How to Approach Hiring a Real Estate Investing Mentor

Ask a successful investor for their opinion on hiring a mentor and you’re not likely going to receive the same answer twice. One investor will swear by mentors, saying it’s impossible to reach the highest levels of success without one. Another investor will say that mentors are unnecessary and a complete waste of money. And yet another investor will have an opinion of mentors that is somewhere in-between these two extremes.


My personal philosophy is more similar to the former than the latter. However, I can find truth in the arguments from both sides, because like most things in real estate, it depends. It depends on what your expectations are of a mentor. It also depends on why you want to hire a mentor in the first place.


In this post, I outline what to and not to expect from a mentor, as well as when it is the right time to hire one. You will also learn how to find a mentor, which you should pursue only if you’re expectations and current situation align with the reality of what a mentor actually does.

What should I expect?


There are four main things you should expect to get out of a relationship with a mentor.


Number one is expertise on how to do what you’re wanting to do. The mentor should not only have experience in the same field you’re pursuing, but they should be active as well. If you are a wholesaler, for example, a good mentor is someone who has a successful track record as a wholesaler and is still completing deals to this day. A poor mentor is someone who has never wholesaled a deal or someone who has stopped wholesaling, even if they have a long list of clients who are actively and successfully wholesaling deals.


Secondly, you should expect a mentor to provide you with a do-it-yourself system for how to replicate their success.


Thirdly, and – in my opinion – most importantly, a mentor should be an ally that you can call upon to only talk to about yourself and work out any problem you’re facing, real estate or personal. Since you are paying this person, you don’t have to feel guilty about being selfish or asking questions about the other person. You don’t even need to be interesting. You can and should talk about whatever it is you need at the moment.


The fourth thing you should expect are connections. Since the mentor should be active, they will have relationships with all the movers and shakers in your investment niche. Therefore, they should connect you will team members relevant to growing your business.

What shouldn’t I expect?


There are two main things you should NOT expect when hiring a mentor.


A mentor will not be your savior or your knight in shining armor. Do not expect to hire a mentor and poof, have all of your problems solved. Yes, they should offer expertise, be an ally, and provide connections, but you will still be required to take action. Moreover, the best mentors, rather than being your knight and shining armor, should give you the tools and knowledge so that you become your own savior!


Also, do not expect a “done for you” program. Actually, if you find a mentor who indeed does offer such a program, run! If a mentor promises you anything that doesn’t require any work on your part, run! The problem with “done for you” programs, assuming it truly is and is not just a scam, is that you’re not learning anything. You are not building the foundation of knowledge required to sustain a business. Even if you are able to attain a high level of success using one of these programs, it is unstable. And once you lose that program, you lose your progress as well.


When do I hire a mentor?

You are ready to hire a mentor when you have defined a specific outcome you want to achieve by hiring a mentor. Do you want immediate access to expert advice about your investment niche? Do you want a system for reaching financial freedom? Do you need an unbiased person to selfishly speak with? Do you need to find connections people in the industry? These are all defined outcomes that can be solved by hiring a mentor.


Do you want a mentor because you were told you were supposed to? Do you want a knight and shining armor who will do all the work for you? Do you want a “done for you” program so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the returns? These are wrong reasons to hire a mentor.


How do I find a mentor?


There is really only one effective way to find a mentor – word of mouth referrals. That is the only way that I have found to verify the legitimacy of a certain mentor.


If you don’t know someone with a mentor, or if you don’t know where to go to get a referral, then you’re probably not ready to hire a mentor. You’ll need to get out in the field and start meeting investors.




There are many differing opinions on the benefits of a hiring a mentor. I believe that a mentor can be extremely useful as long as you have the correct expectations and have defined a specific outcome.


Assuming your expectations and outcomes are in line with the reality of what a mentor can offer, the most effective way to find one is through word of mouth referrals.


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How a Wannabe or Experienced Investor Can Obtain a FREE or PAID Real Estate Education

One of my most popular blog posts was based on an interview I had with Master Tony Robbins’ coach Trevor McGregor, where he outlined the 5 reasons why you aren’t scaling your business (read the full article here).


One of the five main reasons investors fail to scale their business is due to lack of accountability. You don’t have somebody holding your feel to the fire to make you follow through with what you say you are going to do. Or when the going gets tough, you don’t have an experienced person to turn to. Instead, you follow the path of least resistance and cheat yourself out of what could have been.


While Trevor’s advice was specifically in reference to investors who already have a few deals under their belts, it can apply to the wannabe investor who is having difficultly buying that first deal, sending that first direct mailer, or attending that first meet-up group.


How can we find that accountability we need to overcome that initial barrier to entry? Trevor believes finding an accountability partner is the solution. However, like many things in life, there are always multiple solutions to a problem.


Another solution, along the same lines as an accountability partner, is to find an experience investor to take you under their wing. In a conversation with a wholesaler Josiah Rosebury in early 2017, he explained how he was able to enter the investing arena through apprenticeship. First, Josiah offered to be the boots on the ground for an experienced rehabber for free. Instead of paying hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars for a mentor, he exchanged his time and effort for knowledge, which allowed him to scale his business to the point where he was wholesaling two deals a month for an entire year.


Once Josiah scaled his business to two wholesale deals a month, he wanted to pursue fix-and-flipping as a second revenue stream. Again, instead of paying a mentor, he partnered with another experience rehabber, helping to finance their deals. With this approach, not only did he get paid, but he received first-hand knowledge of fix-and-flipping, which he was able to then apply to his own business.


Related: Two Ways to Gain Direct Knowledge From Experienced Investors for FREE


Education is a must if you want to be a successful real estate investor. And there is many “free” ways to learn how to become a real estate investor without having to hire a mentor or stumble your way through your own failures.


David Phelps, a nationally recognized speaker and full-time passive investor, echoed this educational and accountability/apprenticeship advice in our recent conversation.


What was David’s best ever advice? “Before anybody starts investing, I would tell you today to start by being an apprentice,” he said. “It means find somebody in your marketplace, in the space… Just find the best person who you know well enough that has a great platform and is doing something that interests you and you believe they have a lifestyle also that reflects what you’re really looking for in the long-term.”


Once you find that person (here is an article for how to do so), David said, “tell that person, ‘Hey, I’ll come work for you for free for a period of time.’” In fact, that person may actually pay you, so, like Josiah’s situation, you may have the dual benefit of education and money coming in.


