Ask The Guys – Recession Preparation, Note Investing, Gold Strategies

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers. 

That’s right. It’s time for another segment of Ask The Guys … when we talk about trends, challenges, and investment opportunities. 

This time we’re tackling listener questions about investing in the face of a potential recession, the pros and cons of private note investing, whether it makes sense to leverage gold to invest in real estate … 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 knowing host, Robert Helms
  • His crowing co-host, Russell Gray 

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Preparing for a recession

James from Phoenix, Arizona, just moved to the area and is interested in purchasing a single-family rental property.

He wants to know what zip codes we feel offer the best opportunities for a solid cash flow, long-term equity investment.

He also wants to hear our thoughts on how we think a possible recession will affect the Phoenix housing market.

First off, we don’t get into the specificity of zip codes in any market. BUT we do know a great provider in Phoenix that absolutely has the answer.

It’s always better to find someone with boots on the ground knowledge to learn more about a marketplace. So, that’s our advice there. Find a good team member … and work with them.

But when it comes to recession … that’s something we can definitely talk about.

As a country, we recently had a tax code change. One of the biggest changes was that state and local taxes are no longer deductible on your federal income tax.

People who lived in high tax states like California are suddenly realizing what a big difference that deduction made … and they are moving to greener pastures.

Phoenix is a major metro that offers a lot of the quality of life amenities people want … and its close proximity to California makes it a hot destination for those fleeing the state’s high prices.

For investors, the key is to find properties with what we like to call “recession resistant pricing.”

If things go well, the value of the property moves up … but those rents are still in demand even when things in the economy aren’t doing as well.

So, your mission ought to be to get with a great local provider and work together to find properties that hit in this sweet spot.

The good news is that Phoenix is a market where we saw pretty good stability in the last downturn.

A look at note investing

Larry from Folsom, California, wants to know what we think about the notes business … and what we think about the notes business as a real estate business.

Some people like to invest in the property. Some people like to invest in the financing.

The note business means that you are writing mortgages, carrying back mortgages, placing private notes, or buying second-hand notes that are loans.

You get the note … and you get the interest … and you have the collateral against the property.

There are two primary reasons people invest in notes.

Some people invest in notes because they want the yield … they want the interest rate, which often can be higher than traditional mortgages.

Other people invest in notes or make hard money loans because what they really want is the property.

They make a loan to someone who is in need … if it pays off, great. If it doesn’t, they get the property.

So, the note business is an interesting business. It can be appealing because you are able to derive income without the hassle of landlording or the risk of the property going down in value.

But that doesn’t mean note investing is without capital risk. It all depends on whether you want to sell the note or not after you buy it.

Where the real money gets made in notes is when you’re trading in notes and you’re using distressed property.

You might go in and lend to somebody who may not be a prime borrower in an ideal situation … so they’re going to pay a premium.

That means you are going to get a little bit of extra interest … and maybe a little bit of extra protective equity.

You can also take things a step further and purchase loans from people who own them already and have decided for whatever reason they don’t want them.

So, you would offer them a discount to the face value of the note.

Now, you’ll be getting paid back more than you lend plus more!

And that discount is added to the interest that a person’s going to pay. That can bring your yield up quite a bit.

Another approach is to buy non-performing notes in the hopes that you can rehab them and get the person paying again OR that you’ll be successful in foreclosing on the collateral.

These types of notes can sometimes be bought for pennies on the dollar.

The key takeaway here is that there are a lot of different ways to get involved in the note side of the business for people who aren’t as interested in dealing with the real estate and tenant side of things.

You don’t have the landlord responsibilities … you do have the debt collection responsibilities.

Overall, we like the note business … but we don’t like the note business as a real estate business.

Now, this is just because of our personal investment philosophies. We don’t want to make a bunch of money because someone else had to be foreclosed on.

For us, it’s too messy and can be ugly. But if you have a more combative personality … it might work for you.

Leveraging against gold

Quentin from Mahomet, Illinois, is seeing the value of the dollar go down … and wondering why an investor shouldn’t just buy gold to use as collateral and leverage against it.

Quentin feels that if the dollar tanks, then your collateral … the price of gold … goes up all while your real estate cash flow asset makes money.

The question is … are there downsides to this approach?

Leveraging against gold has been on our mind for a long, long time.

It has only been in the last 50 years or so that gold hasn’t been money … there’s a good possibility it’s going to come back and eventually be money again.

Central banks are loading up on it. So, we don’t think it’s a bad idea to take some of your liquid reserves and put them into gold.

Gold shouldn’t be considered as an investment. Gold is a place to store wealth … just like cash.

But gold protects you from cash failing and has a longer track record of success.

Borrowing against gold is just like borrowing against any other asset. The equation always just comes down to being able to provide the cash flow to service all the debt involved.

If you lose control of cash flow … everything leveraged unravels.

Still, if you’ve done the math … and you feel comfortable … it’s not a bad way of thinking.

More Ask The Guys

Listen to the full episode for more questions and answers.

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Investing Where Real Estate, Healthcare, and Demographics Converge

Real estate is like surfing … it’s all about riding the waves. 

Smart investors catch a big wave early and hold on for a long ride … and one of the biggest economic waves in history is happening RIGHT NOW. 

It’s all being driven by baby boomers. No matter what phase of life the boomers glide through, the businesses that serve them prosper. 

