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Ouch! Brandon & David’s 10 Biggest Investing Mistakes (& How to Avoid Them)

The BiggerPockets Podcast
78 min read
Ouch! Brandon & David’s 10 Biggest Investing Mistakes (& How to Avoid Them)

Are you a little tired of hearing about all the “successes” of real estate investors and wondering how realistic this is in the real world? Well, on today’s show, Brandon and David share the 10 biggest mistakes they’ve made in their investing careers—warts and all!

Let’s be honest—real estate isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Mistakes happen! In this episode, we cover WHY investors often sabotage their own success and what can be done to overcome this! You’ll learn how to avoid massaging your numbers to force a bad deal through, how to guard against getting ripped off by contractors, how to hire the RIGHT team members to help you succeed, and how to fire the wrong ones!

We also cover the high cost of analysis paralysis and how to move past it, how to choose the right market for yourself, and the mistake that cost David $5,000—simply because he didn’t understand how inspection periods work in different states. If you want to see the real story behind real estate investing, including the stuff that often isn’t talked about, don’t miss your chance for some authentic, honest transparency from two experienced investors!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon: This is the BiggerPockets podcast Show 303.

“So the only way I could fix it was I had to unbolt the toilet from the floor, pick the entire thing up, like I was doing like a deadlift, right? Pick it up and dump it upside down all over myself and into the bathtub. And that was the day I was like, all right, this is enough. I am never going to ever do plumbing again”.

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: Welcome everybody to this episode of the podcast. We are doing a special show today in that we do not have a guest because we wanted to talk about our failures today.

Because listen, a lot of you guys are brand new and some of you have done way more deals than we have. But regardless of whether you’re new, experienced, whatever—you’re likely going to do some real estate deals in your future and you can probably learn from the mistakes that David and I have made.

And so we are actually going to go through ten of them today, of the huge mistakes that we’ve made in our business, and talk about how to overcome those and avoid this happening, I guess, in your own life. So that should be a lot of fun. But before we get there, let’s do a few housekeeping—is that the word? I mess this up every week.

David: You got it right. You finally got it right.

Brandon: Okay, good. Let’s do a little housekeeping, including today’s Quick Tip. All right, today’s Quick Tip is very simple. We are doing a new feature on BiggerPockets that’s going to help you out.

If you go to BiggerPockets.com/podcast, that’s where the podcast homepage is, you’ll find there’s a little new section on the top that says you can search now for topics based on anything you want to know. Let’s say you want to type in “house-hacking”, right? You can search for all the BiggerPockets podcast episodes that have been about house-hacking.

So it’s kind of cool. We got a lot of people requesting that, that said, hey I want to find a podcast about whatever. So they are now all searchable, sortable there. So go to BiggerPockets.com/podcast and find the topics that matter to you. Pretty cool, huh, David?

David: That’s very cool. Every single time I log into BiggerPockets, they have something newer, cooler, better. They are clearly the category king of real estate investing education and I love it. There’s nothing like it on the internet.

Brandon: Thanks. I’ll give you a nice little $20 dollar bill later for saying that. Let’s move onto today’s show sponsor.

Mindy: Hang on a second, Brandon and David. I’ve got a bonus Quick Tip for you today. Two of the most frequently asked questions on BiggerPockets are, does anyone know an investor-friendly lender and can anyone recommend a contractor?

We’ve been working on solving this problem for a while and now offer the ability to all members of BiggerPockets to find a loan and connect with a contractor right on our site. To find a lender, go to BiggerPockets.com/loans and for contractors, go to BiggerPockets.com/contractors. Okay, now let’s hear from today’s show sponsor.

Today’s support comes from Fundrise. Look, if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably already know how tough it is to find truly exceptional real estate projects. You’ve probably felt the pain of finding those projects but not having enough capital to get it done. And that’s where Fundrise comes in.

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Brandon: All right, big thanks to our sponsors always. One last thing before we get to today’s podcast. Today, we’re talking about mistakes we’ve made and later on you’re going to hear David and I talk a little bit about how the mistakes I’ve made in analyzing deals. It took me a long time to learn how to do that and I think I’m actually pretty darn good at it today in running the numbers. I’m kind of a nerd now when it comes to that.

So this coming week on BiggerPockets and most weeks, we do it, but this week specifically, we’re doing a webinar where I’m going to be analyzing a real life deal together live with all of you. So show up at BiggerPockets.com/webinar. You can sign up for it.

But I’ll be hosting a webinar where we’re going to be diving deep into a real life deal, analyze it, look at the numbers, and figure out what we can pay for it. And I’ll kind of show you what I’ve learned about analyzing deals. So again, BiggerPockets.com/webinar.

And without further ado, I don’t know—anything you want to cover before we jump into number one here, Greene?

David: No, I just wanted to say that I’m really excited to do a show where we’re finally showing some of the warts, right? Like everybody talks about how their best deals are because no guests want to come on here and say where they fumbled the ball. They want a highlight reel and a lot of people get intimidated because they hear that, but trust me, we’re going to talk about mistakes and we’re going to be covering all the mistakes we made.

A normal episode of BiggerPockets is like an Instagram page. Well, this is like when you turn your phone on and the front-facing camera is looking at you and you’re like, ahh, what is that? Who is that gorilla looking back at me? So you guys are going to get to see the real and authentic side of real estate investing gone wrong.

Brandon: Wow, that was a pretty good analogy for on the spot though. That was nice. All right. Let’s move into this thing.

So again, today’s episode is the Top Ten mistakes that David and I made in investing. So number one, David, do you want to kick us off and show us your warts?

David: The number one biggest mistake that I made when I came to real estate investing was not getting started soon enough. Now, that might sound cheesy or corny to people, but I am absolutely serious. I was saving money all throughout the 2001 through 2005 run up in prices and when prices crashed, I was in a very fortunate situation where I had a ton of capital and I was ready to start investing.

I bought my first property. I got a really good deal on it. This was an easy time to be investing because you didn’t have the rehab properties. I mean, they were just sitting there and you only needed to run a vacuum over the carpet and it was ready to go. And I bought my property and I had a tenant in there and I had it cash flow $350 bucks right off the bat. And I didn’t go buy another one.

I was like, okay. What could go wrong? And I was in such a scarcity mindset and so fearful of what I didn’t know, rather than seeking education and talking to other experienced investors and saying tell me everything I need to know about what to expect and what I should do, I waited. I waited a little over a year before I bought the next property. And then I waited a year after that one, right?

So during this like bonus round of real estate investing, it was as cheap as it was ever going to be, I was dragging my feet moving really slowly and now each of those properties that I bought at that time has appreciated an average of about $250,000, some of them a little bit more.

So had I just bought three houses a year instead of one, which would not have been pushing it, it would not have been stretching it—it would have just been me being a little more aggressive and purposeful, my net worth would be another $1.5 million or so, just on average. Maybe more than that.

So that’s my biggest mistake. When I can’t sleep at night, that’s usually what I’m thinking about. Why didn’t I jump in when I had the opportunity to and if I could go back in time, I would have actually been more aggressive.

Brandon: That’s really good. I kind of feel like the same way. I mean, I jumped in when I was young. I bought a deal and then I bought a couple and I waited so long to scale or to step into a bigger deal because I was afraid.

I was comfortable and I think a lot of people who are new are stuck with this idea of like, hey, I want to buy my first deal but I don’t know enough yet so I’m just going to keep listening to the podcast for the next five years and then do it. So yeah, I would just encourage you guys, just start. Even if it’s just baby steps every day, just start.

David: Well, here’s how you know. If you have an objective reason that you shouldn’t be investing, you should listen to it, right? I did not have that. I was waiting on a feeling. I was waiting to feel comfortable and safe about doing this. And that feeling doesn’t come until you’ve done more deals and you start to know what to expect. That’s how you grow your confidence.

So if you’re sitting there and you’re thinking, I want to start investing but I’m scared, that’s not an excuse. For me, I had a job as a deputy sheriff. It was very, very stable income. I was making good money at the time when everybody was getting laid off. I was a single guy with no responsibilities. I had unlimited overtime opportunities. If the worst case scenario were to happen across the board, I would still have been able to pay everything and still save money. There was no objective reason for me not to get started, right?

If you’re in a position of like, you’re going through a divorce, and you’ve got a couple of kids, and your job is a little shaky, of course you’re not going to be as risky when it comes to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. But that wasn’t the case though.

If you’re feeling like, I don’t know if I want to get started yet—sit down, talk to somebody else about it, and say—look, this is my situation. Do you see any reason why I should be scared? And usually your friends will tell you no, you’re just being a wuss. It’s time to get in there and do it. Brandon calls me a wuss probably four times a day. It’s like his favorite thing to do, actually from Hawaii.

Brandon: I don’t think I’ve ever called you a wuss. But you know.

David: No, because you’re afraid of me. You know what I would do to you if you did.

Brandon: That’s true. You might gorilla attack me or something. No, I think that’s good advice. Some people are afraid to move forward. Like when people have all these excuses, right? They’re like, well I don’t have money to invest. What they are saying is I’m afraid to move forward. I don’t have the right agent yet. I don’t have the right anything yet. Everyone’s got these reasons. I mean, sometimes they are legitimately. I totally believe that.

But it doesn’t take any money to analyze a deal. It doesn’t take any money to call up a real estate agent. It doesn’t take any money—you know you could find people who have been far less advantageous than you. Far more—I don’t know the word I’m using—disadvantageous, like they’ve done it and you haven’t. I mean, it’s largely fear masking itself as like these objections of why I can’t do it here. So anyways.

David: I like that.

Brandon: So mistake number one. Mistake number one, waiting to start investing because you don’t feel you can do it yet. Even if it doesn’t mean buying a property. I’ll make one more point and then we’ll move on.

