The Changing Role of the Real Estate Agent

Are real estate agents obsolete?

These days, you can search listings and tour houses entirely through internet platforms. You can also list and sell properties using mobile phone apps.

It’s safe to say our processes for buying and selling properties have completely changed with technological innovation.

In this new landscape, however, real estate investors need real estate professionals on their side … now more than ever.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we’ll explain why the most CRUCIAL relationship you’ll ever have as a real estate investor is with your real estate agent.

You’ll hear from:

  • Your sprightly host, Robert Helms
  • His ancient co-host, Russell Gray
  • Eight-decade investor and broker, Bob Helms

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What is the role of the real estate agent?

First a definition … when we say real estate agent, broker, or professional, we’re referring in general to a person representing you, for a fee, in the purchase or sale of a property.

The role of the real estate agent has really evolved over the past several decades. In the past, only real estate agents had access to listings … but now, anyone with internet access can look up property prices on Zillow.

Although the WAY real estate agents function has changed, the core job of a real estate agent hasn’t changed at all. Real estate agents exist to represent YOU.

Their three main roles:

  1. Representative. Agents represent clients as a third party, at arm’s length. Someone who is not emotionally or financially attached to a deal can usually negotiate a better number.
  2. Fiduciary expert. It is the agent’s duty to hold clients to the highest legal level possible.
  3. Counselor. Agents are experts in empathy and adding value. They provide access to key individuals through their networks and can give you valuable information about the neighborhood you’re investing in.

Agents provide value by interjecting the available information with their accumulated wisdom and connections.

And if you really think about it … how much time can you spend developing negotiation skills for a deal you’ll only do four or five times in your lifetime?

Real estate professionals do the same transaction four or five times … every WEEK. They’ve built up skills and knowledge and have their thumbs on the pulse of the real estate world.

Negotiation is a learned skill

Negotiation is critical to good deals.

It’s even more critical when a deal starts to go sideways.

When a loan doesn’t come through or your financing falls apart, you have to get creative. But how can you get creative with no experience?

And just as importantly, how can you successfully navigate an emotionally negative event?

There’s a real art form to negotiating a win-win deal, and often the best option for a successful negotiation is having a professional do it for you.

A skilled professional can play a neutral role, win the trust of both the buyer and the seller, and figure out deal breakers and makers for both parties.

Critically, an agent doesn’t just broker sales. They’re your advocate. It’s their job to work with both sides … but get you a leg up.

A skilled salesperson can help people get over buyers’ remorse and help them implement the decision they have already made. And that could be the difference between a deal and no deal.

A win-win outcome IS possible … when you’ve got a professional who can suss out the objectives of each party involved in the deal.

A broker IS worth it

We weren’t surprised when we read new research from Collateral Analytics that shows properties sold by agents net a higher final price than homes sold by owners.

In fact, homes for sale by owners receive 5.5 percent less than those sold with the help of agents.

Some of you may be thinking, “What about agent fees?”

If agent fees are approximately equivalent or even slightly more than the difference between the sale price you would have gotten with them and the price you would have gotten without them … then you’re netting a similar deal for SIGNIFICANTLY less time and effort on your part.

Part of being a real estate investor is getting yourself into what we call deal flow … giving up tasks, delegating, and forming networks so the best deals flow straight to YOU.

Delegating tasks to a broker can actually MAKE you money, if your resulting deal flow gets you access to better deals.

It’s extremely important to understand that your business as a professional real estate investor is building a network of people who will feed you money, deals, and information … and have your back when you need support.

And you find people who’ll have your back … by having theirs. That means supporting your agent.

We’re big believers in building relationships to infiltrate a market. Find a way to form two-way relationships. Make other happy so they’ll want to make you happy too!

Don’t go at it on your own

So, what’s changed? One of the biggest changes these days is that brokers do less research.

It’s less about the data agents have at their fingertips … and more about the wisdom they can offer you.

Real estate agents and brokers play the same game they did decades ago. It’s all about negotiation and selling skills.

One more pro to having an agent on your side … professional brokers have both errors and omissions insurance AND a legal team.

They know where landmines are and can help you navigate new and unfamiliar markets without making a legal misstep … or spending a ton of money on a real estate attorney.

If there’s anything you get from this episode, we hope you realize it doesn’t pay to be penny wise and pound foolish.

The best professionals won’t cost you money … they’ll make you money. So, don’t be afraid to pay for the services you need.

And once you find a trustworthy professional, get everything you can from them. Build a relationship. Seek their advice. Eventually, YOU’LL be the one they start bringing unlisted deals to.

Kudos to all the real estate professionals out there.

Don’t have an agent yet? Consider this your challenge to get out there and find one!


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.

Avoiding Bubble Trouble – Tips for Hot Market Investing

“Are we in a real estate bubble right now?” Trust us, we’ve heard this question asked a LOT lately.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we’ll dive into that question.

We’ll discuss:

  • The three components that converge to create market bubbles
  • Why real estate is a good investment class for avoiding bubble trouble
  • How to react in a hot market … AND
  • How to prepare for when prices inevitably do deflate

You’ll hear from:

  • Your bubbling host, Robert Helms
  • His falling-a-bit-flat co-host, Russell Gray

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Are we in a real estate bubble?

Our primary caution to you is that all-time highs do NOT equal market bubbles.

It can be difficult to parse whether a bubble is, well, bubbling up. Here are the three different components to rising prices:

  1. Leverage. Financing means pulling money from the future to bring in dollars today. But the ready availability of money can end up driving prices higher, even though many loans are fashioned to make things more affordable.
  2. Disparity between supply and demand. When there’s more demand than supply, prices go up … even if the price no longer matches the value of the commodity.
  3. Inflation. Inflation causes currency to literally lose its purchasing power. So it takes more currency to buy the exact same things.

When you see runaway price increases, take a minute to consider what the cause is. Is the fundamental value of the property increasing, or is rampant speculation driving prices up?

When the factors above start to change, the price of a property can increase … or decrease … significantly. So pay attention.

Don’t get so caught up in a hot market you get blinded to the actual value of an investment. Buy because it makes financial sense … and not because everyone else wants to buy.

If you don’t know better, it’s easy to believe you shouldn’t be buying anything right now.

But real estate is a very different investment than most. Every single deal is unique, which means YOU have a ton of flexibility to add value to a property.

Real estate allows you to negotiate on the front end, manage operations on the back end, and analyze any given property on its own individual merits, instead of just looking at the market or asset class as a whole.

Real estate is not a commoditized asset. That gives you the power to strike individual bargains.

Tips for buying in a hot market

The vast majority of investors invest in stocks and bonds. They’re used to having zero control. As a real estate investor, there’s a lot you can do to position your portfolio for success.

Avoid the bubble mentality. Don’t buy because everyone else is buying.

Don’t treat properties like commodities and hope something good will happen. Pick your investments individually, and make sure you have a Plan A … and a Plan B and Plan C.

Then, do a sound analysis and underwriting.

Wondering whether there’s a difference? There certainly is.

Analysis means gathering the numbers and putting them together to get an estimated return.

When you get a pro forma, make sure you double-check the analysis … the math isn’t always correct.

Underwriting goes one step further. A proper underwriting process pulls third-party financial statements to verify the numbers from the analysis match reality.

