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Scaling A Multifamily Portfolio With Liz Faircloth – Real Estate For Women

REW 68 | Multifamily Portfolio


Investing in real estate is a learning process. From buying your first property to scaling a multifamily portfolio, investors learn many lessons in between. In this episode, Moneeka Sawyer sits down for a discussion with Liz Faircloth, a social worker, entrepreneur, co-founder of The DeRosa Group, and co-founder of The Real Estate Investher community. Liz shares how she got into real estate investing and talks about what she learned about investing in many types of real estate. She shares why they settled on multifamily and what you need to do to become successful in the real estate game. Tune in to learn more on what it takes for real estate investing success.

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Scaling A Multifamily Portfolio With Liz Faircloth – Real Estate For Women

Real Estate Investing For Women

I am so excited to welcome to the show, Liz Faircloth. Liz Faircloth co-founded the DeRosa Group in 2005 with her husband, Matt. The DeRosa Group based in Trenton, New Jersey is an owner of commercial and residential property with a mission to transform lives through real estate. DeRosa has vast experience in bringing properties to their highest and best value, which includes repositioning single-family homes, multifamily apartment buildings, mixed-use retail and office space. The company controls close to 1,000 units of residential and commercial assets throughout the East Coast.

Liz is the Co-founder of The Real Estate InvestHER Community, a platform to empower women to live a financially free and balanced life through over 25 Meetups across the US and Canada, and an online community and membership that offers accountability and mentorship for women to take their businesses to the next level. She is the co-host of The Real Estate Investher Show, which I will be on too. They published their first book, The Only Woman in the Room: Knowledge and Inspiration from 20 Successful Real Estate Women Investors.

Liz has been interviewed for many articles and top-rated podcasts, including mine. Including being a two-time guest on the top-rated BiggerPockets Podcast and the Best Ever Show. On the personal side, Liz is an avid runner, has completed several triathlons and marathons, has two adorable children and is a New York Mets fan. Hello there, Liz.

Thank you so much for having me.

You and Andresa do so much cool stuff with the InvestHER Community. I love what you’re doing together but I haven’t really gotten to chat with you about what you’re doing. Liz, why don’t you give us a high-level version of your story of how you got interested in real estate and what your path has been?

REW 68 | Multifamily Portfolio

The Only Woman in the Room: Knowledge and Inspiration from 20 Women Real Estate Investors

It wasn’t a linear path. At the time, my now husband and I had started dating. Before we started dating, I was in graduate school for Social Work. I got my Master’s in Social Work. I want to open my own practice and help people. That’s been always my passion. During that time, my brother-in-law who was the only entrepreneur I ever met, grew up in a great family but middle-class family. My dad was a teacher. I was never introduced to entrepreneurs or investors, that just wasn’t in my sphere of any context growing up. Hard work ethic was there, but certainly the business piece of it, I was not familiar with or didn’t have a lot of exposure to.

Until I met my brother-in-law, who was an entrepreneur, started a business and handed me Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I’m 23 at the time and he’s like, “You have to read this.” I’m like, “All right.” I like personal growth books. I started in college reading different books and I always enjoyed them. I like learning and growing. Long story short, I read that it. My eyes were opened to this idea of passive income. I honestly never heard of that before. It’s like, “I can have money working for me, not me working for money.” It was a whole new, open-my-eye concept, which I know a lot of people have said.

What got us involved was

I then started dating my now husband. We lived about two hours from each other. Every weekend, we go to all the REIA meetings and start learning. We’re in our twenties, didn’t know anything. We didn’t have any money to invest, but we said, “Let’s give this a go.” We started taking courses. This is before Facebook Marketplace. This is literally open the newspaper, go to ads and call tired landlords. That was the million-dollar tip we got at one of the events. That’s what we did every weekend, literally knocking on doors, right outside of Philadelphia, where my husband lived and when I visited him.

One day, we got someone to say, “That’s interesting. Let me think about that.” Then we called them back and struck up a deal. A year into us taking courses and door knocking and cold calling and bootstrap whatever we could do, we struck up a deal and bought our first property. It was a duplex about $150,000. We learned everything on that property. We’d go with the people. When you buy a property, the tenants that are there may not be your tenants ongoing because there’re a new sheriff in town. The whole multifamily opened our eyes. There are only multis in this neighborhood. It wasn’t like we chose a duplex. It just so happened because it was like older homes right outside of Philadelphia. There were only duplexes and small multis. We got our start there and then we moved to New Jersey and then started our business focused on New Jersey and buying properties there. We sold that property and did 1031 into a four-unit, then that started our trajectory in New Jersey.

Over the fifteen years I’ve been doing this, we had lots of twists and turns. I wish we just focused on multi but we didn’t. We got involved a lot of different things early on. People would get distracted as we usually do. We were probably a little naïve and young. We flipped houses, we got into tax liens, we bought a commercial building, we bought raw land. Every random thing you could possibly think of, we probably have done it, until we doubled down on multifamily. Our business now is focused on multifamily. We went from a 2 duplex to a 10-unit. We grew very steadily. We didn’t go from a 2 to a 200-unit. We did, but over time.

Now, we focus on larger multis and we’re starting a fund where we’re actually investing with other operators. We’re diversifying a little bit outside of multi but more like from a funding perspective. I’m involved in that, not day-to-day, but more from like a strategic level and helping build our team out. It’s exciting to be able to invest in different sectors of real estate, not just multifamily. We do love multifamily. We have a letter of intent on a property in the Southeast, which is where we are focused on now.

Tell me a little bit more about this fund. Let’s dive a little deeper in that.

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It’s something that we’ve talked about over the year and then COVID obviously happened. COVID happened, the pandemic and everything. You’re in California, I’m in Pennsylvania. We’re in the thick of shut downs. I know things are opening up, which is wonderful and people are getting along. All the conversations we had were like, “How’s this going to affect our buildings?” I have to say with our multifamily, any loan that came out, we took advantage of. We didn’t know how it was going to affect. We didn’t know who’s going to be able to pay. We didn’t know what’s going to happen with tenants and everything like that. Our buildings, knock on wood, the ones that were doing well are stable and have thrived during COVID.

