Renters Warehouse, a property management company that specializes in managing rental houses, announced recently that it hired Nolan Jacobson to serve as the company’s executive vice president of finance. Prior to joining Renters Warehouse, Jacobson worked as the treasurer of Silver Bay Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust that owned and operated single-family rental homes.



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Today I’m talking to you guys about the real estate deals you should stay away from. 

I want to start by sharing a bit of background with you. I started my journey with American real estate about six years ago. I believe I bought my first property in 2011. I completely lost my butt in upstate New York because I bought a turnkey property from the wrong provider. They passed me onto property management, nickel and dimed me to death, and I lost around $20,000. Whatever. That’s where I started my journey.

Start Small

One thing I still believe to this day is when you’re looking at investing in real estate (or a particular market or region), start small. This is something I tell my investors every single day. I have a lot of investors who come to me wanting to invest large amounts of capital. And I say, “No. Start off small. Get your feet wet. Get to know the market. Get to know me and my company—and I want to get to know you before we can expand on our relationship.”

Today I own a bit of real estate in the Bahamas; I just bought a condo in Japan; I’m looking at some properties in Italy and Cuba because I want to own real estate worldwide. But I still want to invest the least amount of money possible, which equals the least amount of risk. The lower the amount, the lower the risk. That is my philosophy. It’s something that I have practiced and I am not going to change this particular method. Even if it means buying the crappiest property in the crappiest area—a D-class property—renovating it, and breaking even on it, I don’t care. I want to learn the process and the market. I want to learn who is who in that particular region. I want to build trust and relationships with people, because then I will start getting exclusive access to amazing opportunities. Once people see that I’m a player, that I’m doing deals, that I’m willing to take risks, that I’m on the ball, in your face, and getting it done, then they will want to work with me. So that is kind of my method. It’s what I do and how I started. Then once you get your feet wet, guys, the door opens. When people know that you’re doing business there, they start presenting you with all these opportunities. You kind of become one of them, and that is exactly what you want to do in a market.

Related: How to Avoid Renovation Mistakes on Your Rental Properties

Keep it Simple

Now, fast forward to what this blog post is actually about, and trust me this makes sense with what I just mentioned. The properties you should run away from and absolutely never buy are the ones that need a ton of work structural rehabs. I’m talking about properties that don’t have any margins in them unless you start doing all kind of development—those are a no. You start by extending the porch or extending on the backyard or completely revamping the entire floor plan. Or maybe you’re subdividing that land and building another property on the subdivided lot. Guys, these things are a recipe for disaster—particularly for all of you newbies out there because you can’t control the outcome. As much as you want to say, “Yes; I’m the master of my fate; I’m the captain of my soul; I call all the shots,” you don’t. Sorry, you don’t. You have to run everything you want to carry out past the city. You have to get an architect involved, and the city has to approve it. We all know the city has its own agenda and its own timeline for how it wants to go about things. It’s not in your control. Do not do that.

Related: The Worst Real Estate Deal I’ve Ever Done (And How You Can Avoid the Same Mess)

Keep Your Cash

Guys, invest the least amount of money possible in a particular deal. Just like when you are getting your feet wet, when you are actually starting in real estate or you are actually looking at expanding into a new market. I don’t care if you break even—learn the process, meet the team, get to know who’s who in that particular market, and then expand and build on that. That’s when you’ll start getting some amazing deals.

I would run away from anything that needs structural work, approval from someone else, or has a big mortgage attached to it. Buy properties that need a cosmetic rehab, spend the least amount of money possible, renovate as quickly as you can, sell it for whatever you can, cash out, and do the next deal. Learn the team, the people, and who’s who. Get to know the market, then you can always expand on that.

So that’s kind of my two cents for you. This is something that I do. It’s something I recommend you guys to do. I wish you much success with it.

Do you have any questions about this method?

Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below!





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Real estate investment firm Waypoint Residential announced Friday it added three members to its senior team to bolster the firm’s operations. The company has named Doug Wolski managing director of portfolio management, James Driscoll to the role of senior vice president of development and Gina Lujan as vice president of talent.



