How To Invest in Out-of-State Properties – Interview with Maureen McCann

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The Maureen McCann Interview

In this episode, Oliver Graf welcomes mega real estate investor Maureen McCann and discusses how to invest in out of state real estate for cash flow.

In a recent Allianz Life survey, more than 75% of people age 44 and up said that they fear outliving their money more than death! Real estate investing is one of the best ways to generate the kind of passive income that can take away that fear, but most of us don’t have the time or the talent to identify a good property, renovate it, find a tenant, get it cash flowing and manage the asset long-term. Is there a way to invest in out-of-state rental properties and earn mailbox money without being actively involved in the process?

Maureen McCann is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Spartan Invest, a turnkey real estate investment firm based in Birmingham, Alabama. Spartan has made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in the US four years in a row. Today, Maureen joins Oliver to explain the benefits of turnkey investing in out-of-state properties, discussing how Spartan Invest identifies markets for cash flow and what criteria the team uses to select investment properties.

Maureen offers insight around the Spartan approach to renovating single-family homes and describes how the business collects recurring revenue on each sale through property management. She also addresses the different ways to buy out-of-state investment properties, from traditional financing to leveraging a retirement savings account. Listen in to understand how Maureen’s team is using Shopify to sell real estate and learn how her turnkey business helps clients generate cash flow and live a worry-free life!

Here is how the interview breaks down:

[0:39] The fundamentals of turnkey investing

  • Way to help investors create passive income
  • Seller finds, renovates and manages property

[1:42] How Maureen got into real estate 

  • 15 years in pharmaceutical sales (quiet discontent)
  • Real estate flipping bootcamp, masterminds
  • Started pitching real estate to doctors on route
  • Offered position as consultant at Memphis Invest

[8:31] Maureen’s transition from 9-to-5 to real estate

  • ‘Say YES and build airplane on way down’
  • Left W-2 during divorce, near bankruptcy
  • Show kids how to get back up + keep fighting

[16:26] How Maureen identifies markets for cash flow

  • Job creation and population growth
  • Diversity of industry (stable economy)

[18:09] How Maureen identifies investment properties

  • Look at crime rate, school rankings + average income
  • % of renters vs. owner occupants (40% to 50% ideal)
  • Properties in B class areas with no signs of blight

[23:05] How much Spartan Invest puts into renovations

  • Focus on distressed but not dilapidated properties
  • Invest $30K (defer maintenance as long as possible)

[27:56] How people typically buy homes with Spartan Invest

  • 75% use conventional financing
  • Retirement accounts

[38:17] The drawback of investing with retirement funds

  • Set aside reserves for deferred maintenance

[41:51] How Spartan Invest handles vacancies

  • System in place to get back on market quickly
  • Only 4.2 days to get property ready to rent

[45:45] The Spartan Invest referral program

  • $1K per door referral fee

[52:21] Maureen’s latest international turnkey venture

  • Help foreign service officers invest stateside
  • Teach masterclass at embassies

[53:05] How Maureen’s team is leveraging Shopify

  • Available properties listed in one place ($30/mo)
  • Investor gets link + password, reserve through site

Listen Here:

Key Takeaway:

In a recent survey, more than 75% of people age 44 and up said that they fear outliving their money more than death! Today, Maureen McCann joins Oliver to explain how Spartan Invest’s turnkey solution helps clients earn passive income through real estate investing in out-of-state properties—and live a worry-free life!

Links to your favorite other players:

🎧Listen on Itunes here.

🎧Listen on Spotify here.

🎧Listen on Sticher here.

🎧Listen on Iheart Radio here.

🎥Watch Full Video on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/Utn9ttIemjM

Full Transcript Below:

Oliver: Welcome to Founders Club, the show for real estate entrepreneurs. 

Maureen: If you’ve got streams of cash flow coming in all the time, people are writing you checks, because you were smart, you got financially literate, you made some investments that yield cash flow every single month, then you live not a financially-free life, but man, you live a financially-free worry-free life. 

Oliver: Welcome to another episode of Founders Club. Today I’m going to be talking to Inc 5000 entrepreneur Maureen McCann of Spartan Invest and we’re going to be talking about how to invest in cheap properties out of state. You can either do it yourself or you can work with a turnkey provider like Maureen. We’re going to be diving into exactly how she identifies markets, how she identifies properties, and how she takes them down and bring her investors mailbox money. Looking forward to getting started. 

I just want to start by talking about like what is turnkey real estate investing.

Maureen: Well, it is my lifeblood. It is my life. It is my passion. It’s my energy. Turnkey really is, it’s a way to help investors create passive income by building a portfolio of turnkey rental properties. And if you guys are wondering what that term is, turnkey means that the seller of the property is the one who went out, found it, renovated it, placed a tenant in it, got it cash flowing, that’s important, and then we manage it for them. So truly turnkey is all in-house. 

Oliver: So you guys are literally handling 100% of the profit or the process. 

Maureen: We are, 100% of the process, and basically what I say to investors is that, “Look, you just want to write it because you’re very busy professionals.” They just want to write a check, get a check, not even know about what’s going on there. We do all the heavy lifting behind the scenes, send them a check each month.

Oliver: So it’s mailbox money.

Maureen: It’s mailbox money. 

Oliver: Oh, I like mailbox money.

Maureen: Me too. 

Oliver: How did you get into that?

Maureen: Oh my gosh. So long story longer. Just kidding. So long story short is for the longest time, for 15 years I worked as a W2 wage earner in pharmaceuticals and medical device. Wound up getting married, wound up having some kids. And then my 1% increases every year weren’t quite making the life that I had envisioned for myself and my family. And so what I recognized was that there were these limitations that I kept coming up against in this corporate world and I had an idea of what I wanted my life to look like, and it wasn’t really looking like that. There’s a term that I use. It’s called a little tight in the armpits. More kids came. You’ve got more expenses, more childcare, and it’s like so all the things that we used to be able to do before just as a married couple with no kids, then you have the kids and it’s like, ‘Well, we can’t do those vacations,” and the word can’t is something that I don’t allow my kids to use today, but I found myself using that word a lot because it was really tight.

And what I recognized was that if I wanted to design the life that I wanted and create a life of wealth for myself and my kids, and then consequently others around me, that I was going to have to change my thinking and change the way that I was doing things. And working for someone else wasn’t for me. I’m kind of a rebel. I don’t like rules. I like to make my own rules. 

Oliver: Me too.

Maureen: Some of you can probably relate. So it was really this fateful day. I was driving around as a drug rep, and a radio ad came on, and it said learn how to flip properties. It was by this guy. I don’t even think he does real estate anymore. He wrote some books like The Millionaire Next Door or whatever. 

I get this cattle call. I go up to LA and I’m thinking like, yeah, the first 100 callers were free and I’m like, “Yeah, I got it for free.” And then I show up, there’s a thousand of us there that got in for free. The hook worked. I listened to the shtick on how to flip investment properties and I thought, “There’s something there.”

