BiggerPockets Podcast 455: Mixtapes to Millions in Real Estate with DJ Envy and Cesar Pina

BiggerPockets Podcast 455: Mixtapes to Millions in Real Estate with DJ Envy and Cesar Pina

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You’ve probably heard of The Breakfast Club, the morning radio show in over 90 markets that covers everything from hip hop culture, to celebrity gossip, to politics and more. If you’ve listened, you may recognize DJ Envy’s voice. He’s here today with his partner Cesar Pina, to talk real estate, seminars, and business.

DJ Envy grew up in Queens, New York, and was neighbors with a successful DJ. After he heard how much money DJs were making in the city, he decided to start DJ-ing himself, and began releasing mixtapes. As his success grew, he started working for a radio station and landed a morning show, which later became known as The Breakfast Club.

After buying his first house and later selling it due to a long commute, Envy walked away with around $80,000. He was hooked, and knew that real estate was a long-term way for him to build his wealth and create success for him and his family. He started out buying a house every year and selling it a year later, then bought some homes in Detroit for $15,000 that sold for over $260,000! Envy wanted to get more into real estate, so he was introduced to Cesar.

Cesar was serving time in prison when he first learnt about real estate investing. Once he was released, he decided to jump in. He bought single family homes, then small multifamily homes, then went on to commercial buildings. Now, he owns more than 1,600 units and flips anywhere from 60 to 80 houses per year! His new book, Flipping Keys, comes out later this month.

Cesar and Envy became an unstoppable duo, and now they’re teaching others how they too can buy rentals and flip houses. They see this as a way to serve their community and let those who may be unaware of real estate investing have a chance at success and financial freedom.

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Read the Transcript Here

Brandon:
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast, show 455.

Envy:
I got to be able to say, “You know what? I was able to teach a community how to invest in properties.” We were able to teach somebody that had no clue and give them inspiration. And the best feeling is when you hear somebody’s mom hit us and say, “Hey, my son was 22. He was an F-up, and now he’s into real estate because he came to your seminar.” Or a kid that had no clue and was renting for 20 years, and be like, “I don’t want to be like my mom. Can you teach me?” And that’s what we’re doing.

Intro:
You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio. Simplifying real estate for investors large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from BiggerPockets.com. Your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon:
What’s going on everyone? It’s Brandon Turner, host of the BiggerPockets Podcast, here with my co-host, Mr. David, I’m so envious of you, Greene. What’s up, man? How you doing?

David:
What’s up Brandon? Thanks for that. I’m doing great, man.

Brandon:
Our guest today is DJ Envy, who you may know from the super huge following famous morning radio show called The Breakfast Club. They’re huge. Syndicated in over 100 stations. They’re one of the biggest radio shows in the entire world. And then Cesar, which is his real estate guy. And their stories are so powerful and amazing and good. So you’re going to hear all about that today, about both of them. Envy talks about one of his deals he bought. It was $12 million, bought it for half that much and now it’s gone back up to almost where the original price was. I mean, just millions of dollars of growth there. In fact, one of the gentlemen actually learned how to invest while in prison, you’re going to hear that story, crazy-good story. So I think you guys are going to like this episode today.

Brandon:
But before we get to that, let’s get to today’s quick tip. Today’s quick tip is simple. We talk about this in the show a little bit today, but it’s one thing to build wealth for yourself, that’s great. You and your family, generational wealth, that’s amazing. But I want to encourage everyone to just think, how can I pay this forward to more people? How can I let more people know about the power of real estate? Whether I talk about it, whether you’re meant to some day write a book, or some day you’re going to go and start a podcast, whether you’re going to just post on your Facebook, real estate stuff. Whatever it is, how can you give back to those people that are out there that are thirsty?

Brandon:
I’ll tell you a true story. I once spoke at a local high school out here. A local high school back, I don’t know, three months ago, four months ago. And I actually thought I didn’t do that good of a job. It was weird because of COVID. I’m wearing my mask. I couldn’t read any of the kids because everyone’s wearing a mask. And I just felt overall I didn’t reach anybody at all, whatsoever. They just couldn’t care less about real estate.

Brandon:
Anyway, yesterday I’m in the parking lot, actually at Target, my wife’s inside Target grabbing something. And this kid knocks on my window, and I roll down the window, and he’s like, “Dude, you’re that guy that spoke at my school.” And I was like, “Yeah, that’s me.” And he’s like, “I bought a bunch of your books, and I’ve been listening to your podcast. I follow you on Instagram. I’m going to do real estate, and I can’t wait to get in it.” And he was super excited, and I was like, that’s cool. And it’s just one life, right? But that’s just my longer than a quick tip message for everyone today is you never know whose little life you can impact, so talk about real estate. Talk about what you’re doing.

David:
We see from our guests today that the desire to help people led to a huge business that I’m sure helps them in many ways, makes them better investors, earns them income, gets deals coming their way. I’m sure that deals come their way through the funnel that they created with the intention of just we want to help people. So, in a capitalistic environment, you are definitely benefited by helping more people. I think that that’s something to keep in mind.

Brandon:
Time to get into the show. Long enough introduction here. Let’s bring in our guests today, DJ Envy and Cesar Pina. All right Envy and Cesar, welcome to the show, guys.

Envy:
Thanks for having us, man.

Cesar:
How you guys doing? Thanks for having us.

Brandon:
It’s an honor to have you guys, really. It’s amazing. So let’s jump into your story a little bit. We’ll start with you, Envy. By the way Envy, best way to call you Envy, not DJ Envy?

Envy:
No, Envy’s fine.

Brandon:
Okay. All right. We’re going to go with Envy. Tell us about yourself a little bit. How do people know you? Let’s start there. How do people know you?

Envy:
I’m a kid from Queens, New York, and I’m just like any other kid growing up. I didn’t have a lot, but didn’t need a lot. My neighbor at the time was a DJ, and I didn’t know what he did. All I knew is he drove fancy cars and had nice jewelry. So one day when I was waiting for the school bus, I stopped his car and I was like, “What do you do?” And at the time it was a Honda Accord. Now, when I was growing up, a Honda Accord was everything. That’s what you wanted. That’s what you lived for. And he had a Honda Accord, and I asked what he did, and he told me to come by his house after school. So after school I came to his house, and I thought he was going to be selling drugs, something illegal, and he told me he was a DJ.

Envy:
And at the time I didn’t know who he was. He told me his DJ name and his name was DJ Clue. And at the time, people didn’t know who Clue was because all he used was the question mark symbol on all his mixtapes because he was playing all these people’s records and didn’t want anybody to know his face. And I was bootlegging his tape in high school, selling it, and I didn’t know. And he introduced me into DJing, and told me what to get, and what to do, and the rest was history.

Brandon:
Now, I read something that you are a mixtape DJ. What does a mixtape DJ do?

Envy:
Before Spotify and Apple Music and SoundCloud and all this, there was nowhere to get mixes. So you would have to buy it from bootleggers, African bootleggers, mom-and-pop stores, or even record stores, where DJ’s would make their own mixes. Me, Clue, Drama, DJs like that and that’s how we would sell. And we would sell thousands and thousands and thousands of copies of mixtapes. And we would sell more than a lot of the artists that came out because now if a artist comes out, instead of just getting one single you get his best single on my mixtape, then you DMX’s best single on my mixtape and it Jay-Z’s best single on my mixtape. So we were selling so many units and that was considered a mixtape.

Brandon:
That’s awesome. So how did you go from that to the host of The Breakfast Club now, one of the guys on there, and where’d that transition come from?

