The Real Estate Law Podcast

Winning Deals in Heels on Airbnb with Real Estate Investor Nancy Wallace-Laabs

August 09, 2022 Jason Muth + Rory Gill Season 1 Episode 62
The Real Estate Law Podcast
Winning Deals in Heels on Airbnb with Real Estate Investor Nancy Wallace-Laabs
Show Notes Transcript

We're talking about short-term rentals, recession proofing your investing, how to "read" the Airbnb market, and how to pivot to strategies that work with real estate investor, best selling author, national speaker, and real estate coach Nancy Wallace-Laabs.

Nancy is a licensed real estate broker in the state of Texas. She has more than 15 years of real estate investing experience, owns several rental properties, and has been a property manager for more than 12 years in North DFW area.

She has written two books - “Winning Deals in Heels” and “Let Me Ask You This” - and a step-by-step manual called The Profitable Landlord System for anyone who is looking for a straight forward, no nonsense approach to finding, funding, and managing single family properties.

Nancy focuses on learning the real estate strategies for any market, including flipping, wholesaling, owner finance and starting an Airbnb business.  She has also built a private money network to help fund her real estate deals.

In this episode, we spoke extensively about short-term rental investing, some of the successes and troubles that she has encountered with her of investments in Texas.

Hear how Nancy seized an opportunity to cash in on her property in Arizona while taking a massive risk by moving to Texas without her next steps in place. Soon afterward, she found herself in the world of property management after convincing her future business partner to hire her for a month with zero pay in order to learn the business.

Things we discussed in this episode:
- Recession-proofing your short-term rentals
- How Nancy's career in property management has helped scale her short-term rentals
- Why short-term rentals are essentially a customer service business
- The importance of having multiple exit strategies when you purchase a property
- Regulatory risks for short-term rentals and how to plan accordingly
- Why being a good neighbor is key to short-term rental ownership
- VRBO and Airbnb platform tips and tricks
- Having good insurance for your short-term rental
- The humanity behind the bookings, and why people choose to get away

Fun fact - before Nancy's successful career in real estate, she was a blood bank manager, and could talk quite extensively on that subject!

Get in touch with Nancy:
Website - https://www.nancywallacelaabs.com/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/winningdealsinheels
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/nancywallacelaabs
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/kbnhomesllc/
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancywallacelaabs/
Inspire Conference - https://winningdealsinheels.com/

Join Jason Muth and Attorney / Broker Rory Gill of NextHome Titletown and UrbanVillage Legal in Boston, Massachusetts for another episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast!

#realestatepodcast #nexthome #humansoverhouses #realestate #realestateinvesting #realestateinvestor #realestatelaw #realestateagent #financialindependence #financialfreedom #cashflow #investments #quityourjob #passiveincome #airbnb #vrbo #shorttermrentals #womeninrealestate #propertymanagement #strs #strsuccess #womeninvestors #airbnbtips

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Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

What's your exit strategy for that property? If you bought a property that's high end, and you know, it's it's, you know, now it's not no one's going, it's $800 $900 $1,000 a night. Now the market has shifted or it got saturated, because that's the other thing and think about all your competition, then what's your exit strategy with that property? So, for me, personally, I am very conservative.

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Jason Muth:

Welcome to another episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast, we're super excited to be speaking today with an awesome guest, we're going to talk about lots of short term rentals and recession proofing your investments, you know, the markets turning a lot these days, mostly down, we want it to go back up. And I think that our guest, Nancy Wallace-Laabs has a lot of ideas as to how to help with that. We're also going to learn about the conference that she's putting on, it's specifically for real estate investing. And it's geared toward women. And we can't wait to hear more about that conference. And I want to welcome Nancy to the podcast. Nancy, it's been a long time coming. We've been trying to have this recording for a long, long time. So thank you for for bearing with us and working with our schedule changes. That's all been on us. So finally.

Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

Thanks for having me. I'm excited and you know, getting through COVID and, you know, whatever else, you know, life throws at us, you just got to kind of go with the flow, right?

Jason Muth:

That is our mantra these days here in 2022, right? We're with Rory Gill attorney with UrbanVillage Legal and a real estate broker in Boston. NextHome Titletown Real Estate.

Rory Gill:

Hey, Jason, I'm excited for this wide-ranging conversation with Nancy.

Jason Muth:

I threw in a little howdy there because Nancy, you're in Texas, right?

Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

I am in and it's blazing hot here. It's like we are in a heat of the grip of a heatwave. And we're just praying that none of our grids give out you know, because I'd rather be cold and throw wood on the fireplace than be hot and have no AC so..

Rory Gill:

Well then you should come up here to New England sometime. We'd love to have you.

Jason Muth:

We recorded an episode a while back with amazing attorney named Galen Hair. And he was talking about the grid in in Texas and when it failed, what happened because a lot of that was unexpected. But you know, he was talking about how a lot of the insurance claims were denied because of.. what was the issue. Rory?

Rory Gill:

Wasn't included that people didn't have riders and endorsements on their policies for for that eventuality.

Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

Yeah, that'll be our topic of short term rentals. That's one of the things I harp about is the right insurance because I actually had a short term rental that got hit by the grid failure. A pipe broke and basically flooded half of my short term rental.

Rory Gill:

Yeah, so I kind of want to start there a little bit and give a little bit of background to your experience. So you mean you're a real estate investor, you're in short term rentals, but give us a quick little orientation about yourself and where you fit into real estate.

