REITE Success Story


Shawn Allen & Jenn Bowdring
Sarah: We want to kick it off with Shawn Allen and Jenn Bowdring to talk about how real estate has really helped them create freedom, create the lifestyle. As we're going to currently bring them on, you're going to see they're actually in Florida right now. Prior to Florida, they were in Costa Rica for a while.

Being able to live the life on your terms that you want, where you want with who you want is why we do real estate, right? It's not just for the money sitting in the bank, it's for what experiences it brings you. And you know what you want in your lifestyle. Look, and Shawn and Jenn are the founders of Veranda Property Investments.

They've got tons of great real estate transactions under their belts. Recently, a 54 unit building flipped. You name it like literally, I feel like you guys are always buying things a couple of years ago, Shawn and Jenn came to my cottage and literally while they were supposed to be relaxing at my cottage they ended up buying a cottage of their own to flip nearby, just at a lake across a few minutes. Welcome guys to the event. Thank you for joining us from Florida.

Shawn: Thank you. I apologize in advance for how loud it might be here. We're in the middle of a sort of public.

Jenn: It's happy hour at our hotel, so it's a little noisy. We thought this would be great. You guys can see the Palm trees in the back. Hopefully just give us a wave if it gets too loud.

Sarah: Sounds good, I will. If you can just share maybe a little bit how long you've been investing in real estate for what your portfolio or your experience looks like and how it led you to be able to, I don't know how long you've been in Costa Rica in Florida. I feel like it's been a long time. But maybe you can talk about how that led you to where you are today.

Shawn: Sure. We've been investing since about 2007 and we've done everything from flips to wholesale, to rentals, to development and base quickly the last little while, especially for us, we've been really implementing systems just starting with systems, but just strategies to sell off all of our smaller buildings and really buying into more of the bigger level multi-family buildings, getting into more of the commercial space development.

Sarah: Awesome. Jenn, would you mind sharing how, if you look at where you came from to where you are today, how did you end up in Costa Rica for the last few months?

Jenn: That's an interesting story because it wasn't something that we had planned, six months, eight months out. It came by organically. Over the past year, the vision has always been for us to create freedom in our business. We don't want to create a job for ourselves. We want to create a real estate business that will still run, even if we're not there. Over the past few years, we've started gradually implementing those things.

We purchased a construction company and we have a construction manager that takes care of those things. We've put a lot of other team members in place. But I'm sure we probably talk about that a little bit, but we put these other things in place so that Brady McDonald actually posted about going to Costa Rica and jokingly, we had said to him, if you find a place close by, you will come down for the winter and we'll hang out with you guys. Sure enough, he did.

We got to thinking hey, could we really do this? And we normally have 8 to 10 flips on the go at any given time. Just timing wise. Most of those had wrapped up, our other projects were on the go, there was nothing really keeping us in Canada and, with everything that has been happening in Canada, all the lockdowns, we thought this might be a great opportunity for us to, the kids are already doing online learning. Why not? That's what we did. We took off for seven weeks. It was an incredible experience. And we were very fortunate to have the business set up that we were allowed to do that.

Sarah: Very cool. You went from Costa Rica to Florida. I'm just curious. Did you decide that while you were in Costa Rica to go to?

Shawn: We intentionally, we're going to come down. We have a house in Florida that we were flipping for ourselves. The intention was to go to Costa Rica and then come down to Florida loving that house. Unfortunately, if you saw our Facebook live today, we've had big issues with our contractor and our house wasn't down. Now, it's turned into a little bit of a rescue mission to get the project back on track, but either way, it's all good.

Sarah: It sounds like you've built a team. You've built systems. This is not, a year in real estate. And then here you go. It took some time and an effort to get to where you are today. One of the things that I think is super important is having the right team members in place, having the right systems in place. Can you share a little bit of what that looks like for you guys? As you're in Costa Rica, as you were in Florida, I guess it's not completely disconnected, but what are some of the things that you check on to make sure that the systems are running and the team members are still doing what they're supposed to be doing?

Shawn: I think it's a great example. And a lot of it has to do with getting the right people in the right seats. But it's also a bit of a relationship. For example, we've done a lot of business while we were in Costa Rica and that's only done because we had some agents that we have great relationships with that were willing to like actually go out to the properties, do the walkthroughs, send us the videos, do all the due diligence for us so that we're confident in making decisions and closing stuff site and seeing your boss.

We'll start a system and then have the right people that are our property managers and our construction managers. And our engineers and everybody who's basically part of the team, having those guys in place gives us the confidence to be away from us and just let them do what they need to do.

Jenn: We've been able to automate quite a bit as well. We have a CRM and we do a lot of Facebook ads pay-per-click ads. All of that, any leads that we get for say our flips or wholesale deals. Automatically gets entered into our CRM. Then we have a lead manager who gets right to his phone. He can follow up with them and see if this is a project that fits our criteria. And it's all very automated. I just have to go in, see what's happening, make me do a little meeting once a week just to check in, but it's really more just the things getting done that need to be done. Check check, yep. All right, and we can see everything, which is really nice.

