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THINK REALTY 8  News & Events

Updates from around the industry.

10  Think Realty Benefits: Sherwin-Williams The right paint choice can increase property durability and decrease costs. DESIGN POINT 22  Renovation Rockstar Bridge Turnkey Investments by Kelli White 26  Design Guide: Warm Classic Kitchen featured designer: Lorraine Beato BUSINESS FUNDAMENTALS 28  What is Real Estate Data as a Service? by Richard Sawicky 32 Taking Low-Value Property to New Heights How gentrification impacts property management. Sponsored content provided by Michael Stone, Real Property Management

SPONSORED SUPPLEMENT 35  Investor Review: Residential Edition



52 Spring into Real Estate Growth

Optimize your investment activity now for long-term fruition. by Carole VanSickle Ellis


60  Internet Interest Three mistakes real estate investors make when generating leads online. by Danny Johnson 62  Self-Showing Lockboxes: What’s the Risk? Immediate access isn't always the easiest option. Sponsored content provided by Michael J. Mulvena, National Association of Residential Property Managers® (NARPM) STRATEGY 68  Why Buy Now? Seven reasons to invest in single- family rentals sooner rather than later. Sponsored content provided by Rooftstock







How the Air Force led a couple to real estate success.

Preparing your property for severe weather.

4 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

STRATEGY, CONTINUED 70  When You Can't Find Real Estate Leads, Look to Probate! Sponsored content provided by U.S. Probate Leads 72  Working Smarter How to get a real estate agent to work for you 24/7. by Abhi Golhar 74  The Pros and Cons of Arbitration This dispute-resolution method might make sense in residential lease agreements. by Michael Johnston 76  Building a Big Portfolio

Acquiring tax lien properties is a strategic investment with variables. by Charles Sells

80  Near (or Far) From Home When (and where) turnkey investing is your best move. by Jared Garfield

SPONSORED SUPPLEMENT 83  Information Management Network

7th Annual Single-Family Investment Forum (East)

MINDSET 100  DTA: Don’t Trust Anyone … Not Even Yourself

KEVIN ORTNER and GREG RAND are going for billions by democratizing real estate.

How these three little letters can help avoid major mistakes. by Jennifer Jo Cobb

by Bobby Burch :: photos by Ackerman Gruber

102  The Balancing Act

Achieving work-life balance can increase your investment opportunities. by Nathan Tabor



MARKET & TRENDS 106  Spotlight: Phoenix by Joel Cone 110  Hit the Target How to hit the bullseye in nearly any rental market. by Ingo Winzer





How to build continuous cash through “noteworthy” investments.

Abhi Golhar gives his two cents on a topic worth talking about.

thinkrealty . com | 5


SALES MANAGER Rodney Halford 816-398-4111 x86122 NATIONAL SALES MANAGER Teresa Stanton 816-398-4111 x86224 FULFILLMENT COORDINATOR Blair Pierce DESIGN CONSULTANTS Rivet | ART DIRECTOR Emily Bowers CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Bobby Burch Jennifer Jo Cobb Joel Cone Jeff Edwards Carole VanSickle Ellis Jared Garfield Abhi Golhar Danny Johnson Michael Johnston W.J. Mencarow Michael J. Mulvena Richard Sawicky Charles Sells BreAnn Stephenson


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Are you following Think Realty on social media? Things move pretty fast in real estate. Don’t miss out on the latest trends, tips, insights and news from your trusted resource for all things real estate investing! Follow. Like. Love. Share. Comment. You can do it all with Think Realty’s social media channels. Join the conversations in Think Realty social communities and connect with like-minded members who range from first-time to seasoned investors. Check out all of our social media channels and connect with us - and other investors - today!

FOR ARTICLE REPRINTS :: Contact Jeremy Ellis at Reprint Pros, 949-702-5390. SUBSCRIPTIONS :: The annual subscription for Think Realty Magazine is $36.00 in the U.S. Order online at or call 816-398-4085. Provide your full name, address and telephone number. DISCLAIMER :: Think Realty Magazine , its owners, contractors, distributors and their respective representatives do not provide tax, accounting, investment or legal advice and make no guarantee as to the effectiveness or success of any investment or tax strategies discussed herein. Please consult your own independent adviser as to any questions you have or decision you are contemplating. ABOUT THIS MAGAZINE :: ThinkRealtyMagazine isapublicationof AffinityRealEstateMediaLLC.Reproductionoruseofanyeditorial orgraphic,withoutpermission, isprohibited.Wearenotresponsible for thecontentofanypaidadvertisements.Forreprintrights; toob- tainadetailedstatementofourprivacypolicy;and forallsingle-copy requests,addresschangesandothersubscription inquiries:



