August 14, 2022

JF2903: From Marketing Consultants to GPs ft. Christine Bellish

Christine Bellish is the co-founder of the Bellish Team, a real estate investment firm that focuses on large commercial and multifamily property acquisitions. Together, she and her husband Danny are currently GPs of 588 units and have been involved in 922 units as LPs. 

In this episode, Christine discusses how she shifted from a career in advertising to becoming a GP, plus the importance of leading with value and partnering with experts in order to scale your business.

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Christine Bellish | Real Estate Background

  • Co-founder of the Bellish Team, a real estate investment firm that focuses on large commercial and multifamily property acquisitions.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 588 units
    • LP of 922 units
  • Based in: Garwood, NJ
  • Say hi to her at:
  • Greatest lesson: Lead with value and partner with experts to scale. You don't have to learn everything the hard way.



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Ash Patel: Hello, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I'm Ash Patel and I'm with today's guest, Christine Bellish. Christine is joining us from Garwood, New Jersey; a fellow New Jersey native. She is the co-founder of the Bellish Team, a real estate investing firm that focuses on large commercial and multifamily properties. Christine, thank you for joining us, and how are you today?

Christine Bellish: I'm great. Thanks so much for having me.

Ash Patel: It's our pleasure. Christine, before we get started, can you give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and what you're focused on now?

Christine Bellish: Yeah, definitely. So my background is in the corporate advertising and marketing industry in Manhattan. That's actually where my husband, Danny and I met. And we built our careers, he still actually works in a W-2 job for Disney these days, still in the media industry... And we just wanted more out of our financial independence and financial freedom journey, and we just kind of wanted to get off that corporate hamster wheel, and we were looking to build as much passive income as possible.

So we kind of started our real estate investing journey the way that a lot of people do. We got our real estate licenses because we had never bought or sold any property before. But we quickly realized that that wasn't really the path that we wanted to go down. So we did buy a few rental properties here locally in New Jersey, that are smaller two units, which we still own today. But we got into some pretty heavy lifting with some BRRRRs and some nightmare contractor situations, and we kind of pivoted from there into syndication.

So syndication is what we're focused on today. In the past few years, my husband and I have been involved in 922 units as LPs, and we are GPs on 588 units now, mostly in the Cleveland area, in multifamily, but we are also currently working on a net lease commercial fund.

Ash Patel: Alright, a lot of questions here. So you kept saying "we" wanted to get off the hamster wheel; you got off, your husband didn't.

Christine Bellish: [laughs] Yes, that's true. So I'm very fortunate to have a life partner and a business partner in my husband; we come from similar backgrounds, because we both worked in the advertising industry... But it definitely made taking the leap out of the corporate worlds and leaving that stability and the benefits and the high income earning potential that we had there... And the stability that comes really just with having a salary. It made it a lot easier for me to take the leap knowing that he still had that. So we're working towards building up enough passive cash flow so that he can join me, and he is very eager to do that... But I am a leading the charge and I take the reins on the majority of our business today.

Ash Patel: And I'm assuming you're a real estate professional tax status.

Christine Bellish: I am, and I love that you bring that up, because we are taking advantage of that wholeheartedly right now, as he still has his W-2. So because I have my real estate professional status, we can actually write off all of our passive losses against his active income.

Ash Patel: Yeah. Which is an absolute game-changer, so good for you. Okay, hold on, a lot more questions... Why Cleveland?

Christine Bellish: That's a great question, and we get asked it all the time.

Ash Patel: Nothing against Cleveland. I don't care if you said Tampa or Austin.

Christine Bellish: Yeah, yeah, so truth be told, one of our partners is based in Cleveland; he's our boots on the ground. His name is [unintelligible 00:05:51.05] And he has the familiarity with the market. He lives downtown, and it's a market that he's been in for more than a decade. Our other partner, Kenny Wolf - he's in Texas, and has done a lot in the Cleveland area as well, but Cleveland is honestly just booming right now. There's a ton of development that's going on there. There's a lot of jobs that are moving there. The Cleveland Clinic is expanding exponentially. So there's a lot of going on in Cleveland, but it's funny that you asked that question, because a lot of our New Jersey and New York family and friends, when we say Cleveland, they're like "Cleveland?!" And I'm like, "Listen, it's not for me to move. It's just for me to invest", right? Nothing against Cleveland though.

