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This is a bigger pockets podcast show, four hundred and forty two, I just tell myself every day, OK, there's something I can do today, whether it's just print out a stupid little form and leave it on the printer for tomorrow. I'm just going to take one stinking step today that benefits my portfolio. That gets me headed towards my goals.
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What's going on here? It's Brenda Turner, host of the Baker Pocket's podcast here in the shed with my buddy David Greene. David, how's the book?
Selling and Sold came out a few weeks ago. How's that doing? Sold is selling. It's actually really cool. I talked to the publishing coordinators and they said this is the most orders they've ever had for a book launch in history, a bigger pocket's publishing. And based on what I'm seeing from Amazon sales, they're already ready to order another five thousand. It's only been out for like a week or two. So, oh, look at you.
And I didn't think it would because I think it would be I mean, it's like it's a book for real estate agents. So I thought, like, well, art in our audience is real estate investors. Are they going to buy in for the agents? And it looks like they are. That's exactly the key. What you just said is bigger pockets audience is so awesome that they've been buying this book to give to their real estate agents as a thank you when the house closes or, hey, I care about your career.
I just want to give you something that will help push you forward. And and it's done incredible because of that. In fact, I'm going to do a voice or a text on my phone right now to my assistant. Text bell. Hey, come, let's order David's book and send it to Jason and Patrick. There you go, I'm in order later because that's how I got my agent in Washington, an agent here in Maui, so we just showed people how to buy a gift for someone to make them like you, how to leverage a personal assistant to do your work, how to be productive with three seconds and during a podcast in the middle of a podcast.
All right. Good good stuff. All right. With that said, let's talk about today's show. Today show is with a guest that we've had on the show before, but we went a different route with him today. Really good stuff. Bryce Stewart. So Bryce was the guy, if you remember, back in the day who had the really cool analogy that we talk about all the time about vacuuming your truck. If you don't know what that means, you'll hear about it in today's show.
But vacuuming the truck is that guy. And we cover a lot of stuff today, like how about a basically 21 units for basically no money down. He doubled his cash flow while actually reducing the geographic area of his portfolio. Like he shrunk down to one specific spot. Very, very cool. And then he even you guys are going to think it's hilarious. Bryce is a funny dude. He pulls out a guitar and he serenades us with a song on the podcast today.
You're going to love it. It's something every landlords to know. I'm super passionate about it. So he wrote a song just for us today, I think the first time that's ever happened on the podcast. So stay tuned for all of that.
But before we get to it, let's get to today's quick quick tip is to buy books for people in your life. It does have to be a bigger pocket book, but books are such a great thing. Like like we talk about the importance of like giving gifts to people. Books are cool because what you do is you buy the book and then you like write a note on the front cover or inside or on a Post-it note.
It's like, hey, I thought you would like this book because A, B and C, it just shows that you put thought into something that you get for somebody. So the quick tip is start building relationships with people by buying them books and then including dealt with it. It is a really, really good way to build relationships. David Alexander bought me extreme ownership by JoCo Willink and it changed my life and then it changed my business's life because we started incorporating that.
It affected the way that I speak on the podcast. And then it led to us getting JoCo willing to be on the podcast. Yeah, that's cool. If he would have said, hey, you should check out this book, I said, OK, yeah, I never would have done it again. But he actually went out of his way to put it in my hands and it changed my life. So now I think of him every single time I think of that thing.
It's an awesome way if you want to impact people's lives positively. That's very cool. Very cool. All right. Well, that's that is Quickstop.
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Such bigger pockets, that's few. And r i. S e dotcom slash bigger pockets to have your first three months of advisory fees waived. Again, that's fundrise dotcom slash bigger pockets. All right, folks, let's get into today's show again at the year to love that. So grab a pen and paper, take some notes today and make sure you listen for the thung. You're going to love it. This is the interview with Braith Stewart.
Brian, welcome back to the Bigger Pocket's podcast. Man, it's been a long time coming. I'm excited to get back and see what you've been up to. What've you been up to? Thanks so much.
I'm really excited to be back on. I've had a lot going on in the last, I guess, two and a half, nearly three years since you guys had me on. So I'm excited to talk about it.
Yeah, well, let's let's get into it. Maybe first you can. For those who didn't listen to your last episode, which what number was that?
Again, I know I have it in here somewhere, but two seventy six to seventy six. So for those who didn't listen to that give you give us a quick two minute rundown on who you are, how you got into real estate and what kind of your portfolio look like when we last talked to you. Sure.
The brass tacks are this. I had been a sixth grade teacher in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and I went from being essentially about fifty thousand dollars in debt with a wife and young kids at age twenty seven to being completely retired at age thirty five and having a portfolio that was delivering me around ten thousand dollars in a monthly passive income. So I was able to retire. The big take away that seemed to hit most people hardest from our first episode was a story I shared with you guys about vacuuming my truck as a sort of convenient and tidy parable for how to approach real estate investing.
Is that ring any bells for the two of you?
It is definitely ring a bell for me. I still actually give that analogy to people all the time. I just tell them that I invented it, not you.
I won't go through the entire story. But the point of it is this, that a truck and there was it was overly complicated. And I had to decide that the the very first step in selling my truck was to go and vacuum out the truck instead of being intimidated by the entire process of getting rid of a truck that I had a loan on. I just had to focus in on the first step being to go outside, get my shop vac and vacuum the thing, and then the next day after that, take it to the car wash and then the next day after that.
And eventually I got to the point where I was able to sell it, but I never could have anticipated how it would go before I started taking those steps. And I think that's a great it's a good parable for investing in real estate, because a lot of times for the listeners who are on here, you you've got a watermelon in front of you that you have to eat and you keep telling yourself, my mouth is not big enough to swallow this entire watermelon, you know?
And the answer is, well, you need a knife. Nobody can swallow an entire watermelon, you have to be able to cut it up into pieces that are bite sized or you'll never get it down and you shouldn't eat the rind.
That's a lesson in there. Probably.
Probably you could try, but you might you might get some painful experiences out of it, which also relates to real estate. Sometimes you try stuff. I love it.