Like Trevor and Josiah, David stressed the importance, and in fact, the requirement of investing in your education if you want to efficiently scale your business. “Mentorship, apprenticeship to me that is the fastest track, inclusive of just reading a lot, being around the people, going to conferences, seminars, listening to podcasts,” he said. “All those are great, but I think actually being able to tag along with somebody who has already created the path and can show you so many things so quickly about life in general, business principles, finance principles, specifically about real estate – you can learn so much faster and kind of skip your own training wheel, which for most of us are wobbly at first. We fall off and scrape our knees and there’s nothing wrong with that, but if there’s a faster track where I don’t have to have patches in my knees and elbows as often and as long, then I’ll take that path every time.”


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The Top 14 Best Ever Apartment Investing Books

Many people ask me how I was able to go from making $30,000 a year in a corporate 9 to 5 job to controlling over $100,000,000 in real estate. In a three part interview series, I outlined my journey in full detail (click here for part 1, part 2, and part 3).

In this interview series, I stressed the importance of education. Before I began my multifamily investment journey, I read all the books on apartment investing I could get my hands on.

Here is a list of 14 books I read (or wrote) that I recommend you read to understand the ins and outs of apartment investing before or during the process of starting your multifamily real estate investment career.


Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever: Volume 1 by Joe Fairless and Theo Hicks

Inspirational stories with actionable advice from interview guests on the world’s longest running daily real estate podcast episodes 1 to 100. Learn a step-by-step approach to raising money for your deals, analyzing markets, achieving financial independence, and much more.






Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever: Volume 2 by Joe Fairless and Theo Hicks

Collection of the top techniques and strategies of the most successful real estate professionals that were interviewed on the world’s longest running daily real estate podcast from episodes 101 to 199. Learn how to become an expert at raising private money, differences between a good a bad deal, networking techniques to increase your circle of influence, and much more.






Commercial Real Estate Investing by Dolf De Roos

Reveals all the differences between residential and commercial investing and shows you how to make a bundle. Explores the different sectors—retail, office space, industrial, hospitality, or specialist—to help you discover which is right for you. Shares key insights on finding tenants and avoiding vacancies, financing large investments, managing property, setting a tax-smart corporate structure, and take full advantage of tax breaks.





The Complete Guide to Buying and Selling Apartment Buildings by Steve Berges

Helps you map out your future, find apartment buildings at a fair price, finance purchases, and manage your properties. Includes tax planning advice, case studies of real acquisitions, and appendixes that add detail to the big picture. Plus, it includes a handy glossary of all the terms investors need to know, helpful sample forms that make paperwork quick and easy, and updated real estate forecasts. With this comprehensive guide at hand you’ll find profits easy to come by.




How to Take an Apartment Building from Money Pit to Money Maker by Craig Haskell

The ultimate answers for struggling apartment owners and managers. Introduces a new step-by-step 5-stage apartment recovery system that helps owners and managers take their apartment buildings from money pit to money maker. Gives apartment owners and managers the tools they need to build a thriving, top producing rental property.






Multi-Family Millions by David Lindahl

Offers expert advice for investors who want to make the transition from single-family homes to more profitable multi-family units. Shows you how to find troubled properties that are ripe for quick profits, how to fix or flip those properties, and how to re-sell at maximum value. With a proven step-by-step system for managing each stage of the process, this book shows you how to get started in moneymaking multi-family units, even while you work your day job.





The ABCs of Real Estate Investing by Ken McElroy

Learn how to achieve wealth and cash flow through real estate, find property with real potential, unlock the myths that are holding you back, negotiate the deal based on the numbers, evaluate property and purchase price, and increase your income through proven property management tools.







Investing in Apartment Buildings by Matthew Martinez

Create a reliable stream of income and build long-term wealth. Provides step by step advice that gives newcomers to real estate investing the practical advice needed to learn the business from the ground up.








Crushing It in Apartments and Commercial Real Estate by Brian H. Murray

Murray shares the secrets to his success through straightforward, actionable advice that will help you get started no matter what your experience level, or how much cash you have on hand. You’ll learn how to find and creatively finance commercial property, grow a portfolio without any help from outside investors and without taking on excessive debt, use your small-investor status as a competitive advantage over corporate investors and identify simple, practical ways to increase profits while keeping costs low.




Trump: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received by Donald Trump

Donald Trump has gathered in one book the best advice on real estate from the 100 brightest and most experienced people in real estate.








The 7 Secrets to Successful Apartment Leasing by Eric Cumley

Provides seven proven industry secrets to building the relationships that achieve and maintain high occupancy levels. From stop qualifying prospects and start interviewing them to follow-up is the extra mile, Cumley provides examples, tips, to-do lists, sample scripts, and more that will help you with filling vacancies and to do so quickly and effectively.






The Definitive Guide to Apartment Marketing by Josh Grillo

Shares insights into new tools, tactics and terminology that are increasing leads, leases, occupancy and rents for multifamily companies. Has been called a must have book for marketing directors, owners, developers and property management companies that want to get the most out of their marketing.







2 Years to a Million in Real Estate by Matthew Martinez

Everything you need to know about securing your financial independence through rental properties, including how to invest small amounts early-on while working a full-time job, avoid real estate “bubble” risks, get others to pay your mortgage for you, pick a hot property (and spot others that will become hot), simplify the ins-and-outs of financing, negotiate like a pro, screen for reliable tenants, understand how local tenant laws work, hire good people to manage your properties and know when to sell.





Tax-Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright

Tax-Free Wealth is about tax planning concepts. It’s about how to use your country’s tax laws to your benefit. In this book, Tom Wheelwright will tell you how the tax laws work. And how they are designed to reduce your taxes, not to increase your taxes. Once you understand the basic principles of tax reduction, you can begin, immediately, reducing your taxes. Eventually, you may even be able to legally eliminate your income taxes and drastically reduce your other taxes. Once you do that, you can live a life of Tax-Free Wealth.


Want a more exhaustive book recommendation list, including books on general entrepreneurship, mindset, and sales and negotiation? Subscribe to my weekly newsletter here and I will send you the entire list.

Guide to Systematizing Your Real Estate Education

Reed Goossens, who is the founder and managing partner of a real estate company that’s currently involved with over 600-units valued at over $50 million, is one of many speakers who will be presenting at the 1st annual Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Conference in Denver, CO February 24th to 25th.

In a conversation with Reed all the way back in 2014, he provided his Best Ever advice, which is a sneak preview of the information he will be presenting at the Best Ever Conference.

What was Reed’s advice? He explained the importance of and his approach to systemizing the education process.

Why Systematize My Education?


