Why income producing real estate has the best customers

Here is an exercise for you to consider.

You have most likely been on both sides of the equation. You are definitely a customer. Meaning you frequent certain stores and buy certain services on a monthly basis from different companies and organizations.

And most of us have also been on the other side of having to be the person who provides those services and products for our own company or our organizations customers. Whether you are doing directly or indirectly.

So what makes a great customer? What is interesting about this question is you don’t see very much information on this question on google. Anything related to customers is usually the other way around. Meaning, how can a provider be a better provider to their customers and provide better customer service.

Here is my simple list of what makes a great customer:

  1. They love your product
  2. They are willing to pay the price for your product
  3. They use your product exclusively
  4. If you take your product away from them they are willing to pay more to keep it.
  5. They value your product.
  6. There is an inherent need for your product.
  7. They pay a recurring fee to continue to use your product.
  8. Somewhat difficult to change to another provider of your product.

I am sure we could come up with more on this list. But I think you get the point here. A great customer realizes they need your product or service as much as you need them.

I think this is when the relationship works best.

So why does income producing real estate have the best customers. Look at the list.

The person needs your product. Everyone needs food, water, clothing , and shelter. Period. In that order as well. So it is essential.

They pay a recurring fee on a monthly basis for your product. All of my customers pay monthly. Sometimes they may even pay in advance.

And it is somewhat difficult for my customers to switch to another provider of my product. Sorry, but it is true. Nobody likes to move. It is a pain in the ass.

Now, on the flip side of the equation. As a provider of housing I must do my part as well. And I must provide great customer service.

I have to serve the needs of the customer on a daily basis. I have to respond to their requests. I have to make sure all of the appliances are in good working order. I have to make sure things are kept up. This is my obligation in the relationship.

And it isn’t very hard to do these things. The old “slumlord” moniker doesn’t apply in my world. I take care of my tenants and my properties. It would be stupid not to.

For all of the reasons I outlined above is why I believe income producing real estate has the best customers. Additionally, owning income producing real estate is a business that anyone can do, including me.

To your success and your future.

Why saving your money in a bank is stupid

When is the last time you looked at your interest payments you have received from a bank on the money you have saved in there? If you are like most people. You probably rarely do.

It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of money in the bank or very little in the bank. The interest they pay you on holding your money is absolutely negligible.

Here is the dirty secret. Banks have a reserve requirement of 10%, the deposit multiplier means that banks must keep 10% of all deposits in reserve, but they can create money and stimulate economic activity by lending out the other 90%. So, if someone deposits $100, the bank must keep $10 in reserve but can lend out $90.

Read the above again. Banks are lending your hard earned dollars out 9 – 1. And they are getting a premium on that 9 and giving you peanuts of that spread that they are getting in interest on the loans they give to others.

The average savings account right now pays you about is about .16. What a joke.

Look, I am a big believer in saving some cash. But save your cash to invest. Don’t save your cash to have cash because it is useless sitting in a bank account.

Look, I realize that the banks must have some money in the bank to be able to lend, which is what allows me to buy the real estate that I buy. However, not everyone knows this dirty little secret about the banks. Now that you do, you can use this information and learn how to capitalize on it.

Save your money long enough to be able to invest it in something that gives you a great return. It could be 3% or it could be a risky investment that gives you 30%. They key is to save enough money to put it to work for you.

This is the lesson most of us didn’t learn in school. I know I didn’t. Don’t earn to consume. Earn money to invest and let that money multiply. Multiplication is way better than addition and definitely way better than subtraction.

I work with people all of the time that are looking to sell their house. And if they don’t need the money now. I tell them to take a down payment from me or another investor. And become the bank. Allow me or some other investor to pay them a rate of interest to them to buy their home from them over some specified period of time.

How it works…

We agree on a price for their home. Then we determine how much of a downpayment makes sense for myself or another investor to pay the owner. The balance of the amount for the house we agreed on is then set up like any other payment you have ever made.

The balance is amortized over 15-30 years. This makes the payment realistic and doable. And then usually it has a clause that says the remaining balance of the mortgage should be paid in full within 5-7 years (balloon payment).

This works well for both the investor and the seller. The seller gets to earn some extra money during the term of the agreement/loan and the investor gets to own the property.

