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REI Tax Strategies: How To Cut Your Taxes By 50%, Keep Your Earned Money, And More With Lorraine And Jim Conaway

REW Lorraine Conaway | Tax Strategies


Taxes are inevitable, especially as an entrepreneur and investor. But it doesn’t have to be so difficult and painful to deal with; with the right strategies, you can even cut your taxes by up to 50%. Today we have Lorraine and Jim Conaway to share with us the different REI strategies for reducing your taxable income, keeping the money you earn, and more. Lorraine and Jim share their financial experience and how they have helped many clients with their tax strategies and saved them a lot of pain. They also share their journey in the industry—the ups and downs—and how, through the years, they have discovered what really matters to them. Don’t miss the opportunity to start controlling your finances smartly. Tune in now!

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REI Tax Strategies: How To Cut Your Taxes By 50%, Keep Your Earned Money, And More With Lorraine And Jim Conaway

Real Estate Investing For Women

Using their extensive experience, knowledge, and success in the world of tech strategies, real estate investing, and other wealth vehicles, Jim and Lorraine used their straightforward, big-hearted style to guide thousands to ignite their unique wealth formula. With decades of success, in designing and implementing customized wealth solutions, they appreciate that success is truly about education support and the art of supercharging your unique style of wealth accumulation. Jim and Lorraine, welcome to the show again. How are you?We’re doing great. How are you, Moneeka?

I’m so glad to have you guys here.

Moneeka, you were doing such a great thing for your entire community. I tuned in to a couple of your shows, and they’re so informative. They’re very educational and they’re there to help your community. That’s just really good that you’re doing that for women. I love it.

Thank you, Lorraine. Every once in a while, I’ll be like, “I don’t feel like recording now.” Recording is my favorite thing to do, just so you know. When I have those moments, I’m like, “I want to see my ladies,” so I get out there and I do it. It really is fun for me. Thank you for that. Lorraine. You and Jim are two of my favorite people in the world, but Jim, I do like Lorraine better. I want you to know that.

I’m used to people feeling me that way.

You probably feel that way, too. I think so.

When somebody likes the bad dad joke-type approach, then I become the favorite.

I think my husband prefers you, but I’m a fan of Lorraine. Lorraine is a friend of mine. I feel like we’re really close friends. I love you, guys. I recommend you frequently to my ladies. One of the things that have come back several times is, did you know they’re being sued or did you know they’re being investigated? My ladies, through my direction, have been taught you have to do your due diligence. I can only recommend so much, and then you have to do your due diligence. I have to confess, I’m proud of them for coming back to me with that. They helped me to find other people that I might have on my show who do have issues that I didn’t know about.

It’s a great community thing that we all keep our eyes on the ball for each other and people keep me informed. The issue here for me is that I know you and your integrity. I personally do business with you and I love you, guys, personally. I know that in this particular case, interesting, bad things happen to really good people. I would like you to help us to understand what happened so my ladies know the story the same way that I do.

I wanted to share the story because it is the actual of what happened. Jim and I were very excited to be faculty for a New York Bestselling Author way back in ‘08. We still have that amazing relationship now. What happened is we were financial planners at that time, and we personally have been real estate investors. In 2023, we will be 29 years that we’ve been real estate investors. Back then, we were real estate investors and we were financial planners, and we came across turnkey real estate. We went out and visited these turnkey providers, and they said, “If you allocate part of the portfolio to real estate, which we love real estate, and I’m sure your community does, too, you can also get a referral fee and expand our business model.”

We said yes. We had so many people that the vendors couldn’t keep up, so we expanded to new vendors providing turnkey real estate. One vendor couldn’t scale up, even though he said, “I can do it.” We flooded him with clients. It took one client, a niece from Germany who visited her aunt, and said, “What? Your property is not rehabbed. It’s not finished. We are going to sue the vendor.” They sued the real estate developer. What was really sad is they sued title, escrow, us, and everybody. It was like, “We got included in that, and we didn’t get paid. We weren’t the developer.”

It came out because we were securities licensed at that time. It triggered an examination from FINRA. That’s how this whole bad news came on the internet because we were securities licensed. It did get closed and the developer had to buy the properties back. It’s all public record. Jim, do you want to explain what FINRA is and that whole sanction?

FINRA stands for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. I’m going to read this quick little paragraph from the document, the final agreement that we came to.

It’s from our attorney, FINRA, and us, where we all signed.

James and Lorraine Conaway failed to timely and completely disclose the scope of the real estate related outside business activities. In other words, outside business activity is that activity, which is not directly regulated by FINRA or any securities real estate, to their FINRA-registered firm. They also provided their firm with inaccurate information about the outside business activities in response to an investigation of them. As a result, they violated FINRA rules 3270 and 2010. Now, if that doesn’t sound a little innocuous, I don’t know what does. Basically, what they’re saying is that, not that we didn’t disclose things, but we didn’t disclose them adequately enough.

The issue boils down to, further in the letter, the Conaways at the Conways’ direction, Tycon, the company that we used to be associated with. It attempted on an ongoing basis to track the progress of rehab on the client’s properties and coordinate with GK to confirm the scheduled rehab work was being done as agreed. It monitors the client’s rental properties that were not performing or underperforming and directs GK to address client grievances. As you can tell, we were accused of having done a good thing.

When you Google our name, there are lots of attorneys who would love to be able to sue us for all kinds of strange things, so they exaggerate these things or word them in very aggressive fashions. The sanctions boiled down to a nine-month suspension of our securities licensure after we had already surrendered our license, and a $10,000 penalty or fine if we chose to reenter the securities industry. That’s it.

The bad thing that we did was try to help clients who were delayed in the rehab of their property. I have to tell you that’s very heartbreaking for us being in the financial industry for over a quarter of a century and having a sterling record. Even multiple decades of having audits and coming out spectacular on our audits and then having this one incident with this one client on this property triggered this whole thing. That’s what happened.

It's heartbreaking to be in the financial industry for over a quarter of a century and have a sterling record, only to have one incident with one client destroy your reputation. Share on X

By the way, further into the document, they actually identified five transactions that were inadequately disclosed. One of those transactions was with a principal of our own firm. With that said, the lesson that I would like for people to take from this is when you are an entrepreneur and you have any level of success, you get a target painted on your back.

Jim, please complete the thought and I’ve got something to contribute there.

Once you’re under pressure and have an issue arise, you’ve got to be resilient and figure out how to pivot. That’s where the tax thing came from.

The one thing that I want to contribute quickly here is I love what you said there, Jim, about success breeds success. It also breeds jealousy and many other things that are not as awesome as we would like. We’ve had people on my show several times talking about protecting yourself, creating entities, and doing all of those things because these things happen. My outlook on life is bliss. I like to believe that everybody’s got the best intention in mind.

Some people, for whatever reason, either they’re desperate or something happens, they express their anger in this way. I know a lot of people that have really good business practices, and this happens, too. That’s why we recommend, ladies, that you protect yourself. This happened to you, guys. Thank you so much for being so transparent about exactly what happened.

It is what it is. People who do business with us should know we don’t handle and touch people’s money. We never have and never will. That’s not us. Just a fun little factoid, if anybody wants to know. One of the people who used to sit on the board of directors for FINRA was a guy by the name of Madoff. Do you remember him? Just saying. These guys are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

REW Lorraine Conaway | Tax Strategies

Tax Strategies: People who do business with us should know we don’t handle people’s money. We don’t touch people’s money. We never have and never will.


The other thing is that in the financial industry regulated by FINRA, they are not under the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution says you are innocent until you are proven guilty. In this format, you are guilty until you are proven innocent. It’s a different world.

It is so different. Please understand that if somebody is securities licensed, every email they send is read by Big Brother. They have to get permission to do things like that. When Lorraine and I were confronted with this whole issue back in 2015 and 2016, we really sat down and took a look at it and said, “This is a set of headaches we don’t need and want.” It has been an absolute shift. We now have constitutional rights. What an amazing experience that is.

You guys know that I released all of my licenses. I had a life insurance license and a real estate license. I was regulated by everybody, too. I just let them go because it turned out to be too many more disclosures, especially in California. I was having to sign over my left arm to talk to anybody about a property. I really do get it. I’ve let go of all of mine, too. It’s released so much pressure from my life, too. Not because I want to be dishonest, none of us want to be dishonest, but I do want to have some rights and be treated with respect.

What’s interesting I want to say and share with whoever’s reading this is that Jim and I have been very blessed. We have been asked to be on several stages, continue to be faculty, and speak in many different places. With these joint venture relationships, we have disclosed what we have done here now. The response is, “I know you, guys. The person who referred you to me, I’ve known them forever. I am so grateful that you were honest in sharing with me the disclosure that in itself is all I need.” We just keep having doors open to us, and we’re grateful for that.

I am, too, because otherwise, I wouldn’t have met you.

That’s true.

Why don’t you talk about what happened that allowed us to pivot to where we are now?

Jim and I were real estate investors and business owners. We have had employees ever since the mid-’90s, and we are taxpayers as well. First of all, when we first went independent in the ‘90s, we worked like this with the CPA for ten years, and our eyes were like, “There’s so much money in the tax return.” In our own situation, we were learning, “If you have your entity structuring, you do this and that. There are all these opportunities.” We then got certified in charitable planning back in 2001.

REW Lorraine Conaway | Tax Strategies

Tax Strategies: If you have your entity structured and use the right strategies, you’ll get all these opportunities.


It just goes to show that you were right. I’m certifiable.

It’s one of your better qualities.

We started back in 2001 focusing on the tax strategy. In 2016, we purchased a tax firm coincidentally before this whole thing happened. It was the end of 2015 when we were in negotiations. We closed escrow in 2016 in the first quarter, and then in the second quarter, this FINRA thing happened. What was interesting is that whenever people have challenges, you have a lot of real estate investors and you have entrepreneurs. When you have challenges, it really tests you. You find out a lot about yourself. Our income was, at that time, seven figures, and it got cut off in one day.

The broker-dealer said, “No, because you’re suspended.” When you have that kind of income and you have a whole staff of over a dozen people working for you, and there’s zero income coming in, you learn so much. At that time, we had bought a tax firm, and it was a small little one. Our clients were so faithful to us. They said, “Are you okay?”

That was very touching the way the clients reacted to us. The vast majority of our clients were more concerned about our welfare than their own business because they knew their business was in good shape.

We started rebuilding. We have always helped people but it was more targeted in tax strategy because that’s where we had a lot of pain personally. A lot of our clients had a lot of pain because they were way overpaying taxes. Nothing bad about accountants and CPAs and enrolled agents, they’re taught, “Let’s prepare taxes.” They get very busy with, “Give me the documents in February and March. Let me prepare the return and here is what you owe.”

REW Lorraine Conaway | Tax Strategies

Tax Strategies: A lot of clients are in pain with tax strategies because they often overpay since they didn’t know better.


For us, we have a team of tax preparers, and it’s a great marriage between the tax preparer and us who focus on the tax strategy. In addition to that, the implementation is heavy. You see those dollars and it’s exciting for us to see people save. Jim was working with somebody, and the actual savings is $148,000. Guess what he is doing with the money?


Buying real estate.

Here’s the fun part, not only is he buying real estate, but he’s getting additional tax reductions for the real estate he’s buying from with the tax savings he’s got. He’s getting additional tax savings.

It compounds. We talked about compounding and making interest. We also talk about compounding this way. One of our favorite words.

One of the analogies I like to give people is I don’t want people to think that their tax guy is doing a bad job just because they don’t have a strategy. We have to understand that most tax people are defense players. Think soccer analogy. Your tax preparer is the goalie. Think about their language. “I need to be able to defend this. Can we justify that tax deduction?” They think very defensively. Our job is to come up with those strategies to score goals on the other end of the field and work together as Loraine suggested. That’s where the magic happens.

None of these strategies are illegal. It’s all written in the IRS code. I think people get scared, too. Why doesn’t my CPA know about this? It’s because they’re not spending their time studying all those things. The IRS code is huge. It’s enough to keep up with what’s changed each year. There’s trust code, corporate code, and real estate code. There’s so much code. Most of them will specialize, which is why usually I’ll recommend go to somebody that understands real estate. A strategist can be a little broader and look at all of those things because they’re not actually preparing the taxes.

The one thing that you should know is that back in the day, we used to do things longhand. Now, we have software systems because one of the things that you said is brilliant. Everything we do is ultimately put into a written document. In that written document, we have the description of what the tax deduction is. We have the rules of what you have to do to justify it and we have the code sections so that the people who do business with us get a very robust document showing them exactly how it all works.

Mine was 97 pages long.

Sorry about that.

No. It’s true. It’s so deep, which is why you got buy-in from my husband because he wants to know all of it.

It does give people peace of mind that included in the strategy is the IRS code. All of that is wonderful, and it all looks great on paper but it is the implementation. One strategy may be putting your kids on payroll if you have a business or you have a real estate business. You have to know what is the job description, how much are they getting paid, how many hours, and what’s realistic. Having all of those details is so important. Those are the things that we work with people on, updating their minutes, making sure the resolution is completed in their corporate documents, those type of things.

A plan may look great on paper, but it’s the implementation of the strategy that determines if it’s actually effective. All those little details are important. Share on X

That’s pretty comprehensive. Who else does that? That’s amazing.

One of the things that’s exciting for us is being able to say the phrase tax-free. It truly is. One of the things that we’ve learned is there are several different techniques for people to get profits tax-free, and we mean without tax.

Is this the piece that you were talking about, Jim, getting tax-free money in your business?


Thank you for the tease. We’re going to talk about that in EXTRA.

That’s good.

It’s part of the conversation for sure. The thing that’s really amazing to me, and one of my deep motivations in life is the enlightenment that people have once they understand what can be done. It’s like being set free. It’s like, “I can earn the money and keep it legally?” Yes. You don’t have to feel like you’re paying for that next destroyer all by yourself. It’s true.

There is hope for people to be enlightened about what can be done with taxes and banks and that they can earn the money and keep it legally, too. Share on X

Is that your outside voice?

That’s why a lot of taxpayers feel this. A lot of taxpayers feel like, “If I could just tell the government what to do with the money, I’d be happy to send it to them.” You can’t do that.

That’s right. One of the things that have been a theme of conversation that I’ve been having on this show is this idea. We just had Chris Larsen. I just did a webinar with him.

I saw it.

It was so nice to have you there, Lorraine. Thank you. He does this whole concept of make, keep, and grow. A lot of people focus on the make and the grow. The thing that they don’t really get their heads around or understand the importance of is that keep piece allows the grow piece to happen so much faster. There are a few reasons for that. First of all, compounding. The more that you keep earlier in life, the faster it’ll compound and become more later in life or in a couple of years. There’s also the compounding factor of what you guys were talking about where you’ve got $128,000 savings in your taxes. Instead of spending that on a boat, car, fun, or vacation, they bought another piece of investment property. That compounds it.

Keeping piece, which is what we’re talking about here, is critical to fast growth. You’re going to grow if you’re doing the right things, but fast growth happens when you focus on that middle piece. We all love it. It’s sexy to talk about making. It’s sexier to talk about growing. We love money. Keeping piece is not as sexy, but I would say it’s even more vital than the growth piece.

As a matter of fact, in part of the report that we produce, we do the projection of what the tax savings is worth, we use a really low number. We only use 6% compounding. The gentleman that she was referring to had a goal of being independent in ten years.

