JC 002: Multifamily Syndication, Teams and Giving More with Joe Fairless
Meet Joe Fairless; real estate investor, multifamily syndicator, philanthropist, author and host of the world’s longest running daily real estate podcast, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show.
In 2009 Joe began investing in single-family homes. Joe wanted to scale his real estate investment business and focused his attention on multifamily buildings and syndications as a strategy to grow bigger, faster. Now Joe controls over $85 Million in multifamily real estate.
Joe competed in baseball and football growing up and played football in college. The lesson that he learned sports that he applies to real estate every day is that when something bad happens, learn form it quickly and move on quickly.
Favorite quote, “the secret to living is giving”
Check out Joe’s book, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever. Volume I
Tune in and subscribe to Joe’s podcast, Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show
You can reach out to Joe directly by email to firstname.lastname@example.org Don’t forget to mention that you heard him on John Carney’s podcast and receive your FREE APARTMENT RESOURCES GUIDE.
Thanks again Joe for taking the time to share your story with us.
The Real Estate Locker Room Podcast
JC 002 Multifamily Syndication, Teams and Giving More with Joe Fairless
Announcer: Welcome to the, “Real Estate Locker Room Show” with John Carney. Did you know investing in real estate is a team sport? Join John and his team as they explore the business of real estate and athletic competition. The goal for this show is to grant you direct access to the real estate pros that are closing profitable deals and growing their businesses. On the “Real Estate Locker Room Show” we are getting in the ring with successful investors, developers, operators, and all of the industry professionals to learn what it takes to achieve on-going success. Now it’s time to kick-off and level off with new place to grow your real estate business.
John Carney: Hello and welcome back to the Real Estate Locker Room Show. I’m your host, John Carney, coming at you from Cleveland Ohio. Joining me today in the locker room, from Cincinnati Ohio, is Joe Fairless. Joe is a real estate investor, a podcast host, a philanthropist, and author. If you’re not familiar with Joe’s show on iTunes, it is the world’s longest running daily podcast for real estate. It’s the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Show. Joe has interviewed Barbara Corcoran, the author we all know so well in the real estate world, Robert Kiyosaki, as well as hundreds of other high profile and influential real estate investors. His podcast has over 4000 daily downloads, and 140,000 each month. And we’re up to episode #771, so check that out. Along with being a Podcast Host, Joe is also the author of, “Best Real Estate Investing Advice – Volume 1.” which we can talk about. I remember seeing that release, it blew-up Amazon. So, check out his book as well. Klout considers Joe the top 5% online influencer. Joe is an active, full-time real estate investor, who controls over $54 million in real estate at the moment. His focus is on multiple family. How are you doing Joe? Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with our audience.
Joe Fairless: My pleasure. Nice to be on the show. I know that you are a little under the weather. So, I will try to talk as much as I can. That way you don’t have to talk. I am really looking forward to our conversation.
John Carney: An all-around good guy, thanks for that Joe. All right, we’re here to explore the intersection between elite sports and elite real estate investing. I like to stretch out, as with a sports related question? Who is your favorite athlete of all time? And why?
Joe Fairless: Well, I’d say, the first person that comes to mind and it’s a little ridiculous, but Mickey Tettleton. He was baseball player who played for the Detroit Tigers, the Texas Rangers and probably others. He just had a funky batting stance and I just really enjoy how he approached the game a little bit differently. Because he had a batting stance where you know, you typically hold the bat upright, right before the pitcher throws. But, instead he had it just parallel to the ground. And then he would bring it upright, right before the pitch came. And what I liked about that is, it’s different. But, yet he was effective non-the-less. I think applying that in our real estate business is certainly noteworthy. Where we can approach things differently but then be just as effective, or more effective as before anyone else.
John Carney: I’m not familiar with this player and his batting stance, but I will look that up here shortly. You transitioned from the advertising world in New York City, to full time real estate investing. I’m interested in that journey, how people make that transition. Do you mind sharing your story about, “why real estate?”
