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How to Create Snowballing Momentum as a New Real Estate Investor, with Lisa Sarullo

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Lisa Sarullo is a newer real estate investor with incredible momentum! What is her secret? She’s using the power of relationship-based negotiation, and just keeps putting one foot in front of the next! In this episode, Jeff interviews his coaching client, and member of The DEALS Workshop, Lisa Sarullo. In this fun and inspiring conversation, Lisa and Jeff discuss how to “Solve The Person” when developing relationships with Sellers, how to do multiple deals with the same Seller, critical mindset shifts for success, how to be confident when you approach private money lenders, how to use relationship capital to do creative seller financing deals, and so much more.

Episode Transcript

If it’s been done, it is doable. Because I think a lot of times people will evaluate whether something can win them, whether they can do something, or achieve something or be something based on the resources that they have available. So, if they were to take a self-inventory, it’s like, well, I’m lacking these pieces. Well, they’re out there or you just connect with the people that have done it. That is where I’ve stepped up. I believe that I will find the people I need to align with when I need to align with them. Because I think I remember saying to you the other day that I have another belief that I’ve learned that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. So, I don’t need to know everything right now. I just know that event has been done, it is doable. So, the only limit that I have right now is what I might think I ought to do or what’s next.

Welcome to racking up rentals, a show about how regular people, those of us without huge war chest of capital, or insider connections, can build lasting wealth acquiring a portfolio of buy and hold real estate. But we don’t just go mainstream looking at what’s on the market and asking banks for loans, nor are we posting “We Buy Houses” signs are just looking for quote, motivated sellers to make lowball offers to. You see, we are people-oriented dealmakers, we sit down directly with sellers to work out Win-Win deals without agents or any other obstacles and buy properties nobody else even knows are for sale. I’m Jeff from a Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneur. If you’re the kind of real estate investor who wants long term wealth, not get rich quick gimmicks or pictures of yourself holding fat checks on social media. This show is for you. Join me and quietly become the wealthiest person on your block. Now let’s go rack up a rental portfolio.

Thanks for joining me for another episode of Racking up Rentals. Show Notes for this episode can be found at ww.thoughtfulre.com/e127. Please do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button on your podcast app, it really helps you make sure you don’t miss any shows and it helps other fellow Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneurs to find us onward with today’s episode.

In today’s episode, I’m just so honored to get to share with you this this interview. This is the first type of interview like this I’ve done because my guest today Lisa Sarullo is a coaching client. And it has been such an amazing pleasure to not just work with her, but to see her undergo this incredible transformation and make just amazing progress in her real estate investing endeavors in the last several months. And I know you’re gonna get a ton out of this conversation because it’s not just a bunch of tactical things that we talk about in here. It’s really bigger picture philosophies and mindset things and approach overall to how we work with sellers, how we develop relationships with them, how we tackle the challenges that we face as real estate entrepreneurs, and how we keep our head straight, and not only endure through challenges but actually pick up momentum in the process. So in addition to that Lisa is just a lovely person and a warm spirit. And I know you’re going to love this. So without further ado, let’s get to my interview with Lisa Cirilo. Okay Lisa, thank you so much for joining me today.

Lisa Sarullo:

I’m so excited to be here Jeff.

Jeff Stephens:

This is it’s really a pleasure and an honor for me to have you here you were the first person to appear on this podcast I’ve had the chance of working with so closely in a coaching kind of way and and whose story and trajectory I’ve been able to see like with a front row seat and it is so is so cool to to be able to chat with you and have you share with our audience kind of what what your story has been like. And I thought I would just tell you why. I think that this is such a great conversation we’re gonna have and then also just kind of give everybody like a little teaser as to what we’re going to touch on. But I sort of wrote down like this headline, this this banner for myself, and I said, I feel like this story is kind of about snowballing momentum that inspires everybody watching. And I think you’re the momentum I wrote them. Four little bullet points. I think that I feel like you understand the value of relationship so well and you’re harnessing it really, really well. You are putting one foot in front of the other even if it’s not clear exactly what the third or fourth step might be. I just see the sort of overall positivity and momentum in kind of Almost like in a spiritual, like the universe is listening kind of a way. And, and I just loved watching this sort of entrepreneurial approach that you have, that you’ve brought to everything. So all that said, thank you so much for being here.

Lisa Sarullo:

It’s my pleasure. And little did you know, being interviewed on your podcast was a bucket list item. I would never tell you that I just had to wait to let it happen. And it’s hard to believe things are just happening. So that’s so exciting for me,

Jeff Stephens:

Things are just happening. And I think that like, in some ways, that’s kind of what what I mean is, I don’t think it’s just like, it’s not just random. It’s not a coincidence. You didn’t like win a lottery and things are just happening, you’re making that happen. And that’s what I’m so excited to unpack for, for our listeners here today. So I would say that, you know, you and I like we had become acquainted and chatted a little bit in the very beginning of the year, probably, but it was about me that we really kind of like became closer and got to know each other better and started working together. So if you kind of had to give everybody a sense, like what is the story up until about May to give them some context for where you’re starting from, in terms of my real estate, entrepreneurial activity.

