Posts tagged "hustle"

JC 011: Travel, love and mobile home parks with Bryce Robertson

May 17th, 2017 | 2 comments


Meet Your Australian Mobile Home Park Mate

Born in Australia, Bryce Robertson spent six years travelling all over the world. Visiting over 50 countries on six continents, he gained priceless life experience and insight into the both the world of business and personal relationships. The lessons he learned help shape the way he lives his life and handle his business dealings.

While travelling, Bryce met his wife and inspiration Tiffany. They settled in California and set out together on a new adventure in the business of real estate.

With years of experience in construction and real estate Bryce became interested in the business of mobile home park investing and made it his niche.

His company, Property Works, specializes in all aspects of the mobile home park business as well as offering mentorship, advice and educational services to investors.

Five key points

  • Look for the right market when investing in mobile park homes: the median house price should be over $100,000 and the apartment rents in the area should be one and a half times that of the rents in the mobile home community.


  • Find yourself an experienced mentor in your field of interest that will show you the ropes.


  • Have the confidence to just put yourself out there: take massive action and learn by doing. You will gain experience and insights much quicker by doing than by trying to learn from a book.


  • Have integrity: “how you do anything is how you do everything.” Get the small things right, and the big things will be done right as well.


  • Take some time in the morning to experience gratitude for your life, set intentions for the day and your long-term goals. Then during the day it’s important to take mini time-outs; to refocus and regain clarity.


Favorite athlete – Alfie Langer Australian Rugby League player

Favorite book –  The Unbeatable Mind by Mark Divine

Check out Mark Divine’s podcast here:

You can get in touch with Bryce by phone +1 (714) 603-1394 or email,

Reach out to the Property Works team at

Thank you Bryce for taking some time out to share your insights with us.

Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at

POST GAME REPORT: Episode Transcript

JC 011:  Travel, love and mobile home parks with Bryce Robertson


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 today from Cleveland Ohio, and joining me in the locker room out in sunny California is Bryce Robertson, who is your Australian Mobile Home Park mate and the principle of Property Works. Property Works specializes in mobile home park investments: from due diligence to assignments, syndication and property management. They are your mobile home park one stop shop.

Bryce is a real estate investing entrepreneur; an educator; and the large driving force behind the highly-geared Property Works team. A native from Australia, Bryce has 20 years experience in major construction, real estate and business. Bryce has travelled to well over 50 countries on six continents in search of greater wisdom and prosperity, which he will be sharing with us here shortly. He’s owned businesses in five countries on three continents, making him an international entrepreneur as well. He is definitely a well-versed entrepreneur and highly skilled to accommodate your local, national and international mobile home park investing needs. Thank you for joining us today Bryce. Thank you for taking the time to give our audience a little bit of insight on the world of mobile home park investing.


Bryce Robertson: Gidday John. I’m so excited to be here today. Real estate and sports, how exciting.


John Carney: I know, and we’ve got another Australian on the line; and this podcast is still in its infancy, but you’re guest number two. Your mate Reed Goossens has joined us before.


Bryce Robertson: Oh, beautiful.


John Carney: And we’re going to explore the intersection of the business of real estate investing and sports. I just personally like to draw the parallel between business and sports. I believe that business, and especially the real estate business, is a team sport, and we want to learn a little bit more about your business and your team.


Bryce Robertson: Very exciting.


John Carney: Well, to kick things off, let’s have a quick stretching question. Who, growing up, was your favorite professional athlete, and if it’s an Australian, will you please share with the U.S. audience who that person is and why?


Bryce Robertson: Yea, I’d say Alfie Langer. I used to watch rugby league and play rugby league in Australia, and he was an inspiration because he was a real team player and a real go-getter. And it didn’t matter what was going on, he would always come out successful. Even if they didn’t win, he always gave 100%, and I just thought that was super inspiring and yea, he was a really good bloke.


John Carney: So, competing in sports at a young age, looking back on it, winding the clock back now as a busy real estate professional and an entrepreneur, do you ever think about those lessons you learned from your heroes and from your coaches?


Bryce Robertson: Yea, and also just from my team members as well. Like, I played rugby league when I was a kid, and I was always an independent type of kid, and I soon realized when playing rugby league, that if I didn’t pass the ball to anyone else, that no one would pass the ball to me. And so that really let me know that to glide through the game with ease, or now through life with ease, that it requires building and maintaining trust and harmony in relationships.


John Carney: Yea, definitely. So, when you are working in your current environment, the mobile home park investing environment: talk to our listeners a little bit about what you do and how your business property works and enables investors to jump into the mobile home park investing environment.


Bryce Robertson: Sure. So, when it comes to mobile home parks, we own, operate, syndicate and educate, we basically take poorly managed mobile home park assets and then turn them around into much more profitable businesses that are a clean, safe environment. And our specific niche in mobile home parks is in the affordable housing space. In America and Europe, the economy is booming. Or if it’s taking a dive, there’s always going to be a massive need for affordable housing. And through the process of what we do, we provide a platform for other investors to invest their money in a very recession proof and very popular, now, asset class.


John Carney: So, can you just give us a little bit of a backstory on how that’s where you are now, but you started out in the real estate career right out of school, in construction management or on a construction site, like so many other operators.


Bryce Robertson: Well, I travelled the world for over six years. I went to about fifty countries and I thought I had it all figured out, because I had a travel pattern. And what I did, was I’d work, save some money, travel, and then run out of money and then repeat the cycle. And then I realized quickly there was a problem with what I was doing. Because at that point, my money, my income, wasn’t sustainable. So, at the end of each travel cycle I’d run out of money and I had to start all over again from scratch.


So, in the last six months of my six-year world travel, I met my wife Tiffany in the Caribbean. And she’s from California, so when I came to America and began my life here, we made a promise to each other to create a life that we wanted to live, yet make it sustainable. So we began looking at different ways we could make income. And we explored multi-level marketing and real estate and the stock market. It very soon became very clear that real estate was our destiny, because at that point my wife had a twelve-year background in mortgage and finance, and I had a 20 year background in construction management. So we teamed up.


And we began an extensive path of education, not only in real estate, but in all areas of life. And we soon found ourselves caught up in the hype of single-family fix and flips. And before too long, my wife Tiffany said to me she wanted to do something more people orientated instead of crunching numbers and searching through statistics. So, she became a realtor, and I branched off into commercial real estate investing, which I honestly wanted to do from the beginning. And that led me to the massive, passive income producing mobile home parks.

My mother-in-law had a mobile home near to Disneyland. I was over there one time and she told me she’d paid off her mobile home about five years ago, but she was still paying a thousand dollars a month in rent for the land that her home was sitting on. And I was like, “What? You own your home but you still pay a thousand dollars a month to rent the land off someone? Your landlord must be killing it!” So, I ran out front of the home, and I looked at all the homes that were in the community, and I counted about a hundred of them. And then I did the math, that’s over $100,000 a month in revenue. I need to learn more about this. And the next thing you know, I started buying mobile home parks.


John Carney: So that was a lightbulb moment for you with your understanding of real estate and having been at your mother-in-law’s. Will you sort of set the picture for some of our Australian audience? This was brought up by my business partner when I was living in Australia and we were running America Property Source, and talking about mobile home parks. He said it doesn’t translate over here. We have caravan parks and it’s just not like America, especially when you break it down that you have class A, B and C assets in a mobile home park community or in a multi-family community. So, would you be able to elaborate a little bit more about the mobile home parks and what opportunity you look for and zero in on in your business?


Bryce Robertson: There isn’t really anything comparable in Australia. I suppose there’s caravan parks, which would be equivalent to like an RV park over here, and it’s more really for recreational use, not for permanent or long-term living. But in America, mobile homes are homes that get towed around on the back of a truck, and they get set down and they are semi-permanent. But once you set one down, you don’t really move it, because it costs like five to ten grand to move it to somewhere else, to set it down and get it signed off. So, they’re pretty much sort of permanent type homes, and a mobile home park is a colony of those homes.

