Powerful lessons from a simple saying …

It may sound like a medical condition, but an aphorism is actually a concise, memorable expression of a general principle or truth. 

We learned one of our favorites from a carpenter … (no, not THAT carpenter, though He had some good ones too) who advised … 

“Measure twice, cut once.”

That’s a LOT of wisdom in four tiny words. 

But even if you can’t tell the blade from the handle on your saw, there’s still much to be gleaned from considering this simple saying. 

The perhaps obvious message is it’s better to double check your plan BEFORE taking an action with permanent and potentially expensive consequences.

After all, measuring is fairly quick and inexpensive compared to rendering a valuable resource useless due to an incorrect irreversible action.

Of course, the flip side of double-checking everything is it takes twice as long to get things done.  That’s expensive too.  Time is money as they say.

So while we were sitting outside enjoying a frosty IPA and contemplating cloud formations and the meaning of life … 

… we wondered if there’s a way to measure right the first time so you can take quick and accurate action.

Because no matter what kind of market you’re in … the BEST deals go fast.  

And while you’re busy double-checking your math … someone else who’s faster and more skilled is writing the contract.

Measure twice and miss out.  Ouch … that’s no fun either.  Missing out on a great deal is a double hit … wasted time and missed profit.

So whether you’re a carpenter, tailor, flooring installer, or an ambitious real estate investor, it’s probably a REALLY smart investment to learn how to move faster with precision.

It comes down to education and experience. 

When you know what you’re doing and you’ve reinforced accurate actions through real world practice, you’ll make good decisions and take effective action faster. 

That’s a huge advantage in any market … especially hot ones.

Of course, this begs the question … how to gain the right education and experience?  And here again, we look at the trades. 

Craftsmen learn by doing.

Yes, there’s some classroom training to get familiar with concepts and terms.

But the REAL learning happens as they work as an apprentice under the watchful eye of an experienced mentor or “master” … and then as a fully qualified journeyman honing his craft through practice on a daily basis.

Some journeymen take on an apprentice and further develop their craft by mentoring as a master.  They learn by teaching in the real world.

Business and investing are much the same way … or should be.

So you can and should , listen to , and attend .  Ingesting good ideas is a great start. 

Sadly, this is where it ends for many people. 

They learn enough to get excited … maybe even take some action … and quickly get overwhelmed with information … or in over their heads in difficult deals.

Without experienced advisors and mentors to turn to at this pivotal stage … it’s easy to back away for fear of making an expensive mistake … or to press forward on sheer enthusiasm, only to hit a wall and lose both money and hope.

So here’s a tip …

When you consume content in the privacy of your own mind, consider that the primary purpose might not be to simply memorize answers or even stimulate ideas … although both are important.

Content is most useful for helping you recognize when you need some help in the real world, discovering who you can call, how to ask great questions, and for better understanding the answers your mentors and advisors give you. 

That’s why the mentor / apprentice model is arguably far more effective for developing mastery than the teacher / student model. 

Of course, finding the right mentor is a challenge.  Not all masters love to teach and not all mentors are masters.  

And in today’s complex world, you may need more than one … which is an even taller order.

The key is to focus on building good relationships with a network of masters and peers … people who have mastered or are mastering the same skills and activities you aspire to master.

And while you may need to invest money into some of the relationships you’ll need, it’s also possible to find good relationships in groups you join or .

We think content is a great tool to bring the right people together and give you things to connect on and talk about.   

And don’t be surprised if you end up doing some business together.  Although we’ve found if you make transactions the focal point, you’ll dilute the learning.

Our suggestion for your interaction with mentors, apprentices, mastermind groups, and even investment clubs … is to focus on learning, sharing, encouraging, and edifying each other. 

We think you’ll find any deals which happen based on this mutually edifying relationship will often be much better than deal speed-dating.

Of course, like most things valuable, it’s hard work to build a great network and endear yourself to a group of high-performers.  It can be a little intimidating.

But when you push through, you’ll have a powerful support network that helps each other find opportunities, navigate obstacles, and solve the most pressing challenges … faster.

And because it’s so hard, most people won’t do it.  So once YOU do, you’ve got an extremely rare and valuable asset.

Some investors do deals.  Others build a portfolio.  Some build a business.  

Those that build a tribe create something more valuable because it accelerates the development of all those things … and more.

Until next time … good investing!


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Opportunity Zones – Reduce Taxes by Investing in Main Street

It’s easy to figure out where tax incentives lie in wait. Just study the tax code.

The latest version of the tax code introduces a new tax shelter … opportunity zones. But … what are opportunity zones?

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we dive into what we know about opportunity zones … including three MAJOR benefits.

You’ll hear from:

  • Your opportunistic host, Robert Helms
  • His inopportune co-host, Russell Gray

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Opportunity zones: The basics

There’s a way to pay no tax on certain investments AND heal struggling communities. We’re talking about opportunity zones.

These new geographic tax shelters are encoded in the version of the tax code passed in 2017 … but they’re not totally finalized yet.

That doesn’t mean they’re not important … savvy investors will be absorbing all the info they can BEFORE opportunity zones go into action.

The idea of opportunity zones is to offer a tax-favored investment vehicle for people who already have capital gains in other investments.

