Rookie Podcast 57: Virtual Assistants, Roach Infestations, and Turnkey Companies with Maria Acosta

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Everybody knows someone who has attended some kind of course, workshop, or “guru” consulting. Maria Acosta attended one after watching HGTV, and ended up buying her first rental property from someone at the conference. What she thought she was getting was a turnkey duplex that had professional management and was rented out on both sides. What she actually got was a trashed duplex without tenants and a roach infestation.

Bad luck right? Thankfully, Maria isn’t a quitter, and all that did was inspire her to be more diligent with her future deals. Now, that same property has healthy cash flow each month (and no roaches). Maria has gone on to do a few flips, a couple wholesale deals, and owns 8 units throughout the United States. She’s learned some impactful lessons along the way, like how to fire and hire a property manager, what to look for in a pre-foreclosure property, and how to get a subject to deal under contract.

Maria has been through some tough scenarios that many experienced real estate investors would have never dreamed of. Ever had to track down the brother of a partner of a seller who has no address? Maria has done it. Ever had to get a father who is in a correctional facility in another state to sign a power of attorney for a property? Maria has done it.

She’s hired multiple VAs, set them up on a system and schedule to find off-market deals, and created a small real estate empire that is growing day by day. This is what hustle and grit looks like in a rookie!

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Ashley:
This is Real Estate Rookie show number 57.

Maria:
So, both of the units were infested with roaches. They actually said that it was like the worst roach infestation that they had seen. So, this property that I thought I was purchasing turnkey with tenants already in them and cash flowing and all that, negative.

Ashley:
My name is Ashley Kehr, and I am here with Tony Robinson. Can you believe it? He doesn’t have a black t-shirt on.

Tony:
All my black shirts were dirty. It’s laundry day at the Robinson house.

Ashley:
No, it’s because I met you the other day and you know [crosstalk 00:00:37].

Tony:
There you go. I need to keep my identity.

Ashley:
Yeah. We have lots of changes today, because as you guys can see anyone watching on YouTube, I’m not in my usual little closet studio. I’m actually at a dealership right now. I’m getting an oil change, my car all tuned up. My brother is borrowing my car for 10 days to move from North Carolina back to Buffalo. Of course, I have to take care of my brother first, priority.

Tony:
Can we just ask really quick, Ashley, like, how does that conversation work? Do you just ask the dealership like, hey, my name is Ashley Kehr, I’m a podcaster, can I use your use your office? Or what is that?

Ashley:
Well, actually, a really interesting story is I designed this 40,000 square foot dealership. I worked for an investor and one of the projects I got to help him with was this. It’s a Chrysler dealership, so obviously you have to pick one of these three colors, so not a ton of design or anything, but really cool experience learning how to do a multimillion dollar project like this. Basically, I just feel like home here. I got to see it from the ground up.

Tony:
There you go. We’ve got an exciting guest today, right? I really enjoyed today’s episode.

Ashley:
Yes. So, Maria comes on, and first, she tells us a story about roaches. Then she tells us about subject two, then she tells us about a VA that works for her while she’s at her own full-time job, so lots of great interesting stories, but really breaks down how to do some different things. One thing Tony and I were really interested in is, what are the actual messages she sells to sellers that might be motivated? She really kind of talks about that process and how her VA helps her with that.

Tony:
Yeah. She also talks about how a phone call from a prison inmate might help her get her next deal. I don’t think we’ve ever had such a wide range of crazy stories in one interview, but Maria definitely delivered, and I’m excited for you guys to hear it.
Maria, welcome to the Real Estate Rookie show. Excited to have you.

Maria:
Hey guys, thank you so much for having me on. Appreciate it.

Tony:
Yeah. So, the listeners, Maria and I actually connected on my old podcast and I thought she’d be a good guest to bring back onto the Rookie Show. She’s grown, her business has grown a little bit since we last connected and I thought she had some cool things she was doing that you guys would love to hear it. But before we get into all of the good stuff, Maria, just give us a little bit of background. Who are you? What got you started in real estate investing?

Maria:
Yeah, definitely. Originally, I’m from the Dominican Republic. I came to the States when I was like three or four years old, lived in Cleveland, Ohio for a short period of time, and ended up moving to New York with my family. That’s primarily where I grew up, ended up going school in Rhode Island. I got my, what is it? For undergrad, accounting and finance just like Ashley because I heard her mention that on a previous podcast. I thought that was pretty cool. I ended up getting a job at a financial services company. I’m an investment consultant, and I ended up getting transferred to Dallas, Dallas Fort-Worth Area, probably about eight years ago.
I guess everything with real estate really started because I was watching a lot of these HGTV shows. So, probably like most other people. Initially, when I was watching it, it just looked cool. Like, man, they’re flipping these houses, they’re making money. That’s what initially attracted me to it, but then, when I started thinking more of, what could this possibly bring me down the road in terms of financial freedom, if I start adding properties, keep them as rentals, things like that. At first, it was just kind of the lore of, man, flipping houses and doing all this, making all this money.
But the more I started doing it and researching, I thought more of the long-term prospects that would come from it.

Ashley:
Before we get into too much of your story, can you just tell us what your portfolio looks like right now?

Maria:
Yeah, definitely. I currently have six properties. It’s a total of eight units. I have a duplex in Michigan, three properties here in the Dallas Fort-Worth area, and then I have a single family in Cleveland, and then I just closed on a duplex probably about a month and a half or so. We’re rehabbing that now.

Ashley:
That’s very cool. Awesome. Let’s talk about when you first started out, was there analysis paralysis? What were those steps that took you to get your first deal?

Maria:
Yeah, definitely. I know BiggerPockets talks a lot about finding information and just to learn it on your own. You guys, I wanted to kind of learn as much as possible and I wanted it to be provided to me, I guess you could say in a package. I actually went the guru route and I actually did a program. When I was watching one of these HGTV shows, the hosts did put on a program. They were advertising how they were going to be in the DFW Area. I went to one of the free seminars that they have, one of the one day sessions, and from there they get you to come back for like a two or three-day deal. At that two or three-day deal, that’s when they really talk to you about hey, this is how much this is going to cost.
I think, [inaudible 00:05:00] may have mentioned this in the podcast that he was on. I think he talks about how he went to seminar. So, they taught us how to increase our credit card limits. I was able to increase three of my credit cards, $30,000 each, and essentially that’s how I was able to afford the course. Total with the course and some of the bonuses, I ended up spending about $40,000 to initially get into real estate, and the debt honestly, actually is what motivated me. Like, hey, I got to do something with this. Yeah, that was pretty crazy.

Ashley:
Do you think that it was worth it because you did get started in real estate? Or do you think that you could have found other ways to start on your own?

Maria:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, looking back, it’s funny because I say knowing what I know now, maybe I wouldn’t have gone that route, but the thing is a lot of people do suffer from analysis paralysis, and it’s not until your back is up against the wall and you have a negative consequence or something that you’re facing that it’s not going to propel you to do anything. Honestly, for me, having that credit card debt, I had to take action. You know what I’m saying? I had no choice.
I knew that I didn’t have to pay any interest on these credit cards for 18 months, so I had a little bit of a buffer, but I needed to do something quick.

