W2 Retired and Traveling the World with Just 15 Units w/Sarah Weaver

May 11, 2022

Long-distance investing may sound like an impossible feat to achieve for many investors. What if something goes wrong in the house? What if something needs fixing? What if there are problems with tenants? As today’s guest Sarah Weaver puts it, “do nothing”, your core four can handle it all so you don’t have to stress.

Sarah knows what she’s talking about—she’s been a nomadic landlord for years now, teaching agents and investors how to grow their businesses while living their dream life. Sarah was able to close on twelve units while operating abroad and working remotely . She was buying fourplexes while hiking in New Zealand, landlording while on the beaches of Bali, and growing her businesses while enjoying everything South America had to offer.

Sarah embodies the exact type of life so many investors are looking for. The difference between most investors and Sarah? She let go of fear and kept her goals in mind, no matter what she was doing. This way, she’s been able to retire off of fifteen rental properties in less than a decade while running her own business, traveling, and really doing whatever she wants!

David Greene: Hey, before we get to the show, I wanted to mention BiggerPockets is hiring a full-time supervising producer for our podcast network. This is a remote position. And trust me, it’s a huge opportunity for the right person. We’re looking for someone with at least a couple years’ experience managing production teams and someone who will feel confident taking the lead when launching new podcasts. So, would you or someone you know be a great fit? You can find the full job description at biggerpockets.com/jobs. That’s biggerpockets.com/jobs to apply for our open podcast supervising producer job. Now enjoy the show. This is the BiggerPockets Podcast show 563.

Sarah Weaver: I think long-distance investing is the absolute way to go. Even from day one, people ask like, “What do you do if something breaks?” And I say, “It’s great. You don’t do anything.” And so I have seen all my properties. So, I do want to say that, but you don’t need to. You could own real estate that you never visit.

David Greene: What’s going on, everyone. This is David Greene, your host of the BiggerPockets Podcast, where we arm you with the information that you need to start building long-term wealth through real estate today. If you’re new here and you like today’s show, make sure to check out biggerpockets.com. It’s a free one-stop shop for all things real estate investing to help you save time and money, avoid mistakes, and tap into the wisdom of two million fellow members. Basically, this is the place that you come to if you want to build wealth through real estate bar none. Here with me today is my co-host and good friend, Rob Robuilt Abasolo, the short-term rental specialist, the tiny home … Man, I was trying to think of a way-

Rob Abasolo: The tiny home titan.

David Greene: Titan. I was going with tyrant and that didn’t sound good. So tiny home titan, much better. And also what I would look like if I could grow hair that often like shot off at the 45-degree angle that yours does too. I feel like we have the exact same head. You just have hair on the top of yours.

Rob Abasolo: Hey, but thanks to a Movie Magic and Photoshop, we can make that happen, my friend, in editing. It’s called Movie Magic.

David Greene: We could probably get one with our two heads together, but our hairs moving towards each other and touching at the top, wasn’t there a Dragon Ball Z thing where they did something like that?

Rob Abasolo: Yeah, a fusion. And then we fusion ha.

David Greene: Real estate fusion. What was it, hot?

Rob Abasolo: No, fusion ha. Man, this is a deep cut. This is a deep cut for a lot of people.

David Greene: There we go. Well today, Rob and I are interviewing a very special and awesome guest. Her name is Sarah. And Sarah has found a way to travel the entire world, letting real estate fund it while continuing to grow the portfolio. So this isn’t a case where somebody built up passive income through investing and then said, “Okay, I can quit my job and I can travel.” This is a person who said, “I’m going to travel while continuing to work, but only doing the work that I enjoy doing to make more money, to buy more real estate, to have an even better life.” And we get into some really cool, practical examples of ways that anybody else can do what Sarah does as well as some of the mindset shifts that Sarah had to go through in order to make this happen. We talk about understanding which area you’re buying in and what some of the violations could be when it comes to short-term rentals. We talk about medium-term rentals, which is kind of a new phrase that I don’t know if everybody’s using, but what to do when you buy a short-term rental and the municipality where you’ve bought it has out outlawed them and says you can’t do it anymore. We get into BRRRR deals. We have a really good conversation between how agents and investors should be communicating to be successful. I thought this one was just full of practical information. What do you think, Rob?

Rob Abasolo: Oh, yeah, man. I mean, I think if you’ve ever wondered why a realtor has ever ghosted you or not responded back to you, maybe you’re the problem, David. Not you, me, I’m the problem. I’ve learned a lot about how I communicate with realtors in this episode today.

David Greene: Yeah. This is really good, especially in the front part of the show. So if you’ve ever had trouble working with an agent, or if you’re an agent who’s like, “I don’t know how people ever make money with investors. It never goes well,” this is a great show to listen to.

Rob Abasolo: I’m excited to dive in, man. Let’s do it.

David Greene: All right. And now for today’s quick tip. This month, we are bringing on a lot of guests who go a mile deep on one particular strategy. They might be rent by the room, raising private money, seller financing, stuff like that. We keep returning to this theme for two reasons. Number one, a lot of you have been telling us that we want to hear more detail. Well, we’re committed to diving even deeper into strategies in topics as we make the show even better. And two, personally, I believe that going deep on one strategy is the best way for newer investors to thrive in today’s competitive environment. It’s not like the old days where deals were everywhere. You could just throw a rock and find a great one. The investors who will win are the ones who are willing to commit to one strategy and master it. So there’s your quick tip. Go a mile deep, which brings us to today’s show where the guest did just that. Before we bring in Sarah, Rob, is there anything that you want to add that you particularly liked or something you think that listeners should pay attention to, to pull out of this show?

Rob Abasolo: Hundred percent, man. I think this show very much personifies the idea of shiny object syndrome. And one thing that really resonated with me is it’s a lot easier to set one goal and hit that goal than it is to set a hundred goals and try to hit those goals. And I think Sarah really, really talks about narrowing down that approach so that you can have success in real estate.

David Greene: Very insightful. I love that. Thank you, fusion brother. All right. Let’s bring in Sarah. Sarah Weaver, welcome to the BiggerPockets podcast. How are you today?

Sarah Weaver: I’m wonderful. Thanks for having me.

David Greene: Oh, it is our pleasure. So let’s hear it. Tell me a little bit about your business, your investment portfolio. What is your connection to real estate?

Sarah Weaver: Absolutely. I have been in real estate in some capacity since 2015. I have a real estate agent coaching business. I coach agents. And I think what makes my story unique is that I am in what I consider like a fixed location industry. Real estate is fixed, but I am fully nomadic and have been for three years. And I’ve been working remotely, a hundred percent remotely from my computer for seven years now.

David Greene: So you’ve sort of found a way to combine two passions, it sounds like, travel and living remotely with real estate.

Sarah Weaver: Absolutely. I can talk about those two things for hours. So I’m happy to be here.

David Greene: So what does your portfolio look like right now as far as real estate you own?

Sarah Weaver: I own 15 units in four states. I am in the Omaha market, Des Moines and Kansas City.

David Greene: And are these mostly small multifamily? Are they short-term rentals? How are you using them?

Sarah Weaver: Five of the 15 units are currently furnished. I am using the medium-term rental strategy. So I’m excited to talk about MTR and then they are all small multifamily and I have one single family.

David Greene: And then the last question I have before I turn over to Rob will be, what about your agent business? How many houses are you selling? What does that look like?

Sarah Weaver: I’m actually just coaching agents. I have a referral business, but I don’t focus on selling myself. I focus on coaching agents.

David Greene: When did you make that transition? I lied. I did have another couple of questions.

Rob Abasolo: Come on, man. I had a softball ready to go.

Sarah Weaver: The transition from selling, I sold for about a year in Austin, Texas. I was actually in the KW flagship office. And so little Sarah Weaver, I thought you joined Keller Williams and you got to see Gary Keller and Joe Williams in the hallway. I just thought that was normal. Now, I obviously realize that was a huge privilege, but I always knew I wanted to be what I called location independent. And so the moment I had an opportunity to take my job remotely, I grabbed it and haven’t looked back since.

