Listen to Anna’s most recent podcast guesting, an interview with Kristen Beatty and Stephanie Wankel of Frenzied to Financial Freedom.

How to Use Partnerships & TECHNOLOGY to Grow Your Real Estate Investing with Anna Myers

by Anna Myers | Frenzied to Financial Freedom

Speakers:  Kristen, Stephanie and Anna

Announcer:  Welcome to the Podcast:  Frenzied to Financial Freedom. Stephanie and Kristen are on a mission to build a community of fellow women who are ditching their frenzied lives to seek financial freedom and live life on their own terms. Join us each week as we learn and grow together by learning from powerhouse guests who are creating a path towards financial freedom.

 Kristen:  Hello, Freedom Friends. Thanks for joining us today. I’m Kristen Beatty, here with my freedom friend and cohost, Stephanie Wankel. Today we are here with Anna Myers. Anna is a Vice President at Grocapitus, a commercial real estate investment company in the Bay Area. Anna is a modern entrepreneur who applies her 20-plus years of experience in technology and business to finding, analyzing, and acquiring commercial properties in key markets across the United States.

 Grocapitus has raised a whopping $10 million for multifamily acquisitions in the last 6 months, resulting in over 750 units acquired in 5 apartment buildings in 3 states and they serve over 300 investors.

 There’s going to be a quiz after this. [Laughs]

 Stephanie:  That is really impressive Anna. Welcome to the podcast.

 Anna:  Thank you. Thank you so much. I’m really happy to be here with you two and all the freedom listeners.

 Kristen:  Thank you. That’s great.

 Stephanie:  Anna, is there anything that we missed in your intro that you kind of want to make sure we get in there before we get started?

 Anna:  No. I think that’s kind of a great start. I’m definitely a very data-oriented person, so I bring kind of the underwriting sauce to the group, but I’m also a people-person, so I think real estate has been a great blending for me of two sides.

 Stephanie:  Yeah, and I noticed that you have a lot of different ventures in the space as far as education, syndication, a lot of different things that we can touch up. Why don’t we jump right in here. Why don’t you tell us how you got started? It sounds like—and you can just fill in the blanks here—that you and Neal are partners or how did all of that kind of come to be?

 Anna:  Sure. Well, Neal and I are business partners. I’ll give you the short story. I mean, my real estate venture started much earlier than this, of course, but my venture with Neal started in early 2018. I was a Bootcamp student, very interested in multifamily, very interested in the scalability that I realized—nothing came close to multifamily.

 My background as a programmer has always led me to be a numbers-oriented person and so I saw him speaking on stage one time and his data analytic approach just blew me away. When I saw he was having a Bootcamp and it was an e-Bootcamp, I was like, “Okay, I’m going to do it.” So, I did it and during that Bootcamp he says—it’s going great, it’s a live Bootcamp, we’re all online though, and he says, “I’m looking for people to help me write a deal analyzer. I’m like, “Me, me, me.” I’ve got 20 years as a financial programmer, leading teams all over the world in terms of the software development and so I let him know that that’s my background. He said, “Great, you’re my team lead.”

 So, I started volunteering for him to write this deal analyzer to analyze multifamily properties and was keeping up with him in terms of email, updating him and that type of stuff. Over the course of a few weeks, he said, “I really want to work with you. I mean, I really like the way you think. I like the way that you deal with people,” so, that’s where it started.

 I joined the company. I was shutting down my photography company. I’m actually a professional photographer. I had a studio in the Bay Area for 18 years. We can talk about that a little bit, about how unscalable photography is, and why I moved into real estate. But I was in the process of shutting down my studio and he came on as an acquisition specialist with Grocapitus and in the course of 10 months, worked my way up to become the vice president of the company and I partnered with him on 5 apartment buildings.

 I think I bring a lot of my skill set as an entrepreneur and a lot of different things I’ve done in my life and it all kind of fit together with what he was looking for in a business partner at that time and it just all came together.

 Kristen:  That’s great. Just in case someone doesn’t know, so a deal analyzer, basically in the commercial real estate space, there’s kind of a role or job called underwriting, which is basically the math and the numbers associated to figure out a deal. Is that how you would define that, maybe?

 Anna:  Yes, yes. It’s kind of the art and science of understanding kind of the bones and what is an apartment building. What are the things that make it up? What are the sources of income? What are the sources of expenses? And how do those things play together so that you can determine the value of that building and in terms of realizing what you want to pay for the building.