These scenarios allow both the investor and the seller to win.

It can only work if the seller has a paid off home or whatever kind of property it is.

This is the condensed version of the scenario, but my point in telling you this is for a few reasons.

If you are saving lots of money, STOP it now. Quit allowing the banks to profit so much from your hard earned money. If you are saver type, I get it, at least put it in to less risky investments that are giving you a better return.

If you currently own your home and are looking to downsize, move, or do something else. And you don’t need the money out of your home or investment. Consider being the bank and selling it to someone else.

And if you are a aspiring investor. Consider asking a seller if they are willing to become the bank so you can buy their property from them.

To your success and your future.

Lifestyle Creep and why I do these three things first

I can remember standing outside the shop door talking with the president of the company. I didn’t report directly to him because he was now overseeing a different part of the business. But from time to time I would join him and the lead engineer outside and talk to them while they got their nicotine fix (smoked). There were only four of us that worked in the building.

I think I was about 19. Not far removed from high school for the most part and about mid way through my associates degree in electronics. My technical title was electronics mechanic. My job was to fix the electronic safes that the company sold. The president and lead engineer were the founders of the company and had sold it to a bigger company, but they were primarily focused on developing new products.

I had many conversations with the president. He was obviously a very smart guy that had built a business that was bought by a much larger business. I doubt he had money problems, but as I have learned in my 43 years on this earth, you can never assume anything about anybody.

I might have been making $10.50 an hour in this position. Which at that time was very good. It was so good that I can remember telling my mammaw how much I was making and she told me that it was more an hour than my pappaw and ever made during his career in the union job he had. Now this was around 1998-1999 and my pappaw had retired some time in the mid to late eighties. But it definitely gives some perspective.

As I am talking with the president that day. We were talking about money, career and things. I am not sure exactly what led us to he conversation, but I remember what he said exactly to this day and I have never forgotten it.

He said “Brian, I can give you a salary tomorrow of $50,000 dollars and within six months you will be living your life according to that salary!” He said “Your lifestyle will increase to where that amount of money is no different than what you are making now, you just might have different things.”

My young naive self said “No way, I would do this or that with the money and I would save a lot more of it.”

Anyway, I learned that lesson that day. I still remember it. I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that there has been a little lifestyle creep at different times in my life. However, for the most part I have always lived in a way where I didn’t spend everything I made.

For most of my life I have tried to live within my means. The phenomenon of “lifestyle creep” is real. It is described like this:

Lifestyle creep happens when increased income leads to increased discretionary spending.

I have to say that I don’t do without, but I am not a freak about it. Like, don’t eat out. Don’t spend money on coffee. Don’t buy nice things. I actually do a lot of all three of these things. But I only do it after I have done these three things first.

  1. Bills are paid
  2. Invest
  3. Save

These three things are in order for a reason.

Make sure your bills are paid. And if you can’t afford to do number 2. Eliminate and decrease some of your bills and figure out a way to earn more income.

Investing is the most important thing you can do. Putting money into something that provides you a return. That return can be today or at a later date.

Saving is last, but once you hit a certain threshold. You should invest more of that money than you save.

Look, lifestyle creep can happen to us all. The key is to be aware of it and manage it accordingly.

To your success and your future.

Procrastination or Fear?

Somedays I wake up and I know what needs to be done. I know what I have to do. I know what I should do.

But then I don’t do it?

Does this sound like you?

I am not taking about eating well, or working out, or doing my job. This is the shit you have to do. Let’s call it what it is. This is the easy stuff. This is the stuff that in many cases inertia can get us through.

What I am talking about, is the harder stuff. The stuff you haven’t done before. The stuff you think you still need to research. The stuff you have been thinking about for a while. The stuff that will cost you money or it is going to cost you your time. Probably more importantly it is going to cost you your comfort zone.

What is it that is holding you back from the harder stuff? Is it fear or procrastination?

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks. It is the force that prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.

Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.

So which is it? Well, I encourage you to read one of my favorite authors thoughts on procrastination. He explains it better than I can. Read it here.