David Greene: Rob, turn it over to you.

Rob Abasolo: I’m ready. I’m antsy. I’m antsy here. So I do have questions. I have several questions actually. You said that you have a whole portfolio of, I guess, 15 rentals or so in four different states. Can you walk us through exactly like how long it was before you actually got into the long-distance investing? Because a lot of people tend to think that that’s a privilege reserved by the highest of highest, mightiest investors who can undertake such a big task. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey there?

Sarah Weaver: Yeah, absolutely. I was living in Denver, Colorado in 2017. And laughable now, I looked around and thought, “Wow, these houses are too expensive.” So I drove across I-70 with tears in my eyes knowing that I could get something “cheaper” at a better price in Kansas City on the Kansas side. And so I house hacked in Kansas City in 2017. And then someone wiser than me, I think, calls it the stack. So I went from the single family to the duplex, to now the fourplex and house hacked, but always did it like in a new market or in a new state. And so it was kind of a turn on long-distance investing. I would find a market I wanted to be in and then I would invest from afar and then just move there.

Rob Abasolo: So as someone that does long-distance investing, it seems like you doubled up, first of all. You went from single family to duplex, to fourplex. So you’re up for an eightplex here pretty soon. But are you happy with the progression that you went? Do you wish you had waited a little bit longer to get started in long-distance investing, or what are your thoughts on that? How soon can someone jump into long-distance investing?

Sarah Weaver: I think long-distance investing is the absolute way to go even from day one. People ask like, “What do you do if something breaks?” And I say, “It’s great. You don’t do anything.” And so I have seen all my properties. So, I do want to say that, but you don’t need to. You could own real estate that you never visit, which I’m sure, David, I know that’s true for you. Rob, you’ve probably been to all of yours because your properties are way better looking than mine.

Rob Abasolo: No. Actually, I would say of my 14-unit portfolio I’ve been to about half. I’ve seen about half. I’ve seen the photos of them though. So let’s dive into this because for sure things go wrong. It’s just a part of real estate. A lot of people think, “Oh my goodness. If you’re across the country, you have to hop on a flight and you have to go address all these little issues.” What’s the reality there? Obviously, you’re not flying across the country. I got to assume you have a team, a dream team as we call it or in my business, in the Airbnb business, we call it the Airbnb Avengers. So how have you developed that whole team on your side?

Sarah Weaver: Yeah, absolutely. I have what I call the vendor list. And so I don’t just have one plumber. I have five plumbers because of course the day that something happens, the plumber that you love and trust isn’t available. And so that list is crucial. I start gathering that information while I’m under contract. Actually, when I’m really confident that I’m going to close and that list is key. I actually self-manage all 15 of my units. And then one thing I should add is I actually bought that fourplex, so my third property, from 8,000 miles away.

Rob Abasolo: So that’s just like a quick hop over there. So is there any extra due diligence that’s needed for that? That’s 8,000 mile. That’s 2,000 miles times four. That’s very far. What kind of due diligence do you need to do to buy a property that’s so far away?

Sarah Weaver: You have to have a team on the ground that you trust. And so that’s where investor friendly, investor-savvy real estate agents are absolutely clutch. You need to trust them but just like online dating, you trust but verify. And so I like to have video tours. I walk the neighborhood on Google Earth. There’s lots of steps in my due diligence process that make long-distance investing possible.

David Greene: There is a large demand from investors for investor-friendly agents or investor-savvy agents like you referred to. It’s typically looked at like, “Hey, there’s an investor-friendly agent or a normal agent with … I want the investor friendly one.” But obviously, life doesn’t work that cleanly. There’s sort of a spectrum and you have to figure out where this agent you’re working with fits and what strength do they have, what weaknesses do they have. I think a lot of people end up with a bad relationship with their real estate agent. Obviously, it’s all over the forums. People complain about this all the time because they weren’t sure what to look for in that agent. Just like I supposed, online dating. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re not going to find what you want. So can you share with us, Sarah, from your experience, especially as coaching agents, what are some things that someone should look for when they’re picking their real estate agent if they are an investor listening to this podcast?

Sarah Weaver: Absolutely. So I love what you’re talking about. You do have to change your expectations. Let’s say, my parents are buying their dream house. Then their agent needs to be very responsive, showing them lots of properties. My parents are going to touch the walls, walk through the property. But for an investor-friendly agent, if they’re not answering my call, I’m secretly clapping silently because it means that they’re so busy that they’re out hunting deals for me. And right now, I actually don’t make my agents walk a property unless I’m under contract. That means I’m writing offers on deals and the agent hasn’t even walked the property because I’m writing so many offers. And right now, so many things aren’t getting accepted and I value my agent’s time so much more than maybe I would value the “residential agent”. And so the expectations are totally different in that sense. And then as far as criteria goes, they need to understand investing. Ideally, they own a lot of rentals themselves. They don’t necessarily have to own a lot of rentals in that market I’m finding, but they need to think like an investor and they need to see, “Okay, if we up the amenities in this property, you can add this much to the rent.” And maybe they don’t have that information, but they sure as heck have a property manager on speed dial that does have that information. And that’s where the Rolodex or the vendor lists become so important because I don’t need to start out from square one. They have all of the vendors, property managers, basically the on-the-ground team presented to me on a platter.

David Greene: This is so good. In long-distance investing, I talk about this quite a bit is what I look for an agent. I can’t tell other people what they should look for, but I think there’s similarities between someone like Sarah and I who are both agents and investors, and what we expect from our agent versus someone who is not an agent and the expectations they have, which like you said, are often not accurate. I would probably sum it up by saying what you and I do is we look for a person who has skill, knowledge, and resources we can leverage, not somebody who’s going to hold our hand and walk us through and answer every single question we might have that some of it could be on us to go get the answers for. And I think when you find a really good agent who knows they have a lot to offer, if you portray yourself like an insecure needy person who isn’t sure what they want, it’s the fastest way to be getting rejected by that person. They know this isn’t a great use of my time. So I would like to highlight what you said when you said they have a property manager that can solve that problem. They have resources. They have a contractor, a handyman. If you’re buying a place and you need to furnish it, they can tell you, “Well, this is the store you want to buy the stuff from,” that’s gold. If they don’t have the warmest personality, if they don’t answer their phone every single the time you call, it’s probably because they’re good. It’s probably because they’re working. It’s not because they’re at your beck and call. So I really appreciate you saying that. I want you to sort of dive a little deeper into why you believe this is how you coach your agents. And then, Rob, I’d like to get your perspective because you’re not an agent. And as you’re hearing all this, are you like, “Oh, I’ve been doing it all wrong,” or have you kind of learned in the hard way? Yeah. That’s the way it works.

Rob Abasolo: Yeah. I would say it’s very rare. I have put in, oh man, hundreds of offers over my course as a real estate investor. And I don’t think that my realtor has ever found one of those properties for me. It’s not because they were not doing their job or anything like that. But I think with the way that the information has changed and how accessible it is through Redfin and Zillow and everything like that, I’m the one that’s finding the deal. And I’m usually the one bombarding my realtor with like, “Hey, can we get an offer in?” And exactly right, Sarah. I don’t ever make my realtor go … Well, I’m pretty sure for the most part 99% of the time, I don’t make a realtor walk a property until I have an offer accepted or at least an offer in because unfortunately, we don’t have time for that in today’s market and many of the places that I’m investing. So for me, I am looking for somebody that’s responsive, but more so responsive to putting an offer in. And I think for me, the biggest criteria that I’m looking for is a Rolodex for a good cleaner because in Airbnb, your cleaners are your foundation of your business, a good handyman because you always need someone to come and fix stuff for you. And then a contractor, depending on the project. If I’m doing like a full rehab or something that’s going to take extensive work, I do need that contractor. So a Rolodex, that’s pretty stacked. It’s usually kind of like that first interview question that I have.

