Education: Learn About Real Estate Investment

Whether you are brand new to this industry or have been buying and selling properties for decades, you should always want to learn more about real estate investments. This driven mindset has helped me since I quit my advertising job and began to work for myself, and it will continue to serve me well as long as I’m working.

The best real estate education is not easy to find, though. Locating a helpful and trustworthy mentor, for example, can take a lot of time. Experienced, intelligent advisors willing to take people under their wings don’t exactly grow on trees.

And there is no shortage of books, blogs, social media accounts, YouTube videos, and podcasts to sift through. At best, listening to those offering poor guidance will waste your time. At worst, it will lead to destructive financial decisions.

Without question, finding and applying the right knowledge is vital for any investor.

Over the years, as I have gained control of more than $400,000,000 worth of real estate, I have been fortunate to receive help from fantastic mentors and locate a wealth of information that has sent me down a successful path. And now, I want to pass some of that wisdom down to you.

In this section of my blog, you will be able to learn about real estate investments from some of the brightest minds in our industry today. You will figure out how to approach a potential mentor, how to receive free or paid educational services, how to systemize your education, and more.

And for an exhaustive collection of resources that I approve of, click here to view books, podcasts, and pieces of advice that I recommend.

“It is Too Difficult to Invest Out-of-State” Real Estate Investing Myth Debunked

There are three phases to a real estate rental investment. 

  • Find the deal
  • Acquire the deal
  • Manage the deal

Most real estate investors find it is easier to handle the three phases in a local market. 

Finding deals requires implementing lead generation strategies. Lead generation strategies are either remote (i.e., direct mail, online advertising, cold-calling) or in-person (i.e., bandit signs, driving for dollars, door knocking). If you are investing in your local market, you can take advantage of both lead generation categories.

Once you find a deal, you can drive to the home or building yourself to perform due diligence to determine and offer price. 

After you have acquired the deal, you can either self-manage or oversee a third-party property management company.

When investing out-of-state, your options for finding, acquiring, and managing deals are limited…or are they?

Theo recently interviewed Andrea Weule on my podcast, Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever. She lives in the highly competitive Denver, CO market, so she buys rentals out-of-state. In that interview, Andrea debunks the myth that you cannot invest out-of-state and provides interesting ways to generate leads and perform due diligence remotely.

The first phase is to find a deal. Andrea finds her out-of-state deals in three ways. First, she works with a real estate agent who sends her on-market deals off the MLS. She says that ignoring the MLS results in ignoring low hanging fruit. 

Secondly, she creates a list of motivated sellers. Andrea’s targets home that have been owned for more than 20 years and where the owner is 55 years old or older. She finds that these owners are often motivated to sell. They are approaching retirement and are thinking about the next phase in their life, which may require the selling of their home.

Andrea uses ListSource to create this list.

Then, she sends a sequence of three mailers for each address. Rather than using a generic “we buy houses” letter, she creates a message that speaks more directly to the 55+ years old demographic. The letters include questions like “are you looking for your next adventure?” or “do you want to eliminate the stress of owning a home?” 

These first two strategies (direct mail and MLS) are remote lead generation strategies. The third strategy Andrea implements is traditionally performed in-person – bandit signs. However, rather than flying to the market and placing the bandit signs herself, Andrea hires someone local to the area.

The process is simple. She creates a job posting in the “gigs” section on Craigslist with the purpose of hiring someone to place bandit signs in the local market. Andrea sends them the bandit signs, which have a GPS tracker. The GPS tracker allows her to confirm that the sign was places in the correct location. Once the bandit sign is place, she requests that they send her a picture. Lastly, Andrea will send them their payment via PayPal.

Andrea uses a similar strategy for the second phase of the real estate investing process – the acquisition. If someone is interested in selling her their property, she performs basic due diligence to determine an offer price. 

Back to Craigslist. She will create another job posting. But this time, she is hiring someone to take pictures of the prospective property, as well as to do a Zoom Tour. With the combination of the pictures and video from the Zoom tour, she has all the information she needs in order to submit an offer.


Overall, it is a myth that it is harder to or that you cannot invest out-of-state. All it takes is a little creativity and the use of technologies.

A Life Changing Technique – How to Read 52 Books A Year

A key ingredient to success is having the ability to consistently expand your knowledge and skills through reading. While it is true that many successful millionaires and billionaires dropped out of school early in life, most have continued the pursuit of knowledge and education in order to improve themselves.

Tony Robbins, a world-famous success coach coined the term “CANI”, which stands for Constant-And-Never-Ending-Improvement. Robbins emphasizes the importance of reading and improving ourselves if we want to be successful in our lives. From his book “Money: Master The Game” Robbins says…

“As a young man, I decided I was going to read a book a day. I didn’t quite read a book a day, but over seven years, I did read more than 700 books…”


A Few Additional Case Studies

Warren Buffet

The Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the richest men in the world spends 5 to 6 hours a day reading.

Bill Gates

The former CEO of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world said that he reads about 50 books a year. 

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban, a billionaire and the owner of Dallas Mavericks spends about 3 hours reading every day and he attributed his early career success in life to reading. 

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is widely known for being an advocate for reading and she strongly recommends her talk-show viewers to adopt the habit of reading. Oprah often refers to reading as her “path to freedom” due to the tough start in her career. 

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and a billionaire with a net worth of more than $70 billion is a strong believer in reading. Mark believes that if you want to improve the quality of your life, you must commit to personal growth and development. 

Elon Musk

Like many other successful billionaires, Elon Musk devoted a huge chunk of his time to reading when he was young. When he was in grade school, he read about ten hours a day. 

How Can YOU Benefit?


After realizing how many successful “reading advocates” there are, I decided to take a stab at an aggressive reading strategy in 2015, in the midst of transitioning from an active real estate investor to a passive real estate investor. 


I made a New Year’s Resolution in 2015 to read 52 books in one year (one book a week). But I knew I would fail if I tried to read books in the traditional fashion… one page at a time, front cover to back cover. So I decided to take a couple speed reading courses and I learned a powerful reading technique from a mentor of mine. Below is a technique that allowed me to read 52 books in one year. I continue to use this strategy today when I read non-fiction “How-To” or “Self-Improvement” books. 


A Reading Technique That Can Change Your Life 


Step 1 – Set aside (3) 15 minute or 20 minute intervals for reading each day (ie morning, afternoon, evening) and set a timer if needed.

Step 2 – Decide ahead of time what your goal is for reading the book. What are you seeking to learn from the book and how will that help you in your life or career? 

Step 3 Use a bookmark or sticky notes to save important pages or sections, use a pen to circle or underline key tips or ideas.

Step 4 – Read the front cover first, then the inside jacket, and then the foreword/introduction and first chapter. 

Step 5 – Then read the last chapter in the book. Next, circle back to the table of contents and select the most relevant chapters for your goals and only read those. 


The goal of using this technique is to extract a few key ideas, concepts, or takeaways that you can implement in your life. Statistically, most people only retain about 10% of what they read. This reading technique allows you to retain information quicker, more efficiently and offers you the ability to go back later and skip directly to the most relevant information by using bookmarks, notes and annotations. I hope this technique helps you expand your knowledge and skill sets and I’m sorry you were never taught this in school.  


To Your Success

Travis Watts 


Turn a Decade Into a Year – How to “Knowledge Hack”

I love helping other people cut the learning curve. There have been several instances in my life where I condensed years and even decades of time by using a simple “Knowledge Hack” strategy. 


I Have a Question For You…

Have you considered having a mentor? Is it worth your time to read books, listen to podcasts, watch how-to videos, and network with others? 


Today I was researching some of the most successful people in America from the Forbes 400 List and realized that almost all of them had mentors at some point, and many still have mentors today. 


A Few Examples Include:


  • Bill Gates had Ed Roberts as a mentor
  • Oprah Winfrey had Mary Duncan as a mentor
  • Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs as a mentor
  • Warren Buffet had Benjamin Graham as a mentor
  • Sam Walton (And family) had L.S. Robson as a mentor
  • Michael Dell had Lee Walker as a mentor 


Rather than thinking about having a “mentor” think of the word “coach” instead. It’s essentially the same thing, but using the word “coach” helped me put all of this into perspective years ago.   


A Quick Story

From 2009 to 2015 I did everything on my own as an active real estate investor in the single-family home space. It wasn’t because I thought I knew it all, it was because I did not see the need for a mentor or coach at the time. 


What I finally realized in 2015 (after 7 years of trial and error), was there were other people in the active real estate investing space who were operating much more efficiently than I was. They had more connections and were finding better deals and had a broader range of skill sets and ultimately… they were more profitable than I was. I had to do some soul searching, self-reflection, and take a long, hard, look in the mirror. Was active investing really the best use of my time and skills? 


What Happened Next?

I made a decision to start partnering with investment firms who had better skill sets, track record, connections, and efficiencies than I did. I essentially “piggybacked” off their success by becoming a limited partner investor in other people’s private placement offerings (mostly in multifamily apartments). This provided a hands-off approach to investing where I had the best of both worlds. I could participate in real estate, which I love and enjoy, while not having to be “in the business” of real estate in an active way, which I did not enjoy. 


After dedicating some time to networking, reading, listening to podcasts, watching how-to videos and seeking mentors, I inevitably became a full-time passive investor in real estate. I left the active single-family strategy behind because I was tired and burned out from trying to do it all myself, trying to make the right calls and know all the ends and outs. In addition, the hands-on approach was taking too much time away from the things I loved doing. I had far less spare time because my real estate projects were consuming more and more of my availability. 2015 was the beginning of an entirely new education process that has been life-changing to say the least.  



Mentors can come in many forms. The best advice I ever received was to seek out a mentor or “coach” who is doing what you want to do and is successful at doing it…because success leaves clues. 

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants” – Sir Isaac Newton


To Your Success


Travis Watts

How a Passive Apartment Investor Interprets a Schedule K-1 Tax Report



Apartment syndications remain an appealing investment for passive investors due to the myriad of tax benefits—the foremost being depreciation.  

Fixed asset items at an apartment community reduce in value over time due to usage and normal wear and tear.  Depreciation is the amount that can be deducted from income each year to reflect this reduction in value.  The IRS classifies each depreciable item according to the number of years of its useful life.  It is over this period that the fixed asset can be fully depreciated. 

A cost segregation study identifies building assets that can be depreciated at an accelerated rate using a shorter depreciation life, most of which are not readily identifiable on cost documents.  These assets are the interior and exterior components of a building in addition to its structure and may be part of newly constructed buildings or existing buildings that have been purchased or renovated.  Approximately 20% to 40% of these components can be depreciated at a much faster rate than the building structure itself.  A cost segregation study dissects the purchase/construction price of a property that would normally be depreciated over 27 ½ years—and identifies all property-related costs that can be depreciated over 5, 7 and 15 years.  

If the expense of the construction, purchase or renovation was in a previous year, favorable IRS rulings allow taxpayers to complete a cost segregation study on a past acquisition or improvement, and take the current year’s deduction for the resulting accelerated depreciation not claimed in prior years.

You can learn more about how depreciation is calculated, as well as the other tax factors when passively investing in apartment syndications, by clicking here.

Each year, the GP’s accountant creates a Schedule K-1 for the LPs for each apartment syndicate deal. The passive investors file the K-1 with their tax returns to report their share of the investment’s profits, losses, deductions and credits to the IRS, including any depreciation expense that was passed through to them.

Click here for a sample Schedule K-1.

There are three boxes on the K-1 that passive investor care about the most.

Box 2. Net rental real estate income (loss). This is the net of revenues less expenses, including depreciation expense passed through to the LPs. For most operating properties, the resulting loss is primarily due to accelerated deprecation. On the example K-1, the depreciation deduction passed through to the Limited Partner is $50,507, thereby resulting in an overall loss (negative taxable income). 

Box 19. Distributions. This is the amount of money that was distributed to the limited partner. On the example K-1, the limited partner received $1,400 in cash distributions from their preferred return of distribution and profits.

just because the LP realizes a loss on paper does not mean the property isn’t performing well.  The loss is generally from the accelerated depreciation, not from  loss of income or capital.

