Tips on Creating

Tips On Creating Unique Properties From A Superhost


Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 546. In this episode we discuss unique properties and if they are worth the effort. The host, Liam Carolan, is joined by Alex, who is renowned for building unique stays.

​​Alex is a super host, a writer for Bigger Pockets, a famous real estate publication, a YouTuber and an expert on funding and building unique stays.

​​Alex is based in Asheville, North Carolina and started his business in short-term rentals around seven years ago. He was originally in the Marine Corps, but decided not to reenlist and began reading real estate books.

​​He came across a flipping mentorship program that helped him decide on the market for his short-term rentals. ​​The first property he managed was a new construction, ground up development and it was unique which led him to develop 24 more unique stays with investor capital.

Here's the video for this episode:

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Intro
01:09 – Alex intro
06:59 – Dive into the uniqueness
11:30 – You always want to stay somewhere better
16:33 – Stayfi is a pillar
21:08 – How is your day to day routine?
27:09 – Quickfire questions
30:58 – Outro

Whilst you’re here

Follow Boostly on the following channels to get more tips, tactics and knowledge on how you can increase your direct bookings

Visual – YouTube

Audio – Boostly Podcast




Transcript from the Episode

[00:00:00] Liam: Okay, so today we are talking unique properties. Are they worth the effort? I'm Liam Carlan. I'm the co-host of the Behind the Host miniseries on the Boostly podcast. Uh, we're a series which dives into other hosts from all over the world. We look at their business, we look at some of the things they're doing maybe different, and how you can apply some of it to your business or even just give you some inspiration and some ideas.

[00:00:23] So listening for the next 20 minutes as we've got a treat for you today, we're going behind the business of a host. Who's renowned for Building Unique Stays? Um, we've got Alex builds on the, uh, podcast today, which is amazing. I'm really excited to dive into this. And Alex is a super host. He's a writer for Bigger Pockets, which is an amazing, uh, sort of, uh, real estate sort of, uh, Uh, thing in the u us there.

[00:00:48] So it's a, it is a very famous, um, publication. He's a YouTuber, he's an expert on, on funding and building very unique stays. So without further ado, let's say hi to Alex. [00:01:00] Thank you for being here and welcome along.

[00:01:02] Alex: Oh, thanks for having me on, man.

[00:01:04] Liam: That's exciting to have you here. So, um, before we get started into some of the questions about unique stays, if you can just introduce, uh, you know, sort of your business, where you're based and, uh, just a little bit of history of how you got into short-term rentals.

[00:01:18] Alex: Yeah. Um, so, uh, I'm based here in Asheville, North Carolina. Uh, so it's like a, a mountain community, a mountain town. Um, the way I started was, uh, about. I was leaving the mil, uh, I, I was originally in the Marine Corps in the United States Marine Corps. Um, and I, I, coming off the end of my enlistment, I had like about a year left, I sort of decided I didn't want to reenlist.

[00:01:37] Um, just started reading a lot of real estate books and stuff. Um, and I came up across, uh, a flipping mentorship, like how to rehab properties and blah, blah, blah. And this is about six or seven, seven years ago now. and, um, the mentor, the main mentor of that program, um, I realized his long-term wealth, a lot of his long-term stuff was actually in short-term rentals even back then.

[00:01:58] Um, so I actually started really picking [00:02:00] his brain about that. Um, and he actually helped me decide on the market where I live here in Asheville. Um, but he, um, ever since then, I, I moved from like, I left the military, moved directly here. Um, And then I just started looking for property. I look, I started looking for property, um, that I felt like would do good as a short-term rental.

[00:02:19] Um, but everything that I was looking at was either way at that time, way outta my price range, or it was just, um, it wouldn't do well as a short-term rental. It would've maybe done as like a good, as like a long-term rental or maybe like, just like if someone was just living there long term, but there wasn't really anything unique about it.

[00:02:34] So my very first short term rental, um, I ever. Managed was, and my very first real estate investment was a new construction, ground up development from raw land to, to what we have today. Um, and one turned into two, two into four. Two turned into four. And then right now we're developing 24 of them with like some investor capital raise, Rav and raised and stuff.

[00:02:57] Liam: Wow. So that was going straight in [00:03:00] for one, built from ground up. I mean, there's something here in the UK we don't see very often, I dunno. Is it, is that very common in, in the US or is that something

[00:03:07] Alex: Absolutely not. There's, there's, there aren't really any books or anything written on, usually I like to defer to books or anything.

