Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: What I Learned

At the time of writing, this is the longest book I’ve ever read: ~1250 pages on the physical copy, and ~62 hours on audiobook (I used a combination of both to complete the title). Written by William Shirer an American war journalist who was in personally in attendance to many of the events in the book.

You don’t need to read this book to know the Nazi’s were terrible for humanity. However, history has a tendency to reduce the past into oversimplified narratives. This is a disservice to anyone who wants to really understand what really happened, there is a lot history to unpack and “Hitler was evil” is not a thorough understanding of the topic. Nuance and context are both things that I value highly, especially in today’s headline-driven world.

My interest in this topic piqued specifically after the 2016 elections. I don’t intend to write a political post, but this is the origin of why I read this book. I heard too many people on left making reference of Trump to Hitler.  I also heard the crazy righties saying Trump is nothing like Hitler. My opinion is that hardly anything in life is black and white, it’s always shades of grey, and too few people were discussing shades of grey. I recognized that most people’s historical understanding of these events was extremely light, so read a few books on the topic. I have no motive or position here, I just wanted to learn more about the topic to prevent from getting caught up in the sensational political drama. 

I knew that the future was not going to be exactly like the past, but could it be similar

HISTORY DOESN’T REPEAT, BUT IT RHYMES

We live in the age of the 24 noise cycle, endless propaganda, and people’s fervent desire to share with you their uninformed opinions. For these reasons, I have become determined to learn deeply about the topics others only read headlines about. Also, you should never trust journalists so if you want clear info it’s pretty much has to come from books. I despise getting information from someone who either A. has an agenda, or B. doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about, and yet will tell you their opinion as fact with blind confidence. I’m not writing this to take a political stance on current events the following article is just some things I learned from a truly amazing book. 

WW2 was about power first

While growing up, here is what I always thought: Hitler hated the Jews, he started the war to cleanse the world of Jews, and America came in as the purveyor of peace and virtue to put an end to that for good. That’s not why the war was started though, and sorry to say America was not as much of the savior we tell ourselves in each other in school. Hitler certainly hated the Jews and proud of his anti-semitism but that wasn’t the motivation for the war.  The main motive that drove Hitler was egomania, and an (unhealthy) love for country.  This is why he got away with so much, because it’s hard to condemn someone for what they can call patriotism.

He spoke with conviction like no one else I have ever heard speak, through his writings and oration it can be felt with potent force. His goal was to rule Germany and bring his country towards total European domination. He believed him and his people were entitled to this future. 

Some backstory, after WW1 the Germans were forced to sign the Versailles peace treaty, since they started WW1 as well. They were not allowed to participate in the peace negotiations and the final outcome was a severe detriment to the morale and economy of the German people. They were made to take full responsibility for the war, they had to pay reparations to neighboring countries, and their military was crippled. Many Germans resented this as they thought it went way too far and was unfair to Germany. Adolf Hitler was particularly upset and vowed to rebuild the country, and then vengeance against the world. 

Anti-semitism was at the forefront of the Nazi regime, and they did increasingly horrible things to the Jews along the way, but it wasn’t the pillar of the Nazi agenda. Hitler initially used anti-semitism to stir up the German population and worked better than you would hope. The uncomfortable fact is that anti-semitism at the time was not so unpopular at the time in. Here in America, there was antisemitism too, more than I had realized. One particular example is our famous Henry Ford. He helped propagandize the American people by publishing “The International Jew: The World’s Problem”, a terrible set of antisemitic news articles he disseminates through his personally owned newspaper. (Never trust a journalist!) As the Nazi regime progressed from a fledgling political party trying to consolidate power to having full state control their strategy that started with polarizing propaganda ended with the Holocaust. The camps didn’t start at the beginning though those came closer to 1941 after the invasion of Poland, especially the execution camps. Hitler became the leader of the Nazi’s and wrote Mein Kampf in 1925, even then he still didn’t come into complete power until 1933. This is a 16-year window of events that don’t include death camps but do include a lot of context on what to watch out for in evil leaders.

Hitler’s conviction and an extreme cult of personality convinced the German people that they were entitled to dominate the world. The pro-nazi party loved the taste of power and Hitler was ever the powerful leader. Once the Nazi’s were in majority rule both the party and the people felt empowered to do such evil because they could so easily get away with it. This lust for power was the main driver though,  that’s what to be most fearful of. 

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: What a TERRIBLE spine this thing has, who wants to display this?
On Tyanny: good short book with early signs of Fascism
Mein Kamp: Hateful book, but when you want to learn from the direct source....
Fascism: a warning. Written by Madeline Albright. Super bias, but fascism is still bad.

The state took over everything, including religion

We love to complain in America about political gridlock. While definitely frustrating, it’s the natural byproduct of a democracy where large volumes of differing opinions each get some voice. This makes things move quite slowly. In contrast, Hitler’s ability to consolidate power seemed invincible and his talent to wield that power against his foes was downright terrifying. There was zero gridlock in Nazi Germany, I have to admit this makes me a bit more appreciative that we do have gridlock.

Not only did he have a conviction for his (horrible) ideas, he was also a bulldozer in negotiations. He wouldn’t acquiesce, he wouldn’t bargain, and he wouldn’t back down, ever. In fact, he rarely negotiated at all. Instead, he would go to other leaders and demand he has his way threaten violence if he didn’t get it. Most normal people including political leaders avoid violence for themselves and their people as regularly as possible, so the Nazi leader got his way quite often. He would continue to amass more and more government power until his last days. In 1933 he had taken full control of the government, the means of production, the entire media, all property and infrastructure, and stripped the citizens of their rights. It was absolute dictatorial control.

The Nazi’s took over all the news dissemination in Germany. At the time radio was still fairly new and Hitler was a master at using this new media. His oration skills were undeniable, so he and Joseph Goebbels utilized this combination to no end. The minister of propaganda was a master of using movies and the newspaper to influence the country with mass effect. For these reasons, it’s important never to allow state-run media.

Once in power also managed to take over the religious infrastructure of the country. This was particularly fascinating to me because I’ve been obsessed with learning about religion my entire life.

The church wanted to keep their independent influence in Germany but Hitler was not having that, he wanted full information control from top to bottom. The Nazi’s decided the only way for the church to keep any power was to conform to the new German way of life. They eventually gave in to this demand at which point Christianity along with other religions were effectively banned from the country. Even the bible itself was banned by law and all the churches were to be filled with  Adolf Hitler’s’ autobiography “Mein Kampf” (Which I also read before writing this). It was reasoned by the government that this book contained all the moral and ethical guidelines any good German would need. 

The state created new rules for religion in the Nazi regime. The full list of 30 rules is posted here, but I’ve copied a few I found particularly egregious here. These are verbatim, and terrifying.

The National Reich Church is determined to exterminate irrevocably and by every means the strange and foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany in the ill-omened year 800.

The National Reich Church has no scribes, pastors, chaplains or priests but National Reich orators are to speak in them

The National Reich Church demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible in Germany as well as the publication of Sunday papers, pamphlets, publications and books of a religious nature.

The National Reich Church declares that to it, and therefore to the German nation, it has been decided that the Fuhrer’s “Mein Kampf” is the greatest of all documents. It is conscious that this book contains and embodies the purest and truest ethics for the present and future life of our nation

On the day of its foundation, the Christian cross must be removed from all churches, cathedrals and chapels within the Reich and its colonies and it must be superseded by the only unconquerable symbol of Germany the “Hakenkreuz” (swastika).