Over the next two decades, the baby boomers hit senior status … and senior-centered industries are set to boom along with them. 

One industry we’ve got our eye on … healthcare … really, the place where healthcare and real estate meet. 

We’re visiting with a seasoned real estate entrepreneur about how investors can ride this particular wave through residential assisted living homes. 

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

  • Your booming host, Robert Helms
  • His waving co-host, Russell Gray 
  • President, CEO, and Founder of RAL Academy, Gene Guarino

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Get rich in a niche

Not all real estate investments are created equal. 

One of the things that drives demand is demographics. As a real estate investor, who are you going to serve … and how profitable can it be?

The old adage goes, “Get rich in a niche.”

Today we’re talking about a niche that has demographics firmly on its side … which means potentially years of profit for investors like YOU. 

We’re diving into senior housing. 

A new approach to senior housing 

Gene Guarino is president, CEO, and founder of RAL Academy … and our go-to guy in the senior housing sector. 

“Everybody’s going to get older and eventually need some kind of assisted living,” Gene says. 

With aging baby boomers moving our way, senior housing and assisted living is a great niche to be in. 

It works nationwide … and baby boomers are living longer. 

And senior housing is a pretty wide niche. It covers everything from 55 and over communities to hospice care and everything in between. 

Gene’s niche within a niche is somewhere in the middle. 

Gene caters to older seniors … typically in their 80s or 90s …  that still want independence but need some help with their daily living activities. 

Right now 4,000 people a day are turning 85 years old. That’s 120,000 people a month and more than 1.4 million a year. 

Not all of them need assisted living, but hundreds of thousands of them will … and there’s no room at the inn, so to speak. 

One of the biggest misconceptions we need to break is that assisted living is a three-story building with elevators and a common kitchen. 

“What we do is take a single family home in a residential setting. Not a big box facility, but a home,” Gene says. “You could literally be living next door to it, and you wouldn’t even know it.”

Gene and his team take a home in a nice neighborhood and do a little bit of conversion, get it properly licensed, and hire an expert staff.

And the payoff can be enormous. 

Think about it. You might have 10 seniors in a home each paying $4,000 or $5,000 a month. The net profit from this setup is significant. 

A home that might rent for $2,500 or $3,500 a month to a single family now rents for somewhere around $30,000 a month. 

These homes offer a moderate amount of care. The seniors living there don’t need skilled nursing help … but they do need some basic help. 

So, senior housing is really in two parts … the real estate side and the business side. 

How you can get involved

The beauty of senior housing is that there are multiple ways to get involved. 

You may have real estate investors who want to own one of these homes … but they don’t want to be involved on the business side. 

Or you may have some individuals who don’t have the funds to purchase one of these homes … but they are ready and willing to be involved in managing the day-to-day operations. 

Most people don’t realize when they walk into an average business that the business owner behind the counter doesn’t own the real estate. 

Someone else owns the building and leases it to the business. The business is making money … but the real estate owner and everybody in between is making money too. 

Senior housing means you can own real estate, lease it to an operator, and get it up to twice the market rent with a long-term, low-impact tenant. 

“The key to this transaction is to find a tenant first,” Gene says. “Find an operator you can lease the residential assisted living home to.” 

There are many reasons to find your operator before you find your property … the primary being taking their suggestions on potential home locations. 

The time is now

So what’s the end game? Gene says his students have found multiple profitable strategies from investing in senior housing. 

The first is acquiring multiple homes and then selling them off as a portfolio to a larger conglomerate. 

Another approach is to simply hang on to the properties over the years making really good cash flow and giving the property an opportunity to go up in value. 

Lastly, you can build your own brand and business into something that you can eventually sell as a branded package. 

No matter what you do, Gene says the time is now. 

“Business is good now, and it’s getting better and better and better. And once the spike from the baby boomers hits, it’s just uphill from there for the next 20 years,” Gene says. 

So, to get in position to ride this wave, there are a couple of ways to go. 

You can either passively invest in the real estate with an operator … or you can learn the business side of residential assisted living. 

“I wish there was a training like the one that I give people that I could have attended,” Gene says. “It would have saved me so much time, effort, and money.”

We always say that the best way to learn is to learn from the people who are already doing what you want to be doing. Through RAL Academy, Gene is enabling investors to do just that. 

Gene’s trainings take place over three full days in Phoenix, Arizona. On the second day, students load up and visit some of Gene’s operating homes in the area to see what senior housing looks like firsthand. 

To learn more about RAL Academy and opportunities that lie in senior housing … listen in 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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Getting to the Next Level with Your Real Estate Investing

The real estate game is all about the long game. It’s a process of learning … and often a rollercoaster of rapid growth, steady plateaus, dips, and rising back. 

The key for investors is to always be pushing to the next level. 

So … we’re talking about how to do just that. 

We’re ready to talk getting started, getting out of ruts, and getting yourself to the next level of the real estate game. 

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

  • Your level-headed host, Robert Helms
  • His on-the-level co-host, Russell Gray 

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A natural evolution in real estate

Where are you as a real estate investor?

Whether you’re just starting to think about it, getting started, or a seasoned professional ready to make a jump into a new niche … we’re here to help you get to your next level. 

Not all investors are created equal. Not all investors start in the same place or end up in the same place … but there IS a natural progression and evolution as a real estate investor. 

Part of that transformation is about knowledge and information. The other part is about actually changing. 

