Today we’re talking with Nathan Amaral of Fearless-Millionaire.com. Nathan is a real estate investor, podcaster, educator, coach and more!
I met Nathan several years ago and we’ve stayed connected over the years. What I find really intriguing about Nathan is that he primarily invests in countries outside the United States, namely Portugal and Uganda.
We wanted to get Nathan on the show to learn about what other opportunities there are outside the U.S. to learn how deals are found, how financing works and how things work outside of this comfortable bubble we have in the USA.
Portugal and Uganda are very different from each other, and both countries are very different from the United States, so I’m sure we’ll discover at least a few new things here.
Links and Resources
- Fearless-Millionaire.com (Nathan's website)
- 048: Investing in Belize Real Estate w/ Will Mitchell
- Brian Tracy
- Robert Kiyosaki
- Tony Robbins
- Jim Rohn
- Compassion International (Sponsor a Child!)
- The Beginner's Deal Finding Guide
Episode 66 Transcription
Seth: Hey there, tipsters. This is Seth and Jaren with the REtipster podcast and today we're talking with Nathan Amaral. Nathan is a real estate investor, podcaster, educator, coach, and a lot more. I met Nathan several years ago now and we've stayed connected over the years. What I find really intriguing about Nathan is that he primarily invests in countries outside of the United States, namely Portugal, in Uganda of all places.
So, we wanted to get Nathan on the show to learn about what the real estate opportunities are there outside of the U.S. How are deals found, and how does financing work? And if we were to get out of this comfortable bubble we have in the U.S., what does that look like? Just personally, I know very little about how the outside world works once you leave this country. And I don't know anybody who has done anything in Africa, outside of maybe South Africa. So, I'm sure we're going to discover a lot of new interesting things here. With that, Nathan, how are you doing?
Nathan Amaral: I'm good man. Thanks, guys, for having me here. I do have a small cough. I was recovering from a cold, but everybody thinks, “Oh, do you have coronavirus?” But I'm doing well. I'm doing well. We are in this lockdown period here. We're only supposed to leave our homes for that supermarket and stuff, but I have three kids. So, working from home is a little stressful. They are running around all the time. I'm actually here at one of my short-term rentals, which is empty. Right? That's where are my offices during this time.
Seth: You are in Portugal right now, right?
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, I'm in Portugal. It's actually just off the coast of Portugal. It's these nine islands of the Azores. It's the Hawaii of Europe. The Hawaii volcanic islands.
Jaren: And just some trivia information for our listeners there. My mom was adopted by a woman from the Azores, so I grew up calling my grandmother “Vovó”. That is so crazy. Small world.
Seth: So, do you speak Portuguese, Jaren?
Jaren:No, I know like one word, “Vovó”. That's about it.
Seth: Well, I'm assuming, do you speak Portuguese, Nathan?
Nathan Amaral: I do. Yeah. I speak Portuguese. I understand it. I'm a citizen. I'm a Portuguese citizen.
Seth: Yeah. Okay, awesome. That's actually one of the interesting things I want to dive into as we get further along is how important is it to actually speak the language in the place where you're buying and selling real estate?
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, that's a great question.
Seth: Anyway, we'll get to that in a second. That kind of ties into much of the stuff we're going to do. But anyway, just to kick this off, why Portugal and Uganda of all places in the world? Maybe you can explain your backstory and help us understand how you landed in those two countries.
Nathan Amaral: Okay. Well, I'll kick it off in Portugal because one, yeah, it is my heritage. My parents immigrated to the United States. Most of my family immigrated to the United States in Massachusetts. But every year we would come to the Island of San Miguel in the Azores. Sometimes even twice a year. So, at a very young age, I was emotionally deeply rooted here, going into the fields with the cows and stopping on Sundays for picnics in the farmlands and stuff like that. And it’s beautiful scenery here. It's just absolutely gorgeous. So that over the years, just stay with me. And then when I left the United States in 2013 and I moved to Uganda and as I was raising a family there, it was kind of like, “Okay, where's the middle ground for me to reconnect with my family?” Because my family did go to Uganda for my wedding, but we needed a middle meeting ground. And so, it just works out. That right here is in the middle of the world. So, we meet here on the Island in Portugal.
Seth: Yeah. And you've got an interesting story about how you got connected with Uganda, right?
Jaren: I was about to say, man,
Seth: We can't brush over that story out.
Jaren: Give us that story out. Come on.
Nathan Amaral: All right. I'll give you the quick version because we're talking like 18 years in the making. But about 18 years ago, my dad, God bless him, he's a big believer “When you give, you shall receive”. He is a believer in the law of reciprocity. At 14 years old, I was a paperboy at the time. Have you guys ever been a paperboy? Paper counter?
Seth: Three and a half years right here.
Jaren: I've never done it.
Nathan Amaral: Never done it?
Jaren: I was a bum man growing up. I didn't do anything. I didn't get a real job until I was married. Legitimately, the only job I worked, after getting married I was short term part-time at Wendy's and I lasted a month. I was a complete bum until I actually had to pay bills. I was a late bloomer.
Nathan Amaral: Well, one of the things that my dad taught me at a very young age was “Give and you shall receive”. We went to this local church and there was this group, this choir that came to the church. They would call the African Children's Choir. They're still in existence. They've been on Oprah. Will Smith supports them and all this stuff. Well, after they're done singing their songs at the back table, there was a home study courses there to buy. At the back table, they had a whole table full of children's pictures and you could sponsor a child. So, my dad said, “Well listen, this is what you're going to do. You're going to pay me $40 and I'm going to use my credit card and you're going to pay me $40 every month on my card”. And I was like, what? Like I wasn't too happy about this.
But anyway, he said, pick a child. So, I'm literally looking there at all these kids. And honestly you guys, I looked probably for the cutest girl on the table. That's what I did. I’m just like a 14-year-old boy, right? So, I picked a child and we became pen pals. We wrote letters back and forth for a number of years. Just small talk, house school, and stuff like that. Well, when my pen pal, the girl I chose on the table that day, she turned 18, years go by. She turns 18, three letters come back in the mail to me from the organization. And I called them up. I'm like, hey, I got some letters back. And they're like, “Oh yeah, your sponsor child has graduated. They're done”. And I'm like, “Well, can I have her phone number? Her address?” They are like, “Oh no, for privacy reasons, we're not allowed to do that”. So, we literally got disconnected for a number of years. This was before social media guys. So, years go by and Facebook comes out and she was actually searching for me on Facebook. She actually had this burning desire to thank me after all these years of helping cover school fees and stuff like that. So, she was looking me up on Nathan Amaral. There's a bunch of Nathan Amaral’s in Brazil. Like a huge population.
So, she kept asking all these other Nathan’s. Finally, one day she gets me. And the interesting thing guys, listen to this, her name that I knew her by for privacy reasons was different than the one she was using. Basically, they call it a Christian name, it was the one I was associated with. And then her on her Facebook was her real name, her Uganda name. So, when this name comes up and she's like, “Did you sponsor a girl?” I get a message, “Did you sponsor a girl in Uganda?” And I'm like, “Yes. Where is she? How do you know?” She's like, “Nathan, it's me”.
Seth: That is crazy man.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, yeah, it was crazy. That was 2012. We had our first phone conversation, first video chat, all in a matter of a few months. And then in 2013, I decided to fly out there. I took a six-month sabbatical. I went there. But you guys are both married, right? So, when I hugged my sponsored child friend at the airport, I instantly knew that like “This is your wife”. I just had this instant, “This is it”. And I was like, “Whoa, wait a second”. I didn't say that right away guys. The week goes by, I'm meeting her family, her friends, and all this stuff. And I just fell in love with the culture and the people and her family and her. And on the day before I left, I snuck away from her because we were together the whole time, I couldn't get away from this girl. We were just together. She was my tour guide and my friend. On the day before I left, she went to go and get her hair done and all this stuff and I snuck away and I went to go buy her a ring. I met her in the Sheraton. There was a Sheraton Hotel gardens. And while I was there, I was basically telling her, I said, listen, if I leave this country and I go back to the U.S. we're probably not going to see each other either ever again or many years from now when we have kids and families. And I said I know how I am. If I don't commit to something right away, I am just going to move on. And I said I don't want to do that without making a commitment today. So right there I got on one knee, pulled out a ring, asked her to marry me, and luckily, she said yes.
Jaren: Wow, that's awesome.
Seth: How many times that has happened in the history of sponsored children? Where like a sponsor ends up marrying the child?
Nathan Amaral: It's like, does that happen often? Right?
Seth: Yeah. I mean it almost seems like something they could make a movie out of it. It's one of those stories.
Jaren: When I shared it with my wife, that's exactly what she said. She legit started tearing up and she was like “That’s like a movie”.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, I hear that all the time. I'm actually in talks right now with a famous actress that I pinned on Instagram. I don't know how to make a movie like that, but I'm trying to do it because so many people have told me this should be a book or a movie. And I'm like, well, this is my personal private life. And then I thought about it, I said, you know what? If I bring awareness to what I did 18 years ago, it could be motivating for other people to give in return to help other kids that need sponsorships for school.