I love both those pictures because they just show that, like, people oftentimes don't take action because they can't see the full picture. I like to say, like, the analogy I use often is like driving through the fog. You can't see the deer that's in the road two miles down the road. So people pull over to the side of the road like that would be ridiculous. But we do it all the time in other areas of life. But when you're driving, if you just keep moving down the road, you always can see a little bit further.
And as long as you keep asking the question like, what is the next step? What's the next logical step in this process, you're always going to get the answers that you want as you get through that. So I think that made a huge impact on me and I mean hundreds of thousands of other people.
Well, the good part about it is that it actually applies to every stage of your investing career, whether you're David Green, Brandon Turner, Bryce Stewart or just starting out, that's something that everybody has some next step that's bite sized.
And we've talked ourselves into not taking it because we think it's too big.
Or what often happens is this. I find you run into some barrier, which is like a lack of knowledge barrier. You get to some point where you're like, I don't know what to do next, and then you freeze. So whether it's starting a fund, whether it is, you know, hiring an admin for a real estate business, whatever it is, you get to some point where you're like, I just don't know what to do next, and then you stop.
And the key in continuing to go forward is finding out how to either get help or to break down what you do know into something that you can do next. So for the listeners who are out there and I want a look, I want to give value to everybody who's listening to this podcast today and whether you're a beginning investor or like a seasoned investor, I'm hoping there's something from what we talk about today that you can really take away. But but in each case, it's going to be that you have to break it down and take the next step.
And when you're a real estate investor, there's a lot of those things that if you just push the boulder up to the plateau, the effort ends and you get to reap the benefits of it long. You know, I love I love this concept.
And I think when you were on the show the first time, I really started my mind working toward this like idea that and I see it now on the podcast all the time. And I really think you were a part of the origin of this, that every difficult thing in life is really just like there's nothing hard say there's nothing hard. It's just steps that you haven't defined yet or practiced enough, in other words. And then, like everything can be broken up into like five minute tests.
Everything like building a nuclear bomb is a series of five minute tasks. It's like connect this wire there, install this piece of plutonium that everything could be broken up into five minute or less like a fourth grader could do in almost every way and almost everything and feel like, yeah, when you take that time to really ask, well, what is the most important next step? What does that next thing, what is the vacuum truck moment in this thing?
All of a sudden you realize that you could go and build a gigantic real estate fund or you could go in and buy property out of state, or you could go you could do a number. You could go like you go to the moon. Like there's it's so freeing to realize that it's not difficult. It's just steps. And so once you define what those steps are, you're going to figure it out. And once you practice them, then it becomes easy.
Then it becomes who you are. And like you and I would go buy a duplex tomorrow wouldn't be a big deal because we've done the steps we have to find them.
Yeah. And you start telling yourself you have to eat the entire watermelon. Yeah. Yeah. It's time to cut it up. Yeah. That's the one difference is for you said a fourth grader can do it. I've taught fourth graders before. I remember I was a teacher. Here's the difference. Fourth graders will ask for help.
So one other thing I've done in the last three years since I was on your guys show is I I mentored a twenty year old who came to me after the show. Now, he was a friend of a friend. It wasn't just some random thing, but he heard the podcast episode and he came to me. He said, hey, we both know this person and now I know you. Will you mentor me? I want to be a real estate investor, 20 years old.
He opted not to go to college, which for him was the right choice. It wasn't the right time to incur debt. And he wanted to start investing in real estate. But it was still at twenty years old. It was a lot of it was still over his head and it wasn't dumbed down enough to the point where it was like, hey, go and get this form in this particular county and go and do this.
So it's really helpful when you're starting out in real estate that you have somebody who you're talking with or who you're with who can kind of define the the parameters for you and give you an ecosystem in which to be stupid and ask really stupid questions like I think that I had him do.
And this is something everybody who's listening should do right now. If you've never done this, this is the first step. And I hereby, as king of the universe, I forbid you to reach out to a mentor until you've taken this step. Go on, Google, search a blank agreement of sale for your state in Pennsylvania. It's about nineteen pages long to get the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors Agreement of Sale. I am out all nineteen pages and I said, take this home, read it through seven to ten times.
Don't you dare call me again until you've read through this agreement of sale seven to ten times and on the tenth time that you read through it, take a highlighter and highlight each section of the agreement of sale that you do not that you still don't understand after your seventh time through. Because honestly, if you understand an agreement of sale, that's that's like real estate one to one. And that's a superior education that most people never get because they don't take the time to earn.
Understand what the tool that they're using. So with this kid, he did exactly that, he was a great mentee. Is that the word mentee? Sure. He printed out an agreement of sale. He marked it up. He brought it back to me a week later. And we went in together and looked at, OK, here's the parts he still didn't understand. And then he understood how to analyze a deal like here's good numbers, here's good rents for what the price is.
But he didn't understand how to make an actual offer on a property. He understood this one would be good if I was able to rent it, but how do I actually go and get it? So he and I just we took a bunch of paper paper agreements, a sale, and we plugged in dummy properties at first stuff that was never going to leave my office, just him and I going through it. And we plugged in the amounts. We plugged in the the sales data.
And here's the crowning irony.
When he goes to a real estate agent, they're going to use DocuSign or something similar, what's it called, dot loop to do this? It'll be done digitally. But he would never have been comfortable filling out a DocuSign agreement of sale without me going through and and doing the whole, like, highlighter and pen and writing into a normal agreement of sale to get him ready to make his first deal. That was really key for him. A lot of people will ask that question.
Bryce, what do you do it in escrow? What happens here? What happens there? And you're making a very good point because everything that occurs in an escrow is coming right out of the contract. Exactly. That's that's what spells out everything that you're going to do. So if you go through there and you understand, OK, I have a 15 day inspection contingency, what is that for? Well, you want to make sure that the property you're buying is in the condition you want it to be in or the right neighborhood, but you don't have time to do all that work before you're at an offer.
So there's a period that you have to do or you can back out. If you see something that you don't like, what kind of stuff do we get inspected? Well, let's look for termites. Let's look for a home inspection. You can sort of really systematically break down everything that goes into buying real estate, starting with that as your skeleton.
Absolutely. And the problem is this. Most people don't look at an agreement of sale until they have a like a time deadline deal that they're trying to get.
