A divergence in the farce …

In our last edition we took a look at this chart for clues to where we’re at in “the cycle” …

Housing Price Index to Production Wage Index
Interesting Image

SOURCE: FEDERAL RESERVE ECONOMIC DATA HTTPS://FRED.STLOUISFED.ORG

(The data came from the Fed, but the chart was put together by The Heritage Foundation here)

You can see a tight correlation between wage growth and property prices from 1991 to 1999.  Then something happened to create a divergence.

That divergence blew into a BIG gap between wages and housing prices … with home prices inflating much faster than wages.  At least until the middle of 2007.

Then something else happened which crashed housing prices … and not just back down to the wage trend line …

… but housing prices dipped well below the trend line (“over-corrected”), hitting bottom in 2011 and starting a new “bull run” in early 2012.

That’s when Warren Buffet famously proclaimed on CNBC 

I’d Buy Up ‘A Couple Hundred Thousand’ Single-Family Homes If I Could

Warren Buffett 2/27/12

Smart guy.  Obviously, when you look at the chart, the timing was perfect.  And most folks who were buyers in 2012 are sitting on piles of equity today.

But now it’s clear the correlation between housing prices and incomes remains broken.  Housing prices are once again stretching the limits of incomes.

No wonder there’s pressure to lower taxes, interest rates, and oil prices!

The only way to keep this party going is to make those relatively anemic household incomes control bigger loans.  And to no surprise …

Average U.S. mortgage size hits record-high $354,500

Reuters, 3/13/19

Does this mean housing prices are about to crash again?  Maybe.

It’s said history doesn’t always repeat itself, but it often rhymes.  That’s a catchy way of saying people often find new ways to make the same mistakes.

Then again, smart people learn from their mistakes so they can avoid making them again.

In this case, go back and look at the chart.  But instead of focusing on housing prices, focus on incomes.

What do you see?

Incomes are slowly, consistently, persistently, steadily … rising.

Of course, if you look at the CPI (inflation) chart below, you can see the cost of living is also rising …

Interesting Image
So just because people are making more money, it doesn’t mean they’re getting ahead.

In fact, folks who don’t own inflating assets which can be sold or borrowed against to supplement their incomes … are falling further and further behind.

So what does it mean, what can we learn, and what can we do to survive and thrive?

These are all topics of a much bigger discussion.  We covered some if it in a recent radio show.

For now, here are a few suggestions to consider:

Focus on investing and underwriting for cash-flow …

Yes, you’ll make more money on equity.  But equity is a by-product of cash-flow.  The more cash-flow, the more equity.

More importantly, conservative cash-flow gives you staying power when asset prices temporarily collapse.

Think of equity as a fun, but fickle lover … and cash-flow as the loyal, predictable partner you can build a life with.

Sequester some bubble equity for a rainy day …

Rates are low.  Lending guidelines are softening.

This indicates there’s a lot of motivation (desperation?) to get more debt in the system … a sometimes-telltale sign we’re nearing the end of a boom cycle.

Of course, when you harvest equity from properties, it’s important to be smart about using the proceeds.

We think it’s best to create cash-flow (have we mentioned this is important?) … along with liquidity, and safety from volatile markets and financial systems.

We could do an entire series on this one topic … and in fact, we’re working on it.

Something like … “knowing what we know now, this is what we wish we would have done heading into the 2008 financial crisis.”

Yes, we know the title needs a little work.

Watch for signs which signal shifts …

Shift happens.  It’s painful when you’re on the wrong end of it, and that usually happens because you missed the sign … not because it wasn’t there.

In 1999, Uncle Sam pressured then semi-private Fannie and Freddie to lower their lending standards to help marginal borrowers buy homes.

It worked.  Home ownership … and prices … went way up.

In 2001, the Alan Greenspan Fed threw gasoline on the fire by pumping in billions (which was a lot of money back then) into the system to reflate the stock market after the Dot Com crash.

But a lot of the money ended up in bonds … mortgage-backed securities in particular … and ultimately into housing … inflating an equity bubble.

Oops.

In fact, Greenspan tried to jawbone the markets into prudence.  But he’d already spiked the punch bowl … and everyone was in full-blown party mode.

More recently, the Fed tried to take away the current punch bowl by raising rates … and took a lot of criticism.

When you see interest rates and lending standards falling, it’s a sign.

Study history … and talk with smart, experienced people …

 Everything is 20/20 in hindsight. It’s easy to predict the past.

But as it’s been said …

 “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke

That’s why we encourage attendance at live events like the New Orleans Investment Conference and the Investor Summit at Sea™.

These are great places to connect with like-minded folks, have our perspectives broadened, and get into great conversations.

But even if you’re a dedicated homebody, invest in finding a local tribe of similarly interested people to study and talk with.

You’ll learn more faster in conversations with others compared to simply gorging yourself on terabytes of content.

It’s important to use conversation to process what you consume.

Enjoy the sunshine, but pack an umbrella …

We’re not saying a crash is coming.  But no one can say it isn’t.

It seems to us the best plan is to prepare for sunshine or rain.  In practical terms, this means ….

… organize some liquidity and keep it insulated from both market risk and counter-party risk …

… build a solid brand and network with well-capitalized potential investors …

… fortify the cash-flows and financing structures on your keepers …

… jettison assets you think already have their best days behind them …

… study history, watch for clues in the news, and mastermind with smart investors.

Because you’re only better off for doing all these things whether the party continues or comes to an ugly end.

And this is probably not a good time to get too over-extended.

Besides, even if you’re interested in aggressive personal wealth building right now …

… it’s arguably faster and safer to build rapid wealth through syndication rather than getting personally over-extended.

Until next time … good investing!