One of the things that I noticed from his chart, which I thought was great, is he showed the sale after 6 years of the syndication on the properties putting in $100,000. Chris Larsen, right?

In my webinar, that’s right.

What happened is that doing the investing and then having the growth and net positive cashflow being reinvested. One of the components that were missing on that spreadsheet was the tax savings. I understand that’s not his line of work.

I also think that he doesn’t want to keep it so complicated that people’s eyes glaze over. There were already some concepts in there that people were like, “Huh?” There’s definitely a learning curve on some of this stuff, but you’re right. I know that Chris knows about it. He talks about tax savings all the time.

He mentioned it. It can get too complicated. If you’re not used to looking at spreadsheets like that, it’s overwhelming. I get it.

Did you read what he said, though? He said, “What if you’re making $500,000 a year and pay $100,000 in tax?” How many people that make $500,000 a year only pay 20%?

Most entrepreneurs should. Our rule of thumb is 15% state and federal tax combined if they’re self-employed.

The rule of thumb for entrepreneurs on taxes is 15% state and federal taxes combined. Share on X

That is the huge tax benefit of working with a strategist because most people who make $500,000 a year, especially in W-2, which is what he was talking about, he does recommend starting a real estate investing business or something so that we can take more benefits. If you make $500,000 a year in California, I don’t know the rest of the country, you’re paying close to 50%.

Thirteen percent income tax rate in the state of California. We are now number one highest to income tax state in the union.

Congratulations to us. David and I are in there, but we never want to get there. I’m just saying. It was so interesting as Chris was talking. I was like, “What? $100,000 in taxes? I know what you mean.” I don’t know if people catch this. He’s talking about a 20% rate. You’re talking about a 15% rate state and federal. What a savings that is. People don’t know how to get there, and they don’t think it’s legal.

Here’s what they say. They say, “Isn’t that a red flag or an audit?” If you’ve got the documentation and homework, and everything is ready to go, and the IRS comes knocking, you show it to them. That’s like, “Next.”

You have a lot of real estate investors. I don’t care if they’re W-2 or if they’re not. Real estate is such a beautiful investment because the income from real estate isn’t subject to FUTA and FICA. No self-employment tax. It’s federal and state. There’s this beautiful thing called depreciation on investment real estate. If your cashflow is $50,000 a year and your depreciation is $30,000 a year, then you’re only paying tax on $20,000. Thirty thousand dollars of it is tax-free. You have the opportunity of having tax-free income on real estate regardless of your status. That’s a good thing. That’s just the IRS that came up with the rules.

There are a couple of different types of tax that people should be aware of. There’s income tax, like W-2 type income tax. There’s investment income tax. There’s capital gains tax. There’s also estate tax. Our practice is primarily on income tax related, so your tax returns stuff. That comes into those three categories. Knowing how to move the investments around so that taxable income falls into various categories is very important. That’s part of the skillset. In other words, it’s not just some tax thing investment. It’s how you report your income. How you play the game can have a huge impact.

You were going to say something, Moneeka?

I was going to give you guys a recommendation, but I don’t want to cut off this conversation. I will do it at the end. People are thinking about their 2022 taxes. It’s tax season. Is there anything you want to share about what’s coming up for us?

Here’s what I would tell people to do. Sit down with a pad of paper. If you spent money and you could remember it now, it was a significant enough amount of money that you should be able to write it out. When you go to do your taxes, you should be asking not, “Is it tax deductible,” but, “How can I make it tax deductible?” It’s a different mindset. If your mindset is to spend money tax deductible before you do your tax calculations, that in and of itself could be a huge boon.

I love that mindset piece, Jim. I have to tell you a funny joke. My organizer was sitting and doing my filing. She’s looking at all my real estate stuff and says, “I’m learning so much just from doing your paperwork.” My organizer in San Jose did the same thing. She started investing in real estate because she was doing my filing. It was interesting. I love that. She’s like, “I’m learning so much. I heard this joke and I didn’t know anything about what it meant until I met you. There was a teacher and she’s doing tutoring. She bought sticky pads, and she used the sticky pad. She only used 50% of the sticky pad for her students. Can I write this off? I used 50% for personal. I don’t know. Should I write this off? Is that legal? There’s a rich billionaire who’s got his yacht and he tells his tax consultant, ‘Write off the ocean. It’s part of my business.’” I don’t think the billionaire should be writing off the ocean just for clarity, but it’s such a different mindset. How can I write this off? How can I make it write-offable as opposed to, “Should I do that?” 

I do have something to share with you. This is a fun conversation I get to have. Now, please understand, I have had 100% agreement on this factoid. I’ve talked with absolute liberals, conservatives, and teachers. You name the political spectrum, I talked to them about our favorite ex-president with the comeover. Donald Trump reportedly spends $60,000 a year for that hairstyle. Let me ask you a question. Do you think there’s any way in God’s creation he’s not taking tax deductions for that $60,000 to a person? Everybody absolutely trusts Donald Trump to know the tax code and know how to get that tax deductively. If he takes a tax deduction for a bad hairstyle, what can you take a tax deduction for? Just saying.

That’s really something to think about. I’m thinking, “I’m on TV. Should I write off my hairstylist?” I don’t know. I won’t do it. There are a lot of these things that come up that we don’t know we can take unless you are one of those privileged people that lives and goes socializes in a community where these things are talked about like it doesn’t matter. It’s a regular conversation like the rest of us might talk about the weather. There are people that live with that kind of privilege. Donald Trump is one of them. The rest of us, not so much. We’ve got to be in on these kinds of conversations and seek them out.

One of the things I wanted to let everybody know is that we do have a process where we can help people do an assessment. What we do is we get a secure Dropbox. We send people a secure Dropbox, a simple questionnaire, and we take the last year tax return, put it into our software, and then we look and analyze on what are the things that they’re doing and what are they missing, and then we create that report. We did that for you, Moneeka.

There’s not a charge to go through that process. We create the report, and then we look at, “Here are some opportunities that you may be missing, and here’s an estimate of what tax could be saved.” At that point, if people want to move forward, then we’ll discuss how we can implement and help them. If not, that’s okay. At least they got an idea of where they are.

REW Lorraine Conaway | Tax Strategies

Tax Strategies: The goal is to make reports that give clients an idea of where they are. Then, they can decide if they’ll move forward and discuss with you how to implement it or start their own more informed decision-making by themselves.


Lorraine and Jim did that whole breakdown for me, too. I sent my stuff in. It was really informative and saved us quite a lot of money on our own tax returns. We still have lots of questions, but they’re always so patient with us on that stuff. Thank you guys for that. I want my ladies to be able to take advantage of this, too. Ladies, all you need to do is go to BlissfulInvestor.com/TaxStrategy. There, you’ll get to sign up for this strategy session. Jim and Lorraine normally charge $497 for this because it takes their time and all of that stuff, but because you ladies are all blissful investors, you can get it for $297. Go to that link to get the discount. Does that make sense?

Yeah. I love it.

We are going to be talking about how to get free money on your taxes or free income from your business. That’s going to be in EXTRA. I’m super excited about that. Did you guys want to say anything else before we close?

We are so much looking forward to dealing with some of your lucky ladies and getting them to their lowest possible tax. I love the financial freedom that paying the right amount of tax provides for people.

I want to say thank you, Moneeka, for having us on your show, taking the time, and having us explain what’s on the internet because our heart is really in helping people. When I heard your last speaker speak, Chris, he made a comment about asking, “Are the people that you work with, what is their net worth? Are they seven-figure? Are they eight-figure? Are they successful? Where are they?” I thought, “Thank goodness he asked that.” I was so happy he did because that’s an important question, and that’s where Jim and I are. We do practice what we preach. This is our ministry. We’re financially independent, and we choose to do our calling to help and educate people.

I know that about you guys, and I’m so glad. The other thing is my people will find it on the internet and they don’t want to talk about it. They’re skittish about it. They’re embarrassed about it. I just love that you guys are so willing to share the real story. To me, part of integrity is being transparent. I really appreciate that about you guys. Before we sign off, I want to say one of the big reasons why I first got connected with these amazing people years ago was I was at a seminar, and someone said that she retired.

She had some assets and didn’t know what she was going to do. She put together a plan with her strategist and retired in five years. I was like, “Who was your strategist?” She did not have the equity that I did. She hadn’t been spending that much time. She’s like, “You’ve got to meet Lorraine and Jim.” I was like, “I love them.” I know I hear it over and over again. Part of what I love about you guys is you look at the strategy, but you are not like most financial strategists that only look at stocks, bonds, life insurance, or whatever it is that people are talking about. You include in the strategy, real estate and tax.

I said this to Lorraine, “Where have you been all of my life? I needed you.” That’s why I’ve been referring and referring. I hope that people feel much more comfortable now with that referral, and will start moving towards working with you guys because I know you guys have done magic for so many people. I’m so very grateful that you’re out there doing this even though you don’t have to.

Thank you and thank you for educating all of your people and all the work that you do. It really is such a great community and education, and you do it from your heart. I can see that.

Thanks, guys. Ladies, stay tuned. This has been amazing, hasn’t it? I need that more. We’re going to be talking about it in EXTRA. If you’re subscribed to EXTRA, please stay tuned, there’s more. If you’re not, but would like to be, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com, and you can sign up there. For those of you that are leaving Jim, Lorraine, and I now, thank you so much for joining us for this portion of the show. We appreciate you, and I can’t wait to see you next time. Until then, remember, goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon. Bye.


Important Links


About Lorraine & Jim Conaway

REW Lorraine Conaway | Tax StrategiesC&C Wealth Strategies is an income and wealth preservation firm that uses a systematic approach teamed with tax and legal advisors* to work toward customized results. Jim and Lorraine Conaway established Conaway & Conaway in 1996 to plan for better futures. C&C focuses on offering ROTH conversions, rollovers, pension maximization, income and portfolio analysis. Jim and Lorraine guide C&C by their moral obligations which suite to always put their clients’ financial lives in as the forefront of the business. Jim, Lorraine, the advisors, and the staff are continuously educating themselves on different ways to help clients work toward their financial goals. It is through a cognizant design of support and education where we establish lifelong relationships with clients and their families.


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Next-Level Income: How To Get Ahead With Your Real Estate Investment With Chris Larsen

REW Chris Larsen | Next Level Investing


Are you ready to take your investing to the next level? In this episode, Chris Larsen, founder of Next-Level Income and author of Next-Level Income, How to Make, Keep, and Grow Your Money Using the ‘Holy Grail of Real Estate’ to Achieve Financial Independence, talks about how you can capitalize on the real estate market. He shares what’s needed to know about investing and how you can get started on your journey.  You’ll learn how to save money on taxes, invest in real estate, and make even more money faster than ever before. Tune in right now and learn what it takes to get ahead!

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Next-Level Income: How To Get Ahead With Your Real Estate Investment With Chris Larsen

I am so excited to welcome back to the show my friend, Chris Larsen. Hi, Chris.

Moneeka, great to see you again. Happy New Year.

It’s the first show I’m doing in 2023, so I’m so delighted to have Chris here to start my year off with me. You have met Chris before. He talks about syndication. We’ve had a webinar with him before. I wanted to bring him back because his business has greatly expanded, and he’s offering some new things to help you create passive income. I wanted him to come back and talk about all this new exciting stuff. For those of you who have not yet heard of Chris, let me tell you a little bit about him.

Chris Larsen is the Founder and Managing Partner of Next-Level Income. Chris has been investing in and managing real estate for many years. While still at college, he bought his first rental property at age 21. I love that because that’s how I was. From there, Chris expanded into development, private lending, buying distressed debt, commercial offices, and ultimately syndicating multifamily properties. He began syndicating deals in 2016 and has been actively involved in over $1.5 billion in real estate acquisitions. Chris is passionate about helping investors become financially independent. I’m so excited to have you back, Chris.

REW Chris Larsen | Next Level Investing

Next-Level Income, How to Make, Keep, and Grow Your Money Using the ‘Holy Grail of Real Estate’ to Achieve Financial Independence by Chris Larsen

Thank you so much. It’s great to see you. I love the smile.

In this episode, you’re going to be talking about the Next-Level framework. Chris used to be a coach. Much like me, other parts of his life are now creating changes for him. He’s creating a framework, and he’s going to tell you all about that. Give us a high level of your story.

One thing I love about you, Moneeka, is our stories are very similar in terms of starting with residential, and I was fortunate enough to be introduced to bigger commercial projects later on. My initial passion earlier in life was racing bicycles, and that’s all I wanted to do. I talk about this in my book, which, if you didn’t get it the first time I was on the show, you can get it on our website NextLevelIncome.com/Book. Let me know if you get a copy there that you read me on Moneeka’s show. I talk all about this. That was my love. That was my passion.

My best friend, I met through cycling. I went to college for Biomechanical Engineering, but I just wanted to graduate, turn pro, and race my bike. Along that path, my friend passed away, my best friend, my roommate, and my training partner. It affected me in multiple different ways when you lose somebody. In my case, he was like a brother. After it sunk in, it made me realize something. It made me realize that I didn’t want to have any regrets in life. I wanted to be able to live life to the fullest. I’m a very analytical person.

When I looked at that, I said, “How can you do this? How can you take advantage of opportunities?” The thing is, this is the truth. You have to have money in this world to be able to take advantage of opportunities. Sometimes, that’s spending more time with your family. Sometimes, it’s taking a business risk. Sometimes, it’s spending time to volunteer. Sometimes, it’s actually giving money. Dan Sullivan, who runs Strategic Coach that I was a part of for several years, likes to say, “If you can write a check for it, it’s not a problem.”

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After my friend passed away, I quit cycling at the time and racing. I decided I was going to embark on a journey to become financially independent. I read book after book, over 250 books. I was investing in the stock market, but ultimately came upon real estate, as everybody’s figured out by now, I’m sure. After making a lot of mistakes over fifteen years, I ultimately started investing with other operators in commercial real estate, specifically multifamily. That was what gave me my path toward financial independence.

Now, I was making a lot of money. I was working as a medical device rep. It’s all different types of roles in sales in the medical device field. I was on call. I worked a lot of hours. I worked sixteen days. I worked seven months straight one time without a day off. I spent three days straight sleeping in the hospital. I worked really hard in my life, but I had a plan and a path. What I’ve done is I took the framework that I used that I was teaching my coaching clients one-on-one that would pay me $30,000 a year, and I put it into a course. I’m going to give everybody a high-level overview of what we teach in that course, a real CliffNotes version of what you can do to become financially independent in your own life.

I love that. That’s why you’re here. Chris is going to be giving us a high-level on this. We are going to do a deeper dive in a webinar on February 2nd, which is a Thursday. It will be our first webinar of the year with me. I’m so excited about that. Chris is going to be with me on that. It’s going to be Thursday, February 2nd from 1:00 to 2:30 PM Pacific Time. If you’re reading this later, there will be a replay. You can go to the same URL, which is going to be BlissfulInvestor.com/SixFiguresWebinar.

Preemptively, I wanted to tell you about that. As you’re reading this, if you’ve got questions, jot them down. He’s going to be live with us in a couple of weeks, so you could ask all sorts of questions then. Chris, go ahead and take it away. I just want to comment on the Make, Keep, Grow idea that I know you’re going to be introducing to my audience. I love that. It’s such a big piece of how I’ve structured my business, and how most real estate investors who reach a certain level of success start to look at things. Readers, I want you to understand that this is a little bit of an advanced concept, but it’s not only for advanced people. In other words, you can take these concepts right now, even if you’re a beginner, and build your entire business based on this concept of Make, Keep, Grow. Go ahead, Chris.

