Being Fearless and Building A Life Resume with Maria Fristrom

My guest today is Maria Fristrom, the founder and CEO of Home Acres Ltd, a real estate investing company in Finland. Their mission is to offer homes with a heart and landlording with love to provide tenants with a home they are proud of. Maria had an international career in marketing and communication, working for agencies in Stockholm and Silicon Valley before stepping out and getting into real estate. Since 2015 she has built a multi-million-dollar real estate portfolio while also going through her toughest challenges as a mother. Maria’s inspiring story is a testament to how real estate investing can pull you out of financial, emotional, and mental depths.


We begin the episode with Maria sharing her background story and how she ended up in real estate. She shares that her mission is to help women dare more in investing. Maria and her husband owned an investment club where they read books and talked about them. One of the books was Rich Dad Poor Dad, and it lit something in them. They started looking at apartments. However, life took over, they moved to Hong Kong, and it took a backseat. They had to focus more on their career. Later, while working in a company in Silicon Valley, Maria bought her first investment property and decided that she would purposely and intentionally continue doing things that gave her the freedom to own her time. This led to her biggest move.  


We then talk about Maria's desire to leave a job that she loved. She shares that it was not 100% her decision to leave the job. She turned out to be pregnant again, and her husband had been headhunted for a job in Finland. They were going to have two kids, and paying $4000 for their care was not worth it. Maria gave up her job and decided to go full time into  real estate investing. She saw an opportunity to build her real estate portfolio and make up for her lost income. Since then, Maria has grown, and she hopes to work creatively, more closely with others to teach and give back.


Next, we talk about how Maria started her investment journey. Maria bought her first property while working in the US instead of buying their own home. They then moved to Finland, and that is where she built the biggest part of her real estate portfolio. The principles are the same, but Maria says that she got into real estate in Finland when nobody was doing the BRRRR method. This is what led to her breakthrough. She could not compete with the large players as she didn’t have the capital, the contacts, and the economy of scale. However, she had a concept that nobody else was using, so she started staging her rentals to build her personal brand. Maria got a lot of press that led to other opportunities to collaborate with brands and do the same thing for them.  


We then talk about Maria’s first investment in a single-family house in Colorado. Maria shares that she and her husband had a rough time growing up in Finland in the 80s, and neither of them was coming from money. They worked very hard, for a very long time, to be able to buy their first home. While in California, through her financial advisor, Maria got a good deal on a 2,300 sqft single-family home in Colorado. They did the math and she discovered that buying their home was a liability but investing in a rental property was an asset. They financed it through a conventional bank loan. She bought it for $285,000 with a $70,000 down payment, and they rented it out. They have had tenants there for six years, and it worked for them. Now they have been in the house for six months. They flipped it for sales and are looking to get $600,000 or more.    


Lastly, we talk about Maria's biggest mistake while investing in real estate. Maria shares that it has to do with the desire to very quickly. She felt like she had to do it all, give birth to three babies, move around the world and build a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio. Initially, her goal was to substitute her income from her job by buying four properties in that year. By the end of the year, Maria had two, and she needed two more. So she bought new construction highlight apartments. These were co-op properties that she found on MLS, and they were $175,000 each. The co-op funded 70%, while they financed 30%. At the same time, an institutional investor bought 42 other apartments in the same satellite, and when the construction came up, there was no demand, so they started dropping their prices. New construction was new for Maria, but she had to do it differently by personalizing her strategy. From her experience, Maria learned that she had to stop following her goals blindly and stick to what she knew to avoid making another mistake. 


Make sure you don’t miss another amazing episode of the Just Start Real Estate Podcast with Maria Fristrom and get valuable information on how you can build your portfolio creatively in real estate!

Notable Quotes:


“Instead of talking about where you’re coming from, talk about where you’re going.”

  • Maria Fristrom


“Life is an experiment, and there are no failures, only regret, but they are scary because they are so final and you cannot turn back time.”

  • Mike Simmons


“Looking for a strategy nobody else is doing can open up opportunities for you in the market that you are in.”

  • Maria Fristrom 


“Life is not perfect, things happen to all of us, but we don’t show the nasty parts.“

  • Maria Fristrom 


“It’s very smart to position yourself in a personable way - people want to buy from human beings.”

  • Mike Simmons


“Stick to your criteria and what you know. Going for the next shiny object is setting yourself for failure.”

  • Maria Fristrom 


“Be careful not to follow your goals pridefully. Ego is an enemy, so make sure your goals fit into your long-term vision.”

  • Maria Fristrom 


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