Joe Fairless: Yes. I am from Texas, where I graduated from college in 2005 from Texas Tech. as an advertising major and then went to New York City. I went from, cows and cotton, to concrete and I guess, no sun and lived in New York City for ten years. I worked on Madison Avenue after college, which is very prestigious, but it is also code for, I didn’t make any money at all because I was in a very competitive environment. I climbed the corporate ladder, became the youngest Vice President of a New York City advertisement agency and then, at the tail end of my advertising career, I started investing in real estate. The reason why is because I knew that I had to invest, I had to learn about investing, but I didn’t know quite what to do? So, I ended up reading a bunch of books, went to online forums, talked to people I knew and found real estate investment the choice that I wanted to pursue. Once I did that I started looking at what I wanted to invest in. Initially I bought single family homes and in 2009 I bought my first house. Not because I had a crystal ball, and I knew it was what the right time to buy. But, because I didn’t have any money. So, in 2009, I was very fortunate, I didn’t have any money until 2009. And once I bought in 2009, I bought my first house, $76,000.00 that rented for about $1100.00 or so. Rent is around $1200.00 now. Went for $1100.00 to $1200.00 now. I bought three more houses, and then realized that it just wasn’t happening fast enough. I would make $250.00 a month, on a house. And then a tenant would move out and I would have to pay, meaning me, would have to pay $5000.00 for move-in ready costs, the carpet, painting, and misc. fixes. There would be my profit that was going to be wiped out for a year and a half. I thought, wait a second; this isn’t going to make me financially independent. I’ve got to think of a different approach. I started studying multi-family investing, learned the process, bought a lot of books, started talking to a bunch of people. I ended up leaving my full-time job while I was still studying, multi-family investing. Well, after I left, I left because I just wasn’t digging it anymore and life is too short not to do stuff you enjoy and let it go by. Therefore, I started looking at syndication where I raise money from investors in my apartments and share in the profits. Because I couldn’t get approved for a mortgage for a house. And I couldn’t get approved for a mortgage for an apartment building. Because I didn’t have a W2 income. I was kind of forced to find creative ways to buy apartments, and that’s what I did, I wrote and learned how to raise money from investors. By getting something together, and share in the profits and now, you mentioned $54 million, it has actually increased, to $85 million, since the last buy out. So, now I control $85 million-dollars-worth of real estate. That is, apartment communities, that’s like 99% of it, apartment communities. I still have three homes but most of it is apartment communities and they are in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston, Texas.
John Carney: Congratulations. So, you got into the single-family home game. Which is where, I don’t know? I’ve never really made this comparison before. But right now, up in Cleveland we’re in the ALS, so I’m thinking baseball right?
Yes, in order to get to the ALCS, all these guys started in Little League right? So you have to start somewhere. Would you say, the single-family home experience taught you what you needed to know to raise the bar to the next step because that’s part of the progression of being a real estate investor?
Joe Fairless: Yes, I’d say it taught me what I needed to know and to learn more about it. It taught me that real estate is the way to go, for my own purposes. And it taught me that what I was doing at the time wasn’t going to be scalable and wasn’t going to help me become financially independent. I created a spreadsheet for my homes that included a home, I think it was like a home a year, 3 homes a year that I was going to buy. And over ten years it was like, oh, my god, stop the madness. Because I bought four homes, I was having a hard time keeping track of all the paperwork that’s involved with the property management, the insurance, the taxes. I was like, I do not want to scale this at all. And, I want to pause, by saying you can make money doing that approach by the way. People have and they do. I just didn’t want to set myself up with single-family homes. So, it inspired me. And gave me some perspective for what I did want to do.
John Carney: Right. We both know people who have enormous single-family home portfolios. And a big key to that is, a big key to everything is management. You decided that your niche was going to move and we come across that all of the time too. You know, we are talking about sports, what athletic competition were you involved in, when you were growing-up?
Joe Fairless: Well, I primarily played baseball and football. I played a little bit of football in college at a small Division III school. I primarily played baseball and football.
John Carney: To be a collegian athlete, in any division, requires a certain amount of discipline. When you left the competitive sports arena of college did you see that it helped you apply what you learned through the discipline of sports and in your first job, and translate that right into real estate.