What we look for in a good market in a mobile home park is where the comparable two to three bedroom rents of apartments in the same city, in the same area, will be at least one and a half times that of the rents in our mobile home community. And we also look for the median house pricing to be over $100,000. By looking at those two metrics, it creates a big gap in the need for affordable housing and where else are our residents and tenants going to live if they don’t live in a mobile home park? The step is just really huge for them to move into an apartment or buy a house. They just wouldn’t qualify.

And another benefit of our residents living in a mobile home community is they have their own home and they have their own yard and they don’t share walls with people. They don’t have anybody walking above them upstairs, and they get the pride of actually owning their own home. Because in a mobile home park you can own the home and then all you have to do is rent the land off the landlord.


John Carney: In your parks, are the utilities paid for by the owner tenants or by the owner operator? Just out of curiosity.


Bryce Robertson: We try to lean towards the tenants paying the utilities, but the market will decide what’s going on there. It depends on what the market rents are and what’s acceptable in the market. But we do like to all-encompass everything so that the tenants are paying for the utilities and their rent as well.


John Carney: So, in order to start with one park – I would imagine everyone starts with one, when you started looking at the acquisition for your first park, what did your team look like? Can you explain that a little bit?


Bryce Robertson: For a team I would say get a mentor, first thing. You don’t even need to figure everything out. Just go there and get a mentor, and then you can have someone to fall back on. But yea, I would definitely say team up with somebody who has expertise and who’s done it before.


And you’re going to need a real estate attorney, a CPA, and a lender. You’re best off going out and searching for a lender first, because once you get a deal under contract, it’s crunch time, you’re on the clock and you don’t want to be scrambling around trying to find somebody to get a loan.


And then once you have your location where your mobile home park is going to be, then you’re going to build your construction crews for doing any rehabs to the homes. You’re going to have your plumbers, your electricians, your carpenters, and you’re going to find your landscapers, and all the other contractors that will be there to maintain and upkeep the property. And as far as a property manager, we do all the offsite management ourselves, and we also train people who live in the community to be onsite managers as well.


John Carney: That’s a great business model, as far as the management, right? Because I believe firmly that it doesn’t matter what asset class in real estate you’re investing in, if people are paying to rent space, the property management is a very critical component. That’s not downplaying any of the other team members.


You’ve been to all these countries, you’ve met an American lady, you’ve moved to California, you’ve made a commitment to be here, and you’ve chosen real estate. You’re in commercial on the investing and the brokerage side, correct? And your wife is on the residential side. How did you get to that first deal? Because that’s the entrepreneurial journey that I’m interested in. I would also like you to tie in how all that travel gave you the confidence to just get your hands dirty right away?


Bryce Robertson: I think the travel really allowed me to expand who I was and my confidence as a person, to really just go out there. You see, each time I travelled to a new country, there were a few areas through my travel where I set up basecamp. Each time I went to one of those basecamps, I had to start off fresh. I didn’t know anything about the area. Sometimes I didn’t even speak the native language fluently. And I had to start up my life there. I found that it always was the same thing: it just came down to drive and determination, and then learning the local knowledge or the knowledge of what I needed to learn as I was going. But when I was launching in each country, I didn’t have the time to sit back and figure it all out, I would’ve dramatically failed and I would have been living on the streets.


So, translate that into real estate and getting my first commercial deals going on. I went out there and got the base fundamentals of the education that I needed to get started, and then it was all about massive action. I was just absolutely obsessed about commercial real estate. I learned everything I possibly could and just threw myself out there in the action, and just started looking at deals and crunching numbers. And after not too long, I started to see the commonality and the patterns in what I was doing. I was learning from mistakes, and I really think, personally, that through action and experience is one of the best ways to learn. And so, I just put myself out there and just committed to it and just held up that tenacity.


John Carney: Did you ever have any travel experiences that were just so bad that they gave you a frame of reference, that when things aren’t going right on Monday morning in your mobile home park business, you’re like “Well, it’s not as bad as that one time.”?


Bryce Robertson: Well, you see I did have a lot of amazing adventures when I was travelling and I think that all of them were beneficial. Maybe at the time I’d felt that they were scary or something like that. But I think one of the biggest lessons I learnd out of all of that is: every time I look back at somewhere where I went wrong through my travels, it was because I broke one of my basic fundamental travel rules. I had a handful of travel rules that were geared around safety and common sense, and if I’d broken outside of one of those rules, that’s when the madness happened. And so, translating that into real estate, I need to stay grounded on my morals and my integrity in business and making sure that I’m not going outside there. And really, any time I have some sort of temporary failure, I’m usually just on the brink of a massive success. So, I think failures are just as successful as the good things that happen to us in life.


John Carney: That’s great advice. Could you elaborate on what are a few of your main drivers and what are a couple of your main rules for investing in real estate or operating your business? You mentioned integrity. Would you elaborate on those principles that you hold yourself accountable to every day?


Bryce Robertson: Sure. I always want to create win/win/win situations for people in any deal, whether it’s negotiating with a contractor, hiring a manager, or putting a whole deal together. I really want everybody to walk away feeling that they got something, they got some sort of value out of it. And every player in the deal wants some sort of different metric that’s valuable to them. And I think that comes down to creative deal structuring in whatever we do. So, it’s important to me that I leave every deal with everybody happy and that everything is harmonized.

Number two: Integrity. I think how you do anything is how you do everything. And if I’m getting all the small things right in time, each time, and I’m doing the right things by people, then I’ll be doing the big things right as well.


What else? You know, relationships are huge. So I definitely like to keep good relationships at all times, and I really like to listen to my gut. When I’m coming to a decision and I’m tossed up between, “Should I go this way or should I go that way?” I tend to stop, relax, take a deep breath, and just really connect with myself and what I really think the answer is, without any of the carrots dangling in front of me. And usually when I stop and ground myself, I’ll find the answers. But if I’m charging ahead because I’m excited about the outcome, then I’ve found that that’s where sometimes I could make a poor decision.


John Carney: So, in a way you pause. There’s no rapid fire emotional decisions, especially when there’s a big decision. Look, I think that’s all great advice, or a seriously good method to follow. Can you elaborate: is there anything you do as a daily practice that helps you prepare for your day, that might tie into all this? Because you sound like over the years you have a lot of experience with business and travel and real estate. Have you come up with that time of day – most people choose the morning – where you get yourself sorted out; then you go out, then you do well at work.


Bryce Robertson: Yea, I think the morning’s the best. You know, waking up and just fully experiencing gratitude for everything that I have in my life, and everything I’m surrounded by. And then creating an intention for all of my basic goals to be real, as if I’m already living them. And really take the time to take care of my nutrition and get myself started in the beginning of the day. And if I start the day off on the right foot then that’s perfect.


And then periodically through the day I like to take little time-outs, so I can regain clarity. So, things I like to do are yoga, or I might want to go surfing. I’m a big fan of CrossFit, so I love having an intense workout and just smashing any of the stresses out of my life. I feel like I’m shedding skin each time I exercise. And really focusing on other areas in my life that I think are important, like relationships and health and spirituality and fun and recreation. When we all put them together, those five areas of our life really build off each other and help generate even more wealth and success in business.


John Carney: So, now you’re still just as much of an athlete; you might not be on the rugby pitch, but you’re at CrossFit, which is highly demanding, and you’re surfing and you’re doing yoga and you’re looking after yourself physically. Do you plan to pick up any team sports?


Bryce Robertson: Not necessarily team, most of the stuff I do is individual. It can be done sort of as a team sport. I just completed my first marathon a few months ago. I’ve been doing a few triathlons and obstacle challenge races over the last few years. As far as a team sport, I mean real estate investing is a team sport. But as far as an actual athletic sport, I just like to do my sports, and I like to do them with other people. So, when I’m surfing, I’d much prefer to do that with friends.


John Carney: Social wave.


Bryce Robertson: Yes, exactly.


John Carney: I got it. That’s fantastic. Alright, well, if you’re an investor out in the market, and you’re unsure about where to begin in real estate, how do people find you? And what could you do to help people, through your syndication or your educational program, get in the game and start having some control over their investments and their money and their time.


Bryce Robertson: Yea, well, I would first off just say, “Hey, go out there and get a mentor and take massive action.” Because a mentor is really going to be the person who is going to help push you over the finish line. I definitely wouldn’t say wait back and try and figure it all out yourself. If you want to get real deals done, go out there, get those deals done. You’re going to learn ten times quicker than if you’re sitting at home trying to figure it all out.

