BiggerPockets Podcast 119 with Graham Mink Transcript

Link to show: BP Podcast 119: From Pro Athlete to Pro Real Estate Entrepreneur with Graham Mink

Josh: This is the BiggerPockets podcast, show 119.

Graham: Wow! There’s other people that are doing this for a living. I can do this permanently. I can do this fulltime.

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.

Josh: What's going on everybody? This is Josh Dorkin, host of the BiggerPockets podcast. Here with my cohost, Mr. Adam Levine.

Brandon: Yes, you know, that’s me right there on the cover of Men’s Fitness. I don’t know if you guys have—obviously you can’t see this on you know listening on your iPod or whatever you’re listening on, but I’m holding up a picture of Adam Levine that was on the cover of Men’s Fitness and it looks identical, even the hair, identical to my host here, Josh Dorkin.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: I’m thinking like when I come out to Denver next week, we should like have you out on a, you know, tank top like this, and grow your beard out a little bit and do a BiggerPockets magazine with you just like this.

Josh: You just want to see me with my shirt off, right? Freakin’ me out.

Brandon: Alright, how are you doing? Other than that?

Josh: What’s up? This is Brandon by the way, my cohost.

Brandon: Hi, I’m Brandon, Josh’s cohost.

Josh: Hi Brandon.

Brandon: Hi, today’s show is awesome.

Josh: It’s a great show.

Brandon: I don’t say that word often, but this one is.

Josh: No, not enough.

Brandon: This one really is an awesome show.

Josh: It is a great show and since you talked about you being in town, we are looking forward to you coming into town in two days.

Brandon: Thank you.

Josh: You know, when this airs, it’ll have been like month or two.

Brandon: I’ll be back home and.

Josh: Yes, yes, yes, anyway, yes things are good man. All is well. February was another stellar month for BiggerPockets. I mean we are just churning at all cylinders, helping people left and right. I mean the success stories that we keep hearing about are unbelievable. It makes everybody here on the team ecstatic. I mean we really are really happy and thank you to everybody who is a part of our world and for participating, engaging, for sharing BiggerPockets, and with your friends and family and circles. Anyway, I’m just really happy at how things are going.

Brandon: Are you happy?

Josh: I’m happy.

Brandon: Alright, so anyways today’s show, we actually have a professional or ex-professional sport player who played a certain.

Josh: A sport player?

Brandon: Is that what you call it? I didn’t want to give away what he does.

Josh: I’ll strike you, Brandon.

Brandon: Thank you, thank you.

Josh: A sport player?

Brandon: Is that what you call it? Anyway, a.

Josh: An athlete.

Brandon: An ath—okay fine, a professional athlete. That’s much better.

Josh: Yes, there you go.

Brandon: He’s going to talk about how he, you know, got started with real estate and all that. Really good stuff, but before we do, let’s do today’s Quick Tip.

Josh: Quick Tip.

Brandon: Today’s Quick Tip is BiggerPockets is currently hiring for a number of positions if you guys want to work for BiggerPockets, go to BiggerPockets.com/Jobs especially if you’re in the Denver area, but even if not, check it out, see what’s available and maybe you can get a world class real estate education while working for a world class real estate, I don’t know, information.

Josh: Organization.

Brandon: Organization, sure.

Josh: There you go. There you go.

Brandon: I don’t know. Yes.

Josh: Yes, we’re pretty much going to be hiring.

Brandon: Forever.

Josh: Add in for autumn so yes. Great, awesome. Good quick tip. Very very good.

Brandon: Thank you.

Josh: Well, otherwise man, we’ve got today’s Pro Tip of the week. What is today’s Pro Tip of the week, Brandon?

Brandon: Today’s Pro Tip of the week is you can actually—I’ve said this before, but you can watch replays of all of the weekly webinars that we’ve done at BiggerPockets.com/ProReplay, BiggerPockets.com/ProReplay. You can, yes, check them out. We’ve done how to find, analyze, and finance a property, how to make a million dollars in real estate, how to—what else do we do? The top five.

Josh: Get in there. How to.

Brandon: Yes, yes.

Josh: Numbers.

Brandon: We did a bunch of different things.

Josh: How to buy small apartment complex.

Brandon: How to quit your job.

Josh: Yes, yes, awesome.

Brandon: Seven steps to get started.

Josh: More and more coming

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: Obviously, you know all of our webinars are free. You can go to BiggerPockets.com/Webinar and see what webinar’s coming up.

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: To get the replay, you know, weeks, you know any old archives and stuff you do need a Pro account so check that out. Awesome, well that leads us to today’s sponsor.

Brandon: Alright, this episode is brought to you by RealtyShares.com, Realty Shares is a real estate crowd funding platform that allows accredited investors to invest in pre-vetted real estate deals online so investors can browse and invest in both residential and commercial properties that yield returns of 8% to 16% annually as a RealtyShares member, you can also passively invest in professionally managed real estate investments and in a variety of asset types and geographies for as little as $5,000 all from the convenience of your living room so to learn more and to get started with a free account, visit RealtyShares.com/BiggerPockets. That’s RealtyShares.com/BiggerPockets.

Josh: Awesome. That was great.

Brandon: Alright, good deal, good deal. Let’s get on to the show. I think people are getting tired of hearing us talk about these pro sport players and let’s actually introduce our pro sport player.

Josh: Alright guys, today’s guest is Graham Mink. Graham is living in beautiful, rural, Vermont.

Brandon: Rural.

Josh: Yes and Grant, he’s done all sorts of really cool stuff, landlord. He’s done seller financing. He’s tried developing. He’s kind of tested the waters in lots of different ways and been successful in some and unsuccessful in others and it’s just fascinating to kind of hear a story and we had a whole heck of a lot of fun just chatting and making fun of each other on the show so it’s definitely a blast so with that, why don’t we bring him in and get this going.

Brandon: Alright, Graham, welcome to the show man. It’s good to have you.

Graham: Thanks for having me guys.

Brandon: No, it’s a privilege. It’s an honor for us to have you today because I am a hockey fan. At least I was a hockey.

Josh: You don’t even know what hockey is.

Brandon: I played hockey in my basement growing up, alright. I.

Josh: Home foam hockey?

Brandon: Mighty Ducks, greatest movie ever made. I mean, come on.

Josh: You just aged yourself. Suck it.

Graham: Getting older now, Brandon, you know.

Brandon: I know I’m no longer like kid anymore, now I’m like, I don’t know. Whatever, I’m old, 29. It’s a rough age. How old are you guys? Yes, we talked about that.

Josh: You and my mom are both 29. Interesting how that is.

Brandon: I will be 29 for the next like 40 years, yes, it.

Josh: Yes.

Graham: 30 is a depressing birthday. Let me tell you.

Brandon: Yes, I’m not looking forward to July, but it’s alright.

Josh: I got here until 40 so there you go.

Brandon: Nice, nice.

Graham: I’m 35 so I’m right in the middle of you guys so.

Josh: Nice, nice.

Brandon: Yes, okay. You’re still an old guy.

Josh: Cool.

Brandon: Alright, yes.

Josh: Graham, let me account to this because Brandon can’t get his act together here. You sir are an active real estate investor with kind of an interesting past, a little—I’d say a little more interesting because we live in this culture of sports here in America and we love sports and so you were a professional hockey player? Is that correct?

Graham: Yes, for 13 years. I played professional hockey. Mostly in the American Hockey League, which would be the equivalent of like Triple A.

Josh: Okay.

Graham: Baseball would be so you know, you’re not making millions like the NHL guys are, but you know you can make a good living there and it was a good experience for me and you know, I played seven games in the NHL for the Washington Capitals.

Josh: Nice.

Graham: Over the course of three seasons when I was in my mid 20s and you know, wasn’t able to crack the line up permanently, but I played with a lot of you know, excellent NHL players, a lot of good, you know, American Hockey League players and you know, very happy overall with my 13 years of professional hockey.

Josh: That’s awesome.

Brandon: That’s awesome. I think just one question that everybody wants to know and that is did you ever get in any fights? You know, like gloves?

Graham: I’ve gotten in a few fights.

Brandon: Okay good.

Graham: Some of them are online, but don’t judge me.

Josh: Oh, okay.

Graham: Don’t judge me by the fights.

Josh: We will—we will be putting those in the show notes. If we could find them.

Graham: That might affect my credibility as a real estate investor, but if.

Josh: Great everybody.

Graham: I don’t invest in real estate like I play hockey so that’s okay.

Josh: He’s the guy that you want on your side.

Graham: Yes, that’s me. We’ll see. We’ll see.

Josh: That’s awesome.

Graham: We have plenty of guests.

Brandon: I was going to say, right before the show today like we were doing something you know, like getting the questions together and I find that you have a Wikipedia page and I want to complain for a second because you have a Wikipedia page and BiggerPockets does not have a Wikipedia page. Can you believe that Josh?

Josh: I, you know I listen you’re trying to take away from Graham here a little bit and we’re not going to take away from Graham because Graham deserves a Wikipedia page. That said, BiggerPockets also deserves a Wikipedia page so if any of you listeners are Wikipedia editors or whatever they are, like you guys man, let’s get this thing up and running. Let’s get the podcast. We got all sorts of you know, I mean, we’ve had a ton of press so I mean, we’ve got enough to be on Wikipedia so if any of you guys are editors that would be—that would be cool, but yes.

Brandon: No shameless, Josh. Shameless.

Josh: Totally shameless and unplanned.

Graham: There’s a—you know I mean, there’s a lot of, you know, rabid hockey fans and a lot of great fans especially in the minor leagues. You know, those people live and die for their hockey and they love their players and they’re very supportive and I’m, you know, I’m very appreciative and a lot of hockey players are to have those fans otherwise there wouldn’t be a job.

Josh: Yes, yes so I don’t know if you’re willing to talk about this, I mean you were not getting rich playing hockey. I mean at the end of the day, you were kind of work—you know, working man type of guy. I mean and so you know, at some point there was this thing that checked in your brain that’s like, “Hey, I got to do something else.”

Graham: Yes.

Josh: Is that kind of how it went?

Graham: That’s exactly how it went. It—you know, I played professional hockey for three years and you know, what got me into real estate investing was one morning in the summertime. I woke up and I was just—I was sick of being broke, of not having anything, you know. Everything I owned could fit in the back of a you know, Blazer SUV.

