OPERATIONS Business Operating Systems

MARKET TRENDS David vs. Goliath: Who Wins?

Is Affordable Housing a Wise Investment? INVESTMENT STRATEGY

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Education Propels Success

ne of the greatest equalizers in

truly ”practicing what they preach,” not just talking about doing something they


the world is a person’s education. As Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the

have no experience with. Speaking of education, Think Realty will be back in Houston on March 23-24, focusing on recession-resistant investing. You can make money in any real estate cycle, not just when the market is hot. Join us in Houston, one of the hottest markets for real estate investing, to learn from industry leaders about how they monitor trends and shift their investing strategies. Visit to see our agenda and speaker lineup. Understanding the implications of legislation is another important area to educate yourself about. What may look like a great deal can go south very quickly if you are unaware of regulations, specifically local regulations that differ from city to city. Check out our Legislative Lookout on page 31, where GRC (Governmental Relations Committee) member Abhi Golhar covers common regulatory pitfalls to be aware of in order to make informed investment decisions. •

world. Education also gives us freedom, opportunity, and hope for the future.” The beautiful part about real estate investing is that achieving success or financial freedom through it does not require formal education. Still, it helps to supplement your understanding of the industry. Although real estate investing does not have a formal track of collegial education, educational opportunities are available. As you consider some of these resources, it’s important to do your due diligence on various “educators” in the investing space. Think Realty prides itself on offering content that is truly intended for you to learn at your own pace and identify areas where you think you can be most successful. Check out our Resident Expert Course Catalog to review the various topics and start learning from those who are


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EDUCATION IN REAL ESTATE INVESTING This special section focuses on some of the resources available to those seeking to improve their knowledge, understanding, and success in real estate investing.

6 | think realty magazine :: march – april 2023

INVESTMENT STRATEGY 8  How to Be a Smart Real Estate Investor in a Tight Market These are the four keys for knowing how, when, and where to invest. by John V. Santilli 10  Is Affordable Housing a Wise Investment? Contrary to conventional thinking, real estate investors should consider some of the benefits to including affordable housing in their investment portfolios. by Justin Hamaker 12  17 Ways You Can Make Money Investing in Real Estate Real estate investing requires patience, timing, and a willingness to get creative. by Luke Babich SPECIAL FOCUS EDUCATION IN REAL ESTATE INVESTING 18  Why Experience Is the Best Education There are some things only experience can teach—and it’s best to learn from others’ experience rather than our own. by Jeff Roth 20  Your Development Is a Process, Not a Destination Never stop growing your skills and honing your strengths. by Kurt Coleman 22  28 Free (or Inexpensive) REI Investor Tools Use these to leverage your knowledge. by Neil Timmins

6  Midwest Multifamily Market Trends Here’s why investors are taking a serious look at the Midwest. by Jeff Roth 8  SEO Keyword Volumes in the Hottest Real Estate Markets Incorporate SEO tactics on your website to build your portfolio and gain investors. by Jenifer Calandra 10  Hottest Real Estate Investing Markets for 2023 Foreclosure auction data provides a view of which real estate markets are most popular

MARKET AND TRENDS 34  Where Should Real Estate Investors Go for Current Market News? An Article Series on Navigating the Private Lending World by Damon Riehl

36  Beat the Odds

Home prices in markets with a strong local economy will hold up better. by Ingo Winzer

38  Corporate Investors vs. Homeowners

with investors and which markets are potentially most profitable for investors. by Daren Blomquist

Where will this modern-day David versus Goliath tale lead? by Taylor Miller

14  Child’s Play

OPERATIONS 40  Process Map Your Way to Success

Fun and imaginative children’s rooms have the ability to be the most memorable room in any house! by Michele Van Der Veen 18  America’s Last Stand at Affordable Housing As the need for affordable housing grows, mobile home communities can be a solution. by Neil Timmins 22  Expanding Your Real Estate Investment Portfolio in an Evolving Market Finding a lending partner that understands your specific goals and vision can help you grow in

Documenting your processes allows you to run an efficient, profitable business. by Gary Harper

