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Senior Housing Wave Of Opportunity With Isabelle Guarino Smith

FWM 19 | Residential Assisted Living

The senior housing wave of opportunity is happening right now. There is no better time than now to get into residential assisted living. There’s a lot of focus on the real estate but not on the human being that’s selling their home. Where are they going to go now? A nursing home is too expensive and not everyone wants to send their loved one there. The perfect in-between is in residential assisted living.


Join Julie Houston & Gem Rinehart as they talk to the COO at Residential Assisted Living Academy, Isabelle Guarino Smith about the best opportunity you can invest in right now, residential assisted living. Learn what makes senior housing so great in today’s market. Discover why it’s a better and cheaper alternative compared to a nursing home. Get involved in RAL right now!



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Senior Housing Wave Of Opportunity With Isabelle Guarino Smith


In this episode, we have Isabelle Guarino with us from RAL, Residential Assisted Living. I’m super excited to have you here, Isabelle. Welcome.


I’m happy to be here. Thanks for having me, ladies.


Why don’t you tell a little bit about yourself to our audience, your background, and what RAL is?


RAL stands for Residential Assisted Living and I got into this industry through my dad. I know I’ve shared this story with you before and you knew my dad, Gene Guarino. He needed a solution for his own mom and stumbled into residential assisted living. He fell in love with the senior housing industry and the impact he was able to have through those homes because they are so different than the traditional big-box facilities we often think of.


He stopped doing all other forms of real estate and went all-in to this a few years ago. I started hanging out with him a little too much saying, “What are you doing? What’s going on here? I want to hear more. I want to learn more.” I snuck my way into being his assistant and then all the way up to the COO of all of our companies now. It’s been a lot of fun in the meantime, but I absolutely fell in love with senior housing like him and totally have such a passion for teaching entrepreneurs and investors all about how to get involved in this niche.


Tell me a little bit about the niche. Are you having any issues right now with the current economy? Are you still actively buying? What do you buy and what are you doing?


We get involved in four different ways. You can build custom residential assisted living homes from the ground up. You can convert single-family homes to become RAL home. You can lease a home for this so someone else has to retrofit the property and you are going to lease it from them. They’re your landlord. You are the tenant. You’re going to operate the business or you can buy an existing one. Buying the real estate and the business and getting started right away.


We are still very active even through the economy and everything that’s happening right now because truly for us, it’s not the cost of the real estate that matters. It’s about the opportunity. I don’t mind paying full price for houses, which I know is like, “How could you do that in the real estate world?” In reality, it’s not, “I’m going to be cashflowing so much more that it works out in the end regardless.” If the numbers make sense, there’s nothing holding you back.


Is there a particular type of property style that you look for?


I like single-level homes. You can do multi-level. You’re just going to have to add a chairlift or a residential elevator, but more importantly than the property, I want the demographics of the area. That’s the key. I want to be near what we call daughter Judy, the 50 to 70-year-old who’s upper-middle class. she is your key player because she’s the one who is identifying the co2rrect home for mom or dad. She’s typically the one finding that home, touring the home, choosing the home, and paying for the home for her mom or dad’s care needs.


Targeting where the daughter Judys are is key to determining what is the right placement for the home. Also, things like single-level, larger lots, more bedrooms, and bathrooms because if you’re going to house 6 to 16 seniors, you’re going to need quite a few bedrooms. This isn’t your typical 3-bedroom, 2-bath single-family. That’s not what I meant when I’m saying single-family. A family with six kids might have a house that has 6 or 7 bedrooms. It’s not like these don’t exist. They look a little different than what we’re used to when we hear that word.


How is residential assisted living different than a regular nursing home?


In a nursing home, you need doctors, gurneys, and IVs. It’s medical. Typically, when someone leaves an assisted living home, they’re only going to one of two places, the other side or a nursing home. Their care is too great and they need physical doctors on staff. They need to be in-watched 24/7 in that regard. A nursing home is a little bit more medical. In assisted living, we’re still helping with the activities of daily living like walking, standing, bathing, toileting, showering, eating, and brushing your hair or teeth. Everything that we do normally on day-to-day, that’s what assisted living helps with.


