TRESP, DAY & Associates Inc. – Kevin Day

TRESP, DAY & Associates Inc. – Kevin Day


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Attorney George Ross Shares Timeless Real Estate Wisdom


The top players in real estate have the top advisors.

In our latest episode, we take you to New York City to hear timeless wisdom from George H. Ross, known as Donald Trump’s “right hand man” for real estate advice for four decades.

Below we share just a few wisdom nuggets from the interview.

Listen in (this is one to listen to again and again!) and you’ll hear valuable advice. We’re talking timeless wisdom. Personalities included in this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show:

  • Your wisdom-seeking host, Robert Helms
  • His wise guy co-host, Russell Gray
  • World-class attorney, former Trump Organization vice president, and 88-year-old fountain of wisdom, George Ross






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Making it big in the big leagues of real estate

New Yorker George Ross, has been practicing law for six decades. He’s been a confidant and consultant for big corporations, trusted by billionaires because of his expertise.

He’s overseen hundreds of deals, with behind-the-scenes stories from his work with Mr. Trump for the past several decades.

One of the biggest things Ross has learned?

“In real estate transactions, it doesn’t matter if it’s big or small – it’s just got more zeros. It’s the same. Just the numbers change,” said Ross.

“Fortunes have been lost and made in real estate. If you don’t know what you’re doing, get out of it,” he adds.

On working with Donald Trump

Decades ago, Ross advised the bold 27-year-old Trump on an “impossible” real estate deal in New York City. “He approached me and said, ‘Come with me and we’ll have fun. We’ll build some buildings.’ And we did,” said Ross.

“It was a peculiar relationship. We didn’t have any strings attached. I could leave any time I wanted. He asked my opinion on deals. I would tell it like it is. He knew he was getting an honest opinion.”

After four decades of a working relationship, Ross has seen Trump in many different situations.

“He never wanted to be ordinary,” said Ross. “He had the ability to convince people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. He became anonymous with luxury. He became a brand.”

Ross’s opinion on the Trump’s best attribute? “Surround yourself with quality people. He never micro-managed.”

He also acknowledges the presidential candidate’s flamboyant characteristics. “Does he have an ego as big as a house? No question, he always has,” said Ross. “Does he have a tendency to exaggerate? Absolutely. He knows when he’s being a showman.”

Ross’s master tips for approaching negotiation

Most people assume that negotiation has to be adversarial, a win-lose situation. “It doesn’t have to be that way,” said Ross. “Negotiation is not winning. It’s making a deal.”

“The best real estate contract is one I can throw in a drawer and never look at,” said Ross. Why? Because he trusted the people he negotiated with. Ross advised building a relationship of trust, using the following principles:

  • Learn as much as you can about the people you are negotiating with. Search their name online, talk to people who know them.
  • Seek to understand what impresses them.
  • Help them feel comfortable – they will work with you if they like you.
  • Take time. Don’t rush it.

He shares the idea of “invested time,” meaning that when you get the other party to invest their energy, money, and time in a deal, they don’t want to give it up.

Being an advisor on NBC’s “The Apprentice”

At one point, Trump called Ross in his office and asked him to be a judge on a reality TV show for entrepreneurs. He decided to try it out.

Although he’d been a lawyer for 60 years, an NYU law professor for 20 years, it was the first time Ross was recognized by strangers in airports.

“It was great for me,” said Ross, who appeared on the show for 10 years. “I never realized the power of television. Never.”

How to get started in real estate investing

When getting started, if you haven’t got money to invest, you need to build a reputation. Here’s how Ross says to do that:

“Go to the best real estate broker and say, ‘I’m going to be the biggest client you ever had. Not now, but if you treat me right, I’ll be your best client.’”

Once you do that, the broker smells money. People are attracted to confidence.

“You take that information and analyze it, then you go to the second best broker,” said Ross. “Say the same thing. Use the information you had from the first guy. Before you know it, you’ve got a reputation.”

Then Ross says to borrow as much as you can, for as long as you can.

For those who’ve run out of their own resources, there’s smart syndication, using other people’s money to invest.

Last word of advice: Don’t be afraid of mistakes along the way. As Ross likes to say, “If you haven’t failed, you haven’t lived.”

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.

Liberty, Free Markets, Gold, Agriculture and More from Freedom Fest


In this week’s episode, we lined up six fascinating thought leaders at the seventh annual Freedom Fest – including a candidate for President of the United States!

Everyone at Freedom Fest has one thing in common. We’re all in pursuit of whatever “liberty” means to us, whether that’s private property or private thoughts.

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

  • Your freedom-loving host, Robert Helms
  • His free-spirited co-host, Russell Gray
  • Economist and author, Peter Schiff
  • Investment expert, Adrian Day
  • Fund manager and bestselling author, Marin Katusa
  • LatAm Prime Farmland Investments manager, Louie O’Conner
  • Editor-in-Chief of Forbes business magazine, Steve Forbes
  • Libertarian U.S. Presidential Candidate, Gary Johnson






Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

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We’re pretty agnostic when it comes to politics. Our guests at Freedom Fest shared their perspectives – you make your own decisions.

Below we’ve captured a brief synopsis of what they each shared on the show. Listen in for the whole story!


Peter SchiffEconomist, financial broker/dealer, author, and host of the Peter Schiff Show Podcast

Schiff shared insights into the dollar, gold, and stocks. He gives a BIG tip for real estate investors.

“The dollar has gone down consistently over time,” Schiff said. “The next decade we can see an even bigger loss of the dollar than the prior century.

Schiff points out that gold stocks have shot up in the last six months. “The environment for gold has never been this good,” he said, “people should not be upset they missed it – this party is just getting started.”

Schiff shares that the real estate market “is being artificially propped up,” with home ownership rates now at a 50-year low.

Here’s where the HOT speculative money is involved in real estate money.

When current investors decide they want to get out because they bit off more than they could chew, they will likely drop their properties quickly.

That’s where YOU can get great buys.


