DavidÂ PereÂ is an Active Duty Marine and joined the Marine Corps in August of 2008. Since that time, he has traveled to and lived in many unique places around the world, including a combat tour in Afghanistan.
David got started in real estate investing in 2015. He house-hacked a duplex with the FHA loan and lived in it for a little while until getting married to his beautiful wife, Kimberly, and receiving orders to Hawaii. While stationed in Hawaii, David bought a 10-unit apartment in Missouri and has had continued success with real estate investing!
Through these experiences, From Military to Millionaire was born, with the goal of teaching service members and veterans how to build wealth through real estate investing, entrepreneurship, and personal finance! Through his podcast with the same name, he has helped many of his listeners increase their savings gap, purchase real estate, and increase their chances of achieving financial freedom!
-Started REI with aÂ househackedÂ duplex in Springfield, MO while stationed there.Â After being forced into listening to Rich Dad, Poor Dad, David was hooked.
-After moving to Hawaii, David continued to find commercial properties using direct to owner marketing tactics. Mailing letters and usingÂ Listsource, he personalized his marketing campaign and landed an off-market 10 unit.
-Worst investment:Â 42 unitÂ lease option deal. He made the mistake of not properly vetting his PM and maintenance guy and fired them a month after closing. He quickly learned toÂ trust the process and test his people prior to starting a relationship.
-After that experience, he found and compiled a list of 20 questions to properly vet his potential property managers.
-Watch out for the management hidden fees!
- What is the number one thing you need as a new investor to get started?Â Books, learn everything you can.
- What is one nugget of investing knowledge you want to give us?Â Watch the expenses. Expenses will make or break your property.
- What is your dream?Â To be able to control his time. Work when I want, where I want.
Welcome to The Lessons, a real estate show. I’m your host, Anthony Pinto, and I’m excited to have our special guest here today. Our guest is David. David is a active duty Marine and joined the Marine Corps in August of 2018. Since that time, he has traveled to and lived in many places around the world, including a combat tour in Afghanistan. David got started real estate investing in 2015 when he house set a duplex using an FHA loan and lived in it for a while, getting married to his beautiful wife, Kimberly, and receiving orders in Hawaii while stationed in Hawaii. David bought a 10 unit apartment in Missouri, and he has continued success with real estate investing in that state as well. Through these experiences from military or from military to Millionaire was born with the goal of teaching service members and veterans how to build wealth through real estate investing, entrepreneurship and personal finance, through his podcast with the same name has helped many of his listeners increase their savings accounts, purchased real estate and increase your chances of achieving financial freedom.
David, welcome to the show. Hey, thanks for having me, brother. Yes, so it’s a little late for this, but thank you for your service and Happy Veterans Day. I guess I just thought that same week still counts. Thanks for yours as well.
Thanks. Thanks. Yeah. So it sounds like you’ve been doing real estate for a little bit, but you’ve been doing an active duty.
So tell us a little bit about how you went from being active duty and being in military and the Marine Corps to getting into real estate and how that’s how that transition has worked for you so far.
Yeah, I in 2015, a friend of mine handed me the book, Richard Porter, and I kind of jokingly was like, I don’t read like, sorry. And I really didn’t want to read the book, though, so I was not really joking. And then, like, I kid you not this guy pulls out of his pocket or backpack. I don’t remember. He like literally in the conversation, pulls out like puts the book away and pulls out a disk and he’s like, oh, here it is on CD. And I know you drive a lot as a recruiter. So now you have no excuse. And in my head I’m like, damn it, Gary. And dude, I finished that book in like two, three days.
I don’t know. I mean, it was like boom done. Hooked onto the Rental Property Investing Book by Brandon Terner on the another, bigger pockets books onto this, onto that on the Google. And within three months I bought a duplex. The timing was just kind of good there. My apartment was like the lease was coming up and I was like, well, I either renew my lease or I figure this out. And I just kind of made the Missouri prices are cheap. Those like really wasn’t that much of a heartache to try to justify doing.
And it worked out like I realized, this is doable and just kind of kept going with it.