Sarah Weaver: Absolutely. And what’s really nice is that I’m also coaching investors and my agents love it when I send them an investor that I’ve coached because I’m coaching investors on how to be an ideal client. So David, you touched on this. I call it, do you want to be sent to the bottom of the list? Well, one of the quickest ways to be sent to the bottom of an agent’s list is to tell them your crystal clear criteria, the agent sends you that deal, and then you don’t write an offer on it.

David Greene: That’s so good. Think about everything else in life. If you acted that way, what kind of a result would you get? Sarah, you brought up online dating, so you tell your friend, “I’m looking for a guy that has this and this and this and this, and all these things.” And your friend goes and they spend a lot of time finding that person. They find the perfect one. They go talk to him, they get him all excited about you, and they bring him to you and you go, “Ah, you know what, maybe I’m just not ready.” Your friend is going to lose their mind. We can all understand that’s how it happens in other areas of life. But when we get into real estate, we forget that that’s a normal thing. So I really like that you’re highlighting that. What are some other things that you think investors need to know when they’re dealing with an agent that they have to get right?

Sarah Weaver: That there’s some things that they can ask for and some things that they can’t. And when the agent tells you no, it’s not because they’re lazy even though there are lazy agents out there. But if you found a good agent, it’s not because they’re lazy that they don’t want to share all of the details. They’re probably being careful. Their broker says, “Hey, you can’t guarantee that this is going to be a 14% cash-on-cash.” That’s like the quickest way to get a phone call down the road and the investor is upset with you. And so as an investor, you need to show up and you need to do your due diligence.

David Greene: Rob, what did you think?

Rob Abasolo: Yeah, that’s very true because, I learned this kind of early on. Listen, I recognize that I’m probably a higher maintenance client than most, so let me just put that out there. But I’m like relatively friendly and I have a good rapport with all my realtors. And I remember a couple years ago, I was getting some packages delivered to property that my realtor helped me close on and I wasn’t going to be there for a couple of days. And I was like, “Hey, do you think you can run the packages inside the house? It would really help me out.” And my realtor was like, “It’s not really part of my scope.” And I remember being so annoyed because I was like, “Hello, I brought the deal to you and this and that.” And then I really had to just realize that you have to be flexible with your criteria and understand that, yes, realtors are there to serve you, but you also have to respect their time. And so I totally relate to, if they take time to send you a deal and then you just ignore the deal or you don’t move forward, I’m not going to say you disrespected their time. But now they know, “Okay, well, when I put my time forth, it may not be reciprocated by my client.” So been there many times and I think just kind of one of the things of growing pains with the realtor. I’ve stayed in touch with a lot of my realtors for every market that I’m in. And no one is perfect, including myself, very much myself. And I try to understand we’ve all got our flaws, so we got to work around them. And that’s how everybody stays happy, I think.

David Greene: That, and I would say, the closer you get to having each party having the same expectations of the other, the happier that you’ll be. This goes wrong when an agent has an understanding that if I do everything you’re asking me for, you’ll buy the property and it is my job to represent your interest, to cover you legally, to advise you on your options. It is your job to make decisions on those. And as an agent, if I can smooth out the process by referring you to contractors and handyman and giving my experience that makes you more likely to buy, well, that helps both of us. But it’s not necessarily my job to go run out and find everything that you might need. And I think for the person who’s buying the property to understand that they are usually not compensating their agent directly, that agents probably close somewhere between 3% to 5% of the people that they actually talk to who have all these questions about real estate. So even though you think that’s a huge commission, they’re getting that 3% of the time. Divide it by that, and it doesn’t seem that big anymore. And agents can’t be good at everything. If they were amazing at answering their phone and answering all your questions, you’re probably their only client. Is anyone good at anything that they do two or three times a year, but when it comes to selling houses? So I love, Sarah, that you’re doing this because I think our industry needs this liaison to heal the pain between both parties where it’s funny, because you go to real estate agent training and they’re like, “Don’t work with investors. They’re the worst. They’re vampires. They’ll drain you. They’ll suck all your energy. They’ll never buy a thing. And then as soon as they do, they’ll ask for part of your commission to cover it.” And you go to invest your things and they say, “Agents are terrible. All they care about is a commission. They don’t care about you at all.” Both sides have very strong feelings about the other one. And I believe it’s because we’re both going in with really bad expectations. We don’t have a good understanding of how this should work out evenly and fairly.

Sarah Weaver: I couldn’t agree more. I just want to be like, can’t we all just get along? And the truth is we can, but we have to adjust our behavior. I teach a lot on the DISC behavioral assessment and I always say, “You’re not going to change your personality.” I am never going to become a patient quiet person. That’s not in my nature, but I can learn to bite my tongue when needed, communicate differently when it’s best suited. And that’s what I tell real estate agents is if you have an investor that’s a time waster, move on because there are hundreds of thousands of investors waiting for good deals. And so if there’s an investor that’s sucking your time, move on from them and build a stronger investor database or an investor buyer list, which is what I teach my investor or my agents to do. And then same with investors. If they have an agent that’s not sending them deals, then either their deal criteria is not realistic or clear enough or they found the wrong agent and move on to the next one.

David Greene: Man, this is so good. Like we should do an entire series on just agent-investor relations so each side can see what the other doesn’t. Did you have something you’re going to say, Rob?

Rob Abasolo: Yeah, we need a mediator. Someone that can help mend all the pain, all the broken hearts.

Sarah Weaver: I have had an agent call me in and say, “Hey, I am not having another conversation with this investor. I told her that she needs to coach with you.” And so I have had coaching clients where I’m essentially helping a little problem child. And what’s really cool is my investor clients, while that’s not my main focus, guys, they go under contract. I just had my fourth coaching client go under contract within six days of their first coaching goal with me. And so whatever I’m telling investors is working.

David Greene: That’s awesome.

Rob Abasolo: So I want to kind ask a little bit about that because obviously you’ve successfully worked with investors and we’ve sort of talked about the expectation, sending them deals. You’ve talked about your do-not-call-back list or whatever. So when you do find an investor that you’re working with, what are some of the things that you’ve done as an agent to help find a deal for investors? Are there any specific strategies or any way that you’re going out into the world and finding a deal, plucking it out from the street and bringing it back to an investor?

Sarah Weaver: There’s a lot. So I’ll actually use my agent in Omaha as an example. I sent him a text message, the most clear criteria I could come up with. So it was, I want a fourplex at this price or a duplex at this price. And they were different prices because of financing. I want them to be value add. I’m willing to spend up to $10,000 in renovation per unit because you’re amazing and you have the on-the-ground team. Keep in mind, I was living in a van in New Zealand while this was happening. So talk about like extreme long-distance investing. And the criteria text message went on and on. It was incredibly detailed. And four days later, he texted me and I think his exact words were, “You need to buy this.” And I looked at the deal, I ran it through my deal analysis calculator. He knew to give me purchase price, current rent, market rent, estimated rehab, taxes and insurance. Yes, the tax is something I could do, but he appreciates that I asked for that and I ran it through my calculator and I said, “Great, write the offer.” And it was that seamless because we were so clear with each other. And I asked him, “Okay, how did you find this?” And he was like, “That’s my job.” I said, “Okay, really, how did you find this?” And he went to his database because I had sent him such a crystal clear criteria, made it so easy for him. You guys, he literally copy and pasted that to a bunch of real estate agents, including commercial real estate agents. And I essentially bought what was considered a failed flip from a commercial broker. These guys thought it was really sexy. They could flip this fourplex. They got in over their head. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. And so when they had an eager buyer like me ready to purchase it off market, they jumped on it.

David Greene: Rob, what do you think about that?