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The AntiLawyer’s Guide to Opportunity Zones: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The AntiLawyer’s Guide to Opportunity Zones: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

 

Opportunity Zones are hot, hot, hot! Learn the pros, the cons, and the need to knows.

If you’ve had your real estate ear to the ground lately, you’ve heard the buzz about Opportunity Zones.

Opportunity Zones are designated geographical areas that provide tax benefits if certain property investments are made in the zones that encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities across the United States.

But why should you take the leap into these particular opportunity zone funds?

Like any investment, Opportunity Zones can make a lot of good sense … but they also can have a few bad outcomes … and could create ugly results when handled incorrectly.

Learn the ins and outs of investing in Opportunity Zones. Check out this special report to explore:

✓ The tax benefits of Opportunity Zone investments

✓ The major drawback for most real estate investors

✓ How the government is involved in Opportunity Zone operation

✓ Why Opportunity Zones can be better than a 1031 Exchange

✓ How to spot artificial demand

✓ And more!

Discover the good, the bad, and the ugly of Opportunity Zones!
 
Get started by filling out the form below to access The AntiLawyer’s Guide to Opportunity Zones: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly …!

The Avengers Endgame and YOUR real estate investing …

You probably know The Avengers Endgame is the culmination of a 22-film decade-long extravaganza of EPIC story-telling.

What you may not know is how many great real estate investing lessons surround The Avengers Endgame.

Here are just a few … and don’t worry, there are no spoilers!

Lesson 1:  Businesses and their jobs will move to seek a better environment.

The Avengers Endgame was filmed at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, Georgia … and NOT in Hollywood, California.

The Pinewood Studios website says Georgia is “the number one filming location in the world” according to this industry report by Film LA.

One of the reasons is ” … the highly competitive nature of tax credits …”

Over five years ago, the Los Angeles Daily News reported this trend …

Why TV, Film Production is Running Away from Hollywood

“ … they’re running away from here … primarily due to tax incentives offered in … states with rich tax credits such as Georgia …”

But it’s not just taxes, though they’re a BIG part.

As New York discovered when Amazon abruptly backed out of plans to bring 25,000 jobs to Long Island city for their much sought after HQ2 …

… it came down to a long-term environment that Amazon did not care to work in …”

And they’re not talking weather.  It’s the political environment.

So while YOU may or may not agree with Amazon’s or Disney’s politics or business practices … it’s important to remember how the businesses feel.

Learn to look at markets the way employers do … even if you disagree.

Lesson 2:  Get rich in a niche.

This is where LOCAL knowledge really helps.

As you might guess, creating a blockbuster film like The Avengers Endgame requires hundreds … perhaps thousands … of talented, highly-paid people.

While some workers are local to the studio, many come to town temporarily during production … which can last months.

These folks aren’t going to live in a hotel room or a trailer all that time, which means they need nice, local housing.  But they aren’t buying.  They’re renting.

Some investors we know figured this out … and developed an entire business model catering to the unique temporary housing needs of the film producers.

“What?  You didn’t see that coming?”

– Hawkeye to Quicksilver in The Avengers – Age of Ultron 

We learned about it during an Atlanta field trip years ago … and it made perfect sense then … and it still does.

After all, when a producer is driving hard and fast to execute on a high-stakes timeline to get a 9-figure film over the line …

… they’re deploying a LOT of capital really fast … and they need to get things off their checklist quickly.

Focus on the REAL needs of your customer and you don’t need to compete on price.

Lesson 3:  Primary drivers create secondary and tertiary jobs.

Even if you’re unable to get into the primary path of cash, there’s still a lot of opportunity to get in on the action … a little downstream.

When money is being drawn into a geography by a large enterprise or industry … the money flows through the primary driver to the locals.

So even though not all real estate investors are renting directly to members of The Avengers Endgame production team …

… there are plenty of employees of secondary local vendors who are also being paid out of the fat production budget.

Of course, it’s not just The Avengers Endgame budget, which is temporary.

The real driver is the CONSISTENT stream of production budgets drawn to Pinewood Studios.

But whether you’re deriving rental income directly tied to those production budgets via primary and secondary employees … there’s yet a third tier.

Even your tenants who don’t get paid directly from the production are working for the restaurants, shops, and other local businesses who serve those who are.

Just remember … it all starts with the PRIMARY drivers.

Pay attention to primary drivers and the rest will usually follow.

Lesson 4:  Always begin with the end in mind.

You may recognize this adage as one of The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey. It’s a powerful concept.

The Avengers Endgame is the capstone of a world-class case study in what “beginning with the end in mind” looks like in the real world.

Every film over a decade painstakingly added new characters and story-lines carefully woven together into a powerful tapestry of cinematography.

It’s a testament to thinking ahead.

Of course, there’s probably been many course adjustments along the way … as talent, opportunity, and even adversity, all manifested on the road to success.

In that regard, The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a lot like life and investing.

Yet very few folks we know are thinking that far ahead.  But perhaps they should be.

In the Create Your Future Goals Retreat, one important outcome is to define your personal mission, vision, values and most important goals … for ALL areas of your life.

With clarity of vision, you can make better small decisions about how you want to live and fund a life you’ll be pleased with when you put you head on the pillow for that very last time.

Take time to plan a happy ending for YOUR endgame. 

Lesson 5:  Big dreams take time to build.

In the 22 films from Iron Man to The Avengers Endgame, Marvel Studios patiently constructed an entire “cinematic universe”.

It made the concept of a trilogy seem tiny.  It was (and is) a BIG vision … and it took over a decade to develop.

In real estate, whether you’re assembling a powerful portfolio of properties or building a mega-million-dollar master planned development, it takes time and consistency to get it done.

Most people can’t think that big … and still pay attention to details at the same time.  And many that do, can’t stay the course.