I believe Gem knows some people in the healthcare business.


My mom does home healthcare, but usually, these people live in their own homes. Instead of them going to a nursing home, my mom is the one that’s doing that and they do need medical assistance but again, at the least, they’re in the comfort of their own home. From my understanding of what you’re telling me, you might have somebody that comes in and this is the person who’s overseeing the elderly people that live there.


There’s a 24/7 licensed administrator who’s available to the home at any day or time. They’re the licensed admin. They do the hiring and firing of caregivers and contractors. They can market the home and they’re doing the resident intake and all things business. Caregivers are with the residents 24/7. Typically, a 4 to 1 or 5 to 1 ratio of residents to caregivers. Their direct responsibility is the care of the residents. They’re the ones helping with those activities of daily living. Sometimes doing the cooking and cleaning as well. If the home’s high-end, they’ll have their own private chef or things of that nature. If only a regular assisted living home not charging super high rates, the caregivers might be in charge of cooking and cleaning as well as the direct care of the residents.


That was a perfect example. When you said that Gem, to me, it says that not every family is going to be able to want to put their loved ones into a nursing home and not everybody can afford 24-hour personal care either. I would love if somebody that I knew and loved was in a nice safe area and surrounded with 24-hour care, but they’re still living their daily life. It seems like a huge benefit to the community as well.


I think so because home health as you were referring to, from what I know, one-on-one in-home caregiving, right now the national average is $27 an hour. I don’t know what your mom’s rates are, but if you need 24/7 care, $27 times 24 times 30 that’s $19,000 a month. That’s really pricey real quick. Many families say, “I don’t need 24/7. I need it while I’m at work. I’ll take nights and weekends or something like that.” Now, if you gave up going to Johnny’s soccer game, ballet practice, wine club, poker night, or whatever it might be, you are trapped. Caring for a senior is a 24/7 thing and you can’t just, “I’ll be back on Monday,” and leave them. That’s when scary things happen.


I love the idea of in-home care. I know for most people, it’s too costly. Residential assisted living is perfect in between in-home care and a big box facility. You are still in a residential home, not your home, but a residential home and it’s not one-on-one, but it’s 4 to1. It’s not 15 to 1. It’s that perfect in between and it’s a lot more cost-effective at the national average being about $4,500 per month per person. When comparing everything, it’s the best of both worlds, I think.


What do you teach and what do you focus on with your students? Let’s talk a little bit more about that.


A lot of real estate investors are seeing what’s happening with the silver tsunami. Everyone is like, “What’s going on with these Baby Boomers and all these homes that are coming on the market?” I think that there’s a lot of focus on the real estate that’s going to be coming up, but not everyone’s focused on the human beings, the actual Baby Boomers, and what they’re going to need because they’re selling their homes, but where are they going? Assisted living home care and assistance is that next step and it’s an interesting play for real estate investors to get involved in because what we teach is how to own the real estate and operate the business, but in a more passive and hands-off way.


As I was referring to, having the administrator and the caregivers, I communicate with my administrator once a week and I visit the home every other month. I own the real estate and the business and that’s how I choose to play in that field, but I’m not only able to provide housing and assistance for my loved ones if they ever need it, for free mind you, but these homes cashflow about $10,000 a month. Having one of them is a cashflow asset for you and an opportunity for your family. You’re providing jobs and solving this silver tsunami crisis, as well as leaving a legacy for my future children.


I don’t want to leave anyone a burden by being worried about how much it’s going to cost to take care of me. Are they going to have to quit their job and do this? No. I’m going to move right into my home and I’ll leave my homes as a blessing to my future children, and they’ll have cashflowing businesses. It’s an all-in solution from a real estate perspective.


It’s building a legacy for your family especially the perspective and the angles.


As you said, the biggest worry for most, if not all parents, is what are my kids going to do when I can’t take care of myself. You brought that solution to reality because almost everybody that I know doesn’t want to place their parents in a nursing home. As you said, it’s that all-in-one solution.