Adrian Day – Chairman and CEO of Adrian Day Asset Management, a registered Investment Advisory firm

When you want to know what’s new with gold, Adrian Day is one of the world’s experts.

“Now the gold’s starting to move,” said Day. “We’re seeing people jump on board. There’s a lot of money on the sidelines.”

Gold feeds on uncertainty, since its value is generally the inverse of the dollar. That makes NOW a good time to be invested in it.

“Everywhere you look, the macro fundamentals are very bullish for gold,” said Day.

This is due to several factors. One, interest rates are staying low. Two, there’s immense uncertainty in international affairs, especially post-Brexit.


Marin Katusa – Fund Manager, Author of New York Times Bestseller “The Colder War,” Director of Copper Mountain Mining Corp.

Once a high school math teacher, Marin Katusa began into investing in metals at age 23. First it was tungsten, then uranium.

Pretty quickly he started writing larger checks, and now is a major investor in Canada’s largest copper mine.

With his experience traveling to over 100 countries, Katusa learned the importance of investing in “the right people, at right time, and the best assets.”

What do you do in a time like this, when there are negative interest rates?

“There’s a lot of confusion and uncertainty,” Katusa said, “The Brexit really woke people up. People don’t know where to put their money for safety.”

He recommends being careful where you put your physical gold.

Katusa also advises AGAINST investing in coal.

“Coal not only has the environmental aspects working against it … but China started changing the rules on coal,” said Katusa. “I have zero coal investments.”


Louie O’Conner – General Manager, LatAm Prime Farmland Investments

O’Conner shared a unique, new way to invest in agriculture.

Through LatAm Prime Farmland Investments, you can make individual investments in a Colombian aloe vera farm.

Aloe has been known for medicinal properties, and it’s also becoming a popular flavor in drinks. For example, recently, Coca Cola invested in an equity share in a Los Angeles-based aloe company.

“We call it ‘farm-in-a-box. It’s hands-off. Turn-key. The investment includes management until the first harvest,” said O’Conner.

The aloe vera crop in Colombia is run by an established, well-educated family.

Entry level investment is $38,000 for one hector, or 2.47 acres of land. Investors pay annually, but the aloe is harvested three or four times a year.

We share more details on how to invest in this unique opportunity in our show.


Steve Forbes – Editor-in-Chief of Forbes business magazine

Steve Forbes, a publishing executive who was twice a candidate for the nomination of the Republican Party for President, has great passion for America.

His new book, “Reviving America,” advocates three reforms to improve the United States:

  1. Patient control of healthcare. He suggests more transparency to arm patients making care decisions, such as infection rates at hospitals.
  2. Tax code. He says the U.S. needs to remove the complexities, and simplify taxes.
  3. Stability of the dollar. He argues money should have a fixed value, as it did for 180 years.

Forbes’ news platform has grown substantially. “Our paid circulation is the highest it’s ever been,” said Forbes. “We’ve got 60 million unique visitors a month on our website, and over 1,000 contracted contributors … we’re producing a magazine every day.


Gary Johnson – Libertarian Candidate for U.S. President, Former Governor of New Mexico

We asked U.S. Presidential Candidate, Gary Johnson: What does America need?

“Most people support everyone making their own choices in their own lives,” said Johnson. “Given the polarity of the two major candidates, the opportunity is open.”

Johnson argues a need for less government, since big government costs money and takes away individual liberty.

“Count on me to sign any legislation that simplifies tax code,” Johnson said. “Democrats can’t balance a checkbook. Republicans force an agenda on other people.”

Whatever your political leaning, we at The Real Estate Guys™ encourage you to take a step back and look at the big picture.

As an investor … real estate or otherwise … it’s critical to stay informed of the forces and trends looming on the horizon which can and will affect your wealth.

So join us at the longest-running investment conference in the U.S. and take the reins on your future.

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 – Market Selection, Self-Directed IRAs and the Optimum Use of Leverage



Have a burning real estate question? Shoot it our way.

Every couple of months we do an “Ask The Guys” show. In this week’s episode, we shared several real-life questions from our listeners and provided our ideas on how we would approach their situation. (Note: We do not give advice. We provide ideas and information. We recommend getting professional counsel.)

Below are summaries of four of the questions we covered this week ranging from market selection to self-directed IRAs to optimum use of leverage.








Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

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Question: Nicole from Pennsylvania wrote, “My husband and I have saved up $30,000 cash to purchase an investment property. We’re prepared for a 20% down payment and are interested in the condo rental market in Florida. What do you know about that market?”

We like to say, “Live where you want to live, invest where the numbers make sense.”

First, visit with your mortgage professional and see what you qualify for. When you know what you can afford, it’s easier to tackle where to invest.

As a background on Florida, it’s been a great job creation market. A lot of baby boomers have moved there, as it’s known for being a popular state to retire. We are fond of the central Florida market. It might be a bit pricey for what you’ve saved at this point, since you’ll want to have a contingency cache.

As part of your budget, you’ll need to allocate resources to travel and your team. Don’t be skimpy on picking the right person. In fact, if you’re buying out of state, it’s often wise to let a local property management company help you find a property.

One caveat: When you’re looking at condos, consider the condition of the HOA. That’s something you’ll want to make sure you understand before making a purchase.


Question: Ryan in Georgetown, Massachusetts, age 23, is living at home with his parents and considering buying a home rather than renting. He asks, “What’s the ideal percentage to put down? Who should be on my team?”

To answer both questions, you need a great mortgage professional on your team. There might be mortgage programs available for first-time home buyers. To make sure you take advantage of them, your mortgage professional will be your best friend.

He or she will also pull up your credit score, the starting point to see what kind of credit you qualify to receive.

We recommend planning your credit approach to property ownership a year in advance or more. If you don’t want to wait, you might need a co-signer.

If your income is low enough, you may want to owner-occupy your first property. Live in it for a little while, then turn it into a rental property. If you can force some equity, making valuable updates to the property, you can use that on your next investment property.

We don’t recommend a condo. A single-family home is a good bet, as far as liquidity.