A lot of times, I teach webinars on BiggerPockets and a lot of the questions I get, every single week I get this question from somebody—is I’m not ready to invest yet. Maybe next year, I’m going to buy my property or I’m saving now or I’m paying off debt now. That’s fine. If you’ve made that decision, that’s great. Should I wait to get involved? And like, they ask some variation of that question. And I always say no.

Just because you’re not ready to put down the down payment tomorrow, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be involved, you shouldn’t be learning. Imagine right now, even if you’re afraid of the market being too competitive, become the best investor in your market today without buying a single property. Learn, network, grow. Build connections.

Do all that work, which requires not actually purchasing the property so then when you are ready, you’ll jump in and you’ll be like—it’s like the analogy you and I—I’ve heard us using about the bats, when you’re playing baseball. When they walk up to the plate and they grab like four or five of the bats and they start swinging them all at once because it’s really hard and heavy.

So then when all of a sudden it gets really easy, when the market drops or whatever you want to call it, you’ll be able to hit a homerun because the bat just feels so light.

David: That is exactly—I mean, that doesn’t just work for real estate. That works for anything but it definitely works in real estate investing because both of the hurdles that we’re having are self-imposed and they’re mental. They’re not real. So the more that you’re understanding and learning more about it, the easier it becomes to overcoming those hurdles.

Brandon: Definitely, definitely. All right.

David: Onto number two. Brandon, tell us about your biggest mistake when it came to doing everything yourself.

Brandon: That’s really what it is. When I got started, I felt like I had to do everything. I mean like my first 10, 15, 20 units, I was fixing toilets and like climbing on the roof to like replace things and I mean, I did everything. I rarely hired out. Because in my mind I had this idea, right?

A contractor is $80 an hour. I’m free. So like why would I pay somebody $80 an hour when I can do it myself? I agree there is a time and place for it. Especially when you have no money at all. Maybe you can substitute your own hustle in.

But I still believe that like my ability to do that work hindered me from growing faster. It hindered me from the hard thing of being able to hire the right people to do things. So yeah, trying to do everything myself was a huge mistake from property management to hiring contractors to finding deals—everything. I thought I had to do it all myself.

David: You know, it makes me think about, what would the world be like if Elon Musk wasn’t trying to design the next electric car? Instead, he was thinking I need to go down there in the assembly line and put this together because I don’t want to pay somebody the money to do something.

In the beginning, maybe that’s where he started. He did everything because it was a startup company. But once he got to a certain point where he was understanding a higher level concept, it would be doing a disservice himself and to the rest of the committee to stay in that place rather than scaling up, right?

So I think what you’re saying is, when you first got started, your budget was tight and you didn’t know how to find deals that well anyways. You might as well be spending your time fixing toilets and changing door locks. But once you start to develop connections and build relationships and deals are coming in, your time is better spent talking to lenders or banks and finding the ones that are going to give you loans and hiring contractors, stuff like that.

Brandon: Or even more—had I found better deals, I could have afforded to hire professionals which then would have given me the same profit. But I mean, at the beginning, I was like I’ll do the easy thing. I can buy them off the MLS. If I would have been doing direct-mail marketing back in 2012-2013, I would have been able to get $20,000-$30,000 cheaper than what I was buying them for, in which case, that would have paid more than the cost of hiring the world’s best contractor to come in and deal with it.

And I could have spent my time finding more deals like that. It really kind of like cycles like that. Actually, true story though, the time when I decided it was like there was one moment in my life where I’m done with that, doing my own work and everything. I’ve got this buddy—and I’ll use that term lightly—so like he and his friends that lived in that property, one time they texted me and they said, hey my buddy texted me because I have systems and I was texting with my tenants, which I don’t do anymore.

But anyways, he texted me and he said, the toilet seems to be draining slowly. Because I didn’t have a good system for it, I just kind of forgot about it. Anyways, so then my all my buddy and his three roommates got sick. They all continued to use said toilet. The only one on their property. We’ll call it, from both ends, repeatedly even though it no longer flushed. Right? At all. And so the entire thing filled to the brim from four guys who were like with the flu, right?

So I go there to fix this thing and I’m obviously like repulsed and I’m not going to spend money on a plumber. And so I literally—it felt like a half hour—trying to clear it. And I could not do it. So the only way I could fix it was I had to unbolt the toilet from the floor, pick the entire thing up, like I was doing like a deadlift, right? Pick it up and then dump it upside down all over myself and into the bathtub. And that was the day I was like, all right. This is enough. I am never going to ever do plumbing again.

David: There are ways we can take this story and dig into, man. A, why were you renting a home out Animal House style? This sounds like a college frat house with a Porta-Potty and that’s how they were treating it. Completely filling it up.

Brandon: This is also where one of my mistakes—never rent to family or friends came from, was around this situation.

David: Yeah, I mean I can see why you wouldn’t anticipate them doing that but then they did, right?

Brandon: Why would they not stop using it? I don’t know. It’s not their property.

David: Did dumping it in the bathtub not create a whole new set of problems? Did dumping it in the bathtub handle that?

Brandon: We’re not going to go there.

David: The point is though, that’s what it took to take you out of that I need to do it myself. So that was a blessing in disguise but it just goes to show—

Brandon: I wouldn’t call it that.

David: You were so entrenched in that mindset that God had to send you a toilet and make you pick it up. I’m just picturing you wrapping your arms around it and trying to carry it out without having your face too close. It sounds like a horrific Japanese game show. How can we find the most disgusting thing and film somebody like Fear Factor on steroids and this is one of the physical stunts they make you do, like carry it across and send it down the other side. This is hilarious.

Brandon: Yeah, I’m glad you think it’s funny. It was not funny at the time. And then, to end the story, and then we’re going to move on—I got sick afterwards, of course, because I’m sure I got a lot of that into me. So yeah, I got the flu right after that and I was like out for a week. So anyways, moving on.

David: Can we be real for one second, Brandon, before we move on? Let’s get really honest with our listeners. Why did it take you so long to stop doing the small things to focus on the bigger? What’s the real motivation as to why this happened?

Brandon: I really think it was probably fear of paying money to do things, that I could do myself. I can do it better myself and cheaper myself. I was so tight with the money that if I spent $100 on a plumber to fix that—I’ll add one more thing to that, too.

It was like—you know this about myself, right? I’m continually nervous or afraid or whatever you want to call it, to talk to people. I’m kind of an introvert. And I don’t want people to think I’m crying in a corner, but I just don’t like talking to people.

So the idea of like, I’ve got to call around the contractors and find a plumber who can do this, oh, I’ll just go do it myself. It’s easier for me just to go do it myself than to go call a bunch of people and deal with contractors and all of that. So I’ve since gotten better at that, yeah.

David: And that’s why I commend you for having the courage to share. Because it is not just you. It is every human being out there. Humans are weird, complex, emotional creatures. We make decisions based on our emotions. It is obvious if anyone can tell you, why were you doing that yourself? That’s so dumb.

But I guarantee they are doing stupid things themselves as well because they don’t like for you, they just didn’t like to pick up the phone. So what I want you to think about is what hang-ups do you have and how much is it costing you? Brandon’s not the only one who did this. I’m not the only one who does this. How much is it holding you back from achieving your goals because you have this thing you’re clinging to and you don’t want to let it go?

Because now I would advise Brandon, rather than like get over it, just make phone calls—I would be saying, you need to hire somebody to make phone calls and solve some of these problems for you. Find someone that would work ten hours a week and he can make those phone calls. And you’re not picking up toilets full of crap.

But everybody, it’s easier to laugh at Brandon and say, he had to carry a toilet out. Never do that. We should all introspectively be looking at ourselves and saying, where am I getting my face two inches from crap where I could make some changes as well? And that’s where you get the benefits.

Brandon: I’m going to ask people, what toilet are you carrying right now?

David: Yes, that is awesome. You should write a blog post and call it, what toilet are you carrying right now?

Brandon: That’s actually a great idea. Maybe I’ll write a book and it’ll be called, “What Toilet Are You Carrying?” That’s funny. All right. We’ve got to move on. I’m assuming you’ve done that yourself as well, where you’ve done your own work when you probably shouldn’t. Am I right or are you always a superhero, Dave?

David: No, I do it probably more than you do. I have a story of trying to change door locks on a rental that I had and I’ll cut this story short, but I went in there and I didn’t want to pay a guy $120 bucks to do it. I made four trips to Home Depot because I don’t know how to change locks and I never grew up doing that kind of stuff. My dad handled it. He didn’t want us involved in it.

And I ended up spending seven hours of my life trying to do this when I could have went to work and made like $50 bucks an hour at overtime rate and made three times as much money and let somebody else deal with the locks and like it was so stupid and that was my aha moment. I’m never doing this again.

Brandon: That was your toilet.

David: Yeah, I like my toilet better than your toilet, for what it’s worth. I’m glad it didn’t take what it took to break you of it. That’s the mistake that we make, okay? Thinking small costs you more money than thinking big than failing or making mistakes at it. All right, so small is more expensive than feeling big. That’s how I’ll phrase that.

Brandon: I like it. All right, so I’ll transition. The mistake is not hiring people or thinking you’re doing everything yourself. The number three is actually closely related to that. Why don’t you take that one?

David: All right, so number three, I’m going to say was when I hire the wrong people, I took way too long to get rid of them and move on or I didn’t learn how to hire the right people. So I had this attitude that most people who are inexperienced or naïve do, which is I should be able to walk in somewhere and you should just do what I think you should.

There’s expectations if I go to a restaurant, the waiter should know this. If I go to a mechanic, he should be able to do this. And the world doesn’t work that way. It’s made up of all kind of different people with different expectations and different levels of training or motivation and you just have this fixed mindset of like, I should just tell you what I want and you should be able to make it happen.