Seth: Yeah, that is actually pretty mind-blowing. There was a child in Guatemala that I sponsored through Compassion International back in 2003 I think is when I started. He got all the way through the system and he graduated and he found me on Facebook. It was crazy. I didn't end up marrying him. It was pretty crazy just to realizing, this kid that I used to write letters for so long and we still don't speak the same language. It's like we rely a hundred percent on Facebook's horrible translation service that they have. But it's sort of this moment when you realize like, “Wow, this is a real person. This is an actual life”. You sort of realize that all along, but when you see them outside of the context of writing letters through the organization, it's like, whoa, that's really cool.
Nathan Amaral: That's so cool Seth. I didn't know that. That's awesome. That's awesome for you. Cool.
Seth: So, that is how you landed in Uganda, right?
Nathan Amaral: That's how I got to Uganda. Yeah. And I was there for a year. I went back to the U.S. After those two weeks we went back home. I literally sold everything I had. I was living in Charlotte, North Carolina at the time. I moved to Uganda. And then 30 days after that, we were married. A few months after that we were pregnant. And now three kids later here I am.
Seth: Would Uganda in terms of investing in real estate there, would that even enter your radar if you didn't have that connection there?
Nathan Amaral: No, it would never like honestly, even my friends were shocked with Africa. Like I was probably the guy who would never go to Africa. And the funny thing is, even though a lot of my previous ex-girlfriends were African American, I never would have thought I'm going to Africa. So, when I got there I was just like, wow. And then guys I did that, was that…?
Seth: Test ancestry?
Nathan Amaral: Test ancestry.
Jaren: 23 minutes.
Seth: Yeah, 23 minutes.
Nathan Amaral: It comes to find out there was a little bit of Congolese in my DNA and I was like, “Oh, that's why”. Yeah, crazy. I was like, what?
Seth: Yeah, I can kind of see it when you say that.
Nathan Amaral: That's funny. But Uganda was never on my radar for real estate. It never was. I was actually really surprised at how much growth there was when I got there. And when I started looking around, I was… I'm still impressed today how much growth there is in that country and so much land, so much undeveloped land. It's funny.
Seth: Is that one of those African countries that's like really good for farming actually? I've heard Ethiopia is like that. It's like prime farmland.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, because it's on the equator the temperature it doesn't get colder than 65. Okay, 60 maybe that's a really cold, rainy day, but it's usually 65 and it doesn't get hotter than 85. So, it always has this warm climate. It's really nice.
Seth: We kind of get the context of the countries then. So, in terms of real estate, just as a real estate investor, what was your foray into that? How did you decide? At what point in your life? “Hey, real estate. That's going to be the thing”
Nathan Amaral: Yeah. Just rewind like maybe 13-15 years ago I started my hunt for real estate investing. The knowledge hunt and learning. A bunch of seminars. Two years of learning and doing nothing until I hired a coach kicked me in the butt. But it was the best thing I ever needed. And yeah, it cost me a lot of money, but that money turned into a lifestyle. The reality is, I started off wholesaling single-family houses, right in my few states that I was in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and that area. I did that for two years. My coach told me to do this strategy for two years and don’t do anything else because there's a lot of other strategies out there. So, I did that for two years. I did really well. I was doing four to five deals a month, a lot of motivated sellers at the time during that market. And after that, I got into apartment investing. I got hired by David Lindell. Some people know him in the apartment space. Do you know him?
Nathan Amaral: So, he's actually having kids himself now. He's raising a family so he's not on the road so much. He actually hired me and I worked in his office for three years. Half the time I was working in his office, like building out a sales team and whatnot. And the other half of the time I traveled around the country with him as he would be speaking, I was his assistant. I just learned so much while I was there. I learned about apartments. A lot of the stuff I had learned previously was all single-family strategies. That going into the apartments I started investing at apartments and start expanding that portfolio and syndicating deals.
And then from there, the first time I actually started getting into let's say a virtual investing was when I moved from Massachusetts to North Carolina. A buddy of mine over there was doing a whole bunch of business and he was already doing it. And so, I kind of adapted to that because it was very new to me. I started buying real estate remotely. Maybe the first one was like an hour and a half away, then it was three hours and then with the next state, that kind of thing. So, I started flipping houses and then buying houses, owner financed, creating older finance opportunities for other people. I buy all-cash, turn those into owner finance opportunities. But I'll tell you what, Seth, when I started doing that virtual real estate investing, that's when I knew I could live the lifestyle. I could be anywhere. Just a phone and a laptop and you're good to go.
So that's what really got me into that thing. That's why it was a little easier for me to transition. After five, six years of doing virtual real estate, it was easy for me to transition to whether I was living in Uganda or Portugal. It was like, “Oh, I'm already doing this. It's no problem”.
Jaren: So how did you go from investing in the States virtually to Portugal? What are you doing now? I'm assuming that when you were flipping houses, you're not probably flipping houses now, right?
Nathan Amaral: No, not too often. Right now, flipping houses it's a very saturated, very competitive market. Lower margins. I haven't flipped a house in probably a year and a half. And that's just because of the different strategies I've been doing. I have been doing a lot more owner finance properties by flipping some land, but mostly owner financing properties has been a primary for a number of years.
Jaren: But what about your short-term rentals? Because right now, I'm assuming you do Airbnb quite a bit in Portugal, right?
Nathan Amaral: Yeah. The short-term rentals started out again by building a base here in the Azores in Portugal. And that was like, okay, well, how can I have investment property even though I'm not here primarily but yet still generate some income? The whole short-term rental market was there because this is a tourism area. Portugal and these islands, 80% of their income comes from tourism. That's really important here. So that started picking up. It was very easy to do that. But a lot of people ask me, “Well Nathan, how do you do short term rentals in Portugal and in Uganda?” By the way, I'll tell you that in a second. And I do short term rentals in Uganda. How do you do that by traveling everywhere? Who is checking your people in? What's happening, who's managing your properties? And that's very simple. A property management company I found through connections and networking. I found a good property management company here. They manage about 45 properties all over the Island. That wasn't the first choice by the way. The first time it was this woman who was a cleaner and she was checking people in and out and that was okay.
But we eventually transitioned into a company, who had much more experience. So that's where it's been since now.
Jaren: So, dive into how it works. We want to get dive into both markets because they're both kind of different, but they're both outside of the United States. But in Portugal, let's go granular a little bit and dive into how do you find deals? How do you get financing for deals? What is the attitude towards short term rentals? Because out here, depending on where you're at, you might have to fight a little bit with the lenders or the local municipalities to be able to do short term rentals. What is the lay of the land look like in Portugal?
Nathan Amaral: Sure. And that was the transition by the way. Every country is going to be a little different when it comes to investing there. So, starting with Portugal, you have to get experienced with first the laws, what's available. For example, here, there's regulation in Europe. You have to have a fire extinguisher. You have to have placards that show where the exit is. You have to have, what do they call those? That's fire mat that goes over the stove. You have to have certain railings. So, you have certain things. Also, you have to have a little plaque outside on the street or outside of the residence that says “local apartment” or “apartment local”. You have to go pay a tax for that. You have to go pay a fee, have it registered. So that's a little different compared to the United States Airbnb system. And or especially even Uganda, it's a little different as well. But here that's a little different.
When it comes to finding properties, it is kind of similar. For example, not many people know this, but RE/MAX is here. Century 21 is here. They have a presence here. You can easily access the MLS per se, and data very easily through the government website and through their brokers.
Seth: One of the sorts of related questions to that. Given that there is an MLS system or something like that in Portugal, that makes me wonder just about access to owner information and that kind of thing. Is direct mail something you can do in Portugal? Can you get property ownership data and send out mailers or does it not work like that in Portugal?
Nathan Amaral: I would say this, Seth. What matters most about investing in different countries, most importantly is culture. It's not about, I guess like there is direct mail here, but if someone got a letter in the mail about it, it's probably not going to be so accepted. Just like for example in Uganda. Where there's like literally no direct mail at all. So how would you run a direct mail campaign? It's really about culture. You have to know what the culture is used to, what they're comfortable with and what they accept. Here primarily the best way to get deals is through bankruptcies. Like foreclosures, REOs.
I'll tell you some interesting parts about investing here in Portugal. There's a lot of incentives. There are a lot of incentives and banks are very flexible with lending. As long as you have a job very similar to the United States. You have a job, you have a decent income, you can actually go to the bank, you can get a foreclosed property, you can get it with no money down. They will actually give you any money for rehab. Like if you need it to fix it up, they'll give you the cash for that. And they'll put it on a 40-year note.
Seth: Is that if you're a Portuguese citizen or could somebody like a foreigner like myself do that?
