Inside Our FIRST Commercial Real Estate Deal

Inside Our FIRST Commercial Real Estate Deal


What goes into a commercial real estate deal? You’re about to find out! Fortunately, buying one of these properties isn’t quite the jump from residential real estate as you might expect it to be. Whether you’re a new investor or own several rentals, YOU, too, can buy a commercial property!

Welcome back to the Real Estate Rookie podcast! A few months back, we chatted with Tony about his new thirteen-unit hotel in Utah. Since then, the hotel has officially launched, and today, we’re joined by not only Tony but also his wife, Sara, to discuss the ins and outs of this enormous project. With months of planning, rehabbing, and problem-solving in the rearview, they break down the deal from start to finish—sharing some of their biggest successes, as well as some important lessons learned.

If you’re interested in commercial real estate investing, you don’t want to miss this episode! You’ll learn how to create a budget for a large renovation project, choose a model for paying contractors, get better reviews for your short-term rental, and form a seamless partnership with your spouse!

Ashley:
This is Real Estate rookie episode number 4 0 6. So you bought and rehabbed a motel. What goes into taking a property on this size live and what could possibly go wrong? My name is Ashley Care and I am here with Tony j Robinson.

Tony:
And welcome to the Real Estate Rookie podcast, where every week, three times a week, we bring you the inspiration, motivation, and stories you need to hear to kickstart your investing journey.

Ashley:
We are back with a follow-up episode to 360 7 where Tony walked us through what went into buying a boutique motel that has the potential to bring in over $500,000 per a year. We covered everything from finding the market to permits and contractors, so it’s actually been a few weeks since they launched their no front desk guest self-service check-in approach. So today we’ll get into the final design and what they have learned since taking this property live. We’ll get into the operations and some numbers on this deal. You guys, today we had to bring in somebody else because Tony cannot answer all of these questions on his own. We had to bring in his partner, his wife, Sarah. So welcome Sarah to the Real Estate Rookie Podcast.

Sara :
Ah, so excited to be here. Thank you guys so much.

Ashley:
Sarah, this is second, third time you’ve been on the show, I think.

Sara :
Yeah, I think so. Second time I think. Yeah,

Ashley:
Sarah played a large part into this boutique motel and making it happen. So maybe first you could just describe what your role and responsibility was for making this deal happen.

Sara :
For sure. So between Tony and I’s responsibilities, he pretty much tackles the front end of a deal. So that’s all things acquisition and once he locks in a property, he kind of passes on the baton to me. So all things rehab, ordering, setup, operations, finding our boots on the ground, all of that falls on my to-do list. So pretty much as soon as he signed the contract, he literally did nothing. I did everything else for the last four months. Oh,

Tony:
No pun say. I know if I’d say I didn’t do anything,

Sara :
Literally nothing until I’m not a techie girl. So once we had to create the listings, he came back into the picture. But from signing on December 23rd, was it

Tony:
December 30th?

Sara :
December 30th till April 10th, which was the grand opening, he did nothing. So that’s why I’m on to talk about what happened in between those months.

Ashley:
So that’s why he always has such beautiful glowing skin is because he’s stress-free during that time period.

Sara :
Exactly. Now you guys know,

Ashley:
So Sarah, there was a unique situation where your contractors were living in the property. Can you please elaborate on how you structured this and why you structured it that way?

Sara :
So our contractor is my Theo, not really, but for those of you guys that dunno what a Theo is, that means uncle in Spanish, and I am obsessed with this man. If I wasn’t married to Tony, I might marry my Theo Nacho. He’s not really related to me, but he is our go-to contractor for all of our projects out here in Joshua Tree. And we’ve done how many deals out there?

Tony:
We’ve done a lot.

Sara :
And like I said, my responsibility with every project has been

Tony:
After managing

Sara :
The rehab. Yeah, managing the rehab. So I’ve just built such a friendship with this man. He’s like the sweet, literally I feel like he’s my favorite uncle. So we are just very close. We have a really good working relationship. He’s very appreciative of all the work we’ve given him and his family over the last four years. So yeah, I adore that man. But anyways, he’s in Joshua Tree, right? That’s where he lives. And we’ve had unfortunately some rough experiences, like a lot of investors with really crappy GCs. So since this was our very first big commercial project, I was like, oh my God, it’s going to be a nightmare to try to find someone reliable and trustworthy and hardworking and as fast as Nacho. And I literally just had a baby. I was two months postpartum at this point, and now I have my biggest project yet, and I was like, I have to somehow convince Nacho to move to Utah for the time of this rehab.

