Home Blog BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast

How to Get Your First Deal—An Episode For New Investors With Bill, Jacob, and David!

The BiggerPockets Podcast
101 min read
How to Get Your First Deal—An Episode For New Investors With Bill, Jacob, and David!

Your first deal might just be your most important — because it leads to all the rest. That’s why it’s so imperative to study others who have just recently purchased their first deal! So today we’re excited to bring you a mashup episode, in which we sit down with three different investors to hear how they bought their first few investment properties. You’ll hear how Bill went from ex-con to house hacker, how Jacob used some highly creative methods to find his first deals, and how David is building an empire from across the ocean. Don’t miss a moment of this powerful episode!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon: This is the BiggerPockets podcast Show Number 281.

“And I found out, I was so prepared for it as through Meetups, through reading, through BiggerPockets, things like that, that when I did it, I was kind of so prepared that I was like hey, this really isn’t that hard”.

You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio. Simplifying real estate for investors large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place.

Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from BiggerPockets.com. Your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon: What is going on, everyone? This is your host for today, Brandon Turner, here with my co-host, Mr. David “Analogy Man” Greene. How are you doing?

David:  I’m good, buddy. How are you today?

Brandon: You’re good as what? I need an analogy.

David:  I am as good as the icing on birthday cake. I actually had a really good night last night. I was hanging out with our buddies, Mario [inaudible][1:04], Beau Epstein and Vinney Chopra.

Brandon: I love those guys.

David:  How do you not love those guys?

Brandon: We need to get them all on the podcast sometime.

David:  Yeah, we need to share their awesomeness with the rest of the world.

Brandon: We do. Anyway.

David:  Vinney is a multi-family syndication guy and he’s telling me how he bought a $23 million dollar apartment and he raised money to do it. He’s getting investors like 18% return on their money. And then Mario is probably the top appraiser in the Bay Area so he knows all about how appraisals are done. And Beau Epstein, he raises money—he works for a fund that’s raised money and he gives hard money loans to investors.

So, I get to sit there with these guys and I get to learn how loans work, what lenders are looking for, how to put yourself in a position to get more money, then I get to learn how appraisals work and how to add more value to my houses and as a real estate agent, what I can do to get my houses to sell for more. And then I get to learn eventually when I want to start buying apartment complexes from somebody who’s been doing it for 12 years, who’s got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of units, maybe thousands by now, under his belt.

And I’m just sitting there thinking like, how cool is this? I get to talk about real estate for a living and then I get to hang out with guys that are this successful and that’s what fuels me to want to do better in my business and learn more because I’m around guys that are so inspiring.

Brandon: Yeah, what’s cool about that, too, is people listening going oh, I wish I could do that. You can do that. Every single person here should be hanging out with and talking with people and meeting people in your local area. I mean, that actually sounds a lot like today’s Quick Tip, I guess we could say. It is go hang out with people in your area, whether it’s a local BiggerPockets events—you can go to BiggerPockets.com/events for that.

Or you just find somebody on the site who is in your area. Go to BiggerPockets.com/meet to search people in your zip code. Whatever. Just find people in your area that you can connect with, just like you did last night. Which, I wish I was there. That would have been a very fun conversation. But whatever.

David:  It’s always more fun when you’re there.

Brandon: Aw, thanks.

David:  You were like too busy in Hawaii.

Brandon: Whatever. I’m in Washington but whatever. I would have come a thousand miles for that conversation. No, I wouldn’t have, but you know. Whatever.

All right, moving on. Speaking of hanging out with multiple people, today’s show is actually a little different in that there are multiple interviews happening today. In fact, we’re talking with a few different people. First of all, we’re talking with a guy who was in prison for a decade, got out, and rather than like accepting life sucks, I’m going to have a hard time doing this, he goes and changes his entire life around, became an entrepreneur, became a real estate investor, and he’s got a really cool story buying his first deal.

And then, secondly, we’re talking to an engineer who turned into a real estate investor in his twenties. He’s actually really good at buying off-market deals. So, finding deals that aren’t listed. And then our third guest is a buddy of mine who I met in Hawaii who is actually a Marine who has invested in real estate on the mainland. In other words, not in Hawaii. And he’s got a really cool story. He bought a property for very low money down recently. You guys are going to love that story—a 10-unit out in the Midwest. So stay tuned for all those stories. But before we get to the stories, let’s hear a quick word from today’s show sponsor. 

Here’s why I’m a big fan of SimpliSafe Home Security. SimpliSafe is ready for anything that gets thrown at it. If a storm takes out your power, SimpliSafe is ready. An intruder cuts your phone line, SimpliSafe is ready. Say they destroy your keypad or siren, SimpliSafe will still get you the help you need. And here’s what I love about that. Sure, maybe it’s overkill and maybe you don’t need to be ready for every worst case scenario but that’s what makes SimpliSafe so great, because it’s always ready. Now, SimpliSafe could cost an arm and a leg. It should but it doesn’t. That’s because they’re good people over there at SimpliSafe. They charge you what’s fair. $14.99 a month. No contracts. No hidden fees. I recommend SimpliSafe to everyone I know. You’ve got to check it out. Go today to SimpliSafePockets.com. Again, that’s SimpliSafePockets.com.

All right and with that, let’s move on. So today, we’ve got three guests like we said. We’ve got Bill, we’ve got Jake, and we’ve got David. So we’re going to do them in that order. Each interview is about 30 minutes a piece, so it’s a longer show today so stay tuned for the whole thing. Again, if you have to like go to work or you’re in your car, listen to the other ones later because every story is unique. Everyone is going to give you guys a lot of ideas and suggestions and confidence and encouragement on your own journey, as you learn how these three investors kicked off their investing career.

And last thing before we get to the interviews, and the first one here with Bill, is I want to take this time to invite every single one of you guys to a live, online event that I’m hosting this week. Look, it’s really hard to find good deals right now. It’s really, really tough and so I’m going to do a live webinar, an online class this coming week. Five unique strategies for finding incredible deals in today’s competitive market.

So we’re going to go through five strategies that investors are using. We’re going to go in-depth on those strategies. So if you’re looking for more deals, show up. You sign up by going to BiggerPockets.com/webinar. Again, BiggerPockets.com/webinar, and I hope to see you there. Now with no further ado, let’s get to our interview. Our first one here with Bill from Wealth Well Done.

All right, Bill, welcome to the BiggerPockets podcast. Good to have you here.

Bill: Hey, I’m so excited. So, let’s jump in.

Brandon: Awesome, awesome. So, let’s go to your backstory. Before we get into your first real estate deal, you have an interesting story. So I’ll let you tell it.

Bill: Starts off, I was 21 years old and I wake up, I was going to college and I found out, my friend died of a drug overdose. The next thing I hear is the cops, they’re looking for me because I was partying in my apartment that night before. I didn’t know anything bad happened. The next thing I know, police are coming to my apartment, I go running out the front door, they’re there.

I get put in the handcuffs, and put in the back of a squad car for the first time in my life, brought to jail where I sat in jail for the next year. I got charged with reckless homicide by delivery of a controlled substance and before I knew it, I was being sentenced to 10 years in prison for it. That was my future for the next 10 years.

Brandon: Whoa.

David:  That’s a lot.

Brandon: Okay, so you’re 20. You hit your roaring twenties nice and slow place.

Bill: 20 years old, I thought I had life all figured out. I was in college. I was doing well. I had two different lives that I was living. I had this perfect suburban life going on but then I had this other drug life. And I thought hey, as long as I’m doing what the suburban life wants me to do, I can party it up. And I got away with that for years until one night happened and I never thought a friend of mine was going to die. And it happened.

Brandon: Wow. That’s crazy. Did you spend the whole 10 years in prison or did you get out early?

Bill: No, in the state I was incarcerated in, there was no good time, no parole. So once I got sentenced to it, in 2002, there was no way out. No matter how good I was, no matter what programs I took, I was in for I think, 10 years was 3,650 days. So I was locked up in 2002 and I finally got out in 2012. And I’ve been out five and a half years now. And I’ll tell you what, these are the best years of my life so far.

Brandon: Got that. I met you in person once before. We hung out at FinCon. And you were super positive, uplifting, super friendly guy. There are other people I have met in my life, and I’m sure David can agree, because David is the police officer here—like who are not super friendly and uplifting and happy when they get out of prison. Like they don’t change their life around. So why was your story different? What changed in prison for you that other people don’t seem to have happen to them?

Bill: Yeah, I will definitely say my success didn’t start when I got out. It started right away in the very beginning. And I’ll tell you what, I went through the same feelings of when somebody fails, like for bad things happen to somebody, I went through the same process that everybody else does. First, you have shame because I felt shameful for some of the decisions I made that put me in that situation. Then you feel guilty because you’re like, man, I did this to myself. And then you know what, acceptance starts to come.

And then all of a sudden, at least for me, I had this little voice inside my chest that went to my mind and it said, you’re better than this. And at least for me, I chose to listen to that voice and I said you know what, and my first cellmate ever, I remember him telling me one time—he said, you know, this isn’t going to last forever. You will get out of here one day as long as you don’t have a life sentence. And I held onto that.

That was a thought that I held onto for the next 10 years. I said, you know what? I will get out one day and every day in here, even though my life sucks or it seems to suck, I’m going to do something with it so that when I get out, I’m going to be 31 years old and I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. I don’t know if I’ll be successful. But you know what, I’m going to do it. I’m going to stay out of prison. And that was my goal the first day I got out of jail.

David:  So what I love about that is that you took responsibility for your part. You could have played the victim. You could have blamed the cops. You could have blamed the system. You could have blamed anyone but you said nope, this is what I did wrong and I want to change that. And then you took it a step further and said, I’m not just going to sit here and wait. I’m going to start taking proactive steps to prepare myself so that when I get my chance, I’m ready.

That’s something that I really, really love. I feel like Olympic athletes know four years later, I’m going to be in a competition. You could wait until the competition to start getting ready or you could start training right now so that when it comes, you’re in peak performance, right? And not enough people understand that. They’re like well, I can’t buy a property because I don’t have any money. I’ll wait until I save up money and then I’ll learn how to invest.

Well, you just put yourself back however long it takes you to learn. You could be learning while you’re saving up the money. That was something that you did right while you were there and you talked a little bit about some of the books you read. Brandon, do you have anything you want to add before we ask him about those?

Brandon: I do. Well, I wanted to point out if you’re listening to the show right now, maybe you didn’t end up in prison but maybe you just screwed up your life in some other way. Maybe you woke up one day and you’re like I’m 45 years old and I have no savings, right?

Like, put yourself in Bill’s shoes, not necessarily like the same exact situation but the same solution that you found, Bill, was like take responsibility, accept the fact, and then say starting now, I’m going to be a different person. I’m proactively changing my life. So I just want to again, commend you for that. Just the attitude was brilliant.

Bill: Totally. And let me just add one point. I’ve never shared this on the air before but I remember one moment that it all became real to me. I had been in prison for maybe a year and a half or so and a friend came to me and he says, hey man, I got some pills in here, you wanna take them? And I remember thinking, for a second I thought, oh, I could just do this as a special occasion. Like I’m not getting out for eight years. Like, who cares?

And then all of a sudden, it was a revelation in my mind like, you know what? If I’m going to be successful out there, I’m going to start right here with nothing. Like, I’ve got to make the decision no, and from that day of saying no to that, I said you know what? From now on, I’m just going to keep doing it no matter where I am.

David:  That’s amazing. I love, love, love that. That’s why you’re successful right now, because of that decision you made eight years ago or whatever that was. And people need to understand that. So tell me, you’re committed to being successful although you had no idea what that even meant at the time you were there. What were some of the things you did or the books you read that helped transform your mind to prepare you for where you’re at now?

Bill: Yeah, totally. I’ve been successful financially in the last five years I got out, but when I was in prison, money doesn’t exist in prison. So I was no way able to comprehend like financial ideas. So I took the opposite approach. I looked at, what can I control right now? And I said, I control my mind. I control my thoughts. I can control my feelings. I can control what I want. And I started getting into reading a lot of just leadership books. Even great leaders, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., people like that.

And then I got into like John Maxwell, all his leadership books. 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, some Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within type stuff. And I didn’t know if it would work but I started being like, you know what? If I can learn how to become a leader, and not a leader of others, but if I can just lead myself, and learn how to be a leader in myself, then theoretically, I should be able to lead myself through no matter what happens to me through the goals I want one day. And that was a philosophy I grabbed onto and I read as much of that stuff and prepared myself to not only how do I lead other people but how can I best lead myself to the dreams I see in my mind.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s fantastic. I think the books you read influence so much about who you are. Like, there’s a famous quote, I don’t remember who said it but like, “In five years from now, you’ll be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet”. And I love that quote. The people we hang out with define who we are and the books you read define who we are. And I would even add the podcasts we listen to change who we are as well, right?

So when you got out of prison now, you can’t easily—people don’t like giving jobs to people who get out of prison. So now you are going to do nothing for the rest of your life and you’re going to sit around and blame the system for the next 40 years, right?

Bill: That was one choice I had.

Brandon: What did you do out of prison?