Property Works, we provide a mentoring program for people who are looking to break into the mobile home park investing space. And if mobile home parks is not the thing that you’re interested in, then I highly recommend going out and teaming up with somebody who is light years ahead of where you want to be. Teaming up with them and leveraging their experience and their contacts, and just going out there and really going for it.

I mean, no one honestly really cares if you know it all or not. Probably the only person who cares is you, in the beginning. But most of the people out there are going to honor you for your courage, and for you just going out there and going for it. And you can piggy-back the experience of your mentor and the knowledge of your mentor. And if anybody else is out there thinking, “Oh well, you’re just a small fry, you’re out of your league,” well, they’re probably just jealous anyway. And they probably wish they had the courage that you had to go out there and take massive action.

So, if you want to get in contact with me, you can reach me at my cellphone which is: 714-603-1394. You can also email me at:

Or you can visit our website which is

And we can basically take good care of things from there.

John Carney: Fantastic, so there you have it. We will definitely list all of your contact information and how to track you down in the show notes which we call the ‘post-game report’ on my website. And just to elaborate a little bit more: for someone who does follow up with you, what can they expect through your program?

Bryce Robertson: They can expect to set goals and to push themselves and to be accountable for goals and to get real life, hands on experience working on deals, and really pushing to get what it is that they’re looking for.

John Carney: You don’t strike me as a fluff kind of guy. You’re going to get right into it: day one, get your hands dirty, lift something heavy, pick up that barbell.

Bryce Robertson: Yea. Absolutely.

John Carney. Ok, perfect. Before we wind this down, we have something I call ‘the two-minute drill’, sometimes it takes a little bit longer. But we have a couple of questions I’m going to throw at you. And let’s go back to what you do to continue your education. Are there any books that you have in your collection that you just can’t put down, that you have to have close by just in case you need to reference them, and that you would recommend our listeners pick up?

Bryce Robertson. Yes. I would recommend “The Unbeatable Mind” by Mark Devine. He’s an ex-navy seal who teaches us how to gain mental clarity, concentration, and awareness and intuition, how to be an authentic leader and to avoid danger and to, like, deepen our warrior spirit. It’s a really cool book, you should just get it. No matter what you do, an amazing book.

John Carney: I will second that, it is probably a top three book that I would recommend everybody. Do you listen to his podcast by any chance?

Bryce Robertson: I have not listened to his podcast. I will be definitely interested to.

John Carney: I would say you’re lucky, only because you have about a hundred episodes you can work your way through, where I have to wait every week for that one hour to be released. But yes, check it out. I’ll throw that in the show notes as well, because I find that its good listening on my commute to work.

Alright, perfect. You’ve talked a lot about your morning ritual and what you do to stay focused and motivated. Are there any other places that you draw on inspiration other than your physical activity?

Bryce Robertson: My wife. Totally. She’s probably the pillar and foundation of my life. I really love just connecting with her and leaning to her for advice and groundedness. My wife is an amazing lady and she really just gives me so much more energy in life.

John Carney: That’s fantastic. Your wife is part of your Property Works business now as well, correct?

Bryce Robertson: She works with Property Works a little bit, and her main business is as a realtor here in Southern California. But she does play a role in property works. Yes.

John Carney: I got you. So, it’s a love story at the end of the day. You met her in the Caribbean and you followed her to America.

Bryce Robertson: Yes, absolutely. We just connect on every level, and what better thing than to have a life partner that’s totally aligned with you.

John Carney: Yes, that’s fantastic and you are very fortunate. That’s a great story. What is your number one ‘come from behind’ sort of victory that you could share with our listeners and inspire them to keep going at the real estate game?

Bryce Robertson: That’s a mentor telling me that I couldn’t do the deal. I had a deal, and my money was tied up, and I had no experience in that asset class, and I had a few days to pull the deal together. And I told this to my first mentor, and he said to me, “You know you’re dreaming kiddo, it’s never going to work.” So, I fired him and turned to my next mentor. Then I had that deal under contract a few days later. And I hustled and bustled throughout escrow and I owned that asset after three months. So, my determination and tenacity was way too big for any challenge I was going to come across.

John Carney: There you go, when one person says no, maybe that just fuels you to get the deal done even more. Well, thank you very much for taking the time to share your story with us today Bryce. You’ve already told us where we can find you and I will put that in the show notes. So, there you have it.

I hope you picked up some actionable advice from Bryce Robertson at Property Works. Make sure to check out the Real Estate Locker Room Show on iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play and hit the 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 grateful if you would leave us a five-star review on iTunes or your preferred podcast platform, so that other like-minded real estate investors will be able to find the show easily. The post-game report, show notes, links and content will be posted on www.johncarneyonline/podcast and while you’re there you can sign up for our monthly newsletter, and that way you’ll get some other investing insights, tips, tricks hacks and other great stuff that comes along from time to time.

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 one more time Bryce, for taking the time to share your story with our audience.

Bryce Robertson: Thanks John, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Happy investing.

(Music Out)

End Audio

Connect with John Carney
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© John Carney 2017



JC 010: How to Identify the Perfect Insurance Agent with John Mark Tichar

May 10th, 2017 | no comments

You want an insurance agent with real estate investing experience

Insurance is a business expense but not all agents are created equal. Learn what skills and experience you want your real estate insurance agent to contribute to your team and portfolio.

John Mark Tichar joins us in the locker room this week to share his real estate story and pro tips for success in the competitive business of real estate and insurance.

When you shop for insurance are you seeking an agent who has the relevant expertise and knowledge of what it’s like to have skin in the game? Before settling into his roll with the Oswald Companies as a full time commercial real estate insurance agent John Mark worked for a real estate developer, multifamily property manager, single family home fix n flip investor and financial services provider.

“There is no silver bullet for success” John Mark attributes his success to showing up every day and working hard. He distinguishes himself from other insurance agents with his history as a real estate investor, property manager and project manager. John Mark’s experience of getting his “hands dirty” allows him to identify with the emotions and risk of his clients.

John Mark earned the real estate game by being proactive and doing the hard work. Find a mentor, get hand on experience and create your own opportunity.

Real Estate is a Team Sport

The fundamentals of investing are the same at all levels of real estate. The team is the same for 20 properties or 200 properties. The quality of the investment, your team and the experiences is what matters. The volume of property you own is second compared to quality of the investment.


You don’t want a generalist insurance agent. You want to have an insurance agent who has invested in real estate at some point in time. Insurance is a line item in your operating budget. However, as an owner you must have a serious approach to mitigating risk.

Favorite athlete – Mike Piazz

Recommended reading –

  • The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley & Willima Danko
  • Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

5 Key Points:

  1. Be consistent day in and day out
  2. Get up, go to work and learn on the fly
  3. To be successful you have to focus on a niche
  4. It takes time and persistence to be successful
  5. Understand the costs & risks up front

Success tip – “Duplicate your success and learn from your failures “

Thank you for taking the time to sharing your story with us today John Mark.

John Mark works at Oswald Companies in Cleveland, Ohio

You can connect with John Mark on LinkedIn or email him direct at

Listen to all the episodes of The Real Estate Locker Room Show and sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter at

POST GAME REPORT: Episode Transcript

The Real Estate Locker Room Show with John Carney

JC 010: How to Identify the Perfect Insurance Agent with John Mark Tichar


(Music Intro)

Announcer: 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 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 today from Cleveland, Ohio. Today on the line, we’ve got a great guest, John Mark Tichar. He is the Vice President, Real Estate Sales Leader and shareholder at the Oswald Company’s headquarters in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. So, this is a valuable team member we’re going to be talking to. We’re going to be talking about insurance: John Mark works on the high commercial end, multi-family and commercial projects.

John Mark graduated from John Carrol University in 2005 and began his working career for a real estate developer and contractor called Woodfield Homes, West of Chicago, in a town called Rockford, Illinois. There he managed a construction schedule and subcontractors of five to ten projects every six months, valued between three and five million.