It is your responsibility to dig in and choose, is the person you’re working with the right one for the job? I see this in real estate all the time. It is becoming very popular in this hot market who will hire real estate agents who will work for 1% and think, I don’t want to pay a 3% commission. That’s ridiculous. I’m going to save money.

And you end up hiring a bottom of the barrel, not very successful struggling in their business, just needs a deal type of a person. And they cost you so much more money than the 2% that you saved, right? So I’m getting a lot of people coming to me and they’re all saying, David, I made a huge mistake. I hired the wrong realtor. My house has been sitting here for 90 days. Can you sell it? And then I’m making them more money in the end when we sell it than what they spent on my commission, right? That’s what a good person will do.

Well, this happens on a lot of things in life. Not every property manager is the same. Not every agent is the same. It is your job to figure out who is going to do a good job and hire that person and if you don’t know how to do that, it’s your job to figure out those skills.

When I hired my very first property manager, they weren’t communicating with me. I would ask questions that they just wouldn’t answer. The rent was never coming in on time. They were choosing the tenant’s side over mine all the time. The tenant would break something and say you need to fix this window they broke and they’d say no, and they’d be pressuring me like well you should really fix the window because you don’t want problems that come up later.

But the tenant was the one that broke it and I didn’t know any better so I was paying for all this stuff. All I had to do was reach out for a second opinion and it was very clear. No, that’s stupid. Why would you be paying for this, right?

So waiting too long to fire the person you hired is a mistake and not getting a second or a third opinion to get a context of what’s normal for the industry is another mistake that can compound that.

Brandon: That’s true. I’ve got a quick story about not firing quick enough. So I had a property manager hired, the first time I ever hired a property manager. And I gave her two of my most difficult properties. One of them, the tenant left right away and I sold the house but they kept one of them for a while. And that was like my most difficult property and that’s why I handed it over.

So like, besides the fact that every month there was problems and there were expenses that I felt I shouldn’t be there and I was going to ask about them and they were really vague and it was just really a problem. I knew I should fire him from like day one. I knew they weren’t going to be the one, right? And so a year and a half later, after like all these problems, finally the tenant gets evicted.

I found out they hadn’t paid rent in two months and I don’t even understand why they didn’t evict them the first month that they didn’t pay. But they didn’t. They let them go another month and then they evicted them. Or tried to. They moved out in the middle of the process so it didn’t even go through all the way.

Anyways, we ended up having $25,000-$30,000 in damage. Now granted, some of that was actually related to one of the mistakes I’m going to have here in a little bit. It wasn’t all the tenant’s fault, just like $25,000-$30,000 just to fix the house up to get it to sell.

Had I first of all kicked out the tenant a year and a half earlier—I knew they were a problem tenant, but also the property manager should have been on top of that. I knew that. I don’t even blame the property manager. I do, I guess. But it’s my fault. I should have fired that property manager. I’ll take 100% responsibility with my just wanting to sweep it under the rug and not thinking about was just one problem out of a hundred that cost me a lot of money.

David: And that is why Brandon is successful. Like, Scott Trench, he has the same attitude as that. He’ll always say, this is my fault. I can do better. Successful people think that way. You ever have that friend who is always complaining about the guy or the girls that they’re dating and they’re like, they were jerks or they were liars and like every single girlfriend they have is a lying skank, in their opinion. At a certain point—

Brandon: Can you say that? I guess so.

David: I mean, maybe I shouldn’t. All right, maybe we can edit that out and put a nicer word for skank in there. I don’t know. But that’s not what I’m saying there. That’s what my friends are saying there who are bitter, right? And the point is, I don’t know at what point they are going to realize, it makes you look bad that you keep telling me that you’re dating people and they’re all a problem because I sincerely question your decision-making skills or your judge of character when everyone you date is the problem.

Investors get sucked into this self-gratification or like, oh property managers suck and their agents suck. Everybody sucks and they don’t realize they’re actually condemning their own decision-making ability and their own judge of character skill when they’re complaining about everybody else. If you look at it like you did, Brandon, and say it is my fault. I hired the wrong one and I didn’t fire him fast enough because I don’t like conflict because I was too lazy. Because I was overwhelmed and didn’t get help with this.

Whatever the real case is, you will fly through your problems and find the right fit very quickly and then start to scale your business faster. They’re always blaming other people. You’re really holding yourself back because the person who is screwing you over doesn’t care that you’re complaining about them to everybody, right? If they cared, then they wouldn’t be operating their business that way.

Brandon: Very good. Well, any other thing you want to cover on the wrong people before we move on?

David: Yeah, I see this a lot with agents. Don’t look for an investor-friendly agent because there is no such thing as an investor-friendly agent. There are agents who understand you, your specific needs, how you like to be communicated with, and there are agents who do it differently and have different expectations.

If you want to find a good agent to help you in your business, you need to tell them a list of all my expectations and here is a list of all the things that would really help me if you could do—which of these can you or can’t you do? Have that conversation in the front. Make sure that the two of you are on the same page as far as what you’re looking for out of that relationship and move forward with the ones that tell you they can do it.

Now, if they told you that they can do it and then they don’t, well then break up with them and you go find another one as quickly as possible. But don’t be afraid to have that conversation and then just be bitter inside because it’s not working out the way you wanted it to.

Brandon: Yeah, I think that’s interesting about the investor-friendly agent because we do talk a lot about that. And I’m sure I’ve even said it—how do you find an investor-friendly agent? But at the end of the day, like an investor-friendly agent, if you’re an investor, it means an agent who is friendly to you. In other words, they’ve done a good job to you.

So whether or not they understand what cash-on-cash return is, which it’d be nice if they did, but if they don’t, they should understand that you want a three or four-bedroom house in this area at this price range and you need to be able to get into the house quickly. If they can do that, then they’re going to be an investor-friendly agent because they’re being friendly to you, the investor. 

David: That’s a great way to look at it.

Brandon: Thanks.

David: I do the same thing. I have agents who don’t know anything about calculating ROI. They don’t know anything about house-hacking. I don’t need them to because I just say, send me every nasty, disgusting, dirty house that hits the MLS or anything your office comes across and then I can do the rest of the work, right? That’s all I really needed them for and that’s all I use them for.

I have other agents that I ask a friend—hey, I’m going to need contractors and property managers and lenders. Do you know anyone? And if they do, great. I use them for that. If they don’t, I keep looking. But I don’t make it the agent’s job to figure out what I need and solve my problems for me and then complain about it when they don’t. That doesn’t get you anywhere.

Brandon: Yeah. It’s true. All right, so agents. And I’ll add one more working with the wrong people—contractors. I’ve had so many bad experiences where I hired the wrong contractor. I hired one on Craigslist one time. You probably heard the story, right? I ended up paying him $5,000 for a down payment for windows and he just walked off and took the money and left and never came back.

On the positive side of that note, I did get that money back. We put a lien on his—we sued him in a small claims court, won, put a judgment on his house. I got paid back which was great. But that was the wrong contractor. I didn’t get referrals even though he seemed legit.

He had the hat. He had the truck. I didn’t get a single referral. I should have talked to three people at least and found out what kind of work he did. And I just didn’t do it. That was rough. Anyways.

David: Number four of our biggest mistakes—Brandon, I’m going to ask you. Tell me about times you bought the wrong deal.

Brandon: Sure. I got lots of time. So yeah, one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is buying deals that I should not have bought. I mentioned earlier that story of the $25,000 or $30,000 we had to put into the property after the tenant got evicted essentially. But that property was the wrong deal.

I had this thing where I was like, early on, if the house was cheap, I would buy it. In my head, it said cheap property equals good deal. And that was the farthest thing. It was not in a good neighborhood, had a vacant house next door on one side, and a vacant one on the other side. Also not a good thing. It wasn’t in just a great area anyway.

And the house itself was just weird in that like, it was like a two-bedroom, one bath house and then somebody years later added a garage and then years later added another apartment above the garage, then connected the two together kind of in like this long, awkward hallway.

The whole thing was just really—and then the guy was a handyman who lived there before we bought it and so like he built a lot of these weird things that were wrong. Anyways, it was the wrong deal. I shouldn’t have bought it. I know at the time I bought a flip, I was getting excited. Earlier in my career, I wanted to flip a house so I’ve bought this huge, gigantic house that was like 3500 square feet and decided to flip it. That was the wrong deal.

I didn’t realize that a 3500 square foot house would cost like three times as much as a 1200 square foot house, right? Maybe even more. I completely blew my budget on that one and had no idea on what it was actually going to be worth when it was fixed up and it was so awkward and not normal. So anyway, all those are like just wrong deals. I shouldn’t have bought them.

David: Before you bought that last one, did you have a little voice inside that told you, this doesn’t feel right?

Brandon: You mean that flip?

David: Yeah.

Brandon: Ha, it wasn’t even a little voice inside me. It was my hard money lender. I went to my hard money lender that I had been using on a couple of flips before that and he was like, there’s no way we’re doing this deal. This is a horrible deal.

And I’m like, screw you. I’ll do it anyway. And I went and called up a dozen other hard money lenders and got somebody to do it. And I’m like, yeah, I should have listened to that guy. So it wasn’t even a little voice. It was just like my arrogance going, screw that guy. What does he know?

David: Let’s talk about that. How do you think we talk ourselves into these deals when we have objective reasons not to or at the minimum, subjected feeling like something is not right. This might not be a good idea. Why do we go through with it?

Brandon: I think a lot of it is ego, right? I mean, ever since reading Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday, I relate everything to ego. But I think we have this like, I’ve got to do a deal because I’m an investor because I need to do something. I’ve got to get all my Facebook friends to see me as an investor. I’ve got to make sure I get a deal. I’ve got to make sure I get my mom and dad to think I’m doing good. So I wanted something.