But when you do, you have a chance to accomplish something extraordinary.

Think big.  Plan small.  Stay the course. 

Lesson 6:  Together Everyone Achieve More.

TEAM is a huge theme both inside and outside The Avengers Endgame story line.

From the first Avengers film, where a self-absorbed Tony Stark transforms into someone willing to make the ultimate sacrifice …

… to the violently divisive Captain America – Civil War and The Avengers – Age of Ultron where division nearly destroys the team …

The Avengers discover time and again their best chance for success is teamwork.

Of course, out in the real world, it took teams of writers, directors, actors, special effects, stunt people, production and marketing staff …

…  all working together with diverse skills, backgrounds, personalities and perspectives …

… to make The Avengers Endgame the BIGGEST box-office success in history.

If you have aspirations to build a great real estate investing business or portfolio … ESPECIALLY if you’re syndicating, you’ll need a team.

Build a great team.

Finally, to paraphrase Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow when she unleashed The Hulk to smash the baddies … Go be an investing hero.

Until next time … good investing!


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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Ask The Guys – Infinite Returns, Gold, Cap Rates, and Cash Flow

It’s your questions and our answers.

That’s right. It’s time for another segment of Ask The Guys … when we hear about the real-world challenges investors like YOU face every day.

We have another great collection of questions from our loyal listeners … covering everything from infinite returns to gold, proper reserves, compressed cap rates, and cash flow.

Remember … we aren’t tax advisors or legal professionals.

We give ideas and information … NOT advice.

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

  • Your in-the-know host, Robert Helms
  • His go-with-the-flow co-host, Russell Gray

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The ins and outs of infinite returns

Our first question comes from Sean in Durango, Colorado, who wants to know more about the ins and outs of infinite returns.

This is a topic we are pretty passionate about … it was even the theme of this year’s Investors Summit at Sea.

The idea of an infinite return is pretty simple. It means that you’re investing on the house’s money.

In other words, you put up some money for a deal … to buy a property or be in syndication or grow crops … and at some point the deal has paid you back … and you’re still making money.

Maybe that takes a year or five years … but once you get all of your initial capital off the table, everything else that comes in is an infinite return.

Infinite returns are easy to do in real estate … but it DOES take time.

There are lots of different ways to chase an infinite return, like getting creative with financing and syndication … but the core concept remains the same.

You’re earning a return on no money at risk.

Purchasing real estate with other people’s money

Teresa in Claremont, California, wants to know more about using other people’s money to leverage the purchase of real estate.

Does it only work with people who have lots of money for a downpayment? Are there any lenders willing to finance 100 percent of a deal for a buy and hold?

Using someone else’s money doesn’t mean breaking into their house in the middle of the night or stealing from their bank account.

It means showing them the opportunity.

One of the primary sources of other people’s money are lenders. They’re in the business of putting capital to work for their depositors, for their shareholders, and sometimes for themselves.

Lenders put up some of the money for a deal in exchange for some portion of the return or a predictable income stream, like an interest payment.

You can also leverage other people’s money through syndication. If you need $1 million to do a deal, you can raise $100,000 from 10 different people.

There are lots of legal and ethical implications to a syndicated route like this … but it can be a great way to get started passively or if you’re interested in being a full-time real estate practitioner.

A lot of people think they have to have some sort of money to start with to do a deal. It helps … but you don’t have to.

What you do have to have is a deal that makes sense … because it’s going to end up being the collateral or the investment that your equity partners come to.

No matter what, you’re going to have debt … and you’re going to have equity.

The key is to look at how much profit is in the deal and figure out how much of that you can give away to different people for their participation.

And when all of that is done … is there enough leftover for you?

Finding a lender who will cover 100 percent of deal through a loan is tough … and the ones that do will usually be for a primary residence.

Protect your cash flow with reserves

Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona, owns four single-family rental properties.

The question on Gary’s mind is how to deal with the reality of net cash flow … one major expense can wipe out your entire annual cash flow.

It’s real and it happens. It has even happened to us.

We always … always … put contingencies and reserves in our pro formas.

A pro forma is your plan for the property … what you think the income and expenses are going to be.

There are two major places where you will need reserves.

When you buy the property, you can’t put 100 percent of your cash into the down payment and the property. You need to have some in reserve.

Most lenders require this. When you close escrow, they’ll want to make sure that you still have money in your bank account.

We also recommend that you take some reserve capital out of every month’s payment as the rent comes in.

Perform your vital functions … and then put a little bit aside. That amount depends on your projected plan for your property and what needs you anticipate.

The cause and effect of cap rates and interest rates

With cap rates compressing across the country, it has been said that investors should be careful to still maintain a good spread between the cap rate and the interest rate.

Drew in Chicago, Illinois, wants to know if there is a direct correlation between these two factors or if it’s just a general rule of thumb to indicate when a market might be overpriced.

We think this is a great question.

Capitalization rate … or cap rate … is determined using net operating income.

Cap rate doesn’t include anything to do with leverage or your loan … so there is zero correlation between cap rate and the interest rate.

But there CAN be cause and effect.

If interest rates are low and you can borrow money for cheap … you want to borrow more.

And if you want to go out and find a property, you’re going to find a lot of competition because rates are low.

So, you’ll bid up the price for the same amount of income … making the cap rate go down.

Leveraging from gold and real estate

Debra in Alpharetta, Georgia, wants some further insight into leveraging from gold and real estate combined.

Assets like gold and oil are basically proxies for the dollar.

We borrow in dollars. We lend in dollars. We invest in dollars.

When you start looking at the dollar, you see a long-term trend in loss of purchasing power … it’s called inflation.

Real estate investors use inflation to get rich by borrowing money from the future and bringing it into the present when it’s worth more.