 And then also in terms of the other thing a deal analyzer does, is it allows you to establish a business plan, which is called a proforma, of what you would do when you own that business, that building, which by the way, is a business. So, how much do you want to pay for it and then if you did get it, what would you do with it, and how would you make it make money? Would you increase income? Would you reduce expenses? There are all of the different things that go in there. How would you make that work?

 It’s an Excel model, usually, so it’s Excel programming.

 Kristen:  Do you guys just use your deal analyzer for yourselves in analyzing deals? I know there’s several of these bootcamp-guru-guys that kind of sell their deal analyzer and do other things. Just curious if you guys just utilize that yourself or how do you use it?

 Anna:  Well, interestingly enough, what we do now, I mean, we use the deal analyzer that was created to teach, and so I actually teach underwriting for the Bootcamp now, but on a weekly basis, I see probably four or five different underwriting models or deal analyzers that come from all across the nation, because people are bringing us deals. People want to partner with Grocapitus because of the ethics that we have and the data science that we bring to investing.

 Because of that, I analyze deals on all kinds of underwriting models every week, which is an extra challenge, because I have to understand, I have to immediately understand, what that model is trying to do. What is the underlying syndication structure, what’s the partnership structure, what are the splits, what is the waterfall trying to do, how are all these kind of formulas playing together, because not all models are created equal.

 Unfortunately, the actual deal analyzer we wrote is really for students mostly because the variety of deals I see coming in are just from all over the nation.

 Stephanie:  There is so much there in just your first sort of introductory talk about yourself. I love that you just went for it at a bootcamp with someone that you admired and just jumped right in. I mean, that’s such a great lesson to all of us, to say, “Don’t hesitate, five-second rule, go for it.” I love it.

 Then secondly, what a Renaissance woman you are! [Laughs] I mean, so rare you find someone—photography to me is left-brain, although the whole Photoshop thing is pretty technical, but on the programming side, you bring so much to the table, it’s amazing.

 Anna:  Yes.

 Stephanie:  Tell us a little bit about your history and your background and what led up to both photography and real estate investing and I’m sure there are other roles in there as well.

 Anna:  Sure. Well, interestingly enough, my real estate background actually started with my grandfather. I’m the youngest grandchild of my—my grandfather Bob Simons, in Southern California, he moved from Florida when he saw the real estate boom happening in Southern California when he was probably in his thirties or forties and he started flipping houses in Southern California when it was like, you know, like who did that, right? Well, my grandfather did. He wasn’t a wealthy man, but he became very wealthy in real estate. So, he built an empire that became this commercial real estate empire. He was buying orange groves and walnut groves and then building shopping malls.

 That’s kind of the fabric that I grew up against. My father is an architect. My uncles were both in construction and they all managed the family commercial real estate business. My brother is also an architect. I’ve just been always surrounded by it.

 But then when it was time for me to go out into the world, I actually—I’ve always been really good at problem solving. I’ve always been very artistic, too. That was always the pull, do I do art? Do I do science? What do I do?

 What happened then is, I had a baby and I needed to get serious really soon. I was a single teenage parent. I already was going to UC Berkley at that time and I was very young. I was 17 and going to UC Berkley. I had a child when I was 18, fortunately I wasn’t 17 any longer, but I needed to buckle down and make a living.

 I became a programmer because at that time, I could make a good living. I could continue going to school and I could make a good hourly rate and support my child and buy diapers and buy food. Really, that was what it was all about. I wanted to be a photographer because I loved imagery, but I couldn’t afford to be a photographer because I was a single parent. I thought, well, if I can be a programmer, I can afford food and I can afford to pay for film. Food, diapers and film, there you go.

 Stephanie:  Wow!

 Kristen:  That is very inspirational. I mean, what a great story of how you came upon a challenge and you kind of took one path, but you obviously at some point, you still took your other path and became a photographer, which is so cool, too.

 Anna:  Yeah, it was. I was in the IT world for 18 years. I was a programmer and then became a systems architect and a web architect. I specialized in the user interface. I was running really large teams worldwide. I was speaking in front of big conferences, so never been afraid to speak publicly, so that kind of came into it, too, so now here I am doing a lot of speaking in the real estate world as well.

