Doing real estate while pursuing your other passions is possible. For Amanda Williams, her real estate business funds her adventurous lifestyle, traveling internationally. Amanda, known as the Traveling Realtor, is an entrepreneur and a real estate brokerage owner from Raleigh, North Carolina. Today, Monick Halm interviews her about her short-term rental strategies. She imparts to us how she is managing her Airbnb spaces even when working abroad and gives some tips on trusting the right people. Amanda believes that mindset is a contributor to success. Listen to her as she talks more about the importance of educating yourself and creating your vision board for true real estate success.
Listen to the podcast here:
Short-Term Rental And The Travel Lifestyle — Interview With Amanda Williams
I interview amazing bad-ass women in the real estate investing sphere and my guest is no exception. She’s cool and I’m super excited to introduce her to you. Amanda Williams is a real estate investor. She’s an entrepreneur and a real estate brokerage owner from Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s already built multiple businesses in the real estate industry including a nice size rental portfolio and Airbnb business. As the team leader for multiple real estate agents across America, helping them live a passive income lifestyle. Amanda is passionate about teaching others to look at life in a positive way where they can attract anything they want in life and she believes every real estate agent deserves to have a retirement plan. She’s on a mission to share that plan with as many people as possible. She’s also excited to keep learning and growing her real estate business, which has also funded her adventurous lifestyle and international travel that she’s passionate about. She’s known online as Amanda The Traveling Realtor. Her vision is to help 10,000 realtors create multiple streams of income and live a passive income lifestyle by 2020. Welcome.
Thanks for having me.
Thanks for being here. You are a real estate investor and a real estate agent. Tell us about how you got into real estate investing and as an agent.
I started off in 2005 or 2006 in California and I started off by taking a two-year class of teaching myself real estate. It was a lot, but I dove right in. From there, I ended up meeting an amazing real estate investor and she was flipping houses. I didn’t have the time to flip, so I ended up partnering with her and I was her private money lender. I did that for years and it worked out fabulous because I can go and I could see her projects and learn from her as well. It’s one thing to go sit in a class and learn flipping. It’s a whole other thing whenever you can go, see the house and meet the contractors and staff. That’s how I started.
I love that you started with private lending because a lot of people don’t think of that as an option. They only think that if they’re going to do real estate then they themselves have to be the one buying the real estate and dealing with the three T’s, toilets, tenants and termites aspect of it. You got in a different way acting as the bank. What has inspired that route in particular?
10% return of my money sounded good. Honestly, I didn’t have the time to do anything myself. I had a good income coming in, but I had no time at all. At the time, I was working a job where I was traveling and I was out of town five days a week. I learned and I’ve always been someone who’s always trying to figure out what the passive income strategies can be. I’m like, “My money’s making me 0.25% sitting in a bank account.” 10% sounded good, so I dove right in.
Tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing with real estate.
I’ve done everything in the real estate sphere. We run Carolina Furnished Rentals in Raleigh, North Carolina and that is our Airbnb business. We’ve been doing that and it’s working out well. We still have our long-term rental portfolio and I’m concentrating on building my real estate brokerage. I’m building that across the United States and I’m soon to take that internationally. I’m super excited. That’s going to fit right into my vision and the lifestyle that I want to live with traveling internationally.
I want to break that apart. There are many great nuggets into what you’re sharing here. Tell us a little bit more about your long-term rental portfolio.Real estate investing also means having a bunch of people helping you, especially when you have a lot of things going on. Click To Tweet
That’s how you said it and you just run with it. We’ve put all of our long-term rentals with a property management company. That’s taken a lot of stuff in owning properties. That’s taken that off of me. I’ve hired an executive assistant and my boyfriend who’s my partner in all of this, mostly the Airbnb business, we’ve hired him as an assistant. It’s a family affair because of my mom’s working with us as well. You’d need a bunch of people to help you when you have a lot of different things going on.
You can’t do it alone. Real estate investing is a team sport. The better your team, the better it is. You have these single-family homes that are in the long term. Tell us about Airbnb. A lot of people are super interested in the vacation rental space. What do you like about it?
I got into Airbnb and I fell into it to be quite honest with you. My dad got sick and I took him to Mexico for alternative cancer therapy. While we were gone, I was like, “The house is going to be sitting vacant, so I’m going to rent it out on Airbnb and see what happens.” We rented it and we doubled our mortgage payment. We’re like, “We think we’re onto something.” While we were living in Mexico, we ended up buying another log cabin and took that out to some land that I own as well. We had bought a house the day I found out my dad had cancer. We had closed that day and that was going to be a flip. It ended up, I kept the property instead and turned that into an Airbnb rental. We continued on that path for a while. We started leasing properties and turning those into Airbnbs, which I’m like, “Light bulbs.”