And then all of a sudden they're trying to learn their way through an agreement of sale, all 19 pages of it, and they're up against other offers or there's a highest and best do. And now they're trying to educate themselves on an agreement of sale because the the realtor can't just tell you here, sign here, initial here, a sign here, initial here. That's not the right thing for a realtor. Do you have to understand what you're signing and how you're making an agreement before you do it?
You don't want to learn when you have a hot deal in front of you that you don't want anybody else to get ahead of you a hold up. That's not the time to try to figure out an agreement of sale.
So for me, I had put in a bunch of reps on all the properties that I already owned and gone through it so much. But I realized this kid needs to put in a bunch of reps. We'll call them dry reps without an actual deadline on the hook so that when we have one ready to go, he can do it quickly and know what numbers and everything he's going to put into the agreement of sale.
Yeah, that makes a lot. And that was that was absolutely one hundred percent free step. I don't know. It cost me nineteen pages of paper and however much printer ink I used to get it into his hands, but it was a really free step that turned him into actually a much more sophisticated investor over a fairly short amount of time.
Hmm. So that's how you'd recommend that new people trying to get started. That's one of the ways to make your.
Yeah, I like I said, if I'm king of the universe, I'm I'm going to forbid you to call Brandon or call David or call anybody else until you've put in that level of work. That's your test. Will you do that? Will you download an agreement of sale and do that part and then come to somebody with an agreement sale that's marked up and say to them, these are the remaining parts? I don't understand. Can you explain to me how this goes?
It's a lot easier for them to help you instead of them taking a toddler and trying to turn them into a real estate investor.
That's cool. It certainly shows more respect for the person you're going to talk to as well. Absolutely.
You're trying to skip the learning process by going right to the source and saying, just tell me what I'm supposed to do, but then you've got to come back a million other times, ask a million other questions, as opposed to really having a grasp of understanding what goes on.
I think that's been let me throw this out out there to the deal that this guy ended up buying the triplex that he bought. I did not go to see it with him. And I told him, I think this is a good deal from the outside, but I don't know. And I'm not going to tell you whether you should go through with this or not, because honestly, I don't want to be culpable if things go south after you buy and move into the place.
So I've given you all the knowledge I know how to give you. I prepared you with what I know. But now you have to walk through the threshold of that investment property on your own like a man. So man up and do it. And I'm out of the picture, you know, call me if you have any questions or anything on how to do whatever is next. But this is you alone doing it. Your name is going to be on the deed, not mine.
Yeah. So, you know, we walked him through it.
He did it. It was terrific. And now he's a landlord. 20 now he's 21. That's cool, man, that's really cool. So he's a landlord at 21 years old. Look, let's go back to your story again a little bit, I want to get more caught up on what you've done in the last year now. So over the last couple of years, it's been on the show. So what have you done with it? Where were you?
What was your portfolio size before? What have you done since then?
Let's kind of walk through that last couple of years.
So I've I'm going to give this caveat sometimes when I've listened to a bunch of your guys podcasts and sometimes you guys interview people that seem so incredibly accomplished that I listen to the podcast. And what I come away with is the same emotions of like scrolling Facebook and seeing people's vacations, like their photos from their vacation. And you come away and you're like, well, must be nice to be them, but I could never have that vacation or ever. So before I say this, I know the temptation is like it's I'm trying to flex or whatever, and people are going to hear it and say, oh, that must be nice to be him.
But but there really are ways to do what I'm doing and hopefully we can spell some of those out. So I've basically doubled the revenues from my portfolio. I went from twenty three to thirty seven units and I did that while simultaneously decreasing the geographical radius of my portfolio.
What do you mean like you just like but all in one area. Yeah. I went, I was tired of driving. I don't like driving a whole lot so I bought places that were adjacent to the places I already owned by ten thirty one exchanging out of other places that I owned that were farther away.
Interesting. You're going to think I'm a spoiled brat because a lot of investors that I talked to are like I would kill to have all of my properties in one city. But for me, I wanted to control the block and the neighborhood that I already had invested in deeply.
So I can actually show you guys, if I screen share here, this might be needed to do it. My market is Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. For those of you who are just listening and not looking, my market is Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which is. Essentially. An hour and change west of New York City, it is about an hour north of Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Allentown and Eastern Compris, what's called the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania.
It's the third largest metro area in the state. It has about eight hundred and fifty thousand residents. And for my money, it's a perfect area for a number of reasons. One, it's growing. It's one of the only areas in the Northeast that the population is growing like gangbusters. And too, it is a gigantic logistics hub. FedEx and Amazon both have freight hubs in the Lehigh Valley, which means they land freight here. And then in the Lehigh Valley is essentially one legal truckers day drive to half of the nation's population.
Wow. So that's key because it means it's a great area for logistics. And also the land here is, I would say, as cheap as you can get as far East as you can get in the United States. So if you keep going east from where I am, you're in New York or you're in New Jersey and prices tend to get a lot higher in those areas, whereas the Lehigh Valley, by comparison, is still very well priced, will guide my screen here as it doesn't get too crazy.
So it's a terrific downtown Bethlehem is this is another reason I've invested in this area. The downtown is a historic downtown. It's somewhere that a lot of young professionals want to live. It has a lot of restaurants which meant something before covid and will mean something again, briefly. But it's somewhere where it's actually it's fun to live here. The Lehigh Valley is it's a great place to invest. And if you're like a remote investor like David from California or somebody like him, this is an area that a lot of investors have moved into because the price ratio to the kind of rent that you can charge is very good.
Yeah. So this is Main Street, Bethlehem. There are restaurants, there are shops, there's outdoor shopping and dining. And all of my properties are basically within a three to four block radius of this hip hop in downtown. So the what I'm talking about happened with this as a context. I don't think it would work everywhere, but it worked in my market because there's a high demand and I can rent my places very quickly. I have somewhere close to zero days vacancy every year in all thirty seven of my units.
So the strategy that I utilized was I basically bird inside of a deal and I can explain what that means to all the listeners. I mean, I'm assuming most of your listeners know what a BR is by rehab, rent or finance for Pete.
But for those who don't know, I think a flip they hold on to exactly. Step one is I found an off market deal because I went in and started talking to a ninety two year old real estate investor. Who knew other ninety two year olds and they're looking to unload their portfolio without leaving their heirs with a gigantic mess to clean up.