Section L. Partner’s capital account analysis. On the sample K-1, the ending capital account is $48,093. However, this lower amount doesn’t reflect the capital balance that the limited partner’s s preferred return is based on. The $48,094 is a tax basis, not a capital account balance. Thus, this limited partner wouldn’t receive a lowered preferred return distribution based on a capital balance of $48,094. From Ashcroft’s perspective, depreciation doesn’t reduce the passive investor’s capital account balance.  

The majority of the other accounting items on the K-1 are reported on and flow through to your Qualified Business Income worksheet.  The net effect of these items will be unique to each investor based on their specific situation and other holdings. 

If you want to learn more about each of the individual sections and boxes, click here to review IRS instructions for the Schedule K-1.

To better understand your own tax implications on any investment, it is important to consult a professional who has an understanding of your overall finances so that they may give full tax advice.  Therefore, always speak with a CPA or financial advisor before making an investment decision.

Can You Digitally Invest In Real Estate?

Can You Digitally Invest in Real Estate? – How to Leverage Technology in 2020

Welcome to the digital world of real estate. Though it’s not an entirely new concept, it can be done 100% online…if you choose to embrace a digital model.

Do you remember…

  • Driving local neighborhoods looking for properties?
  • Meeting with brokers and realtors to walk the properties?
  • Going to your rental properties to show them to a potential resident?

Those days are still here…but they are completely optional. Today you can also…

  • Take virtual tours of properties and read through detailed property overviews
  • Leave walkthroughs and broker meetups to a General Partner or Sponsor Team
  • Leave resident showings to a professional property management company

The digital model I am referring to is investing in apartment communities through a syndication. Real estate syndications are a way for investors to “pool” their capital together in order to invest in properties much larger than most can afford or want to manage on their own. For example, let’s say a 300-unit apartment building requires an $8,000,000 down payment. This property could be purchased by 80 individual investors who each invest $100,000 and then share in the profits.

A Quick Story

I made a life-changing decision in 2015. From 2009 to 2015 I was actively investing in real estate, buying my own properties, managing my own properties, and building my own network. The problem was, the more I expanded my real estate portfolio, the less time I had. I had set out in 2009 with a goal to one day acquire 50+ single-family homes and retire with the “good life”. Before reaching 20% of my goal, I was already burning out and I was increasing my stress levels with each property I acquired. Was I building a life of freedom or a part-time job?

The Break-Through

After a mental reboot and several months of educating myself on how to become a passive investor, I finally found the solution; investing in syndications. More importantly, it was exciting to learn how to reap the benefits of real estate that I loved so much (the debt leverage, the tax advantages, the cash flow and the appreciation) without having to be hands-on and without having to trade time in exchange for money. Partnering with an experienced team and leveraging their resources opened a new world for me. The best part was, it was much easier than what I was doing already.

The Digital World of Real Estate

After switching investment models, I began to realize the impact digital tools can have on your real estate success. For example, the ability for a California-based investor to meet a New York-based Syndicator over a Zoom call. Or the ability to attend a webinar or conference from the comfort of your home, or the convenience of using Google Maps to drive out of state neighborhoods to vet out investment opportunities. Over the years, I developed a passion for helping investors learn how to scale their real estate portfolios digitally and passively, so they too can benefit from the power of “Time Freedom” which has had a major impact on my life and the lives of many others.

What Is Time Freedom?

Time Freedom is the ability to do what you want, when you want, as much as you want with your time. It is essentially having freedom over your time, but it is not for everyone. If you are looking to create more time in your life and focus on the things you love doing and reduce the time you spend on the things you do not enjoy doing, then it might be worth pursuing. It has been an enlightening journey to be an educator on this topic and to help others achieve success. Feel free to reach out anytime if you or someone who know would like to learn more about passive investing and how it could benefit your specific situation.

“Being Rich is Having Money; Being Wealthy Is Having Time” – Stephen Swid

To Your Success In 2020,
Travis Watts

Wealth Education For Your Children

Wealth Education For Your Children

If you’re a parent with a high net worth who cares about your children’s future, teaching youngsters about wealth management is imperative. Without the proper guidance, it’s easy for privileged progeny to quickly squander their money. Even worse, kids who don’t know how to handle money responsibly are far less likely to develop good character. Here are a few tips to ensure that your offspring can manage money intelligently.

Demystify Compound Interest Early

Without a doubt, understanding the nature of compound interest and learning how to leverage it wisely is the key to long-term financial success. Adolescents need to learn early on that compounding interest is often the albatross that sinks even the sturdiest of ships. Setting up a savings account that compounds monthly for a child will show them the power of compound interest in an extremely visceral way.

Help Them Start a Small Business

Few things in life teach an adolescent more about wealth creation and preservation than running an enterprise of their own. Whether it’s a lemonade stand or a leaf-raking service, operating a part-time business will teach kids the value of hard work and perseverance. Furthermore, starting a small business will allow children to familiarize themselves with the legal and bureaucratic hurdles that entrepreneurs have to negotiate.

Get Them Started Trading Stocks

Sooner or later, children need to understand the importance of investing in publicly traded companies when it comes to building wealth. Encourage them to play around with a trading simulator like MarketWatch Virtual Stock Exchange or Wall Street Survivor to get their feet wet. Stress the importance of structuring a portfolio that boasts a sensible mix of blue-chip stocks that pay dividends and more speculative start-up plays.

Put Them to Work on the Ground Floor

Those who’ve never held down a high school job that pays minimum wage have missed an amazing opportunity to grow as people. Quite a few notable wealthy parents push their kids into working entry-level jobs for a variety of reasons. Flipping burgers and washing dishes at a young age makes you a more empathetic and fiscally prudent adult later on in life.

Involve Them in a Rental Investment

If you want to show a young adult the surest path to financial success, introducing them to property rentals is a solid idea. You don’t even need to own an apartment complex or a mere duplex to get started. Buying a small parking lot or even a single space in a congested area works just as well. Showing them how to invest in REITs is another solid alternative.

Teach Them to Manage a Budget

Sticking to a budget is often the difference between long-term financial success and utter ruin. You can teach kids the importance of prudent financial management during their most impressionable years with an allowance. Give them a specific amount of money per month to spend and hold the line when it runs out early. Doing so will ensure that they develop discipline and a dedication to saving.

Stress the Importance of Charity

When you examine the lives of ultra-successful people, you often find that the most charitable characters make the most money. They also seem to enjoy their lives far more than those that don’t give back to society. Get your kids to contribute what money they can to charitable organizations early and often. Better yet, help them to organize a charity of their own for a worthy cause.

The Key to Effective Wealth Education for Kids

Bombarding youngsters with a lot of information all at once is a bad way to teach any lesson. Starting early and doling out little nuggets of wisdom gradually is the best way to develop a healthy understanding of wealth management and growth. No matter how smart a kid might be, he or she can’t possibly learn everything there is to know about managing money in a day.


The 2 Secrets to a Successful Lemonade Stand

It started with a Facebook post.

“Our 5-year-old wants to do a lemonade and popcorn stand during our community yard sale this weekend. As her business consultants, we need to provide her some market research to help maximize profits. So we need your help:

  1. How much would you pay for a glass of fresh lemonade?
  2. What size cup of lemonade would you like for that price?
  3. Would you prefer fresh lemonade from actual lemon juice or the fake Country Time kind?

Any and all other advice is also welcome!”

I felt the need to reply because the responses suggested the flavor of lemonade, the pricing of lemonade, the brand of lemonade, the types of cups, etc. All relevant things but all were, in my opinion, missing two keys to an incredibly profitable day.

I won’t get into the details on how to execute a lemonade stand. There are plenty of helpful articles already written about – here a just a few examples:

However, I will discuss two critical elements to your lemonade stand that most people don’t consider.


Key #1: If you are a commodity business then get out as quick as you can.

The definition of a commodity is a mass-produced unspecialized product. Lemonade is definitely a commodity.

People expect to pay a certain price because they know how much lemonade should cost. They know the cost of lemons (or Country Time) and the cost of cups. However, if she adds a bonus gift to each paying customer, she is no longer selling a commodity and, as a result, can charge much more.

One suggestion I provided in my Facebook reply for a bonus gift was a custom drawing by the 5-year-old. She could create 20 drawings leading up to the lemonade sale. This would give her limitless upside on her price point.


Key #2: Location matters. You can do the right thing at the right time but if you’re in the wrong location then it won’t work.

I came across a lemonade stand while I was on a jog. The kids had strategically placed their stand at the beginning of a dead-end road that was next to a well-traveled road that had a stop sign. It was brilliant. Potential customers had to step at the stop sign, which forced them to make eye contact with the kids who also had massive signs promoting their delicious lemonade. Don’t want to get out of the car? No problem, as the kids offered a drive-thru feature where they’d conduct the transaction at your window.

So, my advice for the 5-year-old’s lemonade stand: find an intersection where there are stop signs and a safe way for people to pull to the side to buy a cup of lemonade. And the number one priority is to stay SAFE. It won’t be successful lemonade business if hospital visits are part of the business plan. Clearly, you want to be on a street with a low speed limit and has sidewalks. The main thing to keep in mind, in addition to safety, is where do people usually stop? And be in those spots.

After my Facebook podcast, I talked about it on my podcast (click here for a clip of the part I talked about the lemonade stand). I have received a lot of feedback on this episode. One person even emailed me and said he and his son implemented by advice. Here is his unedited email:

“FYI this is Dan Nunney, the Golf Cart Guy. I’ve invested in two of your most recent DFW deals.

Thought I’d share this with you because, well, this was your idea. I heard it on one of your podcasts and thought it was perfect. We took it one step further and added mystery pokemon cards to the offering. People loved the drawings along with their names incorrectly spelled out.

This right here is an entrepreneur in the making. Like any good businessman, he immediately started counting his money at the end of the day. $18 GROSS, $4.49 COGS (extra ice), $13.51 NET. It didn’t hurt that we had a captive audience b/c the park water fountain was broken!

Thanks for the recommendation.


PS: We came out a little too strong at $2/per, and had to quickly drop to $1, and then the dollar bills started flowing. Great learning experience.”

Here are a few pictures from the stand:

How can you apply these lessons to your real estate investing business?

First, offer services that are not commodities. For example, in addition to offering our passive investor a solid return on investment for our deals, we send them monthly Best Ever reports in the mail, I send them free copies of my books, I hosted in-person happy hours across the country, and I have many other unique ideas in the works. Ask yourself, “how can I be unique, stand apart from my competitors, and not offer a commodity?”

Secondly, make sure you are investing in the best locations. I am not going to go into this point in more detail. If you want to learn how to follow this lesson, click here for my ultimate guide to selecting a target real estate market.


Are you an accredited investor who is interested in learning more about passively investing in apartment communities? Click here for the only comprehensive resource for passive apartment investors.

Best Ever Conference

The First Timer’s Guide to the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Conference

The Best Ever Conference is the only world-class real estate investing conference built around your goals.

Our speaker selection process isn’t about who we know. It’s about what you want to know!

With over 50 industry influencing speakers and over 1000 attendees from across the globe that last year represented an estimated $20B assets under management and 1.4M monthly podcast downloads, the conference can be overwhelming for a first-time attendee. So, we developed this First Timer’s guide to ease your mind and help you get the most value out of your time at the Best Ever Conference.


1. Preparation

What to Wear: Our advice is to wear whatever you feel most confident in. Want to wear a t-shirt and jeans? No problem. You won’t be alone. Want to ball out in your designer suit? Other’s will as well. And, of course, anything in-between is fair game too.

Dress to impress, but don’t wear a specific outfit because you think you are supposed to look a certain way. Best Ever attendees cover a wide-range of real estate investing niches, so you will fit in no matter what you wear.  I would, however, avoid wearing fitness shorts or sweat pants.

Also, keep in mind that the Best Ever Conference is in Denver, CO, at mile-high altitude in February.  So make sure you bring your winter gear (or buy winter gear if you are lucky enough to live in a state that doesn’t experience harsh winters) if you are venturing outside the Gaylord Rockies resort.