If you remain who you’ve always been, you’re going to do things the way you’ve always done them, and you’ll get the same results. 

What we’ve learned through observing many people at various stages of their development is that everything starts with your personal transformation … what you THINK and what you BELIEVE. 

Pretty soon, that starts to manifest in the decision you make and the results you produce. 

No matter where you’re at in your own evolution, there are several standard stages … and several standard ways to move to the next level. 

Is real estate for you?

The first stage is when you’re not sure you want to be a real estate investor … but you think you might. 

You’re exploring whether real estate is a possibility for you. 

Most people do it part-time and are looking to get cash flow. But there’s a lot you have to learn. 

The good news is that real estate is really relatively easy if you keep it simple. You accumulate properties over time and pay attention to details like cash flow. 

You can compress time frames to accelerate the process. Part of that is developing a vision. 

If you put strategy and effort into your real estate dealings, you can create more wealth faster. 

Start by getting around people who are already doing what you would like to be doing and learning from them. 

This principle applies to everyone. Find someone who is playing the game at a higher level than you and learn from them. 

There are also lots of great books out there about getting started that can teach you the minute details of real estate deals. 

All of this knowledge contributes to establishing what we call your personal investment philosophy. 

Just like every investor is different, you want to set up your real estate investing process as something that supports who you are and your skill sets … not the other way around. 

Buying your first property 

After you’ve decided to take the leap into real estate, it’s time to buy a property. 

Buying your first property is awesome and exciting … even when the property itself might not be that fabulous. 

For you to qualify for loans on property, it really helps to have a dependable income … aka a  good job. 

That’s why so many beginners in real estate do it part-time. You might be ready financially to go and quit your job, but having an income and a credit score can help you. 

A few years after buying your first property, you may be ready to buy a second … and a few years later you buy a third. Hopefully over time they produce income and go up in value. 

Direction is more important than speed. Set your course and then get moving. 

Remember … you’re working on your reputation as an investor, which is more than just your credit score

Most people start off in single family homes … but you don’t have to. 

Our good friend Brad Sumrok bought a 32 unit apartment building as his first investment. We know folks whose first investment was an agricultural property. 

But still, most people invest in a townhouse or a condo or a single family home. It’s small, reasonable, and easy to understand.

Then the next part of the natural evolution happens … you look for a second or a different asset class within real estate.  

Moving into different niches

So many people start investing in single family and then start to look at a multi-unit property like an apartment building and think … maybe I want to go into multifamily next. 

Or maybe you want to focus in on another marketplace like retail or industrial. 

Real estate is made up of so many different niches that behave differently depending on what is going on in the economy. 

As you observe what is happening in the world around you, you can be strategic in catching where you think the wave of real estate demand is flowing. 

As you move into a new niche, there is a little window of opportunity where a bunch of buyers run in and buy. They bid things up, and things slow down a bit. 

You can learn to spot this window over time as you start paying attention. 

Expanding into different niches lets you diversify and helps you build your experience resume. 

And to get really juicy returns, most investors need to make the shift into these types of bigger markets. 

Going full-time in real estate

When you reach the point that your passive portfolio can provide the income you need without working … it’s time to ask yourself if you want to go full-time into real estate. 

When people see that their passive income from their real estate portfolio exceeds their full-time income, they usually want to retire. 

But so many people find that they actually want to stay busy. 

So, you use your real estate portfolio as a base … and you start reinvesting your own money. 

You can also start sharing your expertise with other people and partnering with them. Or, you may take on private investors. 

You may decide to invest your time and money into learning a whole new asset niche and developing your expertise there. 

Something many people forget is that there is a particular tax benefit that comes along with being a full-time real estate professional. 

You’ll want to talk to your tax professional about that, but it’s definitely a benefit of being full-time alongside setting your own schedule and being your own boss. 

The point is that there is no one way to take your real estate experience to the next level … there are MANY ways!

And that’s what makes it exciting. 

Learn more about getting to the next level with your real estate investments by listening in to the full episode. 


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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Clues in the News – Stocks, Negative Rates, Oil, Gold and You

If you’re wondering which way the financial winds are blowing … look to the news!

From the rollercoaster ride of the stock market, to negative interest rates on mortgages, to big moves in gold and oil … it appears the winds are changing. Something is coming. 

Savvy real estate investors are reading the signs and asking, “What should I do?”

Join us as we study the mystery that is the headlines and discuss what all these things mean for investors like YOU. 

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

  • Your headliner host, Robert Helms
  • His mysterious co-host, Russell Gray 

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The dance between stocks and bonds

On today’s edition of Clues in the News, we’ll go beneath the headlines to find out how all the goings-on in the market impact real estate. 

They say that the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. 

Right now, markets are good. Real estate is strong. Rents are durable. Jobs are great. Gold is high … so we need to dig into the headlines. 

Even though we’re in real estate, it’s important to pay attention to other industries and markets like oil, bonds, and gold. 

When we try to understand what’s going on in the world economically, it’s like that old game Mouse Trap. Every action has a reaction. 

And there seems to be a dance between the stock market and the bond market. 

When people are feeling good, investors buy stocks … because they are feeling bullish that the asset value of the stock that they bought was going to go up. 

When they get fearful … they sell stocks and go for safety in bonds. 

Bonds are basically IOUs. The best bond you can get is from the U.S. government, which prints the world’s reserve currency … the dollar … making it impossible for them to ever default. 

