Have you ever been curious about getting into the real estate world? This week we meet with Gladys Morales who is currently studying for her real estate license and is a current real estate investor.
Gladys: Be aware of who you do business with. Because if you do business with someone who is not a straight shooter, whether it be in relationships, or, friendships or conversations, you can bet that that will be the same experience you’ll have in business.
Chris: This is the Penny Forward podcast, a show about blind people building bright futures one penny at a time. I’m Chris Peterson, …
MOe: I’m MOe Carpenter, …
Chris: And Liz Bottner is not able to be here today, but she wishes all of you well. Today we are going to be talking with Gladys Morales. Gladys is a blind person who is just starting out in her career, and is working on getting her real estate licenses. And we are interested to hear all about the world of real estate from a blind person’s perspective, so, we’re excited to have Gladys on today. Gladys, thanks for being here.
Gladys: Thank you, Chris. It’s such an honor to be here. I really appreciate this opportunity you’ve provided for me. And it was just such a delight meeting you at the NFB convention.
Chris: It was for me too. Can you start by telling us about yourself and your blindness?
Gladys: Absolutely. I would say, typical story in the sense of, I am from a Mexican upbringing, Mexican background, and when I started having eye issues, nobody thought that I had eye problems. They thought that perhaps I didn’t learn the letters, or I didn’t want to read. That I didn’t want to write straight on my note pad that we were assigned. I remember a nurse doing an eye exam, and saying, “You know, maybe she just doesn’t know her alphabet. Maybe she just doesn’t understand what she’s being taught.” And it was constant, uh, responses that were not even pertaining to the real issue. (Chuckle.) I remember even getting in trouble for not doing my school work. So finally, I got into a nurse, or a different nurse came around, and this was at Eucwood Elementary at the time, and she said, “This child can’t see.” And so she said “I suggest that you guys take her to an ophthalmologist or an optometrist or somebody to further look into her situation.” So long story short, I was hospitalized at Loma Linda hospital, and this was where I was pretty much in my perspective, I would say I was pretty much like a lab rat. They kept poking and pricking at me, and trying to figure out what was the matter. I remember the very first MRI, and that was the scariest thing. I was eight-and-a-half at the time, and so, going into that tunnel, that makes all kinds of crazy noises, which I understand it was to read the information that was going on within me, but it really scared me. And so they had to put me to sleep. They gave me this bubble gum syrup that sedated me, and then I remember coming out and thinking like, “What happened? Did it happen? Is … Was it done?” And I was so glad that it was, because it was quite scary and traumatizing. So after that, the doctors came in and they did more testing, more probing, I remember they put these, um, wires that were, had like pasties at the end, and it was all over my head, and they were reading the EKG exams, and all that stuff, and, afterward, they said, “Okay, we, we found the cause for the vision loss. And it’s optic atrophy,” which, in translation, it’s pretty much the shrinkage of the optic nerve. And what the doctor said at that time, he said, “You might keep the eye sight that you currently have,” which, to be fair at the time, it was fairly well in comparison to what I have now. (Laugh.) Um, he said, “Or, you might wake up tomorrow and be totally blind.” Which was tremendously devastating for my father, because he was going through leukemia at the time. And so, can you imagine, you know, being, you know, on death’s road not knowing if you’re gonna make it, and then thinking like, “Gosh, I’m not gonna be here and my daughter is gonna struggle, and our family has no idea how to deal with blindness.” So, I had no idea how to deal with blindness myself, and I would say I tried my best to pretend to see, which, to this day, is still a habit I carry. People say I have great eye contact. And I say, “That’s awesome, because I can’t see your eyes.”
MOe: I know you came here to talk about real estate investing, and so, do you want to kind of tell us how you got on to that path?
