$5.95U.S. ::$6.95CAN JULY/AUGUST2017


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THINKING REALTY 8  Where We’re Thinking Realty in 2017

REAL ESTATE & RETIREMENT 38  Control Your Service Providers or See Your IRA Destroyed “Trust but verify” takes on new meaning with self- directed retirement accounts. by John Hyre 40  Is Your IRA-Owned Business Entity a “Sitting Duck” for Lawsuits? A popular asset-protection strategy has a few “chinks” in the armor. by Tim Berry

Find us at our national conferences, expos, and partnered events all over the country. Exclusive event coverage, sneak-peeks, and more. 12  Think Realty Honors Think Realty’s annual awards are open for nom- inations. Learn how to participate and meet this year’s judges.

THE BIG PICTURE 30 Reading Between the Lines: Streetcars and Property Values

MARKET BREAKDOWNS 44  Regional Spotlight: Birmingham, Alabama The “Magic City” Holds Special Allure for Investors in 2017. by Ryan VanSickle

Do streetcar lines really lead to appreciation? by Carole VanSickle Ellis

32  The Importance of Treating Your Portfolio Like a Business Treat your real estate investments like the money-making venture they are. by Kevin Ortner 50  Saving Some Green with Green Properties Environmentally-friendly real estate choices can make investors big bucks. by Heather Elwing-Dixon UP CLOSE & PERSONAL 28  Panel in Print: “Eyes on Opportunity” Think Realty coaches discuss spotting and leveraging opportunities in real estate. 52  Rookie Investor: One Renovation Complete Looking back on the first deal, forward to the next. by Abby Tillman 62  Playing the “Blame Game” Heralds Trouble for Rental Owners LEGISLATIVE OUTLOOK A perfect storm is brewing in the landlord community. by Brian Wojcik

88  Flipping Out in the Tar Heel State North Carolina spotlight by ATTOM Data Solutions. by Joel Cone

NUTS & BOLTS 94  Betty’s Better Offer: Case Study Secrets to “Winning” a Home Seller A personal account of learning to work productively with sellers. by Adam Winters 104 Last Year’s Most Painful Insurance Losses  Preventable losses that broke both budgets and hearts. by BreAnn Stephenson


STRATEGY SESSION: (left to right) Think Realty Coaches Eddie Wilson and Tameka Bryant discuss closing techniques while Abhi Golhar and Sonia Booker swap networking tactics.

by Carole VanSickle Ellis :: photos by Jason Kindig










7 STEPS TO PODCAST PROMOTIONS Veteran podcaster Kathy Fettke explains the launch process.


STREET SMART: EXPO EDITION Expert insight collected on-site at Think Realty events.


67  Building Up Community: A First-Person Look at Private Money in Real Estate Presented in partnership with the American Association of Private Lenders.

Millennials are the most nomadic generation yet.

Turning on a dime can make or break a sale.

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PUBLISHER R. Michael Wrenn



EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Carole VanSickle Ellis

The Fine Print

VICE PRESIDENT OF MEDIA SALES Rodney Halford 816-398-6122

ASSISTANT EDITOR Heather Elwing-Dixon

our real estate investing success depends on your due diligence.

a physical building and a purchase-and- sale agreement; it is an opportunity. These investor visionaries – and that is what they truly are – do the due diligence that the rest leave out. They look at the fine print: the insider infor- mation on how communities are growing and changing, the projected numbers on populations, jobs, and economic status, ways to influence the legal and legislative narrative, and even at the raw hard numbers that can be intimidating at first. Think Realty Magazine is your source for this information as the place to get the market insights and the raw numbers, a publication to recognize industry leaders that exemplify that visionary investing char- acter, and your primary (even personal) resource for training and education in the use of “the fine print.” Whether you are a visionary real estate investor with years of experience under your belt, a visionary new investor setting up your first deal, or a visionary active investor who falls somewhere in between on that spec- trum, Think Realty should be your headquarters. We strive to make it so. •



Investors have accepted this truth since the first deal in history was concluded. You know you must run



the numbers, check the title, and look for liens before you put your name on “the line” and get that deal done. If your numbers are solid, then the odds are good that you will end up with a good real estate deal on your hands. It is this black-and-white certainty that makes real estate investing so appealing. However, ultimately, it will be your decision to read “the fine print” that will make the difference between doing good deals and conducting truly great ones that dramatically affect your business bottom line, your financial legacy, and even your broader community. Real estate investors with an eye for more than “merely” decent ROI but also for influencing their futures and pursuing and supporting their passions, (real estate related and otherwise), do more than merely the standard due diligence when they are evaluating transactions. They know that each deal is more than just

