JF2029 : Rental Automation With Cliff Hayden

Cliff Hayden created a system called ShowMeTheRental.com. It is a system he created out of the necessity of reducing the amount of work he was having to do when running his own properties. The system helps with advertising, prescreens leads, phone call follow-ups and schedules showings for your rentals. Cliff also shares how he separates renting his homes from the competition in the area by providing the same quality he would if he was selling the house.

Cliff Hayden Real Estate Background:


Best Ever Tweet:

“Takes you years to build up your reputation and seconds to lose it.” – Cliff Hayden


Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast, where we only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff. With us today, Cliff Hayden. How are you doing, Cliff?

Cliff Hayden: I’m great, Joe. How are you?

Joe Fairless: I am doing great, and I’m glad to hear that.  A little bit about Cliff – he’s a real estate investor, he’s the broker-owner of Altec Properties and founder of ShowMeTheRental.com. He helps investors automate the tenant screening process. Based in Louisville, Kentucky. With that being said, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a  little bit more about your background and your current focus?

Cliff Hayden: Yeah, it’s a great question, Joe. My background – I’m very similar to you; I’ve read your bio.  You used to work a full-time job at AT&T… I was an outside plant technician, which is a fancy word for construction worker. So I did that for ten years. While I was working there I got into real estate and started buying houses. Then I found out I did not like the corporate world, I did not like being  a paper on a string… So I worked my way out of that job, started doing real estate full-time  around 11 years ago now; since 2008-2009, right in that area…

So I started getting into — I first started out as a buyer’s agent in foreclosures, which was a great time, in 2008-2009. Then I started a general contracting company, and started buying rental houses. I’ve accumulated quite a few, and sold off quite a few, for a new lifestyle I’ve been shooting after for the last six years. As of right now, I just do single-family residential, I do CESA accounts or my kids, and I do a lot of Roth IRA tax-free investments.

Joe Fairless: What accounts for your kids?

Cliff Hayden: CESA accounts – Coverdell educational saving accounts. I’m big on doing deals in those, because college is expensive, and it’s getting to be where only the elite can afford it… A CESA account – any real estate deal you do normally, you can put in a CESA account. It’s tax-free, and you can use it 100% for education and several other things along the way.

Joe Fairless: Well, let’s talk about your current focus – what I believe is your current focus – which is ShowMeTheRental.com. Is that the main focus of yours?

Cliff Hayden: Correct, yes.

Joe Fairless: Alright, so let’s talk about it. So what is it?

Cliff Hayden: ShowMeTheRental is basically a system we created because I couldn’t find one that I could use from somebody else… So we had a big problem back in the day when we had 8,000 houses, and just pre-screening leads, and following up with emails, and phone calls… It was just overwhelming. And it was just me and one other guy in the office.

So we developed a system that not only screens – it advertises, generates leads, pre-screens the leads, and then it sets up showings automatically through the system. So in my mind, it took all the crap out of the management part of the business, because anybody who does real estate – the biggest headache is when you’ve got empty houses and rentals, and you just get bombarded.

So this kind of automates that whole process, so you don’t take any phone calls or emails. It’s set up very simply and very inexpensive. We built it out of necessity. Not to get too deep and heavy, but it saved my marriage, because I was having trouble at home, because we were just — it’s business; it can control you, it can consume you. It’s a 24-hour/day job if you let it be.

Joe Fairless: So it advertises your posting for the home, and then it prescreens leads… And then what else does it do?

Cliff Hayden: It sets up the showings. There’s five different ways to show your property. Most people do lockboxes. You can do open houses, you can sign a key, and you can set up showings, dates and times, depending on how your business is ran. You can also — what we’d like to do now, because we kind of upgraded our portfolio the last several years, is we actually show the house with the tenant in there now. So the actual tenant shows the house for us, and then from there you get a link for your application, and they fill it out, and ShowMeTheRental is done. We take it up to the point to where you screen your application and take it from there.

Joe Fairless: So the tenant shows the house for you, so you just talk to the tenant…? How does that work?

Cliff Hayden: So the system is set up — we use calendars, so the system will send the tenant a link to a calendar, and they can pick the dates and times they’re available to show the property. Then when the end user or the new tenant wants to show it, it actually sends them the same link that shows what’s available, and they click one of those tabs, and it schedules it for you.

Joe Fairless: Huh. Okay.

Cliff Hayden: Very simple.

Joe Fairless: Any concerns about the tenant who’s deciding to move out talking bad about the property?

Cliff Hayden: That’s a great question, and that’s such a grey area. So our houses in particular, for our business – we have higher-end houses now, with nice tenants, nice customers that usually are in the process of buying a home, so they talk great about is… But I’m partial to our business. I think we do a great job as managers.

Our customers – we’re on a first-name basis with most of them now, they’ve been with us for years… We’ve kind of set ourselves apart from a lot of our competition by making our houses a lot nicer than most of everything else out there on the market… So we kind of pre-screen a little different now, which was a lot more strenuous, to get a better, higher-end customer in there. But we don’t have too many problems, Joe, to be honest with you. We’re lucky to get a phone call — maybe one a month, or every other months, it’s high for us.

Joe Fairless: Well, let’s talk about what you said there… You set yourself apart from the competition by making the homes much nicer… Will you elaborate on how you’ve done that?

Cliff Hayden: Okay, so what we do is high-end stuff. We do higher-end light fixtures, we do nice, white shaker cabinets now, with granite countertops, tile backsplash, we tile the floors, the bathrooms… Nice vanities, with the little vessel bowl sinks, and the nice, just higher-end quality stuff. Actually, the same stuff we do on our houses we’re gonna sell.

We kind of buy now in nice school districts, nice neighborhoods, and put those nice qualities in the house…  So when somebody is looking in that area, we kind of stand out above the competition. We screen very hard now, but it allows us to get nicer quality people in the properties.

Joe Fairless: And is this local in Louisville?

Cliff Hayden: Yeah, it’s all in Louisville. I’m a small-time — I stay where I know, and I’m just comfortable with my neighborhoods.

Joe Fairless: Okay. What are the price points we’re talking about, first?

Cliff Hayden: The average price in our area is 100k to 150k. When you get in that range, with the price point vs. rent, it’s very good. I’ll just do simple math – a 100k house will rent for around $1,000 to $1,100 a month. A 150k house will rent for around $1,300-$1,400/month. So that’s kind of where we stick to. Usually, 150k or less is all we do. Nice little brick ranches, 3-bedroom/2-bath, with a basement and a garage. That’s kind of our cookie-cutter house.

Joe Fairless: And in the example of a 100k house, $1,100 rent – is that post-renovation? You’re all-in with 100k?

Cliff Hayden: Correct. Or cheaper. It depends. The market today is a little different. Foreclosures in our time are pretty much gone. I do a lot of subject-to’s or seller finance deals now… A little creative financing on most of my deals, so it all varies what I’m all-in for. Usually not that much. I try to get into deals where I’m taking over payments. They’ve got high equity and I’ll give them a little bit of equity for their time, and then the houses don’t need very much, maybe some paint and carpet.

Joe Fairless: How are you getting those leads?

Cliff Hayden: More word of mouth. I’ve been doing this for a while, and I tell all the new people, especially in real estate, it takes you years to build up your reputation and seconds to lose it. So I do a really good job at taking care of people, and it’s common sense to me – integrity, honesty, do what  you say you’re gonna do, and I get a lot of deals.

My parents are older, and they’re the baby boomers, so they’re in their ’70s, and they’ve got a  lot of friends that have paid-for houses and moving to Florida, and I’ll finance the house from them. I’ve done it several times with them. That’s one avenue.

Joe Fairless: The subject-to – if you can think of a specific example with numbers, and just tell us a   story of the deal, that’d be great.

Cliff Hayden: Okay… So the one I just did, right down the street from my house – the guy went through a divorce; sad situation, he just couldn’t afford the house, didn’t wanna deal with it, and he just wanted some money to move.

Joe Fairless: And how did you hear about it?

Cliff Hayden: Actually a friend of mine called me, that we do deals together with.

Joe Fairless: Okay. Why didn’t your friend act on it?

Cliff Hayden: It’s a great question. So we do VRBO. You know what that is, I’m assuming…

Joe Fairless: Yeah.

Cliff Hayden: Vacation rental houses… So we actually rent out our house through the summer and we travel all summer. My wife works for the local high school… So we travel all summer, and when we come back, we’ve got a lake house that’s a far-away drive, and my wife is getting mad about it, that we had to drive so far when we came home… So my buddy came across this house that’s literally five minutes from my house. And he knew that it would be the perfect setup for us to stay there while we’re renting our house out.

We’ve done deals together for probably over a decade now, and he just said “You know what – just take it. You can have it. It’s for your family”, and he just gave it to me. So that was a very cool little deal. Basically, we took it over subject-to. The house was worth 200k, we took it over for 91k… Payments are $744/month, and that’s everything – PITI. We did have to put some money in this, a little bit more than normal, because my wife wanted it a little bit nicer than most.

Joe Fairless: [laughs]

Cliff Hayden: That’s the best way to say it. So we’ll probably have around 30k into it when it’s all said and done, and then payments will be $744/month. The kicker to this was she is gonna let me put our house on the market for VRBO all year round; not that it will rent all year round, but we’ll make it available… With the goal being to pay it off in two years. Then that way we have little debt. That’s kind of what  my business plan is now, is to get out of debt.

Joe Fairless: With the VRBO – is that the best website that you’ve found to get the short-term tenants?

Cliff Hayden: For vacation rental houses — it’s two different ones. We have VRBO; to me it’s more like long-term rentals, so you’re renting from three days to a week, or longer… So it’s more family vacation rental houses… And then Airbnb is more short-term. So if somebody’s coming to town for a night, or two nights, and they’re kind of in and out. We do both.

So for our personal home, we only do VRBO, because I screen everybody and talk to them personally, just to make sure they’re okay… And knock on wood, we’ve never had a problem so far – all great people, all great families.