Rob Abasolo: I am now seeing flaws in how I deal with realtors, which I think it’s so important to help a realtor understand your particular criteria. I think for me, realtors have a general idea that I’m looking to buy a property that cash flows pretty well. But hearing you say this, it’s like, “Okay, why not send them my calculator?” I actually have a pretty thorough calculator and model, and it talks about cash-on-cash returns and write off deductions and everything like that. I could probably send that to them and say, “Hey, here’s why this deal works. Here’s why it doesn’t. Here’s why it works, why it doesn’t.” I don’t feel like a lot of the times I’m really hoping a realtor understand why I didn’t like the deal. And so when they keep sending me the same kind of deals that I keep saying, no, and then I might be taken as a time waster here. And so this is kind of mini therapy for me now. I’m going to change, you guys. I’m going to change today. This is the day that I change how I communicate with my realtors.

David Greene: Sarah, you’re making a difference. You’re healing broken hearts. Something that stood out to me about that would be your realtor must have had so much trust in you that he was willing to put his name on the line. Because imagine if he sent this, “Hey, private deal, I’m looking for off-market stuff. It looks just like this,” and someone had it and he brought it to you and you’re like, “Ah, I don’t know.” He now looks like a total goofball to everybody that he just put his name on the line for. And that person’s thinking, “I’ll never do this again.” And I think a lot of us just don’t realize when we say, “Hey, I’m looking for an off-market deal.” First off, well, the agent is not getting a commission on off-market deals. So it never makes sense when people come to me and other agents and say, “I want an off-market deal,” unless they’re planning on paying for that, which most people don’t want to. But secondly, that means that we are going to our database of past clients and other agents that might have stuff that’s coming up on the market but hasn’t yet. And if we go get all this information from them, we spend 30 minutes, 60 minutes talking to them and bringing it back to the client and then the client passes for no reason, now, that agent never talks to us again and it hurts our livelihood. It hurts our business. And I think that kind of stuff is happening every day all the time. This is funny this is coming up because Rob and I just had a conversation with an agent that I know in Arizona yesterday. And there were some properties that we were looking at and we went to him and we said, “Hey, this is what we want. Can you find out?” And he did a great job. He called the listing agent right away. He found out how motivated they were. I came up with an initial plan of this is how I want you to present what we’re doing. And this is the price we want to try to get it for. And in the middle of that, he actually came to us and said, “Hey, by the way, there’s an HOA and this property can only be rented out for six months of the year.” So that stopped the deal. But that’s why we want him. He would’ve spent God knows how much time trying to work on this deal that never would’ve worked out. We would’ve put all of our time into running numbers on this, and digging and doing due diligence that we can’t do on other properties. Everybody spins their wheels and then we get to escrow and that’s when we finally realize, “Oh, this isn’t going to work.” That good realtor can get in 15 minutes done what a not good realtor might spend 8 to 10 hours of time doing. And that’s why we look to leverage sort of their experience. I want everyone to understand what goes on behind the scenes. I don’t want to take the whole podcast talking about it, but Sarah, do you have any, on this topic, anything else that you’d like to add that you just wish agents and investors both understood?

Sarah Weaver: Yeah. I wish that agents understood the power of having a strong investor buyer list. So agents would send me deals, not all of them work for me because I have pretty high expectations. I’ve spent a lot of years building relationships with investor-friendly agents. So my cash-on-cash requirement is really high, but that doesn’t mean that everyone’s cash-on-cash requirement or even deal requirement is the same as mine. And so if I pass on a deal, that deal immediately should go into an email that then gets blasted out to their entire investor database. Even just the Arizona deal that you just mentioned, I’m like, that sounds like the perfect house hack for a snowbird. And so your agent’s time wasn’t wasted if he threw that deal into whatever MailChimp or whatever email and sent it out to his investor database. And so I think that every single time an agent finds a deal, they should be able to sell it.

David Greene: So in 2020, you sort of had a transformational year, you had these big goals and you were trying to achieve them and you were having a little bit of difficulty doing it until some things changed. Can you share with us what was going on at that pivotal time in your life?

Sarah Weaver: Absolutely. You know how everyone kind of starts out the year with the word of the year. Unintentionally, mine was frustration. And then some lovely mentor was like, “The language that you use shapes your world.” You don’t tell a frustrated person this. And so then it made me more frustrated. But I realized that I was writing so many offers and I wasn’t crystal clear. So of course, I like that I was able to share how I did it right at the beginning, but I did it wrong for about nine months. I was looking at nine different markets. I wanted a short-term rental, a BRRRR and a house hack, obviously, not all in one property.

Rob Abasolo: All in one? Oh, okay.

David Greene: That does happen.

Rob Abasolo: Yeah, they exist.

Sarah Weaver: I did end up doing a lot of those things, but I didn’t have that crystal clear criteria. And I was frankly, probably one of those time wasters that we’re talking about because I was texting too many agents looking in too many markets. And so someone that I admire sat me down in a nice way said, “Knock it off. You need to look at one strategy. We get it. Airbnb is really sexy. I know you’re going to do it, but is that your very top priority?” And I said, “No, you’re right. I want a house hack so that I can quit my job.” And so I put my house hack first and foremost, and then that became that crystal clear criteria, which I’ve already told you. And then I wanted to BRRRR. And so I sent a really similar text message to an agent in Des Moines and he found me a BRRRR on the MLS. And then for all of the agents and investors listening, he did something that every single agent and investor should be doing. He asked the seller, “Do you have anything else that you’re selling?” And just so happened that the seller owned the duplex next door. And so I bought that too. And I BRRRRed that as well.

David Greene: That’s awesome. So it sounds like what you’re saying is you realized you were going a mile wide and an inch deep. You were doing too many things, which a lot of … It’s almost probably where we start any endeavor is we do a little bit of everything and then we sort of narrow it down. Was it just that conversation with the agent that opened your eyes to the fact that you were sabotaging your own success?

Sarah Weaver: Absolutely. And one thing that as a coach, I have to be really coachable. And so when I was told that, I listened and I pivoted, I think that text message that I told you guys, I sent the day after that conversation. And so within the week I was under contract.

David Greene: Yeah. That’s something really important to highlight. As I think about my career in 2021, I got out of actually having my name on the sales contract and I had my team members do it and I sort of just guided them. And in some ways, it was rough because they don’t have the experience that I have. So what I’m realizing is it’s those conversations that they’re not as good as having, I would have the person that would come to me and say, “All right, David, I want to use an FHA loan to buy a place at 70% of ARV that is going to be a short-term rental, but it could also be something that I could do long term if it doesn’t work out, and I want to BRRRR it,” and over and over and over. And I’m like, “Why do you want to BRRRR if you’re putting three and a half percent down? You don’t have to. You’ve already done the job just with the loan you’re getting.” And so what would make things go well is when I would have that conversation that your agent had with you. “Look, you can do all these things, you don’t do them all on the same deal. Let’s put a systematic plane together where you take step by step by step, and each step makes the next one a little bit easier and you kind of progressively move your way along.” And now that’s almost all that I do. Someone comes to me with a house that they say, “Hey, I got this property. It’s got a lot of equity. What should I do?” And I look at, “Well, what’s the cash flow? Okay. The cash flow is not great. What’s the area? It could be the better, but there’s a lot of equity. If we sold it, we could buy four more. We’re going to buy in these areas that appreciate. These two will be this kind of deal, and these two will be this kind and you sort of amplify their portfolio.” It’s very hard to find that. It’s very difficult to find people that have that experience that are still willing to help with clients. Because most of the time, by the time you learn that you’re like, “I’m done. I’m just going to go sit on the beach and drink my mai tai. So now in your experience, as you’re looking to find different agents to help you, Sarah, are there certain questions you’re asking to figure out if they’re the right fit to work for you particularly?

Sarah Weaver: Yeah. I’m asking them what does their lead generation look like? And depending on how much they stumble over their own words tells me really quickly. And then I build a relationship with them. I ask them about their portfolio. I ask them these things. I ask them about their personal lives. And then every once in a while I’ll throw something and I’ll be like, “Oh, and have you done a BRRRR?” And that’s where I can see like, oh, they don’t even know what the strategy or what the acronym means. And so I’m not trying to trick them, but I’m cutting out time wasters to tie it back to online dating. Nobody has time for time wasters. So let’s get some of those big important questions out of the way. And I think the biggest thing is are they too busy? And so my best agents, their number one skill is finding deals. And if they don’t need me, if they already have a really strong buyer list, they’re selling to a hedge fund, then they’re not the right agent for me. They might be great. They might be really savvy. But are they willing to turn over stones to find a bird deal for me?

