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Who Can Do It And Who Can’t with Robert Orfino
Why Do Some Investors Succeed While Others Fail
We would talk about those who can and those who cannot. What do you think the failure rate is for real estate investors?
It’s 90%. If you don’t believe me, ask a CPA that works with real estate investors. That’s where I got a lot of these numbers from. I would ask a CPA, “You’re a CPA. I work with real estate investors. What’s the failure rate?”
I’ll revise my number. We’re probably 95% to 96%. I’m talking about people who actually do it versus people who do it for profit.
Why would you do it not for profit?
I saw a post in the DFW Real Estate Group where this poor gal is going to lose $60,000 on a flip. Their rehab alone was $350,000.Most people teach the dream. Click To Tweet
What was it?
It was a burned out house. It was like 10,000 square feet. They’re blaming the city for a bunch of stuff. “The permits took longer and this took longer.” I almost posted, “Welcome to real estate investing,” but I’m like, “That might be a little cruel.” We’re going to talk about those that are successful and those that are not and what’s the difference between those two groups? The failure rate, despite all this education, all the blogs, all the podcasts and all that stuff that’s out there is incredibly high. The $997 course doesn’t work. It’s the crippling reality in this business. We’re awash of information, but there’s a massive shortage of wisdom.
There are five key attributes of this business. A lot of people go into them not having any. A good 60%, 70% of those failures are coming into it and they don’t have anything. They’re either desperate, got sold on a dream, something along those lines, and they get pushed into that. My five aspects of this business are agent brokers, knowing the actual transaction, being able to sell the property, construction and rehab, finance or getting the money, figuring out cheap sources of money, marketing, then sales. They’re definitely two different things, marketing and sales.
Those are two different animals. What’s fascinating to me is that those elements are no different in commercial, residential. Those elements are also no different if it were any other business. This is a business. A lot of folks have this idea that, “This is just a number on a spreadsheet. I can run this like I buy Apple stock.” That’s not how this works.
It’s a hobby. It’s like, “I want to do built-ins here. Why don’t we take this wall out while we’re at it?” Those are the famous last words, “While we’re at it,” the famous last words in the renovation. Having those five are critical. People get into it if you don’t have any of it. You can train up. You certainly need to. If you don’t have a sales or marketing background, finance background, construction background or are able to buy and sell and understand the transactions of real estate, you’re starting at a big disadvantage.
It’s a real challenge out there. You’re looking for properties. You buy this particular property. You’ve got to operate. You’ve got to rehab it. You’ve got some marketing and sales skills to get it leased. We got to get people in the door, turn around and sell that particular asset. You’ve got short-term financing. You’ve got the long-term financing piece. The number one failure I see out there is the failure to launch. We’ll be at the Redneck Country Club. I’ll be there. I have a pretty good idea based on what I’ve read what Dr. Mark Dotzour is going to say. You’ll be at that event. There’ll be 1,100 people there. “What do you do? I’m a real estate investor.” “What have you closed on?” “I’m still looking. The market is hot. I’m on CNBC every day and they’re telling me, ‘Don’t buy a real estate.’” I’m like, “They’re always going to tell you that.” “I’m on this blog and that blog. I go to these networking events.”
“I was on BiggerPockets.” I’m like, “You got to be careful. Some of that stuff is A, not legal anywhere; B, not legal in this state; and C, the person giving you that advice may not have a clue what they’re doing.” They have 30,000 posts on there, so they’re an authority. I see this all the time. Those are usually where I hear the craziest ideas. Somebody says, “I’m going to get into mixed-use. I want to get into Class A mixed-use where I’m doing warehouse conversions to mixed-use residential on the second, third floor and on the first floo, there’s a yoga studio.” I’m like, “Do you have any clue how much money and expertise that takes? That is such a high level.” “I went to a class. I’m going to do that. I’m looking for a warehouse space right now.” I’m like, “What are you trying to do?” “I’m trying to get $10,000 a month in cashflow. Let’s go buy a couple of Airbnbs. We can do that this afternoon.”
Let me tell you the story of my friend. I don’t want to say his name. It rhymes with Ramez. Ram is a guy who, for four years of networking, would say, “I’d do some foreclosures on apartments. I’m trying to pick up some from foreclosures on apartments.” I’ve known the guy for probably six years. The last time I saw him, it’s the same line. “I run a cashflow game. You can come out and play the cashflow game.” I’m like, “That is a circle of people who aren’t doing anything.”
