“Teamwork makes the dream work but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.”John Maxwell, Author of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
In my last post, I talked about meeting Stuart Grazier, a Naval Aviator who founded the Military Investor Network. After steering me towards a ton of free resources to begin building my level of knowledge (check out our Resources Page for the list), he introduced me to his local contact in the Norfolk area, Mike Foster. The number one person I have to thank for pushing me into my real estate career is Mike. If you don’t know Mike, LOOK HIM UP NOW (he too is on our Resources Page)! He is the host of the popular Active Duty Passive Income podcast, an active investor in the Hampton Roads, Mississippi and Pennsylvania markets and an avid advocate for financial education for military members. As a former Surface Warfare Officer, Mike saw the real-life consequences of terrible financial advice and education that service members received. If you’re in the military, you know that guy that spends all his money on a brand-new car or blows 6 grand at a strip club. It’s even worse for members transitioning out of the military!
Going through TAPS (the course that transitioning military members take to prepare them for a life and career outside the service), Mike saw firsthand the misinformation about the VA loan that members were receiving. The VA loan is an owner-occupied home loan financing option available to every military member that covers up to 100% of the cost of a house. It can even be used for renovations! As he’s telling me this story, I keep thinking in my head “If only those guys knew that they could start building their wealth now, while they were still serving! They could house hack or buy a house at every duty station. They could be set for life! Why isn’t everyone doing this??”
Mike and his wife, Cheyenne, sat down with my wife and me at Freemason Abbey in Norfolk, explained what they were doing at ADPI and how they could help me. If you have not been to Freemason Abbey, they have the best she crab soup and you must get it! It is funny remembering that night, too, because my wife, Peggy had just gotten corrective eye surgery and had on these three-blind-mice glasses (you know, the round sunglasses with the totally black lenses). That’s beside the point though! Mike talked about forming partnerships, establishing LLCs, buying versus flipping homes, single family versus multifamily and a long laundry list of topics that night in Freemason Abbey. The educational resources and mentoring available opened my eyes to the many different forms of investing available: fix and flip, buy and hold, single family homes, apartment buildings, etc. I was hooked!
That leads me to Active Duty Passive Income (ADPI), the military’s main source for real estate investing knowledge and support. Many of you reading this may already be a member of ADPI but if you don’t know them, they are making huge waves across the military and real estate worlds. Check them out here!
Started by Ukrainian immigrant and Marine Corps Pilot, Markian Sich, ADPI’s mission is simple: financial freedom for those who serve. Whether you spend 2 years or 20 years serving, eventually you will get out and need a new form of income. APDI provides the best place for military members and veterans to learn about real estate investing and their benefits by educating, mentoring and empowering active duty military members, veterans and their spouses to reach financial freedom through passive income in real estate investing. They also cover everything from finding private money to fund your deals to the tax benefits of investing. I highly recommend visiting their site.
Why you need a group
This post focuses a lot on ADPI thanks to the amazing mentorship offered to me by Mike Foster. That being said, there are many other groups—both local and global—that provide mentoring and education. My big point here is that real estate investing can be an extremely lonely endeavor, especially getting started, and having the support system of like-minded individuals who have gone or are going through the same struggles is absolutely invaluable. The path you find yourself upon is not a commonly accepted track. There will be haters and there will be naysayers; maybe you’ve already experienced the dismissive nature of close-minded friends and family. My family was not onboard with me breaking into real estate at first and the hardest part was convincing my wife we were not going to go bankrupt buying our first quadplex. Without my close-knit groups of other investors, I probably would have quit this business a long time ago.
Here are a few reasons why you need a group:
- Common objectives. As a part of a real estate investing group, your main aim is to achieve a common objective. For most groups, that is mostly education but some focus exclusively on mentorship, networking, deal flow and support. Like most people, I needed someone to vent to, someone to tell me what I’m doing is right (or wrong). Joining an investment group with people on the same wavelength helped ease my anxiety and pushed me towards achieving my dreams.
- Education. I’ve learned just as much from attending my local REIA (real estate investors association) as I have from the numerous books and podcasts I’ve listened to. Here is a quick list of the topics/presenters I’ve heard: wholesaling, commercial and residential lenders, tax attorneys, Self-Directed IRAs, 1031-exchange attorneys, tax benefits of real estate investing, the closing process, analyzing a deal and many more. We aim to address some of these topics in the future, but there is so much information to cover. The right meetup organizer will bring in knowledgeable speakers that are experts in their field. Even if you’re an introvert like me, trust me when I say it is worth it to put yourself
- Mentorship. Depending on the quality of the group, you will find a wide variety of real estate experience ready to be drawn upon. All you need to do is ask for help. Trust me, there is an individual in your group that has done exactly what you are trying to do. And if there isn’t, you’re in the wrong group. Save yourself a costly, avoidable mistake, take their wisdom and run. Some people only provide paid advice while others will willing give up their time to help an investor in need. At the end of the day, remember that they are running a business as well and to respect their time.
- Networking. I will delve into more detail about the importance of networking in my post but you join a group to meet people. Face-to-face, you can vet people and their businesses. If you are an introvert (like me), networking gives you a chance to work on your people skills. Like they say, your network is your net worth.
- Pooling of resources. Whether your group focuses on buy and hold, flipping homes or apartment buildings, one of those people has a deal or money or contacts or experience; all of which are valid currency in the real estate investing world. As you expand your business, you will eventually run out of your own money and turning towards passive investors or partners with money can make a deal possible where you may not have been able to invest otherwise.
So, whether you join a nationwide REIA or one in your backyard, surround yourself with other aspiring or successful people. You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. Cut out the nagging outliers and be as great as you deserve to be!
Stay tuned for more blogs on networking, my first and second property, my brief stint as a new construction developer and more! Be sure to Follow Us so that you get updates whenever we put out a new post. Please also feel free to contact us or mention in the comments topics that interest you!