John Mark also provided property management and asset management services to investment property. During his time with Woodfield Homes, John Mark spent his off time looking for his own investment properties and focused on distressed and foreclosed single-family homes in the Rockford area. His first two deals yielded 25K and 20K in equity respectively, while providing cash flow: positive cash flow. It was during his time on construction projects, managing investment property and eventually owning investment property, where John Mark found his passion and true calling for real estate development and real estate investing.

Prior to joining Oswald Companies, John Mark worked in financial services, both in insurance and wealth management, so he has a lot of experience there. And over the last seven years at the Oswald Companies, he’s had the opportunity to apply his real estate background skills to service the unique risk management and insurance needs of his clients, established real estate developers and investors.

Welcome to the show John Mark, and thank you for taking the time out of your day to share your story with our audience and join me. How are you doing today?

John Mark.: I’m doing great John, thanks for your time and thanks for the invitation to be on your show. I’m looking forward to it.


John Carney.: Perfect. Well let’s kick this off. I like to ask our guests a question to kind of get the conversation going. This is the Real Estate Locker Room Show, so we’re going to ask you a sports related question and tie that into the business of real estate. Growing up, was there one particular athlete that you admired? A professional athlete or an amateur athlete that you looked up to?


John Mark: There was. My first love in sports is baseball. I’ve played basketball and football as well, but baseball my first true love from a sports perspective. And I was a catcher basically my whole entire young career as a baseball player. Mike Piazza from the Los Angeles Badgers was my favorite player. A little-known fact about Mike Piazza is that he wasn’t even drafted into major-league baseball. He was identified outside of the draft by a scout and was invited to try out for a team. So he basically came up through the ranks of baseball to become one of the baseball greats. It’s just a great story of persistence and never giving up on your dreams. Those are some of the characteristics that I liked about Mike Piazza.


John Carney.: Looking back at that particular athlete, I remember Mike Piazza’s playing days. He really put catchers on the map, so to speak, especially in the national league. Was that story inspiring to you as a young athlete, looking up to Mike?


John Mark.: It was inspiring. He’s a guy that just did a great job. His job day-in and day-out was very consistent, and as I was growing up he was the catcher to emulate. He was just a great role model that I thought would be good for me to portray myself against and emulate to the best of my abilities.


John Carney.: We’re going to now jump over to the nuts and bolts in the real estate side. But I like to draw the comparison between the business of real estate and the business of the team aspect, and just go back to what we learned in our younger years competing on teams. Because it’s very much a team-driven industry, and you have insight into how commercial developers and property owners and operators work at a very high level, and you’re a valuable player on their team by offering the insurance solution, would you give us a little bit of the background on how you settled into that niche in the real estate game?


John Mark.: Yea, part of the bio that you read discusses my, or shows my early involvement right after college. As a college graduate, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do exactly after college, and I had started to read books in my spare time about business. One of the themes that kept on hitting me, just kind of in my gut, and just a thought that I could never shake, was real estate. At that time, I didn’t know what that meant or what that looked like, but it was just a concept that I thought really resonated with me.

And so, during my years working at Woodfield Homes, I learned a lot on the fly, through just consistent application: getting up out of bed and going to your job, and doing to the best of your abilities, and learning on the fly, and just through that time I really came to enjoy and loved the game of real estate. And after that, when I came to Oswald, in the insurance base, it’s just such a niche driven industry.


If you want to be very successful you’ve got to focus in on a niche. Or firm is the fiftieth largest insurance broker in the country, so we have a lot of niches in private equity, construction, manufacturing and whatnot. We didn’t have a big presence in real estate, so I just decided to put to use my experience, both with the job at Woodfield, managing investment property and then eventually owning my own investment property. The foundation I think of any real estate operation in the country really, is what I experienced, and understanding the fundamentals and the foundation of what those operations look like. I feel this has really set me apart against my peers. And basically, I would contribute my success to just getting out of bed every day and hustling for business. There’s no silver lining or silver bullet that I think puts people on the map right away. It takes time and consistent persistence. So it’s just the daily application of using the work ethic that I’ve been blessed with, and going out and developing relationships and being a trusted advisor, and just over time being able to win over clients based upon my attitude and the extra things that I bring to the table that’s different than my competitors.


John Carney.: So, showing up and consistency is what is driving your success at the moment. Do you look back at when you made a change? In your down time when you were working in your first job for the construction company, you could have sat around on the weekends and gone to baseball games and hung out with your friends, but you chose to go out and dig up properties, and then put in the time and energy and money, your own time energy and money, those three precious resources, into fixing up these homes and running them as a business. So, do you believe that that experience just helps you identify with your clients better, especially on the insurance side?


John Mark.: Absolutely. I think one is: I get respect from my clients, having known my background and the fact that I got my hands dirty and have actually gone through the act of real estate investing versus standing on the sidelines like maybe other advisors and talking about the philosophy of real estate and of investing and how it should look which is a lot different than getting your hands dirty and having done it.

Understanding the ups and downs of real estate investing and the cycles and the challenges that everybody faces on a daily basis is what really sets me apart.

It was really when I started managing my boss’s investment properties. It was a small company, Woodfield Homes, and I worked with the owner on a daily basis. I got the manager’s investment property, and I applied the financials to an Excel spreadsheet and just looked at projected expenses. I applied projected appreciation over a period of time, and the math was just a compounding effect and was just a powerful calculation for me. And it just really gave me a very deep impression, a very good impression of real estate. I think that was the visual that I needed to really have the lightbulb go off and say “I know I like this business, but now I get to see the power of real estate financially and what it can mean from a lifestyle perspective.” That really made me come to just really love the business.


John Carney: So, that’s a great experience early on, and it sounds like the principle of Woodfield Homes was there as a sounding board and a mentor, if I’m reading between the lines, is that correct?


John Mark.: Correct, yes. I mean, he basically had this investment property and I went out and it was sitting vacant, just because it wasn’t part of his core business. I saw an opportunity to collect an additional six or seven thousand bucks a month in rental income. It was a multi-family property. So in my hours working for him, I would hire his subcontractors, and we would go fix up this property and get it rented and then I would sign leases with the tenants; I would manage the cash flow and the expenses; I would handle tenant issues; any move outs I would get them re-leased, so it was just a very hands-on experience for me. I didn’t read a book about it, I didn’t go to class for it, but it was just an example, or an experience that was the best way for me to learn. That’s the best way for me to learn, is just by doing it on a daily basis. And every day you learn something new and you apply little nuggets of learning experiences, and you apply those going forward and slowly things continue to get better and better, and you get better at your job.


Your right, that was spot on. He was a great mentor, it was a great opportunity for me to even get into that, have that experience. So for that I’m grateful for his willingness to let me run with those projects.


John Carney: Yes, that’s a unique opportunity that, now that we’ve dug into it a little bit more, sounds like you created your own opportunity: you created the opportunity and ran with it. It wasn’t given, it was created. I love stories like that, it’s very entrepreneurial. What I’m interested in sharing with our listeners right now is that you have that story, and you mentioned it’s kind of a smaller scale investment property. You have the opportunity every week to meet with your clients who own much larger operations on the commercial side. Can you talk a little bit about the parallels you see between an investor starting out with a few small, single family homes or a multi-family, and scaling that into something large? And do you see the team players that the larger operators have as identical, similar, different? Could you give us a little bit of insight into what you’ve learned just by playing at such a high level?


John Mark.: Yes, I think you kind of hit it on the head there: the team is the same. The actions are the same and the only difference is the number of zeros after the comma. If it’s six zeros, or nine zeros, or twelve zeros or what have you, that’s the only difference. But the fundamentals of property management: tending to tenant needs; having an attorney draft up a solid lease agreement that promotes tenant flexibility throughout a term of the lease; working with a local banker, or if you’re a more sophisticated operator, working with friends and family and or other sources of equity and debt to achieve the financial results.


Having a good team around you: a property management team and contractors that you trust, that you know do quality work, that don’t cut corners and that you understand the costs up front, so that way you’re not looking at a job after the fact and racked up an extra ten thousand dollars in costs or what have you.


Working with an insurance advisor to help you understand the multitude of risks that you face on a daily basis. Some of which can be mitigated through daily best practices in your operations. Others tend to be much larger that you want to have financed by an insurance company.


