Gary Wilson 00:00
If you wake up and you’re breathing, in your mind is working, you can do anything you want to, and you can manage anything. And I learned how to really run businesses, you got to start thinking, feeling speaking, acting like a business person, you have to do that. Otherwise you always will be an employee to yourself.
Tim Lyons 00:17
Welcome to the passive income brothers podcast. Here we take the fear out of real estate investing using real life stories of everyday successful investors. Let’s go Welcome to another episode of the passive income brothers podcast. My name is Tim Lyons and today I’m joined by two rock stars, one of which being my brother, Greg, how you doing today, buddy?
Greg Lyons 00:35
Hey, I’m doing fantastic. And we were talking before we started recording him just how happy we are to do this podcast. And the interesting people that we get to meet today’s guests is no different, super interesting way and a million different ways to make money in real estate. And Gary Wilson will definitely kind of lead us that way.
Tim Lyons 00:55
Yeah, Greg, and I love doing this, right. It’s a labor of love. We don’t get paid for it. But it’s also something that we try not to miss. Right. Every week. During our conversation. We were talking, Gary that through this process through investing in real estate, we’ve gotten to meet so many great people, the networking is insane. In real estate investing, what Greg and I have found is that people that are a little bit higher on the ladder than say we are at the present time, are always willing to kind of let that hand down and help you out and pull you up a couple rungs on that ladder. So with that in mind, I want to introduce you to Gary Wilson. Welcome to the show, Gary. Thanks,
Gary Wilson 01:32
Tim. Thanks, Greg. Appreciate the opportunity to be here, guys. I’m looking forward to it. So
Tim Lyons 01:36
Gary, you have a unique, I think everybody’s unique, right? But you’re very unique and that you kind of touched in a lot of different parts of real estate and you’ve been doing some coaching and you’re a podcaster yourself. So how it came to be that you were a teacher or trainer or coach and how you got into real estate. Sure.
Gary Wilson 01:52
Well, the real estate part of my life started at orientation. summer before my freshman year in college, it was Old Dominion University that is high water, Virginia. And coming back from one of the exams, you take these preliminary exams to figure out where they’re gonna place you. I met this guy named Socrates. So we became good buddies, and everybody had a good time, you know, partying in the dorms and all that and the next day we decided, you know, I think we should be roommates. So we went to the Student Center, and lo and behold, our parents were in there talking to each other, this kind of awakening, we’re still really good friends. He lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida. So I get to see them every now and then. But any case, when we graduated, we were going to just go read someplace just like most people do your read first we call his daddy said, No, you’re not going to rent you’re going to buy and you’re going to buy someone’s gonna make money. And I’m like, sounds good to me. Just where do I sign? You know, he never gave us any money. But he showed us how to strike a deal. In January 1986. That was the same year, the famous Tax Reform Act came out. And also interest rates was still pretty high. And we assumed the owners first mortgage, he was in the Navy. So we could assume a VA mortgage. And you can still do that today. There’s qualifying and non qualifying. But we assumed as first mortgage, he had a second mortgage that we refinance for him and put our names. And then the remaining equity gave him a third note. So there was a three part deal in we rented out the other two rooms to two other guys and their combined rent pretty much paid our monthly costs. I mean, it was amazing. That was the first deal. And I’m thinking guys, you know what, I’m going to do this. I mean, I’ve got a passion for it. I’ve always loved real estate, you know how life is I ended up getting married two years later started having children, then 10 years goes by, and I hadn’t done a thing since and I’ll just do a quick break there and see if there’s any questions on the first part. You know,
Greg Lyons 03:33
that’s great. That’s great. I tend this was house hacking before house hacking was cool. Creative finance was cool, I guess. Right? All the things that are cool now was happening with Gary in 1986. But Gary, no, keep going on. Let’s hear you know, and a lot of people get into real estate. It’s like, Hey, I’m house hacking. This is great. I’m making money, and then they don’t do anything. Action stopped. I should do this. I’m a daydream investor. What happened? 10
Gary Wilson 03:58
