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JC 016: Lessons from selling 42,000 units with Daniel Burkons

June 21st, 2017 | no comments

Multifamily success begins with a strong team

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Dan Burkons joins us in the locker room today to share his story of success as multifamily sales agent. Dan’s kicked off his career by listing and selling 14 units in East Cleveland 15 years ago. Today he’s closing $58 Million dollar deals. Everyone starts small and grows bigger by working hard over time.

Dan has worked with clients who started with one small deal, quit their day jobs and scaled to 10,000 doors. He believes that having sold management in place is a critical component of success. Pairing a profitable operating and management system with private equity is required to successfully scale.

Something will always go wrong closing a commercial deal. Find out who is creating the roadblock and what their motivation is. You will overcome the obstacle by drilling down into the problem, identifying the root person raising the objection and getting to the decision maker to find a way to solve the issue.

Ice hockey taught Dan that hard work is fun if you like the people who you are doing it with. He attributes his success in business to working hard with people he enjoys working with.

5 Key Points:

  • Have a management plan first.
  • Bad management will sink a great deal.
  • When entering a new market you have to find the right multifamily agent who is active in the product type you want to purchase.
  • You want a local real estate attorney on your team who’s an expert in your niche in the market.
  • Hard work is fun when you like the people on your team.

Favorite athlete: Matthew Dellavedova – Australian born NBA player

Favorite book: How Wall Street Created a Nation: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal by Ovidio Diaz Espino

Favorite quote: “If it were easy, everyone would do it”

Thank you Dan for taking time out of your busy day to share your story with us.

Dan’s office phone is 216 264 2018 or email – Daniel.Burkons@marcusmillichap.com

Website – http://www.marcusmillichap.com 

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

POST GAME REPORT: Episode Transcript

JC 016: Lessons from selling 42,000 units with Daniel Burkons

Multifamily success begins with a strong team 

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 guests 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 up with new ways to grow your real estate business.

 

John Carney: Welcome back to the Real Estate Locker Room Show. I’m your host John Carney, coming at you again today from Cleveland Ohio. I’m here on the sunny west side and joining me today is mister Dan Burkons, and he is on the south side, correct?

 

Dan Burkons: I am, Independence.

 

John Carney: Alright, perfect. This is going to be a great episode today. We are talking to one of the regions’ premiere experts on multi-family investing. Dan is a broker and he is a senior director of Institutional Property Advisors, or IPA, which is a division of Marcus and Millichap. And he’s one of the three original founders of the Marcus and Millichap Cleveland Office.

His leadership and specialization within the Midwest department market enables him to create substantial value for major private and institutional investors. Dan joined the firm in 2003 and he and his team are approaching 42,000 units sold across 14 states, totaling over 1.8 billion. Impressive stats there. Dan’s expertise is in assessing value and leading national marketing campaigns, selling apartment portfolios ranging from to as many as 25 properties in multiple states, owned by multiple partnerships.

In 2013 Dan received Crane’s Cleveland Business Forty under Forty award and in 2012 he was induced into the Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. No stranger to the media, he’s regularly featured in publications such as: Apartment Finance today; Globe Street; Heartland Real Estate Business; Midwest Real Estate News; Multi Family Executive; Multi Housing News; The Cleveland Plain Dealer; and of course, Crane’s Cleveland calls him for any information they need from an expert regarding the multi family. Alright Dan, welcome to the show. Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise with the audience.

 

Dan Burkons: Well thanks John, thank you for that nice introduction. It’s all flattering but I still think of myself as doing the same thing I’ve been doing for 15 years of selling apartment buildings.

 

John Carney: Right, and you’re good at it. So that’s okay to be good at stuff. 42,000 units sold, everyone starts with one. We’ll get to that in a minute. So, I like to kick off this show with a little bit of a stretching question to get everyone warmed up here, and I generally ask our guests: what sports did you play growing up and who was your favorite athlete?

 

Dan Burkons: Well I would say — so hockey is the sport that I played the most growing up, and I still play. In fact, I skated last night, had some beers and that’s actually — to me, I’m not the world’s greatest hockey player but I like it and got great friends through it, and that’s what I do for exercise more fun than the treadmill.

If you asked my favorite athlete, I actually was just thinking about that as you said — I know you have a lot of Australians followers and I tell you one of my favorite athletes, nothing to do with hockey, is Matthew Dellavedova, Australian guy that came to the Cavs and was a real part of a couple of those runs to the finals. And he’s my favorite athlete because, like me, he doesn’t have the greatest natural talent but I envy his work ethic. The guy shut down Steph Curry, weekend VP in a couple games 2015 and went straight from the basketball court at Quicken Loans arena to Cleveland Clinic because he was almost dead of exhaustion, to get IV fluids to come back the next day. That’s a guy I admire.

 

John Carney: Yea, maybe we should have kept him around to shut them down again this year.

 

Dan Burkons: Right.

 

John Carney: So, I believe that for those of us that like the competitive nature of sports, whether it’s a team sport like ice hockey or an individual sport like golf with your buddies, that business has the same type of competitive nature to it. And so, we draw the comparison between business and sports on this show.

But look, I’ve had clients in the past come to me who want to — when I was living in Australia and working with America Property Source — clients who wanted to get into US multi-family investing. And just like anything, I believe you need to start small and you have to find an expert for your team before you even start small; before you get started you have got to recruit your team. And so finding the right agent with the right experience in the market is critical. Tell us a little bit about your experience over the years, from kind of when you got started to where you are now. You’ve probably seen it all and — share some insight on how do you get started in the multi-family game if you don’t own any apartment buildings or duplexes yet.

