The Not-So-Scary Way to Start Buying Real Estate in 2022

Jan 7, 2023

Maybe you wanted to know how to invest in real estate back in early 2020. You took some time to educate yourself by listening to podcasts and reading books. Then you went and got preapproved, found yourself an agent, and were ready to start hitting the pavement, searching for your first real estate deal . While you were on your hunt for profitable houses, the world started to shut down. Everyone was forced inside, the real estate market locked up, and you thought “maybe I should wait this one out.”

Now, it’s 2022, and the housing market is arguably the most competitive it has been in decades. You missed your shot, right? Now you can never invest in real estate…or so you think. Dave Meyer, On The Market Host and VP of Data and Analytics at BiggerPockets, is here with Henry Washington, Jamil Damji, and Kathy Fettke to argue that you should still be investing in real estate. Even with rising interest rates , high home prices, and fierce competition, our expert panel agrees: there’s no better time to invest than right now.

So, if you’ve been feeling like your passive income dreams are slowly slipping away, we encourage you to not only listen to this episode but take the steps outlined in today’s show. Dave and our panel of expert guests give you everything you need to make a smart, profitable, confident entry into real estate investing. You just need to take the first step.

Dave: Welcome everyone to OnTheMarket. On today’s episode, we are going to go deep into a very important topic, how to get started in real estate investing in 2022. We’re going to cover headlines that address the challenging and confusing economic conditions we’re facing, we’ll talk about strategies and tactics that new investors can employ to get a great deal right now, and we will help one of our audience members walk through their first deal. Welcome everyone back to OnTheMarket today. I have my good friends, Jamil Damji, Henry, Washington, and Kathy Fettke joining me today, and because we are going to be talking about first deals and getting into real estate for the first time a lot in today’s show, before we get started, Henry, can you tell me in 30 seconds what your first deal was?

Henry: My first deal was a rental property. Found it from word to mouth, just because I was telling people I was an investor, even though I had no clue how to actually be one and somebody heard that and said, “I need to sell this house in 30 days. Can you buy it?” And I said, “Yep,” and I had no idea what to do. Literally downloaded a contract off BiggerPocket, signed a contract and figured out a way to buy it. Boom.

Dave: I love it. What about you Kathy?

Kathy: Ooh, 30 seconds. Okay, my dad was distressed, he had invested in an apartment in Marin County and the sponsors sold it and he didn’t know, he was on vacation. So bottom line, he was about to retire and found out he was about to have to pay all these back taxes from the sale of that property he invested in for years. I was like, “Dad, what do you need?” And he goes, “I just need a new property, a replacement property.” So Rich and I, we were just getting married that year, ended up finding a huge house that met the 1031 exchange, and we said, “Dad, we will take care of this for you, all details.” What we didn’t know at the time, but know now is that we ended up inheriting that house and then all the back taxes were gone. So that was how we did it. We turned it into a fourplex and we shared walls. We house hacked and that’s how we did it.

Dave: All right, Jamil, what’s your first deal?

Jamil: Wholesale. I was walking for dollars, tired landlord, had a buyer in my back pocket that I knew would pay a specific amount of money, locked it up, $50,000 less than that, wholesaled it, $47,000 profit after paying the attorneys and title fees. First deal, life changing.

Dave: I love it. Everyone just keep that in mind as you’re listening to this episode, there are a lot of different ways to get into real estate and we’re going to talk about some of the best ways that you can get in, even in this unusual economic climate. Before we do that, we do need to get to our, between the headline segment and I have some really good headlines that I think help paint the picture for the economic climate new investors are finding themselves in right now. So we’re going to play the game. It’s just called quick take, Super simple, I’m going to read a headline, give you some background information and would love just a quick opinion from each of you about what this means for investors new and experienced alike. The first story is that the stock market continues to underperform this year. Over the last couple years we’ve gotten really used to the stock market just going up and up and up. As of now, we are seeing that the Dow Jones is down 6% year to date and that is the best index right now. The SP is down 10% and the NASDAQ, which is very tech heavy, is down 17% year to date, and it doesn’t look like things are getting any better to me, but would love to get your opinion. Kathy, let’s start with you.

Kathy: Well, the people I listen to and I don’t invest a lot in stocks, just a little bit, but the people I listen to say that you want to be in inflationary stocks, so energy, food, things like that. So the stock markets like lots of things, not all stocks are good and not all stocks are bad. There are different companies that are performing well in this environment. What didn’t help last week is that the fed chief, Jerome Powell mentioned at the IMF that they were going to be more aggressive. I think he said, “We’re going to move a little more quickly,” and when Jerome Powell speaks investors listen, and it really affects the stock market, which can be much more volatile.

Dave: All right, Henry, what do you think?

Henry: Yeah man, the stock market is, right, wrong or indifferent, it’s an investment vehicle that people have used for decades and decades to build wealth. So the stock market tends to react negatively to fear, and a lot of things that drive fear are uncertainty, and boy, the last two to three years has been the definition of uncertainty. The things that have happened in our world are things that no one could have predicted and unpredictability drives uncertainty, which drives fear, which you’re seeing the market respond to that fear. But if you look at the stock market as a whole, it’s similar to real estate. We all know if you buy real estate now and you hold it for the next 50 years or call it 10 to 20 years, the trajectory line is going to be increasing over time. So if you’re trying to make money in the short term by buying something that may be low right now, hoping it goes back to its pre pandemic highs, then yeah, that’s a gamble, gut if you’re buying quality companies, who are producing quality products or services that you trust and believe in and you hold them for a long period of time, I think that’s, that’s a way to play it “safe.” So right now it’s going to be a little volatile because the world’s volatile. As things stabilize… hopefully things stabilize in the world, the stock market will fall a suit. So if you’re trying to buy low, sell high in short term right now, probably not the market for you.

Dave: All right. Jamil, wrap us up here.