Thought so. So you were engaged, your now wife at that time, right. So what were her thoughts? Were her thoughts on getting the real estate at that time?
She owned a house already. So she I mean, she was all about it. She hadn’t bought that thing as an investment, but it was an investment. So she I always joke about this because she she bought this thing. It’s like right across the street from her dad’s, like, right across the drive, the private drive. And like, some guy had OD’d in it, like he didn’t die. But I mean, he owed pretty hardcore. It was like a vegetable or something. I don’t know if my wife had just moved into she was staying. She I don’t know. I don’t remember what had gone on in her life, but she had just moved out of a house and moved in, was living. And her parents were like a little in last week for the time being. And so it’s like in their farm, their cattle farmers like country hillbilly stuff. I love it. But she was like she tells me she is literally like yelling at the realtor, like whenever they show the house, like someone died in that house, like anyway. So she got this thing for a steal. I don’t remember the numbers, but a steal.
And her dad had built houses for 30 years. He’s a cattle farmer now, but basically her dad and her brother in law, like, rebuilt this thing, renovated it out of the garage, did this, did that, whatever.
And I mean, it’s it did well enough that I’ve been able to pull a pretty solid block off it. So I don’t know that she ever intended on that being an investment.
But cash flows now and it was bought. Right. So it works.
Yeah, no, that sounds like it turned out for the best view on that front. That was almost the complete opposite of what my wife said when I got my boat end of last year, I told her that we were going to move out of our eighteen square foot house and move into an apartment in Portsmouth. So, yeah. So good that she took that well. And I guess that she had a background already in real estate. So that had helped her case with trying to house that duplex. So, so yeah. So tell us a little bit about that. Like, so, you know, three month time frame is very quick to go from zero to 60. And did you partner with anyone in particular? Did you how did you figure out that you wanted to do smaller multifamily and specifically house hack?
I guess it would have probably just been the book on rental property investing from bigger pockets was just they talked about the house in it and I was like, that sounds like a great idea.
And I was running some basic numbers. And I don’t know that I knew how to run numbers at the time, but I was just running the numbers in my head. And I’ve always been kind of analytical and I realized I’m paying five fifty a month for this apartment as the two bed, one bath and most of the duplexes in this town, they’re not that expensive. Like the mortgage is going to be under seven hundred dollars. So why not? Like I can risk an extra hundred and fifty bucks to buy a duplex and like it even if the other side’s only rented like four months a year, I’ll break even and it just kind of made sense. I was like, screw it, why not? Let’s see what happens. And then you’ll see that you saw in there that I use the FHA loan because my lender talked me out of the VA loan because, quote, didn’t want to waste it on a small property, which is interesting. Yeah, I if I’d known what I know now, I would have not spent ten thousand dollars in closing costs and down payment and PMI and everything else over the last four years. And it probably make be about 60 bucks a month. Eighty bucks a month more without that PMI, but still been profitable, still being a good investment. I mean, we’ve got equity in analysis, it’s not a bad play.
Sounds like it is worked out in the end. So for our investor or our listeners who don’t know much about the military or the real estate side for the benefit that we we have you talked to a little bit about what a VA loan is and what makes it so unique.
Yeah, the V.A. loan is I mean, basically the basic premise is that the government has decided to back the Department of Veteran Affairs, decided to back 25 percent of the down payment. So where you would normally be out 20, 25 percent down, the government’s basically guaranteeing that they’ll pay it if you don’t go to the bank. So the bank just kind of waives it so you can go zero down on. You know, right now there’s a limit, but in like six weeks, that limit disappears and we’ll get to see what happens with that. That’ll be kind of interesting to see what happens when it goes to a debt to income loan. Or you can borrow a lot more than you’ve been able to. There’s just some different options with the VA loan that a lot of loans don’t have. Like there’s a renovation set up to it, which the FHA has the two or three going to pay three and a half to five percent down the value and you can still do it four zero down. So it’s just a great option for veterans to get into real estate without having to spend a whole bunch of money. Now you’re over leveraging your one hundred percent financed. You know, there’s there are risks associated with using the VA loan. But if you have house sack or something where you’re essentially like not having a mortgage payment, it’s really not that bad an option.