 

Dan Burkons: Sure, I’d be happy to, and for myself getting started as a broker it was the same thing; starting really small. My first listing was 14 units in East Cleveland, which for those of you who aren’t familiar with the area is a war zone, it’s the worst of the worst of the worst. That was a $230,000 transaction barely qualifying as commercial real estate. Went from there to — we closed a 58 million dollar deal a couple of weeks ago. So everybody, whether it’s as an owner of a brokerage, starting small — no one is just going to plug you in and you’re not going to be doing 58 million dollar deals. You’ve got to start somewhere, you’ve got to build, you’ve got to build off success.

One of the most rewarding things, and really just the coolest things in my career as a broker is, as I’ve grown from a young adult to — I don’t know what I am now at age 37 — as I’ve grown as a person and I’ve grown in business, I’ve had a sort of symbiotic relationship with several key clients where we’ve grown together. One of them — in fact I mentioned the 58 million dollar deal we just closed — one of them, my second listing at east Cleveland, one was 13 units in another, not much better suburb. And I sold it to this group that was four young guys with full time jobs, and they’ve bought 10 or 20 units. They wanted to buy this thing and they actually ended up — we ended up arranging it with seller financing and I learned a couple of tricks because I didn’t understand what it was at the time. They actually got in with cashback at closing, which isn’t always the best thing but worked for them. And the bank thought they were growing too fast so one of their parents had to cosign for them.

They ended up making a ton of money off that deal, buying another one, buying another one, buying another one, I sold them a lot of it. Then four of the guys that bought that $300,000, no money down transaction in 2013, I’ve actually sold them a 53 million dollar and just recently 58-million-dollar deal. As they grew organically, left their jobs, went into real estate full time, then they hooked up with a private equity shop who gave them the capacity to take down really big deals and portfolios. So it’s an example of somebody who started in commercial real estate part time, built up their management expertise, learnt from some mistakes, took in a little money from local investors and once they’d perfected their craft a little bit, took on little bigger time money and was able to really get into the big deals.

 

John Carney: So when I look at real estate, and you can just pick the asset type, or the class, I mean it really does always boil down to good management: what I believe is the success multiplier. So, could you elaborate on that component, about how these guys were able to grow about over 10 to 15 years, right? They were an overnight success in 15 years, right?

 

Dan Burkons: Right, from zero to ten thousand units. Yea, whether it’s them or anyone else, management really is the key. And I know you have a lot of listeners on here who are earlier on, or some who are just looking to start, or some at obviously more advanced levels, but as far as building that portfolio, management is key. The place where I’ve seen, particularly international or out of state investors come to our markets, and where I’ve seen some fail over the years is not having thought out about a management plan, just looking at the numbers on paper and saying, “Yea, this is a good cap rate, this will work, this meets what I’m looking for.” And a day before closing saying, “Oh, can you recommend a good management company for me?” It sort of should be in the reverse.

You should be — if you’re looking in an area, you should be trying to get comfortable with a management company first, before you really make any serious offers and about to invest your hard-earned money into deals. Because the best deal in the world can get screwed up very, very fast by somebody — whether it’s a dishonest manager or somebody who just doesn’t have the expertise. That is crucial; very small differences in occupancy and rents and expense management can have huge impacts on operating incomes and failures.

 

John Carney: Yea, across the board I suppose, because some management companies make it easy on themselves by keeping the rents low, but there’s all this money being left on the table, right? I’m sure you’ve come across that. That also leaves a big chunk of value for an incoming buyer I suppose.

But, so if you’re coming in from an out of town market — I’m contacted by people often that want to pick my brain about the Cleveland market. The first thing I tell them is that it’s competitive like any market. Can you give us a little bit of the 2017 overview of what Northeast Ohio looks like in multi-family?

 

Dan Burkons: Sure, like any sort of market there’s stratification based on asset class and asset size. And on the larger assets; on the, call it ten million and up, a lot of competition is experienced, national syndication groups. Not so much in northeast Ohio, recent and public companies — it’s for various — are less desired market for that, which actually makes it more profitable for others because those types of public entities often compress cap rates and starve the yield.

So actually it’s more of an opportunistic market, in all sizes from small to big. And in the 500,000 to 5 million range, where we do a lot of business as well, there’s just a mix of local and out of town guys who are coming here — if they’re local, they’re here because they’re already here and they’re looking for the next deal that’s good for them to add to their portfolio. If its someone out of town, they’re usually finding their way to north east Ohio because the cap rates have compressed so much in other parts of the country. Even other parts of the Midwest make Cleveland look like a relative bargain, just because there is — historically there has been a little bit less interest, and quite frankly with the development of Cleveland there should be more, but not everyone has Cleveland on their map, which is good because it leaves the yields a little bit better. You usually get people who are not from the area saying, “Hey, I’m coming to look at properties in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis.” They’re not in love with any one market, they like the idea of getting into the Midwest. A lot of times they’ll come back and say, “Wow, Cleveland, there’s really nice areas and you can buy really stable product, not susceptible to these big swings of up and downs, and look, that’s what I’m coming here for. That’s why I’m not buying in California, I’m buying in the Midwest go get something really stable and those opportunities are here.

 

John Carney: It’s an interesting market. Cleveland has everything that any major city I’ve ever been to globally has, right? We’ve got three brand name sports teams, two stadiums right downtown, you can walk from one to the other and then you’re walking through multiple neighborhoods that have all the foodie and nightlife culture you’d want. Big banks and it’s a pretty homely town.

 

Dan Burkons: And to be honest, I think especially as Cleveland’s downtown has developed — like you and your partners have been an instrumental part of developing Cleveland’s downtown as more of a 24-hour center. as that’s happened more and more young people are saying wow I can really do all the fun 25-year-old stuff in Cleveland that I can do in Chicago or somewhere else and literally pay a third as much and live in a much better place. And as you get older with a family, a lot of my friends have been moving back because jeez I’ve tried to make it in San Francisco and we’re both working and I’ve got no money to pay daycare and this and that. And I go to the pool and there’s 10 billion people. In Cleveland I go anywhere I want, there’s no lines and they have everything. So the quality of life is really good and that’s actually been attracting more and more companies to come back here.

