Real Estate

How to Quit Your W2 Job and Replace Your Income w/ 6 Rentals


A small real estate portfolio that replaces your entire W2 income!? Many rookies assume that becoming a full-time investor is only possible after amassing a large portfolio with dozens of properties, but that’s not the case. Today’s guest was able to meet his family’s monthly income goals with only six rentals!

In this episode of the Real Estate Rookie podcast, we’re speaking (in person!) with Travis Hall, an investor who knew very little about real estate just 18 months ago. After seeing the stress that his wife’s rigorous W2 job was creating, Travis discovered BiggerPockets and caught the real estate bug. The rest is history. Today, he has a small portfolio of six rentals—all thanks to the power of networking, partnerships, and, most importantly, taking action.

If you’re ready to trade in the rigidity of your nine-to-five for the flexibility of real estate, tune in to hear Travis talk about his fast journey to full-time real estate investor. He spares no details when discussing his short-term rental strategy (including some VERY unique investments), as well as the monthly income goals he needed to meet to make full-time investing a reality.

Grab Ashley and Tony’s latest book, Real Estate Partnerships. Don’t forget to use code “REALESTATE” to get 10% off at checkout!

Ashley:
This is Real Estate Rookie, episode 300 and niner.

Travis:
Okay. So we have six short-term rentals and I’m managing a midterm rental as well.

Tony:
And what timeframe did that happen?

Travis:
In less than, that’d be nine months from when we met. I’ve gone from having two rentals to the six that I’m managing right now.

Ashley:
My name is Ashley Kehr and I am here in LA, live in person with my co-host Tony Robinson.

Tony:
And welcome to the Real Estate Rookie Podcast, where every week, twice a week, we bring you the inspiration, motivation, and stories you need to hear to kickstart your investing journey. And if this is your first time here, and it happens to be episode 309, and you’re wondering why Ashley said 309-er, I didn’t really understand it at first either, but it’s a quote from a movie called Tommy Boy starring David Spade and Tom Farley?

Ashley:
Chris Farley.

Tony:
Chris Farley. Shows how much I know about Tommy Boy-

Ashley:
But its name was Tommy in the movie.

Tony:
Tommy Boy. There you go. That’s what it is.

Ashley:
Tommy Callaghanhe.

Tony:
But we’re here in LA. We actually, earlier today, recorded an episode at the Spotify podcast studios in downtown LA. So now we’re here at this Airbnb and we actually interviewed Travis Hall. Amazing guy, Travis, actually a student of mine in Alpha Host. And he just had this incredible backstory of how he got started and what he’s been able to accomplish in a relatively short period of time. And I thought it’d be so cool to share his journey with the rookie audience.

Ashley:
Yeah. And Tony and I have the partnership book coming out, Real Estate Partnerships, and we actually got to talk to Travis about the partnerships he has developed as a new investor.
So the first one he talks about starts out with buying a boat and how he is actually be able to use creative financing and what he did and how he had to have an exit strategy and pivot. So I think the most important part of that story is really how he developed that partnership and how it ended up playing out.

Tony:
So overall, just a really interesting story. Lots of little tidbits throughout. But if there’s one thing I want you to take away from Travis’s episode, just listen to his commitment to taking action, and you’ll hear that as a theme throughout the entire episode, and I really try and point it out as we’re having that conversation with him, but just there’s so many little moments where instead of waiting, he took action and it paid major dividends. So really, really good conversation today.
Now, before we jump in, I guess I should read a review from today. So today’s review comes from someone by the username of U251. They say, “Fantastic advice. I’m learning so much from you guys, so quick, easy, straight to the point.” But for all of our rookies that are listening, if you haven’t yet, please take a few minutes, I promise it’s just a few minutes.
Leave us an honest rating and review on whatever platform it is you’re listening to. Apple, Spotify, YouTube, wherever. Leave a comment, leave a review. The more reviews we get, the more folks we’re able to reach. The more folks we can reach, the more folks we can help and help in an impact in lives is what we’re all about here at the Rookie Podcast.

Ashley:
And for today’s Instagram shout out, we are actually going to give it to David Greene, @davidgreene24. When we recorded with him in the Spotify studios earlier today, he did mention, he did a revamp. It’s a new and improved Instagram with lots of great content.
So make sure you go and give David a follow if you haven’t already. And that episode that we recorded earlier today with David Greene will be available on our next release, episode 310.

Tony:
All right, and also make sure to follow me and Ashley. She’s @wealthfromrentals, I’m @tonyjrobinson. We post a lot of pretty cool stuff too, but last our book, me and Ashley co-authored a book. It’s called Real Estate Partnerships, and we’re giving away some pretty cool bonuses for those who buy before the official launch date.
So if you head over to biggerpockets.com/partnerships, and if you use code Real Estate, you get a 10% discount on the book. So again, biggerpockets.com/partnerships. And you’re actually here a little bit about Travis and his use of partnerships in this episode. So pick up the book if you want the full breakdown.

Ashley:
Okay. You guys, we are going to bring Travis into the Airbnb and get him on the show. Travis, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Travis:
Thank you. I’m so pumped to be on the show with you guys. Thanks for inviting me.

Ashley:
Yeah. So tell everyone a little bit about yourself and how you got started in real estate.

Travis:
Okay. Yeah. My name’s Travis Hall. I’m SoCal native. We found ourselves in real estate, not planning, not doing a whole lot of deep thinking to get in there, but basically we always knew we wanted to buy a home, and so we found a duplex in Long Beach and then stumbled upon BiggerPockets, I think in August of 2021. And then we just started looking at other ways of being creative with that, and one thing led to another and haven’t looked back since.

Tony:
When you say we, who are you talking about?