Tony:
Yeah. I think there’s a time and a place for high level coaching. I was actually talking to Steve Rosenberg about this last week, but if you’re already at a thousand doors and you’re trying to figure out how to get to like 5,000, then maybe hiring like a really expensive coach that’s kind of done that makes a ton of sense. But I always go back to, if you’re just trying to get that very first deal done, and this isn’t me poking fun at you, Maria, because obviously it’s worked out well for you, but if you’re trying to get that very first deal done, it might make more sense to take that big chunk of cash and use that as a down payment, right?
You could take $40,000 at three and a half percent down and get yourself a really nice house hack, or you can get yourself a really nice short-term rental, or you can do this, or you can do that, or you can do this. I think it depends on where you’re at in your investing career of when it makes sense to invest so heavily in your education. Ashley, I don’t know, what are your thoughts on that piece?

Ashley:
Yeah, I mean, that 40,000, that’s college tuition. I really think it depends on you. If doing this course is actually going to make you get started, then do it. There are definitely way cheaper ways, free ways to get the knowledge to learn about real estate investing, but really, if you’re going to make an investment in yourself, do it with something that’s going to make you take action, and definitely do your research.
Maria had mentioned that the debt was really what was motivation to her, but I’m sure you learned a ton from the course too, but anyone wants to give me $40,000, I will hold that debt while you go buy your first property to [inaudible 00:07:33].

Tony:
I think the important question Maria is like, so you took this course, how long after the course did you get that first deal done?

Maria:
Yeah, so I took the course. I think I ended up finishing everything around October of 2014. It was pretty cool because they actually flew us out to Vegas. We got to meet the host of the shows and different things like that so that was awesome. But my first deal, I ended up getting it February the following year, so in 2015. How that came about is because I had met some agents at the conference that lived here in my area. So, through networking, I guess how I ran into it is that they seem to me, looking back now, they probably could have done the deal themselves, but I think they were nervous or scared.
So, they told me about the deal, and I ended up getting in, I ended up doing it. Honestly, just to touch base on the course, if anything, the biggest thing that I got from it was just the confidence that I could do real estate in just flipping. That’s the biggest thing that I got from it. We ended up doing like a local session where they brought in an investor that was in the business full time, and we were literally in the classroom from Friday to Sunday, 9:00 to 5:00, and they walked us through everything like guys, this is how I run my numbers, this is how I analyze how much rehab, but also too, they made it interactive where we got out of the classroom.
We went to Lowe’s, Home Depot, walk the aisles, check to see how much everything costs. When you start to see that, it’s like, okay, this isn’t terrible. Really, that’s what it gave me, the confidence that I can do this.

Ashley:
That’s great. The three things I took from that is that the confidence, the networking, and the motivation. Those are really great things to have to take that first step and to get over that fear of actually starting. But thank you for sharing. I’m always interested about courses and gurus and stuff like that as to how much value do people actually take out of those things because people will go, like me and you, and spend a ton of money on an accounting and finance degree and then barely even use it where maybe a real estate course, you will actually use it.
But for anyone that goes and buys an expensive course, make sure you’re looking at all of the free content first, and if that doesn’t work for you, then maybe look if a course is right for you, but there’s so much free stuff out there, especially on social media, definitely on BiggerPockets. Make sure you’re at least starting to consume that information, that knowledge first before you take the in spending a lot of money.

Maria:
Yeah. Actually, I’ll kind of backtrack a little bit too, Ashley, just because I said my first deal was in February, the following year, but one of the things that I did, so I mentioned I spent 40 grand on the course. When you’re there at these conferences, you’re so excited. You’re with other investors. One of the things that they had, there was a “turnkey company” that was selling properties to the students. Actually, if I might backtrack a little bit, I ended up buying a property at the seminar as well.
In addition to the 40, I then also paid $20,000 for the duplex that I purchased in Michigan. Maybe you could say that was my first deal, not really, but I ended up spending almost an additional $38,000 more.

Tony:
So, why do you say that, that’s not your first deal, right? I mean, if you bought a property, it was an investment, like what was it about that deal that makes you feel like it wasn’t a legitimate investment?

Maria:
Yes, I don’t know. I feel like it was just given to me like it wasn’t something that I needed to find and do on my own, but you’re right. It technically does count as my first one, but yeah. Man, so many crazy stories with that one if you guys wanted to dive into it, but I guess technically you could say the turnkey that I bought at the seminar was by first property.

Ashley:
Yeah, I would say that definitely counts. Let’s go through that because I think that’s very interesting. Obviously it’s this turnkey company at the core, so it’s recommended by the people who are teaching you. What was that 28,000? Was that your down payment for the property? How did the financing work? Let’s talk about the turnkey and all that.

Maria:
Yeah, definitely. It was the down payment and I think some of the closing costs and everything. I ended up buying the duplex in Michigan for $78,000. The only reason, I guess, Michigan was where they were buying a ton of properties at, at the moment. So, no specific reason as to why I purchased in Michigan rather than just the fact that, that’s where they were buying. It’s funny just because at these conferences you feel like you’re learning and things like that. I tried to ask them questions like the consultant that I sat down with like, “Hey, so can I get comparables so I can see what these properties are selling for and things like that.”
He had emailed me a sheet and everything. The reason I decided on a duplex was because my mindset was, well, if one of the units is empty, then at least maybe the other unit can pay for the rent. That’s kind of how I thought about it and everything. Yeah, literally, I’m sitting down with this guy just kind of going through different properties on the computer, and I was like, all right, cool, duplex, I want that one. Besides that, I really didn’t do anything else. It took us a couple months to close it. I had someone out there that was signing all the documents and everything. You guys, this thing was insane.
They set you up with a property management company. Actually, I’ll kind of go back a little bit. So, I put down this 28,000, like I mentioned. They actually had a hard money lender there that conveniently could finance your deals and stuff like that so that’s how I got the rest of the financing. It was a three-year hard money loan interest only. In my mind, I’m thinking, all right, cool. I have 50 some odd thousand I have to pay in three years. I could do that. No problem. Yeah. Right. Fast forward a little bit, I’m talking to the property management company like, “Hey, how are things going?”
I wasn’t really getting a lot of communication from them. They had told me that they never collected security deposits from the tenants, which I thought was kind of sketchy, and then also come to find out short while later that the tenants had moved out, and I’m like, what are you guys doing out there? I just started making calls. I went on Google, just looked up property managers in the area, and I just started calling people. I didn’t really know what to ask. This was the first time I was managing a property, but I just tried to kind of get a feel like, hey, what should I be asking?
People don’t mind when you ask them questions. If you’re new, they know. Just be honest with them. I started asking questions like, hey, so this is my first property, what should I be doing? What should I be looking for? I tried to also just research a couple of things online, but I ended up running into this one property manager. Super cool. I transferred everything over to them so they were going to take over the management. They went with the city and did an inspection, and you guys, this was crazy. So, both of the units were infested with roaches.
They actually said that it was like the worst roach infestation that they had seen. So, I had to hire Orkin for a year to come and spray in both sides. Then, apparently, the tenants, when they left, they kind of trashed the place and whatnot, so I had to update both the units too. So, this property that I thought I was purchasing turnkey with tenants already in them and cash flowing and all that, negative. It taught me a lot though, because I had to call a ton of people to try and get different things set up. But yeah, that was the intro to my real estate investing.

