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BiggerPockets Podcast 530: Finding the “Hidden Gold” Most Investors Miss Both On & Off-Market

BiggerPockets Podcast 530: Finding the “Hidden Gold” Most Investors Miss Both On & Off-Market

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Having limited lung capacity while playing college basketball seems almost impossible. But, like almost everything else in Nolan Gottlieb’s life, he pushed through it to accomplish his dreams. Hard work and determination are what allowed Nolan to step onto that basketball court, even with a severe physical disadvantage. The same determination is exactly what allowed him to close on nineteen units in just ten months of investing.

Nolan didn’t know anything about real estate; he couldn’t even describe what a mortgage was if you asked. But, as he ventured off the basketball court and became a real estate agent, he knew that agent commissions wouldn’t protect him and his family if he got sick again. He needed long-lasting wealth, passive income, and an ability to scale his success.

He started out partnering with a friend on a BRRRR. It went so well, he decided to tackle an off-market deal. Nolan was able to close not only on one off-market deal, but on a fourteen-unit apartment building as well, thanks to his six steps to find “buried gold” in his market.

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David:
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast Show, 530.

Nolan:
My life went from being black and white to now being in color. And it shifts that perspective so much that I don’t wake up every morning thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to go to work” or “Oh, whatever.” Now it’s like, “Oh my goodness, this is exciting. Let’s go see what we can find today,” or “let’s go see what we can accomplish today.”

David:
What’s going on everyone. This is David Green, your host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. Today, we have a great show for you. We are going to be interviewing Nolan Gottlieb of Georgia who has been putting together a very impressive portfolio with grassroots efforts that anybody can achieve. On today’s show, we talk about finding off-market gold, seller financing wins, and the six-step process to contacting off-market leads that you need to know about.
All right. Here on the BiggerPockets Podcast, we get into how you can build wealth through real estate today, we do that by bringing on top performers, expert investors and just plain regular people. We lay out the tactics and mindset that they use to be successful so that you can copy it. If you do one simple thing, take prudent, consistent action.
Today’s guest has an amazing story. He talks about how he was able to walk onto a basketball team that he really had no business playing on in his own estimation. Then went on to receive a double lung transplant that gave him a new lease at life. And he shares the mindset he has that has him exploding after what he calls lightning in a bottle, which is finding off-market deals and some deals through the MLS. But basically, he fell in love with real estate with his new lease on life. And he has a great story. This is very heartwarming. It’s also very educational. We get into a lot of very practical things that anybody can do from things as simple as driving around and seeing an ugly house, and then contacting the seller to joining a real estate team if you actually want to work in the agent space and sort of using those two realms to work together, real estate sales and real estate investing, to build your own portfolio.
Please make sure you stick around to the very end of today’s show. We draw a parallel between how he was successful in basketball and how he is successful in investing in real estate. There’s actually some very similar patterns that he copied from his career in basketball that are making him successful in real estate. And here’s why I want you to hear it, no matter who you are, you might not play basketball, but you do something, you have a job, you are involved in athletic endeavors, you have a hobby, you are good in relationships, there’s something that you are doing that you do well. And there’s a way to take the elements that make you successful in that space and apply them to real estate investing so you can be more successful in this space.
A lot of people are walking around with gold buried inside them that they don’t even realize. And today’s conversation will help you figure out where you’ve got an advantage over other people, where you have a skillset that will really help you and apply it to real estate. All right, Nolan, what’s going on? Welcome to the BiggerPockets Podcast.

Nolan:
How are you Dave? I’m glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

David:
Yeah, I’m actually doing really good. Thanks for asking. I’m wearing my favorite T-shirt today, it’s the BiggerPockets Follow the Fire method where it’s sort of a principle. BiggerPockets preaches that if you think about what you get excited about, what gets you jazzed up, what gets you just basically overall optimistic about life, that’s a good indication of where you should be spending your efforts. And you have a very cool story, that I’m excited we’re going to get to share with people, about how you sort of found your fire and then fueled that fire into a fantastic flame. That’s a lot of F’s right there. So let’s start off. Why don’t you tell me about your overall portfolio? Tell me what you own now and where you own it.

Nolan:
Okay. Yeah, sure. So I got started 10 months ago and am currently at 19 units. I’ve got a triplex, that was my first deal. I’ve got a single-family. I’ve done a couple of single-family flips, which I’m not a big fan of. And I’ve gotten a 15-unit deal, one single-family house and a 14-unit apartment building. So I currently have 19 units right now. Those are all in Northeast Georgia, Jackson County, Northeast Georgia.

David:
Why are you not a fan of flipping?

Nolan:
It’s too stressful for me because there’s a lot of factors. The budget is a big factor when flipping and there’s just factors, I feel like, that are out of my control. You’re having to depend on the buyers and picky buyers and this and that. But when I’m doing rentals, I know that I’m going to be holding them for a long time, I know that if I go over budget 10 grand, then as long as I keep them and rent them and do my thing, they’re going to be safe. So for me, it’s just kind of a peace of mind thing. That’s about it.

David:
I really like that. I’ve described that before as, when you’re flipping a house, well, if you get a lot of meat on the bone and it’s in an area and a price range that’s very popular, your risk significantly decreases with flipping. Right. That’s one thing.
What I say is you have a big target. Like if you’re not exactly on that bullseye, but you still hit that target, you’re going to be okay. When you start getting into luxury flipping or you don’t have a big margin, maybe you think, “I’m going to get in and fix it up quick and get out. And it’s okay, I’m only going to make 20 or 30 grand.” but that margin’s really thin, you can miss really easy, especially when you’re new or not just a new investor, but it’s like a new asset class you’re not used to, or you’re using a new contractor, anytime it deviates from a reliable system you developed, you want a bigger target. And flipping, in general, I think, is less forgiving than single-family rentals. You screw up on a flip, you lose money, you screw up on a single-family rental, you got to wait longer before you get that money back.

Nolan:
Yeah. And it took actually doing a couple to realize that I didn’t like it because initially my first deal was a BRRRR triplex and it went great. It was beautiful. It was by the book. I mean, it was perfect. So I thought, well, we’ll do a couple flips and that’ll be that. And it just wasn’t. I didn’t like it. Yeah. I mean, like you say, it wasn’t tons of meat on the bone. And I learned a lesson, I learned a lot of lessons in it, but the biggest one was, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

David:
And I know I’m kind of digging deep here and I wasn’t going to, but I’m curious, when you knew kind of on this Follow Your Fire trend that we started with, when you knew this isn’t for me, it’s usually like this emotional feeling you get that just it feels wrong. Right?

Nolan:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

David:
How would you describe what those emotions were like for you that led you to believe, that’s not the path, “I don’t want to be a flipper, I want to be a buy and hold investor”?