We had a building in North Carolina that was 40% occupied. It was literally a turnaround building. It was 200 units. We got it up to 90% during COVID. Some of these buildings thrived. Other buildings that were having some issues prior to COVID continued to have some issues. While that was a stable sector for us, we’re all in on that sector. My husband and I talked a lot about as we grow our businesses, what do we want to do? We want to diversify and the importance of that, and what does that look like? The fund is an opportunity. We’ve always focused on raising money and then putting it specifically into a building, into a project.

With regards to the fund, we talk to people all the time. People are like, “This sounds like a great opportunity to pass an investor.” Then you’re like, “I don’t have a building. I don’t have anything under contract right now.” We refer them. We know a lot of people we like and respect in the business. We have no problem with that. There are a lot of good syndicators out there. We wanted to have another flavor of ice cream, if you will.

The fund will obviously be an ongoing rolling fund, and it will give investors what we’re going to actually invest in are all things that we know, and that we’ve vetted it. We’re not going to start investing in a business that we have no idea because that’s a whole other level. It’s like mitigating risk. We want to mitigate your risks. You want to make sure you’re mitigating risk for yourself, but most importantly, your investors. Hard money loans, that will be one. We’re going to start to work with maybe the hard money operators that we like and respect that we know do good business. We’re not the hard money loan lenders. They are, and we’re going to do that. Multifamily will be a piece of it. If we have a project that comes up, we’re going to almost invest in our own projects and that will be a piece of it.

Those are the two main pieces. I want to say even like self-storage and those operators, that might be another sector. They’re related to investing in real estate on some level, but it will be in a way that we are not the sole operators of everything. As we evolve, you don’t want to do everything yourself. You want to be able to do what do you do well. Once you figure that out, you have to focus on that. That’s what that looks like. We’re building out a team and that’s been in the making for some time, but that’s the goal.

I’m fascinated by that idea because I feel like, for me too, there’s something that I do really well. I do executive homes in the Silicon Valley. I’ve got my entire systems. It’s all built out. It runs itself. I don’t worry too much about it. I was telling you before that I’m taking all of my May off for my birth month because that’s where my birthday is. We’re traveling to Hawaii and I’m going to a spa in Palm Springs with my sister. We had our vaccinations, we’re all taken care of, we’re doing our tests, everything’s good. We’ve decided that it’s time to celebrate. That lifestyle is fantastic. I’m not particularly interested in working significantly more. I do get boards, we have construction projects, we have some other stuff going on so that my entrepreneurial mind doesn’t slow down or get bored.

REW 68 | Multifamily Portfolio

Multifamily Portfolio: What commercial brokers care about is if you’ve closed deals, they do not want to work with people who are going to get to the finish line and not be able to pull the money together because they want their commission.


What is happening is I found several different syndicators doing different things. I’ve invested in storage, multifamily and a variety of different things. I often wondered because each time that I invest, and I don’t know how this is going to work for you guys, but every single time I invest, it’s a minimum of $100,000. That’s great for us because we have that money, we’re looking to retire, we’re moving that way, but not everybody who’s reading this has access to $100,000 for this and $100,000 for that. They want to be able to diversify without spending that much money. What does that fund look like for you? Is there going to be a minimum investment? Have you worked that out?

I think we’re still working that out. One of the key team members that we knew that we needed, it’s not how but who. You can start to build out different businesses, you can’t know everything. I don’t want to know everything quite honestly, that just hurts my brain a little bit to know everything. We’re women, we want to know everything. Anyway, one of the people that is a key principle in this endeavor is a fund manager from Wall Street who has run funds. As we’ve talked to him, I think the minimums are going to, I’m not sure exactly. I will say though, one organization we’ve started working with is called Republic. Basically, what they do is they in essence have a similar type of approach, in that people can invest $10,000, even down to $1,000. Don’t quote me on that, but I’m not familiar.

What’s fascinating though for our last indication was a 336-unit apartment building. Our minimum was $50,000 on that project. Not everyone has that but they want to invest in real estate. We found this company and what they’re doing is they’re the investor in that project, but they’re the ones going out to the accredited investors to then say okay to all pooling all this money together. Then they are the investor in that project with us. They’re all pooled in this together in this company called Republic, then Republic is ultimately the investor, if that makes sense.

It was cool because that was the first time we had ever done that. If you think about it, we have a 336-unit apartment complex. We had close to 80 investors. It’s a lot of people, even with a minimum of $50,000. We had some people who put $500,000 and some people put $100,000, any amount. There’s a lot of money. I’m the cheapest person, I’d be putting $1,000 at anything. That’s me. I know, I get it. We were really pleased to see that. It’s a neat approach. I think that’s the future to be honest because I love that concept and I was really intrigued by it. As we do other deals, we’re going to be working with them. I’m not sure the relationship exactly how that’s going to play out in the fund, but that was just a neat example for our last indication that gave everyone the opportunity.

Are they more of crowdfunders or are they syndicators? Do you have any idea on their structure?

I’m not too sure which level they are. I just heard about it conceptually and was intrigued. I know that they’ve been around and they’re not just at the start of their company. There are a lot of different pieces around it to ensure how you do it. Some funds are accredited, not accredited, and all that plays as well. There’s a lot of legal stuff, a lot of money to see attorneys and all that stuff. Because it’s a project, you can’t solicit. It’s illegal to do that. There are other projects from friends and family. I know that with this particular project it’s because we only accepted accredited. It’s a neat approach and I’m happy to get more info.

Don't get distracted, focus on a niche and go all in on one thing. Share on X

Let’s put our heads together. I’d love to hear a little bit more about that. I’m always looking for ways when I get phone calls from my ladies, when they say, “I’ve only got this much.” What can we do with that to benefit them in the biggest way? That would be amazing. Another topic that I’m getting a lot from my ladies is this idea of out-of-state investing. Especially here in California, there are a lot of markets where people feel like, “I can’t really invest in my backyard,” and they’re scared to go out-of-state. I know that you do a lot of multifamily out-of-state, so let’s talk a little bit about that, your perspective and how to look for projects and stuff like that.