Ash Patel: When I moved to Cincinnati after college, a lot of my New Jersey friends were like, "So where do you live again? Iowa?" They just assumed all of flyover country iis the same, right?

Christine Bellish: Yeah, a hundred percent.

Ash Patel: I get that. You're a GP and an LP. Explain that to me - were these leftover passive investments in the beginning, or do you still invest passively in other people's deals?

Christine Bellish: We do still invest passively. So the way that we actually learned about syndication, funny enough, is we went to a meet up at the beginning of 2020, right before the pandemic started, in Manhattan. And it was about buying multifamily properties out of state. And we had no idea that it was going to be about syndication; we thought that it was going to be about buying multifamily properties out of state, like more duplexes or quads, in areas that were maybe a little bit more affordable than New Jersey, more landlord friendly, more tax friendly... But when we got to this meetup, that was the first time that we learned about syndication, and basically, that's where we met our partners also.

So Kenny and Agostino were there giving a presentation. We were talking about how syndication works. And we were just coming off of the tail end of a nightmare BRRRR situation that I had referenced before, where we went $50,000 over budget, we went two times over our timeline... Fast-forward, it's a good investment on paper today, but we had a lot of stressful moments and sleepless nights, and the return that we're getting as a cash on cash return from that project - our partners and the people who taught us about syndication basically were talking about returns that were higher than that, for way less work that was involved. So my mind was just kind of blown. I was like "I didn't even know that this existed. Why have I never heard of this before?" And then also, being the cynical New York/New Jersey person that I am, I was like, "I don't know, that sounds a little bit too good to be true. Are these guys scam artists? I need to learn more about that."

So we spent basically a year getting to know our partners. We asked them a ton of questions. We were very annoying LPs; we asked every question under the sun. We read all of the legal documents, we spoke with our attorney, we got references from previous investors... We just wanted a real true proof of concept, and we needed to build a level of trust there that we felt okay with forking over $50,000 and hoping that somebody else was going to do what they said that they were going to do. But basically, I think the lightbulb clicked in our head when we realized that we were trusting experts to do what they're good at... And we had undertaken our BRRRR projects, betting on ourselves when we had no real experience doing that. So I was just like -- I feel like this $50,000, I feel like it was a calculated risk to take.

So we invested with them possibly multiple times to understand how the process worked, and then during that time, we also consulted on their business pro bono, for free. So we basically took the tools and our expertise from our corporate marketing and advertising backgrounds to take a look at their business, and see how we could add value to them.

So we put our money where our mouth was, and invested in multiple deals with them, we also consulted on their business for free, we helped them come up with a new marketing strategy, we also help them come up with an investor relations strategy, and actually hire a dedicated Investor Relations Manager. And after a year of doing that, I was just like, "Listen, we really like you guys, we've built an awesome relationship friendship with you, the trust and credibility... What do you think? Would you give us a shot to come in and join you on the GP side of things?" And they said yes.

So we haven't invested passively with anybody else besides our partners, but we did just invest with them passively, again, in one of their development deals that we're not involved with on the GP side of things, just because we believe in them.

Ash Patel: What an incredible example of adding value with almost no expectations in return, and look where that got you; it got you a partnership into that GP, right? So it's such a valuable lesson there. It's funny, Joe Fairless and I went out to lunch in 2015, and he basically taught me what he does... And that's really the first time I heard about syndications. And I wrote him a check... And later on, I'm like, "Wait a minute, this is way too good to be true." I'm like, "Alright, if I screwed up, lesson learned." Typical Jersey, we're skeptical people... And then a few years later, I never typically involve money and family, but this was too good. I've invested in a couple of Joe's deals at the time. I called my cousin from Jersey, and after he invested in a couple, he was like, "Hey, listen - call Joe, tell him we want to fly down; we're going to visit all of our properties." And I'm like, "Look, we're the 1% owners in these. We can't call Joe and go visit." We call Joe. And Joe set up interviews and tours for all the properties that we were investors with, and put his mind at ease that this is a legit operation. So yeah, I get that skepticism...