Nolan:
Well, the second flip we did was really kind of, I felt like, out of necessity because at the time, and it wasn’t that long ago, we had private money that I was paying interest on and unless that money was being used the way we’ve got our notes structured, unless that money was being used, it was costing me money. Right.

David:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nolan:
And at the time, I did not have the apartments under contract. I really didn’t even know they were going to be in the future for me. So I basically just did this because, “Hey, we need to do something. We need to move. And I don’t want to keep this for six months and be paying interest for six months.” So that was the reason I did it, which is not a good reason to do anything. But I did. We were fine. We broke even, we made, I don’t know, we made like $4,000 when it was all said and done. But it was that the whole time I had this like undercurrent of anxiety that was going on that is not present when I’m doing rental renovations.

David:
Yeah. That’s really good to listen to because even if it makes sense on paper, if you’ve got that undercurrent of anxiety, that’s a great way to put it, your subconscious will fight you. You won’t dive into that. And when you want to be good at real estate investing, you have to do the same thing you do with thing else in the world to be good at it is you have to practice it until you become excellent. And if you don’t love it or at least really enjoy it, you’re not going to put the time into becoming excellent at it. And that’s true for everything, right, like I like going to jujitsu even though it sucks right now and so I’m willing to put the time into getting better at it. I like lifting weights, so if I’m going to exercise, that’s usually what I do. Brandon Turner hates lifting weights so he’s never at that mentality going to become somebody who gets into lifting weights because he doesn’t like doing it so he is not going to put the time into it that it would take to get good at it.
And for the listeners, that’s just a really good point to highlight is there’s all kinds of different ways you can invest in real estate or make money through real estate, you really want to find the one that you’re drawn to, that energizes you. Because Nolan, we also have a background as basketball players. And I’m guessing that that also played a big impact in your mindset, your psyche, that was being developed. And part of why we invested so much into basketball was we just love the sport. Would you agree?

Nolan:
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I’d love to kind of explain my journey into basketball and explain my journey into real estate because they kind of run along the same lines and there’s some common threads in them. So I was born with a disease called cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a lung disease, primarily, but it also affects your digestive system. But it’s a progressive disease like many are. And as you get older, it gets worse. Well, I always had a dream that I was going to play college basketball. When I was a kid, the big team was the Duke Blue Devils, and my hero was Bobby Hurley, and I wanted to play college basketball, it was all I could think about.
Well, played through little league, it wasn’t a big deal, but I always had this dream that I was going to play college basketball. Well, when I got to about middle school, I started having some physical issues that just kept persisting, and my lung disease started to get a little bit worse, but I had this dream and I was going to do it, it was not an option not to. I had a chip on my shoulder that made me persevere. And I’m going to make this a long story short, but I played at a small private school in Georgia and I was able to walk on to an NCAA D-II junior varsity team. Okay. So I worked my tail off every summer I’m playing. I even actually had to get a feeding tube because at the end of my sophomore year, I was five foot four and weighed 95 pounds. And anybody familiar with basketball knows that that’s not going to cut it. So I mean, I got feeding tubes and I was in and out of the hospital, but I just kept working, kept on persisting.
Well, once I got to Anderson University in South Carolina, I was on JV, but I was also the varsity manager so I would go to all the JV practices, all the varsity practices, all the JV conditioning, all the varsity conditioning, weight room, individual workouts, everything. Well, I just kept showing up for every practice. I was in the gym as much as the coaches were. I was in the gym more than any of the other players in the program were. But what ended up happening is because I was in the gym so much, I picked up on so many things and I was able to learn without actually being on the court.
So fast-forward, going into my junior year, I’m in a 6 AM workout that I did not have to be in, but it was an open gym. And one of the guys on varsity got in trouble or something and got thrown out of the gym. And I just happened to be sitting on the sideline and coach asked me, “Hey, do you want to play?” And I was like, “Sure, absolutely. That’s why I’m here.” So from that point on, I was on varsity and played all four years in college.
And then, I got into teaching, fast-forward it a little bit further, I got into teaching. And when I started teaching, the lung disease really, really took a nose dive because I was in a room with a bunch of kids all day, every day for like five years and I just kept getting sick. Anytime the kids would come to school sick, I would get sick. So when I played basketball in college, I was at 50% lung function. Five years into teaching, I was at 30% lung function and having to get on the transplant list for double lung transplant. By the time I’m transplanted, I’m at 17% lung function, on oxygen 24/7. And then, I get a lung transplant. And all of a sudden, I come out of transplant, and once I heal, I feel great, I feel better than I’ve ever felt, but I could not go back to teaching.
So I had a friend that was a real estate agent and they said, “Hey, have you thought about real estate?” And I was like, “No, I don’t know anything about it. I don’t even own a house. I don’t know what a mortgage is.” But they were like, “Well, you can learn.” So I started working with a group in Commerce, Brittany Purcell & Associates. And I started just being around the business. I started understanding things without actually investing myself. I worked with a couple of investors and when they’re offering 225,000 cash for something, I’m thinking, “How in the world is anybody affording this? How do you do this?”
And also, I was becoming successful in being an agent, but I knew that as soon as I stopped hustling or if I have to stop work, the money stops so I had to figure out something where I would make money if something were to happen. So if I were to get sick again or had to stop working, income would still be coming in, cue BiggerPockets. I learned as much as I could, driving back and forth to appointments, driving back and forth to showings. I got a college education by playing a podcast. And eventually, when that first deal popped up, knew what I was looking for, I knew what to expect, I knew how to do it, I just had to do it, and when that first deal popped up, I jumped at it, made an offer and hit the ground running. But it was scary, but that is the story.

