Our Landlord Leader series features an interview each month that highlights the property investment tips and tricks used by one of our very own landlords leading the way in the rental industry.
For this month’s Landlord Leader interview, we’re focusing on a cause that is important to us here at TurboTenant – Women’s History Month. If you didn’t already know, Women’s History Month is a national celebration of women’s accomplishments and contributions to society that dates back to 1981. This year’s theme, “Providing Healing, Providing Hope,” serves as a tribute to our caregivers and frontline workers that have ceaselessly worked during the ongoing pandemic, but the theme further recognizes the thousands of ways women have provided both healing and hope throughout history.
We thought this was the perfect opportunity to interview one of our very own female landlords, Beth Rasmussen, who isn’t only the co-owner of Roaring Creek Real Estate but is a full-time middle school English teacher and mother of two; someone who we believe embodies the essence of this year’s Women’s History Month.
Beth and her husband own and manage two rental properties located near the Fort Collins Colorado State University (CSU) campus. As Beth paves her own path in the real estate industry, she is on a mission to help fellow women realize that real estate investment and management are within their wheelhouse if they want it to be.
“This [real estate investment] doesn’t have to be your husband or your partner’s business,” Beth said, “You can do this too, with or without a partner.” Once you hear Beth’s top real estate tip for women, her “who not how” approach, and how she has read her way to success, you too will believe in your ability to be prosperous in property investment.
For the full conversation, keep reading or watch the interview below:
Q: To begin our interview, would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself and your rental business?
A: I have two rental properties with my husband. We have a duplex and a single-family home, which are located in Fort Collins, Colorado. Both of our houses are near the CSU campus so we primarily rent to college kids, which we love. Additionally, we have two children, and both work full time. My husband works for a nonprofit while I’m a middle school teacher. We’re very active in our community and live an active lifestyle!
Q: Can you tell me how you’ve juggled both of your jobs, teaching and landlording? Any tips to share with fellow landlords and landladies looking to do it all?
A: It’s definitely helpful that I have summers off, which works well with tenant turnover since we primarily rent to college students. But I realize that not everyone is a teacher, so outside of having time off, the biggest helper is having certain systems in place. Of course, the first time you do anything will be difficult – like the first time you create a lease. But the more you do it, the easier it will get, and your system will grow out of this. So in the beginning, remember, you’re putting in the time upfront, but when you go to renew that lease or sign a new one next year, it’s going to be a lot easier. TurboTenant has been super helpful for us, especially for marketing our properties. It’s so easy that you can market on so many websites through just one platform. Additionally, every job has busy and low seasons so being aware of those times and taking advantage of them is super helpful. Lastly, I’ll say, all jobs have transferable skills for landlords. So while I may not be analyzing poetry as a landlord, my ability to study and learn new information as a teacher comes in handy.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a woman in the property investment space?
A: For me being a female landlord has been really powerful because I think about how women 50 years ago couldn’t even get a credit card without their husband’s signature on the application. But now, I can buy a rental house completely on my own, and I can manage it on my own too. When I look back on my family, my grandmother, great grandmother, and even mother – none of them had careers or attended school or anything like that. They had important roles in raising families, but they didn’t get to chase their passions. I feel so fortunate to have two careers that I love. Currently, I’m reading a real estate investment book called The Only Woman in the Room which features stories by several female real estate investors. The conversations I’ve had with my daughter since reading this book have been very special to me. She doesn’t understand that women having roles in the real estate industry and other industries too is a newer concept. My generation is paving the way for her generation, and when she’s older, female entrepreneurs and real estate investors will be the norm.
Q: Are there any difficulties you’ve overcome as a female landlord?
A: I think for me, I have these limiting beliefs that I could never be a landlord because I don’t know how to fix a broken sink or use power tools. So beliefs like these prevented me from chasing my dreams. But they’re absolutely not true. There’s this saying in real estate investment of “who not how” which essentially means while you might not know how to fix the garbage disposal, you know who can. So while you don’t have all of the answers, you simply need to be able to utilize resources.
Q: In your time as a property investor and landlady, how have you gone about educating yourself on everything you need to know?