And so, whether you’re starting on two properties or two hundred properties, you hear a lot of stories about people getting into it just all of a sudden acquiring 100 hundred over the course of a year, or stories like that, which I think is great. But the number doesn’t really matter, it’s the quality of the investment that matters, and it’s the quality of the team that you have around you. It’s the quality of your experiences that if you have those, that allows you to scale quicker and better. And you get through that learning curve quicker with a better team.


If you don’t have a good team around you, you’re going to be struggling with your experiences, wondering why you’re experiencing what you’re experiencing, without a good team.


And so, to your point: it’s a team sport, whether you’re just starting out with a trusted banker, like I said before, or trusted attorneys and contractors, or taking those resources and creating an in-house department encompassing all those various needs as a real estate investor. So, in my opinion, the difference is, as I’ve said it in the beginning, the number of zeros.


John Carney: And to get to the larger number of zeros, everyone starts somewhere. And the nice thing about this industry that I like, or the business of investing, is that it’s unlimited based on everybody’s personal motivation. Give us a brief summary of the importance of understanding your own risk profile, and then why having the right insurance agent who understands that risk profile is critical. I’ve had experiences where, early on in my investing career, insurance was a business expense, but it’s one that you always look to minimize, right. It’s very important but people always try to minimize that because it’s a business expense, it affects the bottom line. So, give us a little bit of professional advice on the best approach to insuring your real estate portfolio.


John Mark.: Yes, I’m certainly happy to do that. Let’s just be honest, insurance is not the most exciting topic to talk about, right? You don’t sit around the cocktail parties talking about your insurance agent or insurance policy. I totally understand that. But you’ve hit it right on, insurance is a line item in your operating budget, right? Just like legal is, and just like your interest rates are on your loans. You can argue the same thing from a lender perspective or your accountant or your attorney. But from the insurance side of things, I think the number one thing for an owner to do is to take the topic seriously, first off, and then secondly, shortly after that, is to really take the time to stop for a moment and think that these risks out there, that they could happen to you.

A lot of people sit back and say, “that’s never going to happen to me, that won’t happen to me.” I think a really true statistical investor will actually take the time to help you understand how that might happen to him or her and what they could do to mitigate that from even happening in the beginning. So, I think the best way to do that is to team up with an advisor who knows real estate.


When I started looking at houses in Rockford, Illinois, the first thing I asked my mortgage broker, or banker, as well as real estate agent is, “Have you worked in real estate before?” And the only key members that I chose to work with in those areas are people that have invested in real estate before. Whether they owned real estate at the time was irrelevant, but the fact that they actually took the time and invested their time and their money into real estate told me that I’m dealing with somebody who absolutely understands each step of the process. And so that should be the same thing with your insurance advisor.


Whether your insurance advisor invests as a private or silent investor in deals, or has a small portfolio on their own, I think you need to take time to interview them and understand their experience in real estate, because you’ll come across a lot of insurance agents that are generalists. They’ll walk into a manufacturing company and act like they know manufacturing, and they’ll turn around and walk into a non-profit and act like they know the intricacies of a health and human services organization, and then private equity, and so on. You just want to make sure that, while it’s understandable to have a diverse book of business, you want to make sure you’re working with someone who has the majority of their book in real estate. That way they can bring to you the information that is meaningful for you, and making you aware of things that you may not even be thinking of in the first place. Because you don’t know, and that’s the job of advisors, to inform people of what they don’t know, to better educate them on how to manage those risks going forward.


So I think, as an investor, capital is very intensive, a capital-intensive business. You’re constantly leveraging your dollars, so the financial risks that you take, and risks that might come about with your lenders, investors, financial loss to the organization, then you have your physical loss from the properties, with acts of god that just – wind and fire and hail and so on.


And then you have the operations risk of property management and tenant risk and understanding how the tenants are taking care of the property. And that boils down to your lease that you have with the tenant and ensuring that they’re carrying their own insurance that will indemnify you and protect you based upon their negligence. So, there’s a number of risks that an owner has, and has to manage on a daily basis.

And the insurance advisor just becomes much more valuable than just a broker. Somebody who’s going out into the insurance marketplace. You know, you fill out an application, you get a bunch of quotes, that’s not statistics. That’s not complex. It doesn’t really show any expertise, it just shows that you can go through a process. But then turning that information into business conversation, specific to real estate investing – that’s the piece where I think there’s true value of an insurance advisor.


So I would just encourage all the owners out there to work with an insurance advisor that is in the real estate investment business, and take it as seriously as you would your accountant. Because the last thing that you want to happen is a 50, 75, 100 thousand, one million dollar claim situation that is totally unforeseen, that kind of hits you out of nowhere. And you go to your insurance agent, they haven’t talked to you in two years, and you say, “Hey I got a claim.” And they say, “Hey, it’s not covered.” Then you have a bigger problem than you would have originally. So, that’s just my perspective when it comes to insurance and it doesn’t have to be time consuming, you don’t have to spend hours and hours and hours on it. You have to find the right person who can understand and be that advisor.


John Carney: John Mark, that’s great. That’s a great summary of why investors need to put some time and effort into sourcing the right insurance provider and advisor for their team. Important stuff. Alright, before we wrap this up, I’ve got a couple more questions for you, we’re kind of getting down to our two-minute drill here at the end. You’re a motivated, hard-charging person, and you manage to get a lot done with the same 24 hours we all have. Are you a big reader? Are there any books on business, or books on sports that you’ve read that you’d refer people to?


John Mark.: Yes, I think a couple of books come to mind that I have read in the past. I mean, I think we all know the book ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ is a popular book that people mention. But there’s a couple other books.


‘The Millionaire Next Door’ is a great book, it just talks about daily application of financial discipline and the notion of cutting up your credit cards; that’s kind of an extreme example, but it’s applying due discipline to your financial situation and ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ is a great example of that.
Another great book that I really like, that really resonated with me (I kind of view myself as an underdog in a way) is a book called ‘Talent is Overrated’, I think Jeffrey Colban is the author. He mentions Tiger Woods in his book. About how, in order to be the best at your game, it takes time in that arena. So, in Tiger Woods’ situation, really quick, he racked up more hours by the time he was ten years old than most golfers racked up by the time they were 23 or 24. And that allowed him to be that much more dominant in the field, because at the age of ten or twelve, he was light years ahead of everybody else. In part because of his dad and then just his personal drive. So there’s a lot of ways to make up for talent and the book called ‘Talent is Overrated’ is I think just a great read.


John Carney: Thanks for sharing those, I haven’t read either one of those. I’m an avid reader, and I’m compiling a list, especially through talking to all the guests that I’m very fortunate to interview on this show. So, that will be included on the show notes of my website.


John Mark.: Nice.


John Carney: Is there anything that you do: a daily habit or a practice that allows you to train to be successful in your business and in your life, that you can share with our audience?


John Mark.: Yes, a couple of things. I have to be able to work out at some point during the week, or on a somewhat consistent basis. I think with the pressures of business, and the high-pressure sales environment that I work in, you want to have broad shoulders and you have big goals ahead of you that the company depends on you for. And so you’ve got to be able to de-stress, think through the day, process the day and just get it all out, so that way when you start the day the next morning, you’re kind of starting it somewhat from a fresh perspective.


And then I’m actually an introvert. So the way I recover and reenergize is by actually being by myself and just taking a few minutes to sit and process my day. I’m a scotch guy and a bourbon guy, so I’ll have a glass of that and maybe write in a journal of some kind and just reflect. The other tip is just to duplicate my successes, but more importantly, learn from my failures going forward.


John Carney: Thank you for sharing that. That’s good, sound advice for everybody who’s working on journaling, or a little bit of quiet time to meditate or reflect on the day. Well thank you for joining me in the Locker Room today John Mark. Where can the audience find you to carry on the conversation? Tell us a little bit of where you live online.


John Mark.: Actually I’m not a big Facebook person, although if you go on my profile there’s some pictures that I posted of me and my girlfriend recently. But I don’t spend time commenting on other people’s posts or looking at the feed there. I am active on LinkedIn and my full name is John Mark Tichar. So you can look me up on LinkedIn. You can also shoot me an email at I would be happy to connect with folks and network if anybody is interested.


