How to Invest in Commercial Real Estate

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Episode #046- How to GET STARTED in Commercial Real Estate!

by Criterion, Braden Cheek, Brian Duck
January 24th 2022

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." — Lao Tzu

Today our hosts Brian Duck, Braden Cheek & Joel Thompson from The Criterion Fund talk about the best ways to start ... More

and then like you said, just investing in being in the game, it's like sports betting, I don't know if you guys are into sports betting, but that can take, I mean a really crappy game and make it super interesting just because you've got $20 on the line and it's kind of that same thing with commercial real estate. If you've got 5000 in there, you're gonna pay attention to why it's working or not working, you're gonna read the investments reports closer, you're just gonna pay attention to that thing and whatever you focus on expands what is up guys welcome back to how to invest in commercial real estate. We are commercial real estate investment podcast, breaking down commercial real estate investment, the average person. And today we've got an interesting topic based on a phone call that Joel had the other day, Joel take it from here. Yes. So I was on the phone with a young guy just graduated with his masters and we actually had interviewed him. We didn't really have a position for him, but he had recently got a job here in Tulsa, but he was calling me to ask me how to get started in investing in real estate.

And no one's asked me that specific question in in a long time and I remember struggling to answer it and I'll go into a couple of reasons why, but it's what we do, but he, you know, he, he didn't have very much money. He said he had about $15,000 and he hadn't didn't have a lot of experience? And he's like, should I buy a condo, Should I buy a house? And I'm just thinking in my mind, okay, $15,000, what kind of condo can you buy? Is that really what I should recommend him doing? I started buying, you know, cheap houses, but that's a long road. I don't know that that would be my preference of choice if I was going to start it over. And I just found myself struggling a little bit on how to how to direct him. And the reason is it's been 20 years since I started that journey. And when we started the journey, there was no internet to speak of very, very little internet. And so you're showing your age? Yeah, I'm showing my age just back in 2000 and 3, 2000 to 2003. And so back then, I mean, my mentors were like late night infomercial guys telling you to invest in real estate and, you know, the occasional book that you would get uh you would get handed.

And and so my journey at the beginning was very different than someone's journey is going to be today. And so I thought, why don't we do a podcast where we, we kind of talked about advice for beginners that is more relevant to today if we were going to give that advice what we tell them. So that's that's what we're gonna talk about today. Yeah. Well, my first piece of devices don't buy the condo. That's step # one. That was my first thought when Joel first told me about that, it's like you said it's such a long road and I'm sure things that were going around in your mind thinking why I hate to tell this guy some road that's gonna take him 20 years. You know, I'd like for him to get started right away and and get successful right away. So and how do you know? So how do you do that? So I assume you've had some time to think about it now, right? Yeah, I have had some time to think about it actually. I talked through it on the phone with him some and then since then I've been thinking about that and that's why we're gonna do the podcast today about it. Yeah, I think At $15,000 and and you know, Hey where do I start? I think the start is an investment in education in commercial real estate investing. You know, invest that $15,000 into learning more.

Um and getting more experiences in commercial real estate. So you've got a better footing. Yeah, maybe he buys some books with it, maybe attend some conferences with it. Uh it's not gonna take the whole 15,000, but I mean like Joel said in in 2003 or 2004, you couldn't just google how to buy an apartment complex where now you can, you can google that, you can, youtube it and you can pull up hundreds of hours of videos and podcasts and, and people explaining how to do this. I mean it's just, it's, it's not foreign. Um, like it was with the access to information that we have Today, there's an unlimited amount of information. But let's talk about the, so you're listening to the podcast and you say, Well Joel, that's me, I've got $15,000. I thought you wanted me to invest in real estate. If that's your only 15,000, then we don't, we don't want you to invest that because let's say you invest 15,000 in a passive income, you start getting into real estate earning money. Well now you're making 15 $1500 a year. You know, maybe maybe maybe $2000 a year. Yeah. So you're making 100 $100 a month, $125 a month. That's not gonna move the needle for you.