That’s such a great strategy and I want to highlight that for people. A lot of people are like, “I can’t afford to buy a house to do Airbnb with Jonah, so I had to buy it.” You can rent it. I’m assuming the owners know that you’re doing that. You’re not doing it behind their backs, but they’re getting rent, you’re taking it and then you’re putting it in an Airbnb and getting a nice return on it.
Honestly, I wish I had someone come to me with this concept when I was renting a lot of properties long term. It’s guaranteed rent for the landlord and it’s less wear and tear on their property. They’re going into a lease agreement with me and my company, which we have great credit scores, we have the history, the track record, all of that, and we take care of the properties. What renter are you going to get as a landlord that has your house professionally cleaned two, three to four times a month? We have a whole list of all the pros of working with us. I also use that for a lead generation for my real estate brokerage back here because I market that in a way that attracts out of town guests. Whenever they use my firm, they’re able to get a discount off of our rental.
I got this question on my private Real Estate Investor Goddess community page on Facebook and somebody was asking, “Who’s doing Airbnb? Does anybody have tips on how to do it better?” Do you have any tips or hacks for Airbnb that you can share?
We ended up hiring Guesty, which is an automation service. Go to Guesty.com and it’s awesome. I was getting a little confused with all the Airbnbs, not being able to tell what was closed and what was open. We’ve been homeless for multiple weekends because I messed everything up and I booked all the houses because we’re still booking our personal house as well.
You move around to your different houses?
I’m only in town for one to two weeks a month. When I am in town, we’ll stay at wherever the house is open. I prefer to stay at my personal property but sometimes, it’s not open and we’re renting our personal house for $175 to $185 a night. I’m like, “I’ll stay somewhere else. If everything’s good, we’ll go to the beach or the mountains or something.” It’s nice to have a job where you can work from anywhere. If I have my laptop and my phone, I’m set. That’s my office.
Guesty has helped you get all the various houses and that property management under control?
Yes, because not only the scheduling, but I can automate everything as well. The guest checks in and they get an automated message asking if everything’s okay. Before they check out, they get another automated message telling them the checkout instructions. After they check out a few hours afterward, they get to coupon code to my website. If they want to book again, they can come back to me and can get a discount booking through my personal website. It’s awesome. Guesty gives you a website as well. My website is CarolinaFurnishedRentals.com. People can go there and see everything that we have going on.
I know you love to travel. It’s a big love of yours and the love of mine too. How all these different things that you’re doing helps facilitate your billing to travel around the world?
I’m a huge believer in multiple streams of income and you definitely have to have multiple streams when you travel as much as I do. I always love traveling. I’ve been to 42 countries and it’s a huge passion of mine. I love rural states as well. When I figured out how to build passive income in multiple different ways, I dove right in. I owned my own real estate brokerage for a while, and then I partnered with another cloud-based brokerage, which allows me to expand internationally and build revenue share that way. That’s allowed me a lot of the passive income that it takes to be able to travel like I do. On top of that, the Airbnbs are passive because I can run it to my cell phone. The rental properties are passive. It’s like, “I’m game for more. I love it.”
I’m a big traveler. I love to do it. My husband and I work together with your boyfriend. We’re doing a retreat called the Real Estate Investor Soulmates Retreat. One of the things that we’re talking about is how do you work successfully with your significant other in real estate? How can you do that in a way that not only allows you to create these passive income streams and build more wealth but in a way that can even strengthen your relationship? How do you work with your boyfriend when you’re doing this? How do you guys work successfully together? What are some of your tips for doing that?
If you’re with the right partner, you’re on the same page and you have the same goals in life, it all flows together. That’s important. If he didn’t buy into my vision and he didn’t want the same things that I wanted, then it wouldn’t work. Another thing is you don’t want to be with someone who you’re going to have to pull up and vice versa. I don’t want to be with someone who they’re going to be pushing me all the time. Both of us have to be on the same page. That’s the most important, being on the same page and stay on the same page. I’d like to say to have quality time together, but honestly, I’m always talking about work and so is he. Work to me is fun. Work to us is like finding another property or searching Craigslist for a new dining room table from Airbnb. It is fine. We make it fun.
If you love it, you both enjoy it. Also, it’s such a great point, the importance of being on the same page and having established goals. Both having that clarity and working together towards those goals. I want to ask you a question that I ask all of my guests because we get more learning and value when we make mistakes, when things don’t go well from when things are smooth sailing. What would you say was your biggest mistake in your real estate investing career and what did you learn from it?