FOR ARTICLE REPRINTS :: Contact Jeremy Ellis at Reprint Pros, 949-702-5390. SUBSCRIPTIONS :: The annual subscription for Think Realty Magazine is $28.95 for six issues in the U.S. Order online at www. or call 816-398-4130. 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: CONTRIBUTING WRITERS ATTOM Data Solutions, Donna Behrans, Tim Berry, Joel Cone, Carole VanSickle Ellis, Heather Elwing-Dixon, Thomas Espy, John Hyre, Carmen Inman, Blake Johnson, Danny Johnson, Sergey Kosarin, Linda Liberatore, Leon McKenzie, Robert “Bobby” Montagne, Ben Rao, Kevin Ortner, BreAnn Stephenson, Abby Tillman, Ryan VanSickle, Adam Winters, Ingo Winzer, Shawn Woedl, Brian Wojcik Investor Review: American Association of Private Lenders (AAPL), Walnut Street Finance, Streamline Funding, Patch of Land, Gorilla Capital, Fund That Flip, DHLC Investments, CIVIC Financial Services COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Jason Kindig



Learn from pros who know

Think Realty Members now have additional educational benefits with video courses led by our new Think Realty Coaches. Our Coaches are successful hands-on investors who share a passion for helping others build wealth, make better use of time, and live a life of greater purpose.

Learn more today at

Think Realty 7509 Tiffany Springs Parkway, Suite 200 Kansas City, Missouri 64153 816-398-4130 Copyright ©2017 Think Realty


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News Briefs CIVIC FINANCIAL SERVICES HIRES NEW EFFICIENCY EXPERT, CREATIVE LEADER CIVIC FINANCIAL SERVICES has hired efficiency expert and creative leader, MERCED COHEN , to direct company operations. Cohen spent a decade deconstructing and improving the loan process at Skyline Financial Corporation, which will well-equip her in private money lending. CIVIC, a relatively “young” private money lender with just four years in the business, is at a perfect point to benefit fromMs. Cohen’s leadership and expertise. She is joining forces with longtime trusted colleague from Skyline, William Tessar, who took Skyline Financial Corporation from $40 million in funding a month to $3.5 billion annually in about a decade and also joined CIVIC this year. Hear directly from CIVIC on p. 14 of The Investor Review in this issue. • ADAPIA D’ERRICO , one of Think Realty’s “Women to Watch in Real Estate in 2017,” joined investment manager AlphaFlowMay 2017. She will scale the company’s investor platform and expand customer channels, an apt fit given her nationally-recognized expertise in growing businesses through brand advocacy and designing platforms to build engaged communities. d’Errico served as CMO at Patch of Land, one of the industry’s first peer-to-peer lenders, one of the many reasons that the American Association of Private Lenders (AAPL) featured her on their cover in their “Lender Limelight” last year. • THINK REALTY “WOMAN TOWATCH” ADAPIA D’ERRICO JOINS ALPHAFLOW SGF CONTRACTING SERVICES JOINS THE AFFINITYWORLDWIDE TEAM Think Realty’s parent company AFFINITYWORLDWIDE acquired SGF CONTRACTING SERVICES, INC. , a provider of rehab and renovation services for real estate investors, asset managers, and landlords. The SGF team of project management professionals collaborates with clients to rehab and repair single-family properties to make them rent- and sale-ready. Clients can view project photos, timelines, budgets, and messages online anytime. SGF currently covers areas within 12 states and plans to expand soon. “With Affinity, we’ll be able to grow and serve more clients, enhancing their asset values and ROI,” said Anne Nelson, SGF’s co-founder. You can find out more about SGF Contracting Services by visiting their website at •

TREIA CONFERENCE & EXPO, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THINK REALTY :: RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA Investors throughout the “Triangle Region” are Joining Forces this August

Think Realty will be joining North Carolina’s Triangle Real Estate Investors Association (TREIA) this August 26-27, 2017, at an event that will provide North Carolina real estate investors with access to everything real estate in the region under one roof. With myriad

See Think Realty Coach Abhi Golhar’s exclusive Facebook Live interview in Dallas at

WhereWe’re Thinking Realty in 2017

networking opportunities, a full roster of service providers, and nationally recognized speakers including Ron LeGrand and Lee Phillips providing training alongside local market experts and other

NATIONAL CONFERENCE & EXPO :: DALLAS, TEXAS Education, Networking, and Purpose Came Together in Dallas

NATIONAL CONFERENCE & EXPO :: BALTIMORE, MARYLAND “Big” Real Estate Policy Hurts Investors, Buyers, and Tenants Who Can Least Afford It Real estate is known across the entrepreneurial world as one of the great “wealth equalizers.” Unfortunately, well-intentioned regulation from some of the most powerful entities in the country, our state and national legislative bodies, often threatens to bankrupt the foundation not just of the real estate industry, the individual investor, but also the support system that bolsters and maintains affordable housing in the United States: individual, “mom-and-pop,” and “accidental” landlords. This, along with Think Realty’s traditional educational offerings and networking opportunities, was among the prevailing topics at the Think Realty National Conference & Expo in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 24- 25, 2017, at the Baltimore Convention Center. Think Realty’s sister association, the American Association of Private Lenders (AAPL), also debuted a lender-specific educational track at the event. While the spotlight is shining particularly brightly on landlording policy in Baltimore these days thanks to a scathing article recently published in the Baltimore Sun about alleged tenant abuse in the city’s housing courts, the conference and expo also featured a market insights panel centered on the activities of the city’s most successful individual investors and how they are adapting to the changing local housing climate, trainings from a wide variety of real estate investing experts with proven track records of both effective education and profitable, active investing, and all-day attendee access to several of Think Realty’s coaching faculty.

national figures, this event is not to be missed.

