Do you want to learn how to invest and succeed in multifamily properties through determination and persistence?
Rebecca Moore is a successful real estate investor with over 2,000 units. She started out with single family homes and then scaled up into multifamily. She and her husband, Warren, now own three properties with over 300 units as general partners. Rebecca’s story of success will inspire you to take action!
You can start your journey today by following Rebecca's powerful determination and persistence. She shares how she hired a mentor, learned to underwrite, built relationships with brokers and investors and visited many properties to help them win their first deal. Listen and learn from Rebecca's success in this episode!
Table of Contents:
- Where To Listen To The Podcast
- A Successful Multifamily Investing Business Fueled by Determination and Persistence
- Win Partnerships With Determination and Persistence
- Determination and Persistence and the Right Mindset
- Show Up with Determination and Persistence
- Unrelenting Determination and Persistence Even During COVID
- How To Reach Rebecca Moore
A Successful Multifamily Investing Business Fueled by Determination and Persistence
Darin: Rebecca and her husband recently relocated from San Diego, California to the DFW area in Texas. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology and her husband was a naval officer responsible for eight ships. They divided up responsibilities and found an effective way to grow a successful multifamily real estate investing business.
So just a little bit on how I know Rebecca. Both Rebecca and I are in the same multifamily mentorship program. We kind of run in the same crowd. Recently we just met up at a multifamily meetup that we had at a restaurant with some friends of ours. Dustin Miles and Hayden Harrington put that on and we had a chance to catch up.
She was showing me pictures of one of her properties and it looks great. We were having a good time and I said, "Well, why don't we do a podcast together?" And she was like, "Let's do it." So appreciate you coming on. Typically, the first question I ask is how many properties and how many units are you currently invested in?
Rebecca: Yes. Over 10 properties, 2,038 doors. Three of those properties we have sponsored ourselves that totaled 350 doors.
Darin: Fantastic. So over 2,000 doors. Three properties for like 300 plus as a GP?
Darin: A few interesting things that we want to delve in here. One is, you lived in California. You just recently moved to Dallas but you bought properties in Texas from California. So I'd be interested in hearing from you, one, why didn't you buy in California? Why'd you buy in Texas? And two, what was that process like not being in your backyard?
Syndication Is a Lot Tougher, You Need Determination and Persistence
Rebecca: Yes. Those are great questions. We did not buy in California because that market is quite expensive as most people know. And so you're really buying on appreciation. It has a very low cap rate so there's not a good cash flow. Syndication is a lot tougher because you can't give your investors back a lot of money. It's more on the sell.
So that's where Texas is great in the sense that you have that cash flow. That's where we were able to come out here and do the syndication. Also as you mentioned, our mentoring group is centered in Texas. That's where I got my education and met all sorts of people in order to learn this business.
Darin: So there's a lot of investors that you met that have interest in Texas properties too. Part of your network building happened in Texas.
Darin: But now you're in California. I want to delve into this a little bit because there's listeners that maybe they're in the northeast. Maybe they're in different markets where they really don't understand how can I take advantage of going into these other markets? I know that these other markets are higher growth markets and maybe better but how do I do it? So how do you build relationships with investors? How do you build relationships with brokers, how do you find partners? All of that if you don't live in the state that you're looking to purchase in.
Finding the Right Partner
Rebecca: Yes. I was lucky enough to be part of a group that is centered in Texas. That's where I found my partner. Together we would look at properties and he would tell me about the geographical area. Let's look in this area. Stay away from that area. So he was really key for me to be able to learn the area on the map without being there on the ground. However, I would come out to Texas at least six times a year. So you can think about it as every other month I would be out here and stay, let's say a good four days. Learning the terrain, going to events here in Texas.
So learning about any mentorship program that has events here in Texas and I'll say Dallas specifically is my terrain. Going there, that's where you're meeting your investors. You're meeting other syndicators so that you can learn who's in the business, what the business is about in the Texas area for me. So whichever state you want to do, you need to be there at events and meeting those people. Because a lot of times investors want to be able to touch and see the product that they are investing in.
It takes a very sophisticated investor to invest outside of a different state. At least that's what I've found myself. So being there, being with your partner, taking the extra time to drive the properties. Everything that was on sale I would drive by. Even if it was something way out of my range or way lower, meaning that if it was something that needed a heavy lift, I didn't care. Because I wanted to see the property.
The Determination and Persistence to Learn the Terrain
Rebecca: I wanted to understand it so I would take the time each time I came out to Texas to learn the terrain. So that is really important. Also another tip for learning the area outside of your state is getting to know the brokers, taking them for a cup of coffee or setting up a tour. If you are serious about putting an LOI on a property, that's very important too. So they can put a face to the name and so they can see that you're serious.
Darin: You brought up a lot of different great points. One is, if you're going after your first deal, you really need to partner with somebody that has experience or you're not going to win a deal in today's competitive market. So you have to surround yourself with other people that have significant experience. And how do you do that? One way is to join a mentorship group like we did. Another way is to go to multifamily-type meetup groups in the market that you want to buy in.
