BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast

BiggerPockets Podcast 387: Time Freedom Through 7 Deals in Her First 3 Years With Megan Greathouse

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On today’s show: the massive impact of just a few flips and a few small multifamily rental properties.

Starting in 2017, that combination allowed our guest Megan Greathouse to step aside from her W-2 job (her husband still works) and spend much more time with her two young kids… all while dedicating just 5 hours per month to self-managing her portfolio in St. Louis.

Want to know how she did it? Megan spells it all out in this episode and provides the exact tools and templates she uses to maximize her efficiency—enabling her business to serve her and allowing more time for what really matters.

Give Megan a follow, and share this episode with a friend, partner, spouse, or family member who you think might enjoy it!

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon:
This is the BiggerPockets podcast show 387.

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Megan:
I left a high paying job because we got to a point where my husband and I looked at our portfolio and said, “Even if you left work, got totally lazy, spent all the time with the kids and didn’t keep building in 10 years my husband could leave work too just with the long term investments and the real estate that we already hold”. It was really cool to look at that and see.

Speaker 3:
You’re listening to BiggerPockets radio. Simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing, without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from biggerpockets.com. Your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon:
What is going on BiggerPockets world? This is Brandon Turner, host of the BiggerPockets podcast here with my co host, Mr. David Green. David Green I am pumped about releasing today’s episode with our guest Megan today because it was fire. Agreed?

David:
We got into managing her rental properties. We got into burning properties. We got into doing it with not much time. We got into taking stuff through previous career and applying it into this career. No matter who you are, there’s some really good stuff here whether your business is big or small. I loved our guest today.

Brandon:
Yeah, me too. And we talked about a couple of cool things including a new t-shirt at BiggerPockets is going to be selling which is pretty funny. You guys are going to love that. And another kind of cool… If you are a landlord of multiple properties like multiple units and multiple properties, I have a favorite ask, it's in the middle of the show. Listen tight for that, but there's a website you can go to. I'll just say it's biggerpockets.com/landlord, but you'll hear what that's about later. I need your help though, to help millions of landlords and you explain what that is a little bit later. And we'll talk about in future episodes but hang tight for that. And speaking of that, let's get to today's quick tip.
Today’s quick tip later in today’s show. Our guest today whose name is Megan, she is Megan Greathouse. She’s awesome. She’s talking about how she host a really informal BiggerPockets event like a meetup, just kind of an unofficial gathering of BiggerPockets members in her area. And we talked about some of the benefits for that. So what I want you to do is as we’re emerging from this post COVID world, and as we’re led to go out and do more stuff again, check out biggerpockets.com/events. That’s where you can find local meetups in your area to either attend and if you don’t see one there and your area is allowed to have a good meetup, then host a meetup. And you can even host online meetups there as well. If you want to just host like a Zoom, a call with your local market, you can advertise and talk about it there as well. So again, biggerpockets.com/events, that is the place to go. That’s your quick tip for today.
And with that, it's time to get to today's show. Definitely going to be a fan favorite. Definitely one of my favorites we recorded with Megan great house, talking about all sorts of great stuff, everything from self managing again, bird rentals, flipping contractors, squawking like a bird and a whole lot more. So hang tight for all of that, and without further ado, let's bring in Megan Greathouse. All right, Megan, welcome to the BiggerPockets podcast. Awesome to have you here.

Megan:
Thank you. It is so cool to be here. I’m really excited.

Brandon:
Yeah, well, I’m pumped. And I heard you were on the cover of one of the latest episodes or additions of the BiggerPockets wealth magazine. Is that true?

Megan:
Yeah, there is an article in that latest, now I’m going to say Episode Two-

Brandon:
Yeah if you want to say episode.

Megan:
The latest edition called 11 investors You Need To Know and I made the list. So that was pretty fun. They asked me a few questions one day and did a little profile of a handful of us. So now my animated face is on the front of BiggerPockets Wealth Magazine.

Brandon:
That it is that’s pretty awesome along with my buddy Jordan, so it’s pretty cool to see you up there. It says, “These are the investors we need to get to know.” So clearly we’re going to get to know you today. How did you get into real estate? Why real estate? What was your story before real estate and how’d you get into it?

Megan:
Going all the way back to when the seed was planted, as I was graduating from college with some debt like a lot of kids. My dad handed me a few books, the Millionaire Next Door, Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and Rich Dad Poor Dad. So of course, early on, I read all of those right away. I love reading. And I was like, "Okay, this makes sense. I need to be thinking about my financial future." And then Rich Dad, Poor Dad kind of suited the idea of real estate. I didn't do like a ton right off the beginning but I did end up kind of keeping that in the back of my mind for several years. And then the thing that of course, really kicked off real estate, as a way to make money with investments instead of my time was having kids. So I think a lot of parents out there kind of can connect to that idea. Having my daughter in 2016 really lit the fire under me. And I think I went back to work for maternity leave in August of 2016. By February of 2017, I was searching different ways to do things and found BiggerPockets and by June or July of that year, I closed on my first four family.

Brandon:
This is June ’17.

Megan:
2017 Yeah.

Brandon:
You bought your first four family. So you started with a fourplex.

Megan:
So actually we had a single family that we lived in that we kind of dipped our toe in the water in 2015 because my husband and I had thought this might be interesting. When we move to our second home, we kept that as a rental. So by the time we were getting into buying investments that were solely investments, not single families, for ourselves first, we went into the four family. But we tested with a single family that we then sold and put that capital into some small multifamily.

Brandon:
Okay, that’s cool. First of all, what was the experience like turning your primary into a rental? Because a lot of people have considered that I think it’s one of the best ways to get into real estate, but without a net positive for you. Do you learn a lot? What was that experience like?

Megan:
It was a great learning experience. And it felt like a very safe way to start trying this out, as I looked back at it, and I went back kind of as an after action and really ran the numbers the way you're supposed to because at the time, I was just like, "Oh, the rent is going to be higher than my mortgage. So it's going to be cashflow positive." When I went back and ran the numbers later, I think it was like a whopping $50 per month on a home that rented for like 1850 per month. So it wasn't a huge cash flow property but it was a great learning experience. We actually built more equity as we held it for those extra couple of years and then we sold it. We had lived in there longer than we rented it, and we had lived in there within the past five years so we were able to take that money out tax free when we sold the property, and we put that into their property. So it was a really great way to get started. And I think it feels more approachable for a lot of people early on.

Brandon:
So let me explain that real quick for those who are unsure what you just meant because there's a cool strategy here that I've used and you use, which is the IRS rule is… I mean, normally if you make money you got to pay the government their taxes right? But there's a rule that says, if you make money on a house that you lived in, like your primary residence, if you make money you can not have to pay capital gains tax, we're not talking property taxes, capital gains tax on up to $250,000 or something like that, right?

Megan:
It can be for an individual and more for married couple.

Brandon:
I think it’s double that for the married. So you basically don’t pay tax up like a half a million dollars if you’re married, I believe. So the rule is, though you have to have lived in the property two of the last five years, it does not say the most recent two of the last five years. So this is something I’ve used now twice in my life and you use, which is you live in there for two years, then you move out for a time you rent it for a while, wait for appreciation to pick it up, and then still sell it within those five years, you still qualify… I mean, we’re not CPAs, so talk to your CPA about this stuff, if you want to get some clarification on it. But as long as you’ve lived there two of the last five years, you can get that the two year no tax. I did that twice, within back to back almost on two different properties and it was awesome.

Megan:
Yeah, it’s a great tool. And I think one time I was kind of looking at it, and I think I can trace the very small down payment we had in that property, and somewhat like how it’s grown through another property that we ended up kind of slow flipping and then took that money out of that and it grew more and then that went into a duplex we bought later and then that duplex cashflow super well. So it’s cool to see how all these things can build on each other.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s such a good point. David, you talk a lot about, and correct me if I’m wrong, David, is it accelerating your money? Or it’s like you make money and then you-

David:
The velocity of money.

Brandon:
How does that work? You scale the money quickly in business right or flipping or whatever and you take them up into rentals? What’s that thing you talk about?

David:
The amplification cycle.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s the phrase.

David:
I look at wealth building, it is simplified into three things. You make money, you amplify money, you invest money. When we hear about real estate investing, we often hear about all these strategies and you try to figure out what's my strategy? What am I going to do? But if you look at them all, they all have a pro and a con, they all play a role in this big ecosystem of wealth building and becomes a lot more simple to understand what you should do. I look at you have a job you have a Wtwo job, whatever it is, you sell houses, you do something. You earn money. You should save that. The BP money podcast helps teach you how to save more money than what you've made and how to pay off debt. That gives you a positive net worth. Now you could just directly go invest that money into long term wealth. But what I like to do is I like to amplify that dollar before I invest it.
So I do that by flipping houses, I do it by giving out loans, there’s all kinds of stuff you can do to take your money, turn it into more, then you take that amplified dollar, and then you go put that into rental properties. And if you use the bur method, you get the money back out of it, you put that back into your initial money that I made, and you run it down the cycle again. Or you take the rent coming out of your properties, your cash flow, you put that in money that you made, then you run it through the cycle again, amplifying it and investing it.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s cool. I like that-

Megan:
That’s an awesome way to summarize what I think I was trying to clarify happened with that initial down payment. That’s perfect.

Brandon:
That’s cool. So you can kind of trace that money throughout that. That’s awesome. By the way, where were you buying this stuff out? Where was that fourPlex at? Where was your single family at?

Megan:
So everything is in St. Louis, Missouri. This is where my husband was born and raised. It’s where I was a military kid but my dad was born and raised here and I went to school here. So we’re in St. Louis and we invest here in our backyard so far.

Brandon:
Very cool and not a bad backyard to invest in. I just read recently, it was one of the BiggerPockets insights, which is a new program we have for our pro members. That goes deep in data. I can’t remember what list it was but basically St. Louis was on, one of the best cash flowing markets, one of the best long term markets. You got a good call there. That’s cool.

Megan:
Its good Midwest cash flowing kind of place. But not a tiny city. So it’s also fun to live in.

