Can couples, polar opposites at that, work together in the real estate business? There may be rows blazing, sparks flying, swords crossing, walkouts, and tears but in the end, they are still “better together”. No words ring truer for our guests today. Divergent in personality and diametrically opposite in character, Lee and Hannah Yoder are the husband and wife team behind Threefold Real Estate Investing.
Lee and Hannah join us to discuss their investing journey and share their experiences of working together as a couple. With one being more adventurous and a risk-taker while the other, more cautious and risk-averse, Hannah and Lee tell us that finding a balance and honoring each other's strengths is key to reaching their goals. Find out how they learned to appreciate their differences, saw God's plan in it, and began to see each other thrive in their roles.
Key Points From This Episode:
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Threefold Real Estate Investing website
Send an email to Lee & Hannah Yoder
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
The Kingdom Investor Podcast on LinkedIn
ABOUT LEE YODER
Lee was a practicing physical therapist when he realized his true passion was building his own business and investing in real estate. Today, Lee is focused on syndicating larger apartment buildings and is the founder and visionary behind Threefold Real Estate Investing. Lee is committed to using his God-given gifts to forge a path that will generate incredible opportunities for all involved. His focus is driving the business forward by establishing new relationships with top-notch professionals in the real estate world and bringing on more partners to invest alongside Threefold. Lee also hosts a podcast, Threefold Real Estate Investing.
ABOUT HANNAH YODER
Hannah serves as the liaison for Threefold’s investors and residents, developing relationships, providing support, and ensuring all of their needs are being met. As a former registered nurse, with a BSN from Wright State University, Hannah has a heart for developing relationships and serving others well.
ANNOUNCER: Imagine taking your generosity to the next level, impacting more lives, and leaving a godly legacy for generations to come. Get ideas and strategies to do just that when you listen to these personal stories from high-level Kingdom champions.
The Kingdom Investor Podcast showcases business leaders who have moved from success to significance, sharing how they use worldly wealth for kingdom impact. Discover how they grew in generosity, impacted more lives, and built godly legacies. You'll find motivation, inspiration, and practical steps to grow as a Kingdom Investor.
Daniel White (DW): Hello, and welcome to The Kingdom Investor Podcast. This is your host Daniel White. Thanks for joining us as we interview Lee and Hannah Yoder. Lee and Hannah are the founders of Threefold Real Estate Investing. They are active investors in multifamily apartment communities and strive to impact their tenants with the love of Christ.
If you enjoy the show, help us reach more listeners by sharing with your friends. And now let's jump right into the show.
DW: Hello, Lee and Hannah, welcome to the show.
Hannah Yoder (HY): Hello!
Lee Yoder (LY): Hey, Daniel. Yeah, thank you for having us.
DW: Yeah, thanks for coming on. We're so excited to hear your story and, really dive into you know, what God has done through that. And just, you know, hear about how we can really learn from how you guys got started and everything. So would you start out maybe by sharing just a little bit about who you are? Where you're coming to us from?
LY: Yeah, absolutely. Let me take that. Yeah, we're in southwest Ohio, Cincinnati, just north of Cincinnati, Ohio. Right now we are full-time real estate investors. We buy apartment buildings. We don't do it but we bring along investors who partner with us and buy apartment buildings and then we manage it. We're like the asset managers because we're also not the property managers. We have a property management company that does that and we kind of manage them. But yeah, we started a few years ago, and we'll get into our story, I'm sure but, you know, just kind of build our way up, you know, start with a flip and then a duplex and then kind of build our way up. And now we buy bigger apartment buildings. The last couple we've done are close to a hundred units. And that's what we do full-time and we do it together. We also homeschool our kids and we try to involve our kids in the business, you know, and has always said like, we want to be a very integrated family where we're kind of doing everything together, we have a little bit of land have some animals. So we kind of just meld all this together and doing all this together. And we're very much in the still kind of startup phase. We haven't taken off. The business is definitely up and running to some degree. But we have not shifted into cruise control by any means. We are still working very hard to kind of really get it going. But we're really enjoying and feel like God has on a really unique, fun path.
DW: That's really exciting. I'm excited to hear more. But before we get started, would you mind praying for us and our listeners, Lee?
LY: Yeah, sure. I'd be happy to.
God in heaven, we thank you for this day, Lord. It's a beautiful day here in Ohio. We thank you for, that on March 1, you’ve given us a 70-degree day. Lord, I just pray for our time ahead. And Lord, I pray for us and I know that we could go that you would give us good words that would benefit the listeners in a way that you have planned for us today. God, we want this conversation to be fruitful for us, for all of us, for those listening especially. But we want to be glorifying to you. So, Lord Jesus, help us do that. Help us stay focused on you. Help us be led by you today. And that way we can hear from you and we can step out in faith. We can move forward following you, Lord, and we can let your kingdom come here on earth as we work. We thank you God for this opportunity. We pray that you would bless it in your Son's name we pray. Amen.
DW: Amen. So I assume one of you was probably more adamant about jumping into this investing journey. Which one of you?
HY: Wow, how did you get that? I was in the corner crying a lot.
LY: Not really, not really, but close.
DW: So, here's how we're going to do it then. Lee, why don't you start out by sharing initially your vision of like, why you guys decided to do this and, and maybe some of the good stuff. And then Hannah, maybe you share like how you felt along the initial part of that. So we can kind of hear both sides and then how you guys are doing it together now.