But as we saw in 2008 … it is possible for your credit to seize up. 

So, you can rearrange your affairs in order to capitalize on the opportunities that will be created by whatever is going to happen to the market in the future and mitigate the risks. 

Signals from the yield curve inversion

When you hear bonds and stocks, you may be thinking that it doesn’t have much to do with real estate. 

But it does … because interest rates are the fuel that we use to drive our real estate purchases. 

You’ve probably heard recently that rates are headed down and the Federal Reserve is planning to cut rates another quarter of a point. 

We certainly look at that to see what the long-term prognosis is for owning real estate. Then we look at the short-term housing markets. 

But in between, there are all kinds of signals. 

One of the big signals that happened last week was a yield curve inversion. 

You don’t have to necessarily understand what that is at a deep level. What you do have to understand is what it means. 

In other words, if you’re driving down the road and see that oil pressure is green, you know you’re good. 

If it falls below the green, you know that if the light turns red and you don’t put oil in your car, your engine is going to blow. 

A yield curve is like that. It’s the relationship between short-term interest rates and long-term interest rates. 

When you take on a loan, the yield curve should slope up so that the lower rates are closer to you and as time progresses they go up as they forward further in time.

When the curve inverts, it goes the other way. 

All you really need to know is that the last seven recessions were preceded by a yield curve inversion. On average, the recession came 22 months later. 

Whatever happens, there is always a flow of money to and a flow of money away. You want to make sure that you’re always in the flow of where it’s coming. 

Growth in gold

Meanwhile, gold prices are reinvigorated by the yield curve. 

Gold prices pick up on fears of a global recession because those two markets, the stock market, and the liquid metals market can hit the buy or sell pretty fast. 

That’s in part because gold is a proxy for currency. Gold is at record highs in many currencies around the world, not just the dollar.

When countries are trying to compete in international trade, they have an advantage when their goods are cheaper. 

So, if they devalue their currency so that the purchasing power of their trading partners goes up, they can sell more goods. 

When people begin to lose faith in their currencies … they look for something that allows them to step out of a currency and still hold liquid wealth. 

Some people are using Bitcoin, but the vast majority of investors … especially institutions and sovereign governments … are using gold. 

Last year, central banks around the world purchased more physical gold than at any other time since 1970.

If you think about insider trading when it comes to currencies … there’s nobody more insightful than central banks. 

The effects of oil

All economic activity is derived from energy … and in modern society, that energy is primarily oil. 

So, as the cost of oil goes up … it’s actually friction in regard to economic activity. 

When you think of what happened coming out of the great recession, the economics in the United States that were producing all theat jobs leading to recovery … were ENERGY PRODUCING LOCALITIES. 

The other side of it is an economic problem … a lot of the oil that has been built upon bonds issued by oil companies are counting on higher oil prices. 

When those oil prices drop, they still have the same debt service.

There’s a lot of fragility out there … and nobody knows what could be the catalyst that’s going to ignite the debt bomb that creates the next debt implosion. 

But one of the things to pay attention to is all of the debt in the oil industry. 

We look at it for the cost of the input to the daily lives of our tenants. When gas is more expensive, it increases their cost of living. 

So, they’re going to be more resistant to rent increases … and they will be moving out of the higher priced places into the lower ones. 

And then of course, it can also point to the health of the credit markets. 

Time to pay attention

There’s a lot to be licking your chops at … so to speak … with what is happening in the world right now. 

And NOW is the time to pay attention. 

Learn more from the Clues in the News by listening in to the 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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Seasteading – Investing Opportunities on the High Seas

We’re dishing the dirt on dirtless real estate. 

That’s right … owning real estate doesn’t mean owning solid land anymore. 

It’s all made possible by a quirky little idea called “seasteading” … a growing movement of independent entrepreneurs to set up homesteads on the high seas. 

Listen in as we learn more about this novel idea to decide if there’s an opportunity for you to add floating properties to your portfolio. 

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

  • Your seafaring host, Robert Helms
  • His seasick co-host, Russell Gray 
  • President of the Seasteading Institute, Joe Quirk

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What is seasteading?

They’re not making any more real estate … but what about the two-thirds of the planet’s surface that aren’t controlled by any nation or state?

That’s right. We’re talking about the ocean.

Today we’re speaking with Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute.

We met Joe at our annual Investor Summit at Sea. One of our amazing faculty told us, “You’ve got to meet this guy. He has a fascinating topic. We’ve got to have him on Summit!”

And we moved heaven and earth to make it happen. We found Joe absolutely captivating.

Most of the people that listen to our podcast and radio show are individualistic … they’re out of the box thinkers.

They aren’t just checking boxes. They are interested in learning about how to be a smart investor … a better investor.

Joe’s idea is definitely for out of the box thinkers.

The premise is this:

The oceans can provide a possible new home for all kinds of folks, ideologies, and lifestyles.

Joe uses the analogy of a cruise ship. A cruise ship is really just a floating city with restaurants and bars and convention space and activities.

And it’s got its own kind of quasi government.

A seastead is the same basic idea.

Testing modern boundaries

The Seasteading Institute, which Joe leads, was founded 10 years ago.

But the very first actual seastead home was launched a few weeks before our Summit … outside of the country of Thailand.

The floating home was affordable for the average American … in fact it cost less than the average American home.

But a few weeks later the Thai government forced the seasteaders to leave. What does that mean for seasteading?