The other thought that I connected was an article that I had read years before, and it was for those individuals that have substantial amount of wealth, they kind of place in four categories: entrepreneur, business owner, entertainer, and real estate investor.

And when I looked at those four I was like, well, at that point I didn’t think that I could be an entrepreneur or a business owner. I was a closeted entrepreneurial dying to come out, but I didn’t know how to do it. Singing and dancing, I’m not a JLo or Beyonce or Britney. Like I can’t do all that stuff on stage, so I knew that was out.

Oliver: Not going there.

Maureen: Not going there. So I was like, “I can do that real estate investor thing. I can learn that.” And so that’s where I just, I heard that radio ad one day in the car, went to a seminar, and haven’t looked back.

Oliver: And got in the game.

Maureen: Got in the game.

Oliver: So you’re selling drugs. 

Maureen: Yeah, literally, I was selling drugs.

Oliver: So you’re selling drugs, went to a pitch fest.

Maureen: 04:50 I did.

Oliver: Got sold.

Maureen: Pretty hard.

Oliver: And that got you in the game of real estate investing.

Maureen: It did. And I want to take you back to that one moment because I think this is probably relevant for a lot of people in our lives. When you are always doing the same thing and you get the same result, but there’s that quiet discontentment that just creeps in, but you’ll keep pushing it off, another year goes by, another year goes by, maybe another decade goes by and you still keep doing the same thing. I realized that in this moment … And the pitch was coming. All of us have gone to these seminars, webinars. It’s like the three days of all this great rich content and then it’s like, here it comes, here comes the pitch. If you act today instead of $29,000, you can get it for 999.

So it worked for me. This was the very first time I saw the pitch coming and I started getting, my palms were sweaty, my heart’s racing, but I knew that if I didn’t do something different that day that I was going to go back to how things always were. So that day I had to write a check for $9,999. And that was the largest check I had ever written. I didn’t have it. I had to borrow it from my 401k. And I remember like, I was like this writing the cheque. “Oh my god. What am I doing.” The naysayers were like, “That’s stupid. Don’t take money out of your 401k. You’re going to lose the compound interest.” All the naysayers. And I just said … I blocked them all out. I was like, “I am doing this because if I don’t do this, then I don’t really mean that I want change in my life.” 

So I wrote the check, made the change, and I think back, had I not written that check, I would not be sitting here with you today. I’d still be in pharmaceuticals getting bounced around from drug company to drug company. 

Oliver: So that was just your voice that you just wanted more from your life which led you to that event, and then you manned up, womaned up, and stroked the big check. 

Maureen: I did.

Oliver: And then, and then what happened? Then you started doing deals? 

Maureen: Yeah, no. So I did the … I did the course and then it led me … It’s funny. I’ve kind of become a seminar junkie. 

Oliver: Me too. I can relate.

Maureen: But it’s a … Then it leads you to masterminds and people that are really just doing, they’re just crushing it and they’re in their respective fields. That course, that bootcamp led to another mastermind that I went to at Fortune Builders. I met some great people there. There is where I met one of my business partners who he bought two rental properties sight unseen in Memphis, Tennessee, and here I’m like this, I’m like, “Hmm, you’re still getting those checks,” like six months later, “Still getting those checks?” I kept checking in with him because I wanted to know if it was working, and he kept getting the darn checks and I was like, “Huh, this works.” So then I jumped in and I bought two properties sight unseen and then the cash flow was coming in to me. 

So how this whole thing became a business really was, I was selling drugs to doctors. But they hate talking to you about drugs. If anyone that’s a drug rep, you know, they kind of roll your eyes when they see you because we’re a distraction to their day.

Oliver: Well, you’re just a solicitor basically.

Maureen: Solicitor totally. 

Oliver: A salesperson.

Maureen: I was. But then guess what? I realized that if I brought value to that office every day which was let’s talk about how to make money in real estate investing because that’s what I was doing, I was really excited about that, and all my doctors ears, they perked up, they started buying through me as an affiliate marketer and then I brought so much business into the Memphis company they offered me a position as a consultant and I kissed the W2 role goodbye 10 years ago.

Oliver: So you bolted down onto your pitch, sold these doctors investment properties, smart. It’s a really smart way to get in the game, for sure.

Maureen: I did, yeah.

Oliver: And then, okay, so how did that transition work out? Were you scared? Were you … I mean, that’s a big step for a lot of people, to kiss that job goodbye, that consistent paycheck.

Maureen: There was some very scary moments for sure. There’s a philosophy that I believe in. Richard Branson, everyone knows who he is. He is a brand. He’s a brand name. But one of the philosophies that he said was, hey, say yes and build the airplane on the way down. I knew that just say yes and figure it out, figure it out as you go. I knew that when I left the comforts of the W2, I left the company car, the gas card, the meals, the credit card, the business credit card, the steady paycheck that was coming every two weeks, the bonuses. And what’s crazy about this story you guys is that I went from safe security, but I knew it was false security because people were getting laid off and rehired all the time. That was starting to happen at that time in the industry. I knew that I had a limited shelf life at that point. So I knew I had to do something different.

So I invested in some rental properties, started talking to my doctors about it. They got super excited about it. And when … Gosh, this is the part that was, what most people don’t recognize and know is that I was scared to death. I left that position right in the middle of … Actually right at the beginning of a divorce with three kids under the age of five. Okay. 

Oliver: It’s a heavy load. 

Maureen: And, by the way, the company that I went to, they’re like, or that we started was my business partner Clayton said, “Well Maureen, we don’t have a buyers list. We don’t have a budget. You’re pretty much on your own, and you’ve got to do this. We need 10 houses sold in the next 90 days. Can you do it?” And I thought … I looked at him with confidence, I’m like, “Yes. I got this.” I got off the phone I’m like, “Wow, what am I going to do?” But you build the airplane and you jump and you build the airplane on the way down. And that’s what I did. 

I wound up getting eight sales, not 10, and then we just caught momentum, and that was … We went from zero sales to we’re almost 800 doors now, five years later, and still growing. But yeah. I was almost bankrupt. I’m not going to lie. There was a time where I had … I remember going to Target to buy groceries and my first credit card or my debit card I swiped, I knew there was money in there and it was like decline. I was like, “Huh, that’s odd. Okay, embarrassing. Let me get the other card.” Slid that one through, declined. And I knew that I had cash in there and I was like, “Something’s up.”

So I left without the groceries, back home to the three kids, and I went online, I looked at my checking account and it was a bank levy or a IRS levy. I hadn’t paid my taxes. I thought I’d paid my taxes because it was on auto debit and I switched debit cards because one got stolen and I just didn’t update the information and three months went by and …

Oliver: They don’t play around.

Maureen: They don’t play around. So just guess what you guys? If you ask the IRS to send you money through direct deposit, they can also get into your account and take it out. So ask for the check, not the direct deposit.