Bill: So I got out of prison, I had three goals. Some people might look at me and be like those are easy goals, but to me, they were hard, scary goals because I was getting released into a scary new world that I didn’t even know. Social media didn’t exist, cellphones, what they are today, didn’t exist. I didn’t know anything. So I had three goals. One, quit drugs. Quit the things that were holding me back and putting me there. Because I knew if I wasn’t using drugs, I would never go back to prison again. Two, stay free. And then three is just get a job that makes $10 an hour.

Because I knew financially, I could live on $10 an hour. It might not be the most glorious lifestyle but I could do that. And I thought, being a leader or those things that I’ve read, that doesn’t have to be the rest of my life. That’s just one step because once you get that $10 job, you can set your next goal at $15 an hour, $20 an hour, or starting your own company or whatever. So that’s what I did. I got my first job stacking magazines for $10 an hour and that only lasted a couple of months until I started my first business and we’ve been rocking and rolling since.

Brandon: So tell us about that. What did you start and why did you decide to become an entrepreneur then?

Bill: I had my first job and I started interviewing for a better job. And I met a business owner and he basically, just an interview—so I was doing nothing more than what most people do when they’re looking for a better job, they go on interviews, they network, they meet people. And the business owner looked at me and he talked to me, he found out my backstory, and he’s like you know what? You can start your own business.

And he’s like you know what? I could give you a job but you look to be happier in what you’re talking about, to doing your own thing. He’s like, how about I teach you how to start a business and then you can just sell my products? And I’ll fund your purchase orders. And I was like sweet, that’s kind of what I’m looking for because I always wanted to get back the life I lived in prison. Like, not the bars and stuff but being free, reading books that I wanted to do. So I looked at him and I was like, that sounds great.

So he just said, man, start going door to door, make contacts with businesspeople. I’m actually at my home office now so I sell branded apparel to corporate accounts, so promotional stuff. And first six months, I think I sold like $10,000. And it was like $300 bucks a month. You can’t live off that. But I kept at it. I kept networking. I kept just going door to door, looking for people who want to buy from me and I think in the next six months, I sold $180,000.

And I started to be profitable enough to save money and I was living in my parent’s basement at the time and then I was able to start saving money and actually getting out of there. And that’s when I bought my first house.

Brandon: That’s awesome. So we’re going to get to the house here.

Bill: Yeah, I live in the suburban area, the Metro, Twin Cities, Minnesota. Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Brandon: My home turf. I left there at 18 and didn’t come back. Okay, I came back but I do like Minnesota. I’m glad you’re representing my home state here. I want to talk real quickly here about the entrepreneurial thing before we move onto the real estate. Because so many people listen to this show right now work a job that they do not like. They’re making $10 an hour, maybe $15, maybe $20. But they got a job they don’t like and they look at real estate like it’s some kind of magic pill.

Like, if only I can buy enough real estate to quit my job, whatever they don’t’ realize is that there is an in-between that’s possible and that’s call entrepreneurialship. You can start your own business of some kind, to start drawing more revenue than you were making from your job. So I know David here is now a real estate agent. So he does what he loves and in the industry that he loves but he’s a real estate agent.

I write books for BiggerPockets but I also buy real estate. So there’s other ways to make money because just real estate that a person can go into. So do you have any advice for people who are thinking, I do want to start my own business. What have you learned?

Bill: What I’ve learned is you know what? It starts slow. I had to work a job I didn’t like first before I found a job I actually liked. So one is I started somewhere but I always had the next goal of what do I want to do next? And then if you look at my story, I didn’t have this great idea to start a big business. I was just networking and finding other entrepreneurial minds and entrepreneurial minds that I was meeting with actually looked at me and said actually, this is what you should do. Try this out.

So the networking thing was my next step and then the final step was just not being afraid to get out there and start selling and making contacts. For me, I’m a salesperson. That’s what I am. But really, when you get down to it, sales, it’s helping people. They need a service or a product and all I’m doing is presenting that service or products at a good value so you’re looking for that 10% of people you meet that says yeah, I could use what you’re doing. Let’s work together. 

David:  That’s awesome. I like that you mentioned that you got around other entrepreneurs that said hey, you should be doing this. I mean, that’s really, really powerful. My life changed when I got around more successful people because I was working at a police officer. I was the most successful person in that world. Everybody was looking up to me like what should I do? And you get lulled into this false sense of security that you’re really, really smart.

And then I started hanging around with guys that were much more successful than me and all of a sudden, I felt like that big. It was like I was the guy that was in really good shape and all of a sudden I had to start hanging out with Crossfit people and I’m like oh my gosh, I don’t want to take my shirt off. This is really bad, right?

So it forces you to kind of step up your own game and you’re around smart people that tell you smart things. Like, you’d be really good at that. So then you get into it and you start to crush it and your confidence goes up and your skills get built. Now, what I understand is you took some of those skills and you applied them into real estate investing. So tell us a little bit about how you found your deal, what kind of deal it was, why you bought it. All the details.

Bill: Sure, so I bought my first investment property in May of 2017. So a year ago—so I’ve been a landlord for a year now. So I actually have some real life experience. But no, the property—the beginning of it started in 2015 when we bought our first house. We bought half of a twin home. So it’s basically a duplex, or if you think about it, it’s a large townhome that can be split up and it’s zoned a single-family property. So we bought half the property.

Here’s another thing is I had no idea if I was good at real estate or fixing stuff and all the things that come with home ownership. But in 2015, I found out I liked it. I like projects. I like working at it. So we lived in our house, saving money, and I became friends of the neighbors who owned the other half of our property and you know, when their family got big enough to move out to the next house, I just planted the seeds and said, you know, if you guys ever want to sell, I’m here. If we can find out a deal that works for both of us and we both walk away feeling like we got a deal out of this thing, I’m open to buying it.

And I planted that seed about a year before they sold and all of a sudden, one day, I got a text saying hey Bill, you want to talk numbers with us? And at that point, I got all excited and I said all right, let’s start talking. And then the next thing we know, we were in negotiations and I bought it.

Brandon: That’s awesome. So why—what even sparked the idea of, I’m going to buy it. Essentially, a twin home, so like two single-family houses that are next to each other, combined. So it’s like a duplex. But what made you think, I want to buy the neighbor’s house? How did that even come into your head?

Bill: Yeah, so I had a couple of inspiration. I think if you want to live your dreams, you first need to look at other people in the world who are living their dreams and say, that’s the dream I want. My friend had 10 properties and I saw him leave Minnesota and go live down in Austin and now he’s living the dream down there with his properties up here. So I looked at his life and I said, man, that’s the life I want. So that was the first deed that stuck in my mind. And I said, hey, I live next door to this property.

What a great first property to try to own because I live next door to it. I had a ton of fear. You see the news saying, tenant trashes the house and the guy loses $100,000. So I had all this fear that I didn’t want that to happen to me so I thought, hey, I could live next door to it and then when I got the numbers, they started making a lot of sense. It was going to cash flow me from day one. I was going to make money living in my own house.

And eventually, I’d have this massive—it’s a 2000 square foot side unit. I’d eventually have two properties that I could go out and buy another one. And I’ll also say is since I’m self-employed, just in case I had a bad sales month, I have rental income coming in. So I didn’t have to worry about losing a big account or something like that. So it helped—real estate helped my entrepreneurial endeavors.

Brandon: Yeah, I love that. And you know, we talk a lot about this idea of house-hacking which is basically what you’re doing in this property. You basically live in one unit, rent the other ones out, and I love—in fact, I wrote an article for Entrepreneurial.com a long time ago called like “How House-hacking Can Help You Build Your Entrepreneurial Business”. That’s not the exact title, but basically, the idea being if you’re trying to build a business and you’re trying to be a real estate agent or have a print screen company or what do you call it?

Bill: Promotional company.

Brandon: Yeah, or whatever. You want to sell Tupperware door-to-door or whatever. If you’re trying to build a business, what better way to build a foundation for your life than house-hacking where if something goes wrong, you have a bad month, which does happen. There are months where things don’t go through the way you want them to. That you’re not like, well, honey, guess we’re eating the kids this week for dinner. You don’t have to start cannibalizing your family because you don’t have money.

Bill: Sure, absolutely. Because when you’re self-employed, you’re 100% commission salesperson on that money you bring in. That can be great with big months but there’s always going to be lean months. And if you’re in it long enough, there’s always going to be big accounts that leave for whatever reason and for me, it’s nice to have real estate that’s still cash flowing me through those hard times.

Brandon: Yeah, definitely.

Bill: So to me, it’s just added up to this whole awesome experience of being an entrepreneur.

Brandon: So what about funding your deal? Did you end up getting just normal traditional bank financing for this thing, for two purchases?

Bill: Yep, for our first property, we saved $40,000. Between when I say “we”, I am married so my wife and I saved $40,000. We put the down payment. It was 20% down on our first house. And then for the second house, we had three years from when we bought our first house to another house, so we saved our money. We needed another 20% down for a conventional loan, which we qualified for and then we had the decision, do we put 20% down or 25% down to get a lower interest rate?

We had saved aggressively, so we had the 25% and for me, buying my first investment property was still scary. So my logic was, let’s put as much down as we can so the sucker cash flows as much as we can from the very beginning and then just in case I hate being a landlord, like literally, I hate it. I wake up and I hate my life.

My backup plan was still cash flow is enough that I can hire a property manager to run the whole thing for me. So we put 25% down, just to protect ourselves and from day one, it cash flowed $600 a month. So we paid down $200 for mortgage on the month and it cash flowed $600. So $800 a month, increasing my net worth—for me, it’s a sweet deal.

David:  So let me interject here, Bill. I’m going to assume that because you’ve talked to us about how you like to be prepared and put things in place, that is what led to this investor’s strategy and why you chose this property. Because like you said, I knew if I didn’t like it, I could hire a property manager. They can take it over. It’s going to be there for me when my own business work is not producing as much money. I’m going to have this cash flow.

Like, in every way, you found a way to make your fears—you found a hedge for all your fears so that you could move forward. Now, you’ve developed a new skillset that in buying this property, your confidence is going up so you can buy the next one, tell me what’s your plan for the future? How are you going to expand on this and grow?

Bill: Yeah, so for me, like you said, it was dead on. I first had to overcome the fear of the unknown, of owning and investing in real estate. And I found out I was so prepared for it, through Meetups, through reading, through BiggerPockets, things like that, that when I did it, I was kind of so prepared that I was like, hey this really isn’t that hard. And sweet, it’s making me money. I own this giant property, to me. And I basically—very little of my own money comes out of pocket to service the whole thing.

So now that I did that, it broke down the barrier fear. I’ve owned this for years so my wife and I are just going to continue our aggressive savings way, keep building up our portfolio of investible cash, and some investments, too. And that way, when we’re ready for the next property, then we can decide what we want to do. Do we want to move out of our house, buy another property, another single-family home for us to live in?

Right now, we love our house so maybe we target another twin home because I’ve had so much good experience owning this one. So right now we’re in the savings strategy of not getting carried away because I like the idea of large down payments that keep my mortgage cost low so they cash flow me. I’m into real estate for cash flow. Like, that’s what I’m here for.

And so you know, I think we have a goal of just continuing making bigger down payments until eventually where one day, dreaming of buying in cash—that can ten years out, 20 years out—and I think our long-term goal is I’m a big-time skier. I love beach weather in the Minnesota winters. I love Minnesota but I hate the winters here. So maybe we buy a ski condo or maybe we buy a beach condo, and then we just kind of go in a circle around our favorite properties throughout the year. So that’s what I’m aiming towards, eventually.

Brandon: That’s super cool. So do you currently manage the properties yourself then, I’m assuming, right?

Bill: Yeah, I do. I live next door to it. I’m self-employed so if something happens during the day, I can run over there. It’s easy. I like the occasional project. And I was prepared to get a property manager but for this deal, so far, it’s been great.

Brandon: I love the fact that you pointed out the idea that you basically ran the numbers. You made sure it still worked with a property manager in place and then you did it yourself. And that’s something I teach all the time is even if you want to manage yourself, which I think is a good idea. You’re local, you can do it, great. I think it’s a good skill to have. But even if you do, always act as if you’re not going to, right? Because I made that mistake that I own properties today that if I didn’t manage them myself, they wouldn’t cash flow anymore. So did I really buy an investment or did I buy a job? I bought a job. So I love that you said that.

Bill: And I’ll say, as a beginning investor myself, that owns my primary residence and another one, that was the number one tip that I got from an accountant that helped me. And if you’re going to buy property, just worst case scenario, hire a property manager if you can afford it and then just making you money, somebody else is doing the work, and you’re in a great spot as a backup plan.

Brandon: Yep.

David:  I love that. You mentioned that you’re in sales. So your income is inconsistent. So you might have a lot or you might have a little, right? Now you’re investing in real estate which there’s another little wrench in this—it can be great because it’s consistent income but you never know, you can have an expense that hits out of nowhere. So you have a lot of uncertainty that’s kind of floating around you.

And one of the things you hit on, I want to make sure we cover is, you planned to combat that uncertainty by the way that you lived your life, right? Tell us a little bit about some of the ways that you live frugal because even though you haven’t mentioned this, I can guarantee you do because I know how your brain works after listening to you. What are some of the things you do to live beneath your means so that you don’t become overcome with anxiety and fear that something could go wrong and I won’t be ready?