This is Robert Kiyosaki’s cashflow game. We’ll play the cashflow game. I’ve never played that game before.
I played it once. I won. I was like, “This is stupid.” Here’s the deal. Ramez is out at lunch. Ramez is over here. Ramez is over there. The points in your career, you’re like, “How’s it going?” I’m like, “I’m sucking wind. I had a bad one. I couldn’t sell it. I’m in a bad position.” He’s like, “I’m still looking for apartments for foreclosures. We might get one.” He hasn’t done a deal yet. I’m $70,000 in a hole. I’m like, “Maybe I should be more like him.” I’d come back to him a little bit later in my career. I’m like, “I’m doing great. I got seven units. I got Airbnb going. This is working. How are you doing?” He’s like, “I’m still looking for those foreclosed apartments.” You have to ride that wave. There’s a great little 27-minute video out there by Ray Dalio. He talks about the economy and how it works. There are ebbs and flows. It’s always on an upward project. When it comes down, it feels like it’s crashing but it bounces back a little bit higher.
The next low is higher than the last low. It’s up and down in a linear fashion. That’s the thing.
It’s like a sign wave that keeps coming up and down.
One of my favorite things that you’ll read is like, “Jason, real estate is going to crash because we’re already higher than the last high.” I’m like, “That’s how it works. It’s supposed to be like that.”
During the Reagan recession with that commercial real estate crash, that was higher than the last low too. It always happens that way. Once you understand that and understand that we are riding those waves, I don’t want to talk about your losses, but you stroked a $250,000 check. For a team that had done hundreds of properties, we’re teaching and all this stuff, you took the hit like we took the hit. When we understand that it is an up and down business, right away there’s going to be 85% of the population that’s like, “I’m not doing that.” It’s not that they fail; they choose not to. Some of them are like, “No way. I’m not interested in that.”Let’s have a little PMA, a little positive mental attitude. Click To Tweet
When we used to teach our real estate class at our weekend events, it was not uncommon for a couple of guys. There’d be 40, 50, 60, and sometimes 100 people in the room. There would be three or four guys that would grab me between one of the breaks and they’d say, “I don’t want to do this.” I said, “This was the best couple of $100 you’ve probably spent in your personal education ever.” First of all, most people teach the dream. We’re sitting there teaching like, “This is how it works.” They sit back and go, “I don’t want to do any of that.” It’s like, “This is perfect for you. Don’t do it,” or, “Find parts of real estate that you want to do.” That makes a lot of sense. You have to be honest with people. That’s the hard part for a lot of these educators. Some of these people get into the business and they realize, “If I knew this is what it was, I would not be doing this.”
From that educator standpoint, they hype up the 10% that are successful. They don’t talk about the 90% that fail. This is why I respect him. He’s a friend of mine. I love the dude. Kent Clothier gets on stage, says, “90% of you are not going to use my software. You’re going to buy it. I know that 90% of you will never even going to log on. It’s just another thing you’re buying. The 10% of you are going to be able to do deals and 1% of the 100% of you guys that are doing it are going to be massively successful.” It’s real numbers.
Let’s talk about the can do. Let’s have a little can-do attitude. We’re talking about those five aspects. The people that do very well are typically partners or couples, tight partners, not, “I met him at the Redneck Country Club. We’re going to start doing deals together. He was at the seminar. He was a broke guy from Milwaukee and I’m a broke guy from Houston.” That’s not the partnership you’re looking for. The couples that usually have an advantage are the father and son or the father and daughter, the sisters. Inside that family, two people that have different aspects covered, I always see they are successful. We had a conversation with someone who wanted to move out of Louisiana. The wife is an agent. He’s a contractor. They have connections to private lending. I’m like, “You guys are set up for success.”
They have been successful for several years. I’m sure they have a lot of ups and downs. They had some personal things going on. Those two, they covered the real estate side. They covered the construction side. Those two are probably the best two places to be. The only other good place might be the construction side and the finance side, having a wife or a mother or a sister or a brother or a father who’s a mortgage broker already, an RMO, and a construction person. Most of the successful real estate folks in California are brokers. They never let the listings out of their reach. Mostly, that market is about pocket listings. Those brokers never let it. It comes in and stays internally. I’m going to buy it. I have a good connection with the contractor.
