BiggerPockets Podcast 159 with Nathan Brooks Transcript

Link to show: BP Podcast 159: How to Build a Real Estate Business That Buys 60 Deals a Year with Nathan Brooks

Josh: This is the BiggerPockets podcast show #159

Nathan: And so we started creating this one pager’s just like he had suggested and so it’s just been a game changer.

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Josh: What’s going on everybody? This is Josh Dorkin host of the BiggerPockets podcast here with my cohost Mister Brandon Turner. What’s up, Brandon?

Brandon: Not much. What’s up, Josh?

Josh: Doing alright. Doing alright.

Brandon: Good.

Josh: Really, really excited about today’s show.

Brandon: Are you? Why?

Josh: You know, it’s always fun to get into these programs, these shows, where we kind of dig in deeper on topics that we’ve previously broached and taking it from different angles and things like that. You know, you get so many people who are like, “well, I know everything there is to know about real estate,” and they just don’t realize that there’s just so many different angles and approaches that you can take in doing what it is that you do and what it is that we do in the real estate world that I don’t know, it’s just fascinating.

Anyway. Today’s show with Nathan is outstanding and getting into the topic of hiring, and scaling, and building your business and, you know, just, man, I don’t know. We covered a whole lot of stuff. Lifestyle businesses, lifestyle design, it’s fantastic. So I’m just excited. I don’t know.

Brandon: Well, good for you.

Josh: Am I allowed to be excited?

Brandon: I’ll allow it this time.

Josh: Okay, thank you, sir. Thank you.

Brandon: No problem.

Josh: Thank you, you’re a good boss, thank you.

Brandon: You’re welcome. Some guy in the forums the other day he wrote that his first flip made $140,000 on it. Amazing success story. People can check that out on the forums, but in there he said, “I just want to thank,” and he listed a whole bunch of people then he ended with, “and I especially want to thank Brandon Turner and his assistant Josh Dorkin,” I love that.

Josh: Yeah. It’s cool. I mean, you know, listen.

Brandon: You now.

Josh: Call me whatever you want to call me. At the end of the day as long as people are happy I’m happy. I’m happy, you’re happy, we’re all happy. I’m your assistant? Fine, I’m your assistant.

Brandon: Oh, good. Alright. Well, assistant, I’m going to need some more Starbucks so if you could take care of that right now?

Josh: Yeah, right. Kiss my beep.

Brandon: Alright. Going on with it. Let’s get to today’s Quick Tip.

Josh: Okay, do it.

Brandon: Okay. Today’s Quick Tip is—

Josh: I like how I’m the assistant and you’re doing the Quick Tip.

Brandon: I know, thank you. The Quick Tip is: Evernote, actually. This is a free program, there’s a paid version as well, but it’s a free program you can get on your computer, on your smart phone, on a lot of different devices, and I use it all the time in my investing business. We have no affiliation with them, we don’t make any money by telling you this, I’m just telling you it’s a cool program and as an investor, or wannabe investor, you should be using it. It’s really cool, and actually as a bonus, the reason we decided to add this Quick Tip in, is because after the show was all done that we recorded today, we just got finished recording it, we had a really good conversation afterwards with our guest and he mentioned Evernote. So I sat there and I was like, “wait, wait, wait, I want to record this,” so we recorded it and it was all about how he uses Evernote in his business. So at the end of the show after the music plays you can hear exactly how he does that. Kind of a little bonus for everybody listening.

Josh: There you go. There you go.

Brandon: There you go.

Josh: Awesome. Hey, guys, really, really, really quick, thank you very much for listening to the show. Thank you for spreading the word of the show. We actually hit an all-time high in terms of our rankings recently. We were up to 115 of last week of every single podcast on the planet. Right now as I look we’re ranked at 121, but, I mean, we’re really close to top 100 of every single podcast on the planet and we could not do it without you guys, without the listeners.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: So please, if you’ve just found this show, jump in, go on Stitcher, on iTunes, however you’re listening to the show subscribe. Subscribe to the BiggerPockets podcast and if you like it please do leave us a rating and review. It helps us get the word out, grow the show, and help educate more people about the world of real estate. So help us help you by doing that and big thanks, guys, we really do appreciate it.

Brandon: Yeah, it is pretty cool.

Josh: Otherwise, yeah, things are good. Let’s get to this thing. Let’s kind of cut to the chase and bring him on. Today’s guest is Nathan Brooks. Nathan is a real estate investor in Kansas City, previously has been on the show before, and the last time it was an episode called How To Thrive After The Collapse Of A Real Estate Empire and so today we kind of talk about where he’s been since then and what’s happened and it’s fascinating. He’s really built a fantastic business and we’re going to get into it, but before we do we’ve gotta get to today’s sponsor.

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Josh: Awesome. Alright, big thanks to our sponsors and let’s get to him. Alright ladies and gentlemen, let’s bring him on. The bearded man himself, Mister Nathan Brooks. What’s up, dude?

Nathan: What’s happening? How are you guys doing today?

Brandon: Doing good. Doing good. I just saw you in a movie last week. The Leonardo DiCaprio one, you know, the Revenant or whatever it’s called?

Josh: He was the bear, right?

Brandon: Yeah, you were the bear. For those people who can’t see right now we’re recording this on Skype, but obviously the podcast is mostly audio only, but Nathan has a significantly longer beard than last time he was on the show and it’s a little bearly.

Josh: Yes.

Brandon: If that’s a word.

Nathan: I like that. Well, see, it started as the play off beard and, you know, this team from Kansas City called the Royals won the World Series and then it kind of continued through that and you know.

Josh: Hey, can we get another guest on the show?

Brandon: Josh is still a little sore from that game.

Josh: That was not a good World Series, I’m sorry.

Nathan: You know what? It was meant to be. You can’t fight it.

Josh: Right.

Brandon: Alright. So, for the last time we had you on the show, for those people who didn’t listen to that one, it was show number 87,

Josh: It was a terrible show, by the way.

Brandon: Worst show we’ve ever done. So we had that back in September of 2014 so this is over a year and a half, almost a year and a half, ago and the show title was called How To Thrive After The Collapse Of a Real Estate Empire and it was a really good show all about your story of your struggle as you built up a portfolio then lost a lot of stuff and had a really tough go at it and you were rebuilding your portfolio and very, very powerful. People really, really responded to that a lot.

So today we’re talking about kind of the next phase in your life cause the last year and a half has been, from what I’ve read, has been crazy for you. I mean, you’ve been writing on the BiggerPockets blog and you guys have really exploded over the past year and a half so that’s what we’re talking about today. Sound good?

Josh: Do you want to give us a recap really quick of what we talked about last time, Nathan? I don’t know if you remember your own life up until that point.

Brandon: Yeah, let us know who you are and what you do.

Nathan: Yeah, yeah. Well, I live in Kansas City market, and thanks again for having me on again guys and I’m excited to talk about what’s going on. So, you know, going through, had gotten into real estate, going through the downturn of the economy and really tried to do well but did a lot of things poorly and a lot of things just kind of not thought through and we lost a number of properties and went through bankruptcy and had a miscarriage in the same week of just what was a horrible ending of a year. So we had to look at ourselves and look back at what we did right and what we did wrong and how to regroup. So, is that a good way to—?

