The Fastest Way To Build A Six Or Even… Seven Figure Real Estate EMPIRE!
There’s a ton of action in multifamily housing and apartments right now–and it’s creating a lot of exciting opportunities and business models for investors at every level.
Today’s guest, Stephanie Walter, has a proven track record of creating legacy wealth with passive real estate investing. After she retired from the insurance industry and sold her business, she became the CEO of Erbe Wealth to focus on raising capital and real estate syndication. She connects her select investors with extremely desirable investment opportunities and is an expert in tax mitigation and 1031 exchanges.
In our conversation, you’ll learn how Stephanie transitioned out of the world of insurance, found her first JV opportunities and co-syndication plans, and how to find great partnerships as you pursue deals of your own.
We also dig into some of the other projects Stephanie’s working on, including fundraising for fintech startups, what she’s doing to hedge against inflation, and what investors should be prepping for as they plan for the future.
Key Takeaways with Stephanie Walter
- The tools and metrics Stephanie uses to evaluate a potential rental market.
- Why Stephanie only invests with one partner who buys pocket listings.
- The importance of being able to convince a broker that you can close a deal.
- How Stephanie aims to structure deals and investor returns.
- Why she sold her portfolio of single family homes and her insurance agency in 2019 to go all-in on multifamily.
- Stephanie’s advice for anyone who wants to become a co-syndicator.
- Stephanie’s favorite ways to find money and get new investors into her funnels and conversions.
Stephanie Walter Tweetables
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Josh Cantwell: In this episode of AI, I’m interviewing Stephanie Walter. She’s a capital raiser, syndicator, and CEO of Erbe Wealth. After recently retiring and having sold her insurance agency after 16 years of following the principles to build her business, now, she focuses on co-syndication. Her goal is to connect her select group of investors, her tribe with investment opportunities that she’s found embedded and that are extremely desirable. And at the end of the day, she’s simply looking to help investors reach their financial goals. She’s an expert in tax mitigation and 1031 exchanges, and we’re going to talk to her about co-syndication.
Josh Cantwell: So, Stephanie, listen, welcome to Accelerated Investor. Thanks for jumping on.
Stephanie Walter: Oh, thanks so much for having me.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, looking forward to this. So, listen, I know you’ve done a lot of co-syndication, you’ve got a lot of financial services experience. That’s how I cut my teeth as an entrepreneur, right? My dad owned an employee benefits company, and I almost went to work for my dad and I decided to go out on my own and start doing my own financial planning. It taught me a lot about raising capital and dealing with investors. So, we got a lot of the same background, a lot of things that we can definitely chitchat about with the kind of trajectory of our careers. But I know you just sold your agency doing a lot of co-syndication, so I’m trying to understand, like now that you look at 2022, there’s a ton of action happening in multifamily and apartments. Help us understand what are you up to? What are you working on right now, maybe a deal that you’re working on? And what are some of your goals? And what are you forecasting for 2022?
Stephanie Walter: Wow. Yeah, right now, I’m finishing up a raise of $7 million for 160 units in Tallahassee. It’s a value-add. It’s our fourth acquisition in Tallahassee. We absolutely love Tallahassee. Just the growth there is insane, and the rent growth from 2020 to 2021 there was 18%.
Josh Cantwell: Wow.
Stephanie Walter: Granted, it’s not always going to be this way, I’m sure, but the growth in Florida certainly is driving this shortage. I also was contacted by a person in my database that owns a fintech company.
Josh Cantwell: Okay.
Stephanie Walter: And she’s launching it, really, really interesting business model, just really cool stuff. And so, we just came to our agreement this morning for me to raise for her, and I’m pretty, pretty stoked about that. I’ve never raised for anything outside of real estate before. So, this is kind of exciting for me.
Josh Cantwell: Are you allowed to talk about this fintech thing? Can you peel back the onion a little bit?