LY: Okay, yeah. Well, yeah. If we could use this as a little bit of a therapy session, that'd be great. Yeah, so I feel like I kind of explain hearing both sides of the spectrum come when it came to work. So I went to school for a long time to get my doctorate, to become a physical therapist. Okay, so I came out, and I eventually found my way into home health physical therapy. And that, you know, my patients just would come to my phone, I could see them kind of whenever I wanted. So, tons of flexibility, it really wasn't a stressful job at all, had a lot of margin. So it was like really great for the family. So, Hannah was kind of loving that job. I found out pretty quick, at least I thought, like, God did not create me to do this because I've been bored. This is not fulfiling for me. It's unchallenging. Like, I cannot imagine doing this for 30 to 40 years, let alone like, I don't know if I can do this another three to four months. I'm being dramatic but I am dramatic. So, I ended up, with the company I was with, I came into the office and they asked me to be the Clinical Director. I'm like, yes, yes, you know, give me something, I need more here.
LY: Eventually, with that company, it was a startup company here in Cincinnati. I actually came into the office full time. I was kind of doing more like Director of Operations type of stuff, doing sales, doing no therapy. I mean, I'm two years out of school, you know, getting a seven-year degree of doctorate. I'm not even using it, right. But I was really enjoying my work. But now, I'm kind of on the opposite side of the spectrum where I'm working a lot, there is a good amount of stress, you know, it’s back before COVID so it's being in the office as much as you can. And so feeling all this pressure, but when I'm at work. I'm really enjoying it. I mean, it's challenging. It's fulfilling. It's a startup so it's like exciting. I'm starting to feel this, like this entrepreneurship inside of me because I'm building this division within a startup company. But this isn't so good for the family. And by this time, we have two young kids. Hannah's staying home with them. If anybody has a spouse staying home, you know that that spouse feels like, hey, guess what, every time you work overtime, I'm working overtime, and my job is tougher than yours, which I would agree with 100%.
LY: So, then I just got this feeling, Daniel, like, oh, shoot, do I have to do a job that is not fulfilling but is good for the family? Or, hey, sorry, family, I want to do work that's fulfilling for me. And even though it just felt like now like God has more than that for us. So started kind of looking around, and somebody handed me you know, a real estate book or self-development book. And I'd love to read or at least listen to books, and ended up getting Rich Dad Poor Dad which I'm assuming guests have mentioned before. And it just started turning the gears like, man, maybe I could have both. Maybe by going out on my own maybe real estate, I can work really hard and do work that's fulfilling, because I mean, I've always loved the work. God just put that in me. I love the work. I'm very ambitious and God gave that to me. So I'm not going to lose out. But you know, it's like, how does God want me to use that for good and not just lead the family go do something awesome but I didn't raise a good family and I don't have a relationship with my wife.
LY: But I just felt like man, maybe I can control this. Maybe I can work really hard, do something fulfilling, but also, you know, maintain my priorities. God is first, my wife and kids come after that. And then work is well below that. But how can I actually do that? And so that was 2016. And I was like, Hannah, I've got it. This is gonna be awesome. I'm ready to go. We're gonna do this. It's gonna be good for you, good for the kids, but it's gonna be good for me because I'm gonna be doing exciting, fun work, you know. It's all gonna be great. That was my side.
HY: Yeah. Then, there's my side. So yeah, that was about five years ago. And Lee kind of come to me like, hey, I'm thinking about quitting being a PT, and I want to buy this, this wretched house and flip it and go into real estate full time. And I was just in shock because I'm very risk averse. I'm very, let's just keep it simple. Let's keep it easy. I like the W-2. I like the security of it. I like understanding how much money is coming in every month. So, at that time, I was just raising little people. I mean, that was kind of what my priority was at the time. So I didn't even have time to dream necessarily with him. So, I kind of, for me, nature and nurture, both are kind of on my side here because I wasn't raised in a home that did any kind of investing or entrepreneurship, nothing like that. And then also because I'm so risk averse.
HY: So our story has been since him quitting and since we have kind of delved into this, it's been a lot of him having to, we've had to learn that there are times that he wants to put on the gas and I just have to jump in and just ride along and hold on for dear life. And then, there's times that he needs to put on the brakes and let me catch up and jump in at that point. So it's been a lot of give and take and I didn't handle it well in the beginning that's for sure. That's probably one of my biggest regrets of where the devil kind of won so many battles in the beginning just because I let fear, you know, that's the thing, the fear steals what you know God gives. And I definitely allowed that.
HY: So, we've learned a lot along the way. But, it's taken a long time, it's taken years for me to get to the point that I'm at. And the line that I always use that I've always kind of thrown out to him is "trust equals time plus believable behavior". And that's just proven true, that for someone with my personality, my wiring, and the wiring that God has given me. I do need some time to trust not only Lee, but you know, to trust that Lee is a God-fearing man who is turning to God and praying to God and throughout all of it that God is guiding him. But then I also need that believable behavior of just that pattern of no, this is working, like this is okay, we are safe, we are secure. But it's been a battle for us the entire time.