I have two young boys. I like to be able to teach concepts and talk about concepts that my boys can understand because I was explaining this to my son. We’re going to the bank, and I was depositing a very large check from a deal that I just sold. I explained to him how that large check started at $3,000. If you hear $100,000 or $1 billion in real estate transactions, and your eyes glaze over, or you’re like, “This isn’t for me,” I started with $3,000 for my first property.

These deals are still available nowadays. You can still find good deals. You can still find deals that are going to work for you. Whether you have $3,000 in the bank, $30,000, $300,000, or $3 million in the bank, all these concepts work. I know a lot of you that are reading are very successful. You’re making lots of money. A lot of you have careers that you love. I got to work with a lot of doctors and surgeons in my career, and I have a lot of investors from that. A lot of them say, “If I won the lottery, I would still go to work because I love what I do.”

If you’re a doctor and reading, God bless you because it has to be a passion that you really have to love what you do. It’s such a lifestyle. The first thing, and I talk about in the book and my course, is to find a way to make more money. The reason I say that is because a lot of the best investments out there are reserved for those that are accredited investors. That means you have to make $200,000 or more in annual income as an individual, $300,000 as a couple, or have a net worth of $1 million, excluding your personal residence.

REW Chris Larsen | Next Level Investing

Next Level Investing: A lot of the best investments out there are reserved for those that are accredited investors.


There are a couple of little nuances there that you may be able to get in. The bottom line is if you can make more money and you’re accredited, a couple of things happen. 1) You have more money and more capital to invest. 2) You have more opportunities because now you’re accredited. The SEC says, “You’re allowed to invest in some carwash opportunities or the new RV and boat storage opportunity that we just launched that not all investors who are out there get to have access to.” That’s the big thing.

I was successful and I was making money, but I wanted to be more efficient so I could have more time with my loved ones. One of the things we teach in the course is how to set goals, figure out what’s your worth, and delegate or get rid of those little distractions. One of my favorite things is how to create 20 to 40 hours more a week to spend with your family, do things that you love, or start a side hustle.

If you’re reading and saying, “Chris, I’m not at $200,000,” if you’re at $50,000 or $100,000 of annual income, if I could give you 20 or 40 hours more a week, could you make another $50,000 a year? Could you make another $100,000 a year? Could you maybe start a business that creates some passive income for you? Where we start is, “How do you become more efficient with your time, more effective with your time, and ultimately grow your income?” If you’re reading, and you’re making seven figures a year already and you say, “I’m good, Chris,” you can skip right through that section if you want to.

We start with making money. There are a lot of different ways that we can think about making money, too. The richest people in the world say they have an average of seven streams of income to make that money. I’ve said this on the show before. Because you have seven streams of income does not mean that you’re working seven jobs. It simply means that you have seven different streams coming to you from decisions that you have made. If you have a job that you love, that’s one stream of income. If you are investing in real estate, let’s say you have a portfolio of investment properties, that’s another stream of income.

I can talk to you a little bit right off the top of my head about what they are for me. I am a real estate investor. My rental properties make a particular stream of income. I have a bunch of notes that have brought me a stream of income. My husband invests quite a lot in stocks. That’s the part that he manages for our portfolio. I have a stream of income there. His income is a stream of income. My sponsorships from this show are a stream of income. Notice that I’m not fully involved.

You have a book.

I have a book. That’s a stream of income. The show I consider myself a media personality piece, which includes being an author and speaker, that is that stream of income. This is a secret, and I’m going to talk to you about this later, but I have also gone into high-return investments, which include Forex, crypto, and NFTs. All of that high-return stuff is also a piece of my income, and I’m getting a huge residual on that, too. That’s a very high risk, which is why I don’t normally talk about it because high risk also means high return. High risk, in this case, it’s the same thing, and things can crash and burn.

High risk also means high return. Things can crash and burn. Share on X

As I learn more and experience more, I’ll share that more with you, but that’s my secret adventure. We’ve got all of these different forms of income. Here’s the thing that takes the most time here. I work 5 to 10 hours a month on my rental property. There are other things, but mostly this. The media personality piece takes the most time.

That easily takes twenty hours a week because I’m traveling and other stuff like that. That’s my choice. I also spend time doing charity work. I also spend time on lots of other things. I’m a caretaker for my parent. Because I’ve got seven different ways that I’m making income, I’m not so concerned if one’s not working quite as well as the others. I have an idea monthly of what money is going to be coming in because I’ve diversified my streams of income.

You underscored what I was saying, Moneeka. It’s the same with me. I was always looking for ways. I know we’re going to deep dive into that in the webinar, which is how you evaluate these deals. I’ll give everyone in that webinar how you can figure out in five minutes whether it’s a good deal, and then really have not only a framework but also tools that you can use to say, “How do we figure out how to create these income streams?” Be confident while we’re doing it. I’m an analytical guy, so there’s a spreadsheet involved with that.

There is. I am involved in syndications also. In my real estate portfolio, I’ve got three of those paths of income. I’ve got a fourth because I run a construction company also. That’s more active. Even in the real estate arena, I’ve got several different paths of income that come in. If one of my rentals goes vacant, I’ve still got all my syndications paying quarterly, whatever they’re supposed to be paying. Even in my paths of income, I’ve subdivided. What I’m saying is that you don’t need to work harder to make more money, you need to work smarter.

What I really love about what Chris was talking about is if you can get 20 to 48 hours back a week, what would you do with that? Could you learn more about different ways to make that passive or residual income that you’re looking for to increase that income, so now you’ve got more opportunities, and you can invest in things that people that aren’t making that income can’t?

What happens is it snowballs. You create another income stream or you create more time in your life, and that opens up space. If you have that capital like we talked about before, and you have the time, now, you have the freedom to choose to work with and do the things that you’re really passionate about. That’s where I’ve found your income starts to multiply. We’re going to dive into this a little later. There are three silent killers who are insidious beasts that will come, and they’ll try to attack your income. The second component of the framework is how to keep your money.

I like to say, “Let’s put some more people in the boat and start rowing.” That’s make more money. What if your boat has a bunch of leaks? Working with dozens of coaching clients, some that are making seven figures a year, very successful, I found one thing in common, Moneeka. No one does all of these things properly. Those three things are proper insurance, proper liability protection, and proper tax strategy. What we talk about in the course is how to make sure you have all of these things in place. My father died when I was aged five. A death or major illness can rob you of income, especially if it’s a major source of your family’s income, as it was in my family.

REW Chris Larsen | Next Level Investing

Next Level Investing: No one does all of these things properly: proper insurance, proper liability protection, and proper tax strategy.


Number two, a lawsuit. You own these properties, and I know a lot of high-income earners and probably a lot of readers of the show. I was guilty of this early on as well. You own real estate, you own it in your own name, you don’t have a proper LLC set up, or you may be co-mingling funds. My attorney talks about a story where his friend lost $3 million because he didn’t take a few hours and $1,000 or so to set up a proper entity. These are things that can come and get you.

If you have liability in other areas of your life, you certainly don’t need more liability from our investments. My attorney provided all of his resources inside my course when he found out what we were doing. That comes inside of there. We even have a checklist. It’s the ultimate estate plan checklist. If it’s daunting as it was for me, you can go right through that checklist. You can say, “These are the steps I need to take,” everything from writing down where your passwords are, where your heirs or partner or spouse can find all the information for your properties, and accounts, and do those things to, “What about tax strategy?” This is low-hanging fruit.

Typically, my coaching clients are saving somewhere between 5% and 10% off of their taxes. What I mean is they’re paying 30% which drops to 20%. For most of our coaching clients, we can get them with the tax strategists that we work with. That’s not something that I do specifically, but I’m not an accountant, not a CPA. I don’t do that, but we have vetted CPAs that we work with, but they’re able to get most people’s tax rates, even W-2 income earners, a lot of time below 20%.

If you can save that money, that may be your first $50,000 for passive investment, for instance. That’s why I like to say it’s like a boat. If you can plug all the leaks in your boat, now you start rowing faster. When the money’s coming in, it’s not going out in the form of taxes, it’s not being lost. You can sleep at night because you’re not worried about losing it to one of these other things that are lurking in the shadows out there.

Savings is like a boat. If you can plug all the leaks in your boat, you can start rowing faster. Share on X

I love that. We’ve talked about this before, and I know Chris has said this before. The more that you keep, the more it can compound. People will say, “It’s okay. I’ll deal with this later. I don’t make enough now, so I don’t need to worry about this.” The thing is that the sooner you get a handle on holding onto your money, the more that particular money will compound. Compounding is the magic of finance. The more that you can utilize that money to invest and grow it, the faster it will grow and the faster you get to that place of wealth. Keeping your money is very important.

I had a webinar and show about the Abundance Group Trust. Trust is another way that you can utilize to do these tax strategies, have your legacy things to pass down in case of death or health problems, but also how to mitigate your exposure to lawsuits because it gives you anonymity. I have chosen that route to go through trust. I know that Chris is introducing some other options.

That is a part and should be a part of most people’s estate planning.

Exactly. Chris, I’m going to send that show to you so you can listen to it because I’d love to hear your feedback on that. Readers, go back to that. It was on October 2022. It was Gina. I think you remember that. What I love also is that Chris gives you this checklist of all of these things because sometimes it can feel very daunting, which is why a lot of people don’t do it, but you miss a big opportunity. If you have to work less to get more money, that’s the golden grail. Let’s say you make $1,000 a year and pay 30% in taxes. Now, you’ve made $70,000. If you can cut that to 20% of taxes, you just made $10,000 more without working a single hour or minute more for that money.

Here’s the amazing thing, Moneeka. I’m going to pull my calculator out. If I was making $70,000 and I saved $10,000, I get a 14% raise, essentially. That’s a big difference. This isn’t tax fraud. You’re not evading taxes. You were literally taking the rule book of the IRS, and you’re following the rules that the IRS puts out there. I like the expression when it comes to taxes, “Be aggressive but document thoroughly.” If you have the right structure set up and you do that, that’s fantastic.

REW Chris Larsen | Next Level Investing

Next Level Investing: When it comes to taxes, be aggressive, but document thoroughly.


In the member’s section, I’m also talking about my million-dollar secret. This one secret will literally save you $1 million over your investing career. It’s incredible. If you look at these small numbers and these small amounts that seem small, through compounding and the difference when you go up in terms of how much you can save and keep versus giveaway to the government or other people, these are seven-figure secrets that you’re learning.

It does take some time upfront to do some research and find out what the right structures are for you, what it is you’re trying to achieve, what your assets are, what are your obligations to the family later on, the upside or the downside, my parents versus maybe children, or my nephew or whatever, where you are feeling your obligations are going to be, how you want that legacy to be transferred, and those sorts of things. It does take a little bit of thought. I understand that it can be daunting, but it’s a very important piece of the financial picture.

Don’t just assume that you just have to work harder to make more money. You don’t. You can work a little bit more for a little while, but it’s not a twenty-year commitment. So much of the time, you ask for a raise from your job. Are you going to get 14%? When you get that raise, often, you’re going to have more responsibilities. You’re going to have to work harder, more hours.

Pay more taxes.

My husband will move to another job. Now, he’s got two years in raise like, “I got to prove myself,” to make that extra 5% increase and income that he made. It’s not necessarily what I’m suggesting. It’s a path. That’s great. My husband loves his job, but you can make more income without doing all of those other things.

That’s what we’re trying to do. They’re not secrets. With all this information, I’ll give you all the resources and the path to do it. We do it in about 30 minutes a week. It’s 8 modules, 30 minutes a week. You can knock this thing out. You can do it on a weekend for sure. You can go through it 30 minutes a week for 8 weeks. You’d be done it in two months.

We talked about the make and keep. Let’s talk about the really fun one, grow.

Grow, it’s sexy. This is investing, and we’re talking about it with our friends at our Christmas or holiday parties and cocktail parties and those sorts of things. I’m glad that we started with the other pieces because have you made time for what matters in your life? Have you plugged the holes in your boat? Do you have just an ironclad plan so that you know you’re safe? You can sleep well at night. You don’t have to worry that after you’ve made this money, it’s just going to get sucked away by one of these little silent killers that are lurking out there, or not so silent. If you’re about to get your tax bill, it’s pretty loud when you got to write that check.

You then get to the growth part. We’re going to dive deep into the webinar about how to evaluate passive deals and syndications. Before you do that, there are a lot of active investors I know that are reading. I started as an active investor. I’m still active in investments, but I also have passive investments in about 40 different passive investments. We talked about how to decide, “Do you want to be active or passive in terms of your real estate portfolio?”

Maybe you’re like your husband, Moneeka, and you say, “I love what I do. I make great money.” I would like to know how to be confident in finding passive deals or marry a wonderful person like yourself, and that you handle some of that stuff. That’s a fantastic way. We also give you the tools to figure out when you will become financially independent. We have a beautiful spreadsheet that’s part of this, and it’s going to allow you to plug in your numbers at the end to figure out when you can be financially independent.

This isn’t some magic bullet. I’m not going to wave a wand. I’m not going to make you some promise. If you’re accredited and making a good income, I find that pretty much everybody has a path to become financially independent in about seven years. It can be a little bit less or more than that, depending on where you are in your journey, but I find that to be a very realistic number if you’re out there, and you have a family like I do like most of you do that are reading, going to do that.

The first step is active or passive, then you have to decide, “If I’m going to be active, what strategy am I going to do? Am I going to do fix-and-flips? Am I going to do notes? Am I going to manage my own rental portfolio? Am I going to do short-term rentals?” My wife and I have two short-term rentals here in Asheville, North Carolina. We participate a little bit active, but it works very well because we also have places for our family and friends because people like to come to Asheville, North Carolina, so it works well with us.

We decided we didn’t want to do more short-term rentals. We would rather do stuff that is more scalable. We go through what your right strategy is. A little active, a little passive, maybe none of one, and 100% of the other. Maybe you decide you want to go full-time into real estate, and that’s great. However, even if you say, “I’m going to be full-time in real estate,” that’s not scalable. I talk about everyone should have a strategy for passive income. Once you got those big flywheels turning and all that excess cash that you’re kicking off, where are you going to put it? What type of deals are you going to put it in?

More specifically, what is the framework, both qualitative and quantitative, that you can evaluate those deals so that you can be confident that you’re putting your money in the right place? It can be daunting when you look at something like a $50 million or $100 million apartment complex that you’re investing $50,000 in. Is that just like a house? It’s not just like a house. There are a lot of other different factors. It’s more complicated in some ways. It also can be simpler in some ways. We break down all of those qualitative issues, the right questions to ask, and the data.

If you’re a data person like me, we have stuff that you can go through to learn, “What are the right questions? What is the local population growth?” We talk about sponsorship fees, and you can dive deep into all those different areas. You can go to the high level and figure out, “These are the questions I need to ask. These are the deals that I’m going to be in. This is how much cashflow it’s going to kick off,” and then you can calculate your freedom number. We call it your path to financial independence.

I love that it talks about qualitative as well as quantitative. You have read at least easily 25 syndicators on this show. These are all people that have become fairly good friends of mine. Not all of them, but several of them. Even though I’m close to them and trust them, I get overwhelmed looking at their deals. There’s the piece where how you build trust. I’m very lucky because I have this show, so I get access to a lot of these people. These come across my desk all the time.