Opportunity zones will be located in low-income communities ripe for revitalization … and will be located in every state in the U.S.

The fundamental purpose of opportunity zones is to encourage long-term investments in struggling communities.

Congress has established an incentive framework that is flexible and unique. This is essentially a new class of investment.

These opportunity zones complement existing community development plans. In essence, the project is treating the U.S. like a giant rehab project.

You’ll basically be moving yourself into a pre-identified path of progress. There hasn’t been a ton of incentive for investors to come into these run-down, lower income areas. But NOW there is.

The benefits of opportunity zones

Like we said earlier, the idea of opportunity zones is set, but the legislation is not in action yet. The appropriate documentation and legislation will be in place by the end of 2018.

So NOW is your time to prepare for the future.

There are definite differences between this opportunity and other investments. Generally, you’re required to pay tax when you liquidate capital gains.

But investing in opportunity zones provides three unique tax benefits. Before we get into those, we do want to clarify … this investment is only available for investors who already have capital gains from previous investors.

But not to worry … if you’re a newer investor who doesn’t have any capital gains yet, there are ways to get in on the action. We’ll get into those in the next section.

Now, the three tax benefits …

  1. You can defer your original capital gains tax for up to 10 years. As you probably know, it’s always better to defer taxes than to pay now.
  2. You also get a 10 to 15 percent discount on your original capital gains tax.
  3. AND …when appreciated capital gains are put into an opportunity zone investment, the gains you make from that investment are completely tax free.

There is a timeline. You have to sell the appreciated assets and invest the capital gains into one or more opportunity zone investments within 180 days.

But we want to emphasize … your capital gains from properties in opportunity zone areas will be completely TAX FREE.

No capital gains? How to invest in opportunity zones

The government has a goal here … they want to bring a ton of investment capital to certain areas and swing them around.

In that vein, there is a certain requirement you have to follow to invest in opportunity zones … there is NO tax incentive if you own property in an opportunity zone under your own name.

You have to invest in opportunity zones through opportunity funds.

If you don’t have appreciated assets, you may be wondering how you can start an opportunity fund and get in on this great opportunity.

There are a few options …

  1. Invest in an area near an opportunity zone. You’ll be boosted up by the wave of capital increasing asset values all around you.
  2. Invest as a syndicator. Set up an opportunity fund … and get other investors to contribute their capital gains.

This last point is something to seriously consider … especially when you start thinking about the stock market.

The stock market is hot, but it’s showing signs of faltering. People want to take their capital gains out … but they don’t want to pay taxes.

A fantastic solution? Opportunity funds.

All about opportunity funds

What does it take to put together an opportunity fund?

Opportunity funds do not have investment limitations.

They must be organized as a corporation or a partnership.

They do not require official IRS approval … the fund manager can self-certify the fund simply by submitting a form to the IRS.

The process is designed for speed. It cuts out bureaucracy … and brings locally driven change to areas that need it.

But it also requires investors to make REAL change … for example, one requirement we expect to see is that investors put as much into rehab and construction as they spent to acquire the property.

Opportunity zones mean sending money to the bottom of the market … and making the subsequent changes LAST for the long term.

For a map of tagged and categorized opportunity zones, plus more information, simply send us an email at opportunityzones [at] realestateguysradio [dot] com.

And don’t think this is the last you’ll hear about opportunity zones … we expect this to be a BIG wave in the real estate investing sea, and we’ll be providing more information to our listeners as this new opportunity develops.


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Halloween Horror Stories – 2018 Edition

Welcome to our annual edition of Halloween Horror Stories … real world accounts of real estate deals gone horribly wrong.

We’re honored our guests chose to share their horror stories with us. They also discuss what they discovered in the process … so YOU can learn what NOT to do.

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

  • Your spooky host, Robert Helms
  • His spooked co-host, Russell Gray
  • Investors Sep Bekam
  • Todd Sulzinger
  • Michael Manthei
  • Brad and Emily Niebuhr
  • Silvana Shull
  • Lane Kawaoka
  • David Kafka
  • and Ryan Gibson

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The shot heard ‘round the neighborhood

Our first story comes from investor Sep Bekam. Sep bought a 36-house parcel and started making repairs and raising rents to market price.

But this made one particular tenant less than happy.

You see, the existing tenant was occupying two houses … one for personal use and one for their daycare business … and the rent raises meant they had to downsize.

But that’s life. Sep put a Section 8 tenant into the newly unoccupied property and thought that was that.

Six months later, he found out there had been a drive-by shooting. Turns out the Section 8 tenant had a teen involved in gang and drug activities … not the kind of thing you can find out on a background check.

The Section 8 tenant moved out shortly afterward, and Sep started the process of putting a third tenant in the house. But the old tenant … the daycare owner … still wasn’t happy. They started interfering with the leasing agents, trying to scare off prospective renters.

Still, Sep found a new tenant and everything seemed okay again … until about a month later, when the tenant heard loud shots.

Turns out the disgruntled neighbor had fired a paintball gun at the new tenant’s house … then told them about the previous drive-by shooting.

The solution … Sep made an agreement with the new tenants to put in a state-of-the-art security system so they would feel safe.

The takeaways … Crime sometimes happens, no matter how many safeguards you have in place. Sep says it’s important to mitigate the problem WHEN it happens so it’s not associated with the neighborhood.

