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Episode 31 – Working with Overseas Investors featuring Connie Wang

Connie Wang is the Founder and CEO of Ufund Ventures LLC/ Ufund Investment LLC, a real estate investment firm investing in both off market residential and commercial real estate assets, and Fund Manager of Ufund Real Estate Fund. Connie has done over a thousand transactions and manages a $150 million real estate portfolio.

Connie has been focusing on building the biggest Chinese Investors
Community with tens of thousands accredited investors so far, and be a connector who connects the Chinese Investors community with a variety of Investment opportunities and many related real estate services. She manages the online UFUND Club, and also hosts educational events and is an advisor to anything real estate investing related.

In this episode, Michelle Bosch chats to Connie about her history with real estate investment – including some reasons why women should be investing their money in this asset class. Connie also discusses her move from China to the US and how she transitioned from the world of IT to the world of real estate. You’ll discover how Connie manages to run a successful business while raising a family and juggling the many things she has going on in her life.

Listen and enjoy:

What’s inside:

  • Get insights into working with foreign investors
  • Discover how Connie works with real estate investors
  • Understand how Connie balances the many aspects of her life
  • Find out more about transitioning into the world of real estate investment

Find out more!



Michelle: Welcome to “The InFlow Podcast.” I’m your host, Michelle Bosch. I am very much looking forward to chatting with my guest today. She is based out of the U.S. but does quite a bit of business with China and has expanded her investing business overseas. And I just find that quite fascinating. My guest today is Connie Wang. Connie is a founder and CEO of UFund Ventures and UFund Investment, a real estate investment firm investing in both off-market residential and commercial real estate assets, and she’s also the fund manager or UFund Real Estate Fund. Connie has done over 1,000 transactions and manages $150 million worth of portfolio in real estate here in the U.S. She has been focusing on building the biggest Chinese investors’ community with tens of thousands of accredited investors so far. She is a connector to who connects Chinese investors with a wide variety of investment opportunities here in the U.S. mostly in the real estate area. She manages the online UFund club, also hosts educational events, and is an advisor to anything real estate investing related here for Chinese investors. Before she started her own real estate business, she also worked at Visa, Dell, Cisco and other high tech companies in management positions. Mrs. Wang holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from George Mason University, as well as degrees in Finance and Economics from China. Without any further ado, Connie, welcome to “The InFlow Podcast.” I’m so excited to have you here.

Connie: I’m very honored to be here.

Michelle: Thank you so much for making the time, Connie. And I, along with my husband, we’re part of a Mastermind of incredibly high caliber real estate investors here in the U.S. And I thank you for spending some time chatting with us today. So let me go ahead and start, Connie, by asking you. So I know you have a degree in Finance Economics from China. So that means you grew up in China. Can you tell us a little bit about how you grew up specially around the topics of money and finances in your family?

Connie: I guess that’s, have some legacy there. My dad, my mom, my brother my uncle, I mean, my whole family is from bank. So my mom and dad both are bankers. I guess that definitely have some influence in my childhood. And when I moved here I was thinking to get an MBA degree and doing anything related to finance,but a long story, and I get a fascinated in it at that time was like booming technology and the internet. Everything is so fascinating so I just swapped and change to Computer Science major.

Michelle: Wonderful. So did you always know, I mean, as you were growing up, “Okay, at some point, I will go to the U.S. I’m going on only to study,” or did you have the vision of you’re going to come to the U.S and live here permanently?

Connie: No, I always heard my mom said, “And she’s going to.” But, I guess, in my childhood, I was spoiled. I didn’t bother to think about my future. But my mom always trying to push me out of my limits and push me out. I was very comfortable where I was. And I would definitely have a very stable job. I wouldn’t have to worry about making a living, I guess. So I think those things at the beginning, it was definitely not my intention. But as things goes, I guess everybody’s life is just pushed the way it goes.

Michelle: Now, okay. So you come to the U.S., you enroll for computer science, and you graduate with a computer science degree and then you start working in corporate America.

Connie: Correct. At that time, actually after I graduate I realized it was very easy to find a job. So that being said, it was a right decision because everything becomes so easy finding job, make living. But in the meantime, I realized my passion has not been coding, has not been programming. And the more I do it, and the more I realize I like design or maybe I’d like to talk to people, and I started doing real estate on the side.