Jamil: Never been a fan of the stock market and even though, as Henry said, it tends to go up over time, for me, I’m genetically engineered to trade. I love the excitement of being in things and trading. So stocks are very much like gambling for me. I do better in Vegas than I do in the stock market, just saying that. So for me, I’m I’m not putting my money in the stock market, I don’t have my money in the stock market, I never will put my money in the stock market. So, “Pfft,” that’s what I think.

Dave: All right. Well, I do invest in the stock market and just continue to do dollar cost averaging index funds. I don’t do anything fancy, but one thing I do want to point out about what is going on right now, because it is related to real estate, is that we are all seeing bond yields start to rise and I know bond yields are the least sexy, most boring thing in the world, but they control so much of what is going on in the economy. Right now bond yields are pushing up mortgage rates and that will probably put downward pressure on housing prices. It does a very similar thing in the stock market just so people are aware, because it gives investors an alternative to speculative stocks and things. So we saw that over the pandemic, a lot of people didn’t want to invest in bonds because the yields were so low, so they were pouring money into the stock market. Now bonds are starting, gradually, to look more attractive and you could start seeing people pulling money out of the stock market and into the bond market instead because it is a relatively safe investment. So something just to consider for everyone listening to that. For the second story and headline, I want to talk about today and we’re only going to do two today, is about the housing market and what is going on right now. March numbers are starting to come out and just so everyone knows, we get this data like a month in arrears, so we are still talking about March data, but it is very relevant. The numbers came in and we saw 17% year over year price growth, 17% rent growth, but inventory remains at all time lows on a seasonally adjusted basis. So that is really, really interesting and I think the data point that stood out to me the most is that home buyer mortgage payments, so the average amount a new person if you went to buy a house is paying for their mortgage right now, was up 38% over the year before and that is due to, of course, the rising prices, but rapidly rising interest rates. That number sort of boggled my mind Jamil, let’s start with you. What do you think about all this data from the March housing market?

Jamil: It makes sense. I’m seeing it in my business. We have tremendous volume, the appetite has not gone away. The secondary home buyers are still very, very much actively buying. You saw a small… a little blip from retail home buyers, as they paused, they gave pause for a moment as rates started to increase, the secondary home buyers came in, gobbled up everything. The primary home buyers, your school teachers, your nurses, these people were waiting hoping that there might have been an opportunity. Never happened. So they jump back in. Now of course, payments are up. Things are not affordable. We’re not seeing something healthy here, but it’s what I’ve been predicting. I think the secondary home buyer is strong. I think that they are waiting for this opportunity for rates to go up so they can come in and grab more and more inventory off the market and it’s not going to get any better,

Dave: Kathy.

Kathy: Well, we are looking at the results of low interest rates. You have low interest rates for an extended period of time, that allows more people to afford to buy and the natural result is higher home prices. So it’s nothing unexpected. What’s really difficult is those prices are up and now interest rates are going up because they need to to slow it down. So right now might be potentially the most expensive time to buy. That’s not stopping people though. Sales are down slightly this past month, but there are still plenty of buyers out there who can afford. That’s really what it comes down to. We have, actually all of us, a personal friend, I can’t say who, who’s buying a really expensive home in Austin, moving out of a high priced area. So you’ve still got movement happening, people who have made a tremendous amount of money over the past year, people who did pick the right stocks and the right real estate and the right profession , have done really well and are loaded. The consumer is probably the strongest ever. The FICO scores that we’ve seen have been the highest over 740 or whatever. This is not the subprime crisis at all. So prices are high, but still affordable for some people, but for again, like you said, the daycare workers… This is something I wanted to say last time. I have friends who are daycare workers in Seattle. They’re not experiencing the salary increases that tech people are and they need to take care of these children. Where are they going to live? So there is a separation that’s happening and it’s very concerning for workers who aren’t seeing the kind of wage increases.

Dave: All right, Henry, what do you think about these numbers?

Henry: Yes. This is what we’ve been talking about, right? The key things that you said that I honed in are supply and demand. So we’ve still got low inventory. That’s always going to bring more buyers. Yes, there’s higher interest rates. That just means a subsection of buyers get priced out. No matter what the interest rates are, there’s going to be a subsection of buyers that get priced out, that subsection gets larger the higher the interest rates go, but there’s still plenty of people who want to buy. The other number that caught my eye there was rent growth at 17%. That means rents are higher now too. So people who may have thought, “You know what? I don’t want to buy right now, because I can just rent and save some cash,” and then boom, their rent goes up or they move and they’re paying new market rents at their new place. They start doing the math and reevaluating and going, “Well, maybe I’m okay paying a couple hundred dollars a month more. At least I get to own, even if I’m I’m paying a higher amount than I would be accustomed to paying, at least I get the other benefits of ownership.” So, yeah, man, people are still going to buy. If the demand is there and the supply is not, that’s why I love this business.

Jamil: I wonder if we’re going to have a baby boom, of all these single people that are paying all this expensive rent, getting together and moving in with each other just because they need to be able to afford things and now they’re just having more babies because of inflation.

Henry: Get that tax credit.

Dave: Oh, you think that decreased affordability is going to lead to a population surge in its face? You never know.

Kathy: Because babies aren’t expensive at all.

Dave: Yeah. Very good point. Kathy.

Jamil: It’s just kicking the can down the road, Kathy, that’s how we live.

Kathy: Ah.