John Carney: Alright, there you have it folks. I truly hope that you picked up some actionable advice regarding insurance for real estate from John Mark Tichar. Make sure to check out the Real Estate Locker Room Show on iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play and hit that subscribe button to ensure that you never miss out on all the pro-tips from our guests.

The mission here is to help you elevate your real estate game. And if you like what this show is all about, I’d be really grateful if you would leave us a five-star review on iTunes or your preferred podcast platform, wherever you get your podcast every week, so that other like-minded real estate investors just like yourself will be able to find us easily. The post-game report show-notes, links and additional content related to today’s episode will be available on my website:, and while you’re there, feel free to drop your email into the newsletter signup form so that you can receive the monthly newsletter and other tips, tricks, hacks and good stuff related to the business of real estate. 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. Thanks again for joining us again John Mark.


John Mark.: John Carney it was a pleasure thanks for having me.


John Carney: Perfect take care, thank you.

(Music Out)

End Audio



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© John Carney 2017

JC 001: Confessions of a Deal Junkie with John Williams

March 22nd, 2017 | 1 comment


Learn how to become a real estate deal junkie with Phoenix, Arizona based real estate investor John Williams.


The Real Estate Locker Room Show with John CarneyJohn Williams doesn’t believe that you have to be the most talented guy to be successful as a real estate investor. You have to leverage the talent that you do have and work hard.

Investing in real estate is commutative and John’s advice is to learn from doing. Don’t be afraid to get you hands dirty and learn the business of fixing property from doing it.

Finding deals is hard work and requires the fine art of hustling. First, carve out a niche in your market and learn how to source off market deals.

J&J Real Estate Holdings is always looking to achieve a win, win for both buyers and sellers.

Real estate investing is not a “get rich quick” enterprise. You have to be willing to learn something new everyday and stay hungry. Cash flow is the name of the game

John started with one single family home in 2001 and has scaled to managing over 1200 tenants and multiple mobile home parks.

Grow into the investor that you want to become in a manageable level.

Having a team and a good partner is invaluable in the real estate game. John advice is to look for a partner who has the same core values, set some outrageous goals and go for it!

You must have two teams: Team 1 – The Outer Team or the licensed professionals and 2) Team 2 – The Inner Circle – all of the people who support your real estate investing business.

You have to be an early riser to get the deals and be successful. Work hard, be fair and have integrity.

John Williams / J&J Real Estate Holdings

The Real Estate Locker Room Show EP 001 John Williams



POST GAME REPORT: Episode Transcript

The Real Estate Locker Room Show Podcast

JC 001: Confessions of a deal junkie with John Williams


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: Welcome back to the Real Estate Locker Room Show.  I’m your host John Carney coming at you from Cleveland, Ohio and today on the line from Phoenix, Arizona we have joining us in the Locker Room John Williams. John Williams is one of the founders of J & J Real Estate Holdings. J & J is a Phoenix based owner operated real estate company specializing in long-term cash flow properties. They acquire and manage single-family homes, mobile home parks and apartment buildings.  Through a proven acquisition strategy and sound management, J & J locates and transforms undervalued and distressed properties into rehabilitated assets generating recurring income for its partners. J & J’s strategy is designed to succeed despite an ever-changing real estate landscape generating maximum revenues in both up and down market cycles. Managing everything in-house from acquisition to operation, J & J builds equity and generates revenues for their company and their partners.  With a proven track record of improving the communities where they invest, J & J continually increases the value of their portfolio. John Williams was born and raised in La Canada California, and he graduated from Loyola High School in Los Angeles where he played football and then at the college level he played for Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. After graduating from Cal Poly, Johnny moved to Phoenix to work with his partner’s father, who had a pre-existing property management in real estate investment business. John learned how to manage and acquire houses, apartments, office buildings, industrial buildings and mobile home parks in the 2-1/2 years he was working there. He also witnessed just about every scenario that you could possible imagine in the property management business and, with this new found knowledge, Johnny set off on his own to get wholesaling houses and opened up one of the largest wholesaling operations in Phoenix. John has been involved in more than 1,500 sales/purchases of houses (he bought his first investment property in 2001) and has been a licensed real estate agent in Arizona for 7 years and in 2008 Johnny and Joe partnered up and they opened the door to J & J Real Estate LLC. So, John, welcome to the Real Estate Locker Room. How are you doing today?


John Williams: Great John. Thank you for having me. I tell you this is actually going to be an exciting show. For one, just how far you and I have come since we first met and I started. It is really exciting for me to see you come full circle and achieve the success you have and for us to both be here today swapping stories about our times.


John Carney: So, we can dive right into that. You know, just like before you get into any type of exercises scenario, I like to ask a stretching question just to warm up here. It is sports related of course, because we are going to explore that intersection of sports and real estate today. Who is your favorite athlete of all times?


John Williams: I’m going to have to say, Dick Butkus. Like myself, he was just a hard-nosed linebacker. He didn’t have the best talent, but he made the best of what he had. He wasn’t from a winning Super Bowl regime, but he took what he had. And he certainly was an unstoppable force the years that he played. I’m the kind of guy who likes people that make the most of their talents, and not those who don’t always have the most God given talent.

John Carney : Right. I mean you can’t always be the fastest strongest guy in any competition, but you can definitely work as hard as you possible can with what you have. Right?


John Williams: Absolutely. It is all about making the best of what you have.


John Carney: Sound advice. Can you tell our listeners how did you get started and why real estate? What turned you onto that?


John Williams: I always like to build things as a kid. Building was tangible and I could see the process from start to finish—whether it was building blocks or model kits. I knew I wanted to do something that would be hands-on but still retain that competitive nature with a team environment. Most of my friends and a lot of family members were in the brokerage business. Getting out of college I asked myself what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be? I didn’t want to trade time for dollars selling stuff for other people even though that’s a great business to be in. I just knew that I wanted to go where I thought the masses weren’t. I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity and was hired right out of college by one of my greatest mentors, “Big John.” Who moved to Phoenix to run his operation. Eventually he had a real estate company with approximately 2000 units. And just threw me into the fire, and it was trial and error, and then doing. So, it’s been a, really how I got started.


John Carney: You learned by doing. From some of our past conversations, I think it is great. I love the story that he had you working with the workers so that you learn the business from the ground up. Can you elaborate on that just a little bit?


John Williams: Yeah. You know, I tell a lot of people today that I contribute my success to those 2-1/2 to 3 years working with Big John and Ben and really learning everything from the ground up, as you say. I spent at least a day a week coming in in work clothes and working side by side with the maintenance crews, you know, turning apartments, turning mobiles. You name it, it has happened to me. From walking into an apartment that has been vacant for a month and having, I don’t know, 5,000 cockroaches fall on top of me in my hair and down my shirt. The not so pretty side to the business—I have seen it and done it. But really I needed to know all those things for me to be a better manager, owner, etc. I needed to know how many gallons of paint it took to turn an apartment. I needed to know how much time it would take these laborers and managers to do something. So, you know, I jumped right in and luckily was there the way that they kind of taught me was—you are going to learn everything about this business. And, really that is what I owe a lot of my credit to today.


John Carney: So when you were a young guns coming out of school, you were a linebacker playing at the college level and there is a certain amount of discipline that comes with maintaining your spot on the team. Did you tap into that—that discipline that you had growing up, playing sports, and, especially the college athlete once they put you to task in their business in Phoenix? Did you see a correlation between that sort of training—that physical and mental training and how you were able to thrive and grow a business that you have today?


John Williams: Yes, absolutely John. I think being in competitive sports, especially in college, but even more especially being a linebacker, it is one of those things where get a task and I turn it into a game to see how quickly, how good, I can finish the task and really just kind of be veracious out there. I would be on the field back in my glory days, which was a long, long time ago. But I find a lot of the real estate investors that I rub shoulders with are also former athletes themselves, because just have that competitive nature that really helps us thrive in this business.


John Carney: I think that you almost need to have that competitive edge right now, I would say, in this market. I just moved back to Cleveland as you know and everybody wants the same thing. Right? What is the brief when you talk to an investor? Does it go something like this. “I want the lowest priced property in the best area with the highest return for cash flow and capital growth.” Right?