[00:03:13] Um, YouTube channels can be a little helpful. I just leaned on like some real estate principles, general real estate principles that helped me through that.

[00:03:22] Liam: and when it comes down to these, uh, you know, to, to what you built. So obviously takes us back to that first one. What was the end result of your first one and, uh, how did it help your journey?

[00:03:33] Alex: Yeah, no, I mean, our first one was, I always thought a-frames were super, super cool. Um, and I mean, they've only become more popular and put more into the mainstream after like the Covid lockdowns and stuff. Um, but yeah, it was like I wanted to develop something that wasn't. Unique on the inside, but like the structure itself looked really cool.

[00:03:51] I also wanted to build something that was like permanent, we say permanent foundation stick built, where it wasn't like, I'm not against like tiny houses on wheels, glamping, those, those do [00:04:00] phenomenal. Um, but I wanted to build something that if it didn't end up working out, I could sell it. . Um, and like someone could get like a home loan or something on it.

[00:04:08] Uh, but again, I didn't have too much money when I first started. I got a home loan, a construction loan, uh, which you can get here in the States for a, it was a second home loan, um, and it was only like, it's only an eight. We still own it to this day. It's an 800 square foot cabin, but mm-hmm. . Um, I know last year, last year I did 82,000 in gross and it's an eight, or sorry, 84,000 in gross, and then it netted me, I think 56,000 after all bills and everything were paid, but.

[00:04:34] A small 800 square foot cabin on the side of a mountain. Um, yeah, that, that was, that was my first, my first project. I mean, I, I definitely cut my teeth in development with that first project. Mm-hmm. . Um, but it, it, it, it, it was almost like I was stung by the, the. The bug of like, uh, I was so motivated from that first one on how well that did, and also the experience that we've created for, so we've hosted probably 300 people, 400 people through that specific [00:05:00] property.

[00:05:00] So far, just the experiences we've created in that one, I mean, just led to all the stuff that I'm doing today.

[00:05:06] Liam: Hey, they say, uh, income is an exchange of value. And if you've got those people staying there having a great time, paying good rates, yeah, you're making memories. Exactly right. Yeah. Yeah. We, we swear by that my, I've got a hosting company here in the UK and uh, yeah.

[00:05:18] You know, is about helping people make memories that will last a lifetime, which really Absolutely. So the ones that you're now building, you're now doing 24, did you say? Yeah. Wow. So that's quite a change. What. , do they look like, what sort of, um, what sort of kind of construction, I guess, are they? Yeah. And, um, what is the plan with.

[00:05:39] Alex: So same thing, short-term rental, um, that, that there, they're long term holds. I don't plan on selling any of my properties. The, with my investors, usually they're about, we hold them for eight to 10 years. If we hit the 10 year mark, I mean, they can hold 'em for longer, not, uh, if we need any capital that we need to pull from them and we can do cash out refinances.

[00:05:56] But I like, what I'm sticking to right now is [00:06:00] what I realized the last couple years was the best use of my. There wasn't really any difference between going and looking at a one acre parcel or looking at a 15 or 20 acre parcel. Um, cuz I, I'm, I'm just a developer. I had my own juicys that worked for me and stuff.

[00:06:13] Um, and it wasn't it time difference. There really wasn't really too much time of like my people spending time on evaluating a property, especially bringing people out to get bids and everything. But I, I like to stick right now to like six to 12 cabins within the same, a ar as I like to say, a micro resort.

[00:06:31] You're creating a micro resort community. Um, and it's like a log cabin court. Like they're really, they've been really popular always. Um, but I like to stick to like a theme, whether it be like, Treehouses cottages, a-frames barn type of houses. Um, lock cabins I feel like will do any good anywhere in the woods.

[00:06:49] Same thing with A-frames. Um, but I like to do like six to 12 cabins with some sort of theme attached to each one of them.

[00:06:56] Liam: And looking at those themes and, uh, you know, if we dive into the [00:07:00] uniqueness of these places, and certainly I've seen 'em on your website, how unique some of them are. Um, how do you think that has helped and why Unique stay.

[00:07:09] Alex: I, I like to say Instagramable properties where you are developing properties. We're building properties where outside of the city, the properties and experience in itself where, and I'll tell you that helps with the seasonality if you're in a very seasonal market, is right. So like I don't live in the craziest seasonal market, but here what I've realized is, During the down season, the property becomes the attraction.