California guys were in town. I was driving around. This was right after Hurricane Harvey. I was explaining to them our operation, how much we spend on marketing and all of that. They were like, “Why are you doing all this marketing? We would just hang out with all the brokers.” I said, “Because nobody makes any money selling $100,000 house in this town.” He goes, “Now I understand.” If you’re a real estate investor in Southern California, you’ve got to get in with the brokers. Say, “We’ll make this $500,000 transaction quick. That’s a $2 million house. It needs $750,000 in rehab. We’ve got to do this enormous rehab.” Those are not yellow letter and postcard campaigns. They’re going right to the brokers. You’ve got to have a good professional relationship with those brokers.
It’s a sophisticated network.
It’s not postcards and yellow letters that are going to get you those deals. I made a correlation to what the median home prices in that market versus nationally. If the median home price in that submarket is two or three times what it is nationally, this is Boston, Miami Dade, Seattle, New York, LA, San Diego, San Francisco, all those markets, the traditional marketing means for real estate investors doing little ad words campaigns and postcards don’t work there. It’s all networking at that point.
Or in the street, getting down in the street, door-knocking and driving for dollars. It’s weird. I always say that Houston is the land where every marketing works here. Out in LA, it’s either high, sophisticated network or you’re knocking on doors every day. The yellow letters aren’t going to work. Cold calling will work to a certain degree, but it’s a lot of timing so again, those five aspects. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about getting into real estate, if you’ve got a marketing background or a sales background, sales background is going to do very well. You’re able to shut off those personal feelings. A good salesperson doesn’t mind being told no and, “Get the heck out.” They turn it off. It bounces right off.
The term for that is called outcome independence. You handle the rejection. “We’re onto the next one.” It’s a numbers game. I get enough noes. I’m going to get a yes. It’s that simple.
That is one of those failures to launch problems. A lot of people was like, “I’m not getting any deals.” It’s like, “How many offers did you make this week?” “I made two. They both got rejected.” It’s like, “You got to need to do 23 more.” You need to make about 100 offers every month and you’ll find a deal. He was like, “Really?” I’m like, “You’re not making enough offers.”
I equate this to dating so much because it’s like, “Did you marry the first two people you dated?” No, that’s crazy. This is the same thing. The first two people you ever met and now you’re best friends? We got to keep going here. We’ve got to find the compatibility here.
If you have two of those five traits covered, those are the people that are set up for success. That doesn’t mean they’re still not going to have trials, tribulations and all problems going through this business. Sales is a big one. Marketing is a big one. You can find money, but it’s not cheap money. That squeezes a lot of people out of the market. In California, if you can’t find two and nine, you’re dead.
If you can’t find two points and 9% money, that’s a no-go there.
If you have a good construction crew, you can get it done in 60 days. You get it on the market. You sold in six months. You’re at two and five. That was your total cost on that. You’re happy. In California, we’re not worried about a 20% margin. We’re trying to make $100,000.We're awash of information, but there's a massive shortage of wisdom. Click To Tweet
That market is so wild whenever we go out there.
It’s the same thing in North Jersey. They’re the same thing. It’s $700,000, $800,000 starter homes.
It’s bad because you take your perceptions with you. I’m looking at a $1 million house here in Houston. I’m like, “That’s a sweet place.” I think a $1 million house in California, I’m like, “I wouldn’t want to flip that.” You go to a $1 million house in California, you’re like, “This is dumpy.” It’s not some big palatial state.
If the house I have up there in Cyprus, that’s worth $3.2 million if it’s in Santa Monica. You’ve been in my house. It’s worth $3.2 million. I got it for under $300,000. I’m doing backflips. I’m like, “Look at me. This is great.” Again, understanding those backgrounds coming from another industry where you already had some marketing experience, some sales experience, some construction experience, that’s going to be critical for you. Those are the people that we see succeed quickest and probably longest. If you don’t have any of those backgrounds, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means you need to realize that you’re not starting at the Boston Marathon. You’re not in the professional start. You’re in the back of the pack. You’re starting way out, West Massachusetts before the pack goes.