years later, you know, I’m in the corporate world that was working for a large bank that when the mergers and acquisitions and just hating it. I felt like guys, I was dying on the vine. I mean, I was not born to be sitting on a desk. I can say that for a fact. I just didn’t know that early on. So any case I took the chrome sheets course, I think everybody I’ve heard says I took a course. I think I got it twice. But it gave me the confidence to go out there and try some more with Mr. And Amanda taught me back when I was 23. In that next year when I was 35 years old when I bought 10 properties, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes just going gangbusters. I mean, in one year, I acquired 30 units. Now here’s what’s interesting to get started, I done pretty good in my own investing in the stock market and being in the bank. I had access to a lot of material and then the corporate library, so I did well in the stock market and I had a bunch of money saved up and I took 50,000 of it, buy my first couple of fourplexes then I got a home equity loan on my house at the time to go buy a few more properties. Then I took out a personal line of credit to go out and buy some more properties putting it down payments down. It didn’t have enough cash flow coming in, it actually was meeting my take home pay from the bank, it was crazy. I’m like this is really working. But being a conservative person that I was with two kids in a 401k, and medical and dental, all those trappings of that conforming life I stuck around. I didn’t actually retire from the business world for five more years when I was 40 years old. But here’s what I did. And this is really a really big lesson for everybody. I know, I started off with the creative stuff. And I still use creative purchasing techniques eventually. But what I was doing at that time frame was interest rates were coming down. And I really wanted to have more equity and less debt and more cashflow, and less expensive. So what I did after that first year is I took the next year and paid down that secondary debt, paid it all off. So now I was left with first mortgages and a whole bunch of equity, then went out again and started buying sort of buying kept buying more in by the time I was 40. And I was doing as many as 17 deals at a time. And I had enough cash flow coming in enough capital to keep that machine going, where I knew if I left and I get hit by a car, I would be okay. And by the way, that exact scenario pretty much almost happened wasn’t a car, there was a skiing accident. And I remember thinking to myself, thank goodness, I have all these properties, because if it wasn’t for that it had been disastrous. I got back on my feet again. And the rest of say is history. But that middle timeframe there, that was where I really cut my teeth and learn how to identify areas and identify properties, how to analyze leases, and scrutinize good sellers for bad sellers in the BS from the good to the truth. Those are those are the years where I really bought my freedom, I literally bought my own freedom,
Tim Lyons 06:35
Gary, I love that. And I just want to really congratulate you because you come out of college, you don’t know any of this, but your friend’s dad kind of tells you about or shows you creative financing that you don’t take action for 10 whole years, you go to the bankers route, right. And it’s predictable, right salary, like you said the trappings healthcare benefits family, and just what you do, it makes you sleep well at night. And then over a 10 year period, you went on a acquisition spree of acquiring, I’ve lost count, but a lot of units, right dozens of units. And what I love about it is that you said two or three times that you were earning cash flow that was equal to or greater than your bankers salary. And I want the listener to really hone in on that. Because when we talk about financial freedom, this is one of the arguments I have with some of my local buddies, what would you rather have 10 million in cash? Or would you rather have 30 40k a month in cash flow? And a lot of the guys always say like that bigger number two, what would you do with it? Right? Oh, I buy this and I buy that and I buy this and I buy that? And I’m like, well, that’s not really financial freedom, right? Financial freedom is having that cash flow equal or greater to your monthly nut. And now your time right. So what I really want to dive into real quick is people still equate real estate investing with a get rich quick flipping house, the sexy TV shows on HGTV and a&e, right flip this house, one that are listed whatever it might be, they see like you know how much they put in how much they bought it for and what their profit was. And I feel like people get enamored by that. But you about a decade to build up this cash flow. I just want you to talk a little bit more about what made you okay, what was the decision that went into, you know, starting with cash, starting with that 50,000 And then taking the HELOC on your personal residence because I’ve done that too. Yep. And then taking a personal loan, like talk about the debt. Talk about why you were okay doing that.