Reserve your spot at the event and access early-bird trainings, market analysis, and breaking news alerts at Read more about the North Carolina housing market from ATTOM chief economist Daren Blomquist on page 88.

Attendees of the Think Realty National Conference and Expo in Dallas, Texas, April 29-30, 2017, not only enjoyed a very full day of education and networking with local and na- tional influencers in the real estate industry,

they also had a chance to expand their resources and their networks expo- nentially right along with their portfolios. At the event, Think Re- alty debuted a powerful coaching team, examined the role of wom- en in real estate in an actionable way relevant to all investors of both genders, offered trainings on every aspect of real estate investing from owning private mortgage notes to investing through your retirement


The industry’s finest meet to personally instruct, network, and be honored this fall.

Be present for the 2017 Think Realty Awards of Distinction Ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia. Unprecedented networking opportunities with leaders and influencers across the industry.

account and from turnkey real estate to active rehabbing, and explored commercial property owner- ship and the unique opportunities offered by the local Dallas/ DFW market.

Be present for the 2017 Think Realty Awards of Distinction Ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia. Unprecedented networking opportunities with leaders and influencers across the industry. Read more about the Think Realty Awards on page 12. Submit nominations through July 15, 2017 at Re erve yo r spot at the event and access early- bird trainings, market analysis, and breaking news alerts at

Hear from Dallas Expo Featured Experts in the “Street Smart” Q&A feature on page 10. Read more about Think Realty’s expert coaching team on page 18.

Read more about landlording and legislation on page 62.

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Meet Steve. Smart Investor Resourceful

Think Realty Street Smart: Expo Edition

Think Realty Member

hink Realty members, educators, and supporters bring unique perspectives to real estate investing. Think Realty members can always submit their responses to the monthly “Street Smart” question online, but whenever a Think Realty event brings all that expertise into one room, we capitalize on it! Think Realty Magazine asked experts in all sectors of real estate investing two questions at a recent Think Realty national event in Dallas and recorded their responses. What is theworst mistake you’ve ever seen an investormake? “People that weren’t disciplined with their numbers or people who didn’t do their due diligence prior to purchasing proper- ties which ends up bankrupting them. I see them every month when I go to the auction.” MICHAEL OWEN , FLIP U “Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not limited to a single investor. Too many times investors make the decision to get into a losing proposition. At Patch of Land, we like to say to potential borrowers that if we don’t like your deal well enough to finance you, you probably should not be doing the deal! Ob- viously, we must underwrite our loans and effectively manage risk, but our goal is to help investors make successful flips.” ROBERT GREENBERG , CMO, PATCH OF LAND “The worst mistake I have seen real estate investors make is misjudging, misassessing the amount of repairs a place is going to get up to the standards of the appraisal and then hiring contractors who don’t know what they are doing and end up taking advantage of them. But misassessing is the biggest mistake I’ve seen.” HEATHER GOODSTEIN , OWNER/BROKER, MY REHAB LENDER T

“One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen investors make is self-insuring on the liability side. Let’s say you have someone slip and fall on your property and file a $1 MM law suit against you, this can put your busi- ness and personal assets in jeopardy.” JULIANA SHIPP , MARKETING DIRECTOR, NATIONAL REAL ESTATE INSURANCE GROIUP (NREIG) “I can’t speak for another investor, I can only tell you frommy own experience: I thought that I could ‘beat the market’ while investing in class C rentals - i.e. that the rules of class C properties didn’t apply to me. It turned out to be a cautionary tale which lead me to Greystone’s Class A rental model.” ASH HEBDIGE , DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, GREYSTONE RESIDENTIAL “Painting over smoke and urine to get rid of odors is the worst! Both stinky substances produce a gas - not a solid - (a little chemistry lesson here) and you can’t paint over those substances and expect the odor to be gone forever. Painting also puts a barrier between the odor causing contaminate and any product that could neutralize the odor source. This makes it nearly it impossible for a product to eliminate a urine odor to get to the source and totally eliminate the smell.” DEB MEYER , CEO, ODORXIT “We’ve seen all the losses reported and claims filed through the insurance program, so we’ve seen many mistakes made that resulted in an injury or death to a tenant and the loss of an asset. To keep the response short and not resort to a huge list, we’ll boil it down to: 1) know what your insurance covers and doesn’t cover and 2) take proactive steps to protect yourself and your invest- ments. Don’t assume anything.” RICK ABELL , PRESIDENT, AFFINITY LOSS PREVENTION SERVICES (ALPS) “Not getting structured properly and using cookie cutter templated operating agreements for their company.” NICK FORTUNE , CEO, FORTUNE DNA GROUP

Join Think Realty for FREE! Start enjoying all the perks of being a member today! Just like Steve.

Get exclusive access to:

Think Realty is the premier provider of resources for real estate investors. Whether just getting started or a seasoned pro, we have a lineup of benefits designed to help you succeed.

