Ask The Guys – Super Session Part Two

In this show, we’re pulling another fistful of questions from our bursting email grab bag. This is a two-part session of Ask The Guys … if you missed the previous round, you can check it out here!

In this episode, we’ll take on great topics, including how to

  • get started
  • find mentors
  • structure syndication deals
  • survive a crash
  • get into deal flow
  • and build credibility

Before you dive in, please take note of our standard disclaimer … we are not tax professionals or attorneys. This show does not contain advice, only ideas and information.

Ready to get started? In this edition of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your informational host, Robert Helms
  • His info-maniac co-host, Russell Gray



Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

real estate podcast on itunesSubscribe on Androidyoutube_subscribe_button__2014__by_just_browsiing-d7qkda4




When you give us a positive review on iTunes you help us continue to bring you high caliber guests and attract new listeners. It’s easy and takes just a minute! (Don’t know how? Follow these instructions).


Question: Where does the beginner begin?

Steve, from Laguna Niguel, California is a fledgling investor. And like many newbies who’ve just dipped their toes into the vast ocean of real estate investing, he’s not sure where to start.

Steve asked us, “How do I turn what little knowledge I have into action? There’s so much information available, I’m afraid I might become an analytical quadriplegic trying to find reliable and trustworthy information.”

Before we offer any ideas, we want to offer Steve a big congratulations on taking the first step of getting himself educated on what is arguably the single greatest investment vehicle. (We’re talking about real estate, obviously!)

A new investor’s basic education should be two-fold:

  1. Educating yourself on what kind of opportunities are available and what kind of investor you want to be (that means developing your personal investment philosophy).
  2. Forming relationships with other investors who are doing the kind of things you can see yourself doing.

To begin, we recommend listening to past episodes of our podcast and listening to other investment podcasts, as well as reading books. This step is largely free and will help you understand the rules of the road and the language of the business.

THEN, before you get overwhelmed by the nuances of all that education, leverage what you’ve learned by attending real events with successful people who will help you understand how real estate investing works in the real world.

When considering which events to go to, keep in mind this wisdom … “People who aren’t invested won’t make the investment.”

If you’re only attending free events, you probably won’t be meeting the most successful people or getting the most helpful advice. You have to be willing to pay to put yourself in inspiring social environments.

Once you get some basic education, you need to take action. Education without action is essentially useless.

Start by assembling a team of professionals. At the bare minimum, you’ll need a mortgage consultant and a tax advisor.

And don’t just pick the cheapest option. Be strategic in your choices by looking for people who can help you expand your social networks.

Every relationship is a gateway to a whole host of other relationships.

As you go through the process of getting started, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Learn how to ask great questions, and you’ll find that deals will come to you!

Question: Should I join an investment mentoring program?

Another California resident, Diane, told us that she attended a FortuneBuilders seminar and was psyched about it. Now she’s wondering whether she should join their mentoring program.

We’ll start by saying that we don’t endorse any specific program. Almost every real estate coaching program out there can teach you valid, useful skills and introduce you to great people.

But what success in these programs really comes down to is you.

That’s right, you have to make the program work for you for it to be successful. That might mean kissing a lot of frogs.

We also want to clarify the difference between theoretical information and real world information.

In the world we live in, most employed and self-employed people are taught we need to know how to DO something to find success … and the better you are at that specific thing, the more dollars you can trade your time for.

This can lead to new investors consuming a lot of specific information that they might not really need. We want you to get out of that mindset.

Look for courses and programs that help you learn to build a team, create a basic investment philosophy, and practice your conversational skills … all skills you’ll actually need when you start investing.

Also make sure whatever program you choose teaches independent investing, not dependent investing. You need to build your own ability to be a successful investor … not others’.

Make sure any education you invest in leads to you DOING something with your newfound skills and info.

Question: I’m a syndicator. How much equity do I give back to investors?

Kevin, our third Californian listener of the day, asked us what to do in a specific syndication scenario. He’s splitting his deal 50/50 between the investors and himself, and wants to know whether he should also return a piece of the equity to investors when he refinances the deal and returns profits.

The reality, Kevin, is that the percentages completely depend on the deal.

If you and investors are both putting money in, obviously you’ll split the return in some way.

Ultimately, the way you structure a deal should satisfy the needs and the desires of everyone who is at the table (including you!).

There are a lot of variables that will affect the specific structure you choose … what you’re trying to deliver in terms of taxation, whether clients want their original equity back, what you and investors are looking for in terms of future opportunities, and more.

You have to think through all the possible permutations of the deal.

We’d caution you not to get caught up in a specific number. Instead, ask the important questions of who is doing the work, what will happen with your investment, and when will those changes take place?

Then structure your deal accordingly. Every deal will be different.

P.S. Check out our last edition of Ask The Guys to hear us answer a very similar question.

Question: Can you guys refer me to contacts?

Steven, from South Lake, Texas wanted to know whether we could refer him to contacts that are currently putting together syndicated multi-family apartment deals.

We don’t like to fashion ourselves as matchmakers. That’s not our job.

So our first recommendation would be that Steven and people like him come to our events and get around people who are familiar with the syndication world.

Making contacts at real world is your best bet for finding syndication deals.

However, we do want to make all our listeners aware of our investor registry. Because we’ve been in the real estate world for a long time, we have a lot of great contacts. This registry allows those contacts to connect with investors interested in specific deals.

Signing up is simple and easy … and your first year is on us! Sign up here.

Question: Do you sell recordings from the Investor Summit at Sea™?

The short answer is no.

The long answer is that you have to join us at the Summit to access the valuable information we provide there. The Summit creates a certain camaraderie that simply can’t be transmitted electronically.

However, we did record some livestream sessions this last Summit in partnership with Rich Dad Poor Dad Coaching … if you really want to get your hands on live material from the Summit, this would be your only avenue.

We do not personally use recordings from the Summit in any commercial capacity.

Question: How do I prepare myself for potential unrest in the United States?

Phillip lives in Southern California. He asked us specifically what the best place to live would be if America were to enter into a second, violent Civil War.

While we can’t state with any certainty that the U.S. has another Civil War in its future, we will say that many of our faculty members believe it’s very possible we’re heading for some big-time trouble in the future of our nation.

The reality is that economic cycles of boom and bust are baked into our economic system. And economic distress can mean unrest in certain places.

The threat of the unknown will always be present.

However, while a sudden recession can mean devastation for one person … it can spell opportunity for another.

How does the same environment produce such drastically opposite results? The difference is preparation.

We recommend you read Prosper!, a book on how to curb your vulnerability to frightening trends in our economy by our smart and prudent friends Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart.

And if you’re looking to situate yourself in a place that will be resistant to the effects of an economic downturn, we think it would be smart to look for areas where people aren’t highly reliant on government and supply chain infrastructure.

It’s wise to be concerned … but that doesn’t mean the answer is to hide in a bunker. Be prepared to bridge the gap between our current reality and new and unexpected possibilities. And don’t forget the wise and true words of Chris Martenson… “Humans rise.”

Question: I have a burning passion for real estate … and no money. How do I gain credibility with sophisticated investors so I can partner up or syndicate?

We love this question from Sam, a new investor and social work student in Brooklyn, New York.

Sam is passionate enough about investing that he’s read literally dozens of books on the subject. He knows that relationships are key to making good deals … and he also knows that he’s starting out without any connections.

We’d tell Sam that when you change anything in your life, you’re being recognized for your past, but what you can do in the future is uncertain.

So you have to create your future by acting like the person you want to become.

Russ had to go through this process when he started out in real estate investing. Like Sam, his background was in a different field. He took a few steps:

  1. He realized that his current connections weren’t the best prospects for getting better in his new field.
  2. He started to act like the person he wanted to be, projecting himself as a successful real estate investor.
  3. He changed who he was associating with by putting himself in new environments where he could make new relationships.

The key is to “Be who you’re becoming.”

When you’re establishing yourself as the person you want to be, lean on the credibility of those who’ve already found success.

Passion and enthusiasm are key. A great deal (and we mean great) will also help tremendously.

Our last words of wisdom? Don’t be the smartest, poorest investor. Take action.

Now, go out and make some equity happen!

 More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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

Ask The Guys – Super Session Part One

Ask The Guys is our radio segment where YOU ask us your burning questions … and we give our best shot at answering them.

Lately, we’ve received so many excellent questions we decided to do not one, but TWO episodes of Ask The Guys! In this first installment, we discuss finding deals that make sense, breeding equity, how to keep going when you’re out of money … and much more!

Before you get into the good stuff, we have to give you our standard disclaimer. We’re not tax advisors, and we’re definitely not attorneys, so we never provide any advice … just IDEAS.

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

  • Your problem-solving host, Robert Helms
  • His problematic co-host, Russell Gray



Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

real estate podcast on itunesSubscribe on Androidyoutube_subscribe_button__2014__by_just_browsiing-d7qkda4




When you give us a positive review on iTunes you help us continue to bring you high caliber guests and attract new listeners. It’s easy and takes just a minute! (Don’t know how? Follow these instructions).


Question: I’m looking into local real estate, and the numbers don’t make sense. What do I do?

This question comes from Walter, a Canadian listener.

Can you guess our first response? You got it … “Live where you want to live, and invest where the numbers make sense.”

Investing locally means you can have a heavy hand in daily business and management operations. Investing in other markets means someone else will do the work for you.

That can be a really good thing … IF you have the right team.

As you know, the market overall is quite tight right now. If you’re looking for deals in a tight market, you might spend all your time searching out deals that fit your criteria. That’s why it’s a good idea to look for markets that fit your criteria, then build relationships with a trustworthy team.

Of course, start out by building a solid personal investment philosophy.

Next, find your market and get set up with a good team. THEN you can work on finding a property to invest in.

Starting by finding a property first can be a disaster. We know because we’ve seen it.

Think this information sounds great, but wondering where to start? There are a few steps you can take:

  1. Start networking with folks in your area who are investing elsewhere. Get to know them and get familiar with what they’re doing.
  2. Research different markets, identify a handful that fit your criteria, and then check them out … in person!
  3. Get your resource network set up by seeking out credible management folks who know what they’re doing.

Whatever you do, ALWAYS evaluate whether a market makes sense before you even start looking for deals. Always.

Question: Can I reposition my equity to buy more properties?

Ari from West Hollywood, California, asked us whether it was prudent to use the equity from current properties for the down payment on a new property.

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is that equity repositioning can be a good idea, with some caveats.

You CAN take equity out of a property through cash-out refinances (or 1031 exchanges, if you want to relinquish the property).

And with today’s low-interest rates, this process allows you to harvest your equity.

A word of caution … it is possible to run into trouble. It’s NOT the act of moving equity that can work against you, but the act of taking on additional debt and income.

Any time you move your money, you have to weigh your ability to manage your income against your debt. It doesn’t make sense to take money out and invest in a property with low or negative cash flow.

When done right, equity optimization allows you to move easily from mature markets to emerging ones and diversify your holdings.

Always remember these words of wisdom … “Do the math, and the math will tell you what to do.”

Question: We’re purchasing our first property. Should we create an LLC to protect our personal assets?

Jonathan in New York City, is buying his first rental unit in the U.S. state of Maine (congratulations on taking action, Jonathan!).

He’s wondering whether it’s prudent to form an LLC in order to purchase the property … but worried that buying as an LLC will force him into a commercial loan with 10-year terms.

How to protect your personal assets is a common newbie question … and it’s a good one!

The primary question Jonathan has to ask himself is whether the added expense will be worth the protection. That answer will vary.