Travis:
My wife and I. So yeah, my wife and I are married. We live in Long Beach.

Tony:
So Travis, we met at one of my events back in September, joining my coaching program, and I’ve just had the pleasure of really getting to know you on a deeper level than many of our guests here. So I know a lot about your backstory. I’m excited to pull it out of you. So I guess before we even dive into it, just give us a quick overview of what your portfolio looks like today.

Travis:
Gotcha. Okay. So we have six short-term rentals and I’m managing a midterm rental as well. That’s what we have right now, and we’re still adding. We signed closing docs yesterday for another property in Memphis, but we have six active short-term rentals and a midterm right now.

Tony:
And what timeframe did that happen?

Travis:
When I met you, I think that was October of 2022, right?

Tony:
Yeah.

Travis:
We owned one duplex and then had one arbitrage. A few months after that, we got another property in Memphis. That was our first out-of-state property. First partnership as well. And then just kept networking, and then now I’m managing, oh, so disclaimer, some of those properties that I’m operating are I’m just as a manager, so not all that I own. But so in less than, that’d be nine months from when we met. I’ve gone from having two rentals to the six that I’m managing right now.

Ashley:
Yeah. Congratulations.

Travis:
Thank you.

Ashley:
That’s super cool.

Travis:
Thank you.

Ashley:
Let’s talk about that management piece. So what does that involve for you and how did you even connect with these people to manage their properties?

Travis:
Yeah. So I feel like I’m kind of preaching with theory here because I don’t have it figured out. I was telling Tony a while ago, I feel like I’m kind of a mess right now with management, just with, I’m learning by doing. I didn’t read a whole lot of books on how to manage. I didn’t shadow anyone. I just found property owners that had rentals and because they were in a pinch and I was local, I seemed like a great option for them.
And so, one of these properties that I manage, I just found on a Facebook, a local Facebook group, and she was saying, “I’ll be out of the country for a few months and I was hoping to have someone that can take over messaging for me.” And I was one of two or three people that responded. That was it. And we had a great conversation. She instantly referred me to her sister, who also had a property to manage. So I started managing her sisters first. Then a few weeks later when she left, then I started managing her own.

Ashley:
Can you just give us an idea of how you guys set that up? Was this kind of like a handshake deal, “I’ll pay you this much.” Did you end up putting a contract and how much money do you actually make off?

Travis:
Yeah. So I learned a little bit, put it on paper so I had enough of experience with what-

Ashley:
We’ve all been there.

Travis:
Yeah, yeah. And so I just pulled a generic co-hosting agreement I found online and customized it, made sure everything was good. It has a ton of holes in there. It’s not airtight by any means. No other managers that have a 15-page contract. I think ours is four with last page left intentionally blank, something like that. So it’s pretty thin, but we just agreed upon a management.
Right now I’m managing at 15%, but I know that won’t be sustainable going forward. I’m doing way too much work for 15%. And also I feel like my value proposition was, “Take me, I’m cheap. I’ll manage your property for cheap.” And I realized that’s not the real value I’m offering. And if that’s the only attraction to that owner, I probably don’t want to work with them if that’s their way of operating and doing business.

Tony:
But it’s an important thing to call out. And we talked about this was that when you’re, and we just talked about this too on our other episode. But sometimes when you’re first starting out, you do have to maybe give up some of that revenue potential to establish a track record.
I think still, even when you’re starting out, you still want to be somewhat selective about who you work with, because you can put yourself in a position where you’re working with someone that you just don’t enjoy working with. But I do think that early on, it’s not uncommon to see people give a bit of a break price-wise, equity wise, whatever it is to kind of get the gears turning.

Travis:
Definitely. I mean, and that first conversation turned into two listings right away. And so I definitely want to keep adding value and then figure out a way to restructure to where they’re still really happy with me managing.
And I’m still very, very happy at managing for them just at a higher rate or no longer opening Amazon boxes for them to sit on their counter because, “Hey, I’m out of town. You live local tribes, you can go drive down there and set that up for me.” I don’t want to do that anymore. But I’m kind of their go for.

Ashley:
What are, besides your gas and your mileage, what are some of the other expenses you have incurred? Are you paying for software or anything like that?

Travis:
Yeah. And so I pay for PriceLabs. I pay for my PMS. So each time I add a property just goes, my monthly fee just goes up a little bit. I have a virtual assistant that I’m continuing to develop, but those costs are shared across all the properties, and so each addition may be an additional, probably $25 a month in software, max. And then for the VA, that might be literally $20 a month because it’s spread out over several properties. So somewhere around $45 a month is my contribution as far as gas goes. All these ones are here locally, and so I may visit the property once or twice.

Ashley:
You grab one of those Lime scooters and…

Travis:
Yeah. Yeah. No, I, on hot days this, I’ll take the AC.

Tony:
Yeah. And so I guess along with that question, if someone wanted to start an Airbnb co-hosting business or property management business today, is it feasible to get started with zero capital?

Travis:
Oh, completely. That’s probably the easiest way to get started with anything real estate would be getting that experience, getting those reps in, learning how to respond to guests, learning how to talk to property owners. That is your easiest way to step in the game.
If you’ve got a computer and wifi, you can do it all. Even including your contract, “Hey, I’m going to use some very sophisticated software. I’m going to charge X percent and $45 a month to cover these things, and I’ll need that upfront to get started.” And so you could even make it so you literally get started without any money out of pocket. They’re buying that subscription for you each month.

Ashley:
That’s how I do it with the person that manages my short-term rentals. She pays a percentage and then I cover all of the costs and she has a credit card to gets supplies, toilet paper, and then I pay for all the software. And Tony, you bill back, right?

