How to Invest in Commercial Real Estate

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Episode 116 - Mastering the CEO Mindset for Success in Commercial Real Estate

by Criterion, Braden Cheek, Brian Duck
August 28th 2023

Today hosts Braden Cheek, Brian Duck and Joel Thompson discuss leveraging other people's expertise to create passive income for yourself.

Time Stamps: 0:00 - Introduction 2:21 - Transitioni... More

All right. What is up and welcome back to another super awesome exciting episode of how to invest in commercial real estate. And today we have a super interesting topic. I like these topics instead of, you know, getting the nuts and bolts on, like how to do something specifically because this is the motivating sort of stuff that, that gets you excited and wanting to make a change and wanting to do something new. And today, the title of the episode, as you can probably see is how to make as much money as possible with the least amount of effort. And that's kind of a con, you know, I don't know how I, what I think about that, you know, because it's not like a get rich quick scheme or it's not like you, you want to. I mean, I guess we do wanna work less. I mean, I, I'm not scared about that. You're right. It's not a get rich quick scheme but uh everybody wants to work less and make more money. Yeah. So I think it's just generally getting into we honesty and transparency and, and I feel like nobody likes to talk about that. But at the end of the day, we kind of all want a passive income stream, the amount is different for everybody else, but we want time and nobody really talks about it, the time component.

But anyway, before we get into that, uh let's talk about something new and exciting. Um The first development project we did in a waso at 96 and Garnett is, is almost done. I mean, finishing up. Yeah, it's waiting on a final inspection or two. but looks done super awesome. Um, went up fast. How long? Yeah, fast when you say fast. How, how long did it take to get that up from the beginning of the year? I mean, I think we mobilized in 10 years or so and we still have a few months left for tenants to do their build out. Yep. So, but it's looking great. You guys should go out, uh, go up to was and check it out and the second one is, is well under construction now. They've been out there several weeks. They've got the pads built up and the parking lots cut in. So, um, we'll start to see a lot of improvement on that here in the next few months. But anyway, Waso is blowing and going. All right. So the topic today is we want to make as much money as possible with the least amount of effort. And what that's gonna require you to do is to, is to really get away from everything our culture teaches right from the time that we're kids, we're taught hard work pays off.

We want to work hard to make more money. We're trading our time for money. We go and get a secure job, right. So we can have that income coming in. But we have to give over 2000 hours uh, a year in order to get that income stream. And so real estate we think is a great alternative to turning that on its head. And, uh, we wanna, you know, give some cautionary tales though because real estate, a lot of people get involved in real estate and it can be seducing in the fact that there's so many ways to make money in commercial real estate. And so people get sucked in to being a broker, they get sucked into being a leaser sucked into being a property manager. And today's episode is to get rid of all of that and really have you focus on trading, uh, what am I trying to say, the least amount of effort for the most amount of money and not doing things to give yourself more jobs, right? But in order to set yourself up to infinitely scale your income while you're vacationing in the Bahamas or, you know, time, freedom here at home, whatever you're looking for.

Yeah, I like the point you made. I mean, if you'd asked me 10 years ago, 15 years ago or if I'd asked myself the question, how can, how can I make more money? It would have been, I'm gonna work harder at my job so that I get a bigger raise and a bigger bonus. And so that's what we're trying to tell people is that there, there's another route, right? So, tell us, how do the, how do these guys go about approaching commercial real estate where they can focus on growing their income without sacrificing their time? Yeah. So the big thing we want to focus on, right is to not go get another job, right? We're, we're buying real estate and that is our job as, as the owner of that real estate, we can think of our job as like a CEO and your job as chief executive officers to manage executives, right? It's not really to do a job to make sure everything gets done, but to not do anything, right? And we don't have any shame saying that. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna go and, and build the Avengers. We're gonna be Samuel L Jackson with the I patch. We're gonna go find the best people in that field to do the job we need done like the job needs done. We're not saying that you just don't do shit on your property, right?

Like the job needs done. We're saying you don't have to do the job, right? How many people do you know that went out and bought like a fix and flip and, like, remodeled it themselves and found a new tenant and, like, got the real estate license at nights, you know, did, like, probably ignored their family for a little bit to, to get this real estate license to sell the house themselves to make extra $3000 working on weekends. Yeah. And they could always find these houses. Right, because the returns are always predicated on them, doing all of these jobs. But they can't do very many of them because they're so busy working, selling the house, remodeling the house, painting the house, finding the house, you know, calling the dumpster company, all these jobs that they can't buy more houses. How many people do you know that do that? And they said, ok, well, I'm gonna go buy one and they buy it and it takes them six months to do all that and then they're like, ok, now I'm ready to do another one. They never have more than one going at a time. Yeah. So I'm not here to take a shit on somebody's job, right? Like, if you have a job in commercial real estate, that's awesome. But I think this podcast is to how to not have a job in commercial real estate and actually own it and also be scalable.