So when you borrow … you have effectively shorted the dollar.

You can accelerate that process with gold.

If you look at the history of gold relative to the dollar, it basically stays the same as the purchasing power of the dollar declines.

Gold gives you the opportunity to hold some liquid wealth outside of the banking system and hedge against the falling currency.

More Ask The Guys

Listen to the full episode for more questions and answers.

Have a real estate investing question? Let us know! Your question could be featured in our next Ask The Guys episode.


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

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


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Getting Started in Commercial Real Estate Investing

Expanding your portfolio from single-family homes to multi-family deals is a great step … but there are other paths to an even bigger deal!

Commercial real estate investing means bigger properties and bigger opportunities … and it could yield BIG benefits for savvy investors.

From retail storefronts to office space to industrial warehouses … commercial property is full of options … each with their own pros and cons.

We’re excited to welcome to the show a seasoned investor who’s found success in single-family homes, multi-family apartments, and commercial properties. (He really knows his stuff.)

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

  • Your host, Robert Helms
  • His co-host, Russell Gray
  • Founder and CEO of Wilson Investment Properties, Tom K. Wilson

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Considering commercial

Real estate is a resilient product … that’s why so many people are eager to get in the game.

There are tons of ways to invest in real estate. Most investors start with what they know … single family homes. But that’s not the only way!

We see commercial real estate as a great opportunity for beginning investors … and for experienced investors too.

But commercial real estate deals are not all created equally

There are different product types, different lease lengths, and different landlord laws. And then you have to choose between existing properties and new construction.

Tom K. Wilson has done half a billion dollars in real estate with thousands of units in many different places … and he knows the perks of commercial real estate.

Like many investors, Tom started his real estate career in the single family marketplace.

We promote the value of surrounding yourself with smart people …. and that’s exactly what Tom did. He soon realized an interesting pattern.

Most of the successful investors Tom knew were investing in areas away from where they lived. By investing several states away, investors found better deals and growing markets.

So, Tom started looking elsewhere. He found the Dallas market … and his first commercial deal.

Dallas was more landlord friendly than Tom’s resident Bay Area. It also offered more consistent cash flow and held up well during the recession.

Tom noted that there were some serious benefits to owning a commercial property as opposed to single-family homes or multi-family deals.

After the 2008 crash, these types of commercial deals were performing better than their residential cousins … and they tended to come with a higher level of professional management.

Typically when we talk about commercial property, we’re talking about leasing your property to a business rather than a person.

It could be a retail establishment, a strip mall, an office, a restaurant, a gas station, a bowling alley, or a manufacturing facility … it’s all commercial!

Like every asset class, there are pros and cons to investing in each type of commercial property.

Investing in industrial

Industrial properties can include warehouses, operation centers, distribution centers, and manufacturing sites.

Professional tenants that pay for a long time are one of the best things about industrial assets.

They’re also very versatile … a variety of businesses can use a property with wide open space, offices, and loading docks.

When searching for an industrial property, note rooftop expansion and passing traffic. Can the site offer prominent enough visibility to attract major brands?

Determine the path of progress for the community … this can signal if the area has the breadth of economy to support a big business.

Tom comments that manufacturing sites in particular could offer great opportunities for future returns as manufacturing makes a comeback in the United States.

The downside of industrial sites … they tend to be a single tenant product. If your tenant goes bankrupt, you’re left searching for a new source of cash flow.

“The odds of that happening are very low if you’ve done your due diligence during vetting,” Tom says, “so all in all I tend to consider the right industrial property a very good product.”

The details on retail

If you think everything is bought online … think again.

You can’t get a haircut online. You can’t meet your buddy for a drink online. You can’t take your dog to the vet online.

Everyone needs a place to live … and they often pick where they live based on where they can access essential services.  

“Retail has become a four-letter word for many investors,” Tom says. “I prefer to call these types of assets ‘neighborhood service centers’ because that is the key.”

Many large retailers are expanding their brick and mortar stores despite the online shopping craze … and online retailers like Amazon are investing in brick and mortar locations to build their brand.

Like any asset class, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly … but don’t discount retail without the proper research.

Operating in office space

Every day, people wake up and go to work.

It’s true that more and more people are working from home … but there are still daily needs for human interaction in business.

“I don’t think it is realistic to believe we’re going to see the day where everybody’s working from home,” Tom says.

Both single and multi-tenant office spaces offer excellent opportunities for commercial deals.

Tom recommends looking for office spaces that combine work centers with service centers as the demand for more office space near entertainment venues and amenities rises.

Having an experienced team or partner on the ground that knows the area is especially important when buying office spaces. Locals will have the best read on where people want to spend their nine to five.

Commercial success through syndication

You don’t have to have a lot of money to get started in commercial real estate.

Tom has built his commercial real estate portfolio through the power of syndication.

At some point, you run out of your own purchasing power … you’re out of dollars and cents but not out of enthusiasm, passion, or expertise.

“Syndication is the law of compounding,” Tom says, “not just in numbers but in education, wisdom, and relationships.”

Partnering with those that have a proven track record, established credibility, and integrity sets you up for investment success.

And by combining financial assets, you can do bigger deals and see bigger returns together than you ever could alone … especially in the commercial space.

Like any investment, education is key.

Learn how to leverage experts through syndication and tips for successful commercial deals in Tom’s special report Commercial Real Estate – The Best Investment Secret.

Whether it’s your first deal or your first step into a new market, consider taking a look at commercial real estate investments to make 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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Resort Rehab Riches

Houses aren’t the only properties in need of a little facelift. Hotels often need their own dose of tender loving care.

Like any investment property, resorts come in all shapes and sizes … and some have major management issues.