• Lender Lists • Wholesaler Lists • Real Estate

• Videos • Industry Articles

• Podcasts • Webinars

Investment Groups

Join as Think Realty Investor-Level Member for just $30/mo and receive full access to all benefits, including: • All Intro-Level Benefits + • Think Realty Magazine Print & Digital Subscriptions • FREE Tickets to Think Realty Events Nationwide • Educational Video Courses from Think Realty Coaches • Community Buying Group Discounts at Home Improvement Retailers

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10 | think realty magazine july :: august 2017



MEET THE JUDGES PANEL In order to give you a clear idea of the caliber of our awards recipients and what they have been up to since being honored in 2016, Think Realty Magazine spent a few minutes catching up with this year’s judges’ panel. All judges are currently active in the industry and play influential roles in shaping public perception of real estate investing.

ANDYWILLIAMS, RECON REALTY 2016 HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR Recon Realty is a veteran-focused, private real estate investment firm specializing in analyzing markets, identi- fying opportunities, and acquiring properties in growth markets. Williams’ stated goal is to empower the elite mil- itary veteran passionate about real estate to a transition into the real estate industry. Since receiving the 2016 Humanitarian of the Year award from Think Realty in 2016, Recon Realty has not only continued


The PIP Group, which is based out of Hilton Head Island, South Caro-

lina, boasts more than $150 million in transactions done on behalf of nearly 800 clients in the concierge real estate investing space. “We started

in its mission to “reach, train, and empower as many veterans as possible in the real estate industry,” but Andy and his wife, Ashley, have taken their message to a much broader audience as the newest hosts of HGTV’s Flip or Flop series based in Fort Worth, Texas. The two not only tell stories from their military days as they rehab homes in the Fort Worth area; they also use their show to highlight the experiences and strengths that veterans leverage toward success in real estate. Andy and Ashley Williams may often be seen at Think Realty events hosting their veterans’ “Rally Points” to empower fellow veterans and provide a path into real estate investment.

2016’s Think Realty Honors Recipients

nearly 20 years ago with a curiosity for investing in tax-distressed real estate and are now one of the largest private tax-lien buyers in the country,” said Sells. PIP Group launched its highly popular “Passive Prof- its” program in early 2016 and, Sells reports, has doubled the program’s size since that time with deals averaging about nine months from start to finish. Other noteworthy events from the past year also include an active transaction rate that has grown to the point where the company forecloses, repairs, and liquidates nearly 900 properties a year on behalf of its clients.

by Carole VanSickle Ellis

ENGELO RUMORA, OHIO CASHFLOW 2016 EMERGING LEADER/RISING STAR Engelo Rumora has made a name for himself in the turnkey real estate industry as a tough-talking “Aussie” proud of his background as a professional soccer player who quit school at the age of 14 to pursue that dream. To date, Engelo reports he has been involved in more than 350 real estate deals equating to more than $50 million in real estate transactions. His brokerage offers all agents 100-percent commissions on every sale, making it a “one-click broker” and a groundbreaking organization.


inated them) for references, resumes, and verified testimonials. Nominees are ineligi- ble if they are employed by Think Realty or have other stated conflicts of interest. The remaining nominees who accept their nominations and submit the ap- propriate materials will be evaluated on a fully anonymous basis by the judges’ panel of former winners. The panel will establish a group of finalists from which a multipart panel of objective Think Realty leaders and visionaries, including our president, Eddie Wilson, our found- er, Mike Wrenn, and other individuals at all levels of the organization who in- teract daily with these industry leaders, will award the final honors. Those awards will be announced during an exclusive luncheon at the Think Realty National Conference and Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 14, 2017, where finalists and winners will be present to network with and educate Think Realty members. Nominations are open until July 15, 2017, and you can complete the five-min- ute nomination process at https://think-

he Think Realty Honors are awarded in the fall of each year to

who bring their firsthand knowledge of the industry and of the awards process to the evaluation. This year, our judges panel includes 2016’s Humanitarian of the Year, Master Investor of the Year, Emerging Leader/Rising Star of the Year, Alternative Asset Investor of the Year, and Investor Support Organization of the Year. This group will, together in a fully anonymous setting, evaluate 2017’s nominees and de- termine the makeup of the finalists’ round for this year’s Think Realty Honors. TRANSPARENCY IN THE PROCESS Historically, honors of this profile and caliber in the real estate industry have often been designated and awarded behind closed doors. As a part of our ongoing effort to bring transparency to the real estate indus- try and to the integrity of our own awards process, this year Think Realty will expose the methodology behind the 2017 honors. In the first round, the Think Realty Mag- azine editorial team removes all ineligible nominees from the pool and contacts remaining nominees (and those who nom-

industry leaders who represent the very best of what the real estate industry has to offer. These individuals are nominated by their peers, judged during a rigorous three-step process, and reach finalist status by peer review before one nominee in each category is awarded the year’s honor. “Think Realty is not just a real estate investing community; we are a self-correct- ing community of investors, and that means Think Realty andThink Realty members are daily advocates for those who are doing things correctly and serving the industry as a whole,” said company president Eddie Wilson of the annual awards. “We seek, with theThink Realty Honors, to recognize those who are leading the industry and serving the industry versus just taking from it,” he added. “Yes, our winners are successful, and yes, they support their vision of who they are in the marketplace, but they also have an organic, holistic view of the entire industry and strive to make it better.” Of pivotal importance in the awards process is the second-round panel of judges, comprised of former winners,

Since receiving his award, Rumora has become a widely-read author online and in print, sponsored a “Free Home for the Holidays” contest where he gave a north Toledo property away to a homeowner who submitted a video detailing his need for the home, and is finishing a book about real estate and his life.