Michelle: Uh-huh. So how did you get started with real estate? Like, how did you… I mean, you come from coding and being, you know, on your own, like you said, on your laptop. Like, where did you hear about real estate? Why real estate?

Connie: Yeah. I guess, one thing is what I always tell people around me, reading books is a good thing. I read books and I kind of know there are so many entrepreneurs or millionaires out of real estate. So I’m interested in real estate, especially real estate in China was booming. I always have that in my mind. So once I start seeing houses especially just seeing the time when I seen the house start going down and realizing the per square feet doesn’t make logical sense to sell that really anymore.

So I guess I definitely have some logical and analytical skills there. I didn’t realize is so big of opportunity or whatever. But I definitely realizing it’s not the logical for people to do what they are doing back then. So I started collecting properties, start buying foreclosures, short sales, just following like all the investors start beginning but I grow pretty fast out of that because I’m ambitious and aggressive, right, only a little bit time working full closure short sale and I wanted more. And then I started participating, go everywhere. All kinds of Mastermind and REIA group, talking to so many good people that I know they are in real estate. And then I guess that’s the beginning. I get into a wonderland. It’s another big factor in this is I have passion. I didn’t realize it. I just feel like I never count hours when I’m doing real estate investigating, searching. All the hours come by me like midnight, I still didn’t, I haven’t been realizing I spent so much time, way more time on real estate than my work.

Michelle: Wonderful. You definitely were just completely fascinated. I remember for us the same when we started, you know, we both had jobs. And it was something that we did, you know, after 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., you know, when we were done with our jobs and it was something that we were so fascinated with that we did it until 1:00, even 2:00 a.m. in the mornings and then the next…yeah.

Connie: You just couldn’t stop, right?

Michelle: Yeah, exactly, absolutely. Now, so you as a lady started investing in real estate and you come from China, from a banking family, so not necessarily from a precarious situation. So you feel very confident around money, in making money, you know, even at some of these high tech companies. Now, when it comes to now the following step, which is not just flipping a property, but mainly investing for a little bit more of a long-term vision, why do you think women should consider adding real estate to their investment portfolio? Because making money for women, that’s not nothing new for women, but investing their money is something new. What are some of the reasons that you think, from your point of view, women should consider it?

Connie: I think that, absolutely. It’s called a real estate asset. Because there are a lot of vehicles like, for example, stock, bonds, all those vehicles. Think about, only real estate can have leverage. [inaudible 00:08:21]. And also has cash flow. So only issue is, and also for a 10 years period of time in any history of U.S., you can see the real estate market always going up. Another reason for people doing real estate yearly percentage-wise, doing better than people doing stock is because stock is easy to manipulate people emotionally, I guess, to go into a stock and the stock drops. You monitor every day and maybe every hour of every minute. I don’t know what fits your situation. But most of the time people can help to cut to the lost or maybe doing something from their emotional and make, makes, easy they make a wrong decision.

But for real estate, even though you wanted to, the house already leased it’s not easy. It’s not easy, you want to get out. But after a while if you don’t bother it, after a couple of years, you realize you’re above water, and you are actually way above water. So I think in any case, the real estate is definitely a better vehicle. But the caveat is you have to be very good on numbers. Like, real estate is a big asset. It has a lot of factor from beginning to the end. And before you get into it, you need to realize what you’re trying to do. Are you trying to be a buy and hold and you’re looking for appreciation, you’re looking for cash flow to pay your retirement, you’re looking for to flip, get a quick money and pay big dollar to IRS?

You know, you need to have all those things in your mind, and then you put it numbers down the paper, calculating. And if all those things works, if you’re not so good on…because I’m confident on my math and analytical. The first deal I started doing, I never lost the money. So I’m pretty confident. But if you’re not so confident, you better to do things with another person more senior and the watching the whole process, then you have every bit of knowledge, understanding all the cost involved starting from the moment you pay down the house, every cost you will be amazed at how many things you don’t know. So you better test the water first before getting too big.