Josh: Yeah, fair enough. Anyone listening, again, you can go check out the last show at and get all the details, but yeah. So things have changed dramatically since then and maybe we can start with kind of where are you today? You know, let’s kind of fast forward to where you are today and then we’ll kind of work our way from where we left off to where we are today. So tell us about kind of what you do right now. What does your business look like?

Nathan: Yeah, well we do a number of things. So we have an internal, you know, properties that we’re still buying for ourselves and we have a full property management with a property manager and leasing assistant. We have our own crew now. We have, you know, we probably ended the year doing about 60 or so deals last year.

Brandon: Wow, and what are those? Buy and hold, rentals, flips, wholesale?

Nathan: You know, I’d say the majority of those were buy and holds, probably 10 wholesale deals and honestly it might even be a little higher than 60. So we have a pretty sizeable kind of marketing side of the thing as well now so we have a lot of wholesale deals that come through. Matter of fact put a couple under contract today and a couple under contract beginning of the week so we have quite a number of the wholesale deals coming through then it’s awesome because it can feed, for us, it can feed deals for other investors we know and then we also have guys now from all over the country who come to us for properties. We have kind of a little different model in the turnkey take so we still bring kind of the turnkey model but we’re able to actually deliver a little bit more equity in those properties for them too and a little higher rent multipliers which is pretty cool.

Josh: Nice.

Brandon: Nice. So you do just a few things? I mean, you do quite a bit in real estate. It’s not I’m just a wholesaler, I’m just a flipper, just a buy and hold. Why is that? Why do you diversify into a lot of different areas?

Nathan: You know, it’s interesting, I’ve always been big on mentors and I’ve thought about this a number of times at the beginning of the year and I sat down with a gentleman back in the day. His name’s Rob and he’s in Florida and he—I found him on Craigslist. I saw this incredible business that he had. I pestered him until I could take him to lunch and through that meeting it really changed my life. Kind of laid out the here’s buckets of income, here’s buckets of the streams, and this one property management might be making this or you might have this challenge or change in this bucket or, you know, whatever, so if you diversify that income stream and you’re doing it well then you can really, you know, one month might be light on the wholesale deals but you still have passive income on your rentals or whatever.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: I love that. You know, we’ve kind of taken a similar model with BiggerPockets as well. You know, we don’t want to be reliant upon one way of generating income because if something goes wrong here we’ll at least make up for it somewhere else. Having a diversified business is a great idea. So, you’ve got a PM company, this quasi turnkey thing that goes above and beyond, you’ve done 60 deals last year, 10 wholesale, you know, that’s a lot. That’ll keep you busy.

Why don’t we kind of go to the property management company and kind of start there. Why did you decide you needed to start a property management company?

Nathan: Well, I think it’s kind of the stepchild in the real estate world and I think a lot of times property management companies get a bad rap and a lot of times it’s because they don’t do a good job. I had the first one I fired them, I had the second I fired them, and so I didn’t want to be taking the phone calls for a broken toilet or whatever when you’re trying to do all these other deals. That’s crazy. I know people do it, and that’s great, but it wasn’t where my game plan was.

So kind of in that same timeframe I finally found a person that was an awesome partner and he and I kind of worked through systematically backing into it. So what do we charge? What does it look like? How do we find the best talent in the best spot and produce a company that’s really actually delivering what we want to deliver it for for us and therefore we can deliver that for our clients.

Josh: Got it. Got it. So it kind of came out of the necessity. You were working with these companies that kind of seemed like they weren’t doing the job and since you couldn’t find one you just started it. Is that kind of a fair assessment?

Nathan: That’s exactly right. Yeah, exactly right.

Josh: Yeah.

Brandon: I’ve been kicking around the idea forever.

Josh: Which is what we tell Brandon all the time.

Brandon: Yeah, everyone tells me. We had a show with Enrique Jevons back a few months ago and the whole show he was just like, “you need to start your own property management company,” because that’s what he did, and that’s what you’ve done. So, yeah, it’s definitely on the horizon for me I think.

Nathan: I think the question just becomes are you willing to put the time into the systems to create that thing? And if you are then you should. If you’re not and you don’t want to deal with that then you shouldn’t. You should just keep shopping and finding the best one out there.

Josh: So let’s talk about, first, the companies you worked with. Why did they suck so bad?

Nathan: You know, I think a lot of things come back to communication and comes back to what the expectation is and what the delivery of the expectation is. So on just a number of things whether it was taking care of and knowing what’s going on in the properties, or the quality of tenant that’s getting put in there, or routine checkups, or systems that were in place that were taken care of, you know, maintenance items or whatever that might be. So, for me, when I kept having to ask questions and then I would call somebody to go fix something or whatever, well, I’m paying these guys to do all this stuff and I’m still having to have this vacuum of time put into it. So I’d rather put that energy into my own guys doing an awesome job creating another job out there in the world for a company that actually cares and wants to do something really, really well.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Awesome. So for the people listening, I mean, I know I’ve been through this and it was one of my nightmares, so any pearls of wisdom for folks who are trying to screen or trying to find somebody? How do you find the company that has good communication, does maintenance, puts in good tenants? I mean, how do I know that up front without going through and firing one after the next after the next?

Nathan: That’s a great question. I think you kind of have to see what is the value of that company and where are they coming from? One of the things that I loved telling people was I fired the first one, I fired the second one, so I find myself trying to do it all and put in an awesome person in the right spot. I think if you find one that’s values line up with yours and the quality of the work lines up with yours then you’ve found the right fit. So somebody might just say, “I don’t really care that much about condition, I’m going to go in there fix this, fix that, whatever,” and you find the cheapest guy, that might be your thing. You know, for us we go in and we basically do a full rehab every time we buy another house. So, whether you’re one of the turnkey clients or you’re one of the tenants that live in our houses, the tenants know now when they actually go to one of our houses what they look like because they’ve seen enough of them now. We get repeat people where they miss the first one, they come back to the second one, or the third one, or whatever and that happens all the time now just because they know we’re just another level up.

Josh: Yeah, right on.

Nathan: Yeah.

Josh: Okay, so, but part of this process is actually doing a fairly in depth interview I’m guessing. I mean, you really want to find that information out you can’t just kind of like go through the phone book, and well, okay I just aged myself again, you can’t just go on the internet and look at a website and say, “oh, this is the company I want to work with”. I mean, how do I actually get all that information? Do I take tours of the properties that they manage? Do I, I mean, are there any kind of tips that you might have?

Nathan: You know, I think you could tour properties if you wanted to do that. That depends on if you’re going to fly out or not. That’s a reasonable thing. I think you get on a call and go through the things that are really important to you. You want to know what they charge, you want to know how they manage, you want to know how are you getting your money. How are you getting your, you know, how do the tenants come in? What’s the timeframe for turning around stuff? How often are you in the property as a manager? How often are you in communication with the tenant? If you’re in communication with the tenant how do you know?

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Keep going. Don’t stop. No, seriously man, I mean, awesome. Keep, I mean, what other points?

