Table of Contents - Long Distance Investing Success with Erin Helle
Dave Debeau [00:00:09] Hi everyone Dave Debeau here with another episode of the Property Profits Real Estate podcast today, zooming in from beautiful Kansas City, Kansas, or thereabouts, we've got Erin. All How are you doing today?
Erin Helle [00:00:21] I'm good, dear. How are you?
Dave Debeau [00:00:23] I'm doing great. So it's very, very interesting because she is a very avid real estate entrepreneur. She coaches people about real estate investing and she has a background in the US Army. So, Erin, first things first. What kind of real estate investing strategy do you focus on? Primarily because I know you've got thirty eight doors portfolio of almost three million dollars in total worth. What kind of properties do you focus on?
Erin Helle [00:00:54] Yes, so I would say my sort of main line of effort, which is very much in military terms, would be buy and hold. So my goals are to build a lucrative real estate portfolio because I am and I'm only doing this, I don't have a job. I do flips and wholesaling to earn that short term money so I can buy my next fine home.
Dave Debeau [00:01:17] And when you're buying and holding stuff, what are you primarily buying and holding? Single family homes, multifamily properties? Both. What do you hold on
Erin Helle [00:01:26] single family up to? Our biggest, I think, is a 12 unit right now with 10 of the 12 unit. So I. I do invest in multifamily. Nothing huge yet, but we're definitely always analyzing deals, essentially, if it meets my criteria and it gives me the return I'm looking for, which for year one is usually a 10 percent cash on cash return on investment, then I'm going to make an offer.
Dave Debeau [00:01:51] All right. Very good. So you do a combination of things. This has replaced your full time gig as a professional soldier. How long have you been doing this for?
Erin Helle [00:02:02] Almost three years now. And May it'll be three years of officially being a real estate investor.
Dave Debeau [00:02:07] Well, congratulations. So three years doing this. Did you jump in full time or were you were you doing something else and gradually got into real estate investment? And how did you know?
Erin Helle [00:02:18] I kind of joke that I came into this backwards, like most people say, invest in real estate so you can fire your boss. I was already out of the army when I first got started. And my motivation to buy my very first single family home, honestly, was to offset my husband's income because he is still in the army. And I figured I had a little bit of a hard time transitioning out and becoming a stay at home mom and doing it all at the same time. And so I thought maybe if I'm not going to be bringing in my own money, maybe at least I can help offset it through some of the tax benefits and different things that you can read off by investing in real estate even and even having one single door. And so that was my motivation the first time. And it took me probably two years to buy that first property. Two years of just analysis paralysis, two years of being too afraid to do it. And then I did it and I, I was immediately hooked, like the power of real estate investing played out in that one, that one door, that single family home. And since then, I've just been trying to scale as much as possible. So, you know, I started off very, very part time. And now it's I still wouldn't say it's a full time job. I really only work a couple hours a week, but it's definitely more than a full time income. And the nice part about real estate investing is that I can continue to scale it and make more money, but not necessarily take more time. Right.
Dave Debeau [00:03:44] Because that's a nice. Well, you do a combination of things, but the nice thing about the buy and hold side of things is, you know, once you get that property and once you get that up and running, stabilized, chugging along, unless there's something major going on with a tenant or something like that, you really don't need to do much. Right. You just you get it rolling and then it it skips off that beautiful passive income for you right now. On the other hand, if you're doing the flips and you're doing the wholesaling as well, that's definitely a lot more active, as you know, because you're getting into the deal, you're tying it up. You're getting another contract or finding somebody to buy the contract or you're fixing it up and selling it. That's very, very, very active. So what what percentage of your time and what percentage of your deals are kind of these wholesale flip deals versus buy and hold?
Erin Helle [00:04:38] I would say at this point, I've gotten pretty efficient at the buy and hold process, so that doesn't take a lot of my time just navigating the offer and doing your due diligence. Once that part is over and the title company does try to work, you close and then you put the property manager in place very hands off. I spend literally 30 minutes a week managing my portfolio. Every Thursday afternoon. I do my accounting. I touch base with everybody. I make sure that I've got all the reports that I need and I compile them. And that's essentially it. Right now we're refinancing at 10 units. So that's been a little bit time consuming, but otherwise it takes very little time, honestly.
Dave Debeau [00:05:19] Very nice. So, Aaron, forgive me, because I'm not familiar with your market very much. I I've never been to your beautiful city. I've never been to Kansas. What's about the size of the market that you're working in? But where do you primarily invest?
Erin Helle [00:05:34] Well, so actually we're new to Kansas. We've only we haven't even been here. And my husband still active military family.
Dave Debeau [00:05:40] Right. You guys are moving around.
Erin Helle [00:05:42] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So we just moved from California. I'm actually just now getting into the Kansas City market. We're making an offer right now and a single family flip opportunity potentially. Will Barett, will you refinance it after we're done and then add it to our portfolio? So we're running the numbers on that. Now, my main market, though, is Clarksville, Tennessee, which will actually go through next. This will be our third time stationed there. So we're really familiar with that area. What I love about that area, it's just about an not even an hour north of Nashville. So it's a lot of growth, tons of diversity there in terms of industry. And vacancy rates are really low. There's a lot of a lot of pretty decent tenants. And then taxes are just absolutely crazy low. So it's a great place to invest. And that's where the majority of our dollars are. The market now versus what it was three years ago when we bought the first door. It couldn't be more different. There has been so much progress there. And that's what I teach my clients to do, is look for that path of progress. And Clarksville, Tennessee, is definitely meet that criteria and continues to grow, which is astounding.