Michelle: Yeah. So basically what you’re saying is that that when you’re a beginning investor, the best way to invest would be to partner up with someone or to invest passively with someone and learn from them and get a good understanding of what it takes not just on the operating side, but also on the analysis at the beginning during and after to exit well out of an investment. Totally agree. I couldn’t agree with you more with that.

Connie: Because I don’t want to me to say here real estate is good. Everybody get into the real estate. That’s wrong. I think that real estate, you have to know your ultimate goal. Because real estate as an investment vehicle, it has a lot of things. You need to know what you’re looking for. Are you looking for cash flow, like I said, or the equity? Because every time you pay down the payment, you’re actually paying down the equity. So over years, you accumulate enough equity. Or it’s for tax purposes, because real estate can have a lot of tax benefits, all kinds of entitlements change, the appreciation, even the latest tax card, they have a lot of thing related. As long as you have real estate, you can benefit out of these tax policies. And also there’s appreciation, there’s management, there tons of things you… What do you want to get? That’s what I’m saying. You need to figure out that before you want to invest.

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. Like myself and Jack we’re both cash flow investors. And we love, specifically for the last three and a half years, apartment investing because of exactly what you just mentioned, the depreciation benefits that come with it. We, you know, I think I mentioned on our prior episode, just in 2018, we were able from an apartment investing alone create 1.5 million in depreciation against, you know, our active income. So it’s fantastic. Our tax liability was close to zero for 2018 because of that. So, you’re right. It depends on whether you needed to do quick flips to create what we call onetime cash, or are you looking for that more passive cash flow, and/or you’re looking for some of the depreciation benefits that come with it? Now, what are some of the common pitfalls that people should avoid when it comes to investing in real estate and that you see regularly happening?

Connie: I guess people do not know too much insight of the real estate. I mean, either commercial or residential. They don’t understand the risk they’re taking for the return they’re getting. So there are always trade off. When you’re talking about a 9%, 10% of return, versus 25%, so exactly, don’t just listen to the numbers. You also need to…maybe that’s my way. I’m pretty logical. So I always wanted to understand why is 25? Why is 10? Where it’s coming from? Because there’s got to be some way to make that much money. If it’s just a lot of assumption, you lose your maybe wrong estimation, then that’s risk. That’s inexperienced. And then you can immediately tell the partner or maybe the project team you’re working with don’t make sense when they come up with that unrealistic return. So that’s just a number in your mind or maybe on paper and never going to happen.

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s something so important that you just mentioned, Connie, because return is a factor of risk, and the higher the return, there’s a correlation between return and risk. And so you definitely want to understand how is that return being produced and what are the risks and how are they being mitigated to actually be able to produce the return that they’re claiming they can. Absolutely.

Connie: Yeah, where is it coming from? Like a simple case of a rental home, you have to know when you pay, you need to pay the insurance, corporate tax, and carry on costs and there’s maintenance, all those costs that you have to pre-calculate it. And what’s your income? You need to know when you pay for a mortgage and you pay equity in your mortgage payment, that’s your money. That’s your equity. So where are those money hiding? And then cash flow in your hand, of course, that’s your return and appreciation over time and tax you can save. So you need to calculate it all and then calculate the total period time, holding period time, what’s ROI return to be more precise. Basically, I’m saying being more knowledgeable can help you. You don’t want to jump in without knowing all the details.

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. Now, I know that you’ve created this fund for Chinese investors to invest here in the U.S. Tell me a little bit about, you know, how does that work for someone in China? Like, what is the minimum type of investment that you allow, the types of returns that your investors get? How did that all get started? Just tell us a little bit about that.

Connie: I think at the beginning we were doing…because we’re doing, most of the deals specially for essential, all of them are off market. I guess you know the concept. Yeah, it’s not…

Michelle: Do you want to explain it, Connie, for someone that is listening and that is beginning to invest in real estate, what it is?

Connie: Yeah. If you ever heard about wholesaler, flippers, you know, those are the people who are looking for, just like us, we’re looking for properties not listed on MLS or Zillow, Trulia, all those public places. Those properties are found by marketing strategies and there are a lot of coaching and a lot of Mastermind telling you where to look for there are distressed properties or motivated seller or maybe special situation, pre-foreclosure. There’s a lot of topics on that domain, but you can research finding those keywords online. They’re everywhere, those information. So basically when we get those properties, all our investment trying to find it just below market price so we can have more leverage when we do flip or when we do an investment, keep to ourselves. So it’s just like trying to save every bit fees on acquisition or agents, middle guys and just trying to get as better ROI, return on investment.