Gary Wilson 08:31
Well, a couple things. Firstly, I’ve apologized remiss because I forgot to tell you, I also borrowed from my 401k repeatedly because you can borrow from a 401k, pay it back, borrow, pay it back. And believe it or not, in the early days, not only where you’re paying yourself back that interest payment, but before 19 Whatever the year was, it was also tax deductible. It can’t do that. Now, of course. So anyways, back to the debt part. In my mind, I thought if I had the cash flow meeting my daily corporate income, that’s part A, or A B was I wanted to have the capital the bank account a lot to cash in or to keep the projects going to keep buying, acquiring more properties and fixing it up. And then when refinancing, I did use the burr method, we just didn’t call it the burr methods. So by remodel rent, refinance, and repeat when it came to the ratios, this is something really important for our listeners here. If this is the formula you want to follow if you want to never have any problem borrowing money. So there’s two parts. Part A is the asset liability part. Let’s say you own $10 million in real estate, you don’t want to owe more than two thirds of that 6.6 million. That’s on asset liability. So if you want to own at least 1/3 of what you really believe you have, you don’t want to own more than two thirds of that on the income expense side. It’s the reverse ratio. It’s the same ratio the bankers use, which is they don’t want you to owe more than 1/3 of your pay. So it’s either going to be 1/3 of your gross pay or 1/4 of your net pay. Now a lot of people get scared by that but what they’re really talking about is principal and interest. We’re not talking about taxes and insurance and all the utility bills you got to pay. Those are all expenses, what bankers are looking at is how much principal and interest is going out every month, versus how much cash we have coming in every month. Now, there are periods of time when you’re growing more aggressively, you might be 80% leverage. I mean, I knew investors that were 9095, even 100% levers. To me, that was too risky, because one bad crisis, and you could be belly up to me when I had 1/3 equity. And in some cases, it was 80% leverage because I was growing aggressively, I would do that, because my game plan required me to aggressively remodel those properties to increase the rents and the equity the value of the property so that by the end of the year, I would have that 80% leverage back down to two thirds, not that I would pay those mortgages down that much. But I would increase the value and increase the cash flow by improving the properties through the burn method that was key and show I would never take on more than I could get done in a year’s time. That’s why 17 was the maximum. And I don’t recommend that doing 17 projects at a time is not easy. I don’t care unless you’re some kind of superhuman person. And I’d already left my day job at that point. So I was doing this full time. It is a tall order, you’ll have contractors calling you daily, you know, that countertop you wanted? Well, it’s no longer 1000. Now, it’s 2000. I would just say yes, I would not ask why I would not see let’s look at an alternative. I just kept saying yes to every question that came across as I wanted to get those projects done. At the end of the day, some of those projects when the dust had settled, I literally had pretty much used up the cash out when I go to refinance, I would put cash in my pocket, which was a really nice benefit. But in some cases, the banker is like, well, you can’t do that you this is your breakeven on that part. But I was okay with that, because I still had the equity in the cash flow. What I’m getting at though is only manage what you can reasonably manage, don’t take are more than you could reasonably manage. Even a builder would tell you it’s hard to build 17 homes at the same time. So okay, so those are the ratios. And everything that I borrowed that was secondary debt, not first mortgages, but lines of credit barring us to 401k I always made sure I paid that back off within a year. That was always one of the goals. So I’m very strict, very conservative. But I will tell you, everything looks good on paper, and everybody’s happy when you’re looking at all the money you’re going to make. But I can promise you that if you live long enough, you’re going to have life events happen. People get divorced, people lose jobs, people die every day, somebody is born, somebody’s married, somebody dies somebody’s divorce. So when he gets a job, somebody loses a job. Somebody T boned you out on the freeway. I was ski racing is what happened is me and I fortunately, did a faceplant and ended up in the woods in our trees and rocks and everything and had two broken vertebrae, just in a fraction of a second. It all came to a crashing home and I couldn’t walk and I couldn’t drive. But six months later, I was walking, I was driving into the interim, I learned how to work from a bed. I mean, I literally had a little potty right beside my bed, or at least the first three months. But if I didn’t manage those ratios, like I was describing, and I didn’t have that equity in the cashflow, I don’t know what would have happened, I would have probably been on the government dole, I just I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t drive and I couldn’t work. But I can manage things from a telephone and a computer. And that’s exactly what I did. It taught me more than was valuable lessons in my life is I don’t care what happens if you wake up and you’re breathing in your mind is working. And you can talk, you can do anything you want to and you can manage anything. And I learned how to really run businesses that taught me how to run businesses. So I’m not personally involved with any of the operations, which was a next big step. Because eventually you don’t want to be in the trenches. You don’t want to be wearing boots and jeans and go into the jobs every day, you’re gonna want to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. And only way to do that is you got to start thinking feeling speaking acting like a business person and run your investments like a business just like a real good business person runs a business, you have to do that. Otherwise you always will be an employee to yourself. Yeah,
Greg Lyons 13:52
you’re absolutely right. And this is the passive income brothers podcast and you were very, very active to kind of get your freedom we could go into the biggest pitfalls of being an active investor seems like you’ve been off plenty 17 homes in one year. That’s not easy. That’s another job. But it’s one way you’ve gotten to where you are a lot of people that we deal with go the passive route because they do have a wonderful job or refinance or something like that. And they’re looking to place money when you retired at 40. And you know, had a bunch of homes and all those different things, a big kind of portfolio of rental real estate. You’ve done a lot in the interim over the next couple of decades. Where did you go from there because you really have an interesting story as you grew in real estate.