I’ve made a lot of mistakes. My biggest mistake is I trusted someone who was at the time a real estate coach of mine. She lived three hours away from me and she told me a sob story and ended up getting me to invest in one of her flip projects as a second lien position, not first. Most people probably knows that second lien gets nothing if the first lien decides to foreclose. A few things here is number one, always do your research on whoever you’re giving money to. Make sure they’re legit and make sure their partners are legit. Stalk them. I stalk people now. It sounds crazy, but you have to.
That’s the beauty of the internet. You can find out about a lot of people. You can tell if they’re the real deal or not.Having multiple income streams like rental properties can be useful for anyone who loves to travel. Click To Tweet
My attorneys saved my butt because whenever I did the second lien position, he had the investors sign a quitclaim deed. In case anything was to go wrong, I have already their signatures quit claiming and over into my name. Thank God for that. The third thing is if you are in a second lien position, make sure you get authorization from the first lien position to talk to them. You want to be in communication with them in case something was to go wrong. Think ahead all of that. The first lien was with a big lending company, Lima One Capital. I thought something was fishy because they weren’t returning my calls. The house wasn’t selling and the pictures online didn’t look like they had done anything.
I ended up driving to Charlotte and went to the house. The real estate agent that had the sign at the front yard, I called him and they were like, “Here’s the code, just go in.” That was weird. I went in and found out that these people were living in the property. They hadn’t done hardly anything to the property and it was in foreclosure. Lima was taking over the house in a week. I ended up talking to the first lien position and getting them convinced like, “I will pay you off. Please give me three months.” I took over and I paid everything that was due on the loan, the late payments. I took over that first lien position as well. I had to go in and flip that property. That’s the only way that I didn’t lose my money. If I had just sat back and said, “Hopefully, something will happen,” I would have lost my entire investment, which was $65,000 that I had out in this property. That’s my learning experience.
Many lessons from that one. Don’t do a second lien.
I have done it again honestly since then. This one I lent to a friend of mine here in Raleigh and they flip. They’re builders and they haven’t gone on. I lent to them and I ended up wholesaling this house to them. I let the money as a second lien and then they lost so much money, but they still paid me back with all of my interest. At that point, I was like, “These people are legit.” To this day, I would do anything for them and they know that. You’ll always find that though. Usually, if the investor loses, you lose as well.
That’s also the value of working with great people or not working with people who are not of high integrity. Ultimately, in this business, your reputation is everything. It takes a while to build and it can be lost like that. You have to keep and maintain your own integrity but also look at the reputations of the people you work with. It’s not that hard to find out information, but you have to. That was a terrible story, but with a happy ending. It came out okay and you had some good lessons from it. What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of one of the agents on my team. I’m proud of her because her life has completely done a 360 in a year. She’s been with us for a year and she took her dream house. I’m grateful, proud and I want more success stories. I’m looking for success stories at this point because helping someone else meet their goals and their dreams like buying their dream house with the fence and backyard for their dog, that lights me up more than me getting it from myself.
You’re like, “Stephen, my client got to do this or my coworker.” I love your mission, so that’s being able to help one more of your 10,000 get that much closer. To what do you attribute your success?
My mindset. I’ve been a believer in the Law of Attraction and what I bring about for a long time. That started when I moved to California in 2005. I had a mentor of mine have me watch The Secret every single day for 30 days. I’m a huge believer in mindset. I believe that I can do anything I want to do. There’s no limit and I’ve got that for everyone, not just myself.
If we can see it, we can be it.
Visualization and all that stuff. Also, always being open to new opportunities and educating yourself. I believe in constant and never-ending improvement. I love educating myself on everything, not just real estate. I’m big passionate about health, wellness, and alternative cancer therapies and all of that stuff. I believe that you can never know too much and it doesn’t matter how successful you are or how much you think you know. There’s someone in the world that knows more and they’re more successful than you are.
You can learn to be as successful as they are. What advice do you have for a woman who’s just starting out in real estate investing?
If you don’t have a vision board, create one. If you need help with one, watch The Secret. There are a lot of YouTube videos out there. It goes back to mindset. It goes back to putting into the universe and putting into the world what you want in this world because if you don’t put it out there, then you’re going to get left with whatever’s left. Educating yourself and create your vision board is the best advice I have for someone new and that’s for any business, not just for real estate. Find some mentors. I can’t even tell you how much money I’ve paid for real estate education. It definitely propelled me and put me on the right track. I don’t think I would be where I am if I hadn’t paid all that money. I also wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t jump in and start doing it because you don’t learn it until you jumped in and you start doing it.