“We were planning on scaling up these small floating cabins into a colonization of the blue frontier more than 12 miles off the coast of Thailand,” Joe says.

He says they had a few hundred people signed up to buy homes. Designs were in for leading aqua tech like an underwater restaurant.

“But to everyone’s surprise, the Thai navy took exception to this and raced in to confiscate the seastead and arrest the seasteaders,” Joe says.

The seasteaders fled before the Thai navy arrived and have been on the run.

“We were all in a panic trying to figure out what was going on, but the seasteaders managed to evade capture, and they are still safe and free and in hiding,” Joe says.

A rough start on the high seas.

“But it has drawn so much attention to the seasteading movement that the number of people interested in buying one has tripled,” Joe says. “And two new countries have expressed interest in possible hosting one.”

You have to test the boundaries before you can get traction … and Joe says that is what this experience was all about.

Cooperating with established nations

The seasteaders thought they were in international waters. One of the big premises of seasteading is that the vast majority of the earth’s surface is not controlled by any one nation.

Imagine creating pop-up nations of seasteaders who can physically move their home based on who they want to be around and how they want to be governed.

“People like to talk about colonizing Mars. We want to colonize the other half of this planet, which I like to call planet ocean,” Joe says.

Joe says that he would like to unleash innovators out into the world who have better ideas for society … as long as people can choose to live among them voluntarily and quit them voluntarily.

“I think the Thai navy’s reaction is unique. I don’t think other countries in the world will react the same way,” Joe says.

Joe says seasteading is just a cool and vibrant way to live. It’s not unlike the way sailors moved port to port several centuries ago.

“I like the analogy that if other nations of the world are sharks, they should think of seasteaders as cleaner fish. They provide a service the shark appreciates and so the shark doesn’t eat you,” Joe says.

Seasteads could offer valuable services like lawyers, financial experts, and more to the countries they live next to.

The future of seasteading

Joe says he feels the future of seasteading is bright … but it does require people to flip their brains and change the way they think.

For instance, farming doesn’t have to be a land-based activity.

Hopeful seasteaders are investigating the idea of farming fish or seaweed … which is much more nutritious than corn, wheat, and soy.

People also have ideas for floating solar farms because solar is more efficient on the ocean than it is on land.

And wave energy is abundant too. Joe reminds investors that floating wind turbines off the coast of Scotland are already supporting hundreds of people with energy.

Another common misconception about ocean life … that gravity isn’t your friend.

When you build things on land, you build straight up. But when you build on the ocean … you build down.

The deeper you go … and the wider you go … the more stable the structures are.

And as structures grow deep under the waves, it creates new coral environments for ocean life.

“This is the next frontier, and we’re making it happen,” Joe says.

To learn more about seasteading, listen in to the full episode!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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Finding High Yields in a Hot Market


Everyone loves a hot market! But hot markets have their disadvantages. 

When markets heat up … prices go up … and yields go down. 

But that doesn’t mean investors are stuck. 

There are things you can do to adapt and keep cash flow up … without having to change markets. 

We sat down to chat with our good friend John Larson to find out how he has made the most of one of the hottest markets in the last ten years. 

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

  • Your heating up host, Robert Helms
  • His hot-head co-host, Russell Gray 
  • Managing Partner of American Real Estate Investments, John Larson

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Adapting in a hot market

Dallas, Texas, has been a hot spot for real estate investors for the last decade. But .. like any market … the tide is starting to turn. 

After 2008, the rules of the market changed. 

Dallas stood out because it had not one … not two … but multiple drivers. 

It had population. It had education. It had transportation. It had a business-friendly environment, low income tax, medical finance, tech distribution … it was the whole package. 

It ended up being the best real estate market of the past ten years … and it’s not over yet … but yields have changed a lot. 

So, what’s an investor to do?

As Managing Partner of American Real Estate Investments, John Larson has had to adapt to the changing Dallas market. 

Many people knew John and his team as the Turnkey Single Family people in Dallas … but his company has had to change what they do while maintaining the big picture of WHY they did it. 

Debt syndication and using your retirement to make money now

John says that the Dallas market is hotter than ever … but in 2017, the cap rates on the single family homes started to get compressed. 

“You can only push rents up so far,” John says. “The values of homes kept going up because of the demand, so property went up as well.”

John says his investors came to him primarily for cash flow. They were looking for passive income. 

So, John needed to find some new ways to provide that cash flow that investors came for in the first place. 

The first project they took on was debt syndication … partnering with a developer and syndicating funds on the debt side. 

“We came in as lenders to buy the lot and get the construction completed and get those units leased as office space,” John says. 

A debt investor is someone that wants to have predictable income flow again, and it’s not as risky as other ventures … with the opportunity for BIG returns. 

At some point, you have to graduate from single family houses and move to the next level, like multifamily or office space. 

John says there are great deals to be found … but you have to do a little nosing around. 

And you can’t beat the opportunity for passive investing. 

With debt syndication, investors can be very hands-off and get as high a return as possible

Especially for the investor who is looking to lend money from their IRA or 401k, debt syndication is a great passive experience for them and a great way to maximize their retirement accounts. 

Many people don’t understand that they can put their retirement dollars to work … but as soon as you can self direct your retirement funds … you’ve opened up a whole world of alternative investments. 

