[00:00:00] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Real Estate Syndication Show. Whether you are a seasoned investor or building a new real estate business, this is the show for you. Whitney Sewell talks to top experts in the business. Our goal is to help you master real estate syndication.
And now your host, Whitney Sewell.
[00:00:24] WS: This is your daily Real Estate Syndication Show. I’m your host, Whitney Sewell. Today, our guest is Josh Koth. Thanks for being on the show, Josh.
[00:00:32] JK: Appreciate it, Whitney. Thanks for having me.
[00:00:34] WS: Yeah. Josh and Jack Hoss and on their journey towards financial freedom, using the power of real estate through the House Dudes Podcast is where they’d like for you to follow them. So, House Dudes Podcast, they share their experiences as they acquire rental properties, build net worth, and work towards financial freedom. They are focused on creating wealth through conventional and creative real estate investing while improving financial education, and they have made investing work in a market that most people do not look to invest. Josh explained that even people that live there do not think it’s possible to make it happen and work in this market. I’m looking forward to hearing Josh explain about that and how he and Jack have created a rental business there and made it work when others thought it couldn’t be done.
So, Josh, welcome to the show, and I look forward to hearing about that. Tell the listeners a little more about what you do in real estate, and then I want to talk about this market.
[00:00:34] JK: Yes. Jack and I both came from the corporate IT world, and I happen to be let go one day and was faced with kind of a crossroads of do I continue down the corporate path as I was getting headhunted and recruited by tech recruiters to take another 9-to-5 cubicle position. Do I do that or do I take this leap and start investing in real estate? I had read Rich Dad Poor Dad and a bunch of Robert Kiyosaki material and had really drank the Kool-Aid as far as real estate being my path that I wanted to pursue, and I decided to go for it. I said I can always get a tech job if it all fails.
So, I bought my first property three months later and didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know anything. But I guess I was naïve enough to just forge ahead and enthusiastic enough to just forge ahead. It was kind of, like you mentioned, I live in Fargo, North Dakota. So, it’s not a market that ever shows up on the best rental markets in the country or places to invest, things like that and even speaking with people that had been in real estate for a long time. Our market had kind of peaked, and we don’t really have high peaks and valleys here. It’s kind of slow and steady, but it was a really hot market at the time three and a half years ago. And I just decided what I needed to offer on a property to make money and offered that and ignored pretty much all other factors, and I started getting properties.
And that was kind of a good lesson there, because the gentleman especially that was telling me, “I don’t know how you’re doing this in this market,” he was sort of negotiating against himself and just saying, “Well, I’m not going to bother to offer, because this will never get accepted.” And I was naïve or uneducated enough but enthusiastic enough. I would just submit the offers anyways.
And 1 out of 25 or 30 would get accepted. And once you realize that, then it’s just a matter of, “How quickly can I write the first 25, so I know the next one’s going to get – Be a yes?” If you knew that, 1 of every 30 was going to get accepted. You’d be writing offers like crazy.
So that was what I did, write off the MLS even. I had no concept of approaching people off-market and trying to find off-market deals, which I now know as the source of the deepest discounts. But I just started buying off the MLS and in spite of the market conditions which were tight at the time and start accumulating properties and buy-and-hold being the ultimate goal. So that was kind of what we got going.
[00:04:06] WS: So, tell me though or elaborate a little more on like why everyone else thought that this market wouldn’t work.
[00:04:13] JK: Because things were selling quickly. Things were selling. The days on market were really short. Prices had really peaked. That was their experience for – So a nice property would sell almost instantly. I was, of course, targeting properties that needed work that were more tore up, and those would sometimes sit. But even those would sometimes sell.
But it was just a numbers game. You just have to not talk yourself out of writing the offer, and this is what I found is a lot of investors do the work. They figure, “Here’s what I need to purchase this property.” Then they talk themselves out of actually submitting the offer. They just say, “Well, that will never get accepted.” So, they don’t take that final step of actually writing the offer even though you think there’s no chance.
Crucial step is to just write the offer anyways, and that’s scary at first because you think, “I’m writing all these offers. What happens if they get accepted?” Well, once you realize that most of them are going to get rejected anyways, it kind of takes that fear away, and then you just start submitting. Then if you do get one accepted, then you can, “Okay. Now, let’s figure out what to do from here.” But don’t be too afraid or scared to move forward regardless of that fear.
[00:05:21] WS: I like that. You were talking about offering. If you knew how many offers it’s going to take to get one accepted, well, then how fast can we write offers, right?
[00:05:29] JK: Mm-hmm.