Lisa Sarullo:

Yeah. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life and I actually, I would even call myself an entrepreneur as a teenager, because my first job, I delivered newspapers before school, back when that was still a thing. I was always entrepreneurial; my dad was an entrepreneur. So I’ve been self-employed my entire adult life in various capacities. And real estate was always something that just intrigued me and never really had the opportunity to step foot into it. But a couple of years ago, my husband and I were found ourselves empty nesters. And I wanted to do something that we could do together. But that would also eliminate some of his great skills. So we have just put one literally, like you said, one step in front of one foot in front of the other. We were very prayerful about it and sort of thoughtful about it, because we wanted to make sure that we had enough information to not be doing things dangerously, are just throwing it out there. But we were also risky enough. So sort of a great balance. We took one step at a time, but we were educated, we connected with people that were doing what we wanted to do. And that was really how I met you. I wanted to connect with people who were doing it. I just figured that, like you said, I could take one or two steps. I didn’t see step three and four. But in my mind, if it was done before, then it was doable. And I didn’t need to know how to do it. I just needed somebody to show me what to do. But I also had to be willing to take the step. So I think that’s where I was when you met me. Yeah,

Jeff Stephens:

absolutely. So then in the middle of May like in terms of your kind of real estate status, or like, how many properties Did you own? At that point? How many deals had you done? What resources did you have to work with? Did you have hundreds of 1000s of dollars just waiting in a checking account to be to be deployed?

Lisa Sarullo:

We had zero. So that was exciting to create something out of nothing. But we were in May when you and I connected. We were in the midst of our first flip. And the way that we acquired that was kind of crazy. And it was a completely off market. But it was actually a home going up for tax sale. And in North Carolina where I live they do a sheriff sale. And we have become aware of it. We actually drove up in two separate cars because my husband and I had to go different places. But we It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon we landed in front of the house and the people came out because they were suspicious and we just had a very nice conversation with them. They thought it’s not possible. You’re scammers, and we just basically told them we were so sorry for their unfortunate situation, but we’d like to buy their house. And about 12 literally 12 to 18 hours before that thing went to Sheriff sale, we satisfied their tax bill. We had the deed in our name and we gave them cash for keys when they left which we felt like it was a really sweet, just wonderful Win win because they were losing their home anyway, they were packing up they knew they had to leave. They had a place to go. But we were able to give them with some cash and then we had this sweet deal. Which you know, we’ve flipped. We when we were in the midst of talking to them, we just knew that we sort of aligned lined things up properly enough that things Keep coming. So actually, at the time we started talking to them, we did not have the money to pay their taxes, or give them any cash for keys. But what we did was started talking to people who were interested in our journey and what we were doing. And somebody said, I want to be part of this. So they had the cash, we had the deal, and it was, was like when peanut butter and chocolate come together. You got your peanut butter, I got my chocolate, we have an awesome, awesome thing when we put it together.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that what you just said there, although I didn’t know that nuance to that story. That’s actually something I’ve seen you display in other situations, too, which is, we didn’t have the money at at that moment. But it didn’t stop you from, I guess, still looking at the situation and saying, what, what problem needs to be corrected? How could maybe we step in and create some value for somebody here? And then what opportunity would that create for us as a result? And so I love that. So would you say that that mentality kind of comes naturally for you? Or was it very awkward or whatever to say, Well, okay, we’re going to make an offer on this property, even though we don’t have the money yet.

Lisa Sarullo:

I think it’s a little bit of both, but because of my entrepreneurial journey, I had become accustomed to making things happen. So there was a lot of mindset there. And truly, there was really nothing to lose. Because the reality is, is that if the tax sale, day approached, and we didn’t have the money, then it was just going to still go to tax sale. As far as it meant for the person who was the owner of that house, they were going to be moving out and moving into someplace new, no matter what happens. So that sort of allowed me to say, I’m going to do the best that I can to make this happen. But if I don’t succeed on my part of it, I’m not hurting them. As long as I knew that, I wasn’t going to be doing anything detrimental to them. Then I was okay winging it. And you know, I’ve learned from you, Jeff, to that event, a lot of it was a mindset shift, because the old me would say, I don’t have any money. And that’s the most important thing. It isn’t the most important thing. I knew somebody who had money and they didn’t have what I had. I had the deal. I didn’t have money. I you know, they had money, they didn’t have a deal. And so together, we just had a great, you know, a great partnership. And it was really a fantastic win for everybody.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, yeah. Peanut butter and chocolate.

Lisa Sarullo:

You know, I remember that commercial in the 70s. Like that your peanut butter and my chocolate. Wow.

Jeff Stephens:

That’s awesome. So okay, so that gives us a sense for what the middle of May 2021 was like. So now we are here about middle of October 2021. So, about five months later, right? Tell us kind of Where are you now? What have you done since then? Where does it? Where do things stand right now.