Then we have a lake house that we VRBO, and I do instant booking on that, and that’s mainly — I get most of my bookings through Airbnb on that. It’s if they’re there for just a couple of nights. That’s my understanding of how I use those websites.

Joe Fairless: Okay… Let’s circle back to  ShowMeTheRental.com. Is that an app?

Cliff Hayden: It’s not an app yet. You can use it on your mobile, but it’s not an app. It is basically just a website.

Joe Fairless: So what’s the user experience? If I’m just listening to this interview and I’m like “Oh man, Cliff’s got something that I need. I’d love to have my home advertised, and then those people screened, and set up  to showings automatically…”, what’s the user experience from that point forward for me?

Cliff Hayden: Great question, Joe. We made this as simple as we can. We developed ShowMeTheRental from Kayak.com, if you’ve ever heard of that. Basically — I’m not that smart; most real estate guys are hard workers, so we developed it so it’s very simple to navigate through, very easy.

You go to ShowMeTheRental.com, you sign up, it kind of walks you through how to put your property into the system, there’s about six different sections based on pictures, descriptions, audio recording, showing instructions, and then pre-screening questions. The first, they’re pretty self-explanatory; the pre-screening questions are where everything ties together, and it’s pretty neat. We have around 30 questions, and then we recommend you pick around 3-5.

For us personally, the biggest questions we go over before we let anybody view our house is “How long have you been on your job? How much money do you have in the bank? Are you on Section-8?” With those questions — and we have a couple more… Another one we use is “Do you have small tools, and can you use small tools?” [laughter] I know it’s funny; we expect our tenants — we’re not a Holiday Inn. So we screen them very heavily and we make them understand. If you change your furnace, a smoke detector,  a snake in the drain… There’s certain things in these types of houses we expect you to take care of.

So you’ll pick your questions, and then from there the next tab is “Go live and get leads.” From there we have all the websites available to market your property on, the main ones being Zillow and Facebook Marketplace. That’s our two hot spots right now for websites.

Joe Fairless: What happened to Craigslist?

Cliff Hayden: Craigslist is kind of difficult, because you don’t have syndication with Craigslist. The problem with that is it is in the process, but the problem is you have to actually take a link and copy that and paste it into Craigslist… Because with Zillow — I’m not good with all the terminology, I’ve got a partner that does that, but… Basically, they syndicate. So when you put something on there, Zillow syndicates with it and it automatically posts to Zillow, it automatically posts to Trulia, it automatically posts to Facebook Live. Craigslist is not that way, you have to manually input the information. So it’s a little bit more difficult.

Joe Fairless: Okay. So that’s the management experience. It’s very easy to put your house on the market. We made this as cheap as possible to do all this. So it advertises, it generates leads, pre-screens the leads, and it sets up the showings, and send out an application. We tell everybody “If you have your own application, you copy the link and put it in the system.” There’s a little spot for it. And if you don’t have an online application, we have a generic one you can use. So from there, it’s $49. It does all that for $49, which I think is insanely cheap.

Our goal is to get people to get their life back. Because I know when I was in real estate – and Joe, it sounds like you’ve got a lot going on also – you can get overwhelmed if you don’t have the right systems or staff in place. You get overwhelmed with some of this stuff, and it kind of takes away from what you’re really wanting to do. So that’s the property management side of it.

From a tenant side of it, what we do for tenants is we actually advertise on Facebook, and get tenants to kind of sign up through ShowMeTheRental,  and fill out what we call a tenant profile. So what they’ll do is they’ll fill out a tenant profile – that’s one way – or they’ll just go on Zillow or on Trulia or on Facebook and they’ll see the property, they click on it, it’ll send them a link to fill out the pre-screening questions you selected… Once they will those questions out and they answer them correctly, it’ll send them showing instructions that you authorize to show the property with. That’s the simplest way.

But the big way we’re working on, which I really like, that I kind of jumped around with (I apologize) is we do tenant profiles now. So we advertise on Facebook through different regions, and get tenants to fill out all the pre-screening questions beforehand, and then we actually cross-reference that with the houses that are on the system, and then we just send them all the houses available.

The big goal is if you don’t have a house on there, we have a list of different people in different zip codes that are looking for  a house, so you’ll kind of know “Hey, you’ve got 50 people here”, and a big zip code in our town is 40258… “You’re got 50 people in 40258 looking for a house”, so you know as soon as you put your house on there all 50 of them, if they qualify, will get to see that house. So it kind of automates that whole process and sets it up very clean, so it matches up pretty fast… Which is the goal – to get people in these properties, to get them qualified and rented as fast as possible.

Joe Fairless: So it’s twofold – one is you’re building a database of people who are wanting a place, and then second is if that database doesn’t match up with the house, then they can respond directly via an ad that’s placed on Zillow or Facebook Marketplace.

What’s been a challenge of your as you’ve built this out?

Cliff Hayden: The honest answer is it takes a long time to develop software. I had no idea. The biggest challenge I had is just the time it takes to do this, and getting bugs worked out, and different little headaches along the way. The other biggest challenge is — I don’t know how to say it right without sounding terrible… But this is kind of built for the younger generation, so people 40 and below. We’ve had trouble with older senior landlords that are just not computer-savvy. So it’s very simple, but we’ve had trouble trying to get them to understand what to do, because they just don’t — for me and you probably it’s very simple to drag pictures, and put the data in, and copy and paste. For them it’s a little more difficult, because they’re not used to it.

A lot of guys in our town, the senior guys – they still use phones. They have a website, but they still call, and talk, and that’s just their way. So trying to transition the older investors into the system has been a little challenging.

Joe Fairless: I believe you mentioned earlier that you weren’t the tech person; you have a partner. Did you meet that partner because you had this idea, so you wanted help executing it, or did you already know this partner?

Cliff Hayden: I did not know him. I met him from a friend of mine that I grew up with. So I’ve had this idea for actually years. I spent several months researching and trying to find a company that did this already, and I could not find anybody. The whole part of it. So then I just decided to develop it and started asking around to people that I know if anybody was interested… I got turned down several times from different companies, and then I met some entrepreneurs in our town that have actually built up several businesses and sold them off, and they’re in this world of codes, and developing websites, and all this stuff… They’re doing a lot of stuff with Ameritrade and some bigger companies… So I kind of had lunch with them, drinks one night, and we kind of talked and told them what my idea was and what the problem in the market was, and how I wanna develop this. They were on board, and we partnered up from there.

Joe Fairless: As a real estate investor who – you were buying foreclosures, and now you’ve had to shift the process for how you’re acquiring properties, what’s some skills that you use now, even though you’re not buying the foreclosures, that helped you buy those foreclosures then?

Cliff Hayden: That’s a great question, Joe. So what I did was I developed relationships with all the top foreclosure agents in the town. Actually, I shouldn’t say all of them. Out of the top five foreclosure agents in our town, I was good friends with three of them. So one of the big things I would do–

Joe Fairless: How did you know who were the top ones?

Cliff Hayden: You can just look on the MLS, and look at the stats, and see who’s got the most listings and the most sales and the most assets.

Joe Fairless: Okay.

Cliff Hayden: So I was actually working with one of them… So what I did was I would take him out to lunch, I would talk to him, figure out how all this stuff works. And then one of them was a HUD agent, and I would actually call her every Sunday night, because that was the deadline for HUD houses. So I’d call, and she would tell me what offers were in. She couldn’t see the prices of course, but she’d tell me “Hey, we have offers on this one, or this one… I think you can get this for this price.” Or “Hey, this one just fell through, but we can put an offer in for this tonight.”

So that’s one of the ways – every Sunday night we’d sit and talk, and it’d be [unintelligible [00:18:34].20] about two or three houses, sitting there, talking. So we put in offers with that.

Another one would be just know the agents… And back then, in 2009, you had a lot of pocket listings, so you could actually put it under contract [unintelligible [00:18:46].05] They don’t do that anymore. So times have changed, but I would do a lot of pocket listings back in the day… And I would get those because the agents knew I try to just make their lives easy. They knew I’d pay cash, they knew I’d do what I say, just like earlier… I would always go to them to do all the paperwork, I would always make their life as easy as possible. So if I had to drive across town to give them earnest money, it’s on the contracts, if that was easier for them, I would do whatever it took to make sure they were happy, because I wanted them to call me on the next deal.

Joe Fairless: Taking a step back, what’s your best real estate investing advice ever?

Cliff Hayden: I don’t know about ever… That’s a good question. I don’t know if there’s an “ever” in that. My best advice for me personally – I tell everybody, get educated. This isn’t a hard game to play if you know the rules and you get educated on thinking outside the box. I think that’s a big deal in this business, especially in today’s market. Creative financing, creative deals are a big deal if you wanna get ahead of the competition.

So my advice would be get educated, get a mentor… I think getting a local mentor, or even trying somebody nationwide… But it’s hard for them to know your market and know your areas of town that’s gonna work best for you… But I’d say get a mentor.

And what really worked for me is figure out why you’re doing this business. My big thing is lifestyle. That’s all I focus on these days. I want a certain lifestyle. So I’d put the end game first, and then kind of work your way backwards on how much it’s gonna cost you to do that endgame, to get to where you wanna be.

So that would be my advice to new people, or even people who have been doing it for a few years. The money is great, but the big problem I had – and I’ve said this several times before – I used to think money was the goal; I come from a lower-middle-class family, so I thought once you made the money you’d be happy. I realized probably 5-6 years ago that money is basically a tool, it should never be the goal. So get your lifestyle in place. I think that’s the key. I guess that’s my advice. Figure out what kind of lifestyle you want, figure out how much it costs to have that lifestyle, and then work  your way to get to there.

Joe Fairless: I love that – money is a tool, it should never be the goal. That’s very powerful, especially — the more I think about it, the more powerful that is. We’re gonna do  a lightning round. Are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?

Cliff Hayden: We’ll see. Let’s do it, I’m ready.

Joe Fairless: You’re ready, I know you’re ready. Alright, first though, a quick word from our Best Ever partners.

