Table of Contents - Ultimate Virtual Online Real Estate Investing with Laura Alamery
Dave Debeau [00:00:09] Hey, everyone, this is Dave Debeau with another episode of the Property Profits Real Estate podcast today, big treat. We've got a guest. Laura Alamery, who is not only a very accomplished real estate entrepreneur who's been in the business for a long time, but here's what's really, really cool, is Laura has completely dialed it in on how to do real estate investing virtually. So, Laura, welcome to the podcast. How are you doing today?
Laura Alamery [00:00:38] Hey, thank you. Thank you for having me here today.
Dave Debeau [00:00:41] My pleasure. So where are you zooming in from today, Laura? Because I think you you do it while you used to do stuff all over. You might say now we've got the covid thing and maybe you're right there. No.
Laura Alamery [00:00:53] Yeah, I'm actually located in South Florida near Fort Lauderdale between Florida and Miami.
Dave Debeau [00:00:59] Excellent. Very good. But I detect a little bit of an accent, so I don't think it's
Laura Alamery [00:01:04] where I grew up in Italy, northern Italy, near Venice.
Dave Debeau [00:01:08] Very nice. Excellent. So, Laura, tell us briefly a little bit about your real estate journey and then let's just jump right in and let's talk about this whole what you call your ultimate virtual online real estate investing market.
Laura Alamery [00:01:22] Sure. So, yeah, I grew up in Italy and I came to the United States back in 1985 and I actually lived in Hawaii. And that's where I started in real estate is in nineteen eighty seven. I got licensed as a real estate agent and I was a residential agent for about four years. But even as an agent, I started really buying my own property and sell it. And I started from a townhouse by the time I left a 91 and I actually put a contract in at one point two million dollar home. And so and I actually ended up wholesaling that contract to make seventy five thousand dollars because we had to move back to the mainland. My husband was in the army. So with that then when I came to the mainland, I went in to buy and hold a 91. I start buying rental properties using all kinds of creative financing because I didn't really have a job, so I couldn't qualify for regular loans. And then I went into to do some fix, some flips. I went into wholesaling before it was called wholesaling in 93, 94. It was called flipping the contract. So I went in to that and then I went into raising private money two, 2001. So I've done all kinds of different things along the way. And one of the things I always say about the way that I think, I believe that one of the reasons I have thrived as a real estate investor over the years is because I always reinvented myself. You know, things were done very differently, let alone six months ago, you know, let alone 10, 20, 30 years ago. And so if you don't know that yourself all the time and you see what's going on in the industry and how you can position yourself in a competitive market, you're going to be squeezed out of the market. And that's one of the thing. And that's why it brings me here today to talk about how we're developing our systems nowadays.
Dave Debeau [00:03:15] So what what does your real estate investing business look like these days? Laura, what do you focus on or are you still doing buying homes or you're focusing on one particular market or doing wholesaling? What's your main, main thing these days?
Laura Alamery [00:03:30] The main thing these days, I would say, is wholesaling. And one of the reason being is that, you know, I've done different strategies over the years and you have to recognize that every point in your life, you know, you my focus more on a certain strategy for different reasons. For example, right now, I'm actually my daughter is taking over a lot of the business. I'm at an age where I want to travel. I want to do other things. I don't want to be a lot of hands on on things. So the rental property is actually owned by one of my business partners. So I delegate to that part of the fix and flip. We cherry pick what we want to fix. And so wholesaling is really heavily my market is because wholesale it can be done virtually very easily. It can be automated very easily. And then from that you can still pick property if you do want to buy and hold or fix and flip. But it's really about creating the business around your lifestyle, not the other way around. And that's a lot of people. I see a lot of real estate investors struggling with this because they really sacrifice a lot of their life of their way. They live their life to really run the business and micromanage the business.
Dave Debeau [00:04:41] Well, I would correct me if I'm wrong, but I would imagine coming from that that background where you're married to a military person, you have to move around a lot. So you probably learned early on that a whole bunch of different strategies because different things work better and in different markets or whatnot. Does that kind of where you got to the whole reinvention thing?
Laura Alamery [00:05:02] Yeah, actually, I started running my business virtual back in ninety five because, you know, and back then, if you remember, you know, emails was really kind of the beginning. There was no really a lot of the tools, the platform. The only thing I was using is really. A fax machine, but I was living between Midwest and New York, so I was spend a couple of weeks a month in the Midwest, couple weeks in New York, and I was doing virtual business when I lived in New York. I was doing deals in the Midwest, but I wasn't there. So I started doing this back in 95. And then eventually I moved back to St. Louis and stayed there for about 20 years. But the thing is about now, well, in South Florida, I actually went, oh, you've been doing a lot of business in South Florida with the business in other parts of Florida and the Midwest, and we never even see the properties. So this is how the business has evolved over the years. And yeah, so I personally started doing this back over 20 years ago.
