ITF Eric Yu | Airbnb Rental Properties

Is acquiring Airbnb rental properties more profitable than a rental arbitrage model? The short answer is yes, and today’s guest will tell you why. Eric Yu is a short-term rental Airbnb expert and a real estate agent. He chats with hosts Craig Curelop and Zeona McIntyre to share his real estate journey and discuss why acquiring properties for Airbnb short-term rentals is the better way to maximize your profit and achieve financial independence. Eric’s journey also shows how you don’t need to be in the big city to make Airbnb work. Tune in to learn more about how he found his path in real estate and helping others do the same!

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


How To Maximize Your Profit In Short-Term Rental Airbnbs With Eric Yu

Z, how are you doing?

I am doing great. It is drizzling outside my window and that makes me think of Seattle.

I heard that the bluest skies are in Seattle. Have you heard that song? There’s a nice song from the ’30s or the ’40s that is like, “The blues skies I’ve ever seen are in Seattle.” The FI Team is expanding to Seattle. Our amazing guest, Eric Yu, is our first agent out there. He’s STR, a Short-Term Rental Airbnb Expert, and a real estate agent. He’s here to help people in the Seattle area of achieving financial independence in real estate investing as we have done in Denver and continue to do. We’re copying and pasting that into Seattle. We’re so excited to have him on board. He’s got a great story and I’m excited to have him here. Z, what do you got to say?

What I want to say is that like Craig, I have an agent out in Houston. If you guys are looking for investor-friendly markets or you want investor-friendly agents, reach out to us because I have a whole spreadsheet, and I imagine Craig does as well, of agents that we have great relationships with and teams that are vetted that can help you do it quicker. When you’ve got the right team in place, you make a lot fewer mistakes.

The right real estate agent will have the answer to a lot of your questions because the agents not only do they know the markets, they know the numbers. If they have deals themselves, then they know what mortgage rates are and all that, but they’re going to know the best lenders and contractors. They’re always in the know. Their job is to be the connector. Get yourself a good real estate agent wherever market you’re in, and reach out to us. If it’s in Seattle, reach out to Eric. If it’s in Denver, reach out to me or Z and we’ll help you out. Let’s get into the show with Eric Yu.

Eric Yu, welcome to the show, my friend. How are you doing?

Craig, thanks for having me. I’m having a great day so far out here in Seattle.

Thanks so much for coming on. We’ve got some exciting news that we’ll talk about towards the end of this episode, but before we get there, let’s take it from the beginning, how you first heard about financial independence.

I’m going to go back a few years to give a little bit more background as well as where I started off at. Out of college, I worked in big tech for a few years. I did computer science and did software out at Instagram. Early on, out of college, everyone’s having a good time in their jobs and thinking 9:00 to 5:00 is the only thing that they have to do, but it was around COVID in 2020 when I started reevaluating all of that.

A lot of people had this happen when they were living in their one-bedroom apartments paying more than $3,000 in rent and realizing, “What am I doing paying $3,000 in rent?” My girlfriend and I did a life planning retreat. We wanted to talk about what we care about and do. Do we want to work these jobs for the next several years or do we want to find out some other way to live?

That’s when I first came across financial freedom and passive income. At the time, it was drop shipping, eCommerce, and everything that you see gurus talk about online, but then we came across Airbnb rental arbitrage as a play. That was the thing that I first started looking into the most and that’s right around 2020 when I got into it.

Can you explain a little bit about what Airbnb arbitrage is and what led you to that?

I spent a lot of time exploring that. Funny enough, I never acquired an arbitrage unit of my own. Airbnb arbitrage is where you work with a landlord or even a property management company at a building, and you negotiate to lease out their properties and then re-rent them on Airbnb. Whatever spread you get on top of the rent to Airbnb income, that’s your monthly profit. There are a lot of people out there that do well with this model.

I’m curious why you didn’t go that route.

After the life retreat, I put in my two weeks’ notice to build out a rental arbitrage company. This was in early March 2020. I put in my two weeks’ notice and then COVID became much bigger and everything was shutting down. San Francisco and New York were in lockdown. My friends and I were doing Airbnb at the time. They saw their next two months go from 80% occupancy to basically near 0%. At the time I was like, “This is the universe sending me a sign that I probably shouldn’t be taking this step right now.”