Break: [00:20:55].23] to [00:21:45].11]

Joe Fairless: Okay, best ever resource that you use to stay up to date with industry trends, or just stay sharp with your business?

Cliff Hayden: I’m a real estate broker, so the MLS is my best way to track stats, and hot properties, and what’s selling fast.

Joe Fairless: What is the best ever deal you’ve done?

Cliff Hayden: That’s a good one. I did a package deal when I first started, and the reason it was the best ever is because I had a mentor involved and I had no damn idea what I was doing… I bought seven houses for over half a million dollars, and I had $3,000 in the bank. I had no idea if that was gonna work out. The great advice I got from a real estate mentor – a guy named Mike butler, local in our town – changed my life. He said “If you have a deal, you’ll find the money.” It took me years to understand that. If you have a good deal, the money is out there. It’s easy to find if you have a deal for it.

So I ended up paying cash for all these houses. I had a local bank fund the purchase price. All of them had tenants in them. So I bought seven houses, it didn’t cost me any money… I got a $28,000 commission on this deal; I had tenants in all of them. I ended up wholesaling two of them to my son’s doctor… Because we got the flu, and I went to the doctor’s office, and we started BS-ing, and long story short, he’s like “Yeah, I’m doing real estate”, and I said “Hey man, I’ve got two houses in your area if you wanna buy them.”

So I wholesaled two of them, kept five, still have them today. The local bank refinanced them — it’s been years ago, but I wanna say within a month or two we refinanced all of those on 30-year fixed loans.

Joe Fairless: Oh, wonderful.

Cliff Hayden: So that was a great deal. That was when I caught the bug, like “This stuff really works!” Because I thought for a while it was just for a certain type of people. Then I came across that big deal, and it was a game-changer for me.

Joe Fairless: And real quick, how did you come across it?

Cliff Hayden: Great question. I asked one simple question. They had a house for sale on the market in a neighborhood that I liked, and I simply asked “Do you have any other houses you wanna unload?” And an agent actually said “As a matter of fact, this is an estate”, and they have six other houses, seven total, and they’re looking to get rid of them all at once if they can… And I was like “Okay, let’s see what we can do.” So that one simple question put that deal together.

Joe Fairless: On the flipside, what deal have you lost the most amount of money on?

Cliff Hayden: I’m laughing out loud, because I was just talking about this yesterday. I did a deal recently which is stupid, because I know better… I went out of my comfort zone and bought a big, nice condo, in a really nice area of town. The numbers on paper look great, and it was an area where I thought I was gonna sell… So for new people, just to give you hope, we still screw up too, and I’ve been doing this for a while. It’s about a $400,000 condo, and I’ve been sitting on this thing now for around seven months. So that was the worst deal I’ve done lately, and it looks like I’m gonna have to end up probably lease-optioning it out, or trying to do some kind of trader exchange with another investor to get out from under. So I hate to say it, because I know better, but that was the worst deal I’ve done in years.

Joe Fairless: What is the best ever way you like to give back?

Cliff Hayden: That’s a great question. We’re actually doing this now. My sister works for a non-profit called Home of the Innocence. They take in troubled kids, abandoned kids, and kids with all kinds of problems. A big problem they’re having is when kids get 18, they’re out of the system. They don’t have any of that help from the government anymore, they’re kind of on their own, a lot of times they’re falling back into the same grounds they were in before, because they have to survive…

So what way we’re giving back now is we’re helping them buy houses, and showing these kids how to fix them up, kind of mentoring them… I’m actually starting a big brother program; I actually met the kid on the 18th of December. So that’s how I give back – helping others. And I like teaching people what I know. I think that’s very cool, and I think for under-privileged kids, they wanna work hard and really wanna do it; I think there’s an opportunity there for them to help them out a lot.

Joe Fairless: How can the best ever listeners learn more about what you’re doing?

Cliff Hayden: Well, from ShowMeTheRental side, just visit ShowMeTheRental.com. If you’ve got any questions, you can call me on my cell phone any time. I tell everybody I answer calls from 12 to 1 and 4 to 5. I have an answering service and it’ll leave me a message, but you can reach me at 502-641-8781, if I can help you with anything. And then visit our website, and hopefully you give us a try. It’s changed my life and got me time back to hang out with my wife and five children… So that takes up a lot of my time also.

Joe Fairless: Money is a tool, it should never be a goal. I also like what you said earlier about reputation – it takes years to build a reputation and seconds to lose it. We’ve gotta stay sharp, we’ve gotta continue to be who we’ve been, but perhaps even a better version of that as go through life. I love the case studies and your approach to setting yourself apart from the competition and still making the numbers work.

Thanks for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you again soon.

Cliff Hayden: Joe, I really appreciate your time. Thanks for the opportunity.

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JF1813: Growing A Brokerage While Working Full Time & Commercial Real Estate Investing with Tyler Chesser

We get to hear a personal story of a person who got their real estate license for some extra cash. After making that extra cash, Tyler didn’t stop there, he decided to take it full time and is still currently in that role. Hear how he grew his business to being full time, and continues to scale in the commercial real estate investing world. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!


Best Ever Tweet:

“In my opinion if someone is getting into multifamily, they should start smaller” – Tyler Chesser


Tyler Chesser Real Estate Background:

  • A CRE broker, personal development thought leader, and multifamily investor
  • Total transactions over $50 Million in real estate investment deals
  • Based in Louisville, KY
  • Say hi to him at https://tylerchesser.com/
  • Best Ever Book: Ben Franklin’s Biography


Evicting a tenant can be painful, costing as much as $10,000 in court costs and legal fees, and take as long as four weeks to complete.

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Theo Hicks: Hi, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I am Theo Hicks, and I’ll be hosting the podcast today. I am with today’s guest, Tyler Chesser. Tyler, how are you doing today?

Tyler Chesser: Theo, it’s great to be with you, sir. I’m doing great. How about yourself?

Theo Hicks: I am doing great as well, I’m looking forward to our conversation. A little bit about Tyler before we jump into our conversation – he is a commercial real estate broker, personal development thought leader and multifamily investor. He’s done a total transaction amount of over 50 million dollars in real estate investment deals. He’s based in Louisville, Kentucky, and to learn more about him and to say hi to him, you can visit his website at TylerChesser.com.

Before we dive into it, Tyler, can you give us a little bit more about your background and what you’re focused on now?

Tyler Chesser: Sure. When I got started in my professional career, I was doing international marketing for a Fortune 500 firm. It was a great way to get started, and really the reason why I got into that is because I was always fascinated with decision-making behind consumer behavior. As I got into that, I grew a lot in that business; however, I recognized so many limitations in terms of being in that corporate environment, and I started to recognize that my corporate climb was going to be a very long and slow one… So I started to sort of identify what are some other options for me in terms of how I can maybe do some timeline hopping and expand my capabilities from a financial perspective, as well as just choice perspective in my life.

Long story short, I ended up getting into real estate, and I got my broker’s license about six years ago… And started selling property. I kind of built my business on a one-by-one basis, and got referred, and grew my business through referral, and started to sell multifamily properties, as well as retail office, land, and some industrial as well. So really I’ve built my business from there…

And then I also invested in myself, whether it was personal development or investing in properties myself, multifamily properties, and then also investing in my own personal and professional development, whether it’s CCIM, or coaching, or what have you… But that’s really kind of been my path, so to speak, for the past 10-11 years or so.

Theo Hicks: When you initially got your broker’s license, were you still working a full-time corporate job?

Tyler Chesser: I was, yeah. And it’s funny, because when I got my license I just decided “You know what, I’m gonna sell houses on the side.” I had purchased a house a couple years before that, and I decided maybe I can do that, and make some extra cash… And I did that, and I actually doubled my income within that first year… So I got to a point where I said “Well, okay, now I’ve got a choice to make.” I felt like I had a pretty good job, but at the same time I felt like I was on a path that maybe had some more opportunities for growth, so I decided to take the plunge there and had some other opportunities that gave me some more credibility, and also gave me some more stability in that business, so I decided to jump in full-time after about a year of doing it on the side.

Theo Hicks: That’s interesting, because I know a lot of people that are interested in real estate investing, that a big thing is quitting your full-time job and doing real estate full-time… Would you wanna walk us through how you were able to double your income in that first year by not necessarily focusing on real estate full-time? How were you able to balance your full-time job and growing such a large business selling real estate?

Tyler Chesser: It was definitely not easy. I had to get up early, I had to work late, I had to spend nights and weekends either showing property or gaining my understanding in my business… So I would wake up at 4 AM before I had to  be in at work at my main job, at 9 AM. So I’d be up at 4 and kind of working on at least either my understanding — I actually had a coach at the time who was helping me get acclimated in the real estate business, and so I would do a lot of the things that he directed me towards doing, and spending my time on those various things… So it took a lot, really.

Honestly, I set a goal for myself of a date that I wanted to become full-time in the business, and I exceeded that and I was able to make that happen a little bit earlier than I expected… But it was certainly a sacrifice to be able to build my clientele from a one-on-one perspective. I would show properties to one client on a Tuesday evening, and the next day we’d be making offers, and by the end of that weekend we’re doing inspections, and those kinds of things… So it was a big time-sacrifice, but that’s really kind of the behind the scenes of what I did.

Theo Hicks: That’s interesting. Anyone who’s listening – it sounds like it is possible to go from not really being involved in real estate at all, to being able to replace that full-time income in a year, if you hustle for it.

So right now you said you work with some multifamily investors, and I personally am trying to get into the multifamily realm… This is more of a personal question, but I know  a lot of people listening are, as well… So what’s your decision-making process when someone comes to you and they’re interested in buying multifamily? They haven’t done a deal before. What types of things do you look for in that individual to decide whether you’re going to work with them or whether you’re going to pass on working with them?