And the fact that you were able to do BRRRRs and deal with contractors in New Jersey - that's like the proving grounds, because everybody's very street smart out there. If you give somebody an inch, they'll take a mile. So listen, good for you. You mentioned earlier that you realize the money is better off in somebody else's hands than it was in yours, because you were coming off of a pretty rough BRRRR. At what point did you have that mindset shift, where "The money's actually better off in my hands now"?

Christine Bellish: I think that -- we are not doing it on our own. And it's not to say that we can't, but I think that knowing that we are partnered with people who are experts, and we are learning from them, and we are not just diving into running a whole syndication deal of GPs on our own, gives us the confidence and the track record and the credibility that we wouldn't otherwise have. So for us, it's all about partnering with experts like our partners, who have more than a decade of experience and hundreds of thousands of dollars of assets under management... And we really trust in them.

I think that it's easier for us to raise money because we can relate to the situation that we're in, because we are LPs ourselves. We know how it works. We've also recently only learned about syndication; I think one of our biggest jobs is educating people about it and how it works, because most people just haven't heard of it before. And it's funny that we're talking about flying out with Joe, we actually are --

Ash Patel: Oh no, he didn't go with us.

Christine Bellish: [unintelligible 00:13:16.14]

Ash Patel: Yeah, he has no time to walk us through his properties.

Christine Bellish: I was like, "Wow, VIP service."

Ash Patel: No, no, no.

Christine Bellish: We are actually coordinating a trip out with our investors to Cleveland this summer, and we're doing the same thing. We're bringing them on a tour of all the properties with our property management team and everything. So I totally get where you're coming from there. But I think that we just saw that a lot of this business is in our wheelhouse. And we break up syndication into three buckets, basically - it's finding the deal, funding the deal, and operating the deal. And some people can do all three, and some people just stay in their niche... And I think because of our backgrounds, we are expert networkers, we come from a sales and marketing background, it's easy for us to connect with people, and also to put people at ease. The investor relations side of things is something that we really enjoy, and it's something that we really excel at. So I think that we just really felt that there was a place for us to add value, to make our partners' business even better... And that's really what brought us to ask the question about becoming GPs, is we saw that there was a place for us to add value.

Ash Patel: Christine, in addition to investor relations, what other roles do you have, if any, on the GP side?

Christine Bellish: I think it's everybody's role to bring money to the table, right? So we help to raise money from passive investors to participate in the deals. And in our most recent venture too for the [unintelligible 00:14:44.16] we're more involved in the underwriting side of things on the deal sourcing side of things, in building relationships with lenders, handling the legal... We're much more involved in the nitty-gritty side of things on our latest venture.

Ash Patel: And on the development deal that your partners are pursuing, why didn't you invest in that or go along with that?

Christine Bellish: I think that we are still building our network. And this might just also be a limiting belief. I don't want to take on more than I can chew, and I am solely dedicated to the project that we are currently working on. But I didn't want to divide my attention, because we are still so new on the GP side of things that I really wanted to knock the project that we're working on out of the park.

I think another thing that contributes to why we didn't partner with them on this specific opportunity is that I'm not frankly sure that our network of investors is ready to invest in development deals. The other deals that we've been involved in are very cashflow-heavy deals, value-add multifamily deals, net lease, for example, things that are a little bit more turnkey, where the cash flow is going to start hopefully a few months after you start investing... Versus development, where it might take a couple of years. And I think that the people that are more interested, or what I've seen that people that are more interested in investing in those types of deals are a little bit more seasoned, and understand syndication a little bit more, and they're willing to be patient in order for the larger appreciation payout in the long run... And it's also people who understand the tax advantages that are associated with a lot of these development deals.

