There are a lot of formulas for real estate success. One of which is to start by having a role model, someone who has already paved the way to millions of deals. Dani Beit-Or slightly agrees on this as he prefers to have a negative role model instead. Owner and founder of Simply Do It Real Estate Investments, Dani reveals how he broke the norm in real estate by crafting his success formula that helped secure financial growth for both beginners and experienced investors. A former Israeli special forces soldier, he shares how he applied what he learned from the army to his real estate team now. While Dani believes that the keys to success are education and execution, learn how he achieved it in real estate investments as he discloses the one thing that worked in communicating with investors.
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The Success Formula For Real Estate Investments with Dani Beit-Or
Our guest is Dani Beit-Or. Dani, thanks for being on the show.
Thank you for having me.
I appreciate you being a guest. A little about Dani, he started investing in US real estate at the age of 26 while living in Tel Aviv, Israel. That alone is enough intro. That’s impressive enough. To add to that, he’s helped in guiding investors to purchase and sell over 3,500 residential units and 100 residential flips in multiple states. He’s also an ex-Special Forces. “Education and execution are key for success,” is what he says. Dani, thanks again for having us. Give us a little more about your background and what your focus is.
Thank you for having me. I would say that I started investing in US real estate when I was 26-ish, give or take, which still amazes me. That’s pretty young because usually when I work with investors, I see them as early 30s and not younger than that. At the time, I was just out of the military for three years in the Israeli Special Forces. I finished my engineering degree and I started working for these high-techs. I realized there’s a flaw in the default formula there. That’s what drove me to start investing and not immediately in real estate. I saw that a lot of people around me, mostly the generation before, my parents, their friends, uncles, older cousins, they all followed the same formula of working. Ten, fifteen, twenty years in and the only thing they have to show for all those hard work is a price. The higher personal price is maybe a condo or a house with a mortgage. Something didn’t add up to me. I didn’t know what the answer is, but I knew if this is the default formula that everybody’s following, even my friends and they still do, something didn’t add up with that. I didn’t agree with that.
I didn’t know what to do. I was a young guy at the time, not even 26. I think I was 24, 25, starting to look for what to do, knowing one thing that this is not acceptable to me. I realized that I might not find the formula for a quick buck or how to get rich quick overnight or something like this. I have no idea how to do that. At least I acknowledge to myself that I don’t know. I started looking for avenues that will give me maybe a slower pace or a slower path to wealth over time. That’s slowly after doing a few other things like options and stocks, I found out about US real estate. I remember buying my first single-family home in a tiny town called Phoenix, Arizona. I have to look on the map.Investing needs to come from you. If it's not coming from you, it’s not going to work. Click To Tweet
By the way, back then MapQuest was around, Google Maps were not around. Google was still a startup at the time, as funny as it may sound. I bought my first house outside one of the six Phoenix suburbs in 2002. The sight was unseen. Me, the young guy who has no one around him who does US real estate, was buying a nice house from the builder in Phoenix, Arizona in 2002. That’s how I got started and that was amazing. We know what happened next, but that was a pretty good start without planning.
I was going to ask you if you came and seen it. That’s impressive from that far away that you were investing in real estate here. There are lots of people in the States who will not pull the trigger, not make it happen and jump in even in their own backyard or maybe they are not willing to travel a few hours to drive somewhere, but you did it from Israel. That’s impressive. Look at you now. You at least got started, whether that deal worked out or not a lot. At that young age too, what was it that helped you to see what everybody else is doing is not what you want for yourself? It’s hard to break that. The training that you’ve had as you were raised, whether it’s raised by specific parents or even just the community that you’re in, it’s hard to change the mindset from what everybody else is doing. How did you do that?