No one in Germany was safe if they weren’t pro-Nazi. 

Along their way up the ranks, the Nazi’s used their rhetoric to accuse their opposition parties of treason and claims to overthrow the government. Eventually, they made all other political parties in Germany illegal. They also made any news media illegal other than the one Hitler was in charge of: the Völkischer Beobachter. By 1938, a good bit before the war still, the state controlled all media, all religious institution, and they were the only political party allowed by law. 

"The one-time Vienna waif regarded himself as the greatest conqueror the world has ever seen. Egomania, that fatal disease of all conquerors was taking hold"

William Shirer

He could have been stopped so, many, times.

Give an inch, Take a mile

This is by far my biggest lesson from learning about the war and the Nazis. Hitler took over Austria, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, and the entire German state while using hardly any force. For the better part of the Third Reich, he used only intimidation, and the world bent over backwards for him. 

Scarier still was his rise in popularity with the German people as these campaigns continued on. In the ’20s, the Nazi’s were considered fringe not taken very seriously but over time he did grow public support. Hitler would eventually take the broken German economy from poverty and hyper inflation to true economic success in a few short years. Even a person who didn’t agree with antisemitism prefers having food on the table and a job to support their family than to poverty. At his best he didn’t have overwhelming support of the Germans, but they have him plenty enough to  deploy all his madness.

The failed beer hall putsch

In 1923 Hitler, as the leader of the very small National Socialist party tried and failed to overthrow the German government. They arrested him, took him to trial, and threw him in Jail for 5 years. Seems appropriate right? The problem is that at the time the constitution of the German government said that crimes of high treason, of which he was found guilty at trial, should result in life imprisonment. Instead, because of his popularity with the people, the government didn’t want to take the negative political pressure of giving him this punishment. Hitler was assigned 5 years in prison, and he was given a pardon inside of the first year. He could have been stopped right here if the government had more courage, though certainly they would have in hindsight. While in the ~9 months he spent in prison he wrote “Mein Kampf” and outlined his future plans, ideas, and ambition for total European domination. Then they let him free.

With friends like these…

Hitler took over Austria first in 1938 not through force, but through intimidation. Basically, he mobilized his armies against the border then went to the Chancellor of Austria and said, give me your land or we will go to war and you know your small country can’t defend against us. So Austria went to its allies, France and Britain for help because that’s what friends are for. Chamberlain, the prime minister of Britain at the time didn’t want another war so soon after the last so instead of coming to the aid of Austria he persuaded them to give in to Hitler’s demands. Can you imagine calling your buddy to help you defend against this bully, and when your friend shows up he says “Jeez, I don’t need all this hassle. Just give him what he wants”. 

Now, I’m personally always against going to war so I can try and see the value in this approach, but it’s important to note that Britain ended up going to war anyway and it was far more deadly when they did it later. Standing up to bully’s is hard, and we should always do it.

A similar event happened when the Nazi’s took over Checklosovakia, everyone folded their defense and gave in. The German army was not nearly as well equipped at this time as they had postured. If Britain and France mobilized then the Nazi’s would have fallen almost for sure. Instead, their passivism allowed 2 friendly countries to be overtaken and it emboldened Hitler for the rest of his time as leader to take what he wanted, knowing that the Allies avoid war at any cost

Hitler and the Nazi’s are dead and never coming back, but other dictators will rise up and try to consolidate power as long as humans live. As I said from the beginning, History doesn’t repeat but it rhymes. Hitler gained power through the population, not through force, is humanity is any different today than it was 80 years ago?

Hitler was a massive cult of personality, he capitalized on an economy in disarray, he used fear and anger to polarize and divide the people, he used the Jews as a scapegoat for all the country’s problems. None of these things are particularly unique to him, and plenty of dictators have come to power since the fall of the Nazis (Mao, Kim, Jinping, Mugabe). So while the planet condemns the actions of the Nazi’s, which is appropriate, there is a problem if we all look for Nazism and say “that’s not the same” but not realize that it doesn’t have to be exactly the same. 

When the German leaders were building the logistics for the concentration camps, there is no record in the Nuremberg documents that show any dissent among hundreds of German leaders. That is what scares me most. Not the next Hitler, but the angry, selfish masses of regular people. 

The rise of Nazism came because not enough people stood up to this egomaniac while he bullied his way into power over and over again. The Holocaust happened because people allowed their fellow man to be dehumanized. It wasn’t just Hitler who created these crimes against humanity, it was people that allowed it to happen and they will most likely do it again. In German, the term they used is “Anschluss” or appeasement. I think we should be more focused on holding our leaders to incredibly high standards, and never allow appeasement in exchange for power, or to avoid conflict

If you made it to the end, I’m very thankful. This was an amazing learning experience for me and I just had to get my thoughts on paper, it helps me reflect. This particular review was difficult because the subject matter is delicate and I wanted to bring a non-politicized but also honest and introspective account of what I learned. 

If you want to write a comment on this or reach out to me to discuss the topic further, I welcome it. If you didn’t read (or think about) the article and just want to spew insane vitriolic nonsense at me, I double welcome it. 

2018 year in review

What a year it’s been!

First, thanks to my smoking hot wife for putting up with me all year. I am not easy to deal with. She is amazing
I did a ton of new stuff and I’m excited to share some of it. Funny enough, most of my big accomplishments this year were NOT directly real estate related. Most big progress was this website, podcasts, and networking. I did buy 3 houses this year but I’m going to share a lot more

4 podcasts appearances

This was a big year for me in terms of exposure. I had no website last year and never had been a podcast guest, this year I got on 4 podcasts I really liked! Here they are in chronological order:

Do you even blog

Thank you Pete McPherson for my big break!

Pete runs a GREAT blog and podcast to teach new bloggers and podcasters how to succeed (#doublemeta). I was fortunate to hear an episode where he said he was looking for new guests. I hit him up immediately and pitched him to give me a shot.

It worked! From there someone reached out to me and offered to redesign my website (and now it looks fantastic!). Due to that I got on the BP podcast, and then Pete and I shared a bedroom at Fincon (sexytime!)

Compound wins baby!

Biggerpockets

This was a big deal for me, a very big deal. I have been listening to this podcast for ~4 years, I post on their website daily, I write for them, I moderate the forums. I’ve met some of my closest real world friends on that site.

I am a BP FANBOY and I’m thankful they let me be a part of their very famous podcast.

 

SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP

 

I went on this podcast and somewhere in there they asked me a question about how to overcome fear and my reply was “Suck it up buttercup”. Now this is not any particular catch phrase of mine normally. However, since this writing people have been saying it to me nonstop, which is hilarious.

These Biggerpockets people really are too good to me, not sure I deserve it. They sent me this FANTASTIC book, a water bottle, and a nice card for christmas.

From Military to Millionaire

David Pere runs this site, we met at Fincon18 and really hit it off. I don’t really advertise my veteran status much or use it to solicit my brand, but when we spoke it came out in conversation and he knew I would be a good fit for his show.

Our episode turned out great, I got a lot of positive response from it and I’m thankful for the opportunity.

 

Millenial Real Estate Investor

Once I did the BP show, everyone wanted to get a piece of me! I recorded this in late November and I must say, it might be the most FUN show I did this year. Those guys just let me rant at them for over an hour and there are few things I enjoy more than that!