David:
All right, here’s a few patterns I want to kind of pull out of this so that people can see why it really wasn’t a surprise that Nolan became successful at this. You started off with the love of something, you love basketball. Your physical attributes were somewhat of a barrier to your success in that sport, which I think a lot… In fact, I don’t know of a successful person that didn’t have some experience like this at some point in their life where either they weren’t good enough or they perceived that they weren’t good enough. Like you could have been amazing but if your dad wanted you to be an Olympian and you weren’t that good, this same thing can take place.
And so, instead of just quitting and saying, “Oh, I’m just going to go play World of Warcraft and I’m going to avoid reality because it’s scary,” you kept showing up, you just dropped your expectations. You’re like, “Okay, I’m not going to play D-I basketball, but at least I can still go play D-II. All right, I can’t make the varsity, I’ll make the junior varsity. All right, I’m on the junior varsity, I’m going to show up to the varsity practice and I’m just going to put myself around where I want to be.” And you probably had low expectations there too. “I just want to learn. If I don’t make the team, that’s okay, I just want to learn more about basketball because I love it, I got a fire.” Right. I ended up wearing the right T-shirt this was not planned, everybody.
Then what had happened to you is what always happens when people make the right move, it’s like, if you’re a football player and you’re always running towards the guy with the ball, when the fumble comes out, you’re there to pick it up. So they had a moment where somebody else got hurt, got in trouble, something happened. The coach did what all of us that are in positions of leadership do is we look around and be like, “Who do I have I can plug in here?” There’s an emergency. Right. And you’re sitting right there. And because you had been paying attention to what they do in practice, you probably already knew the plays, you already knew what was expected, you knew what made the coach happy, you knew what them off because you’d been watching. You didn’t go in there and dominate as this amazing athlete but you did solidify your position on that varsity team because you were moldable, you fit right in. Okay. I’m guessing, something, subconsciously, in your mind, kicked in and you said, “Oh, that worked. If I do this, I can get into the world I want to be in.”
Then you got into teaching. You weren’t able to teach because being around sick kids was getting you sick all the time, your immune system couldn’t hang up to it. You get the lung transplant, you realize, “I got to stay away from there or I’m going to end up right back in the same position.” So you have a friend that brings you into real estate sales and the same thing happens, you get that fire, “I like this. I like real estate.” You just start showing up every day and you become part of this team not knowing anything, like you said, “I didn’t know what even a mortgage was” just like you didn’t know much about basketball at one point. But you loved it so you immersed yourself in it. You made yourself useful. You had a good attitude. They liked having you around and you picked up information just by immersion, by being there. And while you were there, you got introduced to BiggerPockets. Now it’s more the investing side of real estate, not just the sales. You immerse yourself in it. You learn from being around it.
I’m totally recognizing that, Nolan, there is a method to your madness to how you become successful.

Nolan:
Absolutely. A hundred percent. You summarized it perfectly. The method is work your butt off and show up or show up and work your butt off. That’s it. I don’t know. I mean, there’s probably been something, but I can’t think of something off the top of my head that I had a passion for that I put my mind to that when I showed up, I didn’t learn, I didn’t grow, I didn’t get better at and didn’t achieve. That’s the key. I mean, the limiting belief that a lot of people have is that even if I do show up, I’m not going to be any good at it and I’m not going to be able to do this, I’m not going to be able to do that, and I’m going to fail. Well, I don’t know who said it, Michael Jordan, somebody said, “you’re going to miss every shot that you don’t take.” So get in there, take your shot, see what happens, learn, get better, fail if you got to, but learn from your failures. So that’s what I did. That’s the thing and it works.

David:
I think there’s a beautiful combination of raising your standard, what you expect of yourself. So how that would’ve looked like for you is you showed up early to practice, you worked harder than everyone else did, you studied the plays when you were at home. What you expected of yourself, you were constantly raising the bar. But what result you expected, you’re always lowering the bar. So lower your expectations, but raise your standard.
You didn’t have an expectation that you should be starting on that team, otherwise you would’ve quit because now you’re not hitting your goal, right, like you said, a lot of people think, well, I’m going to suck at it. Well, that means you have an expectation that you should walk in and be good right off the bat, and that’s the part you have to lower. You can’t expect to be successful right away. But you can raise your standard, which will actually increase the success. And I think the people that figure out how to pull those two things, like increase the flame of your standard and then lower the flame of your expectation, will be successful. So when you talk, that’s really like the pattern that I recognize that was in your mindset that led you to getting to this point here.

Nolan:
Absolutely. Absolutely. It all started with the first step. It all started with being in the right place and taking that first step. With real estate, I didn’t know anything. The first step is sign up for the real estate course. Right. And then, that progresses, then you get into investing. The first step is listen to a podcast. It’s such an easy first step. And then, once you learn enough, take that next first step, make an offer. And then, the next first step, get a deal. So it’s a series of first steps that you just got to be willing to take and showing up.

David:
So let’s reverse engineer how you’re actually getting these deals, from what you look for in the end and then we’ll go all the way back to what the first step would be. When you’re sourcing a deal, what are you looking for in that deal?

Nolan:
Gotcha. Well, initially, because I really didn’t know any better, I was looking on-market. And I did find one on-market and it was great and it turned out to be fantastic. But since then, I’ve realized that the gold is very deep so I have started looking off-market for myself and even for clients too, but for myself. And I’ve kind of got some steps that I kind of follow if you want me to get into that. So I’ve probably got six steps. Is that good?

David:
Yeah, let’s hear them.

Nolan:
All right. So I’ve got six steps for finding off-market deals and this is what I do, I follow this system, I do this and it’s paid off big time and we can talk about how it’s paid off. So the first thing is finding the property. It seems overly simplistic to say finding the property, but a lot of people ask me, “Hey, where do I find deals? What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?” And you just got to get out there and hustle. So what I usually do is because I’m in the real estate industry anyways, I’m always driving around, if I see a dumpy house, I’ll just write down the address. I’ll take a picture of it, write down the address. Okay. So that’s the first super simple step that anybody listening to this podcast can do. Right.
Second thing I do is I will look it up in qPublic. I’ll look that address up in qPublic. I don’t know what it is everywhere, but in Georgia, it’s called qPublic. It’s the tax assessors website. A friend once told me, actually, the friend that introduced me to real estate said, “qPublic will become your best friend.” And I didn’t know what he was talking about, but I do now. So usually, these dumpy houses are not people’s primary residents. Right. So when you look up the property in qPublic or in the tax records, you’re going to find so and so owns it and their address is not that address, their primary address is not that address. So that’s step two, I look up the property.
Step three is I will write a handwritten note to that address explaining who I am. And it’s a simple note, it’s something like, “Hey, this is Nolan. I’m a local investor in the area. I’ve noticed your house several times and I was just curious if you’ve got any plans for it. I would love to buy it. I’d love to talk to you about what your needs are for it.” Right. And I do that all on just a little easy, simple card that I ordered off Shutterfly for 50% off. And I send that off. I’ll send it to them. A lot of times I’ll send three or four.
And then the next step happens, I will call them. All right. The reason I send the card first rather than call first is because I want to turn a cold lead into a warm lead. So whenever I get on whitepages.com and look up the owner of that house, I can find some sort of phone number and then I’ll just dial and dial and dial until I actually get that person. And I’ll say, “Hey, I’m Nolan. I’m the one that has been mailing you cards. I hope you’ve gotten them and had a chance to read them. I just wanted to followup with those and see where you’re at with that property.” Right. And I think there’s magic there because people hate cold calling so make it to where it’s not cold for you, warm up the leads for yourself.

David:
Yeah. Meaning you have something you can refer to, “I’ve been sending you note cards.” And where are you finding their phone number to get that information?

Nolan:
Really, I pay $5 a month and get a whitepages.com subscription. And then, whenever I find their name in qPublic, I will punch that name into whitepages.com that I pay $5 a month for and it’ll spit out every phone number that’s been associated with them. It’ll even give their mother in-law and sister’s and everybody else’s phone number so you might have to dial 15 people till you get the right person, but eventually, you’ll get the right person. So it’s probably the best $5 I spend every month.

David:
I haven’t heard that before. So step four is get their number from Whitepages and call using the name you got from step two.