Rob Abasolo: It’s pretty important to have a realtor that can relate to the strategy. If you have to walk them through what a BRRRR is and you’re like, ah, there’s a little bit of education there and it’s very common with me. When I’m talking to a lot of realtors, a lot of the times they don’t really know. They’ve only heard of Airbnb or short-term rentals. And so having to explain the concept of a stranger staying in your house and then paying you a really nice nightly rate, and a lot of questions start happening. And I’ve always found that when I have a realtor that has a couple of Airbnbs in their portfolio, we just click more because, A, we can celebrate together. We can rant to each other. And there’s just a little bit more of a connection there.

Sarah Weaver: Rob, I’m really glad that you brought that up because I switched over to furnished rentals this summer or this last summer for the first time. And I’m doing it in a kind of an unconventional way. I don’t necessarily consider Omaha, Nebraska a destination hotspot of America, but I’m doing really well. And what was really fun is my agent was just as enthusiastic about the strategy as I was because he’s been wanting to try it on his units. And so really he was, one, because he found such a great deal for me, I was kind of willing to play that educational part even though I’m the investor and he’s the agent. And we’ve been learning alongside of each other and he’s been incredibly helpful when I need a last-minute snow removal because my guy backed out. And so it’s really important to build a relationship with these agents so that they’re there for you when you need them. And we’ve had a lot of fun learning about Airbnbs together.

Rob Abasolo: Yeah. So I guess I’m kind of curious here as someone who, you’ve done it both. Well actually, you’ve done the long distance and long term. Has your process at all changed in that? Has your dream team or your vendor list or your Avengers, if you will, has that at all evolved moving into kind of the short-term strategy side of things?

Sarah Weaver: Absolutely. The cleaner is your MVP. And that was actually brought to me from someone in my network. I asked another property manager who has Airbnbs. And interestingly enough, he said, “Yeah, I would love for you to hire my cleaner because I’ve switched over to the medium-term rental. So I’m not using her as much.” And so she needs the business and she is the best cleaner. I had a dog eat some blinds. She helped me order the blinds and even reinstalled the blinds. She felt like the stairway was a little bit smelly, which there’s no way for me to know that from 400 miles away. So, I Amazon Prime some air fresheners to her personal residence and then she took them over to the house. And so your cleaner is everything. And that’s obviously something that I’d never really had to deal with when I was doing long term.

Rob Abasolo: Sure. So really quick just for the people at home, because obviously short-term rentals are the big buzzword. We’re all familiar with long-term rentals. Can you just give us like a quick overview of what’s the difference between short term, midterm or medium-term as you call it, or long-term investments?

Sarah Weaver: Absolutely. So everyone kind of knows buy and hold long term. You get a tenant. They sign a year lease. You don’t furnish the unit typically. Then for short term, we’re talking about Airbnb, VRBO. They can be two-night stays, two-week stays. That’s your typical Airbnb. Because of city regulations really cracking down on short-term rentals, that’s where this medium-term rental strategy is going to come into play for most people. Denver is obviously where BiggerPockets is headquartered. They’ve really cracked down on Airbnb regulations as well as Austin, Texas, actually cities all across the country. So that’s where we come into 30-day plus rentals. So if you have someone who’s willing to book your place for a month, two, maybe three months, they want it fully furnished. You, the landlord, cover utilities and you might not get as much rent as you would on Airbnb, but there’s less turnover. There’s guaranteed income. I just had a traveling nurse. She moves in tomorrow and it’s a four-month contract. And it’s nice. It’s the middle of winter in Omaha, Nebraska. My Airbnb guest rate was getting lower and lower, so I decided to switch over to traveling nurses. And now I have five of my eight units in Omaha are fully occupied by traveling nurses. They tend to stay 13 weeks minimum. Some of them stay up to six months.

Rob Abasolo: Wow. Yeah, medium term, midterm, I’m not going to lie. It is probably my favorite, especially traveling nurses. They’re very respectful and they clean the place up. And a lot of the times, they’re not there for like 90% of the day.

Sarah Weaver: They’re the best tenants. They’re so tired when they come home. One of them I think she lived there for three months and she never cooked because she was just so exhausted. The place was spotless. And then because they’re there for three months, I just got a new vacuum. The tenant was like, “Oh yeah, I don’t need this vacuum.” So I just left it in the unit. Score.

David Greene: Where do you advertise the vacancy for these properties when you’re going for the medium-term tenants?

Sarah Weaver: Two places, I do post it on Facebook Marketplace. I was actually able to get a couple who was renovating their kitchen. Normally in any other time in life, they would’ve just dealt with it and lived without a kitchen, but they had two dogs and they both work from home because of COVID. And so they said, “Man, we just cannot go through this renovation,” so they rented my place, which was only a mile from their house. And because we’re all in real estate, I was smart and I blocked off the month after them, knowing that I was going to get a phone call, “Hey, our kitchen’s not ready.” And sure enough, she called me and panic and said, “Oh my God, can we extend?” I said, “Yeah, I already planned on this. I’ve renovated the kitchen before. Contractors are never done on time.” So, Facebook Marketplace is a good place to start. But the most reliable, the most success I’ve had is from a website called furnishedfinder.com.

David Greene: Tell us a little bit about that website. Why do you like it?

Sarah Weaver: It is where most traveling nurses hang out. It’s $99 a year to post your unit on the website. And my tenants are quality. The website user face is a little bit clunky, but it puts you right in contact with the nurse or the guest. Typically they’re all nurses, but puts you right in contact with them. Most of them list their email, phone number. And so recently, I had a nurse. Her hospital assignment changed. I had a unit went vacant right away. I just opened Furnished Finders and I just started calling. And within 20 minutes, I found a tenant that wanted to move in next the week later.

Rob Abasolo: By the way, this podcast is brought to you by furnishedfinder.com … No, I’m just kidding. So, you don’t really do you any midterm lead generation through Airbnb or like VRBO or anything like that?

Sarah Weaver: I have it listed on Airbnb, but I have stayed fully occupied through Furnished Finder that I actually haven’t secured a tenant through Airbnb yet.

David Greene: That makes sense, I suppose. If you’re the tenant looking, you wouldn’t think to look for a 30 to 90-day place on a short-term rental website like Airbnb or VRBO.

Rob Abasolo: Most of mine actually, they do come from Airbnb. Similar stuff here, obviously, travel nurses but also, there is a family like next neighborhood over and they’re like, “Hey, we’re remodeling our house. Can we stay at your place?” And yeah, they’ve been there for a bit. So, I guess always happy to find a new strategy. So you’re kind of in the short term, midterm rental game. I know that design is kind of like a big part of your overall business plan and everything like that. Can you tell us a little bit about the design side of Airbnb? How much of that are you doing? Are you actually in there setting up thousands of boxes that come in every single month? How does that all work as far as your workflow?

Sarah Weaver: Absolutely. So because I believe in long-distance investing, I also have done long-distance furnishing. And when I started posting about this online, people went crazy and they were like, “Wow, can you do that for me?” And so I am now filling a need in the market. I started a company called Arya Design Services and we help investors either revamp or fully launch their Airbnb. We can buy all of the furniture remotely, have it sent to the unit, and people on the ground can put it together or you can fly my team in to furnish it themselves. We also do your house manual, all of the automated messaging. Really, whatever you need to launch your Airbnb successfully to make that a cash flowing machine, my team can handle.

Rob Abasolo: But what do you do with all the boxes? That’s the real question because setting up a place like right now, there are 200 boxes outside of this door. What’s the secret there? That’s what everyone really wants to know. Secretly just me, but …

Sarah Weaver: You just tape them back up and you run them across to the neighbor’s house.