42  Using Data Enrichment Services to Guide Your Investments

Additional data can provide you with the insights and information you need to make informed decisions and help you contact the right people. by Jamie Cohen

any market. by Rob Chiusano

4 6  The Importance of a Business Operating System

24  Booming Markets for

A business operating system allows your business to operate more efficiently—and to replicate success. by Jim Tannehill

Self-Storage Real Estate Self-storage has continued its streak as a high- performing commercial real estate asset class. by Ryan Gibson 26  Unlocking Your Financial Future with an SDIRA You can leverage your retirement funds to invest in alternative assets tax-free. by Sarah Shellam

SALES AND MARKETING 48  How to Build Better Prospect Lists

26  Why REI Education Is Important

You don’t need a formal degree in investing to find success with real estate investing, but learning the fundamentals will help you unlock real estate’s wealth-building power. by Ryan Zomorodi

Increase conversions by focusing on these property types. by Justin Silverio

30  A Market for Groves

Polk County, Florida, is being absorbed in the path of progress. by Susan Reilly LEGISLATION 31  Are You Up-to-Date About Legislation That Could Impact Your Portfolio?

28  How Do You Choose Good Real Estate Education?

DESIGN 54  The Front Door: A Portal to First Impressions

There’s more than enough out there, but not everything is right for you. by Tom Olson

Here’s how to create an amazing front door that will make a great first impression on


potential buyers. by Michele Van Der Veen

Being informed about legislation protects your investments and helps you make informed investment decisions. by Abhi Golhar

2  Key to Finding Hot Markets Investors should be aware of several housing trends that will likely play out. by Marco Santarelli

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How to Be a Smart Real Estate Investor in a Tight Market THESE ARE THE FOUR KEYS FOR KNOWING HOW, WHEN, AND WHERE TO INVEST.

by John V. Santilli

s you search for new property in a tight real estate market, there’s often no room for negotiation or an opportunity for substantial ROI. In today’s economy, limited real estate availability and rising inflation often result in new requirements for proof of liquidity. In the short term, uncovering higher prices in untapped real estate locations can offer more opportunity for a buy- and-hold investor and more value in the long run. So, what’s the most intelli- gent approach for your next real estate investment? Here are some considerations. A

NO. 1 Preserve Your Cash When making an offer, investors should never forget cash is king. But sometimes, it can be a challenge to manage your money thoughtfully on a fix-and-flip venture. What’s this mean for you? Don’t pursue over-improvements and renovations based on your tastes; instead, focus on making the prop- erty attractive enough for when you decide to flip. You certainly don’t want to lose out on a buyer because you overindulged on the back- splash or installed a lap pool in an already-finished basement.

NO. 2 Establish a Budget — and an Out — Before You Start Key to your success is establishing rehab guidelines before starting your project. Having a detailed plan to follow for all improvement work on a property will keep you within your budget. More important, this pre-planning will ensure you main- tain your profit margins and help you cope with any unforeseen issues during the project. Whether you’re leaning toward flipping versus renting the property, make sure you know your margins ahead of time and know when it’s

8 | think realty magazine :: march – april 2023

real estate less of a risk than investing in the stock market In today’s tight market, it’s more important than ever to be smart about how, when, and where you choose to invest. Think wisely about spending on a fix-and-flip first, and don’t be afraid to hold and rent—and then sell later. If the market isn’t delivering good opportunities and great returns in this new year, there will always be another opportunity to sell later.

time to pivot. Get your finances organized from the start, and refrain from letting your ego get in the way. Also, don’t spend too much on expensive materials or too little on solid craftsmanship. Those mistakes can put you in the hole and affect your ROI. Most homeowners tend to think they must upgrade everything before selling. The more intelligent approach is to find the 20% of upgrades that will add to 80% of the value. Most of these will likely be cosmetic and much cheaper than you’d expect. NO. 3 Understand the Values in a Particular Market Look for more rental demand in larger markets now that people are expected to return to work in person. According to Entrepreneur, nine out of 10 companies are requiring a hybrid or partial return to the office in 2023, which may lead to demand for more rentals in larger markets. So, make sure you thoroughly do

your research. And don’t forget your pending property may require an appraisal when you seek a loan, depending on your liquidity history. NO. 4 Find the Right Financing Partner Wherever your path to real estate investment takes you, make sure you partner with a lender that has your best interest at heart. Research your options from small to large and in between because there are differ- ences in how they’ll approach their work with you: ● Large-size financing partner: Conglomerates tied to Wall Street or insurance companies and restricted or motivated by secondary market implications ● Medium-size financing partner: Larger private lenders whose funding comes from multiple private equity resources ● Small-size financing partner: One-off investors who consider