For those of you that are not in my situation or a much simpler situation than me, you need to find ways to find the syndicators that you’re going to trust. Hopefully, you’ll investigate the people that I have had on my show, but there’s also really good stuff that you can do on the internet to look up people. That’s qualitative, who are you going to invest with? The quantitative is, what are you going to invest it with? Both of those pieces are really important, and they’re both big pieces of the puzzle. Please go ahead, Chris.

The qualitative comes down to what are the right questions to ask. Anxiety comes from fear of the unknown, and how can we know if we don’t know the right questions to ask? We give you the right questions to ask, so you can have a measure when you talk to other syndicators who know that, just like anybody that goes in, whether it’s a car mechanic or a doctor. A lot of people are overwhelmed when they go to the doctor because they don’t know what questions to ask, especially if there’s an illness or something, and they’re in a very emotional state.

I remember my mom when she had cancer. They’d sit down and record the conversations, but my parents didn’t know what questions to ask because they weren’t medical professionals. They would come out of there, and a lot of times, they were even more confused than when they went in. If you’re confused and are not comfortable, you definitely should not invest. If you don’t feel good about something, don’t invest. If you have the right questions and the right knowledge, if you then say, “I’m confident,” that’s what we want to do. I want to give you confidence, and then you can say, “I’m on the right path.”

That’s why we want to put it also in that quantitative portion, so you can have a score, you can have numbers, and say, “I’m moving towards this.” I tell you what, you make that first investment, you get a check for a few $100, or $500, or $1,000, it’s cool, but that’s not going to move the needle enough. When you can see, “It’s going to start with a few hundred dollars this month,” and then a couple more months down the road, that’s going to grow, and then a deal sells. We were talking about when we started this show. We’re going to the bank with my son, that $3,000 is now hundreds of times larger than that.

That allows me to go and reinvest that money. It takes time, but I knew it would come over time because I knew I could look at my spreadsheet with a degree of confidence, I can go and say, “Now, I know what I can do with that for the future.” That’s what this is all about. Real estate is a get-rich slow game, and we want to give you the framework and the roadmap, which is why we call it the 6 Figures of Passive Income Roadmap, to get you where you want to be, which is on that path to ultimate freedom.

It keeps you focused. So much of the time when you’re in it, you need that focus. I was on a twenty-year plan on how I was going to retire. Every once in a while, I had to remind myself, “Why am I doing this?” You have something that came up with a rental property that made me crazy, “Why am I doing this?” Spreadsheets and numbers really help keep you very focused on why you’re doing what you’re doing and where you’re headed, and why this is a good idea.

“Honey, why are you talking to the real estate agent on our honeymoon?” “This is why, because twenty years from now, sweetheart, we’re going to be financially independent.” True story. Fortunately, it didn’t take twenty more years, but on our honeymoon, I was trying to figure out how to get a place rented out. It was a mess. I will never forget that.

I’m so with you on that. I want to go into our EXTRA portion. Here are a couple of things I want to close the show with. First of all, we are going to be talking in EXTRA all about a deep dive more into the three secret killers of wealth, which are death, health, lawsuits, and taxes. That sounds like four, but I think death and health are the same.

We’re going to be doing more of a deep dive on that in EXTRA because I really want you guys to start thinking about that stuff. They’re not fun and happy and sexy things, but very real. There are things as you’re building your wealth that you need to think about, take into consideration and plan for. We don’t have a lot of people that are talking about that. I trust Chris to give us a lot of really good information. I asked him to do that for us in EXTRA. We’re going to be talking about that there.

If you are really excited about Chris’s course already, and I would be if I were you, you can go get it right now at BlissfulInvestor.com/EvaluationCourse. I know those are long words. I’m sorry. I was trying to think of what I could make this, but it’s the best description that we can get. Here’s the thing. It just released. It’s brand new on the market. He normally charges $1,497 for it, but my audience gets 30% off. Go to that link, and then put in the code BLISS, all in caps, and you get a 30% discount, which is huge. That takes that down to about $1,000.

Yes, it’s right about $1,000.

If you want more information before you invest in the course or if you just want to talk about syndications and ask Chris more questions, because as you can see, he’s an open book, he’s very transparent and loves to talk about this stuff, we are going to be having a webinar. Mark your calendars, Thursday, February 2nd, 2023 from 1:00 to 2:30 PM Pacific Time. For those of you that are reading this later, you can still go to that URL and re-read. The URL to go to sign up or re-read is BlissfulInvestor.com/SixFiguresWebinar. Those of you that can join us, please come and ask lots of questions. I’d love to see you there. I’d love to say Happy New Year.

Happy Groundhog Day on the 2nd, I just noticed.

Is it? We’re going to be celebrating lots of things. Put that all on your calendar and mark down those URLs. Did you want to close with anything, Chris, before we say goodbye and move into EXTRA?

Thank you so much. It’s always good to talk to you here. When we do that course, come ask me anything. As Moneeka said, I’m an open book. Unfortunately, I made a lot of mistakes in my life. I’ve had some unfortunate incidents like losing my father and my friend. I’ve been through these things. Hopefully, I can help you with some of the tools that I’ve put together and the lessons that I’ve learned, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes that I did.

I love that. Thank you. Always remember. Goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon.


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Data-Driven Real Estate Investing With Stefan Tsvetkov – Real Estate For Women

REW Stefan | Data Driven Real Estate


The real estate industry has been growing faster than ever because of technological advancements and other factors, leading investors to analyze data more easily. Listen to your host Moneeka Sawyer as she talks with Stefan Tsvetkov about the importance of data-driven real estate investing. In this episode, Stefan shares his knowledge and key insights about the market and different scenarios you can review so you won’t make mistakes. If you understand data analytics, you can make better decisions and generate more income. So, tune in to have a deeper understanding of the market and the industry.

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Data-Driven Real Estate Investing With Stefan Tsvetkov – Real Estate For Women

Real Estate Investing For Women

I am so excited to welcome Stefan Tsetkov to the show. Stefan is the Founder of RealtyQuant at RealtyQuant.com. It is a company that brings data-driven and quantitative techniques to the real estate industry. They are on a mission to add industry value through education, investment, technology, and analytics. He is a financial engineer turned multifamily investor, analytics speaker, and live webinar host.

He holds a Master’s degree in Financial Engineering from Columbia University. Entering his finance career, he managed $90 billion of derivatives portfolio jointly with colleagues. He was featured on multi podcasts and webinar events including Elevate, Best Ever Real Estate Show, and Investing in the USA. He is the host of the Finance Meets Real Estate webinar series.

Welcome to the show, Stefan.

That was a great introduction. Thanks for having me.

Tell us a little bit about you. Give the executive version of how you got to where you are investing in real estate and why you love talking about analytics.

I’m a financial engineer. Originally, I’m Eastern European. I came to States. I went to Columbia and New York for my graduate degree. I worked in the financial industry for about a decade. In the last couple of years, I’ve been a real estate investor as well as a founder of a technology analytics company in the real estate industry called RealtyQuant. I took on analytics related to that. We publish market evaluations as to how over, under, and fairly valued our different markets are. We also do data-driven investing and build different technology and tools in the industry for that.

We’ve had one person come on and talk about data-driven real estate, but he wasn’t an analyst. This is exciting. Don’t be shy about talking about numbers. We can handle it. I’m super excited to hear how you run this. First, let’s define data-driven real estate investing.

It incorporates different data science or technology techniques for investing or discovering inefficiencies and opportunities in the real estate market. A big part of that is automated underwriting. Automated underwriting where you can pull thousands of on-market and off-market listings and underwrite them even to a partial extent. Later, you would perhaps need to go to the property in person, but it is still this preliminary analysis.

Automated underwriting is a big part. To that, there are different machine learning also that comes into play a bit. These are things like computer vision where you are able to see real estate images and define the condition of those properties. You can define the condition scoring based on real estate images or texture descriptions and also extract other intelligence from texture descriptions.

There’s also financial modeling for off-market inventory in the commercial multifamily space. That’s very useful. It’s a set of techniques for finding deals and markets. On the market side, it’s also engaging valuations. It’s having appreciation predictors and downside predictors for your markets. That’s so very useful in the commercial multifamily space. In residential investing, you’re able to gauge markets and pick the best ones. That’s what data-driven investing is. It’s a slightly different approach than the more local real estate investing, and there are good reasons for that such as you want to be vertically integrated. You want to have your team within a location. You want to understand that location really well.

Data investing is more agnostic to that. Thus, you try to gauge those markets somewhat in a bigger way. You’ll be able to scale and do this anywhere in the US. That is the difference. It’s also getting your own intuition with the data rather than reading reports. That’s not data-driven in my mind. If you’re purely working on reports, it could be, but it’s a little bit hard without also interacting with the data yourself or an analyst on your team doing it. It takes bigger insights with that.

With the reading of reports, do you think it takes more insights?

Yes. It takes more than a summary reports of what are the best markets in the US for this and that. In my experience, at least, you need the whole data for the whole US everywhere. It’s a bigger endeavor.

If someone invested in undervalued markets at the peak of the global financial crisis, they would outperform. They didn't perform great, but they still performed. Share on X

How did you get started investing in real estate? I want a little bit of context. How did you get started and why did you move from where most of us are where we’re looking at reports or listening to the news? We’re trying to invest locally because those are markets that we understand. That’s the more intuitive way that most of us invest, and you moved to more data-driven. Could you give us a little bit of your journey? How did you get started, and how did you get to where you are?

I’m in New York. The first property I bought was with a house hacking strategy. Many people are familiar with that. I bought a multifamily post in New Jersey. I lived in one unit and rented out the other one. I thought it was working well. There was a beautiful discount on the price as well. I thought, “I should work into it more professionally and find investment opportunities as a professional investor.”

From there, I started as a residential investor doing condominium conversions in the New York City area and other projects. I started pulling lots of data. I pulled perhaps 6,000 on-market and off-market properties within three hours from New York City and would have them underwritten on different strategies. It’s not only that, then you can compute your cap rates and different things like that. You can also underwrite on strategies that are otherwise hard to think about at such a scale for so many properties such as condo conversions or perhaps converting a residential to a commercial property. That was the way I started.

I’ve been doing residential deals in the New York City area in the small multifamily space that are close to markets like downtown Jersey City and WeHo which are very close to the city and some in upstate New York. From there, I’ve been transitioning to the commercial multifamily space in the Midwest and working for different deals in places like Iowa, Minnesota, and more fairly valued markets at that time.

When you moved out of New York is when you started becoming more data-driven. Is that true?

No. I am still physically in New York. I was data-driven when investing around in the New York City area as well. We pull residential listings for many. When you’re transitioning to commercial multifamily, the market side becomes more relevant because you’re not in your local market. You want to pick the best markets out of state. There are also concerns about whether they are overvalued or if we are going to have a recession. That prompts some of that analysis on the market side.

That’s a perfect segue. Let’s talk about how to determine if a market’s overvalued or what is the downside risk. Let’s talk a little bit more about that. 

That is a million-dollar question if you think about it. Think ahead of the global financial crisis. Ahead of the global financial crisis, there were investors who invested in, for instance, California or Nevada. Those had a 50% decline, roughly speaking. They were extremely successful investors. That’s more speaking to the residential single-family space for this discussion because the commercial multifamily market is a bit of a different dynamic with cap rates and so forth.

Some of those investors lost all their networks. They were not the biggest investors, but the biggest people you watch in podcasts in the US. They were extremely successful and they were extremely successful with their operational process. They knew how to find deals, yet, they lost a lot of their network. The reason is those markets were extremely overvalued.

On the contrary, there are others. One of the bigger syndicators purchased his property in Midland, Texas. It was his first syndication. It had a super huge return. The reason is that Texas was undervalued. That’s ahead of the global financial crisis. This is a backward discussion. It was undervalued at the time that didn’t decline. They did decline but at a 4% average. They declined very little. They declined on their income, but on valuation terms or normalized terms, they didn’t.

I want to stop right there quickly because you’re going fast. It’s super awesome. You’re coming in with a lot of good stuff. I want to highlight some interesting things that you said. Which decline are you talking about? Do you talk about 2008 and 2009?

REW Stefan | Data Driven Real Estate

Data Driven Real Estate: You don’t just get to compute your caps and different things like that, but you can underwrite on strategies for properties that are hard to scale.



That’s what you’re referring to. I’ve been through three of them, so I want to make sure I knew which one you were talking about. In many of the markets in California, we were overvalued. I tell this story on my show many times. In 2009 and 2008, I lost 50% of the valuation of my properties in a period of three months. Things dropped so fast. When you go to a market like what he’s talking about in Texas, it’s not overvalued. It still did have a response to the crash, though, but it was only 4%. That is what he’s quoting us at.

It doesn’t mean that the other markets don’t move, but it’s a gentler move down. The correction is much easier to make that happen. In California, we saw a correction. It took about 6 or 7 years, and not all markets recovered. Only some of them recovered. Location was a big deal. I don’t know the rest of the country, but based on what you said, I wanted to point out that it’s not that because you’re in a low-risk market, you’re not going to see a drop. It’s that it’s a much gentler drop in response to the national or international crisis that we had.

Some markets in North Dakota at the time could see no drop as well. They could see zero drops. That was during the global financial crisis. Since you asked me what is the definition, the definition is price deviating from fundamentals of income population and housing supply. This is a fundamental analysis similar to the stock market.

I did a back study for the past three recessions. The global financial crisis is 1 of those 3 recessions. The correlation for the Metropolitan Statistical Areas or MSAs was of decline with the market evaluation and the peak ahead of the global financial crisis. Price decline peaked to bottom over the next roughly four years and one quarter on average. There are different periods in different regions, but those are declines that took four years forward. The correlation between the magnitude of decline and valuation was 89%. That’s huge. Declines were predictable in magnitude ahead of the global financial crisis.

There were people who were talking at that time. I don’t want to go into too much detail. He was a guy from Massachusetts. He doesn’t come to a local market monetary but he was on CNN in 2005 and 2006. This is practiced by the Quadrants Institution and done by Moody’s Analytics. This is studied for entrepreneurs. It’s done by my company, RealtyQuant. For your audience’s benefit, we do publish the data for every US County. We have 2,700 US counties. We have every single county if it’s over, under, or fairly valued. That is a statistical predictor of declines in the recession. It’s an important one. I’m not sure if it’s a good time to share my screen to show a table on this.

He asked me for permission to share his screen. I said yes because those of you that are going to check this out on YouTube will get the visual benefit of this. He is going to walk us through this. If you’re audio-only, don’t worry. He’s going to walk us through this. This also might be a good time to go check things out on YouTube. You can look me up, Moneeka Sawyer, and you’ll see all the YouTube things. It’s all yours.

Thanks. Are you able to see tables in an Excel sheet?

There are a lot of numbers.

That’s a big table with a lot of numbers, but I’m going to give you the gist of it. What I’m showing here is ten years ahead of appreciation or price changes in the US. These are how different markets perform after a mild or a severe recession for ten years forward based on how over, under, or fairly valued they are. It’s the peak ahead of the recession. To repeat, this is how different markets perform for ten years forward based on their evaluation and based on how overvalued the peak of a recession goes, and how different markets perform following that.