Nathan Amaral: There is a little difference. If that's for Portuguese citizen, by the way, also I want to mention the rates, Seth. The rates are typically under 2% normally. Like my buddy has a mortgage. Most of my friends who are here and family members, they have rates of 1.5%.
Seth: Gosh, that's crazy. It's like basically free, right?
Nathan Amaral: Yeah. And now listen, here's the advantage with foreigners. By the way, I'm speaking from my own experience, but also Berkshire Hathaway talks a lot about Portugal as being a destination but also advantages for investors. Number one is the Golden Visa. Have you guys ever heard of the Golden Visa? The Golden Visa is an investment scheme that Portugal came up with where it gets investors to invest in Portugal and they can get a Visa which will last like five years and then they can go for their citizenship almost like instantly. Other countries, like for example, the United States, it takes like 10 years. There's a lot of different barriers for different countries.
Well, Portugal has a very unique system with this Golden Visa, which it would take 350,000 euros in some deals. They have different levels, but the lowest one is 350,000 euros. You can buy a property as long as it's older than 30 years and that needs rehab and it needs to be revitalized. All you need is to invest at a minimum of 350,000. There are other ones in between. The highest and easiest one is if you take a million euros, wire it to any Portuguese bank and leave it there for no set amount of time, you automatically get the Golden Visa. There are different advantages to that kind of program, and the different ones that fall under.
But there's also some huge tax benefits to Portugal. One, there's the non-habitual tax regime. There is also no inheritance tax. You guys are familiar with it. Then also there's no, what they call that in the U.S.? They call it the wealth tax. When someone dies of a certain amount of net worth, there's no tax on that. If one of your family members dies inheritance, you don't get taxed on that. None of that. It's not capital gains.
Actually, here's the difference. There's no capital gains tax here. Get this. When you buy a property, the person who's buying has to pay the tax upfront.
Seth: Like sales tax almost?
Nathan Amaral: There's a sales tax and there's this. You have to pay all of the property tax upfront.
Seth: Is there no recurring annual property tax? There is just one?
Nathan Amaral: There is, but it's an additional lump tag. There are different words for it, but it's an additional lump sum of money. It's a percentage, usually 0.08% of the purchase price that you have to pay at closing. You actually have to go pay the tax before you go to the bank. The taxes must be paid before you close.
Seth: Is that like a transfer tax sort of?
Nathan Amaral: It's not a transfer tax. Portugal has quite a few unique taxes. It is a socialistic government. So, for example, health care, schools, all that is free. There are a lot of advantages if you lose your job. So, again, lower rates on mortgages and whatnot. The downside of that guys, guys like us, the entrepreneurial drive is not there so much. It's kind of like, first of all, if you start a business, you have to have money. You have to have some good money, or you have to know someone who has money as a partner. No ones like rushing to go start a business like in the U.S. or in Uganda. Like people love starting businesses in Uganda. Those are some of the pros and cons there.
Seth: With those financing stuff you mentioned earlier, like the 2%- and 40-year term and all that stuff. Can a foreigner like me get that? Or I cannot get that? What's to keep me from just saying, “Hey, I'll go put a million dollars into Portugal, but I'm going to borrow all of it from Portugal at a low-interest rate”. Is that not something I can do?
Nathan Amaral: You can. The only thing is whenever you invest outside of the United States or in a different country, you have to do it in an entity. If you are not a citizen of that country, you have to do it in an accompany. Okay, so preliminary, you have to set up a company entity, typically what they call an LDA or limited company. You have to set those up first and then you can go and then you can get those rates in property and investments.
I'm just skimming the surface guys, but there's actually incentives, let's call it a stimulus. If an investor does that and set up a stock company, the government will actually fund your projects sometimes up to as high as 70%. Like literally they'll help you. If you present the plan and the proposal, and I want to be clear, this is specifically for tourism. So, if you say, “Hey, I want to invest in Portugal, I want to open up a hotel, I want to open up some bungalows, short term rentals”. Whatever. Whether you want to buy the property, whether you want to build it. I'll give you an example. A buddy of mine, he's investing here. He's buying a land, building a building and it's going to be a bungalow. So, it's 12 bungalows. The government's going to pay for 60% of the project just because that's what they offer.
Jaren: Well, Seth, it sounds like we need to quit what we're doing and get some stuff going on in Portugal. Let’s go.
Seth: Sign me up.
Jaren: Let’s go.
Seth: What are the prices look like for properties in Portugal? I mean, maybe it's probably different in Azures versus mainland Portugal.
Nathan Amaral: Right, exactly. Yeah. So, a lot of people know Lisbon as the main land and the main city. Of course, things in any capital's is going to be more expensive. Properties here are still relatively affordable or cheaper, not to the locals anymore because this market is slowly taking up. Right now, for example, downtown, you can get a three bedroom for about 300,000 euros. That's an apartment, guys. That's an apartment condo. That's a little expensive because you take the average property here, you can buy a single-family house, three-bedroom, two baths, just outside of the city. I would say if you're looking at square footage, maybe like 1800 to let's just say 2000 square feet, you're probably looking at maybe 200,000 euros, 8180 that's more retail.
The best thing to do is to buy that property through a bank foreclosure or something like that and you can get the property a lot cheaper under 150,000 euros. I'll give you another example. A buddy of mine bought a property to live in. He bought it for 60,000 euros. He put in 100,000 euros and it's worth, I want to say 290,000. Close to 300,000 euros. And it's in the city.
Seth: Yeah. The exchange rate from the U.S. dollar to Euro as of today, assumption this is going to change a lot. What is the Euro? What does it? Do you know off the top of your head? I’m just trying to get a context for when you say like 200,000 euros, what does that actually mean in U.S. dollars? Is that like $400,000?
Nathan Amaral: No, no, no. So, it's a little less than that. So, the Euro is stronger than the U.S. dollar. So, whenever I exchange money from the United States to Portugal, I lose money. And it's typically right now like 92 cents. If you wanted one euro for me, I'm going to give you 92 cents. Does that make sense?
Seth: Yeah. I'm looking at it right now. It's $1 U.S. dollars 92 Euro cents, whatever you call that.
Nathan Amaral: And that goes up and down. That goes up and down on a daily basis.
Seth: Now, I'm actually curious about this whole thing you were talking about earlier about how Portugal is a socialistic government and how people aren't just rushing to start businesses. I'm wondering why if interest rates are cheap and if you can get such great terms if there's money to be made, what is the reason for that? Or is everything just taken care of so people don't have a need for that or what's going on there?
Nathan Amaral: Well, not to get political, but we have Bernie Sanders, right? Which is “College is free and healthcare is free”. And that is very similar to here. Portugal is a socialistic country and is very similar to a “Bernie Sanders” type of way of place. When everything's taken care of for you and I know there's like different ways of thought about this when, unfortunately, some people do have to go on food stamps or welfare. If you're not a hustler and you're able to get that kind of treatment all the time, well, you can just settle, right? You can just kind of mellow out and be like, “Oh yeah, my food's taken care of. I'm all set”. So, if you have that attitude and that environment, then that's where it comes from.
Seth: Yeah. Do you think a socialistic atmosphere creates that kind of mindset where otherwise wouldn't be? Because people that are like, “Well, if I have this option here and it's nice, I might as well just go for that”. Or people who are naturally hustlers, they're going to hustle no matter what, regardless of the environment they're in. Maybe it depends on the person.
Nathan Amaral: That's a great question. You're absolutely right. Listen, the government is the overall authority. Are there hustlers in every country, in every regime? Absolutely. So, I have friends here. My good friend owns a 55 room or as they say in hotels, keys. A 55-key hotel. Okay. He's a hustler. Him, his dad, his family. They just want another building. They're going to expand it to 85. My business partner who I bought 26 apartments here and included in that is a commercial mixed-use space and the whole thing's going to be in assisted living building. My tenant is my business partner and he's a hustler. This guy is very well known on the Island, but he's a hustler. So, in that unique situation with these 26 apartments that I've bought plus this commercial space, my tenant, he's a motivator.
Listen to this. He was born in one of the other islands, came to this island for greener pastures per se, and it's very green here by the way. It's so green. This is his company. He owns the property management company. He calls it Green Vacation. My business partner is the one who runs the property management company and manages short-term rentals. It was almost like an easy fit when he said, “Hey, I have this idea, I'm interested in doing an assisted living project”. And at the time Seth, I was like “Assisted living?” I was in the hotels, I was already looking at hotels. I had offers on hotels and stuff like that. But after a while, these two hotel deals that I got, let's just use the word snaked from to keep it light, eventually, my business partner ended up saying, “Hey, there's a building over here. This would be good”.
So, we went to go look at it and yet ended up, we just purchased that last year. But the assisted living building opens up hopefully in June, hopefully. Now we got Covid. So, the set date was June. But anyway, so to answer that question, yes, I do believe there are hustlers in every country. The government does set the tone of that. Whether you're a capitalistic country or a socialist and all that kind of stuff. But I still believe that if you hustle and you build relationships and you work hard, you can still make it.