Because of the nature of a retirement account, you can’t have a current benefit. It is really for tomorrow, not for today … so passive investments just make sense. 

These are solid deals in solid marketplaces … but people have a hard time getting their minds around why someone would want to use debt. 

In good deals, the asset pays back so quickly that there’s not a lot of risk on either side. 

It really just depends on how your personal investment philosophy fits in. 

Keep your money working 

If someone is looking to put their money to work in a debt syndication type of deal, the big question is … how long is this deal going to take?

John says that the longest term he has done so far was with a new construction project … that was 18 months. 

The average term for a deal is usually about one year. 

“We want to get you money back within a year and have another deal lined up for you so you can keep your money working,” John says. 

Keeping your money working … that’s the key to finding high yields in a hot market. 

Learn more about the Dallas market and how John and his team are finding new ways to create cash flow without changing markets by listening in to the full episode. 


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Ask The Guys – Syndication, Apartments, Gold and More

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers. 

That’s right. It’s time for another segment of Ask The Guys … when we talk about trends, challenges, and investment opportunities. 

This time we’re tackling listener questions about syndicating single-family homes when to make the move to multi-family properties, the rising role of gold in the economy … 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 answer-filled host, Robert Helms
  • His questionable co-host, Russell Gray 

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What makes a good investment

Our first question comes from William in Maryville, Tennessee.

William recently purchased a single-family residence. He wants to know what the average difference should be between monthly rent and expenses to make it a good investment. 

The answer varies depending on your personal investment philosophy … but we can give a general idea based on what we see from other listeners. 

We start with what we call the gross rent multiplier … also known as the 1% rule. 

The idea is to look at whether or not a property can take in a gross rent 1% of its purchase price. 

So, if you purchase a house for $200,000, a house would need to take in $2,000 a month as its base rent. 

And this number doesn’t consider your operating costs. 

If your property isn’t bringing in 1%, you’re going to be tighter on cash flow. Making a little more than 1% is always better. 

But remember … cash flow is certainly important. But there are plenty of other ways to get money out of your investment. 

The big picture is that in single-family rental homes that the tenant pays down or pays off the mortgage. Over time, income goes up. 

You’re creating a portfolio of property that increases its asset value, and cash flow increases too. 

Even in the best-case scenario, single-family homes are making a couple hundred dollars a month. That’s why so many investors start in single-family and then move into bigger asset classes.

Going bigger and growing older

And that’s just what Lou in McKinleyville, California, wants to talk about … moving into those bigger asset classes. 

Lou is 56 years old, and he owns six multifamily property units. He wants to know if … at his age … it makes sense to purchase more. 

Age does play into your investment horizon. What you really have to think about is … what do you want your investment to do for you?

At age 56, we think Lou still has a lot of time left. 

Continue building your investment portfolio. Play into your personal investment philosophy. And when you’re ready to retire and are relatively comfortable, it’s ok to call it quits. 

There’s no need to do more if you feel like you’re done. Until then, keep up the good work!

The smaller side of syndication

Let’s talk a bit about syndication. Greg in Auckland, New Zealand, wants to know if you can use syndication to raise capital for deals in single-family homes. 

Syndication is simply aggregating capital to do a deal. It doesn’t have to be a bigger deal. 

Instead, think of syndication as the way to go bigger … faster. 

So, the short answer is … yes. You can absolutely syndicate a single-family home. 

But there is a threshold that makes sense for syndicators because there are some costs associated with doing the deal … especially on the legal side. 

A tiny deal may not make sense for syndication, because you’re going to burden the deal with a lot of costs. 

What you probably want to do is think about building a portfolio. Instead of just syndicating a single property … go buy a collection of them!

And don’t forget that syndication doesn’t only mean syndicating capital. You can also syndicate credit.

Remember, there’s not much point in syndicating if you want to play small. The whole goal of syndication is to go big. 

All the things that go into syndication get amortized over the size of the portfolio … so from a cost perspective, building a bigger portfolio is the way to go. 

The value of gold

Karen from Lehua, Hawaii, wants to know what we think the coming financial meltdown in the U.S. will look like … and why gold won’t lose its value when it happens. 

The reality is that the longer we go in a cycle, the closer we are to a downturn. 

Nobody really knows what this downturn will look like. It all depends on what the critical factor is that turns the economy down. 

The one thing we know for sure is that the concern for American right now should be making a bigger allocation toward gold. 

If you follow the news, you know that central banks recently bought more gold than any time since Nixon took the country off the gold standard and collapsed the dollar. 

That’s an indication that people are beginning to lose confidence in the dollar … and when people lose confidence in currency, we see inflation. 

So, in the short term, you’re going to need supplies … things you can barter with until a new medium of exchange is introduced. 

But, in the long term, you’ll need something that is universally accepted as currency. 

Why is gold valuable? Because the banks are stocking up on it. There’s always going to be a market for gold. 

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. 


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Lifestyle Investing for Family, Fun and Profit

You invest your money to make more money … but there is so much more to life than cash. 

Still, you have to have a way to fund your fun. Some say invest now and play later … but why not invest now AND play now, too?

We’re talking about lifestyle investing. 

Beautiful properties are available for you to live in … part of the time … and rent out for the rest. 

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

  • Your playmaker host, Robert Helms
  • His playful co-host, Russell Gray 
  • The Grove Resort’s Nick Rohrbach

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Lifestyle investing is in style

You can find an investment property that pays you to own it … a place where you can spend time and enjoy yourself. 