Gladys: Sure. In 2018, I, again, I was having physical issues. Um, I passed out in emergency hospital. They found out I had a tumor, which led to non Hodgkin B cell lymphoma, which led to me losing my eye sight more dramatically, or drastically, after coming out of surgery and treatments and all that jazz. I could hardly see the stuff that was around me, which, I couldn’t see prior, but now I could see even less. I remember standing at a CVS, and looking down the aisle, and not being able to see if there were boxes or bags to my right or to my left. I wasn’t able to see the person that I was there with at CVS, and that’s when I realized I needed a cane. So then I decided to move to Albuquerque New Mexico, where my family resides, and I tried to go to the particular, or conventional things that most people try to go through, which is college and all that fun stuff, and then I thought, “You know, I really need to start making income sooner than … than later.” And so I got into my head, “Hey, you know what’s easy? Real estate.” And I started perusing through online. There was free lessons. There was all kinds of information on YouTube. And then one day, via Facebook, I started getting more, um, ads, right? For real estate, and real estate coaching, and how you can do X y and Z in less than ninety days, or in less than sixty days. And so I started interviewing different coaches because I thought, “You know, in high school, when I did cross country, I had a coach, and throughout my life, I haven’t really had a coach, and I thought, “I need a coach. I need someone to show me the ropes, and hopefully’ help me figure out what I’m trying to do.” So in all that interviewing, I ran across Daniel Kwak from the Kwak Brothers, and I remember asking his main guy, that is his right hand man now, I said, “Why do you think that I should select being a coachee with Daniel Kwak, versus these other quote unquote ‘big guys?’” And he said, “Well, Daniel is fairly new, but also he has more time for you as an individual, versus Robert Kiyosaki, who has thousands and thousands of people, and you just see his videos recorded and you’re just supposed to learn from there.” On top of that, he said, “Daniel also, not only does he do video recording lessons, but once a week, he has a weekly coaching meeting where we all get together via Zoom,” thank God for technology, “and talk about the things that we’re struggling with, the things that we’re learning,” and I will say, I am not the quickest learner. (Laugh.) It’s taken me a while to go through modules, and figure things out, and thank goodness for Chris, because Chris, he was able to do kind of screen shots of a lot of the modules that were online, and then thanks to Jaws, I was able to CRN the information that was available on the power points. So, it has taken me extra steps, but due to his guidance, I also got the courage to start joining local real estate meet ups. And as most people may or may not know, I remember when I was a kid, I did not like standing out, but when it comes to real estate, it’s not too bad to stand out. Because everybody remembers you. I can say, I don’t think I’ve ever walked into a real estate meeting where there’s anybody else who uses a cane. And so, people tend to remember me, (Laugh.) Which is, business wise, it’s great. Right? And so, that’s kind of how I got started on my real estate journey.
Chris: That’s not the only reason that people remember you, Gladys, I hope you know that, um, and now, I hope that you can maybe teach us a little bit about real estate. Starting with, um, can you tell us how to get started in real estate investing and, uh, more importantly for people that are lower income, how much money does it take?
Gladys: Well, there are people, who will take anything from a thousand, to ten thousand, to twenty thousand, as an investment if you want to invest in a property, or if you want to invest in coaching. I’ve also heard from all kinds of people in the real estate game that they’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars on coaches, and programs, and they feel like they haven’t gotten anywhere with those programs. So, when I signed up with Daniel Kwak, the one thing that I really appreciated was that the package that I got involved with, it’s for life. So, even though it’s been past twelve months, and past twenty-four months, and I can’t believe it’s gonna be the third year, it’s always re learning, and for me, I remember recently there was a meeting that he was talking about, you know, calculating the numbers because that’s a very important thing, so, if you’re good at math, and you know how to use Excel sheets, and all that jazz, I would say that this would come much simpler for you. For me, it’s been more of a struggle, because I’ve had to learn technology, on top of some different math, on top of real estate. So there are always opportunities. There are always opportunities to invest with investors, and one of the things that Daniel says the most is, and I think what stuck with me the most, was, “Be aware of who you do business with. Because if you do business with someone who is not a straight shooter, whether it be in relationships, or, friendships or conversations, you can bet that that will be the same experience you’ll have in business.” So when I actually heard of an individual in the blind community who lost 20 K to a flip because there was no paperwork, and this was I think back in the eighties? He said? And I just couldn’t believe it. You know, like how can you, how can anybody do that? But moreover, how could you do that to a man who was trying to, you know, do his best for him and his family? And so, how can you invest, “Make sure you know who you’re investing with,” I would say is rule number one.
MOe: Can you tell us a little more about the education, or licensing or any other little pieces to the puzzle that you need?