Tony:
We had been looking at deals in Utah for a while. It was about a year before we actually closed in this property when we first started looking in that market. And during that time when we were looking at other deals, we had asked him a year prior, we said, Hey, would you have any interest in going out to Utah to take a deal down? And he had said no. So we had to really butter him up a little bit to get him to accept it. The second time we

Sara :
As in me, had to butter him up telling Tony did nothing. We had to a monkey. But anyways, yeah. So when we originally reached out, he said no because, and it was such a sweet answer, you think it was you want to say,

Tony:
Well, he was like, I’ve spent so much time working and work has taken me away from my family so much. He was like, I feel like these last couple of years being close to home, I’m falling even deeper in love with my wife and I just want to be here with her and I

Sara :
Die. How adorable is that, right? So anyways, when we finally were, it was like the week of closing, we’re like, oh shoot, this is really happening. We really need somebody. I called Nacho and I just was like, nacho, there’s no one we’ve ever worked with. We will pay you really well. It’s just going to be a short time. You can take a few months off after that. Just made it sound like the sweetest deal ever. I was like, your wife can come with you. You guys can vacation here whenever you want. And that got him. So I locked Nacho in. So

Ashley:
This is a week before you closed on the property? Yeah, this happened. Wow.

Sara :
Yeah, so that was really, I was so hyped to get Nacho on board. That was a big win for us.

Ashley:
Looking back on that situation, was there anything you would’ve done differently? Or maybe someone was thinking of doing the same thing, oh my gosh, I should offer that to my contractor. Is there anything they should be cautious of or kind of think about before they put themselves in the same situation?

Tony:
I’ll give a little bit of context first. One of the things we did that we’ve never done for a rehab project before is that we set him and his team up on a time-based compensation model. So usually when we’re doing rehabs, we always pay based on milestones. When you finish demo, when flooring and tile and that stuff is done. When everything’s done, then we’ll pay the final payment. But we agreed to pay him a weekly fixed amount throughout the duration of the project. And the only reason we were comfortable doing that is because we’d already worked with him so much. We had a good working relationship. If it was someone who was brand new, we probably wouldn’t have done that now, even still, even though we work with him and we love his work, he initially told us, I think I can do it about eight weeks. We budgeted for I think 12 or 13.

Sara :
Yeah, I believe we budgeted for 13 and we ended up hitting 13.

Tony:
13,

Ashley:
Yeah. Oh really? Wow.

Tony:
Even so we gave ourselves a good amount of buffer there in our budget to make sure that we could have some flexibility there. So I’d say that’s one of the biggest lessons is that if you do go with a contractor and a bigger project like this, try and go milestone based for payments if you can. But if you’ve got to fly someone out there to do the work and you got to be more flexible, just make sure you give yourself some buffer on the timelines there.

Ashley:
Now Sarah, how much did you actually have to go to Utah then when you have this contractor that you trust already working there? Did that limit the amount of trips that you thought you would have to take?

Sara :
I think originally, yes. So it was a 13 week project, so for the first six weeks was all demo and plumbing and electrical. I didn’t really find the need for me to go. I was getting updates from Nacho daily doing weekly calls with the onsite property managers. But once six weeks had passed, now it’s like install. So we’re installing all of the tile, all of the flooring, all of the recess lights and everything has been ordered at this point. All of the furnishings, all of those orders have been placed. So everything has been coming in now a lot of inventories is arriving and we had two onsite property managers. We have them, they live onsite, and it was their responsibility to be chipping away at a separate to-do list that I gave them that was kind of went hand in hand with nacho’s work, like repainting the exterior pool fence.