Obviously, since you are reading this blog post, you take your real estate education seriously. However, how do you filter out all of the noise – what I like to call the “fluff” – and get the most actionable insights? Don’t fall victim to SOS (the shiny object syndrome). By that I mean there are lots of shiny objects in the real estate realm that can make you lose your focus. There are so many opportunities out there that it’s important you don’t flail about. Rather focus on one area and get to know it well before moving on to your next adventure in real estate investing. Just like you need an investment strategy… you should have an education strategy, too.

Many new investors start by reading and listening to any real estate advice they can get their hands, eyes, and ears on. However, that shotgun education approach is only beneficial when first starting out. Once you feel as if you’re hitting the same material over and over, Reed recommends that you transition from a shotgun approach to that of a focused sniper. In other words, focus on a specific area of interest that is based on the real estate strategy you have decided to follow.

Once you’ve narrowed the strategy down, the next step is to seek out different experts in your specific area of interest… people who are really using the real estate strategy you have chosen to use. Find a handful of real estate professionals as your go-to information sources and immerse yourself in their educational offerings and materials. Pull knowledge from their experiences and use them as a compass to guide you in the right direction for where you want to go. It’s a great way to stay out of the brambles in your first deals, too. (In other words, learn from other people’s mistakes and use their formulas for success.)


Create your own custom educational strategy


Step #1 – Start out broad (shotgun approach), immersing yourself in a wide-range of educational sources. Reed’s go-to education sources are books, podcasts, and consultants

Step #2 – Based on your broad approach in Step #1, select the aspect of real estate the you find most interesting.

Step #3 – Select a few go-to sources (podcast, author, another investor, etc.).

Step #4 – Create a defined strategy for when you will set aside time to focus on your education. For example, Reed will have a podcast playing in the background while he sits at his desk working and in the evenings while attending to other tasks.

You can become a millionaire by investing in any type of real estate. This becomes obvious when you realize that other people have done so already… across all niches. Learning about all aspects of real estate and then drilling deep into the niche that you are interested in will shorten your learning curve.

To accelerate your growth as a real estate investor and entrepreneur, surround yourself with those individuals who have become millionaires in your chosen niche. If you surround yourself with millionaires, you will naturally be brought up to their level and join them in the millionaire club yourself.


Want to learn more about real estate investment education, as well as information on a wide range of other real estate niches? Attend the 1st Annual Best Ever Conference February 24-25 in Denver, CO. It’s the only real estate investing conference whose content and speakers are curated based on the expressed needs of the audience. Visit to learn more!


Related: Best Ever Speak Brie Schmidt Sneak Peek How to Avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome in Real Estate Investor

Related: Best Ever Speaker Kevin Bupp Sneak Peek Lessons Learned From Losing Everything During the Financial Crash

Related: Best Ever Speaker Theresa Bradley-Banta Sneak Peek Don’t Invest in Real Estate on Unfounded Optimism and Emotions

Related: Best Ever Speaker Linda Libertore Best Ever Success Habit of the Nation’s #1 Landlord Aid

Related: Best Ever Speaker Kevin Amolsch Why Moving at a STEADY Pace is the Secret to Real Estate Success

Related: Best Ever Speaker Bob Scott and Jimmy Vreeland How to Acquire over 100 Properties in 24 Months Utilizing the Lease-Option Strategy

Related: Best Ever Speaker Jeremy Roll 3 Essential Factors of Diversification in Passive Real Estate Investing

Related: Best Ever Speaker David Thompson 3 Ways to Raise Over $1M for Your 1st Real Estate Syndication Deal

Related: Best Ever Speaker Al Williamson 4 Ways Showing Leadership Increases Your Property’s Value and Rents

Related: Best Ever Speaker Mark Ferguson The Most Commonly Overlooked Expenses in Real Estate Investing

Related: Best Ever Speaker Marco Santeralli 10 Rules of Successful Real Estate Investing

Related: Best Ever Speaker Steve Bighaus What’s the Cheapest Loan Program in America

Related: Best Ever Speaker Mark Mascia How a Billion Dollar Real Estate Developer Qualifies a Deal

10 Laws of Successful Real Estate Investing

Marco Santeralli, who is a turnkey rental property investors and author, is one of many speakers who will be presenting at the 1st annual Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Conference in Denver, CO February 24th to 25th.

In a conversation with Marco all the way back in 2014, he provided his Best Ever advice, which is a sneak preview of the information he will be presenting at the Best Ever conference.

What was Marco’s advice? He provided the 10 rules that all investors should follow if they want to be successful in the real estate investing niche.


1. Educate Yourself


Knowledge is the new currency. Without knowledge, you are going to make a ton of mistakes and fail. If you are already a good investor, gaining knowledge will make you a great investor. If you don’t educate yourself, you are going to be doomed to blindly follow other people’s advice. As Tony Robbins says, “Knowledge is potential power.” We must take action to make it powerful.


2. Set Quantifiable Investment Goals


You’ve probably heard this advice time and time again. But statistically, you are more likely to achieve financial independence if you write down specific goals, read them often, and try to follow them as best as you can. Marco prefers to quantifiably set his goals and to set goal dates so each can be achieved by a specific date. His main real estate goal, for example, is to control $100,000,000 in real estate before his 50th birthday. That’s a specific and measurable goal. Therefore, it is easy to determine whether or not he reaches it.


3. Never Speculate


According to Marco, there are a number of investors who still haven’t learned the hard lessons they should have from the crash of 2007-08. Here’s a reminder: It is very dangerous to speculate and chase after appreciation. It may be the fastest way to build wealth on paper, but you need to have a longer-term perspective rather than settling for the short-term, riskier forms of growth. To be clear, it is okay to have a strategy to force appreciation via value-add methods like performing renovations, lowering expenses, etc. However, it is not okay to buy a property, sit back, and cross your fingers as you hope it increases in value. That’s just silly. It’s like putting a seed in the dirt and not watering it, just hoping it will grow. It won’t. As with plants, growing your real estate portfolio into a cash flow producing exercise takes a bit of nurturing. You’re going to be involved. Passive does not mean completely disengaged. You don’t get to be a chairside investor.


4. Invest for Cash Flow


Cash flow is king, and it is the glue that keeps the investment together. Cash flow covers all operating expenses and debt, which in the simplest of terms means that your tenants are buying properties for you over time. Having a positive cash flow allows you to acquire more properties faster, get greater returns from your investments, and ultimately build your net worth over time. Talk about a no-brainer! But maybe you’re asking, “But wait… if I buy a distressed property that won’t cash flow immediately but presents a good opportunity, that’s okay, right?”

It definitely is. But you need a solid, conservative plan to stabilize the property and make it cash flow positive. Marco says he’s spoken to many investors who buy a property at a breakeven point and are okay with that. Rather, they are okay with it until the rental market softens. Then, when they have to start paying the mortgage out of pocket, things get dicey quickly. Don’t put yourself in that situation. Have a plan. Stick to it.