Seth: Gotcha. And I know we sort of touched on this earlier, but in terms of the language barrier thing, so if I don't speak a word of Portuguese, can I do this? Is there a way to make this work or do I really need to get some Rosetta Stone and learn myself?
Nathan Amaral: Right. You can do it. Actually, I know a lot of people who are investing here. There's a lot of people from Germany and Switzerland a lot. There's a lot of Swiss money coming in right now into Portugal. And they don't speak a hoot of Portuguese. The good thing is the Portuguese people are very welcoming people. They're very friendly to tourists and there's a lot of people on the island who also provide services, who will either do translation or if they're working in real estate for example, they more than likely speak English as a second language. My lawyer for example, speaks English as a second language. My property manager speaks English as a second language.
Seth: I gotcha. So, there is a way then.
Nathan Amaral: There is a way. If there is no way, use Google translate.
Jaren: It's really intriguing. Once I get a little bit more establishment, I have to venture out into investing in places like the Azores because the fact that it's sunny and ocean and an island vibe and both places I've walked away, I feel like until this Will Mitchell's interview and we can link to that in the show notes. What's that episode?
Seth: Episode 48 I believe.
Jaren: Yeah, it'll be linked in the show notes below guys. But both this conversation and that conversation has left me like, “Huh, I really think that this is what I'm supposed to get into”. I love the idea of a short-term rentals. I love the idea of hotels and just investing in land and real estate that has intrinsic value. No matter what the government's doing in Portugal, the Azores is always going to be an amazing place. Same thing with Belize. Same thing with the reason why I flip land in Florida. No matter what the heck is happening in the government, Florida is always going to be valuable. I don't know, man. I just am sitting over here on the edge of my seat, extremely inspired to go take over the world.
Nathan Amaral: Jaren, let me tell you something. We're looking at now a very unique situation in the world where people are being pushed into work from home situations, right? But before the COVID, look at what you guys were doing, look at what Seth was doing. Virtual was already in place, so if you start now, there are already people doing this. They're not on stages, they're not gurus. They're quiet people. You don't even know their names. There are already people investing here remotely. But the thing is we are like, I want to say we're pioneers. If you start talking about it and you start doing it, then you end up becoming a pioneer to many other people. But I think in the near future, that more and more people are going to start investing globally. It's becoming easier because the technology and blockchain in the near future, it's going to become so much easier to do this than ever before.
I feel like I'm going in there earlier, but I have to get through all this hardship and there's a lot of like paperwork and stuff like that, that somethings I don't know, laws that you have to learn along the way. The way to navigate all that is find the best people in that area. I'm talking like my attorney is the best attorney on the island. Like no joke. Easy. He's probably one of the best attorneys even in the continent of Portugal. Is he a little bit more expensive? Yes, but guess what? I don't have to worry so much. I know we speak the same language. He also connects me to great people. Anyway, my point is that you can start now and I think there could be a lot more opportunities of investing outside of the United States as these avenues open up to people.
Jaren: I love it, man. Let's transition a bit to Uganda because I'm sure the climate in Uganda is totally different than the climate in Portugal. And at least that's my assumption.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah.
Jaren: So, lay the foundation for us in Uganda. What are you doing primarily as your investment strategy? What does financing look like? Where do you find deals? Is there something like the MLS there, all that stuff?
Nathan Amaral: Let's do one of those at a time.
Jaren: One of those at the time.
Nathan Amaral: First of all, guys, let me tell you, I love living in booming areas. Okay? I love action. I don't like slow markets. Actually, where I grew up, where I was born is a very slow-moving market. It's so boring. Nothing's going on there. When I got to Charlotte, I was like, “Whoa, this is the best city in the country”. Because it was just explosive growth. They were buying land, building apartments, buying land, building apartments. I'm like, wow, I've never seen so much growth. I never lived in an area with so much growth. Then when I got to Uganda I was like, “Holy smokes”. I thought Charlotte was booming. Just in my neighborhood in Uganda, there are over 20 apartment buildings being built. It's insane. Just in my neighborhood. Then you go down into the city, they're constructing brand new skyscrapers. It's on another level. I mean it's just fantastic.
Seth: Where's all the economic growth coming from? Is there some huge industry booming in Uganda right now?
Nathan Amaral: There is a lot of industry. Uganda, Africa itself, the African Union is about to complete its union shift. There are the African Union and last year in 2019, they just finished signing I think 54 out of 56 signatures to become unified. So, in the near future, we might see the African Union with 55-56 states. Okay. So that's in the works. China is heavily invested in. I'm just going to speak for Uganda. But China is heavily invested in Uganda. They're building roads. They're building trains. It's on another level. A lot of that comes from manufacturing. I would say the tech industry it's not like there's a bunch of companies rushing there to build, tech companies moving there. However, one thing, Uganda is like more like China in regards to technology. Compared to the U.S. I feel like in the U.S. it's about 10 years behind compared to China. For example, in China, there's no cash. Like literally I think 2% of the population has cash. Everybody else uses WeChat on their profile and it's all a cashless society. Very similar to Uganda. Everything is through what's called mobile money. Mark Zuckerberg went to Kenya to learn how to do Facebook payments, which is coming out that new coin, I forgot the name of it, sorry guys. He went to Kenya to learn how they do it because Kenya was the founding country in all of Africa to do mobile money. So, this whole idea of sending money, buying things right from your phone. And I'm not talking through an app or website guys, I'm talking literally like a wallet on your phone. Apple just came out with that just a few years ago. This has already been existence in Uganda for many, many years. So, there's a lot of things like that that are really impressive.
The taxes are really cheap. When you buy a property, you only pay the taxes one time at purchase. And it's 1.5% of the value of that property. That's it. You're done. You don't pay taxes ever again.
Seth: You're talking about property taxes. So, what we normally pay every year here in the U.S. they pay a one-time there?
Nathan Amaral: One time. That's it.
Nathan Amaral: That's an awesome thing.
Jaren: I see Seth taking notes there.
Seth: So, I guess governments just don't draw any money from property taxes, right? They must have an income tax or sales tax or something else.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah. The sales tax, if I recall is 18% which is actually matching into Portugal. Portugal has an 18% tax on a sales tax.
Seth: That's where money comes from.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah. There are other avenues like the government for example, remember how this Trump administration started creating tariffs for China about bringing stuff in, right?
Nathan Amaral: Well, that tax is already there in Uganda. To buy an iPhone in the U.S. it's like whatever, $1,000, right? Let's just say like an average. In Uganda, it's like $3,000 because you got to pay all the tax. I'm inflating numbers here, but the tax is very high. So, to get good quality electronics in Uganda is very expensive. And it's supposed to be because of tax.
Seth: Yeah. That's actually, I think it was Barbados or some place. I remember going there and don't quote me on that. It was some remote island, but the taxes to own a car is 150%. Like it's insane. And as a result, nobody has cars or there's like at the most one car per household because it's just crazy expensive.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, exactly. It's like that. The biggest disparity in Uganda is the separation of barrier to income. You got big social gaps of economics. So, I lived in the city of Kampala, the capital. I lived just outside of the city. And the city is booming. I mean beautiful apartments, all this stuff and very quality buildings in material. I mean the buildings are amazing. The funny thing is 20 minutes’ drive outside of the city, you're in a third world country. So, you can feel like you're in a second, first world country. That's a second world country living in the city. But as soon as you go outside of the city, you're in a third world country where we're talking mud houses or brick red houses, small huts and your water, your kitchen, all of that, your bathroom is all outside. So, it's a little bit different of a type of environment in that regard.
When it goes to, banking in that country, for example, you want to go get a loan, your interest rate is like 18% on a minimum. However, the savings rate in Uganda is 13% - 14%. So, if you put your money in a savings account, you're earning like 13% interest.
Jaren: That's awesome.
Seth: Why not just throw your money in there instead of the stock market?
Jaren: That's even like real estate investors that are like trying… What?! That's awesome.
Seth: What's the catch?
Nathan Amaral: What's the catch? Right. One of the things is you cannot. They do not allow foreigners to wire money and let the money sit there just to earn interest. So, there is some regulation to that.
Jaren: Oh, man.
Seth: Ugandans have everything, man.
Jaren: Well, what about finding deals though, man? How do you find? Do they have an MLS?
Nathan Amaral: Oh, my gosh, no. This stuff is really crazy. So, there is no MLS. They have what's called GG which is Craigslist. It's like a Craigslist, they call it GG, which is an online platform for classified ads. That is very popular and everything else guys is a sign or word of mouth. That's it. Word of mouth. There is no MLS. Now there is a way to go into the search. They're getting better at this because, for a long period of time, Uganda is broken down into a few kingdoms. It's not like you go get a title and it's owned by the government. That kind of thing. It's actually a kingdom. So, they're actually now breaking up the kingdoms and dispersing titles and creating new titles, let's put it that way. So, in the mix of that, there's been a lot of “Who bought this land? Oh, I bought this land. No, you didn’t. I’m on title, what title do you have?” A lot of confusion. So that's not everywhere, but it's in some districts of where it is. But while I've been there, I've been buying up some way up myself.