So we would like to get involved in development. We actually have been talking to some local developers in New Jersey that we might be partnering up with soon, hopefully... But I think that it'll be an easier sell to our investors to work on a development deal in New Jersey, versus something that they can't see, feel and touch in Ohio.

Ash Patel: Yeah, I don't think it's a limiting belief... In fact, I think you should share the story about why you said no, and it's a combination of wanting to learn more about the deal, not sure if your investors are ready for that... But I think having that conversation with investors, your partners, really everybody, would be an attribute to your experience and your character. So I applaud you for saying no, because it's not always easy to do. Tell me about this net lease fund. Is this triple net properties we're talking about?

Christine Bellish: Double and triple. So basically, we're just looking to diversify our own portfolio selfishly, because we are heavily invested in the multifamily space... And with the craziness that's happening in this economic environment right now, we are looking for something that's more stable and predictable and reliable.

So for Danny - it's my husband; I don't know if I mentioned his name... But in order for me to feel comfortable for him to leave our steady income that we're getting from his salary, I would like to know that there's money that's coming in regularly, and I think on the multifamily deals, as much as we believe in them and as much as we know the housing shortages happening, the rent prices across the country are still increasing at an astronomical rate... It fluctuates a little bit more month to month. If the roof blows out, or a boiler blows, or something like that happens, it eats into the cash flow on the residential side of things. And on the net lease side of things, because the tenants are responsible for the majority of the expenses, it's just a lot more predictable income.

Ash Patel: Yeah, so this is my world. I invest in multifamily as a limited partner. But for the last 10 years, I've actively done retail, warehouse, industrial, office, medical, restaurants, flex... Anything beyond multifamily. And we've actually started a series on this podcast called Beyond Multifamily. So let's dive into that a little bit... What types of properties are you looking for on the net lease side?

Christine Bellish: So we're really looking for essential businesses, meaning Dollar stores, banks, auto parts stores, pharmacies with drive throughs... Stuff like that, that really wasn't negatively impacted during COVID. Hopefully, we won't be ever having to experience anything like that ever again. But this type of investing opportunity is for generally an investor who is more risk-averse. So we just want to make sure that we are crossing all our T's, dotting all our I's... And we're also breaking into a new space, so we want to be as conservative as possible in our first venture in this face.

Break: [00:19:32.12] to [00:21:18.29]

Ash Patel: Do you look for long-term leases?

Christine Bellish: We generally do. Obviously, for the lenders -- and you'll notice, lenders prefer to have longer leases in place. But it's a balance between the two. The longer that the initial lease term is, probably the lower cap rate you're going to purchase it at. So we're balancing that a little bit to make sure in our underwriting that we're going to hit the projected returns that we're looking for for investors.

Ash Patel: Alright, I'm gonna throw you for a loop... A couple of things. One is banks are in flux a lot right now. Take somebody like Bank of America - while they're opening a lot of locations, they're also closing a lot of locations, right? Other banks, they have huge disposition sales on all of their assets. A lot of regional banks are closing locations left and right. Pharmacies have historically been cyclical 0 Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid - they would ramp up, close doors, ramp up, close doors... There's some pressure now from online pharmacies, so that could be a challenge. And historically, we've done the same thing - look for seven, eight years of lease term left on a 10-year lease. Now we're looking for one to two, maybe three years left, because with multifamily, people have been increasing rents 10%, 12% year over year, and with retail, if somebody signed a lease eight years ago, they didn't anticipate this inflationary period that we're in now. So there's some benefit to looking for properties where leases are on the verge of expiring, because now you can go back and adjust them to market rates.

So I love this space, I'm glad you're in it, but I would just keep looking at it with different lenses, because we're a little bit behind in terms of multifamily. Our rates don't typically fluctuate; even commercial lending rates haven't fluctuated. They're actually lower now for multifamily. So great opportunity... And let's keep diving into it. What are you doing to find these properties?