5. Be Market-Agnostic


Do not go after a market because it’s sexy. Don’t be married to a specific market either. Many investors I’ve met think they have to invest in their own backyards or to invest in properties that are within a one or two hour’s drive from their home. Marco says that’s a mistake and doesn’t make much sense. In reality, you want to put your money where it is going to work the hardest for you, which may mean markets that aren’t close to home.

The United States is a very large country made up of hundreds of local real estate markets. Each market moves up and down independently of one another due to a variety of local factors. As such, you should recognize that there are times when it makes sense to invest in a particular market and times when it does not. Only invest in markets when it makes sense to do so, not because you live there or because you bought property there before.


6. Take a Top-Down Approach


Always start by selecting the best markets that align with your investment goals. Many investors make the mistake of falling in love with a property because it is pretty, has nice curb appeal, and/or has been nicely renovated. The numbers look attractive on paper, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good investment. These investors don’t stop to consider what is going on in the market, which is a common trap that many international investors fall into. They are sold properties in depressed markets because they don’t know any better. It would be far better for them to do research on the different markets before making their investment decisions. Using a top-down approach means looking at the state, the city, the neighborhood, the local economy, and then the job market, demographics of the population, the growth rate in the area, and the unemployment rate. These are all factors of any good real estate investment decision.


7. Diversify Your Portfolio


Once you have steps 1 through 6 down, and you have a decent portfolio, diversify across multiple markets. You should have three to five income-producing properties per market. However, this is subjective to the investor – it can be 10, 5, 3… whatever you want – but three to five properties is a great starting point.

After you have three to five properties in a particular market, move to another geographically different market with its own local economy. Ideally, select a market that is in a different state. Build your portfolio to three to five properties in that location and then move to the next market. This is easy to do when you have the right team or are working with a reputable turnkey property provider.

Diversifying within the real estate asset class will help reduce your overall risk. Real estate is one of the few investment vehicles that allows you to control your downside and risk, so be sure to take full advantage of all that real estate investing has to offer by diversifying your portfolio across different markets.


8. Use Professional Property Management


Unless you are a property manager yourself, you shouldn’t manage any of your own properties. If you do, you’ll likely find that it is a thankless job and requires a great deal of expertise and even more of your time. At the end of the day, your time is one of your most valuable assets. You should be spending it with your family, on your career, and looking for more properties rather than managing properties. If you’re new to real estate investing, go ahead and manage the first couple of properties. You’ll see what Marco means fairly quickly.


9. Maintain Control


Many people don’t think about maintaining control, but Marco recommends that you be a direct investor. Control your real estate, own it, and be the boss that calls the shots. You really cannot do that with any other asset class. So why not take full advantage of that if you have the time, desire, and expertise to do so? Marco says he has many passive real estate investment partners who don’t have the time, desire, and/or expertise to source and buy real estate like he does. In that case, it makes sense for them to be passive investors. But if you have the time, desire, and expertise to be active, then you can certainly make more money by maintaining direct control of your properties.


10. Leverage Your Investment Capital


Marco understands that the beautiful thing about real estate investing is that you can use or borrow other people’s money to purchase and control income producing properties. Sounding like a broken record, you cannot really do that with any other asset class. Banks are willing to lend up to 80% of the purchase price, which only magnifies your overall rate of return, which in turn accelerates your wealth creation.




Marco’s Best Ever advice were the 10 rules of successful real estate investing:

  1. Educate Yourself
  2. Set Quantifiable Investment Goals
  3. Never Speculate
  4. Invest for Cash Flow
  5. Be Market-Agnostic
  6. Take a Top-Down Approach
  7. Diversify Your Portfolio
  8. Use Professional Property Management
  9. Maintain Control
  10. Leverage Your Investment Capital



Want to learn more about what it takes to be a successful real estate investor, as well as information on a wide range of other real estate niches? Attend the 1st Annual Best Ever Conference February 24-25 in Denver, CO. It’s the only real estate investing conference whose content and speakers are curated based on the expressed needs of the audience. Visit to learn more!

Related: Best Ever Speak Brie Schmidt Sneak Peek How to Avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome in Real Estate Investor

Related: Best Ever Speaker Kevin Bupp Sneak Peek Lessons Learned From Losing Everything During the Financial Crash

Related: Best Ever Speaker Theresa Bradley-Banta Sneak Peek Don’t Invest in Real Estate on Unfounded Optimism and Emotions

Related: Best Ever Speaker Linda Libertore Best Ever Success Habit of the Nation’s #1 Landlord Aid

Related: Best Ever Speaker Kevin Amolsch Why Moving at a STEADY Pace is the Secret to Real Estate Success

Related: Best Ever Speaker Bob Scott and Jimmy Vreeland How to Acquire over 100 Properties in 24 Months Utilizing the Lease-Option Strategy

Related: Best Ever Speaker Jeremy Roll 3 Essential Factors of Diversification in Passive Real Estate Investing

Related: Best Ever Speaker David Thompson 3 Ways to Raise Over $1M for Your 1st Real Estate Syndication Deal

Related: Best Ever Speaker Al Williamson 4 Ways Showing Leadership Increases Your Property’s Value and Rents

Related: Best Ever Speaker Mark Ferguson The Most Commonly Overlooked Expenses in Real Estate Investing

Lessons Learned From Losing Everything During the Financial Crash

“What would you attempt to do if you know you could not fail?” – Robert Schuller


Kevin Bupp, a Florida-based real estate investor, top iTunes podcast host and serial entrepreneur with over $40 million in real estate transactions, is one of many speakers who will be presenting at the 1st annual Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Conference in Denver, CO February 24th to 25th.



I interviewed Kevin on my podcast a few years ago and he provided his Best Ever advice, which is a sneak peak of the information he will be presenting at the conference. This advice includes:


  • How to use partnerships to quickly scale your business
  • Lessons learned from losing everything during the financial crash


Originally published in the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever: Volume I


Kevin Bupp’s Real Estate Background


When Kevin was 19 years old, he was introduced to real estate investing by a local investor, David, who he met through a mutual acquaintance. David told him what he was doing in real estate, how he spent his spare time, and provided an overall sense of the lifestyle he lived as a full-time investor. Kevin was very intrigued.