So I did. I had a bank or an IRS levy. They took all the cash. And I had to call my business partner. I’m like, I had $40,000 in credit card debt, I was three months behind on my mortgage payments because when you’re starting a business it’s not cash flowing right away. So I did all that with three kids [inaudible] under the age of five, and I thought … My plan B was bankruptcy. I’m like every other book that I read, autobiography about someone that’s been very successful, they’ve declared bankruptcy at some point, because they risked an idea, they tried it, and if it worked, great, and if it didn’t work, they learned the lessons and they tried again. I knew that that was the way to be successful, was just to try, and if you didn’t make it, you learned the lessons and you moved on to the next thing. And that’s pretty much how we built this business. Probably like you building yours.

Oliver: Yeah. I mean I’ve been there too. I totally been there. I actually want to talk more about that because I think that having everything on the line and still going is what separates a lot of people from not making it versus the people that do. So what got you through that point?

Maureen: Not disappointing my kids. I knew that there was going to be a story to tell them one day, and I wanted to look at them in the eye and let them know that no matter what happens to you in life, no matter how many times you get knocked down, I’m from Philadelphia so I watch Rocky Balboa, I’m a huge fan of the Rock, of Rocky. I think back to probably watching all those movies from the 1970s to present day even, I watched all those times that Rocky got knocked down and he just kept getting back up and fighting. He was a fighter. 

And that’s what I learned to be as a kid, even in my own household. It wasn’t just the movies. But it was the household too. I thought what a great lesson to teach my kids. I just couldn’t look at them in the eye and say, “I failed you.” I was like, “I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that you know no matter what happens to you, because you saw what happened to your mom, you get back up, you dust yourself off and you just rock it on.” 

Oliver: I love it.

Maureen: Thank you.

Oliver: And that’s something we say a lot too, is that it’s always darkest before dawn. That moment when you think you’re going to lose everything is usually the point where you’re right around the corner from your big breakthrough or your lucky break or whatever. Your overnight success that you’ve been working five years to get, it’s usually right past that point.

Maureen: And you don’t know at that point is there. You just know that you’re sitting there in the dark. Your heart’s racing. You can’t catch your breath. You’ve got three little people that are relying on you. You don’t have your support system. All my family was back east, the wasband. He’s the wasband. I let him go. He had to go bye-bye.

So when you’re sitting there alone, that’s when you really find out it’s not about … That’s where you find out your character. Your character rises to the surface because you’re either going to spiral up or spiral down. Crappy things happen to people in life, unfair things, unjust things, they happen. You can’t control what happens, but you definitely control your reaction to what you’re going to do and how you’re going to behave and act and think. 

In that moment when I remember Clayton calling me and he’s like, “Man, if we don’t get these sales, we probably have to close the company down,” I mean, the weight of that, I felt that on my shoulders in the middle of a divorce with these three kids, trying to manage it all, behind on my mortgage, $40,000 in credit card debt, trying to figure all this out, and you’re thinking that’s like a dark place, but the only option that you have is to keep going.

Oliver: That’s literally burning the boats. 

Maureen: That is. That was burning, yes, that is burning the boats. When you don’t have plan B and you have to make plan A work, your … this beautiful cognitive machine up here starts looking for solutions and ways to find your way out of that situation.

Oliver: I really love that. I really love also residual income, especially the type of residual income that you can do something once for and then earn income forever. So I really want to jump into that. Before I do, I want to talk about the beer that we’re drinking because I almost forgot to do that. We are drinking the Bagby. This is the no hype German Helles beer and it’s absolutely fabulous. And you’re drinking the what? Czech lager?

Maureen: The Czech lager. 

Oliver: Czech lager. Cheers.

Maureen: Cheers.

Oliver: Enjoy that.

Maureen: As well you.

Oliver: And if you’re liking the show, go ahead and hit the like button, and don’t be afraid to subscribe. And also leave us some comments. Let us know if you have any extra questions. I’m sure Maureen’s happy to respond to anything as well. We’ll look forward to hearing what you guys have to say.

Anyway. Back to how are you guys identifying the markets that you’re going after to get cash flow?

Maureen: So three simple things, break it down to three things. You need job creation. You need population growth. And you need diversity, diversity of industry and a stable economy. When you find those three things in any market, you’re definitely going to have a market that is worthy of pursuing for income producing properties. 

Think about this. You’ve got … Think about Detroit. Sorry Detroit. Love you guys, but this is a good example. You’ve got one industry, the car, GM was basically based in Detroit. And when you have one town that’s predominantly owned by or employs the majority, 70%, 80% of that town through GM, and something happens, there’s a ripple effect throughout the community. You don’t really protect your capital or have any insulation on your earnings because you’re exposed to that one industry. 

So any market that you go in, it definitely has to be diversity of industry, stable economy, you want good economics there, you want … Good economics, there’s jobs being created there, high tech jobs, blue-collar jobs. You need a lot of different things to attract people to this community. And then, once you have the community, you’ve got the population growth, you’ve got the three key factors that help with identifying the right market, probably the other key thing too is low property taxes. It’s pretty simple. The less fees that you have to pay, the more cash flow you get.

Oliver: The more money you make.

Maureen: The more money you make. 

Oliver: Simple formula. So what was it? Was population growth …

Maureen: Job growth.

Oliver: Job growth and diversity of industry. Those are the three things. And then once you guys have identified a market, how are you identifying the actual properties that you guys go after?

Maureen: Those are, we have very specific criteria. We have, there are specific neighborhoods that we look at. The metrics are the crime rate, the school rankings, the average income level in that particular area because if you’ve got properties that you want to rent say between $800 and $1,200 a month, you need people to have a certain level of income to be able to support that rent that you’re asking for. 

Also, you want people that have steady streaming jobs that are growing in abundance there. For example, in the Birmingham market where it’s a highly, highly manufacturing market, so lots of automobile industries there, Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai, Toyota, Mazda, these are billion-dollar plants that are set up that need thousands of workers on the assembly line to put together and assemble all these cars. So when you have jobs like that and leases on these, these are long-term leases and no one’s … Toyota and Mazda’s not going to pick up their billion dollar plant and just go move it somewhere else, not likely. So you look for those really heavy anchors that are in the community that are big employers. 

And then you also want to look for, and you can find this on any site, the census data. You want to look at the percent of renters versus owner-occupants. You’re looking for more of 40% to 50% renters because that’s a built-in sustainable long-term business model that will work.

Oliver: It’s interesting to look at it.

Maureen: Long-term, yes. So you can find that data. It’s out there readily. So you find those populations and those communities that are high renters and, man, low property taxes, growth, population, and jobs, set shop.

Oliver: And then when you’re going after the properties in those market, is it distressed sales that you’re going after or what are you guys looking for? 

Maureen: So at this point in the game, when we first started it was all distressed sales, at the courthouse steps, vying for that deal. And then as you become a brand name and well-known, then you’ve got the … you’re leveraging other people’s time. We’ve got a great team of wholesalers that are out there searching for properties for us. We also have a full-time acquisitions team of four people. They cover four different quadrants of the area, and we’re just sniffing out the areas that are going to work. Sometimes you just have to take an educated guess too. It’s not like A plus B equals C, this is the right market right here. But it’s like, hey, let’s try some properties here, and then all of a sudden you see the result which is one, the properties are appraising and they’re renting fast, you got something. 