[00:07:33] During the high season, the city or the market becomes the attraction. So that, uh, it's almost like there's like a built in seasonality thing about it as well. Um, but like, I, I always say Instagramable properties, people like posting properties like that. Like, Hey, we stayed in an A-frame, um, for a long time.

[00:07:49] We, we haven't had any social media attached to our actual properties. Um, and we're, we're doing that now because so many people have asked us about it. Hey, do you have an Instagram? Hey, do you have a Facebook? Um, we'd love to send you the [00:08:00] pictures that we took out our properties. Um, and that usually doesn't happen with just like a normal house, right?

[00:08:06] So that, that's, that's, uh, I guess my whole thesis on that

[00:08:10] Liam: a hundred percent that, um, having an Instagramable property, like you say, they will do your marketing for you if they're posting on social media. And if you've got your own hashtag, um, that's, that's really up, uh, Boley Street, you know, that sort of stuff is, uh, how you can market them, them places is amazing.

[00:08:25] So how. Much effect does that had on the bottom line revenue. So having these unit unique, unique stay, if you had just gone for traditional, you know, everyday cabins versus, uh, something a bit more special, how much, in your estimation, say percentage wise or even monthly wise, do you think that's brought in?

[00:08:45] Alex: Oh, yeah. Percentage wise. So I can compare it to one of our houses that we have that. We developed that a frame for about 250,000, 270,000. Probably today, 280,000 is probably what it go for. Cause that was done prior to Covid. Mm-hmm. , uh, turnkey compared to a [00:09:00] property we just purchased at about 800,000 or just a normal cabin.

[00:09:03] And it's, it's still in the rent up phase, so it's not stabilized. Um, but that one does. The average daily rates are almost about the. , which is absolutely crazy to think about. I could have never predicted that. Um, but that's, that's the difference, is they can, I mean, take for instance, treehouses. If you look at the average daily rates of treehouses, if you analyze a treehouse, I mean they bring in anywhere between four to 500, four to $700 a night, depending on what the season is.

[00:09:28] Um, so I would say, Sometimes double, if not triple, than a normal rental, which is, I mean, absolutely crazy to say, but if you look at the numbers, I mean, like a Treehouse can bring in four to $600 a night, and it, it's maybe a 600 square foot, uh, treehouse where it, maybe it costs 250, 400,000 a build. . So it, it's crazy numbers.

[00:09:48] Once you get into like the uniqueness, I mean, if you look at like Airbnb's, like I know Boost Lee's all about direct booking, but it's like if you look at like Air, Airbnb just completely redesigned their website for unique stays. Um, they have the, [00:10:00] all their tabs are, are structured around unique stays now.

[00:10:03] Yeah.

[00:10:04] Liam: They call it, is it the, the wow factor or whatever it is. They, the

[00:10:07] Alex: omg but like even they even have tabs for a-frames lock cabins, treehouses outside of the om. So it's like that's, that's where the market is sort of going towards. Like if you want to command these premium rents, there has to be something unique about the property.

[00:10:21] Liam: Absolutely. And the, obviously the outside's unique. Is there anything you do to the experience when guests stay? You know, so looking at the guest experience, what sort of things do you do to, uh, add to that

[00:10:31] Alex: experience? Yeah, I mean the general stuff like the freebies, um, this was actually something I took from a host, uh, out of Australia.

[00:10:38] Um, we do something called puppies and pancakes where like we, we allow, uh, dogs and pets and all of our properties and, uh, we actually like to leave out like a little bit of like a, it's like a shaker for like, um, like ready mix for pancakes and instead of leaving a bottle of wine or like maybe beer or something, we like to leave that out with like a spatula and like a waffle maker.

[00:10:56] Um, so that's, that's probably one of our cheapest and most [00:11:00] requested like freebies. Whenever we look at the reviews, that's always something that's mentioned. Um, but simple stuff like water bottles, um, and board games is, is always something that we include inside of the property. And just a well-designed property.

[00:11:12] I mean, we like to do open floor plans when we're developing our properties. Um, and I mean obviously just a clean property in general, but there isn't really a lot of maintenance when, when it comes to these newer properties cause they're new development. Um, so they feel newer when you're on the inside.