 

John Carney: Yea right so I was gone — I’ve just been back in town for my first year, completed my first year back living on the west side of Cleveland after being away for 19 and last night we took a drive with the kids downtown just for something to do and they had a free concert at Edgewater Park. And traffic on the shore way, which they have converted now into a boulevard and they’ve really spruced up the area and the Metroparks are running the lakefront beach. You know, it was wedged. It was a line of traffic from 25th street to the new Edgewater entrance and then from Lake road and Clifton to the west all the way down. And it was packed. It didn’t look like there was a place to park a car on that whole piece of property. And that’s now kicking off summer with concerts and the beach seems to always be full when I drive by. So they’re really doing a good job there in that Gordon Square and West 25th street neighborhood of utilizing the lake front.

 

Dan Burkons: It’s interesting that some of your audience — I’ll tell you what, we’ve had — that Westside area and Edgewater park west, the higher city area — there are places that even 5 years ago I would have thought of as man that’s kind of rough, sort of being a rundown part of the city. That area on the Westside is just — we’ve had a lot of out of town investors actually buying 10 unit 20 unit, 30 unit type deals there and seeing it as a big opportunity. And because those are some areas that were historically not nice in Cleveland, a lot of local people overlook them and the amount of millennials and highly educated young folks who want to live in those — it’s a little bit more like living in a neighborhood of Chicago or something, a little more edgy area. A lot of the out of towners are getting that faster than the local folks, and buying up stuff that ten years ago would have been worth $15,000 a unit, and they’re buying it for $20,000 a unit, putting $5000 into it and making it worth $40,000 a unit. And there’s opportunities there, and seeing the opportunity and the growth pattern in some of those Westside neighborhoods.

 

John Carney: Yea, I mean it’s fascinating to watch. They grow and continue to flourish. So if you’re coming to Cleveland and you’re looking in multi family, or any market really, obviously the role that you play as a broker agent — talk a little bit about how you work on the buyer’s side for people, and what level of expertise having the right person — there might be someone listening that wants to go to Florida and they don’t know anyone in that market, or they want to go to Texas. What questions should they be asking a guy like you to make sure that they get the right person helping them out?

 

Dan Burkons: I think it’s important that you find somebody who really is active in that specific product type in that area. So there’s a bunch of guys, for instance in Cleveland, who run around saying, “Yea, hey, you want to buy apartment buildings?” They’ve never really done an apartment building, they’ve done one. Our team have sold several hundred in Cleveland. It doesn’t have to be that, but wherever you’re going, Texas, figure out and find out and maybe call around, find out who are the guys who are actually active. If you’re trying to buy 10-30 in a deals in say, San Antonio, before you just grab on to the first guy and spend two years being dragged around by somebody, spend an extra couple of weeks figuring out and maybe interviewing or meeting a couple of people. Say, “I want to see your track record. Not the market, I want you to show me how many deals you’ve done.” It doesn’t have to be a guy who’s sold 400 deals, but a guy who, “Hey look, I’ve closed three deals, I have three on the market, here’s what I know about — I can tell you about.” Somebody who is actually active in that.

Don’t hook up with a guy who sells houses who’s trying to get in — make you his first client to do an apartment deal or a shopping center deal with or whatever it is. You don’t need to be the guinea pig. It’s okay to be with a younger guy, as long as the guy’s focus is actually to be doing some transactions in that niche. Because they’ll understand really quickly the fit. they’ll say, “Hey, you don’t want to waste your time with that deal, the expenses are not underwritten well.” Or “Hey, that’s a really poor rental market you’re not going to get upside.” Somebody who can make a very quick judgement on something.

Look, there’s so much information out there, all of us have limited amount of time to rule out the stuff — there’s a lot of stuff people throw on the market that doesn’t make sense. To someone who can very quickly cut through 50% of them and say, “Throw that in the garbage pile, let’s focus on looking through these other 50% of deals.” You’ll go a long way by hooking up with somebody who is actually plugged into that product type.

 

John Carney: Sound advice. And then, if you’re coming into a new market or just getting started, from your experience –management — let’s circle back to management, how would you go about finding the right group to manage and what advice would you have on how to source someone like that?

 

Dan Burkons: You know, I think if you find that right agent to work with that’s a good place to start. So if someone’s actually doing a lot of transactions in that specific niche, you can ask them, “Hey look, can you recommend three good management companies? What do you think their strengths and weaknesses are? Who might be good for me?” And they may say, “You know what, there’s really only one that’s good for what you’re trying to do.” Or they may say, “Well there’s a few.” That’s a good place to start is to hear from the agent.

You can also — another good thing would be to hook up with a local real estate attorney who is local to that market. Because we have a lot of folks who are from out of state, they are using their out of state attorneys. Every market has its niches and loopholes and laws and the way to do things. You want to find someone who’s experienced, who’s a local real estate attorney to that market, and that guy can, one: help you navigate the intricacies of the purchase agreement and so forth, but also that guy’s also great for a referral service. Both attorneys and brokers are constantly dealing with people who touch every other part of the real estate spectrum, and they say, “Oh no, you know what, I’ve got a few clients that use this guy. He’s a really good manager, he’s local he’s this that. Or stay away from this guy he’s got a great sales pitch on the internet but he actually has no substance.”

 

John Carney: I like what you just said there, because when you look at attorneys, attorneys who fill that niche and are laser focused and have the track record are good people to have on your team. I add an extra layer that you should gel and trust your attorneys on your team, and that’s just a matter of meeting a couple of people. But you know, they have so much insight behind the scenes and they really do connect the dots, don’t they?

 

Dan Burkons: Yea and so again just with like the — it’s important, don’t just find the first guy you find with a picture on a billboard. Try and find out who actually is representing clients, doing real estate deals like yours in that market. Not the guy who is doing $500 divorces and, “No, yea, I do apartments and real estate stuff too.”

