Profitable Niches – Single Family Rentals

In our final episode of our Profitable Niches series, we’re ending where many folks probably thought we would start … with single family rentals.

It’s no mystery why this is the most popular way for new investors to enter into real estate investing. Home ownership and single family homes are something that everyone knows well, and it makes sense to start with what you know.

When it comes to investing in single-family rentals, our guest this week knows her market inside and out and has some tips for picking the best deals that you’ll definitely want to hear.

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

  • Your singular host, Robert Helms
  • His family-friendly co-host, Russell Gray
  • Guest, Jean Gillen, real estate agent in Central Florida

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Why single family rentals make sense

It’s impossible to not interact with the real estate economy in some way. Whether you own your own home, rent, or have investment properties already, you’re participating in the real estate economy.

Single family rentals are a great way to enter into the market and interact as a beneficiary. So, rather than just paying rent or a mortgage, you can collect money from tenants. You’ll get cash flow AND build equity over time.

In the US economy especially, the single family market is given high priority by the government. There are incredible tax benefits and incentives given to people who own housing, even if they are renting it out.

After all, having affordable, accessible housing is an essential need and a key part of the nation’s economy.

But, single family rentals are also accessible to small-time investors or folks just starting out. They aren’t very efficient, so larger investors don’t have the ability to cherry pick individual listings. That’s how smaller investors can do the research to find great deals and still enter the market.

One of the first things we talk about with any kind of investment is understanding your investing philosophy. Then, build a top-notch team … a realtor, lender, and other experts. Finally, find the right property to buy.

Our guest this week is a realtor who specializes in investment properties. She knows all about the importance of building a team and finding investments that make sense.

The secrets of successful single-family rentals

Jean Gillen is a realtor in the Central Florida market. She helps investors get good deals. And, when you’re looking to build an all-star team to help with your investments, you want a realtor like Jean who knows what investors are looking for in a rental.

“The wonderful thing about selling to investors is that it’s all on a piece of paper,” Jean says. “If it doesn’t work out on a piece of paper, don’t buy it.”

One of the pitfalls some new investors and certainly new homeowners make is getting too emotionally attached to a kitchen or other part of a house. It can lead to decisions that don’t make sense on paper.

That’s why Jean works with the types of clients that she does.

“I like working with investors because I don’t have to please the woman or the man,” she says. “It’s more fun to find that great investment for people.”

In fact, Jean says she has clients she has never met, and they’ve purchased properties they’ve never seen in person. While this may be a paradigm shift, it goes to show that taking the emotion out of purchasing a property and seeing it as the investment vehicle it is can be a good philosophy.

One of the other things Jean sees as key to a successful investment is a good property manager. Jean has several management companies she works within her market and suggests her clients interview all of them.

“If you feel you can get along with the manager, then it’s going to make your life much easier,” Jean says. In many cases, your property manager will pay the taxes and HOA fees for you.

And, of course, finding a realtor who understands investment property is worth their weight in gold. They’ll be a valuable resource to find additional properties and even to manage current ones and solve problems with property managers.

Single family rentals in Central Florida

Single family rentals are all about the market. Find a strong market and the right realtor to guide you through, and you can capitalize on what single family rentals have to offer.

Jean specializes in the Central Florida market. She knows the streets and neighborhoods where clients can find the best deals. AND she knows the tenant demographics.

Even though Florida is known as being the place for retirees, she says, the average age of residents in Central Florida is 37. Many tenants today were homeowners before the economic downturn in 2008 and have decided they’d rather rent.

“These are just normal people. They could be school teachers or work in hospitals,” Jean says. “I rented a house to a doctor because he worked at a new hospital and didn’t want to buy for the first two years.”

Jean also prefers Central Florida because it’s landlord friendly. Thanks to Florida’s governor, more businesses are coming to the state and drawing in a larger workforce. It’s a hotbed of activity for aerospace, university students, and many other industries.

In fact, Jean says that home values in Florida are expected to rise 35 percent by 2021, meaning now is a good time to consider looking at the market. With new homes coming into the market by the end of summer, Jean is excited about the new opportunities available.

At the end of the day, Jean believes that the deals worth doing are the ones that make sense on paper. She’s put together a presentation on the Central Florida market including who is renting and how to find properties that will cash flow well. We’d love to send it to you!

Send an email to centralflorida [at] realestateguysradio [dot] com and you’ll receive it right away along with Jean’s contact information to learn more.


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

Profitable Niches – Agricultural Investing

Throughout our Profitable Niches series, the message has been clear … there’s more than one way to invest in real estate. It’s so much more than single-family homes and apartment buildings. And, in today’s market, when some of the more traditional investments are stretched, it’s a good idea to think about something new and fresh.

Agricultural investing may not have been on your radar, but that’s about to change! And no, you don’t have to have a green thumb to participate. We’re talking with an expert guest who has blazed a trail into a market that’s energizing AND tasty.