Unknown:

OK, so I'm a real estate broker here in Texas and I started my journey started in Phoenix, Arizona, when the market was going crazy back then. And my husband and I saw an opportunity not in real estate, we just said, Hey, we're taking the money and running. We sold our home moved to Texas, and I had always had an interest in real estate investing, you know, watch a lot of HGTV. And then I was fortunate enough to find someone who mentored me. And I ended up getting into property management, I bought my first rental. And that was almost 20 years ago, and I had a property management company short for long term rentals. And I did that for quite a while. And then in 2018, we flipped over to short term rentals because the market. So I feel that one of my strengths is really reading the market when things start to change and things like that. And I think my background in property management has helped me because you got to be super. And there's a certain way you have to handle people and complaints and things like that. So I think that helped me with my career in short term rentals.

Jason Muth:

Yeah. We were talking before we hit record about short term rentals and customer service. I mean, it really is a customer service business, isn't it?

Unknown:

It is. We were talking about all the different ways people can get discouraged. So a couple things to the audience

Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

Yeah, that's a great way to think number one, when you first start with short term rentals, don't go to Facebook and start reading all the bad comments. Anything about it. And I with the short term rentals, I think it's a in real estate investing, you have to do your due diligence. So when I work with people that want to get into short term rentals, the first thing you know not every property makes a great first step for a lot of people who otherwise may not be good short term rental just because you have a three bedroom or five bedroom and it doesn't mean it should. There's so many more things that goes into just having a short term rental, and able to break into the market, because part of the trade off is it's a hot topic right now. I do a lot of speaking about how to get started operating management of short term rentals. So I think people just have to be cognizant that, yes, it's great. you're doing a lot more work to squeeze out that cash flow out It's a great way to get into real estate investing now. But then, you know, someday that bubble's gonna bust just like it always does. And then what's your exit strategy for that property? If you bought a property that's high end, you of a property. So it's a great first step. And also, if likely know, now it's not no one's going, it's $800 $900 $1,000 a night. Now the market has shifted, or it got saturated, because that's the other thing and think about all your to completely succeed or completely fail, there's such a competition, then what's your exit strategy with that property? So for me, personally, I am very conservative when I buy properties, and I usually keep it under, you know, $275 middle ground in there with short term rentals. With a long $250, regardless of what I'm buying, because no matter what I can always turn it into something, you know, a short term rental a long-term rental, an owner finance property, and term rental, you could sit with the vacancy for six months or that kind of just goes into like, I'm always looking for, like, you need to have at least two exit strategies every time you buy a property, and that keeps your portfolio strong. something, if you just can't find a tenant to take the space,

Unknown:

Well, and also just on that with the tenants, a lot of but with the short term rental, you might have a higher vacancy rate than you want, but that's still a lot better than zero. people, you know, it's great to, you know, know how to do the due diligence and get that long term rental, but they don't know how to screen for the right tenants, you know, so then they get a tenant in there for 6-12 months that hasn't paid rent. And, you know, a lot of landlords learned some hard lessons with, you know, COVID, you know, we were talking how COVID is kind of put a bad taste in landlords mouth because a lot of tenants didn't have to pay rent during COVID. And I thought it was interesting that the payments, were going to the tenant and not the landlord, you know what I mean? And you would, and you couldn't evict them. So, you know, kind of a double edged sword there, you know, for I think it really affected landlords that had 10 or less properties, because the banks weren't saying don't pay. Right? I missed that memo.

Jason Muth:

I missed that one, too.

Unknown:

Yeah, so I thought that's very interesting that you can't evict a non-paying tenant, but you know, and then if they did try to take a forbearance, then they're just upside down. I mean, it just didn't seem very favorable to the landlord. So, and that was unfortunate. And really, I don't think anybody could have predicted that, you know, when we're talking about recession proofing and that kind of things.

Jason Muth:

You know, the past two years, there's been a lot that people couldn't have predicted, you know, and we were saying one of our short term rentals is in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which is on the tip of Cape Cod. It's a vacation destination, the summer population swells to like 60,000 people per day and the you know, full time residency is about 4,000 a day in the offseason. It's a beautiful little town. And when COVID hit, we couldn't rent, we weren't allowed to the town kind of put a moratorium to that plus people weren't traveling and our calendar went totally unbooked until things came back. And then we basically took whatever rentals we can get and made it through the year. Then the next year was the absolute best year that we had period. And it just kind of keeps going up from there. Yeah. Yeah. But, you know, no one could have predicted that. I mean, like, I think that if it was, you know, short of a global pandemic, like, you know, the popularity would just continue to rise. And sure enough, that's what happened. We had a global pandemic.

Unknown:

I think it's a good lesson for all of us, though, because you always kind of have to be prepared, right. So you know, having cash reserves, having, you know, an exit strategy, maybe not that, you know, gotten you through two years. But I think when you look at short term rentals, especially what we've been through, and people don't want to lose their properties, but you know, like kind of recession proof where people go. So we tend to buy kind of close to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I've never ventured outside the state mostly because A, I don't have trusted boots on the ground, you know, where I'm going to go buy short term rental and that kind of thing. So I'm going to kind of focus in my own backyard. But Dallas-Fort Worth, I mean, even Dallas County, they kept lockdowns a lot longer than some of the other counties around. Got a letter from our HOA, and basically, in this is in my own neighborhood saying you can't do short term rentals. I don't know if people were doing short term rentals. But it seems like there's more spotlight on short term rentals. And so you know, you have the party houses or whatnot, then complaints and neighborhoods kinda get shut down. I mean, like, look at some of the areas in California, you know, they've made legislation to say you can't do short term rentals and that affects people's livelihoods. I'm a kind of against that. So I don't really have any, you know, legal ease because that's Rory's department about how to fight that, but it seems that they shouldn't be able to do that, that you should have, you know, like maybe an association of short term rental people in a name neighborhood that can be representative. And I'm not saying I want to live next door to a party house. But I have short term rentals. I'm a good host. And I think if we promote good hosts, and not bad party houses, then I think that's what we're neighbors get upset about

Rory Gill:

The right response in mind for a short term rental investor. And that's to have multiple exit strategies or investment strategies, because the regulatory risk is there. You know, there are places that are used to short term rentals. And it's nothing new Airbnb VRBO might just be a platform that's relatively new in these places, but they've been rent short term rentals in the lakes for decades. But places like you know, in the City of Boston, there's a housing shortage. So the city more or less banned Airbnbs. They didn't ban it, but they regulated to the point of making it unfeasible for most people to do it there. But you're going to have a huge patchwork of these regulations, and they can change quickly. So having that second or third use for property, knowing what your short term rental would look like as a long term rental. If you had to sell it, what's the what's your equity, and capital growth in that property? And kind of always be mindful that because you may have to turn quickly to an alternative strategy.