Lisa Sarullo:

So we were able to flip our that home and the end of May, we felt very jazzed and excited. We’re like, wow, we really did that. That’s cool. We I started doing some marketing. And actually, I had to started that marketing Jeff back in October. So before I met you, and before you were able to spoil me on the fact that I was doing really cheesy marketing. I mean, I didn’t even realize how cheesy it was until you pointed it out. And it’s not like you said the finger in my face, but he sort of globally heard what you were saying. And I went, Oh, I’m that person. That really doesn’t resonate with me, but I didn’t learn any other way. Um, I didn’t get a ton of response to that. No wonder, right? But I did again, like, I maybe it just was the right timing, or I don’t know a little bit of Beginner’s luck, or just maybe the stars were aligned that day. God said, this guy’s gonna call you even though you’re doing cheesy marketing. But I got a call from a gentleman who turns out he owns 90 properties in the town that we would love to live in. And we would love to invest in because we want to stay close to home. And he told me that he had 90 properties. He was looking to retire. And I pretty much asked him why he called me and he said, usually when I get these postcards, I pick one to call somebody and tell them off and yell at them but you sound really nice. And, you know, I started a relationship with Him. And as you said, I was very much more interested in the person, I knew that the properties were really, they would come, I love getting to know people, and I figured he might have had a thing or two to teach me. I mean, I was happy to be in his presence and hear his story. And so, you know, I spent a lot of time getting to know him. And I think that he took a liking to us, because he told me the first or second time that I spoke to him that some investor that he called, barely even wanted to know his name. And he said, Tell me all the addresses your properties, and he basically loved them and said, lose my number and never want to talk to you again. You know, so that approach was too aggressive for him, somehow he liked my approach. Fast forward to today, we have purchased six of his properties. And he would like to liquidate in, in sort of a rollout, a very large portion of the rest of his portfolio to us. And, again, I don’t know where I’m gonna get 10s of millions of dollars, but I’m not worried about that right now. He likes us and we’re doing a few at a time.

Jeff Stephens:

Yes, exactly. So you I mean, you I feel like you’ve almost positioned yourself as his heir apparent, and that he sees you that way, without you forcing the issue, but just naturally developing a sincere relationship with Him that has helped him see you as kind of the gateway to the next chapter of his life. Right. And and a gateway to continuing to prioritize the things that are that are important to him. Yes. Yeah. So yeah, that’s I mean, I love every time we talk about this bestseller, I just love the whole situation. So I just just on the idea of relationship in general first, would you say that something that comes naturally to you is it’s something you’ve had to work at? I mean, to me, you come across very warm on a very natural level, but warm and comfortable talking to people aren’t necessarily the same thing. So what’s your perspective on yourself in that case,

Lisa Sarullo:

I do very well in small groups, or sort of one on one. And I and I, I learned a lot through my sales career because as I’ve said, I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time, but I learned a lot about asking questions. And I learned a long time ago, it is much more beneficial to be interested versus interesting. Which means Listen, and stop talking. And sometimes when I find myself talking a lot I’ll stop myself and say ask a question. Ask the question. I want the other person to be talking. I love getting to know people. I am a massive introvert. So it’s hard for me to communicate in a big group with a lot of people but one on one it is love. Everybody’s got a story, and I love to learn what it is. So that part comes naturally to me.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah. It’s it’s cool to hear you say that you feel like you’re an introvert because I would definitely say the same thing about myself and I but I don’t I don’t think that’s a liability in this business. I think that actually it can, it can be very helpful in the sense that you’re more inclined to have those more intimate conversations, I think, rather than kind of working in a room sort of have an approach to things.

Lisa Sarullo:

Well, introverts have to be careful in that they because we can become overwhelmed easily, which will then we can start to get cranky and defense. So we had three or four days this past weekend of houseguest family, and it was wonderful, and I loved every minute of it. But I also took a couple naps and stepped away and said to my husband, I’m not upset at anybody but you know that the way that I can recharge to be my best self is to separate myself. So I’m just aware that I have to be thoughtful.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And so this particular seller would you say he Well, I’m not sure if he’s an introvert but like somehow that what you’re doing is pairing well with his you know, style and stuff, right?

Lisa Sarullo:

He’s a massive extrovert and he’s taken us around to have a meal here and there and when we walk in it’s like, you know, norm from cheers the whole place knows I’m and they call out his name when we walk. He’s large and in charge. And I like to just, I just like to learn from him. I asked him stories about his life. I think he’s so interesting. He’s also self made. So that to me is incredibly worthy of listening to and I find it not just fascinating, but I know that I can learn stuff from him.

Jeff Stephens:

So one of the concepts, you know, we talk about a lot in our coaching conversations, it’s maybe even the most central theme kind of in the deals workshop. And we’ve talked about lots of times on this podcast, too, is the idea of solving the person, right? So when you think about this particular seller, who is you know, like, I mean, I keep thinking of, you know, you’re digging a well and like, you just really hit a big vein of there’s a lot of water down there or you’re drilling for oil and holy cow, did we just hit a massive potential gusher? There’s a lot of properties to be bought from this person with the right relationship. Tell us if you would just a little bit about your, I guess your your process and your experience trying to solve the person here? Because I mean, I guess all people are complex to some degree, right. But this person also has got some very, you know, unique, I guess, things that matter to him. And, you know, without getting into specifics and divulging that kind of stuff. Can you just tell us a little bit about your, your experience solving the person and how that’s played in everything?

