Ask Me Anything! - Ideal REI

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...to Retire in Just 4 Years With a 6-Figure Passive Income After Starting $60,000 in Debt, Without a Good Job, and Working Part Time

Ask Me Anything!

Here's your chance! I'm going to close down comments on this article in a few days. But, for now you can ask me anything in the comment section below, and I'll answer it.

By "anything" I mean anything related to business, marketing, real estate, investing, economics, etc. It does NOT have to be specific to real estate.

Just scroll down to the comment section and put in your question. Please add as much detail as possible.

But First...

10x Your portfolio LIVE

I have an AMAZING 2-day workshop coming up in the Boston area October 5-6 and I want you to attend.


It's the "10x My Portfolio" workshop and we're going to cover everything I can about finding the right deals, running the numbers, adding value, financing, raising money, etc. It's going to be a game-changer if you:

  • Have one or a few properties and are stuck and don't know how to scale
  • NEW and don't know where to start

This isn't about "Theories." This is about results

www.10xMyPortfolio.com

Now go ahead and ASK ME ANYTHING

About the Author Eric Bowlin

Eric is an investor that achieved financial independence at the age of 30. He started in 2009 with the purchase of his first triplex and now owns over 470 rental units. He spends his time with his family, growing his businesses, diversifying his income, and teaching others how to achieve financial independence through real estate. Eric has been seen on Forbes, Trulia, WiseBread, TheStreet, Yahoo Finance and other financial publications. You can contact Eric by emailing him at [email protected] or with this contact form

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Get The 6-Figure System!

I started out as a full-time student, over $60,000 in debt, and didn't even have a full-time job (two part-time jobs). Learn the system I used to create a 6-figure passive income.

  • Cody says:

    Best advice for getting started? I currently own a home and am looking to turn this home into a rental when I upgrade. How do I get from point A where I’m at today to point B having dozens to hundreds of rental properties.

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      Wow, that’s a big open-ended question! There are so many variables based on your specific situation.

      I’d say the #1 most important thing is to surround yourself with people who have rental portfolios. Learn as much as you can and build a network of people. The network can be for important in-person things such as carpentry or plumbing, but you also need to build up a support network of people you can call or email for support.

      Oh, and read and learn EVERYTHING you can. Learning never ends even if you’ve been doing it for 20 years.

  • Elijah Vo says:

    What processes have you delegated or systems have you built that has helped you work on your business rather than in your business?

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      Oh man, you can outsource everything. You can outsource management (obvious) but also outsource deal-finding (VAs or partners who find deals).

      But as far as processes go, I think it’s more important to look at how to manage what other people are doing. For example – management. Savvy managers know what ratios we use when looking at expenses, income growth, etc. They may not push hard to save every dollar or grow revenue if they know you are satisfied with their numbers.

      This is just one example but you can extrapolate it to just about anything.

      So, it’s more important to think about the systems you use to oversee what’s been delegated.

      For example, in my MA portfolio, leasing has been delegated to someone. BUT, we review all applications. MA is a tenant-friendly state and it’s important to US to have more control over that. It only takes 10 minutes to review but gives us a lot of control and peace of mind.

  • Mekkel Blanchard says:

    Hey Eric, Very nice meeting you at the newton real estate meet up. I signed up for your class in October!

    So my question to you is how did your first out of state multi family deal go?! I will be selling my single family in November with about 120k gains! I would love to invest in state but I don’t think 120k is enough for a multi between 5 units- 20units to BRRRR in mass therefor I must look out of state!

    So how did your first one go!? And how did you build relationships and trust with your team in a different state?

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      I’d have to say that my first “out of state” investment was actually done in MA once I moved to Texas. MA was “in-state” at first but then it’s out of state now….Right?

      It’s amazing that you got that sort of returns! Congrats! To answer your specific question… the first one went well and it’s one of my better properties.

      The thing about team building is you really need ONE person you can trust and who is reliable, and leverage that person for more relationships. In this market, good help is really hard to find at affordable prices. So, you’ll have a ton of turnover in your team.

      Often that ONE relationship is a good property manager, but it can also be a good agent/broker. Both are very valuable and often far more reliable than the tradespeople you’ll hire.

      As for trust…you need to trust people, but ALWAYS verify. Last year I had a contractor send me photos of the completed flooring job asking for a progress payment (he had to do trim and paint still so it was a partial payment). I sent it.

      Then I sent someone to look at it a week or two later and discovered the floor was nowhere near complete and he took photos with creative angles to avoid the parts he skipped!

      Trust, but verify.

      BUT, I want to take a step back and say that you might be surprised what you can do with $120k. Sure, you aren’t going to go all cash on a 5 family in Dorchester, but there are some options available to you.

      I’m definitely going to be covering some of them in October at the event!

  • Eric J. says:

    Hi Eric,

    You mentioned “to read anything” and I’ve read that you spent your deployment time reading. My question is what are your reading recommendations?

    There is so much information available it’s hard to know what to read first and what is actually worth reading. Are you able to provide a “roadmap” for those of us in our learning journey?