Nathan: Yeah, I think it’s important to know what kind of system is in place. So I can tell you we had a gentleman bring a property on a few weeks ago who had a lovely lady managing it but she literally would take the check and drive it to the bank and deposit it and drive another check over to him or whatever. I’m like, “dude, you know, if you like cheap keep staying with her, man, but if you like awesome come on over,” you know? So if you want to see it online in the system and everything comes in and comes out and you don’t have to do anything what is that time value worth? What is all the information where you have it right there? So we’re constantly trying to make that system better and better and put the right people in those positions.

So we actually hired a property manager who had had decades of experience, who had a marketing degree in hotel marketing management and we paid somebody that we really felt could be a leader in care and own that desire of what we wanted to be as a company.

Brandon: Yeah, and I think that’s key right there. You hired somebody who could take ownership of it not legally, but in their mind. Like, this was their project. They could help run that division of your company and they had some kind of incentive for doing it or they had a reason for excelling at it. I think that’s key in any business you have.

Nathan: Exactly, and we wanted to like them. So you really want, and I genuinely like all of our people and I think that’s just so important with the culture of what that company is and then the tenants understand what the culture of that company is and you can actually explain. Like, we have really clean and safe and nice properties, you know? We have those expectations of the tenant, we have those expectations of the owner and we want that and we’re not going to take your property if you don’t want that.

Brandon: Yeah. Well, I think this would be a good time to maybe transition and talk a little bit about the idea of hiring people. Cause obviously when we talked to you last time I don’t think you had any employees, I think it was just you, and now you have several now, right? Do you know how many you have right now?

Nathan: You know, I think it’s 8 overall. We have a couple of virtual assistants who do various things. Let me back up and give credit where credit is due. So I brought on a business partner who actually came to me through BiggerPockets and just we had an incredible—so, yeah, thank you guys.

Josh: Yeah, awesome.

Nathan: So he called me, I think, it was like a Tuesday or Wednesday and then flew out on the following Wednesday or Thursday so 7 or 8 days later and we just hit it off really, really well. He really understands the system building and he’s really good on understanding how to hire people because, frankly, I hadn’t done a very good job when I tried to do some of that. That really put me in a position where I could go out and I really excel at putting deals together and negotiating and finding deals and working those kind of things and then just putting it into the machine which he really was helping create on that system side.

Brandon: You know, I see that a lot in real estate partnerships where one person is generally better at putting together a deal and finding a deal and negotiating, like that side of things and somebody else is better at the systems and the business and running the internal stuff. Very few people are good at both so I’m a big believer in partnerships. I mean, people know that. In The Book On Investing With No and Low Money Down I talk a whole chapter in there about partnerships because I’m just a strong believer in them. I use them all the time. Is that what you saw in yours?

Josh: Where can they find that book?

Brandon: Oh, they can find that book, the best real estate book ever written, at, but is that how you found it in your own life as well that he was just better at the systems, you were better at that? Is that how that generally breaks down?

Nathan: Just glaringly obvious, yeah. So, and not that I wasn’t able to do those things, but I didn’t like doing them very much and I didn’t do them nearly as well as he did.

Brandon: Yeah.

Nathan: When you look at scaling from doing, you know, say 5 or 10 deals in a year to doing 5 or 10 deals in a month you have to be able to put those things in place and somebody who can actually recognize and help do that.

Brandon: Yeah, I fully agree. You know, I’m re-reading right now, well re-listening to, the Four Hour Work Week and you know the Tim Ferris book, and it’s been a number of years since I’ve read it. So I’m listening as I go to the gym or whatever, I’m out driving around, and one thing he said in there just really stood out to me this time around was he said, “don’t focus on your weaknesses always trying to improve them, focus on your strengths and improve them and have other people do the things that you’re not good at,” and I heard that like it really hit me hard. There’s certain things I’m always bad at. I’ve said it before on the podcast here. I’m bad at managing contractors. I’m just not good at it. I’m bad at confrontation. I just hate doing it. I hate that part of it.

Josh: You don’t shut up.

Brandon: Yeah, I don’t shut up.

Josh: Should we keep going? Hold on.

Brandon: Yeah, keep telling me all my negatives. There’s lots of things I’m not good at. So I’m working with a partner now who’s good at managing contractors because for years I tried to fix what I was bad at. I tried to get more, you know, assertive and tried to be better at yelling at a contractor but then I just—I’m not that guy. I just can’t do it. So, yeah, I’m going to outsource that.

Josh: So let me ask this question to both of you guys then; how do you self-evaluate to know what you’re actually good at and what you’re bad at? I think for some people, as Nathan said, it’s glaringly obvious, but for other people I think there’s a lot of other people out there who have taken the opportunity to look at themselves and say, “hey, what is it that I’m good at? What is it that I’m bad at? What are my skills?” and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think it’s something we don’t learn in school. It’s not something that college teaches you or your parents don’t necessarily show you. This is something that as you grow I think those people that are successful tend to be the ones who can look at themselves and those who, you know, sometimes get stuck oftentimes don’t have the capacity to do it. So any tips that you guys have on doing that?

Nathan: I’ll tell you what. I think one of the huge things for me, and I’m a huge Timothy Ferris fan too, and I think when you put yourself in a position to learn you’re going to put yourself in a position to also learn about yourself. If you’re willing to be open with yourself about it in that kind of dialogue whether it’s literally a book to your brain and you’re allowing those things to process so when you go back and look at it, like what you said, don’t focus on the weaknesses do the things you’re strong at. Well, if you’re looking through the day and you say, “well, I did this, and I did this and I have a pile of all of this over here that I haven’t done,” that’s a pretty clear indicator of what you did and didn’t do.

Brandon: Yeah.

Nathan: So I think if you’re honest with yourself and you come back and actually, frankly, my partner and I have this exact conversation. I mean, literally. What do you see that I’m doing that’s really going well? What do you see that I’m doing that’s not? Then reverse, you know?

Brandon: And to piggy back on that I think people are better at pointing, it sounds funny, but people are better at pointing out your flaws than you are pointing out your flaws. So, yeah.

Josh: Oh, yeah.

Brandon: There’s a book I read called 6 Months To 6 Figure Income it’s by Peter Vogel or Vuge, something like that. Really good book. Definitely recommend it, but in this book he talks about that kind of same concept of knowing what you’re good at and not. His suggestion, and I love this, is go and email ten of your closest friends and family and just say, “hey, this is kind of an awkward email but I need your help with something and I need you to be honest with me. What do you see as my top 3 things that I’m great at in life and what do you see as my 3 things that I struggle with the most? Be totally honest. You can make it anonymous if you want to, you know, send it to this person and they’ll send it to me but I just need to know,” and I thought that was a fantastic suggestion.

Josh: That’s a good idea.

Brandon: Just to know what your, I mean, people would tell me, “you’re not assertive”.

Josh: I notice you never actually did it. I didn’t get the email from you.

Brandon: No, I didn’t. I wouldn’t send it to you anyway. No, but I verbally asked a few people when I read that. I was like, “I’m going to try that,” so I asked my brother and I asked my parents. I’m like, “what do you guys see me doing?” I didn’t do the email, but I think it’s a cool idea.

Josh: Yeah, it’s great.

Nathan: Yeah, I think so too. I think it’s just helpful and it’s a good reminder of what to work on, you know?