For our first seven years, we invested locally. We had a rule where we don’t invest more than 30 minutes away. We did a team. We did a leasing agent. We had our bookkeeper who did all the accounting. We have a tenant relations person. We had a maintenance person. We had four people on our staff besides me and my husband, helping us manage our local properties. We bought a property in Philadelphia which was an eighteen-unit and that was 35 minutes, so we went, “We could still do it.” Then the market shifted. I’m in the Northeast, and New Jersey is not the most favorable state on taxes in this country. Even in Philadelphia, the projects that we were looking at were getting outbid, it was getting more expensive. We raise money, we work with investors. The returns are important to ensure that we’re going to get into the right projects. We’re not just parking millions of dollars from a relative.

We’re constantly looking at how we’re going to get into the right area for our investing goals and our investors. A broker had brought the same broker and that’s the first thing I’d say as a good tip is start building relationships with commercial brokers. Sometimes it’s tough, especially now. Think about a hot market, everyone’s calling commercial brokers saying, “I invest in multifamily, do you have anything for me?” “Yeah, you and 90 million other people.” You’ve got to differentiate, keep that in mind too.

We had closed that eighteen-unit with the same broker who called us about a property in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour and a half from where we were living at the time. He said, “Are you interested?” We’re like, “Cool, like an hour and a half. We’re not going to send our leasing agent there. We’re not sending our maintenance person there. We need to look into property management companies.”

After vetting the deal, and that’s a great story that ended up itself. The first domino always is a good property management company. You’re going to need that. Some people successfully invest in properties and they self-manage the properties. I’ve heard of it. I know a lot of women who do it successfully. We knew at a 49-unit, that wasn’t going to be our best strategy. We knew it was going to be important to have a good and local property management company. Why I say that’s a great person to have on your team? Say you’re sourcing an area in Alabama or wherever you’re sourcing deals. Before even looking for a property, start getting to know the property management companies there because that’s going to follow. If you cannot find a property management company in a geographical area, that might be a sign for a lot of reasons that something is off.

Even with Airbnb, which is very hot, vacation rentals and luxury vacation rentals, whatever the people are interested in. If it’s a hot area, there are people managing in that hot area, and that’s a great source and a great team member to start to talk to. Number one, they know the area. What streets are good? Which streets aren’t good? What areas are up and coming? What areas are too hot and expensive? Because we know that’s the case. We’ll wait in an exuberant way now. Everywhere is like, “Hold on, what do you want?”

REW 68 | Multifamily Portfolio

Multifamily Portfolio: The idea of the diversity of jobs is even more important than job growth, they’re both important.


I called up my way to Target. You’re a real estate investor, you never turn it off. I saw a sign that said ‘For Sale’ and it had a handwritten phone number. I’m like, “That’s a good sign.” Great area, Bucks County, where I live and I’m like, “That’s an interesting area.” I texted the person, guy, gal, I don’t know who it is. I said, “How much is the lot and what’s the size? Is it with sewer?” all the things you ask. We’ve done a bit of new construction a lot of times but we could probably pull it off. “$250,000.” I don’t even know if you’d get $500,000 for the property. That’s just for the lot. People are nutty with their prices right now.

Going back to out-of-state, I think property management companies are helpful to have on your team as an initial team member. What commercial brokers care about is if you’ve closed deals. They do not want to work with people who are going to get to the finish line and not be able to pull the money together because they want their commission. That’s what they care about. Beyond everything else you want to talk about with them, they care about if you’ve closed with them or with anyone. If you or someone on your core team has closed deals that you’re looking for. If you’re looking at a 100-unit, you better have someone that you’re bringing to the table that’s like, “This is the kind of team we have, the kind of team we’ve done and this is what we’ve closed.” That is what they’re thinking right now when you call them.

This broker brought us this project and we started to talk to property management companies in the area and vet the area. What really helped, and I always say this, if you have somebody in your family or in your network who lives in the area is really helpful. They don’t need to have a degree in real estate. They don’t have to have ten years in investing. If you have some boots on the ground and feet on the street, people that aren’t just property management because remember, property management company is a vendor.

We always like to offer our property manager company’s potential ownership in the building. Every time we buy a building, we say, “We’re syndicating this, would you like to own part of it as well?” It’s not the best sign if they’re like, “No.” Even if they put $25,000, maybe they think that’s like chump change. Most of all the property management companies we’ve worked with have invested in our deals and that’s a good sign as skin in the game, so to speak.

I would say the second thing is to start to look at, “Is this an up-and-coming area? Do I know anyone in my network that can help me? Is there a reason to go there? Do I want to go there?” If you’re going to invest in an area, those are questions to ask, “If I have to now get on a plane, is that on the way to my aunt or my parents? Is this an area that my kid can go to college for the next four years?” Make it make sense. Versus an area that literally you know no one. That can work but if you can blend a few things in there and it is an up-and-coming area, you’re going to want somebody that’s 10, 15 minutes from the property, whether it’s a realtor, whether you have to pay them hourly. If you can’t get there, someone needs to get there because fires happen, things happen.

We have a cousin in this area, Lancaster. When we’re looking at it, we’re like, “What do you think?” He’s an investor, which was even better. He was able to be our boots on the ground. He’s part of our general partnership. We had a fire there years ago. We want to make sure everyone’s okay. We also want to see what’s going on. In an hour and a half, the fire is probably going to throw a little more damage than ten minutes.

Don't give up. Your mistakes are going to propel you forward and you're going to learn and grow from them. Share on X

A couple of things that I want to highlight is that people think that you hear about an amazing market and you should go invest in there. I remember in the mid-2000s, everybody was in Henderson, Nevada, right outside of Las Vegas. I had close friends who all invested. There was also Florida, there was also Chicago. Those were some big hubs where they were really marketing to investors from out of state, especially California. Californians had a bunch of equity and it wasn’t working for us. Everybody could get loans by just stating things.