When you are young and willing to compromise on your lifestyle, feel free to be creative. For example, you can go bigger than you may be comfortable on your own, then rent rooms out to your friends.

If you’re interested in learning how to invest using other people’s money, we will share in-depth about how to do that in our upcoming Secrets of Syndication Success event.

Question: David in Boise, Idaho, asked: “Are there limits, as a percentage, to invest my self-directed IRA? Can I invest it into one property?”

We definitely recommend you talk to a tax advisor. If your IRA is self-directed, then yes, you are legally allowed to invest as you please.

While you can, the bigger question is should you invest it all into one real estate project?

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to put all your eggs into one basket. It may be prudent to diversify.

We don’t have all the details on David’s portfolio, but the general principle is it’s never good to be greedy. Sometimes you swing hard and get the Grand Slam, and sometimes you strike out. If you’re not prepared to strike out, it might not be the best route.

Question: Kevin in Bellingham, Washington, asked: “What do you think about paying for online real estate courses? If that’s not advisable, is studying for a realtor’s license a good idea?”

We are big proponents of paying for education. But make sure it’s a quality education with a reputable teacher. You should always know somebody’s agenda.

For example, our agenda is to teach you the market. At our events, we’re not looking to sell you property. We’re looking to teach you the market.

Once I spent $2,500 on a one-day course. I thought of it as an investment and have used the knowledge I gained that day to make a far greater return.

Don’t hold back on investing in your future. When you can gain actionable knowledge, expect that you will get a return. It’s up to you to put knowledge to practice.

As for a realtor’s license, most of the time when you’re getting a professional license, you are being trained on how to represent someone else. You’ll learn the legalities and structure of how to help. That’s good information to know, but it might not be necessary, depending on what you want to accomplish.

Spend time around other investors. Rely on your technical advisors. If you need a specific skill beyond that, invest in your education and then use that knowledge until it pays you back.


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.

ENCORE: Inspecting Property Before You Invest

Builder And Inspector Looking At New Property

Builder And Inspector Looking At New Property

Nobody wants to get stuck with a problem property. You know what I mean … buying a house that turns out to be uninhabitable or a commercial building that ends up exploding your rehab budget. How do you avoid these kinds of mistakes?

While there is no guarantee to preventing all surprises, when you’re in-the-know about property inspections and do them right, it’s much less likely you’ll have to pay a costly price later.

Get your inspections. Get them done right. We share how, why, and when you need inspections in our latest episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show, pulled out from the archives with your hosts:

  • Your inspect-it host, Robert Helms
  • His no-wreck-it co-host, Russell Gray







Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

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Lead, asbestos, mold. Discover these nightmares in your new property and you’ll wish you’d done your due diligence.

Want to know how to avoid buying a “land mine” property? Due to popular demand, we pulled out a favorite from the archives (and added a new trivia question) about property inspections – when, why, and how to get them.

It’s not the sexy side of the business, but inspections are absolutely critical so you know what you’re buying.


Why bother getting an inspection?

I can’t emphasize this enough: inspections are a critically important step in your due diligence.

If you’re looking to have any people use the property, especially for residential purposes, you’re financially responsible to maintain the property at a certain level of habitability – that’s your responsibility under the law.

Again, if you’re buying to rent out to tenants, you better know what condition it is in.

Robert shares an example of a dilapidated house he bought without a property inspection. Why would he do this?

He was planning to tear it down and build a new development in the area. He didn’t care if the structure wasn’t sound, since he was only looking to secure the land it was on. That’s one scenario that makes sense to skip inspection.


Get a third-party property inspection

Depending on what you’re doing with the property dictates the type of inspection you need. Your first inspection is a personal inspection – you looking around yourself.

Then, your first line of defense is a third-party inspection.

Schedule a time, and show up yourself with the inspector. We recommend this because you can be taking notes and asking questions on the spot, rather than reading a report later that might not make sense.

Being there with the inspector gives you a gut-level understanding, and you can ask things like, “Are you really concerned about this?” or “What’s the age-life of this house?”

Many inspectors will point to other trades. For example, they may recommend you get a roof inspection. (We think of this like going to a general practitioner doctor who sends you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.)

Keep all of your inspections and records of everything you did to make improvements. Then when you are getting ready to sell, you have validation of all the value you’ve added.


A note about “Subject to Inspection”

Sometimes, especially for larger properties with multiple tenants, you may have a “Subject to Inspection” clause.

This means you get an opportunity to inspect when you’re in contract and you have earnest money.


If you’re buying multiple units, the owner doesn’t want to disrupt the tenants just because you’re wanting to take a look.

For these kinds of deals, you want to get through the discovery process quickly. Cover the things that do matter. If it’s a competitive market, you don’t want to miss the deal.

If you’re looking at a big-deal property that will need some work, we recommend you bring your own general contractor or project manager. Then they can give you their bid and you’ll be better prepared to understand the numbers – especially if you have a tight rehab budget.

Aim to be more prepared than your competition (other bidders) and you’ll be better off to make smart decisions.


Lesson learned from a real estate broker

We’ve learned over the years that you have to pick your battles. One piece of advice: Don’t ever go back to the seller and attempt to negotiate something if you’re willing to walk away if they say no.

For example, we’ve seen buyers who would say “We’ve got to get the seller to cover that,” for something that cost $100. Sometimes it’s just not worth asking!

We recommend you always have an agent involved. They see a lot of properties and are a huge value add. Great agents will always have the inspections up front.

You want a great agent. You want to pay them a lot of money. Don’t go cheap on this.

Our friend, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” author, Robert Kiyosaki makes sure his agents get paid full commission, and usually more. He knows you get what you pay for.

You want to hire experienced agents in the niche you’re buying. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish for the asset you will be responsible for.


What types of property inspections are there?

There are lots of inspection types, including the five below. Again, this is all dependent on the type of property you’re looking at.

There’s the physical inspection, meaning walking the grounds, with eyes on the property.

Then there’s an outside inspection – research done on the area around the property. For example, is the property in a place where it may flood?

