We love a local legend and success story, and that's why we were thrilled to have Kelly Stumphauzer on the podcast. Hailing from Cleveland, she built a local, national, and international real estate empire including house flipping, construction, leasing, property management, title services, investment fund management... and she's also a mom and the author of Built to Prosper: How to Create a Life of Freedom, Purpose, and Abundance.
During her time with Brendan and David, Kelly shared valuable insights into how she learned the real estate industry, built her network, leaned into her skillset, gained confidence, protects her companies, scaled, and is just an all-around boss.
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Brendan: Welcome back to another episode of Real Estate Investing Unscripted. I’m Brendan Bennett, VP of Revenue at Fund That Flip, and your co-host and with me is your other co-host, David Duggan.
What's up, David?
David: Spring has sprung officially here in Cleveland, Ohio. Great to be back for another episode here, Brendan. How is everything in the life of Brendan Bennett?
Brendan: Things are good, man. We're coming up on the end of Q1, things are are picking up, lots of twists and turns in this world of real estate. So it's same day, different story, different curve all around the side. So [it’s] been good to continue to move forward and bring good episodes to our listeners, and I think today is no exception of that.
We have an awesome local investor and business person to bring on the show and hopefully learn a lot from, as she shares a lot of her stories that have been told on quite a few different podcasts and we're happy that she's gonna share with us.
David: So let me go ahead and bring Kelly in.
So we have Kelly Stumphauzer in the house here. I'll give you a quick intro, Kelly, and then I'll let you take over from here. So, Kelly is the quintessential real estate success story over the past decade. She has created a family of companies. They've centered around residential and commercial real estate services. So that includes leasing, sales, property management, construction title, and lending. And she's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, which is actually where I had first heard about Kelly, back a few years when I saw that article. So that was very cool. But she also speaks nationally on real estate investing. So Kelly, welcome to the show.
Kelly: Thanks guys. I appreciate you having me on.
Brendan: Of course. So Kelly, before we get into the details a ton, I know David just did a quick intro for you, but why don't you tell the listeners and the viewers who is Kelly Stumphauzer and what do you do?
Kelly: Sure. So, as you mentioned, I'm involved in many facets of real estate investing. It's just sort of evolved over the course of my career. I started out as a buy-and-hold investor. Transitioned into fix-and-flip. Got my license right around the crash, actually started helping investors purchase properties through the BRRRR model, back when financing really wasn't readily available. And then when the financing came back for investors, I started a turnkey company. So essentially, selling income, producing assets to investors that wanted to use the power of leverage. And from that effort I needed to include property management services. So I was fortunate enough to buy a small property management company and scale that up. And there's just been many verticals since then with title and lending. I got into commercial real estate investing about five years ago, so I do own multi-family. Yeah, things just continue to evolve as my career goes on. So I feel like I have my hands in a little bit of everything, but of course, all real estate related.
David: One of the things that fascinates me about you, Kelly, is the amount of different verticals that you've spread your business into, and I admire that, I think that's really cool. I think many investors have the mindset of all multiple revenue streams, right? Which I truly believe in as well.
But that can be intimidating thinking like, “Oh sh*t, how do I do all of this stuff?” Right? Like, how do I get to be Kelly and have all these multiple, different revenue streams? You didn't build Rome in a day, did you? Now can you talk about that kind of gradual, uphill battle that you ultimately got to where you're at now?
Kelly: Sure. Well, first I'll comment on, people talk a lot about multiple revenue streams, but one fatal mistake that I see is people have their hands in too many different sectors. Right? So, I saw a lot of people, whether it was crypto or Amazon or whatever, so you start out as a real estate investor and then you're trying to learn this entirely different industry and scale that up and make that profitable.
