Virtual Assistants and Real Estate with Jonathan Farber

Microphone 5 39

Podcast Transcription

Dave Dubeau [00:00:09] Hey, everyone, this is Dave Dubeau with another episode of the property Profits Real Estate podcast. That’s a mouthful, Jonathan. I tell you my special guest today is Jonathan Farber, and I’m excited to talk with Jonathan because we’re going to talk about something very unique that I’ve been using personally for years and years and years. Jonathan is an absolute rock star at this, but we haven’t talked about it on the podcast as it relates to real estate investing. And that is using VAS virtual assistants in your real estate investing business and how you can leverage these people and their talents to grow your portfolio. So Jonathan, welcome.

Jonathan Farber [00:00:54] Excited to be here. And I got to just comment on the mouthful because our podcast is called Millennial Millionaires through real estate. And I can’t tell you how many people just get so tripped up trying to say that so I can relate to yours being a little similar in that sense so we can compete for hardest to say.

Dave Dubeau [00:01:13] If you know where you go going to love it, I love it. So, Jonathan, I read your bio here. You’ve done some amazing things in a short period of time. I love the fact that you kind of come from a tech background. You’ve at least it appears to me that you’ve brought a lot of those skill sets into real estate investing. You got out of the rat race. I think it was age 27 seven, which is phenomenal. So hats off to you there. So first of all, let’s just jump in and we’ll talk a little bit about the backstory was to go along, but let’s just jump right into the guts of this. Yeah. What impact does using VAS have on your real estate investing business?

Jonathan Farber [00:01:55] I think of a mantra with Vas, the most of 80 percent or something better than 100 percent of nothing. You know, it’s like overused, trite expression, but so true, we’re all perfectionists. And what I think about with a lot of activities is root cause analysis like, why am I not doing the thing that I want to do or that I think I should be doing? So let’s say it’s I want to buy a property, but I’ve said that for six months and I’m not able to move the needle. I’m really into just root cause analysis and problem solving as much as possible. So I like to think about it.

Dave Dubeau [00:02:28] Jonathan Root cause analysis. You talk of big words here, my friend. Oh yeah.