Gary Wilson 14:37
What was interesting is I’ve always been a fan of learning and reading studying so thinking Grow Rich, absolutely so much, much read in Robert Kiyosaki Rich Dad Poor Dad followed by Cashflow Quadrant and I’ve read all the books taken all the training programs, one of the things you’ll learn in there, it’s one thing to be an investor and own real estate. It’s another thing to also own businesses. So if you look the Cashflow Quadrant You’ve got E which was employee upper left hand corner S, which is self employed, which is what dentists are and doctors and real estate agents right on the lower left corner, upper right corner, you’ve got business owner bought a record, you got investor. So the key is to be on the right side of the quadrant in both business ownership and real estate investment ownership. So I started building businesses, I first built a brokerage company that focuses on investors. And then I built a property management company that manages properties for those investors in my own, by the way to that I built a title company to provide title insurance because I had investors say, Well, I understand I don’t need to really pay for title insurance. If I pay cash and like, don’t do it. That’s one of the biggest risks you could ever take. And if something goes wrong, you’re toast. Why take that downside risk, just spend a 500 bucks and get the policy anyway. So I did that and also had an appraisal business, I was able to serve my clients in multiple ways. The term we call largest share of wallet came from banking, that if you’ve got a client, can you serve them using your systems, your models and all that in a way that’s, you know, honorable, ethical and profitable? And the answer was, yes. So I started growing these businesses that I can another problem. I’m like, I’ve got literally 250 rental units and 1000s of tenants. And now we’ve got four of the businesses I’m managing. And I was right back where I was before, which was working myself to the bone. So I started selling and or emerging businesses and selling some of the properties that were paid off or mostly paid off to position myself for i didn’t know i just do, I was in a good position, I can probably retire again. But I’m sure you gather by now I can’t sit around, I can’t sit still. When I go to the beach, guys, I might spend an hour a day in the chair. But I’m either going to be riding my bike, golfing, paddleboarding, surfing, anything I can do to stay active. And it’s the same thing in life. So what I did was this as I started training their real estate agents, how to work with investments I’ve already taught investors, I knew that game. I don’t recommend that life for anybody. It’s when you when you’re on the road traveling and training and all that stuff, it’ll wear on you, it’s part of the body. And it’s fun in your family life too. So I thought, well, I could build a national team of agents, trained the agents, how to work with the investors, and also teach them how to teach the investors like I did how to invest. So now we do that across the country in 36. States, we’ve got agents, we call them investor agents that are certified, they know how to identify, analyze, and negotiate on and off market deals. And I get a small piece of all those pies 153 People in 36 states, and yet I can do it from the beach, I can do it from my back porch, I can do it from my parents house, in quite frankly, it’s not a bad schedule. Man, I started 10 in the morning, I’m usually done by five, sometimes three, and life’s lot easier that way. So I built that team. And then the final pieces, what I call the healing House Foundation, it’s a vision I had 25 years ago, close family member was in dire straits and needed help. And they needed at what I call a healing house. So now I have a foundation called the healing House Foundation where we can provide funding for people in critical crisis moment need of housing, that’s the final piece. And what’s interesting is we already launched it, but this coming up here in another 49 days, actually, from today, we’re going to be funding that with enough money. So it’ll be self sufficient going forward to be able to theoretically give away $100,000 a day. That’s the goal. So that’s coming up very quickly. And at that point, get back to traveling and things like that show up I love to travel and just been quite busy the last few years. Sounds
Tim Lyons 18:23
