What is your “backstory”?
I grew up fast, I had separated parents that had families on opposite sides of the US. They were both from San Diego but my Moms family ended up in Detroit and shortly after I was born that’s where my Mom and I went.
We came back to San Diego when I was about 8 or so and lived in a garage for a while, my sister was born soon after we and I would have to babysit when everyone had to work so it got me used to responsibilities at a young age. Then I bounced around between different crowded apartments, went back to Detroit for a few years as well, so I moved schools every year which helped me adapt to different environments quickly.
In school I excelled early on but after moving to different school districts particularly Detroit’s I fell back on to a regular credit track, and from there I just did the bare minimum to finish. I never really had my sights set on college I knew it wasn’t for me, never submitted any applications or went to community college, I moved to New York after High School and ended up joining the Marines from there. While I was in I had various side hustles, mainly buying and selling cars, trading stocks and forex. After I got out I was introduced to Real Estate and it just made sense to me, I felt it and I ran with it.
How did you get Started in Real Estate?
It’s actually a weird story because the main thing that lead me to it was tearing my acl. I ended up getting a few months off work so I had a lot of time to reflect on the direction of my life, so I started going to business expos and meetings since I had free time, and I ended up getting a free ticket to a 3 day real estate seminar where I was introduced to the concept of flipping and wholesaling and my mind was blown, just seemed like the missing piece for my life.
After that I teamed up with my partner, Jay Monopoly, and signed up for a more in-depth field training going through rehab properties, we went all in and hitting the ground running but got nowhere fast. We were in San Diego, one of the most competitive markets in the nation. Every REI (real estate investor) meeting we were the youngest person in the room by a longshot and not very many people took us seriously or gave us the time of day. The ones who would talk to us just ended up trying to sell us more training. So we concluded that the San Diego market didn’t make sense for us to start off in, to be a player you had to be an all cash buyer and we didn’t have half a million cash.
We started brainstorming to figure out a way to do this virtually, doing everything online was the big thing so we started networking in different markets through social media. It wasn’t until we connected with Brian Adamson that things really took off for us. He is an well established investor in Detroit and he was open to the idea of setting up a virtual flipping system and he spent time teaching us how to responsibly build and scale our business.
Soon after connecting with him we got our first deal under contract, and things just took off from there, it went from getting our first deal to having multiple projects a time. Detroit is an emerging market so you don’t have to be a cash buyer to get a deal, with the same money you would use to invest in San Diego you could make 3 to 5 times the profit in Detroit.
Do you need a lot of money to get started in Real Estate?
Money is required for all real estate transactions but there’s nothing requiring it to be your money. Creative financing and structuring is a method that allows you to do deals in various ways many of which you can accomplish without putting up your own money. Wholesaling is the most popular form of this, essentially you’re just flipping the contract for a property and your getting a fee for the rights of that contract. So you go and you find a house that needs to be flipped and you get it under contract to purchase it for a price that will allow profits for a flip and your wholesale fee, typically you can expect around $2,000-$10,000 for a wholesale fee, and you sell the rights to purchase that property to another investor, you pay nothing for that deal and you get paid when your investor closes(completes the purchase) on the property.
You can also flip a property using other people’s money there is just more pieces you have to put in place. You will need a Hard Money Lender is which is a an asset based lender meaning they lend based on deals rather than your personal finances, and you will need private investors.
Your hard money lender will typically cover 100% of your rehab and 80% for the purchase price of the property, your private investors will come in to cover the remaining 20% for a return after the completion of the project, this is the same strategy I used to get my first flip. Depending on the size of the house and rehab you can see $30,000 to $80,000.
Do you need a license to be an investor?
No you do not need any licenses actually. Realtors need a license, they represent buyers and sellers listing properties on the MLS. As an investor you will work with realtors and list properties for sale through them and potentially buy them if you find a deal on the MLS.
What would you recommend to people wanting to get started in Real Estate?
The biggest things that contributed to my success was finding the right team, finding a system that’s going to work for you, and sticking to it. The team you surround yourself with is crucial they can be your biggest strength or biggest weakness, the most important piece of your team is your mentor, mistakes in real estate are not cheap. You want an experienced mentor whose been through good markets and bad markets they’ll ensure that you are prepared for anything.
I believe creating or following systems is essential for being successful in any business it allows you to find a way to be profitable and repeat it consistently. After you have found a system you like, stick to it. A lot of people get overwhelmed with all the potential avenues you can take in real estate and they try doing too many different things and once instead on going all in on one. Once you have one system on autopilot, you can work towards building a different systems, but scattering your efforts trying to do multiple strategies at once will lead to sub-par results and in most cases failure.
How do you feel about the current real estate market? Is there a bubble?
I think there will be a correction in the economy soon, the housing market will be affected but I believe it will only affect certain markets it won’t be a nationwide crash. If you look at San Diego the cost of living exceeds the average income that’s a clear indication that something needs to be fixed, and houses are one of the biggest expenses, there has been a consistent decline in the percentages of inventory and houses sold there as well. Where as Detroit is still a thriving real estate market with a cap rate that is nearly double that of the national average. Once corrections occur it’ll will open up opportunities in larger markets for those ready to buy the deeply discounted inventory that’ll be available when the hobby investors get scared.
How do you feel about Real Estate Investment Trust’s?
They’ve been undervalued because of their role in the last crash, it’s a stable investment vehicle and on a longer term scale has outperformed the stock market. Most times the volatility is caused by investors overreacting you can see this whenever there’s rate hikes. So with the current state of the market with increasing rates and uncertainty in major housing markets you can expect volatility to come.
What markets are you currently investing in and looking to get into?
Right now my team has very solid positions in Detroit and Orlando, majority of my focus is in Detroit. I have smaller tax lien investments in Baltimore and Ohio as well but im still testing those markets. I believe with Detroit I am in the right market at the right time so that will continue to be my primary focus it is still an emerging market with plenty of opportunity. That’s not to say there isn’t other strong markets out there right now, Ive been hearing good things about Virginia and New Jersey from friends that invest there.
Are there any books or resources that have contributed to your success?
There are many books that have helped me in my journey, but the ones that have had the greatest benefit to me havent been about real estate. I read a lot of “self-help” books about mindset and psychology. I’d say Think and Grow Rich, Outwitting the Devil, and Outliers have had some of best impacts on me.
What is your mission or goal moving forward?
Moving forward my main goal is to have the largest team of young real estate entrepreneurs spread across different markets. I want to shift the culture in real estate, and make it easier for younger generations to get into. We started a coaching program plugging people into our entire system, we’ve had outstanding success with most students getting properties under contract the very same week of their training. Having a positive impact on people’s lives is more valuable to me than any dollar amount.