Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice

Meet the Investors: Full-Time Pilot & Long-Distance BRRRR Investor Frank Culick

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics
35 Articles Written

Meet my buddy Frank Culick. We have been investing together for a few years.

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I recently met up with Frank at an airport, where he flew in to record an episode of “Meet the Investor” with me. I’m excited to share his story with you.

Frank and I met on the BiggerPockets Forums about five or six years ago. He wanted to do BRRRR, like a lot of people, and I had already been doing it. So, he asked me for some help, and of course, I shared everything I know with him.

The first time I met him, we went to go see a house, and he put an offer on it. I thought he was crazy at the time. We’ve done a bunch of deals together since, and he’s made a bunch of money.

It’s just a really, really important insight to say that at BiggerPockets, the podcast is fantastic, the articles are great, and the books are great. But investing in the community, in the people, and in those forums has tremendous returns on investment.

With that, let’s meet Frank.

The Investor

My name is Frank Culick. I’m a military C-17 cargo pilot, and I got involved in real estate about four years ago. This is my story.

I was deployed overseas with my job, and I was sitting down thinking about my future and how I could position myself so that I could be financially stable. I wanted to do something that was fun, something that was interesting, and something that you can use to help other people. So, I started looking into real estate.

I had family that was involved in it, and at the time, I had one property but didn’t have any clue what I was doing. So, I started investing in my education and started reading online, started looking at BiggerPockets simply through search engines. I read just about every article they had, listened to every podcast they had.

But I think the best thing that I got out of BiggerPockets was the networking that they provided. Their platform for networking is second to none out of any website or any book I’ve ever read.

Related: Building a One Page Financial Statement to Change Your Financial Future

And that’s why BiggerPockets was very integral in changing my life. If it wasn’t for the networking platform, I wouldn’t have met people like Alex. And without people like Alex that are on those forums, I would not be where I’m at today in real estate.

For those of you who are wondering, “What do I do? I’ve read the articles. I’ve listened to the podcasts.”

You’ve got to get in the forums! You’ve got to get into the networks. You’ve got to start talking and meeting with people if you really want to be successful.

Until you actually sit down and talk to someone face to face that has been there and is willing to help you—again, like Alex and the ones here in Fayetteville have with me—it makes your journey 10 times harder than it needs to be.

So, I’m going to explain to you how a full-time Air Force pilot is able to invest in real estate long-distance.


The Properties

I bought my first property about four and a half years ago. Again, I was on BiggerPockets. I was networking. I met some folks, met up with them for a late lunch, early dinner. Alex was there. And that was when my official real estate adventure began—when I actually knew what I was doing and got started.

They said, “Hey, we’ve got a property we can go look at.”

We went over to the property. We walked around it. We walked inside of it. It was in rough shape. And when I left, I was like, “Either I’m crazy or they know what they’re doing.”

The Numbers

I put in an offer that day. I got the house under contract for $43,000. We put about $12,000 in it. So, I was all-in for about $55,000. It rents for $825 a month.

That was the very first one. And what I learned out of that was not necessarily the finances of how that deal went together at the time. That’s what I thought was the most important thing. But as I look back, the number one important thing I got was the network. I found a network that worked for me.

Related: BRRRR Investing: The Ultimate Guide to the Buy-Rehab-Rent-Refinance-Repeat Strategy, Made Simple!

The number two most important thing I got out of that first deal was the formula.

I have a very, very demanding job. I will work anywhere between three hours a day to 14 hours a day (mostly 14 hours a day). And there are times where I’m out of the country for anywhere between 10 to 15 days. And at that time, I was doing that every single month—every single month I was gone that much. I was that busy, and I was having to live in one place that my real estate was in.

But yet, I was still an out-of-state investor. I was a long-distance investor. So, I had to put that formula together, put that network together, so that I could continue to invest in real estate.

That was the only way I was going to do it, and it’s worked for me ever since—figuring out that formula and putting that network to use so that I can continue working in real estate.