And keep in mind, Sep has a portfolio of over 100 houses. He reminds investors to not get discouraged … these kinds of horror stories are the exception, not the rule.

The bankrupt builder

Todd Sulzinger started investing his self-directed IRA funds in 2011.

He found a developer building fourplexes who was looking for hard-money loans and decided to sign on.

A few months later, one of the developer’s major suppliers went bankrupt. And then … the developer went bankrupt too.

Because Todd was only in on a portion of the fourplex, he couldn’t foreclose.

The solution … Todd did his best to fight for the money held in the construction management company. Unfortunately, he never recovered all of his money, and what he did get back didn’t return until years later.

The takeaways … “Don’t do a hard-money loan on a fourplex,” Todd says. Know exactly where your money is going BEFORE you make a loan, and understand what will happen in a worst-case scenario.

Also, make sure you can foreclose on a property. And evaluate the risks of any loan or investments. If you’re unsure … ask questions. The vetting process should take time if you’re doing it right.

The mysterious doorman

Michael Manthei’s troubles didn’t start when he bought a 10-unit building in a rougher neighborhood … they started when he replaced one tenant with an older gentleman who seemed like a nice guy.

Soon after the tenant moved in, water started leaking from the apartment into the commercial space downstairs.

Then, there was a death in the apartment.

Turns out, the new tenant had been charging homeless people $10 to shower at his place. He let one woman stay overnight … and she overdosed and died. The man was even running a prostitution operation from the apartment.

The solution … “We kindly asked him to leave, and he complied,” Michael says. That wasn’t the end … the apartment was in bad shape and had to be gutted and cleaned.

The takeaways … Don’t trust your intuition more than the process.

Michael now makes sure new tenants complete an application, do a full criminal and eviction background check, and supply references and employment history before he will even consider them.

He considers that process an investment … on getting quality, long-term tenants.

The curious sucking sound

Brad and Emily Niebuhr do a lot of mixed-use deals. But in one property they bought a few years ago, things went terribly wrong.

First, there was the love triangle. One tenant had her boyfriend added to the lease … but a few months later, the boyfriend moved into the apartment of a DIFFERENT tenant.

But that’s not the horror story.

People started to hear lots of noise and banging … including odd sucking sounds … coming from the second tenant’s apartment. Then, water started to leak from the apartment into the commercial space below.

Turns out, the tenant and her new boyfriend had jaunted off to Alaska, but not before illegally subletting the apartment.

The subletter had an issue with the bathtub drain … but since he didn’t want anyone to know he was there, he was using a Shop Vac to drain water from the bathtub, sometimes as many as 13 times a day.

Even worse … the new subletter was allegedly a drug dealer who brought an unverified service dog onto the property.

The solution … Emily and Brad did a property inspection and gave the subletter notice, and he quickly moved out. They also fixed the drain issue.

The takeaways … If you couldn’t tell, Brad and Emily were managing the property without the help of a property management team. They told us that now, they wouldn’t go without one.

They also realized that investments are about more than the numbers. Even though the mixed-used property had amazing cap rates and returns, it was in a rural area, and they couldn’t find a property manager.

Although they finally have property management now, it took a lot of searching. “There’s a learning curve to the due diligence process,” the couple says.

When disaster strikes

In 2008, Silvana Shull had a successful business in Japan … a large retail furniture and interior design operation. She bought and designed a custom showroom because the numbers made sense.

But right after, the economy started to shift.

She was able to manage for about three years … until 2011 and 2012, when Japan was struck by a series of natural disasters, including tsunamis and earthquakes.

The operation was destroyed.

Silvana had to make a decision … cut her losses and try to rebuild, or close her business entirely and try to recover what she could.

The solution … Silvana sold the building she bought for less than 10 percent of what she originally paid. She shipped all her remaining inventory to Hawaii, where she eventually was able to sell everything … but the entire process took seven years of daily, dedicated effort. And she did it all while taking care of her two small children.

The takeaways … Running an international operation isn’t easy and requires a team. “I didn’t listen to advice and thought I could do anything,” Silvana says.

If she were to do it again, she would listen more and move slower. Although it’s impossible to control natural disasters, Silvana says it probably didn’t make sense to expand in Japan, considering she was living in Hawaii at the time.

The incredible shrinking IRA

Lane Kawaoka is a podcaster, like us. His show is called Simple Passive Cashflow.

He is also an investor who has made a few mistakes.

When he was starting out, Lane wanted to use his self-directed IRA to invest in a passive deal, but he didn’t know many people.

So, when he got a referral, he didn’t do much investigating. Lane invested $43,000 … almost his entire IRA fund … in a deal that looked pretty good on paper.

But then he started networking with other limited partners and heard the operator wasn’t the most scrupulous person. A year later, Lane got a letter that said his deal had gone south.

Lane was left with a property that needed $20,000 worth of repairs in a tertiary market with long selling times.

The solution … Lane wrote off the loss and eventually fire-sold the property. He was left with only $7,000 in his IRA fund.

The takeaways … “Don’t work with someone you don’t know, like, or trust. And don’t lose focus on building relationships with other peer investors,” Lane says.