Christine Bellish: Oh, boy, what are we not doing? [laughs] Our partners actually have a background in technology, and they are in the process of developing proprietary software that basically scrapes all of the websites that list all of these types of properties, so that we can filter them down quicker, and also use data visualization to do so. But in the meantime, a lot of it is just old-school building relationships with brokers and trying to get a look at something before it comes on the market. And the two deals that we are hopefully going under contract on soon, we found that way.

So I would say real estate in general is still a very relationship-based business, and really pouring the time, effort and energy into building those relationships with the brokers is super-important.

Ash Patel: I'm gonna give you a couple more tips, if you don't mind.

Christine Bellish: Yeah.

Ash Patel: One of them is look for residential realtors posting commercial deals. It happens more often than most people think, and often, residential realtors are not experienced enough to price commercial real estate. They base it off comps, as they would in the residential world, not really on an NOI and cap rate. Some of my best deals have been residential realtors posting on the residential MLS. Sometimes they allow you to search by commercial - do that.

What's another one...? Look for smaller commercial brokerages. Obviously, if you go to Marcus & Millichap, CBRE, everything is priced to market. But there's a lot of smaller mom and pop commercial brokerages that - they may have some new people that don't exactly know how to price properties. They're priced, but they're inaccurately marketed. It might be a triple net when they've listed gross lease for some of the tenants. So just look for those anomalies.

Christine Bellish: I love it. That's super-valuable. I love it.

Ash Patel: What areas are you looking in?

Christine Bellish: We're not super-specific about the location. Obviously, we're paying attention to vehicles per day, and we want to make sure that the population is growing in the area. We lean more towards warmer weather areas, just because if it is a double net lease and we're going to be responsible for the roof and the structure and/or the parking lot, we would prefer to not have to deal with the brutal winter weather that some other areas experience. But it really has more to do with the quality of the tenant and the lease itself. And you actually made a really good point about the length of the lease. And you're exactly right... When we got into this, we thought that we were going to be looking for at least five year minimum lease term, on the initial use. But we've changed our tune, because when we're looking at the underwriting, not being able to get a rent bump for five years is just not okay during this inflationary time.

Ash Patel: Yeah. If you take a look at something like a grocery store, prices have gone through the roof for their goods, right? But rents stayed the same. So they're making more money, but their rent is the same. There's opportunities to raise rents closer to market for a lot of retailers; things like salons. The cost of everything is going up, right? So why shouldn't commercial rents go up? We're the ones that are behind. So again, I applaud you for doing that.

Coming from the multifamily space, how do you have that conversation and educate them on transitioning to commercial?

Christine Bellish: We position it as a complement. We're not saying that people should do either/or, and we don't plan to do either/or. We are just encouraging people to expand their portfolio and diversify in the same way that we are. But yeah, I would say to you that a lot of it does come down to the education, because people don't understand what a net lease is. And if I talk to people about "We have PSAs accepted on Dollar stores", they're like "Wait, you're gonna start a Dollar store business now?" And I'm like, "No. I'm buying the land, and I'm buying the building, and I'm buying the lease in place, and I'm collecting rent from the Dollar store who gives me a corporate guarantee. That is what we're doing here."

So there definitely is a lot of education that goes into it. An analogy that we use a lot is that this is similar to like a blue chip stock, we're talking stock market investors. But this is probably going to be a risk-adjusted return, especially in the space when we're talking about corporate or franchise-guaranteed tenants. And we can never say guaranteed when we're talking about returns, right? They're all projected, nothing is guaranteed. But I think that for people that aren't as familiar with syndication and who maybe don't feel as comfortable with residential, because tenants can -- especially our friends and family in New Jersey; New Jersey is not landlord-friendly at all. I can speak to that personally. My dad owns a bunch of rental properties here and he went 22 months without collecting rent on one of his properties.

So a lot of people in this area that we know personally, that are part of our network, are a little bit gun shy when it comes to investing in residential, for that reason, even though we explained to them that we're investing in more landlord-friendly states... But I think that they feel a little bit more comfortable in the net lease space, because it's more of a turnkey operation. And this is our personal strategy. Obviously, there are people who buy Dollar stores and they develop them, but we're talking about buying a turnkey operation, with the tenant already in place. So basically, as soon as we close on it, we're gonna be cash flowing.