There are also happy hours and after parties at night, so you may want to bring a change of clothes for the evenings (and your dancing shoes).

Lastly, some Best Ever attendees use the conference as an opportunity to vacation in Colorado either before or after the conference – skiing and snowboarding being the most popular. If this is the case for you, don’t forget to pack your snowboard, skiing, or sledding gear.


What to Bring: In addition to your attire, here are some other items you’ll want to pack:

  • Cell phone and charger: I know, this is likely a no brainer and for most of us our phones don’t leave our sides anyways. But your cell phone or tablet will be invaluable during your time at the Best Ever conference. Capturing contact information. Scheduling future meetings. Using the Best Ever Whova app (see below). Taking pictures with your favorite speakers. Etc. While there will be plenty of outlets to use for ongoing charges, I recommend buying one of those portable chargers. You won’t want to miss out on a speaker or networking opportunity because you’re stuck in the lobby charging your phone.
  • Recorder: All of the speaker’s presentations are available for download on the Whova app. However, most of the best content provided won’t be in the presentation. A great way to make sure you don’t miss anything and to re-listen to your favorite presentation is to record it. Bring a standalone recorder or use your cell phone.
  • Business Cards: While I don’t recommend handing out as many business cards as possible, you’ll still want to bring some to pass out after having an in-depth conversation with someone. Some people only use digital business cards (i.e., saving other’s contact information in their phone), but since the Best Ever conference has a vast diversity of attendees, others still like the old school, tangible business cards. Again: don’t hand out as many business cards as you can! Not an effective strategy (see “One New Relationship Per Day” below)
  • Notebook and pen: You will be provided with a notebook and pen at the Best Ever Conference. And you can also take notes in the Whova app. But most of our attendees bring their own personal notebooks and writing utensils anyways. As I will outline below, you will also want to do some reconnaissance prior to attending the conference, so make sure you bring the notebook with your recon notes.
  • Extra room in your luggage: Plan to leave extra room in your luggage for free swag you pick up at the booths, items you buy in Denver, and – if you are lucky – the giveaway prize you won!
  • Outcome for Attending: This is the most important – make sure you have a specifically defined outcome for attending the conference. By the end of the conference, what do you want to achieve? How many new relationships do you want to form? How many follow-up meetings do you want to schedule? What speaker or attendee do you want to speak with?
  • Snow-sport Equipment: If you’re an avid skier or boarder, there will be plenty of rental and demo gear at Keystone mountain or any other mountain in CO. But if you prefer your own set, then bring it along for some epic mountain networking!

Download the Best Ever Whova App: Once you purchase your ticket to the Best Ever Conference, download the Whova application in the app store on your smart phone. The Whova app is where you will find the full agenda for the conference, speaker list, event details, giveaways, everyone else who is attending the conference, and much more.

We will send you the code to join the Best Ever application prior to the conference.

When you download the Best Ever app, you will receive email alerts prior to the conference with important information you need to know. You will receive ongoing alerts during the conference for each session and messages from other attendees. After the conference, you will receive ongoing email alerts with surveys, photos, job openings, and session notes and videos.

Explore the Best Ever app prior to attending the conference so that you are able to effectively use it during and after the conference.

Read Up on the Speakers: The full list of speakers, what they will talk about, and when they will be speaking will be available at and on the Whova application. We recommend investigating each of the speakers prior to attending.

Determine which speaker’s sessions you want to attend. Write out a list of questions you want to ask them one-on-one (that’s right, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to speak with each of the presenters). A great way to stand out in the mind of a speaker is to bring up a piece of relevant personal information when talking to them – like something you both have in common. It shows that you were prepared!

Two days may seem like a lot of time, but it will go by faster than you think. The attendees who get the most out of their experience and the Best Ever conference plan their days ahead of time, which requires knowing which sessions to attend based on the speakers, their investment niche, and their outcome for the conference.


2. At the Conference

You’ve made it to Keystone. You’ve set your alarm extra early. You show up to day 1 ready to learn and network. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your time at the Best Ever Conference.

Speakers, Booths, Networking Balance: The three main things you’ll do at the Best Ever Conference are listen to speakers, browse the exhibitor booths, and network with speakers and attendees. All of these are important so you’ll need to focus on how to get the most out of all there.

First, research each of the speakers before the conference. Break the different sessions into three categories: must attend, would like to attend, don’t need to attend. Now, the first part of your schedule is set – you know that you will be listening to the must attend sessions and may be listening to the would like to attend sessions.

Next, take a look at the exhibitors at the Best Ever conference. Which exhibitors do you want to meet? During one of the “don’t need to attend” sessions, try to make your rounds to the exhibitors based on your preparations.

The remaining time should be spent networking with speakers and other attendees. Most likely, you’ll have questions for the “must attend” speakers – either prepared questions from your pre-conference recon or questions that came up during the presentation. Here is an insider tip: don’t try to talk to the speaker immediately after their presentation. That’s when everyone is going to want to talk to them and you’ll spend a lot of time waiting in line or look like a weirdo running up to them to get to the front of the line. Instead, talk to them before their presentation or later on in the day/the next day after they’ve presented.

When it comes to networking with attendees, do your best to research them on the Whova app. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, there will be over 500 attendees. Rather than only talking to random people (which is still something we recommend), find out who you want to speak to beforehand, message them on the Whova app, and schedule a time to meet. It can be during a session, during breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or at the after-party.

One New Relationship Per Day: Handing out as many business cards is not the most effective use of your time at the Best Ever Conference. Instead, I recommend focusing on creating one new deep relationship each day. Day 1, find someone (ideally someone you’ve researched beforehand and you know you want to meet) and form a relationship with this person throughout the course of the day. Sit next to them during sessions. Grab breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner with them. Form a relationship that is more than just surface level. Learn about their outcome for attending the conference. Learn about their business and goals. Learn about them personally. And most importantly, find out how you can add value to their business. More on this later in the post.

When you form this deeper relationship, you will know how to add more value to their business (and vice versa) compared to speaking with them for a few minutes, handing them a business card, and repeating the process with someone else.

One deeper relationship is better than speaking with tens of people for a few minutes and handing them a business card. Trust me!

Use the Best Ever Whova App: The Whova app is going to be your best friend during the Best Ever conference.

  • You can create a profile so other attendees can learn more about you
  • You can view the entire agenda for the conference
  • You will receive notifications when a new session begins
  • You can download the speakers’ presentations, click on their biography, and leave comments on about what you learned.
  • You can browse the list of conference attendees
  • You can send and receive messages from attendees, speakers, and exhibitors
  • You can create a post or browse existing posts in the community forums
  • You can browse open job listings
  • You can post pictures
  • You can participate in giveaways
  • You can earn points the more you use the app
  • And much more

Download the Whova app prior to the conference and spend a few minutes getting familiar with the app’s functionalities.

Don’t Leave Until Sunday!: If possible, stay for the entire duration of the conference. Most attendees fly in Wednesday night or Thursday morning so they can register early, start attending social events before the conference, and take advantage of the mountain resort while ensuring they are rested and ready to rock-and-roll for the first official event. And most attendees fly out Sunday night or later so they can maximize their time at the conference, attend  after-parties for fun, and do even more networking.

I understand that you have a busy business and personal schedule. But by flying out Saturday night, you’ll miss the last few sessions, a chance to win one of the giveaways, the group picture, the after-party, and time to network with attendees and speakers.


3. Post-Conference

The value from the Best Ever Conference doesn’t stop at the end of the after party. Here are some tips to continue to get the most out of the Best Ever Conference after you’ve returned home.


Follow-Up: One of the first things you should do the Monday after the Best Ever conference is to follow-up with all the new people you met. The sooner you follow-up, the better. It will increase your credibility with the other person. Plus, the content of your conversation will be top of mind.

My go to strategy after attending a conference is to send a follow-up message on LinkedIn. In this message, I include a piece of information that was brought up during our conversation. Also, I try to immediately add value to their business. When you spoke with this person, what was their outcome for the conference? What are their grander business goals? How did you determine you could add value to their business? If you can do something for them that helps them achieve their outcome or goals, do so in the message. Offer to help them yourself or provide them with a reference to someone who can.

If you spoke with someone at the conference and made a commitment to them, whether it’s scheduling a meeting, sending them a referral, sending them a piece of content, etc., do so one Monday as well.

Implement Lessons Learned: When you leave the Best Ever Conference, you are going to have a MASSIVE amount of motivation! Don’t let that go to waste.

Immediately start taking steps to implement any lessons or strategies you learned at the conference into your business.

Discount for Future Conferences: An advantage of attending your first conference is the discounted price on next year’s event. Buy your ticket within the defined time frame at a significantly discounted price.


Click here to learn more about the conference, see the confirmed speakers, and buy your ticket today.

student with books standing in a hall

What Students Will be Looking for in Housing Real Estate this Fall

The fall semester is around the corner, and, as a real estate investor, you couldn’t be more excited. 

You love renting out properties to college students, as these tenants offer consistent income during the fall and spring semesters. The question is, as you focus on filling vacant units, do you truly understand what students will be looking for in housing real estate this fall?

Here’s a rundown on what co-eds expect in their student housing real estate so that you can stay one step ahead of the competition with your housing amenities both now and in the future. 

Offer Value

A large number of students today claim that living in dorms on campus is becoming increasingly expensive. After all, although parents were historically the ones concerned about housing costs, budget-conscious students are now the ones looking for affordable options.

Specifically, research shows that students are conducting online research and shopping around for the best housing deals. In addition, they are not as easily motivated by giveaways as they were in the past. For example, giving a tenant a gift card or complimentary iPad when he or she signs a lease at your apartment community is not as enticing as simply offering an affordable, yet quality, housing option.

So, be sure to offer rent amounts that align with today’s fair market prices while still being relatively affordable to college students. Also, note that many students will divide their rent with roommates in an effort to lower their personal costs and, thus, more easily cover other expenses. 

There Are Many Options for Student Housing Real Estate

Today’s student tenants are also looking for many housing options at several price points. So, even though the current trend is toward budget-conscious housing, it is a wise move to offer options that will appeal to students with varying budgets. This is the same strategy that has been used in the hospitality world for decades.

For example, you may want to promote lower-cost apartment real estate options to undergraduate students, whereas you can target graduate students for your higher-rent properties. After all, graduate students tend to spend more money on housing than their undergraduate counterparts do.

Student Housing Real Estate with Excellent Housing Amenities

Today’s students are looking for practical amenities. For instance, it’s critical that you offer perks, such as parking, a gym, furnished units, and fast Internet. 

You’ll make your rental units more appealing if you optimize them to come with high-quality Internet with package and provider options. In addition, you could make Wi-Fi a bonus housing amenity that you wrap up in your rent prices or offer for free. In doing this, you eliminate a bill for students and provide them with the added convenience they’re looking for.

Convenient Laundry Capability

Offering a common laundry room or washers and dryers in your rental units is also a good idea if you want to attract students to your student housing real estate this fall. 

As a general rule of thumb, most busy students find it a hassle to go to the laundromat. Therefore, if you make washing their clothes easier for them, you’ll quickly become a winner in their eyes. 

Additional Popular Housing Amenities

Students are also interested in having access to a center where they can print items for free, and they wouldn’t mind having access to a fitness center. Popular amenities also include dedicated parking spots for tenants, along with plenty of storage space, excellent cell phone reception, and private bathrooms. 

Note that furnished apartments are also a major priority for today’s student tenants. So, be sure that each rental unit features basic appliances in the kitchen, tableware, and furnishings in the living room and bedrooms. Offering bathroom necessities, like shower curtains, can also make your units more attractive in a simple and inexpensive way. 

Student Housing Real Estate That is Near Campus and the City

This is, naturally, a major priority for many college students, so it’s a wise idea to purchase rental properties that are as close to campus as possible. Note that students generally want to be able to walk rather than having to bike or drive to their classes, campus jobs, or extracurricular activities. Therefore, housing within a mile of the college campus is preferable. 