 

John Carney: Right, family law and commercial real estate, two things that probably one person can’t do well.

 

Dan Burkons: Right.

 

John Carney: But, I mean, again, when you make a transition, when you’re doing single family homes, you don’t really need a lawyer that much, unless he’s finding you deals through probate or other forms. But so you get this mentality that you don’t want to pay the fees. Absolutely, 100% critical to pay those fees as part of your costs of doing business when you’re on the commercial level, especially in higher dollar value transactions for sure.

Well cool. We’re kind of going to wind down into our two-minute drill here Dan, and so you’re talking about ice hockey, and you grew up playing ice hockey I imagine. What kind of lessons did you learn playing team sports that you bring to the table running your team at your business to help your clients succeed?

 

Dan Burkons: Well, hockey really taught me that hard work can be really fun and can be really motivating if you love the people that you’re with and if you love what you’re doing. So I love to play hockey, even more I love the guys that I met through hockey, lifelong friends at all these different junctures. So hitting the gym or skating or practice or whatever it was, never seemed like work when I was with people I wanted to be with, that I was doing something that I thought was fun. If I wasn’t with people that I wanted to be with, I don’t think I could have ever worked there.

Now the truth is, I’m not the best or have the most god given talent for hockey, probably at the other end of the spectrum. In real estate, it turned out that I do have some of those gifts to build and sell and understand and think quick on the feet and size up buildings. So it turned out I learned from hockey what it’s like to work hard at something you love, and then I found something else that I loved and I actually was good at it too. So that ended up being a good fit for me. And I just learned: hey, hard work is fun if you like who you’re doing it with.

 

John Carney: That’s a good story, thanks for sharing that. And look, do you read? Do you have a favorite book that you keep handy either at your desk or at home? I’m just curious, because we get a lot of — I’m compiling an awesome book list through this show and everyone’s got a different favorite so far.

 

Dan Burkons: I’ll tell you what, I’d love to see the book list when you compile it. Because to be quite honest, it’s been a while since I’ve read a lot of motivating business stuff. I tend to see reading as my escape from business, family, and chill my mind out. And by the way, I don’t read fun stuff like mysteries, I usually read history stuff. So that just takes me to totally different places and I like to decompress, not to think about business. However, I’d like to see some of those business books, because there’s always something new to learn.

 

John Carney: Well look, a lot to learn through history, what’s one of your recent favorites? I’m not going to let you off the hook.

 

Dan Burkons: That’s ok. You know what, I’m almost finished with this book that I found in my father-in-law’s bookshelf the other day. I’ll think of the name in a second. It’s called “How Wall street Created a Nation.” It’s about — it’s kind of a cross of history and business, and it’s about the Panama Canal and Jackie Morgan and a bunch of Wall Street people bought up big shares of the failed Panama Canal. This company from France, and then pushed the US government to more or less instigate a revolution of Panama. And then they got these great concessions from in the Panama Canal, and then all of a sudden, their shares that they bought for like two cents in the dollar were worth $2 a share. And it’s actually a great cross between history and business, and how there are certain actors and players in there who straddled both lines, who had the business connections and then went to meet with Theodore Roosevelt to push things into action to help them in their business.

 

John Carney: That’s very cool. I’m going to look that up. That’ll be online in the show notes. Well, along with books — look, I always have my favorite sport quotes and business quotes. Is there any quote out there that you think is that one motivator? You’re having a bad day, a deal is about to fall apart, you’ve got to figure out how to save it for your client, save it for all your hard work and effort.

 

Dan Burkons: Yea there is. It’s from my Dad who is a source of tremendous quotes, I always go back to what he told me when I started out which is: if it were easy, everyone would do it.

 

John Carney: There you go. That holds true for sure. Cool. What about any recent or, over the course of your career — where you and a client have found the perfect deal but you’ve got some obstacle, and you had a come from behind victory that you’d like to share?

 

Dan Burkons: Man, there’s been a lot, because I feel a lot more often than not, getting a complicated commercial deal, whether it’s apartments or shopping centers or whatever, to the finish line, there’s almost — there’s very few deals that are without major road bumps, bumps in the road or obstacles. I’d think if one comes to mind, but it might not do that on the spot here. But there’s always something — there’s always something wrong, and there’s always some player in the continuum who has a different motivation than you that is getting in your way. And I think the talent of somebody who can put deals together and get them closed is — you see those obstacles, whether it’s, hey the lender backed out, or this issue came up with inspections, or the seller changed his mind, it’s really finding out — it’s getting behind the people — oh well P&C bank is now saying this. Okay, who is the decision maker? Get to the decision maker, whether it’s a buyer, seller, lender, appraiser, an inspector, don’t just let it happen to you. Find out who is the one creating this roadblock, what is their motivation, how can you help them change their mind. whether it has to do with: give me the money or money off the price, or if it’s an inspection issue that came up say, “Alright, I want to meet with you Mr. Engineer, I want you to show me exactly what the problem is and then let’s figure out what the solution is. And by the way, don’t you think there’s a less costly solution to this?” And those sorts of things that’s really drilling down into any problem to get to the root, deal with the root person raising the objection and then finding a way to overcome it.

 

John Carney: That’s fantastic. I’m glad that you shared that because — would you believe that every problem has a solution if you’re willing to work hard enough?

 

Dan Burkons: I believe that — look, there’s a few that are real tough, like Israelis and Palestinians and stuff like that. For the most part, yea. I do believe that every problem has a solution.

 

John Carney: Right. We’ll add a caveat. Asterisk real estate problem. Okay, well great. I think that just carrying on what Dan just said, you know, I learned this one day, and I think I might have heard it on a podcast or read it in a book: if you just wake up and expect when you go to work that you’re going to be putting out problems, and you’re going to do it with a smile on your face, eventually you’re going to have an expectation, and you’ll kind of build up that problem-solving muscle. And you won’t’ be as phased as much; you’ll become a cool operator, people will want to do business with you. Perfect.