Brandon:
So you bought this fourplex, and were you managing the property yourself? Did you hire a property manager? And then how did you come up with the down payment for that? I have a lot of questions.

Megan:
That's okay. So I'll start with the down payment, I guess because I think that was… Again, going back to some of those foundational things about personal finance, my husband and I had always been really big in saving money, and putting things aside for the long term and investing. So we had a decent amount of money saved and I was in the military, we both were. So we actually just saved everything we made from our deployments as well that gave us a good starting fund for investments when we got to wanting to buy real estate. So the the property was on the MLS, we found it through an agent. And then and it was in a pretty good shape, it didn't need a lot of work. So we weren't getting fancy here. We both had full time corporate jobs after having gotten our MBAs. So we were busy, and we had a baby at home. So our first one was pretty simple. It was rent ready, and we had property management. I didn't take over self managing my units until after I left my job in January of 2019.

Brandon:
And how did you find that property manager?

Megan:
Through BiggerPockets.

Brandon:
Oh, that’s cool.

Megan:
Yeah. Like I said, BiggerPockets is what really got me going and made me feel comfortable to dive in and buy a four family and feel like I knew how to actually run the numbers on these things. And I was searching around on there because I felt like I really needed to find someone else who was like minded and into real estate as an investment to be an agent for me. So I found him on BiggerPockets, we met for coffee and we sat down and we talked for like two hours, and maybe only half of it was real estate. I’m a relationship person so we were really just getting to know each other. And so he was my agent. He owned the property management company, and he owns a construction company. So I’ve done a ton of work with him and with his teams ever since 2017.

David:
Isn’t that a cool story? These love matches that are made on BiggerPockets?

Brandon:
An agent who’s on BiggerPockets gets a client. A client who needed a very specific type of agent gets a good one. I personally feel like there’s a very big need in the market right now. For the consumer to be able to figure out, “What type of agent am I getting?” It’s kind of a crapshoot, right? So I’m the agent, I know that I’m really good, but I know that you don’t know that I’m really good and why would you trust me because I’m just saying that? Everybody says it. And then on your side, you don’t know if I’m any different than the next person. All that you can tell is like, “What’s his Zillow profile say? What kind of a card is does he drive?” It’s very hard to figure out this person’s full of knowledge or full of something else. And when you find a resource like BiggerPockets that you have something you can connect with and you can have coffee and you can see what’s in their head and they can see what your goals are, it makes a big difference in like the direction you end up taking.

Megan:
Yeah. Absolutely. BiggerPockets has been… I’m very excited to be here today because it feels like I’m in some small way, kind of sharing back after years of just taking advantage of what you guys offer. So thank you.

David:
That’s awesome.

Brandon:
Well, that is-

David:
I just realized too. Let me say this real quick Brandon. BiggerPockets has a feature to set you up with agents. There’s an agent finder if you go on to network and find an agent you can actually look for agents in your area that have a company page and then interview the ones that you want to talk to. A lot of people don’t know that but it’s a really good tool.

Brandon:
It’s totally free too. So if you want to go check it out people, go check it out. It’s the tab of things, tap network and then go to agent. Yeah, that’s awesome. I hope you guys listening to this don’t take this as like I’m trying to pat BiggerPockets in the back. But like that is the goal of BP is to connect people together to the missing pieces that they don’t have. That missing education will hook you up there. If you need an agent we can help you find that person, help you know how to ask the right questions, all this stuff. So I just encourage everybody. If you’re only a podcast listener, just remember that podcast is like a small percentage of what BiggerPockets is. And some people when they say BiggerPockets, “Oh, yeah, the publishing company.” Some people are like, “Oh, yeah, the podcast.” Some people are like, “Oh, don’t you guys do the webinars?” Everyone has a specific thing that they’re into, but as a whole, there’s so much there. And 99% of it’s free. You don’t need a pro membership for most things on BiggerPockets.
I mean, if you want to use the calculators, you have a pro membership or whatever. Just jump on networks, how to grow and learn, engage in the forums, stuff like that. So what happened after the fourpLex? Did you manage that? How did that go at the beginning? Was that everything you thought it would be? Or was it a little bit rougher? What was that like?

Megan:
A little bit of both. I think it was exciting every month to see rents being paid and many months, we made money. There are some months that were rough. St. Louis has a lot of older buildings, so you’d get some of the deferred maintenance that pops up after a couple months of owning it or just things that happen with older buildings. This building I think, is early 1900s. And I actually have one that’s built in like the 1890s. So things happen sometimes. But I would say that none of the headaches that came dissuaded me at all from real estate. It was exciting. We owned something that was tangible that I could drive by and say, “Hey, that’s ours. And there are people living there and enjoying living there.” We have two tenants who were living there when we bought the property, and they keep staying. They like it there. So it was exciting and I was ready to do more.
So that was, I think, June or July, and by November, we were closing on a large single family by one of the big universities in our area. And it was something that I found just off market through, actually BiggerPockets forums. I swear they didn’t pay me to throw these things in here, this is how it happened. So there was someone in the BiggerPockets forums who mentioned this property he had near Washington University of St. Louis, which is where my husband and I got our MBAs and I thought it was interesting and I reached out to them. We ended up closing on a single family that ended up being kind of a slow flip for us. So that was kind of a cool project as well. It was by no means something that made us huge amounts of money. And it was our first flip our first big flip, but we made it out unscathed and we did end up making money. So we were paid to learn, which was very cool.

Brandon:
Is that university Wash U? Is that what they call that? Is that the same thing?

Megan:
Yes. Where Josh-

Brandon:
Yeah, Josh Dorkin. Founder BiggerPockets went to Wash U and that’s where he first bought his very first rental properties back in forever ago. If you guys want to hear that story of the founder of BP, go to BiggerPockets.com/show100. I think Josh’s story is there and he talks more about that. But yeah, that’s super cool. I want to touch on something that you mentioned that is so important. And I don’t want to gloss over it and then we’ll go on. I want to talk about this flip, but you mentioned that fourplex was an older property and so there was some deferred maintenance there. I’m working on this book right now, that won’t be out for another year on bigger pockets, but it’s on multifamily. And I have this large section that I’m writing about capital expenditures and repairs. And it really is just been in my brain that’s why I want to talk about this.
How big of a difference that those things CapEx which is like saving up for reserves for future like big items that break and repair, which is things that just break naturally like, “The fridge isn’t working today call the repair guy,” and CapEx is like, “Buy a new fridge.” So those things increase exponentially the older your property is, or dramatically, I didn’t mean exponentially, dramatically. And people will buy properties that are old, and run the numbers as if they were new, and they don’t realize that you have an old property, things break so much more. So word of advice for everyone because I’ve been caught with this so many times, just know that when you analyze a deal, let’s say of a multifamily, or single family doesn’t matter but for repairs and maintenance, CapEx, that kind of stuff, you will have more problems. I don’t care if it’s fixed up or not. You’re going to have more problems because it’s an older property than if it was a newer one.
And yes, people say hey used better building material back then that might be true, but cast iron still rust from the inside out. So you still have to deal with that stuff.

Megan:
And I’m glad you said even if it’s fixed up, because there are renovations that happened over the years, but you don’t necessarily know exactly how well those were done, or just how deep into the renovation they went. If it was all cosmetic, it doesn’t mean that the plumbing and electric aren’t going to cause you issues at some point. So yeah. You absolutely have to run your numbers differently when you’re buying older properties. And it’s interesting because I was just diving in the other night into how my properties are doing. And you can kind of see a difference in the number of maintenance and repair calls that I get from the ones built in the early 1900s versus the ones that were more like 1950s. And I’m sure that would be a difference if I had properties that were built in the 80s or 90s. So it’s important to take that into account.

Brandon:
Yeah, really is. In fact, this would be probably a good time to say this because I haven’t actually officially launched this yet, here’s the here’s what I want to do. I actually am trying to put together an algorithm to find out on average, How does the cost of repairs and maintenance and CapEx increase? And I swear I didn’t plan this ahead of time, but I think now’s a good time to talk about it. How does the cost of those things increase over the age of your life or your property? And a few other data points in there that I want to get, so here’s what I want to do. If you are listening to the show, and you are a current landlord, specifically what I’m looking for is people who own like multiple units, whether it’s a lot of single families or some multifamily.
Well you guys do me a favor and go to BiggerPockets.com/landlord. Go there. Probably it might be a Facebook group, it might be an email or something but I’m going to basically put together some surveys from landlords to basically look at your last year taxes and figure out how much did you pay in expenses, and then hold is you’re building. I’ll add a few other questions there as well. So this is going to hold my feet to the fire to actually create that page in the next few days while this episode before it comes out. I just want to know. There’s got to be some averages that we as a community can come up with to say, “Hey, for every 10 years of your property, let’s add this percentage to your repair budget or do your CapEx budget and I’m sure there’s some averages we can figure out as a community. So again, if you want to help be part of that big project, biggerpockets.com/landlord.
All right. Thanks.

Megan:
Awesome.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’ll be fun. I’m excited to kind of share the results of that and see what I find out there because again, there has to be some numbers there. Now that we covered that just make sure you guys if you’re buying an older property compensate in your repair maintenance budget for that. Let’s go to this flip. You said kind of a flip. Was it a flip? Or did you buy it as a flip? Or you bought as a rental or what was the mindset when you bought that property?

Megan:
I bought that property because I could see multiple exit strategies in it. So I thought it was very interesting because it was this old two and a half story kind of historic, I think it was a 1910 home right near Washington University in a great neighborhood. The current owner was renting it to students as a student rental. In St. Louis, you can’t do buy the room, or at least it’s not as easy to do by the room rentals so you have to get everyone on the same lane. So it’s a little trickier to do student rentals in a household like that, but he was making it work. So I looked at his numbers I did some research, I verified that that could in fact work. But they kind of creative side of me was also very excited about, “Wow! This is a historic home that hasn’t had much done to it in a long time, it’s still got the really cut off floor plan, or choppy floor plan. But they’re just gorgeous homes all around it. So this could potentially be my first big flip and a way to build some capital for future investments.”
So I got into it knowing that the students had another I want to say seven months on their lease, and I could make some good cash flow in that time and then use that time to decide do I really want to try the student rental where I have to find three or four students to be on a single lease, or do I want to go ahead and flip? So by the time they were leaving, I had decided that I'd like to try the flip. But I went into it feeling like there were a couple of different things I could do.

