hey, Pam, doing well, thank you for having me. I’m super excited about this.
Thank you so much for being here. My goodness. It’s such a privilege and an honor. I’ve heard a little bit about your story. And I’m like, Oh my God, she’s sabe. And Chris, is equally amazing. So you both together is like a whole bunch of amazingness. So kudos to you, So sweet.
Super excited to have you today. Honestly, like, I always start off with the most loaded question possible. Because it’s like, out of your story. Like, I always want to know this. Starting off, what inspired you on your journey to where you are today? Because where you guys are right now is insane. So what inspired that whole growth, we’re gonna start
by crying, oh, my goodness. And so what inspired me to always continue to take, take the challenges, and make them an opportunities? Well, first of all, my biggest role model, which is my mom. And, you know, when growing up, we didn’t have a lot. Financially, we were very, just very, very poor, grown-ups. but the mindset that she had was always the mindset of achieving. seeing yourself already as a success.
And that was my biggest role model. To me, like that cheerleader, by me by my side, I couldn’t let her down. And that’s been my biggest inspiration. Always. Even now she has passed even that like. I will always ask what like, I want to see her smile, I want to see her. like hugging me and telling me how proud she is of what I have become adored.
And that’s been my biggest and ongoing inspiration. I know that her capabilities, she didn’t have financially, the means to impact other lives. But she did it by her act, and by her attention by her time. And that, to me reminds me every day that I don’t have to have the richness or good or it’s all that sometimes. all it takes is to take the moment with that person that needs your time and your presence.
Yes, amen. I love that. I am still growing up. it seems that she was a huge inspiration in your world. What did you want to be when you grew up? Like, what was your dream?
You know, sadly enough. Growing up, we didn’t even really have role models. As far as like, you know, career days in school. There’s no such thing I grew up in Mexico. And that’s just the sort of things that are they’re not prioritized. So growing up, I remember, I think, like a fourth or fifth-grade teacher. and I just remember how kind she was with her words, she was so patient.
And I just wanted to be like her, I just wanted to copy the way she use words. I remember a few words that it was the first time that she said it. And I was like, I want to be so eloquent. The speaking, you know, I’m still working on that. You know, like the given and the just being present with everybody doesn’t matter. If you were a good student or you were making your way there. She always chooses to see the good in each of us. I just wanted to do that.
That’s beautiful. Oh, my goodness. And I mean, your life story has been super, super, super interesting. I’m like, so amazed by it. Because I look at where you are now like this. You and Chris are building this real estate empire, you’re continuing to expand it. you’ve already built it, which is incredible. so before we get into all that beautifulness walk me back towards high school and middle school. what kind of happened throughout that time. And like what led you to your first career decision?
Actually, as I said, I grew up in Mexico City. going on to make the decision after middle school to go to high school and Mexico is quite expensive. And my mom was a single mother so she told me up front. I don’t think you can go to school like that middle school was going to be my highest grade. And so she found a solution for me, which was moving away from the family to the province. where her sister could help me, secure some help through my grades.
And that was how I went to school high school. that was the biggest achievement of the family. somebody that graduated high school through the good grace that I kept. I was able to get some help, not full scholarship, but some help to go to college. And that was my first degree, a business degree, and Mexico. So that was quite different and difficult because my family was away. I was 1415 years old, living in a completely different city, just try to stay focus.
So it was difficult, to say the least, but not impossible. And completing that was one of my biggest achievements. I thought, wow, this is the highest of the mountain like that. I didn’t see anything, but like the things that I accomplished. But looking back, when you’re in that mindset of this is where I am. and you don’t have a comparison, you don’t have other peers, other role models, community that pushes you. you just feel like you’re there, and then you become content.
And that didn’t happen to me, I actually moved to Mexico, I’m sorry, moved to the States. In 1998. I didn’t speak the language. that was one of my goals. at that point, it was my only goal. I just wanted to learn English. So I put myself to school. I completed other degrees that put me in a position to earn a really good salary in the States. My primary job is anesthesia provider. So I have to learn not only the English language but also medical terminology.