Yeah, it’s you know, I talked to a lot of military guys who are trying to get into real estate investing, and they don’t now fully understand that they can use their VA loan for that and to house specifically. And that’s how my wife and I got started in our squad as well. And I think it’s a great opportunity for a EFO or a five who is making a ton of BAH.
And instead of applying it to a rental property and essentially getting no return on that, you use that towards purchasing a duplex, a triplex, a quad, you know, and live in one of the units and rent out the rest of them. And what the ultimate goal that all of those other renters can essentially pay for your mortgage for you. And if it’s if you’re going to a good enough deal, even making money on the back end of it, you can get cash off of that. So I think that’s yeah, I think that’s a great option for a lot of military people. And even the FHA loan is great if you can owner occupied property and get into real estate investing that way as well. For a lot of people who may not have the experience or the money to go out and buy a quad or a large commercial property right off the bat, I think that’s a great option for a lot of people.
I agree. So, OK, so you start with a duplex and you eventually go into this 10 units.
So was I. Do you still own that 10 unit? I do. I just refinanced last month. OK, so tell us about how you went from the duplex to this 10 unit while still in Hawaii. And.
Yeah, so I was actually mailing four duplexes, Triple Xs and Fourplex as I was setting up pull the list from Lessors Source. And I was shooting out letters to people who had equity and small multifamily is this guy called me. It was like, well, I don’t have a duplex for sale, but I have a 10 unit. Hmm. All right, let’s talk. And luck would have it. I happened to be home. I think it was for like a week and a half for Christmas. So I was actually able to look at, I think two of the units, like I got to walk the exterior. There were like two vacant units. But I get to look at the other eight. That was enough for me to see kind of what it was all about, confirm that it was like a C class neighborhood. It wasn’t anything fancy. But we talked numbers and I got them down to like it was like two twenty five. So cheap Missouri prices. And I got my property manager to go through in my contractor when we did the closing. And they when, when we did the inspection, they walk through and they knew what needed to be done. So they do a little bit of interior upgrades here and there. And my contractor did external stuff. And I mean that’s about all she wrote.
So you so you reached out to this guy directly then? Yeah. So how did you go about finding these essentially off market properties to be able to talk to the owners directly?
I was using list source dotcom and you can essentially buy a list of names that’s been pulled from tax records. And so you can put I mean, it’s incredible to kind of like you can basically search by anything you would ever want. You can search by equity, you can search by purchase date. You search by size square footage. You can do zip code. You can literally, like, draw a box around the neighborhood and check whatever. I mean, you can do all kinds of stuff on that website, but the more the more pressure you put, the more you paint and put your name on the list. They pull it off from tax data and they they sell it. And then I basically just handwrote letters, which I don’t recommend. I recommend typing or printing letters I. We handle right now, if it’s like a house that I’m like super interest or super potentially buying, it’s just not worth I mean, maybe you get five or 10 percent more responses when your hand jam, but all that crap, like one hundred letters will take you like a whole week to write. No, thanks.
All right. So did then did you switch to different type letters from there? And once you kind of got that success and you built a pie that’s going directly to the owners, did you see a lot more success with what, those with those typed up letters or did you kind of switch into more cold calling or did you just stick with written?
I don’t know that. I’d say I probably saw a little bit less success with type two letters. The trick with type letters for one is you still kind of use like a blue print and it kind of like a not like a normal like Calibri or New Times Roman, but like something that looks kind of handwritten. Or I’ve even heard of people like handwrite a letter in blue ink except for the address and whatever else that needs to be interchanged and then scan that and print that and then they can just handwrite it in with a similar pen. So you want to make it look handwritten. But really, even if you did do like new times, remember, the most important piece is at least the signature blue ink or whatever. Maybe you handwrite the email, the phone number, but on the envelope itself, you always, always, always handwrite the name and address of the person because you’re your open rate is like double if you do that. I mean, we all think about how much mail you get that you just throw away without even opening. But if it’s handwritten, I guarantee you almost always open that.
