Getting Investors by Sharing Your WHY with Whitney Sewell

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Podcast Transcription

Dave Dubeau [00:00:08] Everyone, this is David Dubeau with another episode of the Property Prophets Real Estate podcast today, Zoom zooming in our special guest, Mr. Whitney Sewell. Whitney, how was your day?

Whitney Sewell [00:00:20] I am excellent, Dave. Thanks for allowing me to be on your show. So a lot of

Dave Dubeau [00:00:25] our listeners are Canadian and we got a lot of American listeners now as well. They can probably pick up on a little bit of an accent there, Whitney. So where are you from? Where are you calling from?

Whitney Sewell [00:00:36] Are you saying you can hear an accent? Well, you can hear mine. I’m sure I’m originally from Kentucky, but now I live in Virginia.

Dave Dubeau [00:00:44] Nice. Nice. Well, I just have to say outand about and you can tell I’m a Canadian right off the top there right now. Whitney, if you haven’t, if you guys haven’t heard of Whitney, you should use a very big player in the whole real estate space. He’s got his own podcast, real estate syndication show. He’s doing big, wonderful things in the whole world of syndication. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about here today is his real estate syndication and starting to raise capital on a big scale. So you guys are probably aware that I help when I call mom and pop real estate entrepreneurs get started with raising capital by really, really tapping into their existing sphere of influence people they have that preexisting relationship with. And that’s usually good to get a lot of people up to that $500000 million range. But after that, then you need to start reaching outside of that sphere and starting to grow that sphere. And that’s definitely what Whitney has cracked the code on because I believe if I read it correctly, you’ve got like nine hundred dollars under management. Is that correct? When you’re focusing on multifamily, you’ve got ten thousand one hundred and fifty million in assets under management, so you’ve had to raise a fair chunk of change to make that happen. Would that be fair?

Whitney Sewell [00:02:03] That’s very fair. Yeah, we raised thirty five million just last year,

Dave Dubeau [00:02:06] right in the middle of a pandemic. That’s right. Oh my gosh. This real estate thing works even in pandemics, which is something that not very good. So anyway, if you don’t mind just for because again, a lot of our listeners are just kind of getting started with real estate investing or they’ve got a few properties in their portfolio that they’re wanting to start scaling, but they might not know how to get started. So first of all, what is your definition of syndication? What does that actually mean to you?

Whitney Sewell [00:02:38] It’s not as complicated as it sounds. It’s ultimately, you know, ultimately bringing lots of people together to purchase something that they normally would not be able to purchase on their own. So, you know, they’re investing altogether to purchase. Let’s say they’re buying a $30 million project where we may raise $10 million from investors. Well, typically if you had $10 million to invest as an individual, you’re not going to want to put all of that in one project, most likely. And so, you know, buying one deal of this allows lots of people to come together to purchase that property and make an even better return because they can come together as opposed to having to do it all on their own.

Dave Dubeau [00:03:17] Very, very, very good. Good definition there. So Whitney, in your experience, because I know you’ve been around this for quite a while and I know you work with people helping them get started with doing your own syndication. At what point should we be thinking about getting into the whole syndication thing? Where do you see people kind of jumping into that?

Whitney Sewell [00:03:40] So as an operator, you know, I hear often, you know, people that are wholesaling, or maybe they start buying a few small rentals or small multifamily, and they do. They ask you, when should I syndicate? Right? I don’t know when I should really jump to that level. Or I would say, you know, be careful because you may already be syndicating and you don’t know it, you know? But you know, you want to think about if someone is investing with you and they do not have an active role in that deal, then ultimately you are syndicated. You know, they are. They’re expecting a return and they’re passive, right? So are they helping you on a day to day basis or weekly or are they doing anything? If not, there’s a good chance that you’re syndicating, even if it’s a five Plex or six Plex and you have a couple of people that have invested passively, there’s a chance you are syndicating, but maybe not legally. And so I would just encourage you to think through that, you know, as you take on investors to consider, you know, are you syndicating something in or should you talk to a securities attorney to ensure you’re doing it legally?

Dave Dubeau [00:04:38] All right. Well, that brings up another really good question, and I’m sure you’ve seen this all over the place. But what are some of the biggest mistakes you see people making when they’re kind of inching into this space or unknowingly doing it already?