You have to get educated, but then you also have to take action. You can’t just listen to podcasts, keep reading books, keep going to courses and keep being on the edge. You’re never going to know everything until you get into the game. That’s such great advice.
You’re going to have surprises.
There will be surprises and there will be mistakes, but you’ll learn from them, you can recover from them and come out even higher. What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your real estate investing adventures that you now know?
I moved back to North Carolina in 2013 and started flipping. In 2015, I got on a kick of buying a lot of rental properties. I bought nine properties in 2015, all owner finance terms. It was awesome, but I paid close to market value for these properties. It worked for me because with the market, everything is appreciated and I’ve sold half of them and made money on them. At the same time, I look back on that. When I came back to North Carolina from California, I thought everything was on sale because California is expensive. That’s what I did. I was excited to buy everything I can get my hands on. If someone were to go do that with the market the way it is right now, you would lose. We’re close to the top if we’re not at the top. I would not recommend doing that. You got to ride the wave and you got to ride it correctly. That’s why we’ve been selling a lot of our portfolio because I feel like we’re close to the top, so we’re cashing out on a lot of stuff that we have. We’re using that money to then get more Airbnbs and sit in on a little bit paying off some debt because you don’t know what the future’s going to hold. That’s my advice on that.
Those of us who are from expensive markets will go into these other markets and get super excited because it feels cheap comparatively, but it’s important to understand the market in which you’re investing in and pay appropriate prices for that market. A lot of investors hate us Californians and New Yorkers because we go into all these markets and make everything expensive because we work like we’re thinking a relatively price like, “I would pay $800,000 for this at home. I’m going to pay $400,000 in the local.” They’re like, “That’s a $200,000 property. What are you doing?” That’s good advice. Luckily, you bought at the point in the cycle where even if you were overpaying a little bit, you were paying less than now.
The market had me. That was my backup plan.You don't want to be with someone who you're going to have to pull up and vice versa. You have to be on the same page. Click To Tweet
Before we get into our famed trinity, which is a brag, a gratitude and a desire, what is the best way for people to reach you and find out more about what you do?
I am known as Amanda The Traveling Realtor online. That’s my Instagram and Facebook. My website is AmandaTheTravelingRealtor.com. That’s where I send everyone to for my speaking engagements and stuff like that.
Time for your trinity. What is your brag? What do you celebrate?
My biggest celebration is I got back from California and I had a group of agents come on into my brokerage from Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach. It’s my home for nine years. I’m definitely celebrating that because that’s going to be taking me back out to California probably about one week a month and I’m super excited about that. I’m looking forward to growing the LA market for our firm and dominating it.
What is one thing you’re grateful for?
I’m grateful for my mom. She helps me with everything and I’m grateful to be able to take her on these trips with me. I took her to LA with me and she had fun like riding bikes on the beach and hanging out. I’m grateful to be able to take her along with me. My father passed away, but to get her out and take her everywhere that I go with me is awesome.
What is one thing you desire?
To travel the world. My plan is once I get my passive income up to my goal, then I’m going to pick up and I’m not going to have a schedule. I’m not going to have and end date and I’m going to travel the world. It might be on a yacht, a plane, RV or backpack through Europe. I don’t know yet. I want to go with no end in mind and wherever the road takes us, that’s where we’ll be.
So shall your desire be or so much better than you can imagine. Thank you, Amanda. That was awesome. You can reach her at Amanda The Traveling Realtor everywhere. You can reach me at REIGoddesses.com and connect to our community of female real estate investor causes. You can join our investor club to find out about our investment opportunities. You can go to events to find out about our events like our Real Estate Investors Soulmates retreat.
- Amanda Williams
- Real Estate Investor Soulmates Retreat
- Instagram – Amanda The Traveling Realtor
- Facebook– Amanda The Traveling Realtor
About Amanda Williams
Amanda Williams, owner of AG Williams Realty, now Brokered by eXp Realty, has been in real estate since 2008 when she first started investing in California. She was born and raised in Raleigh, NC in which she resided until 2005 when she moved to Redondo Beach, CA for 8 years.
Amanda has been back in Raleigh since 2013 and has been investing and helping her clients buy and sell properties full time ever since. Amanda and her partners are extremely experienced in investment property. They own many rental properties, both residential and commercial, along with the occasional “Flip” a few times a year. She is creative and is always thinking “Outside the Box”! Call her for ANY of your real estate needs!