What I’ve realized early on is that in life, we were told to grow up to have role models. I taught myself to have what they call a negative role model. This is what I don’t want to be. Let me tell you that this may sound like a really negative or a not so nice thing to say, but I will say that my parents are excellent role models on certain things. I think our parents did well, as much as you can expect from your parents. Work-wise, they were always hardworking. They instilled our ethics and integrity in life. They are hard workers. For sure, my mom is 75 and she’s pissed that they had to retire her. As a judge, they retire you at a certain age even if you wanted or not and she hates it. She hates the fact she has to retire. They’re very good at that.
Money-wise, handling financials, all of that, they were always the type of role model how not to walk the path in life. By the way, I still don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong. The jury’s still out. I managed to collect a few of those role models in my life. Even in business, I have people that I have seen them worked with them and know closely. I always ask myself, “What would this person do in this situation?” When I tell myself the answer to what I think they will do, I go and do the other thing. I go in a different direction, “They would do this, so I’ll go in a different direction.” I call it the negative role model. Those are not necessarily bad people, by any means. They’re just not the way I would like to make decisions in life.
I think that drove me. The fact that I was looking for the solution and looking for an answer non-stop so to speak drove me to go in that direction. To pull the trigger, I remember it very clearly at one point I told myself, “You’ve been looking at US real estate for almost a year now, attending seminars and reading and finding information as much as we can at the time. Are you going to talk about it? Are you going to walk or talk?” That was a conversation with myself and I said, “I’m a walker. I’m not a talker. I’ve got to pull the trigger. Otherwise, it’s all talk.” That’s what drove me because I felt that I’m someone who does and not just talks about things. I know it’s true but at the time you don’t know yourself that well. I was young enough not to know that. Now I’m someone who pulls the trigger.
I can really relate to that as well. You’re talking about the negative role models. I haven’t heard anybody say that term before, but it’s great. You want to find role models who are where you want to be. You can ask lots of people about finances and how to handle them and everybody’s going to give you a different answer. Is that person where you want to be? Are they walking the walk? I appreciate that. When you were talking about your background, you had mentioned working with investors at age 30 and I wanted to clarify that. Do you mean when you were 30 or before you were 30 or you mean your investors were younger than 30?
I moved to the States in 2004 because I got very passionate about real estate and started working for myself buying real estate, but also working with other investors. I moved when I was exactly 30 years old. Over the years of working with investors, I’ve noticed that usually the people that come and start thinking about investing are the younger ones in their early 30s. Once in a while, I get the 24 or the 26 or the below 30, but they are very rare. Also those are not always people who pull the trigger. The fact that they were already thinking about it, that’s impressive. Usually most of the investors I work with help them execute are on the wider range, 30 to 50 years old, somewhere around those lines. I don’t usually see the mid-twenties coming in, thinking about investing. Maybe they do and they don’t get through us. I would assume about over fifteen years and over, interacting with probably close to 12,000, 13,000 investors. Not all of them are our clients but just interacting with them. I don’t see someone very frequently who says, “I’m 26 and I’m ready to do this.”
Tell me about your investor relationships. When you moved here at age 30, what was your investor base? What did it look like as far as were most of the investors that you had at the time from Israel or did you have some US space investors as well? What was your thought process around that at the time?
Mostly it was US-based investors in different parts of the US, mainly from the West Coast but not only. Most of them by far are individuals who work for the corporate world, a lot of Silicon Valley engineers still, but not all. Some are professionals like doctors and lawyers, but some are teachers and policemen and firefighters and all of those things as well. Basically, they all follow the same pattern of, “We have a job, we have a family. We do well. We’re not necessarily wealthy, but we live in a super expensive area such as the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego, Orange County, Seattle and New York, Boston, all of those expensive real estate markets.” You both need relatively a lot of cash to purchase something. Even as the down payment when you buy with the mortgage, but also the rent purchase price for sure is pretty horrible.