John V. Santilli is the chief revenue officer for RFG. He joined the company in July 2019 and is responsible for all opportunities connected to it,, including expanding the company’s sales channels to maintain its position as a leader in rehab financing. Before joining RFG, Santilli had 25 years of lending and marketing executive leadership experience across multiple private and public marketing- dependent companies. He managed companies from startup to maturity, ranging from $2.5 million to more than $50 million in annual revenue.

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Is Affordable Housing a Wise Investment?


by Justin Hamaker

nless you have been hiding under a rock the past few years, you’ve heard the United States has an affordable housing crisis. Lack of affordable housing is one of the top, if not the top, issues for the U.S. housing market. Prior to the housing market boom of the last two years, there was an estimated shortage of 7 million affordable homes. During the last two years, tracking the home price and rental growth as a metric reveals the gap in affordable housing supply has only widened. U

The difference in the affordable housing crisis versus others is that solutions are closer than we think, thanks to the multitude of options and programs available to incentivize and attract investors into this arena. BUSTING A MYTH An common myth is that investors have to jeopardize their return or sacrifice earnings to participate in the affordable housing arena. That is FALSE.

Investors simply have to participate in the right ways with companies or assets that have a proven track record. One proven niche is manufactured homes on acreage. The beauty of this is it provides investors with an investment model tied to the appreciating real estate market that is also at the center of the affordable housing sector. WHY INVEST IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING? Nestled perfectly between single-family homes and multifamily

10 | think realty magazine :: march – april 2023

residential living, manufactured homes provide a product to consumers at an affordable cost without giving up land, space, or square footage. Given the sector’s economic resilience compared with other housing sub-asset classes, the affordable housing sector remains and will continue to remain an attractive strategy within real estate. Here are a few of the reasons why all real estate investors should have some exposure to affordable housing within their investment portfolio: ● Even during recessionary periods, affordable housing is an essential need and demand stays steady. ● In fact, affordable housing demand rises during recessionary periods because incomes drop. Renters can’t afford higher-class, market-rate apartment units, spurring affordable housing demand. During the last three economic downturns, for example, affordable housing rent growth and occupancy growth outperformed traditional apartments. ● Affordable housing has proven to provide resilient cash flow during recessionary environments. Why? Because rent for affordable housing units typically remain steady, unlike rents for market- rate apartments. ● Given that a large portion of the housing market targeting a lower area median income profile is backed by the government (e.g., Section 8), risks are largely mitigated as the government makes direct payments to the property owner. This support

● There are numerous tax benefits associated with investing in affordable housing, included but not limited to the ability to deduct property-related expenses, deferring or eliminating capital gains taxes, and numerous other credits a knowledgeable real estate CPA can provide guidance on. ● It provides an opportunity to demonstrate direct social and environmental impact with favorable financial returns. Affordable housing is the future in real estate investments. No one wants to be late to the party, so seeking out those investments sooner rather than later will provide maximum returns for investors. This type of investment can offer strong cash flows in a resilient sector and in

challenging economic environments. Outsized demand for affordable housing, coupled with limited supply, positions the sector to have strong long-term occupancy relative to other rental housing subtypes. There is consistent demand for affordable housing throughout the economic cycle, but that’s not necessarily true for market-rate apartments, where demand is driven in part by economic growth and employment trends. •

Justin Hamaker is the co-owner and CEO of Stromberg Investment Group and Stromberg Property Management. He has been investing in real estate for more

can provide stability in rent collections, a key advantage

than 13 years, starting in single-family and small duplexes. Hamaker worked in the automotive industry for one of the largest automotive companies in the world, overseeing their variable and fixed operations, before turning to real estate investment.

differentiating this segment of the rental market from conventional market-rate apartments.