Stephanie Walter: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, the name of it is Lock Trust. It’s a banking mechanism. It’s really going to change the way that people bank. They have lots of different things, but essentially, you can basically pay with anything. It basically brings all your bank accounts together, all of your credit cards together. Any way that you can possibly pay is put together on their website. And so, you can actually do wiring, you can set up escrows. They have actually a way of banking the marijuana in states so that it’s legal and they have a cryptocurrency exchange so you can be buying and exchanging out of the crypto, and very cool company. They just need more capital to get them live, which is what they’re striving to do, but…
Josh Cantwell: How much capital are you looking at the reason for that one?
Stephanie Walter: It’s actually pretty small. It’s like $3 million.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, yeah, it’s funny. People say that’s kind of small, it’s $3 million because, yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of big deals happening out there with $10 and $20 and $50 million raises even just in multifamily, and then let alone, technology companies that are just going bananas.
Stephanie Walter: Yeah.
Josh Cantwell: Are you guys making any projections? Or how much are you really looking at the Federal Reserve and the raising of interest rates to kind of cool off the economy as you look at 2022? How much is that a talking point in your business? For us, it’s like, look, the rents keep going up because affordable housing is nonexistent, right? Like, people can’t buy a house anymore for less than 200, 300, 400 grand so their payments are $2,000 or more, including all of their impound accounts. So, if you can rent out apartments for a thousand to $1,500, that becomes all of a sudden very affordable. And so, although we know that interest rates will go up, which means cap rates will go up, and values will slowly come down or come back from the moon, come back to normal, the offsetting number is, is that rents keep going up, right? So, how much of that is a talking point inside of your organization?
Stephanie Walter: I mean, it’s huge. There’s just so much speculation about what’s going to happen. And I just try to bring my investors back to, nobody knows the future, but we do such a hard look at the markets we go into, and the ones we go into have serious housing shortages that are really predicted by many of the people that we talk to in these cities that it’ll be years, five upwards of 10 years before they’ll get caught up. So, that’s one thing if you have purchased something in a growing economy and something that the population is growing, and there truly is the housing shortage, it really comes down to supply and demand. So, that’s just a great inflation hedge, I think, because they’re just going to keep moving there and they’re just not going to be enough affordable housing like you’re saying.
Josh Cantwell: You’re right.
Stephanie Walter: So, I think it’ll be…
Josh Cantwell: Really cool, Stephanie, that you’re using to evaluate those markets. Are there any specific reports that you point to? Is it CoStar? Are there any places that our audience can go if they’re evaluating a new market?
Stephanie Walter: We go to the federal government a lot and we look at employment numbers. We always call the economic development office in the cities that we go to, to ask about what’s projected in the future there. We also run, just if you pull up, even on Wikipedia at all, and you pull up a city, it’s going to tell you where the trends are with the census. Is it planning on growing or not? So, we just like, there’s just so much that’s available through the states and through the federal government. But essentially, we’re just looking at job growth growing, population growing, and we look at diversification of an economic base.
So, we’re looking at cities that have lots of things happening there, like technology, health, government, and some places and just seeing that what is planning on coming there, I know Waco a few years was considered this type of a market, and they have like SpaceX coming and Caterpillar and all these. A lot of companies from California are moving into Waco because they can buy really large, enormous pieces of land for very cheap. So, those are things that investors can do, or they can do their due diligence on us as a team and see and trust that, that’s the type of due diligence we’re doing.
Josh Cantwell: Love it. So, your primary model now after selling your insurance agency, you have your tribe of investors and you’re kind of partnering with other sponsors and really making those deals happen and get capital into deals. Help me understand how were you able to kick that business off after making the transition out of the insurance agency to kind of select your first partners? How did you arrive at those first JV opportunities and co-syndication plans?