Sara :
That was, I felt like such a minor thing for Nacho to focus on that our onsite handyman could knock out. So I had a punch list of things for them to do and I felt the need to start going after seven weeks because they weren’t completing that punch list in a timely manner. So that’s when I was like, okay, we’ve never worked with these people and this is 13 times more the inventory that is arriving that I need to make sure is arriving. And so just I would say for that reason alone, I felt the need after seven weeks that I need to start going every maybe three weeks. I was going,

Ashley:
We’re going to take a short break, but when we come back, I want to get into some of the costs that were associated with the deal and what sort of tech stack you guys are using to take this property into a tech era. We’ll be right back. Okay. We are back with our special guest, Sarah and her husband Tony. So we are talking about their 13 unit motel that they just took down and have had their grand opening and leasing it now. But let’s go over some of the costs associated with actually taking down this motel. So Tony, can you kind of give us a rundown of what your actual budget looked like as you’re closing on this property?

Tony:
Yeah, so our rehab budget was just over $320,000. I think 3 21 to be exact is what we had budgeted for this property. And that was way more than any other rehab we had ever done before. Usually our short-term rentals of a rehab and were somewhere in that a hundred K ballpark range for so that we were comfortable with, but this was three x, 3.5 x what we had ever done before. So we really wanted to make sure that we had a solid process in place to make sure we stayed on budget because 10% on a hundred K is 10,000, 10% on 320 K is 32,000. So big difference there as numbers get bigger. So what we did was we built out our scope of work we typically do on a per unit basis. And then we took that and we built out a budget for all of our rough materials, for all of our tile work, for all of our labor, every big bucket that we have. We had a budget set aside for that purpose, all of our furnishing and design elements. And what we did was every single week about we would sit down as a team, review that budget to make sure we were on track and we were able to make decisions pretty quickly to say, Hey, we actually need to spend a little bit less on, I don’t know,

Sara :
Household essentials,

Tony:
Household essentials, or Hey, let’s not get the really cool dimmer switches everywhere and get these ones instead. Or we were going to get really nice toilets. I was big on trying to get super nice toys and we were like,

Sara :
Okay. I was like, babe, it’s a motel still. We don’t need

Tony:
Super nice toys. A bidet in the motel.

Sara :
He wanted one that had LED coming around.

Tony:
So it was through those discussions that we were able to stay on budget because we were just really, really methodical about seeing where our money was going and we realized we way over budget for household essentials and we were able to take that money and put it back into the design and we got more design elements. So that was our process for managing this big budget.

Sara :
I will say you did do that. I forgot you did that. I did

Tony:
Do that.

Sara :
That was huge for me. Ashley, I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am not a numbers girly. I will just shop and shop and shop without looking at the budget. So a lot of our projects I’ve accidentally gone over just thinking that tile is better than that. Tile is just a thousand dollars more, but that thousand starts to add up and really throws you for a loop as far as numbers go. So Tony made it super, super simple for me with that spreadsheet he’s talking about. So as I was making transactions, I would notate what the merchant was the total amount, and I was categorizing them based on these different buckets. So it was automatically taking me to this other page where I can then see how much left I have in that specific

Ashley:
Category.

Sara :
And that was so helpful. So our interior designer, Brianna Michelle, she would give us almost for every item like options. So either this tile option or this tile option, and I would then go and decide based on what we had left, which option made more sense for our overall in each of those categories. I hope that makes sense. Yeah.

Ashley:
So was it like a tile that was kind of in your budget and then maybe a cheaper version that was similar that you had the goal of going with the nicer item, but there was always that cheaper option that would still work? Something like that.

Sara :
Yep, that was exactly it.

Ashley:
Yeah, that’s I think a great idea. Work with a designer that would be willing to do that for you instead of just saying, here’s my design. And then if you do have to save money somewhere, you’re lost as to where you can find something similar instead of having to go back every time, well, we can’t get this flooring anymore, can you give us more ideas? Et cetera. So a great question to ask when you’re hiring an interior designer to see if they would do something like that, set that up for you to help out your budget.

Sara :
I just wanted to add one thing. She was actually really helpful. I remember even before I wanted to place all of the orders because that was really scary too. It was like think how much that grand Total was for all of the furnishings was I was so afraid of going over budget. I literally called her and was like, can you just run through this with me? And we did furnishing math to make sure before I bought everything that I was within budget. So yeah, highly recommend an interior designer and the spreadsheet that Tony created,

Ashley:
Now, Tony, everyone’s going to want your spreadsheet. So along with the rehab costs, what about your holding costs during that time period? Were there any unexpected costs that come up and maybe give us just a general run through of what those costs were?