[00:11:27] Liam: I mean, it's one of the things, isn't it? When you book a place to, to go and stay, you, you always want staying somewhere better than the level of your own home, don't you? Right. So when you go into these places, even if you're, you go into place in the middle of, uh, you know, sort of the woods or, or hiking, that sort of thing, you really want an experience and that sounds, and is, yeah.

[00:11:43] And that bu

[00:11:43] Alex: that, that builds into your, like your customer avatar, which is what Boley always talks about, is like, what is your customer avatar? Um, so it's like that, that's who we're targeting a lot of times with the unique properties, I would say. You are targeting a more of a, like a younger crowd compared to, say, like a senior [00:12:00] crowd.

[00:12:00] Mm-hmm. , um, the, the, they're, they're the senior crowd. People coming off of like V R B O or something are gonna be people who are used to the more like traditional accommodations with like houses and stuff. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:12:11] Liam: Yeah. That's cool. And one of the things I wanted to touch on, you mentioned that you're now building like mini little sort of communities of, of a few places.

[00:12:18] Um, what is the benefits of, of having all these in, in one place? And is, is the guest avatar the same for each of them? I

[00:12:26] Alex: would say the guest avatar is the same. Um, and just scale is one of the reasons why we did that. It's, it's cheaper to build when you're building six at the same time in the same area.

[00:12:35] And then also you can accommodate like the GC that I'm current, the general contractor I'm currently using. Is one of the biggest ones in the city. I talked to him two years ago about taking over some of my smaller ones. Um, but he, he just didn't have the bandwidth for it. Now I can bring him a two, 3 million development and sort of, he's more interested in that.

[00:12:54] So, um, and with that comes also some tag, um, some savings on the development cost [00:13:00] because they already have the team and people actually wanna work for 'em. Especially now coming out of Covid, it's still harder to find people. So teaming up with a firm. people wanna work for it. And they're not having that trouble finding people.

[00:13:12] It has been crucial.

[00:13:14] Liam: Um, brilliant to, to, to hear. And coming out of Covid, like you mentioned there, what effect has that had cuz you, you mentioned you've been going for sort seven years on there. What effect coming out of Covid have you seen this much more demand for, for your style of, of short-term rental?

[00:13:29] Yeah. Because

[00:13:30] Alex: Covid in general just put short-term rentals in the spotlight. Um, We, we don't, so the city of Asheville itself does not allow for short term rentals. So we actually, we operate all of our properties and develop all of our properties in the county. So like you pull up the map of Asheville, and then we just choose properties that are right on the border at the, that's like a 15, 20 minute drive to the city.

[00:13:52] Um, that the, that wasn't. We just did that outta necessity cuz I didn't want to be tying up my own capital, investor capital in a [00:14:00] market that potentially was a, like operating illegally. I know a lot of people do it and a lot of people do it profitably, but it was just something I didn't want, I, I didn't feel comfortable doing.

[00:14:08] Um, so we did that out of necessity, but what Covid did it, it was, it pushed a lot of people out of the metro markets and pushed them into more rural markets. Um, so Covid definitely helped us with that. I feel like everyone wants to say like, in a unique property or an A-frame now after Covid, um, so like we're, we're seeing 85, 90, 95.

[00:14:27] If we hit 95%, we raise our prices, right? But, um, 90, 90% occupancies even coming out of Covid here in the United States, we're going through a market correction going like, technically we're in a recession right now, but. I mean the unique properties, my A-frame is still at 90% plus on occupancy. And

[00:14:43] Liam: well, like you say, people want to escape, uh, you know, from a place like the city go and stay somewhere rural.

[00:14:49] If they can take their pets with them, if they can have a right Instagramable experience, uh, you know, you're, you're building something special there. So let's talk more about the tech that you use in your business. [00:15:00] So what tech do you use within your business and is there anything which has proved the most helpful out of all the.

[00:15:06] Alex: I mean, I feel like at this point I feel like a broken record. I mean, what, what Arthur has done with Stai is phenomenal. Um, STAI is almost like a cornerstone to our business, especially now that we're gonna be building out. I mean, this is one of the reasons why I got connected with Mark, um, to build out our own direct booking site.

[00:15:23] I mean, STAI is like a pillar to that, in my opinion. And yeah, uh, stai is one thing and, uh, digital guidebooks is really helpful. Automated messaging, just normal. I think outside, outside of, um, outside of like Airbnb and V R B O, just having a tool that you can automate. It's surprising how many hosts don't use like a property management software.

