Anna Kelley personally owns and manages a multi-million-dollar rental property portfolio and has ownership in over 2000 units as both an active and passive investor. She is a General Partner, Sponsor & Asset Manager for large multi-million-dollar multifamily real estate acquisitions, and through Zenith Capital Group, actively seeks out the best opportunities for her partners and investors.
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Welcome everybody to the Apartments Operators podcast.
My name is Joseph. I’m your host, and today we have a very special guest, our first woman to be on the show. Anna Kelly. Anna, welcome to the show. Thank you so much. It’s my honor, and I’m super excited to be your first female multi-family investor. So it’s not rare that is the case, but I enjoy representing for the other women in the space as well.
Awesome. And then we have a few more women lined up to come next on the show. We felt that it was a little bit unbalanced, so I definitely want to hear, and I want to hear a woman’s perspective to all these things as well. So how about you take a few minutes and tell our audience a little bit about more yourself, your portfolio how you got to multifamily, just so they’ll have a.
Sure. So I’ll try to give you the quick and dirty and short and sweet version. I am a full-time multi-family real estate investor. I currently have a portfolio that I asset manage, and I’m a general partner on about 160 million of multi-family. In Texas, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. I got started about 20 years ago with my very first property.
So I’ve been in real estate for about 20 years, and I really started out Joseph as a lone ranger. So my husband and I bought a couple properties. We house hacked. Did it just to provide a little extra income and, my goal was financial freedom, so it took me years to develop true financial freedom.
I retired two years ago after 20 years at AIG Life Insurance Company through the power of multi-family investing. And so now I do it full-time and absolutely. Awesome. That’s great. So you have a portfolio across three different states. How does that look like? Do you use third party management or do you have your own management?
And just for a little bit of background, we look at this podcast for operator. Operators and we talk a little bit about the acquisition side of things and the due diligence and investors. But we try to focus a lot more on the operations side of things. Like you said, you asset manage.
That’s why most of the questions will be focused on that side of things. Third party or in-house.
Anna, you froze.
And are you there? It’s my fault.
Anna, can you see? Hi. Yeah, I’m sorry. I had a little hiccup with the network here. I’m not sure what it is. No problem. But don’t worry about that. We’ll just edit this out sure. Okay, lemme just walk us into this again. Okay. So tell us a little bit more about your portfolio. How it is it to manage across three different states.
Are you using third party management company or your own management? So Joseph, every market is so different, as and each market has its own challenges and its pluses and minus, and depending on the size of the market, the property management Process looks a little bit different, right?
So in my larger cities like Houston, Texas, we have really strong property management companies available to us because there’s lots of multi-family assets in Atlanta, Georgia. I have three complexes there, and we use a very large property management company in Atlanta, and they do a great job for us.
So my role is primarily asset managing on those. In central Pennsylvania. So I started out with 70 units of my own for my husband and I, and we actually self-managed those properties for a very long time. So a couple years into into starting to develop partnerships, I did joint venture partnerships with two other partners where the three of us took down 238 units, and we actually created our own small property management company.
to handle those 238 units plus one of my partner’s properties that he had in his own company business. So to this date, we have a property management company, N P a, where we hire our own onsite property management and maintenance people. And then I have a few properties in a very small market that we still, believe it or not, self-managed.
However, I have a property manager that works for me directly, so I’m not in it every day. I’m not meeting with tenants and signing leases and meeting contractors, but I am employing people who do it for me. Okay. So I think you’re the first one that actually has a combination of working with third party and our self-managing.
So that, that’s a unique perspective that I’d love to explore a little bit more why go third party if you already have a, a property management? . So a couple of things. I made a very specific decision, Joseph, that’s different than probably a lot of operators that you will talk to. But I spent 16 years working full-time and growing real estate full-time on the side while helping my husband to start his own business and running that.