As a result of Kevin’s interest in investing, David invited him to attend a 3-day real estate seminar in Philadelphia. David had already purchased two tickets, but his business partner couldn’t attend, so the timing could not have been more perfect! At the seminar, Kevin was able to network with new and experienced investors and also learned how to invest in single-family residences as a wholesaler and fix-and-flipper. After leaving the seminar, Kevin was pumped up and excited about the prospect of taking the knowledge he had gained, and using it to get out in the real estate market to make some money.


Learning Through Mentorship


The first item on Kevin’s agenda post-seminar was to focus on how to do his first deal, so he reached out to David for advice. Since David had previous experience investing in real estate, he decided to take Kevin under his wing. David wanted Kevin to learn the ins and outs of real estate investing before spending any money so he didn’t make any (or as many) mistakes. Kevin literally followed David around for a year, gaining first hand knowledge on what life was like for a full-time real estate investor. Kevin went to his home office every day, and watched what David did, listened to him talk on the phone, went to see properties, and looked at some of the apartments that David owned.


After a year, Kevin decided it was time to pull the trigger and purchase his first property. He found an old, dilapidated property in Harrisburg, PA, purchased it for $26,000 and put in an additional $10,000 in renovations. Kevin funded the project with private money he raised from one of David’s investors. He sold the property for $59,000, making a profit of $5,000, which was about as much money he was making in a year working in his current job.


Advice in Action #1: Not only did Kevin learn the ins and outs of real estate investing from his mentor, but he was also able to raise $36,000 in private money from one of his mentor’s investors. Gaining knowledge is not the only benefit from having a mentor. If they are active in the market, they will also have a network of other real estate professionals they can send your way. Commit to finding or hiring some sort of mentor and you will benefit in a many of ways.


Scaling Quickly By Starting a Business and Partnering Up


Kevin continued doing fix-and-flips as well as a few wholesale deals on the side while finishing up the last two years of community college in Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, he decided to try his luck in a new market, so he quit his job and moved down to Florida. As soon as he arrived, Kevin started pounding the pavement and got involved in two real estate investing clubs. Through these efforts, he found the good areas of town, determined what he wanted to focus on, and discovered the best way to make money in this new market. It took about 8 months of research and networking before Kevin found his first fix-and-flip deal.


By continuing to fix-and-flip and network, Kevin became familiar with who the active movers and shakers in the market were and what types of investment strategies they were using. Through these experiences, he was able to form two partnerships, both of which allowed him to quickly scale his real estate business.


Partnership #1 – Mortgage Brokerage Firm


One year after making the move to Florida, Kevin partnered up with an entrepreneur who owned a mortgage brokerage firm that already employed 12 full-time loan officers. Together, they originated millions of dollars in loans each month, primarily within the sub-prime niche, and sent out 100,000 pieces of direct mail every month.


Partnership #2 – Investment Group


Kevin had also built a relationship with an experienced investment group in Sarasota. He knew this investment group because he had wholesaled and bought some deals from them in the past. Kevin and this group decided to put their brains together and ended up combining their efforts and partnering up. When Kevin initially met this group, they were doing 10 to 15 deals a month. After the partnership was formed, they were buying 20 properties a month. Their main strategy was long-term buy-and-hold rentals, with the majority of the homes being SFRs, along with a few smaller multifamily properties. By 2007, the partnership had a combined portfolio of 500 SFR rentals. Kevin was not a full partner because this investment group already owned a number of SFRs before he joined, but he was still able to amass a personal portfolio of 100 properties.


Advice in Action #2: Both Kevin and this investment group benefited from partnering up. For Kevin, he was able to scale his business to 100 properties, and the investment group was able to purchase an additional five to ten properties each month. It is extremely difficult to quickly scale a real estate business all alone, so if you plan on building a real estate empire, partnering up with another investor or real estate group is very advantageous. However, make sure that you perform your due diligence up-front, because choosing the wrong partner or entering a partnership at the wrong time can get you into a lot of trouble.


The Effects of The Financial Crisis


Up to this point, everything was going great. Kevin had two successful partnerships and was making a ton of money, but when the market crashed in 2007-08, it started to go downhill fast. First, Kevin sold off his ownership in the mortgage company. This was before the crash was at full force so everything was going okay, but he sold his stake to his partner, who ended up going out of business a year later. Kevin’s other partnership was the one that affected him the most.


Leading up to the crash, Kevin and the investment group wanted to mitigate their risk, so they committed to purchase SFR rental properties for no more than 65% of market value. When the financial crisis occurred, not only did property values plummet, but the rental market crashed as well. Homebuilders who had built brand new homes were unable to sell, so they were forced to hold on to them and rent them out. Unfortunately, these brand new properties were renting for the same price as the 20 to 30 year old homes Kevin and the investment group owned. As a result, they ended up giving 90% of their properties back to the banks.


One would think that someone purchasing properties at 65% of the market value would be able to sustain a crash. However, due to four main factors, this was not the case:


  1. The taxes and insurance rates are much higher in Florida compared to the relatively low rates found in the Midwest.
  2. Kevin and the investment group had 500 properties, mostly SFRs, spread across 7 different counties that stretched 200 miles north to south, so they had a large property management company with a lot of inefficiencies.
  3. Many of the markets in Florida had economies revolving around real estate. Once the market crashed, construction workers, real estate agents, and other real estate related employees lost their jobs and their source of income. Kevin and the investment firm were losing tenants and people were leaving Florida faster than they were coming in.
  4. Property values decreased more than 50%, and in some areas, as much as 65%. Properties they purchased at 65% ARV for $60,000 were selling for $35,000 in 2010.

The typical home Kevin and the investment group purchased was a 3 bedroom, 1.5 or 2 baths SFR that would cash flow $150 to $200 a month. Even though they were never paying more than 65% ARV plus repairs, after accounting for the four factors above, there was a very small margin to make a profit. A cash flow of $200 per month ($2400 per year) is very easy to lose, if there is turnover. If anything happens, even something as minor as a tenant tearing up the carpet, the repair expense alone would eliminate any profit expected for that year.


Advice in Action #3: Take a look at the four main factors that resulted in Kevin losing 90% of his portfolio and see if any of these apply to your real estate business:

  • Are you investing in an area with higher than average taxes and insurance rates?
  • Is your portfolio spread across a large region?
  • Do you know who the main employers are in your market? Does your market have a few large industries or is there a diverse spread of different industries?
  • When the market crashed, how much did the property values in your market drop?

If you find that one or more of these factors apply to your business, what can you do to mitigate these risks moving forward?

Looking back, Kevin believes experiencing the market crash was a good thing, although he didn’t know this at the time. After giving back 90% of his properties, he spent the next few years licking his wounds. He was stuck in a funk and didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, Kevin took a step back, re-evaluated his life, and instead of being negative and saying “poor me,” he decided to put his focus on something else until he was ready to get back into real estate. As a result, Kevin started a few other businesses, a sports apparel company and a printing company, both of which are still running to this day.