Ash Patel: And what do you say to those investors that say, "Oh, come on, there's a retail apocalypse. The Amazon effect. Why would I invest in retail?"

Christine Bellish: A couple of things. Not everybody lives where we live, and there are some tertiary markets and secondary markets... And I'll use Dollar stores as an example too, just because honestly, those are our primary targets right now... Dollar stores have been booming. Their stock prices have been rising like crazy. They have been expanding like crazy, and in a lot of markets, they are people's only option, whether it's for everyday essential goods, or whether it's for groceries, even. And a lot of them have been expanding into the grocery world. For that reason, we would consider looking in some more tertiary markets.

We're not targeting downtown Atlanta or downtown Manhattan. We're talking about places that Walmart won't even go into, because it's not worth them making that sort of investment. But these people do still need an opportunity... And it serves a need in these communities.

So I think it's just getting people to understand that not everything is exactly how it is where they live. People live differently in other areas of the country, and it's also a convenience factor, too. We have a Dollar General here in Garwood, and I go there all the time, and I buy wrapping paper, or cereal, and stuff like that, or even sunscreen... And why shouldn't I pay way less than the market rate at Stop & Shop, or something like that?

Ash Patel: Yeah, I love that strategy. And you're right, those Dollar Generals are in very underserved areas. And the data they have must be insane, because whatever you need, they seem to have, in a pretty small footprint store. So I love your strategy. Now, can you tell the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about triple net versus double net?

Christine Bellish: Yes. So when we're talking about triple net, we are talking about the tenant covering all of the expenses. So we're talking about all of the maintenance, we're talking about all of the cap-ex, we're talking about the property taxes, and we're talking about the insurance. When we're talking about double net, one of those things is missing. So the tenant is probably paying for the property taxes, and they're probably paying for the insurance, but they may not be covering all of the capital expenditures for all the maintenance issues. And you really, really need to be diligent if you're looking at investing in these types of properties to make sure that you take a look at the leases and you really understand how the leases are written... Because to your point, the way that some of these brokers market things - you can't trust on them calling something triple net, and it actually being triple net.

What I'll see most common in the properties that we're looking at is that the landlord might be responsible for the structure of the building, so everything outside of the walls, which includes the roof, they also might be responsible for the repairs of parking lot or the lights in the parking lot... But sometimes there's also verbiage that's written in the lease that the tenant is responsible for covering up to X amount if it's like a maintenance issue, but if it comes to a replacement, that the landlord is responsible. Another thing often that I'll see you too is HVAC.

Ash Patel: Yeah. Which is why when underwriting commercial deals, it's so important to read the entire lease, because one paragraph can change everything.

Christine Bellish: Oh, yeah.

Ash Patel: There could be a million-dollar paragraph in there.

Christine Bellish: Yep.

Ash Patel: What kind of returns are you looking at for your investors in these double net or triple net deals?

Christine Bellish: I can't get into specifics, because that's a 506(b) deal.

Ash Patel: Okay, let me rephrase the question. So Dollar Generals typically trade around the six cap, and your cost of debt for those I'm assuming is around 5%.

Christine Bellish: It's been fluctuating a little bit with the Fed increases recently... But yeah, we've been underwriting at 5.25, just to be conservative, and we've been quoted 75% LTV on the deals, and the deals that we are hopefully going under contract on soon, one is at a 7.4 cap and one is at a 7.69 cap, just to put that in perspective.

Ash Patel: Yeah. So the value-add - is it that you're banking on them renewing their lease?

Christine Bellish: Yeah. These deals that we're looking at, they have shorter initial lease terms, kind of like what you were talking about. I think one of them has three years left on the lease, and one of them has four years left on the lease... And at that time, it's a 10% rent bump. So we're underwriting it with that in mind, in order to come up with our return projections.