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Toward Something Greater


s the new editor of Think Realty Magazine , I have recently welcomed the challenge of transition. And now, as we move from spring to summer, I am excited for the shift that brings more pool parties, grilling, and out- door games. So fun! In nature, and in

nies combined to transition into something bigger, and where they plan to go next. With a goal to become a nationwide household name in the next decade, they continue to move toward something greater than where they started. Check out their

real estate, change is always around us, but it’s important to remember that during times of transition, the challenge for each of us is to take action, because if we don’t, we won’t adapt or grow. Henry Ford said, "You can't build a reputa- tion on what you are going to do.” You must simply do. You must take that first step — and then keep going. Whether you’re considering transitioning into real estate investing or ready to take your existing investments to a new level, Think Re- alty is here to guide you — to be your trusted resource in everything real estate. In this issue, Renters Warehouse own- ers Greg Rand and Kevin Ortner discuss how they manifested their ideas into real estate reality, how their respective compa-

inspiring story and then read on for more invaluable tips from your professional peers who are reliable experts in their fields. Speaking of reliable experts, Think Real- ty’s Resident Experts will continue to share investor insights to educate you on your REI journey. From tax liens to turnkeys, this issue of Think Realty Magazine delivers intel to enlighten, encourage, and inform any real estate investor. I am thrilled I took the step to join Think Realty and look forward to connecting with you. I enjoyed meeting some of you at Think Realty’s Baltimore event in April! What an amazing event for any first-time flipper or seasoned investor to connect and be inspired to take their investments to the next level. Here’s to building something better! •

Keep Going!


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n April, Think Realty launched an initia- tive to start a meaningful dialogue with legislators in a one-day event called Think Realty’s Day on the Hill. The goal was to in- form legislators on the real estate investment industry, how it functions, and how investors can help solve issues in affordable housing and more. A team of investors and Think Re- alty associates visited multiple policy makers in a roundtable forum. The conversation was well received, and members left encouraged for further conversations. Day on the Hill attendee, Aaron Chapman with Security National Mortgage said, “I be- lieve there to be an untapped segment of pri- vate capital that can be sourced and deployed in a way to bridge the gap in our current housing market.” Small investors are catalysts in reshaping our communities. Part of the initiative is to change misperceptions of real estate investors, and

legislators were receptive. Jason Stverak, Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Kevin Cramer (ND), said [essentially, real estate investors] “are investing in people, not stocks.” Legislation like the Safe Act prevents individuals from investing in their communities, while large lenders con- tinue to benefit, and communities remain undervalued. Conversations like the ones had on Think Realty’s Day

on the Hill can lead to reform. “We have the inventory. We have the capital. But we are bound by legislation,” said Eddie Wilson, CEO of Think Realty. This experience was a positive step to im- proving inhabitability and home values as well as giving real estate investors a voice in subsequent dialogue with legislators. •

Don't Miss Think Realty Booths & Speakers at These Upcoming Industry Events!

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MAY 29-31, 2019 IMN Single-Family Rental Investment Forum The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, CA Learn more at

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ore than 400 real estate investors experienced firsthand what Think Realty has to offer at the acclaimed Think Realty Conference & Expo in April. Exhibitors showcased various tools and services strictly focused on helping attendees achieve their highest potential as a real estate en- trepreneur. The two-day event buzzed with excitement and education! “The incredible sponsors and strategic business partners who shared their tools, resources, and industry-related products were extraordinary,” said Tammy Phelps with Capital City REIA. Her presentation “Multi-Unit Success Training: How to Grow from $0 to $20,000 Monthly with One Prop- erty!” included a thunderous speed-networking activity that had the room overflowing with attendees. On Saturday, guests chose among a wealth of real estate information from educational presentations to inspirational workshops. Wholesal- ers, lenders, and investors mingled in an uplifting learning environment. Sunday focused on Think Realty Resident Experts who shared knowledge on topics such as Wealth Building, Establishing Your Business, Intentional Investing, and more. Biggest Event Yet THINK REALTY’S CONFERENCE IN BALTIMORE WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! M

The Think Realty expo in Baltimore was a complete game-changer this year!


Besides the wealth of information at this event, the level of integrity here is amazing! One word — Phenomenal!


If you missed the Baltimore event, stay tuned for information on Think Realty’s next event in Irvine, California in July! It’s the best opportunity to invest in yourself! Visit to learn more.

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Content provided by Sherwin-Williams


nderstanding the latest in coatings technology and

occupants view the bathroom as a relaxing retreat or functional space for everyone in the family, keep it sparkling by selecting durable prod- ucts that withstand the test of time. Consider selecting a coating that provides high levels of resistance to moisture and water-spotting. Also, a paint formulated with antimicrobial agents inhibits the growth of mold and mildew on the paint surface and inhibits the growth of bacterial odors. Applying the right product in the bathroom can also mean a faster return to service and fewer repaints.

