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Sarah Weaver - Traveling The World While Running 4 Companies & 19 Units

Uncategorized Aug 04, 2022

LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE ON:



You're not likely to find Sarah Weaver staying in one location for too long. She LOVES to travel all over the world and has a flair for adventure, in fact she's been to over 44 countries. While doing that, she's able to keep 4 separate business up and running. In just 90 days she was able to grow her rental portfolio from 3 to 15 units, and has since added 4 more units, totaling 19 scattered over 4 states. She loves utilizing the medium-term rental strategy as well as short-term rentals. In addition to her real estate holdings, she hosts retreats for entrepreneurs and real estate investors, and also launched Arya Design Services to help investors fully furnish, strategically design, and fully launch a furnished rental.

 

In this episode, hosted by Mike Swenson, we discussed:

  • The biggest thing to do in Real estate is to educate yourself
  • Real estate investing is risky, it's not a guaranteed thing. However, there are things you can do to limit your risks
  • Learn how to analyze deals to perform multiple exit strategies
  • Medium-term rental strategy is a weapon when prices goes up, since you can get higher rents than long-term rentals
  • Being able to manage her rental properties while traveling the world, and why medium-term rentals are a fit for her and her lifestyle
  • Ways to find deals and finance them
  • Not every lender works for everyone
  • Podcast provides diverse experience and different opportunities
  • Finding different ways to approach real estate investing
  • As an investor, working on how you want to stand out
  • To be successful you need to have a strong mindset
  • Focus on how to get the life you deserve

 

Timestamps

0:00 - Intro to Sarah’s Career
3:10 – Overcoming Roadblocks
5:15 – Medium-term rental strategies
7:09 – Investing in Omaha
10:46 – 3 to 19 Units in 60 days
18:10 – Using real estate to travel the world
21:06 – Rental Regulations
21:49 – Market Forecast
25:22 - How to find Sarah

 

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Full transcript here:

Mike Swenson 

Oh. Hello, and welcome everybody to the REL Freedom Podcast where we talk about building time and financial freedom through opportunities in real estate. And for so many people, they experience the financial freedom first to be able to go get the time freedom. And today's guest, Sarah Weaver is a great example of doing everything all at once together. And so she is somebody that loves adventure loves great experiences, and you'll be able to hear from her how she's been able to travel the world, and build and grow her investment portfolio at the same time. So just a little bit about her.

 

Mike Swenson 

So right now, she currently owns 14 units in four different states, which she's accumulated pretty quickly here over the past kind of 12 to 18 months, she has four different companies, she hosts events for real estate investors, she has a design service company, and she also has a book coming out. And so there's a lot happening in your world. Sarah, we're so excited to have you on the show. And we'd love to just hear a little bit more about your background and how you got to where we're at today.

 

Sarah Weaver 

Absolutely. Well, thanks for having me, Mike, I really appreciate it. And I love that your podcast is focused on freedom of time, because that was so important to me. Even back when I first started even before I invested in real estate, I wanted to have freedom of mobility, because that meant freedom of time. So being able to fly on a Tuesday and asked my boss if I could work on Saturday instead of Tuesday. And so I worked remotely back in 2015. So seven years ago, I had my first job where I worked remotely for a real estate recruiting company. And that's when I really understood the power of time, I thought, wow, this is amazing. Most people have to take off time from work to go salsa dancing in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 

Sarah Weaver 

But that was just a normal Wednesday night for me. And then on Thursdays, I would go to this coffee shop that turned into a bar and I would practice my Spanish. And I just was really brought light to the fact that I was living a life that I had always dreamed of, even on a really, really small budget. And then I think something shifted that said, you know, I don't really want to be on a really small budget forever. And so what can I do to create passive income, so that I don't have to give up this lifestyle of being a digital nomad or location independent. And I frankly, wasn't making very much money, I was making less than 50,000, about $52,000, I believe. And it just it was a, it was a great salary to live in South America. But if I wanted to build a really good life in a large US study, that wasn't enough money to live the lifestyle I wanted. And that's when I decided to start investing in real estate.

 

Mike Swenson 

So walk through I mean, there's so many people in real estate that are in real estate full time and can't get to investing. And so how do you how did you take those first couple steps? You know, there's obviously the fears and the the natural roadblocks that people have. But how did you get over that hump to get going?