Thankfully everything I do is related to my organic business. But you're right, Rome was not built in a day. However, when I did start the turnkey company, I had a couple of referral networks that I was working with who wanted to buy inventory in Cleveland, and they let me know, right from the get-go that I would need to be a volume provider. And so I had to set the foundation of my business up so that I could scale it immediately. Now, at that time I was doing maybe 10 flips a year, and I went from 10 flips a year to 78 the first year. And from 78 to, I think it was like 156, year two. And so I had to go into that business setting up the systems and processes that were scalable almost immediately. And through those efforts these other verticals became a reality for me.
Brendan: How do you specifically stay disciplined when I'm sure you're approached by a lot of different people with different business ventures and all these — maybe tangential to real estate, maybe not — business avenues that they're saying, “Hey Kelly, you're really smart. You have a brand built around you, and I have this business idea or this business strategy that I want to chase down.”
How do you personally, and how should other investors stay disciplined on making sure that they're focusing on the core of their business or other business ventures that'll funnel into that core?
Kelly: Well, I mean, I feel like everything I've learned was the hard way. I know now what not to do because I've done the opposite so many times.
First and foremost, it has so much to do with the people that you're aligning yourself with. Level of experience and professionalism. The viability of the opportunities that they're proposing, where they are in the life cycle of their career, all those things make such a big difference.
I do get opportunities, but I'm really I'm at a point right now where I'm laser focused. I think the times that I've really gotten set off course is when I'm distracted and I don't have a clear goal in mind, and I just take my focus off of the end goal. Granted, the end goal is always a slightly moving target, but it's really about focus and aligning with the right people.
David: Can you talk a little bit about that comment you made on end goal? How it's a slightly moving target? So like you're saying your business isn't just static and this is my target. I'm running after it. There's like… you're pivoting here and there to kind of change what that target is.
Kelly: A couple of the things I'm involved in right now, had you asked me 24 months ago, I wouldn't have even guessed that I would be here, and so that's why I say that I leave it open-ended. I consider myself — I'm very ambitious by nature. And I'm a lifelong learner, so I'm extremely curious, and as my career's gone on and I've networked with the right people and formed the right relationships, as you mentioned earlier, there's opportunities that present themselves.
So I'm open to those opportunities. I'm just a lot more… I vet them a lot more carefully and I'm very choosy about what I align myself with. But I will always say that there's gonna be a moving target for me because that's just how this industry has unfolded. In my life professionally and personally, it's been, it's a cool journey.
Brendan: So, Kelly, if we can take a a step back really quick. A lot of our listeners are either on the borrower side where they're purchasing real estate and either doing new construction or fix-and-flip, or they're on the investing side where they're putting their money into some level of passive investment in real estate.
I think your turnkey model is a really good example of how those two worlds collide. It's a similar model to what Fund That Flip has, but obviously you’re direct-to-consumer with a turnkey rental property. Could you just give us the executive summary of what is a turnkey rental business, how do you operate it, and maybe how you got into it in the first place?
Kelly: You know, having been an investor myself, both on the fix-and-flip and buy-and-hold side, and then later getting licensed as an agent, I had… a lot of real estate agents are pretty familiar with just traditional retail sales.
But I had kind of a special skillset in that I understood construction and rent rates. And so, right out of the gate, I didn't go to list my uncle's property. I knew that I wanted to work with foreign investors, and as I mentioned, when I got licensed, it was during the  crash. So I've always had this unique experience in that I've done really well in transitioning markets. I've just figured out how to capitalize on that.
So, during the crash, there were investors from all over the world that were buying here in the Cleveland market ‘cause you were buying properties for pennies on the dollar. And if you could provide construction services, there was no shortage of how many properties that you could help people purchase and sell here and run up in this market.
And then when the financing came back for investors and they could realize the power of leverage, the opportunity was actually presented to me to run turnkey here in Cleveland. They're like, “look, we have a ton of investors on the west coast. We have a lot of people that are really interested in that.” They felt like I had a lot of experience and I had a good reputation, could be trusted, and there's a lot of liability in the industry. There's a lot of moving parts that you have to put together to have a successful turnkey company. Investors that are buying from outside the area are completely reliant on you as a turnkey provider to, hopefully, know the right areas to buy in and to have certain construction standards and to provide property management services or at least oversee them. Ultimately, they want it to be a passive investment.