There were these pockets that were trending. People were making money hand over fist. For me, I always play the longer trend. I don’t play the short-term trends. I would admit, I would probably be a lot richer if I got that right more often, but there are many people that get that wrong. Part of it is that they didn’t do some of the things that you talked about. It wasn’t a place that I would ever want to visit. It wasn’t a place on the way to anything. Las Vegas, it is. Chicago, it is. Florida, it is. A lot of people didn’t have that mentality of, “Would I want to go there? Would I vacation there? Would I want to live there? Would I want my kids to go to college there? Is there any reason for me to go there?” Even in Henderson, it’s not like people were like, “I’d like to have something in Henderson because I like to go to Las Vegas.” No, it was, “I’m investing in Henderson because everybody else is investing in Henderson.”

I love how you talk about this, especially in your first few deals, I think this is hugely important is as you’re getting to know what this is like. The very first time you step out of state, you don’t want to be in a market that you completely don’t understand, that you just get a bunch of numbers from someone that’s a vendor. They’re interested in selling these properties. They’re not going to lie to you, but they’re definitely going to paint a pretty picture.

We had a friend that moved to Henderson and we went to visit them one time when we went on a trip to Las Vegas. He was like, “There are all these crazy investors coming in here.” All around town, people were like, “This bubble is going to blow,” because there weren’t as many people in the restaurants anymore. There were things that were closing down. We’re like, “How is it possible that all this expansion is happening but the actual economy is shrinking?” There’s no way to have known that if we hadn’t had this conversation with our friends that had just moved there. There’s all this hype about Henderson, but they just closed down the local Whole Foods or whatever market it was.

I love what you talk about is we don’t have to have boots on the ground all the time, every time. Eventually you do develop a skill in getting to know markets or you focus on certain markets. Especially in those first few deals that you’re going out, that is all such good advice, Liz. Make sure that it’s someplace you would want to go. It’s like basic, intuitive, common sense stuff that we don’t think about because we get whisked away by the excitement of what’s possible. Those basic stuff, “Would I like to go there? Is there anything there I appreciate? Do I have someone that’s relatively close by, maybe within a half hour?” Even if they’re not going to be boots on the ground, just have the conversation once in a while. See how things are going in that market.

Thank you so much for that because normally people are like, “You need to look at the colleges, the employers or the average income rate.” Yes, you do need to do all those things, but it’s not the end of the story. Especially when you’re starting, it’s not necessarily going to give you the comfort that you need to actually get out there and do it. Here’s the thing, nothing happens for you until you take action. If it’s just the numbers and that’s not inspiring you to take action, then nothing is happening for you.

REW 68 | Multifamily Portfolio

Multifamily Portfolio: Everyone gets stopped after they lose money and something bad happens. But don’t give up.


Many people do get caught up and there are many important numbers as you’re analyzing markets and analyzing deals. Even just the idea of what COVID taught is the importance of diversity of jobs. Are there different jobs that people can actually be employed by? They’re all in on the tech, all in on the government or all in on whatever industry. The idea of diversity of jobs is to me, even more important than job growth, they’re both important. To know that people can get different jobs, there are jobs that can do positive things. There are many markets that don’t have that. Even high-priced areas don’t have that. We probably invest more in the workforce housing, more up and coming areas, not areas that are on any hot market list. Those are the too expensive areas. We’re like, “We don’t want to invest in an area that’s on any list.”

I love that, it’s much more practical advice. My ladies here have a lot of good advice from very smart people. Sometimes, we just got to ground it. This is how you make yourself comfortable with that. Ask yourself some real common-sense questions because so much of building a real estate business is common sense. There’s a lot of fancy languaging. There are a lot of people that say things that sound smart, but in the end, it’s a common-sense business. Thank you so much for grounding that for us. It was helpful. We are going to do EXTRA. We’re going to be talking more about building your team, finding partners when you’re in state or out of state. She likes to say, “Who’s on the bus?” and then team building with all those people that are on the bus. I love that picture because you’re all going out on a field trip and you’re all on this bus. Where are you going to go? How are you going to get there? Is it going to be fun? Is it going to be profitable? We’re going to talk about that with Liz in EXTRA. We have that to look forward to. Before we move to our three rapid-fire questions, Liz, could you tell everybody how they can get in touch with you?

In terms of some of the active multifamily projects which are fun to learn more about some of the day-to-day real estate projects, you can go over to my husband’s nice business called DeRosa Group, DeRosaGroup.com. My husband spent a lot of teaching as well. We both love teaching and helping, so you’ll see a lot of YouTube content and things of that sort from him. In terms of women who are interested in getting more support from women and getting connected, check us out TheRealEstateInvesther.com. From there, you can learn all about our Meetups that are across the country, and our Facebook community and membership, and things we’ve got going on with helping women. You can check us out there.

Thank you for that. Liz, tell us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate.

Don’t get distracted, focus on a niche and go all in on one thing.

What’s one strategy to be successful as a real estate investor?

Don’t give up. You’re going to lose money. I hope you don’t lose money, but you may lose money like many of us. Fifteen years, I can tell you a lot of interesting stories. You’ve had money like a Bernie Madoff situation where literally hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen from us. We don’t give up. That makes anyone that successful in any line of business or anything in life. Don’t give up. Know that your mistakes are going to make you propel you forward, and you’re going to learn from it and you’ll grow from it. If you don’t have that attitude, then everyone gets stopped after they lose money and something bad happens. Don’t give up. That’s the key.

What would you say is one daily practice that you do that contributes to your personal success?

Something that I’ve always done and then go back and forth and don’t really do it consistently is I do a daily prayer. I read a little spiritual prayer. I think about it. I’ve been doing ten-minute meditations. I’d like to increase that eventually. For me, it’s been super helpful. I focus on whatever I learned in that prayer. I focus on that in my meditation. If I miss a day, it’s rare, but I have maybe missed 1 or 2 days for four months, but every day I usually get that in.

My meditation practice gently worked its way into my life to where I don’t even think about it. It started to just happen. I missed three days and my husband and I were on edge. I lost my temper at a restaurant. I didn’t yell at anybody but I didn’t have the patience to wait. Nobody saw it but I felt it like, “What is going on with me? Who is this person?” My husband was like, “Are you really stressed out?” I was like, “I think I haven’t been meditating. I haven’t been taking Moneeka time.” I have been taking Moneeka time. I got a pedicure. I still do, but that piece that starts my day has been so important. I’m glad you mentioned that.