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah, I think I think the biggest thing that you have to do, especially if we're talking to real estate agents, I read that 95% of real estate agents don't own rental property. And I believe that because when I go looking for an investor friendly agent like yourself, I have a hard time finding one in a lot of major cities and even small towns. And so I think the biggest thing you have to do is you have to educate yourself. And so real estate investing is investing. So therefore it is risky. It's not a guaranteed thing. And so what I do is I limit my risks. And so I do that by doing a few things.

 

Sarah Weaver 

First, I learn how to analyze deals, I think that is your strongest muscle that you have to exercise the most often, then I find really good deals. So when I invest, I'm really confident in the deal that I'm buying, because I analyze the heck out of it. And I analyzed it worst case scenario. And so that and then I'm really confident in my ability to have multiple exit strategies. And so if things were to go wrong, like for example, we're in a recession, officially officially. And so I've been

 

Mike Swenson 

thinking about that.

 

Sarah Weaver 

I've been getting a lot of DMS like people that are like Are you worried and I say no, I am not worried. I have like secure income coming. I have multiple streams of income now, which was really important to me. And then also my property's cash flow. I'm focused on cash flow. So do I want my properties to go down in price? Of course not. Um, If they ever were to, that's okay, because my properties cashflow so much.

 

Mike Swenson 

Well, and let's talk about your focus the types of properties that you've been looking for. Obviously, you have a book coming out talking about mid term rentals and that sort of thing. So what is it about mid term rentals that excites you? And then what is it that you look for when you're identifying those properties?

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah, absolutely. So I love the medium term rental strategy for a few reasons. One is it was my tool, or like my weapon, when prices started to go up. And so I knew that I wanted to find a way to make properties that wouldn't normally cashflow, cash flow. And that was the medium term rental strategy. So for those of you that aren't familiar, it's similar to the short term rental strategy in the sense that you furnish the property, you may list it on Airbnb, but then I also listed on a website called furnish finder.com, where I'm marketing it to people who are likely going to stay there for more than 30 days. And so what that meant for me, as I'm traveling the world and trying to spend some time, you know, doing long hikes or spending time on the beach, is that my phone wasn't constantly buzzing on Airbnb requests, because I would secure a tenant for 13 weeks.

 

Sarah Weaver 

So it meant I would have four turnovers a year, not four turnovers in a week or two weeks. And so I liked that it was taking less mindspace like as far as like, that's kind of what I call Airbnb. It's great. I actually have two Airbnbs. I absolutely are short term rentals, I should say and I love them. But what the medium term rental strategy allowed me to do was create cash flow that otherwise wouldn't be there as a long term rental. And then also own Airbnb is in kind of an unexpected areas. So for example, Omaha, Nebraska. i If you had asked me three years ago, if I would own an air b&b in Omaha, I would say no, why. But now I have nine furnished units in Alright, sorry, eight furnished units in Omaha. And how lucky am I had that? I met 96% occupancy this summer.

 

Mike Swenson 

That's awesome. Okay, so let's talk about Omaha for a second. So what is it about Omaha now that you've had a chance to roll up your sleeves and understand the market a little bit better? What's what's appealing for that market there?

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah, so what I like about Omaha is that you have population growth, you have a good price of entry for these homes. So I bought a four Plex, under 350,000. And it cash flows on average between four and 7000, sorry, four and $6,000, depending on the month. And so that's a really good deal. And so I feel really lucky that I was able to get in at that price point. And then there's population growth, there's job growth, there's a lot of hospitals. So for the medium term rental strategy, not all of my tenants, but a majority of my tenants are traveling nurses. And so I like that there's large complexes, there's multiple major hospitals, multiple major universities, and so I have no no small supply of applicants or tenants to live in my medium term rentals.

 

Mike Swenson 

Now when you purchase that, that first four Plex, was it currently medium term rentals, or you turn converted it to medium term?

 

Sarah Weaver 

It was for long term tenants. And then I slowly converted each of the units to medium term.

 

Mike Swenson 

Okay. So find them, furnish them, and then post them and have the tenants come?

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah, absolutely. And in doing so people were asking me how I was furnishing from afar. And so I actually started a company called ARYA design services. And now we furnished rentals for investors all over the country. We've done 24 units in 10 states now.

 

Mike Swenson 

Well, that's nice, because it's it's a bit of a learning curve, right to know what to do. And so to be able to leverage your experience, to know what to do and what not to do is helpful.

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah, and I don't know about you, Mike, you work with a lot of investors. But I find that investors come to you and they say, I want to invest in real estate because I want more freedom, more time, more money, and then they tell you that they want to open for Airbnb this summer. And you're like, you do know that that's like the opposite of what you just said like that is going to take a lot of time, and a lot of money and a lot of energy. And so I like that I can provide a service to make short term or medium term rentals, a little more passive for investors by taking the heavy load off.