Jonathan Farber [00:02:33] So I guess I just think of it as like, what is the real truth reason why we’re not doing something, you know? Is it true laziness? Usually it’s fear. There’s a fear of picking up the phone and talking to someone. It’s the fear of going out and door knocking. It’s the fear of sending out your first direct mail and spending money and feeling stupid. So, you know, I like to. I feel like most people can overcome that fear by identifying it and then taking some action toward it and lowering the anxiety at it. Now, not to get like, you know, down like high level, weird path. They’re like, I just I want to make it as tactical as possible. I’m a productivity nerd. I love GTD. I love the one thing free to focus all these things. Just, you know, like how to be more productive in the least amount of time, in the least amount of energy. I think that’s what we all want. So how does Vas play into that is kind of now like this? I would say my system for productivity is a combination of like EOS traction one. Are all books. But, you know, just for me, like identifying what were the pieces that I like doing that I’m good at doing? And then what are the things that I don’t like doing and I’m not good at doing? And then again, I’m just throwing out a lot of books here, but these are all books that I think about with this other one. Michael Gerber MF You know, if there’s a process that we use in the business to do something and we do it repetitively, we just turn it into a checklist. Now I’m thinking another book checklist manifesto I read, but not like crazy, who knocked out another great book. And that’s a big part of this here. I’ve just identified, you know, like the things that you’re good at that you like doing, and then what are the other components that really feel heavy or you dread doing? And for me, let’s just say like making it tactical for people. For me, the things that I dreaded doing in our day to day process were editing content, editing podcasts, analyzing deals, hiring people, scheduling email. All things that I felt like were administrative activities, and I had someone on my podcast that really can open my eyes to this. You know, we just went through at the time when I was making a little bit of like a salary in a different position in my corporate job before I left and asked, just what’s your time worth per hour? And basically, we went through it, and at the time I said about two hundred dollars an hour. And he said, OK, so how many times do you find yourself doing something that you could pay someone less than two hundred dollars an hour to do? And that’s what really clicked with me. OK, how do I start buying back as much time as possible? And that was a little scary because I was thinking, I don’t want to pay people salary. I don’t want to pay people, you know, per project or per hour. I don’t exactly know how to do that thing again, kind of going back to root cause analysis or fear. So then just started going down the path. How do the other people do it? How does Tim Ferriss do it? How does Neil Bower do it? How to other people in the entrepreneur world hire outsource labor for three to seven dollars an hour? How do they train them? How do they pay them? How do they onboard them? How do they communicate with them to do this? So for us, what that just meant was most of the people we can find on Upwork. We do use some agencies for like cold calling or texting in the wholesaling stuff. We’re doing the podcasting stuff, the editors and the production stuff that was all from Upwork. And then now the way we communicate and track activity, we use notion it’s a project management tool and then we communicate through Slack just to see when tasks are done. If there’s repetitive tasks, there’s questions. If there’s snags that come up, you know, there’s little always tweak and, you know, just based on that again, trying to be productive, but also best bang for your buck on time and lazy. My main assistant now who kind of started as like a mentee, she’s kind of curating my email throughout the day. I just try to check email twice in one folder that says Jeff working. So she handles a lot of stuff that I’ll give her scripts or templates or kind of just like how tos and she can handle that. And then for things that she just doesn’t know what it’s regarding or it’s a one off or it’s just something that it’s kind of important that she does want to make a judgment on. She’ll send it to me, and then I’ll work through that or add it to my task, listen notion. And basically, we just try to tag team at every task it’s assigned to someone, and then it’s due dated and it’s prioritized. And then, you know, when I do a weekly review myself and a weekly review of these team members, we kind of go through where we at with some of these projects, what’s stuck, what’s working well. And by doing that way, you know, we’re able to keep the ball moving on some things that I just would have never gotten to myself, you know, I wouldn’t have bought property in some cases. If I had to analyze every deal that came through, I would have never started a podcast, I would have never started a YouTube channel. If I had to do all the little activities that I just didn’t like doing, I felt stupid doing, and I just didn’t believe their good use of my time. So, you know, a four hour workweek. It’s a very, you know, referred to book an entrepreneur entrepreneurial. But it’s my favorite book, and I usually read it about once a quarter when I left my corporate job. I to read it like another five times, just because there’s so much good stuff in that book that I feel like even though it’s written in 2008, or even maybe sooner or earlier than that. A lot of it still holds true today, so I’ll just pause there. But was some examples. It’s how we interact day to day and kind of just, you know, a lot of stuff I would say from a hiring instructor standpoint is from iOS or traction or kind of like that Gino Wickman like process guide.

Dave Dubeau [00:07:40] So when it comes to the real estate investing side of things, because you get a lot of our viewers here, don’t have podcasts, don’t want to start a podcast or YouTube channel or anything like that. So if I’m a mom and pop real estate investor. What would be the best bang for my buck to outsource to a virtual assistant? What do you think would be a good place to start?

Jonathan Farber [00:08:06] Well, one that I see being more common, you know, for if anyone has heard the term wholesalers in real estate, it’s kind of like another word for flipper, but you just don’t do any work to the property. You just find a deal and you sell it. And you just make a spread in between a really nice use case that we’re using VAS for. And I think anyone that’s in real estate, it’s all about finding the deal. Everyone wants to find a good deal. So what you can hire Vas to do again, this is very low cost labor a three to five dollars an hour. They can go on any county assessor’s website and they can pull records for delinquencies, shut offs, evictions, things like that. Then they can skip trace them, which just means they find the contact information of those people who are maybe behind or, you know, maybe not even living in that property anymore. And then they can go a step further of then contacting them and following up with them and trying to find qualified leads. So that’s one in

Dave Dubeau [00:09:04] following up with them, getting on the phone, calling them up, that sort of thing.

Jonathan Farber [00:09:07] So there’s a little bit, I guess, of a discrepancy or just some people have different methodologies on this. You know, I’d say for just plain prospecting, which is something that can be fairly easily outsourced to most Vas that, you know, have you their base level training or you train? I would recommend it. Most of them come train, you know, they’ve called and they understand the tools and they understand the crimes and the dealers and all that. I think that after a quote unquote lead has been qualified, it’s gone from just a record to a lead. Then I think in most cases, it’s a good use of the investors time to talk to that lead and actually understand what’s going on here, understand the situation, build rapport, see how creative they can get and then kind of nurse it from there. But that’s after like a hand off point. That’s how we do it. And I do it because there’s, you know, if you have a nice marketing engine, you could have a lot of quote unquote leads, but they might not be qualified. So I think at that point, then it just becomes getting people on the phone, seeing properties and actually understanding if the numbers work.