You can start by using Facebook groups, multifamily Facebook groups, to try to meet people that way. But that's critical is to align yourself with a partner that has experience. And on that note, I get this question a lot so I want you to answer it. If you're new, why would somebody that has the experience want to partner with you as a new person?
Two Ways to Help a New Investor Who Has the Determination and Persistence to Succeed
Rebecca: Yes. That's great. There's a number of things. But number one I would say, a lot of times an experienced person might not have the time or want to underwrite a deal. So if you're out of state yet you're underwriting a deal in your targeted market, you can be showing the numbers to that more experienced person. "Hey, this one looks like it might be good." If you are taking the time to call the insurance company, to call the tax person, to get all the minute details that that experience sponsor might not have the time to put in, that's a value to that sponsor.
Rebecca: Yes. If you have your own wealth and liquidity, that's a big help sometimes too when you're trying to take down larger buildings. So that's two places where you can help. Also the last one is fundraising. If you have a large network of people who are interested in multifamily investing, then you might be able to help that syndicator with fundraising. So those are three different ways.
Darin: Those are all great points. Actually I was talking to a young guy this morning, 26 years old, and he's like, "Why would anybody experienced want to work with me?" And part of it is just mindset. You think that other people aren't going to want to work with you. But then when you surround yourself with other people that's the benefit of going out into a mentorship group or into meetup groups. You talk to other people. How'd you do it?
Win Partnerships With Determination and Persistence
Darin: You realize that, just like you said, there are experienced syndicators that maybe they're focused on 200 unit plus deals or 300 unit plus deals. Or they're only focused in a certain segment and you can go and do something and do all the work. And then just present them with a deal and they look it over and they have experience. They're like, that's a good deal and you've done all the work. That's value. And so yes, that's worth partnering with somebody on.
Rebecca: Yes. It takes hours sometimes to get all that information together that an experienced person might not have.
Darin: In my experience it can take much more than hours because the underwriting is one piece but then contacting the property management company and getting a budget and including that and getting other people to review your underwriting and then going and visiting properties, surrounding properties in the area.
Rebecca: Right. Doing a market survey.
Darin: Yes. Talking to insurance companies and lenders. There's just so much work that can be done ahead of time to save that experienced person. So you marry up. You do all the leg work. They've got the balance sheet and the experience and now you've got a good team. So that's great.
Another thing you said was when you're in the area you don't care even if it's a deal that you're not going to pursue. You're going out to as many deals as you can that are for sale to look because you learn. When you do that you learn and you compare and that is a process that everybody has to go through. You learn every time you walk on a property.
Lessons Learned From Having Determination and Persistence
Darin: So talk about some of the lessons you learned from going on property tours, talking to brokers, and just looking at different areas. What are some of the lessons that you've learned from doing that?
Rebecca: Yes. One thing is in not living in Texas at that time, by driving by at least all the multifamily that was on sale I could really learn the terrain. I could really learn what's a sketchy neighborhood. What's the absolute greatest neighborhood that I'd love to be able to buy in. Also getting to know the words basically that the brokers will use to describe a property.
Darin: The lingo.
Rebecca: Right. Basically, does this one have a lot of hair on it or not? So learning what a stab lock or what a federal pacific panel is, these are the basic things that you need to know about, let's say, insurance. And so by going on tours that's very useful. Also just thinking about flood zones. That is very useful to see the elevation of the property that you're at even though you might not know the elevation. Let's say, by viewing it, you can get an idea. So for example on one property tour I went to I knew the place was in a flood zone.
And when I looked over the balcony at one of these places there was complete erosion right on the side of the building. I immediately said, "No. Guess I won't be putting in an offer on this one." Because I knew it would be amazing insurance. So those are very, very pivotal important things that you need to see by going on a property tour or at least even driving by.
Learning a New Lingo
Darin: Yes, absolutely. You layer that knowledge on each deal that you walk on, that you look at, you learn something new. You learn new lingo. I know when I was doing property tours with brokers one of the questions I would always ask is, where do you see the value and where do you see the upside? And being new to the industry, these brokers, they're doing this every day. They also hear the comments from new people and also experienced people.
What questions do they ask? They may have just done a property tour at the same property with somebody that has a lot of experience and that investor said, "Here's where I see the value," and then the broker just reiterated it to you. And now all of a sudden you learn something new.
Darin: On one deal I remember I asked that question and the broker said, "You know what? There's this empty unit over here that they're using for whatever. I would take that out and put the stuff out someplace else and I'd make that a revenue unit." And I thought to myself, well not only did I learn for that deal. But every property visit I go on from that point on I'm looking for empty buildings or empty units. Or other ways to increase income with more space. So that's huge learning from going on it. The other thing, and I don't know if you experience this or not but I remember in early stages, going to a few properties. And I'm like, "I wouldn't want to live there." So I was like, "I'm going to pass on this deal."