I do at least. But, you know, I’ve done a lot of that. I’ve had some success with that. I’ve also just had a lot of success with, like networking and wholesaler’s. But I mean, I’ve gotten some definite negotiations off. The letters have kind of slowed down on that because a lot of our capital has been kind of tied up lately. So I’ve not been marketing as much as I probably should because I know I could still buy seller finance, but I’ve been kind of pulling the reins back a little bit on my runaway cart when it comes to like over leveraging deal after deal after deal and trying to build up a little bit more reserves for going forward. But I like the direct mail cold calls fun. But I mean, if someone’s to be an asshole to me, I’d rather them have to like, go out of their way to call me to be an asshole as opposed to be just getting a hold of them. And like there’s way more people that are going to be rude to you if you’re cold calling, if you send a letter to throw it out.
That’s fair, that’s fair, yeah, OK, because I’m interested in getting the cold calling soon, too, so I kind of want to pick your brain and see what your thoughts on that.
I tell you, I did that for three years as a recruiter for the Marine Corps. And if you’re good at it and I can give you some small pointers on, like just calls in general when you talk to sales or whatever, like number one, if you’re listening to this, like put a mirror in of your face and smile while you’re doing it, because people can hear whether you’re smiling or not. Like, I know that sounds dumb, but it will come across totally different if you put them in front your face and force yourself to smile than if you’re just like, oh, woe is me, nobody’s answering my phone calls. So these little tips and tricks like that to cold calling, I’m just not a huge I don’t dislike cold calling and it’s very effective. I just like I think I’m just too lazy to cold call is what it boils down to. Like I just kind of like a I don’t want to do a lot of voicemails and like pointless shenanigans or I could just send out one hundred letters and see if anyone gets back to me.
Yeah. I mean, that’s fair. I mean, it’s I’ve, I’ve kind of realizes I’m doing a lot of these menial tasks with content creation and putting business expenses and all these different things that I can ask someone else do that, you know, I’m kind of realizing what my time is worth of me and what I can do to get the most return on my time.
Because at the end of day, like this is, you know, I love real estate investing and I love talking to people about it and I love buying properties that I’m still active duty. Right. So it’s still my side hustle at the end of the day. So we only have a limited amount of time to work on it. And it’s the same with you. You kind of do it on the weekends or at the end of the day. And so, you know, trying to maximize that time that you have from three to ten is vital. So, no, I definitely agree with trying to maximize your time to get you the most return on that, I think is as super important, whether it whether you’re this year two is in the military or not, or even if you decide to do real estate full time, you know, trying to maximize your twenty four hours a day is I think it’s vital to being successful in that. So you don’t just, you know, doesn’t feel like you’re just spinning your wheels and going from there.
So I go back to the ten unit here. So you move to Hawaii and then you found the unit. Yep. OK, so did you already have your team built out on the ground, like the property manager, your contractors, you already had all that’s set in stone before you start finding these properties, but not set in stone.
But the property manager was solid, the realtor was solid. Everything else I’ve just got to piece together whenever I need it. Like I have a couple of friends that are contractors. They’re usually my first people. I think this is the flip I’m doing right now is probably the first time I’ve not used a contractor that I was friends with to do all my work, which usually works out for me like I get discounts or they’ll have like extra material laying around. They’ll say, well, I can do it with this and not charge you for materials with great. But then as far as like lenders and all that other stuff, like just kind of case by case, I got a couple of people that I like, but I just kind of wait till I have a deal and then call around, shop around. So really for me it’s just the property manager, the realtor, probably the two biggest ones that have helped me out, mainly the property manager. And she’s been a lifesaver for the last three and a half years.
Perfect. Perfect. All right. Yeah. Because I was I was a bit safer for individuals that are trying to invest out of their own backyard, you know, remote investing, whether that’s across the country or, you know, a few hours away.