Environmental inspections – involve maps reading the surrounding property. Robert needed this for a Las Vegas property located a quarter mile from an abandoned gas station. The least expensive is a Phase 1, and you may need to do a Phase 2, depending on the feedback.

For a seismic inspection – recommended in places with lots of earthquakes – you want to know if you’re in a seismic zone.

If you’re buying property for agricultural purposes, you can have an agricultural inspection, where third-party inspectors come out to do soil inspection to check on the type of nutrients in the soil.

Proper inspections are a BIG part of proper due diligence…and even more so when you’re making investments with other people’s money.


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.

Keeping Your Thumb on the Pulse of the Real Estate Market

Real Estate Market Blue Price Tags Above Properties. House Prices. 3D Abstract Illustration.

Before sharing highlights of this week’s episode, let me say we had a blast interacting with you folks in person at our Dallas field trip event.

It’s always fun for us to hear about the deals you’re doing and shake your hand. Thanks to those who attended and the great vendors who treated us well. We’ll be back!

As part of our discussion with locals in the Dallas area, we were reminded of the importance of paying attention to the market – especially when you buy property away from where you live. This week we dish details about how to keep your thumb on the pulse of the market.






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Gradual Market Change Happens – Pay Attention

If you’re old enough to have gone to a high school reunion (especially one with a couple of digits), you’ll understand this.

Think back to your last reunion. Remember seeing your friends from high school and thinking, “Oh, they look so much older and so different”?

Guess what? They are looking at you, thinking the same thing.

The principle here is that it’s tricky to observe slow changes. Since we see ourselves in the mirror every day, it’s hard for us to notice differences that occur over time.

The same is true for the real estate market.

You owe it to yourself to make sure you’re watching and paying attention.

When you’re looking from afar at a market via screen, in the comfort of your pajamas at home, you look at statistics and reports on the news.

Keep in mind, mainstream media is generally slanted from the viewpoint of homeowners. One simple example: “Bad news” for tenants that rent rates are increasing, can be “great news” for you as a landlord.

The market could shift and you won’t recognize the change unless something wakes you up. Often, it’s a problem.

Go Beyond Data: Make Sure You “Kick the Dirt”

Rather than wait for a red flag to arise, make sure you “kick the dirt” as we like to say, or visit your market in person.

There’s a vibrancy you can feel when you are in a place. A vibe that gives you a gut-feeling about the people, the context of the surrounding area, and clues to the direction the market is going.

You will never get it on the Internet, although that’s a good place to start. Feeling the market is as much a part of your decisions as doing the math.

This isn’t some hokey “feelings” stuff – think about the biggest partnership decision you make – marriage. While you can have some data on your romantic interest: the types of ideals they have, the types of activities they enjoy, etc., ultimately you have to feel something special about them to make the commitment.

Let’s apply this to real estate and being an investor.

Say you have a fancy chart representing the demographic in an area. That’s nice, but you can’t feel it. You have to see it.

You go into the local Starbucks, the Costco. You see the people, the way they interact, the types of cars they drive.

Another example: Michael Becker, one of our Dallas real estate friends, shared this great six-page case study. It had all the data – measurements, floor plans, cap rates, etc.

Yet, we only had a small snapshot with his fined-tuned PDF.

When we walked through it, met his tenants, saw the cars in the parking lot, and stood outside the building, THAT’S when we really got it!

Remember, You Are in the PEOPLE Business

When you’re visiting the area, every person you come into contact with can be a resource.

From the barista serving you coffee to the Uber driver taking you to your hotel, ask questions.

I like to start broad: “What’s going on in the real estate market?” You can add follow-ups, things like, “I heard about this legislation – what do you think about it?”

When you talk to people who live there, you’ll get honest answers.

Also, pay attention to the job market in the area, as that affects the people who affect your bottom line.

If a big employer moves out and takes a chunk of their workers, it will trickle into the tertiary services – the laundry services, the grocery stores, etc.

Without a main industry, your tenants – and your investment – may feel an impact.

At the end of the day, you’re not even interested in the property. You’re interested in the TENANT. The property is just the price of admission.

5 Off-Site Sources for Local Market Information

We know you have a life. Checking in on the real estate market doesn’t have to take a lot of time. But it’s better to dedicate some time regularly than regretting it later. Here are five ways we recommend you keep the pulse:

  1. Local Chamber of Commerce. Their job is to sell the market, and they often put together annual publications sharing latest updates.
  2. Google Alerts. I’ll often do specific alerts for things like “economy+Dallas” or “properties+Dallas” so I see the news stories about those topics. You can set up as many as you want.
  3. Trade Journals. Get subscriptions to the trade journals covering your market. This gives you the high-level view of what’s happening.
  4. Your local team. When you’ve got a property manager and other team members set up in the area, call them regularly to see if there are any big indicators of change.
  5. Price checks. Using any real estate website, plug in your product type (say, 3-bedroom, 2-bath) and compare over time. For example, in Dallas we saw a house that was $125,000 and rented for $1,150. This year, the same house is worth $145,000 and rents for $1,345. If the rent had stayed the same, it would mean investors were chasing yield. You want to understand WHY the price went up. 

Using both an in-person and online approach, you’ll know when it’s time to double down on buying properties or head for the exits.

If you haven’t attended one of our fabulous field trip events, where we experience the local market and bring together like-minded investors, we’d love to meet you.

In the future, we’ll be meeting up in Atlanta and Memphis – come join us! 

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.

Reality check: What does it take to develop real estate?

imageDevelop Yourself to be a Real Estate Developer

Ever thought about development or want to learn how to pick a great developer? In our latest episode we spoke with internationally acclaimed real estate developer, Beth Clifford. She gives insight into the attributes needed to successfully develop real estate.

But first, a bit of background on forcing equity.

For many recent years you could buy properties at “below replacement cost.” The basic idea of “buy low, sell high” drew a lot of interest, and many people jumped on the flipping train. Now there are not many properties like that. So that leaves us with another opportunity: real estate development.