Michelle: Great. Thank you. Now, if we went back to the fund for Chinese and Chinese investors looking to invest here in the U.S., what kind of returns do they get? What kind of minimum investment do you have to place?

Connie: Yeah. So when we were doing that and there are a lot of people partner with us and to do deals, flips, or they want to just lend the money. So we’ve done quite a bit of individual cases and then we start getting commercial deals like that and pretty good return and then we partner with the investor. The more we do it, those are cording syndications, and we do one by one. And then we realize there are deals, some deals better than others or the management gets more wild. And also, there are gray areas that you don’t know how GP is getting, LP is getting, you know, those kind of things all blended. We figured that the fund is more straightforward a way to hold a portfolio of all the good assets. And our target is more conservative. So we’re not at this point, at least right now is 2019, we think the market is at a top. Even though the market is still very good, but we don’t want to be aggressive to bet on commercial deals over 5, 10 years, 7 years. So our focus has always been more off-market flips, short hard-lending projects or cash flow value at equity position in commercial projects. So we kind of stay on that. And that can generate more ongoing cash flow. And the risk will be more under control. It’s more tedious on our side. But we think at the current time, at time being, that’s the best strategy because we needed the liquidity quick in and out. And we will buy off-market properties to hold in a portfolio to bet on the appreciation and the cash flow and also better under control by our own arm. So I think that’s our front strategy and most our investor are more conservative. They like that.

Michelle: Mm-hmm. Wonderful. So basically, what I heard you say is you’re still in the market, you are being very cautious, you know, you’re being conservative. Basically you are in anything or any project where your money is in and out, like you said, you know, short, hard money lending or even, which was something that I heard I was like, “Oh, interesting.” Anything that is value add cash flowing commercial multifamily, you are willing to entertain as long as you have an equity position in it.

Connie: Correct.

Michelle: Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, because that was one of my next questions. I’m like, “How do you find your projects? If somebody was to bring a good project to you? How would that look like?” And now I understand that your fund is after an equity position.

Connie: We rarely from now on, we don’t do completely new construction anymore. But we do look tons of value add opportunities in different state, looking for good capital, good team, professional and also conservative underwriting criteria. For example, how much leverage and how much reserve, escrow account. So all those things matters underwriting. And that we can see the underwriter how conservative they are. And we like the conservative ones.

Michelle: Uh-huh. Now as far as level of investment, are we talking projects, you know, anywhere between one and five million? Like, what size projects?

Connie: I think it’s just starting. If it’s commercial, it’s couple of a million up to kind of 15 million.

Michelle: Okay. Great. Interesting. Okay. Now, when women or men in China or here in the U.S. are getting into investing in real estate, again, what is the one thing that you would say that they need to consider? I know you’ve mentioned a little bit about it in the beginning as far as like what is your exit strategy. But say you have already decided what you’re looking to do, whether it would be buying hold or cash flow or quick flips or…you have figured out why you’re doing it and then you decide that you’re going to invest with someone. What’s, in your opinion, the number one thing that they need to consider?

Connie: Probably the, truly, the best advice to investors would be don’t overestimate the return in a year but don’t underestimate your return in 10 years. Real estate is not gambling, is not short term. You need to be strategically putting plan. And then you don’t want to do like stocks quick trading. You want to hold it. And the longer you hold for 10 years, if you can hold it for 5,10 years, it’s hardly very low risk you’re going to lose money. For people don’t have to learn so much skills, the analytical skills, I think that’s the best strategy, safe bet.

Michelle: Now, and this is a little bit because this podcast is also about not just bringing inflows of cash into our life but it also inflows of ease and grace. You sound like a very busy lady, running a fund, running, you know, your other venture LLC, and I know you host, you know, educational events offline here in the U.S. You’re also very active on social media. You create a lot of content and educational material in social media and online as well. And I’m assuming you have a family as well. So how do you incorporate ease and grace into your life? How do you find balance?