As a sweet bonus, you can support a socially sustainable program as well. Check it out!

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

  • Your cultivating host, Robert Helms
  • His growing co-host, Russell Gray
  • Friend and farmer, David Sewell, Founder of International Coffee Farms

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From beans to mug or bar … picking a crop

Just like everyone needs a roof over their head, everyone has to eat. That means there’s a demand for agricultural products and an opportunity for investors to do well in agriculture.

All it takes is a little education on the language of agricultural investing. In housing, it’s all about markets and demands. Agriculture has the same learning curve. Once you understand the geography, the demand for products, and a little of the science behind growing, you’re on your way to getting a foothold in agriculture.

But, agriculture is a wide world, so we’ll narrow our focus.

Our guest, David Sewell, started in agricultural investing with one product: coffee. It has a long shelf life, doesn’t perish quickly, and there’s enormous demand for specialty coffee with limited supply.

Specialty, socially sustainable coffee has been David’s niche since 2014. He purchases farms that are managed poorly, spends time working on the soil, understanding the climate, planting trees, and building a system that delivers product at a great return.

“Specialty coffee is a unique product that’s managed by the tree,” David says. “Specialty coffee is hand-picked, one cherry at a time.”

One of the best things about specialty coffee is that the limited growing geography drives up demand. But it takes some time to get a farm turned around to producing. Just like any gardening project, it takes patience and skill.

Since David started his business in 2014, he has worked through plenty of challenges and developed an amazing model that is blazing a trail in agricultural investing.

And now, he’s moved into a second crop.

“A good way to start the day is with a good cup of coffee and, in the evening, end it with a couple pieces of chocolate,” David says.

The demand for specialty, fine-flavored cacao is rising, and the supply is even MORE limited than specialty coffee. David’s cacao choice is particularly a specialty in Belize.

David took what he learned from coffee in Panama and rehabbed a few farms in Belize with the same, successful model.

With a little science, ingenuity, and care, David has capitalized on the demand for specialty products. He has 154 farmers who sell their crop exclusively to him, in his centralized processing facility.

“It’s what they needed,” David says. “So, we can control the cacao.”

David has three farms as well as a trading company that buys and sells literal tons of beans every weekend.

They’ve all been trained on organic processes, and together, they use the centralized processing systems he has built to make an efficient product that is ready for market.

Socially Sustainable Investing

Conditions on a coffee farm aren’t known for being great. That is different on David’s farms. He takes care of his 35 farm hands, and it has paid off.

“We’re proud to say that with the compensation program we’re able to provide and with the love and attention we’ve paid them, we haven’t had one turnover in 3 years,” David says. “We take care of the people.”

David’s farms change the way workers live. They receive good rain gear, so they aren’t picking cherries or tending to trees in the rain wearing a trash bag. Kids aren’t allowed on the farm … they attend school.

Families live in provided housing with electricity, flushing toilets, and other amenities that we often take for granted.

And, while these benefits for employees are key to David’s business, it’s not all altruistic. Labor turnover is expensive, and taking care of workers keeps them from leaving.

Beyond just the living conditions, workers are sent to seminars and congresses to build up their skills so they become even more educated and grow with the company.

This dedication to his workers shows by the passion and dedication they bring to the field and to the job every day. His workforce is expert in cacao and coffee, and that drives the superior flavor … and price.

That makes investing in opportunities like David’s even more exciting and sweeter for investors. Not only can you make money, but you can also make a difference.

Small-scale agricultural investing

One of the drawbacks to agricultural investing is understanding the science and process to growing, processing, and distributing a product. It takes time and experience to know a good opportunity and to succeed.

For instance, David learned early on that the biggest hurdle was the deeding process for international property. He warns that it is difficult to do on an individual basis.

But, David has found an interesting way to let people play with agricultural investing.

“We’ve focused on the delivery part of the investment vehicle,” David says. “That’s the hard part and where failure happens in many cases.”

With David’s business, he wanted to use his knowledge of syndication to make agricultural investing more accessible for people, regardless of their knowledge level and even for those who couldn’t buy an entire farm.

David’s farms are broken out into ½ acre parcels that can be bought individually or in groups. The parcel is deeded an individual investor or entity’s name, and it’s essentially a turnkey investment. It’s managed and operated by David’s team and investors not only get the returns, but also the knowledge that they’re participating in a socially sustainable program.

For investors looking for a legacy investment to pass on to their kids, or to invest in a program that’s socially sustainable, this is worth a serious look.

To learn more about David’s coffee and cacao operation and how you can get involved, send an email to beans [at] realestateguysradio [dot] com, and we’ll get you his special report on both opportunities!

And, we’d love to see you in September with David at our Secrets of Successful Syndication seminar. Here’s where to sign up!