I put it on pause and I had to go back to my manager and ask him for my job back, which is a little awkward because we did a goodbye party, and they got me cards, cake, and the whole thing. I ended up going back to work. From there, I’m glad it played out like that because I was pretty dead set on the arbitrage model without thinking about acquiring properties, but now, that we’ve bought a few properties ourselves, I’m much more in favor of the acquired properties for Airbnb versus arbitrage.

I am super in the same boat. I want you to say why because there are so many more benefits like, “People need to own.” Tell us why.

That’s the other thing. On TikTok, I feel like there were a lot of these Airbnb rental arbitrage people who started popping up, talking about, “This is your get-rich-quick scheme thing.” There are three main benefits to real estate, you’ve got appreciation, depreciation, and cashflow. Rental arbitrage only gives you cashflow. You’re missing out on two of the other big factors. This is the one that I don’t love. The other thing is that you’re always at the mercy of your landlord.

I’ve got a friend who’s been doing arbitrage for a few years now. On one of the properties, the landlord called it and didn’t want to release it again. All that effort and time building that business are all gone and she has to start over again. I get that if you know you want to build it out and build up some cashflow, it’s a good way to go, but if you can acquire, I would acquire.

One thing I love about Airbnb arbitrage is that it’s synchronistic. You can learn to run an Airbnb with someone else’s property. You can get cashflow from it. It can be your side hustle at the same time you can use that money to then purchase property to make your own Airbnb. Over time, your weight of properties can go from arbitrage to owned Airbnbs. You can easily shift in that way.

I do agree with both of you that arbitrage is not the end game. Arbitrage is the beginning for people and then eventually, you get into owning it and running Airbnbs yourself. As a landlord, I’m on the landlord side of the Airbnb arbitrage and I will say that I love it. I am all about having people Airbnb be my place and paying me a premium to do so.

It’s like how people start off with wholesaling. They find the deals and then they build capital with wholesaling, but that’s not the end goal either. Eventually, you have enough capital to take these deals on for yourself.

Airbnb arbitrage is where you work with a landlord or maybe even a property management company at a building and you negotiate to lease out their properties and then rent them on Airbnb. Whatever you get on top of the rent to Airbnb income, that's your… Click To Tweet

Flipping is another way. What is the real estate side hustle? There’s nothing more synchronistic than running an Airbnb arbitrage and having an Airbnb, it’s the same thing. Your systems are all the same and it’s easy to scale from there, but those are my thoughts and we may have exhausted that. What else next is there?

At least, in terms of my side, after my little job fiasco and having to go back to work, I was still very much in the boat of, “We should find some ways to build passive income to financial freedom.” It was around this time that I started exploring and buying real estate. Also, because of COVID, we had remote flexibility and we could work anywhere. That opened up a lot of options.

In San Francisco real estate, you’re not buying a place for less than $1 million unless you’re going for a studio apartment. With remote work, we could expand those search criteria to three hours outside of San Francisco where if we ever had to go back in it wasn’t going to be that big of a move or a hassle. It also gave us more affordable housing to consider. We looked at places like Sacramento, Lodi, and Redding, California, which is where we ended up landing.

I am so interested. I have this whole life about Redding. Redding is nowhere central, so I’m so surprised that that’s where you ended up.

I’m more than happy to talk about it, but we were looking at properties and that’s how we got into our first house hack and realized, “If we’re paying $3,000 in rent at the time when rates were still low, we could buy a place up to $600,000 and pay the same amount per month.”

Tell us about why Redding. I don’t know if you were thinking about Airbnb-ing at that time or if you were thinking about house hacking and having roommates. People don’t know about Redding because there’s not a lot to know. There is a big church there that has a school so there are lots of students around that and then there are meth heads. What else does Redding have?

Honestly, you’re right on point. To the first question, we were looking at Airbnb still, but we were like, “Why can’t we combine house hacking with Airbnb?” I feel like I saw a lot of people talking about rent by the room, duplexes, and multifamily. We were thinking maybe we could combine Airbnb with this. Not only do we get house hacking experience, but we also get the Airbnb operations experience we wanted. That’s where we were at.

In terms of why Redding, there’s the huge Bethel Church out there. There are some nature things that people go to see like Shasta Lake, Burney Falls, and Whiskeytown Lake, but the city itself is interesting. There’s a big mix of people that were out there. For us, the main thing was looking at purchase price to revenue and the types of returns we could see. Of all the cities that we looked at, Redding had the best purchase price-to-revenue ratio. We don’t have like a great hypothesis yet why they’re like grossing so much on Airbnb, but we know that this is consistent across a lot of properties so let’s try it out.