THE BEDROOM Homeowners and occupants will sleep easy with the right product specifications that can create a desired refuge. Air quality is a factor that continues to grow in importance to people. Appeal to this preference by selecting coatings that have achieved GREENGUARD GOLD Certification for low chemical emissions into indoor air during prod- uct usage. (For more information, visit Using a coating with zero Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) or one that meets the most stringent VOC requirements is a great choice. Another great innovation is Formal- dehyde Reducing Technology, which helps promote better indoor air quality by reducing airborne concentrations of formaldehyde and other aldehydes. This technology helps reduce the levels of VOCs from potential sources like insulation, carpet, cabinets, fabrics, and other building materials. For children’s bedrooms, consider coatings that are highly washable with stain-blocking properties, as well as resistance to marks and burnishing. Paint technologies have come a long way. Selecting the right prod- ucts for a space can have a signifi- cant impact on satisfaction, property durability, and long-term savings in cost and labor for property owners. •

choosing the right products for the job can reduce the need for fre- quent repaints and ensure a prop- erty’s aesthetic appeal for years to come. Here are some important factors to keep in mind when se- lecting coatings: THE KITCHEN Kitchens are often centrally locat- ed and have become the go-to hub for social gatherings. This means higher levels of traffic and increased wear on materials. Selecting a higher-gloss fin- ish or a technologically advanced washable flat allows for frequent cleaning while maintaining

THE LIVING ROOM The living room remains a cen- tral and favorite location in the home. Today, occu-

a uniform appearance. For the walls, look for coatings that resist food splatters, wash easily, and resist high moisture lev- els. Additionally, consider a coating that features Odor Eliminating Tech- nology, which helps

pants are looking for a unique, livable space that feels custom- ized, which you can offer while still maintaining cost efficiencies. Consider adding a custom accent

wall or painting a col- or on the ceiling to in- crease property value and attract potential homeowners

reduce lingering odors from cooking, smoke, and pets. This technology can reduce common indoor odors so rooms stay fresher longer.

without adding significant costs. As for coating attributes, look for durable paints with very good wash- ability and hide. And for fast-turn, easy maintenance, and to eliminate spot-priming, use a stain-blocking paint and primer in one.

Learn more about the savings available to Think Realty account holders on paint and flooring from Sherwin-Williams at

THE BATHROOM Water and mildew resistance are key for a bathroom. Whether

10 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

thinkrealty . com | 11



This content is brought to you by Recon Realty and AndyWilliams


by Jeff Edwards


hen a young American decides to step into the fray and put

Warren that’s exactly what the United States Air Force gifted to them both. What stands before them now is a future without precedent as they met up with Marine Veteran and Real Estate thought leader Andy Williams at the rallypoint in pursuit of a joint vision to see Veterans Buy America.

in biochemistry at the expense of her family taking on additional debt. Thinking back to her time in the Civil Air Patrol, she remembered her affection for service and enlist- ed in the Air National Guard in Fort Worth, Texas. Little did she know her life would be forever altered by the decision Jacob Warren was making some 700 miles away. Enlisting rela- tively close together, both Jacob and Cassie found themselves together at Basic Training in San Antonio at Lackland AFB. The no fraternization policy between male and female recruits

on the uniform of service, his or her motivations for doing so often vary from sea to shining sea. Some may simply seek an adventure while others think more pragmatically about college and career opportuni- ties down the road. One may have a desire to make a gallant stand in the defense of this nation and for others, well, they simply thought they’d look great in the uniform. Rarely does one take the oath of service to find one’s true love and a flourishing career in real estate. Yet, for Jacob and Cassie


In 2008, after a few years trying out community college, Cassie Warren wrestled with the choice of pursu- ing the rest of her college degree

12 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

initially prohibited Jacob and Cas- sie’s relationship to take off. When they both found themselves at the same tech school at Sheppard AFB in late 2008, young love was finally given a chance to flourish. Howev- er, as training came to an end and assignments to their respective reserve and national guard units in Fort Worth and Nashville began, they feared it would come to an end. That was until after a few days apart, Cassie made the bold leap to Nashville and they soon married in 2009 for a life of love — and real estate — with one another.

thusiastically supported his vision. Together they boot strapped their budget and took the first step of paying off their own house in just 18 months. With their house paid off, Jacob took out an $80,000 line of credit during his sophomore year in college to flip his first house in 2012. By 2013, he flipped another house while learning several hard lessons along the way. Continuing to flip houses, Jacob and Cassie also put together a portfolio of five rental homes which helped fuel them toward financial freedom. By 2017, the couple had flipped 10 houses with more in the works. Now living in Fort Worth, a fortu- itous rendezvous with Andy Williams began with a rather unfortunate start. While flipping a house near Andy in Arlington Heights, Texas,

importantly to Andy, veterans who signed up to risk all in the defense of this nation were now owning more of it. Andy’s Veterans Buy America ini- tiative continues to gain momentum as with each passing

month, he comes across more vet- erans seeking

to live the American dream through real estate.