[00:05:30] WS: So, it’s just that process of the numbers game side of it. But I’d like to go back a little bit to that time when you decided to leave your j-o-b. You have what everybody –
[00:05:39] JK: It was made for me.
[00:05:41] WS: Yeah. Okay. It was?
[00:05:43] JK: Yeah. When my old team was laid off. So that was a little bit easier than actually quitting outright. But I was getting recruited for other positions, so I had a decision to make. It was one of those crossroads moments.
[00:05:55] WS: Okay. So, tell me about the first week or two after that, how you moved quickly into real estate to make it happen and support yourself.
[00:06:04] JK: I luckily have always had multiple income streams even while I was working full-time in IT. I had a photography studio. I also play in a band. I did a few other things. So, I wasn’t completely 100% dependent on ‘the man,’ and I definitely don’t ever want to be in that position where I’m dependent on one employer or corporation for my well-being. So I always had that sort of in me. But actually, what it looked like was I said, “Well, I better start acquiring property.”
So, I started just coming to MLS and calling. I mean, I literally went on Zillow. I started looking at properties, sorting by price. I start with the lowest ones and just called whoever agent populated – I didn’t even really have a relationship with an agent or anything. I just literally started calling whatever agent who pre-populated in the Zillow ad and just started going looking at properties and making offers.
[00:07:04] WS: So, were you all at that time using any investor money or your own capital?
[00:07:09] JK: Just my own capital. One thing I did do also was go on the recommendation of another investor and agent in town, was to go talk to a lender and at least set up a relationship where I knew – I didn’t really also realize the power of buying with cash either at the time, so I was just really getting started. But I knew, “Okay. If I –” I think my first property I bought was about $80,000. So, I knew if I could come up with 20% of that, so really 16,000 is really all I needed to get started. So, I just took that on my own reserves.
[00:07:41] WS: But now, you all are raising money for new deals. Is that right?
[00:07:45] JK: Mm-hmm. Yup.
[00:07:46] WS: So, I’d love to hear about that process and like when you first started raising money and how you built the credibility for you and your team.
[00:07:55] JK: Yes. So, I quickly realized that if I had so much money available to me of my own and I purchased a property and that was 20% down. That 16,000. If I bought another property, that was going to be another 10 to 20,000. I was eventually, after a few properties, I was going to be out of money and not able to continue acquiring properties. So that raised a problem of, “How I do this?”
So, what I did realize is, I went and talked to my lender and I said, “If I was to scrape up enough money to buy a property with cash and already owned it, I came to you. Would you be able to put a mortgage on it?” He said, “Oh, yeah. That’s just a cash-out refi. We can do that.”
So, then the light bulb went off that if I was able to purchase of cash, that makes my offer that much more enticing for the seller. So, it’s a double whammy as far as benefits to us as investors. So, you just have one pool of capital, purchase the property, and then go to this lender and do a cash-out refi as quickly as I could. It’s important to have good relationships with local lenders, so you can do these types of things. Hopefully, you want to be talking to people who can actually make the decisions, so you’re able to extract the money.
Also, if you buy it cheap enough, we can do what’s called the unicorn or get infinite returns by extracting all the money used to acquire the property and then just go buy another one with that. So really, then I could buy them almost as fast as I can find them, because we just buy with cash, go to the bank, extract. Put a mortgage on it and extract that money back out and go buy another one.
So, we could you really buy one a month with every pool of capital that we had that was large enough to purchase one property. So then, the next logical step down that was to, “Okay. If we can double that pool of income or of cash, then we can buy two a month.” So that’s when we started and also, as we networked and became more embedded in the local market, we ran across lots of people that had more money than time, a few people. I shouldn’t say lots. But most people have more time than money. That’s to people that are out grinding and driving for dollars [inaudible 00:10:00] and handmade and direct mail and everything like that.
But there is people that earn high incomes that would like to put their money to work and participate passively in real estate. So, we made that an option for people, and there’s all kinds of legal things. We had to get lawyers involved and try to make sure we had all the documents drawn up correctly and that we were doing to properly.
I read a few books. There’s one by Susan Lassiter-Lyons called Getting the Money. I think we read that. I mean, just a lot of research to make sure we were doing everything aboveboard. But ultimately, it’s really just about building the relationships with the people, and that was what really led to the ability to utilize their funds.
[00:10:43] WS: You mentioned that it’s all about building the relationship with those people, and I couldn’t agree more. But tell me what that looked like for you all and how you did that, how you met them and how you continue to build and grow that relationship.