A: At some point, I got sick of not truly understanding where my money was going, so I turned to my husband and told him we are going to figure this out. So after that, we both agreed to read a book apiece that we would then discuss together, which is exactly what we did. Since then, we’ve kept this learning process going. I’ve probably read more than I have in a very long time. Essentially, I have read my way to success. I’ve bought two houses off-market in this insane real estate market on a teacher’s and nonprofit worker’s salary. You really just can’t be afraid to dive in and learn about it. I not only utilize books, but also seek out podcasts, webinars, and even Instagram, which all offer great learning opportunities.
Q: What do you consider your top achievement (thus far) as a woman in this industry?
A: This is a hard question to answer! It’s not like anybody hands out a landlord trophy, but for me, I think I’m most proud that our rental business is all local. We use a local credit union, local banking, and TurboTenant, which as you know is local to Fort Collins. We really try to promote our community and keeping our money in our community is huge for us. Plus, I’m really proud that we’ve been able to offer safe, affordable, and nice housing for people in our town. I also feel fortunate to be able to model entrepreneurial behavior for my daughter. I always bring her with me to take new pictures of the rentals and get her to assist me with writing the rental listing. So getting our kids involved with the business has been a huge source of joy.
Q: In your opinion, how can we bring more visibility to women in the real estate and rental industries?
A: Women’s visibility in the real estate industry is gaining momentum. There are more female real estate investors than there have ever been, and they’re a lot more transparent. Their voices are being amplified through platforms like Instagram and podcasts, along with books as I mentioned earlier. So I do think women are getting momentum in the field. But, I think local meetups for all-female real estate investors would be a huge help. It would be great to give women a space to voice their opinions, thoughts, tips, and more. For many of my friends who are real estate investor couples, it seems like the husband basically manages the rental property and the wife may not even know where it is (ha!). For my husband and I, we split everything 50/50, so I just want other women to know that this [real estate investment] doesn’t have to be your husband or your partner’s business. You can do this too, with or without a partner. I think meet-ups would really help to educate – cause the more you know about something, the less scary it is. I think this would be helpful for more than just female investors. I would love to see more diversity enter the rental industry space and possibly help clear up the traditionally difficult landlord-tenant relationship.
Q: What is your number one tip for fellow women looking to start investing in real estate?
A: Gosh, just one? I have so many I could write a book. But if I have to pick one tip, it would be to work on your mindset. Mindset is huge when it comes to being a successful property investor, but especially for female property investors. I think that as women we often impose limiting beliefs on ourselves – like that I need to be handy and know how to do maintenance on my property. And, you absolutely don’t. You can hire out people to do that work. You can have a property management company if that’s what you want to do. And, so getting past those limiting beliefs is crucial. People are doing this all over the world right now, so why not me or you? Like I said earlier, I focus on the “who, not how” approach – so asking who can I get to help me with this, rather than how am I going to do this on my own. Additionally, I’ve had an amazing mentor in town. He’s helped me with things like copies of lease agreements and answered all of my questions. Having a mentor is extremely helpful. People want to help you succeed!
Q: Where do you see your rental business in five to 10 years?
A: I definitely want to keep the momentum going. I want to grow our business. Our goal has been to have 10 houses in 10 years. So basically we would get one house a year every year for 10 years, and we’ll wait for those rents to grow and the property to appreciate in value. But, I mean, if we can do more than 10 that would be great. So, let’s see how it goes!
Q: Let’s end on a fun note! What is a song or album that makes you feel empowered as a woman?
A: So recently I’ve been running with my daughter. We’ve run several 5Ks together now, and it is one of the absolute best things that I’ve done as a mom, training and running with her. She’s been super into Beyonce’s Run the World (Girls), and it’s been our hype-up song. She says this line that we’re strong enough to bear the children and then get back to business. That makes me think about how I handle so many things at once, like calling the electrician, scheduling appointments, and screening tenants all the while making dinner and fixing the science report. It’s this big, chaotic, beautiful mess, but you know what, I can do it!
What should you take away from this interview? Beth, being the self-proclaimed real estate investment fangirl that she is, would want not just fellow women but also our non-female counterparts to know that real estate investment is for everyone, and the passive income you dream of is well within your reach. But to achieve success in this industry, you need just a few things: a confident mindset, a willingness to always learn, strategic property management systems, and last but not least, a song that empowers you to go out and kick some (metaphorically speaking) real estate tush!
If you’re ready to start your own property management journey, TurboTenant is here to help. Our free all-in-one software will streamline your rental business, making the a-to-z rental process as easy as it can be. Get started here today!