So many real estate investing goddesses-to-be want to get started, but they don’t have $50,000 or $100,000 to invest. Today, Monick Halm talks to Lisa Phillips about teaching people how to invest on a shoestring budget and still cashflow. Lisa teaches full-time professionals how to invest in real estate part-time through coaching, online courses, and membership programs. Focusing on lower-priced rental properties with high cashflow, she shows us some tricks on how she’s been able to achieve affordable real estate investing. Learn from Lisa as she shares her experiences in finding quality and profitable properties.
Listen to the podcast here:
Affordable Real Estate Investing – Interview With Lisa Phillips
I am excited to have our guest, Lisa Phillips, with us. I get a lot of women asking me how they can invest when they don’t have that much money to invest with. A lot of people think you need to have $100,000, $50,000, or more to get started. Our guest helps people invest on a shoestring budget and still cashflow. She teaches full-time professionals how to invest in real estate part-time through her coaching, online courses, and membership programs. She focuses on lower-priced rental properties with high cashflows, which includes demonstrating the systems needed to invest locally or out of state. I’m super excited to have her. Welcome, Lisa.
Thank you. I appreciate the introduction. You summarized it all well.
Thank you for being here. I always like to start at the beginning, how did you get started in real estate investing?
I will do the short version. The longer version has a little bit more chagrin and embarrassment that I reveal. I found myself with a foreclosure, laid off twice. I was able to find a low-cost condo to live in. It was 2008, 2009 when it was scary. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are being lost a month and I couldn’t find a job. It didn’t matter that I had my engineering degree. I worked for IBM. It doesn’t matter if you can’t get a job. During the time when I had this low-price property that I was staying in, I realized, “You can find these neighborhoods. They’re perfectly fine even though we’re not necessarily told that those are the neighborhoods we should live in,” but they can keep you from being homeless. They can generate income.
Being a property owner at a lower price range still comes with a lot of benefits. That’s where I was like, “I’ve got to keep doing this.” I could carry a couple of $300, $400 mortgages to get the outcome of owning property outright, the risks, and all the things that are associated with it. That spurred everything. From there, I developed systems for different aspects. Investing out of state, the different systems that I developed because a lot of these properties are usually never where I live. How do I continue and apply these regardless of where I am in the country? I put a lot of these systems together and I share those with my coaching clients or through my online courses at this point. It works. I started telling the world to see who was open to receive the message.
Where do you live? Where’s home?
I live in Central Virginia. I was in the DC area, but we did not want to purchase a $500,000 home. If you live in Northern Virginia or DC areas, it’s no joke. That would be for a condo.
I was out there for a while, so I know.
I had three paid for properties while living in a dumpy one-bedroom apartment. The houses I was renting out were better than where I was staying. We live in a high-cost living area. We moved a couple of hours south to Central Virginia at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a small town. I purchased a property there.
You found yourself unemployed. You then had a condo and you started investing. Where are you with your investments?
I separated things around. I had two paid for properties because after 3, 4 years, you could pay it off at this price range. I sold the one in Baltimore. We’re in the process of purchasing a vacation rental for Airbnb. We got experience with that. I had three of these sub $30,000 purchases that I purchased for our own home which had a split unit. We paid about $750 for a contractor to build out a little wall so that it felt like when you came into the back door, it was its own separate unit. It didn’t open into the kitchen. We made that construction.
Downstairs, we got comfortable with Airbnb. As you know, with those nightly rentals, you make 2 to 3 times as much as you make with a standard rental property. I highly suggest everyone to start diversifying, if you can, to vacation rentals as well as a standard rental. A long-term tenant. We have our home which also has an Airbnb suite. I have two of the properties. I sold the one in Baltimore because, in Baltimore, we are not friends. I do not like that city for investments.
Why is that?