This is the same with the guy that says, “I’ll start real estate investing when the market crashes.” It’s already too late.
If you’re going to start, this is probably the best way. This is the way I wish I had done it. This is the way that I always tell people to do it. There’s about 90% of all the education you need is already online and it’s free. It’s all out there. There’s no need for a $50,000, $75,000 coaching program unless you hit a certain wall. If you’re starting, here’s where you start. You’re going to spend 100 hours of self-education. I don’t care what it looks like: YouTube videos, audiobooks, BiggerPockets boards. Read, understand and start absorbing all the information you possibly can. Here’s the problem with our business, in any business, especially in the finance business. We like to use French words and acronyms to confuse people when the math in real estate is simple. We like to use things like ARV, the MAO, LTV, TTI and all these little acronyms that push people away like, “I don’t know what that is.” Don’t be afraid of those things. Spend 100 hours figuring out the math, the acronyms, and what the French words mean.
Once you understand that, you can have a conversation with everyone in the business. There are very few people that you won’t be able to have a real conversation with. There’ll be some high-level folks where you still need to go and take some of that education. For the most part, single-family, one to four units, small apartments, Airbnb, you’ll be able to speak everyone’s language with about 100 hours of self-education. After that, once you have that, that’s when you start going to the meetings. You come to our meetups, come to our events. There’s a ton other REIA clubs out there. I would beg you that in your first six months to never spend more than maybe $500 on any education. We do things for $97. We’re not pitching that stuff. Our classes are $97 and online. Those are good investments. We go deep. Don’t be dropping the $1,000 yet, the $5,000 the $10,000, the $15,000 to $20,000, not in the first six months. In the first six months, you still think you can do everything. The reality is you can’t. You’ve got to start picking a niche and going forward and driving through that niche.
I already said that 90% of everything you’re going to need out there is online and it’s free. In that first six months, don’t be dropping any big checks. Don’t be whipping out the credit card, $100, $500. Maybe $1,000 if you’re ready to go, but not the $25,000 in the first six months. Don’t do that. You’re going to get the six months. You’re going to build your power team. You need one or two people around you to get started.
Let’s explain quickly what the $25,000 is. There are these real estate coaching packages where it’s the $25,000 and you get the coach and the power team.
We have a local coach who’s failing miserably at real estate investing.
That’s an incredible truth. I met a lot of those guys locally. “I’m the coach for a big real estate education company.” They would fly into town. They would do their mentoring and coaching. Inevitably, I would get a phone call or a text message, “I’m in town. I hear you buy all these houses. I’d love to meet. Can we get together and meet?” We’d go to some happy hour somewhere and they would tell me their stories. A lot of them are not successful at real estate. The coach here is interesting. It’s this education package all in a box. It’s a business in a binder. What I always found fascinating are DVDs. I’m like, “Do we even have a DVD player anymore?”
They should give you the DVD player with the package.
“Here’s a DVD player.” You’re like, “What is this?” That should be an indication right there that this stuff is old. If anybody mentions DVDs, get out. “Do you have it on laserdisc? Because I got a laserdisc.” “Do you have it on beta? Because that’s what I got in the condo.” What’s so fascinating is you’ll go to one of these weekend events and they’ll talk about your dreams, what you aspire to, what’s your number, what color is your Lamborghini going to be, and all that nonsense. They sell you the package. I bought these before. What you don’t realize why you’re there is they handed you the same binder as the guy next to you. “Wait a second. I want a green Lamborghini. You want a yellow one. You just handed us both the same business.”
I’m in St. Louis. You’re in California. It’s big problems.About 90% of all the education you need is already online and it's free. Click To Tweet
I realized, “We’re selling the dream. What color is your Lamborghini?” We’re not talking about actually how to do this in St. Louis or California or Texas or Florida. They’re completely different. That was an eye-opener to me. When that finally hit, I was like, “I get it now.”
Let me come back around. Let’s have full disclosure on what we do. We have a funnel too. Here’s what our funnel looks like. We do a six-hour webinar. It’s usually on Saturdays. You can watch the recordings. That’s $97. That is eight different topics. There are little niche topics that all the other gurus don’t teach.
It’s like, “How to borrow money.”