So you can, uh, maximize your, your profits. Yeah, we only want you guys to own commercial real estate. That's it. So, when you think about, well, how do I buy commercial estate? Well, you're gonna, you're gonna look for the best real estate brokers, uh, that are gonna bring you the deals and help you evaluate those deals. Ok? And then as you're going through the contract phase, you're gonna have an attorney that's gonna, uh, make sure that all the contracts get done. Right. And you don't have to worry about making mistakes in that area and then you're gonna have the right title company to make sure you close and then you're gonna hire the right management company. But I know about real estate. I can do it and it's, it pays $2000 a month. Oh my God. II, I hate it. I literally hate it. You're gonna save $2000 a month to, to lose out on another 20,000 a month or a 100,000 a month. You're missing the next opportunity you're missing in the next deal because you're busy doing lot sweeping and taking care of your landscaping or landscaper. It's just like here, here's what, here's what owning real estate with an ultimate scalable uh uh approach.

The, I mean, the way criterion does it, I I would like to talk about right? Because we go in and we're leveraging everyone else's time and experience in, in, in that, that order, we're leveraging their time so they can do the job, right? We, we can be anywhere, we can literally be anywhere I can, I can Zoom, the property man, I had a phone call with my property manager today. We're in the middle of evicting somebody and we, we had several discussions in the help of that eviction process. Right. Because I'm not an attorney in the state of Missouri. I had to talk to an attorney today. I, I emailed the attorney a few times in the State of Missouri. Right. So when you leverage your team and their expertise and their time, you don't have to have expertise and you don't have to have time. Right? So I can choose where, where I am and what I'm doing. So that's, that's how you have to do it. Right? If you're buying a property, find a property manager for the property. If your property needs tenants, find a leasing agent for your property and all these people can probably do it better than you can anyway. I guarantee it they can. Right. Like if you're an attorney sure do your own, do your own dock prep or like whatever it is, if you happen to own your own property management company already and you're in real estate, sure.

Do your own property management. A lot. A lot of people have jobs in commercial real estate. So like Joel said, if you're a broker, feel free to like, broker your own deal. But so often we fall into the trap of, oh, there's $1500 a month or, oh, there's a $30,000 fee I can do that. It's like, OK, let's stay focused, let's stay focused. Our job is to own real estate. And if we own real estate the right way, leveraging everyone else's time and experience, we can buy a lot more real estate. We found that how many people have came up to you recently and said, how are you guys doing deals right now? I'll, I'll, I'll tell you how we leverage other people's time and experience expertise. All right. So we need to give him some examples because uh I think most people don't appreciate how much cash flow there is in real estate, even after you're paying the management company and after you're paying the attorney and, and after you're paying the leasing agent and, and so, you know, I don't know if I, I wanna give examples, but, you know, you're talking about criterion criteria has gone from zero to well, in excess of $100 million in assets in less than four years.

The only way that's possible is if we're utilizing everybody else to do the work and all we're doing is focused on closing and owning uh commercial real estate. And so all we're doing is is closing on that, adding an income stream. And then once a month we're getting on with the property management company and we're talking about the financials and we're, you know, once every couple weeks, we're talking to the leasing agent, if there's vacancy and and that's it. It's, it's literally in hours a quarter, uh a few hours a quarter to manage each one of these investments. And so then we can infinitely add another uh asset to, to the total and, and more income uh to our, you know, our net worth and our, our income stream just by adding those properties without having to do more work. As a matter of fact, we do get that question quite often from investors. They see all these deals coming through and they're like you guys are growing too fast. How are you, how are you doing this? Well, this is exactly how we do it. This is what we, we have to tell those investors is, this is, this is how I find a lot of people find comfort knowing that I'm not doing things like I just gotta be real like II I have a great skill set and uh you know, a slim amount of things, but like I'm not an attorney, I'm not the best property manager, I'm not the best accountant.