Dave Debeau [00:06:50] So something I'm interested curious about, Aaron, is because you guys are a military family and you've got that background. Two questions. First of all, what skill set do you think the military provided you with that has benefited you as a real estate entrepreneur? That's my first question. And then the second question is, because you're probably, you know, being transferred. You're being moved around so often every couple of years, literally. How has that benefited you in the way you look at real estate investing? You look at markets. So first thing is skill sets that you picked up in the military. The second thing is around the movie.
Erin Helle [00:07:30] Yeah. So I think that the first to answer your first question, the probably the two most important things I learned from the military are how to manage people and how to manage projects. And so, you know, it's a people business, just like most other things that you do. So managing people, managing a team, building a team is the most important thing you can do in real estate, especially when you're flipping. But even when you're just doing a buy and hold strategy, you want to have the right people on your team, the right property manager, the right vendors and contractors and the right insurance agent, all that stuff. So managing those people, I think, is first and foremost. And the things that I learned in the army have allowed me to have a good baseline there. It's quite different because in the Army, as you know, I was always the boss of the officer and I told people what to do. And I guess, man exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And I'm really I'm really good at that. I'm good at ordering people around. So it was, you know, a little bit it's a good quality to have. I had to kind of adjust my expectations because, you know, in the Army you say jump and they say hi and they do it whether they like it or not. And it doesn't really work like that in the civilian world. So you you know, instead of ordering, you ask and you motivate the military. So that's huge. And then the other thing is just managing the tasks and managing the whole picture, whether that's introducing the team members or whether that's, you know, physically hiring people to do certain tasks or doing them yourself, you know, being able to manage those and handle those, it's pretty similar to the people side of it as well. So that answers the first part of your question. And then I don't even remember the second question or
Dave Debeau [00:09:22] so, because you're part of the military, you're probably moving every two years, which, you know, most people two or three years, which most people find it hard to grasp. I'm barely feeling at home some place in two years. And you're in your. You're bouncing all around. So you mentioned earlier you've got a primary market, which you guys like to focus on because you move around so much with the military. How has that affected how you do the business of real estate investing?
Erin Helle [00:09:52] Yeah, so surprisingly, it hasn't affected it much at all. You know, whether you're managing a team down the street from you or across the country or across the world from you, the principles don't change and the system shouldn't change. You know, people always say to me, I want to be in the same area as my rental and like, OK, are you going to self manage? And they say, no, I'm going to hire a property manager. So I said, why do you need to be there then? And nobody goes back and check on things. And I'm like, well, then you obviously don't trust your property manager and you probably shouldn't be paying your property manager if you don't trust them and you feel like you have to check on things. So and I only really learned that once I moved away from Tennessee the first time, all my doors were in the same city that I lived probably within an hour of our house. And then we moved to California and I thought I was going to take a major step back in my business. But I found that my productivity skyrocketed because I no longer was driving around checking on projects. I wasn't keeping tabs on people. I just out of sight, out of mind. It sort of had to force myself to trust that they were getting it done, which comes with the challenges to, you know, you've got to be really forthcoming and upfront about what you expect of people, especially when you aren't there. It's a little harder to build relationships with people over the phone and it's a little harder to kind of manage expectations. But it can all be done. And once you can truly delegate and moving to a thousand miles away, it really helps with that. And that's when I started my coaching business because I was like I suddenly had all this time on my hands. I wasn't actively managing anything, really. And I was like, I'm ready to take it to the next level. So it was for me.
Dave Debeau [00:11:35] So just out of curiosity, and when it comes to financing your deals, especially you're buying or maybe even your flips, do you just use self-financing as your own capital or are you working with investor partners as well?
Erin Helle [00:11:50] Honestly, everything I have used every financing strategy under the sun and every combination you could even think of, I've partnered, I've used hard money and use private money and think money. I've self directed my IRA and use that money, anything and everything that I can come up with. And that's where I think the power is in real estate. Like, the more creative you can get, the more powerful that strategy is going to be.
Dave Debeau [00:12:14] Yeah, makes sense. Awesome. Well, time flies when we're having fun. And so people want to find out more about Aaron Helly and what you're up to. What should they do?
Erin Helle [00:12:23] Yeah, so I'm all over social media. I'm on Facebook at the Aaron Errantly Instagram. It's at the Aaron Hely underscore our investor and my website is B C global investment dot com.
Dave Debeau [00:12:38] Perfect. Thank you very much. It's been a lot of fun to earn and keep up the good work.
Erin Helle [00:12:43] Thanks, Dave.
Dave Debeau [00:12:44] All right, everybody take care and we'll see you on the next episode. Well, hey there. Thanks for tuning into the Property Profits podcast. If you like this episode, that's great. Please go ahead and subscribe on iTunes. Give us a good review. That would be awesome. I appreciate that. And if you're looking to attract investors and raise capital for your deals, that may invite you to get a complimentary copy of my newest book right back there. There it is, the money partner formula. You got a PDF version, an investor attraction book, dot com again, investor attraction book, dot com ticker.