A Different Way to Look at Properties
Darin: And then I remember all of a sudden at one point like six months later I passed this property. I'm like, "Oh that's a nice property." That's the same property that I passed on six months earlier because I was thinking about it from a standpoint of, hey I wouldn't want to live there. Because it was right next to the train tracks, it was right next to an auto body shop. But the reality is if you can improve that property, nicer paint, nice upgrades on the interior, and you look at the numbers. You're providing good value to the tenants and the numbers work such that you can get good returns for your investors. That's a different way to look at it, not do I want to live there.
Rebecca: That's what matters. Because in many cases we don't want to live there. We have been able luckily to not live in C class or even sometimes B class apartments now. So it's wonderful to be able to give these people a nicer place to live. That's the goal.
Darin: Right, absolutely. Improving the property.
Rebecca: Sometimes unfortunately they do have to live in places that are near the train tracks. They might have a lower rent than one that's not. But we still want to make it a great place for them to live.
Darin: Absolutely. Perfect. So what about being a woman in the business? Did you have any hurdles that you had to go through or was it any different? Did it feel like it was tougher to build credibility? Talk to me about that. I would say I see more and more women getting into the business but it's still a minority.
Determination and Persistence and the Right Mindset
Rebecca: Yes. I go right to the mindset on that. If I don't make it a barrier in my mind, then I have already overcome it. Luckily I also have other mentors, women, in the business that have led the way for me. But I don't make it a barrier for myself. So I think that is about all I can bring to the table on that. That I choose not to make it a barrier.
Darin: That's perfect though. Mindset is such a big thing I think in this business. Being a woman could be another negative thought in your head. But you choose not to have that be a negative thought in your head so it's a non-issue. A lot of people think that they have to start with a single family. And then they have to go to a duplex and then a fourplex and then an eight plex. That's mindset, that's where their head believes that that's all they can achieve at that time. But when you surround yourself with other people that have done it then you realize, "You know what? I can go bigger, I can do this." You said other women paved the way. You just look at, "Hey, these other women, they've done it. Why not me?"
Rebecca: Right. So, if there is any kind of bias it would be on the other person and that's where they need to grow.
Darin: Absolutely. So when we met up at that meetup you were showing me some pictures. And I was really impressed with what you guys have done on the rehab. So some of these older properties, maybe '60s, '70s, some of them have the shingles on the side of the mansard roofs.
The Captain of Many Ships
Darin: So it's flat on the top and then they have these shingles that come along the front part of the building.
Rebecca: Yes. Halfway down the building it looks like the roof comes down.
Darin: Yes, and it really dates the property. So if you see that, it just looks older. But you guys tore that off and you put on hardie board siding. So talk about how'd you even make that decision? How'd you even know to do that?
Rebecca: Oh, that's a great story. Well, I do the underwriting here in the family, and my husband, Warren, he executes most of the asset management. When I underwrote our deal, of course we did our due diligence and our guy told us, don't worry about the roofs. We can patch them, we can put tape on it. It'll be fine.
Darin: Put tape on it.
Rebecca: You don't need to redo the roofs. It'll be fine. So I underwrote it like that. I did put in a minor budget for it but I said, "Oh, roofs just stay as you are, please." Well, Warren being the captain of many ships said, "Absolutely not."
Darin: Your husband Warren is a Navy guy?
Rebecca: Yes. Thank you. He sure is. And so everything has to be shipshape and to have safety for all. Not that a roof would not have safety but he likes it to be perfect. So he sees the roofs after we already purchased the building and says, "No way. We've got to figure out how to put on new roofs." So what he did is he spoke to the lender.
What Drives the Rents
Rebecca: We got a green program and they wanted us to put in new windows. Warren was able to discuss with the lender to say, "Let's just do new roofs. That's going to make it much more energy-efficient. Let us put that money toward the roofs." So it was wonderful. We found a contractor that then took off the ugly asphalt mansards. And we were able to put in hardie plank which can be painted to any color you would like.
We hired a designer to get the colors that would match and look great. So she gave us a spectrum of seven different color schemes. We picked the color scheme. Had the hardie plank put on and brand new paint throughout the whole place and it looks fabulous now. It went from this ugly 1967 tired looking building to looking brand new and the tenants are pleased.
And I really think it's going to drive the rents up for sure and maybe the sale price as well because it's a much more attractive building. But it was really great that we could take those funds that were going to go elsewhere from the lender. And put it into the new roofs to make the place really shine.
Darin: That's an awesome story. I didn't know the backstory on that. I think that's very interesting. So you budgeted that you were going to replace the windows. The lenders thought you were going to replace the windows for the green program. And after the fact you guys go back and say, "Hey look, it makes more sense to do this. Are you okay with that?"
Determination and Persistence Brings Pride
Darin: And the lender thinks about it and they come back and say, "Yeah, that makes sense. Go for it." It's a win for you, it's a win for the lender, and it's a win for the tenants. I saw pictures and it modernized that property so much. It looks great. And so hats off to both you and Warren for taking that action.