Oliver: Interesting. So you guys are finding those properties with your whole system and process that you guys have built. You’re probably also getting a lot of deals now from like realtors, just off market stuff, because they know-

Maureen: People call us all the time.

Oliver: They know you guys are big buyers in the area.

Maureen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Oliver: That’s great. 

Maureen: We buy cash. We close quickly. We have no contingency. So if someone’s trying to move product, they know that they can rely on us to purchase it as long as it meets our criteria. We only like B class neighborhoods. I’ll define that because that could be a slippery slope for this industry. B is no signs of blight, so no burn outs, no vacant lots, no boarded up homes, no graffiti, no 10 cars parked on the front lawn, no 10 people on every front stoop smoking cigarettes at 10:00 AM because they don’t have where to go. 

These are working-class blue-collar nine-to-five work overtime, incomes between $35,000, $50,000 a year, just taking care of their families, wash, rinse and repeat, watch the ball game on Friday, hang out with their buddies and barbecue in their big backyards. They like big backyards in Birmingham. And get up Monday morning and back to work. It’s a business model that works because we provide really nice housing for families that want to raise their kids in really good areas, in decent schools, and be safe. 

Oliver: Safe and clean and all that. And that’s actually a good tip you just gave there, because I have a friend of mine that buys apartment buildings. And he’s like, “Every time before I buy it, I’ll drive around a couple times at like 10:00 in the morning and noon and 2:00 PM, the times that people should be at work, if they have a job, and if there’s tons of people around and there’s tons of cars in the parking lot,” he’s like, “Those are the buildings that I avoid because it’s all about collecting the rent.”

Maureen: That’s right.

Oliver: Got to have a J-O-B. 

Maureen: Got to have a J-O-B. And I’ve always tried to make safe, boring, profitable neighborhoods. You can’t make that sexy, but it really is. As an investor that’s so sexy. 

Oliver: Beautiful.

Maureen: It is.

Oliver: So then, once you guys buy it, how much work are you doing on these? Are they pretty decent condition? Are you buying like dilapidated ones that you’re turning or what …

Maureen: Gosh, all. We have bought burnouts and we’ve bought houses that a homeowner unfortunately lost their home and was in great condition and everything in between. We really do like the houses that are distressed but not completely a train wreck. On average we’re putting just over about 30 grand into the deal. Our philosophy has always been, look, if we’re going to build this business long-term and help investors create income producing properties, create passive income, create, help them reach the dreams that they want for their families for generational wealth, longitudinal wealth, then we’ve got to do things right up front and help them defer maintenance for as long as possible.

What that means for us from a renovation standpoint is, man, find that gem of a property in that B class neighborhood, throw a new metal roof on it, throw a new HVAC system in it, throw a new water heater, upgrade electrical and plumbing. In Birmingham we have to do it to 2017 standards. So you may have a 1965 year built house, but it’s got 2019 everything written all over it with warranties from the manufacturer. All hardscape, all refinished hardwoods, granite. We really put nicer finishes on this property because we want it to, we want to attract a family that’s going to stay there-

Oliver: Yeah, quality product-

Maureen: long-term, stay and pay. 

Oliver: I like stay and pay. That’s good. I like that a lot. All right. So you mentioned numbers. You mentioned, and I like, I’m curious because I want to see … I like the numbers. You said you put about 30k into these properties. What would you say that you’re buying them at?

Maureen: So about 30.

Oliver: About 30.

Maureen: Yeah. We’re all in for 60. We typically turn those for about a hundred.

Oliver: About a hundred.

Maureen: And that profit margin, people think that a lot of times, they think that’s what we make.

Oliver: Oh, that’s not all profit? 

Maureen: That’s not all profit. Imagine that. I wish. I wouldn’t have to … Then we wouldn’t have to sell so many. It’s a fair business because if we’re all-in, if we buy it for 30, we renovate it for another 30, and we’re selling it for hundred, so there’s a 40,000 margin there. What most investors don’t recognize is that in that 40,000, we’re paying, we’ve got interest that we pay on the 10 million dollar line of credit, there’s tax liens, there’s water liens, there’s commissions that you have to pay, there’s recording fees and holding costs and utilities and the oops.

Oliver: The acquisitions team, the commissions, the this, the that.

Maureen: So by the time you add it all up, it gets chinked. It’s like that Plinko game from the old Price is Right. It’s like chink, chink, chink, chink, it’s just taking all that profit down. We wound up doing really well. Some you win on. In real estate it’s some you win, really you win big. And then some, you lose really big.

Oliver: Some you’re just happy to get out of.

Maureen: Yes, yes, we’ve had a few of those. It’s just the averages. You just take … We sold 76 houses last quarter, and you look at our net profit for property, it was over 10 grand per deal. That does very well. And that’s what you want. You don’t want to be in the negative. Otherwise, you’re [inaudible], going back to that that moment where Clayton’s like, “Maureen, if we don’t sell properties, we’ve got to close the company down.” I don’t want to have that conversation again. 

Oliver: Wow.

Maureen: It’s cool. 

Oliver: That’s a cool business model. And 76 houses in a quarter, that’s nothing to sneeze at for sure. That’s really good.

Maureen: Thank you. Yeah, there’s other people that are … There’s one company that is doing a thousand doors a year, a thousand. And that’s pretty impressive. We’re not there. 

Oliver: That means you guys can do it though. 

Maureen: It means, oh, they have carved the … they’ve carved the way for sure. For us, the more interesting side of this business is, yes, it’s the flipping of the rental properties, but it’s the management, it’s the residual income. Because what I’m talking about, I’m all got cash flow, income producing properties, like cash flow, cash flow, cash flow, and the cash flow comes residually through the property management.

Oliver: That was actually my next question because I really love that. Because you’re selling these with tenants in place and fully managed. 

Maureen: Yes. 

Oliver: So the people that buy don’t have to worry about it at all, and for you guys, you get to collect reoccurring revenue on every single properties.

Maureen: Bingo.

Oliver: Love it.

Maureen: But here’s the other thing too. It’s a paid for performance business model. We only win, the company only wins if the investor is winning first. We do all the heavy lifting. We get you a property that’s cash flowing. If your property’s cash flowing, you’re happy, I get to charge our property management fee residually, and we just keep this machine going.

Oliver: Everybody wins. 

Maureen: Everybody wins. 

Oliver: We love win-wins, especially when they produce mailbox money.

I want to talk about how people are buying these. I’m sure that a lot of people pay cash. I’m guessing that people also use maybe retirement funds and maybe there’s loans. Are there any loans available on these types of properties or how does, how are most people buying these off of you guys? 