Brandon:
Okay. So originally what was the plan? Budget wise, what did you think you were going to spend? What did you buy it for? What did you think was going to be worth?

Megan:
So I think I bought that one for 282,000 and properties in the area were worth well over 400,000 when they were fixed up. It was big and it was old, so it was going to be a big budget but we spent a little over 100,000 on it. And it’s one of those stories that you hear from a lot of folks on their first flip where the budget went over, the timeline went way over, there were holdups and hiccups all the way through. And even with all of that, we ended up selling it on the other end for I think 460 and after the additional holding costs and everything, I think we came out of it with about 10,000 beyond the money we had initially put it into it. So 10,000 that we actually made on top of a good number I think we made a few thousand in rents before that, like actual cash flow from the rent for those seven months and then we got a good chunk of money back out that we had put into it. So we ended up with a bigger check on the other end, even though some of it was the money we had already put in that I got to then put it into a duplex that I did some renovation on.

Brandon:
So Megan, overall, you made $10,000. You got all that money back, which is great, but your actual profit was $10,000. Now, some people might be looking at it thinking, “Wow, you did all that work and all that effort for $10,000.” So the question I’ll ask you is, was it worth it for $10,000? Was it worth doing that flipper? Do you regret doing that flipper all together?

Megan:
No, it was 100% worth it. I really actually enjoyed the process even with all the bumps. It was a fun creative process. I got money to put into future deals, and I rip the band aid off. I did a big renovation. It was my first really big renovation and I made money instead of losing money as I did that. So not to mention that house ended up looking beautiful, and I’m just really proud of the product that we ended up putting out there. It was worth it.

Brandon:
That's awesome. That's that whole adaptability thing, and you could have rented it out. I bet if it wouldn't have sold or if you were to lose money, you probably could have rented it out. You could have BRRRRed it. You could have done a lot of stuff. That's one thing we love about the BRRRR strategy. Even if it's not your first idea of flipping your first choice, it's a great backup plan, the whole thing. So yeah, very cool.

Megan:
Absolutely.

David:
I really like that you mentioned that he one of the complaints you hear about the BRRRR method is this you got to wait six months to refi and you don't have to, but most of the best loans are going to make you do that and people get upset. But you can work that to your advantage. Assuming the markets going up, your ARV is probably rising every month, then you're going to end up taking more money out. You're now earning cash flow for those six months of time that the property is ready without any mortgage. I tell people that becomes your nest egg take all that six months put that aside. Now the property is paying for its own reserves, then you refinance it, you got 10 grand out. You might not have got 10 grand out if you'd refight it right away, and you go do your next thing. It's so much smarter to look at when you see an obstacle like, I can't refinance to say, "How do I twist this to make it work for me?" Than to get frustrated by an obstacle and say, "Well, I'm not going to do it because it's not going to work perfect."

Megan:
Yeah. If I’ve learned anything from this journey so far, it’s that you’ve got to be flexible and willing to think creatively because there are a lot of things that come up. And fortunately I think I’ve listened to almost every single BiggerPockets podcast. So there have been a lot of great tips about how to flex when things don’t go quite right.

David:
You know, that is a great segue into the next question I want to ask you because you were a former Marine, and one of the mottoes is adapt and overcome, right? And that’s literally what you’re describing right now. I’m a big fan of taking people that did something else in life and saying, “How can you take what you learn there and apply it to be in this world and be successful?” Can you share a little bit about what you learned in the Marine Corps, maybe as a woman in the Marine Corps and how that prepared you for now you’re in mostly a male dominated industry, which is real estate investing, your contractors, a lot of the people you’re dealing with, they’re going to be male, and you’re kicking butt. So can you share a little bit with the listeners of your experience that they might not have had and how that’s helped you in this world?”

Megan:
Yeah. I think the first big lesson I got from joining the Marine Corps was just do hard things and even when you’re scared, go ahead and do them. I mean, you grow so much and you learn so much just by doing. So the Marine Corps absolutely drills into you leadership, accountability, adaptability, getting to 80% and then going. I think a lot of people get stuck in analysis, paralysis and the military really drilled into me, you need to come up with a plan quickly and have a bias for action and get moving. Because if you wait too long, first of all, you’re not actually ever going to get a perfect plan that does not exist. There’s so many quotes about plans, not surviving first contact and more and how things change so rapidly. So I think that the military gave me so many great tools and pushed me outside of my comfort zone, which was the reason I wanted to join. I had grown up in a military family, but I hadn’t done it myself, and I thought it was going to be a great test and character builder for the long term.
And then to your point, David, the Marine Corps, the military in general is definitely male dominated. The Marine Corps, I think, when I was in was 6% female. So there’s definitely a big difference there. It wasn’t something I thought about necessarily every day or put a lot of stock into but people would ask me sometimes every once in a while, had someone come up to me in uniform and say, “I didn’t know women could be in the Marine Corps.” So it was it was interesting. I think it just got me comfortable with working with people who weren’t exactly like me. And I wouldn’t even say there were that many differences but there are certainly things where you look at the majority of men around you, and you see how they process it and you realize, “Oh, that’s not how I was thinking through it. But that’s interesting.” So it definitely helps you think about just how different people do different things. And I think that’s where putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, including networking or traveling anything around people who aren’t necessarily the people you would usually spend time with, or surround yourself with. It broadens your the way you think about things and it helps you become more adaptable and flexible and how you work with different people.
I mean, communication is a lot more about how other people receive your message than it is about how you put it out there. So you need to think about how they’re going to receive it. And I have not really had much issue with how I work with male agents and contractors and handyman and so forth that I work with on a daily basis.

David:
Well, I say so because you clearly have a skill. You can adapt how you communicate whether it’s me before we started recording, Brandon when he came in. You naturally pick up very quickly, “What’s this person’s rhythm and style? And how do I adjust to that?”

Brandon:
Is that why she was talking so slow to me? “Hey, Brandon, I-

David:
Drawing pictures to show-

Brandon:
Yeah. Painting little pictures. I get it.

David:
I don't know that people who don't invest in real estate often or at a large level, understand how important what you mentioned adaptability is. The people that I see that get jammed up that can't make it work, are trying to take this world of investing and make it fit with what they're used to. So when you see these analysis heavy people that say, "I put all the numbers in the spreadsheet, it's supposed to work like this," but they don't manage the contractor well. They don't plan for the CapEx. They don't see Coming, that didn't fit in a box. They get so frustrated, they're like, "I just can't do it." They don't have any confidence. Or when you see the net workers, the people pleasers, they're like, "I know everybody. They get what they think is a great deal but they don't have set up a system to keep the tenant paying on time without being taken advantage of. So then they get discouraged. And our goal here is to make everybody more successful at investing and you really got to understand, there's so many components to this, there's a lot of things you have to do well. And if you have the ability to adapt in that situation to figure out what's needed to win here. Oh, man, you're going to love it. That's why you're all about it.
Megan like you’re writing blogs for BiggerPockets, you’re here talking with us. You love to talk about it, because you’ve learned to adapt. I would bet you that your time in the Marine Corps where they’re constantly pushing you in that direction was big. And the last point I’ll make is you mentioned that no plan is perfect. And just everybody please keep saying that to yourself. Give yourself permission to stop being perfect. If you try to come up with a perfect formula that you could never have anything go wrong, you will spend the rest of your life trying to figure it out and you’re never going to get there. It’s not effective. It’s what’s a reasonable decision and you move forward until something changes. And you say, “Okay, now what’s a reasonable decision to go from here?” And you keep making progress. That’s the attitude you have to have if you want to be good at most things.

Megan:
Absolutely. I think that that is huge. I was just involved in a veteran’s real estate virtual conference and we talked a lot about that stuff, because we all have that kind of shared experience. And it’s something that I don’t care who you are, I don’t care if, to these veterans, if you come from any money or any real estate experience or not, you’ve got tools at your disposal, that will pay in spades because you know how to adapt and overcome and, and be a leader. I think that’s huge, too. If you were running your own business, you have to be a leader. That means knowing how to delegate things. You talked about being good at everything. Sometimes that’s being really good at working with the people who are good at things you can’t do. So I don’t like to go out and do showings to lease my own units. I don’t like to swing the hammer. There are a lot of things I don’t do personally, but I know how to lead and how to work with the people who can do that for me, and then how to take care of them so that we can continue to have a healthy long standing relationship.

Brandon:
Which I would actually argue is probably one of the more valuable lessons, skills is that leadership or that management. When I got started, I read every book I could find on real estate investing and I’m pretty good with the real estate investing. But when it comes to interviewing a contractor and telling them that they screwed up their job, I’ve always been bad at it. Why? Not because I was born bad, it’s just because I don’t focus on that skill set. Now for some people comes naturally. Like David, it comes a lot more natural to go out there and just tell a contractor that they’re screwed up. Oh, Ryan Murdock. That’s why Ryan’s Part of on my team here with open on capital is because he’s that guy. He’s okay doing that. I just thought that way but that’s because I hadn’t focused on it on that leadership until recently.
Now I feel like, “Oh, now I understand how this leadership thing works and how this management…” I don’t need to swing the hammer. If I was good at vetting and running the numbers just so I could pay for the right contractor to do the work so I don’t have to do it. So all I got to do is make a phone call instead of spending nine hours doing the work. So again, I would just encourage them to listen to this, don’t focus only on your skills, at real estate or your skill at construction, but build up those management skills as well. The leadership skills that are really valuable. Now speaking of management, Megan, how many units do you have total now?

Megan:
I have 10 units right now.

Brandon:
And I hear you’re self managing them?

Megan:
Yes. It’s pretty low effort at the moment.

Brandon:
I have like 30 that we manage in the house. Well they’re not even 30 anymore, they 20 right now, and it still takes a good chunk of time. It’s pretty hands off, it sounds like. How is that done? What are your tips and tricks for managing properties?

