BiggerPockets Podcast 257: “But My Market is Too Expensive!” (How to Become a Long-Distance Real Estate Investor) with David Greene

by | BiggerPockets.com

Investing outside of your local market can strike fear into the hearts of even the most savvy real estate investor. But long-distance investing doesn’t need to be extra risky! In fact, today’s guest argues that it might just be the most profitable investing you’ll ever do. Today’s guest, David Greene, a San Francisco real estate investor and agent, shares his incredible process for finding, rehabbing, and managing properties from thousands of miles away. His approach to building a “Core Four” is nothing short of genius and will transform how you run your real estate business, whether you are buying next door or 49 states away. This is one show that could change your real estate strategy forever!

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Josh: This is the BiggerPockets podcast Show 257.
“This reputation of buying out of state became a risky thing. It is a different world we live in and I talk about it in the book. There is so much technology that’s made available to us as far as doing your due diligence and doing research. When I buy a house in Jacksonville, it’s not a lot different than if I was to buy it in my hometown”.
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 co-host, Mr. Brandon Turner. What’s up, man?

Brandon: Not a whole lot. It’s the rainy season, which is ten months of the year out here in Washington. So it’s nonstop raining. How about you?

Josh: Do you know that we’ve been doing this show for about five years?

Brandon: It’ll be five years in like a couple of weeks.

Josh: In January, yeah. Do you know that every other show, you bitch and moan about it being the rainy season?

Brandon: I’m working on getting out for the winter. I’m getting there. We’ll see. I’m looking at Hawaii as a nice winter destination.

Josh: As my mom or somebody who is nagging me once said…You made your bed.

Brandon: Actually, it was a really good tip a while back. I can’t remember who told me it. But they talked about like when you have kids, don’t use the weather ever as a negative thing. I’ve actually been trying to do this with my daughter. Instead of like, “Oh, it’s raining”—like, parents are always negative about certain things—“Oh, it’s too cold”—

Josh: Just get out there and enjoy.

Brandon: Exactly. When you’re phrasing positive, kids grow up thinking, it like breaks the cycle of always assuming that certain types of weather, that our mood and our actions should depend on the weather. Kind of a cool tip.

Josh: Yeah, but what happens, unfortunately—and I’ve got this with my parents and if they’re listening, they’re going to agree. They get to an age, I think it’s like 60s-ish. Maybe mid-60s. A little older. Where the weather channel becomes their core channel.

Brandon: That’s true.

Josh: And I don’t know what psychologically creates that for us but like now all they watch is Fox, CNN, and the Weather Channel. And it’s always like this, “Oh, my God, it’s going to be freezing!” and “Did you know there is a hurricane in the Caribbean?” I did but I’m not in the Caribbean. So it’s like, this does not affect me. No, I feel sorry for those people who it does affect, but like, can you do something other than watch the Weather Channel, mom?

Brandon: No. That’s actually a lot like what Tim Ferris talked about on our show with Tim Ferris. He’s like shutting off the news sometimes because we can’t affect it. You go tell your mom that. I want to see that conversation.

Josh: I just did because she listens to the show now. She didn’t listen for like the first 243 of them. All of a sudden, she’s into it. So now she’s listening and I don’t know how the response is going to be to this one but we’ll see.

Brandon: We’ll see. We’ll see. I think she’ll like your—

Josh: Mom, listen. Stop watching the Weather Channel. Brandon concurs.

Brandon: I concur. All right. Now that we’re going to get sued from the Weather Channel, let’s move on.

Josh: Oh, you can watch the Weather Channel. Just not constantly. Jeez. Give me a break. All right, Mom. Stop it.

Brandon: We’ve got to move this on because I don’t think people want to hear about your mom. I love your mom, but you know.

Josh: We have—we’ve got a great show, man.

Brandon: Today’s show is important. I would say, it’s not just a great show, it’s an important show.

Josh: It’s a very unique perspective, one that I don’t think we’ve shared. Not in a long time or even at all. How many of you guys listening right now, go ahead and raise your hand unless you’re driving, then keep your hands on the wheel, but how many are living in a competitive market where things are too high to buy deals? It’s probably like three quarters of the audience is raising their hand right now.
So today’s guest is somebody who’s in the San Francisco Bay area, one of the most expensive markets in the country, and he talks a lot about—he’s been on the show before, but we talk a lot about how to still prosper by investing out of state. He actually lays out a very awesome plan for that. So we’ll get to that a little bit later. But first, let’s get to today’s Quick Tip.

Brandon: Today’s Quick Tip is actually related to that because our guest today is actually David Greene, who we’ll introduce you to in just a minute. But David Greene actually wrote a book all about investing out of state. It’s called Long Distance Real Estate Investing: How to Buy, Rehab, and Manage Out-of-State Rental Properties. Here’s the deal. We’ll talk about, at the end of the show, an hour in, but this book is amazing and it is on sale right now. The day this podcast comes out, it is on sale.
And if you buy in the first, I think, it’s ten days, you’re going to get a special couple of bonuses including a live online class with David where we’re going to walk through his portfolio and he’s going to show you how he did it. It’s going to be really amazing plus there’s a bunch of other really great bonuses you’ll hear about later. So, if you’re going to buy it, buy it in the first ten days. If you’re listening to this in the future, buy it anyway. You’re going to love it. So go to BiggerPockets.com/LongDistanceBook

Josh: Awesome, awesome. Cool. And before we start the show, obviously we need to talk about our sponsors. Brandon?

Brandon: All right, we do. We do. So, today’s actual episode is brought to you by RealtyShares.com. RealtyShares is a real estate crowdfunding platform that allows accredited investors to invest in pre-vetted real estate deals online. So investors can like browse and invest in residential or commercial properties that yield returns of 8-16% annually. And as a RealtyShares member, you can also passively invest in professionally-managed real estate investments in a variety of asset classes and geographies for as little as $5,000, all from the convenience of your living room.
So if you guys want to learn more and get started with a free account, go to RealtyShares.com/BiggerPockets. Again, that’s RealtyShares.com/BiggerPockets

Josh: Awesome, awesome. Very good. You guys, this is Show 257 of the BiggerPockets podcast. You can check out the Show Notes on BiggerPockets.com/Show257. That’s BiggerPockets.com/Show257. Hey, I don’t know if you guys are listening all the way through but I really, really strongly encourage it, particularly in today’s show. We’ve got a segment called The Random Six and today’s Random Six happened to be easily my favorite Random Six we’ve ever done. It’s hilarious.

Brandon: Yeah, it’s at the end of the show, after the music. All that. Yeah, listen all the way through.

Josh: It’s great.

Brandon: It’s pretty funny, yeah. Good conversation and diazo.

Josh: All right, so today’s guest, guys. Today’s guest, as Brandon mentioned, is David Greene, formerly on Episode 169 of the BiggerPockets podcast. If you want to go find that, go to BiggerPockets.com/Show169. David Greene is a police officer who began working a lot of overtime buying investment property back in 2009. He then began buying out-of-state when the market got too expensive in northern California. He moved to Arizona then Florida where he buys today. He owns mortgage notes, shares in mortgage note fund, shares in three large apartment complexes, 25 single-family houses. He’s also a real estate agent and was recently featured on an episode of House Hunters, which is awesome.

Brandon: I watched that. I watched that episode.

Josh: I have not yet seen it.

Brandon: You’ve got to watch it. I was like, that’s my buddy, David!

Josh: Did he have the ridiculous beard?

Brandon: He did not have the beard when he filmed that. But I have it on my DVR. I’ll show you next time you come hang out with me. Oh, that’s right. You’ve never been to my house.

Josh: I’ve never been invited.

Brandon: Gosh, Josh. You’re invited right now. Everybody hear it live, you’re invited to my house.

Josh: I’m coming! I’m coming!

Brandon: And he sent me this message earlier. He wants to be the Stephen Curry of real estate.

Josh: Stephen?

Brandon: I don’t know. Anyway, I don’t follow basketball.

Josh: It’s Stephen Curry. Steph. Steph Curry.

Brandon: Steph. S-Dog.

Josh: He’s great. He’s like arguably one of the two best basketball players alive.

Brandon: Okay. Well, let’s get David. You want to bring him in?

Josh: Yeah. But before we do, really quick, guys—this show is not just about long distance real estate investing. We do focus on it but there’s so much in here that will relate to you no matter where you are. We dug really, really deep on relationships, how to foster relationships and why they’re so important.
In fact, frankly, this show should be a primer for probably anybody because when we talk—I forget the exact quote he used—what do you call them, the four pillars?

Brandon: The core four.

Josh: The core four. Your team, your core four. Like, and how to use those core four to kind of check each other. And as a result, to check you. It’s amazing, this concept is unbelievable. I definitely recommend everybody listen all the way through on this one because there’s a ton of great stuff. So let’s bring him in. All right, David. Welcome back to the show, man. It’s good to have you here.

David: Josh, Brandon, thank you guys for having me back on. It’s not every day you get to be a guest on the very best podcast on all of iTunes.

Josh: Wow, that’s what I’m talking about. Kissing up. You are really good at it, man. Really good.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s great. For those who actually haven’t listened to the first time David Greene was on here, I’ve been told by numerous people it is the funniest episode of the BiggerPockets podcast we ever put out. Like, numerous people have told us that. Because apparently they made fun of me. I don’t remember a lot of it but I remember something about them—

Josh: David, do you remember?

Brandon: We don’t need to go there—

Josh: Brandon’s not that memorable.

Brandon: I just remember people thought it was pretty funny. So go back and listen to that episode. And it was very informative, I’m sure. I just don’t remember it because it’s been like two years. So, we’re doing a recap.

Josh: Well, April 2016. He was on. Not quite two years but—let’s kind of catch up, man. I mean, we’re not going to—give us the 30-second up to the show—

Brandon: I will time you.

Josh: And then give us what’s been happening over the last year and a half.

David: All right, so in the last year and a half, I kept buying real estate. I got really good at going into new markets and continuing the process that I put together when we talked about for the first time buying real estate in markets that made sense rather than my market which doesn’t.
About six months ago, I took a leave of absence from the police force and I went full time into being a full-time agent and then investing from there. It’s kind of got a synergistic component where I can work representing people buying and selling houses and then also doing my own stuff, too. And that’s been awesome.
Right now, I’m sitting at number one in my office of about 180 agents. It’s only been six months so I’m building up a team and I’ve kind of just dove in two feet first right into the world of real estate and emerged myself in it and I’m loving it.

Brandon: You know, guys. I don’t sit here—David went 38 seconds. If you can’t follow the rules, then I don’t know if I want to be a part of this show.

Josh: Yeah, I don’t know.

Brandon: We laid some very specific ground rules.

David: Now that I’m not a cop right now, I’ve just kind of said screw the rules. I’m doing whatever I want.

Brandon: Oh, good. You don’t have to follow the rules now.

Josh: Whoa, whoa. Hey, so you were in a leave of absence as a police officer. Tell us up to the last show, though. What kind of deals were you doing? What kind of real estate were you involved in? I know you were an agent. You were starting to do some bigger things. Fill us in on that, too.

David: So up to the last show, what I was doing?

Josh: Yeah, so people who haven’t heard 169.