Dave: All right. Thank you all for those very quick takes. We are going to get all into how to invest in this confusing economic time, right after this. Okay. Welcome back to OnTheMarket. For our due diligence section today, we are going to be talking about how to make sense of this very challenging market for new investors or maybe it’s not very challenging. We’ll talk about this, but before we get into it and I ask you all your opinions, I’d like to just set the stage for this conversation and tell the story I keep hearing from a lot of people about their experience and where they are getting stuck in investing. Basically the story goes like this. You’re a hard working adult. You’re trying to get ahead. Maybe you have a full-time job, you might have some kids and you want a good life. You’re not asking for too much, you’re looking for a life where you don’t have financial stress and you want freedom over your time and you’re trying to do well. You are making good financial decisions, but we all know it’s pretty tough. Savings accounts are pretty much useless. Wage growth has not been really significant since the 1970s and life is expensive shit. You have medical bills, you have student debt, you have all this stuff going on, and then maybe one day, hopefully, you discover BiggerPockets or another investing resource and you’re like, “Yes, this is it. I need to invest. This is the key to what I want,” and I don’t know if maybe this for you was five years ago, maybe it was during the pandemic. As Henry has talked a lot about, you chose to educate yourself financially, whatever it is. Maybe you got to feel excited about investing And then all of a sudden it’s 2020 And you see now this virus that is shutting down the world economy and you’re disinfecting your mail and you’re trying to make bread and it tastes like shit, and you go to Zoom, birthdays and puzzles, and you’re bored and it’s just awful. There’s like murder hornets going on. Australia catches fire, everything is terrible, but you keep your resolve and you’re trying to commit to investing. You’re like, “Once the pandemic’s over, that’s when I’m going to invest.” But then housing prices take off, they’re at an all time high and it’s super hard to get a deal. Inflation makes everything even more (beep) expensive. The fed announces they’re raising interest rates, everyone’s freaking out. Economists are starting to predict recessions and if all this wasn’t bad enough, some (beep) go and start the first ground war in Europe since the 1940s, causing untold suffering and a huge humanitarian crisis. So it’s a perfect time to invest, right? Is this a story that resonates with you guys? Do you feel like this is the best… is still a good time, despite all of these challenges to invest? Henry, I’m going to open the floor to you.

Henry: Again, yes.

Dave: Should we just end the podcast now? was it just-

Henry: Right.

Dave: … [inaudible 00:16:40]

Henry: Two credits? Look man, yes, all of that craziness and uncertainty and scariness happened and craziness continues to happen, but what we talked about in the last segment is also happening, which is real estate is proving itself to be a phenomenal vehicle, still to build wealth. And yes, it’s scary, but for those of us who were in before all the craziness and I bet if you ask people who’ve gotten in, even after the craziness happened, the good majority of them are in a better financial position today than they were in before they got started because values are increasing, because demand is so high and supply is so low and yes, there’s been a ton of money out there and that’s what’s causing people to go out and buy, buy, buy, because they want to protect that money by putting it into an asset that they feel is going to increase in value over time and history says with real estate, that that’s true. So yes, it has been crazy and it’s going to… who knows what’s going to happen. If I’ve learned one thing it’s that I know nothing about what’s going to happen in the political environment or in the health, health crisis environment. Like, I don’t know, are we going to wear masks again? Who knows. Are we going to get locked up? Who knows. But I know that real estate has proven itself to be a phenomenal investment vehicle, especially for those of us who have educated ourselves and then taken action on the education to buy quality assets as often as they can.

Dave: Totally with you, but the fear is real, right?

Henry: Yes.

Dave: I don’t feel like it’s as obvious as it was, in 2014, it was a lot easier to find a deal and financing that made sense to you. Kathy, do you think the fears legitimate and how do you get over that fear?

Kathy: There are so many things to be afraid of and I could tell you that what’s happening today is nothing new. When I was young and that was a little while ago, we were worried that two guys were going to push a button and blow up the world and we had to learn how to drop and roll. Remember that? Stop, drop, and roll to not get blown up. That’s how I was raised. I bought my first house right before Y2K. Everyone thought the world was going to end. There’s always something. My background, my degree is in broadcasting. I worked in ABC and CNN and Fox before when it was just regular news, and I can tell you that was our business model was to scare you. I hate to say it, but if the headline didn’t draw viewers, then we didn’t have advertisers, so it always came down to scaring you. So just know that and there’s more headlines now. Back then there were five. There were five news stations, that was it and that’s where you could get afraid. But now it’s everywhere. It’s on your phone, it’s on your computer. You just try to search to shop and something comes up. So we’re being bombarded by it. I can tell you when I was terrified and I made Rich change outside before he came in our house and wash everything down, I was probably the most scared person in March of 2020 because I have asthma and I didn’t want to die in aisle of a hospital. So I understand and I remember Rich just took me and he looked to me in the eye, Rich is my husband, and just said, “You’re going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.” And it’s like, “Yeah,” because I am, and just a shift of belief system that you’re going to be okay and stop looking at the news, just stop. Focus on what you want to create and put all your energy there because the world is always in turmoil, it always has been. This is a horrible war that’s happening, but there have been wars, there’s always wars. For some reason, this one we’re more upset about maybe because we’ve been to these places or they look like us or whatever. There’s been wars in Africa, there’s always humanitarian crisis that’s terrible. When you build wealth, you can donate to these organizations and you can help more than if you don’t. So focusing on becoming successful is really important and just let all that stuff go and know that you can make money in any market, in any cycle. The only reason you’re afraid, the only reason, is because you haven’t done it and maybe you haven’t learned enough. So find a mentor or read more books, listen to more podcasts and take the step. This is what I told my daughter when she said, “Mom, I’m too young to buy a house at age 24.” I said, “Who’s your mama? No, you’re not.” So go just the first step, just do the first step, because she was about to go buy a car. I said, “Oh my gosh, the eight hours, you’re going to spend trying to buy a fricking car and now throw your debt to income ratios completely off, just spend that time, spend one hour, one hour, with a mortgage broker. That’s all I ask. After all I’ve given you for 24 years, just do this for me. And she did it. She went and she talked to the mortgage broker. She came back and she’s like, “They said, I qualify for a $300,000 home.” She was two years out of college with making $26,000 a year. This is not a wealthy person. So she was shocked and it was just taking that step learning a little bit more. Then she’s like, “Mom, I don’t know how to get a mortgage.” Well, all of it is terrifying. When my friend bought her first house before I was in real estate, I was like, “Oh, that’s too overwhelming for me,” and it is, it’s a lot, but when you do it, when you go through the process, you learn so much. So it might not be the best deal in the world, the first deal you do, but you will learn so much and it might be the best deal. In the case of my daughter, she found a $250,000 house in Chico, California. It was cheaper and I’m talking California. It was cheaper than what she was paying for rent and then the fires happened, the big Paradise fires. I’m sure you heard about that, was just like the neighboring town. All of a sudden she was getting people desperate for a place to live and she was able to rent her place out. The insurance paid for it all, $3,500 when her mortgage was 1400 a month. She was making $2,000 cashflow at age 24. She’s like, “Okay, mom, I get it now.” She wouldn’t have known that. She wouldn’t have known that if she didn’t just take that first step. So I always tell people just talk to a mortgage broker just to find out what does it take? What’s the process? What do you need to do? Do you need to fix your credit? Okay, they’ll tell you that. That’s the first step.

