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Finding “Investor Friendly” Brokers with Cindi Blackwood | The Real Estate Investing Club #13

Transcript of “Finding “Investor Friendly” Brokers with Cindi Blackwood”

Gabriel Petersen 0:02
All right, we are live. Cindy, thank you for joining us. How are you? I’m doing great. How are you gay? I’m doing fantastic. Where are you calling from today? Atlanta, Georgia. And Atlanta, Georgia. I have wanted to go there. I have yet to go. I’ve heard great things though. Although the summers I’ve heard are just it’s a tough one. If you’re not familiar with humidity. Yes, it is it you know, you’ve heard the term hot Atlanta which I heard that only tourists say that but so I have to stop saying it now that I live here but it is. It can be very hot and humid, but I’m from Arkansas. So not a huge change. But it’s a great city, you should make it a priority to visit. Absolutely. Absolutely. To get started here. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself, you know where you’re from and how you got into real estate in first place.

Cindi Blackwood 0:57
I’m from Arkansas. I grew up in small

town Cabot, Arkansas and I have lived there most of my life until recently, and I got into real estate. I was a dental hygienist. And then my husband was a home builder. And we had been investing in properties for several years. And that’s a whole story that we can circle back around to but I left my hygiene career and I had young kids at home wanted to be a little more flexible. And so I worked in our office and he was building 100 houses a year, and developed a niche for first time home buying market and was developing the land and also new home warranties. You know, we’re always dealing with that. So I dealt with that. And then we had our rental units. And I started doing property management for the rental properties that we had. And when he became licensed, we opened a real estate company in 1998. How to broker and then once he became licensed as an agent then told me that I really should so I want to get my real estate license kicking and screaming never work with buyers and sellers that I was just doing that because I had to and just wasn’t something I was interested in. So I went and it was just tried to get through the course to pass the test and wasn’t very happy about it. And I’ve now been licensed since 2002, and a broker since 2010. And I absolutely still love real estate.

It’s a started

Gabriel Petersen 2:37
I love it. I love it. That is a that’s, that’s great. So you got started, you know, way whenever back when you and your husband you guys were buying single families as rentals and your husband 100 unit developments that is that’s nothing to laugh at. That’s a big, big undertaking right there.

Cindi Blackwood 2:57
Well and once again, when we started started, we started buying mobile homes. Our very first property real estate investment was in a little bitty tiny town. And it had five very old mobile homes on a small parcel of land, and they paid weekly rent. Wow. And that’s how we got started. That’s all we could afford. And we had a business partner. And so we started there. And then that grew and and started buying other mobile home parks. And until we could build up enough capital to start, you know, investing in in single family homes.

Gabriel Petersen 3:39
That’s interesting. I didn’t know that about you coming on here, me and my partners, we actually we do mobile home parks, and so I didn’t know we had that commonality. That’s great.

Cindi Blackwood 3:49
We actually at one point even opened a new mobile home dealership and now became a licensed insurance agent. At that time, I’ve done a lot of things in my life.

Unknown Speaker 4:03
That was my

Unknown Speaker 4:04
mistake. So

Gabriel Petersen 4:06
that’s uh, so it sounds like you’ve had your experience as has crossed the gamut when it comes to to real estate. But now you’ve gone through all that you have had great experience and now you’re back, you’re being a broker, helping, you know, first time homebuyers second time homebuyers investors, get into houses and buy houses and you’re you’re you’re in love with it. Yes. All right. Sounds

Cindi Blackwood 4:30
good. Yeah. Then works the gamut from every type of property you can think of and every type of buyer I’ve even done a few commercial deals but in Arkansas, because it’s rural, you can do that a little, a little more, you know, so but I don’t, I don’t I don’t say that I’m really a commercial agent. I’ve just done a couple of commercial small commercial deals.

Gabriel Petersen 4:55
Well, that’s still experience you still that’s something under the belt right there for sure.

Cindi Blackwood 5:00
speak the language a little bit. So there we go.

Gabriel Petersen 5:03
There you go. So before the show, you were telling me that you represent a lot of real estate investors as a broker. So I mean, there’s a ton that we can go into in your previous experience, it sounds like you have a lot to share a lot of wisdom to depart with other people. But kind of, let’s go into your your broker side. Tell me when a real estate investor, you know, say there’s, there’s some new investors listening to this show, and they want to, they want to figure out how to get into real estate investing and, and how to find that first home. So if they were to go to a broker, like what should they be looking for? How do they select the right broker? And what kind of how do they know they’re working with somebody who understands investing investor’s mindset.