When a hotel is poorly the managed the result isn’t pretty … it’s often downright ugly. But that means YOU have an opportunity to add value, improve cash flow, and build equity.

Listen in as we visit with two hospitality investors who find fun and profit as they renovate resort properties.

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

  • Your resourceful host, Robert Helms
  • His relaxed co-host, Russell Gray
  • Accountable Equity’s professional resort investors, Josh and Melanie McCallen

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Resort rehab done right

Resort properties offer some of the highest returns on investment of any asset class. They are an attractive real estate deal … but one that can easily be mismanaged.

When our guests, Josh and Melanie McCallen, see an ugly, non-performing resort property, they don’t see a failure … they see an opportunity.

Josh and Melanie’s team at Accountable Equity renovates and revitalizes resorts. By creating higher-quality resorts, they create more income … and more value.

But to correctly rehab a resort, you need a deep understanding of AND passion for the hospitality industry.

Most of us don’t have that. So, partner with someone who does.

The beauty of Josh and Melanie’s business model is syndication. You can be a passive partner with an active investment and see phenomenal returns.

Resort rehab done right means everyone wins … investors, staff, and guests.

Finding a home in hospitality

When they graduated from college, Josh begged Melanie to buy a duplex as an investment. They’d live in one home and rent out the other.

“I had to let go of the three-bedroom, white picket fence idea in my mind, but right away I knew what I got into,” Melanie says.

Over their real estate career, Josh and Melanie found themselves taking part in resort experiences across the globe and partnering with developers of specialty properties.

Then the recession of ’08 happened. Suddenly, Josh and Melanie were sitting on a beat-up 1970s beachfront hotel.

It was too risky to tear it down and start new development … so they decided to rehab the property instead.

“That first project was 18 months of getting our teeth kicked in, but we learned that hospitality isn’t just about the building,” Josh says. “It’s a living, breathing guest experience.”

The couple realized that they LOVED interacting with guests and putting smiles on their faces. They fell in love with hospitality … and decided to make it their life’s mission.

The benefits of a resort investment

A rehabbed resort is one real estate investment where the person paying the rent doesn’t begrudge writing a check at all.

When you’re on vacation, you want to splurge. You want to enjoy yourself and your experience … and you’ll gladly pay more to do so.

Hospitality professionals know that the happier you make guests, the more enjoyable the visit will be.

As an investor, YOU know that happy guests mean high returns.

Resorts also offer a unique opportunity to increase revenue.

There are two ways to make more money … find more people to sell the same thing to or find more things to sell to the same people.

The hospitality business allows investors to do both with relative ease.

And when you invest in a resort property, you have the added benefit of being able to enjoy your own investment … by taking a vacation.

The success of a syndicated approach

Josh and Melanie started Accountable Equity as a syndicated approach to resort rehab.

“The first thing you must do when thinking about buying one of these properties is find great investor partners,” Josh says.

Each month, Josh and Melanie host an investor summit. They bring together current investors, new investors, and prospects to tour the property and get a firsthand look at hospitality in action.

These summits are an invaluable time to help investors see how revenue from different parts of the resort build off each other.

When a party arrives for a wedding, they’ll book rooms. Since they’re staying on site, they might want to play a round of golf or spend time at the spa. They’ll need to eat, so they’ll hit up the restaurant and tasting room.

“We call it a cascade of revenue,” Josh says.

Syndication is a powerful approach to every aspect of hospitality. Beyond investment, the syndication spirit encourages team members to seek out experts in every field.

“In our current project, we’re bringing in a top winemaker for the winery. We found a golf executive on his 111th course to help with ours. It’s all syndication,” Josh says.

Teaming up for transformation

Accountable Equity’s current project, Renault Winery Resort, shows just how powerful … and profitable … revitalizing resorts can be.

As the third federally registered winery in America, the property has been in the hospitality business for 155 years.

The former owner managed the resort for 40 years, but over time began to let standards deteriorate under stress.

“We found this amazing property that needed some TLC. But we were willing to take a fresh approach, look at it differently, consider its legacy, and see its next chapter,” Josh says.

The team also studied market drivers in hospitality to determine if the resort could evolve to meet current and future needs.

With a millennial movement toward authentic experiences, a historic property … complete with a Prohibition-era speakeasy … spells out attraction.

And with nearly half of weddings taking place at a destination over the course of three days, a resort that caters to making happy couples’ special day extra special can generate big business.

It’s no small undertaking. Managing and rehabbing 120,000 square feet of buildings and 242 acres of vineyards, a golf course, and a spa requires a winning team.

“Our staff and our investors are our family. We all depend on each other, and honestly, it’s an honor to be a part of,” Melanie says.

Take part in a unique real estate niche with resort rehab investment. Learn tips and valuable lessons for getting started in a special report from Accountable Equity, 10 Steps to Resort Rehab Riches.

No matter your market of interest or area of expertise, consider what you can learn from the rehab-and-syndicate model of luxury hospitality investing.

What value can you add to your properties … and how can you leverage others’ expertise to increase YOUR bottom line?


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Market Spotlight – Jacksonville, Florida

It’s the first week of our market spotlight series … and we’re starting with a city that has been on our radar for a while … Jacksonville, Florida!

There’s a lot to like about this Northeast Florida city. To start, it’s the fourth largest economy in Florida and has the largest population in the state … which means HUGE opportunities for real estate investors.

Listen in as we visit with some of our favorite boots-on-the-ground experts and explore all Jacksonville has to offer.

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

  • Your sunshine-loving host, Robert Helms
  • His sunny-side-over co-host, Russell Gray
  • President and co-founder of Southern Impression Homes, Chris Funk
  • General manager of Southern Impression Homes, Chandler Janger

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Why Jacksonville?