Tony:
Yeah, luckily the holding costs weren’t too significant. We had the staff, the salary for our staff. We had, what else? Our propane,

Sara :
We

Tony:
Rented a cart, but that’s more like in the rehab budget. But for the property itself, it’s really just the staff, some minor utility expenses, and that was pretty much it. So we budgeted, I think somewhere around 70 k of working capital to get us through the rehab portion of a little bit of runway post launch so that we had some funds set aside as well. But honestly, it was a pretty small amount, less than, I don’t know, 7,000 bucks a month maybe in total to kind of keep the lights on for this property. So it wasn’t too expensive. And

Ashley:
Then at what point did you start building out your tech for this property? Sarah had mentioned that you laying around the house doing whatever until it was time to list the units. So what did you implement on that end for the property?

Tony:
Yeah, that was a big learning experience for us as well because we have our tech stack for our single family Airbnbs, and it’s your property management software and your dynamic pricing tool, like the foundational tools that every host needs. So we knew what we needed, but we also recognized that the property management software that we were using for our single family homes didn’t work that well for a motel for a commercial property. So we had to search for and set up a new property management software. Now what we didn’t anticipate was that the learning curve would be so steep for this new software. It took us a lot longer. I can set up a single family home Airbnb in two hours, right? You give me two hours, I can set everything up and then we can be rocking and rolling. I was pretty much sun up to sundown at the hotel during the week of our launch, started doing all the last minute design stuff and make sure that was good. I was in front of my computer trying to figure out this property management software.

Sara :
Oh shoot, I forgot you did that. Sorry baby. I’m not giving you enough credit. Yeah,

Ashley:
So three days earlier he did start working than what you said.

Sara :
Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I remember you were real crabby. Do you remember? Because we have a baby and the baby had to stay in the room with him. Yeah. Do you remember you had a big attitude with me.

Tony:
Yeah. So it was difficult trying to get everything set up and in retrospect, we probably should have set that property management software up a month before launch because we had to go through this onboarding with this company to show us how to use everything. And we’re two weeks into the launch and we’re still going through onboarding sessions now. So we should have started this month at least a month before we actually launched. And then not only was the software difficult to quickly get set up, but also distributing the hotel on all of the different booking platforms. That was something new for us as well. We had never listed on Expedia. We had never listed on TripAdvisors. So there was a learning curve with those things, and you have to recreate your entire listing on every single platform separately and then connect it all together to your PMS. So there was a lot of things that we didn’t anticipate and we went live and people couldn’t even book because we weren’t finished. So it took us a little bit of time to actually welcome in our first guest until we got the booking platform situated.

Ashley:
I just want to clarify that a little bit. When you’re saying that you went live, but we weren’t finished, you stated, but what you mean is Sarah finished her portion, the rehab, everything was complete, but Tony did not finish his portion that he had to complete. Is that a true statement?

Tony:
There’s two sides to every story. Ashley. There’s two sides to every

Sara :
Story. No, literally that’s it. But I’ve never wanted to say that to him, but thank you.

Ashley:
So I want to dive more into the actual operations of it. So we’re going to take a short break while Tony and Sarah hash out if that’s a true statement or not, and we’ll be right back to talk about how they can change the guest experience when staying in a motel. Okay. Welcome back from our short break. We’re here with Tony and Sarah talking about their new boutique motel that they just launched. We’re going to get into the operations of it. So there is no front desk here. This is not a standard motel. So Sarah, whose idea was this to operate it this way and why?

Sara :
I think maybe it was your idea, right? Yeah, I mean, we just come from the short-term rental space. That’s what we’ve done 30 times this far so far. So I feel like just naturally we were like, okay, it’s 2024 who really uses a front desk? We’re trying to make it a cool hip motel. So I think that was just kind of our natural direction. But we quickly learned girl in the last two weeks that we need a front desk. Don’t you think?

Tony:
We definitely need

Sara :
Some sort.

Tony:
We’re getting more walkups than we had anticipated.

Ashley:
Oh, just people stopping.

