Fitting Work Around Life with Tarl and Grace Yarber

Published: Aug 19, 2020

Tarl and Grace Yarber discuss putting their life goals first with Steve and Alex in Nashville attending the Bigger Pockets Convention 2019.

Fixated Real Estate (Tarl and Grace) is a Seattle, WA based real estate investment company specializing in volume fix and flip, buy and hold, and BRRR single-family properties throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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Full transcript

Alex Osenenko: Boys and girls, welcome to another episode of the Myndful Investor Podcast Show, Steve and Alex here. Very excited. On the show, we have a phenomenal guests line up. We went to Nashville.

Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, BiggerPockets Convention.Alex Osenenko: BiggerPockets Conference. Those of you… If you are on Investors World and you don’t know who BiggerPockets is you’re not really serious.
Steve Rozenberg: You’re not in Investors World.
Alex Osenenko: Yeah, you’re not serious about it.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, not at all.
Alex Osenenko: BiggerPockets is a community. Enough said, everybody should know that name. Millions of people do in fact. But we had the interview with your friends.
Steve Rozenberg: Yes, Tarl and Grace Yarber.
Alex Osenenko: One of the key takeaways I had from the interview experience was how to operate as husband and wife. How do we separate the work, how to be passionate, enjoy the work, but don’t… Find a way not to butt heads, find a way not to dominate the other person. It’s real true partnership. To me that was fascinating because my wife and I worked together in a previous company and we still may work together. We are in a similar business, right?
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Alex Osenenko: In marketing, broadcasting and stuff like that.
Steve Rozenberg: I think what you’re going to take away from this is, number one, how they can assign-
Alex Osenenko: That’s number two by the way. I know, I just gave number one.
Steve Rozenberg: Okay, so number two. But mine’s number one for me. You’re going to learn how they, as Alex said, how they operate together on work, on their strengths. But more importantly, the thing that you’re really going to take away from this is the fact that they have their life first and they have their business wrap around their life. Most of us do it the other way around. They’re very cognizant of that. They take over a hundred days a year of vacation, they’re very, very successful in the real estate industry, they have fixated on real estate group, and they have a huge events company. They do these huge expos on top of everything else. I mean, they’re like the dynamic couple man.
Alex Osenenko: Without further ado, let’s get into the show. Here we go.
Steve Rozenberg: All right, we’re here at BiggerPockets and one of the best things about coming to these conferences is you get to hang out with some amazing like minded people, and I get to talk to my very good friends that I’ve known for years. We talk real estate, we all know real estate, we’re involved in it. Tarl and Grace had been a… They’ve been a huge impact for me, we’ve been great friends. I’ve spoken at their conferences in the Pacific Northwest. Very good friends. Guys, thanks for being here today. I just enjoy every time the energy of you guys. It’s really cool. I really appreciate you guys always blessing me with your day. I guess I…
Tarl Yarber: Well, it’s almost like we’re the best thing that ever happened to you.
Steve Rozenberg: You are the best thing that ever happened to me.
Alex Osenenko: As for me, I don’t know Tarl and Grace at all, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about them. As our audience, they’re probably sitting on the edges of their chairs now figuring out, “What is this episode going to be about?” What it’s going to be about is this. You guys seem to be a power couple, they say, but you work together. This is interesting. You probably had jobs in the past, you quit those jobs and you decided to do business, decided to do it together. You’re doing it well and you seem like at least tolerate each other. Which is obviously-
Steve Rozenberg: At least for this episode.
Alex Osenenko: No, but you seem like you’re really into each other, which is awesome. So maybe other couples out there can learn from you. We want to sort of explore that out.
Steve Rozenberg: Let’s just start. You guys are in the Seattle area, Pacific Northwest, and you guys have different avenues that you do, right?
Tarl Yarber: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Steve Rozenberg: You guys do… Well, are you doing the flipping and rehabbing or what do you guys actually doing now at this point?
Tarl Yarber: Right now we’re still focused on single family, fixed and flipped with an emphasis on keeping them at the end. We do a lot of what’s the birth strategy. Buy it, rehab it, rent it, refinance it, repeat. We haven’t changed much in our business model over the years. We’ve done little close to 600 flips so far, but at the end of the day, over the last two years, we’ve been keeping more and more of them. It’s basically, instead of selling it at the end, we just refinance it and keep it as a rental. It’s a different strategy for us, but we’re actually doing less volume than ever because we decided to live a more lifestyle business. So we travel a lot for the last two years.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah. You guys are everywhere. But before we talk about the lifestyle, what was the reason that you guys went from the selling to the keeping it holding?
Tarl Yarber: Well, ultimately, we both have our different reasons. But ultimately I was working a ton running the company, Grace was a C level at a tech company and she was working with them. We just got to a point in our lives where we were just going different paths and all we… If you ever asked us what we wanted in our lives at that moment, it was just to be together as much as possible. I, at that point, realized I was doing real estate for no other reason just to do real estate and just make money. I’m like, “What can we do to change our lives? What can we do to change our path so we can actually live a happy life, where we actually enjoy each other’s company and go be together all the time?” We sat down over the course of a few weekends and we figured out what we really wanted out of life. It wasn’t much the financial side, it was more the experiences and life side. We made a plan then for…
At that point, Grace to quit her job and then… Well, it was only like, two weeks later. She went full-time in the business but with an emphasis that we would actually reduce her volume, go straight passive as much as possible and then go live our life every day more in the travel aspect and fun aspect. I mean, you don’t need to make a lot of money to be able to live the life that you really want for most people.
Steve Rozenberg: Sure.