Henry: Ah, Kathy’s voice telling me it’s going to be okay, the next time I’m stressed out-

Jamil: It makes you feel good.

Henry: … I’m calling you so you can talk me down. I feel great right now.

Kathy: Yay.

Dave: Our next data drop is going to be an audio recording of Kathy just reassuring people that is going to be okay.

Kathy: It’s going to be okay.

Jamil: It’s a guided meditation by Kathy Fettke.

Dave: I would listen to that.

Jamil: You’re going to be okay.

Henry: I’m subscribing right now.

Dave: Now. I do want to move this into practical tips and strategies for investing as a new investor, but Jamil, I would like to hear your perspective on this. From a mindset perspective, how do you advise people that you interact with about getting into today’s market?

Jamil: Well, I appreciate you asking the question because I agree with both of Henry and Kathy, you get what you’re looking for and are you investing in fear or are you investing in opportunity and possibility? And that’s truly what we can always be doing. So shifting perspective, shifting focus will find you a reality that you’re trying to find. So if you are being crippled by the news, if you’re being crippled by negativity, if you’re being crippled by your own subconscious mind telling you that things are going to be harder for you, than you are ingesting the wrong information. I promise you’re ingesting the wrong information. You need to invest your mind and opportunity and possibility. Look, life is hard for people right now who made life hard and I’m sorry, if your situation right now is difficult, you have to look at the choices that got you there. That’s just what is happening in reality. You can focus your attention, you can focus your momentum in a trajectory that’s going to get you across the line. That takes time, that takes dedication, that takes adjusting your energy on a daily basis, but the product of that, if you look three years down the road from you just making that investment into the way that you think, the way that you feel and the way that you operate, and then you see what your life looks like in three years, it’s going to be different.

Dave: This is great advice to all of you. Thank you for sharing this because I do think there is reasonable fear and it is hard to get over it, but advice from people like all of you who have done this before and have gotten to a right mindset to pursue your financial goals is super valuable. Let’s switch gears here and talk about nuts and bolts. How do you go about investing right now if you’re new in this economic climate? So Jamil, is that to you wholesaling or how would you advise someone if they had to focus in on one strategy, what would you tell them to do?

Jamil: Well, let’s look at the parameters we’re working with right now. We’re working with rising interest rates, so it’s harder and harder to qualify for a property because the rates are high and you may not have a job right now that’s going to be able to get you that qualified mortgage. So that could be difficult for people in keeping them from taking action. You’re looking at retail inventory out on in the world on the MLS it’s very sparse and not a lot of it pencils out. So it’s like, “Wow, how do I even… I can’t jump into that, it doesn’t pencil. I’m going to have negative cash flow. I’m not going to take action.” So that’s, what’s crippling a lot of people right now because when you’re looking at real estate from a rental perspective, you have to have some money before you can start doing these things in a great way that’s actually going to move the needle in your life. Why wholesaling is such an incredible tool, you invest in education and understanding and learning how to underwrite property. Once you understand what a deal is now you know what to do now you know, “Okay, I’ve got an opportunity here. There’s equity in this opportunity. There’s so much potential here. I can go sell off a piece of that potential for a large amount of money.” Look, guys, anyone listening to this, how much would $10,000 change your life right now versus an extra $200 a month? How much would $40,000 change your life right now versus an extra $500 a month? I’m not saying that an extra $200 or $500 a month isn’t good, but an extra $10,000 or $40,000 is much better. Okay? So understanding wholesaling can get you large chunks of money, which you can then use to invest in buying and building a rental portfolio, but first we need money and you’re going to get money by learning how to wholesale. In fact, Dave, I am so adamant on people understanding and learning how to understand value, I put together this set of rules, they’re the appraisal rules. I went and I spoke to appraisers across the country. I took courses on appraising. I understand how to understand value. It’s the only thing I feel like I’m really good at other than combing my hair in the morning. I am very good at understanding value. I made these appraisal rules and I’m happy to give it away to everybody listening to this podcast. You can find these appraisal rules, you can learn how to underwrite and spot a deal and then when you can spot a deal, bring it to me, bring it to one of my 106 franchises across the country. Let us buy it from you, pay you $10,000 to $40,000 or even more, and then go out and start a better life.

Kathy: Ooh, that’s a deal.

Dave: Yeah. Thank you for offering that. I guess that’s a data drop. We’ll need to get the air horn in the middle of the episode this time. Thank you for sharing that.

Jamil: Of course.

Dave: Before we move on, though, I do want to bring out one other question about wholesaling because to me, and I’ve never wholesaled a deal, to be honest, is it a relatively low risk way for new people who might be afraid and want to sort of dip their toe in a real estate investing to get involved?