Tony:
We bill back. So every month we have just a flat fee that we bill back to the properties for the tech fee. And we just reassess that every quarter to see, “Okay, how many new properties do we have in here?” We update the number accordingly. So ideally as a portfolio grows, that tech fee comes down. But that’s how we’re managing it right now.

Travis:
And you tell the managers, “Hey, keep referring me to more properties. I can spread that [inaudible 00:11:48].”

Tony:
Right. Bring it down, keep it further.

Travis:
Keep referring to me. We’ll bring it down from 1999 to 18-

Tony:
Right. It’s somewhere in that ballpark. So Travis, I want to go back to when you first started, because you’re doing this full-time now.

Travis:
Yeah.

Tony:
But you weren’t always, so bring us back to Travis before he was the full-time real estate investor.

Travis:
Back when I was a young, young man, Tony. So this time last year, July 2022, I was just trying to hustle as a real estate agent. Getting all of my money from helping people buy and sell homes. And really quickly, I just got tired of that because it’s, the way I was doing it was not really fulfilling, not really scalable. And it was really like, “Oh, please, Tony, let me help you sell your home, or please, Ashley, let me help you buy a home.” “Cool. I helped you buy or sell it. Let’s catch up in 10 years when the average time to buy or sell again is.” And then I’ll get another paycheck.
At that same time, we had just closed on the duplex and we’re living in it a few for maybe a month or so, and we had a long-term tenant in there, and we get a check every month. The first of the month and that subsidized our mortgage quite a bit. But then when they were supposed to move out in August, they said, “Hey Travis, I know our lease is up in August, but my job’s not ready for me in Florida till October, September.” And at that point, I had already put out ads on Zillow, three bedroom, two bath, 3000 a month.
I had people walk through the unit that I was living in. We fixed it up. So they were walking through my unit because they were moving there. I was going to move in the back, fix up the back, do all that. And so I had some really qualified tenants ready to go, and then I find out like, “Hey, sorry you can’t move in August.” “Oh cool. When can I move in?” “I have no idea because my tenant hasn’t moved out yet.” And that gave us the time to really figure out what’s the good rental strategy that we could do. And then a random friend said, “Hey Travis, I know you’re a real estate agent. You should check out BiggerPockets.” And I was like, “Okay.”
So I wasn’t much of a podcast person, but I just started devouring those messages. While I was retiling the bathtub. I was listening to Brandon Turner and David Greene talking about what a BRRR is, what a HELOC is. And so I’m just chipping away and listening in and eventually came across a podcast that was about short-term rentals.
I listened to Rob talk and I listened to you talk, and I was like, “That’s really cool.” And it kind of shattered this idea that Airbnbs are not just owned by Hilton. Literally anyone can start an Airbnb in certain cities without even having to own the property. And so it was just a lot of knowledge I didn’t have. And so as I started looking at that, I thought, “Hey, we could try this with Long Beach.” I did the research. Long Beach allows it. A very straightforward permitting process.

Ashley:
Well, let me ask you that. Where is somebody else that wants to look into their city to find out what the rules are? Where did you go to find that information?

Travis:
Just so simple. I just googled Long Beach short-term rental policies, and they had a page and it was so simple. Good job, Long Beach. You did a great job with that. But it’s just really straightforward.

Tony:
But let me add to that, because we were recently in Dallas looking at some properties out there that we want potentially short-term rent. And for those of you that maybe haven’t been keeping along, Dallas passed an ordinance about two and a half weeks ago that banned short-term rentals from any single family residences. And if you did it in multi-family, there was some restrictions around it as well. And we were looking to do it in a multi-family property.
So I was all over their website trying to find, “Hey, where’s this new ordinance?” Wasn’t posted anywhere. I called, never got a call back. I was being bounced around to all these different departments. So we actually flew to Dallas. We literally flew to Dallas and went to city hall to try and get a straight answer from someone. So sometimes it’s great like Long Beach. Other times it’s a little bit more convoluted like Dallas. But if you’re-

Ashley:
Did you get an answer then going in person?

Tony:
Yeah. We got an answer that day, and I was actually able to get the ordinance emailed to me. So for the rookies that are listening, it’s sometimes it’s going to be easy, but if you’re really committed to this, sometimes you might have to hop on a flight to Dallas and go to city hall to get your answer.

Ashley:
And how much did that flight cost you? The risk of having to get into that deal, not knowing exactly how it would turn out. I’m sure it’s a lot to hear.

Tony:
Well, here’s the other thing too. So initially we were thinking of not moving forward with the deal once we saw that ordinance, but there were two things that we found out when we went in person that made us feel comfortable about moving forward with the deal. So it’s an arbitrage deal.
First, was that even though the ordinance was passed in June, they weren’t going to start enforcement until December. So there was this six month kind of timeframe of the enforcement. The second thing we learned was that the city itself, the people that we talked with at the city told us they were fairly confident that it was going to, the city was going to get sued, and that it was more likely than not going to get overturned.
So there’s all of these investors who are now afraid of going into Dallas, but we’re getting this inside information that’s, A, you still have six months. B, there’s a good chance it’s not going to hold. And then we started seeing some other research that there were other cities in the state of Texas that had tried to ban short-term rentals in a way that Dallas did, and the state overturned those ordinances. So my point is, go in person. You get so much information.

Ashley:
Would you get grandfathered in then since you started it?

Tony:
That, I don’t know. So I actually emailed the guy that was in charge of compliance, and his answer was kind of like a non-answer.

Ashley:
Like he doesn’t even know.

Tony:
Yeah. So I don’t really know the answer to that yet, but we’re going to roll the dice and we’re comfortable doing it because it’s an arbitrage deal. So I’m not signing a 30-year mortgage, I’m signing a 12-month lease, and if we need to pivot to a midterm to finish it off and everything like that.