I look at the definition of fear. The word that jumps out at me is PAIN. And that pain is real or imagined. Pain isn’t necessarily actual pain that you would feel from hurting yourself. I am talking about the perceived pain of giving up your time, your money, and your comfort zone.

We as humans don’t like this kind of pain. When we have to give up time. We look at it as if we are going without. When we give up our money. We often worry that it won’t be worth the money and we also think about what happens when we have less money and all the possibilities we might not be able to pursue because of it.

For me, every time I have had the fear, the emotional pain that I think will be associated with whatever it is I am considering pursuing. When I have overcome that fear. It has allowed me to expand my life in so many ways.

When I spent the money. I received great benefits from it. When I spent the time. I learned that it was well worth it on many levels. And in most cases I walked out if those situations with more value than the costs associated with it.

So what is it that is holding you back? Fear or procrastination?

To your success and your future.

Take action!

Leverage: Good or Bad?

Leverage is one of the most powerful tools we as humans can use.

Think about it.

With the right amount of leverage a person can move a large boulder weighing hundreds and even thousands of pounds by themselves.

When it comes to business and finance and most specifically real estate, leverage is the way individuals can create massive wealth.

A basic definition for leverage: use borrowed capital for (an investment), expecting the profits made to be greater than the interest payable.

We have talked about all the ways real estate makes individuals money. Check out this post here.

Income producing real estate is one of the very few businesses that you can invest as low as 3% in and own 100% of the asset. Yes. You can own 100% of something that you only have a 3% commitment/investment in to.

They key to that investment is whether or not that the investment makes you money. Owning a home and living there paying your monthly mortgage is not an investment.

Owning an income producing piece of real estate that pays you more than it costs to own is investing and leverage allows you to do this.

Think about this. If you were to go to your bank right now. And let’s say that bank is a publicly traded bank and you can actually buy stock within that bank. That bank will not loan you money to purchase their own stock. They would never do this. But they will give you a loan on an income producing piece of real estate.

Some of the detractors out there are saying:

Is too much leverage a bad thing?

And I would say yes. But if you are getting a return on the money you borrowed greater than the money its costs you to borrow it. Then you should be in a winning position.

Early in my investment career I took the conservative approach. I paid off five single family homes. But then I said, I must increase my portfolio and the quickest way to do this is by leveraging the wealth and assets I have already accumulated. I doubled my net worth when I made this decision and this is how.

There is a number in business that is looked at called Return on Equity (ROE): ROE is a gauge of a corporation’s profitability and how efficiently it generates those profits. The higher the ROE, the better a company is at converting its equity financing into profits.

When I took one of my houses that I had paid off. It was worth $100,000. Each year it generated about $12,000 in income. And profits (net income) of about $7,500.

So $7,500/$100,000 = 7.5% return on that $100,000.

Let’s say I take that house and I tap in to the equity. I access $50,000 of that equity and I invest it in a $250,000 income producing real estate. That generates $25K a year. and 15K a year in net income.

So now I still have the $7500 of net income from the house I tapped for the equity. And an additional $15K of net income from the new $250,000 asset.

$7,500 + 15K = $22,500. Now I am getting 22.5% return on that $100k versus a 7.5% return.

This is the power of income producing real estate and leverage.

To your success and your future.

What would you do differently if you had to do it all over again?

One of my favorite questions I hear interviewers ask wildly successful people is this…

“What would you do differently if you had to do it all over again?”

I think we as humans love this question because it requires someone to be somewhat critical of themselves and reflect on what they could have done differently.

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t consider myself wildly successful and I doubt at this point in time, I would be asked that question by any interviewer.

But here is what I would do differently if I had the knowledge I have now.

I would have skipped all of the formal education I have. Which is an associate’s degree in electronics, a bachelors degree and a masters degree in business. Additionally, I am certified trainer in three curriculums for Dale Carnegie Training. A real estate license, a certified coach for Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching.

Instead I would have picked one specific niche and went all in on that. One of the best quotes i heard many years ago was this “There are riches in the niches”.

The guy who told me this ran an aeronautical college.

I think at the time I heard this I was thinking more specifically about higher education and really specialized programs and how profitable they can be by being focused on one or two programs versus a big university with 100’s of programs.

But now over a decade later since hearing that quote I have a different idea about how valuable this little statement actually was.