You have to practice it. It’s like going to the gym. You can’t do it once and you’re good.

I always say in all of our Bliss practices, you can’t just brush your teeth once in your lifetime and hope your teeth are going to be good. You’ve got to brush it every day. You’ve got to keep doing those little things. Liz, as always, I’ve loved our conversation. Thank you for everything you’ve shared in the show.

Thank you so much for having me. This was amazing. I hope I was helpful and gave some content that your audience will help them.

Ladies, Liz and I have more to talk about. We’re going to be talking about building teams and who’s on the bus, all of that really good stuff. Stay tuned for the EXTRA. If you are not subscribed, go to RealEstateForWomenEXTRA.com, and you get the first seven days for free. Check it out. See if you love it. If you don’t, that’s totally fine, but do check it out. For those of you that are leaving, Liz and I now thank you so much for joining us for this portion of the show. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember, goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon. Bye.


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About Liz Faircloth

REW 68 | Multifamily PortfolioI’m Liz. I was born and raised in a middle-class family in New Jersey where my home was filled with love but going out to dinner was a big deal. From an early age, I have always wanted to serve others and even went to a graduate school program to become a social worker.

While studying to become a social worker, my brother in law who was the only entrepreneur I had ever met, handed me Rich Dad Poor Dad. This changed the trajectory of my life forever. Over the next couple of years, I started learning as much as I could. After a year of taking courses and hundreds of attempts to get an offer accepted, my boyfriend at the time (now husband) purchased our first investment property a duplex with none of our own money since we did not even have the money. 

I started in my 20s not knowing anything about investing, business, and no money to invest. Now, 16 years later, our team owns and manages millions of dollars of real estate. What most people don’t know is that this evolution came with a lot of lows, loss, heartache, and challenges.

As someone who was not handed anything I have today, I have learned a ton of lessons from not giving up to managing the balancing act of life as a woman. I am constantly working at balancing all the priorities of my life from being a mom of young children to a wife & biz partner with my husband to taking care of myself. It has not been easy so that is why we created our InvestHER community.


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Growing Your Wealth With The Investor Mindset With Steven Pesavento – Real Estate For Women

REW 66 | Investor Mindset


Surround yourself with people who align with your values. Moneeka Sawyer’s guest in this episode is Steven Pesavento, President of VonFinch and host of the Inventor Mindset Podcast. Steven talks with Moneeka about how he turned from failure at 27 to flipping 200 houses in less than three years. His secret? He changed his mindset from not valuing coaches, to going out of his way to connect with them. Be around mentors who’ve been where you want to go. With their guidance, you’ll skyrocket your way to unprecedented success. Tune in!

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Growing Your Wealth With The Investor Mindset With Steven Pesavento

Real Estate Investing For Women

I am so excited to welcome to the show, Steven Pesavento. Steven is a real estate entrepreneur and expert relationship direct response marketer. He’s a Managing Partner of VonFinch Capital and investing full-time since 2016. He’s completed over 200 transactions, renovated nearly 100 houses, and transacted over $26 million in residential investment real estate. Steven’s investors have entrusted him with over $10 million of investor capital, delivering solid, consistent returns. Steven is the host of the top-rated show, The Investor Mindset and he interviews some of the smartest investing minds and authors like Chris Voss from Never Split The Difference, Jay Papasan from The ONE Thing and we had his wife on the show, which was amazing, then also Joe Fairless from Best Ever Podcast and many others.

Steven, welcome to the show.

I’m so excited to be here. I love your energy. That’s what energy everybody should be bringing to their life.

We talk a lot about this on the show and you are a mindset guy so we will cover this too but our attitude is everything in our businesses, our lives and for our bliss. Wouldn’t you agree?

I agree absolutely.

Surround yourself with mentors who’ve been where you want to be. Share on X

You’ve got this awesome story. I can’t wait to know about it where you went basically from a failure at 27 to 200 flips in less than three years. Could you tell us your story at a high level?

When I’ve got started in real estate, I had some of the same feelings a lot of you feel and almost every new operator has gone through this at some point. You have that desire. You want real estate to be your thing. You are excited about what it can do for you. The financial freedom bug has bitten you but there’s something that seemed to hold me back from taking action. I started my career back in management consulting and I thought that I had it all figured out.

I thought that if I go this traditional path, go to university, graduated from a great school and get a killer job, I was making more money than I ever could have imagined and making more money than my parents growing up. As a kid, we didn’t grow up with a lot. There was one subject in our house that always caused pain and that came down to money. Always the focus was, how I can create more? How can I make sure that I don’t ever have to feel those feelings? I’ve got into the career and it didn’t solve all the problems.

I had the money but I didn’t have the answers. I started going on this journey where I’ve finally got down, ready to get started in real estate and a lot of false starts but the beliefs were what was really holding me back. It was that belief that I didn’t have enough experience, the family connections, the money and know people with lots of money. All these things were a wall in front of me wanting to get started. I can remember when I finally made that decision to move forward and dive in. I was sitting on the couch of my girlfriend’s home at that time, jumping up and I said, “I’m doing this, not another day, not another minute. I am going to make real estate my career.” That day, I decided that I was going to push all in. That’s my mentality. It’s 100% once I decide something, it’s done.

From there forward, I was able to scale up to over 200 houses in about two and a half years flipping in two different states. Out-of-state, I was able to do this all by building great systems, hiring a great team and most importantly, getting surrounded by mentors who had already been down the path. I’ve got some stories that I can share about exactly how I went about doing that but that was the key to my success. I made a decision after I had got clear on what I wanted, and then I found a way to get surrounded by other people who had already done it.

I talk a lot about finding a mentor in this show. How did you find your mentors? There are a lot of people out there talking about this stuff.

REW 66 | Investor Mindset

Investor Mindset: Talk to somebody who can help you gain clarity so you know what to do next.