Connie: Yeah, that’s a challenging question. To be honest, I think it, you can’t have both sincerely. I don’t want to lie. I definitely spend less and less time with family. But how I balance is I have a good the husband take care of a lot of things and I also trying to find a helper to, for example, taking care of laundry and cooking so I can have my time when I go back every day. I still pick up my daughter every day. Whenever I have time at home, I try not to be busy with other things and so I can’t have time to purely just stay hours with them to watch movie together, play with them, try not to go still doing laundry, cooking and be away from them. Every year I still have to schedule one or two trips with family trying to combine business trip with my family trip. So just try to increase the efficiency, I guess.

Michelle: Yeah, no, absolutely. I get you. Like we have seasons of where it’s hustle, hustle, work, work, and then seasons of like rest and complete replenishment and rejuvenation. And sometimes we combine those together, you know, especially when we head out to Europe and we usually meet up with investors there as well, but it’s also combined with pleasure. So I totally get it. So if I heard you correctly, Connie, what you said is how you bring ease is by really getting support, getting support at work, getting support at home. Because what happens I think for a lot of women is that we can rationalize getting support at work but sometimes we cannot rationalize getting support at home. And all of those activities like laundry, cooking, all of this is it takes away time, quality time from actually spending, you know, with the family. So basically getting support is one of the things that you do.

Connie: You have to be more optimistic and surrounded with positive people. I mean, life is difficult no matter what state you’re in. Different things bothering all of us, right? Try to get away from negative people because negative people just drain you, your only energy left. But if you’re positive, you always talk positive things and that can increase your happiness. And then you can maintain your emotionally when you stay with your family, kids. Everything goes positive.

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely, definitely. You kind of like adapt to the frequency of the people, you know, that you hang out with. And if you want to up level that frequency, you definitely want to be hanging around positive people for sure. I totally agree on that. Now, if we were to say what are the top three pieces of advice, you’re a woman listening to this podcast and someone like yourself was being interviewed and you would want to hear three top pieces of advice, what would those top three pieces of advice be that you have for others?

Connie: Number one, may not related to investment, but it’s just the sky is unlimited, I have to say. Like I said, in my childhood, I never thought I would do what I’m doing now. It’s like you have to go out of comfort zone. Because everybody has strengths, everybody is so unique. You would have weakness but you definitely have strength. If you can do things to maximize your strength, that will be the best time in use and most efficient in use. And then after you overcome obstacles using your strength, you become stronger. And then you will understand yourself better what are you going to do best and you can do the best that anybody else around you because you have strength. That’s a big thing to me. I think I overcome the first probably three challenges, I become stronger. And then after a while…of course now I’ve probably been into so many challenges, obstacles and back down and up, all those things.

That make me unbeatable anymore, basically, what I wanted to say. [inaudible 00:28:01]. Basically nothing would have freaked me out anymore. Nothing would scare me anymore. I feel like I’m strong enough to be faced with any challenges I probably never thought I could. It’s just, I guess, progressively. That’s something very good in life whatever you do. Second on good things I wanted to say is sales. I mean, sales is another job. I think though, women, we suffer so much…and I shouldn’t say suffer but we bear so much responsibility outside of home, inside of home, kids, school, being mom, being a wife, being entrepreneurs, being a good worker. I mean, there are so many things that we are responsible. We need to be good on how to promote ourselves.

Michelle: Absolutely.

Connie: There a lot of woman I’ve seen is that they do tons of work, but they keep talking themselves down. They say, “I’m not so good at this. I’m not so good. I’m just supporter.” You know, probably that’s something I truly wanted to share as well. Because how you present yourself, how you sell yourself, it matters. It change your whole life in a lot of aspects. I don’t know how to put into detail…

Michelle: No, absolutely. I totally get you and it’s basically this fine line of like where you don’t want to be arrogant but at the same time you want to be confident and really show up really in all your glory, with all your strength, with the experience of having overcome whatever challenges. Those all matter, those all have value and bring that to the table whenever you show up basically it’s kind of like what I hear you say. I love that, Connie. Totally.