Megan:
So I was thinking about this because this is something I really wanted people to take away. I’m a mom with two kids my whole idea behind real estate State was I wanted more time with them. So I swung from five days in the office and two days at home with my kids to two or three days per week focusing on real estate and the rest of the week with my kids. So having effective processes and procedures for keeping my real estate running is really important to me. So first of all, I will give a shout out to this [crosstalk 00:33:23]. Yeah, because when I was getting ready to leave work and do the management myself, I read through this whole thing, and took notes as I went and kind of created my SOP and my checklists. So that’s my first tip. I think there are four key things that I think you really need to focus on. And Funny enough, they spell prop. So if you can remember prop-

Brandon:
You have an acronym I love it.

Megan:
I felt like I needed to be ready with an acronym to be able to speak with you, Brandon Turner and David, both of you.

Brandon:
We like your acronyms.

Megan:
The four things are your procedures, your renovations, online tools and people. So the procedures is really like using the book on managing rental properties, to get Some processes and procedures in place, write down your policies and don’t stray from them. If you have in black and white, what your policies for management are, anytime you get those kind of off the wall questions from tenants or something, just point to that. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel or create exceptions left and right for tenants, you have policies written down. This is our policy to make sure we’re staying fair and treating every tenant equal. So that’s how it’s going to work. I also have templates for everything. And again, I pulled a lot of that from what Brandon and his wife put together for all of us to be able to use you guys had a lot of great templates included with the book that I was able to adjust to use in my portfolio. So I have every type of communication I could have with a tenant from when I’m first taking them through application to when they’re moving out and getting ready to leave, as templates ready to go. And I created checklists and I just kind of stick to those as much as possible. So that’s the procedures piece.
Renovation is if you are buying a property that you’re going to put work into, go ahead and spend some money upfront to reduce maintenance and repairs later. So I’m not saying over overdo it but in areas where we have decent rents, I put stone countertops in, I put tile in, I put vinyl, the luxury vinyl planks that are really water resistant and durable against pets in case we accept pets into any of our units. Doing that up front really, I think helps reduce the maintenance and repairs. And my maintenance requests are not daily or even weekly on most of my properties. And like I said earlier, the properties I bought that are a little older that I didn’t renovate myself have more. So putting in that work upfront, you can add value for your long term wealth and just reduce the amount of effort you have to put into your management. So that’s renovations.
Online tools. I use TenantCloud for my tenant screening, E-signing the documents, I collect rent there, I’ve received maintenance requests there. It kind of does everything for me. And again, because there’s so much you can do online including assigning things, I don’t even have to go out and meet tenants very much to sign leases or anything. I’ll meet them to give them their keys. And that’s about it. I have my leasing agent actually do the showings before then. I also use QuickBooks Online for the bookkeeping. I just switched to that I guess right at the beginning of this year, I kind of put in all the legwork or end of last year to do that. And that’s been huge. I switched from Excel spreadsheets to QuickBooks Online. And that helps bookkeeping my time has gone way down there. And then things like Gmail the Boomerang app so that you can kind of set an email to go out at a certain time to tenants. Google Voice for a tenant communication.

Brandon:
Boomerang is legit. I love Boomerang. For listeners who have never heard of that before, what is Boomerang?

Megan:
So Boomerang is something… My business account is like a G Suite account and I can use, I don’t even know if I’ve had to upgrade yet to use like, Boomerang in you know, as much as I want they have a certain number you can do per month. But if I am ever doing management outside of normal work hours, I send it on a Boomerang. Which means I set the time that the email will be sent for me like the next business morning. And that does two things. First of all, I don’t want my tenants trying to connect with me outside of nine to five, Monday through Friday, I want to keep kind of professional business hours. But as a working real estate investor with two young kids, sometimes I’m flexible on when I send certain things out. So Boomerang allows me to write out the email that I’m trying to send to somebody that I just don’t want to forget the next morning when I plan to go to the playground with my kid and I just set, “Send at 9 AM on Thursday,” and then it will go ahead and send it to me or send it for me at the time that I prescribed. So that’s really awesome.

Brandon:
There’s two other cool things that I use Boomerang for. I love that feature. I manage my, this might be terrible for people would be like, “I can’t believe Brandon does this,” but I manage my life generally through my inbox. If it’s my primary inbox, that is something I have to do in my life I take care of it’s just how I run my life. And so my ultimate goal every week is really To get to inbox zero if I get my primary tab in Gmail, then the Inbox Zero I know that I’ve done everything I can possibly do that was on my list to do. So what I will do is I will oftentimes, there’s a feature like Boomerang a message where it’s like, it’s nothing I can act on right now, but I don’t need to deal with it for another week, two weeks, three weeks, I’ll Boomerang it and it will just disappear from my inbox. And it will come back like a boomerang, right, like two or three weeks later, whatever date I say to come back on. So I do that a lot.
For example, if Kevin invites me to a podcast recording, like this morning, I get the invite two weeks ago, whatever my email, I will Boomerang it to come back the day before whatever and it automatically recognizes what day it should come back. So I use that feature a lot. And the third feature I use all the time on Boomerang is, when I email somebody there’s a feature you can click a little button that says a boomerang this if no reply in X amount of days, right? So I love that. So if I email somebody and ask them a question, like I’m going task a tenant a question which I don’t typically email my tenants, but if I was, or a contractor or someone at BiggerPockets, or David and I need a reply, but if I send it all the sense out of my inbox, I don’t really anymore, right?
So now it might be lost. So I set that if no reply, Boomerang this in three days and then we’ll come back to my inbox and like, “Hey, that person didn’t reply it did you want to resend that now I can resend that.’ That last feature has been a lifesaver for me many times.

Megan:
I've got that one as well. And that's been really great for things like I'm working through, working on refinancing something right now and I'll send a question to the loan officer and if I don't hear back in like three or four days, then I know like, okay, I can give him a little nudge again.

Brandon:
Exactly.

David:
That’s like a brilliant piece of technology. As you were talking about and I was thinking, “Oh, that would fix like 70% of our problems.” Where we need something, we email and ask some for it up if it doesn’t exist in your head until that tennis ball gets volley back to your side. They dropped the ball, and it just disappears, but it hurt you to show because you needed the answer. That’s a pretty, pretty important piece if tech there.

Megan:
Yeah, that’s huge.

Brandon:
And it’s like free or there’s a paid version. Like I think I have the paid version now. It’s not much. It’s like a few dollars a month I think.

David:
What would be cool is if you were an investor and you sent out offers on properties or you were contacting sellers directly and that became like your follow up system. Like, I sent an email to that seller, they didn’t get back to me.” I look at Boomerang, it says, “Hey, you haven’t heard back for two weeks,” you give them another call. If it would almost force you to follow up with those off market leads you’re going after or whatever you’re trying to pursue and almost turned your email in the form of a CRM.

Megan:
Yeah, that’s a great point.

David:
Megan, one of the things you mentioned was the book Brandon wrote you were referring to the book on Managing Rental Properties by Brendan and Heather, right?

Megan:
Correct.

David:
Okay, cool. And so you kind of use that as a blueprint then you establish your prop system. And that was how you went through, and to summarize that the first P was procedures, then renovations and online tools and what’s the last P?

Megan:
And the last P is people.So I think like we talked about earlier, you need to be good at doing a lot of different things for real estate, but you also need to be good at delegating and working with other people. And knowing what things just aren’t your strengths that other people can bring to the table. First of all, one of the big ones for me is good tenants. So doing really good screening, don’t skimp on the screening. And I think I got great foundation again from your book Brandon, and for setting that up. But then I have a go to handyman, a really great leasing agent who helps me turn over units quickly without me having to run over there eight times to do different showings, I’ve got a contractor and I’ve worked with a couple, but I’ve got kind of one key contractor, and then just an investor network. For the rest. I run monthly meetup here in St. Louis. And I also have a women in real estate mastermind that I’m a part of. I try to network and learn from others as much as I can.

David:
So this is interesting. You’re managing them yourself, but you are delegating the responsibilities of that management, as opposed to hiring a property manager and being frustrated that they didn’t do it the way you wanted. Is that right?

Megan:
Right. And I’ve had both good and bad property management, but I’m a details person and I wanted to have certain types of systems and procedures in place that didn’t necessarily align with how they ran their company. So I thought, well, “I will set up myself, I can still hire people for the things I don’t want to do but I can have a little more say in exactly how we run through certain procedures for different things.”

David:
So yeah, I love that you didn’t take it either or. Either I have to do it all myself or I have to trust someone else to do it. You figured out a way to meet in the middle of that spectrum that worked for you. That’s awesome. Yeah, I’ve enjoyed it. I mean, people have talked about like, “Oh my God, I would never self manage. It would be such a headache.” But I think if you have the right procedures in place, you have good people that you can lean on for different parts it doesn’t have to be difficult. I have a four year old and a nine month old and most of my focus is on them. But I can still manage 10 units with probably five to add the worst 10 hours per month. And I do that on primarily on the days that I’ve got two to three days per week when they have childcare.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s awesome. I really like that a lot. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, because it fits here. To go to David’s point is you don’t need to do every thing. Probably mentioned doesn’t mean you either all or nothing, right? So like when I got into it I was originally doing all myself because I kind of felt like I had to and there were no good property managers. But I immediately started thinking, “What do I hate doing about this? Or I just absolutely despise,” it was talking to tenants. Hated it. So that’s the first. I had my mother in law who was looking to get out of her job. I was like, “Hey, can I just pay you a few hundred bucks a month, just to do all that tenant interaction? You just talk to them and that’s it. You tell me what they said, I’ll tell you what to say to them. You go back to them and say that’s it.” And that’s how the whole thing started. It just made my self managing 100 times better because I took what I was not good at, and what I was good at and kept doing. What I was good at was the systems and the processes and the tenant screening, and just got rid of the part that I hated and that I didn’t want to do. So yeah, very cool.
So you have got this total 10 units. What’s your long term picture? I read something about buying a farm which I want to hear about. Do you want to buy 1000 rental units? Is that the plan or do you know to be a mogul? Do you want to stay small? Where are you headed? And what’s with the farm?