Lisa Sarullo:

Yes, absolutely. So one of the things that I always do, and mostly because I’m curious, but also because it helps me to solve the person from the very first question. So when anyone calls me, I say what made you call me, you got my letter in the mail, and you dial my phone, why? And they either will tell me something about whatever my approach was, or they will tell me something about themselves. So that’s the beginning of solving the person. So at that very first time that I conversed with him. He told me that he wanted to retire, he wants to have fun, he’s done it for a long time. He’s made a great life for himself. He’s blessed a lot of people, and he was ready. Now, you could potentially end there. Except that that was really not the full story. Because as I started to communicate with him to do real estate transactions with him, I was feeling like we weren’t moving forward in a manner that that satisfied what he said his desire was, and so then you helped me with lots of really good questions for him. But then what I learned is, well, there was more to the story. He didn’t just want to retire. He also had employees that in his mind, if he retired and shut the doors of his business, he would have three people out of a job. So as we started to talk more and I asked more questions, I learned that that was a real issue for him and so then every time that we moved forward with negotiation or proposal I would keep in mind how can I help address the thing that’s important to him? But for sure, I did not know the extra layer the first time that I asked him what he wanted or what would be appealing to him. Yeah.

Jeff Stephens:

I think this is such an unbelievably important point. I love how you said there was there was more to the story and I think there’s almost always more to the story you know so we talked about solving the person and I think it’s really easy to meet a new person start to understand them and then just like I’ve jumped I understand you know, I I’ve done my job I now understand them but the the nuances Well yeah, what they’re Why is what they’re there one thing is what the solution to them is, is almost always so much more nuanced, and and multifaceted and complex and it sort of seems like you know, I think we have these worksheets, you know, the solver the personal worksheets and it’s so easy just get down to that part that says Like, what’s the sellers one big thing and just write you know, money or price but like that’s never it, like we always have to drill down further. And I To me, this is a great example of you drilling down further and then understanding that level and then continuing to drill down further to the point where you, you might understand him better than he understands himself even because like you’re listening with a fresh outside perspective.

Lisa Sarullo:

I would like to think that some of the questions that I asked him were not only providing an answer for me, but maybe they were thought provoking for him. Because when he told me that he did not want to put three people out of a job I thought, well if I find out some crazy way to buy your whole portfolio, maybe I’m going to need them Do I need the services of these three people I wouldn’t be able to do this business by myself. And so when I started to talk to him about some of that some of the answer was yes, some of the answer was no. And then I thought, okay, now when we’re in a yes, I can move in that direction. Okay, let’s get more to Yes. How do we solve your problem, their problem, my problem, but it illuminated is direct. action. And I just love information. I always think you can’t you just can’t have too much information.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, absolutely. And insights too. And maybe that’s my sort of arbitrary distinction between those two. I words, I guess. But yeah, I think that that’s, that’s amazing. I think that that point, I don’t know if I’ve ever really thought about this point in this super conscious way that I’m thinking about it right now, based on what you just said. But that’s such a great point that when you ask questions, it’s not just about a transference of information from them to you. It’s actually helping them process the whole topic themselves. You know, we can even ask questions to lead them in a certain direction to kind of fit ponder things that we can see they’re not pondering yet, or come to conclusions that we know that they can come to, but they just need to some breadcrumbs between where they stand now. And then that conclusion and questions are such a great way to do that. And not just for things we can take notes on, but to actually help them come up with their own thoughts.

Lisa Sarullo:

And I think, Jeff, that, and I’m not a brain scientist, or neuroscientist, but I remember my uncle was doing a PhD in psychology when I was in high school, and he interviewed me and I remembered one of the things that he did, I was like, What is he going to say? Or what are the, you know, how’s it going to train me or teach me something? And he didn’t, he just asked me a bunch of random questions about my life, and then repeated back my answer to me, and then said, Is that accurate? And sometimes I was like, no, that’s not accurate. But he was repeating back to me exactly what I said, which made me think, wait a second, that’s not what I mean, or that sounds like what I said, but I don’t really think that. So just that exercise was really something that made me think about what I was saying. And I feel like it helps people to really think I just said this, but what I really mean,

Jeff Stephens:

yeah. Oh, absolutely. That’s such a beautiful point. I love that. So these conversations, we have relationally it really helps both sides. Yes, you know, process all the topic and explore the all the angles, I guess. So I wanted to ask you about creative financing, and deal structuring and seller financing, right. So again, sort of, ostensibly, what we talked about a lot in coaching and the deals workshop is, is seller financing. But to me seller financing is really an extension of relationship, right? And I guess I know that, you know, you’ve you’ve had the opportunity to bring in some creative deal structure options with this seller, even with other sellers, you’re you’re talking to and negotiating with and I guess I was wondering if we could kind of talk about how you see the intersection of relationship and that approach to negotiation with seller financing, and creative financing as well, right. So I’m guessing, I’m guessing that you probably don’t feel like you could just walk in cold off the street with someone you didn’t know, and then have those types of deal structuring conversations that you have been able to have here.