And if you're doing it on your own, let's say you go buy a condo with it. Well now you've risked your nest egg on your first deal without a lot of knowledge. So I think uh, we, we kind of have broken it down into a few different steps, but like, like you said Brandon, The first thing that anybody needs to know before they come to me is that they're not, they're not really ready for a mentor like me today one right? I'm buying $10 million dollar apartment complexes. I'm raising equity. I'm doing that kind of stuff and, and they're just starting the journey. Well, whoever's going to help them start that journey and all the resources they're gonna have, don't the ones that I use, don't, don't exist anymore. Most of the guys that I mentor there, nobody even knows their name. And so I wasn't in a position, I'm not in the game of how to start a real estate career because that's not what I'm doing right now. And so I don't know that I didn't know all the websites to go to. I didn't, I don't know the current, you know, best selling authors that are, that are doing this stuff. Uh, and so for me, it's, it's getting them pointing them back into education and so they can not only get the experience but decide what direction they want to go.

Maybe it is the condo, maybe it's a house flip. Maybe it's raise equity and try to do an apartment complex or maybe it's fine deals for syndicators like us and get and partner their way in. Yeah, they need to learn enough and get enough of a foundation to know which direction they want to go and what interests them and right now we are going to get in some actuals. So yeah, so some, some good books to start with. Um, you know, a solid book. You should start with this rich dad poor dad by robert Kiyosaki personally haven't read it, but Joel has, Joel loves the book, talks about it all the time. I I did read it, it wasn't just the book, but I don't know, looking back if I agree with everything that rich dad says, but he definitely unlocks your mind to what's possible with real estate, passive income flipping, commercial properties, things like that. So that that's a good start. There's another guy I follow, he's got a podcast called raising capital for a commercial real estate, this guy named Hunter Thompson um and he runs a commercial real estate investment firm very similar to ours. They go and solicit investments from limited partners, but he does a really good job of just breaking down some of the technical stuff that we try to do here.

And his is interesting because he's actually not doing the real estate investing, he's finding good good sponsors and he's matching capital with sponsors and getting rich doing it. And so that that could be a beginning step because you're not an expert on, on the deal flip. And so or the investing side, but he's a good marketer and he's connected with sponsors. So yeah, he's really good at, at aggregating um investors, just limited partners to go placing a deal. That's that's his strength for sure. Another really good one I found um that was super helpful. It was a guy named keith Cunningham and he wrote a book called The Road less stupid um and the book is really good but the questions after the book or even better because it's it's a level of thinking and comprehension and evaluation of your own work ethic and goals and day that that really holds you accountable and yeah I read that at the end of the I like those questions at the end of each chapter because he really makes you accountable right, it makes you think about well are you really doing the right things and going in the right direction and and he challenges yourself with these questions that he has at the end of each chapter think and grow rich, another good old book but good book, I'll tell you one while you're looking for that that I read you guys probably don't haven't heard of but it's called the Due diligence Handbook and what I found was each chapter is only two or three pages but one chapter might be how to calculate NPV.

Another one was a checklist on on actually doing due diligence but it it it Had about I don't know it seems like it was 30 or 40 chapters and each one was just real quick on a different sort of commercial real estate um topic really short though and I felt like it gave me a good understanding really quickly of some of the things you need to know just um technically Yeah yeah I mean there's there's gonna be a lot of really dense books with think words where you can dive into on on real estate with you know, a lot more technical background. Um But another really good book to start with would be thinking grow rich. Um just because that, I mean napoleon Hill, the amount of people he was able to aggregate and kind of fulfill his, his vision. It was pretty, it was pretty amazing. That's a good one point on books is that there's gonna be books for days, books for weeks. Um But look, get the book, start reading them. There'll be some that don't catch your attention. But I remember early on there was some of the weirdest books I would find on commercial real estate one.