Brandon: Yeah. Here’s a question for you; how do you decide if you want to, should you, partner with someone or hire someone, right? Because sometimes I could have hired a project manager to manage my flips, but I decided to partner instead. Was that a good choice? Bad choice? How do I know?

Nathan: Man, that is an awesome question. I think part of it is experience and putting yourself in a position where you, you know, risk/reward of what am I putting into this partnership and what is my expectations going in and making sure that you’re setting that versus if your goal is just to do X number of flips and you can hire this person to do that and you like being the only person, and maybe you’re really good at systems and whatever and you can hire somebody who’s bringing in deals for you or a realtor or whatever that is I think that’s cool. I think for me the thing that really gets me fired up is that on the awesome days we’re high fiving and we’re fired up, but on the crappy days we’re also fist bumping and saying, “hey, man, we’re stacking hands and we’re going to work through this,” and there’s another person to appreciate wherever you are and ride the rollercoaster a little bit with you on the other side of it.

Brandon: Yeah, I love that.

Josh: Right on.

Brandon: Alright, so let’s go back. So we talked about partnerships and we started talking about the actual employees. So I love your kind of thought about, you know, do you want to go ride that rollercoaster with a partner and I love that concept. I think that’s great. So the people that you do end up hiring, now I actually just hired my first full time employee actually last week.

Josh: Woohoo!

Brandon: Yeah, pretty exciting.

Nathan: Congrats, man.

Brandon: Thanks, yeah.

Nathan: Who is it? What do they do?

Brandon: They are going to do.

Josh: Well, I just started and I like to shine Brandon’s shoes, I clean his cat litter.

Brandon: Yep, yep. Get me Starbucks.

Josh: I sometimes comb his beard for him and oftentimes, yeah.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah, you know. Alright, so this person is going to be admin assistant first of all, that’s what I officially advertised for. I just put it on Facebook and said, “hey, I’m looking for this,” I said, “that person could be doing anything from answering phone calls from motivated sellers to inspecting properties, taking photos, to getting me Starbucks, to mowing my lawn,” I was like, “I don’t know what you’ll be doing, but you’ll be doing everything that I do currently, or most of what I do currently that I don’t want to do anymore,” so I found a woman who I think is going to be fantastic at it and I’m really excited to get her on board.

Josh: He’s got a 90-year-old woman mowing his lawn. It’s the funniest thing. You’ve got to see. She literally auditioned with this video of her behind this mower.

Brandon: This is not true. This is not true at all.

Nathan: That would be so awesome, though.

Brandon: So let’s talk about the hiring people. How do you know who to hire first? How did that process go for you?

Nathan: Well, I will tell you one of the things that my partner brings to the table is really a great skill in kind of talking through some of those questions. I felt like I was good at understanding and looking at the relationship side of that, but I really felt like he much more strongly brought that understanding of how to interview. Man, I tell you what, I think one of the most important things is first of all, you have to know what the heck you’re asking for. Ahem.

Brandon: I’m getting there.

Nathan: Then you have to understand your expectation of what they’re going to do and so I think that was really a learning process where we could come back and say in the same case for us we’re like, “okay, you’re a property manager but you’re also going to end up doing 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5,” and then we have to go back and say, “okay, well did we end up actually doing 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5?” obviously that’s post hiring process, but I think, do you get along with them? Do you like them? Do they actually have the skill set that you’re looking for? Then you’re trying to look for the puzzle pieces about where am I hearing their strengths? Where am I hearing their weaknesses? This is something where I’ve just really trying to have been more in tune with so that, you know, I might be disappointed that this little thing over here is not happening, but I can look at it and say, “okay, well you know what? Our assistant over here can handle that task and then we can take that thing off of this person’s plate to do what they do really, really well”.

So as a manager to me it’s first, do you like the person? Are they bought into your idea and design of what your company does? Then how are you helping them exploit their strengths and putting them in a position to succeed with that?

Brandon: Yeah, I like that.

Josh: Alright, so I want to take it back to one of Brandon’s questions, which I think kind of gleaned over not intentionally, unless it was in which case you’re not going to get away with avoiding this question Mister Politician, the question is; how do you know who to hire first?

Nathan: Who to hire first.

Josh: Yeah, yeah, I mean, that seems—that’s, I think, one of the more complicated things. I know I struggled with it when I brought on Brandon and my first non-technical hire. I’m like, “well, I can hire one of 30 people, 30 roles, why this role?” and that was a real challenge. So, for you what was the mindset and who did you actually hire first?

Nathan: Well, I hired first property manager and so she was somebody who, well, for me it was a pain point. So trying to manage from a managerial standpoint on the actual management side of the rentals themselves versus doing deals and opportunities. So I was doing X number of dollar an hour work here, not to say it’s any less important cause it’s not, but my time value was best served doing this, you know, finding deals, doing deals, running deals. So she was somebody who could come in and really—to take the opportunity of that time who did a much better job of it and handle more properties coming in which therefore generated more revenue which therefore, you know, gave us just that much more opportunity which we then hired another leasing assistant that helps her.

So it was understanding what can she do, or he do, that covers things that you either don’t want to do, aren’t doing, or would be time value, you know, served doing other.

Josh: Okay, perfect. I love that, and I’ve done the same thing. It’s been very organic. It’s what’s this pain point? Let’s find somebody. They come in, they fill it, they’re going to create other new paint points for themselves and for you and then you’ve gotta kind of prioritize and juggle. It’s actually funny because independent of one another Brandon and Josh at the same time decided that we were both going to hire our own administrative assistants.

Brandon: Which you’re still looking so if people are interested.

Josh: I am still looking. I am, but for the very reason of what you said the time value of money. I stopped and I was looking at what I was doing. What was my job? What had Josh’s job at BiggerPockets become? And I realized that I wasn’t actually doing all of the things I needed to be doing as the guy who runs this company. I was doing 80-90% administrative work. I’m doing paperwork. I’m a paper pusher. You know, I’m not a good paper pusher.

Nathan: Stop it.

Josh: Oh, yeah, it’s terrible. I can’t stand it and there are people who love doing that stuff and I’m trying to find that person to come in and take over that part of my life so I can kind of get back in there, but yeah. So looking at where it is that you fail or what are you doing that you probably shouldn’t be doing and then little by little that’ll change over time. That’s going to be dynamic. At least, that’s how I’ve, you know, grown BiggerPockets is find the holes and try to plug people in there.

Nathan: Well, I think that too. One of the things that may be a great place to start for you is try even a virtual assistant. We have a couple of them and I tell you what, it’s a great lesson in how to manage. It’s a great lesson in where you’re missing something.

I had a call, because I’m always trying to learn, I had a call he’s off BiggerPockets and I can’t remember his name. He’s out of Chicago. He’s got a huge management company. I’d love to plug his name right now but I can’t remember.

Brandon: Is that Mark Ainsley? Or is that Wendell? I know they’re both in Chicago. Bree? She’s in Chicago.

Nathan: It wasn’t Bree. Anyway.

Josh: You guys are such name droppers.

Brandon: Just picking out podcast guests from Chicago.