David: I live in California in the San Francisco Bay area and I was buying in Arizona because California has gotten to be too expensive. So I kind of slowly learned how to put a team together in other states where it makes sense to be investing where you have strong price to rent ratios, where you’re more likely to find properties that work in buy-and-hold rentals. I still flip houses where I live but it just doesn’t make sense to try to buy rentals. You’re going to lose money on anything you buy in the Bay Area right now.
And then after the last show I did with you guys, I got a little more dialed in and kind of focused on buying in Florida. And I started buying about two houses a month out there and really kind of perfected that system that I had of going into a new market, finding the people that I need to be investing there, sponsoring those relationships, getting really dialed in, finding the best of the best and putting a dream team together. And then they just kind of run on an autopilot where you’ve got a system in place where you can be buying houses and not having to do a ton of work.
From there, I kind of ventured in Arkansas so I started buying houses in Arkansas. So now I’ve done it enough times where I feel like I can go anywhere in the United States that I want and I can put a team together and start buying rental property and making money.

Brandon: That’s awesome.

Josh: So you went from Florida to Arkansas. That’s kind of—

Brandon: Ar-Kansas, Josh? Good job. All right, so what I want to do is, I want to spend this show from a very selfish standpoint, as most of these episodes are—I want to talk to you about buying out-of-state.

Josh: Shocker.

Brandon: Yeah, for most people, especially people who live on the coast, meaning anywhere on the left or right coast, it’s too hard to find deals. It’s really, really getting tough. And even in my market where I used to buy properties for $20,000-$30,000, everything’s overheated. Like, there are markets across the country especially some areas in the Midwest and apparently you were getting in Florida, you can still get really well-priced properties.
So is that okay if we just spend this show talking about how to invest out-of-state? Is that all good with you guys? I don’t need to ask for permission from Josh. Is that okay with you, David?

Josh: I think it’s good. I mean, giving this thing here—

Brandon: Given the fact that we’re launching a book on this topic—

Josh: We are launching a book on the topic and so yeah, let’s dive in and kind of figure that out. So, I’m going to just jump in right here because you started going crazy with all these details and I want to hear about it. Florida, two houses a month. Putting a dream team together. Why Florida? Obviously, something about that market grabs you.
So maybe, why did that market grab you and how did somebody find a market like Florida for you? And obviously, Florida is not a market. It’s a state. There’s markets within Florida that you’re focused on but how does somebody kind of decide what market to look at, to consider if they’re thinking about buying out of state?

David: So I do talk about that in the book quite a bit because that’s one of the questions I get asked more than others. People want to say, what market do I want to go into? And then once they decide what market, they want to go and put their team together. And you can do it that way.
What I’ve found is that real estate is real estate. If the property cash flows, it will cash flow. If you can add equity, you’ll add equity. The market itself is not quite as important as the success you’re likely to have in that market. So for me, the hardest part that I have in real estate investing—we talked about this on the last show—is finding a lender. Once you have more than ten finance properties, it’s very difficult to find a lender.
So I found someone that had a lender in Florida that would let me borrow. And then that lender had referrals as far as real estate agents that could find deals. Those agents had referrals as far as what property managers were good and those property managers had referrals as to what contractors I needed.
Once I have those four pieces, I can buy anywhere. So really, I kind of backed up into Florida because they just had the people that I needed and then when I looked closer to the market, I realized, how do I make this market work? So over there, there’s a lot of high cash flow properties and there’s a lot of properties that are still in foreclosure. They haven’t gone through a lot of their inventory. So it’s very easy for me to find stuff that’s in really bad shape, maybe someone who was trying to flip it and stop halfway through or it’s been sitting on the market for 200 days and it’s in horrible condition.
So in that market, my strategy is to go and I look for properties that need a lot of serious rehab work. I fix them up and then I refine—pull my money out and I’m able to pull out usually 100% of my capital, maybe a little bit more sometimes because in that market, it makes sense. In a different market, I might have a different strategy but what’s really important is to find the people that are going to help you find the properties.

Brandon: I think that’s fascinating. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that discussed on our show, is find the people first. Because it’s true. The people are going to make you successful or not. There are people finding success in real estate in probably every state in the country, I’m sure. And probably every city in the country. But every area has got a different thing it’s better or worse for. Because at Florida, that strategy is working really well. Buy dumpy properties that you can then basically burrow. You’re basically burrowing these properties.

David: Absolutely.

Brandon: And pulling your cash out and that works really well. So if you can do that in a hundred different cities in America, find the team, go there. I love that. I think that’s a fantastic tip.

Josh: Can we go back to that then? Finding that lender first and that makes a lot of sense, by the way. Finding that lender, the lender leads to the agent who leads to the PM who leads to the contractors. Very, very logical. I’m a new real estate investor, or I’m not new, and I’m thinking about I don’t know—I heard Montana’s cool. So I go and I find a lender in Montana who works in Montana. Presumably, you would want somebody local so that they would have the contacts with the local agents and everybody. How do I go about finding that person?

David: So that’s the process that I spell out in the book pretty much A to Z exactly how I do it. It’s not hard to find a lender, per say. You can go through finding an agent, which are everywhere. They are all over the place. You can find them online. You can find referrals from other investors. You can find someone like what I would probably do in all honesty, is if I want to invest in Montana, I’d go on BiggerPockets and I’d look for people that are members in Montana and I’d look for a pro member that has some weight behind them that’s actually done a couple of deals, not a newbie who’s just trying to learn.
Or I would look for like a Meetup group in Montana. I’d find out who runs that Meetup group and I become that person’s best friend. I’d figure out what value can I bring to them? What do they need? How can I help them? How can I win them over? Once I had their trust, I’d say, hey, I’m really looking for a lender that will let me do a portfolio alone. Or maybe someone that will land a commercial loan over several properties. Can you help me out? And I’d have him pumping all the buddies that he has come to the REA Meetups, the real estate investing Meetups and say, hey, who do you know that can help David with this problem that he’s got?
Once you find that first piece, that gets your foot in the door and that will start this like domino effect of you finding more and more pieces of you putting stuff together. Then, all you have to do is make sure it’s what I call a target-rich environment. I want to know that if I’m going there to buy flips, that there’s a lot of properties that have a lot of potential meat on the bones, right? Higher price points are going to help me there.
If I’m looking to buy buy-and-hold stuff, I’m looking for a market where there’s more likely that they’re going to meet the 1% rule. There’s a strong rental market. There’s a lot of tenants that actually want to own or rent homes in that area. And if it meets those two criteria, I’m good to go. There’s going to be people there, it’s their full-time job to do the things that I need done to make my business run.

Brandon: I love it.

Josh: You talked about finding value to offer it to them. How do you offer value to somebody that’s hundreds of thousands of miles away? What do you mean when you say I want to offer them value?

David: So that’s like the million-dollar question because if you can answer that question, you can be successful in whatever business you want to do ever. Most of us have the wrong mindset. We say, this is my goal. This is what I want to do. Who is here to help me do it? And we have this expectation that it’s their job to help us. So I’m sure you guys get hit up all the time from people that say, hey, I want to build a business. I want to start a tech company. Brandon, I want to flip houses, too. Help me. And that’s what they say.
And that’s where they leave it, right? You’re not that likely to help that person. One, you don’t have enough time in the world to do it. And two, really, they’re asking you to take time away from your family, your business, your personal life to help a stranger that you don’t know. The better way to rent a business in general is to get good at helping other people accomplish what they want to and then finding the right kind of people.
If you pour into the right person with a good heart, it’s going to be very hard for them not to want to give back to you. So in the business of real estate in general, in the book, I talk about, you’ve got to get to know everyone’s job that you’re going to work with, not just your job. Right? It’s my job to find deals or find people to find deals.
But I need to know how a contractor works. I need to know how a property manager works. I need to know how a real estate agent works so that I can know how to help them. If a real estate agent has a business of selling homes, if I can send him referrals, I’ve just made myself valuable to him.

Josh: That’s perfect, right? What’s in it for me, essentially? But on the opposite. Like what’s in it for them?

David: Exactly. Start with that.

Brandon: And there is also something to—I agree 100% with that. Like, I get hit up all the time but you said something else there that if you—I can’t remember the exact words you used but something like, if you go to somebody like that’s earnest or with a good heart—like I do work with people occasionally, I’ll help people sitting down for lunch or something like that. I know Josh does, too. It’s usually people—somehow they appeal to our heart, it’s like an emotional attachment to that person somehow for some reason. And there’s different reasons all the time but if you can figure that out, you’ll be successful in anything.

David: Figure out what that is.

Josh: We talked about that a bit on the Tim Ferriss show. One of the things I had mentioned was this curiosity conversations that I had learned about through Brian Grazer. And he’s got a book out whose title I can’t think of, and I’m in the middle of reading it, but the whole idea is he would go and he would reach out to people he was curious about but he would always try and do his research and he would figure out, if it was a movie producer or let’s say, he wanted to meet Steven Spielberg, right? He’s not going to go to Spielberg and be like, hey, Steven Spielberg, I want to talk to you about making movies.
Maybe it would be like, hey, in Jaws, I noticed that Roy Scheider had this deep emotional bond with the shark despite all this other stuff—really some deep, introspective stuff about what was happening in the movie and that’s an angle that he’s never heard before. That’s something where he’s like, oh, this is kind of interesting. I’d love to hear this, right? So finding something new, finding something fresh. A perspective that other people may not have, I think, is a great way to appeal to people. And in the case of real estate, maybe it’s something like that or maybe it’s just what value can I bring to you?

Brandon: Yeah, that’s 100% right. I think that people need to understand that investing is still real estate and real estate will always be a relationship business. It’s why companies like Zillow have not taken over the market like everyone keeps telling us that they’re going to do. The deals that I find at this point, I don’t even look for deals, I look for people that can find me deals. It’s all about fostering those relationships.
I need to have great relationships with my contractor, with my lender, with the property managers because I’m relying on them and their advice to basically run my whole business. I’m sure if we made this podcast about how Josh built BiggerPockets, he would tell you, it was built on the backs of good hires that I made. When I found a talented person that could do this thing well, it helped me get to the next level and really make this thing bigger. And if we looked at the ways that BiggerPockets has helped all of us, somebody was behind that.

Josh: I mean, everybody in my local office, yeah—but like, I mean, the guy in Washington, ehh.

Brandon: Well you didn’t even fight that hire. That just goes to show how amazing Josh is.

Josh: That’s how amazing I am as a human being.

Brandon: With the anchor of Brandon holding him back, he was still able to—

Josh: The anchor—that’s great.

Brandon: That’s going to be my new nickname. Brandon ‘The Anchor’ Turner.

Josh: That’s a great nickname.

Brandon: Okay, so I want to touch on a couple of things you said here. First of all, when you’re trying to reach out to somebody, a couple of things that I found worked really, really well—by the way, I love the tip you said about, go to BiggerPockets Meetups. There are these unofficial meetups that BiggerPockets members have, at restaurants and bars, whatever. Parks—all around the country all the time. If you go to BiggerPockets.com/events, you can find one in your area. If there’s not one, you’re so in luck because you can start one, right?

David: Or there’s local real estate associations. There’s REA. There’s all sorts of things happening. Go to any and all that.