Rebecca: Yes. It was really fun actually. I think the tenants are so pleased. We've gotten a really great response. It's more about pride of their ownership and living there. That they live in a beautiful place.
Darin: Yes, absolutely. They're happy that they're living in a nicer community and it's got to reflect on the ownership team too. Like hey, they care about us. They're investing in our property and making it look nicer for us. I didn't know your background until you sent me some background info but you're in psychology. Is that correct?
Rebecca: That's correct. I am a clinical psychologist.
Darin: So are you still practicing?
Rebecca: I am. I have just a handful of patients that I see online now virtually. My patients are all in California but I see them still while I'm living here in Dallas.
Darin: Fantastic. When I saw that I'm like, all right, she's going to be analyzing everything I do during this interview. The first one that I've interviewed that's a psychologist. So you moved from California to Dallas just recently. Why did you do that?
Life on the East Coast
Rebecca: It has been a thought in the making for years. Warren is a Texas resident. He had a beach house down in Port Aransas while he was stationed there at Corpus Christi Ingleside. So he's been telling me, "Let's go to Texas." But much more so has been our business and all of the friends that we have made through our group.
Rebecca: It's been that pull to come here to Dallas. So when we got our third syndication, both of us thought well I guess it's time to be closer. Warren really wanted to be more hands-on on the properties as well. Of course we can't deny that a better cost of living, great politics, less taxes. So it's all in the making.
Darin: A lot of the reasons why a lot of companies are moving from California to Texas and a lot of residents are moving. I'm originally an east coast guy and I think the cost of living here is fantastic. I've been in the Dallas area for about 11 years and the cost of living is fantastic. It's clean. Great workforce. Like you said, it's business-friendly. So there's a lot of good things about being in Texas for sure. And with COVID a lot more people have been moving into Texas in all of the major metropolitan markets in Texas.
You said you did your third syndication. Talk about the first time that you actually had to raise capital for that deal. Were you scared? Were you fearful? How'd you overcome that? Syndications. When I talk to people that haven't done it, that's one of the things that they're uptight about is I don't know if I can raise the money.
Show Up with Determination and Persistence
Rebecca: Understood. Yes. It can be a nail-biter for sure. Now, for myself, again, being part of our group, that ecosystem helps tremendously. Being a part of it, showing up, you got to show up. You have to have your face in front of everybody, that they know you and trust you and might want to invest with you, is very key. Is it scary still? Yes, it is.
Rebecca: That is also, the fundraising part. To be able to share with more people is one of the reasons why we started Starboard Equity. So we got ourselves the website. And we want to be able to reach more people who can benefit from the amazing returns that a syndication can bring. But yes, luckily for me going back to our first syndication I had a very well-known partner. And so, he was a big help. But I was thrilled to be able to pull my weight. And that was true with the second and third as well. For me, I got to say it's still always a nail-biter.
Darin: Yes. But you said a lot of things there. One is, when you're going through these large-scale multifamily things there's a lot of steps. You can't really look at all the steps and get overwhelmed by it. You just have to kind of do the next step. And so when you get to holy cow, we're in contract, now you've already done all these other steps. You've gotten past that and now you're in contract on your first deal. One, you have the comfort that you're partnering with somebody that has experience.
Darin: They're like, "Look, the numbers are good, the property is good, the returns are going to be good. We're going to raise the money." It's nice having a partner that's going to be there to help you along the way. But then you just figure it out. You go out to the relationships that you've been building for the last year or two, telling people, and then have them jump on board. You mentioned that you just started a new website, it was starboardequity.com. Did you just launch that recently?
Rebecca: Yes, we sure did. Starboard Equity. We went with starboard because it’s sort of going back to Warren's background as a naval officer. The starboard ship has the privilege. It has the right of way if two ships are coming toward each other. Because it's the lead ship, it has the right of way, it's the privilege ship. We think about Starboard Equity as showing people the right way to invest. We can take the lead and help you to get to where you want to be financially in the investment scheme.
So that's why we chose that name and got a great website that is going to be very helpful for those who want to invest. Because when I think about my first syndication right now, the returns are going to be phenomenal if and when we should sell. I actually feel bad that I didn't tell more people about it at that time as a first time syndicator. Because we sort of think, "Oh gosh, this is my first time. My partner knows what they're doing but this is my first so I won't tell everybody." That wasn't a good idea. I should have told everybody I knew. Such a great return.
Determination and Persistence Presents Huge Opportunities
Darin: I'm glad you said that and I want listeners to hear that because it's not about getting people's money. It's about presenting an opportunity.
Rebecca: Huge opportunity.
Darin: Who are we the syndicators to decide whether they want to pursue that opportunity or not? Let's put it in front of them and if they want to then fantastic. If they don't, no worries. We go on to the next person. But sometimes I think in our head we're like, "Oh, that person, there's no way they'll invest." Well, how can we make that decision? Present the opportunity to them and then let them make the decision.