    Thank you sir in advance!

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      That’s a great idea. I should put together a roadmap for knowledge.

      As for reading suggestions… I’ve easily read 50+ books JUST in real estate. I’m a prolific reader. My favorite author for investing is Berges. A bit dated, but the knowledge is timeless. He was very foundational to my early investing.

      One time I signed up for a real estate investing course at a local university, and one of his books was the ‘textbook’ LOL! Unfortunately, I had already read it.

      And, as a shameless plug, my 2-day event in October will cover everything that I think is important for getting started. The tickets are cheap, but I know there is probably a flight/hotel involved for you. If it’s in the budget…

      http://www.10xmyportfolio.com

  • Sarah says:

    I’d love to start investing in rental properties, but finding a way to finance it is scary. We own a home, but just took out an equity loan earlier this year so we can get a new roof, and pay down some debt. So taking out another one anytime soon is not in the cards. Other than trying to find wealthy friends, any other suggestions? Or if we happen to stumble on a wealthy friend, what kind of offer do we make to someone that would make them interested in such a thing?

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      It’s never a good plan to leave something to chance. You may stumble upon a wealthy friend, but it’s better to create a system to build an investor list to draw capital from. This is a long term solution and it takes time.

      In the short term, there are a lot of private lenders or hard money lenders out there who are willing to make a loan. You’d need to have a strategy to add a TON of value to be able to refinance it and leave no capital in the deal. But, it’s doable with the right approach.

      • Sarah says:

        What do you mean by leaving no capital in the deal? And do you have any private or hard money lendors you would recommend?

        • Sarah says:

          Sorry, I re-read your response today and I actually do understand it now, I was tired dealing with a back injury. Whew! It’s been a long week to say the least! But if you could point me in an informed direction as to where to look for a good hard money or private lender it would be much appreciated!

          • Eric Bowlin says:

            There are some national lenders out there but the best thing to do is go to a local meetup or networking event in the area that you want to invest in.

  • Katie says:

    Best method of finding under-priced properties when you don’t have a ton of cash?

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      Hey Katie,

      It’s pretty rare that something just randomly sells for less than what it’s worth. It happens but it won’t just fall in your lap.

      Instead, I like to focus on finding ways to create value. On TV you see them doing this by remodeling kitchens and floors etc.

      Since just about everyone does that nowadays, you need be creative and find ways to add value that other people are overlooking. For example, I recently sold a 2-family for $40k more because I removed 1 tenant. If it’s fully occupied a homeowner cannot buy with an FHA loan…so, it leaves just investors who will pay a much lower price. That is one creative way I made a lot of money with little work, but it could also be things like finishing attic or basement space (I know, not much of that where you live), converting garages to living space (works great in lower-income areas but not high-income areas) etc.

      With a creative approach, you can easily find properties with a ton of upside.

      As far as cash goes…you can find all the deals you want but you gotta come up with a way to finance them – line of credit, 401k, IRA, friends with money, hard-money lender, equity partners… to name a few.

  • Katie says:

    What is your opinion on the BRRRR method? Buy- rehab – rent – refinance – repeat… ?
    Thanks!

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      I think it’s a sexy new acronym that has only been around for a few years, but the system it describes works. Unfortunately, the acronym misses a lot of the important details!

  • Cody says:

    Hey Eric,

    Just stumbled on your site yesterday, and reading as much as I can. I have been researching real estate for the last 3 months as much as I can, reading etc. I have never owned a house but am looking to get started as quickly as possible, specifically looking for a 4-plex house hack.

    I have looked at a lot of deals online and live in Canada where its even hard to apply the 1% rule let alone the 2% rule. I have found one I think is pretty decent in my home town. When I run the numbers (all the numbers) I basically break even. The problem is I think I am being way too conservative with my numbers and if they were less conservative it would be a great cash flowing property. I set Prop management at 10% of monthly rent, CapEx @ 10%, Repairs/Maintenance at 5% & Vacancy at 10%. This is in a town with a vacancy rate of under 2%.

    Am I being too conservative here and turning a possible good opportunity into something else?

    All the Best,

    Cody

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      Hey Cody, great questions.

      You might be too conservative or maybe not. I find that new investors might be too conservative in one area but then totally forget something else. Hopefully, it all balances out! While your vacancy rate might be high right now, it may or may not be historically accurate. Look back 10 or 20 years to see what the vacancy rate does in both peak financial times and recessions. Create two projections – a likely scenario and a stress test where everything is bad. You need to be able to pay your bills even if the economy goes down.

      I’ve heard a lot about Canadian real estate being crazy expensive and I know a lot of Canadians that move their money south in order to get positive returns. The unfortunate reality is that NOT all markets have positive returns. It’s important to remember that you should live where you want to live and invest where you want to invest. There is no rule that says you need to invest where you live.

  • Jessica C. says:

    Hi Eric!

    I’m a huge fan of your blog. You and I are nearly three same age, but over the last several years while I was killing myself for a doctorate so I could work in a field (i.e. working hard so I could work even more), you were killing yourself to actually build something up for yourself and your family, working hard to work less.