Nolan:
That’s right. That’s exactly right. And then it’s just build rapport, find out what their needs are and keep following up. Usually, the first time you talk to somebody, they’re not going to sell you a house or sell you a property, it takes time, it takes building a relationship, it takes finding out what they need.
I’ve discovered that a lot of people or, well, a few recently, have been recently widowed and they’ve now gotten 10 to 15 properties in their name and they just don’t really understand what to do with them, they don’t quite know what they’re going to do and whatever. So I’m there to say, “Here’s a couple of options, you can sell them all now, you can sell them later, you can defer taxes by doing this or this or this.” I’m offering some sort of value to them and not expecting anything in return. It’s great if something comes back to me, but trying to help them out as much as possible. So the fifth is followup. And then, the sixth thing is just start making offers, start making offers. These people might not be interested in selling first, but take two or three offers to them and eventually, like in my case, eventually they say, “All right, we’ll sell.”

David:
So what was the purpose of step five? Is step five just to build a relationship, basically, before you hit them with the offer?

Nolan:
That’s right. Yep. Follow up. I don’t want to be the guy that’s on the commercial saying, “Hey, I’ll buy your house, I’ll buy your house,” type thing. “We’ll buy your…” whatever, “cash, sight-unseen,” this and that.

David:
That’s such a good point. Here’s the problem that I find with lists, people that are drawn to like “give me the six steps to do” are typically trying to get from step one to six as fast and as efficient as possible without thinking about how to be excellent at those steps, if that makes sense. And so, they would normally skip five, they would get the number they would call them and say, “Here, write an offer on your house.” And when you hear someone use the phrase, “it’s a numbers game, it’s a numbers game” at times, yes, it is a numbers game like you said, “you got to shoot the ball if you want to score.” But there’s also such thing as good shots and bad shots. Sometimes the numbers work against you and you’re just wasting energy and not getting anywhere.
So what I like about this is that before you let yourself take the shot and make the offer, you warm them up, you break down the defense, you try to get open, you try to move the ball around and get other players open. And then, the right shot makes itself known. That’s a really big step, everybody, is don’t just skip right to what you think is the end result, take some time to build a relationship with that person, feel them out. Let them see you’re not the same as the, “Hey, hey, hey, I buy houses right now. Call 1800 I buy houses and I’ll buy your house” guy.

Nolan:
Yeah. And another thing that I can do, that I can offer that a lot of people can’t is if they don’t like the offer that I’m giving them, saying, “Well, I completely understand. That’s a normal thing. You want to see what the top dollar you can get for it, I get it. And I can help you that way too because I’m an agent.” So I’ve actually done that before where I kind of tell them who I am and what I’m about. They tell me their needs, they tell me their wants, and I know it’s not going to workout for my numbers and I’ll say, “Well, you know what? I think I can get you that number.” And then, obviously, that leads into a different side of the business, but it provides a service to them that not everybody can offer.

David:
Where your heart’s at is that, yeah, you want to get a deal if you can get it, but you also want to help the other person if you can’t. It’s not, “Oh…” What I’d say is the wrong attitude to have is “is this apple ripe?” If it’s not, I just move on. I’m only looking for ripe apples. I think the people that run a better business say this apple’s not ready to be picked yet so I’m going to nurture it for a while. I’m going to keep feeding it. I’m going to keep watering it. I’m going to keep shading it, making sure it gets what it needs. And then, when it’s ripe, I’ll be the first one to pick it because I got a relationship with that apple.

Nolan:
Yep. Exactly.

David:
Okay. Are most of your deals coming from this kind of like off-market method that you’ve got here?

Nolan:
Pretty much. The first deal I got was on-market, but the big deal that has kind of given me the confidence and changed my mindset was definitely an off-market deal, which is a story in itself, I’d love to get into it, but yeah, I’d say I’m focusing 85% now on off-market.

David:
Okay. So go ahead and tell the story that you were thinking about. That’d be [crosstalk 00:26:57].

Nolan:
Okay. Sure. Yeah. So as an agent, I’m always driving around, well, this one thing particular house I kept seeing, in fact, it’s right across the street from our office in Commerce, it’s the stereotypical house that’s been abandoned, trees growing up in front of it, you could hardly see the house from the road, that type of thing. So I did what I just explained. I did the six steps. I looked the person up in qPublic. I wrote cards. I did this. I did that. Called, still nothing, no answer to the cards, no answer to the phone calls.
Well, I thought, “You know what? I know where this guy lives. I know who the owner is. I’m just going to go knock on the door.” So I printed up an offer, I printed up an offer for 70,000 cash for this house. Went, knocked on the door, told him who I was, introduced myself, kind of built a little rapport and said, “You know what? So I would love to buy that house. I haven’t been in it. I haven’t seen it. I don’t know what your plans are, but here’s an offer just in case you would be interested in selling.” Well, the offer was 70,000, he looked at it and said no. And I was like, “All right. Well, that’s fine. I completely understand, not a problem. I’ll check back with you.” this and that.
And because I had done my research and I knew that he had at least one more property that he was paying taxes on, but I hadn’t looked into it, before I left, I said, “I know you’re not interested in selling this, but do you have any other properties that you might be interested in selling,” knowing that he had at least one. And he said, “Yeah, I do.” He said, “but it’s a 14-unit apartment building and it’s in terrible shape, terrible tenants. And you probably don’t want that, but I’d be willing to talk about that.” And of course, my head almost explodes. I’m like, “Yeah. Yeah, I am interested. I’m definitely interested.” So I said, “All right, well, I’ll drive by it and I’ll take a look at it,” knowing that I didn’t need to drive by, I didn’t need to look at it.
So I said, “Yeah, I’d be interested.” I tried to reach out again, again, again, again, no answer, no answer. And finally, this guy’s son calls me and said, “Hey, this is Ken. I’ve been getting your cards. I’ve been meaning to call you. My dad said he’s ready to sell.” So I said, “All right, well, let’s talk.” And we went back and forth. And at the time, I thought, “Well, I’m going to have to pay cash for these. There’s no way that I can pay more than like 400 grand for this.” So I offered and he countered at 600 just for the apartments. And I was like, “Well, dang, I can’t come up with 600,000.” I said, “What about 450?” And we kind of went back and forth and he was hard on six. And I said, “You know what? You own these free and clear, what if I just paid you monthly and we did owner financing?” And he agreed to it. So long story short, I got the house and the apartments for 625, 90% owner financing.

David:
Yeah. That’s awesome. And you believe you were able to do that because it was off-market and you were really the only person negotiating with the seller. Right?

Nolan:
Yeah. That’s the number that they threw out too. It was one of those things where it was, “You know what? That’s what they want, that’s what I’ll give for it and let’s make it happen.” So that’s the biggest deal that I’ve gotten so far and that’s kind of what I’m excited about because now that’s going to leverage me into being able to buy bigger deals from here on out.