Brandon: Yeah, whatever you can to connect with people. But then here’s what I find works really well. When you go to somebody and say, hey, I’m looking for help, will you help me? What are people supposed to say to that? I don’t know. But if you go to somebody and say hi, I’m looking for a lender in your area. Why would somebody not tell them?
Like, if somebody contacted me and said, hey Brandon, I’m looking for a lender in Grays Harbor, Washington. Do you have anybody you recommend? It only looks good on me to recommend. It looks great on me. Of course, I’m going to tell them. Even if they’re a newbie and provide no value, I’m going to tell them exactly who I use. I use Timberland Bank for most of my stuff. So like, why wouldn’t I say that? Referrals are great on me. They’re great on them.
Come with specific questions like that. Who do you use for a lender? And people are going to be open to that, especially in an environment where there’s alcohol like a lot of meetups. So, anyways, moving on. All right. This is a good question I know you’re going to ask. Because I see your paper here.

Josh: I know you do.

Brandon: We’re working on the same note paper here.

Josh: Yes, we are note paper.

Brandon: No, Google Drive. Whatever.

Josh: Let’s just cut to the question here, Brandon. So the question is—

Brandon: My question is, should a newbie invest in long distance properties? Am I taking your question?

Josh: We’re talking and we’re diving into this stuff. But no, there’s a lot of people listening who have never done this, right? Now, are we here telling newbies, yeah, you should go ahead and invest in long distance? I don’t think we are necessarily saying, yeah, you should do this. But my question is—

Brandon: Or are we?

Josh: I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it. I’m saying like, David Greene should answer that question and give his advice because I think he’s got a unique perspective here.

David: So here’s what I would say because I get asked that question quite often, too. If you were to go buy yourself a car, would you actually open the hood and pour through the engine and read books on understanding how engines work to make sure that that Camry is the best car for you, or would you read like a consumer report that compares a Camry to an Accord to a Hyundai and you use that expert’s opinion to base your decision on?

Brandon: I would probably base it on an expert’s opinion.

David: Most of us do, right? So what I’ve found is I can just find the experts. I don’t have to become an expert myself in car engines. And I can be so much more efficient with my time and myself and what I’m doing. Most of the time, if we look at the decisions we make, it’s based off of someone else’s opinion. Do I want to go to this restaurant? I’m looking at Yelp. Should I buy this house? Let me call and ask someone else what they think. Very few things are we actually like Nicola Tesla where we’ve just studied electricity to the point that we know it inside and out.
For a long time, out-of-state investing had a terrible reputation because you could not get an expert’s opinion that you trusted. You just couldn’t get the information. So if I wanted to go buy in Boise, Idaho as a Californian, I was calling some broker I didn’t know. There was no way that I’d ever be able to put an online review if he gave me bad advice so he basically had a free shot. I was just trusting the opinion of a stranger and hoping he was a good guy. And he was going to tell me this was a great deal. This is why you should buy it. The price is going to look super cheap to me out in California and I’m going to say, okay. And it could be the worst neighborhood ever. It could be a house that’s built on a dump. It could be any number of things and that guy is going to sell it to the stupidest real estate investor. And that’s how this reputation of buying out-of-state became a risky thing. It is a different world we live in and I talk about it in the book. There is so much technology has made available to us as far as doing your due diligence and doing your research—when I buy a house in Jacksonville, it’s not a lot different than if I was to buy it in my hometown. The same information is there.
And nowadays, if somebody gives me bad advice or they do me wrong, I can write an online review to warn everyone else and someone else would have already done that about that person. You can find a lot about the people you’re getting advice from just from people that they’ve worked with and the referrals that they have. So I challenge most people when they say, I don’t want to buy outside of my own backyard, I would say, if you understand that backyard just as good as yours, what would it make a difference?
I’m not a farmer. I don’t understand how farmers plant different crops or how they grow them. But I know that if I have a farmer somewhere else and he’s working a field and he knows how to grow peas out there, that’s really all I need. I don’t need to have to learn how to farm in my own backyard just because I understand it.

Brandon: You know, it kind of reminds me of the 80/20 rule. Say, what 20% of things can you do to make sure you get 80% of the results? In this case—Tim Ferris is big on that—but in this case, if you just find the right people, everything else becomes easier. Or the one thing, right? The one thing in the book we all love. What’s the one thing you can do to make your out-of-state investment successful? Find the right people.
I’m doing that right now, right? I’ve got this 24-unit under contract in Ohio which is a scary thing, to go buy a big apartment out-of-state. But I know if I can just get the right people, everything will be much better. So I think that’s fantastic advice. We’ve kind of talked about it a number of times here.
But I want to step back just a minute. You mentioned technology. Like, in today’s world, and I know your book talks a lot about this, but what type of websites, what tools, what things are you using to gauge today? What are you using?

David: Most of what I use is going to be to verify the information that some “expert” told me to make sure that they’re legit. So if you wanted to go buy a house anywhere, there’s a couple of numbers, metrics, you’d have to get to make sure it made sense. One, you’d want to know what’s the rent going to be? And two, you’re going to want to know what my expense is going to be when I buy this property. From there, it slowly becomes, what’s the area like? Is it likely to appreciate? Is there a strong tenant pool? What are the vacancy rates? Stuff like that.
There’s a couple of websites and programs out there that makes this something you can do in 30 seconds. I used Rentometer.com, a website to check the rents of what my property managers are telling me. If he’s saying, yeah, it’s going to rent for $1100 and Rentometer is telling me $1400, there’s some discrepancy there and he better be able to explain to me why Rentometer is giving me such a higher number than he is, right? If there’s no explanation, that’s a property manager who’s just lazy and knows he can get it rented out really quick for $1100 bucks and doesn’t really care about my bottom line, he’s gone.
The other cool thing about the system I put together is, I’ll have my real estate agents also verify the comps that my property managers gave me as far as what the rent is because they can look and see what the other houses for rents are being advertised as—that’s easy to do. There was a time you just couldn’t do that. There was no way you could know what a real estate agent was looking at as far as the rents. They didn’t have things all set up electronically. It wasn’t easy to verify.
I use programs like a mortgage calculator on my phone that helps me run estimates of what it would cost to get a loan at a certain amount at a certain interest rate. In ten seconds, I can get that information together. I use Yelp to look at the people I’m working with or the Zillow reviews to see what other people have said and then if you could ask them for referrals of other people they worked with, you can call those people to verify like, hey, did this guy do a good job or was he kind of a flake?

Josh: Got it. That’s awesome.

Brandon: So that’s verifying the numbers. That’s verifying the data. That’s verifying the individuals. But what that doesn’t verify is what’s actually happening on the ground and you know, there’s one thing to trust but what about verify? It’s do you have a system in place where you don’t have to hop on a plane from California to Florida twice a month to make sure rehabs are going well. You can actually see it. You can get the photos. Google Earth can give that to you. So how do you deal with situations where you want to actually see that things are going well with the physical structure or rehabs and things like that?

David: Yeah, that’s a really good question.

Brandon: Thank you.

David: I think when I figured that out is when—

Brandon: That came from me.

David: I bet you made it up right now too just freestyling over there, like Eminem with…
So what you don’t want is to rely on a contractor who you don’t know, his word that he did the step that he told you he did before you send him your next draw, right? So what I do is I have somebody else on the team of my core four—that’s what I call them—your agent, your lender, your contract, your property manager—they are always verifying the work of another member.
So for instance, let’s say my agent sends me a house and they say, hey David, you should buy 123 Main Street. I’ll send that information to my property manager and say, hey, what’s this neighborhood like? Is this going to be a problem or is this going to rent really quick? Is this the right side of the street? Tell me what’s going on. He knows I’m very picky and I’m going to hold him accountable for the advice he gave me so if he gives me a thumbs up and ends up being bad, I’m taking away every rental I have with him and giving them to his competitor.
That’s one way that I make sure my agents are giving me good information as well as the property manager. I do the same thing with the interest rate that my lender gives me. I say to my agent, hey, is this the same thing that your other clients are getting? Is this about right with what you see the other people are getting or does this seem high to you, right?
So, when it comes to the actual rehab work, I go over the scope of work with my contractor based on videos and pictures my agent takes for me of the house. He says, hey David, this is what it looks like. This is what I can see we’re going to need to do. I run it by my contractor and he should be telling me pretty much the same stuff as the agent. There may be some minor discrepancies about things but in general, if one person is telling me like hey we’re okay with a two-bedroom house and the other one is saying no we should make this a four-bedroom house, I need to look in to see why you’re not giving me the same advice.
The cool part about technology nowadays is once that contractor has done what he said he would do, put in the floors, fix some drywall, did some painting, whatever, I can have my agent go take pictures and videos of that house and send it back to me and show, yeah, the work was done. And then the contractor will jump in and—go ahead, Josh.

Josh: I was going to say really quickly, how do you, on a property that you’ve closed, how do you get the agent to make that worth their while? Are you paying the agent to do that or is it just because in that relationship there’s an expectation there’s going to be more business if they do these things for you?

David: The expectation’s there but I make sure that I’m only asking them to do things that are in their own best interest. And I talk about that a lot in the book, how you kind of align your interest with those people that are on your team.
So if I’m going to flip this house, my agent’s going to be there every single step of the way to make sure the contractor did the right work because when that product is finished, he can’t put the house on the market to sell it if there’s stuff that doesn’t get done or doesn’t look right.
The same is true if I’m going to rent it. I send the property manager by. He’s coming in every step of the way to make sure that the work is being done the right way because if it’s not then it’s his problem he’s got to fix once he’s done.

Josh: Is that something that a property manager should be doing for you, presumably they should be willing to get in their car and drive over to look and make sure that the work is being done appropriately, I would assume.

David: If it’s my first house I’m doing with somebody, I’d pay them probably like a hundred bucks to go and check on the work every time. And that would be well worth it to me to make sure I’m not getting ripped off by my contractor.
Once I’ve done a couple deals in that area, they won’t ask you for money. They are going to be so happy when you’re bringing them enough deals that they’re more than willing to do it.

Brandon: Here’s what I’m hearing from you that I really like a lot and it was really made apparent to me. You know how the U.S. government back in the 1700s when they formed like the judicial branch and the executive branch and legislative—

David: When it worked.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah. When it worked.

Josh: I mean, we still do. We have checks and balances, right? That’s exactly how I view your whole philosophy of these team members is checks and balances. So the contractor is being checked by the agent and the agent is being checked by the property manager. The property manager is being checked by that other guy and everything’s been checked by different sources and you’re never relying on any one person’s view or the ability to screw you over. It would take multiple points of failure to really cause you a lot of harm. Does that sound like a good assessment of that?

David: That’s an awesome analogy but almost, they’d have to be in conspiracy to get over me. And that’s why when I hear people say, I don’t want to invest out-of-state, that’s too risky, I don’t know what to tell you. Because it’s only risky if you’re lazy.

Josh: I was just going to use that word—lazy. And a lot of people are. A lot of people are like, I want to invest out of state. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to find a company who—and I’m not dissing turnkey here because we can talk about that in a second but like I’m going to find a company who will just tell me what I want to hear and they’ll tell me in return, I pay some money and then I go on with my life. Because I don’t want to do any work, right? So let’s talk about that. There’s a lot of people who ask that question to me and I’m sure you get it, too. Turnkey companies—what is a turnkey company and what are your thoughts on it?