    Now that I’m already behind, where do I start? I’ve at least managed to get debt free and gather up a little over $30k, and have a job that adds more to that with each passing month. I don’t think there’s a lot of real estate available around me, but there is quite a need.

    Do you have any suggestions? I’d greatly like to get out of my job. I feel trapped trading all of my time for money.

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      Wow Jessica, I had no idea you’ve been following for so long. Huge compliment!

      First off, I’d like to say that you aren’t “behind.” This isn’t a race. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 55. In economics, there is a concept called a “sunk cost” and that is basically anything that is gone that you cannot get back. Since you cannot get it back, it should not impact future decisions. It’s like eating food you hate because you paid for it, or sitting through a terrible movie because you already got the tickets.

      Time is always a sunk cost. It doesn’t come back so there is no reason to be upset about what is gone. So, my answer…

      You start exactly where everyone else starts!

      I don’t know where you live or what your experience / knowledge level is so I can’t be specific. But, Knowledge is always the first step. You read this blog so that is one piece of it, but you also need to start attending local networking events, go to real estate seminars and events, and learn as much as you can.

      There are obviously the technical steps you’ll have to follow to get things done in real estate, but building up your knowledge will fill you in on those steps more as you go along.

  • Doug says:

    OK need some help with “mindset” I think. Been chasing this for nearly 20 years and have gotten no where. Just seems like there is an invisible wall in front of me that I continually bump into. I need some help getting past “start” or removing that wall. It is hard to do when everyone (family) says that its a stupid dream, give it up, you will never make it etc etc. Even when I show them someone that has done it (such as yourself). Just a some what random rant sorry.

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      Doug, you’re coming to the event October 5-6, right? I think I saw you on the list. That’s a big start right there.

      There are 3 categories of people I can think of and here’s how I’d approach each category if those people are holding you back.

      If it’s family (not spouse) – I’d just not talk to them about my business and investing plans. Keep the conversation on things that unify us all like politics and religion and avoid things link my life plans and goals. OK I’m joking a little, but serious about not talking about business. They’ll just plant seeds of doubt.

      I find family mean well but also have the worst filters. Typically if one goes to a good friend with a great idea, they might be like…hmm that seems risky but that’s cool. Your family might be like…that’s STUPID why would you do that?

      Ain’t nobody got time for that.

      If it’s friends – Jim Rohn said you’re the average of your 5 closest friends. It’s so true and this one thing has had a huge impact on my life.

      I realized one day that basically none of my friends shared the same vision I did. There is nothing wrong with what they are doing, but I have a different direction to take than the typical 9-5 life. I started networking and spending time with others that were more like me and NOW the people I spend time with are all entrepreneurs, investors, speakers, authors, etc.

      Start building new relationships and allocating your time to those relationships and spend less time with those friends who are great people, but maybe not great at propelling your mindset/business/investments. You keep those old friends of course, but over time you’ll expand your network of friends to include people more aligned with your goals/vision. Naturally, you’ll spend more time with people who are on a similar path, and that brings your average up.

      If it’s a spouse – This is the hardest one and I deal with this a lot too. My wife is not always on board with what I want to do. Fortunately, she does recognize that growth only comes with risk.

      So, we’ve come to a middle ground where I can risk a certain amount of money in any new venture as long as it’s money we don’t really care about. Once I’ve got a proof of concept, then I can dump more money into it. We took it slow starting in real estate then ramped up. Same thing with my online business and now with events. Each thing starts slow and grows rapidly once it’s proven. But other ventures I’ve tried and we dump them when they don’t work.

      While frustrating to me at times, she has kept our wealth safe whereas I might have risked a lot more.

      The other factor is often I might have an idea and she might say that I don’t know S**T about that. So, I’ll go pay for education or hire a coach. I’ve hired coaches in real estate, eCourses, events, and some other things as well. Though it’s expensive, we’ve always at a minimum made enough back to pay for them and in some cases made many many multiples back.

  • Lena says:

    Hi Eric,

    Thank you in advance for taking some time to answer my questions. I live in the bay area and have only two rentals (condo) so far. I’ve been looking for a multi family property to invest in my area but it’s just impossible to find. I would like to invest in other state (Texas or Oregon) but do not know where to start, in term of finding a reliable property manager that I can trust. Do you have any property manager that you can recommend in Austin or Dallas area? If not, what kind of criteria do you look for when you are looking for one?

    • Eric Bowlin says:

      Lena, in a place like DFW or Austin there are dozens and dozens to choose from. I don’t do much investing here in Texas other than apartment complexes, so I don’t know any that would do something under like 70 units.

      As far as building a relationship with a PM company, it’s important to make sure they manage the properties in a way that lines up with your vision. For example, if you believe in top-notch maintenance and pushing rents because of exceptional quality/service, then you don’t want a company that focuses on cutting maintenance to the bone and giving rent discounts to compensate. Both work, but they are different visions.

      Find a company that has the same philosophy as you.

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