Rob Abasolo: Love it. So did you ever end up doing what we call like a BRRRR-STR, like a BRRRR into a short-term rental? I know you were looking for a BRRRR. Did you ever end up executing on that strategy?

Sarah Weaver: I have done my first BRRRR. I took both David’s book, Long Distance Investing and the BRRRR Strategy, and did a long-distance BRRRR. And currently they’re all long-term tenants. I would love to hear if you’ve done it. I’d love to hear the financing strategy on how do you refinance if they are all going to be Airbnbs. That was the piece that kind of tripped me up. And so for now, I put long-term tenants in those units, knowing that when their lease is up, I will turn it into an Airbnb.

David Greene: What was the question you had on how to do, why can’t you refinance if it’s an Airbnb?

Sarah Weaver: Yeah, just figuring out how to refinance without showing the income because I needed the income to refinance the property.

David Greene: The income of the property, you’re saying?

Rob Abasolo: Yeah. Basically, how do you do a cash out on a short-term rental, right?

Sarah Weaver: Exactly.

David Greene: Assuming that your debt-to-income ratio can’t support it, that’s what you were saying here?

Sarah Weaver: Yeah, because I was a genius and I quit my W-2 during the refinance.

Rob Abasolo: Yes, we’ve all been there.

David Greene: And that’s the next section we’re going to get into, but there are a few ways there. One is, if you’re just doing a standard, like you’re going to do it under yourself. If you show the lending company a lease of the person that’s going to be staying there, they can usually use that income. And then there’s also a loan product that we use that uses income from the property, which is perfect for short-term rentals. Isn’t it funny how like this probably, Sarah, to you was like a life-ending like, “I can’t do anything because I’m stuck,” and then someone like me pops up and like, “Oh, if you had just contacted me, I could have taken care of that”? There are so many things like that that I find where people are just smashing their head into this wall and they’re so frustrated. And then one person comes along and they’re like, “Oh yeah, I have a thing,” like if you just knew the right people to talk to, they solve these problems so fast. I’ve been there so many times in my career. It’s amazing.

Sarah Weaver: Yeah. What I ended up doing, you guys, because I did knowingly quit my job during the refinance. I’m not an idiot. I did know what I was doing. And I did a 30-year product from a hard money lender. They did not care that I didn’t have a W-2 any longer, and my interest rate was 3.75.

David Greene: Everyone’s going to be emailing you to find out who that hard money lender is.

Rob Abasolo: Yeah, seriously. Who was that? You better get an affiliate link for that.

David Greene: All right. So this is the fun part of your story. So we’ve kind of gone over how you got started, the challenges you had, how you overcame them, how you earned the right to do that by coaching agents and working with investors and helping each side kind of come together and built up the value that you’re offering, which probably I would imagine that the Keller Williams influence that you had, especially if you were in the hub in Austin, that that sort of like rubbed off onto you. That company is very big on bringing value to other people before you ask yourself. And now, you get to enjoy the fruits of that. Now you are living the dream that is kind of being dangled in front of everybody else when Brandon Turner says, “Hey, you should go do this because you could live in Hawaii like me too.” So, I would love to hear how are your businesses set up where you’re doing consulting and you’re buying property and you’re managing property. And it sounds like you’re just bebopping all over the country.

Sarah Weaver: I am. So, I wrote in my journal back in 2015, I want to be location independent. And within eight days, I got a job where I could work a hundred percent remotely. It was funny enough still in the real estate industry, and that was this aha moment of manifestation. And so, ever since then, I’ve just been really diligent about writing down what I want in life and then not really taking no for an answer. So, I wanted to live in Buenos Aires. And so three years ago, actually about three years ago this week, I bought a one-way ticket to Argentina and I’ve been fully nomadic ever since.

David Greene: How are you structuring this so that you can get all this stuff done while you’re being a self-proclaimed nomad?

Sarah Weaver: The strong wifi is crucial. So you need to research the place before you go. If people have been given this added privilege of working remotely from their job, I recommend don’t burn the boats. You don’t need to sell your house, sell your kids. You can just buy a one-way ticket for two weeks or buy a round trip ticket, and just try it and see if it’s something that’s for you. I recommend traveling on a Saturday or a Sunday so that you can get established in likely an Airbnb abroad and just test out working remotely. There are things that get in the way like spotty wifi or time change. And so you need to be mindful of those. But I really believe that COVID has gifted a lot of people the ability to work remotely, and I hope to see more people take advantage of it.

Rob Abasolo: A hundred percent. I think a lot of people realize like, “Hey, I think I want to try something different than what the world has been doing for the last thousands of years,” right? I guess I’m kind of curious because you are obviously a nomad now. What was the tipping point for you to leave your W-2 job because it’s very scary, it’s very scary to leave the stability and the benefits and the healthcare. At what moment for you where you’re like it’s time?

Sarah Weaver: It was always the end goal. So I switched jobs at the beginning of 2020, so talk about funny timing with COVID, into a job that was more focused on real estate investing. I wanted to earn while I learn, so I took a job in investing and I never kind of experienced the lifestyle creep. The one nice thing about living abroad is that you can keep your expenses really low. So, I wasn’t paying United States healthcare. I wasn’t paying car insurance. Even my cell phone plan was cheaper. And so I was kind of experiencing what some called geoarbitrage, which means living somewhere else to keep your expenses lower. And I lived a hundred percent off those … I had three units when I first went abroad. And I was living a hundred percent off of that rental income and then saving a hundred percent of my salary. And so that gave me a really nice cushion. So then in the summer of 2021, I went from three units to 15 units in 68 days. And when that happened, I woke up and was like, “Wow, I did it,” like I exceeded my lean F-I number, or lean financial independent number. Meaning all of my expenses are more than covered by my rental income. I can easily leave my W-2.

David Greene: Yeah, that’s really the point everyone’s trying to get to, that crossing point where you went to the 15 units and instead of it just being money coming in, that equals a lifestyle change. I am no longer tied to this area that I’m at, like there’s some kind of freedom that you experience. What do you think led to you taking that step? It sounds like you were trying and trying and trying and not quite getting in anywhere, and then all the pieces clicked in place and boom, you got there. What was that?

Sarah Weaver: It was functioning in the fear. So, things were scary. I didn’t know anyone in Argentina and my Spanish is pretty rubbish, and I still bought the plane ticket. And I wrote offer after offer after offer. I was living in New Zealand at the time and I was getting really frustrated. And a lot of people were telling me, you’re going to have to start offering all cash. That’s the only way you’re going to get your offer accepted. And I just was confident that there had to be a better way. And so I changed my criteria and I put my head down and I did the work. And so I think staying disciplined and not getting discouraged and then functioning in the fear, I think those are the three things you have to do.

David Greene: What about practically speaking? Did you talk to agents differently? Did you target a different kind of property to get that many that quickly?

Sarah Weaver: Yeah. I focused on two markets. So, I focused on Omaha and Des Moines and the rest was noise. You guys mentioned Phoenix. I would love to have a short-term rental in Phoenix, but I knew that that would come later. I knew that I needed to focus on what I was focusing on step by step. So first, I needed to get an owner occupied because I wanted to use my FHA spot before I quit my job. And the next, I wanted to do a BRRRR because I wanted to recycle the capital so that I could use it on the short-term rental on the third property. So there was an order of operations and then I stopped listening to what other people were saying. Even though, I mean, I’m sitting here in the Smoky Mountains this week looking at property, but I had to earn this. I wasn’t looking at Smoky’s a year ago.

David Greene: I think that is the key. So Craig Curelop and I were doing a podcast and he used the phrase of beachhead. So it’s the idea of like in World War II when the troops were pushing their way forward. If you can establish a beachhead like a base where you can’t lose that ground, you don’t have to worry about going backwards. You can then establish the next push you’re going to have to go forward and then establish that ground. And it’s that incremental systematic progress where you’re not trying to just knock your opponent out in one punch. And that is a lot of the time where success in real estate and business come from. It’s understanding, I want to be the person that is investing in a Phoenix real estate, like maybe a luxury short-term rental. But I can’t do that right now because I don’t have enough in reserves. So I got to get enough in reserves to earn the right to be able to do that. Well, what do I have to do to get enough in reserves? Well, I got to be to save more of my income. What would I have to do to do that? Maybe I need to move to a cheaper area and be a nomad and save the rental income I’m having until my reserves are at a point that I can take that next step. And then when you buy the Phoenix property-

Sarah Weaver: Oh, shucks. I have to buy at Brazil, like what a shame. What a sacrifice.