 But what happened is, in the year 2000, the tech industry crashed, so I was making really good money in the tech industry, but when it crashed, it crashed hard. At that point, I was married and had another child and my husband was in IT as well and it really hit our household so hard that both of us were in there. I mean, the wages were just demolished, what we used to make. I said, “I’m not working for those wages.” I said, “Guess what? I’m going to go into photography,” because digital photography had become viable. Kodak and Cannon had collaborated together and come up with the first viable digital camera that was an SLR, so a small camera.

 So, I bought one of those and because of my digital skills in Photoshop, I was able to leverage those, my technology skills, into photography, so I started a photography studio.

 And I have to say, I love people and I adore children, so my focus was on children and babies and it was a pretty great career. I was a very successful businessperson and had a great studio in the Bay Area for 18 years, but here’s what I discovered:  It doesn’t matter how good of an entrepreneur you are, if you’re in a business that doesn’t scale, it is a hard life.

 I mean, I’m a good photographer, I’m a good businessperson, I had re-touchers that were outsourced from the Ukraine. I had my studio managers, I had staff, but all of that doesn’t matter. The government was just raking me for taxes and as much money as I made, it just seemed like everything I was doing was going up to taxes. It’s like, “I can’t do this. How am I going to fix this?”

 Then I realized, real estate. If I want to control my taxes—and this is when I was still like, okay, I’m committed to being a photographer, but I’ve got to protect the income that I’m making. How do I protect that? I’m like, duh. I know this. I don’t know why I haven’t been thinking about it more. I need to invest in real estate so that I can depreciate. I have depreciation, not just my primary house, but I have to have rental income and depreciation from real estate.

 So, that’s what I did, and I started getting it under control and then as I started doing that, I realized, you know what? Real estate is scalable, photography is not. That’s when I really made a decision. I made a five-year plan that I was going to stop being a day-to-day photographer that made my bread from photography and transition into full-time real estate. A lot of people said, “How can you stop being a photographer?” I never stopped being a photographer. I’m a photographer. A photographer is talking to you right now. I’m still a photographer. I don’t have to make money to execute my art, you know? I can pick up a camera at any time.

 Kristen:  Right. But good for you for making—

 Anna:  But I’m looking for financial freedom.

 Kristen:  Yes!

 Anna:  Photography was not going to give me financial freedom. It’s a terrible business model, I have to tell you. It’s a wonderful art form, a terrible business model.

 Kristen:  But a lot of people stay in it because it’s comfort, they know it.

 Anna:  Exactly.

 Kristen:  And they don’t make a plan to move out and that’s what you did and moved onto the next thing.

 Anna:  Yes.

 Kristen:  It’s like you’re reinventing yourself, which is great. Now that you have all of these areas of expertise, I know we talked about doing the deal analyzer with Grocapitus, but what are your other roles with the company?

 Anna:  I teach underwriting and I also do a lot of webinars, so I host a lot of webinars with people. I work with investors. I also work with people that want to raise money for us. I mean, I wear a lot of hats. I do a lot of the design of the collateral. We’re doing a conference this week and I was kind of the main graphics guru because I just—I know that, we’re a startup.

 Again, I wear a lot of hats, but I’m responsible 100% for the underwriting of the deals. When the deals come in, and we see a lot of them every week, they come to me first and I have to look at those deals and understand the nature of them and if they meet our metrics, our objectives.

 Neal and I are data scientists. What I did is, I again, took my technology background and I applied it to real estate. When we’re looking at markets and we’re looking at deals, we have very specific metrics that make sense for us because we’re using other people’s money to purchase apartment buildings. We don’t take that lightly. We, as technologists, are always looking to numbers and we have learned that there are certain numbers that work and those numbers have to do with jobs, population growth, median household income, unemployment, poverty level, how much rent growth that a market supports.

 It’s not just at the metro level, we actually take it down to the neighborhood level. We may find a great market and we’re like, “Wow, we really like Atlanta,” or “We really like Tucson,” or we really like fill in the blank, because it has the things we’re looking for, but then within that market, how do you know which neighborhood to invest in? Well, we’ve developed ways to do that.

 We’ve developed the specific analytics, how to look within a three or four-block area so once a deal comes to me, the very first thing I do when a deal comes to me, I don’t need to look at the underwriting, I look at the address, and I put that address through my metrics to say, “Does this address meet our metrics that we have?” If it doesn’t, I don’t need to see the underwriting. We say, “No thank you. We’re not putting our investors in that location.”