David:
So how are you managing that 14-unit apartment with the house?

Nolan:
Property manager. So I listened to enough BiggerPockets Podcasts before I even bought my first deal to know that if I want this to be truly passive, which is part of the reason I got into investing anyways is because I needed it to be passive in case something were to happen, and I knew, for this to be truly passive, I need property management. So from the very first deal I got, which was a triplex, from the very first one, I did property management. So my property manager handles everything.

David:
All right. And then, how do you have that set up? Do you mind sharing what you’re paying them, how the compensation works and when there’s a problem, are they just taking care of it, are they coming to you first?

Nolan:
Yeah. So I’m kind of in a good position because the team I work for, the team leader has a brokerage that is also like a sister brokerage, property management. So I get a great deal. I get like 6% on the apartments and 7% on the others for property management. So that’s what I pay for property management. So they do 6% of the gross rent plus there’s, I think, the first month rent of every lease. So that’s what I do. And then, the property manager will check with me first if it’s something that she thinks that I might be able to get my brother over to fix, but otherwise, she’ll just call somebody and have it fixed herself.

David:
Right. So it can really be that simple, is you find the property manager and you explain, “Hey, if it’s something my brother can fix, call him first. If he says no, then send somebody out.” And then, they just bill you for it. Right?

Nolan:
That’s right. And I’ve built into my numbers, I’ve listened and learned enough from you guys that I built into my numbers to set aside money for repairs and CapEx and maintenance and taxes and the whole nine yards. So that’s all accounted for before something happens.

David:
So I know, one of your philosophies is that “there’s gold all around us, but it’s not sitting at the surface level, if it was, somebody else would’ve picked it up. You actually got to dig a little bit to get to it.” Can you kind of expand on your belief system with that when it comes to finding deals?

Nolan:
Sure. Well, I kind of explained a little bit about how I find these deals where they’re off-market and whatever, but you can actually dig and find gold on-market. I’ve actually done one, and I’ve done a couple for clients where, for some reason, something in the MLS is not quite right. And you guys have talked about this before so this isn’t super new to anybody, but it is always good to hear. The first thing I’ll look at is days on market. I’ll just narrow down my search to things that have been on the market for 60 days or more. And then I’ll look on market for terrible pictures or no pictures. There are ways to find deals everywhere. A lot of people say, “Well, there’s no deals on-market.” Well, yes, there are, there absolutely are.
And one of the flips I did… And this was not one of the reasons why I don’t like doing flips. But anyways, I got a flip deal on-market that was listed at 78,000. I offered 48,000 because it had terrible pictures and it had been on-market for a hundred and something days. And I thought 48,000, well, we’ll just see what happens. And they accepted it. So unfortunately, it was in a different town and I’ve learned not to invest or try to do a flip that far away. But that was just a simple… It took me 30 seconds to filter out a search and there it was, made an offer and it got accepted. And it’s the same as with off-market deals, there’s things everywhere. Just have conversations, talk to people, tell them what you’re doing, tell them you’re looking for, and you’d be surprised at what’s out there.

David:
So what about this triplex that you got in December that you ended up [inaudible 00:33:46]? Can you tell us how you found that one and how that worked out?

Nolan:
Yeah, exactly. So this was another one of those on-market hidden gem. So the triplex was a part of a bigger deal, initially, that was listed like 399. And in our area, a dumpy triplex and a couple dumpy houses for 399 just wasn’t that great of a deal. I mean, it could have worked, but it wasn’t an attention grabber. So the agent, in order to try to get this thing to move, separated two houses off of the listing and then listed the triplex by itself, well, it was actually a fourplex, but listed it by itself. So it went from 399 in the MLS to all of a sudden being $125,000 fourplex.
And because I was kind of plugged into the MLS and knowing what was going on, hunting things every single day, I saw this come up, I called the agent and said, “Hey, what do I need to do to get in this house? I need to see it quick.” He’s like, “Well, the owner’s over there showing some other people, you can jump in the showing.” So I went over there and by the time I got there, there were five other investors. And I took one look at it and kind of slowly backed up out of the tour that the owner was giving the other guys. And I called the agent and said, “All right, I want to do it.”
And strangely enough, I didn’t have any money at that time. So I called some folks that I’d had conversations with before about investing and said, “Hey, I found this property, do y’all want to do it?” And they were like, “Well, I don’t know. We want to do some flip. We want to make quick money.” I was like, “Look, get it under contract. I’ll find the money and the due diligence.” So we had a seven-day due diligence, we got it under contract, seven-day due diligence. And in that time, I called a friend that I went to college with who’s now my business partner and said, “Hey, you know how you’ve been talking about wanting to get into investing?” I said, “I found a gold mine.” I said, “Let’s do it.” So we did it. We came up with the 20% down payment on a hard money loan, which for a first time investor, not knowing what they were really doing, it was kind of tricky, but it worked out.
Got a hard money loan, went in, closed the thing, fixed it up. It was a beautiful, perfect BRRRR. But yeah, that’s on-market deal.

David:
Well, tell me, what did the rehab look like? How much did you spend and what’d you have to [inaudible 00:36:02]?

Nolan:
Yeah. So the purchase price, the MLS listed it at 125, we ended up getting it under contract for 122.5. So we did a hard money loan so we had to come up with 20% of the purchase price. Right?

David:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nolan:
The hard money lender would land up to 80% of the projected ARV. So basically, we had 25 down into it. Right. And then, we had a budget of, roughly, if we needed it, 170-something. Okay. And we had to do the draw process, which I was not aware of. And for those of you who don’t know what the draw process is, if you get a hard money loan, sometimes, in order to get the money for the rehab, because they’ll also fund the rehab, in order to get the money for the rehab, you have to do the work first, have an inspector come out and inspect the work that was done and they reimburse you. I didn’t know that. So me and my partner put down 25,000 thinking that, “Okay, now we’ll get a check for 50 grand for the rehab,” and it just didn’t happen. And in fact, we had to pay the inspector $300 to come out and inspect to cut us a check.
But we ended up putting about 50,000 into it. We put 50,000 rehab into it and when we were done with it and had it rented out, the ARV, it appraised at 242. So we did a cash-out refi of 70%, and pretty much got all our money back. We left in 17,000, but cash flow is 1200 a month so our cash-on-cash is about 85% for the first year.

David:
Can you share what you did in that rehab?

Nolan:
So this was the house built in like 1906. So it was four units and the upstairs was unlivable. The windows were busted out. There was no kitchen. There were a couple bathrooms. So what we did is we combined the upper two units. We had to put a new wire. We rewired the whole property because it was the knob-and-tube and cloth wires and all that kind of stuff. We rewired the whole thing. We put HVAC in the whole house. We painted. We cleaned. We made the upstairs two units into one three-bedroom, two bath unit. New toilets, new vanities, new kitchen sinks, new water heaters, everything. The bottom two units, one unit was somebody who probably smoked three or four packs a day inside so the windows were just so grimy of smoke and it smelled terrible. We went in there, repainted, new floors, new carpet, everything, the whole nine yards. So it was pretty much everything, but the roof.