Unknown:

Exactly, exactly. And I agree, because I think in Texas, that we're seeing a huge shortage of affordable housing. And so then that kind of points out the, you know, more and more people are doing more and more short term rentals, and that kind of thing. So I totally agree. So I try to be you know, the best host I can be. I don't go knocking on my neighbor's doors. But by the same token, I don't have them knocking on my door either. So my goal is that they don't even know it's a short term rental, so.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, I think the cat's out of the bag for us, frankly, in New Hampshire, because we've started to notice a couple others pop up around the lake that we're on, because people are seeing the success that we've been having. And you know, not like we hide it, but we certainly don't talk about it unless we're asked. Like, we're not out there pounding our chest that we're doing a lot of short term rentals. And frankly, we do use the rentals here in New Hampshire, I say rentals, because we're sitting in one of them right now that we're hoping to hit the market soon. But it hasn't hit the market for a couple different reasons, we'll go into that in a whole different podcast. But we do have the one next door that's doing fantastically, and that's one that we got in 2016. And our neighbors are our boots on the ground, they're our eyes. And you know, we try to be really good neighbors, we share resources with them. And it helps that some of the neighbors that you know, tidy up place, they also rent, other places themselves. Like they're not, they don't do short term rentals, they might because they're seeing that we're doing well with it. But they have long term renters and other places around this specific lake, as Rory mentioned, they have rented for decades, I mean to people, whether it's a 12 month rental or summer rentals. So we just happen to be in a community that we think hits all all the right buttons. Like number one, it's appreciating. So we have another exit strategy, if we need it. Number two, people live here year round. So if we do need to turn it to a 12 month rental, we can easily do that. And number three, there's a culture of short rentals here anyway. So it's like, I think as long as we're good hosts and good neighbors and talking to people and participate in the community. I think we're okay. But you know, that's our thought

Unknown:

You know, I'm actually in a lake community as well. here. We've had great success, it's about 90 minutes, it's Granbury, Texas, it's about 90 minutes from the Dallas Fort Worth area. We decided to become part of the they actually have an association for the Airbnbs to get active in it. And one of the things about the regulations and restrictions because they're, you know, now well, I say like, there's probably about 300-ish in the community. And the town itself has maybe about seven, 7,800 populace, but it's a huge tourist area. Well, we decided to become involved in the association so that we could get to know, the council members, you know, because I think it's good to have the relationships, build the relationships. So with things, you know, they do want to regulate it to some degree. But I think if they get to know you, as a person, you know that they see that you run a great business. In our case, the town itself doesn't have the infrastructure. So they kind of have a moratorium right now on building more hotels. So the town relies on the short term rentals, because they do a wonderful, awesome job of tourism, and they get people there. But if you get people to your town, you need to make sure that you have a place to stay. So that's kind of where we all come in. And so that's been really good. You know, I wanted to circle back to this really quick about when we first opened up about the, you know, the Texas grid, you know, I mentioned it was really hot here. And then we talked about the winter storm, because one of the things I talked to people about is getting the right insurance, people that had said that they got the wrong or they were denied. So in our case, we weren't denied but I think one of the things that we did number one, we really there's only a few carriers here in Texas that handle short term rental insurance. So you know, we disclose that that's what we were doing because I know some people didn't disclose that and they got to deny, you know, when it came to damage claims, and then we worked with a public adjuster. The insurance companies were overwhelmed and when I I called them on February 19. So we had a pipe burst, I tried to get down there, you know, long story. But anyway, when I called the insurance company, they were so overwhelmed, and they probably knew what was going to happen and they wanted to settle for like, $5,000, that's not going to cut it. The claim was around $50,000. You know what I mean. But I don't think that I would have been successful getting them to pay that. And I needed to actually have a public adjuster work with me to work with the they're like the go between, you know, with the insurance company. And so he was able to probably be more successful on the claim than I ever would. So I think people need to kind of reach out to someone like that, because I think that helps them when they have to file especially a huge client,

Jason Muth:

What's the fee to hire a public adjuster?

Unknown:

So they get 10%, of whatever your claim is, you know what I mean? So they're just paid out of the proceeds of the insurance. And in our case, that was well worth it, it was well worth it, because we would have had to go back and forth. I'm not the insurance company there that we've had him for a really long time. But let's just say it was, you know, they would send a guy out with a clipboard, and I usually had more knowledge about what it costs. And remember, during that time, wood and all the materials were going up, up, up. So what they wanted to pay, you know, was not anywhere near and we had in our policy replacement, they were required to do the replacement. And so we really had to kind of fight for that. And we just didn't I mean, it took a while that that happened, I filed the claim on February 19. We didn't get our property up and ready again until the end of August. Now, the good thing about that is we did have loss of use, which everyone needs to have that in their rental policy. So if they don't know what I'm talking about, they need to call their insurance guy or gal and if they don't know what it's about, you need to find another person. Yeah, so we were covered, because we actually had the property, you know, rented out as a short term rental.

Jason Muth:

Yeah. And the loss of use covered some of the rental income that you would have had lost.