Tyler Chesser: Well, first of all, I think a lot of people — it’s kind of a hot topic for the day for people to say “Hey, I think you should start big and go big.” A lot of people do that, in some ways, and I really don’t think it’s the best idea. In my opinion, I do recommend if people are getting into multifamily to kind of start small or to learn, because I know personally my first multifamily deal, when I did it, I made every mistake in the book when I invested in my first deal… And it was certainly painful, but I wasn’t put out of the game, because it wasn’t a massive deal. But I think it’s worthwhile to start small. Then once you kind of build your systems, you build your team, you build your understanding, then go larger, because certainly you do have economies of scale that are extremely valuable. So that’s what I would say first as far as my recommendation for people who are getting into that business.

But as far as how I evaluate potential clients in that space, I evaluate people who — are they willing to be realistic, are they willing to learn? Are they willing to understand and realize how challenging it can be at times, but also what it really takes? What kind of cash do you have on hand, what type of financing discussions have you had? What type of properties are you looking at, specifically yourself, and where do you wanna be and what are your goals? Goals are extremely important. I think if you have somebody who has clarity and someone who’s willing to achieve clarity through consultation with myself, or maybe someone on my team – I think those are things that I look for for somebody who’s getting started in multifamily.

Theo Hicks: That’s solid advice. Are you typically helping people sell their properties, or are you also helping people find multifamily deals as well?

Tyler Chesser: We do both. We work with multifamily investors from all over the United States, as well as internationally. Acquire and dispose of multifamily, as well as other commercial real estate investment assets in Kentucky and Indiana… And primarily in the Louisville submarket, surrounding here, so you’ve got Southern Indiana, as well as Louisville proper, and we’ve got 13 surrounding counties.

So that’s where we’re most knowledgeable and where we find most of our deals, but we do work with folks who are acquiring and building their portfolio, as well as people who maybe they’re downsizing or they’re expanding their portfolio through exchanges… So we’re really kind of the consultants for our clients in whatever way, and so we have discussions with our clients, whether or not they’re making moves… But we certainly can make those deals happen whether it is an on market or off market transaction. In fact, over the past few years we’ve done a tremendous amount of off market transactions; it is all about knowing what’s going on on the street and what conversations are being had on  a daily basis, and even right at this moment.

There’s so many different things… It’s all about relationships and it’s all about what sort of market knowledge you have, and that’s one thing that we’ve been blessed to be able to obtain over the years – people who’ve trusted us, and trusted us with information on things that they’re thinking of doing, and us kind of coming in and helping them expand their portfolio, or resize it in whatever way that makes most sense for them and their outcome and their goals.

Theo Hicks: Do you mind walking us through high-level what your strategies are for generating these off market leads? Or even on market leads. I guess just deals in general, specifically multifamily, and then maybe give us a specific example of one of the better deals that you’ve found and sold to a client.

Tyler Chesser: Sure. We’re a part of many different organizations – real estate networking organizations – and you’d be very surprised to know how many deals are done just by having a conversation, either over a cup of coffee, lunch, or over a drink at a bar. People are saying “You know, I would consider doing X, Y and Z”, and send a few text messages, and then the next thing you know, you’ve got a deal done. So it’s really interesting how that happens, but it is really all about relationships when it comes to off market.

When it comes to on market, certainly we’re sourcing deals from many different locations, whether it’s our local platform – we utilize Catylist – or whether it’s a national platform such as LoopNet, or otherwise… Really, that’s one of the big challenges in the broker space – it’s such a fragmented business, and there’s so many different platforms where people are marketing deals. So it makes it challenging, but we have our eyes really everywhere, and we’ve got auto-searches set up, and we have filters, and all these different things for all of our clients… So when we have discussions, we have large databases that we’re inputting information and we’re keeping our clients abreast of opportunities very frequently, and informing them of what types of opportunities are becoming available on or off market.

At this point in the market people have to move extremely quickly, so we try our best to communicate that, that we’ve gotta be really acting quickly… But it’s all about really over-communication; that’s one of our core values. If we’re not certain that someone has received a piece of information, whatever way we need to get in touch with them, whether it’s a call, or a text, or even a Zoom call like we’re doing right now – we do a lot of that, and we try to get that information out.

It is somewhat of a fragmented process, but we do our very best to get the information, whether it is something that is nationally or globally marketed, or something that is written on the back of a napkin in your local bar.

Theo Hicks: And do you mind giving us a specific example of the most recent off market deal, how you found it, and the story behind that?

Tyler Chesser: Sure, absolutely. This morning, actually right before I got on this call with you, we had a group that gave me a call and said “Hey, we’ve got this property, it’s 36 units, and we’d like to place it. Here’s the details on it.” They sent us over a commission agreement; they’d like to get it done off market. There’s some reasons why they don’t wanna go to market, and it really has to do with their operations and some of the details there…

But it was really more of a call, and they said “Hey look, do you have anyone who’s interested in this?” It was a 36-unit deal, and it’s got an assumable note and really attractive terms; it’s a Freddie Mac assumable deal. That’s a great example of “This is a pure phone call.” “Hey, I know you’ve done some deals for us before, and we know that you have an extensive network, so we’d love to find that out.” It’s a great example, but we also have pitch sessions with other brokers and investors, where people say “I’ve got this property, I consider letting it go, but I’d like to 1031 exchange into this type of asset. Here’s my criteria. Do you have anyone who’s a taker?” And we do that stuff every single week as well.

You name it, it happens extremely frequently. The most recent example was just right before this call; we got a call exactly on “Here’s the details, here’s where it is, here’s the rent roll, here’s the T-12. Can you get it done? Yes? No? Alright, perfect. Let’s do it.”

Theo Hicks: Thank you for sharing that example. Last question before we get to the money question… Since you are obviously a broker, but you also invest yourself, what are your thoughts on investors going out and finding deals themselves, versus just using a broker to find the deals for them?

Tyler Chesser: Well, I certainly think everyone has their own strategy, and some strategies work better than others for some individuals… But I think in our business, since it is so fragmented and it’s so — you have a really huge requirement to have deep and extensive relationships… For the most part, in most markets, your brokers are gonna be really the gatekeepers on that, so I think I would probably recommend for the most of your listeners to be working through brokers, because that’s where they’re gonna find the best opportunities. Those calls, like I just got right before the phone call here with you today, doesn’t normally happen for the most part for your average individual investor… So these are kind of deal sources through most of your markets, and I think most markets have probably your top five, six brokers who are gonna really have a lot of that information.

So I would recommend that you consider to work through a broker and try to build loyalty, build a relationship with some of your more active brokers, because they’re really gonna be a gold mine for you.

Theo Hicks: Alright, Tyler, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Tyler Chesser: My best ever investing advice is really to build relationships. Build long-term relationships and focus on how you can add value to the other person… Because it’s a  people business, whether or not we like it. It’s certainly properties, and numbers, and cashflow, and IRR, and cash-on-cash, but at the end of the day it’s a people business, and how can you help someone else achieve their ends is really how you’re gonna be able to achieve your own ends.

Theo Hicks: Alright, are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?

Tyler Chesser: Let’s do it!

Theo Hicks: Alright. First, a quick word from our sponsor.

Break: [00:15:36].19] to [00:16:16].18]

Theo Hicks: Alright Tyler, what’s the best ever book you’ve recently read?

Tyler Chesser: Well, I’m a huge reader, and I would say recently my favorite book that I’ve read is Ben Franklin’s biography by Walter Isaacson. I loved it.

Theo Hicks: If your business collapsed today, what would you do next?

Tyler Chesser: I think if my business collapsed I would be an author, because I enjoy writing, and like I said, I love reading… So maybe I can put something out there of value. I think that’s what I would do.

Theo Hicks: Have you written a book yet?

Tyler Chesser: I’m in the process right now, actually.

Theo Hicks: Nice. We’ve released three books; if you need tips, feel free to reach out.

Tyler Chesser: I would love tips. I love that, thank you.

Theo Hicks: How would you start over if you had little or no capital?

Tyler Chesser: If I started over with little or no capital, I would focus on one relationship at a time, and what I can do to kind of sweat-equity get my foot in the door.

Theo Hicks: What is the worst deal that you’ve done?

Tyler Chesser: The worst deal I’ve ever done is I’ve bought an eightplex when I got started in my investing business, and I have made every single mistake. The financing that I put on the deal was terrible… I managed it myself for a while, which was not a good idea, with all the other things I had going on… And I made a lot of the mistakes on the contracting and the rehab, and all that. But I learned very valuable lessons, so I don’t regret it, but I made many, many mistakes.

Theo Hicks: What about the best deal you’ve ever done?

Tyler Chesser: Currently, I’m under acquisition for an apartment building, and I think it’s the best ever deal that I’ve ever done, because we’re getting basically the entire rehab budget that we’ve put together to be contributed by the seller on this deal… So we’re really excited about that. I feel like it’s a home run, especially in a tight market. So I think that’s the best deal I’ve ever done.

Theo Hicks: How did that happen?

Tyler Chesser: Well, it was kind of a distressed situation. The owner actually passed away, and it’s an estate sale… So there’s a lot of distressed qualities of the asset, and we were able to utilize a lot of that to our advantage. And certainly, I think that our negotiation was relevant, because there were an overwhelming amount of challenges… But with what we have as far as our partnership and the capabilities that we have, we think that we’re able to accomplish a little bit better cost of renovation than others would be, through an internal rehab team, and such. So it makes sense for the seller to contribute in that manner, but it also makes it a heck of a deal for us.

Theo Hicks: And then lastly, what’s the best ever place to reach you?

Tyler Chesser: The best ever place to reach me would be on my website, TylerChesser.com. Then you can also subscribe there. If you go to TylerChesser.com/subscribe, that’s the best place. We do a connection newsletter, and it’s a great way to stay in touch… But also on Instagram at @thetylerchesser, as well as Twitter at @thetylerchesser.

Theo Hicks: We will have Tyler’s website in the show notes. Well, Tyler, I appreciate you coming on and talking with us today. Just to quickly summarize what we discussed – first, you told us how you were able to double your income in your first year selling houses on the side, which is an amazing feat. I guess the reasons why you were able to do that was just you hustled; you got up early, stayed up late, worked weekends, and had a coach to guide you along the way.