And I have four children, so I worked 70 to 80 hours a week for most of my children’s childhood. And when I retired from aig, I made a commitment to myself that as I scaled my multi-family business, I would do it in such a way that I truly enjoy the financial freedom that I developed on my own, with my own assets.
and that by three 30 every day when my kiddos come home from school, I’m done. I’m not doing 70 or 80 hours a week again until my kids are grown and out of the house. I’ve got about eight or nine years left, right? . So I’ve made a strategic decision to partner with different people on different assets in different markets.
So in central Pennsylvania, for example, I have joint ventures. I have 238 units with two partners. One of my partners actually has the property management company. And so we partner together with his PM company just on the assets here in central Pennsylvania. They don’t really wanna go outside of Pennsylvania and manage things in other states.
There’s different rules, different laws and whatnot. And my partnership here, it works. . I don’t wanna start my own property management company in Georgia or Texas, cuz I know the headaches that come along with that and I don’t wanna have to be flying there all the time. So it makes sense for me for the assets that are in Georgia and in Texas where I partner with different operators and we basically create a joint mentorship in the GP side of things.
It’s just better for us to go with large third party property management. That are experienced that we can asset manage from afar. And then there’s still properties that I buy for my own portfolio and it makes sense for me to just stay small with a, with an employee to work for me. Gotcha. Okay.
So let’s talk about those property and third party property management. How do you work with them? How often do you talk to them? What does it look like? Do you get any reports? Tell us a little bit about how that looks. Sure. So the large property management companies, when you first take over an asset, as Joseph, it, it is all hands on deck and it’s very time intensive, especially if there’s a value add, right?
So there are deals that I buy that are buy and hold. For myself and for small joint ventures. But most of the larger syndications are value add deals. So there’s a construction management component that’s extremely important. So you have to be able to work with a property management company who can oversee the construction company that’s updating your units and unifying the property.
And executing that value add strategy for you. So we talk at least every week. We have weekly asset management calls with our property management company, and it usually consists of the asset managers, the property management company’s regional property manager, as well as the onsite property manager and leasing agent.
So we talk to them every week. We go through a list of KPIs, we wanna know, for example, How many units are leased? How many units are coming up for renewal? What are you releasing them at? Where is our occupancy? And how well is the construction crew doing on our timeline and within our budget as they’re turning units?
And so it’s a weekly touch point. They provide us weekly reports and there’s many times when we email back and forth throughout the week before that weekly call. But typically speaking on these larger assets, the entire time we’re going through the value add deal, we have weekly meetings with our property management company.
Okay. And after that, . And after that, a as they start to stabilize and you’ve got all the units updated that you want to, then the question is, are you looking to try to sell it quickly or are you still trying to hold it for a couple more years? And we sometimes will back off to every other week calls, but we never go a full month without talking to our property management company.
Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. So a lot of the. Operators we talk to, especially the larger ones, your scale and higher say that when they reach a certain threshold, it becomes more beneficial for them to have their own management company. You that have both. Do you ever see yourself transitioning off the third party into complete management for your own management, or do you say, This is the lifestyle.
It gives me what I need. I don’t want to change that. Yeah. I say this I have to work very hard, Joseph, to temper my drive, right? My entrepreneurial drive is always thinking, what could I do to go bigger, grow faster delegate more and buy more properties. But the reality is, again, because of that lifestyle choice, really wanting to make sure.
I can be a mom first and foremost. Every moment that my kids are home they’re all in travel sports. We are in sports every night, all weekend away, all the time. So for me to be able to start my own large property management company, it would take a large amount of time that I’m currently, quite frankly, not willing to give up.
So while I’m all about systems and processes and scaling, to some extent it would, it won’t be until my kids are out of the house that I really say, okay, now let me. , grow something so large in my area where I, where it makes sense for me to create my own property management company. And the other thing you know that is really important to think about is usually owning your own property management company is not very profitable.
