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Welcome to my Blog!

For those that don’t know me, I am a wife, mama of 3 boys, Certified High Performance Coach, Author, RE Broker, Serial Entrepreneur and am obsessed with all things real estate and business.

I am so excited to be finally posting my first blog post. It has been a long time coming and we are here! For those that don’t know me, I am a wife, mama of 3 boys, Certified High Performance Coach, Author, RE Broker, Serial Entrepreneur and am obsessed with all things real estate and business. Over the course of my 17+ year real estate career, I started from the bottom and worked my way up to both top agent and then top brokerage. Along the way, I created other businesses by setting goals and then putting in the blood, sweat, tears, and determination that was needed to make them happen.

In the last few years, both our interests and portfolios have changed and evolved. I happened to fall into the idea of vacation rentals and the amazing bonuses and blessings that come along with them. From free vacation homes to someone else creating equity and additional income for me and my family – it was a no-brainer!!! I have been hooked ever since and we now have vacation rentals all over the country. 

I also absolutely helping others take their lives to the next level personally and professionally through my Limitless Coaching. I recently was Certified by Author Brendon Burchard as a CHPC and am so grateful to have the opportunity to help other high performers.

I can’t wait to share all that I have learned with you, along with the adventures and abundance that follows them. My goal in life is to empower and inspire people to get out of their comfort zones and build confidence in themselves so that they can live abundant lives and never settle for less than what they deserve or want. Life is what you make it, so let’s make it Limitless!

I would love you hear from you with any thoughts or questions that you may have!

— Chris

Preparing For The Best (And Worst)

No challenge is unbeatable – you just need a fortified plan to get you through! 

No challenge is unbeatable – you just need a fortified plan to get you through! 

Whether it’s an impending downturn in the Real Estate Market, balancing work and personal life, marketing your business to stand out from the crowd, furnishing Vacation Rentals to meet all guests’ needs, or overcoming challenges in your journey to Live Limitless, I’ve got tips and tricks for you!

My High Performance Coaching is all about creating Focused Goals for yourself, and then creating the steps to make it happen. But do you realize how difficult it can be to break down your goals into something achievable?

When speaking with groups of people, the majority are going to say that they would like to create more wealth, abundance, and ease in their lives. But what does that really mean? How much wealth do you want to create? How do you want to create that wealth? What in your daily life that is causing you stress or getting in the way can you eliminate or make less of an inconvenience? How do you pivot, when it doesn’t go as planned?

This is why you need a coach to help you create your own individual plan, what steps that you should take first and I can help you to break down your goals into smaller, achievable steps – a coach also helps you create timelines, offers accountability and calls you out when you make excuses.

Interested in Living Limitless? Make sure to check out my coaching offerings where we can work through your goals together here.

Make sure to follow me on social and subscribe to the blog to stay up to date on all things Limitless!

Sky High Inspirations

Vacation Rentals have been a passion project of mine for a long time – so much so that I not only own and operate multiple, I even created my very own Vacation Rental Management Company as I began to see a need for it in my community.

Our first Vacation Rental, Villa Bella Mermaid, served as my introduction and first few lessons learned (check out my book for details) to Vacation Rental Management Companies (VRMC). Because it was so far from home, there was no way for us to be able to do the turnovers or provide customer service for guests ourselves – making a VRMC a must.

As we built our Vacation Rental Portfolio back home and I was looking into the other Vacation Rentals in the area, I had a lightbulb moment – with such a wide variety of Vacation Rentals in the area and more being added all the time, along with the fact that I had so many people reaching out to me with questions about how to buy and manage Vacation Rentals, I decided that maybe I should be the person to create the first one since I was already a Real Estate Broker and legally able to do so!

And MVR Vacation Rentals, Inc. was born.

As a serial entrepreneur with a habit for monetizing my hobbies, this was the perfect next step for me. It gave me an opportunity to help promote the Vacation Rental Industry even more in my community, as well as help out fellow entrepreneurs looking to start their own vacation rental businesses.

I had already started to find ways to share my expertise on the subject with my book, Vacation Rentals: The Ultimate Guide, where I share my professional experiences, trials, and errors as a comprehensive roadmap for the exact steps to beginning your vacation rental business. AND Vacation Rental Academy, designed to teach you everything you need to know to start and scale successful vacation rental businesses.