Jamil: Absolutely because look, you are trading instruments when you’re wholesaling, you’re trading a contract. You are only selling a right to buy. Now that right to buy doesn’t mean that you have to actually buy this thing right now and I’m not telling you to go out there and unethically tie up people and lie to people and put people in bad situations, but let’s be honest, we’re in an inventory crunch, there’s still 15 million vacant gross houses out there in the United States. Okay? That inventory crunch doesn’t exist in this market of distress, in this world of distress where all of these really crummy houses that retail buyers can’t buy because they’re, unfinanceable, that’s where we trade in wholesale. That’s where the potential lies. So yes, you’re not putting yourself in a risky situation because again, these properties require due diligence, they require time, they require experts to come in, take them and make them vertical and beautify them again and put them back into the retail space. You, my friend, who is listening to this, thinking about getting into wholesale, are providing those people the opportunity to do that. You are adding value to the marketplace, you are serving a purpose. So by learning how to wholesale, by learning how to underwrite, you are taking a first step into real estate investing without having to buy a house, without having to get a mortgage. Think of that. All you’re doing is understanding how to underwrite and then trading that mind and that contract for a profit. What a beautiful thing.

Dave: All right. Thank you for explaining that. I think it’s a super helpful topic for our listeners to consider if they are not ready to pull the trigger, but let’s talk about pulling the trigger. If you are ready to buy or you want to do this in conjunction with real estate, Kathy, what would your strategy recommendation be for anyone who’s trying to make their first investment right now?

Kathy: I actually outlined this in my book. It’s super clear to know where you’re going. What is it you’re trying to achieve? So know where you’re going, and then you’ve got to know where you are. So if I was to say… let’s say you wanted to be in Phoenix. All of us four are coming from different places, it’s going to be a different way to get there. So the way that you do that is really just sit down and decide, “What am I trying to do? Why would I buy a piece of property? Why would I wholesale? What am I trying to get to?” And is it you’re trying to increase cashflow? Are you trying to invest for the future? Do you have a lot of time? Do you have no time? These are all things that are really important to look at first. So where are you wanting to be and where are you now? The biggest mistake or a very big mistake is people have no idea how much money they make sometimes or how much they’re spending in taxes or how much they’re spending on dinners and whatever. Awareness is the first step. You hear this a lot in motivational seminars and it’s really true, awareness is the first step. Where are you? And to just understand your finances. Do you have a tax problem? Are you paying way too much in taxes? You’re going to solve that differently than somebody who doesn’t have a job and is paying no taxes and needs to make cash flow. So getting those things really clear, what is it you’re trying to achieve and where are you now? And then what is your path going to be? It’s going to be different for everyone. That’s why it’s hard for me to give a straight answer here but if you don’t have any money, then you are going to probably… First of all, you’re going to have to get really educated. Like Jamil said, make sure you are one hell of an underwriter, because if you find the deal and it’s a good deal, you’re going to find the money, that’s not going to be a problem. If you have money and no time, maybe you just need to really understand why are you wanting to buy real estate. Is it for tax benefits? Or maybe you invest in somebody else’s passive income project, maybe a syndication where you get those tax benefits, but you don’t have to do anything, you get the cash flow and tax benefits or you just buy a really already like a brand new rental property that doesn’t need any of your time and energy, but it’s in a growth market and you’ve got great property management in place. So again, it’s going to be different for everybody, but starting out, knowing what you want and then where you are.

Dave: So do you think then that given… I totally agree with everything you’re saying, that’s excellent advice because your strategy is inherently personal, it has to be reflect your own personal goals, but do you believe that any and all real estate strategies are still possible and advisable to first time investors in this type of economic climate?

Kathy: Oh my gosh, yes, of course. Of course, of course. Yes. Yes, but it’s just not going to be the same strategy as maybe last year or the last 10 years, but there’s always, always opportunity. I can’t emphasize that enough. Right now, we’re actually really excited. Like, “Oh, finally, there’s more inventory.” We’ve been in this inventory starve market and it’s not really much better, but it’s a little tiny bit better. So for the first time in years, we’re actually able to get some properties at auction in Tampa. That has not happened for years. So for the first time we’re having a property tour and going to look at foreclosed homes. Again, that sounds, that sounds bad. It’s not like we’re hoping people will lose their homes, not at all, but there have been some people that were able to take advantage of the foreclosure moratoriums who were already late on their mortgages before COVID, so it wasn’t really COVID related and they’re just coming through the pipeline. But the auctions were just shut down. So there’s more inventory coming On the market, which means there’s more opportunity coming.

Dave: Great advice. Thank you, Kathy. Henry, what is your strategy tip for new investors in 2022?