David: A turnkey company is a company that basically does all the work for you and hands you over a product that all you have to do is turn the key and walk in the door. I am staunchly opposed to turnkey companies because I believe that you should be investing in real estate to build wealth. And when you’re building your turnkey companies’ wealth when you’re buying a product from them.
Now, like everything in life, there is a consumer for every product that’s out there. If you’re somebody who is making so much money that you do not have a place to put it and you do not have time to learn where to put it, turnkey’s perfect for you.
I always use this analogy—it’s like going to 7/11 and paying three dollars for a Coke when you could buy a 12-pack for three bucks at Costco. What you’re paying for is convenience. I don’t want to have to go to Costco, buy this Coke, take it home, put it in my fridge, have it be cold, and then remember to grab it before I leave the house. If you need convenience and you’re not worried about money, turnkeys are awesome, man. Then go that way.
But most people in BiggerPockets are here to learn about real estate. They’re not here making so much money that they just have to stick it somewhere. For those people, you really need to look at you’re not getting any equity in that deal when you buy with a turnkey company. The less equity you have, the less cash flow you’re going to have. You’re way better off learning how to do this yourself and you reaping the benefits of all that work then kind of taking like you said, the lazy road and paying somebody else to do it all for you.
I think that people believe that a turnkey buy is safer for their first buy so that’s why a lot of people do it. They kind of want their feet wet rather than jumping in. The problem is, Brandon, as you know, and Josh, you too, the real value when you’re doing something new is what you learn. It’s not what you earn. You’re not going to make money right away when you start doing anything new. It’s only going to be what you learn that will make you money later.
Like, Brandon, first flip you lost money on it. Now, you’ve gone on to make tons of money on tons of flips. You did that because you learned something during that first flip that was very valuable to you. When you’re buying from a turnkey company, you’re not really learning very much. You’re helping them bonafide.

Brandon: There’s a caveat to this but I always tell people the first deal doesn’t matter. Like, in the grand scheme of things—people always fret so much like oh, it’s only $120 a month in cash flow and I want $130. I’m not going to do the deal. And like, again, I’ll say this and then don’t stop listening because I have a caveat. The first deal doesn’t matter. Do something. Don’t go buy a bad deal. Learn how to do it right.
But it’s better to just get moving than to do it perfect because the first deal, the only goal, is to get the knowledge to do the second deal. The only goal of the second deal is to get the knowledge to do the third. You’re never getting rich off one deal or two deals. You’re getting rich off a decade or two decades of investing. That’s what matters. I like that. Again, don’t go buying a bad deal. I’m not saying do that. But if the deal, you’re fretting about a dollar or two dollars here and there, just do something.
And I think, David, you’re the one that like really impressed that upon me a few times. Like, just get out there and do something. You really encouraged me. Your book, when I read your book, just the first draft months and months ago is what encouraged me to go out of state. This year, I’ll triple, almost quadruple my portfolio because of the advice that you gave me. Because I realized, oh, if David can do it, I can do it. Right?

Josh: If a cop can do it, I can do it.

Brandon: Because I realize it’s not this mysterious thing to invest out-of-state. It’s a process like anything else. Once you learn how to do it, and this deal will not be my last out-of-state. I’m going to learn a bunch of stuff and I’m going to apply it next time, with bigger deals hopefully. Anyways, so, thank you David.

David: Oh, my pleasure, Brandon. When you learn that you can invest anywhere, you go to the markets that make the most sense for you, not the places that are most convenient for you. And I’ve found that there’s a pattern that kind of runs throughout business that there’s a spectrum of convenient versus profitable and they’re rarely ever on the same side. And you’ve got to figure out where on the spectrum you’re willing to go.
The further away from convenience that you’re willing to go, usually, the more into profitability that you can get. If you look at just like a case study of BiggerPockets itself, I don’t know your financials but I would imagine that the first several years this company was around, they weren’t doing anything, right? And now, it’s a juggernaut that nobody can even compete with because Josh was concerned with what he was learning and what he was building, not what he was earning right away. And real estate is exactly like that.
If you’re willing to put in the time to learn how to do this thing out-of-state, in my opinion, to be completely honest, it’s not much different than learning to do it where you are. The only difference is I’m not driving by to look at the house, and really, I don’t need to be driving by to look at the house. I really don’t know what I’m looking at. I think I’ve talked to you guys before when your car breaks and you pull open the hood and you look at the engine and like, what are any of us looking for? We don’t know. Like, if there is obvious smoke coming, maybe—

Brandon: I’m looking to look like a man, that’s what I’m looking—

Josh: Yeah, that’s why you’re doing it, because the girls are there and you want to look like you know what you’re doing but you don’t.

Brandon: Yeah, that doesn’t help. I still look like a moron.

Josh: No, I’m just like, there’s a bunch of parts in here. I don’t know.

David: That’s what we do with real estate. When someone’s not a home inspector or a super experienced investor walks the home, that’s what they’re doing. They’re just looking at that engine going, oh yeah, bassboard, all right. Look at that. They don’t know what they’re looking at. I need a report from an inspector.

Josh: This gives me a lot of confidence, David.

David: Good. I’m glad to hear that. You need to look at what the experts are showing you, not what you think on your own self, and I think too many of us make this mistake of thinking I gotta learn how to do it all. You’ve got to figure out what your 20% is, like what you said, Brandon, what you’re really good at. And then find the right people to do that other 80% of things to run your business.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: All right, so great stuff. Great information. And the whole convenience thing’s awesome. How are you finding these properties? Your step one is to find that core four, as you call them. Love that, by the way.

Brandon: Core four, is that your phrase, David, or did Josh make that up?

David: Do I get to have like a BiggerPockets trademark now? The core four.

Josh: The core four, we’re going to start using that.

Brandon: Pocket list item check it off.

Josh: Core Four from David Greene. All right, so you’ve got the core four. Now, how are you finding the properties?

David: You know, this is funny. The majority of homes that I’m buying right now in Florida came from an agent who heard me talk on the podcast about buying in Florida and came to me and said, David, I do a lot of deals in Florida and she started sending them to me and they were good. She knew what she was doing. She knew how to understand what work needed to be done. She had contractors that could help me. She had a property manager that was really good and like, she got going with me. I was using a wholesaler and I still use those people from time to time but once you get like a system down and you make like an impact in the area, they’ll come out and they’ll find you.

Brandon: So you need to get on the BiggerPockets podcast—

Josh: That’s how you get business.

Brandon: It’s an agent, right? You find a good agent.

David: Yeah, the same thing would work if I had just posted in the forums. That’s what I was looking for in the marketplace. There are people scouring that are looking to help. I think that’s what I really want your listeners to get. The stuff you need done to make this work—there are people who literally that is their full-time job to find someone to help with it.

Brandon: Good point, yeah.

David: It’s not like you have to go train someone from the ground up to do this thing, to teach them how to fix a house. There are contractors that won’t work. There are property managers that are looking for more houses to manage. There are agents that will not get paid if they don’t bring me a deal, right? Now, a lot of them are bunk, I think we all know that. Not everybody’s good.
But if I need to spend my time going through the people that want to help me and finding out who’s good, not trying to do the work myself, not swinging the hammer, not going and necessarily driving for dollars on my own. If I find somebody else who can do that for me and I just let them do that job, that’s way better.

Josh: Hey David, I think one of my personal big issues—I’m from New York. I don’t trust anybody.

David: I noticed that, Josh.

Josh: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you mom and dad, for that, too. That’s a great neuroses that you guys have built upon me. I really do appreciate it. It’s healthy and makes me a better person but how does one like myself, not from a psychological standpoint because that might take us a few hours but how does one do that? Is it really just going through those Yelp reviews, talking to other investors, and kind of getting that feedback? Is there any real trick to kind of overcoming that fear of getting screwed over by somebody that you work with?

David: Well, I think I’m very similar to you, Josh. I think that’s probably one of the reasons we get along is I’m also very—

Josh: We get along? Yes. This is so cool. This is the highlight of my day.

David: I don’t trust people either. I have very high expectations of people.

Josh: Well, you are a police officer.

David: That’s right. And I’ve just had to accept that’s who I am. I’m not going to change that far. I don’t want to go out there and try to start trusting strangers to get over it. And I talked about this in the book a lot. Really, this whole philosophy of finding the right people is built on my belief that rock stars know rock stars. I said that all the time, right? So people that are really good at what they do hang out with other people that are really good at what they do.
When you’ve just achieved a level of excellence in your profession or whatever you do, you probably want to be around other people who are the same way. Like I remember Tiger Woods was best friends with—who was that Swedish tennis player that was really good? Roger Federer. Like, they were hanging out with each other all the time. You wouldn’t think they have anything in common but they were both the best at what they did and they liked to be around each other because of that.
Michael Jordan wasn’t hanging out with the bench players all the time. He was rubbing elbows with other All-Stars. And the same thing goes for people that are not rock stars. The shady people of the world, the ones that are selfish, they always end up finding each other and just like never being happy because they’re always trying to take advantage of each other and screw each other over.
So if you want to find people that you can trust, you find one person that you can trust and you win that person over and you start seeing, who would you use in this situation? How can I help you? I gave a lot of examples in the book of ways that I kind of like built my team up based on I found one really honest, really hard working person and I just made that relationship very important and I started saying, hey, I need someone to do this.
Who do you know? And if his answer was, I don’t know anyone, I would say, okay, well who do you know that would know? Can you do me a favor and can you go ask this really influential person? Hey, this is what I need, right? So now you know, I buy all across the country. People that know me wanted to know where to invest. I could plug them into what I had going on because I’ve done a lot of the vetting. And I would do that for someone I liked, like another rock star type of personality, right?

Josh: What? I was just clearing my throat. And now that I know that he likes me, you know.

David: Exactly, right?

Brandon: It doesn’t mean you’re a rock star. He can like you without being a rock star.

Josh: That is true. That is true.

David: But if you think about it, if you wanted to start a website, if somehow you were able to get into Josh Dorkin’s good graces, who better would you go to to figure out how to do that, right? I don’t need to look at every single person and study their Yelp review and inch forward with that person until I can trust them if Josh could tell me, yeah, I’ve used him and he’s good. I trust this guy. More than likely, I can trust this guy, too.
That’s how the wealthy people maintain their wealth. They’re rubbing elbows with other wealthy people and they’re not going through the process of trial and error of like, the little guy’s got to go through to get started. I really think that’s what I want people to understand about the whole thing is, find somebody who is good at what they do and give them a reason to like you and you can get into their world and you can start to find the people that they trust.
Brandon has this really good analogy of when a plane has taken off from a runway, how much energy it takes to get that big, huge plane moving and then once it starts to get off the ground, you have to keep your foot on the gas really hard to get it up in the air. But once it’s already up there and coasting, it doesn’t take a whole lot of energy. The thing’s kind of just on autopilot. It can move.
When you’re first starting your real estate investing business, which is where most people in BiggerPockets are, you have to be very, very intense and with a high purpose of finding people that you can develop relationships with that will help you.

