COVID-19 Crisis – Tips for Property and Portfolio Management

Managing multi-family properties has always had its own challenges and considerations … but the COVID-19 crisis makes it considerably more complicated. 

How are landlords managing the risks and the responsibilities during these difficult times?

We’re checking in with The Apartment King, Brad Sumrok, to get his practical tips for property and portfolio management in the COVID-19 world. 

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your managerial host, Robert Helms
  • His unmanageable co-host, Russell Gray
  • The Apartment King, Brad Sumrok

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Management in a COVID-19 world 

COVID-19 has affected all kinds of industries … and real estate has certainly felt the blows. 

Everybody is figuring out how to reinvent themselves and reinvent their businesses. 

Real estate is at its base a brick and mortar business. You don’t have virtual real estate. People go in and they live somewhere. 

For the last few weeks, we have been talking about the various ripple effects of what has happened. When your tenant is suddenly unemployed and can’t pay rent, you can’t pay your mortgage servicer … and they can’t pay the underlying investor. 

So, today we’re talking about how investors like YOU can manage your properties and portfolios in a COVID-19 world. 

We’re talking with someone who has got a big, big portfolio and lots of people he works with … but he also knows how to be proactive in a crisis. 

What apartment investors need to know

We call Brad Sumrok “The Apartment King.” He is a gentleman and no stranger to the ups and downs of real estate.

“Obviously, none of us have been through a crisis like this before, but as an apartment investor since 2002, I not only survived the 2008 depression, but I thrived during that time,” Brad says.

Brad says he implements a strategy of “winterizing” his portfolio … and he teaches his students to do the same.

“This is what we call an economic winter, so it’s important to winterize your portfolio,” Brad says.

There are specific actions that apartment investors need to be taking in the midst of the coronavirus storm. Ideally you do these things while the sun is still shining … but if you didn’t, it’s not too late.

The vast majority of Brad and his students’ deals have these Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. As it stands, those people have 120 days during which they cannot provide notice to vacate for nonpayment of rent.

The good news is that these moratoriums don’t allow a resident to break the lease. They don’t allow the resident to never pay the rent. They simply have to pay later if they can’t pay now.

The reality is that most tenants in B and C class properties don’t have several months’ worth of savings set aside.

So, owners need to be in contact with their managers, and managers need to be in contact with the tenants.

“I’m having biweekly calls with my management companies and frequent emails just checking in on collections. We’ve been talking about strategies to preserve capital,” Brad says.

Those strategies include suspending investor distributions, capital improvements, and value added upgrades.

Leasing has also gone from physical tours to virtual tours … which Brad says may have its advantages.

“I think as we come out of this and move forward, we are all going to be looking at how to do online business even better,” Brad says.

Brad and his team have also been proactive in providing notice to their tenants on what to do if their income has been impacted.

This includes informing them of the resources they can get under the Cares Act, how to get government assistance, and when they should be expecting stimulus checks.

“We want to position ourselves as a resource for our residents during this time,” Brad says.

Residents are home more than they ever were before … so it is even more critical that they have a safe, clean place to live.

Managers should also be thinking about how to help residents maintain social distancing in the complex and in common areas like the laundry room.

Navigating mortgages

Agency lenders, primarily Fannie and Freddie, came out with guidance on what is being known as forbearance.

Forbearance is a process where the property owner can delay paying the principal and interest. Brad recommends these things be considered as a last resort … but it depends on your situation.

Entering into one of these programs gives you the ability to delay payments. You can get up to 90 days or three months of your payments delayed.

Remember … these payments are not forgiven. You have up to 12 months to pay back the amount you delayed.

And, investors have to apply for these programs. It isn’t guaranteed that you will be accepted to delay your payments.

You’ll have to show a decline in collections. For example, you would need to show your collections for January, February, and March … and then show a substantial drop off in April.

You’ll also need to be in a position where you have no positive cashflow. And, you’ll have to agree not to evict residents until you pay all of the money back.

Communicating with investors

Brad suggests sending out weekly updates to your investors. Be open and transparent.

“I will say that there is always going to be that one out of a hundred investor that is going to be really upset that they aren’t getting distributions right now,” Brad says. “There isn’t a lot you can do about that.”

But outside of those few individuals, Brad says everybody really understands that this is temporary to keep things running until we start to come out of this crisis.

For more on how to manage properties and portfolios during the COVID-19 crisis … listen in to the full episode!


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Finding and Creating Value in a Hot Market

Markets can seem like a mystery. They’re hard to time … and no one wants to sit on the sidelines and miss out on an opportunity. 

Luckily, our guest today has been in the game for quite a while. He has found ways to thrive in ALL kinds of markets … and he is sharing his take with investors like YOU. 

Ken McElroy is real estate partner and advisor to Rich Dad Robert Kiyosaki. He knows how to find value in a hot market … so let’s get started!

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your hot host, Robert Helms
  • His hot-diggity-dog co-host, Russell Gray
  • Real estate guru and Rich Dad advisor, Ken McElroy

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Meet Ken McElroy

Our good friend Ken McElroy is an icon in real estate. He started out in property management and decided it would be better for him to own apartments. 

Today, he owns more than 7,000 units. 

Ken has a lot of practical, pragmatic wisdom … and he LOVES helping people grow and be successful.  

That love is reflected in his work as Rich Dad Advisor for real estate to Robert Kiyosaki and in his library of books. You’ve probably read Ken’s classic The ABCs of Real Estate Investing

Well, we’re at an interesting time right now. We’ve been in a really long cycle … and everyone wants to know what is going to happen next … and what to do about it. 