It’s called lifestyle investing. 

When most people invest in real estate, they don’t think about living in the house that they choose as a rental. 

But so many people own a house that they USED to live in … but now rent out. 

Lifestyle investing turns this idea on its head and blurs the lines to bridge the gap. 

You find a property that you would love to spend time in occasionally … and in the meantime, it creates income. 

Most of us invest in rental properties to create wealth so that we spend that money somewhere that we enjoy. 

With lifestyle investing, you buy and asset what you want to enjoy yourself and organize it so that it pays YOU to own it. 

A unique rental niche

In a typical rental property, your tenant normally moves once a year. But a lifestyle property is usually rented by the night … which makes management more expensive. 

On the other hand, while a monthly tenant might be paying the equivalent of $20 a day … a nightly vacation renter could pay several hundred dollars. 

You’re paying to have a hands-off experience … and you want to deliver an exceptional service level. 

One of the beautiful things about this niche is that you’re marketing to affluent people. You have customers who aren’t necessarily as burdened when economic times turn backward. 

Another great thing about resort properties … renters are typically tourists from out of town … which means you aren’t as reliant on ups and downs in the local economy. 

And when you have a really unique property, you can attract people from all over the world. 

Don’t get us wrong … it’s not just the world’s most wealthy we’re talking about. 

Some people save all year long for their vacation. They are frugal the rest of the year … but when it is time for vacation, they want to have a good time. 

Let’s be clear … lifestyle investments are NOT timeshares. 

A timeshare isn’t really real estate. It’s more like a prepaid vacation. You don’t have equity ownership. Lifestyle investments CREATE CASH FLOW. 

If you don’t have enough cash to get started, resort properties can be the perfect opportunity for simple syndication. 

With a few owners, you can all use the property for a certain amount of time each year … and share the profits the rest of the time. 

Factors to consider

When selecting a resort property, you need to decide how the seasonal market is. 

It’s like being in retail. If you have a strip mall, you know your tenants lose money during the off season … but they make it all up during the holidays. 

If your property is a prime skiing location … think about what happens to it during the summer. 

You need to look at the property as a totality of ownership … and then you have to be really good at managing cash flow. 

The good news is that you don’t need to go in blind. It’s like we always say … if you’re going into a market you’re not familiar with … BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. 

In this case, you really want to build relationships with property managers

They know the demographic. They know the trends. They know the inventory … and they really know the income. 

It is so important with any deal … and especially with lifestyle investments … to do your due diligence. 

But once you do … if you choose your market correctly … you’ll discover a market that is robust and not hung up in too much seasonality …. and then you choose a product that makes sense for you. 

Rentals at The Grove Resort

We caught up with our friend Nick Rohrbach at The Grove Resort to learn more about a really interesting lifestyle investment opportunity. 

The Grove is an amazing resort property in Orlando … amazing facilities, a 7-acre water park, a four-star spa, and a stone’s throw from the Disney theme parks.

The people who visit here are all about the lifestyle. 

And for investors, it means owning a beautiful, professionally managed resort property in one of the hottest markets in the USA. 

Nick says that many tourists come to spend their days at theme parks … but then they want somewhere comfortable and luxurious to come back. 

What makes The Grove a unique opportunity is that the big ticket amenities … including the water park … are included in the rate. 

“That’s what makes our occupancy higher than average, and average occupancies in the area are already fairly high at 77.5% in Orlando,” Nick says.

The Grove caters toward a wide variety of guests … there are spaces for weddings, family reunions, and small conventions. 

The suites at The Grove are all two and three bedroom condos … perfect for families or employees. 

Units are completely turnkey … and managed by a team that has been in business in the area for over 40 years. 

“And Orlando really is a year round destination,” Nick says. 

Ultimately … like any investment opportunity … you need to find a deal that works with your personal investment philosophy. 

Interested in learning more about The Grove? “Come on-site and stay with us,” Nick says. 

To learn more about lifestyle investing and opportunities at The Grove Resort, listen in to the full episode. 


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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Phoenix

Phoenix

 

In this desert paradise … demand for rentals is heating up!

 

In the heart of the Sonoran Desert sits the “Valley of the Sun” … and this valley is golden for so many reasons. 

Phoenix consistently ranks as one of the most affordable areas of the United States …

So naturally rents have outpaced national growth since 2016

In 2018, rent growth in the greater Phoenix area was more than double the national average … but overall rent prices remained significantly lower than the rest of the country. 

The 2017 tax law changes had far-reaching impacts for Phoenix and the other Sun Belt  states. 

People living in high-tax states on the East and West Coasts used to mitigate tax costs by deducting state and local taxes from their federal income tax. 

With that option removed, those same people are moving to low-tax jurisdictions like Phoenix instead. 

The resulting steady population growth has made Phoenix one of the most popular markets for multifamily investments. 

Demand for rentals is strong and supply is low … so there’s nowhere to go but up!

And since the ‘08 market crash, Phoenix demand and pricing has been doing just that … steadily going up and up. 

Industrial space in the metro area fills up fast, rents are rising in the office sector, vacancy numbers are healthy, and the retail market is BOOMING. 

In 2018, major retailers Costco, Lowe’s, Sprouts, TJ Maxx, and Nordstrom Rack announced plans to build new stores in the metro area. 