Lisa Sarullo:

That’s true, but it would also probably be inappropriate from what I’ve learned from you, right? Because I couldn’t propose seller financing. Unless I knew that that was in the best interest of the seller. And I don’t know anything about them yet until we’ve had a full on conversation. So I don’t really necessarily approach it and just say, let’s see if I can convince somebody to do this. Because then that would just be about me, and it might just be inappropriate for the seller.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So you had the situation where you were closing, you’re preparing to close on four of the properties from the seller, right? And you had your financing lined up. And then there were some surprises that came up with your with your financing expected financing plan, right. And it was because of your relationship with the seller that you were able to navigate that a little bit. You know, kind of again, without divulging unnecessary details. Can you tell us just a little bit about how that played out and how because I’m guessing I was feeling I just say from the coach’s perspective, like I was thinking to myself, I’m really glad Lisa has got a relationship capital bank account that’s full of deposits coming into this little hiccup that could otherwise have derailed, you know, a deal for other types of investors as well. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Lisa Sarullo:

Yes. So we did run into a snag and then I called Jeff and Jeff said calm down. So what happened was, the lender was happy to have the seller have a piece seller financing and the deal. But at the last minute, they told me that they would not allow us to collateralize that financing with the properties we were buying. And that was really a big deal at the last minute, because where else was I going to do it? And so we had a conversation presented to him, just it being Oh, you know, these, you know how these things are. And we, we came forward in a non panicked manner, thanks to your coaching. And he suggested we just put it somewhere else, we just move it somewhere else. And I was able to look at some of the other things that I had that I could I could do that it Truthfully, I did look at him, I felt like our relationship was that solid at that point that I said, why don’t we just write out the lender? You know, and how would you be the bank? And you know, what I have to tell you, Jeff, is I think that we’re moving in that direction for the ones that we’re moving forward on. But because I learned so much, remember the conversation we had a minute ago about what he needed to do and what he wanted to do, he had a real specific purpose for that cash that he was going to get when we closed. And he really went in a direction that is going to secure the taking care of those three people that he cares about. And I was so happy to be a part of that. But I also knew that he wasn’t saying no to us because of not trusting us or whatever. So yeah, we pivoted at the last minute. And we I mean, he would have even been willing to move a closing date if we had to, I’m glad we get in. Because I really think we showed to him that we did what we said we were going to do, we bought four on the same day. And we had purchased two from him two weeks before that. So I wanted to show that I was a trustworthy person. And when I said I was going to do something I would. And I’m glad that it worked out that way. But we definitely pivoted last minute, we had to move his collateral elsewhere. And he was totally okay with that. He he’s, he was fine. And I just thought this is amazing. This is this. You don’t do this with somebody that you send a postcard to, and then they call you and and this happens over one conversation. This was a relationship of months in the works.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, absolutely. I just picture like kind of people who are maybe doing real estate investing in a more, quote, normal way. If they had gotten that call from the lender, like you got that day that said, hey, yeah, I know, we said, you know, there could be a small seller carry back, but that’s actually not going to work. That would have been like a fatal call like that the whole thing would have fallen apart. They wouldn’t have known what to do, there would have been Yeah, no deposit, there might not even have been really a relationship capital account with any deposits in it. But you were able to handle that very, very definitely. Because you kind of like there’s this expression, dig your Well, before you’re thirsty. I think there’s actually a sales book on that. But you had been digging your Well, not even knowing you’re gonna be thirsty in a moment or need to use it. But it was good that you had that. And then the thing I think is just amazing about these types of situations overall is, in many ways, like, I would say that that call that you got that day, while it seemed like a problem at the moment in the moment actually strengthened your relationship with your seller and has set you up for even better situations and financing structures and stuff with them in the future. Would you agree with that?

Lisa Sarullo:

I would love to think so. And I I think we’ve solidified our relationship. And then you pointed out to me that you thought it was pretty solid even up until the point that we were prior to closing. But I think even more so after closing as well sort of a little bit on each side. That we not only truly developed a relationship with Him, we would have meals with him we would talk about life and things, not just sharks to get the property as soon as we could. But we also did put our money where our mouth Well, you know, we we made it happen. We said we were going to buy these six things on this day and it he watched us overcome a glitch and we did it. And so I think that that gives us credibility. So maybe the real answer to your question is we established the likeability we established the we like you you like us, we’re we’re gonna develop this relationship, but then also credibility, like we’re not messing around either. We’ve got resources we’re putting them to use and we’re creative. And we’re gonna make it happen. Yeah. Yeah, I was proud of us for that.