Stephanie:  That’s amazing.

 Kristen:  Very cool.

 Anna:  We’re data scientists. It takes a lot. Most of the deals that come to us don’t pass that. They don’t pass that first measure and then the ones that do, then I have to go into, of course, a whole nother suite of analysis to make sure that the underwriting is correct, that there’s no problems in the formulas, and then double checking the rent, make sure the rent forecasts are correct, and the **** [0:17:04.4] of the rents and all that is correct, so it’s a process. But I love problem solving.

 Kristen:  Yeah, that’s amazing. So, when you decided, aha, I need to invest in real estate, did you jump right into, “I know I want to do apartments,” and that’s how you ended up in the Bootcamp or did you have a progression?

 Anna:  I had a progression, like many people do.

 Stephanie:  Right.

 Anna:  I started out with some condos actually, and some single family, and I even bought some land and did some land division and that type of stuff. I did a lot of different things. I started investing before—let’s see, it was 2006, 2007. Not a good time to invest, if you all remember. So, I’ve been through some good, bad and ugly with it. I’ve had to short sale that I had to deal with. I’ve had land that the zoning all went correct and then the real estate broker definitely took me for a ride and he’s actually in jail now, not just for the difficulty he had with me, but because he just ended up being that type of person for a lot of people.

 Anyway, I started out with condos. The two condos that I have, I’m actually now selling. I just sold one and I’m 1031-ing that one and the other one is for sale as well. We also have a duplex in Charleston, South Carolina that’s an Airbnb and that’s been a very good sale. We actually sold our primary house to do that and what we did is we moved out of our primary house that we’ve had for 16 years, rented it out for 2 years, then had the tenants leave and then we sold the house. We created a hybrid investment that was our primary home, so we got the 121 exclusion, $500,000 as a couple, and it’s because it’s the Bay Area, there’s a lot of equity in it, and the amount that was over the $500,000, we were able to 1031 into an investment because it was now a hybrid vehicle.

 We’re always looking for those loopholes. And that’s me, I’m always looking for the loopholes. Once we got into the duplex in Charleston, I was really trying to do the whole burr strategy and I was really drilling in on the market and I was looking in Indianapolis looking, I was looking at Charleston, you name it, I was really digging in. Then I realized by going to this Bootcamp and listening and educating, that the real magic of multifamily has to do with net operating income and how apartment buildings are valued, or commercial real estate is valued, which is very different from how residential properties are valued.

 My residential, my condos, what are the value of my condos? The value of my condo is the value of my neighbor’s. What did they sell theirs for? That is what dictates the value of my condo.

 What is the value of my apartment building, that we have since partnered on and bought? The value of my apartment building has to do with the value that I put into it. It has to do with what income I’m able to do, what expenses I’m able to lower to, and the magic of the combination between those. What is the net operating income divided by the cap rate? I controlled the value of my building. I can’t control the market cap rate as much, but I can control which market I go into.

 But it’s a much different situation than with residential income. Once I realized that, I should have gone into multifamily much earlier and the other thing I should’ve done much earlier, which is what kept me from going into multifamily, is I should’ve teamed up with people and I shouldn’t have been afraid to use other people’s money. Once you’re using it responsibly, it’s not a bad thing. I mean, people are getting, investors are getting an incredible benefit. When you find a great deal and you’re able to bring them tax savings and income on money that would’ve just been sitting in a 401K, so there’s a lot of benefits to the investors, as long as you’re doing it responsibly.

 I also was not a big person on partnering with people and so that held me back because I’m like, “No, my husband and I, we can just do this, we’ll just do this and we’ll just use our own money to do that,” because that’s what burr is about, right? You’re just recycling your own money, keep recycling it through.

 But it’s a very limiting thing. Once you get to 10 loans and your husband gets to 10 loans, what do you do then? You’ve got 20 houses to manage.

 Stephanie:  And you’re bringing up those—for people that don’t—the government or Fannie/Freddie Mae, only allow an individual to have 10, purchase 10 homes, single family.

 Anna:  That’s residential, correct.

 Stephanie:  Residential. Also, to go back a little about your brilliant strategy that maybe people didn’t quite understand, if you have a residence for 5 years and you rent it out for 2 of those 5 years, you don’t have to pay capital gains upon the sale.

 Anna:  Right.