[00:10:56] JK: I remember the first time we ever used anyone’s money was we had opportunity to purchase a property, but our funds were tied up in the moment. And we had just bought a property on terms from a gentleman, and I knew he was pretty well off and I just kind of mentioned to him, “Hey! Would you be able to let us use your money for a while? If so, I’d give you X amount of return.” Because I thought, “Well, we’re going to miss out on this property flat out if I don’t ask him.” He said, “Oh, sure. Why not?” So, we drew up all the papers, and we just had a good relationship, because all the rapport we had built doing this seller-financed deal with him, we built that trust and credibility.
And that was the first time that it worked, and I actually then started to believe that it was possible. And that’s, of course, very important to have the mindset to believe that it is possible. Getting one under your belt made that seem a lot more doable.
So, once we realized it was, then it’s just a question of – It’s almost like dating. You really have to make sure you don’t appear desperate. So, you have to – It’s almost like you’re presenting an opportunity to them. Really, that is the case. I mean, because when you – What you realize when you talk to a lot of investors is money is a lot easier to find than a really deeply discounted deal.
So, once you put that together, you realize that if you’re the one that possesses the deal that’s available at a deep discount and there’s lots of profit to be made, the money will follow because the money is abundant. It doesn’t seem like that when you’re starting out. It seems like deals or houses are everywhere. Deals are everywhere, and money isn’t. But actually, the opposite is true.
[00:12:41] WS: So, tell me how your money raising has changed through this process or initially you had that one guy that you ask him if he’s interested, and he was. That built some confidence. You talk about how those tables have turned or how actually the opposite is true. And so, tell me how that transition was for you all and what the capital raising process is like now.
[00:13:05] JK: So, after we had done it a couple of times, then it’s just a matter of once you realize how abundant money is, then it’s a matter of you can start getting better and better terms, and your confidence level goes up. So, you can – Another important thing is you want to make sure to always have the person that is the potential lender tell you what a good return is for them. It may be lower than you – The highest amount you could possibly pay or willing to pay because everything is negotiable.
So, you might go into the conversation thinking, “Okay. I’m going to have to pay X amount of return.” Well, you never know. I mean, the person’s return, my expectations may be lower than that. So, it’s always it’s kind of like negotiating when you’re buying a property. You want to hear their number first in case it’s better than the one that you were going to say.
So, that’s important, and really it’s just about doing what you said you’re going to do. So whatever terms are in place, they have to be super confident in your abilities to deliver that, and that only comes through building relationships that you know you can trust. So, you have to just really work on the time building that rapport and just talking to them and really asking questions.
Whoever asks the questions is the one guiding the conversation. And the more interested you are in that person, the more likely they’re going to want to work with you, and that goes for purchasing houses and doing deals, working with agents, lenders, everything, contractors, assist universal.
[00:14:40] WS: So how did you approach the question, or maybe you didn’t get it. But if the investor says, “Well. Wait a minute, Josh. In this market?” We were just talking about how poor this market is or nobody wants to invest there. Do investors question that?
[00:14:55] JK: Well, the other thing is you have to establish a track record and prove that you can execute, putting the money to work and doing deals, doing the active part of the real estate investing. So, once we had a couple deals under our belt, that was fairly easy because we could just point to a bunch of properties that we had either flipped or bought as rentals and explain the numbers and give some case studies.
Another major piece of this, and obviously you understand this, you have a podcast, is a great way to build that trust and kind of get a head start on building that rapport is to be out there publicly in some manner. That’s why we have a podcast. That’s why we lead our local real estate investor MeetUps. A lot of that being at the front of the room and having the podcast gives you some of that gravitas and a little bit of a head start on building that credibility. I guess whoever has a microphone in front of them is an expert, right? So that does –
[00:15:51] WS: That’s what I hear.
[00:15:52] JK: It does build up – Go a long way towards building that credibility and then having deals under your belt that you can talk about openly and being transparent with the numbers. That really builds that confidence for your potential lenders.
[00:16:08] WS: Tell me about how long have you been doing the Meetup and tell me how structured.
[00:16:11] JK: Yes. So, we do – Actually, it’s tonight, the first Monday of every month. I don’t know when this airs, but we do on the first Monday of every month. We partnered up with real estate agents. We have a nice space, and it’s a great benefit for them. They get a lot of buyer consoles as agents.
The main thing is we really have an attitude of abundance. We don’t see other investors and agents and things as competition at all, because we have done so many deals with them now that with that networking piece, we realize it’s so crucial. So, we have a meeting. It’s in the evenings, first Monday of every month, and we typically either have a topic that we’ll present on or we’ll bring in some type of expert to speak on a topic.