Gladys: Oh, for sure. So, I joined Keller Williams, which is Rickert Property Group here in town, well, in Albuquerque, and, thank goodness, Keller Williams provided the licensing program. So right now, I’m working with Kaplan, and they do all kinds of licensing from, you know, to be an electrician, or to be a nurse, or things like that. I’m in the real estate education program. One of the things that I’ve had to learn throughout my life as well is how to speak up, which, I think right now because it’s an interview, it’s easier for me to speak up. But just in general, it’s been a challenge to learn how to ask for things. And, you know, the idea of like, “Ask and ye shall receive,” it really came through. So, I was struggling with the modules that were happening, um, how to hit “play” or “pause,” there was a section where after you go through certain modules you go through a quiz, and it’s, it is all preparatory, it’s not necessarily like that’s your licensing, but it was discouraging. I was totally discouraged, and I remember just E-mailing people, and they said, “You know, if you need technical support, like E-mail this person, if you need, um, assistance with, uh, materials, E-mail this person,” so I E-mailed all four important people, or departments, at Kaplan , and the most hilarious thing, I think, happened. Because they kept telling me, “Oh, you click on this, and you click on that, and then that’s how you get to the next section, and it will let you move forward.” And it was just impossible for me to do that. And I tried to explain to them. I said “Hey, I understand, however, I am blind, and I am a screen reader, I use Jaws, and the web site isn’t compatible with Jaws. So how can I maneuver around it to move to the next section?” And as many times as I thought that I had … (Laugh.) Relayed this information, it didn’t seem to connect with them. And so I got on phone calls. And I had to call one person, and then they said, “Oh, call this person.” And then they said, “Oh, call this person.” So then I called that person. And then they said, “Call this person.” “Okay, I put a ticket in. We’ll see what’s the matter.” So, this went on for a couple of months I will say. And so finally, somebody said, um, “You know, maybe you can speak with Christina Chamberlain from Kaplan. And she’s the, the director for special services,” and so I got on the phone with her, and she herself said, “Oh, you know, this is a problem that a lot of people run into. You simply just hover over this, and you click on that, and yada yada yada,” and so I repeated. I said, “Yes, I understand that, and that would be so easy for me to do, if I could see. But I use a screen reader, which is Jaws, and when I try to navigate to that button, it doesn’t read me that button.” And that was when Christina was, “Wow. Okay. I understand.” And I thought that was so funny because I’m like, “Guys, I’ve been telling you that I’m blind, and
it’s … I wasn’t saying anything.” So she said, “I apologize for this issue that you’ve been facing this whole time, and I just thought it was, you know, you just need guidance, like the mouse, put it here, and then put it there.” And then I said, “No,” I said, “I’ve been telling everybody, I’m blind, I use Jaws, I’m trying to figure out how this web site works.” And she says, “Okay. Now that I understand what the issue is, I’m gonna talk to my people, and I’ll have an answer for you by next Monday.” Guess how long it took for her to respond back to me? Less than twenty-four hours. I had an E-mail from Christina herself saying, “Gladys, we fixed that issue that was blocking you, that wasn’t letting you move on to the next section. You should be able to move on to the next section now,” and then she said, “And so, if you have any other issues, please let me know.” And I just, that floored me. Because I couldn’t believe that by being insistent, and asking just one person. Just one person, just the right person, that could have been done. And, of course, after that, you know, (Chuckle.) Not everything was solved, but that was a huge uplift for me. ’cause I thought, “Wow! There are people who listen. There are people who can change things for us. It’s just about us constantly asking, and not getting tired of repeating ourselves.” (Chuckle.) Because sometimes it doesn’t seem to get across.
Chris: I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about what the work is like for you day to day, and while you’re doing the schooling, are , are you getting paid for any of this, or have you had to pay out for, for the schooling, or how does that work?
Gladys: So, I was fortunate to get a scholarship through Keller Williams. I remember walking in with Mark Rickert, and the main person at the office at the time, the main broker, he provided a scholarship for me. So that saved me, I would say a couple thousand dollars, so I didn’t have to pay out of pocket, thank God. For now, what I’m doing is I am pretty much the PR, IF you will. Anyone that I talk to, anyone that I meet, I say, “Hey. If you ever need a home, or if you’re interested in real estate, please let us know. I am not licensed because I haven’t finished my schooling and my licensing, but I can definitely refer you to my team. We have qualified brokers, and they can help out, if you need to see anything, or if you’re looking for something, let us know,” and then that will come into the works. And so, anything, or anyone that I refer to the team, I get a small commission for referring, because as I’ve learned, I’m not able to practice real estate until I have my license. It’s like a doctor, right? You can’t practice as a doctor until you get your doctorates and until you do your residency, and all that stuff. So, like I said, I get a, cuts from when I refer someone to the team, and any time that that person that I referred actually closes on purchasing or selling their home, then I get something in return. So it’s not a steady pay, if you will. It’s not an hourly wage, if you will. It really is dependent on how much work I put into it, is how much I get back.