It’s really about control. Yes, you want control and you wanna make sure that you have people that are gonna do what you need them to do. And so you want. , you want more contact with them and get them to do what you need them to do. But in terms of making a profit, you usually have to take on other people’s properties in order to make a profit.
I don’t want to create something where I’m taking on other people’s headaches, cuz property management is like the least attractive part of. owning properties to me. So I just don’t think I’m ever gonna do it now. Never say never. You never know. But I enjoy and can make work fairly well working with other property management companies.
Got it. Got, okay, cool. Let’s change gears to , what do you guys do on your properties? And I’m gonna separate the question to three different parts. We’ll get through all three of them. We’ll start with income, we’ll go to expense and then we’ll talk about retention, right? Let’s talk about income, for example.
When you take a property and you ha you build a plan, usually you build a plan ahead of time, right? What are the things that you guys do on your properties to increase the. that are not the usual, let’s increase rent or apply rubs. Everybody does that. We got this. Tell us a little bit about the secrets sauce, right?
The unique stuff the creative opportunities you came across when you were doing your properties. Sure. And a lot of them, for a lot of us that are in our network, we’re always looking for ways to increase value. So you’re always coming, you test the waters and you say, what can this market bear?
So one of the things that you wanna do is you wanna look at what is your current market doing? What kind of things are they charging for? And at least charge for that, right? Because you don’t wanna leave any money on the table. So if I have free parking, and all of the complexes that I’m competing with have parking that they pay for, then I might as well take advantage of that profit center cuz it’s not gonna put me at a competitive disadvantage in order to charge for parking. But at the same time there’s times where nobody’s charging for parking. And if I have a beautiful sprawling park property where women have to walk by themselves at night through a big courtyard in a wooded area, And don’t wanna have to, do that. And they’re gonna be willing to pay for parking even if my competitive.
the charging for that. So I’m gonna test the waters for things like parking. Pet yards is something that we’ve done in some markets. We’ve said, Hey, this is a market that has a lot of pets and there’s really no place for a dog park or something big, but we’ve got space behind each of the units and so we’ll build little courtyards or patios or pet yards, and we’ll do that on.
One of the things that we did during Covid, especially because we had a value add strategy that we needed to put on hold a little bit until we figured out if our tenants were gonna pay. We started doing some renovation on demand, but also amenities on demand. So we didn’t just build them and say, Hey, we’re gonna, we know we can make money and everybody’s gonna pay extra.
We said, listen, here’s our base package, and if you’d like your own private patio and your enclosed pet yard, we’ll build it for you and we’ll charge you 75 bucks a month. So we’ve done some things like that were somewhat outside the box. That actually worked really well because we didn’t just spend the money hoping that we could get people to pay for it.
Especially in a pandemic when people are worried about, the cost of living. More so than they were before we started testing the waters with renovation on demand, pet yards on demand washers and dryers on demand in units that have connections and things of that nature. Okay, so you basically reach out to the residents and tell them.
If you want me to with your apartment, it’ll cost you this much every month going forward. Exactly. Yeah. And we’ve done some tenant surveys, so we’ll ask tenants when we move into the community, what are you happy with in the apartment? What amenities do you wish that you had that you don’t?
And sometimes we’ll give them a checklist, you know what you like to see? A little soccer yard for kids. Would you like to see a dog park? Would you like to see picnic tables in the courtyards? Do you use the basketball hoops or would you rather that area be a a playground for kids? Would you wanna fire pits?
So we ask questions to see what does the current tennis tenant base want, and if it’s a nicer property, , they’re probably gonna stay, but they probably would like a few extra things. And then if you give them those exterior things right away and you start to beautify the property and add some amenities, becomes much easier when you then wanna add, additional income by raising their rents later.
Yeah, that makes total sense. . Awesome. So we’ve got a few new ideas. That’s great. Let’s switch over to the income side to the expense side of this, right? Sure. What are you guys looking for what kinda opportunities you found to reduce expenses or change the way things are done that will not require as much expenses?