Stephanie Walter: Oh, yeah, that’s a great question. Basically, like with insurance, I’ve done that for 16 years, but I was always an investor in single-family and small commercial properties by myself. And then I joined RE Mentor. It’s just an educational group. And that’s kind of where I got all of my– you really have to learn about commercial real estate. It essentially gives you a master’s in commercial real estate syndication, which you have to start at the bottom and learn the whole way up. So, once I learned about the concept of syndication, that’s five years ago, I just threw myself into it because I loved it so much, did my first syndication by myself, decided I never, ever wanted to do it by myself again, ever, ever, ever, and just got connected with my partner, my first partner, essentially. And we’ve since 2019 put out nine deals. So, I haven’t really looked outside of him to raise money yet, definitely is something I’m considering in the future but just until I got…
Josh Cantwell: Is he actually doing the race for deals? Or is he the operator that you’re plunking money down with?
Stephanie Walter: He’s the operator. So, I raise the capital, he finds the deals, and that’s worked up to this point, but we’re really invested very heavily in Florida, which I think is fantastic. It was great. But I get approached by other teams that are looking for that help with the capital raise. And now, I’m more established. So, I feel more confident going out and racing for other people.
Josh Cantwell: Gotcha. That’s fantastic that you really kind of hunker down. We’ve done the same thing. With our 4,000 units, we’ve actually got three ownership groups. We’ve got about a thousand units or so that we’ve personally bought in my backyard in Cleveland. They’re heavy value-add, meaning deep unit turns. And we own or operate those with our property management companies. We actually own the construction company. And then the other 3,000 units are spread out between two different JV partnerships in similar circumstances and structure the way that you’re talking about. That’s worked well for us to be able to do our own deals and then have a couple of core partnerships.
If you were to look at another partner, and I think this is really a question for you, but I’m trying to set this up for our audience because a lot of our audience may feel like they can raise a lot of money, but they maybe haven’t done that yet or they haven’t selected a partner yet. So, what are some of the things that you looked at going into that first syndication, and then you’ve done nine of them? If you were to select another partner, what are some of the mechanics’ logistics? What are some of the questions, the boxes that you have to check to make that comfortable, to make that partnership feel like it’s going to go?
Stephanie Walter: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think, definitely, it’s important to see their track record to learn about them personally and professionally, what they’ve done, kind of what their philosophy is on what they’re looking to invest in, and if that really meets what I’m looking to invest in and know about. And if honestly, their underwriting is hugely important for us, like, I mean, I remember starting in this industry and being like, oh, we can make this work, we can make this work, it’s so desperate to get into your first deal, but when now, we’ve got nine deals under our belt, you can see things that pop up and why that conservative underwriting is so important because my investors, they’re like my clients, and I want them to be happy with the end results, and getting into something where someone overpromises and underdelivers would be pretty devastating.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, I think we’re all a little spoiled, like it’s been pretty hard to underdeliver lately.
Stephanie Walter: Yeah, that’s it.
Josh Cantwell: So, the question really becomes as we see some more volatility, whether it’s energy in Ukraine, whether it’s war with Russia, whether it’s rising interest rates and rising federal funds rates, which we know is going to happen, hyperinflation, but at the same time, knowing that rents are probably going to continue to go up because there’s this huge shortage of housing supply, this massive foreclosure crisis that everybody thought was going to happen when COVID hit has never materialized. And it’s not going to materialize partially because house values keep going up. So, there’s no reason to foreclose if you can sell your home or refinance out of it. So, those are all different moving parts that we’ve faced over the last year or two that we’re going to face. We’re definitely going to face more challenges.
So, I think if you look at an operator now, Stephanie, from your experience, last five years and nine syndications, what kind of– fail-safes, I guess, is the word, what kind of balance sheet, what kind of extra horsepower to somebody going to have to have to successfully negotiate and navigate these next coming years? Because I would submit, it’s not going to be as easy as we’ve had at the last five years.
Stephanie Walter: Right.
Josh Cantwell: That’s been fairly easy for us, even when a deal didn’t pencil out or work out exactly as planned. It’s still going to be worth more because cap rates keep coming down. It’s probably not going to happen over the next two years.