Well that’s kind of wrapping up. We’re right on the thirty-minute mark, Dan. So I’d like to thank you for joining me in the locker room today. Where can the audience find you to carry on the conversation? Or if we have any out of state investors or local investors that want to get a hold of you to learn more about the Cleveland apartment market?

 

Dan Burkons: Yea, first of all John, thanks so much for having me, this was great, I love your show. I’m honored to be a part of it. And as far as investors who want to come talk more about Midwest apartments or anything of that nature, getting into deals and so forth. You can reach me at my office is: 216 2642018. Or if you look me up on the web its danburkons@marcusandmillichat. You’ll find my website, you’ll find my link my email address etcetera.

 

John Carney: Perfect. Well we’ll post that on the show notes it will be on my website. So there you have it folks. I truly hope that you picked up some actionable advice today from Mr. Daniel Burkons. Make sure to check out the Real Estate Locker Room Show on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and hit that subscribe button 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 all about I’d be really grateful if you would leave us a nice five-star review that other investors like yourself can find this show and join the conversation. The post-game report show notes, links and additional content related to today’s show will be available on my website: johncarneyonline.com/podcast and while you’re there feel free to drop your email address into the opt-in and we can keep in touch through the monthly newsletter where we offer other investing insights, tips, tricks, hacks and other good 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.

One more time, thank you very much for taking the time to share your story with us Dan.

(Music Out)

End Audio

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JC 008: How to maximize cash flow with Tyler Sheff

April 26th, 2017 | no comments

Want More Mailbox Money?

Real Estate is a Team SportMeet Tyler Sheff who is the founder of CashFlowGuys.com, a licensed real estate agent, problem solver, educator, inventor and syndicator.

Want more mailbox money? Stop paying retail for your investment properties and boost your cash flow. Tyler shares his strategies for deal structure and offers advice on how to adjust your mindset in order to scale your business.

The mission of The Cash Flow Guys is to create successful real estate investors. Tyler teaches investor how to do the math associated with vetting a deal and how to interoperate the results.

Tyler’s the host of the Cash Flow Guys Podcast and a Master Facilitator of Robert Kiyosaki’s Cash Flow 101 Game.

5 Key Points:

  1. Put people on your team who own rental property
  2. You need an education to invest in real estate
  3. Lean how to receive mail box money
  4. Learn how to do the math
  5. There are different ways to structure a deal

 

Favorite book, Equity Happens by Robert Helms and Russell Gray

Favorite quote, “you can be fired from your job but you can’t be fired from you investments”

The Power Hour – Tyler’s parting advice for ongoing success is to tune out and think for an hour every day.

Reach out to Tyler by visiting his website, http://www.Cashflowguys.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tylersheff

Twitter – https://twitter.com/tyler_sheff

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

POST GAME REPORT: Episode Transcript

PODCAST:                        008 – How to Maximize Cash Flow with Tyler Sheff

Introduction:            Welcome to the Real Estate Locker Room Show with John Carney. Did you know that investing in real estate is a team sport? Join John and his guests as they explore the intersection of 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 ongoing success. Now it’s time to kick off and level up with new ways to grow your real estate business.

 

John Carney:            Welcome back to the Real Estate Locker Room Show. I’m your host, John Carney coming at you today from Cleveland, Ohio. We’ve got another great guest on the line from the Tampa area down in Florida, and that’s Mr. Tyler Sheff, and we are going to talk about the importance of cash flow. Tyler is the founder the www.CashFlowGuys.com and a licensed real estate problem solver, educator, investor, and syndicator. Tyler has been involved in the real estate game for over sixteen years and now maintains a 100% laser focus on investing for cash flow and helping others do the same. As a master facilitator of Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow 101 game, Tyler hosts workshops to teach the busy people how to use what they have to obtain what they need in order to build passive income and escape the rat race. Welcome to the show, Tyler.

 

Tyler Sheff:            Thanks, John.

 

John Carney:            The Real Estate Locker Room is all about having the casual locker room conversation about real estate. I’m really interested in the intersection of sports and the business of real estate. To get kicked off, I like to stretch out a little bit with just a warm-up question about sports. Do you have a favorite athlete that you can share with our audience?

 

Tyler Sheff:            Oh let me think. A favorite athlete? Maybe Wayne Gretzky. There was a time that I watched hockey when I was a kid, and I was a big fan of Wayne Gretzky back at the time.

 

John Carney:            Fantastic. I had number 99 on my bedroom door in the Oilers jersey.

 

Tyler Sheff:            There you go.

 

John Carney:            Coming from up here in Cleveland, he was a guy we loved. So you’re all about cash flow (cash flow is king), but before we talk about some of those strategies that you love and implement, can you let me know how or why real estate ended up as your career path?

 

Tyler Sheff:            It’s interesting. I like to tell people this is my second act in real estate. My first act went good, don’t get me wrong. I got involved, I started flipping houses and of course I got my real estate license, it’s going back to the year 2000. And that was all fine and dandy. I learned how to make money, but I never learned necessarily how to. That’s why I went into real estate initially, to answer your question, for money. I wanted to make lots of money, but what I didn’t take the time to learn is how to keep the money. So it took unfortunately a second act for me to figure out how to actually keep the money and have the money working for me instead of me working for it. That was a big revelation.

 

John Carney:            So if you’re in sales, we’re talking about real estate sales, you’re finding a buyer or a seller and then you’re getting a commission check, and then you’re onto the next one.

 

Tyler Sheff:            Hopefully.

 

John Carney:            Hopefully. If you’re a good agent you’re on to the next one. You have multiple deals cooking. But what you’re saying is we’ve got to get that income producing more income through assets, correct?