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by Luke Babich

7  SHORT SALES Short sales are a way to

vacation rental platforms. This is a great idea to start building cash if you live in a popular area such as a major metropolitan area or near a vacation destination. 4  LONG-TERM RENTALS Long-term rentals provide perhaps the most traditional path to real estate investment. Becoming a landlord by renting a new property to long-term (a year or more) renters can be a stable way to build equity. There are pitfalls to this investment, but if you find the right tenants, it can be an easy way to get started. 5  COMMERCIAL PROPERTY RENTALS Compared to residential properties, commercial property rentals generally require more money to start up, but they can be quite lucrative in the long-term. It is critical to understand everything from property values to foot traffic when getting into this type of investment. 6  RENT-TO-OWN A HOME While not quite as straightforward as buying your own home outright, a rent-to-own situation is a good way to enter into real estate investment if cash is scarce and your credit isn’t great. And on the other side of that, offering seller financing when you sell a property not only returns the favor for cash-poor investors but also adds to your profits in the long run.

I nvesting in real estate is a solid way to build generational wealth. Here are 17 ways you can make money investing in real estate—plus eight ways to get started with less money than you think. 7 MOST COMMON TYPES OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS 1  BUYING A HOME It seems pretty straightforward, but buying your own home is the first piece of property you should invest in. If you buy with an eye toward getting the most out of your home’s value, this one property could be the start of a diverse and expansive real estate portfolio. 2  HOUSE FLIPPING You might buy a distressed property and plan to live in it as you rehab and flip it. The profits on this first flip may not provide a full-time salary, but the process will help you gain valuable experience and set you up for your next move. Remember, the cost of selling a home eats into your profits, so make sure to account for that as you budget your flip. 3  AIRBNB/VACATION HOME RENTALS Some people begin real estate investing by renting out some or all of their own home on Airbnb or other

purchase a distressed property at a much lower cost than its value. A homeowner who is unable to pay the mortgage can ask the bank to accept a short sale—a sale for less than the mortgage. This has been a highly competitive arena since the recession in 2008, but there are still good deals to be found. Some short sales may be in bad shape, but others might need only cosmetic improvements. 10 LESS COMMON, BUT STILL PROFITABLE, REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS 1  BUYING AND SELLING LAND “Flipping” land is less common (and less understood, even by seasoned investors), but it can be an incredibly lucrative process. The main advantage of this investment? Since fewer investors understand how it works, there are fewer competitors—and there’s more money to be made. 2  SHORT-TERM RENTALS Many investors shun short-term rentals because of the risk involved with so many tenants. But there are many ways to make this a safer and more profitable bet, including: ● Renting furnished properties for higher prices.

12 | think realty magazine :: march – april 2023

● Partnering with an online service that caters to corporate clients or travel nurses. ● Screening tenants carefully. ● Setting up a minimum stay (e.g., 60 or 90 days). 3  NURSING HOMES The U.S. population is aging, and seniors are experiencing a housing crunch as they look to downsize or move into assisted living facilities. Consider investing in a nursing home community with different levels of

a buyer who’s all in, but it minimizes the financial risk for you. 5  STUDENT HOUSING Student housing in vibrant college towns can be a reliable source of income, especially if you partner with the university itself to find qualified students. 6  PARKING LOTS Parking lots are low-maintenance, low-risk investments. Beyond shoveling snow and collecting parking fees (a process that can be entirely automated), this type of investment is largely hands off.