So my wife said, "I don't know if you should go to friends and family on the first syndication." Kind of like what you're saying. Like I don't know if I should bring it to everybody. And I'm like, "I'm not wired that way. I believe it's a great deal. We're investing money in the deal and if they don't have interest, they don't have interest." I was really surprised because there were certain people that I thought were no-brainers that they would invest. And they were wealthy, they had multiple businesses, they were entrepreneurs.
But they're like, "Hey Darin, man, I just put a bunch of capital in my business. I just don't have the capital right now. The timing’s not right." Then there were other people that I'm like, "This person, there's no way they'll invest." And I'd say well let me just reach out. Next thing you know they're like, "Hey, can we get together for coffee? How does this thing work? What are the risks, what are the returns?" And then they invested.
What Gets in the Way of First Time Investors
Darin: I'm like, it's a really weird dynamic. So I love that you said that you wish you told more people and if you had to do it over again you would tell everybody.
Darin: I firmly believe that. The other thing that listeners should pay attention to is that you had a team. You had an experienced syndicator who has done that, you had third-party property management. And you had a lender who has been doing these types of loans forever. They all were saying it's a good deal. So it's just the mindset of the first person. The first-time person that kind of gets in the way sometimes.
Rebecca: Yes. It is so critical to have your mind in the right place and lessons learned for myself. This might have been the first time at that time. But for new people to recognize and be listening to podcasts such as this so that they can get their mindset at the right place.
Darin: Absolutely. Another thing is, some people think that syndicators, that's all they do. They syndicate and bring in other people into the deals. But you and I both are passive investors in a lot of different deals. So we're leads. Lead general partners in some deals, syndicators. But we're also passive investors. At that multifamily meetup, we were having fun, talking about one deal that we're both in where we're going to double our money in like three years. We're excited about it. So we're not the lead in that deal but we invested money and we're going to double our money in three years. There's benefits to all sides.
The Pulse of Your Investment at Your Fingertips
Rebecca: That's another example of, tell everybody that you know. Even whether it's your syndication or not. Because this is such a great way to build your wealth through these private syndications where you can actually call your GP. Call your sponsor and say, "Hey, tell me about what's going on at the property." You don't get that with buying Tesla or Apple or really great stocks. But you can really have the pulse of your investment right there at your fingertips.
Darin: Yes. That's huge that you get to know the people that are running the deal and build that trust factor that you talked about. So you have proximity. You're very close. Where you don't get that when you're buying a stock. The other thing I think that changes with these private syndications in real estate is that you get both leverage and tax efficiency that you don't get with stocks. So there's a 70%, 75%, 80% loan on the property, 20% to 30% equity.
Well all the upside, all the profits go to the equity owners. It doesn't go to the lender. The lender just gets paid back their loan. And so that makes it very different than if you buy $10,000 worth of Tesla. Well, in order for you to double your money it has to double in price. That doesn't have to happen in a multifamily deal. You don't have to double the price of the property.
Darin: Because the equity component is only a piece of it. It's a minority piece of it. Have any of your deals gone full cycle?
Unrelenting Determination and Persistence Even During COVID
Rebecca: No, they have not. My first deal, it'll be four years this month actually. We refinanced it in 2019. Got our investors back 70% of their initial investment.
Rebecca: Yes. We're still giving very nice distributions even during COVID. It has been my favorite little property. But we are considering a sale. So maybe we'll have one going full cycle down the pipe.
Darin: Fantastic. So for the listeners benefit, when you go into these deals they're typically built off of like a five-year business plan. Depending on the market cycles and the implementation and execution of the business plan, the property may end up selling early. Three years in, four years in. Or if the economy is not in a good place then maybe you have to extend and hold the property six or seven years.
But there's really two major exit strategies. One is to sell the property for a profit and return the returns to investors. The second one is the one that you just mentioned which is, do a cash-out refi and keep the property for a longer period of time. So in that case let's just assume somebody invested $100,000. Well, three years in they got $70,000 back and they're still receiving returns and distributions. And they only have $30,000 still in the deal and they still own the same percentage of the property.
Rebecca: That's correct. We have every intention of keeping that property for a longer hold. That's why we did refinance. Because this has just been such a great property to manage. It has had very few problems. It's been cash flowing since day one. Our management team has been great there. So the idea is, stay hold longer.
Darin: That's fantastic. So you've been in the business, probably a little bit longer than me. I'm in three and a half years and you're probably what? Four and a half, five years?
Rebecca: Yes. Actually since 2014.
Darin: Oh wow. You're in it for seven years?
Darin: Fantastic. Now, what would you tell younger people or people that are not in real estate now that you know what you know?
Rebecca: Get in.