And here’s a mistake that I’ve made and I made it in this deal and other people make all the time is we fudge the numbers a little bit. You massage them a little bit. I can do that work myself and it’ll make that work a little bit easier. Yeah, we think best case scenario. And again, it’s ego. We want a deal so we’ll lie to ourselves and convince ourselves. I think that’s why. Do you have anything to add on that?

David: I know that’s the case for a lot of people and I recognize it with people right away because I struggle a little with it myself, right? So I see the signs and like one of the ways that I know somebody is ego-driven is when I ask them how they invest and they immediately tell me the number of units they have. That’s a completely useless metric when it comes to what I care about.

How much passive income did you make? What’s your net worth? How much equity do you have in these properties? Those are all things that matter to me. You can say you have 120 units and what that might mean is you have 120 problems. And the guy with no units is in a better situation than you, right? It’s a total ego thing, right?

Or I flip a hundred houses a year. Is that really something to be proud of if you’re making $5,000 on a flip or losing money on some of these flips where you could flip five houses a year and make way more money with way less time? A better metric is I make this much money doing this much work flipping these kinds of houses or whatever.

So if you catch yourself flipping into how do I say this so that it looks better to somebody else, you could be struggling with this ego syndrome that’s going to cost you a lot of money in the end and you should be leery of that.

I had a guy come to me that wanted me to help him sell this condo in San Francisco and when I asked him why, he said he wanted to reinvest the money into more stuff and I said awesome. Let’s talk about your strategy. And he said, well I want to go to somewhere in the Midwest. Just a really barren wasteland. Because I can sell it and I can buy ten units.

And I said, well why do you want to buy them there? He said, because I want ten units instead of one. It sounds a lot better when I tell people I’m a real estate investor. And I was like look, I’d love to sell your house for you. But I’m not going to do it with that on my conscience as being your motivation.

We need to go to the drawing board and come up with numbers that work and a deal that makes sense, and I’ll put the work in for you of helping you reinvest in selling your place. I think it stung him a little bit that I called him out on that. And I’m hoping that guy comes back around later and he was like hey, you were right. And usually they do and they’ll respect.

But clearly, that person was suffering from an ego-driven decision-making motivation and that’s what’s going to make you mess up. That’s why we massage numbers. That’s why we talk ourselves into things. And I think that as you’re hearing these stories from Brandon and I, you should be thinking the same question. Am I doing that? Do I want to be a real estate investor because it’s cool to tell people that or do I really actually want to build wealth this way?

Brandon: Yeah, one more to add onto that. I’ve done this and felt guilty of it before is I almost—I’ll find a deal. I’ll get excited about it. And I don’t want to run the numbers on it because I’m afraid that it’s going to come back—I’m afraid it’s going to be bad. So I’ll put it off. The longer—earlier in my career, I would just buy deals without really doing the in-depth math needed.

Or I wouldn’t want to run a deal by somebody else who was a really good investor because I didn’t want them to point out the bad parts of it. And that just shows me that’s a problem. That is a mistake. I know people—I have investor friends who like will buy stuff and they won’t ask my opinion on it and I know it’s because, or at least I assume it’s because they’re scared that I’m going to say, yeah, for your first deal that’s probably not a good one. So they just like forged through anyway.

So anyway, that comes back to ego. I think everything generally does in some way. So analyze your deal correctly. BiggerPockets has calculators we built just for that purpose, right? So like, there’s a house-flipping calculator, a rental property calculator, a BRRRR calculator. And I cannot tell you the number of times that I’ve started—found a deal that I thought was just solid, ran the numbers, and am in shock that it actually wasn’t. And I’ve been doing this for over a decade now, right?

And I still am surprised sometimes that a deal is not good when I think it is or it is a good deal and I thought it wasn’t going to be at all. Because there’s so many nuances in a deal that makes it good when you really get in there with a number. So anyways, if you’re not using those calculators, I would highly recommend at least check them out. BiggerPockets.com/analysis will get you to the page or just click the word ‘Tools’ in the navigation bar. But yeah.

David: Calculators do not have egos.

Brandon: That is a good statement. Hashtag calculators don’t have egos. Well done. All right. Moving onto number five. David, we kind of talked about hiring people earlier. This one has a little bit more to do with that. What is it?

David: Yeah, we’ll go quickly through this one but it has to do with not managing the people that I’ve already hired correctly. And this is a problem for me that comes up because I don’t want to slow down and take the time to explain exactly what I want and I trusted the other person is going to think about it the same way I do and people don’t. They have very different opinions.

So I have a property manager in Florida that was not calling and telling us that my unit went vacant. They would just have a statement with like 20 houses on it and they wouldn’t fill in any rent for that month, assuming I’m going to go look at my statement every month and calculate it all and notice, oh, these two or three units went vacant. What are we going to do?

So I wasn’t following up with them. I wasn’t asking what they were doing to advertise it. I really wasn’t doing anything but I’d have three months of vacancy before they filled it and I don’t think they really cared that it was vacant, right? And as long as they don’t let me know about it, I’m not going to be calling and lighting that fire underneath them that they needed. And this went on for a long time and I mentioned it a couple times and they said, oh yeah, okay we’ll try to remember but I didn’t get it in writing. I didn’t get it as part of my contract.

Who knows if the person I talked to actually communicated that to anyone else or I’m not sure that they cared? And it never changed, right? And I caught myself falling into that cycle of complaining about them. And one day, I realized I sound like an idiot complaining about this property manager company when I’m supposed to be the expert. I’m firing them. So I went and I explained, hey, I’m firing you guys.

And then it was, oh no, Mr. Greene, we’re going to do everything you want. And I just had to say no. You’re not. You’ve had many chances already. This is happening. They wanted to try to stick it to me over the contract and we’re not going to let you leave unless we charge you these cancellation fees and it got to be kind of messy and I realized you know what?

If I would have listened to that intuition in the very beginning that this isn’t going well and got out early when I had three properties with them instead of 20something, this wouldn’t be nearly as big of a problem. So that was me not wanting to make my expectations clear and hold somebody to them and just blaming the property management company.

And I do this with other things, too. Contractors going over the scheduled time and listening to their excuses as to why that happened. Hey, you told me it would be nine weeks. We’re on week thirteen. Well, the problem is—my employees weren’t showing up to work. Well, that’s your problem. It’s not my problem. I need to get some money back for this.

So now whenever we come up with contracts, we put in a timeline and a clearly set expectation for if you go past this date, you will have to credit me back this much money off the final draw. And I make it their responsibility to fix their people not showing up to work, not my responsibility.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s really good. You know, on that note, one thing I started to do with contractors, the same reason—I have a form. It’s actually in the BiggerPockets file place. You guys can download it if you want. But it basically is a form that says, this is the scope of work in detail what you’re going to work on. This is when you get paid, draw number one, number two, number three, number four.

And what I found is that before, it was just kind of like, I work with people. They get paid when they want to get paid. If they need money for the weekend or whatever, and like, it was very unclear, defined, at the end of the job. Oh, that was your responsibility or mine. All of that was my fault.

I go back to the my fault. I didn’t have clear expectations. I didn’t have clear guidelines like what happens, when it happens. So now with that symbol forum, it changed everything in my business. It’s like oh yeah, you want to get paid your $4,000. Well, it says the painting has to be finished. And you’ll be shocked at how well they’ll get things done when they know that if they just finish the painting, they’ll get that chunk of money. Then it all gets done.

And so anyway, that was me managing people better. I wasn’t even—bad contractors or bad property managers or bad agents, it’s with my lack of ability to manage them correctly. So it was a huge mistake. Once I changed that, I got a lot better.

David: You know what I found once I started doing this was the contractors I did it with recognized this is a better way to be and they started doing it with these employees that were never showing up to work. So I set very clear expectations and let them know, if you do this, you will get this. If you do that, this is going to happen.

They then started taking that same mindset to their employees and saying if you don’t show up to work on these days, you will be fired and someone else will be there. I don’t care if your kid is sick. I don’t care, whatever excuse you have for why you don’t want to come to work.

Like in Hawaii, I don’t care if the surf’s up, you’re going to finish your job, right? And that whole thing kind of trickles down and the whole thing goes smoother. Whereas when I take a casual attitude in the beginning, the contractor takes a casual attitude with me. He takes his employees. His employees take a casual attitude towards the job.

And it all ends up hurting David. The one who’s paying money for this project. So that’s something definitely. Think about how you’re managing people and set expectations very strong in the beginning and take responsibility yourself for making that happen. Don’t expect them. Do you have anything to add before you move on?

Brandon: No, I think that covered it really well so I like that. Let’s move onto number six, which is a huge mistake I’ve made over and over and over. I’m a lot better today than I used to be. Underestimating rehab costs. I mean, I continually, on every flip I did for years blew my budget by like—not even like a few hundred bucks. It was like by tens of thousands of dollars. I blew my budget.

Because it is so easy to get—it’s not that I necessarily misjudged how much stuff was. It was that I kept increasing what I wanted to do. I’d be like oh man, that’s a really nice house but it totally would look better with granite countertops. And then you do that and you’re like, well, as long as I have granite countertops, might as well do a backsplash, too, right? As long as we do a backsplash, we might as well just replace the floors. Let’s just get all new wood floors.

So it was like this creep of like, expenses. An expense creep, we’ll call it, that just happens because—it’s like if you give a mouse a cookie, like the old kids’ book. If you give a mouse a cookie, they’re going to ask for a glass of milk. If you give them a glass of milk—so what I should have done is either got a better idea upfront of like, this is what the project needs, is countertops, new floors. That’s what we’re going to do. Or I should have stuck with my original. That came to bite me a few times.

What really helped me is Jay Scott’s book on estimating rehab costs—for those who don’t know, just go to Amazon or go to BiggerPockets.com/store and look for estimating rehab costs. It’s by Jay Scott. It’s really good. It walks you through not just like what things cost—a lot of people think that’s what the book’s about.