The following year, Phoenix saw employment gains at nearly five times the national rate.  Major industries in the area include finance, biomedical, and software development. 

The western part of the valley is a popular location for warehouse and distribution space. Major distribution centers for Dick’s Sporting Goods, SubZero, and REI, Inc. operate from the region. 

The surge in population since 2017 has jumpstarted the revitalization of downtown Phoenix, with revamped buildings housing expansions of University of Arizona and Arizona State University.

When it comes to recreation and entertainment, Phoenix has something for everyone … professional sports teams, national parks, and all-around wonderful weather.

Explore the resources below to discover what opportunities await in this one-of-a-kind desert paradise …

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  • Coming Soon!

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Clues in The News

Cashing In On the Space Race – New Homes in a Market Ready for Lift-Off

The space race is on!

No … we’re not talking about the great cosmos overhead. We’re talking about a race for space in a thriving market. 

Central Florida is thriving thanks to international tourism, low taxes, strong population growth, and great infrastructure. 

Billions of public and private dollars are making their way into this market … We’ve liked it for a long time … and it’s getting even better. 

Discover how YOU can cash in on this space race as we hear tips from an on-the-ground expert. 

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

  • Your out-of-this-world host, Robert Helms
  • His out-of-the-way co-host, Russell Gray 
  • Central Florida investment property specialist, Jean Gillen

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Welcome to the “space coast”

Today we’re talking about a market that is well-positioned for growth and equity … it’s the “space coast” in Florida!

Central Florida is one of the markets we’ve loved for a long time … every time we visit we see cranes helping build new projects. 

When we analyze a market, we look at the dynamics in supply and demand, capacity to pay, and what’s going on in mortgage rates and demographics … and don’t forget taxes and incentives!

There are so many things happening right now in this particular market that create an environment where equity can really POP. 

One big story of this area is … the space coast. 

For many years, the space industry was 100 percent a government entity. You had NASA … and that was it. 

But when the shuttle program stopped … everything changed. 

Individual businesses and entrepreneurs came in to fill the void and pick up the slack … and things really blasted off!

We see a lot of similarities between what is happening in Central Florida now and what happened several years ago in Silicon Valley. 

These organizations are growing and bringing in a new workforce to fill jobs … but there aren’t enough houses. It’s a great opportunity as an investor to help find a solution. 

Growth and opportunity in Central Florida

Our good friend Jean Gillen and her team at Gillen & Associates are Central Florida investment property specialists. 

For nearly 30 years, Jean has been actively helping investors cash in on opportunities in this marketplace … she knows this place like the back of her hand. 

For Jean and the investors she helps every day, the space race is real. 

The Central Florida market is uniquely nestled within an hour of three international airports … Orlando, Orlando Melbourne, and Orlando Sanford. 

It’s the number one visited place in the world … 75 million people come through each year. 

Some are passing through to other connections. Others come for theme parks and to hop on cruises. And the rest … it seems … come for NASA.

And so many of those people come to stay. 

Over 350 space industry companies have moved to the market … after all, it’s the only place in the United States from which you can put a man in orbit. 

A huge amount of millennials have followed those companies for job opportunities … but baby boomers are moving in as well. 

With no intention of retiring any time soon, baby boomers want to live around other baby boomers. The 55+ communities come calling … and they are cheap and cheerful. 

But it’s not just the space industry that has come to town. Infrastructure has to grow to serve all those new residents … like doctors, retail, and restaurants.

Florida is also a prime spot for tax incentives … and there’s no state income tax. 

“I don’t think there is a better economy in the United States right now,” Jean says. “Oh, and the weather’s good.”

Another important thing to note, Jean says, it that many of the people coming to the area aren’t necessarily coming for a full-time gig. 

Many of the workers in these industries come on a one or two year contract … which means that these folks will always be tenants … and you can plan on a steady flow of tenants for rentals.

Properties with potential

Most of the houses Jean and her investors work with are new builds that come in at around $210,000. Insurance … including hurricane insurance … comes out to about $600 a year. 

“The hurricane risk in the area is very low. That’s why the insurance rates are so low. It should make you feel fairly safe on that front,” Jean says. 

Another unique factor in the Central Florida market … it’s actually a better deal most of the time to buy a new build over a resale house. 

And tenants are definitely attracted to new … and all the amenities that come with them … granite countertops and stainless steel appliances anyone?

Jean also feels it’s important to keep most of the homes owner occupied. 

“It keeps the neighborhood up, so we usually keep the amount of houses owned by investors in a development at 10 percent. It works out so much better that way for everyone,” Jean says. 

But as with any market, there are unique considerations to keep in mind. 

Jean says she never helps investors buy lots that are in flood zones. The properties have to be turnkey … and a good school district is always a plus. 

Many of the tenants in the area work several days a week from home … so extra bedrooms that can function as a home office space are a must. 

And Jean is all about beautiful backyards … most lots are a quarter of an acre … and there is no HOA. 

Typically, tenants stay for three years … and tenant-landlord laws are very landlord friendly. 

Joining the space race 

Jean and her team work exclusively with investors … but those investors come from a variety of situations and backgrounds. 

Some are 30 years old … others are 70 … but they’re all looking for a profitable deal. 

We’ve said it before … and we’ll say it again … the key to a great deal is finding a market that makes sense, finding the right team, and THEN finding the right property. 

To learn more about Central Florida … and to find out if this it the right deal for you … listen in to the 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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