But even more important than that and almost us just kind of talking about a lot of the same things over and over, I don’t feel it’s necessarily that valuable. But I guess it is, because you need to hear these things over and over until they sink in. Consistency and persistence is a huge piece of this.
But even better than that content we provide, the networking piece, we make everyone stand up and talk about what they’re looking for and what they have to offer. And then we encourage people to go around and pollinate and just chat with everyone in network. That has really been a huge benefit for the members of the group and for us as well.
[00:17:32] WS: How did you advertise your Meetup locally?
[00:17:34] JK: We have it set up on meet up. We don’t have a REIA club here. I guess we’re not big enough for a REA chapter, so we just – Actually, it was already in existence and the gentleman that was running it. We had started attending it regularly, and he just kind of asked us one day. He was going to be moving and he said, “Hey! Do you guys want to take this over? You seem like you’re pretty committed to the group?” That was another thing too, is just showing up and being committed. I mean, that kind of raised our hands to the point where he thought we would be the natural people to take it over. So, that was about a little over two years ago, and we do it religiously.
Another thing we did to was it wasn’t really consistent as far as the timing. Just like with podcasts, consistency is the key. So, we had at the same location, same time every month so that we can slowly build that membership. Even in a town of 150,000, 200,000 people for the entire market, we still get 50 or 60 people every month. ,it’s really been a good turnout. It’s been growing steadily.
[00:18:33] WS: Any investors from the Meetup?
[00:18:35] JK: Oh, yeah. Yeah. We’ve wholesaled to people at the meet up. We’ve bought properties from people at the meet up. We found contractors that way. We’ve found private lenders through the meet up. Any combination that you can think of has happened as a direct result of attending and leading the Meetups. So, I can recommend that enough to – If there isn’t one in your market, start one. If there is one, definitely attend it and try to participate actively and openly as much as you can.
[00:19:04] WS: I was going to say, even if there is one, there may be enough room for another one.
[00:19:07] JK: Yeah. Exactly. There’s plenty of markets big enough for a few Meetups I’m sure and just carve out your niche and offer what you can and try not to be competitive. That’s the thing is we really are not competitive. We want everyone to benefit and participate as much as they can and get as much as they can out of networking piece.
[00:19:27] WS: Even competitive within the group.
[00:19:29] JK: Yeah. Well, within the group and even if there is another Meetup. Like if someone else start another Meetup, I would encourage it and I would probably attend it and be a willing student while I was there. I mean, I think you can – How you approach those types of thing, it’s really that scarcity or abundance mentality. If you approach everything with the abundance mentality, you’re always going to benefit a hundred-fold.
[00:19:51] WS: I agree. I agree. I appreciate you sharing that. Tell me how you’ve prepared for a downturn.
[00:19:56] JK: Well, it’s funny in the Midwest here, especially in Fargo. Even back in the big crash and because lending practices are so conservative, here, there really isn’t a crash or even a downturn. It’s almost more of a rather than appreciating 3 or 4% a year, it might flat line or appreciate 1 or 2% a year. So, I don’t know that we’re going to experience that here.
But if we were, my argument would be that the only way that hurts us is if we’re in the middle of a flip and the market nosedives during that time that we’re doing a flip. Because honestly, if you own a rental property or any rental property, typically if people start losing their houses due to the drop in value, I would argue that rental demand is probably going to increase. So, if anything, your rental demand should go up. Unless you’re trying to sell that property at that point, it almost doesn’t matter what it’s worth. If you have financing in place or you own with cash and the value drops some, that shouldn’t affect you too much.
Also, if you’re not overleveraged, you have to make sure you’re leveraged to a point that works for your business and your market conditions. But I think in the upper Midwest, we’re a little insulated.
[00:21:07] WS: So just a few questions, Josh, before we run out of time. What is a way that you have recently improved your business that we can apply to ours?
[00:21:15] JK: We ingest a lot of mindset material. So, I just read out Rhinoceros Success, which is really just to forge ahead no matter what kind of crap comes your way kind of book.
[00:21:29] WS: What’s the name of it?
[00:21:31] JK: Rhinoceros Success. It’s a red book. It’s a real quick read, but basically the moral of it is just forge ahead no matter what happens. And nothing’s going to stop you basically, whether it’s writing offers or enduring hardships in the business. So really working in our mindset is a big piece.