David Greene: Right. If you look at it with the right eyes, you can find a way to be happier and better off while going through the process of getting to your goal. It doesn’t have to be, I’m stuck shoveling snow out of my driveway every single morning somewhere in North Dakota saying, in nine years, I’ll finally be able to get out of here. There are ways to go about doing it if, I think what you said was a key, if you’re flexible. If you’re willing to change something about you whether that’s a skillset you have to build, an attitude you have to adopt, location you have to move to whatever it is. When I look at people that are stuck where they don’t like to be, it’s almost always because they’re trying to find an answer that will work for them as they are now. They’re trying to change another person or they’re trying to change their boss or their job, or they’re trying to make people cater to what they’re comfortable with. And the successful people we interview here always say I had to do something different. I had to think a different way. I had to take another goal. And I think, Sarah, what warms my heart about your situation particularly, is you found a way to change something about yourself and move in a way that also made you happy. You didn’t have to give up happiness in order to achieve your goal. You just changed it and now you’re getting both. And my guess would be the real estate consulting business that you have probably is fueled by your drive to buy more real estate, right? So now you have two sources of income that are both fueling each other. Is that how it’s been?

Sarah Weaver: Well, and David, I’m also is like self-prophesizing. So I’m teaching agents how to get really good at finding off-market deals. Who do you think they send the deals to? “Hey, Sarah, is this a good deal?” I’m like, “Yes, I actually will write an offer on that.” And so I’m creating my own deal funnel from clients that are paying me to coach them.

Rob Abasolo: Yeah, that happens all the time. When I had a consulting business, it was really great because I would consult people and they’re like, “I’m thinking about buying in this market. I’m not sure, will you help me comp it out?” And then I would comp it out and be like, “Oh my goodness, this is a gold mine.” I had no idea that Grayling, Montana, or wherever, it was such a great market. And so I was able to find many deals just by helping people. And I think that’s always kind of one of those benefits is when you help people, it always ends up coming back to you, I feel like.

Sarah Weaver: Always. And then you always are surprised by what people really want. Sometimes, I’ll get a phone call from a high net worth individual like an agent in Los Angeles. And she was like, “Hey, I want to spend three months in South America. Can you help me do that?” And I was like, “Oh yeah, I love … Let’s talk credit card hacking, travel hacking.” And so it’s been really interesting as I post more online, you get surprises all the time of what people are actually listening to you say.

Rob Abasolo: Yeah. So, I have one quick question about all of this. And it seems when you hear your story, because it is a very heartwarming. I have seen the character arc developed over the course of 60 minutes here, but it does seem like it was all just so clear cut. There was a way forward, not linear, but it was all very strategized. And it always feels that way when you’re looking at it in retrospect. But I’m just curious, was it this easy to figure out?

Sarah Weaver: Easy? No, but intentionally, yes. I think one thing that I can say with confidence is I live really intentionally. And so for example when COVID hit, I was living in Bali and just happened to be in Malaysia for the weekend on a visa run. You have to leave the country every 30, 60 days. And the United States decided to close their borders to Europe and my jaw hit the ground. And I thought, “Okay, the next country I’m going to be in is likely I’m either going to be stuck or they’ll kick me out and ship me back home.” And so I sat down with my journal and I wrote top three countries to be trapped in during a pandemic. And number one, New Zealand. Island in the Pacific, great leadership. If all goes, it’s an island in the middle of nowhere. So I thought, okay, that will be a great place to hide out in. And then people were like, “Oh my God, you’re so lucky. How did you end up there?” And it was like, no, it was intentional. And then same thing with real estate, like, “Wow, how did you grow so quickly?? No, it was really intentional. Was there a lot of tears and setbacks and frustrations? Absolutely. But I woke up and I was really clear on what my goals were and I didn’t let the little things knock me down.

Rob Abasolo: Plus one retweet.

David Greene: Yeah, there you go, retweet. Sarah, Do you have a deal in mind for the Deal Deep Dive?

Sarah Weaver: Yeah, I can talk about my fourplex.

David Greene: Okay. Then let’s move on to the next segment of our show. It is the Deal Deep Dive. This is the segment of the show where we dive deep into one particular deal that this guest has done. Sarah, this is going to be rapid fire style. So I will start with the first question and we will alternate back and forth. First question. Well, you actually already answered it. What kind of property is it? It was a fourplex. So I’ll actually go to the second one. No, Rob, I’ll let you take the second one. That way, we don’t mess up our rhythm.

Rob Abasolo: I know, man. I was like, “Ugh. Don’t throw me off, man.” Sarah, how did you find it?

Sarah Weaver: I found it from an investor-friendly agent.

David Greene: There we go. How much was it?

Sarah Weaver: It was $320,000.

Rob Abasolo: Fourth question, how did you negotiate it?

Sarah Weaver: There was not a lot of negotiating. I offered three and a half percent down FHA and then just crossed my fingers and closed my eyes and hope they accepted. And they did.

David Greene: And how did … Oh, you said you funded it with FHA. Back to you, Rob.

Rob Abasolo: Oh, man, the easiest day ever. What did you do with it? Did you flip it? Is it a rental, BRRRR?

Sarah Weaver: I moved into one of the four units, owner occupied. And then overnight, one of my tenants didn’t like me, fled in the middle of the night, ended up being the best blessing. They had two barking dogs that didn’t stop barking. So I was happy to have them leave. I furnished that unit, furnished my unit that I live in, and so I have two long-term tenants and now two medium-term tenants in that fourplex.

David Greene: And you just answered the question of what was the outcome. So once again, thank you, Sarah. Rob, I’ll let you wrap it up.

Rob Abasolo: Hey, final question. Let’s end strong here. What lessons did you learn from this deal?

Sarah Weaver: To be ready to pivot. So when you start to approach winter in Omaha, Airbnb occupancy starts to drop. And so I tried medium-term rental. It went really well. To give you guys some of the numbers on this, my PITI, principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, is $2,017. My long-term tenants are paying $830 and $850, but I’m able to get $1,575 each for the medium-term units.

David Greene: I love it. It should feel good. You’ve earned that. All right, we will move on to the next segment of the show. It is the …

Announcer: It’s time for the fire round.

David Greene: Much like the Deal Deep Dive, Rob and I are going to fire questions at you that come directly from the BiggerPockets forums. Question number one, how do you stay on top of local regulations and restrictions while being abroad, or what can I do to prevent violations?

Sarah Weaver: I set up go Google Alerts. So I type in like Omaha, Nebraska, Airbnb furnished rentals restrictions. And I get email alerts when things change.

Rob Abasolo: Second question, do you use any great pieces of technology to help you stay connected to your portfolio or just email with your teams in place?

Sarah Weaver: I use Smartbnb and Personal Capital to track my net worth.

David Greene: What is the difference between Smartbnb and AirDNA?

Sarah Weaver: Rob, I’m going to throw this at you. I feel like you are an AirDNA analyzing machine.

Rob Abasolo: Did you say Airbnb versus AirDNA?

David Greene: No, AirDNA versus Smartbnb.

Rob Abasolo: Oh, okay. So AirDNA is the analytics tool where you can go in and actually analyze future projections, occupancy, seasonality. Smartbnb is more of a property management system where you can automate your messaging. You can automate pricing, I believe. And then you can also automate things like scheduling your cleaners and leaving reviews for different guests that stayed at your property.

David Greene: So Smartbnb is kind of like the CRM that you would use to manage your short-term rental?

Rob Abasolo: Yeah, in a sense.

David Greene: Okay. Thank you for that. What are some misconceptions on being a digital nomad and investor?