Joe Fairless: I think what it taught me the most is that when something bad happens, learn from it quickly and move on quickly. That’s what so many people get caught up in. I’m on a softball team right now and I see people on my softball team and they make an error, or they strike out and when they strike out, they should kick themselves off the team… it’s soft pitch, when they pop-up, or hit a grounder…and they’re pissed off for four innings. It’s like, dude, get over it! Immediately, learn from it and get over it, immediately. Otherwise, you’re going to let that influence the rest of the game and they’re going to be compounding negative consequences. And that’s what I apply in business too. When stuff goes down, which happens weekly. Something goes wrong weekly. Sometimes daily depending on what’s happening but at least once a week. We got to learn from it quickly, and then move on.
John Carney: I agree, it’s a team effort, real estate or business. And whether you’re buying apartments or selling doughnuts you need a whole team of people to help you be successful. .
Joe Fairless: Yes, I read that in a book somewhere too, but I forget which book?
John Carney: It’s really the same.
Joe Fairless: I’m kidding, it’s your book.
John Carney: I know. Doughnuts—that’s what got me, I just can’t come up with the doughnuts. I just moved back to the states. Now we have a Dunkin’ Doughnuts around the corner. So, of course I had to try that. But, along the lines of what you just said is something that I learned recently. And maybe it’s something we’ll, it was the way it was phrased? “A bad decision made quickly is better than a good decision that takes a long time to plan.” And this can be applied to when you have to make a decision quickly. If you don’t have all the time in the world, make a decision and if it isn’t the best decision at that time, you still have time to adjust.
Joe Fairless: Yup. I agree with that for the most part. It depends on how high the stakes are? Sometimes it takes a little bit more. But, one of my favorite books, is, “Blink” by Malcom Gladwell. He talks about how he can a split decision, an informed decision in the blink of an eye. That is just as informed as if we’d spent months, years, pondering what we would or should do? Our eyes very much embrace that philosophy for the most part.
John Carney: Malcom Gladwell’s fantastic. I like all his stuff. What are you working on right now? I think you might want to share with us, I guess?
Joe Fairless: I’m working on a couple of things. I mean, the three ways I make money. Because let’s start there, and then we’ll talk about a couple of projects. Three ways I make money –
- By doing multi-families syndications. Where I raise money from investors and invest and put up a little bit of my own money on the deals. And then we share in the profits. We are under-writing multiple deals. Well, more than multiple. Lots of deals right now. My business partner is in Dallas, as we speak, literally as we speak. He’s in Dallas touring properties that we’re in the final found on. And so, I’m focused on that and getting my investors prepared for the next deal.
- The second way I make money is through my Podcasts. And really, when I say make money it’s pretty much break even, depending on my staff salaries. But, it is, a way for me to provide thought leadership, to learn by interviewing people like yourself and others who are very experienced, or doing something very interesting. And just keeping my mind sharp. So, working on continuing to optimize the Podcast, and getting the word out there.
- And then the third way, I make money is through my client consulting program. I have private group of clients that I walk, hand by hand through the multi-family syndication process. It’s a major amount of my time. So, I also am working on new content to continue to keep that program refreshed. My team and I upload a new piece of content each week to the resources site that my clients have access to.
Those three revenue streams are what I use to guide my months, my weeks, my days. In terms of what I focus on. Those are some of the projects.
John Carney: Okay. And in each project, or each income stream I would imagine has a unique team allocated to that right? So, I mean, what they’re investing in, in real estate. Where you’re providing a service, like consulting service. Or you have to surround yourself with a group of people, correct? And would you look at those teams, as one big team, or individual teams, or how do you manage that?
Joe Fairless: There’s overlap, for the most part. I have my administrative assistant, Samantha and I have my content creator, who helps me with the content and thought leadership, that’s Theo. He’s a Co-Author of the book with me. And we’re writing another one right now together. He and I and she and I, all three of us, overlap on all three of those revenue streams. As far as other team members go. I have team member who finds interview guests for my podcasts, as well as does the show notes and does the promotional efforts. And I have a team member who does all the editing of the podcasts. So, those are the four team members that are on my payroll every month. And then misc. contractors. Like, someone in India, who does SEO for me through UpWork.com. And some social media company that handles social media and things like that.