Lessons Learned From Losing Everything


As time passed, Kevin began reflecting on his experience of going through the real estate crash and losing everything. He realized he had learned a lot about himself and about real estate investing in general, and figured out what he could have done differently. The answer: investing in cash flow rich properties. Looking back, Kevin wishes he had focused more on multifamily properties and learned many lessons, including:


  • Invest in multiple larger properties that are closer together. This will spread out your risk and eliminate the inefficiencies of a large property management company. The amount of time and effort it takes to purchase 150 SFRs is also much higher compared to purchasing one 150-unit building with the same type of returns.
  • Out of the 90% of the properties he gave back to the bank, not a single one was a multifamily property. They all survived the crash.
  • Don’t get stuck in your comfort zone. Kevin continued to purchase SFRs because that is what he knew, instead of getting out of his comfort zone and pursuing multifamily investing.
  • Don’t focus on appreciation. Kevin calls appreciation “funny money.” It is not spendable unless you sell it at the right time. Don’t buy based of the expectation that the market will continue to increase indefinitely, year over year.
  • Understand your investment criteria before deciding to purchase. Figure out the return on investment you want and commit to only purchasing properties that meet your criteria.
  • Don’t overleverage. Kevin and the investment group would wait until they had 10 to 15 homes. Then they would take a commercial line of credit, pull the money out, and purchase more properties. When the market crashed, they were unable to obtain lines of credit, so everything fell apart.

Advice in Action #4: The main takeaway is to focus on cash flow. If you are buying for cash flow, you are getting an asset that will continue paying you month after month, no matter what happens with appreciation. Buy for cash flow and have the appreciation be the icing on the cake.




Want to learn more on buy-and-hold investing and a wide range of other real estate niches? Attend the 1st Annual Best Ever Conference February 24-25 in Denver, CO. It’s the only real estate investing conference whose content and speakers are curated based on the expressed needs of the audience. Visit to learn more!


Related: Best Ever Speak Brie Schmidt Sneak Peek How to Avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome in Real Estate Investor



Lessons Learned from Investing Over $1 Million in Education

Mike Agugliaro and his partner, the co-owners of New Jersey’s largest and most respected home services company, had a relatively successful business, making $1 million in annual revenue. However, they were working an insane amount of hours. As a result Mike’s partner threatened to quit. He was burnt out and couldn’t go any further. At that point, Mike said, “what if we found people who knew how to build the business, who already figured it out and we just invested [and] learned from them?” In other words, Mike compared it to “let’s jump off the bridge one last time and we will either land on our feet or die.” Fortunately, this was really the turning point in their business and the main contributing factor towards their success. In our recent conversation, Mike explained the magical lessons he learned from investing in this education and how he applied it to his business to grow it from $1 million to over $30 million in annual gross revenue in 10 years.


The Crystal Ball of Business Success


From the moment Mike’s partner threatened to quit up until now, he has invested over $1 million into his education. No, that is not a typo! He invested over $1 million into obtaining firsthand knowledge from the most successful business people on the planet.


Luckily for us, Mike was willing to distill the advice and wisdom he gained from the $1 million investment into three simple pillars:


  1. Mindset – “You have to get your mind right.”
  2. Skill set – “I learned that I needed to learn things I didn’t know how to do.”
  3. Action – “One of the biggest things: You’ve got to take action on your new expanded mind and the new skills that you learned.”


Mike calls these three pillars “the crystal ball. If you took [anyone] that wanted to go to the next level – whatever it is. I don’t care if it’s a million or a billion dollars – and said, ‘what would get you there? Would it be a shift in mindset?, would it be a new wisdom or knowledge or skill set?, or would it be [that] you just need to do different actions?,’ that’s like the solve all mystery of what holds anybody back.”


Once you are able to identify which one of the three pillars are missing or damaged in your business, you can brainstorm ideas and methods to fill in those gaps. Mike recommends that you ask yourself the question “what would get you there?” and then literally put pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write out exactly what it is that you need to do to get there (wherever there happens to be). Making it clear will allow you to formulate an effective plan of attack, rather than keeping it pie in the sky and guessing which areas you are weak in or are neglecting.



The Crystal Ball in Action


Mike applied this crystal ball to his business, and more specifically, towards his marketing methods.


First, Mike had to change is mindset. “I used to say marketing is everything and everything is marketing … That’s kind of close … Marketing is the only thing, period … If you want something that will change the game – I don’t care what industry or what you do to make wealth or gain yourself greater freedom – it’s about creating repeating buying of existing customers. It’s about positioning for negotiating the closing of higher deals.” According to Mike, this change in mindset “ hands down changed the game for me.”


With this new mindset, Mike was able to move to the two pillars – skill set, and then taking action on that new skill set.


The first new skill set he adopted was learning how to understand the ideal customer “People might have heard about this before … It’s really digging into the emotional aspect of the avatar – the perfect customer … I want to have an emotional conversation to move them from where they’re at to where I want them to go. I can only do that if I know the right person to talk to at the right time [and] in the right place to move them in a forward direction.” For example, Mike knows that for his business avatar, “in 7 years, they’ll give us $50,000 in residential service work.”


Another skill set Mike adopted was how to effectively communicate with his ideal avatar. “One thing we’re really good at,” he said in regards to servicing customers, “is we understand that there is only one thing that has to happen – build a relationship. [That means] really understanding who they are, what they want, when they want it, and who they like doing business with.” This enables Mike to understand how to adequately create his messaging when marketing to that avatar or perfect person, which in turn, says Mike, “helps them move along the funnel or along the line to making a good decision.”





After spending over $1 million on education, Mike distilled his learning into three pillars:


  1. Mindset
  2. Skill set
  3. Action


By identifying which one of these three areas you need to improve, you will solve any mystery of what’s holding you back from going to the next level.


Tactically speaking, Mike applied this advice to his marketing.


First, he adopted a new mindset, going from thinking marketing was important to marketing being the most important aspect of his business.


Then, Mike acquired a new skill set – how to properly identify and communicate with his ideal customers.


Finally, Mike took action and in combination with a new mindset and skill set, he was able to grow his gross revenue from $1 million to over $30 million in a decade.



Advice in Action: Honestly assess your business or yourself in terms of these three pillars: Which am I good at? Which am I poor at? What action can I take to go from poor to good? What action can I take to go from good to great?