Ashley:
Right. Yeah. Wow.

Tony:
All right, so back to your story, man. So you’re checking these ordinances, but I also want to give some more context here. Because you were a realtor then you kind of stumbled on the whole short-term rental thing, but you guys also had a goal, right? So your wife, she was, I guess just give some insights on what it was looking like in your marriage in terms of what was your wife doing and how did that play into what you guys wanted.

Travis:
Yeah. So when my wife finished law school, she passed the bar and then you go to work for a big law company and had a one, a lot of law debt around 180. No, I think closer to 280,000.

Ashley:
Oh my god. I want to throw up now.

Travis:
So that’s undergrad and grad school combined. So a ton of debt. That was another thing that I think really slowed us down in the real estate game is I thought just again, not having any knowledge of financing, of lending laws, who on earth would lend to anyone with almost $200,000 in student debt? We’re not going to qualify for anything. It’s almost the opposite.
When banks see, “Oh, big grad school debt, and you also have a job that’s marketable.” They almost close their eyes to like, “Oh wait, don’t worry about the debt. We just look at your salary, forget about the debt.” So I mean, there are numbers that they’ll use your estimated monthly student payment, student loan payment for that. So they’ll factor that into your-

Ashley:
Debts income.

Travis:
… debts income, exactly. But it’s not like they say, “Oh, you owe 200,000. Cool, once that’s paid off, let’s talk.” It’s not like that at all. So she was working at a large firm in Los Angeles and just had crazy hours, incredible pay, also incredible demand, and that those big paychecks were super great, but it was killing my wife.
She would just come home from work and just so tired. And I’m like, “Oh yeah. I’m doing the real estate thing. You’re doing the W-2 thing. Great.” And really it was just killing her. Weekends were pick one day to sleep in, and then the rest of the day is just catch up on all the work you couldn’t get done because there’s just unlimited work that can be done.
And there’s no such thing as like, “Oh, I’m done at the end of the week.” Or, “It’s five o’clock, I’m going home.” No, you got to have your laptop open. “We’re closing on this case in two weeks, and it’s a fire drill. Everyone’s going to stay in this until it’s done.” And so really right away I realized this is not going to be sustainable for, or is this what life will look like for my wife for the next 20 years until she retires?
And so in talking to Tony, we had to figure out what’s the amount of monthly income I’ll get from rental properties to where my wife has the option to step away. And we came up with that number. I think ours was like $6,500. And so we just started working backwards. “Okay, $6,500 is what we’re netting from real estate. What is it going to take to get there?” So we might be able to buy one, make a property that does that, but realistically it’ll be buying several properties that each pitch in 1,012 hundred here, maybe 800 there until, you build up that monthly rental income.

Ashley:
We just interviewed Chad Carson who went through that exact step-by-step process of working backwards of like, “What’s that number in my market that I’m investing in? What’s my potential cash flow? So how many properties do I need?”
He just wrote a book, Small and Mighty, and it’s about real estate investing where you’re not-

Travis:
Pretty cool.

Ashley:
… trying to grow and scale to get this huge portfolio, but you want to make all each and every property count so that you can still have a small portfolio, but it’s still giving that financial freedom, that time freedom.

Travis:
Definitely, definitely.

Ashley:
That a lot of people want.

Tony:
So you have this really strong motivation and then you go down the BiggerPockets rabbit hole. So get us back to where you are. So you’re listening to this, you’ve got this tenant that’s about to move out. How does that lead into you guys?

Travis:
Yeah. So we just doubled down on like, “Hey, we’re going to do short-term rentals as soon as they move out. As soon as they move out, we’re going to move into the back and we’re going to leave all of our junkie furniture from our apartment that we brought over there. We’re going to leave that as the Airbnb.” And my wife being very, very risk averse, I was like, “Hey, you know what? This doesn’t work out, what if a tenant or a guest just refuses to leave in California, the state is more friendly to tenants than get to owners.”
And so we went through all these scenarios and then we’re like, “Okay, we’re just going to, worst case, if this doesn’t work out, we’ll just go back to doing long-term.” 3000 a month is what we’ll expect for long-term rents, and we can even rent it out furnished if we want to for maybe 3,200 or 3,300, something like that, and see how it goes.
So then October 1st, I think they moved out. We had two weeks of decorating, moving stuff around, finishing up some things. October 21st or so, we had our first guest check in. That first night they were in there, so it’s a duplex. So we lived in the back, we split a wall, they were in there. My wife and I were like trying, we’re like, “Please-”

Tony:
Everything be alright.

Travis:
“… don’t start a fire. Please, do not. Nothing crazy. No drugs, no holes in the walls.” And then when they checked out, my wife and we ran over there. Check-

Ashley:
Looked at everything.

Travis:
Check, open the… Like, “Are the bedsheets, check out the forks, I’ll go and check the picture frames.” And just, you’d expect it was just a bunch of people that were there for something along which that they were doing. And then they checked out and said, “Hey Travis, thanks for the great night. Five stars.” We were like, “It works. It really works.”

Tony:
I love that, man. So you guys have that first experience, it all tends to go well. So maybe we’ll talk numbers later, but are you typically able to get more than that 3K per month as a short-term than you were with the…

Travis:
Oh, yeah. So we just did our taxes for 2022, and our take home after regular expenses is closer to, I think 6,500 per month after we paid our cleaner.

Ashley:
That’s awesome. Yeah.

Travis:
I mean, there’s utilities as well, but more than double what would be what we’d expect.

Ashley:
Your utilities aren’t $3,000 a month.