like it sounds like a Gary, I mean, what I love about this story is so many of us are taught the accumulation model, right? Go to school, get a good job, get a good grades, right? The whole thing, max out the 401 K the 403 B and then someday you’ll be able to pay down your house, by the way, pay it off, you know, don’t take any credit card debt. No, he locks no nothing, right. And then when you’re 65, you can start living. And at one point in this country that probably works for a lot of people. And I think that’s probably sound advice for even people today. But people who can’t sit still and Gary, I’m one of those people. And so as Greg, that’s not good enough. And that’s why we’re talking today, right? Because that wasn’t good enough. And we’re doing something different about it. What I love about it is that you go from corporate job to retirement, buying your freedom with rentals, and you could have stopped there but you didn’t you go on a roadshow and you’re teaching people all over the country how to do this because you found out you unlock the key and you want to share it. Then you start a brokerage property management company, a title company and appraisal company, and the entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well. You could have retired for a second time. It’s funny when you talk to people like yourself, they do the grind work, they retire, they realize I don’t want to be retired, they do some more passion projects, they can like basically retire a second time over and then they want to give back I really think you hit on a niche where Realtors by and large. And I don’t have any data to support this. But realtors are not investors. So I think you really unlock very powerful avenue to create wealth for investors by training those folks to train the investor and how to do it at a negotiate and how to buy an atom have managed. So I wanted to jump into the last three questions, Gary, because I think you’re gonna have some good answers. And the first question we ask our guests is Robert Kiyosaki has a saying that can turn some people off when they first hear it. And he says that savers are losers and debtors are winners. What does that mean to you?
Gary Wilson 20:19
There’s good debt and bad debt. Robert Kiyosaki talks about doodads and are associated with bad debt and good debt associated with income producing assets. So if you think about what I did, I was pretty heavily leveraged. I mean, by my standards being is meant as much as 80% leverage, that’s really aggressive. But I was acquiring an asset to throw off more income than the payment on that debt, far more income. So it was literally Yes, I was borrowing money, but I was buying something that was producing far more money, right? And what’s funny growing up in my household, my kids, I can hear him today running around, hey, guess what, we’re going to buy another house, because we want to go to Mexico next year for vacation, house to pay for the Mexican vacation, reducing right. And all the other things, the cars, we never had dead on cars. I mean, we just use the properties to buy the cars. So people that save money, what he’s talking about generally, that’s like in a traditional conventional savings account, which is horrible. I mean, if you look at today’s market, inflation publicly, they’re saying whatever it is, I don’t even care and those who matter 5687 9%, it’s really not, I guarantee you, if you look back over the last year and a half, the cost of living for buying meat and eggs and milk and gas has been more like 30 something percent, that’s real inflation, what they call a basket of goods that the government uses to determine gross domestic product and consumer price index, they change the basket, they change the goods in a basket to meet their needs for political purposes. So don’t listen to that crap, you know, savings account are only going to pay you I don’t know what they’re paying, or they went one 2%. And maybe it’s up from a half a percent, you’re losing money. And as soon as they got if you got money to put in a savings account, it should be put into an income producing asset that’s going to build wealth over time, accumulate absolutely no capital appreciation and give you some cash flow at the same time. That’s a big difference. Yeah,
Greg Lyons 22:06
definitely. It is. And one of the biggest takeaways from this podcast is being mindful of the ratios because people get in trouble in real estate when they run out of time, or they run out of money. And those are the biggest things to keep an eye on the second and this is going to be a fastball right down the middle for you. What do you tell people when they say investing in real estate is too risky.