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

Profitable Niches – Real Estate Development

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

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

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

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

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Beginning with the basics

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

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

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

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

Shifting your investment mindset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get rich in a niche with a network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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

Profitable Niches – Investing Through Others

As a busy professional, chances are you’ve got people trying to bend your ear constantly about investment opportunities. And sure … some of them sound amazing, but how do you know you’re getting in with the right people? Or maybe real estate investing is what you want to do, but you don’t have the time for it.

That’s where our guest Dr. Buck Joffrey found himself as a busy surgeon. Now, 10 years later, he’s killing it with a successful podcast and real estate syndication organization.

This week, we’re talking about passive real estate investing … passing the heavy lifting to someone else while YOU get the return.

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

  • Your hands-on host, Robert Helms
  • His second-hand co-host, Russell Gray
  • Guest, Dr. Buck Joffrey, host of the Wealth Formula podcast, real estate syndicator, and board-certified surgeon

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Get returns … without getting your hands dirty

Real estate is a messy, hands-on type of business. And while you can do all kinds of research beforehand, the best learning is on the job.

If you don’t have time to manage your own deals, passive investing could be the right move for you.

Passive investing gives you the benefits and returns of real estate … taxes, income, and diversification as well as the turn-key ease of setting and forgetting your investment.

The appeal of real estate investments is partly because your assets are tangible. You can go visit your building, and it occupies more than just a piece of paper or line on a ledger.

But, real estate takes time to understand the market, vet the deals, go through all the paperwork, and then manage a property afterward. You might be thinking, I don’t have time for that, I’m running my own business, and it’s taking all my time.

Joining up with other investors is how to leverage the expertise of others and even tag along to become a student yourself, all while getting in quickly and easily. It really can be whatever you want to make it be for yourself!

Find your investing tribe

As a busy professional himself, Dr. Buck Joffrey discovered early on in his real estate investing journey that he wanted to find like-minded people to invest with.

“If I got involved with a good syndicator who knew what they were doing, those returns and all those benefits I wanted out of real estate were there anyway,” Buck says.

And, once he found people he knew, liked, and trusted in the real estate space, the hardest part was over.

“What I realized is that if I could invest in such a way that if I did a lot of vetting and due diligence and I knew other people were involved … my chances of success went way up,” Buck says.

It wasn’t long before Buck’s friends started asking what he was doing and how they could get in on it too. All of this relationship building is what Buck calls tribal investing. And this approach is key to his success.

“Your network is your net worth,” Buck says. “I look more at the team than I do the deal. If you know, like, and trust somebody and you know their track record, then you can get to the point and can look at a pro forma.”

The relationship is just the building block to a good deal … Buck also notes that while there are lots of folks who he knows and likes, he may not be excited about the deals they’re doing. Just a little education about the types of investments you’re considering will go a long way.

Condensing your education timeline

As with any investment, you need to know enough to ask the right questions so you don’t get burned. But, as a busy professional, adding in time for that education can be a heavy lift.

That’s why Buck’s networking style translated perfectly into his new course, “Your Roadmap to Real Wealth.” It’s not just Buck teaching the course … he’s tapped into his deep network to bring in experts that share with you what he learned over a decade over a condensed timeline.

“One thing that everyone has in common who is on the show is that I have a relationship with them,” Buck says. “This is my tribe talking to me as a young physician.”

Buck has gathered experts in real estate … INCLUDING yours truly, The Real Estate Guys™ as well as estate planners, and many, many more.

We asked Buck about how passive investing works into the diversification angle. Buck mentioned he was initially interested in apartments as a first investment.

“What I realized was that I was trying to get at scale,” Buck says. “With syndication, you can take the same two or three hundred thousand dollars and now you’re in four, five, six buildings, and you’re in thousands of doors, and you’re across the country!”

Syndication gives you the opportunity to allocate your risk, and use your capital more efficiently. And all of that diversification collapses your time frame and gets you more cash flow sooner!

To learn more about passive investing and Buck’s course, “Your Roadmap to Real Wealth,” send an email to roadmap@realestateguysradio.com. We’ll hook you up with all the details!


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

Profitable Niches – Commercial Property Investing

There are many ways to invest … and one way isn’t necessarily better than the other. Real estate is nuanced. It’s always a good idea to broaden and expand your expertise into different markets.

That’s why we’re THRILLED to talk to our returning guest, Tom Wilson, about commercial real estate investing. His engineer’s mind can deconstruct this intimidating topic into bite-sized pieces … the perfect size for inspiration!

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

  • Your seasoned host, Robert Helms
  • His underseasoned co-host, Russell Gray
  • Tom Wilson, a long-time friend of the show and expert in commercial real estate investing and syndication

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Add more commas and zeros to your thinking

Commercial real estate investing feels more advanced because the deals are bigger. But the truth is that it takes nearly the same amount time to learn how to do big and small deals well.