care, from completely hands off to end-of-life care. 4  CONTRACT FLIPPING Contract flipping brings distressed sellers together with interested buyers. This type of flipping is also referred to as wholesaling. The investor locates a distressed property with a motivated seller, makes a below-market offer, and signs a contract. The investor then finds a buyer at a higher price before closing and “flips” their rights to the home. It’s a little more work to locate a vacant, distressed home and

thinkrealty . com | 13

cannot figure out how to scrape together the capital to get started. Although having wads of cash ready to go is always helpful, you can get started in real estate investing with relatively little capital. Some of the most common ways investors build wealth from the ground up include: 1. Asking for seller financing. 2. Raising capital by trading or selling fixed assets (e.g., cars, jewelry, etc.). 3. Assuming a distressed seller’s mortgage payments. 4. Partnering with another investor. 5. Using a home equity line of credit. 6. Crowdfunding. 7. Borrowing money at a higher interest rate. 8. Getting involved with a peer‑to‑peer lending network. These alternative ways of acquiring cash are a great way to generate $10,000 to invest, a good starting point for building wealth in real estate. You can make money investing in real estate. Real estate investing requires patience, timing, and a willingness to get creative. With just a little capital, you can start building your investment portfolio today. •

7   REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS (REITS) Real estate investment trusts (REITs) work in the same way that a mutual fund does. REITs focus on a specific type of real estate and are publicly traded on the stock exchange, making them a good way for beginning investors to increase the power of a smaller investment. 8   REAL ESTATE LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS (RELPs) Real Estate Limited Partnerships (RELPs) are similar to REITs. They differ in that they are a private investment that occurs when investors pool their money to purchase a more diverse set of properties. These purchases are generally held for a defined period of time (usually five to 10 years). During this time, the group buys and sells properties with an eye to turning a profit during that time

instead of planning to hold and manage them indefinitely. 9  STORAGE SPACES One of the most common (and least discussed) moving expenses is storage space. Nearly 40% of people in the U.S. use storage space, and that trend does not seem to be going away any time soon. 10  MEDICAL OFFICE BUILDINGS Those same aging seniors who need housing also need more medical care, and medical office space is a solid investment. It’s important to note that this type of investment has specific zoning codes. HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTING? Some potential investors are stalled at the gate because they

Luke Babich is the co-founder of Clever Real Estate, a real estate education platform committed to helping homebuyers, sellers, and investors

make smarter financial decisions. Babich is a licensed real estate agent in the state of Missouri. His research and insights have been featured on BiggerPockets, Inman, the LA Times, and other online and media outlets. Babich earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, with honors, from Stanford University.

14 | think realty magazine :: march – april 2023




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16 | think realty magazine :: march – april 2023

This special section focuses on some of the resources available to those seeking to improve their knowledge, understanding, and success in real estate investing. EDUCATION in Real Estate Investing SPECIAL FOCUS

thinkrealty . com | 17




by Jeff Roth

hen I was getting started, there were no YouTube



videos or podcasts. There were TV infomercials on how to get wealthy investing in real estate with a number to call to give your credit card information for guaranteed success. I did go to paid trainings, I read the books, and I attended local real estate investing group meetings. Today, there is so much more information readily available about real estate investing. Certainly, Think Realty magazine and the online resources it provides help prepare you for investing and staying up on changes in the market. You can also watch hours of YouTube videos and listen to podcasts. Still,

nothing can truly prepare you for investing in real estate and the issues that come up like getting out there and doing it.

groups and consuming hours of YouTube videos and podcasts, you have to take action. It is in taking action that I have learned my most valuable lessons. For example, no amount of prepping can prepare you for a tenant who parks a motor home the length of the driveway—with a giant, gaping hole in its side to boot! Until

WHY EXPERIENCE MATTERS At some point after reading the books, attending the live trainings, going to the local real estate meetup

18 | think realty magazine :: march – april 2023

it happens and you have to have it towed (after you explain to the tenant they can’t store it there while they repair the home to “flip it”), you don’t expect someone to do something like that. You can’t make this stuff up! It’s best to learn from others’ experience rather than your own. Most things are costly to learn yourself. You will save not only money but also your peace of mind and maybe even your marriage by learning from the mistakes of others.

property improvements and using a property manager, it cash flowed strongly. The property manager is the best in the area, and I use them personally. The property manager had two tenants lined up for both units right before a cold snap overtook the country. As you can imagine, even with the heat on, the very low temperatures caused a water pipe in an exterior wall with little insulation to burst. It flooded both newly remodeled units, causing significant damage. My client lost both tenants, had to pay the holding costs until the units were repaired, and because the furnace was flooded and ruined, the city required two furnaces and separate meters to be installed according to the new code. Insurance should cover most of the repairs, but it won’t pay the $7,000 for the second furnace, the new meter, and the duct work. Lesson Learned: Even if you buy a property well and use the best property manager locally, disaster can strike if you are not prepared for the worst case scenario. This is also a reminder to have solid cash or credit reserves for situations like this.