Many, like Jacob and Cassie, were already making


headway but could be unleashed to un-

Flipping houses had always been a goal of Jacob’s, and Cassie en-

limited potential with the right tools. As Andy always makes clear, “This isn’t charity. This is about veterans building real wealth through the power of capitalism and conquering the battlefield of business.” One vet- eran at a time, Veterans Buy Ameri- ca continues to become a force to be reckoned with in the boardrooms of American business. Jacob is now a Tech Sergeant with the Air National Guard, and Cas- sie, after completing OTS, is now a commissioned officer with Air Force Reserve. While Jacob is often coy on just how often he salutes his wife, it is clear they are in this thing togeth- er. When Jacob left for the Air Force he notes that had just $72 to his name. Together, they have amassed a portfolio worth over $650,000 through real estate. Veterans buying America is Andy’s vision for the future of this nation and Jacob and Cassie Warren represent the best of that noble pursuit. •

Jacob and Cassie found themselves facing con- tractor woes coupled with copper thieves ripping every piece of copper out of their current project. Realizing Jacob and Cassie were both veterans, a local realtor familiar with Andy’s success thought he might be able to help. After a brief introduction, Andy realized he found two more veterans living and breath- ing his vision of Veterans Buy America. Andy had been down their path before having blazed a path toward real estate success in the Fort Worth community. He introduced Jacob and Cassie to new forms of capital and fi- nancing that allowed them to move beyond flipping one house at a time. More VETERANS BUY AMERICA

Jeff Edwards is a Marine veteran and contributing writer for Veterans Buy America. Find out more about the initiative and stories of transition at

Veterans Buy America founder Andy Williams (center) with Jacob and Cassie Warren.

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BILLIONS Going for

Renters Warehouse launches new marketplace to democratize real estate investments.


14 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019



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F or entrepreneurs like Kevin Ortner and Greg Rand, prob- lems equal opportunity. And as far as problems go, you can’t get much bigger than the Great Recession in the late 2000s and early 2010s. When the $8 trillion housing bubble burst in 2008, it spurred the loss of 8.4 million U.S. jobs that equaled about 6.1 percent of all payroll employment, according to the Economic Policy Institute. As the stock market tanked, millions of homeowners experienced foreclosure, and home prices sank 33 percent nationwide by 2011. But instead of joining the throngs dumping homes and emptying their

portfolios, Ortner and Rand set out to address the housing crisis in their own way. Though they didn’t know one another at the time, the men were independently deploying solu- tions that targeted the same chal- lenge: Helping investors and home- owners during one of the largest economic downturns in U.S. history. Ortner opened the first Renters Warehouse franchise in Phoenix, while Rand launched OwnAmerica in Mooresville, North Carolina. “The genesis of both companies was a different answer to the same prob- lem,” Rand said. “At the same time, in a different part of the country, we were looking at the exact same crisis and

saying, ‘There’s going to be an invest- ment boom on the other end of this thing because [the real estate market] is coming back.’ The common thread was that it was a temporary problem. It's understandable, it's explainable, it was self-inflicted, and the market is going to come screaming back.” In 2010, Rand launched the tech-fu- eled OwnAmerica marketplace for single-family rental investment, of- fering investors access to deals, data on market fundamentals, population trends, employment stats, and price performance. It would eventually grow to be one of the nation’s largest investment marketplaces for sin- gle-family rentals, facilitating thou-

16 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

Origins of the trademarked term ‘Rent Estate’ ®

sands of deals across the U.S. Two thousand miles away in Phoenix, Ortner was encouraging people hit hard by the crisis not to short-sell their homes or to enter foreclosure, but to instead rent out their homes with the help of Rent- ers Warehouse’s management. “They weren’t specifically invest- ment properties — many of them were homes where people lived, and they had to downsize for whatever reason or relocate to find work,” Ortner said. “Many of our early marketing campaigns were around the idea don’t foreclose, don’t short- sell. Rent out your home, we’ll teach you how to do that and live to fight another day. Renters Warehouse really hit its stride through what we call accidental landlords, meaning people who never really thought that they were going to own real estate as an investment or buy their particular home to rent out as an investment, but the circumstances led them to do so.” In 2013, Ortner became president and CEO of the Renters Warehouse, headquartered in Minneapolis. He helped lead the company to manage what’s now worth more than $3 billion in residential real estate across the U.S. While they had met a handful of times before, it wasn’t until 2018 that the two men realized how well their visions and companies aligned. Rand said that although both companies were successful, each had limitations. “Last year, a client asked, ‘Do you do property management,’ and I said ‘No’ for the fourth time that week,” Rand recalled. “It occurred to me, I wonder if Kevin is being asked, ‘Do you sell rent- al properties’ as often as I’m asked if I manage rental properties. So I texted him, ‘Do you feel like you're a puzzle piece instead of the whole puzzle?’ He said come to Minneapolis, and I hopped on a plane three days later.”