We have very successful people who are watching our webinars for $97 because they’re missing the little nuggets. From there, we have focus groups. These are eight-week classes that are done on Sunday night. They’re done live but you have the recordings. They’re an hour long, sometimes an hour and a half. They go in deep. There is required reading. There is the required math. There are worksheets. There’s a whole bunch of stuff. It’s close to college level, certainly community college level. At the bottom of that, we have a peer-to-peer sharing network. That’s $7,500. We don’t discriminate you. Anyone can come into anything. It’s about real estate. That’s $7,500 for the first year, $5,000 for the second, and $2,500 thereafter. That’s our funnel. That’s what we charge. We’re never going to mention this again. We’re full disclosure that’s what we do. We can have fun with the folks that are selling that $1,500 package. We’ll tell you why you might actually want to buy it.
We’re getting you through that path of a minefield. The minefield is out there and the stuff that money sucks, time sucks that are out there. You have to be careful. We were talking about those gurus. A good friend of mine has said to me, “I pay $100,000 for my coach.” I’m like, “Why would you do that?” He’s like, “Because I made $1 million by taking his coaching.” He knew exactly what he needed and found the right guy. We get drifted along here, REIA club after REIA club. Here’s a guy who’s looking smart. We connect on an emotional level with him. We think he’s going to solve all our problems, even though we don’t even understand what our problems are at this point in our career. That’s a big thing for beginners. We said 90% of this stuff is all out there for free. The stuff is out there. It’s usually the last 10% that you have to pay for. Most of the time, you don’t know the loading order.
The information is out there. In what order is it most important? You can have all the knowledge and all the parts to build a car, but there is an order in which that must occur. It’s the order that’s the most important.
That’s the challenging thing. It’s like, “I know what I’m supposed to be doing. I have $20,000 in the bank. I don’t know how to get started.” Again, because you don’t know the first step, you don’t know step two, three, four, and five. We’re going to help people. We’re going to do a couple of free webinars, get unstuck. For sure, there is a place for coaches. There is a place for folks. We have a coach we pay. We pay $6,000 a year for him. He’s worth every penny. There is a place for it. We’re not saying that there’s not a place for them. You need to know where you’re at before you should be committing those big dollars.
Again, $100 bucks a year, if you got money, $500. It’s not a big deal. Even $1,000 is not a big deal. I would say $1,000 every month is probably not going to be the smartest thing to do because every month is a different rabbit hole you’re buying a ticket for. There is a way to move forward on that stuff. Be smart in that first six months. That is the biggest and most impressionable time that you’re going to start this career is that first six months. Suck up every bit of free information. Get out there and networking. Know that half the people you’re talking to are struggling like you. They don’t sweat desperation. There’s the other half that does sweat desperation. Desperation is the world’s worst cologne. There’s going to be a lot of bad cologne at the Redneck Country Club. Be aware of these people. Understand where they’re coming from, what they’re doing. There are folks out there that’ll legitimately help you and want to do business with you. At the end of the day, we want to close deals. We want to take 3% over here, 4% over here, and 2% over here so that we can all move forward.
A lot of people grab me and they’ll say, “Jason, why do you do the radio show? You got back from shooting four shows up in Dallas.” It’s simple. I’m here for the deals. It’s a simple equation. If I’ve got enough people that say, “I don’t know what to do with this, but I’ve got Mr. Texas Real Estate’s cell phone number.” That’s the whole point of all this stuff I’m doing. It’s where those deals at. There are some other benefits here. We get to help folks out. That’s fun. We get to do events, which I enjoy, and the speaking and teaching. That’s all fun and games. At the end of the day, it’s, “Am I getting the deal volume I want without spending it an ungodly amount of money to go find those deals?” I’d much rather be the repository, the middleman. The deals start coming to me. Maybe I don’t want them, so I sell them to Robert or sell them to Bob or sell them inside our club.
I get an apartment deal. In fact, we’ve got a triplex. A buddy of mine sent me a text. We’re close friends. He says, “I got this deal. I’m getting all these stupid offers from people. I know you guys are close. If you can give me close to this number, let’s do it.” I said, “I’ll have my guys out there tomorrow morning.” He said, “Cool.” That deal will go to no one else. Unless I don’t want to do it, he’s going to have to find somebody else. More than likely, if the number doesn’t work for us, I’ll give them our number. He may take it too. If I don’t buy it, we’re going to send it through our network of people that are in our group. That’s how real estate works. People miss that. A lot of these deals get taken down inside of these little networks.