MOe: So what I’m hearing is that it’s kind of, one of the risks to real estate investing is that it’s not a steady paycheck. Are there any other risks that you would like to share with our listeners?
Gladys: Oh, definitely. Yes. It is a risk, and I understand how real estate is not for everyone. And, well, let’s see. In real estate, we don’t really think of the fluctuating market as a risk because that is the nature of the monster if you will. Right? The risk is when you don’t continue your relationships with people. The risk is when you don’t share with people that you’re in real estate, and if they need help to let you know, or contact you. The risk is not communicating. (Laugh.) I would say that’s the largest risk.
Chris: So let’s talk about the rewards then of real estate. And, I guess I’ll ask it in two questions. First of all, why did you decide real estate was the right path for you in the, in the first place? Maybe what rewards were you thinking you would receive from it at that point, and now that you’ve been in it for a few years, what rewards do you think other people should expect when they get into real estate?
Gladys: That’s a really, really good question. Because I got into real estate with the idea, the mentality, that, “Oh. You know, this is gonna like way shorter than finishing my bachelors in psychology, or than me waiting to get my bachelors, and then my master’s in psychology.” That was my premature thought. Once I got into it, I realized, “This is taking longer, this takes more time, it’s more challenging to navigate around things, and information without the assistance of a college,” (Laugh.) And not only did I realize that this was more challenging, but I also know what my reason, and what my reward is. I remember one of the meet-ups that I went to here in or, in Albuquerque, and there is this gentleman, Young (hard to hear in recording,) Neilson, and he said, “A lot of people want to get into real estate, but why do you want to get into real estate?” And my coach Daniel Kwak said the same thing. “A lot of people want to get into real estate,” and that was part of his questionnaire. “Why do you want to get into real estate?” I can say, I wanted to get into real estate for one main reason. My main reason is, I want to start housing for aging out foster youth. And when aging out foster youth turns 18, there are a lot of scholarships, there are a lot of programs for them to join, but if they don’t have a residence, they’re out on the street, they don’t have an address, and they don’t qualify. So that is the main reason why I decided to join real estate, and in some conversations that I’ve had with some people recently, I tell them, “You know, I’m learning about this housing and the market, so that eventually, I can fulfill my goals, my purpose in life, to start transitional homes for aging out foster youth.
MOe: I think that’s a truly amazing goal to be going for. ’cause I don’t personally have a lot of attachment to the foster care situation, but I have been interested in it for most of my life. So I commend you on doing that particular project and hope that that comes to fruition in the future.
Gladys: Yes Ma’am, that is the goal.
MOe: So, you did talk about the accommodations that you’ve had to do with your schooling. Are there any other accommodations that you’ve had to use within the office, or while trying to get those referral fees?
Gladys: I will say that the first and foremost, (Chuckle.) accommodation has been my team. Rickert Property group. Mark Rickert, um, and I don’t know how this may fall, or feel with our blind community, because I know that everybody has different points of view, but I was sharing with a friend recently that Mark really took a chance on me. Because, as I’m aware, blind people don’t often get the opportunity to exercise what they know. And he took this chance on me, and I do believe it has to do, because the first time I met him, he said, “You remind me of my daughter. My daughter is thirty-five, and I can’t imagine her being out there, by herself, trying to do real estate.” And I kind of tailed him for like a year. (Laugh.) Because I kept going to events that he was hosting, events that he was having, and actually, this time around, we’re gonna be hosting again the, a fund raiser for the grief center, and last year, I went in as a guest, this year I’m going in as part of the team. And so, to me, that has been my largest and prime accommodation. Because if it wasn’t for him believing in me, like, yes, maybe I could have tried to do this all on my own. And I think that’s another thing that I learned. Nothing is really on your own. Everything we do has, and needs, other people. Everybody plays a part, and by just me saying, “I work with Rickert Property Group,” I feel like that has opened so many doors. And so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had, in my belief, would I have just said “Hey. Like, I’m Gladys, and I just moved from California, and I want to go visit your center.” But, recently, I was invited to come tour a facility that includes aging out foster youth, or foster youth and parents, and they’re gonna provide a tour for me to go in, and walk, and see what they do, and all that stuff. And so, back to my accommodations, I think that the people you connect with are the most powerful people in your life. It’s like that saying that they say, “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.” And the reason why I chose Mark to be my mentor, and he says not my boss because he doesn’t believe in being a boss anymore, (Laugh.) Um, my partner, I, I would say again back to Daniel, when he said, “Be careful who you do business with. And be aware of who you do business with. Because just someone who has millions of dollars doesn’t mean that it’s someone you want to do business with.” So good people, people who believe in me, are the people who give me the strength to move forward, and go through these challenges like with Kaplan , and being persistent at like, “Hey, I’m trying to do this. Can you help me out?” “Hey, I’m trying to do this. Can you help me out?” And also, my ultimate goal of transitional home for aging out foster youth, every time that I have a conflict, every time that I have a hurdle, I remember those kids. And I remember why I’m doing this. I remember why I’m in real estate. And now I understand the meaning of how the why is the drive.