Seth: Yeah. That's actually one of the ongoing concerns I've heard about. I don't know about Uganda specifically, but in a lot of third world countries buying up real estate at all, it's a big deal if the government respects property rights. Does it actually mean something if your name is written on the title or could it just get wiped out tomorrow when the government's overthrown and you lose everything? Is it a pretty solid title system in Uganda?
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, I think what's important is to always look at the stability of the government and military security. Uganda is a safe haven for many refugees. That is first a good sign of this stability. Very strong military. There are people from Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania that have come in for refugee purposes, especially Somalia because they're having civil war. So, they're very secure in that aspect. Now when it comes to property rights and all that stuff, yes, they do care about that and it's very protected. I would be careful with countries that are going through war. Whether it was, let's say Afghanistan or Somalia. You do have to be careful with those kinds of countries. And again, would you be wanting to invest there? Is it a short-term thing, a long-term thing and why are you investing there? That's really the things you have to consider.
Seth: Yeah. So, if your goal is to find deals below market value in Uganda, what is an effective strategy for doing that? Because like you said, direct mail doesn't exist there and there is no MLS system. So, how would you go about finding somebody who is a motivated seller?
Nathan Amaral: Well, that's a great question. And in Uganda, I find there's a lot of motivated sellers. There's a lot of boatloads because of economics, right? So, I'll give you an example. Sometimes people will sell acres and acres of land just to pay for their kids' school fees. Uganda has a very different unique education system. There is free education, but it is very bad. So, in order for your kids to get a good education, you're going to pay for a boarding school or you are going to pay for private school. There are more private schools than there are 7-Eleven. Let's put it out like you know there's like convenience stores everywhere in the United States. I mean there is private schools everywhere and Uganda. There are a lot of hardship. When someone goes through hardship and they need money to keep their kids in school because they know education is so important that they'll sell their land, they'll sell their house to keep their kids in school. So, you have a lot of that. Then you have your health issues and all that kind of stuff. Like people selling, they went to the hospital, whatever.
Divorce is not a big thing. So, going to a lawyer and trying to get divorced leads and stuff like that it’s not common. Probate, not too common. Honestly, I said the most motivated sellers you're going to get is some economical or financial stress. That's probably the biggest motivated seller you're going to get. And that's actually how we get most of our deals. We get most of our deals that way there.
Seth: What is your primary strategy in Uganda specifically?
Nathan Amaral: Yes, we've been doing two strategies. We've been doing land and we’ve been doing short term rentals. Uganda has a very busy short-term rental market. And here's the powerful thing and it's just phenomenal. You can literally do a sublease in Uganda. You could do a sublease and you can literally three times your money for that rental.
Seth: That's when you do a normal lease from just the owner and then you sublease the property to somebody else, but you do it at much higher rates so that you can… Did you say triple your money?
Nathan Amaral: You can literally triple your money. Yeah, you can triple your money. I know people who are literally renting houses for $800 a month and they are making $3,000 in more a month. It's unique. There's a lot of people from Australia, the UK, Europe, China who are coming to Uganda for an investment opportunity, and when they stayed there, there is a big mindset. Okay, here's Nathan. How are these people paying this amount of money for these rentals? There's a big fear in Uganda from foreigners that when they come to Uganda that they're unsafe. Like I want to be in a safe, secure area. Well, guess what? The locals play on that. They play on that fear. They increase their prices. The reality is they're living in the same neighborhoods that are fine. They're normal neighborhoods, but they hike up the prices because a lot of foreigners think, “Oh no, I'm in Uganda, I'm in a foreign country. Something's going to happen to me”. So, they pay more for a more secure place. But the reality is it's not.
I don't live in those areas. I don't live in those tourist areas. All my neighbors are Ugandan and the rent we pay literally is a $270 a month. All included $300 a month. And I'm talking, I got a nice place, man. This is like, it's got grass. It's a huge yard, great place for my kids to play. Super safe. We have a security guard all the time. It's a little different too. I say security guard, but he's also a gatekeeper. So, for example, you know-how in the United States or wherever you have an automated garage door opener? They don't have that. They have basically people will open up the door. It's a person. That's all they do. Yeah. So, talk about job growth.
Seth: Seriously? Can't they just install a garage door opener or wouldn't it be cheaper?
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, well, I mean they could but then Uganda for example, I'll give you an example. They just started installing toll boosts and they had a big decision to make. Should we make it technology? They had like a bunch of new toll boosts coming in because they got all these roads coming in. So, should we do it with computers or should we do it with people? They actually chose people.
Seth: Whoa, seriously?
Nathan Amaral: Yes.
Nathan Amaral: That was a big decision. There were people fighting like “No, let's do digital tags”. And they have the technology for it. They said no because they know they're going to an employee like thousands of more people. And what they need most now is jobs. The interesting thing is the middle class is on the rise in Uganda. It's on the rise. More and more people are buying cars. More people are buying homes. It's on the rise. They're now doing 30-year mortgages. That's never been done before. They do want 100% financing. That's never been done before.
Seth: That's interesting that there's such economic growth there. Yet there's still such a huge need for such low paying jobs. It's almost there's maybe like two separate categories of workers there. Maybe there's like the high-end middle-upper class and then there are the ultra-low class ones. I don't know.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, there are definitely three levels. There are three levels. We got high-, middle- and low-income earners. The reality is though, when we talk about poverty in the United States, you could think of a homeless person or someone living in the projects or low-income housing. However, when we talk low income in Uganda it's below low-income housing.
Seth: It’s a different level of poverty.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah. It's dirt floors. No electric, no light bulbs in their house. It's just on a whole another level. And by the way, guys, if you ever want to come here or you ever want to go to Uganda, just let me know. Some of our buddies in the business have flown out there and we'd spend time together. So, if you ever want to go, just let me know. I’ll hook you up.
Jaren: Let's talk about currency for a minute. What does it look like in Uganda? Because in Portugal it's euros. I know my wife is from Kazakhstan and if anything is done, that is a big purchase, whether it's a car or house or something like that, it's done in U.S. dollars. Is that similar in Uganda? What's it like there?
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, so right now the exchange rate I believe is $1 U.S. and you get 3700 Ugandan shillings. So, what does that mean? Okay, so let's take this. You tell me guys, it's been a while. How much would this bottle of water cost? This is 1.5 liters. So how much do you think it would cost in the U.S. right?
Jaren: $2 to $3.
Nathan Amaral: That's right. $2 to $3. Here in Portugal, these costs probably like 80 cents. In Uganda, this costs 25 cents.
Seth: Like 25 cents in U.S. dollars. Not in the local currency.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah. In Ugandan shilling that would be 1,000 shillings.
Seth: So, your money can actually go pretty far in Uganda if you wanted to retire there.
Nathan Amaral: Right. It does go very far. My long-term plan is we're creating opportunities for our family and giving them the opportunity to have options in the future. I'd love my children to go to some school in Europe and get very well educated in the future. But retirement, it could either be here or Uganda. You could go a long way. Your money goes a long way in Uganda.
Seth: Now when it comes to finding tenants and screening tenants, I guess you don't even really mess with that, right? Because you're doing short term rentals. Is it all through Airbnb and handle on that platform?
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, it's two platforms. In Portugal, I do have my property manager. So, in Uganda, I use two platforms. I use Airbnb and I use booking.com. Those are the two primary ones. And it's kind of interesting. Booking.com does better in Portugal than Airbnb. That's because the demographic that uses booking.com and then Airbnb does way better in Uganda than it does booking.com. I do have a property manager in Uganda and he actually manages everything. He even gets me, clients, outside of Airbnb and booking.com. So, he does the check-in, he manages everything from checking, checkout, cleaning, any issues that come up. I have a property manager. And that's how you have to be when you go remote and you go virtual, you have to have the teams, you have to hire people.
Seth: Are you subleasing all these properties or do you like literally own these properties that you use in as short-term rentals?
Nathan Amaral: So, in Uganda, not Portugal, Portugal I own. But in Uganda, the land we've been buying is owned. Okay. Now the short-term rentals, I wanted to try the whole subleasing method that I heard some time ago and all these guys online doing it. So, I was like, let's do it. So actually, all of them have been subleased. All those short-term rentals.
Seth: And that's all going okay? Is there anything about that's unexpectedly challenging?
Jaren: Especially in the time of COVID and all of that.
Nathan Amaral: Oh, so they're all empty right now. Yeah, all of them are empty. But this is what we've done. We have shifted all our short-term rentals and shifted them into long-term rentals. So, we have to reduce our prices. They are fully furnished apartments. So, we do have the furniture, we provide the furniture. So, we've increased the price a little bit and everything's long-term. I don't have a problem right now signing six months or even one-year leases right now because I don't expect this to come back anytime soon.