Dave Debeau [00:06:03] So, Laura, for our newer listeners are the folks who aren't super experienced is really interesting. Give us a very brief description or definition of what wholesaling or or flipping the contract means.
Laura Alamery [00:06:16] OK, well, selling is basically you put the property under contract and then you find a buyer for this property or for the contract for a little higher price than what you have it on contract and you time the transaction so you can have either a double closing or an assignment. But the important thing is you're really selling the contract and that has to happen within the same day so you can walk away with this profit between what you buy for and what you sell it. So if you buy a property for one hundred thousand, you sell it for one hundred and ten, then your profit is ten thousand dollars minus closing costs. But you know, roughly. So that's what flipping of the contract for buy and hold is. Obviously that's rental income, passive income and fix and flip is what you actually close on the property, buy the property, fix it up and retail it later on. So these are the three strategies you're going to play in any shape or form. You're going to do this for what? Your real estate career. You can do this with residential commercial land. At some point they will have to use private money. And that's where you they've come in because this is where it really took my business exponentially, grew overnight. So I was doing wholesale going fix and flip to buy and hold. But then in 2001, I went into private money and that's where my business went from, doing a few wholesale deals a month to doing 10 to 15 a month wholesaling, plus about twenty six some at a time, because I tapped into something
Dave Debeau [00:07:44] that's that's interesting. So how were you using investor funds for doing the whole segment? Because my my impression was for most wholesale like deals, you don't really need much money.
Laura Alamery [00:07:54] That's right. Yeah. Well, you know, that's a kind of an advance in the strategy. Right. But because I was buying a lot of the properties in bulk, so I was buying from auctions Oreo's, so I would buy this property using the private money and then I would decide what I was going to do. So if I bought the package of property, some of them, we were going to take some flip, some of them we were holding on as rentals and some of them we were just going to had to wholesaling a lot of time to even look at the property, just sell the contracts. So the same day we took over the property, we had buyers for these properties. So that's when I used private money to really buy properties in bulk. And then we dispose the property, you know, according to how we exit strategy we wanted to implement. Yes. Depending on the deals. Yeah.
Dave Debeau [00:08:40] All right. So, Laura, we got a little bit of a gesture, very obviously very, very active real estate entrepreneur. Now, how would you describe you? You talked a little bit about how most real estate entrepreneurs are really created a job for themselves. There's a lot of work involved. You've kind of removed yourself. You're focusing more on virtual online real estate investing. What does that even what does that even mean? What does what does that look like?
Laura Alamery [00:09:07] It's about using systems and things in place where you remove the day to day operations of yourself, you know, meaning you don't have to physically text or call or send letters. You don't have to go out, drive around and knock on doors and this and that. You know, one of the things I read a few years ago really was, you know, it was an aha moment for me. It was a success for real estate investors. Doesn't go hunt for deals. The deals come to them. And so then I sat down and thought about my own experience and I was like, you know what? That's right. You know, when I got to the level that I was wholesaling over ten deals a month and we were fixing flipping over 20 deals at the time, to me, I wasn't really struggling. I found deals really, really easy that came to me. And so I started to look at that angle and I was like, OK, how can I do this even more? How can I even duplicate this with the tools and the technology we have nowadays that we didn't have twenty years ago? How can I do this on another level? You know, instead, the marketing says while you're supposed to text people and. Them direct marketing, which brings me to another observation that I make, is that people nowadays react differently when 20, 30 years ago really only our marketing was direct marketing and phone numbers. It was hard to find them. There was not all these services like we have nowadays. There was a lot of manual things you had to do to reach out to these leads, and mainly was direct marketing, where nowadays we have a lot of other ways to do it and people react differently. Think about it. Some people will answer a text. Some don't. Some people will still pick up the phone. Some don't. Some people will look at the postcard. Some people instead look at open an envelope because maybe they think there is a check in there. So it's like people react differently. So to really get the most out of your leads, you need to come in from different angles to market to those leads. And that's a lot of work, right, because you don't spend just a minute if you spend thousands of dollars to send a direct marketing campaign and then you sit by the phone waiting for a call. Good luck. You know, your percentage point, five percent response. And that's probably not even a good response. So you'll have to come in from a different angle. You have to come in front of people coming in through phone calls, with text letters for postcards to really get people to react. It's a lot more work, honestly. Twenty years ago, it was much easier. So I said, OK,
Dave Debeau [00:11:42] there might be more competition these days, too.
Laura Alamery [00:11:44] Right, right. Right. So I'm not going to text 500 leads. I'm not going to call him. I'm not going to do all this. And I look at my daughter and I said to her, this is not the way I'm going to stay in the business.
Dave Debeau [00:11:55] I'm not serious. I thought, you guys are going to get my daughter to do that instead.