If Jonathan has a ton of assets, it might be worth it to form an LLC. Keep in mind there are other places he can move his money to … primary residences and retirement accounts come to mind.

The bigger question, though, is whether Jonathan will need the protection in the first place. Investors like Jonathan can put up a three-pronged line of defense:

  1. Consistent, good business practices.
  2. Clear documentation and legal paperwork with built-in arbitration clauses.
  3. Insurance, which will cover most problems that might arise.

The reality is that most people who use entities are usually working on bigger projects. And not all lenders will be willing to lend to an LLC with no operating history.

If you’re in Jonathan’s situation, you have to weigh the pros and cons. We recommend doing your homework … and checking with a local tax attorney.

Question: When is the next Investor Summit at Sea™, and when do tickets come out?

Adrian from Salt Lake City, Utah asked this timely question. Thanks for asking, Adrian!

The next Summit will be early to mid-April, 2018. Exact dates will be announced shortly!

We roll out registration in three phases … alumni first, then our syndication mentoring club, and then our advanced notice list.

Your best chance at getting a ticket? Get on the list! Sign up now if you’re serious about attending next year.

Question: Will it be more profitable to invest on our own or with a syndicate? (And should we invest for equity growth or cash flow?)

This question comes from Sheryl, in Pacifica, California. Sheryl told us she and her husband are newly debt free. Her question is best in her own words:

“Our goal is to save $100,000 this year and buy a rental property on the big island of Hawaii, where we eventually plan to live, to start establishing some cash flow. We also plan to take a year off and live off my spouse’s retirement while visiting Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa. We are frugal and have simple needs. Would it be better to invest $100,000 with a syndicate for better monthly cash flow return?”

Sheryl, you could invest in a property that provides cash flow and will be well-suited for your eventual retirement home.

But we’d caution you that one property may not be able to solve multiple needs.

One solution would be to buy a cash flow property, then use the equity you’ve saved to buy a perfect retirement home when the time is right.

Another solution might be to look for a property that will provide long-term price appreciation instead of a high cash flow. It’s a different investment vehicle that could carry you to the same destination.

And of course, syndication is always an option, and it might be a good one if you’re traveling and need a hands-off investment.

If you decide to come alongside a syndicator, you do have to be careful. Vet the deal and the sponsor just like you’d vet a deal of your own.

Make sure you line up your investment objectives and the timing with the investment and manager you choose. And above all, be certain you understand the underlying risks.

Question: I’m out of money. How do I extend my property portfolio?

This listener hails from London, England. (A side note: we LOVE hearing from listeners around the world!)

A former nurse, Bobby purchased a couple of properties in the outskirts of London. He loves real estate and wants to expand, but he’s out of money.

Maybe this sounds familiar to you … you got enamored with real estate, got educated, pulled the trigger and took action, then quickly realized your money was gone. This happens to a lot of folks.

If you’re like Bobby, the first thing you should do is ask yourself, “Knowing what I now know, would I still invest in these properties?”

If the answer is no, it might be time to switch things up.

We’ve found the best way to expand when you have limited resources is to force equity from properties by adding value, then use that equity in other properties.

The other way to go would be to syndicate. Leverage your knowledge, and use your skills to acquire and manage assets on behalf of clients who do have money … taking small slices from the pie along the way.

Because Bobby came from a demanding career path and wants to make his way in what can be a very demanding real estate world, we’d also caution him to be very careful about what he chooses to do and how he structures his business.

It’s no good to pursue real estate for less stress and then fall into the same pattern of stressful days and no fun.

Question: I’m a syndicator. What’s a good percentage to offer investors?

Our last question for this episode comes from Joel in Boston, Massachusetts. Joel puts deals together for investors, but he’s new to the game and isn’t sure whether he’s offering a percentage that’s too high.

He wants to find the sweet spot, and that’s a laudable goal … one every syndicator should have.

Our answer? There is no magic formula.

We’ve done deals about every way possible, and in our experience, the right structure is one that attracts the right capital and the right investors for YOU.

Finding the right number can be a dance and an art form. But there is a place you can start.

Begin by having conversations with investors and gauging their responses. Ask, “What number would make sense for you?”

And realize number may vary with each deal you make.

If you’re just getting started with syndication, err on the side of giving more to the investor.

The purpose of your first few investments ISN’T to build a fortune. You’re trying to start a business, so you need to emphasize your dependability, focus on predictable results, and build your track record.

Ultimately, the magic number is one you’re willing to get up every day and work for!

 More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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

Becoming the Best Possible You – Investing Success Starts with YOU

Kyle Wilson of the Lessons from Experts Network says personal growth is the foundation of business and financial growth


YOU are at the center of your investing universe.  Everything you hope to achieve and acquire grows out of your attitude, knowledge and actions.  So becoming the best possible you is the most important thing you can invest time, money and energy into!

In this episode we take a look at how to be successful in ALL areas of life…including real estate investing!

In the best possible studio for a successful edition of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show:

  • Your best possible host, Robert Helms
  • His impossible co-host, Russell Gray
  • Our especially successful guest, Kyle Wilson




Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

real estate podcast on itunesSubscribe on Androidyoutube_subscribe_button__2014__by_just_browsiing-d7qkda4




Like the show? Help us reach new listeners by leaving us a quick review on iTunes. It takes just a minute of your time, and it would really help us out. Thank you so much!! (Don’t know how? Follow these instructions.)


Lessons From Kyle Wilson

It’s been said that success leaves clues.  We agree!

Over the years, we’ve picked up some great insights from some of the many high achievers we’ve had the privilege to get to know over the years.

Kyle Wilson is the founder of Lessons from Exports Network and the former President of Jim Rohn InternationalOne of those great guys is Kyle Wilson.

Kyle was business partners with the late, great Jim Rohn for 18 years in their company, Jim Rohn International.

Jim Rohn was considered America’s foremost business philosophers.  One of Jim’s many students is the world-renowned Tony Robbins (Unlimited Power, Personal Power, Get the Edge).

Along the way, Kyle founded Your Success Store, which distributed all kinds of personal development and success merchandise.  He eventually sold that business to the same organization which owns Success Magazine.

Success Mastery

Kyle also produced many fantastic live events.  As long time listeners know, we’re HUGE believers in attending live events…for many reasons.

First, when you’re THERE, you’re totally immersed in the experience.

If you REALLY want a good idea to sink in, then you need to soak in it.  Being there is the BEST way to be sure you’re not distracted by the thousand trivial “emergencies” which can rob you of that next big “Aha!”.

Also, when you’re in the same place as other people who are SERIOUS about their success…in whatever the subject matter…you’re likely to make a great connection.

We always say that you’re just one relationship away from a breakthrough in your business, investing or life.

Relationships are VERY important.  Going to where great people are is such a shortcut for meeting the RIGHT people.

Change Your Life

Of course, in Kyle’s case, he had a front row seat.

In addition to Jim Rohn, Kyle worked closely with some legends of success including Brian Tracy, the late Zig ZiglarDenis Waitley, Les Brown, Darren Hardy and MANY, MANY more.

When you hang around people…any people…you begin to pick up their attitudes, habits, beliefs…even their self-talk.  It’s amazing.  And scary.

If you spend too much time with a mediocre, negative, low achieving crowd…guess what?  You’re success is impeded.

But if you spend time with high-performance, positive, driven people…you get pulled UP.  You start to think and behave more like them.

Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Advisor for real estate Ken McElroy says the first step to improving your life and your business is to hang around better people.

And think about this…

If when you’re young, say 25 years old, you and your friends are all into music and funny videos.  But you decide to invest just 30 minutes a day listening to audio books, TED talks, educational podcasts, etc.

If you get just ONE good idea per day more than your friends, by the end of a year, you have 365 more good ideas in your mind than your pals.

By the time you’re 35 years old (10 years later), you have 3,650 more good ideas.  By 45, you have 7,300 more.

Robert Helms and Russell Gray were blessed to hang out with the late great Jim Rohn

Robert Helms and Russell Gray with the late great Jim Rohn in 2004

You get the idea.  As Jim Rohn said, “The book you don’t read can’t help you.”

Education for Effective Action™

Take it a step further…

We all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 52 weeks in a year.  So the access to time isn’t the limiting factor for most people.  It’s what they DO in the time they have.

We already talked about how just getting one good idea per day in your mind can create a HUGE chasm between you and those who can’t be bothered.

A brilliant idea can be worth a fortune...if you act on it.But ideas aren’t really all that powerful…UNLESS they’re acted on.

Most people have been exposed to great ideas, but they allow fear, insecurity, doubt or other limiting beliefs to delay or prevent taking action.

What if you were able to speed up how quickly you recover from a setback or how fast you implement a good idea…by just 10 minutes a day?

Once again, it’s math.

At the end of the year, you’re 3,650 minutes or 60 hours ahead.

In 10 years, you’re 600 hours, or (based on a 40 hour work week) 15 weeks ahead.

We know that doesn’t sound like much.  But it’s MUCH bigger than that…for two reasons.

The Compound Effect

First, efforts compound.  So when you’re 60 hours ahead at the end of a 2,000 hour work year, you’re 3% ahead of where you would have been if you’d acted just 10 minutes slower each day.

But when you’re building businesses and investment portfolios, the things you do early in life compound over decades.  It’s how high-achievers accomplish so much.  Over time, their efforts compound, and after a few years, they’re WAY ahead.

Darren Hardy talks about this in his best-selling book, The Compound Effect.

Your future depends on what you do today. Take effective action!

Knowledge is only power when acted upon. Education for Effective Action!

But there’s an even MORE important concept…

Have you ever missed a bus, train or plane by just a few minutes?

The delay is far more than just the few minutes by which you missed the vehicle.  You’re delayed by the amount of time it takes for the next comparable vehicle to come back around.

In real estate investing, the “vehicle” is the deal.

It may take you weeks or months of searching to find a great deal.  And when you do, you need to act quickly to secure it.  Because if you don’t, someone else will.

If you miss that great deal by 10 minutes, it might be MONTHS before you find another one like it.  Now, you’re WAY behind.

No wonder it’s been observed that rich people are decisive.

The same is true for strategic relationships.  If you miss an opportunity to meet or connect with people who can bring your great ideas, opportunities or other strategic relationships, those people you don’t meet can’t help you.

Of course, in addition to learning how to take effective action faster, in order to attract great people into your life, you need to be the BEST possible you.

That’s what this episode is all about.  So we hope you’ll decide to listen in as chat with our good friend Kyle Wilson about what he’s learned as a high achiever who hangs out with high achievers.

Then make plans to attend a LIVE event…where you can soak in some great ideas and meet up and coming superstars!

More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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

Networking Tips for Real Estate Investors

networking tips for real estate investors


It’s been said your net worth is based on the size of your network. In any business, and certainly including real estate investing, a big network of the right people is arguably your MOST valuable asset.

Standing on the threshold of a New Year is an ideal time to reflect on the lessons of last year, envision the possibilities for the future, and decide what to focus on over the next 12 months.

In this episode, we discuss networking tips – the what, why and how of building your network and interview a special guest who’s part of one of the largest real estate investor networks in the country.

Listen in and discover how you can accelerate your success in the New Year and beyond…by building a bigger and better network.

Discussing networking tips for real estate investors:

  • Your you’d never know he was an introvert host, Robert Helms
  • His I’m going to crush this conference floor like I crush oil and vinegar salads co-host, Russell Gray
  • President of National REA and Founder of REIFA, Scott Whaley




Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

real estate podcast on itunesSubscribe on Androidyoutube_subscribe_button__2014__by_just_browsiing-d7qkda4




Like the show? Help us reach new listeners by leaving us a quick review on iTunes. It takes just a minute of your time, and it would really help us out. Thank you so much!! (Don’t know how? Follow these instructions.)