If you ever interact with Renters Warehouse, a curious term is likely to stand out.

The phrase “Rent Estate” is strategically used throughout Renters Warehouse’s website, blog articles, and social media, beckoning visitors to learn about its mission to revolutionize the single-family rental industry. The term, which was trademarked by Renters Warehouse in 2015, is a part of the company’s goal to transform how everyday Americans perceive real estate investing as unattainable and risky. Think Realty spoke with Renters Warehouse CEO Kevin Ortner about the origins of the phrase and why the company created it. Here are some excerpts from that conversation. What is Rent Estate? Rent Estate is essentially using real estate over the long term to create wealth. Rent estate is real estate for the rest of us. It’s about democratizing real estate investment, and making it less scary or unknown to the ordinary American.

Why did you create the term? It helps differentiate us within real estate investing. When we talk about real estate investing, it’s different from what so many people think of. In the era of HGTV and all these flipping shows, many people think how you invest in real estate is to buy a piece of property, fix it up, and sell it. That’s not what we believe in and that’s not what we do. Our approach is less sexy than that because it’s not $25,000 or 50,000 profit in a couple months, but it’s much less risky and it’s easy for everyone to execute.

What was the trademark process like? We’ve tried to trademark other terms and we weren’t successful because they were too general and had to be used in the industry. We were really excited we were able to trademark this one. We had some legal counsel involved, and it was about a six-month paperwork process before waiting on the government. Why should investors consider Rent Estate? Rent estate is a long-term play that takes advantage of all the great things that come with owning real estate, including income on a monthly basis. You can depreciate the home on your taxes and you can build equity over time. You’re also going to get the appreciation that comes from the market and you can leverage that. How is Rent Estate more accessible? Rent estate is the only investment an ordinary American can walk into a bank and borrow money to buy. If you went to your banker and said, ‘I want to borrow $100,000 to buy Apple stock,’ they're going to laugh you out of the bank or call security. But if you go to that same banker and say, ‘I want to borrow $100,000 to buy an investment in real estate,’ you’d get the money right away. Why that's important is because you can buy into this type of investment for much less cash down. You don't need $100,000 to buy that $100,000 investment. You can have $20,000 and then on top of it, you use someone else's money — your tenant’s — to pay that mortgage down.

thinkrealty . com | 17



the largest national full-service solution out there.” With the new Renters Ware- house marketplace, investors can research, buy, manage, and sell properties from their computer. The platform will also provide access to stock-like analytics and day-to- day property management, making it America’s first full-service real estate investment company. Functionality and services aside, the new platform already has con- siderable heft behind it. Before sell- ing to Renters Warehouse, OwnA- merica had more than $21 billion in total assets on its platform with more than $200 million in assets for sale. Renters Warehouse managed more than $3 billion in residential real estate, servicing more than 14,000 investors across more than 22,000 homes in 25 states. The com- bined company also has 250 em-

ployees and 175 contract advisors across the United States.

CONNECTING THE PUZZLE PIECES About one year after that text message, on Jan. 1, 2019, Renters Warehouse closed on its acquisition of OwnAmerica for an undisclosed amount. By merging one of the nation’s fast- est-growing real estate management firms and the second-largest sin- gle-family rental investment market- place, the combined entity creates a powerful and entirely new platform. “We could take a lot of the work out of it for investors and make it something more manageable, but we didn't have half of the puzzle, which was: how do we find those properties, how do we help facilitate those transactions, and really tee up great rental properties for people,” Ortner said. “Even though this is just getting started, we are already

REAL ESTATE FOR THE REST OF US Core to Renters Warehouse’s mission is the belief that real estate investment is more accessible than many people may believe. It’s in part why the company coined and trade- marked the term “Rent Estate.” “Rent Estate is essentially using real estate over the long term to cre- ate wealth,” Ortner said. “Rent estate is real estate for the rest of us. It’s about democratizing real estate in- vestment and making it less scary or unknown to the ordinary American.” In creating the term, the compa- ny hopes to differentiate the visual many people have of real estate investment being that of fixing and flipping homes, Ortner said. Real