There are a lot of people who are real estate professionals. They maybe flip some houses, buying multifamily or some rentals. There are a lot of folks that you can look to but what you need to start and where I always advise all my clients, friends and audience. I’m the host of The Investor Mindset show. We dive into a lot of these types of conversations about thoughts and how those thoughts lead into action but it’s about figuring out what do you want first. What do you want and why is that important to you? It comes to the who and then once what that is, then you go and find somebody who already has been down that path and already done it.

For me, I found a local real estate investor event. It was the first action that I took. It was the same day that I made this decision. It’s what I recommend everyone else do. When they make a decision, they should immediately take some action. I committed myself to go to this event. One of the speakers happened to be a very well-experienced real estate flipper. I researched this person in depth. I listened to every show I could find. I tried to ask myself, “How could I be of value to this person? How could I make a difference in this person’s life? What skills, knowledge or frankly, the fact that I have time, how could I make an impact?” I thought of this plan, went to the event, listened, asked questions, engaged during the conversation, and then waited until everyone else had left and the conversations had died down, as all these people were going to go and talk to the speaker, that’s what often happens.

I made a pitch and my pitch was, “I will do this for you and build you this $10,000 to $15,000 website for free. All I’m asking is if I can be a part of your inner circle and if I might be able to follow you around at a property or ask you some questions from time to time.” Before I could even finish asking or making the offer, her hand was out in front, ready to shake it to lock it in it. It was because I found a way to be of value to her, to be able to help make her life easier and better. I thought to myself, “What are those skills that I could do?’

The reason that I went this route was that at that time, I had a lot more time than I did money. I had a lot of beliefs about coaching, training and spending money on these things. I didn’t know that that was only limiting my success. Fast forward, I ended up joining a Mastermind group that I was able to get surrounded by 50 other people who all had the same dream, many of who already were on that path and a few who already had that success. By being a part of that community, I was able to see the exact formula, the blueprint about how my business could look. That gave me the belief because I said, “If they can do it, then I can definitely do it.” I modeled my business that first year. We had flipped over 75 houses.

That’s another one of those things like there are a million masterminds. I probably get an invitation to a mastermind every single day. How did you pick the mastermind? Did you research everybody that was in it or what did you do?

The key to getting a part of a community is you have to one, it’s a little bit of luck but two, it’s mostly about showing up. I had committed myself to go to this event. It was the first conference that I have ever gone to. I ended up going to this conference and it was full of a ton of other people from the community who are also on that same path. There are many people who are friends of mine now because I met them at that first real estate conference. I had gone to many events and meetups. I had done plenty of free training but spending $1,000 to go to this conference for three days was a huge thing for me. Did I have the $1,000? No. Was I committed to going and finding even more people who I could get surrounded by? The answer is, absolutely.

Be clear on who you are, what’s important to you, and what you’re good at. Share on X

By getting into this community, I ended up going to the event. I did not join a mastermind and pay for any training as a result of going to that event. What I did was I’ve got connected to some amazing people. Through those amazing people, I ended up getting my mindset shifted on paying for coaching and mentorship. It was because of a business partner of mine that I, again, was trading my time to be able to do a bunch of services within his business to get access to some more training. Through that conversation, it ended up leading to a partnership and through his lessons, I ended up realizing the value of joining this mastermind. I thought, “I’m splitting with my partner. It seems like it’s a no-brainer,” and within about 24 hours of joining that group, I had already received enough value that directly led to paying for that whole $25,000 or $30,000 ticket price.

The lesson for me was, it was costing me money to be sitting on the sidelines and not taking action, not joining something. That’s not saying, “Go, fire off,” and buy any program but it’s about getting an experience with the people who are going to be a part of that program. It’s going to a webinar and training. It’s getting on a coaching call or strategy call with somebody who can talk through and help you gain clarity so that you know this is absolutely the direction I want to go. It seems like it’s a no-brainer for me to head down this path with you than to go but to try to go through the forest on my own without a map about exactly how I’m going to get where I need to go.

Steven, I love how incredibly concise you are, articulate and how you went boom. Thank you so much for that. I want to talk to you a little bit about this whole idea of building your business based on your clients. This is how I have always built my business so I love to know your perspective on what this is, first of all, because we all see things differently, how you have done it and advice around that.

It goes back to what we were talking about. I went from this place of this mindset and this belief that I can’t spend money on coaching. Otherwise, I’m a fool. I met people who had spent $30,000 or $40,000 on some program. I had thought to myself, “Those guys got hoodwinked.” I remember I can think of a couple of couples that I had met at the events and those people are complete idiots. Now, I realize that I’m an idiot but through that process and doing lots of coaching, mentorship, different programs and personal development, all these things, I ended up learning what was most important to me. I’ve got clear on who I was, what was important to me and what I was good at. Through that process of building my business, VonFinch flipping all of those properties, managing a team of fifteen people in two different states, and spending over $1 million in marketing in about a year and a half, I learned a lot about what I loved about the business and what I wasn’t in love with.

I came to this point where I thought to myself, “Is this the business that I want to be building for the next twenty years?” The answer was no. If you do the old rocking chair task or in this case, I better not be in a rocking chair at 50 but I was envisioning in this position in this place where I was going to keep running this house flipping business, this high-volume, a low-margin machine that was turning out deals and was making us great money. I realized this wasn’t where I wanted to be or what I wanted to be doing. Part of the reason was that the people that I was surrounded with weren’t in alignment with my values. I didn’t feel like I was serving on the level that I could and people weren’t open to these ideas that were so important to me.

I had been enlightened by the idea that mindset is the core of all success. When you can change your thoughts and beliefs, then you end up changing the actions you take and therefore, the outcomes that you experience in your life. Having this belief and realization, I wanted to share this with people around me. Fortunately, in my business, I was able to share that with my team, members of my mastermind community and certain clients but not all of them. As I looked at the flipping business, we are buying houses directly from homeowners, $0.60 to $0.70 on the dollar. We are doing that at volume and making a huge change in these people’s lives. We are changing their day-to-day. We are taking them out of a difficult situation and the majority of the people are absolutely thrilled but it wasn’t enough for me.