I think it’s vital to building your team boots on the ground or that’s you’re someone that you’re going to partner with in the area, property manager, a contractor broker, someone that you could be on the ground to go look at properties for you and kind of give you a sense of what’s going on with that property, because the end of the day, we could do all of this work with go into Google Maps and street viewing and looking at all the financials. Right. But, you know, without actually putting eyes on it, a picture that’s may or may not be three or five years old, that could totally make or break that that property. And I had another guy I was talking to about a month ago who was an LP on a deal or was potentially an LP with a few other syndicators.
And he was sounded great, described, sounded great. All the financials look great, but he went to go to the property and it turns out that I think it was like eight different buildings. One of the buildings was completely gutted by fire and that the GPS had told him anything about it. Right.
So it just goes to show you that going there and being in the in the property and seeing what’s going on with the property, it is absolutely vital, whether you’re here in L.P, whether you whether you’re the active investor on that side, or you’re going to be investing with active investors and putting your money into a property. I think putting eyes on a property is vital, especially if you don’t if you haven’t worked with those individuals before and you don’t know what they’re investing strategies like. Right.
So, yeah, I think that’s absolutely key. So what kind of. Transition here a little bit, so you can you continue investing from Hawaii and Missouri, I’m guessing?
Yeah, I mean, open to whatever, but that’s yeah, mainly. Mainly where I hunt.
Ok, so, you know, after that 10 unit or you may include your 10 unit, can you tell us about what’s your best investment property was, what your worst one was and what you learned from both?
Yes, I’d say the 10 was probably my best. The I mean, the duplex has been great and like, no issues and it’s cash flow from like day one. It’s been wonderful, like not a headache at all, but it’s still like three hundred bucks a month and like it’s good, it’s like a hundred percent cash on cash for the last four or five years. But it’s not like big enough for me to say best deals, that 10 unit, as crazy as that thing’s been, because I think it’s been a wild ride. I mean, I’ve had someone took out the roof of the U-Haul and that was like a six month insurance claim. I have most recently, I’ve had someone die in it like Rob there for like three weeks before anyone realized he was dead, had to bring in like industrial hygienist and environmental cleaners. And like, I was like five thousand dollars to pull the carpet out and clean the place. It’s been real, real fun. Yeah. And then we have to store stuff for like 90 days because no one’s claimed like no one.
I don’t know. It’s weird, I guess. See, like nobody was left. It’s kind of sad, but like my property managers got like this guy stuff for like the next 90 days before we auction it off or burn it, I guess I don’t know is if no one claims it like so that once it’s been a wild ride with that property. But I only put ten thousand nine hundred down and I refinanced 18 months later and pulled fourteen thousand out, dropped my payment 200 dollars a month and had sixty two thousand equity. So pretty solid when considering that I’d already regained all my money through passing through cash flow. So that was like well over one hundred percent return, probably like two hundred percent return on what I originally put down on that property. And I’ve got five or six times what I put down as far as equity. So it’s that’s probably been the best experience as far as just no one like, oh hey, look, we made some money on this property and it didn’t kill us, so.
Fair enough. OK, yes. Wow, I didn’t realize that you had all those on really call them issues. I would call them experiences, yeah, their tuition.
So then to answer your question, my worst and I’m trying my flip is really trying to rival. It’s going so bad right now. But I think we finally made progress. I think we finally fixed everything with the city and it’s been a mess. Like just one thing after the next with my little flip I’ll try to do to regain capital from my words, my worst, which I like. I told you before, I can’t go super into details on, but we bought a 40 unit. Me and one other person partnered up on a 40 unit for two point seven nine five mil the release option, and it just didn’t work out. Long story short, the seller. I don’t want to say misrepresented or fraud or like I don’t want to point fingers here because we’re still in litigation. So, I mean, I could very well be just like in my own head and totally wrong. But there were some very black and white things in the contract from the seller that that just were not completed. And they caused tenants to vacate and cash flow to drop and expenses to skyrocket. And it wasn’t manageable. And there was money owed for things that weren’t done in the contract that also wasn’t done. And it was just kind of a I don’t know, one big misunderstanding, I guess.