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Plenty of people can purchase a house to live in. But how can you leverage that single home into many more real estate deals—enough to achieve financial independence? On today’s episode of The BiggerPockets Podcast we sit down with Amy Arata, a real estate investor and former molecular geneticist who shares how she eventually turned a live-in flip into 40 rental units. Don’t miss Amy’s incredible “people boxes” advice—as it could change the direction of your real estate ambitions forever.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Watch the Podcast Here

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Amy got into real estate investing
  • A successful live-and-flip of their home
  • Lead-based paint issues
  • Going about tax deductions
  • Where they went wrong after their first successful deal
  • Their first rental property
  • How cash-out refinance works
  • How they pulled the trigger on the deal
  • Including property management as an expense
  • Getting a commercial mortgage
  • Amy’s deals and rental properties
  • Buying properties at auction
  • How Amy funds her deals
  • Amy’s criteria for finding properties
  • Amy’s average profit per deal
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “In real estate, the number tells the story.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Math overcomes fear.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The more you do something, the more comfortable you get with it.” (Tweet This!)
  • “When people find that you have integrity and you know what you’re doing, they seek you out.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Amy





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Progress on N Hollywood flip #philly #phillyrealestate #flipper #buildinganempire ??️









Will WeWork completety disrupt traditional commercial real estate? #landlordlife

WeWork’s $20 Billion Dream: The Lavishly Funded Startup That Could Disrupt Commercial Real Estate

With over $4B in funding, WeWork is expanding aggressively at home and abroad and pursuing diverse investments that have raised eyebrows. But its real-estate-as-aservice offering and trove of data on optimal office design could make the company’s value prop far more than a marketing ploy.

727 Tulip Ave, Croydon, PA 19021 ~ Frank Buys Philly | Building Opportunities

New windows, electrical, plumbing, floors, kitchen, bath, heating, etc. all on a double lot. Awesome Cape located on a quiet street. Features bright and open kitchen with stainless steel appliances and gleaming hardwood floors. Situated on a huge private yard. Special Financing or Trade available to…


#buildinganempire

Financial Freedom in Less Than Five Years with Joel from FI 180 ~ Frank Buys Philly | Building Opportunities

Joel and his wife were barreling down the wrong financial path—saving nothing and spending more than $100,000 every year. A freak car accident changed the direction of their lives by causing them to re-evaluate what was truly important to them. In five short years, they went from a negative saving…




iStar announced Tuesday that Marcos Alvarado joined the firm as its chief investment officer. Alvarado will serve as a member of the senior executive team where he will oversee originations and growth across the company’s diversified $5 billion investment portfolio.



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Joel and his wife were barreling down the wrong financial path—saving nothing and spending more than $100,000 every year.

A freak car accident changed the direction of their lives by causing them to re-evaluate what was truly important to them. In five short years, they went from a negative savings rate to saving 85 percent of their income, allowing Joel to quit a job that was making him miserable.

They did this by making regular changes to their spending and cutting out the things that weren’t actually making them happy— alongside shedding poor investments they had previously accumulated and sticking to a strategy of simple, long-term index-fund investing.

This episode is for anyone who earns an upper-median income yet feels stuck and unable to get ahead. Joel will show you how to make the tough changes that will ultimately lead to more happiness, more freedom, and a stronger financial position.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Watch the Podcast Here

Help Us Out!

Help us reach new listeners on iTunes by leaving us a rating and review! It takes just 30 seconds. Thanks! We really appreciate it!

Podcast Sponsor

Wunder CapitalI’m sure many of you have seen explosive growth in residential solar installations. Similar to residential, small and medium sized businesses want to go solar. However, financing for commercial solar isn’t available to businesses unless they have investment grade credit.

Today’s sponsor, Wunder Capital, is helping to solve that problem by financing solar for SMBs. Learn how you can begin earning up to 11% returns at wundercapital.com/bp.

In This Episode We Cover:

  • What Joel’s life was like before he focused on financial freedom
  • Having an expensive lifestyle as the norm
  • The logic behind high expenditures
  • Why the 180-degree shift to financial independence?
  • The first steps they took
  • The value of cooking good food
  • Cutting out unnecessary expenses while optimizing needs
  • Buying the worst mortgage property
  • Their crazy real estate investment experience
  • The tenant from hell
  • What they did to increase income
  • How Joel finally decided to quit his job
  • Their FI number
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Things get stressful when you have an unsustainable lifestyle.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The key to financial independence is to know what is your ‘enough’.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Money shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when deciding for a job.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Your worst case scenario is everybody else’s everyday life.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Joel





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