One of the beauties of commercial deals is that you’ll get more leverage. And, this will put you on the road to adding commas to your thinking and diversifying your real estate knowledge … a must in dealing with a changing market!

Of course it takes time to get educated on a new market. Many commercial real estate deals are funded through syndication. Jumpstart your education by joining forces with people who know their stuff.

“I think the best thing I’ve done over the years is to adjust to different markets and asset classes as they’ve progressed,” says Tom Wilson, an expert in commercial real estate investing and syndications. “It’s awfully easy to get really comfortable in something that has worked before.”

Since Tom has a background in engineering, he approaches problems from a research and numbers perspective. But even he knows the value of bringing in the experts.

“I got some advice early on: Don’t try to do everything yourself,” Tom says. “You can accomplish more in life if you gather experts around you. I like to constantly be learning from others.”

Understand tenants and leases

One of the things that can initially seem foreign to new commercial real estate investors is what tenants look like in a commercial building.

Just like families live in residential areas, businesses make up your tenants in a commercial real estate deal, but with a few key differences:

  • Leases are longer for commercial deals. It’s not uncommon to see a commercial lease for 15 years or longer on a single-tenant building. You know that businesses are going to stick around in one location for a long time.
  • Maintenance is handled by the tenants. These leases are called triple-net leases, which essentially means that the tenants pay all real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance.

“Many of us who have had rental properties understand about turnover, tenants skipping overnight, having to do evictions. These elements are rare in the commercial arena,” Tom says.

With the right expertise, managing commercial can be much easier. The tenants are higher-quality, and you have lower turnover in your buildings. And, you’ll likely know well in advance before a vacancy happens.

When you’re looking for a commercial space, you need to know who your tenants are. This is even more crucial when you have a single-tenant space.

“It’s important to do a deep dive into the tenant’s financials and the market they’re in,” Tom says.

With big-name brands, remember that there may be low risk, but there’s also low returns. However, the tier below that offers a real opportunity for some good deals, as long as you’ve done your homework.

Know the market

Just like there’s diversity in the types of residential properties, the options for commercial real estate are just as rich. And, e-commerce has definitely caused a bit of a shift in the commercial real estate space.

“You still need to get a product to the door,” Tom says. “You’ll need more distribution centers and smarter distribution centers. We need more last-mile distribution centers.”

Not only that, but the increase in demand for these industrial distribution locations have removed some of the supply for other commercial properties, which means the market for industrial and commercial real estate is healthy.

We also know that brick and mortar stores aren’t going away. You can’t get your hair or nails done online. You still drop off and pick up your dry cleaning, and your pets go to the vet!

And, commercial real estate doesn’t stop at brick and mortar stores or even distribution centers. Large manufacturing plants, refrigeration, R&D, and many other options are out there for types of commercial real estate.

No matter where you choose to crack into commercial real estate, here’s a few nuggets of wisdom from Tom’s long resume of commercial real estate deals:

  • Get educated enough to ask tough questions.
  • Surround yourself with people who know more than you do and don’t feel intimidated.
  • Delegate and spread out responsibility so each person has a manageable piece to take on.
  • Stay rational when the stakes are high.

If you’re ready to take on commercial real estate, Tom has prepared a special report packed with important details on how to be successful in this niche. To get your free copy, email us at commercial@realestateguysradio.com.


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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

Profitable Niches – Lifestyle Investing

You may have heard that it’s bad to mix business with pleasure. But, when it comes to lifestyle investing, part of the fun is owning property in a place you love.

Yes, it is possible to make lifestyle investing make sense for you … as long as you follow some important guidelines to line up the numbers, location, and opportunity.

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

  • Your vacation ready host, Robert Helms
  • His in dire need of vacation co-host, Russell Gray
  • Guest, Nick Rohrbach, from The Grove Resort and Spa in Orlando, Florida

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Why a lifestyle investment might be a good fit

Life is too short to be involved in an asset class you don’t enjoy. Too many times in real estate, we get hung up on the ROI and let it rule the day. Lifestyle investing spices things up by adding personal enjoyment and personal use into the mix.

With the right strategy, you can tap into a FANTASTIC opportunity for growth. Premium properties fetch a premium price from renters and vacationers. Of course, you’ll also be able to enjoy the property with your family and friends.

We’ve all been on vacation and experienced that “I never want to leave” feeling. But remember, just because a place is nice to visit doesn’t mean it makes sense from an investment point of view. Here are a few recommendations to keep in mind.

 

  • Know the market

 

As with any real estate investment, your research into the market will be worth its weight in gold. This is especially true for lifestyle investing where the durability of rent, the ability to fill occupancy, and the property’s long-term profitability will be the difference between a fun investment and a bust.

With a good location, property, and market your investment has the opportunity to weather downturns. People in higher income brackets can afford to go on vacation even if the economy is down.