They realized they want to invest. They realized they want to go to another state, but that’s where the concern is about investing altogether. There’s a lot of fear, a lot of unknown, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of things that we don’t know. It’s even amplified when you’re thinking about going out of state. There are more systems. The processes are a little bit different and that’s where we come in and say, “We’re going to help you close that gap of knowledge. We’re going to help you close that gap of trust with local people on the ground in different markets.” The profile was a well-to-do busy individual with families and expensive real estate markets around them. It’s either impossible to invest normally or the numbers are just horrible cash-wise.When you make a mistake, it means you took an initiative. Click To Tweet
How did you find those investors or connect with those investors when you were in Israel? How did you make those connections?
Initially, I didn’t do that. It was only when I moved here. For a few years, I’ve worked with someone who was over the industry. Honestly, I always thought of myself as a really lousy salesperson. I don’t know if it’s true necessarily, but that’s where I’m coming from. That’s my mindset. That translates in reality to a couple of things. Number one, I don’t twist anybody’s arm. I don’t convince anybody. Investing needs to come from you. I will do whatever I can to help you make smart decisions. My team will do the same, but I’m not going to convince you to invest. If it’s not coming from you, that’s not going to work. That’s my mindset. The second thing is I could chase people in terms of marketing and sales and all of that, but that’s going to be very hard for me to do because I don’t think I’m going to be good at that. If I turn the tables around, I would position myself as an expert, position myself as a speaker, educator, truly someone who talks and teaches and not someone who’s just doing a sales pitch.
Over the years, I have done well-over 350 live classes in the room and probably a similar number of webinars where I always told myself, “It doesn’t matter how much you charge for the event, from free to a fee.” You’re always going to provide personally. You’re always going to provide value to the person who’s attending. I attended multiple seminars when there was 98% sales pitch and 2% content. Even when it was free, I hated it because they just wasted my time. They just said, “We don’t care about you. We don’t care about the fact that you’re not with your family this evening. We don’t care about anything. We just wasted your time.” For me, it was always disrespectful.
I always promised myself someone may come to my event one way or another and agree or disagree with the strategy, agree or disagree with the experience and that’s okay. That’s a philosophy but nobody should go out of the room and say, “It was a complete waste of my time.” I don’t think anybody did that. I try to do a lot of educational events one way in the Facebook Live webinars, podcasts, different things to bring value. I also try to bring fresh ideas, not wanting conventional wisdom out there. The hope is people say, “This guy is no BS. He knows what he’s talking about. He sounds legit, he sounds with integrity.”
When you are in the Israeli Special Forces, the number one thing is integrity. You can be not an amazing athlete. You can be not the strongest guy, but they will tell you from the beginning if you screw up on something, you’ve got to report it. If you do not report, you’ll be punished. If you don’t report, you’re out. It’s like one of those things. It’s not even debatable. This is a line that’s very clear. If you cross that line, you’re out. We would learn. We got to report and when you report, there’s going to be punishment. It’s not going to be fun. Sometimes the punishment would be running the rest of the night. Sometimes the punishment means you’re on leave, you’ll stay in the base for who knows how long and you’re not going out to see your family and friends. That’s the way it is. It’s ingrained into your DNA.
Do you apply that to your team now?
Absolutely. I had a really nice gal who worked for me awhile back. I remember it. I will tell her, “I have one criticism for you. You don’t make mistakes.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “When you make a mistake, that means you took the initiative. None of the mistakes you’re going to do going to be horrific, but that means you took the initiative.” She would never make mistakes because she would never step up to take the initiative. The guy who works for me, my personal assistant for years, it took me multiple years to get him out of his comfort zone. He makes mistakes and he’s so apologetic and I always said, “It’s okay. It’s a good thing. Now you learned. As a system, we learn.” I tell him, “We don’t do lifesaving, we don’t do operating, we’re not doctors. Mistakes here are acceptable. I expect you to make mistakes because that’s how as an assistant you will learn and we will all grow personally and as a company.”