Travis:
Yeah, yeah. Of course, of course. But we were just amazed. And I think after those maybe some point, mid-November we realized, “Oh wow, from end of October to where we are now, our mortgage just got paid.” It got paid in about three and a half weeks, or maybe about four weeks. But we’re like, “Wow.” We have a little bit of cushion. We have more than $3,000 left in what we would’ve had with long-term tenant. And plus we can open up our home when my parents come visit, when my family’s here, we can open it up for a few days. And we just got super pumped about that.

Tony:
Once you guys have that first successful run, take us on the journey of going from that duplex to where you are now with the six properties.

Travis:
Yeah. So I’ll try to be concise and chronologically in order. So that was October 2021. By May, I was talking to another landlord about a triplex she had and me being a tenant as an arbitrage, she liked that idea and I tried to explain to her how I’d be the best tenant she’d had compared to just a traditional tenant.

Tony:
And just really quickly, explain what arbitrage means for folks that aren’t familiar with that means.

Travis:
Gotcha. So I become the tenant, but I don’t live there. But with the owner’s permission, I rent it out, I furnish it and rent it out as an Airbnb. And again, Long Beach is also okay with that. And so actually she got the permit for me.
So she got the permit. She was excited about that, and she liked that I was taking care of the property as if it was my own and kind of like a property manager, but I’m incentivized to keep the property super clean. I’m incentivized to keep it looking great and any repairs, I can’t have a hole in the wall for the next guest. Whereas if you have a long-term tenant that could be in there until they move out, or-

Ashley:
I manage a 40-unit apartment complex, and I have two Airbnb arbitrages in there. The one that’s been in there since 2018, there have been tenants that have moved out from 2020 until now, stayed there less than I’ve had this Airbnb. There has been constant people in and out of this Airbnb. I think we have a two night minimum. There it is the nicest condition of rather than people who have lived in that property for one year, two years, three years.

Travis:
Completely.

Ashley:
That is such a great point as to kind of an incentive to kind of sell an owner on letting you do that Airbnb arbitrage.

Travis:
Walking through, I mean, as a realtor, we look at properties all the time and walking through a tenant occupied home that has two and a half feet of cardboard boxes, trash, toilet paper, food, it is not hard at all for me. It’s, Airbnb is way safer as a property owner.

Ashley:
And another thing that I think about too is evictions. Okay, so say that Tony is living in the house and you’re doing the Airbnb arbitrage in one unit. You go to evict Tony, he comes up to court, he’s like, “Well, you know what? My kids, this happened.” All this stuff gives the judge all these excuses. And the judge goes, “Okay, you know what? I’ll give you a two-week extension. You come up with money, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, this is your home. These things happened to you.” Whatever. That because that’s happened to me where or a tenant finds a loophole. Whatever, they don’t want to-

Travis:
Yeah. “I’ve been there for more than 30 days.”

Ashley:
Yeah. And then you though it’s not your house, you’re running a business out of there. That judge is not going to be sympathetic to you not paying the rent most likely because it’s not your home. And-

Travis:
Completely.

Ashley:
… I could see the eviction process going a lot smoother.

Travis:
Definitely. Definitely. Yeah.

Tony:
So keep it going. Yeah. What happens then?

Travis:
Oh, yeah. So that’s arbitrage. That’s in May. A few months after that, a buddy setting up his short-term rental in Joshua Tree, as I’m doing furniture with him, he says, “Oh, you got to go to Tony and Sarah’s short-term rental summit in Newport Beach.” And so I’m like, “Okay. How much is it?” “Oh, it’s a thousand dollars.” Because I’m last minute person. I’m like, “Oh man, that’s, I’ve never spent any, I think I’ve ever spent this much amount of money on anything.” And so I’m really thinking, but then my friend Mark is like, “Hey, just the knowledge you’ll get from that, do you think that’ll be worth a thousand dollars?” I’m like, “It could.” So for me, I was so skeptical of, “Buy my course, buy, buy, do that. Subscribe to this.”
So, but it was really, I think just fear of missing out. I was like, I could just keep trying to figure it out by myself or I could put some money into that and see what comes out of it. And honestly, that was a huge turning point. Going to that summit, meeting the people I did gave the info I got, meeting the people that were there. That was huge. So that really kind of just fanned the flame of what I was doing.
I was already had some momentum, but that really kind of gave me more actionable steps and key things to look for. Not just, “Oh, that’s a deal. Oh, that’s a deal. That’s a deal.” But really be more selective and intentional in what I was doing. At this, right at that time, I think maybe a month before that, sorry to backtrack, my wife and I love doing camper van trips, and so I bought an old plumber’s sprinter van and I turned it into a camper van.
And whenever we’re not using, I rented on an Airbnb. That’s not drivable. We’re not okay with that kind of risk. So we just park it in a nice area and let people stay there for two or three nights, something like that. So that was my third little property. And that one has been the most simplest and has had the best reviews, even though we offer the lease, just because it’s super clear. “There’s no shower in here, you’re not driving to Yosemite in it. We’ve got a little toilet and a little sink and a little fridge.” That’s it. But we have the best reviews from that.
Right after that. So then we have Tony’s summit. Met up with an awesome dude named Casey. We both talked about sailboats. We’re like, “Oh man, you’re doing this thing with camper van Travis. What if we did that with a sailboat?” And my dad had sent me a message a few weeks ago, just some, this really beat up sailboat in Oxnard, California. The owner was just trying to give it away because he was behind on his dock fees.
And so I’m like, “Man, his dock fees are like 500 bucks a month. He’s trying to sell this 30-foot boat for a thousand dollars.” Basically just get me out of this debt of paying this fee. And I was like, “Oh, I could link that in Airbnb.” But I never took steps on it. And then I met this guy, Casey, who was like, “I’m trying to do the same thing.” So then we jump on Craigslist the week after meeting at the summit. I find this guy in Marina del Rey, he’s selling a sailboat for $12,000.
I negotiate with him, “Hey, I’ll give you your price, but can you sell or finance $9,000? We’ll bring 3000. We’re going to pay on the first of the month. You’ll still have your name on the title. We’re going to fix it up, but would that be okay?” And because he had no other people giving him calls, I was the best option. So we said, “Sure.” And so we wrote a contract, made sure it was good, got the keys to the boat.
I learned how to drive a sailboat around the Marina when we were working on it. Casey did an awesome job on fixing it up, making it look beautiful. And we started renting that out in maybe end of October 2022. And then that was going swimmingly. It was going perfect for maybe 45 days until the Marina told me stop instantly with what we were doing.
We were always operating under the radar, letting guests know. A lot of the people may not be familiar with this. And so we knew it was going to happen. It was just kind of like, when?