Megan:
So there’s two somewhat separate questions, but I’ll get to both for sure. So yeah. I’m all in this for kind of the lifestyle situation. I want to build something because I think there’s something innate in me where I want to keep growing and learning and building that doesn’t mean that I want to go from 10 to 1000. In the next year or two. I’m just not there and my focus is on my young kids. In a few years they will be in primary school five days a week, and I won’t have the option to have them home for a majority of the week and then I don’t even want to think about a few years later when I’m no longer cool because they’re teenagers. But right now, my focus is on them that being-

Brandon:
Right now you’re still cool.

Megan:
I’m very cool right now.

Brandon:
They love you right now.

Megan:
But that being said, I still want to be growing and learning. So I’m actually currently working on connecting with a money partner to go into something bigger. I’m looking at 16 units plus for my next purchase, because I know I’ve got systems and procedures in place. I know how to manage things. I know how to delegate. I’m also looking into something like you said, bring someone on part time who can help me with that as I grow to more units. So I’m going to keep growing, I would ideally like to have probably looking at 50 to 100 units over the next handful of years. After I get a little more of a footprint here in St. Louis, I’d also be interested in a couple other markets. But I love real estate, so I’m going to keep building. But I’m also kind of taking my time in some respects, because my focus and the whole why behind my real estate is the kids and you can use real estate as a tool at any level in your life and any phase in your life.
It doesn’t have to be that you are one of those people who’s going to go out and go from zero to 500 units in two and a half years. So then the farm kind of ties into that. So this is something my husband and I have talked about for years, we always thought it would be cool to have a piece of land that we could just spend time on, take our kids out get kind of away from the city and the suburban life. He likes hunting so he wanted a piece of land for hunting. So during this pandemic, we had a few couple months, there were, I guess a chunk of that time where even city and county parks were closed. So with the parks that we would normally go to spend time and a bunch of trees in green space, we couldn’t even go there. So that actually got us really looking closer. And I kind of used what I know from real estate so far to connect with the land broker, start looking at some options and we ended up putting an offer on 60 acres, about an hour and a half from our house here in St. Louis. That will just get to us.
A farmer actually rents 20 to 25 of those acres, so we’ve got a little bit of income coming in off it, it’s not like it’s a cash flowing thing. But it’s cool to be able to offset that that piece of land that we have for our family with some of that rental income and for the tillable acres and then my husband will be able to hunt there, we can spend weekends with the kids there, take friends there. It’s a lifestyle type of thing that also happens to be an asset that can appreciate over time. So it’s a really cool melding of like the lifestyle business and the real estate and things to do with our kids.

Brandon:
That’s super cool. It just goes to show not everybody wants to make millions of dollars or billions of dollars. Sometimes it’s like, “What do you want in life? What sounds amazing what sounds cool.” So I encourage people to always think is, “What sounds amazing?” And owning a 60 acre property, I can go and hang out on the weekends or with friends over the summer, whatever. That sounds pretty amazing. And it’s like a real estate you can actually do that and have that property long term. You could sell it again for the same amount you probably paid for it at worst case scenario, probably much more. So like, this was funny. Let’s say you buy a car, a really really nice car. Let’s say buy a brand new Tesla. Like I did. It was like 100 grand and today it’s worth like 70, next year it’ll be worth like 50 right? It loses value over time which just sucks. But real estate, when I bought my house in Hawaii, like it’s worth what it was when I bought it if not significantly more today. And you but that thing it’s going to be worth way more. One more fun piece about it, is just that you can enjoy it while you have it, and then sell it later for hopefully what you have into it, if not much more and it’s just worth the use.

Megan:
I think beyond just the cash flow and the wealth, which is great, too. I mean like I said, I do plan to build. We’ll build big, we’re just going to do it on our family’s timeline. But the flexibility and the options that it affords you are mind blowing, sometimes it gets so exciting to see what you can do when you understand how to use real estate to your advantage. And you start building not only your net worth, but your options in life and your flexibility. I left a high paying job because we got to a point where my husband and I looked at our portfolio and said, “Even if you left work, got totally lazy, spent all the time with the kids and didn’t keep building, in 10 years my husband could leave work too just with the long term investments and the real estate that we already hold. It was really cool to look at that and see.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s that’s phenomenal. Love that.

David:
For those who feel like, "I don't want to have to choose between the luxuries I want and financial freedom," try to think of it like you can have both if you just do it in the right order. If you build the assets that provide cash flow that go up in value, those can pay for the nice things you want. If you get the nice things first that prevent you from getting the asset, the nice things lose their value and you didn't have any money. So it's not about denying yourself for the rest of your life and never enjoying life, it's about having a short period of delayed gratification, so you can have a much longer one later.

Megan:
Absolutely.

Brandon:
When I have my Lucky Charms, I eat all the dry cereal first and then I have a bowl of marshmallows and then I put more cereal into it.

David:
Brandon freaking Turner. That’s exactly right.

Megan:
I did the same exact thing as a child and I have to say it made me feel a lot more normal when I heard you say that on one of the podcasts. I was like, “I’m not the only crazy[crosstalk 00:49:47]out there.

David:
I still eat the vegetables before I eat anything else [crosstalk 00:49:50]

Brandon:
I do too.

David:
… and it’s easiest to deal with it right? You don’t want to eat them when you’re kind of full. There’s probably something really true to this. If we asked every guest like 90% of them would say, “Oh I always save the marshmallows for later.”

Brandon:
What’s funny is because my wife will, I make fun of her all the time because, I don’t make fun of her but I teach her because when we eat the table I will down my vegetables right away because I’m like, “Get it over with it.” The stuff you don’t like, get it over with and now I get to enjoy. Then she’s like, at the end of the meal. She’s sitting there like… half hour after because I eat absurdly fast-

David:
Not just absurdly fast. Brandon eats faster than any human beings you’ve ever met. I’ve often wondered if he’s like a cow with the seven stomachs and doesn’t have to choose food, because he has seven different areas of his own. It’s uncanny how fast he eats.

Megan:
I grew up in a military family and then join the Marine Corps. You don’t get a lot of time to eat because there’s training. I might be able to give you a run for your money.

Brandon:
Yeah. We’re going to eat lunch together some time and we’re going to be done and David’s going to be like picking up his first french fry. He’ll be like, “Wait, what’s going on?” But my wife will eat like the best thing first and just work her way down until all she’s left with like a plate of like dry spinach. And she’s just like, “Aah.” I was like, “Heather, you end every meal sad.” I end every meal happy like, “Yes, I finally get the french fries!”

David:
If you guys can understand what he’s saying, you know what it’s like to be Brandon’s friend. Everything he does and everything in life he’ll have some way of looking at it just like that.

Megan:
That’s awesome.

Brandon:
That’s funny.I think that actually works out really well, I think that’s why Heather and I have a good partnership together, because we’re so opposite when it comes to that. So yeah, she’s awesome. All right. But let’s get back to Megan. Megan. So long term. That’s cool. I think that’s smart. You kind of answered it earlier but I’d like to ask the question anyway, directly. What is it that our audience can bring you? How can they bring you value right now? Somebody listening to this. What are you looking for in your investments or in your life hat will help you?

Megan:
Great, thank you. I am looking for 16 plus unit in a good area of St. Louis. So I’m looking to bring on a money partner and I’m looking to find a larger building. I am totally good with value, add in fact, I prefer it. So that’s what I’m looking for currently. I also run a new monthly meetup here in St. Louis, it’s called The St. Louis RAI Happy Hour. I always post on BiggerPockets. We also have a simple website so people can go to that. If they’re in the St. Louis area, or if they’ll be coming through because they’re investing here and please join us. We love to see it grow and to see we’ve got a good group of kind of regulars. And then we always have some new people or some people who are passing through St. Louis who come join us. So please feel free to join us. We love the more the merrier. I love that networking.

Brandon:
I love that you said that. Let’s let’s talk about this for a second then we’ll move on to the deal deep dive. But the idea of hosting a meetup local meetup, this is something we encourage on the show a lot and not because we get any benefit from it as BiggerPockets organization, but simply because David and I have both seen the tremendous benefit of attending get togethers. And we’re not talking about like they go to a room and have the sales guy in front of the room saying, “Buy my course in the back of the room run back there now with your credit card.” We’re talking about like, just get together people at a restaurant, bar, happy hour, whatever. Maybe you rent out a college, whatever. My friend Tara does that. They rent a lecture hall at a college, Community College. Get together, learn, network, grow. So what have you found work has worked really well for you in that? What have you learned along the way of managing one of these? And just for those people looking to either attend or maybe somebody’s looking to start their own.

Megan:
So I think I got the idea from again, listening to your podcasts since you guys always talking about, “Hey, if you don’t have a real estate investing network in the area, think about starting a meetup.” And there are some of them here in the area, but a lot of them are by companies. And either they sell things or they just have their very agenda heavy, which is really interesting and very educational but the open networking was kind of brief compared to the total meeting. So actually, when I bought that first four family in 2017, I did a write up on BiggerPockets, just in one of the forums about, “Hey, here’s my first four family. I’m sharing the numbers so people can see what I did and how I got there.” And I got a lot of great feedback on that. And so then I thought, well, let me get a few of these St. Louis based people together.
And our first meetup, our first few months of it actually it was just me sending an email to the like 10 people I had met, who were in the St. Louis area after posting that and saying, “Hey, we’re going to meet at this brewery at this time and have a beer and hang out and talk for two hours.” And then over time it was growing, because after a while we thought, “Well, we should open this up.” And we started putting it on BiggerPockets events every month. And so it was gradual. You don’t have to start with like this fully formed and formal plan. It started really low key is still pretty low key. Honestly, we like to focus on the networking. But it grew over time to the point that when my real estate attorney, who’s also the CO owner of the title company I use showed up one time because I kept telling him about it. He was like, “This is really cool. Could I sponsor this?” And I was like, “Yes, you can.” So then, when I put out the next email saying it was sponsored by this company, a couple of my other connections, including the owner of the construction company that I use, emailed me and they were like, “Hey, we would sponsor.”
So we ended up getting a few sponsors very naturally, just because people are showing up and enjoying themselves at this events. And now we have a room that we rent at a local bar, and we have five different sponsors and we all come together every month and get a couple drink tickets, thanks to our wonderful sponsors. And I think it does so much for everyone involved. Real estate is not like other careers where you go to an office and you’re surrounded by like minded people who are immersed in marketing or finance or whatever your industry is. So you need to create that for yourself, find it or create it for yourself, because it really helps you. For me, every time I go to something like this, my own meetup or someone else’s, it gets the creative juices flowing. And now it’s grown to the point that I’ve got three other guys who helped me with it every month because it’s big enough, we all kind of pitch in.
And I think we’re also now seen as people who actually have some experience and some little bit of clout in St. Louis real estate because we’re willing to on a consistent basis put together an event for folks. I actually had someone tell me recently, “Oh, yeah, I found out about your meetup, because this guy who is an investor who’s in California knows you from BiggerPockets and says he thinks you have the only networking focused meetup in St. Louis.” It was just really cool how people get to know you virtually or otherwise, because you take the initiative to put something together.