HY: But, I think back to just kind of this vision that God gave me a couple of years ago. It's January, Lee and I had discussed kind of our big, just kind of dreams, like for the year - just the family culture we wanted and our goals and we were on the same page, inevitably, we wanted the same things. And we had the same goals, it was just more or less the journey to get there. And you know, God kind of gave me this vision of alright, so there's the horizon, there's the sun, you know, setting, you know, far off, those are our goals. It's where we want to go. Lee's like on the boat, you know, he's sailing off to our goals. And I'm still unsure. And I've got my heels just in the ground holding the boat back. And God just kind of gave me this vision of Hannah, just get on the boat. Imagine where you could go if you guys both were on the boat, rather than you're still onshore, you're heading to the same spot, but you just need to be on the boat.
HY: So and just through real estate and through just some of our passions. It's just how many people could we serve and love and just how many people God has been putting in our lives through investors and residents. And we have to do it together. Because my brain works one way and his brain works in another and it's just amazing how God can blend those two to create something so much bigger than we could have ever expected.
LY: Yeah, right.
DW: Yeah, that's really helpful. So, how has God used this venture to really help you guys grow to trust him more?
LY: Yeah, I think one thing he ended up head-on was me trusting that you know, I never wonder like, am I with the right person? But it was kind of like, well, God, why did you give me all this ambition and make me want to go after this stuff but yet, I'm with Hannah? Like, why didn't you just give it to her like, she's perfect, but man, you could just maybe given her like more of that risk-taking? Not that she's not ambitious, she is, but more of the risk-taking.
But that's what I've had to trust God in that even though it's kind of harder for you because Hannah's not gung ho about everything and you know, ready to jump in. Actually, my design is better than your wishes. And that's actually beneficial. And that's been one of the coolest parts for me, I think, for both of us to see that. We absolutely go farther and do better together. Even though it's just, it's so much harder.
LY: I mean, it's so much more fun talking to somebody who likes to get excited about things and just hey, y'all jumped too. Yeah, we'll just build a parachute on the way down. That's, you know, that's the way I am. Hannah's not. And so, it can be very frustrating, but it's definitely better because two people jump out. Maybe you don't get the parachute built before you hit the ground. You know, Hannah's like, no, how about we at least build it halfway and then maybe we'll jump. You know, it's kind of that meeting in the middle a little bit. And like Hannah said, sometimes it's like, it's give-and-take, sometimes it's me honoring her. And God leading me to do that and saying, okay, I disagree. Like, I can't believe we're moving this slowly it feels like but I'll honor you in that. And then yeah, sometimes Hannah feels like she's being dragged, but feeling like, God put me with Lee for a reason. And he gave him you know, this vision for a reason.
LY: And what I'll say, Daniel, what's been really cool is now we can look back, again, we're still pretty early in our journey, but we can already look back. And for me, again, Daniel, I feel like every step of the way, I felt like we were moving too slowly. We're not doing enough. We're not doing enough deals, I want to do more. Gosh, if it weren't for Hannah, I would do so much more. But yeah, in all honesty, I look back and I'm blown away at how far we've come. But the reason is, Daniel, because we've never had to take a step back. We've not done a bad deal yet. And I promise you, I would have done bad deals on my own. I would have done two to three times as many. But a third of them would have been bad.
LY: And a lot of times in business, I'm sure you've had people way ahead of us tell you this, like that's what really kills you is taking that step backward or something. And we just haven't had that but that's because Hannah wouldn't let us move too fast, wouldn't let me do too many deals. So we've actually taken far fewer steps than I wanted to take. But each of those steps was like it was a good like nice big step. We did a single family, we only did one flip. It took us one flip to realize flipping is not investing and it's not what we wanted to do. But that was only because of Hannah. I would have done ten easily. Maybe get a few of them going into none but we did one and then we jumped right into a duplex.
LY: And we said, okay, this is multifamily, but we want to go bigger because we wanna have somebody manage a portion. And we went from a duplex to a 16-unit. And then right on here, the 16-unit all of a sudden, we had 34. And then we started syndicating apartments. So, compared to a lot of people I know, like, it's very few steps, but it's really big steps. And that's only because we're so different and God put us together. So it's really, man, I can tell you that today but it's been six, seven years that we've been working on this to figure that out.
DW: Yeah, and one of my friends uses the analogy of, you know, you might be more like a bottle rocket with its stick snapped off without Hannah. And so, you know, you've got a lot of ambition and drive and you know, vision, but you have no direction and no guidance. And yeah, so yeah, it's, it's a huge blessing to have our spouses.
DW: So, can you maybe share a little bit about what you have learned about each other's gifting through this process? And kind of lean into what we just talked about a little bit?
LY: Yeah, you want to start?
HY: Yeah. It is an experience to see your spouse truly thrive in what they're doing. And for the majority of our marriage, you know, the first, you know, however, many years, I wasn't, I didn't see this side of Lee. And it wasn't now that I'm in hindsight, that I can see that. But now that I see him doing the things that he's doing, and I see, like, not only what, how he is using Lee right now for big things, but how he is going to use Lee for so much, even bigger things in the future because Lee just has a motor unlike anybody else. And he just, it's just a go, and it's on at all times. And he's a numbers guy and these are all things that you didn't see as him being a PT, and he was a fantastic, you know, physical therapist, but, but he just wasn't thriving in it. And so it really is a beautiful thing as a spouse to be able to see that.
LY: Yeah, yeah. Well, I would say what I learned about Hannah, you know, one thing, just learning about her and learning about myself too like, Daniel, sometimes people that are kind of, like, driven or like, are just, I'm like a glass-half-full person. And I just thought that was a choice of mine, like, anybody can be a glass-half-full person, you just have to want to do that, right? Like, that's unfortunately, how people like me think and, and, you know, as Hannah and I have reflected and read Scripture and, and read some other books that you know, are helpful in marriage, you realize, God, wires people differently. And some people are wired to think the glass is half full, some people were wired to think the glass is half empty.