But it’s not. It’s about like how do you determine what those things cost? Like how do you even figure that stuff out? Anyways. Don’t underestimate your rehab costs. Ask for help. Walk through a property carefully. Bring with contractors. Get bids ahead of time, if possible.

David: Every single investor says what you said. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t say that. I rarely find the investor who is like, yeah that’s awesome. All my jobs, you’ve come in under budget. It never happens, right? So if you know ahead of time this is a problem, take proactive steps to try to solve that problem.

Because in my experience, two things that will mess you up more than anything in investing is rehab budget coming in over what you thought it would be or taking too long to get the job done. Or you being wrong in your ARV. Those are the two things that will kill you. If you don’t mess up on those, almost any other mistake can be absorbed and you’re still going to be okay, so half the battle is just getting a rehab budget that comes in on time and having a good contractor that’s used to working with investors.

Brandon, you’re doing it yourself but for someone like me, who doesn’t want to do it themselves, I have a guy that’s like hey, this could be a problem, right? And we look at it ahead of time and we plan for it. So yeah. Every investor makes that mistake. Don’t let the discourage you. If that happens, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad investor. It just means you are an investor. Because that’s what we all do.

Brandon: There you go.

David: Moving onto number seven. My problem—one of the biggest mistakes I made, and I mentioned this a little bit earlier in the show, was not scaling fast enough. I should have scaled much faster according to what my risk tolerance was and what my abilities were and what my skill was. One of the ways I shot myself in the foot was in small thinking, when I could have put 20% down on a property and instead, I was putting down 25% or even 30% sometimes.

Now, I made the mistake most investors make, which was thinking cash flow, cash flow, cash flow. I need cash flow. If I put down more money, that equals more cash flow. Therefore, I should do that, right? It also lulled me into this false sense of security like, instead of making $300, I’ll make $350. That gives me more cushion, right? Horse crap.

That does not give me any cushion. The difference between $300 and $350 is completely pointless. What gives you cushion is having more money in reserve, which ironically, I was fighting against myself by putting more money down, right?

So at the time I was saving, interest rates were like 3.5%, 3.75%. I could have borrowed money at that rate. I was saving 3.5% to avoid making the 25% ROI that I could have made buying new properties, not including this appreciation that we’re talking about now, which would probably put my ROI up to like 75-80% if you include it over an IRR.

So what I’m saying is, understand capital is expensive. It is hard to get capital. It is hard to save capital. It is hard to make capital. Don’t throw your capital away to save a cheap interest rate because you’re thinking in the very short term of I want more cash flow. Think long-term. I want to buy many cash-flowing properties as I can. The cash-flow will make sure that you don’t lose them.

Having more properties over time means you’re going to get way more appreciation, way more loan paydown. You’re going to have rents increasing over 15 properties instead over two or three properties because you invested your capital over more. And understand that as long as you manage your own budget responsibly, this is not a risky maneuver. You’re tricking yourself into thinking you’re being safer just by putting more money down on every deal.

Brandon: Well you know, I have people who oftentimes will say, isn’t doing low money down or no money down deals more risky? And I’d like to use the analogy of this. Not even an analogy, an example, right? If you guys are listening to this, see if you can follow this.

Imagine a property that is worth $100,000 and you go and put down $20,000 as a down payment. Now you have an $80,000 loan. You have $20,000 in equity and it’s worth $100,000. So you, David, could do that. You could go drop 20% down or 25% down or whatever. You have an $80,000 mortgage on a property with $100,000.

Now, I am a creative investor and I find a way to somehow—there’s a lot of strategy and we can talk about how to do this—I get that deal for no money down for $80,000. I buy the same property, worth $100,000. I bought it for $80,000 and I have no money into it. Now, who has more risk here?

David, who put down 20% or Brandon who put down no money at all? We have the exact same investment yet I have no money involved in it and David’s got $20,000 of his money in there. Right? So now, hopefully I have more reserves because of that. So people oftentimes think that low-money or no-money strategies are riskier but I tend to argue that’s the opposite.

The key though is finding a good deal. Now, I would not want to buy the $100,000 property for no money down necessarily because then I’ve got a higher loan payment and I’m not cash flowing at all. So the key to create a finance then is getting really, really good deals.

David: And that’s what it comes down to is don’t confuse your down payment with your equity. They can be the same but they don’t have to be the same, right? The trick in this is understanding equity can come from many different sources. The best source is getting a deal below market value. That’s the best way to get equity, right? You’re creating equity. You’re not buying equity which is what you’re doing when you put a down payment in.

I’m trading $20,000 cash for $20,000 in equity because I paid market value. That is expensive. It’s much better to make equity by paying $80,000 for a house and borrowing that $80,000 and getting a house worth $100,000. It’s the exact same way but you came across it in a much better way.

Which ironically is why the BRRRR strategy works because you’re making equity oftentimes through the rehab and you’re getting your money back out of the deal so it’s less risky. That’s what people need to understand.

The naïve investor thinks that down payment equals safety. The wise, experienced investor understands equity equals safety and there’s different ways to make it.

Brandon: That’s good, that’s good. To go back to that same example, and we’ll move on, is imagine that a lot of people are saying, how are you getting that $80,000 house? Imagine this. Imagine you found that same property but it was nasty. It smelled like cat pee and there was a toilet in the living room, full of junk.

David: Brandon sat down on the way to carrying it outside the house. He got tired so he had to set the toilet down.

Brandon: Yes, so that house is, you’re able to pick it up for $50,000 because you used creative strategy. You bought it for $50,000. Then, you spent $30,000 rehabbing it. And now you have $80,000 into it, it’s worth $100,000. So it’s the exact same numbers. We’re still in that. That’s how the BRRRR strategy works. You buy them way cheaper. You fix them up to the point where all the money you have in the deal is the same that you would have had, had you done a down payment.

Now, in that case, people are thinking, how are you going to find that deal? That actually wouldn’t be a good deal. I wouldn’t probably do that. I want to have 30% equity in any deal that I BRRRR, not 20%. So I would probably more like buy it for $40,000 and put in $30,000 and those are legit deals that you can find when you’re willing to pick up kind of nastier looking property.

So one more note on the scaling thing that I’ll add, is not scaling fast enough, is that—I bought a single-family house my first deal and I bought a duplex. Later, I bought another single then I bought a fourplex, then a triplex, then a single, then a single, then a single. And then I bought a 24-unit. And I probably should have bought bigger properties at that point, because I had the experience.

But no, I went back and bought another single. And then another single. And then another single, right? What I should have done—a perfect example of that—I bought a house for $15,000 at the courthouse steps. I was really happy about it. I thought it was super cool. $15,000 for a house? But like I spent nine months remodeling it, managing the contractors, had to deal with the loans on buying it, rehabbing it, refinancing it. Eventually we sold the property. I AirBnb’d it.

Anyways, after all of that junk, I made like $15,000-$20,000. And it took me, I don’t know, how much time did I waste on that little single-family house when I could have bought an apartment complex or a mobile home park or whatever? I spent more time on that deal than I spent on both my mobile house park and my recent apartment combined.

So to go with the scaling thing, don’t be afraid to go bigger. My comfort zone was single-family houses and little small multi-families. I should have said no. I’m past that. I’m going to go larger now. I’ve got the knowledge. I’ve got the experience. So don’t be afraid. Anyway.

David: What’s the name of the strategy that you’re describing?

Brandon: I call it The Stack. It’s basically where you start small. It’s okay. Buy a single-family house. Buy a duplex. Those are great. Build knowledge. Build experience. But then start to scale larger and with more units as you go. So you buy a ten-unit, then a 20-unit, then a 50-unit. And each one of those stages are about as difficult as the previous because you’re gaining knowledge and experience and contacts and all that, and wealth along the way.

With that, check it out. If you want to know more about that, go to YouTube and type in ‘BiggerPockets The Stack’. I did a video on that recently. Again, ‘BiggerPockets The Stack’. Type it into YouTube. Check it out. We’ll also put a link on the Show Notes at BiggerPockets.com/Show303. And with that, let’s move onto number eight. David?

David: Number eight. Not doing enough market research. Now, this becomes an excuse for many people. I don’t know enough. I need to research the market. But they’re not really researching the market. They’re just using it as an excuse. However, don’t make the mistake on the opposite end of just jumping in without having any idea of what you’re going through, right?

So I made this mistake once when I bought a house from a wholesaler. Wholesaler are not like agents. They don’t owe you a fiduciary responsibility. They’re not claiming to represent you. In some states, it’s actually a gray area. There is no line. With whether it’s legal or not. And it’s fine to buy deals from them as long as you’re not breaking the law.

However, you need to understand you’re going in there without representation. You don’t have a lawyer. You’re representing yourself in court, right? In this case, I was not equipped to represent myself in that court. I did not know the rules of the courtroom good enough.

So the first house I bought from that wholesaler ended up being like 400 square feet less than what they were telling me it was and I didn’t verify the square footage because I was buying it without an agent and I was buying cash so I didn’t get an appraisal.

So it ended up, it appraised for exactly the price per square foot that I was planning on. But because it was 25% smaller, it ended up being 25% as much as the appraisal and I did not get the great deal that I thought. That one actually hurt me.

And then the next house I bought from that wholesaler, I didn’t know to check to make sure it was in a flood zone. And it was in a flood zone which meant that I had to get extra insurance on it, which was expensive. Like $150 a month for flood zone insurance when my regular fire insurance was $50 a month.

So my cost ballooned 400% on my insurance because I didn’t know that I needed to even check to see if it was in a flood zone. And those are examples of ways that I didn’t research my market good enough and ended up losing some money.