Jeff Stephens:

Oh my gosh, absolutely. As as was I, and it’s so interesting, I think to just ponder sometimes it is such a big mindset shift. And it’s not easy, it’s certainly not easy for me. But thinking about that call that you got that day was actually a good thing. And in the moment, it felt like a semi disaster, right? Like, oh my gosh, this thing’s gonna, this is going to tank the deal, what a problem. But actually, when spun in a different way, when thought of in a different mindset, different paradigm is actually a really good thing for you overall. So that’s, that is so cool. So you just, you kind of talked about credibility there. And you know, you’ve performed now with this seller on multiple transactions. And so that brings to me like another concept that you and I’ve talked about a little bit, which is, I would say, proof of concept. So now you have, like, there’s a lot of players in your story that are seeing what’s happening, and they’re seeing it work. Number one, you you’re seeing is you’re you’re getting proof of concept for yourself, this seller, who has the ability to sell you a lot more properties, you know, as proof of concept. You’ve had other people in your world kind of feel Hey, what do you what are you guys doing over there? It looks exciting. Can I get involved? Right? So I, I feel like there’s this back to my headline at the beginning, you know, snowballing momentum that inspires everybody watching, I can tell you, it inspires me watching. I know, it inspires other people in the deals workshop, who are watching your progress, but it’s also inspiring, you know, people, excuse me, in your community, family members, and things like that, who now are taking notice and wanting to get involved? So can you tell us just a little bit about like, some of the other stuff not related to the seller that’s like, wow, opportunities coming my way? And I think you know, what I’m referring to, if you wouldn’t mind speaking to that a little bit?

Lisa Sarullo:

Yeah. Well, we, my husband and I were early on, when we first did our education, and we’re like, we’re gonna do this. And we started some telling some people close to us, and we didn’t, we got mixed reviews, let’s just put it that way. We got some people who were very excited for us. Other people told us they weren’t bailing us out of jail, because we might be trying to do something illegal. Because of course, they’ve never heard of seller financing. So that means it can’t be done, or it’s illegal. We had other people who told us we were crazy. And then finally Mike and I looked at each other and said, Enough sharing with people who do not share a similar mindset, it is not my job to convince people that what we’re doing works or is a good idea for us. And frankly, Jeff, the other thing that I started to do was think is part of the reason why we’re doing that is because we want others affirmation. I want to have my own affirmation. And so therefore, I’m not going to seek opinion and approval, except from the people who have walked the journey, who I would consider a mentor or a teacher or a colleague. And so we sort of shifted mentally a little bit, and then we just started having some fun. My, my husband is our contractor. And that happened in June, sort of accidentally. I mean, he, he had a parting of ways with his employer, which was mutual. And then at that point, it was okay, maybe we should do that part of it. For real. We both we were already into it. But we were hiring outside contractors somewhat, because my husband had a full time job, even though he was capable of doing a lot of the work. So now we moved into the part where we’re going to do this and so he actually started his own business recently. Monroe Mike, he’s our contractor. And then we have our, our other company that we’re doing the acquisition and our rental portfolio. So we are, we’ve moved forward and then just because you social media is everywhere, and I was somewhat comfortable with it in the pandemic, I with my other business, how to get very comfortable with social media. So I said, let’s just do a Facebook page and invite all of our friends and show them the fun stuff that’s happening or show us like standing in a hole with spiders everywhere, like silly names, whatever. So we were just kind of having fun, like, Hey, everybody, look what we’re doing. And then we started to get people curious. They started asking us what’s going on. So it was more like we were attracting people rather than hunting for that. Is that a good way to put it

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, I think that’s a great way to put it. That’s been kind of how I’ve felt about observing what’s been going on too. And I know you know, some people believe in the the idea that like the universe brings you what you focus on and what you want. But I am one of those people. I do believe in that. But I think also just on a very practical level to you decided to make it clear to the to the people in your world, here’s what we’re doing. And you, you, like you said, You got some feedback that made you focus maybe who you were sharing that with a little bit more. But one of the words I think feels like comes to mind when I think about what you’re doing, and actually when I think about something that my coach has sort of said to me in the past, I’m not sure I’ve really mastered this, but I think you are developing a mystique about you. I think there are people in your world are looking at you going, how are you guys doing this? Right? Which they are saying that? Yes. Which is awesome, right? And you don’t have to reveal your all your your magic ways. But the point is, you like you are the peanut butter to their chocolate. And they’re like, wow, I wish I could have some of those results. But I don’t know how I don’t really need to know how but how can I get involved in what you’re doing? Right?

Lisa Sarullo:

That is happening. And it feels so much better than the alternative, which is what we started out with. But in fact, when going back to that first flip that we did, my husband did a walkthrough of that house that needed a full renovation. And you know, this was the one that was the tax sale. And so we were just casually sitting with a friend. And he said, Well, here’s the deal. You guys know, we did our education, we made this relationship, I got to close on this house in two weeks, I don’t know what we’re going to do if in order for us to get it and save it from tax sale and have it be ours. We need to find somebody who wants to invest in us. So if you know anybody, and he literally looked at us and said that person is me. And and we said really. And so that’s really how that happens. You know, we didn’t start knocking on doors. And we’re calling all of our friends or sending out a mass email saying, Hey, who wants in, and it felt better that way. But we are beginning to really put opportunities out there for people that are close to us and friends of friends and that kind of thing. And they’re coming to us and telling us exactly what you said, I have money, and I don’t have an opportunity. What have you got going on? Could you put some of my money to work? And I’m thinking Yes, like, Yes, I can.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah. So what? I think for a lot of people, this would be quite a mindset shift for them as well, right? I think for most of us, including, I mean, including me that I’m consciously always working on this so that it’s not a problem. But I think for a lot of people money access to money seems like a heavy topic is scarcity, right? There’s not enough, I can’t get my hands on what I need. Yet here you are experiencing people like almost starting to throw money at you. So how has that shifted your belief system or mindset just about the whole topic.

