Few people know real estate like Jacques Poujade. Jacques has been in financial services for a long time. How long? Let’s put it this way: he was working in the industry before the dawn of the internet. That’s right, before social media and even email, Jacques was already sinking his teeth into game as a supervisor for Coopers & Lybrand, a firm based in Montreal. That was in 1982. He has come a long way since. His impressive, decorated resume paints the picture of a man who rose from humble roots to become the real estate guru he is today.
As the CEO of LendPlus, Poujade has reached the height of his game. He has helped countless aspiring homeowners to meet their financing needs and find their dream homes. He is a forward thinker and a visionary, being one of the first major players in real estate to realize cryptocurrency’s potential in the market. I had the opportunity to sit down with him and pick his brain on everything from business school to California dreams.
-How did you get started in the real estate game?
It started in school. I had the makings of an entrepreneur since my first lemonade stand in grade school. I was ambitious, to put it mildly. But I wasn’t sure where I would fit into the business world so I enrolled in Concordia University to learn everything I could about it. I got my first degree in Commerce at their Loyola campus then I set my sight on my master’s.
I was lucky enough to get into Mcgill. Well, luck was a small part of it. I worked my butt off at Concordia. I did whatever it took to bring home the GPA that top schools were looking for. Mcgill is a Canadian Ivy League school that people call “The Harvard of the North.” Everything I have, I worked for. And there was nothing easy about getting into Mcgill.
I learned a lot about real estate at Mcgill, and the more I learned about it, the more I realized that it was my calling.
-How did you come to that realization?
I discovered early on that you didn’t have to be a fortune 500 CEO or a movie star to live in your dream home. You just had to be smart. You had to learn to play the game.
-And what is that game?
You have to be smart about financing. Smart about buying. A lot of people go into the process blindly and come out with ridiculous rates that will keep them stuck in a gear for decades. Always scraping by. No savings. Or worse, they will blindly go into a loan they can never repay and we know how that story ends.
Remember the housing bubble and the mortgage crisis back in 2008? The whole thing was built on outrageous loans. A lot of those buyers were first time homeowners who ended up getting foreclosed on. It’s sad.
It’s not the American dream when you wake up in a cold sweat with a foreclosure notice on your door and no way to pay it back.
-You talk about the American dream. You seem to have found that dream for yourself. What’s even better is that you are helping a lot of other people find it for themselves. But how did you end up as a real estate mogul in California after growing up and studying in Canada?
You know, Canada is beautiful, it really is, and I miss it at times, but I’ve always been fascinated by California. I saw it on TV and in the movies, I heard about it in music, I read about it in school. After college, I earned my stripes in various firms and in my formative years and I got to see the world, but some part of me always knew I would end up in California. I knew what I wanted early on, and I made it happen.
-Now that you are a managing partner at LendPlus,and have a family in Aliso Viejo, what kind of advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur like myself?
Don’t let anyone compromise your dreams. If you think outside of the box; if you have game-changing ideas; that is a good thing. Don’t let people talk you out of your best ideas! Look at me, I had no shortage of doubters along the way. I proved them all wrong. That’s what you have to do. Prove them wrong. Short-sighted thinkers will laugh in the face of brilliance and vision. You have to believe in what you are doing!
-That’s great advice. Did you ever feel discouraged along the way?
Of course, everybody does. You just can’t can’t listen to the negative people in your life. You have to believe in what your doing and the risks you are taking. You have to stay the course.
-It’s true. Well, before you get out of here, I wanted to ask about your charity way. Can you tell me about Micha’s way?
Yes! I would love to! Micha’s way is a charity based out of Santa Anna. It is 100% volunteer operated and we raise funds to provide direct support to California’s homeless and hungry. There are 35,000 homeless people in California and 7,000 of them are children! I have had a lot of success in my life, and it’s impossible for me to hear things like this and do nothing.
My vision has always been about helping others. I had a lot of great mentors and helping hands along the way up, and I am happy to pay it forward. Even in the real estate world, my aim has always been to help the underdog. I am able to live my dream every day, and I want to do whatever I can to help people reach theirs.