REW 66 | Investor Mindset

Investor Mindset: Repetition is the mother of skill and the father of learning.


What I ended up doing was I started searching for some answers. As I was sitting, after learning and being reminded about the importance of this idea of an ideal client, I started thinking through how I could change my business to start serving these clients. I came back and started taking some action because that’s what I do, making some shifts to start focusing on the investor first and making our business about serving them. I also realized there’s something that’s still in alignment. It’s not quite there.

After getting to this point where I had already made this decision that it was time for a change, I ended up stumbling upon the power of multifamily real estate and frankly, commercial investment. As I started getting more familiar with that, I saw a lot of the attributes of things that I like. The ability to scale, to have economies of scale that can happen by buying multiple units at one given time and the professionalism that is true within the industry. What ended up leading me to was this idea that this could be a great place for our business to grow into. What ended up doing it for me was that I knew that at the end of the day, I wanted to be surrounded and working with people who are like me, who were success-minded, successful, have been earning a great income and want to figure out how can they create freedom flexibility and the ability to be able to make an impact in the world. You can do that directly by investing.

If you can start getting the money that you are making from hours worked or from companies that you own working in real estate, you can start to see massive growth happen. For me, the reason why that was so critically important was that the people that I’m surrounded with are the people that I ended up becoming like. I wanted to make sure, I am surrounded by people who are working at a high level and I’m able to make a direct impact.

The second big piece for me was thinking about one-time sales versus long-term continuous relationships. I’m a guy who likes to move fast, talk and I sometimes can be curt from moment to moment but when people know me, they know that I’ve got a big heart, I’m here to support them and I do care about their success. By building these relationships, I knew that this is a business that I would be thrilled to be in for the long-term. That’s what ended up leading to the shift of deciding that this is the path we needed to go. We completely changed our business a few years ago to help be able to support and move in this direction.

When you look at your clients that you are building this business around, from my perspective, we have three different clients. We have the client that we are buying from and hopefully, you build a relationship with because many of these clients that may have several properties or maybe they want to let go of an entire portfolio. There are the people that you are buying from, you sell to and the people that you work with. What is your biggest focus or do you focus on all three? Your team is also they are your clients, too.

At the core, we are clear on what our values are and we value the idea of partnering with experts throughout everything we do. We hire, partner and bring experts internally onto our team because we know that everyone has a unique ability. It’s something that they are amazing at. It’s their superpower. I know mine. You know yours. Our team members each know theirs. By being able to partner with experts, we can leverage what we are good at while leveraging a track record of years of experience in the business so that we have been able to scale quickly to be able to make a direct impact without necessarily having to go and do everything ourselves.

Hire and partner with experts. Share on X

We believe that we are putting our clients as well as our business, which is built upon our team, in a much better place by doing this because sometimes people get stuck in this idea that I need to get everything for myself. We are not like that. We truly believe that it’s all about when we do better, we all do better. We want to make sure that our limited partners and our investors are supported that they are going to do great in these deals. We want to make sure that our operating team on the ground is going to be well-supported and their experiences are going to help support all of us to be able to go out and do the things that matter most. In our real estate business, that’s our key focus. We know that we’ve got operators, people that we are purchasing deals from on the ground and investors. Throughout that experience, there’s a track record of who we are, how we show up, what’s important to us and all of those things end up coming true. Over time, we have developed into having a reputation that stands for exactly what I have been describing.

I love the way that you talk about your operators being in their genius zone. I’m doing a construction project and we have these balconies. We’ve got all this rod iron stuff and it was hideous. I walked upstairs to look at it up close and I was like, “This is horrible.” My contractors came out and they were like, “We agree with you.” I was like, “Thank goodness.” They worked hard to find this for me. We are looking for something different and one of the things that I have noticed is that I love working with exceptional people. He is an exceptional contractor. He makes my life and my business so much better. That’s so true that who we work with, those vendors and operators, all of those people are such a key piece to running a business that’s aligned with our values, that feels good and is sustainable over time. Thank you so much for mentioning that.

It has made such a big difference. We have clients on our investor side who, from time to time, will ask, “Why don’t you operate directly? You are in the market and have a good understanding, why don’t you put the team in place?” It’s asset management. It’s this and it’s that. The answer is, “You are absolutely right. We definitely could. We can hire internally and bring on people that are on a payroll that means that we get to make more money. The thought is that if we were to do that, we would be going against what we believe in, and then second, that we truly do believe that by going and partnering with somebody who is in their genius zone, their unique ability that’s good and has that track record, we are setting ourselves up to make a lot more money as a result.” Rather than doing the things that we don’t like doing, don’t fill us up and aren’t our unique ability than we are taking away from time that could be spent growing, making an impact and difference.

This conversation has been awesome. Tell everybody how they can reach you.

The best place to reach us is, if you have liked the conversation we have had, I encourage you to go subscribe to The Investor Mindset Podcast. If you liked what we talk about, we talk about this twice a week on the show. If you feel like this has been valuable and you enjoy the mindset stuff that I encourage you, we put together a great free resource at TheInvestorMindset.com/success where we are diving into the Top 5 Success Principles of a Successful Investor and lessons that have been learned over hundreds of interviews with some very impressive people. You can grab a copy of that. If you read and like what we are talking about, you can hit me up on any of the social media platforms, shoot a little DM over, let me know that you read about this show and I would love to connect with you.

Thank you so much for that. I love free gifts, too. That sounds amazing. It was a 5 Principles of Success of a Successful Investor, right?

REW 66 | Investor Mindset

Investor Mindset: Meditation is a great way to catch ourselves when we have a set of beliefs that aren’t serving us.


Yes, that’s exactly it.

Thank you for that. Steven, are you ready for three rapid-fire questions?

Let’s do it.

Give us one super tip on getting started investing in real estate.

The most important tip when you are getting started real estate investing is to get clear on what you want, why you want it and then figure out who is going to help you get there. The reason why I have repeated this three times is that repetition is the mother of skill and the father of learning. If you are going to do this and you haven’t done it already, I encourage you to sit down and get clear on what is that thing that you want? What does life look like on the other side?