And, that was another journey that I was so appreciative. And again, you get to the next mountain and you’re like, wow. I am earning $250,000 a year at entry level in 2010. to me was like, I am awesome. but then again, you compare, you set your goals, and you compare to others. And in a good way, comparing is a human condition that we all suffer and get to enjoy.
The point that I wanted to make is not that I tend to share or maybe overshare some of the finances. because I feel that there are a lot of layers that keep us from being transparent. And that area and I have no problem sharing numbers. So if anyone wants to know more about numbers, I will be happy to share it. However, what I wanted to share here is that I have put myself in a position. where I was able to earn while I was working. And then when I realized that it was going to tie me to a position or to a location.
I started exploring other areas where other options where I could earn. what now I know the passive income that puts your money to work. and a way that you can still make money when you were not at work. So those are that’s kind of the summary of where I found myself. And then I started studying real estate investing and techniques on how to utilize that vehicle to build wealth. But by building that path or walking that path.
There was a lot of difficulty that I again didn’t. I didn’t really have the time to sit down and overthink it, I was on a survival mode. You know, degree after degree I was on the books. I kind of skipped all the civilization and the acclamation to the culture. So sometimes people ask me like, Hey, have you seen this movie. and I’m like I lost my connection to Mexican culture. in a way that the new the newest things that are going on. and I just don’t keep the pulse on what’s going on.
But that’s mainly because I decided to stay laser-focused on building and pretty much reinvented myself. and a new nation here in the States in a new job as I took over the next position and the next position exposition position. It was almost like I was continuously having to reinvent myself. and just prove that I could perform that level. Yeah, that’s kind of the summary of the trajectory.
That’s so cool. And I mean, how did you get into anesthesiology? I mean, like, that’s a super interesting and very specific field.
Right. And again, it goes back to what I wanted to do to achieve the highest degree or whatever. if I was going to be working at hospitals, I mean, at restaurants. I probably end up owning one or a franchise like that. I just want to go to the highest level and I’m sure at least in that career.
that’s the highest level which I kind of put aside and, now in the real estate and business coaching that we do. that’s our goal, we can get to the highest and the more elite so that we can provide the best service and empower more people. But that’s kind of an ongoing mission for us.
That’s incredible. Oh my gosh, and I mean past that point, like, Do you got this job and basically you’re earning at your highest level? And then what happened from there?
Well, I built a portfolio again, I said did invest in a duplex actually when I first moved into my first duplex. and then when I deployed, I took the time to study real estate investing to build wealth. when I came back after earning my income, and outside of the States. which were non-taxed, I saw the power of taxation. And how that could potentiate if I can decrease that tax burden. could I take that money invested and reinvested it?
that’s pretty much what I ended up doing, educating myself and building a portfolio of apartments. then I met Chris, and he kind of bought into the same craziness in the same idea. And he didn’t run away. So he ended up marrying not only our lives but also our businesses. then we continue to grow our portfolio to 35 doors. And then 2020 happened COVID hit. That was another time for us to reinvent ourselves now together and with a different business plan. We decided to sell, or a small multifamily portfolio, and strategically transition into multifamily.
That’s pretty much how we found ourselves where we are now. since we also started other businesses. we have been able to, again, impact many more people that, put their trust in us. And that’s winning for us, like, this is where we live and breathe for helping others. And get him to a position where they can have control of their time. have some security in mind that they can build wealth. or passive income for themselves and their families. that’s what we do every day. Now.
That’s amazing. Well, because you have this career. and it’s super interesting to see so many people that they’ll work a traditional job, and that’s totally cool. But they’re super interested in wanting to invest in real estate.
And it’s like what were some of the steps that you took in the beginning? because you kind of did this on your own. to really establish that what was what were a couple of tips that really helped you. And I know there’s a lot of people listening that are interested in doing the same thing. So he has shed some light on that. That’d be awesome.