I like that a lot. You talked about when you make mistakes, that means you took the initiative. You’ve got out of your comfort zone a little bit. You did something you haven’t been doing every day for the last few years that you can do really easily. You took some initiative and you pushed yourself a little bit. I like that a lot. It may mean that you have to run all night as you said. That’s awesome. Over these many years that you’ve been in the industry, I was thinking about the way you communicate with investors now compared to the way you did many years ago. Your business has come through this time of where technology has increased in a way where it makes it so much easier to communicate and get your message out there. How do you communicate with investors now? How have you learned that, “This is the way I want to communicate and this is what works best?”
I was thinking about it. We see that there are so many messaging apps. Even with email, in a way, it’s a messaging app, which makes it more difficult to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks. CRM helps. Email is still the strongest. I tell my investors once they join the program, “I don’t care how you want to communicate with me as long as you’re communicating with me. You want Skype, WhatsApp, text message, Facebook, email, phone. I’m not on Snapchat; I’m not on Telegram. Those are probably the other two. Everything is fine as long as you communicate well.” I will say I’m a little bit old school because I hate those back and forth email communications over three days that are not very productive. It’s wasting time.
When I see that’s happening, I get on the phone and say, “Let’s talk about it for two minutes, three minutes, five minutes, and we’re done,” and then the issue is closed. I think it’s counterproductive to have this discussion over multiple emails. I’m a little bit old school when it comes to that. I could tell you one thing that worked, that I added in recent years, the one thing that I really like when you communicate with a group is actually closed secret Facebook Groups. When I have a small syndication, a few investors, even two investors, I make sure all the communication goes there because it’s easy to let someone else get notification when I tag them. You can search well, you can add photos, add files. The reason I like Facebook and the closed secret group is that nobody can see that. It collects the memory and you can actually look for stuff in the past and have communication or discussion around a certain point or certain aspect very well. It’s worth it. It serves that communication very well especially in the group. Are you familiar with WhatsApp? Do you know WhatsApp?Persevere. When you stand up and continue, all of a sudden you think about another idea that you didn't explore. Click To Tweet
A little bit, yes. There are people who message made through WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is a very reliable chat with photos. Go search something in WhatsApp, good luck with that. It’s annoying. How about the discussion around a certain point? We have a sale of a property and an offer comes in, even on a one on one, that’s a very unfriendly interface. Reliable, quick, yes, but it’s not. For me, a Facebook group serves that and that works very well. I think it’s excellent because you can easily search and review. Something is there. It’s pretty reliable. The photos, everything is there.
I like that. I haven’t thought about doing a closed Facebook group for a deal or a property. You can communicate with everybody at the same time that way. If you want to put your communications out, as an investor, I can ask a question for everybody to see. That’s interesting. What type of CRM do you use?
I use an open source called Vtiger. It serves us very well. The one that I’m thinking of switching to, debating because every time you do that it’s a hassle, it’s Podio. I think you have something on that in one of your podcasts. Podio is found to be a very good alternative, but I haven’t made the switch for the CRM. I’m using Podio for something else. Vtiger is an open source. I don’t have to pay. All my property managers, all the agents that they work with, we were talking about more than 30, 40 people and my staff, my team have access to the CRM. There’s a portal for each one of them. There’s one portal we can all access. That means the cost for the user is low. I think it’s one fee for hosting it on a pay per user.
Dani, what’s the number one thing that’s contributed to your success?
Perseverance. I’ve been hit many times, multiple times. It knocks you down and then you stand up and you continue, and all of a sudden you think about another idea that you didn’t explore. I’m struggling to sell a few properties in Indianapolis and Tampa and all of a sudden, I had an idea. I’ve never sold properties in an auction. Maybe that’s the way I need to go about it. I’d be talking to four, five, six auctioneers exploring it, learning it and actually starting to move forward in that direction. It’s not a new concept but for me, I’ve never done it. Part of it is me being a little bit fed up with the traditional agents, the traditional way to go about it. For example, I was very discouraged by the lack of performance. A property is not selling and it’s another downer, so to speak. I’m like, “Here’s another method I didn’t think about. Let’s explore it and let’s see if we can do it.” It’s always something that comes up to mind to explore and to do.