 

Tyler Sheff:            I call it mailbox money. I love it when I open the mailbox the last couple days of the month and the first few days of the following month, and I’ve got all these checks rolling in. It’s just beautiful every time that happens. And here’s what’s cool, John. I also get this mailbox money from properties that I’ve never owned, and just serving as an agent. Because what I’ve figured out I learned from one of my mentors, is I can take my real estate commissions as a promissory note instead of taking it as a lump sum at closing. Now by doing that I found myself putting together a lot more deals because the realtor commission no longer became an issue. ,You would think that the buyer would be paying the real estate commission if it’s after closing, right? But what we found is that with rental property it wasn’t really the buyer that was paying the commission, it was the tenants because they’re paying to live there. So once you adjust your mindset a little bit, I was able to carry my commission back as a note, make a decent little bit of interest, and then receive monthly payments of my real estate commission over time so I could take that payday and I could stretch that payday out over three years, five years, ten years, whatever the buyer decides they want.

 

John Carney:            I’m unfamiliar with this strategy, but believe me I will become familiar with this strategy quickly. So you’re getting a principle plus interest type arrangement with the new buyer on the promissory note, right?

 

Tyler Sheff:            Correct. So let’s say for example I sell a house for you and my commission on that house would be $10,000. Now normally in most markets the seller pays the real estate commission. I run across a lot of buyers that are not skilled at negotiating, so what happens is they wind up buying what I call off-the-shelf or they wind up paying retail. Well that’s really not going to help them if they can’t structure deals that make sense based on their investor identity. So instead the service that I offer to buyers in my market and actually across the country because we have buyers from all over the place that buy in my market, is I go in and negotiate for them on their behalf. Yes believe it or not, there’s a real estate agent out there that can negotiate, there are a few of us. And in exchange for me negotiating, the buyer pays my fee. That way in negotiations the seller is not concerned with having to pay a ‘realtor commission’ because it’s not coming out of their proceeds. That allows us to focus on the true negotiation that which the seller, or the buyer, is really going to pay, and what the seller is really going to receive. And now when I do that, I can talk to the seller about what their walk-away money is. I don’t have to talk in hypotheticals, ‘Well if I give you $100,000 for this house, that really means you’re going to net $80,000.’ No if I say we’re going to give you $100,000 for the house, you’re going to net $100,000 and here’s how we’re going to do it.

 

John Carney:            So that is really removing the elephant from the room on both sides in getting down into the negotiations, deal structure, and all the other fun stuff, huh?

 

Tyler Sheff:            Absolutely. Absolutely, I find that most investors are just like realtors. They’re not skilled at negotiating and they don’t enjoy negotiating. So if you’re not skilled at something and you don’t like doing it, well do you really- what’s the chances of being successful while you’re doing it?

 

John Carney:            So for all the listeners out there, when we’re talking about sourcing a real estate agent and how important they are in most markets, and looking for that extra value, now you have another tool, another question you can ask, another way of thinking about generating a better cash flow right from day one. Not only that, by removing the commission you’re also lowering the tax basis of the property.

 

Tyler Sheff:            Yup.

 

John Carney:            I’m not an accountant but I believe that that’s how that works because I’ve asked- in the past I’ve asked for the commission to be separated and paid separately out of escrow so that- this was for a property I bought as a primary residence, and that was basically to lower my tax basis on the public record, which is legal in the state where I did that. So that is a strategy that I’ve not heard of, and I’m going to be looking into. Alright, well cool. When you’re out there working for yourself on your own cash flow investments, you have- you’re representing your partnerships, and your family interest. Talk to me about the team you have and how you went about finding those people.

 

Tyler Sheff:            My team is very diverse, and as is my business. I’ve got several different classes or different legs of the business and I was probably the last person to get on board with the team concept. I thought one of two things depending on what time in my life it was. It was either nobody could do it as good as I do, or I can’t afford to hire somebody because I thought to myself, ‘If I hire an employee, that’s going to cost me $40,000 a year.’ I didn’t sit there and think- my mindset was off, that’s a big problem. If your mindset’s not right then it’s going to keep you from doing things. When you hire somebody for $40,000 a year, you’re not writing them a check for $40,000 a year on the first day they show up to work. What you owe them is $769 for this week, and then if they’re good, next week there will be another $769. So I was stuck in this mindset and one of my mentors, Jay Massey, helped me get unstuck in that regard. It’s like you’re not paying them in advance. I mean they do a job, they do a good job, you keep paying them and they’re valuable. If they don’t do a good job, then you don’t have to pay them anymore. That’s kind of how it works. So that was a game changer for me.

 

John Carney:            Finding the mentors to help you get a business structure that would allow you to help more people and to scale up, right?

 

Tyler Sheff:            Absolutely.

 

John Carney:            So with the Cash Flow Guys, I love the name because cash flow is what real estate investment should be all about, and if it’s ticking along and well-structured in advance, and everything works out, that’s what you should be receiving, mailbox money. Talk to me a little bit about how your business helps people get in that right mindset and get that first deal, or that third deal, or that obstacle deal in the portfolio.

 

Tyler Sheff:            Robert Helms from the Real Estate Guys Podcast, Real Estate Guys Radio, he said do the math and the math will tell you what to do. And I heard that a few years back at one of his seminars, and it really rung true. Like Cash Flow Guys is about educating people on the right way to do the math on the real estate investments, to do the due diligence, to do their homework, to understand what they’re investing in because our mission is to create successful real estate investors. People say, “What do you do?” I say, “I make billionaires,” and essentially that’s what we do. I teach people the steps that they need with no gimmicks, no hype, no extra up-sell to be successful as a real estate investor. And that’s the real crux of the service that we bring to the community. We’re not in it to sell courses, we’re in it to sell real estate. So there’s a big difference there and if I sell somebody one property and they get nuked, do you really think they’re going to buy another property from my team?

 

John Carney:            Succession follows success, and you would want your clients to be successful, that is just Business 101, right?

 

Tyler Sheff:            Absolutely right.