I would say when you own real estate, it's never truly passive. So that's always a little bit of a challenge in the turnkey space to let people know that it's kind of a white glove approach to real estate investing, and yet you have to have the proper expectations going in, right? You still have to manage your management company. You still have to prepare financially for maintenance and turnover, etc.
But essentially that was how I graduated into that space, if you will. There's a huge demand for it. In our market, obviously we've got great price-to-rent ratios. There's been national media about that for as long as I've been in real estate investing. So it's a fairly easy sell. It's just the process and making sure you're delivering on what you're promising. That's the hard part.
Brendan: A lot of people build their business and how they provide for their families in one segment of real estate. The life cycle of the business that you ran, that was end-to-end. So the plumbers that are coming in, or the architects that you're working with, or the lenders that you're working with — they all play a small piece of the end-to-end turnkey cycle.
You're coordinating the entire thing. So you're coordinating the orchestra while they're playing the song. What are some of the main learnings or challenges that you had from the turnkey business, and what either made you wanna stay in that business longer or start to diversify and get into some other businesses as well?
Kelly: Well, with anything, it's building the proper foundation. But it requires a lot of planning, a lot of systems, a lot of processes, making sure that your acquisitions dial in perfectly with your construction and that your construction, which to me is the hardest piece of the business, I say often. We like to say, yeah, I'm a real estate investor because that sounds sexy, but if you're in fix-and-flip or you're in buy-and-hold, you do anything value-add — I'm sorry — you're in construction and construction's very difficult! And you guys are both nodding.
So that coordination's a huge undertaking. I ran with a GC model for a very long time, meaning my company was interfacing with general contractors, and then I was reliant on general contractors to be doing the right thing.
Because when you're in turnkey, you are overseeing the management side of it and trying to make sure that somebody's having a good experience on the management side.
David: Yeah, well I think Brendan and I were both nodding because we spend a lot of time in market and you know, we deal with investors all day, every day. The thing that scares the hell out of investors, all of them, well not all of them, right, but like the vast majority of them is the construction piece!
And, especially as we've kind of felt the market shift since, May or June of last year, we've seen a lot of people pull back on some of the heavy construction stuff because they're, like, it frightens them. Or a lot of people are going toward more cosmetic stuff where, “hey, if need be, I can go in and I can lay carpet and I can do paint, but I don't want to have to rely on contractors to do it.”
So one of the things I wanted to ask you was: Some of these successes and failures of growing that construction side of the business — how big did you have to get your crew to, and how much trial and error was involved with that? Of just meeting local contractors, trying them out, having to move on from them and bring in somebody new until you found a good core group of contractors and subs?
Kelly: Uh…, we could talk for forever about it. I mean, in our market in particular, I don't need to tell you guys, but it's — construction's very hard one, you have so much city interface, right? A lot of bureaucracy as it relates to construction.
And you're dealing with very old inventory. When you're rehabbing houses, I laugh when people talk about cosmetic rehabs. I'm like, where? You know, it's not here, maybe in Orlando. When you're dealing with houses that are 130 years old, there's always some hidden thing that you even… I'm over a thousand houses at this point, there's still unanticipated things all the time that hit us.
I've made a lot of mistakes in the construction side, trusting the wrong people, not having proper vetting processes, even having proper vetting process. Like at this point, I'll give you an example. Before we interface with anyone, we have a whole vetting process of background checks and their LLCs and making sure that they're licensed, they're bonded, they're insured. We are getting references. We're walking their projects before we even decide to do one small project.
And now we have the right contracts drawn up and lien waivers and draw crest forms and walkthroughs in between draws and the final walkthroughs and hold backs, everything you can think of! And still, unfortunately, we meet people that, they'll sometimes they start out and they're good partners starting out with, but eventually they fizzle out and we have to replace them.