You know, I would go to hockey, play, you know, we get paid over six months so you get a full year’s salary. In six months, I was making, you know, $40,000 a year at the time and you know, you get all that money, you’re 22 years old and you know it doesn’t. By the time you get to September, you know, there’s not a lot left over so I got sick of doing that and wanted to start you know, accumulating wealth on. I was in a different situation where, you know, I had another career that super intensive for six month and then for six months I kind of could do what I want. I can’t go get a real job, right? You can’t—no one is going to hire you for six months and.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: I was just really really frustrated one day and I was venting to my father who’s a—he’s a real—he’s an insurance agent in Stowe. He said, “You know what? I’ve been looking at the paper and there’s this three unit building in the town next to ours. Why don’t you go look at it?” Since it was coming from my father, I immediately rejected the idea.

Josh: Nice.

Graham: I was like, “No, it’s a terrible idea. I’m not doing that.” Then I slept on it. The next day I thought about it and I was like, “Sure, I’ll—let’s go look at it.” I had knew nothing about real estate, no clue if this was a good deal or a bad deal. It was 2004, summer of 2004 so things were kind of picking up and we went and looked at it.

Josh: Cool so and you said Stowe. That’s Stowe, Vermont, correct?

Graham: Yes, yes, Stowe, Vermont.

Josh: You are our first guest from the great state of Granite State, isn’t it? The Granite State of Vermont? Or is that no, New Hampshire.

Brandon: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Graham: Yes. I don’t know. I’m not up on the history book.

Josh: You live—you’re in the crack state over there, Brandon.

Graham: Yes, we’re in the Green Mountain State, Vermont.

Josh: Green Mountain State, yes whatever it is.

Graham: Yes, it’s close. We’re very small, I mean you talk about Podunk all of the time and Vermont, I mean we have 680,000 people and there’s greater metropolitan areas that have more than so.

Josh: There’s a lot of wealth in this state. I mean it’s not a poor state by any means.

Graham: No, no, I mean we have a lot of—we have a very strong tourist economy.

Josh: Yes.

Graham: It’s a great state for tourism and people come up. We’ve got, we’re close to Boston and New York City and you know, Philadelphia is not that far away.

Josh: Yes.

Graham: It’s a close drive. We love people to come up, spend their money and leave.

Josh: Nice, I love Vermont. It’s beautiful, man I spent a lot of time there as kid skiing and just exploring with the fam so.

Graham: Yes, it’s.

Josh: I love it.

Graham: If you haven’t visited, you should because it’s a different place. It really is. It’s very rural and there’s a lot of room and it’s comfortable. I like—I enjoy living here and I’ve lived a lot of places.

Josh: Yes, yes, alright so your dad tells you to go do something. You smack him around and finally you relent and go ahead and check out this property. Tell us about what happened then.

Graham: Well, we’ve—we called the listing agent and we set up a showing. We went and looked at it and it was three units and it was located in Morrisville, Vermont and which is a town next to Stowe. Stowe is a ski town. We’ve got you know—the—it’s the ski capital of the east. There’s a—it’s very expensive to live here. You know, houses are expensive and rental property is the same so went to Morrisville.

The threeplex was listed for $165,000, two of the units were rented, on wasn’t. It wasn’t on the, you know, there’s no like real good areas and bad areas here. There’s no like areas you need to avoid in Vermont. It’s very rural and safe and you know, everybody knows everybody, but there’s nicer streets and there’s not nicer streets. This is one of the—the not nicer streets at the time anyway and you know we ended up looking at it and I thought about it and looked at the numbers and I just said, “Sure let’s do it.” We made a full price offer and we bought it, which you know, all those things I would never do today, but it worked out at the time.

Brandon: Well.

Josh: The full price offer, $165K, what were the units renting for?

Graham: Ten years ago, I think I was getting like $800 a month for a three bedroom and then $750 for a two bedroom and then there was another two bedroom that I think was $750 so you know, this wasn’t. You know, I didn’t know anything about anything and I was just hoping to have a place to live in the summer time and then rent the other two units out. Kind of like a quasi-house hacking.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Type situation.

Josh: Nice.

Graham: It’s a—it worked out well and you know, the best part—I had bought it right in October, which is right when our season starts so I had to leave town so my dad was like, “I’ll find you a tenant.” Which is another big mistake.

Josh: Uh oh.

Graham: The first and last tenant he ever found for me, but.

Josh: Good job dad.

Graham: She lasted about four months and I don’t know, there was some—there wasn’t a good tenant, anyway so I bought it.

Josh: Tell us. Tell us, why. Come on. I mean, no I mean. Well, I—we kid, but like I mean it would be interesting because this is a show that we really have our listeners here. We want to teach people right?

Graham: Right, right.

Josh: What did your dad wrong? Who—you know, I don’t want their name, but like what happened?

Graham: I—you know, I’d—he didn’t—there was no screening. You know, it was just kind of put an ad in the paper and the first person that shows up and has a security deposit basically gets it. That was the first mistake and then.

Josh: Nice.

Graham: You know, there was no income verification, no background check, no credit checks, no—none of that stuff so you’re kind of just rolling the dice and you know, in my market anyway, you probably got 70%-80% of the market is—are decent tenants, decent renters and then you’ve got another 10% that are kind of on the fence. Then you’ve got another 10% that are—you’re really bad—people you don’t want to rent to so I this one of the people in bottom 10% and you know, pretty much. You know, she moved in and then her boyfriend moved in who had a criminal past and there was—the cops were called a couple of times.

There was a door kicked in. The rent got paid for like two months and then I don’t know how my dad ended up getting her out because the eviction rules in Vermont are pretty strict, but he got her to leave. She left about January. She moved in in October and then when I was fixing up the apartment when I got back, there was just this like, random guys stopping by all the time. Like coming upstairs and like, “Hey, we’re looking for so and so.” I don’t know what she did for a living, but. It wasn’t good so. Thankfully, my other two tenants stuck with me. They were very good tenants. They had been there—I inherited them with the property so it worked out well so that was kind of a what not to do, but enabled me to move back in in the spring time.

Brandon: Do you remember how you financed it?

Graham: I bought it with—I don’t—I know it cost $8,500 out of pocket.

Brandon: Okay.

Graham: I.

Brandon: I know, loans were different back then than they are today so you don’t.

Graham: Oh my god.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: My second deal, woo, that.

Brandon: We’ll get to that one.

Graham: It was so easy to get money back then it was ridiculous.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: I had put—I borrowed—I had $3,500 bucks in my bank account. I borrowed $5,000 from my dad for a short-term loan because I was going to start getting paid again in October and I paid him back, you know, quickly, but it was $8,500 down. It was—so it was like a 5% down payment. You know, I got the documents here somewhere.

Brandon: Yes, it’s alright.

Graham: Just look it up, but it’s.

Josh: No, go get them. Go get them right now.

Brandon: No don’t.

Josh: Stop what you’re doing.

Graham: It was low money down. I was paying PMI and all that stuff. The plan was to get a tenant in there and then to maybe refinance it the next summer and so when I went to refinance it, I went to a normal bank and I was like okay I think I can refinance time, I’m going to drop this PMI and they did an appraisal and this was how crazy the market was at the time, but I—the appraisal came back at $235,000.

Brandon: Whoa.

Graham: I bought it eight months before for $165,000.

Josh: Wow.

Graham: That was like, light bulb like wow I made $70,000 in eight months and I did nothing except you know, deal with problem tenant, but it—the light went on my head like man, you can really make money with this stuff. It was shocking and you know, the property wasn’t worth $235,000 and you know appraiser, whoever did it and I don’t know who it was. You know, just the market was just going nuts at the time so yes, possibly and so the banker, the mortgage broker that was like, “Hey, your appraisal came back at $235. You owe $165, we can refinance it at 80% and then would you like a home equity line of credit.”

I was like, “What’s that?” I was like, “What? What’s a home equity line of credit?” He’s like, “Ah, you can borrow up to you know, 90% of the value and the property.” You know, explain the rates and the details and everything and they’re like. I was like, “We’re going to give you another $50,000 that you can use basically however you want.” I was like, “Really?” They’re like, “Yes.” “Sure, sign me up.” That worked well too so you know, but the lending climate at the time was just nuts. They didn’t really care. I mean it was—I wasn’t making a ton of money and they’re willing to just loan up to 90% of value on this investment property. It was crazy.

Brandon: Yes, those were good times so just to bring this to the modern world for our people listening today so the loan was different back then. Well, you’ll get what I’m saying. Josh is laughing at me. The loan maybe different back then. You put $8,000 or whatever that you had to pay to get this thing. Today, the most common way to do that house hacking thing is usually through an FHA loan, which is 3.5% down payment so if you’re interested in that, just talk to your mortgage person. Most mortgage people can do an FHA loan. Again, yes, 3.5% down or even cooler is a 203K loan, which lets you wrap in the repair cost on a property into that loan with still 3.5% down on the whole thing. Anyway, I just wanted to let people know that’s kind of cool strategy that a lot of people use to house hack so.

Josh: You could look those up on BiggerPockets.

Brandon: You can.

Josh: If you want to get more information just, you know, search for it and then.

Brandon: Yes, yes.

Josh: There’s plenty of stuff on it.

Brandon: There’s an article I wrote a long time ago and I’ll link to it in the show notes, but it’s called “How to Hack Your Housing and Get Paid to Live for Free.” It just talks about that strategy so anyway, alright, do you still own this property, the triplex?

Graham: I do. I do. It’s—I’ve owned it for ten years. It’s honestly like one of the best things I’ve bought. It had just really—it just chugged away. It’s just slow and steady and you know there was initially a buy and hold property that I still hold today, but my thought process at the time wasn’t to be a buy and hold real estate investor. I didn’t really get back to that for another, you know seven or eight years. It took me to kind of figure out like okay this is how I’m going to make money in real estate. I want it, you know, my next deal, I want to be a developer. I wanted to you know, buy land, sub-divide it, sell it. I wanted to you know, I’ve got friends that are contractors. I thought about you know, having bill packages and working that aspect of it too so it was a buy and hold. It worked really well. It’s still working great to this day. I’m glad I bought it. I wish I bought ten more of them back in then.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Rather than going and doing the other stuff, trying to do the other things to make—I thought I could make more money in real estate doing other things and I was you know, unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.