I like perseverance and determination. I contribute a lot of mine from the military experience. I wonder, do you do that as well?
It’s there subconsciously. In my military service, I remember the times that I was so exhausted and so tired. I practically sleepwalk for maybe hours. You’re drifting in your mind because you’re so exhausted.
If you hadn’t experienced that, you wouldn’t even know that you can do that. I can relate to that as well. That trained your mind. Laying down and staying there is not an option. Dani, what’s a way that you’d like to give back?
One thing is always education. Anywhere you will interact, I will be interacting through education. That’s always been important to me. I share a lot of that information. I have been refined after the crash. I have to refine a lot of the thinking of my strategies. What I decided to do is for the investors who work with us, I want them to benefit from that. I wanted to avoid the mistakes that my investors and I did before. That’s always key. The other thing is, not too often luckily, but every once in a while I’ll get a call from someone who’s in a bind and trouble. When that person comes in, I’m like, “Let’s talk. Let me help you.” I don’t remember any time I charged anyone for that because they were on the ground. If someone is on the ground, you can only do one thing. You give them a hand and help them. You may need it in the future or they will remember it for you, but you don’t want to knock them. You want to help them out. We’ve always done that as well. That doesn’t mean you call me when everybody’s in trouble. People sometimes do and they ask for help and you want to be there, not financially but mentally, an action that they can take in order to get out of the situation during.
Mentoring is a big help. It could just be answering one or two questions and you can help somebody that’s in a bind. Dani, I appreciate your time and being on the show, sharing your expertise and the experience over many years of investing. Tell the audience how they can learn more about you and get in touch with you.
My company name is called Simply Do It. Our website is SimplyDoIt.net. The word simply comes from the word simple. If you’re on Facebook, look us up online. Look me up online. I do every Friday a live session on real estate investing with questions and topic. It could be twenty minutes, it can be 45 minutes, depending on how it evolves. Sometimes it’s core investing, sometimes more of a behind the scenes ideas and mindset. They can email us or though Facebook. Get in touch with us, no problem.
Dani, thank you again. I appreciate your time on being on the show. I appreciate it the audience being with us. I hope you’ll also go to Life Bridge Capital and connect with me. I’d love to get on a call with you and see if I can help you in any way. Also go to our Facebook group, The Real Estate Syndication Show, where we can all learn from experts like Dani and grow our business together. We will talk to you soon.
Thank you very much.
- Dani Beit-Or
- Simply Do It on Facebook
- The Real Estate Syndication Show on Facebook
About Dani Beit-Or
By the age of 26, Dani was already ex-Israeli Special Forces, had an engineering degree, and was working for an Israeli high-tech company. About that time, he realized that working for others was certainly not the way to build wealth, so he made a decision to embark on a journey and to chart his own path to financial freedom.
That was all good and positive but he didn’t quite know how he would do it? The only thing he knew was – that he was going to leave the corporate world within one year!
After attending events and seminars as well as looking into stocks and options, Dani attended a US real estate investing seminar. At first, it looked too good to be true – at least from the eyes of a young person. He then, began to research-in-depth and to learn about real estate investments as much and as quickly as possible. Hungry for the information he studied until he felt he was ready to take action.
In 2002, he pulled the trigger and purchased his first rental property just outside of Phoenix. It was done completely sight unseen. He was residing in Tel Aviv, Israel at the time, yet despite different laws, language, time-zone and culture, he was thrilled that he could put to work what he had learned.
Back then he didn’t have the technology tools we have today, no Google and no way to analyze and review properties, but that didn’t stop Dani from making his first deal.
He moved to Silicon Valley and bought many more properties in multiple solid markets in the US – while living through boom-crash-boom cycles. Dani now lives in Orange County with his wife and son and continues to buy rentals and flip properties in hand-picked metros across the US, all while helping many investors do the same, remotely.
Dani is founder of Simply Do It (http://simplydoit.net/)and he’s convinced the American real estate market system is made to offer ample wealth building opportunities for those who are willing to invest in themselves.