Also, offer units within walking distance to entertainment, shopping, and dining. In this way, your properties will be more convenient for students all around and will also save them on fuel or bus fee costs. Even if your housing isn’t necessarily within walking distance to town, it should be near public transportation so that your tenants can easily get to town when they need to.

Start Attracting Students to Your Student Housing Real Estate Properties This Fall!

Drawing students to your student housing real estate option with the right housing amenities can seem like a daunting task considering the vast competition you face near a college campus. 

Start with developing an understanding of your target audience in your area and offer housing options that will appeal to them semester after semester. Work with me to learn more about how to maximize your potential as a real estate investor in a college town this year and the years ahead.

Looking at The Sales Comparison Approach (SCA)

The approach is used as the basis for comparative market analysis (C.M.A.), which is an analysis of the prices of recently sold properties that are similar and within the same geographic area. It’s important to note that the sales comparison approach is not an official appraisal, and if a property is unique, a formal appraisal might be needed. One of the best ways to determine multifamily and commercial investment real estate value is by doing a thorough analysis of the property’s physical and financial status. CAP rates are another good way to compare your sale price with others who have sold in your area.

To get sales comparison information you can do things like:

  1. Visit websites like and to search for similar properties and units
  2. Get the comparison from your broker
  3. Get survey for rents from your property manager
  4. Access a local MLS listing
  5. Walk the property and visit apartments yourself physically

Make sure that you compile all that data to the spreadsheet and focus on rent per square foot mainly to compare your property to another.

A few great places to start your search is by looking at research from the major real estate brokerage companies in your area as well.  A few of the national real estate brokerage firms that have great research reports are Marcus and Millichap and CBRE.

These companies produce research reports each quarter that you can get for free by registering on their websites.  These research reports can tell you very valuable information such as; what properties have sold in your area, what they sold for, going CAP rates in your area, and comparable price per unit sales information.  They can also tell you how your area compares to the rest of the US and their forecasts for how these numbers might change in the future.

As you may know we have a book when it comes to starting your syndication business from the ground up called “Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book”, so make sure you grab your copy and start making investments in yourself and building your real estate business and if you are you an accredited investor who is interested in learning more about passively investing in apartment communities? Click here for the only comprehensive resource for passive apartment investors.


Two Common Real Estate Scenarios: Communication and Protection

Two Common Real Estate Scenarios: Communication and Protection

In this blog post, we’re going to be looking at two niche real estate scenarios that can happen to just about any investors.

The first scenario involves dealing with older potential clients and original buildings. If you’ve been in this situation before, you know that it can be quite a delicate process getting older owners to sell.

Communication Issues

Imagine this: You just found a potentially amazing off-market apartment building deal. It has 150 units and a $4 billion portfolio. It was purchased back in 1978, just over the 39-year expiration of the depreciation tax benefits law. The owner is in his late 80’s and purchased these buildings when they were first built at the time. You give him a call and ask him if he has any interest in selling, but he has trouble hearing you. He hands the phone to his caregiver, who abruptly says no and hangs up. What solution is there?

What one should do in this situation is to get curious. Start asking yourself some questions, then draft a letter to them. This is how you can learn more about their situation while introducing yourself to them. This is your chance to say, “I’m not sure where you’re at in this stage of owning these properties, but I can tell you that you might be worried about tax liability when you sell them. I have experience purchasing these types of buildings and I’d be happy to talk about some solutions any challenges you might be having.”

Penning a handwritten letter shows care and integrity. Keep in mind that many people of a certain age are struggling to keep up with the constant innovations and growth in the tech and digital world. A handwritten letter could be a breath of fresh air and a means to communicate that potential sellers may appreciate.

Protection From Embezzlement

Now, think of this scenario: You’re embarking on a general partnership in the real estate industry. It is your first time committing to such a project, and you’ve heard horror stories from colleagues involving embezzlement, fraud, and massive loss of funds. The general partner controls the business plan as well as the financial account connected to the project. You’re wondering how you can protect yourself from them embezzling funds from the operational account, and what auditing protocol you can use to protect yourself as a passive investor from theft.

There are several ways to approach this, but we can look at the most tried and true method.

You can have some checks and balances before the deal is done, which won’t be very much. After the deal is closed, though, you can do a lot more. For this scenario, we’ll look mostly at what a beginner real estate investor can do preemptively to stay safe in a general partnership.

There is no money for a potentially untrustworthy or shady general partner to take before the deal, but you can do some due diligence prior to a deal. If a shady partner is going to steal money from the entity itself, then they would have to do it afterward. This is because that is when the money is physically in the bank account.

Before the deal closes, there are a few things you should do. First off, you should absolutely take the time to look at the overall structure of the deal to make sure that there is at least an 8% preferred return. Make sure that the general partner is getting paid an asset management fee if and only if they are actually performing. If they’re proving themselves and they’re returning the preferred return, they can get that asset management fee. Otherwise, they get nothing.

Obviously, these are things that aren’t going to outright prevent someone from stealing money in a general partnership. When it comes down to it, they’re just small things you can do to ensure that the deal itself is set up in the mutual favor of you and your general partner, so that you have an alignment of interest.

Those are some things you can do before the deal. Another thing you should absolutely be doing before signing on anything with a general partner is to check those references. You can absolutely not go into a general partnership blind with no knowledge of who you’re working with. Even if the hearsay is overwhelmingly positive, you absolutely need to still check in with the partner’s references. By doing so, you’re going to get a really good picture of what the partner is all about.

Call their references and listen to what they have to say. We’re talking about past partners, firms, project managers, any business colleagues or people who have worked with this particular partner. Even if you get glowing reviews, you should then Google your partner. Those are things you’re probably already doing, but it really can’t be optional if you’re a baby real estate investor. You can be seen as an easy target because you don’t necessarily know the signs and symptoms of a parasite real estate partner. When you Google them, look for the partner’s name or firm title. And don’t be afraid to dig deep.

This doesn’t directly answer the question of how to make sure they’re not embezzling money, and we’re aware of that. However, there is some prep work that needs to be done on the front end to mitigate the risk of getting in with a group that is known for criminal activity. Sometimes that front end research is really all you need to check out.

What do you think about these two scenarios in real estate? Have you experienced either situation in your career? Tell us your real estate story in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Pixabay

The Most Comprehensive Guide of Real Estate Conferences in 2019

In-person meetups and conferences are invaluable to real estate investors. Not only do we receive a world-class education from experienced real estate professionals, but we also network with other active investors, creating life-long relationships and maybe even future partnerships.

We recently hosted our third annual Best Ever Conference in Denver, Colorado. If you are looking for other conferences to attend this year, we put together this comprehensive list of real estate conferences in the second half of 2019.

If you are hosting a conference or know of a conference that is not on this list, please let us know by emailing and we’ll add it to the list.


Cruise to Freedom 2019

Host – Think Multifamily

Date – June 19th to 24th

Location – Enchantment Of The Seas Cruise Ship departing from Galveston, TX

Cost – Starting at $949

Who should attend? – Multifamily real estate professionals

Summary – Educational and pleasure cruise, where you’ll have opportunities to learn, as well as network and have plenty of time to relax and have fun together.

Conference Website


Connect Apartments

Host – Connect Conferences

Date – June 20th

Location – Los Angeles, CA

Cost – $299

Who should attend? – Multifamily real estate professionals

Summary – Multifamily’s most active players from across the country gather for insightful panels and networking to get deals done.

Conference Website


Connect Bay Area

Host – Connect Conferences

Date – July 18th

Location – San Francisco, CA

Cost – $149

Who should attend? – Commercial real estate professionals involved in the San Francisco market

Summary – Connect Bay Area will highlight the factors that are driving San Francisco’s commercial real estate growth, address critical shifting demands, identify who’s maintaining this momentum, and explain the best opportunities in the market not just today but in the near future.

Conference Website


Connect Texas Multifamily

Host – Connect Conferences

Date – August 15th

Location – Dallas, TX

Cost – $149

Who should attend? – Multifamily real estate professionals involved in the Texas market

Summary – Texas is home to three of the biggest multifamily markets in the nation – Dallas, Houston, and Austin – and tertiary markets where there is continuous growth. Connect Texas Multifamily highlights the multifamily market from a statewide perspective while addressing the important macro-economic issues and trends impacting the industry.

Conference Website


Connect Orange County

Host – Connect Conferences

Date – August 22nd

Location – Newport Coast, CA

Cost – $175

Who should attend? – Real estate professionals involved in the Orange County, CA real estate market

Summary – Join Orange County’s best for networking, conversation, leadership insights and a real take on what’s happening in the market

Conference Website


Ultimate Partnering 2019

Host – RE Mentor

Date – July 19th to 21st

Location – Boston, MA

Cost – $695

Who should attend? – All real estate professionals who are looking to grow their business, get money for deals, create a consistent cash flow stream and create a breakthrough to have your best year of personal and financial growth ever

Summary – Meet new partners, map out joint ventures, do more deals, do bigger deals, do higher profit deals, and cash more checks in an event format designed for you to discover the missing link in your business that’s needed to give you that big breakthrough you’ve been looking for.

Conference Website


Deal Maker Live

Host – Michael Blank

Date – July 25th to 27th

Location – Dallas, TX

Cost – $697 (regular ticket) and $1,597 (VIP ticket)

Who should attend? – Multifamily investors and syndicators

Summary – Syndicators and speakers will be  revealing how to get started, how to find deals, how to raise money, how to overcome challenges, how to scale your business, and how to get big payouts

Conference Website


Secrets of Successful Syndication

Host – The Real Estate Guys

Date – September 27th and 28th

Location – Dallas, TX

Cost – $997

Who should attend? – Current and aspiring syndicators

Summary – Discover how you can start, fund, and operate your own real estate investing business by helping wealthy people grow their wealth through real estate.

Conference Website


Apartment Investor Mastery National Conference (AIMNATCON)

Host – Brad Sumrok

Date – August 10th

Location – Dallas, TX

Cost – Starting at $97 and up to $297 for a VIP ticket

Who should attend? – Apartment investors

SummaryI’ll leave you with this special message about AIMNATCON from keynote speaker Robert Kiyosaki

Conference Website


Florida Multifamily Summit

Host – RealInsight

Date – October 16th

Location – Miami, FL

Cost – $299 to $999

Who should attend? – Full-time multifamily investors, managers, and developers

Summary – Hundreds of the most active and prominent investors, developers, owners, and operators in apartment and condos come together to gain critical market data and fresh insights on how to best win in today’s Florida hotter than hot multifamily landscape.

Conference Website


New York Multifamily Summit

Host – RealInsight

Date – October 31st

Location – New York City, NY

Cost – Invite only (must request an initiation)

Who should attend? – Qualified multifamily principals, service providers, and vendors

Summary – Hundreds of the most active and influential multifamily players from the greater New York City area come together at this highly interactive event that will address today’s toughest challenges in investment, development, financing, construction, deal flow, and property management.

Conference Website


Deal Analysis Workshop

Host – Think Multifamily

Date – November 15th and 16th

Location – Plano, TX

Cost – Waiting List

Who should attend? – Apartment investors

Summary – Learn about the many factors typically ignored when underwriting apartment deals and the key factors that must be considered before investing in an apartment deal. Through individual and group learning techniques, you are sure to leave this workshop with more confidence, more clarity, and more connections.

Conference Website


Residential Assisted Living National Conference

Host – Gene Guarino

Date – October 3rd to 5th

Location – Phoenix, AZ

Cost – Starting at $495

Who should attend? – Current or aspiring residential assisted living investors

Summary – Assisted living and senior housing are the hot topics in real estate, business, and investing and will only get hotter over the next 20 years. This convention is your chance to be at the forefront of this incredible opportunity in residential assisted living right now.

Conference Website


New Orleans Investment Conference

Host – Jefferson Financials

Date – November 1st to 4th

Location – New Orleans, LA

Cost – Starting at $595

Who should attend? – All investors

Summary – The one place where the world’s most sophisticated investors gather every year to discover new opportunities and strategies, exchange ideas, plan for the coming year, and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded individuals in America’s most fascinating and entertaining city.