Envy:
I was on Hot 97 at first and I was just a mixer. And I wanted more. I wanted to do more. I wanted to just be more than a mixer. So I asked can they teach me how to become a host and they said sure. So at first I was trying to talk proper. “Hi, this is Sean.” And they was like, “Nah. Just be yourself and you know do things that you would do.” And that’s what I pretty much did and I did Hot 97 for about eight years and I did mornings and I wanted more. And they didn’t have more. They couldn’t offer me more. So at the time, Power 105, the station I’m at now, was kind of like a sinking ship. It was the second station. Nobody was really messing with it. And they made me an offer, made me a deal. So I went over there. I started doing afternoons and everything was good, but they needed a morning show. So they asked me would I do a morning show. I said, “Hell no.” They offered me some money. I said, “Hell no.” They of me some more money and I said, “Yes.” And it was supposed to be my morning show at first, but I didn’t want a morning show because I was like, “If it does it work, where do I go after this?”

Envy:
So we came up with an idea to create a collective. We brought on Charlemagne, we brought on Angela Yee, and we came up with all these different names. Illuminati in the morning, the big three, and all these different things. And somebody came up with the idea of The Breakfast Club and it stuck and 10 years later we still here.

Brandon:
I love it. You guys are syndicated around what? Over 100 stations now or something like that?

Envy:
Yeah. Over 100 stations now and overseas, the military stations, and it’s great. It’s a blessing.

Brandon:
So the same three people that you founded it with have been the same that you’ve had the entire time?

Envy:
Hasn’t changed. 10 years. We made it into the radio hall of fame last year.

Brandon:
[crosstalk 00:07:37].

Envy:
But no, hasn’t changed. The same three members and we’re still rocking.

Brandon:
All right. So who’s DJ Shrimp?

Envy:
DJ Shrimp is my name. In high school I was 5’2″. I’m 6 foot now, but I was 5’2″ in high school. So when I started DJing, it was me and my friend at the time. I was DJ Shrimp, he was DJ Mono, and together we were Envy Production. So the high school that we went to we always used to say people envied us so we were called Envy. We weren’t making no money. So he told me one day, “Look, I don’t want to do this no more. I’m into girls. You do this.” So I just kept doing it and kept doing it and every time I would bring a tape, it would say Envy on it because it was both of us. So the African Bootleggers who would sell it was like, “You got the new Envy? Oh, Envy’s here.” And it just stuck. Thank God or you’d be calling me DJ Shrimp right now.

David:
Exactly.

Brandon:
One more story David and I have to pull out of you today before we jump over ask Cesar and we’ll get into real estate a little bit. I heard you got a gun pulled on you from somebody famous at one point. Tell us about that.

Envy:
Yeah. Nas. And Nas hates when I tell the story, but Nas pulled out a gun on me. This is when I first started doing mixtapes. I used to carry my mixtapes in my book bag and bring them to different stores and mom and pop stores and I see Nas. One day Nas was by Jamaica Avenue where you would go buy your shoes, your sneakers, your clothes, your mixtapes. And he had, I remember, a white Lexus GS and he had a girl with him. And I seen him. I’m like, “That’s Nas. Now, being from Queens, Nas is everybody’s idol. So I’m running up to him, “Nas, I got something for you. I got something.” So I’m reaching in my bag to get a mixtape and by the time I pull a mixtape out he has a gun on me.” Like, “What you got for me? What you got?” I’m like, “Whoa. This is a mixtape. I swear, this is only a mixtape.” And then he took the mixtape and was like, “Don’t play like that man. You know these streets are real.” And he got in his car and took off.

David:
Does he remember that? Have you talked to him about it since?

Envy:
Every time I talk to him about it, the story comes up and he hates when I tell the story. He was like, “Envy, that was 20 years ago. I’m a different guy.” I’m like, “Yeah, but I’m still traumatized.” Now, I never go up to anybody and be like I got something for you. I go with my hands up. “I have something for you.”

David:
So he does remember that too then?

Envy:
He does remember it. Absolutely.

David:
Yeah, that’s awesome.

Brandon:
All right. So let’s let’s jump over to Cesar. How’d you get connected with Envy here?

Cesar:
A friend of mines, his name is Nitt Da Gritt, he owns the label where Fetty WAP is signed to. He’s the one who discovered Fetty WAP in Paterson. I’m from Paterson. And he did the introduction between me and Envy.

Brandon:
And I read that you do a lot of real estate stuff, right? You’re pretty hot and heavy in that.

Cesar:
I’ve been doing real estate now for about 15 years. And me and Envy been doing real estate seminars since we met about two years ago, two and a half years ago. To be honest with you, it was never in my cards to be a public speaker. I met Envy. He told me that I had a great story and I would inspire a lot of people and we started doing seminars.

David:
Yeah. So let’s hear about that story. Where’d you come from? How did you get into this real estate game?

Cesar:
I’m a street guy. I’m self-educated. So I ended up doing a lot of things I wasn’t supposed to when I was younger. I ended up in prison. Before I came out, I met a guy in there and he told me about real estate. I came home. I got into real estate since then. I’ve been doing it for 15 years. I started with the smaller properties, your two, three, four family homes. Then I was in that space for a while. Back in ’08 when everybody was running away from real estate, that’s when I jumped in. And I started with the smaller properties, flipping properties, more rental properties, got into commercial properties. Then kept on going, kept on going. Now we have about 1,600 rental units in the whole US and we flip about 50 to 80 single family homes a year. And now we’re also developing bigger buildings. A 50 unit, a 60 unit, a 80 unit, and a 100 unit.

David:
That’s awesome.

Cesar:
We are in New Jersey, Atlanta, Florida, and Chicago.

Envy:
And Detroit.

Cesar:
And Detroit.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s awesome. And you got a new book, Flipping Keys, right?

Cesar:
Yep.

Brandon:
I want to make sure we plug that thing. There we go. That’s awesome.

Cesar:
Available in Barnes & Noble, Amazon, wherever books are sold.

Brandon:
Very cool.

Cesar:
It’s doing very well. Number one real estate book. Number one new release. I think I was number one over the weekend too, money and finance. A whole bunch of categories I didn’t even know existed.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah, I checked it out this morning and I thought yeah, it had the little number one bestseller. That’s awesome. Yeah. You’re crushing it there.

David:
Cesar, I have a question for you. When you first started in real estate investing, obviously there was a switch that got flipped and you took it to be really big. Do you remember if there was a pivotal point where something clicked or you realized, “Oh, this is the way I’m going to do it,” and you went all in?

Cesar:
Like I said, I’m self-educated. The guy that I met in prison, he ended up having to do another seven years. So I was only with him for maybe a year. So I came out and I started learning everything on my own. So when I first started I didn’t have any money, so we had to sell our car, I pawned my wife’s engagement ring, pawned our jewelry, everything just to get that first deal done. So year one and two were probably the toughest because at that point I would take all the money that I had, buy one property. Till I sold that property or refinanced that property, I didn’t have any more money to buy properties to play with. So year two, this guy called me up and he said, “Hey, you’re doing it the wrong way. OPM, other people’s money.” And that’s when I learned about private financing and hard money loans and how to leverage my money, which is one of the most important things in real estate is leveraging your money. How to leverage so you could buy more. So after that happened, that’s when I went from doing two to three deals a year to doing 20 to 30 deals a year.

Brandon:
That’s awesome. What kind of creative strategies have you focused on? I mean, the hard money. Have you done other things as well?