So I found a an older gentleman who was trying to sell a twenty one unit portfolio and he wanted one point six million dollars for those twenty one units. Now, there's a five unit in there that I did not want, and I also did not have one point six million dollars, nor would I have gotten approved for a loan to buy a one point six million dollar portfolio. So I talked to the guy and I convinced him to peel off the five unit and sell me 16 contiguous units that were adjacent to mine or multifamily or single family.
Yeah, it was two duplexes and a 12 unit that were all completely contiguous, so here's how I structured the deal. We negotiated a price of one million fifty thousand dollars for those 16 units, contiguous units. I still do not have one million fifty thousand dollars. In fact, I was rubbing pennies together. I went to my father in law whom I had borrowed money out of a hillock from before. That was how I had to kind of use like hard money in the past was to utilize a killock from my father and my father in law and then refinance out and pay them back.
Sure. And this is my biggest ask ever. I borrowed three hundred and fifteen thousand dollars from my father in law. Now, when we when we brought the deal to the settlement agent, they divided up these two purchases on separate HUDs. So the two duplexes were able to be conveyed on one deed. That was four of the 16 units and the 12 unit needed to be a standalone transaction. I used the three hundred and fifteen thousand dollars to buy the two duplexes with cash for a purchase price of two hundred and sixty five thousand dollars.
They appraised for three hundred and thirty thousand dollars right away.
Nice. And I went to a bank and said, I would like to get a refinance loan based on the three hundred and thirty thousand dollar valuation. Now, this is this is where it hearkens back to what we were talking about before. Remember, banks want to loan money based on the value of the collateral assets. So even though I had just purchased this property for two hundred and what did I say? Sixty five thousand dollars. It appraised for three hundred and thirty thousand dollars.
And the bank was willing to loan me 80 percent of the three 30, not 80 percent of the original purchase price.
Now, not all banks are going be willing to do that, but I found a local bank that was willing to do that. So I immediately reified back out. What would that be, two hundred and sixty seven thousand dollars of the three hundred and thirty thousand dollar purchase price?
I still hadn't bought the 12 units, but now I had two hundred and sixty seven thousand dollars in cash still in my hand because I had refinanced it back out of these two duplexes, which I now owned. And then I went to settlement on the 12 unit and used the two hundred and sixty seven thousand dollars as the down payment for the remaining seven hundred and eighty five thousand dollar purchase price for the 12 unit. So essentially, it was within a month, I bird within the deal, but those properties, I still had a little bit of change left over.
I did some renovations and within a year, the value of the 16 units was one point five million dollars.
And I refinanced back out and paid back my father in law, his three hundred and fifteen thousand dollars, and gave it back to him. So that and that was zero dollars of my own money. I didn't hurt my father in law at all because I was willing to pay the ongoing interest on his hillock every month. And I was able to grab property and make sure cash flowed, get a new valuation and pay everybody back out. And now the equity is all mine.
And the cash flow that these properties throw off is all mine.
That's cool. So when you're when you're a real estate investor for this kind of stuff, crops up, when you can drive the value of the property up, you can borrow more money against the increased value of the property. That's the burn method. Let me now I wanted to throw something here that's a lesson for every advanced real estate investor. And that's this. I ran into some hard, hard times when I was renovating the 12 unit. First of all, it was filled with tenants who were not great.
Within eight months, two of my tenants had died. I was carrying naloxone or Narcan around because one of my tenants get which, by the way, is how you revive someone from a heroin overdose. Oh, is naloxone or Narcan? And my tenant had said, if you ever find the unconscious, use this to revive me the day before settlement on a 12 unit.
Yeah, exactly. Now I'm carrying around. Yet the day before settlement, the the seller called me and said, hey, by the way, in the front hallway, you're going to find a head hole in the drywall because two of the tenants got into a fight in the front hallway and one of them put the other one's head through the wall. Just so you know, that's waiting for you when you take ownership. So it wasn't all easy breezy.
I walked into a really difficult situation. Then my wife and I had to figure out everything from tracking down next of kin for a deceased tenant to dealing with a funeral home who didn't have next of kin to doing an estate clean out for an apartment with food on the table and in the refrigerator and honestly, drugs and other stuff up to your knees inside of the apartment. It was not great. And this place was in not great condition. But over the course of the year, the reason that the value went up so much is I busted my butt and manage contractors.
I did a lot of the work to add some sweat equity to the place and we turned around all 12 units to turn it into something that now is is highly desirable. It's clean, it's neat, it's trendy. It's somewhere that my tenants now want to live. But it was not easy and it took a lot of a lot of hard work. That's something else I want to throw out to you guys, David and Brandon.
This may help. I also had a contractor who was working on that 12 unit. Now, I didn't pull permits because the contractor was not doing work that required permits or he was replacing flooring and cabinets. So there was no need for me to get a permit from the city. He injured himself while he was working at my place, and I had simply taken his word that he was adequately insured before he started doing work on my property. Landlords out there.
That's a no no. You want a additional insurance certificate from your contractors insurance agent, before he even darkens the threshold of the door, because if he's not adequately insured, that can come back on you as the owner of the property. Yep. And I'll throw this out there, too. If you're just doing side work like you have, you hired a kid, a high school kid to clean out your gutters or something like that. And that kid falls off a ladder.
The first thing that they ask at intake at the E.R. is how did you enjoy yourself? And they want to know whether it was a work related injury or just a normal injury. And that triage is where the insurance claim goes to. So even if you're a bigwig real estate investor at this point, you have to you need to protect yourself against potential stuff like this. Thankfully, with this contractor who hurt himself, I was able to make the case that I was not his employer, which that's the first thing they look for.
And therefore, I was not obliged to carry worker's compensation to have this guy working on my property because otherwise I didn't have worker's comp because I don't have employees. There's actually no way for me to get it.
And I had to go through a whole rigmarole with my insurance agent of he's like, why did you not have this paper in hand? And you didn't tell me I needed to get it in hand from everybody. So I don't know if you guys have ever run into that or if you've operated without ever having to deal with a problem like that. But you've got to protect yourself when you have this kind of work done, even if you're a bigwig or you have lots of units that can come back and bite you.