You also talked about the importance of having a quit date in mind, when you wanted to go full-time and how you were actually able to achieve that much sooner than you expected.

You also gave advice to anyone who’s just getting into real estate, to start smaller and to kind of learn the process, set up systems, build your team, understand before you go big… And once you’re ready to actually invest in multifamily, from  a broker’s perspective, they’re gonna want to know “Are you realistic? Are you willing to learn? What upfront work have you put in already? What kind of cash do you have on hand? Have you talked to lenders? What kind of properties are you looking for? What are your goals?”

We talked about how you are able to find your deals off market – just through relationships. You gave us an example of how you found a deal this morning, from someone reaching out to you. And from an on market perspective, just kind of going on those local and national online platforms where people are posting their deals.

We also talked about whether you think people should use a broker or go about it themselves –  your advice was since the brokers are most likely gonna have those deep relationships, they’re gonna be kind of the gatekeepers in the market, so your advice is to work through those brokers.

Then on a similar note, your best ever advice was to focus on building those long-term relationships with others, and more importantly – and I totally agree with this – is focusing on how you can actually add value to the other person, instead of just expecting them to work with you without really giving anything to them back.

I appreciate you coming on the show today and speaking with us, Tyler. Thank you to everyone who’s listening. Have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon!

Tyler Chesser: Thank you so much.

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affordable housing developer podcast episode featuring Evan Holladay

JF1367: Hustle Leads To Dream Job As An Affordable Housing Developer with Evan Holladay

Evan was in the medical field in college before realizing that was not for him. He noticed a student housing development being built close to his school and wanted in. He blew up the development company until they gave him a task, get 100 students to the groundbreaking – Evan got 800! Now working for a large development company, hear how he was able to get his dream job and how they use tax credits to build affordable housing. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!

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Evan Holladay Real Estate Background:

  • Real estate developer and investor
  • Developed over $100 million in new construction multifamily at LDG Development
  • Uses tax credits to create affordable and mixed income communities
  • Based in Louisville, KY
  • Say hi to him at www.evanholladay.com
  • Best Ever Book: Crucial Conversations

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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff. With us today, Evan Holladay. How are you doing, Evan?

Evan Holladay: Great, Joe. Thanks for having me here.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, my pleasure, nice to have you on the show. A little bit about Evan – he is a real estate developer and a real estate investor. He has developed over 100 million dollars in new construction, multifamily properties at LDG Development. He uses tax credits to create affordable and mixed-income communities. Based in Louisville, Kentucky. With that being said, Evan, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your current focus?

Evan Holladay: I kind of jumped into real estate in college, and… Always thinking about how can my story relate to others trying to get into real estate, and I think the way I was in college, I was looking at medical school and that just really wasn’t for me… So I saw this 55 million dollar student housing development with retail and everything going on on the first floor, and I was like “Man, I need to be a part of that. Something about that just gets me really excited.” So I figured out who the developer was, who the owner was. They were doing student housing properties all over the place, and I reached out to them through making mini connections.

I was constantly, constantly reaching out to him. It wasn’t like he just said “Oh yeah, sure, join the team.” It was constantly reaching out, barraging him with e-mails and calls, and then he actually told me, he was like “You should help us get a bunch of students to the ground breaking”, so I said “Sure.” He thought I’d get maybe 100 people, and we ended up getting like 800 people out.

Joe Fairless: Oh, my gosh!

Evan Holladay: Yeah… That was a little help from my fraternity brothers; we were handing out pizza on campus, trying to get the word out… But that kind of started it. From there, I was the first hire at that development, and learned the nuts and bolts of coming out of the ground, new construction.

Then in college I started my own development company. We actually did modular housing development with mixed-income, used a houseboat manufacturing plant in Kentucky; they were one of the biggest houseboat manufacturing plants in the world. So we took those skilled laborers who were out of a job with the housing market crash in ’08, we were able to give them a job by making modular housing, and turning that into apartments.

So we took that and eventually built that out into a company, and then won a few business planning competitions in college, and then from there found LDG. And really, we were looking for partners that had money, had experience, had a balance sheet… They actually reached out to me and said “Hey, how about you do the same thing for us?”

I’ve been with LDG about five years, and have been sourcing and finding out funding, providing new developments, working with politicians… Now my focus is just to rapidly, exponentially expand what we’re doing, and trying to do larger and better developments. Now we typically focus on 200+ unit new construction developments in major metro growing areas.

I’ve been working mainly in Nashville and New Orleans, in the surrounding areas. That’s been my niche, and it’s really worked out well for us. We were recently named the number one affordable housing developer in the country, actually.

Joe Fairless: Wow. I have so many questions… [laughs] First off, incredibly impressive… Let’s see. We’ll start from the beginning and just kind of work our way through… You were constantly reaching out to the developer, and it took lots of phone calls.

Evan Holladay: Right.

Joe Fairless: When you were calling, what were you saying?

Evan Holladay: My biggest thing was “How can I add value to you? How can I help you with this development?” and I tried to stress what I was good at – I was good at connecting with people, and I was good at using my network on campus and using the certain positions at clubs or whatever that I was involved in… Using those connections in those groups – I tried to leverage that into a job.

He didn’t bite on that right away, but that got me my foot in the door. That’s why I always try to tell people – if you look up to somebody or you admire somebody or you see something that you want, go out and ask for it. That’s how we got you on the Monumental Podcast; I made my way up to Cincinnati and introduced myself, and now here we are.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, I really enjoyed that podcast. Real quick, the Monumental Podcast – what is it? …so that the Best Ever listeners are aware of what you’re referring to.

Evan Holladay: So about two months ago I started a podcast called Monumental. We interview individuals like Joe Fairless – the one and only – that are doing amazing things that are changing an industry and making massive change. It’s kind of all over the place as far as who we’re talking to, but we want people that are being leaders in their field, and other people can learn from and make their lives exponentially better.

Joe Fairless: Now, going back to the ground breaking – you said the developer was expecting 100… Heck, I was thinking 10 people, and then you said you brought 800 people. And that was through your campus connections and just a bunch of hustling… You said you got hired at the development, you were the first hire at the development. What were you doing?

Evan Holladay: Honestly, I was doing a little bit of everything. They had us starting to lease units out of a Holiday Inn two miles off campus… So I was doing lease up, I was preparing leases, I was preparing strategies for how to manage the property, and then on top of that, we were still going through construction, at least about prior to being complete. I was going through taking videos, doing social media, the whole build-out. I even had, interestingly enough — one of the things that I was proud of at the time was they had these lobbies with no windows in it, and I was like “You know what, that would just be a really boring lobby on every single floor, going up five floors”, and I was like “There’s something we’ve gotta do about this.” So I told the owner, and he ended up putting windows all over the lobby, and I’m like “Man, that is awesome!”

Joe Fairless: That is cool!

Evan Holladay: That was my first little taste of having a little say in what goes into a development.

Joe Fairless: I’ve read the book of Sam Zell, Am I Being Too Subtle…

Evan Holladay: Yeah, I love that book.

Joe Fairless: Okay, good, so you’ve read it… You’ll probably remember when he mentions in the book that he hates development, and the only people who are in development – 50% wanna make money, but the other 50% get a lot of satisfaction in the end product. Would you be in that category, where you wanna make money, but then half of it is also about just the satisfaction of doing it?

Evan Holladay: Reading that book – I think that’s such a valuable book… But yeah, I tend to agree with that. I think what got me into real estate was – especially with new construction; you can definitely do this with existing assets, but with new construction, you can literally change a neighborhood. You can forever change the path of a neighborhood, and make it better, and provide value for people already living there, and also bring new people into the communities. I’ve found that so powerful… It happened in college with that development, and since then I’ve been able to do many other developments.

When we finish out our long-term development cycle, once we get it leased up 100%, we’re going into redeveloping parts of town, and adding tremendous value. Politicians will come up to us afterwards and be like “Thank you so much. You changed the direction, you were a catalyst for that neighborhood.” So that’s what got me into development, and since then there’s been a million other things that I’ve fallen in love with… But I think that that’s what got me here.

Joe Fairless: In college you started your own development company – see, we’re working through the timeline, by the way… So in college you started your own development company, you employed workers from a houseboat manufacturing company instead, because they didn’t have jobs; you said “Hey, since you don’t have jobs and you used to do houseboat manufacturing, how about you create modular housing and we make that into apartments?” Can you just elaborate more on that?

Evan Holladay: Yeah, definitely. The plans were called “Houseboat Energy-Efficient Residence” (HBEER) and we actually worked with the University of Kentucky, College of Architecture and Design… The students there had a class built around this, so we worked with them. We took the plans of the students and professors – both designed – and brought those to the houseboat manufacturing plants. They lost 1,100 skilled workers. With the housing market crash nobody was buying houseboats, so we were able to say “Hey look, here’s the plans” and we used the exact same layout, the exterior shell layout of a houseboat; we just wanna take that and stack it on top of each other like little LEGOs, and do multifamily in more urban areas.

We actually did do a few single-family developments as kind of a test run, and then we were going into the multifamily and that’s when LDG came and snatched me away.

Joe Fairless: What happened to what you were working on with the modular housing after you left?

Evan Holladay: I was kind of leading that charge, and after I left it kind of fell apart… But it’s always been on the shelf. Maybe we’ll make a run at it again. I think modular is making a big turn in new construction as far as efficiency and costs, and I’m really excited about that, to see where that goes, and I’d love to start implementing that into some of our new construction developments.

Joe Fairless: Did any of that modular housing that was created during your time there end up as a community now?

Evan Holladay: Not the multifamily, but there was a few single-family units that we did in Sout-Eastern Kentucky – families that were less fortunate (not as much income), we were able to put them in. And another thing, too – the way designed it being modular, it was energy-efficient, so we could lower their energy bills and get it built in seven days.