I didn’t have any problems with my tenants. It’s always the city. They keep coming up with the most creative ways to try to get you to pay them money. You can’t even tag it, you’re like, “You’re telling me I have an $800 water bill for a house that has no water. The water hasn’t been turned on in a year. You’re saying this whole neighborhood has tons of weeds but you’re giving me a $60 fine that you doubled quickly to $120 because I had a few weeds?” When I came and looked at it, I was like, “Are you kidding me?”
It’s a city that tries every which way it can to try to figure out how to make money off of the people who have it. If you don’t have anybody, you never hear a word from the city. That is my experience. I stand by that. I’ve had properties in Virginia and Ohio. The Baltimore City, I had to work ten times harder for that one than all the other ones combined. For me, I don’t want to reward bad behavior. All of my investment dollars can come out and I plugged it down in Southwest Virginia in a vacation rental there.
You specialize in helping people find properties that are under $30,000. Coming from Los Angeles, that seems impossible. What are some things you suggest for people so that they can find more affordable properties like that that will cashflow?
There are two parts to it. There are these houses everywhere. Once people have heard my podcast, blog, or video, they can look at themselves. They’re like, “There are properties at this price range.” That’s not the hard part. I’m sure you probably did a quick Google search, looked online, or Googled it somewhere, but the art or the science is knowing which property to purchase. There are a lot of options for $19,000 that should have stayed in the Auction House. It’s $19,000, but it hasn’t had a roof for three years. Now you’re liable for all the damages.
The houses are out there, but it’s still an art and science to make sure you purchase it. There are a lot of low-price properties in the south, but if you’re looking at $300 rent and your mortgage is $350, you’re not winning this game. Your maintenance and repairs are going to be more each year than any of the rents you can receive. Those aren’t necessarily ideal as an investment property. They’re usually outside of city centers. If you go on certain blogs or Google, there are the known ones like the Detroits, the Baltimores that have these price ranges.
I would say that when I work with clients, I steer them away for the popular ones because those don’t necessarily yield the best results, many investors have flocked to them. I show them a system of how to find it anywhere, either driving and/or flying, whichever one. We could tailor that to you and where you’re located. That’s what I suggest. That is a higher-level thing that I go into my courses and with my coaching clients. In general, outside of major cities is where you’ll start finding these.
You mostly help people find single-family homes? Is that their focus?
Sometimes, it depends. If they’re traveling with a longer distance, we’re going to head more towards the multifamily to leverage that travel time.
I always have to ask this question. What’s been your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
The biggest mistake is when I first did it and not reaching out. I believe in mentorship and/or coaching. The idea of mentorship, sometimes people think that free relationships you find, somebody just guides you. I actually prefer the paid coaching relationship where you’re paying someone to be available whenever you need it to. I wish I would have done that sooner because I did waste a lot of time and money doing it myself. I wasn’t that hard up, I went into it knowing like, “If I get over my head, I’ll save up for a couple of months to let you get out of it and then do it again.”
That’s what this price range can give you. It can give you a little leeway because it’s not such a high payment. If it was $800 or $900 above, I might have freaked out but when it’s $300, you can absorb that and wait. Save up if there’s something that was a little bit more than you expected. I wish I would have started with a real estate investing coach sooner because I’d be so much further ahead without wasting all the time and effort. I’m 100% about coaches. I have people I talk to for real estate investing. I have resources and networks.
If I have a question for people who’s in New Jersey, who’s in Ohio, I have established a network of people I can call at any time call, ask and discuss items. I’m still into the idea of learning from someone. That’s what I wouldn’t do again, I wouldn’t do it alone. When it comes to business, I’ve learned, I don’t care if it’s online business, brick and mortar business, or real estate investing, there is someone who knows how to do it better, faster, quicker than you. Pay them for their expertise so you don’t have to lose any money or time.