The 1990 recession is referred to by most economists as a milder recession. The global financial crisis is a scenario for a severe recession. That is what this table shows. It’s a lot of numbers, but it’s extremely interesting. It gives a perspective for many investors. At this time, investors have had the price performance in Western and Southern markets. The first column on the table shows overvalued percentage. The valuations in some Western and Southern markets are 20% to 30%. Some are in the 40% to 50% range. That’s overvalued. I can get to that part as well.

The goal should be where do you get the best appreciation? That's what you should care about. Share on X

This has a picture of the United States and all the different states and markets. We’ve got a little bit more clarity on which states he’s talking about.

I’m showing a picture of the US and what is the overvaluation or undervaluation in different US states. This is the deviation from fundamentals. The dark-colored states in the picture are to the West and to the South. Idaho, for example, is at the top. It has been reported by Moody’s Analytics and other studies. It had a consistent observation for everyone with Boise, Idaho being the most overvalued city in the US. You can even search for different methodologies by Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s and others, or RealtyQuant in my capacity. It’s generally consistent. Boise is at the top of 800 US cities.

Idaho is over 50% overvalued. On the counter, the Northeast and Midwest are under to fairly valued. These variations have been accelerating a lot with inflation since 2021, starting with what was a fairly valued US market at that time. I know it’s a lot of numbers, but it’s extremely important. I could put a lot of work into that myself.

It’s not to get a doomsy perspective. In the Western market, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado are overvalued to an extent. It’s less so than Idaho, but still to an extent. I speak to investors and syndicators who say, “We think these markets have such strong fundamentals even if they have a bit of a decline for some time. Let’s say they have a 5% to 10% decline. They’re going to do well afterward because they have such strong fundamentals. There’s so much job growth there.” That’s not what history suggests. What happened in the previous recessions was markets were at the very peak of valuation.

I suppose we take either at 54% overvalued. I have a table that shows the valuation ranges of how overvalued different markets are and how they perform ten years ahead. Markets that were in the 50% to 60% range were extremely booming ahead of time. For instance, the 1990 recession is a milder session. We have nothing doomsy. Nobody even knows about this as far as the real state declines.

I know about that one. I lost 20% of my value.

It’s a very milder session. There’s nothing terrible happening in your state. If one invests in a metropolitan area that is valued at 50% to 60%, which is the case of a few metropolitan areas in Idaho and some other states, what happens is not the situation of a milder recession where the market declines quickly a little bit and jumps back. What happens is the market declines a little bit, but it doesn’t jump back quickly. It takes a long time for that decline to happen. In that case, it took eight years. What is more important is, what is the relative performance over ten years of a market like that that was overvalued versus the other ones?

For instance, in this case, older markets in Metro areas that were over about 56% only appreciated a little bit. It was 16% over ten years. They were heavily outperformed by the undervalued ones. That is not intuitive. That’s not what people are imagining for Western and Southern extremely booming markets. They’re imagining that those are fast markets. The Midwest is a small market. Other places have small markets that are steady. They’re not slow and steady. They are expected to outperform another recession. It’s interesting. Undervalued markets following a recession outperform the overvalued ones. It’s important to know that the overvalued ones were also the top-performing ones ahead of the recession.

Ahead of recession correlation between how overvalued they are and how well they’re doing becomes very high. They’re doing incredible. For instance, if we go to 1990, that’s Hawaii. Hawaii was the top state at that time. They were 150% top from their previous market cycle. They were the top market. Nobody would easily imagine unless doing this kind of fundamental analysis that their prices are going to be lower 80 years later. They’re going to have the weakest price performance for the following decade. That was the strongest performer. That’s why fundamental analysis is extremely important.

Similarly, if we go to the global financial crisis, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida were the four big overvalued states at that time. In the table, they had the worst bottom performance consistently year after year for ten years ahead. That’s extremely important. On the contrary, if someone invested in undervalued markets at the peak of the global financial crisis, they outperform. They didn’t perform great, but they still performed. Let’s say 20% over the course of ten years is extremely poor performance, but it was not negative. It was better than the others, so they outperform.

This isn’t true of the whole state. California is a huge state. There are different pockets that perform differently. It’s the same with Texas.

REW Stefan | Data Driven Real Estate

Data Driven Real Estate: The Midwest are small markets, and, like other small markets, they are steady. They’re not slow and steady; they are expected to outperform a recession.


These are the statistics for the MSAs or Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

What he’s saying is that, for instance, California was 52% overvalued. It went down 50% in five years, but then its recovery up to ten years took it to 25% down. It was still a negative 25%. If you look at some of these other markets that were maybe 6% or 3% overvalued, they went down initially during the crisis by 1% or 2%. One of them went down 3%. After ten years, they had gone up 18%, 27%, or 17%.

As opposed to these highly overvalued markets that are still down 25% from when the crisis started, in ten years, they’re still down 25%. In these lower-valued markets, they went down a little bit. Their recovery was not phenomenal, but at least it was recovery. We weren’t negative. We were closer to 18% or 19% after ten years.

That’s a great summary. Thank you for that. I don’t want to focus on too many numbers. It is the big picture intuition of it. The big picture intuition is valuation is extremely important in general, but it is even more important than the turning points in the market cycle. When we’re at the peak of a market, it’s the most important variable that overshadows fundamentals themselves. At the other times, I’m like, “I’m going to be forecasting fundamentals.” That’s how I get to the best appreciation. The goal of this is not a doomsy thing. My goal is where I get the best appreciation. That’s what I care about.

As commercial investors or residents, we do our forced appreciation. As good business people, we generate our business and business profit in this way by being quality investors on the forced appreciation side. That’s always there. If you do that well in a recession, you do it well in other times. You still don’t want to have the effect of markets overlaying on top of that. That is the goal here. That’s why I want to show this complicated table with many numbers. It’s to point that across different levels of overvaluation ahead of a recession where one is mild like in 1990 and one is severe like the global financial crisis, the undervalued markets is a big shift in what most investors are thinking.

Austin, Texas is an extremely booming market that has very strong fundamentals. It happens to be that Austin, Texas is overvalued. That overvaluation has to find relative to those fundamentals. Some investors say, “There’s so much housing shortage. Real estate is not going to decline because of the housing shortage.” That’s not true because housing shortage depends on how you define it.

If you take the broad housing shortage, which is the US Census Bureau total population in that market versus the US Census Bureau housing supply in that market, that is reflected in the numbers that I’m showing. They’re reflecting income and also population to housing supply ratios. Austin, Texas is the best market, but if prices run too forward, it’s going to underperform. That’s a consistent observation. There are around 400 metropolitan areas here and these are two very different recessions. Investing in a 50%-plus overvalued market, which is likely to be the top performer in the market cycle and going to have a reversal in price performance.

That is so not intuitive. You think that a strong market, once it goes through a recession, will continue to be strong. That’s very interesting. The numbers prove to be exactly the opposite.

It depends. In itself, a strong market would recover better, but that is even the comparison of the 1990 recession versus the global crisis. In 1990, why did they have markets that were over 40% to 50%, but they only dropped 15%? The reason is it’s not that the global financial crisis was a “crash” of sorts so much. It was a severe recession and the recovery of fundamentals was very weak.

I know you did mention a sharp decline in some months. I feel terrible about that. That sucks, but in the big picture, the declines took whole four years. Prices still kept dropping. With those four years of declines, what happens in a mild recession is that the fundamentals are strong and they catch up. Even though the market is overvalued more, it ends up declining less because there is a strong recovery. It’s not that one is a crash and the other one is another crash. It depends on how severe that recession is and how strong the economic recovery is from a fundamental perspective. That’s, at least, my perspective.

From this standpoint, it’s true that a strong market would recover faster. That happens in markets that may be overvalued and may recover fast and well and would get a small decline. That is possible. The question for me is not only predicting downside risk. We don’t have a recession yet. That’s all hypothetical. There’s no official declaration of a recession still, but if we were to have one, how do we forecast appreciation? Where is there going to be the best appreciation? This is suggesting that it’s not going to be in the booming ones anymore and they would underperform. The reason is valuation.

If you think about real estate prices, you could have a change in value and it doesn't show due to illiquidity. Sometimes, that could be a no transaction. Share on X

I can go overvaluations in different cities, but that is what the studies suggest. It’s a very different scenario. For instance, we had a recession such as a dot-com bubble in 2001. I’ve studied that one, too. It’s a different scenario. If we have that and there isn’t any significant overvaluation in the market, which there wasn’t at the time, then nothing happens. That’s because they’re mostly fairly valued and things continued going forward. That’s what happened. They continued going forward and then they became overvalued ahead of the global financial crisis. It was a fairly valued period.

It was very fairly valued, but we had a lot of people that lost jobs. People couldn’t afford homes. We did see the markets pull back a little bit to accommodate all those people that couldn’t get homes. Rent went way up because people’s credit got screwed up. Some other issues that happened there that did cause the market to go down a little bit, wouldn’t you say? They’re not strictly statistics.

That could have been perhaps in new listing prices or some of the more transitory kind of data of sorts. At least in the recorded statistics for prices, they’re showing no decline anywhere. It’s quite interesting.

This is the difference between real life and statistics. I want to talk about 1990. I’m sorry. I was mistaken when I said we lost valuation on that one. I do remember that. I was in college. I was listening to my dad and what happened there. I wasn’t personally involved. In 2001, I was personally involved. In 2008, I was personally involved.

In 2001, it was interesting. It was the dot-com crash. It was in Silicon Valley, which is where I lived and where I owned all my homes. This is a market-specific thing. During that time, because of the bust, so many people lost their jobs or had this weird thing that happened with stocks. If you would get laid off, you would have to exorcise your stock and then owe taxes. They couldn’t afford the taxes, so they would have to either sell their homes. There were some weird things that were happening in Silicon Valley. Your numbers are probably national.

What was interesting to me was property values dropped about 20%. During that time, they recovered very quickly. Interestingly, rents went up dramatically during that time because people that would normally buy were not able to buy anymore. When you say you look across all metropolitan areas and you didn’t see anything, that’s interesting to me. San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento areas are big metropolitan areas in California. They didn’t see what we saw in 2008, but they saw some discomfort. They recovered quickly, but there was some distinctive discomfort.

That is extremely interesting. If you think about real estate prices, you could have a change in value and there’s illiquidity. The price at which those transactions would happen would be lower. There could be a big decline in unrealized terms. Let’s say it is something like COVID.

What he’s talking about is what I always say. You don’t lose money and you don’t see the valuations change until selling happens. It’s all on paper. That’s all I wanted to add.

That’s the Federal Housing Finance Agency or the main government agency following US prices. The specific thing for 2001 is the 400 or so metropolitan areas in the US. There is San Jose and San Francisco. In the MSAs, they don’t have the data, but then, you did experience it in real life. That’s quite interesting.

That surprises me and confuses me a little bit. How is that possible?

It’s interesting. That’s what you observed, but on the other hand, we haven’t heard anyone else say about any real estate declines in 2001.

REW Stefan | Data Driven Real Estate

Data Driven Real Estate: What happens in a mild recession is that the fundamentals are strong, and they catch up. Even though the market is overwhelmed more, it ends up declining less.


What is true is that anybody that could hold, did. Rents were going up so fast. My property dropped 20% in value during those couple of years. It was not immediately, but it was over those two years. It recovered quickly. During that entire time, rents were going up dramatically, so I could hold property. When you’re talking about the numbers that are only going to show when people sell, maybe people were holding. What do you think? Is that a possibility?

Was it multifamily, perhaps?

Mine was all single-family. I’m sorry to challenge you, but it’s interesting, isn’t it?

It could be segmented in the market or possibly in neighborhoods. Still, that’s the whole MSA. As you are saying with the dot-com bubble with some people losing their jobs in some regions in Silicon Valley, perhaps some neighborhoods had declined and others still continued going up. It flattened out the metropolitan area. This is still a pretty high level for the whole metropolitan area. That one that did not have declines is another single metropolitan area. You’re making a very good point. If you’re in a neighborhood, the decline doesn’t matter. You have the same effect. It doesn’t matter what the market did. It appears that perhaps other neighborhoods did better.

What I’m learning from this is that the market went down, but then it recovered very quickly. Rents went up, so holding was easier. What I love about this is that as you talk about the market data, it showed that there was no real decline. I was in a pocket where I experienced a decline. As long as I held, I had time to be right, but it was still a good time to buy. This is such an interesting thing for people. People were asking these questions every day. They were like, “Interest rates are going up. I want to capture the lower interest rates, but markets feel overvalued. Is it a good time to buy?”

Your statistics show that even during that time, it was an okay time to buy because everything was valued fairly. Even though I personally experienced a decline and many of my friends did in Silicon Valley in this little bubble that we were in, it recovered very quickly. We were able to hold. It was still a good time to buy even then. The recovery happened very quickly even though you saw a dip. That’s what I’m taking from that. What do you think?

I agree. You’re making great points there. If we think of what we are doing here, it is a very high-level fundamental analysis. If we start making it super granular, it’s going to be working less well, I suppose. If we go to super tiny neighborhoods and try to do fundamental analysis, it’s not going to work too well. For instance, in my data counties’ predictive power is less strong than states’ predictive power, but it happened with metropolitan areas for some reason. I don’t know if it’s the quality of statistics of those versus counties.

Metropolitan statistics have extremely high predictive power. That’s a little bit interesting. I’m sure if I went to ZIP codes, neighborhoods, and so forth, it’s going to get harder because there are going to be so many other factors. You’re making a point that there is also the liquidity thing. These are quarterly governmental price statistics. If your price dropped for two months in between and jumped back to the same level, then that’s not even detected. If the neighborhood dropped, other neighborhoods increased. It is smoothened out.

On the other hand, for a fundamental analysis like that, perhaps we want it smoothened out. It’s not even going to be tied to fundamentals if it’s too not smooth. It’s like these other things that are either not fundamental. That is the thesis there. You make a great point that it is not applicable to where your property can still decline or your neighborhood can still decline. It’s the broad market.

You were talking about appreciation of the properties with these statistics. We’re not talking about increases in rents or any of that stuff. In a lot of these stable markets, rents continued to go up even though they didn’t appreciate as fast. They didn’t go down as much. Their rents went up dramatically. When you’re looking at which markets to invest in, you want to look at the statistics of whether the markets are going to appreciate whether they’re going to take a hit when the markets go down or when we have a recession. If you’ve got some markets that you’re interested in, you want to keep in mind what your cap rates are, what the rents are looking like, and how those are going up, wouldn’t you say?

I agree. That is a great point, especially for commercial multifamily investors. We’ve seen that very much in this period with humongous rent growth in some markets. Those are different dynamics. If we think of cap rates in the commercial space, they’re driven in a theoretical sense. They tie to something in finance called the Dividend Growth Model. It’s the denominator in that one. It’s the discounted cashflow analysis for commercial property. There are interest rates there. It’s the risk-free rates and then risk premium on top of that.

If prices don't decline too much because we have a robust economy or strong recovery, then the decline is about 18%, which takes a long time. Share on X

Also, what is reducing the cap rates is the expectation for future income growth. That would be the same for any business and valuing other companies as well. That wouldn’t be only for commercial real estate. It would be the same methodology. That methodology derives from a mathematical series of discounted cashflow analysis of any company, business, or property. Rent growth is extremely important, and that drives cap rates in a theoretically valid way. That is a whole different dynamic. We’ve seen that in the commercial multifamily space.