There are so many places for you to invest in real estate. So, for the next few weeks we are highlighting some of the markets we find interesting this year.

Jacksonville, Florida, is a place  we have been looking at for a long time because there are SO MANY reasons to like it.

Jacksonville has the largest population in Florida and the fourth largest economy. And did we mention it’s a no-income-tax state?

Florida is the No. 1 location that baby boomers choose to retire in, but the year-round sun attracts younger tenants too. Variety and diversity is the name of the game.

Whether you’re a single-family-home investor or are interested in multifamily properties or even vacation ownership, Jacksonville is full of possibilities.

Opportunities for high returns in new construction

Our guest today is Chris Funk of Southern Impression Homes. Chris started out in the dry-cleaning business … and then the ’08 crash happened.

Like many business owners, Chris lost about 20 percent of his revenue. He needed to find a new source of cashflow. What he found was real estate.

Ultimately, Chris bought up about 25 homes. He bought them cheap, renovated them, and rented them out. The cash came in … and Chris was hooked.

He expanded his portfolio and soon went from buying 50 houses a year to buying 50 houses a month!

The biggest challenge for Chris was finding good property management, so he decided to do it himself.

Before he knew it, Chris was running a large property management company and expanding from renovations to land purchasing and new construction in Jacksonville.

Chris says that renovating older homes is still his bread and butter, but he realized there are great opportunities for profits from new construction.

New homes come with limited maintenance costs, and when you build from the ground up, you have 100 percent control over every aspect of the build.

New construction is often more attractive to tenants … much of the growing labor force in Jacksonville has chosen to settle in new construction.

And more interested potential tenants means properties are more attractive to investors like you.

It’s this aspect of business that makes Chris’ approach to the market unique. Instead of focusing on selling to individual owner-occupants, Chris tries to sell most of his inventory to investors.

“Investors have been our lifeblood ever since we started in our real estate business,” Chris says. “We’re investors ourselves, and we built our property management company as a company that is built by investors for investors.”

Chris says he doesn’t want to just sell a house and go away. He wants to become part of the investor’s team on the ground and manage their assets … all of them!

It’s a long-term opportunity instead of a one-time sell. And investors who work with Chris do more business, more often.

Investment opportunity in Jacksonville isn’t confined to single-family homes. Chris knows this and builds new duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes as well.

Like many other markets, the cash-on-cash yield for a multifamily property is higher than that for a single-family home … but you do give up some appreciation.

One of the most attractive elements of the Jacksonville market is affordability. Single-family homes range from $150,000 to about $200,000. The highest priced fourplexes clock in at about $550,000.

What investors need to know

Jacksonville … like the rest of the sunshine state … has had double digit population growth every year since the census was created.

It’s not a town full of retirees either. Young professionals settle there to take advantage of affordable prices and job opportunities.

The city has a booming financial district with major corporations like Fidelity National Title, Ameris Bank, and Wells Fargo.

There’s also a thriving industrial sector. Companies from Coach to Mercedes and FedEx have major distribution centers in the metro area.

The United States military maintains a large presence in Jacksonville … and they are expanding their ranks.

From a tenant perspective, Southern Impression Homes General Manager Chandler Janger says this means the average resident is middle to upper middle working class … largely reliable and looking for a great home at a great price.

By keeping property management in-house, Southern Impression Homes can give investors in-depth insight into each of their properties. An online portal offers instant access to occupancy, payment, and tenant information.

Owners are paid electronically the month after rent collection and receive a monthly statement broken down by property.

Chandler says if there’s one thing investors should know, it’s that communication is key. In property management, there are a lot of moving parts … clear communication makes everyone’s job easier.

With great teams in place on the ground and beautiful properties, Jacksonville is a market worth looking into.

To discover if Jacksonville is a good fit for your portfolio, check out the Jacksonville Market Report prepared by Chris and his team at Southern Impression Homes.


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Put all your eggs in one basket … then diversify

The blessing and curse of real estate is that trends develop slowly. 

This makes them easy to catch, but also easy to miss … unless you make it a priority to pay consistent attention.

We scour the news daily.  We’re always looking for opportunities, lessons, and trends.  But they’re not always obvious.  In fact, they usually aren’t.

So it’s not answers we’re looking for.  It’s better questions.  The clues in the news simply capture our attention so we can dig deeper.

And because real estate trends move slowly, there’s often plenty of time to investigate … and then move into position to take effective action.

This recent headline reminds us of the process, and some great lessons for real estate investors …

Salt Lake City Tops U.S. In Diversity of Jobs; Las Vegas is Last 
– Bloomberg 2/15/19

Now Salt Lake City isn’t necessarily a market normally associated with diversity, but according to this report, it’s tops for diverse job opportunities.

Of course, jobs are uber important to real estate investors.  After all, jobs are the best way for tenants to get the money to pay rent.

Plus, any market with abundant jobs is going to attract more people … adding to the demand for rental properties.

Perhaps even more importantly … a diverse selection of job types is probably a good indication an area has multiple economic drivers.

Economic diversity is a very important component of stability and resilience.

This should be obvious, but it’s amazing how many investors rush into markets chasing a trend driven by only one big story.

Of course, if that one big story changes for whatever reason, then so does the trend in the market.

Consider how things worked out for real estate investors who rushed in for the oil boom in North Dakota’s Bakken or the Amazon HQ2 boom in New York.

Time will tell, but we’re guessing while some Opportunity Zones will be fantastic successes … some will end up being big busts too.

One story usually isn’t enough.  And there’s no need to move too fast when it comes to catching an uptrend in a real estate market.

Sure, when you take a measured approach, you might miss out on quick gains gleaned from front-running the fast-to-act speculators.