LY: So that was kind of a first step to say, Hannah is not choosing to be risk averse. Like it's not just that mean, you said it's nature and nurture. Like, it's definitely nature, like God created her to be like that. And yeah, as I was just building that out, I've seen the benefit of that, even though again, it is still very frustrating for me. Because when I bring the next deal to Hannah, and I'm ready to rock and roll, it's gonna be frustrating that she's not as ready to rock and roll as I am. But I just have to keep reminding myself and look back now, you know, again, like you said it, you know, hindsight, it's easier now. But I started seeing this over and over again, where God would show me, yeah, but Lee like, do you realize how many missteps you would have had without Hannah? I mean, that glass half empty, a lot of times the glass really was half-empty, maybe it was even less than that. And Hannah is the one that saw that, not me, because I'm just I'm blind to that. I'm gonna see, I see it always working out. And so that's where it's really been beneficial. And I can see that for sure.
HY: Yeah, I will say he has the ability to kind of learn the potential of what it could be like, and I feel like the majority of my life I've lived falling short of what my full potential is that God would have for me because of fear, and fear of failure and fear of just looking stupid, or, you know, all the above. And, you know, even, the story that comes to mind is the disciples in the storm, you know, and how Peter gets out of the boat, and he had the faith to get out of the boat. And so Peter was able to experience God and, and walk on top of his circumstances, you know, and where no one else in that boat got that opportunity. And yes, you know, there are bumps in the road. And yes, you are gonna fall into the water at times, but that and so I've had to learn a lot about Lee's view of failure too in order to teach me about how failure is not the worst thing but there is an opportunity for God's you know, power to you know, be perfect, you know, in our weakness.
DW: Yeah, that's good. Can you share a little bit about Threefold and what the name means and things like that?
LY: Yeah, you want to take that one? Yeah. So, just from the book of Ecclesiastes, the threefold, one man can fall, two men might be able to stand against them but a threefold cord is not easily broken. So, we actually had a friend from church help us out with that, too. It was kind of fun. But what we ended up deciding, Hannah was like, we always wanted God to be a part of our business. And not that everybody has to do this, but we just really felt like God was calling us to put that at the forefront, and really let that be known and kind of be out in front with that. And so, I think there are different ways to do that. But I think, you know, for us, we felt like, we want that in our name, we want that kind of set it off from the beginning. And people, you know, even non-Christians go, I think that's probably from the Bible. You know, they're just this thing.
LY: And the threefold, you know, just kind of felt like, oh, yeah, you know, that kind of works, that's gonna work for us. You know, like I said, Hannah and I, you know, we don't have the money to go buy apartment buildings. We partner with investors to do that. And so it's really kind of us and our investors and then that third cord, third strand of the quarter, whatever, that's God. And so we wanted that to be right out in front, we can think of other relationships, like it's us, and it's our property manager. But it's God. Like, and so for us, we want him to lead our business, we want that to be out in front. And we want to build a business that glorifies Him ultimately. It's not, you know, a financial thing or a numbers thing. It's like, this is just our way again, like God gifted us and put us together and whatever, and gave us his vision. And it's just the way he's decided for us to glorify Him and build this thing. So that's why we wanted to name it something like Threefold. That's how we came up with that.
DW: Yeah. And can you recap your journey in what deals you did? And kind of how that grew?
LY: Yeah, sure. So 2016 was when I left, the end of 2016, I left that corporate job. I did forget to mention things, I might have left some of these details out because I took about a 30% pay cut. So going back to Hannah maybe not being so excited. That's an important part because we took a jump, you know, we took a risk. So that was in 2016. And I did that. And then in 2017, we flipped our first house. That was a pretty bad experience. We did okay, but it was rough. Again, it was not the dream I sold Hannah on passive investing, all those types of things. And then the next year in 2018, we got a duplex. We basically flipped it out, we owned it less than a year but we had it rented for a little bit to kind of experience having renters. We're having residents in our property. And then the next year 2019, we bought a 16-unit, an 8-unit and a 10-unit, kind of back to back to back that fall, and owned those for a full year. Turned those around, the market went straight up. I mean, we just were blessed by the market.
LY: So by the end of 2020, we owned them a year. We're ready to sell them all that was I kind of switched around the plan in there on Hannah. I decided this is taking too long. I want to quit so let's sell all three of these. And so, it was at the end of 2020 that I quit being a PT, and Hannah had actually already quit being a nurse. COVID kind of helped us in that but also, that was the year we decided to homeschool. So, a few things falling into place. But 2020 was a big year for everybody, it was a really big year for the Yoders. We both quit our jobs, decided to homeschool, and then went through COVID like everybody else. But we sold those three. So, then, we were back to zero units, you know, by mid or going toward zero units again in 2020. Then 2021 is when we started syndicating which just means we brought in a lot more investors and bought bigger properties. So in 2021, we got a 45-unit, a 47-unit, and a 96-unit. And then last year, we're just able to do one, we got a 95- unit before interest rates shot up and kind of made it pretty difficult. So, today we syndicate four apartments in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, and 283 units.
DW: Wonderful. And what were your best and worst deals?
LY: So, the worst is probably ‘the flip’.