Ashley:
That seems to be a common theme is like some people’s first property, it’s not a home run, lots of things happen, but they end up saying like, well, I don’t regret it. I learned a lot. It was a good experience and I came out of it. I overcame the obstacles, and that’s great to approach this.

Tony:
I mean, a few things impact, but before we do, I mean, I guess like, where does this story end? Do you still have the property? Is it performing well for you today?

Maria:
Oh yeah, definitely. So, still have the property. What I ended up doing, so remember I told you guys I had $50,000 that I needed to pay off in three years, so I’d been making interest-only payments for two years and change, paying 600 a month for this thing. Being a finance person, I was planning ahead and everything, but I knew that I was not going to have enough money by the end of year three to pay this thing off. I ended up reaching out to the lender, asking them for an extension, and I ended up getting a second job at Amazon.
I was driving Uber and Lyft. Guys, I was working my butt off because I’d said to myself like, I’ve gone through too much. I’m not going to lose this property. What was crazy is that I needed to have the property paid off, and it was November of 2018. That’s when the loan was due. I ended up getting this crazy bonus at work that I was not anticipating whatsoever, but I think maybe because I was putting stuff out there to the universe, like, hey, I need to pay this thing off. Yeah, that bonus helped propel me to where I needed to and I ended up paying off the property in March of 2018.
So, it’s paid off, it’s cash flowing. I’ve had the same property manager ever since, and it’s probably one of the best properties that I have.

Ashley:
Let me ask why you didn’t refinance the property and not go and get a conventional loan.

Maria:
It’s so funny that you say that, I guess at the time, honestly, I was so freaked out that I wasn’t even thinking about it. I was just thinking I have to pay this thing off. But I think too, maybe the loan amount, because some of the lenders that I talked to, you need to have like a minimum loan amount of 50,000 or 60,000 and whatnot, but they only let you borrow up to 75%. That was something that I researched, I think a little bit, but honestly, in my mind, I just had it, all right, I’m paying this thing off. Yeah, that’s what I did,

Ashley:
So, now you have a free and clear property, even better. That’s funny because my first deal, I partnered with someone because I didn’t have enough cash. I didn’t even comprehend like you could actually go to a bank and get a loan. The investor that I worked for, he would hold equity out of properties and then make cash offers and buy the properties with that. That’s all I knew and I did not even think like, oh, go and get a conventional mortgage on a property. I think that’s something every rookie should look at.
Which ways are you trying to fund a property or to make the deal happen? And then see if there’s others. Branch out, reach out to others, network, and see there are so many different ways to finance a deal just like there are so many different ways to refinance a deal. Yeah, thank you for sharing that with us. Tony, you wanted to dive in a little more.

Tony:
Yeah, I guess a couple of things to call out, right? I mean, first is kudos to you for being a new investor and being willing to buy your property manager. You, as a first time investor realized, hey, something’s not right here. Instead of just letting the property manager take advantage of you, you said, hey, I’m going to pick up the phone, I have no idea what I’m going to ask these property managers, but I’m going to find somebody new. I think that’s a really illustrator point for the listeners is that, even as a new or first-time investor, you can’t be afraid to fire the people that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do for you.
Whether it’s your agent, whether it’s your GC, whether it’s your property manager, like you are running a business and you have to treat it as such, and people aren’t performing, you got to get them out, so kudos to you for doing that. The second thing I want to highlight, because this one’s a little more interesting, and I’ll try not to go too much off on a tangent here, but you found the course through the guru, and they had this really, seems like a whole ecosystem kind of built up around new investors. Obviously there are times when that makes sense and it worked out for you because you got the first deal done.
But my only word of caution to people is that you have to be cautious of where these gurus are actually making their money. There’s this saying about the gold rush, right? Like the big gold rush in California, the people who made the most money during the gold rush were the people selling the shovels and Levi Strauss who was selling jeans. It wasn’t the people who were digging for gold. That’s a really kind of natural metaphor, because in real estate, sometimes it’s not the people that are actually doing the real estate that are making money, it’s the people that are showing other people how to make money in real estate that are making a ton of money.
So, you just have to be able to read people’s, not motives, but what’s really driving their business model and how they’re kind of living that lifestyle that you see. Long winded way for me to say, just be careful with who you’re buying your courses from and things like that.

Ashley:
Yeah, because the turnkey rental places will pay referral fees too. That’s not like a bad thing. That’s almost like a wholesaler getting their assignment fee. You could still be getting a great deal on a property, but it’s just something to watch out for, that when someone is recommending a turnkey company to you, they could be receiving a referral fee for that recommendation. Just make sure you do your research and really vet the company you’re going to go with, if you’re going to choose to use one.

Maria:
Yeah, and what’s interesting, quick point too, so remember those comparables that I said I had them sent me? I found that email, and I was looking at it years later, and I ended up researching the properties, and so what they were doing is that they were buying packages of properties together for like $75,000, $78,000, like five properties, and then selling them individually to the students for $70,000 or $80,000 each. Because I was like, wait, this does not make sense, so that’s what I ended up finding out down the road.

Tony:
Well, how’s the property doing for you today? I know you said it’s free and clear, but what are your rents? What are your profits? What does that look like?

Maria:
I mean, the property is awesome. I don’t get any calls or anything like that really from my property manager, because at this point, we’ve updated a good chunk of the stuff over there so it’s pretty good. In terms of rent, so I think after property management fees and everything, I’m getting about 600 per unit, so about 1200.

Tony:
That’s Awesome.

Ashley:
Awesome. Nice.

Tony:
That’s a great first deal, right?

Ashley:
Yeah.

Tony:
I’m like super confused now, Maria. Because you said initially, you just kind of like glazed over this one like it didn’t even exist.

Maria:
I guess, I feel like I didn’t do too much to get it, so yeah. But no, yeah, it was [crosstalk 00:20:11].

Tony:
Maybe not so much to get it, but the after was like, that’s crazy. There’s a lot that went into it.

Ashley:
Well, I think the fact that it’s an out of state deal, I mean, just to have the mindset, your first deal out of state, you’re trusting these turnkey people, you’re trusting a property manager, I think that is a huge thing to overcome. Like, yes, maybe you didn’t do driving for dollars, knock on someone’s door and negotiate with them personally. But that whole mindset thing of just taking that leap to get that first deal under contract is huge. So, do not sell yourself short on that at all. Sometimes the mindset is the hardest thing.

Tony:
We did a bit of a deep dive already on one of your deals, but I know you’ve got other things you’ve done in real estate. Is it all just buy and hold? Have you done some fix and flips, some wholesaling, what are some other things you’ve done?