Nathan: Yeah, and they were wonderful, he was wonderful. Took my time and took the phone call and one of the awesome nuggets out of that conversation was that he does one pagers for all his stuff and a one pager could be literally Josh gets up in the morning and the first thing I do is I check my email and I email these ten people. Well, guess what? You create a one pager and do the work once and then you send that to your virtual assistant or your assistant, whatever, and you say, “this is the process, go do it,” and then you review it with them and you do it again. Pretty soon you’re recognizing the things that you actually had to do them the first time.

So we started creating this one pager just like he had suggested and so it’s just been a game changer because now I can send it to the virtual assistant, “here you go, man. Here’s what I need, and here’s the check boxes. Here’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Go do it”.

Brandon: I love that. I mean, when I first started hiring we hired a virtual assistant. It kind of both worked for me and Josh and did a lot of stuff and his name’s Dave and Dave’s actually the one editing this podcast cause that’s exactly what we did. I was editing it over and over and over and then one day we were like, “why am I doing this? I could just write up a,” I used Google Docs and I just wrote up a description of exactly how I edit the podcast and I gave it to him and he excels at it. He’s amazing and he takes over. He’s been doing all our video editing.

Josh: He loves it.

Brandon: And he loves it and he’s good at it. Again, it was what I was not that good at and I didn’t really like doing it. He’s great at it and again, I like that you said that one pager. I’ve never heard it put like that. I was just thinking find the system, create the system and then have somebody run that system, but I like that terminology of a one pager of how you do it. I mean, overtime there’s probably 100 things a person does all day, if not more, that could be outsourced. It’s almost like, “well, it would take me too long to explain to somebody so I’ll just do it myself”.

Josh: Yep.

Brandon: But when it’s 5 minutes a day every day for, you know, 365 days a year it’s like, “whoa, that would have been worth these 20 minutes to write up a document or record a screenshot or whatever on how to do it”.

Nathan: Well, if you take that to another end and say, well, you did a one pager today and a one pager tomorrow and, you know, we try to do one or two a week. Well, guess what? The thought of creating an operational manual for your company is crazy but the thought of doing one, you know, 5 or 10 minutes here and 5 or 10 minutes here all of a sudden we have the start of what is really a great operational manual for your company.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Yep.

Brandon: So what I actually did is after we, you know, we interviewed this lady that we wanted to hire and once I realized what she was good at, she actually is an administrative assistant for probably the largest contracting company in my town so she’s doing it for contractors already which is her strength. So then we sat down and me and my wife sat down at Starbucks together, pulled out a notebook and we wrote down every single system that we have in our life that potentially she could take. Then we have a list so every day, we’re doing exactly that, we’re going to create one system a day and just sit down. If it takes us an hour or two to write up an entire whatever, but over the course of the next two weeks when she gets officially on board we’ll have a nice manual of everything she’ll be doing and then I can train her and she’ll take over, you know, probably 70% of what I do in terms of my real estate business.

Nathan: That’s awesome.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: We like to say it’s the kind of what if they get hit by a car manual too.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: It’s, you know, if somebody that you hire, god forbid something happens to them, at least now you have all the procedures written out so that somebody else could kind of come in and much more easily take over.

Nathan: Absolutely, and when we think about hiring, like our property management or manager for instance, you know, in the back of our minds are, you know, is this person the one that can run the company as a whole or is this the person that can run the whatever? How are you establishing the systems in place so that you know that that person could deliver and train the person that’s going to come take that role and they actually know what the heck that they would be telling them that they do.

Josh: Yeah. So I want to shift a little bit. One of the things that we had kind of in our notes here was lifestyle design. Something that you’re big into supposedly, rumor has it, what is lifestyle design and how does running the business the way you run it work within kind of creating this lifestyle design?

Nathan: Yeah, so this is something I am learning and actively making myself do a better job of.

Josh: Fair enough.

Nathan: So I’m not gonna suggest that I am awesome at it yet, but it is something that’s a major driver, right? So, for instance, last year we love Florida. I live in the middle of nowhere, you know, the center of the country. There’s no beach, no sand, no ocean, right? So we love going there. So our goal is to be able to spend more time, and longer chunks of time, where we have a business running and operating. I could work a few hours a day or whatever that might be and be able to function and do things actually enjoying that with my family. One of the things that you work and work and work and are we working for money’s sake and just to buy more stuff or buy more whatever?

Brandon: Yeah.

Nathan: So when I started really looking at it and looking where my time and these crazy days and appointments or whatever went to is this in fact, the best use of my time? One, am I missed time with my kids and wife at home? Am I missing opportunities to just enjoy life a little bit more even though I don’t need to necessarily go get that, you know, tenth deal for the month or whatever that might be? So it was really just kind of, you know, looking back at my own self and saying, what’s most important and how do I create those passive income lines? All this stuff we just talked about all feeds right back into that because if you build the systems to do it, you get the right people on board, then you are able to actually build a company that’s generating revenue and doing things that is helping you fulfill doing what you want to do as well.

Josh: Let me take that a second and kind of play with it a little bit. So now you’ve got a company. You’ve got 8 people working for you, maybe you’ll have 10, maybe you’ll have 50, maybe you’ll have 500 or maybe you’ll stay at 8. You’re running this entity. Do you have any fears, concerns, worries about hey, I’m going away for 6 months and traveling with my family? I’m still working, but you know my employees are still stuck here on the ground and, you know, what do I do? How do I kind of deal with some of this stuff? Do you have any kind of fears about that?

Nathan: Well, first, although 6 months sounds lovely, I have not taken 6 months at this point. It’s more in the week or two category.

Josh: Yeah, sure.

Nathan: I mean, that’s a real question, that is the question. You know, at this point I would not do that just because I don’t think we’re there and I wouldn’t want to, you know, you always want to put yourself and your people in a position to win, to succeed, so building it around that and where the things are working, you know, we want to let them run with them because they don’t want to be micromanaged and I don’t like micromanaging. You know, that’s not my style anyway.

Josh: Yeah.

Nathan: So I think the bigger question is we do it in little bites. I just listened to an awesome book called No Hero and there was this awesome line in it that said, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast,” so we do it slow, we do it right, we get more efficient and then we can run with it. So that’s, to me, where, you know, right now we’re just learning how to continue doing that better, you know, faster and then obviously gives me more time to do what I want to do too.

Josh: Right on, right on. Quick follow up; with somebody who’s looking at real estate investing and says, “hey, I don’t have a staff. I don’t have the capacity to do that. How do I build a lifestyle? How do I design this lifestyle around a real estate business that’s just getting started?” or is it the more, or as I would think the more realistic, you’re not going to have what you want as soon as you start? You’ve got to work to get there and it takes time to kind of put it all together.

Nathan: Well, what’s interesting to me is I now meet with people all the time who make these amazing incomes and work all these hours and have the big house and all this stuff and to me it’s you have to actually flip it on its end first and say, “what am I actually spending my dollars on? What am I actually spending my time on?” and, “what do I really want if I could just do it?” and then I think that a lot of times, and I know for myself, when I looked at it it wasn’t as much dollars as it was time.