HY: Yeah, yeah, the flip. We call it "The Flip". Like, dun dun dun...
LY: Yeah, it was that. We did another one. We did another one and we kind of forget it because it just went pretty well and it was mixed in with the multifamily and...
HY: No, the flip that nobody would have bought. It was the leaky basement and not leaking because the pump just went out. It was leaking because all the foundation…
LY: Cracks in the walls.
HY: And it was rough. The floors were saturated in urine. I mean...
HY: Terrible, terrible house. It was like from a scary movie.
LY: It really was. A pretty cool transformation that we were able to pull off. But it was great learning, you know when I say it wasn't what we bargained for, you know, Daniel, the idea for us was not to flip and just find another job. Because that was kind of a clear picture God gave us. I said I took a 30% pay cut and then I went back to doing home health physical therapy. So with physical therapy, I was right back to like having a great schedule, and tons of flexibility. Like we're both kind of loving life like I was gonna get a little bit burned on that corporate job too. But then, we added the flip on top, and it really just put me back to the exact same hours that I was working before and we made them out, what we made on the flip was just enough to replace the drop in my salary.
LY: So, flipping is just a different job. Now it is real estate so it's not a bad thing and you can get started in real estate. It's a great way to get started, you know, it made a little bit of money, then we threw that into the next deal. But it's not investing, it's just a different job, you have to, you're just trading time for money, but it's just in a different way. Whereas if you own rentals, while you sleep, and while you're not doing anything, people are still paying rent. So that's what I mean when I say it wasn't what I sold Hannah on. It was an inactive job. But just I did a ton of the work myself. So, I was out there all the time. Evenings, mornings, I get up at four o'clock in the morning, and sometimes I go out there on weekends. Get the kids out there and our kids just weren't at the right age either. I mean, we kind of dream of like when our kids get older like we might be doing that again, just to put them to work, because it would be fun for them to learn that. But at the time, our son was two, and he would come out and shock himself with the outlets that didn't have covers on them and bang on paint cans and drop his cheeseburger in a bucket of drywall mud and stuff.
LY: So it wasn't good ages for the kids. I just kind of forced our way into it. So that one was rough, it was not a good experience. I kept saying to people alright, I have to prove to Hannah with this flip that real estate can make money because she thinks we're gonna lose our money by putting in real estate. And that it's like, it's good for our family. It's good for our lifestyle. We did make money. But that's much less important to Hannah than good for our family. Is this the vision God's given us? I missed badly on that one. So that's what that deal was - bad.
DW: Yeah. Gotcha. Wow, that's pretty funny. And then what was the most successful deal?
LY: Yeah, I guess I'd say, oh, let's talk about the schoolhouse. So, we did the flip, then we got into a duplex, and then we got a 16-unit. So that 16-unit was such a huge jump, it just felt like so much to us. We couldn't believe that we were going to buy a 16-unit apartment building. It was an old schoolhouse, actually. So it was kind of neat. Someone turned it into a nursing home and turned it into apartment buildings. It was already an apartment building when we bought it but needed a lot of work. We put a new roof on it, and did a bunch of work to it. And what was kind of neat about that one, Daniel, was this was the first time we were taking on an investor. And those investors were actually Hannah's parents, who if you remember, she said like, she grew up doing no investing, or knowing no investor because her parents like they're the type of people who have their house paid off and they got a bunch of money sitting the bank, like not knowing what to do with it, because we're not doing anything risky.
LY: Well, for them to decide, it was her dad, you know, to decide to invest with me, was like just a huge boost of confidence. And I feel like God really led him to do that. Because it felt so out of character for him. I mean, Hannah was, like, shocked that he would do that. Like, dad, this is a bad idea. And it's like, what are you doing? But he trusted us in it. And so he was kind of active in it just a little bit, would kind of come out and work at the property with us. And yeah, we sold that one in just over a year. And I mean, again, the real estate market, it was the market, like we just got lucky and find it right. So I don't mean to say like, we did a great job. But again, God just blessed it. And her dad made a crazy good return like 70% in one year. And it was just a big confidence builder for us, just to the fact that he got in, but then also like it worked out for him and worked out for him very well.
LY: And that kind of sparked something in us, Daniel. That started moving us towards syndication because it was like, I mean, he did well, we did really well on that one. Obviously, you know, we own 50% of the property and then gave him and one other guy the other half. So, we did really well. But it was cool that like somebody else got to do really well. And we did almost all the work, but it was his money. But we got to bless him. And you know, he's a Christ follower as well, like, so now he gets to go bless the kingdom with what he did. And, we do too. So I was like, man, whatever, we can just keep bringing in more and more people do bigger properties and bring more and more people. And a lot of them have been believers in like, oh my goodness, like that's multiplication, right? That we can go do that. So, that was kind of the genesis of that idea of that's gonna be cool with syndication.
HY: Yeah, I would also say with the schoolhouse apartments, that was the first time that we had, you know, a huge collection of residents that we felt called to serve. You know, it's gotten to the point where we are, we truly believe that God has put these residents and these investors in front of us within our reach to serve. It's just easy to do. And so that was the first time I feel like we grew close to the residents. There was a church that also met at this apartment building that we kind of just connected with in different ways and just the residents in general just serving them through gifts and just getting to know them and that was probably the first time and so every building since then we make it just a priority that okay, these aren't just numbers to us. These are people and these are people that God loves and we're going to serve them in whatever capacity allows for that year.