Cindi Blackwood 5:50
So the very first thing and i i, through the years have had many calls from people saying, hey, I want to invest in real estate. That’s great. Okay, so let’s get started. I’ll start asking them questions, which goes to to answer one of your questions. How do they know that they’re, they found the right broker? So I’m asking them questions like, Okay, what are you looking for? And they start talking to me and I can tell pretty quick how season they are or if they’re new, if they’re new, then I’m saying, Okay, how are you going to pay for it? Well, we think we’re going to do Okay, so that’s not good enough. So, before they even choose a broker, they new investors have to figure out their financing. And that can be anywhere from they may have get a HELOC, a home equity line of credit on their own home to buy that first property. They may can go to a bank that they have a relationship with and build a line of credit some other way. They they may be able to get financing through, you know, there’s certain financing options that will allow you to have up to so many properties even VA loans will allow you to have an investment property. So So there are different avenues, but those need to be explored so that that hurdle has been crossed, because new investors think that the first step, as well as sometimes new homeowners, always got to find the right deal first, but you got to know how you’re going to pay for that. Because if we find that right deal, you’ve got to be ready to hop and ready to jump on it quickly, especially in today’s market. And if you are not ready, and we can’t make that offer strong offer and saying and here’s here’s how it’s going to be paid for. Then they’re getting the cart before the horse. And that’s only going to set them up for frustration and and basically not getting the properties that they want because nobody’s going to wait for them to go get their financing. And right now, even as of late with the pandemic, that some of the first ways that mortgage companies will start to kind of tighten up when something like this happens is in the investor round. So they’ll start to tighten up and require more capital more, more everything for those new investors. So this is not something that you can just wake up one day and decide that you want to start investing in real estate, you I mean, you can do that, but you’ve got to know that it is a process. And it’s very important to do those things in the right order. So hopefully, once I tell them that, then they’re gonna know that I know what I’m talking about. And I’m going to guide them in the right direction, instead of just start showing them properties. And then and then we can’t, we can’t get offers accepted because they don’t know how to, they’re going to pay for it. So that’s the very first thing and the other thing is for them to learn. And there are so many ways out there now to learn that you can’t believe everything You know, everything on the internet’s not true. Again, I don’t know if you know that or not. But I would just say that there, there are plenty of people. Like, for example, here in Atlanta, there are meetup groups, and there is several investor groups, and they’re just wanting some investors been in the business for years, and they’re wanting to share their knowledge with people. So there are plenty of ways that you can learn about investing. And that’s what you should do so that you know what your plan looks like, and what kind of what kind of portfolio Do you want to build? What does this look like not just today, but in five years and 10 years down the road?

Gabriel Petersen 9:41
I love it. There’s a lot of good, good advice there a lot of good gems, especially when it comes to financing. I mean, I know myself. When I was first getting started, I ran into that issue a lot. I was I was focused on finding the deal, which is super important. I mean, you definitely have to find the deal but when you when you don’t have the Financing lined up and you you try to close a deal, you try to find the deal first, a lot of times that will that will make the deal fall through. So that is a very good advice. Okay, so you mentioned financing is one of the first things that they should be doing. But once they have financing in place, what what would a new investor or even a seasoned investor I suppose, how do you make your offers stronger? I mean, I even today I have I run into problems, not problems, but I’ll put offers on 50 houses and maybe you know, two of them are going to be actually close. So how do you how does somebody go about making their offer stronger? And what does that look like?

Cindi Blackwood 10:48
I love that question. Because in the foreclosure world, you know, I say I cut my teeth in the foreclosure world because it was it was just baptism. Fire in the gym was just incredible. And and you learned you had to learn or you just said learned that niche and what I learned, I still use today. Is that over. Okay. Okay. And one thing that I learned this deal really helps me today whether it’s investors or, you know, owner occupants is strategy. And so that’s what you’re talking about. And if there was one thing besides the financing as far as finding the right broker to use, it needs to be someone with experience that can strategize to help you to get your offer accepted. Now, that doesn’t mean that every single deal will be accepted. But but in the foreclosure world, I mean, we had lots and lots of offers, and it’s a competition. And I mean, that makes my heart just Be fast and the adrenaline pumping, because I want to win, I want to win. Make that was

Gabriel Petersen 12:06
the right attitude to have in that environment for sure.