Trouble in paradise

This story comes from an investor outside of the U.S. … David Kafka. David is located in Belize.

One day, David got a call from an employee. The police needed him to identify a body. Turns out, it was a client of David’s … he had just listed and sold her house.

There were some questions floating around about whether the client had actually wanted to sell, and David had the keys to her house. He was worried he might be a suspect. But he was even more worried about finding the actual killer.

The solution … Eventually, David ended up closing the deal. And he realized he wasn’t a detective and couldn’t solve the murder. He had to extricate himself.

The takeaways … Dot your I’s and cross your T’s, says David. When the unexpected happens, you want to put yourself in the best possible position.

Also, remember that sometimes bad things happen to good people … and that many things are simply out of our control. So, be compassionate and have fortitude, but keep your nose out of things that aren’t in your jurisdiction.

A red-hot deal

Our last horror story comes from investor Ryan Gibson.

Ryan invested in a condo-conversion development opportunity, converting an existing single-family home into condos.

He had great insurance … probably a little too much, he says. But that insurance came in handy when someone broke in and started a fire two months before the condos were set to be finished.

Ryan was on vacation in Hawaii when he got the call, but he had a local contractor on the ground who could help manage the situation.

The solution … Ryan immediately sent an email out to his investors. He also informed his lender, a bank, right away. And he submitted an insurance claim, which luckily covered the damage to the dollar.

The fire extended the entire process by about three months, but in the end, Ryan was able to offer his investors a return over 50 percent.

The takeaways … “If it can go wrong, it probably will,” says Ryan. So always be over-insured. And remember, “Bad news doesn’t get better with age.”

Be transparent and handle problems as quickly as possible … and make sure you have eyes and ears on the ground to help you out when times get tough.

How to handle a horror story

In stressful times, attitude plays a big role. But what really matters is asking the right questions:

  • What happened?
  • Why did it happen?
  • How can I resolve it?
  • What can I learn?

That way, you can turn your horror story into a learning experience that will help you be an even smarter investor.


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The Future of Interest Rates and More with David Stockman

We love talking about real estate. But, real estate is only a part of the sea of our economic landscape. Rising interest rates have a HUGE impact on real estate and the economy in general.

That’s why we are talking to one of our favorite former Wall Street and Washington insiders.

He tells us his take on the future of interest rates and the economy … and shares how YOU can capitalize on changing interest rates to make smart real estate decisions.

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

  • Your swimming host, Robert Helms
  • His sinking co-host, Russell Gray
  • David Stockman, former U.S. Congressman and best-selling author

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The U.S. economy is a fantasyland

David Stockman is an expert not only in economic policy, but also in articulating and explaining complex topics in a way anyone can understand.

David’s political path began in college when he worked for a congressman and learned what it took to be a policymaker. He won an election to congress after the incumbent in his district retired.

Later, he was drafted to be a part of Ronald Reagan’s economic team. President Reagan appointed David as budget director, where he helped launch economic policies.

When it comes to economic policy, there are generally two schools of thought … Keynesian and Austrian.

“Keynesianism says basically that you can’t rely on capitalism to grow; you need the helping hand of the government,” David says. “We say get out of the way! The less government the better.”

And of course, limit borrowing and spending.

The other major factor in economics is interest rates … which directly affect home buyers and investors.

“Rising interest rates have historically told Congress to get its fiscal house in order,” David says. “It elicits a reaction in the country that says, ‘You’re crowding out investment that we need in the private sector.’”

But money printing and distortion of the capital market can cause major crashes like the one we endured in 2008. The subprime disaster SHOULD have been a wake-up call to the country.

In the 94 days after the crash, the Fed increased the balance sheet by 150 percent more than in the previous 94 years.

David says that put us on the path of crazy money printing and low interest rates … and has fueled more speculation.

Now, the Fed is trying to stabilize interest rates and has put the economy in a precarious position.

And there’s an important concept for today’s investors to keep in mind as they evaluate the economy … the recency bias.

“If you’re looking just at what happened yesterday or last year, you might lose track of the fact that we’re in fantasyland, and fantasyland is a dangerous place to be,” David says.

Essentially, the Fed realizes that they went way too far for way too long, and that they won’t be ready for the next big crisis. And the deficit continues to grow out of control.

Which means the next crash could be even bigger.

David says that for investors who are borrowing large sums of money to finance their investments, there’s no more dangerous time than right now.

He calls for prudent underwriting today, and keeping an eye toward the future.

Higher interest rates and lower property values are the types of problems that can erase yields.

“Debt can produce wonderful returns,” David says. “But, if you get caught blindsided, it can be a very dangerous thing to wrestle with.”

Shore up investments before the crash

While many pundits are talking about how robust the economy is, it’s important to listen to the people who are sounding the alarm. So, what can happen?

“If we have another crisis, innocent people will be hurt,” David says. People who lost in the dotcom bust and the housing crisis will have similar and possibly even bigger losses.

This time, the fed will not be in the position to bail out the system. And David says that perhaps in the next crash, the Federal Reserve will emerge as the real culprits of economic instability.

One of the big lessons is to stay educated and understand the fundamentals. You can turn a crisis into an opportunity.

What should a prudent investor be doing now to prepare for the next downturn?