Henry: Yes. Look, Kathy’s 100% right, you got to know what you want to do. Look, I tell people, you have to decide you’re going to invest in real estate. Make a decision and truly make that decision in your mind and in your heart because when you decide you’re going to do something, the Universe gets out of your way, and you start to see options for how that can be possible. When you just say, “Hey, I think real estate’s a great hedge. I’d like to try and own a property. We’ll see how it goes.” Your brain doesn’t start working for you. Your brain just starts going through what it normally goes through, the things it already knows and then when you run into a roadblock like inventory shortage or rising interest rates, or you don’t have the down payment money, all these roadblocks that pop up, then you stop. You just say, “Oh, well, it’s too hard. I can’t. I can’t in this market, it’s too hard,” but that may not be true at all. Kathy just said there’s a bunch of different ways you can get into real estate investing and that’s still true even in this market, but you have to make a decision in your mind that, “I will buy an investment property in the next 60, 90, 120, six months,” whatever, pick your timeframe and just write it down five times a day, “I will buy an investment property,” because what you do when you do that is you open up your mind to the possibilities of how you can get in the game. Too many people want to know the how before they take any action and that’s not the way things work. Like you can’t have every step lined out for you. And it just says, “Okay.” You open Zillow, and then you search and then you find a house and then you go, “That’s the one,” and then you call the bank and they’re like, “Here’s all the money,” and then you buy a property and then you get a tenant and then it cash flows. Yay. Real estate. That’s not how it works, y’all. You have to decide, you’re going to invest in real estate and when you do that, it’s like the red truck theory. It’s like you want to buy this pretty red truck and you go out and you buy it because nobody has this truck and you’re going to be super cool guy with the cool red truck and then every other truck you see after you buy that truck is a red truck. There’s no more red trucks today than there was yesterday, it’s just that your brain is open to the idea that they exist. So if you tell yourself and you make a decision that you’re going to invest, you will start to hear things in conversation, you’ll start to hear things in podcasts, you’ll start to hear some of the great wisdom that Kathy and Jamil and Dave are dropping right now and be like, “Oh, that’s it. That’s how I can do this.” This information was out there before. Your brain just wasn’t open to receiving it and putting it into action. So the step one is the decision you have to make and you got to make it in your mind and in your heart and know that no matter what comes up, “I’m going to figure out how to get this done.” That’s step one. Step two is just evaluate your situation. Evaluate where you are. Kathy touched on this. Evaluate where you are and what you want. I can tell you something. A lot of you want to buy a rental property and you don’t realize you’re living in it. Tons of you live in a property that would be a phenomenal rental. Three bed, two bath, 1500 square foot, first house. That’s an amazing house. It’s amazing that you bought that house, but it might be a fantastic rental. Maybe it’s a fantastic Airbnb. You have to know the market that you’re in. So you could potentially move out of that property, rent it out and then use a program like an FHA program to buy a duplex. You know you can buy up to four units with an FHA loan and you can live in one of those units and you can rent the other units or you can live in one of those units and you can Airbnb the other units or you can live in one of those units and you can rent out the rooms in your side and the other side, I’m not saying this house hacking strategy works for everybody in any situation. What I am saying is it can probably work for a lot of people, but it’s going to require you to get a little uncomfortable, but wealth is built in uncomfortable zones. If wealth was comfortable, everybody would be wealthy. It’s going to take you getting a little uncomfortable. I’ve heard people say, “Hey, I want to buy rental property. How do I get in the game?” And I say, “You should house hack.” “Well, I don’t want to share walls.” Well, that’s a silly thing to stop you from building wealth. Or they say, “Well, my wife won’t want to share walls.” Still, it’s a silly thing to stop you from building wealth. Does the strategy work for everybody? No it doesn’t, but think about this. If you live in a house that you can currently rent out and then you go buy a duplex, let’s just call it a duplex and you live in one side and you rent the other side and the other side covers your mortgage. So let’s say right now you’re paying $1,000 a month, I know that’s probably low for your mortgage. $1,000 a month, if you live there for 12 months. Let’s say you just keep paying that, but you pay it to yourself. After 12 months, you’ve got $12,000 saved up. After two years, you’ve got $24,000 saved up. Then you can go take that $24,000, you can buy whatever dream house you’re looking to buy. You’ve got $24,000 to use as a down payment. You move into that and then you rent out the unit that you’re living in and the rent from the unit you’re living in, pays for half your mortgage at your new dream house. You can get to your goals faster if you just look at the situation you have and see how you can leverage it to reach your goals. Yes, it might be a little uncomfortable, but ask yourself, “Am I living in my first rental or can I just go buy a duplex and live in my rental and then have two doors?” I don’t know, man. I think it’s a phenomenal way to get… I did it. And it’s how I live in the dream house that I have right now and it changed my life forever. This market is crazy and it’s going to continue to be crazy for a little while. So just look at the situation that you have and the tools that you have at your disposal and be a little creative with how you try to find that first deal. Is it a wholesale? Maybe. Is it a house hack? Maybe. You’re going to have to get creative and you’re probably going to have to get a little uncomfortable and you need to be okay with that.

Dave: That was very well said, Henry. I’m inspired to go start house hacking again, even though I’ve done that a few times at this point, but I’m glad that you brought that up because I think that when when people ask me what’s the easiest way to get into real estate investing? I say the same thing. I always say house hacking because there are just so many advantages. So I agree with Jamil that wholesaling is really good, especially if you don’t have money saved up, it’s a great learning experience, but if you want to actually buy the house, house hacking, super great opportunity. As Henry said, you can take advantage of an FHA loan and put as little as 3% down and in a rising interest rate environment, you get owner occupied financing, and I think that is super important because over the last couple of years, the spread between an owner occupied loan and an investor loan was not that much. I don’t know exactly what it was, but it was not as great as it already is now. Now we’re seeing it it’s at least a point, so that means as an owner occupant your deals, like you can underwrite a deal better than someone who is not owner occupying something. So that is an advantage that you can have over other people in the marketplace. The other thing is, as someone who has done this and was an awful landlord when I was house hacking, is that it is an amazing learning experience. You will learn more about property management by house hacking than you will by buying out of state and buying down the road for years. You will learn so much living in a property that it will set you up for long term success in real estate, in my opinion. So I’m with you Henry. I know it’s a little uncomfortable, but again, as someone who’s done this, it’s really not that uncomfortable.

Henry: It’s not that it’s uncomfortable.

Dave: It’s’ really not. What’s so bad about sharing walls? Like I’ve lived in apartments. I live in an apartment right now, I share walls with people right now, it’s really not that bad, it’s a pretty normal thing to do. So if you could do that and build wealth at the same time, I’m all for it. So you guys all have given really excellent input and advice on first things you could do. We’ve talked about house hacking, skills like learning to underwrite and Jamil, very generously is giving away that underwriting document. We’ve talked about assessing your situation. Kathy talked about just talking to a mortgage lender. What a great piece of advice. Just go figure out what you qualify, stop thinking about like what if, you could find out for sure what you qualify for. Before we go, are there any other practical tips, individual pieces of advice that people could do right now today to get them that next step forward towards their first deal?