Cindi Blackwood 12:08
So you start thinking outside the box, and actually I train my team, that I have a team in Arkansas and Georgia, and we train together. And last this week, our training was titled, thinking outside the box, and it’s because we are having more and more multi offers. And I know investors are but also in the residential world, and you better learn how to deal with them. Because your clients are going to get frustrated if if you’re not ever getting the deal. Now, like I said, you can’t win everyone, but you better have somebody that knows some things to do that can set your offers apart. So the strategy of it not just putting an offer in but what does this look like you get to look at it from the sellers perspective. What’s gonna make them net the most money the least amount? To time, the least amount of hassle because that’s what they’re looking for. And so you need to make it as easy on them as possible. And that’s how you can make a strong offer. And of course, you know, there are lots of things that can come into play. But just being able to, to think and put a strategy together. It’s best.

Gabriel Petersen 13:21
I like it. So I like something that you just said there said, most amount of money, least amount of hassle, least amount of time and that those three little levers are the things that you pull to make your offer stronger or weaker, depending on what you’re doing. That’s really good. And so when it comes to dealing in foreclosures, I know you just said that, you know, you you’ve already gone through that world is kind of a baptism by fire. kind of take us into that into that world into your experience there. What is it like? if somebody were to want to get into foreclosures, what is the what’s the best way to go about doing And, and just kind of take us through your experience there.

Cindi Blackwood 14:05
So, first of all the foreclosure inventory right now is very low across the country. Now, you know, we’re hearing rumblings that that will increase a little bit possibly after the pandemic. We’re not sure about that. Nobody really is. But the thing is, you’ve got to be ready. Once again, the key is really being ready. So when they hit the market, then the offers can be put in, of course, having somebody that knows the system, let’s say HUD, for example, when they put their properties on, they want owner occupants. So usually the first so many days are only for owner occupants. And then if it’s not purchased, then you know after so many days, then knowing that the owner the investors can start then and once again that’s knowing exactly when that is going to be by reading the websites and knowing how they operate. So once it’s available, you have your offer in there, it’s ready. And it’s one of the first ones to be in there. Because they are all time stamped in their computer systems and all. The other thing is knowing how the processes work. So in foreclosures, like HUD and Fannie Mae and all that, it’s, I explain it like this is not really like dealing with real people. It’s like dealing with systems. Okay, so like, but I know that after so many days, then it opens up to investors once it hits their website. And then after so many days, if there are any offers, then they’re going to have price reduction and what that looks like and then, you know, so once again, it’s about strategy, and being able to figure out, hey, they’re wanting to offer lower, but yet, you know, you may either have to wait or go ahead and put it in and see when that process is so Knowing how they operate, and the systems is going to be something that’s very important to be unable to get those foreclosure deals. And now there’s a lot of auction properties out there. And I’ve dealt with all of those. And you know, it’s timing on a lot of it is just, it’s just timing. And you get to just keep your finger on the pulse, and know when the time is right for you to strike.

Gabriel Petersen 16:26
So it really does, it pays to partner up with a broker such as yourself, who is familiar with the process, who knows how to go through that? Etc.

Unknown Speaker 16:35
Yeah, exactly. Right.

Gabriel Petersen 16:37
So I’m gonna I’m going to switch gears just a little bit. This is this is a shorter podcast, we do 20 to 30 minute segments. So I’m going to push us into another direction here. We’ve kind of heard about your experience or your experience in the past what you’re doing now as a broker. So I want to hear a little bit more of the stories that you’ve gone through. So we all know that real estate it’s a it’s a roller coaster. You got your up You got your downs both financially and emotionally take us to kind of kind of a lower point in your career and and the struggles that you went through there and give us like the best lesson that you learn from that experience.

Cindi Blackwood 17:14
Okay, well, I’d say for me one of the biggest I love the foreclosure world so much and that just the just the rush of it, that the transitioning from that was difficult for me. And I had made the statement numerous times that after the foreclosure boom was over that I may get out of real estate, obviously, I didn’t really glad I did, but just kind of slowing down to to dealing with traditional buyers and sellers was, it was a difficult process for me just because I liked it. You know, how many offers Can I get in two days instead of you know, all of that. And yeah, I loved all that and being so exhausted at the end of the day that you just You know, it’s all you can do just to make it home at but I love that that just keeps fueled. And so that’s been difficult then the other probably the most difficult thing has been moving to a complete new market where I didn’t know anyone because being from Arkansas living there my entire life and building a business in a small town where I knew everyone and even though we expanded to Little Rock, which is a larger city, it wasn’t very far away. So I always had those connections and referral base and all of that. And so now I have uprooted and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where I really know no one and then as soon as I got here, pretty much then the world shut down. So that’s been difficult to have to go back and and re enter into basically new marketing because I had marketing from an established company in business And even though I’m still there in Arkansas, and still have a presence and a team and all that, but I’m transitioning and starting all over, but there’s also a big challenge to that, you know, and I just, I was looking for a challenge. And that’s why I wanted to expand my business to a bigger market and see what that’s like. I mean, because I am I got lots of years left and lots of energy left, and I am, am I still want to keep growing and growing my business and just seeing what that’s like. So even though it’s been difficult, it’s been a challenge that I’m still glad that I’ve undertaken that challenge.

