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.
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