But anyway, so four months into that deal, we sent a notice and said we’re terminating this contract by the lease. I want my money back because this doesn’t feel like what I paid for at all. And I mean, we may very well get told to pound sand in court because that’s the non-refundable lease, whatever. But there were things in that contract that were supposed to be done that weren’t. So it’s kind of a who knows. So that was my worst. But at the same time, like aside from the money we put down on it, I haven’t lost anything other than like legal fees, which I’ll probably get back once we hopefully win or I will get back if we win. And I’ve learned a ton for what I’ve learned a ton about the legal system for, too. I’ve learned a lot about like not due diligence for the property, but due diligence for the people. Man, it’s incredible. What like. A couple sour apples in a group will do so, will I? One of the things I should have done on that was I should have brought my property manager in from the beginning, but I met their property manager. She seemed wonderful. She put on this great face. I met the maintenance guy. He seemed wonderful. He lived on site like a dream come true.
And she I mean, both me and my partner were like, wow, she sounds amazing when we got off the phone with her and I fired her within the first month because it was just a different story once I was the boss and not because I would like to think I’m not too difficult to work with because I was in Hawaii. Like how hands on micromanager. Can I be from Hawaii if I’m that bad, ignore my email. So it was just like all of a sudden tenants who had been listed as paying rent didn’t even live in the building. But when I walked through the property, there was someone there and they were said they were paying rent. It was just a weird situation. And I think the property manager was adamant she wasn’t solid. So there was just some weird things that went on with that. And the maintenance guy was OK, but then he wouldn’t work if she wasn’t working. So he left. So I ended up bringing my whole team in. My property manager, she hired someone. That guy sucked. So we fired him. She hired a second one. That guy was amazing. So all of that to say I’ll never buy property again without breaking my property manager. And even if my property manager is not going to take over, if she had walked the property with me with that property manager, she would have saved me because she would have been able to tell me afterwards, like, yeah, my property manager is full of crap.
Don’t you know, don’t don’t use that property manager. Oh, OK, cool. You want to work on it. But she was both more affordable and better. She’s a life saver so definitely bring in my team in. And the other thing would just be write everything down, get everything in writing. And I know that sounds super basic, but we had everything I’d like. The contract is thorough. Everything’s in writing, except there were a few negotiations that happened on the phone like two or three. But there were there were some decent size negotiations, which is why they happened on the phone via email or text, because, like, you just don’t want to have those kinds of conversations on the phone or on text message. And what I should have done and what I would tell everyone to do from now on is like the moment get off one of those phone calls while still fresh in everybody’s head. Send an email and say, I need you to reply that you agree to this. Here’s everything we discussed. This is what we agreed to. Please reply and then make sure they reply and get it in there that like this will we agreed to.
He’s acknowledging that he agrees because there’s just a few nothing like world ending, but a few, like he said, she said points that just neither one of us can argue. So if I was wrong, I guess I win. And if he was wrong, I guess he wins. But like, neither one of us can even bring it up because it’s just something that I said for something that he said and it just kind of muddies the water for stuff. So that’s probably the one thing. So there’s probably two things that I would say off my worst deal that should apply to every deal ever is like a really, really, really believe that all the people probably more so than the building because the inspection reports are going to be good. But that doesn’t matter if the people running the building don’t do what they’re supposed to do and then get everything in writing. So if you negotiate with someone on something great, but the hands handshake deal, as much as I would love to think that handshakes are still good, they’re not don’t even. Sorry, I don’t care how great the person is. He’s he’s not great. Handshake deal is not good enough. Do something in writing.
Yeah, that’s actually a really good point, I hadn’t heard the phrase like that I would do doing due diligence on the people as well as a property.
We always talk about, you know, running the numbers on property and analyzing the deal. And a deal is everything. But property management could totally break a property, right? It could totally go from being a total cash cow to just running straight into the ground just.
And they might do it. And you wouldn’t even know because they might just know that they’re doing it on accident and know how to make it look like they’re not. So, like I’m not saying that’s what happened. I think that might be part of it. But like, it’s not hard for the person who is involved to make it look better if they’re your source for the records.