And it's a precaution that you need to take. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So it was trying and difficult. And the number one point I walked away with was either you have to have somebody who has an insurance certificate that they're sending to you or if you're if you're having somebody do side work on one of your properties and it's not they're not an insured contractor because of the kind of work that they're doing is not something that's insured.
You want to have somebody and talk to your insurance agent about this. You want somebody who has what's called a worker's compensation waiver form. It's them agreeing to not pursue a worker's comp claim if they happen to be injured. They're waving their right to worker's compensation. So talk to your insurance agent about a worker's comp waiver form. There's probably some big investors out there right now who tomorrow are having people doing work in their properties who do not have a certificate or if somebody's cousin helping them do demo because they're doing demolition on a unit and the person doesn't have adequate medical insurance.
Guys, this is so important. It's so important that I actually wrote a song that I'm going to play for, you know, drive this point home for all of your investors. Know this about how there's a lot of really dumb decisions that you could do.
Brice's grabbing as a guitar right now for those who can't see this.
Yeah, if you can't if you can't see it, you can hear it. This is Claffey on the podcast.
Just, you know, this is called the have your workers sign a worker's comp waiver form. There's a lot of dumb things you could do, but this one is dumb to not have them do it. Are we ready? Here we go.
They're coming through here. Hear you can leave your sunroof open in the middle of a storm. But don't forget, all workers need a workers comp waiver before you can lean up against the stovetop while the burners are still warm. Don't forget, all workers need workers comp waiver form. You can run into the courthouse and pull the fire alarm. Just don't forget, all workers need workers comp waiver before you can walk to the devil and you can grab him by the horn.
Just don't forget, all workers need a worker's comp waiver for. The member and even if you're a big investor, I hope that some plants in your brain brace, you have a way of of making statements that people are going to remember forever.
So, yeah, I hope so. Funny. Yeah, I have I have been there some big lessons that I learned. That stuff comes to you one step at a time. It starts with perfecting the stuff that you're on. It starts with doing those little steps that you have that are right in front of you. It starts by asking for help from people who know how to define an ecosystem of answers for you, like I did with that kid who was just starting out.
He could really ask stupid questions and make mistakes on paper with me that I could tell him that's not going to work out. And he was willing to do the work to get up to that point. So for me, a few things that have helped drive that home. One is, again, I joined the MS1 mastermind. I found a lot of great answers there from how to do a wholesale agreement. I had never done a wholesale deal. I did one of those in the last three years.
I made forty thousand dollars off of it. That was terrific. And each step you're going to be able to ask for help. You have to make sure you're not afraid of looking stupid, like asking how to go get a form on a website so you can take yourself past the finish line. The other thing I did in the last three years is I wrote a book on house hacking. It took me a really long time.
You guys have both written books, so you probably know how this worked so long because like it it's like giving birth to a pine cone. It hurts and it's slow. And it's not always a fun process and it can get messy. But what's it called? My book is called House Hacker's House Hacker's Guide to the Galaxy. And essentially it breaks down my journey in house hacking one stupid little step at a time from the perspective of me and my wife going from being, again, scared kids who had just gotten married and were in debt to being financially free.
And now we have four kids. We live in our dream house. It's been funded by house hacking. Essentially.
I thought, first of all, where do people get the book just so they can go and check it out and you can buy the book on Amazon.
The show producer said he'd put the hyperlink in the show notes. You can do that, but it's on Amazon. You can buy a paperback copy or get an E copy for your Kindle or for any other reader that you have. If you just search House Hacker's Guide, it should be one of the first choices. And I'd love it if you read it. It's a, like I said, a stupidly simple perspective on how to take each step one at a time in the process of House hacking.
That makes sense. Common goal. Congrats. Yeah, writing a book is a is a battle of the process.
Yeah, I wrote I wrote in this year is coming out next year also. And it was a it's a journey.
It's good for clarifying your thoughts. And I'll, I just like mentoring people but yeah. It's awesome. So congratulations on that. Hey, let's take a quick break from this episode.
We'll continue in just a moment. But first, let's hear word from our sponsors.
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Bryce, I had a few more questions to throw at you before we get out of here today, first of all. If you were to sum up like the last three years, if you had to create a theme like the lot since you've been on the show last time, it's like, what's the theme of the last couple of years? To sum it up? Like, let's say you're going to write a book, a biography of the last two years of your life.
What's the title of that book? And one of the lessons you learned is this one, I know it's going to be long, but I'm not a disciplined person. I'm not self discipline. Type A people are a mystery to me, even people who are able to get up early and knock it out of the park every day. That's a mystery to me, too. The only thing I've got going for me is I've been willing to move. I'll put it like this.
I've been willing to move the ball three yards on every down. I just tell myself every day, OK, there's something I can do today, whether it's just print out a stupid little form and leave it on the printer for tomorrow. I'm just going to take one stinking step today that benefits my portfolio. That gets me headed towards my goals. You have to have goals so you know where you're headed. But once you have those goals in place and they're clear to you and you love the goals and they look like something that you really want, then you just have to say, OK, today I'm going to call this person.
Today I'm going to do this Google search and download this form. And then tomorrow and you'll run into stuff where you're like, I don't know what's next. OK, call somebody who does know what's next. So I would stay. The theme is move the football three yards tomorrow and then three yards the day after that and you'll keep getting first downs.
That's so good and it's so good. I love this question. What's one thing in school is to be taught? That is not if you were the emperor of the galaxy and you could use force.
I was there to deliver the galaxy. Well, one thing I'll say is this school's in a lot of ways a cool setup for kids. If you think about it, if you guys have a boss, if you had a boss anymore and your boss gave you a project and you worked on that project for a month, and then after a month, your boss came in and said, this is all wrong. This is not how I wanted it. You'd be like I just spent one twelfth of my year doing this.
It would have been really nice to know on day two that we were headed in the wrong direction. And because humans really like a tight feedback loop, they don't like futility. They don't like their work to be squandered. So they like to know quickly, am I headed in the right direction with this or am I headed in the wrong direction with this? And the cruel thing that we do to kids or we have historically is we teach them some concepts in class.
They get homework that they take home and they try it out that night and let's say they get it completely wrong. They bring the homework back the next day. The teacher, if they're a great teacher, collects it that day and then takes it home again to grade it that night. And by the time the kid gets the feedback loop, I did this wrong. It's three days after they actually did the real assignment. And it's impossible for them to quickly correct when when the setup is like that.