For real estate investors, medical professionals, and many of the people who might be reading this, it’s a cool play on real estate because it is a business. There are risk and liability. It’s a whole business and there are many different ways you can get involved. You could be getting that physical home, ready and licensed, and leasing it to an operator. You’re not dealing with the business at all. You’re only being a landlord in this industry.


FWM 19 Isabelle | Residential Assisted Living
Residential Assisted Living: RAL is a great play on real estate because it is a business. There are risks and liabilities. It’s a whole business with many different ways to get involved.



Also, you can do like we do. We own the real estate and operate the business. Some people don’t have the capital to deal with real estate and they only want to operate the business. There are a lot of different ways that you can get involved as well as being a JV partner on some of these deals and investing in someone who’s going to do this. The opportunities are truly endless.


I’m sure you know more statistics than I do, but having facilities like this nationwide, I could totally see the benefit and I don’t know very many that are unique like you do. I’ve never seen one or heard of one locally at all. It’s definitely a nice and unique spin. For our readers, they are going to get more information on the business and what you do at


There are lots of free info for you there, webinars, and books. You can even schedule a discovery call with our team. I’m happy to help, walk through, or work through any of the questions that might be coming up in your mind as you’re reading this. We’re here for you.


Do you have any final thoughts or any kind of tips maybe for entrepreneurs or even investors that you would leave in this episode?


In general, whatever you do in life, it’s so important that you have a passion and a why behind it. I know a lot of people get into real estate maybe because they fell into it or something excited them about the cashflow, not working for someone else being an entrepreneur. I think that all of those things are wonderful, but when times get tough, especially right now where we have a funky market, it’s separating who’s a real estate investor than who is just in this. This is the time where it’s going to separate and show who makes it out of this alive.


Whatever you do in life, it's so important that you have a passion and a why behind it. Share on X


I think having a strong why and a big passion for whatever you do, form of real estate, or investing is so vital. It gets you through times like this and it gets you out on the right side. None of us are going to leave this unscathed, but we want to have the least damage possible. It’s not a time to sit back and say, “I’m scared. I’m not going to do anything,” because you’re just going to get left in the dust.


Everyone else is choosing to grow, move forward, and learn strategies to say, “I don’t know what’s ahead, but let me research as much as I can. Let me connect with people and see what’s going on.” That’s who’s going to make it to the next level. Not the people who sit on their hands and wait. I think taking action and finding a strong and passionate why is vital right now in our day and age and our economy.


I have to say it has been a pleasure having you on our show. You’ve given so much information and another option for so many people and families out there that a lot of people didn’t even think existed or could happen. That’s definitely brought a lot of value to our show and to our viewers. I want to thank you for that.


Thanks for having me. It’s always fun to chat with you ladies. Hopefully, for some of your readers, it struck a chord with them. Maybe this is something they’re going through. They’re excited to learn more, take a look into this, and expand their strategies.


It’s definitely a very large opportunity, for sure. Thank you so much, Isabelle.


Thanks for having me.



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About Isabelle Guarino Smith


FWM 19 Isabelle | Residential Assisted LivingIsabelle Guarino is a vibrant young professional with experience beyond her years. Time spent working for Walt Disney World Company and US Airways shaped her professional development to her current role with AL Family. Isabelle is the COO of the AL Family of companies including the Residential Assisted Living Academy, Pitch Masters Academy, Residential Assisted Living National Association, Four Homes to Freedom, Family Legacy Homes and Residential Assisted Living National Convention. With a degree in Human & Family Development and minors in Religious Studies and Communication, Isabelle’s skills are broad and far reaching. She enjoys all organizational tasks, planning and running corporate events, leading teams to reach their financial and personal goals. In college, Isabelle was Chi Omega’s elected Secretary but she also took on leadership roles in every job or club she has ever participated in. Isabelle loves to volunteer her time and skills to missions work across the world, bringing donations, helping build different projects and sharing God’s Word. Isabelle runs her own charity trips to Jamaica bi-yearly to help donate time and money to Denham Town’s Gold Age Care Home.

FWM 19 | Residential Assisted Living