How were you running all these numbers? Did you have a spreadsheet? How were you obtaining the rental information, and all that stuff?

This was before I knew what a pro forma was. I typed in real estate investing calculator. The first thing that popped up on Google was That was the die-hard tool that I was using at the time to figure out if the numbers made sense or not. In terms of where we were pulling, the estimates, and projections from other properties. We used a lot of AirDNA. If you’re going to be an Airbnb investor you should check out AirDNA. It’s a great tool that gives a lot of data. It is paid. This isn’t a paid promotion but it is an awesome tool. The other tools I used were Rabbu and then there’s another one called STR Insights. I pulled these numbers together from a few different sources and took the middle of all three as the target number that we would shoot for.

One thing that’s weird is that AirDNA had been the go-to or the die-hard numbers and then Rabbu came out, and the numbers are pretty different. How is that for you? Have you gone back after and checked what you make to see who was a little more accurate?

All of them were very off compared to what our property ended up making, but I will say that AirDNA has historically been a bit closer to our future deals than Rabbu has been. It depends. If you’re in a smaller market like Redding, AirDNA is going to be best, but if you’ve got a place that’s got a lot of properties, let’s talk about like Orlando or Scottsdale’s, all of the tools work pretty well in the larger markets.

Let’s go into that deal. I bet everybody’s excited to know your numbers. Can you break it down for us what you paid for the place, what your mortgage was, and Craig is jumping at the bed to say?

The For Real Deal. This is the deal that makes you a full real investor. Let’s dig into it.

Let’s talk about the numbers. The purchase price on this property was $429,000. We were able to negotiate with the seller to pay for all of the closing costs. The all-in cost on our side for furnishings and the touch-ups that we did was about $15,000. We did a 5% down owner occupy loan that was somewhere around $20,000 but all-in $35,000 on the deal.

In terms of numbers, our initial projection was going to be between $500 to $1,000 cashflow per month. We ended up averaging $3,000 of cashflow per month on this first deal. If you look at the cash-on-cash, it’s technically 100% cash-on-cash. We netted $36,000 on the $35,000 that we put in. That’s when I was like, “Real estate and Airbnb, why haven’t I done this sooner?”

That doesn’t account for the appreciation, loan pay down, depreciation, and all that. That’s one aspect of the wealth building that real estate gives you. You had to factor all that and probably look at 200%, 300%, to 400% return on your investment in that first year which is why real estate is so amazing. It’s always a good time for house hacking, in particular, with that low down payment because you can’t get returns like that anywhere else. I haven’t seen it.

There are three main benefits to real estate. You've got appreciation, depreciation, cash flow. Rental arbitrage really only gives you cash flow so you're missing out on two of the other big factors. Click To Tweet

It was awesome.

Tell us a little bit about the laws there and then the layout of your house. Were you renting out individual rooms? Did you have a separate unit area that you guys were living in? How did that work?

When we were looking at properties, we looked both at multifamily properties and houses that had guesthouses in the back. We wanted to make sure that it would be a separate living space. This was mainly for us because we were still working remotely. We wanted to make sure that we could take meetings in private and that there wouldn’t be too many disturbances.

The property we ended up landing on had a little guesthouse out back and completely separate from the main house. It was small. 250 square feet for two people is not enough. I learned that lesson from house hacking. I thought it’d be okay but it was a tough year living in the small space. Honestly, I would not trade it because of all the lessons that I learned throughout that time. I set up with that 250-square foot guesthouse and then the main house was a 3-bed 2-bath that was around 1,700 square feet.

What do you do now with the 250 square feet? Was that rentable? Could you get a student in there or something? It sounds small.

I did. This is the other interesting thing about Reddings real estate market, which is at the inventory for 1-bed and studio places is so low that they are almost at the same premium as 3-bed places for long-term rentals. You might see $1,000 to $1,100 for a studio or 1-bed and then for some of the 3-bed places, it’s going to be $1,600. It’s not exactly the same but it’s comparable. We were able to place someone in there at $900 a month and it’s been great. We haven’t had any issues. We’re thinking about turning it into a midterm stay and hosting a traveling nurse there instead.