Darin: It sounds simple but like that's what I say. The people are like what would you say? I'm like, start earlier. I didn't start until I was 47 and I wish I had started in my 20s. So just get started and get started with whatever you can. If it's a duplex get a duplex. If it's a fourplex get a fourplex. And then just keep trying to learn from other people.
Rebecca: Absolutely. So right now even with my nieces and nephews, I tell them instead of buying a house for yourself, buy yourself a duplex and you live in one side. That's a start. Just exposing them to the information that I have is getting the wheels turning. "Oh, okay. Maybe I should invest in some real estate." Yes, you should.
Darin: That's smart. I heard that on another podcast, what you just recommended to your nephews. That you have the first-time buyer exemption one time. You're only a first-time buyer once. And you can get a three or three and a half percent down payment. Well, instead of buying a single family house for yourself, buy as much as you can. A duplex or a three plex or a fourplex.
Perks of Being in the Military
Darin: You only have to live in it for a year. And then after a year you could move out and then have somebody take over the unit you were in. But that's huge because typically lenders are looking for 20% down. So if you can leverage that on your first transaction and only have to do three, three, and a half percent down, that's huge.
Rebecca: That is really great. On Warren's side, him being in the military and maybe other military folks can consider. What Warren did is he used the VA loan which is no money down for the most part. They have a small fee. He would buy houses where he was stationed. Then have outside property management take care of the renter that would come in after he left that duty station. Such as the one I mentioned that he had in Port Aransas.
When he left that duty station he rented out that home. And he did that again in Virginia. So he was able to accumulate some single family homes like that. And so for the military folks that have that benefit, especially if you're young and you can stomach it, buy yourself a house and then rent it out when you leave.
So then that way it'll gain in appreciation. And someday, if you want to sell it and put it all under one roof into either let's say a fourplex, sixplex, eight plex or into a syndication, something much larger like what we do.
How to Build Credibility
Darin: That's amazing. I wish that I had known about this at a much earlier age. So I'm glad that you're sharing with your nephews. I'm sharing it with my kids. We'll see if they actually take action on it. But how do you build credibility with the brokers when you're new?
Rebecca: Yes. Having an experienced partner is very helpful for sure. Also, if you are in a mentoring group I think that many of them told me when I first started, "Oh you're in this group. Well, then you have some credibility with me because I know how they teach and what they teach." And so just that was helpful for me.
Knowing that hey, so and so told me to talk to you. And that so and so is a credible person. So at least you can show some association with somebody that they already know can be very helpful as well. Plus asking the right questions. I know that I would ask my mentor, "Okay, what do I say?" And that was actually very helpful because he would walk me through it.
Darin: That's smart though. I mean, you could have just gone and winged it. You may have lost credibility with the broker but your experienced partner gave you some good questions to ask. And you were upfront with the broker that, "Hey, look this is my first property. But I'm partnered with somebody who's experienced and I'm part of this mentorship group." We're both part of a group in Dallas that's led by Brad Sumrok and I had the same experience. When I talked to brokers it was like, okay, one of the first questions they ask is, "What properties do you own?"
Being a Member of the Right Group Matters
Darin: "Well, I don't really own any yet but I want to go look at this hundred unit complex." And the broker's probably thinking, "Well, this guy is not going to win the deal. He's wasting my time." But then once you share, "Hey, I'm part of this group," all of a sudden you can hear almost a little bit of a light bulb switch change over. Where the broker's like, "Well look, you might be new but I've done a lot of deals with that group. And the new guys always partner with the experienced guys. We haven't had a deal that hasn't gotten funded that got under contract."
Darin: So that brings the credibility piece up for sure. I think all through this business, and maybe you can talk about this, is doing what you say you're going to do. And that's all the way through the process. So if you're talking to a partner and you're like, "Hey, I'll handle these responsibilities," then do it and do it well. And if you tell the broker you're going to submit an LOI next week, do it. So following through. And then when you get under contract, follow through and do what you said you were going to do.
What is the saying? 80% of success in life is just showing up. Something along those lines. But yes it is. It's just showing up. Do what you say you're going to do. It's a miracle how that can get you through and get you to success.
How You’ll Lose Credibility
Darin: And some people don't do it. Some people, they say they're going to do something and they don't do it. They lose credibility. And through social media, I've also had people come to me and say, "Hey Darin, I'm looking at these three different mentorship groups but it's expensive. If they would guarantee I would get a deal I would sign up." And I'm like, "Don't sign up."
Look, whether you meet people at meetup groups or mentorship groups or you have a mentor or a paid mentor, or just somebody that's been in the business for a long time, they're going to point the way for you but they're not going to do the work.
Rebecca: No. Nobody's going to hand anything to you in anything in life. And so yes, that makes me just think of just this journey for myself, even becoming a psychologist. Many people would leave as what's called ABD, all but dissertation, which to me was crazy. They would go through a PhD program but not write a dissertation which is very weird. Nobody's going to hand you that piece of science that you have to contribute.