Unknown:

Yeah, it covered all of it for the time period, because we actually had it, we had bookings starting in March, all the way through the end of May, and then June and July meeting. So we couldn't it was still in such a disarray. We couldn't rent it. We just documented it and sent it down.

Jason Muth:

Now what happens - do you rent on Airbnb and VRBO? Or what platforms do you use,

Unknown:

So we use all of the platforms, but I also am moving towards direct bookings. So I don't rely just on Airbnb and VRBO when they you know, make changes to their platform. So you know, you can't do that overnight, you have to move towards it. But yes, we do that. So in but in the case of we had one of our because it's a smaller town, we know a lot of people that own stuff there - restaurants, bars, and things like that. So they actually had some relatives that were coming in, you know, for the there was a venue. And so we had two have our longer, you know, like they were weeks, and we actually have a rental agreement that had already been in. So that's what we use for the insurance company.

Jason Muth:

In working with the platforms and like our properties are just on those two platforms. We're really happy with them. But you know, you mentioned changes the platforms. I know that Airbnb just reclassified a lot of their properties. And there are a lot of people grumbling about no longer being we haven't seen the effects of that yet, because our calendars is pretty fully booked in the months it would normally be booked now like our fall doesn't really book up in the winter is booked up until later on in the year. But like, I don't know how that's gonna affect us, because we're already fully booked. But what did those platforms how do they react to you when you said that you had to cancel bookings that because your property had damage? You know, I know that they don't like that. But I mean, is that a phone call that you make to them? And you explain what's going on?

Unknown:

Well, fortunately, what happened was the first two bookings that we had, were through were a direct booking, right? So then when May came we hadn't because people hadn't booked for June and July, I just halted the calendar, so no one could but we never actually had cancellations, except for the two one was doing like two months and the other one was doing like three weeks. So we just contacted them and let them know what was happening directly but they were direct books which was nice. And as far as you know, the Airbnb changes. I personally haven't noticed anything. We've been steadily booked our market. I could be wrong. But for me personally, what's happening is people are booking like same day or next week or you know, maybe a couple, two, three weeks, they're not booking like really really far out. You know, I mean, they're, you know, and we're summertime here and one of our houses has a pool, so pick it that one is booked all through July so that's probably the furthest it's ever been booked. It's it's fairly new to the portfolio. But one of the things that I noticed about Airbnb not so much on VRBO but I don't know how I'm not a person. Yeah, I don't understand their algorithms. I do know if I feel like it's slow. Then I go in and I do things like you know, move the pictures around or you know, snooze it for like a day or maybe just two or three hours. The other thing I noticed is my cancellation policy. So I have a very, I have the not the most relaxed, but a pretty relaxed cancellation policy because as a traveler, you know, things come up and I don't want to have to be responsible for, you know, a week or whatever. So I had it they canceled within I think it's the 48 hour one. Anyway, I have found that when the property's been booked, and then someone not me, but someone else cancelled. I generally get that property rebooked within 24-48 hours. Something about the algorithm - now that's only on Airbnb that I've noticed that but I think somehow when it's snoozed, or it's been taken off, and then it puts back on, somehow Airbnb goes, Oh, look, it's a new listing. I don't know how I have no data to back it up. I'm just saying, Get a cancellation one day, get it booked the next. Oh, and I also increase the prices when that happens.

Jason Muth:

Yep, me too. You sound like you're the voice in my head also with everything you just said right there. And, you know, I think one one good lesson is that both those are two of the big platforms, right? Like Airbnb VRBO. A lot of people just talk about Airbnb as the category, I strongly recommend VRBO also, but every market is different. Like I can assure you every market is different. Like here in New Hampshire, we get a lot of VRBO bookings in the summertime far in advance. Whereas in Provincetown, I get a lot of Airbnb bookings far in advance and closer to it. So it's like, I have to have visibility on both platforms. And I have to pay attention to what's happening on both platforms. It's a little bit extra work. And there's a couple systems out there that I'm investigating that we know should help automate things, whether it's messaging or integration and whatnot. I have heard that if you make adjustments to your profiles, like even if you just change a word, add a period, delete a photo, add a photo, whatever it is it like, it triggers the fact that it's been updated, like because just like search engine optimization, like Google wants you to be paying attention, they don't want you to set it and forget it, and then come back eight months later, they want people that are actively working.

Unknown:

And I'll go in and just another little trick for the audience is I'll go in and I'll adjust by day, so maybe I'll make a Tuesday, you know, $50, lower, and then I'll and then I'll make the weekend. $50 higher, and that seems to work too. And I think it is just the, the changing. And then I would also and we've talked about this on the platforms where people have really strict cancellation policies. And again, for me, that doesn't work. So yeah, as a traveler, so I tried to kind of say, okay, if I'm looking for a place to book - I'm pet friendly, you know, kid friendly to, you know, you just make your properties because people say, Well, how do you do that? I'm like, yeah, just do it. In the house.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, we just recarpeted next door, like fully recarpeted. Because we bought it, we said we're going to fully recarpet at some point in the future when I'm just tired of carpet cleaning. And it wasn't not conducive to lots of pets next door, it was light carpeting and everything. So we put in some carpeting. That was really actually it's nice carpeting. I love the carpeting. And it hides any issues that might happen. Like it's kind of a speckled color and whatnot, we just put it in. So hopefully it'll endure over time.

Unknown:

But and I'm not saying you know, we have area rugs. So we do, Texas, we either have tile, we have vinyl plank that I say make your make your properties. Because if you go and you do a search, you'll find that a lot of hosts are not pet friendly. And people love to travel with their pets. I'm one of them. So there's ways and then we have people love it, because we'll leave stuff for the dog. You know what I mean? Like there's pet pads that we have there's, you know that you put on the furniture, dog bowls, and they love it that you make their dogs feel at home. Now we're not a cat. We don't do cats, we just do dogs.