Laura Alamery [00:12:00] Oh, yeah, actually, she did. And she's here with me right now. And she did for me for a moment. But, you know, both of us, we look at each other because she also coaches now as well. She's an investor and we look at her. So I tell her, I'm not going to do this. You know, I'm not I'm not interested in this part. I don't have to do this. There must be a better way. So we start looking, how can we use tools and virtual assistants and really automate the business? Like, I'm really sitting to you right now talking and I have somebody in the other room. She's doing all the calls and the text. So, you know, and when she has a hot lead, she comes in here, hands me the phone and say, hey, this guy is ready to talk. So how can you do this? So you don't have to be doing it yourself
Dave Debeau [00:12:43] because you start. So one question pops to my mind, Lauras people buy me listen to this and go, well, OK. Well, Laura, you've been doing this since nineteen eighty seven. You've got decades of experience. You you've done 20, 30 deals at a time. I'm just a little guy just getting started. I've only got a deal or two under my belt. This sounds way to advance for me. What would you say for somebody who's concerned about that
Laura Alamery [00:13:11] or in the beginning. Sure, in the beginning I always doesn't matter where you are. If you're a beginner or experienced investor, I always say you have to do everything yourself. Anyway, in the beginning, get this going. You understand the process behind it so that then you can exponentially grow if you want to grow. Some people say, you know, I'd be glad if I kind of wanted to do a month. You know, I, I have some elderly that that coach in their 70s and 80s. You know, they're not as aggressive as the thirty year old, but by the same token, they don't want to buy themselves another job. And you don't have to take this space. You don't have to do ten bills a month. You can do one to two deals is more about buying yourself freedom, you know, and really honest. You can do this on a very small scale. You can do this with just enough leads every month. You can do one deal. The point is you don't have to do everything yourself. I mean, I don't know how many people, especially right now with everything going on in the world. I don't know how many people like to really go out there and knock on door talking to people that they don't know, you know, with social distancing and being their hands on when you can do this without having to worry about the social distancing. So it's you know, you can make it as small as you want it as big as you want. That's up to you.
Dave Debeau [00:14:27] So it's not just a matter of hiring a bunch of employees or virtual assistants, but finding the right tools to make whatever you're actively doing yourself a lot more efficient by perhaps automating it or making it more virtual instead of hands on.
Laura Alamery [00:14:45] Right. Because you have two sides. Well, actually three sides to every real estate transaction. There's the acquisition, there is the disposition, and then there is a transaction in the middle. Right. So you have three sides. So you're going to acquire the property. That's the acquisition process. No matter what you do, drive for dollar, knock on doors or use it in ultimate real estate model. But you're going to have to get the property. Once you have him on the contract, then you're going to try to sell it. Right. So that's the disposition of your wholesaling them. And then in the middle, you have the transaction. Management, how does it get from A to Z? Now, if you are wholesaling, that's out there, it's not for buy and hold and fix and flip is a much simpler model because you really don't have the disposition. You just have the acquisition side of things. But you still need how do I find properties that are on their value so that can make my cash flow so I can make a profit when I sell the property. So you still have to look for those golden nugget and then you don't have an exit strategy because you're going to hold on to the property. So you don't have to worry about the disposition side of things, but you still need to come up with the process. How do I find undervalued property? Because let's face it, real estate investment is the key, right? You need to find undervalued properties and that works for any type of strategy. Even private lenders take on a loan you only after a certain amount. So you need to make sure you got the right properties.
Dave Debeau [00:16:08] Excellent. So, Laura, time flies when we're having fun or 17 minutes is just about up. And people want to find out more about you and your whole process of, you know, doing ultimate virtual online real estate investing. What would you have them do?
Laura Alamery [00:16:24] Yeah, I have a website that's been around and it has a ton of training, free training material on it. Different types of articles and webinars is called Laura Alomari dot com. And when you go to the Web site, we also have a podcast as well. And when you go to the website, you're also going to see at the top of the page there's going to be a chance for you to download a free ebook. And the free ebook is about the seven steps that we use to actually get the URL. So it doesn't matter if you want to do one deal or ten deals a month, we still use the same steps. So make sure you download the free e-book at Lorella Mary dot com.
Dave Debeau [00:17:01] Very good. Laura, thank you once again for your your wisdom and your insights and tip of the hat to you for figuring out how to do all this stuff virtually.
Laura Alamery [00:17:10] OK, great. Thank you,
Dave Debeau [00:17:11] everybody. Take care. See you on the next episode.
Laura Alamery [00:17:14] Thank you. Bye bye.
Dave Debeau [00:17:15] 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, we invite you to get a complimentary copy of my newest book right back there. There is the money partner formula. You get a PDF version at investor attraction book, dot com again, investor attraction book, dot com ticker.