Maureen: 75% of our buyers are mostly conventional financing, so they’re putting 20% down and they’re leveraging the 80%, getting low interest rates, so super cheap money. You think about it. On a $80,000 note mortgage payment at 6% on a 30-year fixed is about 496. Ask me how I know this number. Like that. And then if you got a random $1,000, minus the mortgage payment, your taxes, your insurance, your property management fees, these things are shaken out about 300 bucks a month on a $1,000 door.

Oliver: So hold on. Let me get this straight. You can get, you can buy one for 100k, put 20k down, and get 300 bucks a month?

Maureen: Yeah, about $3,600 a year or 4,000 a year per unit. And if you got 10 of them, that’s 40 grand mailbox money.

Oliver: It’s a great little model.

Maureen: It works. I didn’t invent this by the way. 

Oliver: Yeah I know, it’s slow and steady wins the race. I mean, that’s really good. I like that a lot, especially for a lot of people that are looking to get into real estate investing because around here in San Diego the average home price is 600k, 700k for a starter house. You’re going to put down a couple hundred grand to get into something, and if you can get in for 20K to start earning income, that’s a great place to start.

Maureen: And that 200k if you put it in a house here in San Diego, that 200k could leverage you, leverage an investor into 10 rental properties.

Oliver: Oh, great point.

Maureen: If the 10 of them cash flowed on average 300, now you’ve got 3,000 mailbox money just coming in residually, and then you’ve got, I love, other people’s time, other people’s money. The tenant’s paying down our principal, increasing our equity position. We get the cash flow. We get the tax benefits from the depreciation over 27.5 years each year on our schedule. And then the other benefit that many investors don’t think about is the loan that is issued to us from the bank, they only ask us to pay the money back in nominal dollars. As we progress through life, we have wage increases, price increases, so we’re only, we’re paying back the loan in nominal dollars, not inflation adjusted dollars. So there’s another savings there as well.

So by the time you kind of add all this up between the appreciation, depreciation, the cash flow, the hedge … I call it the hedge against inflation or inflation profiting. By the time you kind of add up all these percentages, it really shakes out to double-digit, high double-digit rate of return just on one investment property.

Oliver: It’s great. Yeah. What a great way to do it. And then I know that people are also investing with retirement funds, right? 

Maureen: Yeah. Thank you for …

Oliver: How does that work?

Maureen: Yeah, people buy in a variety of ways. They use the leverage from the bank. People have money sitting in their retirement accounts that may not be beating the rate of inflation. So for a way that I calculate the equation for building wealth is your rate of return or your return on equity needs to be higher than what the inflationary rate is. If you’ve got $500,000 sitting in a retirement account, and it’s earning you 4%, that money needs to be moved to anything that’s going to produce a yield higher than what … In my estimation, the inflationary rate is around 6%. The government will report it two or three, but they always tell us the truth. I’m a big fan of 7% or higher rate of return on your money. Now you’re creating real wealth.

People use retirement accounts. They can purchase in two ways through a retirement account. You got a self-direct the funds. If they’re not self-directed, you just got to take them from maybe an old 401k that wasn’t rolled over, roll it into a trust company. Then you’ve got access to that money that you can direct those funds to invest in any income-producing asset that you want. There’s some limitations I think like life insurance policies and oriental rugs or something, like something rare, it’s weird. But you can invest in anything.

A lot of our investors will take that money, roll it into a trust company, and then they’ll self-direct those funds to invest in rental properties, apartment buildings. They can do a lot of things with it. 

There’s another way that you can purchase also within your self-directed IRA, and that’s using a non-recourse loan. If you want to leverage the heck out of your IRA, you can do that too. The terms are a little different. It’s more of a 50% down, 9% to 12% interest. Don’t freak out. It’s usually a 10 to 15-year term with no prepayment penalty. So you can leverage those funds, access additional rental properties. 

Oliver: So that’s you getting a loan through your self-directed IRA or 401k or whatever it is?

Maureen: There are companies that are non-recourse lending companies that will lend to your IRA to fund half of your deal. 

Oliver: So if you put 50% down, you can get a loan like that, and leverage even further in your retirement account? 

Maureen: Yes. 

Oliver: Wow. 

Maureen: Yes. The beauty of this is that most of us can’t touch those funds until we’re 59 and a half anyway. That’s when we’re required to start withdrawing. And if you’ve got a hundred thousand, half-a-million sitting in there and it’s not earning more than inflation, then leverage the heck out of those funds, diversify into income producing assets. I don’t care in which. I specialize in single-family. You can choose to do whatever you want. But use that leverage to get into … 

I mean, if you’re putting 50% down on a, I don’t know, $100,000 asset and you’ve got five of them, now look at your portfolio, and you’ve got, it’s on auto. Everything’s on automatic because you’ve got the asset sitting in your self-directed IRA. You’ve got the cash flow coming in. You’ve got the payments being made. And then you’ve got the equity that’s being increased, the principal that’s coming down, the cash flow that’s coming in. And guess what? You’re doing nothing. Your retirement account is overflowing with cash and building up equity when these assets and that by the time you’re ready to withdraw those funds, you’ve got a pretty sizable nest egg in there that you just had on auto cash flow.

Oliver: Right. And so those are all the money I’m guessing goes into the IRA. You can’t touch the money, but you can stack it up real nice. 

Maureen: Correct. The rule is the IRA is the only one that can direct the fund. So when you have expenses or cash flow, it all goes back into that account. Now you own it but the self-directed IRA, the custodian, they manage it. You just tell them, hey, I want you to do this, they do it. If there’s a bill, you ask the company to pay the bill for you. The funds come out of the IRA. And if they’ve got some cash flow, the cash flow goes right back in to the IRA. You don’t touch it at all. 

Oliver: Very cool. I think, I really like this topic actually because I think that retirement funds are a great source of funds for people to put in play on real estate, especially people that are tired of the stock market or just tired of not making any money with their retirement accounts. How does that process work? Is it just rolling over to a self-directed account and then telling the custodian I want to invest with Maureen or I want to buy a property in Tennessee or whatever? 

Maureen: Yeah. It’s really simple. If you’re still employed, you can’t roll over your active 401K. That stays with your company. If you’ve got an old 401K from another company, which many of us probably do, you just never rolled it over or if you’ve got an IRA account that’s set up, and you want to get those funds being more active, then you can just … It’s just a quick little transfer, some paperwork, there’s always some paperwork, paperwork, transfer the funds over to a self-directed custodian. Once the funds are there, then if you wanted to buy rental properties in Tennessee or Birmingham or you wanted to buy multi-unit, you can also pull the funds. Let’s say, you can’t pull with direct family members, but let’s say you’ve got 100,000 in self-directed IRA, I have 100,000 in mine and we find an asset of 150 grand that we want to purchase. We can purchase it outright cash 50/50 from our funds …

Oliver: Oh wow.

Maureen: Combined. The way that it works is that all the cash flow that comes in from that asset 50/50, 50 to you, 50 to me, and the expenses 50 from you, 50 from me. You can use these vehicles as great wealth generating tools by being able to combine funds to invest in bigger assets, multi-unit, things like that.