Maria:
Yeah, so since I’ve started, just to give you guys a run down on all the numbers, so I’ve done about five fix and flips. I’ve wholesaled two deals. And then I have the six rentals, like I mentioned, but yeah, some of the more interesting ones that I’ve done. So, I bought a property last year subject to, and I ended up keeping it as a rental. So, bought it subject to the existing mortgage, and I mean, I could go into some of the details on that if you guys want me to as well.

Tony:
Yeah.

Ashley:
Definitely, because I want to do that on a property right now. I have no contract, so please.

Maria:
Awesome. Because I work full time, and I do have a virtual assistant that I use, and it’s so funny because her name is Maria also. She’s in the Philippines. She’s awesome. While I’m at work, or while I’m here working, she’s actually sending out text messages and marketing for me. That’s primarily how we market. So, we target a lot of the, what is it? Pre-foreclosure list? The particular deal that I’m talking about, we got it from the pre-foreclosure list. The biggest thing with a lot of these lists is timing. I think we were the very first person that had reached out to this couple in regards to their property.
They were facing foreclosure, they were behind a couple of months. I think it was like maybe $9,000 that we needed to catch up. I thought this would be a great opportunity to bring up subject to just because I had learned it from another investor who I partnered with on a separate deal. I’d found the deal. I thought it’d be good for subject to, but I’d never done subject to, so I partnered with them on the deal so they could teach me, and then we ended up splitting the profits. Because I learned from that deal, how to do everything for the subject to, I was then able to do the subject to for this one.
I brought the idea up to him, and you’d be surprised as to how many people would be willing to do something like a subject to, where they would leave their mortgage in place and you would continue to make the payments. You just have to ask. If you position it to them and tell them exactly what it is that you’re doing, be honest. A lot of people, depending on their situation might be up for it. With this one, like I mentioned, they were behind about $9,000. It’s a three bed, one bath. It’s not even 1100 square feet, and this is in the City of Richland Hills.
I told the owners like, hey, it’d be a lot easier for me. We can probably get this done a lot quicker if I could take over your mortgage payments. If you guys want, I can give you guys some cash to walk away with, help with moving expenses, things like that, and they were really cool. They were like, Hey, we don’t need no money. We’re just going to pack up our stuff. You’re helping us out, so we’re good. What I did, I ran all my numbers to see how much I would need, again, nine K or so. To reinstate it, we had closing costs. Then also, I wanted to update it a little bit, just paint and fix up some of the floors, new appliances, things like that.
Total, I needed about $18,000. I have friends that have been wanting to get into real estate, people see what I do, because I try and put it out there on social media, Facebook, Instagram, things like that. I have a friend that I played rugby with that actually moved out to LA, and I was telling her about the deal, and timing is insane sometimes, because she was actually in town the weekend that I was going to see the property. So, she came with me. We did like a little walk through, and she’s like, so do you need help funding this?
I was like, yeah, yeah, that’d be awesome. I put my little spreadsheet together sent her all the numbers, and she let me borrow the 18,000 that I needed to do everything. So, I was zero out of pocket for this particular deal. For the numbers, the mortgage on this place was 970,000. What I ended up doing was that I put on Facebook marketplace to advertise. Richland Hills, you guys, the school district is awesome. I had on Facebook marketplace over 200 people that had reached out to me wanting to rent this place out.
I was not going to go through 200 people. What I did to filter people out is that I just kept raising the price. Initially I started at like 1195, then I raised it to like 1295. I ended up settling at 1470. Even at 1470, I still had three people that were interested in the property. I just did background checks. I use a program called Cozy. That’s where I collect my rents and you could have them apply through there and things like that. Yeah, I filtered everyone out, picked the tenant. Actually, it’s funny because she just renewed and signed a two year extension just here recently. Yeah, and it cashflows like 500 bucks a month.

Tony:
I love how there’s like so many different perspectives to your story, Maria. You’ve got this crazy first deal, this crazy subject to deal, where the timing’s all lining up, but a couple of things I want to dive into here. On the subject to, was the conversation as simple as you laid it out? Where you just said, hey guys, I think it’d be a lot easier if we did it this way, and right away, there were like, yes, no questions? Or was there some more kind of education on your side? Give us a little bit more of that conversation.

Maria:
Yeah, definitely. Actually, what’s interesting too, is that I had only been talking to these people via text the whole entire time. It wasn’t until the day before that I was going to go see the property to confirm that I actually talked to them over the phone. That’s another thing. This text messaging stuff does work, it just depends on who it is that you’re talking to. But yeah, my whole thing is I like to lead with education and tell people exactly what it is that I’m doing. Because if they understand, then they’ll be a little bit more comfortable with it.
In the beginning, I try and build as much rapport as possible with everyone that I’m talking to. I want them to trust them like me, but yeah, I definitely explained everything and how it was going to work out. I asked them, what are your plans after this? Do you guys want to buy another house and things like that? Just so they would understand the process. But when you find people that are super motivated, you explain it to them, it works like, all right, cool. That works for us. So, it was pretty simple after I explained the process.

Tony:
How do you set up the legal side of this subject to? Do you go to a notary or are you going to a real estate attorney? How do you actually make this a legally binding contract?

Maria:
Yeah, definitely. Because I had partnered with that previous investor on that other project, I had gotten all the forms and everything that I needed, all the addendums to get everything done. So, I learned how to fill in the subject to addenda. In doing all these properties, I learned how to fill out the purchase of a contract and everything. Here, I just reached out to my title company, the same title company that helped us with the previous sub to transaction. I just went to them like, hey guys, here are the documents. Let me know if you need anything.
But essentially they just handled the rest. They set up a power of attorney and everything. I talked to the owners, got their login information for their mortgage and everything, so I literally just log in every single month, and right now I just have it on recurring payments. Yeah.

Ashley:
How long does this go for, that you have it with them, the subject to set up for?

Maria:
Until the loan expires.

Ashley:
Wow. Oh my gosh. Wow. Okay. My question is to you, and this is one that my attorney has brought up to me to caution, is that in their actual mortgage document, it says that, if you are to sell the property that you have to notify us of the sale and the loan terminates, and you have to pay the loan in full. Did that mortgage not have that clause, or this is where you’re taking a risk that the mortgage company doesn’t find out, and that you continue to make these payments?

Maria:
Yeah, and actually, that’s something honestly that all mortgages have. Once the ownership transfers, they’re notified. The only thing is though, as long as you’re making the payments and these are larger banks for larger entities that you’re dealing with, if it’s a smaller like credit union and they’re still holding the loan and things like that, you might want to be careful, but if it’s a larger institution, as long as they’re getting paid, honestly, they don’t really care. I mean, we did the same thing for that last house that we had flipped. We had no issues.
You just have to make sure that you send in the payments on time. One of the biggest things to watch out for too, and I kind of learned this in just going through the process, you want to make sure that you change over the insurance. The insurance is something that can trigger the due on sale clause. But what you want to do is that one, you want to work with an insurance company that knows how to set all this stuff up. But basically, when you change the insurance over to your name, just make sure that you put the previous owners under additionally insured, as long as the previous owners are still on the policy, then the lender’s fine with that.
But if that’s not on there, then that is something that can trigger the due on sale clause. I work with the insurance company that had told me that, I’m like, okay, cool. So, now I know kind of if we’re going forward.