 

  • Bring on a stellar management team

 

The difference between a fun, hands-off lifestyle investment that you’ll love visiting and a drag is a good management team. Property management comes at a higher cost than single-family homes … sometimes upwards of 50 percent … but it gives you peace of mind AND access to amenities that delight and excite high-end vacationers and renters.

Your management team will handle all the bookings, and they have access to wholesale outlets such as Travelocity, Hotwire, Priceline … all the big names people use to get their vacation rentals.

And bonus! When things break, they fix them.

Opportunities abound in Orlando

Orlando, Florida, is the #1 traveled to place in the world. Thanks to Disney World, Universal Studios, and a THRIVING convention market, there’s no end of things to do for business travelers and families. And did we mention it’s a no income tax state?

We could go on and on about the many reasons why Florida is a consistently hot market and one of our favorite places to visit:

  • It’s centrally located to beaches
  • It has access to direct flights out of many places from the beautiful Orlando airport
  • The weather and attractions are top-tier
  • Convention business is strong and growing

Nobody knows this better than Nick Rohrbach, our guest from The Grove Resort and Spa.

Beyond tourism, Florida has a vibrant, booming economy. “There are 19 [amusement or theme] parks in central Florida alone,” Nick says. “Medical City is booming, we have one of the largest universities in the country, University of Central Florida, and over 150 VA hospitals.”

Plus, unlike many destinations, Orlando is not seasonal. The average occupancy is about 75 percent year round. Even during the economic recession in 2009, average occupancy never fell below 60 percent.

All of these elements make Orlando a place you might want to keep your eye on.

Filling a niche in the lifestyle investing market

When you’re looking for a lifestyle investment, one of the important questions you need to answer is how a particular property sets itself apart from competitors.

Florida’s economy is one of the reasons The Grove is such a unique opportunity. Rohrbach explains that the project was originally built in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and all the units were sold to UK investors without closing on a transaction.

While all the units were structurally built, only 184 condos were completed. With some additional cash, amenities, and building out the insides, these units are essentially brand new.

The new ownership at The Grove Resort and Spa has a couple strategies to fill a niche in Orlando:

  • Amazing amenities including restaurants, 800 sq. ft. of convention space, and a newly opened water park.
  • Spacious condos with 2-3 bedrooms perfect for families.
  • Close proximity to Disney World … only 3 miles away!

For potential investors and owners, there are plenty of opportunities as well. The Grove has a stellar management company that keeps the property looking fantastic, takes care of you and any guests, and manages all the bookings, repairs, and maintenance.

“The key is really the management,” Nick says. “When you talk about having everything in place for lifestyle turnkey investing, you need that professional management so you don’t have to deal with anything. The guest experience is very important.”

Not only that, but The Grove is continuing to expand, with 878 total units coming online at completion. Only 450 rooms are available now, and they’re at 100 percent occupancy! As demand goes up, so will rates … and cash flow from a potential investment.

Make sure the deal works for you

Lifestyle investing can sound like a dream come true, but it still has to make financial sense for you.

Look at a market that appeals to you personally, and then start running some numbers.

For instance, syndication might be the right way to go. You could get creative and discover investment opportunities in a few locations so you’ll have access to a bunch of prime vacation spots.

Blurring the line between a pure ROI, detached investment and something you get to enjoy too doesn’t have to be out of reach. If the numbers, market, and property make sense, don’t be afraid to go for it!

Want to know more about turnkey lifestyle in Orlando, Florida, and things to avoid in the marketplace? Send an email to lifestyle@realestateguysradio.com. We’ll hook you up with a special report with all the details. 


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

Profitable Niches – Investing Internationally

Is investing offshore right for you?

International investing can be both exciting and daunting. In our fourth installment of the Profitable Niches series, we hope to demystify the process for investors looking to cross some borders.

Every investment has a risk … you just have to learn how to evaluate the risk and the reward so you can choose wisely.

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

  • Your world-traveling host, Robert Helms
  • His petrified-of-planes co-host, Russell Gray
  • CEO of Mahogany Bay Village and international investor, Beth Clifford

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Expand your horizons with international investing

Our guest has made a name for herself in international investing.

The CEO of Mahogany Bay Village and a pro at international resort investing, Beth Clifford started expanding her own real estate business by moving into different states.

It wasn’t long before she got an itch to start looking outside the United States.

She’s a great example of someone who’s become a success by opening up her geographic horizons.

“It’s always convenient to live and invest in the same place, but real estate is about location,” Beth says. Investors have to look beyond what is outside their bedroom windows.

International investment also provides an opportunity to diversify and put your assets into different baskets.

Whether you’re an investor looking to expand beyond your state of residency or your country, Beth says the methodology is the same.

To invest smartly, you have to understand the market, laws, and culture of the place you’d like to invest in.