But if you view real estate as a long-term investment, then you’re looking for long-term trends.  Best to let the trend strengthen before getting in too deep.

Besides, there’s plenty to do while you’re watching the trend develop.

Consider our approach to Salt Lake City … since this is the focal point of the headline we’re talking about today.

Salt Lake City popped up on our radar a few years back and we started watching.  The more we saw, the better it looked.

In 2017, Salt Lake City appeared in a report of metros with a low percentage of rent burdened population.

In a related commentary about why we think this metric matters, we pointed out …

“… markets with increasing affordability, and stable rents and occupancies, should probably end up on a short list of markets to pay a visit to.”

We suggested to …

“Look for metros which are affordable locally based on a low percentage of rent burdened population, with increasing affordability … and also affordable nationally when compared to the average rents of other metros.”

Markets that looked interesting based on this metric were Kansas City … along with Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Salt Lake City.

Since then, and perhaps to no surprise, we’ve built relationships with boots-on-the-ground teams in both Kansas City and Salt Lake City.

Sometimes it takes time to identify and study a market, then get to know the right people … rather than just jumping into a “good” deal in a “hot” market.

Sure, when the market ends up being great, you’ll always wish you moved faster …

… so it’s wise to get good at seeing opportunity, doing your homework, and building relationships sooner.

But again … the blessing of real estate is it moves slowly.  So you don’t have to be a racehorse to win the real estate investing derby.

Nonetheless, you do need to move.  You can’t win or finish a race if you’re still standing at the starting gate.

So when you see a positive market metric, be quick to start the process of exploration … but cautious about leaping into a deal before you look.

And as you explore a market’s potential, whether you’re just starting out or already have a sizable portfolio, consider how to use diversification as a tool for building resilient wealth.

There are several ways to diversify …

Choose economically diverse economies to reduce your exposure to any one industry or sector of the economy.

Invest in multiple units when you can.  More doors provide multiple streams of income and less dependency on any one tenant.

Invest in multiple markets.  Even diverse individual economies can suffer setbacks, so being in more than one market can help mitigate the risk.

Syndicate or invest in syndications to become even more diverse faster.

Syndication pools your money with others’ … and provides scale you might not have on your own … so you can own more units, in more places, with professional management.

The bottom line is real estate is a great “basket” to put all your eggs in … while also providing the ability to create resilient wealth through strategic diversification. 

Until next time … good investing!


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Tax Strategies for 2019 with CPA Tom Wheelwright

The beginning of the year is the perfect moment to think about your tax strategy.

It’s the time to take all of the lessons you learned last year and put them to work for you.

We’re not tax experts … but we know someone who is. CPA Tom Wheelwright brings his knowledge and enthusiasm to our tax discussion.

Don’t be scared of your taxes. Use them to save you a TON of cash.

A disclaimer: on this show, we do not offer tax or legal advice. See your personal tax pro for that. We do, however, offer plenty of ideas and information, which you can ponder as you please!

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

  • Your tax-free host, Robert Helms
  • His taxing co-host, Russell Gray
  • CPA Tom Wheelwright

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Time to talk taxes

The beginning of a new year is a great time to think about your real estate strategy … but there’s something else to keep in mind. Taxes!

Most people don’t proactively think about managing their taxes. Throughout the year they live their lives, throw their receipts in a box, and eventually give that box to their tax preparer.

But there are things you can do and SHOULD do on your tax form that will make a big difference for your finances going forward.

It starts with figuring out what happened to you tax-wise last year and using those lessons learned to change behavior this year.

If you can change your tax mentality early in the year, you can maximize your financial behavior to get the most out of your taxes all year long.

Cracking the tax code

If you want great answers, you’ve got to ask great questions.

It’s only been a year since the implementation of the new tax code … so we have plenty of questions!

We’ve brought in an expert to help us figure everything out. CPA Tom Wheelwright LOVES taxes … seriously. He really does.

Most people can’t believe how excited Tom is about tax law. But once they have spent time with him and read his book, Tax Free Wealth, they’re thrilled with the amount of money they have saved.

The first thing Tom will tell you is that taxes aren’t something to be scared of. Taxes are a way to save you money!

Our friend Robert Kiyasoki says that if you look at the nation’s tax code, you can tell exactly what they want tax payers to do.

The good news is that real estate is one of the world’s favorite assets. No matter where you are located, there is a very good chance your government has set apart incentives for you as a real estate investor.

Your job is to figure out what those incentives are … and use them to your advantage.

Luckily for us, Tom is here to help get you started.

Last year is not over

Tom says the first thing you need realize is that last year isn’t over. Until you file your tax return, there are still many benefits you can take advantage of.

As you sit with your tax advisor to do your taxes for 2018, there are things you can do under the new tax law that could be the difference between a tax bill and a tax refund.

The big one is bonus depreciation. For the first time ever, investing in real estate can potentially give you a bigger write-off than investing in oil and gas.

We’ve never had bonus depreciation on used property before, and it has never really applied to real estate in general.

The key is cost segregation … the idea that you can treat different components of your property differently from a tax perspective.

When you buy a piece of property, you buy the land, the building, the landscaping, the parking structure, the outdoor lighting, the fencing … and all of those things are treated differently for tax purposes.

Even inside the building, you are buying everything from cabinetry to ceiling fans.  

To cost segregate for bonus depreciation, your CPA and an engineer work together to break down all the components of your purchase.

You’ll find that between 20-30 percent of the cost of the property is eligible for bonus depreciation.

If you bought a property in 2018 and haven’t done a cost segregation … it’s not too late!

Tom recommends extending your tax filing deadline so you have until the fall to complete a thorough cost segregation. There is a cost involved … but the potential savings are enormous.

The good news doesn’t stop there.