Development is the same thing – it’s just a bigger project.

You can take an asset of land and add to it capital (via labor, building materials, equipment, etc.) and increase market value. This is what we at The Real Estate Guys call “forcing equity.”

To force equity, you don’t have to be a general contractor, developer or real estate agent. You have to be an organizer. Be able to pencil it out, get the right team together, and have a plan that makes sense.






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Bring the Skills You Already Have

Talented Beth Clifford, who’s led more than $3 billion in real estate development projects. She started out in IT and switched careers in her mid-thirties. How did she pull that off?

“I knew how to create a process and get the right people into the right chairs,” said Beth. “It’s all about the right people, right place, right time, and right resources.”

She used the same skill set she’d honed in her previous field – a sharpened ability to execute with a team – and learned the real estate vernacular and business process.

“If you understand at the highest level the business problem you need to solve, you break it into the pieces,” said Beth. “Break those pieces down.”

Say you have a piece of land. You know you need to build a building, coordinate utilities, etc. Talk to professionals and chunk it into individual pieces.

We see it like being an executive producer of a movie. You don’t need to know all the details. All of those key people with expertise can help – you be the strategic thinker and visionary to pull off a project.


Know Your Audience – Remove Your Risk

Whatever you’re going to produce, it has to be something people are willing to pay for.

We discussed this with Beth – your definition of “Minimum Viable Product” or MVP. Define it, and test the proof of concept. For example, can you attract a buyer with renderings, before the physical product is complete? Seek for validation from your potential buyer early on.

To lessen risk for the developer, Beth advises shortening time frames and maximize value. You want very little time (she recommends hours!) between getting your product finished and it being used.

In her firm, the team looks at what’s working and not working in a market, and then considers what could be different. That’s where they want to fit.

For example, Beth shares about her project redeveloping historic multi-million dollar homes, market class A, in the D.C. area.

They researched.

They clearly understood their buyer: working CEO with a stay-at-home spouse, generally a highly social person. These were formal, gracious people. Much of the existing products in that space were big-box homes, “blow up with air” that offered no greater utility. Beth’s team created a different class, with private entertainment quarters. Those turned out to be the winning buildings.

They could sell them at a premium and turn them in less than a month.

Want to learn more about how you can know your market from Beth? She’ll share more success stories and useful tips in person at our Summit at Sea.


Never Race to the Bottom

One more thing Beth advises … watch out for the trap of becoming the “lost-cost option.”

Rather, she says, “I’m never involved where you’re racing to the bottom. The big production guys can’t be beat. They will always be able to come in under your cost.”

Instead, look where the current players are. What are they doing that works? What can be done better? Beth takes the mid-level market and increases the price of her product, with a clear idea of what the buyer is looking for.


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.

Creating Wealth for Generations


Creating Wealth for Generations is more than smart estate planning. The real key to generational wealth is raising capitalists who can build wealth and make smart investments.

It’s tragic when one generation leaves a fortune to the next and they squander it. Or some unforeseen event wipes out a family’s business or portfolio…and the heirs have no idea how to rebuild.

It’s one thing to build a fortune and another to raise a fortune builder.

In this episode we talk about building generational wealth by raising capitalists.

In the studio and behind the microphones for this father and son edition of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show:

  • Your son-of-a-Bob host, Robert Helms
  • His Sean daddy co-host, Russell Gray
  • The Godfather of Real Estate, Bob Helms
  • Co-host in training and budding Seantrepreneur, Sean Gray







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Leave More Than Money…Pass on the Skills for Creating Wealth


We’ve all seen examples of someone rising from the dust to create enormous wealth. It’s a heroic feat. Tragically, sometimes when wealth is passed on, the next generation squanders it through greed, negligence or incompetence.

So we up the ante on the old adage, “Don’t give a man to fish, teach him to fish.”

Rather, we say, “It doesn’t stop with the second guy in the boat.” It’s a much bigger picture. The influence of one generation can impact hundreds, thousands of posterity.

Consider the wealthy, successful, brilliant people who founded the United States of America. They chose to stand up to the greatest armed forces in the world to create an environment of opportunity and prosperity for their families and the generations that would follow them.

Right now, at this time in history, it’s more important than ever to teach up-and-coming generations how to create prosperity through business and investing.

Want to do more just donate your wealth to you children? More than preserving money and protecting money, prepare your heirs to think and live like entrepreneurs.

In other words, show your children how to CREATE wealth.

This is a topic near and dear to our hearts.  We’re at that season in life where you start thinking beyond our own lifetime.  What’s our legacy going to be?

Probably like you, we care about our family’s future…even more than our own.   In this episode, “Creating Wealth for Generations” we bring in representatives and get perspectives from three generations to discuss ways to ensure the wealth-building mindset is passed on.


Seasoned Wisdom – Tips from the Godfather of Real Estate…


Robert’s dad, Bob Helms, our powerful mentor and the man we affectionately refer to as the “Godfather of Real Estate,” has been a real estate investor for six decades. Even in his 80’s, he’s still got contagious enthusiasm for investing.

“I’m still very excited about it. Being involved gives me access to people who are doing it today,” said Bob. “The reason I’m doing as well as I’m doing at my age is I’m involved.”

For those in your 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, looking back at your time as a parent and grandparent, Bob recommends learning lessons from the past…but not dwelling on them.  Move on from there.  Bob made his own mistakes, and advises failing fast and moving on sooner.

As for Bob’s parenting advice: You can’t push your kids where you want them to go. You can’t force them along.

Instead, create environments which let kids experience possibilities. As hard as it can be sometimes, don’t give them all the answers. Let them learn at their own pace.

Introduce them to people doing what they want to do. Get them in places where they’ll be exposed to ideas which excite them. This is how you process life.


To Find Great Answers Ask Great Questions


Like most kids fresh out of college, Russ’ son, Sean Gray, felt unsure about his future. Yet, with a little guidance and his own go-getter ambition, at 24, Sean is now an active entrepreneur and investor.