3 houses purchased and $900/monthly added to cashflow

Rental #7

My goal for 2018 was to purchase 3 rentals and I did it! As usual, I probably should have set my goals higher! Truthfully though this was not easy, so I’m glad I hit my goal because really it was a stretch for me. All 3 were purchased long distance (I still haven’t seen any of them!) 

I went OBSESSIVE on books

This book is INSANELY good. I've written about it a bunch, I talk about it nonstop. A good read for every human being
These are the responses from a friend after I got him to buy this book! It's that good bro!
This series spoke to me like nothing else I've ever read. The group of 5 is called "Incerto". It's brilliant! It's economics, risk analysis, a guide to live in modernity, it's poetry, and I'll be quoting it for the rest of my life. #Antifragile
In the shower, in the car, at the gym. Grind knowledge

Reading has the most impact on my future of anything I do, the biggest return on investment around, and the number one reason I’m going to out compete people year after year. Education compounds like you wouldn’t believe. 

Here is an exhaustive post about my reading for the year

In case you want to read more of my book content, you can go here

I practiced quite a bit of photography

I shoot a lot of cars. My friend was driving this R8 at the track and got a great shot of him
Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas. Great Hiking!
This is Horseshoe Bend in Page Arizona. Had to snap this right at sunset and rented a 12MM Sigma to get it. This is not perfect shot, but its pretty good for a rookie!
Downtown Dallas
Camouflaged Ferrari that hangs out in Vegas

My blog BLEW up

Ok maybe it didn’t blow up” but it grew much more than I thought. Both in credibility, and connectivity to other people. I started my blog in late December 2017 and it wasn’t because I’m a great writer or that I wanted to monetize my brand, rather I just wanted to share the things I’ve learned about finance, real estate, and success. I didn’t have any intention for it other than get some thoughts out and I knew if I sunk even a little effort in it would grow, BOY WAS I RIGHT?

Now I don’t track my analytics much, I don’t think many people view the site. I don’t market it much, I don’t do any ads or emails (actually I just started this), it’s just up there for people to see if they stumble upon it. Even with this approach, I’ve had a massive positive response from it.

So I’m trying to step up my game a little bit for next year: I hope to add some video content, I’m working on email capture and dissemination (valuable, not annoying), and hoping to include people a lot closer on books. 

Looking forward to blog year #2!

Any dog lovers? Here are my beasts

Charlotte and Jackson
Attila

I went to my first conference

Fincon 2018 was AMAZING! (click here to see my photo story) 

I had no idea how much I was really missing until I went. Learned a ton, did some high level networking, and it’s amazing how different people treat you just by COMMITTING to your growth. Spend $400 and fly across the country as a self investment, just to meet people who have committed similar efforts.

I was so sold on this even that I immediately bought my tickets to Fincon19 in D.C. next September and I’ve already bought my tickets to The Best Ever Conference in Denver coming up in February. I have a few more on my radar to attend as well.

They made my face into a pancake. Fincon is a MUST ATTEND EVENT for this reason alone!

Where I fell short

I was going to write a long chapter on this, but decided against it. It’s not that I don’t have failures by any means.  Quite the opposite, I have enough failures that listing them out would be an endless task. Plus, what’s the point? Everyone knows what the biggest failure we all make is wasted time and I do no less than the next person. 

I’ve written lots of lessons I’ve learned this year and spoken about many of my mistakes. Learning and improving is valuable, but I don’t believe that dwelling on our imperfection is a good use of time. 

So, we are moving forward baby! 

Still a beast in the gym

This is the SINGLE photo I took in the gym this year. I intend to get a lot more neat shots in 2019.

What to expect in 2019

I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions, but I am a fan of goal setting. This year while I feel as ambitious as ever and I know what it feels like for my time investments to pay off. That’s a powerful incentive. It’s one thing to believe that hard work pays off, but a different one to experience it. So instead of goals, I’m focused on activities that produce returns. 

1. I’m going to work on things that I know high returns on investment, albeit abstract. For instance reading more, working on creating value with this blog, networking nationally, going to seminars, more podcast appearances, etc.

2. I still need to buy 2 more single family homes to reach my mortgage cap. I want to finish this goal because it gives me a really solid protected downside and risk mitigation for the long term. 

3. Really work towards buying a mid-sized multifamily apartment

4. Enjoy my life as much as possible!

0S1A0023 (1)

Incerto, a casual review

 

Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote these 5 books as a non-overlapping series that all talk about 1 main idea but from many different angles. The main topic is a term he created called Antifragility and while the 5 books cover different topics, they all revolve around this idea in a brilliant manner.

The books are not technical, but they are complex ideas. Nassim has a very particular style and it shows quickly. He’s brash and opinionated, but charming and his brilliance is hard to deny. He comes across as sort of grumpy, he’s a complete contrarian (which I love), he constantly references texts from ancient cultures (and writes in many languages throughout the book). This series isn’t just based on financial risk, it’s a book about lifestyle, wisdom, and humanity.

Around the main point of Antifragility are countless smaller points he makes that really stuck with me, here are a few:

Antifragile

What is fragility? Something that doesn’t stand up well to volatility. The opposite of fragility is not durability, but antifragility. Something that gets better with volatility. Think about your immune system, if you never get sick you’ll never build antibodies. Your immune system gets stronger when it’s stressed! Evolution is the same way, the species as a whole gets better as the survivors breed and the weak die out. Compare this to many of our economic systems we have today: giant banks that CAN’T fail, and then subsequently get bailed out at taxpayer expense. This isn’t a real fix because we still have all the debt, it’s just been shifted from private sector to public sector. Systems that are propped up to avoid volatility are fragile, and that’s the premise of the entire series.

Skin in the game

This is the title of the 5th book in the series but it was actually the first one I read. Everyone knows what skin in the game means right, it’s when you have a vested interest in both the up and downside of your decisions. For instance, if you start a business and you put your cash in it, you have money to lose: Skin in the game. If you’re the CEO of a corporation that you didn’t start and then it collapses a few years down the road you can move on without taking the pain of failure: no skin in the game. Nassim makes mention of a 3rd scenario he calls “Soul in the game” these people such as artisans or a person who invest themselves into an idea/business regardless of the money.

Consider a foreign policy advisor who is an academic, and never served in the military (there are lots of these people). They convince the American public to intervene in Afghanistan, for better or for worse. If things go bad, he has nothing to lose, and if things go well, he gets a fancy job at a big think tank later on. Now what’s worse is the young patriot (let’s call him Alex Felice) has to go to war for 2 years because the country decides this is a good idea. Now I have very little upside by spending time in the desert, but i carry a lot of downside risk. The politician only has upside because he has no skin in the game. This is asymmetric risk

Let’s consider lifelong economists who make monetary policy for the country, if they are right they make money, if they are wrong, nothing happens to them, but the country goes into shambles. Lastly, what about the politicians who have decided we need to have 20 Trillion in government debt and nearly 1 Trillion yearly in budget deficit, who pays that? We do, yet we have little say in the actual decisions. They are loading us up with asymmetric risk and they have little to no skin in the game.

Reading "Fooled by Randomness" while blogging

Survivorship Bias

Nassim is hardly the first one to describe this phenomenon, but it hit me harder than ever when he wrote about it. Survivorship bias is thinking you have some special insight to how the world works, because it worked for you. For instance, self development books all sell the same ideas: positivity, hard work, persistence, etc.They must work because look how successful the guy writing the book is, he applied all these traits and it worked. In reality though it only takes into account the person it worked for, it doesn’t account for the countless hardworking, positive attitude having, persistent people who failed. In fact, there are a lot more hardworking failures than successes. The premise of the first book in the series “Fooled by Randomness” is that success is mostly due to success. No one likes to hear this, but it’s quite true and Nassim explains it beautifully.