Henry: 100%. I think you just hit it, is too many times we let what we think is going to happen stop us from the action that we want to take. I’ve heard people say all the time, “I want to buy a rental property, but my debt to income isn’t good, so I can’t qualify right now.” “Oh, okay, well which mortgage lender told you that?” “I haven’t talked to one yet.” “Oh, okay.” Or, “I can’t buy a house right now because I can’t house hack. I can’t qualify for a duplex. They cost way more than a single family home. There’s just no way I can afford that.” “Oh, okay. The bank told you that?” “Well, no. I just know they’re more expensive.” “Well, yeah if they’re occupied with tenants that they can use the rents that that place is making to qualify you for more because that’s income for you.” “Oh, I had no idea.” I think a lot of the times we have to stop convincing ourselves that we can’t do something before we just go get the answers for ourselves. So take the step. The practical step is go talk to a bank, go talk to a real estate agent, go talk to the professionals in your field and tell them your goals, “I want to buy a rental property in the next six months. What is it that I need to do in order to get that done?” and let them give you the practical advice and let them tell you exactly what you can and can’t do and stop telling yourself what you can’t do based on what somebody on the internet said or one of your friends said that tried to buy a house a few months ago and got beat out. Just go figure it out for yourself. You’ll be surprised at what you can probably accomplish if you stopped saying no to yourself.

Dave: I am feeling so inspired. I am ready to go do my first deal all over again. I wish I could go back a time and go house hack. Kathy or Jamil, either of you have any last thoughts or advice for first time investors?

Jamil: Absolutely. So a motto of mine is squat up. Squat up, go find a community, find people that are doing it. Just like Henry just said, there are people living what you are trying to live and they’re nice. Guess what? Most successful people got there because they’re not dicks. Truly. You can go and get advice from people, you can be friendly with people, you can tell people, “I’m new, I’m wanting to learn,” and you’d be surprised at just how many people are willing to offer mentorship or offer stewardship and just be a part of your life, a part of your journey, because they’re just genuinely good people and they want to see others succeed. Community, squatting up, getting with other people that are doing what you’re trying to accomplish. You cannot be not be left behind if you are forcing yourself into the pack, that’s just what it is. Go do it, go do that thing.

Kathy: Yeah. Absolutely. If you are being negative, being a downer, seeing all the reasons you can’t, this is the only way I can say it, you haven’t arrived yet. You have not adopted an abundance mindset. And when you’re around investors all they’re doing is talking about opportunity. And I’ve been doing this for 25 years and there’s been a lot that’s happened in 25 years, a lot of negative stuff out there, and yet it was 25 years ago that I learned this, that successful people have a different mindset, they see things differently. So if you are seeing all the reasons you can’t, you haven’t arrived yet. That’s all I can say, there’s work for you to do in changing your brain and changing your mindset to seeing what’s available. And the way you do that is through learning and by doing it and by hanging around people who are where you want to be, because that’s when you go, “Oh my gosh, they actually do think differently.” It’s true. So go get it. Go shift it.

Dave: Amazing advice from all of you and if you’re wondering, “Where could I find all of these people who are interested in real estate investing?” Well, BiggerPockets happens to be a free website where 2.5 million people who are interested in real estate investing are talking about real estate every single day, they are going on forums, there are incredibly experienced people answering forum questions completely for free and we also have an amazing tool. You can go to and find an investor friendly agent in any market that you’re considering. These are easy, practical ways for you to build your network, to build your team, to squat up, as Jamil said, and get you on that path to that first deal. Thank you. Jamil, Henry, Kathy for this advice, I am personally just feeling inspired even though my first deal was quite a long time ago. We are going to get into some… one of the members of our audience, of our community, asked a question about their first deal and we are going to help them think through some of the challenges they have for this first deal, right after this break For our crowdSource section today, we are going to be helping a member of the OnTheMarket community. I think this is a milestone for us.

Henry: We have one now?

Dave: … Our first episode we were saying this was the CrowdSource that we imagined, this theoretical crowd that was going be interacting with us and talking to us and it exists now.

Kathy: Woo.

Dave: And for anyone listening to this who wants to interact with us, Instagram is always a good place to do it where we all have individual accounts. You can find those in the show notes or BiggerPockets like we were just talking about. I posted a question on the BiggerPockets forums, asking people about a prospective deal that they were considering doing. And I got this response from Nico Dandini, who lives in Boston, but is looking to do a deal in Kansas City, Missouri. The deal is listed for $72,000, and rent is estimated to be $850 per month. So already in my mind, I’m thinking that beats the 1% rule, that baby’s going to cash, that’s really good. What Nico likes about this deal is the price. He has 14,000 saved up for a rental property, but he lives in a suburb of Boston. It’s a pretty expensive market, so the cheaper out-of-state markets are attractive to him and he thinks it looks like, for the most part, it’s in good condition, but doesn’t have any experience working with a contractor. So his big question and what he wants the help from the three of you about is, “The current price and the price cut by $6,000 on April 8th makes me wonder if there’s something really bad I’m missing. In the Boston area. Houses are going for tens of thousands over asking price without contingencies within a week of being listed. Why did the price get cut? Why has it been on the market for 20 days? What’s wrong with it? What am I missing? Also, if I don’t have enough cash to buy and rehab, I could buy it without a rehab, but given how the price is low and it was recently cut, something tells me I need to rehab something that I can’t pick out from the pictures on Zillow.” All right, Henry, I love your chuckling. Let’s give you the first crack at this one.

Henry: All right. I’ve got some super crazy advice for… It’s Nico Was that his name, Mr. Nico?

Dave: Nico, yes.

Henry: Here’s some super crazy advice. Numbers sound good. Yes, you’re over the 1% rule, that’s awesome and I like your gut reaction to the price cut. You should trust your gut. If you smell like something’s up, there may be something up, that’s good intuition. Here’s what I would do. If this is something you’re seriously considering, which is investing in a market like Kansas City, which is outside of your area, if you’re truly serious about it, line up this property, so contact a real estate agent or whoever you need to in order to line up a showing, line up some other showings of similar properties in that neighborhood, and then some properties in an adjacent neighborhood. And then here’s the kicker. Go there.