Navigating market changes

“One of the mistakes people make is that they try to time everything,” Ken says. 

There’s nothing wrong with thinking about things and trying to consider what the future will bring, but don’t overanalyze yourself into a corner. 

If you’ve bought correctly, and you’ve made some good money … you shouldn’t be concerned. 

Ken said his team had some properties that they really didn’t want anymore. As you grow your portfolio, you’ll have things doing really well, things doing just fine, and things that are taking up your time. 

As you feel like you are coming to the end of a cycle, it’s a good time to dump any projects that aren’t paying off for you. 

But what about if you’re trying to force equity?

One of the classic ways to force equity is ground up construction. Ken says he is still seeing those opportunities today, but investors should be prepared for market changes. 

As the market changes, you may have to rework your strategy. You take what the market gives you. 

Ken also says not to discount the power of small wins. Small wins add up. Look for opportunities to cut costs without cutting quality. 

This is especially true if you are involved in new construction or you are working with a large amount of units. 

If you can save $10 on 100 units, that’s $1000. Look for the small wins … and if you can, buy in bulk. 

In a hot market, the key is finding opportunities to add value. If you increase value, you increase your profit. 

Keys to success in partnership, investment, and family

Ken and his real estate partner, Ross, have been working together for nearly 20 years. That partnership has been key to his success. 

What makes them so effective as partners?

“We stay out of each other’s way, but we keep each other accountable,” Ken says. 

Ken and Ross have a clear division of responsibility that plays to their strengths. Ross handles tax and legal. Ken handles operations and equity. 

Together, they work on acquisitions. 

Ken says that in your partnerships, it is important to keep each other updated and in the loop. “We periodically sit down and make sure we each know about the moving parts,” Ken says.

Those moving parts include investors and tenants. Does taking care of tenants automatically translate into taking care of your investors?

“We think that that is really where it all starts,” Ken says. “Our tenants and our employees are as important if not more important than our investors.”

Why? Because if tenants are being treated well, you can reward your employees. And if they are happy … they keep doing a great job. 

All good things flow up. The investors benefit from happy employees and happy tenants. 

Ken points out that that same lesson applies to family as well as business. 

“If you haven’t played the cashflow game with your kids, you’re crazy,” Ken says. “My kids were not particularly great at math, but we invested in their education and treated them well.”

Ken says that by the time his kids got into finance and higher math in school, they understood income and expense, asset and liability, what a stock purchase was, and how capital gains work. 

Part of treating your kids well is helping them understand the hard work that goes into purchasing and investment. 

“My sons went to private school, and a lot of the kids were driving fancy cars. I made them save their money and buy their first car. It’s hard, but it’s easier to teach them to make money than to give them money forever,” Ken says. 

For more tips and wisdom from Ken, listen in to the full episode!

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Ask the Guys — Equity Sharing, Self-Directed IRAs, and Gold

It’s time for Ask The Guys … the episode where you ask, and we answer!

In this episode, we have another fantastic collection of questions from our fabulous listeners. 

We’re taking on equity sharing, self-directed IRAs, gold, and MORE!

Remember … we aren’t tax advisors or legal professionals. We give ideas and information … NOT advice. 

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your wise host, Robert Helms
  • His wise-guy co-host, Russell Gray

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Where to begin in real estate

Our first question comes from Lloyd in Canton, Georgia. His dream is to own two to three homes that he can rent out … but he wants to know where he should begin and what to watch out for. 

The whole idea of having rental homes is so you can get your money to work instead of you. 

Some people who buy single family homes like to do the work … fix them up, make them nicer, improve them, and then rent or sell them. But many people just want to sit back and let money make money. 

Where you start depends on your personal investment philosophy … who you are as an investor, what real estate you want to do, and how involved you want to be. 

You also want to think about what your investor resources are. There are seven we highlight … cash, cash flow, equity, credit, time, talent, and relationships. 

As often as possible, put yourself in an environment where you will be around more experienced real estate investors and ask questions. Learning from their experience will help you make decisions for your experience. 

One of the first things you want to do is meet with a mortgage professional as quickly as you can. Don’t wait until you think you are ready to invest. 

It can take up to two years to really prepare your financials so you can borrow effectively. Find out how to manage your credit score and your documentable income. 

While you are doing all of that, you can work on aggregating a down payment, shop for markets, and building a team. 

Looking to do real estate full time 

Blake in Gretna, Louisiana, says, “Right now I have a trade job where I’ll currently be making about $80,000 a year. How can I invest this money properly in real estate so I can eventually do that full time?”

Rule number one is to live below your means. Live as frugally as possible until you can get a stake in the game. You don’t need a ton of money to do that. 

If you’re going to leverage at 20 percent down and 80 percent loan to value … lots of great rental properties sell for $60K to $100K. 

Whatever your situation, start where you are and with what you have. Get a mortgage professional … and start ratcheting up your credit score. 

You’ll also want to learn what debt-to-income ratios are. 

If you really feel like you want to be a professional real estate investor, then recognize that your current job is a means to an end. 

And, as we said before, start surrounding yourself with people who are already doing what you want to do. 

Put a lot of emphasis on putting together a good team. The most important thing you build is business relationships. 

Getting familiar with equity sharing 

Jacqueline in Punta Gorda, Florida, is interested in learning more about equity sharing. 

First, the basic premise of equity sharing is that you have two parties who are both involved in a transaction but who want different things out of the transaction. 