Lindy

The lindy effect in its most basic says that the longer something has been around, the more likely it will stay around, and vice versa. Let’s look at some examples for clarity:

The bible has been around nearly 2000 years now, it’s likely to continue to be in print for a long time forward. This is Lindy. The acclaimed TV show that many people claim is life changing “Game of Thrones” will most likely fade from memory quite quickly. Not Lindy.

Airbnb is popular with real estate investors these days, but it’s really new compared to homes themselves. Homes are unlikely to go obsolete anytime soon, but Airbnb just might. In fact you can apply this to any business in the world. How many businesses today have been around for 100 years, not many! The ones that made it: JP Morgan Chase, Exxon, Merck, Pepsi and others are likely to stick around quite a bit longer. Lindy! Your friend who wants to open a local bar in town, probably not going to last. Not Lindy

Thinking about the Lindy effect is a great way to prevent getting caught up in the drunkenness of new technology. For instance Cryptocurrency is ever popular these days, but it’s new! It’s unlikely to replace the Federal Reserve anytime soon. The argument I also like is cell phones, because I think they are more Lindy than at first glance.. Sure the internet and cell phones are new, but writing on tablets is the oldest form of communication man has produced. Lindy! Netflix showed up one day and took out Blockbuster to dominate streaming video, but it’s still new and the market share for competition is high!  Don’t assume it’ll be around forever. It’s not Lindy.

Beware of modernity

I never thought I would say this, but these books (and others I’ve been reading this year, but mainly this one) have me appreciating our past far more than I previously did. Modernity is fragile, it makes us too comfortable, and it makes us too entitled. I’ve never had to hunt for my own food, and I’m constantly running forward to “accomplish” something when the truth is the world moves slowly and most of humanity has been spent relaxing. Now I’m not giving my ambitions up completely, but I better understand the wisdom and value of our ancestors now. Our infrastructure, government, and systems these days are incredibly complex and they are run by people who most likely don’t understand them. In fact I think many of our large systems are not possible to truly fully understand (this is why 2008 GFC happened). We trust these systems completely, and many of them are not Lindy, so it’s cause for some apprehension. Modernity causes us to create psychologists which may or may not add benefit to the world. Nutritionists are the same, humans have been eating for thousands of years without nutritionists and yet these days we are more likely to die of overeating than anything else. Sorry if I’m skeptical that this modern invention is necessary. Television is the biggest problem of all (though I watch very little luckily), as it’s essentially outsourcing our intellectual stimulation to the easiest provider. Have you ever scrolled through the channels to find something to watch. This is not productive behaviour for anyone. The cell phone is a double edged sword because it contains all the world’s knowledge, but it also contains instagram, the most superficial time wasting app yet created.

I’m not giving up modernity, but I’m much more skeptical of it than previously, and I always think more skepticism is good.

Via negativa

Greek for “by way of denial” which means to create a better life, you take away. For instance, I have a friend who takes medicine far too much. Anytime she is remotely sick, she will go to the doctor and get LOTS of medicine, to include antibiotics. This is not healthy, not to mention antibiotics don’t help with the common cold (though they do add to a rising problem of antibacterial resistant superbugs). So not only is she not getting better, she is making the overall situation worse. Instead, she should let her immune system do it’s thing, and create the correct antibodies which will make her stronger in the long run: Antifragile.

What about luxuries? We live in this ridiculous consumer culture, but a lot of it isn’t anyone’s life better. What does seem to work is finding things that bring you purpose, or appreciating what we have, ancient religious texts express this aspect constantly.

Bed of Procrustes

This is an ancient story about an innkeeper named Procrustes who had a single bed. If a guest was too short for the bed, Procrustes would put them on a rack to stretch them out. If they were too tall for the bed he would cut the guests feet off. Everyone had to fit the size of the bed, no matter what their natural size.

We do this as humans a lot, we create an arbitrary system or rule and then we change the natural variation in humans to fit it. Sometimes it works, many times it does not. Nassim uses the education system as a great example. We design this educational system mostly arbitrarily (there is no reason in nature to say it should be designed as such) and it works for us on average, but it doesn’t allow much for human variation. Additionally, when people fit into the school system poorly we change them to fit it. For instance giving a child medicine (adderall, valium, xanax, Zoloft, Prozac, etc) to fit their natural behaviour so it fits an arbitrary system is a bed of Procrustes.

My favorite analogy he gives to describe this is in the gym. I’m a lifelong powerlifter, I rarely use machine equipment and prefer to stick to barbells and dumbells, so this example is something I’m quite bias towards, still it’s a good one. The gym machine is a perfect bed of procrustes as it makes the human fit the machine regardless of their physical uniqueness. Not everyone is the same size, obviously, but the bench press machine always works on the same range of motion. To top it off, what’s the point of weight machines anyway? Aesthetics? Strength? Certainly any machine in the gym is easier than putting weight on a squat rack and actually doing the difficult movement. 

Deadlifts are Antifragile!

Barbell investing

Protect your downside with super low risk investments first, and then invest in high risk high payoff endeavors on the other side. A good example would be treasury bonds on the low risk side and then crypto on the high risk side. The key here is to ensure your downside is protected then put excess into areas where you can capitalize on big upsides. This is called optionality and it’s different than the common strategy of trying to invest in a little bit of everything to reduce risk through diversification. Diversification isn’t a bad strategy but it prevents you from gaining massive upsides and it puts in you in harms way for big systemic risks (like the 2008 GFC). If you invest in low cost index funds, which are super popular right now, you’ll do good when the market does good and bad when the market does bad. You’ll never beat the market, and you may never get blown up this way, but you don’t have much optionality.

Contrarian

Besides loving deadlifts Nassim comes across as a strong contrarian. Probably why I enjoyed him so much as it’s a trait I’ve been trying to get better at for years. The first contrarian writer I fell in love with was Christopher Hitchens and I think Nassim is tied, though as grumpy as both writers come across Hitchens might be a tad more aggressive. Nassim’s ability to confidently reject widely agreed upon points of view is one I highly respect. He certainly does this with varying levels of elegance. Throughout his writings he calls out many famous nobel laureates, journalists, and economists for being frauds and idiots. I was a bit dismayed the first time I heard him call Paul Krugman an idiot, as this is quite the arrogant claim, but it doesn’t take long for Nassim’s points to start making real profound sense. He’s earned much praise from many of the people who he critiques in the books and I think this drives home my admiration for the guy even more.

Nassim also touches on this in the writing himself, knowing that he gets pushback for his non-conformist views. Speaking on something I have been trying to work through in my personal life: “How should I publicly express my unpopular opinions?” For many people they just don’t, as the social pain is too great, but that is no path forward for me personally. I know it takes pissing some people off to ensure that others will really connect with you. For instance in politics, the politician really needs 49% of the people to hate him, so the other 51% will love him. Nassim says it’s idea to piss 70% of people off so you can get massive admiration from the remaining 30%. I think this is my future goal

Final pitch

This review is a lousy sell I’m sure, but Nassim’s ideas are complex and hard to summarize. He mentions this often in fact. I wrote this not long review to sell anyone these idea, nor did I do it to create a “cliff notes” of sorts. I wrote it because this group of books pinged my brain in a way few other thinkers have and I felt compelled to get my thoughts about it on paper. I wrote this simply out of my excitement for the material and to hopefully get some other people to also find value in these complex and unorthodox ideas.