[00:15:44] They're just like, say, listed on Airbnb and VR R B O. I know that's outside of Boost sleep, but it's very surprising how so many people like it. It's the boosting model. My property lives on Airbnb. Like Airbnb and vr R B O. I look at them as just marketing channels for your business. It is not where your property [00:16:00] needs to has to live because they have complete control over it.

[00:16:03] Um, so when it comes to technology, stayi a digital guidebook, um, and just a P M s, uh, is just crucial. And honestly recently we started using virtual assistance to handle some of our messaging. Um, that's been pretty cost effect. One, it's been cost effective, but it's also been effective just in the overall guest experience because, um, the VAs that we use are.

[00:16:24] Are people who have worked for Airbnb in the past. Um, so that, that's been a recent tool that we started using. It's just virtual assistance.

[00:16:32] Liam: I love that. Then Stay Fire, like you say, is an absolute pillar. And, uh, for anybody listening who, who doesn't know, uh, what Stay Fire does, it'll basically allow you to collect all your e guest's emails, the entire group who's staying at the property.

[00:16:45] The idea is they log onto the wifi, they have to give their email address to be able to log onto the free wifi, which is fair exchange and, um, You've then got their email, which you can then market to, to the, and and

[00:16:57] Alex: like. And like Arthur said, uh, in a podcast, I think he was gonna [00:17:00] get paid for your pad, or it might have been this one.

[00:17:02] Um, but he had said like, do people get scared? I've like about entering their email, or blah, blah, blah. Like, I've never had a guest ever complain about it, ever.

[00:17:10] Liam: No. The same as when, when you, when I stay in a hotel, I just accept it. I go, well, do I want the wifi or not? I'll give 'em my email. Do you know what I mean?

[00:17:16] You just don't. Um, worst coast's the worst. You can always unsubscribe, can't you? If you really, if, yeah.

[00:17:21] Alex: And the landing page, the landing page is usually prettier than what the, the hotels offer anyways. Like it's a pretty clean landing page.

[00:17:29] Liam: That's exactly it. And do you do, uh, much email marketing at the moment for the

[00:17:32] Alex: emails?

[00:17:33] You can. We're we're, we're gonna start doing it now. I know, I know. Safe, I just added like an email marketing section to where we were collecting through MailChimp. Um, but yeah, that, that is the focus of the rest of this year. And then going into next year, is just transitioning into a direct booking platform where, again, Airbnb, V R B O, the, the OTAs, they're gonna be the, they're gonna be.

[00:17:53] The marketing piece of our business are part of our marketing piece, but yet you need a self-sustaining business. Um, I've, I have [00:18:00] my own horror story about Airbnb taking a property off. Like, so it's ever since then that happened a couple, uh, a year ago. Ever since then, it's just been direct booking. So

[00:18:09] Liam: that's, uh, there's been a lot of people in the same boat where Airbnb, I mean, first of all, Airbnb, V R B O, they are, they're great marketing tools.

[00:18:17] Oh, absolutely. Like you say, if you are using them like shop windows to be able to draw people into your, uh, you know, into. Funnels and, and actually come and stay. Or even if they come and stay once, if they've booked via these OTAs, you've then got their details. You can always remarket towards them as well.

[00:18:32] But that's absolutely, that's the thing where for, for businesses like yours with unique stays, the great thing is that it'll be more findable on places like direct book and websites on Instagram, on social media because of the number of people who will be talking about it. So, um, you know, it's a self-fulfilling, uh, sort of funnel where.

[00:18:52] See you're on Airbnb. They may be able to see that you've got direct book and websites and, and come to you direct. So, uh, I'm excited for you for that. [00:19:00] So appreciate that brother. with your, um, with your business so far, you've obviously, uh, you know, sort of scaled up. Um, you've got, uh, the unique stays sort of nailed.

[00:19:10] Uh, you know, you're in a market which is definitely growing, especially since Covid and, uh, you know, especially even with the recession coming is pretty recession proof because the people who are going for unique stays may have more disposable income as well. What's been the biggest challenge so far and, and how have you overcome?

[00:19:30] Alex: Yeah, I mean, I already briefly talked on it. I mean, just the, with the development piece, it was just the, the skyrocketing of materials. So it's like we had budgets that were cut in the center of that, where it's like budgets were done prior to covid. We started building, and then obviously that happened.