Whitney Sewell [00:04:54] Yes, I mean, there’s many around that train of thought it is that think they’re being right, we call it, you know, partnering on projects when really, they probably should be syndicating, you know, or maybe they’re buying a smaller multifamily property. They have two or three investors. They just have to be careful around that. That could be one mistake. Another is partnering with people quickly to, you know, they see those dollar signs, right? And they make a quick partnership without really vetting that partnership and really thinking long term. Right. What is the implications of a of a bad partnership? What’s that? Know how it was the cost of that because it’s great. And I’ve seen it many times happen where somebody quickly gets into a partnership and it does go south. And now all the work they’ve put in to building those investor relationships and raising, you know, being able to raise some money has just been gone. You know, overnight nearly.

Dave Dubeau [00:05:43] Yeah, OK. Very, very, very good point. So. So somebody is kind of thinking about getting into this what would you suggest are kind of the first steps they should be looking at? So you mentioned talking to a securities lawyer. You know, how do they how do they find somebody like that is at what point does it make financial sense to start syndicating? Because, you know? There’s some expense involved, I’m sure, with getting this right. So maybe it doesn’t make sense for doing a duplex, right? Maybe it does. I don’t know. So you kind of walk me through that if you don’t mind with it.

Whitney Sewell [00:06:20] It probably would not make sense for a duplex. I mean, you’re going to you’re going to expect anywhere from 15 to five thousand potentially an attorney fees alone to syndicate a project. But I would back up from that before we think about like the attorney I would think about, you know, if you’re going to get into this space, there’s so many aspects to the syndication business, right? We have many people on our team and they’re experts in their line of work in their field, right? That’s why we’ve been able to move as fast as we have because I am not doing everything and don’t want to do everything. You know, I can’t do everything and do it well. Think about what you are good at, like, what energizes you. What part of this business? I think through different parts of business, whether that’s investor relations and raising money or marketing or underwriting deals, structuring, finding deals, acquisitions, due diligence. I mean, there’s a list of things that you know that maybe, maybe there’s one or two of those things that you can be really good at. And I would focus on that and be the best at that that I could possibly be. And then you’re and I would find other team members that are really good at those other things, and I’ve seen people move much faster in this business and much better just do a much better, much more efficient job and be just a higher level professional in this business by building that team of professionals as opposed to trying to do it all on their own. In addition to that, have a mentor, you know, just like people that are working with you. I mean, it’s incredible that, you know, if you have somebody on your side that it just gives you such a higher level of confidence, right? And it’s somebody looking in as opposed to, you know, like you looking out all the time, they can add so much value to you. I hired a mentor very early on, and at the time I thought, Oh, you know, is this the best investment of my money, you know? And it seemed like such a big amount at that point in time. My wife and I really just prayed about it, not through it. We thought, No, we got to do this, and I’m so thankful we did. You know, we’ve received such a mass return on investment of that investment could not have imagined doing it without someone there that, hey, I could just send an email to or ask a question of and then point me in the right direction quickly because they’ve been there and done that. So figure out what you’re really good at. I would focus on that thing, but I would also find a good mentor.

Dave Dubeau [00:08:28] Yeah, no, that’s good advice. So when are you going to be interesting in your bio? And I don’t know if you’re comfortable talking about this, but I think you and your wife definitely have a big y when it comes to real estate. Investing is something that you you’re very, very passionate about. You want to touch on that just briefly a little bit about what kind of juices you up besides finding deals and syndicating deals.