It's the toughest part of the business. It really is. But I think that anytime you're interfacing with outside contractors, you have to have all those things in place. Otherwise there's way too much liability. And you guys probably know this ‘cause you probably require it for, on the lending side.
David: Well, yes. One of the things I've noticed about you is on Instagram, right… I follow you on Instagram, and by the way, Kelly is from Cleveland. I don't know if I mentioned that in the intro. So Kelly's, she's a Cleveland gal, Brendan and I, so she's local to us.
But I see you out on your project sites all the time. It seems like every day you're posting an Instagram video of you walking your projects and kind of going through at various different stages and showing the progress there.
Kelly: Yeah. You know, I'm not in every day I'd say, so I have a director of construction that handles a lot of that. We have project managers, I have a team, but 1.), it's something I enjoy and we have some projects going on right now that I like to be personally involved [in], but 2.), it's important, it's important that, here's one thing that I realize right as I've scaled businesses, is it's easy to think, well, I've hired these people to do this for me. And to feel as though you can take a completely hands off approach and manage it from a phone or a desk top. And in my experience, I don't find that that works. It's, how I protect my investors. It's how I protect the integrity of the homes that I'm putting out there and how I ensure that I don't repeat the mistakes of the past.
Brendan: Kelly, with the turnkey business. I'm curious from a volume perspective, when you guys were at your peak, so leading up to 2023. What was the total number of turnkey units that you guys were able to dispo in a year? And then also, is the plan for 2023 to continue to go heavy on turnkey, or are you now looking at different segments of your business that you wanna focus on for the year ahead?
Kelly: I think the max year I did over 200. And that's units. So I was doing like one to 10 unit properties, turnkey for people.
David: Why Cleveland? Like I know you're from the area, correct? I love Cleveland. I'm pretty sure Brendan loves Cleveland. He's got a sign behind him that's got the skyline, so that's great. But like you seem to really love Cleveland as well, but have you explored other markets where you wanna do business or are you just like, “hell no. I love Cleveland. I know the market so well. I'm just gonna do all my business here.”
Kelly: I've had the experience and the fortune of networking with other investors in volume fix-and-flip and turnkey providers from across the country. I've toured their markets. I've been in masterminds with 'em. I'm pretty familiar. I've sat through a million presentations on what their cities have to offer and their price points. I maintain that Cleveland has some of the best price to rent ratios in the nation.
I haven't… the interesting perspective of having done this through, now — this is going into the third market cycle, and so it's kind of like I can speak confidently about a tried-and-true approach here, right? I was buying my own real estate in the early 2000s. I was buying real estate for other people during the crash. I'm still doing that.
You know, in 2023, I've seen where the rents were 15 years ago, where they are now, how the prices have gone up and down. Our rents have always stayed commensurately high compared to the price. Certainly we have some downfalls here, right? Taxes are high and as I mentioned, you guys know the bureaucracies with the cities and whatnot, but there's still a ton of opportunity here. It's been amazing for me to watch all the redevelopment that's happened. I've been able to kind of be on the forefront of a lot of the areas that have appreciated very heavily.
So that's been great for myself and for my investors, and I just feel like I'm so plugged in here. It gives me an advantage. It's not to say that I would not invest elsewhere. But knowing what it's taken me to set up the systems and processes that I have, there aren't a lot of people that I would consider aligning with in another area.
Brendan: Well, that, and when you build such a strong team all in one location, I know there's investors out there that do long-distance real estate investing and it's their jam. They love doing it. They wanna be a nomad. They wanna travel and they don't necessarily wanna have boots on the ground.
But there's also something to be said if you build that core team and a location. Where you're doing business, it sometimes hard to replicate if you were trying to pick up and do it in Charleston, SC, Charlotte, NC, whatever it might be. And while the inventory in Cleveland is — I guess depending on the market cycle — somewhat limited, there's also a ton of land in the suburbs that needs to be built on.