Robert Helms: Welcome to The Real Estate Guys Radio Program. I guess that means we’re now on our 20th year of broadcasting. I’m your host, Robert Helms. Let’s say happy new year to our co-host, financial strategist Russell Gray.

Russell Gray: Happy new year, Robert.

Robert Helms: Can you believe it’s been this many years?

Russell Gray: It’s crazy.

Robert Helms: It’s crazy. I don’t feel any older.

Russell Gray: I don’t feel older, and then somebody sends me a picture of myself. We finally updated the picture on the website, and it was like, “Wow.”

Robert Helms: You know, I liked having our younger brothers on the website.

Russell Gray: It was great, yeah.

Robert Helms: That was nice. Time marches on, but you know what? This is the greatest time of year, just coming through the holidays, which is always wonderful. Now a brand new blank slate, a clean canvas, a new year is here.

Russell Gray: Yeah. It’s like football. It’s a new season. It’s an opportunity to set lofty goals. It’s an opportunity to get all the lessons from last season and figure out what you want to change and what you want to do well and recommit yourself and reinvigorate yourself. It’s a lot of fun. It is definitely my favorite time of year.


You Are A Product Of The Culture Around You

Robert Helms: What is it that makes a particular person, a particular business owner, a particular real estate investor more successful than another? One of the distinctions is the people they hang out with, the crowd that you associate yourself with. The environment and association has so much impact on who you are and how successful you become in any business, in any sports, in any peer group.

jim rohn 5 people

Russell Gray: Well, think about it. Just imagine if you showed up in this earth and they locked you in a closet and you never interacted with anybody. How quickly would you pick up the language? How quickly would you pick up the social mores? How quickly would you learn how to do basic functions of survival? You wouldn’t learn anything. Why should it be any different when someone decides, “Hey, I want to change my life. I want to go from being a working class drone sitting in a cubical somewhere doing something I hate, living for Fridays and retirement, to I want to become the master of my own destiny. I want to go out and build a portfolio. I want to have streams of passive income coming in that are going to allow me to live how I want to live and do what I want to do with my time”?

If you decide you want to go down that path, there are people who’ve done it, who are doing it, that are accessing resources and thought patterns and habits and attitudes, all of which you need to begin to pick up. It’s part of a culture, just like you learn a culture when you’re in any type of society. Without that cultural interaction, without that involvement with the right people, you’re not going to pick it up. If I wanted to learn how to speak Spanish and then I got stuck living in Taiwan somewhere and I’m hanging out with a bunch of Chinese people, how well am I going to learn to speak Spanish?

Robert Helms: Not too well.

Russell Gray: I’m going to learn to speak Taiwanese.

Robert Helms: Poquito solamente.

Russell Gray: Right? I’m going to learn how to use chopsticks. I’m going to learn to think about all kinds of things a certain way that is in that culture. If I want to be a real estate investor, if I want to be the kind of guy or gal who knows how to create streams of passive income through the vehicle of real estate, there are attitudes, habits, beliefs, knowledge, and professional people that I need to understand, be connected with, that have to become part of who I am. The only way that’s going to happen is if I immerse myself in that culture, and the quicker you do it and the more of it you do, the faster you’re going to get there.


Networking Tips To Build Your Real Estate Network

Robert Helms: That’s what we’re going to talk about today. How do you build your real estate network? How do you go from wherever you are right now in your real estate portfolio building and expand that? Could you 2x in 2016? Could you 10x? Is this a year for expansion for you?

It starts with expanding your mind, getting more information, but it can’t just be information. Information stuck in your brain doesn’t do any good. For all these years, our motto has been education for effective action. You get educated so you can take action. A great way to get educated is to do so being around people that are doing the thing, getting it done.

We had a great show last week with a lot of folks that are out there doing it. We’ve got another great year of wonderful guests, people who are going to share their best ideas, best practices with you.

We’re going to talk today on the show about what are some of the ways, some of the practical ways that you can get around the right folks that can help you get to that next level in your real estate investing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never invested before.

We get a lot of people that listen to our show who are dreaming of being real estate investors. That … you know what? … is awesome. It starts with a dream, with this idea that I can have more, like you were talking about, Russ.

What can I do with my life? As far as I can tell, this is a one shot deal. You have all your beliefs about what happens when you’re gone, but this time around, here we are. We’ve got this amazing opportunity. You’re not getting any younger, and yet you have this brand new wonderful year to work with, so there’s a lot you can do. The great news is we’re going to share a ton of ideas with you today that you can put into action.

Russell Gray: Why were you pointing at me when you were saying that you’re not getting any younger? What are you saying?

Robert Helms: I don’t know. Well, three fingers were pointing back at me, so I guess it’s all the same. Here’s what’s great. Time is not necessarily a zero-sum game, because you can collapse time frames.

One of our favorite things to do as The Real Estate Guys is to be able to shave time off of whatever it takes to get something done. In our Syndication Mentoring Club, we’ve got a group of dedicated folks who are taking what took us 10 or 12 or 15 years to do and doing it in a couple years.

Russell Gray: Stick with me on this, because the vast majority of people listening to this are information junkies. I know I was an information junkie, and in many ways I still am an information junkie.

Robert Helms: Yes.

Russell Gray: You said something at the top that I want to make sure that we cover. Get ready, we’re about to hit you over the head with a sledgehammer, you information junkies out there, because you think it’s about the information, and it isn’t. It isn’t about the information.

You need to have information, so don’t get me wrong, but, see, the vast majority of people who read books never meet the author. The vast majority of people who listen to the podcast never come and meet the host or never come to a live event. There are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people that listen to this podcast, and only a few hundred that actually ever come out to a live event.

People say, “Well, gosh, why don’t you guys have more webinars and why don’t you have more books?” Even the one book we wrote is kind of out of print. It’s on our to-do list. It’s because it’s not about that.

Robert Helms: Right.

Russell Gray: It really isn’t about that. If you were to come over and look at my bookshelf in my library, I have a whole shelf dedicated to books that are signed by the authors. We go out of our way traveling all over the place to meet people, because it isn’t the ideas alone. That’s the starting point.

I read somebody’s book so that when I meet them, not if, when I meet them, we can have a conversation about what they wrote about.

Robert Helms: I watch you do this and I’ve done the same thing. It’s such a great advantage when you can talk intelligently with an author about something they wrote. More often than not, they are humbled. Like, “Gosh, you actually read my book.”

Russell Gray: Again, the purpose of this interaction is to connect. When you know something about the person, when you have done your homework …

When I used to sell corporate sales, I’d go business to business. I would spend a lot of time studying the company. I would read their annual report if they were public. When we finally got websites back in the day, that was kind of new by the time I was leaving that, but anything I could get my hands on that told me … I would read the local business journal and I would look and see when their CEO had been quoted. I would look for their press releases. I would do anything I could to learn something about them so when I spoke to them I was able to connect. It was about building a relationship.

So many people think it’s about the information, and it isn’t. You use the information so that you have things to talk about with other people.

Robert Helms: Such a good point. People often ask us, how is it that we’re as connected as we are with so many amazing people? Well, you just gave one of our secrets away. That’s exactly what we do. We are interested in them.

When you become interested in somebody, then generally you’re now interesting to them. That’s the way it works. How do you foster a relationship? It’s got to be based on something. Not just the weather. Not just we happen to be in the same place at the same time. Not just, “Oh, you’re hot-looking.” There has to be something there. When you read an author’s work and it speaks to you … Like take the example of how many people do we meet who say that Rich Dad Poor Dad changed their life? Tons of people. Tons.

Russell Gray: Right. Tons of people.

Robert Helms: Hundreds, thousands of people have told us that, even though we didn’t write that book. We didn’t even read it when it first came out. We didn’t read it for a few years after that. Our good friend … not always our friend, once our acquaintance, now our good friend … wrote that book and it had an incredible impact.

When someone’s life has been impacted by your words, that has meaning. When you have your favorite band, your favorite lecturer, your favorite author, and you have a chance to actually sit down with that person, they want to have that conversation more times than they don’t.


Networking Tips – Leverage Events to Meet People and Build Relationships

Russell Gray: Yeah. What we’re doing here, like resolution number one for this new year, 2016, instead of going out and buying 20 books at $10 each, or 30 books at $15 or $20 each, or whatever, go to one seminar for $150 or $200 or $1,000. People say, “Oh, you guys are always doing events.” Yes, exactly.

Robert Helms: Exactly.

Russell Gray: We’re always doing events, and we’re always promoting other people’s events.

Robert Helms: Yeah, not just our events.

Russell Gray: Because it isn’t about us making money. We charge what we have to charge to put on the event, and we’re business people so we need to make money, but we promote a lot of other events that we don’t get paid for. We go to them and we get a chance to interact with people, because we’re there building relationships, too.

Any opportunity we have to get together with our listeners and find out what you guys are going through, what you’re thinking, how you’re responding to the things we’re saying, what’s working, where you’re confused, that helps us.

When we do the Ask The Guys Show and people send us their questions, we love that. We can’t answer every question, but we love getting the questions. It helps us figure out where you’re at.

When you go to an event, when you get a chance to connect with people, it isn’t just the people in the front of the room. When you go to an exhibit hall and there’s a lot of people … Man, you know me, Robert. I start on the left side, I work my way all through methodically, one booth at a time, until I’ve talked to every single exhibitor at a show. The bigger the show, the more days I have to stay. I get up early, I stay late.

I’m in there constantly, because it’s such a target-rich environment, it’s such a great place to find all the people who are all there. Normally these people are super busy, couldn’t give you the time of day if you tried to stop them on the street, but now the only reason they’re there is to talk with people. The irony is so many people choose not to engage. Actually, you can get involved in a lot of really good quality conversations. It’s like speed dating. It’s so efficient.

networking tips - meet people at trade shows

Robert Helms: Think about it. These are companies that generally pay thousands of dollars to have the right to occupy that hundred square feet for that two- or three- or four-day event, so they’re very, very interested in promoting what they do. If you’re a potential user of those services, rather than bristle against that and go, “Oh, I don’t want to be sold anything,” you go to these events and you can learn a ton in a short period of time. You know all that capital for those books? Borrow the books from somebody or go to the library or go online, and then go to an event where you can meet somebody.

Maybe you have a favorite author. If that author’s appearing somewhere, go to book signings. Book signings are great. You get a chance to shake hands, to get your book signed, personalized, sometimes even a picture. Now, you don’t always get half an hour to sit there with the author, but at least you make a connection, and you can leverage that. Maybe that’ll be under a “building your brand” show, but today we’re talking about building your network.

See, here’s the deal. The more people that know you, like you, trust you, and know what you do, the better and more successful your business will be, no matter what it is.

If you’re a real estate investor, you want to develop a reputation, a brand, and you need to get people who are on board with that. You need to build a network of folks who know you.

Russell Gray: When you’re faced with a problem or a challenge or an opportunity, the more people that you can call that you have a relationship with that like you, to your point, Robert, that respect you, that want to help you …

Robert Helms: That will take your call.

Russell Gray: … especially if you’ve helped them, the faster … you talked earlier about compressing time frames … the faster you’re going to be able to get to the answer or find the resource. A lot of times, and this is the challenge, Kiyosaki writes about this all the time, is understanding that A-student mentality. It’s great to be smart. It is great to know things. It is great. The problem is you get trained in a system that says you always have to have the answer, you have to figure it out by yourself, and if you ask for help that’s cheating.