Grace Yarber: If I may, I thought if I can add to Tarl’s thing. We really have that why reasoning to… Some investors that I began networking when I came to real estate about four years ago when Tarl and I, we started getting together as a couple. A lot of people, I think, have association saying like, “Hey, W2 job is bad.” Investments are good. I think I want to emphasize this. Whatever that is, your end goal, whatever where you’re headed, I think that’s what important is for couple or an individual to emphasize what that is, right?
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Grace Yarber: Versus being like, oh no. You have to quit W2 job in order to be happy and to really have that end game. I think what it was to us in our relationship, it was like a little bit delayed because I was actually happy with what I did. I was challenged at the job because I get bored so fast in any activity that I do. I was working for a software company and I was actually enjoying. Then people used to ask me, “When are you quitting?” I’m like, “Why would you would I want to quit?” They say, “Because your wife Tarl Yarber. You guys do investments.”
Steve Rozenberg: You’re the wife of.
Grace Yarber: Yes. But I can still part-time manage our rentals while I’m being very fulfilled in my full-time job. But then it was like a big aha moment and be like, “Okay.” We merged our… Like two separate people together as a couple in marriage that all we want is just to be together.
Steve Rozenberg: Right.
Grace Yarber: That was the ultimate an answer to us. We’re like, “Wait.” Okay, even I enjoy my life as in W2 job, plus the investments, but the wake up call was like life is yucky and sticking, right? Will we be happy a year or two years from now if our day-to-day life how it is today. That was a thing, that ticking point. I’m like, “As much as happy as I am, my top priority is to be together.” I said, “We have to plan exit strategy how do I get out of my job.”
Steve Rozenberg: Wow.
Grace Yarber: That’s my [inaudible 00:07:41].
Tarl Yarber: And everyday since then we’ve been together. Everyday except when you went to Europe for three weeks with your mom.
Grace Yarber: That’s right.
Tarl Yarber: And I went to Mexico with Buddy and [Stach 00:07:49]. But other than that, for the last two years we’ve been together every day.
Alex Osenenko: That is fascinating. You’re setting as a company would set these large goals, these five year goals. As a family you got together. I just listened recently to one of Tim Ferriss’, I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss and his podcast. Yet I can’t remember… I’m terrible with names. But the guest was talking about this family planning same as business, same level what you guys just did. That fascinated me. You’ve done this. Takeaway’s number one, sit down with your significant other and decide what matters to you most. It could be the W2 job. Could be, or it could… You just decide to do-
Grace Yarber: Or it could be a business partner. It could be anyone that you work with. Like, what is your end game? What is important to you?
Tarl Yarber: The key factor for us was a moment at the end of 2017, where I’d come to a crossroads on a lot of our business. I was burning out and Grace was… Grace and I wanted to be more together. But it wasn’t until a buddy of ours named Stach, that we really, really, really respect, very, very successful. He had transformed his entire life to be more of a lifestyle as well, but he had said something like… You hear statements in personal development, business and if you’re not ready for that statement, you just kind of pass on with your life. Whatever rate you don’t hear it.
Grace Yarber: So true.
Tarl Yarber: It was at a moment in October, 2017, where he’s like, “The problem is most people plan out their entire business, design their entire business and have a plan for that and then whatever’s left over, they put their life into that.” So they plan their life around their business versus-
Alex Osenenko: Sounds familiar.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, think we all do that.
Tarl Yarber: He’s like, “It’s so easy.” He was like, “Why don’t you plan out what you want in your life first and figure out what do you want your life to look like and when do you want your life to be, and then go plan that out and whatever’s left over, make your business fit that.” And I’m like [crosstalk 00:09:43].
Alex Osenenko: Profiling.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, it is.
Tarl Yarber: Make your business fit the life that you want? I’m like-
Steve Rozenberg: Is that possible?
Tarl Yarber: As soon as he said it, I’m like, “I could do that. We could easily do that actually. Why aren’t we doing that?” That’s what lead to us sitting down over a few weekends.
Grace Yarber: That was… Yeah.
Tarl Yarber: We designed everything we wanted and now we actually live like… There’s a bit of times where, be careful what you ask for too because we planned out exactly what we wanted and then, I remember four, five months later, we lived everything we wrote out and we were bitching about it. Because we were like, “We got this to do. We have to… Oh my God, we have to do this now. Now we have to go there, we have to do that.”
Grace Yarber: As in we have to-
Tarl Yarber: I’m like, “Wait a second.”
Alex Osenenko: This is not a to-do-list?
Tarl Yarber: Yeah.
Steve Rozenberg: What is the point?
Tarl Yarber: But this is exactly what we wanted.
Grace Yarber: It’s like coming to for actions. There was the recognition and awareness, that mindset.
Tarl Yarber: We started laughing about it too. We’re like, “All right, we need to chill out.” Let this [inaudible 00:10:31].
Grace Yarber: To me, that to embraces and be much happier even though we were having so many things in business successfully happening. Everything we wrote on [inaudible 00:10:40].
Steve Rozenberg: Now you guys, before you we’re saying, you guys traveled so much that you’re kind of tired of traveling, right?
Tarl Yarber: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Grace Yarber: That’s right.
Steve Rozenberg: Pair that back a little bit.
Tarl Yarber: Over the last two years, last year, 2018, we traveled 102 days, pretty much all for fun. Then this year we’re on track for… We’re at 89 right now. We’ll be at 127 by the end of the year. Based on-
Alex Osenenko: 127 what?
Tarl Yarber: Days.
Steve Rozenberg: Days.
Alex Osenenko: Oh wow. Okay, days a year.
Tarl Yarber: Days of the year.
Steve Rozenberg: Let me ask you this, how do you guys… For people that are married and they want to get to where you guys are at, what advice would you give a married couple that, let’s say they’re both W2’s and they’re like, “Man, I want to start my own business.” Whether it’s real estate or not. Real estate is just the product of what you guys are doing, but there’s still the marriage of you guys coming together and having that conversation. Where do couples even have that initial conversation to realize that they’ve got to take a step further?