Josh: I want to hear about the—all that stuff and I want to get to that. We’re going to press you and make you tell us all the details about all the bad stuff. I almost said a bad word—all the bad stuff that’s happened, but what’s that property worth now, approximately?

Graham: I had an appraisal done last year and it was $205,000 is what the appraisal came back at so.

Josh: Okay. What are you getting in rents now?

Graham: I get $950 for the two bedrooms and a thousand for the three bedroom.

Brandon: Cool, that’s great.

Graham: It includes heat, which is a big thing up here because it’s so cold.

Brandon: Okay.

Graham: Especially this winter so if I wasn’t including heat. You know, each one would probably be a $100-$150 a month less to be market, but you know $900-$850 is about the market value for a two bedroom rental in Morrisville.

Brandon: Okay.

Josh: Okay. Okay cool so talk about you know, it sounded like you had an idea that I’m going to go and do some active stuff like maybe rehabbing or developing or more you know, as we say job type real estate/investing versus the passive, more passive, buy and hold strategy. What happened? I mean, after this deal you went and kind of explored things a little bit is what it sounds like.

Graham: Yes, you know, I—I had $50,000 to do what I wanted with and I also had some money that I had saved up and I looked around. I’d been flying places for hockey and traveling and the rest of the country doesn’t operate the same way, you know, real estate development-wise that Vermont does. Vermont is very slow developing. It’s very, you know, you don’t have like 200 house subdivisions that go up in Vermont and when you’re flying around and you’re flying all over these subdivisions and you’re seeing these houses and you’re thinking wow, that’s great I want to do that.

I want to try that. You know, I want to bring that here, but you know, Vermont likes being rural. It likes having slow development, it doesn’t, you know so because of that, it takes a long time to get through the permitting process to do that sort of thing so I was looking for a house at the time and this is when the market was the absolute craziest. They’re you know—it was.

I mean stuff was selling in days on the market. There’s multiple offers on everything so I couldn’t buy anything in Stowe and I couldn’t buy anything in you know, kind of within 20 minutes so I ended up finding a house that had 27 acres with it in Hyde Park, which is like about 25-30 minutes away from my house and it was two acre zoning. I was going to get—you know, I wanted to do nine building lots and the house. Keep the house on one lot, sell the house and then you know, divide the land, put a road in, and put utilities and power. I did all of that, but by the time I got through the permitting process, two-acre lot that I thought I was going to sell for $60,000, I couldn’t give away for $30,000 at the time.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: I mean, it was—I still own of the eight lots, I still own three to this day and I’m actively, you know, marketing them trying to get them sold, but it’s not easy. When then the land, the bottom fell out of land before the whole thing and especially in a rural area just was a, you know, poor location. It was poor decision at the time, but you know, I—it didn’t sink me. You know, I was lucky that I had another job to bale me out kind of and not have to get foreclosed on or file bankruptcy. Once I do sell the lots, I’ll come pretty close to breaking even. I’m probably going to lose you know, maybe $10 or $15,000 if you know, once I get them all sold, but it was a learning experience for me and certainly the timing of the market didn’t help. If I had started two or three years earlier, I probably would have nailed it and been fine, but I just—the bottom fell out of the market and a lot of people were kind of left holding cards that they didn’t want to have and.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: You know, for me, it was my second deal. I managed to sell the house, which was big and you know I was able to kind of get through it and I did so it’s a—was lucky.

Brandon: Wow.

Josh: Well so you know, that’s—it seems like a fairly big project for a second deal for a guy who doesn’t have a ton of experience. What would you have done differently looking back? You know if you could have done it completely differently, knowing what you know now. What might you have done?

Graham: Well, if—I mean if I could really redo it, I wouldn’t have bought the house to begin with. I mean I bought this house for $315,000. I used one of those no dock like signature loans, basically. I bought it with like $15,000 down. I mean I just—I was really exposing myself, but again, I thought I was going to make one or $200,000 in a span two or three years. I wasn’t going to have to worry about, but and unfortunately.

Josh: Yes.

Graham: You know, stuff hit the fan. I wouldn’t do it again if I could really go back, but if I say I bought the property from a development perspective there’s easier ways to go about getting quicker through the permitting process that I know of now that I didn’t know back then where I could have like took a two acre chunk and sold that instead of trying to do eight units all at once. I could have done two acres at a time and did it a lot quicker and so that’s another, you know, kind of learning thing and it was very ambitious. I was 24 years old at the time. I mean you’re—you make decisions when you’re younger. You’re more aggressive and.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: You know, I probably—I wouldn’t do that now, but you know.

Josh: Yes.

Graham: That’s the way it went.

Josh: Makes sense.

Graham: I made mistake and you got to live with it, but it was a learning experience. You know, ultimately, it forced me to learn so much more about real estate and it was a lot cheaper than a college education.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Is so I kind of look at it that way, that this was my education. You know, I didn’t go spend you know $20,000 on a boot camp or a seminar or something like that.

Josh: Aw, come on. Why not?

Graham: Well, I was too cheap. You know, I was like, I can’t—I’m going to spend that much money. I can’t do that, but I did—I had to have all the books. I don’t know if you guys—have you ever hear of Dolf De Roos? Have you ever heard of that name? It was like this Australian guy who was like a real estate investor.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: I mean this is like ten years ago and I listened to like his books and stuff and that was like what gave me the motivation to go out and do these things, but.

Brandon: Nice, nice. Yes, well cool, okay well let’s move on talk about yes so—you know, actually before we do, I have a question on the development thing. First of all, you said you were—you bought the whole property itself. You were to subdivide it out and sell the lots out or you were going to build on each lot and sell the house with the lot.

Graham: Yes, I bought the house on 27 acres.

Brandon: Okay.

Graham: I ended up getting eight building lots. One of them had the existing house on it so I sold the existing house and then I was going to sell the land for other people to purchase and build their own houses on or.

Brandon: Okay.

Graham: Maybe—I thought it was going to go so fast that I wasn’t going to really have to worry about building, but I did offer build packages and things like that too. You know, people could—once the market crashed, people could buy existing houses for so cheap. Why are they going to go build something?

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: It made no economic sense so it was like great, now what do I do so.

Brandon: Yes, yes.

Josh: That makes sense.

Brandon: I asked that just because I mean that’s kind of a something I would like to maybe get into someday and say do you have buying a big property, subdividing it, and then actually building all the houses on it or doing what you said, you know offer the build packages or whatever. The thing I’ve noticed with that is the people who seemed to make a lot of money in that, I’ve been doing a lot of research the last few days on like real estate. Like what is the real estate market and how the cycles work just for a blog post. That’s coming up and will probably be out by this time, but anyway in that process like, I looked at the people that seemed to survive the best at that game are the ones who get in while the market you know, is still like on the up climb, but once it gets too close to the top, those are the same people that are left holding the bag when the market drops then. You know so I mean the real estate market is like this, you know, cycle.

Graham: Yes.

Brandon: I mean it can be a fantastic way to make money in real estate, but the end of the day, it all just comes down to timing and that why we give it the name like speculation or.

Graham: Right.

Brandon: Those people are speculating a little bit. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but just something people should be aware of is you’re not guaranteed to make a profit off that like your story showed.

Graham: I mean I needed, I got lucky that I did get bailed out in that I could have a job to put money into that and you know what it was really—I had it under a fixed rate long term loan and I, you know, I could—it was costing me like $500 bucks a month or whatever. It was like, that was like my car payment.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: You know, I’m not going to get a new car until I sell all of this stuff and so I’m driving like a POS truck around and it’s like, “You’re a professional hockey player? How come you’re not driving something nice?” It’s like, “Well, I’m punishing myself for making a. This decision so.”

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: I did the same for a year.

Graham: Right, right.

Brandon: That’s funny yes.

Graham: Yes, yes. I think so.

Brandon: Okay.

Josh: You know we’ve got the buy and hold, the triplex. We’ve got this development deal. What did you end up popping into next?

Graham: Well, I met my wife. I actually met her in 2004, I remember calling her and being like, “I just bought a triplex.” I was like we started.

Josh: What day did you meet her?

Graham: 2004, what day did I meet her?

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: He’s quizzing you here.

Graham: I don’t know.

Brandon: Oh god, I don’t remember the day I met.

Josh: It’s not important.

Brandon: I don’t remember the date that I my wife either.

Josh: I know the date I met mine, by the way.

Brandon: That’s because it was Christmas because you were sitting on a bar because you didn’t want to go to—cause you’re Jewish.

Graham: Well, there you go.

Josh: Well so what are you going to do on Christmas Day?

Brandon: That’s what you on.

Graham: Spend, that’s true.

Brandon: I don’t know.

Graham: That’s true.

Brandon: I don’t know. I guess, okay.

Graham: Yes.

Josh: I got put on the spot the other by her, it was like I didn’t know the day I proposed and like.

Graham: Right

Josh: Apparently, we’re supposed to know that date.

Brandon: I have no idea.

Graham: I mean if I can the anniversary date straight.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: I think I’m doing pretty good I mean I.

Josh: That’s what I said.

Graham: I think that’s good, but I’m not a woman.

Josh: I still.

Graham: I’m not a woman. Birthdays are important, Valentines Day is important.

Josh: Absolutely, yes.

Graham: You know, these are the things I put them in my planner on my phone and I try not to forget, but.

Brandon: Nice.

Graham: The day that we actually met, I don’t know. I—but.

Josh: I’m just giving you grief, man, that’s all.

Graham: Yes. Yes. It’s okay.

Brandon: Alright, what else have you done? I mean what came after that you said you met your wife.

Graham: We bought a house. We bought a single family house.

Brandon: You’re no longer house hacking.