 

Mike Swenson 

So then you said the average you know the average stay is 13 weeks now, for your tenants.

 

Sarah Weaver 

It is the traveling nurses stay 13 weeks on average, that's their typical contract

 

Mike Swenson 

and then talk about to the benefits of wear and tear on the unit versus having a long term rental or even a short term rental. What's the benefit their wear and tear on the unit by having somebody medium term Oh,

 

Sarah Weaver 

yeah, you know, I really like the traveling nurse tenants because they're there to sleep. Sometimes they don't even necessarily eat very often in the kitchen. Like I had a tenant who lived there for 13 weeks, and it looked like she barely touched the pots and pans. And so they tend to live really lightly, because they are working really long shifts. And when they're not working, they typically are avid travelers. So they're out exploring the area, because they probably won't ever live in Omaha, Nebraska again. And so they tend to leave a pretty light track. And then also, I like that I have my cleaners in there. That is the benefit of the short term rentals. You have your cleaners in their eyes and ears on the property so often. And so you benefit from that with the medium term rental as well as you have your cleaners in there every 13 weeks.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah, that's nice. So okay, so talk through the growth, from kind of your your first property that you got to where you're at today, it has been pretty quick. So how are you able to take what you had is your kind of initial asset and blossom that to where it is today?

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah, absolutely, thank you. So last year, in 2021, I went from three units to 15 units in about three months in less than 90 days. And then this year, I added another four units. And so I have 19 units and four states. And it did happen really quickly last year. But I think the part of the story that I think it's important to tell is that I bought my first one in 2017, I bought my second one in 2019. And then I spent all of 2020, sad and frustrated and upset that I wasn't going under contract. And so that's the beginning of the story, which I think a lot of people like to skip over, because it's a great headline, three to 15 units and 90 days. But the reality was, is that it took a lot of time. And I think that's why I mentioned at the beginning, it's so important that you have to learn how to analyze deals. And then you have to learn how to find deals, because those those skill sets will take you to the next step. And then you have to learn how to finance them.

 

Sarah Weaver 

So to answer your question, like how I finance them, I think is important as well. So the first three properties I purchased, we're all owner occupied house hack. And so my like life motto is live where you want and invest where the numbers make sense. And so I think it's really important that people don't listen to that and say, oh, man, so I'm gonna have to move No, you don't have to move. You don't have to house that. That just as my story and how I got started. And then from there, I did an equity partnership. I did a hard money, private money, Burr. Hard money, private money, Burr for my next one. And then I did another equity partnership and another equity partnership. And so I had to start getting creative once I stopped having a W two.

 

Mike Swenson 

And that's the key. Yeah, I mean, depending on where people are coming from, and depending on what their income sources and how stable it is. Lent, different lenders of different sorts are going to look at things differently. And, and what I've learned to in my time working with investors is not every lender works for everybody. And there's certain lenders that work really great for people depending on their situation. And so you kind of have to it's a little bit of a matchmake, right, depending on the requirements and the restrictions that lenders have matching up with what your personal situation is and finding that right fit.

 

Sarah Weaver 

Absolutely. And that's where the power of private money, hard money credit financing, and seller financing, equity partners, debt partner, whatever it is, that became a really, really key in my ability to scale.

 

Mike Swenson 

So as you've now continued to grow, talk about the other businesses that you have on top of your, you know, you've got your different streams of income. So now you have some consistent rental properties that are you know, spitting off a decent amount of income, talk about now being able to add those other pieces on top of that, and be able to fulfill your your dreams of being able to travel and be adventurous and do that as well. Yeah, it's

 

Sarah Weaver 

really cool. Mike, I think like 22 year old me would just be in awe of the life that I live. Because for a long time. I mean, I've been traveling for a long time, like I have been remote for seven years, I've been fully nomadic living out of my suitcase for three and a half years. So even when I had a W two I, you know, reported to someone Monday through Friday, I still was living nomadically. The difference now is that I'm my own boss. And so when someone asked me to speak to a real estate brokerage on how to invest in real estate, I can hop on a plane and go do that. If I get invited to speak at a conference, I can go do that. And what happened kind of naturally is that people were so interested in my travels, that happened to be real estate investors.