That is the exact opposite of what really works in the real world. What you want to do is you want to build relationships and continually expand that network and learn something about everybody and learn something about everything you can so you always have a way to bridge into a conversation, to make a good impression, to share something of value, and then to connect people.

We spend so much of our time doing this, and I’ve got to tell you, the goodwill that you build doing that will open up the doors to so many resources that you need. It makes the ability to get from point A to point B so much faster. The path is so much shorter, and you make less mistakes.

You Are Who You Surround Yourself With

Robert Helms: We’re super excited about a new year, and obviously you can probably tell in our energy that we’re excited about this topic, and that is: the people you hang out with make up your future.

Charlie Tremendous Jones said that you’ll be the same person in five years as you are today, except for two things: the books you read, and the people you meet. We’re going to talk today about how you can get around some of the right people.

Russell Gray: Yeah. I just go back to this notion that you have to understand really what you’re in the business of building, and it isn’t just a collection of books or a brain full of knowledge, but it’s really a directory, a database full of people that you have built goodwill with.

Once you have that, then it becomes kind of easy. Then, how do you stay in these relationships? How do you cultivate the relationships? That is, you’re always looking to add value. You don’t do this to get what you can get, you do it for what you can give.

Think about being a farmer. Think about being a person who is creating a field, if you will, and you want it to produce a lot of produce. You want it to be fruitful, and so you begin to go in and you begin to work it. Now, there’s going to be people that you don’t want in your network. They reflect badly on you.

Robert Helms: We call them weeds.

Russell Gray: They put bad ideas in your head. You’re going to have paradigms, some of which we tried to break at the top of the show pretty hard, that are rocks, that prevent the roots from growing, that prevent you from really getting anchored in your new area. You’re going to want to remove those.

You’re going to have baggage, you’re going to have stuff. You’re going to have to deal with all of that, but if you continually work it, the idea is that you want to nurture every single relationship that you’ve planted in this garden that you decided you want to keep, and you do that by adding value, not asking for favors but doing favors, trying to find what other people are looking for and bring that to them. It seems like such a subtle thing.

Here’s the other paradigm. We are so used to going through a scripted program. We get told from the time we’re in kindergarten, “This is what time you report, this is what time you take a break, this is what time you take a nap, this is what you’re homework assignment is, this is exactly the way you make the letter A, this is exactly what everything is.” That’s what we’re taught from kindergarten all the way through, most of us, working in a corporate machine somewhere. We are just scripted.

We go to college and we’re said, “Okay, you take this class, then you take that class, and you end up at the end with a degree.” It’s a very clear path.

The real world is a lot squishier than that. It is a lot more nebulous. It’s a lot more feeling your way. That’s why if you can tether yourself to somebody who has a little bit more visibility … Just imagine yourself. You walk into a room and you’re in a fog. It’s a complete fog, and you can’t see two feet in front of you, but you know there’s gold in this room, so what you do is you find somebody in the room who can see a little bit further than you. You put your hand on their hip and you move along with them, and then they connect to somebody else, and somebody else. Somebody in that room knows where that pot of gold is, and if you get the right connections, you’re going to end up at the pot of gold too.

That’s the way it’s at. Because of that, our scarcity mentality, our fear … The guy that goes into a seminar or goes into an exhibit hall and goes, “Well, I’m not going to talk to that person, I’m afraid of being sold.” What, is the guy going to lock you up?

Robert Helms: Right.

Russell Gray: What is the guy going to do?

Robert Helms: Pin you down and grab your wallet?

Russell Gray: Have a degree of understanding. Nobody’s going to make me do anything I don’t want to do. I’m open-minded. I’m here to explore. I’m not afraid of saying no. I’m not afraid of saying yes. I want to get to the right answer.

If you’re leading me to the pot of gold, I’m on board, and if I find out you’re not, then I can disconnect and look for somebody else who is.

It is not a firm process. You have to trust the process. You have to trust that if I will go out and I will begin to make these connections and I will begin to add value, I don’t exactly know how I’m going to get a return on my time, I don’t exactly know how I’m going to get a return on my investment, not everything I do will pay off or pay off right away, but if I do enough, sooner or later good things are going to start to happen.

I can tell you, if you’re on the outside looking in right now, and I’ve gone through this personally because I was kind of a homebody. I was kind of an information junkie. I was a study everything and analyze everything but not get out there and do stuff kind of guy, and I learned pretty soon that once I started getting out there, now I have absolute faith.

When I go out, I know something good is going to happen. I don’t know who, I don’t know where, I don’t know when. I just know if I’m out, I’m going to meet somebody and something good is going to happen. Guess what? Almost every single time, it does.


Practical Steps, Networking Tips & Preparing Yourself  to Network

Robert Helms: That is how you take the nebulous and make it the rock solid, is you go out and do it. There are some things you can do. It’s not all vague. Let’s talk about what football teams do.

Here we are right in the playoff season, and I know you love football. The team doesn’t just go out there and say, “Oh, let’s wing it. Let’s give it a try.” They prepare. They have plans. They have ideas.

Now, does it always go to plan? Of course not. The vague, nebulous part is they don’t know what the other team’s going to do. They don’t know which way the wind’s blowing. They don’t know what’s going to happen. They know that they’re prepared for lots of different eventualities.

How can you be prepared to go out and network? The first thing is, how do you show up? How do you show up when you walk into the room? Do you look successful? People say, “Well, you shouldn’t judge people by the way they look.” Yeah, well here’s a clue. People do. That’s the thing.

We talk about the 4-4-4 Rule, which is a wonderful thing I learned from a guy named Joel Bauer. He said, “Here’s the deal. When you dress nicer than everybody else, it takes you 4 minutes longer to get dressed in the morning, you are 4 degrees hotter all day because of what you’re wearing, and you get 4 times the respect.”

Whether or not you’re a person who dresses up, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie or a dress. You have to look good for the crowd. A lot of people go to these real estate seminars like in dirty T-shirts and they didn’t even brush their hair. They’re like, “I’m just sitting here to get the information.” No, you’re not. You’re there to meet people that can influence your very future.

Russell Gray: You’re there to make an impression.

Robert Helms: Yeah.

Russell Gray: You’re going to make one.

Robert Helms: You’re going to make one.

Russell Gray: You just need to decide which one. You need to be strategic about the kind of impression you want to make.

networking tips - first impressions matter

Robert Helms: When we first met, you had a successful business in another industry, and yet you were looking to get into the real estate and the mortgage industry, so you didn’t show up as an office products guy. That’s not how you showed up.

You would’ve been very effective as an office product guy. You could play that role, but that wasn’t going to get my attention as a successful real estate guy. You came in with a completely different attitude, a makeup. It wasn’t that you lied. It wasn’t that you said you were something that you weren’t. It was all the way you position. You looked professional, you knew the language, you asked great questions. You don’t have to know everything, you just have to know who you’re trying to be.

Russell Gray: Well, I’d been studying. It goes back to that. When you and I get ready to go to a trade show, we go through the whole website. We look at every speaker. We Google every speaker. We think about which ones, if we only could meet the top five, who they would be. We come up with a plan to try to do that.

It might be a pre-approach. It might be when we get there we figure out where they’re at and when they’re speaking. We will make sure we sit someplace where we can have our face seen. We make eye contact. We’re actively listening. We’re always suited up, because that’s kind of our shtick. It’s very strategic and very intentional about what we do.

If we can learn something a little bit about what they want or need, sometimes you don’t know that. Sometimes it’ll be somewhere and something you may read on a website or something. Sometimes it may be if I hear them on another interview or a podcast and I can hear something they’ve said.

Sometimes it’ll be something they say during their talk in the front of the room. Sometimes I can go to their booth if they have their team there and I can find out a little bit. “So, tell me about your business. What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing? What’s the biggest opportunity? What has you most excited?” Very broad questions. Then people will talk, and then you learn.

Now when you engage with the main person, you’re like, “Hey, I’ve been following your company.” True? Yeah. It’s only been 10 minutes, but, “I’ve been following your company,” or, “I’ve been following your career and I like what you had to say today, and I’m just curious what you think about this or think about that.”

Again, you don’t have to be brilliant, because you don’t have to talk that much. What you have to do is just ask a few strategic questions and get the other person talking. You do have to have a level of confidence to be able to engage at that level.

Robert Helms: That’s back to the “be prepared”. You absolutely do. If it’s a conference about a particular niche, a particular demographic, you want to have a cursory knowledge of that so you can definitely get in the right conversations.

Russell Gray: For example, we were on a call the other night with one of our syndication students and we were talking to him a little bit. He was thinking about an industrial play in a particular industry, and he had some ideas about what he thought that the industry would want or need, and I said, “Well, you know what I would do is go try to figure out where the facilities people in that industry congregate, what they’re reading, and get on the mailing list. Start reading the newsletters, frequenting the websites. If you can attend a seminar where the thought leaders of the industry are sharing what the trends are and where the potholes are, then you’re going to quickly begin to understand if your thesis, being an outsider, is really plausible or not.

“It might make perfect sense to you in the incestuousness of your own mind, but if you don’t go out and rub your brain against other brains, especially people that are qualified to have opinions, then you’re not really going to know, and I would not put a bunch of real money on the line just betting that I’ve figured out what the industry’s problem is as an outsider looking in.” I want to go talk to the real people. I always say, if you want to build a better mousetrap, interview some mice.

Robert Helms: Right, absolutely.

Russell Gray: It’s about asking questions.


Networking Tips – Show Up Prepared

Robert Helms: This idea of how you show up is not only physically how you show up but also, are you prepared?

If you’re a real estate investor or you just want to be a real estate investor and someone says, “Well, great, let’s stay in contact,” do you have a business card? Do you have a business card that shows who you are, or are you scribbling your work e-mail on the back of somebody else’s business card?

You have a chance to show up however you want to show up. This is the Boy Scout motto: be prepared. When you go to an event, when you go to a local real estate investment club or association, when you go to one of those events, great places to meet people, great places to meet investors, expect something to happen, like you talked about, Russ, and then be prepared. Be prepared to follow up.

A lot of times people run out of business cards. It amazes me. I don’t know how this happens. You know you’re going to an event where you need to have business cards, and somehow you run out? You could print more. You could bring extras. They’re not that expensive. Be prepared.

It’s a really good idea to have your own website that is about your real estate business, even if you’re doing it part-time. When you don’t have a website to send somebody to, when you give them a Yahoo or a Gmail e-mail address, that’s not the same as when it’s [email protected] and it really is your business, even if your business is just getting started. There’s a lot you can do to show up in the right way.

Russell Gray: Yeah. Don’t be the guy that goes out there and does the little color printer tear your own business cards apart and you hand somebody this little flimsy piece of paper.

Robert Helms: With the same cut-and-paste graphics that every other person that does that has.

Russell Gray: Yeah. Have an image, even if it’s just generic. If you can get your own name as a domain and you have a nice looking card that’s just simply your e-mail address and your name and your phone number … If it’s your cell phone, that’s fine. Hopefully you’ve got a professional greeting on it and it’s not some fun thing for your friends and family or whatever. Just make sure you have some of those basic things.


Networking Tips: Be Who You’re Becoming

Then, when you’re out there talking to people, the other thing is think about how you want to be perceived. This is a tough one, but I’m going to say it anyway. I really encourage the younger folks that I mentor to take an acting class. The reason I do that is because if you can think about if you’ve ever seen …

In fact, if you saw the movie Iron Man 3, it was great. Ben Kingsley played this guy who was supposed to be the Mandarin, this evil, super-capable guy. Really what he was was he was just a British actor that was just goofing off, drunk half the time, and then he would pass out, but he could act. He could really play the part.