Gabriel Petersen 19:39
I like it. I like it. So I’m kind of glad. So you’re in Arkansas, you’re building your business there, and then you moved. You’ve just recently moved over to to Georgia. And, you know, that’s kind of a difficult transition there. But it sounds like the lesson is that, you know, new experiences new challenge, they give you energy and you just got to push through it until Until you get onto that peak on to the next, the next updraft.

Cindi Blackwood 20:03
Absolutely. And the things that I’m learning here also can relate to my team in Arkansas. And so that’s been great for me too, because they do business a little different here, but that it opens my eyes to even more opportunities. And like I said, that strategy, you know, I may learn something here, that was never done in Arkansas, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be, and vice versa. So one thing that’s kind of funny to me is, when you come to a new market, I’ve learned that people like to tell you when you because I’m a questioner, because I want to learn. So when I question it, sometimes the answer is well, because that’s how it’s done in Georgia, or that’s how it’s done. And, and so some of my questions haven’t been taken with the intent of I’m just trying to learn here, but then I’m trying to, you know, kind of buck the system and that’s not the case. I want to know why. It’s kind of like your kids when you say because I said, so, you know? I mean, it’s not a good enough answer. Oh, no. And so I want to know why things are done, primarily because that’s kind of my personality. But also I want to teach my team when they asked me why I have to be able to explain that to them. So that’s been really, a really great thing is learning how things work differently and being able to bring that together and benefit both sides. Right? Yeah. And I hope other states too, so I’ll just be this big wealth of knowledge.

Gabriel Petersen 21:38
And each state is completely different when it comes to I mean, especially for investors when it comes to like tenant laws, etc. I mean, it’s definitely a transition going from state to state. So I commend you on that. That challenge there. Thank you. So So we went into the trough now. Now take us to the peak. What is it that you love about real estate? What gets you up in the morning? Like, why are you still in the game? We’ve been in it for you know, sounds like over 20 years and you’re still going strong.

Cindi Blackwood 22:06
That’s easy. It’s the people. It is the people that real estate whether it’s whatever type of buyer or seller it is, they’re people. And and at the end of the day, it is just that sharing of information that getting to know it is a relationship business. And so many of my clients have become friends. And and that’s what I love about it is the people I’ve trained my team I say if you keep it about the people, the money will come. And whether I don’t care if you’re buying a mobile home, or if you’re buying a $2 million house, it still is about the people. One story that I have is a client that I had sold their daughter a house and so they called me and I sold them a house and then they came to me after they moved in and everything and they said, would you sell our mobile home in this very small town? and said, I don’t know if you do things like that. I mean, I know you’re so busy and all and I don’t know, if you would, you know, take that on and I’m talking it was probably, I think it was either 20 25,000 and I said to them, absolutely, I will. And, and so I got the deal done and you know, found this wonderful family that was I get to represent them too. So I represented both sides and, and and what the coolest part about it was the family the couple that was selling the home, she cried when that home so because she said that was their first home. And there were so many memories made there, that it was their first home and then the new family moving in it. They were moving into their first home. And I mean, how cool is it? I mean, what a privilege that is. I got to be a part of that. And you know what? Yeah, it was, it wasn’t a huge transaction, but it was worth it. And, and I’ll continue to do this stuff. And I’ve actually been criticized somewhat about why I can’t believe you just take on everything. I don’t take on everything. But when you keep it about the people, then that’s what makes me get up in the morning and love what I do, and continue to do that day after day.

Gabriel Petersen 24:29
I love it. I’ve that same sentiment has kind of been echoed across all the different episodes and guests that we’ve had on the show is that real estate really is a relationship of people business. So you gotta I mean, that’s, that’s why you’re here, obviously, you know, you make money along the way but, but really, at the end of the day, it’s about getting people in houses and and making relationships. So I love that one. So Cindy, we are almost towards the end here. But I want to hear one more piece of advice from you. I mean, you’ve had A career that spanned you know many years in every single niche you can possibly think about in real estate. So if you were to go back to that send me back in Arkansas so many years ago and give her one piece of advice going forward in real estate what would that piece of advice be?