Yeah, I mean, it’s a good point. And I’m not saying that everyone you’re probably a man should see that are running properties that you’re looking at are in criminal in any any way. But, you know, it’s there’s a whole breadth of experience out there. Right. And, you know, and just as property managers in particular area, you could have someone who specializes in 10 units or 20 units and someone who specialized in one hundred units.
Right. If you don’t gauge that right off the bat, they could be wasting their time. If they only deal with one hundred fifty units and you’re giving them a 10 or vice versa, they may be completely underwater and drowning. And when they’ve never dealt with 100 unit before, they only dealt with smaller multifamily. Right. So so on that note, so what type of due diligence do you do from now when you’re I mean, you obviously have a property manager separate. So how did you get her to make sure that she was a great person to work with?
Oh, I have a whole list now of like 20 questions that I have a little PDF on my website that I hand out of my mail. I’ll send it to your link to it, but yeah, but I yeah. So I kind of compiled this list of like I boiled it down to 20 questions, but I compiled every list I could find on the Internet. A property manager, questions to ask when interviewing someone. And I picked the ones that were the best. And I literally took this piece of paper with me and read every one of them off while I was interviewing property managers, which actually saved me from one that I was like the one that I was thinking of using. Had the I mean, they had everything. They had the cute secretary and the free coffee and the like. Do you want a soda and the tour and the all the hardworking people in suits who look really professional in the nice building. And the property manager I went with was like working out of the back room of an apartment complex, that it was just like her and her daughter and they did not have most of the other stuff. And they were so much better, so much better, because I just wondered, like, man, the people who have all this flashy stuff, perhaps it’s because of fees.
So the things that I would say you mean look out mainly look out for is for one, do not ever work with a property manager if the contract says anything other than X percentage of gross collected references, because if it says just gross rent or just if it says X percentage of whatever and it’s not specified in there, that’s of collected rent, there are property managers that will charge you even if the room is vacant. And that sucks because then where’s their motivation to fill your vacancy if they’re getting paid anyway? So absolutely no. But the other thing is like the property manager wants the full month’s full first month’s rent. I know that’s kind of a common thing in some markets, like get Ben sorry, because if I’m going to pay a property manager the first like four months rent for them to find someone to move in, like, I might as well just leave the place vacant for six weeks and do it myself. I guarantee I can find a tenant in a month and not pay that stupid fee and it would be better off and I might as well self manage. So the property manager I found has very, very, very few fees. I tell everyone, take the contract home, no matter how amazing the property manager sounds, take their contract home and read it.
Go through everything, especially like the fees and payments and and how to exit the contract if you want to make sure you can get out of it if something goes bad, but especially all the fees and actually go through. And if you don’t understand a word because it’s legalese, use Google. It’s amazing. It’ll give you the answers to what the word means. You can type in the sentence and it will tell you what it means. But I mean, I’ve been able to work my way through legal contracts just fine by Googling the few words. I didn’t know what they were and whatever and verify the fees because there are hidden fees in a lot of these contracts. And I ended up like that guy was like 10 percent, which is like eight percent, nine percent. It wasn’t bad, but it was like first month’s rent, hidden fee here, hidden fee there, whatever. Somebody was like seven percent, no hidden fees and like the only other stuff I pay is like a little bit of office stuff. It’s like a kid has like three or four dollars a month for property. So it’s pretty affordable. And then that’s kind of a newer thing just because they’re growing.
And then, oh, I pay for the advertising and marketing, but I would be paying for that anyway, so. And that’s cheap. That’s like one hundred bucks maybe every time I turn over. So my turnover costs are really just the actual property turnover and she’s very quick.
Yeah. So I guess that’s kind of there’s like 20 questions in there. Some of them I don’t really touch on. They don’t really matter, but most of them are really good to ask. But no matter what, take that contract home with you and actually read through it. Make sure you know what it says. I know it’s law and it sucks, but so does having a crappy property manager. It’s probably worse fact. I know it is.