Kathy: Whoa. Yes.

Dave: Revolutionary.

Henry: So buy a plane ticket. Because I hear this a lot. People want to invest out of state, they find what looks like a good deal numbers wise and I just interviewed somebody on the other BiggerPocket show who did a first deal out of state, who didn’t go see the property and is paying the price for that. So if you think about the cost of a plane ticket, yes, plane ticket costs are on the rise right now, let’s say it costs you between flight and a hotel, let’s say it cost you $1,000. Let’s say it costs you $2000, let’s go crazy. Let’s say it cost you $2000 and then you go there and you learn this property has so much distress that the pictures did it no justice. Maybe they were old pictures. Maybe you uncovered that the electrical is just terrible or that there’s a huge plumbing issue. Who knows what could be wrong that you can’t see with pictures and you spent $2,000 and now you didn’t buy a property. Man, you wasted $2,000. What did that $2,000 save you in sunken costs in a property that was going to be a money pit? Stop looking at the price of getting on a plane and going to see something as what could potentially be a lost dollars and look at them as how many thousands could that save you if you just go put eyes on it yourself. No one is going to care more about your investment than you and you can build an amazing team of boots on the ground who can help you do all these things virtually and that’s awesome, but you’re still putting your trust in somebody who doesn’t have the skin in the game that you’re going to have to put in the game.

Dave: This is great advice and you might avoid a bad deal, which is as important, if not more important than finding a good deal, but in losing that deal, you might also learn the neighborhood better or find a block that you find really interesting and build a relationship with a local investor. There’s so many other benefits from it even if that one deal doesn’t work out.

Henry: That’s right.

Dave: I just did this myself and I hadn’t done it in years and I just felt really invigorated by it. It was really fun, really informative and I just love this advice, but please finish your thought, Henry, sorry to interrupt.

Henry: It’s also going to be easier to build your core four and build your team when you go get on the ground and go meet these people in person, they’ll take you more seriously than just some guy who called them from out of state and who wants to pour money into their community. Show them that you’re serious. Show them that you not only want to invest, but you care about their community as well and it’s going to help build your team and like I said, this could be a great deal, but go figure it out for yourself because nobody else is going to care like you.

Kathy: Don’t be a sucker from a high priced market who thinks everything that isn’t Boston prices or California prices is a good deal. This is classic. When I started investing, it’s like I had a big D on my forehead of just dummy because, “Oh, you’re from California. Everything looks like a deal for you.” It may not be and to me, the biggest issue I saw with this question is the fact that you don’t know the condition of the property. You can find out the condition of the property without visiting, although I always recommend really knowing your market, knowing the street level. One street is different than another street, it really matters. But even if you didn’t go, you could get three or four inspections or even one inspection from a licensed inspector who can tell you what’s wrong with the property and how much money you’re going to have to put into it. So the fact that you don’t know, of course, that’s like I said, fear comes from not knowing. If you don’t know the condition of the property, do not buy it because that could cost you $40,000, you don’t know until you find out. Is there a foundation issue? That will be expensive. A roof? It’s going to be expensive. So yeah, just find out, maybe save yourself the trip first and just pay the $400 for an inspection report and if it needs a lot of work, don’t get it. Then the second thing is also make sure, I mentioned this before, talk to a property manager because they’re a little bit more honest. They have nothing to gain by you buying a crappy property because then they have to manage a crappy property, nobody wants to do that. So always talk to a property manager or several to make sure that they would verify those rents and that they like that neighborhood. You can look up crime statistics, but again, getting on a plane and going is always a good idea as well, because you can talk to neighbors. You can go to the local Starbucks and say, “What do you think about this neighborhood?” So yeah, just the not knowing is what causes a lot of fear.

Dave: All right, Jamil, take us away.

Jamil: I love both of those answers. I’m going to give you some advice that’s not going to require you having to visit the town quite yet. How I would do it is I would go and invest in… If you’re doing this full time, you should be investing in some kind of a resource or a tool like batch leads that can show you where properties are trading for, for cash value. Like where are investors buying properties in that area for cash? So that’s my first data point I want to look at. The second thing I want to do is if I feel like this actually is a good potential and since you do have the money to purchase this property, you are a legitimate buyer. I would lock that property up with a nice due diligence period. Then, instead of traveling, I would send that deal out with a $5,000 markup on it to other investors in the area and I would see, could I wholesale this property? What are the buyers telling me about this property? Let them go and do the work for you. Let them go be your due diligence. Let them go bring the contractors, let them go do the inspections and tell you why you’re either out to lunch or why you have a good deal. Now, if you have a good deal, you might decide to take the $5,000 wholesale fee and sell the contract to another investor and let them do it and now you made $5,000, or you may decide, “Hey, all the buyers want this property. I’m going to keep it for myself.” That saved you a plane ticket and might have made you $5,000 or got you a property.

Kathy: What is smarty pants?

Dave: This is a perfect way to wrap up the show because we wanted to start the show in a way that showed how there’s different ways to get to your first deal and this is a perfect way to wrap it up, that Nico or anyone else out there listening, there’s so many different ways to get in. You could wholesale, you could go visit, you could buy data. There’s so many different ways that you can approach this. The key is really to take action and hopefully this conversation has been really helpful to all of you listening and helps inspire you to go out there and take action. Henry Jamil, Kathy, this has been so much fun. As always, you have inspired me and I can’t wait to talk to you all again real soon on the next episode of OnTheMarket. We’ll see y’all soon. OnTheMarket is created by Dave Meyer and Kalin Bennett. Produced by Kalin Bennett, edited by Joel Esparza, copywriting by Nate Winetrout. Special thanks to Lisa Schoyer, Eric Nutsen, Danielle Daley and Nathan Winston. The content on the show OnTheMarket are opinions only. All listeners should independently verify data points, opinions, and investment strategies.

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