Graham: Well, kind of—it was a quasi because this I still wasn’t on the development thing and this house was located in town. It was in terrible shape. It hadn’t been touched since the ‘60s or ‘70s, but it had one a half acres with it and in the town you put nine more units on that lot. I thought okay, I’m going to chop an one acre lot off, I’m going to build, you know eight townhouses there and rent them out. We were going to live in the house in the summer time so then I was like okay I’m going to fix and flip this house and you know, this will be good. I got another renovation part of the house and it ended up, you know, costing you know, quite a bit of money. A little bit more, but we fixed it up because we knew we were going to live there for the next four or five years. You know, at least in the summertime to get the money out of there so it wasn’t really strictly just to make money. You know, I wish again I knew about BiggerPockets at this time and J Scott was on there and I could have read his books and done the numbers better.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Because I wouldn’t have paid as much as I did for the place, but I ultimately did subdivide that. I fixed up the house and then I subdivided the land off it and I sold that to a friend of mine who is a builder and he built eight units on there and he’s renting them. What I figured was I was going to make almost the same amount of money by selling it to him as I would building it myself and have a lot less risk.

Brandon: Nice.

Graham: He could build it so much cheaper because he could build it himself so it was kind of a win/win and he’s a good friend of mine so that worked out and we still own that house today. It works out really well as a single family rental.

Brandon: Cool.

Graham: Yes, we’re getting $1,300 a month in rent and you know, our expenses are like $900 a month so it’s pretty—it works out well as a single family home rental.

Brandon: Oh cool.

Josh: How did you determine how much to sell that acre off to your friend for?

Graham: Well, I looked at what I could make with it on it. I mean you look, there’s not really a lot of comps. You know, Vermont is the notoriously difficult for finding comps.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Just so rural there’s no sales. There’s no volume.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: There’s no and it’s not really cookie cutter. Everything is kind of different. You’ve got mobile homes next to million dollar houses. You know, the million dollar houses is on 20 or 30 acres, but you know, you’ve—it’s just different up here. I looked at what, you know, we kind of did a price per unit thing.

I was like, okay like initially it was like you know, $20,000 per unit and then it was you know, the market. This was 2007 so things were still on the way down. By the time we kind—we talked about the deal and then agreed and then by the time it got to the point to pull the trigger. You know, he asked if we could re-evaluate and I did and we did so the price kind of adjusted down on a per unit basis. It was really what he could feel comfortable building everything for and still being able to you know, have positive cash flow and make money on his end of things. It was kind of—we looked at it—or he looked at it from his perspective of what he needs it to be and then I decided if I could live with it or not.

Josh: Interesting.

Graham: That’s—that we—so we kind of worked backwards in that and again this was would I do something like this again, you know. Possibly if it was the right situation, but I—you know, my focus has really shifted from what I was doing back then to what I’m doing now just because I want to be safer, you know. I want to be smarter about things and not take as much risk. If I didn’t sell that land, you know, I could have gotten in trouble so.

Josh: Hey Graham, really quick, what does it cost—and then I want to hear about obviously, what you’re doing now, but what does it cost to subdivide a piece of property so you’ve got this two-acre parcel, you know. In terms of, you know, obviously he’s paying you money, but you got to go and you got to do all sorts of stuff to actually do the subdivision, correct?

Graham: Right, the first—it depends on the town and it depends on where the property is located and one of the things that I focus on in my investing is learning the rules and then finding the property, you know, that fits what you want to do, not the other way around. I think a lot of people get in trouble with permitting and with investing when they like, “I want to own a ten unit building.” They buy some place and they think they’re going to add a bunch of units, but the zoning won’t allow for that so then they try—they go to the board, they try to get variances, they try to get permission to do something that’s not allowed that the community doesn’t want there. It’s this huge fight and it’s this big expense so I work backwards where I look at the rules that each town has, the zoning maps, where that house fits in the bigger scheme of things, and what do I want to do. Okay, I want to put up a four unit building.

Okay, well, let me find a piece of land that’s in an area where the town’s going to allow that and it’s a lot cheaper if you do it that way, you’re not fighting city hall so to speak. If you’re doing that and you’re doing your homework and you know trying to work with the community rather than against it. I think, you know, you’ve got to hire an engineer first is the first thing to kind of do a survey, map, and that costs about $2,500 to do the map and they’ve got to do design your waste water, you know, how you’re going to hook up to the town lines and you’re water lines and that’s probably another $2,500 so you’re kind of in for $5 grand for an engineer and then you know, you fill out your applications, you go to the town that’s a few hundred dollars. If I represent myself when I’m speaking to the board then it’s free, but if you have to hire somebody, you know, engineer will charge themselves out at $95 an hour to kind of present your plan to the board.

Then you’ve got to put the infrastructure in, you’ve got to file the plaits. You got to make the maps so to subdivide a thing out of like for that property, it probably had about $12 or $15,000 into the proc—paperwork process, engineering to get it as a saleable lot to somebody else.

Brandon: Okay and then I’m assuming your friend that sold it to, he’s the one that went and like put in the water, the sewer, like all that kind of stuff.

Graham: Yes, I had to get the permitting for it, which it wasn’t—you know, it’s not easy you’ve got to get the state to do it and state’s big bureaucracy so it’s not always straight forward. Yes, he put all of that stuff in and he installed that and he, you know, he got a—he used his whatever from that point. He took it and ran with it.

Brandon: Okay. Cool.

Josh: Got you. Got you. Cool, yes thanks for sharing that. That’s—I think that’s really helpful for folks.

Brandon: Yes, we probably should do more development and chat with more developers on this show because I don’t know it’s a cool cool strategy.

Graham: Just talk with him when it’s on the way up that way.

Brandon: There you go. There you go. Alright so you said you did, you know after that you changed your strategy in the beginning, now you’re a little bit more secure so what is it—what are you doing today? What’s your main strategy in real estate?

Graham: Well, you know, kind of the bigger thing, the biggest thing was I found BiggerPockets.

Brandon: Nice.

Graham: I mean I—it really did, it really changed my thinking. You know, first of all like it’s—it was great in a sense that there was an industry out there like I never—what I was doing back then, I never really would—could even classify as like real estate investing. I was just working in real estate, you know, so when I found BiggerPockets it was like, you know, wow, there’s other people that are doing this for a living. I can do this permanently.

I can do this fulltime. I can you know and I’ve got people that’ll answer questions. You know, it’s like, who do you ask if you’re trying to figure out you know, something to do with the development. You know, no one does that type of stuff so when I found BiggerPockets, I was like, oh my god look at this information that’s here. It’s all free, look at these people that are found success and they’ve made failures that I can learn from.

It was really like a water shed moment in my investing career, in my life as it pertains to real estate investing because, you know, a lot of the stuff that I was doing, I learned from BiggerPockets was on there. It was confirmation that I was on the right path and I could do it. Then you know and that was probably 60%-70% of what I knew and then there was this other 30% was like wow, I never thought of that. You know, this person did and I might have learned it if I was in this for another ten or 15 years on my own, but it just—it shortened my learning curve so much. It just put me on this steep learning curve to just—I mean for like—when I discovered it, which about a year and a half ago, two years ago maybe. I—you know, I just read and read and read and read and I was just on this site just stalking and learning and being and fine-tuning.

Josh: Creepy.

Graham: Yes, yes I was a creeper. I was a stalker and it changed my perspective and then I looked back at what I had done and I thought, god, the first I did was the right thing to do and you know, maybe not everything I did was right, but this buy and hold strategy. It works for my market. I liked doing it. I liked being property manager. I liked being the landlord.

I liked that people aspect of the thing. I’m not going to like it forever, but for now it’s good so I changed my focus away from the development stuff. That was going to be my primary thing was the development, but now my primary thing is trying to get enough of these, you know, little oil wells like you know, like it was Karen Rittenhouse I think was the one who referred to them as oil wells in like show two or something and you know just pump out. You know, slow and steady kind of wins the race and that’s really what changed my focus and at the time when I discovered it, I had like a commercial building, which is the best thing I ever bought that I was working with and I ended up selling that this past summer and then I was like, okay, this is like my ground zero, I can really focus on just acquiring small multifamily residential rental properties, which are, you know solid as they can be and go from there and that’s really what I’ve focused on the last eight months since I retired from playing professional hockey.

Brandon: Wow.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: Cool so tell me about that. I mean like you said you had been focusing on now the small multifamily properties, little oil wells as you call them. Can you kind of—maybe give us an example or two of like what are some of the properties you bought and how do you finance them?

Graham: Well, owner financing, which I knew was out there, but was like kind of this like how do you get somebody to, you know.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Well finance something, you know, and but through BiggerPockets, you know, learning how it works, you know, talking with people, asking questions it really like. I was like okay, this is doable. I can do this so I bought a three unit building when I first got back in May. I was in Austria last year for hockey so I knew I was going to retire and I was going to like gloves were going to be off and that’s a hockey term I guess.

Josh: Nice.

Graham: I was going to really get to the real estate investing fulltime at that point. I was—I wanted to make a go of it. I want to see—this I want to be my job after hockey. You know, I didn’t have millions of dollars laying around where I could just not do anything, you know, unfortunately, but so I negotiated this deal.

I bought three units in a town about 40 minutes away. I got them for $95,000 and he owner financed it. I gave him a $20,000 down payment and he owner financed the rest and then I had to basically, these apartments hadn’t been touched again in 30 or 40 years so I did all the renovations. I had you know, hired subcontractors and you know, fixed the place up, but not in the—not in the sense that I was going to flip it and sell it, but I was going to rent it and hold it as a long term rental property. That’s what I did and you know, I put about, you know $75 or $80,000 into fixing up the three units and now they’re rented and I’m in the process of refinancing it to pull my money out and do it again.

Brandon: That’s awesome. I love it.

Josh: Yes, yes, it’s great so how did you find it?

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: You know, that—I think that’s the question that the average guy probably wants to know, like oh that sounds great. Like how on earth do you go about finding a property that somebody wants to seller finance?

Brandon: I get that question every single day.

Josh: I know.

Brandon: In my email, right. You do too I’m sure.

Josh: Yes, right.

Brandon: Like we get that all the time.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: How do you find seller financed deals?

Josh: Answer the question Graham. For crying out loud, I’ve asked you a hundred times.

Graham: One of the things we skipped over before. I got my real estate license in 2006.

Brandon: Okay.

