BiggerPockets Podcast 089: From High School Dropout to 300+ Real Estate Deals with Engelo Rumora

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Looking to be inspired?

Today on The BiggerPockets Podcast we sit down and chat with Engelo Rumora, a real estate investor with a fascinating story that involved dropping out of high school, playing professional soccer, and building up a massive real estate investment business across two continents! Don’t miss this incredible interview where we cover numerous topics ranging from getting started, flipping houses, networking with potential lenders, finding (and working with) mentors, running a growing business at a young age, and a lot more!

Read the Transcript

Click here to read the transcript.

Listen to The Show on iTunes

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Listen to the Podcast Here


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Links from the Show:

In This Show We Cover:

  • How Engelo got his start in Real Estate Investment
  • The challenges of jumping in without formal education
  • Valuable tips on effective networking
  • The varied & diverse deals Engelo has made in his career so far
  • Why he decided to move from Australia to the US
  • Details on his first deal (and why he almost got killed because of it!)
  • The 3 essential traits every investment partner should have
  • How to avoid shady operators
  • Tips on how to find the most promising properties
  • How Engelo and his team finance their deals
  • The keys to managing a business from a young age
  • What he’s learned about building a brand and marketing a business
  • Engelo’s vision for the future of his company
  • And so much more!

Books Mentioned in the Show

Tweetable Topics

“Formal education will you earn you a living, while personal development will give you a lifestyle.” (Tweet This!)

“Many people are school smart, but life-dumb.” (Tweet This!)

“No matter how many times you get hit, you just got to pick yourself up and keep going.” (Tweet This!)

“Passion definitely inspires passion.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Engelo

About Author

Thanks for checking out the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building Podcast. Hosts Joshua Dorkin & Brandon Turner strive to bring top-notch educational content and interviews to our listeners -- without the non-stop pitch prevalent around the industry. With over 180,000 listeners per show, the BiggerPockets Podcast has become the biggest real estate podcast in the world. But don’t take our word for it. We’re the top-rated and reviewed real estate show on iTunes — check it out, read the reviews on iTunes, and get busy listening and learning!


    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Christopher,

      Thanks for your comment. I have been overwhelmed with positive emails and messages thus far from people that have listened to the podcast. Great experience.

      lol “Wanker” is a word that we use quite often back home in Australia.

      Now when you mix it with “Bloody Wanker”. It starts to get quite serious haha

      Thanks and have a great day.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Mohammed,

      Thanks for your comment and kind words.

      Kansas City is a great market, like many others in the Midwest. I saw a greater opportunity present itself and decided to make the move.

      I also wanted to further develop myself as a Real Estate investor and gain more experience of working in multiple markets.

      Thanks and have a great day.

  1. Engelo,

    Listened today on a beautiful morning here in Boston, and all I can say is, “wow!”. Very informative and entertaining podcast.

    Looking forward to checking out your websites.

    Congrats on all your current and future success. Most impressive.


    P.S. Brandon & Josh, terrific, keep them coming!

  2. I enjoy your passion and common sense. I believe they’re the main ingredients to success. I would like to know if your team grows with you financially or do they receive a set salary even if they’re promoted.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Marc,

      Thanks for your comment.

      We have great incentives in place where everyone can earn as much as they want as long as they make things happen.

      We offer some great vested interests and other perks.

      I never was a believer in a set base pay “burger flipper” salary.

      We want people to create and make things happen and off course get rewarded for their time and efforts.

      I always tell our team that I can’t wait for the day that someone bumps me out of my spot and starts driving more than I do. I will gladly hand over the reigns.

      The Bahamas are waiting for me hehe

      Thanks and have a great day.

  3. Engelo and BP, outstanding stuff!!!!
    Took a bath in the down turn, broken investment partnerships, still nursing my wounds–read losses. Still motivated and looking to buy, rehab and hold.
    Great inspirational podcast!!

    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your comment and kind words.