When he was “22 without a clue,” and his shiny new college degree in hand, Sean was tempted to ask the same question as his fellow grads… “What can I do to make money?”  It’s what nearly every student entering college is preparing for and the primary thing they focus on when they finally finish school.

And it SEEMS like a a good question.  After all, isn’t the whole point of working to make money?

Maybe.  But maybe not…

The “What can I do to make money?” question makes money the end goal…with the requirement to do something to get it.

With a little guidance from his mentors, Sean re-framed the question.

Instead, Sean asked himself, “What can I build that will afford me the lifestyle I want to have?”  In other words, don’t live to get paid…get paid to live.

As Sean had seen from his mentors, this mindset requires more work in the beginning.  But it yields a very different…and arguably better…answer.

So Sean went after a lifestyle and focuses on building businesses and investments that fit.

Now in his mid-twenties, he says he feels retired because he does what he wants, when he wants…and gets paid to live.  He has so much freedom because he asked a better question and went to work on finding a better answer.

Sean’s living the advice of Thoreau, who said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Life the life you’ve imagined.”

No one else can determine what your dream life is or what your path should be – we each have to create that for ourselves.


Tips for Millennials from a Millennial…


For our younger readers and listeners, Sean offers three tips he’s using to get a Real World Masters

1. Change the way you think. Rather than sticking to the comfortable route, like the rest of the products of the school system, educate yourself about money and how to build it.

2. Get a mentor. Find whoever’s best at what you want to do. Learn from them.

3. Change the people you’re around. Spend time with people who have similar goals and aspirations…people who encourage and inspire you to push yourself towards your goals.


Prepare Your Heirs… So They Won’t Have to Repair Errors

During our last Summit at Sea, we heard from internationally recognized estate planning attorney, Jeffrey Verdon, who’s helped affluent families and business owners solve comprehensive estate planning problems for more than 30 years.

He saw up close that when wealthy individuals passed on their wealth, the next generation would far too frequently squander it.  He thought it was his job to prepare the heirs, but realized he need to solve a bigger problem…repair the errors of entitlement.

As the authors of “The Millionaire Next Door,” put it, avoid providing children with “economic outpatient care.”

Instead, if you want the next generation to think like an owner, let them own it!  Even more important, let them BUILD it.  Whatever “it” is for them.  Sometimes…often…their passion, purpose, mission, vision and values will be different than yours.

That’s okay.  It isn’t a business or portfolio your building.  It’s an entrepreneur and investor.  So WHAT you build is far less important, then WHO you build.

The key is to put your kids in environments where they can discover their potential and opportunities…and then go to work on developing their potential into abilities, achievements and assets.

Your role is to be their mentor…or one of them…and then help them find others as needed.

Where to find these mentors? We’re asked this a lot.

One option is to create your own group.  If you happen to run around with high achievers, it might be a good idea to look for opportunities to get everyone together.  Kind of a multi-generational mastermind group.

You can also attend topic live events where the right people are already all coming together.  You can attend lectures, workshops, networking events, etc.   We’re huge advocates for live events…both ours and others’…because they provide deeper focus, getting your away from your daily distractions, so you bump into a great idea or relationship.

For a young person…and really for anyone…one of the BEST places to start is our annual goal setting retreat.  After all, if it’s about building a lifestyle that pays you to live it, the first thing you need to do is figure our what you really, REALLY want.

It sounds easy.  But so many people have been on a pre-scripted track for so long, they’ve lost touch with many of their hopes and dreams.  But it’s never too late.

So listen into this inspirational and practical episode and consider how you might creating wealth and wealth creators…so you can leave both an big estate and a powerful legacy when it’s your time to move on to the next thing.


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 – Getting Started, Paying Off Debt, and Selling to Your Tenant

Lots of great real estate investing questions from our loyal listeners in this edition of Ask The Guys, including should I invest or pay off debt. 

Should I invest or pay off debt? How do I get started in investing? Should I sell my property to my tenant? Our producers said we had a lot of really good questions for this edition of Ask The Guys, so they wanted to bring in the BIG brains.

Sadly, they weren’t available, so we’re on our own for this show.

In the baffled box fielding your brilliant questions:

  • Your home-run host, Robert Helms
  • His choked up co-host, Russell Gray

Here are some of the questions our listeners pitched to us….

  • Is it better to invest or pay off debt?
  • Should I sell my property to my tenant?
  • What’s the best way to transfer real estate from parents to children?
  • Where can I find financing with foreclosure on my record?
  • And more …




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Should I wait until I’m debt free to start investing in real estate?  My wife is concerned about carrying too much debt.

Short answer:  The longer you wait to start investing, the longer until you profit from your investments.  So generally speaking, if you are wondering if it is better to invest or pay off debt, getting started sooner is better.

Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.  Especially when wives are involved. 😉

But from a financial standpoint, debt that pays you to borrow is not bad.  In fact, we’d call it “good”…as in “good debt”. When looking at if it is better to invest or pay off debt, “good debt” is critical to consider.

Income producing real estate is one of the great vehicles for accumulating lots of “good debt”.  The key is to make sure of two things:

First, be sure the net cash coming in is enough to cover the debt payment going out.

Sounds easy.  But it’s also easy to forget about contingent and non-monthly expenses…the unpleasant surprises can make your easy life…not so easy.

So when you do your cash flow analysis, be sure you account for EVERYTHING.

Second, be sure you have adequate cash reserves.

Sometimes big expenses come up before you have time to build up reserves from cash flow.  Don’t count on credit lines because those can be shut off in an economic crisis.  And you never know when one of those pesky financial crises will show up. invest or pay off debt - A black swan is an unforeseen event which has a major negative impact on financial markets

So…if you’re able to borrow money (good debt) to acquire POSITIVE cash flow, you can use the positive cash flow from the good debt to pay down the debt (bad debt) which does NOT pay you. In this scenario, the answer is clear on if you should invest or pay off debt.

Of course, if YOU understand all that and your spouse doesn’t, you could be 100% right on paper…and dead wrong in the relationship.