The classic equity sharing situation looks like this. 

You have a young couple. They’re making good money. They could afford to make a house payment, but they haven’t saved up the 20 percent necessary for a down payment. 

So, they go to somebody … family, friends, parents, or even someone non-related … who brings in part or all of the down payment. 

One person puts up the money. The other person makes the payments. Then, you split the equity in the future. 

Typically you would want both those parties to be on the title, and you’d work with a lending professional to follow particular guidelines. 

Equity sharing is common in single family homes, but you can equity share any type of property you want. 

Like any deal, before you have a deal in place, you’ll want to visit with a mortgage professional. 

You’d also be smart to get a real estate attorney in the specific jurisdiction that you’re going to be transacting in and talk about legal options and considerations as well. 

Depending on the situation, you may not want to be on the title or publicly recorded on the deed. There are various reasons for that approach … specifically with taxes. 

So, it’s smart to talk to a tax advisor as well. 

The low-down on self-directed IRAs

Carolina in San Dimas, California, says that she and her husband want to open a self-directed IRA so they can invest in real estate. But she doesn’t know where to start. 

There are several different ways to do this … and it can be a little complicated … but we’ll try to give a decent overview. 

In the tax code, there are provisions that allow you to accumulate wealth for the long term. You either get benefits when you put it in or as you’re building it and when you pull it out. 

Really, all IRAs are self-directed. All self-directed means is that you can invest in anything you want to that isn’t specifically prohibited by the IRS. 

The prohibited list is pretty short … less than 10 things. 

One of the challenging things with IRAs is that when you use leverage, you gain a benefit inside your IRA from something outside your IRA, which is the debt. 

That creates a tax issue if you’re not aware of it. So, you want to make sure you understand UBIT … unearned business income tax. Talk to your IRA provider about that. 

And since most people want to use debt when they use real estate, that’s really what you want to focus your learning on. 

Starting to invest in gold

Brendan in Johns Creek, Georgia, has a question about gold. 

“I just listened to an episode where gold sounds like it is completely liquid, like it can be swapped for currency anywhere in the world,” he says, “but as I research, it sounds like in a lot of precious metals investment you own it but it is stored somewhere else.”

When you go looking on the internet for ideas for investing in gold, you’ll find plenty of propaganda trying to persuade you to invest in a way where you don’t actually own gold. 

On the other hand, you could walk into a gold dealer in your local town and buy a number of gold coins and walk out, and it would be totally private. 

A lot of people who buy gold do it that way for privacy and actual control of their gold. And there isn’t any counterparty risk when the gold is in your physical possession. 

Not to mention that the exact opposite of that transaction happens if you walk in with gold. You’ll walk out with cash. 

Gold is portable and highly liquid. There are always bids on gold. And, we’ve seen the price go up pretty consistently for the last few years.  

More Ask The Guys

Listen to the full episode for more questions and answers. 

Have a real estate investing question? Let us know! Your question could be featured in our next Ask The Guys episode. 

More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Podcast: Ask The Guys – Equity Sharing, Self-Directed IRAs, and Gold

Another fantastic collection of questions for Ask The Guys from our fabulous listeners!

In this episode, we take on equity sharing, self-directed IRAs, the very hot topic of gold, and much more!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Three Ways to Get Started in Apartment Investing

Apartments. They’re everywhere … and in the world of real estate they are hot, hot, hot!

This niche provides economies of scale, lots of cash flow, great tax breaks, and many different options for financing. 

But if you’re coming from single family homes, making the leap into a bigger building can be intimidating at first … but it’s not as scary as you may think. 

Our special guest Brad Sumrok explains three ways investors like YOU can get started in apartment investing … and where he sees the best opportunities in 2020. 

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your informative host, Robert Helms
  • His inquisitive co-host, Russell Gray
  • Apartment expert and educator, Brad Sumrok

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The bread and butter of real estate

One of the most popular ways to invest is … apartments!

We have a special place in our hearts for apartments. For many years, we’ve been multifamily guys. 

We love this space because of the recession resistant nature of apartments. You have everything from beautiful A class to rougher C class … all serving a basic human need. 

Apartments are bread and butter real estate. There’s always demand and tons of support at every level. 

And don’t forget that the powers that be have a vested interest in making sure there is affordable housing … and typically that means apartments. 

Most real estate investors probably would love to do apartments, but they just feel like it’s out there somewhere beyond them. 

Apartments are not as elusive as you think. And, some of the best mortgage financing available is for apartments. 

At the beginning of each year, our friend Brad Sumrok creates a market forecast for apartments. He’s sharing his ideas and three ways you can invest in apartment buildings … TODAY. 

That’s why we call him “The Apartment King.”

Your own deal, your own money

The first way to invest in apartments is to buy your own deal with your own money. 

That’s what Brad did back in 2002. 

“I bought a 32-unit building, put $200K down, got an $800K loan. I worked for 17 years in corporate America and saved up my money,” Brad says. 

Brad still buys all his own deals with his own money. Going that route you get great cash flow, great upside, and amazing tax advantages. 

Generally, we don’t let the tax tail wag the investment dog … but especially in apartments there are so many great tax benefits. 

If you invest in your own account, save your money, and live below your means, you’ll have a down payment, and your lender will work with you to make sure that the property is going to work out. 

That’s one way to own apartments, and a lot of people do that. The challenge, of course, is that not everyone has $200K to invest … nor can they qualify for the loan. 

But there are other ways to get into apartment investing. 