Grace Yarber: I think the most important thing is like, a lot of people get attracted by the highlights, by the HD TV. That’s how you flip the house fast, right?
Steve Rozenberg: Yes.
Grace Yarber: It’s really just being true to yourself and allowing that space to really think for yourself and then bring in that significant other. Whether it’s your business partners or a spouse, in our case.
Steve Rozenberg: Sure.
Grace Yarber: I think that’s super, super important. We even met one couple in Seattle, very successful jobs, but they were just very attracted to investments and they have a capital. They want to be investors but then you start challenging them. Be like, “You guys are doing so well what you already do. What is your why?
Steve Rozenberg: Right.
Grace Yarber: Why you even want to do that, right?
Steve Rozenberg: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Grace Yarber: Do you want to be a passive investor? Do you want to give your money to syndication? It could be any of the exit strategy. I think that’s a number one thing. Then, it’s really finding out, do both of you need to be in a business, right?
Steve Rozenberg: Sure.
Grace Yarber: It could be just one really taking charge and just leading the way.
Tarl Yarber: And what are your strengths?
Grace Yarber: Strengths and weaknesses.
Tarl Yarber: Absolutely. The big thing for us, what makes us work well as a couple is that we have very clearly defined lanes. When Grace was going to quit her job, she was just like, “I am not coming to work for you. It was business.”
Grace Yarber: Oh, before we planned on the exit strategy I’m like, “I’m not leaving my job.” Because I’ve seen that and I think a lot of couples can relate to that.
Steve Rozenberg: Right, then it gets to resentment and that’s, yeah.
Grace Yarber: Yeah. My marriage is my number one thing, I don’t want to create a challenge so that we are no longer even friends, right?
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Tarl Yarber: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Grace Yarber: That was a big, big wake up.
Tarl Yarber: I’m very, very, very fortunate to have a wife like Grace that can sit there and like… It’s challenging for some people to turn off the work mode and be husband and wife mode. For whatever reason I’m able to switch like, “Oh no, you’re my wife now. Now you’re my business partner. Now you’re my wife, now you’re my business partner.” Grace is very good at that too.
Grace Yarber: I’m getting better.
Tarl Yarber: She’s getting better everyday.
Grace Yarber: I’m more business-like, I get so driven. I’m like, “Oh, let’s just go and do this too.” I get very fired up.
Tarl Yarber: Yeah, we’re able to sit there and talk to each other and be like, “Hey, can we be husband and wife right now?”
Alex Osenenko: Guys, I mean, this is fantastic. This is, I think, a very advanced kind of tactics and strategies for families, or for husband and wife, for couples to plan. I want to get to the grind. I want to understand how you got here. This is a privileged spot to be able to plan these kinds of things and have you exited the C level job and probably… It’s not like you were making minimum wage. I mean, there was a… We have to replace that income or at least decide to live with less of an income. I want to understand the grind. Guys, give me some of the stuff here you grind through to get to that point.
Tarl Yarber: Okay. How about flipping 600 houses [crosstalk 00:14:23]?
Alex Osenenko: I have a question follow up, flipping 600 houses. Yeah, that’s a lot of work. How big is your team?
Tarl Yarber: Oh, right now?
Alex Osenenko: Well let’s go… Yeah, let’s go [crosstalk 00:14:33] progressively.
Steve Rozenberg: Let’s talk about how we got there then they pair down to be more strategic.
Tarl Yarber: The story though, truth be told, is like… Most of the story though is my story coming into it. Then Grace and I, when we got together, she met me when I was in the thick of a lot of stuff. Then she already had… She was a very independent woman. She already had her career. She’s like, “That’s great.” I’m like, “Cool, I got my thing, you got your thing.”
Grace Yarber: I’m like, “You do Tarl, I do me and then we’re very happy.” But then it was like the number of hours limited every day.
Tarl Yarber: She has her story when it comes to getting into real estate. But it started with… Basically, in a nutshell, there’s a lot of story here, but the short story portion of it is full-time in 2012 in real estate. I never did just my first flip, there was never that story. It was like our first eight and six or whatever. It just went. I was a partner in a service area management company for Fannie Mae based out of Phoenix, and I was living in Washington. I started running the Washington area for them. We started just doing a bunch of REO, REO fixers for Fannie Mae so that they would get them ready for listings for the REO agents during… Just tons of REOs at every grade. We started opening up in multiple states and we got to a point where we’re in seven states and I was flying around the entire US just opening up these markets. Because I wasn’t married, I didn’t have kids and I was really, really good at networking. I can fly into an area and open up.
Grace Yarber: You’re still good.
Tarl Yarber: Yeah, still good.
Steve Rozenberg: Still good.
Grace Yarber: He’s like a [inaudible 00:16:03].
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Tarl Yarber: We were building all these relationships with all of the top real estate brokers in all the different states for REO. All the Fannie Mae, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, all the different ones out there. We were [inaudible 00:16:16] when and we were building all these relationships. Then we had all these contractors that we would have anywhere. In any state, we’d have 20 or 30 general contractors that were underneath our license to be able to work with Fannie Mae. We had all these boots on the ground, we had all these systems and then we just, me and my partners at the time, said, “Why aren’t we flipping any houses?”Then we just started buying houses but we didn’t understand how to raise capital. So we are giving away 80% of the equity to people and splitting it three ways, the 20% three ways thinking it’s cool. Because money was hard to get. We just kind of stumbled to this whole system of just buying all these properties in different states and that grew and grew and grew.
Then in 2014 in February we had a business partnership fallout. Where the other two business partners that were in the new entity, which was for flipping houses, pretty much, for lack of a better word, backstabbed me. It felt like two brothers that I’m like, “I’m going to go to war with forever.”