Ashley:
When?

Travis:
When it’s going to happen. We thought, “Oh, maybe nine months. Nine months, they’ll probably catch you on.” No, day 45. They were like, we just had some really angry entitled guests that were just so rude to the dockmaster. “This is my Airbnb, I’m going to sue you. Don’t you come here.” Just the worst guest you could imagine blew it up for me. So that’s when I got the email, and then we quickly sold that boat, got all of our money back and then some-

Ashley:
And you made that money over the 45 days?

Travis:
Yeah.

Ashley:
Oh, yeah?

Travis:
Yeah. Yeah.

Tony:
But I also just want to pause on that, right? Because there’s a few important things I think to pull out of that story. First, you went outside of your comfort zone to put yourself in a room with other people who were focused on the same goals as you. And I think oftentimes you underestimate the power of surrounding yourself with people who are going on the same journey as you.
And Ash, we talk about this all the time. It’s like there, you get this energy when you’re around a group of people who are pushing you to be better. So I think that’s the first thing is just, you got to find the tribe that you want to be a part of. Second, you took action, you met someone, and a week later you guys are already working on that deal together. And that’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked either, because a lot of people, they’ll go to the events, they’ll take the notes, and then that little notebook just lives in their backpack for who knows how long, and they never do anything with it.

Travis:
“Oh, that was a fun conference. Great.” Right? Take notes out-

Tony:
And they go back to their old life, right?

Travis:
Yeah.

Tony:
Within seven days of you leaving, you’ve already taken action to make it worthwhile.

Travis:
I feel like that’s something, I guess that’s a strength and a weakness with me. I can’t sit still. The same reason I went to your summit was because, “Well, am I going to just be at home watching the doorbell camera of my desk checking it out? Or I could go-”

Ashley:
You could do that from the conference too.

Travis:
Yeah. Not that I recommend that, but just not taking action would probably be the most painful thing I could do. And so for me, and that also has consequences. If you are just an action taker and not like a planner, you can wind up doing things incorrectly or costing you more. But my just disposition was like, let’s do it and then let’s learn how to do it. Let’s do it, and then figure out what I’m supposed to do. And so basically that’s how we jumped into that.
And now my wife really kind of bounces me. She’s like, “Hey, hey, let’s see if this is legal.” “Hey, hey. Wait up. What happens if the boat sinks?” I’m like, “Oh, okay, okay, fine. We should probably look into that. We’ll work on that.”

Tony:
But the boat never sank, which is the-

Travis:
Yeah, yeah. And we sold it to a person who was very, very happy to have a manicured perfect boat. And so we sold that and then just kept taking action. After the sailboat kind of fizzled out, Casey and I were still like, “Hey, what else could we be doing?” In the background, on a side note, or I guess concurrently what I’m doing is I just was on Facebook and asked a question about real estate and mentioned that I’m doing short-term rentals here in California.
Another person just messaged me up and said, “Hey, I’m really curious about short-term rentals and what can you tell me about that?” We had a bunch of conversations. He’s also a local LA realtor, and we started just looking at deals together. Not committing to anything, just looking at, analyzing. Eventually, we figured out he’s got some real good out-of-state experience with properties, but doesn’t have any short-term rental experience. And so we thought we’d make kind of a good team.
So we did some market research. We found Memphis, we dialed in on that, and then as we started looking at properties, a deal popped up out of nowhere. And then we partnered up on that and closed on that in January of this year. So that was maybe January 30th, 2023. That was a crazy deal. That was our first partnership, first seller finance, first subject two, all in one. And that’s been going great as well.

Tony:
And again, let me just pause you again, right man? Because you’re such an action taker, and I don’t want that to get lost on our audience because we talk about this all the time, Ashley, about, as a rookie, one of the most important things you can do is share your journey, is talk with other people about what you’re doing.
And you said, you went into some random Facebook group posted about something related to short-term rentals, and then you found someone that then became a future partner for you on a deal. There was an immense lesson to be learned in that man.