Bill: My wife and I will look for as much free entertainment as we possibly can. And what I mean by that, if you go stroll through our house, you’ll see guitars laying around. You’ll see pianos. You’ll see mountain bikes. You’ll see skis. You’ll see cross-country skis. We have everything we could do that we could literally go out our backyard, which is a nature preserve, by the way, and have fun. All of our date nights are spent just on a bike, doing stuff, and that doesn’t cost us any money. So that was the first big thing.

The next big thing was, our first house, we were able to afford on under $1000 a month for our mortgage. So that helps us put in a position to be flexible with our money and spend wise. So one, we keep our expenses as low as possible. I drive old cars. That’s another big thing. So if you look at this, my house is cheap, my cars are cheap, my hobbies are cheap. And before you know it, you’re living an absolutely fantastic life for basically nothing.

And then I know what’s going to happen is as we become more financially successful, as we start having more investments in our portfolio, then they’re going to start paying us to have a wealthy life, which is go on ski trips, starting to do all that stuff. So that’s our long-term plan. Prison taught me how to see life in ten-year intervals. And that’s what I do now.

Brandon: Oh, I like that a lot. Yeah.

David:  That’s incredible. The perspective you have is really where your real value is because it’s going to make you so much money. You’re not missing out on life by not driving a Corvette and not going on big vacations. You’re having just as much fun or more fun than the next person by hanging out in your own backyard. And it’s helping you accomplish your goal, right? If someone says, you know David, I really want to get in good shape. I don’t know, it’s really hard. I’m having a hard time with it. If I open up their fridge and I see a bunch of junk food, I can question how bad you really want to be in shape.

If you tell me that you want financial independence and you want to invest in real estate but you’re just scared and it’s really hard, by the way you spend your money, I can tell how serious you are. That’s your fridge, right? If you’ve got tons of credit card bills and you’re going out to eat all the time and your expenses are really high, you don’t really want this that bad. You just want to pretend that you do and you want to talk about it all the time but not do anything with it.

It’s the same way with what you’re accomplishing. I know you’re serious about it. This is something you really want and you’ve made the adjustments to your life to get there. Brandon, what do you think about that?

Brandon: I agree.

Bill: I’ve got something I can add onto it. I hope people that are listening to this are realizing you know, it started with me with tiny little steps. Like, my first goal was just to be drug-free. It’s not that hard. My second goal was just to get a job that made $10 an hour. Okay, we can all do that. And then, the thing is, when you do those little tiny steps in the beginning, you start feeling confidence.

Like hey, I did this. Let’s push it a little further and see what happens. Let’s put ourselves in a safe place in life and then let’s take a little risk and see what happens. And you protect yourself from the risk, even if the risk goes bad, well you’re protected from it. And just keep growing that and before you know it, you’ll find yourself in a situation you never thought you’d be in like I’m in now.

Brandon: That’s cool. We interviewed a guy back a few weeks, Bryce Stewart, on Episode 277 of the BiggerPockets podcast, and he tells a story in there about how he wanted to sell his truck but he had a loan on it and didn’t know how to do it and so like, he just didn’t do it for the longest time.

And finally, he was like, you know what? I don’t know how to sell the house but I know how to vacuum my truck. So he went out there and vacuumed it. The next day, he’s like, I don’t know how to sell it but I know how to take pictures of it. So by taking these little actions ahead of time, they propel you and give you confidence, even though you can’t see the whole picture, I used an analogy of driving through fog, right?

You can’t see a mile down the road when you’re driving through fog. You have to trust that there is a road up there and there’s not going to be a murderer in the middle of the road with an ax. But like, all you can see is 20 feet in front of your car. But if you keep driving, just keep moving forward. You’re going to always see a little bit further and further ahead.

Bill: Yep, and for real estate investing, I first had to move out of my parent’s bedroom and buy my first house. And that gave me the confidence like, oh, real estate isn’t that scary. I can figure this out. And then that gave me the confidence for the next one.

David:  That’s what’s so cool about this episode because we’re talking about people who are taking some of their first steps. We’re not talking about the guy that’s 25 steps down the road and you’re like, well that’s so cool. I have no idea how I’m going to get there. Those are the bodybuilders that are competing professionally and you’re like, how will I ever look like that person?

All you need to do is go to the gym. Right? Just get there. When you’re in the gym, look at somebody else lifting weights and try to copy him. It doesn’t have to be a heavyweight. Just pick up a weight and start getting the movements down. Once you’ve got the movements down, start to see how many of these can I do before I get tired, right?

And you’re incrementally adding to the weight, adding new exercises as you’re there, being around people at the gym is going to teach you more about working out. It’s going to be seeing what they do and you’re going to copy it. If you’re in that environment long enough, you will learn how to work out and then it’s up to you if you actually want to become in great shape.

I’ve got to stop using these workout analogies because I’m in terrible shape. But I know that’s just how life works, whether it’s real estate investing or getting a better job or getting in really good shape or building up your own wealth. Whatever it is, it always works in these small incremental steps. And that’s what we’re teaching people.

How did you get that first couple of steps going, because everybody can do those. Everyone can vacuum their truck and keep your eyes on that. Like Brandon was saying, keep your eyes on what’s right in front of you, the road that’s right in front of you and keep going in that direction and eventually you’re going to get there.

Bill: I have to say this, too, I remember one of our first steps, my wife and I, we were just getting our life started. We didn’t have a house yet, and one of the first revelations we had, we were out probably on a bike ride or something and we stopped into McDonald’s to buy breakfast and there was the 99 cent McMuffin and there was like the $3 with egg McMuffin. And we looked at that and we said, you know what? One day, we’ll buy the $2.99 McMuffin with egg but today, we’re going to buy the 99 cent.

And we repeated that over and over. And I guarantee you, people that heard that conversation would laugh and be like, look at these idiots. And then five years later, you look at that guy who didn’t buy the egg McMuffin has two houses and is worth about $250,000 to $300,000 and is kicking butt in life. And he’s like, man, I wish I would have bought the 99 cent meal, too.

David:  Can you post that on your Instagram with like one of those—when everyone else is posing in front of their Ferraris, you’ve got like a $2.99 egg McMuffin in your picture with an inspirational quote, “Work hard, and you, too, can be where I am eating the expensive—”

Bill: This is how you’re getting rich. This is how you buy investment properties, right here.

Brandon: It reminds you of videos you see on YouTube ads a lot, the guy like holding the check for $100,000 and is like, I’m just going to my bank to go cash this $100,000 check right now. Like people still get checks from title companies, but yeah. I love the fact that you’re saying, just take—these little things matter. They’re mindset more than they are tangible. That $2.00 you saved, is that really changing anything? No, but it’s the mindset that you have that changes everything. Because I love that.

Bill: That way, when $2000 opportunity comes and you know how to buy the $200 one rather than the $2000 one? Man, you can start kicking butt.

Brandon: Yep, there you go. So many people in this world want to achieve, like I don’t know if it’s like the mentality we have or whether it’s a millennial thing. I don’t think it is, I think it’s an everybody thing, just a human nature thing. We want the end result now, especially like, I remember getting out of college. You see your parents, they have a nice four-bedroom house and they have a nice BMW and so you’re like, well, I deserve that as well.

So they go out and finance those things and get into a ton of debt because they want that life now. I love that you brought up the ten-year increments. Think of life in ten-year increments. This phase in my life, this little time here is going to be about this. And if I do this right, I can do that differently. Then I can get my parent’s life that they worked for 40 years to get as well.

Bill: For sure. I remember when we bought our first house and it was connected to another house, I’m sure people looked at us like, oh, I wouldn’t want to live in that house. But when they look at now that I own the whole thing and I own multiple properties and I’m thinking about buying this ski condo and a beach condo eventually, they’re probably like man, that was a good idea.

Brandon: What’s Dave Ramsey always say? Live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later. I always liked that a lot. Cool. All right, well let’s shift gears here and head over to the end of the show, which section we love to refer to as our Famous Four.

What is your favorite or current favorite real estate, specifically real estate related book?

Bill: I’m going to go with the one that changed my perspective so much and that was just Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It defined what an asset was and what a reliability was in my life and once I really understood those meaty terms, then I was able to focus all my cash on buying assets.

Brandon: There you go. Perfect.

David:  All right. What’s your favorite business book?

Bill: I’m going to stick with leadership books because that way, if you understand leadership, you can use leadership skills to build whatever business, whatever field that your soul craves living in, so I’m going to go with John Maxwell, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership or let’s throw in Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within one, something I remember.

Brandon: Cool.

David:  Love it.

Brandon: Both fantastic books.

David:  Tell me about some of your hobbies. And I’m very excited to hear about this because I know you do stuff that doesn’t cost much money.

Bill: Favorite hobbies—a lot of our hobbies are, we consider our hobbies our biggest investments. Yeah, it cost some cash going up front but once you have the gear, you’re set for a free life of it. So my wife and I got mountain bikes. We got trail bikes. Biking in the summertime is one of our favorite things. I’m a bigtime skier and so is my wife. We love to fish.

My wife actually can outfish me because I like to swim a little bit, too, but she can get in the boat and go all day long. So anything outdoors. And when it’s rainy, I kind of like working on real estate projects. I like Google and YouTube, how to do a project using some physical exertion and looking at it when you’re done and being like, oh, that’s cool. I did that. I learned a skill in the process.

Brandon: I love it. All right, last question from me. What do you think sets apart successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail, or never got started?

Bill: Understanding that we all have the fear of the unknown in our brains. That fear of the unknown is there for every human being. You’re not alone if you’re afraid of it and I think the successful ones are the ones who stop back and think and know that yes, the fear of the unknown is there so therefore, I’m going to take a lot of time before I get to that fear and prepare for it.

So even if that fear that I have happens, I’m going to be okay. I’m going to have food on the table. I’m going to have a dry, safe, warm place to live. And then also, one of my favorite things that inspired me was a Warren Buffet quote. When he began investing in companies, he had to learn that sometimes a terrible company at a rock bottom price isn’t the best thing. He found out that good companies at a fair price were a better investment. So that’s what I see.

I took that to real estate investing and I look for good properties in good locations, in good school districts. I look for properties that good tenants would want to live in, that when they come tour with me, they say wow, this is a really nice place because if you can have a product that people want to use, and own, and live in, then you’re always going to always have people that want to live there. And it makes the job of a landlord or a real estate investor so much easier.

David:  That’s fantastic. I love how you mentioned that you’re going to have fear and anxiety anytime you’re dealing with uncertainty and the unknown, the quicker people can just understand and accept that, the more successful they’ll be. As a real estate agent, that is like the number one problem for me and my business, is working with clients who are just always—they’re on edge the entire time. Because you just don’t know.

Brandon is going through a transaction right now. He’s trying to buy a house in Hawaii and he’s stressed but he’s dealing with this better than the most people because he’s just accepted—I don’t know if I’m going to get it. I might, I might not. I don’t want to get emotionally attached. Because you don’t know if the loan is going to come through, if the property’s going to appraise or what the inspection reports are going to look like.

There’s a million things you don’t know. You can’t know. And anxiety will always accompany that. And anxiety doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It doesn’t mean that you’re making a mistake, right? Like life is not meant to be lived in a way that you’re always avoiding anxiety, just like when your muscles hurt when you work out. It doesn’t mean you did something wrong. It’s supposed to be like that.

Embracing the uncertainty will bring anxiety and anxiety is a part of it but it will go away the more I do it, is to me one of the biggest keys to living a successful life because you miss out on opportunities when you’re afraid of anxiety and want to run away from it.

And I just think that Bill, you’ve like taken that head on and you’re running right at it and I have no doubt that anything in front of you is going to get knocked over because you’re like an unstoppable force right now. You have a very fascinating story. Can you tell us where can people find out more about you?

Bill: Yeah, absolutely. They can find about me at my blog, WealthWellDone.com. So just think of wealth grilled like a steak and well done, so it’s WealthWellDone.com. We publish weekly articles there about everything I learned when I was in prison and when I was out. I’ll tell you what, if you want to learn more about my prison story, go ahead and subscribe to my e-mail list and you’ll have all the interviews I do like this where I talk about everything I went through and how I got there.

Brandon: Perfect. All right. Very cool, Bill. I really enjoyed having you on today. I guess we’ll see you around the community.

Bill: Yeah, see you around. Thanks, Brandon. Thanks, David. It’s been a blast. I absolutely loved it.

Brandon: Thank you.

David:  Well, that was incredible. I have not been this inspired in a long time. Bill’s story was awesome. Let’s see what Jake has to say. He’s another awesome investor. Let’s do it.

Brandon: All right, Mr. Jake, Jacob, Josephat, Jake, right? We’re going to go with Jake. Welcome to the show.

Jake: Jake is good. Jake is good.

Brandon: All right, welcome to the show. I want to get to know you a little bit more. I know you and I have kind of seen each other, talked to each other, social media wise, online, known each other a little while that way. But I’ve never actually talked to you in real life here like this so this is going to be kind of fun to learn your story. Why don’t we start at the very, very beginning? What did you do before real estate? What do you do now? And how did you get into real estate on your first deal?