We just finished the rehab on another property. The numbers on this one were about $50,000 to get the house, and we had about $10,000 in the rehab. Not a super expensive rehab on this one, and it will rent for probably around $900 or so.

So, the numbers don’t look too bad, but it’s an awesome property. This is the formula that I look for: something that’s a 3-bed/2-bath and has a one-car garage or one-car carport or something of that nature.

And you just stick to that formula the best you can.

Advice to New Real Estate Investors

The big thing I want to tell you, or at least pass on to you from my perspective, to someone that might be thinking about whether they can do this is: I’m not trying to change my situation, per se.

I have a job that I love. I get to fly airplanes. That was my dream. But real estate provides me a means to build legacy wealth that I can pass along to generations. And whenever finances get in trouble or something else happens that’s unforeseen, I have a safety net.

Now, again, I’m not special. I didn’t go to school for this, but I had to invest a lot of time in my education. I had to invest a lot of time in my network.

I’m an introvert. It was very uncomfortable getting on a forum and asking people questions and asking them if they can meet. And what I realized on my second buy-and-hold property (because my first one was an Airbnb) is that I don’t have to do this alone. I can do this with someone else. And when you bring in those other people, it makes that first step, that first property that you get, that much easier.

So if I had to impart something, you’ve got to build your network. You’ve got to get other people to help you if you don’t think you can get across that finish line by yourself. And there are more people out there willing to help you than you’ll ever know.

My name is Frank Culick. I invest in real estate so I can fly airplanes. Have a good day!

What was your motivation for getting into real estate?

Let us know in the comments below.

Alex has spent his career in sales and finance industries and now invests in rental real estate along with working in the underwriting department at a bank in Las Vegas. Alex is an expert in long-d...
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    Dan DiFilippo Real Estate Broker from Fayetteville, NC
    Replied 16 days ago
    Good spotlight article, Alex!
    Cynthia Campos New to Real Estate from Orange County, CA
    Replied 16 days ago
    Great article! I will now be pushing myself to network within the BP Forums!
    Dan Allen Rental Property Investor from Raleigh, NC
    Replied 15 days ago
    Nice article and I really enjoyed the video!
    Carlos Garcia Investor from Florida
    Replied 14 days ago
    Great article, highlighting the importance of networking in order to build your dream team and get those great deals flowing in. And, of course, it is a two-way street, so we have to make sure it's a win win for everyone on the dream team.
    Brian Kohlsaat Aerospace Engineer from Denver, Colorado
    Replied 14 days ago
    I want to get into real estate so I can flight GA regularly while providing for a child with cystic fibrosis! Great article and thanks for sharing your story Frank.
    Patrick Tommins
    Replied 14 days ago
    Great article! This is exactly what I want to do, long distance BRRRR investing or possibly Airbnb.
    Femi Ibrahim from Dallas, Texas
    Replied 13 days ago
    Where do you get homes that are in the $40k-$70k range?
    Sean Rotbart Rental Property Investor
    Replied 12 days ago
    Frank / Alex - great highlight! Frank - how far away are you stationed that you're investing and rehabbing in Fayetteville? Are you paying cash or using banks to finance your deals? I'm fellow Air Force, and want to start doing EXACTLY what you're doing in a similar area. Keep it up man, you're crushing it!
    Brendan Harrison Rental Property Investor from Denver, CO
    Replied 5 days ago
    Great article, Alex! And Nice work, Frank! I’m a C-17 guy too. In the Reserves now but had a great time on active duty. Totally feel you there on the lifestyle. I am in agreement 100% that real estate is the best path to financial freedom and generational wealth! Cash flow has given me a lot of flexibility with my work/life balance (now that I’m off active duty). We took a month off last year and just bounced around New Zealand using our cash flow for the trip. It was a nice little reward for grinding it out in the RE game. Look forward to connecting, and keep up the great work!