Syndication

The second way to enter this lucrative niche is syndication. It’s a great way to be a more active investor. 

Being a syndicator is not a passive role. It’s an active role. 

When you are syndicating a deal, there is a managing member or general partner … also called a lead investor or a deal sponsor. 

That person is the one going out there, finding deals, analyzing them, raising money, making operating decisions, managing the property or management company, securing the financing and implementing the business plan. 

Syndicating is a great way to get into multifamily investing. 

Let’s say you want to buy a $10 million building. For that deal, you’ll need $3 million down and a $7 million loan. 

If you’re syndicating, you may have $500K to put into that deal. So, you go out and raise $2.95 million from investors in their database. 

The great thing about syndication is that you’re not limited to your own resources. You have some skin in the game … but you are dividing the risk and dividing the returns. 

Together, all the people in a syndication deal are able to get the benefits of owning the apartment complex … the income, tax deductions, and depreciation … but they don’t have to do all the work. 

Passive investing 

The third way to get involved in apartments is passive investing. 

In the syndication deal, if you’re not the sponsor, you can be a passive investor. These people are commonly referred to as limited partners. 

Before you throw your money into a deal … get educated and do your research. 

Once you get educated, find a sponsor that you know, like, and trust. Then, put your money into their deal. From that point … it’s passive. 

It’s a great way to get a great return, You get your share, and you don’t have to do a lot of work. 

Passive investing is also a great way to diversify your portfolio and get into other markets. And it’s a great way to learn for future deals you may want to lead yourself. 

“The truth is, I do all three types of investing,” Brad says. 

The 2020 forecast

Brad says 2020 looks like it’s going to be another really good year for apartments. 

Rents are going to go up. Employment is growing, which means that people will need places to live as they start new jobs. 

There’s currently a shortage of workforce housing … also known as B and C class. 

All of that spells out opportunity. 

For your very own complimentary copy of the apartment investing forecast mentioned in the show, send your email request to [email protected].  

And for more on apartment investing … listen in to the full episode!

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Halloween Horror Stories 2019

Another year … another Halloween … another classic collection of creepy catastrophes from our listeners. 

The stories you are about to hear are all true … terrible, but true!

And while these investors paid the price, YOU don’t have to … if you learn from their experiences. 

Tune in for terrifying tales of toil, trouble, and real estate!

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, hear from:

  • Your spooky host, Robert Helms
  • His cooky co-host, Russell Gray 

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Halloween horror stories … and important lessons learned

Welcome to another bone-breaking edition of Halloween horror stories! 

Alarming anecdotes and deals that went wickedly wrong can contribute compelling lessons for real estate investors. 

It’s our annual edition of Halloween Horror Stories!

Real estate is a messy business … but this episode isn’t designed to scare people off. Instead, it’s a way for us to share tribal knowledge. 

Somebody paid full price for these lessons … so you don’t have to. 

The never-ending cosmetic refresh

Curtis Drake and Ryan Pedit acquired a property in a market that they were previously in. It was light rehab … and they wanted to do the cosmetic piece. 

They met with their on-the-ground property management company and went over the timeline and expectations for the updates. They closed on the property … and took off. 

But the whole project went sideways with no revenue income. 

What they learned was that they were doing things that were outside of their management’s wheelhouse. That team typically just managed property … they didn’t handle cosmetic overhauls. 

Many property managers have a bevy of contractors in their network. So, when you say you want to do some light rehab, they think, “Yeah, we can do that.”

But rehab isn’t the same as upkeep. 

Curtis and Ryan also share the importance of having a written agreement with dates and times established. Their handshake agreement left them without any leverage to fall back on. 

Should have built from scratch

Loe Hornbuckle has been on the show before. He is a super syndicator … but even he has a horror story to share. 

Loe did a project where he bought an existing assisted living facility. There was a lot of due diligence involved … but even then, some things slip through. 

Turns out the property had an illegal fire suppression system that was not caught by any of the previous inspections. 

Instead, it was caught when they filed for a permit to expand the property footprint into the garage. 

Loe began working with the city to resolve the issue. It took six weeks for the city to articulate why the system hadn’t been caught and what the next steps needed to be.

Turns out the city allows certain fire suppression systems in single-family homes and others for businesses. When the property applied for a permit, the city thought it was an SFH. 

But the property actually had an assisted living component … and with a certain number of residents, a different class of fire suppression systems is required. 

So, Loe and his team had to rip out the old system and install a new one … about $15,000 worth of unexpected cost … and they lost 15 to 16 weeks of time. 

Lessons learned … there may be more to your due diligence than you think. Really focus and take account of the physical pieces of the building.  

Just because something has been checked off … it doesn’t mean it’s correct. 

Another lesson Loe walked away with is that there is power in building from the ground up. 

When you purchase an existing property, there are things you will need to tear out and replace. Sometimes, you might as well start from scratch. 

Tragedy turns into lawsuit 

Our good friend and wonderful attorney Kevin Day shares one of his own client’s horror stories.

This particular client had an apartment building. One of the tenants had a boyfriend who was home babysitting her son, left food on the stove … and went to sleep. 

A fire started, and only the boyfriend was able to get out. The family went after the apartment owner in a lawsuit. 

It ended in a settlement with insurance, but there are lessons to be learned. 

Kevin says the big lessons are to separate targets. As you do your business and estate planning … remember that privacy is important. 

The lower profile you have … if they don’t know you have five other rental properties … the less of a target you are.  