“I think that the idea of cash-flow oriented investment is a sound one,” David says, “but the underwriting going forward will have to be more discriminating and careful than ever before.”

This is especially true for commercial investing. It’s important to ensure that tenants can continue to pay their leases.

Above all, David says that being a careful and prudent investor is a more secure place to be.

For investors who didn’t live through 2008 … or even if you did … you can learn from David’s expertise.

Want to learn more from David and keep up with his advice and takes on the economy? Send an email to Stockman [at] realestateguysradio [dot] com.


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Building Your Network and Credibility by Attracting the Right People

Real estate investing is a social endeavor. The more people you know … and the better those people are … the more likely you are to succeed.

But how do you turn your business relationship dreams into reality?

The secret to building relationships is alignment.

In other words, YOU have to bring value to the table to build strong relationships … and you want to seek out people who can bring value to you, too.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we’ll talk with a powerful connector who is an expert at helping folks nurture and build relationships.

You’ll hear from:

  • Your connected host, Robert Helms
  • His cantankerous co-host, Russell Gray
  • Kyle Wilson, promoter and brand builder

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The three ingredients of strong relationships

Kyle Wilson has had the chance to work with a lot of great people throughout his career. Recently, he wrote a book about the lessons he has learned from them.

One of Kyle’s mentors and partners was entrepreneur Jim Rohn, who died in 2009. Jim said, “Success takes time, and the twin killers of success are impatience and greed.”

Today’s society wants instant success, says Kyle … but it takes time to do anything worthwhile, including building your network.

That doesn’t mean every relationship you spend time on will be great. A second lesson Kyle learned comes from Zig Ziglar, who said, “Never do a good deal with a bad guy.” It’ll never work out for the best.

We’ve got the first two ingredients … time and good people. The third ingredient of a successful relationship is value.

You need to BE a good partner before you can HAVE a good partner … and that means bringing value to the table. Solid relationships aren’t usually based on people just being nice to each other … they’re about value.

A good relationship or partnership should be win-win on both sides.

Dream big … and put in the time

Kyle shared another lesson from his book, 52 Lessons, with us. (Pssst … to read the book, simply click here for free instant access. Kyle is publishing the book entirely online, one chapter a week.)

He learned this lesson from Mark Victor Hansen, founder of the well-known Chicken Soup for the Soul book series.

Mark told Kyle, “We’re going to sell 100 million books.” Kyle didn’t believe him.

Today, the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise has sold more than 600 million books.

Kyle calls the lesson he learned “stretching the rubber band” … Mark forced Kyle to think beyond what he thought was possible.

It’s essential to build relationships with people who can get you outside of your comfort zone and help you dream big.

To turn your dreams to reality, however, requires dedication, a lesson Kyle learned early in his career from success expert Bryan Tracy.

Bryan said, “Success is like getting a plane off the ground.” It takes a ton of fuel and energy to get that plane from the runway to the air … but once you’re at 300,000 feet, you can coast a little.

Kyle applied that wisdom to the beginning of his career. He spent the first two or three years putting in the hours … so he could reap the results later.

Most people spend their whole lives going 80 miles per hour down the runway and never breaking free from gravity. “That’s not efficient,” Kyle says.

Great relationships will propel you upwards

52 Lessons is a compilation of stories from individuals who’ve been through a defining experience and made the changes necessary to bounce them to success.

Kyle can share a similar story … he sold 7 million books as a publisher, then sold all his companies and retired in 2007 to become Mr. Mom. He even signed a non-compete.

Several years later, he wanted to get back in the game … so he used the knowledge he’d amassed to start a new publishing business. His first book was Passionistas, a book about millennial women hustling to make their businesses succeed.

Kyle says he’s able to leverage his experiences and relationships to create more success for himself and others around him. That’s one reason he loves attending our annual Summit at Sea™.

The Summit isn’t just about information, Kyle says … it’s about the people you meet and the relationships you build.

At some point, most investors will want to move from solo investments to syndication with other people. That’s where our Secrets of Successful Syndication seminar comes into play.

Most people attending that event already have half a dozen properties … and almost everyone has something they can offer to other investors.

It’s a way to put yourself in a target-rich environment.

Leverage social media

Kyle says that for the modern entrepreneur, online relationships are important too. “Whatever business you’re in, it’s all about building an audience.”

Whether that’s through a podcast, social media, an email list, events, or a combination, online networking might be your secret sauce to building a network.

Kyle says that for him, “It’s counterproductive to pay someone to do social media … it’s about the pulse.”

But whatever strategy you alight on, you have to be authentic about it. You can delegate the minutiae … but you should be the architect of your connection strategies.

And EVERY strategy you make should begin with the philosophy of bringing value to others.

Align yourself with others

As The Guys, we’ve built a successful brand and a network full of investing rockstars because we work to find common values.

If you’re looking to make connections, DON’T jump into a partnership right away.

Instead, do a deep dive to determine your own personal mission, vision, and values. Then you can determine whether others will help you advance your goals … and whether YOU can help THEM.

Not everyone you meet will offer that kind of win-win relationship.

If you’re looking for help figuring out your mission, vision, and values, come to our Create Your Future goal-setting retreat.

Discover the big picture of who you are as a person … and learn what you want, how (and how not) you can get it, and how to evaluate potential relationships.