John Carney: Got it. And I mean today, in today’s world, stay on track with real estate. You look at it like a business, the business of real estate, and being an investor. And you want to grow and attract money, right. Because everyone runs out of money. As someone put it recently, you have your internal/external team. The external team being your professionals, like, your accountants, and your local lawyers, your internal team being like, partners, mentors, and assistants. So where do you go when you have profile. How do you fit a profile into the mix if you’re starting out as a real estate investor and you want to raise the bar, build your portfolio, in whatever niche you’re in and take it to the next level? Would you recommend that raising your profile in your community is something you ought to look into doing?
Joe Fairless: Yes. Help me understand what you’re asking?
John Carney: You’ve got your team, and you’ve got your businesses up and running, but you’ve also built a great profile in the industry. When it comes to people who are investing in real estate, investors who are new or wanting to scale up. I just wanted you to touch on adding to your profile. You spoke about social media management and some content creation.
Joe Firless: I think the most important thing when you talk about building your profile. Or building your brand, or creating awareness for yourself and your company is to find one platform that comes natural to you, that you enjoy posting on and own that one platform. One of the mistakes people make, is try to be everything to everyone all of the time. That’s huge mistake, because any one of these platforms, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, a blog community, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, has millions, upon millions of people to speak to and to connect with. The mistake people make is that they want to be everywhere at once. They water down their message and don’t focus on one thing. Just focus on one thing, on one platform that you enjoy posting on. Provide thought and leadership to your audience once you define them, and you’re going to over time, build a following. That’s going to translate into the direct business results.
John Fairless: That is great business advice. So, I guess that’s what carries us onto the next question that I have. If you’re a rookie real estate investor, or a newbie that might have one deal or two deals under their belt and are just thinking of doing exactly what you did in your career—and that is, they may burn out on the corporate ladder side or just need a change of pace or might be wanting a move from a warm climate to a cold climate, or visa-versa—what advice would you have for them to kick-off and get started?
Joe: For someone starting out? I’d say, make sure that you know the basics of what you’re looking to do. Whether it’s a single family, or multi-family, or storage units, or office retail, industrial parking, or whatever? Learn the basics through books, and online forums. Then, once you know the basics. Identify people in your area who are doing what you want to do, reach out to him or her, or them, attend meetings. Speak to them, and get to know them. Buy them lunch, buy them dinner, buy them whatever, a book, or whatever. Add value, be very grateful and appreciative for their time in meeting them, the time they are spending with you. Be respectful of their time and go with an agenda. Have a focused conversation, make sure, if the meeting is for 30 minutes, you meet for 30 minutes. If they can stay longer, then by all means do it. But, be respectful of their time and say, “I know we scheduled for 30 minutes, are we good? Do we need to wrap this up?” Stay in touch with them. That’s probably the best way to get things going. I think 98% of the people who hear this, won’t do that. Instead they’ll read some books, do some online forums, listen to Podcasts. Then maybe reach out to one or two people at most. And not be respectful of their time, not buy them lunch. Not go in with an agenda. And that’s what happens and how the herd gets thinned. That’s how some people go to the top, some stay in the middle, some kind of float in between, and some sink to the bottom. So, I’d say fortunately you have an audience who is taking the time out of their day, to listen to this Podcast. So, I’m going to take that into consideration. In what I said earlier, I think a majority of the people listening will do that advice. But, in general the real estate investors who hear this advice, or where told this through some other channel, they won’t act on it. And it’s a shame, but it makes everyone who does that stand out, and be more successful.
John Carney: Right and joining a community that’s actually not as large as people think it is. Or would you agree with that? I mean, that is also sound advice for the people that do listen to Podcasts, your Podcast, this show and the other good real estate Podcasts out there. What a great way to be in a conversation with people and learning something during that commute to work, or when you’re jogging. I quit radio probably two years ago when I was first told about Podcasts and started looking them up. The day I listened to my first Podcast I thought this is awesome! There’s more in it, and it just became a habit. So, when I moved back to the states, they were trying to sell me every subscription possible for radio. I told them I don’t listen to the radio and the guy couldn’t believe it. I listen to Podcasts, man and that’s how I continued to educate myself. Well, cool. That’s great advice Joe. Can we get into our two-minute drill here?