Josh: I love that and we could probably talk for hours and hours about just trust and relationships and I think we probably don’t focus enough on that on the podcast. We touch upon it in probably every show but I think this show in particular is so valuable because of this, so thank you.
By the way, I also want to note, I made a snarky remark earlier about you not trusting anyone because you’re a cop and I do want to say how much not to kiss your *** or anything else, but how much I do appreciate the police officers and how important they are to all of us. We’ve got to all work together and figure out how to get past this nonsense that we all have on both sides, right?

David: I appreciate that, Josh.

Josh: All right. So I’ve gone and got this team. I’ve got these people. Maybe the agent is helping me find stuff. I’m assuming maybe I’m looking on Redfin or Zillow or some of these sites and trying to find opportunities, passing them onto my agent who’s got boots on the ground and the other folks that I know now who have got boots on the ground who could tell me, bad neighborhood, great neighborhood, block by block. Okay, cool.
At this point, are you ever getting on the plane to go out there or I would assume for somebody who is new at this, you would probably recommend they go and do that, yeah?

David: I got on a plane my first time to Florida to meet with the people—I didn’t see any of the properties themselves. But I did want to meet with the people face-to-face. Once I kind of had that foundation laid and I was using their referrals, I never went out there again to look at anything. And there was really no reason. Like I said, I don’t know what I’m looking at anyways. I can see all the pictures. I can have them go make videos. I know the property exists, right? It’s not hard to verify that. The only things that I’m worried about are actually how much work is it going to need and is this a good neighborhood? And if it’s a reputable property manager who knows I want to do repeat business with them and I’ve talked to other people that work with them and they said this guy’s a straightshooter, I wouldn’t feel the need to get on a plane and go out there and look around. I wouldn’t knock anyone that does, right? If that’s what you need to feel comfortable, then you need to do it. Because like Brandon was saying, the first deal doesn’t matter. If you’re going to lose a little bit of money on that but you build up a level of comfort that will enable you to make much more money later, you’re never going to look back and say, oh, I wish I wouldn’t have bought that plane ticket.
I think that’s important that people understand. There’s decisions that we make that are based on emotions and they don’t help your business whatsoever. But if that’s what you need to be comfortable to where you can help your business, then do that.
Do what you need to because there’s so much wealth opportunity to be built with real estate that it’s sickening to think about 30 years could go by and you’re going to look back and you could have been a multimillionaire based off of what your tenants paid for you and you missed it because of some stupid fear you have that you thought out-of-state investing was risky.

Josh: What if stuff goes wrong?

David: Like what kind of stuff?

Josh: I don’t know. I’m sitting here listening to this guy David Greene who talks like he knows what he’s doing and Josh and Brandon are kind of interviewing him and he’s telling me you know, technology and people and trust—what if something goes wrong? I’m listening to you—

Brandon: Like a tenant trashes a house, doesn’t pay—your property manager steals from you. I don’t know.

David: Okay, anything that could go wrong, there is someone whose job it is to fix it, first off. And second, those are all things that could happen in this market that could be right down the street from you. It won’t be any different when you’re out-of-state. I haven’t come across anything that’s unique to being in a different area than what I have with the rentals that I own in California. Same stuff happens, right?
So I had a tree fall over during the hurricane. It fell on the roof of one of my houses. My fault for not cutting down the tree when I bought it. I don’t know what I was thinking, buying a house in Florida and not cutting down trees that are around it. But we paid somebody to go out there and fix the roof and to move the tree. I was a little upset for a little bit and then I realized, this could have happened at one of my rentals nearby just the same. Real estate is real estate no matter where you go.
What makes local stuff different is you know that market, right? If you can learn another market or learn people that know that market, then it’s the same as if you’re buying in your own backyard. And that’s what I want to impress on people because there are so many people I see that are passing up opportunities to buy homes that they’re saying, I’m waiting for the next crash. I’m waiting for the next crash. I’m waiting for the next opportunity.
And I am, too. That’s why I burrow. I want all my money back out so I can buy when the market crashes on the coast. That’s when you’re going to make most of your money is when you’re buying in one of these West Coast or East Coast markets and it’s at a low and it’s going to shoot up really high.
But in the meantime, I may not be hitting home runs but if I can get singles and doubles in some of the Midwest or Southern markets, I’d be a fool to pass that up, especially if you can burrow and you can get your capital back out. I know that’s a really good question, is what if something goes wrong? I just haven’t seen anything go wrong that wouldn’t have happened in my own market as well.

Josh: So if somebody were to say hey, what was the worst experience you’ve had, would it be the tree falling on the roof?

David: No, the worst experience I had was I put a house under contract, I had a lot going on. I think I put like five under contract at the same time. I had my real estate agent business and we were in a super busy month and I literally forgot that I had put it under contract and I didn’t get the contractors hired in time to do the inspections. And when we did, we found that what looked like a small problem with the roof was actually a gaping hole.
Rain had been raining on it for this entire time before I bought it and after, and the water had actually seeped not only into the floor but like into the walls. So there was dry rot in the actual framing of the house that we had to cut out the dry wall and see the whole home had to be taken down to the studs and rebuilt. I hadn’t closed on it, luckily for me, but I had lost my earnest money deposit because I had to back out of that deal because I saw what the problem was.

Josh: So your takeaway from that is don’t be so busy doing so many damn deals so you can actually remember all the deals that you’re doing. Is that kind of—

David: You know, that was my original thought, Josh. If I had to go back and look at it, I would have lost out on the other four or five deals that I had done during that same timeframe that made me $20,000-$40,000 on each one. That was kind of the cost of doing business. It’s like if I had to go back, I still would have done it the same way.
What I did was I just told my agent, hey, I’m giving you more responsibility in running these projects instead of me, and I had a good one so she was more than willing to take that on. I said, I can’t keep up with this. I need you to run the contractors and the home inspections and report back to me what you see rather than me trying to take the responsibility of it.
And to be honest, that was a blessing in disguise because I should have had her doing that the whole time. There’s no reason for me to be that involved in the details of what’s going on when she’s perfectly capable of it.

Brandon: I love it.

Josh: Yeah, I love your encouragement on utilizing other people to do things. Like, a lot of times, I just do things because I feel like I have to do them. But like, why not just empower other people? People never think to ask. I never think to ask. So, anyways, love that.
Last kind of question before we go to the fire round. Where do you see yourself and your company headed in the next few years. Are you going to keep buying out of state or are you going to—where do you see the next five, ten years going for you?

David: I’m going to buy wherever it makes sense to buy and that’s why I feel like this book is such a powerful tool for people that don’t understand that you can get into investing in a market that actually does make sense for you. If you don’t have a lot of money, then you shouldn’t be trying to buy in the Bay Area of California. Go to a place like Kentucky or Wisconsin where you don’t need a lot of money to get your feet wet.
My ultimate goal is to have a team, probably like 15 to 20 different cities across the United States and to continue buying rental property in all of them in whatever makes sense in a way that doesn’t take a ton of my time, which means that my time needs to be spent looking for ways to earn money so that I can continue investing it, which is why I’m building this real estate agent business, so I can take my knowledge of real estate, serve my clients with it, earn money that I can use to keep investing.
I’ve seen a small taste of when you put a system in place that will run itself, how little work it takes on your behalf and how powerfully, quickly, that can build your wealth and that’s what I want to double down on. That’s where I see myself headed.

Josh: So your strategy, if I can try to paraphrase, is keep working your day job. So that you have the capital and resources to continue building a portfolio of investment properties but at the end of the day, you want to keep working because you know that’s going to allow you to continue to build more and more wealth by this real estate.

David: Absolutely. And then every decision I make is based on how I make that easier for myself. So I have to learn how to be a better agent so that it’d be easier for me to make more money. I have to find markets where it’s not a lot of time spent looking for something that will make sense, right? A target-rich environment so I’m not spinning my wheels and buying one house a year but putting in thousands of hours of time trying to find one thing because this is the market I’m comfortable with.
If I can buy in Arkansas and I have a team of people out there that I know and I can trust and are good and the deals make sense, then I’m going to go buy in Arkansas. If I can do the same thing in Florida, in Arizona, in Georgia, wherever they are, I’m making my job easier so that I can focus my time like I was saying, making money so I can keep this thing going.

Josh: Awesome, awesome.

Brandon: Fantastic.

Josh: Cool. All right, well, we’ve got some more questions for you so let’s head over to the world famous Fire Round.
It’s time for the Fire Round.

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So if you guys order today and in two days, it’ll be on your doorstep and from there, just open the box, plug it in, and you’ll be protected 24/7, no contracts, no hidden fees. So go to SimplySafe.com/Pockets. That’s SimplySafe.com/Pockets and you’ll get a 10% discount when you order. Like I said, I use that every single night. Love it. SimplySafe.com/Pockets

David: Cool. Big thanks to Simply Safe.

Brandon: Yeah, it’s as simple as that. You guys are awesome. So, let’s head over to the world famous Fire Round. Number one—these questions, by the way, come out of the BiggerPockets forum. That’s real life people asking these. Number one, I’m looking for out-of-town lending. Hitting a lot of roadblocks, living in California and investing in other states. Local banks are a hit and miss but nervous about an out-of-town investor and large regional banks are too big for some of the smaller units that I’m trying to buy. What do I do?

David: I feel your pain, bro. That’s a tricky situation. The first thing you want to do is to find an agent who has actually worked with investors before and hopefully is an investor themselves because hopefully they’re going to have the contacts to find those banks that other people don’t know about.
The second thing you can do, which is a road I’ve taken, is I’ve actually gone and I’ve looked for commercial loans that will be secured by residential property. If you can put a couple of different properties together, you can sometimes get a blanket mortgage that will cover all of your residential properties but under commercial terms.

Josh: That’s great advice. Very, very good advice. Awesome.

Brandon: All right, next question. I currently live in Brooklyn, New York City, and as we all know the property prices here are ridiculous. My question is if I wanted to finance a duplex or fourplex out-of-state, do I need to go to that state to obtain a bank loan or can I use Chase Bank in New York to apply for a house in Philly? Is that legal? Chase or anybody else.

David: Oh, it’s totally legal. It just depends on the bank’s own lending standards. Something like Chase, I am sure they have branches everywhere that you’d be able to get a loan through them. I don’t know that they’d give you the best rate though. I try to avoid the big banks and I try to find mortgage brokers that are going to shop my file around and look for something that’s going to get me a competitive rate so I would start there.
But if you were just pressed for time using a big bank like Chase, Wells Fargo, that have branches in every other state, you can get approved at your local bank and get the loan in a place where you want to buy. That’s a good idea.

Josh: Great.

Brandon: All righty, next question. I live in California and I invest in multiple states. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a CPA who is not in California? Is it important to have somebody in my local state or in the state that I buy in or just a generalist or does it not really matter?

David: You know, I’m not a CPA so I’m probably not the best person to answer that. But my understanding is that you file taxes based on the state you live in so having a CPA in those other states probably wouldn’t help you because you’re going to be claiming the income that the property makes or doesn’t make through your own state.