Convert your passion … into action. And attract the right people into your life by removing uncertainty about what YOU want.


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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Profitable Niches – Real Estate Development

In this episode of our Profitable Niches series, we’re starting from the ground up. Inventory of homes is tight in many US markets, and returns are diminishing. Enter real estate development.

Our guest, Jay Hartley, saw an exciting opportunity to expand his business into the real estate development space, and he’s got a wealth of knowledge to share.

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

  • Your stately host, Robert Helms
  • His developing co-host, Russell Gray
  • Returning guest, Jay Hartley, real estate developer and property manager in Dallas-Fort Worth

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Beginning with the basics

One of the questions we ask in our seminars is which is more risky: buying an existing building and renovating or building from the ground up? The truth is, there isn’t a right answer to that question.

From inheriting problems in an existing property to building too much or building something the market doesn’t want, there’s a lot to consider when deciding whether to build or buy. The key is knowing the market, the demand, and the supply.

One of the most exciting things about real estate development is the number of entry points. Throughout the lifecycle of a property, there is value being added. Taking raw land from a zoned area to a lot with utilities and a finished building are all steps in the process.

For those who find themselves in a market with a lot of demand but a squeeze on supply, real estate development can be a FANTASTIC way to add more houses into the market, whether or not you hold on to that inventory long term.

Shifting your investment mindset

Jay Hartley is known as one of the best property managers in the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate market. He began like many investors with buying and renting fixer uppers.

Eventually, inventory started getting tight, prices escalated, and returns diminished. That’s when Jay took his first steps into development.

“We had to look at the marketplace and see where the opportunity would be to add inventory,” Jay says. “We started looking at acquiring vacant lots that were already in subdivisions and doing what they call infill.”

Infill meant building one or two homes on lots in subdivisions and then either renting or selling those homes to investors as turnkey properties.

It wasn’t long before Jay’s successful turnkey model got plenty of competitors and Jay took it to the next level. He utilized the economies of scale by getting into bigger developments and subdividing tracts of land. That’s also when he started building his network and expanding his education.

“I had some clients in the building business,” Jay says. “I took them to lunch and started picking their brains.”

Jay soon learned it was a smart idea to partner with a few builders early on. But then the key to sustaining his business was to keep his contractors busy with his projects so he didn’t lose them to other projects.

Real estate development doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the one swinging the hammer. In many ways, it’s orchestrating OTHER contractors and moving parts to complete a job. That also means managing labor.

“One of the biggest issues we’re dealing with right now is having labor ready and available,” Jay says. “If we don’t keep them busy, we lose that framer, we lose that concrete guy, we lose that roofer. We try to set them up to go to one job site to the next to keep them busy and on my job.”

As the deals got larger, Jay had to deal with the growth spurt in his business. He was always known as the property management guy, but had to shift his mindset as he shifted into real estate development. One of those moves was toward selling properties rather than buying and holding.

“I’m not afraid to sell them anymore,” Jay says. “I was a collector before, and it was tough for me to wrap my head around selling them.”

But, with some help and guidance, he was able to work through those mental roadblocks and scale up his business!

Get rich in a niche with a network

Rolling with changing markets is what makes an investor successful long term. Even though Jay was doing really well in property management, he saw a need for more inventory in the market. So, he became one of the people to create it! That has also set him up to know about lots of different types of real estate, and it’s another tool in his toolkit.

“It’s not about what I’ve done. It’s about who I’ve met,” Jay says.

Building a network of people with all kinds of unique backgrounds is a way to tap into their experience. Jay says you can take classes and watch videos, but watching flipper shows on television doesn’t mean you know how to flip a house. Partnering with people on a build job, however, is worth its weight in gold.

And that’s the essence of most development. It’s done through syndication and joint ventures. You can partner up with people who have the land, capital, or expertise you need, and you can put together a great deal.

Jay started out financing his own projects, but it wasn’t until he started tapping into syndication that his business really took off. He attended a few of our programs on syndication and sales, and they catapulted him into success.

“I’ve been in real estate all my life,” Jay says. “The training there, I didn’t think I really needed it. It was enlightening … it gave me the tools and the ability and the confidence to talk to clients and investors and pitch!”

Jay’s journey has been propelled by his ability to be ambitious and coachable. The ability to shift and adapt to new markets is how he keeps his skills sharp and his business growing.

If you’d like to learn more about real estate development and property management in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, get on the inside track with Jay. Send an email to dallasdeals (at) realestateguysradio (dot) com, and we’ll connect you with Jay and his expertise!

And, we hope to see you at some upcoming events. Secrets of Successful Syndication and How to Win Funds and Influence People are packed full of information that you won’t want to miss. Register now!


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.

Profitable Niches – Residential Assisted Living Homes

The Silver Tsunami is coming. That’s right. It’s no secret Baby Boomers are retiring and entering a new phase of life, and looking for an alternative to traditional assisted living facilities.  

In the third episode in our Profitable Niches series, we explore the world of residential assisted living homes.

We chat with leading national expert and President of Residential Assisted Living (RAL) Academy, Gene Guarino, about this compelling investment opportunity, and four of his students who are successfully investing in this space.    