Steve Rozenberg: Yes.
Tarl Yarber: I was the naïve one apparently. It just… It rocked my world big time and it made me to where I’d never want to do real estate again. We had already done a hundreds of properties by them. It is a very short, condensed period of time. We would just go in. In 2014, February, that business partnership collapsed with me leaving it. I said I’ll never do real estate again. Grace and I were together then, she saw me that day when that happened, when I got… When I figured it out and I told the guys I’m out. I just didn’t know what to do with myself, so I went-
Grace Yarber: The worst of all was seeing how he was crushed.
Tarl Yarber: Oh, it was horrible. Yeah, this is like brothers.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, sure.
Tarl Yarber: I had to go on IKEA that night and just bought a bunch of Ikea furniture [inaudible 00:17:48].
Alex Osenenko: I think so.
Tarl Yarber: I didn’t know what to do with myself.
Steve Rozenberg: That’s the best thing and they [crosstalk 00:17:51].
Tarl Yarber: Grace comes over and she sees a bunch of drawers and things together.
Grace Yarber: Furniture.
Steve Rozenberg: Drawers and certain things together.
Tarl Yarber: I’m just fixing stuff, drinking and stuff.
Steve Rozenberg: I think that’s about the time I met you, right? Is that… 2015, I think, is when you and I met.
Tarl Yarber: Yeah, this is 2014.
Steve Rozenberg: It was after.
Tarl Yarber: I was out, I was never going to real estate.
Steve Rozenberg: Oh, okay.
Tarl Yarber: Six months later after traveling, drinking and playing video games, I got sucked back into real estate by some buddies, and that led to us creating Fixated Real Estate. I started on my own, but I was just helping buddies out with some stuff. Then eventually, some opportunities came out to where we just started buying a lot more properties internally for my own company, then Fixated Real Estate got created. For the first time in my life, I did one thing and one thing only in 2015, and that was flip houses. All the other years prior, I always had multiple businesses going on, multiple consulting things, multiple like ventures. I was successful, but I didn’t achieve great success until I only focused on one niche. And that was Flip. Then I got really good at that and now we’re adding onto it and it just progressed. When I get bored I start new things. Like, we started an events business too and [inaudible 00:18:55].
Steve Rozenberg: But all the things that you’re doing are very good. Because I think because you, I’m guessing, because you focus on that one thing that you’re doing at the time, right?
Tarl Yarber: Yeah.
Grace Yarber: I think the lesson is really like, we as humans if something happens, even the moments when he was crushed and the partnership falls, he was like, “Oh shit, this is so bad.” But I think it’s like as a human, sometimes it’s good to reflect. There’s a very famous video, it’s called Good, by Jocko Willink, it’s like what is good… Just YouTube it.
Tarl Yarber: Yeah, what bad thing that happened to you that you can actually look at as a good thing.
Grace Yarber: That you can turn into what is good out of it, right? It’s like a… I think it’s a big lesson that we always… Anything that’s unpleasant happens in our lives.
Steve Rozenberg: Sure.
Grace Yarber: Personal business, we always switch around. It’s like, “What do we get good out of it?”
Steve Rozenberg: Right. What lesson.
Grace Yarber: Yeah, but surprisingly how our mind then begins focusing on good stuff.
Steve Rozenberg: Right.
Grace Yarber: Because we can be in the rabbit hole, in the circles like, “Oh, my life sucks. Oh, it’s so bad.” Like under depression, all those things come up and, “Hey, investment world, investor life is not always a…”
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, it’s a sand box of pain. Yeah, it’s [crosstalk 00:20:01].
Alex Osenenko: This is what a stoicism… I’ve been learning stoicism.
Grace Yarber: Stoicism is huge, yeah.
Alex Osenenko: It’s an amazing set of technique or…
Grace Yarber: And raise the good, there’s so much…
Tarl Yarber: Or even…
Alex Osenenko: Just mental model. Like it’s not happening to you.
Tarl Yarber: Except through you.
Alex Osenenko: Right. You just need to be outside of it and just sort of explore it as you would outside of your own body and there’s a lot of points to the philosophy. But it helped me through some hard things. It certainly did. This is something that I think folks can look up. I mean, again, Tim Ferris is big on stoicism.
Grace Yarber: Stoicism.
Alex Osenenko: He has got this book that is given away for free, that people can read and will cite it in, show notes. But…
Tarl Yarber: I just want to emphasis one thing on what you just said. The best thing that ever happened to me want me was my partnership falling out, right?
Alex Osenenko: Ah, interesting.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Grace Yarber: That’s my point, yeah.
Steve Rozenberg: Later, that same partnership, the guys that got left it to they’re destitute now. I mean, they messed their entire one… One got into-
Grace Yarber: Drugs.
Steve Rozenberg: Major drugs and
Tarl Yarber: One got into a major drugs and prostitutes, not that he was prosecuted-
Steve Rozenberg: Now it got tough.
Grace Yarber: Not that you know of, right.
Tarl Yarber: Bad, bad drugs, the other person’s supervisor and he just ran the company to the ground. The best thing that happened I would have never created, but we had, if it wasn’t for them backstabbing me. You never know.
Alex Osenenko: They would always hold you back.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Alex Osenenko: What’s the premise behind fixated real estate and what’s the name? Where does the name come from?
Grace Yarber: That’s funny.
Tarl Yarber: Name came from a random word generator because I just needed an entity to be able to run some of our profit through from our other business. The sound like fixated or whatever that sounds cool. That’s pretty much all came from and then it just adapted to its thing. Now we have a meet up that we run called Fixated On Real Estate.
Grace Yarber: We had a… on.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Tarl Yarber: We got really creative there and then there’s no other backstory besides that.