The contrast showed really what a great actor he was, because you were watching him play two sides of the same personality. Just watching Ben Kingsley act was amazing. The reality is that you can do the same thing. Again, this is where it gets tough, because this is not about faking.

Robert Helms: No. Acting helps you convey emotion correctly. I’ve not done that before, but if you have a hard time communicating, acting classes are a great way for you to be able to communicate.

Russell Gray: You play the role, so you imagine yourself … If you think about it … I’m going to be a real estate investor and you think about the kind of real estate investors … Again, this goes back to being in an environment. You don’t have anything to draw on if you haven’t been around them.

We’ve hung around with Ken McElroy. We’ve hung around with Robert Kiyosaki. We’ve hung around with all kinds of people whose names you may not know, but they’re successful real estate investors. They all have a different style. They dress a certain way, they talk a certain way. They’re all very successful, so it’s not like one way or another is the way.

Robert Helms: No.

Russell Gray: They all have an aura of competence, of a confidence. They have a way they come across, and people take them seriously. You have to look at that. You look around and you draw upon these people that you know and you say, “Okay, well, I think that guy’s style is the style I would like to begin to emulate.”

Think about when you were an insecure teenager or preteen. You’d look around and try to figure out who the cool people were and the way they wore their hair or what kind of clothes they wore, the words and languaging and gestures they used. All of us carry around a little bit of that that are this amalgamation of things we collected along the way.

Growing up in the resource investment community and being into that, fitting into that subculture, is exactly the same. Your ability to set aside whatever paradigm you have of yourself today and become this new person …

One of my favorite quotes, and I hope this is one that I’m famous for someday, is, “Be who you’re becoming.” I was taught early in my sales career to fake it till you make it. I was the youngest person on a corporate sales firm. 22 years old, no college degree, wet behind the ear. I went out into corporate America and Silicon Valley, and I had to sell to corporate business people.

The way I did it was I had spent some time with a guy 12 years older than me and his partner who was 14 years older than me, and they used to take me out. I learned how to dress, I learned how to talk. When I went out, I wasn’t me, I was them. I just pretended I was them. I acted like I was them.

When they said, “Fake it till you make it,” I felt phony, and phoniness brings about an insecurity that comes out that people can smell. If you really study acting, like method acting, you become that character. In fact, you can look at these characters like Heath Ledger or Bela Lugosi that are so good they get lost in the character and they forget who they really are. Maybe it’s okay in this case to get that good.

networking tips - be who you are becoming

Again, this isn’t about trying to fake people out. This is about trying to effect change in your life, where maybe you’re 25, 30, 40 years old even, or maybe even older than that, and you’ve been a way, you’ve thought of yourself a certain way for a long time, but you’ve just, like, “Hey, it’s the beginning 2016, I’ve had it. I want to change my life. I don’t want to be who I’ve been.

The same level of thinking is going to continually take me to the same level result. I need an extreme makeover. I need a new attitude. I need a new look. I need a new style. I need a new network. I need new friends.” That’s what we’re talking about right here.

Whatever level you’re at, unless you’re at the very, very, very top of the food chain, there’s probably a level up you could go. We’re constantly trying to figure out, how do we get to the next level? How can we get to the next level? How can we find even more brilliant people, more accomplished people that we can hang out with? Then, how do we need to conduct ourselves to fit in that room?

Robert Helms: It’s, instead of “fake it till you make it,” “be who you’re becoming.” That’s not disingenuous, because the other side of the acting part is to really be who you are. Who you are is plenty, it just takes a little refinement and a little communication and a little influence.

You don’t want to change everything about yourself. The great parts of your personality and the wonderful parts of your life that are going to help you in real estate, you want to hang onto that, but we all need to shed some of those habits that aren’t serving us.

Russell Gray: That’s where you put your personal stamp on these things you pick up from other people that you find are effective. Tom Hopkins in his sales training says how he looked at the words that other successful people were using and he created his own words that he was able to use to create those same results. It’s the same thing. That’s really what I’m talking about.


Networking Tips – Build Your Network at a Real Estate Investment Club

Robert Helms: We’re talking today about building your network in the new year. What are things you can do to get around the right people? One of the things we’ve always talked about on this show, and we’ll give you a resource for this before we’re done, is going to a real estate investment club.

All over the world, not just in the US, but all over the world investors get together at meetups, at casual events, sometimes at membership organizations, where they talk real estate.

In fact, we had our own club like that for nearly 10 years where we got real estate investors together on a monthly basis. Sometimes it’s quarterly, sometimes it’s weekly. That’s a great way to get around real estate investors.

Russell Gray: Yeah. It goes back to this idea that you want to compress time frames. You want to learn from other people. You want to learn how to talk. That’s also important.

We talked earlier about how you show up. How you communicate, the words you use, your ability to put together ideas and sentences and phrases. It sounds so simple, but this is learning a whole new language. There’s new techniques and there’s new perspectives, especially when you’re learning a new product type. Y

ou can go to a real estate investment club. Most clubs are going to be about single family or residential investing. Some will get involved in multi-family. If you go to a higher level of multi-family, you’re going to go to other places where more professional, more higher level people are meeting, but it’s a great place to start.

I’d encourage not just going to the clubs that are about real estate investing, but go to things that are peripheral to real estate investing.

When the meltdown happened in 2008, one of the things that we took the opportunity to do, especially as we came off the treadmill of running the real estate investment club, we started traveling around to more investment conferences where people were investing outside of real estate.

They weren’t interested in real estate. They didn’t understand real estate. It helped us broaden our perspectives. A lot of that’s been reflected in the show over the years. Now we’ve obviously gotten back to going to the residential family conferences, and now we’re talking about going to other higher end conferences, trying to understand what’s going on at a bigger level. Part of that is because there’s bigger players right now in the residential space, people who weren’t in the space 5 or 10 years ago.

The idea of when you decide to pick out a group, a club, or wherever, try to pick one that is going to be populated by the kind of people that are involved in the kind of product types that you’re most interested in, or things that are related to or peripheral to that that could be connected.

Robert Helms: You don’t have to make a huge commitment on day one. A lot of times you can go around and visit a lot of different clubs. If you’re in a highly populated area, there might be a dozen different real estate investment clubs. Go to them all. Go and show up and see who’s there and what’s it like and so forth. Some clubs are more about selling you stuff, and some clubs are more about information. Both have a place.


Scott Whaley of National REA

In fact, today we have a very special guest. Scott Whaley is with us. Scott is the leader of the largest real estate investors association in the US, National REA, and the founder of the newly launched Real Estate Investor and Funding Association. He’s got over 15 years experience in real estate and lending, and has developed more than $30 million of real estate. Scott’s been a board member for the National Real Estate Association for more than 8 years. During that time he’s served two terms as vice president, and he’s currently the president of the National REA. Scott Whaley. How are you, Scott?

Scott Whaley: Great, Robert. How about you?

scott whaley national rea

Robert Helms: Very good. Today the world has changed and real estate is still a wonderful investment. It’s easier in a lot of ways to get information, but at the same time it’s harder to get good information. Tell us, if you will, let’s start at the beginning, what’s the role of a REA?

Scott Whaley: You’re definitely going to be different depending upon who you talk to. Some REAs are run for profit. Some are run by a board. Some think that they’re in the education business. Some think they’re in the support networking business. I’m more of the second. I think supporting and networking is a under-appreciated value.

Because the thing is, just as you yourself, I can try to learn and figure out everything on my own, but if I talk to Robert, he can give me the insight of like 30 years. At a REA, if it’s got really a lot of people who are going to give freely and they’re not like keep their hand out and asking for money, that value add makes everything else pale in comparison, because what are you going to value your time at?

They usually reduce it way too much to money, I believe. They don’t value their own time, like the time of going down to the wrong group or a place where people are only trying to get to … Like, “I’ll give you some stuff, but only if I get some stuff.” If they’re always doing that measuring, that’s probably not where you want to go.

Robert Helms: Yeah. That’s part of the mindset of it. We’ve had the chance and the opportunity to speak for a lot of different groups in a lot of different places all over the country and the world, and sometimes it’s a hard-charging investor who leads the group and their whole heart is just to bring everyone along, and other times it’s all about, “How much can we get out of the room tonight in dollars?”

It’s refreshing to see that at this level it’s more about the supporting today. We’ve been talking off mic a little about this, but let’s talk about the changing role. In the hey-day of real estate, before the crash, there was a REA chapter in every zip code, practically. We’ll use that generically.

Scott Whaley: Sure.

Robert Helms: I don’t mean a branded REA chapter, but a bunch of investors would get together and have some outcome. Then, of course, we went through all that turmoil, and we’ve shaken out who the real players are. Today, there’s a great opportunity to get around these other investors, and the model has changed.

Scott Whaley: Absolutely. If you find the people that are actually there and you can talk to other people, and I would suggest don’t talk to the person at the front of the stage as much as you talk to the other people in the crowd. You notice, have they been there for a long time? Do you see people who are successful and can say, “Look, I started with nothing, now I have 5 or I have 10 units,” and then they’re willing to just share what they have?

Robert Helms: Right. If you haven’t been to one of these events, there’s lots of different economic models. Some people charge for admittance at the door. Sometimes it’s a membership that’s a year long. Sometimes they’re free, and then you’re probably going to end up buying something. There’s lots of different models of it.

Before we talk about what you do at the national level, on the chapter basis, how is it that a new investor, someone interested in real estate investing, can get involved with a chapter?

Scott Whaley: Just show up. I would suggest if it resonates with you and you get in and these are people you want to be with, because here is the other piece. If they’re not your friends, if they’re not people you feel comfortable with, I would run, run, run away.

Because if you don’t have a good feeling about them, not that they’re giving you everything, not they’re being Mother Theresa, but this person, A, they know what they’re doing, B, I get the sense that they’re not just a predator and they’re not … Because it’s okay to ask for money, I believe.

Robert Helms: Sure.

Scott Whaley: It’s not a one or other. If you feel good about being around those people, you’re going to come back, and then probably I would trust that feeling. Then you will want to have an association.

Then here’s the secret to all training, I believe. It’s that you’re going to become like the people you like and the people you hang around. That’s nothing new. How long does that go? You hang out with those people … This is the way I got in the business. I got lucky enough to be around people that were phenomenally successful, and somehow I just became more like them without even thinking.

Robert Helms: That’s how it works.

Scott Whaley: Yeah.


How Vendor Roles Vary Between REAs

Robert Helms: It’s a great avenue for you to meet that investor in the chair next to you, say, “Hey, what’s working for you? What are you doing? What kinds of properties,” and so forth, but also it’s a chance to meet vendors. In this business we need people to help us execute our strategy. How does the vendor role vary between different REAs?

Scott Whaley: Some REAs have not thought it through that the vendors are probably their biggest asset, maybe along with some of the really highly experienced investors. A vendor in many cases is an investor.

Robert Helms: Sure.

Scott Whaley: They’ve been in the business a long time. They’ve seen so many deals. They are an asset that can look at your deal. They can say, “You know what? There’s this roofer or a contractor or a title company or an attorney or a lender.” They’re going to look at your deal and they will … “What do you think?” The thing is, if you ask, “What do you think?” … Because they’re seeing deals day in and day out, and they know that market because they live and breathe it.

Robert Helms: They have a different and probably bigger perspective.

Scott Whaley: Absolutely, and they know who’s credible. You ask them, “Well, who would you trust? Who would you go to? Who do you hang out with?” Pretty soon you find out the good characters all hang out with the good characters.


Networking Tips – Give First. Ask Later.