Worse, it can put you in a negative cashflow position. Hopefully, you have strong enough cashflow to cover the increases as I did, or you can try to refinance the debt with a fixed home equity loan instead of floating rate debt like a line of credit. Sometimes, floating rate debt will allow you to pay to limit the amount the interest rate can increase, say with a bridge loan, to try to limit the effect of rising rates. Lesson Learned: Get out of floating rate debt as soon as you can or limit the amount the interest rate can increase, if possible. NO. 3 If you are buying a property with the intention to add value and flip it, make sure it will cashflow as a rental if it does not sell quickly. Knowing your numbers is extremely important. What will the after-repair value be? What will the holding cost be if it doesn’t sell quickly? What is the market rent for this property once it’s fixed up? Knowing this information is particularly important in a softening or slowing market or if you have floating rate debt. I was fixing up a property in a slowing market that saw the value drop and market rent drop as well. To carry this property, I had to rent the house by the bedroom and also rent the garage to increase the cash flow to cover the holding costs. This was not fun. Know your numbers and the local market. Lesson Learned: Before buying a property, make sure you have multiple exit strategies (e.g., renting) if it does not sell quickly. NO. 4 If you buy a property in a cold climate like Michigan, keep the heat on if you have a vacancy in a unit. This lesson comes from someone else’s experience, but it definitely got my attention. I recently helped a client purchase a duplex. Even after doing some


Here are the most impactful and, in many cases, most expensive lessons I’ve learned in real estate investing. NO. 1 Getting started in real estate investing can be as easy as renting the house you lived in. My first rental was a starter house I had lived in for several years. It was bought with minimal money down. The interest rate was more favorable than I could get buying it as an investment property. The payment was less than rent, and it cash flowed. Had I kept that house, the rent would have gone up over the years, and the payment on the mortgage would have been more or less fixed. Plus, I used the equity from this house to buy my next two investment properties. Lesson Learned: If you can, keep the houses you have lived in and turn them into rentals. NO. 2 Be careful using floating rate debt like a home equity line of credit to help finance your real estate investments. As we have seen recently, on debt that is fixed to the fed funds rate like a home equity line of credit, the interest rate goes up dramatically if the Federal Reserve raises rates. This can quickly make the payment on the debt increase and reduce your monthly cashflow.


Yes, as a real estate investor you do have to continually seek out and improve your professional development and keep up on current market conditions. However, there are some things that only experience can teach us—and it’s best to learn from others’ experience if we can. •

Jeff Roth is the founder of Arbor Advising, a real estate consultancy in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dedicated to growing and securing your wealth. They

help clients invest, buy, and sell in Michigan. You can contact Jeff at or visit or subscribe to the weekly newsletter at

thinkrealty . com | 19




by Kurt Coleman

eal estate investing is a complex and multifaceted field that requires a high level of knowledge and skill to be successful. Although some individuals may be able to navigate the market and find profitable deals through trial and error, most real estate investors aspiring to any reasonable level R

of success benefit greatly from advanced training and education. REI training can provide a wide range of benefits for individuals looking to enter or expand their presence in the real estate market. Whether you are a novice investor or an experienced professional, advanced training can help you

improve your skills, increase your knowledge, and create an environ- ment more conducive to helping you achieve your investment goals. Simply put, the more knowledge and experience you have, the more opportunities naturally present themselves to you. One of the most important reasons real estate investors seek advanced REI training is to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the market. This includes knowledge of current trends and conditions as well as an understanding of how to analyze properties and effectively determine their potential for investment. This type of training can help you identify profitable deals and minimize risk in your investments. Additionally, advanced training can provide investors with the tools and strategies needed to navigate the legal and financial aspects of real estate investing related to contracts and financing options. Another key benefit of seeking further training is to build or expand your network of industry professionals. Many REI training programs offer opportunities for students to connect with real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and other experts who can provide valuable insights and guidance on the market. Additionally, these meetings offer the chance to connect with fellow investors, learn from each