Alex Osenenko: What’s the premise behind the entity? Is it just sort of your fix and flip entity?
Tarl Yarber: Fixated real estate right now is just our branding and we run no real estate through whatsoever because we used to and then but for asset protection purposes it’s too popular now. We run all our real estate into our other entities and stuff too, which we’re not going to say.
Grace Yarber: [inaudible 00:22:110].
Tarl Yarber: But for [crosstalk 00:22:09] is a branding now, so it’s already Ben’s business. It’s what we’re known for. You Google my name, it pops up everywhere. It’s what it is for our branding purposes only.
Alex Osenenko: Let’s talk about events. Steve, sorry.
Steve Rozenberg: Yes.
Alex Osenenko: Just one thing I want to dig a little deeper in-
Steve Rozenberg: That’s actually where I was going to go on this.
Alex Osenenko: Perfect. Maybe our listeners are thinking, okay I attended a lot of meet ups. Maybe I have some connections. I want to have deeper relationships with people around me. I want to create events. I ran three events myself. You are what, on your third or second?
Tarl Yarber: For annual. We’re going to have fourth.
Alex Osenenko: Annual fourth so you have some experience. What do you-
Steve Rozenberg: Then he does a lot of the-
Grace Yarber: Monthly meet ups.
Steve Rozenberg: Monthly meet ups as well in multiple cities now too.
Alex Osenenko: Very interesting. How do you peg the success? Because in my view, it’s hellish labor with zero appreciation, no love and no money.
Steve Rozenberg: That’s true.
Alex Osenenko: How do you-
Tarl Yarber: A little bit funny.
Alex Osenenko: I’m sorry, how do you judge it? Like is it good for you, as it has been? Have you guys figured it out yet?
Tarl Yarber: Awesome.
Alex Osenenko: Be honest.
Tarl Yarber: In the beginning, no it sucked. It was a lot of work. Like just you said, very little to no money.
Steve Rozenberg: Whoever came up with that idea and do an event.
Steve Rozenberg: That all right. [inaudible 00:23:23] since business started.
Grace Yarber: If I was never for profit, like, “Hey, you going to do it because you’re going to make huge margin.” That wasn’t like not a popular invention ever.
Tarl Yarber: Truth be told the only way to make real money in an events business for real estate is to sell from the stage.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Tarl Yarber: That’s the only… And we’ve done a lot. Our last event-
Grace Yarber: [inaudible 00:23:41] that they sell on stage and we liked it.
Tarl Yarber: There’s a lot of money to be made there. Our annually event, we’re at a 50% expense for it, so were 50% profit ratio on our annual event.
Alex Osenenko: I don’t know how you do that.
Steve Rozenberg: That’s great.
Tarl Yarber: Yeah, and one day we’ll talk about it, but there’s a lot to it. Now what we had learned from the last event, even though, we’re at a 50% profit for it, the amount of time, energy, effort, everything come from it, right.
Alex Osenenko: Hourly rate, you still get it at eight bucks an hour.
Tarl Yarber: Yeah, that’s right. What I’ve learned from it, we get more out of the indirect approach from doing the events, from all the different tertiary things than from the relationships and all the different strategic partnerships and everything than this next one that we do in 2020 for our annual event. We’re going to be more hands off in a sense where all hire marketing companies and do instead of us to be in the market for instance. And so, things that we can take off our plate to make it more of a cookie cutter approach and go like, “Okay, I don’t need to have a 50% profit right ratio. When have like a 20% instead.”
Steve Rozenberg: And had nothing to do with it less. Yeah.
Tarl Yarber: Have less to do with it. And the-
Grace Yarber: You’re buying time that we can be using for something else.
Tarl Yarber: To then emphasis back into our personal business and get the… We can spend more time focusing on promoting our stuff within the event versus, just promoting the event. So that’ll change things for us to make our lives a lot happier. We also turn our event to a profit. Obviously our nonprofit, a charity fundraiser as well, so we raised $230,000 on the last one.
Grace Yarber: Thanks to Steve [inaudible 00:25:06] has a given his time too.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, twice in this. The first one you guys did great, right? The first event, the first time you raised your money last year.
Tarl Yarber: 120,000 in the first year and 230,000 the second year.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, that’s great.
Tarl Yarber: That’s not including the profits so that’s all donation.
Alex Osenenko: That’s really cool.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Alex Osenenko: Grace, what do you think about events? It’s a lot of work. It’s very, very busy. Are you getting tasked with this or like who does most work?
Grace Yarber: I absolutely love events.
Alex Osenenko: I know.
Grace Yarber: I think that’s why we have such a good team. My main role in our investment business is managing our rentals, so events is another aspect where we’re both brought together and our team like we absolutely love. It’s a huge reward where you create any event that you can give back to community. We really believe in choosing to raise money for something like a local organization that we do due diligence on our end as well, such as Travis Mills Foundation that helps veterans post 9/11 that have maybe some ailments and amputees to come back to doing different adaptive sports or we really believe in that versus going and helping children in Africa as much as like here. We would like to spread, help everybody. But I feel like we need so much help at home here in the United States. That’s where our mission and the future organizations we will choose will be locally based.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah. And Travis Mills, he’s got a home up in Maine. A whole thing that… Yeah. You guys had been there a couple of times or-
Tarl Yarber: Twice.
Steve Rozenberg: Now, is that when you got to fight Jocko or what was that?
Tarl Yarber: Yeah, I got Jocko. I almost had him.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, I saw that. That’s close.
Tarl Yarber: Yeah, it’s funny. Yeah, whatever. I let them get this one, because you don’t wanna roll with it. Dude, you’re just here with your idol. I’m like, “Man, stop it.”
Steve Rozenberg: Yes.