Brandon:
That’s so cool.

David:
It also shows there’s a demand for it. That people are looking for stuff like that. So if you’re into BiggerPockets, much like you found your agent through a BiggerPockets website, you can find those kind of people and meetups. You can find lenders that specialize in loans for investment property that maybe don’t look at the income you make. They look at the cash flow of the property. They use a debt service ratio to underwrite. Another thing that people don’t realize is oftentimes they say, “Well, I don’t want to go to the meetup, because they’re not going to teach me anything. I already know it.” But sometimes go in there and talking about the properties you have, maybe they bring you in to be a speaker, it lights a fire under you, it gets you all excited about buying your next property. And then you get that passion that you had when you were new. There’s all kinds of good things that come from going to these things.

Brandon:
And I love the fact that you mentioned the sponsor, [inaudible 00:56:58]talking about that before. My buddy Seth Mosley runs a meetup called Music and Money in Nashville. He does the same thing. They actually rent a really cool venue, almost like a music venue that people do like music stuff. It’s Nashville. But that cost money. Sometimes even fly in. They flew in me one time to speak, they flew in David, I think to speak one time. That cost money. So they just bring in like sponsors and they’re like local appraisers, local title companies, local real estate, lenders, agents, home inspectors, whatever. And those pay the cost of running this meetup. It’s not going to be a moneymaker. I’m not telling you where to go and start a business of a money, ut you don’t have to lose money to be able to put on a really great event that you become the hub and so then when you need a 16 unit, you tell everyone at your event that you’re looking for a 16 unit, now you got people out there looking in your market for that and you have potential lenders, you have potential partners there you got all this good stuff. Super valuable information there. That’s cool.
Last note I’ll make before I move to [inaudible 00:57:54]. I love that you’re basically working what we call at BiggerPockets the stack. Which is this idea of you start small, or you buy a single family house, or you buy a fourplex. Maybe you went back and you buy that that flip, it’s okay. You bought your duplex, I think you said in there somewhere, right? But now you’re looking to exponentially go to a 16 unit. Because you’re going to take all that knowledge and experience you’ve gained so far, and now tied to something bigger. And so who cares? That first deal you were talking about, the single family house that was really like making 50 bucks a month? Who cares, right? In the grand scheme of a 10, 20 year career of real estate investing. Like that first deal, the most important thing was that you gain knowledge, experience credibility and excitement, You validated your hypothesis and it worked and you went forward. So yeah, kudos to you on work in the stack. That’s awesome.

Megan:
Thank you. I’m excited about that next level and it’s going to be a fun back half of this year.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s cool. And like you said you like to continually learn and grow like, I think there’s a lot of joy, at least for some of us, I know all three of us are like that. We get a lot of happiness and joy out of growth. And if you just stick with the same stuff all day long, I just buy some family houses, that’s fine if that’s what you get happiness from, but I love growing. I love thinking, “What’s the hard thing I can do next?” Embrace hard things like you said earlier, because that’s where a lot of joy is. David’s like, “I’m going to start a mortgage company.” And David just does it, because that’s like fun.

Megan:
Because he just does what he does.

Brandon:
Its just what he does. He’s like, “That would be hard. So let’s go do it.” So very cool. All right, let’s move on to the next segment of our show. The Deal Deep Dive. Deal Deep Dive is the part of the show where we dive deep into one property or deal you’ve bought to get to know a little bit more about it. So do you have a property in mind we can dig into?

Megan:
I do. It’s a duplex that I purchased in a solid area of South St. Louis city.

Brandon:
All right. Well, that was my first question. What kind of property was it and where was it located? So duplex in St. Louis. How… I’m sorry David. I don’t want to take your question. You do it.

David:
You took half of it already.

Brandon:
You do you man. I did a fourth of it all right. I said “How.” Jeez, this guy.

David:
Thank you for [crosstalk 01:00:08]man. I appreciate that.

Megan:
I found this one on the MLS. I have used my agent and purchased off the MLS for most of my properties so far.

David:
But you can find deals off the MLS. How on earth Megan? Okay. Brandon I’m going to let you ask the next question.

Brandon:
What were you searching for? Do you have any tips for using the MLS? I know as a side note from the deal but how were you able to do that?

Megan:
I think the biggest thing is just be ready to look at a lot of properties to find one that works. So I think that I probably look at 100 different properties that come through my search even more, I can kind of very quickly looking at how many units and what they’re listing it for, and see, does that make any sense at all for what I want to do with real estate or not? And so there are some that I don’t even click through to look at the entire listing. If I can tell it’s not going to work. If it looks like it’s close, then I can click through and actually do some quick numbers. If it looks like, “Hey, there might be something here,” then I actually run the analysis. It’s the funnel that you guys always talk about, right? So it’s that funnel process, you look at a lot of them and I know there are a lot of cool tips for how you can search for things that look different and unique.
So this one, for instance, was a side by side duplex that had separate basements and it had a little bit some cracking and some foundation issues that I think were scaring other buyers off. But it had a great layout a lot of space and these private basements, which I knew would be really exciting to potential tenants and I felt like we could get some really solid rents which once we renovated because of it’s not this up, down, it’s the side by side that makes you feel a little bit more like you’re in a single family home.

Brandon:
I love side by side duplexes. When I’m scrolling realtor and I see a picture of a side by side duplex, instantly kind of click on that for a lot of reasons. So how much was the property? What were they asking for it?

Megan:
I think they were asking 150 something or 160. We ended up getting it at 142,500. They were already listing it kind of below what a renovated duplex in that area would go for. And then when we got during the inspection period, I went ahead and had a couple foundation guys come through and give me estimates and based on those estimates, we brought it down to 142500.

David:
Very good. I want to point out don’t assume that just because you get someone that says there’s a foundation problem that the sellers will automatically reduce the price. This worked in your case, and it works in a lot of cases. But I see a lot of investors that say how do I make the seller drop their price based on what I’m seeing? And that’s not really the way it works. If it’s worth it to them to drop the price they will if there’s some other buyer who would buy it without dropping the price they won’t. Did you use your BiggerPockets agent on this deal, the one you told us about?

Megan:
Yes, I did.

David:
So they probably had a little bit of experience recognizing these are motivated sellers and this is what we’re going to do.

Megan:
Absolutely. And I think they had had one offer that had already fallen through because I remember they gave us an inspection too, because they said, “Well, we had this inspection done with this previous offer.” So that was another kind of bit of information we had that helped us understand, “Okay, if we go in there, we get some feedback from some contractors and some foundation repair specialists, then we might have a little wiggle room.”

David:
That’s a great point. I love those ones that they’ve already fallen out of escrow once or maybe even twice, they’re going to be just, I don’t care, give them what they want. I want to sell this thing. How did you fund this deal?

Megan:
So this is where we get into something interesting. I’m giving you guys a deal today that was like a BRRRR fail. I completely slayed the BRRRR process in a not good way and it still ended up okay. Just so you know.

Brandon:
That’s why we like the BRRRR process because you can still sometimes survive. So what did you do?

Megan:
So I had a private money lender I was working with, I was buying it at 142,500 and he was lending me 195,000 so that I could go in and put about 50 plus of work in and I actually thought it would take 60 to 65. So I knew I put a little bit of money into it before I could rent and refinance. But I thought it was going to be maybe 10 grand, it ended up being more. But fortunately, real estate gives you options. So I had options, and we were able to work our way through it.

Brandon:
So what happened? What went wrong?

Megan:
Sure. So there are a lot of things at play here, as there always are in real estate, that’s where we get back to the flexibility and adaptability. I was going to renovate both sides. So repair the foundation and renovate both sides. And I thought that we’d need about 20 for the basement, the foundation repair and then about 20 for each side. We had a tenant on one side who had been there for a while and the unit needed a lot of work, but they said they’re very interested in sticking around. So instead of just kind of having them go on their way because it was a month to month, contract with them. I let them stay. So that was the first big thing. Because I slowed down my process right off the bat because I kind of felt like, “Oh, well, this tenant is paying a little bit of rent and they want to stay. So I guess I’ll just let them stay for a while.” So that kind of made the whole renovation process a little less efficient. The foundation repairs fortunately came in right at what we expected and it didn’t get crazy there. But in renovating the upstairs, I had a contractor I had found he seemed a little bit cheaper than others, but not the cheapest.
I had done a little due diligence, I got a referral from somebody else who had done one renovation with him. And he did a good job on the left unit. And when it was done, it looked amazing and it rented for twice what the other unit had been renting for, so I think that one was at like 750 the inherited tenant and I rent to the new one for 1400. So that part really worked out. But then I started to get a little nervous because we needed to do this whole process over again on the other side, I was using private money. So then I just decided you know what, maybe I should just see how I can refinance. Now with just one side undone because both sides are rented, one side done, one side undone. Of course, I'm not going to get full value when I do that. I mean, I was just getting antsy, I guess. So the appraisal came in, as you would expect 30,000 less than it would have if I had gone ahead and done the other unit. So that right there meant that I had to leave a little bit of money into it when I refinanced. Then it was time to go renovate the other side, and by the way, I'm like eight months pregnant when we're finally getting to the other side of this rental.
And for some reason, this contractor just didn’t do the same kind of work and didn’t stay on timelines like he did with the first side. I mean, things just started to kind of disintegrate with that relationship. And I wasn’t nearly as on top of it as I normally would have been because I literally went into the hospital and had my second child in the middle of this renovation. So by the time I am out of the hospital, I’ve had a couple weeks to kind of recuperate and I finally go to see this place. I’m looking around and I’m like, “This is a mess. What has even been done?” It just got a little crazy. So then I have to call in another contractor I’d worked with in the past, and they were a little more expensive, but oh my gosh, it would have been worth it to just use them from the get go. And they were like, “Yeah, we can come in and fix this, but it’s going to take a while.” Oh, by the way, I had pre leased this one.
So when I was showing the unit on the left, I had a family who was so excited about it, but not ready to move yet that they asked if they could have the unit on the right once it was done. I said, “Sure. No problem. That’s great.” Well, then these poor folks, they hung in there with me, they’re amazing. They were really excited about the location in the home. But we had to push back when they could move in by two months because of the issues we had with this contractor and having to switch to the other contractor and spend an extra. I think my budget had already inflated about 10 or 15,000 and then I had to spend another 10,000 on it after that contractor was fired, and I brought in my other one to fix things. So suffice it to say it was a big ol’ mess.
And eventually I got both units done. They look beautiful. They photograph beautifully. They’re both rented by really high quality tenants. Actually I just turned around the first unit that was done in I mean, three days from the time that the previous tenant left to the time when the new tenant moved in. It was beautiful. So that part was wonderful. But yeah, it was, I mean, if you put BRRRR and align, my process was jumping all through that BRRRR acronym. So I fumbled quite a bit, and I still am here to talk about it and to cash flow about… Let me see. I brought my numbers up so that I could tell you guys. I cashflow $700 per month on that property.