David:
So cosmetic, complete remodel, electrical included, no roof-

Nolan:
HVAC.

David:
HVAC?

Nolan:
Yeah.

David:
You had to do HVAC? Okay. And then did you add any square footage to it at all?

Nolan:
No. We didn’t have any square footage, we just made what was there livable.

David:
There you go. And then, once it was done, what did it appraise for?

Nolan:
It appraised for $242,000. The appraiser, to come out and give us the hard money loan, initially, they projected it to be 230, but the actual ARV was 242.

David:
Perfect. So you bought it at 122. You spent how much on the rehab?

Nolan:
About 50,000.

David:
So 122 plus 50 puts you a little under 175. And then, it came out at 242, you said?

Nolan:
Yep.

David:
And did they let you borrow 80% loan-to-value?

Nolan:
70%. We did a cash-out refi, 70%.

David:
So that’s amazing that you only got 70% and you still got more than the money that you had put in. So you pulled out just under 170 and you were all in for… What did did we say it was? 122? Yeah. So you basically, like left a tiny bit of money in there, maybe, at a 70% ARV. So you had a lot of equity and I bet now if you wanted to, in six months or so, you could probably refinance, get all that money back out, get more than you put into it and it was still cash flow. Right?

Nolan:
For sure. For sure. And you mentioned only having 70% pulled out, I ran my numbers at 70%. Everything I do now, the numbers are run super, super conservative because I want to give myself that cushion. I don’t want to think, “Well, the numbers will only work at 80% cash-out refi.” And then, all of a sudden, you can only get 75 or 70 or whatever. So I ran my numbers conservatively, like super conservative in the first place. So when I was only able to pull 70% out, partly because it was my first deal and cash on hand, a lot of different factors, but it didn’t catch me off guard, I was prepared for it.

David:
And you mentioned it was a fourplex, but before that you called it a triplex, was there some like disagreement over that one unit or was it just marketed improperly?

Nolan:
It was originally a fourplex, but it was a funky layout upstairs. So one of the units would have to walk out into the hall to use a bathroom. And the other unit had a bathroom en suite, I guess. So we thought, “Well, there’s a demand for 3/2 so let’s just make this whole upstairs one unit instead of having one unit that’s normal and one awkward unit.”

David:
Or having to build a bathroom somewhere in there which can be really expensive.

Nolan:
Sure.

David:
Okay. Gotcha. And then, what do each of those units rent for?

Nolan:
Let’s see, the upstairs rents for 1250 and that’s a 3/2. One of the units downstairs rents for 850. And one of the units or the other downstairs unit which is a 1/1, both are downstairs, the 1/1s, and it now rents for 650.

David:
Okay. And then, what city is this in again in Georgia?

Nolan:
Commerce, Georgia. Come on, everybody come on to Commerce.

David:
Yeah, I know. You’re always nervous to say that. I remember when I first told people I’m buying in Jacksonville, Florida, it seemed about two months later that there was nothing on the MLS anymore, everybody flew there. I don’t know that’ll happen with you though. What do you ex-

Nolan:
You might be surprised, Commerce has got like nothing but distribution warehouses and manufacturing coming up the I-85 corridor, man. It’s a hot, hot place. People ought to come.

David:
So that was my next question. What do you expect to see rents doing over the next five years in that market?

Nolan:
There’s a huge battery plant from overseas being built, like millions of square feet. We’ve got 6,000 new jobs coming into town. You can go on the MLS right now, and there is probably one or zero rental units under $1,500 a month in that whole town. So in the next, I don’t know, several years, I mean, it is going to just be absolutely berserk trying to find rental units in Commerce.

David:
Yeah. And so, what’s funny is when you did your due diligence very conservatively, you may find in three years or so that whatever numbers you thought you’re working with are wildly different than what you’re at right now. And real estate tends to be you forgiving like that. It tends to skew so if you give yourself enough time, it plays in your favor. But for some reason, everybody, when we’re buying the deals, we always look at it with this worst case scenario goggle like, “Oh, what if this happens? What if that happens?” And those things will happen. Right. Like you play a basketball game, you’re going to have a turnover, you’re going to miss a shot, there’s going to be things that go wrong. But there’s usually way more things that go right when you’re good at playing the game and so it’s easy to forget that.

Nolan:
Yeah. I like to tell people that because I hear that, “Well, what if the housing market crash and you’re stuck with 19 or eventually a hundred units?” Well, I don’t want the housing market to crash for lots of different reasons, but if it does and people lose homes, they still have to have a place to live. They’re going to [inaudible 00:43:38] and I want to be there to be able to provide that service.

David:
And that’s what we saw in 2010 when everyone was losing their home. They didn’t just cease to exist. It wasn’t like Thanos snapped his fingers and the half of them disappeared, they still had to rent something. So you’ve got all these houses that are sitting vacant that are not owned by anyone, the bank owns them, and they’re not able to be rented, so the inventory has been decreased, but the demand has actually increased for renters because you had homeowners that now need a place to live. So if you owned a rental at that time, you were charging more for rent every single year. It was actually the best place to be during a crisis is the person that owns existing inventory.
Now, the value of the asset itself will go down. But that only matters if you’re planning to exit. If you’re not planning to exit, which is another great thing about real estate is I choose when I want to get out of that market. If it’s down, I don’t have to sell, I can just keep renting. It’s not like a stock that goes down and it’s useless to me until it goes back up.

Nolan:
Yep. A thousand percent right. I couldn’t agree more.

David:
So I know you have a story about how to get a good appraisal for a BRRRR you did. Can you share sort of like what your advice is for someone if they get a bad appraisal or how to navigate that process?

Nolan:
Well, here’s the thing. So, the appraisal went well, but I thought it was going to be a disaster. I did my due diligence on what appraisers look for and things that add value and things that don’t. The bathrooms add value. The half bathrooms add value. Remodeled kitchens add value. New roofs, et cetera, et cetera. So I knew all that. But what I did not factor into the picture was… And I don’t know if it would’ve made a difference anyways, but initially, this triplex that we had, we leased a unit to a tenant and we allowed, and partly because I didn’t know any better, but we allowed a tenant to pay a year in advance.

David:
Okay.