Eddie Speed is a 20-year veteran of the note-buying industry and founder of NoteSchool, a training company that specializes in teaching real estate investors how to buy performing and non-performing (delinquent) discounted mortgage notes. Speed also is a principal in Colonial Capital Management LLC, a private equi- ty fund that acquires discounted, real-estate-secured notes. The same year that Speed received Think Realty honors as the 2016 Alternative Asset Investor, he was also honored as the first inductee into the Small Balance Real Estate (SBRE) Hall of Fame. He also recently received a “Mentor of the Year” award from the Note Investor Summit. “We give our clients everything they need to succeed as a note investor,” he said. Eddie Speed and his NoteSchool instructors may often be encountered at Think Realty Expos providing extended training and on-site advice for new note investors.

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REALWEALTH NETWORK, RICH AND KATHY FETTKE 2016 INVESTMENT SUPPORT ORGANIZER OF THE YEAR Real Wealth Network, a Califor- nia-based real estate investment club, offers members ongoing free education on how to simplify the process of passive real estate investing and assistance in identifying and evaluating quality

Do it yourself real estate options. Done for you real estate investments.

2017 Categories:

∙ Single-Family Investing ∙ Multi-Family Investing ∙ Commercial Investing ∙ Private Lender ∙ Service Provider of the Year ∙ Educator of The Year ∙ Emerging Leader/Rising Star ∙ Master Investor Of The Year ∙ Property Manager of the Year ∙ R. Michael Wrenn Humanitarian Of The Year

AMERICAN REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS, JOHN LARSON 2016 TURNKEY PROVIDER OF THE YEAR American Real Estate Investments (AREI) specializes in turnkey investment offerings for passive real estate investors around the country. The company offers professionally-man- aged Class A properties in markets identified by company analysts as being “the most stable single-family investment markets based on population growth, business and econom- ic growth, age of available assets, economic cost of living, median household income, area comps, strength of eventual exit strategy, school districts, and crime rates.” Since receiving the 2016 Turnkey Provider of the Year award from Think Realty in 2016, AREI has continued to provide access to quality properties in Classes A, B, and C in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, St. Louis, and Kansas City. They have also been featured on HGTV and Fox Business Network. John Larson was featured in 2017 as one of Think Realty’s “Master Investors” on the cover of the May/June 2017 print edition of the magazine. passive investment opportunities. “We’ve supported our members in building and securing their wealth in hard assets since 2003,” said co-founder and judges panel member Kathy Fettke. In addition to being awarded Think Realty’s Investor Support Organization of the Year in 2016, Real Wealth Network also was ranked on Inc. Magazine ’s 35th annual Inc. 5000, one of the country’s most prestigious ranking systems of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States, and was awarded Infusionsoft’s “Elite Business of the Year” award the year prior. Kathy Fettke was featured on Think Realty’s “Women to Watch in Real Estate in 2017” panel in Dallas, Texas, and offered early 2017 economic insights at Think Realty events earlier in the year.

Ready to take some calculated risk, but don’t know where to start? At Equistream, we are dedicated to helping you invest SMARTER and FASTER . As one of the largest buyers of BULK REAL ESTATE , we’re able to get BIG DISCOUNTS not typically available. We then pass those SAVINGS on to you. Whether you’re looking for DO IT YOURSELF options or DONE FOR YOU investments perfect for your SELF-DIRECTED IRA , Equistream is here to help.

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THINK REALTY EXPO Raleigh, NC August 26-27

Nominate colleagues who stand out in the crowd at think-realty-honors/.

You should influence this year’s awards narrative. It’s not too late to nominate your favorite “movers and shakers” in the industry! Deadline for awards nominations is July 15, 2017. Go to to complete the five- minute nomination process. •

Aaron Halderman Founder, Co-author, Paper Proots

Kent Davis Founder, Equistream Co-author, Paper Proots

Garland Davis Vice President Equistream


14 | think realty magazine july :: august 2017



and honorable: to be in the position to serve something greater than themselves and take the personal responsibility necessary to provide a safe place to live for themselves, their families, and the broader community. This ideal isn’t much different than that of most real estate investors. Williams and his wife, Ashley, are both veterans and active, successful real estate investors. Williams recognized, in real estate, the opportunity to create a way for veterans to connect with other veterans to encourage and help them succeed after separation from their mil- itary service. The result: Recon Realty, a veteran-powered real estate organiza- tion with a strong sense of community.