Ashley:
Yeah. That’s a great tip. That’s something I didn’t even think about and I’m actually a licensed insurance agent, not practicing, but I have my license, but yeah. Okay, cool. Thank you on that. Any other tips on subject to? What about even like, just ask the sellers? Some people already do this. How did you explain it to them? What is the best way to lay it out and tell someone, I’ll make your mortgage payment and this is how it benefits you.

Maria:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, I kind of go over the situation like, hey guys, this foreclosure’s coming up in two weeks, and maybe not everyone’s in a foreclosure situation, but just explain to them how me taking over your mortgage one, is going to help us get through this process a lot quicker, but also, too, I let them know, so the way this is going to work is that I’m going to take over your mortgage payments. The mortgage is still going to be under your name, and I am going to be the owner on the property, so the is going to transfer over to me.
But what I let them know is that, if for whatever reason, I don’t make payments, after 30 days, you guys get the property back, and chances are, we’ve made improvements to the property. At this point, you guys, aren’t in a situation where you have to sell or anything like that, so we’ve caught up the payments. I guess, that backup to you or to make you guys feel a bit better, that’s something that we put in our contracts or our documents, that if for whatever reason I miss a payment, you guys get the property back, but I let them know that we’re not in the business to lose money or give back properties, so it’s never happened.
But I do mention that to them just to make him feel a bit better, but yeah, just basically explain it to them, just like that. This is what’s happening, and usually they’re cool with it.

Tony:
You never know, right? The worst they can say is no, that’s the worst they can say. I think, Ashley, you talk about this all the time too, is like, when you’re trying to buy a property from a seller, you always ask them, do you have any other properties? Again, the worst they can say is no. The more questions you can ask, the more options you can put on the table, the more creative you can get with the deal. So many good things here, Maria. I want to go back to the VA piece, because I think so many people who are working full-time jobs, part of what holds them back is that they feel that they don’t have enough time, but you’ve, very early on, I think in your real estate investing career, adopted the use of a VA.
I got a couple of questions here. The first one is, where do you find your VA? And then how did you train them to become a wholesaling ninja? How does that whole process work?

Maria:
Yeah, no, definitely. I personally use the website Upwork, so that’s where I found my VA originally, but I know there’s others such as Fiverr, but yeah, I like Upwork just because I could just go in there. It’s a one-stop shop, essentially. You type in your job description, what you’re looking for. It kind of puts it out there to the marketplace and everything, and people just start applying, and you start interviewing them. Initially, what I did is that, everything that I had been doing, I basically just recorded myself. I use a program called Loom. Loom, you can do screen recordings and everything.
Every process that I did, I just basically tried to break that down and just record it. It took a while too. This is not something that you’re going to all of a sudden, have everything ready to go. It’s taken me, even to this day, I’m still adding new videos because things are always changing so you have to learn how to adapt. But yeah, I essentially have almost 40 different videos breaking everything down for my VA. There’s nothing that I’ve given her that I haven’t done already. So, I created a video, for example, how I mentioned, we target a lot of pre-foreclosures.
I used to go on the county website, literally pull up all these documents. Not all of them would have the actual property address. It would just have the legal description. So, I would have to go to the appraisal district. Use the legal descriptions, pull up the address. Literally, I just created a video explaining every piece of this, and so I would have my VA watch the videos, and I have all the videos and all of our documents on Gmail or the Google save drive and everything. So, she could literally go in there and watch the videos whenever she’s confused, so I wouldn’t have to keep repeating myself over and over. All the trainings and everything was right there in front of her.

Tony:
That is such a cool approach to building a team. Have you read the E Myth by Michael Gerber?

Maria:
I have not yet, no.

Tony:
You’re doing like exactly what is in that book. I don’t know how you landed on this idea, but the whole premise of that book is that you systematize a part of your business. You document it really well, and then you hand it off to somebody else to do, and then you go to the next part of your business, you systematize it, you document it and you hand it off. It sounds like you’ve really got that dialed in. I’m looking at hiring a VA myself. I had one briefly, but I’ve kind of let them go, but I’m trying to bring him back in because our business is starting to scale. I love the idea of using Loom as a way to video record everything that you’re doing. That’s awesome. I guess last question in the VA piece, was it your first VA that you’ve stuck with, or have you had to cycle through multiple?

Maria:
Oh, I’ve gone through multiple. It’s kind of like anything else. In the beginning, you don’t know what you don’t know. I’ll be honest, a lot of these VAs sometimes are looking for jobs, and so they’ll talk to their friends, and it’s like, hey, this is what you should say during an interview. So, they sound good when you’re interviewing them. But then, when it actually comes time to do the work, it’s like, all right, okay, this is not what we had talked about. So, no, I’ve gone through several, but the one that I have now, Maria, she’s been awesome.
I’ve had her, I think, since July last year, and she’s killing it. To give you guys an idea as to how inexpensive it is to use VAs. I pay her $3 an hour. Initially when she started with me, she was only doing, I think, two or three hours a day. I know a lot of people sometimes are hesitant like, well, I don’t have all this work for them to do. Even if it’s only an hour or two a day, like that’s fine. You could find more things for them to do later on. Now I have her at 30 hours a week, so she’s doing 30 hours.
Whenever we run into a deal, get something under contract, I give her bonuses. That’s kind of how I keep her incentivize, because I know a lot of this stuff, it’s tedious work. It’s not the funnest thing in the world, but I check in with her. We have like a weekly meeting just to go over any potential leads, things like that. Yeah, it’s been going pretty good.

Ashley:
Are you using any kind of teams, software or project management software to communicate and keep track of what’s going on, like Asana or anything like that between the two of you?

Maria:
We communicate via WhatsApp. That’s how we check in and everything, but to track our leads, so the CRM that we use is Podio. So, she’ll go in there and upload information for a lead and whatnot, but that’s primarily the two main. I’m usually just reaching out to her, like I’ll be at work on a call or something, and she’ll send me a text message like, Maria, I think you need to circle up with this person, and she’ll send me a screenshot. I’m like, all right, cool. I’ll do that. Thank you. Yeah.

Ashley:
Basically, she is just getting everything to you. It’s just a funnel from her to you. She pulls everything. She gets information. There’s not even any communication needed because you’ve set all these systems in place so that, just like when the person is ready to talk to you, that’s when you step in?

Maria:
Yeah, exactly. If someone’s motivated a warmer lead, she’ll kind of pass that conversation onto me. I’m trying to train her more on pre-foreclosures, and just everything that I talk about, but I know it’s going to take a little bit, but she learns super quick. One of the things that I do is that I also speak Spanish, so I’m trying to target more Spanish speakers, and so I have quick replies. We use Batch for texting, and so I have quick replies. So, if someone texts us back in Spanish, there’s a text message that we can send back in Spanish. It’s just funny to me that she uses them, and she’s getting the hang of it. But yeah, I have quick replies whenever people message us with just different things in Spanish, and she’s been using them. Yeah, you can train them to do whatever. Yeah, it’s been cool.