 

John Carney:            But not everybody subscribes to that, but that sounds great and I mean right out of the bat whether you’re a client of the Cash Flow Guys or not, if Tyler or one of his agents is working on a deal with you, it sounds like he’s got a system right out of the gate that helps you maximize your cash on cash return.

 

Tyler Sheff:            Absolutely right. For us, John, it’s not a rush, we’re not in a race. And a lot of investors, they go to some weekend seminar, and that’s great because everybody needs education. I’m not anti-education, I’m actually very pro-education. But they come out and they’re ill-prepared to make buying decisions. What we do, what separates us- and then they get with some regular real estate agent who’s just dying to make a commission. And it really to some degree, you really can’t blame them because they’ve got to eat, right?

 

John Carney:            Absolutely.

 

Tyler Sheff:            And so you’ve got a person that’s overly anxious to get into a property, and then you’ve got somebody who’s overly anxious to sell one because they don’t have a passive income themselves; that creates a potentially volatile and riddled with failure type situation, where I don’t need to sell real estate to make a living because I can do nothing. I can spend my days on my kayak, I am retired at 46, I don’t have to work. So I’m able to take the time to get my clients on board with the right mindset, the right skills and tools to allow them to be successful, because I’m not in this for the money. Money’s nice, yes, but it’s a byproduct of the service that we provide.

 

John Carney:            Correct, you are an entrepreneur at heart solving problems, and the income is just the natural byproduct of having happy clients is what it sounds like to me, Tyler. But along with being an entrepreneur, like real estate investing to me is bare bones entrepreneurship, whether people want to call it investing or being an entrepreneur, I look at them to be somewhat interchangeable because if you want to have multiple properties and scale up so that you can be fishing when you want to be fishing, when the fish are in town so to speak, and running at the right spot, you have to get started and then you have to have sound strategies, cash flow strategies, and it takes the average entrepreneur or small business ten years to be successful. What have you seen? What timelines have you seen, kind of an average from the people you’ve been able to help who said, “I understand real estate, I just don’t have the confidence to do it all by myself. Give me a hand.” How many years are you seeing before people are really able to sit back and say, “You know what? I can double this now.”

 

Tyler Sheff:            You know it depends on the person. We meet lots of different people, and the big part of what we do with coaching is we take the time to interview people and really get to know them and try to get to the bottom line of what they’re trying to accomplish. You’ve got the engineer types that have to know every single bit of information because that’s how they process thought, that’s how they think. Engineers are going to have a more difficult time, in other words their success gap is going to be much larger, it’s going to take them longer to accomplish the same thing as somebody who is a little less conservative so to speak, who is not as analytical to get to where they need to be. The engineer is a very risk averse type person, so it’s just going to take them a heck of a lot longer than it would the average person per say. Now I am very concerned about risk, and I’m cautious when I do things, I’m far more conservative than my wife is. And she’s not careless by any means, I’m just more conservative than she is, and we were able to get our first couple dozen doors within our first year of getting out there and doing it. Now with that process, as far as a timeline, I was in a big rush. I thought there was a badge of honor by the number of units that I had under my belt. I took a financial bath to some degree, or at least a dip in the pond that gave me an invaluable education, so we’ll call that tuition.

 

John Carney:            Okay, I mean that is a great analogy because that’s maybe skipping a valuable step.

 

Tyler Sheff:            Yeah.

 

John Carney:            But you didn’t make the same mistake twice, right?

 

Tyler Sheff:            Well actually I’ve got to say, I actually have made the same mistake more than once. I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t say otherwise. But the best thing I try to tell people whether they listen to my podcast or at any one of our events is that take the time to understand what we’re doing. In America we go out and buy stocks and mutual funds, we don’t understand what we’re investing in, we trust somebody else, a complete stranger on Wall Street to bargain with our retirement fund. It’s kind of illogical if you think about it. I used to play the stock market and now I look at the two, it’s like real estate is not rocket science. You don’t have to have a PhD to invest in real estate. Although I do have a PhD technically, I’ve got a Public Highschool Diploma, PhD, but it’s not hard, it’s not difficult to invest in real estate, but it does take some education and whatnot. And the faster you’re willing to take action, I think the faster you’ll see it.

 

John Carney:            I agree. A big proponent of taking action because results only follow action as opposed to planning I suppose. You’ve got to have that action step in there. Well great, so I mean we are talking about cash flow, and you’ve brought up some great points and some great tips for helping investors get started with cash flow. So before we get into our two minute drill and conclude this, what is your number one piece of advice for a rookie real estate investor who is after the cash flow? I might be repeating myself but know the numbers, is there something other than the math that you find to be a critical piece of the puzzle?

 

Tyler Sheff:            Put people on your team that own rental properties. Whether that be an attorney, especially a tax professional, a real estate agent. Insist that your team members in those roles own rental property because if they own rental property, they should be able to teach you how to maximize your efficiency in that regard.

 

John Carney:            There you go. We could end on that note because that is great advice, but we won’t. We’re going to now tie the sports aspect into this show. So are you ready for the two minute drill?

 

Tyler Sheff:            I’m ready, bring it.

 

John Carney:            Perfect. When you were growing up did you love playing sports or did you participate in any sports that made you realize ‘Wow I learned a few lessons there and I’m applying that to my business’?

 

Tyler Sheff:            I played a lot of sports, and I’ve got to be honest with you, I was terrible in most of them. But I did enjoy baseball and I learned quickly that I enjoy being part of a team. I absolutely enjoy being part of a team.

 

John Carney:            Okay, that’s great. I think that I learned the same thing. And are you still playing softball, or playing any team sports today, or is it fishing and-?

 

Tyler Sheff:            Well I got a little older John, and then I got a little fatter, and things don’t work the way they used to, and I’ve fallen down and gone boom a few times, and now I unfortunately don’t play sports anymore. I am an avid kayaker and fisherman and whatnot. I do some diving and that type of thing, and spear fishing. I’m an outdoorsman, a sportsman.