Robert Helms: Let’s take a practical example. At the REA meeting tonight there is a roofer who’s going to talk about the seven things you need to know about inspecting a roof. If he does a good job and he educates you and he gives you some things to think about, then why wouldn’t you say, “Hey, I’m going to get this guy’s card and maybe I’ll do business,” as opposed to the old model, which was, “I’m going to tell you the three of the seven things, but to get the really four good ones you’re going to have to come to my boot camp or pay $9.97 or sign up for my whatever it is.” It’s now the law of attraction. We’re going to attract the people that are helping us grow as real estate investors. Are you seeing that shift?

Scott Whaley: Absolutely, because I think it’s just working better. The other part, we’ve been so conditioned now, I think people see a pitch coming a mile away, like, “Oh, this is a free one.” Because if it’s a free event … Here’s the one thing. I think free is a great thing, but if you go to a meeting that’s always free, you’ve got to ask yourself, they have to be making money some way.

Robert Helms: Right.

Scott Whaley: Now, it may be free and they’re not promising a lot and they don’t deliver a lot, but somewhere somebody has to make money.

The one thing I love about this new social business model is that instead of, like, “Okay, I’ll give you my great information or my great knowledge, but first you give me money,” now it’s just changed. You do it the other way around. They give you great information, great advice, great feedback, knowing that you may not respond in like, but, you know what? They do it with 20 people. Because you may not even stay in the business. You may come by and move out of town.

Robert Helms: Right, but enough people will.

Scott Whaley: Enough people will. It’s just a smart, easier way. I will tell you from people who’ve actually switched to that model, I’ve had them say, “I used to be able to pitch and sell, and I could, that was really good,” they would actually say this, “but I didn’t like it. I was good at it, so I did it.” Now they say they do this new model, and they actually enjoy it. I’ve asked them. They’re going like, “Yeah, I love … This is actually kind of fun.”

National REA

Robert Helms: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s talk about this. There are a variety of groups that meet. Some are around a specific market, some are around a specific product type, some have affiliations. At the national level, talk about how you support groups and really what the national REA is all about.

Scott Whaley: It’s about scalability. I know that sounds kind of technical, but here is the challenge. When you see a small group, a great meetup, but it’s limited in its ability, no matter how great it is. If there’s 10 people there and they meet and they’re wonderful people, but how much can they help you, how much influence from vendors or other attention? Because they can’t deliver a lot.

Robert Helms: Not a lot of leverage.

Scott Whaley: Yeah. That’s the unfortunate thing. That’s a constraint. What national does is by having 100 chapters and about 40,000 investors all around the country, you couldn’t have a Home Depot come and negotiate individually with each chapter. They wouldn’t want to. It just doesn’t work. The numbers don’t work.

It’s just like an Airbnb or Uber. It doesn’t work if it was just one city and that’s all they did. What they do is they negotiate on the behalf of the locals. They also give them a lot of things that are not really tangible. We actually spend a lot of money on legislative, everything from labeling a person as a broker-dealer licensed if you do two owner-occupied sales and you carry the note … You do three of those, you’re a broker-dealer. We’re spending money to fight for that. That’s legislative.

We also negotiate with those people, with the vendors. If it’s a really good vendor and it’s something that would help that local chapter get more members, deliver more value to local people, then we will work with them and negotiate the deal on behalf of everybody in national.

Because at the end of the day we’ve got to deliver those goods, and the only way we’re going to be able to do it, and this is how high the bar has been set I think since 2006, you have to become the trusted authority.

You may not always be and you may have some track record and people may remember you back when whenever, but if you don’t become the trusted authority, then you’re the other. I think the other is a losing proposition long-term. Their day is not over, but people talk, and now people talk really effectively over long distances really fast.

Robert Helms: Yes, they do. You could hide before, and it’s harder to hide today.

Scott Whaley: You can run, but you can’t hide.


REIFA – for Lending

Robert Helms: All right, good stuff. Now, Scott, let’s talk about this new initiative. Let’s talk about REIFA. What is that all about?

Scott Whaley: Its genesis was in 2006, as you’re very aware since you do training in syndications, things like that. Before 2006 there was maybe one private lender in the back, kind of like Vito or Tony. It’s like, “Yo, go in the back … ” Because you didn’t need a private lender really, because they said if you fogged a mirror, you got a loan.

Bruce actually tells a story where the guy got the loan and he was dead. That’s amazing. Our experience was 90% of all investor loans were done by Bank of America, Country-Wide, and if you’re old enough, we are, there was no reason for any private sources of capital.

Then along comes 2006, mortgage meltdown. We all know about that. What happened was very surprising. A, you had Dodd–Frank and a lot of other regulations that made it … Banks are being penalized so heavily and regulated so hard, they don’t want to do investor deals.

They just don’t want to do especially small mom and pop individual investors, because they’ve got a compliance officer for almost every loan officer. It just doesn’t work, so they don’t want to do the business.

They leave, they go out of town. They’re now doing maybe 10% of the market. That 90% has been picked up, whether it’s somebody with a lot of cash or a private lender, a crowd-funder, self-directed IRA, hedge fund, foreign money. All these new pools of capital started out kind of small, and now most of them have trillions of dollars at their fingertips.

Now we’ve got this whole new arena, some people call it alts-fins. Some people call it peer-to-peer lending. Bottom line, it’s alternative financing, but there is no place, there’s no storefront and there’s no one website. When you ask people, “Okay, there’s all this money floating around, I hear about it … “

Robert Helms: Right, “How do I get it?”

Scott Whaley: “How do I get it?” You ask most people. “Well, I bumped into him. Ask Joe. Joe turned me onto him.” I think that’s totally insane. We have a thing called the internet and we have things called computers and smart phones. If they can find you the perfect date, they should be able to find you the perfect funding.

Robert Helms: Right. Here is the concept of the for financing.

Scott Whaley: Absolutely.

Robert Helms: Tell us how that works.

Scott Whaley: It’s just copycat. It’s the idea. I went and saw Airbnb and I tried it. I tried Lyft. I loved it. I love the idea that there was a consequence on either side of the equation if you don’t treat the person well, so it’s in your best interest to make sure the other person does well. I love that model.

In the old model there wasn’t that consequence. In lending, why not do that? In lending, how do we actually structure it where there’s no barrier between the person with the capital and the person with the need, the investor who needs capital to fund my rehab, my wholesale, my whatever, and the person with capital? That could be everything from self-directed IRA owner to a big hedge fund.

I was actually in a conference and it was a person from AssetAvenue. I said, “Do you believe there’s money for any deal?” He says, “Absolutely.” He says, “There is money available for any legitimate, just a legitimate return deal. The money is there.

Well, what’s the problem? The problem is there’s no way for us to connect because nobody’s being paid to connect us. If there’s no loan officer and there’s no storefront, somebody’s got to create that platform. We thought, “Well, how about if that was us?” What if there’s an association where we don’t charge to connect you guys?

I used to be a loan officer. I would get a couple points, point-and-a-half to two points, to connect you to a funding source. Even to this day that’s the way that model works, but that model … I don’t mean any disrespect. I was one. The truth is that model’s based upon two things. One is I can make sure you stay ignorant. You have to remain ignorant.

Robert Helms: I have to be the keeper of where all the great funding is, and you have to rely on me for it.

Scott Whaley: Exactly. I have to keep you ignorant. I can’t educate you, and I can’t tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Because here’s the thing. If I told you, like, “Look, I’ve got 5 guys in my pocket who will pay me a point on the back end,” which is the model. If I said that to you, “but you know what? There’s like 10 other people out there down the street. They’re not going to pay me a point, but they will give you cheaper money faster,” obviously I go out of business. I can’t tell you that.

Happily so, I think that model is leaving, and I think in the new model is where we all get together and we review each other’s performance and we don’t charge for a transaction, just like Airbnb. You may charge a fraction on the processing, but basically you just get matched up, because there’s a lot of other ways to make money. You don’t have to make money on the transaction itself to make money in the business.

That’s our whole idea. It gets back to one of our other conversations, which is scalability. You can’t do it if you try to do this in just a small group. When we get together as a group or as a tribe or as a community, we can provide benefits that are beyond belief to our community. You know, what is the old saying? Either hang together or hang alone.

Scott Whaley: Right, exactly.

Robert Helms: All right. Well, if you’re interested in finding out if there is a local REA in your area …

Scott Whaley: Or REIFA.

Robert Helms: … or REIFA, what’s the best way for them to find that information out?

Scott Whaley:, and just go under the little map there, and, R-E-I-F-, as in Frank, -A, You will be able to find your local chapter on either one. The REIFAs often times are actually an addition to a local REA chapter.

Robert Helms: Right. Good stuff. All right, Scott.

Scott Whaley: Thank you, Robert.

Robert Helms: This has been great. Thanks for all the great information, and keep up the good work.

Scott Whaley: Looking forward to it. Thank you.


Show Recap

Robert Helms: You’re tuned to The Real Estate Guys Radio Program. Happy new year to you. Great to hang out with Scott Whaley.

Russell Gray: Yeah, it is. It’s always interesting, as I’ve been saying, when you get a chance to get around people that have a broader perspective, that have a lot of connections. You meet one guy like that, and just imagine how many doors potentially open up.

As I’m reflecting on that, I’m just encouraging everybody who’s out there listening who maybe is a small fry just out there just getting started, and you think about, “What can I do to really expand my influence?” and that is you begin to build your own little herd. Maybe start your own club. Become the leader of the club. Who knows how big it could get?

Robert Helms: Even before you go there, before you go start a club, because I know your mind is like that, but most people listening are probably not of the mind. It’s a heavy lift to start a club. There’s a way you can be a support mechanism in an existing club.

Russell Gray: Good point.

Robert Helms: You go and you show up and you help and you offer to do a class and you lead a little round table discussion, and before long you may be in a position to start a club. I wouldn’t discourage you. In fact, before we’re done we’ve got a great report that talks about exactly what to do if you’re thinking about starting your own club.

Sometimes it’s by necessity. You might be in an area where there is no club. “I’m going to start one.” We have a listener who is in an area like that who came to us a couple years ago and says, “Well, I can’t find a club, I think I’m going to start one,” and today he has a thriving little club where people get together and talk real estate. That’s a possibility.

The big point is don’t just show up, sit in the back, take notes, and leave. You might as well have not been there at all. You’re going to get some information, but, again, as we’ve talked about, it’s not about that. Start to form relationships.

As Scott talked about, different clubs have different personalities. Are these people you can hang out with and be friends with? That’s a big part of relationship building. Last week we did the show from the single family conference. We met a lot of great people at that event. What was great for us was it wasn’t the same old crowd we’ve been hanging around with necessarily.

We certainly saw some friends, some fellow podcasters, some listeners, some co-investors, but we were in Phoenix, so what do we do? Called up Kenny McElroy, and you and I and Ken hang out for several hours. To me, that was a great, great part of that trip. All the stuff we learned was great, all the new people we met, all the networking, but hanging out just you, me, and Kenny for three hours, that was pretty powerful too.

Russell Gray: Yeah, and it was great because he came to us and he’s got something he’s working on and he had a question. He had a problem, and we brainstormed on it. I don’t know that we came up with an answer, but at least we were trying, and now that we’re aware of that, in our travels we have the opportunity to potentially bring him an answer.

It goes back to the thing we’re saying. The idea is he knows that we have a pretty big network, we’re pretty well connected. He comes out and spends time with us, and not just because he likes us and not just because we can have some beers together and stuff. We’re all social and we have a good time and we’ve become friends, but he also knows that we’re connected and we’re going to ask him, “Hey, what are you working on and where are you stuck and what can we do to help?”