Stephanie Walter: Right, exactly. So, I mean, for us, anyways, my partner, he only buys from pocket listings. So, he was a commercial broker for 35 years in Florida, so he has a lot of established relationships. And so, buying, the way he buys is he makes money on the buy, actually, like one that we bought in September of this last year, it was brand new construction. It was developer that just want to sell it and get out, but what happened is our contract said that we wouldn’t purchase it until we had the certificates of occupancy. Well, who knew, but that got delayed. So, this developer, probably at the end of the day, wasn’t thrilled because by the time it came time for us to close property itself have probably gone up another million dollars. And so, that’s great for us and for our investors but not great for him. But yeah, you have to be creative and find a property that you’re getting a good deal on.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, absolutely, and not be in the bidding process or try to avoid it as much as possible. An offer we made this past Monday for $15 million, and we know we bought a lot of pocket listings last year in the last five years, and that one is on the market and going through the process, and it’s going to get bid up, I know it is, and wants to just see where we tap out. And if we tap out on where the hype is better, then we’re going to win it. If we tap out early, then we’re not, but those pocket listings are huge. In order to get those, you have to just have enormous amount of capital to be able to execute. You have to be able to talk a great game and be able to convince the broker that you can close, put up nonrefundable earnest money up front, hard earnest money so they know that they can take it off the market and be confident that you’re going to close.
So, I love this strategy with your partner just as I’m going to plant my flag in the ground and say, I’m not going to buy it unless it’s pocket and then go to brokers and say, we don’t buy anything unless it’s a pocket. I think that I’m going to steal that. That’s a great idea. We don’t quite say that, but we prefer those. So, we might as well just say it and tell the brokers we only buy pockets.
Stephanie Walter: That’s it.
Josh Cantwell: I love it. That’s a great strategy. Thanks for sharing that.
Stephanie Walter: Sure.
Josh Cantwell: So, Stephanie, help me understand the structure. So, when you do buy something in Tallahassee or in Florida, what kind of things are you looking for? And if somebody is an investor with you, like, is it a traditional 70/30 LP/GP equity split? And what kind of hold times? Help us understand a little bit more about the structure.
Stephanie Walter: Yeah, our structures are usually 65/35, actually, and depending on what they invest, they’ll get 7% or 8% preferred return, b But what our goal has been for our properties is their value-add. Like I said, this is our fourth deal in Tallahassee so we have everything in place, the construction companies. So, we do the micro renovations. We found this one again off market. So, it was being run actually by a team in Canada that did a piss-poor job managing it. And so, there’s just an enormous value to just straightening up the organization, getting the rents up to market because like I said, Tallahassee is increasing 18% a year. And so, they’re not where they need to be for that. So, we’ve done nine deals, and every deal that we’ve done has returned our investors over 20% annualized return a year. Our goal is always we tell the people that we want to hold between three and five years and our goal is to double the money in that period of time.
Josh Cantwell: Oh, I love it. That’s great. That’s a great box to operate in. And a pitch, I think, that investors can really buy into, obviously, based on your track record, they have bought into it at a massive level. That’s fantastic. So, Stephanie, let’s take a step back then to your transition again, five years ago. When I introduced you, we talked a little bit about your philosophy of having to teach people to unlearn what they’ve learned in a lot of people because really, the education system is so outdated, it’s so globally outdated, and it teaches people to become employees, not owners, not entrepreneurs, not investors, but the whole system, from grade school to high school to college and beyond, is all about creating employees and employee mentality. And one of the things I loved about what I read in your bio and getting to know you is your philosophy of how you built the business and how you’re teaching some of these investors and people around your circles to unlearn what they’ve learned. What do you mean by that? And how do you teach them to do that?
Stephanie Walter: Well, I mean, I’ve always been an entrepreneur. My dad that’s who my company is named after is the reason why, but I’ve always had an entrepreneur mindset. But my investment mindset was, even though I had my Series 6 when I was an insurance agent, I never understood really. Even with all the training you get and everything, it’s so like, we don’t know, nobody really knows. And so, because of that, I was like, you know, this is not where I want to put my money. I want to put it, like I didn’t have a great deal of education, so I just invested in single-family homes. And I was just going to buy them and hold them for 30 years and then retire that way.