 Stephanie:  That’s what you were talking about with your primary residence, is that you moved out of it for two years so that then you could go ahead and sell it and take that tax benefit.

Kristen:  And I’m a newbie to this, so when you moved into another place where your family was living, did you rent that, or did you buy it?

Anna:  I did. We’re in the Bay Area, so it wouldn’t have been easy to just buy another place without selling the other one, so we rented. But at that time, it was an easier thing for us to do because our youngest child was moving to college. We wanted to downsize, we don’t need this big house. We’re ready to move into something smaller. Just kind of a good point to be fresh. Right now, we still rent because we’re still in the Bay Area, but I feel really good about it because we’re free to move anywhere we want to move now.

Kristen:  A lot of the real estate gurus say that, right? Own the investments, rent where you live.

Anna:  That’s exactly how I feel. The only thing I would buy personally to live in, like something to live in, would be like some type of an apartment building and I’d live in one of the units, then when I wasn’t there, I’d rent it out.

Once you really understand the power of real estate, having a big house to yourself doesn’t really give me freedom. That’s not freedom to me.

Stephanie:  It’s not an asset.

Kristen:  I agree. And just maintenance and yardwork and all the other stuff that come along with it.

Anna:  Yeah, it really ties you down. I’m really much happier to be a renter right now and all of my real estate is an investment.

Kristen:  I love all of this great knowledge and information that you’re bestowing because again, I’m the newbie investor so I’m learning a ton, which is great.

A couple of different questions:  Where would a newbie like me get started to learn more about buying apartments? I know you have an education component of your business and you talked a little bit about how you did it, but any other suggestions?

Anna:  Well, definitely education. That’s definitely the first thing. We have MultifamilyU.com. There’s a lot of free webinars on there, so you don’t actually have to buy a Bootcamp. You can sample a lot of content on there. I do at least one, if not two or three webinars a week. Not just me teaching underwriting, but I bring in different people and it’s curriculum. It’s not like a podcast where we’re just chatting. The hosts that are coming on are actually presenting slide shows that are teaching. Like we just had a CPA on the other day. Actually, the ones that wrote the book for BiggerPockets, Amanda Han and Matt MacFarland on Tax Strategies for Savvy Real Estate Investors. Cost segregation when we had **** [0:24:53.6] on that. 1031 exchange, lots of different topics that are near and dear to my heart and I get to interview and kind of cohost through this.

Lots of great content. Neal Bawa is also a wonderful speaker and teacher and lots of content on there for him.

I think listening to podcasts is a wonderful thing to do, but at some point you need to also get out there and partner with people and engage. Going to your local REAS can be a great way to do that. You need to get in there and start sampling, talking to people, not only educating, but trying to network with people and maybe find a group of people that you’re happy to take the next step with, even if it’s just researching. Like, “Hey, let’s analyze deals together. Let’s form a group to analyze this deal.”

But the sooner you get out of the mindset that you have to do it by yourself, commercial real estate is a team sport. Residential real estate can be a solitary sport. You want to be in the team sport because that’s what scales.

Kristen:  Excellent advice.

Stephanie:  Yeah, that’s great. Before we jump into our Fabulous Five Q&A segment, just one last kind of question on how does mindset or habits or any routines play a part of all your success? You’re doing a lot of things, you’ve managed the family, children, all of those things. Is there any advice you can give us on how you deal with habits or your mindset or anything like that?

Anna:  Well, I guess two things that keep me sane. One is exercise. I’ve always been a runner, so I love to run. Some type of way to just express energy.

The other thing is I’m really big on organization and I use technology to keep me organized. It really helps me have balance if I get everything out of my mind and put it into my project management and then I can sleep better, knowing like okay, it’s going to be there for me tomorrow. I don’t have to stress on it all night.

Then because I can organize things into different buckets, it helps me to have just a lot more balance in my life and be able to take the time to do my exercise or take the time to have lunch with my girlfriend or have dinner with my husband or whatever because my work is kind of organized and waiting for me.

I use technology in a lot of ways.

Stephanie:  Is there a certain app or a certain tool you use?

Anna:  Sure. I use Asana for my projects. That’s one thing we use in-house. There’s a lot of them out there. An application that isn’t so much about balance, but we use Slack a lot for communications. Slack can definitely keep you off balance because you’re always getting slapped with messages.

Stephanie:  Yeah. IM’d all the time, or DM’d.