This next step was the perfect continuation of everything I had been working on and in 2021 we officially started listing properties. A couple of my own are in the catalog, but we have had a steady flow of onboarding properties since the inception of the business. We are rated SuperHosts with AirBNB and Premier Hosts with VRBO already, and I am excited to see how this business grows.

We definitely saw with the Sky High Chalet how important time was to build up year-round consistency for bookings, recently even being ranked 3rd Best Pine Creek Gorge Vacation Rental! We are excited to see how this trend continues with not only the Sky High Chalet, but the rest of our rentals and MVR Vacation Rentals, Inc – maybe some day soon we’ll see even more of our properties with similar rankings!

Million Dollar Advice & Video Tour of the Sky High Chalet!

I truly want you all to live vibrant, abundant lives and if you head down this road sooner rather than later, that is all the more wealth and freedom that you can create and grow!

The contents of this video and the Vacation Rental Academy course can literally lead you on your way to wealth and long term abundance, regardless of where you currently are and your experience!

Becoming a wealthy individual, or even a millionaire is much closer than you think! You can start small and accomplish anything – YOU JUST HAVE TO START!

This video was originally recorded in May of 2020, during the shut down for COVID. I watch it and see an innocent version of myself. This was pre-book, course, issues with our town and vacation rentals, but every part of it is solid info and advice present day! Our world hit its tipping point shortly thereafter it was recorded and has grown like a weed in all directions. Real estate and vacation rentals have given my family more income, more fun, more memories, more experiences and networks, it helps other businesses, creates jobs and who doesn’t want that? 

I truly want you all to live vibrant, abundant lives and if you head down this road sooner rather than later, that is all the more wealth and freedom that you can create and grow!

Renovations: Round 2!

It’s almost as if it was all on purpose when in reality it’s dreaming big, writing it down, taking chances, facing your fears, educating yourself, leaning in and not listening to the naysayers that have NOT been there themselves.

It’s almost as if it was all on purpose when in reality it’s dreaming big, writing it down, taking chances, facing your fears, educating yourself, leaning in and not listening to the naysayers that have NOT been there themselves.

My favorite part of business ventures is the marketing – designing promotional materials, branding and decorating office spaces, whatever can get my creative juices flowing!

The Black Swan was an old cafe in Mansfield, just 15 minutes from our hometown. It was in pretty rough shape – but we were up for the challenge to update the building and bring it back to life!

At the beginning of this project, we were remodeling and then leasing the space to a clothing boutique. We wanted to make sure the building could be versatile but still have it’s own beauty. With our Vacation Rentals, this part of the process takes much longer with furnishing and decoration decisions to be made as well, but here we were simply creating a sleek, beautiful space that would meet our tenant’s needs.

Our tenant did so well that they decided to buy a larger space of their own so we were back to square one with the Mansfield building. I knew in my gut that the right thing would work out and listed it as we approached her moving date.

Right around this time I was approached by a local Settlement Company looking to be acquired. It was a tempting opportunity either way, but the timing could not have been better! Our first tenant would be moving out right around the time the deal would be closing, and this was a potential new market for us to grow into. We already own Six West Settlements in Wellsboro (which was another dream of mine that I had created in 2017) and didn’t want to have the new company continue to be direct competition, as it had already been.

We decided immediately upon hearing about the offer that it would be a perfect fit for our Mansfield building! We decided to go for a new look and new location, but the same company name. I was excited to utilize this space in the re-branding of the company, as well as furnish and decorate our new office (and so were the boys)!

Serve-U Settlement is officially open for business at 13 W. Wellsboro St. Mansfield, PA and we could not be more excited! The finished result is always worth it when we’ve put our blood, sweat, and tears so fully into the projects.

And guess what – we’re not done! I’ve already given some sneak peeks of our Main St. Wellsboro Remodel for MVR Vacation Rentals, Inc, and there’s more on the way!

If you love the remodeling process as much as I do, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter and below to my blog to get the updates on our renovations first!!

My Secrets for Stress Management

Stress is a part of life. While you can’t prevent the stress, you can control the way that you manage it.

If you’ve been a part of any of my coaching sessions before, I know I’ve talked about the importance of making lists to manage your priorities and keep you focused throughout the day. Writing down the tasks I have to complete, both personal and professional, helps me to stop thinking about every second so that I can focus on one task at a time and handle them on my terms instead of feeling controlled by the tasks I have left to complete.