It’s very important to underwrite all of your deals. Do this by gathering all the information you can from trustworthy parties … financial statements, rent rolls, copies of rental agreements.

You can even go a step further and verify information with tenants independently.

Next, you need to make sure your assumptions hold water. Check the property tax, the property condition, and maintenance schedule.

Evaluate the total cost of an investment, including needed rehab.

Last, look at your potential revenue. Evaluate rents to see if they match market rates, and see whether there’s any opportunity to make improvements and increase revenue.

A note … you CAN’T underwrite your way out of risk. But to minimize risk, you want your eyes as wide open as possible.

How to position your existing portfolio

Underwriting is important when making a new investment, but what can you do about your existing portfolio?

Quite simply, you can go through the same process you would with a new purchase.

Use zero-sum thinking to ask yourself whether you’re getting the most from your investments.

Look at the numbers … cash flow, debt and interest rates, and equity. Is there any room to improve the property?

You might think about moving some equity around. Many real estate investors think the only option for accessing equity is selling a property or doing a 1031 tax-deferred exchange … but you have a third option.

Consider a cash-out refinance, which allows you to transfer equity from a developed property to a market or property type with upside potential.

To proactively strategize about bubbles, separate your equity from your properties.

But be cautious … always do underwriting and analysis on potential purchases. You do run a risk when you thin out your equity, so make sure you hedge your bets as much as possible.

Making a risky purchase could mean being locked into a property when equity and cash flow decrease during a downturn.

So, ensure you have a plan for holding on to the properties you purchase in the event the market crashes and you go underwater.

Time heals a lot of wounds … we’ve seen many investors hold onto properties during a downturn only to make a killing once the market starts perking up again.

It may well be that the market you’re in has bubbled to the point where selling makes sense. When considering where to put your equity, be cautious and be smart.

Roll with the highs and lows

There are quite a few things you can do to protect yourself from the downside of bubbles and benefit from the upside.

  1. Seek out recession-resistant pricing. You want to look at rent pricing that is just below the market median. This is the sweet spot … you’ll get people coming down from the top in bad times and people coming up from the bottom in good times.
  2. Follow the barista rule. Some markets are more affordable than others. If your barista can afford to live in the same area they work in, that market has recession-resistant pricing that isn’t artificially inflated.
  3. Be in a position to pick up bargains when the downturn comes. Have the wits to pull some chips off the table when the market’s at the top so you can make a killing when the market deflates and there’s blood in the streets. In other words, keep some liquid equity close at hand when the market starts getting hot.

Bubbles aren’t bad … markets naturally rise and fall. You just have to be resourceful enough to catch the waves.

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.

Preparing for a New Year with Zero-Based Thinking

At the beginning of a new year, we invite you to take a look at where you’ve been, where you’re at now, and where you’re going.

Whether you’ve never bought a property or you have a full portfolio, NOW is the time to reflect and make sure you’re on the right path with your goals and your business.

After all, “If you don’t change anything, nothing changes.”

In this show, we’ll walk you through how to apply success strategist Brian Tracy’s concept of zero-based thinking to the real estate business, starting with two important questions:

  1. Knowing what you know now, would you make the decisions of the past year again?
  2. Why or why not?

Perhaps you just need to do some fine-tuning … or perhaps you need a major course correction! Either way, we want to help YOU make better decisions going forward.

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

  • Your host, team player Robert Helms
  • His doesn’t-always-play-well-with-others co-host, Russell Gray

Listen



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Evaluate yourself … and your team

Your evaluation should start with yourself. Begin the process by applying the question, “Knowing what I know now, would I make that decision again?” to the properties in your portfolio.

Then, ask yourself why you would or would not make that decision again. You can divide your answer into three categories … the property, the people involved, and the marketplace.

Answering this question about your decisions will help you avoid making the same mistakes going forward and make more targeted decisions.

After your self-evaluation, look at your team.

Every real estate investor has a team. As an investor, you’re a borrower, a buyer, a client, and a customer … and on the other side of these relationships sit your team members.

As you evaluate your team, start by asking some essential questions:

  1. Do I have everyone I need to run my business?
  2. Where is each person on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?
  3. How could I change or augment this relationship to get this team member up to a 9 or 10?
  4. Ultimately, ask yourself, can I salvage this relationship or do I need to start over?

You can’t always change the people on your team, but you can change your relationship with them. So, figure out what you can do to get to where you want … or whether you need to replace a low performer entirely.

Also ask yourself, “What makes a good team member for ME?” Figure out why your high performers are 8s, 9s, and 10s, then look to them to coach other members of your team and offer referrals.

You want the people on your team to be better, smarter, harder-working, and more committed than most people out there … even if it means they’re better than you.

Your TEAM has helped you get to where you are … so build them up. Serve your team members, and put them in a position to win, so YOU can win too.

And, if you’re looking for more feedback on yourself, ask your team to evaluate how YOU can become a better client. This will strengthen the relationship on both ends.

Review and fine-tune your financial situation

As an investor, you should have a basic idea of where you’re at and where you want to go … in other words, your personal investment philosophy.

If you haven’t yet fleshed out your personal investment philosophy, we highly encourage you to take that step before digging deeper.

Got your investment philosophy written out, revised, and ready to go? Now is a GREAT time of year to take a look at your financial situation … and evaluate where you can minimize spending.

There are three major expenses that can be leveraged against your equity to free up some investable money:

  1. Interest
  2. Insurance
  3. Taxes

Guess what all three have in common? They’re an expense everyone pays for, but no one wants to.

You could brown-bag it every day to save money … OR you could work on minimizing the costs you really don’t want to be spending money on in the first place.

Your responsibility as an investor is to manage debt, equity, and cash flow. It’s key that you have a strategy to manage your money so you can accelerate equity growth.

Your first step in making a financial change is to seek out experts on your team who can help you get to where you want to go. Your second step is to ask yourself what’s missing in your own portfolio of knowledge … and then seek out education and training to address gaps.

Below are tools for evaluating each of these three major areas of expense.

Interest

The basic question you want to ask when it comes to interest is, “Are there places I can change my loan so it makes more sense?”

As with any financial decision, step carefully and rely upon knowledgeable team members.

Look at the big picture to see where you might make changes. You want to manage your mortgage for maximum net worth.

Check to see whether your lender will bundle properties to free up your borrowing power. Look at your current interest rates and loan terms.

Consider refinancing, but realize that refinancing means kicking a big can down the road. So, consider the long run, and not just your monthly cash flow.

Insurance

For each insurance policy you hold, evaluate the policy itself as well as the carrier.

Make sure your policies will actually pay the risks you’re exposed to.

We recommend meeting with your insurance company to evaluate the company and your policy and find ways to optimize your premium.

There’s a steep learning curve here, so make sure you have a knowledgeable team member by your side or available for questions.

Taxes

No one wants to pay taxes. Ideally, we would all pay as little as legally possible.

To do so, you need to know the tax law and, most importantly, have a good tax team … your financial advisor and your accountant.

We recommend meeting with your tax advisor to reassess cost segregation, property tax mitigation, your depreciation schedules, cost acceleration, expensing business costs, and structuring your business.

Real estate is one of the best assets when it comes to tax benefits, so invest some time to educate yourself.

And be proactive … come to your CPA with ideas and questions. Ask, “How can I do this?” instead of “Is this possible?”