There’s 1 big hospital or 2 right in that area.

Is the big house still being rented on Airbnb?

We converted that one to a corporate rental as well. Long story short, it turns out there was some stuff about the little guest house that wasn’t fully permitted. While we are living there, it was okay, but once we turned it into a rental, they needed us to fix everything. I’ve been waiting on the building department to get back to me on all that. They won’t let it be a short-term rental until all those things are corrected. In the meantime, we’ve also converted that main house into a midterm rental.

How does a midterm rental work in the three-bedroom space? Are you finding that you have a lot of demand or not as many because it’s a bigger house?

It’s been pretty good. We’ve had 1 family coming to visit Bethel, the church, and they stayed for 9 months, which is fantastic. The other traveler that we’ve had has been a traveling nurse there for two months. If you do the math, you’ll realize that the building department has taken several months. I’m a little salty about that but I’m still waiting on them to figure things out there. Fortunately, for us, we’ve been still making a good enough premium on the midterm rental that we’re seeing about $1,000 to $1,500 in cashflow per month which I’m bummed because we would do better on Airbnb but cashflow is still cashflow.

That reassesses the importance of having multiple strategies for each house. If your plan A of Airbnb doesn’t work, at least you got this plan B of medium-term rentals, which maybe doesn’t work as well but it’s still good enough where you don’t have to sell the property, especially in times like now where the property prices of probably declined 5% to 10%.

Let’s go into your second deal. I’m assuming that you got super excited about that and wanted to bust out of that studio and get another place probably still in Redding. Where did you end up?

This was before we moved out of the first place. Airbnb had gone so well on the first property that we’re like, “We have enough saved down to buy a second property right now with a 15% down loan.” My girlfriend and I saw this house. It was at a great price point. It had a pool. Pool properties in Redding do well. We’re like, “We got to pull the trigger on this one,” even though it’s going to be a bit more out of pocket.

For that second deal, it was $338,000 and then it had already been an Airbnb, so we didn’t need to refurnish it. The only stuff that we did to it is we changed out all the carpets for hardwood flooring and then we also added some nicer patio furniture and did some landscaping. All-in cost on that with 15% down was around $50,000. The closing cost was around $10,000 and then the rest of the work was around $7,000 or $8,000 which puts us around $68,000 to $70,000.

On the hardwood floors, did you put in actual hardwood floors or the LVP?

Thanks for clarifying. We did LVP on the flooring.

A lot of people glorify the idea of financial independence and they always tack on the retire early part but once people experience not having anything to do or retirement, it actually can get pretty boring pretty quickly. Click To Tweet

I was going to say hardwood floors are probably something you don’t want in an Airbnb because if you have some water spills on those or something happens that’s expensive. Z, did you have something?

I was thinking what on earth are you doing in Redding this whole time? Are you surviving? Could you make friends? What’s happening to little Eric in Redding?

Out of the 250-square-foot guesthouse, I am struggling to figure out how we do simultaneous meetings because it’s a studio plus a bathroom. Whenever it was meeting times, my girlfriend and I would alternate. Sometimes I would take the bathroom for meetings. Sometimes she would take the bathroom. It’s not a great situation. It’s getting to know the area. It is a slower place than San Francisco.

We still did pretty well and we’re meeting folks in real estate, so we’re talking to different agents. There weren’t that many events. Anything that we did go to was a virtual event. A lot of people struggled with this but our social lives took a hit during this time. It was okay because we were so focused on the business, Airbnb, and growing that it seemed like the time went by quickly, but now that I’m back in a big city again, I’m happy to be here.

I love that we’re talking about this for a second because it’s important for people to see that there are some sacrifices sometimes. Craig lived behind a curtain. You move to nowhere. Sometimes you got to do that to make a little quick buck but it’s temporary. It’s cool when you can make a quick sacrifice and then know that you’re setting yourself up for years to come.

Z, what was your sacrifice?

I lived between two places for a few years. I lived out of a suitcase and anytime one place was booked, I would go stay at the other place. I was like I had no real home, but I always had a place.

That’s what you got to do but that’s it. You have to build that solid foundation somehow. You got to get ahead, and usually, it’s delayed gratification.