DW: Yeah. What other ways have you guys found to impact tenants or investors or the kingdom?
LY: Yeah. Do you want to take it down?
LY: So, we do holidays and stuff.
HY: Yeah, throughout the year, it's just from when we started this, this had to be more than a numbers thing for me. Because when it comes to real estate, it is so much about the numbers. And I had told you from the beginning if we're going to do this, there's got to be a mission side to it. I just can't just keep talking numbers. And especially because we have our kids so involved in it, I just wanted them to see that these people are people that God loves in front of us, and we are able to serve them because they are our residents. And so throughout the holidays, even just when we buy a new building we've done and we've just started small with it, just because that's what we're capable of doing. We would love to do much more and go bigger, but um, but we just do different gift bags for different times. So for Christmas, you know, we do the hot chocolate and the men's and with just a note, just letting them know, you know, like with the Bible verse and just letting it and letting them know that the ownership group does see them and love them. And the schoolhouse, we did big popcorn tins, and...
LY: We had a fire at our own property and we did a couple of things for that.
HY: Yeah. And just every year, we just tried to dedicate a certain amount of money that goes specifically to serving either one building or whatever we are capable of that year. This past year, we just did a big open house at one of the properties where all the residents could come in, and there was just chocolate and cookies and candy and just things to let them know that they're cared for, they're seen and they're living in a different place. You know, anyone can go anywhere and get their maintenance calls answered, you know, but to know that the ownership group, not just a property management group, does love them and see them and want to serve them differently. I feel like, it's what we've been called to and it has made an impact on us. And it's definitely, it's definitely changed me, especially because we can get our kids so involved in it, too. And they love it too. So it's been great.
DW: Yeah, that's good. And then that kind of leads into your why behind everything. Can you share a little bit more about that? I know you touched on it a little bit. But do you mind sharing a little bit?
LY: Yeah. To be honest, Daniel, I think we're still working on that and figuring it out. But from the very beginning, I felt like God, again, brought real estate to mind for me, you know, and gave me this vision. I remember telling him to like, before we started the flip that, hey, not that we're doing anything like Abraham and Sarah did, but I just have this vision that like, you know, God called Abraham and Sarah and told him to go and did not tell them where they were going. But they told him like, I've got this plan for you. And like, just go, and that was me trying to tell a risk-averse person, like, hey, I don't know how it's gonna go. But God told me this. And like, I really felt like, the vision he had for us was just, go, because she would just ask me, are you sure you know everything? Are you sure you know everything? And I'm like, no, I don't, but I know everything I can without doing it. The rest of it, we have to learn, we have to do it to learn. So it felt like really God just gave us his vision.
LY: And I think, as we've gotten more into it, again, one big step was like, God had kind of cast his vision that, hey, there's gonna be a lot of other people involved in this too. You're gonna syndicate, you're gonna bring a lot of investors in. So, there's going to be some multiplication that as you guys, you know, as I allow you to steward more and more, I'm also going to give your investors and let them steward more and more. So there's gonna be this big impact and so forth. And I mean, you know, again, we're nowhere close to it. But there may be a day where I mean, I hope there's a day and it seems like God maybe has us on this journey. Like, there's a day when we're deciding what crazy big impact could we have with an organization or something. But for now, I would say the vision God has given us is what Hannah just outlined, as, hey, right now, you guys have hundreds of people living in buildings that you own and operate with your investors.
LY: And there are those people sitting right there. And so how can you guys show them in some small way that God cares about them, and that people care about them, and God-fearing people care about them? And so I think, that the vision we have right now is just bringing people together and buying these apartment buildings. And like I was saying, we put that right out in front, you know, so we really, it's really neat. We have a community of people in our Threefold community but our community of investors, they're all about that. They love that idea. And so, we do a monthly newsletter and we're telling our investors what we're doing and when we've gotten them together, we did an investor appreciation event. They just love that. They love that they're being a part of that. That hey, we're gonna allow you and Hannah and your team to steward our money and invest it for us and we want it to come back with friends, right? We would want you to make money but we love that our money is invested in some buildings and within a group that's blessing the residents. I mean, there are people I know that have, there's so, there are bigger and better apartment syndicators they can invest with but they've chosen to invest with us because they want to be a part of that. And so right now I'd say that's kind of our vision for what God is going to do.
DW: Yeah, that's helpful. So then turning to somebody who's starting out in real estate, what would you tell them? I guess maybe even just starting something, right? And maybe God is calling them to start something and step out in faith, what kind of advice or tips could you give us for that?
HY: I guess I would just speak to, if you have a spouse that is different, and doesn't quite feel the urge, or is fighting that calling a little more is to give them time, plus believable behavior. And just know that, that it's a journey to get there, and to trust God through the process of it. And to know that, that you guys aren't that far from each other, like, the journey may be different. But God is working through even all those conversations and all those potential arguments, you know, that God is growing you and, and your marriage, and, and just your family, I mean, if you would have told me five years ago that I would be sitting here and doing this, instead of being a nurse, I would have been like, you're crazy, you know. But God has such a purpose for the process. And it's, it's incredible, and we have a very slow God. And so he does work slowly and you just have to trust his process in it.