I remember I got like a garage sale or something just weird and it was an old book from the 19 seventies and it wasn't even that applicable in 2000 and three, but it did take you step by step through formulas, calculating cash flow income and expenses, contracts, purchase and sale agreements and how to understand the terms, it was just basic stuff. And since I didn't know anything, I didn't need the best selling uh commercial real estate book at the time, I just needed information. And so with books, just get your hands on books, go to amazon google the best, you know, best books for beginning real estate and and just just get 10 of them, order 10 of them and, and spend 30 minutes a day reading and you'll be, you'll be way ahead. Another one. I, when I was talking to him, I might, you know, you need to get connected with people that are in your situation. There's, there's thousands, if not millions of people that are right now on the journey of figuring out commercial real estate, there's communities that you can get into. Uh, and so, you know, I, I thought about, well websites and, you know, facebook communities, but bigger pockets is a really good one for beginner investors.

It has tons of blogs and tons of videos, book recommendations, case studies. And that'll get you connect with other real estate investors where they're posting about their experiences. And let me just say a couple of other, uh, websites, you know, if you're looking for, you know, passive investing, uh, you can do like crowd ST uh, fun dries, diversity fund. All of these allow you to invest smaller amounts of money, uh, like, you know, $1000 a pop or $5000 a pop. And so you can get in the game with 1000, let's say on a deal. But then you're going to get access to that information. It'll, it'll get you kind of once you and vast now you're gonna be attuned to learning everything you can about that. A lot of those websites have really good blogs and, and podcast. I know crowd streets got a podcast and blog and they just bring up some really good questions and then like you said, just investing in being in the game. It's like uh sports betting, I don't know if you guys are into sports betting, but that can take, I mean a really crappy game and make it super interesting just because you've got $20 on the line and it's kind of that same thing with commercial real estate.

If you've got 5000 in there, you're gonna pay attention to why it's working or not working. You're gonna read the investments reports closer, you're just gonna pay attention to that thing and whatever you focus on expands. Typically a couple other websites, I'll throw out realty track. That's, that's a great website for like foreclosures, pre foreclosures, things like that. If you're looking to make, you know, sometimes that's how you get your seed money is flipping houses that can give you enough cash to start into the commercial side. Um you know, Zillow is a good resource. It has the most listings. Um Active Rain. Uh well, it's like the facebook for real estate investing. It's a network that people are getting on and posting about. Um another one is Adventures in CRE dot com and so you know, for, for, you need, you need to have a model that you're gonna use to help you track income expenses and your profits and your cash flow and so this website has models like that, They have videos that teach you how to use them. Um you know I used Excel, you know and I was just kind of messing around when I first started.

But now in the last 20 years technology has taken over and people have just written specific models for every different type of real estate investment that you want to do. Whether it's a house office complex, retail development and and so there's sites out there, that's one of them. Yeah that that site of interest in c area and you plug that a little bit longer. Um They've they've got 2030 different models where the guy's got a 30 minute youtube video walking through the model, it's a pay what you can concept. So you go in there, you know tip 5 10 15 $20. They release updates. You know if somebody finds an error which is pretty rare but they're constantly making them better and refining them but solid models and you just download them in Excel and then you get the the open Excel Workbook and it's plug and play. That's that's great. Um So what's another area I was, I was thinking about like maybe education or conferences or things like that. Yeah. Well as far as education, I you know I've looked at a lot of podcasts or at least I've I've googled podcasts because frankly I want to see what other people are doing to help us, right?