Cesar:
It all depends on the deal, but pretty much … When I first started back in ’08, it was pretty much kind of like the Brrr method that everybody talks about. I was back properties, 60,000, 80,000, putting 30,000 or 40,000 into them. Fixing them, renting them, refinancing. Taking that money out, that new equity, and buying more property. And I was in that space for about 10 years. But again ,every real estate market changes and we’re not in that space anymore in the tri-state area. When I first started I was buying properties anywhere between 40,000 to 100,000. That doesn’t exist right now. The market’s on fire.

Brandon:
Yeah.

Cesar:
So that was the space I was in back then. So just by learning how to stretch my money, buying more with less, using private financing, that’s how I got ahead.

Brandon:
All right. Let’s jump back over to Envy and ask where’s your interest in real estate lie? I know you talk about real estate a lot. Where’d that come from, this idea of real estate investing and generational wealth in general? And then what does that look like today for you? What’s your relation to real estate?

Envy:
Right. Well, Cesar has over 1,600, close to 1,700 doors. I have 134 doors.

Brandon:
That’s awesome still.

Envy:
I’m far behind him, far behind him.

Brandon:
You’re just getting warmed up.

Envy:
Just getting warmed up, yeah. What happened was when I bought my first house I got my first check. And I’m from Queens and I couldn’t afford anything close to New York. I had to live in a town called West Milford. If you’re not from New Jersey, this is where they taped Friday the 13th. It’s woodsy, lakes. That’s where they pretty much taped it. So what wound up happening was I would DJ at night and then have to drive home and I would fall asleep. So I couldn’t live there anymore. So I sold the property within four months and I think in four months I made $80,000 selling that property. And I was like, this is … At the time, this was more than I was making a year. I’m like, this is great. So that’s what I started doing. I didn’t know anything about real estate. Like Cesar said, I was so educated when it came to real estate. I had no clue. So I was doing it all wrong. I was actually buying a property, living it, then selling it and then I’d have to move everything to another property. But every year I was doing this, it was doing great.

Envy:
So one year, I bought two properties and the market fell. And I just remember having three mortgages and not that nobody wanted to buy the properties but nobody could get mortgages and loans. So I was doing everything. I was doing Bar Mitzvahs. I was doing … What’s the Spanish sweet 16?

Cesar:
Quinceañera.

Envy:
Quinceañera. Anything I could possibly do to make money, I was making money to buy these properties. And I wound up selling them finally and I was like, “You know what, real estate is not for me. I don’t like it.” Angela Yee, who’s a coworker with me at The Breakfast Club, she had a boyfriend in Detroit and was like, “Hey Envy, there’s these houses in Detroit that are going for like 10,000, 15,000. You really should look at it. They’re downtown. It’s not far.” So I bought three of them. I bought three of them. I didn’t know what to do with him and I just pretty much paid the taxes. I found a contractor in Detroit and I started to use him and that was a disaster. I remember going to one of the house and he had bathroom tile on the master bedroom wall and I’m like, “What is this?” And he was like, “Well, that’s my style.” I’m like, “I’m not paying you for your style bro.”

Envy:
So I kind of closed up shop. And I didn’t know what to do. So I just kept paying taxes. I just kept paying the taxes. And Nitt Da Gritt, who is the person that Fetty WAP is signed to was like, “I got a guy want you to meet. He does real estate.” And now, at that the time, everybody does real estate. You sell one house, you do real estate. So I kind of brushed it off and then he was like, “No, I really want you to meet this guy.” So I went to his office, which was Cesar, me and my wife, and he was like, “Yeah, I have all these properties in Paterson and this, that, and the other.” And he’s like, “Let me show you.” I was like, “All right.” I was like, “I’ll follow you and you drive.” He was like, “No, you have to get in my car so I can show you.” So my wife is standing behind him like, “Nah, we don’t know him. Nah, we’re not getting in his car.” And I’m like, “I could follow you.” He’s like, “No, you have to get in my car.” So I’m like, “All right.”

Envy:
So me and my wife get in his car and we start traveling. He starts showing us all the properties he has. What he owns, what he purchased, what he did, how he did it. And he was like, “This is what I do.” And I was like, “Well, I do the same.” And he was like, “I want to help you.” And he started telling me a story and I was like, “We really should teach people how to do it.” And we started looking at different seminars and webinars and we would see that a lot of people that look like me were charging people like $10,000 to teach them how to do real estate and charging 15,000 and 7,500 and 30,000. And I said to Cesar, I was like, “That’s not right. I’d rather people take that 10,000, put it into a property and figure it out.”

Brandon:
Yes.

Envy:
So we said let’s start doing … And we really started doing seminars just to piss those people off. Like just to basically say F you. Like you’re not going to do that. And we only expected like 50 people at the seminar that we did. And the first one we did it was like 1,500 people. The second one was like 2,000. Then 5,000 and 10,000 and then we just started traveling and really teaching people how to do real estate. But not only that, we would bring everybody there. So we would bring credit repair. We would bring a hard money lender. We would bring a conventional lender. We would bring contractors. We would bring an attorney. We would bring all these people and explain to them what these people did and then if they wanted to talk to the people it wasn’t like, “Aha. Well, if you want to talk to them it’s an additional 5,000.” No, it wasn’t that at all. If you want to talk to them, yes, go talk to them. That’s their job. And we kind of made a name by doing that and really helping the community learn how to invest in real estate.

Envy:
And we have so many calls of people that just bought their first home or were renting for 20 years and never knew that they could do it and that’s really how we got into it. And at the same time, I just kept buying real estate and buying real estate and we bought a school and we’re turning that into a 70 unit building and we just kept going like that and that’s … In music, there is no retirement. It’s not like I have a retirement fund. There is no retirement. If you look for artists, DJ’s, nothing like that. You have to figure it out on your own. So this was my retirement. The fact that I can have 130 units and that money comes in for the rest of my life. Whether I say something crazy on your podcast or say something crazy on the radio, it doesn’t matter because nobody knows the homes that I own and that money continues to come in. So even when I’m gone, my kids can still get money and I always encourage people to really look at real estate.

Envy:
I’m not just saying just keep it one thing in your portfolio, but that’s something that continues to bring generational wealth and continues to bring wealth no matter what happens, no matter how nasty it is outside, no matter if I lose my job, no matter if I go to the club and get drunk. It doesn’t matter what I do because that money will continue to come in.

Brandon:
That’s so good. So it makes sense why you love real estate so much. I mean, we all love real estate. I’m also curious, what in your past or what about you makes you so fired up teach other people? Because there’s a lot of people out there who just love real estate. And then there’s something that about some people, I mean like me and David here and obviously you two, that says, “No, we want the rest of the world and about this too.” What do you guys think? Like what brought that in?

Envy:
For myself, it’s seeing people that look like me to be able to invest in real estate and to be able to own their own property. Cesar’s Spanish. I’m black. So when we go and we’re bidding on homes, we never see nobody that looks like us. And we always say why? Or we go to areas, whether it’s Brooklyn, whether it’s Harlem, whether it’s Paterson, whether it’s Detroit, whether it’s Chicago, whether it’s parts of Florida, and these are the areas where we are from and we live but you see it being gentrified and we’re seeing people that don’t live in our neighborhoods, but are taking care of our neighborhoods better than us. Buying our neighborhoods up, and then the value goes up where we’re pushed out and forced out. Because nine times out of 10, a lot of us are renting. So teaching us how to do it. Same way. You don’t need 100,000 to put down. There is something called a FHA where you can get a loan. There are grants that can help you out. And really trying to teach our people how to do it. I’m good. I’m successful. I have money. Cesar’s good. He’s successful. He has money. But what’s your legacy going to be? I got to be able to say, “You know what, I was able to teach a community how to invest in properties.” We were able to teach somebody that had no clue and give them inspiration. And the best feeling is when you hear somebody’s mom hit us and say, “Hey, my son was 22. He was a F-up and now he’s into real estate because he came to your seminar.” Or a kid that had no clue and was renting for 20 years and be like, “I don’t want to be like my mom. Can you teach me?” And that’s what we’re doing.