[00:19:46] Um, we've just, we, instead of doing a 1300 square foot house, we just scaled it down. So that's one way we did that. Um, and then same, same thing with like tradesmen and people. It was very difficult to find people, but now teaming up with, That bigger [00:20:00] gc that that is one way that we've alleviated that on the, on the development piece.

[00:20:04] Um, and then just on the management piece, it's just been maintaining good people. It, well, I, I'm sure it's happened to you. I'm sure it's happened to a lot of people who've talked. It's like a lot of, a lot of the people that you probably started with prior to Covid is not a part of your team now. So it's like, if you need.

[00:20:21] If you need to let that go or if you need to like let someone go. It's like I struggled with it initially the first year into Covid, but it's like it has to happen because it's like the, the market that we exist in now is not what it existed prior to Covid.

[00:20:35] Liam: Often that's, it's one of the things we find that people struggle with is just finding good people and retaining good people.

[00:20:41] And that's the right struggle, isn't it?

[00:20:42] Alex: Which, um, and it's like, it's hard. It's even harder to get rid of bad people even though they understand your whole business and they, they might have been with you for a while. That's. In my opinion, one of the hardest things to do is a, a bad person that knows your business and it's like, okay, I gotta retrain a new person.

[00:20:56] But, uh, being on the other end of it, it, it's, it's so worth [00:21:00] it to, to find those new people if, if that current person is not fitting in that role.

[00:21:05] Liam: And you mentioned, you touched on the fact you've got VAs now. How is your day-to-day routine changed From what it started off as to what it is?

[00:21:14] Alex: Yeah. So no, I mean that, that's the whole like old adage working on my business instead of ending my business.

[00:21:20] So, um, I've realized, Where the rubber, where I bring value to my business is content creation and then develop, like putting together these communities. Um, I'll probably never be able to delegate. I'm not gonna say never, but the hardest part to delegate on the development side, um, is just like I said, my, like one of my superpowers is being able to identify unique like properties and like the highest and best use for our property.

[00:21:45] So me putting together communities, looking at properties and content creation is the only thing I focus on, and that's what I've told. That's really cool. That's really cool. So it's, uh, to answer your original question, it's freed me up to be able to do that.

[00:21:58] Liam: And what [00:22:00] advice would you have? Uh, there'll be people listening to this who go, well, you know, I think I've got a bit of land.

[00:22:05] I think it could be something special. What advice would you have for them?

[00:22:09] Alex: Yeah, I mean, the biggest thing's gonna be, um, you have to, so I always say when you're, when you're looking at a piece of land, or even if you have a piece of land, but mainly if you're looking to do this yourself, um, you need to think of access to the property.

[00:22:21] What does the access leading to the property look like? Because you have to think of the entire guest experience, not just the guest experience at your property. How are they, what does the drive look like going from to the property? And then, Property. A lot of times guests are gonna be coming in at night.

[00:22:36] A lot of times guests are gonna be new to the area and you don't want to be, you don't want them to be going like 30 minutes of a gravel road in an area. Maybe they lose cell phone reception, like the, in an area that they don't know. So I would say the biggest thing is gonna be access. Um, I is gonna be like, think about access to the property.

[00:22:53] Um, and I always like to say like, you want to be sort of a off of a, a state maintained road or a, like a, a paved [00:23:00] road of some kind.

[00:23:01] Liam: Yeah, just for easy access, definitely. And if there's people who, you know, need, need information, want to do some training on this sort of thing, is there anything that, that you can offer, Alex, if, if people were to Yeah.

[00:23:12] Alex: Yeah. So I actually just, I spent the last six months on and off putting together a, a, a short-term rental development course. Um, I created the co, I essentially created the course that I wish I had when I started six years ago. Um, I probably would've saved two, $300,000 at this point, um, if I had that course, uh, when I first started.

[00:23:30] Um, I've, I've done a lot of coaching in the short term rental space, um, and there there have been a lot of friends and people that I've, uh, coached, um, probably over a hundred students at this point, um, that have asked me about what I do cuz my YouTube channel's different than I, I've just, Coached on short-term rentals, but not necessarily on short-term rental development.

[00:23:49] And my YouTube channel's, mainly short-term rental development. But, um, I decided to put a course together for those people and they a absolutely loved it. Um, and I was like, oh, I thi I think more people want to be doing this stuff, [00:24:00] especially now with like how crazy the competition has gone for people who are looking to purchase their own rentals.