Then other than that, it’s just always – You always have to fill up that gas tank of, “Okay. How am I going to be able to power though the tons of rejection that I’m going to encounter today, because it’s a numbers game?” Everything is a numbers game. So, if you’re getting 1 out of every 30 offers accepted or if you talk and did 200 people before you might get an off-market deal, that means you’re going to get told no 199 times. So, you have to constantly refuel that persistence and consistent tank to be able forge ahead through that stuff.
So, we’re a constant diet of mindset material. Then other than that, just try to fine-tune and tweak. One thing that we’re working on is now that we’ve accumulated a decent size portfolio. Managing that even though we have property management in place still requires I would say passive income. Well, it’s nothing is ever truly passive.
I just got two texts today from a property manager dealing with repair type issues. They have to bubble those up to us if they hit a certain threshold of dollar amount or severity. So, then there’s always decisions to be made. So, trying to balance all that stuff is always – It’s a learning process.
[00:22:55] WS: Sure. So, if you had to pick one thing, what would it be that’s contributed to your success?
[00:23:00] JK: Mindset, I would say. I don’t want to say like it’s courage or bravery or anything, but I would say almost naïveté of just forging ahead regardless of what I thought the consequences were going to be and taking action even if I thought, “Well, this is never going to work.” Write the offer anyways. It’s never going to work, well, have the conversation anyways.
Well, that property will never work as an investment. Well, how could it work? Just flipping that from here’s why it won’t work to how could it work. Just changing that question in my mind is probably the single biggest thing at least that I’ve noticed that I had sort of already built in versus some other new investors who don’t seem to be able to get traction, is they talk themselves out of things or negotiate against themselves and don’t take the action. They stop short.
[00:23:53] WS: Mindset is so important. I can’t stress that enough, and I appreciate you elaborating on that, Josh and even recommending the book that you’re reading. I also was reading one recently called Extreme Ownership, and it was written by two Navy SEALs.
[00:24:06] JK: Yes. That Jocko?
[00:24:08] WS: Yes.
[00:24:08] JK: I’ve heard some of his YouTube videos. That guy is pretty amazing. Yeah.
[00:24:12] WS: Yeah. I’ve gotten a little over halfway through, and I couldn’t recommend it enough either. Just about mindset but also just taking the extreme ownership of your position, where you’re at, everything that happens, not doing the blame game. But, yeah, thank for that. Tell us though before we have to go how you like to give back.
[00:24:31] JK: We try to – I mean, really like I look at the meet up and the podcast. There is that. We’re educating the community. We try to do that. We also partner with – Donate our time and money to a few local causes. We don’t really brag about too much, but we just kind of have some auto payments going out, and we donate our time at a bunch of things too. I don’t know if you’re speaking charitably or to the real estate community or –
[00:24:59] WS: Anyway, that you give back. It’s up to you.
[00:25:02] JK: Sure. Yeah. So that’s kind of how we do it, and we really try to – Have you read The Go-Giver? Is that another –
[00:25:07] WS: I have.
[00:25:08] JK: I just read that in the last six months too. So that was a great book as well and a lot of great lessons in there. So now, I just try to approach every interaction with, “Okay. Well, how can I help this person out?” Then you just understand that on the backend that will may or may not benefit you, but that’s one of the best ways to have things work out best for everyone is to go in every interaction, every relationship with how can I help this person out.
[00:25:34] WS: I love that mindset, Josh, I appreciate you stressing that, because it is so important. It definitely is a game changer when you can be more outwardly focused instead of so inwardly focused in how we can help others. So, tell the listeners how they can get in touch with you.
[00:25:49] JK: Just go to housedudespodcast.com. That’s probably the best way. Or just go to housedudes.com as well. That’s our main website in House Dudes Podcast. Look us up on iTunes, all that stuff. We love trying to grow our outreach and just love hear from people all over the country, in different markets. I love chatting with people in different areas of the country and talk about what they’re doing in and just learning. And I look at it as we can learn from every investor out there. I always come away with a tidbit or a trick or a tip or something that we can apply to our business too. So, we try to get it to all of our interactions.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[00:26:24] WS: Don’t go yet. Thank you for listening to today’s episode. I would love it if you would go to iTunes right now and leave a rating and written review. I want to hear your feedback. It makes a big difference in getting the podcast out there. You can also go to the Real Estate Syndication Show on Facebook, so you can connect with me and we can also receive feedback and your questions there that you want me to answer on the show. Subscribe too, so you can get the latest episodes. Lastly, I want to keep you updated. So, head over to lifebridgecapital.com and sign up for the newsletter. If you’re interested in partnering with me, sign up on the contact us page, so you can talk to me directly. Have a blessed day, and I will talk to you tomorrow.
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