It’s so funny you say that because we were getting fed up living in the small guesthouse that we were like, “Maybe it’ll be better if we block off a couple of days at the second property that we purchased and live there a couple of days to have a bit more space and then move back. We did that for about 2 or 3 weeks, and we’re like, “We’re tired of this back and forth moves. We’re tired of having to pack our bags.” The biggest thing was that every time we were at the new property, we’d also have to clean it and get it back to being ready for Airbnb standards. Major props to you for doing that.

You have to live lightly like you don’t live there. Did you ever get out of the studio? It sounds like you did because now you’re in a city. You’re now Big City Eric.

I did. It was my third deal when I finally moved out of the guesthouse. We had been in the guesthouse for exactly a year, and then we decided to get the third property which didn’t have a separate unit, but it had an above garage unit. This one was double the size of what we had, so we were now living in luxury in 500 square feet. We could at least have a kitchenette now. That was great. Living out of there was perfectly fine. We had no complaints, and we loved it.

After living there for a while, we made the move up to Seattle. All-in now, we’ve got our 3 properties but 5 units in total. We got the 2 main houses that are renting on Airbnb, 2 for corporate travel, and then 1 for long-term travel. It was at that point that we were hitting on slow months at about $6,000 net and then on high season months around $12,000 net. It averaged around $8,000 to $9,000 net per month. That point is when I decided to quit my job and go into real estate full-time.

That’s where it all comes together. Before we skip all the way over your third deal, let’s know a little bit about the numbers because people love that, five units because this one has a second unit. Tell us how that all came together.

We overpaid on this one. This was probably at the peak of the real estate market as a whole. This one was $450,000. In total, it was about 2,000 square feet, 500 for the top unit and 1,500 for the downstairs unit. This one didn’t need any rehab. All we did was painted some walls and switched out 2 or 3 lighting fixtures, so very low cost of rehab. The one thing we did to juice it up is we added a hot tub at this property.

Similar to the first house, 5% down, but we did pay for closing costs, and then furnishings with hot tub all-in were around $17,000 or so. It’s probably around $50,000 or so invested into this deal. We’re seeing about $2,000 to $2,500 net from Airbnb. Now that we’ve moved out that top unit for corporate travelers is bringing in about $2,000 as well per month.

That’s awesome. It’s cool to highlight amenities. One of your places has a pool that you’ve said is popular for Redding. This other place you got a hot tub. Both of them are annoying to maintain. Can you talk a little bit about that and then how much you feel they help you get more bookings?

There are pros and cons to it. It’s been a big benefit when it comes to our average daily rate. We’re able to charge a premium. The main issue is the maintenance side of things. If maintenance doesn’t go well, it ends up being more of a bad thing than a good thing. For example, because our pool guy comes once a week, and then when there are a lot of guests, I ask them to come twice a week. Even so, sometimes there are algae in the pool or maybe it doesn’t clear up in time. As a result, we’ve gotten some bad reviews from that.

Rather than trying to build it out myself here, why not work with people that have already been really established and been successful in this space? Click To Tweet

I almost wonder after everything, we see the numbers and do net more on the pool house, but the bad reviews, I don’t know how they’ll impact us over the long-term from the pool. I like it because I’m getting a lot higher rates right now, but it is one of those things where I’m like a little stressed about thinking because if the maintenance people don’t do a good job that liability ends up falling on me.

I have a question for you, Eric. You mentioned that you put $70,000 down in your second house, and $50,000 down on this one. Where are you coming up with all this like cash? Is that savings from your job?

I was fortunate to have a pretty nice tech salary. For the first years of college, I tried to live below my means. I was saving probably 80% to 85% of my take-home pay per month. All of that money for the first years ended up going toward these deals. At the time, I didn’t know if I would put this money toward real estate or not, but now, I’m glad I saved it up and had the funds to take on these deals.

That’s the importance of when you are in that W-2 role saving a high percentage of your income because that gives you the leverage to do bigger and better things later. That’s awesome. You’ve got these 5 units in those 3 properties in the Redding area. All of which are short, medium, and long. You’re like dabbling in all.

I got to try them all.

Not really in the long-term because they’re all furnished, right?

That is true.

Even your long-term is like a medium-term. That’s the nine-month Bethel house. You moved up to Seattle. What prompted that move?

There’s not much in Redding. I’ll start there again, but one of the big things that my girlfriend and I realized is that we didn’t want to go back to the Bay Area. It was sometime in 2021 when we realized, “Return to work is going to be happening soon. Is the Bay Area the right spot that we want to be?” We went on a little mini-city tour. We checked out Raleigh, North Carolina, and then we had a bunch more on the list.