Brandon:
One of our biggest shows ever, I think it’s actually probably a biggest show of all time, Ashley Hamilton from Detroit. A single, young, black mother who used her tax return money every single year to buy a property and fix it up and then rent the thing out. And over the course of a decade she was able to get complete financial freedom off doing that.

Envy:
I love that.

Brandon:
Yeah. It’s so good. Yeah, it’s not taught that widely and you’re right, when I go to an auction and there is 50 guys that just like me. And it’s not as widely taught.

David:
Brandon, where are you finding wizard auctions?

Brandon:
Wizard?

David:
Yeah. That’s what you look like.

Brandon:
Everyone looks like me, like Gandalf wizard?

David:
Yes.

Brandon:
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Okay, maybe not exactly like me. I do have a unique look to it. But all right. So, where do you guys see yourself headed in real estate? I don’t want to spend this whole show talking about real estate obviously, but where do each of you guys see this headed in the future? Where do you want to get to?

Envy:
When I first started, all I wanted was 20 units. That’s all I wanted. And then 20 turned to 50, 50 turned to 100. And now I’m at a point where I just want my kids and my family to be good. As much as people hate Donald Trump or hate the Rockefellers or hate whatever, I respect the fact that when I drive in these different areas and cities you see his name plastered all on buildings he owns. And I want that to be for myself. I want to see my name on buildings that I own. I want to make sure that my kids are all … The fact that somebody could come to their father say, “Hey, I need a million dollar loan.” I couldn’t come to my dad and be like, “Dad, I need $100 loan.” My dad would be like, “Well, you better go get a job.” You know what I mean? But I want to encourage my kids to do that like my daughter who started her first year at NYU, she made me happy because her major is real estate.

Brandon:
That’s cool. That’s awesome.

Envy:
Not too many schools offer that though. I’m not going to lie. But she was able to find a school and she’s able to learn from dad. She’s able to learn from Uncle Ces. And she’s able to take the necessary classes. But that’s what I’m really encouraging people to do. Like there’s worker bees out there and the people that are going to work for the rest of their lives. But I also want to really push people to invest and really to create that financial freedom so you can do what you want to do. If you want to be in sanitation and you want to become a garbage man, that’s fine. I want you to. But I want you also to make sure that if something ever happens you have money coming in.

David:
Did you guys get that bug where the first time you took all this money that you earned and you invested it into something that made it bigger, that something switched where you just got addicted to that? Just I just want to put all my money into this thing. Did you have a similar experience?

Cesar:
What makes me the happiest is just putting a deal together and seeing a deal close from beginning to end. So just that first deal that I did, that first property, and after that man, it was just like an addiction. I just kept on and on and on. When I first started, me my wife talk about it all the time, I said I wanted to make $5,000 a month in rental income. That’s what I wanted. And then it went from 5,000 to 10,000. Then saying, “You know what, let me go 20.” Then from 20 to 50 to 100 and so on so far. I don’t want to show off. But it just keeps on. With real estate, there’s so many different ways that you could go, from residential properties, commercial properties, developer, that there’s really no retirement. And the thing about real estate, especially when it comes to rental income which is the thing that we push the most, is when you think about everything and write every single career, either if you’re an athlete, an attorney, a doctor, you’re a cop, a fireman, eventually you career will end. So your income and your salary won’t be the same.

Cesar:
But if you have rental properties, rental income is forever and it goes down to your kids. And every year you raise the rents, so your cash flow grows every single year. And it’s one of the only things that you could be financially secure with.

Brandon:
Think about it like little oil wells, where every property you buy is a little oil well. It’s pumping out oil from the ground. And you put all this work and you by the one and you buy the second you by the third and everyone’s now just pumping oil. When you die someday your kids get all those oil wells. And with current tax laws, the kids get it at a stepped up tax basis and don’t have to pay any taxes on all that. Which may change, but it’s just so-

David:
Well, that’s why I was wondering if you guys had that vibe. Because I remember the first time that it clicked with me. I felt like money’s coming in from rental property or money’s coming in from work. But it hits you different when you know you didn’t go trade time for that money. There’s this sense of I did all this work and I have this thing that will now just keep on paying, that for me became the source of my addiction. I just wanted to get more and more of those because there wasn’t a connection between me getting up, driving to work, punching a clock to get that money. It was, I already did a bunch of that work, now it’s just going to come in. Envy, was it similar for you or was it something else that was driving you to get into this?

Envy:
It was definitely that. It was knowing that my kids would be great. And I tell everybody all the time between the first and the fifth when those envelopes come, and it could be a small house that I own and it’s $1,000, that $1,000 means more to me than my paycheck because I feel like I worked even harder for that. Like today, they just gave me a bunch of envelopes and you’re like, wow, like I didn’t have to do anything. I already did the work for it and it comes in every first through the fifth. Even with me, I’m blessed enough where for me I don’t need that money. So when that money comes in, it goes right back out to another-

Cesar:
I got a envelope right here.

Envy:
Envelope right there.

Brandon:
Yeah, there you go.

Envy:
[inaudible 00:27:21] street is one of the properties I own. But when it comes in, it goes right back out to another property. So for myself, it’s what else can you do? Cesar’s patient. Tell you a quick story. I bought a house. The person that bought the house before me, it was 12.8 million. I was able to get it for 5.4. But the house was probably … When I say, I probably lost all the hair on my head, if I have any hair left, I probably turned gray because it was just stressful. And he was like, “Envy, we’re gonna get the house. Just be careful. Just be calm.” And I’m like, “No. I just can’t take this no more.” And then he was like, “When you get the house, it’ll all be worth it.” And we just did a value. What was it valued at today?

Cesar:
Nine million.

Envy:
Nine million. I paid 5.4 for it.

Brandon:
Yeah. When’d you buy that?

Envy:
Bought it February 2020.

Brandon:
Oh, wow. That’s a nice way to make some equity. That’s incredible. And what’s funny about real estate actually, you hit on a really important point here, is just that when you’re in the midst of it and you’re dealing with the drama and the stress … And we’ve all been there. All four of us have been there right? We’re just like I’m just going crazy and I want to pull my hair out. And then you get through it you like, “Oh, it was all worth it.” It’s like that with almost every business right? It’s worth it if you keep that perspective longterm.

Envy:
But that’s what I think this is the good Yin and Yang because he’s like that. Even no matter what it is now, he’ll be like, “You have a problem? Don’t worry about it. Let’s call this guy. We’ll talk about it tomorrow.” And my wife’s like, “No. We have to know now.” He’s like, “We’ll take care of it. I’ll call.” It’s nothing that’s going to drive as crazy or kill us, but it always works itself out.

Brandon:
All right. So how do you guys’ wives play into your current real estate … And not even just real estate, just your business life in general. So everything you do. How involved are they? What role have they played? I’m curious of just their role in your life.

Cesar:
Well, my wife is pretty much my partner. She’s involved in everything. I’m more of the check writer. She’s actually more hands on. If it was up to her, she would probably be out there fixing properties herself because her dad’s a plumber, her brothers an electrician. So I’m more of the guy that wants to pay everybody do the stuff. She actually wants to get her hands dirty. but she’s 100% involved. She’s been with me since the beginning. And everything we have, we built it together.