We see it in single-family homes, too. If you’re out there buying a portfolio of ten homes, or for me, whatever I own, we see that in the cap rates also. When we’re buying a single-family home, how is that? We want the property to appreciate, but we also want to know that we’re going to be cashflowing within a certain number of years or hopefully, right away. Those sorts of things matter. When we had our bubble burst here in Silicon Valley, it was the rents going up that saved us from having to sell because we could carry our mortgages still.

This is so interesting. I feel like we could talk forever, but we’re running out of time. First of all, thank you for all that information. You blew up my brain. I’ll have to read this again. Ladies, you do the same. There was a lot of good information. What I want to talk about a little bit is the states. Who’s overvalued? Who’s undervalued? Where are the opportunities? Where should we stay away from?

From your perspective, this is the end of the first quarter of 2022. It’s only the first quarter. The second quarter hasn’t come out yet because that’s a fundamental analysis based on the governmental statistics of income, population, and housing supply. Those will come out soon. Those take time. This is the first quarter of 2022, but it’s not going to be too different. It changes a little, but it has kept increasing. What’s important to notice is that US real estate was quite fairly valued even through the first quarter of 2021 at the broad level.

This surprises me a lot.

The way to see that at the country level is there is a study by Niraj Shah at Bloomberg Economics. He had it for different countries in 2019. It came out at the beginning of 2021 as well. US real estate has pricing combinations, for example, and that’s a good one I can explain why that works well, but in another discussion. It was around zero. That’s very contrary to some countries.

Other countries were reported to be SCANNZ Economies. That’s Sweden, Canada, Australia, Norway, and New Zealand. They were overvalued even as early as 2018. They still don’t decline because there are economic conditions. There’s no trigger for them to decline. There are low-interest rates and so on and so forth, but they are overvalued since then. That’s driven by central bank policies in water and small coast oil-exporting economies. Their real estate has been reported to be overvalued. That’s by Bloomberg Economics and other sources.

US real estate was fairly valued. I had it in my data as well that it was fairly valued. I started doing this in 2020, the beginning of COVID, on my end, it’s RealtyQuant. This is data powered by RealtyQuant.com. As late as 2021, the first quarter of US real estate at the broad level was close to 0%. If we take the US real estate broadly at this data, it is around 13% only. The whole nation would be only 13%.

It’s not a small number because if you take the global financial crisis, it’s the same government data in the FHFA data, the global financial crisis in the same one would be past 20%. That’s already 2/3 of the global financial crisis. You have to keep in mind that’s a history many years back. Most other time periods tend to be slightly undervalued. This is the material overvaluation, but that is at the whole level. The whole level doesn’t matter so much to particular investors.

If you go to specific states, it gets more overvalued. The reason is that we have undervalued states like Illinois. We have fairly valued states like New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and so on and so forth. What was overvalued is Idaho. It is above 50%. Idaho has been the leader. The states of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona are above 30%. We have Texas, Florida, and Colorado at above 20%. There are, in total, ten US states in Q1 of 2022 that are above 20% overvalued. They’re all Western and Southern states. That’s Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Florida, Washington, Texas, Colorado, and Montana.

On the contrary, if we go to the opposite end of the spectrum of what’s undervalued, I’m not saying that’s necessarily desirable. That ends up being desirable over the next decade, but not necessarily until a recession hits in that period. The undervalued ones are still the markets that are not performing well, which are Illinois, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Connecticut. They are not trending. They are poor in their fundamentals, but they do tend to carry less downside risk simultaneously in a recession because they didn’t get overheated.

REW Stefan | Data Driven Real Estate

Data Driven Real Estate: If we go to super tiny neighborhoods and try to do fundamental analysis, it will not work too well. For instance, a county’s predictive power is less strong than a state’s predictive power, but it happens with metropolitan areas for some reason.


Boise is at the top. There is Boise MSA and Austin. There are some other MSAs in Idaho, Nashville, Phoenix, Tampa, and Dallas. These are booming and strong markets. They’re incredible markets. They have incredible people who have made fortunes in those markets. That’s completely true. In the past few years, things accelerated with inflation. Those are some overvalued cities. It’s half at the county level. Perhaps, there are some other ones that can be based on county data as well. That’s a good list around the top ten.

The important thing to notice is it’s not that it’s predicting necessarily big declines in something. Let’s say Boise’s overvaluation is at 74%. That sounds very high. In Boise, if we experience a severe recession like the global financial recession, that would be a decline. I have predicted declines in different scenarios. If you have a GFC-like recession, which nobody expects, then the decline for Boise’s overvaluation of 74% evaluation will be 46%.

That’s if we have a huge crash in the market.

If we have a milder recession like 1990, even though it’s overall at 74%, but because the recovery is going to be so strong, the decline is only 18%. To clarify, that overvaluation is still a real thing because that 74% overvaluation is going to go to zero. It always does. It’s not that the number is fictional. Some investors might say, “If something is overvalued, it stays overvalued.” That doesn’t happen. It doesn’t stay overvalued. It will go to zero in valuation terms. If prices don’t decline too much because we have a very strong economy or strong recovery, then the declines will go about 18%.

That decline takes a long time. It takes six years. Especially for small declines with big overvaluation, it tends to take a long time. It could be even eight years forward. Over these eight years along that period of time, incomes increase and populations and housing supply ratios change in whichever way they change. Those fundamentals shift in a way that they compensate for valuation. They drive it to zero. That is a strong recovery case, but this is an example of what would happen.

We take the case of Austin, Texas. It is an incredible city with hugely strong fundamentals. Though exceeded by the pricing, what would happen to its valuation is it will be around 66% overvalued. The model for the severe recession that I have has a 40% decline and only 15% in a mild recession. Those are all possible. It’s not a doom thing. I’m a positive and eager investor who wants to continue investing my funds in a recession as well. What is important to me is how to make a model to forecast appreciation and what is the best one.

Here, it’s suggesting that even without incorporating in a model fundamental forecasting itself but purely looking at market valuation at the peak ahead of the recession, so to say, I can take the simple model and invest it in the undervalued MSAs. Those would be very counter-intuitive at the time. Those would be MSAs like San Francisco and San Jose. They were undervalued at the time with population issues and all kinds of issues.

Purely, what the history suggests from those two different recessions at different times in US economic history, if you will, is in both of those cases, the lowest markets of most undervalued metropolitan areas outperformed over a decade forward. That is extremely interesting for me. We have to keep this in mind. They were performing poorly at that peak. That’s why they were undervalued at that time. It’s a mix of those weak fundamentals. It would be below the prices or those weak fundamentals, but they do tend to have weak fundamentals.

There is a strong correlation between how strong a market is and how overvalued it becomes towards the end of a market cycle by overheating, like investors taking up more stuff there and so forth. That’s an interesting thing. For me, this is the perspective of how you forecast appreciation in those. It becomes counterintuitive because that’s shifting the whole expectation of investors. It’s also how we’re accustomed to the west and south as the booming places and how it perhaps is statistically likely to shift in the next market cycle.

That was awesome. How can people get more information? I know that you’ve got a free report. It’s the free state-level market valuation report. To get that, go to BlissfulInvestor.com/Markets. You can download that. How can they reach out to you?

My website is RealtyQuant.com. That’s the best way to reach me. They can also read my blog about some of the things we discussed. They can look up the data that we have there for 2,700 US counties. I also have a YouTube channel. It’s Stefan Tsvetkov – Finance Meets Real Estate on YouTube. It’s a weekly webinar.

We don’t have time for three rapid-fire questions. We are going to try to do an EXTRA. We’ll see how this goes. Stay tuned if you are subscribed to EXTRA. If you’re not and you’re leaving us, thank you so much for joining Stefan and me for this portion of the show. I appreciate you. I hope it was helpful. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember, goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon. Bye.


 Important Links


About Stefan Tsvetkov

REW Stefan | Data Driven Real EstateFounder of RealtyQuant, a company that brings data-driven and quantitative techniques to the real estate industry. On a mission to add industry value through education, investment, technology, and analytics.

Former financial engineer (Columbia MSFE) managing ~ $90 billion derivatives portfolio jointly with colleagues. Multifamily investor, analytics speaker, and live webinar host.

Featured on over 40 Podcast/Webinar events including Elevate, Best Ever Real Estate Show, Investing in the U.S. etc. Organizer of Finance Meets Real Estate live webinar series, with ~3000 subscribers and over 80 live webinars.


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How To Be A Passive Income Nomad With Mike Wolf – Real Estate For Women

REW Mike Wolf | Passive Income Nomad


You must research and study your way when diving into real estate. Every market offers different kinds of opportunities. But, the question is, are you willing to do what it takes to succeed in your chosen market? Join your host Moneeka Sawyer as she interviews Mike Wolf on how to be a passive income nomad. Mike discusses the importance of adapting to changes and explains real estate investing strategies to help you take it to the next level. It’s never too late to try and quit the job you hate for a venture that will help you attain financial freedom. Join in and learn how!

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How To Be A Passive Income Nomad With Mike Wolf – Real Estate For Women

Real Estate Investing For Women

In this episode, I am so excited to welcome back to the show Mike Wolf. I’ve had him on the show a couple of times already. Readers, you loved him, and several of you have gone to his three-day workshop. I got great reviews on that. I’m super excited to bring Mike back to have another very cool conversation.

Before we lead into the conversation, I want to introduce him again to those of you who haven’t met him yet. Mike has been investing in real estate for many years. He’s also a sought-after international speaker, including an appearance on the TEDx stage, philanthropist, and mentor to a group of students he affectionately calls the Wolf Pack. Mike helps people create a lifestyle of freedom and helps them get out of the rat race. Mike, welcome back to the show.

Thanks for having me. It’s always great to see you.

It feels like it’s been so long. It’s so good to be able to chat again. When Mike and I were in the green room, he was asking me how Africa went, and I was giving him some stories. It turns out he is speaking in South Africa soon. He doesn’t have an exact date. The thing that he is speaking about is becoming a passive income nomad.

It’s an event for digital nomads so that people can work, have freedom, and travel. He wants to help them go from digital to passive income, so they work even less. I want to have that conversation here for you readers to see where he’s headed with that. That will support us in choosing bliss. Mike, could you tell us a little bit more about your angle on this? First of all, what is a passive income nomad?

First of all, let me define passive income because that’s important. A lot of people don’t really understand it, or they think it’s this myth thing that doesn’t exist. Passive income is the act of doing something one time and getting paid for it over and over. There’s been a couple of times when I posted on social media about passive income. A lot of times, people say it’s a scam or something like that. To give you an example, look at Michael Jackson. He’s been dead for quite a few years now. He made more money in 2021 dead than I did alive, and everybody read this put together.

He made more money than all of us, and he’s dead because he created passive income that keeps going on and on. Now, the state gets the benefit from that. He did something one time. He went into the studio, recorded the album, and people continued to buy those records. We can do the same thing with real estate. When we buy a rental property, we buy at one time. If we’re smart, instead of trying to manage it ourselves because that’s creating a job for ourselves, if we get a good team, not just any team, you have to have a good team in place that manages it.

There are also tenants. They collect the rent and put it into your bank account at the end of the month. It’s whatever it is that your passion is. For me, it happens to be travel. I have the freedom to travel, and I know that money is coming in at the end of the month without me having to do anything to get it. There are numerous ways to create passive income. Real estate is not the only one, but it’s the best one. When I speak to these digital nomads, a lot of them are living their dream. They’re traveling, but they’re staying in pretty mediocre accommodations or living at hostels. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want to do.

A lot of them are looking for odd jobs, “I’ll be a bartender when I get to this country.” They’re doing a lot of odd jobs and working too hard to support that lifestyle they love. It’s possible, even if you don’t have a ton of money. You just start getting into the real estate game. A lot of people don’t know that, so they end up taking low-paying jobs just to make ends meet.

I’d much rather be a passive income nomad where my money’s coming in without me having to work. Being that person, everywhere I go, I make sure I’ve got a job lined up or try to figure out a way to have a place to sleep at night and have food on my table. That’s what I’m going to be teaching them. It’s how you transition from being the digital nomad to the passive income nomad.

Since most of my readers are probably not digital nomads, let’s jump into how you become a passive income nomad.


Passive income is the act of doing something one time and getting paid for it over and over again. Share on X


There are some steps involved. Most people don’t have the money in their bank account where they can just buy ten rental properties, at least not the ones that I talk to on a daily basis. Sometimes we have to build up to that. A good example is taking something that normally isn’t passive and making it passive. Let me explain. Here’s one of the strategies I teach my students in the Wolf Pack that I’m most known for. I teach a lot of different strategies, but one of them that I’m most known for is something called tax deeds.

What a tax deed is when somebody hasn’t paid their property taxes in 3 or 4 years. Eventually, the county needs that money to keep their schools open and pay for their police department, fire department, etc. They eventually put these homes up for auction. I’ve had some of my students pick up single-family homes for $7,000. That’s not the down payment. That was the actual purchase price of a home worth $90,000 or $100,000. Normally, there are a lot of moving parts to that. You have to go and drive around and view the properties. You got to pull the title.

There are a whole bunch of things you have to do in order to do that strategy safely. If you’re somebody who likes to travel all the time, you don’t necessarily want to have to go to an auction on a certain day of every month. You don’t want to have to fly back from wherever you’re at. One of the things that I’ve done is I’ve built teams. I’ve got somebody on the ground that goes to the auction on behalf of my students. They’re all over the United States, but my favorite one takes place in Houston, Texas.

I have people as far away as Australia participating in that auction from the comfort of their own homes because I have a team on the ground that goes and views the properties and videotapes it. They pull titles and do all the necessary steps for you, so you don’t have to physically be there, including going to the auction itself. As a matter of fact, my student who picked up the best deal, that $7,200 property, was worth around $90 or $100,000. He lives in California. He was not at that auction. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even have $7,200, so I showed him how to raise that money.

This is what’s possible. You can take just about anything. I used to own a pub. I can’t think of anything with more moving parts than owning a pub, but I had a partner who did all the work. I was the money part. I put up all the money, and we managed to both make a pot of money off this pub that was previously bleeding money like crazy. We turned it around and started to make a lot of money, but I never did a day’s work in that pub ever. That was by design. We agreed on that when we did our joint venture.

I said, “You’re never going to have to take a dime out of your pocket for anything, including the purchase of the pub, but I’m never going to do a day’s work. If a cook doesn’t show up, don’t call me. I’m not going to be there.” We agreed to that beforehand. I took something that normally has so many different moving parts and so many things that can go wrong. If you ever own a pub or a restaurant, as glamorous as it seems, it’s a lot of work. The biggest enemy of owning a pub is employee theft. Alcohol and food all go out the back door and people serving their friends. You have to have somebody there all the time who knows what they’re doing.

I don’t want to necessarily go into all the details of the pub, but you can take something like that. I was traveling while we owned that pub and was still making a lot of money. I very rarely went in there. That’s what’s possible, but a lot of people don’t understand. They don’t know how to build the teams. They think that all these moving parts have to be done by them. A lot of us entrepreneurs tend to be control freaks.

We don’t think anybody else can do it as well as we can. Even when we reluctantly hire our first people because we have to, we’re running out of time, getting burnt out, or getting overwhelmed, we have to hire somebody, or we can’t continue. We then micromanage them to death. Now, instead of doing the work, we’re spending just as much time micromanaging and babysitting. Some of the stuff that I love to teach my students is how you build your dream team that has your back, and you have to take care of them too. It’s not a one-way street. If you take good care of them and they take good care of you, you can build something that requires little time. That’s what I love to focus on.