My friend Spencer bought his first rental, proving that it’s super easy

I’ve helped lots of people buy their first rental, but this deal was really fun to follow along with. I have this friend Spencer who I just closed his first deal and I’m eager to reflect on his process from an outside perspective. If i can do well in real estate while being a lazy idiot than anyone can, and thankfully for Spencer, he’s not lazy.

This deal was a long time in the making, about a year. From him it required patience, tenacity, and a considerable amount of headache medicine. The guy is ~28 years old and this is his first dedicated rental purchase. I wanted to showcase this deal specifically because it was a difficult and annoying which is a more accurate representation of what many people can expect doing their first deals (contrary to all my deals which are EASY).  Additionally it has some interesting aspects that aren’t in many deals: it was seller financed, he found it through wholesaling, it took a long time (long enough that most people would have given up), and he learned some lessons first hand that aren’t talked about enough.

If you want to know the final numbers he wrote a great and thorough write-up Spencer did on this property  I will post the links below. The following entry will not be about the deal itself, but what it takes to put one of these deals together

Part one 

Part Two

Part Three

Our backstory

I had just moved to Las Vegas and I was out making friends like I always do: diligently. One morning I was at a casual coffee meet and I started chatting up this young new investor. He didn’t have any deals under his belt, and he seemed a bit far away from closing anything but he had some qualities I instantly recognized as useful:

ConfidenceIf you don’t believe you can do something, you can’t. No one one has perfect confidence but most people have terrible confidence. He seemed undeterred by negative events and was mostly immune to my shit talking, this is definitely a advantage.

Not distracted – I refrain to use the word focused, because I don’t think that’s his strength. He definitely has a bad case of “shiny bouncy ball” syndrome. However what he did do well is not get caught up in unproductive habits nor does he succumb to social pitfalls like lifestyle inflation or trying to impress other people. He drives an old beater car, dresses plainly, and shaves his head to save on haircuts (not worth imo). This allows him to spend time on things like self improvement and financial success. I love to bust his chops about being ‘lame’ but the results speak for themselves and are concrete. He doesn’t waste time on things that are a waste of time. This is is a strong quality to have, albeit boring.

Big ego – look, if you aren’t cocky enough to think you’re entitled to TAKE what you want from the world, then you’ll be forever waiting for permission from someone else. I could tell this guy had a lot to prove to the world and himself which is good, because he just might prove it! Plus, I have a soft spot for a bit of well deserved arrogance. 

So we started meeting once every few weeks casually to discuss real estate, economics, and various topics regarding our inevitable future success. We became friends pretty quickly and he wavered back and forth about real estate for a few months but eventually started to get quite committed.

Putting the deal together

Every new investor wants to wholesale because they think they can do it without money. Spencer found that he was able to do it without a LOT of money, but he still had to come out of pocket $20,000. I’m willing to bet this is his last wholesaling deal for a while and that he would not much recommend wholesaling either. To be fair, if he had turned this deal over to another investor and just taken a cut then this deal would be proof that you can wholesale without any money.

Wholesaling is basically finding off-market properties and negotiating with the sellers directly to find out what problems you can solve for them and how to get creative on deals. The basic approach is to get lists of potential properties (absentee owners, tax delinquent, etc) and mail them letters with offers to buy their house. So that’s what he did.

He’s so cheap though he didn’t’ want to pay for mailers, so each week he was writing thousands of handwritten letters to absentee owners. This is a seriously dumb and inefficient use of time. I was damn near verbally abusing him for going down this path, I told him repeatedly to just spend the money to get mailers printed and create some efficiency. Luckily the stubborn kid didn’t listen to me because a few months in he got a response from an owner of a 4-plex here in Las Vegas with the owner in New York.

So negotiations went back and forth for a while. He built great rapport with the seller, but it didn’t seem like the guy was highly motivated to sell. I think they went back and forth for 2-3 months in negotiations alone. 99% of people, myself included, would have quit in that amount of time. Things seemed to be going well, and he didn’t have any other prospects at the time so it certainly made the most sense to sink into this deal.

They agreed on a price that was nearly retail price (over actually, and I’ll get to that in a moment), but it’s a Las Vegas 4-plex in the summer of 2017 so demand was HIGH to say the least. To make up for this though, the seller agreed to carry 90% of the note. This means Spencer would pay the owner and not need to get a mortgage. This saves on time, headache(supposedly), and allows for flexibility in terms. Banks are rigid and want their borrowers to conform to their standard lending approaches. This isn’t a bad thing, but the seller finance allowed Spencer to buy this deal without a lot of cash and the rate much lower than market rate (plus no points, fees, realtor costs, etc).

Vendors make me hostile, im proud to say it wore off

 

So the deal was found, negotiated, agreed on price and terms, and set to close right? RIGHT?!?! Unfortunately Spencer learned what I found out long ago, that people will always take the path of least resistance.

 

So without realtors in the picture he needed to hire private lawyers and title companies to handle the transaction. This is normal and no big deal but they delayed his transaction to the tune of ~5 months. 5 months he spent chasing these people while they went on vacation, missed appointments, pushed their obligations to the side, and generally gave him the runaround. Spencer isn’t a pushover, but he’s not one to throw temper tantrums, at least, he didn’t used to be.

 

If you’ve met me, or read much of my content, you know that I live in hostility. This is not a complaint, I actually quite like it, and I find it very efficient. When Spencer and I first met he was a bit caught off guard with how quick I am to throw obscenities around or my absolute intolerance for behaviours I deem incorrect. Lots of people think I’m just maybe unstable, but I watched Spencer transform in a similar manner. Having to deal with the ineptitude of others will change a person. When you rely on people to do their jobs properly at the cost of your success is frustrating to say the least. Imagine a lawyer that you paid in full up front, he has ZERO downside if your deal falls apart, and he has all the money from the transaction already. His incentive to work hard is no longer economic, it’s just reputation at this point and the guy lives in New York so I’m pretty sure he wasn’t too worried about that. So I was delighted to watch my friend come to the gym in the evenings with a red face of anger and throwing profanity around cavalierly. Not that I hope for anyone’s misfortune but it does feel validating to know that my constant anger is at least understood by someone else now.

 

In the end, he closed without having a heart attack and all the struggles he endured to make it happen were rewarded. Not rewarded with cash, but achievement, and that’s what makes this business so amazing. The money is ok, but persevering through something so complex, so difficult, and in the face of mountains of morons slowing you down is quite a confidence boost.

 

Don’t chase money, chase challenge

Mistakes were made

 

Buying at retail – The number two rule of real estate is “You make money when you buy”. So buying a house at the market rate rarely makes sense. In this instance Spencer paid a bit OVER retail and I won’t say it was an ideal move, but there seems to be enough risk mitigation built in that he will still make money on it. The Vegas market has been rising steadily for the last 2 years, and if it continues to do so the minor cost of overpayment will pale in comparison to long term gains. In fact at the time of this writing, since the deal did take so long, if you compare the retail price of the building compared to what he paid it was actually under retail. Damn near cheating! Also, it’s incredibly important to remember that this was seller financed. So is it better to pay a bit over asking price and save a TON of transactional costs and time on bank underwriting, not to mention scrutiny? Maybe it is.