So, then, when I started raising money, I met wealthy people and I noticed that they were– and of course, I’ve done a lot of reading and stuff like that. And what I’ve noticed is that cash flow is everything. Cash flow is everything. And I was like very concerned with my net worth. And ooh, look at my spreadsheet, look at how much money I have on paper here, but I have a couple of hundred dollars coming in in cash flow. So, to see the wealthy people, they use their money for cash flow primarily and solely. And if they’re very savvy, they’re using the same money in different places at the same time.
So, it took a couple of years, but in 2019, I decided to start selling my properties one by one. I did that. I’ve invested in every syndication I’ve done personally, and that cash flow has allowed me to sell my agency and retire. So, exactly what you’re saying is that these people, they don’t want to, but they’ve had no example of how to do it any differently. And so, to have that, I feel like it, and this isn’t my terminology, but they have the golden handcuffs, they have this 401(k). And so, then they’re like stuck in this business until they’re ready to retire, not knowing that if they could transition some of that money into cash flowing assets, that they’re not handcuffed to their job and they would have freedom to leave and do something else or maybe continue working in that job but at least have the freedom.
And so, I try to get that message out a lot. It’s very new to a lot of people, and honestly, the crowdfunding space is pretty new. Since 2012, it’s really when we as syndicators could start talking to people who we weren’t having a prior relationship with. I could talk to you on a podcast and reach a lot of people, but it is still a pretty new space. But that type of syndicated investing has been around forever, and I always tell people it’s largely been used by insurance companies, institutional funding like pension funds and the wealthy. And the reason that is, is because they make money and pretty great returns in a pretty low risk asset class.
Josh Cantwell: Absolutely. That’s fantastic stuff. So, what is the primary method for you? Or what would you tell someone if they were looking to be a co-syndicator like you are, looking to partner with somebody, and instead of being in the GP and be on the operations side or the CapEx side or the property management side, but be in the GP and be more on the cap raise investor side, let’s see where somebody has more of a passion for the same thing that you’re doing, what are some of the things that it takes to be successful to do that? Is it creating a funnel? Is it marketing? Do you just have to know financial terminology? What are some of maybe three or four things that you’ve done successfully that you think it takes to be successful doing what you’re doing?
Stephanie Walter: I think there needs to be a lot more training in this space because I came up with RE Mentor and I love them dearly, but they always said find the deal, the money will come. And that’s there’s nothing that’s further…
Josh Cantwell: I know he says that.
Stephanie Walter: And there’s nothing that’s further from the truth. So, I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way, but I think that I’m willing to throw myself out there. I remember I was brought out to a group of men to talk to solve my first deal. And wow, that was trial by fire. But the thing is that they’ve become more and more comfortable with it, you become more and more comfortable with the terminology and kind of what people are wanting to hear. But really, just educating people goes so far because there is so much money out there. I know that people are like, oh, it’s so hard to raise money and stuff like that. And I know that, I thought that too.
But there are a lot of people that have a lot of money out there, they have them in their 401(k)’s, and you start talking to people about having cash, passive income, and then tax benefits. It’s a wonderful investment. I couldn’t talk more about someone getting involved in the capital raising side because what I love about it so much is that, before I was looking frantically like for a deal, I’m going to find this deal talking to all those brokers that I hated and just didn’t like it. But this way, people like this woman in this fintech company or my partner brings me a deal and says, oh, I negotiated it. These numbers are kind of amazing. What do you think? It’s certainly better and nicer to be brought in that way after someone has gone through hundreds of deals that brings you the one they have under contract, and they’re ready to go with it. It’s just you insure yourself, you’re going to get involved in the best deals that way. That’s just my philosophy.