LY: Yeah, yeah, I think they know, you know, Hannah would sometimes say like, I'm just worst-case scenario, and you're not. And I would say, I have a worst-case scenario. I think through that. It's just my worst-case scenario is not nearly as bad as yours. And sometimes, you know, and I would push back to her and say, like, you think my worst-case scenario is not bad enough, but maybe yours is too bad. And so we would kind of meet in the middle of that, because our first, that flip, Daniel, you know, I wasn't killing it with physical therapy, but we bought our home, you know, very modest home with so modest payment. And so we actually on my income, couldn't afford our monthly mortgage payment and the house we're flipping that monthly mortgage payment. So I said, Hannah, actually, the worst-case scenario is we're stuck with two houses, and we're paying off two mortgages. That's, that's not bad. We're not in the streets. We own one too many houses, you know, like if we couldn't sell it, and we couldn't rent it and we're just sitting with an empty house.
LY: And but, it was like, that's not that bad of a worst-case scenario. So maybe, I think that was helpful. So I think, people like, okay, we're going to jump in and, you know, maybe the wife is ready to jump in and the husband's not, and you decide, okay, well, this is how we're going to jump in. And the worst-case scenario is we lose five grand, and we can both agree that that's not going to be devastating, we're gonna be okay. Because I've got to let my spouse go and try this or whatever. So maybe that's a step that you can take early on, to decide that we can afford to jump because we're not going to be desolate or living on the streets if this doesn't work out. Because you got to get started. You got, at some point, you've got to get started, like I was going back to I said, Hannah, like I can't learn anymore without doing it. The next step is to do it, you've got to get started.
DW: Is there a particular failure in your journey that we can learn from or that maybe you've learned from?
LY: I think what we hit on, like, with just me being so frustrated with Hannah and her being so frustrated with me, and then coming to the realization that God created me the way I am and created and you know, you don't want to use that as, hey, Hannah, I can't change and you can't, you know, telling her because God created me this way. So you don't want to fall into that too much. But you know, one book that I feel like God used for us, was the Enneagram book, The Road Back To You, if you've heard of that. And it's just this idea for us and the people that we've heard talk on it, like, God created kind of nine different types of people. And Hannah and I are two numbers that are pretty polar opposites. What's cool about that, and what we've you know, said during this is that God had a plan and that but just realizing the goodness in that. I think that causes a lot of pain early on with me being just very frustrated. Honestly, the way I'd say it now is me being very frustrated that God created Hannah so differently than me, and vice versa. You know, you being frustrated with that, too.
DW: Before we jump into the mentor minute to round out the episode. Is there anything else that you want to share with our audience?
LY: You know, what Hannah had said was, one thing I think we didn't mention like when you were casting that vision of the boat leaving. One thing God brought to him at the time was like, Hannah, look around already because she was still resisting. We were a few years into it, and you're kind of still felt like you were resisting and God was like, look at your life, like, look what I've done, right? Because at that time, neither of us had jobs. But we, you know, we still own our home and we're paying like everything was okay. Because God had provided for us through real estate in some pretty incredible ways. We were homeschooling our kids. We had this integrated family, we had some animals here, you know, this little mini farm that we're creating. This was the life Hannah really kind of dreamed of. And it kind of became clear to you that like, it was this journey through real estate that God had us on that did that for us. Like, if I was doing home health physical therapy, could we have had some of that? Yes. But by being entrepreneurs, with doing this together, our life was much more what you wanted. And so I guess that's just an encouragement, Daniel, to say, like, we did have to jump and go through some difficult times. But on the other side of discomfort, sometimes God has something really cool. And that's not to say, you know, prosperity gospel like it's going to work out. But you know, that's just an encouragement to, you know, God might be asking you to get uncomfortable, but it might be because he has something pretty cool for you on the other side of it.
DW: Yeah, that's good. That's really good. All right, who is the most influential person that you know, and how have they impacted you?
LY: Yeah. I would say, Daniel, it was like for me just going back to the beginning, because, you know, I don't have a great answer for that one but, my dad and my grandpa. Like I said, I've just always wanted to work. So I grew up, my grandpa had his own business. I didn't think that much of that time but he was a logger. So I would go with him and just spent days with him, we drive his semi-truck down to Indiana, you know, down where you are over to Michigan and cut trees all day and load them up and bring them back. And that was pretty impactful for me. He was because, you know, he was an entrepreneur, the only one I knew, and just had a great time doing it, but worked really hard. And my dad, I mean, I don't know anybody that works as hard as my dad, he just loves to work all the time. I definitely get that from him. So those two guys, and God-fearing men, while they're at it, too, of course, which is important.
HY: Yeah, I would, I would have to say my grandpa also. And I really haven't come to realize that except until the last few years when my grandma passed, but he, the legacy that he has left, I mean, for, for me growing up, I have never known life without Jesus. And without my you know, the Bible. And that is because of him. And the way that he raised all of his children, and then the way that they raised their kids. And it's just been, it's just been amazing. And then since losing my grandma, just watching the pure joy, that and just the, you know, supernatural peace that he has, and just doing life by himself, and just watching him handle that in a way that is it's pure, purely the spirit in him has just been, just been a blessing for me as I've gotten older, just to realize that and respect that and just makes you want to watch him a little bit closer just to see how he does things and learn from him.
DW: It's good. All right. What book or podcast has changed the course of your life?