Jake: All good question. First of all, guys, thanks so much for having me on. I’m really excited to be here. I think it’s going to be really fun. Well, a little bit about me, I’m a young professional obviously. I’m 28 years old. And I work in engineering and I’m a part-time real estate investor. But going back before that, like many of your audience members out there, many of the people listening to your podcast right now, I was kind of raised with this blueprint to go to school, get a good education, further that education, get into college, study something that challenges you and get a job.

So I did all of these things and I found myself in corporate America working at an engineering firm and I realized this blueprint only gets you through about your mid-20s for most people. So here I am sitting in corporate America, kind of wondering what’s next. I’ve always had something to shoot for after this, get into college, get a good GPA, get a good job. And so here I am looking about like, in my life, like what’s next? So what I’m seeing is essentially retirement at age 65 and a half, if you’re lucky, right?

So you know, it just didn’t sit well with me. I knew there was something more out there, something that I wanted to do, and at the time, I was really involved and really interested in my own personal finance and kind of building a life I wanted. So I kind of started looking down this investing path and going down this path, I realized, there’s kind of a fork in the road and on one side, you’ve got like the more traditional sense, investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds through your retirement accounts. Things like that.

And that didn’t excite me so much. And then on the other fork, there was the alternative asset classes including real estate investing. That just kind of rung true to me. There’s a lot of stuff that drew to me, just like for the same reasons that many of the audience members out there, tangible asset. I understood it. I could see it. I could touch it. So that’s just kind of where I found myself and I jumped into real estate investing and I’ve been practicing it ever since.

Brandon: Okay, so what would you say—well, first of all, what kind of engineer are you? I’m just curious.

Jake: Yeah, my background is in fire protection engineering. So a little bit niche and yeah.

Brandon: That’s kind of cool. Is that like if somebody builds a house, they’d call you and be like, hey, how did you put in the right staircase so it doesn’t burn down? Is that a thing?

Jake: That’s part of it. I work in more of the industrial space so I work for oil and gas projects, for refineries, chemical plants, so yeah.

Brandon: Trying to make sure people don’t blow up themselves. That’s kind of the goal. That’s a cool job. Okay. So you thought real estate sounds better than like this other, you know, the other investments out there. Real estate sounds kind of cool. Did you have anybody in your life at that point? Were people telling you real estate? Did you read a book? What made you go, oh, real estate, that sounds cool.

Jake: You know, it’s kind of weird because no, the answer is no to all of that. I didn’t have any previous experience in real estate. I didn’t have any family member into it. I just kind of stumbled into it and I can remember sitting at my desk one day and somebody had mentioned, hey, you should check out some of these podcasts. And this was in 2014. I had never even heard of what a podcast was so I start looking at real estate investing podcasts, BiggerPockets being one of them, and I just stumbled in all of this information. I mean, there’s like a treasure trove of information and knowledge out there—

Brandon: By the way, Jake, you just said that wrong. You said “one of them”—BiggerPockets would be one of them—you meant to say the best, most handsome, most professional—

Jake: Right. With this really cool host, Brandon Turner at the Times.

Brandon: So you’re listening to the podcast, learning that way. And then what connects?

Jake: So, I’ve spent about six months kind of educating myself just diving into podcasts, forums, books, and then about six months in, I bought my very first investment property. And looking back, I probably did several things wrong but it turned out to be pretty good so it’s a pretty fun story. I think it’s one of the more interesting ones about myself because it wasn’t so much impactful at the time but it got the ball rolling. I think that was a really important takeaway for the audience members listening to it.

So this property was a $25,000 single-family house in my home market in Oklahoma so most people think $25,000 property—does that even exist? Is it in a war zone? Is it a terrible condition? The answers are all no. It was a fairly normal single-family one-bedroom house. So that’s how I got started.

David:  All right, so tell me a little bit about, Jake, why you chose that house and what got you moving in that direction?

Jake: Yeah, that’s an interesting question and at the time, I wasn’t sure that this investing thing was what I was going to do. This was kind of more like a test kind of proof-of-concept thing and the risk was so low that I thought, hey, at the end of the day, if it doesn’t pan out very well, it’s not going to cripple me financially. So, my mortgage on that property, yeah I do have a mortgage—interesting fact about it, on a $25,000 property.

Brandon: Yeah, I want to ask you about that next. But go ahead.

Jake: My mortgage is $141 a month. So I mean, Brandon, I’m sure your cell phone bill’s more than $141 a month.

Brandon: My cell phone bill is $240. I don’t know how two phones can be $247 but it is.

David:  Especially because Brandon doesn’t talk on his cell phone ever. He basically pays $250 for a texting device.

Brandon: It is so true. Anyway. You got, how much did you say?

Jake: $141 is my mortgage.

Brandon: Can I ask you real quick? A lot of people have a problem when they’re trying to get loans on property and I heard it all the time. People are like, they can’t find a bank that will go that low, like go under $100,000 or under $50,000 even. How did you find a bank that would even do that?

Jake: I didn’t even know that was a problem at the time. I was so naïve. I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to be able to get loans for something that cheap. I went to a local lender in my market, a credit union. They obviously kept it in-house through a portfolio loan and they just lent on it and there was never any question like, it’s a little bit below our limit. There was just—I just didn’t realize that there was supposed to be a hurdle.

Brandon: What is a portfolio lender, for those who don’t know? I don’t know, David, were you going there, too? I saw David pointing at himself.

Jake: So my understanding of a portfolio loan is a loan that the bank will lend to a borrower but they keep it on their own personal balance sheet rather than packaging it out and selling it to an investor. So they can be a little bit more lenient with the terms of the loan.

David:  So tell me, how do I find the portfolio lender that’s willing to give me a mortgage where my payment’s $140 a month?

Jake: Well, from my experience, you go to local banks, credit unions, local regional banks. Not the big branch that you see around. You don’t go to a big bank. You go to a smaller bank, smaller credit unions I’ve found are actually more competitive than ever banks. So that’s been my experience.

David:  Yeah, absolutely. I agree 100%. A lot of the time, when I was first trying to find portfolio loans, I was going to every big bank I could find. And then I found that going to smaller credit unions or savings and loans institutions, my odds of success were skyrocketing by like hundreds percent up just by going to those smaller banks.

Another thing that I’ve found, just as a little add-on is if they’re telling you no, you might be able to get a yes out of them if you deposit some money with their bank. If you can go in there and say I’ve got $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 to put on deposit, all of a sudden, that conversation changes a little bit to oh, Mr. Greene, tell me more about this. Maybe we can make something work out. So don’t stop when you hear no. No doesn’t mean no. No means not yet.

Jake: I love it. Yeah. Good points.

Brandon: Hey Jake, can you walk us through the numbers a little bit? I know you said you bought it for $25,000 and you put how much down, did you say? And then kind of what are the expenses? What does the income look like on that?

Jake: Yeah, sure. So it’s a traditional loan. It was an investment property so I put 20% down, or $5,000 down. So I bought this property when I was 24 or 25 years old. I was a recent college graduate. I didn’t have a ton of money. I mean, I had a good job but it’s not like I had a ton of cash to go deploy somewhere. So I’m kind of bootstrapping things at this time.

So I put $5,000 down, a few thousand dollars in closing costs, so I can get into this property for $7500 to $8000 kind of range. So my mortgage, we’ve already covered, is $141. I’m setting aside money for maintenance and capital expenditures, things like that. Things we’re taught through BiggerPockets. And I rented it out for $475 a month. So I’m cash flowing about $300 a month.

Brandon: That’s awesome. That’s cool. I like deals like that because they’re so attainable to somebody getting started. You know, a lot of people think you have to have $20,000 or $30,000 or $50,000 to buy a deal. Granted, you must live or are investing in a lower-priced market so some people who are listening to this going, there’s no way I could do that. I live in insert expensive crazy city here. Seattle, Portland, whatever. New York.

If that’s the case, do you have any advice for people, and I know you’re still early on in your journey but for those people who are saying that, well I can’t find that house right now. I’m going to go shut off this podcast and go back to watching, I don’t know, Dancing with the Stars. Any advice for those people?

Jake: Don’t shut off the podcast. Continue listening. Yeah, I understand that a $25,000 house doesn’t exist in every market and doesn’t exist in most markets. But there are markets out there that make sense for you. So if you live in San Francisco or Seattle or New York, or one of these more expensive markets, there’s a guy that wrote a book recently about investing out-of-state. It’s a really good book. You should check it out.

But yeah, do that. Find a market that makes sense because location is the most important thing about real estate to begin with. Find a market that works for you, that you’re comfortable with, that you’re comfortable with the numbers, and yeah. I would say go there and follow the money. Follow where those numbers make sense.

Brandon: Yeah, I like that a lot. Of course, the book, you can pick it up at BiggerPockets.com/store. It’s called Long Distance Real Estate Investing written by my buddy David Greene here. A fantastic book. Anyways, so let’s walk through real quick, how did you—did you say how you found that deal or am I just blanking and forgot what you said?

Jake: No, I haven’t mentioned it yet. I found this deal off market so it was just in my local neighborhood that I grew up in. I knew that it was for sale by the owner and I just approached this owner and made a deal. Yeah, there was all kinds of handshake stuff. Keep in mind, this was my first deal so I had no idea what was normal, what was regular. I was really naïve at this point. I wasn’t held back by what I knew, in other words.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s cool. And so did you like just contact the guy or what? Walk us through that story.

Jake: Yeah, I knew it was vacant and I knew nobody was living there through family friends. And yeah, I just approached this person and we made a deal and the numbers worked. What they were asking for it. I knew that I could make it work based on the calculators and the numbers I’d learned so far. So yeah, just kind of off-market deal.

Brandon: Awesome, love it.

David:  Let me just jump in here, Jake. How did you hear that they had this house they wanted to sell?

Jake: Well, it’s a very small community. Obviously, this was a rural location, rural communities so pretty tight knit. My hometown actually has 2000 people in the town so it’s kind of those everybody knows everybody type things. So it was just from local market knowledge, you could say.

David:  All right. Two things. One, I love that you said ‘rural’ because that used to be a thing on BiggerPockets, making fun of Brandon every time he tried to say rural.

Brandon: Rural. Yeah, way old school. We are way past that joke now, thank you, David Greene.

David:  I just wanted to bring it back. And maybe if we had Josh, I’m sure he would appreciate it.

Brandon: I’ve learned how to say ‘rural’.

David:  Brandon was sent to speech therapy and he’s been working on that ever since. But here’s the second point that I wanted to make. I don’t want to gloss over the fact that what you did—you found several different things that would increase your odds of success, you added them altogether, and you ended up with the positive result you wanted.

So you knew you wanted to buy a house but you’re only 24 or 25 years old and you don’t feel comfortable taking a big risk so what you do is you go to a market where you can buy houses for $25,000. You get all the experience of getting into real estate investing but much less risk because you’re playing in such a smaller field. Then you let everybody know in your community, I’m buying houses. I want to know when somebody has a house to sell.

You’re looking for off-market deals. You’re not just waiting for someone to bring this deal to you, right? So someone finds a person who says they want to sell and it goes right to you before it hits the MLS, before a realtor gets involved, before another investor gets involved. You get involved and then they’re also vouching for you saying hey, we know this guy. He’s a good guy. He’s going to close. Right? You’re also working at a price point that isn’t super risky for you.

You’re not like well, let’s go buy a $300,000 house. You’re like no, I’ll buy one for $25,000 and I’ll go to the market where they have $25,000 houses to make sense. So it sounds like when you’re talking, oh I’ll just stumble into it but really, you did a lot of things right.

And I tell people that if you’re doing everything right, it’s a matter of turning that crank up like a Jack-in-the-Box if you know—you keep cranking it and it’s going to pop and boom, you have your deal, you know? And I just love that you were intentional about going after what you wanted.

You didn’t let all these reasons stop you. Like my market’s too expensive, I’m too young, I don’t have money. I can’t find any off-market deals, I don’t have $10,000 for direct-mail. You just did what you could and you found it. Tell us a little bit about how you got your next deal. How did you take what you learned with that first one and then apply it to go get the next one?

Jake: Yeah, like you hear so many people say, once you get the first deal, the second one comes easier. You’ve already got a little bit of a knowledge base to understand how things work so once again, off-market deal. At this point, I knew that backing up to this property, when I got that first rent check, it was like my proof of concept, my aha moment, right?

So I thought okay, this thing really does work. Now I’m confident to go out and do another deal. But I knew I wanted to grow. Another $25,000 house wasn’t really going to move the needle for me. It wasn’t going to change anything for me.

So I really wanted to get into the small multi-family properties. So I started looking at duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, that kind of thing. Well, I had some targeted markets that I wanted to invest in and I would join that Facebook Marketplace, like local Facebook pages. And I did this and I saw somebody advertise this duplex for sale.

And what this duplex was, it was recently inherited by three siblings like middle-aged people and they just wanted to get rid of it. They didn’t want to rent it out. They didn’t want to fix it up. And I saw this the very same hour they posted it, reached out to them, went over and met them, and made the deal on the spot and bought it. So this was a duplex and this was a $55,000 duplex.

Brandon: Okay, that’s awesome. So you saw that listing. Did you say Facebook?

Jake: It was on Facebook. It was like a Facebook Marketplace kind of page.