You mentioned two things that are important that I’d like to get some details on. The first one is he didn’t even have the $7,200, so you taught him how to raise that. That’s the first thing. The second thing is this idea of building teams because I’m in that process myself. I have teams for a lot of the things that I do, but I need more. I’d like to touch on that, at least in the first part of the show. If it’s a deeper topic, and I’m sure it is, maybe we can talk more about that in EXTRA. What do you think?

It sounds great. Let’s do it.

Let’s start with this, “He didn’t even have the $7,200, so I taught him how to get that.” Could you talk to us a little bit about what strategies you helped him with?


REW Mike Wolf | Passive Income Nomad

Passive Income Nomad: There are numerous ways to create passive income. Real estate is not the only one, but it’s the best one.


In that particular case, he had come to one of my training. A tax deed isn’t something you should ever show up in the auction and think, “I’ll figure it out as I go,” because you won’t. You don’t know what you don’t know. It will come back to haunt you. There are certain due diligence steps you have to take. At this point, he had the training. He had the education. He had access to my team, so he didn’t have to be there. His job isn’t to go and fly from California to Texas every month and show up at the auction. That’s not a good use of your time.

Much better use of your time and what I taught them to do is I said, “Start going to meet up groups and different real estate investment clubs and places where investors hang out.” Most people are either looking for a strategy. They’re trying to learn how to do a certain strategy, or they’ve got money. They want to invest, but they don’t know how. There are all kinds of different people that show up at these meetings.

If you go to these meetings, the first thing somebody is going to ask you is, “What type of real estate do you do?” That’s the first thing that comes up every time after your name. Imagine you went to one of these real estate investment clubs in Los Angeles and said, “I specialize in Texas tax deeds.” The first thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to go, “What is the Texas tax deed?” They don’t know what that is. Automatically, they’re curious. You say you’re a flipper, and it’s like, “Cool.” That’s the end of the conversation, or, “I have rental properties,” and that’s the end of the conversation.

If you say something that people have never even heard of before, number one, they’re curious. They start asking you questions, “What’s a Texas tax deed?” You can say, “I have access to these deals.” I gave him a bunch of deals that the team has already done. He hadn’t done a deal at that point, so I gave him a list of deals that we’ve already done a bunch of case studies. He can legitimately say, “Here are some deals my team has done because I let him use my team.” You can legitimately say, “These are some deals my team has done. We’ve got this one for this amount and sold it for that. We got this stuff for this amount and sold it for that.”

The only thing stopping us from scaling this and doing more is, “If we had some more capital, we could certainly do way more deals. That’s why I’m here. I’m looking for partners who want to put up some money. We’ll split the profits, and I’ll do all the work.” In reality, he didn’t really have to do any work. His job was to raise money and then call the team. It’s like having an assembly line. You push the button, and away it goes.

You now have the capital, so you call up a team. They now go and view the properties for you. They pull the title and do all the necessary steps. They then go to the auction for you and get you the property. He got his first property using none of his own money. He went on to do a whole bunch of after that. It created a great win-win because that person who didn’t even know what a Texas tax deed was is now benefiting from a strategy he doesn’t know how to do. At the same time, my student is benefiting because he’s doing deals he couldn’t have afforded to do.

You’re taking a lose-lose where neither of them could have done the deal separately, but together, they’re now doing a joint venture that makes sense for both of them. Your job sometimes is once you have the team already built and all the systems in place, your job, if you don’t have money, is to find money to feed the assembly line. That’s exactly what he did. After you do a couple of deals, as you can imagine, he doesn’t need partners anymore. That’s where he’s at. That’s one of several ways to raise money for your projects.

The thing in this particular case is the investors can’t circumvent them. They don’t know how to do it even though he says, “It’s Texas tax deeds. It takes place on the first Tuesday of every month. Here’s where it is.” They can’t circumvent them because they don’t have the knowledge or training to successfully do a deal on their own. They can’t circumvent them, and he’s already got the team. These people don’t have to ever fly to Texas. They don’t have to do any work other than sign a check. It’s a great win-win, and that’s some of the stuff that I love to teach people.

A lot of people don’t think outside the box. They don’t get creative. They go, “I got to go save up a down payment, get a mortgage, and then I’ll buy a property. I then go back to work and work overtime, so I can save about my next down payment.” That will work. You can do that. I call that transactional real estate. You’re doing one transaction, and eventually, you have enough money to do the second transaction. That can work, but there are more efficient ways to do it.

When they’re putting together these private money deals, do you help them with the paperwork, structuring, percentage, and all of that stuff on how to deal with all that stuff? They, too, can feel a little intimidating.

One of the things that I love about the Wolf Pack is that we don’t just give people information and set them free to go do their thing. I’ve been in this industry for a long time and have been doing this for many years. I’ve been training other people for about half that time. For a lot of people, you can take and teach them exactly how to do a strategy step by step. You can give them a blueprint, and they’ll do the work, but at some point, they have to take that leap of faith. They have to send a contract or make that phone call and put in an offer.


People end up taking really low paying jobs just to make ends meet. Learn how to be a passive income nomad where your money's coming in without you having to work. Share on X


A lot of people do all the work and get to the one-yard line, and then they stop because they start to get fearful and think, “What if I screwed up? What if I messed up?” One of the things I do is I personally look at everybody’s deals and vet them to make sure they didn’t miss something. In a lot of cases, I hold their hand, get on that call with a motivated seller, and help them do that call. I had one of my students who had a friend that wanted to invest in him, but he said, “You haven’t done any deals yet. Come back if you’ve done a bunch of deals.”

If he would’ve done a bunch of deals, he wouldn’t need that guy’s money in the first place. I jumped on a call with him and his potential money partner and said, “This person doesn’t have the experience, but I am personally vetting every deal with them. I’m going every step of the way with them. We’ve done 4,000 deals. You’re getting 4,000 deals worth of experience, and just because you’re lending the money to him doesn’t mean your money is at risk.”

One of the things that we do a lot differently is I’m able to hold people’s hands when they get to that tough part. Learning the strategies is the easy part, but having faith in yourself and getting over the fear is a whole different story. After they’ve done a couple of deals, their confidence is where it should be. You don’t need me necessarily every time you’re writing an offer. It works really well.

You gave them contracts and stuff like that, all of those pieces.

We give them contracts and scripts so they know exactly what to say when they get on the phone. Sometimes they’re still scared to do it, so I’ll do it, and they listen in. We give every resource I’ve got and not only that, they get my Rolodex. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve got so many great people along the way, including yourself. I’m very well connected. If I taught somebody how to do Texas tax deeds, I said, “When are you going to go build a team?” There’s not a job description that says, “We go to the auction on behalf of real estate investors.”

Nobody does that. That’s something I had to create. That was a made-up career. I actually found somebody and taught them exactly step by step what they need to do, and now they do that. Building the team for a newbie can sometimes be a little bit daunting, so I’ve done that for them, and they get access. They get to inherit my teams. They don’t have to build them from scratch because even if I taught you, “Here’s how you build a team step by step,” when you’re first starting, it’s difficult because not everybody wants to be on your team.

Especially if you’re doing very small investor, it’s sometimes hard to get good people on your team. When you’re doing a lot of transactions, everybody wants to be on your team and your success. It’s like if you won the Super Bowl, everybody wants to be on that team. The team that never gets to the playoffs, nobody wants to be on that team. It’s the same thing in real estate. When you have a successful business, people start contacting you, “How do we work with you? What can we do to add value?”

You’d be amazed how many people every day say, “Mike, I want to bird dog for you. I’ll work for free. I just want to learn.” It’s interesting what happens. When I first started, I couldn’t get any of my friends or family to lend me a dime. Some people don’t even know me. They see my video on YouTube, and none of my videos say, “Give me money.” I don’t have any videos like that, but people every day come to me unsolicited and say, “I’ve got $100,000. I got $500,000. I got $50,000. How do I work with you?” It’s interesting where these people were when I was first starting, but that’s how it goes in the business. You got to pay your dues, and after a while, you get in the flow, and things start to happen magically.

I have a couple more questions. With the strategy or the strategies that you pick for passive income, do they fluctuate with the events or the economy? For instance, could you do the tax lien strategy during COVID or now after on the backside of COVID? I don’t know if we’re totally out of it, but you know what I mean. Does it work in all situations or economies? Could you speak to that a little bit?

Real estate is very cyclical. What works at one time in history or one market doesn’t necessarily translate into a different market. For example, you mentioned COVID. That’s a great example of, “All the auctions shut down. There were no live auctions taking place during the timeframe.” If you were only a tax deed person and that’s the only strategy you knew how to do, you would’ve gone hungry for a year and a half because there were no auctions. On the other hand, coming out of COVID, all the auctions were back and open again. They have a big backlog of properties that would have got auctioned off. Now it’s a great strategy.

Your timing is everything. The good news is there are many different ways to do real estate. There are always numerous things that are working, and then there are things that are not working. Sometimes things that stop working will work again later. I recommend that if you don’t have the pulse on the market and you’re just getting your information from the newspaper, that’s old news. By the time you see something in the newspaper, that’s already happened. That’s yesterday’s news. It’s important to be on the front lines or be hanging out with people on the front lines and know what’s going on.


REW Mike Wolf | Passive Income Nomad

Passive Income Nomad: As interest rates go up, there’s some really good things as a real estate investor that come from that even though we’re all fearful of that.


Now, we’re going to see a lot of changes. We were going from a very strong seller’s market because there was such a shortage of properties. That started to ease up. We’re already seeing that in a bunch of different markets. What we’re probably going to see next is a lot of markets are turning into buyers’ markets. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for pre-foreclosures, foreclosures, and these tax deeds I mentioned. There are going to be subject-to deals.

If you don’t know what that means, it’s an opportunity. Even if you can’t qualify for a mortgage and have very little down payment, there are ways to take over other people’s mortgages, especially if they’re in a distressed situation. I’ll give you a quick example. Imagine you found a place. It was worth $200,000. The mortgage is pretty close to $200,000. These people are unable to make their mortgage payments now. They can’t call a realtor to sell it because there’s no equity, so they would physically have to cut a check to the realtor.

They think they’re stuck. If you’re an expert investor and know how to do a subject-to deal, you go in there and say, “You’re in a really bad situation. I’ll pay off the arrears for you and take over the home and save your credit.” Imagine, on that home, the mortgage payment was $1,000 a month. You knew that would rent for $1,500. You’ve now taken over this property for next to nothing, maybe a few thousand in arrears. You’ve got a property that you’re paying $1,000 on the mortgage, but you’re collecting $1,500 a month in rent. You’ve now got this revenue on a property you put very little money into.

It comes down to being educated on different strategies and knowing what’s going to work in the market based on what’s going on at any given time. With the rising interest rates, a lot of people are scared. To me, I see tons of opportunities. That’s creating opportunity. You have to be up to date on the times and what strategies are working. If you can do that successfully, that’s where the money is. It’s also on the path of progress because COVID has changed many things, like how people work. We could be on a live stage in theory, but now everybody’s so used to Zoom.

Everything’s on Zoom these days, and people don’t have to go to an office anymore. What worked before COVID was advantageous to have stuff in the inner city, close to where the offices are. That’s not true anymore. People are moving to the suburbs now. If you own properties out in the suburbs and you’ve adapted to the changes in the market, that’s where the money’s going to be.

As we see interest rates going up, what kinds of opportunities are you seeing?

As interest rates go up, there are some good things as a real estate investor that come from that, even though we’re all fearful of that. One of the things we’re going to see is that if you buy a rental property, for example, your tenants are going to be a lot less upwardly mobile. They’re not going to say, “We decided to buy a home,” as quickly as they were when we’re at record low-interest rates. Buying rental properties is great if you can get a relatively good deal now. Your rents are going to probably continue to go up as more people get forced into renting. That’s a great strategy.

We’re also going to see foreclosures. As their mortgages come due and the payment goes up dramatically in some cases, a lot less people are going to be in a good position to afford that. We’re going to see pre-foreclosures, foreclosures, and tax deeds. There are a lot of strategies that will benefit from higher interest rates. It’s going to be costing maybe a little more to get in if you’re using financing. The good news is that everything is tied to inflation, and your rents are going to go up probably faster than your mortgage payment would go up by the rising interest rates, and you still can benefit.

I remember the very first property I ever bought. I remember I had a mortgage of 13.25%, and I was ecstatic to get that because the going rate was 14% and a little bit, and I got 13.25%. I was so happy. I’ll never forget the day that interest rates went to 9.9%. They went to single digits for the first time in my lifetime. I felt like a kid in a candy store going to buy every property I got my hands on 9.9%. Now people are concerned, “What if it goes 6%?” It’s like, “That’s still really cheap money.” I wouldn’t ever loan my money at 6%. That’s super cheap money still.

A lot of people haven’t ever experienced double-digit. I don’t think we’re going to have double digits. People were still doing real estate deals, including myself, when it was 13.25%. Even before my time, when it was 18%, 19%, or 20%, people were doing real estate deals. There are always deals to be had. In the newspapers, you think it is doom and gloom, the sky is falling, interest rates are going up, and the world’s going to collapse. No, it’s actually going to create different opportunities that will still be there.

First of all, I love that. Thank you for that. People get caught up in the doom and gloom because all the people that are talking about it are not actual investors. Much of it is economic theory, hearsay, or opinions. There are people that are in the markets that are doing deals, exercising their expertise, doing different strategies, or moving and pivoting them with the market.


You have to be up to date on what strategies are working and be on the path of progress. If you can do that successfully, that's where the money is. Share on X


Every market presents new opportunities or different kinds of opportunities. That’s what’s so cool about your Wolf Pack or many of these networks that people can plug themselves into. If you have people that are in there that have been in the market a long time with the cycles, they know the different strategies that are going to work given the different circumstances, like interest rates are going up or down. We have a foreclosure moratorium. That’s now opening up. All of that stuff happens, and there are strategies for every single one of those types of situations.

On top of that, everything trickles down. If the cost of living is going up because interest rates are going up, you’re going to get paid more at work. It all evens out. It’s all tied together. It’s not like one thing that’s happening in a vacuum where interest rates are going up, but you’re not going to get a pay cut when interest rates are going up. Your rent is certainly not going to go down if interest rates are going up.

All this stuff is all tied together, and people have all this doom and gloom and fear. For me, it’s like I’ve seen the movie, and I know the ending. I already know what’s going to happen. That’s why being in this business for so long is advantageous because I’ve been through uptimes, downtimes, and times where we’re just stagnant and staying the same. A good investor can make money even when prices drop. When interest rates are going up, you can still make money.

A lot of people, especially if they’re newbies, they think, “It’s going up. I guess I better not get into real estate investing. I better try something else.” I’m glad sometimes that they do because it creates an opportunity for people that are not fearful. It’s like Warren Buffet says, “Be greedy when people are fearful and be fearful when people are greedy.” That’s probably the best advice I’ve ever heard when it comes to real estate investing.

Can you share with us what you did during those COVID months when there were no auctions? What strategy did you use? I’m curious.

It was a very interesting time because I have numerous businesses. The first one was I owned a bunch of rental properties that were passive income. As I mentioned, I don’t collect my own rent. Other people deal with that. That went well. People weren’t moving. People are staying put. A lot of landlords did not get a lot of rent because the government was saying that if you can’t pay, you can’t be kicked out by your landlord. It’s because we have good strategies in place that we’ve used in other times were a lot of people are losing their jobs, such as in 2007. We already had systems in place for that.