Joe Fairless: They’re still there now? Not the people, but the actual modular housing units?

Evan Holladay: Yeah, the housing and the people.

Joe Fairless: Cool, good. LDG Development – you mentioned you line up funding and you work with politicians, and maybe you mix and mingle some of those… No, I’m just kidding. So you do that for LDG Development. Why work for someone else as an employee, versus find a partner who (as what you were seeking) had money, experience and a balance sheet?

Evan Holladay: I think that’s a great question, and really when anybody asks that, I always say it’s the value that I got from learning from now one of the top-ranked developers in the country for affordable housing, the value of knowledge and experience… It was almost like I was able to come in — I started working there when I was 23, and coming in, learning… They literally threw me in the deep end; they said “Okay, go source developments, go find developments, find the funding, fly here, meet with these politicians, work with the architects, engineers, and get these things built.” They just said “Do it.”

That for me was an amazing experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to just learn by being thrown into the trenches, and also being able to not make the same mistakes that they made. I was able to learn from their millions of mistakes… And it’s funny, because we always have this conversation where they’re like “Man, I wish I was in your shoes, Evan, because I’ve made tens of millions of dollars in mistakes.” And granted, they’ve made quite a bit of money too, but they’ve also made some big mistakes that have cost them significantly financially… So they’ve learned to never make those same mistakes again, because it hurt them so badly – so they can pass that on to me. That’s where I’ve been able to learn so quickly and just catapulted where I’m at today, being able to do 100 million in a little over a year closing deals, and then I think another 100-120 million in the pipeline to close this year.

Joe Fairless: That’s incredible. When they spoke to you about some of those big mistakes that cost them tens of millions of dollars, and they passed them on to you – what are some of those mistakes?

Evan Holladay: I would say one of the over-arching ones is know your niche. Know exactly what you’re good at, and double down on that… Because in many situations, especially as developers and real estate investors, we try to chase the shiny object, and nine times out of ten it will get you in over your head. Or maybe it is a successful development or a successful investment, but in a way you only have so much time to allocate towards your work. And if you spend all this time learning about some new field of development that maybe you’re not the best at, so you need to spend way more time learning it and making sure that you’re making a good investment – that’s time that you’re taking away…

We always say, we’re like “Well, do we wanna do this crazy, over-the-top, wild, extravagant project, in an awesome location, this and that, but it’s out of our wheelhouse; it’s not what we do day-to-day, it’s not our bread and butter…” We always say, we’re like “Look, that could take five years”, and you think of the opportunity cost of how many deals you’re missing out on, that you know how to do, that you know how to close, and that will be successful.

So that’s really been the biggest lesson, because they did go out on a limb on a few projects and lost millions of dollars… So that’s what we’ve harped on and doubled down on what we’re good at, and since then, I think the ranking is kind of an external proof of that, that we are on the path to what we are very good at doing.

Joe Fairless: For someone who’s not familiar with using tax credits to create affordable and mixed-income communities, what is that?

Evan Holladay: Good question, I get that all the time. So tax credits are, in essence — we could go on for days about this, but the tax credits are programs set up by the Federal Government, set up in 1986 to basically incentivize banks to invest in lower-income or disadvantaged parts of town that needed that kind of kickstart and were not seeing investment from the banks… And specifically, if your listeners know about redlining… Banks back in the day would literally just mark off certain neighborhoods, because they said they were too poor. So this is a way to stop redlining and to require banks to invest in these areas.

The banks [unintelligible [00:15:23].24] score to invest in lower-income neighborhoods, so this is a way for them to up their score or maintain a good score by investing in tax credits.

So we have a required market almost, like banks that are required to invest in these tax credits, so we always have the supply of buyers. And on the flip side, we’re providing quality housing. Basically, the equity comes in as tax credits. We sell those tax credits to the banks who have the investors, and then that in turn is almost like our free equity source, and in turn we’re able to provide market rate style apartments or market rate style developments, communities, for a margin of the price of what a market rate community would be.

Our residents are still making income and still carry a job, still have to pass our background check and all this, but it just gives them a safe, quiet, comfortable, nice place to call home and raise a family without being stressed by spending 50%-75% of their income on rent. I’m sure your listeners know that’s a big problem today in the United States, so this tax credit program is trying to make a dent on that by providing good housing for working families that just can’t pay the exorbitant rents that people are seeing today.

Joe Fairless: You said the equity are the tax credits, and then you sell the tax credits to the bank, and that provides you with what you need in order to do the development, right?

Evan Holladay: Correct. There’s two different types of tax credits. There’s competitive, non-competitive… Competitive covers about 70% of the cost of development, and by the name, they are very competitive, and they’re very hard to get. So we have kind of taken out the guessing game and have strictly gone after the non-competitive, and they cover around 30%-40% of the total development cost. So we’re still getting a mortgage, we’re still getting a loan, and we’re also putting in some form of equity ourselves, and then we’re also — sometimes even with all that, on the non-competitive side, we’re still seeing 5%-10% that we have to fill from local help, from the city, from the state, and they’ll help put in a soft loan that’s payable out of cashflow, something that won’t hurt our loan sizing.

Joe Fairless: So if the equity equals the tax credits, and then you sell the tax credits to the bank, then the question is how do you get the tax credit in the first place?

Evan Holladay: Each state has their own state housing agency, and they are kind of the gatekeepers, making sure that all affordable housing is done correctly, upkept well, managed well… And that’s also another person to oversee the property, make sure that they’re safe, clean communities, they stay well for the long-term… But they are the gatekeepers of the tax credits, and you apply to them for competitive; it’s all in a time schedule. Non-competitive is typically a year-round… So we apply, make sure we’re hitting their parameters, make sure we’re hitting their goals, and then the same thing at the city level and the county level as well – they have funding that we’re trying to go after, and then we’re making sure that we’re hitting their goals as well.

Joe Fairless: Is there a person in your company that is strictly focused on the process of working with the states, the city and the counties, from a paperwork and regulatory standpoint?

Evan Holladay: Yeah, I am on the front-end; I do the sales part of the job and the relationship part of the job, and making sure that we’re aligning with their goals. Then I have a team that helps me put together the applications, work through the paperwork, and then on the back-end, once we have a tax credit award, and then once we’ve built the development, that we have an asset management team that makes sure throughout the property we’re staying in compliance, we’re making sure everybody’s happy.

Joe Fairless: With the non-competitive, where you all are receiving 30% of the total development costs, what type of check-ins…? Would it be the banks? You’re selling the tax credit to them; are they the ones checking in with you, or is it the state that’s checking in with you?

Evan Holladay: It’s honestly everybody. [laughter] That’s why I think the program works so well – you have the state agency that’s looking over your shoulder, you have the equity investor through the bank, or sometimes they go through syndication groups, and they’re looking over your shoulder. Then you have the bank giving the perm loan – they’re looking over your shoulder. You have the city or the county – if they gave any money, they’re looking into the deal. So you have so many partners that are checking in on you constantly. And it depends city by city, state by state; everybody does it differently, but they’ll typically check in monthly during construction, and then they have some sort of stabilization process where you have to stabilize the loans, stabilize all the affordable units, verify that they’re all qualifying as affordable tenants, and then from there you do either a bi-annual or three times a year – whatever it is per state, you do that, to check in on the property and make sure it’s all going well.

Joe Fairless: Goodness gracious… And how long do you do this till? The checking in part.

Evan Holladay: Tax credit compliance period is 15 years… So it is a long-term hold.

Joe Fairless: Yes, it is. And after that 15 years, if you were to sell it at the 15-year mark, could the buyer then not have any regulatory part in reporting, and then just put those units at market rent?

Evan Holladay: It used to be that way. For the last five or so years the states have come in and said “15 isn’t long enough. Because of the benefits that you’re getting, we wanna see some guarantee of affordable period up to 30 years or 40 years”, depending on the state. So the states have added that on. The federal requirement is 15 years, but obviously, because the federal rolls off at year 15, you’re a little bit less stringent year 15 through 30, or whatever it is, but you still have that affordability requirement.

Joe Fairless: And what is the actual affordability requirement?

Evan Holladay: There’s a couple different selections you can do, but probably the most often selected one is to get the tax credit you have to have 40% of your units at 60% area median income. That basically means that each metropolitan area is given an average income, you take 60% of that, and then multiply that out by 12 months, and make sure that your residents are paying no more than 30% of their income every month, on rent. So that calculation tells you how much you can charge for a 2-bed, a 3-bed, and how many family members you can fit in. Basically, it ranges per city, but typically, for cities we’re working in, for 1-bedroom, it can be anywhere from $750, to (a 3-bed) $1,000-$1,200.

So they’re not super cheap rents like most people think. It is still something that you have to have a job to be able to afford, but it gives people enough breathing room that they can actually pay for healthcare, pay for school.

Joe Fairless: And you mentioned the affordability requirement… I thought you said there were two; maybe I missed the second.

Evan Holladay: I think there’s three different requirements, but the main one is 40% AMI.

Joe Fairless: Okay, that’s the main one. Cool. Got it. What did you call it…? Oh, AMI – area median income.

Evan Holladay: Yup. You’re basically an affordable developer, Joe.

Joe Fairless: [laughs] This is way beyond my pay grade right now. I’m just taking notes and listening and trying to ask somewhat intelligent questions. Alright, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Evan Holladay: I would say learn from others constantly, and learn from others that have done it before you.

Joe Fairless: Well, that is exactly what I’m doing right now, so I am adhering to your advice. Do you wanna do a Best Ever Lightning Round?

Evan Holladay: Yeah, let’s do it.

Joe Fairless: Alright. First, a quick word from our Best Ever partners.

Break: [00:23:18].25] to [00:24:01].23]

Joe Fairless: Best ever book you’ve read?

Evan Holladay: I would have to say — right now I’m reading Crucial Conversations, which I think I’ve heard you recommend.

Joe Fairless: Absolutely! What to do when the stakes are high and opinions vary. I love that book. Best ever deal you’ve done?