Brandon: Yeah, I’ve got that in my notes here. That’s good. I wanted to make sure we talked about that. So it was a Facebook page—say that again?

Jake: Yeah, it was like one of these Oklahoma City Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook kind of page, you know, like all these little communities have them. So yeah, it was just one of those.

Brandon: That’s awesome. I don’t think we’ve actually talked to anybody on the podcast who has found a deal that way. But that’s super cool. There’s so many ways to find deals out there. People are saying yeah, I can’t find anything, I can’t find anything. Well what are you doing to look for them?

I’m working on a book right now for BiggerPockets that will be out later this fall, kind of like a beginner’s guide to real estate. And in there, I have a chapter on 28 different ways to find real estate deals. Like completely unique ways and that one wasn’t even there so now I want to ad that—29. It’s just crazy. There’s so many ways to find deals that people just don’t do it.

I just wanted to cover one more thing before we dive into specifics on that. I say this a lot lately about how the first deal people do—like, that deal for $25,000 will not make you rich, right? We all agree. It’s a decent deal. Fine. You get a few hundred dollars a month in cash flow. Great. What does that really do?

What it does though is it gave you the confidence to do the second deal and that’s the beautiful thing, right? Now the second deal gives you the confidence to do the third and the fifth and the hundredth and before you know it, you’ll be financially free. But so many people just can’t get off the couch to buy that first deal. So I love that you did that.

Jake: Yeah, it was super important at the time and I kind of knew that going into it. I knew it wasn’t going to make me rich. I knew it wasn’t really going to make me move the needle. I mean, $300 a month or so in cash flow—it’s nice but it’s really not going to change my lifestyle or allow me to retire at the age of 30 or something like that. But I knew it would get the ball rolling for me and sure enough, it did.

Brandon: Yeah, it’s like a train. You have to get the train moving, like my analogy, David? Look at that. I’m an analogy king like you now. So you get the train moving and it’s slow at first, right? But like, once you get it going, it just kind of goes and it kind of propels itself and that’s how I’ve always felt my real estate has been. It was really hard in the beginning.

So this is a message for everyone out there who is struggling right now with your real estate, if you’re like, I’m having a hard time getting that first deal or the second deal, this is so hard. I can’t imagine doing this for the rest of my life. Just know that it does get easier. Like the train does start picking up momentum as long as you make it kind of a goal to like always be asking, how do I make this run more smoothly and more efficiently and how do I do a better job of this? You’re going to find that.

So tell us a little bit more about this duplex. I mean, did you rent out both sides, both halves then right away? Did you have to do any fixup on it or anything like that?

Jake: Yeah, like I mentioned, three siblings inherited it. They didn’t want to do anything with it. They didn’t even want to rent it out. So they really just wanted to get rid of it immediately. So I went and met them. I asked them a little bit about the property. We walked it. It was fully vacant so that’s kind of scary, you know. You’re going to take on an investment property but have to go out and get it rented. So that was a little bit of a risk. Something kind of set me off about it a little bit.

So they were asking $55,000 for it. And I knew that it had been rented in the past for $600 per unit and I thought, wow. With those numbers, I can’t go wrong. So I just said sure, I’ll buy it for $55,000. So I’m only like a year into my investing journey at this point so I still don’t know much. I’m not like super experienced but I just knew it was a good deal at the time. So I pulled the trigger, wrote up a contract, and they accepted it and 30-45 days later, we closed, and it didn’t need that much work.

It was a little musty, needed some freshening up. Just did simple things like interior finishings, ceiling fans, hardware fixtures, interior, exterior paint just to increase that curb appeal and then advertised it, got it rented, and it’s been rocking along ever since.

Brandon: There you go. That was awesome.

David:  Tell me a little bit more about how you’re taking that Facebook strategy that you used and give us some details about what you look for, how often you look, what you’re targeting, kind of walk us through that so that other people can kind of copy that strategy in different markets.

Jake: Sure, so I kind of mentioned it earlier but the very most important thing I always looked for is location because you can change a lot of things about real estate. You can paint it, fix it up, you can change the floor plan, you can change the use even. But very rarely can you pick it up and move it somewhere. So I’m really first off selecting certain markets that I want to invest in.

And then after that, I’m looking at cash flow because I’m not doing this for my health. I’m doing it to achieve financial freedom so the cash flow is pretty important to me. So I’m looking at certain numbers. Like, I want to achieve $300 in cash flow per door. So if I buy a duplex, I want it to cash flow $600.

And a good rule of thumb I’ve been finding in my market to do that is everyone knows the 1% Rule. 1% rent to value ratio. I’ve kind of found that it’s easy to achieve 1.5% in my market. So if I can look at something really quickly and identify that it achieves 1.5% rent to value ratio, I know that it’s probably going to work for those criteria that I have set.

Brandon: That’s perfect. And I love that you’ve set this criteria for yourself. This is something I think is so important. Investors, especially if you’re newer, but everybody needs to set—what is your metric? What is your criteria you’re going to examine a deal being good or not? Like if you don’t have that defined, you’ll just either buy whatever comes your way or you won’t buy anything.

I find that once you have a benchmark—for me, it’s like $100 per month per unit on a multi-family property is what I’ll go and jump. So 20 units, and that’s after like I’m super conservative on my repairs and cap ex and all that. So after everything’s said and done, including property management, I want $100 bucks. And I just know, that’s my metric. So if it passes, great. I’ll move on. If it doesn’t, I won’t. It takes the emotion out of it. So I love that you’ve got that as well.

So can we move on? What else do you look for now in properties? If you’re looking for location, anything else? What are you buying? What are you looking for? Multi or single? Let us know more.

Jake: Yeah, so in terms of physical assets what I’m looking for, I don’t want anything with like an obsolete floor plan. I want something that’s going to be easy to rent because I understand that my highest risk is vacancy and I don’t want to have to struggle to get it rented. So I want to buy something that’s certainly desirable. In terms of what I’m looking at these days now, obviously I wanted to transition into small multi-families as quick as possible from that initial single-family purchase. And I want to scale even larger from here. So I want to get into larger multi-families and I want to grow a sizeable portfolio.

So I’ve got some pretty lofty goals. I really want to be financially free by the time I’m 30 years old, which is in two years and some change from today. So yeah, I really want to scale and grow this portfolio to quite sizeable.

Brandon: That’s cool, you mentioned that. And I love that. And you mentioned a phrase, I wrote it down here—and I want to cover it. “Highest risk is vacancy”. I think that’s like—a lot of people don’t look at vacancy as that big of a deal. A lot of people don’t even calculate it in their numbers, but like vacancy is probably the number one greatest expense when your unit is vacant, right?

I mean, it’s a huge bleeding wound on your investment portfolio. And so many people are really—I don’t know. They just like ignore that metric but it’ll kill your cash flow. I mean, you can probably have this cash flow amazing, 11 months out of the year and you go vacant one month and there goes your entire year of cash flow. If that happens every single year, you don’t have an investment, you have a job that you just bought yourself that doesn’t make any money.

Yeah, so I love that you said that you look at your vacancy and you want to find things that are going to rent that are going to be easier to rent. And that is so, so important. So I just wanted to point that out. If you guys are listening to this, and you have rental properties or are getting into it, don’t underestimate the value of learning how to rent out your unit fast.

Just this morning, I was looking at the numbers of my 24-unit over in Ohio and I’m pulling up the metrics the property manager sent over and there’s three or four vacancies, out of 24 units, and I’m like, ahh. I’ve got to deal with this because this is killing my cash flow. That’s over $2000 this month I lost out of my pocket, gone. I’ll never see that again because they didn’t get the unit rented. And there’s four of them. Anyways. So yeah. Vacancy.

David:  I’ll go one further on that, Brandon. I’ll say real estate investing as a whole, your biggest threat is going to be vacancy. When I look at just investing in real estate versus investing in stocks or businesses or anything else, you almost can’t miss with real estate as long as you have enough of a reserve to weather a storm unless you can’t find someone to rent out your place. That is like the one Achilles heel in this entire thing that your whole business is dependent on.

As long as you have a tenant and you’re cash flowing positive, anything that comes up, the rent can cover your expenses. You might make less profit but you’ll keep your unit. If you buy a multi-family or a single-family in an area where people are leaving or jobs are leaving like in Detroit, something like that, there is nothing you can do to turn that around and you can find a way to save it. Like if there’s no one to rent your place, that’s the only way you generate income with this investment vehicle at all. It’s not like you’re a business and well, people aren’t buying shoes so let’s go sell shirts.

All you can do is rent this place out so vacancy is something that I take very seriously when you’re deciding where you want to invest or why you want to be investing there. It hurts you in the short-term when you have it and it can destroy you in the long-term if you just can’t find people to rent out your unit.

And so, when I listen to people say like, David, what about this or what about that, I’m afraid about real estate investing—what happens if a toilet breaks and all the things that people worry about. None of those are legit concerns, right? What you need to be worried about is what if there’s no one available to rent my house? That is like the only thing that I need to make sure I get right. And if you’re okay on that, everything else will work itself out.

Jake: Yeah, definitely so.

Brandon: So tell us, what else have you done before moving onto the Famous Four? What else have you done since this? You have the single-family and you have the duplex. Anything else in there as well?

Jake: Yeah, so I try to look at my investing journey as like a holistic thing and with an engineering background, I realized that I was pretty good with the numbers. I spent a lot of time in BiggerPockets in the forums picking up stuff, practicing on the calculators, so I felt pretty comfortable with the numbers. But I realized that I wasn’t getting ahead as quickly as I wanted to because I didn’t build those relationships.

So I didn’t have a team in place. I was kind of working with my nose down. And so once I started opening up my eyes to building a team and developing relationships and networking with other people and finding people who are doing what I wanted to do and are where I wanted to be in a few years, I really felt like that really kind of sped up my process in the whole real estate investing game. So yeah, there was that and yeah, it’s just kind of one unique thing about that is I have since launched a podcast to help grow that network. So that’s been a really big, helpful thing, too.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s a really good way. Just interviewing other people, talking to the people, whether it’s on a podcast or whether it’s out at coffee or at a local networking event, just connecting with other people. It’s just so important in growing it. So anyways, so total units now. What are you up to, then? Is it just the three or do you have more than that?

Jake: I have eight total units now.

Brandon: Oh wow, eight. So what else do you have? The single-family, the duplex, what else?

Jake: I have a single-family, two duplexes, and a triplex.

Brandon: That’s awesome.

Jake: And I started two and a half years ago.

Brandon: That is fantastic. So for the people listening again, like two and a half years ago, and you’re up to eight units. Like those eight now—you start with that single-family, it gives you the confidence to move into the next. It gives you confidence for the next. Pretty soon, you’ll be buying bigger. I mean, if you want to anyway, buying bigger and bigger deals because the bigger you get, it actually tends to get easier. At least that’s what I’ve found. Have you found that similar?

Jake: Yeah definitely still. Once you get that ball rolling, it’s almost hard to stop it. You have to do some work to not buy a build, almost.

Brandon: I know exactly what you mean. Yeah.

David:  It’s like a train, right, Brandon?

Brandon: It’s like a train.

David:  It’s hard to get that train moving but once it’s going, it’s hard to stop it.

Brandon: Yeah, as long as you keep that crank turning on the Jack-in-the-Box, look at that. Right. All right, so moving on, let’s head over to the world famous Famous Four.

What real estate books have you read or do you enjoy? What’s your favorite real estate related book?

Jake: You know, there’s so many but I have to say it’s probably Th Advanced Guide to Real Estate Investing by Ken McElroy. It’s in the Rich Dad Series. It’s a really good book and it covers a lot of topics. I’d say that would probably be my number one real estate book.

Brandon: Fantastic book. Love that. All right, number two.

David:  Brandon loves that guy. Every time McElroy’s name comes up, his eyes light up.

Jake: He’s killing it, yeah.

Brandon: We should get him back on the podcast. It’s been like four years since we’ve had him on. We’ll have to reach out. Ken, if you’re listening, come back on the show. I want to talk to you.

All right, moving on, number two.

David:  Favorite business book.

Jake: I have two favorite business books. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Bill Carnegie and The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

Brandon: Nice. Good choices. And I believe—maybe we shouldn’t announce this. Oh well, we will anyways. I believe Hal is coming back on the podcast here shortly, whether it’s because or after this interview comes out, I believe it’s happening soon if it hasn’t already. So listen for that.

Jake: Awesome.

David:  He’s confirmed it. We’re going to be getting together. Hal is an awesome guy. If you guys haven’t looked him up, look him up, read his story. Learn a little bit about what Hal did. He ended up writing the endorsement for my book that’s on the cover, just a super inspirational guy, very very smart. He’s very big into teaching people how to be successful and as you can see, it’s working for Jake because he’s got eight units in like two years. He can give Hal Elrod some of the credit and BiggerPockets the rest.

Jake: Definitely.

Brandon: There you go.

David:  Tell us about some of your hobbies.

Jake: I love to kayak fish when I get the chance, when I’m not building my real estate empire, I love to be out on the water and fish. So I live in Houston and I’ve got the opportunity to do both saltwater and freshwater fishing. And lots of warm weather. So that’s what I like to do in my free time.