Brandon: Wow, yeah. You’ve got to know your market, know your property, what you’re getting into. All right, moving onto number nine. David, why don’t you head this one out?

David: Number nine. A huge mistake I made was not investing for a little more than a year because my market was too expensive and I sat around sulking and wishing the world would change to suit my needs. So, what happened in California is 2005, we were crazy hot. 2006, same thing, like everywhere else. 2009, we got a slowdown. 2010, it crashed hard, right?

What happens is our expectations tend to get set around whatever the new normal is in our lives, so when I worked in the jail, some deputies will let the inmates leave the TVs on past ten o’clock, which is when they’re supposed to go off.

And if the TV stayed on past ten when I showed up and I turned them off at ten, they would be really upset and feel like they were being cheated by life because they got used to TVs being on past ten o’clock even though the policy said they were supposed to be off, right? And I’m doing my job like I’m supposed to.

Well, the expectation was that it would stay on because that’s what they were used to. And that’s how human beings work. When something is a certain way for a long time, we take it for granted. We assume that’s our right. So in 2010, we could just swoop in and buy a home from a bank at half of what it would probably be worth or half of what it would cost to build it. It would cash flow right away. You wouldn’t need to do a lot of work. And we just got used to investing being easy.

Well around 2013, all these people that in 2010 lost their houses to short sales, we call them boomerang buyers because it was like the boomerang got sent out and they were all coming back to the market at the same time and they were able to buy again because three years after a short sale, you can get a loan.

So the market just took off on me. It went crazy. It went from being like, man, every house is for sale to every house is getting eight, nine offers. And I just had to stop investing because the numbers didn’t make sense. But I was just too shortsighted to think about where can I go invest? How can I do this?

So I kept working and I kept saving capital. I had experience. I owned probably seven units at that point. But I wasn’t investing. And I just thought I’m waiting for another market crash, which is incredibly stupid. So I eventually figured this out and I started investing in Arizona. I got good at putting a team together out-of-state. I then moved into Florida. I perfected that system. And since then, I’ve moved into all different kinds of markets where I can buy property anywhere and I’ve learned that real estate is local.

We all know that so your investing should be done with that perspective. So just because my market isn’t good doesn’t mean no market is good and eventually that led me to write the book Long Distance Investing where I detail the systems that I’ve put to place. So that was a huge mistake I made. I wasted some of the primetime of investing because I didn’t want to invest outside of my market and step outside my comfort zone a little bit.

Brandon: Wow, that was really good. And I think a lot of people do make that same mistake, right? They try to invest you know like in real estate and then they figure out the market is too expensive so they say, well you know, I’m going to sit here on the couch and watch TV every night hoping that prices drop again.

I think that’s just good advice to people. If it doesn’t work in your market, look somewhere else or figure out what does work in your market. You probably could become a house flipper in the Bay Area and the prices would have worked out. In fact, you and I both know people in that area we’re friends with that are flipping like crazy there. But that wasn’t your goal. That wasn’t your vision.

In fact, that actually moves me onto number ten, which I want to get to, which is mistake number ten is working a real estate strategy that doesn’t align with your goal. So essentially what I’m talking about is, I would just buy stuff because that’s what people do when you’re a real estate investor, right?

You buy stuff and you buy more stuff and you buy more property because you should, you feel like it. But if it doesn’t align with a clearly written goal or a clearly defined goal, what are you doing? I think a lot of people, myself included, waste years trying to do what other people are doing because that looks cool but it doesn’t align with your vision.

And so I guess the beginning of that really is, figure out what you want in life. I say this all the time. I really believe that like the secret to success of all of life comes down to two things—to find what you want and work for it until you get it. It sounds super simplistic and it is, right? But how many people don’t do that? How many people don’t define what they actually want in life. They’re kind of like yeah, I think I want to do real estate and I’m not sure why or where.

Like, I wanted real estate because I wanted to spend time with my family and not work a job. I was going to do it through rental properties. I was like, buy enough multi-family to get there. Once I defined that, it became much more easy to go after it. And then every decision I make is like it’s getting me closer or further away from that goal. So anyways, that’s kind of the final mistake of the day that I have made and I know a lot of people make is not working on real estate that aligns with their goals.

David: Well, the reason I think that that’s so powerful is our brains don’t know we need a goal. Our brains just want to work in the sense of is it good or bad? Is it positive or negative, right? That’s just how we like to look at stuff. I’ll say things all the time to someone like it just happened the other day. Hey, I see you’re posting on Snapchat and Instagram a lot more. And immediately, they say, is that bad? Are you telling me that I shouldn’t be posting as much? Or are you complimenting me?

It was hard for them to understand how to phrase what I had said and it was just an observation that I said. But I noticed like, well, is it good or bad? Let’s talk about that. What’s your goal? How do you want to be seen by other people? Are you trying to grow your followers? Or are you trying to keep a low profile. I can’t tell you if it’s good or bad unless I know what your goal is and what it is that you’re actually working towards. Now, they didn’t know. They’re like, I don’t really know why I’m posting more.

Which led to the conversation to, well maybe you should think about that, right? Because if it’s just you trying to feed your ego, maybe there are some needs that you need to have met and they’re not being met and you’re looking to Instagram to do it. Then you’ve got to ask yourself, is that what I want? Or maybe it’s just the fact that you’re like stepping out of your shell and getting more comfortable with yourself and that’s expressing yourself through more posts on social media.

So the short answer is, I can’t tell you if it’s good or if it’s bad. You have to decide what your goal is and where you’re going and then we can know if the behavior you’re exhibiting is actually good or bad when it comes to the goal. But you can’t make any progress until you come up with the goal in the first place. And investing is the same way.

I know Brandon gets them. I get them all the time. People send me a deal and say, hey, should I do this? Or should I do that? How can I tell you what you should do if I don’t know what your goal is? You’ve got to define that first. People skip that step and they want to get into like the emotional gratification of jumping into the fun parts of this and then you get stuck and you don’t know where to go.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s really good. It’s like the whole Alice in Wonderland Cheshire cat story that people quote all the time. If you don’t know which way you’re going, it doesn’t matter which road you take. But it does matter where we’re going. We do have a clearly defined goal like I do. It’s like, it doesn’t matter very much which goal I take and so anyway, I think that’s just important and if you don’t know what that goal is, it’s okay. Just keep listening to episodes of the podcast until you figure it out. Figure out what do you really want in life and again, go after it.

Now, this is not the end of the show. We actually have a little bit more. We’re going to do the Deal Deep Dive here with one of David’s deals and we’re going to move on and do the Fire Round, which has got some questions from the forums and the Famous Four coming up. So let’s move onto the Deal Deep Dive.

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Brandon: All right, David Greene, you’ve got a deal in mind, right? Something you’ve done?

David: Oh yeah. We are going to share the ugliest, worst deal that I have ever done because we’re keeping in pace with sharing all of our mistakes. So you guys are going to hear about a turkey, as we like to call them. Not a winner.

Brandon: All right, let’s hear it.

David: All right, so I found this deal through a real estate agent who brought it to me because that’s what I asked her to do. And it had everything that I want. It had a major rehab. The ARV was pretty high. It was around $120,000. But it was listed for $60,000 because it needed a lot of work, right? Digging into it a little closely, I realized almost all of this was cosmetic work. The pictures looked horrible.

However, the house itself didn’t need a whole lot of work to be done to it. It was in very good shape and that’s what you get excited about, right? If almost 100% of your budget is spent towards making a house look pretty, you’re going to get really good returns whereas if you had to spend $15,000 to update an electrical system, the buyers aren’t going to value that as much as what it costs. So I was licking my chops on this one.

Brandon: All right, so how much did you say—the ARV was $120,000?

David: Yep.

Brandon: So how much did you actually buy it for?

David: I got it under contract for $55,000 because we were an all-cash offer and I was able to close in like I think 10 to 12 days, something really short. And I shortened my inspection period to five days.

Brandon: Nice. Okay, I was going to ask, how do you negotiate it but that’s pretty much what you did. You did all cash. Perfect, okay. How did you fund it?

David: This was all my own cash. So this is money that I had saved up that I was going to invest my own money into this, fix it up, and then refinance it when I was finished.

Brandon: All right, so then that answers the next one, I guess, is what did you do with it? What was the plan? Did you BRRRR it and how did that work?

David: Yep, this was absolutely going to be a BRRRR property and it looked like it was going to be great because my numbers were—buy it for around $55,000, spend about $20,000 to fix it up, so I’d be all in for $75,000, then it’s going to appraise at $120,000 and I get to borrow 75% of that. I was going to pull more money out of this deal than what I was putting into it.

Brandon: Okay, so what was the outcome?

David: The outcome was terrible, all right? What ended up happening is, it took a long time for the sellers to get back to me about if my offer was going to be accepted, like 40 days. Probably because they were shopping me around, see what else they could get from other people. Well, there was a hole in the roof that didn’t look very bad in the pictures that were taken, of course, so that’s how it works. And I knew that there was a hole in the roof.

What I didn’t know was that in Florida, it rains all day, every day during this period of time. Okay? Mistake number one, not knowing the market very good. I had just started investing over there. So what was happening was during the entire time I was waiting for my offer to be accepted, it was pouring rain on this property. Now, then the offer gets accepted and I have a five-day period of time to do inspections.

Well, my agent had mentioned hey, we inspected your property. And this was around when like I had six other properties in contract. So this was my seventh property I had going on at one time. And I’ve talked about this before. I honestly just forgot about it. I forgot I had this property that I needed to get working on, right? Which leads to mistake number two.

Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem in California because here, our inspection period allows us to back out of a deal during that period of time that we have, and if you go past that period of time, you have to physically sign a piece of paper that says I am waving my inspection contingency so I can’t back out.