Envy:
Yeah, my wife is my partner. Not as hands on in real estate. We’ve been married 20 years this May. But she is my partner. She handles the bills. She handles the numbers. She handles the finances. I try to keep her away with real estate because she has very expensive taste and a lot of times she doesn’t know the difference between a flip property and our real home. Like she’s trying to go get chandeliers for a flip. But that’s her. And I would say one thing about his wife. When we bid on properties, a lot of times we go look at the properties before we bid on them and a lot of times of course, the doors are closed. His wife is the one that breaks into the house so we can go inside and see it. She’s going to climb through the window. She’s going to wiggle through the bars. She’s going to MacGyver something to get the door open. That is his wife. She is strictly that. And she gets things done.

Brandon:
That’s awesome. What advice do you guys have for those people who maybe have a spouse that’s not supportive of their real estate or their ambitions to get out of the life that they have? They’re just like, “Hey, I was raised blue collar. We want to stay blue collar forever. This is what we are.”

Envy:
That’s perfect because his wife didn’t believe at first. His wife told him to go get a job. You want to tell them?

Cesar:
Yeah. She tells me all the time, “You’re a dreamer. You’re just like your father. Go drive a cab.” Because my dad’s got a couple of cabs in New York. The Yellow Cabs. The medallions. Which, actually my dad wanted me to get into the cab business too and I chose not to. And thank God I didn’t because now it’s destroyed. Uber pretty much-

Brandon:
Yeah. Killed it.

Cesar:
Destroyed the cab business in New York City. And all of them were like, “You’re a dreamer. Blah, blah, blah. Get a job.” And I didn’t listen to them. People got to understand, with real estate it’s numbers. If the numbers make sense, the numbers make sense. Anywhere in the country. The most important thing though, the reason that we are successful in real estate is because we buy under market value properties and add value to them. We’re not teaching our seminar, buy properties at retail or over retail. Right? That’s not what we’re teaching. You make your money when you buy. Because that’s when you get your good deal. So that’s the most important thing is buying under market value.

David:
You hit on a really good point there as well, Cesar, that had you invested into the taxi industry you’d be in some trouble right now. There’s innovation in business that you can’t foresee coming but it’s very hard to see something replacing real estate. And I think that’s another reason why we double down on it and really why we’re okay getting rich slow. Because real estate often takes time. I mean if you buy right like you said Cesar, it’s safer and you can get some equity, but you’re usually not crushing it right off the bat like somebody who starts a start-up and it takes off. It’s just so much safer than every other investment. I’m sure you guys have people that are afraid that’ll say, “I don’t want to invest in real estate. What if I lose my money? What if this happens?” What’s some of the advice you guys give people as towards why you believe this is an asset class that is solid?

Cesar:
Well, you have to understand something. When I first started, just to give an example, like you said, it takes time. Because there’s no such thing as overnight success. Most people don’t understand that. They think, “Oh my God, I saw this guy on Instagram. He’s successful from yesterday.” It doesn’t work like that. I’ve been doing this for 15 years. But just to give you an example, when I first started my rents and Paterson, New Jersey were $900 for a three bedroom apartment. Today those rents are $2,000 to $2,500. So imagine, just by me sticking to my vision and just buying more and more properties where I am today, because over time with real estate your values just keep on going. And especially with rental properties. My first love is rental properties. Yeah, I like flipping properties, but I think rental properties is really the key to longterm wealth just because over time, every year you raise the rents. In New Jersey we could do 5% every year. So when you do those numbers and you have 50, 100, 200 units at 5% every month, once you raise that rent in January, that’s a big difference as far as cash flow.

Cesar:
And the other thing is, when you look at any change in the economy in the last 10, 15, 20 years, rents never go backwards. They always go up. It doesn’t exist where you see rents going backwards. It doesn’t happen.

David:
You’re exactly right. We saw that in 2010 when all the foreclosures were happening. Prices dropped and you would have expected rents would drop too. But what happened is all these people that lost their house needed somewhere to live, and the people who didn’t lose their house had the rentals and so demand for rent actually went up. And when I look at real estate, I feel like there’s one achilles heel in the whole thing, one thing can make it not work, and it’s if you don’t have a tenant. Because you got really one income source when you have a rental property. But we’re seeing that that just doesn’t happen. Rents don’t go down, they go up as inflation goes up but your costs stay the same. Once you see how that clicks, there’s a sense of calmness and security that comes from investing in real estate that before you get in you just can’t really see that. You got all these what ifs going on in your head. You guys find that’s a problem for a lot of people you’re teaching?

Envy:
Yeah. That’s the main problem is the what ifs. Somebody will get their credit right. They’ll find out how much they can actually get from a lender. They’ll find a property, but they just don’t want to pull the trigger. And that’s the main thing is getting people to pull the trigger. And we just try to encourage them like, “Do it. You can do it. As long as you’re getting the property for less than the value.” And we tell a lot of people to do this. Especially first time buyers. Buy a two family or three family. Live on one of the floors. Rent out the top two. They pay your mortgage for free and you make a little bit. Then when you get comfortable, go and get the next property. And that’s what we encourage people so that way they’re not scared. Because we tell people all the time, “You buy this property and you have a tenant, it’s probably going to be way less than what you pay in rent anyway.” So we tell people to make that chance and most people do that. They start off with a two family or three family, they live on one floor, rent out the other two and then they get comfortable. They understand what it is and then from there, they’ll jump and do it again. And that’s where we really feel good but we definitely push people to really take that jump and to do it.

Brandon:
My very first rental house was a duplex. It was two houses on one lot. I lived in one of the little houses in the back in the alley. It was this crappy little one bedroom house. But I lived there for free and we still own that property today. I’m actually going to sell it now shortly just because it’s appreciated so much. But that got me into real estate. I didn’t have to pay a mortgage anymore because that other unit paid my entire rent. So then I moved on to another one, rented that out, now I’m making $600, $700 a month in cash flow for years on that property. It was amazing. Coincidentally, this has nothing to do with the investment, but we found out later it was Kurt Cobain’s childhood home. Like his baby home. He was only a year old when he lived there. But anyway, that was random. Doesn’t do me anything at all but a fun story to tell on podcasts. But anyway, just kind of cool.

Brandon:
So yeah, that was my very first thing. And I tell everyone the same thing. We call it house hacking. Live in one unit, rent the other ones out. Such an amazing way to get started. All right, couple more questions we’ll throw at you. First of all, let’s go to this one. What’s something that you each enjoy doing that you never get tired of? What’s something in your business that you’re just like, “I love this thing. I’m this guy.”?

Envy:
In the business?

Brandon:
Sure. Yeah, in your business.

Envy:
I love looking at homes. I enjoy looking at homes. Homes and cars. That’s my two things. So at night when I can’t sleep, I’m looking at homes and cars. You know what I mean? When I’m on a plane, I’m looking at homes and cars. I’m buying home books and car books. Those are the two things that I really, really enjoy. So that’s what I do. And if I get an opportunity to look at a house, I love … We go look at houses. It doesn’t matter if it’s the ishiest house, if it has heroine needles all over the place. We’ve walked into houses that had ish on every floor. One time there was a guy sleeping in one of the properties we bought. Another time there was a guy on the balcony. He had two chicks. He had a whole relationship with it. These are the things that I really, really enjoy. So for me, it’s going to see these houses. I love it.

Cesar:
For me, I just love putting a deal together man. It’s just the art of the deal, which is one of my favorite books of all time. But I just love putting a deal together from start to finish and getting the deal closed and getting people in there, renting the property or selling the property. It’s just like a high for me.

David:
Do you find, Cesar, that that’s because you have a stronger creative side and you get to exercise it when you’re putting all the pieces together?

Cesar:
Well, just like my wife called me, I am a dreamer. So I actually could dream through anything and dream about it and what the finished product will be.