There's a ton of century homes that need brought back to life and renovated. And I think building that in your backyard with a market that you know extremely well. And like you said, you've watched it go through three market cycles just in the last 15, 20 years alone. I mean, there's a lot to be said about sticking around in that market and trying to dominate it.
Kelly: You guys mentioned the Wall Street Journal article and you know, things that really changed for me for a number of years. 1.) Locally, I flew under the radar. I didn't really know, I didn't. You know, I'm a mom and I'm like — between business and being a mom, I just, I didn't do a whole lot of local networking.
I also flew under the radar because I didn't really want people copying my business model and knowing what I was doing. But I networked a lot nationally, as I mentioned, with other turnkey providers and fixing and flippers. And after the Wall Street Journal article ran, I was contacted by people from all over the world. I made a couple of contacts that have evolved into many wonderful opportunities for me.
What I have found is when you meet people where you align with, like character-wise, integrity-wise, they trust your experience even if your experience, in my case my experience was in building and scaling residential real estate-related companies and I had some commercial experience ‘cause I owned some apartment buildings. But I didn't have any direct experience in the assisted living space. And nevertheless, I had an opportunity basically at my feet because I had enough time forming a relationship with somebody who I guess, trusted my capabilities.
Brendan: Kelly, how you said you flew under the radar, somewhat intentionally just to make sure that no one was copying your business model and you were networked on a national presence. Someone, that going in the same sentence with Wall Street Journal article being on a worldwide radar for real estate investors.
It's, it's a very fast track. I mean, it not a success overnight kind of situation at all, but like, it's, it's really cool how you were able to pivot so quickly of, my strategy right now is not to do all this networking and, and draw all this attention, but. With a, it's flip of the switch, you were able to really make that your forte and then really start to get into different business avenues because of it.
Kelly: It's been an interesting transition for me because I understand that networking and bringing attention to what you do is an important piece of growing your business. And yet I've really had to fight all along cause it feels so disingenuous. And so it's why I like to tell the story of why the Wall Street Journal article is so special to me.
So I was speaking at an IMN conference. I don't know if you guys are familiar, but, and I always joke, I'm usually the token woman on a panel, right? And we're talking about fix-and-flip, and everybody is talking about the glory of it, how much money can be made. And you know, there are big wins. And I was really focused on more of the liabilities and the pitfalls that we all experience. What people don't like to talk about.
And I'm walking off the podium and this guy comes over to me, he's like, “Wow, you're just the person I've been looking for.” And I look down and his lanyard says the Wall Street Journal, and I was like, “You're looking for me?” And he goes, “You wouldn't believe, I've been trying to do an article on fix-and-flip. And everybody I meet is a 25-year-old millionaire standing next to a Lamborghini. And here you are, a mom from the Midwest kind of telling it how it is.”
So I love that the origin of the article was, we're not in a sexy market. And I was really just being transparent about what the business is and that garnered that attention. I try to pride myself on speaking very transparently about things and... I call 'em chest thumpers. There's a lot of chest thumpers in our industry. You know...
David: Say it louder for the people in the back, Kelly!
Kelly: I'd much rather have my work speak for itself, right? Because everybody can get on the internet, talk about what they do, and talking and doing are two very different things.
David: I can appreciate that. I can't dive too much into that because, listen, our job is to sell loans to investors so that a chunk of our audience may or may not fall into that category. But you're right, there's a lot of people that only focus on like, look how much of a baller I have become, because real estate made me so rich and they don't talk about all of the other [bleep] that's involved, that makes it more difficult. And I feel like that's important. People need to hear that stuff.
Kelly: It's so important. It's really the meat and the potatoes of what we do, right? It's how you become the successful real estate investor. And I don't need to tell you guys, I mean, there's a lot of people that are out there that are, they're selling stuff because they couldn't do it operationally. So I'll leave it at that.