I'm not the best leasing agent. I understand how these jobs should be done and they're a necessary piece in getting the goal and the goal is cash flow out to the investors, right? Cash flow out to the investors. And that's the goal because if I get cash flow to the investors, then any additional cash flows, I I can get a piece of, right? Like after I get the investors their preferred return. I start making money. So I can't make money unless I get the investors there return and I can't get the investors their return. If I don't have a property manager or if I don't have tenants or if I don't have an attorney. But again, I can't, I can't focus on that. Right. Because then I'll be distracted on everything else. I need somebody who just focuses on leasing in Fairview Heights, Illinois. Right. Like I have a property 45 minutes away. Completely different leasing team. Right. They, they don't drive, they don't do that market. They just don't sore can tell us after you've got all these people hired and ready to go and everything's running along smoothly. What, what do you do on a quarterly basis? Yes. So we can dive into this. But as an owner, you kind of develop your own sort of standard operating procedure for us, we have a monthly phone call with property managers that's typically set up for an hour.

It's nine times out of 10, it's like 15 to 20 minutes. So that's once a month you set that once it's once a month, we're going over the financial statement, which is just a comparison against the budget. So you're looking at a variance report, you're looking at upcoming lease expirations, lease expirations for a property, you can typically knock out super quick. You're, you're going over any, anything weird, you know, a lot of times there's nothing weird. Sometimes there's, you know, every, everything is wrong and, and maybe you use up the first hour, but again, it's an hour of, yeah, go ahead and go ahead and make that decision. Yeah. Go ahead and engage those people. Yeah, go ahead and get that cleaned up. Right. Like I'm not cleaning up anything. I'm not engaging anybody. I'm, I'm not renovating that space or getting a bid from this GC or three bids from that GC. Right. That's not my job. It's a property manager's job. What's the most amazing thing about commercial real estate is there's enough cash flow to pay for all these experts to run and manage uh your asset efficiently and even grow the income, right? And it's all being paid for by the asset.

And so, you know, people ask me, well, Joel, how do you have properties in Las Vegas? Uh that you never go to in, in Memphis, in Cincinnati and Wichita and Saint Louis, you know, and Little Rock and Tulsa and Dallas. I mean, they're all over the place. There's no way I could have time to, to manage all of those. But because I have third party managers that are experts in their field that are taking care of those assets. Literally, all I have to do, like you say is once a month, I, I actually have my team get on the phone with them. I don't even get on the phone. So yeah, so let's let's let's dive into that, right? So at scale, right, we said it's unlimited scale, unlimited scale. So now you're not hopping on the phone with the property manager, you're not looking through the, I'm sure you're looking through the financials, right? But you're meeting with your internal staff that is now meeting with those property managers, they're handling problems. So like for something to get to you now it's like six or seven layers deep of somebody kicking the can and saying, oh, I can't make that decision. So like the there are very few decisions to be made, think about how many properties you could shove in that system.

Yeah. So my my existence consists of, well, I mean, now I of course, I have uh plenty of cash flow and I'm, I'm happy with the amount of income that I have. But if I ever want more, I just go find another property to buy. I do the leg work up front. But once it's closed on and set up, it's just another income stream and it may be another 100,000 a year, maybe another 200,000 a year. What other business? I mean, uh what other job could you possibly increase your income by doing a little bit of part time work for a month or two and adding $200,000 a year to your income without requiring any more of you going forward? And, and that's the magic of what we're talking about is, is you, you can make all the money you want and you can literally be vacation 100% of the time. You, we can work remotely with a few phone calls a quarter. You can make all the money you've ever wanted to make. I just, the, there are a ton of ways to make a ton of money, but this show is about doing it with commercial real estate and we're proof positive that you guys can do that because we're doing it.

And we had, we had no formal education in, in commercial real estate. It just evolved over time, started with a house. My first house, I added 2 to $300 a month in income once I, once I closed on it and I thought, wow. Ok. Uh I'm gonna do that again and I bought another house, added another 2 to 300. Now I'm making 600 a month in extra cash flow, right? Which is what, 7000 a year? Ok. So then I added another house, another house. Well, now I've got 10 houses and, and so maybe that's, that's 20 grand a month or 20 grand a year. Then we switched to commercial. What the crazy thing about commercial is one property might, might provide you hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash flow a year. One deal, retirement, one deal more than you. I people work all year uh for a fraction of what I make just owning one commercial real estate asset. Uh, and, and I put maybe 10 hours a year into it and they put in 2000 a year and I'm making five times what they're making in a year salary and it's not to brag, we're not trying to say that that job isn't important because I had a job for a long time.