If I don’t waive that paper, it doesn’t go away but the seller has the opportunity to put their house back on the market. I assumed other markets worked the same way because I’m a real estate agent so I know everything, right? My real estate agent didn’t think she needed to tell me that because she assumed everyone knows that this is how inspection periods work because this is a different state, right?

So mistake number two was not understanding that contingencies don’t work the same everywhere. In Florida and in every other state, you don’t have to sign a piece of paper waiving your contingency, it just expires. It’s like this is no longer good. You can’t use it. So after day five, I was not allowed to back out. I had a $5,000 deposit. I always put big ones in because I’m very confident I know what I’m doing and I want my offer to be accepted. So I get the e-mail from the title company saying hey, you’re supposed to close. Where is your money?

And I go, oops. I forgot. We need to get an inspector out there to look at the house. Seller wasn’t very happy. I took a couple of days to get the inspection back and this was when the real bad news come out. The rain was so bad that it had leaked through the roof and into the framing of the home so that not only was like the roof completely bad where the hole was, but the studs of the home had been dry-rotted and eaten alive and were soggy, and I had to tear all the drywall out, reframe a house, and build the whole house around new framing.

Which is a lot more than $20,000 that I had budgeted for this rehab, right? So I looked at what it was going to cost and it got to be like the cheapest we could do this was another like, $50,000 to $60,000. Build almost a whole house back up around it, right? And immediately, this deal doesn’t make sense anymore.

And so I went to the sellers and tried to explain it. And they just didn’t want to hear it at all. They kept my $5,000. They stopped communicating with us. And I learned a $5,000 lesson about how contingencies work and making sure that my contractor gets out there ASAP when I put a house under property, not hey, when I get to it, I’ll get to it.

Brandon: You need to be more organized. Not do seven deals at one time unless you’ve got some kind of system to manage that, which I mean—I actually like growing pains like that. They are good problems to have. I bought too many and I couldn’t handle it. That’s a problem I like to hear.

David: It forced us to go back and make checklists and everything so we could track the properties that were coming and track where we were with each one and get more involved in my business, not just me. If I don’t see it, that doesn’t matter. There’s fail-safes in place where other people would see it. So you’re right.

People hear that and they’re like, oh I don’t want to invest. And I’m like, that may be a better investor. I’m going to make way more than $5,000 from these systems that I put together even though it’s from money that I lost.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s really good. I’m sorry you had to go through that but it’s a good lesson to teach other people. Not every deal works out. We said earlier, oftentimes the podcast is like an Instagram reel. It’s like the highlights and the bikini shots on the beach. But in reality, a lot of this is tough.

So anyway, thank you for sharing that. Now let’s move onto the next segment of the show, the Fire Round.

It’s time for the Fire Round.

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Brandon: All right, let’s get to today’s Fire Round. These questions come direct out of the BiggerPockets forums. I can’t talk today. And don’t mind the loud noises. If you’re wondering what the banging is behind me, I have like ten different contractors here working on my house. They’re cutting something right now downstairs. Anyways, ignore that. And Rosie’s being cute here out on the front porch.

Anyways, the dogs are barking now. Let’s move onto the Fire Round. These questions come direct from the BiggerPockets forums. Question number one. Let’s see, Diana Johnson from Baltimore said is there a formula for budgeting, for preventative maintenance and repairs? David, do you know any formula or budget when you’re looking at maintenance and repairs?

David: You know, I’ve never seen anyone that has a good system for this other than people that are doing like massive deals in one area. You see this in Midwest markets like Kansas City. There’s people that own a hundred houses. They know this is what the roofs are going to be like.

This is what the water heaters are going to be like so they can budget for that Because it’s so hard to do that if you’re not doing massive volume in one space, most people just take a percentage of the rent and assume 5% of that is going to go towards maintenance. Usually that’s what I see. And then maybe another 5% for capex.

Brandon: Yeah, I usually say the same. Like a really, really cheap house, the 5% doesn’t work quite as well because like if your rent is $300 a month—in fact, your capex is probably higher on those. But yeah, I typically like, my kind of rule of thumb is around $100 a month for repair and maintenance around the house. Maybe $100 for capex as well which if you don’t know what capex is, it basically means replacements over time. You’ve got to save up for a new roof every 20 years. That’s capex. And new appliances, new carpets, things like that.

Anyways, so that is kind of how I look at it. There is no real good formula and it’s going to depend a ton. Is it a newer property? Is it an older property? And you just kind of get a feel for it overtime. But if you don’t know, ask a local investor what are they spending on repairs and maintenance? But yeah, there you go. I think 5% or $100 is probably pretty decent for a single family. And you can scale it from there.

David: Moving on, next question from Matthew John in Michigan. Hey guys, I just purchased a duplex and I’m trying to rent out the bottom bigger unit. I’ve had it listed for a week and I’ve done about five showings. The first few days, I received 70 messages from people inquiring, but very few meet my criteria. I didn’t initially want pets but it seems like everyone has at least one dog. Now I’m only getting three to ten messages a day.

Sometimes people don’t like it because it’s a duplex. They have to share laundry. They don’t like it. It doesn’t have central air. Some just don’t make enough money to qualify or they have bad credit. My question is, how long does it usually take you to get a unit rented out after purchasing?

I’m a new landlord. I have the income for the upstairs unit but it looks like I’m going to have to fork up some money for the first month’s mortgage. Am I being patient or does it usually take a month or so to get qualified tenants in there?

All right, Matthew, here’s how I’m going to answer that very long question but it’s still pretty well articulated. I don’t think the problem is anything other than your expectations in the beginning. You got 70 messages in the first few days so obviously there is a lot of demand. It sounds like your expectations for the kind of tenant you were going to get are out of line than most people that are renting, right?

People do have pets. It annoys me, right? I don’t understand how someone who can’t even barely make their car payment and if they miss one day of work, they don’t have enough money for the month, wants to take care of another creature. But people do. It makes them feel good to have someone that’s dependent on them if it’s a dog or a cat. I would not own a dog if I didn’t own my own house because I know it makes it a pain in the butt for landlords, but other people want that.

There are also going to be people that don’t want to share a laundry room with strangers if they don’t know—it’s like a safety issue with that. And then not having central air is going to be a problem for a lot of people, right? You probably should have anticipated some of that and if you were to do that again, you actually would.

This is probably your first time. And lowered your expectations for what you’re going to get from a tenant. If you have someone who has decent credit and enough money to qualify and they don’t look like they’re going to like run a meth lab out of your property—if they have a dog, you’re going to have to work around the fact that they have a dog. You can’t be super picky.

All of us are looking for someone like us to rent out our units. But most of us are not renting out basements of other people’s homes. You’re not renting to yourself. They have a different mindset than people who want to be investors. Matthew probably saved a lot of money. He did a lot of research. He put a lot of work into this. He’s very proud of what he’s doing. The person renting your house is often renting it oftentimes because they don’t want to do that in life and they want whatever comes easier and renting is easier.

So from my perspective, you bought a house that has a lot of demands. 70 messages is a lot. People want to live there. You just screen them way too harshly and now your house has been on the market and people aren’t looking at it often enough and you’re not going to be able to be as picky as you want. What do you think, Brandon?

Brandon: Yeah, I think you pretty much answered it. I would say yeah. Obviously, standards are important for renting. David is not saying go out and rent to you know, The Addams Family. But this idea of like, you may need to fudge on some stuff, especially if it’s in a lower area. You might have to just allow dogs. Or a cat. Or whatever.

There’s other things—price generally fixes everything. So you could just keep lowering the price if you need to get it rented. That said, it sounds like you’ve only been a couple of weeks at this. So I don’t usually get too nervous until I’m at a month. If I’m at a month of it not renting out, that’s when I’m like there is a serious problem here. I’m charging too much on rent or I need to go rectify the property. I would say if you get to the month part, I would start to ask some deeper questions. Cool.

David: Yeah, the answer for that is rent it out for much cheaper than you thought for the first year. And then raise it. Because people are much less likely to, once they’ve moved in, want to pack up all their stuff and go find another place to save $100 a month than they would be—it’s easier for them not to move into your place in the first place if the rent is too high. You give them the first year at a discount and then they’re just going to pay whatever your rent increase is a majority of the time because it’s a hassle to move.

Brandon: Yeah, there you go. All right, number three. From Aaron in Alexandria, Minnesota, which is my home hometown. My dad was born there in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Aaron said, I just recently in the last month purchased my first duplex here in Alexandria. Still in the process of fixing up the main floor unit from the abuse it took from previous renters. I’m looking for advice and knowledge on how to go about getting into a second deal now that all my funds are tied up into this duplex.

Well Aaron, first of all, congratulations on the duplex. That’s super cool. First deal. Very exciting. And that is a common problem. How do you come up with the money for the next deal? First of all, keep in mind that you don’t have to jump in right away. In fact, I talked to a guy yesterday who was just closing this week on a deal. And he’s asking me, how do I do the next deal?

I’m like, whoa. Hold on. It’s okay to like make sure that first deal goes well. Don’t get too hyped up that you need to go find the next one right away. Get the good one. Get the knowledge. Learn everything you can from that first deal. Make it go just solid because with that knowledge and experience you’re gaining on that first deal, it’s going to help you get the second without any money.

So how would I do it in that case? I would probably find a private lender and do the BRRRR strategy. I’d probably go find a nasty property, another duplex or triplex or fourplex there in Alexandria. I’d find a private money or a hard money lender to do the BRRRR strategy. I’d buy it, fix it up, refinance it to pay back the short-term money, and then go on from there. Anything you want to add?

David: Yeah, I would say that for everybody listening, you need to understand, with every investment, there are three stages. There is the acquisition, the operation, and the exit, okay? What we’re talking about, if you look at house-flipping, BRRRR, whatever it is, there is buying the property, which you want to buy at a discount.