Robert Helms: He does the same thing with us.

Russell Gray: He does the same thing with us.

Robert Helms: This is the whole idea of networking. It isn’t, “How can I get something from that person?” It’s starting with adding value. “What can I do to help that person?” If you do that enough, if you just connect to people, great things are going to happen. You just have to have faith in the system.

Russell Gray: We talked at the top of the show about compressing time frames. First of all, you have to break paradigms that are in your own mind that prevent you. “Oh, I’m shy,” or, “Oh, I’m this,” or, “Oh, I’m that.” That’s why we talked about be who you’re becoming.

We also talked about getting out there. It’s not about the information, it’s about getting connected to people. You lead with value, Robert, as you were just mentioning. Where do you do that? You study, you listen, you learn, and you use that knowledge not to go build something in your portfolio as much as you use it to build a portfolio of people that you become connected with, and then you look for ways to add value.

The other part of that is to be intentional. There’s going to be people that you meet that have small networks, and you’re going to meet people that have no networks, and you’re going to meet people that have pretty big networks.

You’re going to quickly find out that the most competitive people in terms of getting into a relationship are the people that have the biggest networks. Everybody is trying to get with them. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. Most of the time the people who are trying to do that are leading with their need. They’re leading with what they want. They’re coming to get.

If you will enter into that relationship and not take that approach. If you will enter into that high-level strategic relationship with somebody that has a big network, a big connection of people that you would like to meet, then lead with how you can help.

You talked about on the club thing, which I think was a great point, kick in and volunteer. You may say, “Well, gee, I’m kind of shy. I don’t know how to walk into a room full of strangers and just start walking around introducing myself.” You know what? If you handled event registration and you signed everybody in, you’re going to meet every single person and you don’t have to initiate a single conversation. They’re all going to come to you.

Robert Helms: Most of these clubs, they need that help.

Russell Gray: That’s right. Be strategic about how you can have maximum exposure that fits into whatever level of personality you have at this particular point in time.

Robert Helms: We’ve had people approach us with that. We’ve had people in our listening audience that have said, “Hey, I’d love to come this event. I really can’t afford to right now, I’m a student, but I’d be happy to volunteer,” and we’ve struck deals with people that have come. Some have gone on to become big parts of our network, and some came for an event and that was it.

Figure out how you can add value. Is there something there for you? Because there will be if you’ll invest the time. To Scott’s point, make sure you start to find where your crowd is. Where is your group? To Russ’s point, if your group isn’t around, figure it out. You could start a club.


Free Special Report

In fact, we’ve got a great report that will do exactly that for you. It’s called 12 Questions to Ask When Starting Your Own Real Estate Investment Club.

Russell Gray: Yup. It’s designed really with what we learned in 10 years of running clubs and meeting people who ran clubs. If we had to start all over again, what are the things we wished we would’ve known or wish we could’ve thought about? That’s available.

If you just send an e-mail to [email protected], that’s [email protected], you can get that free report.

Here’s the thing. We’re at the time of year where we’re looking forward, we’re making our big plans. This is a time to be strategic. There’s only so many hours in a day, so many days in a week, so many weeks in a month or a year, and you’ve got to get a decent yield out of your time. It’s the one non-renewable resource.

This year is going to come or go no matter how much value you do or don’t put into it.

To be strategic and to really think about, “How can I compress time frames and get from here to there faster?”. The theme of this show is have a plan, and that plan should include connecting with the right people. Have a plan for making those connections by adding value, and then a followup plan to make sure you nurture those relationships.

If you go in with the attitude that, “I’m here to add value and good things are going to happen,” I’m here to tell you good things are going to happen. You’re going to end up being amazed at how quickly you can grow your network and your connections and have opportunities and deals and resources coming your way and how big your friends will get.

Then, once you do, if you decide to actually start a club or put yourself in a position where you’re influential within an existing club or program or network, you’re going to find that more and more people come to you. It really starts to build on its own momentum, and pretty soon you’ve got all kinds of people bringing you opportunities. That’s when it really starts to get fun.

Robert Helms: Absolutely. Before you know it, you’ll be a recognized expert in your space and you’ll gain a lot of friends and a lot of knowledge and hopefully a lot of property along the way.

Hey, big thanks to Scott for sharing his time today. Super excited about this year. We’ve got a lot of great guests and a lot of great shows coming up for you. Until next week, go out and make some equity happen.

Listen on YouTube

Want More?

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

Lessons Learned In The Real Estate Relationship Business

Want Long Term Success? Realize it is a Relationship Business

Real estate investing is very much a relationship business.  And yet because it attracts loners and mavericks, many real estate investors don’t always play their relationships cards well.

In our careers, we’ve seen a lot of people do this relationship business right…and quite a few get it REALLY wrong.

In both cases, there are great lessons which is the topic of discussion for this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show.

We say it’s easier to make friends than money and it’s easier to make money with friends.

But for some reason, when it comes to making big money in real estate investing, some people are willing to toss friendships in the trash can.

Too bad.  Because we think the BEST real estate riches are those made with friends.

In the studio for a friendly discussion about real estate, riches and the role of relationships:

  • Your rich and friendly host, Robert Helms
  • His best temporary co-host, Russell Gray




Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

real estate podcast on itunesSubscribe on Androidyoutube_subscribe_button__2014__by_just_browsiing-d7qkda4




Like the show? Help us reach new listeners by leaving us a quick review on iTunes. It takes just a minute of your time, and it would really help us out. Thank you so much!! (Don’t know how? Follow these instructions.)

The Role of Relationships in Real Estate Investing

Our good friend, mentor, Summit at Sea faculty member and master sales trainer, Tom Hopkins says EVERYONE is in the people business.

tom hopkins relationship business

So it’s important to be as expert in people as you are in your product or service.

And when it comes to real estate investing, it’s even MORE important.

Obviously, buying and selling includes a certain amount of negotiation.  So good people skills help you make better deals.

But because the BEST real estate opportunities aren’t typically available on universally accessible exchanges the way most other investments are, your RELATIONSHIPS play an important role in bringing deals and funding your way.

So just like you manage your credit score, be attentive to your reputation, network and managing your relationship business.

Getting into Good Relationships

Wow.  This could be a book.  Or a hundred books.

But for purposes of real estate investing, we’ve found some key characteristics to look for…and too look out for!

Scarcity vs Abundance Mentality

If there’s a litmus test, this one is probably it.  At least for us.

So if you haven’t read Stephen Covey’s classic Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you should text Santa a message right now.  It’s a helpful read not just in developing yourself, but it learning to recognize good people to build relationships with.

relationship business - scarcity vs abundance

In brief, someone with abundance mentality sees plenty of (good things) in the world.  So it’s easier for them to share, to negotiate fairly (win-win), to appreciate others, etc.

All good things.

On the other hand, people with scarcity mentality tend to be takers because they don’t see enough for everyone and they want to get theirs while they can.

Scarcity thinkers believe for them to win, you need to lose.  They’re quick to criticize and slow to share.

We find them very hard to negotiate with  because they struggle to be happy with what they get out of the deal if they see you getting anything.  And at the extreme, they’ll lie, cheat and steal.

No fun.

We typically don’t get into…or we’ll get out of…a relationship when we see manifestations of scarcity mentality.

What You See is What You Get

Surprises can be fun at Christmas.  But less so in business.

Trust is about knowing what to expect and then having it happen.

When you’re in the marketplace of this relationship business, you’re painting a picture of who you are.  And along with that comes a set of expectations.

When you behave in a way that’s consistent with your image, people begin to feel comfortable around you…even if they don’t necessarily agree with you.  In other words, it’s the congruity which is even more more important than the image itself.

On the other hand, if people see you one way and then discover you to be completely incongruent, it makes them nervous.

It’s Okay to Judge

We were in a deal with a guy who held himself out of be a family man.  Married, kids, family values, etc.

Then, one day we find out he’s got a mistress.  We see him with her.  Hmmm….

But we were in a BIG real estate deal with him…MILLIONS of dollars involved.

We decide his personal life is his own business.  Let’s just get through the deal and we can be done with him.

Well, we never got through the deal because…shocker…he cheated us.

Of course he did.  He was a cheater.  And we knew it and decided not to “judge”.


Sadly, we have more than a few similar situations.  But after this one, we learned to get out when we could see someone was a cheater. Treat this relationship business like a business.

Pressure Reveals Character

The 2008 financial crisis was one of the best things that ever happened to us.

It sucked at the time and we’re still recovering financially.

But we learned a LOT about each other, our families, friends and associates.

We lost a lot of relationships during that time.  But the ones that survived became much stronger.

We also gained a lot of great relationships through that time.  We could see who held up well under pressure…and who became BETTER because of it.

So given the opportunity, we’d ALWAYS like to see someone under pressure before we get too deep into a relationship.

Success Reveals Character

Success creates a different kind of pressure.  But you’ve probably heard it said, “Money changes people.”

We’re not so sure it changes them, as much as it reveals them.

We’ve seen people start out with noble motives and ambitions, and then they get some money in their hands and suddenly they’re different.  And sometimes the money isn’t even theirs!

But for some reason, when they have access to it, they think it makes them somehow smarter, more capable or otherwise invincible.

Fame can do the same thing.

So watch CAREFULLY for how people respond to a little success or notoriety.

Trust in Two Areas

This is one of the BIGGEST MISTAKES we see investors make.  They trust in only of two areas.  But trust MUST be on BOTH areas.

First is ETHICS.

Warren Buffet says you can’t do a good deal with a bad person. He’s right.

But… you CAN do a bad deal with a good person.

That is, just because you trust someone’s ethics doesn’t mean you should trust them in the other critical area…


A good person can be professionally incompetent.  You probably trust your mother.  Would you have her do your brain surgery?

So an ethical, but incompetent person, will feel really badly when they cost your a lot of money.

But a highly competent person with no ethics will surgically remove your money from you.

In either case, it’s a BAD deal.

So you MUST trust someone in BOTH their ETHICS and their COMPETENCY.

Don’t forget it.

Getting Out of Bad Relationships

To quite Nike… JUST DO IT.

We’re not saying cut and run every time bad stuff happens in a relationship.  We’re both pretty loyal guys.

But when someone has demonstrated the are greedy or can’t be trusted, you probably do NOT want to be in a business deal with them.  Or to have your name or brand associated with them.

Over the years, we’ve been in some bad relationships.  We might even be right now.  But as soon as we know, we do our best to get out fast.

It doesn’t mean we don’t like the people (although if they have bad ethics, we usually don’t…just sayin’…), but we realize it’s not a match for business.

The GOOD News…

There are lots of really good, capable people out there for you to do business with.

So every minute you waste with someone less than that is a missed opportunity to find the right people and do good business.

Your mission is to become the most ethical and competent person YOU can be.  

When you do, you’ll find yourself attracting better people into your life and into your relationship business.  They will bring their resources and networks into the relationship….and if you both have abundance mentality, you’ll share and grow bigger and faster together….whether it’s just for a deal or for a lifetime.

Listen on YouTube

Want More?

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

1/4/15: Nine Steps to Jump Start Your Real Estate Investing Career

9 Steps For Learning How To Get Started In Real Estate Investing 

Learning how to get started in real estate or any new skill is a bit like being on a football team. At the end of each football season, teams and coaches do this…and then they begin preparing for the next season.

A big part of that preparation is focusing on essential fundamentals.  These aren’t just blocking, tackling, throwing, catching, etc.

Football teams also evaluate their strategic plan…including personnel, offensive and defensive strategies…even marketing and public relations.