Josh Cantwell: I love it. I love it. I do think that if you find the deal, money will follow with a small asterisk, I think, talking with investors about a previous deal, right? This is the deal. This is the actual structure. This is the actual return, the pref return, the amount of equity, the refi proceeds, the sale, even a hypothetical deal and warming up that audience, right? Let’s say it’s a podcast attendee who then reaches out on a DM or hops into a website, you can’t just then find a deal and throw it to them and say, “Are you interested?” You can do that using a 506(c). You could do that general solicitation, but generally, the relationship is really, really meaningful.
So, in order to get ahead of it, the one previous step is jump on the phone with that person, get to know who they are, spend a little time with them on Zoom, show them some previous deals and say, look, if I found something like this, is this something that you would be interested in? Or if I found something like this, do you know anybody who would be interested in a deal like this? And they’ll typically say, well, hey, what about me? Yeah, I’m interested. So, you’re not even presenting the opportunity to invest. I love to tell people like this is a past deal. You can’t invest in this one. Like, I couldn’t take your money if I wanted to. Okay, it’s a past deal, it’s already closed.
But if I found something like this, do you know anybody else that might be interested in something like this? And they’re like, well, hey, man, what about me? They’ve just pre-sold themselves into your next syndication. And if you just bring them another deal that looks like the one you just showed them, they already have convinced themselves psychologically that they want to get in, right? So, now, it’s just a matter of making sure the future deal looks a lot like the one you showed them that was a past deal or a hypothetical deal, and they’re like, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Then there’s no begging for money, there’s no sense of urgency on that first interaction.
And now, you’ve taken and moved all the leverage in your direction because now, when you have a new deal and let’s see you’re raising four million bucks, you’re going to do 40 spots at $100 thousand each and you’ve got a whole bunch of investors warmed up. Now, you have this sense of scarcity working in your favor. Hey, we’ve got 150 investors. I’ve got 80 investors. I’ve only got spots for 40 of you, first person to go make a reservation gets in. Now, all of the leverage is on your side. So, imagine, Stephanie, you probably use a lot of those same psychological triggers the way you do it.
Stephanie Walter: Absolutely. Absolutely. There is a bit of psychology in it. It’s not like to be trickery or anything to people, but it is the truth that there is a scarcity when you get in and you can really understand people’s reasons for wanting the money because some people want cash flow, some people want tax benefit, some people want the appreciation to really understand what they’re wanting, and you can have that conversation and really connect with them. You’ve got them. As soon as there’s a deal, they’re on board. So, yeah, that’s a great way.
Josh Cantwell: It’s kind of funny. Like, it’s tough with this audience, right? My audience knows me pretty well. So, some of them are limited partners, that’s all they want to do. So, it’s probably weird for them to hear me teach them the psychology about how we get them to invest, so probably thinking like, oh, that totally worked on me, right? So, I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I’m just trying to be as open and transparent as possible with my group and some of those people that are new syndicators or owner/operators looking to raise more money, it gives them some real tools on how to do the raise. And then other people who are limited partners, I hope they’re not taking offense to it. They’re typically not. They’re kind of like, wow, that’s exactly what Josh did to me, and it freaking worked.
Stephanie Walter: They’re happy they’re in the deal.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, and that’s all that matters, right? Everyone’s happy, you’re above board. You’re doing things the right way. And I laugh with my group about– I’ve got one of my investors, name is Matt. I’m like, Matt, that totally worked on you. He’s like, I know, it works. No, and he’s a good friend of mine now, so it’s a good sign. Stephanie, let me just ask you about advice, right? So, if we were to go back five years ago and you were starting over after having five years of experience and nine syndications under your belt and a big portfolio in Florida, is there anything you do different? Is there anything you’d go back and tell yourself five years ago, like do it this way or do it differently so you could go bigger, faster, stronger? What kind of advice would you kick back to our audience or back to your younger former self?