Dave Dubeau [00:10:06] That’s where you need to step in. OK, good. Cool. So I can see that I can see a vein for that. Where else do you like to use VAS in your active real estate investing business? Or do you say you’re not a big fan of analyzing deals? You outsource that? How does that work?

Jonathan Farber [00:10:23] So for one of the strategies I was really into this year, and I think it’s still, I would say, possible, I think it’s still like a great strategy. You might be changing a little because it was almost too good to be true for a little while in the sense of you could buy second homes with 10 percent down and use them for some portion of the year and then rent them out on short term rental sites for the rest. And because you need to put 10 percent down and you maybe only use it one week at a 50 to a year, you could really juice up your cash flow or your cash on cash returns.

Dave Dubeau [00:10:57] Yeah, but I have a much lower down payment for properties instead of having a company with twenty five percent.

Jonathan Farber [00:11:03] Yeah, exactly. And in a lot of these areas, again, like if anyone listening is wondering, like, what’s a great strategy you? This is, I guess what I’m saying that I may be going away. So many people or not, so many more people started doing it that I think banks were starting to now raise the interest rates. You know, I bought two of those this year and the interest rates were two point seven and two point seventy five. So a low interest rate very as opposed to, let’s say, an investment property, it might be for four and a quarter. So the strategy with that, you know, it’s really competitive is especially because of COVID. You know, we’re recording this May 13th, 2021. So like almost a year after COVID, but vacation homes in mountains, beaches, lakes, golf courses, you know, a lot of people during COVID, we’re looking to do driving vacations or staycations. So there’s a big projection for boosting that, and there’s still a lot of people that don’t want to fly. So they became more competitive and I was seeing basically my process. These are on market deals. And the reason that we weren’t necessarily targeting off market deals in this case with the VA thing that I was telling you about before was that we were putting 10 percent down, so we didn’t and it was going to be a turnkey property since we’re using bank financing. We’re going to try to get it as turnkey as possible, even in a lot of cases. Get furniture with it. And then we’re trying to get a little bit off at the closing table like a cash concession to again have high cash on cash. So basically, though, the process was looking on Redfin or Zillow, you know, whichever it’s all the same stuff scraping from the MLS, which is just kind of the listing service that realtors use. But the process, you know, what was I doing every day? I was basically waking up looking at deals on Redfin. I was basically just Harding that it was Larry, my morning routine in that time. And like, I’m a morning routine kind of person, I guess, or at least when I was my most productive was, I would get out of bed or get like my alarm would go off and I would just scroll through Redfin. I would heart the properties that looked good just esthetically. Nothing beyond that based on my criteria is usually three or four beds, depending on if it was a warm weather area, had a pool, whatever had a criteria. And then when I would get on my computer, any of the properties that I hearted, I would check. If they had good zoning for short term rentals, then I would run the numbers and I would just do more thorough analysis, and then based on that, I would send them to the realtor to either go take pictures or to give me their comments and then try to get an offer in that day. It’s just that competitive. So it became kind of a speed game, but then I was looking in, let’s say, four markets. OK, I was in the Carolinas, Florida, I was looking in the area of Pennsylvania and it became just too many and I just didn’t like doing it again. I’m not necessarily a numbers person. The book Traction, you know, really opened my eyes as far as, like what like people can do in a business. It’s almost like the who not whole concept, but it’s like, OK, are you big picture? Are you analytical? And for me, I always thought it was. I don’t want to curse. I always thought of such a B.S. copout when someone would say that they are a high level visionary or whatever. But for me, I’m just not good with numbers. I just don’t like them. I don’t enjoy it. So it held me up from getting offers out. So anyway, the process, what it was, I then wrote it out that, OK, here’s the deal. I’m going to start these properties in Redfin. What’s cool is that you can give someone access. You’re like as if they’re your spouse, your friend, and then they can see your favorite properties. Then what that person would do is they would see what I basically favorited for that day. They would get notifications about that by the time that I kind of got to my desk if they had then already done the analysis themselves of if it’s a regular rental going on rent ometer, running it through are just Google Sheets spreadsheet. If it was a short term rental, they would look it up on their DNA or mash visor and basically just give us a rough idea on numbers. And like, I just had a benchmark of like 17 percent cash on cash was like projected. Now again, that could be very rough, and then we’ll dig into it, if that’s real or not. But basically then by the time I got to my computer, there were already maybe 30 deals analyzed that would have taken me, maybe like two hours to do. But it was already done in the time that I favorited them, took a shower or a breakfast and then got on my computer. And then I had maybe five that were worth looking at. And then we would put offers out or reach out to the realtors. Out of the five, maybe four would be, you know, on a hilly road or not permitted, right? But at least it gave us a way to get out offers every day, every week when most people, I think, would be held up trying to analyze them and get kind of held up there. So that’s a start to finish what the process was.