Give us a few idea. Sure. The the, one of the very first things we do in almost every property that we buy, especially if it’s a bit older property, so I’m a value-add investor who I only really invest Joseph in class A in class feed areas. So I want nice areas, really strong schools, very low crime.
but I like older buildings where I have a value add component, right? . And so a lot of times those older BA buildings are very inefficient. And so we wanna do things like converting our lighting up to l e d lights, and we want to get rid of the old 19. Seventies, eighties and early 90 toilets.
And we wanna put in new water efficient toilets in most of those units. You have to be a little bit careful of that because of the type sewer lines that are there, whether they’re clay or whether they’re cast iron or whatnot. But assuming that everything is fairly new and can handle low flow toilets, we put in low flow toilets and we change to L E D lights everywhere we can very quickly.
And we put in water saving. Shower heads and faucets and that typically saves us quite a bit of money, pretty easily, without actually having to raise rents in order to justify the cost. . . Okay. So that’s one of the things we do in the northeast, interestingly enough. So we talked a little bit earlier.
I’m from Texas, and in Texas everything is gas or central air and heat, right? There’s very little that’s oil, unless you’re in a really old rural area, . So up here in central Pennsylvania, there’s a lot of properties that still run on oil. So the first thing I do here, is rather than convert to all new gas burners and boilers, which makes sense on certain properties, depending on the price point, I can actually have them change out to burn gas instead of burning oil.
But with the existing heating systems and I can spin a 10th of the cost that it would cost me to replace all of those units and cut my utility costs in. and that’s significant when you multiply that across a lot of different units. So changing oil fired burners to gas fired burners is one of the very first things I do in the Northeast to significantly reduce my expenses and significantly raise the value of those properties without almost any work.
That’s very interesting. It’s like we talk to a lot of people in the business and I keep reminding everybody that you don’t know what you don’t know until you. Yeah. So I remember the first time I saw a p and l from a property up north. There was a line item for snow removal. We’re from Texas.
We don’t have a line item on the p and l for snow removal, right? So it’s the kind of thing is that, especially when you do underwriting and you’re getting ready to take over a property and operate, if you’re a Texas operator and you’re buying something in Minnesota or one of those freezing states, right?
You better know what you’re getting into and you better understand. Sometimes things are different. What you just said is something that almost none of our guests said before because we didn’t have anybody that had properties with oil burning furnaces or whatever that is , trust me, I, I learned so much moving to Pennsylvania from Texas.
To me it was like living in, in Antarctica cuz it’s so much colder. But to the point of snow removal with Joseph, we just had one of the worst cold seasons since I’ve been here for almost 14 years, and we had three heavy snows back to back, one property alone, a 96 unit property from three snows to plow the parking lot.
Salt you have to put salt on the sidewalk so people don’t slip was $12,000. For three snow removals. And so the first thing my partners and I did, this is a joint venture complex here. We said we’re buying a snowplow truck and we’re gonna hire someone else to come start snowplowing instead of having the snow company come do it and charge you an arm and a lag, $4,000 every time they gotta remove the snow.
So those are the kind of things that we just say, what can we do to make this not happen again? And to cut expenses everywhere we can. . And the great thing is not only does it increase your cash flow, but it raises the value of your property, which is why we all love multi-family. Yeah, and you know what, I think that what you just mentioned is one of, in my opinion, one of the bigger benefits of having the property management company because if you are waiting for the financial reports, you’ll get it a month later with a $12,000 line.
because there was snow, right? But because you and your partner are in it and you know exactly what’s going on, you made the decision. And this is a decision I do often in, in our property management company to buy a tool, train a person so we can do it on our own, right? I can tell you that on our properties right now, we got to the level that we hardly ever use plumbers.