Yeah, fair enough. It sounds like you’ve been through the ringer terms of property manager, so. Yeah, well once I get that and be able to get into the show now so everyone can take a look at that, is being prepared to talk to property manager so you don’t get so annoyed by them.
I think it is super important, especially if you’re the only interaction having is over the phone because you’re getting remotely, I think, having a set of questions and, you know, having a control that you can kind of judge how people will react to certain questions. And that can really kind of give you a sense of how they’re going to act when they’re under duress or something situation happens where they have to kind of think on their feet or something along those lines. I think that’s the reporting will definitely put that in the show. Not so well getting we’re getting close to a time on here. So you want to get to the snapshot around.
Sure. All right. Here we go.
All right, David, what is the number one thing you need as a new investor to get started books?
Learn everything you can. Nothing matters without that, like you could be worth ten million dollars if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to screw something up or you can be worth nothing and have no money. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to lend it to the wrong person. So just learn.
Yeah, OK, no, it’s awesome. OK, next question, what’s one nugget of investing knowledge you want to give us?
And one nugget I usually say, like learn networking, take action, right, but I kind of already said learn but like networking and taking action, that’s what it’s all about.
But I’m going to just say watch the expenses. People get so wrapped around wrapped around the wheel on how they can potentially improve rents and increase income and this, that and the other. But I’ll tell you the expenses of what makes or breaks property. So if you can cut two hundred dollars a month in expenses, that’s just as valuable as adding two hundred dollars a month in income.
Except that when your property goes vacant, the expenses stay the same. So it’s actually more valuable.
But that’s good. Good thought with expense, especially when you’re talking commercial properties, you know, you’re lowering your expenses in a way is increasing overall and now your property value is increasing. Right. And maybe being hit directly correlate to cash flow. So, yeah, that’s a really good point.
And the other side of that is, is increasing. Rents are increasing and household expenses to get the same result.
So and then what is your dream to be able to control my time? That’s the long and short of it.
Got like a whole vision board. But that’s basically what it boils down to all your time. Perfect. Yeah. Work on what I want, when I want and where I want.
Ok, so is that do you have a set kind of freedom. No, she want to get all kinds of numbers.
I got a hole. This, this is video. I got a hole like board of like numbers allowed. OK, but so I have it written down right here. It’s five thousand dollars a month through real estate. But then it’s also I mean it’s also measured by podcast downloads and how many days I get to travel internationally. And I wanted to speaking, I want to host a conference. I mean, there’s all kinds of other stuff, but if I can get five thousand one through real estate, then that’s it for me and Missouri.
Even once I hit that, I’ll still invest. But I want to be able to have five thousand a month and then roll the rest into whatever. But realistically, I don’t even need the five thousand dollars a month to do the math. My wife wants to keep working, so if I get out of the military and go back to Missouri, like I’d just be free. She can be sugar momma and I can be a.
I’ll be the trophy dad. So, you know, I mean, I got to work on the trophy part, but, well, you got the mustache down so well on your way now. Yeah, we just got to bring that. I mean, it’s coming back in style. So everybody who rocks one now. You’re welcome.
All right. Well, I’ll forgive you since it’s November, so I won’t hold it against too much. Well, David, appreciate you coming on today. People want to reach out to you. Where can they learn more about your contact? You.
Yeah, from military to millionaire dotcom. Or really, if you type in from military to millionaire, like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, whatever, I’ll pop up or the military millionaire podcast.
Perfect, perfect. And we’ll link that into the show notes as well. Well, David, again, I appreciate you coming on the show and we’ll definitely have to have you back on to hear more about what ends up happening with that 40 unit. Because, you know, it’s legal action is not something that a lot of people really want to talk about or have experience in.
And I think it’s a you know, it’s I think it’s a very important lesson that you can teach from that. So we’ll definitely have to hear what happens from that and have you back on here.
Yeah, hopefully it’ll be finished within the next year. It’s only been a year, so I believe in you.
I’m sure it’ll work itself out in the end. It will. All right. Take care, Matt. Thanks, but I have a go on.