Jaren: So how do you find tenants then? How do you screen tenants in Uganda?
Nathan Amaral: Yeah, good question. There's no like online search you can do a credit check and all that stuff. There's none of that. So, you basically would ask them, “What do they do? How long they've been working there?” And you kind of want to find some simple things like “Do they have a car?” Primarily the properties that I pick up are for middle-class individuals. They're middle-class people. I identify some key factors. I like to find people who have a car. If they have a car, I know they have a steady job. If they don't have a car and they are using public transportation, they probably could lose their job pretty quickly.
Seth: And when it comes to finding a good property manager or contractor or anybody like that, I mean super important path like you alluded to earlier. So, you just take references or something? Or is it a similar process to how you do it here in the U.S.? You just find reputable sources and say, “Yeah, this is a good gem, work with him.” Or how do you do that?
Nathan Amaral: That's a great question, Seth. Seth, my philosophy to this hasn't changed even before I was investing before the internet what it is today. My philosophy and my method haven’t changed since I started and that's getting good referrals. So, I'm not the one to go onto like HomeAdvisor and I'm nothing against HomeAdvisor by the way or Craigslist and all that stuff. I'm not into that. I'm more into contacting great people in great areas and asking them for referrals. Great people. I have to really find out who's doing well in that area. When I found my property manager here as I said, he was a referral from my friend who owns a hotel and I trust him. And guess what? It's been a great relationship ever since. Now we're doing the assisted living project. In Uganda, it was getting a referral from someone I trusted. He gave me the referral. I monitored. I gave him a few tasks. He was very well done, so I like to test people also after I get a referral. Give him a little bit, see how they do, and then if they perform well, then you keep going. Just like you would if you're hiring, let's say a VA. Test them out first. See how they do. Hire experience, don't hire potential.
Jaren: I like that.
Nathan Amaral: Hire experience, do not hire potential. Seth, I just want to add this because I know your audience, everybody's doing stuff virtually, right? A lot of people, when they think about hiring a virtual assistant or someone in a different country to do work for them, I think one of the most important things to realize or to find is someone who's already doing this every day, doing that task over and over again for somebody else. They're already doing it every day. It's already natural to them. A lot of people get stuck and they think, “Oh, I have to train my VA. So, I need to learn this first”. - No. Watch you learn stuff from your own VA. Get someone who's more knowledge, who knows specific things a little better than you do maybe. There have been times one of my VA's is George. I mean he's really smart. I'm like, “Wow, George, good job man. That's awesome”. I mean that's what you want to get to.
Seth: Yeah, I gotcha. Now I know this is totally coming from a place of ignorance. I don't know the situation, but when I think of Uganda, I wonder is there a lot of corruption in that kind of country? Is there a lot of fly by night people? Like when I think of working in Mexico for example, I would probably think of a very similar thing. Whether or not that's true, I don't even know. I just, that's what I think. Is that accurate or is that totally off base? And if it is accurate, how big of a problem is that?
Nathan Amaral: That's a great question. And I truly believe corruption is everywhere because we're all humans. Do you know what's interesting? I was actually doing trainings in Uganda for major companies. I'd only do real estate but I've been a trainer for many years and coaching and all that stuff. So, I've actually partnered with a company there in Uganda and I started training. I trained Coca-Cola, Uganda. I've trained the biggest insurance companies in Uganda. And one of the trainings that I did in Uganda, I trained some of the top companies about bribery and corruption. Now let me tell you something interesting about this because it wasn't on my radar years ago. Bribery and corruption can be easily defined as even networking. Go look it up. Networking can even be defined. It's actually defined under corruption and bribery. Because you're trying to build yourself up. I'm like, “How does that even include it?”
But anyway, my point is in different countries, corruption is defined in different ways. I truly believe in the United States, for example, corruption is legalized through lobbying. There are different countries that are going to do different things. I've even been told like for example, this is something I do and maybe you've done this before. When my title company or my attorney, we close a deal quickly, I send them an Amazon gift card. That's considered corruption. And I'm like, “What?” If you dive deep and even in some countries, they're like, “You do that, they're going to favor you next time”. And I'm like, “Well, yeah, that's the idea”. So, it's a gratitude and favoritism, right? When you're trying to close deals, great. But again, this is a great area to answer your question, Seth, the reality is you don't want to get corruption to a point where people are totally breaking the law and there are things being done that are not legal, ethical, moral to a point where it's just the Wild West. So, I get that.
Now, is that more prevalent in some countries than others? Yes. I found in Uganda, I would say that there's a lot of the mindset, I think of Robert Kiyosaki whenever I hear this. But there's a lot of the mindset of, because there's a lot of more people there that they always feel that the wealthy are rich and they'll always be rich. Does that make sense? So, they start talking about corruption much more often. Like, “Oh, they're only wealthy because their family's wealthy or they cheated people”. There's a lot of talk like that.
However, as I told you earlier in Uganda, they're a capitalistic society. They're a democracy. Everybody wants to start a business. It's impressive. It's shocking actually. I've been so impressed with how many Ugandans want to make it on their own and start their business. They're full of ideas. Corruption is something that's a very difficult topic, but I don't find it as prevalent as I guess the media puts it out to be.
Seth: Gotcha. It really is kind of relative too, how you define corruption and who you point fingers at. And I agree it's much easier to call a person corrupt when you're not the person who's in the place of privilege.
Nathan Amaral: Right, right.
Seth: So, one last question on Uganda. Similar question to Portugal. The language barrier thing. How hard is that if you don't speak… What language is it in Uganda?
Nathan Amaral: There are actually 54 languages in Uganda.
Seth: That’s awful.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah. A lot of them are tribal-based. The primary language in Uganda is called Luganda with an “L”. It's the primary language. Yes, I do speak Luganda. I started learning it, hired a trainer, and took classes and all that kind of stuff. So, I do speak Luganda. However, Uganda was colonized by the British. So, the second language is English. So, you literally can go anywhere and talk English and most people know it.
Seth: Sweet. Well Nathan, I really appreciate everything you've been sharing. It's been awesome to talk with you here.
Jaren: It’s been very, very intriguing.
Seth: Yeah, I've been loving it. As we kind of near the end of this, we have three exit interview questions that we ask of all our guests. Just kind of unrelated to all the stuff we've been talking about. Just to figure out more about, how you work, how your brain works, how you think through things. Our first question is what is your biggest fear?
Nathan Amaral: Oh, my gosh. What is my biggest fear?
Seth: No big deal. Don't sweat it.
Nathan Amaral: No big deal because I only have a brand that's based around fear. I would say, I'll tell you this, it's a great question. My fears are not business-related, by the way. First of all, I'm a big believer that everything I manage is God-given. Like that's one of the things I believe. So, if I'm partly in a position and I'm doing something operating, it's because it's been given to me to manage, to grow, to operate in.
When it comes to business, I really don't fear. And if I'm in a fear position in business, it's because I'm not adding enough value. I would say the biggest fear I have right now is my son falling off the table. Like it's been on my mind. He's now climbing, he's 11 months and he's climbing up on the table. I just fear him like falling off the table and knocking himself out.
Seth: I totally get that. My son is now three, so he's sorts of out of that. But man, there were months there and he did like bashes tooth then at one point and it's horrible. So, I wish you all the best.
Jaren: I literally bought a playpen this morning because my one-year-old, he just turned one year old last month. He's very much crawling and he's like in that spot right when he's about to start walking. So, like he'll take a few steps and then like just hit the deck man. So, my anxiety is very high too, bro. I feel you.
Nathan Amaral: So, my son started walking at 10 months. He's now climbing a table. That's the size of my knee. I got videos. I'll send it to you guys. He's climbing up and he's touching the TV and I'm thinking, “My God, this kid's going to knock the TV over and it's going to be crazy”. So in regards to that guys, I can't say I have any other fears that are there. I love horror movies. I love horror movies because I'm into film. I love a good horror movie, but anyway, I'm not scared of it.
Seth: What's your favorite one?
Nathan Amaral: Oh, my gosh. My favorite series is Paranormal Activity because they take everyday life and it's like, “Oh, that could have happened”. Where the other ones are kind of like, I don’t know a little bit made up. But Paranormal Activity is very well done.
Seth: Yeah man. I remember seeing the first one in the theater by myself, which is a very foolish decision. But there is something about that particular topic. Maybe if you're one who believes in spiritual warfare, maybe it seems more relevant, which I am one who happens to believe in that. But like a lot of horror movies, as you say, it's like, “Whatever, just stay away. This has never actually happened”. But there's something about that really kind of hits close to home.
Nathan Amaral: Except I have a similar belief and I'll tell you what though. I have a stronger belief about this and myself is this - If you believe in ghosts, you're going to see ghosts. That's what I believe. And I don't believe in ghosts. I don't believe I'm going to see a spirit or something like that. So, guess what? I live my life like, “No, that's not even going to happen to me”. It's not even a thought because I don't believe it. What you believe is what you're going to end up perceiving. But I truly love it when it comes to filmmaking and all that. I love pushing fear because I grew up a very shy guy and I grew up with pushing that button. My coaches have always had to push me over that barrier, especially getting into real estate to push me to get over my fears.