Then there is operating the property if it’s a flip—that would be like fixing the house up. If it’s a rental, that would be like getting a tenant in there, fixing up what breaks, getting systems in place to collect the rent, learning how the contract works. Then there’s your exit strategy which could be selling the property. It could be refinancing the property. Pretty much, that’s how most real estate investing works.

Don’t get too caught up in acquisition, acquisition, acquisition and skip over learning how to operate it or learning how to exit it. Those are very important also. It tends to be the fun part is when we buy a property. That’s why we do this. We love the thrill of the hunt, right? Oh, I got it and I took it down. Well now, you’ve got to go clean your kill. You’ve got to skin it. You’ve got to cut up the meat. You’ve got to prepare it. Then you’ve got to get ready for the next one.

It’s important that you get good at those skills. That’s kind of the fundamentals of being a good investor. And you can leverage those off once you learn them but you really do need to learn them. So that’s how I would advise people in this position. Yeah, it’s fun to go out there to look for the next one but what you’re going to do is you’re going to end up like, all of this meat and you have some kind of rot on you because you can’t get to it. You want to make sure that you actually complete the full cycle before you start on the next one.

Brandon: Nice, nice. I like it.

David: All right, last question from Shawn McCleskey in Newport Beach, California. What are your screening criteria that you used for weeding out bad deals when you are looking to BRRRR?

I love BRRRR. It’s the next book I’m writing. It should be coming out early next year. I think it’s going to be a game-changer for people because it allows you just to buy so many properties with the same dollar. It’s also very simple. You make your numbers work and BRRRR can work. You look at your ARV. You look at your acquisition. And you look at your rehab. And if those three numbers end up adding up, then you can buy the property.

So the screening criteria that I would use would be, what’s the likelihood that the rehab is going to be bigger than what I can support with the budget? That’s the first one. If the rehab is out of line, it doesn’t matter how good of a deal I’m getting.

The next would be like, am I having to buy this in such a rough neighborhood that I’m going to hate owning it in order to make the deal work, right? Sometimes those are the deals that are sitting out there available because everybody else is passing it up and you’re the naïve person that walks in and you’re like, that looks great. And you buy it and you bought yourself a headache. That’s a big problem.

Another screening criteria that I would use for weeding out a bad deal would be like, will my bank actually give me the loan or am I in a position where I’m going to do all this work and then I can’t refinance so I can’t exit this deal. And everything comes to a screeching halt. Right? But what’s cool about BRRRR is that most of those things are within your own control. There’s very few variables that can come into a BRRRR deal that are going to screw you up. It’s usually you, your own life, and your own financial position.

Brandon: That’s very true. When I think of that—a couple more specifics on screening deals. You kind of mentioned this but I’ll expand on it. I look at like after the rehab is done—I’m going to own this property potentially for five, ten, 20 years, right? Is this something I want to own and make a good rental or not?

So for example, I do not like renting two-bedroom houses. I just don’t like renting them out because I get short. People don’t want to stay very long in a two-bedroom. They’re usually transitional. It’s a boyfriend/girlfriend, they break up, whatever. Three-bedroom, I get people who stay longer. A four-bedroom, they stay forever because they’re family. They don’t want to move their kids out. I noticed that pattern in my area. It’s not true everywhere but it’s true in my area, I noticed.

So I know if I’m going to BRRRR it, I need to screen out anything that I can’t turn into a three-bedroom. But I’m also going to look for—and I say this a lot on the webinar, I teach people this, but—I look for two-bedroom houses that have over a thousand square feet, because potentially I can BRRRR into a three or a four-bedroom house. I mean, I’ve seen two-bedroom houses that have 2000 square feet.

And I’m like, there’s almost a guarantee that there are like five ways I can turn that into a three or four-bedroom house. And suddenly, now it’s a property I would love to have but most people just overlook it. So I look for the end picture. Is that a property I’m going to want to hold onto long-term?

David: Great, advice. I love that.

Brandon: Thanks. Well, we’ve got to move on. We’ve got to get out of here but we have one more section of the show which we love to get to—it’s called our Famous Four.

Number one, I’m going to ask you, David. What real estate book are you currently digging?

David: I really like The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, partly because I am working to become one. And that’s going really good. But mostly because of the style it’s written in is so good for people who want to build a business. It focuses on three things that lead to mega-agents doing well, which is leads, listings, and leverage.

And it shows you, this is how you systematically start doing everything and slowly, you work your way out of the business so that rather than having a job, which is being a real estate agent, you own a company that other people are running and you’re making passive income. I like passive income, right? And I’m willing to go through the work and deal with like being in the trenches for a time.

But I want to work my way out of it and that book basically spells out the roadmap for how you do that. And I think people should read it, not because they want to be agents but just because they get you in the mindset of, man, I can do this with my flipping business. I could do this with my investing business. I could do this with my property management business. It really works across all different types of jobs.

Brandon: Yeah, you’ve been telling me to read that but I have not yet. But I will, I promise. All right, I’m going to go ahead and throw out the book—not necessarily my favorite book in the world but I really like it. It’s The Book on Estimated Rehab Costs. We mentioned it earlier today. I just want to mention it again. Because it fits with this show. A lot of my mistakes in life have been from not estimating my rehab costs correctly. So I’m going to throw that one out there as a good one.

What about business books, David?

David: My favorite business book right now is So Good They Can’t Ignore You. I’ve mentioned this a few times. I’m mentioning that one specifically because in my career, I’ve made a mistake of not pursuing excellence at my job or when I did, not capitalizing on it, right?

So it doesn’t help if you’re not becoming excellent and it also doesn’t help if you’re excellent and you’re not converting that into what you want out of life. The book basically talks about, so good at what you do, that you set the terms for how you’re going to be employed and what your schedule is going to be and stuff.

And if more people took that perspective, they would have the lives that they want rather than complaining that they’re not happy with where they are. And it’s somebody else’s problem.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s good. Cool. I’m going to throw out High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. I like that book a lot.

David: Yeah, you’ve been telling me to read it.

Brandon: You do. All right, number three. What have you been doing for hobbies lately?

David: Trying to keep up with all the listings that we’re taking right now. It’s not a bad problem to have. It’s pretty cool but I haven’t done a whole lot of hobbies. I’d say my favorite one is probably hanging out with you in Hawaii. We get a lot of exercise done together. We do a lot of brainstorming.

When we’re hanging out, really, when you’re with friends, you see that like the things that you used to dread doing can become a lot lighter. Or you see your life from a different perspective.

When Brandon hears me talking about it, he’ll say why don’t you just do this? I don’t know why I didn’t think about that but it makes a lot of sense. And that’s another mistake that I made in my life up until this point was being the solo guy. Like I’ve been a lone wolf. I’ve worked alone for almost my whole life and I just throw it on my shoulders and try to trudge through it.

And that means that I don’t move very quickly as opposed to finding people to shoulder parts of the load that I don’t like. But maybe they don’t mind. It feels light to them so they don’t mind taking it. It takes a huge load off my shoulders and I can make progress a lot faster.

Brandon: Nice, nice. A new hobby for me just recently has been snorkeling. I’ve never really snorkeled my entire life. I’ve never really gotten into it. Or like the last month of being here, I probably snorkeled every other day for months. So anyways.

David: Snorkeling is one of those things that sounds dorky but is a lot of fun. I’m just going to go ahead and admit it. Like you’re looking at—we saw turtles that were like as big as Brandon is when we were out there, right?

Brandon: Pretty much.

David: You wouldn’t know when you go out swimming in the ocean and you’re in Hawaii and you’re waiting off the beach, there’s fish all around you and you have no idea until you start snorkeling and you see them all.

Brandon: That is very true. All right, last question I’m going to ask you, David. What do you think sets apart successful people from those who give up, fail, or never get started?

David: I would say that it is their own self-limiting beliefs at this point. We all have them. When you start a new venture, which real estate investing is for most people, you’re going to be exposed to your own hang-ups that you have.

The people that can humbly accept—this is a problem that I have that holds me back and I need to work through it are the ones who end up doing well. The people who say, look, this wasn’t easy. That’s fate’s way of telling me that I shouldn’t do this, are the ones who quit.

So if you’re willing to look at your own warts that you have inside like what we’ve talked about—make mistakes and learn from them, you’re going to make progress. If you’re just too egotistical to accept that you’re not perfect and you’re not good at anything, you’re probably going to find a way to avoid anything like real estate investing that would make you feel that way.   

Brandon: That was a really good answer. I’m not even going to try to top that so I’m going to leave it at that. If you guys want to find out more about me and David, David is, I know pretty active over Instagram, correct? Instagram. Is that @DavidGreene24?

David: Yep. Absolutely.

Brandon: Sweet. And mine is @BeardyBrandon. And with that, I’m going to get back to helping these contractors figure out what we’re doing to my house. So I don’t know—you got any other goodbyes to offer here today?

David: Nope. I hope that you guys were encouraged by this show and understanding that not everybody succeeds every single time. You don’t have to look at failure as a bad thing, right? If you learn from your failure, then it wasn’t really a failure. You’re still making progress and you can make it up with the next one.

With that being said, this is David Greene for Brandon ‘Gangbangin’” Turner, signing off.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • A discussion on waiting to start investing because you don’t feel you can do it yet
  • The pros and cons of doing everything yourself
  • The danger of working with the wrong people
  • Stories of buying the wrong deal
  • How to avoid not managing people correctly
  • What can happen when you underestimate rehab costs
  • Why you shouldn’t put too much down on a property
  • The pitfalls of not doing enough market research
  • Avoiding investing because your state is too expensive
  • Not rehabbing correctly
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Fire Round Questions

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Thinking small is more expensive than failing big.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Find an investor-friendly agent.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Calculators don’t have egos.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The wise investor understands equity equals safety.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Define what you want and work for it until you get it.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Brandon and David

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