Successful Women

Shh! Here's the Secret.

I'm happy to have  the second installment of  my new series, “Successful Women in Real Estate Investing” for you today.  My featured guest is Karen Margrave.

I first met Karen on BiggerPockets a while back.  We both contributed chapters to the BiggerPockets Book “Real Estate Rewind”.  In this book, we talk about what we would do differently if we were to start over today as our “wiser selves”.

In Karen's chapter (Chapter 9), she talks about the dramatic effect the downturn in the economy had on their business in Northern California.  Her family had been in the real estate development business for close to 30 years when the market took a nosedive. She  also talks about the difficult steps they took to save everything which included packing up and moving  not only her family but her business to a completely new area in Southern California.

I hear folks talk about their “lack of connections” in their business all the time. They use this as a reason or an “excuse” for not moving forward.

When Karen's family made this big move, they had to establish new relationships in every area and learn the ins and outs of a new city. In Karen's story she talks a lot about how they met those challenges head on one at a time.  Folks… this is starting over on a scale that I cannot even imagine.  But as all great companies with a clear vision do, they were able to “rise from the ashes” and build a brand new business.

Be sure to check out “Real Estate Rewind” by clicking here where you can read Karen's complete story.   There is so much wisdom in this book. Nothing gets the point across like hearing others tell their stories, and it's great to be able  to sidestep some of the mistakes other real estate investors have made along the way.

I want to thank Karen for sharing her experiences and giving us her unique perspective when answering these 4 questions.


***If you missed the initial post you can read that here…


The 4 Questions

What made you choose the niche you invest in today?

As licensed brokers and general contractors, we have been involved in new construction for over 30 years.  For us, when we see a vacant parcel of land, we ask ourselves, “what type of project would go here?” Once we have those answers (and there can be a few different options) we look into whether or not there’s a market for it, what the costs would be, what will the finished project generate in rents/sale price, etc. If all the numbers make sense, we move forward with a project and develop it.

We like the process, from taking a vacant parcel, designing something that is new, yet compliments the neighborhood, and then building it. It’s gratifying seeing families moving into your homes, or businesses into your buildings.


Did you try other investing strategies before settling on the main strategy you focus on today? 

We have always built new construction. However; we’ve built many different types of projects. Single Family Residential, General office buildings, Medical office buildings, developed small office parks of individual office buildings, office/retail condos, and developed a subdivision consisting of single family and multi- family residences. All of them were unique.


What is the best advice you could give someone “brand spanking new”; someone just getting started?

Know what you know; and for what you don’t know, find someone that is an expert in that field and ask!

When we started building office buildings we had never developed a project like that before. I called up the most successful developer in our area, who had developed many office buildings over the years, and explained to him that we were getting into that niche, and needed some advice. He was very happy to talk to me and give me the benefit of his experience.

If you had to start over today, what would you do differently?

When we started our business, we didn’t really have a business plan per se. That’s one thing I think would have helped us grow our business more efficiently.

When we started, there was no internet, blogs, forums, etc. I would encourage people to network with other like minded people, online and in person.  Help each other out, when you can. Embrace change. Also, remember, success is getting up one more time than you get knocked down; and you will get knocked down!


From Karen; It's a tweetable: KNOW what you KNOW, and what you don’t know! Plan accordingly


Bio: Karen Margrave

Karen MargraveI am licensed real estate agent, general contractor and partner in a family owned, real estate development company in Orange County California. My husband, son, and son in law are also part of our company. All of us have different talents and share the workload.

You can contact Karen at Parlay Investments or


If you are not already subscribed to the “Inner Circle”, be sure to do that today so you don’t miss any of the business building tips I have coming your way. I want this year to be your best year ever!  And if you enjoyed this article, please share it.

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