Brandon: Nice. So wait, we never really covered this earlier but you live in Houston but you were buying in—where were you buying?

Jake: I’m buying predominantly in Oklahoma, so out of state.

Brandon: We never even talked about that. That’s actually a really interesting plan as well. Even though you live in a market—Houston’s not expensive but it’s not cheap either.

Jake: Sure.

Brandon: Depending on the area, I guess. But yeah, my sister lives there. She just bought a really nice house and it was not cheap. So anyways. Yeah, cool. All right, well next time I’m visiting my sister down in Houston, we’ll have to go get some coffee or something. All right.

Jake, what do you believe sets apart successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail, or never get started?

Jake: So good. And for me, it comes down to your reasons why. If you don’t have strong reasons why, you’re probably never going to get started in the first place and if you do get started and you don’t have strong reasons why, you know, real estate investing’s full of ups and downs. You get told no a lot. You get a lot of rejection so you if you don’t have strong enough reasons why, you’re probably going to fail, quit, never even get started.

So what I mean by your reasons why are understanding what drives you, what motivates you, why you’re doing what you’re doing. You’re not just going to haphazardly build a real estate empire. You’re not going to haphazardly fall into extreme levels of success. So you have to have something that’s driving you, something that’s motivating you to get out of bed every day and chase that success.

Brandon: What drives you?

Jake: Oh man, a lot of things. First and foremost, financial freedom but that’s very nearsighted. I think that you have to have bigger goals than financial freedom for yourself because most people are comfortable in their financial lifestyle. They’ve got enough to get by and if that’s all you need, then why even get started?

So I think you have to have something, a reason bigger than yourself. I don’t really know why I don’t have any kind of batting mound to it but I’ve always kind of had a soft spot in my heart for kids in poverty. So you know I’ve always wanted to write a big check to a school one day. I’ve always wanted to give back to children so I don’t know why.

I don’t know what motivates me to do that but it’s just always been something I’ve wanted to do so you know when you can kind of identify with a reason that’s much bigger than yourself, like oh I want a nice car or I want a bigger house, then you kind of got some responsibility from others riding on your shoulders. So those are some things that drive me and motivate me.

Brandon: Super cool.

David:  You also mentioned you want to be retired by age 30, right?

Jake: Yes, financially free or i.e. retired by age 30. So I’m guessing exponential growth to hit that but it’s looking well and I’m excited. I don’t have any illusion that when I hit 30, I’m going to kick my feet up and start drinking mojitos on the beach in Cancun. But I’m still going to hustle and build stuff and grow my business and help other people but I just want to be able to replace my earned income with passive income by the time I’m 30.

Brandon: Perfect.

David:  That’s a pretty good reason why. That’s why I’m here.

Brandon: You’re 28 now, right?

Jake: 28.

Brandon: All right. Looking forward to it. Let’s have you back on here in two years when you hit that number. That’s your motivation right now.

Jake: There it is.

Brandon: Well Jake, thanks so much for joining us today. That was a lot of fun. And where can people find out more—I took your line, David. Sorry. Where can people find out more about you?

Jake: Sure, so I host a real estate investing podcast called The Real Estate Way to Wealth and Freedom. You can find it anywhere you can find podcasts and if you want to connect with me or learn more about me, you can visit www.jacobayers.com.

Brandon: Perfect. Ayers.

Jake: Ayers.

Brandon: All right, perfect. Thanks, Jake. We’ll see you around the site.

All right, super cool. Yeah you know, what I like about Jake’s story there is that a lot of people think that their first deal, you have to find it on an MLS. You have to use a real estate agent. But I love that he just was like nah, I’m going to find a different way to do it. I’m going to use networking and connections and Facebook groups, right?

I love that he looked outside the box and went and found two good deals. Like, he talked about he’s getting that train moving, so to speak, right? Yeah, super cool. All right, before you guys get tired of hearing me and David talk to each other, or me just babble on, let’s get to third interview today with David Pere.

All right, Mr. David Pere. What’s up, dude? How are you doing? Welcome to the show.

David P: Living the dream. Thanks for having me.

Brandon: Yeah, so you and I go way back along with David Greene here. And like way back, I don’t know, like a year or so. You are living in the great state, my favorite state of Hawaii. Tell us about that. Why are you in Hawaii and then when did you get into real estate?

David P: All right. So I am an active duty Marine. I’ve been in the Marine Corp for just shy of ten years and they decided to send me to Hawaii for three years so I got to get paid to live on one of the nicest bases in the world and spend some time on a beach that’s basically a private community. Not a bad gig.

Brandon: Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. So the first time I met David was like a year ago, right? We connected when I was in Hawaii the first time. We did, right? And we went surfing. We’ve gone out actually a few times now that David’s actually a good surfer, as way as just a super genuinely good guy. So I was super excited to get you onto the show. And a super good investor.

Even though you’re just ramping up your investments while working a full-time job while living across the seas. So that’s why we’re excited to talk to you today to kind of help other people who are just getting started figuring out how to get their journey on. So without further ado, let’s jump into it. So tell us about your very, very first real estate investment.

David P: Okay, so first real estate investment, I was a recruiter living in a little town of Springfield, Missouri and I can’t even remember who it was. Somebody told me to read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. That starts everything for everyone. And I told them, I don’t have time to read so they told me to download Audible because I spend a lot of time driving. As a recruiter, you’re driving to high schools all over the place.

And so I did and I listened to it and I want to say it was less than two months from when I finished the book to when I closed my first property. I just basically took away from the book how can I take action? I figured I would learn the hard way, if anything. So I was paying about $485 a month to live in a two bed, one bath apartment. And I used an FHA loan, 3.5% down to do a house-hack on a duplex.

I paid, after some negotiation, $81,000. So about $2800-$2900 out of pocket. And I had the one side rented for $515 and the mortgage was $615. So I went from paying $485 a month living in an apartment to, I think my total expenses were like $200 a month to own a two-bedroom duplex and have a shed and a porch and be able to tell my neighbors to be quiet because I own the place.

Brandon: That’s awesome. Super cool. So you house-hacked your very first one. You bought a duplex. Again like, we talk a lot about that on the show because house-hacking, I think, is one of the best ways to get started. Not everyone has to do it but man, if you can live for cheaper or even potentially for free and learn how to be a landlord, learn how this whole real estate thing works, it’s just awesome. Okay, so you bought a house-hack, you lived in that while in the military and doing the recruiter thing. What happened next?

David P: Well, I got married so I moved out of the duplex into my wife’s house, which funny enough she didn’t have any idea she was doing this, but she did a BRRRR. So she bought a house that somebody actually OD’d in that was across the street from her dad and she got it for pennies on the dollar, rehabbed it with family and stuff like that, and so we moved in there. And since then, we’ve done a HELOC refinance and stuff like that.

And overtime, we did a BRRRR strategy with it, I guess. Lived there for a little bit and then it was like two months and off to Hawaii. And then from Hawaii, the next deal we did was actually the five acres next door to that house. The neighbors decided to move out of state so we figured we wanted to five acres. It was originally less of an investment and more of a we want to own the five acres so we don’t get someone who builds a big house and ruins our view.

But we turned it into an investment because we took out an agricultural loan on it. Her dad’s a cattle farmer. We have a little bit of cattle and we actually moved cows onto the five acres and we were going to do an annual payment but we ended up doing a semi-annual. But nonetheless every year, we sell the cows and it pays off our entire year’s mortgage and some pocket change. So I joke, and I know I joke with you about the fact that we cattle financed our land.

Brandon: That’s super cool.

David:  Dave, I need you to unpack some of this. You just used three acronyms. BRRRR, OD, and HELOC. Can you describe all three of these acronyms for me so our listeners know what we’re talking about?

David P: Absolutely. I will revert to non-acronym usage as much as possible. So the BRRRR is the Buy, Rehab, Refinance, Repeat. Or in this case, instead of the Refinance, we did the HELOC. So we bought it, we rehabbed it, we rented it out, and then we did a HELOC instead of the refinance. So that HELOC—it’s actually, we’ll talk about my 10-unit in a little bit but that HELOC is actually what paid for the down payment I had on that 10-unit.

So the HELOC is a Home Equity Line of Credit. So we bought the house for—I think she bought it for $55,000 and then spent like $40,000 renovating it and then she owed $91,000 on it. We got it appraised for like $160,000. So the Home Equity Line of Credit allowed us to pull 70% of the value of the house out. It’s basically a checking account. I can write a check for it and then I pay it down with 3.4% interest. So we got $72,000 worth of money that we didn’t touch. So that’s actually more than what she bought the house for.

So we didn’t have to do anything for that money and it’s the cheapest money I’ve ever had. And anytime I want to buy something with it, I just write a check, which I had to remember how to do because we don’t do that anymore. I write a check and put it in the mail and I pay my super, super low interest and I’m not even amortized, so it’s like the cheapest money you could ever get to buy a property. And then the final one, OD was overdose.

David:  Overdose. I thought it was like overwhelmingly good deal or something like that.

David P: Yeah, no. It was definitely more like silhouette of a guy who almost died after that. So nobody wanted to buy it so she got it super cheap. He didn’t die but he definitely didn’t feel like living there anymore. So I guess that’s kind of like a taboo area. Like probate. Nobody wants to buy a house that someone died in, but definitely.

Brandon: If it was like, guy comes up with an ax and took off his two heads, I would not want to buy. But like somebody overdosed in a house or they just died or passed away or whatever, I’m personally okay with that kind of thing. I don’t know. What about you, David? Agreed?

David:  Let me ask you. Did you have to disclose that to the tenant? Did you look up laws about when someone passes away in that area, how long because you have to let someone know that somebody died here?

David P: He didn’t actually die so we did not have to disclose it. But I want to say, in the state of Missouri, I would have to double check on that but I don’t know the distance. I know you do have to disclose for at least a certain amount of time. It’s probably some generic five-year mark, but I would have to look that up.

David:  Yeah, so that’s good to know because I mean, you found a deal. You found it in the form of distress and in the form of a drug overdose, which is a unique way, but I like it. And you get yourself a deal there. But you do need to be aware when you’re getting a deal, you have to disclose certain things to your tenants or if you’re planning on flipping the property to the buyers of the property.

Brandon and I talked about this a lot where if you get a really good deal on your first deal or your second or your third, it will pay for your next deal, and that’s exactly what you did. You took out equity from this house and basically gave yourself the cheapest loan that I know of in real estate, other than like saving up all your birthday money, if that counts. And bought another house with it, right?

And if you do that right and you steamroll it, you get a really good deal. You’re going to have equity in that deal. You can either refinance it, take out a HELOC, sell it, whatever we’re going to do. Roll that money into your next deal. So you really only have to work really hard to get that first deal. Tell us a little bit about what you did to target in on that deal specifically—how you found it, and why you pursued it?

David P: Do you want the duplex or the single-family?

David:  The one that you take out the HELOC on.

David P: Gotcha. So that was actually a referral from church. So it was just the neighborhood knew that had happened and then it was basically a hey, let’s contact them and see if they want to come back to the house or if they plan no selling it. And it was as simple as that.

David:  So this was you telling people hey, this is what I’m looking for, do you know of anybody who’s in this situation and like the universe just brought it back to you when somebody found someone.

David P: Well, this is actually the one that my wife did before we got married. And she was actually the one. It was like her and her dad found it and since it’s in the neighborhood, her dad was like, you should buy that because we can help you fix it up and then you can’t live near us. And so, I don’t even know that she was necessarily telling people she was looking so much as it just kind of came up and now they’re smart enough to say that’s a really good deal. We’re going to jump on it.

And then from there, after the Refi, or after the rehab, that’s when we stepped in and said instead of just selling this when we move, how about we rent it out and profit, we can take out a Home Equity Line of Credit and that will be the jumping off point for the rest of our investing.

Brandon: What’s cool about Home Equity Lines of Credit, is that like typically, you can get up to 90%. Back in the day, they’d go back for 120% which is crazy but you know, typically you go up to 90% today. I see that quite often. At super low rates. And then you only pay—you mentioned this earlier but I want to just reiterate—you only pay on it when you’re using it. So it’s kind of like a gigantic credit card in that way.

And that might scare people but it’s just like a gigantic amount of money you have sitting there depends on how much equity you have obviously. And then when you’re ready, you just use it and then you start paying on it and when you do pay on it, it’s super, super low. So I financed a number of deals that way over the years because equity—in fact, I have a triplex and I did this about six years ago. I didn’t know how to fund it, didn’t have a job, didn’t have a W-2 income, couldn’t get a loan. But the deal was fantastic so I contacted a friend of mine who I knew wanted to do real estate. I was like, I’m looking at this deal. I’m looking for partners. Do you know anybody who was interested in? Of course, I knew he would be interested. So he was like, I’m interested. But he’s like I don’t have any money. And I’m like, okay, well do you have a Home Equity Line of Credit? He’s like of course, my house is paid off. We just have a line of credit sitting there for like $100,000. I was like, oh, you could use that. He’s like yeah, you’re right. So we bought the deal together for technically no money down so we used his line of credit and then we as part of the cash flow from the property just paid his line of credit, which was like a couple of hundred bucks a month, maybe not even that. But I know it was like $50 a month. It was tiny.