Stephanie Walter: I mean, for sure in that five-year period, I think, well, yeah, you’d have bypassed all the things that you learned from, which were mistakes, don’t buy lists of investors. There’s a lot of like the content. That was probably the biggest thing for me. That was like, whoa, was like, you need content, you need a lot of content. And to be honest, I still kind of struggle with getting enough content out there. I’m going to be starting a podcast myself in the next month. And that’s a big reason why is that you kind of learn where your investors are starting to come from and then you just want to recreate that investor again and again. And so, I’ve gotten more laser focused on where I’m willing to put my time and my money.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, it’s amazing, really, when you put out good, valuable information, good valuable content. And a lot of the content that’s out there has been mentioned or said by many different people, but what matters is, is what do you believe? What do we believe? Like, what’s your spin on it? Like, what’s your take on it? So, a lot of guys do in syndication. So, what is Stephanie’s take versus Josh’s take? And I think this is the advice back to our audiences, you build your portfolio. People will buy into you. The information doesn’t have to be brand new. It’s not like you have to invent something, like apartment syndication has been around for a long time. Stephanie and I didn’t reinvent apartment syndications, but it’s just how we do it. And then people will buy in to your message and to you. That’s really putting your personal spin on it is my advice is just be okay with being you and make sure you have some energy, make sure you’re not boring, but be yourself, and people will buy in to that, right? And they’ll be like, hey, I know there’s 2,700 other syndicators out there, but I like you, Stephanie, I like you, Josh. I want to do it with you, right? That’s really what this comes down to at the end of the day.
So, Stephanie, let’s wrap up here and finish with our final five, couple of quick questions. I’m always curious to hear these from people operating all over the country. So, Stephanie, we talk a lot about syndication. So, what is your favorite way to find money and get new investors kind of into your funnel or into your conversations?
Stephanie Walter: People that have heard me. So, as a guest on a podcast, that is my number one thing I tell people is that– because they hear you, and it’s exactly what you’re saying, I can’t please everyone out there, you can’t please everyone out there. We just want to please our favorite investors and create them again and again. And the only way you can do that is by being yourself. And I believe like audio and having conversations is a way that a lot of people can get that information from you. So, when people call me after hearing me on a podcast, they’re ready, they’re ready to invest. There really isn’t anything to talk about. And so, if you can recreate that where people get to know authentically you and like you, then they’re usually ready to invest.
Josh Cantwell: I love it. I would ask you your favorite way to find deals, but I think and I already know the answer is your partner and pocket listings only.
Stephanie Walter: Yes.
Josh Cantwell: I love that.
Stephanie Walter: And I like to be out of the process altogether because I don’t like any of that.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, you got to have your specialty, right? The good thing about apartments and commercials is the pie is big enough where everybody can have a very specific role, and you’ll get plenty at the end. You’re splitting up such a bigger pie that everybody can still make a lot of money, even if they only own 5% or 10% or 35% or 50% of the deal. It’s not like resi. So, that’s great. Stephanie, you mentioned your dad, your company is named after your dad. Has he been the one that’s had the biggest impact on your financial life and your business career? Or who do you think has been…
Stephanie Walter: Yeah, I mean, he passed away 16 years ago, so he hasn’t seen any of this, which kills me. But yes, having the thoughts in my head of being an entrepreneur and doing it yourself and all that stuff, figuring it out. Just keep working through it, you’ll figure it out. That’s been huge. But I’ve honestly had other good mentors as well. And just like philosophy, I’ve gained from books like Killing Sacred Cows. I love that book. And I actually talked to an investor the other day. She worked with Ted Turner, and it’s a book he told her to read. And I was like, cool. Cool, I’m right on– we’re like this with Ted Turner.
Josh Cantwell: Love it. I was going to ask you some of the advice that you’ve gotten or favorite books, so there you go. I’ve heard of that book before. I have not read it yet. So, Killing Sacred Cows, I’m going to jump on that. Stephanie, you are kind of deep in your business as an entrepreneur. We both know that you can get into the muck very quickly, just kind of in the dirt. It’s very important to get away from the business and think, especially in these kind of weird economic times that we’re in. What do you do and how do you get away from the day-to-day in order to think about the future and think about the direction that your entrepreneurial journey is going? Is there a place you go to think? Or how do you get away from it all to make sure that you stand on track?