Anna:  Yeah. Team communication is really important and having things at your fingertips, so that actually can lead to less balance or more balance, depending on how you want to look at it.

 Kristen:  I love that. I have to look into Asana. I’m embarrassed to admit, I’m in technology as well, but I had not heard of that one.

Anna:  It’s one of many. It’s not that expensive and then it happened to be what Grocapitus was using so I’m like, “Sure, I’ll use that, no problem.”

Stephanie:  It’s also like a CRM tool, isn’t it?

Anna:  No, not so much.

Stephanie:  Okay.

Anna:  A CRM, what we use for CRM is Active Campaign. That’s where we store our customer data. That’s what’s kind of the backbone of all our database. That’s how we serve up our webinars and we use a combination of various technologies that work together in the back end to be able to manage our systems.

The other thing we’re really big on, honestly, which also keeps me sane, because I just got my personal assistant, is we use a lot of virtual assistants. We have about nine people that work for us from the Philippines right now. They’re full-time people. They’re full-time staff for us.

A lot of people, you think, “I can’t afford somebody to help me with this or help me with that,” but there’s people on Upwork and Fiverr that are very, very affordable. I mean, I’ve been doing this in the photography world for decades because my retouching, they were in the Ukraine in Russia. I couldn’t afford to hire a retoucher locally. I’d have to jack up my prices so much it wouldn’t be palatable to my consumer, right?

Well, it’s the same thing as a startup in the tech industry. There’s a lot that you can have other people do and that’s a way that you can achieve balance, too. You are one person, but if you have other people to do your tasks, you become four or five people. How much more can you get done? Now you can really go to lunch with your girlfriend because there’s two people doing in the background doing your research that you needed to do. That’s another way I say I leverage technology and people in a way that’s very efficient to achieve balance and continue to really push forward.

I’m a go-getter. There’s balance and then there’s get-her-done. I’m a get-her-done person.

Kristen:  [Laughs] That’s great. I think that sums it up, it’s clear. Thank you so much for all your insights and such an education just in this short time together about real estate and how you got to where you are, which is really impressive.

Yes, let’s jump into what we call our Fabulous Five Q&A segment. Of course, we like F’s here at Frenzied to Financial Freedom, so you’ll see a lot of those in the questions.

Anna:  Okay.

Stephanie:  In a few words, what does financial freedom mean to you?

 Anna:  It means the ability to do whatever I want whenever I want it. To me, it has a lot to do with family. I’m very family oriented. I’m working so hard right now to be able to see my family whenever I want and live from town to town. My family is kind of spread out all over. I mentioned to you guys before the podcast, between my husband and I, we have six daughters, six adult daughters, and ten grandchildren. It’s a lot of people to keep track of. That’s another reason I’m still a photographer because I’ve got all of those gorgeous individuals to continue photographing.

Yeah, it’s the freedom to be a photographer. My ultimate freedom is to be an artist and to just do what you want. For me, it’s to be an artist and not have to answer to anybody. Just do my art for myself. That is what real estate is eventually going to get me to and I see the numbers now and I can see it. I couldn’t see it when I was an artist, it wasn’t going to happen. I had to use my tech skills and my real estate skills to create my financial freedom that will be coming. I can see the numbers and I will become an artist full-time.

Stephanie:  Kind of full circle, right?

Anna:  It’s always full circle, yeah.

Stephanie:  I love it.

Kristen:  That’s great. Lots of F’s, family and full circle, I like it. All right, some more, friend and foe, what is one thing you run toward and embrace versus one thing you really stay away in attaining your goals?

Anna:  I’d say I really run towards the numbers and things that make—based on what we’ve established are the metrics, our measures. I run towards things that fall into the areas that were like, “Yes, this deal is going to work,” because of these things that we’ve tested and experimented. These are the things that work and this falls into that, so I run toward things that are ding, ding, ding, all the bells going off, like that one.

I stay away from obviously the ones that don’t meet those, but I’d say as an individual and a real estate investor, I also stay away from shiny objects. I’m not all about the big house. I don’t drive a fancy car. I’m willing to make sacrifices and not—and I spend my money very wisely because I’m looking for my future and I want my freedom. That’s what’s more important to me than having a fancy wardrobe or having fancy shoes. So, I run away from shiny objects.

Stephanie:  That’s awesome.

Kristen:  Excellent advice.

Stephanie:  What is one fantastic win that you’ve had recently? Either professionally or personally, whichever?