Anyway, so Home Equity Lines of Credit, I don’t think people look at them enough if people are really, really powerful tool. So how did you—you mentioned it a little bit ago. You said there was a 10-plex. So you just used the Home Equity Line of Credit for ten plus. You tell us, what was that, sir? How do you have that going there? You’re living in Hawaii at that point.

David P: Yeah, absolutely. So I would say ‘creativity’ would be the word that I used for this duplex. Or the 10-plex. So I was going home for Christmas and we decided that hey, I’m going home for Christmas. Let’s turn it into a business trip and look for some properties. And so what I did was I went on List Source and I got a list of a specific zip code that I knew I wanted to invest in, of absentee homeowners. People who own the property but don’t live in it.

Typically investors or someone who inherited the property. I find they’re more likely to be willing to negotiate a sale. So I sent a list out to I think it’s like 80 people. I’ve got a bunch of different callbacks but there was one guy who called me back and said, I do have a duplex. I’m not going to sell it to you. But I have a 10-unit. Would you be interested in looking at that?

So I said, if we’re going to be home on vacation anyway, I might as well look at the 10-unit and that’s exactly what we did. We walked through and truth be told, I looked at two of the 10 units and the laundry room and the parking lot. I was there for maybe 25 minutes and I was like, hmm, the numbers do not seem to make sense. I’m going to get this realtor and my property manager, can walk through this in more detail. But first I’m going to get it in contract.

So we made an offer. The seller wanted to sell it for $250,000. And we walked through, we ran some numbers, and honestly, $250,000 probably wouldn’t have been a terrible deal for it. The gross rent is like $4100 at the time. So if you use the 1% Rule, that’s well over so it should have more like $410,000. It doesn’t really work that way in Springfield but we negotiated down. We got $225,000 as the contract price. And then as we were doing our due diligence, which keep in mind, I only looked at two units.

So I had my property manager walk through with the inspector and so I had property manager and inspector walk through together and they gave me their feedback and again, still could have probably bought it for that price. But there was about $8,000 worth of stuff that needed to be done with it and I had just finished reading the book Never Split the Difference so I decided, I’m going to try some of these negotiation tactics and see if they work.

And without getting into that, we turned the $8,000 that I was going to request in repairs into $12500 that I got kicked back and they just kind of did a weird deal where instead of giving me the $12500 at closing, they just took it off the sale price. So instead of $225,000, we closed at $212,500 but the bank had already approved the loan and the seller had already committed on the seller financing.

So what that did for me was my down payment on the property went from $25,000 to $10,900. So yeah, if you factor everything in, I paid like 5.05% down on a 10-unit apartment with a commercial loan, seller financing, and that was out of the HELOC. So realistically, my bank account didn’t see a dent and we walked away with a property that cash flows like $1,000 a month or $1200 a month.

Brandon: That’s awesome. Yeah, there’s a lot in there that I want to unpack. Essentially, you used creativity. You used a combination of different creative methods to get this thing down. So first of all, you negotiated a credit for the discount, the bank, a little bit of seller financing in there, and the bank approved a little bit. They were okay with you not putting a full 20% down because of how it all worked out, which is great. I’m assuming this is like a small, local community bank there or was it one of the big national banks?

David P: Absolutely. So I was actually working with a larger bank and they just took forever to get me answers on anything and the one I did get an answer, it wasn’t ever really what I wanted to hear or the full answer. And so while I was working with them, and I had been working with them for the whole due diligence process. It had probably been like 20-30 days at this point.

I called the local bank, another local bank that somebody recommended and they had me approved for the loan in like four days. It was a better rate. It was 85% of the purchase price rather than 80, and the seller covered the other 10. So yeah, it worked out great. Honestly, that’s like what David talks about—that’s a huge just shout-out to referrals because literally somebody I knew said, hey this guy is great, why don’t you call him? And I called him and that was the best decision I had ever made? I’ll probably use him for everything.

Brandon: That’s super cool. All right, so yeah, you put together the 10-plex and while you’re in Hawaii—you did all of this from Hawaii, essentially, right? I know that because we were sitting out there on the waves talking about this deal and waiting for this next wave to come. And it was awesome.

David:  Wait a minute, how did you buy a property in Missouri when you’re in Hawaii. Shouldn’t you have to only buy property in Hawaii if that’s where you live?

David P: Is this where I think I’m supposed to give you a plug here. There’s this book by this guy. No, so realistically, the way you do it is with your team. If you have a good agent, you have a good property manager, which I have a phenomenal property manager. I could tell you all kinds of stories about times where I thought I had an issue and I’d call her—in fact, last week, I got a letter saying that there was trash outside my apartment and I called her. And she was like, oh yeah, we took care of that three days ago, we just didn’t call you because it wasn’t too much money. Perfect. I don’t even get bothered. It’s great.

So realtor, property manager, insurance agent, lawyer. Whoever your team is, but realistically, I trust all of them and I can make a phone call and have my realtor, my agent, my inspector, walk through the property and call them and say yes or no. I have a couple of buddies that do some contract work that can do bids and so being able to have people in place that you trust, allows me to, I can MLS surf, I can send out letters, it really doesn’t matter. I am fully comfortable trusting them.

The other thing is that I won’t look at a property until the numbers make sense. So I won’t send my agents out somewhere unless I’ve already run the three super basic things that I’ll run numbers on. And if it doesn’t meet those criteria, I won’t waste their time and then I won’t have to worry about it being a total—unless the place is just totally falling apart, I know it’s going to be an okay deal.

Brandon: There you go. I like it. All right, so kind of what comes next for you then? What do you see down the road in terms of your investing? How far do you want to get? Do you want to stay in the military working fulltime long-term or what’s kind of the plan?

David P: Okay, so there’s a whole lot of stuff, I guess, involved in answering that question. So I’ll try to make it as short as possible. So military, most likely going to stay til retirement. I almost didn’t this year around but I realized that the reasons I’m staying in the Marine Corps are for things that I won’t be able to get most jobs elsewhere.

So like, the adventure, the thrill of travel, the people I work with and just the culture that is the Marine Corps, right? It’s not got anything to do with the paycheck or the job. I mean, I can make that money maybe not anywhere but I could find a place in Missouri where I could live cheap enough that I wouldn’t even need to make that kind of money. It’s just, I love what I do.

The investing side of things, we actually close in nine days on a flip out here in Hawaii. I did like a wholesale. I found a property that nobody seemed to be buying fast enough and I sent it to a mutual friend of ours, Cory, and he was all about it. So we decided that we were going to go ahead and close on it and I actually pulled on it, basically pulling my HELOC. I’m playing the bank, I guess.

So I’m taking my 3.5% interest HELOC loan and I’m going to throw it into the property with him and I’ll earn 12% interest plus a kickback when the property sells as being his partner plus like a wholesale fee and so we’ll partner up on that and I’ll end up bringing in some interest on the HELOC. So that’s the next deal long-term.

Long-term, more buy-and-hold stuff in Springfield. The goal is when I retire from the military after 20 years, so like 38-40 years old, the goal is to not ever have to work again unless I want to. There’s also some other stuff in play, so I started a blog somewhat recently. It’s kind of your doing and that was really just, I kind of realized when I get out of the Marine Corps, I’m going to want I guess, purpose is the word. I’m going to want something that I have to wake up and do and I felt like a community where I could talk about things that have benefited me, the things that I wish I had learned at a younger age would be the way to do that.

So we’ve got that and the other, I guess thing, that I’ve got going on is the other guy’s idea, which is that I’m currently sitting in a classroom. My real estate license to sit on the side, and I figured I’m already in the real estate community. I already know people in the area. I might as well make a little money on the side by selling houses as well as just buying houses.

Brandon: Super cool. There’s so much in there that we don’t have time to dive really deep but a couple of things I want to point out. First of all, I love that you’re getting your license. I think that’s super smart, especially when you live in an area that’s like really expensive because if you can sell one or two houses a year, it will pay for your license many times over.

Whereas like you live in Detroit, and you have a license, you might make $1000 on a sale, it might not be worth having it unless you’re going to do volume, right? So I think that’s super cool. Also, you mentioned this flip that you’re doing. The kind of back story, because I got to see the backstory. You sent that deal over to me once. You’re like hey, nobody’s buying this. I think it’s a good deal. I looked over and this does look like a good deal but I don’t have a wise market at all.

So I passed on it, simply because I don’t know the market, so you brought it to Cory. We’re going to get Cory on the show at some point, too, because he’s legit a super cool investor, dominated in Hawaii. And doing some amazing flips out there. But what I think is so neat is that you went out there and hustled and found a deal. Then you used that as like collateral to build a relationship with an experienced flipper that you can now learn from.

So you built a relationship, you brought value to me. I wasn’t just showing up and being like, hey, will you teach me everything you know for free and waste all your time with me? It was like, hey, here is a really good deal. I think you should pursue this and then hey, do you mind if I like work with you on it somehow? I can provide—I can bring some money or I can bring some labor or materials, you know, whatever a person can do to bring value, you did that.

So you brought this guy massive value and now you brought me the deal, you’re going to see everything on how this is done and that is going to be worth more than any flip would ever pay, in terms of profit. You’ll get so much more value. So anyway, very very cool. And then the last thing I want to bring up is you also started a local Meetup while I was out there in Hawaii. Tell us about that. Why did you do that and how does that work? Not even a lot of people would benefit from running Meetups like you do.

David P: Okay so, Brandon talks about like in all of his videos that if you go onto BiggerPockets.com/events, you’ll find events in your local area. And then he always says, if you can’t find an event, go make one. Well, I realized that in Oahu, which for those of you who aren’t familiar with the island, I live on this side and like the whole rest of the world lives on this side.

And it’s not a big island but with traffic, it takes a little bit to drive across and most of the Meetups were during the week at like 6:00 o’clock. I don’t get off work in time to drive over there, just if I hang out for two hours, drive back, and not see the family.

So I decided there’s not one over here. Let’s make there be one over here. And so I posted it on BiggerPockets event and my little Facebook group and I said hey, we’re going to do this Meetup, it’s going to be at this awesome place called Graves and Growlers where you can drink adult beverage if you would like, and I’m going to buy pizza and bring pizza, so if you want to have pizza, have an adult beverage or not have an adult beverage and talk about real estate with other people. Come hang out and have some pizza. And we had like 11 people on the first month. You were one of those.

Brandon: I was.

David P: Yep, and then we had the second month, I showed up and there were only a couple of people in the place and people just started showing up and all of a sudden, we realized, oh man, this venue is no longer going to work. We can’t fit. We had like 22 to 25. I don’t know, I couldn’t keep track because we were seated all over the place because there wasn’t enough room for us to sit together.

So this next month, in two weeks, we’re going to meet at a church. One of the guys who was at the event volunteers with the church and they let him use the cafeteria so we’re going to pull some tables together, hang out there. We won’t be able to have adult beverages but we will still have pizza. Maybe I’ll fill in some donuts or something to make it up. And yeah, we’re going to hang out, network, talk shop, and honestly, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I think networking is honestly—there’s some key tenets to anything you do in life but as a recruiter, I always said, if they like you, they’ll join.

And I don’t mean that like you need to try to make yourself likeable. I mean that like, if you become a person that’s worth being around and you develop yourself and you bring value to people and you genuinely care about talking to people, good things are going to come your way. Whether that’s from a referral or networking or just the fact that you’re going to learn something. I mean, shoot, I met you a year and a half ago and I’m on a podcast.

Brandon: That’s pretty cool.

David P: It’s awesome.

Brandon: That’s awesome. So yeah, I do stress the Meetups all the time. I know David Greene here does as well because he hosts Meetups as well. They’re so valuable. I can’t like overhype this because it’s just so incredibly valuable. Even the one that you hosted, I showed up there, your very first one. I’m talking with this older couple, I mean not older, they’re just older than I am.

But like this couple was like established, living in the area, and they’re like talking about how they have this amazing contractor who is just unbelievably good, super hardworking, fair rates, and all of a sudden now I’m like, I’ve got friends with these people and now I’m looking at a deal I’m trying to work in Hawaii right now, as you guys know, and as soon as I close on this, guess what contractor I’m going to be calling to see if he can go over and work on my deal? It’s those things. And what did it cost me? $2? I don’t think I even ate or drink there that night. It was totally free.

David P: You didn’t have my pizza?

Brandon: I don’t think—I mean, I did have a slice of pizza. Anyway, it was fun. Anyway. Go  to BiggerPockets.com/events. Like, most of the events there are free. Most of them are put on just like David or David here, and are saying hey, let’s get together and talk real estate. We know that we all help each other by getting together. There are also maybe paid ones on there, I don’t know. And if you have to pay a few bucks, who cares, right? You show up, network, talk to people, and get some food and drinks. All right, with that, we’ve got to move on and get to the world famous Famous Four.

But before we get to today’s Famous Four, let’s hear a quick word from Mindy Jensen on what’s going on this week on the BiggerPockets Money podcast.