When you are focused on one or maybe two things that are compatible with each other, you have the advantage to really focus on getting really good at whatever that is. You don’t have any distractions.

You also become the expert on whatever that is, which the marketplace highly values.

You dont clutter your mind with things that dont have to do with whatever you’re focused on. So the effort you put forth which is limited gets your best attention. When you focus on too many things one of those things will always not get the best you. Because our energy is not infinite. Our clarity and intelligence can’t be totally committed to the one thing. And it must be to get great at it.

In real estate most brokers don’t do commercial and residential. They do one or the other. Because it is too much to learn to try and do both. Engineers usually don’t do mechanical and electrical. They may understand both, but they are experts in one or the other. The top actors in the world only act. The tops athletes don’t do multiple sports, usually by the age of 10 they are focused on one sport.

A guy I really like a lot who is wildly successful and retired before he was 40. Was asked the question. I loved his response.

He said that he would become an expert on trucks. The larger trucks like F250’s and bigger. He said that in a short amount of time that he gave his attention to it. He was able to make about $2000 dollars per trade buying and selling trucks. All of this is possible because of the internet.

But he says you have to understand the marketplace on those trucks. How much they can sell for. How much the comparables are in certain areas around the country. But he said while he did it, with some help from his brother who was an expert on it he could easily hit the $2000 a day mark 4 times a week on average.

I don’t regret my path by the way. None of us would be where we are today without our uniques paths. I wouldn’t have the insight I have today without my path. However, I share this with the hopes I reach people on their unique paths and help them find the right path and a bonus would be reaching someone who is at a point in time in their life trying to figure out what their path could be.

Regardless of what you choose. The point is going all in on one particular thing. Being a jack of all trades doesn’t pay well. But if you are an expert in one particular thing you can charge a premium.

The good things is if you are smart enough to read this, you still have the opportunity to commit to one thing and you have the time to become the expert in it. And so do I. Let’s do it!

Go all in on something.

To your success and your future.

4 things you must STOP to create wealth with Income Producing Real Estate

This morning I was thinking about all the reasons and excuses I thought about before I became a real estate investor. I was like most people when I started too. I had very little money to invest, but I knew it was the right thing to do and would pay off in the long run. I just had to have the courage and go all in.

The first four points are really things you have to stop overthinking. And the last one is a really bonus idea and concept. It is not something you must stop. It really is something you must actually start thinking about.

Don’t listen to people who don’t own real estate.
I put this number one for a reason. I think it is most important. The remaining three are also important, but to me not nearly as important as this one.

The reality is most of us listen and spend time with people that don’t have an understanding of what we are trying accomplish. And to be blunt, if you are reading this, you already are different than most people out there and are likely at the top of your friend and family group.

I don’t mean to be mean here. But this is true. At the top I mean, you are most likely more financially competent, working to change your life, seeking growth constantly, etc. I know this because I have been there as well.

When you start to tell your friend/family group about what you want to do. They most likely will all tell you that it is too risky. Don’t listen. Get around people who have done it. These people know you can do it and will help you do it.

Waiting for the perfect time.
There is no such thing as the perfect time. I think all of us are thinking that there will be a perfect time to do this or that at some point in time in the future. That is the wrong attitude to have. The only time we have is the time right now. Markets are changing all of the time. You just have to do your analysis and go all in. The best time to start would have been ten years ago but since you didn’t the bets time is today. Right now.

Thinking the worse case scenario.
I think it is built in our human nature to always think about the worse thing that could happen. Believe me, I am guilty of this all of the time. I won’t bore you with all of my issues. But the one thing I had to learn about real estate is in close to twenty years investing and buying properties, the worst case scenario hasn’t happened.

When I bought my first property in 2006. I was considering a four-plex and a duplex. I talked myself out of the four-plex, because I said to myself, what would happen if all four air conditioners went out at the same time. What would happen if all four refrigerators went out at the same time. And what would happen if all four units were vacant at the same time. I didn’t think I had the money to overcome those kinds of issues all at once.

So I settled on the duplex. If I would have bought the four-plex. I can honestly say that my net worth would be at least $250K more than it is today. And guess what, now that I have over 50 doors that I rent this worst case scenario has never happened.