We I went out and I spent the money and we bought the big sewer machines and we bought the pro press machines and we brought all the tools that we need. And our guys, we trained our guys to do all this things. So now I only call a plumber and, plumbers right? They usually come in late, do a shitty job and and then charge you an arm and a leg, right?
So we hardly ever use plumbers unless there’s a requirement for a licensed. . Absolutely. Yeah. Those are the kind of things that really make it very attractive to have your own staffing or own people. Absolutely. Hands down. And, I think, Joseph, to your question earlier about do I ever see myself starting a property management company, the more you concentrate on one particular market, the easier it is to do that. When you have properties and you joint venture on the GP side in different partnerships in different states, it becomes harder to do that unless one of your partners whose boots on the ground like. , almost all their assets are there, then they can start that PM company.
But it does require a commitment to a particular area where you get the efficiencies of having your well-trained people stay with you and manage multiple properties for you. Yeah, and there’s absolutely truth to that. We’ve heard a lot of numbers, a thousand, 1500 unit and so on portfolios.
But what I learned is it’s not about how many units you control, it’s about d. , right? Yes. If you have a hundred unit property in 10 different states, you might have a thousand units, but you don’t have enough to have your own property management cuz there’s just no density. Exactly. So when we got to about 500 units in one market, that was enough for us to say, okay, we’re gonna get a regional, we’re gonna have our own staff, we’re going to control all these things.
You’re absolutely right. It’s about density. It’s not about the total number of units you. a hundred percent. Awesome. I take pride of not sugarcoating things in this podcast, but how about you tell us a few horror stories from your experience? It’s not to scare anybody off, it’s just to show that it’s not always rainbows in lollipops.
So tell us a fewer stories and how you dealt. Sure. So I can tell you, for all of us, the pandemic was a horror story, right? I’ve always basically said if you pick really strong markets and have a really good strong tenant pool, you can weather just about anything unless there’s a, some kind of major national crisis.
But I never thought we’d actually see a major national crisis. , just having to really handle the balance of needing to make a return for your investors. Needing to employ all of your partners and your property management companies, and also be very compassionate with people and tenants who are going through really life-changing.
Disastrous situations for their own finances across, much of the country was really difficult. I think this last year for me as an asset manager was harder than most years that have one-off things because it was such, such a massive scale where we had to say, how can we be proactive, be good to people, still get them to pay so that we can pay our mortgages and not have to go into forbearance.
and still operate in an efficient way, for our investors. So we rose to the challenge and thankful, we were able to get really lean and really creative because when disaster happens, you’re forced to get creative. You have to say, how can I not? The sky is falling, all these things, but it’s like one at a time.
How can I get ahead of. Anticipate what’s coming, anticipate the worst case, and then start moving proactively to take steps to make sure that things are okay. So the pandemic was tough. We got very lean where we thought we were lean before, you talk about operations and property management company wanting to save money.
We realized we were not nearly as lean as we thought we were. We were hardcore renegotiating all of our contracts, snow removal lawn care cable, everything we could renegotiate. We renegotiated. We got very good with tenant communication and being proactive. We got very good with taking a little more time to write letters to our tenants that were that showed a personal side.
We got much more proactive in showing the community we care. You think you’re gonna show the community you care? Do you think they’re gonna update the units? You’re gonna add these dog parks and they’re all gonna be really happy even though we’re raising the rent a hundred dollars or $150, or. But when you start to be proactive and you show them, Hey, we care about you and we’re gonna show you.
how you can apply for P money if you have a small business, how you can apply for unemployment benefits, how you can go to these agencies that will help you with rent when we bring in a food drive to bring, kids breakfast cuz their parents are at work and they’re not at school doing those kind of things.
Really forces you to really think about community because keeping your existing tenants is as much a part of your profitability as just making the properties nice and hoping you can get your tenants out and bring in a new tenant pool. So the pandemic was so many. Small disasters all at one time. People getting sick, PMs getting sick, maintenance, people getting sick not being able to get AC supplies when AC systems went out during the pandemic.