Fully occupied … or not

Patti Hussey and Andrew Thruston from PJ Hussey … a property and construction management team in Phoenix, Arizona … have their own Halloween horror story to share. 

The team was taking on a 28-unit apartment complex in the northeast portion of Phoenix. 

One thing they noticed was that all of the tenants’ leases were month to month. 

It was a hundred percent occupied with rents through the roof … but the day the deal closed, they lost 10 tenants. 

The previous owner was calling tenants and telling them that they were free to move into the next property. The strategy was to build up residency in these multi-family apartments, sell them … and then move tenants to the next property. 

Everything was to give the allusion of high residency. 

The PJ Hussey team jumped in and worked to fill apartments with appropriate leases … but it was challenging. 

The big lesson the team took away is to really be careful how you do your vetting. Talk to the tenants and ask them how long they have been there. 

If things look suspicious … trust your gut. 

For more Halloween Horror stories … and lessons learned … listen to our full episode!

More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Podcast: Ask The Guys – Syndication, Apartments, Gold and More

Another enlightening edition of Ask The Guys as we tackle listener questions about syndicating single-family homes, when and how to move up to multi-family, and the rising role of gold in the global economy … and more!

So tune in as The Real Estate Guys answer another collection of great questions from our fabulous listeners!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training, and resources to help real estate investors succeed.


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Save a Million Dollars in Taxes with Apartments

Death and taxes are the two things you can count on in life. But, there is no need to pay a penny more than you owe. And, while we talk a lot about ways you can grow wealth and do bigger deals faster, today we’re talking about how to reduce one of your biggest expenses … taxes.

With tax reform and other favorable policies for real estate investors, now is the time to look at your strategy and make some changes to reduce your liability.

This week’s guest did just that … he took a piece of advice from our Summit at Sea and turned it into a BIG win. After making a big apartment deal, he saved over $1 million in taxes across ALL his earnings.

Remember, we aren’t tax or legal professionals. We think you’ll get some great insight from this story. But, when it comes to your OWN personal tax situation, be sure to find a pro to guide you.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your tax-wise host, Robert Helms
  • His tax-free co-host, Russell Gray
  • Guest, Brad Sumrok, apartment investor and coach

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Real estate investment returns are more than just cash

When we buy investment property, we most often look at the cash return. But, there are so many other benefits and things to consider when looking at a deal:

  • Cash flow. This is the big one. You want more income than expenses.
  • Long-term capital appreciation. The equity in the property gets bigger as the loan gets smaller.
  • Amortization. Every month you’re paying principal and interest, and your principal is decreasing.
  • Tax benefit. The government wants to incentivize real estate investment, and there’s a HUGE opportunity to reduce your liability.

Why look at your taxes now? For the first time since the ’80s, Congress has made significant changes to the tax code.

We definitely don’t suggest letting the tax tail wag the investment dog, but this year is the perfect time to dive deeper.

But, definitely don’t go at this alone. The best thing you can do is seek out an expert to guide you through these tax changes and give you the best advice for your specific situation.

Saving a million in taxes … it’s possible

Brad Sumrok is a long-time friend and a well-known player in the apartment investing space. He has thousands of doors and teaches students how to syndicate and buy into big apartment deals.

He also has an AMAZING story to tell about how he recently  saved big on his taxes.

“I had a goal in the past that I wanted to pay $1 million in taxes,” Brad said.

But, he recently realized that just because he was earning more, it didn’t mean he had to PAY more in taxes. And he learned how to look at real estate as more than just appreciation and cash flow but also as a way to reduce his liability.

But first, let’s talk more about the deal.

Brad was evaluating a deal for a 124-unit apartment building. The returns were on the lower end of what his threshold is, and he almost walked away.

But, after taking into consideration the tax savings earned from depreciation, Tom realized that a marginal deal was actually a fantastic deal.

One of the reasons this deal worked out so well was because of bonus depreciation. While apartment buildings have a depreciation period of 27.5 years, for certain improvements and components, you can take 100 percent of the depreciation in the first year you own a property.

Since the bonus depreciation wasn’t subject to passive loss limitations, Brad was able to use the depreciation loss to offset their total income … which meant he saved $1.2 million!

“It took a marginal deal and turned it pretty much into a home run,” Brad said.

Taking hold of a good idea

After you read Brad’s story, remember not to get too caught up in the numbers. Every deal and tax situation is different.

But, what Brad did was remarkable. He took a conversation he had with an expert at one of our events and put it into action.

What is the value of one great idea or one good relationship? You never know what you don’t know. Put yourself in a position to find that great idea and explore it.

Sitting in a seminar room, attending a webinar, or listening on a phone call will never be enough. Putting an idea into practice is what saved Brad thousands of dollars, earning the cost of his attendance at an event several times over!

If you want more exposure to new people and new ways of doing things, we invite you to attend Brad’s Apartment Investor Mastery National Conference on August 18.

The Guys will be there talking about apartment investing and it’s sure to be a valuable, exciting event. Register by going to the events section on our website or sending an email to bradconference [at] realestateguysradio [dot]com.

We hope to see you there!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Ask The Guys – Raising Money, Refinancing, Retirement Funds and More

In our most recent edition of Ask The Guys, we weigh in on topics that are relevant to YOU.

From how to leverage retirement funds to how to get started in real estate without much capital, our questions have been handpicked with our listeners in mind.

Keep in mind that we are not legal or tax professionals. We do not give advice. The ideas in this show are simply that … ideas.