Assess how you spend your time

Time is also an asset … perhaps your most valuable one.

By choice, we spend less time on real estate investing now because our priorities have changed. That doesn’t mean our profits have suffered, however.

Look at your calendar, relationships, health, and satisfaction level and ask yourself, “Do I own this business, or does it own me?”

To make a change, start by keeping a detailed calendar of how you spend your time.

Look at easily delegated tasks first and find ways to offload them.

Then look at the critical tasks on your list and figure out what the key performance indicators are for each task. Set up processes so you can delegate these tasks as well.

Refashion yourself … from a one-band man, to a well-oiled team.

We encourage you to find clarity about the things that absolutely require your time and effort, and the things that can be delegated and even done better by others.

The shift from self-employed to team manager requires a lot of fortitude, devotion, and skill, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Ultimately, your business should be fashioned in a way that it could be a model for 1,000 more just like it … a smooth-functioning machine.

Ask yourself, “If I didn’t own this business, would I buy it?” Because you are buying it with your blood, sweat, and tears on a daily basis.

Check your mission, vision, and values

You don’t want to spend your whole life trying to get from Point A to Point B if Point B isn’t really where you want to be.

Don’t get so caught up in the doing that you forget your destination.

All your strength as a real estate investor will come from your mission, vision, and values … so make sure you sit down and really fine-tune those three core beliefs.

Interested in having us coach you through the process of finding your mission, vision, and values? Check our Create Your Future Goals Retreat and get on the advanced waiting list now.

At the beginning of a new year, take stock. Congratulate yourself for what you’ve achieved … and get excited about where real estate can take you. There really are no limits!


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.

Peace of Mind Investing

Some think of real estate as a long game … and it is. But does that mean you should devote your energy to a tricky investment for years?

It can be a smart choice to pick investments that will give you the life you want WHILE you’re managing your investment … not just after the fact.

There’s a cost for any investment … the cost of learning how to manage your investment. The question is whether you want your learning curve to be steep or gently sloping.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we chat with return guest John Larson about what criteria investors should look at to reduce trouble and toil. We’ll also chat about Dallas … why it’s a great market for peace of mind investments, and whether it’s too late to buy there.

Listen in! You’ll hear from:

  • Your dazzled-by-Dallas host, Robert Helms
  • His dallying co-host, Russell Gray
  • Eight-decade investor Bob Helms
  • Turnkey real estate provider John Larson

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Is it too late to invest in Dallas?

Dallas is a shining star. Job markets have demonstrated incredible growth. Expense ratios are down because of rising rents, and the potential for appreciation is going up.

The city is also attractive to both international and local investors. When people who actually live in a market want to work with investors, you know it’s a hot market.

Dallas has been on our shortlist of great investments for a while, but with its recent growth, some investors are asking themselves whether it’s too late to invest in the city.

John Larson is a managing partner at American Real Estate Investments (AREI). These days he spends a lot of time in Dallas, one of AREI’s top markets.

We asked him whether it was too late for investors to get in on this Texas hot spot.

John told us, “The window is closing, but there’s still opportunity.” John thinks Dallas is still an affordable market … for now.

What happens if investors don’t get in now? It really might be too late, John says. It’s not that depreciation will continue, but that the rent numbers won’t work because of the discrepancy between the cost and the rate.

The A-class strategy

In John’s view, buyers should prioritize good neighborhoods, solid properties, and responsible demographics. The challenge with dying markets is that there are many additional expenses and responsibilities … filling frequent vacancies, doing frequent upkeep, and evicting tenants and finding new ones.

In the same vein, rental properties simply won’t perform if there isn’t anyone to move in. Although properties in better neighborhoods may cost more, vacancies will be far lower. And in general, Dallas is far and away less expensive than most other major U.S. cities.

Your goal shouldn’t be to invest the absolute least amount of dollars possible, but to get the best return. John’s trick for finding worthwhile properties is to look for an after-repair value of $300,000 or more.

Investors benefit from higher rents for higher value properties because they will not only get positive cash flow, but they won’t be likely to get tenants who will have to be evicted or who run out without paying rent.

Because of economy of scale and efficiency, businesses like AREI can provide deals that would be hard to find elsewhere in a popular market … off-market deals that can be offered at reasonable prices.

We asked John what an ideal investment looks like. John specializes in single-family rentals and sees a lot of potential with these properties. He told us he’d zoom in on three things:

  1. Start with the market. John wants to see a growing, diverse economy that doesn’t rely on one industry for jobs.
  2. Look at the median home price. The national median home price is about $250,000. The ideal market should have home prices in line or below the national average … otherwise, investors won’t find affordable properties.
  3. Look at rental rates. Investors should look for strong rental prices and high demand. Tenants paying the median rent should be solidly middle class.

Investments that fit these criteria are low-risk because they provide a good cost-to-return ratio and offer stable, predictable returns. Go lower, and you’ll never get a passive investment because there is too much upkeep and unpredictability.

Investors from high-cost markets like California looking for a place to park their money are flocking to Dallas because it offers both good cash flow and the potential for continued appreciation.

Designing your personal investment philosophy

As the Real Estate Guys™, our investment philosophy has changed a lot over the years. In the beginning, we were drawn toward fantastically priced properties in lower class neighborhoods.

We had to get our heads around the fact that crap happens in poor properties in bad neighborhoods … even with overwhelmingly fabulous managers.

On paper, great properties in nice neighborhoods don’t sizzle as much in terms of returns, but they make life much more enjoyable and perform more consistently.

Want a relaxing retirement? Don’t get headache properties. We’ve learned it really is true that you get what you pay for.

The properties you invest in should be properties you’re comfortable holding forever … properties you’d be comfortable having your children manage.

Many new investors start out looking at lower-priced, lower-class properties, and then move to the A- and B-class properties like we did.

We think perhaps investors should turn that paradigm around and start with the low-hassle, low-risk properties, then work their way to the harder-to-manage lots.

Choosing a successful market

John strategically picked the Dallas market to invest in. So, we asked him what other markets he’s doing business in, and why.

John started out in Kansas City and St. Louis with AREI, and he says that area is a solid place to make an investment, especially in B-class properties. Because property taxes are lower, investors may see a higher rate of return as well … although the area is not experiencing the same exponential growth as Dallas.

John’s goal is to stay out of C-class properties, although investors who already have a few properties in their portfolio may want to consider investing in different types of properties to get nice blended returns.

Dallas will eventually top out and get too expensive. John thinks when that happens, investors will see secondary markets start to explode … which is why he is always on the lookout for the next best place to invest.

Get educated

We loved having John on the show because Dallas is absolutely on our short list of great places to park your money.  

With solid A- and B-class neighborhoods, high-caliber tenants, increasing demand, and a diverse job market, we’re not the only ones interested in Dallas. Now is the time to get in, while you can.

But investors new to Dallas need more than a good property … they need boots on the ground. A solid market plus a solid team is a killer combination.

Interested in seeing how John and his team acquire and rehab properties? Check out AREI 101, an education series by AREI chock-full of helpful information. And listen in to the show to get access to a special report John’s compiled just for our listeners.

Whether Dallas is the market for you or not, we hope we got you thinking about the difference between a property with the best possible cash flow on paper, and a property with more modest returns and significantly less headache.

Want to see Dallas for yourself? Get on the advance notice list for our Dallas field trips here so you can be the first to know about upcoming trips with The Real Estate Guys™.