Sara :
Yes, we’re not big RVs, but there’s a lot of people that go RVing and we didn’t know that people don’t plan their stays. It’s kind of just like, oh, let’s see what’s available. So I think just because we’re not that kind of traveler, we didn’t anticipate that. But even while we were setting up that week, that was still a bit chaotic. Guests were still were like, oh my God, do you guys have a room available? And we’re

Tony:
Like, literally the weekend that we were there setting up, we had people stopping by saying like, Hey, can we stay tonight? So there was definitely a bit of a learning curve there as well. So what we’re attempting to do is we have our direct booking website. So Sarah’s actually shipping some signs over to the property right now where at the front, the door to the lobby area, there’ll be a big QR code that says, Hey, book your stay here. And we have the phone number listed as well. So our onsite staff, if they call, we can book people in over the phone as well. So I think we’ve taken one or two bookings that way as well where people just call in and we’re able to book ’em that way. So I think that’s what we’re trying to move towards is where we can still let themselves check in, but we’re just making it easier for them once they get there.

Ashley:
I feel like you could probably have a VA too available to take those phone calls too if necessary. I mean, you do that for your short-term rentals as you have mostly VAs doing your patient with the staff.

Tony:
We do, and that’s something we discussed during the week of the launch as well, is what level of interaction should our VAs have with the guests of the motel? Because it’s not as common where you pick up a phone and call a hotel and you get a virtual assistant that answers. So we’re trying to balance what’s the expectation of the guests with what’s the best way for us to run it operationally. So right now our on staff team has the phone number and the VAs are doing more of the digital communication. So if someone books through an Airbnb or a vrbo, our VAs taking care of that communication. But if they’re calling, they’re going straight to our onsite staff. So we’ll see if we keep it that way. Maybe we get to a point where our VAs are handling all the phone calls and the onsite team is really just there for the kind of walk-ins or the emergency type stuff. But for now, that’s how we have it set up. Yeah,

Sara :
I think what we learned in since we opened was we messed up by not originally setting up these QR codes and book here signage on the exterior of the property. So I still think we can get away with no front desk needed, but not until these are set up. It’ll flow better.

Ashley:
And I think that really depends on the person too. I love walking into a hotel. I’ve already checked in the mobile app, have to go to the front desk at all. I just get in the elevator, go out to my room and I already have the mobile key. And having just a QR code get back in your car, you can book it real quick. You don’t have to talk to anyone. You can handle it on your own instead of waiting in line to talk to someone or even just having that interaction where maybe you’ve been on the road all day and you not feeling talking to anyone, just want to go in and take a shower or whatever it may be. But that’s really interesting. I didn’t even think of that either as to there would be so many, but it is close to a national park, so I’m assuming they probably get a lot of RVers and Van Life people cruising through. For

Sara :
Sure. Something.

Tony:
Go ahead. One of the other assumptions we made too is that we get a lot of younger millennial travelers as well, but one of our first guests, it was an older retired couple, and we have the same locks on our short-term rentals where it’s a keyless entry pad we put on the motel as well. So there’s no physical key anywhere. You get your check-in code and you punch it in. And it was an older couple retired who was RVing through the town and decided to save our property, and they ended up disabling their lock because they didn’t understand how to enter their key code.

Sara :
They did understand it just is one of those locks that doesn’t illuminate. So they kept pushing one, so it would illuminate and then they would put their code. So it was the wrong code every time,

Tony:
But it happened multiple times during their stay. So our onsite team had to keep walking them through

Sara :
The process.

Tony:
There’s some things we’re still identifying or understanding, I think about the traveler demographic, like, Hey, what changes do we need to make? But I mean, overall, I feel like it’s been going pretty smoothly. Yeah, I

Sara :
Think so too.

Tony:
Yeah, we’re still trying to figure out the pricing strategy as well. That part is different from a single family home and there’s a few other hotels in town that we feel like we’re competing with. Honestly, from a finished perspective and design, I feel like we’re probably the number two property in town. What

Sara :
The heck? Number one,

Tony:
No best friends Roadhouses. They probably got to be

Sara :
By the design inside exterior for sure, but inside I don’t think so. That’s

Tony:
True. But just their overall property is better than ours. But I feel like overall, we’re probably the number two property in town based on what we put together. But we’re still trying to understand how to get the right volume of bookings and for people to start discovering us on the booking platform. So right now we’re intentionally pricing a little bit lower than the competition to start getting some more views and just velocity on these platforms. And then hopefully as we get closer to summer, we’ll be able to really compete at a higher pricing perspective as well.

Ashley:
What’s the occupancy rate that you actually need to kind of break even on this property each month?

Tony:
Ooh, break even.