 

Too damn nice – I’m a nice enough fella, but certainly no one would describe me as ‘nice’. That said even I’m way too nice most times. Spencer made this common mistake and that’s ok. He dealt with a lot of vendors and he did what anyone would do: he trusted them, he treated them with respect, and he assumed they would do a good job. Well he learned that lesson. Never again bro. What he found was a gang of inept, selfish, mouthbreathers that only made him mad and barely did what they were paid to do. This is the mistake everyone makes in the beginning, it’s imperative to run a tight ship going forward.

This was the easy part!

The deal closed earlier this week, and while his stress may be over and he may be feeling good about himself, the hard part has just begun. See real estate is like any good drug addiction, the fun is getting the score, not having the drug problem. Buying assets is fun, challenging, and generally profitable, but it’s also a constant responsibility and it’s never “set it and forget it”. While I may have drowned the previous vendors in insults as if he never has to deal with them again, the reality is he will have a property manager forever now. The building has 4 tenants with personalities, individual needs, and drama. Some won’t pay, some will trash his units, sometimes the building will just have a problem that’s hard to fix.

Unexpected occurrences are to be expected

It’s not the 2am overflowing toilet problem that he will worry about. It’s the unexpected city ordinance costs, rising insurance prices, social drama (the building is not in an A class part of town), higher than expected vacancy, early roof replacements, etc. It’s the nonstop economic and emotional cost of bearing the responsibility that can really drain people. I’m sure he will be 100% fine dealing with this, but it’s certainly most stressful than the acquisition itself.

What to learn


If you got all the way to the end of this block of text, I hope it was more than just entertaining. I wanted to highlight the pitfalls and stress that new investors have to deal with. This was a fun deal to watch Spencer go through and I loved watching him melt down in anxiety from it. It’s also both a cautionary tale to new investors that the deal may seem easy on paper, but the real world is tough and will chew you up if you’re not prepared. However, I also wanted to show how possible real estate is if you persevere. I’ve never done a seller financed deal, I’ve never done letters to absentee owners, and I’ve never done a deal that takes more than 2-3 weeks. So I commend him on all of those, and it should be massively encouraging to anyone new and interested that this is POSSIBLE if you just try.

December 2018

Personal Purchase Update

 

My newest house is complete! I’m still working on the refi so the full post will have to wait.

The basic numbers are as such:

Purchase price – 50K

rehab – 15K

ARV – 90K (est)

Rent – $950/monthly

This was a GREAT deal and I got lucky in a few ways. I’ll be excited to share the full details once the financing is finalized. 

 

What happened in November


I went to Texas! 

 Yeehaw yo! 

 

I made my way down to Dallas to talk real estate with a friend I made online. I took a lot of pictures, we took advantage of some great networking opportunities, and I got some decent pics! Networking is an incredibly important part of your career, and I don’t mean just meeting people, but BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS. If it’s not genuine, it’s not shit. 

Enjoy!

I finally installed email capture on my website

 Don’t worry I’m still not going to sell you anything! If you sign up, you’ll pretty much just get this newsletter sent to you once a month. No spam, and no nonsense, just a way to stay in slightly better contact so you don’t miss me when I go stratospheric.

I started doing a casual video chat with my brother

We talk weekly anyway so we thought maybe some people would be interested to hear our take on current events, complex topics, and just because it’s fun. Though at the time of this writing we haven’t uploaded anything. Soon! 

What’s going to happen in December

Not much to be honest. In some ways this is good, in some ways bad. The last few months have been very busy for me, especially since the BP podcast. I’ve been getting a lot more opportunities and I don’t want to expose to any large risks by moving too quickly unnecessary. Also known as shiny bouncy ball syndrome. 

So December is going to be focused on what has the biggest long term ROI: reading, writing, networking. I’ve been learning more, and a lot more about risk and while the world goes a little crazy, I want to remain tempered. Interest rates are rising, deals are getting harder to find, and competition is growing. I’m not predicting anything, but I don’t need to chase outsized gains just because everyone else is. No one else seems to be talking about slowing down or increased risk at all: this causes me concern.

So I’m going to wrap on my house, try to find another one. Work on the website, and maybe try to find a podcast appearance. That said, I’m always open to the right unplanned opportunity. 

Books I read this month

Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky

Rules for Radicals – Saul Alinksy

Antifragile – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Bed of Procrustes – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Fooled by Randomness – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

I read this book “Skin in the game” by Nassim Taleb earlier this year, and didn’t really know what to expect going in. I forget now why I originally read it. It was nothing like I’m used to. It was hard to like at first, and it’s a tricky read, only about complicated topics. It sucked me in though, and it does not take long to realize he’s brilliant. 

Then I picked up Anti-fragile this month and it really blew my mind. I can not get enough of this guy since I started. I’ve been watching YouTube videos of him, I cleaned off his book of Aphorisms: Bed of Procrustes. Which is an incredibly unique text of essentially modern day poems of economics, culture, behavior,  ancient wisdom, and shit talking! Before I even finished I decided to start reading Fooled by Randomness at night by hard copy (Something I never do). 

The whole series is called ‘Incerto’ and after I read the last one “Black Swan” I’m going to write a blog post about the whole thing. I may read them all again first. It’s this good. 

Want to get involved?

in 2019 it’s likely we are going to spend some considerable amount of time looking for a large multifamily property. If you’re interested in participating, talk to me about where you fit in. More information will come in this newsletter as time goes forward.5

I need someone to help me create a video page and tell stories. If you’re interested in Videography and story telling and want to work on some pet projects that I think have potential, I would love to hear from you.

Social media marketing. I’m no good at this, I need help creating a strategy and process. I’m not really sure what I need to be honest, but people ask me how they can help: this is an area I know has opportunity

Ever built and sold a course online for….anything? I’ve been slowly working on something I could market and sell that would provide tremendous value to people who want to do what I do. If you’re interested, and can help don’t be shy. 

My complete list of 2018 Audible transactions

In 2018 I completed 40 books and spend ~$330.

 I spent very little time listening to music or podcasts, it was almost all audiobooks. 

If you are familiar with reading lists on pages like mine, you may notice it’s not filled with same “self development” books so many of  my peers are reading. I would like to say loud and to the world that I think non-fiction self help books are over hyped, and they under deliver. 

There are certainly a few good ones, but how much time does one person need to spend getting their mindset right?? Get it right and get to learning. This circle of motivational texts is similar to traveling motivational speakers and “guru’s”. They don’t have any technical proficiency of how the world works, they just know how to sell their story well.  



What’s the value in learning about history if I just want to know about finance and real estate? A lot!  If you know history you can predict the future. If you know how humans have behaved over the last 10,000 years, you’ll more accurately be able to predict their behavior today.

My MUST READ list of 2018

Sapeins

you’ve heard me talk at all this year, you likely heard me mention this book. Why? read it and find out.

This book provides historical and cultural perspective for everything we know about humanity, and it acts as a prologue to the future.

So do you want to know why mankind is the way it is? Do you want to rid yourself of blind ideology? Do you want to know what to expect from the future? Do you realize that humans are barely in the middle of the primate food chain?

Sapiens might be my favorite book of all time. (A close second would be “A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking). I think everyone should read this book, and once you’re done you’ll probably want to read the next two in the series: “Homo Deus” and “12 Lessons for the 21st Century”. I read both of these immediately after the first.