Mindy: Monday’s guests join us during the first half of their gap year, a pre-FI road trip around America. Becky and Noah didn’t grow up rich but carefully planned out their life to avoid student debt and chose employable in-demand degrees that allowed them to earn high salaries. After discovering FI on Reddit, they made a few tweaks to their lifestyle, quit their jobs, and hit the open road. This episode shows that financial independence isn’t just a pipe dream. And while Becky and Noah aren’t there yet, they’re well on their way. All right, and now back to the Famous Four.

Brandon: All righty, make sure you guys check out that Money podcast and be sure to subscribe to that podcast. If you’re like on YouTube, subscribe to the YouTube channel. If you’re on iTunes or Google, hit the subscribe button. It helps us out a lot just like ratings and reviews do. So both that show and this show as well.

With that, let’s get to today’s Famous Four. Number one, what is your favorite real estate related book?

David P: Okay, so we’re just going to go with this guy, The Long Distance Real Estate Investing. I know, I didn’t want to give him a plug earlier but it was just because I was going to steal my own thunder. And the reason I picked that book, don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of great books and honestly, I had to think about it last night because I realized that you were going to ask me that and I hadn’t gotten an answer.

The reason I think about that one is not necessarily—so I don’t know that I would say that’s the first book you should read. But I would say that if you have any desire to invest out-of-state, that is the first book you should read. So I had been investing out-of-state for however long, two years, three years, and I had a system. And it was working great.

And then I read this book and realized it really wasn’t working that great. If I’m being honest, I was looking at property in a different state the other day and I literally like sat down with the book and typed out the e-mails that David had suggested sending and sent them and they worked and I had a super high value real estate agent call me or e-mail me back and shot me not only that deal but like three others that were pretty solid.

So just being able to refine what I was already doing and find out things—I mean, I didn’t even know about Rentometer, which I don’t know how I didn’t know about that but just things—it’s really streamlined my process. So, that book.

Brandon: Awesome, and by the way, when I was at your house—we had dinner at David’s house when I was out there, and I go in the kitchen and there sitting on the counter was this book. I took a picture and I snapped it and sent it to David Greene and I was like, look, you’re famous.

David P: And I was like, that being in my house constitutes famous, but I appreciate the sentiment.

David:  I don’t see any reason why we should keep going. Thank you, David. That was great. I think the people have got everything they need.

Brandon: Sidenote, I reviewed David’s book on Amazon right after I finished reading it and like a week goes, and it’s anonymous, right? No one knows who it is. Like a week later, I see him post on Facebook about this awesome review he got and I’m like, hey, I wrote that.

David:  Nice. I like this guy and his mustache. All right, David, tell us about your favorite business book.

David P: So again, I tried to narrow it down and so I came up with The Miracle Morning as one. And the reason for that, it’s not necessarily a business book. It’s more of a lifestyle book. It is because it basically told me, I was waking up at five in the morning to work out and it told me, hey, you should wake up at four in the morning to do more stuff. So now I wake up at four in the morning every day because that two-hour window before the family wakes up is me time. I don’t have to feel bad that I’m not hanging out with the kids. I can read a book, work on the blog, find a deal, fall back asleep on the couch while reading a book and no one’s going to care.

The other book, and this is probably the more business related is The 80-20 Principle. And the reason for that book is because it applies, not only to myself but to the military career. So in the military career, a lot of people do things the hard way, not because they want to do things the hard way, it’s because it was just how it’s always done. And so I like to try to find like what are the most important things and how do I knock that out to be effective and then the rest will fall in place?

Well, that helps in the Marine Corps side. It also helps greatly in the civilian side because now, I’m able to streamline work, which allows me more time to streamline real estate, which allows me more time to streamline personal development and I think that single-handedly being able to pick out the one thing that will knock out the most for the least amount of effort—it’ll save you—anything that saves you time is a worthwhile investment.

Brandon: It’s brilliant. Before you move on, real quick, speaking of books, did you guys like the Jimmy Kimmel bit that I think came out this week or something like that. Did you see it? So they go onto the streets interviewing people. They do this random like, interviewing people on the street and they ask a bunch of random people, can you name a book, any book? Just name a book. And like legitimately, tons of people could not name a book. People were like uh, The Lion King. And like they could not. And finally, some guy goes Moby Dick. No wait, that’s the opera. That’s the opera. People legitimately could not name a book. Anyway, I thought that was funny.

David:  That is really funny.

David P: That just means the two of you aren’t marketing enough.

David:  That’s a good point.

Brandon: I guess. They all need to name our books. I was waiting. I was like, come on, name the book in property rental investing. No. Anyway, moving on. Number three.

David:  Also, let me add, as far as your Miracle Morning, I know that you do it in a closet. You literally lock yourself into a closet, away from everybody else, and I don’t know if you’re still doing that but you did it for a while. And if you can do a Miracle Morning in a closet, then there’s no excuse for not doing a Miracle Morning.

David P: It’s a full-sized closet. I mean, my desk fits in there. We’ll make it sound a little better but yeah.

David:  It’s your closet time. There you go.

David P: I have to come out of the closet every day.

David:  Thank you for doing that for the show. All right, tell us about some of your hobbies. Because you’re in Hawaii. I can only imagine what you’re doing all the time.

David P: Well, when I’m not busy having my appendix removed, I like to surf. Hiking, surfing, networking, going to the beach. We just bought this awesome little dad-powered surfboard thing that I drag my kid along in the beach.

Brandon: Yeah, Roderick’s company. Yeah. We should give him a shout-out. What is that? Dad-powered—I’m going to look it up while you’re talking.

David P: Yeah, Dad-powered. You should check it out. I have some awesome photos and videos I’ll probably post to BiggerPockets of my kid rolling around in it. That thing’s sweet. So dragging him around on his sled while he smiles. Surfing and hiking are really the biggest ones.

Brandon: DadPowered.com, by the way. It’s like a little sled that you pull little kids on. It’s amazing. He gave me one while I was in Hawaii. You guys, check out DadPowered.com and get your kid one. It’s super cool. Anyway.

David:  Definitely.

Brandon: Very cool. All right, number four. My last question of the day. What separates successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail, or never get started?

David P: Taking action. So I’m a huge believer in just learning the hard way, as I like to call it. But the reality isn’t learning the hard way. The reality is that I’ve found every time I think about doing something, I learn, which is great. But I don’t do anything. But every time I stop thinking about doing something and just go do it, everything seems to fall into place for me. Like, the 10-plex was way out of my comfort zone and I had a duplex on the time that I was like, oh, I could buy this, no big deal.

And I could have bought it. I could have made $100 in cash flow. But I went all in for this 10-plex, figured I would learn the hard way, and we’d see what happened. And I ended up buying it for less than what I put down on the duplex and making like ten times as much every month in cash flow. So I would say just taking action. Just do it. If you ask the right questions, you’ll learn. Whether you’ll learn the hard way or not, it’s better than getting stuck in the analysis paralysis trap and just not doing anything.

David:  Very good advice.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I really like you, David, is like whenever like I talk to you, you’re just like, yeah so I was just thinking about doing some direct-mail so I just sent out a whole bunch of direct-mail. And I’m like, how many people do that in reality? People are like, oh yeah, I was thinking about doing direct-mail. And I’m going to keep thinking about it for the next couple of years.

David P: Sometimes, I sent out 10 the other day and I got seven back in the mail. I apparently wrote the wrong address on all of them.

Brandon: That’s awesome. Well, at least you took action. That’s more than what most people do. So yeah, learn from David Pere here and take action. David, this has been awesome. Really, really good to have you today. I hope people enjoyed your story and can learn from it and take action in their own life. So last question—I’m going to steal your question, David Greene. But where can people find out more about you? What’s your blog and your Instagram and all that good stuff?

David P: I get to shamelessly plug. So they’re all titled FromMilitarytoMillionaire. So the blog is FromMilitarytoMillionaire.com and the Facebook and Instagram both have that on there. I have a YouTube channel as well that I just started. However, that’s name is like PaintballerDP2 because I just picked it when I was in high school and it won’t let me change it back until I get over a hundred subscribers. So if you want to go subscribe, then I can change my name and it’ll match.

Brandon: Help the man, out. Come on, people. Help him out.

David P: But you can find that through the Facebook and the Instagram.

David:  So there was a PaintballerDP1? And you had to be DP2?

David P: No, it’s actually worse than that. There was a PaintballerDP1—it’s DP for David Pere, if you can’t figure that out. There was a PaintballerDP1 and it was me and I lost my password and then I decided that it was still a great name. So I generated a new one instead of just upgrading to a normal name. And the sad thing is that I was never good at paintball. So it’s just like, I had fun once and it was just around the timeframe where I was building it, back in the Instant Messenger days and yeah.

David:  Yep. That’s hilarious.

Brandon: All right well, thank you, David. It’s been fun. We’ll see you around.

David P: Absolutely.

Brandon: All right. And that was our final interview. I like that guy a lot. He’s a good buddy of mine. We did some surfing together. I know you did some surfing with us as well. So yeah, David, good guy.

David:  David is a solid guy and his business is just as serious as his mustache.

Brandon: There you go. You know, David actually, we didn’t talk about this but he was recently on an episode of Hawaii Five-O because he was an extra in the background on Hawaii Five-O. I’m going to see if I can find that clip and put it in the Show Notes on this show at BiggerPockets.com/Show281. If I can’t find it, sorry.

David:  He played a Russian spy in a soap. Yes, very serious man, David. He plays good Russian.

Brandon: I don’t think he talked like that though. But anyway, I loved today’s show. I love talking with new investors who are getting their feet wet and jumping in because it reminds us of the principles. Because you and I have been doing this for a decade, almost. We’ve been doing this a long time but it’s good to kind of refresh with what are those first initial steps? What’s the fears? What’s the thoughts, the scary things that come up? So just kind of learning from these three guys, Bill, Jake, and David, I really enjoyed it.

David:  Well, your first steps are the most important and that’s why we want to keep coming back to covering those because while we look at the guys, like we used the bodybuilding analogy a lot—that are in incredible shape and we see them working out at the gym. And they’re working out so hard and we say wow, look at that guy.

I guarantee you the workouts he does an hour are not nearly as hard as his first ones when he was first getting started. That’s where the battle is won. Can you get through the first initial stage of getting that train moving? Because once it’s moving, it doesn’t take as much energy to keep it moving. And success kind of like comes easy but you’ve got to get moving in the very beginning, these first steps are so much more important than your hundredth step.

Brandon: So true. All right guys, thank you so much for joining us today. Could you do us a favor? If you have not yet subscribed to the podcast, it matters. It actually helps a ton if you actually click the ‘Subscribe’ button. So please do so. iTunes, YouTube, whatever. Stitcher. Google. Subscribe to the show and you’ll get it automatically delivered to you and it doesn’t cost you a dime. So please do that and then follow us over on Instagram. @DavidGreene24 and @BeardyBrandon. That’s our Instagrams. Sound good? Anything you want to add, DG, before we get out of here?

David:  I just want to talk about in the beginning, the Quick Tip was masterminding with other investors and letting other people know what you do. You want to put yourself in a community where other people are likeminded and keeping yourself pumped up. My favorite way to do that is just to share my favorite podcast episode with somebody else and say hey, check out this cool thing I’m doing. It’s like inviting your friend to the gym. Your friend probably won’t go by themselves but they would go if you invited them. Now you have a workout partner and you’ve got someone to spot you and bounce ideas off of and keep you encouraged. So think about in your life right now, who do I know that I can share this with that’s going to love me forever because I did. Send them the podcast. Ask them to listen to it. Start the conversation right there and boom, you just found yourself a mastermind buddy and you never know what that can lead to.

Brandon: I love it. That’s like a second Quick Tip of the day. But we’ll take it. All right, well, with that, let’s get out of here. Until next time, do you want to take us out?

David:  This is David Greene, for Brandon “Like a Train” Turner, signing off.

You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place.

Be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from BiggerPockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.

Watch the Podcast Here

Help Us Out!

Help us reach new listeners on iTunes by leaving us a rating and review! It takes just 30 seconds and instructions can be found here. Thanks! We really appreciate it!

This Show Sponsored By

simplisafeCheck out SimpliSafe Security’s DIY home security systems; an affordable, wireless, cellular, and customizable system that doesn’t require a contract!

Try it today with a discount: simplisafepockets.com

In This Episode We Cover:


  • Being imprisoned for 10 years
  • What changed in prison for Bill
  • Starting your business on the side
  • How he ended up investing in real estate
  • What went in his head with his first investment property
  • The beauty of keeping expenses low
  • Having tiny little steps


  • Jake’s investing path
  • How he got into real estate
  • Buying a $25,000 house with a $140 monthly mortgage
  • Going for the smaller banks
  • Investing at a very young age
  • Joining local Facebook pages
  • His criteria for finding properties


  • David’s story and how he got to Hawaii
  • BRRR, OD, and HELOC
  • Paying close to 5 percent on a 10-unit apartment
  • Having a great team you can trust
  • How he built a meet up in Hawaii
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “My success story didn’t started when I got out (from prison), it started right away in the very beginning.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Quit the things that are holding you back and have you put in the exact location you are.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Find a market that makes sense.” (Tweet This!)
  • “I want to buy something that is certainly desirable.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Highest risk is vacancy.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Become a person worth being around.” (Tweet This!)
  • “If they’ll like you, they’ll join.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Bill

Connect with Jacob

Connect with David

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.