We know that’s going to be a repeating trend. There are going to be other times in history, not just a pandemic, that are going to cause mass layoffs at some point in time. We were doing and still are doing lease options, which means that when our tenants move into our property, they’re signing three-year leases. They have a second contract, which is an option for them to purchase it. That option to purchase can be rescinded if they don’t make the rent payments. They’ve got some skin in the game because they have to give what’s called option consideration, which is like a down payment. It’s non-refundable.

It’s like a damage deposit. If they don’t buy the home in the three-year period, they don’t get that money back. We’re very transparent about it. We’re not trying to scam them. They know in advance that if you want to buy a property, we’ll help you get there. We’re going to do our end of the deal. If you don’t do your end of the deal, we’re not going to give you back your money. They’ve got skin in the game, and we are working with them to get them home ownership. There’s a clause in the contract that says if you get more than two months behind, we can rescind your right to purchase it without giving you back the deposit.

We had almost all our tenants paying rent, and very few of them were moving because it was so hard to find anywhere to live. That business was better than ever. In my second business, I sell turnkey properties in Atlanta. What that means is I buy properties 20, 30, or 40 at a time from the banks. We inspect them, fix them, and put tenants in place. My property management team looks after them. I’ve got people to sell these for me, and we’ve sold 1,200 of them in the last couple of years to investors all over the globe.

During COVID, at the very beginning, it was extremely slow. I can remember homes were selling, and I didn’t care because that meant rent went into my pocket. If we don’t sell it, I collect the rent, so I’m still doing okay. It doesn’t matter to me if I sell them or not. Two months in, all of a sudden, the market got hot, and the prices started to go up. Everybody was fighting over properties. I had two investors come in and buy my entire inventory. The banks weren’t foreclosing, so there was a foreclosure moratorium. We couldn’t get more than one here and one there. We couldn’t buy those big packages at home.

We had a good problem on our hands where we were sold out and made a ton of money on that. We also helped a lot of other investors. The problem is that even to this day, we’re still having trouble getting inventory in bulk because the foreclosure process is starting up. That’s the second business that I’ve got. My third one, which is the Wolf Pack, all started because of COVID. I wasn’t planning on doing that.


REW Mike Wolf | Passive Income Nomad

Passive Income Nomad: Buying rental properties is great. If you can get a relatively good deal right now, your rents are probably going to continue to go up as more people get forced into renting.


Before COVID, I would do tax deed training twice a year. I do a four-day training. After the training, I’d hop on a flight. Now, I’m in Costa Rica. I would go somewhere tropical because that’s my happy place. I would get off the grid for a while and not do any work. I get bored after 3 or 4 months. I will call my team and say, “We should put another date on the calendar. I’m bored. Let’s do another event.” That’s how I was doing things for many years prior to COVID.

When COVID happened, I went back home, which happens to be in Calgary, Canada. I don’t do any investing. All my investing is in the US, but my home is in Canada. I went back there and stayed put for seven months, which is something I haven’t done in many years. I usually go back for a week or two because I have my two grandsons there and my daughter. I hop on a flight, take off for 2 or 3 months, and then go back. I went back first after a seven-month period.

When I first got back there, a lot of my friends were entrepreneurs, and their businesses started to get shut down. A lot of my friends are saying, “My gym just got shut down. My restaurant got shut down. What do I do? I need to reinvent myself.” I’m the guy everybody comes to if they need money advice or business advice. Everybody and their dog were coming to me asking, “What kind of real estate training can I take with you?” I do online estate training because I normally do a four-day live event and can’t do a live event.

I could see the demand was there, so I thought, instead of teaching a person one at a time, why don’t I set up Zoom calls and get a bunch of people on there? That’s how the Wolf Pack was born. We’ve now got around 50 members or so. I purposely keep it small because I work with people, not just in the group setting, but when they’re doing an offer, I’m there to help them do the offer. If I had 1,000 people in there, I wouldn’t be able to offer that service. It’s been great. When I first offered it, I thought, “Okay.”

That was a big commitment to set up a group like that because that’s not my normal thing. I like to be free and be able to travel when I want. I thought, “We’ll do it one day a month and run this for one year. At the end of the year, I’m dropping it. We’re canceling it.” It turns out that I like teaching a lot more than I thought I did. That’s number one.

Number two, I can sit in front of Zoom a lot longer than I thought I’d have the patience for it. I never thought that I would enjoy this, but I loved it, especially when everything was shut down and people were interacting. I had my Wolf Pack. I had my community. This is the family that I chose, not the one I was born into, but the one I got to choose. I was enjoying it so much. We meet at least once a week. Sometimes we meet four times a week, and I’m loving it. To me, it’s knowing to watch my students go in and crush it.

I decided I’m never going to stop doing it, and we’re going to continue to have weekly meetings. I’m heading to Paris, and all my students are in North America. I’m probably going to have to wake up at 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning to teach, but I’m looking forward to it anyway. I built a multimillion-dollar business in the middle of COVID that I wasn’t even attending to build. I hate to say it because it sounds insensitive. I know a lot of people were adversely affected. I don’t mean any disrespect to people going through tough times, but COVID, for me, was beneficial in many ways.

I was lucky enough. I didn’t lose any friends or family to it. It made my businesses boom and helped me create a new business that was not even on the radar. That also comes down to your previous question on how you adapt or keep doing the same thing. You got to adapt to what’s showing up in the world. Sometimes there are things that are not of your choosing that are going to pop up. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, at some point, it’s not going to work. It’s super important to keep with the times and keep pivoting, which is a very overused word.

When you can do that, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. For me, it gave me that extra bandwidth where I wasn’t traveling. I was bored. I never watched Netflix prior to COVID. Now, I’ve seen so many different shows, but it gave me that extra bandwidth. Instead of using it to watch Netflix, I didn’t watch. Instead of using it just for that, I took time to figure out what’s the demand, and it presented itself. To me, the universe built the Wolf Pack. I didn’t have much to do with it other than I had to show up.

You had to be available and open to it. You’re willing to do your part. You had to be willing to do the work. This is one of those things that we shy away from. I said this on another show before. People don’t want to do the work because it feels hard. I got to tell you, working for the rest of your life or being broke for the rest of your life is harder.

Here’s the other cool thing that I teach my students. If you do things right, you’re building an assembly line. If you have the right team running that assembly line, it doesn’t have to involve you that much. Once you get that infrastructure set up, it’s very easy to build that second assembly line. For the training and stuff, I already had my marketing team. I didn’t have to rebuild that. All the stuff I needed to do to build that new business, I already had that infrastructure on existing assembly lines. Once you get up and running, a lot of people say, “It’s so much work.”


There are so many ways you can buy a rental property with very little or no money. Share on X


There’s so much work in the beginning. Sometimes it’s not really that much work. If you can get a good mentor, or you can adopt somebody like my students do, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you can get started quickly. From there, it’s just building gaming. You keep adding to it. Sometimes you have to change direction a little bit, pivot, and do something slightly different. I don’t think there’s anything that the real estate market gets thrown at me. I’ve been doing this a long time where we can’t retool the assembly line to do these things slightly differently and still get a result.

A mindset is so important. A lot of people see there’s COVID, doom and gloom, the economy is falling apart, and life is over. If you have that mindset, which is easy to do when that’s all you see on TV, it’s very hard to accomplish anything. To me, every time something changes, I see that as an opportunity. I see it as a way to build something new. That’s what keeps us exciting. It’s never the same day twice. In the last years, there’s never been a day where I woke up and said, “There’s nothing I can do today. There are no deals to be had anywhere.”

I never want to say that. I’ve also never woken up unexcited. I have to pinch myself sometimes. I get paid to do what I get to do. It’s a real passion for me. Even when I got lazy because I had the teams and I wasn’t doing that much hands-on, I was still excited to create those jobs for other people and watch my students succeed. I did a lot of volunteer work, too, before COVID. I’m just ramping that up again because a lot of it involves my travel. It’s important to have something that fulfills and excites you. Real estate still excites me very much.

How many women are in the Wolf Pack?

It’s pretty close to 50/50. We have around 50 members, so there are at least a 20 or 25, which I love because I have so much respect for women. My mother got divorced when I was two. Somehow we always met. I don’t know how she did it, but there was always food on the table. I have so much respect, especially for single moms. I get a lot of single moms either went through a divorce and never had to manage the money before. I always love helping the underdog.

I’m not saying women are underdogs. I didn’t mean it in a negative way, but I know that women have to work harder. They usually have more responsibilities they’re juggling. I especially love the teaching of passive income because I know they’ve got so many other things that are buying for their attention that they’re equally, if not more important, taking care of your kids. That’s super important. We have a lot of females in there, and I’m grateful for that. It’s, in a lot of ways, a male-dominated industry.

In Wolf Pack, our approach isn’t like, “Here’s how you make more money.” It’s very heart-centered. It’s like, “Here’s how we can make a difference and help other people. You can win at the same time as you help these other people.” A heart-centered approach tends to attract more women than other real estate investment groups. I’m very happy about that. I love that. I love the diversity within the group, not just male and female, but different races and religions. We all come together. We all have different beliefs. Everybody is divided over every topic, but within the group, there’s none of that. There’s no politics. People are doing joint ventures together.

I got some people in the group who have lots of money. We have got some dentists in the group, for example. One of them sold his practice, and he’s getting $4 million. He doesn’t want to go on the front lines, auctions, and find deals, but there are other people in the group that have a lot more time and love finding the deals and analyzing them. There are people that are funding my students’ deals.

One of my students picked up a 98-unit apartment building and didn’t use any of his money. Almost all of it was funded by the Wolf Pack. To me, that lights me up to see that this community didn’t even exist a few years ago, and now we have this group of people who didn’t know each other all over North America. They’re doing deals together, and it lights me up. That’s why we do meetings all the time because I get so excited to hear their success stories. To me, it’s fun. I live vicariously through them.

First of all, the reason that I brought you back is because I know how heart-centered you are. It’s been interesting with the readers that did go to your three-day event a few years ago. That was one of the things that they mentioned over and over again to me in feedback. I like to get feedback when my audience attends stuff. You’re so heart-centered, and I knew that.

The person who referred you to me is a friend of yours, and she said that. That’s your reputation, and I know you live up to it. I love that you bring that into the Wolf Pack. Thank you for mentioning that. As women, it is important that it’s heart-centered. We want to make our money and be successful, but there’s got to be some heart in it where we do business a little bit differently. That’s part of what I love so much about what you do.


REW Mike Wolf | Passive Income Nomad

Passive Income Nomad: Sometimes there’s things that are not of your choosing that are going to pop up. And if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, at some point it’s not going to work. It’s important to keep with the times and keep pivoting. You’ll be shocked at your accomplishments.


You never have to feel bad. I know a lot of people feel bad. It’s like, “These people are struggling. I don’t want to take any money.” It’s important to give but also to learn how to be a good receiver because you can’t sustain your real estate career. If you want to help thousands of people, we’ve done 4,000 transactions, and in most of those transactions, there’s somebody struggling on the other side of that deal. Most of the stuff we’ve done is pre-foreclosures, foreclosures, and tax deed auctions.

On the other end of that transaction, there’s always somebody struggling. That means we’ve been able to help 4,000 people give or take. If I would’ve said, “I just want to give. I don’t want to receive anything,” I could have helped a few people, but then I would have to go back to getting a job. I’d be helping very few people. Money is just a form of energy. It’s like oxygen. You take it in and then put it back out there. The size of my bank account is directly proportional to the number of people I have helped who are in a better spot due to them connecting with me. That’s when you measure it that way.

I know I can make a difference. I give back to a lot of causes that I’m very passionate about. It’s awesome to be too heart-centered, but sometimes you also have to work on yourself too. You have to put yourself in a good spot. Some of the stuff that we teach is that mindset around a lot of people. Women tend to struggle, especially. It was like, “That person’s going to lose their home to the auction. I don’t want to take anything.”

You can do that, but how about you create a win for them, create a win for yourself, and make lots of money, and then down the road, if you want to give it all away, you can? If you want to work for free and make it a cause to help other people that are struggling, you can, but don’t do it at your own expense. It’s like when you go on an airplane, and they say if there’s turbulence, the oxygen mask might come down from the ceiling and put it on yourself first instead of your kid. The first time I heard that, I said, “That sounds horrible. What do you mean to put it on yourself before your kid?” but then I thought, “If you’re not in good condition, you can’t help anybody.”

You got to make sure you’re safe first, so you can take care of your kids. Once you look at it that way, you realize that, “We need to be.” I struggled with this for a long time too. I have had a hard time being a good receiver, but once I learned how to do that, I got to the next level, and that would be able to help a lot more people as a result. Being a good receiver allows you to be an even better giver.

I love that. We could talk forever, but we’re out of time. We don’t even have time for the three rapid-fire questions, so we’re not going to do that, but you heard that from Mike before. There are a couple of things first. Mike, could you tell us about the free gift you’re offering? This is the thing. If you want to connect with Mike beyond his mailing list so that you know when his events happened because we’re sporadic, or you want to find out about what he’s doing, go ahead and get his free download. That itself is very valuable.

The big thing is that it gets you on his list so you can hear more about him. I know many of you have asked me how to connect with him in the future and when he’s doing the next event. The best way to find out about that is to sign up for his mailing list. When you do that, this is what you get. Could you tell us about your free eBook?

This eBook was written at the beginning of COVID because I was getting all these people who were losing their jobs and businesses. A lot of them did not have very good finances. When I started many years ago, I was a starving X university student. I was trying to get enough money to pay off my student loans. Originally, I was living my parent’s dream for me to become a lawyer, which was never my dream, but it was my parents’ dream. After I got my first degree, I had all these student loans. I know what it’s like to be starting in real estate.

Maybe you don’t have a lot of resources, so the book was written from the perspective of what I wish I knew many years ago. I used to do transactional real estate like a lot of people do, trying to save a down payment, qualify for a mortgage, and buy a house. I learned down the road that there are so many other ways you can buy a rental state with very little or no money. These are the top seven strategies that are working now. They were written at the beginning of COVID, so it’s stuff you can do while you’re at home in front of your computer. Those are seven strategies you can do without leaving your home, even if you have little or no money.

It’s an easy read on purpose because I know people won’t read it if it’s 2,000 pages. It’s twenty pages of big letters, but it talks about the ten strategies you can do and can do them now. They’re still all working. The market has shifted a little bit. There are some of them you couldn’t do at the beginning of COVID, like the tax deed I was saying. Get prepared for these auctions. Once they open up again, there’s going to be a lot of inventory and backlog. I talked about that and a whole bunch of other strategies that can get started on, even if you have very little resources. It’s free. You have nothing to lose by checking it out.

To get that, go to Blissfulinvestor.com/MikeWolf. Go check that out. I’ve read it, and it’s really good. You’ll enjoy that. Unfortunately, we don’t have time for the three rapid-fire questions, but we have time for EXTRA. We talked very slightly in this show about building a team. I know that Mike is correct that if you have a mentor who’s willing to share their team, that’s the quickest way to build a team. All of us are not necessarily going to be able to do that or want to do that yet, so we need some tips on how to start that path towards building our own team.

We’re going to be talking about that in EXTRA. If you have EXTRA, if you’re already subscribed, please stay tuned. If you’re not, we’d like you to go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com. You get the first seven days for free. For those of you that are leaving Mike and me, thank you so much for joining us for this great conversation. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, remember, goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you in the next episode.


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