Stephanie Walter: That is something honestly, I struggle with because for– I don’t know, I love to work. I found this out because I retired from my insurance agency. I sold it in July of last year and I was like, great, I’m going to have all this free time. I could do all this stuff. And yet, I’m here at eight o’clock in the morning. I love to have that quiet time because I don’t work out of my house. I have an office and I really like to read what’s going on in the world. Also, what successful people are doing, I’m always interested in that stuff because I find that things definitely align, but yeah, I mean, to get out in a way. I mean, last year, I took my first vacation that was two weeks since 2006 with my husband to Alaska. So, my goal is to do that once a year. But yeah, I do need to work on that, something I’m working on, but I love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work.
Josh Cantwell: Gotcha. Love it. Last question, what was your favorite part about your trip to Alaska?
Stephanie Walter: Oh, seeing my husband catch a 52-pound halibut and…
Josh Cantwell: Wow. That’s a big fish.
Stephanie Walter: There’s been joy in his face. I mean, the whole trip was wonderful. But yeah, he had never caught a fish that big and he was giddy.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, that is right. The happiness of other people often is what makes us most happy, certainly true for a lot of entrepreneurs that I know. Well, listen, guys, Stephanie Walter’s been our guest today. You can find her business at ErbeWealth.com. So, Stephanie, tell us about that. Tell us what people will find when they go there and how can people connect with you after this interview is over.
Stephanie Walter: Yeah, just going to my website is the best way. It’s www.ErbeWealth.com. And I am working on changing this, so hopefully, in five weeks, there’ll be a great deal of new information on there. But yeah, I’m in a content creation space right now, so I’m just trying to create just a great deal of teaching investors, teaching syndicators how to raise money, teaching about deals that we’ve had. So, yeah, it’s a great space to be.
Josh Cantwell: Love it, love it. Stephanie, listen, I had a blast learning more about you and your syndication style, your investing style today. Thank you so much for joining me on Accelerated Investor.
Stephanie Walter: Thank you for having me. It was awesome.
Josh Cantwell: So, guys, listen, I hope you enjoyed that episode. Some of my takeaways in interviewing Stephanie, number one was again the pocket-only opportunity. She only invests with this one partner who only buys properties that are pocket listings. It’s all about convincing the broker that you can close. Big takeaway, I love that one. I love the book recommendation about the sacred cows. I’m definitely going to download that in audible and listen to that. Man, I’m just burning through books lately. I love that. And also, Stephanie teaching people how to unlearn the traditional investing styles of throw the money in your 401(k), slave and save, unbelievable.
And I think my other big takeaway from interviewing Stephanie that we didn’t even talk about is, look, here’s a woman who’s successful, builds an insurance agency, sells it for a big profit, and does it include retire and doesn’t? And I think that’s actually very normal. I think that’s very, very truthful. It’s very normal for people who have had success like I have, like other guests that we have on the show have had, where, look, it’s all continued to be about fulfillment, it’s all going to continue to be about contribution growth, right?
And so, this fake narrative of I’m going to build a business, I’m going to sell it, I’m going to be worth millions or billions of dollars, I’m going to retire to an island, I’m going to buy an island in the Caribbean, that’s total bullshit. Nobody does that. And even if they do, it gets boring real quick, and they come back because we’re human and want to contribute. So, if you just tell yourself now, like, look, life is not about slave and save, retire and stop, life is about fulfillment. It’s about the journey, it’s about contribution, it’s about feeling complete and happy. And you may build a big portfolio, sell it, and then what’s next? Okay, what’s next? Most of the gray hairs, I got a lot of gray hair for a 45-year-old, but a lot of the gray hairs that I know, they’re not slowing down, they’re not stopping. They want to continue to feel fulfilled and contribute. So, just make that part of your narrative for your life.
Alright, listen, if you want more information as well about me, take a look at our portfolio, invest with us passively, check out our podcast, go to FreelandVentures.com. Don’t forget to leave us a review before you leave this interview. We’ll see you next time. Take care.