Its that time again . . . where we get to meet another successful real estate investor. For those of you who are unfamiliar, we will from time to time, interview investors on BiggerPockets for our Meet the Investor series. With that in mind, we’ve got a great interview for you with real estate investor Will Barnard. Will has been one of the most active members of BiggerPockets over the course of the last year or so, and has given back much to others in the community. He is a great resource and a nice guy. With that in mind . . .
Meet Real Estate Investor Will Barnard
How long have you been investing in real estate full time?
I started investing in 2004 and went “full time” in 2006.
What attracted you to becoming a real estate investor?
I have almost always been self-employed and I am a true entrepreneur at heart. I have always been interested in real estate investing; in fact, I was out looking at homes to buy, rehab and flip back in 2000, but never pulled the trigger because I felt I did not have the financial capabilities to do so — how little did I know! The fact is, I could have, had I had the right education! Real estate investing offers me the freedom to work when I want (which is actually all the time, but I love it!), make as much money as I want, as there are no limits as in a regular job, and most importantly, I love what I do.
How did you get started investing?
After attending a large real estate investing event (which was full of guru filled sales pitches), I decided to finally pull the trigger, no matter what the costs and I knew that I was going to succeed no matter what. I learned as much as I could via reading and research on the net, and then got suckered into a guru program to the tune of $11,000+!
Feel free to say OUCH!
Some good did come from it, though. In doing one of the silly exercises, I met my partner Michael and we were able to form Nationwide Property Investments together. The rest is history as we write it.
Tell Us About Your First Deal
My first deal was a 3 bed/2 bath home in San Antonio, TX. I purchased it with 100% of the funds coming from a private investor. The investor and I share the ownership and profits from the property 50%/50% but I had, and still have $0 of my own money invested in the deal. I have since done similar transactions out of state multiple times, without any of my own money, using partners and private money lenders.
What is your focus and why?
Currently, my focus is on buying REO properties, rehabbing them, and selling them to owner occupants. The real estate market here locally (and abroad) is ever changing and investors need to adapt to those changes and apply the strategies that are viable to the current market conditions. I also enjoy being a rehabber which is the investment strategy I originally looked at doing. That said, I have done many aspects of real estate investing including building spec homes, buy and hold, wholesaling, land development, commercial deals, and I provide educational products and services to other investors.
What do you look for in an investment?
Profit! Need I say more.
How many deals have you done in your career?
I have been involved in over 100 real estate transactions as the principle or partner and continue to do millions of dollars in transactions each year.
Do you have your real estate license?
I do not, however, my wife is soon to be licensed. There are certain aspects of investing that I can do as an investor, which I could not as a licensed sales agent, so having my wife get her license gives us the best of both worlds.
What advice would you give to a beginning investor?
Get educated first, then apply that education in the field.
What was your toughest deal?
My toughest deal was my first land development deal I did, because I did not have the education or experience behind me to avoid all the costly mistakes that are so prevalent. That said, I did turn a nice profit, but if I could do it again, I would have made triple that now that I am more experienced in that particular investment strategy.
What was your favorite deal?
I am not sure I have a “favorite” deal as any profitable deal is a good one. That said, I guess if I had to choose, my most recent REO flip in Granada Hills ranks up there; this was thanks to several aspects including the profit margin, the video series we produced, and the investors I was able to teach using the experience of this investment.
What would your dream deal be?
My dream deal is the acquisition of a very large commercial building in the tens of millions of dollars, which would provide a lifetime of passive income for me, my children, and their children. This income would come no matter where I am or what I am doing.
I see that you’ve got a real estate coaching program going. How are your students doing? Any great success stories?
Yes, we created the “Make Me an Investor” program to educate and instruct our students on exactly how to profit from the current REO markets. We teach them exactly what we currently do (to make money) and how we do it, detail for detail. It is an 8 week, hands on program which is different from anything else out there. Two of our recent students are doing very well. They completed the 8 week program and are both very close to getting their own deals. One of them is making an offer, as we speak, on a property not yet listed on the MLS, and it looks very good. In fact, he has asked us to be a partner if he can not come up with all the money from his current private funding sources.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the rest of us?
I would say to all who are looking to get into real estate investing — pick a strategy that fits within your abilities and comfort levels. If you are a shy or introverted person, don’t attempt to specialize in pre-forclosures where you have to speak one on one to homeowners in desperate situations. I would also add that anyone starting out should get educated in the strategy of their choice FIRST, and a great starting point for that education, other than reading as many good books as possible, is right here on BP Nation! There is a wealth of information and contacts here. As they say, your network is your net worth!
Before we wrap it up, I’d love to ask about how you are finding BiggerPockets helpful in your business? As a long-standing PRO member, would you recommend the BiggerPockets PRO account that you currently have, for others.
BiggerPockets has been a library of information for me (even as a seasoned investor) through the forums and blogs, and has been a great place to meet friends and contacts to add to my business network. I have done deals with BP members, have had members enter our make me an investor program and I have enjoyed contributing my knowledge and experience in the forums as well as on my BP blog. As one of the top 5 forum contributors, I can honestly state that participation in the forums is crucial for both beginners and seasoned pros. If you are not contributing or asking questions here, you are not learning!
As a BiggerPockets PRO account member, I have added features and abilities that the regular members do not. Some of those I don’t use, while others I do, and I find the low cost of membership to be highly worth it. One of the greatest current features (and features are always being added!) is the ability to see who is visiting my profile and blog as well as where they came from to get to my pages.
Thank you Josh for your interview and I look forward to many more years here on BP as well as the added benefits and features I know are in the pipeline.
If you’re a BiggerPockets member and are interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Investor series, let us know.Meet the Investor: Interview with Real Estate Investor, Will Barnard by Joshua Dorkin