Graham: Mainly because I couldn’t find a real estate agent that had any clue what I wanted to or was talking so I was like I just got to study and get the—get my license and I did so I’m still a realtor to this day. I don’t really buy and sell for other people. It’s just for my own personal use so I have access to the MLS, which in Vermont is pretty important because most—99% of the stuff is on the MLS. I look for properties that have been on the market for a long time and in Vermont like stuff can sit on the market for years in Vermont. I mean it’s slower. Things don’t move in 90 days here. You know, I think the average time on market is like six to eight months, right now and that’s if it’s priced appropriately so things just move a little bit slower.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: I look at a lot of properties. Oh and I scour within two hours radius of my house. Everyday, I get an email that tells me everything that came on the market and you know, once a week I’m on the MLS for an hour or two looking for deals and so I found this one in it’s Plainfield, Vermont and it’s outside of Montpellier and Montpellier is the capital, but it’s like the smallest capital in the world and I think it’s like 12,000 people that live there or something.

Brandon: Wow.

Graham: The government is there and there’s jobs and so this about ten minutes away, which you know is kind of my target area. I made—I talked to the real estate agent and was kicking it around and this—you know this guy, he was an older gentleman. He’d owned the property for 25 years. He didn’t have a mortgage so that’s very important.

If you’re looking for somebody that wants to owner f—you want to find owner financing, you need to find out if they have a mortgage and you go to the town records, the town at least where I’m from you go to, you know, Plainfield Town Offices and you go through the—there’s either a computer there or a you know, you can talk to the town clerk. They’re very nice people generally and they’ll help you, you know, look up the deed information and it will tell you if there’s a mortgage on the property or if the mortgage has been discharged and paid off so you got to—if you want owner financing, you got to find somebody that doesn’t have a mortgage, usually.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: There is subject to and things like that. I haven’t gone down that path yet. I may in the future, but and then you know, it’s kind of tired landlords, people that have been doing it for a long time. They’ve owned it for 20-30 years. They just want to get out. They’re ready to retire, you know, one woman I moved, you know, moved south. She just wanted to you know, not deal with the property anymore so.

Brandon: That’s cool.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: I mean not cool for her, but cool for you.

Josh: Yes, yes, and there’s no.

Graham: There were no other—it was the both of us.

Brandon: Yes, it does.

Josh: It sounds like there’s no—quick and easy way that you’re using to find these deals though. I mean you’re scouring, looking for deals, you’re not doing any kind of like easy filter.

Graham: There isn’t an easy way out. At least I don’t know of it yet.

Brandon: That’s why today we’re introducing the new BiggerPockets 997 Leads On Your Doorstep.

Josh: Filter machine, unlimited, seller finance deals, in your backyard.

Graham: Thousand owner finance for ten properties a day.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: No, you’ve got—it’s people skills. It’s learning you know, when I got that—that was my first—well that wasn’t my first owner finance deal, but you got to ask, number one like will this.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Person owner finance and you know it doesn’t work to just come right out and do it. You’ve got to work you know, the relationship a little bit. You got to build a relationship. You got to build a little trust.

You got to talk to the agent. You got to tell them this is what I’m looking to do. I’m not going to—I’m not going to rip this person off. I’m legit. I’m for real and then the person has to be in the situation where they don’t need the money right away.

You’re not going to—you know, it’s going to be difficult to buy somebody’s owner occupied house that wants to go buy another owner occupied house because they’re—they need the dough. They need the money so you’ve got to find someone that, you know, would like to keep getting the passive income that they’ve gotten for the previous 20 years, but not doing any of the work, which is what the owner financing really is. Then you know, you sell the interest, you say look, you’re going to make 5%-6% interest on this money rather than just sitting bank, you know, a quarter percent in your savings account so.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: That’s really how it’s kind of gone for me.

Brandon: You know, one of the.

Josh: That’s great.

Brandon: I love the idea of seller financing. You know, there’s a chapter in The Book On Investing With No and Low Money Down that’s all on seller financing because of this like, I think seller financing is probably one of the best over the next ten or 15 years and here’s why because all of these baby boomers. Oh, Josh is holding my book up look at that. Didn’t have to si—I didn’t have to do it myself.

Graham: You’re going the steal the thunder.

Brandon: I know.

Graham: You’re stealing my thunder. This book might come up later in the podcast. I don’t know.

Brandon: Okay, I hope so.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: I mean so here’s the truth or here’s my theory anyway, right so the baby boomers—this generation of older Americans who are what? Today between 50 and 60 years old or whatever, I don’t the exact age for baby boomers.

Josh: Oh is there gone.

Brandon: Okay fine 50 to 70, whatever, like the idea like my parent’s generation, they bought these properties over the last 30-40 years. They now own them free and clear—I—when I was doing research for the book. I figured out that 30% of all homes in America are owned free and clear with no mortgage, 30%.

Graham: I read that.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: It was great.

Brandon: Shocking when I read that.

Graham: It was shocking. It was shocking.

Brandon: Shocking and so like.

Josh: Shocking.

Brandon: Yes, so people are like.

Josh: What?

Brandon: I don’t know where to find.

Josh: Crazy. Yes, this is unbelievable.

Brandon: Simmer down Josh.

Josh: Can you get a thought going?

Brandon: Simmer down. No so seller financing like opportunities there are everywhere and especially with I think small multifamily properties or even medium sized multifamily properties because you’ve got these older people. I mean that’s how I got my apartment complex, right, older, baby boomer generation. They like the income they’ve been managing for 30 years their own property. They don’t want to suddenly drop that, pay taxes on it then go and throw the whatever they have left in the stock market, to you know, try to supply for their future. They would much rather have the property that they’ve owned for 20 or 30 years, give them their retirement for the next 20 or 30 years. I am a huge—I almost don’t like saying that on the podcast because I don’t want everybody else in America to like, oh, take that and run with it and leave me no deals.

Graham: Yes.

Josh: You’ve got a big ego there, Brandon.

Brandon: We got a big show here.

Josh: Well you think everybody in America’s listening to this show.

Brandon: We got to have.

Josh: We have six listeners.

Graham: About six million maybe.

Brandon: Yes, we’re going for six million.

Josh: No, we got more than that.

Brandon: Yes, so I’m a huge fan of seller finance because of that reason because of the generation that’s retiring, but they don’t want to stick their money into the thing so anyway. I think that’s awesome. Seller financing, you’re using that. I want to get back to you now since this is your show, Graham. I mean, maybe can you kind of share like what should somebody who’s just starting out, doesn’t have any experience. They want to get seller financing on one of their deals, what should they do?

Graham: They need to learn about real estate as much as they can. For me, like getting my real estate license was helpful. I mean you see beginners and people are like, where do I start? It’s going to be difficult for you to just find a seller financing deal and to get someone to trust that you’re going to pay them back.

If you don’t have, you know if you don’t present yourself well and you don’t have a track record. I think it is going to be difficult so I’m not going to like sugar coat it and be like, oh these are out here everywhere. You know, if some, you know, younger person, some whipper snapper comes to me and is like give me your house and I’ll rent it out and I’ll pay you for sure, you know, totally. I’d be like no, I’m not going to do that so you need to, you need to be educated.

You need to learn, you need to and that’s what, you know one BiggerPockets is good for and read the books that people recommend on BiggerPockets. That’s what has helped me is it’s opened, you know, and it’ll save you time and it’ll—you’ll get start and think about this, but you know, your book, Brandon, lays it out pretty well that you know, to get started, you should be looking at these like low money down, government backed loans, house hack, get in there, you know, you’re young, you’ve got time. That’s the biggest thing or you know if you’re not young, you still have the advantage of being able to qualify for a 3.5% down loan. For a new person to find seller financing, it can definitely happen, but you’re going to have to be a you know, pretty good, you know, sales person. I think you’re going to have to get lucky and then you know, you’re going to have to do a good job with it too.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: It’s not like it’s just getting, you don’t want to buy a crappy deal if it’s—just because it’s seller financed you know, it’s like whether you’re paying the bank or paying the previous owner like if you’re not making money, you’re not making money.

Brandon: I love that.

Josh: Hey so Graham, can a typical, you know if there’s somebody listening and they’re like, well, I don’t know, you know, about the county recorder or this or that. I mean, can I just ask my agent and can they tell me if there’s a loan on the property or as the average agent not going to know that.

Graham: Yes, I mean if it’s listed with a real estate agent, they should know that information. If they don’t then they can find it out. I don’t think that’s out of line. I mean it’s—you might not even want to waste your time getting to the point of talking to the agent if you’re really looking for a seller finance deal.

Like go—you know, when I hear of a property comes on the market that I’m interested in I go, you know, I go down to my town clerks and there’s a computer there and I sit in and I type the address in and it shows me the deed and when they bought it and you know, the mortgage is in there sometimes so it shows me how much they borrowed to buy it. Maybe what they’re thinking that they want to get for it. If it’s not listed with a price on the MLS and then if there’s mortgage that has been discharged or not. You know, I know that and then when I go to call the person and to see then, you know, I already know that it’s potential. Then it’s a matter of building the trust and building the relationship with the person before asking, you know. It’s not like you go out on a date and you’re like, do you want to marry me the first day. You know, it’s not—it’s not the way it should be done.

Brandon: I took me a solid year to get seller—like to get that seller finance department complex deal that I did it took 12 months.

Josh: Hold on guys. Hold on. Hold on.

Brandon: What?

Josh: No, no seriously I mean like this sounds like a lot of work and I mean like why, I mean shouldn’t the money just be handed to me, I mean why do I have to actually work to do all this stuff. That’s crazy.

Brandon: Yes, it’s—I don’t work. I make my wife work. I just sit on BiggerPockets all day.

Graham: Yes.

Brandon: She makes us money.

Josh: No, I’m making a point and my point obviously.

Graham: Yes, no, absolutely.

Josh: This is not.

Graham: It is—it’s work. It’s—and especially when you’re getting started, you know. I’d sit all the time on BiggerPockets if you don’t have money, if you don’t have, you know, you’ve got time and you got work and you got yourself so you’re going to have to put the time in to learn this stuff. It’s like anything and then, you know, the best part is, is once you get the ball rolling then it starts going then you’re going to find you’ll have the time because the nature of the business enables you to make money.

Brandon: Well and one thing you said also, just to—I’d never really thought about this before, but you know, in gaining credibility to be able to pull off a seller financed deal or even a partnership or private lending, right. It’s all kind of the same. You go to have that credibility and trust. One thing that you did that made a huge difference I think was or at least it sounds like it was getting your real estate license, right? We all know that’s good for the tools and stuff, but all of the sudden when you’re talking with the seller and you’re like, oh yes, I’m a licensed agent, you’re credibility just goes through the roof with them because all of the sudden, oh well, that guy’s licensed.