Oliver: Yeah, really learning that game I think is going to be really important, especially as the baby boomers get older and more people are going to be looking to put that kind of money in play. Do you have any resources that you would recommend for people that were interested in doing that?

Maureen: Absolutely. Bay Point Capital is a good group that we work with. Gold Coast Capital is another one. They are organizations that specialize in non-recourse lending. It’s not a real popular niche. There’s only a few people that do it. I know where they are because I’ve been doing this for 10 years. And the custodians, are so many custodians that investors could just roll their money over to. Equity Trust is a company that I use. But there’s many, many trust companies. Google search, you’d probably have pages of them on where you could go. 

Oliver: And is that less important than the good lender? 

Maureen: Both are important because one, the customers, I’m a huge customer service person.

Oliver: Definitely.

Maureen: And you want people that are going to answer your phone, that are going to be responsive, they’re going to give you the right advice, tell you the right paperwork to fill out, walk you through some of that stuff. When it’s all new and you’re stumbling through it, you want someone to just really make it a fluid transaction for you. The custodian is really important. For me, I love Equity Trust, and then, and Specialized IRA Services are another good company. And then the non-recourse lending. There’s only two that I work with, and they’re stellar because they have to be. 

Oliver: Is there anything that people should be worried about or know on the negative side of what to watch out for if they are thinking about using retirement funds? 

Maureen: You have to have reserves. When you’re buying rental properties or multi-units, there’s going to be some maintenance and vacancy expenses that will come up, so you have to have a reserve set aside inside the account to make sure that if you need a new roof, you only have, we’re only allowed to contribute so much money per year and if you contributed your 5,000 for the year and you’ve got a roofing bill of 10,000 and you don’t have 10,000 in your account, you’re in deep kimchi at that point. You’re going to have to go find some other person, partner, investor that has money that wants to give it to you-

Oliver: Get in on the deal.

Maureen: Yeah, to help fix up your property. So you got to keep those reserves. Those are key. But the custodians will tell you that. They guide you through all that to make you, keep you safe. 

Oliver: Cool. So just follow the rules and it sounds like you’ll be all right. Are these only single-families or do you do multi-family as well?

Maureen: Mm-hmm (affirmative), single-family. 

Oliver: Single-family.

Maureen: We are. If you’re going to be good at something, be really good-

Oliver: Be good at it.

Maureen: Be the best at it.

Oliver: That’s true.

Maureen: And so we are specialized in single-families, expanding into additional markets. There was one thing that you mentioned earlier that I wanted to come back to, because it was an article that I just read. You talked about the baby boomers, and there’s a lot of them crossing over. There’s going to be the largest transference of wealth from the baby boomers to our generation. Here’s what’s so interesting, is that there was a study that was done, pulled over 4,000 people and it’s called, they were calling them middle age at 50. I was like, “Oh okay. I have middle now.” I guess I’m becoming middle age here. I did get the AARP invitation to join.

Oliver: You’re all sad like, man. Michelle’s right there with you. 

Speaker 3: Oh, I’m totally down the same thing.

Maureen: 40:31 I’m looking at it I’m like, “What? This is what my mom and dad get. Not me.”

Oliver: Never saw it.

Maureen: But what the interesting thing was is that the survey of 4,000 people 50 years and older, the biggest fear that they have is not death, it’s not divorce, it’s not losing their independence. It is out living their money.

Oliver: Running out of money.

Maureen: It’s running out of money. It’s their biggest fear. And then 47% of CP or financial advisors that were surveyed as well, they all said, or 47% of them said that that’s the biggest complaint that their clients come in and say, “I’m afraid I’m not going to have enough money.” 

I think that’s a travesty. I don’t think anyone should live that way, and I love what Grant Cardone said. He said, people always talk about financial freedom. He’s like, “I want freedom of worry. I want so much income producing, I want people writing me checks every single month that I don’t have to worry about anything.” And I thought that’s a better way …

Oliver: That’s the way to do it right there.

Maureen: Yeah. So that’s what my passion, that’s what my drive is. I just want to help as many people create these streams of income through single-family rental properties. I do commercial stuff personally, but that’s not what I sell. It’s the single-family, but it’s really, it’s selling the rental properties, but it’s really more giving people the passive income that they need and want so that they can live and design the life that they want with them and their families. And that’s what I’m all about.

Oliver: And then what about any issues with vacancies and stuff like that in these properties, or how do you guys handle that to make sure investors are protected on that? 

Maureen: Yeah. There’s always going to be, with any rental property, you’re always going to have maintenance and vacancies. The maintenance stuff you want to keep to the ticky-tacky stuff. That’s why our renovation philosophy is always put the large capex items, replace them if they’re five years or older, all hardscape, no carpet, let’s really … No appliances. Let’s keep all of those expenses down as much as we can because you don’t want me calling you and saying, “Hey Oliver, your refrigerator busted. Now I need a thousand bucks and then someone to install it.” You’re not going to be happy with that.

We mitigate and protect our investors’ capital by removing some of the items from the home that they don’t really need. They don’t need garbage disposers or ceiling fans or doorbells. I don’t need someone calling me to ask me to fix that. So we just don’t have them. So I can protect your capital that way. 

Oliver: Smart. Yeah, smart.

Maureen: Knock on the door, knock, knock, knock, right? And then as far as the vacancy goes, you will have turnover. We’ve had people that have fallen ill. We have people that have divorced. We have people that lost their jobs. It’s just life stuff that happens. The system that you have to have in place is be able to get those investor or get those renters out of the property and then quickly turn it from getting it reconditioned, getting it back on the market, highly actively marketing it mostly on social media, that’s where a lot of people go to look for rentals, and then just getting it performing again. 

A lot of it comes from screening. You got to screen. Now, people can look really good on paper as you know, and then something happens, three months in, 12 months in, two years later life changes, and you just have to have a team and a system that can get them out and get the new one in and just get it cash flowing again. 

Oliver: What would you say average is like your turn time when someone loses a tenant in terms of out versus getting someone new in? 

Maureen: Our turn time on getting the property ready is 4.2 days. Everyone in my company has a bonus structure and they are paid to perform. And if they perform …

Oliver: Oh, that’s smart.

Maureen: If they pay to perform or if they perform exceptionally well, they get an exceptionally big bonus.

Oliver: So the quicker they rent it, the quicker they … or the bigger their bonus is.

Maureen: Yes. So Amanda, she gets paid when she turns the property. Miranda gets paid on accounts receivable. She’s a professional debt collector actually. So the more money that we have collected up in the earlier weeks or earlier days of the week out of the month, she gets a bigger bonus. The system is set up that if everyone in my company performs, they get really big bonuses, and the investor wins because they’ve got an income-producing property that is just consistent on the cash flow. 

Oliver: That’s great.

Maureen: So that works. 

Oliver: Yeah, that’s great. Smart too. Incentivize people to perform better and everybody wins. Keep your investors happy too. The people that are buying these properties, is there any restrictions on when or if they can sell, or is that just …

Maureen: They own the property. We just, we basically we sell it to them. They hold title. A lot of these investors are going to … It’s a buy and hold strategy. So they’re holding on to these for-

Oliver: I would imagine most people are buying them with the intention of holding them forever. But there’s no clauses that you guys say, oh, you got to hold it for X number of years or anything like that.