Conference Website


Multifamily Mastery Live 

Host – Jake and Gino

Date – October 19th and 20th

Location – Orlando, FL

Cost – Starting at $297

Who should attend? – Multifamily investors

Summary – Learn how to explode your wealth, create passive income, and become financially free by investing in Mom & Pop apartments.

Conference Website


NorthStar Real Estate Conference 

Host – NorthStar

Date – September 20th and 21st

Location – Minneapolis, MN

Cost – $295 (type in “earlybird” for a $100 discount through July)

Who should attend? – Multifamily, commercial, and residential real estate investors

Summary – This event gives 100% of the proceeds to charity. Speakers from across the nation will share how to grow and do more deals. This event will help you take your real estate investing to the next level.

Conference Website


Event or conference missing from this list? Let us know by emailing


Thank you to Jason Stubblefield for contributing to the creation of this comprehensive list.


Four (Little Known) Keys To Finding The Best Multi-Family Deals In Your Market

Finding the best apartment deals can be a bit tough if you have no idea how to go about it.

You find yourself asking questions like:

  • How do I go about it?
  • Do I use a broker or not?
  • Where can I find the best apartment deals?
  • How can I get these deals when I find them?

It’s alright; everyone starts somewhere. And today, you’re going to learn a straight forward, direct approach to finding off-market deals in your area.

Let’s get started!


Start on the internet.

Sounds simple right?

That’s because it is…

No matter what your investing criteria, chances are you can find a list of matching properties on ListSource. From there you can skip trace to find the owner’s contact information.

Get in contact with the owners by sending them emails, using cold calls and sending text messages – using multiple contact channels increases your likelihood of getting them on the phone (which is where most real estate deals actually get done).


Buy directly from the seller if you can

I interviewed James Kandasamy, owner of Achievement Investment Group, who told us “Both of my first two properties were bought directly from the seller. We use our own strategy to get in touch with the sellers and work directly with them. That’s the primary point on why we were able to get it at a good price/door.”

It’s hard to depend on brokers because they have a responsibility to make sure that they get the highest price for the sellers as well. The best deals will typically come directly from the owner.

There are a lot of sellers out there with problems that they do not want to bring to the market, which makes it easier to get the best price directly from them.

The key is to build a relationship with the seller. Any real estate deal of this type needs to based on trust; without it, you’ll be lucky to get past the front door, much less to the signing table.

How do you build trust with a seller? By being honest and true to your word over time. But beyond that, the way you communicate and carry yourself throughout the deal will have a big effect on whether the seller feels they can depend on you.

As an example, here’s the text James Kandasamy sent directly his sellers;

“Hi, I’m an apartment investor in this region (Central Texas) and I saw your property at XYZ, and I’m interested in buying it. You can sell it directly to me, without any broker’s commission. Would you like to talk further?”


You have to be persistent.

Truth is you might have to send over 500 text messages to get a deal. The response you’ll get back will be about 1%.

But all the money is within that 1%. It’s a numbers game, like so much in our industry.

The key to building a stable deal pipeline is persistence in following up and staying in contact with the sellers. Most investors follow up once or twice and lose interest. See this as what it is: an opportunity. A truly dedicated and dogged investor can make headway, even in a crowded market.


Be a problem solver.

James Kandasamy advises, “The money you make is a direct correlation to the value you provide. For me, it’s always you have to solve some problem to get extraordinary returns. If you are doing a deal which is stabilized you may get a good deal, but you’ll get a much better deal if there’s a problem in that deal and you’re able to solve it.”

Be a problem solver and you’ll be able to handle deals that other investors will be forced to walk away from.

Let us know in the comments about some of the biggest problems you’ve solved in your deals!


Image credit: Pixabay

Shadowy book store shelves lined with books

Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book Named Top RE Investing Book to Read in 2019

The Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book was included on UpJourney’s list of Best Real Estate Investment Books (To Read in 2019).

The author of the list said, “after reading many books on real estate investing and trying all types of investing, Joe Fairless’ Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book was the most helpful in getting me to think differently. Instead of spending hours investing in single family homes or flipping houses, Fairless explains how to invest money in real estate that has a sponsor who manages the project for a pool of investors. This is the best book ever for learning the apartment building investment syndication process.”

Check out the full list here for other books that are inspiring active real estate professionals. And if you haven’t so already, pick up your copy of the Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book today!

A clear blue sky behind the Statue of Liberty

10 Fastest Appreciating Housing Markets in the US

Veros recently released it’s third quarter VeroFORECAST, which predicts property value trends in metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) across the US between September 2018 and September 2019.

According to the report, the top 100 most populated MSAs will appreciate 4.5% over the next 12 months. Of all MSAs, Vero predicts that 97% will appreciate and 3% will depreciate. The VP of Statistical and Economic Modeling at Veros, Eric Fox, said “This is the 25th quarter in a row where this index has forecasted overall appreciation.”

VeroFORECAST predicts that seven MSAs will experience depreciation over the next 12-months:

  • Torrington, Connecticut: -0.2%
  • Texarkana, Texas-Texarkana, Arkansas: -0.2%
  • Ocean City, New Jersey: -0.4%
  • Peoria, Illinois: -0.7%
  • Danville, Illinois: -1.2%
  • Vineland-Millvilee-Bridgeton, New Jersey: -1.6%
  • Farmington, New Mexico: -2.2%

Now, that doesn’t mean that you should invest in these markets, because when we follow the Three Immutable Laws of Real Estate Investing, we don’t take appreciation into account. It is just a bonus. However, if you want to increase your chances of receiving this appreciation bonus, you should consider looking into these 10 markets that are predicted to experience the most appreciation in the next 12 months.


10. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington

The Seattle city skyline showing the Space Needle

Belkins Northeast


Projected appreciation between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19: +9.3%


9. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colorado

A pink and blue sky behind Denver skyline at dusk


Projected appreciation between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19: +9.5%


8. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, California

The San Francisco skyline behind a cloud-covered Golden Gate Bridge

Lonely Planet


Projected appreciation between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19: +9.6%


7. Reno-Sparks, Nevada

Residential houses and tall buildings in front of large, sandy mountains

Think Stock


Projected appreciation between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19: +10.0%


6. Carson City, Nevada

"Welcome to Carson City, Nevada's Capital" road sign



Projected appreciation between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19: +10.1%


5. Olympia, Washington

Blooming cherry blossom trees in front of Olympia capitol building

Wild Tales Of


Projected appreciation between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19: +10.3%


4. Bellingham, Washington

A Bellingham, WA aerial view showing harbor, land, and mountains



Projected appreciation between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19: +10.6%


3. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada

An aerial view of Las Vegas lit up at night

Time Out


Projected appreciation between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19: +10.8%


2. Boise City-Nampa, Idaho

Snowy mountains behind Boise City cityscape



Projected appreciation between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19: +11.2%


1. Bremerton-Silverdale, Washington

A Bremerton-Silverdale, WA aerial view



Projected appreciation between 10/1/18 and 10/1/19: +11.7%


Want to learn how to build an apartment syndication empire? Purchase the world’s first and only comprehensive book on the exact step-by-step process for completing your first apartment syndication: Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book.

paper decor for Thanksgiving on a table

What 16 Real Estate Investors Are Grateful For This Thanksgiving

This blog post was originally constructed and written for Thanksgiving of 2018. We enjoyed reading about what our fellow real estate investors are thankful for so much, we wanted to refresh this post for 2019. In the lines that follow, you’ll read about what some real estate investors from our Facebook group were thankful for last year, and what (if anything) they would change or add, along with some new perspectives from fresh faces. Specifically, we hear from real investors sharing what has helped them get to where they are in the business. Surrounding yourself with the right people, reading the right books, attending seminars and conferences, all has a direct impact on your success in this business. Here are what some successful investors say has been the most influential part of their business in 2019.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Real estate investing is a field that rewards hustling. Most of us are chasing down opportunities seven days a week. With Thanksgiving upon us, I thought it would be a could time to reach out to other leading investors to find out what they are thankful for. So I posed the question many of the country’s leading real estate entrepreneurs, What is a property or deal, person, experience, book, video, or conference that has been influential to your business’s success and you are grateful for?

Thank you to the 16 active investors who responded. Read on to learn about the people, books/podcasts/videos, and events/moments have been influential to active, successful real estate entrepreneurs:

Best Ever People

  1. Theo HicksJoe Fairless. Would have never gotten the confidence to pursue my first apartment syndication deal if I had never met Joe!
    • 2019: Theo’s update for 2019 might take the cake. As a new dad in 2019, Theo is thankful for his son. Writing this update right now, I can’t help but think about how his first answer was Joe Fairless, and now it’s his son. Theo has done fantastic work for Joe and in a way, is being taught the real estate investing world (and now teaching others too) through his work with Joe. Now Theo takes on the mentor role for his son. Full circle.
  2. Holly Williams – I would say this really smart kid named Joe Fairless from Texas in the Big City. Happy Thanksgiving to the Growing Fairless clan, my friend.
  3. Whitney Elkins HuttenLane Kawaoka and Chris Miles. Future Apartment Syndication Goals: Joe Fairless.
  4. Mike Knudstrup – 1. My local real estate entrepreneur group where a few presenters owned MHP’s (mobile home parks). 2. Parents of friends and acquaintances who owned parks and it worked for them.
    • 2019: This year, Mike takes a moment to appreciate all those who are loyal, honest, and faithful. In his words: “I especially include those people who work with/for me but also my tenants who honor their agreements. This year it has become increasingly apparent that I am unable to keep this thing going without them” being thankful for those who surround and support you is what this holiday is all about.
  5. Julia Bykhovskaia – My man Tony Robbins! It was at the right place at the right time for me two years ago. All I’ve heard is “you have to burn the boats,” have to “make a decision and have absolute certainty,” and “you don’t need to know how; the how will come.” Three months later I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad and got even more convinced that being an employee is not the way to go. Fifteen months later, I left my J.O.B.! the “how” of course became real estate.
    • 2019: Julia mentions that nothing has changed for herself, the answer is still Tony Robbins. She does add that a strong mindset, taking consistent action, and managing your emotional state are all crucial for success in business and life. I’m slightly jealous of her attending Date with Destiny next week, definitely a bucket list item. If you’re unfamiliar with Date with Destiny, check out “I Am Not Your Guru” on Netflix.

Best Ever Books/Podcasts/Videos

  1. Grant Rothenburger – Mine is lame but honest: Rich Dad Poor Dad for opening my eyes to real estate in the first place.
    • 2019: Another classic book, Think and Grow Rich, is added to Grant’s running list of what he’s thankful for in 2019.
  2. Trevor McGregorThink and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill has been a game changer throughout my entire Real Estate Journey. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it, or if you have read it, pick it up again or be sure to listen to the Audio Version (When you’re not listening to the Best Real Estate Advice Show Ever – Podcast with Joe). Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
  3. Glen Sutherland – Long time listener of the show (Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever). Appreciate all your time you put into it.
  4. Michael CollinsThe Strangest Secret, Earl Nightingale. Timeless advice. Thirty-one minutes long on YouTube, loaded with great information.
  5. Newcomer for 2019: Cody Rubio – Now that Cody is somewhat up with the times, he’s read Rich Dad Poor Dad, and has Think and Grow Rich queued up next. Those are undoubtedly two of the most influential books for many real estate investors. Another classic that Cody attributes some success to is Purple Cow by Seth Godin.