Sarah: Amazing. Now, we have a question from the audience and I'm going to ask you, because I think it's a great one. How much equity have you had personally towards words when you were starting? I know you guys use a lot of private money and other people's money.
Are you able to share a little bit about, if somebody is looking to start out do they need to start out with a million to get to where you are? They start from small and go from there. Can you guys share a little bit about?

Shawn: It's a big spectrum. If you're just starting out, like how much do you need? It depends on what your goals are and what you want to do. Do you just need enough for one duplex or is your plan to have 10 buildings for that year? We raised millions a year and private money we have done since the start. That's gradually coming up, but we're at the point where we do millions a year of investor money.

We keep growing the network, even while we're in Costa Rica. We have new investors come on board. We bought a lot of new property while we were down there and we were able to have a hundred percent finance the next day. It's all again a bit of a relationship and building up that trust.

Sarah: Absolutely. You've been hinting at the properties and I've been seeing some of the stuff on Instagram and Facebook. I think you guys were looking at a resort in Costa Rica at one point, but are you able to share, is it like a number of deals that you've done while you've been here for the last seven weeks? Are you able to give us some insight on that? For inspiration than anything else.

Jenn: For sure. It's funny because we got talking about that today. Like how many deals did we do while we were away?

Shawn: I just jotted down some of the stuff, but while we were away and that's actually baffles me a little bit that I did all this while we were gone, but we refinanced over a half dozen properties. While we were gone, we bought a lot for building purposes, we bought two flips. We sold some land. We sold some flips. We closed on the 12 flags. And again, we got all of those deals funded by investors. We did a couple of wholesale deals.

We've got some conditional offers that we did while we were gone as well. One is in a big 7,000 square foot cottage in the Scocca Zoo that we're going to flip as well. Just on a whole sort of gamut of different things that we've been doing.

Jenn: Something about Shawn. A little tidbit is he is what are you a Lord? If you do the personality out of which personality quiz it is. But if you do this personality test, it comes back as to what motivates you and what motivates him is to deal like he loves the search. We were literally in Costa Rica at the tide pools. It was like two in the afternoon. And here he is trying to find reception on his phone. So he can close the deal. This is awesome because we had total family time. It wasn't like he was working all the time, when the time comes and you got to get a deal done, that you can do it from anywhere.

Sarah: That is pretty cool. I'm sure a lot of people are curious. You guys have two kids, you have two boys, they're in school. They're experiencing this. Can you share maybe a little bit of their perception? They got to leave for so long because their parents are doing these deals. Are they into real estate? Maybe give us some insight on that.

Jenn: Real estate, we're quite open with them. And when you talk about real estate. We talked about the ways investing in real estate can really bring you freedom, right? Can bring you the time, freedom and the wealth to be able to do anything you really want. We talked about, the kids are always there. Our oldest is already an investor. He has lent us money and is making needs a private lender. Our youngest actually, we came to Florida. And we earlier today, was it earlier today? He comes in and Shawn gets out of the car. The valet goes to get him to take it away. And he's since been the guide with the valet, he's yeah. I'm going to own it, this hotel one day and the guy's oh really?

Can you give me a room for free? He's no, but you'll get a deal. They're already thinking, okay, how can I get involved in real estate? What can I do? We're really encouraging. Because who knows what's going to happen in the future. This has really changed their mindset about, I'm not gonna, yeah. I'm not growing up to have a job where I have to have.

Sarah: Absolutely. It looks like people are having fun around you. I'll ask just like the one last question, and you mentioned that thinking big, did you always think so big? Because you just bought a 54 unit. I don't know, you know how like literally every single week you've got new deals and you've got new things that are happening, then you always think this big and you always have a big vision or did it come over time as you were, opening doors, getting out of your comfort zone. How did you guys get to where you are today from a mindset perspective? Because they do say it's a 95% mindset. That's the success.

Shawn: I think I came from a corporate background where I worked for Toyota for 18 years. And initially it was just a bit getting out of the rat race and about getting some time, freedom and getting some wealth and starting to experience something that didn't have a ceiling. And then as it started to progress, I was looking at people around me and seeing what they're capable of doing and seeing how big you can get if you don't limit yourself and I'm still doing. Where I'm going on a yacht tomorrow with a bunch of investors that I probably never had out of my comfort zone, I probably never would have, but it's, again, it's a chance to meet with people who are doing big things. There's no limits and everyone just puts their internal limits on themselves. And I did that for so long, but I just keep progressing and grit and it just keeps getting bigger and seeing what we can do.

Sarah: It's cool that you guys are in that together and you're both, you know what, like enjoying the process, enjoying your family, the time that you're spending there. And, you're not just looking for that end goal, but I, it sounds like you guys are really enjoying the process along the way as you're investing, which is really cool. Shawn, Jenn, thank you for taking the time.