Brandon:
Wow, that’s awesome.

David:
And then how much did you leave in the deal?

Megan:
So I left a lot of money in that deal. I’m actually looking at refinancing it again, maybe in another year or so. I left about $100,000 a little over $100,000 in that deal. So my cash on cash return is low. It’s like 8% or 9%. But if I refinance it one more time, in a year or so I can bump that up to over 10% which has always been kind of my bottom line what I’m hoping to achieve.

Brandon:
And you know what? You did it. I kind of say this on webinars a lot where, I have like a base hit, it’s like 8% for me. A home run might be a 10 to 12. Grand Slam is like 13 to 15% cash in cash. So who cares? You got to base it. It’s like, “Well, you hit. You did it.”

David:
Such a good point.

Brandon:
Yeah, who cares? I mean, you could have gotten a 2% return and you’re like, “You know what, I did it. I learned a ton.” To go to the contract, I’m want to give you a good analogy here. Watch this, David Green. Contractors are like mama birds and clients are like baby birds and baby birds are like… I have these birds that’s on our house and their mama feeds them like drops food into their mouth. There’s like five little birds that tweet, and whatever bird like tweets the loudest and is the most hungry, the mama bird feeds that baby. Every contractor I’ve ever known has 12 projects going on at one time. They always do because they’re always afraid that they’re not going to have enough work to do so they always line up a lot. They have a lot of spinning plates right and when you are going to have a baby, you are basically the baby bird taking a nap, you’re not squeaking as loud. Every time I’ve ever been just busy or distracted, all of a sudden the contractors just don’t really seem to show up anymore.
I took a three month trip to Hawaii back three years ago now and I got back and the contractor I think showed up once during that three month period, even though he said he was going be there all the time. And I kind of been following up with him and I had people trying to, nothing got done, because I was a quiet baby bird. It had happened and so you need to know that it’s going to happen because now you know this, if that ever happens again you need to find another person to be the squawking baby bird so that you get fed continually. Otherwise you just won’t because they will just always go to the louder squawking bird.

Megan:
Yeah, absolutely.

Brandon:
You like that? How was that David on a scale of one to 10 Give me a rating on that analogy.

David:
You’re getting like an eight and a half. And you know what? It also tied in with what we said earlier. We talked about sometimes it fits in the spreadsheet, but it doesn’t work out in real life. This is one of those reasons why. We talked about being able to adapt and communicate with the other person. What you’re saying is here’s how you talk to contractors, you got to be an annoying screech in their ear to get them to go do something. We’ve talked before when we say don’t pay them upfront, pay them in draws. This is why. You turn them into the baby bird, “Give me money. Give me money.” “Okay. Go do that work and you can have your warm.” Fuck the script on them. That’s why we say that.

Brandon:
Speaking of birds, did you guys see my video? I don’t know if it’s out on Instagram yet. It should be by the time this episode airs. I was recording a video for BiggerPockets all about data and stuff. And Ryan, who lives in the house behind my house out here in Hawaii, he’s been nursing this baby bird back to life he found on a tree.

David:
Stewart.

Brandon:
Yeah Stewart the love bird. Cute little green and like colorful love bird. He’s been nursing it since it was a baby because it fell out of a tree and lost his mom. Anyway. Ryan’s great like that. So the bird escaped a few days ago and in finally flew off and so Ryan was all sad like, “Oh, Stewart’s gone.” Anyway, in the middle of this video shoot, we got it on camera and everything, the bird came over and flew and landed on me and then just started eating me and like trying to get my neck. And so I recorded the whole video with this bird climbing around my body and it was-

David:
Very hilarious. [crosstalk 01:12:12]video of Stewart just shows up out of nowhere after we post it, Stewart flew the coop. He’s off the wild. And then that video comes in he just in the middle of it lands on Brandon and just starts like hanging out. I was laughing very hard.

Megan:
That’s awesome. I will go look at that.

Brandon:
It’s on my Instagram or will be if it’s not there yet, on beardybrandon, it was pretty fun. It was a good video. So anyway, and actually, I don’t even know if I’ll be able to use the video itself for BiggerPockets. I might have to rerecord that whole video because I couldn’t stop laughing. It was like, “There’s a bird on me. This doesn’t happen.” Anyway, baby birds that’s it. So overall outcome you said that you got it refi. You got to work and you got some money left in there. What lessons did you learn from the deal overall?

Megan:
I think definitely give yourself wiggle room in your budget because even before that contractor started going south or not responding to my calls and texts, I was going above budget. Make sure you’ve got some reserves ready or some options in your portfolio so that you’ve got money to cover when overages happen. I wasn’t going to go back to my private money lender and asked him for a bunch more money while I was seeing things inflate. I covered it myself because I had options. And then like you said squawk like a baby bird. Make sure you stay on top of those folks you’re working with and be accountable for your piece in it and keep them accountable too.

Brandon:
I’m going to say this other thing. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to create an inside joke t-shirt right now. If you guys go to biggerpocketscom/shirt, I’m going to have this done before this episode airs. Biggerpockets.com/shirt, there’s going to be a shirt you can buy that’s going to say, “Squawk like a BRRRD, B-R-R-R-D. It’s going to have a picture of Stewart, right on the shirt. You can buy that today at biggerpockets.com/shirt.

Megan:
I am going to go buy that. That’s awesome.

Brandon:
I’ll make that it’s going to be awesome. Squawk like a BRRRD. And nobody will get it except for anybody who’s a BiggerPockets member listen to the show is going to be like, “I get it,” when they see that person in the airport wearing that shirt.

Megan:
Those are the best kinds of shirts because then you immediately know someone’s in your tribe when they actually get your shirt..

Brandon:
Exactly. So we’re making it happen. Alright, so one more point I want to make and we’re going to move on. But you mentioned you left almost 100 grand in this deal. I’ve had BRRRR deals go bad where I’ve had to leave money in the deal. I’ve had deals where I just put down a big down payment. And here’s the funny thing, I have to constantly remind myself, “That money is not gone.” There’s a large difference between going and buying a stereo system for 10 grand and investing 10 grand in a rental property. It’s simply taking it out of my checking account and putting it into my investment account. And then someday I get that money back from my investment account, but it’s going to be worth a whole lot more in that investment account.
So I guess I’ll just remind everybody that when you buy real it’s not the same as buying other stuff in life because you’re not buying. You’re buying but you get it back which is great. I mean as long as hopefully, assuming that the market doesn’t completely crash and tank and you lose your shirt and you live under a bridge. You’re going to get it back. So again further why we love this stuff ,why we love this real estate game is not only are you making cash flow on this you get that money back sometime. You can go do it again later and that’s going to help you buy your hundred unit down the road and you sell that property 10 years from now.

Megan:
I don’t really cry too much about property or money left in properties that have been beautifully renovated and turnover in three days. I’m doing a great. Let’s keep perspective.

Brandon:
I love it. All right that was the deal deep dive. That was fantastic deal deep dive. Now let’s head over to the last segment of the show. It’s time for our famous for our Famous four. This is a four questions we ask every guest every week on the podcast. You’ve heard them before. So Megan, number one; favorite real estate related book.

Megan:
All right, well I already gave a shout out for the book on managing rental properties. So I’m going to say Retire Early with Real Estate by Chad Carson. I just read this one, a couple months after my son was born. It kind of reaffirmed a lot of the things I was thinking about how to build my portfolio in a way that would help me focus on my family and so many good tricks to use and ways to think about what you buy, how you build, when to sell and why… It was a really great book. I love this one.

Brandon:
You know what I really like about this book, the Retire Early with Real Estate? Chad Carson wrote it. And Chad is like the man when it comes to lot of stuff but like basketball and football and for one for two, but Chad has also like he’s not all about just getting richer and richer and richer. He’s such a lifestyle guy. He packed his family moved to like what was Ecuador or, I don’t know South America or something. He just like took his family for like half the year or a year there. He’s all about like the lifestyle that real estate can give you and so if you’re somebody who doesn’t just care about money and wealth, and you actually want to have a great life in the meantime, Chad Carson’s book Retire Early with Real Estate was fantastic. Which by the way we sell, we sell at BiggerPockets.co/store.

David:
Is it biggerpockets.com/store. Is that where we get it?

Brandon:
Yeah.

David:
Okay.

Brandon:
What was that Megan? I’ll catch you on.

Megan:
I was going to say hopefully people have heard from this interview that that’s really what I’m going for as well. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that that’s one of my favorites.