Evan Holladay: I would have to say the one we did in Nashville… We closed about two years ago and we did the first ever PILOT (payment in lieu of tax). We had to get state legislation changed to do it.

Joe Fairless: [laughs]

Evan Holladay: It took way longer than I ever…

Joe Fairless: How long?

Evan Holladay: It took three years to get the financing in place, and we’re just now wrapping up about two years after that, on the construction.

Joe Fairless: What was the legislation and what did you get it changed to?

Evan Holladay: It was kind of odd… PILOT (payment in lieu of tax) is like a tax abatement, and they’re allowed throughout the whole state of Tennessee, except for a certain caveat that said that city county governments greater than 500,000 people are not allowed to have PILOTs, and Nashville is the only one in the state of Tennessee… So that’s where our project was and that’s where we needed a PILOT; it couldn’t get done without a PILOT because of our restricted rents. So we were able to work with the mayor’s office and get that done, but it took quite some time.

Joe Fairless: What’s a mistake you’ve made on a transaction?

Evan Holladay: I would say making sure you’re paying attention to all of the deal points, and also making sure you’re paying attention to contracts. The first deal I ever did was a minor little one-acre piece we had to add on to the site; it went out of contract. This was a week before we were gonna close, and I mistakenly missed the date… So I would remind everybody, watch your contracts, watch your terms, and have good ways of keeping track ahead of time before you make that mistake like I did.

Joe Fairless: Did you end up closing on that deal?

Evan Holladay: We did, and actually we got lucky… The seller — I think we were buying their house for like 60k, to add an acre to our 10-acre site, and they [unintelligible [00:25:58].02] up to 90k. But it was like, man, they really had us by the balls, and they just didn’t know it. They could have asked for whatever and we probably would have paid it, but…

Joe Fairless: What would you have paid?

Evan Holladay: We probably would have paid close to 250k-300k.

Joe Fairless: Best ever way you like to give back?

Evan Holladay: What I’ve done in the past is mentor high school or middle school kids… There’s a program similar to Junior Achievement, but in Louisville it’s called Young Entrepreneurs Academy. We help mentor kids to start doing businesses and do business plan competitions. That’s been such a blast. One of the kids I mentored ended up going to the national competition, so that was really cool.

Joe Fairless: How can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you?

Evan Holladay: My website is EvanHolladay.com, and my podcast is Monumental. You can hear Joe Fairless on there, and I hear that’s it.

Joe Fairless: They hear enough of Joe Fairless, they wanna hear other people. [laughs] Evan, thank you so much – holy cow, this is a crash course for me and perhaps some of the Best Ever listeners, on development, on tax credits… Just a refresher for how important resourcefulness is, and reaching out to people. There are so many life lessons and very kind of 2.0 real estate lessons in here… It’s insane.

Thank you so much for being on the show. I’m not even gonna try to recap anything, just listen to the episode again everyone, and we transcribe the episodes usually about 3-4 days afterwards, so just visit the website BestEverShow.com, and you can read the transcription, too.

Thanks for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Evan Holladay: I had a blast. Thank you, Joe.

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JF987: How Her Attorney Scored her BIG CASH by NOTICING This Minor Detail

We didn’t mention, she also scored $50,000 on her first deal… No big deal! OK, yes that’s a big deal! In this episode you will hear about how her attorney noticed a minor detail within a lien on the property we didn’t mention, she also scored $50,000 on her first deal… No big deal! OK, yes that’s a big deal! In this episode you will hear about how her attorney noticed a minor detail within a lien on the property she was about to buy. This is a juicy one, turn up the volume!

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Marina Sud Real Estate Background:
– Co-Owner of investing company called “Sisters Who Buy Houses”
– Full-time real estate wholesaler
– Family immigrated from Russia when she was a child
– Also a licensed clinical psychologist with over 18 years of experience
– Based in Louisville, Kentucky
– Say hi to her at www.sisterswhobuyhouses.com
– Best Ever Book: Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill


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Marina Sud and Joe Fairless


Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any fluff.
With us today, Marina Sud. How are you doing, Marina?

Marina Sud: I’m doing good, how are you?

Joe Fairless: I am doing well, nice to have you on the show. A little bit about Marina – she is the co-owner of the investing company called Sisters, who buy houses. She is a full-time real estate investor who has been wholesaling for three years. Her family immigrated from Russia when she was a child, and she is also a licensed clinical psychologist with over 18 years of experience. Based in Louisville, Kentucky. With that being said, Marina, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your focus?

Marina Sud: I’ve been in real estate since March 2014; I started wholesaling, which is really what I do now, mostly. Since August 2014, at this point I’ve done probably 40-50 deals, I think. 48 deals up to this point.

Joe Fairless: Wow, you’ve been busy. You’ve done about 50 deals in about three years or so. I remember we met in Cincinnati. We had lunch right when you were getting started, and before you got your first check from a wholesale deal. Is my memory serving me correctly?

Marina Sud: Yeah, I think I was just about to — I had a really big deal coming up right after we met.

Joe Fairless: Yeah. Do you remember the details of that deal? Just to refresh my memory and catch the Best Ever listeners up to speed.

Marina Sud: Yeah, it was a house that was in a fire in a really great neighborhood here, and we got it under contract and ended up making 50k on this deal.

Joe Fairless: You got it under contract… So was it completely burned down, or was there fire damage?

Marina Sud: Yeah, it was bad. We had no problems finding a buyer. It was really early on, I didn’t really know how everything worked. I found a buyer, closed on it and that was the profit that we made. That was pretty sweet.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, if you said $15,000 on your first deal…

Marina Sud: Yeah. It wasn’t the first deal, it was I think my fourth or fifth deal, and it was 50k.

Joe Fairless: Oh, 50k? That’s different. [laughs] $50,000 profit. And your company name is Sisters Who Buy Houses, so I assume there’s someone else who you partner with?

Marina Sud: Yeah, there is a sister, Natasha, yes.

Joe Fairless: Oh, your literal sister.

Marina Sud: My literal sister, yes. Family.

Joe Fairless: Alright, so it’s a family wholesaling business. How do you and Natasha divvy up responsibility?

Marina Sud: I’m more somebody that meets with sellers, speaks with sellers… She’s more behind the scenes.

Joe Fairless: Okay. Let’s talk about the last deal that you wholesaled and you got a wholesale fee for. Can you tell us about it – how you found it, the numbers, how did you get your buyer, that sort of thing?

Marina Sud: The last deal that I wholesaled was land. It was vacant land. I got it from a list; it’s in a really great area here. I mailed the guy more than once – probably about three times – and about 4-5 months later he called that he wanted to sell it. I talked him down pretty low. He owed a lot of money on the deal, he had a lot of liens. My very smart attorney figured out that the liens were more than 10 years old, so they had to be dismissed by the city. I ended up making 25k on that particular one.

Joe Fairless: That’s is beautiful. Alright, let’s dig into this one… There’s all sorts of subplots within the story. First, you got his information from a list and you mailed him three times – where do you buy your list, or how do you compile your list?

Marina Sud: This was more of a list we put together here locally. We have in the city lists – houses or land that’s vacant. About 50% of the time it’s correct, 50% not… So that’s where this particular lead came from.

Joe Fairless: Okay, you said the city provides a list of vacant property – whether it is or isn’t, but they do provide a list?

Marina Sud: Yeah, like code violations, vacant properties, that kind of thing. I don’t think it’s like that for every city, but we do have that here.

Joe Fairless: Okay. And where do you go to get a list like that, for someone in another city who’s looking to acquire that in their city?

Marina Sud: This is really how I started wholesaling, other than driving. I just was doing research online one day and just put in the keywords “vacant houses” and found this database that resulted in quite a few deals.

Joe Fairless: Alright. Well, as simple as that – google it. You just say “Use Google!” Alright, you got a list, you compiled the list locally, and then you mailed this person 3-4 times. If you remember, how many mailers did you send out to the entire group that this guy’s property was a part of?

Marina Sud: I think because it was land, not as many as I would have with houses. I just wasn’t a real believer of land, like it wasn’t gonna work. Of course, I changed my mind after that deal. We mail every other month, but with this particular one, probably about four months of mailing.

Joe Fairless: Okay, four months of mailing… And how many other people were you mailing letters to at the time?

Marina Sud: Well, we have different kinds of lists. With land, there were probably not that many… Maybe like 30-40.

Joe Fairless: Did any of those other direct mail pieces result in a deal?

Marina Sud: No, not land, no.

Joe Fairless: So you mailed him 3 or 4 times. Does the message change month to month? And I’m just assuming it is every month, but what’s the frequency there?

Marina Sud: It’s every month. I try to have it monthly. Does the message change? Slightly… It depends. With him, we changed it from house to land. So not too much, but slightly.

Joe Fairless: As far as the mailers that he receives every month, is it the same mailer, or is his message different every month?

Marina Sud: I think that he received the same mailer.

Joe Fairless: Wow, cool. He just kept receiving the same thing. And what about your mailer do you think stood out to him?

Marina Sud: I don’t know that it’s my mailer… I think it’s more — you mail people, you do it regularly, consistently, and I think people kind of don’t get that with direct mail. It’s more about you happen to catch the person. The opportunity is there, they’re going through something. And if you mail them regularly, they remember you. It may be laying on top of their table that particular month. So it’s more about that. I don’t know that it’s the actual piece.

Joe Fairless: It’s more about timing and the opportunity that is arising based on their circumstance, versus the actual message included.

Marina Sud: That being said, I also kind of design my own mailers, my own postcards, and now my own letters, so I don’t know…

Joe Fairless: Anything in particular that you like to do that you think stands out or gets more attention?

Marina Sud: I think being women helps. We stand out in that way. Pictures, photos… Just being a woman, you can do sweet little pink things, that kind of stuff. Happy Valentine’s day… Just really trying different things.

Joe Fairless: As far as pictures, do you include pictures of you and Natasha just to let them know who they’ll be dealing with?