Like we always say, effective action requires education.


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.

Leveraging Time – Going from Lone Wolf to Wolf Pack

A healthy, growing business requires help. If you’re a lone wolf real estate investor, accepting you need help is hard. Finding the right help can be even harder.

To make the transition from lone wolf to wolf pack easier for you, we’ve invited guest Robert Nickell to tell us about the process of finding the right folks to help grow his own business.

He’ll explain how to identify needs and set up processes to hire the right people so you can increase efficiency and offload busywork.

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

  • Your running-with-the-wolves host, Robert Helms
  • His wolfish co-host, Russell Gray
  • Real estate broker, investor, and consultant Robert Nickell

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Recruiting help: Rob’s story of trial and error

How can busy real estate professionals get the help they need? Robert Nickell has faced this problem … and conquered it.

Rob got his start in real estate working with a general contractor in high school. But his fire for real estate didn’t really get lit until one of his older siblings brought home a copy of Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki.

The idea of passive income and cash flow became a passion … but Rob didn’t have any starter cash. So in 2008, he started rehabbing and flipping houses with a friend.

“The market was primed for us to get in and get into it,” he says. The problem? Business was booming so much that he was running out of time.

Alongside managing contractors, projects, and materials for his rehabbing business, Rob started wholesaling. This required managing buyer lists and staying in touch with sellers.

But he didn’t want to hire someone. “To be honest, I didn’t want the responsibility of providing for someone else,” Rob says. But he knew he needed help. So, he started looking for part-time folks to fill in.

His first attempt didn’t go well. “I spent all of my time training and recruiting people. I was waking up miserable every day,” Rob says. “It was hard enough to run my own task list, much less give someone else a task list.”

Rob decided to visit his broker, who was crushing it with a small office but didn’t seem very stressed out. Rob, on the other hand, was working 60-70 hours a week and starting to hate his work. The broker’s secret? Virtual assistants.

The broker was leveraging low-cost trained labor from the Philippines to do the majority of the day-to-day work for his office … virtually anything that required a phone or a computer.

Rob decided to give it a shot. But his second attempt at offloading some of his work didn’t go well either.

His first hires were low-quality and required more work to train and oversee than it would take to just do the task himself. Rob had to learn how to develop a good process for hiring people from overseas.

From virtual pain to legitimate virtual assistant

The process for hiring virtual assistants isn’t much different than the process for hiring an in-office employee. For new hires, Rob now requires background checks, resumes, personality and job-specific tests, and sometimes, evidence of related experience. For example, anyone doing phone work has to do a phone analysis.

This process cuts down on time training people … and makes sure hires end up in places where they fit best and will be happiest.

Still, Rob says many people have misperceptions about virtual assistants. They think because overseas virtual assistants are inexpensive, they don’t require extensive training.

Rob takes a completely different tack by training his hire extensively to do what real estate investors do. “I’m looking for a rock star to complete specific jobs that will provide efficiencies for me,” he says.

Rob has some advice for real estate investors going through the same thing he did. “We’re all in different stages of stuck,” he says. Every business has inefficiencies they can eliminate.

The first step forward is to understand where you want to go with your business. Next, entrepreneurs need to create a structure based on their business plan for specific jobs that need to be created and filled.

For Rob, the formula for success looks like a combination of the right skill set, in the right seat, working under smart systems, with some accountability and structure in place.

Where can investors start? “The great thing about real estate is we can structure our businesses however we see fit,” Rob says. Every person does things a bit differently, but there are some basics that leaders can easily offload, like phone work to speak to marketing leads and property analysis.

Should the same person be doing both phone work and property analysis? Probably not. Personality tests and other evaluation can help you evaluate which job position a prospective hire will fit best.

Training and real-world experience are also key indicators. “When you couple experience with personality you can understand where people will really be successful,” Rob notes.

Helping other businesses succeed

Rob figured out the process of recruiting help for his own business. But he didn’t stop there. He now helps other real estate investors implement similar processes so they can run at maximum efficiency.

He starts by mapping out each business he works with, asking a few essential questions:

  1. What are you doing right now?
  2. What does your current team look like?
  3. What tasks do they complete?
  4. What are your business goals?

From there, he crafts a success map alongside his clients that details a structure for recruiting, hiring, training, and placing assistants throughout the business. This provides leaders with carefully crafted job descriptions and gives them some accountability throughout the process.

If the thought of delegation feels overwhelming to you … like it did at first for Rob … figure out the easiest things to delegate. Letting go of the tasks YOU don’t need to do can be the key to building a bigger and better business.

There is some art to this process, but it’s mostly a science, says Rob. When there’s not enough time, what projects fall by the wayside? Start there.

“Anyone can do this on their own,” Rob says, but working with a consultant may be the quickest solution. (Why figure something out on your own when there’s already a good solution out there?)

If you want to give hiring a virtual assistant a shot on your own, start with these steps:

  1. Map out your business goals and current structure.
  2. Develop a plan for specific tasks you need filled.
  3. Start recruiting. Look for a rock star who will fit the role perfectly.
  4. Get that person set up with a schedule, onboarding process, and any necessary training. Treat them like an employee, even though you will probably hire them as an independent contractor.

Try to create win-wins … for yourself and those you hire. Virtual assistants allow you to hire help at a low cost to fill certain needs … so you can spend your time doing the $1,000/hour tasks. And they receive benefits from steady pay and the opportunity to do work they’re good at and enjoy.

Reaching the next level

If you want to get to the next level, you’ve got to find a way to get help. Rob’s pioneered one solution. There are many others out there.

It’s easy to find a solution. It may not be so easy to recognize there’s a problem in the first place. But it’s essential. Because whether you want to grow your business or just be more efficient, you can’t do it alone.


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.

Preparing to Prosper with Social Capital

The people you spend time with influence what you think … and where you’ll end up. Building your social network gives you power and safety in an unstable economic environment.

Real estate is a relationship business. The most successful real estate investors have built a network of quality connections so they can exchange value when the time is right.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show, we’ll hear from Chris Martenson, co-author of the book Prosper! He’ll explain the eight types of capital … and take a deep dive into how and why building social capital is important.

Listen in! You’ll hear from:

  • Your socially adept host, Robert Helms
  • His socially awkward co-host, Russell Gray
  • Author and futurist Chris Martenson

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Chris Martenson’s eight forms of capital

If you listen to the show, you’ve heard us talk about the book Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart wrote. It’s called Prosper!, and we think it should be required reading for everyone … especially real estate investors.

Chris has a PhD in science, but today he works as an economic researcher and futurist. He says he is not a forecaster or a visionary, instead approaching his predictions through the lens of his scientific background.

Prosper! is a book about preparing for the future … but preparing doesn’t mean prepping a bunker. It means not taking for granted the energy and natural resources we rely on … and taking steps to make your life better today AND in the future.

“We can’t have a future based on the past,” Chris says. As technology, fuel sources, and the economy change, so will the way we prosper.

What can we do to prepare for the future? Build up capital, says Chris. He gave us a rundown of the eight essential types of capital important to a happy, healthy, and prosperous life.