Envy:
And I would say one thing that you said about what makes … I call Cesar a genius. Like the other day, we just purchased a home. And we walk into the house and the house is … It’s a two family and a finished attic. So we walk in there and we’re looking at the house and seeing the work that has to be done. And I see Cesar sitting in the corner just looking and calculating. And he has the mind frame to be like, “You know what, this is two floors, two bedrooms. I can only get this amount of money for that. I need to make it a three bedroom.” And was able to figure out, “You know what, we’re going to cut this wall, put a wall here, put a door here, make it three bedrooms, this, that, and the other.” And instead of getting, let’s say, $1,800 a month rent, now we’re pulling in $2,300 a month for each floor plus the attic. So he’s able to figure that out. I would have had to go back and think about that, but for him, that’s always on his mind. More, more, more, more, more.

Envy:
“Hey, there’s a garage there. Oh, I could finish this garage and I could charge them money to park their cars in this garage.” He’s that way of thinking and I know I have to get that. That really impresses me about the way he thinks.

David:
You’ve accomplished quite a few great things in your life as well and I want to get into learning a little bit about your mindset and how you did it, but we’ve acknowledged Cesar kind of has that creative ability. He can see a vision. What would you say that your skill is that you bring to the partnership?

Envy:
I would say creative and marketing. I went to school for business management and marketing. And most people thought I would have went to school for communications. But I was already a DJ so I didn’t need … Nobody could teach me how to DJ. So for myself, is putting the play together. I just remember when I first met Cesar, Cesar didn’t want to talk. He didn’t want to speak. But I knew that Cesar was a star in his own right. What does a star look like? Nobody knows. But what he was talking and where he came from and the obstacles that he jumped over and hoops, I’m like, “Oh, he could be a star.” So my whole thing was well, let’s market this together. Let’s market from start to flip where now we have … He has a book. We have a TV show that we’re doing with 50 Cent where it’s going to be the first time where you see two dudes that look like us really teaching people how to make money in real estate. Where we’re not putting on a suit. We’re not putting on a tie and bow tie and saying, “Hey, how are you doing?” No. We’re doing the way that we do it because this is honestly how we do it and we do it the right way.

Envy:
So I would say for myself is the business side, the marketing side, and the taking it from here and bringing it up there.

David:
Yeah. So what I see is that you are sort of driving opportunity and then Cesar’s taking that and figuring out, well, what do I do with it? Like you’re supplying the resources and then he’s making them work. And Brandon and I talk about this all the time when you’re looking for a partner. You don’t want to go find your friend and say, “Well, we like each other so let’s get into business.” You’re literally looking for a partner that has a skillset that you don’t have. There’s a reason you don’t have a Kobe Bryant and a Michael Jordan on the same team. You have a Kobe Bryant and a Shaquille O’Neal. They’re complimenting each other. Same thing for a lot of athletes and so I really like that you guys recognize that about each other and that you’re both quick to say, “Here’s where I’m not good.” I think a lot of people are loath to acknowledge a skill that they don’t have or an area of weakness, whereas successful people, they grab that right away. They’re like, “Yeah. I can’t shoot free throws. I don’t want to be the person going to free throw line. You handle that side of the business.” I really commend you guys for that.

Brandon:
Hey, I want to jump into your business management of your life for a second here, navigating a little bit away from real estate. And it’s for both of you, but I’ll start with Envy on this one. You got a lot of things going on. You got a lot of business. You got the 50 Cent thing which, that’s awesome. I can’t wait to hear more about that. But you got the radio stuff, the real estate stuff. How do you manage your life? I know you have a business manger. Is that right? You have somebody that … I know we were talking with June, I think it was. How does your life run? I’m just wondering, to be able to manage all that you have going on?

Envy:
If I like it, I go hard. Everybody around me kind of does the same thing. They rarely sleep, like to go hard. But we enjoy it. For instance, June, who you just spoke to, is somebody I’ve known since I was in high school who is an engineer and who left his job as an engineer to pretty much manage me, which I don’t know how smart that was but he’s doing pretty good. But that’s June. So June handles everything when it comes to music. Whether it’s DJing, shows, endorsements, albums. Anything that comes with music, he pretty much handles all of that. Then I have an assistant. Her name is Mercedes. She handles anything when it comes to anything outside of that. So for me, I have a water company, it’s called Positivity Water, that’s in Citi Trends, Krogers. It’s in the Atlanta airport. That does pretty good. We have Top Pop, which is a soda which was big growing up in New York, which I own a part of that. I have a podcast with me and my wife. It’s called The Casey Crew, which we talk about everything that’s … You name it. We have five kids so it’s merch, it’s YouTube, it’s SoundCloud, it’s appearances, it’s the podcast, it’s fly aways, it’s traveling. I also have a car show.

Envy:
Now, I own 14 or 15 cars. I own 15 cars and we do these car shows every year. People say, “Well, why do you have so many cars?” Well, my dad always say, “If you have a hobby, make it make money for you. If not, it’ll be a distraction.” And that’s what my car shows do. So we have these car shows every year in Jersey. This year we’ll be Jersey, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, and one other market I can’t think of. And Atlantic City. And we do these car shows. And the car shows get about 10,000 to 15,000 people. Where people get to see different cars. But I don’t make it about the celebrities. Because if I make it about the celebrities, sometimes I get the wrong crowd. I make it about the celebrities’ cars. So I’ll get Cardi B’s car. I’ll get 50 Cent’s car, Michael Strahan’s car, Dr. Oz’s car. Just different cars from different people. So you can come, you can bring your kids. And we do it like a fun day. So there’s slides and rides for kids but then adults could look at the cars. But then the women could get their nails done and get a facial. So we do those type of things with the cars.

Envy:
I have a book that’s coming out next year, May 2022. Trying to think of all the businesses I own. I have a juice bar that I own with Angela Yee and Styles P in Brooklyn that does pretty well. So I have hands in a little bit of everything and everybody has a job and everybody knows their job. And even with the real estate, if it wasn’t for Cesar … He’s able to help me guide and tell me, “Oh, you need to do this. You need to make sure it’s in this LLC. Or you need to call the accountant. Or you just got a ticket for not cutting your grass. You got to go pay that ticket.” He’s able to make sure that he gets it done. And what we do is we bought a office so that we’re in the same space every day so we just bounce ideas off of each other all the time.

Brandon:
That’s awesome. I was actually going to ask how you manage your portfolio and I’ll ask both you guys this question. How does that work? Cesar, do you have property managers? Do you guys have all that in house? What’s that look like?

Cesar:
Right now I have probably about 30 employees. I have about three project managers, five property managers, and a lot of contractors.

Envy:
And his brother’s actually the property manager so his brother is the one that-

Cesar:
He’s the number one property manager.

Envy:
He’s the number one … He goes and picks up the rent and if there’s a toilet broken or anything, he takes care of all of that.

Cesar:
But again, my problem is too that it’s hard for me to … I have a big team. But certain parts of my life, especially now, I do need more help. But it’s kind of hard for me to let go. So I do have that part of me where … Like Envy has June, he has Mercedes. I need a Mercedes and a June. But I’m so hands on that it’s kind of tough for me man. Because pretty much at this point now my number priority is finding the deals. It’s finding deals. But there’s certain things that maybe I don’t have to look at every single contract or I don’t have to go to every single appraisal or I don’t have to go through every single walkthrough. I bought three buildings in Chicago in the last couple months. I actually flew out there and I did a walkthrough of single property when they could have just FaceTimed me or sent me a video. But I’m so hands on that I need to touch everything. So I kind of do have that issue where I need to let go a little bit more.