Not being able to get replacement windows when someone breaks a window or replacement appliances. You gotta get really creative, you, you hire better maintenance people. You beg and plead and pay extra to get appliance servicing companies to, to put you first, so this year alone was a lot of little things.
That were a challenge, but we rose to it and I feel man, if we could live through 2020 and early 2021 and be more profitable than we projected, we can do anything. Joseph. Yeah. . That’s true. We definitely had a lot of lesson learned in this last year and a half. Sure, absolutely. But you segued into the third part that I was looking for us to explore, and that is retention, right?
So let’s talk pre covid and post covid, right? What kind of things do you guys do in your communities that encourage retention? Because we both know that leasing is easy, it’s keeping the back door closes. The challenge and if you don’t keep the back door closed, it doesn’t help that you lease 20.
If you lost 19, you just spent all that money for a positive one. A hundred percent. So yeah, potential. Sure. So I, I think because a lot of syndicators are really only focusing on, let’s get in, let’s flip the complex, let’s execute our value add and let’s get out. They’re really not that worried about retention.
You don’t hear very many people talk about it cuz it’s. We don’t wanna retain those tenants. We want those tenants that aren’t paying enough to leave and we wanna replace them with new tenants that are gonna pay a lot more. And so I don’t see a lot of focus on retention, honestly. I am more of a hybrid buy and hold and value add investor.
And I have different models, right? So for the stuff that I’m buying myself or with joint venture partner, We want something that has a value add, but rather than selling it after we’ve done all this hard work and then having to find another one, we refi and we keep the property for 10 years. Yeah. And so for those properties, we’re really focused on retention and. . One of the ways that we really do that is we make sure that we don’t get so greedy that we bring all the current tenants at market. We wanna get them a, we wanna get them closer to market, but we want, don’t wanna make them at market, or they’re just gonna leave and go to every other complex that’s like ours, right?
We want them to know that we are rewarding them for being a good tenant by keeping. Slightly below market, but we’re still doing things for them. So we might give them the opportunity to move into a newly renovated unit that we’ve already redone in the building at a discounted price off the new rate.
Or we’ll do something for them while they’re still there. That gets tricky, Joseph, because. . You don’t want contractors in there while your tenants are there and moving things around. But if we can keep a really good, strong paying tenant happy by giving them an accent wall in their living room, or doing a backsplash for them, that’s gonna go a long way for them staying there and being willing to pay a little bit more rent.
So that’s one of the things in some of our larger complexes, we really focus on community and we really want to make a difference. The one thing that’s super important for me is I grew up in section eight housing, right? So I didn’t have anybody to really. Pour into me. My mom was a leasing agent in our section apartment complex, and then at night she was a waitress and I babysat my six siblings five siblings and me.
Sorry. And the only really reason that we had it okay, is we had people coming in and pouring into our apartment community. So we had churches that came in and they would do afterschool programs and they would help us with our homework and things like, So that really made an impact on me.
And so in my bigger complexes, Joseph, I wanna partner with other community organizations that will come in, organizations like the Children’s Hunger Fund. That, like I alluded to during Covid, when parents aren’t able to be there and their kids are home, they’re bringing meals after school lunches, or they’re bringing backpacks filled with school supplies for the kids.
, that kind of stuff really makes the community understand that, wow, these people really care about us. They’re pouring into the kids, they’re getting other people to come. , homework and tutoring, giving job skills classes, computer classes. We did a couple of things. One thing I was really proud of, I have a friend who is actually an international best selling author and speaker, and he is a business consultant.
So some large Fortune 500 companies. And he does talks on things like change management and stress management for employees. We did a free Zoom where we got him to come and did a zoom for all of our tenants to help them to deal with. Major challenges beyond their control and how they could have some stress relief and things that they could do to be able to navigate all the challenges that of Covid, and that was very well received by our tenant.