Whitney Sewell [00:08:52] Of course, I appreciate your asking and I love sharing about it. I was really blessed our family through adoption and our three children have come to our family through adoption. I’ll give you just a little backstory. When we moved to Virginia, I was becoming a federal agent. At the time I was in the military, Kentucky state police. And then and then we’re federal. And when we came to Virginia, we met this pastor who was talking about how they had adopted and how it cost 40 to 60 thousand dollars to bring a child home through adoption, which is so horrible. But however it does, and it’s not the child’s fault. And so we heard this and we heard there’s like a hundred and fifty million orphans in the world. You know, we had never been exposed to adoption before, never even never discussed it. We’d only been married probably a year and a half at that time. And on our way home, the only thing we could ask ourselves, why would we not adopt my? Why would we not? We can think of a good reason. So. So within a week, we turned in our application to adopt from Ethiopia two years to the month, very long, drawn out rollercoaster of a process. Two years later, our first son, Saint, came home from Ethiopia. Nine or 10 months later, our second son, Elijah, came home through adoption as well through a domestic adoption. And then our daughter now is about 20 months old, and she also came to our family through adoption. And so I tell people that process is so difficult. It’s it is a rollercoaster that seems like there’s nobody on the family side, you know, but it’s very worthwhile. The first couple adoption processes were very difficult financially. I mean, it’s just really burdening most people and keeps them from pursuing bringing that child home. They would make great parents. But I hear it all the time, Dave. They say, You know, Whitney, that’s more than I make in a year. How can I even begin that process? And so we started life, the Life Bridge Foundation, where we are personally, we’re giving you half of our personal profits to that foundation, where we’re going to help. We’re helping families who are kind of in limbo there, you know, or they won’t commit. And so we’re going to prove that we’re providing matching grants to families who are wanting to pursue adoption. But there’s that financial burden just really keeping them from moving forward so we can help them with fundraising and then also provide a matching grant so they’ll continue to pursue adoption. And so we’re just really blessed our family grow our family through adoption. We won’t see other people, you know, be able to that won’t do as well.

Dave Dubeau [00:11:02] That’s amazing. I realize we have a pretty close friend of mine here where I live. He and his wife adopt. Two, three little kids domestically, all from the same family, all under the age of four, so they had three little kids. Instant family and my friend was a police officer. We got story is that it was dabbling in real estate and you said, I love this being a dad thing. I don’t want to be a cop anymore. So that became his why he kicked things in. The gears are raising capital and I always syndicating and was able to quit his job within a year, focused on real estate full time and spend a heck of a lot more time at home with his adopted kids. So hats off to yeah, that’s wonderful. All right. Switching gears back. So we’re kind of back and forth all over the place here, but quickly, while I got you on the call, definitely want to get as much of your experience as we can as possible. So let’s say that somebody is watching this and they’re at the stage now where they’re ready to move beyond friends and family. Start syndicating. Let’s assume that they’ve got things lined up. They’re doing everything properly. They’ve got a securities attorney that’s got everything set up for the property. Now the next question is how the heck do you go about finding these high net worth individuals, these accredited investors to bring on board as your new investor partners, you’re kind of starting from scratch there any I know we can’t go on to add depth in there, but any general suggestions on getting started with that?

Whitney Sewell [00:12:34] Yes, for me, initially, obviously, we’re starting a daily podcast and you know, that doesn’t start producing investors immediately, as you probably know, Dave, but it’s a long term game. It’s a long term thing where you’re educating people and getting in front of people, and you’re building that credibility over a long period of time. In the beginning, also, I was traveling two or three weekends a month all over the country to conferences, and I was just networking as hard as I could go, you know? And so it’s but it’s, you know, the way your network is so important, right? And that’s changed a lot over the last year because we can’t travel, we’re not meeting in person, you know, so it’s much more difficult. However, in some ways, maybe it’s easier when you think about it, but I would encourage you either way to really think about how you’re connecting with someone. And do you know and not do the shotgun approach? You know, you’re throwing your business cards out here, one of your friends, you see later. Here you go. You know, it’s fast. It’s really more