Connie: When I first came to U.S., I mean, I don’t even speak well in English at all. And the people will run over bus all the time not intentionally. But it’s like I never had a chance to get in to talk. That’s how I feel. But I like to speak up. Maybe I get spoiled and I just feel like I need to speak up. And if I do not have been given the chance, I will stand it up. And then I’ll get attention. People say, “What’s wrong with you, Connie?” And then they will pause giving me the opportunity for me to talk. So I guess I’m saying I really wish a lot of women, wonderful women, we heard a lot of wonderful women as well. They look like not as strong or maybe not as “talented” as men. That’s not true. Because their potential has never been poured out. And also they never challenge it enough for themselves to try things they’re good at. Women are naturally best of sales people in my opinion.

Michelle: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. That was amazing, amazing. That’s a great insight. I even myself took notes. I’m like I need to remember this myself at times, especially when you’re on the lows. And because, you know, the life of an entrepreneur and an investor, you know, it’s not just highs, there’s lows as well. And it’s important to remember our successes, you know, and the things that we’ve overcome to get back up on and get going and not be shy to, you know, use your voice, use your presence. Your voice has tremendous power. And that’s actually one of the reasons why, you know, I started the podcast. I wanted to give voice to many, many more women that I wouldn’t hear of otherwise. Not that you’re not promoting yourself but just in general, I want to bring amazing women like yourself, powerhouse women, that are walking the talk and doing things out there and using your voice, your presence, your unique abilities, your strengths, to really, you know, serve others and do good in the world. Yeah, go ahead.

Connie: I already did two out of three, right? The third…

Michelle: Oh, my gosh, yes, we do have three.

Connie: Yeah. The third I wanted to say is, because I’m really trying to come up with the best thing. I don’t want to take the small details. Another thing is, I mean, so important. Stay with good people, stay with high level positive people. I can’t tell you how important is that. Because a lot of people sometime come to me say, “Connie, I don’t know what I should do. Should I do this? Should I get a degree? Should I study this? Should I buy a house?” You know, tons of questions. When I ask them, “Do you have an idea now?” They said, “Okay, my friends tell me this and then my friends tell me that. My uncle, my family.” The thing is the network…yeah, there’s a way to say the network, besides your network it’ like people surround you, if 10 years ago the people surround you is the same as that 10 years after the people surround you, you can’t change. It’s the same water. You already know the answer. Why you go still ask the same people over and over? So you need to know the environment has huge influence on people. You need to meet the different people, you need to have open minded and to get away…again, get away from negative people. Whatever they say is right just get away and stay with positive people, stay with more good people. Try to find them and stay friends with them and be around them. Some miracle is going to happen to you.

Michelle: That was a drop the mic moment. Absolutely. Totally with you there on just upgrading your environment and how important that is to really start really becoming the person that you were always meant to be, you know, and changing identity and becoming who you’re meant to be for sure. Now, Connie, as far as a way for people to reach you, like if someone either wanted to invest or learn more about you or just where can they connect with you? How can they get a hold of you?

Connie: They can get hold of me, my email The letter U like unicorn, F-U-N-D, like doc, investment, the singular without S, Like a funding. So that’s my email. And we have a website, And we have a fund at And, yeah, the email probably reach me the best. And I also have a phone number, 512-270-1823. But the best the way is text because I rarely be able to pick up call. But text me. I usually respond pretty quick.

Michelle: Perfect. Thank you so much, Connie. We know whoever is listening to this can go straight to you. That’s amazing. And they can learn more about your investment opportunities and the fund in general at the website. This will also be on the show notes. So…yeah, go ahead.

Connie: So one thing I forgot to mention because I have social media. I have a YouTube. But the thing is I’ve been talking Chinese over there just in case there are Chinese people looking at, you can search Connie UFund. Connie or UFund Investment. You can pull a lot of other series. I’ve been coaching on how to do…a lot of things, tax, how to find the properties, a lot of things, but again, in Chinese though.

Michelle: Okay, got it. Got it. Perfect. Well, I thank you very much, Connie, for your time. I am, you know, delighted that I was able to have you here to get some of your wisdom, some of the things that you have learned along the way and also your advice for anyone either beginning or already successful. Thank you very much and I look forward to connecting with you, maybe hopefully even in another episode.

Connie: Absolutely. I’m honored, and thank you so much give me the opportunity to talk. Thank you.

Michelle: Thank you very much, Connie.

Connie: Thank you and bye.

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