So, you know, for that person you might say, “okay, well, for the next 2 years my goal is to buy X number of houses,” you know, based on whatever your economic situation is or ability or whatever and you say, “okay, well, I’ll hire that property management,” or whatever and maybe the first thing is you’re going to cover your car payment. Then you’re going to cover your house payment and then you’re going to cover your whatever. Then you cover your whole income and that’s how I backed into it. I said, “well, how many deals do I need to do to equal this thing?” and then it doesn’t become so complicated and you can get out of that analysis/paralysis stuff and just execute on doing what the actual plan is.

Josh: Awesome. We covered that in a lot of detail on BiggerPockets show 151 with Clayton Morris Finding Your Freedom Number. It’s kind of backing up, doing the math, and figuring out how much money do you actually need? How many deals do you need to get there? And running with it. Yeah, that’s awesome, man. I love it.

Brandon: Yeah. Hey, I have a question for you. Before we get to the Fire Round I kind of want to wrap up a lot of what we’ve been talking about and scaling your business, growing it, which you’ve done significantly. Do you have a one thing that you would attribute your growth over the last year to? Or is there like a certain couple things that you can point out that just really impacted you and made the big difference?

Nathan: Well, first of all, I’m not suggesting everybody should go out and quit their job or anything, but I found myself working a full time job and flipping 7 houses at once and they were all for me, but that’s a crazy thing. At some point you’re kind of like, “okay, if you’re going to do it just go do it already,” and I’m very glad that I did that. So, you know, if you’re going to do it be all in and just do it. If you’re going to be all in to buy two houses, awesome. If you’re going to be all in to build a giant company or whatever then just do it.

I think the second thing is just looking at the successes and being happy with it in that moment, but also every single time you’re learning and learning and learning and refining and learning. So whether you’ve done 1 deal, or 100 deals, or 1,000 deals I don’t know about you guys, I’m sure you’d say the same thing, that I’m always learning. It might be some title company thing or it might be some little law question or it might be a little thing how we can get a tenant in two days faster or whatever, but I’m not afraid to say, “oh, you know what? I think we could do that better. Let’s try this.”

Brandon: Yeah. I love it.

Josh: Absolutely.

Brandon: That’s great. Well, hey, cool. Why don’t we shift gears a little bit here and head over to the—

It’s Time For the Fire Round

Brandon: Alright, the Fire Round questions come direct out of the BiggerPockets forums. These are real life questions that investors are asking, not just me and Josh’s curiosity. So, number one: when getting started in buy and hold investing how many should I try to do in a year?

Nathan: That’s a great question since it just feeds right in to what we just talked about. I think it’s all about you have to understand what the risk is in the deals. You have to understand how much money you have to invest in them and you have to understand what your willingness on leverage. Are you buying all cash or whatever? So if you can say, “I have X number of dollars and I can buy X number of deals, “I don’t think I could say, “you know, you should buy 2 houses this year,” you might have a million dollars sitting there and an amazing partner who you can partner with then clearly the number would not be 2.

At the same time I meet people all the time at the local, you know, REA meeting or whatever who are literally sitting on this stock pile of cash they’ve been saving forever and they still haven’t pulled their trigger on their first deal. So, you know, I think that comes with having somebody whether you’re paying for a coach, or a mentor, or just somebody that’s in your local market that’s actually doing what you want to do you have to just—you need those relationships where they can say, “this is a good deal, go for it,” and to be able to, like we talked about, you know, backing into the dollars. Backing into the number of deals, and then you have a real good sense of what you can do.

Josh: Right on.

Brandon: I love that.

Josh: Yeah, great. Alright, my question, what is the best or most efficient way to finance a buy and hold property without having a huge down payment? And no, you cannot plug the greatest book ever written by Brandon Turner, How To Invest in Real Estate with No and Low Money Down.

Brandon: Wait, are you saying the greatest book ever written by me or the greatest book ever written, written by Brandon Turner?

Josh: I was just quoting—

Brandon: Because I think it’s the greatest book ever written period and it happens to be written by Brandon Turner.

Josh: Frankly, I think your rental property book is better than the no money book.

Brandon: Okay, I do like the rental property book probably, but together combined, okay moving on.

Josh: Yeah.

Nathan: I mean, if you just package them up and you put the two greatest books ever, I mean, is it like to the tenth power?

Brandon: That would be better.

Josh: Just package it.

Brandon: I don’t know why—why don’t we do that actually, Josh? Why don’t we package them together? That’s a great idea. Nathan, look at you. I love this idea. I’m making it happen!

Josh: It’s a good thing we are in the process of hiring somebody to run our publishing business so.

Brandon: We are.

Josh: There you go.

Nathan: And then I guess maybe we’ll write another book and then you can give me some credit for coming up with the package idea.

Brandon: There you go.

Josh: Alright, so back to the question itself; finding the down payment or financing the down payment.

Nathan: Yeah, well, this is a question I run into every day. I’m sure everybody on there wants to know that. So, yes, for the record I have bought quite a number of houses with zero of my dollars in them. I have, you know, guys all the time that we are able to get equity in deals for them.

So I think there’s a couple of points here. You have to understand what your level of sophistication is to understand the deal, and you have to understand where your risk is in it, and you have to make sure that you know what the heck you’re going to do with it once you buy it. So, to me, and not to go against any book written or anything else, I really like and I tell people all the time when I look back at the first couple deals that I’ve done or whatever I really like those people to have some dollars in their bank account. That might be generating some wholesale deals so you’re still doing real estate stuff, or you go in and partner on a flip and I hear people whining all the time, “well, I didn’t get 50%,” and I’m like, “well, 20% of something is better than 0”.

Brandon: Yep.

Nathan: Especially when you get somebody who can help walk you through whatever that thing is you want to do and it’s flipping or wholesaling or buy and hold, whatever, you should find somebody that does that really well. So I think it’s important to know how to structure those deals and you can and you build relationships over time like I have with private lenders and banks and all that kind of stuff where you can do that and you can find those big deals, but you also have to understand how to get there first too.

Josh: Yeah.

Brandon: I love that. I think that I’m 100% in agreement. A lot of people look at the idea of no money down or low money down as I’m broke therefore how do I invest and I would say no or low money down, or creative investing, has nothing to do with the amount of money in your pocket. You know, people who are multi-millionaires or billionaires are still doing deals with no money down because they can, right? It’s not about the amount of money you have, and you should have money because I would never want to tell anybody to go and invest if you’re flat broke. Go earn some money, go hustle, go whatever you’ve gotta do to get that cash coming in and then go, but you don’t need $100,000 or $1,000,000 in the bank just to buy a rental property either.

You do have to—I like to describe it a lot of times, the kind of analogy I like to use is, imagine like a toolbox you have, right? So in your toolbox if you have one thing in there, you’ve got a hammer, you can go pound a hole in a wall and that’s about it. You can maybe hit somebody in the head with it if they’re breaking into your house but that’s all you can accomplish, right? But you’ve got a saw, you’ve got nails all of a sudden you can do a few more things. Then add in a drill in there, a carpet layer and all of a sudden the more tools you have in your toolbox the greater projects you can take on. So the more you know about creative financing, the more tools you have in your mental toolbox, the more projects you can take on.

Nathan: Exactly. I mean, that’s 100% right. Then when you look at it, you know, back to where we are where we have some wholesale deals which, by the way, the first wholesale deal we did was 12:35 PM January 1st so I was pretty fired up about that.