Josh: Right.

Brandon: You know, that doesn’t mean anything hardly other than the fact that you took 90 hour class or whatever, but in their eyes, like a licensed agent has a ton more credibility than somebody who’s just you know, coming off the street. If somebody is out there listening to this and they want to know how to build some credibility and they don’t have any deals under their belt yet. That is one of the best reasons to get your license.

Graham: Right, right. I mean it’s like—it’s the same as like finding a mentor or something like that.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Get in real estate somehow, work for a property management company.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Get your license. Find a mentor. You know, scrub toilets if you have to like if you’re going to learning about real estate and figuring it out and you’ll just—you’ll pick it up. I mean most—if you’re that motivated you’re going to—you’re obviously going to be an intelligent person. You’re going to absorb the knowledge and the information and you’re going to fi—your path will start to show itself to you.

Brandon: Yes, I love that.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: I mean, people often times they hear people on the podcast or like they hear my story, your story, Josh’s story or whatever and we’re like, you know, oh I want to do that deal that they just did. I want to get a seller financed, you know, property, right now or whatever. They don’t realize that we did scrub toilets or at least I—you know like I spent evenings cleaning out, you know, nasty units.

Josh: Speak for yourself, dude.

Brandon: Yes, well I spent a lot of time.

Josh: I don’t even scrub my own toilet.

Brandon: I don’t do those things anymore and so people think that they can just jump in and our like—the level we’re at today, without having to go through all that and maybe it’s possible, but you know, I don’t think so. I think that early stage of the hard work and hustle actually means something so.

Graham: Right I mean if.

Josh: Walk before you run, right? I mean.

Graham: Yes. If go to—I mean if you’re lucky and you know, our—Brandon, you wrote an article about, you know, play your advantage.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: You know, everyone’s got some kind of advantage and that really struck home with me. It’s like don’t—number one like don’t feel guilty that you have an advantage because everybody’s got some kind of advantage so.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: If your advantage is your young and you’re inexperienced, you know, don’t look at it as a negative. Look at it as a positive like I got time. I can spend three or four years learning this stuff and you know, if you start—if you don’t buy your first deal ‘til you’re 30 years old, you’re still so much further ahead of the person, the wage slave, that’s just nine to five for ‘til they’re 65 years old and hoping their 401K is enough to make it through retirement. Like you’re—if you start at 30 you still got 35 years until you know, you really need that passive income.

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: Yes. Makes sense.

Brandon: That was one of my favorite articles I’ve ever written and nobody’s ever brought that up on this show before. You’re thinking so that you.

Graham: Oh. I.

Josh: We talked about it on this show.

Brandon: Have we?

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: I don’t know. I liked that article. Okay, I’m going to link to that.

Josh: Throw it in our own show once in awhile. That’s a good article.

Brandon: Thank you. I’m going to link to that in the show notes so I can brag about it more.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: I thought it was good.

Josh: Hey Graham, back in 12 you did a big old commercial building, this 10,000 square foot building.

Graham: Yes.

Josh: Could we talk about that really quick and then we’re going to move on to.

Graham: Yes.

Josh: The segment.

Graham: Yes, it was a—owner financed deal and what happened was I had a—I’ll try to be brief. I had another house that I was going to buy and I had it under contract. It was a foreclosure. I—my attorney came back and said there’s a problem with the title. Your probably not going to be able to sell it right away.

You shouldn’t buy it and I was like on the fence. Should I buy it? I ended up not buying it and then the next—like a week later, I went and looked at this commercial building and that ended up happening so that was very lucky. You know, when you see an opportunity that you lose. It’s—it opens a door for something else so that was the start of that deal, but then I went and looked at this building.

It was—listed at $150,000. It was in downtown Morrisville, which was in the middle of—the beginning stages of a revitalization process. They had—they had brought in some community planners. The people—the zoning administrator, like the government really was pro business and predevelopment and they were going to get this downtown and I kind of recognized that back then so I was like I’ll take a shot on this commercial property. It had a couple tenants in it.

I made an offer of—it’s funny because my offer was owner financing and it was $110,000 and the seller took that as opposed to full priced cash offer because he was a Canadian citizen and I found out later that he was not well and he was going to lose most of what he sold the property for to taxes for some reason so he had some tax advantage to that. You know, if you’re thinking about an offer, you know, throw it out there because you never know what’s going to happen, but.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: He accepted that deal, the town had a fund called the Morristown Development Fund that was basically half a million dollars that you could present them with a business plan. They would lend you money to promote the economy in the town so they lent me a $125,000. I took that money and put it into fixing up the building because it was hardware store for many years. There was a whole 3,000 square feet on the second floor that was residential back on like the ‘30s and I actually found a letter in the wall from like 1918, which was pretty cool.

Josh: Oh wow.

Brandon: It’s cool.

Graham: When we were renovating it, but so I put the money in—that I got from the development fund plus some of my own money into renovating that, turning it into office space. Found tenants for the office space, found another tenant for the downstairs and you know, things were going pretty well and I did a lot of the work myself. I—you know, a lot of it is just grunt work. I’m not a contractor. I don’t pretend to be one, but you can hire a plumber, you can hire an electrician to the kind of the skill labor, but you know, if you got to take a wall out or you know, smash something like that’s easy.

You can do that so I did a lot of that myself and then this past summer, I had a gentleman approach me. He owned a business in town and he wanted to rent from me, but I had already—I was waiting on another tenant that was going to rent the whole first floor, which is about 5,500 square feet. I said, “I can’t rent you half the space because I’ve already promised the full space to somebody else.” He was working on financing and the guy said, “Well, would you sell the building?”

I was like, well I wasn’t really planning on it and at the time that money I was going to make from that commercial property was going to be my income to replace hockey because I wasn’t going to be playing hockey anymore. I looked at it and I was like well, you know, I would consider selling and he’s like how much would you want and I told him and he said, “Yes, I can do that.” We made a deal and it worked out so it was, you know, it was key and you know, he ended up—I ended up selling—billing to him and getting all my capital back that I invested and paying off the loans. Then I got you know, a decent chunk of change to invest, but then I had this problem like I need income.

I can’t just live off of this sale because it’s going to disappear. It’s going to be gone so that’s when I was like this is my opportunity to really put to use what I’ve been learning over the past 12 months. You know, through books and BiggerPockets and things and I started looking for owner financing deals that I could get with like 10% down and buying these properties and putting tenants in them and that’s kind of what I did for eight months and things just slowed down. I just rented the last unit on February 1st and now I’m trying to refinance everything to get some more money to do it again. That’s kind of where I was at and the commercial property was you know, was the best thing I ever bought and it was kind of a unintentional commercial flip.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Fix and flip. I didn’t mean to do it, but it worked that way and you know, that’s part of real estate just being dynamic and rolling with the punches when something happens or goes one way. You know, just kind of figure out a way you can benefit from it and do that.

Brandon: That’s cool.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: Do you mind me asking how much you made on that? You don’t have to say it. You don’t have to say it.

Graham: Yes, no I made—it was over six figures that I made on the property.

Brandon: Okay, that’s great.

Graham: For holding for years.

Josh: Yes.

Graham: You know, it was—it worked out really well and I spent all of that money on buying other stuff so.

Josh: Yes, that’s what we do.

Graham: My wife was like, you’re crazy, but I was like, we need the income. We need.

Brandon: That’s funny.

Graham: You know.

Josh: Yes so.

Brandon: That’s what—isn’t that what Grant Cardone said is that whenever he makes money, right? He just pours it back into real estate. He’s always broke like.

Josh: Right.

Brandon: Because what good does it do sitting in your bank account? Nothing.

Graham: Right.

Josh: Yes.

Graham: No and that Grant Cardone Show was great.

Brandon: That was great.

Graham: That was a great show.

Josh: Yes it was. It was a good show.

Brandon: Alright, cool, well hey let’s move onto the Fire Round.

Announcer: It’s time for the Fire Round.

Brandon: Alright, today’s Fire Round is brought you by HomeSearch.com. HomeSearch.com is a rapidly growing site in the investment property listing space. These guys hold online auction on hundreds of properties every week from around the nation. This includes foreclosures, REOs, short sales, and an interesting set of assets you can’t find on the MLS called Second Chance. These are properties that are in a pre-REO status. Again, these properties can’t be found on the MLS so make sure you get on their list. That’s HomeSearch.com. Go get your free account and see if you can apply some BiggerPockets Learning to snag your next deal. With that, let’s get to the Fire Round.

Alright, the world famous Fire Round, these questions come direct out of the BiggerPockets forums, which people can get to an engage on at BiggerPockets.com/Forums. Question number one, when contacting a seller, especially about seller financing, I’ll add that part in there, but when contacting a seller, what information do you request from them?

Graham: Well how much they want for the building, how much they’re looking to get. What the gross rents are and what they’re annual expenses are those are the three most important things that I look at and you’ve obviously got to verify all of that information, but.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: I’m at the point where if I know how much they want and I know how much they’re getting for rents I can—I don’t even really need to know what their expenses are. I’m just really gaging, trying to gage their honesty or their, you know, how much they know about their building or how well managed it is because you know, you can—you use like the 50% rule or the 60%, you know, it’s more like 60% where I’m at.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: Then I can get a value for—with the building and if it was—if it’s something I want to pursue or not so those are the—my first kind of questions and then I get you know, I don’t come out and say it right away like will you owner finance it for me because it’s you know, again, you got to build a relationship before you can really do that.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: Yes. That’s good. You mentioned the 50% rule.

Josh: I was going to go there. That’s really funny, you know.

Brandon: Well, I was going to say, so people who don’t know what it is it means that on—they say, on average as a rule of thumb, not you know, not a rule, but it’s rule of thumb that on average half of your income goes out to expenses not counting the mortgage. You know if you had a thousand a month rent. You could expect $500 just to leave in expenses and you pay your mortgage and whatever is left might be your cash flow. Anyway, I thought of something. I just did my taxes last night. I spent the whole day yesterday doing them, my expenses came to 51%. Like not counting the mort—I mean it was almost exactly 50% rule last year, which is crazy to think. Like how close that rule of thumb was for me so.