The one I'll take, the one blessing of digital curriculum is that in some ways, if done right, it can provide a much quicker feedback loop. This is why kids like video games, because video games have a very tight feedback loop. Oh, I did. OK, reset started over again. I got to try that all over again. OK, I died again. I'll do that again. And they can modify their behavior quickly and start experiencing more and more success with each iteration.
That's why you need a mentor when you're first starting out, because they can give you that quick feedback loop and say that's not going to work. The seller is never going to go for it. Try again, start over. Instead of failing through bad deals, you want somebody who can really provide you with a tight feedback loop.
So if I could change anything about education, it would be a tight feedback loop, especially on money and financial education.
One hundred percent, by the way, instead of finding out after you graduate college, they are one hundred grand in debt and you didn't look major, that's going to pay that debt off very quickly. That's not a very good feedback loop.
A thousand percent agreed. All right. All right. So breath. Let's go.
You know, we talked earlier about mentorship, the mentoring people and talking to people. And a lot of people in this show maybe are in that position that like that twenty year old that you reach out to your. And so what I like to do is kind of a new segment of our show. And I don't have a catch phrase or catchy title yet for the section. But basically we're to we're going to call it I'm coming right now. He's going to call it the for those just getting started, how would you answer the following?
So in other words, if somebody that's a lame title for the section, but we're going to we're going to work on that one.
But imagine like this, people listening to show that are brand new and you're really good at explaining concepts. I want to I want to throw some of the most commonly asked questions from new investors that you and see how you would advise people in these situations.
Thugged. Got it, as long as not taking on any moral culpability. All right, would you buy this exact property instead? First question is, if somebody says I can't invest in real estate, I don't have the money.
How do you respond to that? My first go to is, where's all your money going? I'm going to stay. This real estate investing is not a is is not a transactional thing. It's a long thing. OK, so if you are saving up money to make towards a down payment. The saving up of the money is part of real estate investing. OK, so like if you have a car that's way too expensive, by the way, the number one selling car in the United States is an F one fifty.
If you have an F one fifty that you don't need and it cost you forty thousand dollars, the way to start investing in real estate is to liquidate what you don't need and to start having more money so that you can make a down payment. You can't just say I can't make the I can't begin investing in real estate because there's no deal on your desk. It starts with the choices that come before. So my first piece of advice would be sign up for why KNAB, which is you need a budget dotcom, sign up for that.
Make sure you know where all your money is going. And then we'll talk about you not having money to make a real estate investment, if you have really bad financial habits and I walk you into a real estate investment, guess where all the profit from that investment is going to go? It's going to continue to go towards your bad spending habits. So in one sense, look, this sounds really bad, but you have to deserve to make profits from real estate by tending the money that you already have.
Well, and for some people, you're not ready. You need to pay off your school debt or your car debt before you even think about investing in real estate. And those steps are part of investing in real estate because once you dispose of them, you're ready to actually buy a property.
That's so good, man. That's so good. Yeah, it really does begin with that financial foundation people are willing to give any money to can invest in real estate. Well, like, are you at least willing to commit to living on a budget? I love that you mentioned you need a budget. The Weinraub. They're actually a sponsor of this episode of the podcast. Earlier, I got everything you do. They write like they're just like they're legit company, though.
Like that. I've known about and used for a long time.
Like, it's just where's your money going to go live on a budget and make it easy and simple.
Easy to follow. So, yeah, great advice.
Well, let me throw this out there, too. There's probably a really experienced real estate investors out there who are making lots of money. And then the minute it comes under their roof and in the form of profits, they're not taking care of it.
So all this work that they've done out there, going and landing a really great property, it hasn't they're still pulling their hair out in their home, the budget incorrectly. And let me say this in Winamp defense, it costs less than it costs for one session of marriage counseling. OK? And my wife and I went from our budget being it was always a retrospective discussion where we looked at, OK, here's our bank ledger and we yelled at each other.
Why did you spend money on this? Why is this on the credit card? Why did you do this? It was all budgeting to me. It was always guilt inducing and retrospective. Why? NAB is essentially the envelope system digitally so that instead of budgeting being about looking backwards at what you spent, you are allocating all of your money going forwards and it helps, you know, OK, after everything is earmarked, here's how much disposable income I have left over to actually go and do something with, like invest in real estate.
But it gives you a much better picture of where your money can go in the future rather than to me, budgeting was always looking backwards and feeling bad.
The key difference makes sense.
It's really good. I like that it's empowering, basically, and it changes your whole mindset towards, oh, I'm excited, I'm allocating two hundred dollars towards entertainment, how do you think we can stretch that two hundred dollars as far as it'll go. Where should we go versus why did you go spend that money on entertainment right now?
I'm telling you, it changed our marriage. It really did. OK, next question for you here.
For those just getting started, how would you answer this? There are no good deals left. The market is too inflated. I would say you're probably right.
Let's watch Netflix Therriault and her show. All right. Now.
Well, I would say you want to buy David Greene's book because David is in a market that a lot of people think is bloated, which is the Bay Area, and they feel like I can't even break into this market. But the good thing about being, let's say you live in the Bay Area is you can use California money and California equity and arbitrage that to go find a cash flowing property in the Midwest or in the southeast of the United States.
Now, granted, you might not be able to house hack that and move out there the way that I did. But don't be if you own a house in cash in the Bay Area, you could have millions of dollars of equity that is right now frozen. That with a very easy home equity line of credit or with a cash out refinance. You could reallocate that money and go through David's protocols to go find a good property manager in a market that is going to cash flow as soon as you buy it, instead of just closing your eyes and looking around at what happens to be in your neighborhood.
So and it's a it's a very advantageous arbitrage, by the way, because prices and also values values in California are super high. And let me I'm going to throw this on there right now. If you're listening to this and you already own a home right now, while you're listening to this podcast, go take showing great pictures of your house and save them on your computer and have them always ready, along with a description, a showing description of your home ready to rock and roll.