Gary Wilson 22:27
I’ve done a lot of in depth traditional stock market using mutual funds, we paid her own REIT, we created a closed end mutual fund, which was like a REIT, of course, invested in real estate and even invested in crypto. And I’m telling you think that the real estate has an advantage over all the others. It’s a physical, tangible asset. Even if your tenants move out you still got the asset there and still worth something like the land believe it the house burned down. The land is still worth something real estate never goes to zero ever. I don’t care how bad a recession is. In the last recession, more houses changed hands any other time in history. The key is which end Do you want to be on the losing end or the receiving end? That’s the part you got to figure out how to be on the receiving end of the real estate physical tangible asset will always hold some value. Stock market businesses go out of business, Enron WorldCom. Look at Berman radar, there’s so much risk out there in real estate is the One Investment the only one I can guarantee you it’ll always have some value because it is a physical tangible asset. Love
Tim Lyons 23:28
it. I can’t wait to ask you this third and final question because I think you’re also going to knock it out of the park given your life experience. But Jim Rohn is a de facto mentor of ours. We love to read his stuff and to listen to his recordings and YouTube videos. And he says something that goes like this. He says a formal education will make you a living and a self education that will make you a fortune. Well,
Gary Wilson 23:49
I have a formal education in computer science, wonderful experience. My first job was a NASA working on the space shuttle project. Second job, I guess I can talk about announcements along I worked as a contractor for the Navy tracking Soviet subs. And the third one was working at the bank. But the difference was they gave me a guaranteed income a paycheck every week or every two weeks. That’s a myth, guys, there’s no such thing as a guaranteed income from any employment. It’s not going to happen, unfortunately, but not the end of a table where I have to lay people off. I know it’s horrible for them. It’s also horrible for the person laying people off. I know they got kids. I know they got bills, and I gotta lay them off. Are you kidding me? So that’s a horrible scenario. And you’re making other people rich? Yes, you’re saving in a 401k. But you know what? It’s like Vegas, put me in a 401k and I’m not going to tell you you shouldn’t do it. What I’m gonna tell you is it’s rigged so the house wins. Okay, the house is always going to win. When you follow please forgive me when you follow a government legislated program. Trust me the odds that stack in the houses favor always. Now on the other hand, when you’re an entrepreneur, and you teach yourself how to analyze duplexes and how to analyze flips, okay, you’re control, nobody can fire you, you’re in control of how hard you work how much you make, it’s the only way to buy your freedom. I know people in our 80s that are retired for 10 or 20 years, and they still have that employee mentality. It’s a form of indentured servitude, I hate to see it, but the only way to really get your buyer or freedom is to build it yourself. That’s how you do it.
Tim Lyons 25:21
I love it. I feel like we’re gonna have to have you back for part two, because I think we’re only scraping the tip of the iceberg here. But be mindful of our time, I would love for you to give out your information for how folks can get in touch with you, especially the realtors out there that are listening, and they want to know more about what you’re up to, what’s the best way for them to connect your
Gary Wilson 25:40
will for all the realtors. And this is kind of a passion of mine is I know so many realtors that are still working in their 70s No plan new realtors in his 60s don’t have a plan, none of them have a plan, go to global investor agent.com, watch a video call some of the people on the team play there’s a button where you can get an appointment with me to have a call with me. And I’ll walk you through where you are now and how you can get to where you want to go. But do that awesome. I’ll give you my personal email. It’s Gary GA ry at our ewgw.com you can email me but it’s best to go on the website, just fill out that name, email, phone number, whatever it is, because then you can actually set up a dedicated time with me where I can focus on you. And I tell you the way the market is going, guys, if you don’t have a definite plan for working with investors, I mean with the right methodology, terminology and the right training and coaching, it’s gonna be a struggle these next few years, we don’t know how long or wide and deep and we don’t know that all we know is the numbers tell us what’s gonna happen. Bank of America is one of the only banks right now that’s being truthful about it. They’re telling us it’s going to happen and no other banks doing that. In fact, the second thing just failed yesterday, first triple A big bank, by the way. Sorry. It’s like the sixth bank with the second biggest bank that’s failed. The writing’s on the wall, guys, if you’re a realtor, you’re not prepared. Don’t panic, prepare and just go to that website and check it out. And I’ll show you what to do. Well, that’s
Tim Lyons 26:59
gonna do it for this week on the passive income brothers podcast. Gary, thank you so much for being with us. And we look forward to serving you again next week.
Sounds good. Thank you. Gosh,
Tim Lyons 27:08
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