      This podcast has been an amazing experience and I would like to thank everyone that has reached out to me over the past 4 days.

      Joshy and Brandon, don’t forget to hit me up when you start doing video interviews.

      I have always known I had a face for radio and voice for camera hahaha

      Thanks guys 🙂

  4. Great podcast as usual . Engelo was very entertaining and informative. I love the elimination question It’s a must that Institute that concept into building my brand. My question for Engelo is how is obtaining your realtor license limits you as an investor? I understand that I must disclose that I’m a realtor to whom I’m purchasing a property from, however can you please elaborate?
    Thanks in advance .

    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The elimination question has worked wonders for me over the years. Its great for weeding out the people you really don’t want being a part of your bigger picture.

      The biggest negative IMO with having a realtors license is that almost everything related to buying or selling would have to be disclosed and would have to be run through a broker.

      We have actually just agreed on terms with buying a broker that will be joining our company so this would make it easier and more on our terms.

      With that in place and 2 of our guys(Josh & Matt) getting their realtors licenses I don’t think its necessary for myself to get one.

      I don’t really have a spare 3 weeks to complete the course anyway lol

      Thanks and have a great day.

  5. Brant Richardson on

    Whoo hoo, another Kansas City investor makes it on a podcast. Well I still think of you as a KC investor anyway. Engelo, as far as I can tell, you aren’t really holding any property long term, it’s all for sale as turnkey, is that true?

    I need to read Think and Grow Rich about 7 more times and see if I can get my passion stirred up to Rumora level.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Brant,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I wouldn’t really classify myself as a Kansas City investor. More of an entrepreneur/world wide investor 🙂

      I sold out of my rentals to start Ohio Cashflow. When starting a new business, having liquid capital is crucial.

      My strategy has always been buy and hold. I still own a few properties in Australia and have recently bought 2 for my own portfolio in Toledo and looking to add another 2 more in Dayton before the end of 2014.

      Home run deals pop up 3-4 times per year and I always want to have a cash surplus available to take such deals down.

      Thanks and have a great day.

  6. Hi Engelo!

    Great show! Very informative and I ABSOLUTELY love your passion and energy!

    I can definitely relate to your foundation of trust, respect and integrity along with striving to do better for yourself, so you can pay it forward. My father taught me those principles and they are ones that are close to my heart. It hasn’t always been easy, because I have been burnt before and want to throw in the towel and not trust any more, but in the end it is who I am and its at my core and I don’t know how else to be.

    Also, I love your quote of “be willing to keep going when you don’t think you can go any longer.” Thank you for reminding me of this, because as you know it is so easy to give up. Everyday I keep focused on my end goal of being an real estate investor and think “how can I make it happen?” And as you know when you change to that mindset, you come up with all kind of solutions.

    Keep up the great work Engelo and keep that passion going, because people need that out there. People like you who keep striving and moving forward to accomplish their dream, while helping others achieve theirs.

    Take care and have a fabulous day!


    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Nicole,

      Thanks for your kind words and listening to the podcast.

      “Make a PASSION an OBSESSION and you will never work a day in your life”

      Even after conducting due diligence on the people I am looking at working with, I still go into every relationship with an open mind and heart. I have no secrets and play with open cards. This approach allows the relationship to blossom to its full potential.

      This is the risk of Real Estate and business in general. You need to be willing to put yourself in a very vulnerable position and know that you can loose everything at any given moment.

      Keep rolling with the punches and stay focused on perfection. Whatever your “perfection” is.

      I always tell my group that everyone has a different perception on perfection. If you don’t feel 100% satisfied with what your doing and something within is bothering you that its not good enough. STOP and re-do it. Even if it takes all day and night.

      Keep doing it until your satisfied from within and you reach your “perfection”.

      Thanks again Nicole and I am very much looking forward to changing my mental figure from hitting financial targets for our business to “how many people we can assist that are in need of life’s basic amenities” targets.

      As the saying goes “You need to help yourself first before you can help others”

      Thanks and have a great day.