Brandon:
Dude, I’m right there with you. I spent the whole weekend remodeling my closet into a little playroom, sleeping room for my one year old so I’m like, “I could have hired this out.” But I felt like I had to get in there and get my hands dirty into it so I’m right there with you. That’s cool, man.

Brandon:
All right, let’s go one more question before we move on. I like to ask this question occasionally. If you look back, what was the greatest day of your … And I’ll say real estate investing life, but if you want to pivot that one to just business life in general. What memory when you think back just makes you smile and go, “Oh yeah, that was a good day.”?

Envy:
I have two. One when I bought this new house that I’m about to move in. That one was a great one. And when I bought those properties in Detroit. Not when I actually bought the properties, but when I seen what they were worth a year later, I couldn’t believe it. We bought those properties for like 10,000 to 15,000 a property and we sold them for about 260 to 290 each.

Brandon:
No.

Envy:
I did nothing but cut the grass.

Brandon:
Dang. I invested in the wrong areas.

Envy:
Yeah. So that was … The fact that I got in early and was able to buy that, that was … And the third one … There was a third one. I’m sorry. We just bought a school. The fact that we bought a school is just … The fact that we walk in a school and be like, “Yo, we own this ish.” That is crazy to me. Like we bought a school that we’re going to turn into units. It’s just one of those things, like wow. Never in a million years.

Cesar:
For me it was probably year number seven or eight. There was a 30 unit building. And this was when I was getting into the bigger properties. Now I had a couple six unit buildings, eight, 10 unit buildings, so this was my first big property that I’m getting. I’m looking at the numbers. I see it’s a great deal. I’m getting the building for 1.8 million. I see the cash flow already and I’m like, “You know what, this place is probably worth about four, four and a half.” The reason that I got it so cheap was because there was four brothers that owned the building together. They were Italian. And each brother had six kids. So once the brothers passed away, now you have 24 heirs. And they’re all fighting with each other, whatever. They’re fighting about everything. So I got a great deal. So I go to this bank and we’re about to close the deal. And they come in the room and the guy’s like, “Hey, did you stop doing what you were doing before?” And I was like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “Yeah, you have a criminal record.” And I was like, “Yeah, but I’m buying this building under my wife’s name. It has nothing to do with me.” And he brought that up, which kind of bothered me.

Cesar:
I’m just looking at this guy like, “Yeah. This guy, he’s not a nice guy.” So they already had given us a commitment at that point. So we close on the deal. We do the loan. Because at this point they can’t really back out the deal. Our taxes are great. We have assets. And at this point they’re like, “Do you even really know what you’re doing?” I’m like, “Yeah, I know what I’m doing.” So a couple months later I come back and I tell them, “I want to refinance this property. Well, give me a line of credit. Give me 250,000 and I’m happy. I put a couple hundred dollars into the building. The building’s making more money now. I got different tenants. I’m turning everything around.” So they tell me, “No. You’re moving too fast.” I’m like, “What you mean moving too fast?” “You’re buying properties too quickly.” So a couple months later I end up refinancing with a different bank and at the closing table I sent them a picture of the HUD and the check. So I ended up refinancing that property and putting out $2 million.

Brandon:
That’s a good day. That’s a real good day.

Cesar:
Yeah. It’s probably one of the highlights of my career, just rub it in those guys’ faces. [inaudible 00:50:04] called me a criminal. That was one of my biggest highlights.

Brandon:
That’s so good. Awesome guys. All right, well we got to get you guys out of here in just a minute but let’s go to the last segment of our show here. It’s time for our …

Brandon:
(singing)

Brandon:
All right. This is the famous four. The part of the show where we ask the same four questions to every guest, every week. So this is really more like the famous eight today because we got two of you here. So we’ll toss it to each of you. First of all, let’s go Envy. We’ll start with you. Do you have a favorite or an all-time favorite or impactful real estate book? Anything you’ve read in your past that you’re like, “Yeah, that real estate book changed my life.”?

Envy:
It’s a new book. It’s called Flipping Keys. [crosstalk 00:50:46] of Cesar here. If you want to learn how to get into the real estate business. He came from nothing. Absolutely. Learned real estate in jail. How crazy is that? I think this is the best book out there right now.

Brandon:
I love it. Cesar, what do you think? Anything other than that one, which I hear it’s phenomenal.

Cesar:
To be honest with you, my all-time favorite book is actually The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump. I read that book in prison. I read Rich Dad Poor Dad and all those other books but I think The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump, I think that’s one of the greatest real estate books ever.

David:
I’ve never read it. Is it worth reading?

Cesar:
Yeah. It’s definitely a good book.

David:
Is there creatives strategies? Is that basically what the book’s focused on?

Cesar:
Yes. Definitely. Like I said, my all-time high is putting a deal together so that’s definitely one of my favorite books.

David:
All right. What about your favorite business book?

Envy:
Nah, I don’t think I have one.

Cesar:
Yeah. I think we’re pretty much more self educated than anything else. We just figure it out ourselves when it comes to-

David:
I’ll pivot and you might have nothing to say there either but I’m just curious. Do you have a favorite business personality, mentor, teacher, or someone that you like to follow? Maybe you listen to on YouTube or something like that?

Envy:
Me personally, and this is just growing up from my environment, is Jay-Z.

David:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Envy:
And the reason I say Jay-Z is because what he’s been able to do with a lot of his businesses. What Jay-Z does is he gets into a business, he brings the equity way up and sells it. He did it with Roc-A-Fella. He did it with … What was his clothing line called? Rocawear. He just did it with Ace of Spade. He does it with a lot of his businesses and that really inspires me because I see what he does. He buys it, he makes the world love it, and then he sells it and makes $500 million. But then he doesn’t just walk away, he invests a lot of that money back into the communities, which I really love.

David:
Brandon often says the Mark Cuban quote that business is a sport. And what it’s really getting down to is there are fundamentals just like any sport that when you learn them you can play it. And that’s a great example you’re giving of what you guys do in real estate is the same principles that what Jay-Z is doing with businesses. When you learn those fundamentals you can apply them to whatever business you want to get into, which is awesome because there’s billions of people that are in the world and they all have different personalities and different things they’re interested in but these principles work for everybody so that’s a great answer. Thank you for that.

Brandon:
I’m not one to usually throw around Jay-Z quotes or anything like that, but the one line-

David:
I know where he’s going with this.

Brandon:
Yeah. I’m not a businessman, I’m a business man.

Envy:
[crosstalk 00:53:11].

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s so-

David:
You said the one Jay-Z quote that Brandon Turner knows Envy.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s the only one I know.

David:
Thank you for setting him up for that one line.

Brandon:
Yes. All right Cesar, what about you? Any online influencers or anybody that you follow?

Cesar:
I like Grant Cardone. Like I said, I’m about the units. He has 10,000 units. And I like Gary V too.

Brandon:
Both legit guys. Both been guests of our podcast in the past so good dudes. All right, next question David.

David:
Well, we haven’t got Jay-Z on our podcast. Is that what you’re trying to say?

Brandon:
We have not got Jay-Z yet on our podcast. We’re working on that. We need Jay-Z and 50 Cent. Those are on my list now.

Envy:
That’s my guy. 50’s my guy.

Brandon:
There you go. When that show comes out, if you want him to get some promotion for that show, I would love to have him on the show. Be amazing.

Envy:
Yeah. Absolutely.

David:
Yeah. That’s absolutely great. And if not, we’ll take DJ Shrimp if you can get him. All right, what about some of your guys’ hobbies?