John Williams: Oh yeah.


John Carney And so everybody wants that. And I mean it is a battlefield out there trying to get deals, at least here in Ohio.


John Williams: Oh I will tell you that is a dog-eat-dog world. But I will say that Maricopa County is probably one of the most cutthroat counties in the country as far as real estate. We have got some of the savviest investors. We also have probably the most sophisticated tax and data recording systems available, which also makes it the cutthroat market that it is. So, absolutely, everybody wants the best of the best of the best. In this business if you are not hustling, you are not getting the deals.


John Carney: So, what are a couple of good hustling tips We have some listeners out there that might be listening to the podcast, driving in their car or going for a jog and saying I want to get into this game. I am educating myself. Or they are already looking for that next deal and they have noticed that their market is now way more competitive than when they started out. What are some recent tips that you have? What are any strategies that you have come up with that are helping find those deals that your business and your investors love?


John Williams: I was fortunate early on to get a few good mentors that taught me the foreclosure, pre-foreclosure, distress seller and various others, including trusting salesmen. The typical investor is going to find a real estate agent, say go find me a good deal. They are going to go search online and figure out what they think is a good deal even though they may not be an investor themselves. And, really, it depends on the market you know. For example, right now, if you want to find a good deal on the MLS in Phoenix, you are really not going to find one. If you do, they are few and far between and they are being swept up by guys like me or even guys better than me who that is what they do all day long. So my advice is to really carve out a niche and that is going to be in the way you market yourself and to find these sellers off market. So, everything we do is off market direct to seller. Meaning I am not waiting for a seller to call an agent to list it to go on the MLS so I am free to serve everybody else. Most of our deals that we do are direct marketing to sellers direct. So we don’t have any competition or very little and we are able to negotiate much better that way and find the deals that make sense for us.


John Carney: To elaborate on that, talk about how that is sort of a win, win for everybody.


John Williams: It is a win, win for everybody. Going through the traditional selling of using agents, there is definitely ups and downs. But in those cases, there is a reason why the property is going to be below market value. And that is because it is either in need of repairs, the seller is in distress and needs money or there is a timeline involved. Because we are able to offer cash and that may seem pretty shaky because everybody says they are a cash buyer these days. But we offer them some other options besides just a low-ball cash offer. But in the end they are not paying real estate commissions, building cost repairs. We are not paying that either and we have a nice happy medium where we meet and able to get deals going much quicker because there are less people involved.


John Carney: Yes, and that is a good system that you have at J & J. Now, it didn’t evolve overnight. You touched on the fact that you had great mentors. But, let’s talk about the timeline. You went from working to your own wholesaling operations, owning your own investment shop with partners. For people starting out or just new to the business, you have to give them a timeline. When I talk to investors, people want immediate gratification. I say you can have a little bit at a time, but you have got to map out a ten-year plan and be consistent and be dedicated. So, could you shed a little bit of light on that?


John Williams: Yes. First of all, this is not a get rich quick business to be in. I moved here in November of 2001. So that took me almost 16 years of being in the Valley. I think I bought my very first house, which was a HUD repo, probably 60 days from moving here. So I was kind of just eager to get into it and, hopefully, had the partners that would provide the capital and I provide the knowledge, know-how (or so-called know-how as I was learning as I was going) and provide the blood, sweat and tears to get some deals done. And along the way I have learned a lot of things. You know there has been highs and lows. I have lost everything almost twice. Which really I figure was somewhat necessary. Failing to learn what you are not good at to fix it. So, yes, 16 years later I am here. We are still hungry and learning every day. And yes, it takes bumps along the way before you can really find out your niche and what you are good at and, yes, that is kind of the story there.


John Carney: So, what is J & J working on right now? What is the jump out of bed in the morning project that you guys have in your sights?


John Williams: You know, the funny thing is, my partner and I are both deal junkies and that is kind of what we live, eat and sleep is deals. So we look at everything. We are very fortunate that now we are to a point where we have a healthy base of over 1,200 tenants that we own and manage, so it gives us a little bit of flexibility to not—like in the early years, we were begging and borrowing just to pay mortgages, etc., to buy new stuff. So we have the flexibility there, but really we are looking for taxable properties. Our favorite asset class right now is mobile home parks. And that is probably just because what I started out in. My partner Joe, his father is huge in that and owns over 65 parks in Maricopa County and Pima County and Canal. And that is kind of what he was raised on and myself and we love it. We are good at it. Our team is good at it. We really just look for those and then everything else makes sense. A 150 house package came my way and, oh my God, that actually looks like it might work. So, you know, we get excited about deals when it makes sense.


John Carney: I understand on a basic level the mobile home park model. I am more through our family business understand multifamily apartment buildings. So that is what I am on the hunt for. But mobile home parks—it can’t be something where you wake up in the morning and say: “You know what? I think I am going to be a real estate investor. I want to buy a mobile home park”. You had mentors, but I am now hearing from more and more people about the mobile home park business. How would you get started in something like that—safely I suppose?


John Williams: Yes John. It is definitely not a business you want to wake up and just dive right into. There are certainly ways for people to get involved in mobile home parks right off the bat. And that is going to be your cleaner, nicer, probably age restricted parks, where really you are just buying a cap rate, not equipment. I am kind of putting a quarter in a gumball machine you are going to get out of return. Once again, we go with the masses that and we buy distressed parks, typically family parks. And these parks need work. A lot of time we become developers because we have to go in and rearrange the entire layout of the park—bathroom utilities, mixed tenants, which a lot of times half the park could be that. In our eyes, one rotten apple could spoil the whole bunch. It is really fun and no park is the same, but I can tell you that ours were just huge projects. My partner and I now still have two parks that we have never been paid a dime on because they are still in the rehab phase and some of these we have owned for 3-4 years and that is just the name of the game. We are willing to sacrifice now and not make a penny for years to know that someday that is going to be stabilized and that is going to be paying a monthly check to our mailbox no matter what.


John Carney: Just throwing off to cash flow.


John Williams: Absolutely. You know, just to go back to your question about how would somebody get started? I would suggest breaking it down to a micro level and just buying a single manufactured home. There are deals out there. One of the first videos I ever watched back in 2002 was a guy, Monty Scruggs, Deals on Wheels. You can buy homes that are in existing parks and you can basically sell those to new owners, create some paper, get a few of those, collect down payments on each, get a few of those and then get yourself an income stream. You can even go on further to buying your own lots and putting a manufactured home on it and either keep it is a rental or sell it on terms. But I would say those are two good ways to get started at the micro level and then kind of build from there. Looking back at our experience, everyone we started from was one house or one condo and then turning it for one 4-plex and selling that and moving up to an 8-plex and then a 32-plex. I just recently sold a 32-plex for a $900,000 mobile home park. So, really it is just a natural progression and once you feel like you have mastered a certain area of expertise or at least got really good at it, they you move onto the next. And you keep growing and just building your game.


John Carney: Sound advice. Growing into the investor that you want to be at a manageable level. Something I talk about and that comes up in just about every episode. We talk about the team and critical players, but would you say, you talk about your mentor and you have a business partner, Joe, and you guys both work well together. Would you guys say that it is the two of you working together? Can you talk a little bit about the value of partnership and shouldering the responsibility with someone who has a little bit different skill set but the same passion for the same mission.


John Williams: Absolutely. Having a team and a good partner is invaluable. I would not suggest anybody going out there and trying to do this on your own. While you may feel that you are making the entire pie, I can tell you that you will be left out on opportunities, as well as, who wants to be on top of the mountain by themselves. So, yes, I have had numerous partners over the years. Without really giving much thought about why we are getting into partnership with that person, just to find out whether it was eight months or a year later that it didn’t work. My advice is that you really have to look hard at the person who is going to be your partner and make sure that you both have your core values and both of your expectations are on the same page. And if you can find a partner that does work well with you, then stick with it and set some really assume crazy goals and just go for it.


John Carney: Absolutely. And I think that part of the experience, part of the real estate game, so to speak, is about fine-tuning your team over time and finding good partners. You have got to have them. I can’t say that anything you do in life, especially in real estate is going to work out the first time. But once you do find those people that you can build long-term relationships, my experience is that it has been golden. I always like to sit back and review any type of business relationship that didn’t go to plans. Those are lessons that you take with you and, obviously, apply as you move forward. I don’t expect it to happen, but I have got a better system personally for evaluating who you are going to be spending a lot of time with. Right?