  1. Financial capital. “Grow it and take care of it,” says Chris. (Don’t worry, the book goes into way more detail.)
  2. Living capital. Not only do we need to monitor the health of our bodies, but we should take stock of the health of the ecosystem around us, including soil, water, plants, and animals.
  3. Material capital. Don’t just own “stuff.” Think about whether your belongings are valuable and long-lasting. What properties do you own, and how are they fueled? How about your vehicles? Chris recommends buying high-durability basics that are simple to fix instead of cheap plastic tools that waste both money and resources over time.
  4. Knowledge capital. This is the sum or your book learning and actual experience.
  5. Social capital. Your social capital is built not just on how many people you know, but also on how well you know them and whether you can depend on them.
  6. Emotional capital. If you fall apart at the first sign of trouble, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve built up the other seven types of capital. Be able to rebound from insults and setbacks. Know yourself well enough that you can respond with a clear head when times are tight.
  7. Cultural capital. You either have this or you don’t, says Chris. The key is to take stock of where you’re at and where you want to be.
  8. Time capital. “Time is our most important asset,” says Chris. It’s important we be able to prioritize. In Chris’s words, “You get to waste one life … so don’t waste it!”

How and why to build your social capital

Rich social capital equals a happier, healthier person, says Chris, a person with a greater sense of reward and purpose. We derive meaning from the people we spend time with.

Chris measures his social capital by the number of people he could call to watch his kids if there were an emergency. (Take a second to take stock. How many people in your address book could you depend on to help with a last-minute crisis?)

Social capital is incredibly important … for both personal well-being and success as a businessperson. So how do we build it?

It’s simple, says Chris … spend time doing stuff with people.

For example, Chris hosts a monthly neighborhood potluck with anyone who’ll come. And he makes and effort to have real conversations with people … instead of just small talk.

The key to social capital? “You have to be the one to take the risk,” Chris says. Be real. Be vulnerable. And get down to the deep questions, instead of staying at surface level.

Build rapport and get to know people. It takes time, but results in a deep knowledge of others’ strengths and weaknesses.

As a real estate investor, your business is built on relationships. You don’t want those relationships to be simply transactional. By building rapport and depth, you’ll get better deals … and be more satisfied with your relationships.

Social capital is incredibly important. So sit down and make a strategic decision to make an effort to build on your current relationships … and make new ones.

Chris notes that most Americans are living in a state of anxiety and fear … but not taking any steps to make their situation better. In a happy and successful life, there’s no room for stress and strife, he says.

How can you step away from anxiety? “It’s all about the doing,” says Chris.

Chris’s business, Peak Prosperity, wants to give his community of readers knowledge about what’s happening now so they can take a big-picture view. But more importantly, he aims to help people take steps to change the way they live and prosper.

Envisioning the future

Interested in building your social capital? Come to our Create Your Future Goals Retreat in January! We aim to help you figure out your values, motivations, and goals … so you can find people who share similar values.

We enjoy talking to Chris and learning from him because he really pays attention to what the future might look like.

It’s a guarantee that the future will look different. Artificial intelligence, communication, and technology are all poised to shift radically in the next few decades. And big changes are coming to the economy, social stratosphere, and environment.

Yet despite not knowing what the future holds, we have to make major, long-term investment decisions every day.

That’s one reason social capital is so important. Having social capital means having a community of people you can trade ideas with. Social connections empower you to question yourself and learn new ideas … enabling you to prepare for the future with confidence.

Now go out and build some social capital! May we suggest a potluck?


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.

Expert Insights from the New Orleans Investment Conference

We were lucky enough to spend some time at the New Orleans Investment Conference, the longest-running investment conference in the United States.

In this episode, we chat with three expert guests. They share their expertise on all things investing, from cryptocurrencies to gold, the Federal Reserve to commercial real estate, the international oil market and the U.S. dollar.

Our guests touch on real-estate-specific issues, but they also give us the big picture about what’s going on in the financial space … and how that will affect investors of all types.

PLUS … our three guests have never before been featured on The Real Estate Guys™ show. Listen in to hear brand-new, timely insights from these money pros!

In this episode you’ll hear from:

  • Your top-dollar host, Robert Helms
  • His dollar-short co-host, Russell Gray
  • The godfather of real estate, Bob Helms
  • President of Neptune Global, Chris Blasi
  • Author of Fed Up, Danielle DiMartino Booth
  • Senior editor of the website International Man, Nick Giambruno

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Cryptocurrencies and precious metals, oh my!

Chris Blasi is an expert in all things money. He founded the precious metals exchange Neptune Global and has patented a new way to invest in metals.

We asked him to give us his insights on the cryptocurrency trend.

“Cryptocurrencies are all the rage,” he told us. That doesn’t mean they’re always the best choice.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currency backed by blockchain software. That means it is susceptible to the same issues as other software, like code issues, storage databases, and scaling.

Bitcoin is the big name in cryptocurrency right now, but there are hundreds of initial coin offerings, or ICOs, put on the market every day as people create new cryptocurrencies.

These cryptocurrencies have cost investors millions, Chris warns. “People need to step back and look at the market more closely” before making the jump to investing in cryptocurrencies, he says.

“Cryptos are actually a polar opposite of gold,” Chris says. Gold is a tangible asset, while cryptocurrencies are entirely digital.

That doesn’t mean he’s saying yay or nay to digital currencies … only cautioning investors to understand what they really are.

“Cryptos offer speculative gains,” he notes. “Do your homework and invest in moderation.”

Nick is actually an expert in gold … he developed a patented unit of trade for precious metals, the PMC ounce. It’s a unit of trade that corresponds to proportions of physical gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

Using real-time technology, investors can buy and sell PMC ounces of metal immediately through Neptune Global.

The goal is to offer a turnkey precious metals fund … backed by real assets. And the PMC ounce has been architected to capture the blended return of each metal, smoothing out the volatility of trading in just gold or silver, for example.

Fed up with the Federal Reserve

Danielle DiMartino Booth has dipped her feet into all matters related to money. She has experience in private and public equities, worked as a finance journalist, and spent nine years at the Federal Reserve. She recently published the book Fed Up, her take on what’s wrong with the Federal Reserve.

We started by asking Danielle to give us an overview of the Federal Reserve.

The Fed is a quasi-public organization that is intended to function as the central bank of the United States.

Unlike some conservative politicians and finance experts, Danielle doesn’t want to abolish the Fed. She gave us her take on what we need to do to reform the Fed:

  1. Go from a dual mandate to a single mandate. The current Federal Reserve operates on a dual mandate of 1) protecting the value of our dollar and stabilizing prices and 2) maximizing employment. Danielle is in favor of completely dropping the labor mandate, which she believes would help keep both inflation and the value of the dollar in check.
  1. Reduce the number of local Federal Reserve banks from 12 to 10 and add a bank to the West Coast. In a largely cashless society, the need for so many districts has clearly dissipated, says Danielle.
  1. Hire knowledgeable people who represent regional economies. Get rid of the majority of the regulators in the Federal Reserve. Instead of hiring PhDs, hire people who actually understand the inner workings of the U.S. financial system.  Give each district a permanent vote on the federal open market committee, and change the complexion of the Federal Reserve board so it’s composed of people who are actually on the receiving end of the policies the Fed makes.

Danielle is ridiculously knowledgeable about the Fed, but she also had a lot to say about real estate. We asked for her thoughts on the real estate market.

“Investors are missing the forest for the trees,” Danielle says. “I’m seeing the forest.”