 

John Carney:            Don’t discount that though, like I think the outdoor solo athlete is just as much of a sportsman as the team guy playing the branded sports.

 

Tyler Sheff:            I agree.

 

John Carney:            And I’ve been fortunate enough to reel in a big game fish, and it wasn’t easy.

 

Tyler Sheff:            That’s for sure.

 

John Carney:            The fish made it easy for me being a rookie, he just swam right up and we pulled him in, but it’s supposed to be harder than that and the people on the boat were blown away. But it’s a tough sport.

 

Tyler Sheff:            Well hey, get a swordfish on the line and then tell me if that’s easy.

 

John Carney:            I doubt it, it was by no means a swordfish and that doesn’t look easy, not at all. Have you caught a few of those?

 

Tyler Sheff:            I have actually, I caught a few out in the Gulf of Mexico, and let me tell you that was an experience.

 

John Carney:            That is, that’s pretty cool. I’d love to see the photo.

 

Tyler Sheff:            Yeah I’ve got them somewhere around here, I’ve got to dig them out.

 

John Carney:            Look I know that a lot of our guests and a lot of our audience are avid readers, or their avid podcast listeners. Is there a favorite book that you have whether it’s related to sports or to business or to just something that supports being better at business that you can recommend?

 

Tyler Sheff:            I’ve got to say, the best book- and I’ll say this before I even give the title, and it’s about- they’re hopefully supposed to be releasing an updated edition. Not that the old edition is necessarily outdated, but these two guys put out so much value when they put out a piece of product that they’re just going to add more value to it. It’s called ‘Equity Happens,’ and it’s been written by The Real Estate Guys which are Robert Helms and Russell Gray. You cannot- it’s no longer in print but it’s still available from time to time on Amazon and I see the price fluctuating between $20 and $150. I love that book, I learned so much from that thing. It’s a big thick read, but I absolutely love it.

 

John Carney:            ‘Equity Happens,’ that’s good. We’ll get that up on the show notes for sure. Alright, is there a quote that keeps you motivated when things aren’t going your way? When the chips aren’t falling your way?

 

Tyler Sheff:            That keeps me motivated? Yeah what keeps me motivated, and sometimes I tend to be a little over-conservative, and it’s actually a quote that I use quite often and people have- I feel people now using it, so I guess I originated this. You can be fired from your job but you cannot be fired from your investments. So I’m having a down day, and I’m thinking, ‘Ah jeez.’ At the end of the day I think to myself- listen I have a stream of income that will remain uninterrupted for a lifetime the way I’ve structured it. So whatever’s bothering me, whatever’s bumming me out, I don’t really have anything to complain about because there’s always someone else that’s worse off than me, and at the end of the day my stream of income is never going to stop. So really I just need to put on my big boy pants, and buck up, and get back to work because I’ll be okay.

 

John Carney:            The gratefulness practice. It could always be worse.

 

Tyler Sheff:            That’s right.

 

John Carney:            Cool. Do you mind sharing one come from behind victory in real estate that you’ve had in the last ten years?

 

Tyler Sheff:            I had some properties under contract when I was first starting out in real estate. I had 22 houses under contract as a lister, or one investor. And apparently there was a riot in the neighborhood where all these houses were located, it was not in a friendly neighborhood. So long story short is on that Friday night, every one of those houses was burned to the ground. There was nothing but literally charred remains. But it turns out that after it was all said and done, the seller kind of thought about trying to figure everything out, and we wound up selling the lots for much more than we wound up getting for- that we had the houses listed for because the houses were in pretty bad condition. So it turned out that the riot actually helped the situation, it made it better because it just cleared all that rubble out of the way and he didn’t have to pay $10,000 a house to have them torn down.

 

John Carney:            That’s a good story. You have to be in it to win it, don’t you?

 

Tyler Sheff:            Amen.

 

John Carney:            Cool. Before I let you go, is there anything you do on a daily basis to train for success or to get into a flow state?

 

Tyler Sheff:            I have my power hour in the morning. I tune out. No Facebook, no email, no cell phone, no nothing. I sit back, I do absolutely nothing. I don’t read, I just sit back and think, and I do that for an hour every morning before anything else happens in the morning, even before my coffee happens in the morning, I just sit back for an hour and I guess some would call it meditating but I just call it thinking. I just sit back and think.

 

John Carney:            That is a great success tip, and it gets you into the flow state, and then you’re ready to tackle the day, right?

 

Tyler Sheff:            Amen.

 

John Carney:            Perfect. Well thank you for joining me in the Locker Room today, Tyler. Where can the audience find you to carry on the conversation if they have any questions or want to get ahold of you through the Cash Flow Guys?

 

Tyler Sheff:            I’m kind of everywhere but I guess the best way to reach out to me is through my website, go to www.CashFlowGuys.com. Of course you’ve got my podcast and all of our content information, my contact information is right on there. So feel free to reach out if you have questions or if there’s anything I can do to help you.

 

John Carney:            Perfect and we’ll have all of that on iTunes and on my website in the show notes. Alright, there you have it folks. Cash flow, cash flow is king. I truly hope that you picked up some actionable advice today from Mr. Tyler Sheff, and we thank him for taking the time to share those gems with us. Make sure to check out the Post Game Report on iTunes. Again we’ll have links to all the great places you can connect and interact with Tyler there. And while you’re there please subscribe to the Real Estate Locker Room Show to ensure that you don’t miss another episode, but also to help other likeminded real estate investors find us when they’re looking for real estate related content. If you like what we’re about, I’d be grateful if you’d tell a couple of your friends so that they can also share in the learning. If you visit www.JohnCarneyOnline.com you will see the additional content and links, and while you’re there you can sign up for our newsletter and keep in touch with me for other real estate investing insights, and tricks, and hacks, and other great stuff. So 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. Thank you Mr. Tyler Sheff.

[End of Audio [00:28:12]

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