Josh: Whoa, nice. Way to start it early.

Nathan: Yeah, it was a good one and it sold in 2 hours via email so that’s awesome too.

Brandon: That’s cool.

Josh: At 2:35 AM?

Nathan: PM, sorry.

Josh: Oh, okay.

Nathan: Yeah, I think the email went out around 10 or 10:30 and by 12:30 it was a done deal.

Josh: Fair enough.

Nathan: Yeah. So I think when you can look at those things—so let’s say you’re working your full time job and you’re saying, “I want to get into real estate, I want to get into real estate,” well, guess what? Where are your dollars going? Do you need that brand new Mercedes? Do you, you know, and maybe you’re not at that place, but most of the people I end up talking to are actually making, you know, a lot of times a six figure salary and they put all these dollars and all this stuff. I’m like, well, you know, my wife and I had had to back down our budget. So we had to back down these things and quickly we could replace the money that we wanted for that thing with the rental house that we just put the dollars into that’s now paying us every month to have it. So do you want it now or do you want it in 6 months that’s in perpetuity or whatever?

Josh: Yeah, perfect.

Brandon: I love it. Cool. Alright, moving on. Next one, do you need an attorney to do your first deal?

Nathan: Well, you know, I am a big fan of having your whole team. So you might not need a specific attorney for whatever but I strongly think that it’s important to have whether it’s an appraiser, or it’s an attorney, or it’s a mentor understanding how to put the deal together, or a banker, property manager I think it’s just so vital to have your team in place or know somebody who knows the person.

So if it’s an attorney question or law question, you better be asking the attorney, you know? If it’s a title question, ask the title company.

Brandon: Cool.

Josh: Awesome. Alright, my last question. My market’s pretty competitive and I keep missing deals so can I find a good deal in a hot market?

Nathan: I think a lot of people are experiencing that right now, and we’re experiencing that same thing now too and I think there’s a couple things. First of all, just because you want a deal doesn’t mean you should go buy one. It doesn’t mean you should just pay more money for something. It also means that it’s an opportunity to be creative. So maybe the thing I’m just desperately trying to do, you know, there’s 100,000 people last night watched HGTV and today they’re fired up and want to go buy a flipper house, you know? Well good for you, but that doesn’t mean that I’m willing to pay what that person is willing to pay and I would rather have the opportunity cost to make it in something else. So I think if they’re missing deals, missing deals, missing deals first of all look at what you’re looking at, you know, double check your numbers. Have somebody look at, you know, are you being too conservative with your values? Then, if not, maybe you say, “well, I’m going to put these dollars to work in something else and then I can bank some of that for when I can get a little bit better deal”.

Brandon: Okay. Well, let me ask you a little more specific. You mentioned earlier you got two deals you just closed this morning. Do you mind me asking how did you get those? What is your main technique today to get deals?

Nathan: Well, kind of going into that strengths and weaknesses. So we have kind of a marketing partner on the wholesale side.

Brandon: Okay.

Nathan: So leads come in and they’re kind of already vetted as it comes to me which really, you know, uses my time well and uses that person’s time well. So we go out and I’ll kind of look up, I’ll have done my homework in just a few minutes at this point, and kind of understand what, as much as you can, what you’re walking into. So those leads just came in literally from marketing that we do and with our partners.

Brandon: Is that direct mail or something?

Nathan: There’s all kinds of different stuff. Yeah, so there’s direct mail and signs. I think there’s some online marketing as well.

Brandon: Okay.

Nathan: But I’ve bought deals off of Facebook posts, you know? I’ve bought deals off of Craigslist ads. I’ve bought deals off of people who just knew somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody that was sitting in their living room talking about the last podcast that we did. So I think it’s—you have to not limit opportunity and also not be afraid of where the deals will come from.

Brandon: Yeah.

Nathan: Then you also have to be able to execute when you get there too.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: That’s a big one, right? If you can’t do that then you quickly develop a reputation and the deals dry up don’t they?

Nathan: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Josh: Awesome, awesome. Cool. Well, thank you so much for your answers. I think it’s time to move on. What do you think, Brandon?

Brandon: It is time to move on to the world famous—

Famous Four

Brandon: Alright, these questions we ask every single guest out of 150 some shows now. So we’re going to throw them at you. Number one, what is, and maybe this is different than before, maybe it’s the exact same. I don’t remember what you said last time, but what is your favorite real estate book?

Josh: Wait, wait. Aren’t you—

Brandon: What?

Josh: I mean, why do we even ask that question, Brandon? I mean, there’s only one book that—

Brandon: There’s only one book that matters. Well, two books, right? Three books.

Nathan: Wait, wait, wait! I thought there was the package of books!

Brandon: It was the package. The Book On Rental Property, The Book On Managing, and The Book On No and Low Money.

Josh: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brandon: Besides those what are your favorite real estate books?

Nathan: You know, I loved reading The Millionaire Real Estate Investor. I just liked how the book was laid out. I liked how there was some step by step processes. There’s some real nuts and bolts stuff but there’s also understanding team and team structure, and just to piggy back on that too would just be the Jim Collins, it’s not a real estate book, but Jim Collins’ Good To Great and understanding what is that actually? What does that awesome team look like in whatever you’re trying to achieve within that construct?

Brandon: Okay.

Josh: Right on. Well, that kind of possibly answers my question which is favorite business book.

Nathan: Favorite business book. Well, I am a huge fan of the Four Hour Work Week. I don’t know if you can consider it a business book or not.

Brandon: I do.

Nathan: I think so too. I think from a design of understanding how you want to build your life and your time and those kind of things. It really made a huge impact for me, that’s for sure.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Awesome. Alright, what about hobbies? What do you do for fun these days? “I joined a beard growing competition”.

Nathan: There’s no competition, right? I mean, it’s just there. I am thoroughly enjoying time with my kiddos so I love finding things to do that’s just really, really fun. Like a couple days ago my daughter comes out and she looks out the front door, she’s 2, and she very excitedly with that excited 2-year-old face on says, “daddy! Snow!” you know? So, I mean, c’mon. You’ve gotta take time to play and do the fun things. So it’s not necessarily a hobby but I just love that time.

Then I’ve been a professionally trained musician for a long time so I’m still trying to find the balance in doing music things that really feed me as a person and my soul, but don’t necessarily, or you know, creating my income anymore.

Josh: Right on. Yeah, I hear, “daddy, snow!” and I chuck ‘em into it.

Nathan: We spend an hour and a half in 6-degree weather going down our yard and launching them as fast as I could on the sled.

Brandon: Nice. That’s awesome.

Josh: Yeah, I don’t actually do that, but it would be kind of funny. “Daddy, snow!” “Alright!”

Brandon: You might do that, I don’t know. Alright, number, by the way I don’t know if you know this, Nathan, my wife is pregnant with our first child so I’m excited. Little girl. I don’t think I’ve announced that, it’s a little girl, yeah.

Nathan: Aw, dude! Congratulations!

Brandon: Yeah, thanks.

Nathan: That’s amazing.

Josh: Aww.

Brandon: Yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited for the snow trips.

Josh: What’s her name?

Brandon: I don’t know yet. I had a bunch of boy names.