After visiting Seattle as the second destination, I feel like it was one of those things where stars aligned. We met the right people while we were here. We went to the right events and everything was fantastic. We had our little stay here and then the week after our stay, we packed up our bags and moved everything up.

What prompted you to want to be a real estate agent? For me, I got my license during COVID, at that same moment when all the Airbnb listings took a dive. I was like, “I better do something else,” and Selling Sunset came out and I watched a lot of that. I’m wondering what was your Selling Sunset.

It’s funny because I also watched Selling Sunset. I’m planning on making this TikTok video at some point about it. After quitting my job back in 2021, I honestly took two months off and didn’t do much. I tried to get started on a lot of projects but mentally, I needed some time to recharge after a few years of the corporate grind. After that soul-searching period, I started thinking about what I wanted to do next.

A lot of people glorify the idea of financial independence and always tack on the retire early part. I don’t buy into the FIRE movement personally. I like the FI part of the movement, but once people experience not having anything to do or retirement, it can get pretty boring pretty quickly. That’s one of the things that I noticed. I thought I would have a lot of fun doing nothing, going to play golf every day, or playing tennis, but I completely lost a community aspect.

One of the big things that I took away from that is that I want to make sure I’m plugged in and helping out communities and people in my day-to-day experiences. At least on the real estate agent side of things, I saw what Airbnb did for me at least in unlocking this freedom to choose what I wanted to do. I could see how I could help other people that way as well. I started by positioning myself as a real estate agent, friend, or investor person that you could come to talk to about Airbnb. From there, I got my license and sold a couple of Airbnb properties to friends and family.

What made you seek out and join The FI Team?

I had come to Seattle. I had my California license but I was like, “I want to keep focusing on real estate in Washington as well.” I want to make sure that what I’m doing still ties into my original goals, which are helping people start building towards financial independence or acquiring investment properties. I’m more than happy to help your more typical retail buyers as well. I feel passionate about helping other people toward the financial journey and the financial independence journey.

Funny enough, there was a guy out here, Bradley. He’s a part of HouseHack Seattle. He had met you Craig a little while back in Denver. I remember I read your book way back in early 2020 as well. I was like, “I remember Craig.” I reached out to you. I DM-ed you on Instagram. I didn’t know if you would respond to me. You’ve got those 28,000 followers. I’m sure your inbox is always full, but you responded.

The big thing is just taking action and getting started. There’s no perfect deal out there. Click To Tweet

We hopped on a call and I realized that of all the teams I was talking to, the mission that you guys have and the FI Team has to help people in this way aligns with what I want to do. Rather than trying to build it out by myself here, why not work with people that have already been established and successful in this space? It’s been a harmonious synergy ever since.

It’s been great and we’re so excited to get moving in Seattle because Seattle and Denver’s markets are so similar. Our mission with our team is to reduce the US retirement age. That’s like our big hairy audacious goal that seems almost impossible. Reduce it from 65 to 55. That’s taken ten years off in our time. A great way to do that is by helping people achieve financial independence through real estate investing, which is our ultimate thing. I’m so excited to have you onboard.

I’m happy to be here.

If you guys haven’t read the episode with Todd Baldwin, he is in the Seattle area doing house hacking and that’s a cool episode. Go check that out to learn more about what is possible in the Seattle area and then reach out to Eric.

Read until the end to where we ask Eric how to reach out to him and that’s how you’ll get the info. Before we head into the Final Four, do you have any parting words of wisdom for the readers?

The big thing is taking action and getting started. I was in a phase of analysis paralysis in the past. Honestly, there’s no perfect deal out there. You got to try and then you’ll learn a lot along the way. As long as you’ve got multiple exit strategies, it will work out. Go out there and get cranking.

I remember hearing on BiggerPockets when I was first listening, it’s like, “You need to get at least $100 a door, get it at this price with this vacancy rate, and it had all the numbers.” Every deal I analyzed wouldn’t be right. I was like, “You are never going to check all the boxes.” It’s so important to take action versus trying to check all the boxes because eventually all those boxes will be checked, so I love that you said that.

They change with the market all the time. I can’t keep to certain boxes.

Break out of the box and buy real estate. We will head into our Final Four. Z, kick us off.