Best Ever Events/Moments

  1. John Jacobus – The first Best Ever Conference in Denver in 2017. This was a game changer in terms of forming new partnerships with real estate entrepreneurs, sparking new actions, and building momentum.
    • 2019: John took that 2017 momentum all the way to the end of 2019. Now with about three hundred mobile home pads across five properties, John has a tremendous start on a growing business. His 2020 is looking up!
  2. Adam AdamsBest Ever Conference
  3. Charlie Kao – A lot of moments but being on my very first podcast which happened to be BiggerPockets. I kept getting asked to be on other podcasts and had a lot of people reaching out to me for advice and it dawned on me how much more I was really capable of. I have doubled or tripled our business every year since the podcast.
    • 2019: This year, Charlie is most thankful for his wife Casity Kao. Thanks to their “explosive growth” they can enjoy the fruits and spend their time a little more freely with each other.
  4. Cory Boatright – 1. My first short sale that I stumbled into with negative equity and created a short-sale empire that made millions in revenue. 2. The first time I sold six-figures in one hour from stage in front of 500 people. 3. My experience at the end of 2012 with thyroid cancer. 4. I am grateful it happened because of and the many miracles that came from waking up and being aware of life in a new way. 5. Meeting my wife and two step kids. Skydiving to overcome my fear of heights?
  5. Dustin W. Miles – I wouldn’t say it was any one experience/book/conference, but a collection. One of the first memories I recall is from childhood. I played soccer on a team with a kid (we were around 10). His parents owned many skyscrapers around Fort Worth. I would say that first opened me up to the idea of “why not me?” I would ride my bike around Fort Worth wondering who owned all the other buildings. Fast forward to today, we are working on our ninth syndication in the past five years.
  6. Jason Stofer – For me this is easy…I just came from it! Adam Triple A Adams event Raising Money Summit!! I have already rewritten my business plan, reworked my website, and am now working on my mind-map.
  7. John Fortes – Grateful for real estate entrepreneur communities and networks such as these and all educational platforms whether it comes from books, podcasts, videos, and conferences as you mentioned. At the end of the day, I’m just happy and grateful to be here breathing this beautiful air and sharing this earth with my loved ones. Thank you for asking. Happy Thanksgiving & God bless!
    • 2019: New partnerships through those communities, platforms, and conferences he referenced last year, are what John is most thankful for (in his real estate business) this Thanksgiving. An important part to building relationships, according to John, is to be yourself and listen to them. People enjoy talking about themselves, so ask intelligent questions that allow them to do so.


What are you thankful for? Add your comment below and tune into my Best Ever Show for more conversations between experienced real estate entrepreneurs!

foggy forest of trees

10 Real Estate Tours Turned Haunted House Experience

When you attend a haunted house or haunted trail leading up to Halloween, you expect to be frightened – in fact, you want to be filled with fear! That’s because you know that the experience is pretend.

Unlike haunted house, when you attend a property tour at a prospective deal, you typically do not expect to be surprised, let alone terrified. However, every once in a while, you will enter a property and walk away more frightened than you would coming out of even the most intense haunted house.

Here are 10 investors who expected an uneventful property tour but who instead walked into an unmarked haunted house.

1. The Nudist: During Michael Beeman’s strangest property tour, he knocked on the door and was greeted by a screaming naked man. The property was sold through a real estate auction. Michael won the auction with a bid of $7500 – because he was the only bid, which likely had something to do with the screaming nudist. But, the bank decided to hold onto the property in order to sell it at a higher price in the future. 5 months later, the property is still for sale, and the screams of the nudist still echo in Michael’s mind!

2. Bloody Babies: When Jordan Moorhead walked into the living room during a property tour, he was confronted with baby doll heads covered in fake blood strung up on the ceilings.

3. Fried Racoon: While touring a vacant duplex, Chuck Darling approached the furnace in the basement and discovered what looked like a furry towel hanging from one of the panels. Upon further inspection, the towel transformed into a racoon tail, with the remainder of the raccoon, cooked medium rare, inside of the furnace.

4. Adult Cartoonist: During a tour of a multifamily building, Tyson Cross walked into a unit that was covered in little kid cartoons. The weird part was that no children lived there. And the weirdest part was when a grown man walked out of the closet and said “hey, I’m filming in here.” To this day, no one knows why the unit was covered in cartoons or what was being filmed…

5. It’s Hammer Time: Robert Lawry II toured a REO property that had a bloody handprint on the wall. And it wasn’t a prank. It was because someone had been murdered in the unit with a hammer, which explained why the doors and windows were covered in police seals and tape.

6. Wow, What a Hole!: A wholesaler sent Whitney Elkins Hutten a deal and mentioned that there was a hole in the roof. No big deal, right? Well, when Whitney arrived at the property, the hole turned out to be caused by the neighbor’s large tree falling on the home. The damage was so severe that the entire second story needed to be replaced.

7. Scratch and Sniff Cat Picture: Dave Roberts toured a home that was previously inhabited by a cat hoarder. The staple of the home was this beautiful scratch and sniff masterpiece (the picture wasn’t actually the source of the urine and feces smell. That was coming from the carpet below…).Large cat painting on a wood-paneled wall

8. Wigs, Masks, and Chalk: At an REO listing, Lisa Rush found a chalk outline of a person who had died in a fire. All of the content remained in the home, including the previous owner’s wig and scary mask collection.

9. Leaning Tower of Feces: I think this picture taken by Colin Smith during a property tour speaks for itself…

Trash piled on top of a toilet in a dirty bathroom

10. Black Cats: Matthew Mesick bought and flipped a house that had over 150 black cats who were terrorizing the neighborhood. It was such an ordeal that it made the local newspaper, which you can see by clicking here.


What about you? Comment below: What was the scariest thing you’ve come across during a property tour?


Want to learn how to build an apartment syndication empire? Purchase the world’s first and only comprehensive book on the exact step-by-step process for completing your first apartment syndication: Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book.

scary carved pumpkins

20 Tenant Horror Stories

Halloween is about binging on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (or Almond Joys if you’re a weirdo), attending costume parties, screaming your way through haunted houses, and re-watching the Halloween movie series from start to finish.

However, as real estate investors, the horror of Halloween isn’t limited to October 31st, especially if you are a landlord. A landlord has the potential to receive a phone call about an outrageous problem with a tenant 365 days out of the year.

Here are 20 shocking horror stories from active real estate investors who are a part of the Best Ever Show Community on Facebook involving a tenant that would make the plot of the next Halloween movie.

  1. The Couch and a Python: This story comes from Daniel Holmund’s grandfather. A tenant moved out of a unit and all that remained was an ugly couch and a cage…that held a massive 6-foot-long python.
  2. Breaking Bad: Jay Helms just bought his first investment property from a tax deed auction. When he went to visit his new asset, he expected the property to be vacant. Instead, he found someone squatting in the house. They were an aspiring Walter White (more like Jessie Pinkman) who was stealing his mother’s disability checks to purchase supplies for his meth lab.
  3. Rats and Needles: Julie Fagan inherited a tenant who filled the unit with caged rats and used needles in every room. The day she purchased the apartment building, she sent the tenant a 7-day eviction notice, and the rats and needles were gone within a week.
  4. The Wrong Type of Thirst Quencher: Josh Levine found around 100 lemon-lime Gatorade bottles inside one of his apartment units. Upon further inspection, he realized it wasn’t lemon-lime Gatorade, but urine…
  5. The Service Dog of Doom: A tenant at one of Linda Weygant’s rentals got a new “service dog.” Once Linda found out, she allowed the tenant to keep the service dog without charging them extra pet rent or a pet deposit. In return for her generosity, Linda was sued for discrimination, with the tenant claiming that Linda wasn’t allowed to even ask about the service dog. The tenant overstayed the lease and was subsequently evicted. But, for the next year, Linda received threats against her life and the property from this tenant while going through a State of Colorado Discrimination investigation. The situation resolved itself in Linda’s favor eventually, but talk about a nightmare!
  6. Pitbull: Mitchell Drimmer had a tenant skip out in the middle of the night, leaving an aggressive looking pitbull behind.
  7. The Worst Arsonist Ever: Todd Dexheimer had a tenant who was a mother taking care of one of her cousin’s kids. The husband was in jail at the time and the mother lost custody of the child due to drug issues. Once her husband got out of jail, he found the address of Todd’s property. He tried and failed to kick down the door at which point he escalated to attempting to burn down the house. Luckily, this attempt failed too. He ended up destroying the vehicle in the garage and did some minor damage to the house. Todd received a call from the police explaining the situation and that his tenant was in protective custody. They said most of her belongings were removed and whatever was left could be gotten rid of.
  8. Orgy Gone Wrong: The oddest horror story goes to Heidi Nelson. One of her tenants was having a sex-capade that went wrong and the tenant ended up losing their life in the process.
  9. More Breaking Bad: Jay Helms isn’t the only person who had an aspiring Walter White/Jessie Pinkman as a tenant. Garrett White received a call from the fire apartment about one of his duplexes catching fire. When he arrived at the property, he was met by seven police cruisers. He finds out that the fire was caused by an exploding lithium battery. Lithium is a precursor to meth, so the tenant’s meth business went up in flames, literally.
  10. The FEDs: One morning, Joe Ely received a call from his handyman, who lived across the street from one of his rental properties. The handyman said that Federal US Marshalls battering rammed his door open and pulled 9 suspects out of the house who were now laying spread eagle on the front lawn.
  11. Fire!: Greg Jeanfreau had a fire at one of his duplexes. The fireman showed up and put out the fire. However, due to the strength of the fire, the fireman’s attempts to fight the fire resulted in the collapsing of all the ceilings. Fortunately, his tenants were safe and insurance covered the damages.
  12. Fraudulent Rent: Krishan Singh had seemingly great tenants who paid their rent with a credit card online for the first two months. That is until the bank realized that the transactions were fraudulent and Krishan received a chargeback for the entire rental amount.
  13. Why You Don’t Rent to Friends: Adam Adam’s rented out one of his rental units to a friend without a written lease. A downturn in the economy and a drive by shooting later (which fortunately didn’t result in loss of life), Adam no longer considers this person a friend because they still owe him $7,500 in back rent.
  14. Why You Don’t Rent to Your Contractor Either: Matthew Mesick’s cousin was managing a fix-and-flip project. He hired a contractor and let them live in the house during the rehab process. The contractor ended up overdosing on heroin and his body wasn’t discovered for over a week. The costs to clean up and repair the damages caused by the body cost $26,000. On top of that, Matt’s cousin nor the investor had insurance, so the $26,000 was out-of-pocket.
  15. Don’t Hire SWAT to Remodel Your Home: After Jack Petrick completely renovated a single-family rental property, it was remodeled by a SWAT team…(click here for a video of the “remodeling” process)
  16. Why You Don’t Rent to Escorts: Muriel Brisson-Jackson received multiple phone calls from neighbors about a lot of traffic in and out his rental property at all times of the day and night – with all the traffic being different men. The tenant was gone within a day and Muriel was left with a chair riddled with hole marks from stiletto heels.
  17. Fire, Drugs, and Poo: Tamar Mar provided three horror stories. First, there was a fire at one of her properties that, 10 months later, is still being rebuilt. Then, she walked in on one of her tenants who was in the process of doing drugs. Lastly, she is turning a unit now that is covered in human feces. On the brightside, she has some great ideas on how to create the ultimate haunted house!
  18. Lover’s Quarrel: Ryan Gibson had two of his tenants get into a lover’s quarrel, which escalated to the point where the man stands outside of the trailer, fires a gun into the air, and says, “the next one’s for you!”
  19. Two Week Flood: One of Justin Fraser’s tenants left the water running in a clogged sink during a two-week vacation. The neighbor called him, saying that there is water coming into their basement from Justin’s basement. The result was $112,000 worth of damage and counting. Click here for a video Justin made when he saw the damage for the first time.
  20. Lord of the Flies: A tenant in one of Larry Abramowitz’s condo rentals had a dog with flies that invested the entire unit. The infestation was so bad that the first exterminator refused the job.


What about you? Comment below: What is your best tenant horror story?


Want to learn how to build an apartment syndication empire? Purchase the world’s first and only comprehensive book on the exact step-by-step process for completing your first apartment syndication: Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book.



Apartment Syndication School

Apartment Syndication School

Welcome to the Syndication School

We created the Syndication School to provide you with a FREE apartment syndication education so that you have the tools to launch your own investment empire.
Each week, we will release two podcast episodes that focus solely on apartment syndications. For the majority of episodes, we will offer you a FREE resource, which will be available for download below.

Series #1 – Why Apartment Syndications?

In this first series, we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the syndication strategy so that you can determine if it is the ideal investment for you.

In part 1, we will define what an apartment syndication is, as well as compare and contrast raising money vs. using your own money to buy apartments. We will also discuss the difference between being a passive investor or active sponsor in apartment syndications.