Everyone should read this book. Once you’ve read it, reach out and talk to me about it

Thinking, Fast and Slow

This is a book written by a nobel prize winning behavioral Psychologist. This book is written about the work he did which won him that award. It’s a bit technically tricky at times, but it’s also non-stop brilliant.

The premise of this book is there are 2 systems in your brain, 1 that basically is pure instinct, and a second that is rational and analytic. The problem is that system 2 is LAZY, and instead of rationalizing complex ideas for you, it basically convinces you that your first system is correct.

This is really bad news for all of us.

Why is this bad news? Because we all want to think we are both in control of our actions, and acting rationally. Unfortunately neither are true, by a longshot, and it’s really hard to see this in ourselves. Reading this book really helped me see flaws in my behaviour, and flaws in other people’s thinking in general.

These are the two books I recommend everyone reading. I hope everyone does for their benefit, and when you’re done reach out to me to discuss!

Books I wasted my time on this year


Stones’s Rules

Roger Stone is a political operative and worked close with Donald Trump to get him elected in 2016. He’s the self proclaimed “master of the dark arts” of politics. Interesting right? I was intrigued to learn more, unfortunately Roger seems to play his cards close to the vest. This book was a weird combination of him bashing people he didn’t like, and telling young men how to dress with style. It was annoying, useless and weird as well.

The one thing I really like that Roger said that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life was

“Past is fucking prologue”

Now, this is good advice. If you want to know what the future holds, you need to know the context of how we got here.

At the time of this writing (Nov 2018) it seems quite likely that Roger Stone is going to be arrested and perhaps convicted for his behavior in helping Wikileaks attain and release stolen emails from the Democratic party in the run up to the 2016 election. 

Lifeonaire

I can’t stand being “sold” poorly. You know the slick car salesperson, or that hustler standing by a mall kiosk trying to sell you a massage? Worse yet, your old friend who suddenly has a great opportunity for you but want’s to meet for coffee to pitch you? 

That’s what this book was, a slow rolling pitch. By the halfway mark they had all the primer for the pitch done, but had given zero meat yet. Basically, it’s a long introspection about how people don’t like their lives, and apparently this guy has all the answers. Just like a pyramid scheme he won’t pitch what he has until you’re desperate and heavily invested. This is sign number one of a charlatan! If someone makes you commit a portion of your time first just so they can slow pitch you some emotional “need”, then RUN. 

I added a ton of books to my total titles this year

2018 Here is my Audible Purchase list for the year.



Complete, transparent, thorough

Read with me

This is a link to my Facebook book group. It’s almost entirely just me posting , but I would love to include more people. Please interact! 

I also have this idea to put a running list of “Best Bookshelves” on my website. Any feedback on this idea or encouragements is   appreciated. 

I went to Texas to make real estate friends

Ok a few months back I was introduced to a fellow real estate investor Casey Gregersen through email by our mutual friend Mindy Jensen. You may remember Mindy from Fincon 2018!   She is the absolute best!

 

So Casey and I chatted a bit and got to know each other. Super cool guy, he wanted to do some video production that he thought I could help with, we had some mutual value to provide, so I flew out to spend a weekend with him and his incredible family.

Check out his company Facebook page here!

This guy has swag!

Ok real talk, my first thought was that he was scamming me in some way. Though I pretty much assume of this everyone. Not really as a defense mechanism, more like that I constantly long for the opportunity to be rude to people with social impunity.  

Casey though, he’s no scammer. He’s honest, generous, and genuine. 

…I did tell Nichole he resembles a certain perfect looking, clean cut, axe murder and there is a 20% chance I’m not coming home… I mean these people are suspiciously perfect

Hey Alex, do you like Huey Lewis?

It actually turned out to be fun, productive, and inspiring. Really gave me a great impression of Dallas! We had Chik-fil-a twice in ONE day and we had booze, how could it be possibly have been better?

As usual I brought my camera to tell some stories and create some content. 

This is one of my 3 hobbies in life to keep me happy:
1 for money
1 for fitness
1 for creativity

Is this a place part time Airbnb?!

This is what I arrived to, who does this?! it was amazing! They were such generous hosts, they really have no idea how much of a heathen I am.

For reference when you come to my house, you get nothin’, and my dogs bulldoze you with their affection until you cry for mercy and we don’t restrain them.

Annie Gregersen!

Ladies you know this face right? I believe it ‘s called: “pretending to be shy”

Whattup Dallas??!

I’ve never been to Texas before. I’m from the northeast and I kind of have this deep rooted grudge match thing against the south. That’s nothing special really, I have a grudge match against lots of things! Dallas was gorgeous though and I’m really glad I came.

Cars is what I primarily shoot, can't pass up such a good opportunity!
Is there any reason for this selfie to be in here? No, but the lighting is perfect and it's my website.
Setting up for video production
Casey and Annie  have really put an effort into their ramping up their video content. This is why I was so excited to be part of it. I saw them investing in themselves heavily and I know how rare that, I also know it’ll have huge long term results. Of course I wanted in!
These cookies were no joke.
Video from multiple angles
Little shoutout to my Biggerpockets, Fincon, and BANKER people! #debtlife
Is it obvious the Gregersen's are killing it? #shamelessplug
Did I mention I love Chik-fil-?

This is the Facebook live event link

This was the big project of the weekend and it turned out great! I hate this thumbnail though!

We did work our tails off, but in between they took me to see some parts of Dallas and get our Christmas on a little bit as well.

Perfect family!

Excuse me but do you see how perfect this is!?? 

 

….of course I thought they were going to murder me

Shot with a Canon 5d and Sigma 24mm. Little grainy at 1600 ISO

On the last day we spent some time at coffee shops networking. This is how I’ve made some of my best connections. Just spending time with people and casually getting to know them.  

PT Money showed up!

I met PT last year while we was stirring up interest in the very famous FINCON, a conference for financial media creators. This year was my first year going and it was an incredible experience. We hung out a bit there and then we linked up again in Las Vegas a few months back.

Incredible guy, he really deserves a better picture than this awful one I took with my cell phone. 

 

I was only here for a day and a half but what an incredible experience!

Heading back home now.....

Flying into Las Vegas at night it was pitch, pure black for MILES....then my city! It was a neat shot that I just had to share
Who are these people??!

This is my favorite part of Las Vegas. Are these people just landing and need to get some gambling in before going to their hotel? Or are they leaving and need to get one last  fix in before takeoff?

To wrap:

I hope this story was entertaining and shows the value of not just networking, but really making an effort to get to know people. Build friendship not transactions! 

Thanks so much for reading all this.

November 2018

Personal Purchase Update

I closed my last refi if very early October from the previous BRRRR deal I did. I started looking for a new deal immediately and I found one quick! Probably won’t be as good as the last deal but it’ll still be a good one! I closed on that house in mid october so 20 days between getting my money wired to me and closing on the next house. Not bad at all!I’ll make a full post for this one like I usually do once it’s complete. Currently it’s in rehab mode and not that much to talk about, in the meantime you can at least see the deed since the house is paid off. I get these all the time, and I put loans on them so it’s not really a big deal….but still kinda cool!

I was on the biggerpockets podcast!

 

This was a big deal for me because I’ve wanted to be on this thing for about 5 years now! Very exciting stuff. I talk about my real estate journey and some of my approaches to buying real estate. I’m a rookie podcast guest, so I was definitely nervous but tons of people have enjoyed it and I hope you do to. 