You've got to go out and get it. And so then with being in our mentoring group, that person, we paid for an education. We paid for an opportunity. Nobody's going to give you the prize. You have to go after it yourself. And that makes the difference between those who succeed and those who only make it halfway. You've got to really push. And again, that's where it was me coming out to Texas every other month. You've got to get your little tush on the plane, you've got to get your hotel room.
The Tortoise Versus the Hare
Rebecca: You've got to spend the money. You've got to make the time. I was working a 40-hour job. I was working at the Navy clinic for years while still coming out here, taking my weekends, my evenings to underwrite. Doing all the extra work to make this happen because I really believed in it. At the time I was assuming this was just going to cover my retirement. And so that's where I often call myself the tortoise rather than the hare.
So as you say yes, I've been doing this for seven years. But oh yes, it'll supplement my income later. When Warren retired from the Navy, says, "No, let's go full force." Okay, let's go. And so here we are in Dallas. But we had to put in a ton of work. We had to show up, we had to be more than just 80%.
Darin: That's awesome. Look, your story on the ABD, I didn't know about all that. All but dissertation. That just shows me that you are determined. You are persistent, you have a drive, you believe in yourself. And then the other thing is you made a decision that you were going to do this and you committed to doing it. I think all of those factors are so critical in somebody that's going to be successful at whatever they do. And you obviously have it so I applaud you for that. That's fantastic.
Rebecca: Thank you. Yes. It's just sticking with it. Never give up if you want it bad enough.
The Decision to Commit Requires Determination and Persistence
Darin: Right. You have to believe in yourself. And you have to make that decision for yourself. You have to have that commitment to yourself. Because nobody's calling you every day and telling you hey, you got to underwrite this many deals. You got to set up the appointment for this. It's like you have to have self-determination.
Darin: So, you're very nice, sweet. But inside you got some drive and determination. Like, don't mess with me. I'm going to figure this thing out and I love that. That's awesome.
Rebecca: Yes. You really hit the nail on the head there Darin. You're right. There's a little tigress inside that's going to get it.
Darin: Yes. That's huge. Well, you talked about it a little bit, the sacrifices that you had to make. Time was definitely one of them. Money. You had to fly out here. What other types of sacrifices did you have to go through your journey?
Rebecca: Well, time and money are of course the biggest ones.
Darin: So you are a husband-wife duo. You both have separate career paths. And now you're coming together to do this multifamily thing together. How did that go? Because all of a sudden you're working together on something that's a pretty big financial investment. And you both had different experiences. You both have different personalities. So how did you guys manage through that process?
Rebecca: Okay. That question I can answer a little faster. So when we first started, Warren had just taken over a squadron of ships.
Darin: So how many ships is in a squadron?
Rebecca: In his squadron there were eight.
The Right Support
Rebecca: Eight ships. So he's telling those captains what to do. He's really impressive. I could go on and on about him. But what that meant is that he could not come out to Texas. He could not do this business. Because you do not leave the area basically when you're in command of that kind of stuff. And I know all the military folks out there will understand. So that's where he said, "Rebecca, you go."
Like I have a job too. I don't have to answer to anybody on the weekends but that's where I kind of took over and came out to Texas a lot. He was my support at that time. He’s saying, "Rebecca go. You can do this. Spend whatever you want as far as, let's say, on hotels. Be as close as you need to be so that you're safe. You do whatever you need." He was always backing me up. Now, us working together, it has been more of the friction. Us learning how to work together because it's been separate.
So here's a fun psychoanalytic sort of analysis. What we have learned is that he's much more obsessive and I'm much more compulsive. And so what that means is he obsesses on the details. He is my detail guy which is great in many situations.
Me being more compulsive, I'm saying, "Oh my gosh, we go to get it down. Come on. We got to get it out. Stop. Would you stop with the details? Just get the email out, will you?" So I'll say, "Get it done." And he says, "No. It's got to be perfect."
The Person Who Runs the Ship
Rebecca: So what we have come to find is that I might be more of the front office, the people part. Doing these podcasts, talking to the brokers. I love underwriting as well. Where he is the person who, like I said, is running the ship. So Warren started out as a nuclear machinist's mate and then went up to captain. He commissioned and became an officer. But he knows systems like the boilers, the chillers, the HVAC.
So he really interacts a lot with our maintenance people and he can really manage people well, which is so great. Being the captain of ships, you've got to manage people. He is spectacular at that arm of our business. So that's where we learned to separate it.
Darin: Where does he use that piece?
Rebecca: Very much so on a balcony that we just had to replace. The contractor was giving us a rough time. Our regional manager, our maintenance manager, all three of them were having a tough time together. So Warren put on his captain's hat and was able to discuss it just like he would discuss with his sailors or maybe with his triad. As many military people would know, that would be the CO, the XO, and your Master Chief. So he was able to talk with these men in a way that was respectful but got the job done.
Darin: That's huge. Yes. You mentioned the areas where I thought that would come into play is one, working with the property management company. At times they're doing fantastic, at times there's some challenges. And you want to be respectful and they're trying to do their job.