Danielle notes that commercial buildings are overbuilt right now, and that abandoned B- and C-class malls and retail structures can only be repurposed for so long. That glut of overdeveloped, centrally located land will cause an oversupply problem, she says.

Another problem? “There are not enough low-cost homes.” We are facing a housing shortage that will only get worse in the next 20-30 years.

The people who benefit most from the overall real estate situation, Danielle says, are the people who are perceptive and get in while the fire is still burning and prices are at rock bottom.

The yuan, the petrodollar, and what it means for YOU

Nick Giambruno is a reporter and editor for Casey Research, specifically their International Man website.

We asked him about an intriguing article that appeared in the news for about a half second.

It’s about China’s hopes to price oil in the yuan (instead of the U.S. dollar) using a gold-based futures contract.

Why is this significant? Nick walked us through what this could mean.

If China is successful, “This will usher in a new era in the international monetary system,” says Nick.

A quick history lesson:

  • In 1971, Nixon ends the Breton-Woods system; the dollar is no longer backed by gold
  • To preserve the value of the dollar, Kissinger creates the petrodollar system, in which the U.S. government agrees to provide protection to Saudi Arabia in exchange for oil being priced in U.S. dollars
  • The petrodollar system gives other countries an incentive to hold U.S. dollars

If China goes forward with its new money mechanism, it could divert 400-600 billion dollars in oil sales every year that would normally go through U.S. currency.

This could have a HUGE impact on international financial markets. Oil is the most valuable commodity in the world right now … essentially, Nick says, “China is going for the jugular of the U.S. financial system.”

How does the breakdown of the petrodollar concern you? “The breakdown of the petrodollar will have clear consequences for interest rates.” And as we all know, interest rates are the price of money.

We hope you learned something new from our expert guests! 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.

Halloween Horror Stories 2017

Halloween may be yesterday’s news, but we’ve collected a killer bunch of horror stories that will give you a good spook … no matter what time of year it is.

In this annual segment, we’ll share seven tales of real estate investing gone horribly wrong … and the lessons investors took away from their nightmarish experiences.

This blog post features four of the stories … to hear the full collection, including stories about downed trailer parks, burning buildings, and more, listen to our podcast episode!

In our 2017 edition of Halloween Horror Stories you’ll hear from:

  • Your far-from-frightening host, Robert Helms
  • His co-host, an all-around scary guy, Russell Gray
  • Formidable five-decade investor, Bob Helms
  • Our formerly frightened guests

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Drugs, guns, and squatters

Peter and Monique bought a property … only to find out it was quite a nightmare. The pair bought a C-class apartment building about a year ago.

“The issue was not the fire, or the landscaper that was shot, or the gun that was pulled on the on-site manager, or the homeless people who set up in one of the empty apartments for Valentine’s Day,” says Peter. “No, the problem was even worse than that … it was the property management company.”

Peter and Monique thought they did their due diligence.

Their property management company, which the last property owner had also used, was the biggest and best in the state.

But the numbers started telling a different story.

Still, when Peter and Monique spoke to the people at the property management company, they were pleasant and reassuring.

The numbers kept sliding … for eight months, until the couple finally decided to hire a new property management company.

The pair discovered after the fact that the former management company had been negligent on all fronts. Although the company had a set of policies and standards that looked great on paper, they hadn’t been following them.

The property managers were not screening tenants, paying important bills, or handling maintenance issues. Some leaks hadn’t been fixed for MONTHS.

One of the most difficult parts of the situation was saying goodbye to the former company, who Monique and Peter had been friendly with and liked personally.

But today, Monique and Peter have contracted with a smaller boutique property management company that an investor acquaintance recommended to them.

They have weekly check-ins with the property management company, which has been staying on top of issues, so far.

Lesson: Don’t trust a property management company just because someone else trusts them. Do your due diligence … and then let the numbers inform your decisions. And always keep tabs on your property manager with regular check-ins and in-person visits.

The money pit

Felicia is a doctor and frequent traveler. She’s also a real estate investor.

She’s a busy lady. So, when her real estate agent found a great deal on a portfolio of eight homes while Felicia was out of town, Felicia didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Four properties were in good condition and already had tenants, while the other four were fixer-uppers. Not a problem … Felicia figured she could use the profits from the first four homes to fix up the second set of four.

The fixer-uppers were in C- and D-class neighborhoods, and Felicia discovered that her attempts at repairs were constantly thwarted … because every time her contractors left equipment and materials outside, they were stolen.

She was sinking money into the properties at a horrifying rate. Finally, Felicia asked how much it would cost to do all the repairs.

She got a $50,000 loan from her bank and used it to complete the repairs … only to discover that her 50k was gone and the buildings still weren’t ready for tenants.

At that point, she had to decide whether to keep digging herself into an even deeper hole. She decided to sell.

Felicia says if she could have done it differently, she would have made sure her investing partner was on board before proceeding with the deal. She found out after the fact that her partner hadn’t even made on-site visits while she was out of town.

She also would have had a general contractor or inspector go through the fixer-uppers and give her a quote and a time frame for repairs.

And finally, she would’ve made sure she was well capitalized so she could finance the repairs.

Lessons: Do your due diligence before purchasing a property. Understand your partner and make sure they’re all in. And if you do get into a bad situation, make sure you have the awareness to know when to stop.

The chilling chop saw massacre

Michael M. was driving by his property one day when he saw something truly horrifying … his tenant had fired up a chop saw and cut a ragged hole into the brick wall of his building.

An apartment on top and mini-market on the bottom, the property didn’t have any big problems … until one hot day when the mini-market tenant to put in an air-conditioning unit themselves.

Michael said he did a few things when he found out.

He was tempted to be offended that his tenant had permanently altered the building … so his first order of business was to get over his initial shock and anger.

Next, he talked to the tenant. He collected the tenant’s hefty security deposit and made it very clear that any unapproved alterations would be cause for removal.

Then, he hired some professionals to fix up the hack job done by his tenant. The tenant paid the bill.

Lesson: Make sure tenants are aware of the provisions of their lease and the consequences for violating those provisions. And make sure you’re covered by collecting security deposits from tenants.

A killer of a deal

BJ and Pauline’s problem started with their quest for a 1031 tax-deferred exchange.

The couple wanted to use the equity in their four-plex to buy a larger multi-unit apartment building.

They found the perfect property … or so they thought. It was a 12-unit building that fit all their criteria.

While doing their due diligence, however, the couple hired an inspector and began to realize the building would take a lot of work to get up to par.

All right, they thought … we can handle that.

Then BJ decided to do a few walkthroughs himself, without the real estate agent. On one visit, he ran into the maintenance man and got the real story about the building.

Apparently, the current property manager had recently been murdered in one of the building’s units. No one had disclosed that detail to the duo!

That manager had been involved in some “extracurricular activities,” says BJ, and most of the current tenants were there because they’d been connected to the manager’s illegal side job.

Despite their chilling discovery, BJ and Pauline didn’t throw in the towel. Instead, they used the building’s problems to their advantage.

They started by negotiating a rock-bottom price with the owner based on the information they’d discovered.

After purchasing the property, they got started on renovations and hired a new property manager. Their new manager had all the current tenants complete an application and sign a lease … so most of the former tenants moved out.