So at the start of this new year, whether you’re just figuring out how to get started in real estate investing, starting over or wanting to jump start to the next level, we have 9 fundamentals every real estate investor can focus on to make 2015 their best year ever.

Sitting at the starting gate ready to put the pedal to the metal and our mouths to the microphone:

  • The Speed Racer of Speech, host Robert Helms
  • The Chim Chim of Chat, co-host Russell Gray
  • The Pops Racer of Pontification and Godfather of Real Estate, Bob Helms

Everyone wants to get rich quick.  That’s why it’s such a popular topic on late night TV infomercials.  The only thing more popular is get thin fast.

In both cases, the true secret is simple… do the right things the right way in the right order long enough to achieve your goal.

Or as we say it, Vision + Knowledge + Discipline = Effective Action.

Vision is what YOU want.  Knowledge is knowing HOW to get there.  Discipline is the resolve and tenacity to DO what you know and not quit until the job gets done.

So with that foundation, let’s take a look at our 9 steps that are good for how to get started in real estate or take your investing to the next level:

1.  Decide Who YOU Are

Do you want to be a hands-on, jack of all trades, do-it-yourself real estate investor…buzzing around your local market making deals, rehabbing properties and managing tenants?

Is it a full time job…or something you want to do on top of your full time job?

Do you want to focus on working at whatever you’re already doing to make money and taking your savings and putting it to work through other people like your real estate brokers, property managers and fund managers?  This is the way most people invest in the stock market.

OR…do you want to go big and raise money from other savers, and spend your time watching macro-trends, analyzing markets, working with your advisors, making deals and overseeing your team?

They’re all valid. Just VERY different in terms of how you spend your time, who you work with, and what you need to know.

To get started, you might start in a specific niche like brokerage, property management, contracting, finance, or fund raising.

You also might start by working or volunteering with someone else, or simply investing your own money with someone else in exchange for the experience.

And don’t be afraid to get it “wrong”.  You can always change later.  But you can’t be all things to all people all the time.  And you can’t do everything all at once.  So CHOOSE.

2.  Take Inventory

Many businesses end each year by taking inventory of everything they have, so they can start the new year from a defined starting point…and they know what they have to work with.  Ditto for sports teams.

What do YOU have in terms of time, skills, relationships, cash, credit, cash-flow and equity?

What and who do you have ready access to in terms of people with time, skills, relationships, cash, credit, cash-flow and equity?

Make a list and figure out what resources are at your disposal right now, so you have a clearly defined starting point.

3.  Pick a General Direction (Vision) and Start Moving

We’re big fans of planning.  But planning is an iterative process.

First, you PLAN….then you DO…then you REVIEW.

Then you take what you learned in the review to adjust your plan, and you repeat the cycle OVER and OVER and OVER.

The problem with planning is it’s a safe place to get excited.  It’s all hope and opportunity.  Every play goes for a touchdown…on the chalkboard.

But in any business, momentum is essential. And the only way to get it is to get moving. So once you have a basic plan and general direction, you’re ready to start.  Get moving.

4.  Create an Identity

In step 1, you decided who you are.  So now you know.  But no one else does.

So it’s important to create an outward persona for your business that you can present to the world.

A business name, a title, a phone, address, website… it’s cheap, easy and fast. Keep it simple.

When you meet people, they will want to look you up online.  Clean up anything messy that’s out there, and build something that presents you more like the person you’re becoming.

Be careful not to stretch the truth beyond credibility. Showing yourself in the best light (spin) is much different than fabricating experience, credentials, resume etc.  Don’t lie.

And before we leave this one, consider this: how many times have you seen mega-corporations reinvent their brand?  A new logo, a new slogan, a new mission, etc.

The point is that even established businesses strategically decide to reinvent their identities in order to be more effective in the market place.

5. Get Out There

Today, “out there” has dual meaning…but it all comes back to networking.

Online, it’s called Social Media networking… Facebook, Linked In, a website.  Make it easy for people to find you, share you, and bring you opportunities.

Go to lots of meetings, seminars, conferences.  Learn the lingo.  Find the players.  Look for role models and advisors.

Your team and associations are part of your “brand”.  People will judge you (right or wrong) not only by how you look and act, but by who you associate with.

6. Lead With Value

Give more than you get. Look for problems and solutions and then connect the two. Be patient. Sew good will.

The more you help people, the more they will help you.

And every person’s problem is an opportunity for someone else…maybe someone who has something or knows someone that YOU want to know.  You can actually trade in problems and solutions.

This is REALLY important if you’re starting with very little money.  If you have tons of money, deals will find you.  If you have tons of money, you might not need to win friends and advisors, you can buy them.

If your financial resources are small, your relationship resources need to be BIG.

Always remember: it’s easier to make friends than money, and it’s easier to make money with friends.

7. Become an Expert

Pick something to become super smart about.  Not EVERY thing.  Just SOME thing.

It could be a marketplace, a neighborhood, a product type, an investment strategy, a marketing technique for finding deals or raising money, credit repair, deal negotiation, construction…something.

Pick something that interests you, that you’re naturally good at, and that can be directly applied to adding value to other people.

Hint: There’s two things that really matter in real estate investing. Deals and money (cash, credit, cash flow, and collateral)

Notice that you don’t become an expert BEFORE you Get Out There or Lead with Value. Expertise will come.

Get out there.  Add value.  NOW.

8. Help a Successful Person

Now you’re starting to build resources. You have a network of people who know, like you and are beginning to trust you.

You have a growing expertise that can be used to help other people. You’ve developed into a more valuable commodity in the marketplace.

Now, go find someone who is doing what you want to be doing, connected to who you want to know, or knows how to do something you want to learn, or has access to deals and/or funding you want to get closer to…

Then study them and see if there any way your expertise can be applied to helping them get what they want.  This is your ticket into the relationship.

Referring someone else isn’t good enough. Unless your value add is you hustle up other experts. Otherwise, your expertise needs to enhance their business.

It’s like looking for a job without the paycheck.

Does that mean you work for free?

No. It means you work for something other than money.


It’s about relationships.

If you’re like most people, you want to know how to do everything. You think knowledge is power. And the more knowledge you have, the more powerful you are.

Yes and no.

If it was all about tactical know how, then lawyers, real estate agents, loan brokers, CPAs, would all be the richest. But they aren’t. That’s why they work for guys like you.

Tactical knowledge is MISSION CRITICAL.  But YOU don’t have to have it…at least not all of if.

You just need to have a good relationship with people who do.

So while you’re expert in 1 or 2 things, and you use that expertise to build strategic relationship, the knowledge junkies will study and study and study all about how to do every little thing…trying to be expert in 20 different disciplines, not being great at any, and having no time for relationships, strategic thinking or uncovering rare opportunities.

Don’t be Mr. Know-it-All.  Be Mr. Known (and liked) by All (or at least as many of the right people as possible).

9. Learn by Doing

The best way to learn how to get started in real estate is by doing.

When you get into a real life situation, it forces you to focus and follow through.

If you get over your head and have no relationships…you’re screwed. All you can do is hire expensive help…most of whom have never really done what you’re trying to do.

But if you have patiently laid a foundation of relationships with the right people, then when you get in over your head, you call your friends for advice.

YOU must be willing to ask for help. YOU have to be someone other people want to help.

When you are learning how to get started in real estate, the next best way to learn is to attend live events. Podcasts, videos, webinar and books are all great…and you should be consuming all of that. But not for the reasons you think and not all by yourself if you can help it.

You consume online content to stimulate your creativity, learn the jargon, get ideas you can use in conversations with people you want to build a relationship with. You learn so you can share knowledge…not hoard it.

Live events are best because they force you to focus and interact with other people.

Expensive events, as soon as you can afford them, are better than cheap events. Cheap people are at cheap events. Expensive people are at expensive events. Who do you want in YOUR network?

Live events let you study people in action…how they present themselves, how they interact with others.

Go to all the networking. Stay late. Mingle. If you’re shy, make one friend. Just make sure that one friend is social!

Shadow programs are great. If someone will let you ride around for a day or two or five, do it. If you have to pay, give it serious consideration. Maybe you can barter.

Imagine trying to learn to walk, talk and ride a bike locked in your room as a kid.  You learned by going out and playing.

The complicated stuff like throwing a ball or riding a bike, you had a teacher…a mentor…who not only showed you what to do, they protected you from serious danger, while encouraging you through the awkward progression of learning the skill.

Becoming a real estate investor is NO different.

Imagine if you approached learning to ride a bicycle the way some people approach learning to invest…

You study physics, mechanical engineering, bio-mechanics.  You learn about risk mitigation like bandaging, treating abrasions, setting broken bones. You read the bicycle manual over and over.

Have you seen some of the successful real estate investors out there? Some of them can hardly spell.  There are people driving cars every day who have no idea how to change the oil.

The secret to getting started in real estate investing…or anything else…is to get started.

And you start with getting to know YOU, what you have, want and need.

Then you go where like-minded people are (online or real world) and find out what they have, want and need. Then you make friends and help each other.

And when you have money, you’ll have more and better friends, you’ll do more expensive things together, but the basic formula is the same.

Build your brand (how people feel when they think of you) and your network (how many people you know), and be obsessed about adding genuine value to the world strategically…being careful to associate with people who are doing the same.

Do this for at least a year…and DON’T LET UP.  You’ll be AMAZED  at what happens.


Listen Now: 

  • Want more? Sign up for The Real Estate Guysfree newsletter and visit our Special Reports library.
  • Don’t miss an episode of The Real Estate Guys™ radio show.  Subscribe to the free podcast!
  • Stay connected with The Real Estate Guys™ on Facebook!

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

2/14/10: Hollywood Confidential – Selling to the Stars and Finding Your Niche

After a couple of weeks of avoiding foreclosure and working out bad loans, we decided to take a virtual vacation and head to Southern California.  We’re told it never rains there, plus we wanted to see how the movie stars are getting along in this weak economy.  So, like the Clampett’s, we loaded up the car to head to Beverly…Hills, that is…swimming pools, movie stars.

Riding in the jalopy for today’s show:

•    Your host, Robert “Jed” Helms
•    Co-host and Financial Strategist, Russell “Jethro” Gray
•    The Godfather of Real Estate, a very masculine “Granny”, Bob Helms
•    Special guest and more beautiful than Ellie Mae, real estate agent to the stars Sharona Alperin from Sotheby’s International

Well, the first thing we know, we’re not a millionaire…(sorry if you’re too young to remember the theme song from the Beverly Hillbillies!)…but we know they’re out there.  What we wanted to know is: what’s happening in high end real estate?  Are people with money still buying big homes?  And what lessons can we learn about dealing with high profile, high net worth people – because when you don’t have all the money there is, but there are great deals all around you, then you better find some financial partners fast!

To help unravel these mysteries we dialed up someone who is a bit of a star in her own right, real estate agent to the stars, Sharona Alperin.  Even if you think you’ve never heard of her, we’re betting that you probably have – and just don’t know it.  We got her to talk about her 30 plus year claim to fame…about half way through the show.  Yes, that’s a tease.  You’ll need to listen to find out!

Sharona talked about how she markets to and services celebrity clients.  And even though we don’t sell real estate anymore, we got lots of great insights that directly applies to real estate investing – including the important role of discretion when dealing with high profile people.

Probably the greatest lesson and inspiration is that anyone is just one relationship away from completely changing their future.  Sometimes the right people will come knock on your door, but most often you need to go out and find a way to meet them.  There are opportunities all around you if you’re paying attention.  When you see one, don’t miss it!

Listen Now

Don’t miss a show! Subscribe to the Free Podcast

Want More?  Sign Up for The Real Estate Guys Free Newsletter!