Anna:  Okay. I would say it was a pretty fantastic win to shut down my photography studio, join a new company as a data specialist, and within ten months become the vice president of the company.

Stephanie:  Yeah, yay. Congratulations.

Kristen:  Congratulations. In your area of expertise and here you have a lot of them, so you can choose, but we’re looking to give our listeners sort of a future opportunity. What do you predict or see in the future to help others get ready for financial freedom?

Anna:  What do I see in the future? I see that the renter population is not going anywhere, so the concept of—people will continue to rent. There will be more and more people who simply don’t want to buy houses or people downsizing out of housing into real estate—I’m sorry, into rentals, as well as people that just aren’t interested.

Looking at trends of urban living, maybe even co-living, so we’re looking at lots of different spaces around that as well.

Investing in the future is really opening your eyes to what’s going on and it’s no longer the white picket fence.

Stephanie:  And you’re a great example of that, right?

Anna:  Yeah.

Stephanie:  Real estate is your business, you’re in real estate investing, and you don’t own your own home.

Anna:  Right.

Stephanie:  That actually is a demographic—happening both on the higher baby boomer demographic and the millennial demographic.

Anna:  That’s right. Some people say, “But you can’t get the write-offs from your primary home.” Well, first of all, there’s not many write-offs left, especially in California. Second of all, I have created incredible write-offs through commercial real estate as a general partner and the depreciation that we get through cost segregation.

I have an amazing amount of write-offs through my business acumen, working with my CPA as to really leverage. Your primary home is not your only source of depreciation. Real estate as rental income and your rental real estate portfolio is a much better source of depreciation than your primary home.

Stephanie:  Yeah. Okay. Well, we are at our last question. Kristen, this is your favorite question, so I wouldn’t dare touch this one.

Kristen:  [Laughs] Well, and it’s a stumper, too for some people. We want some levity and have everybody have the opportunity to laugh during the day, so what is something funny that happened to you in your pursuits of financial freedom, or honestly, it could be personal, a grandchild story, just something to make people laugh. We finally call this question, “This one time…” [Laughs]

Anna:  This one time when we were in Charleston, my husband and I were looking for this investment property to buy it, and we were told that Charleston was a great market and that’s why we were there, we’d done our research, but it’s a very different market for us. We were looking specifically for a duplex, we wanted a small multi, and the buildings there are really, really old. We’re going around with our broker that we had met there, and these buildings are like 1820s, 1830s, and you go inside of them.

We walked into this one that I thought was going to be great, because it was all zoned for Airbnb and it was wonderful. But we walked in there and the floors are leaning, and it was an 1850s building and we were like, “Oh, the floors were leaning,” and we’re like this—and then we went, and we saw like four others and the floors were leaning so much in all those other ones, you had to like hold onto the walls, like walk across the room. They’re like, “Yeah, that’s the Charleston lean. That’s just the way it is here. It’s the Charleston lean.”

We ended up buying the one where it was not the worst one, because that one was like good compared to the other one and so now we laugh every time we go to our Airbnb in Charleston—which by the way, is an amazing time, if you haven’t spent any time there—and we’re like, yeah, if you put a marble floor, it will roll all the way to the bathroom. That’s the Charleston lean.

Kristen:  But I love that it’s a thing. Everyone knows it, it has a name.

Anna:  Yeah, it’s a total thing and the thing is, that Charleston lean is that flooring is 1850s heart-pine wood. Like do you fix it? Do you take the lean out and strip out that wood? We’re not, you know? Not until we have to.

Stephanie:  Yeah. That’s a great story.

Anna:  So, the Charleston lean.

Kristen:  The Charleston lean, [laughs] wonderful. Is there anything else that you’d like to mention or tell people where they can find you so people can get in contact with you if they want to learn more?

Anna:  Sure. You can find me at MultifamilyU.com, if you want to come join me for some of my webinars, [email protected], is my email address. Or just come and join me on a webinar. I love to chat with people as I’m waiting to queue up my host or waiting to queue up my spread sheets if I’m doing an underwriting session with you.

Stephanie:  Great. This has been wonderful. Thank you for joining us, Anna, and thank you for joining us, Freedom Friends, as always. If you like what you’re hearing on our podcast, please subscribe. Leave a review and follow us on social with the hashtag, Frenzy to Freedom. Can’t wait to touch up again next week. Thanks!

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