Separation from the military to civilian life can be a difficult transition, but with the support of fellow veterans this process can be much easier, especially when it involves starting or expanding a new career, Williams observed. As Williams continued to chat, the veterans maintained focus, listening to ev- erything he had to say. Williams hopes this outreach will inspire veterans to help other veterans who wish to continue to serve their communities but through a different means. Instead of defending our country and our freedoms abroad, they will create their own businesses at home either within the real estate realm as investors who pur- chase properties and create affordable, safe homes or by creating businesses that fellow

veterans within the investing community can refer to for services such as contrac- tors, electricians or HVAC. Williams plans to hold Rally Points at future Think Realty events and says he would enjoy seeing more veterans become involved. You served, now it is time to serve and share your knowledge here at home. •

Heather Elwing-Dixon is the assistant editor for Think Realty Magazine. She has bachelor degrees in public relations and journalism. She is a licensed Realtor

in Missouri working on her GREEN designation. She has passion for education within the real estate in- vesting space, sustainable building and living. You can reach her at

LOCATION: Sheraton, Downtown Dallas MISSION: Support and Outreach

Veterans rally with Think Realty’s 2016 Humanitarian of the Year Andy Williams in Dallas.

LoanMLS gives you the power to connect with over 20,000 loan professionals and investors - all interested in buying and selling performing and non-performing loans, notes and pools. Visit today to get started! Use code JYKQYBUV for $100 worth of credits on LoanMLS. Offer available for new users only. Good until 7/31/2017.

Think Realty Launches Veterans’ “Rally Points” with AndyWilliams RECON REALTY VET HOSTS RALLY POINT AT DALLAS EXPO.

by Heather Elwing-Dixon, U.S. Army Veteran Desert Storm


itarian of the Year. As the group started to arrange themselves, Williams thanked them for coming and began to discuss why he asked for the group to gather. Williams talked about how important it

s attendees bustled about the conference floor, a small crowd

is that military veterans continue to have that sense of purpose and meaning after exiting the military, the sense of purpose many veterans feel when they enlist for service. That sense of purpose is simple

formed around Andy Williams, CEO of Recon Realty and recipient of the 2016 Think Realty R. Michael Wrenn Human-

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STRATEGIES: REITs Think Realty Coaches


Think Realty’s Inaugural Coaching Team teaches to all strategies, angles, and experience levels.


real estate coaching in particular has been proven time and again. However, in our real estate industry specifically, the concept of coaching has deteriorated over time. Real estate investors are often reluctant to seek out the expert education and mento- ring that they need in order to excel as quickly and profitably as possible in this business. To counter that trend and provide truly valuable, actionable education from certifiably successful real estate investors who both “can do” and “can teach,” Think Realty has begun assembling a powerful faculty of educators, the Think Realty Coach- es, who offer guidance and insight to Think Realty members and mentees in the coaching program. This past April, the organization debuted its first quartet of certified

Think Realty coaches at the Think Realty National Conference and Expo in Dallas, Texas. These coaches each created a series of training videos available, in full, to investor-level members and provided hours of on- site training, insight, and advice at the expo itself. Each coach has a desig- nated specialty derived from their personal experience in real estate and passion for the topic. Eddie Wilson, “The Deal Maker” and also president of Think Realty, Sonia Booker, “The Wealth Builder” and passionate wom- en’s advocate in the industry, Tameka Bryant, “The Closer” and long-time educator with the Think Realty organization, and Abhi Golhar, “The Connector” and national real estate personality, comprise Think Realty’s founding team.

FROM CANONICAL POETS AND renowned geniuses to modern-day millionaires, there are few success sto- ries in history who fail to acknowledge the massive, intrinsic value of expert guidance on the way to success. Ralph Waldo Emerson said of the concept of mentoring, “Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.” Isaac Newton credited his own genius to the guidance of those who coached him: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” The famous author of the sim- plest two rules for success in business, “Never lose money” and “Never forget rule number one,” Warren Buffet, has said of coaching simply, “It is better to hang out with people better than you… and you’ll drift in that direction.” The value of mentoring in general and of

Think Realty’s inaugural coaches from left to right: Sonia Booker, Eddie Wilson, Tameka Bryant, Abhi Golhar

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STRATEGIES: REITs Think Realty Coaches


plexes, which is what the market really needed, and we went after the student housing opportunity in that marketplace. There was a massive gap there and, as a result, a big opportunity in a stagnant sector of the market.” Wilson’s keen eye and ability to manage and motivate large teams led to the huge success of his de- velopments. “I still have dozens of units serving that area today, and that project helped me leverage into other opportu- nities from that point,” he said. Leverage he did. Wilson’s stated goal to “never pick up a hammer or saw” has not prevented him from flipping more than 100 houses in a single year, invest- ing in multifamily properties in extreme- ly hot markets like San Diego, California, and generating thousands of off-market leads for his real estate investing teams around the country. “These days, I find myself lending more than anything,” he noted, adding that his ability to create mutually-beneficial opportunities for himself and others (hence the “Deal Maker” moniker) has always served him well in terms of productive, profitable expansion and growth. “But everything came from that foundational point, those brand-new student housing units I created that targeted the opportunity in that market,” he emphasized. “My goal is to help other investors identify, imple- ment, and then leverage their founda- tions in the business as well.” EDDIE WILSON ON “UNDER- STANDING THE OPPORTUNITY”: “To me, everything goes back to op- portunity. I think it’s crucial to under- stand current market trends in order to offer the people who work with you the clearest vision of what they stand

