Case Study: Cynthia Uses Her Books To Establish Authority With Investors
“The books, your [Authorify] books, obviously, are in my Airbnb. So that helps, too, because it gives the authority.”
Cynthia Tant was a college professor before she entered the real estate industry 25 years ago. At the time, she had already been investing in real estate for five years.
“I’m a recovering academic, if you want to think of it like that. … I started the investment role, became an agent, and became a broker on my own. I’ve had my company now for about 15 years. I started with a small boutique brokerage and transitioned to a long-term rental management company, now to a short-term rental management company and investment company. I grouped them all together.”
Cynthia is based in Pensacola, Fla., so she works with a lot of vacation properties.
“So when I have somebody who purchases a home, that would be their long-term rental or short-term rental, I can also provide the rehab part of it and also provide the management part of it so they can do a one-stop shop.
“One thing — which was a byproduct of Airbnb, which I really wasn't even thinking about — is people coming into town as guests then deciding they want to buy something here. So now I advertise upfront that I do sell houses for Airbnb. And that has brought me in about a dozen extra sales per year, just from guests coming in here.”
She leaves out a copy of her book and tells people they can take it for free, then replaces it when a new person comes to stay. This is just one of the many marketing techniques Cynthia uses to promote her companies.
“When I sell or market for investors, they come to me because they know I’ve been working on it for several years. Apart from this, I’ve also held seminars, a regular teacher route when we could actually have physical in-person seminars — self-directed IRA, 1031 Tax Exchange.”
PROVIDING A SENSE OF AUTHORITY
Cynthia believes that to gain Airbnb investors’ confidence and trust, it is important to project a reputable image. She does that through pamphlets and informational packets, then solidifies her reputation using her Authorify books.
“I have somebody who reserved a place just now and said she’s coming to town and is interested in Airbnbs. She asked me if I know a Realtor. I then asked her if she read the description in my Authorify book because it says I’m a Realtor. I have a digital version of the ‘How to Sell,’ which is the first one I shared with people and utilized to get to them. Because of it, I am giving them a sense of authority where they can see that I am serious about my business and what I can offer. So the PhD doesn’t hurt either.”
She uses her books for lead generation and also for social media advertising.
“I like lead generation, putting it into all the stuff I have — social media and everything.
“There’s a Facebook group to communicate and work with investors. As far as working with investors, I am a member of large investment groups and an all-women’s investment group with 3,000 members. We’re sharing a lot from an investor’s standpoint. They contact me because of the experience I’m willing to share. I’ve tried to write books before, but I don’t have the time, so I’d rather share what I know with people because in the long run, if they visit Pensacola and either come for Airbnb or want to purchase something, it’s fine with me.”
MAKING THE MOST OF HER KNOWLEDGE
Cynthia believes her experience, knowledge, and confidence attract investors to her company.
“I would say probably 90 percent of Realtors out there are not investors. The investment route is a different world. Numbers are the big key. Depending on the market, like us in Pensacola, we can still be reasonable. I tell somebody I have a $50,000 house to sell, and they say, ‘What are you talking about? I can’t even get a driveway for $50,000!’ The market’s different. Since I’m in a Facebook group where I’m able to share those ideas with people, we were able to run the numbers on how much it’s going to cost you as far as your rehab.
“I’m working with an investor right now who has 65 properties, and he’s starting to sell them off. We’re doing six at a time. They’re lower-end, but for this area of town, the $65,000 or $75,000 house with a $1,000 rental income is a piece of cake. It’s a no brainer.”
INVESTING IN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
To give her investors peace of mind, Cynthia suggests they hire a property manager. She believes the additional cost is worth the reduced stress and anxiety.
“(Some people) don’t want to deal with property management. ‘Oh, I’ve tried it before, I lost money, I had bad tenants, blah, blah, blah.’ So if you take that off their hands — same thing with the Airbnb — how do you get it clean? How do you take that off their hands? And you show how by putting it in their game plan or their portfolio that 10% is worth your peace of mind for a rental property management fee.”
According to Cynthia, the role of a real estate professional is to take some of the burden off of investors. Establishing trust is all about being genuine and prioritizing the investor’s needs.
“As long as you keep investors happy, they keep you happy. So they’ll buy in multiples. Some of my investors have 65 properties, and others have 25 properties."
ESTABLISHING A TEAM
As cliché as it sounds, the saying “no man is an island” is a universal truth, even in a competitive real estate environment. One can never excel or move forward without the help of teammates and networks.
“When an investor comes to sell their property, they have a different mindset than a first-time buyer or someone looking for a second family home. If you have the experience and you are displaying or giving that to the people you’re working with, they’re going to come back and work with you.
“It has to make sense to them financially. And if you don't make that — and I made a couple of goofball moves, which happened when I first got started, but I experimented on myself. So I did a lot with that myself, but having that experience and displaying that, or giving that to the person that you're working with, they're going to come back all the time and just work with you.”
Cynthia says it’s also crucial to build up a portfolio of qualified contractors to recommend to anyone you’re working with to further cement yourself as a valuable resource.
““I’m working with mine, but I do share them with other people — general contractors, insurance being a whole shebang that you have to be involved with.
“Because if someone needs repair work done from a home inspection that they've done for the seller, then I already know people where I can say, ‘OK, we can get this done. Now we can do a pre-inspection report. So the seller already has everything repaired or most of it before we even put it on the market. And then that way they can get more money for it without the buyer coming in and wanting a $500 repair that'll cost you $50 from the handyman.”
“We try to look at it from the seller standpoint, too. When we list it, we ensure it goes to the market with little repairs.”