20 | think realty magazine :: march – april 2023

other’s experiences, and tap into each other’s network connections. REI training offers the opportu - nity to learn and apply advanced investment strategies, like tax-advantaged investing, creative financing, and wealth retention. With the right techniques, you can generate higher returns on your investments and increase your overall portfolio value. Advanced training can also help to mitigate risk in real estate investment. Without proper knowl- edge and skills, new investors may fall victim to common traps such as overpaying for a property or failing to account for all of the potential costs associated with a deal. Advanced training can help new investors avoid these pitfalls by teaching them how to accurately evaluate properties and contracts and helping them make informed decisions. ENHANCE YOUR KNOWLEDGE Getting training doesn’t mean you aren’t already equipped to do your job well. Rather, it’s about ensuring that you give yourself the best opportunity to achieve sustained success, regardless of where the market goes. Growing your skill set, expanding your network, and furthering your investment education all prepare you for the long term, helping you avoid potential pitfalls and costly mistakes. With more tools at your disposal, you will be more capable of navigating short-term fluctuations in the market and increasing your chances for long-term success. When you begin searching for the best training to fit your investment goals, consider the source. You want to find experts who not only teach the things you want to

learn but also actively employ the methods they teach. You are looking for masters of their craft, professionals who have been where you are and know how to help you get where you want to go, because at one point they made that journey themselves. Choose professionals who know how to connect you to the resources and people who can help you achieve your goals. EXPAND YOUR VISION Taking the time to learn what others are doing to be successful doesn’t mean you have to follow. Knowledge is not just about what you know but also about what you do with what you know. It’s a tool that can be applied to make better decisions, giving you the freedom to carve your own path and achieve success on your own terms. If you have been in the real estate game for a while, you have seen in recent years how margins have been squeezed. In the years following the collapse of the housing market in 2008, there was a period of recovery, after which property values began to increase and the housing market started booming again. This period saw a swell in real estate investors all looking to capitalize on the opportunity and eventually ushered in the current conditions leading to an oversaturated market. Working in a competitive market is exciting; however, it often favors the most experienced and knowledgeable investors. Looking for opportunities outside of traditional investment paths can unearth an entire world of potential. It’s all about finding high-demand markets that haven’t yet achieved their full potential.

The senior housing industry, for example, is one such market; it’s projected to outperform traditional real estate over the next decade. Ultimately, diversification is key in turbulent economic times. With increasing uncertainty on the horizon, it might be time to consider expanding your vision of what success looks like in real estate. Niche markets can provide unique opportunities for investors to generate high returns in sectors that aren’t flooded with investors. MOVE FORWARD Seek out your local REIA and look for training that will aid your development. Advanced training and education is an essential component of becoming successful in real estate. Whether you are just starting out in the field or looking to expand your existing portfolio, it is an investment well worth your time and money. Knowledge is a powerful tool that can open opportunities and help you achieve your goals. Acquiring the best training is not only important for professional growth but also for personal development. It gives you the foundation to make informed decisions and stay current, putting you in the optimal position to achieve success. Never stop growing your skills and honing your strengths. Don’t let 2023 pass you by without making a commitment to your development. •

Kurt Coleman is the lead copywriter for RALAcademy, a company that corners the market in the residential assisted living niche. A graduate of Arizona State

University with years of experience as a team leader, systems developer, and writer, Coleman loves writing and sharing with investors how to translate their skills, know-how, and expertise in the real estate industry to the senior housing market.

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28 Free (or Inexpensive) REI Investor Tools USE THESE TO LEVERAGE YOUR KNOWLEDGE.

by Neil Timmins

ou’ve probably heard of the acronym OPM: Other People’s

I’m a practical and efficient person. I like to maximize my time, so if I can borrow a process, modify an existing system, or learn from someone’s experience, I’m going to take what they know and apply it to my business. OPK. If I can do that for free or close to free, that’s even better. In the spirit of practicality, I’ve put together 28 free (or inexpensive) tools and resources that have helped me acquire and leverage OPK in my real estate business. I’ve broken these resources into categories for

easy browsing. I do not earn any affiliate commission from these recommendations. I just hope you find them helpful!