Maureen: No, that’s their property. We just manage it for them. We get them the cash flow that they want. If they want to sell, we’ll help them sell it at some point. We usually take a discount on instead of charging 3%, we’ll charge 2, so we’ll help them get it. If they want to sell it on the open market, we can do it that way. If they want to sell it to another investor, we can work with that deal. They can just keep the tenant in.

Oliver: Oh yeah, that’s true. You just flip it to another investor on your list. 

Maureen: Exactly, yes.

Oliver: That’s an easy way to sell too. That’s good. Minimize everything. I love this business model, and I do want to congratulate you for being on the Inc 5000. So good job on that.

Maureen: Thank you.

Oliver: It’s very impressive. 

Maureen: Not as impressive as yours. You were 21, 33, and 30 … wait, 26, 31, and 33 was your ranking. 

Oliver: Yeah, that’s good.

Maureen: We weren’t in the top 100, but we were in the 200 to 1000 range four years in a row. 

Oliver: That’s pretty … I mean as far as I’m concerned if you’re on the list, you’re doing a lot of things right, so congratulations.

Maureen: And to you too. 

Oliver: I love your guys’ business model, and I think you’ve given a lot of great nuggets for someone that would want to do it themselves. What would you say or is there any opportunity for people listening to make money with you if they refer you clients or anything like that? Is there a …

Maureen: Oh gosh, yeah.

Oliver: Okay, tell me more about that.

Maureen: Yes. I’m sure you’d like to hear more about that. The way that I built this business, or I should say we built this business from day one is through the network of people. So you get your first client and you ask them, “Hey, if we’ve really did a good job, tell your friends, and we’ll pay you a referral fee.” We pay $1,000 a door. So if you’ve got, and one of my … Zak and Vanessa are really good investors of ours and good friends. They’ve got 20 and single-families, they’ve got multi-units, they’ve got strip malls. They’ve really gone big with this. He’s a firefighter. He pretty much just referred his whole fire department. I think we’ve had 20-plus investors from them and we’ve paid them thousand dollars a door on all those.

Oliver: That’s 20Gs. 

Maureen: Well, they bought multiple, those 20 people bought multiple.

Oliver: Oh wow. So you get one for everyone. 

Maureen: Yes. 

Oliver: So if you refer someone to you guys, you’re cookied to them for as many as they buy?

Maureen: That’s it.

Oliver: Wow. That’s a great referral program.

Maureen: So that’s how they wound up, so Zak and Vanessa, they used the money that we were paying them for the referral fees for down payments, and they just kept buying more rental properties and they built a portfolio, which is sizable. 

So yes, we pay for referrals. Most good company should because it’s we value … There’s a value that you bring to us when you say, “Hey, we love you so much that we’re willing to introduce our good friends, family network that we trust and love to you, take good care of them.” So that’s what we do. 

Oliver: That’s great. I like how you guys are all about the win-wins all over the place.

Maureen: That’s the only way I know how to do business. And the ones that aren’t the win-wins, they don’t stay around with us too long.

Oliver: Yeah, we’re the same way. I think that’s like critically important, is to be able to have scenarios where not only everyone wins but no one loses. Sometimes there’s win-wins where someone’s maybe winning because they’re making money, but they’re giving up a lot of other things. I really like the way you guys have it structured from top to bottom to where you’re taking care of your investors, you guys are making money, your staff’s making money, people that refer you deals are making money. Like that’s a … great little model.

Maureen: And we take care of the tenants too. And then something that we were talking about even before this was the book that I mentioned and that new strategy of asking people what their dreams are, and asking our employers, our employees what their dreams are, and helping them figure out how to make those things happen. 

If you take care of people, really if you really care about them genuinely and you want to see them succeed, and maybe someone just wants to buy a house for the first time or they want to get their daughter through college or whatever it is. If you can help them find a way to figure that out, because the thing in the other article that I read was, you have so many people that are really smart that are making good money, but they’re financially illiterate. They don’t know how to invest. They don’t know how to get their money to make money for them. 

I didn’t know. I only learned 10 years ago. But then once you learn it, it’s like everyone needs to hear about this because it is such a game changer. Because if you just got active income and you have one job and that job goes away, so does your money. And then your worry comes up. But if you’ve got streams of cash flow coming in all the time, people writing you checks because you were smart, you got financially literate, you made some investments that yield cash flow every single month, then you live not a financially-free life, but man, you live a financially-free worry-free life.

Oliver: I love the worry-free life. I love making enough cash flow to where you don’t have to worry. That’s a great way to live. That’s a good goal. I think I’m going to write that on my board in the office. That’s something to aim towards.

Maureen: Same. 

Oliver: So there’s also something that you were telling me about before we got started, a very cool new endeavor that you’ve been working on. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about that? 

Maureen: Yeah. We are taking this turnkey business international. We recognize that there are investors that are living abroad, they’re US citizens, they’re foreign service officers that are serving our country very well, but they’re in respective, they’re in different countries throughout the world. And a lot of them, they want to invest in real estate, but they don’t know how to do it. I teamed up with my new business partner Mary. She is married to a foreign services officer. She gets deployed every two years to a new country. She’s going to the Middle East in a couple of months, and I’m going to be visiting her there for World Cup. Yes, I’m going to World Cup.

Oliver: Wow.

Maureen: Oh yeah, because you like soccer.

Oliver: I’m there. Maybe I’ll catch a ride with you.

Maureen: You may need to come actually, enjoying the [inaudible]. So what we’re doing is it’s called Ambo International and essentially we’re really just specializing for those foreign service officers who want to invest in real estate in a turnkey way, don’t have the time or the inclination to do it. We’ve actually created a platform where we find it, we renovate it, we place tenants in it, we sell it to them, we manage it for them in multiple markets throughout the United States. They’re excited about it. We’ve already launched our masterclass. We’re getting a lot of good traction.

Oliver: That’s right.

Maureen: We just recognize it’s another way to help families create wealth even when they’re living overseas from afar and can’t even see the rental properties.

Oliver: And that’s got to be like a huge leverage point for you guys as well as a business, right? Now you’re tapping into a market that can refer you a lot of business.

Maureen: Oh yeah. 

Oliver: And has the ability and the need to invest in something, but they’re out of the country so they can’t really be boots on the ground, and you guys provide a perfect solution for them. So again, back to the win-win. 

Maureen: Win-win. Yeah, they only have three weeks of R&R, and most times are trying to just come over and scramble to buy real estate in three weeks, and it’s been stressful and overwhelming for them. So we just put a process and a system together where we can help them create a portfolio of single-families from afar. They don’t need to be in the United States to be able to help them create this. We’re really excited about that. They’re really excited about that. We’ve already gotten a few invitations to go to the embassies to teach this masterclass on how to invest from overseas at these … with these foreign service officers.