Absolutely. So I’ll tell you what I did. And I will tell you what I should have not done and I couldn’t have done instead. So I did it all by myself for like, before meeting Chris was barely six or eight years that I did it all by myself. all the liability, all the writing the leases every day, Operation-wise, it was me. I was still working a full-time job at crazy hours. And that was very taxing and time as well week I couldn’t skill. it was just my money saving up for another downpayment for another house my money again.
like there was no help and No, no pretty voice outside of me even for business decisions. I should have hire somebody that could mentor me and hold my hand. and I probably would have gone much faster and scaled the business to a higher value or number of doors. So I did it by myself don’t do that. So and I also put all of the houses in my name.
That’s just because most people when you buy a second house. let the bank is not going to lend you to an LLC. even if you create an LLC. So that represented liability in my name. So don’t do that. So there are ways that you can buy properties on LLCs. But the third one and the last one, I will say I was thinking too small. I thought well if I buy a house every year, and that’s a comfortable level for me. if I do that 20 times, I do have 20 houses, and I started at 30. I was like 36 Maybe. So like I’m a little behind.
But I think if I can implement this plan, I can retire. my idea was to substitute income from the rentals. Instead of my my earn income from the hospital. And I figure if I’m clearing 400 in a house, multiply that times 20. And you know, when I’m all that only that much money is just me, just to find my way of thinking too small. So when I went and joined mentorships and masterminds and communities that help you not only think bigger. but also execute bigger, I should have been in those rooms way earlier instead of buying all of that with my own money.
Right. And that’s the syndication route as well, which is always super, super interesting to me. That’s fascinating. So then you met Chris and then you guys kind of teamed up together. And essentially you had your units he had his and then pretty much scaled it up. now you’re in syndication, which for those of those listening who heard the word don’t really know what it means. How would you define it?
Yeah, that’s the easiest way to think of a group of people that brings their capital together and buys larger complexes, larger assets. So there’s One syndication, there’s a group that is considered the active digital partner. So the active portion, is usually about three to five, five partners, and then the rest of them are passive investors. you can effectively be a partner on 100 or 200 unit apartment complex. with like most of the offerings are 50 to $100,000, minimum investment. and have all the liabilities shifted to the partnership, a general partnership.
So you get to reap the benefits of the taxes, your cash flow, your appreciation of the assets. everything is managed with third-party vendors or professional vendors that are vetted by the lender. Because the lender is the biggest partner of this partnership. the if we’re gonna, if we’re talking about buying a $10 million asset. we’re gonna probably raise 3 million and $7 million is going to come from the bank. So the bank is heavily invested in what decisions we make as far as, hey, we want this property to be well taken care of, we’ll have all the legalities in place.
So as a passive investor, when you invest in a partnership, you’re shifting all that work and other liability to the general partnership. And the general partnerships, which we are part of the general partnerships. We have systems in place, we have coaches, we have a community where we are every step of the game, we have the support. So it’s a win win situation. you leverage the experience and the resources to buy larger complexes that are going to increase your net worth X exponentially instead of one house at a time like I was doing.
Oh my God, that’s wonderful. That is wonderful. Thank you so much for explaining that syndication. Everyone’s like what’s that? How does that work? You know, and it’s like, there’s limited partners, and there’s general partners, and that kind of thing. Oh my gosh, it’s amazing. I love how you’ve taken and built your portfolio, you know, just like doing your regular job.
And then you did this on the side and then built this up. it’s like the coolest thing ever. And I mean, now you guys are getting into business coaching and all that. So now after your syndication. walk me through kind of what happened next is now your as your coaching business. Yep,
we actually have helped as of this year 12, first-time syndicators to get their first deal. So some of them are medical providers that have no experience with multifamily. And we coach them step by step to become general partners. And we also coach business owners. again, our idea is if we can, if you can, one, buy your time back. so in place systems in place, so that you can step away from your job, and then make it scale. make it more profitable, then you will have the residual income or the passive. they know that extra income to them put into invest.