Money (not to be confused with the 1991 movie with Danny Davito). It’s an acronym that’s bandied about in the real estate world to refer to the money one can borrow from investors or lenders to increase purchasing power. Whether you are new to real estate or a seasoned professional, there’s another “Other People’s” you should be leveraging—OPK: Other People’s Knowledge.

PODCASTS NO. 1 America’s Commercial Real Estate Show. Michael Bull is a well-known and respected commer- cial real estate expert. Every week, he interviews industry leaders and economists who share their insights,

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connections for how markets and the economy impact CRE. NO. 7 Real Estate Entrepreneurs Podcast. Ricardo Rosales is an Armed Forces pilot turned real estate investor. He spent much of his growing-up years in Venezuela and has experience in house flipping, rentals, and virtual wholesaling. Born out of the struggle to get his own business going, Rosales started his podcast to share lessons from his experience. Many of his episodes (some in English, some in Spanish) feature interviews with other successful real estate investors. NO. 8 Stuff You Should Know. Put out by iHeart Media, “Stuff You Should Know” covers…well, practi- cally everything: Postmodernism, the Mayans, sneezes, squids, Frida Khalo. Maybe you are the curious type or you need to impress that special someone with random facts. This is your podcast. FREE NEWSLETTERS NO. 9 Justin Welsh. Every Saturday, Justin Welsh sends out “The Saturday Solopreneur’’ newsletter. Each email takes less than five minutes to read and includes one actionable tip on how to grow revenue in your business. Most of his content is targeted toward online businesses, but his advice can help any business owner. He prioritizes systems, processes, and a tech- forward approach. NO. 10 Morning Brew. Stay on top of the news by subscribing to the “Morning Brew.” It’s a quick-to- read, daily email that presents top headlines in the news, markets, and more in an easy-to-digest manner. Snapshots of major stocks and a

estate from every angle: car washes, interest rates, self-storage, syndications, parking, the Metaverse. You name it, Boldrini’s probably covered it. She regularly talks about activities in her own business, and since she’s out of the Silicon Valley area, technological innovations are a regular topic. NO. 4 Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show. Joe Fairless is the well-known host of the world’s longest-running real estate investing podcast. Not only is it the longest- running podcast, he also posts new episodes daily . Fairless is the co-founder of Ashcroft Capital, which has more than $2 billion of assets under management. In each episode, he interviews a different industry professional. Special episodes are recorded on Fridays in which he shares his thoughts on real estate and personal development. NO. 5 Commercial Investment Real Estate Podcast: CCIM Institute. The CCIM Institute (Certified Commercial Investment Member) provides the gold standard certification for brokers in the commercial real estate world. Get access to CCIM‑level education for free by tuning into their podcast. It features interviews with leading experts and conversations around all things commercial real estate. The stories and perspectives shared are always insightful and educational. NO. 6 The Weekly Take (CBRE). “The Weekly Take’’ is hosted by CBRE’s chairperson of Americas Research, Spencer Levy. Business, markets, and the economy are common themes. If you are curious about what some of the big institutional people are thinking, this is your podcast. It often covers hot topics or big headlines in the institutional world while making helpful

forecasts, and tactics for the market. Make sure you pay attention. This long-running show is in-depth and features guests from the Federal Reserve, Moody’s, CCIM, and major REITs (just for starters). NO. 2 How to Scale Commercial Real Estate. This podcast, hosted by Sam Wilson, features episodes ranging from 20-40 minutes, making it an easy listen. Wilson covers real estate investing in a straightforward and practical manner. Experienced investors and newbies alike can learn from the helpful tips and stories he shares. His experiences as a passive and active investor give the show depth and range. NO. 3 Commercial Real Estate Investing From A-Z. Steffany Boldrini releases new episodes of her podcast “Commercial Real Estate Investing From A-Z” every week. The title gives it away—commercial real

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