In part 2, we will compare and contrast syndications to other popular real estate strategies, including single-family rentals, smaller multifamily properties, REITs, and development.

Series #2 – Are You Ready to Become an Apartment Syndicator?

In the second Syndication School series, we will discuss the two main requirements before you are ready to start your apartment syndication business.

In part 1, we cover the first requirement – the experience.

In part 2, we cover the second requirement – the education.

Free Resource:

  • Click here to download your FREE Master the Lingo presentation, which has a list of over 80 apartment syndication terms, including the definitions and real-world examples, that you need to memorize and know how to immediately calculate before you are ready to become an apartment syndicator.

Series #3 – How to Break Into the Apartment Syndication Industry

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the 9 creative ways to break into the business of apartment syndications after meeting the experience and educational requirements.

In part 1, we cover strategies 1 to 4.

In part 2, we cover strategies 5 to 9.

Series #4 – Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Syndication Success Formula

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the first two steps in Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Success Formula and how to apply those steps to your syndication business.

In part 1, we cover step one of Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Success Formula – Know Your Outcome.

In part 2, we cover step two of Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Success Formula – Know Your Why.

Free Resources:

  • Click here to download your free resource, the Annual Income Calculator. The Annual Income Calculator is a spreadsheet that automatically calculates how much equity you need to raise from passive investors in order to achieve your 12-month apartment syndication goal.
  • Click here to download your free resource, Tony Robbins Goal Setting Exercise. Watch the 35-minute goal setting video by Tony Robbins and complete the four-step goal setting exercise for your apartment syndication business.

Series #5 – How to Select a Target Apartment Syndication Investment Market

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the process of selecting a target investment market for your apartment syndications.

In part 1, we introduce the concept of a target market and the overall process of selecting a target market.

In part 2, we cover the process of selecting 1 or 2 target markets.

Free Resources:

Series #6 – How to Perform an In-Depth Analysis of Your Target Apartment Syndication Market

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the process of performing a more in-depth analysis of a market after selecting 1 or 2 target investment markets (which was accomplished during Series #5).

In part 1, we re-introduce Joe’s Three Immutable Laws of Real Estate Investing and discuss an exercise that accomplished the goal of understanding a target market on a neighborhood-level.

In part 2, we discuss other strategies to implement to also accomplish this same outcome.

Free Resources:

Series #7 – The Power of Your Apartment Syndication Brand

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the process of creating your unique apartment syndication brand.

In part 1, we discuss why you need a brand as an apartment syndicator, how to select a target audience, and how to create the first three components of your brand.

In part 2, we discuss the fourth component of your brand: the website.

In part 3, we discuss the fifth component of your brand: the company presentation.

In part 4, we discuss the sixth and final component of your brand: thought leadership platform.

Free Resources:

Series #8 – How to Build Your All-Star Apartment Syndication Team

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the process of building your apartment syndication team.

In part 1, we discuss who your core and secondary team members will be, how to find prospective team members and the process of hiring team members #1 and #2 – partner and mentor.

In part 2, we discuss the process of hiring team member #3 – property management company.

In part 3, we discuss the process of hiring team member #4 – real estate brokers.

In part 4, we discuss the process of hiring team members #5 – #7 – attorneys, a CPA, and a mortgage broker – as well as what order to hire the team members in.

Free Resource:

Series #9 – How to Raise Capital from Passive Investors

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the process of raising capital from passive investors.

In part 1, we discuss how to overcome any fears you have in regards to raising money from passive investors.

In part 2, we discuss the differences between the various types of money-raising structures.

In part 3 and part 4, we discuss ways to find passive investors.

In part 5 and part 6, we discuss the process of initially approaching and conversing with interested investors.

In part 7 and part 8, we discuss how to be prepared to respond to the 49 most common questions asked by passive investors.

Free Resource:

Series #10 – How to Structure GP and LP Compensation

In this syndication school series, we will discuss how to create compensation structures for the GP and LP.

In part 1, we discuss how to structure the GP compensation.

In part 2, we discuss how to structure the LP compensation.

Free Resource:

Series #11 – How to Qualify an Apartment Deal

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss how to qualify an apartment deal using a three-step evaluation process.

In part 1, we discuss step 1 of the apartment deal evaluation process – setting your initial investment criteria.

In part 2, we discuss step 2 and step 3 of the apartment deal evaluation process – underwriting and due diligence.

Series #12 – How to Find Your First Apartment Syndication Deal

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss how to find your first apartment syndication deal.

In part 1, we discuss the distinction between on-market and off-market deals.

In part 2, we discuss how to find on-market and off-market deals from real estate brokers.

In part 3, we discuss how to find off-market deals via direct mailing campaigns.

In part 4, we discuss 9 more ways to find off-market apartment deals.

In part 5, we discuss one real-world case study for how a syndicator found an off-market deal.

In part 6, we discuss two more real-world case studies for how a syndicator found an off-market deal.

Free Resource:

Series #13 – Breaking Down the Apartment Financials

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the three pieces of information you need to underwrite a deal.

In part 1, we discuss the rent roll.

In part 2, we continue our discussion on the rent roll.

In part 3, we discuss the T-12.

In part 4, we continue our discussion on the T-12.

In part 5, we discuss the OM.

In part 6, we continue our discussion on the OM.

Free Resources:

Series #14 – How to Underwrite a Value-Add Apartment Deal

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the eight-step process of underwriting a value-add apartment deal.

In part 1, we discuss steps 1, 2, and 3 of the underwriting process.

In part 2, we discuss ways to add value to apartment deals.

In part 3, we discuss step 4a of the underwriting process – setting assumptions.

In part 4, we discuss step 4b of the underwriting process – setting the remaining underwriting assumptions.

In part 5, we discuss step 5 – determining an offer price.

In part 6, we discuss step 6 – performing a rental comparable analysis.

In part 7, we discuss step 7 – confirming the rental comps over the phone or in-person.

In part 8, we discuss step 8 – visiting the property and market in person.

Free Resources:

Series #15 – How to Submit an Offer on a Syndicated Apartment Deal

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the process of submitting an offer on a syndicated apartment deal.

In part 1, we discuss how to create a letter of intent.

In part 2, we discuss what happens after you submit a letter of intent.

Free Resource:

Series #16 – How to Secure Financing for an Apartment Syndication Deal

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the process of securing the financing (i.e., debt) for your apartment syndications.

In part 1, we discuss the types of debt and financing available.

In part 2, we discuss the first two most common financing programs.

In part 3, we discuss the other common loan programs and what you need to provide to the lender to secure financing.

In part 4, we discuss how to select the ideal apartment loan.

Free Resource:

Series #17 – How to Perform Due Diligence on an Apartment Syndication Deal

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the process of performing due diligence on your apartment syndications.

In part 1, we discuss the first 5 due diligence reports.

In part 2, we discuss the last five due diligence reports.

In part 3, we discuss how to interpret the results of the first 4 due diligence reports.

In part 4, we discuss how to interpret the results of the last 6 due diligence reports.

Series #18 – How to Secure Commitments From Your Passive Investors

In this Syndication School series, we will discuss the process of securing financial commitments from your passive investors after putting a deal under contract.

In part 1 and part 2, we discuss how to create an investment summary.

In part 3, we discuss how to create an email to notify your investors about your new deal.

In part 4, part 5, and part 6, we discuss the process of a successful new investment offering conference call.

In part 7, we discuss the last step in the process of a successful new investment offering conference call and how to follow-up afterward.

In part 8, we discuss how to finalize investor commitments by sending the correct legal documentation.

Free Resource:

Want to learn how to build an apartment syndication empire? Purchase the world’s first and only comprehensive book on the exact step-by-step process of completing your first apartment syndication: Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book.

best ever apartment syndication book

A Sneak Peek of the Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book in 4 Interviews

The Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book is officially available for purchase.

I wrote this book specifically for anyone who wants to become an apartment syndicator but doesn’t have the experience, access to capital, access to deal flow, and/or the ability to execute a business plan.

In the book, you will learn how I overcame the aforementioned challenges, as well as the exact step-by-step process I implemented in order to go from owning four single family homes and making $30,000 a year at a NYC advertising agency to building a portfolio of over $400,000,000 in apartment communities.

For a sneak peak of the content offered in the book, check out these four interviews where I discuss different parts of my journey and tactics that helped me get to where I am today!


“The Best Ever Advanced Multifamily Strategies For Raising Money At Scale” – Apartment Building Investing w/ Michael Blank Podcast

In my interview on the Apartment Building Investing w/ Michael Blank Podcast, I explain the additional reasons why I wrote the Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book, which will hopefully inspire you to write your own book!

 I offer advice to aspiring apartment syndicators for how the overcome the lack of experience challenge, which includes four ways to gain credibility with potential investors through alignment of interests and how to approach staying top-of-mind with investors

I also provide my insights on the benefits of partnerships in real estate, as oppose to attempting to build a business alone.

Listen to my interview with Michael Blank here.


“From W2 Job to Controlling $400,000,000 of Apartments” – The Cashflow Hustle Podcast w/ Justin Grimes

My interview on The Cashflow Hustle Podcast with Justin Grimes focuses on the mindset shift required to transition from a W2 job and/or smaller real estate investment strategies to purchasing large multifamily properties.

I explain how I made the leap to multifamily real estate. Of course, like all business endeavors, you will face many challenges as an apartment syndicator. So, I also offer advice on the tactics I use in order to overcome these challenges, which includes having a vision board, knowing where and who to turn to when looking for feedback and guidance, and asking “what would a billionaire do in this situation.”

Listen to my interview with Justin Grimes here.


“How Joe Fairless Analyzes Markets, Purchases Apartments, and Raising Millions” – Cash Flow Connections Podcast w/ Hunter Thompson

My interview on the Cash Flow Connections Podcast with Hunter Thompson focuses on three aspects of building an apartment syndication business.

First, you need to know where to invest. This is your target market. I outline my seven-step process for selecting and evaluating a target investment market.

Second, people need to know who you are if they are going to trust you with their money. I’ve found that the best way to accomplish this is through a thought leadership platform. I provide tactics for how to become a thought leader in a highly competitive sector of the investing world.

Third, you need to raise money in order to fund your deals. I explain the systems, technologies, and processes that can help you raise more money faster, which includes how my mentorship program has helped me raise millions of dollars.

Listen to my interview with Hunter Thompson here.


“From Zero to 3,000 Units In 5 Years” – Unbelievable Real Estate Stories Podcast w/ Ellie Yogev

My interview on the Unbelievable Real Estate Stories podcast with Ellie Yogev focuses on how to complete your first syndication deal when you have zero apartment investing experience.

I know that you can complete a deal without prior apartment experience because that’s what I did. I share the story of how I acquired my first deal, including my first experiences with real estate brokers, creative financing, and how I overcome the multitude of challenges as a first-time apartment investor.

Listen to my interview with Ellie Yogev here.


Want to learn how to build an apartment syndication empire? Purchase the world’s first and only comprehensive book on the exact step-by-step process for completing your first apartment syndication: Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book



podcast microphone

12 Go-To Podcasts of Successful and Active Real Estate Entrepreneurs

What are your favorite real estate and/or personal development podcasts?

When we asked this question to our Best Ever Show Community members, many of the respondents chose my podcast, Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever, as one of their favorites, which is an honor for which I am very grateful! However, even though I host a daily podcast, I still enjoy consuming the content produced by other entrepreneurs and am always on the lookout for the best real estate podcasts.

In fact, out of all the responses, only a single person provided the name of one podcast (although I assume they listen to numerous shows), while the overwhelming majority provided a list of their favorite podcasts about real estate and more. Therefore, since the Best Ever Show Community is made up of active entrepreneurs, whether you’re the owner of your own podcast or not, listening to multiple podcasts across a variety of content is correlated to real estate success.

The poll is closed, the responses are in, and here are your answers:

The Brian Buffini Show is Kyle Burnett’s favorite podcast. This is a personal development podcast exploring the mindset, motivation, and methodologies behind true success.

The Real Estate Guys Radio Show is, according to Maurico Rauld’s, one of the best real estate podcasts. This show delivers no-hype education and expert perspectives on real estate in a fast-paced, entertaining style.