Brendan: The "gurus."
David: Yeah. So Kelly, I did have a question for you, for newer investors, there's a lot of people that want to get into real estate and a lot of people that have a passion for it, but they're a little… you know, misguided. Maybe they feel like they've gotta, eat the elephant all at once. And I think we've already talked about how you were able to do that in a really scalable manner. But for those that are, are looking to get into real estate for maybe the first time in the next, year or so, what would your advice be to them both on like, is there a certain strategy you would target in the coming year? As well as just more of like operational guidance.
Kelly: Sure. Well, when I got started, I had no background in real estate investing. I did not have a business background. I went to college for social work and I was a stay-at-home mom when I got into real estate investing. and granted this was many years ago but it was before information was so readily available as it is now, right? You can, you can find so much information online.
I found somebody who was doing what I wanted to learn and I kind of traded my time for his knowledge of how I got started you know, mimicked what he was doing and borrowed all of his materials. I was reading Kiyosaki and watching Ron La Grande, and he knew all the gurus and was kind of self-taught. So I would recommend definitely aligning yourself with somebody who's actually doing it. Not talking about it, but actually doing it, has a long history of doing it, and is transparent about what that process looks like. Doesn't just talk about the wins, ‘cause that's not realistic.
And I personally would focus on buy-and-hold right now. I just said recently, I wouldn't go into any deal right now without more than one exit. So even our fix-and-flips right now. If they don't underwrite for buy-and-hold, I won't buy it. Not right now. You know, I just would make sure that any deal that you're embarking on, that you… it's bulletproof and if you need to pivot, you can pivot.
And I would find the person that knows what it is that you want to learn and align yourself there and arm yourself with education.
But don't get into that analysis paralysis thing because you know, you see so many professional students been talking about doing stuff forever. At some point you have to cut your teeth?
Brendan: Yeah. Kelly, kind of in the same vein as, as David's question, I, I think when we did our our call a couple weeks back, you mentioned that doing 200 turnkey rentals a year, you were one of the top in the country on a, on a total perspective, but one of the, one of the top, if not the top, Women led turnkey rental business.
So my, my question is kind of more tailored to if the women that we have listening or just a woman getting into real estate in general, what kind of things did you learn or things have you passed on to, other people in the industry that are trying to replicate your success as, as a woman coming up in real estate?
Kelly: Sure I, that's changed a lot, thankfully in the last, 15, 20 years. Um, when I got into it, there weren't very many women real estate investors, at least that I knew. especially not locally. And I see that changing, which is really cool. And probably my approach to the whole thing has changed. Also. I was just talking to somebody else on a podcast and saying, when I was first in it, I said, I just flew under the radar. I just did my thing. I didn't I didn't network a whole lot I just kept my focus on what I was doing, kept my head down, did my thing. When I got into multi-family investing, I was trying to buy, some apartment buildings that generally the sellers were older men, and there was a time where I was having to prove my worthiness as a buyer, that in my opinion, I would not have had to prove if I were a male, could be wrong about that. I've definitely, I've had my setbacks and I've had my times where I've been like really intimidated.
But I think it's interesting at this phase of my career, because... You hear a lot of people online, all these pundits people are talking about like alpha men, and women are supposed to be like this, and men are supposed to be like this, and you know, I think women have a really unique perspective that they bring to the business world in general. I think that we're, just as a general rule, we're better communicators, we're better listeners. We're very intuitive, We're trustworthy. And I decided instead of shrinking and feeling intimidated or trying to pretend for a time that I was more comfortable in a certain space than I was now, it's just like I really lean into all of the gifts that I have as a female in this business. And that coupled with years of experience and being really transparent.
And again, kind of having real numbers to back up the things that I say, has now benefited me. So I guess what I would share is that females need to understand, first of all, this industry is wide open, more so than it was when I got started. Opportunity for everyone and you have a unique advantage because of the gifts that you bring. You just have to really lean into those and feel confident in them.