Travis:
Yeah. No, I feel like it’s just so simple. No one’s a mind reader. No one will probably ever come up to you. Well, maybe not you guys, because everyone knows who you are. But to the average person who just in their heart says, “I want to get started in real estate.” No one is going to come up to them and say, “Here’s a deal.” You really have to let people know what you’re looking for and for that deal, and then I think for the next one, well actually for the next two, after that, it was very much almost the same format.
I posted something, I started being more consistent and posting on social media. That’s what Tony was telling me to do. So I started doing that. Random people that I’ve been friends with for years said, “Hey Travis, I also want to get started in real estate. I see you’re posting about replacing the sink in your Airbnb. What’s that like for you? Are you getting better returns than the stock market with your Airbnb?” And I said, “The stock market’s super volatile, but with Airbnb you have 100% control over things that can change the output. Whereas, you buy a stock of Apple, they’re never going to ask you, ‘Hey, how many cameras should we put in the iPhone 15? We really want your opinion, Tony.’” You’ll never have that control over something like that.
So for stocks, I felt that was way safer because you had that kind of control over it. And because those two people that were asking me questions, they were also in a pinch. And I was in a pinch. I wanted to get more real estate, but you quickly run out of money buying real estate. There’s great deals all over the country, and even if they’re all incredible, you can’t buy them all.
And so they had capital but didn’t have the experience or the know-how or desire to pick up something. And so we partnered up, we bought one of these, we bought 10 acres in Joshua Tree, we’re going to put a tiny house there. And then the other one we just closed on a second property in Memphis, and we put some capital into there from another investor that had money but didn’t know how to put it to real estate use.

Ashley:
Let’s talk about your partnerships, because Tony and I are launching our new book soon, Real Estate Partnerships. So it’s been a huge [inaudible 00:36:59].

Tony:
There it is. There it is.

Ashley:
So let’s talk about that first partnership with a sailboat. How did you feel comfortable partnering with somebody that you had just met at a conference?

Travis:
Yeah. So one, I mean, we just got along so well at the conference. We both had real estate, we both had Airbnb experience, so we both could share about how we like to do business, struggles we’ve had. I mean, we just buddied up real quick at that conference. We probably committed the greatest sin of networking. He was like, “Oh Tony, you’re a cool person. I’m just going to stick by you for the whole week.”

Tony:
The next 72-

Travis:
Yeah. So that I don’t have to meet anyone else because my social battery’s running low, but he and I buddied up. And I mean that has been such a profitable friendship and partnership. But we just talked on the phone, what we wanted to do because we did sell our finance, we didn’t have to bring a whole lot of capital to table.
We brought 3000 and we said, “You know what? I think he is definitely a lot more hands-on and he’s an incredible handyman. He’s just really good with repairing things. I’m competent but not skillful in that.” And so I said, “You know what? I’ll bring 2000 to the table for the down payment. You bring 1000, but you need to make this thing look nice.” And he was thrilled with that.
His wife did the design, he just did the paint. These little, the in-person fixes with some of the plumbing. And basically, I just got to stop by, take a look at the boat. “Yep, everything looks good. Okay there.”

Ashley:
And you guys were 50/50 partners?

Travis:
Yeah. So we were 50/50. I brought a little more capital. He brought capital in the work and then I furnished it. And then we just both felt good about it. We did sign a little contracts, “Hey, we’re both owners of this boat.” And it’s not a handshake deal. And he did more of the operations and I found the cleaner, negotiated with her, made sure we were all good with that, and we just were trying to figure out this partnership as we go.
But I felt like a big hesitation my wife had that I was just not even considering is I’m such an optimist, like, “Oh, let’s, all of us, let’s buy a house together and run it.” But my wife being in litigation says, “These deals go south all day long.” Her job is patching up and resolving these disputes between partners on huge deals. And so she was really like, “We have to be so careful with the type of partnership we’re in and with the way it’s described-”

Ashley:
Well at least you have a great resource.

Travis:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ashley:
You got your wife.

Travis:
Definitely, definitely. So I think because that was such a low barrier to entry, we’re like, “Okay, this is just a test run.” This is my first, I guess that was my first partnership. That was my first partnership that involved money with something like this. And it worked out great for us to where, “Hey, let’s do another one.” So then that same partner, I found another investor. That’s when we bought the land together.
This partner brought all the land, bought all the capital to buy the land, and then we’re going to do all the labor. And so that’s partnership round two because we have some track record, we have some experience with another. I have full trust in my team at this point.

Tony:
But I think that’s a great point too because we talk about this in the book, it’s good when you’re starting a new partnership to try and test it in a small way. And $3,000 on a $12,000 sailboat is a great example of a small test for a partnership.
Because at most say things go terribly wrong. You’re out $2,000 in your time. That’s different than if you guys went out and bought a million dollar property and you’re doing all these things. That’s a big commitment. So again, just if you’re thinking about partnering with someone, especially for someone that you just met, it’s a really good idea to start small in the way that you guys did.

Travis:
Yeah. I mean, I feel like our story is so much of like, “Oh, that was dumb luck and it worked out great for us.” I feel like that was the same thing. I wasn’t as cautious with like, “Oh, let’s only have 3000.” Looking back hindsight, “Oh wow. That was a pretty good way to structure it.” I wasn’t designing it that way, but it worked out great. And I’m glad to smarter people that they think, “Oh, that’s a great way to structure it.” And so that’s just what we ended up doing.

Tony:
All right, Travis, so you’ve had a phenomenal story so far, brother, and I’m sure you’ve inspired other people to take action and you were just a shiny example of what happens when you just, you stay consistent and put one foot in front of the other.
But I want to take us to our rookie exam. So these are the same three questions we ask every single guest that comes onto the Rookie Podcast. So are you ready for the exam?

Travis:
Yeah. Let’s start it.

Tony:
All right, question number one. What’s one actionable thing rookies should do after listening to your episode?

Travis:
I think the easiest thing is just to start telling people what you want to do. You will find people that want to help you get there, and as you’re doing that, you’ll find people that you’re also helping along the way. Finding this person that reached out to me, they had capital and wanted to invest but didn’t know how to do it, they weren’t just an answer to my prayer. We together are winning together by offsetting one another.
So you definitely have to talk to people. Social media is the lowest hanging fruit to do that. But if you’re scared, just start talking to people in person each week. Set a small goal like, “I’m going to talk to five people about real estate.” And then as you keep doing that, eventually someone’s going to say, “Oh, Tony likes real estate. You should ask him about that.” And so I feel that’s probably the easiest thing you can do is just throw out what you want to do out there and you’re going to help people on the way.