Tony:
Well, what are you saying in those text messages when you’re reaching out or when you’re having your VA reach out?

Maria:
The cool thing about Batch is that you can insert name, insert address. So, I’ll be like, hi, name. My name is Maria. For the pre-foreclosure stuff, I’ll say something like, I noticed address 123, main street was on the pre-foreclosure list. I help people in this situation. How can I help you? That’s kind of my message. I try and take that approach as to, hey, do you want to sell your house? No, not everyone wants to sell their house, and that’s another thing that investors need to keep in mind sometimes when you’re reaching out to these “motivated sellers.” Make it about them. Forget the house, try and see how you can help out that person.
They’re human beings. So, try and help them out with whatever it is that they need, and if there is an opportunity for you to get the house, if you build the rapport, you’re going to get it. It’s funny because I mentioned earlier how I had partnered with another investor on a sub to house. The reason we got that house was because I had reached out to them originally. They were on the pre-foreclosure list, but they were going to foreclosure because of their HOA, which really is not anything crazy. I reached out to them, I let them know, hey, reach out to your HOA, try and come up with a payment plan. You’ll be good.
A couple of months later, she ended up reaching back out to me, the homeowner, and she’s like, “Hey, I’m getting a bunch of calls and text messages again. Can you check to see if I’m on the pre-foreclosure list?” I checked and she was, and she’s like, “All right, I’m ready to sell now.” But this time she was on it through her lender, through Wells Fargo. She was behind. Her property taxes had gone up a couple hundred dollars and she could no longer afford her payment. Because I helped her that first time around, I was honest with her, she came back and she thought of me once she wanted to sell.

Ashley:
That seems to be another common theme is that people tell us that they really showed empathy towards this person and actually cared about helping them, and it ended up coming back on them and making it a better deal. We had someone who got two free vacant lots because he really helped the lady through the selling process. We had people get the deals sweetened or the people would come to them when they were actually ready to sell the property because it wasn’t just the, hey, will you sell your property? You’re in pre-foreclosure, contact me, blah, blah, blah. But I love that advice as to like reach out to the person as to how you can actually help them. That’s really great advice.

Maria:
Yeah. It’s funny because I’ll get people messaging me back. One of them that always kind of sticks out, the person said in their message, is like, I’ve get so many of these messages every single day and I’ve ignored every single one, but your message just kind of hit me differently, and that’s the only reason I responded back to you. That made me feel awesome. It’s like, wow. I’m sure they are, they’re getting bombarded, text messages, calls, postcards. Yeah, that makes you stick out for sure.

Tony:
Maria, it seems like your ability to kind of build relationships with folks has really benefited you in your real estate investing career, right? You have a really good relationship with your VA, you make good rapport with your sellers. Where else do you feel in your real estate investment career that your ability to build relationships has really benefited you? Maybe a time that you were kind of stuck in a tight spot and someone came in and saved the day.

Maria:
Yeah, no, for sure. Actually I have another little crazy story for you guys too. This is a flip that I was working on. I had been using the same contractor for a couple of different projects so I thought I had a really good relationship with him and everything, but come to find out, I guess he got into drugs or something like that, and he was not paying the subs. So, I ended up having a conversation with them, just because I like to get to know the people that are on the job and things like that. I was talking to them, I’m like, “Hey guys, how’s it going?” And they’re like, “It’s going good. But so-and-so said he’s waiting for you to pay him so he could pay us.”
I was like, what? What’s going on here? It was crazy just because I was freaking out a little bit because I thought, man, this house is not going to get finished. The contractor’s not paying the subs, but because I had built such a good relationship with them, they saw that I was trying to get this project finished out. I let them know like, hey guys, I don’t have the funds to pay you guys right now, but I’ll throw something out you guys just for your help and everything, and they didn’t want to let me down.
The subs actually kept working on the house, even though my contractor didn’t finish paying them. At the end, I did pay him a little bonus and everything, but they definitely saved my butt, because I was not aware of what was going on. Because I had built so much trust with my contractor and everything, I didn’t really question things too much, but yeah, I think, even though you build good relationships with people, business is still business. If someone’s not sticking to their timeline, whatever it is, you got to call them out a little bit, because we had been a little bit behind on the project. But again, because we had worked on so many other projects together, I didn’t really question anything.
But yeah, my relationship with the subs definitely saved me on that project. They got us to the finish line, so I was very appreciate.

Tony:
I’ve said this so many times, but real estate is all about the relationships, and the more time I spend as a real estate investor, the more I understand that it’s not about the deal, it’s not about the cashflow, it’s not about this, it’s not about that. It’s really about the relationships you’re able to build and the reputation you’re able to create for yourself as a real estate investor. I think you’re like a golden example of that, Maria, most definitely. I want to take your story to the next segment, which is actually my favorite, which is the mindset segment. I know you’ve got a lot of good things to share here, but all right.
Maria, I know you’ve dealt with a lot of challenges and obstacles in your real estate investing career. Maybe tell us about maybe the most challenging obstacle you’ve had to overcome and how you navigated through that.

Maria:
Another deal, cool, little story for you guys. I have all these little crazy deals.

Tony:
I’m even laughing as I’m asking that question, as if like a roach infested house wasn’t challenging enough, or a contractor not paying your subs, so if you have any more challenging things and that, let us hear them.