LY: Yeah. I think we've probably given them away. But yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean, and Daniel, we, you know, we were thinking about this. And like, for us, the most important book for us is the Bible. But it's just always been a part of our life. So it wasn't that I mean, it changed our lives in a satisfying course at a very young age. Since then, and pertaining to the conversation that we've had, Rich Dad Poor Dad did change the trajectory of where we were headed. And I think God used that to awaken something inside me and say, hey, there is a third option between, you know, a job that I don't like but Hannah does, and a job I like that Hannah doesn't. You know, that there's another way, I've got this story, and it was Rich Dad Poor Dad that lit that spark for us.
HY: Yeah, mine's One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Just, you know, for being a cup-half-empty type, just knowing that even in the heart, there is a different way to look at it and a more of a way that God designed us to look at the hard things in life and the trials in life. How he uses those and, and how thanksgiving is, you know, kind of exactly what you need in the midst of anxiety and pain and, yeah, so it was very transforming reading that and kind of realizing, wow, there's another way to do this and it's better.
DW: Good. And then what is the greatest lesson in leadership that you guys have learned?
HY: Well, that one's you.
LY: Yeah, well, Hannah started this idea for us several years back, but to kind of pick a word for the year, and my word for this year is "lead". And it's, you know, you pick a word that you need to work on. So, I'm working on that. You know, as I mentioned, Daniel, like, I'm motivated and just want to go and so I struggle sometimes to lead because I just expect everybody to have that same motor, like, you just naturally think people are like you, you know, or at least I do. So, it is difficult for me. And so Hannah's my best teacher, or best student that's teaching me because I'm, she works with me now. And, you know, okay, I guess I'll set you up to do this and she's like, yeah, you're being a terrible coach. Anytime that like, you just told me one time, and you just think I'm gonna get it like, why? Who's gonna get it one time?
LY: So it's funny when we will take a weekend away to begin the year and talk through our goals for the year. And she's like, what do you think your words gonna be this year? And I was like, the word God keeps bringing me is "lead". And she's like, that's the exact word I have for you this year. And again, for both of us, like I need to improve at that. So yeah, I guess all that to say, that's something I'm working on. I think, yeah, I guess if there's anything that I've learned so far, it's kind of what I said is that God made people so different. So if you want to be a good leader, you better recognize that because you're going to lead a lot of different people, and they're, you know, a lot different than you are, they're not going to respond the same way you do. So I think understanding that is the start of it. And then leaning into that, and maybe asking people, how do you learn best? And how would you like for me to try to lead you? And that's what I'm gonna be working on this year and what I'm trying to do now.
DW: So how can listeners reach out to you or get involved with what you guys are doing?
LY: Well, yeah, Hannah just redid our website, pretty excited about that. She jumped, jumped into that one and took on a big one. See how much she's grown and how far out she is now. Yeah, so go to our website. It's Threefold R-E-I as in real estate investing dot com (ThreefoldREI.com). You can find everything there. I'm trying to be pretty active on LinkedIn so you’ll find me, Lee Yoder on LinkedIn or on Facebook, too. But yeah, just jump on the website, you can email us also email@example.com. But check out the website.
DW: All right. Sounds good. Thank you, guys, so much for coming on. And is there anything that I can be praying for you or our listeners can be praying for you, guys?
LY: Yeah, thanks, Daniel. Yeah, as it pertains to the business, you know, it has been, we haven't purchased anything since last May. And so, you know, as entrepreneurs and people doing their business, like, not to get in all the weeds, but that's, that's kind of pays our salary. When we purchase, we take an acquisition fee, and it kind of pays our salaries. So most of the cash flow goes to our investors. And so, it's just like anybody with a business. Like, if you're not making sales, like, that's kind of difficult. And we have, you know, that you know, how to set up the data runway and things like that. And so, if I'm like, it's not a comfortable feeling, to see your savings going down. And, you know, when we do put out money, sometimes, you know, just the things everybody goes through at business, but it makes you question things.
LY: And so just trust that, you know, prayer to just continue to trust God that He has a plan for us. I mean, he's made it abundantly clear to us that this is the path he has us on. So we're not questioning that overall but it is hard to not go, okay, like, do we need to pivot? Like, do we need to do, you know, and you want to just kind of control it and, okay, well, we need to jump and do something because God's not making anything happen. Because it's been, you know, we're coming up on a year now since we purchased anything, and, man, what's gonna happen with the economy? Like, interest rates are so high, it makes stuff hard. And like, I feel like we're headed for recession. So what's that mean? So, yeah, just pray that we will continue to trust God because we do think he has us on this path. And he's gonna do some great things. But I can say he's slow sometimes and we just have to trust in that. So, we could use some prayers for that for sure.
DW: Yeah, that's really helpful. And, we're having trouble or I guess we're practicing patience also, you know, trying to figure out when the right time to get back in the market is and everything. And so we were right there with you. We understand.
LY: Okay. Yeah.
DW: So can I pray for you guys before we jump off here?
LY: That would be great.
HY: Wonderful. Thank you.
DW: All right. Let's pray. God, I thank you and praise you for Lee and Hannah and all that they're doing in real estate investing and how they are impacting tenants and caring for people, and caring for investors. Lord, I pray that you would be with them, be with their business and that you would help them to glorify you through it. That they would truly trust and rely on you and depend on you. We all depend on you but sometimes we forget to recognize that. Lord, I pray that you'd be with our listeners and help us to learn and grow from this episode and that we would advance your team. In Christ's name, I pray. Amen.
DW: Thank you, guys, so much for coming on. And thanks for listening to another episode of The Kingdom Investor Podcast. Have a wonderful day.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
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