Grace Yarber: I’d like to give credit to Toro, like we listen to a lot of podcasts. One of Toro’s favorite podcasts is a-
Tarl Yarber: Besides this one.
Tarl Yarber: Besides this one of course.
Grace Yarber: Besides this one of course.
Tarl Yarber: Is Jocko Released [crosstalk 00:27:04].
Grace Yarber: Jocko Released and Jocko was interviewing Travis Mills actually who’s the founder of the organization that we raised the funds for. I remember Toro was so fired up. He was like, “I have no idea how, but we’re going to help this organization.”
Steve Rozenberg: That’s cool.
Grace Yarber: The power that podcasts have and reading that space and time to listen and learn from it, that’s so important.
Tarl Yarber: And we found out too, actually when we were just in Maine a few weeks ago for… That’s where Travis and Jocko was there. That one podcast episode that Jocko did for Travis Mills raised $500,000 for the Travis Mills Foundation.
Alex Osenenko: Wow.
Tarl Yarber: And we were at 350,000 of it, yeah.
Grace Yarber: That was two-three years ago?
Steve Rozenberg: That was awesome.
Tarl Yarber: But anyways, beside point. The event that goes full circle back. One day I woke up and I said, “We should do our own meet up, right.” We did a meet up two weeks later, we had 110 people show up to it because… And we just decided, I’m gonna just go do the meet up that I want to go to as an investor. Taking the Tim Ferriss approach of the audience as one first so Tim Ferriss talks about that with his podcast. He just wanted to do his own podcast for himself, like to interview people that way. Then I’m like, “All right, we’ll do the same thing where I meet up.” Then 110 people showed up the next month, 220 people showed up. And then I’m like, “All right, well I guess people want to do this.” So it just became a regular monthly thing and consumed us… Consumed me and Ashley because she still worked at her job at the time and as she took away from our real estate business and actually hurt us a little bit, right?
Because I was taking my eye off the ball because I was so focused on the new shiny object. And that we learned to adapt through that. It wasn’t actually until Grace was really full time that the events business started figuring itself out, because I might be able to bring the people but she’s the glue to everything, so she-
Steve Rozenberg: Grace runs the [crosstalk 00:28:47]. She does a great job.
Tarl Yarber: Yeah.
Alex Osenenko: A question, you manage events and that’s a lot of moving parts. I know it could be exciting, thrilling but it’s also like you got to be super well organized.
Tarl Yarber: Yes.
Alex Osenenko: Okay. Managing properties is kind of similar. What do you like more? Do you like manage… Managing properties is your thing or are you doing it because you have to and you’d rather do events?
Grace Yarber: Do you mean like real estate there’s not much excitement about it like I think that why [inaudible 00:29:13] be like so together on the same page, to me it’s a vehicle to our freedom. My end goal is like, “Okay, we would like to have a family and future children. I want to hustle and work to create that passive income.” Then I have a choice whether to work or like spend X number of hours with the kids or not. That it becomes a choice. Saying that like events, I think it has a lot of similarities when it comes to property management. Events are so much more exciting I think, because that’s where meeting Steve meeting you, anybody-
Alex Osenenko: Is that a complaint counter necessarily?
Grace Yarber: It’s so much lethargic.
Alex Osenenko: It’s not as bad, right?
Grace Yarber: He’s like, “Hey, I shared information. What I have learned. Like you sharing what’s happening in your life.” I’m very social so events business, it becomes like it’s not like a job or work.
Steve Rozenberg: It’s a fun thing.
Grace Yarber: Yeah.
Steve Rozenberg: I mean let’s face it. Property management, I don’t want to say necessary evil, but it’s people call when they have a problem. They don’t call you to say, this is great. When you’re doing an event, you’re building up to an exciting thing-
Tarl Yarber: [crosstalk 00:30:18].
Steve Rozenberg: Well, from my perspective, I’ve never put them on, but-
Tarl Yarber: Yeah, it’s exciting once it’s done sometimes.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:30:29] at the events.
Alex Osenenko: You’ll see that you move people, but it’s like you always give back to the people that you are there. They’re upset of vendors didn’t get the right location. I mean, gosh, there’s so many things, like the chicken is not right, somebody who quit like it was in the middle of it. There’s so many things going on, but if you want your properties managed, we know what property manager in Seattle that can help.
Steve Rozenberg: Yes.
Tarl Yarber: Cool.
Alex Osenenko: Cheers.
Grace Yarber: Awesome, I can-
Steve Rozenberg: Enrique you ever heard of him?
Tarl Yarber: Yeah, Enrique [inaudible 00:30:56].
Grace Yarber: Cannot wait to hear. Can I give you want an example?
Alex Osenenko: Yes.
Grace Yarber: We were flying to BiggerPockets conference and that’s in Seattle. TSC agent you looks at me. He’s like, “Oh my gosh, you look so excited. You must be going on vacation.” I am flying to BiggerPockets Conference.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, I’m going on vacation.
Grace Yarber: So, I guess to answer your question a little bit, events are amazing. Especially like when you attend to other people’s events. It was like not, not as much stress like when we are hosting ours, I guess.
Steve Rozenberg: Sure.
Tarl Yarber: And even as investors or other people. If there’s not a networking, so important. If you’re not finding any place to go network, then you create your own thing. That’s what I believe in and just make it. Who cares about catering to everybody else. Just create what you want to go to. Then the people that are interested in the same things as you are, we’ll show up through it. The people that aren’t aren’t going to show up, why would you want them to show up because they’re not interested.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, true.
Tarl Yarber: Just create your own thing.
Steve Rozenberg: I think that when you go to these events and you meet people like Grace and Tarl, we’ll use your event. BiggerPockets Guys were there Brandon, I met Brandon. I met all the people.