David: I agree with 100% with everything you just said, especially with like, The listening part. Right. And like the understanding and the communication where obviously there's, there's a ton of men that we work with, in our industry, and I love them all, all my clients. I love you. You guys are the best. But, the women I work with are just, the communication is so much more thorough.
So, yeah, you're right about that, Kelly. It's I don't know, there's something to that. It's I think that message needs to be shared. Use those. Those communication tools.
Kelly: Yeah, thanks. And I happen to be someone that I really enjoy a challenge, and I'm one of those people that if in some way I'm underestimated, it just motivates me that much further. So, back when I was trying to buy an apartment building and you know, I'd show up and someone's like, are you the realtor? And I'm like, no, I'm the buyer. And they'd be like, oh, when is your husband coming? Like no.
Kelly: Definitely buying your building, dude. 100%. I, I will make sure that I own it.
Brendan: Read my Wall Street Journal article, please. Here.
Kelly: That was before then, I think. But yeah, I'm motivated by that kind of stuff. So that's my other piece of advice. You know, let the setbacks be your motivation.
Brendan: Quick question around that. Um, we also talked a little bit about, with the call a couple weeks back, about just mindset and your approach with personal development. I want to talk about the imposter syndrome a little bit more, and I think this is definitely. Super close, near and dear to your heart, as you talked about being a woman in the industry and, and translating out.
I'm curious at this point, do you ever feel the imposter syndrome creeping back up on you? Are you at, are you at a phase where you are extremely confident? Your track record clearly speaks for itself. Is, is there a phase where you get over the hump and you're like, I am here. I understand that this is where I belong from a business standpoint, and you know, I belong. I'm one of everyone else in the room.
Kelly: Yes and no. What I've found as my career has gone on, the more that I learn, the less I know there's so much more to learn. Right? You know, here I am, I'm about to foray into an industry I didn't know much about and so I'm being humbled yet again. You know? Wow. Like these people know so much more than me, but the approach to it is so much different?
Whereas before it was intimidation. Now I'm just super curious. I'm very eager. I look at it like an opportunity. I think the older I get, the more vulnerable I am. Like the more, the more confident I am, the more confident I am to say too, and I just did this recently, a couple of my partners in that venture are in their early seventies. You know, one ran a publicly traded company, Wall Street people, right. I mentioned I was a social work major, barely passed college math classes, and I have no problem stopping the conversation. And I'm like, you guys, can you please explain to me what you just said? As though I were in third grade and I would never have felt comfortable saying that 10 years ago, I would've been furiously taking notes into my iPhone and pretending like I knew what they were talking about so that I could go and research it and not look like a fool. So, no, I mean, I'm very vulnerable now. I realize that I don't know everything, and I love that, and I love to learn and so there's no more imposter syndrome, but it's not because I think I know everything. It's because I'm just more confident in my ability to learn it.
David: But if I'm connecting some dots here, right? Like one, one of the common themes that I've heard from you, but also other guests that we've talked to, Brennan, is when you were getting started, you were aligning yourself with people that knew what the hell they were doing, right? And you them value.
Which is ultimately the most important thing, right? Like, I want you to teach me what you're doing, but I'm gonna bring value. You're, you're almost doing the same thing now in these other businesses that you're operating in because you're bringing the value that you've acquired over the, however long you've been in real estate, and now you're bringing that kind of value.
Sounds like you're just bringing it with more confidence to your vulnerability, if that makes sense, right? Like, I don't know what I don't know, so I need you guys to teach me, but I'm gonna kick ass for you because this is all the value I bring.
Kelly: I'd say that's accurate.
Brendan: And Kelly, I might be making an assumption here, but I, I would have to imagine that that also allows you to build trust very quickly with the people that you're trying to get in, into business with. The same reason the whole Street Journal person came up to you after, because you were just telling the cold, hard facts as they were.