Jason Muth:

We're the same thing.

Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

You know, but cats are and I have a cat, you know what I mean? But yeah, there's so many little tips and tricks that you can do to really be yes, you can buy a property, stick it on Airbnb walk away, and you'll probably make some money, you know what I mean? But there's so many little tricks that you can do to make even more money. And we do use a platform, I use Hospitable. I like them. They don't have a way to do direct booking, they're moving towards it. But that's okay. I'm still building my book of business, if you will, for direct booking. But I like their automated messages. It's pretty simple. And again, I'm not a techy person. So some of the platform I know there's other platforms that do a whole lot more. They were just a little more involved than I wanted to go.

Jason Muth:

Hospitable is the one that is I have the browser tab open. It's been open for like two weeks like as my way of saying, continue looking at this, I need to assure myself that they can offer something above and beyond what we're already doing, because I feel like a lot of what they offer we're already doing so we'll investigate a little bit more once we get the third and fourth properties online. But go back to pets. I mean, people get so nervous about pets, but like

Unknown:

We you know our pet fee is $200 We have a maximum of two pets. You know now we're not talking about service animals. That's a whole different podcast. So this is your actual pets. And so we'll just say you want to bring one dog I have had people they'll ask me, Well, I let them have three dogs. And I'll just say, Well, what kind of dogs are they? You know, there were three little dogs. So whether they have one dog or two dogs, I'll still charge the $200 pet fee. And what to do with that money is I put it in like a separate account, like not a separate account, but it's like a separate category. So I use that if I ever have damages or extra cleaning, and so far that's just been piling up. It's not really I haven't had any extra cleaning. But I think it's also number one, the furniture, you know, we pet proof the house so to speak. There's these great pet pads that you can buy on Amazon. And they're not pet pads like they pee on. That's not what I'm talking about. They're furniture covers, but they don't look like furniture covers. They're specifically for pets. We do make sure we have a pet area outside we provide the little you know, doggie poop bags, bowls, we let in our welcome book. We'll give them the emergency vet number because you never know when something happens. And one of my guests, oh, this is so sad. I didn't know this. I was in one of our partners just doing some, you know, refurbishing? We have our guests on a guestbook. You know, like, tell us what you did love to hear from us. And while they were at our house, they had to put their dog down. Yeah, so sad. But I didn't know that till after they had left. And I mean, it was like a couple of weeks, because I don't go to the properties I was reading, you know what people said? And I was like, Oh, my gosh, so I reached out and called the lady - I am so sorry. She goes no, we just loved your house. I mean, because her that was the last place her dog was that. Yeah, because a lot of times we talk about people getting vacation away. And I never thought about this before. But right before Mother's Day, I had a couple reach out to me to, you know, book, one of our properties. And it turns out that her and her husband were just looking for a restful weekend because their four year old son had gone through, he was either two or four had gone through a terrible illness, which ultimately ended in the child dying. They were just wanting to get away. So I mean, the story was so heartbreaking. I was like, and I felt honored that they would come to my house and feel rested. And, you know, kind of recharging is what she put it. But if you think about it, if they go to a hotel, then they know, you know in their mind, they know that they're away. But if they come to a house doesn't have any personal pictures, it's just a place where they can relax. So you know, we're providing, you know, just not a vacation getaway. But places where people can recharge their batteries and reconnect as a family. That was kind of really eye opening for me. I feel really like I felt very honored that they chose my house.

Jason Muth:

People go away to homes with other family members and extended members of their family and they create memories at your house, I'm sure there's hundreds of people that have photos in your house on their phones. You know, I probably love to see some of the ones that were taken at our place next door. Probably some I don't want to look at but

Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

Right?

Jason Muth:

Right but they've made memories at your property. And it sounds like you've created a one lesson I'm taking from what you're saying is it creating such a warm and welcoming environment. And you know, it adds a little more humanity behind the real estate and I feel as though the finances will come. I mean, like there's a limit as to how much you have to do to the property like you're certainly not going to put in some things that are just you're not going to make your money back on it. But Rory and I have done is all the ones that we're doing, we want to stay in ourselves. We do stay in ourselves. And we want it to have all the creature comforts when we're there like the mattresses that we're putting in now. Like the first round of everything was kind of just get it going with the second round was no no I found a mattress that I like sleeping on so I'm going to get that in all of our places and it's not the cheapest mattress, you know, like Nora on Wayfair and we like Tuft & Needle and tufted needle is like you know the king is like $1,300 bucks I'd rather get that in there because I like sleeping on it. And I'm guessing other people are gonna want to sleep on it too.

Unknown:

I totally agree with that because this little house I was talking about we had a 1031 exchange that we just had to buy a property so we bought this house and we're like maybe I'll make a good Airbnb it's not in like the best location it's you know, it's just a three bedroom to make a good long term rental but we thought well what the heck we'll try it right because it was close to this historic downtown area. And we've furnished everything in it from Facebook Marketplace except for we went out and got really nice mattresses and that house has and then we did invest in a hot tub because it had an area patio cover. That little house has been a moneymaker. Like I didn't have professional and in the beginning I didn't even have professional photos did I just you know clipped him but I think it was just the way we brought it all together and it looks homey. You know what I mean? It's not like I went out and bought all this new furniture and they just kind of blew me away. So then we said okay, we're gonna get professional photographs and everything. Raise the price and we're off and running.

Rory Gill:

In those homes that are not always in the best area also work out great sometimes because you never know why people are traveling everybody in understands, you know, if people are traveling to the marquee beach, that they're going, they're on vacation, and that's what they want to do. But they're all these communities that are underserved by hotels, people need to come and stay close to family, they need to attend a work event, they just want to meet up with family and friends they haven't seen in a while. There are many reasons why people travel. And you're sometimes surprised by you know, what communities actually turn out to be good short term rental.

Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

Exactly.

Jason Muth:

Tell us a little bit about this conference that you're putting on, because I'm sure going to talk about short term rentals at this conference. And we could probably go on for another five hours about short term rentals. But I want, I got to hear about the conference. So because this episode is going to be coming out just a few weeks before you put the conference on. And I want to hear how it came together while you're doing it, what you expect from it, and how people can find their way to the conference.

Unknown:

All right, thank you so much. So it's called the Inspire Conference. And we targeted women who wanted to get into real estate investing, or take their real estate investing to the next level. If you've been out there on Facebook, ever, a lot of the conferences are men dominated, so to speak. I've been to a lot of conferences and I have been on stage a few times. But generally, the people who are on stage are not the women that you want to hear from I mean, they're usually like no offense attorneys or marketing people, but they don't really get into the nitty gritty of how to structure an owner finance deal, or how to, you know, really get into the short term route business. So I have been, when I wrote my book, Winning Deals in Heels, that was really kind of a way to start showcasing some of the very successful real estate women that I know here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. And then you know, I've been successful in Meetups and women are hungry to get this information. They want a place that can be they can build, you know, relationships, they can feel confident, you know what they're going to be learning, it's like a safety net, right? A lot of women that want to get into real estate, if their husband doesn't support them, or their partner, you know, they're just they want to do it, but they need hand holding, they need someone that is gonna say, Okay, this is exactly how you do a short term rental. Not only we're going to talk about short term rentals, we're going to go through the exact process of how you rehab a house, not just about let's compare the numbers and everything, but how do you go about a making sure that you know, you know how to interview a contractor and what to say, to make sure that they do the work that they're supposed to do? We're going to go into owner financing, we're going to go into the recession proof, which I know we're gonna talk a little bit about, but just how to read any market how to make money in any real estate market, how to generate the leads, how to feel when you find a deal, how do you tell if it's really a deal. So there's not anything that we're not going to cover? I mean it's a two day intense, hands on conference that when you walk away, you're going to know exactly how to implement the tools and the processes and the systems to get your business starting or scaling.

Jason Muth:

Where is it?

Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

It's going to be in Granbury, Texas on September 15, and 16th. And we're having a kind of celebratory exit dinner Saturday at one of my Airbnbs, we have an amazing keynote speaker named Abby Reich, she's been on The Biggest Loser, she has an amazing story of inspiration, the city of Granbury is actually giving us a kick off the day of and the cost of the conference does include the meals except for Friday night, but everything else we're going to feed you. And then we got an awesome deal at a local hotel there. So we're going to take care of everybody. We have a videographer coming, that's going to film the whole thing. So every one will be able to get you know, copies of the conference itself and the speakers. And then they'll also be able to really network one on one with every single one of the speakers. So it's very, we want to just invite the women however, guys, you know, if you want to come, what we're going to do is say, okay, we've got other activities for you. So my husband, Brian is actually you know, he's going to be taking out some fishing buds and golfing. And so we got some other activities for the men. But this is really focused on women learning about the systems and the processes and the tools they need to be successful real estate investors, like the four of us that are giving the conference.

Jason Muth:

I also think it's important for a support network to support people that are doing this real estate journey. I mean, like it is not easy to do on your own. I mean, we've had many people on this podcast before that have talked about the importance of your network, the importance of building a great strong network of people, whether they're contractors or whether they just support people, your family members, your spouse, you know, like that they are with you on the journey. So I'm glad you've invited the men along with the partners along even if they're not coming to the sessions, because they're going to be the ones that are talking back in the hotel room afterward or on the way to the conference about what what's learned.

Unknown:

Yeah, we wanted to be inclusive. And the reason we focused on women is it just seems like there's a real need there for the education, the support systems and also having a networking group of women like minded that we all think about the same things that we you know, cause sometimes women are a little bit different in the way we think about how we approach business and things like that. So it's kind of that approach that's maybe a little bit different than men.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, the Airbnb that we're in right now you see all the stenciling. Behind me, I have women in mind for this property. Like I actually want this to look so humming on Tiktok and Instagram, and I want women to look at it and say, that's going to be the cutest cabin, honey, let's go up to that place. So we're trying to appeal to women. I think it's super important that women are involved in this industry. We have a lot of women on this podcast as well, because we just need to hear lots of varying voices. I couldn't agree more. Rory, how many times we go to networking events, and it's all dudes, right?

Rory Gill:

Yeah, the real estate investor community - two minds. I mean, on one hand is very meritocratic, in that it invites people in from all walks of life. And if you're willing to do the work and take the risks and learn, you can be successful. It's also very cooperative. You know, we look out and we people are willing to trade, their insights, their knowledge, their experience with everybody else. But at the same time, when you do go look at the other networking events, men are overrepresented, and just the difference the spaces that we've seen, that something needs to, to be done to make sure that, you know, despite the strengths of the real estate investor community there think there's room for improvement and how we invite everybody into it.

Unknown:

Yeah, and I think that, you know, as an older female, I can say this, you know, that it's really hard to find, especially if you're starting out, you know, I was not in my 20s when I started real estate investing. And so, you know, sometimes when you want to start you might be a little bit later in life, you might think, Oh, I'm late to the game, but you have a lot of fear, as well. Fear that you don't want to lose the money that you already have, that you've worked all your life, you know, kind of have fear of the future to like, unknown. And I think that's why it's important for women to build this safety net, so they feel confident and secure. And they can ask any question they can bring, you know, any deal any, you know, sometimes we think it's a deal. And then we all kind of walk through and like, now, that's not really a deal. But there is a way to monetize leads, which is different than you know, do I have a deal? It's like, well, you know, you might have a good lead, maybe deal for short term rental, but maybe it's a deal for another time. And when you're starting out or even trying to scale, there's no way you can know every how to even determine what you should do with a property. There's just no way when you're first starting out, or there's too much to learn. Because I always tell people, you know, get really good at one strategy. And then move to the next one, add it to your portfolio.