Cindi Blackwood 25:17
Don’t get my feelings hurt so easily and learn now now a lot but when I started because I’m dislike, you know, when I would make a phone call is just to a potential friend on the other side, right? I mean, when you’re making calls, you don’t know who you’re going to talk to, but but they’re a potential friend. And so I’m very friendly and outgoing and, and, but if I ran across different personality types at work like me, and you know, then I got my feelings hurt. So I learned the disc personality, whole assessment thing and a lot of people are familiar with, and that truly was a game changer for me because I realized that just because someone isn’t is working It is I am. And they’re very direct and to the point, which a lot of investors are, by the way, that doesn’t mean that they don’t like me or don’t want to work with me or whatever. It is just a different personality type. And I think had I learned that earlier on, I would have just saved myself. Some, some hurt feelings, and maybe tears and things like that in the beginning where I just was, you know, felt like everybody should, should be that have the same personality that I do. So learning to gauge that it has been really a game changer for me.

Gabriel Petersen 26:37
I like that it’s a it’s really good advice. I I can’t remember what it was. But I took one of those personality tests A long time ago. And it kind of did, you know, did the same thing for me, it kind of opened my eyes, because you’re always you know, you see the world through your own personality. And you kind of think everybody, you know, operates the same as you do, but it’s just not the case. So So being able to understand people from From their perspective, not from yours, I mean, that’s, that’s, that is very important. Especially, I mean when you say to yourself, you don’t want to get your feelings hurt because a lot of times people people aren’t intending to be to be rude. They’re just they’re just operating differently. So that’s that’s good advice. Mm hmm okay, so we are at the end here. I mean, you need things to so if somebody could bring you something What would it What would you like them for them to bring you

Cindi Blackwood 27:26
business bring me business? Yeah, yes. All right. So army to somebody, I’ll take good care of them. And yeah, just fit whether it’s investor whether it’s, you know, somebody’s buying or selling or whatever it is, then, yes, and then my way and I’ll be happy to help them.

Gabriel Petersen 27:47
Sounds good. And on that note, if we have some investors here listening or watching who want to get, you know, start investing in the Atlanta market, or it sounds like Arkansas and they wanted to get a hold of us. To help them find a good house, what would be the best way to get ahold of you?

Cindi Blackwood 28:05
My phone number, you can call or text me at 501-920-8111 websites, our homes for sale in Arkansas dotnet and Atlanta And if you really just google Cindy ci NBI if you just Google my name, then I’m pretty easy to find. So yeah, those are some

Gabriel Petersen 28:35
some good, good URLs there. That’s a

Cindi Blackwood 28:38
battle, too. But those are those are the main ones.

Gabriel Petersen 28:41
Right? pretty high. Yeah, for sure. And I will also be be putting her LinkedIn page on in the show notes. So if you want to get in contact with Cindy, go ahead and check out the comments and you can get in contact with her there. So Cindy, thank you very much for hopping on here. I know I I can speak to everybody listening and watching that we appreciate it all the, you know the wisdom that you shared with us today. So thank you for getting on here. And for everybody listening and watching, you know how to get in contact with Cindy, check out her LinkedIn and otherwise we look forward to seeing you guys on the next episode.

Unknown Speaker 29:18
Thanks Gabe. I appreciate it.



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The Real Estate Investing Club is a podcast and YouTube show where real estate investing professionals share their best advice, greatest stories, and favorite tips in real estate. Join us as we delve into every aspect of real estate investing – from self-storage, to mobile home parks, to single family rentals, to real estate syndication! If you’re a real estate investor and are looking for tips and motivation to grow your business, this is the show for you. This is an interview-based real estate show where I’ll be hearing from investing pros from every asset class, niche and geographic area in the US. Join us as we learn about these REI pro’s career peaks and valleys and the lessons they learned along the way!

Topics you’ll learn more about throughout our episodes:

– Using the BRRR strategy to buy income properties

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– Using hard money and bridge loans for real estate investments

– How to bounce back from bankruptcy and build a thriving empire in the wake of failure

– How to use property management companies to help scale your real estate business

– The best online and offline tools out there to take your real estate investing business to the next level

– How to do out of state investing without risking your shirt in the process – Going from broke to 300+ deals in a month (really!)

– Investing in commercial real estate

– Stories about brand-new investors and the lesson’s they’re learning as they take on their very first flips and rentals

– How to use Google Ads and Facebook Ads to crush it in off market real estate marketing

– How to fill your pipeline with off market deals using direct mail, voiceless mail drops, and text blasting

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