Nina Granberry, today’s interviewee, has been competitive for as long as I’ve known her. Not in the sense of competing with others… No. Instead – Nina pushes herself, regularly competing with “who SHE was the day prior”. This mindset is manifesting in her real estate work, and you’ll see how in today’s Black Perspective.
Introducing: Nina Granberry
SSD: Jumping right in, tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.
NG: I am a high school math teacher in Brooklyn, NY. I’ve been a teacher since 2008; I came to NY right after college (Lehigh University, Bethlehem PA) to teach and get my master’s degree. I’m very grateful for what my teaching experience has taught me over the years – determination, grit, organizational skills, how to connect and communicate ideas, and strengthened my mathematics aptitude. Teaching has also opened up unique opportunities for me such as traveling to Hong Kong, China during the summer months to teach in a gifted and talented program.
Up until about April of 2020, teaching was all I could see myself doing. It’s all I have ever done in my adult life. It was/is my career. That changed once the pandemic caused schools to close their doors in March 2020.
Working remotely gave me the opportunity to dive into real estate (RE), which has always been a lifelong passion of mine. The rest is history. I now describe myself as a real estate investor, problem-solver…math teacher by day, investor all of the other time, and auntie mom as we raise my two little nieces aged 5 months and 2 years old. I’m just embracing the journey, the challenge and adventure of it all.
SSD: You made the jump from teaching math to investing in real estate and building a portfolio of properties in that. Tell us a bit more detail about the mental process there.
What drove the decision to make that addition to your life when you had the opportunity?
NG: When schools shut down in March of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it changed everything for me. In the blink of an eye, I went from spending most of my waking hours in school, in transit to and from school, working after school, and working before school to gaining all of that time back by working remotely from home.
I taught from the comfort of my couch and home office. It was a drastic change, going from a solid 8 – 10hr workday to 4 – 5hr workdays. In that “extra” time that I now had, I consumed real estate knowledge. I listened to podcasts, read articles, attended webinars, as much as I could. It changed the game for me.
SSD: I would say that’s a good use of your extra time! And I didn’t just say “addition to your life” because you WERE a math teacher — but you STILL teach math classes!!
How do you find the time for both? And what tips would you give someone who is struggling with managing their schedule, because you’re clearly doing something right in being able to handle both a high school math teaching gig AND real estate?
NG: Haha, yes, I still teach math. It isn’t the same, though. Teaching during the pandemic has taken its toll on me, and teachers everywhere. It’s challenging to find the joy in it. Because of all the disruptions in school learning and the pressure to slow down the pace of things, the workload for me is not the same. I am really good at figuring out a plan of action and putting in structure to execute, especially with teaching. And so, I figure out what I want to do as far as lessons and get it out of the way so that I can focus on other things I want and need to do. I also started implementing the use of 90-day planners to help me be more intentional about my time. I am able to accomplish more because I write down what I want to accomplish each day, and have long-term goals in mind and work towards them daily.
SSD: Oof – sorry to hear the thrill is gone.
NG: Yeah, I am finding ways to stay positive, though. My RE journey began when I was working remotely. During that time, I started a partnership with 3 other individuals, and we had a successful wholesaling business that ran from July 2020 to December 2020. I would join team meetings every day in between my scheduled Zoom classes. And I worked at my business in the evenings too, analyzing deals and coming up with offers for properties we were pursuing.
I was simultaneously growing as an entrepreneur and investor while still maintaining my teaching obligations. It wasn’t hard to do at the beginning of the pandemic because schools were scrambling, and it was a very horrible time. It was “easy” working remotely because all I had to do was teach on Zoom and we were asked to essentially make things easy for the students. And so I did just that.
The whole world was shut in anyways at the height of the pandemic. I was doing real estate remotely from my couch, on my computer as my team’s main market was in Georgia.
SSD: What inspired your passion for real estate? What drew you to it?
NG: I have always loved seeing the transformation of ugly houses into something beautiful. It seems like the story of my life too. The process of the transformation, the work that it takes, the undoing and doing over again. I have always loved working with my hands and putting things together. Real estate has been my passion for a long while and I used to only admire it from the outside, wishing that I had the money to do this or that. Or wishing that I could do what I saw people on tv doing as far as buying houses, fixing them, making them beautiful. Because of a lack of knowledge, I did not think that I could be part of real estate and it seemed like a distant dream for me. But I always wanted to be involved. I guess that is what drew me to it…the consistent desire to be part of real estate and to be engaged with it. Circumstances brought me into it.
The pandemic was the circumstance that gave me the opportunity to take action on what I desired. And when I was given the opportunity to take part in real estate, I did not hesitate to dive in.
Real estate is what I want to do to build wealth for myself and my family. I am changing the legacy of my family and doing something that I used to only dream about. It feels good to be learning and taking action and figuring it out. It’s not perfect but I am on my journey and that feels amazing.