Dave Dubeau [00:15:28] Yeah, very, very smart. So Jonathan Typekit lives were fun, but I don’t want to just end right here. So if somebody saying, Hey, you know what? That sounds kind of cool. What would you say if they’ve had no experience with Vas up until now? What would be a good first step, like where should they go to try and find somebody? And how do you, you know, you talked about 80 percent being good enough kind of thing. So let’s talk a little bit about where to start looking and b proper expectations.

Jonathan Farber [00:15:58] I think the absolute easiest way is getting like a logo done. It’s just, I think for a lot of people to open up the mind to the possibility of outsourcing something that in our heads would think is very maybe expensive or difficult. But you can go on a site called CYBERCOM, where a lot of the job postings really only cost five dollars. You can go. It’s almost like a dollar store where a lot of stuff is dollar, then you can get higher. But most of the stuff is five bucks. So I’d recommend maybe get a logo for one of your social media accounts, your Twitter background, your Facebook background, and pay five bucks for it. And what’s cool about five or dotcom is you just go on and there are people that already have a lot of reviews. It’s like Google reviews almost. But there five reviews, so you could see who has a good track record. You could see some of their past work. You can then just message them and basically assign a project and say, Hey, here’s what I’m looking for. Is this something you can do? They’ll say yes, and then you give them a little bit of background on it or whatever discretion you want them to have, whatever liberty. And they’ll put something together, and then you have revisions that you can send back and forth. And that’s an easy, easy way. I mean, everyone’s social media could probably use a spruce up in twenty one, you know, like, that’s a whole other conversation. But it’s so important, I think, to get kind of the outward messaging and branding, right? I mean, I don’t think that’ll ever be done. It’s always, I think, in motion. But for most people, I think that be a really important thing to either have like the copy the submarine on their LinkedIn or Facebook cleaned up, if you could do that or the picture or the graphic. And I think that’s a great place to start. Obviously, you could then get into more of the nuance stuff of outsourcing your email or outsourcing your scheduling, or just like anything really that requires a phone or a computer. You know, I only think sort of rant. But just one last thing I think is really three things that can’t be outsourced, which is taking care of your body, making goals and creating relationships. Other than that, I feel like almost everything tactically can be outsourced. So, you know, you can get really creative with it. But the easiest one, I would say, go on Fiverr, create a logo for your whatever your business, your Facebook page or LinkedIn page or Twitter. And see if you get a little bit of excitement around that and then see what else, you can kind of start to offload more and more, it becomes

Dave Dubeau [00:18:13] a little by little. Don’t try to offload your entire life. Well, one time it’ll be a disaster. Jonathan, there’s been a lot of flying. If people want to find out more about you and what you’re up to and how you can help them, where should they go?

Jonathan Farber [00:18:28] We do a real estate podcast mentioned at the beginning millennial millionaires through real estate. There’s a Facebook group associated to that. I’m posting in that group a lot either deal strategy, the good, the bad updates, things like that, new products we have coming out. And then the thing that I do more for serious people, beginners that are looking to get a little more into it is we just do an accountability group quarterly. For people that are more serious about kind of getting started and taking action, root cause analysis back to the beginning, I think most people don’t take action because they have no accountability. But if someone’s in your face, you would probably act. So that was something that I found really help me. I’m really good at telling myself reasons that I can justify not doing stuff, so that’s the best way. And then social media, everything’s John J. FRB, LinkedIn and Facebook. Just Jonathan Farber and I will respond. Any message that comes this way or a VA will route it to me and we will get on the horn. So that’s pretty much this.

Dave Dubeau [00:19:25] Been great. Thanks a lot, Jonathan.

Jonathan Farber [00:19:27] All right. Thank you so much for having me. Really appreciate it.

Dave Dubeau [00:19:30] All right, everybody. Take care of see you on the next episode of 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, then we 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. Take care.

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