In this edition of Ask The Guys you’ll hear from:

  • Your infinitely wise host, Robert Helms
  • His wise-guy co-host, Russell Gray

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Question: I want to get started in real estate investing, but I don’t have a lot of capital. What can I do to get started now?

Two of our listeners, Miles from Atlanta, Georgia, and Jose in Mesa, Arizona, asked us this question … and it’s no surprise.

When we think about investing, we think about money. But currency doesn’t always mean dollar bills.

Relationships, opportunities, and knowledge are all valuable currency in the real estate investment game.

Find more experienced investors who have equity but don’t have a lot of time. Unlike them, you have time to be boots on the ground and make things happen.

Find a network where you can gain knowledge. Then, bring ideas to the people with cash and show them how to use YOUR hustle for THEIR benefit.

Here’s a quick example … and remember this is just an idea. Always consult professionals before taking action.

You may find someone who owns a dilapidated house. The owner is equity rich but the cash flow is poor. Maybe you could take the opportunity to partner with him. You could say, “I don’t have the money to fix this up, but if it were fixed up, you could get steady cash flow. You have a good credit score and income, so you can borrow. You get the cash, and I’ll do the deal.”

You do the work and fix up the property. You supply the hustle. You make the deal … and then you both split the profits!

The one thing you can always do … right away, everyday … is build your brand, build your reputation, and build your network.

Question: The market for multifamily properties is so competitive. How do I find a property?

Our listener Sid owns a business in Daphne, Alabama. He’s wondering whether he should give up on his search for a multifamily property and focus on setting up a hard location for his business.

Multifamily is SUPER, SUPER COMPETITIVE. It’s hard to find deals that work and even harder to get one of those deals.

The first question to ask when it comes to multifamily properties is, “Am I in the right space?” If you’re like Sid, and the market is hopping, the answer is probably yes.

If you’re in the right space … but it’s a little picked over … try looking off the beaten path to see if you can find a property that will offer more than just financial returns.

If you own a business, consider buying a building bigger than you need and housing tenants adjacent to you.

Find one-off deals that meet your unique set of needs. Be careful with your numbers and have a good plan.

Keep your business and your real estate investments separate.

This gives you flexibility down the line. You may decide one day that you’re going to sell your business and keep the building because you have nurtured and created great tenants. OR, you may decide to sell the building and get some cash but keep your tenancy to operate your business.

Question: What’s the mock real estate game you reference on your show and recommend playing?

Rob in Circleville, Ohio, wants to know about this game we’re always talking about.

It’s called CASHFLOW 101 and was invented and developed by Robert and Kim Kiyosaki.

Now, it isn’t a real estate game necessarily … but it IS a financial game.

When you play a board game you have mental and emotional reactions. If you take the time to dig in and find out why you are reacting in certain ways, you can discover a lot about your mental makeup … and how to change it.

So, this game isn’t as much about information as it is about transformation. It’s a chance to identify your strengths and weakness and take risks in a low-stakes setting.

Question: I need to learn how to raise money. What would you recommend I do?

Jim in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, was bummed to learn that our next Secrets of Successful Syndication seminar isn’t offered until March 2018.

Jim wants to get started in with residential assisted living, but he feels he needs to learn how to raise money first.

There are plenty of things you can do now to learn this valuable skill.  

Syndication is the most entrepreneurial form of real estate. Entrepreneurs go out into the market and find a problem to solve. Then, they convert that problem into an opportunity.  

To create opportunity as a real estate investor, you need to organize your resources … money, people, and ideas.

Get in an environment where you can learn from people who are already syndicating.

Find someone who is successfully doing syndication and say, “Hey, I love to learn. Is there something that I can do to help you?”

Offer your skills … whether you’re good at market research or social media promotion or building websites. Build relationships.

A key to success is learning how to talk to people one-on-one about money.

To raise money, you need to learn the language of investing AND get really comfortable asking the right questions in order to understand another person’s financial situation.

There are a few things you can do to get started:

  • Come to our event How to Win Funds and Influence People.
  • Pick up a book by Sam Freshman called Principles of Real Estate Syndication. This is NOT a motivational book. It’s literally the textbook on syndication and a great way to learn the nuts and bolts of the topic.
  • Listen to syndication-focused episodes of our show on our website. Simply go to the search bar and type in “syndication.”
  • Listen to general financial podcasts. You need to learn the language of money to communicate with other investors about your projects.
  • Sign up for Secrets of Successful Syndication in March. Get on the advanced notice list here to be the first to know when tickets are available.

Question: How can I be sure I’ll have money to refinance a commercial loan when the balloon is due?

Charles in North Palm Beach, Florida, owns a handful of small apartment buildings and a multi-use building with no mortgage. He plans to purchase a 20-unit building when he finds a deal … and he wants to cash out by refinancing his multi-use building when he does.

But Charles … like many of you … keeps thinking about 2008. Because commercial loans now have short terms of 5 or 10 years, he wants to be sure he’ll have money to refinance when the balloon is due.

There is nothing you can do to completely ensure there will be a loan available 5 or 10 years down the line. But even if there isn’t, you WON’T be lost in the woods.

Private capital is always an option.

In order to take advantage of private capital, you need to make sure you have a strong operating property that is generating good cash flow. Cash flow is the price you pay to get your hands on capital.

The other thing you can do is check your balance sheet and make sure you can cross collateralize your loans.

One perk of private lenders is their flexibility compared to other sources. Lenders are more willing to consider multiple sources of equity. And if a private lender doesn’t bite, consider using syndication to refinance instead.