Brandon: Cool, and to add onto that, this is something I’m learning because I’m buying in Ohio, that Ohio has a lot of weird tax rules, city by city they have different taxes on the rental income. It’s weird. But I’m learning all this. So what I did is I found, actually, from BiggerPockets, I met a guy at a local meetup when I was out there, who is a CPA in that area.
Now, he’s not going to do my taxes, but I can talk with him, chat with him, ask him questions. I can hire him just for that one thing. Like hey, help me with this one thing because Ohio has weird rules and laws. Anyways, just a caveat on that. If your state has weird things, if you find out, just ask—

Josh: And then you connect in with your local CPA—

Brandon: Yeah, and they can deal with everything. Yeah. So, cool.

David: I like that.

Josh: All right, last question. How does one get started with out-of-state investing with smaller properties? Often, you hear that you need 40-50 units to cover the cost of property management. What if you don’t want that many units? How does somebody get started with out-of-state investing with a simple triplex or fourplex?

David: I don’t understand the people that say you need 50 units to cover the costs of property management. I use a property manager on every property I’ve ever owned and I just write it into the deal and I—

Josh: And it’s still the same cost, right?

David: Yeah, all the time. And once you get several, I pay between 6-8% now because I have more than one house with that company. So I’d say on average when I’m buying in Florida, I’m cash flowing between $400-500 a month and that’s with underwriting about 80 bucks of property management into the deal. I would say that’s a myth. Don’t buy into the fact that you have to buy 50 units. If that’s what it takes then maybe you’re just buying a deal that’s not that great.
Look for a deal that’s good enough and that should be more than enough meat on the bones to pay for property management. I will never not use a property manager because I use them for more than just collecting the rent. Like I was saying earlier, I use them on a SHERPA. I’m trying to climb Mount Everest. I don’t know how to get there. I want someone who’s done it before.
Tell me about this neighborhood. Tell me about this area. Tell me about the kind of tenant I’m going to get. Is this the high crime area or is this the blue collar area? Am I too close to the railroad tracks that no one’s going to want to rent here? Is there a demand or are these houses sitting on the market forever? I want you telling me that and I would probably use one even if it was like, the houses I have in the same city is me, I’m using one for the same reasons.
I don’t want to spend my time trying to figure out what’s going on in the rental market. I’m off doing other things. So I would say you should just assume you’re going to use a property manager and I would encourage people, don’t think of them as just a rent collector. Make them earn that money. Use them as like a consultant that you have when you’re looking at buying into another state and they will know people that will make it easier for you to start buying in those areas.

Josh: That’s great. And Brandon, I’ve got a question for you.

Brandon: Okay.

Josh: How does somebody know how to evaluate a deal properly?

Brandon: Well, you know, there is this brand new software out there, this brand new company called BiggerPockets and we actually have—brand new. What’s it like, 12 or 13 years old.

Josh: 13.

Brandon: So anyways, check out our calculators at BiggerPockets.com.

Josh: It’s a shame that the supposed co-founder, that you don’t know how long it’s been around. But you know, you should at least study that so you can continue the route.

Brandon: Brandon the Anchor. All right, so go to BiggerPockets.com/Analysis and check out our suite of calculators. We actually have a brand new one out there if you guys haven’t seen it yet. It’s the rehab estimation calculator. It’ll actually help you budget and plan your rehab. So get it at BiggerPockets.com/Analysis. Try it out.

Josh: Awesome. All right. So before we move to The Famous Four, David, we’ve got this book. We mentioned it in the beginning and I think we should talk about it. It’s called Long Distance Real Estate Investing: How to Buy, Rehab, and Manage Out-of-State Rental Properties by author, David Greene.
So, David Greene, why write a book and give us kind of the gist of this thing.

David: So I wrote that book because I hear a ton of people saying, David, I want to invest in real estate but I can’t. My market doesn’t work. I don’t have enough money. There is always some reason why people say that they can’t invest, right? There’s no reason that you shouldn’t be investing if you understand the fundamentals of investing.
So I spelled out my entire system, everything from finding the market you want to invest in, the technology that I use to do this stuff, how I do it efficiently and with time consideration. The people that I need on my team to put it together, how to build those relationships and then a ton of stuff on actually how I rehab properties. I have a section on rehab hacking, basically.
Upgrade hacking where I show you if you’re going to replace something anyways and you have to rip out a certain part of the house to do it, sometimes just spending an extra $200-$300 just to get upgraded items in there is get you your money back in spades.
I wouldn’t recommend that you take out your appliances and you put in stainless steel ones if they work fine. But if you have to rip them out anyways and spending an extra $200 can get you stainless steel appliances, that could cut down on two or three weeks of vacancy because your tenant really liked them, then do it. Lots of little tips like that.
I pretty much took my whole system and wrote it into a book that anybody can copy if they want to do the same things that I’m doing. And I’m really trying to just dispel the myth that out-of-state investing equals risky. What’s risky is ignorance and if you’re ignorant of something whether it’s in-state or out-of-state that’s what’s risky. If you gather the information that you need to make a good decision, it doesn’t matter where the house you’re buying is.

Brandon: That’s fantastic.

Josh: And who is this guy who wrote it because he looks awfully different than you?

Brandon: Yeah, there’s no beard on the guy in the back of the book, so—

David: Doesn’t he look like a square?

Josh: Wow. Wow. I take umbrage with this beardist comment of yours.

David: Well, if I look like the lead singer of Maroon 5, I’d probably be clean-shaven, too. But guys like me, we need to do a little something to help ourselves out. In all honesty, I have never grown a beard in my life and this is the first time I had to go to work as a cop and I just thought, I’m just going to do it because I can.

Brandon: Wait, can cops not have beards?

David: Yeah, you can’t. You’ve got to be clean-shaven. It’s like the New York Yankees. There’s a certain look that they’re going for.

Josh: It used to like that with the Yankees, right? Now, they kind of let it all go.

David: Their franchise since have gotten rid of that.

Josh: Nice, nice. Awesome.

Brandon: All right, so let me tell you real quick about the book. If you don’t care about the book at all, just skip forward 30 seconds or a minute. But for those people interested in buying it, go to BiggerPockets.com/LongDistanceBook. It’s $24.99 you can learn more about it there. You can buy it on Amazon. We actually have a link over to Amazon and here’s the cool thing—when you buy the book through one of those places and you e-mail your receipt, we’re actually going to give you a bunch of really neat bonuses.
The bonus number one is an e-mail called The Frightening Four: The Four Biggest Road Blocks Out-of-State Investors Face, a video called Building Your Rock Star Core Four Team where David just walks you through in detail, how do you build that team? Super high-quality HD video. You’re going to love it.
Another video we put together, it’s actually David and I together sitting down and talking about how to buy your first out-of-state investment because I just did that. So he kind of coaches me through the fears and through the process of doing that. You guys will find that super valuable. And then for a launch-only bonus—we love providing a little bit of extra bonus, extra value for people who take immediate action.
So for those people who buy in the first ten days of this book launch, you’re going to get something extra special. It is a live class we’re going to host. We’re going to host it here after the holiday break here. So right at the beginning of the year, we’re going to host this. But it’s going to be a live online class, hosted by David, called Finding and Funding Long Distance Rentals plus a live Q&A. So basically, we’re going to sit down with David and he’s going to walk through his own properties, his own efforts for doing this, walk you through the actual properties that he’s got, the neighborhoods, all that stuff. It’s going to be really, really awesome. And you may be able to ask questions like live with David.
We’re going to have a couple different times you can choose from but we’ll do a couple of these just to really dive in deep. Again, we don’t want you guys to just read a book. We want you to actually have your lives changed. So that’s what all these bonuses are for and again, if you buy in the first ten days, which is before Christmas Day, you’re going to get all of this stuff. Make sure you e-mail your receipt though to [email protected] if you want it all. With that, let’s go on.

Josh: It’s also available anywhere that books are available.

Brandon: Yeah, you can go to Barnes & Noble or Amazon, whatever.

Josh: And if you can’t find it, you know, holler at them and tell them they need to start carrying that book.

David: There you go.

Brandon: All right, moving on, by the way, from a personal standpoint, the book is fantastic. I’m not just saying that. It’s really good, David. I think you did an awesome job.

David: Thank you, Brandon.

Brandon: Yeah, it’s going to help a lot of people. All right, with that, let’s get to the world famous Famous Four.
All right, these are the same four questions we ask every guest every week. I know you answered these last time, David. But maybe they’ve changed. Number one, other than your own now, what is your favorite real estate related book?

David: I’m still a big fan of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. I know a lot of people are not real estate agents, so they wouldn’t read it. But the principles in that book as far as focusing on the 20% you’re good at, leveraging out what is not your thing, are timeless and I really feel that would work for any business.

Josh: All right. What about favorite business book?

David: That would still be The Richest Man in Babylon. I feel like that should be required reading in schools. It is such a good book. If you’re new to real estate investing and you feel any anxiety about this whole thing, start with reading that book. You follow those fundamentals and it’s very hard to lose money. If you can get that part down, then you just have to figure out how real estate investing specifically fit into your goals.

Josh: Still top of my list.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s fantastic.

Josh: All right, what about hobbies? What are you doing for fun these days?

David: Right now, I am busting my butt trying to figure out how to be a leader. As a police officer, it’s like a certain kind of skillset to be a good one and as a real estate agent, running a team with employees now. It is a whole different world. Yeah, man.
It caught me by surprise so having to learn that people don’t communicate the way I do, they don’t think the way I do, they don’t have my tolerance for risk or stress the same way, trying to figure out how to motivate all different kinds of people to get the very best out of them is kind of like taking all my time right now.
And reading books, talking to older, more mature people that have been there before, that’s where I’d say the majority of my time is spent. But I feel like once I get that down, this thing is really going to take off and it’s going to be well worth it.

Brandon: That’s great.

Josh: There we go. All right, last question of the day. David, what do you think sets apart successful out-of-state investors from those who give up, fail, or never get started?

David: I like this. This is like the remix. Out-of-state investors, yeah. So if you could focus on what could go wrong, you will always find reasons that you shouldn’t do something. This is just the way that life works. If you focus on something that you’re afraid of, you’ll find a reason to justify it. Most people don’t understand what they’re missing out on by not taking these risks, by not learning how to invest and like, for me, invest out-of-state because that’s where I needed to go.
I would have lost out on millions of dollars. Millions of dollars. And 30 years from now, it’ll be more like $10-20 million dollars of just letting the compound effect of wealth build. If you spent more time focusing on what you’re going to miss out on then what could go wrong, the risk would start to become a lot more sensible to start to take. That’s where I think people miss out on real estate in general, is they’re looking at how they could lose money or how they could lose time or how it could go wrong rather than yeah, like Brandon was saying, if your first deal doesn’t go great, focus on what you learned.
If you lost a couple of bucks on a deal, it’s still less than what you’d had to pay some guru to teach you and you have some hands-on experience. And if you don’t quit and you keep going, you will eventually work your system out to where it’s making you tons of money. That sort of comes down to really, I guess, to sum that up, the expectations that you have going into something.
If your expectations are I’m not going to make good money but I’m going to learn a ton that’s going to make me money later, you’ll go onto be very successful. If your expectation was, I’ll hit a home run on my very first swing and if I don’t then my whole thing was a scam, you’re not going to do well.

Josh: That’s great advice.

Brandon: Wow, I love that.