But we're really just trying to negotiate to get it at a better cap rate. In a lot of these situations, it doesn't work the same as our multifamily counterparts in the value add space. The only way for the value to increase on these properties is through natural appreciation through increasing of the rent, but also just making sure that you buy it at the right price. So for us, we really are trying to make sure that we're negotiating a good deal upfront, and we're getting them at the higher cap, and when we're underwriting, we're underwriting it pretty conservatively, too; we're actually assuming that we're going to sell it at a higher cap than we bought it, just to be conservative for underwriting purposes.

For us, this is really a straight cash flow play for our investors. We are not really banking on that much appreciation to happen, but obviously, appreciation will happen when the rent bump comes and the NOI increases.

Ash Patel: Yeah, I love it. So you don't need my advice. You're already doing what I mentioned earlier - you're buying at a much higher cap rates than a typical Dollar General is going for, and you're banking on that written in red bump.

Christine Bellish: Exactly. And just to piggyback that and take that one step further, we are paying attention to the previous leases and all of the amendments that the tenant has signed, and whether they have agreed to actually take the rent increases that were written into their initial leases, if they've been there for a period of time. We actually had an LOI accepted on another deal that we decided to back out of, because after looking at the amendments, the Dollar General had not taken a rent increase in 20 years. So for us to think that they were going to take a rent increase from us didn't make any sense.

Ash Patel: Yeah, let's talk about that for a second. So rent built-in renewals only help the tenant, not the landlord, because the tenant is protected by whatever amount is written in. But if something happens with the economy or their sales, they can still negotiate. We really can't. We can't say, "Hey listen, I know we've put a 10% rent bump in, but with inflation, let's do 20%." They're gonna say "No. Contractually, you're obligated." Right? So yeah, again, good for you for spotting that. Do you find leases where they disclose sales?

Christine Bellish: We have in a few scenarios, but most of them don't.

Ash Patel: What we've done, specifically to Dollar Generals, is we've walked in the stores, talked to the clerks, and say "How is sales going?" It'll tell you everything.

Christine Bellish: I love it.

Ash Patel: They're high school kids, or college kids that are working there... You'll find out so much information, not only about that store, but about the area... And it's great CSI work, and it's fun doing that.

Christine Bellish: I love it.

Ash Patel: Christine, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Christine Bellish: Well, I think we kind of already touched on it, but it's really leading with value in everything that you do. I think if you just put your best foot forward and you're out there to help people, I'm a strong believer in good karma. I think if you do good in this world, good is going to come back to you. And secondarily to that, I would say partnering with experts to scale your business - that has been a game changer for me and my husband, and I couldn't be thankful enough for the opportunities that our partners have given us, but I also know that we earned those opportunities by putting ourselves out there and by leading with that.

Ash Patel: Yeah, great advice indeed. Are you ready for the Best Ever lightning round?

Christine Bellish: Yeah, let's go!

Ash Patel: Alright, Christine, what is the Best Ever book you've recently read?

Christine Bellish: I actually have it on my desk, so I wouldn't mess up the name - "Raising real money. Real estate funds uncovered" by Salvador Buscemi.

Ash Patel: I have to write that one down. I'm gonna put that on my list. Awesome. Christine, what's the Best Ever way you like to give back?

Christine Bellish: My mom has actually been a very longtime volunteer for Castle Of Dreams Animal Rescue; that's based in Aberdeen, New Jersey. And I like to help her in her volunteer efforts in fostering dogs and raising money for their shelter.

Ash Patel: Awesome. And Christine, how can the Best Ever listeners reach out to you?

Christine Bellish: The best way would just be through email, and it's pretty simple. It's Christine [at]

Ash Patel: Awesome. Christine, I've gotta thank you for your time today, walking us through your evolution of leaving your corporate advertising and marketing gig, your husband being very supportive, getting into some rough fix and flips and BRRRRs, and then leading with value and partnering with great partners in getting to where you are now pivoting into a net lease fund... So an incredible journey. Can't wait to see what's next for you, and thank you for your time again today.

Christine Bellish: Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure, Ash.

Ash Patel: Best Ever listeners, thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a five star review, share the podcast with someone you think can benefit from it. Also, follow, subscribe, and have a Best Ever day!

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