Don’t sit out of the market. You don’t make money sitting out.

Be proactive. Don’t be paranoid.

Charles also asked how we’ve found our best deals.

The answer is relationships. Build your brand. Build your network. Every great deal we have done is with people who know us and understand us.   

Question: Where can I find the “Prepare” report by Chris Martenson that you mentioned on a recent podcast?

Maryanne from Newburyport, Massachusetts, is referring to a recent show that included a special conference call with Chris Martenson and Brien Lundin.

On that call, we discussed a major announcement from China.

China is proposing to deal in the oil trade using a gold-backed currency. This could be a game changer in a worldwide system that isn’t backed by anything.

At the end of that discussion we addressed what you can do to prepare. Listen in to get access to Chris Martenson’s special report.

Chris Martenson will be on the investor Summit at Sea™ with us this year … we also recommend his book Prosper!

Question: Will there be a Belize discovery trip in summer 2018?

Bob in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and his wife wanted to know how far out we schedule our Belize discovery trips. They want to include a discovery trip in their anniversary vacation … now that’s a good anniversary!

We don’t have the dates for upcoming Belize discovery trips yet, but we do schedule them several months in advance. For a trip in June, check our website in March or April.

Get on the advanced notice list to be notified as soon as dates are announced!

Question: Can I use money from my retirement accounts to make updates to my house?

Daniel in Livermore, California has both a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA. His goal is to maximize his tax deductions and avoid using cash savings to make updates to his home.

We’re not tax advisors … BUT … our understanding is the answer is no.

When it comes to retirement accounts there are lots of things you CAN do, but one of the prohibited transactions is anything to do with your own personal residence.

We suggest talking with a CPA or a lawyer before making any decisions.  

Question: Do you know of anyone who has purchased training for the Residential Assisted Living Academy, and have you heard about subsequent real world successes?

Our final question comes from Lou in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

You’ve probably heard us interview Gene Guarino on our program. He’s the founder of RAL Academy and teaches folks how to do residential assisted living.

We have been to his trainings and know dozens of people who have not only taken his classes but also found success in the RAL market.

A reminder … we don’t gain anything from Gene’s success … except happiness for him and everyone else.

We love that Gene actually practices what he preaches. You can tour his properties and meet his staff. He has all sorts of resources and services available on the back end if you’d like more help beyond his classes, too.

If you’re serious about being in this or any space … you need a mentor. If you don’t have a mentor in a particular field, hire someone!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Ask The Guys – Apartments, Retirement, and Offshore Entities

Our listener questions this week run the gamut from extremely practical to extremely theoretical.

As always, we weigh in on topics that are relevant to YOU … listen in to hear our ideas on apartment management basics, diversification, and more … plus some podcast recommendations and a whole lot of info on one of our favorite places, Belize.

Keep in mind that we are not legal or tax professionals. We do not give advice. The ideas in this show are simply that … ideas.

In this edition of Ask The Guys you’ll hear from:

  • Your deal-hunting host, Robert Helms
  • His tag-along co-host, Russell Gray

Listen

 


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Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

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Question: What expenses do I need to budget for as an apartment building owner?

Arnie in Minneapolis has a 20-unit apartment building that provides student housing near a university. He asked us to explain what his basic expenses will be. First, the obvious:

  • Utilities. These can get a bit tricky, though, because the tenants may not pay all the utilities directly. You may have to pay for gas and water, for example.
  • Taxes. Make sure you’ve done your research and know how and when taxes are reassessed in your area.
  • Property insurance. This is a must.
  • Management costs. Consider how much staff you’ll need and whether you want to hire third-party management.

And the less obvious:

  • Marketing and advertising costs. Marketing your property helps cut vacancies. For a college property, brochures may be one option.
  • Legal costs. Make sure you have a legal team in place and a process for handling tenants with bad debt.
  • Maintenance. Small but necessary services like pest control and carpet cleaning can add up.

Although apartment owners have to juggle a list of expenses, there are ways they can make some extra income. Apartments geared toward both college students and other types of residents can offer paid laundry services, parking spots, and even furniture rentals.

Question: I’m a new investor. Should I diversify with different product types and markets now, or later?

This Texas listener started investing in the past year and is trying to hone his personal investment philosophy. Ryan said he owns two single-family homes, but is also interested in commercial, agricultural, and lifestyle properties.

He wanted to know whether it’s wise to start diversifying now or smarter to wait.

The simple answer is it’s up to Ryan. How much completely depends on the amount of time, energy, and focus you have to spare.

Having a great team can be the make-or-break factor.

Beginners are starting without the stable of resources that established investors have, and access to a mentor can make all the difference in whether you’re successful with a specific product class or market.

Being in the hottest niche doesn’t matter much if you don’t have a great team to support you.

We recommend Ryan spend some time poking around.

Diversification is great … but it means two markets, two sets of knowledge, two teams.

A single investor can only know a handful of markets really well, so getting well-acquainted with a single market can be a good place to start.

It all comes down to your goals … and passions.

The more you love a market or product type, the longer you’ll stay in the game.

Ryan, search your priorities and keep figuring out what you really want to do. What’s right for you may be honing in on single-family, or it may be finding a mentor to help you get involved in other markets.

Ultimately, the right choice is completely dependent on YOU.

Question: What do I need to know to get involved with a lending deal?

Steven from Havelock, North Carolina got an offer to be part of a private lending deal … but he wants to know how he can educate himself before he says YES … or NO.