Josh: Really, really good. All right, man, before we let you go, how can people reach out and connect? Obviously, where else can they find you and what was that URL of that book, again, Brandon?

Brandon: The URL is BiggerPockets.com/LongDistanceBook

David: And you can also find me on BiggerPockets.com. I love that website. It’s very close to my heart. I’ll be there forever. You can hit me on Facebook at DavidGreene24 and then I have a website,GreeneIncome.com Just remember, there’s an ‘e’ at the end of Greene. Or my website, DavidGreene24.com. So pretty much any of those mediums, if you reach out to me there, you can get a hold of me and we can talk some real estate.

Josh: Awesome, and we’ll have links to those in the Show Notes at BiggerPockets.com/Show257. That’s BiggerPockets.com/Show257. David, thank you so much for coming on the show, man. It’s been a pleasure. Congrats to you on all your successes. Congrats on the launch of your new book. I’m very excited. I know you are as well. And everybody get out there and check it out. Obviously, if you’d love it, please jump on Amazon, jump on other places. Leave us ratings on the book. And if you’re listening to the show, you should leave us ratings and reviews on iTunes or anywhere else.
So thank you, David Greene, for coming on the show. Best of luck to you.

David: Thank you guys, I had a blast.

Brandon: Thank you.

Josh: All right, guys, that was David Greene here on the BiggerPockets podcast. Wow.

Brandon: Yeah, that was awesome.

Josh: That was great, man. Core Four.

Brandon: I feel like, one, the Core Four is just a cool thing. And like, I don’t know. I feel like—what’s the word? I feel stupid.

Josh: There’s a lot of feelings coming out of you.

Brandon: I feel stupid the way that I’ve done a lot of my investing because I’m like, David gets it. I always went for the deal and then I was scrambling to find people to help in areas but he’s like, no. Build your team of rock stars. They will help you every step of the way, and I love that.

Josh: I don’t think we’ve heard that before from anybody. It’s always been find a great deal and then build from there. This is the complete polar opposite of that. This is find an amazing team and everything good will come from there.

Brandon: And you know, I actually, a real-life example of that, I’ll give you a couple of shout-outs. So a lot of people know I was working through that 1031 exchange thing which all worked out. I know we talked about that in recent weeks. But the way that I actually found the deal both came from BiggerPockets recommendations from people and the way I got my lenders, the way I got property managers, all that came from recommendations.
A couple of quick shout-outs. Todd Dexheimer who we had on the episode a couple of months ago, he actually connected me with the Cincinnati area and some people there. And then Joe Fairless whom we’ve had on the show connected me with some people there and then Ryan Murdoch who we had on the show connected me with people in his area and we’re working together on a deal. So just networking with people who you know that are smart is exactly what he was saying today.

Josh: Wait, but Brandon, you’re the host of the BiggerPockets podcast. That’s easy for you. How would I do that?

Brandon: You know how I did it? I shot a message over to a couple of people that were on the site and I said, hey, I’m looking for—actually, the way that I said it, I said hey, I don’t know this area very well. Do you know, is this in the bad area or good area? It was a very simple question. I think I sent that to Joe Fairless first. I said, is this a bad area or a good area? And he responded.
But then more than that, he offered just a little bit more advice. He was like, hey, I would stay clear of that one but check out this and then check out this lender, and he connected me with a guy named Slocom who is awesome. If you’re listening, Slocom, you’re amazing. It was an agent who then lead me to a deal which then lead me all over. So anyway, it was all relationships. 100%.

Josh: That’s great. That’s awesome. All right, guys, well pay attention. Go back. This is one you might want to rewind and listen to again, but fantastic, fantastic again. Special thanks to Dave—

Brandon: And stick around for The Random Six after the music.

Josh: Oh yeah, you should do that. It’s really good. Guys, this is Show 257 on the BiggerPockets broadcast in the books. You can check out the Show Notes at BiggerPockets.com/Show257 and—

Brandon: Pick up a copy of David’s book.

Josh: Oh yeah, absolutely. Here it is again.

Brandon: BiggerPockets.com/LongDistanceBook

Josh: BiggerPockets.com/LongDistanceBook

Brandon: There you go. Again, if you buy it in the first ten days, you are going to get some cool bonus stuff, including invited to an exclusive one-on-one webinar class with David. It’s going to be amazing. So that’s going to be happening at the end of the month but if you buy now, you get invited.

Josh: Cool. Awesome.

Brandon: There you go.

Josh: All right. Thanks so much.

Brandon: Thank you.

Josh: And until next time, I’m Josh Dorkin, host. 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 benefited from BiggerPockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.
It’s time for The Random Six.

Brandon: All right, these are just random questions just to get to know you a little better, David. Number one, has a teacher ever changed your life? How so?

David: I feel like Josh should have asked that question better. We should have let him take it.

Josh: Has a teacher ever changed your life? And if so, how?

David: I couldn’t think of one but now that Josh has asked me, all these examples are—

Brandon: This is how the world works. Isn’t it?

Josh: It’s the energy. Good energy versus—

Brandon: It’s the Anchor. That’s clearly what this is.

David: You know, I had a teacher that taught economics II. And I still remember this. This was in college. And he was so horrible. Just a complete a-hole, if I can say that. And in my economics I class, I got the highest grade in the whole class. And then I went into his and I would ask him questions to explain what he was trying to teach us and he didn’t like that. He was one of those people that just wanted you to take it because I said it as gospel.
And he started like giving me bad grades on stuff and I would go take my test back to him and he was like, oh, I misgraded that. I misgraded this. And he was like giving me 60s out of 100s when I actually had scored like an 80 or 90 on like, pick A-B-C type answers. They were just objectives. There was no way he could possibly say he didn’t like my writing.
And I was really frustrated, like, why is this guy so bad? And I think I still remember him until this day because some little inner resolve came out of me like, I don’t have to get pushed around by like the powers that be telling me I shouldn’t be asking these questions or bothered by it. I can stand up to this dude.
And I think it kind of brought out a piece of me that, kind of like a fearless, I’m going to fight back thing that really served me well going into this business where you have setbacks all the time. You know? And I would encourage other people who have been through similar experiences, don’t let those become your reason to quit. Let that be the reason to pull something out of you that you didn’t know was there, that will get you through the next phase of your life.

Josh: I’ve got to say something. So I’ve never heard anyone else say anything like that. I had a very, very similar experience, not in terms of the pulling that crap with the grades. That stuff is just crazy, but I had a teacher that was beloved. Everybody in school loved this person. And I thought he was full of crap. I thought he was completely and utterly full of crap and I was in student government and he was kind of overseeing it and one day, I don’t know—I don’t remember the exact thing that happened, but somebody said something and he said, no it’s got to be this way.
And I’m like, dude, you’re the dictator of the student government. These kids don’t even get a chance to do government because you’re overthrowing everything that people are trying to do here. You’re not giving them a chance. I spoke out. And I was scared to death when I did that. I’m like, oh my God, everybody loves him. Am I crazy? I spoke out. I think he threw me out, threw me off—I definitely got thrown out of the room. I don’t know if I got thrown out of student government or I just like quit.
But I then transferred out of his class because I was like, I don’t want to be pushed around by you. Everybody loves you but you’re so full of it. We as individuals need those moments of growth, those fearless moments that come and I don’t know, I never forget that. When I think about school, that’s one of those moments that I always think about and I think was one of my growth moments. So despite that difficult opportunity, something really good came out of it.

David: Yeah, look where you are now. If you hadn’t have gone through that, you might not be the leader that you are now because you saw everything you didn’t want to be. This guy was not a straight shooter. He was full of it. He manipulated people to get them to like him. Because you kind of took a stand and decided Josh is not going to be that kind of a person, you’re a much better leader in the role you’re in.
So it almost looks like divine intervention where someone knew where you were going to end up and so what you went through helped prepare you to do better in that role. And I wish more people would look at things that way rather than just playing victim and saying, it’s not fair. He was mean to me so I should just quit.

Josh: I love it. All right, next question. If you could have tea with one fictional character, who would it be?

David: Oh, my gosh. I wish I had more time to think about this.

Josh: Take your time.

David: Tea with a fictional—

Josh: Brandon, who would it be while he’s thinking?

Brandon: For David or for me?

Josh: For you.

Brandon: I don’t know. That’s a tough question. What about for you?

Josh: It might be—boy, that is a tough question. It might be like Rocky Balboa. Kind of seeing all the challenges he went through and the chaos and kind of overcoming everything that got in his way. I think those, for me, are the kinds of stories that I find fascinating. So those are the things that I seek out and try to figure out how did somebody overcome that challenge?

Brandon: I’m going to go Gandolf.

David: You are turning into Gandolf. You’re looking more and more like him every time that beard grows. Like nine feet tall like he is, too.

Josh: And why Gandolf?

Brandon: Because he’s tall. That’s about it. He’s wise. He smokes a pipe. I don’t know.

Josh: Least introspective thoughtful human being I’ve ever met. David Greene, please give us something cool here.

David: It would be a match or a tie between Maximus or Batman. I really like Batman in the sense that he kind of rubs elbows with rock stars but he doesn’t have super powers. I just love that that dude gets the very most out of himself he can. I mean, he’s fictional. None of us can do what he’s doing but—he said, what do I want to do? I want to fight crime. I better go learn to be a martial artist and everything there is. Okay, I’m still a man. I need to develop technology to help me do what I want to do. In some ways, that’s kind of what we’re trying to do as business people. We’re trying to turn ourselves into the most successful versions of ourselves that we can be to accomplish our goals we have. And I think that’s why I’m drawn to Batman.
And then I really like Maximus from Gladiator just in the sense of what motivated him, kind of. He put himself through hell for a bigger purpose at a time when he just wanted to give up. His family was killed and he had nothing left and rather than just turning over and saying, I just want to die, too, he said well I’m going to go out with a bang. I really kind of like that story.

Brandon: He was a very honorable guy.

Josh: Yeah he made that determination he was going to be a hero. I was just—I’m reading the book, Principles from Ray Dahlio now and he talks about Joseph Campbell, Hero of a Thousand Faces, and the choice to become a hero because the path of a hero is not an easy one. And that book, that was a seriously deep book. I read that. In fact, I believe I read that book as a result of leaving that class and going into a different classroom. Yes.

Brandon: This is all tying together for you.

Josh: And that is a cool book if you haven’t read Hero of a Thousand Faces. I definitely recommend that. Brandon, I think it’s your question. Should I just read it, David?

Brandon: No, I’m doing this. David, what movie could you see again and again and again? That was my movie voice.

Josh: That was pretty good, by the way. You should have said like, “In a world…one man will do it”?

David: I really like The Matrix. I’ve watched that one over and over and over and I really—

Josh: One, two, or three?

David: One. One was the best one. Usually it is. And then I also really like the Batman movies. I’ve watched those several times over. I could probably—oh, you know what? The better answer to that question would be Dumb and Dumber as stupid as that is for me to say. I’ve probably seen Dumb and Dumber like 20 times and it just does not get any less funny every time.

Brandon: Pretty bird. Pretty bird.

David: It’s not as insightful as all the other things we’ve talked about but I can quote like the entire thing from beginning to end. I don’t know what it is about that being like the perfect guy movie, but—

Brandon: I think that’s why we get along so well. We have a lot of Dumb and Dumber quotes when we’re together.

