You won’t find many CPA professionals with the experience and success that Marie Grasmeier has in real estate investing. That’s exactly what sets CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and CMA (Certified Management Accountant) Marie Grasmeier apart from the rest in her field. The founder of her own company, Grasmeier Business Consulting, she is based in Fort Myers, Florida, but serves clients worldwide.
What also sets Grasmeier apart is that she has an international background which gives her a more vast knowledge and understanding of markets around the country. Born in South Korea but raised in Sweden, she only came to the U.S. to go to college. “I’ve gone through the visa process and the immigration lines,” Grasmeier shares. “A lot of my clients are from overseas. They want to eventually come here to the U.S. and invest. I’m aware of the international issues that go with investing overseas. So, I think I understand my clients a little bit better than somebody who doesn’t have that background.”
In explaining how her accounting background ties into real estate investing, Grasmeier says she and her company specializes in the tax benefits and tax ramifications of real estate investing. “We are a certified public accounting group, but in addition to the traditional CPA services, we also offer management, accounting, and business consulting,” she says. “On the consulting side, we specialize in assisting real estate investors.”
For example, if someone comes to Grasmeier and asks, “Can you help me get into real estate investing?” she will ask a lot of questions. She will do research to find out what the best type of investment will be for that particular person. Some of her questions include: How much do you want to invest? What is the level of personal involvement you want to have? Do you want to be actively involved in managing your own assets? Do you want to own rental property or do you just want to do a passive investment?
“There are a lot of questions that we need to ask to get to know our clients, what they want, and what they don’t want,” says Grasmeier.
For those who wonder if it makes sense to hire a CPA for their real estate investing over a real estate syndicator, Grasmeier responds that even though she has been a licensed CPA for over 18 years, she has had her own real estate investments for most of that time. She specializes in bringing in foreign investors, setting up an LLC for them in the U.S., and finding them U.S. properties to invest in. “75% of my clients are in real estate,” says Grasmeier, “including myself, my husband, and several of our family members.”
Regarding the type of investment opportunities that she offers to clients, there is a variety. She starts by looking at what the needs are and what would be the best options to meet those needs. “My client may be a couple who wants to put some money aside or it may be a newly divorced person who is looking to get a rental property,” Grasmeier says. “If they don’t want to be involved in the process, we can look at a vacation rental that is managed by a professional property management company where they also would have the availability to stay at the property a couple of weeks a year. There are a lot of options, and it’s important to find something that fits the client’s needs.”
Grasmeier got her start in real estate investing through her husband. “His family had been in rentals for a long time, and when I met him, he was in property management,” Grasmeier says. “As you can imagine, we started investing pretty early on.”
Now, Grasmeier aims to help women, particularly those from overseas, to establish a foothold in U.S. real estate. For those who come to live in the U.S. permanently so their children can receive a good education and experience a better childhood, Grasmeier sees real estate investing as a stepping stone for them. “I have a close friend from Sweden,” Grasmeier says. “When she came here, she had a nine-to-five job. But she decided to get into real estate. Now, she has a gorgeous condo which she rents out. She has a great cash flow from that. It’s like the ultimate success story.”