John Williams: Yes. And there are two teams. The first team is going to be all your license professional vendors that you need to have in your corner to make you successful, which is your title agency, your contractors, your realtors, etc.  And then there is your inner team which is even more important and finding out what everybody’s core competency is. I can tell you right now that we have been able to develop this great relationship with people who we have done business with for years and, for example, the new partnership we have for our wholesaling business is a guy I have known for many years. You have met him John. He works and he sells properties. So, good. Partner, you take over that side of the business and we will fill this in on acquisitions. We get deals giving you sell and we are back out there looking for more deals. Strategic relationships like that really allows us to leverage our time and knowledge and really exponentially grow.


John Carney: That is sound advice John and thank you for pointing that out. It is combining skill sets. I have never thought of that in my notes here. You kind of have your first team, the licensed professionals, and the outer team, the second team, the inner circle. That is a great way of looking at it. I have never thought of that before. Gold! All right, let’s get into what we are calling the fourth quarter questions. What sport did you love playing as a kid and what lesson did you learn from playing that sport?


John Williams: My siblings and I were very fortunate that we played all the sports growing and nail it down to football, basketball and volleyball in high school and track. And then to football in college. I would say football was my favorite and the lesson I learned is I wasn’t very good when I first started and I was timid and shy and I got the crap kicked out of me a few times. The lesson there was to get the heck up and get after it. You know what, it doesn’t matter if your opponent is bigger, stronger, and faster, you can always find a way to overcome and that was part of the biggest lesson for me.


John Carney: Love it. What sports do you participate in today? What are you doing right now? You are not padding up and going and playing tackle football on the weekends are you?


John Williams: No, far from that. I am lucky if I can do much these days. I have a pretty beat up body from my years of sports. So really, I like work with a personal trainer, which has really gotten me in better shape so that I can lead a normal life. Definitely coed sports and weekend sports is out for me and I spend my time playing a little bit of golf, swimming, and I am really enjoying the outdoors more so than sports these days just because of all my former injuries.


John Carney: Gotcha. What is your favorite book—what book do you keep coming back to. Or have you read something recently that you are telling everybody about. What is on your shelf?


John Williams: I am not a huge reader. What can I say, I love pictures. I have read all the classic real estate books, Think and Grow Rich, The Richest Man in Babylon. I will tell you a few that I just recently bought and I just got into. I am pretty excited about them just because they were referred to me by some other real estate entrepreneur real estate friends of mine. One is “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T.R. Becker, and that is really just kind of mastering the inner Zen as well. I like it so far. I just got into it. The second book I am reading is called “Flection” and this is basically a book for improving your systems in business and really getting a grip on your business. That is kind of what I feel, where we are today. Now it is time to look at all of our systems and strategies and team and figure out how to get us to the next level.


John Carney: We are all about the next level. Leveling up. So, real estate is a business where they have one or ten thousand doors. That is how I look at it and I know you look at it. Whether you are looking at entrepreneurs for motivation or athletes for motivation or anyone for motivation is there one quote that resonates with you that you look to for motivation. Especially when you get that call that the new house you just renovated is flooded. What are you thinking?


John Williams: I just read a quote yesterday that said something like that. Some people wait for quotes to get them motivated. The rest of us just go out and do it. I love quotes. I get a thought of the day every morning and those just get me going. One of the quotes that I would say epitomizes what we do in real estate is “Good things come to those who wait, but only things that are left by those who hustle.” [Abraham Lincoln]  Right there, you can sit back and wait to get some stuff, but only after the stuff that I left behind because I was hustling.  That motivates me because the sky’s the limit in real estate and it is just a matter of how hard you want to push yourself, how hard you want to work, how many deals you want to do, how many houses, how many properties do you want to own? You just get to go out and hustle. As much as we want or as little as we want, depending on what we are up to.


John Carney: So, just like playing a team sport or individual sport, I personally love the come from behind victory story. Could you share a quick one of those?


John Williams: Yes, this wasn’t so much as a come from behind as thinking it was going to be a disaster to turning into a huge success. In 2009 when the bottom dropped out of the market and Phoenix, the apartment market truly failed the day after. And the first 4-plex I ever bought, John, was a boarded up 4-plex in downtown Phoenix. Not a very good area, was boarded up and I bought it for $24,000, which was $6,000 per door, which was ridiculous. I am sure it was probably one of the cheapest 4-plexes I bought that year. I bought it thinking the building was great, it was so cheap, and then coming to realize you get what you pay for. We unscrewed the plywood, broke into the thing, there were no keys, it was uninhabitable and realized the cost that it would take us to get where it needed to be to rent it out. The funny part is once we got this place rented out, the type of tenants we were attracting were the worse of the worse. We were actually threatened to be killed by our tenants, which is kind of a funny story. We didn’t get hurt, and we ended up buying the next three contiguous 4-plexes, packaged them all up, put a wall around them, kicked out everybody bad and what we thought would be a quick flip we just sold this last year and we made a huge profit and exchanged that into a new mobile home park which is going to net us thousands of dollars a month. It was a great story where we thought we picked a lemon, stuck with it and it turned out to be one of our huge successes.


John Carney: There you go. That is a great story. Thanks for sharing that. We have to stick with it to get across the finish line. Lots of obstacles in the race. Do you have any habits or anything you do to train for success? We have talked about reading books or listening to books on tape, but is there anything that you think is important when you are running a business and you are investing in real estate to kind of check out for yourself and/or get into that flow state where you are really focused.


John Williams: That is one of those questions John that we could talk for hours on and what is going to help in your success. But, as far as habits go, it is the little things that you do day in and day out that is going to bring you success. And that is getting up before the competition because I don’t care who you are and where you are, there is always somebody that is getting up earlier, sending out more letters, and going house to house knocking on doors. Someone is going to be doing something bigger, better more of them than you and trying to steal your success and your deals. So, it is really the little things you do. Really, we try to be fair and try to be very interested in our team, in our co-workers and even our tenants. We want to make sure that everyone is happy, and this goes back to the more you give, the more you get back. So, really always be willing to have a vested interest in others and their success and that will come right back to you tenfold.


John Carney: Perfect. More great advice from John Williams—waking up early. You have to be an early riser to get the deals and get your hustle on. We have said it before, it givers gain. Be willing to give something to others and not expect immediate gratification from that. Be an all-around good guy, right Johnny.


John Williams: Absolutely. You have got to be a good guy. I would say integrity is the number one thing you need in this business starting out. As you know, relationships are what all this is about. If I didn’t have all of my contacts through all the years I wouldn’t be where I am. All you have in this business, especially starting out when you have nothing, is your word and integrity and that is what helps you build those relationships.


John Carney: Alright. Well, thanks so much John for taking the time to join me in the Locker Room today and share those gold nuggets of advice with our audience. Where can people in the audience find you to carry on the conversation online, social media, website. Where can we connect with you if there is someone interested in learning more from John Williams.


John Williams: We do have a website, Don’t judge us by our website. It is really not finished. But, now that you mention it, we probably should get on that and seek out some other relationships to help us with that business that we are week in. So, I would say We have a bunch of other exciting new things we are working on in building a new company with some new partners, with real sale houses and Chris Simon which we will eventually have on the website.


John Carney: There you have it, to connect with Johnny and J & J Real Estate, look up there website which will be listed on the show notes, iTunes and my website. There you have it folks. I truly hope you picked some actionable advice from Mr. John Williams today. Make sure to check out the post-game report on I-Tunes and while you are there, please subscribe to the Real Estate Locker Room show to insure 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 would be grateful if you would leave a 5-star review on iTunes so that other like-minded real estate investors can find us easier. Visit for links and additional content associated with today’s show. While you are there drop your name into our e-newsletter sign up form so you can keep in touch with us and receive more real estate investing insight, tips, tricks, hacks and other good stuff. Remember to stay focused on your goals, have fun, stay in the game. I am your host John Carney. Until next week, work hard, play hard and profit hard. Thank you.


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