[00:24:06] Mm-hmm. , um, I mean, I, I started really early with sort of just making that my first property that I developed. But yeah, I created the course that I wish I did. Six, well, if I started six years ago, is what I've been saying.

[00:24:17] Liam: And what sort of format will that, will that course be in?

[00:24:20] Alex: Yeah, it's, it's seven sections.

[00:24:22] Um, it's all online. Um, there's a group coaching aspect to it as well. Um, put together a 65 page workbook. It's essentially just follow along. Um, essentially your Bible from start to finish of what a sh it starts literally with what a short-term rental is. And then it'll take you through the entire development process, um, how to look for land, what to look for in the.

[00:24:43] How to put together your development team, how to put together your overall team. There's a small management piece to it, but that's, that's not the point of the course. Um, the point of the course is to be able to get a property off from law, like raw land to development all the way up. Um, and there's also like if you wanna raise [00:25:00] capital, there's some, uh, stuff in there in the course of how to race capital and stuff like,

[00:25:04] Liam: That's cool.

[00:25:05] And just to double check, cause we've got listeners who'll be listening to this, um, uh, some will be on the podcast, some will be watching this on the live. So, uh, who is it for? Is it for people who are based in the US and is it, uh, or is it, is it worldwide and when is it starting as well? And, and, yeah.

[00:25:22] Alex: Yeah, we're launching a September 15th. Um, I've, I've tried to make it as I, I didn't try to, all my examples come from the US because that's where I'm obviously based out of. Um, but there's a lot of pretty high level stuff on, um, I'm sure that can be sort of molded to whatever country you're in. It. The biggest thing I can think about when you, when you jump to a different country, cause I've talked to a lot of people in Canada and stuff, is just understanding what your zoning laws are when it, when it comes to raising capital, a lot of that's gonna be the same When it comes to the different types of structures, I try to keep it pretty fluid.

[00:25:54] I try to talk about like, when you're choosing a market, I like to say that if when you're choosing a market, [00:26:00] um, no matter where you. Some, like whenever, no matter where you live, there's some, some place or some market that's close to you where people like to take, say like a weekend vacation. Right? Um, so stuff like that, it's like, it, it, it's not specific to the United States.

[00:26:16] Some of the zoning stuff that I talk about might, might be, but it, it's still some pretty high level stuff for like just international markets

[00:26:22] as

[00:26:22] Liam: well. Well, it's certainly inspiring. I mean, you've got my, uh, thoughts running with, you know, I live in a sort of holiday part of, uh, the UK and you know, there's always great bits of land.

[00:26:33] Uh, there's always Woodland and stuff like that where you could see

[00:26:35] Alex: really, yeah, we, we, we talk about glamping in the course. We talk about tiny houses on wheels. We talk about a lot of different structures. It's not just permanent foundation stick-built houses. Um, cuz like I, my, again, my goal with the course was to try to bring in as many people in the short-term rental world into this course.

[00:26:52] Whether you're starting, if you want to build the, your own stick-built house. Or you can just start with like a glamping scenario. It's, it, it, it covers everything in [00:27:00] between.

[00:27:00] Liam: That's really cool. I really feel we've got, uh, an idea of, of your business, Alex, and, uh, uh, and what you can do and, and how it helps.

[00:27:07] So as we come towards the end of these, we'd like to ask a couple of quick fire questions. These answers can be as short, as long as you like, and, uh, just a bit of fun. So, uh, what's your favorite film or TV show? How do you. Pass the time on, on Netflix or, or whatever. One of your choice.

[00:27:22] Alex: Yeah. My favorite movie actually is the Prestige.

[00:27:24] I was a, I was a, I say was I was a magician for 20 years, uh, prior to the military or anything. So I love anything magic related. Good old, uh, Christopher Nolan movie, the Prestige, probably my, one of my favorites. Brilliant

[00:27:36] Liam: movie. Great Twist as well for anyone who hasn't Oh, absolutely. Crazy.

[00:27:39] Alex: Melted

[00:27:40] Liam: my brain.

[00:27:41] What is the worst piece of advice you've ever received or heard?

[00:27:46] Alex: Wow. That's a good question, man. The worst piece of advice I've ever gotten.

[00:27:57] I mean, it, it, it's the, it's not [00:28:00] really a piece of advice. So I'm, I'm, I'm Middle Eastern. I'm first generation American, but my family's from the Middle East. And the, the cultural thing in our culture is to keep everything really close to the best is not really to share anything, especially what you're working on.