It’s valuable to have mentors. I paid for my own mentors and they helped collapse timeframes. Both of us offer to mentor and coaching to people, it’s helpful. That’s good advice. My next question is, what are you most proud of?If you have a message, a system, and a way for someone to be inspired and know how to do stuff, you get it out there for very little cost. Click To Tweet
I am proud of all the people who heard me. “You’re right. They told us to stay away from these neighborhoods. I’m not going to listen. I’m going to do it.” I’ve had people go, “Lisa, I have five properties. I’m so happy.” I’m proud of the people who listened carefully, thoughtfully, and went out and did it. It’s good for them. It’s validating for me because a lot of people looked at me crazy when I started this out. It’s nice that I could point to a screenshot and go, “Look who’s crazy now.”
I still have all the receipts to all the people who were saying, “No.” I have those screenshots as well. It makes me proud that they did that because it helps me and my message and their message. I’m proud of what we’re saying and because of that, there’s an army of investors who never thought that they could be an investor and growing. I’m trying to change the generational wealth mindset and the ability for people to get it, hold on to it, and scale with it. I’m proud that I’m having that impact on so many people here in this country to change the trajectory of wealth accumulation in a way that they’ve never had before. I’m grateful that the internet exists. If you have a message and a system, a way for someone to be inspired and know how to do something, you get it out there for little cost. We all should be grateful that we could hear these messages now, whereas before I’d have to go to my local library. All the thousands of people wouldn’t have been able to hear this message. It can change your life.
I’m proud of you. Good job.
To what do you attribute your success?
There are a couple of things. One thing, you have your innate talent. I will say my innate talent is the ability to take complex processes or items, a real estate investing business, and being able to break it down into bite-sized logical pieces that are easy to implement and do. I’m also a good communicator. I could take it, break it down, but I could communicate it to be in a way that people could understand. That’s helped with not only breaking down the process for myself but also breaking it down for others. I tell people the messenger matters. A lot of people are good at investing, but are they good at necessarily explaining it? Doing new things that no one else has been doing, can they do it themselves? That is a big part of it.
Another innate part is, I’m someone who can take a lot. I could take sly remarks, I don’t fight back. I could take the fact that I put myself out there and say, “I’m going to these neighborhoods, I’m happy I’m doing it. I know they’re lower-income at lower prices, none of these guys are comfortable with that, but I would stand firm that it’s the right thing to do and it’s a good real estate investing strategy. I want as many people to do it as possible and you’ll see us win in the future.”
There was a lot of hate that came at me for different reasons or skepticism about what I was preaching. There has to be a level of you not caring what people think about you. I get this from my dad, me and him march to our own drums. Whereas other people would be self-conscious and embarrassed, I still get self-conscious and embarrassed but I could take that. I’ll put myself out there. I only had four houses when I started telling people about this. Other people would be like, “No, you need twenty before someone will take you seriously.” I like to call as my dare factor.
I dare because I could take whatever you’re going to send at me. I’ll take it and deal with it even if it’s not that good. I don’t hide my head in the sand. Because of that, I can go into places and talk about demographics, class, and ways that other people wouldn’t. They wouldn’t be comfortable with some of the negative consequences that could come. I dare to do what other people think maybe I shouldn’t dare to do. On top of that, I am an optimistic person, even when bad things happen, people react differently. My natural instinct is to go, “This bad happened. What’s the worst case? How do we get past it?” I don’t dwell on that negative. I work fast to get to the positive. That’s another innate thing that’s helped keep me going because I could take what comes and go, “Foreclosure, it’s not cool but okay. How do we manage this?”
It’s not deadly.
It’s not. You have your innate talents, your innate soul, personality quirks that you work with. For this particular thing, it worked that I had all of that so I can put it out there, imperfect and all. I’m not perfect whatsoever, but I still drive the impact because you could dare where other people won’t. Go where other people won’t.
One last question. What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know? Another way to say this is, what advice do you have for a woman starting out in this field?