Although cash flow wasn’t great for a few months, the pair now have 7 out of their 12 apartments filled with vetted tenants. They’re hopeful for the future.

Lessons: Always visit and inspect properties yourself before purchasing. Get someone on the inside to give you the real scoop about the property and area. And at every point in the process, make sure you have a good team in place, including a quality lawyer and a diligent property manager.

Don’t get scared off …

We hope you’re not too scared. The goal of these stories is to encourage, not discourage.

Hopefully this year’s horror stories illustrate that real estate has ups and downs … and that nothing is wrong with you if something goes wrong with a deal.

We also hope you learn vicariously from these lessons and develop strategies for mitigating risk in your own investments.

End up with a horror story of your own? Like our guests, we want you to be able to shift from thinking “Oh no!” to asking, “What can I learn from this?”

Push yourself to fail faster, get better, and always keep learning.


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 – Raising Money, Refinancing, Retirement Funds and More

In our most recent edition of Ask The Guys, we weigh in on topics that are relevant to YOU.

From how to leverage retirement funds to how to get started in real estate without much capital, our questions have been handpicked with our listeners in mind.

Keep in mind that we are not legal or tax professionals. We do not give advice. The ideas in this show are simply that … ideas.

In this edition of Ask The Guys you’ll hear from:

  • Your infinitely wise host, Robert Helms
  • His wise-guy co-host, Russell Gray

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Question: I want to get started in real estate investing, but I don’t have a lot of capital. What can I do to get started now?

Two of our listeners, Miles from Atlanta, Georgia, and Jose in Mesa, Arizona, asked us this question … and it’s no surprise.

When we think about investing, we think about money. But currency doesn’t always mean dollar bills.

Relationships, opportunities, and knowledge are all valuable currency in the real estate investment game.

Find more experienced investors who have equity but don’t have a lot of time. Unlike them, you have time to be boots on the ground and make things happen.

Find a network where you can gain knowledge. Then, bring ideas to the people with cash and show them how to use YOUR hustle for THEIR benefit.

Here’s a quick example … and remember this is just an idea. Always consult professionals before taking action.

You may find someone who owns a dilapidated house. The owner is equity rich but the cash flow is poor. Maybe you could take the opportunity to partner with him. You could say, “I don’t have the money to fix this up, but if it were fixed up, you could get steady cash flow. You have a good credit score and income, so you can borrow. You get the cash, and I’ll do the deal.”

You do the work and fix up the property. You supply the hustle. You make the deal … and then you both split the profits!

The one thing you can always do … right away, everyday … is build your brand, build your reputation, and build your network.

Question: The market for multifamily properties is so competitive. How do I find a property?

Our listener Sid owns a business in Daphne, Alabama. He’s wondering whether he should give up on his search for a multifamily property and focus on setting up a hard location for his business.

Multifamily is SUPER, SUPER COMPETITIVE. It’s hard to find deals that work and even harder to get one of those deals.

The first question to ask when it comes to multifamily properties is, “Am I in the right space?” If you’re like Sid, and the market is hopping, the answer is probably yes.

If you’re in the right space … but it’s a little picked over … try looking off the beaten path to see if you can find a property that will offer more than just financial returns.

If you own a business, consider buying a building bigger than you need and housing tenants adjacent to you.

Find one-off deals that meet your unique set of needs. Be careful with your numbers and have a good plan.

Keep your business and your real estate investments separate.

This gives you flexibility down the line. You may decide one day that you’re going to sell your business and keep the building because you have nurtured and created great tenants. OR, you may decide to sell the building and get some cash but keep your tenancy to operate your business.

Question: What’s the mock real estate game you reference on your show and recommend playing?

Rob in Circleville, Ohio, wants to know about this game we’re always talking about.

It’s called CASHFLOW 101 and was invented and developed by Robert and Kim Kiyosaki.

Now, it isn’t a real estate game necessarily … but it IS a financial game.

When you play a board game you have mental and emotional reactions. If you take the time to dig in and find out why you are reacting in certain ways, you can discover a lot about your mental makeup … and how to change it.

So, this game isn’t as much about information as it is about transformation. It’s a chance to identify your strengths and weakness and take risks in a low-stakes setting.

Question: I need to learn how to raise money. What would you recommend I do?

Jim in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, was bummed to learn that our next Secrets of Successful Syndication seminar isn’t offered until March 2018.

Jim wants to get started in with residential assisted living, but he feels he needs to learn how to raise money first.

There are plenty of things you can do now to learn this valuable skill.  

Syndication is the most entrepreneurial form of real estate. Entrepreneurs go out into the market and find a problem to solve. Then, they convert that problem into an opportunity.  

To create opportunity as a real estate investor, you need to organize your resources … money, people, and ideas.

Get in an environment where you can learn from people who are already syndicating.

Find someone who is successfully doing syndication and say, “Hey, I love to learn. Is there something that I can do to help you?”

Offer your skills … whether you’re good at market research or social media promotion or building websites. Build relationships.

A key to success is learning how to talk to people one-on-one about money.

To raise money, you need to learn the language of investing AND get really comfortable asking the right questions in order to understand another person’s financial situation.

There are a few things you can do to get started:

  • Come to our event How to Win Funds and Influence People.
  • Pick up a book by Sam Freshman called Principles of Real Estate Syndication. This is NOT a motivational book. It’s literally the textbook on syndication and a great way to learn the nuts and bolts of the topic.
  • Listen to syndication-focused episodes of our show on our website. Simply go to the search bar and type in “syndication.”
  • Listen to general financial podcasts. You need to learn the language of money to communicate with other investors about your projects.
  • Sign up for Secrets of Successful Syndication in March. Get on the advanced notice list here to be the first to know when tickets are available.

Question: How can I be sure I’ll have money to refinance a commercial loan when the balloon is due?

Charles in North Palm Beach, Florida, owns a handful of small apartment buildings and a multi-use building with no mortgage. He plans to purchase a 20-unit building when he finds a deal … and he wants to cash out by refinancing his multi-use building when he does.

But Charles … like many of you … keeps thinking about 2008. Because commercial loans now have short terms of 5 or 10 years, he wants to be sure he’ll have money to refinance when the balloon is due.

There is nothing you can do to completely ensure there will be a loan available 5 or 10 years down the line. But even if there isn’t, you WON’T be lost in the woods.

Private capital is always an option.

In order to take advantage of private capital, you need to make sure you have a strong operating property that is generating good cash flow. Cash flow is the price you pay to get your hands on capital.

The other thing you can do is check your balance sheet and make sure you can cross collateralize your loans.

One perk of private lenders is their flexibility compared to other sources. Lenders are more willing to consider multiple sources of equity. And if a private lender doesn’t bite, consider using syndication to refinance instead.

Don’t sit out of the market. You don’t make money sitting out.

Be proactive. Don’t be paranoid.

Charles also asked how we’ve found our best deals.

The answer is relationships. Build your brand. Build your network. Every great deal we have done is with people who know us and understand us.   

Question: Where can I find the “Prepare” report by Chris Martenson that you mentioned on a recent podcast?

Maryanne from Newburyport, Massachusetts, is referring to a recent show that included a special conference call with Chris Martenson and Brien Lundin.

On that call, we discussed a major announcement from China.

China is proposing to deal in the oil trade using a gold-backed currency. This could be a game changer in a worldwide system that isn’t backed by anything.