Lending deals come in two forms … private loans, or divided private placements.

They all boil down to the same components:

  1. A piece of collateral against which you’re lending.
  2. A borrower to whom you’re lending money.
  3. A servicing process, to collect payments and distribute money to investors.

Although the basic process is pretty simple, it’s become more complicated since 2008. If you’re underwriting the loan, you need to know as much as you can about the following:

  • The management team’s process
    • How they manage and service loans
    • How they deal with default loans
    • What their basic guidelines are for protective equity
  • Projections for how much the market can pull back before the property in question is underwater
  • The debt-to-income ratio … how much income is available to service the loan

If you’re only investing, not underwriting, you don’t need to know every detail … but you do need to know enough to know that the people doing the loan know what they’re doing.

Take a look at the company’s track record, advisors, and business philosophy, policies, and procedures.

Make sure they have a realistic model for getting you a ROI.

And always make sure you have advisors … a smart legal team can tell you in minutes whether a deal is as good as it looks.

Question: Do you have any podcast recommendations?

Robert from Madison, Alabama said he’s obsessed with our podcast (thanks, Robert!) and also listens to Robert Kiyosaki and Peter Schiff.

He wondered whether we had recommendations for other podcasts in line with our thinking and perspective.

First, a caution … don’t seek out a single perspective!

As a real estate investor, you always want to strive to stand on the edge of the coin. Get multiple perspectives and then let those ideas interact with each other.

Peter Schiff and Robert Kiyosaki are absolutely valuable listening, but they don’t necessarily focus on real estate investing. If you’re looking for practical, tactical advice, consider the following:

Almost every real estate niche has experts producing media … if not podcasts, certainly books and courses.

Other wealth-related recommendations include:

We heard of a great technique for reading books, and we think it applies to podcasts too … read three chapters (or listen to three podcasts or so) and see whether the content grabs you.

If it doesn’t, it’s not worth your time!

Question: Do The Real Estate Guys™ provide mentoring services? How do I find a good mentor?

While we’re honored that Grant, from Denver, Colorado, would like to have us as his mentors, The Real Estate Guys™ do not provide individual coaching or mentoring services.

We coach the syndication mentoring club … a group for investors who have gone to our Secrets of Successful Syndication event and have a good baseline for investing and syndication.

That’s it.

However, we think there are lots of great resources out there for coaching.

Interested in a specific product type? Experts like Gene Guarino can coach you in residential assisted living. Other experts can help with everything from apartment buildings to commercial spaces.

Our recommendation … figure out what kind of help you really need.

Do you want someone to make you stick to deadlines and goals? Someone to give you practical resources? Someone to help you make connections?

Once you’ve identified your needs, take a look at who’s out there and do your research. Check in with former students to see if there’s evidence the program was successful.

Question: Do you have any tips on lifestyle investing in the Mediterranean?

Bob lives near dark and stormy Seattle. He and his wife are nearing retirement and want to spend their winters somewhere warmer … preferably the Mediterranean.

They’re looking for a part-time vacation home, part-time rental situation.

He asked whether we had any tips on researching the cost, feasibility, and process for buying a property in this region.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of experience in this specific part of the world.

But we do have a lot of experience investing all over the world … enough to know that legal structures vary incredibly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

The key to success? Always get plugged in with someone who knows the market from a local point of view.

It would be a smart idea for Bob to plan a vacation … narrow down his interests to a specific market and work on making strategic relationships while he’s over there.

Yes, we just recommended a vacation!

Bob also needs to work on building a legal and tax team in the U.S. to deal with sometimes complicated foreign legal structures.

The short answer … worry more about acquiring relationships than acquiring knowledge.

Questions: Belize, Belize, Belize!

We had three listeners ask questions about our Belize Discovery Trip.

Travis, from Maple Grove, Minnesota, wondered whether investors have to be extremely wealthy to invest in Belize.

Along the same lines, Brad, from Bakersfield, California wanted to know the type of investments typically available in Belize … and whether potential investors can work around lack of available financing.

We believe there is a ton of opportunity in Belize … and you don’t have to be über wealthy to take advantage of it.

Belize doesn’t offer traditional bank loans. So investors have a few options.

One option is to go in on an investment with a group.

Another is to refinance a property you own in the U.S. and use the equity to fund a deal in Belize.

No matter the route you choose, be smart about it. Understand the supply and demand dynamics.

Ask yourself exactly what you want … whether it’s lifestyle, cash flow, asset protection, equity, or something else … then visit Belize and see whether the market will help you achieve your goals.

If the answer is YES, the next step is to build a team … and you can do that by joining us on our field trips and getting to know the people who will help you put together a great deal.

Our third question about Belize took a slightly different tack … Craig, from Rosemount, Minnesota asked whether an IBC is the only corporate structure two parties would need to go in on a deal together.

This is a legal question. And we’re not legal advisors.

But we can tell you that although people often use entities to buy properties in foreign coutnries, it’s perfectly acceptable to own property in your name.

If you do use an IBC, you’d have to use an IBC from a different country. IBCs can’t be used to do business in their country of origin.

The bigger question is making sure you understand what you’re trying to accomplish, why you’re doing it, and what the possible ramifications are.

Do your homework. You don’t want to learn a lesson by making the wrong mistake.

Yearning for more in-depth information about IBCs, financing, and buying in Belize? Come on our field trip!

Spend time with Robert and other investors, build relationships, investigate the market, and enjoy all Belize has to offer for three and a half days.

We guarantee you’ll learn something … and have fun too!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

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