Thinking your full-time job will be enough.
I can remember when I went from making 43K a year to making 50K a year. Keep in mind this is more money that either one of my parents had ever made up until that time. And then when I went from 50K, to in the 60’s and then into the mid 80’s, and ultimately multiple six figures since my early 30’s.

All of these jumps in salary were huge to me. I never knew anyone who made that kind of money, at least not in my family. In my small world this was a lot of money. And I am very grateful for ever opportunity I have had and the people who helped me along the way get there.

But even as a single person for most of those significant pay increases it was never enough for me. Obviously I was investing but I never really lived a very outlandish lifestyle. Look I get it, did I have a lot than most people. Yes. But it still wasn’t that significant.

I say all of this, because even with a high salary in my job, it was still difficult to get to a point in my life (I’m still not there) for total freedom and security. And thinking a job will do it is just crazy. And I had significant pay increases during that time. For most of us our full time job will never allow us to become wealthy. You have to invest.

Time.

I mention time twice in five points. You are thinking I am crazy and why doesn’t this point fall under the other one.

This one is different. I am talking about the big clock here. The one that we all have. Yes its morbid, but it is reality.

Our time is limited here, we all know this whether we want to admit it or not. I am 43. If I can hit my goals by 45. I am still technically close to middle aged and really on the back half of my lifespan if you consider all of the statistics.

I am using this as fire under my ass. My dad died at 60. I can still remember the day he died talking about his own retirement. Which in his world was maybe 3-5 years away. But he had worked his entire life to retire one day. I made a decision that day I took him to the hospital and watch him die that I would not do that.

Since then I have tried to work and invest like my life depends on it. Because it does.

I have a great life right now. Really no complaints, but I am working towards one goal. Financial Independence. I chose income producing real estate as my vehicle of choice and I am all in on it. Whether you choose real estate or not. You have to go all in.

To your success and your future.

Why you must learn this lesson now to get what you want

One of the most important lessons I have learned in my life is this:

If you seek you will find.

Not very profound at all. But most people never seek.

I have talked about the magic of the seek before. The seek is the most important part of this statement. Because if you are actively seeking you will start to be exposed to what you ultimately are looking to find.

And sometimes during this process, you may actually identify that what you thought you were originally looking for is not the thing you should have been looking for. You may actually find something more significant.

My personal example is this.

When I was a young leader I made it a point and my mission to study and learn all I could about leadership. I became a seeker of knowledge around leadership and exposure to some of the best leaders on the planet. My goal was to become the best leader, n my mind and my teams mind, ever.

While seeking knowledge and experience around leadership. I actually found something more important that was not actually part of the original goal. What I actually found was my thirst and hunger for personal development.

Some may think leadership development and self development are the same thing. And my retort would be that leadership development is a component of self development. Self development is much bigger and includes a lot more than leadership development.

Seeking is a full-time job. It isn’t something you do casually. It is something that you are doing intentionally and deliberately on a daily basis. Seeking is not a casual event.

As a real estate investor looking to grow my wealth and financial independence I look at real estate on a daily basis. Sometimes multiple times a day. I am seeking opportunities that can help get me to my ultimate goal.

One of the questions I have had and have been seeking is how to buy bigger properties and get access to bigger deals. Bigger deals means more doors and requires a lot more money to buy those deals.

When I started seeking how to do this. I mean really seeking. Which means finding people and resources that can help me do this. I not only found out how to buy bigger deals, but I am actually learning that buying the bigger properties is not really the end goal. More importantly I am learning how to create a business that provides my partners and myself more money and financial independence.

I am still on the path of learning this, but I am intentionally seeking new and better information everyday.

Lastly, the seek requires action and most likely money. Until you are willing to put money into what you are seeking, you will never actually get to the goal.

Become a full-time seeker. What is a goal that you want to accomplish? What is something you have always wanted or wanted to do? Whatever that is become an intentional seeker of knowledge and resources that can help you achieve what you are seeking.

To your success and your future.

The Comfort Crisis, Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self,

I read a lot of books each year. On average around 40 or so for the last decade. To some people that isn’t a lot, but to 99% of the rest of the world, it is a massive amount. Out of those 40 books each year, I would guess about two-three will actually be compiling enough for me to write about here on my website. This happens to be one of the books that makes the cut.