And just because there might be a learning curve doesn’t mean you should shy away from good opportunities.

Take what you’ve learned and expand it into another arena, whether that’s a new asset class in the same location or the same asset class in a new location.

Either way, you expand your world—and get the chance to become an expert all over again.

When you’ve learned one new market, it’s easier to get to know a second one, Beth notes.

And … “It’s all about teams,” she says. As someone who owns, invests, and develops in multiple countries, Beth has learned the value of a talented team.

Let’s talk about taxes

As soon as you cross a country border, you have to understand an entirely new tax system. That’s why Beth has separate development companies for properties inside and outside the U.S. … and why she enlists professional help when it comes to accounting.

Although taxes can be tricky, owning property and businesses outside of the United States can reap great tax benefits.

Despite that, some tax professionals still make a habit of creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt for investors who would like to make some money across country lines.

Beth recommends shopping around for an informed professional … because although the attorneys make it seem hard, there are really only three documents you need to complete each year.

She recommends professional assistance for at least your first two years, until you have a solid understanding of the basics.

One thing to be aware of? Currency arbitrage and exchange. If you’re unaware of currency issues, they could bite you. Make sure you understand whether you can easily exchange currency and whether the jurisdiction you’re investing in is neutral.

A relationship business

Real estate is a relationship business. And especially when investing beyond your familiar boundaries, building local relationships is key.

We asked Beth how to she expands her network across borders.

“I ask for help when I go into a market,” she says. Investors should have “an attitude of humility, not hubris.”

The first thing Beth does is look for the Class A players in a given market. Who are the top three law firms, employers, development companies?

Beth seeks out the movers and shakers … then picks their brains for advice.

“A players fly with A players,” she says. “It’s the rule.”

Networking doesn’t cost you money … and it gets you into the contact database of the best and brightest.

Once you’ve sought out the best, go in with the intention to learn. Ask these bright business people how they’ve obtained their success and where they see YOU going wrong or right.

The goal is to find team members who provide value to you … and are excited to do so.

And one business relationship can net literally millions of potential customers.

It’s all about leveraging yourself.

Is making connections any different in a foreign country? “People are the same everywhere,” says Beth.

Basic human connection is the key, no matter where you go. People want the same things … so connect on a common level.

Thinking about making the leap?

Wondering whether you’re cut out to be an international investor?

Beth recommends starting by test driving the market. Do a due diligence tour outside of the U.S. … like one of our discovery trips.

It’s a great way to get to know the area in which you might be investing, educate yourself on the culture and special considerations, get to know local movers and shakers … and have some fun.

Seeing how others put together international investments can be eye-opening, says Beth. Discovery trip attendees get a year of education … in four days.

So get there … and see what awaits you beyond the horizon.


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

Profitable Niches – Residential Assisted Living Homes

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

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

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

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

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

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An explosive demographic with specific needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building your brand from the ground up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raising capital and expanding your network

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syndication and working smarter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Profitable Niches – Making Money with Mobile Homes

Low-hassle affordable housing + land banking + triple-net leases = what? There’s only one answer to this real estate investing equation, and that’s mobile home parks.

In the second episode in our Profitable Niches series, we venture into the land of mobile home park investing.

We chat with super syndicator Andrew Lanoie about why he ventured into this niche and what benefits investors can find in the mobile home space.

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

  • Your mobile host, Robert Helms
  • His unmovable co-host, Russell Gray
  • Experienced syndicator, Andrew Lanoie

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An expert investor in a unique space

Do we know what’s going on in the mobile home space? We’ve got some general knowledge … enough to form some hypotheses.

But to test our hypotheses, we turned to Andrew Lanoie, principal partner at Park Place Communities. He’s been in the mobile home space for the last five years.

Why mobile homes? Two reasons:

  1. Increasing demand for affordable housing in the marketplace.
  2. Adequate supply of mobile home properties for sale, often by owners suffering from lazy landlord syndrome … which means many properties also have a value-add opportunity.

These two reasons are the main factors Andrew has made a place for himself in the mobile home space.

He started out in single-family homes but realized things weren’t penciling out after several years in the space. Andrew then tried multi-family properties … same problem.

Prices were escalating while returns were decreasing. So, Andrew started looking at different asset classes, eventually arriving on mobile home parks.

Today, he looks for distressed assets where he can buy low and add value.

Are mobile homes actually “mobile”? Not really. Ninety percent of mobile homes stay in place for the entire life of the home. Most residents sell their homes and buy new ones instead of paying pricy moving fees.

Why are mobile homes in demand? This class of affordable housing offers a lot of square footage for each resident’s dollar.

Think about it … the standard double-wide mobile home is equivalent to a 3-bedroom, 2-bath apartment. For $500-600 a month, that’s a lot of bang for a renter’s buck.