Two Ways to Gain Direct Knowledge From Experienced Investors for FREE


Almost every investor stresses the importance of education. A common solution they offer is that you need to go out and hire a mentor. This can be costly, especially for newer, broke investors. Josiah Rosebury, who is a wholesaler that completed 2 deals a month in 2016, provides similar advice, but in our recent conversation, he explains how he discovered two approaches that allow you to learn from experienced pros without having to spend thousands of dollars for a mentor.


Strategy #1 – Be the Boots on the Ground


First, instead of just paying someone money, Josiah offered to be the boots on the ground for an experienced rehabber. “My exchange to him was I was able to go view properties that he may not be in the state or he may be out of town at the moment. When he found a property that he just couldn’t get to right away, he would call me and I would get there right away. I would take excellent pictures, excellent videos, everything to the T, and be able to send that back to him.” And what did Josiah get in exchange for his efforts? – “I not only got to go out there and start viewing more properties, doing walkthroughs, [but also, the experienced rehabber] was able to get on the phone with me at least once a week and tell me what I needed to do to improve my business.”


Strategy #2 – How to Get Paid to Learn


Josiah’s second strategy was not only free, but enabled him to make money while getting educated. After successfully wholesaling 2 deals a month for about a year, his company began financing some rehabs for other companies. “That slowly was our way of learning. We put a little bit of money in the deal with other companies that are rehabbing and they [allowed us] to get a return on [our] money. But on top of that, we get to be apart of the rehab.” Josiah is currently involved in a rehab deal that he is financing. “We put some money in that deal and they’re doing a full rehab. They’re actually tearing off the top of the roof and adding another 1,500 square feet. It’s been very interesting getting to learn from those folks.” Josiah is able to observe a complicated rehab first hand and attain all the knowledge that comes as a result. On top of that, since he has his own money in the deal, he gets an annualized return of 30%!



How to Find Experienced Investors


Both of these are highly proactive strategies that will take some effort on your part. It is likely that you will have to reach out to multiple rehabbers (or whoever it is that is experienced in your specific real estate niche) before you find someone that wants to show you the ropes and/or take your money. Josiah stated that “it’s up to you to find the right person that you can build rapport with and build a relationship with that wants to take their time and show you the steps 100% of the way.” Then once you do find this person, it is also up to you to determine “how much time do you want to be [on site]? How much time do you want to devote yourself to be around the construction and understand the process of what they’re having to go through.”


To find these investors, Josiah says, “I associate myself with any club that is around me. [It’s] honestly [about] networking and going to these clubs and making yourself a regular face there every single week and people will start to talk to you. They’re going to want to see how motivated you are and how dedicated you are to this business…There’s hundreds and hundreds of people who want to be apart of real estate but they don’t want to do the things necessary to stay in real estate.”


Related Post: Four Tips to Successfully Sell Yourself In Real Estate Investing




Josiah implements two very unique knowledge acquisition strategies. First, he has a mentor, but instead of paying cash, it is an exchange of value. In return for advice and knowledge, Josiah performs walkthroughs for an experienced rehabber.


Josiah also has a strategy that is not only free, but actually pays him money. He does this buy investing money into experienced rehabber’s deals and then hangs around the construction site to absorb as much knowledge as possible.


These two strategies will require some proactive effort on your part, especially in terms of finding an experienced investor. Josiah recommends that you attend every real estate related club around you and commit to going every single week. Become a familiar face and build that credibility so that the club attendees know you are truly motivated and dedicated to this business.


Comment Below: What are some clever, inexpensive or free ways you’ve been able to gain knowledge from experienced investors in your given field?


An Outrageous Book For Real Estate Investors

You must read Marketing Outrageously by Jon Spoelstra.

This book is a no b.s. guide for increasing revenue on a shoe-string budget. I spent years at NYC ad agencies and this book taught me a lot that can be applied to real estate investing.

It was referred to me by one of my clients after I told him about an idea I was implementing. The idea is to give my residents of a large apt community a $1 scratch off lotto ticket if they pay the rent on time and have a zero balance.

mkt out

He said, “oh, that’s marketing outrageously.” I was like, “yeah, I guess so.”

“No, I mean there’s an actual book on those types of tactics,” he said.

And after reading this book, boy did I get inspired to continue and enhance my current outrageous marketing ideas.

Here are my top 10 takeaways:

  1. In every marketing project, think outrageously.
  2. Earn at least a $4 to $1 ratio  of revenue to ad cost
  3. Go for dominance when placing advertisements – forget reach and frequency
  4. Ask these two questions every day:
    1. What’s it going to take to make this to best company in the industry?
    2. What did I do today to make my company money?
  5. Ask what business are you really in? (ex. NBA teams aren’t in basketball biz, they are in entertainment biz)
  6. How to improve revenue:
    1. Get regular customers to buy more
    2. Steal customers from your existing business
  7. How to structure a biz for success:
    1. Adding more salespeople
    2. Having a nice work environment
    3. Training, training and more training
    4. More tools for sales people
    5. Big-time database marketing
  8. Give away product for free them get them to stay for the long haul (ex. AOL did this with their disks)
  9. Invent new ways to market your product every six months
  10. Make the most important people in your business your employees, then customers then investors/shareholders – this hierarchy will produce the best results for all involved

Go buy the book – you’ll learn so much applicable stuff it’s, well, outrageous.

2 Lessons from My “Three Feet from Gold” Experience

If you haven’t read Three Feet from Gold – do it. It’s a life changing book on personal development, never quitting, finding your purpose and being a servant leader.


I won’t give it away (cause I’m sure you’ll go read it) but for some context it’s about a guy named Greg who had a bad attitude and wasn’t doing well financially. Greg then meets a successful business man who introduces him to all these successful people because he wants to see Greg succeed too. Greg is blown away by all the introductions and does all he can to maximize the experience and give back to others afterwards. (ok, that’s all I should say cause I don’t want to tell too much!)

Well, yesterday I had a living, breathing experience that good ole Greg had in Three Feet From Gold.

Let me explain…

I got a message on BiggerPockets from Andrew Lanoie. He said he enjoyed reading my profile and would like to connect. I always like connecting with new people so we set up a call.

Little did I know all the wonderful things that would come out of it…

After we did our introductions on the call Andrew asked me about my background and my focus. I told him I’m working on finding my next large multifamily deal.

And then a flood of help came…

Joe says something like: I’m also doing a podcast and would love to interview you for it.

Andrew says something like: Sure, and I can help you get more people. Would you like to be introduced to…(then he goes on to list 3 seasoned investors who have incredible backgrounds in real estate and life)

Joe says something like:  wow, yes, that would be awesome. (Joe thinking: holy cow, be careful what you ask for because you just might get it!)