Once you get that clear, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that you are going to take the action to get there because you are going to be able to feel it. Sometimes people want that freedom, flexibility and independence but they don’t take this time upfront getting clear, and then you will end up where I was, where you built a successful business and made a huge impact, and then where you would say, “It’s time to pivot.” Even though I was clear on what I want, it wasn’t what I was going after. You might be able to save time by going directly to go rather than around the way. It’s just the way things go.

Maximize your time growing and making an impact. Share on X

That’s very aligned with how I teach people, too. Always start with you, build around the business around the truth of who you are and where you are headed. Talk to us a little bit about a strategy on how to be a successful real estate investor.

It starts with the exact same thing but when it comes down to investing, you want to be in a position where once you know those two things, then it’s time to take action and figure out who you are going to partner with, work with and help support you within your business. That might be employees, coaches, masterminds and training. Whatever those things are for you, you’ve got to get clear on who’s going to help get you there. That might mean going out to your network and saying, “This is what I’m doing and what I want to accomplish. Would you happen to know anyone who might be able to give me a lead or make a connection?” By going directly to people who already know, like and trust you that are in the space, they will be able to connect you to someone else and so on. It’s that power of your network that when you combine getting super crystal clear with going out and building phenomenal relationships and you bring those two pieces together, you will be in a strong position to not only scale but to do it in the right way.

What would you say is one daily practice you do personally that contributes to your success?

There’s a set of practices that I consider my one practice. Every single day I wake up with a movement, meditation, mapping and mindset. What I mean by that is I get up and I move for at least ten minutes. It’s often quite long but I will go for a great run. I get that blood flowing and I start to get my brain in a place where I’m ready to step into my day. I’m a lot smarter when I’m moving so will you? I encourage you all to do that. Meditation is a great way to slow down, especially if you are a driver type A person like me but even if you are not, we can start to see our thoughts and be able to catch ourselves when we are thinking something or we have a set of beliefs that aren’t serving us at that moment. I listen to some mindset. I love reading obviously great shows like the one you are reading, as well as other content that’s going to help enrich my brain and start putting me in the right state of mind for the day. Finally, I always start my day with a map with a very specific plan of what actions I’m going to take and what’s most important for me that day. When I do all four of these things, I end up operating and frankly, working from a much happier place.

How long does that whole process take for you normally?

It could take as little as 30 minutes or as long as an hour or hour and a half. It depends on the day but by committing just 5 minutes of breathing, 10 minutes of running, a quick 5-minute process of mapping out the day and while you are running, you can throw on a little something to motivate you to put in some of those thoughts and beliefs that you know are important. You can put that altogether or you can separate it out depending on what works best for you on each given day.

REW 66 | Investor Mindset

Investor Mindset: Every time you go listen to the investor mindset, take action on it.


That’s so actionable. This has been awesome, Steven. Thank you for everything that you have offered in this portion of the show.

It has been amazing being here and the biggest thing that I want you to take away from this is that in every single conversation, everything that you listen to, every time you read about the show, listen to The Investor Mindset, read a book, go to a conference or open up some course that you are diving into, there is always something that you can take away but the most important thing is that you take some action on it. Decide what’s one thing from this episode that you can do, who is one person you can reach out to, and what’s one show you can follow that’s going to end up setting you up to be in a much better place. I encourage you to figure out what that is and take that action. I look forward to being able to serve you in the future.

Ladies, you can do that. I love the way Steven does that. I made a decision and that day, I met this person. Most of us don’t act that quickly on decisions that we make. One of the biggest determining factors for success is our ability to make quick good decisions. That means you have to be aligned and intuitive about what feels right, what feels wrong and what’s settling with your gut but you have to be able to make decisions fast and take action on them. That’s a huge characteristic of successful people. Thank you so much for highlighting that.

When you hear the story of me taking action, immediately deciding, and a week later being at an event and a few days later, having a mentor and a year later having 75 flips under my belt was that it took me ten years to get to the point of making that decision. It took a long time. I read Rich Dad Poor Dad when I was 17 and I was 27 by the time that I had bought my first property as an investment. It goes to show that in that moment I decided and everything great happened from there. Why wait ten years? Why not decide now?

We do have more in EXTRA. We are going to be talking about scaling a business remotely. Ladies, you know that for me, freedom of choice and freedom of time are the biggest things that I strive for. That’s how I define blessed. I want to be able to travel. I want to be able to spend time with my aging parents. Time is my thing. Systems, processes and your team allow you to create that freedom. Since Steven is an expert in this, I asked him to please share with us how he’s done it so we are going to be doing that in EXTRA. Definitely stay tuned for EXTRA for that. It’s going to be awesome. If you are not subscribed to EXTRA, you should get subscribed for this one.

Go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com. The first seven days are free so you can try it out. Get this EXTRA and as many as you can download. If you love it, you stay and if you don’t, no obligation but check it out. For those of you that are leaving us now, thank you so much for joining Steven and me for this portion of the show. I look forward to seeing you next time and until then, always remember goals without action are just dreams so get out there, take action and create the life your heart deeply desires. I will see you soon. Bye.


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About Steven Pesavento

REW 66 | Investor MindsetSteven Pesavento is a real estate entrepreneur and Managing Partner of VonFinch Capital. Investing full time since 2016, he’s completed over 200 transactions, renovated nearly 100 houses and transacted over $26,000,000 in residential investment real estate. Steven’s investors have entrusted him with over $11 million of investor capital, delivering solid consistent returns.

A former Management Consultant for some of the Fortune 500’s top companies, he brings his years of process improvement, marketing and sales experiences to every project. Steven graduated with honors from prestigious St. John’s University in 2011 and is active in multiple charities including working with youth teaching business with Junior Achievement.

Host of the top ranked podcast the Investor Mindset he interviews some of the smartest minds & authors like Chris Voss – Never Split The Difference, Jay Papasan – One Thing, Joe Fairless – Best Ever Podcast, Mark Manson – Subtle Art of Not Giving A F&#k and many others.


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