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

  • Your happy-to-assist host, Robert Helms
  • His in-need-of-assistance co-host, Russell Gray
  • RAL Academy President Gene Guarino
  • A few of Gene’s star students, Sherry Ellingson and Rocky McKay, Loe Hornbuckle, and CJ Matthews

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An explosive demographic with specific needs

So much of real estate is about understanding specific demographics and their needs. All around the world, and especially in the United States, there is a massive population that has created business opportunities through every season of their lives … baby boomers.

Baby boomers are retiring in droves, and they aren’t too far away from not being able to live independently anymore. Unlike generations before them, boomers (in general) are adamant about not living in an institution or hospital. They want to live in a home and have a social life.

That’s what makes residential assisted living homes such a fascinating investment niche. This specific demographic and a unique financial model means more CASH FLOW than a typical single-family home investment.

Gene Guarino is the leading expert in this investment niche. As president of the Residential Assisted Living (RAL) Academy, he teaches investors everything they need to know to get started.

“It all starts with education. Get educated first. If you don’t, you’ll most likely go out, make mistakes, and bang your head against the wall,” Gene says.

We’re all about education for effective action. So, we sat down with a few of Gene’s star students to learn about their experiences and what advice they have for other investors.

Building your brand from the ground up

Sherry Ellingson and Rocky McKay are business partners who attended Gene’s class several years ago.

“We kept hearing about senior living,” Sherry says. “We both have parents who are going to be entering into this category before long, and after taking a look at some of the current options in our area we thought, ‘You know, we could do this a little bit better.’”

Rocky and Sherry first acquired an existing assisted living facility that needed some updating. The property is 10 beds with jack-and-jill baths and lots of places for residents to be able to visit with friends and family. The goal is to have residents feel at home and have a happy, safe place to make their own.

How do they attract tenants? Case workers from hospitals and rehab centers refer potential residents and their families to placement agents who find out what they are looking for in an assisted living facility.

Then, the agents take them on tours and show refer them to various home options. That’s why a good reputation is so important.

“The reputation of a home is attached to the owner, so your focus should really be on creating your own reputation and brand from the ground up,” Sherry says.

“The demand for a good home is extremely high, and as we provide such an essential service for our residents, it feels like we are doing the right thing,” Rocky adds.

For investors just starting in the niche, Sherry and Rocky recommend looking for an existing home and remodeling it into a residential assisted living home. They also suggest having a fixed rent rate with everything included so families can set their budget and not worry about hidden fees.

And don’t forget that there is benefit in adding more properties. More residents means the ability to buy supplies in bulk and save even more money on operation costs. Sherry and Rocky hope to have a couple hundred operating homes in the next several years.

Raising capital and expanding your network

After going through the RAL Academy course, Loe Hornbuckle found his passion. Since then, he has opened 40 beds in residential assisted living homes and is in the process of developing an 80-bed facility made up of five homes on six acres as a planned community.

“I look at residential assisted living as a tool to keep people out of nursing homes or institutional environments that may not be right for them,” Loe says. “There are a lot of people who are placed inappropriately in those settings.”

Even though he was passionate about the type of investment he was making, Loe says he still had a lot to learn when it came to raising capital.

“The first time I raised capital, I put out my business plan, and at the end of the first day my wife found me in the fetal position on the floor. It was harder than I thought it would be,” Loe says.

Proper education changed this for Loe. He learned you have to build a network to effectively raise capital. He suggests that RAL investors attend events and conferences so they can meet the many people out there who are willing to help them along the way.

“Your network is everything. When you build your network, you have the power to step into good business like residential assisted living,” Loe says.

Syndication and working smarter

As a self-proclaimed real estate addict, CJ Matthews was looking for an investment with good cash flow and without a huge amount of ongoing work. After hearing Gene speak on RAL homes, she knew she had found the perfect niche.

“With residential assisted living, you do the work to set everything up, and then you become the business owner. At that point, someone else can actually run the day-to-day business for you,” CJ says.

The biggest advice CJ offers to potential RAL investors is to learn about and apply effective syndication.

“Before learning to syndicate, going out and asking for money felt risky or scary to me, but after I attended the Secrets of Syndication seminar, I knew what I needed to do,” CJ says.

When it comes to working with partners, CJ recommends choosing people who have skill sets you don’t. That way you can work synergistically and accelerate your success. And don’t forget this particular investment niche requires a special touch.

“This space isn’t for everyone. You need to love real estate, love making money, love putting in work on the front end, and most importantly have a heart. If you aren’t willing to care about these people and making the last years of their lives happy, then this may not be the investment for you,” CJ says.

Interested in learning more about investing in residential assisted living? Listen in to the show to hear more from Gene and his students. You can also email us at ALF@realestateguysradio.com, and don’t forget that Gene will be cruising with us on our Investor Summit at Sea. We’d love to see you there!

Listen to other episodes in our Profitable Niches series (like Stacking up Profits with Self Storage or Making Money with Mobile Homes) to step off the beaten path and learn more about other lucrative, but as-yet unexploited asset classes.


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.

Expecting the Unexpected – Investing in Uncertain Times

Real estate investing is full of ups … and downs. If you haven’t experienced the downsides, we guarantee you will eventually.

As a real estate investor, you have to be on top of your game. You didn’t get into this business to pull the sheets over your eyes … you’re here to build wealth, and that requires planning and preparation.