Sara :
Good question, Ashley. I

Tony:
Don’t think we’ve done a break even analysis, but what we did do is when we underwrote the property, we only underwrote it a 50% occupancy for the entire year. And even at that, yeah, X under wrote a 50%, and even at that 50%, if we can hit our A DR projections, we’re going to double the value of this thing in the next 18 months or so. So I mean, I don’t know. Again, our expenses are pretty light, so we don’t need a ton of bookings to keep the lights on in the place.

Ashley:
And then going back to the, you keep talking about your onsite team. So what does that entail? Who are these people and is it like people that are living there 24 7 if an RV or comes up at midnight and they’re calling them? Is there somebody answering the phone that’s onsite? How does that work as far as your operations onsite?

Sara :
So it’s a husband and wife duo, so cleaner slash handyman pair that live on site. So the motel came with a live-in office, right? Yeah. Like a manager’s quarters, like a manager’s quarters, and it has a connection to the front desk area so they can access the front desk from where they live at. So the expectation is that yes, they are on, I don’t even know they were brought on. I mean, they were already existing with the previous owners. So we kind of just inherited the team and the current contract and setup they have. So we actually have a meeting this week with them to, we asked them to come with a bullet point of what their vision is for working with us as the new owners now that we’re fully operational and we were going to do the same, and we were going to kind of rework and redraft a new contract with them that made sense for all of us. So I don’t know what the old expectation was for them, you know, were they supposed to be on 24 7? I don’t.

Tony:
I think that’s what the expectation was because the previous owners were shutting down during the slow season, which was about four months out of the year. So they’d shut down October, November, December, or I think November, December, January, February, four months out of the year they were shut down. So I think the initial agreement was, Hey, we’ll work seven days a week. We know that we’re going to get four months off. So for us, we’re going to be open year round. So that’s where Sarah says, we’ve got to kind of renegotiate what that contract looks like and probably negotiate a few days off in the week forum. So those are the steps we’re working through right now.

Ashley:
The wife gets off on this day and the husband’s on call, and then they reverse on a different day.

Sara :
You cannot be sick together. Yes, no vacations together, go on cruises on different dates. Yeah.

Ashley:
So you mentioned that you guys have lowered the price point a little bit to try to get more reviews. How does obtaining reviews differ from just getting Airbnb reviews?

Tony:
I think the biggest difference is just that the reviews are spread out across so many different places. For us, honestly, in our current portfolio, we don’t care all that much about VRBO because a lot of our bookings don’t come from vrbo, just especially in Joshua Tree. That market just isn’t very VRBO heavy, a little bit more so than the Smokies, but we really just have to focus on our review score for Airbnb, and that usually takes care of everything. Whereas with the commercial property, we’re listed on Airbnb, we’re listed on vrbo, we’ve had bookings come through those platforms. We’ve had booking.com, we’ve had Expedia, and I think that’s it right now, but it’s like you have to now manage reviews. Oh, and Google people can leave reviews on Google as well. So we’ve got to try and manage our reputation across all of these different platforms. Now, luckily, it all comes down to the same management practices, and we’re not going to treat a VRBO guest differently than Airbnb. Yes, we still treat them all the same. So ideally the review should reflect that as well, but it is just now we’ve got to track those reviews in a few different places.

Ashley:
Interesting. So my last question here to wrap all of this up is what advice do you guys have for maybe even some lessons learned of working together as a couple? You guys have done a ton of other projects together. What’s some advice you can give to listeners who maybe are going through the same thing or going to do the same thing?

Sara :
I think what’s really, really worked for us is early on just identifying our strengths and weaknesses and our roles and responsibilities. So I didn’t even know we were buying a motel until a week when we bought it. I didn’t know how legit this was about to be until he was like, this is happening because, and the reason for that is that’s his role in our duo ship is he handles all of that and then same once we locked it in, he knows I handle all of the rest. So I think it just makes it really efficient and smooth and enjoyable when you’re not stepping on each other’s toes. Imagine if you worked at a W2 job and you were the accountant and someone is the marketing person, the marketing person giving advice to the accountant and vice versa. That isn’t helpful. That’s more annoying than anything. So I feel like it translates in the same way, especially as a husband and wife, because that can spill into your relationship when you guys aren’t talking about the business and work, you will still at the end of the day, fall asleep annoyed with each other because of your work life.