I don’t think people don’t believe us when we say that our purpose in doing this is to create millionaires, to create real estate people that are successful at buying and holding, flipping, wholesaling, the aspect lending, and to build 200 of these people around us. We want to build a network of 200 successful real estate investors that listened to us, went to our classes, and went to this stuff online. They can say, “Thank you very much.” They lend to us, pass deals to us, a joint venture with us, that’s why we’re doing this for. We’re trying to build out over the next years 200 successful real estate investors. The joke is we can borrow when we fail. The reality is we’re building a network of successful people here that love the Texas real estate market.
If you start to get into those numbers, what that means is we have to work with 20,000 people. This is where the math starts to get interesting. You can listen to gurus and other radio shows and all of that. They’ll say, “We have 11 billion members.” How many of them are actually successful? When you start to back at the numbers, it’s about 1% that make it. When we talk about building a network of 200 like-minded individuals who we’ve helped become successful, we have to touch 20,000 people. They have to be in our little circle, not just in our email list with 200,000 people. It’s got to be in that little nexus. Finding 200 successful real estate investors is not easy. There’ll be a lot of people that are inside. They’re going to take down some of this knowledge. I will tell you at the Redneck Country Club, the most experienced real estate investors are on the back bar outside. There’ll be a small group of us, maybe ten or fifteen. If you stay there long enough, the event will end and Eddie will walk out. We’ll hold court right there on that little patio. There will be twenty people left. That will be some of the most powerful Q&A you will ever get in your life. Sometimes that’s when the real networking starts, at about 9:30, 10:00, when everybody else has gone home because they got to run to the office the next day. The big-time real estate investor shows up. We’re like, “Let’s just hang out guys.”
We pick on that room a little bit because it’s big, but it is a powerful room. The hosts, Eddie and Richard, are powerful guys in this market.
There are many people. You’ve got to find those little networks inside because it’s a lot of people.
We’ll talk about the cost and give people an insight into what are the real numbers are to get started. We know a lot of people that ran out and dropped the $25,000. That was their last $25,000.If you don't have a sales background or understand the transactions of real estate, you're starting at a big disadvantage. Click To Tweet
“This is my last $25,000. I’m going to get into real estate.” I’m like, “You bought a business and you will have no capital.”
A lot of the failures are going to be undercapitalization. I suffered that greatly. That was horrible. You don’t want to do that. We’ll talk about the cost. We’ll go through the three aspects of real estate investing, wholesaling, flipping, buying and holding, what the capital you need to get started and maybe where you can find some of that capital if you don’t have it. We talked about a lot. This isn’t a wet blanket party. You can become massively successful and wealthy here. We want you going into it with eyes wide open and looking forward not at the stars. That’s important for those of you that are getting started or those of you that have started and stopped.
I hear that a lot. “I’m getting back into it.” When they say that, it’s like, “How much money did you lose?” I hear, “I’m getting back into it.” I’m like, “How much money did you lose? I was doing well until that happened.” I get it. That’s part of the ebb and flow. Being an entrepreneur means that you wake up every morning and you feel like you have to vomit, but you keep going forward to get out of bed. You know that at some point during the week, someone is going to come up to you, a complete stranger in your business life and punch you right in the face. “There’s someone on the phone or from an insurance company. What’s going on? Mr. Rufino, we’ve doubled your premiums.” What? Where’s that coming from?
That doesn’t make for a very good Gary Vee quote about entrepreneurism. It’s not for everybody.
It’s 11% of the population and that’s generous. I think 11% of the people out there can succeed at this. There’s 85% of the people in this country who have a worker mentality. There’s nothing wrong with that. They go to work. They find joy in it. Maybe their job doesn’t define their lives. Maybe they have great families. They’ve got great hobbies, got great friends. That’s awesome. Turning on the entrepreneur switch means 24/7, seven days a week and knowing that the first five years are not fun.
It’s not fun. We want to thank everybody for being on the show. We’ve had a lot of interaction on Facebook. I want to thank you for that. We are having an absolute blast with this thing. It’s growing wildly fast.
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