  7. Great podcast! Several themes resonated with me, including the notion that a broader purpose (beyond pure monetary gain) can serve to accentuate one’s drive to succeed.

    Engelo, I’m curious as to how you structured the sell side of your business. How do you market the properties to investors and are there some marketing channels that work better for you?

    Stay fired up!


    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for listening to the podcast and your comment.

      Before Ohio Cashflow was established we spent a good 10 months pounding the concrete(as they say) with emails, cold calls, meetings, etc… The clear goal was to establish a sales channel that had the capacity to sell numerous properties every month. We have done this both nationally and internationally. These channels have been keeping us very busy and we haven’t conducted any marketing where our company would be exposed to one on one sales with single investors that directly contact us through the website.

      We are working with a few web gurus now to try and get a bit more exposure on the East and Coast for this purpose.

      This will only be temporary as once investors get to experience our product and service, word of mouth and referrals will look after the marketing by itself.

      I hope my comment helps.

      Thanks and have a great day.

  8. Engelo,

    Your energy is amazing and I suspect you will ride it for a long time…

    I am now 50, and the fact that you are nearly half my age and listed Think and Grow Rich + How To Influence People.. as your top books is equally amazing. What a solid start. Those have been my two most valuable books throughout my life. Add just one more book to this set … Richest Man in Babylon. I read all three books annually to get back to the basics each year.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment and praise.

      Yes and Yes, I have also read “The Richest Man in Babylon”

      A few other good ones are “Man’s Search for Meaning” and “Blue Ocean Strategy”

      I had on my goal list for 2014 to read 20 books. I pretty much hit every target expect that one.

      Only 2 down lol

      I better hurry up with the reading 🙂

      Thanks and have a great day.

  9. I’m a uk investor and this is my first time at biggerpockets – thanks Josh and Brando for an excellent show. Engelo delivers yet another excellent, informative and honest podcast. The first time I listened to Engelo on the affordable rei podcast I knew this was a honest guy who I could invest with and trust. Engelo has been professional throughout and made my first Ohio purchase run smoothly( along with Josh and Tim from Ohiocashflow. He certainly practices what he preaches. The ‘wont do business for 6 to 12 months’ just shows me this will be a long term business relations. Thanks and keep up the energy !
    Ps you didn’t mention my new tenant was an ex felon 🙂

    • Engelo Rumora

      hahaha Mark,

      Thanks for your comment and kind words about the team.

      Much appreciated.

      I wanted to surprise you with the felon tenant when you came to visit us haha jokes 😉

      It was actually for a lower end property in Dayton but after we spoke with the parole officer we didn’t feel like proceeding would be a good idea.

      Thanks and speak soon.

  10. Hi Engelo,

    I just listened to your podcast and it’s very motivational and entertaining – good job! It’s good to hear you’ve still got your Aussie accent too – don’t know how you do this after a few years in the States. Great to be able to put a voice to your words.

    All the best.


    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Travis,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Glad you enjoyed the podcast.

      I stress to keep the accept as it helps with opening up doors. I like to joke around with saying that if I called the White House with my accent, they would probably connect me with Barrack Obama haha

      Thanks and have a great day.

  11. Gavin Peacock on

    Engelo, your podcast was amazing! From start to finish, I loved your enthusiasm, advice, tips, and most of all, your sense of humour. Being British, I found you very easy to listen to, and could have done so all day long. Hearing “wanker” though, I was a little surprised, but Josh had great fun with it. One of my all-time heroes was Steve Irwin, and funnily enough, I just finished his biography yesterday. One dinkum Aussie to another! Ripper!! ? Come back and do another interview soon, mate.

    • Engelo Rumora

      Hi Gavin,

      Thanks for your comment and kind words.

      I do my best to stay true to myself and to stress my opinions and experiences.

      Its a NO BS and no hidden agenda approach.

      heheh Luckily I didn’t heat things up with “Bloody Wanker” haha

      I told the guys that I would be happy to do any other interviews and assist in anyway.