It's better when life partners invest in learning about finances togetherYou have to decide what’s most important.  Just remember:  Happy Wife = Happy Life.  Just sayin’….

If your wife is concerned about your financial affairs, that’s a GREAT thing.  Consider it an opportunity to invest time studying together by attending seminars, reading books, meeting with advisors…even listening to amazing real estate investing broadcasts.

And until you find an amazing real estate investing broadcast, you can listen to The Real Estate Guys!

My tenant wants to buy my property.  Should I sell it?

Another great question!

Of course, whenever someone asks what they “should” do, we have to answer, “It depends”.

Ultimately, you have to do what YOU think is best…for YOU.  And YOU figure that out by getting ideas and information…and then considering your options.

So here are some things to think about…

You have the property now.  If you didn’t, would you buy it right now compared to whatever else is available for you to do with your time, equity and credit?

invest or pay off debt - Zero sum thinking asks if you didn't already own a current property would you buy itIf not, then you probably want to strongly consider selling it.  Of course, you have to think about timing and tax considerations.

If you’d like to keep the property for now but would like to sell it later, it’s likely you can make a deal with your tenant for a future purchase.

Maybe you want to time the realization of capital gain or need time to prepare for a 1031 tax deferred exchange.  Maybe the tenant needs some time to get their credit and cash lined up.

In any case, in most jurisdictions you modify your lease and provide your tenant with a future option to purchase.

You could also go with a protracted escrow, just be sure to consult with your tax advisor about when the tax law says you’ve actually “realized” the gain.

In the case of a lease option, your tenant might pay you an upfront fee and/or additional monthly payments as “option consideration”.  You might get a bigger number if you’re willing to credit some of it toward the purchase price.

There aren’t any set rules or formulas…which is the fun and creative part of real estate.  Just decide what YOU want and are willing to do, and what the tenant wants and is willing to do.  Then work out a deal that makes you both happy.

What’s the best way to transfer real estate from parents to children?

“Best” like “should” is always a dangerous question to answer.  After all, what’s best for someone is probably what they should do.  But who knows best what’s “best”?

You do…once you know what your options are.

What's the best way to transfer real estate to your children?So when it comes to transferring real estate from parents to children, you need to think about what YOU are trying to accomplish.

Sometimes, it’s about tax mitigation.  Sometimes you want to maintain control…even after you’re no longer here.

Once you figure out what YOU want, then you’ll want to consult with professional advisors who can help with the HOW to do it.

Typically, you’ll want an estate planning attorney and a tax advisor.

The tools you have to work with include entities (trusts, LLCs, etc.), contracts (options, purchase and sale agreements), and state specific laws (forms of title).

Entities are useful for eliminating probate, managing estate taxes, and maintaining control about how the property and its income are used.

The key is to focus on what you’re trying to accomplish.  Ask a lot of “what if?” questions until you’ve through a variety of potential outcomes.  Decide what you want to have happen in each scenario.  Write it all down.

Then go meet with your advisors and ask for ideas and strategies to create the outcomes you’re after.  Many times, experienced advisors will have seen how other clients have structured themselves to accomplish similar objectives.  So you may get some ideas you hadn’t even thought of.

After a reviewing all the ideas, options and expenses, we’re guessing it will be clear to see what’s “best” for you.

Where to find financing with a foreclosure on your record?

The lending landscape is littered with the walking wounded – folks who barely survived the Great Recession and whose credit reports are scarred with foreclosures, liens and other “derogatory” entries.

That’s the bad news.There are lots of walking dead borrowers after the Great Recession

The good news is that more lending is opening up for these walking wounded.  The key is to get someone on your team who is knowledgeable about the ever-changing array of conventional and unconventional financing options.

Because there’s a big population of folks with foreclosures on their records, there are specialty lenders who focus on serving their unique needs.

So job #1 is to find a competent mortgage broker experienced with working with investors.  Investigate non-government funding such as private lenders, community banks…even friends and family.

If you have consistent documented income, savings and a reasonable explanation for what happened, there are lenders out there who are willing to take a chance on you…if the collateral is good and the interest rate is right.

Even if you can’t find ideal financing today, you may still want to buy a good property as long as you have a reasonable plan for fixing the financing later.

Remember, you buy the property once, but you can change the financing later.

So if you meet with your mortgage consultant and they tell you you’re not lendable YET…then find out what YOU can do (in your control) to get there.  If the list and timeline seems reasonable, you may decide to accept less than perfect financing TEMPORARILY…with plan to replace it later when you qualify.

How to access home equity to invest?

At the risk of being redundant…again…one more time…

What's the best way to access home equity to invest?Get a mortgage pro on your team.  They can tell you what loans are available that YOU will qualify for.  And if the answer is “none”, don’t be dismayed.  You may find a private party lender who’d be willing to make the loan.

This of course assumes you wish to keep your home and just want to use the equity.  Otherwise, selling is the other obvious way to free up idle equity for investment.

Pre-2008, pulling equity out of Property A to investing in Property B (and C, and D, etc…) was popular because properties had equity and loans were readily available to extract the equity.

After the crash, those loans all went away.  So sad.

But they’re BAAAACK.  Yay.

However, there were some valuable lessons learned by those of us who went through the equity apocalypse…

First, when it comes to your HOME…be conservative.  Make sure, you feel comfortable making the new payment in case any or all of the investments you make with your home equity…flop.

As long as you can make your payment, you’re not homeless.  But if you can’t sell the house to pay off the mortgage, you might be trapped for awhile.

Be careful not to borrow short and invest long.

If you access equity in your home, be sure you understand the terms of the loan.  At today’s rates, we’re fans of long term, fixed rate loans.

Fixed rate long term loans give you stability of interest expense and payment.  And you don’t have too much risk that you’ll end up stuck with an above market rate.  It’s hard to imagine rates falling substantially from today’s level.There are an increasing number of mortgage choices when looking to finance or refinance a property

HELOCs (Home Equity Lines of Credit), ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgages), balloons (i.e., 30 year amortization due in five) are all “short term” loans.  Meaning, the rates might adjust or the entire balance comes due in 5 years or less.