My phone has been BLOWING up since it went live and I’m trying to make time to answer everyone, I’ve also finally been convinced to start collecting emails so people can more closely follow what I’m doing. 

In the mean time, watch the interview and HYPE OUT! 

Click here to listen to it

I did a video interview with my friend David at his site From military to Millionaire

Spending my time meeting people on Skype

 

I’ve been doing video chat with people to provide information, build relationships,  and do coaching for free. 

I love meeting people and talking about real estate. If you want to do a free Skype/Google hangout conference with me please reach out! Some people have urged me to charge for my time and create a real ‘coaching’ business out of this, but for now I have refrained. For similar reasons as my above opportunity I think there is far more value in finding great people to invest in rather than simply making money off of a transaction.

So for the time being this opportunity will continue to be free. If you want to talk real estate in any capacity, even if it’s casual, please use link at the bottom of my home page (it says “Let’s meet“) to schedule a time to chat. I’m happy to help if I can and I love to meet people. 

Reading list

This was a bit of a short month for me in terms of books completed. I usually shoot for 4 per month, but the Gulag Archipelago is extremely long and dense. I think I’ll be stuck on this one for a bit longer than usual, but that’s ok because it’s epic and amazing.

Outliers – Malcom Gladwell

The Gulag Archipelago – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

October 2018

Personal Purchase Update

Newest purchase took a tad longer than I expected. As I mentioned last month we had to go back through and do some further updates before we listed it for rent. It took no time at all to get a renter in there which was great, so I scheduled the appraisal with the lender. Hurricane Florence delayed us a week, but the appraisal went through and I got all my money back! 

Purchase price – 55K

Rehab – 10K

All-in cost – 65K

Appraised value – 100K!!!!!!

Rent – $950/month 

It shouldn’t be so easy to make this much money doing so little. 

I went to Fincon 2018

Fincon is an annual conference for financial bloggers. Tons of people in the “blogosphere”, youtubers, podcasters, and content creators of all kinds come together to talk shop. It was a lot of fun, and a useful learning experience. I came away super inspired and I’ve already bought my tickets for next year!
 

Click here if you want to see my experience as told through my camera]

Fincon has an interesting history for me. I had been hearing about it for years through people involved in the personal finance community, but it’s for bloggers. So when I started my blog, I got excited that I had a legitimate reason to go! So I prepared by redesigning the site, I got the nice logo made, business cards, and tried to step up a little bit so I didn’t seem like a total slacker. 

Unfortunately when I got there I felt like a total slacker anyway. Not in a bad way, but in a motivating way. It’s good to see the effort your peers are putting into similar work, helps hold ourselves accountable. Next year I look forward to trying much harder: more preparation, better pitches and branding, more deliberate networking. 

All that said, this event is FUN. I work at a bank and bankers are BORING almost universally, I was worried that hanging with a bunch of money nerds would be similar, (and it was kinda) but it was fantastic and I already bought my tickets to go next year! 

I made a mistake by not going sooner, thinking I didn’t have anything to offer, or wasn’t established enough. I wish I would had gone far earlie. 

 

What’s going to happen in November

I have 2 podcasts coming up! 
 
Very exciting times! Late last year I started this blog to share my real estate thoughts, shortly afterwards I got the opportunity to write for the official Biggerpockets blog regularly. Next up I’m going to record a podcast with them. No idea when/if it’ll air, but I’m excited to prepare diligently and make the most of this opportunity, no squandering! 
 
I have another podcast opportunity with them in the works but it’s still in testin so don’t want to jump the gun. 
 

I’m going to buy another single family home 

I had intended to start this process in September but had a slight delay, all things considered not that big of a deal. This will be my 3rd complete purchase and rehab for the year and that was my goal, excited to hit it!

Residential real estate deals are getting more competitive these days for sure. Margins are tightening and interest rates are rising, I’m starting to develop strategies for alternative paths forward. Keep you posted on what happens. 

Books I read this month

 I only got through 4 books this month but I’m quite happy with the choices I picked, especially Yuval Harari and Richard Dawkins’ new books. I read Roger Stone’s book because I wanted to see what this guy had to say, but it was drivel unfortunately. 

The Federalist Papers – Alexander Hamilton / James Madison

21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari

Stone’s Rules – Roger Stone

Science in the Soul – Richard Dawkins

Want to get involved?

People are always asking to be part of our success, and we are always looking to bring in great talent.

If you are looking to provide some value and want to get involved, don’t be shy. Reach out!

House #6 Smooth as butter

Another project is getting wrapped up and I’m excited to share some details about it!

My deal processes are getting easier each time, and that’s great but the business lessons I’m learning are becoming far more nuanced. The last 2 deals I’ve done have gone very fast: this one was about 11 and the previous was just under 9. Even though the process has gotten easy, it’s not to say there isn’t still a lot to learn each time. 

This deal went very smooth, I did it long distance as usual, and by the time of this posting I’m already bidding on the next property! 

Your goal is to keep smarter people around as much as possible

When I bought this house I really thought I paid too much. Not grossly overpaid, but 5-8k grand which is kind of a lot on a $55k house. I had recently closed on a refi loan so I had capital and I wanted to buy a house immediately. The deals in my area are getting tighter, competition is getting fierce, and rates are going up, so it’s time to move.

I’ve been working with a new realtor for this project and that’s it’s always scary to rely on new people. After not finding a deal for a few weeks, she convinced me to look back at this house after we passed on it. She made a great case for this property: good location (especially for the long term), the ARV will be higher than I had originally thought, and it was a simple rehab. Not the way I usually buy, but it sure didn’t’ sound bad! 

I thought the ARV would be 80k at most and her estimated 90k was naively optimistic. 90k wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, but you should never buy a house assuming best case scenario. Luckily I knew if the value did come in a bit low we would be fine.

I also really wanted to show this person that I trusted them, and I wanted to actually put skin in the game on it. I think this is incredibly important in building a team. They must know you trust their advice

The house was a light rehab, that may sound good, but I was apprehensive that an appraiser would come look at a house that I JUST paid a total of 65k for, and give me 85k for it 2 months later. I have no idea how appraisals really get decided, but it seemed a little iffy to me. OK whatever, we moved forward and closed. 

Appraisal eventually came in at 100k, more than either of us expected. The rent came in $100/month higher than we anticipated as well.  How easy is real estate?! 

This was an eye opening experience for me in terms of how to build great teams and work with people to accomplish common goals. I literally had a partner find me this deal, sell me on it against my intuition, and it turned out to be very profitable. All the credit for this deal belongs to my team, and I look forward to relying on them more in the future. 

The money:

Purchase – $54,463

Rehab – $11,329

Total all-in – $67,487

ARV – $100,000

Equity created – 32,512

Rent – $950/mo

Difficulty  – SUPER EASY

This is the HUD, I like to put them up because it makes the process much more transparent, and not enough people share them. Line 103 is the additional settlement charges to get the rehab and insurance money back.  (I can’t find the page 2, so it doesn’t show the charges itemized).

The total cost of the project is on line 120,  this is what the lender is going to look at. 

My process for BRRRR:

Bid

Offer Accept

Contractor estimate

Insurance quote

Add these to the HUD 

Close. I paid for the house, rehab, insurance all at once, upfront. 

Rehab

Tenant placement

Start refi loan process

Close 

How could it be MORE easy?

 

In all seriousness, this was a fun deal and hopefully, this and my other deal writeups encourage people to go out and use this information to make themselves some money. I don’t make it seem easy, once you have great people it is easy.