Sarah Weaver: That it’s always fun. Sometimes it’s Instagram versus reality. So you’re getting off the plane in Bali and your dishwasher breaks. And you have to deal with that if you don’t have a property manager in place. So, you just need to have everything set up. That’s why that vendor list that I mentioned is so important. Do that while you’re sitting in your parents’ living room, not while you’re sitting on a beach in Brazil.

David Greene: I’m always so impressed by people, like Rob, you move around a lot. And Sarah, you obviously do too. And when I talk to Rob, every time, he’s got a different background. He’s bouncing around all over the place. And I just think about, I don’t think I could handle constantly having to reacclimate my environment to make it work for all the stuff I needed to do. I tend to be a person who’s always thinking so many steps ahead of the future. It’s like I’m looking so far ahead that I trip on the stuff that’s right in front of me, if you move it. So, I got to be in the same place all the time so I don’t just step on that toy that the kid left there and fall. So, props to you guys for being able to just constantly move to a new place, be flexible, flow with what’s going on. It’s probably an amazing tool to have in your arsenal.

Rob Abasolo: Final question. What country comes after Buenos Aires, or I guess what city?

Sarah Weaver: Ooh, I love Lisboa, Portugal. I could spend a whole summer in Lisbon.

Rob Abasolo: I have heard very good thing. I had one friend one time that said, “All right, if I’m not going to live in LA, it’s going to be Lisbon.” And I was like, “Oh, okay.” And she said it was, yeah, just the greatest place on the planet. So, cool, I’ll check it out.

Sarah Weaver: You should.

David Greene: All right. Well, thank you for that, Sarah. This moves us onto the last segment of our show. It is the …

Announcer: Famous Four.

David Greene: These are the same four questions we ask every guest every week with one bonus fifth question. I suppose we could call it the famous five because they both start with F’s, but famous four is just sort of etched into BiggerPockets lore.

Rob Abasolo: Or the baker’s dozen Famous Four.

David Greene: That’s funny, the baker’s dozen. That’s because a baker’s dozen is 13, not 12, if anyone here is less than 30 years old who doesn’t understand why we’re talking like that. All right, question number one. What is your favorite real estate book?

Sarah Weaver: It is the book that helped me the most last year. It’s Matt Faircloth’s Raising Private Capital. I am excited to say I read that book and then raised $80,000 off Instagram.

David Greene: Way to go.

Rob Abasolo: Yeah, kudos.

Sarah Weaver: And then sorry, shout out to Matt. When I told him that story at BPCON, you guys, I’m pretty sure he almost shed a tear and it was genuine. And he was really touched and I was really touched. And so shout out to anyone out there that has written a book and it’s changed people’s lives because Matt’s book really did change my life.

David Greene: He is such a cool guy and he gets very little credit because he has such an unassuming personality. He just wants to give value. He just wants to be nice. He doesn’t get out there and shout and scream and demand attention. So, if anyone here has been touched by Matt Faircloth, would you please send him a message through BiggerPockets messaging system and let him know? Sarah, thank you very much for doing that. I think that you’re going to repay Matt just by the correspondence that he’s going to get from all the people that have enjoyed his counseling and his guidance along the way.

Rob Abasolo: All right. So question two, favorite business book.

Sarah Weaver: Yes. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Switch: How to … What is it called? How to Change Things When Change is Hard by brothers Dan and Chip Heath. David, like you mentioned, I love change. I think Rob probably does too. We’re constantly changing locations and changing investing strategies. But it turns out most of the world hates change. I mentioned the DISC behavioral assessment, and 69% of the population is a high S and they absolutely despise change. And so it was really interesting to me, I thrive on change. And I always knew I was really different, but it wasn’t until I read that book that I understood how I could use that to my advantage.

David Greene: Really good. I actually wrote an article for BiggerPockets explaining what the DISC profile is, if anybody here is curious, because we’ve been mentioning it. It’s a behavior profile. If you google DISC in the BiggerPockets search engine, you should be able to find it. And I’ll see if we can throw that in the show notes as well because it would make a lot more sense to what Sarah’s explaining here.

Rob Abasolo: Next one, hobbies. Do you have any hobbies, Sarah? What do you like to do for fun? And you can’t say build an empire, building a real estate empire. No, I’m just kidding. You can say that if you want.

Sarah Weaver: I mean travel has to be my hobby. I’ve tried to pick up other hobbies here and there. And that’s the cool thing about traveling is like I’ve been in a drum circle in Portugal or I’ve been salsa dancing in Guatemala. And so I have picked up hobbies along the way, but hands down travel is my true passion.

David Greene: All right. Question number four. In your opinion, what sets apart successful investors from those who give up, fail, or never get started?

Sarah Weaver: Functioning in the fear. I mentioned it earlier, investing is scary. Being a digital nomad is scary. Heck, just like waking up every day and being a human is scary. And so the absence of fear is not necessary to take action. And so even if you’re scared, you should do it anyway.

Rob Abasolo: Yeah. I love it. Last question here or a little bit more of a statement, it’s not quite a question. So we can still call it the famous four questions by the way, David, because this isn’t a question. All right, number five. Tell us where people can find out more about you.

Sarah Weaver: Absolutely. I have two freebies. I have one for agents and one for investors at sarahdweaver.com/freebies. I’ve also kind of monopolized Sarah D. Weaver, if they want to find me on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.

David Greene: Wonderful. And thank you, Technical Tommy, for pointing that out that that’s technically not a question. That’s very insightful of you. All right, well, Sarah, this has been fantastic. I really appreciate you sharing what you’ve done. I think your story is so cool because it’s equal parts inspiring, warming, practical, and multifaceted. You’ve got multiple streams of income, you have multiple skill sets, but they all flow out of the same passion of real estate. And you’ve made that work with your passion of traveling. So, this is a great example of you don’t have to be a billionaire in real estate to be happy. In fact, sometimes that’s probably worse that if you did become a billionaire, the time you spend worrying about protecting the assets you have is time you can’t spend enjoying the life that you have, and we only get one of them. So thank you very much, Sarah, for coming on here and for sharing that. Is there any particular way that you prefer people to reach out to you?

Sarah Weaver: I love hearing from people on Instagram. And similar to Matt, like really, we put our hearts out there to help people. And my word of the year is connection. And so if anything I’ve said has touched you in any way, I would love to hear from you.

David Greene: Wonderful. That’s great. Rob, what’s your handle?

Rob Abasolo: I’ll reach out to you right after this. My handle on the IG, on the gram, robuilt. You can find me on TikTok if you want to watch me dance. No, I’m just kidding. I don’t dance on TikTok. Robuilt, and of course, you can always smash that sub on YouTube at Robuilt.

David Greene: There you go. And that’s Robuilt with one B, right? You use that-

Rob Abasolo: That’s right.

David Greene: And you get double usage out of it, very efficient with your letters.

Rob Abasolo: It’s a play on words.

David Greene: All right. And I am DavidGreene24. Reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook as well. And then make sure you’re following BiggerPockets. If you’re listening to this as a podcast, please check out the YouTube channel. Subscribe to BiggerPockets YouTube channel and leave us a comment. Tell us what you like about Sarah’s story. This is one of those podcast where you’re going to have a ton of questions, you’re going to want more detail. How do you do it? How do you do this? And luckily, Sarah is the person that will provide that. Whether it comes to travel hacking, getting your credit cards set up, things you need to know about visiting different countries, how to manage your properties from somewhere else, this is the person to talk to. So, please let us know what you liked, what you didn’t like and reach out to any of us. We’re happy to talk. Any last words before we get out of here, guys?

Sarah Weaver: Buying the plane ticket.

Rob Abasolo: I love it. Well, Sarah, I think you’re doing it right. And I very much appreciate you giving us your time today. You’ve convinced some people to do things differently in how they approach investing, so thank you.

Sarah Weaver: Thank you.

David Greene: This is David Greene for Rob “Technical Tommy” Abasolo signing off.

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