Uh, that's, that's your, your spending money, that's your safety net money while you're building the real estate business. But once you get a hold of the power of just buying assets and owning them and paying other professionals to, to manage them, then your income is scalable and your freedom. Uh You have complete control over your freedom day to day. So something mind blowing, I just realized, right? We're talking about leveraging all of these other people's time and experience so we can have more time and we don't have to be have the experience ourselves. Our investors are geniuses, right? Because they're doing that same shit with us. They're leveraging our experience, they're going to us and they're saying, I mean, screw these guys in their 117 episodes of how to invest in commercial real estate. I'll just give my money to them, let them do it. Not a bad idea. Same principle, not a bad idea, right? But it's the concept that if you want to go out there and, and do anything, let's not focus on, on the job aspect of it. Let's, let's like, buy something that you can implement systems and, and just completely be away from it. Like, if, if you're buying a business, like, does it have general manager like, or are you sweeping the floors running the cash register and ordering everything and doing quick books at night?

Like, what sort of business ownership do you wanna be on? Do you want to own your job or do you want to own an income stream that doesn't require a job? And I think we need to focus on the ladder, right? And doing that in commercial real estate is easy, but people manage to mess it up because I mean, on a, on a four or $5 million deal, you may have 50 to $100,000 and, and residual income as a sponsor again pending so much on the deal, 50 to $100,000 to manage that property. You may get an extra 20 or $30,000. So you could come with the perspective of like, oh, you know, I'm gonna get 30 to 50% more return out of this property because I'm gonna manage it. And I'm coming from the perspective of you can't get the next property if you're managing the first one, right? So look further down the horizon and, and think long term here, like, like you said, you, you just, you build this system, you build this team. And then the beautiful part about it is like, you're not internally having to go and, like, build up a sales team or a management team. Like, oh, yeah, I gotta hire five people.

Like, we own this property management company, but we're short staffed. It's like, forget about that. Like, the first one can't take on, can't take on another one. You find another one. Right. They're, they're competitive markets for brokerage and property management and attorneys that like if you max somebody out, you just find another one. Well, and the problem too, if you're trying to, uh scale too early and have your own management or your own people, what happens when you want to sell assets right now? Do you need to lay people off? Tough like that? That's a scale, that's a, a scale problem in and of itself having, having to do that where I think what we're encouraging people to do when they start out is, is not take on any of that infrastructure is to set the deal up completely without your involvement. Uh where all you do is get a statement every month and, you know, have a couple of calls a quarter. Uh and, and, and make, make your money that way by just owning the asset. And another thing I wanna, I wanna touch on is that we're so focused on trading our time for money and, and that's what we want to try to get people away from because a lot of people, they are like, averse to working for free because they're so used to getting paid for their time.

That's why I love this podcast so much is because it's free. Yeah. And, uh, you know, so what I part of, you know, getting good at real estate and reading all the books and, and driving the markets and looking at deals is all that's free. I don't get paid for that. Ok. But I, I'm trading that time for assets that are gonna end up paying me indefinitely once it's set up, it pays me indefinitely. So I'm willing to work for free all the way up until I get that asset. There's, there's nothing more powerful and worth more in the entire world. The knowledge, right? Uh You could ask the same question of like, why, why are people giving money to us when you're spend an hour or two on a phone call with the property manager? What? That's all you're doing? It's like, all right, genius, you go do it, you know, like we're giving you all of the information here on the podcast. You should know enough by now. Please go and do it. Give us a great testimonial. It would be fantastic. I would love that more than anything. That's, that's why we're doing this right is to debunk this method of, it's so much work, it's so much time. It's not right. Go buy a piece of real estate hire other people to do the jobs the real estate requires and wait.

Yeah, that's it. Well said, well, I don't know. I think we covered that. Uh, guys, we wanna encourage you, uh, you need to be focused on buying assets. You need to be focused on buying assets that do not require your time. Uh, buy assets that you can own and get paid for that no matter where you are in the world, whether on vacation or at your house hanging out. Uh We wanna have you focus on making money without spending your time anyway. I Yeah, II I think that's it. Right. Well, until next time. Uh Thank you guys for watching. Hit the like button. Subscribe if you can and we'll see you next time on how to invest in commercial real estate. See you.

Episode 116 - Mastering the CEO Mindset for Success in Commercial Real Estate
Episode 116 - Mastering the CEO Mindset for Success in Commercial Real Estate
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