Josh: That was a dumb movie.

David: Aptly named.

Josh: All right. So if you had a chance—your business is doing well. You’ve earned enough money to start doing some cool things with it. If you had a chance to spend your money to go to space on like the Virgin Galactic or something like that, would you?

David: No. There’s no people in space. I think I would rather spend my time trying to help people. It’s hard to get ahead. It’s hard to do well. It’s hard to overcome a lot of the things that life throws at you and not many people do and I kind of feel like as somebody who has, there’s an obligation you have to reach down underneath you and kind of help pull people up So space doesn’t really have as much appeal to me. I think I would rather get my real estate agent business and my investing business running on their own without needing a whole lot of attention from me and go—

Josh: Boring. No, that’s not so boring.

David: I want to open up like orphanages in third world countries or something like that.

Brandon: Josh is like, lame. Stupid kids.

Josh: Wow. Okay, that’s cool.

Brandon: Yeah, that was a very deep answer to a silly question. All right. Here’s another very deep question. If you are forced to get a tattoo across your forehead, what would it say? You have no choice. It’s across the entire forehead so what’s it going to say?

David: All right. I would probably have that quote from Gladiator. “What we do in life echoes in eternity”. I think that’s a pretty good quote on your forehead.

Brandon: Would it be backwards so only you could read it in the mirror or would it be outwards so everyone could read it?

Josh: That’s a great question, by the way.

David: On the podcast, how would it show? Would I need it to be backwards to come across?

Brandon: I’m not sure if this is backwards or not, so—you might be able to get it so it covers like—

Josh: The shiny spot?

David: Yeah, the shiny spot on my head. I could draw attention away from it onto my tattoo.

Josh: So next time we get you on the show, just test it out. Go hit the local parlor and see what happens.

David: I’d like to get a temporary one and see what kind of feedback I get.

Josh: Oh, come on. Don’t wuss it. Come on.

David: What would you guys get? This is a good question.

Josh: I would never get a tattoo.

David: I knew it.

Brandon: Josh would not get a tattoo? I’m getting a sleeve someday.

Josh: Have you seen this? This was made in perfection. Why would I eff with it?

David: It’s like putting a bumper sticker on a Lamborghini.

Josh: Yeah, that’s crazy.

Brandon: A bumper sticker on a Lamborghini. Greatest line of all time. Okay, a funny story. David, when he came up with his first draft of his book, this new book coming out, The Long Distance Real Estate Investor, I think it was Katie that came to me and she was like, this book is really, really good. But man, David has a lot of analogies in there. She’s like, does he use a lot of analogies? I was like, yes he does. This guy is like the analogy king. And I love that. So yeah.

Josh: We should put him in an analogy-off with Scott. It would be like a pun-off or something like that.

Brandon: That would not be a bad idea. Yeah, I don’t know what I’d get on my forehead. I’ve got to think longer about that. But—I’d probably do like musical notes. That’d be cool.

David: Maybe have you riding a surfboard on top of musical notes.

Brandon: That would be really sweet. By the way, David Greene came out to Hawaii with me last year.

Josh: With hearts and fairies?

Brandon: Me and David went surfing together in Hawaii last year. We had a good time. I tried to get Josh out but Josh wouldn’t come.

Josh: I wasn’t invited.

Brandon: I believe we invited you a hundred times and Josh was like, no, I’ve got work and stuff. Yep, that’s right. That’s right. Next time. I’ve got a life-changing business to run over here. Sorry I can’t go play with you guys and go frolicking in the ocean.

Josh: All right, you guys frolick on your own time. As long as your wives knew about it, I’m good.

Brandon: Heather was there. David’s still single, by the way, ladies. So, you know—

Josh: Really?

Brandon: Yeah. David Greene. Well, I don’t know if he’s dating anybody. We could talk about that.

David: Married to real estate, man. Married to real estate.

Josh: Last question on The Random Six. Dave, what is your ideal partner? We’re going to hook you up, man. This is BiggerPockets.com/Love all over again.

Brandon: Yes it is.

Josh: No, you don’t have to answer that, man.

David: I’ll tell you this—

Josh: You’re going to get so many e-mails as a result of this. We are going to become a dating site, I think.

David: Didn’t Scott try to set BiggerPockets.com up to be a dating website for like April Fool’s Day?

Josh: April Fools two years ago, we did BiggerPockets.com/Love and we had so many people who were disappointed that it was not legit.

David: I bet, too. With Scott—maybe we can say like if you buy a copy of my book, you could be entered into a drawing to go on a date with me. Like, Josh would hate this so much. But we’d make like a spinoff TV show.

Brandon: I love this. This is a great idea. Long Distance Dating.

Josh: Okay, the real question is, would you rather work for the FBI, NSA, or like The Secret Service?

David: The Secret Service would be insanely boring. I know several of those guys and it’s not a fun job. They’re like, sit here and stare at that door for 12 hours and make sure no one goes through it. I would definitely do FBI. If you do well in the FBI, there’s all kinds of cool different like training you can get. That was really what drew me to police work in general, was the training that you can get, how they can build you up with stuff that’s all free. So I would be FBI.

Josh: So are you the guy, when you go to a restaurant, do you sit so that you’re facing the doors? Do you like scout everybody out? Do you know what everybody’s wearing in the entire restaurant?

David: Yeah, that’s true, man. You get paranoid. No one will ever be able to get behind me without me knowing it. I can’t relax. It’s like Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity, that scene. I mean, that’s a little exaggerated but that’s how you become. You walk in, you have to be facing the door. You know where all the exits are. You’re looking around at every person to see, does everyone fit in here or is there someone that stands out?
Unfortunately, with some of the mass shootings we’ve been having, we just had one at that church not too long ago—I think that’s sadly becoming the new norm in America. Where you have to be on the lookout for that kind of stuff.

Brandon: Well, I can tell you me and David hung out in Austin a couple of months ago for a Gobundance event that we’re both a part of. We went and hung out at like, what, midnight or 1:00 in the morning. We were just up randomly late in not a sketchy part but maybe a little sketchy. Anyways, but I just felt so good having David there. Because he’s like constantly looking around, like he’s got his cop walk. It was fantastic. I have never felt safer than walking with you through the sketchy part of Austin at 1:00 in the morning.

David: Thank you.

Josh: Well played.

Brandon: Well, David. We’ve got to get out of here. Thanks so much for being a part of the show today.

David: All right. Thank you guys. Love you both.

Josh: Thanks, David.

David: Adios.

 

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • What David’s been up to since the last time he was in the show
  • How to find the right people to help you find the right properties
  • How to seek out top-notch lenders
  • Tips for offering value to people hundreds of miles away
  • A discussion on whether newbies can invest long distance
  • The “Core 4” team members you’ll need when investing in real estate out-of-state
  • David’s thoughts on turnkey companies
  • How to overcome the fear of trusting someone you work with
  • All about David Greene’s new book!
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Fire Round Questions

Tweetable Topics:

  • “I’m putting a dream team together that runs on autopilot.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The market itself is not quite as important as the success you’ll likely have in that market.” (Tweet This!)
  • “It’s only risky if you’re lazy.” (Tweet This!)
  • “You’re not going to make money right away when you start first doing anything new. It’s only going to be what you learn that will make money later.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with David

Book Launch

Are you interested in real estate investing but there is nothing to buy that makes sense where you live? Are you tired of seeing the amazing success of others investing in markets better suited for buy and hold real estate and wish that could be you? Do you want to take advantage of wealth building opportunities but are frustrated by the fact there just isn’t any way to do that until the next market crash?

In Long-Distance Real Estate Investing, real estate investor and police officer David Greene shows you exactly how he’s built a multi-million dollar portfolio on blue collar wages buying out of state rental property without ever even seeing it. Check out this read, available today!

About Author

Thanks for checking out the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building Podcast. Hosts Joshua Dorkin & Brandon Turner strive to bring top-notch educational content and interviews to our listeners — without the non-stop pitch prevalent around the industry.

With over 180,000 listeners per show, the BiggerPockets Podcast has become the biggest real estate podcast in the world. But don’t take our word for it. We’re the top-rated and reviewed real estate show on iTunes — check it out, read the reviews on iTunes, and get busy listening and learning!

11 Comments

  1. Michael Ehmann

    @David Greene : fantastic show. I really enjoyed hearing about how you’ve systematized your business. As Josh/Brandon said, it’s very interesting how your approach when entering a new city is often the opposite of the traditional approach: finding your team first and then getting the deals vs. the other way around.

    Something I had not thought of until this podcast: that investing at a distance can also be advantageous because it FORCES you to systematize. I’ve heard a lot of guests talk about how they tried to do too much of the work themselves when they should have outsourced it (repairs, plumbing, painting, etc.). But when you invest at a distance, this isn’t an option, so you have to take yourself out of the equation, which ultimately is most people’s goal anyway.

  2. Isaac Geller

    Great show! I am a newbie from Israel so I am out of state investor by defenition. The topics that were brought in the show are super relevant to me. The fear of someone taking advantage of you is very present, and David you gave some vety nice tips, thanks!
    I have a question David, you said that rockstarts team up with rockstats and through them you can get access to the people you arelooking for. But what if you are only starting? What if you don’t have much value in the begining? i For example have about 100K and maybe 200K more from someone that want to see success before he teams up with me. This is all I have and it’s hard to figure out how to do soemthing with it and find the core 4.
    I unserstand that if you are already successful then you can give something back and help others develop as well. But if you are not?

  3. Tara G.

    THAT was GREAT. I needed to hear a lot of that (network network, relationships relationships), and I always appreciate when Brandon and Josh (or whoever is hosting) stops for a second and goes back to ask the detail of HOW, exactly- logistically, that one thing was actually done. “So, you are not actually getting on a plane,…” or “What EXACTLY is the value you’re providing,” that type of thing. You guys always catch what the listener could be thinking at that point (that is nice to have the ability to see from another’s perspective and anticipate their thoughts/questions- always thought that was a rare skill in a person); a lot of times catch it right when I am thinking I want the exact detail.

    I tend not to trust that others will run a tight ship or do things honestly and/or in good faith. I like the checks and balances part (and can’t believe people are willingly doing those extra things- I would never have thought to ASK that of someone whose role is otherwise generally already defined).

    I have to go back and find the old podcast David was previously on. I appreciate the CLEAR info, ‘to the point’ answers, organization of thought, and ‘here’s the deal’ type of answers! I’ll definitely pick up the book, too.

    Thumbs-up, all 3 of you; even The Anchor (just kidding haha!). Nice job.

  4. allen underwood

    This podcast, the book and the Q&A were amazing. For me, it all started with the 90 one offer a week challenge. (Thanks Brandon) But I was struggling to find anything with meat in it. Then this gem came along and now I have one under contract and one in negotiation. It happened because I refocused my targets and kept making offers..

    Thank you BP

  5. Dan Albrecht

    Great show! Just finished listening to it this week.

    @David Greene – I understand your approach of finding the people to help you to find the deal, not trying to find the deal and then find the people around it to support it and other deals. Did understanding an area’s job growth and workplace demographics come into the picture for you when considering the cities in which to invest?

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