Tarl Yarber: Scott was there.
Steve Rozenberg: Scott was there, and the next thing you know that led to doing a mastermind. And so, then two months ago, three months ago, we were all in Maui together doing a mastermind. Getting to know each other much more in depth and having conversations.
Grace Yarber: That was like one family [inaudible 00:32:11].
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah. Now everyone’s here and you know them and these are all people from all walks of real estate but doing something. But it was the event that actually got that whole thing started. So without that event, I would’ve never met all of the other people and it would not have led to what we’re doing today. So I see that as the plus of the events, but I don’t see the back end of what’s going on.
Alex Osenenko: Does the takeaway for the listeners here is like, “Hey, attend these high quality events that people recommend, like go to BiggerPockets, go to PNW.” Go to the respected events and from there you can network out to see other events. But my little tidbit on top of this would be, see if you can become a speaker because that’s the best. You don’t want to be invent host trust me, it’s hell. You guys are making painting, a pretty picture. I know there’s a lot of problems. You’ll love it, good luck finding somebody who loves it like that. But to be a speaker at an event, if you’re good at something, you probably need it. That would be the best status. You attend as a speaker, you get instant credibility, respect and you meet higher caliber people. You have deeper conversations. Steve’s always a speaker. Everywhere you go. Tarl, I don’t know if you speak a lot.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Grace Yarber: Besides my-
Alex Osenenko: Grace, you do speak?
Grace Yarber: Yes I do. Besides my husband, Steve is one of my other favorites.
Steve Rozenberg: Oh, look at that. Thank you.
Alex Osenenko: He’s heard this [crosstalk 00:33:27], he does not need to… Okay.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, I think, but it’s a good point. I mean, not even as a speaker, just going and being open to meeting people. I think a lot of times when people go to events, they always want to put on a persona that they’re bigger and more successful than they are. But it’s-
Alex Osenenko: Top dog.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, but if you go to an event and you’re just open with people and you can just talk to them. And you’re open about what you’re doing or where you want to go.
Grace Yarber: That’s the key.
Steve Rozenberg: People will be very receptive to helping you. And especially when… Again, just going back to the theme of this whole thing was you get a husband and wife doing something. If husband and wives want to go, they should go together because what happens? The husband comes back from an event and he tells his wife, we’re doing this, this, this and this and the wife’s like, “Oh, you went to a conference again.” But if the wife goes with him, then all of a sudden she starts seeing it, she gets it, she understands it, and then they do it as a team, right.
Grace Yarber: I agree. I met two couples today who approach like how I’m talking to my girlfriend and, do you remember the one guy from Ohio? He’s like, “Oh no, like she’s not in it.”
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Grace Yarber: That’s because he’s here alone.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, exactly. But even if they’re not into it, but if they’re just here and they see what you’re seeing and they get the vibe and they get everything, at least when you go home, you understand it’s a support system and it’s irrespective of what if Tarl was doing all this and you didn’t want to know anything about it. And TarL was off running around doing BiggerPockets and conferences, you’d be like, “What are you doing? Where are you going?” And so there becomes the disconnect, right?
Grace Yarber: It might become friction into some couples as well because then it’s time spent elsewhere and you could be like a little kids and like football games are missed whatever, right? Then we realized like how much it takes-
Steve Rozenberg: Sure.
Grace Yarber: [inaudible 00:35:08] that business.
Steve Rozenberg: Absolutely.
Grace Yarber: And networking is the key, it has been for us.
Alex Osenenko: Just Piggyback on that. The number one reason why I believe anybody should go to these things is networking more than anything.
Steve Rozenberg: Yes, I agree.
Alex Osenenko: I think that I can say right now, 100% or 99% of the reason why I think I’m successful is because of networking and just meeting people and harvesting those relationships and building those relationships. And it’s been so huge over the years for our company in so many ways.
Steve Rozenberg: I couldn’t agree more. I mean, just your last event, the amount of people that I’ve met, that was what, six months ago, your event?
Alex Osenenko: Yeah.
Grace Yarber: April-
Steve Rozenberg: You guys had 900 people there.
Alex Osenenko: 950.
Steve Rozenberg: 950, sorry. But I mean, but the people that I got to meet and just from that elevated me to another level of getting to know the people. You got to go hang out with Forbes Riley. I mean just the people that were there and you got to, where were you? You were in Idaho with Ken.
Tarl Yarber: Oh, Ken McElroy.
Steve Rozenberg: You got to meet Ken [inaudible 00:36:03]. I mean that was all-
Tarl Yarber: I became friends with Ken McElroy, the author of ABCs of Real Estate Investing because of our event.
Steve Rozenberg: Because of your event.
Tarl Yarber: Now, we’re buddies and stuff like that. But even then, it’s like, it’s all even when something bad happens, this is what I leveraged most of my networking for. Is that when something really bad happens to us in real estate, I call other investors that I’ve met, worked with that have had the same experiences and be like, “Hey, when this has happened to you, like what do you do?” We had a house burn down for the first time a few weeks ago and I’ve never had a house burn down. So besides my insurance company, I call on other investors and be like, “Hey, have you ever had a house burn down?”
Steve Rozenberg: What do I need to know? Absolutely.
Grace Yarber: Yeah.
Alex Osenenko: He did so you’re his book, so here is a good book.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
Grace Yarber: You’re smiling so long.
Alex Osenenko: It was a while back, right? I just read his book on a plane right here, which is very educational by the way. Those of you listening, Steve Rosenberg pick up his book, How I failed My Way Into Millions.
Steve Rozenberg: Failed my way into millions.
Alex Osenenko: Failed my way in a millions, some really good stuff. It’s a short read but impactful. Let’s finish with this-
Tarl Yarber: Failed my way as a debt or [inaudible 00:36:57].