Real estate advice Kevin Ortnerwishes he had received

We’ve all made mistakes. Learning from them is what propels us to higher levels. Even though he’s the top

scarce or too expensive. Looking back, Ortner wished he had the plethora of free learning opportunities that are now available to all types and levels of real estate investors. Now years later, Ortner is in the position to not only encourage new investors to learn, but also provide valuable tools for growth. “We're passionate about making sure people understand what they're investing in,” he said. “Today, education is aplenty. You can Google and YouTube whatever you want on real estate. There’s a lot of free education out there, whether that’s from Think Realty, Renters

Warehouse, or other real estate influencers out there. You can dive into investing philosophies, how to calculate your returns, and the market you’re looking to get into.” Build the right team When starting out in real estate investing, you’re bound to encounter many new processes, terms, requirements and obstacles with which you’re unfamiliar. That’s why Ortner recommends that all investors surround themselves with smart, trustworthy people. With a smart, honest team, you can attain and even surpass your goals, he explained. “Whether it’s the real estate agent

executive of a rapidly growing firm, Renters Warehouse CEO Kevin

Ortner has made plenty of missteps in his real estate

career. Here are few pieces of advice that Ortner wishes he had received years ago. Commit to educating yourself

When Ortner was first starting out in real estate, educational tools were

18 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

Stop dreaming — get started Throughout his career, Ortner has heard many people pining for a new, improved life through real estate success. At a variety of business and investment forums, he’s fielded questions on how to get started in real estate investing, but months later, the same people have avoided making their first deal. “There's never going to be a perfect deal or a perfect time, you’ve just got to get started,” he said. “Once you get that ball rolling, it’s so much easier to start buying that second, third, and fourth property.”

you’re going to find the properties with or your accounting team, make sure that they’re people who actually understand real estate,” Ortner said. “If you’re going to manage the property yourself, who are your contractors? Who are the vendors you’re going to call if there’s an issue? Who are you going to use for background screening? There are a lot of different pieces and components that go together to have a successful operation, and building that right team is essential.” Tenant screening is important A thorough vetting process is imperative to finding the right

tenants for your rental properties. “When you have great tenants, your operations will run much more smoothly,” he said. “Don't be anxious about making sure you fill the property as fast as you possibly can. Make sure you set good standards on what you're looking for in an applicant: from a background perspective, from a credit perspective, and from an income perspective, and then stick to that.” Ortner encourages investors to market the property to generate as many tenant leads as possible and select based on the standards you’ve set. Don’t rush the process as that could cost you more money in the future.

thinkrealty . com | 19



estate investment also includes the less-risky and fast growing sin- gle-family rental market, he added. And as people are tending to move jobs more frequently, wait longer to buy their first home, and get mar- ried and have children later in life, Ortner said many trends are boost- ing the single-family rental market. “All of these things are being pushed back, but what that means is we have a great rental pool of peo- ple who need these homes,” Ortner

said. “Across all generations, we’re seeing people have a high propen- sity to rent for a lot of reasons, and that creates a unique opportunity when it comes to demand for sin- gle-family rental properties.” Data on renting affordability compared to homeownership but- tresses Ortner’s case. While price differences vary from state-to-state, homeowners with a mortgage are spending more each month than renters in all 50 states, according to

data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Monthly homeownership costs increased 14 percent between 2017 and 2018 compared to just four per- cent for rent increases, according to an analysis by CNBC. “In every single state, it’s cheaper to rent than own a home, which is amazing,” Ortner said. “It’s definitely pushing a lot of people to make that decision, and it creates a lot of op- portunity for people who want to get into owning investment real estate.”

20 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

Four tips to maintain sanity amid real estate madness

Regardless of your career or depth of experience in real estate, everyone can at some point face the perilous position of burnout, exhaustion, and anxiety. Take it from two men who have been in real estate for more than 30 years combined, balancing your strategy with a long-term view will pay off in more ways than just boosting your cash flow. Renters Warehouse CEO Kevin Ortner and chief strategy officer Greg Rand shared with Think Realty a few tips that have helped them navigate the madness of real estate over the decades. 1 Don’t buy into the short-term hype Over the years, Ortner has seen many real estate articles, talking heads and speculators espouse trendy ideas or dire forecasts that eventually fade. That’s why Ortner encourages everyone to take the long-view when investing in real estate. “The media is so negative these days that any little bit of information becomes a big, negative news story about how the real estate market is going to blow up again. If you actually read into the data, you realize that that's probably not true,” he said. “You don’t need to buy into the hype if you’re thinking long- term. You should have that long-term mindset that bumps in the road are going to come at some point, but they aren’t going to affect you,” Ortner said.