So it’s as a whole ecosystem that we’re creating. where if I help you increase your revenue, then you now have enough money. I’m also educating you on how to invest passively or actively. And then all of a sudden, you have these other sources of income. That eventually the goal is to have your passive income be higher than your earned income. And you know, if you want to continue working or keep your business. that’s awesome, but you don’t have to, and when it’s a choice is much more enjoyable.
Absolutely. Oh my goodness. I love that. So I just love where you guys have taken it. now you’re pretty much getting back to these students who are now starting on their own. and building their own syndications and all of that, which is incredible. And throughout your journey, what would you say have been some of the biggest obstacles? how did you overcome them? Like this could be life, personal business, whatever it may be?
That’s a question that sometimes it gets a little personal and I am and I’m okay with going there. Because so and this is I believe anyone that is in the path of, or the journey of success. you are going to, you’re going to have to let go of some things to be able to grab other things. And what I mean by that is that sometimes it can be a habit, it can be a hobby, it can be a relationship another business.
So you have to continuously be looking at what is it that doesn’t fit your new you. and again as it can be relationships and nothing. One of the biggest obstacles or I guess difficult for me was that I was growing out. and I don’t want to sound mean and this might sound mean but I was growing. Yeah, my own family, like they even graduated with a doctorate degree.
They just say oh, yeah, you work at the hospital. Like, brush it off, and you’re like, wow, it’s sensitive. Because you I mean, as I mentioned my mom was my biggest. I want her to be proud and she always was. but you know that extended family probably didn’t have that knowledge. and how hard it is to even be a homeowner in the States or have a car have a steady job. and they just kind of like oh yeah, we have a job. so it will be nice that if they Have not only just the understanding.
so how do I overcome that it was educating them, showing them, Hey, kid, I was I was here. I deployed to Africa, like, look at this and the kids get it, and I was a reconnecting moment. I want them to have the memory with me. But you know, life gets busy. And, people grow up, and the same thing that I’m growing, and they’re growing.
So sometimes we grow apart. So that’s been an ongoing challenge to keep the connection alive with the families and friends that I made. when I was, you know, and the school, they are great friends. but sometimes you are going to grow out of those, those relationships.
So you just have to, you know, be in my case, I have to be selective on who and wanted to keep an eye around me. And I’m sure they did the selection as well. maybe that’s one of my biggest challenges. And since we moved, I moved a lot before it. So it was, like, difficult to keep some of those relationships alive, pretty much to be meaningful.
What Would Maricela Older Self Tell Her Younger Self
thank you so much for sharing that. I love hearing your life journey and your career and all of that. it’s incredible the work that you guys are doing now. And you’re so passionate about it. It’s absolutely beautiful. And this one kind of falls in line similarly, to what you just mentioned. but it’s one of my favorite questions, which is. what would your older self tell your younger self based on what you know, now,
I will say Never give up. There’s some times and I know there were some times where I was like. I don’t know if this is where I’m supposed to be going, I should just enjoy what I have today. And like, don’t give up, you have a bigger purpose, and you are to impact many more people. But the first person that you need to impact is yourself. So don’t give up.
I love that Maricela. And like, what are you guys up to now? Like, what’s up in the next few months for you? And Chris, what are you working on?
Well, we are continuously under, the riding deals looking for properties to acquire. always built into connections with potential partners. So if anyone out there wants to partner up and go get some deals and invest together, that’s what we’re all for. And always looking for opportunities to give back. we will have some medical missions that are coming up. And we have some meetups, we do ongoing meetups, and educational opportunities for people that just want to get informed. So looking for those kinds of opportunities.
I love them. And one more question because I know you’ve got something great here to offer. So when it comes to anyone who’s interested in investing in real estate is super interested in it. what would be your best piece of advice? And like what’s the best piece of business advice? Or a tip or strategy that you would suggest to anyone. whether it’s an entrepreneur, or anyone looking to invest in real estate?
What would you say to them? Yeah, so if I have to say one thing I will say balance. and when I’m in my balance is knowledge balance. So you want to understand enough, you want to get to know the sponsors who is offering you the opportunity to invest. you want to do your due diligence and understand as much as possible.