Tony:
Well, and Travis, out of everyone in Alpha Host, I feel like you, Olivia as well, you guys have done just a great job of posting that-

Travis:
Oh, thank you.

Tony:
… journey. And you also hosted a few meetups as well. And those are the kind of actions that make good things happen. Is if you’re posting on social, you’re hosting these events, even if it’s a small show, just the action of doing that thing usually makes good things happen.

Travis:
And I know what’s one actionable thing, but that was the second thing I wanted to tack on, is it’s so easy to just stay in your comfort zone of, “But I don’t know everything about Airbnb. It’d be so stupid to get started. I don’t know all the answers. I can’t buy real estate. I don’t know what the market’s going to be like in seven years. It’s so scary.” We can just surround ourself with doubt to the point where the safest option is to curl up in a ball and do nothing.
But for me, I’ve just always take action and figure it out, take action and figure it out. So I feel that’s the related to what you’re talking about, is just you have to get started. Just start today by doing research, start today by buying a book. Start today by listening to podcasts that are going to help you, and then deals will literally throw themselves at you.

Ashley:
I think too, if you think about a lot of business owners, so especially I would say blue collar workers is doing landscaping or pouring concrete, things like that, they know how to do that, but they don’t know how to run the business side of things.
So I think you can look at so many different industries and say like, “Okay, somebody’s going in knowing one thing, I had this skillset and I still need to learn how to do payroll. I need to learn how to do this.” There’s so many different aspects.
One of my business partners, he owns a landscaping company. I’m just like, “How do you survive?” There’s things that I know that on the business side, but he also, he can write up a great scope of work of how he’s going to, he can drop the design, but as far as his bills, you’ll get them the following year because he actually got around to invoicing.

Travis:
That is crazy. Yeah. “Please pay me for the work that had already done at the property or else I’ll rethaw your lawn here.”

Ashley:
I hate… Oh, wait people. Yeah. So I think that was great advice as to how you should tell everyone what you’re trying to do and things like that.

Travis:
Yeah, I think.

Ashley:
Okay. And then our second question is, what is one app, tool or software that you used in your business?

Travis:
Yeah. I mean, there’s so many that are so helpful for short-term rentals, but I think one that’s probably overlooked so much and is so old-school is just Facebook groups. That may not be a tool that I’m checking on every day, like my pricing, but there’s just been so many huge deals that are available because they’re on Facebook groups.
Same thing with like, “Oh, what’s a good handyman?” Or, “My AC is out.” That is such an instant resource of local knowledge that is helpful and responsive right away that I’m using that all the time to find better cleaners, better repairmen, better landscapers, you name it.

Ashley:
Yeah.

Tony:
All right. Last question. Question number three. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Travis:
So in five years, I’ll be 36. I see my wife being able to fully step away from her W-2. I see us being able to travel with our family, hopefully we have a couple kids at that point, and it just sounds so crazy, but we really look forward to not having to ask another adult, “Hey, can I take time to be on vacation?” That’s something that we’re just so used to, but we want to have enough rental income to where we have that freedom. And then also, once you hit that, like, “What next? What do you do once all your earthly needs are met?” I think for me-

Ashley:
You get lifestyle creep.

Travis:
Yeah, yeah. Of course that happens. But I feel also more meaningful. It is so encouraging and so empowering, helping others, taking first step. You guys have helped so many people take their first step, take their second step. I’m sure there’s so many people that you’ve seen raise up in real estate that are doing incredible things.
You guys must be so proud of like, “Oh, they’re really crushing out there. They’re doing great.” And you had a huge part in that. I think for myself, I’d love to keep helping people do the same thing what I’m doing right now and keep growing in that way.

Ashley:
And not to go back to Chad Carson again, but it was such a great episode. But he talked about that where it’s not like you’re making money to spend money, it’s about making that money so you can spend your time fulfilling your passion.
And he does a lot of education on real estate too, and he said, “If I was working a W-2 job,” Things like that, he said, “it would be much harder for me to make that time commitment to teaching others and educating them.” And there’s a bunch of other things that he’s passionate about, and he’s like, “I get to spend time doing that because of what I’ve built from real estate.”

Travis:
Exactly.

Ashley:
Yeah. Well, thank you so much for joining us today.

Travis:
Thank you. This was a dream come true, being on this podcast with you both. Thanks for inviting.

Ashley:
Oh, even better in person. It was awesome to have you here.

Travis:
Yeah. Instead of a little webcam, and like, “Can you hear me? I can hear you, but I can’t, can you hear me okay?” No, this is awesome being together.

Ashley:
Yeah. So let everyone know where they can reach out to you and find out some more information.

Travis:
On my Instagram, @travishallhomes.

Ashley:
Okay.

Tony:
Travis, do you have any other meetups happening again soon?

Travis:
Tony, we’re going to start the meetups again. So in Long Beach we’ll be having meetups hopefully once a month. Tony, hold me accountable that-

Tony:
I will.

Travis:
… we’ll do it once a month.

Tony:
Yeah.

Travis:
In August.

Tony:
All right. If they want to find that, Instagram’s the best place.

Travis:
That’s right. I’ll be posting on there.

Tony:
Awesome.

Ashley:
Okay. Thank you, Travis. Thank you everyone for watching or listening today’s podcast episode live from LA. I’m Ashley, @wealthfromrentals, and he’s Tony, @tonyjrobinson. And we will be back on Saturday with a Rookie Reply.

 

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