If you’re going to do real estate investing, what you want to do? Is it flip? Is it a buy and hold? Is it wholesaling? Every time people are like, “I want to do this. I want to do that.” I’m like, “Choose one.” Because you only have so much time, energy, brainpower, and the skills that we learn for all of them. First, get specific. Once you’re specific, find someone you know and trust, be it either free or paid mentorship and go, “I want to do exactly what you’re doing.” Let me buy this course and educate myself, not on everything but that specific one thing. That’s why the specificity helps you save time and money.
That one thing you’re doing, investing in multifamily, investing in whatever it is, and educate yourself at only that. Don’t spend your time going all over the internet trying to piece it together and reading about wholesaling on one day and landlording the next. That does not help you. Once you get specific at that specific training and education, go from there. If you get the right education, you know you will, because you’ll be confident to go out and embark on that real estate investing journey, and you won’t be scared. My clients do that leave me scared. They actually think it’s easy, which is crazy.
That’s specificity and that focus is going to help you, not reading everything that comes into your inbox. Narrow it down and only focus on that if you get any information. If you keep chasing waterfalls, you’re not going to get where you need to get to. If you want this focus, get one, do it. Later on, if you want to add another skill, add it once you’ve got this part down, but don’t try to do 4 or 5 at once. All the time, too much information is not good for you because you need to focus. That’s what I would say.
We’re going to do a Trinity like we always do. We’re going to ask for a brag, a gratitude, and a desire. Before we go into your Trinity, what’s the best way that people who want to connect with you find out more about you and what you’re doing?
You can come to my website, which is AffordableRealEstateInvestment.com. Sign up, get on the email list, that’s where I release my material to you bit by bit in logical portion, so you can start understanding how you’re going to go about doing this and map out a road map for you. If you want to get a little bit of information about me before, what I teach and coach people through, and a little bit more about this subject, you can go to YouTube.com/affordablerei. You can also put Lisa Phillips Affordable Real Estate Investment in the YouTube search. I’ll come right out of about 40 videos going over this strategy, mindset, why you should do it, why you should do it over flipping in my eyes, and how I did it. All that information.
You could decide before you come on over if this is what you want to do. If you do, you take it to that next level. It’s a specific real estate investing game that I play. That’s what I would recommend. I tell everyone, “For anything, leverage social media.” By the time you get to my email list, you probably have watched ten of my videos. I either know what I’m doing or I don’t. You could develop that trust. Go ahead and use that resource to know, “Do I like this person? Do I buy it?” If you do, go for it. With 40 videos out there or twenty, or if this person has ten, you should be able to get a good feel for who they are.
What is one thing you’re celebrating? What are you bragging?
The house that I purchased for $13,000. I put about $20,000 in Baltimore, I sold it for $55,000. It closed in eight weeks. It was nice.
What are you grateful for?
I’m grateful for the opportunity to put myself in front of a lot of people who want to hear this knowledge and I’m grateful that they listened. I know that sounds crazy, but you could talk outside and no one listens. They do, and I appreciate that.
What is one thing you desire?
I want to look up ten years from now and have this army of real estate investors that I’ve helped for these lower price reach houses. Next, I want us to go into the really low-end houses. At that point, I would like us all to do it, we’ve had the experience, we have money, we have the backing. We understand this game and we could do it as a force. That is what I would desire. Several years from now, we could go into any community we want. We’re experienced and we know how to change it, fix it up for the people who live there, and impact our community in a more visceral way, which can have lasting results.
So shall it be or so much better than you can imagine. Thank you, Lisa. This is amazing. It’s great advice. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Go to YouTube, put in Lisa Phillips and Affordable Real Estate, you will find her. To connect with me, go to RealEstateInvestorGoddesses.com. You can check out my Real Estate Investor Goddess Handbook. My new book was the number one bestseller on Amazon. That’s available on Amazon, you can find that there and lots of resources for you on the Real Estate Investor Goddesses website. Thanks for being here. I’ll catch you next time with another amazing real estate investor goddess story.
Thank you. I’d like to be back again. It’s great.