Joe Fairless: Let’s do it! And we’ll get to the rhythm and point of this interview.
John Carney: What is your favorite sport? Or business book? That you’ve read recently?
Joe Fairless: My favorite sport is, well recently, my favorite sport right now is softball.
John Carney: Softball, okay, perfect, that’s a lot of fun. What about like books? Like, that might not have come up? Correct.
Joe Fairless: Okay.
John Carney: What is your favorite book related to either business, or for instance, sports.
Joe Fairless: Okay, favorite book about business, sports, would be, “Crucial Conversations” and the whole point of the book is that they help you create a mutual purpose when the stakes are high, and opinions vary. And that’s the key, create mutual person and build up from there.
John Carney: Cool, I’m going to check that out. Is there one quote that keeps you motivated when things get tough? Like that one quote?
Joe Fairless: Yeah, “The secret to living, is giving.” Another cousin of that quote is, “Help enough people get everything they want, you’ll get everything you want.”
John Carney: Perfect. So, when the chips are down. Think about what you can do to give a little bit more.
Joe Fairless: Yep.
John Carney: Got it. Awesome. Do you have your #1 come from behind victory in real estate, and what did you learn from that?
Joe Fairless: The come from behind victory would be when my first syndication deal, it was about 2 and half weeks before we were supposed to close. We had over $200,000 worth of investor dollars go away for various reasons. And it was last minute. But, I got my one of my existing investors to go and bid what he had originally asked. And it ended up closing.
John Carney: Did that translate into a happy investor at the end of the day.
Joe Fairless: Yes, absolutely, certainly.
John Carney: Going big. Is there any training for success? Like, your number one, maybe habit that you do on a daily basis. That would put you in a flow-state, or is it training for success habit?
Joe Fairless: I have a liter of water with a scoop of wheat grass every single morning. I’ve been doing that every single morning for the last 3 years and it helps me stay healthy.
John Carney: Fantastic. And then the #1 tip for winning more?
Joe Fairless: Would be, don’t focus on winning the score. Focus on winning the battle within how good you can be. Because the competition is in others. The competition is how good you can be within yourself.
John Carney: Perfect, alright, that’s great! Well, thanks again for joining me today Joe. We want to be able to let our audience know exactly what, where they might be able to find you if they want to hook up on some social media, or carry on a conversation with you, where are you these days online?
Joe Fairless: You can go to the App Store and just put my name – Joe Fairless, and you’ll find my Podcast, “The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever.”
John Carney: And I highly recommend that all of you out there put that on your show list. So, when you’re in the car you can listen to great advice and the great guests that Joe has on his Podcast as well.
Joe Fairless: I also say that if you Email me at email@example.com I have a department resource guide that has all the websites and research places I go to when I’m researching markets, as well as books I wrote and recommend. So, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention that you heard me on John’s Podcast, and I’ll be happy to get that to you.
John Carney: All right, perfect. So, there you have it folks. I truly hope that you picked up some actionable advice today, from Mr. Joe Fairless. Make sure to check-out this program – Post Game Report on iTunes. And while you’re there, please subscribe to the – Real Estate Locker Room Show to ensure that you never miss out on the pro tips from our guests. The mission here is to help you elevate your real estate game. If you like what this show is about, I’d be grateful if you would leave us a five star review on iTunes so that other like-minded real estate investors can find us easily. You can also visit John Carney online at www.johncarneyonline.com, for links and additional content associated with today’s show. And while you’re there please drop your Email into the newsletter sign-up form, to receive more real estate investing insight, tips and tricks, and other great stuff. Remember to stay focused on your goals, have fun, and stay in the game. I’m your host John Carney, and until next week, work hard, play hard, and profit hard. That’s a wrap Joe. Thanks again for taking some time out to share your story with us.
Joe Fairless: Hey, I enjoyed it, thank you.
Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at http://www.johncarneyonlie.com
Want to become Wealthy by Investing in Real Estate?
Subscribe to receive the Game Plan newsletter, blogs and more