Josh: That’s a BS rule of thumb, Brandon, I mean 50%.

Brandon: It didn’t.

Josh: That’s crazy.

Brandon: Like you said, 60% for you right so?

Josh: Well, I—again being facetious here, but.

Brandon: It changes.

Josh: This is experienced people, you know, prove that over the long term, the quote on quote rule. It’s not a rule. It’s a rule of thumb.

Graham: Right.

Josh: You know it’s a good way to estimate this thing is going to be between 50% and 60%. It really does tend to hold true and you know, for those people. You know, don’t use it as an a means to buy a property, but you can definitely use it as a means to filter out some information and help you speed up, you know, that kind of calculation in your brain.

Graham: Oh for sure. I mean it’s a quick way in three seconds to tell you know, this person’s way out of—off base with what their property’s worth and if it’s something you can pursue or not and BiggerPockets. That was one of the first things that I learned on BiggerPockets. I had never heard of the 50% rule and I was like, what, that ludicrous, there’s no way it’s 50% and then sure enough, like as I’ve grown and gotten bigger and you might be able with one property, you might be able to massage a little bit, but it’s pretty close. I mean it really is.

Josh: Well, the massaging comes from like hey I’m not accounting for management. Hey. I didn’t have to do any repairs this year. Hey I didn’t have any vacancies this year.

Graham: Right.

Josh: You know what? If you hold that building for five-ten-20-30 years, you’re going to have all of the above.

Graham: Right.

Josh: You have to account for it period.

Graham: Right.

Josh: It’s just I mean, to not.

Graham: Yes.

Josh: To not do that is silly, which is why we built these calculators at BiggerPockets.com/Calc. You know these tools, you know, we’ve actually had some people say well it’s not fair to give calculators to people who don’t know how to use them. In fact I think that’s what our good friend Ben Leybovich.

Graham: I think it was Ben Leybovich.

Josh: Yes, you know.

Graham: Ben Leybovich, coming at you.

Brandon: I love Ben. I love Ben.

Josh: Like that’s.

Graham: I don’t know him, but.

Josh: To me, it’s silliness because you know what I mean the tools help you learn.

Graham: Yes.

Josh: That’s the beauty of these things.

Graham: Yes.

Josh: You know like running through these things, you actually learn, you know, that there are more expenses. You learn what they are if you didn’t know what they were before and you learn how to kind of account for them and so if you haven’t checked the calculators, definitely go to BiggerPockets.com/Calc, C-A-L-C. You know, we recommend testing them out so.

Brandon: There you go.

Josh: That’s what I got. Alright.

Brandon: Alright, next question.

Josh: Fire Round, what are the pros and cons.

Brandon: That was the longest Fire Round question we’ve ever done, by the way.

Josh: Well, we just kind of go off on tangents.

Brandon: I blame Graham.

Graham: I digress.

Josh: Oh man.

Brandon: Alright.

Josh: What are the pros and cons of single family houses, SFHs versus MFHs and multifamilies? Singles versus multis.

Graham: In my experience, single families are a lot easier to rent. People want to live in a house, not more so than in an apartment I feel like in my area. There’s less problems. You can pass more expenses onto the tenants in single families. It doesn’t really make sense to just buy singles up here, but I’ve found from renting singles that those are the advantages.

For multifamilies, you’ve got you know, one roof, you got multiple tenants, you know, so if someone moves out, you’re vacancy hit, you know, is a lot softer. You only have one roof, you generally have one heating system. You got, you know, one foundation. You got one drive way. You got one garbage. Economies of scale if there’s a problem you’re driving in one place and if you have three problems, they could all, you know, they’re all there if you’ve got 12 units, but if you had 12 single families and you got three problems, you could be driving all over town so. I like multis. I don’t really I’m not even a big duplex. I find I need three plus units to really get the numbers where I want them to be.

Brandon: Yes and that is a big, you know, you said like you started that whole entire answer with in my area. You know, whatever like it depends on your area. Some people might have great single-family houses.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: Some might have great duplexes. Some might have triplexes, fourplexes, 50plexes, who knows so.

Graham: Right.

Brandon: Yes, very cool. Alright, I’ll have that answer by the way. Number three is it—this is very closely related.

Josh: Say it, similar.

Brandon: It’s very closely, but I’m going to actually change it. For my very first investment, should I consider a single or multi?

Graham: I think the best thing for a—for most people is to find a four unit property or you’re going to live in one of the units and buy it with an FHA loan. I think that’s kind of the—I mean my brother did that couple years ago and he’s really glad that he did and I think that’s the cheapest you’re going to get in something. I think, you know, yes, you’re going to be jumping head first into being a property manager over three units, but you know, you can learn that stuff if you’re willing to, but if I was looking to get started in real estate investing, if I had to start all over, I would go buy a four unit property and live in one of the units and I’d use an FHA loan to do it. I’d do that four times and then you’re you know, you’ve got 16 units. You got your four loans. It’s going to take you, you know, five-six-seven years to do it, but then you’re going to know a lot and you’re going to be pretty well established. I think that’s a great way to do it.

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: You’re wrong.

Graham: In my area.

Josh: No, I’m just kidding.

Brandon: I love that.

Graham: In my area.

Josh: It’s a great idea, man.

Graham: Fast drapes.

Josh: Yes, yes, alright, what would be your first steps to make home green. We haven’t really talked about green homes in a long time.

Graham: No, I live in a green home actually.

Josh: Do you?

Graham: I got a.

Brandon: Not like physically right? Like you didn’t paint it green?

Graham: No, it’s grey.

Brandon: Okay.

Graham: It’s highly energy efficient it’s got a HER score of 26, I don’t know if that. People that know green building know what a HER score is, but.

Brandon: Yes, I have no idea what that is.

Graham: It uses 26% of the energy that a normal house built today would use. That’s what it uses, but if you want to get into green building, if you want to build green, you got to focus on insulation. That’s insulation and air leakages where the money is at with green building and you know we could have a whole show about green building and you guys should have a show.

Brandon: We probably do a whole show.

Josh: Yes we should.

Graham: About green building. There’s a lot of very knowledgeable people about it and there’s a lot of good information about it, but my house is, you know, I’ve got a foot thick walls and you know, it’s very energy efficient and my utility bills are very low for a person.

Josh: How big is your house? How many square feet?

Graham: 3,000.

Josh: 3,000, you’re in Vermont, what’s like your utility bill for a 3,000 square foot green house?

Graham: I’ve got only electric here. I don’t have any propane or oil, which most people do up here. We don’t have natural gas because we’re too rural, but my electric bills are under $200 a month on average for the whole year and that’s all my utilities.

Josh: You guys have it cold up there. It’s chilly.

Graham: Yes, well, I’ve got a 3,000 square foot three unit building and I spend $4,800 a year heating that with oil. I’m saving $5,000 a year by having a green house versus not a green house and I, you know, I like the way that most of the green industry thinks and their thought process. I didn’t do it to save trees or to, you know, save the environment as much as I did from numbers standpoint to save money and to—I wanted to live in this house for a long time and I wanted to be comfortable and it made financial sense for me to spend more on the building to save money on my, you know, variable costs are year to year are so much lower than everybody else’s

Josh: Yes, makes sense. Makes sense and for hobbies of course you like to cut down trees right?

Graham: Yes oh yes. Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t? I mean if you’re having a bad day, go get a chainsaw if you know what you’re doing and cut a tree down and you will feel much better. It’s what I do.

Brandon: It’s funny because that’s actually what people in my area do, like I live in the wilderness, right? Like we.

Graham: Podunk.

Brandon: Yes, we live in—I mean, I am in the lumber industry out here.

Josh: Save the spotted owl land.

Brandon: Yes, you know like they would not allow kids to watch Fern Gully. Remember Fern Gully? They banned it. My whole entire county back when it came out back in whatever the ‘90s.

Graham: Right.

Brandon: Because there was—it was about how evil the loggers were.

Graham: Yes.

Brandon: My—yes, we don’t—we’re not allowed to talk about Fern Gully here.

Graham: It’s fun.

Brandon: We chop down trees.

Graham: Running chainsaws is fun. I wouldn’t want to do it for a living.

Brandon: No.

Graham: It’s fun to do it every once in awhile.

Brandon: No.

Josh: Yes, yes, yes.

Brandon: Yes, I got a bunch of friends, that’s what they do for a job.

Graham: Yes.

Brandon: They go out into the woods with a chainsaw and cut down trees so. Alright, moving on. Alright, let’s go over to our world famous.

Announcer: Famous Four.

Brandon: Alright, these questions are asked to every single guest and I know you’ve heard our show before so you probably know what’s coming, but let’s go with number one, what is your favorite real estate related book.

Graham: I have two. Is that cheating if I tell you two?

Josh: No, it’s all good.

Brandon: It’s okay.

Graham: I know other people have broken the rules before, but for.

Brandon: They’re never invited back.

Graham: Okay, well I’m going to end up changing my answer.

Brandon: That’s so skewed.

Graham: For property management and landlording, Landlording on Autopilot by Mike Butler is invaluable if you want, if you’re going to be managing tenants and I love that book and I learned about it on BiggerPockets initially. I go it and it helped me tremendously so that’s one, but if you—from an investing standpoint, especially if you’re a beginner, I like The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No and Low Money Down by Brandon Turner.

Josh: First time I think.

Graham: Yes, well you know there’s going to be a first time for everything, but from a real estate investing, you know, first of all, like you guys say in the book, everything that’s in that book you can find on BiggerPockets.

Brandon: Yes.

Graham: It’s going to take you months and months and months on BiggerPockets to find all that information. It’s not going to be organized or laid out as straight forward as this book is so if you’re seriously interested in getting started or if you’ve been doing it for awhile and you want a great resource, like that book is great to do that so I like your book, Brandon.

Brandon: Thank you.

Graham: It was very well done and you know, I look back on it, I’m like what did, you now, like what did Brandon say about, you know this loan and can I get this loan and I have people like I—like my sister-in-law, she younger. She wants to get into investing and I tell her like, get this book, like read it. You know, here are the loans that Brandon says you can get and it really—it’s a great book.