Maria:
Yeah, no for sure. This is one that I’m currently working on right now. Mindset is definitely a big thing, and I’m so glad that I really started diving into that more last year and a half, two years. But basically, I have a deal under contract right now, and this is a pre-foreclosure as well. I start talking to the seller about selling the property. I’m also purchasing this one subject to as well. In talking to him, he thought he was the only person on the title. Come to find out, when he had purchased the property in ’04, ’05, he actually bought it with his ex-girlfriend, but she passed away last year. Now, I have to figure out, all right, who are the heirs? Her mom had passed away, so the only heirs that she had was her brother who’s homeless and lives in a storage unit in Dallas.
Then the other heir was her father, who’s been in prison in California for over 20 years. Initially, when I first heard that, I was like, how am I going to do this? How am I going to find this homeless person? I didn’t even know the dad’s name that was in prison. Right from the jump, I was like, oh, I don’t know how this is going to work. But I started talking to the seller a little bit more, and the seller actually still kept in touch with the brother. The brother still at Facebook and he had a phone. So, he was able to get me in touch with the brother. So, I talked to him and everything. The only thing is that working with him has been kind of like a roller coaster ride.
Certain days he feels up to talking to me. Other days, he’ll ignore me for a whole week, not say anything. I’ll have to reach out to him, offer to buy him lunch and things like that for him to sign a document for me. Most recently, I had to pay a storage unit fees. He left the document in a storage unit, but hadn’t paid the fees. Just some of the things that I’ve had to deal with the brother. With the dad, man, this thing was crazy. I’ve been literally working on this project since November, just trying to get everything kind of squared away. With the dad, the brother did tell me his dad’s name. I went online on Google, just looked up, inmates, California. I actually found him.
What I had to do is that I just started writing letters. I was like, all right, I’m just going to write a couple letters. I don’t know how the prison system works out there, and if he’s going to get these a month from now or whatever, but I’m just going to write a bunch of letters. It was kind of crazy just because the dad hadn’t seen his kids since they were like seven years old, and hadn’t talked to him while he was in prison either. So, he’s getting this letter from this stranger telling him this situation.
But also too, the dad didn’t know that his daughter had died. So, I’m writing him this letter, like, hey, my name’s Maria, this is kind of the situation that I’m dealing with. By the way, your daughter passed away. This is what I’m trying to work on. So, it was crazy. Because I was literally on a Zoom call month and change ago go, I think it was, and I get a call, and I’ve never been so excited, but it said prison/jail. I think I almost fell out of my seat when I saw that. I was like, oh my goodness, I think this might be him.
Yeah, I picked up the call, I heard his name on the prerecorded thing. I had to go through like a million different prompts and pay and whatnot in order to talk to him, but he got my letters, and he’s like, yeah, yeah, I’m willing to help for sure. At the very beginning too, I was thinking that, even if I don’t end up getting this deal, if I could still connect the dad with his son, give him the son’s phone number, something like that, where they could talk, that would make me feel good at the end of the day. There’s a lot of that in real estate. You’re helping other people. You know what I’m saying?
I was kind of being selfish in that. It would just make me feel good, but it’s taken a while. I had to call numerous attorneys in California, numerous notaries, calling the prison out in California, forget it. I feel like no one ever answers the phone, but I tried at all hours to call them, finally was able to get in touch with someone. I needed the dad to sign a power of attorney so his son here can sign on his behalf. It took forever, but I finally got that document like a week and a half or almost two weeks ago. That was pretty much one of the last things that I needed. The only thing that’s stopping us right now from closing on the deal is that the brother has child support liens.
So, we’re waiting on the payoff for the child support liens, but otherwise, we should be kind of closing up here pretty soon. What’s cool about this deal is that I’m going to put in about 45K for rehab. I need to catch up maybe about 10K for a reinstatement and everything, so I’m going to need about $60,000. I’m actually going to get that from an investor, a private lender, and they’re going to fund everything. So, I’m going to be zero out of pocket for this one. But yeah, this has been probably one of the craziest ones just because of all the hoops that I’ve had to jump through and everything. Yeah, it’s been insane.

Tony:
Maria, you’re either like really inspiring the audience right now, or you’re really, really scaring, and we’ll see where we land.

Ashley:
Yeah. I think we need to point out just the fact that you didn’t give up. You continued, and continued, and continued to get this deal done, and now it’s very close to happening. Did you have to pay off the child support liens [crosstalk 00:46:30]?

Maria:
We’re still waiting for the payoffs. I guess what’s going to happen is that when the payoffs come in, whatever portion the brother’s entitled to, we’ll probably just go to the lien. So, we’ll see how much that is. I still have to check with my title company to see if they got it.

Ashley:
Well, thank you for sharing that story with us. We’re going to move into our next segment, the Rookie Request Line. You guys can leave us a voicemail at 1 (888) 5-ROOKIE. Ask us a question and we’ll play it for our guest. Today’s question …

Brandon:
Hello, Ashley, I’m Brandon from [inaudible 00:47:02], and my question is, I have contacted three different realtors and gave them my criteria of their property, and they have added me to their mailing list, but I haven’t heard back from them, so should I be calling them for just follow ups, or what should the next be to follow? Thank you for your help.

Maria:
I would definitely follow up with them just because realtors have so many different people that they’re working with, and sometimes, out of sight, out of mind. I would definitely take a more proactive approach, especially if you’re looking to find something here pretty soon. I know when I personally started looking for my personal residence, and actually I was referred to an agent, so if they’re not calling you back, one of the other things I’d maybe suggest is talk to friends that have used other realtors that maybe are a little bit more proactive and will consistently reach out to you.
Because in my experience, when I was looking for a house, my role there was on it. She was showing me properties all the time. If they’re not reaching back out to you, that’s another thing. Maybe I’d suggest pivot, reach out to people that have worked with some agents that are a little bit more proactive and see if they’re willing to maybe show you around and send you some more listings.

Ashley:
Yeah, and then, when you’re getting these mailings by email, probably, when you see something on MLS that you are interested, forward that to them, and just say, hey, I’d love to see those property. But yeah, I mean, like Maria said, there’s a lot of them that will actually call you before you even get that initial email.

Maria:
Oh yeah. For the personal residence that I have now, my agent reached out to me the day it hit the market. She’s like, we have to go see this. We came and we put in an offer and we got it. There are some hustlers out there, so you want to find yourself a good one.

Tony:
I guess going into our next segment, we want to ask just a few final questions to get to know you a little bit more, Maria. I think I want to dive just a little bit more into the VA perspective. If I’m a new investor and I’m trying to interview a VA to help me in my real estate business, what are some good questions I should be asking?

Maria:
Yep, definitely. You want to take into consideration what it is that you want them to do. For example, with me, I knew that I needed someone that was detailed oriented. Why? Because I’m literally pulling up a ton of documents on a regular basis, trying to find these legal descriptions and/or addresses, then insert that into an Excel spreadsheet. I then need to transfer that over to another program that I’m going to use for text message. You want to kind of think about the skills that are necessary for the different tasks that you want them to do. So, right from the start, that’s literally what I was doing.
Just made a list of, hey, these are the different things that I want them to do. These are the skills that I’m going to need them to have. When I put my listing out there, I wanted someone that was detailed oriented, but also too, someone that wanted to learn and grow. Just because some of the VAs that you run into, like, I don’t know, you can tell when you’re interviewing people, whether they’re motivated or not. So, I wanted to find some that was willing to stick with me.
But also too, when you’re interviewing a lot of these VAs that live overseas, you want them to have reliable internet. So, I made sure to put that in my deal. Must have reliable internet, needs to have a camera, because I do a weekly meetings with my VA. I want to see you. I don’t want to hear your voice, but maybe it possibly be someone else. So, yeah, so that’s probably my biggest thing. Think about the tasks that you want them to do. Chances are you probably done all of these already. Just think to yourself, all right, what are the skills that I have that I want to find in a VA that can replicate everything that I’ve been doing? And just go from there and you’ll build up your list.

Tony:
Awesome. Love that advice. Ash, what you got for us?

Ashley:
Well, I think one of the hardest things for me is I have lot of stuff in my head, but for me to actually put it down on paper and to write out what I’m actually doing or how I do a process. I love the idea of doing a Loom video. I’ve done one before in my life, heard some other people do it, but I love that you’re just uploading the Loom videos, and it makes it so much easier to actually do the process as you’re actually doing it instead of just sitting down, like you said, for a week and trying to write all those things out and thinking like, oh, how do I actually do that? But when you’re actually doing them, as you go through the month, things you do over and over again.