Josh: Joshina?

Brandon: Yeah, I had boy names picked out now I’ve got a girl to figure out. Weird. Alright.

Josh: Joshola?

Brandon: Joshola? That’s a good idea. Alright.

Josh: BiggerPocketsina?

Nathan: That’s the middle name.

Brandon: That’s a much better middle name. Alright. Question number four of the Famous Four, what do you believe sets apart successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail or never get started?

Nathan: I think it just comes back time and time again to deciding what you want to do, executing what you want to do, looking at what you did and then refining and do it again. I think there’s no one little, like, this thing changes everything, but all those little things change everything and so to me if you want to be a great real estate investor then you have to just keep at it and you can’t be afraid to fail and you can’t be afraid to screw something up and you have to come back and fix it and say, “we’re not going to do it that way again,” or whatever and then do it and do it and do it over and again.

Brandon: Cool.

Josh: Right on. Love it.

Brandon: That’s great.

Josh: Alright, well, Nathan, it’s been a pleasure. Before we let you go where can people find out more about you?

Nathan: Well, they can go to and they can find us there for property management and properties and whatever else.

Josh: And you also write on the BiggerPockets blog and you’ve got a profile and all that other stuff, right?

Nathan: I sure do, yep. Exactly.

Josh: Awesome. Well, listen man, it’s been a pleasure. Hopefully next time we see you your beard is down to the ground and lots of luck to you.

Nathan: Thanks guys and I’m sure it will be.

Brandon: See you around.

Nathan: Alright.

Josh: Aw, man that was awesome. Really, really good show.

Brandon: Yeah, you know, every once in a while you get that show, actually it kind of happens every week.

Josh: It does lately, right?

Brandon: Yeah, where it hits you right where you’re at in your life and for me today’s was right on, I think for you too probably.

Josh: Yeah. Oh, did you want me to say something? I’m your assistant, I’m just waiting for you to give me orders.

Brandon: I was like, why are you not talking? What’s wrong with this guy? Is my mic off again? Am I muted? I don’t know. Fine. Alright, assistant, you can talk again. It’s okay, you’ve got my permission.

Josh: Alright, cool. Excellent. Alright, yes, it was a great show. Nathan was an awesome guest and lots of good things to share. So get out there, pay attention, try and do what we talked about. I think far too many people fail to plan, fail to add structure. It was really telling for me just hearing how Nathan plots everything down. Really, really builds these systems for his business. I think if more new investors would do that they would see dramatic improvement and growth in their businesses so I definitely recommend you do that.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Otherwise that’s all I’ve got. Things are great here at BiggerPockets and life is good. So keep listening, guys. Spread the word about the show. Spread the word about the site. I mean, what are we at now? 440,000 members?

Brandon: Something like that. It’s crazy.

Josh: It’s bananas. The conversations on the forums are out of this world. We have on some days close to 3,000 posts on the forums alone.

Brandon: It’s crazy.

Josh: It’s crazy and it’s depth. It’s deep. It really kind of gets into it. There’s so much vibrancy on this community so if you’re not participating you’re definitely missing out. Jump on, create an account, and get active on BiggerPockets. Otherwise, get out there and make it happen. You have anything that you want to say, sir?

Brandon: I’ll end with this, a reminder, after the music plays here in a second there’s a little bonus for everyone about how to use Evernote for your business so stick around for a couple more minutes.

Josh: Awesome. Alright, guys, I’m Josh Dorkin signing off.

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.

Be sure to join the millions of others who have benefitted from your home for real estate investing online.

Josh: Alright, guys. We actually added this in because we’re having this awesome conversation post podcast and we thought we’d want to fill it in. So the question was, how are you using Evernote? Nathan came out and was talking about how he loves it and I’m like, you know, this thing is maddening to me. I’ve tried it a few times and I can’t do it. I know Brandon tried it a few times, but he’s on it. Nathan’s on it. So Nathan was talking about how he was using it and we decided to go back and record this again.

So, tell us how are you using Evernote to kind of run your business?

Nathan: Okay, well, I use it for really almost everything. So I collect receipts and take pictures. I have documents, I have—but one of the things I use it all the time for is the wholesale side of the business.

So I get out of my truck, I pull up to the house and I open Evernote. I open up my wholesale notebook and within Evernote when you start a new note it’ll automatically assign an address to the note. So if you’re sitting in your own house you’re going to have a million unless you label it some different name.

So when you roll up to the house you take a picture. Now, a lot of times I might just go ahead and not worry about that then. Sometimes it’s right on the money, sometimes it might be a number or two off, but now you’ll have an actual reminder of which house that is then you can start taking pictures.

So I will actually use that same Evernote link for a number of things. I can send it to my PM for a scope of work to be actually written out. I can send it to my marketing partner which then sends a link. Like, so let’s say for instance, that deal we’re going to send out to the buyer’s list. So now they can actually take that same link and I already wrote, you know, here’s the scope of work or here’s the general points, here’s the asking price, here’s the address, whatever. So that can do that.

I can use it for reminders. So, for instance, I had a deal that actually came together for a client and closes either this week or next week and I went back and I had an Evernote file from four months ago with all the scope of work and all the pictures and everything so I could literally go back and see the same deal, same thing and actually we got it for $7,000 less than what we would even offer before because timing was right and so we were able to really get them an awesome deal and I didn’t have to go back and do the work again cause I already did it.

Josh: Yeah. That’s great.

Brandon: Yeah, I love it.

Nathan: There’s an awesome podcast out there; I think Timothy Ferris interviewed the dude who started that and there’s just a whole bunch of nuggets in that podcast that kind of talk about the different ways that all these different people had used it. So once I actually listened to that podcast it really helped me kind of put the interfaces back together on it. Then, really frankly, it’s really a matter of just starting cause it’s kind of beastly to get in there at first, but use little things that work and then we just restructured it and you can move stuff around in there as you do it.

Brandon: That’s cool.

Josh: Cool. Awesome.

Brandon: Yeah, I use Evernote for real estate, for BiggerPockets stuff, for, I mean, every area of my life. I even have an Evernote file called Gifts For My Wife and what I do is every time during the year I just happen to think of something, or she mentions offhand like, “I could use this,” I’m like, I pull out my phone secretly, she doesn’t know this so hopefully she isn’t listening right now—

Josh: They don’t listen to the show.

Brandon: They don’t listen to the show, yeah. My wife listened to the Hal Elrod one that we just recorded.

Josh: Oh, did she? Nice.

Brandon: She loved it, yeah, but anyway. So I’m scrolling through and I’ll find the one or I’ll type in “gifts” and it comes up in my phone. I’ll go into that note and I’ll write down whatever. Back massager, or whatever that she mentioned at Costco she wanted and that’s been a marriage lifesaver right there.

Josh: Ah, there you go.

Nathan: That’s awesome.

Josh: Indeed.

Nathan: I’m telling you, Josh, you’re going to get it. You’re going to figure it out, man because it’s going to be a game changer and then you’re going to have a list for your wife and then all of a sudden you’re going to be, you know, unbelievable.

Brandon: There you go.

Josh: I love it. Well, awesome, man. Well, thanks for sharing.

Nathan: Yeah, thanks guys.