2 3

Keep your goal in focus When the turmoil of life and work seem like too much, Rand encourages professionals to take a step back. Pause and reflect on the bigger picture of what you’re trying to accomplish and let your dream fuel you. “I stay energized by keeping focused on the big goal we are pursuing,” Rand said. “We are building something that has never existed for people who deserve to be served, and I love what I am doing.” Exercise your mind and body You’ll never progress as a real estate professional if you don’t challenge yourself. Regardless of your investing goals and breadth of experience, Ortner urges everyone in real estate to continue learning and cultivating their craft. “Whether it's your full-time career or whether it's your side business, continuously developing is important,” Ortner said. “It makes us better, and it helps us be able to handle stressful situations better.” In addition to developing your mind, Ortner encourages real estate professionals to also take care of their health. “It's amazing how when you stay in shape mentally and physically, everything becomes easier to handle,” he said. “Treat yourself like the franchise player. You're the most important person for yourself, your financial future, and your family's financial future.” Treat real estate investing like a business It may seem obvious, but if you’re pouring tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars into real estate endeavors, you should probably take it seriously. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case as many investors float by with minimal or sporadic effort, Ortner said. Ortner advises investors to organize their operations, create a strict schedule, and treat their investments as a business. “There are far too many investors who continue to treat it like a hobby, and it shouldn’t be your hobby,” he said. “If you want to maximize your investments and make it as stress-free as possible, make sure you have your things organized, create a daily routine and a daily schedule.” In Ortner’s personal organization, he uses bookends at the beginning and end of each day, which enables him to block off time for crucial tasks — regardless of whatever chaos will likely arrive at the office.


10 years, and we think we can be.” •

Such trends and opportunities have materialized into huge goals for Rent- ers Warehouse over the next three years. In addition to boosting its “Rent Estate” advisor headcount from 175 to 2,000 people, Ortner believes the

company can also more than double the number of homes under manage- ment to nearly 50,000 properties. “This is definitely a multi-bil- lion-dollar business, Ortner said. “We want to be a household name in

Bobby Burch is the Founder of Bobby Burch Creative, a small business storytelling studio. Learn more at and contact him at

thinkrealty . com | 21



Renovation Rockstar


413 N. Willis Avenue

• 3 bed / 1.5 bath / 1350 square feet • Purchase Price: $ 56,000 • Renovation Budget: $ 25,000 • Sales Price: $ 105,000 • Sold to an investor as a turnkey property, which will rent for $ 995/month


by Kelli White


his turnkey provider’s mission is to build a bridge to wealth and free- dom through real estate - and the company has a sturdy bridge so far. Since 2015, Kansas City-based Bridge Turnkey Investments has renovated and sold hundreds of homes. On pace to rehab or renovate 150 homes in 2019 (up from 100 homes last year), Bridge Turnkey’s foundation is to stick with what works. “Turnkey properties are our specialty,” said Nathan Brooks, CEO of Bridge Turnkey Investments. “When we get excited about other potential projects, we pull back and remind ourselves it’s important to stay within our niche and do what we excel at.” Brooks attributes the company’s success to product quality and client priority. “We truly exist to help investors build wealth and freedom through real estate, and that means we need to provide them with an investment

22 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

Living/dining room during renovation

property that is well renovated and will provide passive in- come for years to come. Our industry-setting construction standards give our clients that outcome, and because we deliver on that promise, we've built long-standing relationships

We don’t always get it right, but we always start with the right intention and always make things right for our clients.


with happy clients who want to keep buying properties from us and tell others about their experience. To date, we've grown almost exclusively from referrals, which affirms the quality of work we're doing. We are living up to our mission to serve our clients and help them achieve their goals,” Brooks said. Like Bridge Turnkey’s solid business foundation, one recent project-turned-profit had good bones from the start. Having a good foundation often results in a smoother and, in turn, more profitable flip.

Living/dining room after

thinkrealty . com | 23

“We want to ensure we are buying a property we know we can renovate to our standards with the right ARV in order to give us the outcome we need to provide a quality, cash-flowing property to our clients. Fortunately, we got to have the unicorn project with this house,” Brooks said. But of course, that is not always the case. A lot of properties have foundation problems, or electrical panels that are not upgraded properly. These issues can incur investors thousands in unexpected expenses, and although not always noticed up front, they are signs to watch for when investing in a turnkey project. This house was a clean slate for a full renovation. It had a welcoming exterior aesthetic, which the Bridge Turnkey team enhanced with a pop of color on the front door. Other improvements included kitchen and bath overhaul, refin- ishing hardwoods throughout, and the company’s promise of using “10-year useful life” products. “Our construction philosophy is simple: if it doesn't have a 10-year useful life, we will fix it or replace it, including roof, HVAC, plumbing, and windows,” Brooks said. “This is a benefit to investors and tenants.” This home’s good bones came with the bonus of quaint craftsmanship details that were preserved during ren- ovation. The original trim, moldings, and bookshelves were salvaged to keep a lot of the home’s character. “One of the biggest lessons learned so far is to work with the space and structure of the property if it’s in good shape. In each property, we always fix or replace any- thing that doesn’t have a 10-year useful life, but we also