However, the market changes the different properties change the business plan change for every property. And some people I’ve seen that they overanalyze, and they failed to make the decision. I have a good friend that saw me build my portfolio for 12 years. And it wasn’t until two years ago, almost two years ago that she decided to pull the trigger. And that was because of overthinking it.
So yes, do the study, do the due diligence, understand the basics. but then don’t delay because you have to understand everything. You don’t have to understand everything. Henry Ford said it best. You know, I don’t need to clutter in my head with knowledge that I don’t even know how to interpret. But I have access to experts that can explain and be the resource be at the resource for me. So Don’t overanalyze it, pull the trigger and start today. this is the best way for you to start.
Oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh, it’s so exciting. And I mean for anybody that they get stuck in analysis paralysis very often. so it’s very, very difficult and tricky and challenging sometimes. because I mean, real estate is a risk. Let’s face it, real estate to an absolute risk. So it’s definitely scary. But when you’re surrounded by the right people who will help you. and you can say, hey, does this look like a good deal to you?
They can always run it by, you know, and just, you can have so much support. but being in those rooms, like you said earlier. those masterminds this coaching group says the experts that know what they’re doing, they can really help guide you. So then that way, whenever you’re making a decision. you’re not feeling like oh, this is an uneducated decision or super risky. And if you have the right people around you. they’ll always make you feel like hey, you’re doing the right thing.
Absolutely. And I’m glad you mentioned that because As we often have people that brings deals that they are being presented with. and we have no problem telling them, Hey, this is this is a good deal. It really is I don’t have money. any money to invest, but it’s a good deal. And if it’s not, we also tell them that this is the reasons why we think there is too aggressive on the writing. too optimistic of the results in this is the reasons why I wouldn’t go into this deal.
Again, it’s not me telling you what to do. But it’s me telling you, why would I do if I was in front of this decision? And we do that for many people. If anyone wants to just present with the deal. it doesn’t mean that we’re going to invest, or we’re going to give you the definitive. this is what you should do. But definitely, again, we’re trying to provide things that we didn’t have. I didn’t have anyone to told me, Hey, if you want to buy a house, let me underwriter for you. Or let me highlight some things that might be not the best in the optimal. So we’re trying to provide that for the people that that is willing to reach out.
is wonderful. That is absolutely wonderful. Oh my goodness. Maricela, you are amazing, you are absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to see the things that you guys will continue to build and the people that you’re going to continue to help. and just really everything in the medical missions that you have coming up. Chris is telling you about those two years, do some incredible work around the world to just like.
God bless you both you really are doing some incredible work. helping people reach financial freedom and then also missionary work that’s really changing the world which is incredible. And of course, building a portfolio and wealth and all of that stuff. But for yourself and then for everybody who’s in there with you, which is beautiful. So sort of thing you thank you for that. And so now where can everybody find you and your awesomeness?
there’s those three. Thank you. You can find me on social media and Facebook Maricela soberanes and Instagram the immigrant millionaires my handle.
I love that the immigrant millionaire. Yes, I love it. Girl Power You go girl. Thank you so so so much for being here today for sharing your story, your expertise. all the amazing work that you’re up to, and tips and strategies and everything. Thank you so so much. So that’s it for today’s episode of underdogs. catch us next week, always dropping on Thursdays. And remember, if you’re interested in real estate, or want to learn how to create more money and magic in your life. check out meet with pamela.com and let’s chat sending you so so much love
Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with Maricela Soberanes. If you found this story worth your time and made changes in your life, we’d love to hear from you! Subscribe and leave a review. The Underdog Podcast host is none other than Pamela Bardhi. She’s rocking the Real Estate Realm and has dedicated her life as a Life Coach. She is also Forbes Real Estate Council. To know more about Pam, check out the following:
If you’re interested in elevating your life 10x, and owning your power, Pamela invites you to join her for a 15-minute call to set your goals straight and get clarity. Start building your game plan now: meetwithpamela.com