So just doing things like that don’t necessarily cost a lot of money. , they don’t make you not be able to pay your investors. You can still meet your returns and still find creative ways to build community and to build that goodwill with your tenants that even when you do start to raise their rent, because you have to, right?
Yep. They don’t mind a little bit of rent bump because they know this is a community that cares about us and we’re safe here, and they’re gonna. Yeah. That’s great. I like the fact that you incorporate local organizations to come and help. And like you said, sometimes it’s not a lot of money.
It’s just carrying and putting the sweat work, right? Yes. Last Thanksgiving in our area, we got one of our vendors to pitch in and we pitched in some personally into this. And we bought, we went out and we negotiated a deal with a local grocery store and we basically put together about a hundred Thanksgiving meals and we just, and we started by just giving it away to residents in our community, but then it just grew out of it, and we ended up delivering meals all over.
I love that. So that’s and it’s really great because obviously you do great with the people that get those meals but just looking the faces and the looks at our team, our employees, our team members when they hand over a meal to a resident and they smile and they’re so happy.
Yeah. And I’m so thankful that. priceless. And again, that’s amazing and it’s not a lot of money. It’s really not a lot of money. Surprisingly, not a lot of money to put together. A, a basket like this is 10 bucks a basket. It’s not a big deal. Do you think, how much does a tenant turnover cost you, to your point earlier?
You’re gonna spend a thousand, $2,000 to turn a unit oftentimes, or more than that, even depending on what it is. And if you put that amount of money, you got 200 units and you spend 10 bucks a piece. For the cost of one turnover, you’ve made 200 people’s a day. You’ve made them happy.
Yeah. And how many people that thought about moving aren’t gonna move now because their management brought ’em Thanksgiving dinner. Yeah, it’s huge. . Absolutely. Yeah. So we, yeah, we were driving over trucks full of turkeys. That’s awesome. That was great. Okay, so I wanna be conscious of your time.
One question is that I like to ask everybody is if you could just go back 10, 15, 20 years to young Anna and talk to yourself. What advice would you give yourself? And let’s assume I say that to everybody. You can’t tell yourself that 2009 was the bottom by everything. Okay. . , that’s the obvious one.
Yeah. I would tell myself a couple of things. I would say don’t give up when things are hard. Learn grit and resilience much faster. , learn to get off of the ground and put yourself back up on the horse quickly and not wallow in. This is too hard. I’m gonna take a break, right? , I had so many challenges and we only touched on one being covid, right?
But we’ve had fires and floods and hurricanes and lost roofs and hoarders and drug addicts and all kinds of stuff. All happened at one time while working and while having kids and running a business and just think. , this is hard. I can’t do this. It’s much harder than it looks in TV and books and all that, right?
Yes. There were too many times where I took a break. I’m like, okay, I’m not buying anything else. This is it. I’m just gonna keep what I got and not keep growing because it was just hard, right? Yep. So it took me a few of those hurdles before I realized I can tackle anything. , anything that comes, I’ve got what it takes to get creative and to figure it out.
So the faster I can bounce back, the further ahead I can go and those things that seem like huge challenges are really where it grows character and wisdom, and makes us a much better investor as we go. So that’s one thing. I think the other thing I would’ve said is partner with people much, much faster.
We did not partner with people in the beginning. I was jaded a story for another time, but I hired a coach who was a fraud and it jaded me from trusting other people. And we were, we did everything from buying them to financing them, to property, managing them. So working with contractors and renovating them, everything on our own.
So I learned a lot, which was really good, right? I could swing a hammer and do just about anything needed, but I, my growth was slow. It could have been so much faster if I would’ve partnered with other operators and gone bigger, faster with other operators. Instead of trying to do it slowly all on our own.