Plus, residents don’t have to share walls.

Pros of mobile home investing, and where to step cautiously

There are many benefits for investors, too. For example, Andrew says one big difference between a multi-family property and a mobile home community is the expense ratio.

“The expense ratio is reduced in mobile home communities because you only have to deal with below-the-ground issues.” That’s because generally, residents own the mobile home they live in, while investors only own the ground beneath their feet.

Owners’ biggest costs will be infrastructure costs, like sewers, water systems, roads, and electrical setups. Another cost is the cost of vacancies, although buyers can bring that down by renovating and reselling non-performing homes.

One area for upside is rent increases, although investors should be very careful in this space. In the affordable housing sphere, “You cannot just gauge rents up,” says Andrew.

However, investors can make slow and steady rent increases … as long as they are making other improvements to increase the value of the property to residents.

How does tenant-landlord law work? In most cases, residents are paying a pad rent plus an additional lease amount if they don’t own the mobile home outright. If a mobile home owner can’t pay their pad rent, operators can essentially put a lien on the mobile home.

“It’s usually a 90-day process to get someone out,” notes Andrew. In many cases, operators can make a deal with residents before it gets to that point. But if necessary, it is relatively easy to expel a non-paying and uncommunicative tenant.

While there are many benefits to buying a mobile home community, Andrew recommends caution as an overarching strategy when purchasing. Deferred maintenance and other issues crop up often in older properties, so buyers should do thorough due diligence before buying.

Another thing to consider is the path of progress. Some mobile home properties increase in value as cities grow around them. “I wouldn’t plan on that as an exit strategy, though,” warns Andrew.

One tough aspect of mobile home investing is that commercial lenders are almost always unwilling to offer loans for this investment class when occupancy rates are low. Investors interested in distressed assets will have to find alternate financing sources.

One option? Syndication. This is the model Andrew uses to buy and operate mobile home investments. Keep reading to learn about his strategy!

A peek at Andrew Lanoie’s prolific syndication portfolio

With his team at Park Place Communities (PPC), Andrew has almost 1100 operating units in 15 communities spread throughout 8 different states.

“We get the most traction in the Midwest and Southeast,” says Andrew.

Many of his investments aren’t in major metros … but towns can’t be one-trick ponies, either. He’s looking for markets with multiple employers and diverse, stable populations.

An essential part of running this kind of operation is building a stellar team. Andrew has people on the ground in every state to search for and buy new properties.

Because this asset class is often difficult to operate and there isn’t a property management company that could fill all PPC’s needs in every state, Andrew and his team have built out their own management team.

They’ve also formed a construction company to renovate homes at new sites. For Andrew, renovations are the “low-hanging fruit” when adding value.

PPC also works with manufacturers when a lot needs new mobile homes … the cost of which investors can potentially recoup when they sell to residents. These homes do not need to be paid for with cash, but can be mortgaged, freeing up money for the investor.

Once the construction crew is done and units are in place, the marketing department takes over to find residents. Once residents are found, they’re sent to PPC’s lender, who looks for a history of on-time rent payments and an ability to pay the rent going forward.

One other essential relationship is with brokers. Andrew and his team have built great relationships with brokers, which allow them to access off-market deals and pocket listings.

Andrew’s operation has a TON of moving pieces … which allows the PPC team to leverage efficiencies for maximum return.

For the average mom-and-pop real estate investor, running an operation like Andrew’s is out of the question. That’s why PPC syndicates deals … so investors can access a high-cap-rate investment passively.

Another pro to this investment class? It grows slowly and steadily … even during downturns.

We asked Andrew what potential investors need to know. His number-one piece of advice is to do your due diligence before jumping into a deal.

Interested in learning more about investing in the mobile home space? Listen in to the show to get access to Andrew’s curated report on mobile home park investing. He’s compiled a detailed overview of why he and his team are bullish on affordable housing and mobile home communities … and why you should be too.

We encourage you to do your own research and learn more … and keep listening to the Profitable Niches series to step off the beaten path and learn more about other lucrative, but as-yet unexploited asset classes.


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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

Profitable Niches – Stacking Up Profits with Self-Storage

Tenants, toilets, and termites … real estate investing isn’t always pleasant.

But we have good news for you … real estate is more than just single- and multi-family properties (although we’re big fans of those investment classes too).

In our new Profitable Niches series, we’ll explore a variety of niches in detail so you can find the asset class that best fits your investing needs.

This episode explores a fascinating niche … self-storage properties. We’ll dive into the reality and myths of this tenantless niche with a multi-talented investor, Dave Zook.

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

  • Your nice host, Robert Helms
  • His niche co-host, Russell Gray
  • Real estate investor and instructor Dave Zook

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How and why to invest in self-storage properties

Dave Zook doesn’t pigeonhole himself into one asset class. He started out with multifamily and single-family homes, but has since then expanded to resort community development and ATM investing.