Nolan:
And this was before we had the appraisal for the cash-out refi. So for me, being the first deal, this was a big, big deal. Right. I didn’t want anything to happen. Well, we ran into this tenant who relapsed. He was an alcoholic and relapsed and was having major problems. We were having the cops called out there, what everybody’s nightmare investing situation is. Well, we had the cash-out refi appraisal scheduled for like four o’clock. And because we’d had some issues with this tenant, I was like, “Well, let me go early and make sure everything’s okay and make sure that the appraiser has everything he needs and everything’s in place and whatever.”
Well, I got there and the guy was passed out with the doors wide open, front door wide open, his door wide open. And I’m thinking, “Oh my goodness, is this guy dead in my unit right before the appraiser was coming?” He wasn’t. We called the paramedics and everything. And he ended up being okay and whatever. But I ended up having to clean his apartment, which was a mess. And I got done with that. I had some folks help me and I got done with the clean out of that apartment, or the cleanup, it wasn’t clean out, but the cleanup of that apartment about five minutes before the appraiser walked in, and he did not know any different. A.
Nd I walked around with the appraiser because I was curious as to what they were looking for, how they were going to measure square footage and all that kind of stuff. And he kept making a comment, he goes, “Man, this is old house and you did great with it.” So the whole time I’m thinking, “Dude, if you would’ve been here an hour ago.” But it turned out all right. And I learned kind of what they’re looking for and the things that add value and the things that don’t.

David:
Can you share a little bit about what the appraiser mentioned when you were there?

Nolan:
Yep. So condition of the property was big for him, the square footage, the livable square footage, right, and the bedrooms and bathrooms and all that kind of stuff. And because it was only a three-unit, they didn’t really take into account the cap rate and all that kind of stuff, which now the 14-unit will. But I learned that not all space that people live in is counted as livable space. Right. If it’s a partial basement, which this property wasn’t, but if it’s a partial basement, it doesn’t count as livable space, it doesn’t count as livable square footage. That’s one of those rules that I did not know and I know now. And whenever I’m looking at a property, I’ll take that into account. Because even though it might be income producing, let’s say you can rent out a basement, even though it could be income producing, it does not necessarily mean that it will reflect that in the appraisal.

David:
Yes. It doesn’t have the value in the appraisal like it would if you were selling that property to someone that was valuing it based on cash flow. And that gets tricky for real estate investors because you have to understand that there’s not one solid source of how you value a property. There’s what the appraisal says it’s worth, there’s what the market says it’s worth, there’s what a cash flow investor would pay for it, there’s what it’s worth to you, there’s what it’s worth to somebody else who just did a 1031 and has to stick 300 grand somewhere quick otherwise they’re getting taxed on it and they’re going to pay more than you. And you kind of have to understand how all those pieces are playing to determine like why a property that you think should sell for less is selling for more or vice versa.

Nolan:
Yeah. And for me, knowing that I wanted to pull all the money out, I still do, I want to pull all the money out because I want to recycle that and scale up with it, that’s the thing that I take into account now is I make sure that all of it would be counted livable space in an appraisal.

David:
All right. So tell me, Nolan, what is your “why”? What is driving you to accumulate these properties that you are right now?

Nolan:
Well, initially, my “why” was, if something happens to me where I’m not able to work anymore… Because as a real estate agent, if you’re not working, you’re not making money, if you’re not out there hustling, it ain’t happening. And I knew, even though I’m doing fantastic right now, I’ve never felt better in my entire life, I knew that if something happens and I can’t get out there and hustle like I’m hustling now, then it might put my wife in a tough situation where she’s got to… feels the burden of all the bills and whatever. So initially, my “why” was so that if something happens to me, we’ll always have income coming in or she’ll always have income coming in.
And that’s still my “why,” but now, I feel like I’ve got magic in a bottle right now and I want my whole family to benefit from that. And I moved my brother from Wyoming to help with the business and he’s getting it too now. What started out being just a way to like have some security if something were to happen to me is now transformed into an excitement and an enthusiasm to share this with as many people as I can and improve the lives of the folks I love and the folks I’m around.

David:
I think that’s awesome. I like that you called real estate “magic in a bottle” or “lightning in a bottle.” It’s that feeling of, “Man, where has this been my whole life?”

Nolan:
Yeah. And I like to say this too, before transplant, I felt like even though I did some fantastic things and exciting things and I accomplished a lot, before transplant, my life was like watching a black and white movie, my life was in black and white. Since transplant, and since I’ve gotten into this career that I absolutely love and might even do if I didn’t make money because I just enjoy it, my life went from being black and white to now being in color. And it shifts that perspective so much that I don’t wake up every morning thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to go to work” or “Oh, whatever.” Now it’s like, “Oh my goodness, this is exciting. Let’s go see what we can find today” or “let’s go see what we can accomplish today.” And I think that’s infectious and it’s catching on. A lot of people in my circle are getting excited about it too.

David:
Well, that is awesome. I’m glad that we were able to sort of catch some of that infectious delight here on the podcast. Before I let you get out of here, I am going to take us to the last segment of our show. It is the…

Singers:
Famous Four…

David:
… where we ask every guest the same four questions every week. So question number one, what is your favorite real estate book?

Nolan:
My favorite real estate book right now is the Multifamily Millionaire by Brian Murray and Brandon Turner. And I’ll explain why it’s that right now because of this 15-unit apartment building, what I used to think might be impossible is now possible, like my mind shift has changed. Now that I understand it’s possible, I got to figure out how to do it. And that’s the thing that this book has been teaching me and I can’t get enough of it right now.

David:
I like that. He’s got a T-shirt on that says, “Brandon Turner is my bad best friend.” Apparently, I’ve got a lot of competition out there in the world right now for best friend of Brandon Turner.

Nolan:
Yeah. I almost crossed it out and put “David Green is my best friend” because Brandon’s not here.

David:
Yeah, that’s a good question. Why are there not those T-shirts floating around [crosstalk 00:52:22] anywhere? Clear case of Brandon bias, that’s what I’m going to say. All right. What is your favorite business book?

Nolan:
Favorite business book is Rich Dad Poor Dad. I would not be in this position today if it were not for that book. Early on, when I was listening to the BiggerPockets Podcast and starting to get this itch to get into investing, almost every single person said Rich Dad Poor Dad was one of their two favorite books. So I picked up Rich Dad Poor Dad and I understand why. It changed my whole paradigm. And I don’t want to say it changed my life completely, but it did a huge number in shifting my mindset.

David:
Well, there’s something powerful about that, right, because you mentioned, before the transplant in your life, BTP, everything was sort of black and white and then afterwards, it was color. And I’ve had experiences like that in life as well and they’re usually tied to, at least in my case, like hitting a new realm, a new dimension or just unleashing emotions, is before that, I was operating a certain way emotionally and then I had a relationship or an experience or something that opened my eyes to a whole new side of life. And it is like color’s introduced. Right.
And I’m sure, in some way, it was similar for you because you have to have a different range of emotions that you’re operating underneath now that you got this new chance at life and this new career that you love. And books like Rich Dad Poor Dad, or like really wise speakers, like CS Lewis was one of those people for me, absolutely change… They don’t change the world, they change the way I see the world, but it might as well have been changing the world because my experience, if you put a different lens on me, it’s like I was wearing a pair of sunglasses where everything looked yellow and now I’m wearing a pair that everything looks blue or something. It is a completely different experience that you’re having and that’s why that book, I think, is so impactful to so many people is it does click into place a new lens that you’re perceiving everything through.