Because if your life goes sideways or you need to move or you want to move, having that stuff ready to rock and roll can mean that you can sell your house more quickly or you can even refinance more quickly. And it doesn't cost you anything to have pictures of your house catalogued on your computer. My wife, since the last podcast we did, my wife and I sold our house. I had my wife take pictures of our pool and landscaping in May with nothing on the horizon.
And we ended up we didn't even know where we're going to do. But I knew this. I knew that come September, we were not going to be able to go back and take my pictures. In May, you take my pictures, you catalog them, and you say that the flowers are new, the mulch is new, the pool is clean. And then when we went to sell it in September, those were the pictures of the outside pictures that we used to sell our place.
And honestly, we had an offer within like twenty four hours of listing our place on Zillow.
Yeah, that's cool, man. All right, next question.
We got a couple more for you in this section of how would you respond to this question from a new investor? And I need a better name for this. My spouse does not want to invest. How do I convince them to invest in real estate?
Well, first, I would say this. When you start out and you have a dream of being a real estate investor, it is like a fledgling bird. OK, its wings can barely open, its eyes can barely open, it has to have worms chewed up and fed to it, and that is your real estate investing dream. And the people that are closest to you, they will accidentally step on that baby bird and kill it before it has the chance to grow into something that is sustainable.
So I'm going to say this. Don't go to your significant other right away with your dream, because, one, they may have had a bad day. They may be stressed. They may not have read all the books that you've read or listen to the podcast that you've read, or they might be the kind of person who is too analytical and they're going to shut you down preemptively while your dream is still fledgling. I would say do this instead, get your own private journal like a Moleskin journal, something that folds flat and is easy to write on and start writing down what you actually want and how you think.
Best you can get there, read books, listen to podcasts and write notes on it and and give that dream some legs and some life before you expose it to anybody's criticism, because even your the love of your life may inadvertently kill your dreams before you, you know. So do that and then then show them bring expert testimony when you actually have the idea and say, I've done a lot of work on this and I have answers that I'm bringing you instead of guesses and postulates.
I think that's probably sound advice overall is don't take every single idea or dream you have to your spouse or your significant other. Right. They're not a one size one stop shop for everything that you would want. And it may be in their best interest of their own head to shoot that idea down, because that's that's a risk that's going to lose their money. So don't bet yourself against the other person where each of you are trying to look out for your own best interests.
OK, I've got another question for you. Sure. I want to invest in real estate. Where do I go to find the best deals geographically? Where website, geographically, realtor.
Like, just what do I do if I just want to get a good deal?
Well, I would start by analyzing the local market because you're going to have at least some boots on the ground, knowledge of where you happen to live again, that it may be that you find out it's overpriced, it's bloated and there's no deals there. But that's something you should go and find out first is in your local market. So for me, that's where I started. It just so happened that I think I lived in one of the best places to invest over the last ten years on the Eastern Seaboard.
I mean, I kind of lucked into that one. Thanks a lot. But do that first because you're going no boots on the ground, OK? This is where the street is, where I wouldn't invest past this street because the neighborhood turns into as it goes here and you're going to know this area is up and coming. We ate at that restaurant. We went here. We went there. Start with your own knowledge. Then I would say if you're up for it, get on a realtor's auto email for not just your neighborhood, but like your county or your zip code or whatever.
If it doesn't bug you too much, have Zillow plug stuff into the zip codes in and around you. It's scary to invest outside of area. I think you need you always need somebody with boots on the ground knowledge to invest in any area.
So otherwise, you're taking too big of a chance, I'm assuming, David, when he invests in air and out of area properties, he at least has somebody who knows which street it becomes, not a good investment on them and which street is up and coming. And maybe he built a relationship of trust there. But that's the person that he asks because he built that network.
So start where you are. Start even with your own house. How can you optimize that? Can you refinance into a lower interest loan? Can you get a hillock can you cash out, refinance and then start concentric circles outside from there? Yeah, yeah.
When I wrote long distance real estate investing, what I realized was that it was really a book about systems. It's the same process as Brandon. I'm sure you'd agree. Bryce, you agree? It's doing the same things over and over and over, but it's a different solution at every step. You can't repeat the same solution, but the steps are almost always the same. And I realized that I needed other people to do those things. So like you said, right?
That's exactly right. You get a person who knows the area. Really. Good afternoon. Your property manager, where you're already going to need a property manager. So boom to two birds with one stone. Right. You're going to need a person who is going to find you. The deals with that person often has lenders that work with investors, because if you work with an agent who invests frequently, they need to find people. They can do financing so they can get their deals closed.
Boom, two birds with one stone. A lot of the stuff we talk about when we're discussing all the work you have to do, people erroneously think they have to go find 50 different human beings to do every step. The reality is you find your agent, they recommend a home inspector, they recommend a roof person. They may and they can go give you a code on work that has to get done. The property manager might have a hand at the agent.
Doesn't both of them know what lender in town tends to work with investors? And maybe they put in a good word for you. A lot of the people in your core are finding out the periphery positions that you would need for do, and then you just keep cycling through those people until you find the ones you like and boom, you've got a system. So I know one of the things that I've noticed that new investors make the mistake of is they think it's kind of like buying stocks.
We're like, well, do I use the Robinhood app or do I use this app? Like, what? Can I just listen to what stock that person bought and I'll just go buy that stock. And real estate investing is very different than stock investing. It's not one road that you take every time to get into that deal. There's a bazillion different roads. There's sometimes the handyman himself or the home inspector has like, well, I know that house down the street needs a lot of work.
No one's buying that thing. And you never would have even thought of it if you were talking to enough people.
Yeah. And tell me if this is if you agree with this to David, that kid who I mentored. Right. Who bought the triplex, you know, he wanted a deal. But if I right away had walked him up to that triplex and again just handed him a DocuSign and said, initial here, sign here, initial here, do this here, that would not have achieved the result that I wanted because I couldn't just hand him a deal.
I needed to turn him into somebody who could be a real estate investor. He had to grow and learn and then we had to go get a deal. Yeah, it sounds like what you're saying, David, is that a lot of people come to you and they're like, how do I find a deal without growing personally? Yeah. And increasing my my own skills. I just want it over and done with. And the answer is you should invest in Arete.
Or you should be a limited partner and it should be a limited partner in a syndication because you want an app based solution to real estate investing, you don't want to grow into a real estate investor.