You weren't trying to sugarcoat anything. You weren't trying to sell them something that you couldn't deliver on. And it's, it's the same thing when. You're in the room trying to learn about the assisted living and you're saying, Hey, I don't know what we're talking about in this specific section. Can you guys break that down for me?
And it's, people like, make sense, right? We have to build a relationship, build a knowledge base before we move on. So I think that's a really good tip. And learning for anyone listening that's trying to get into a new business venture, it's okay to say that you're not confident on your knowledge base on something.
Um, everyone's gotta start from somewhere.
Kelly: Totally agree. People do business with people that they like, know and trust. And if you're genuine, genuinely people are gonna like you. If you're trustworthy, people are gonna, be that much more willing to go into a business venture with you. pretty important to build everything else on those, on those tenants, right?
Brendan: I love it. Kelly, before we get you outta here, couple questions on the lighter side outside of real estate we, we talked a lot about travel and your kids. the stuff that you mentioned and, and maybe a little bit of shout out to your kids that they're younger, I think you said they're high school and maybe one college age, and they're already starting to think about all these different ways to be an entrepreneur and kind of follow.
In your footsteps from a business person standpoint, but not necessarily real estate. So as much as you'd like to share there, I just thought it was super cool and fascinating that they're, they're trying to take after your mindset on how to, how to grow and in advance.
Kelly: Yeah. I mean they, they kind of came up through the business with me and they've seen a lot of the trials and tribulations and setbacks and. Probably annoyingly. So, the whole mindset stuff. My kids are, they've been doing vision boards and you know, they understand like the power of positivity and all that stuff.
Like, so when they were younger it was kind of annoying, but now I can tell it rubs off on them and there's enough people TikTok about it that they now know that mom wasn't so...
Brendan: It's trendy.
Kelly: ...mom wasn't so crazy. Everyone's talking about manifesting, so like they see it.
Brendan: Doing that for 20 years. Come on.
Kelly: Yeah. But it's, kind of cool to hear it in some of the language that they use and in their approach to schooling the things that they wanna do outside of schooling. My daughter's in college, she's pre-med and she intends to go to medical school. Um, but she also took finance as a minor cuz she's like, I don't, from what I can tell, a lot of doctors don't have good business acumen and I don't know a whole lot of college kids that even know what that means, but, she gets it and she wants to also invest in real estate because she wants to have multiple streams of income some of the books that my kids ask for for Christmas or whatever, they're entrepreneurial nature. it's really neat to watch it kind of unfold your kids' lives too.
David: That's awesome.
Brendan: Most kids are asking for, an Xbox or something of that nature. Not, not business books or Robert Kiyosaki's?
Kelly: Right? Yeah,
Brendan: That's good. That's not bad. Kelly, if you just wanna take a quick second, any upcoming whether it's podcast appearances, I think you did mention that you have a book either already out or coming soon. Uh, time to just plug whatever you have in the works right now and where people can learn more about you.
Kelly: Yeah, so I have a book coming out that I'm really excited about. Um, it's called Built to Prosper. Kind of talks about my.... You know, the things that we talked about during this podcast, just my history personally and in real estate investing and how those two things have intertwined. So I'm really proud of that and excited. Um, obviously the fund, the real estate fund is called the Prosper Fund. That will be public here very soon. Those are probably the two biggest things right now.
Brendan: Awesome. And if people wanna get in touch with you, Kelly, what's the best way to do that?
Kelly: Yeah, the easiest way is either follow me on social, it's just my name, or you can email me at kelly at prosper investments.com.
David: Well, Kelly, thank you again for your time this afternoon. It was really, really great speaking with you and I love when we have local people on here. Good Cleveland vibes going on. So, thank you again. Hopefully we'll have you back at some point in the future and you can talk all about all of the cool stuff that you've spun up since then.
But until then, I'll go ahead and sign us off. So, for Kelly Stumphauzer and for Brendan Bennett, I am David Duggan. This is Real Estate Investing Unscripted, and thanks for tuning in.