Nolan:
Yep. It’s quite a difference from the books that I was reading about preparing for death before transplant, because believe it or not, I read a book on how to cope with the dying process. And now-

David:
Whew, that’s a heavy book.

Nolan:
The first book I read after transplant was that and-

David:
Awesome. Well, if you want to hear more from the author of that book, Brandon and I interviewed him on episode 500 of this here podcast. All right, next question, what are some of your hobbies?

Nolan:
If you don’t count real estate because I enjoy real estate and I enjoy doing it, I consider it, partially, a hobby. But my hobbies are traveling out West with my wife, hiking, fly fishing. One of these days we’ll have a cabin out in Colorado where we can just go and that’ll be base camp.

David:
Yes. I’m actually looking to buy a cabin probably in the Smoky Mountains, I’m open to other places where I can have like a retreat set up where I can take a big group of people there and put together like a weekend getaway where we talk about mindset, struggles we’re having, maybe like business planning, more so than just tactical, like the six steps of being successful. We can get into deeper things. That’s one of the visions that I have for 2022 is trying to figure out how to get like an accumulation of those properties across the country, run them as short term rentals when I’m not using them. But when I am using them, put events together where we can sort of like get into that place where, I guess, what you said, bring color into people’s black and white life.

Nolan:
I like it. I like it. I’m only an hour and a half from the Smokys, let’s talk.

David:
All right. We should talk. Yeah, that’s another great thing about the South, right, everything’s close. Ever since I went to New Orleans for BPCON, I’ve been really, really enjoying the South. Although, I only see the awesome parts of it, right, like I’m sure the rest of Louisiana isn’t as great as New Orleans is.

Nolan:
Pretty hot.

David:
All right. Second to last question, in your opinion, what sets apart successful investors from those who give up fail or never get started?

Nolan:
I think it is the courage to take action when you don’t have all of the answers ahead of time. I think that’s a difference.

David:
You know why I think that many people that are good in real estate investing came from… There’s certain backgrounds that you see a lot of them came from, an athletic background is absolutely one of them. Part of it specifically for basketball players is when you are playing basketball, you’re trying to beat the guy in front of you, you’re trying to get past him. And you don’t know where the help defense is going to come from. Okay. And the way you get good at basketball is by beating your guy, seeing where the defense is coming over to stop you and then finding the open man from there. And you never know who’s going to be open when you make your move. Your brain almost has to just accept, “I don’t know how this is going to work out. It’s going to change very quickly, but I’ve trained myself to read this and then combine that with movements my body has to make to deliver the ball where it has to go.” And it almost becomes like…
What makes basketball so fun is you got to think so quickly. You get past your guy, it feels good. Boom, the defender’s coming over. “If I pass it to that player, he’s not a good shooter, he’s very far away from the basket, I don’t want to do it. If I pass it to that player, he’s very short, he’s too close to the basket. That’s bad also. That’s the perfect guy to throw it to.” And it all happens in a split second, and the ball’s moving. And I think that translates well into this world of business where we don’t know what’s going to happen on step three or four when we take step one. You just got to have confidence that when step three or four comes, you’ll make a good decision. Would you agree with that, Nolan?

Nolan:
Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s why there’s so much repetition that goes into basketball practice and I think it translates to real estate, repetition, repetition, repetition. If you run the numbers for deals five or six times every night, then in two months, whenever that deal pops up and you’ve got it memorized, it’s almost like a no-look backdoor bounce pass that you know is going to be there.

David:
It’s like when you’re practicing layup drills, what you’re really doing… Because it would look very simple to someone watching. “Why are you practicing layups?” You’re actually training the coordination of your body to practice dribbling a ball, picking it up, taking two steps. And those two steps are going to be at different speeds, at different lengths, they might even now, with the Euro step, be in different directions. There’s a lot that’s… Your body’s trying to navigate in what looks like something that’s very simple. But when you can do it subconsciously, now when you see that open lane, bam, you’re on it. It’s just like when a deal crosses your plate, you’ve been patient, boom, you’re on it. If you don’t have that footwork down, when you see the open lane, your brain has to sort of stop and navigate. “If I hit that lane, how am I going to handle the footwork to actually get to the rim? And will it take me too long?” And by the time you figured it out, that lane is closed.
You’re right, there’s a lot of really similar approaches. And so, practicing those fundamentals, practicing building your confidence to where a deal comes your way and you can analyze it without thinking. And guys, it does get to that point. I barely even have to pull out the calculator, in most cases, when I’m looking at a deal, because I know how it’s going to shake out. It does give you that confidence to be aggressive when the opportunity comes.

Nolan:
And just like if you have to hesitate when that guy gets open to make the pass, he’s not open anymore. If you have to hesitate with that deal, it is not going to be available anymore.

David:
Yes. You are so right. And you told a story where you went in and a broker or an agent was showing the property, and you said, I slowly backed out and called my agent. Those people looking at that house were the ones who hesitated to make the play. They were like, “Ooh, let’s look at it. Let me think about it. Let me run my options. Maybe I need to make a phone call to figure something out.” Meanwhile, you backed out and you’re aggressively putting pieces in place to get that deal.
That’s why we tell people to analyze deals and to get familiar because your competition is Nolan, your competition is someone who’s been out there that’s been practicing, practicing, practicing and when he sees that open player, he sees that lane, he’s immediately jumping on it. And if you’re like, “Oh, I better figure out how to do a layup, there’s an open lane,” it’s too late, someone else is going to get there.

Nolan:
Yep. A hundred percent.

David:
All right. Well, this has been a great conversation, Nolan. I really appreciate you sharing it. My last question for you is where can people find out more about you?

Nolan:
They can find out more about me. I’ve got a website, gottliebpropertiesga, like Georgia, .com or on Instagram, NolanG20. I’m on BiggerPockets and Facebook too so anywhere.

David:
Right on. If you’re an Instagrammer, go follow him at NolanG20. Follow me at DavidGreen24. And follow BiggerPockets at BiggerPockets. Nolan, anything you want to leave us with before we get you out of here?

Nolan:
I appreciate the opportunity. And if I can do this, anybody can do this. I did not know what a mortgage was. Get out there and hustle and get it done.

David:
All right. Thank you very much my man. This is David Green for Nolan “Find that Gold” Gottlieb, signing off.

 

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How to accomplish your goals, even if you start at a severe disadvantage
  • Why passive income sources far outweigh one-time profits
  • The six steps to finding profitable, undervalued off-market properties 
  • Taking down a fourteen unit apartment building as a rookie
  • What appraisers look for when going through your property
  • Discovering your “why” behind investing in real estate
  • And So Much More!

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