He also runs The Real Asset Investor, where he finds and curates real asset investment opportunities for investors who want to build wealth.

Dave’s latest venture has been self-storage units, so we sat down to discuss some need-to-know characteristics for this asset class.

First, what should investors look for in a self-storage investment?

Investors need to make sure everything pencils out. Demand for self-storage units varies drastically depending on the market and its demographics … and demand and profitability also change over time.

Some markets are overbuilt. Investors need to do a comprehensive market analysis. Investors can look at population growth, strength of economy, and the local job market.

Dave Zook says his one go-to metric to figure out whether a market is over- or underbuilt is comparing the square footage of existing storage space to the square footage needed per person in the average market.

We asked Dave whether self-storage investing has gotten too hot for investors to get in. His answer is a definite “no.” “There’s still opportunity, especially in tertiary markets, to get in,” he says.

Like all real estate investing, there’s a smart and a not-so-smart way to go about investing in self-storage. Dave says that just like in multi-family investing, a key component of a profitable investment is purchasing a property with value-add opportunity.

For Dave, the best way to go is purchasing a property in a desirable location, whether unbuilt or with B- or C-class storage buildings, and then reviving the property and adding value and square footage.

How can investors choose what type of self-storage units to invest in? After all, there are a lot of options, including business/commercial storage and air-conditioned/climate-controlled storage.

A lot depends on the geographic area in which you’re investing, says Dave. For example, you’ll find far more climate-controlled storage facilities in Florida than elsewhere in the country.

We talked with Dave about what makes self-storage investing so great. There are several pros:

  1. Tenant/landlord laws don’t apply when your tenants are boxes. This changes your risk parameters immediately.
  2. Self-storage facilities are commercial spaces, not residential. It’s a lot easier to shut down a non-performing tenant under commercial rules.
  3. Self-storage renters tend to use spaces long term. Although the average self-storage tenant intends to stay 3 to 6 months, most stay between 28 and 30 months.

Another bonus? Self-storage investments are accessible to mom-and-pop investors who come in alongside a syndicator. In fact, Dave specializes in syndicating opportunities for smaller investors … read on for details about his syndication program.

Investing the Zook way

Dave follows the 10,000-hour rule. According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be world-class in any given field.

How, you may ask, has Dave spent 10,000 hours learning the ropes of every asset class he invests in? The answer … he hasn’t.

Dave calls himself a generalist. He dabbles in many different areas, but when it comes to down-and-dirty details, Dave relies on a team of specialists to operate investment properties.

Dave says his “shortcut” to becoming a great investor is finding a team and rallying around them. “Doing business with a great team can turn your investment experience from a nightmare to something really enjoyable,” he says.

Currently, Dave partners with Reliant Real Estate Management to operate ongoing and future self-storage investment syndication deals. These experts have a proven track record of profitable management … a must-have for Dave and his investors.

Dave’s most recent self-storage deal is quite spacious … 70,000 feet. Dave is expanding the 526-unit property to add approximately 400 more units.

Dave purchased his latest property for approximately $8 million, with $4 million down. Once construction is completed, he and his team will be at about 75 percent loan to value.

Obviously, self-storage owners need to provide a mix of unit types and sizes. Although it can be a challenge to figure out exactly what you need, Dave says he relies on historical data … and expert analysis … to predict demand and occupancy.

Most investors aren’t going to buy a 70,000-square-foot property solo. So we asked Dave what is looks like when investors come alongside him in a syndication deal.

The timeline for Dave’s deals is typically 60 days from contract to close. The first 10-15 days are spent structuring the deal, and then investors typically have 45-60 days to join in.

Investors contribute a minimum of $100,000 and must be accredited.

It can be hard to find opportunities like those Dave offers, so connection is key. The best way to find deals is to connect with people entrenched in the space you’d like to invest in.

Looking for more information on investing with Dave? Listen in to the show to get access to a complimentary self-storage report from Dave Zook himself.

For a thriving portfolio, understand asset classes

There are a lot of ways to play the real estate game. For those just getting started, the wide array of options can be confusing.

And for established investors, it can be easy to choose an asset class and stick with it!

That’s why we created the Profitable Niches series … to break down the various types of asset classes in a detailed but understandable way so YOU can do the best deals.

Dave is a great example of someone who’s taken our motto, “Education for effective action,” and put it to work.

He’s also a great example of someone who knows he might not be the smartest person in the room when it comes to a particular asset class … and acknowledges the value of building a great team to fill in the details.

Want to be more like Dave … an experienced investor who has stayed out of the weeds and developed a diverse, thriving portfolio? Keep listening to the series!

Learning more about each asset class will allow you to do a thorough zero-based analysis of your current portfolio so you know whether you would do it again … and what you need to change to build wealth and satisfaction, your way.


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.