I use this same methodology for the things that are stressing me out. I write them all down so that I can get them out of my head and stop focusing on the negativity. And then I rip them up.

This might seem a bit cheesy, but you will be amazed at how much lighter you will feel. The thing is, most of the things that are stressing us out only exist in our minds. Our stressors stem from our own insecurities, and we are much more capable than we give ourselves credit for.

It is also important to remind yourself about what makes you feel happy and successful. We are harder on ourselves than others and negative self-talk only perpetuates the problem. We have to change the way that we speak to ourselves so that we can be our most confident, courageous, and productive selves.

My style of coaching, High Performance Coaching, is an influence process that leads to discovery, decisions making, performance improvement, and better living so we can life a Limitless Life. This is not possible if your stressors are controlling you and the way that you show up in your daily life.

Make sure to sign up for a FREE Strategy Session with me if you want to dig deep and take your first step towards Living Limitless!

Who Needs A Coach?

I truly believe that everyone can benefit from a High Performance Coach – so much so that I have had one myself!

When I was being coached, I didn’t realize how caged I felt at my businesses and how overwhelmed and stressed out I felt in so many different ways. I can remember thinking, “How am I ever going to change this?”

My coach’s response would be “Well, what would life look like if you did this?

I felt out of control and uncomfortable, but realized it was possible to change that with the help of a coach who is there to help you figure out what changes you can make that will lead to a better life.

Having a coach helped me to realize that most of the limitations and ideas that were causing my stress and overwhelming me only existed in my head.

Coaching allowed me to open up that vast mentality and find the things, dreams, and ideas that would help me to create a structured schedule that allowed me to Live Limitless.

And that’s exactly what I want to do for you; My goals is to help you feel fully engaged, joyous, and confident in all areas of your life so that you can enjoy the journey.

Schedule a FREE Strategy Session with me to get started!

What is Limitless Coaching?

Living a Limitless Life and being authentic to yourself is not an option; it’s an obligation – and as a High Performance Coach, I am here to give you the support (and sometimes the kick in the butt) you need to make it happen.

As you may know, I am a Serial Entrepreneur. Once or twice a year, I sit down with each of my agents and employees and make sure to talk about any concerns either side may have but mostly we talk about the future. We make goals of course for the work we are doing together, but also for the individual. If my team isn’t feeling accomplished and like they are getting the most out of their lives and their jobs, how can we continue to do more and better together, right?

So throughout this process, I didn’t realize that I was coaching people. But I had been – and leading a team! I realized that was the most gratifying thing that I do, and I wanted to do it on a much bigger level.

I decided to take a course with Brendon Burchard, author of High Performance Habits, and explore this type of coaching. I am now officially certified as a High Performance Coach and am adding my own style to it!

The process is pretty simple, but the importance of a coach and someone to help you set your goals and find attainable steps to achieving them as well as hold you accountable for doing so is priceless.

I have always believed that we are our own limits, so why not Live Limitless instead? I am on a mission to inspire and excite you to live an abundant and free life, packed with passion and purpose. Join me on this amazing journey!

With One-On-One or Group Coaching options, there are endless possibilities on how you can start your journey to Living Limitless! Apply now to get started!

Make sure to follow me on social and subscribe to the blog to keep up to date on all things Limitless!

Single Family Vs. Short Term Rentals

Variety in your investment portfolio is a must! But how do you decide what that variety should be?

Variety in your investment portfolio is a must! But how do you decide what that variety should be?

There is such a difference in income with traditional rentals compared to vacation rentals. I’ll use one of our current Vacation Rentals, Cabin on the Flats, as an example. If I was to rent this out as a traditional rental, I could probably get around a thousand dollars a month for it. It’s not very big; it’s about 1200 square feet, three-bedroom, two-bath.

So using round numbers, we’ll stick with a thousand bucks a month. So that’s twelve thousand dollars a year gross rent, that’s before any taxes, any insurance, any mortgage or anything. Or any maintenance or God forbid something breaks in it throughout the year.

$12,000 a year whittled down after all of that potentially might not leave us with very much. If this is your first time investing, traditional rentals might be your route, just like it was my route, and you get your foot in the door, and you can eventually upsize, modify and change your portfolio, and that’s great.

But for us, this very same property, same 1200 square feet, same utility costs potentially and same maintenance and all the same expenses, taxes, insurance and mortgage as a vacation rental, we could make five thousand dollars a month, which is sixty thousand dollars a year, which leaves a lot more additional income left over at the end of the year.