Chris: I love that. Is there anything important that you can think of that we didn’t think to ask?
Gladys: Hmm. (Laugh.) I feel like I could ask you guys a lot of questions, but I know it’s an interview. Well, one thing that Mark asked me in the interview I did with him earlier this year was, how do I get through all of this. And yes, it is the good people like him in my life who believe in me, and yes, it is my purpose of starting aging out foster homes, but it all started out with kung fu. I practiced martial arts here in town at the ABQ Kung Fu center, and being able to execute some of the maneuvers that are required for you to move up in ranks, like the double broad swords, or the double hook swords, or spears, doing the twists and turns, I genuinely did not think, did not believe, that I would be able to remember all that material. Not only remember it, but being able to execute it. And maybe from a spiritual perspective, but also a me perspective, me being able to do those maneuvers, and exercise those forms, it just astonished me. And I learned something so important from Master Rom, that if someone is willing to teach me, I’m willing to learn. And it takes a lot of extra time for him to dedicate to explaining and verbalizing the movements, but I am able to pay attention. I think one of the things that is the most astonishing was, he says, “You jump forty-five degrees south, and you do it in a bird stance, and then you turn around, and you do a 180, and then you jab.” And I definitely understand degrees. And so, (Chuckle.) He says, I say, “Master Rom, is this how you do it?” And he says “Yes.” And I think sometimes people, well my cousin, she says, “You know what gets in our way? Our eyes.” And I never thought that being blind is a benefit to learning something, because we do pay more attention to those kinds of detail than the majority of people.
Chris: Wow, that’s really good. We’re running out of time. I want to thank you for being here, and I want to invite you to give out your contact information, and let people know what you are open to be contacted for.
Gladys: absolutely. So, my business email is gladys, g l a d y s, at r i c k e r t p g dot com, and that is my real estate email. If you have any questions about real estate, how to get involved, what is the criteria that you may need in order to do a house, to get housing, I would greatly appreciate that, please remember Gladys Morales, Rickert Property Group. I also have Gladys at Gold Land Investors, and it’s g o l d, l a n d, i n v e s t o r s, dot com, and that E-mail is where I take people who are in the real estate arena, and who would like to be interviewed, and featured on my podcast, Gold Land Investors, just so that you can share your information, and it can be recorded, and we can always refer back to it. I definitely would appreciate that as well. And on that email, gladys at goldlandinvestors, if you have any questions about how to navigate the real estate world as a blind person, I don’t know it all, but I’m learning, and I am willing to share that information with you.
Chris: Fantastic. Well, Gladys, thanks again for being here.
Gladys: Thank you, Chris, and thank you MOe, MOe, it was such a pleasure to meet you guys, and I feel so honored that you guys elected me to be on your show. Thanks so much.
Chris: It was really fun. If you like the kind of education that Penny Forward provides, there’s much more of it on our web site at
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text transcription of all of the podcasts is provided by Anne Verduin, and the music is performed and composed by Andre Louis. And all of those people are blind, by the way. For all of us here in the Penny Forward community, I’m Chris Peterson, …
MOe: I’m MOe Carpenter, …
Chris: And we hope that you have a great week, and we thank you for listening.