Lisa Sarullo:

That was a rough one for me, Jeff, because I do remember in the beginning that Mike and I were figuring out how to craft like these really creative proposals and just I’m going to say I’m going to be bold enough to say if felt kind of desperate, I need money. And so I’ll go back to my peanut butter and chocolate reference. And you taught me this with the cookie reference. Um, Reese’s peanut butter cups are my favorite, favorite candy. And it is not a peanut butter cup without peanut butter and chocolate. It’s it’s both. And you really helped me and I found myself saying it out loud to my husband. We have chocolate, we need peanut butter. Because truly, when people with money have said to us, where are you finding these deals? There aren’t any deals to be had right now in this market. There’s nothing out there. I mean, you know, all the things that people say, because we’re living in very time of a very hot market right now. And that’s what people say. So why is what I have any less valuable than the cash? It’s not it’s equal. We need one another just like my, my peanut butter cup is chocolate and peanut butter. It’s not one or the other. And one is not more important than the other. They need each other.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah. Yeah. So you have a higher level of confidence than you did a few months ago that you are. When you bring an opportunity to somebody you’re actually bringing them an opportunity, not a request or not sort of had in hand. Oh gosh. I’m lacking In this thing, please help me. It’s much more of like, I’ve got something that I think could be valuable for you. And I know that what you have could be valuable for me in this thing, maybe, you know, maybe there’s a one plus one equals three situation here.

Lisa Sarullo:

Yes. And I’m not trying to be arrogant at all, I mean, the confidence that you’re talking about is just sort of stepping up from a place of a minimum mindset into an abundance mindset. And just being on equal terms, as you illustrated earlier, it’s common to hear, oh my gosh, the money is the hardest thing where it’s the most elusive thing it isn’t. It’s just one of the ingredients, I have an ingredient and somebody else has a different ingredient. And so I believe me, I had to hear myself say it, to believe it. So it was definitely I don’t even want to call it a faking it before you make it kind of thing. But I had to affirm it and speak it until it became regular language and a real thought.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, yeah. Beautiful. That is such an important thing. And I find just, at least in my own experience, it’s, I know that in my head, but I have to the part that I have to keep working on is making sure that it’s goes from my head to my heart that I really believe in it, because I know this to be true. But I can’t say that I wake up every day and spring out of bed with this like enormous confidence, like oh, everybody, the world of money needs everything I have to give you know, I have to remind myself of that. And, and but it’s such an important thing to be able to do. One other thing that I’ve noticed that I think is really cool is that here you are, you’ve got you know, you’ve got a whale on the line, right? You put your fish in the or you’re hooking the water, like a whale like is, you know, dozens and dozens of potential properties you could buy. But that didn’t stop you from continuing to market and have conversations with other sellers as well. So I guess the question for you is like, why did did that even cross your mind? Why didn’t you just say, Oh, I’m good enough. I’ve got this guy’s and he’s good for a whole bunch of deals. Why have you continued to do that? Because I think it’s great that you have,

Lisa Sarullo:

you know what, there’s been times where I’ve been prepping my marketing for the week. And I’m like, why am I spending time on this? I have all this other opportunity that and I said, Stop, keep going and doing what you’re doing. I had a mentor, oh my gosh, 20 years ago. And she said to me, it ain’t over until you can see the headlights pulling out of the drive. Like, yeah, like you said, I have a whale, but it’s only on my hook. I didn’t reel it in yet. So there’s just absolutely no reason for me to stop moving in that other direction, as long as that other direction doesn’t sacrifice the time that is necessary to keep a relationship with this person. But yeah, there’s no reason to stop.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, yeah, that’s cool. So, you know, sometimes I think when we are looking at ourselves, we don’t see the transformation that we’ve undergone the same, the same way other people can, right. And you and I have known each other for a few months. But I think your transformation started even before that. So if you were to reflect back on, say the last, I don’t know, maybe call it nine months or something like that. What is something in your belief system that you feel like has evolved or transformed during that time?