Dave Dubeau [00:13:24] of that by,

Whitney Sewell [00:13:25] right? That’s right. Yeah, we all have. We all learned somewhere that I tell you one thing that’s helped a lot. I didn’t plan this in the beginning, but I started to see it working. And that was our wine that was having a mission bigger than just me trying to build a wealth. You know, our trying to build a big business and brand. And so at conferences, you know, investors or potential investors, you know, they would get to talk to you and say, Tell me about yourself or tell me what you do, and I would tell them a little about the real estate business I would, but I would also share with them my mission and my why. And so I didn’t plan it that way. But what I started to notice is that they would connect with me on a much more personal level. Right? And you just think if you’re there talking to two or three hundred investors at a conference and they’re all talking about real estate, well, how many of them are you really going to remember? I mean, the next week, how many can you really recall? Not that many. However, if there’s if there’s a few that you really connected with on a personal level, like you really saw something deeper in them, you saw passion in them about something they stand out. Right. And so I would follow back up with people, which is also a crucial component, which most do not take advantage of, right? You know, take their information and even think about using a virtual assistant help you to automate that process as far as getting people in your system and, you know, remembering things about people. And so for follow up, reach back out, you know, a few days later, after meeting someone say, Hey, I’d love to have a phone call and just learn more about you and make it more about them than about you, right? Ask questions, ask good questions so you can figure out what their desires are, you know, as opposed to just trying to check a box for yourself. I mean, it seems so simple, right? But most don’t do those things. I mean, most I’ve just found I do not. But it seems common sense, but it’s obviously not, you know? But now, you know, over time, you know, over the last few years, obviously referrals have grown a lot and we get lots and lots of referrals now, which has been amazing to see that happen. But even just the podcast, as you as you’re probably experiencing, too, Dave, you know, over time, you know, people, they learn from you, they learn from your over time every day, right? I get calls from investors, you know, and they say, you know, Whitney, I feel like I already know you, you know, because I’ve listened to you every day. And so that’s been very helpful as well. So when we get on a call, they do already know a lot about me. They’ve heard my voice for a long time. And so they do. There’s this, there’s this assumed trust and credibility that’s already there before we ever even get to talk, which helps me to move a lot faster with that individual right. And I know they’re much more educated as well.

Dave Dubeau [00:15:57] Yeah, no. Those are excellent pointers on a personal curiosity by Frank, as I do the podcasting as well. I cannot imagine doing a daily podcast. My first question, oh, my goodness, did you start right off the bat doing a daily podcast?

Whitney Sewell [00:16:15] We did. We did. I was. I was working full time. We were doing deals. I was doing a daily podcast. We moved twice in the process and adopted our third child. All, you know, all this. It was. It was absolutely insane. And I tell people it’s not something I would recommend for most people.

Dave Dubeau [00:16:34] Yeah. Yeah, I think I think I’m happy I’ll stick with twice a week. We’re having a little bit of fun. Before we started recording, we were both talking about mutual admiration of this of this book right now. It sounds like you have already you only read the book a little while ago, but you’ve been putting this stuff into play for a long time. That’s for sure. So again, just kind of recapping my memory of our conversation today, a huge part of your success has been figuring out exactly what you’re good at, focusing on that and in delegating as much of the rest as humanly possible.

Whitney Sewell [00:17:08] And that’s very it has been. Yeah, that who not how that book. It was great, but I did it doing a daily podcast. So Dave, I think it helped me from the very beginning to know that I could not do it all like it was not possible. And if I had chosen, if I’d chosen to do once or twice a week, I think I personally I would have said, You know what? I can learn how to edit the audio. I can learn how to edit the video. I can get it done. And I would have been overwhelmed. I probably would have quit. You know, and even if I kept up, it would have been very poor quality. Right. Because I mean, trying to learn all those skills myself. And so but doing seven days a week, I knew that it just wasn’t possible with everything else going on, still working full time at that time as well, Joby had to build a team and so I had four virtual assistants from all over the world, different countries. And then I had another VA in the states that would help me to manage all those, all those team members right and make sure we’re on track, you know, with getting the podcast done. And I would have two days a month where I would record 12 to 15 shows, just back to back to back to back to back. I was just the only way I had to get it done.

Dave Dubeau [00:18:10] Not very, very smart. So where do you people want to find out more about you, more about your business, more about your podcast? What can they do?

Whitney Sewell [00:18:19] They can go to a life bridge capital dot com. They can email me Whitney at Life Bridge Capital dot com, or they’re welcome to call or text me at five four zero five eight five four three eight.

Dave Dubeau [00:18:30] We’ll put all that stuff in the show notes again. Life rich capital dot com. It’s a good place to get started with all of that when you spend a lot of fun. Thank you very much.

Whitney Sewell [00:18:39] Thank you, Dave.

Dave Dubeau [00:18:41] My pleasure. All right, everybody. Take care and we’ll see you on the next episode. Bye. Well, hey there. Thanks for tuning into the Property Profits podcast if you’d like this episode. That’s great. Please go ahead and subscribe on iTunes. Give us a good review. That’d be awesome. I appreciate that. And if you’re looking to attract investors and raise capital for your deals that we invite you to get a complimentary copy of my newest book right back there. There it is the money partner formula. You’ve got a PDF version, an investor attraction book dot com again. Investor attraction, book dot com. Take care.

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