Yeah. I think we actually have a pretty good podcast, but I've looked at some other what I did find, I really haven't gone to a certain podcasts. But what I did find is there's hundreds of them on commercial real estate. So if you want to Google commercial real estate podcast and a lot of people don't, frankly don't want to take the time to read a book, right? They they're driving to work for 30 or 45 minutes going to work and 30 or 45 minutes back. They want to listen, they want to crank it up to 1.5 or 1.75 speed. And they wanna frankly that's what I do because I want to learn as fast as I can. I don't want to read a book. I want to listen to people talk at 1.75 there normal speed and learn at that at that pace. And that's a good point. You can do that with audiobooks as well. Yeah. Right. With audiobooks. Right? So there's, there's, there's just hundreds of those. That's easy way depending on where you live, that's literally hours a day of of just mind mind numbing music. I love music, love jamming music in the car, but you're literally in your car hours a day, Some people hours a day that you could just be soaking up information on real estate. Um, and then the other thing you mentioned, oh, you have conferences.

So uh I know we've attended Brandon and I and I know you yeah you have to um attended the the knee up um conferences. That's a nationwide that's National Association of Industrial for Office Industrial and Office Properties. But it really includes all that is really the ones that I've been to. They it just includes everything right, they kind of cover everything. So for commercial real estate a great education is C. C. I. M. A certified commercial investment manager but it's really commercial real estate focused. That'll Take every bit of that $15,000 you can take you can take their courses which which I I recommend. Um But they are expensive but they do give you a lot of a lot of really good information. Not I mean for for the person that hasn't doesn't know anything about real estate and didn't take any math. It could be a little challenging. Um but that's one yeah and if you're a broker and you don't have your C. C. I. N. I mean there's a you can tell a commercial real estate broker that doesn't isn't as comfortable with with commercial real estate investment sales, you know what I mean?

Because the investment aspect versus the inherent value of the real estate aspect is is two completely different things. Well what I mean, we we obviously aren't looking for beginners in commercial real estate conferences or beginners, you know in real estate conference. So uh we don't we're not up to speed there, I guess that's a google for people that are listening. But I would I would say there there's gotta be some that are that are available to you. Um and it's really just getting to know what you don't know, getting to know all the terms, getting to know all the areas that you can invest in commercial real estate because you don't even know where you want to go yet and like we've said in a previous podcast, you have to know what, you know, where you wanna be, where you want to end up that will help guide your decisions. So it's not just Yeah um there's some there's some really good Softwares that are pretty cheap. Um If you find yourself getting into commercial real estate or you decide to buy some rentals or you start um investing, you know, some serious cash, you're gonna start keeping track of it. There's a really good software called portfolio.

It's an online, web based, I guess most apps are web based these days so you can access it anywhere, but it's property management. It's syndication management. It's really a one stop shop and it's it's really affordable. Um There's a couple other syndication pro and real crowd a bit more expensive, bit more sophisticated. But really good software is when you start getting in and need to track some of the data. So in closing what I want to say for everyone out there is I want to be as much of a resources I can to people, I didn't have any mentors helping me. I mean I had in books or on cds but not in person and so I want people to feel good. I feel confident enough to call us. But what's going to be important is you can't call us saying, what do I do right? Or how do I do it? Or what we need is is get enough base of knowledge and education that you come with questions. Hey, what's your opinion on this versus this? Uh, you know, house flips versus condo? What's your opinion on apartment come 100 unit apartment complex versus a 20 unit or you know, those kind of things, Hey, would you take a look at this deal for me and give me your, your thoughts or how do I raise the equity to, to do those deals Right.

Because just like this guy that called you, that only has $15,000 I like what you said, he's gonna have to probably partner with somebody, right? Because you know, $15,000 isn't gonna buy something too big or he's gonna have to raise equity on his own or he's going to need to raise money from family and friends. Um, so I think that's um, you know, for a lot of people who say, I just don't have the money. I think that after they get this foundation, I think that's, that's probably where they're gonna have to go. Yeah, good luck, guys. And hopefully we can be a resource. Don't don't, you know, feel free to reach out by email. All right. Thanks guys.

Episode #046- How to GET STARTED in Commercial Real Estate!
Episode #046- How to GET STARTED in Commercial Real Estate!
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