Oliver: That’s really smart, yeah. There’s huge need for that too and a huge opportunity for you guys.

Maureen: Yeah. So if you know of anybody that needs a property from overseas, you don’t know how to buy it, call us. We’ll take of you.

Oliver: Ask Maureen. She’s your gal. She’s got your back. One thing that you told me about that like literally blew my mind was that you’re selling real estate on Shopify.

Maureen: True.

Oliver: I want to learn more about that because I think that’s something that anyone that’s in the business of putting together and packaging deals the way you guys are could really leverage Shopify, and it’s something that probably most people have never even thought of. So tell me about how you guys are doing that because it’s really unbelievable. 

Maureen: This is so cool. I have to give props to my teammates who came up with this, Kristin. I got Kristin Courier. You’re a rockstar girl.

Oliver: Good job Kristin.

Maureen: Yes. She is … Her skill is problem-solving. She’s not techie, but she loves to figure out and tinker and solve a problem. We just wanted to eliminate this whole email back and forth because we have properties and pro-formas, so we’ll send them out through email and then it’s just communication back and forth. We’re like there’s got to be like a showcase. There’s got to be a way that we can just put all the properties on one site and someone can just peruse and shop. 

You can do that. Roofstock’s a good example but that’s an expensive. Have you seen their website? Oh, my gosh, it’s beautiful, but I’m sure it was hundreds of thousands of dollars for them to get it to look that pretty. You can still do the same thing and it’s still pretty. It just doesn’t cost that much. Shopify was a really good solution for us because we wanted to offer the investors to be able to kind of shop online and look at what we had available for rental properties from address to cash flow to taxes to property management fees. We had, it’s all laid out there. 

We basically just figured out that you can sign up for a Shopify account for $30 a month per user. This is crazy.

Oliver: 55:01 That is unbelievable.

Maureen: And you take your pro-forma of your properties and you just list them on the site. Investors, we give them the link and the password and we change the password every week so they have seven days to shop. If they don’t find anything and they come back, then they got to come back and get the password for the next week’s batch of properties. Really, Oliver it’s so simple. If you see a property that you like, you click on it, you hit the reserve button, and it asks you how you want it titled, Maureen McCann. What’s your lender? Use your lender. What’s your percent down, 20% down, and then do you want any of the inspections, home, termite, septic tank if applicable. Click the boxes, hit reserve, send. And that’s it. Literally like that is how quick. 

That information then goes to our back-office. My assistant, she gets the information. She writes up a DocuSign contract, sends it out within minutes, the signed contract. I had three houses sell when I was in Hawaii with my kids on spring break. I was literally on the beach and I got … There’s another app that you can use, you can tie it to Shopify. It’s called Easy Notify. I was sitting on the beach and it was like ding, ding, ding, Easy Notify, I’m like, “Oh, three houses just sold.” 

Oliver: Wow.

Maureen: “Let’s go surfing kids.” 

Oliver: Wow, isn’t that amazing?

Maureen: Yeah.

Oliver: That’s really amazing. You’re selling real estate deals on Shopify.

Maureen: On Shopify for 30 bucks a month.

Oliver: Good for you.

Maureen: Thank you.

Oliver: That’s a very innovative solution. And you were telling me that you integrated it with Slack, so it like notifies your whole team right away.

Maureen: It does, yes. Yeah, thank you for that part. So yeah, we have that internal communication, Slack. As soon as a property … As soon as an investor reserves a property online, Easy Notify goes right to Slack and basically tells the entire company that we just sold a property.

Oliver: It’s great. And that’s the best notification ever. 

Maureen: You’re like, “Yes.” Another life changed, another house sold. Let’s go. Let’s keep going.

Oliver: So if you want to sell real estate, on the beach, in Hawaii, set yourself up a Shopify store and go to work. 

Maureen: It’s true. 

Oliver: Well, I really appreciate you being on the show. It’s been a ton of good value. I really think that you shared a lot of amazing resources. If someone wanted to do this themselves or if they wanted to work with you, I think there’s a lot of opportunity out there in these lower priced homes for people to take advantage of and make money and get in the game at a low price so that real estate isn’t so unattainable for some people. If you’re in the business, it’s also a great way to make a little side income. If you want to work with Maureen and Spartan Invest, how can they get ahold of you guys?

Maureen: Just the website, spartaninvest.com. You can find me there. All the emails come to me. So yours truly will respond.

Oliver: So just opt in, and you’ll be talking with Maureen directly. I just want to say again, if you liked the show, give us a like, hit the subscribe button, and we look forward to seeing you on the next time. 

Maureen: Loved the show. 

Oliver: Thanks a lot Maureen. 

Maureen: Thank you.

Oliver: Really appreciate you. 

Maureen: Cheers. Okay, you too.

Oliver: Till next time. 

Pullout Quotes:

“Turnkey means that the seller of the property is the one who went out and found it, renovated it, placed a tenant in it, got it cash flowing (that’s important), and then we manage it for them.”

“What I recognized was that if I wanted to design the life that I wanted and create a life of wealth for myself and my kids … I was going to have to change my thinking and change the way that I was doing things.”

“Just say YES and figure it out as you go.”

“We buy cash, we close quickly [and] we have no contingency, so if someone’s trying to move product, they know that they can rely on us to purchase the property, as long as it meets our criteria.”

“It’s a business model that works because we provide really nice housing for families that want to raise their kids in really good areas, in decent schools, and be safe.”

“It’s a pay-for-performance business model, so the company only wins if the investor is winning first.”

“The way that I calculate the equation for building wealth is, your rate of return, or your return on equity, needs to be higher than what the inflationary rate is. So, if you’ve got $500K sitting in a retirement account, and it’s earning you 4%, that money needs to be moved.”

“Your retirement account is overflowing with cash and building up equity [with] these assets, and by the time you’re ready to withdraw those funds, you’ve got a pretty sizable nest egg in there that you just had on auto cash flow.”

“The survey of 4,000 people 50 years and older [found that] the biggest fear they have is not death, it’s not divorce, it’s not losing their independence. It is outliving their money.”

“It’s really [about] giving people the passive income they need and want so that they can live and design the life they want for them and their families. That’s what I’m all about.”

“If everyone in my company performs, they get really big bonuses, and the investor wins because they’ve got an income-producing property that is just consistent on the cash flow.”

“If you have one job and that job goes away, so does your money—and then your worry comes up. But if you’ve got streams of cash flow coming in all the time, people writing you checks because you were smart, you got financially literate, you made some investments that yield cash flow every single month, then you live not a financially free life, you live a financially free, worry-free life.”

Resources:

Connect with Maureen

Connect with Oliver

Other episodes of Founders Club you might like:

How to Crash Proof Your Real Estate Business ft. Mike Ferry

Cory Boatright – How to Make Big Profits Wholesaling Real Estate

Thank you for watching!

If you’d like to see all the episodes go to: www.OliverGraf.tv/FoundersClub

If you have any questions, comments, or ideas contact me here.