I love today grabbing fear and say, “You don't have a hold of me. You have no control.”? I love dancing with fear. I love to be in that. And I'm not saying I walk down dark alleys. That doesn't freak me out or anything. But my point is when I watch a movie, it takes me there mentally and it's like, “Oh yeah, alright”. But I enjoyed the cinematic of it.
Jaren: Yeah. Both me and Seth are videographers in our hearts. So, what's something that you're most proud of?
Nathan Amaral: Most proud of?
Jaren: And we'll give you a pass. You don't have to say being on the REtipster podcast. We already know.
Nathan Amaral: Oh yeah. Well, it does have to do with being on the podcast though. I would say the most thing I'm personally proud of outside of my family, having a family and kids and all that, and that's an amazing experience. The most thing I'm proud of personally is my business of helping people overcome, stepping from fear to faith, and helping people discover and have these mental barriers and break through them. That's probably been the biggest thing. The most thing I'm proud of is when I have someone that says, “Nathan, you helped me overcome this. And now I've done deals, I've made money, I've increased my lifestyle”. That to me is the most thing I'm proud of. My client's success is what I'm most proud of.
Seth: Yeah, that is a pretty cool thing. Especially when you've been on the other end of that and you know what it's like to have those “a-ha” moments or realize you're capable of more than you thought you were. You kind of realize the magic of that. But then when you can flip it around and realize like, “Hey, I was able to do that for somebody else”. That's really an amazing thing to be able to work at in your life.
Nathan Amaral: It is. Absolutely.
Seth: So, what is the most important lesson you have ever learned?
Nathan Amaral: Oh, my gosh. Really? Life lessons. Oh, my goodness. Okay. The one that comes to mind right now because of your previous question, is my buddy Dave Seymour, he's a real estate guy. He's been on the TV show “Flipping Boston”. I remember this is when he was smoking. He doesn't smoke anymore. But when he was smoking, we were outside on the deck and he was smoking and we were talking about this product that I was coming out with and I was selling it for really cheap, like $149 and I'll never forget this. I was going to go speak at the New York Rhea group in Brooklyn. This was two weeks before that. And I said, “I'm a little nervous. I don't know if people are going to buy my product and is this $149 too expensive?” And he turned around and he looked at me and he poked me right in the chest and he's from England by the way. So, he's poking me in the chest and speaking with me in that British accent. “If you don't raise your bleeping price, I am never going to talk to you again”. And I was like, why? He's like, “Because you are worth it. What you've put into that training is so valuable and you're worth more than that”. Okay, one last thing that he told me. I went to Jim Rowan's funeral. You guys familiar with Jim Rowan?
Seth: Really? No kidding?
Nathan Amaral: Yeah. He used to be my mentor.
Seth: Are you serious?
Nathan Amaral: I used most of his coaching programs. Yeah. Yeah.
Seth: That's crazy, man.
Nathan Amaral: Yeah. I went to his funeral. My buddy Dave went with me again. We were traveling. We went to the funeral. Guys, I was so excited to meet Brian Tracy. I'm sorry. I was just like a fanboy. I was like, “Brian Tracy is going to be there. Brian Tracy is going to be there”. So, I was looking for him everywhere and my buddy Dave could see that I was like really a fanboy about this. All of a sudden, I see him with his assistant going up the escalator and I'm like, “Dave, I'll be back”. So, I started running. He stops me. He grabs me by the collar and pulls me and he says, “Look at me. Look at me. Everyone in this world, their pants go to their ankles”. And I'm like, “What?” This is how he is. He's like, “Everyone's pants go to their ankles. You don't need to fanboy that guy because you are better than him”. He said, “You know the only differences between you and him?” I was like, “Gosh, 21 published books? All this experience?” And he's like, “No, no, no. You haven't started yet. You haven't started. The problem is he's already been doing this for 30 years. You need to get started”. And I was like, “Wow”. He's like, everything that you have within you just needs to come out and you just haven't let it out yet. So, guys, I know that's a long answer, but there are two valuable points there. Number one, the most valuable lesson I learned was that “I am worth more than what I think I am”. As long as I'm adding value to people's lives. And number two is that once you change your mind and start believing that you're providing value and that you are worth more than you can command more, you can now say, “You know what? My prices are this much, this property is this much”. And you can start commanding more for your life. And when you do that, your wealth increases. So those were probably the most valuable lessons I've ever learned.
Seth: Yeah, those are pretty profound. I am curious though, just to be the devil's advocate. What if you had increased your price to some just crazy number and then nobody bought it? And the feedback you got was “It's too expensive. I don't think it's worth it”? Would you have assumed, “Okay, I guess I'm wrong, I guess I'm not worth that much”? Or how would you mentally process that if that was the response from the market?
Nathan Amaral: Well, I'll tell you what, I did exactly that. Let me tell you because I grew up in the seminar industry, I saw prices of products that were like over $100,000 for seminars and all this stuff. So, one day, I’m not kidding you. I raised my price on one of my programs to $97,000. I’m not kidding you, Seth. I raised it. And you know what? A few people call me. One guy was in Massachusetts, actually, I was with my buddy Dave. He drove from New York City with his business partner to Massachusetts to meet me, just to interview me to understand why I was charging $97,000. And I had another buddy of mine with me there at the time and we just did the whole interview in someone's yard. We were at a rehab project and I explained to him. What I learned at that moment, he didn't buy, he wasn't my customer. Did you know what happened though? I held my price and guess what? The right customers did show up. Seth, listen, another thing I'm proud of is I've had clients pay me over a $100,000. Not in one shot, maybe it was in six months or a six-month contract or a one-year contract, but I have clients paid me because I know the value that I brought and the amount of money that I've made my clients. Does that make sense?
Seth: Yeah, for sure.
Nathan Amaral: I know that if you have a price that's higher, it's okay. I'll give you one last example. The example I always give to people is this. You know like fitness coaches are really prevalent in the world, right? If you're a fitness coach and you charge $25 an hour, right? Some people are going to think that's too cheap. Some people are going to be like “Wow, $25?”. So, if you're marketing to celebrities and they looking for a personal trainer and a coach, if they look at $25, they're going to be like, “That's too cheap. I'm looking at $300 or $500 an hour. That's how much I pay my personal coach”. So, to some people, your price is too cheap and its low quality. And to other people it's too high, right? So, you have to know your audience. You have to know who your target market is. One thing I learned from my buddy Dave, is that premium pricing. And I actually learned this from Dan Kennedy as well. I learned from Dan Kennedy premium pricing and marketing to the affluent and how to do that. So again, that was another thing I learned over the years. And I hope that answers your question because it really comes down to mindset and scaling up.
Seth: It is interesting that no matter what price you choose, like anything, somebody out there is going to judge you for that. Either you're too cheap or you're too expensive. So, it's like, “Well, just stick your flag somewhere”.
Jaren: And something that I've noticed kind of being around, I don't think that we've had a price change since I've been here in the land course. But I knew you when you have upped your prices on the land master class. It's funny man. It's weird. I know from your feedback and from other people that I've talked to, it's this weird thing. When your product is price relatively low, the people that it attracts complain and want refunds and there are headaches. But it's almost like the more you charge, the barrier to entry is like a filter against bad customers or something. Because the people that we work with now, and correct me if I'm wrong Seth, but it's very rare for us to get somebody asking for their money back or having a negative experience with the land master class.
Seth: I won't say never, but like almost never. That is the thing. I remember when we started out super cheap. Like my goal was to be so that literally anybody could afford it and I felt really good about that. The thing was though like I had this light bulb moment one day when somebody emailed me and say, “Hey, I see this other land course that's priced like 10 times higher than yours, so I'm assuming yours is not nearly as good. Can you explain how it's worse?” And I was like, are you kidding me?”
Nathan Amaral: The reality of that, Seth, I'm going to interrupt you. The reality is for all your audience - You provide more value than any other land trainer out there. Hands down.
Seth: Thanks, man. I appreciate that.
Nathan Amaral: I've been in this industry for 15 years. I used to work for Rich Dad Education, Trump University. I know the industry and you are the only land guy. This is why I admire what you do and what you deliver to your community. You're the only land person in the industry that delivers the most value, hands down.
Seth: Wow, I appreciate that, man.
Nathan Amaral: No problem. The fact that you changed your prices and you're right, sometimes it's like if you give it for free, it's like people will think, “Oh, it must be cheap. It must be not worth it. It must be not good”. There's a lot of people who can feel that way.
Seth: Yeah, for sure.
Nathan Amaral: But when you increase your price, you have to price your product to the right clientele that's willing to pay for that value.