Lisa Sarullo:

I’m going to go back to what I said earlier about, if it’s been done, it is doable. Because I think a lot of times people will evaluate whether something can win them or whether they can do something, or achieve something or be something based on the resources that they have available. So if they were to take a self inventory, it’s like, well, I’m lacking these pieces. Well, they’re out there or you just connect with the people that have done it. That is where I’ve stepped up. I believe that I will find the people I need to align with when I need to align with them. Because I think I remember saying to you the other day that I have another belief that I’ve learned that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. So I don’t need to know everything right now. I just know that if it has been done, it is doable. So the only limit that I have right now is what I might think I ought to do or what’s next. Actually one of our friends the other day asked us because I actually have a journal here that months ago I sketched out and I’m terrible at drawing but I know journaling is the thing to do. I just sort of started sketching out like our company was in the middle of my husband’s offshoot company was on you know, branching off from that I had arrows in every direction. And I started to look at it. This was like the most To pull your plan, and all of a sudden these things are materializing. So I had a friend who said to us just this past weekend, so it looks like you’re getting there really quickly, are you gonna elaborate on that plan? And immediately he and I both said at the same time, yes. And we stood up to other high five, because he’s an entrepreneur also. But I thought, This is so cool. Just keep going. And I don’t know what I’m going to need to have in place. I just know that when I needed it’s going to be available, because it’s been done before.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah. That’s great. I love that. It’s such a great quote. Okay, so to wrap things up, I want to just ask you a question that I know, everybody listening kind of wants to know. But is it live on this call right now to ask, so I’d like to be their voice and just simply ask if a person wants to be able to experience some of the same amazing growth and transformation that you have, in the last, you know, year, nine months, five months, what’s your kind of number one, like best piece of advice that you could give somebody to focus on.

Lisa Sarullo:

Um, you become like, the five people that you affiliate with the most. And so I think it’s important to take a personal inventory. And, you know, it’s, you’ve heard everybody who’s ever said that quote, and talk about, you know, you’re not divorcing people and migrating people out of your life. But when you are looking to have people weigh in, on what you’re doing, or where you’re going, just make sure that you’re listening to people and aligning to people who you trade places with. Because you know, Jeff, some of those people who told my husband and I, we were crazy. I’m like, why are they getting my life is not a committee vote. I started saying to that to some of my friends, this, my life is what I decide and what my husband decides we, but we did put it out to committee vote, which is why we got squashed a little bit. So it was good. We had that experience. But I reeled that back in, it’s not open for committee vote. And I will just align myself with people who are where I want to be.

Jeff Stephens:

Yeah, gosh, great, great, great advice. And I think, you know, we’ve we’ve heard that expression before, but sometimes I don’t know sometimes I think we just hear things, but we don’t necessarily totally embody it. So to me, so many of these lessons are not, they’re not binary, like you don’t just learn that one Check, check, check. I think these are things we have to keep revisiting right. And as you uplevel there’s a chance for there’s an opportunity for you to ask yourself that same question, right? Again, like you, you might uplevel and say, Okay, I want to start spending more time with people with $10 million networks. And so then what’s that ongoing process like? So I think you’re really set up with the right mentality to just continue to ask yourself that question at each point and, and really serve yourself well like that.

Lisa Sarullo:

Level up. I love that. I definitely love that I could tell you a quick personal story about a years ago, probably 10 years ago, I decided I was going to run a half marathon. And I couldn’t even run a half a mile when I made that decision. But I wanted to do something that was seemingly, really like on the verge of impossible for me, but yet, maybe part of me, Jeff was, well, if it’s been done, it’s doable, right? Because there’s been plenty of people to run a half marathon. And so what I did was I downloaded this half marathon training schedule. It was 20 weeks long, and I had about that much time prior to the the event that I was going to sign up for. And I said, Well, if you looked at week seven, you know it was like run eight miles on like, how am I going to do that? Well, I’m not on week seven yet. I’m on week one. And I posted that on the bulletin board and just crossed off every day that I did what I did and 20 weeks later, I ran 13.1 miles and I was so elated because that was just so many great life lessons. But just in terms of the mindset, it was, you know, I do not need to be looking at week seven, eight or nine. I’m on week one and I’m just going to do that. So one foot in front of the other the whole way.

Jeff Stephens:

Absolutely. That is the perfect cherry on top of this conversation. Thank you so much for joining me here. Like I said it’s just it’s an honor to have you on here to talk about this stuff and such a pleasure to get to work with you and you just exactly in my mind like the model of what what I want everybody I get to work with to to accomplish and strive to be and I’m just so excited about the path you’re on. Thank you for letting me be part of it, too.

Lisa Sarullo:

Thank you for partnering with me on it. It’s been a great pleasure.

So there you have it, my conversation with my coaching client, Lisa. And I think you can tell from this conversation, she’s just such a nice warm person that is using her natural talents in a very strategic and very appropriate and very authentic way to go out into the world and develop relationships and listen to people and I love just what she said about the idea of being more interested and being interesting and so many great notes that I took throughout this conversation. And I hope that you got as much out of that as I did as well.

That’s it for today’s episode of racking up rental. Again, show notes for today’s episode our thoughtfulre.com/e127. Please do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button in the podcast app and rate and review the show. Did you know we have a Facebook group for thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs too? It’s called Rental Portfolio Wealth Builders. We’d love to have you join us over there. Just go to group.thoughtfulre.com and the magic of the internet will take you right to that page and you can hit the Join button. If you liked this episode, please take a screenshot and post that to Instagram and tag us we are @thoughtfulrealestate.

I will see you in the next episode. Until then. This is Jeff from the thoughtful real estate entrepreneur signing off.

Thanks for listening to Racking Up Rentals where we build long term wealth by being a win-win deal makers. Remember solve the person to unlock the deal and solve the financing to unlock the profits.

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