[00:28:13] Um, so I would say that's, man, what a phenomenal question. That would probably be the. Worst piece of like overall like thing that I grew up with was keeping everything close to the vest. And it's like, no, you need, that's why I created the YouTube channel was because like I ne I wanted to share what I was working on and it's one of the reasons why I'm on the podcast now.

[00:28:29] Liam: That's really cool. And do you know what, uh, I always, I love that question because, When you turn it around and go, well, what would be the best thing is to share and to, you know, give information and, and share it openly. Well, actually, how much more does everybody get? Because nobody can be an expert in every single area.

[00:28:45] So by

[00:28:45] Alex: doing that, you're not your own, you're not an island. I mean, that's, that's the big, that's what we say in the military. You're not an island.

[00:28:51] Liam: I love that. I love that. And, uh, finally, who

[00:28:54] Alex: inspires you? Yeah. Um, uh, There, there's a lot of people that [00:29:00] inspire me, uh, in the short term rental world. I mean, you and Mark are probably one of the biggest ones.

[00:29:04] I mean, especially with where my business is at right now. Um, Greg Dickerson is my one-on-one mentor. Um, I'll t I'll talk about him to the day. He's sort of the backbone of everything that I do. Um, Yeah. Greg Dickson, I mean, and you guys, I mean, the, the book, the, the Boley book has been absolutely phenomenal.

[00:29:20] I mean, I've been trying to follow that thing down to a

[00:29:21] Liam: T Oh, awesome. Thank you very much. I'll, uh, oh, yeah, man, we'll, we'll pay you afterwards, . No,

[00:29:28] Alex: you're fine. That wasn't a plug, guys. . I promise

[00:29:31] Liam: that wasn't a plug. Um, but yeah, thank you so much, Alex. And, uh, I mean, there's, there's two, two more questions for, first of all, how can people get in touch with ya and what's the best way to do so?

[00:29:42] Alex: Yeah, so my, my personal website, uh, alex, that has my YouTube channel, all the podcasts I've done, and then it also has the course. Um, there's a little button up there called, uh, free masterclass. Click on that. It'll take you through the, through the, I guess the, the webinar on sort of the high level stuff of the course.

[00:29:57] And then if you were interested in purchasing it at the very [00:30:00] end, um, you can go about doing that. Um, I'm pretty active on LinkedIn. Uh, I don't know if you guys use, um, I mean, I'm sure it's, it's pretty popular, but, um, that's usually the social, I don't, I stay off of Facebook and Instagram for a lot of things, but, um, cause honestly I don't trust myself with it.

[00:30:15] But, uh, yeah, I'm, I'm pretty active on LinkedIn as well. That's

[00:30:18] Liam: cool. That's cool. And so we started the, uh, the podcast. We've asked in unique properties, are they worth it? So are they worth the effort? And I'd love you to, to just end on that note and just, just give us your, your 2 cents of, of, are they. Yeah,

[00:30:32] Alex: absolutely.

[00:30:33] Especially e even, even if you build a unique property and it doesn't work out as a short-term rental, someone's gonna wanna live in that thing. Like if you do decide to sell it off is what I say. Cuz like you always gotta think of exit in mind. I know you, you don't start a business with the intention of ever ending it.

[00:30:48] Um, but I always like to think of the exit in mind. So it's like, if it doesn't work out as a short-term rental, there's gonna be a couple that's gonna wanna stay in that all or live in that all day.

[00:30:58] Liam: I love that. Well, Alex, thank you so much [00:31:00] for, for sharing, uh, behind the host with us and for sharing the news about your course.

[00:31:04] So I'm sure there'll be people who are watching the live who want to dive in before the 15th. Um, if you listen to this on the podcast, still touch base, uh, with Alex, obviously via LinkedIn or following on YouTube. And, uh, Alex, just once again, thank you very much. And, uh, yeah, any last closing comment.

[00:31:19] Alex: No, that was it.

[00:31:20] I talked about, uh, everything I wanted to talk about. It's just again, the, the unique stays. Think about Instagramable Properties. Would, would you post this on Instagram on your story as like something that you're proud that you stayed in?

[00:31:31] Liam: Love it. Love it. Well, thanks again and bye for now. Awesome. Thanks bro.

[00:31:36] Having a blast. Gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast.

[00:31:39] Alex: Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard on the tee, is loose leaf picking

[00:31:43] Liam: up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.

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