Steve Rozenberg: In millions, I never said dollars. I just said really a million.
Alex Osenenko: One thing I wanted to… Fantastic interview, I think everybody’s learning a lot. You guys have passion for each other, which is I think-
Steve Rozenberg: Awesome.
Alex Osenenko: I think that’s where you’d start with, like you want to spend time with each other. If you listen and you don’t want to spend time with your significant other, I don’t think whatever you do, it’s not gonna work. Right? So you’re passionate for each other, but then from there you work it out. You start with why and you build it out. I want it, you are like master networker and this is something I want to take away from this interview as well as the audience. How do you keep track of all those relationships? You also have to prioritize them, don’t you? You don’t want to just be keeping track with everybody because then you have no time. How do you do that?
Tarl Yarber: That’s a great question. I used to actually keep CRNs on people and stuff. And keep notes and what not and even take pictures of the business cards and go from there. Over the last two years, I’ve become really lazy with that because it’s just too many people on a sense. I haven’t needed this. It sounds bad, but like I haven’t needed to build the company as much as I used to instead, I’m really good strategic networker now and so I focus on the ones that I’m going to build relationships with because there’s time’s limited. I will still keep track of people will still, keep cards, do all that stuff. We’ll still have social media relationships and all that great stuff. But the people that I know, I’m like, “No, I’m actually going to build a relationship with this person because they’re somebody that I want in my life in some capacity.” Then I just absolutely put the effort into it as much as possible. And so-
Steve Rozenberg: Is that why you don’t call me?
Tarl Yarber: I think so, yeah.
Alex Osenenko: It’s not quantity, it’s quality.
Tarl Yarber: Now it is.
Alex Osenenko: It’s like trying to get wide, it’s trying to get narrow and specific.
Tarl Yarber: Honestly, it’s like I want to go for the people that know all the people, right? Why do I need to know everybody when I could just know a few people that know everybody. I’m more of a strategic aspect on that. So like, okay, if I’m going to sit there and well, I don’t want to go down the hole because I might call some people out. Be like why did I [inaudible 00:38:54].
Grace Yarber: That’s how [crosstalk 00:38:56] right?
Tarl Yarber: But ultimately, yeah. Like okay, I’ll give you a case in point, right? Just a simple business example. When I was opening up like, states for our service area management company for Fannie Mae. We had to open up Chicago, right? Case in point, I’m friends with most in Washington, I’m friends with the VPs for Fidelity National Title and all that stuff. I think one of the most underutilized resources is your title reps in your title companies for networking purposes specifically because they know who’s doing business.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, that’s closing deals.
Tarl Yarber: I always love it. Anytime I opened up in another state, I’d always reach out to my Fidelity and I became really good friends with the Florida Fidelity National VP and stuff there. Anytime I opened up anywhere I was like, “Get me in touch with whoever the people are in that state or that city.” Then so in Chicago I had to hire, I had like one week to hire a whole bunch of contractors for Fannie Mae. I reached out to the Fidelity manager there after getting introductions from two different Fidelity people from different states and I leveraged them to say, I need to meet as many builders and contractors as you know. Who are your clients that are your builders or your clients that are contractors that we work with and other investors, [inaudible 00:40:08]. I started selling them on the fact that like, “This is going to be good for Fidelity as well.” He looked cool.
I interviewed something like 65 or 68 contractors in three days and I did nothing for it. All I had to do is just show up and Fidelity had all those contractors there for me because I found who knew everybody and then built a relationship with them, shows valuable then they go. Then they went out there and got all the work done for me so that I can just show up and do my thing, right. But that’s a business aspect on it. But even then, how can you do that with… For me, I’m like, “Okay, if I want to become friends with the people at BiggerPockets, is it good to go to the person that just started MVP or do I go straight? How do I get into friends with Scott [inaudible 00:40:46] and all those other guys?”
Steve Rozenberg: If I had your confidence-
Tarl Yarber: It’s those kind of strategic leveraging and networking that I try to focus on, but it’s genuine too. Worst cases, we’re friends with his friends, we just hang out. I don’t know. It’s like there’s nothing other than that.
Grace Yarber: If I may add, those relationships of the real shakers and movers has really opened our eye like me. We’re not a big thing because of like five, ten years from now I think of hanging out like who your sphere of influence is has made a huge impact to us. Like we became friends and we have a couple of couples, like [inaudible 00:41:26]. Such an amazing couple like our besties. We look up to them of how they led their lives, how they build not only in business but like what they are shopping if you like. As a people we get so much satisfaction and as mutual like we have the patience to minded people who are crushing in this business.
Tarl Yarber: Like, like-minded people.
Steve Rozenberg: Absolutely.
Tarl Yarber: There’s zero chance I will network and become friends with somebody that don’t want to be friends with, like it’s just like if they are like-minded, if they’re the same type of drive or more or better then I want to be friends with them anyways.
Steve Rozenberg: Right.
Tarl Yarber: Why wouldn’t I? I think most people that are… Most people like to be around people like themselves or people that are better than them. Well actually that’s not true. Not everybody likes to be around people that are better than them because of an ego situation.
Steve Rozenberg: Sure.
Tarl Yarber: But once you can get past that, it raises you up. That’s what I do now. It’s more strategic focused networking than anything.
Alex Osenenko: That’s been absolutely fascinating you guys. Thank you very much for dedicating your time. I know you’re busy. You’re networking, you got to know who you know, you got to know people who know other people and hopefully, I mean you sharing this information out there will come back to you in many ways. So thank you for taking the time.
Grace Yarber: Thank you so much for having us, such a pleasure guys. Thank you so much.
Steve Rozenberg: Thanks guys. You guys are awesome. All right, we’ll see you guys. Thanks everyone.

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