A Husband and Wife Duo
Darin: But you're in the ownership group and you have responsibilities back to investors. So you want to figure out a way to communicate together so you're both charging down the same road. And I would imagine that for him, that comes second nature.
Rebecca: Yes, it does.
Darin: That's a great quality. Another thing to say about that is that you and your husband learned how to leverage each other's strengths. And then you also do the same thing when you partner with somebody that has experience. They may have certain strengths. And even after you do a deal or two or three, you still partner with people and it's nice when you have complementary strengths. So, that one person handles one area, another person can handle another area.
And you feel confident, Warren's going to manage these people a lot better than I will. But I'm going to be out in front of the investors. I'm going to be going to all the investor meetings. So that's a great approach. I love what you guys did there. A husband, wife, having two different careers, coming together. It could have been some friction that was unresolved. There could be some ego that gets in the way.
Darin: So I love your response to that. That's awesome. What is the next big stretch goal for you, Rebecca?
Rebecca: The stretch goal.
Darin: Uh-oh, she doesn't know if she wants to say it. She has it in her mind but she doesn't know if she wants to be accountable to it.
Paying It Forward
Rebecca: Oh my goodness. I think it's multifold to get bigger and better properties of course. More doors and B classes for sure. But when I think of stretching, I think of, of course, my mindset. Because that is where we really grow.
So promotion. Doing what we're doing right now. Getting our name out there. Telling the people that I wish I would have told before, as I said. Helping others to be able to invest like we have been able to. Just like you mentioned, the deal that we're both in, that we're going to make great returns. What a blessing. And I want other people to have that same experience. Marketing myself, which, my humble self, this doesn't come as first nature, but second nature.
Darin: Look, it's uncomfortable.
Darin: I have a podcast and I'm on social media. What I can tell you is that it gets easier as you see the benefits of helping other people that you wouldn't have helped had you not done it. I was not on social media until I joined the mentorship group. And I wasn't on Facebook. I wasn't on anything. Then after a certain period of time, I was going to these entrepreneurial conferences.
They're like, "You got to get on Instagram." And I'm like, "Instagram. Oh man. Really?" And it's uncomfortable. I'm going to post stuff and what am I going to do? But then all of a sudden somebody contacts you from Vegas or Chicago or Ohio that you would never have talked to before. And you share your experience and you can tell that it's provided some inspiration to them.
Enjoying the Journey
Darin: Well, that's what we're all here for is to help other people. So for you guys, I like that you were candid about that and I think that it's another fear. And it never ends. You learned how to syndicate and then it's like, what's next?
Then you've got to do something and you've got to get yourself uncomfortable again. It's like, you kind of want to say I crossed the finish line. I don't have to do it anymore. But you know what? That's when you're living and when you're enjoying the journey and you don't really know how to do everything. But you're learning along the way and you're pushing yourself.
Rebecca: Constantly growing. Yes.
Darin: So I applaud you for that. Most people when I ask that question, talk about the number of doors and number of assets under management and stuff, that's a very real issue for people. One is raising capital. Like, "Oh, I have to ask people for money." And two is social media. Look, I was afraid to hit post. How silly is that?
Rebecca: No, I don't think it's silly at all. I agree.
Darin: But it is at the end of the day. I was like, "Oh my gosh. What are people going to think?" And now I'm like, "Whatever. Some people are going to like it and some people aren't and I'm going to help some people. And some people are going to go looking somewhere else." Once you get over that, it changes. I like that you shared that so thank you very much. What do you like to do outside of work? Outside of real estate? Golf?
It’s All About Family
Rebecca: Oh, family. Family is what I like to do outside of work. My family, we get together and do a lot of fun things.
Darin: Like what?
Rebecca: We went to Zion not too long ago, did hiking.
Darin: Zion National Park?
Rebecca: My sister has a boat so we do a lot of boating.
Darin: So when you went to Zion, did you stay in a hotel?
Rebecca: Yes, we did. I don't camp.
Darin: You're not the RV person, you're not the camper.
Rebecca: I would RV in an RV, but not in a tent.
Darin: Right. Exactly. So family is big for you. Is your family all in California and how did they like you moving to Texas?
Rebecca: They want to move to Texas too, which is so funny. My sister does. I have a brother up in San Francisco area too. But yes, I love to get back there as well. Other things that we like to do, definitely boating. We have family up in Kentucky as well and they also have a boat. So I guess it's all boating, isn't it? Lots of water.
Darin: Outdoor stuff. So that's good. If somebody wants to reach out to you, what's the best way for them to find out more about you and reach out?
Rebecca: Well, our new website at www.starboardequity.com. You can check us out there and get onto our Starboard Equity club. My personal address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Love to hear from you.
Darin: Fantastic. Well, Rebecca, I really appreciate you coming on the show. You had really a lot of great insight. And listeners, I hope you enjoyed that one. Until next week, signing off.