Maria:
Yeah, and your list is going to continue growing all the time. For example, in the beginning, we were only targeting like pre-foreclosures, then we added the no water list. I’m like, all right, cool. I figured this out. Let me create a video for her to do this. All right, cool, we’re incorporating props, and we’re pulling lists from here. Let me show you how to look up these properties, how to pull up comparables. Yeah, and you’re always adding, so don’t worry about getting everything done immediately from the jump. It’s not going to happen.

Ashley:
Well, for my random question, I want to know what’s next for you. What is your big, scary goal that you have set for yourself, and is there kind of a fear or self doubt that you are going to have to overcome to reach that goal?

Maria:
My big goal for this year is that I want to add 30 units to my portfolio. It’s interesting because I was having a conversation with Eric about this, and I’m trying to get into larger multi-families, and it’s funny because last month, I actually did submit a letter of intent for a 34 unit in Ohio, which kind of showed me that oftentimes, we underestimate what we’re capable of doing just because I was thinking about it, I was like, Maria, you could have hit your goal for the entire year just in the month of January. Yeah, mindset is huge.
We have a lot of limiting beliefs and so we think we’re not capable of doing something or we don’t have all the knowledge, whatever it might be. I mean, that’s something that I’m so personally working on too, and it’s not something that just from one day to the next, your thought process is going to change, because we’ve been programmed since we were young on how to think about certain things. You hear other people’s experiences and that’s kind of embedded in your brain, but yeah, it’s not until you actually start doing things, start slowly taking action that you start to realize like, wow, I can probably do this.
I think, for me, I’m just going to have to keep throwing offers out there. But yeah, it’s just kind of crazy that I could have literally hit my goal for the whole year just last month had we got it. We actually submitted an LOI at asking price. They were asking 1.3 million for this property. We submitted the offer though on a Sunday, they had just gotten an offer the day before for barely above lease, so we just missed it because we didn’t jump on it a little sooner. I think for me, I’m just going to have to have a little bit more confidence in my underwriting skills because I think what happened is that I was trying to show the deal to a couple other people because I wasn’t sure if the numbers were right and this and that, but I just have to be a little bit more confident.
That’s going to come with just running the numbers for more deals, just getting practice. If you don’t practice something, if you’re not comfortable with it, of course, it’s going to seem foreign and you’re going to be a little hesitant, but the more you do, it’s just going to work out so much better. I’m looking forward to getting a little bit more practice and be a little bit more confident with that.

Ashley:
Well, thank you so much for sharing that.

Tony:
Yeah. Kudos to you on going up to such a big deal. That’s amazing. I guess one follow up question. Are you doing that, I’m assuming with a group of other investors, is it a JV? Is it a syndication?

Maria:
I joined a multi-family group, and I’ve talked to a ton of investors that are looking to kind of grow with multifamily. Some of them have fun, some of them have experience, so I’ve partnered with a few of them, and for a deal like that, we were thinking of … Actually, some of the partners have money and we probably could have funded it cash, but we’d probably be using the bank, probably, and get that 75%.

Tony:
Well, I love it, Maria. You shared a lot throughout this episode and I’m excited to hopefully, maybe have you back on the show one day and you can tell us how you’re at like at … Or maybe we get you on the OG podcast, because you’ll have graduated. You’ll have more crazy stories to share with people.

Maria:
Oh, that’d be awesome. I know David and Brandon. Yes.

Tony:
ll right. Before we wrap up, Maria, I just want to give a quick shout out to our Rookie Rockstar. On every episode now, Ash and I are trying to highlight some folks in the Rookie community that are doing some cool things. So, today’s Rookie Rockstar is Dominic [Amenez 00:54:27], who’s a new rookie Facebook member, and he purchased his first investment property back in December of 2020. The coolest part was that he did this site unseen, and he’s profiting right now about 220 per door, which is an 8% ROI. His goal this year is to get to six doors. Dominic, keep it up brother. Hope to see you get that goal accomplished, man. Awesome. Well, Maria, where can people go to learn more about you?

Maria:
Yeah, definitely. I’m on Instagram a lot. My Instagram is @lady_hustle23, or Facebook, it’s Maria Acosta, or you could shoot me a message on BiggerPockets too. I’m trying to network a little bit more. Actually, one of the cool things that I’ve been doing is that I’ve been trying to be consistent about just networking more so. I literally pulled up all the lenders that pop up for Cleveland, and every single day, I’ve just been calling one lender. I literally got that list just from BiggerPockets and I’m just calling one person every single day, trying to build up that list.

Ashley:
There is a great action item. If you are stuck and you don’t know what to do every single day to get you a step closer, and Maria you’d even mentioned practice running deals. There’s an action item for you guys to all take right now, practice running deals. Start calling lenders, find out how you’re going to finance your next deal. Call them, ask them questions. It’s amazing different lenders, how they have such different types of financing they can provide for you. Maria, do you have something real quick you could share as like what you have found out so far from calling these different lenders.

Maria:
Yeah. I’ve been reaching out to a lot of commercial lenders, just trying to see who offers what. One lender I talked to yesterday only does 10 million plus for deals. Some of them do work with you if you have some of these smaller deals that are a million and bigger. Actually, where I got all of this from too, by the way, just to throw in another plug for BiggerPockets, I got the Intention Journal. I got Intention Journal and I’ve been using this thing since the beginning of the year. Just having to look at my goals every single day, it’s basically what’s holding me accountable and making me take that action, because at the end of the day, I hate not being able to check off one of the boxes because I didn’t make the time to do what I said I was going to do. That’s probably been the biggest thing pushing me to stick with my goals, doing the Intention Journal.

Ashley:
Yeah. We love the Intention Journal too. I’ve used it, so you guys can check that out at the BiggerPockets bookstore. Maria, thank you so much for joining us today. We love the subject to, the pre-foreclosure list, the VAs, the roach stories. Thank you for coming on and sharing that us.

Maria:
Yeah. No, thank you so much for having me on, guys. I appreciate it.

Ashley:
Yeah, and congratulations to all of your success so far and we can’t wait to see where you go and hit that goal of 30 more units this year.

Maria:
Us girls speaking into existence. Yes ma’am.

Ashley:
Thank you guys for listening. I am Ashley Kehr @wealthfromrentals, and he’s Tony Robinson @TonyJRobinson. Make sure you guys listen to our newest episode, Rookie Reply on Saturdays. We’ll see you guys soon.

 

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • What to look out for when attending a paid course or conference for real estate
  • Why most turnkey” companies aren’t selling fully turnkey products
  • How to fire a property manager, even if it’s your first home
  • Buying subject to properties and getting sellers on the same page as you
  • Where and how to find a virtual assistant to do your more menial tasks
  • How to stand out in your off-market texts, letters, and calls
  • And So Much More!

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Books Mentioned in this Show:

Rookie Deal

  • Asking price: $200,000
  • Purchase price: $154,000
  • Rehab cost:  $38,000
  • Financed with HML
  • Rent for Master Bedroom: $1,000
  • Rent for the other 2 rooms : $800
  • Appraised for $230,000

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