That's what I loved about your answer when you said you can't just go watch Netflix. That really is the best answer of that person. Sometimes I do this as an agent when they're like, OK, David, I want a fixer upper that I can burn and I want it to cash flow at the two percent rule. But it has to be in the best school district. And I really want to view but my mom, she also has to approve because she's going to come bang all the time and like and it needs be the worst house on the block.
Like, what do we have to do? And I'll say you should just keep paying rent. That's the only answer you can give someone who has the expectations like that. They they have not yet worked through this process to have realistic expectations and a clear path for how to get what they want. So the takeaway is sometimes the best thing you can do that guess just don't actually tell me how it feels in ten years when your rent went from two thousand a month to thirty eight hundred a month.
Yeah. Or I mean, I'm not knocking Netflix. There's some good stuff on there.
The crown is great, but the time is not taking action and you start to realize that you were getting in your own way looking for an app based solution to the that I wanted to retire from my job and not have to work anymore. That's a really serious undertaking. That's not something you just make a couple of clicks by Bitcoin.
You'll be fine and let me. Yeah, right. Let me and let me let me save you the grief here, OK? I'm sure you guys will both agree with this, whether we are all investors. OK, if you're listening to this as king of the universe, I hereby w an investor. You are now a capital investor and there's no going back and you don't get to outsource that title. You are an investor whether you ever buy real estate or not.
You are investing in something. In my book, I say if you're a renter, you are a real estate investor because you are paying to live somewhere and there is some opportunity for optimizing your financial scenario within that. Renting my wife, when we were really struggling, we were renting. She shopped like crazy for a cheap enough apartment for us to get into and it made like a two hundred or three hundred dollar difference at a juncture when that was a really important three hundred dollars a month, three hundred dollars of cash flow differential.
So my wife was real estate investing when she was looking for a more optimal renting scenario. And I'm glad she put on the investor hat to try to alcohol it to bring up the anelli for our little family corporation. We needed to look at it like that. And most people, they never internalize that lesson that you're an investor already. You're the CEO of your home's corporation, and your job is to maximize the income, to begin to minimize the expenses so that the A.I. on this endeavor is profitable.
You're in that game, whether you like it or not, so you better start getting good at it. Man, this has been fun, this has been fun, so we got to get transitioning out of this Abasto and I got a Brazilian jujitsu instructor showed up at my house in a few minutes. I'm going to let you all go.
But before we get there, let's get to today's famous for the famous for.
These are the same questions we ask every guest every week. You ready for the famous for I know you answer the last time, but I don't remember. Your answer is nobody else to do there. And maybe the chain so no one pay a real estate book.
My favorite real estate book was Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Now it's a book on real estate investing by Brandon Turner.
Oh, man. Thank you. Wow, I feel so good.
I'll send you your check later in my own book, of course. Ross Hacker's Guide to the Galaxy. My favorite Buffett one. That's my favorite book.
I haven't read it yet. It's my favorite Santero. You should sent me a copy. All right. Question number two, I'll pay for it. But, you know, I want to a copy from. Absolutely. I thought I'll sign it.
All right. It's a planet guide to the galaxy.
Think. Very clever. Thank you. Someone's educated. Yeah. All right. Number two, what's your favorite business book?
The last time I said Think and grow rich, which is an unorthodox answer and I just watched the episode. I'm going to stick with it and here's why. Think and Grow Rich is a mindset book from like the nineteen thirties. Yeah, OK. And businesses are made up of people and people have mindsets. And so to the degree that you can improve your own mindset, that will pay out dividends in whatever business endeavor you happen to be. With a side note of since meeting with you guys, I read the myth which stands for The Entrepreneurial Myth Revisited.
That's a great book about what David was talking about, building systems that allow you more passivity and more freedom. So think and grow rich and the myth revisited.
Ask the man. All right. What are some of your hobbies? So I like playing guitar on podcasts. Just kidding. That's the first time I've ever done that. So I have four daughters and we've been homeschooling them since nineteen, which means right now my hobby is being a principal and a warden and a producer and a sometimes a police officer. I'm arresting homicides in progress in my own home because we've been quarantining. But yeah, I like that.
I'm involved with a young life, which is a ministry to high school kids all around the country. It's a nonviolent organization. The young life is terrific. Last time I was a young life leader. At this point, they demoted me to board chairman. So now I'm in charge of raising funds and allocating resources for young life on very Coleman.
All right. Well, what do you think separates successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail or never get started?
I'll say this. It's custom designing your future life.
I'm not going to say setting goals because I hate setting goals. It feels like homework. But people who are willing to custom design their life as if it was a a product. And then figuring out how to reverse engineer that ideal life. They tend to be successful because their actions can be directed towards a real target and they're not just meandering or flailing around, they have defined what they want to produce. And it's like an iPhone. They didn't just like find a bunch of plastic and glass and circuits and then say, hey, we should build an iPhone.
Yeah, yeah. They said we need to make an iPhone. And that means we have to go out and find glass. We have to go out and find silicon. We have to find germanium. They knew what to go get very definite end product, successful people in any endeavor. They start with what's the the definite end product that I want. And then they know what pieces to grab along the way I so good might drop.
That's awesome. I really like your thinking there. Yeah. All right. Last question of the day. Where can people find out more about you?
So my website is Bryce Stuart Dot Net that has a link to my book. It also talks a little bit about me as an investor, about the journey that I've been on. If you want to go to my properties page and see my property is a really nice, like, nicer than my house. Nice. Those are all listed on Bethlehem rentals dotcom. So both of those ways are ways to find out about me. And then I had to channel, which you can look up by just looking at provice Stewart on YouTube or bracer real estate might dial it in a little bit more specifically.
And that kid who I helped invest is going to help me do this YouTube channel where we both from pro perspective and a rookie perspective simultaneously.
That's awesome. Very cool, man. Well, we really appreciate having you here. It's been a fun show. It's great. Last time was great this time. But just learning from you and obviously as a former teacher, you know how to explain these concepts well. So it's always good to have you teaching everyone how to do this stuff. So thank you for joining us today, as both you guys are terrific.
I'm pleased. Thanks. It's great having you back. This is David Greene for Brandon Top real estate book, Turner Signing Off.
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