Since around 2014 or so, I started taking my highlights from a book and putting them in my journal, and then ultimately the really good books will make it here on my blog. I am not sure how many book summaries I have done over the years, but if you have an interest let me know and I can share all of them with you.

The Comfort Crisis, Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self was a great book for me to read right now. I am looking for ways to challenge myself to increase my productivity and results in a lot of different areas in my life.

As I mentioned before, if I am reading 40 books a year, many times, I will read several books in a row around a certain theme or topic. It could be business, marketing, sales, or personal development, emotional intelligence, political at times, etc.

Right now, the theme is self discipline and self control. Not that I don’t have these two things. But I am trying to determine ways to have even more.

Comfort Crisis, gave be a lot of things to think about.

Michael Easter, the author of the book brilliantly lays out why the human species and definitely Americans are more comfortable than ever before, and how discomfort has always made us better in every aspect of life. In the modern comfortable world we live in today, we no longer have very many discomforts.

A few takeaways:

Problem Creep: The author lays out some compelling data around this topic. Problem creep is the fact that as we experience fewer problems in our life, we don’t get more satisfied. We instead just lower our threshold for what we consider a problem and thus we think we have more problems. We end up with the same amount of (so called) problems, except now they are more shallow.

Turn on the news and you will see this on a daily basis. Or go to twitter if you wish, but everybody is either offended, wants to be offended, or was offended by something.

Do hard things: They have two rules around this topic.
1. It must be really fucking hard.
2. You can’t die.

Really fucking hard means, there must be at least a 50% chance you could fail.

This one really got me thinking about when is the last time I did something really hard? Where I could actually fail? And quite frankly I am not sure. Most of the stuff I do that is hard, I have done before. Maybe, I am looking for a better time during a certain workout or run, but do I have a chance of failing? Probably not.

It also hit on the fact that when it comes to working out nowadays many of us don’t actually do anything really hard. Sure working out is hard, but we now do it in a controlled air conditioned environment, with weights that are perfectly balanced, we have the softest shoes you could possibly run in on the most cushioned treadmills. How hard is it?

So it has me thinking about how can I make things harder and do things that will make me uncomfortable.

Smart Phones: The author says that boredom was removed from the human species forever in 2007 with invention of the smart phone. We no longer have the benefits of being bored. We have this phone with us all of the time. The author cites research that shows Americans are picking up their phones 2,617 time a day on average. With the average person spending 2 hours and 30 minutes a day staring at a small screen.

He said if you live an additional 60 years, you would spend 7 hours staring at your phone.

This was mind blowing to me when you put it in this context.

I am like most people and I see my screen time that my phone sends me on a weekly basis. It is something that I have been conscious about, and have done some things to minimize my time on my phone. But I am going to make it a point to do even more to prevent myself from being on my phone so much.

Also, the fact that we are never really bored, we are less creative because we are always stimulated, most likely by something that really isn’t of any value to us. Do you really need to know the news of the day all day long.

Eating: We all know this, but our ancestors didn’t have readily available food like we do now. They actually had to hunt for their food. And when they killed it, or found it, they would then have to carry all of that food back to wherever they were living.

Nowadays we have so many comforts around food, and I can’t say the last time I actually forced myself to be really hungry.

One of the big takeaways for me from this book is to force myself to eat less a few times a week and actually feel discomfort around not eating. The health benefits around this are well documented. I know many people talk about fasting for 12-16 hours. I do it pretty frequently as well. But I want to force myself in to even longer fasts and cleanses.

Luck: One of the last takes I really liked in this book that the author briefly talks about is the fact that I am alive and how lucky I really am.

The stat in the book says this: The odds of being alive is 1 in 10 to the 2,685,000 power. I am not a mathematician, but that is a lot. Secondly, he talks about the average lifspean of a human in 1900 was 31 years of age. Today, across the world it is 72.

And lastly, the fact that I was born in America is another blessing.

I think, I already knew how lucky I was to be born at this time, in this country. But it was a great reminder for me.

As I mentioned these are just a few of my notes of things that jumped out to me in the book. I highly encourage you to read it.

To your success and your future.