If you are SURE you can pay the loan back or handle the “worst case” scenario interest rate / payment adjustment, then MAYBE it’s okay to use the proceeds to invest.

The DANGER comes when whatever you invested in is NOT liquid when the loan comes due…or isn’t producing a high enough payment to cover the new payment after an interest rate re-set.

Now you may need to sell at a bad time.  Or you might not be able to sell at all.  Then you need to figure out how to pay off the loan or make the payment from other sources.

Again, avoid borrowing short to invest long.

Of course, if you’re hesitant to use your home equity to invest with, you can always find other people who have money available to invest.  They put up the money (or most of it) and you put up the time to find and manage the deal to a profit.  Then you divvy it all up.  That’s called syndication and we like it a lot.  You might like it too.


How to get started when properties are so expensive?

What do you do when properties in your area are too expensive?Another great question…

This listener makes $45,000 a year, has good credit and has been reading lots of books about investing.
BUT…he lives in Los Angeles and properties cost a fortune.  So he can’t qualify for a big enough loan to buy anything in his area.

One solution…

“Live where you want to live, but invest where the numbers make sense.” – Robert Helms

Sounds easy.  But how?

It’s a big topic, but in short, pick a few markets you think would be good.  Research those markets and then build relationships there.  Your market team will help you find properties.

Again…sounds easy, but how?


In this case, take your book (and radio show!) knowledge and go to places where more experienced investors gather.  Ask intelligent questions.  Find out what other people are doing and why.

In a huge metro like Los Angeles, there are investment clubs, seminars and conferences you can attend.  But don’t hesitate to travel to connect with the right people.  We do it all the time.

Once you’ve picked a few markets that look interesting, do some remote research.  Set news alerts.  Pay attention to the local economy.Your property manager is arguable the most valuable player on your local team

If it looks good, go there and start building a team.  And start with property management.

Property managers  usually aren’t trying to sell you a property.  But they can tell you where the tenants are most plentiful.

Remember, your true mission as an income property investor is to accumulate tenants.  That’s where the income comes from.  You buy the property to get the tenants and their income…at least a piece of it.

So your property manager is the MOST important member of your local team.

Lots of other great questions…so tune in as listeners Ask The Guys!

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10/18/15: Going Global for Privacy, Asset Protection and Tax Savings

Asset Protection Strategies to Help Protect What You’ve Built

Most people invest in real estate for building wealth to enjoy then pass on to their family. But because of poor or little asset protection strategies, some investors lose huge chunks of their assets to lawsuits and taxation.

That’s sad.  And it’s largely preventable.

But in an age of hackers, surveillance and money hungry governments, it’s never been more important to structure your holdings for maximum privacy, protection and tax mitigation.A good asset protection strategies structure takes into considerations threats and vulnerabilities relative to each and every asset in your portfolio.

And just like many businesses have had to go global to find better opportunities, many investors are finding it’s wise to go global for find better privacy, asset protection and tax savings.

So we decided to sit down with an international attorney to see what we can learn about international asset protection strategies for real estate investors.

Manning the microphones for this foray into broadcast brilliance:

  • Your shining star of a host, Robert Helms
  • His dim lit co-host, Russell Gray
  • International asset protection attorney and returning guest, Joel Nagel

Most people hate playing defense.  Everyone wants to score points and get attention.  It’s true on the playground…on Wall Street…and on Main Street.

Sometimes we get so busy building wealth we forget to protect it.So we all run around with our hair on fire building wealth.  We start businesses, buy investments and educate ourselves about how to make more faster.  It’s fun!

But not everyone plays fair.  Some people would rather take than create.  And they look at you with disdain and your assets with envy.

But enough about the government…

The fact is there are COMPELLING reasons to set up legal structures which keep your wealth private and safe from takers.  And the SOONER you do it, the easier it is.

In simple terms, an asset protection structure provides legal entities to control (management), own (holding) and operate (property or business specific).

The separation between entities effectively creates “firewalls” which make it harder for a predator attacking a liability producing entity (like the one operating one of your rental properties) from getting to your treasure chest (the holding company).Your holding company is where you store all your assets...far away from prying eyes and financial predators.

Of course, you can do all this in just one state jurisdiction, but a single state structure makes it easier for a predator to find everything you have and then attack it using only one lawyer.  That’s WAY too easy.

To make it harder for predators, you can use multi-state structures.

Using multi-state structures makes it take longer to find everything and connect it back to you.  And it means the legal action needs to be brought in different jurisdictions, which often means more time and expense for the predator.

Also, some states have systems and laws which are more conducive to privacy.

Sometimes the best way to avoid an attack is to not make yourself a tempting target by hanging all your assets out in public view.

So a little complexity with asset protection strategies can go a long way in deterring a casual plaintiff from retaining a lawyer on contingency to see if they can harass you into a settlement.  Attorneys working on commission aren’t fond of complex cases which take a lot of time and expense to research.

Going global is a lot like going multi-state, but better.

Some countries have REALLY private systems where it’s nearly impossible an uninvited and unwarranted asset search would reveal your holdings.   And many foreign countries do not recognize U.S. judgments or subpoenas.

Some countries have laws which provide substantial privacy while not recognizing US judgementsSo even if a predator finds an asset off-shore, now they need to work through a foreign legal system in an attempt to win a judgment.  This alone can be a huge deterrent to a predator.

And that’s just privacy and asset protection.

Tax savings can be another strong reason to consider a foreign arrangement.

It’s been widely reported how companies like Apple, Google and General Electric (to name but a FEW) utilize PERFECTLY LEGAL offshore structures to generate and store profits…away from the voracious appetite of the IRS.

The good news is you don’t need billions of dollars for these international structures to make good sense for you. The right asset protection strategies may just take a bit more research and discovery.

So listen in as we visit with international asset protection attorney…and newly appointed ambassador to Austria from Belize…Mr. Joel Nagel.

Listen Now: 

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