Jason Muth:

I mean, these are amazing words, I'm sure you're going to hear more of at the conference also. And we will make sure that we link up your website along with the Inspire Conference in the show notes for this so everyone can go purchase tickets and learn more from Nancy.

Unknown:

Yeah, that would be great. And it's winningdealsinheels.com that they can find the conference,

Jason Muth:

Winning Deals in Heels. That's great. Is that your book too? That's the name of the title?

Unknown:

Yeah, name of the book. And I want to say this one more thing about the conference because we want to inspire women, my book Winning Deals in Heels and also the Inspire Conference - proceeds of conference and the book benefit nonprofit here in Plano, Texas called Hope's Door. And what they do is they help families heal from domestic violence. They have a resale shop, they help you know, they help people move ahead. And I think it's important, you know, because as a woman, I love giving back to my community. I think what as you reach a certain level of success, or whether you don't, you should always give back and help your fellow man, fellow woman.

Jason Muth:

Well, we're building up a nice library of guests who are female who are doing awesome things in real estate. We spoke with Natalie Palmer, who was an Airbnb coach, many, many months ago, we spoke with Sabrina Osso who has a solution to keep people safe in their homes and their domiciles, free from domestic violence and any kind of situations that are ugly that happen in all of our residences. We spoke a couple episodes ago with Sam Riccio and her husband and she is a licensed GC in Boston, and she is just killing it with renovations. Now we're speaking with you, Nancy, you know, who's doing some great things for women of all ages also. And you mentioned something about, you know, you're never too young to start doing this. I started doing real estate investing in my 40s also, you know, and you're never too young to do it. I totally get the whole fear. Never too young that's right. Right. Never too old. either. I get the fear. You know, you've earned all this money, and you want to make sure you don't lose it. But the flip side to our story is we parlayed the money that we earned, and it accelerated. I mean, we've just may be lucky that we made some good bets. But we've also been smart. But the acceleration over the past couple of years has been nothing like I'd seen in the previous years. And that's kind of the power of real estate investing as long as you do it the right way. You catch a little bit of luck. You're good at it. You build systems, you talk to people like Nancy and others. I think it's a homerun. So why don't we get into our final questions, and then we'll wrap things up here. Nancy, how's that sound? All right. We ask the same three questions of all of our guests here on the podcast. We'd love to hear your responses. The first one I bet you you're going to be able to answer very easily number one, if you can get onstage for half hour and talk with no preparation about any subject in the world, what would it be?

Unknown:

Okay, I'm gonna go with blood bank management. I used to be a blood bank manager. And I have traveled all over the US and Canada and England, helping blood banks become more efficient and collecting blood from their donors and hospitals. And I could spend another five hours talking about that. But that's what I used to do in my former career before I became a real estate investor. I've actually been my first publication was in a magazine called Transfusion Medicine. It happened after 9-11. Myself, I was in Phoenix, Arizona at the time, and my counterpart in San Francisco, we were asked to do a first time donor study, because after 9-11, a lot of people came out and donated. But unfortunately, they couldn't use the blood and they had to tell people to stop. Well, the higher ups wanted to know what kind of made people want to donate the first time. So over the course of a year, we each had 3,000 new blood donors, and we put them in a group and we said, Okay, is it a t shirt? Is it just, you know, the feeling good part. And then after we did all the data, we gave it to them, because remember, I'm not a data person or techie person, we gave it all to the doctors. And that was published in Transfusion Medicine, whatever year that was.

Jason Muth:

Rory, did you let your Transfusion Medicine subscription lapse? Because I don't think I saw that.

Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

I have a copy somewhere in a box. Because I was like, Well, how many times am I going to be in transit medicine? So I would talk about what that career was like as a blood bank consultant.

Jason Muth:

We've never heard that before. No one has talked about that on this podcast.

Rory Gill:

Yeah that's a first for us.

Jason Muth:

Congratulations for being unique. Our second question is tell us something that happened early in your life or career that impacts the way that you're working today.

Unknown:

So I would have to say, when we got into real estate investing was back in 2005, eight, whatever the market crash was going on. And then at the time we had been living in I was not in real estate, I was a blood bank management consultant. And we'd been living in our house for about eight years. Well, in our neighborhood, we lived in Gilbert, Arizona, which was at the time, one of the fastest growing cities in America. We saw these houses selling for a lot of money. My husband and I said, Hey, you know, we were not in our 20s. And I said, When can we have that kind of money? And we literally quit our jobs, sold our house in three weeks and moved to Texas. And that is how my real estate career it wasn't that I was so smart about real estate. It's like I saw an opportunity. And I said, we're going to take it and I said, we're smart. If it all else, we'll have this mind. But we're smart, we can get jobs anywhere. And I had no idea that that would lead me into a real estate investing career. And my first job, if you will, because I really wanted to get into it. I, the lady I told you about that. I wanted to mentor me. She made me read the book, Gary Keller's book, How to Become a Millionaire Real Estate Investor. And I read that like in a back to her. Let me buy my first property. I said, Okay, I'm gonna come and work for you because I want to learn how to be a property manager. And she wouldn't hire me because I don't have experience. Okay, I've been all over the everywhere. I just said I was a blood bank management consultant, she wouldn't hire me. And so I talked her into hiring me for one month with no pay. I told her that it'll be well worth it. And that's what she did. And we went on to become partners on in a property management company.