Marina Sud: On the postcards, yes, there’s always a photo. With letters, sometimes we’ll include a card with our photo, or stickers… We’ll put a sticker on the letter.

Joe Fairless: That way when you call them, they can put a face to a voice, and they know who they’re talking to.

Marina Sud: Yeah, [unintelligible [00:10:06].20] ask us out for dates, which has happened a few times.

Joe Fairless: Has that happened?

Marina Sud: Yeah, I had some older gentlemen ask who the blonde was, and he said “I want that one.” [unintelligible [00:10:22].10] “I want that one.” [laughter]

Joe Fairless: Did he end up doing a deal with you all, real estate-wise?

Marina Sud: There was no deal, there was no house; he wanted a date.

Joe Fairless:  Okay, got it. Alright, so you send him the postcards 3-4 times, he responded later, and then he owed a lot of money because there were liens on this vacant land. About how much did he owe?

Marina Sud: He owed like $15,000, I think. It was too much, nothing was gonna happen there. It’s only because the amount of time – and my attorney knew about it – the city had to release, legally, the lien.

Joe Fairless: He owed about $15,000… What did you get it for under contract?

Marina Sud: Well, I wanted to give him something so he walked away with something… I think it was like $1,500 or $1,700. I had it under contract for like $1,700.

Joe Fairless: Wow… Okay, you got it under contract for $1,700, plus in his mind he’s got $15,000 worth of liens that you’re gonna have to pay off, but in reality you’re paying for an attorney who addresses it. How much attorney cost did that end up being?

Marina Sud: That was part of the closing fee… That was about probably $800.

Joe Fairless: $800, so you’re all-in — did you buy it from him, or did you wholesale it?

Marina Sud: We wholesaled. That’s all we do, wholesaling. Typically, I sign, but in this case, because of the fee, I had an actual closing. I had two closings…

Joe Fairless: You did a double close? Okay. So you’re all-in $2,500, plus maybe some miscellaneous costs, but about $2,500-$3,000, and you identified a buyer how?

Marina Sud: I knew this one particular guy that was a builder and a flipper. I know him locally, and the area was good; it was one of just a few lots left in the area here, really hot area. I contacted him, and he wanted it.

Joe Fairless: And how did you put a price on the vacant land for him to purchase?

Marina Sud: I looked at our county assessor site just to see what things were selling for, and just kind of came up with a number.

Joe Fairless: When you look at the county assessor site, what are you looking for exactly? I’m looking to see what it’s assessed at, which doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the correct number, but also what has sold in the area – you can get that through the county assessor’s. What has sold, for how much… ith this being land, it was kind of new to me. With houses, I would know better, but with land – not as much. So it was a little bit hit and miss.

Joe Fairless: Yeah… You ended up selling it to him for how much?

Marina Sud: $25,000.

Joe Fairless: $25,000. And what’s he gonna do with it? He’s gonna build?

Marina Sud: Yeah, he and a partner are gonna build a house on it, yeah.

Joe Fairless: Roughly how much are those new homes going for?

Marina Sud: I would say anywhere from 160k to 180k.

Joe Fairless: Alright, well that is the anatomy of a wholesale deal right there. I’m grateful that we walked through that. That was the last deal… You’ve been doing this for about three years – what’s something that you’ve learned along the way to help improve your business, so that you’re optimizing it as you go?

Marina Sud: I think at some point – early on is best – you have to decide if you’re gonna do this solo, or if you’re actually gonna have a business. And for me, I think that that’s the only way to make your business grow – to have a team. That was the approach that I decided I was gonna take, and hiring people has been challenging, but extremely important.

Joe Fairless: You have your sister, Natasha, as a business partner… Do you have other business partners in the business?

Marina Sud: Not partners, I guess employees would be a better description.

Joe Fairless: What are the roles?

Marina Sud: I have one man in India – he’s virtual assistant. He strictly has to do with Craigslist and Excel, scrubbing lists for me. Another VA in Pakistan has to do with Podio and anything online. And then I have a woman that answers the phone and calls people back. Those are the three people I have.

Joe Fairless: Where is the woman based?

Marina Sud: She’s local.

Joe Fairless: How did you get in touch with her?

Marina Sud: She’s the only normal person I met on Craigslist. I had a bad experience on Craigslist, but that’s how I found her.

Joe Fairless: Okay. And as far as the man in India and the VA – is it a male or female in Pakistan?

Marina Sud: It’s a male.

Joe Fairless: Okay. How did you find him?

Marina Sud: I found him on Fiverr, and I found the one in India on I think Elance, I think that’s what it was back then. And after working with them a little bit, I asked them if they wanted to work with me directly, which —

Joe Fairless: Of course they do…

Marina Sud: Yeah, so I could pay them more directly for them, and it would be cheaper for me anyway. They were good with it… I mean, I’ve gone through many, it’s not like I just found these two and it worked out. There’s been quite a few that did not work out.

Joe Fairless: What have you learned from the crash and burns with virtual assistants that you know a little bit more on how to screen them?

Marina Sud: I think it’s important on your end how you train them – that’s something to keep in mind, too. You have to train people. I’ve been using videos, which has worked better. Maybe if I used videos with the other ones it would have worked out better, I don’t know. I think English can be an issue, what they understand and what they don’t. Both these men speak and understand English pretty well.

Joe Fairless: How do you set up your calls with them and how frequently do you talk to them?

Marina Sud: The one in Pakistan is through Skype. I don’t know; he’s on Skype, I’m on Skype, we just chat or we have actual video talks. It depends on what’s going on with Podio… If there’s crashing, or I don’t understand something… The one in India is all e-mail, I don’t have any real conversations with him.

Joe Fairless: What’s the rate that you pay your virtual assistant?

Marina Sud: The one in India I pay $5/hour; the one in Pakistan has different packages, which are way much cheaper than local, as far as getting Podio together. This depends on the package.

Joe Fairless: Well, Marina, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Marina Sud: My best real estate investing advice ever is that it’s important to have a good team of people to work with if you wanna take your business to the next level.

Joe Fairless: Well, that is perfect, because we just talked about that. Are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?

Marina Sud: I think so.

Joe Fairless: Alright, well I think we’re gonna do it then. First though, a quick word from our Best Ever partners.

Break: [00:17:21].17] to [00:18:03].05]

Joe Fairless: Best ever book you’ve read?

Marina Sud: Best ever book I’ve read – Think and Grow Rich and Harry Potter.

Joe Fairless: Okay. What’s the best ever deal you’ve done?

Marina Sud: The best ever deal I’ve done was helping two elderly people who were hoarders with a house that was sitting in just an awesome area, but has been sitting not vacant, filled with stuff for about 10 years… I helped them move everything out, get storage for them, and made like 60k in that process. That was the best deal.

Joe Fairless: Best ever way you like to give back?

Marina Sud: Donate with every closing to animal shelters and breast cancer research.

Joe Fairless: What is the biggest mistake – or just any mistake – that you’ve made on a deal that comes to mind?

Marina Sud: Just thinking that it’s all done before you’re closed… Counting the money in your pocket when there’s none.

Joe Fairless: Yes, been there, done that. Multiple times. Got burned. Do you do anything in particular now to condition your mind not to think that way?

Marina Sud: [unintelligible [00:19:08].14] Just kind of relax and breathe and just let it go. It happens when it happens.

Joe Fairless: Yup. Well, what’s the best place the Best Ever listeners can get in touch with you?

Marina Sud: They can find me via our website, sisterswhobuyhouses.com, or e-mail, sisterswhobuyhouses@gmail.com.

Joe Fairless: Sisterswhobuyhouses.com. Marina, thank you for being on the show. Thanks for walking through the last wholesale deal that you did, where you all made $15,000, and how you got right out of the gate quickly with a $50,000 wholesale deal, about four deals in… And then talking through lessons learned on even this last deal. One of them – perhaps you didn’t learn this lesson, but I sure just did, and that is talk to an attorney if there are liens on a property that you’re looking to buy, because maybe you can get those removed based on them expiring, or for any other reasons, I don’t know… Attorneys are usually pretty smart about that stuff. So talk to an attorney about that, if there are liens on the property you’re looking to purchase. And then how you structure your team and what they’re responsible for, how you met them, what you pay them… And then lastly, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, that’s for sure.

Thanks for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Marina Sud: Thanks for having me as a guest, Joe.

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JF692: How to Grow a Local REI Brand via GRASSROOTS MARKETING

Today’s guest is a realtor, but he specializes in growing a network and following through unconventional ways. He has a wide array of guests for his podcast and has new local companies reaching out to him for a spot every week. He owns Louisville Kentucky! Hear how he did it and slowly built what he has today.

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Greg Fleischaker Real Estate Background:

– Content strategist, podcaster, and realtor at Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty
– Number one brokerage in Louisville
– Based in Louisville, Kentucky
– Say hi at gregfly.com

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JF260: The ONE Word You Need to Use to Buy Properties for CHEAP

You have the right to buy property, and the right to make money on those properties. Today’s Best Ever guest shares with us the ONE word you need to use when talking to a seller, how he has NEVER bought a property with a bank, private lender or hard money. So, stick your hands in the air and listen up!

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Mike Butler’s real estate background:

–          Based in Louisville, Kentucky where he used to be an undercover police detective investing murder for hire and organized crime

–          At his peak was buying 2 properties every week while he had is full-time job

–          Owns and operates several hundred properties and has never gone to a bank to buy an investment property nor has he used a private lender or hard money

–          Say hi to him at http://askmikebutler.com/about-mike/

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JF100: Do this ONE thing to Close More Deals

Today’s Best Ever guest has taken her expertise in psychology and applied to real estate. She has refined her approach gives you her most effective tip when speaking to new biz partners.

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Marina Sud’s real estate background:

–        Founder of Troika Home Solution Louisville based in Louisville, KY

–        Just started wholesaling and has already done 5 deals in last 4 months

–        Working on 2 deals right now

–        Say hi to her at http://www.sisterswhobuyhouses.com/

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