So for us, this is an eye-opening opportunity of traditional rentals compared to vacation rentals. Every market and every area is going to be different, and depending on how seasonal it is or how expensive it is to get into that vacation rental property market, that all changes and varies, but it can be life-changing money. Then you have great success. There’s always the possibility to add another one or two, or who knows. Or you can upsize them and have a nicer one, somewhere where you want to vacation to.

It’s okay to start small, you could be that same person like I was when I was 22 and buy the cheap house that needs some work, and then gradually you can upsize it, or you can sell it even. The safe thing about real estate is generally as long as you don’t get in over your head from the get-go, you do build equity and God willing, it’ll appreciate and, depending on the market, maybe more than you expect.

With vacation rentals, literally, it could be something as small as an extra bedroom that you have, that could be you starting small to build revenue and equity, and then take that additional income and maybe then buy a property that you can convert into either a traditional rental or a vacation rental.

Ultimately, there is no wrong answer. It all depends on your tolerance for risk and the specifics on whatever property you are looking at. But if you want to Live Limitless, Real Estate Investing in both of these directions is your key to abundance and wealth.

Make sure to follow me on social and subscribe to the blog to stay up to date on all things Limitless!

Autumn Is Here – Time to Check in on those Safety Items & Prep for Winter!

It is important to check in with your vacation rentals from time to time to see what does need some attention. I know you will lose revenue from a few nights here and there, but like the gutters above it is better than waiting till there is a BIG problem or a bad review.

Autumn Is Here – Time to Check in on those Safety Items & Prep for Winter!

It’s that that time of the year again already. It is one of my favorite seasons, especially at the Sky-High Chalet! The views of the leaves changing for many miles, the crisp evenings and the warm days. We may even have a night here or there to go and use ourselves. It is a great time of the year at all of our vacation rentals for different reasons, but I talk about the Chalet a lot because it is the closest to our home. 

This week, we started our fall cleanup outside, with trimming the shrubs and perennials back and raking any leaves or debris from the yard. It is also a great time of the year to clean your gutters! I know it’s a pain, but well worth taking the time to do it rather than having ice dam up and leak into your home this winter.

The summer is the busy season here, so we also have been going through and swapping out any worn items, like throw blankets, pillows, bedding, towels etc, for new fresh ones. We are making plans with our housekeepers about scheduling time for a deep clean and also to replace any worn carpets and touch minor dings up around the place. 

It is important to check in with your vacation rentals from time to time to see what does need some attention. I know you will lose revenue from a few nights here and there, but like the gutters above it is better than waiting till there is a BIG problem or a bad review. There will be wear and tear in your properties, even if you ask folks to take their shoes off inside, so annually I would recommend doing the little fixes.

In Florida the off season was summer, so that would be when we would drain the pool and do a good once over, along with any repairs to hot tub, docks, AC maintenance and of course any interior things that needed attention.

The biggest things that we are checking on this time of the year for our Northern Properties are:

  • Heating system servicing
  • Fill and propane/oil tanks
  • Chimneys cleaned
  • Check smoke detectors and replace batteries
  • Service or replace fire extinguishers
  • Double check on plowing/snow removal plans
  • Clean gutters/flower beds
  • Put away patio furniture or cover if not using during winter months
  • Cover or put away BBQ grills if not using during winter months
  • Do a deep clean of interior
  • Replace any damaged or broken items (for example, all of my wine glasses at one of my rentals are mix matched now, so I am replacing with a new set)
  • You also want to check in from time to time to your Welcome Book, so that you don’t run out of space in it for guests to share their experiences in it
  • Make sure paths to enter properties are well lit

All of these things are essential to keep your vacation rental running at top notch. The goal always is to offer a product in excellence, so that you get great reviews, make more money and keep them coming back!

For more tips check out my Vacation Rental Academy Coursemy Book and sign up below to get updates on new Blog posts!

Enjoy!

Chris

PS – Connect with me on social! IG @christinavandergriftFB MsChristinaVanDergrift, and LinkedIn

The First One is the Hardest!

Doesn’t that always seem to be the truth with all things in life? Whether it be your first home, kid, heartbreak, business, investment property…the list goes on and on. Why is that?

Doesn’t that always seem to be the truth with all things in life? Whether it be your first home, kid, heartbreak, business, investment property…the list goes on and on. Why is that?