      Thanks mate 🙂

  12. Hey BP and Engelo,
    This is my second time writing this as my stupid computer powered down with 20% battery left after I was all done. Grrrr.
    Anyway, I just wonted to say that this was an amazing podcast. I listened to it twice in a row, which I never do… so soon. After the second time I sent Engelo a colleague request on BP and said I loved the podcast, and would love to take him to lunch sometime and pick his brain. I ended up driving up to Toledo the next week and meeting Engelo and his girlfriend Dominique at their new office. Engelo showed me around and told me what they were going to be doing with the space, we then chatted a little and went out to get something to eat. Engelo and Dominique ended up spending two and a half hours with me, and even took me to a house they had just gotten into escrow. They answered all my questions and talked with me about how they had gotten to where they were. It was absolutely a game changer for me. It has since been a week, and while some of the “motivation” has passed, the practical advice and guidance is still moving me forward and I am streamlining my business, and making progress I never have before.
    Thanks again Engelo,

  13. Ndy Onyido

    wow! I listened to this podcast today and it blew my mind…with this kind of passion and energy laced with razor-sharp focus, there is no desired height that this team will not get to………..You are simply phenomenal; like a moving train, nothing can stand in your way….

    This is very inspiring and I learnt a great deal from this podcast…. I have played it twice already 🙂

    @ Josh and Brandon,
    Keep up the good work!

  14. Christian Silva

    Wow, Definitely can relate to this one a fair bit!

    As a current professional footballer of 25 years old, I was beyond excited to hear this podcast as I am in the beginnings of my REI education. Fantastic to see someone of the same age making splashes in the business and doing so with the same energy and mindset that I’ve got.

    Taking the same work ethic and drive from my football and applying it to learning the ropes in REI so that I can begin acquiring properties Summer 2015. I think football really bangs in a few priceless values that can really get you ahead in this business. Especially, the competitiveness and willingness to go through a grind in order to see results. On top top of that, I think the amount of times you get your door shut in your face and the politics of professional football leave you more than prepared to smash down any doors elsewhere and succeed.

    Will definitely be following up on you, Engelo (Ive got your site and articles up on the next tab actually) and see how well you progress. Hitting this site and multiple learning sources hard so we can cross paths in the future as two young up and coming RE visionaries 😉

    You’ve definitely got a fan in the Tampa, FL area.

    Josh and Brandon, you two are legends as well for this site and getting access to these valuable and diverse mentors. Huge thanks.

  15. Engelo Rumora

    Hi Christian,

    Thanks for your detailed comment.

    lol – I sure do remember those shut doors and politics. I am sure you know it all but I have a quite few goodies I could share from my Hong Kong playing days…

    If you haven’t already check out the link below to a blog I wrote a while back for Bigger Pockets. I touch on many things that playing soccer/football helped me with in the business world.

    Thanks and feel free to reach out anytime. Always happy to connect.

    Have a great day and Forza Milan haha 😉

  16. Marilou Rey

    Hi Engelo, this is awesome. I’m doing a marathon to listen to all the podcast from number one. I can say all the podcasts are informative and inspirational but this podcast has great passion. When my son grow up (he’s 7 now) I will ask him to listen to this podcast, of course he has to read first Rich Dad Poor Dad, Think Rich Grow Rich and How to win and friends and Influence people which are my favorite books too. Though, I am in my late 40s and my husband is in early 50s we’re still a newbie how I wish I read the Rich Dad Poor Dad earlier. I’m still glad because my son will know about it early.

    Engelo, I’m going to check your website as we are planning to buy our 1st rental property in Toledo. We already connected with some people over there and we’re going down before the end of the month to look at properties they are offering.

    Best wishes in your all endeavors Engelo!!

    Thanks also to Josh and Brandon to this podcast and all. I signed up for free but after a while I upgrade it to pro as I feel guilty that I’m devouring biggerpockets without supporting at least financially.

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