Kitchen during renovation

Kitchen after

24 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

Unique built-ins were preserved in renovation

Bedroom after

Basement after

look to keep the unique parts of the home as they are. Then we use the renovation dollars for the things that really make a difference long term, like putting in new bathrooms, windows, roof, and HVAC.” Much of Bridge Turnkey’s success stems from focusing on a culture of leadership and integrity. “We don’t always get it right, but we start with the right intention and al- ways make things right for our clients,” Brooks said. “Our industry is full of stories of properties that have been rehabbed and sold or held to bring in passive in- come. This particular home is a prime example of how we at Bridge get to invest in communities and build beautiful homes for people to live in. Whether it's an owner-occu-

pant, or in our case, a renter, everyone deserves a safe, beautiful place to call home, and to me, that's what makes a renovation a Rockstar story. The North Willis property will provide a home for a family to grow and make memo- ries, while the investor/owner earns a solid rate of return. It's a win-win,” Brooks said. • Featured company: Bridge Turnkey Investments is a Kansas City-based company renovating and selling more than 100 turnkey properties every year. The company has gained global notoriety for its industry-setting construction standards and added millions of dollars in value to investors’ portfolios since launching in 2015. Learn more and view their available properties at

thinkrealty . com | 25










Design Guide: WarmClassic Kitchen

Featured designer: Lorraine Beato

A Note from the Designer: I am passionate about real estate - from buying and selling with clients to analyzing deals, rehabbing and helping people create a real estate portfolio. Thinking outside the box and getting a transaction to the closing table is my specialty. With more than 25 years in the industry including mortgaged-backed securities trading, appraiser, realtor, and investor both nationwide and internationally - I know how to navigate the sometimes complex and intricate waters of real estate.

26 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

1 Stainless Steel Refrigerator $ 1,999;

5 Stainless Steel Vent Hood $ 457 99 ;

6 Hinkley Amelia Pendant Lights $ 259/light;

2 Shaker Wall Cabinets $ 136;

7 Villa Artisan Frost Tile Backsplash $ 1 19 /tile;

3 Stainless Steel Farmhouse Sink $ 324;

8 Walnut-Stained Hardwood Floors Prices vary;

4 Cashmere Quartz Countertops Prices vary;

DesignGuide: Textured&Traditional Bathroom

Think Realty developed these design guides to help real estate investors. We're taking the hassle out of making design choices between paint color schemes, lighting options, tile patterns, and more.







5. Maravilla IcebergBrushedMarbleTile Straightandperfectly cut-to-sizeedgesof this tileallow minimumgrout linesandbutted installation inorder to create continuityof thebeautifuldesignsand veinsof natural stone.Sourced fromquarries inTurkey, this isa highquality,authenticnatural stone. $ 5 99 /sq ft BUY ITHERE 6. CarraraMarbleWhiteHexagonTile ThisCarraracollectionaddsanextremelyelegant touch toanyspace residentialorcommercialwithsubtlebeauty andsmooth textures. $ 11 95 /sq ft BUY ITHERE

7. DeltaShowerTrimKit This 17 Series Dual Temperature and Pressure

Find designs that match your vision and budget, and get the ROI you want from your property at

Shower only Faucet is a fully functioning unitwhich includes the Showerhead. It features a Large Handle to control the Shower (on/off) alongwith a smaller Handle used to set the temperature.You can set the temperature however you prefer and then just leave that smaller handle in place. Every time you take a shower youwill simply turn it onwith the large handle and thewater come out exactly at your preferred level ofwarmth! Of course you can always adjust the temperature level any time as desired. This fixture also includes the required Rough-in Valvewhich installs in thewall. $ 133 49 BUY ITHERE

Prices subject to change.

816.398.4053 • • @WeThinkRealty

thinkrealty . com | 27



What is Real Estate Data as a Service?

by Richard Sawicky, Chief Data Officer, ATTOM Data Solutions


s the world increasingly runs on data, the concept of data as

Data as a Service (Daas) is partic- ularly attractive for businesses con- suming real estate data. Many of the most disruptive companies who need property data to grow their busi- nesses — whether that’s powering an online real estate portal, building targeted marketing campaigns, or

fueling analytic models — lack the infrastructure and expertise required to build and maintain a robust data management operation. Real estate DaaS can be an ideal solution for companies that want to focus on their data-fed core compe- tencies without having to divert pre-

a service is emerging as an innova- tive solution for businesses to quick- ly and efficiently leverage the power of data without the time-consuming and costly process of building data management capabilities in-house.

28 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

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