Even though bonus depreciation only applies to property purchased in 2018, you can catch up on depreciation you should have taken on properties purchased several years ago.

You MUST do the cost segregation BEFORE you file your tax return … but you can take all of that missed depreciation on your 2018 taxes.

Plan for your 2019 taxes … now

It’s never too early to start planning for next year’s taxes. Every day you have an opportunity to raise or lower your tax rate.

As you sit with your tax advisor, talk about your plans for the year. Project what your taxes will look like in 2019 NOW … so you have the majority of the year to work toward smart tax benefits.

The de minimus rule for purchases is the perfect example.

This rule says that any line item you buy under $2,500 can be deducted. Think about what that means for real estate investors.

Anytime you buy water heaters for apartment units or window coverings or even carpet … all of these things are frequently under the deduction limit.

If you plan to take advantage of this benefit at the BEGINNING of 2019, you can track these purchases … and save the receipts … throughout the year, so you have everything you need when it’s time to file.

Your tax preparer is key to your success

If you’re going to be in the real estate business, it is best to find an accountant that truly understands real estate.

Tom is the first to say that even though he has always been a real estate tax professional … he understands his work so much better as an investor himself.

A tax advisor that can combine real estate book learning AND street learning will lead you to tax nirvana.

Your tax advisor has the biggest impact on your bottom line over anyone besides your spouse and your business partner.

If you follow the tax law, you will always make more money.

So, how do you find a great tax professional?

Find a tax advisor who works WITH the tax law, not against it.

Tom says to look for someone who knows tax law so well that they are never going to be concerned about an IRS audit. At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of understanding.

Taxes are not the enemy. Taxes can save you a ton of money.


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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.


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Taking a Quantum Leap through Syndication

Incremental growth is interesting … but quantum growth is exhilarating and enriching!

With your own funds, you can grow your portfolio gradually over time. But we’re talking years and years.

Graduate to bigger deals on a shorter timeline by taking a quantum leap … with syndication.

Smart investors use syndication as a strategy for turbo-charging their income AND their investments.

Learn why syndication is the key to quantum growth and how you can get started on your own syndication strategy.

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

  • Your leaping host, Robert Helms
  • His lurching co-host, Russell Gray

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Creating your own quantum leap

Whether in life or in real estate investment, it doesn’t take a genius to know you can do MORE with more resources.

There are two ways to grow your resources. You can grow them incrementally over time … or you can take a quantum leap.

The question is how. How can you go bigger … and how can you do it as quickly as possible?

You can only go so far on your own account. With the money you save and the loans you qualify for, you can build a nice portfolio.

But if you want a SUPER portfolio, it’s time to look at syndication … raising money from private investors to do bigger deals.

Syndication can sound intimidating. The irony is that it’s actually EASIER to go big than you think.

Doing more … more easily … at scale

Many investors do real estate on the side … but what if investing were your day job?

Syndication allows you to invest your money alongside your investors’ money. Plus, you get a piece of your investors’ profits because you put in the time doing the work.

One of the big benefits of real estate syndication is you are no longer limited by your own thinking or your own finances.

By working together with private investors, you have a bigger budget … and a bigger budget allows you to scale your work more effectively.

Money isn’t something to be hoarded. It’s a resource to be used.

Your job is to figure out how to make smart investments with your money and your time so when the money goes out, more comes back.

Finding deals, book keeping, filing, issuing reports … all the things you have to do when you are managing real estate … you can hire people to do for you.

By hiring experts instead of trying to do everything yourself, the quality of your work will improve.

When you hire the best, it doesn’t cost you money … it makes you money.

Syndicating lets you work at scale, which makes your job easier and helps you work better.

Leveraging your real estate experience

A quantum leap requires leverage. As a smart deal-maker, you leverage your time and your money … but you also leverage your experience resume.

All the successes … and all the failures … you’ve had in real estate deals over the years become your greatest attributes.

As a syndicator, your job is to find real estate opportunities and package them as passive investments for people who have more money than they have time.

Your experience making real estate deals for yourself makes you a valuable resource to your investors. You’ll know what markets to shop in, when to buy, and how to generate cash flow.

And with syndication, the bigger the deals you take on, the smaller the cut you can take … and still make a nice return.

This means an even bigger slice of the pie can go to your investors … making the deal more attractive for them.

Creating your own job and getting paid

When you raise money to do a syndicated deal, you are creating a job for yourself.

If you do the job well, syndication can be a very lucrative opportunity.

When you partner with private investors, you make money when the deal makes money. You get paid when your investors do.

But there are other ways to earn money as a syndicator. You can charge additional fees for all the work you are doing to manage the deal.

Some syndicators bill a fee up front called a “promote.” This fee allows them to make income while they are working to make the deal happen, so they can then bring in revenue for their investors.

You can also add fees for the time you spend working to sell a property, acquire a property, or finance your deals.

There is plenty of money to be made if the deal is good.

Getting started in syndication

You don’t have to be a multimillionaire to leap into syndication. You can start small and work your way up to bigger and bigger deals.

You do need be able to sell. You have to create deals that are attractive enough to build your investment team … and you need to be able to lead and inspire your team to action.

So, you get started in syndication the way you should start with all things real estate … education.

Syndication starts with understanding. The things you learned best in life you didn’t master because someone told you … it was because they showed you.

Place yourself in the company of other syndicators who are finding success. Ask them questions and watch how they make deals.

A great way to start is by attending The Secrets of Successful Syndication. You’ll learn the details of starting your own real estate syndication business from some of the best syndicators operating today.

And you’ll meet investors just like you who are ready to jumpstart their growth.

There’s a lot to learn … but it is learnable!

Quantum leaps start in your mind. Learn the basics, get around the right people, and be diligent.


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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.


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