Envy:
I would say my hobbies are my cars. I love cars. As a kid growing up in Queens, I’m like any other kid. You point at a car and say, “That’s my car.” So now that I got a little older and I can afford them, I but them. I have a 1988 M3 E30. I have a 850, the old BMW with the lights that go up. I got the SLR McLaren with the doors that go up. These are all cars I seen as a kid that I wanted. So I think my hobbies is cars and my kids. I have five kids so I’m pretty much a Uber driver when I leave here.

Brandon:
Do you view your cars as an investment at all or do you treat them as it’s just fun? Or do you treat them as an investment?

Envy:
Both. I purchase cars that will appreciate in value. All my cars appreciate in value. Whether it’s my E30 M3, which is the first M3 that they made, the M series. The paid 15,000 for it. It’s worth about 80,000 now. Has 80,000 miles on it. My eight series, I paid about 20,000. It’s worth 50,000. I have a 918 Spider. I paid about 1.1 for it. It’s worth about 1.5. I just ordered a Ford GT, which I paid about 500 for and it’s worth about 1.1 now. So a lot of my cars appreciate in value. Some of them I lease it and just like them because I like them but the majority of them are … They appreciate in value.

Brandon:
That’s amazing.

Cesar:
And as far as me, I like toys. WWF, ’80s wrestling, or GI Joe’s, or He Man.

Envy:
I wish you’d seen his office. His office is behind us right here and he has nothing but wrestlers-

Cesar:
Star Wars.

Envy:
Star Wars, GI Joe’s, all types. He has-

David:
You literally mean toys. I thought you meant like grown up toys like jet skis, cars.

Brandon:
No, I love that.

Cesar:
[crosstalk 00:55:52]. I’m 42 so I think back when we were growing up. Toys are way better now.

David:
Thundercats?

Cesar:
Oh, I love Thundercats.

David:
Voltron.

Cesar:
Transformers. Any toy you could think about from the ’80s and ’90s, I collected all of them.

Envy:
My kids come here and love it. They love messing with his toys.

David:
Are they out of the box, like you could play with them? They’re not still wrapped up in the packaging?

Cesar:
Oh, those I keep at home. The stuff in the box-

David:
The investments, right? There’s a lot of information going around right now from some pretty influential people about the inflation that’s happening with the US currency and wealthy people are actually looking at investing into things outside of the dollar. So cryptocurrency’s one we all know about. But baseball cards, action figures, comic books, this type of stuff is … For the people listening that don’t know, wealthy people are already getting into this because they’re losing faith in the value of the dollar.

Cesar:
It’s crazy right now. That basketball card market and baseball card. I know guys win a lot of money and they’re investing millions and millions and millions and it’s going up. One of my friends told me the other day he invested $200 and he’s up nine million and I’m looking at him. “Baseball cards? You serious?” And now he’s teaching me and I’m looking at them like, oh man, he’s right.

Brandon:
Gary V talks a lot about baseball cards. I thought it was a gimmick, it was kind of a silly little thing. I didn’t realize until recently that that’s a legit thing. People are doing this.

Cesar:
He’s official. He’s one of the big dogs right now.

Envy:
And I think Gary V, he pushes the culture too. He’s one of those guys that can say it and it’ll go up in price. But he was on it early. He told me about it early and I was like, “Gary V, you’re bugging.”

Brandon:
All right, last question, from me anyway. What do you think separates successful real estate investors from all those people who just never start, they give up early? What stops people from giving up?

Envy:
I think it’s the drive and I think that’s in anything. I tell everybody all the time, we all know a DJ. And this is not bigging myself up but we all know a DJ. We all grew up with a DJ, we all knew a DJ growing up, a DJ in high school, a DJ in college. But where are they now? Most of them are not DJing. Not because they weren’t better than me, because I’m not the best DJ out there. But I’m the one that’s going to push the hardest, I’m the one that’s not going to sleep, I’m the one that’s going to outwork you, I’m the one that’s going to continue to push no matter what. I have that drive. And that’s what makes me better than all those other DJs. And I think that’s the same thing with real estate. Cesar has that drive. I have that drive. When I come into the office, I tell everybody all the time, Cesar’s on his phone so much. He’s actually on auction.com. He’s on [inaudible 00:58:21].com. He’s on all these different websites looking for properties, looking for homes because this is his life and this is what his investment is. When I call him on the phone, he’s like, “Envy, meet me at this property over here.”

Envy:
It’s real estate 24/7. And that’s the reason why he’s so successful in it. It’s that drive. That drive will take you out of being regular to being one of the greatest.

Cesar:
And that’s the thing with a lot of people too. The other thing is that people think that anything that you do … I think in life there’s no such thing as a perfect situation. You’re into something and you have to build it up. And then eventually that situation, you make it into a perfect situation, but along the road you’ve got to bob and weave. You know what I mean? There’s going to be times like a tenant’s not going to pay the rent or you won’t be able to do a closing or flip a property this week. There was a snowstorm. Nobody could come to the closing table. It’s going to be next week. So I think a lot of times people, they get punched in the face and they don’t know how to move around pretty much. But you got other understand, nothing’s ever perfect. There is no such thing as the perfect deal, the perfect situation. You make that deal perfect by putting in that work.

David:
All right guys, this has been a great interview. Really appreciate it. You guys gave some incredibly insightful answers. Where can people find out more about you that want some followup?

Envy:
You can follow me, @djenvy. He’s @flipping_nj. And we do seminars all across the country. Our next seminar’s going to be March 14th in Atlanta where we actually teach people how to do it. We don’t charge thousands of dollars for it because that’s not what we do it for. We actually do it because we want to give back to our community. We want to get to a spot where we can get a Home Depot, a Lowe’s, a MasterCard, a Discover to basically say, “Hey, we’ll fund it but let’s teach the community.” So that’s where we want to go. Our next one is in Atlanta and during those seminars we bring people. We bring credit repair, we bring conventional lenders, we bring hard money lenders, we bring sometimes people from auction.com to explain how the system works and how you can do it. We show you pictures. We show you the HUDs. We show you everything so you can never be like, “That’s not true.” No. We bring it and we break it down. We answer questions and we really get thorough with people because we want them to be able to invest. We want to make sure that everybody’s not renting. So our next one is March 14th and we’re doing one in New York in April or May as well.

Envy:
So that’s where we are but you can always follow us on Instagram and remember, pick up Cesar’s new book, Flipping Keys.

Brandon:
There we go.

Envy:
If you want to learn how to get in the industry with nothing. It’s a great story. Really great story.

Brandon:
I’m picking it up today. Appreciate you guys. Thank you so much. If you ever want to do a Maui seminar, you know where to find me. I’m out here in Maui. We’ll do a real estate seminar from the beach. It’ll be amazing.

Envy:
I’m not mad at that.

Cesar:
I’ve been there before. I stayed at the Four Seasons.

Brandon:
Oh yeah. So nice.

David:
Yeah, he’s like five minutes from … Well, I probably shouldn’t say that on the podcast.

Brandon:
I’m like five minutes from there. I can see it right now if I look out my window.

David:
I can see it from my house. There you go.

Brandon:
Yeah. It’s not bad. All right guys, thank you so much. David, you want to get us out of here?

David:
Cesar, Envy, thanks a lot guys. This is David Greene for Brandon, I’m not a businessman, I’m a business man, Turner. Signing off.

Outro:
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.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How DJ Envy started buying and flipping homes 
  • Buying homes under market value to make high profits
  • Why house hacking is the best way to get started in real estate
  • Buying in Detroit during the early days of the recession 
  • How to use other people’s money (OPM) to fund your deals
  • Why most real estate seminars take more than they give to attendees
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

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