10 minutes after the call, I get email, after email, after email of Andrew making introductions. I feel like I’ve just opened up a gold mine of knowledge. I did not expect all of this to happen at once or so quickly. I had lots of stuff planned for the rest of the week but made it a point to follow up with each of the emails after Andrew sent them.

All three people he emailed replied immediately. It was incredible.

2 lessons learned from my Three Feet From Gold experience:

  1. Continue to give, give, give to others. (as Andrew did) Find a way to identify what others are looking for and then help them get connected with someone.
  2. Regardless of how busy you are, if someone goes out of their way to help you make sure you follow up on it. I was extremely busy but so is Andrew. I immediately followed up with the people and, one day later, have spoken to 2 out of 3 and have a call scheduled with the 3rd.

As my boy Tony Robbins says, “The secret to living is giving.” Words to live by. photo (34)

Very Best Multifamily Books for Every Level

I get asked all the time what are the best books to read on multifamily investing. The answer really depends on the reader’s knowledge level. So, here are books to read for every level…


investing for dummies

Commercial Real Estate Investing for Dummies by Peter Harris and Peter Conti

Granted, Peter Harris is a friend of mine but, before I knew him, this was the first book I ready on multifamily investing and it was incredibly helpful in teaching me the basic principles of multifamily investing. Doesn’t go too deep in analysis but gives you all the tools needed to have enough knowledge on the subject so you can have intelligent conversations with people.



compelte guide to buying and selling real estate

The Complete Guide to Buying and Selling Apartment Buildings by Steve Berges 

This is a fantastic book that takes you through case studies and beginner-to-medium-level advice on acquiring multifamily family properties. One of the things I learned in this book is the disadvantage of assuming loans because, typically, you’ll pay more than you would if you put new debt on the property. I recommend this book to everyone I speak to who wants a good multifamily book.



Money pit

How to Take an Apartment Building from Money Pit to Money Maker by Craig Haskell

For anyone who is or wants to purchase apartment buildings that need some work, this book is for you. The advice in this book is practical and tested. You need to read this BEFORE you actually buy the property so you don’t fall into the trap that a lot of investors fall into with a money-pit.


If you’re interested in development then read….

development book

Real Estate Development: Principals & Process

Like, whoa daddy. This is a big book. This book is so big that if you shot a bullet at it you’d feel sorry for the bullet. But it is a comprehensive book on real estate development. I really like how it lays out the step-by-step process of development and gives you case studies along the way. (notice a “I love case studies” theme)





Two Life Lessons Learned from Gladiators

I’m always searching for ways to improve my workouts and get in better shape. I just didn’t realize that search would end up teaching me two critical life lessons.

Here’s what happened…

On my last trip to Texas I asked my 50+ year old brother-in-law how he stays in shape because he looks like he’s 35 years old. He told me he runs 2 miles to an outdoor workout station and does three sets of pull-ups, pushups and dips. Then he runs 2 miles back home.

I like that workout approach and figured I’d try it for myself so when I got back to NYC I did just that.

I ran 2 miles then went to an outdoor workout station along the East River to start on my upper body exercises. When I arrived I instantly noticed something about the guys in the area. I couldn’t quite place it but then I eventually realized they could all be American Gladiators or on the cover of Men’s Fitness. They were different ages, ethnicity and heights but all were absolutely ripped. Pretty sure their ears even had a 12-pack.

That gave me a eureka moment…. Clearly I am in the right place if I want to look like these guys do. By being around them the standards for my body physique immediately increased. I’ll start with my brother-in-law’s routine then slowly add in stuff I see these Gladiators doing. Then, voila, I’ll be a Gladiator to.

So the first lesson?

Find those who are already where you want to be then copy what they do

  • The fastest way to results is to borrow a success roadmap from someone who is already where you want to be

But that’s easier said than done as I would soon find out. I consider myself an athletic guy but it became apparent very quickly that it would take some time to transform into Joe the Gladiator.


Because I suck at pull-ups. By suck I mean I did…like four before I started pretending that my hands were too sweaty to keep going. I’d wipe my hands on my shirt and just shake my head “damn you sweaty hands” meanwhile my biceps ache and the Gladiators roamed all around me.

And that’s just my first set! I had two more to go. And, at this point, I could either do more pushups (much easier for me) or force myself to get back up there and embarrass  myself by doing one or, perhaps, two pull-ups per set.

It took some Eminem to motivate me but I eventually got up there and blocked out everything else. I did a whopping 2 pull-ups on my second set and 2 more on my third set. Then, I got the hell out of there.

Second lesson?

Force yourself to do the uncomfortable (even if it’s initially embarrassing)

  • Trains your body and mind to get used to that activity so you can get better

I know I’ll never get better with pull-ups if I don’t force myself though the beginner challenges. It sucks, really sucks, feeling so inadequate when those around me are accomplishing much more but I know that if I keep their company and push myself past my comfort level I will soon become Joe the Gladiator.



Top 3 Real Estate Investing Books

I often get asked which books I recommend reading for beginners. I have a rather large library (well, as large as my NYC apartment will hold) of real estate investing books and here is my list of the top three ranked in order of which they should be read.

1.      Investing for Dummies


Wait, what? The first book isn’t dedicated to real estate? Correct, my friend. It’s not. It gives you a great overview of the three different types of investing – stocks/bonds, investing in small businesses, and real estate.

And it lists out the pros and cons for each of them. That way you can decide if real estate is the path for you based on the facts.

And, if it is then move on to…


2.      Rich Dad, Poor Dad


You’ve heard of it and for good reason. My sister mailed me a copy 6ish years ago and I’ve never been so inspired to invest.

Here’s the drawback from the book: it doesn’t go into depth on the deals. And that’s been the knock on the book for years. Also, you might hear people speak negatively about the Rich Dad, Poor Dad seminars. Personally speaking, I’ve been to one and learned a lot but I have friends who said they weren’t worth the money. I think it depends on your instructor – regardless that’s all irrelevant because this book is worth your time.

The advantage is it is absolutely inspirational because it simplifies the investing process and makes it seem accessible (which it is). The principals he teaches in the book set the foundation for being a savvy investor.


3.      Equity Happens


What a fantastic book written by a couple guys who know real estate investing. The book starts out with a story about two people working at the same company but one is a janitor and the other a high-level executive. The janitor invests in real estate and the sales guy doesn’t. You can probably guess what happens but the story is very insightful despite the predictable ending. The bulk of the book discusses how to generate equity with your real estate purchases. This is a MUST read.

What other books have you read? Feel free to list in the comments below or send me a Tweet – @joefairless.

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