Simple Passive Cashflow Podcast with Lane Kawaoka is one of Bo Kim’s and Ryan Gibson’s favorite podcasts about real estate. This podcast, hosted by active Best Ever Show Community member Lane Kawaoka, promotes passive investment strategies to give the listeners the freedom to quit their jobs and do what they truly want.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin is Neil Henderson’s favorite podcast. This podcast is hosted by a #1 best-selling author who, as the title implies, provides good habits that encourage a life of maximum happiness.

The Tim Ferriss Show is probably a top podcast for everyone, including Lennon Lee and Ryan Groene. This show deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas and digs deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can apply to their daily lives.

Investing in Real Estate with Clayton Morris is Glen Sutherland’s favorite podcast. This is another in a series of best real estate podcasts that offer passive investment strategies to help listeners quit their 9 to 5 jobs.

Real Wealth Show with Kathy Fettke is a favorite of Carolyn Lorence, Ryan Gibson, and Bill Tomesch. This show also interviews guests who share advice on how anyone can build enough passive income from cash flowing real estate to quit their day job.

Apartment Investing with Michael Blank is one of Harrison Liu, Julia Bykhovskaia, and Carolyn Lorence’s favorites. A bit more focused than other podcasts about real estate, is specifically about commercial real estate investing.

Landlording for Life is Sean Morissey’s favorite podcast. A relatively newer podcast, it offers advice direct towards, as the name implies, landlords.

Real Estate Investing For Cashflow with Kevin Bupp is another on Ryan Groene’s list of best real estate podcasts. This show is for passive and active investors who are interested in learning the industry secrets of commercial real estate investing.

Old Capital Real Estate Investing Podcast with Michael Becker & Paul Peebles is one of the favorites of Julia Bykhovskaia, Carolyn Lorence, and Ryan Gibson. This show is targeted at new and seasoned multifamily investors who are interested in or are actively acquiring and operating apartment complexes.

So Money with Farnoosh Torabi is Paresa Stewart’s favorite podcast. This podcast, hosted by an award-winning financial strategist, brings money strategies and stories straight from today’s top business minds.

My recommendation is to pick at least one podcast from this list and subscribe (of course, starting with my podcast :). Because, as I said, it is a trend amongst the most successful real estate entrepreneurs to listen to multiple podcasts to stay up-to-speed and competitive in the ever-changing economic landscape.

In the comment section, post your favorite real estate or personal development podcast, either from this list or something new.

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter for even more Best Ever advice

an hourglass sitting outside on stones

If You Had a Time Machine, What Would Be Your First Investment?

Would-be real estate investors looking to make their first investment might wonder what experienced and highly successful investors wished they knew when they were in your shoes. So I asked if you were starting real estate investing over again and looking at buying your first investment property, what would be your first purchase?

Brandon Moryl

Brandon would acquire as many turnkey single-family residences as he could. In his market, Cincinnati, he can purchase a $100,000 turnkey SFR with $15,000 in out-of-pocket costs that rents for $1,250 per month. Great cash-on-cash return, longer tenants compared to multifamily, and easy to sell.

Harrison Liu

16 years ago, Harrison acquired his first investment – two triplexes situated right next to each other in a class C market. Today, the area is going through gentrification, so the rents have doubled and the property values have tripled. However, being in a C market, Harrison has had a few tenant issues over the years, including two evictions and being taken to small claims court.

Therefore, if he was starting over his advice to you if you’re buying your first investment property would be to purchase a fourplex in a B location. Instead of two loans, he would have one. Also, he would have had access to higher quality renters, which means he likely wouldn’t have been taken to small claims court.

Ryan Murdock & Glen Sutherland

As a first investment, if they were starting over, Ryan and Glen would have purchased a three or four-unit property with an owner-occupied loan, living in one unit and renting out the others. Also known as housing hacking, they would have been able to acquire a rental property with little money out-of-pocket (generally 3.5% of the purchase price) and lived rent-free.

Devin Elder & Whitney Sewell

Both Devin and Whitney said, if they were starting over, they would find a mentor.

Neil Henderson

Neil Henderson would have skipped over the single-family residence and smaller multifamily investments and went straight for a 100-unit apartment community.

Charlie Kao

When Charlie was starting out, he considered purchasing a condo from a bankrupt builder. Originally, the builder was offering the condos for $356,00 to $410,000. However, the people who agreed to purchase the condos couldn’t qualify for financing. So, the builder greatly reduced the sales prices.

Charlie was considering a two-bedroom condo listed at $160,000. If he could go back, he would have purchased that condo, because today the current value exceeds $650,000.

Robert Lawry II

Robert kept it simple and humorous. If he was starting over, his first investment would have been business cards.

Buying your first investment property? Make sure you join the Best Ever Community on Facebook.

library architecture

What’s Your Favorite Real Estate or Personal Development Book?

What are your favorite personal development and real estate investing books? That’s the question we pondered this week in the Best Ever Show Community. As a group of active real estate investors, you can be sure many of us have read tons of helpful texts, but not all are created equal. Here are some of our favorites!

Garrett White: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy



Ryan Gronene: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill



Lennon Lee of BLD Capital Group, Carlos Altamirano of CFA Investment, Mauricio Rauld and Harrison Liu: The One Thing by Gary Keller



Whitney Sewell: Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi



Ryan Gibson of Spartan Investment Group: Tax-Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright



Chibuzor Nnaji Jr.: The Go-Giver by Bob Burg



Danny Randazzo of Randazzo Capital: Mistakes Millionaires Make by Harry Clark



Dave Van Horn of PPR Note Co.: Leading an Inspired Life by Jim Rohn



Charlie Kao of MCK Property Management: Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy



Justin Kling: Investing in Duplexes, Triplexes and Quads by Larry B. Loftis

Make sure you join the Best Ever Community on Facebook. Check the group page every Wednesday and answer the weekly questions for an opportunity to be featured in next week’s blog post! In the comment section, post your favorite personal development or real estate investing books.

Finally, check out my books, Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Volumes I and II, as well as the Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book! Get some no fluff advice today!

two people meeting and going over their schedules

How to Approach Hiring a Real Estate Investing Mentor

Ask a successful investor for their opinion on hiring a real estate investing mentor and you’re likely not going to receive the same answer twice. One investor will swear by mentors, saying a coach is a must and it’s impossible to reach the highest levels of success without one. Another 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 for 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 the best business mentors, as well as when it is the right time to hire one. You will also learn how to find a mentor in real estate investing, which you should pursue only if you’re expectations and current situation align with the reality of what a real estate investing 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 real estate investing 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 not 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 is networking relationships and 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 real estate investing 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 real estate investment 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 real estate investing 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 to 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 the wrong reasons to hire a mentor.

How Do I Find a Mentor?

There is really only one effective way to find a real estate investing 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 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 real estate investing mentor can offer, the most effective way to find one is through word of mouth referrals.


If you want more details regarding how to find a mentor in real estate investing, review my other posts regarding the best ways to find an advisor.

investment cash

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.”


Did you like this blog post? If so, please feel free to share it using the social media buttons on this page.


I’d also be VERY grateful if you could rate, review, and subscribe to the Best Ever Show on iTunes by clicking this link:


That all helps a lot in ranking the show and would be greatly appreciated. And if you have any comments or questions, leave a comment below.





Library books

The Top 15 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 $572,000,000 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 best investing books on apartment investing I could get my hands on.

So, if you’re trying to figure out where to get investment advice you can take action on, here is a list of 13 books I read (or wrote) that I recommend you read. These will help you understand the ins and outs of apartment investing before or during the process of starting your multifamily real estate investment career.



If you want to raise money to purchase an apartment community, this is the ONLY book that provides a step-by-step system for how to complete your first apartment syndication deal and how to build a multimillion or multibillion dollar apartment investing empire. You will learn the exact process that Joe followed to go from making $30,000 each year at a New York City advertising firm to controlling over $400,000,000 in apartment communities.

Click here to listen to our weekly Syndication School podcast series.



Commercial Real Estate Investing By RoosCommercial Real Estate Investing by Dolf De Roos

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




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

This is another one of the best investing books if you’re interested in apartment real estate, as it helps you map out your future, find apartment buildings at a fair price, finance purchases, and manage your properties. Berges 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 HaskellHow to Take an Apartment Building from Money Pit to Money Maker by Craig Haskell

If you’re a struggling apartment owner or manager wondering where to get investment advice, Haskell offers ultimate answers in one of his best investing books by introducing 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. This book really gives apartment owners and managers the tools they need to build a thriving, top-producing rental property.

Click here to listen to my interview with Craig Haskell.



Multi-Family Millions by LindahlMulti-Family Millions by David Lindahl

Here, real estate mogul David Lindahl provides expert advice for investors who want to make the transition from single-family homes to more profitable multi-family units. He 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 money-making, multi-family units, even while you work your day job.



The ABCs of Real Estate Investing by McElroyThe ABCs of Real Estate Investing by Ken McElroy

Some of the best investing books include basic, foundational information. In this back-to-basics book, you can 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 Martinez

Investing in Apartment Buildings by Matthew Martinez

Are you newer to apartment real estate and trying to learn where to get investment advice? With this book, you can create a reliable stream of income and build long-term wealth. Throughout, Martinez 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 MurrayCrushing 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, which is why I consider it one of the best investing books to learn from. 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.

Click here to listen to my interview with Brian Murray.


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

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 CumleyThe 7 Secrets to Successful Apartment Leasing by Eric Cumley

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 Grillo

The Definitive Guide to Apartment Marketing by Josh Grillo

In this book, Grillo shares insights into new tools, tactics, and terminology that are increasing leads, leases, occupancy, and rents for multifamily companies. This 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 Martinez2 Years to a Million in Real Estate by Matthew Martinez

This book contains 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. It’s probably easy to see why this is in a list of best investing books.



Tax-Free Wealth by WheelwrightTax-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, as well as how they are designed to reduce your taxes, not to increase your taxes. Once you understand the basic principles of tax reduction, you can immediately begin 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.

Click here to listen to my interview with Tom Wheelwright.



Raising Private Capital bookRaising Private Capital: Building Your Real Estate Empire Using Other People’s Money by Matt Faircloth

This book outlines a road map for investors looking to inject more private capital into their business, the most effective strategy for growth. You will learn how to develop long-term wealth from the valuable lessons and experiences offered by the author.

Click here to listen to my interview with Matt Faircloth.



Apartment investing textHow to Find, Finance, Fix and Flips Apartments: From Duplexes to 100+ Unit Complexes by Nathan Tabor

Nathan’s perspective on multi-family investing is very unique. He has personally bought, renovated and flipped over $52M of apartments since 2006. His book is slammed packed with incredibly useful and practical information. His due diligence section covers things I’ve never even considered, like who owns fire hydrants? Whether you are a seasoned investor or just starting out, this book will help you through all aspects of process.

Click here to listen to my interviews with Nathan below:


Want a more exhaustive recommendation list of the best investing books I’m aware of, including books on general entrepreneurship, mindset, and sales and negotiation? Subscribe to my weekly newsletter here, and I will send you the entire list of where to get investment advice and more.

real estate and law books

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

financial growth via investments

10 Laws of Successful Real Estate Investing

Last Updated on 6/15/2018


I am personally a follower of The Three Immutable Laws of Real Estate Investing, which are the three things all investors must do when purchasing real estate in order to thrive in any market at any time in the market cycle. And I think a great companion list of laws are the ones laid out by turnkey rental property investor Marco Santeralli.


In my conversation with Marco on my podcast, he outlined the 10 laws that he discovered based on personal experience and are common amongst all successful real estate investors. Apply these ten rules in tandem with the Three Immutable Laws to set yourself up for success and to create and scale a sustainable real estate business model.


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, which is also described in the first Immutable Law of Real Estate Investing. 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


Subscribe to my weekly newsletter for even more Best Ever advice


line graph on a computer

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



person in a public library

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?



man standing on a rock

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?


Marketing Outrageously

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.

Three Feet from Gold

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.

Joe Fairless