Jason Muth:

So many lessons there. I mean, one of them is if you see an opportunity, go take it. And that's one of the differences between people that just never get started. And the people that are just, you know, off on their way,

Unknown:

Especially my husband, I mean, it's not like we're risky people. And I mean, butterflies, we probably had butterflies in our stomach. I mean, just to quit our jobs. I mean, we literally quit our jobs and moved, sold our house in three weeks came to Texas, it was crazy, craziest, three weeks of my life.

Jason Muth:

It's something that a lot of people listening to this are also saying, how do I have the courage to do that? hearing stories like yours, hopefully will give people you know, that added emphasis to why it's a good idea, you know, to take that risk.

Unknown:

fear because we had fear. I mean, we you know, it's not like we're sitting here, you know, we had a lot of fear about oh my gosh, are we doing the right thing? People thought we were crazy. I mean, we both had really good jobs at the time. I can't even - my family thought I was crazy. Our friends thought we were crazy. I just say who's laughing now?

Jason Muth:

No regrets! Our final question for you tell us something that you're listening to watching or reading these days.

Nancy Wallace-Laabs:

Okay, so I love Brendon Bouchard. He was kind of new to me, and I find him very motivational. I listen to his podcast. He does. He has a lot of inspirational podcasts but he also is a great marketeer. And some of the things he talks about about you know, like, if you're trying to brand yourself, get yourself out there. You know, I just love his energy. So I listen to him.

Jason Muth:

We will check out Brendan, I'm not familiar with him.

Unknown:

The Direct Playbook. That's how to get direct bookings for your short term rentals.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, that's something we have to work on a little bit here. You know, I do have a strategy actually since we have one and a second one coming in line, where we already have built up a database of basically six years of rentals is that I can go back to some of them and talk about the new properties. Not sure if I could do it on Airbnb, you know, they really lock that platform down. But you know, that's something that I'm going to kind of get my head around. But you know, direct bookings, great way to save money for your guests save money for yourself.

Unknown:

And if you have great guests, you can invite them back. So here's a little tip about accelerate that. So in our short term rentals, we have registration cards that we ask people to fill out, remember that guest book I was telling you about? So it has all their contact info.

Jason Muth:

Oh what a great idea. I've always shied away from the guest book, because I didn't want people reading through any issues that might have happened in the past. That was my mindset with it.

Unknown:

Oh, but you know what, I think because it's a fun, it's like, you know, welcome to our imperfect house or something. I think I bought it off that Etsy, I'm not sure. But it's very, like an ask for positive things. I've never had anybody. I think the one thing that somebody wrote was, I wish you would have given us more instructions on how to do your Nest thermostat. Yeah, you know, because even I find it, you know, but other than that, it's all been very positive. They because if they take the time to write out, you know, about their family trip. I've not, you know, like the lady wrote about her, her dog or whatever. And I guess if I did find one, I would just get a new book.

Jason Muth:

Yeah. But the email address is in your database still?

Unknown:

Yeah, yeah. And then the people that you you know, then you can invite them. And this book I was talking about the it was actually by I think his name is Bruce Lee. They they're out of the UK, called the direct playbook. And he has a lot of good tips in there about how to kind of do the direct booking and you know, how you can, you know, really connect with the people that you want back to your properties.

Jason Muth:

Lots of great advice there on direct bookings. Also, we have a lot of homework to do as a result of this. Rory, any final thoughts for Nancy?

Rory Gill:

I have taken a lot of good notes here. A couple of things that we want to put into action here at the Airbnb is and we have an opportunity here as we have another one coming online. Hopefully, by the time everybody sees his podcast, somebody else will be staying here, but that's what we're working on.

Jason Muth:

Oh my god. If that's not the case, then we have bigger problems? Rory where can everyone find you?

Rory Gill:

If you're looking for me, you can find me at my real estate brokerage Nexthome Titletown nexthometitletown.com, or my law practice UrbanVillage Legal urbanvillagelegal.com.

Jason Muth:

And if you want to find me, reach out to me, reach out to me a Jason@nexthometitletown.com. Any questions, concerns, comments about the podcast, we read them all. If you want to give this podcast a rating, or you want to give us some messages, wherever you're reading or watching this, if it's on YouTube, you could put a comment in the comment section. And if it's for Nancy, we could pass it along to Nancy, we also respond to all the comments that we get, so. Nancy, thank you so much. This has been an excellent conversation. We have to revisit this conversation after your conference, so we can hear how it went. And we can continue this conversation on Yes. So we wish you the best if you're listening to this still go sign up for her conference. If you're gonna be in Texas, or take a trip down there and enjoy it. Spend some time with Nancy. She's a bubbly personality. You could hear right through the screen, I could tell that you are going to be friends with everyone that leaves that conference. You know they're going to be you'll be signing all those books that they bought.

Unknown:

That's right. Well, they actually get a book, they come to the conference.

Jason Muth:

They get a book and Nancy will sign that book.

Unknown:

Well, thanks for having me on. I've had a lot of fun. And it was very, it was great.

Jason Muth:

Thank you. We really appreciate it. You have so many great things to say and so much insight, and we can't wait to have you back on the podcast again. So thank you, Nancy. Thank you, Rory. And I'm Jason, thank you for listening to The Real Estate Law Podcast. See ya. Thank you.

Announcer:

This has been The Real Estate Law Podcast. Because real estate is more than just pretty pictures. And law goes well beyond the paperwork and courtroom arguments. were powered by NextHome Titletown Real Estate, greater Boston's progressive real estate brokerage. More at nexthometitletown.com and UrbanVillage. Legal, Massachusetts real estate Council serving savvy property owners lenders and investors. More at UrbanVillage legal.com. Today's conversation was not legal advice, but we hope you found it entertaining and informative. Discover more at real estate law podcast.com Thank you for listening