Brandon:
That completely makes sense. All right, number two, David Greene?

David:
Your favorite business book.

Megan:
So I thought about this one and it’s not exactly a business book. But I’ve heard it mentioned I think on this podcast, I also fairly recently read The Alchemist, and when you talk about how you think about building your life and kind of serving your highest purpose and working through adversity and overcoming obstacles, and just maintaining the right mindset through all of the setbacks, this was a really great book for kind of the business mindset that you need to have as someone who’s going to go out on a limb and do something differently from other people.

Brandon:
Yeah. Alchemist. First time I tried to read it I didn’t get it. I only got a couple chapters in. Then the second time I was like, “This is an amazing book.” And then I read the whole thing. And I think I listened to it the second time. Listening to it got me into it more than reading it did for whatever reason. But it is a fantastic book. Number three,

David:
Next question. What are some of your hobbies?

Megan:
So former Marine, I’ve always liked being active. I really like working out I feel like at this stage in my life, I don’t get it in as much as I used to. But I love running, I’ve done half marathons, I’ve done mud runs, I like boxing. So anything that keeps me active and even with the young kids just taking them out, I literally will put the nine month old in one of those giant hiking backpacks and just try to go on some long walks with the kids.

David:
Brandon has been bugging me about I need to do that more, which everyone can always exercise more. Before COVID-19 hit it was just go go go go go all the time. And when I had to start working from home, there was more time to do stuff and I started exercising more. And I noticed that and I’m just saying this so everyone else could benefit because Megan, you’re smart, and you’ve realized this. People are stupid like me, sometimes, maybe not stupid, but they’re ignorant and they don’t realize when I make exercise a priority and Scott Trench talks about this a lot too. Your mind works more clearly and more sharply, and you get more done in less time. It is a huge efficiency thing when it comes to not just the health side, but actually getting your brain to work. So if you want to perform like a well tuned machine, like Megan does, consider exercise could be part of the recipe that’s missing.

Megan:
And I think that there, I just said it two kids. There are so many reasons that people have excuses but I found during all that during the lockdown, we lost all childcare. We didn’t have childcare for a solid two months and it was me, with both kids just day and night. It didn’t feel like a lot because my husband was working from home and actually got pulled into this COVID Task Force. So he was even busier than usual. And I found that on the days when after I put myself to bed I just did, even if it was only like 20 minutes of YouTube yoga, I just felt so much better so much more centered. Or just like our little stationary bike in the living room while listening to a podcast. It helped my mindset during this kind of crazy time when everything felt different and off kilter. So absolutely. And it helped me too because my other big thing that I love to do is travel. I’ve got my map back here with all my pins, and I don’t get to do much of that right now but that’s my other big hobby. I love travel. I actually lived in Okinawa, Japan for middle school and high school because I was military kid. And yeah, I like to go abroad as much as possible even with young kids.

David:
Sometimes people feel guilty about making their own health or like mental well being a priority, like especially having kids, I’m sure like there’s some mom guilt that floats around like, “Can I really take time for me?” But I would bet you that you probably have more patience with them, you’re probably out of mood when you get your workout in. So don’t feel guilty about making yourself a priority because it makes you better to the other people in your life too.

Megan:
And if you fit it in with them being involved, then they’re learning good habits for life. They’re getting outside and getting the fresh air instead of being inside just playing with the same plastic toys for hours on end. It’s good for everyone.

Brandon:
That’s cool. I think I mentioned this a few weeks ago on the podcast, but I bought one of the Oculus quests, the virtual reality game things.

Megan:
I heard you talk about that.

Brandon:
Jeez, it’s so much fun. There’s like a bunch of workout games like box. The best workout I think I’ve ever got outside of Brazilian jujitsu is boxing on, it’s called thrill of the fight. And just boxing is such an incredible workout. I can only do about 10 or 15 minutes and I’m just whipped. I cannot move from that.

Megan:
It’s a good one that’s like the-

Brandon:
Boxing.

Megan:
Whip you into shape type of workout right there.

Brandon:
Yeah, definitely is. All right. Moving on. Last question of the day for me. What do you believe separates successful investors from those who give up fail or never get started?

Megan:
I’ve heard so many good answers on this podcast, but one that I always think about, is I think sometimes people lack perspective. I think you really need the right perspective and a positive perspective to make it in real estate. When I ended up with way more money into a property than I ever expected, I could have been like, “Wow, I massively failed at the BRRRR process,” which I kind of did. But I could have just focused on that, or I look at it as, “Hey, this thing is cash flowing, I can still refinance again in a year or two and get a good chunk of my money back out. And my rate of return is still pretty solid and I have property that will make me money for years and years to come or that I can sell in the future and 1031 into something bigger and not all is not lost.” And I think as a family with kids, you’re always kind of like, “Oh my gosh! Should I be doing this? What’s it going to do to my family situation? Are we going to be okay?”
I mean, you’re probably going to be okay, look at all the things you have going for you and use that to fuel you in moving forward and pressing forward into the uncomfortable areas because it’s only uncomfortable because it’s unknown. It’s not because it’s a dire situation. And if you keep that in mind, I think you can go a lot further and stay the course during the ups and downs.

Brandon:
So good.

David:
It’s very good advice. If we want more of that advice, Megan, where can people find out more about you?

Megan:
So I am on BiggerPockets and I actually just recently started doing some of the blog contributions. So I’m on BiggerPockets, I’m active there. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me on Facebook, but you’re mostly going to see pictures of my kids and my dog and my travels. I also have a business Instagram, where I focus on my real estate and my journey to financial freedom for my family. So that’s @parttimeempire. And that’s kind of where I have my fire in my real estate community that I keep close with me. And then if you’re in St. Louis, or you’re passing through and you want to join our meetup, definitely look at BP events, we’re usually the last Thursday of the month. We also have a website for it. It’s a little bit long, because it’s a free website, but it’s S-T-L-R-E-I happyhour.mystrikingly.com. So that’s where you can find out about the meetup that I put on along with a few of my real estate investor friends.

Brandon:
All right, of course, we’ll have links to all of that in the show notes at BiggerPockets.com/show387. Had to make sure I was saying that word right. Did you ever have to say a word and then you’re like, “I don’t know if I said that right. Is that the right word? Is it slas or is it slash?”

Megan:
I think it’s worse when you have young kids and a little bit less sleep than usual. I’m right there with you.

Brandon:
Yeah. You and I we are obviously sleep brothers but we are more like siblings.

Megan:
Lack of sleep.

Brandon:
Yeah, lack of sleep siblings. All right. With that, I guess we’ll get out of here. David green, you want to take us out?

David:
Thanks, Megan. I know this was a long show but you gave a ton of very, very good advice to people and frankly, I feel like it’s what a lot of people need to hear. It is very inspiring, it’s very practical. You got a great career in this world kid. Keep it up.

Megan:
Thank you.

David:
This is David Greene for Brandon ain’t never been afraid to grow Turner signing off.

Speaker 3:
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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Starting out with a fourplex
  • Investing with a full-time job and kids
  • The P.R.O.P. system for property management
  • How Megan and her husband use the “2 in 5 Rule” to avoid capital gains taxes
  • How she uses real estate to create time freedom and hang out more with her kids
  • Flipping an old house near Washington University in St. Louis
  • A BRRRR “fail” (contractor issues) that turned out OK
  • Lessons she learned in the military
  • The key to avoiding analysis paralysis: “Get to 80% and go!”
  • Buying a 60-acre farm outside the city
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

Connect with Megan

Real strategies that work for real people seeking to build wealth through real estate investments. Co-hosted by Brandon Turner and David Greene, this podcast provides actionable advice from investors and other real estate professionals, who chat about failures, successes, motivations, and lessons learned.
    Joe Jor from Westchester, NY
    Replied 7 months ago
    Hey gang, just as an FYI, Gmail (and thus GSuite) offers the "boomerang" delayed send feature for free. Details: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/9214606 Gmail/GSuite also allows you to snooze emails to pop back up when you have bug someone for an answer. Details: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/7622010 I use both of these all the time. Joe
    Zach Lemaster Rental Property Investor from Denver, CO
    Replied 7 months ago
    Inspiring story! Thanks for sharing!
    Megan Greathouse Rental Property Investor from Saint Louis, MO
    Replied 5 months ago
    Glad you enjoyed it!
    Julie Marquez Investor from Seattle, WA
    Replied 7 months ago
    How was the last name "Greathouse" not brought up!?! Is that the name of your business, because it's an awesome name and so fitting! I love the systems and tips for self property management. Also, I just kept thinking how Megan's story is so similar to parts of mine: coming from a male dominated career (mine construction management), to have kids and want to stay home with them (mine 3 and 1.5 now), and being hours away giving birth to our first child while a bum of a contractor never showed up to finish the job. I could relate to everything in this podcast, so it is definitely a personal favorite!
    Megan Greathouse Rental Property Investor from Saint Louis, MO
    Replied 5 months ago
    Very similar! And yes, the last name works out quite well. Haha
    John Scholl from Eugene, OR
    Replied 7 months ago
    A local buddy shared this one with me a sort of "kick start" to learning/dreaming more about this as real estate being an investment strategy. Great inspirations and reassurance came from this. Looking for other connections and insights as an Austin-native working to plan some roots in Eugene, OR.
    Julie Marquez Investor from Seattle, WA
    Replied 7 months ago
    You came to the right place! BiggerPockets is full of great resources
    Josiah Kellerman Real Estate Broker from Eugene, Oregon
    Replied 7 months ago
    I am a Realtor here in Eugene, OR and would love to connect and talk some real estate!
    Karen Sandvoss Real Estate Broker from Chicago
    Replied 7 months ago
    @Julie Marquez, I was thinking the same thing about Megan's last name! Great episode. Very inspiring and I love how down to earth and real she was.
    Lisa Roberts from Austin, TX
    Replied 6 months ago
    Great episode, a great look at how to get started right. This is petty but it bothered me when in the episode you called Megan “kid”. She’s not a kid she’s a grown ass woman and you’d never call a guy “kid” in that way. A little less bro culture would be nice.