to gain from doing a deal with you or undertaking a project together. “That mutually beneficial relation- ship is why I feel that private lenders are so incredibly vital to the real estate space. I know a lot of private lenders who do not even think of themselves as real estate investors because our industry has historically focused on the ‘active’ side of those partnerships and characterized the lenders generally as ‘just money.’ Maybe they are import- ant, but often they do not have a real ‘face’ in the industry consciousness. In reality, a private lender is not only crit- ical to the success of a deal, but they are a real estate investor in the truest sense of the word – or they should be – because their loan must be based on the value of the collateral, that piece of real estate or that development project in nearly all cases. “Investors on both sides of the equation will be most likely to suc- ceed, to do those foundational deals that change their lives and investing careers completely and for the better, if they have a solid understanding of the private lending process. My 12-part coaching series for Think Realty on finding private capital keeps comprehension of the process at the forefront from beginning to end, and I’m uniquely positioned to teach on this topic because I live on both sides of it. I’m a real estate investor who de- velops land and initiates projects and I’m also a private lender who finances other investors’ deals and projects. Whether you need private capital or you need to deploy private capital, I can tell you where to go and how to do it effectively and profitably.”

TITLE AND AFFILIATIONS: Think Realty Coach, President of Think Realty parent company Affinity Worldwide, founder of Go Media, executive director of Christian Media International. EXPERIENCE: Private lending, commercial and res- idential development, lead generation, team-building and joint ventures. BACKGROUND CHECK: Eddie Wilson is a third-generation real estate investor with a keen eye for good uses for capital and profitable, creative opportunities. “My grand- parents and parents are real estate investors, and I got started myself in my own hometown of Portage County, Ohio, when I saw a real need for a specific type of housing that was not being met. The medical student population in the area was desper- ately seeking housing appropriate for that age and career demographic and, at the time, there simply were more students than housing,” he recalled, adding that his father mentored him on this first project and the two worked closely throughout. “That just emphasized for me, from the very beginning, how very important expert mentorship can be for a new investor,” he said. Wilson immediately bought up as many of the “little two-bed- room, single-story properties” he could get his hands on in the area, got the funding for his project in hand, and went to work. “We tore them all down,” he laughed, “but that land wasn’t empty long. We started building town-home style du-

COACHING PROGRAM Eddie Wilson’s coaching program can be accessed at

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STRATEGIES: REITs Think Realty Coaches

SONIA The Wealth Builder BOOKER

she explained, noting that one of her first partnerships, a longstanding relationship with Atlanta real estate pioneer Herman J. Russell of H.J. Russell & Company, was a foundational experience in her own investing career that ultimately lasted more than a decade. “I worked with Mr. Russell until almost 2014, always also do- ing books and renovations,” she recalled. To her, this experience highlights the importance of working with experienced investors who are skilled in setting good goals for their mentees. “Working with Mr. Russell was such a breakthrough because I got to do all kinds of things that I’d never dreamed of doing,” she said. “I learned then that the key to forging successful partnerships and getting your feet wet in this industry is to really show that you have some skin in the game and that you are willing to give whatever you do have to offer to a partnership.” These days, Booker takes that attitude to the front and center of her own real estate investing, working hard to incorporate new investors and often female investors into her deals and opportunities. “You have to remember that real estate is a great wealth equal- izer,” she explained. “It doesn’t require any degrees, and we all have the same leverage when it comes to real estate. You just have to get the knowledge and you can be successful.” SONIA BOOKER ON “YOUR WEALTH-BUILDING LEGACY” “What I’ve realized over my years in real estate is that everyone has a path for how they find a property, the secret to finding a deal, etc. Uncovering that secret for yourself is really the key: you have to

be willing to build the legacy, to uncover the secret, to find your path to the deal, or you will fail. I have seen so much failure and frustration in this business, and it doesn’t have to be that way if new inves- tors will just take a fewminutes on the front end to really map things out! “My coaching ‘title’ really says it all: to me, real estate investing is a wealth-building movement. It’s not the only wealth-building vehicle out there, but I happen to think that it is certainly one of the better ones. The Think Realty coaching program allows you to really get depth, under- standing, and solid information. Part of my agreement with the organiza- tion was to make a solid commitment to providing information and really good tools for real estate investors to use to build their personal legacies. Tools that they won’t get hurt using, that will help them build generational wealth through real estate. “And here’s the thing about the Think Realty coaching program. Just as real estate investing should be a constant wealth-building, legacy-building process, we, as coaches, are constantly building the coaching program out as well. It’s a continuously-growing library. For example, my content is based around planning, setting goals, really under- standing what you’re doing, whether you’re locating a property or finding a really solid tenant. When most people think about real estate investing, they think of it in terms of goals – putting a kid through college or security in retire- ment. When you are finding properties that fit your ultimate goals, it’s fun, and real estate investing should be fun. I’m crazy like that!”