So yes, there was benefits to taking the slow route and I learned more and I quite frankly created more wealth that’s in our own family’s coffers, cuz I didn’t have to split a bunch of deals that we sell every three to five years. . But if I had started partnering earlier, I would’ve been home with my kiddos faster and I would’ve scaled a lot faster.
That’s really great advice and. To St. What you said a little bit earlier is kind if there’s any industry out there that will keep you on your toes, this is it. We learn something new every single day, and there’s, it’s because we’re not in the building business, right? Everybody thinks that real estate is about building, but no real estate is about.
Yeah, it’s a people business and when you work with so many people over so many years, they are bound to surprise you. There is always something new, something that you can’t figure out that anybody would ever think to do. They find a way to do it. Yes. And sometimes it’s frustrating, right?
Like when you walk into an apartment and a person that hasn’t paid rent and there’s a 65 inch LD TV brand new box, just because they got the stimulus right? And he goes, I can’t pay rent. It’s sometimes it’s frustrating and sometimes it’s heartbreaking and sometimes it’s Joyce, right? So definitely a rollercoaster of an.
all the gamut. And for me it, it’s the most important part. When you talked. Do I wanna grow a big property management company? Yeah. Either there’s things that you can do with your time to, to make more money. But there’s things that you can do that, that are so rewarding that don’t take a lot of money.
And so being able to, like you said, you have a tenant that bought an l e d and I’ll give you an example. I have a tenant who I know. , they were collecting unemployment even though they were still working and not reporting things right. And I gave them, I gave my tenants most of my tenants on the properties I don’t own with partners.
I gave them 10% discounts off their rent for a few months if they paid on time to encourage them to pay rent on time during Covid. So rather than take those discounts, they’re like, oh, now I’m not gonna pay you for two months, cuz there’s an eviction moratorium. And you can just tell your lender, you don’t wanna.
and I’m like, you got a new TV in there. I gave you 10% off of your rent for months. You can pay me. You’re just pretending that you can’t. And I was angry, right? Part of me’s angry, but then I think back, okay, she’s a single mom, she’s got two kids. My mom was a single mom and had five kids, and I know she worked so hard to take care of.
But she had no financial literacy, no financial acumen, and it’s fight or flight. It’s do what you have to do to survive, right? And this mom’s probably still worried that she’s not gonna keep this little part-time job and she’s not gonna be able to feed her kids. So what can we do? I helped her instead to find a way to get rental assistance.
waived all the late fees and now I’m working on bringing her some resources to teach her about budgeting. So it’s things like that. Do you get mad and you kick ’em out, or do you wanna make an impact on their lives and show them how they can do things differently without having to play the game?
Yeah. And spend the money so they don’t have to pay rent. So it’s important to me to be able to take those kind of challenges and really say, this is people business. How can I be good to people? We’re so thankful for our tenants, right? A lot of times people are just like, they’re just the people that are bringing us the checks, but I have financial freedom today because I have tenants that trust me to provide them good housing.
So if you can be a good person to your tenants, They will stay and you’ll be rewarded handsomely. It, it’s a full circle. It’s a full circle. The better you are to people in business, partners, investors, property managers, your staff and your tenants, the better you will do and the better the world will be.
I really believe that. I am a very big believer in karma. That’s what you said is absolutely true. I wanna thank you so much for being on the show. How can our audience find you if they want to invest with you, if they wanna reach out? We’ll put all the links in the show notes as well.
How can we find you? Sure. Great. Thanks so much, Joseph. So my website is greater purpose capital.com, where I really focus on buying properties where we can invest for meaningful impact in the lives of our investors and our residents as we’ve talked about today. And my email is info r ei mom.com. My Facebook is anna r e i mom.com.
And the same for LinkedIn. Awesome. Thank you so much, Anna, for being on the show. It was a great pleasure. To have you. Thank you so much. It’s been my honor and my pleasure as well, Joseph. Awesome. And for you, the audience, if you wanna hear more of our episodes, you can subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, wherever you consume your podcast.
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