At the end of that discussion we addressed what you can do to prepare. Listen in to get access to Chris Martenson’s special report.

Chris Martenson will be on the investor Summit at Sea™ with us this year … we also recommend his book Prosper!

Question: Will there be a Belize discovery trip in summer 2018?

Bob in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and his wife wanted to know how far out we schedule our Belize discovery trips. They want to include a discovery trip in their anniversary vacation … now that’s a good anniversary!

We don’t have the dates for upcoming Belize discovery trips yet, but we do schedule them several months in advance. For a trip in June, check our website in March or April.

Get on the advanced notice list to be notified as soon as dates are announced!

Question: Can I use money from my retirement accounts to make updates to my house?

Daniel in Livermore, California has both a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA. His goal is to maximize his tax deductions and avoid using cash savings to make updates to his home.

We’re not tax advisors … BUT … our understanding is the answer is no.

When it comes to retirement accounts there are lots of things you CAN do, but one of the prohibited transactions is anything to do with your own personal residence.

We suggest talking with a CPA or a lawyer before making any decisions.  

Question: Do you know of anyone who has purchased training for the Residential Assisted Living Academy, and have you heard about subsequent real world successes?

Our final question comes from Lou in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

You’ve probably heard us interview Gene Guarino on our program. He’s the founder of RAL Academy and teaches folks how to do residential assisted living.

We have been to his trainings and know dozens of people who have not only taken his classes but also found success in the RAL market.

A reminder … we don’t gain anything from Gene’s success … except happiness for him and everyone else.

We love that Gene actually practices what he preaches. You can tour his properties and meet his staff. He has all sorts of resources and services available on the back end if you’d like more help beyond his classes, too.

If you’re serious about being in this or any space … you need a mentor. If you don’t have a mentor in a particular field, hire someone!


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.

Private Money Markets – Loan Options for Real Estate Investors

The key to successful real estate investing is your understanding of financing and lending. You MUST be able to leverage the money you own (or borrow) so you can put your capital to work.

There’s a lot of money churning around out there. Many different sources provide loans. The government and big banks are two options … but they may not be the best options for your particular situation.

That’s why we’re talking about private loans today … a smart option for non-owner-occupied properties that may not be eligible for a traditional loan.

We’ve invited an expert guest who’s worked in financing for decades. Listen in for a show that’s jam-packed with information! You’ll hear from:

  • Your loan-happy host, Robert Helms
  • His loanable co-host, Russell Gray
  • Private lender, Tony O’Brien

Listen



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What are private loans?

Tony O’Brien worked as a stockbroker after graduating from Michigan State. In 1995, he formed his own hedge fund. Today, he helps investors who are looking to buy properties by providing financing.

He’s got his thumb on the pulse of lending markets. We asked Tony the state of lending markets today.

Tony told us the market has gone through a number of twists recently, all of which are good for individual investors.

Government and big banks, wary after the crash of ’08, no longer provide money to real estate investors who want to rehab or flip properties. Thus the rise of private lending markets.

Most traditional loans operate inside Dodd-Frank guidelines, while most private loans operate outside, giving them more leeway. That means more leeway for you to find a loan with low rates and loan-to-cost ratios that range from 50 to 90 percent.

And there are more people willing to make private loans than ever before.

When Tony says private loans, do you hear high rates? Think again. Although rates are typically higher than traditional loan rates, private money pays off because it’s quick and nimble.

How do private loans work?

Tony gave us the nitty-gritty on how private loans work.

First, what do lenders look for? Tony says that first of all, they look for integrity and trustworthiness.

“There’s no such thing as a no-doc loan,” he notes. Investors must have documents to back up their financial status.

But people who come to Tony with a property that makes sense and the right amount of money can make a deal work.

What about making sure a property is the right investment?

If a property needs work, Tony expects investors to have a rehab budget in hand. Then he’ll appraise the property to see if that budget makes sense.

Including the appraisal process, Tony’s goal is to close in 10 days … a quick and painless process for both lender and borrower.

We asked Tony about rates, fees, and points. He told us borrowers will always pay two to four points for loans.

With a credit score above 650, borrowers can expect competitive rates.

Although interest rates may be higher than rates from traditional loans, Tony emphasized that if real estate investors can borrow money at one percent a month or less, they’ve hit a home run.

Especially for short-term loans, private money markets offer money that investors can’t obtain anywhere else.

But what about long-term rehab loans? We asked Tony how he deals with refinancing.

Longer-term loans … with terms ranging from 5 to 30 years … have to be rolled over to a different lending business. Tony offers his investors a free roll forward to 30-year mortgages and shorter-term flex loans.

While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may look like good options, they’re only available to buyers with W-2 income … something many real estate investors don’t have. And there is a limit on the number of loans you can get.

Why use financing?

We’re always mystified when we see investors who own the majority of their properties. They’ve tied up capital in their properties instead of leveraging financing to get the most bang for their buck.

It’s not a smart move.

Private lenders like Tony WANT to give real estate investors money … in fact, Tony tries to avoid rejecting investors who don’t qualify. Instead, he mentors them and helps them look for a team or another solution so they can achieve their dreams

“We’re careful, but also optimistic,” says Tony of his approach to lending.

Eighty-five percent of his borrowers come back to borrow again.

Tony recently published a book, The Comprehensive Guide to Private Money Markets. Want to get some more serious knowledge from Tony on how to borrow private money … without worrying about your rate? Listen in to get access to Tony’s guide … and more info geared toward helping YOU make more money in real estate.

More on private money markets

As opposed to a traditional mortgage application, Tony’s loans require minimal information … a simple application, documentation of your current employment, and a statement that shows what you currently have in the bank.

“It’s not intrusive, but it does make you accountable,” Tony says of the process.

We’ve talked on the show about the role of investors in helping areas bounce back from natural disaster.

We asked Tony how he’s positioned to help investors in markets like Florida and Houston that have large numbers of flood- and hurricane-damaged properties.

“We aren’t afraid of damage,” Tony told us. “It’s a numbers thing.” His lending company is positioned to start lending heavily in both locations.

Tony also told us about his new program, Money Club.

Tony realized that investors are a breed unto itself … and wanted to create an organization that benefits real estate investors specifically.

Members in his club get access to no-point loans, market information, and foreclosed property listings that are priced to sell by banks.

“It’s a one-stop shop,” says Tony.

For our last question, we asked Tony to tell us the most important things investors need to know about private money. He said:

  1. “It’s available, and there’s no limit.” With the right deal, investors have a sure-fire way to get money. Tony says he can offer a loan 85 to 90 percent of the time.
  2. “Money isn’t free.” Rates are higher than those you’d get from the government. Points and paperwork will always be part of the equation … you can’t expect something for nothing.

Hard-to-buy properties aren’t so hard to buy anymore … not with private money.

Unraveling the mysteries of money

Big-brained people like Tony O’Brien help us unravel the mysteries of money.

Many of you may have thought there’s only one on-ramp to the investors’ highway … we hope learning about this lending category has changed your minds.

Almost 10 years later, we’re still digesting the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis. The key to success is getting money to market.

Private money markets provide a huge opportunity to do value-added real estate.

And although you may pay slightly more to get access to that capital, you get the opportunity to invest in otherwise un-buyable properties with money that is quick and easy to access.

Enlightened? Then 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.

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