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Investor Loan Source Podcast

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Good News, August 7, 2020

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Tom Berry.


So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.

I started in management and sales. It wasn’t until 1996 that I decided the nine to five grind wasn’t what I wanted anymore. I started a financial service firm with my wife Melissa, we were located in a small town in Ohio then. My wife and I spent most of our days across the kitchen table in our client’s homes discussing their dreams and financial goals. We would analyze what they wanted to accomplish financially and create a strategic financial plan to help them achieve these goals. I noticed a majority of our clients had similar goals; to get the kids to school, to retire, to say yes to that dream home. The most inspiring part of this business was the fulfillment Melissa and I experienced when our client’s financial dreams were achieved. There’s nothing like giving someone the tools to succeed and watching them do just that.

The business was doing so well that we decided to expand and move to the big city of Houston in 2006. We optimistically relocated our young family from the comforts of our little town in Ohio to the bustling city of Houston. Shortly after the move, we encountered some major challenges. The economic crisis of 2007 forced us to close the doors of our financial service firm. We found ourselves unemployed in a big city far away from the connections we previously had and in the midst of a global financial crisis. In the meantime, we were still raising a family, this was a major contributor to our motivation. I had to keep food on the table for my family and I was determined to build another business and to remain financially independent. So, I began researching and planning my next big step. It was then that I started studying the Houston real estate market.

During this time, my wife, Melissa took a job waitressing while I ventured into real estate. I soon found it wasn’t as easy as it looked. It was an uphill battle getting approved for loan applications. I needed quicker turnaround times and I was finding out the difficulties of approval with poor credit. This trying experience inspired me to create one of the businesses I have today, Investor Loan Source. This business has a twenty-four-hour turnaround for loan approval and credit is not a major contributing factor. In fact, we are an asset-based lender, meaning approve based on the value of the property, not the borrower. This is what I desperately needed in 2007. All the businesses I own today were inspired by the challenges I faced when I started investing in real estate. I made a ‘one stop shop’ because that is what I needed; it’s what I wished had been available when I started out.

Once I broke through some of the ‘red tape’, my wife and I began investing in real estate and learning the in’s and outs of the market and making our fair share of mistakes. By January 1st, 2008, we were able to open our first real estate company. Our own real estate company, Melissa could quit waitressing, we were elated. This company specialized in wholesaling distressed properties. Since the opening of our first company, we have expanded drastically. We have built and managed over 400 units at the peak, including but not limited to, single and multi-family properties, a mobile home park, even storage facilities! The most impressive part? We did this as a family.

Today, we currently own and run a management company located in Galveston County, Edgewater Property Solutions. Edgewater Property Solutions manages and oversees each of the properties we own. My partner and I, Donald Sutton, run our Hard Money lending company. We established this business, Investor Loan Source, in 2015. Investor Loan Source was designed to help fellow investors with their projects, regardless of credit and to help new investors get started. Our website (www.ils.cash) allows investors to shop the many loan options available and choose the best option for them. My wife and I also own and run a Houston-based real estate investment club, The Wealth Club. Our career literally grew up in The Wealth Club, and we credit much of our phenomenal and rapid success to it.

We purchased the club as we appreciated its core principal; that is, investors helping other investors. This core principle is what makes The Wealth Club a unique real estate investor group in Houston. With all of our businesses, we can help people achieve their goals, but The Wealth Club is the most unique in extending help and guidance. We view The Wealth Club as our vehicle to help others reach their full potential, to achieve financial independence, and follow their dreams. This is what inspires us, to see others enjoying life like we do.”

Melissa and I have used real estate investing in Houston to drastically change everything about our lives, our family’s lives, and our lineage.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

When my wife and I started out in real estate investing, we would say to one another, “We’re just one mistake away from being broke again.” In every business, you will face challenges and obstacles. And believe me, we’ve had our fair share; a business that just didn’t make it, products that didn’t reach the market. The loss was always frustrating, difficult at times, but it’s important to ‘never swing for the fences.’ Being human means making mistakes, the important and sometimes tricky part is to learn from them and try again. My wife and I experienced our worst ‘bump in the road’ not long ago. We lost roughly 150k on a commercial property transaction. Had we endured this loss in the past, even two years ago, we may not have been equipped to whether it then. The risk is great, exciting, and can yield great reward – but never take on more risk than you are able to withstand. Keys to stable success are found in singles and doubles – not in swinging for the fences.

Tom Berry REI – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?

With all of our business, we help real estate investors in Houston but two of which drive and assist both early and seasoned entrepreneurs alike greatly. That is Investor Loan Source and The Wealth Club. ILS specializes in 100% asset-based lending, no income or reserve requirements, providing loan options statewide that aren’t available anywhere else or are underserved in the marketplace. The Wealth Club is our family owned Houston based investor club. The Wealth Club was established with one simple principle in mind, Investors helping Investors. Our real estate investment club is unique in its ability to connect our members with the correct resources they need to grow their business. We pride ourselves on ensuring each meeting is a welcoming, and friendly environment to promote growth and success for both new and seasoned investors alike. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come and learn.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?

One of the proudest moments I’ve had in my career was doing a joint investment with my children. The 7 of us (my children and their spouses) purchased The Wealth Club as a family. To this day, we are one of the only real estate investor clubs that offer a family membership option. It is really special when your children take an interest in what you do, but it is an entirely different feeling when you see them following in your footsteps. I am very proud of all my children.