 

Sarah Weaver 

And they said, Oh, I wish I could travel with you, oh, I wish I could travel like you. And it just naturally came that I hosted an event in Guatemala. And it sold out within a week. And so I realized that the desire to like be in community with other people who are in pursuit of exactly what your podcast is about time and freedom, that desire for community and connection is like deeper than ever. I think with COVID. In the pandemic, people spent a lot of time alone, and as a result are feeling lonely. And then also just the journey as an entrepreneur and someone in the pursuit of financial independence, it's additionally lonely, because all of a sudden, you look around and you're like, oh, like the friends, like my buddies from college, we're not really the same anymore. And so you have to seek people that have the same values that you do. And that's why I'm so excited to host these events all over the world.

 

Sarah Weaver 

So I have an event coming up in January, where we are going to hike Patagonia together. And so and then I'm hosting another event in Guatemala in December. So there's just a lot of really exciting things happening that really have merged both my desire to travel and real estate and invest in real estate.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah. And as we're recording this right now, you're in Mexico. Exactly. It's fun to see your travel and it's fun to see you be able to do what you want to do. Because yeah, so many people make excuses or, you know, have reasons for why they can't do certain things. And my natural nature, right, I'm more of a risk averse person is to kind of ask why your natural personalities to kind of ask why not? You know?

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah, absolutely. And I'm actually really glad that you brought that up. Because I think when I talk about travel, I want people to think like whatever that thing is for them. So for you, it's spending more times with your kids, it's coaching them in sports, it's taking them on a vacation, it's spending more time with your wife, it's spending more time doing physical activity, whatever that thing is, I'm not telling everyone that they should, like you know, buy a one way ticket to Argentina. That's not a feasible lifestyle for very many people, or a desire for very many people, frankly, it just happened to be my desire. And so I'm really lucky that real estate investing now affords me a life where I can do that. Well. And that's

 

Mike Swenson 

that's the reason why I wanted to start the podcast over a year and a half ago now is to be able to highlight different people doing different things, building wealth, and gaining tenant time and financial freedom through opportunities in real estate. And it's really meant to be where, you know, if somebody hears your story, they can they can relate to that and say, oh, gosh, I can do what Sarah does. And I can make that work. And then there might be somebody that listens to this episode and says, No way, Jose, that just doesn't work for me. But then they listen to another episode, and it resonates with them.

 

Mike Swenson 

And so it's to be able to provide a diverse experience for people and different opportunities to where somebody can latch on to that and say, Yeah, I want to do that or to be able to see one part of that, you know, to be able to see that you can combine your real estate investing experience, the knowledge you've gained, the connections you've gained to do events, to be able to coach people and to be able to take the wisdom you've learned and monetize that through even something as small as the purchase list that you have. Um, you can go on your website and buy a list of things that you want to help furnish your rental, right, you're using your experiences to be able to build those multiple streams of income.

 

Mike Swenson 

So even if it's not travel the world like Sarah does, there's a lot that you can take from this episode of here's how I can stack my learnings on top of each other, and build those different streams of income so that I can go do the things that I want to do. And yeah, if it's not traveling great. It's it's just it provides you the opportunity to do the things that you want to do.

 

Sarah Weaver 

Absolutely. And I think that that's for a lot of people, that would be my challenge to anyone listening to this is like, what, what do you want? Like, what do you want to do? Because a lot of people, you ask them that? And they're like, Oh, I actually don't know. And it doesn't have to be big and grandiose. I mean, when I first started with real estate investing, I just wanted like a few material items that I frankly couldn't afford or couldn't justify before. And now that I have them, I'm really excited about them, because I don't own very much material items, because I travel all the time and live out of my suitcase. And so that was like something that was really exciting to me. And then I think with the medium term rental strategy, what I encourage people to do that are listening is really think differently about real estate investing.

 

Sarah Weaver 

So look at your portfolio with a different lens of am I being a great asset manager. So what I do now is I look at all of my properties, and I figure out, am I getting the best cash flow for this? And if cash flow is like your your strategy? So if you're a cash flow investor, are you getting the most cash flow? Or could you furnish the unit for as little as $6,000 and get increased cash flow or in my case, double the rent? And so that's exactly what I did with a lot of my properties.

 

Mike Swenson 

Yeah, it's a different lens to look through because, you know, we've had these conversations on my real estate team about being creative in this market, right interest rates are going up. We're continually looking for opportunities. And yes, sometimes you have to look at problem in it from a different angle to see what potential is out there. And so, you know, you had mentioned furnish finder, I can't tell you how many team meetings we've had over the last three to six months where I said, Okay, let's look at some opportunities here that might make sense, we're so used to doing one thing a certain way. And we have to develop a different set of tools and a tool belt, to be able to help different investors meet their needs.