You can’t bet on disasters NOT happening … they most likely will. Careless investing is a sure recipe for a crash. Careful investing, on the other hand, will help you survive crashes without losing the wealth you’ve accumulated.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we discuss how YOU can prepare for storms that come out of nowhere. You’ll hear from:

  • Your careful host, Robert Helms
  • His criminally cautious co-host, Russell Gray

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The nature of real estate

The real estate market is naturally volatile. Economies change, local markets evolve, natural disasters arise … sometimes overnight.

The downsides are ALWAYS looming.

But real estate investors are always looking for the upsides … sometimes so intently that they forget to look at the downsides too.

We caution you to do your due diligence AND have a back-up plan.

Some excellent words of wisdom are to always have a little cash on hand. The downsides are rarely in your control … but you can control your ability to react when they arise.

Four ways to be prepared for a downturn

As real estate investors, we weigh risk and reward every time we look at a deal. But some risks aren’t so obvious.

Being a successful investor means playing defense and offense at the same time.

While you can’t predict the future, you can take practical steps to make sure you’re ready to fend off threats and take advantage of smart deals.

Step No. 1: Get in touch with a demographic that can weather a storm.

Tapping into the right demographic is the key to recession-resistant investing.

It’s a smart idea to look at markets where someone who is a bit under the median income can afford to live.

In tough times, people who are well-off can downgrade to your market. And in good times, people on the lower end of the income scale can move up.

Either way, your area will be in demand.

Many factors can cause a downturn … rising interest rates, slow wage growth, tax increases, or geographic factors to name a few.

Downturns aren’t solely due to nation-wide economic slowdowns. Make sure you pick a demographic that can resist small ebbs and flows in your market.

Step No. 2: Invest in towns that have multiple “stories.”

Every town has something it’s known for.

Even better is a town that’s known for many things … the stories that draw people and growth.

A big industry would be one story. Two big industries? Even better. A major sports team might be another story.

Don’t bet on a single story. Make sure the jobs in your market are tied to multiple industries … that way, when one industry fails unexpectedly, you won’t see a mass exodus or decline.

And be sure an area is appealing for more than one reason.

Step No. 3: Monitor your inputs.

Look at what inputs make the numbers on your financial statement move. These are the inputs to keep track of.

Compile data, set up alerts, and don’t be remiss about digging deeper when an alarm goes off in your head.

All the information you need can be found in one way or another. The internet is a treasure trove of data. Your local Chamber of Commerce is another resource for keeping track of essential information.

Don’t be casual … especially if you’re an experienced investor. Treat every deal like it’s your first.

Monitoring your inputs can help you stay ahead of the curve and react to changes before others even know there’s a threat.

Can you see the advantage?

Step No. 4: Key into experts.

We live in the information age … it’s almost ridiculous how much information is available.

But some of the best information comes from people who have been in your situation and figured out solutions.

Listen to and read information from multiple sources … even if you disagree.

Learn what other people are saying BEFORE you interject your own opinion.

You can’t expect the unexpected if you only listen to people who share your point of view.

Navigating the three rings of risk

We’ve learned a lot over the years.

One piece of advice we think highly of is to always own a property or two with no loan. The return won’t be as high … but you can sleep at night.

In investing, it all comes down to the rings of risk.

Every investor should have three rings of risk in their portfolio.

The center ring is your livelihood. It should be isolated from all the other risks you’re taking.

The second ring is those bread-and-butter properties that bring cash flow and provide long-term equity growth from modest appreciation.

The third ring is where your risky investments happen. You should only expand into this area after you’ve established the first two rings of your investment portfolio.

In the outer ring, you can be more speculative. You may lose quite a bit in this ring … you’re taking on way more risk. But you could also win big.

Another thing to keep in mind is your Plan B.

In any short-term play, make sure you have a Plan B and even a Plan C to take you through the long term.

Sometimes the market changes in the middle of your play. In that scenario, financing structures and a property’s ability to cash flow can be really important.

If you are house rich and cash poor, it may be time to sit down with a financial advisor and considering refinancing so you can leverage the equity you have in your properties.

You may also want to consider selling and buying new properties so you can get some cash on your balance sheet.

When the market turns, you want to be in a position to snatch up a bunch of cheap real estate … and you won’t be able to do so unless you have cash on hand.

Another consideration to take is whether to diversify your liquidity. If the dollar falls, precious metals will retain their value … and the more wealth you have, the more important it is to put your equity in a stable medium.

Your best strategy is a strong network

Knowing how to sell is the essential survival skill in a tough market.

We’re hosting our yearly How to Win Funds and Influence People event this year … a workshop that teaches participants negotiation strategies that result in win-win deals.

We host events like these because networking is SO important. The best way to prepare for the unexpected is to get around smart people and take note of their strategies.

Getting around people who’ve been in your shoes is essential … and most successful real estate investors are more than happy to share what they’ve learned.

We don’t only host events for investors like you … we also attend them! We’ll be at the upcoming New Orleans Investment Conference learning about all things investing with some of our most knowledgeable investor friends.

Join us!

Your net worth is defined by your network. Make those crucial connections, and you have the key to staying strong through ups AND downs.


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.