Tony:
Yeah, I feel like we’ve always just done a good job of knowing what our strengths are and getting out of the other person’s way. Like her and Brie, they handled design.

Sara :
You didn’t even know what it was going to look like.

Tony:
Yeah, she surprised me with the design. I’m like, man, this looks great. But like she said, I didn’t run the underwriting past her to say like, Hey, what do you think about this? That’s my focus inside of this. So I think a lot of times for husband and wives, all you have to do is look at what makes you a strong husband and wife duo and leverage that same kind of role and responsibility in the business as well. Let that be an indication of what you guys should be doing within the business.

Sara :
And I will add, I would recommend having weekly sinks where you dedicate a specific day and time regularly where you guys are keeping up with each other’s progress, so that way you both feel aligned and in the loop of what each other is doing. And yeah, I just feel like that is also really helpful for us.

Ashley:
Sarah, you once told me this story, and I don’t remember if it was on this podcast or another time, but you said that there was something you had to make a decision on, and you went up into Tony’s office and you asked him and he said, you decide, and I can’t remember the story exactly. Basically he was telling you, don’t come to me for this. You go and figure it out. And you were like, yeah, I was like upset, blah blah. But that was him saying, Sarah, I trust you. You know what you’re doing on this. This is your decision. And I always think about that, how powerful that moment was as to it wasn’t him being rude, it was him saying, even though it wasn’t in a nice way, him saying, I trust you. This is your realm, this is, you take care of this. Yeah,

Sara :
For sure. Yeah, like you said, it was a big moment for me. I feel like I often have imposter syndrome as an investor because I don’t do the numbers and acquisitions and all the loan documents and all of that. I’m like, oh my God, I’m not an investor because I don’t do all of the number side of things. That’s not my strength. That’s actually a big weakness of mine. So that was Tony kind of pushing me and saying, snap out of it. You are good at this stuff. I’m trusting you. That’s why we’re partners. I could have hired somebody else, but I want you as my partner. And that was a big moment for us as a couple working together, and I don’t think I’ve ever really, unless it’s techie involved, I asked him. But no, it was a big moment. I feel like in our working relationship, that conversation,

Ashley:
I think you guys did a great example too, of how you can come together and still help each other and work together. As far as your spreadsheet for budgeting, there was something that wasn’t your strong suit and you’re able to align each week to go through the budget and to help each other with still both of your realms. But Tony probably wasn’t saying, Sarah, you have to do this, or whatever. You were probably giving your expertise as to this tile will be fine. Let’s use this one to go differ. Still combining your roles and responsibilities, I guess. Yeah,

Sara :
Absolutely. Like our toilet example, I said he really wanted the fans here. I was like, babe, it messes with all of my other budgets.

Ashley:
It is, I think right there that Tony’s important element was the toilet probably shows how much of a design experience he actually has in the rock. I have to say anything LED lights my six and 7-year-old would love. So I mean,

Tony:
In retrospect, it probably wasn’t all that important that we got the nice toilet. So I’m glad you overruled me on that

Sara :
One. You’re welcome.

Ashley:
Well, Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time to come on today and to talk about your role into making this motel happen. And I am so proud of you for this project and just everything you have accomplished since the day that I met you. And Tony, thank you for letting Sarah come on today and tell us the truth of who got the project done. Yeah,

Tony:
No, she’s done a fantastic job and I think it’s been so cool for me because I really pulled my wife into this business and to see how much she’s grown as an investor these last couple of years has been cool. So I think we also got to give a shout out to Xavier, who’s my business partner, our business partner within Robinson Capital. So he was really the one that did all the legwork to source the deal and kind of pull our investors together and all the stuff that went into closing, he really took down. Sarah. Just big shout out to Xavier, my CO at Robinson Capital for helping us get this deal across the finish line as well.

Ashley:
So Tony, nothing with acquisitions. It was actually, you just set up the website. Literally.

Sara :
Yeah. I was hoping you caught that too.

Ashley:
Don’t worry, Sarah, I got your back. Thank you guys so much for listening. I’m Ashley. He’s Tony and she’s Sarah. Thank you guys for listening to the Real Estate Rookie podcast. You can catch more episodes on YouTube or by going to your favorite podcast platform. Make sure you leave us an honest rating and review and like and subscribe on YouTube. We’ll see you guys next time.

 

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