“The first step is always the hardest” (proverb) says that beginning a project is the hardest part; it gets easier once you have already started.

From my experience it is because you have to invent the wheel, work the kinks out as you go, try to stay motivated, and face a LOT of unknowns, all while not knowing if you will have to go it alone, or if you will have help along the way. It can feel like stepping off of a cliff and having faith that there is ground underneath that next step.

I feel like I talk a lot fear in my writing and day to day, but that is because there always will be those fears and doubts. I face them every single day! It is then up to me to decide if I take that next step anyway, sink or swim…

When I decided that we should move forward and purchase our first rental, I was BEYOND scared. First of all, I had to talk Jeremy into it. He was totally against it at first and didn’t want to have to deal with the possible headaches, expense and “aggravation” since we were already both busy with our careers already, an 8-year-old (my stepson Luke) and a 6-month-old (Jaxon) at that point in 2012. We already had my previous home rented out and that was enough for him.

At this point I was a realtor and considered an Independent Contractor, so basically my income was commission-only. For those that are not familiar with how that works, when we sell a house we get our portion of the commission, and no taxes are taken out. We get our check and then we are supposed to be smart and set aside some for taxes and live off of the rest. That sounds great, but that also means that you do not have the opportunity for a 401(k) or a typical retirement plan for when you get older and want to collect and not work quite so hard. Since I had no future retirement fund or actual goal, my goal was use equity in any investment properties to upsize and eventually sell them someday to put money into the bank, or build a new house or whatever.

For those of you who know me or my stories, you know that I don’t take NO for an answer and that I am not afraid to do some persuading. This was one of those times. I always tell people that if I had taken the first “no” from Jeremy, I would have never gotten into rentals, had my son Jefferson, gotten chickens or a pool, and the list goes on… so, I didn’t settle for a “no” this time either (it makes me laugh typing this because I tell him this all the time).

I told him my top reasons for why I thought we should buy it. The main ones were: 

  1. I did not have a retirement plan and someday, when this was bought and paid for, whatever the value is, we could sell it for and get all of the money.
  2. If it was completely paid for, with a little work monthly, it would be straight monthly income to add to whatever else we had.
  3. There are a ton of tax advantages with owning real estate investments like depreciation and tax write-offs, just to name a couple, and I know that no one wants to pay more taxes than they have to (always consult with a tax professional to see yours). 
  4. The icing on the cake for me, as scary as it was to think of going into debt and fearing I could not find a tenant, was that the price point was low and affordable if God forbid, I couldn’t find a tenant.
  5. I could ask for a seller’s assist to pay our closing costs if we bought it.

After a lot of persuading, he was in! He was scared to death, but he was on board. Between you and I, as you get into owning rentals and vacation rentals, the fear of buying the first one is much worse than any after, especially as you gain confidence in how it all works, and keeping them full with income flowing in.

We were able to reap all of the rewards of owning a traditional rental, from tax write offs, tenants paying down our mortgage while gaining equity, and appreciation as the value went up over time. So that $120,000 house would eventually be paid for it we kept it for the long haul with whatever rent we had coming in to be straight income, eventually. And then we could sell it and use that money for whatever we would choose to. That isn’t what we ended doing and for those that have read my book Vacation Rentals: The Ultimate Guide, you know part of this story and have figured out that I am talking about our Central Avenue home, which was featured in my book, both Chapters 9 & Chapter 11. 

I highlight this part of the story in hopes that My Resources allow you to ease MOST of those fears when it comes to investing in real estate and vacation rentals. Whether it be my VRA coursemy book or coaching, let me ease your mind and show you that the ground is there, when you take that next first step!!!

This story doesn’t end here. This definitely is a “To Be Continued…” stayed tuned for the rest of the story and pictures, from house fire to public humiliation and then ultimately being able to reflect on the big picture and see why things worked out the way they did and why we have transitioned most into vacation rentals or sold our traditional rentals. It has all offered so much equity, experience and abundance for our family and we are so grateful that we took that first step. And ***side note, Jeremy is a LOT easier to convince now!

Here is our first rental, 65 Central Ave, Wellsboro. Please stay tuned for the “rest of the story”.  And make sure you sign up below to connect and be in the “know”.

Chris

P.S. Follow me on Instagram @christinavandergrift  or on your other favorite social media apps!