Eric, what are you reading right now?

I started this book called SYSTEMology. I got to recommend it. It’s a book all about how to build the right systems in your business. At some point when you do want to take modifications and be able to unplug yourself for a couple of days, you’ve got your team and everything running so that things don’t fall apart basically. You aren’t the cog that breaks the whole machine. It’s pretty interesting so far. I’m on page two.

How do you read only two pages?

I opened the book and then I got a client call and then I had to put the book down. I’m excited to dive more into it.

Fair enough. I was like, “What in the heck?” That’s what happens when you’re a real estate agent. You’re always on, always off. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The same person told me both of these things. One of them was, “Stop comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle and that things take time.” On social media, we see a lot of people that are way further along in their journeys. In this digital age, a lot of us think, “We should be able to get to that area quickly, too.” These people are spending 3, 4, or maybe 5 years to get there, so take your time on these things.

The other thing and this one has been pretty formative for me is, “If you want things bad enough, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” A lot of it is around your mindset and mentality towards things because if you believe in what you’re doing, you’re going to figure it out no matter what, but it is easy to give yourself that way out, and those excuses as well.

What is your why?

Stop comparing your beginning to someone else's middle. Things take time. Click To Tweet

This has changed a lot in the past few years. I thought my why was financial for a little bit. Check out $30,000 by 30 journey. That was where I first started on this financial independence journey, but I thought it was all about creating passive income and then retiring, but now I’ve realized that it’s about community building, helping my community, and helping people build toward this as well. My main why is growing community and then in addition to that, it’s about family as well.

If you could remove a color from this world, which color would it be?

If I had to remove one color from the world, I’m going to say bright hot pink. I am very happy to not have that.

What? I love that color. I disagree with that one. Z, what’s yours? I feel like you were thinking about it there.

I was thinking about it. I was thinking like the only color is maybe brown, but then I was like, what are brown things going to be? I don’t want any color gone.

Eric, where can people find out more about you? You alluded to a Meetup. You might have an IG, so spill the beans.

I’m out here in Seattle now. I’m going to start hosting a monthly Meetup, so stay in tune for that. It’s looking like it’ll be the third Thursday of every month, but still figuring out the exact timing. In terms of socials, you can find me everywhere at @HelloEricYu.

It’s so exciting to have you on the show and have you onboarded the team in being our first agent in Seattle, which is super exciting the launch of the Seattle FI Team and taking us one step closer to helping more and more people achieve financial independence through real estate investing. Thanks so much for coming on. It was great to have you.

Thank you so much for having me on here.

That was Eric Yu. Z, what’d you think of Eric?

That was a fun episode because it’s all about Airbnb and I’m all about Airbnb. I got to sink my teeth into them. I have a history with Redding in California because my father used to grow marijuana there. It was interesting to hear about how that market does. Offline, Eric did tell us that they are renegotiating their short-term rental laws, so it might not be the best place if you’re not already in that market, but it’s giving you some ideas of how to get creative when you’re looking outside of cities to see smaller places around. It was a great episode.

It goes to show that you don’t need to be in a big city to make Airbnb work. You can be in tier 4 or tier 5 city towns and still make a lot of money on Airbnb. If you’re sitting here in Arkansas or wherever and you’re an hour outside of Little Rock or whatever the biggest city is in there, you can still do Airbnb in your town. I’m sure there are still people passing through and visiting that city. That’s a super important takeaway as well. I’m so excited to launch The FI Team in Seattle. Seattle’s such an amazing market. Eric is such a great guy to spearhead that because he’s got that experience and he’s such a good well-to-do guy.

Eric seems approachable and humble. He would share all his numbers. What’s great about financially independent agents is that they’re not as hungry. It seems more that he’s driven by helping and seeing people develop and get closer to their FI that it’s not like he needs the commission as badly. I appreciated that.

I never thought of it that way, but that’s totally true because we don’t need the next paycheck. The more fulfilling thing is seeing people hit that financial independence mark and be like, “I was part of your journey.” That’s super cool. Z, should we ask everybody for a rating and review on iTunes? Please drop us a rating and give us five stars. Hit us up on Instagram. I’m @TheFIGuy and Zeona is @ZeonaMcIntyre, and let us know how we’re doing and any way we can improve the show. We’d love to see the engagement. Thank you so much guys for reading and we’ll see you all next time.


Important Links