 

Mike Swenson 

And so finding that mid term, medium term rental fit is certainly a great opportunity, like you said, higher rents, you're working with a group of people that probably won't wear and tear your property as much as others. And like you said, instead of running an air b&b, which can be very lucrative, and maybe you have to be more attentive to your phone or more day to day maintenance, now you get a chance to find that mix. And so it's a strategy that fits your lifestyle very well. Versus a lot of times people just think long term rental, here's the rents, here's my expenses, and there's maybe not enough margin there. But you can find a nice spot here a nice niche that really can work.

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah. And then especially with your market, I mean, they're cracking down the the city's cracking down on short term regulations. And so that's the nice loophole with medium term is that there isn't a regulation on a 30 day rental in in the city. And so you that's another reason that I love this strategy, is it creates increased cash flow that otherwise isn't there, as cities start to crack down on short term rental regulations.

 

Mike Swenson 

What would you say? Because I've heard a few folks talk over time about, you know, this kind of traveling nurses idea had had kind of spike because of COVID, because there was a need, talk about the long term play here. You know, where where would you see that going in the future?

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah, absolutely. We are seeing a steady in the request for traveling nurses, because there are still so many vacancies. And so I have not seen a dip in the inquiries that I'm getting in my short term rentals. And I think as an investor, you have to always look at how am I going to stand out, because if traveling nurse requests ever work to go down, how are you going to manage to continue to cash flow. And so I make sure that my short term rentals look so much better than my competitors.

 

Sarah Weaver 

That's the really, the beauty of the medium term rental space is that you're not competing against these beautiful Airbnb is in your town. If you go to furnish finder, right now, whoever's listening, I guarantee that you're going to be shocked by the level of photos, the level of decor, and the lack of options in your market. And that's where a really beautifully decorated unit comes into play. And so that's first, like my first defense against any kind of traveling nurse limitation. Next is being really sure that you're in a market with multiple hospitals. So that if one, if you're relying on one hospital, and they start to limit the number of traveling nurses contracts that they give out, you're not going to be hurt by that. And so I like to invest in a city that has at least five hospitals. Ideally, three major hospitals is kind of my, and then like a hospital complex is always a good idea.

 

Sarah Weaver 

And then as close as you can get to that hospital complex, depending on the city, I know that that can't be a blanket rule for some places where the complex is located in a dangerous area. But that's really important. And then you have to remember that you don't need 30 people to want to live in your place. You just need one good tenant, I wouldn't be okay, investing in the city that only has one inquiry. Like I don't want to be I don't want to have to say yes to that one. Incorrect. I do want multiple inquiries. But you don't need to have 50 inquiries, you only have one, maybe five units, tops and in a market.

 

Mike Swenson 

We'll talk a little bit about the future and where you want to go. And where does this continue for you?

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah, absolutely. I am. I'm in growth mode, both with my portfolio and my company. And so I'm currently hiring for two of my four companies. And I'm focusing a lot on company culture, I want to be really sure that I provide a really great environment for people to build their portfolios. And if travel and freedom is important to them, that's obviously a benefit of working with me. And then as far as the businesses go, I want to serve a lot of investors. One thing that we haven't touched on and I know it's really important to you, because we've spoken before the podcast is mindset. And so one of the biggest reasons that my events are so successful is because we touch on mindset at the event. And that's what keeps people wanting to come back.

 

Sarah Weaver 

We're not just going to a location and hanging out for the weekend. We really are focused on how do we get the life that we want and that we deserve and some of it is you need to acquire new skill sets new education. But I'm finding that the common thread through really successful real estate investors and entrepreneurs is that they have a really strong mindset. And so a lot of my events are focused on that. And so when I think about what my company's goals are, it's true really positively affect hundreds of real estate investors.

 

Mike Swenson 

Awesome. And for people that want to go find more about you, how do they do that?

 

Sarah Weaver 

Yeah, my website is sarahdweaver.com. It's also my instagram handle sarahdweaver . And you can also email me at [email protected]

 

Mike Swenson 

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Sir. I just really appreciate your story, your energy. It's been awesome to get to know you over the last couple of years and just to see the journey that you're on, and all the successes you you've had and just to see where this is going to continue to go. So thank you so much for coming on and sharing with everybody.

 

Sarah Weaver 

Thank you, Mike. I really appreciate it. I am inspired by you and your team and just your ability to serve investors. And so I hope a lot of real estate agents following your footsteps.

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