Brandon: Thank you.

Graham: I recommend that. I’ve recommended it to four or five people just in the last month.

Josh: That’s awesome.

Brandon: I love it.

Josh: You know, I think the best part of the book is the foreword.

Brandon: The foreword, yes. Good job, Josh. Josh wrote a great foreword on that book.

Graham: Yes.

Brandon: Alright, so we’ve never done this before, but I’m going to do it right now and Josh can edit it out if he doesn’t like it later.

Josh: Oh boy.

Brandon: Let’s have a sale—we’re going to have a sale in the book right now. It’s going to be, the keyword, if you want to buy the book, you get 20% off by using the coupon code Graham, G-R-A-H-A-M. Is that how you spell your name right?

Josh: How long is that sale good for, Brandon?

Brandon: I don’t know, what do we go? Two weeks? That’ll give people time to listen and so when this comes out the two weeks following, use the discount code how do you spell your name.

Graham: G-R-A-H-A-M.

Brandon: Alright, two weeks after this, you can get 20% off if you want to buy the book on BiggerPockets at BiggerPockets.com/NoMoney.

Graham: I’m not getting any of the proceeds.

Brandon: You’re not.

Graham: From the sale. I’m not—I wasn’t prompted to answer that question, Brandon we thank you for it.

Josh: Brandon decided that he wanted 20% less of a cut on the sale of these books so nicely done.

Brandon: I want everybody to read this thing. I want every person in America to have this book on their shelf, alright.

Graham: It’s a good one.

Brandon: Thank you.

Josh: No, no, I’m just kidding, but yes, yes.

Brandon: Alright, thank you. Moving on, moving on.

Josh: Alright, I think it’s my turn.

Brandon: It’s yours.

Josh: Can I speak?

Brandon: Hey Graham what’s your favorite business book?

Josh: You son of a.

Graham: Yes Josh.

Josh: Hey Graham, what is your favorite business book?

Graham: That’s a really good question. I’m glad you asked me that.

Josh: Yes.

Graham: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Really was a great book and.

Josh: Yes, I suppose.

Graham: Yes, I love it because it works. I mean it really does. It’s not an easy read. I mean it was written in the—what? The ‘30s? It really has helped and it cemented a lot of the things that were kind of again, in the back of my head, like is this really working or, you know, but if you set your mind on something and you want to accomplish it.

You know and this is what I kind of feel the book is saying. You know, if you internalize and you think about it subconsciously, you’re going to attract things to you that are going to reflect what you’re thinking about and it’s an amazing book. It works in all aspects of life not just real estate investing or but, any business. I saw it first hand in the hockey world.

It’s a great book and honestly again I learned about it on BiggerPockets, the first book that I read that was recommended by BiggerPockets forum member and I love it. Then it works, I mean I get calls and I’m just like man, that was—I was just thinking about that last week and it’s strange, it’s eerily strange how it works, but it’s cool.

Josh: That’s great. That’s great. Alright man, what do you do for fun. What kind of hobbies do you got besides hockey? Snoozefest.

Graham: I always struggle with this answer because when I hear other people on the podcast, they’ve got like these great like, oh I go cliff jumping.

Josh: Wait, didn’t we have a guy who like hiked.

Graham: I hiked the Andes. I don’t have any time to do anything. I’ve got—I mean Josh, you can back me up on this. I got a three year old and a five year old. I—it’s all I can do to do what I need to do with real estate and spend time with them.

I really—I don’t have any real hobbies. I mean I still play hockey twice a week with my men’s league team. That’s pretty much my social time. Other than that, it’s fulltime real estate and kids so I’m looking forward to the day where I’ll have a little bit more time, but I’m really trying to enjoy my family while they’re young and spend as much time as I can with them. Real estate enables me to have a more flexible schedule to spend time with them, but I get so jealous of Brandon when he. He’s talking about how much of a responsibility of his cats are and it’s like.

Brandon: It’s tough to look after them. I got to change the litter box once a day. I mean come on.

Graham: I know, I know, I mean I wish I could leave my kids for like a weekend and pour like some Cheerios on the counter and be like, okay, I’ll be back in three days. Your mom and I will see you. We love you, you know.

Josh: By the way for any of the authorities listening, Graham lives at.

Brandon: Alright, alright, moving on, final question from me. What do you believe sets apart successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail, or never get started?

Graham: I thought a lot about this, self confidence is what separates I think the people that succeed that don’t and a lot of—a little of this comes from my past as hockey player, but a lot of people think it’s motivation. You hear a lot of oh, they got to be motivated, they got to be motivated and I think that’s true, but I think motivation is a combination of two things. It’s the combination of desire and then it’s self confidence. A lot of people have the desire. They want to do it and they never get started.

You know, they think they’re motivated, but they’re not really motivated. They just have a lot of desire so what’s holding them back in my opinion is they don’t have the self-confidence to take action, to take the next step. I think that’s where like analysis paralysis comes from a little bit. You’re constantly learning and you’re desire and you want that thing to happen, but you just don’t feel like you’re ready to do it. Or you don’t think you deserve it or you’re not confident that you’re going to be successful so I think if you find that you are—you feel like you’re motivated and you want to achieve, but you’re not.

I think it’s—you’re really experiencing desire with a lack of self-confidence. You just need to believe in yourself and go out and start to make things happen because they will happen. You know, I think so the lack of self-confidence I think that’s what paralyzes most people and what makes people like not do it. They just don’t believe that they’re good enough and like I said, this is true in real estate, but it’s also—it’s true in the sports world as well.

A lot of—there’s a lot of really good athletes that never make it because they just don’t believe that they can make it and there’s a lot of athletes that make it because they fake it ‘til they make it. You know, they’re just, they think they’re the best. They act like they’re the best and eventually it happens. It kind of goes in with that you know, the book Think and Grow Rich, but you know, if you find yourself in that situation, build your self confidence, you know, little steps like find ways to you know, have little victories and it’ll add up to a bigger victory and you’ll get that feeling like you can do it. Then you’ll go out and you’ll do it.

Brandon: You know that was probably one of my favorite answers I’ve ever heard on the podcast. Like I don’t know if I ever said the self-confidence before, but I think that is so important. I mean people listen to this should like rewind that last like minute and listen again because I think that was huge. I love that.

Josh: There you go. There you go.

Graham: Thanks.

Josh: Michael Jordan once said I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darnet, people like me.

Brandon: Wasn’t that?

Graham: Smiley?

Brandon: Neil Frankel or whatever? What’s the name?

Josh: No.

Brandon: That was Senator Al Franken, that’s his name.

Josh: It was Michael Jordan on SNL.

Brandon: Oh yes, on SNL.

Josh: With Stewart Smalley yes.

Graham: Wasn’t someone on this podcast on Saturday Night Live?

Josh: Oh that’s crazy.

Brandon: That.

Josh: Alright, moving on, Graham, where can people find out more information about you?

Graham: BiggerPockets, you know, from a real estate perspective, I’m on Twitter, but I’m not super active with that. It’s a lot of sports stuff. It was kind of developed from a hockey standpoint. I’m going to be switching over to more real estate stuff if I get time. I’m on LinkedIn.

Brandon: He’s on Wikipedia.

Josh: Clearly.

Graham: BiggerPockets is my chosen form. If you want to talk to me about anything, if you’re looking, if you have questions, if you want to invest in Vermont, you know, anywhere, look me up. You’ll find me there.

Josh: Also, be sure to look him up on Youtube where you can see the best of Graham Mink smacking people across the head.

Graham: I’ve played 800 professional hockey league games and there’s like four fights on there so like and they’re not very good ones so don’t waste your time.

Josh: That’s the only video that exists of you.

Graham: Yes.

Josh: Here’s a video of Graham on the ice. Here’s another video of Graham getting knocked on the ice.

Graham: There’s one particular video where the announcer is just brutal on me and there’s a little history between me and the announcer and he—we’re not—we didn’t get along very well so. Take whatever he says with a grain of salt.

Josh: I’m going to watch it now. Alright, Graham, listen man, it’s been an absolute pleasure, a lot of fun, really really enjoyed doing this show with you and we thank you for coming on and of course. Thank you for being such a big fan of ours and thanks for participating in and being a part of the BiggerPockets family. We will look forward to seeing you around. Seeing you around.

Brandon: Anyone listening, you can check out the show notes at BiggerPockets.com/Show119.

Josh: Thanks guys.

Graham: You’re welcome guys. Thank you very much for having me and I look forward to meeting you guys in person at the 2015 BiggerPockets Summit.

Brandon: Yes, he said it. Now it has to happen, Josh. We’re going to have a petition. We’re going to start one. Change.org, it’s going to be a.

Josh: Do it. Do what you got to do.

Brandon: Alright, I want to see somebody do that. Alright, we’re getting out of here. Josh you take it.

Graham: Thanks guys. It’s been great.

Brandon: Alright.

Graham: I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Josh: Hey Graham, no seriously, thanks man it was definitely. Are we still recording?

Brandon: Sure. Why don’t you take us out right now. We will do.

Josh: Thanks a lot. Do you want me to? Should I do it all the way through cause?

Brandon: Yes.

Josh: I just stop. Well let’s go back then and let’s fix it.

Brandon: No, we got this. We got this.

Josh: No this is terrible.

Brandon: This is good. This is good. People like this stuff right here.

Josh: Nobody likes you.

Brandon: This is what—this is what the podcast is like when we don’t hit the edit button.

Josh: Oh stop. Graham, no I got my agent like texting me. I got to go look at a property so I’m going to get out of here. Graham, it’s been a pleasure. Everybody listening, I’m Josh Dorkin.

I’m not signing out yet, but check out BiggerPockets.com if you’ve not already done that. If you’ve not yet written us a rating or review on iTunes. Please go to iTunes and leave us a rating and review. We really really appreciate that. It helps us a lot.

It helps us expand our viewership, our listenership and thanks a million guys. Thanks for being a part of our world and thanks for being out there helping to improve our communities, our neighborhoods, fixing up properties, giving people a good place to live. We are—we are changing lives. We are helping people out. That’s what real estate investors do and it’s a beautiful thing and we don’t talk about it enough so I’m just going to spit it out here, anyway, I’m out. Josh Dorkin, signing off.

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