TITLE AND AFFILIATIONS: Think Realty Coach, Think Realty Woman to Watch in Real Estate in 2017, Wealth-builder, Thought-leader, Entre- preneur, Real Estate Investor, OMagazine trailblazer, founder and CEO at Sonia Booker Enterprises. EXPERIENCE: Commercial and residential real estate development, signature coaching for serious beginning investors, radio host, best-selling author, founder of iBuildWealth Workshops and Every- thing Real Estate Conference and Expo. BACKGROUND CHECK: Sonia Booker has been an active real estate investor for more than two decades and has the development and management of more than $50 mil- lion in real estate assets, among them apartment buildings, condominiums, small hotels, and residential real estate, under her belt. “I did it all,” she laughed about her start in real estate, and that has not changed much since the beginning. These days, she spends her time expanding and maintaining a massive investment portfolio and nur- turing a growing community of young real estate investors through her many media outlets, including radio shows, YouTube instructional videos, on-site trainings, and, most recently, her presence as a Think Realty Coach. “There are so many facets to real estate investing, and you have to find the one that fits your goals, your budget, and your lifestyle,” she said. “It’s about putting together the perfect plan.” Teaching is nothing new for Booker, who used to host free educational events in the living rooms of her investment properties where she taught others, mainly women, about how to successfully get involved in real estate investing. “I have always felt like investors accomplish more as a team,”

COACHING PROGRAM Sonia Booker’s coaching program can be found at

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STRATEGIES: REITs Think Realty Coaches

ABHI The Connector GOLHAR

some of the money you saved in real estate and take control of your finances and your future!” For Golhar, whose niche in the Think Realty program will focus on wholesaling, that passion for accessi- bility and education makes his initial Think Realty Coaching Series partic- ularly appropriate. Wholesaling is the process of getting properties under contract and then selling that contract to another buyer and charge a fee, and it is often the “entry point” for new investors because it requires little or even no investment capital in order to get started. Golhar is an avid, adept networker, something crucial for new investors hoping to get started in the business. “No matter what else you are doing, you always are creating your network,” he advised. “That is as key to planning for the future and planning for market corrections (which are great times for real estate investors) as is saving some of the capital that you generate wholesaling so that when the market does change, you have the contacts and the where- withal to take advantage of that shift.” ABHI GOLHAR ON “THE WHOLESALING MINDSET” “Step number one to getting started in real estate is simple: understand yourself. Your eventual success in real estate depends on that. Here’s an exam- ple: Do you like watching ‘Lost’ or do you like watching ‘Wheel of Fortune’ on television? Your answer indicates which one of two totally different mindsets applies to you. “If you like ‘Wheel of Fortune’, you

like the time-tested models. You know what is going to happen, and while there may be a few complications, you know you’re generally going to get a good show and be pleased at the end of it. Wholesaling is great for this type of mindset because at the end of the day, it’s a ‘numbers play’ and if you keep your emotions out of it and have good advice and a solid set of contracts on your side, you may have a few complications but usually things are going to go basically according to a predetermined plan. “On the other hand, if you like ‘Lost’, you may be a little bit more aggressive and spontaneous, which is right up my alley! Wholesaling can put you in a position where you have the capital to indulge that mindset and get involved in bigger projects and more diverse types of investing relatively quickly. Understanding this about yourself will help keep you focused on your goals in real estate as you get started. “This is why I’m so passionate about wholesaling: it is a really good way to learn the real estate investing business. It offers a good number of exit strategies. It is a great way to have significantly lower financial risk than a lot of other strategies like flipping, renting, turnkey investing, and com- mercial investing. You don’t have to take on debt, and most importantly, as markets change it continues to offer a really wonderful, accessible way for you to enter real estate investing, get your mindset right, learn the vocab- ulary, and build the capital necessary to move into other aspects of the business if you wish to do so.”

TITLE AND AFFILIATIONS: Think Realty Coach, host of Real Es- tate Deal Talk, single- and multifamily real estate investor, real estate develop- er, private lender, managing partner at Summit & Crowne. EXPERIENCE: Managing partner at Summit & Crowne private equity firm since 2008, new construction, single- and multi- family real estate, development, lending, communications and networking, pod- casting, video, real estate promotions. BACKGROUND CHECK: When Abhi Golhar graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in engineering and electri- cal engineering, he knew that he was always going to be more about education than money. “The crucial key in anything, including real estate investing, is getting your mindset right,” he explained. “Every investor is different. Everybody has a differ- ent fingerprint and everybody has a different mindset about success, real estate, and life. Understand who you are and what you’re about, and you’ll have the success you seek.” For Golhar, that success turned out to lie in his passion for education, which made him ideal for the Think Realty coaching program because it heavily emphasizes the importance of affordable, accessible education in the real estate investing space. Gol- har has hosted his radio show and podcast, “Real Estate Deal Talk,” with that philosophy in mind for years. “I built RE Deal Talk to provide good information about markets and strat- egies that you can execute today, and the best part is that it’s free,” he said. “There are so many good sources of information out there. Spend a little time online and get in touch with a mentor to guide you. Then, invest

COACHING PROGRAM Learn more about Abhi Golhar’s coaching program at

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