Seth: Yeah, it's an interesting thing too. It's like some people will snare it one price or another, but really you got to factor in how much experience, how many years did it take the educator to even know what they're talking about, to be in a position to talk about that thing. You're not going to compensate them for all the time they spent just so that you could have a much easier ride to get there.
Nathan Amaral: And shorten the learning curve and speed up your process, right? That's the idea.
Seth: Yeah, for sure. Well, Nathan, if people want to learn more about you, all the things you got going on, is there a website they should check out or should they find you on social media somewhere or what's the best way to learn more about what you got going on?
Nathan Amaral: The easiest thing over the years I have a few companies. I think I have like six or seven companies these days. Real estate companies, consulting companies. The company that I feel good about, the one that I give back to other people. You can go to Google. The easiest way to do this. Go to Google, type in Fearless Millionaire. Thank you, Ryan Dice, for helping me come up with that name. Yes, you can just easily type in Fearless Millionaire. My website will pop up. It's the only brand with that name. You can easily go there. Connect with me online. That's probably the best way. When it comes to real estate stuff, most of my stuff is private. When I'm raising money for my deals, it's private networking and stuff like that, but anybody can hit me up online and if they're interested in partnering with me or investing in one of my projects, it's not a problem. They can connect with me right on the website.
Seth: Man, is there any huge influencer you don't know? I feel like you've dropped so many names here that's like “Seriously?”
Jaren: He also knows Brandon Bouchard, which is the gateway to me getting into entrepreneurship. That thing changed my life, man. That thing set me on the course to where I'm at today.
Nathan Amaral: That's awesome. It is a great read. Fortunately, the good thing is, I was gullible to all the books I read and all those books are some of the classics that we know “Think and Grow Rich”, “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, “A Personal Power” by Tony Robbins. Tony Robbins changed my life, but I was so gullible to all those books and trainings, the classics that I believe everything I read, and I applied everything I read. So, I believed and I applied. And guess what? That stuff works. That's the thing. It works. So, that is how I got around guys like Brendon Burchard, Tony Robbins because I was in groups. I was in mastermind groups, marketing mastermind groups, speaker mastermind groups with those guys. I used to be a student. I used to be the guy in the seats. This goes back to that story I shared about Dave. See, I've been in the seminar industry for so long. I used to be the guy in the seats looking up at these guys, taking notes while they're on stage. So, when I was transitioning that as I said, my boy, Dave Seymour told me – “You are just as good as they are. You just haven't started. You haven't put in the time yet”. And he was absolutely right. He was absolutely right.
Seth: Cool. We will include a link to Fearless Millionaire in the show notes for this episode. By the way, this is episode 66. You can find everything we talked about here retipster.com/66.
So, Nathan, thank you again so much for coming on the show. It's been awesome to talk to you.
Nathan Amaral: Thanks, Seth. Thanks, Jaren.
Seth: So, there you have it, folks. That was our conversation with Nathan. I hope you enjoyed it. Jaren, were there any big takeaways you got from that that is going to stick with you?
Jaren: A lot. I think the biggest one that comes to mind is about pricing and how he was talking about he charges $97,000 for one product. There would have been a time when I would have heard that and my mouth would have dropped to the floor and I would have been secretly judging the crap out of Nathan and be like, “How could you ever do that to people?” But I guess just time in being around have found primarily in like commercial real estate, commercial multifamily, high priced education packages are actually justified. Because like let's say you spent $30,000 on a mentorship program, but you were able to if you took action, get your first deal in three months. Well, in that first deal, just in the acquisition feel alone, you're going to be making, if you're on the general partnership, you're going to make it back plus some. So, it hopefully makes sense. I think that really the major issue is about the value that is being given and the ROI. If I spend $97,000 obviously if I have it, but if I spend $97,000 on a program, am I going to make $200,000 the next month? And if anybody would take that. So, you have to weigh the ROI of the education and the program compared to the year investment.
Seth: It is an interesting kind of a mind game because I know what you mean. I have similar things in life too where I just kind of have the snap judgment where I just hear a number and immediately start thinking bad things about that person. But at the same time, it's actually very similar thing to when we make a really low offer to somebody just on the other opposite end of the spectrum. Why would somebody judge me because I'm sending them a really low offer? This really has nothing to do with the personal offense. It's just a number. If it doesn't work for you, then don't do it. And the story, there's no reason you need to like to hate me for it. On one hand, I get it. But on the other hand, just think about this logically. This doesn't have to mean anything. If it doesn't work, then just walk away. No big deal. No harm, no offense. But a lot of people get really opened arms about it. I know on the BiggerPockets forums for years it's been a really hot topic that people talk about. Just really hating on anybody who charges anything for real estate information.
Jaren: And that's not to call BiggerPockets out because everybody knows if you know me, I very, very, very deeply respect BiggerPockets.
Seth: Yeah, for sure. I do too.
Jaren: But it is very interesting. It was very smarter on their end from a brand play and I don't know if this was intentional, I really don't think it was intentional. But with them creating a division down Real Estate Investor Education programs as like the Gurus and then BiggerPockets. Like are you in the BiggerPockets camp or are you in the Guru camp? And that division was a really smart play on their part because pretty much anybody that is not BiggerPockets is untrustworthy immediately. I don't think that it's really that black and white, guys. I think that they are probably some really good educators out there that have a really good program. But the key is you have to as the buyer really do your due diligence and make sure that if you buy into something that expensive that you're going to get an ROI on it. Look at it like a deal.
Seth: I think where it gets tricky is because I've bought into super expensive coaching programs before and there's no question, I learned tons from it. It's stuff that I still apply today, but at the same time it's a part of why I remember buying into one of those coaching programs is because I was told you're going to make $10,000 a month, no problem, in the next few months. Like that is totally something you can do. I don't think the person was lying to me at all. I think they were being totally truthful. But the way that my life in business ended up going, it did not end up going down the track that I was sold on and I did not end up making that kind of money. I don't know, there's a lot of different facets to it. There's understanding the reliability of the coach and there's also understanding your own personal goals of where you're going to go with that. It's not a black and white thing. And just because you don't end up adhering to your goal, it doesn't mean it was a failure. You can still learn amazing things from that and get all the value in the world. So, I don't know. I think it's the whole jump to judgment and hating on people who charge anything for information. It's an easy thing to do because it doesn't require much thought. Whereas a lot of times there's more you have to take into consideration to really know what you're talking about when you start saying “This person is bad or good” for one reason or another.
Jaren: Yeah man, 100%. So, I think I'm maturing in that area where I don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I will say I had had bad experiences with close friends of mine buying into programs where we didn't get the value out of those programs early in my real estate career. And so, I think that's what put a bad taste in my mouth. I'm sure like in the particular, I'm not going to name drop anybody, but the particular program that we bought into, I think the strategies that they talked about and they taught would work in places like the Midwest or maybe the South. But in San Francisco, California, they definitely did not work. Can I throw everything and say, “No, it didn't work for me so it's completely useless and they're just scam artists ripping people off”? I don't think I can really say that because I'm not looking at it objectively and I'm not looking at the whole picture.
Seth: Yeah, totally. Cool. So, conversation starter time, let's find an interesting question for both Jaren and I to answer. Okay. So, the question is, “What are your views on fame and celebrity culture?”
Jaren: I think that when it comes to fame and celebrity culture, what's happening is kind of an evolutionary thing. Back in the way day, eons and eons ago, I always had a tribe leader. I think that the tribe leaders, we didn't have such a huge nation. We were always a small tribe, small groups of people. And I think that our tribe leaders were people that we really exemplified and almost in some cultures and a lot of cultures undefiled. We had looked at them as Gods. And I think that somehow in our development and our psyche, we've still held onto some aspect of that. It manifests in this worship of celebrities and famous people. I think that it's a dangerous thing and it's a primitive thing. Even how Nathan mentioned in today's podcast when he saw Brian Tracy.
Seth: Yeah, he was sure talking about that whole time.
Jaren: Like you have to realize if you're going to evolve as a human being or I don't know what language you want to use like just become a more developed person. You have to get to this point where you realize that the person at the front of the stage and the mic or the person making your favorite music or your favorite author, they're just human beings just like you. And when you see something in them that helps you or is really valuable, appreciate the value, but also let it be an inspiration that says, “Man, if they can do that, I wonder what I can do”. And that's the mindset that a successful person has to have. There's no difference between Tony Robbins and me. The only difference is that he has more experience. That's it.
Seth: Yeah. I think my flaw in my thinking for much of my life, I feel like I'm getting better at this now, but for much of my younger life, I literally looked at those people and thought to myself, “They are better than me. I am not as good of a person as they are.” Which is absurd. There are all kinds of personal failures and all kinds of problems. It almost kind of reminds me of Instagram and social media culture where people will post the highlights of their life and you'll never see the crap beneath the surface. The stuff that would just make them look like terrible people. Celebrity is, I don't know, sometimes the media likes to broadcast their failures so it's not exactly like that. But still if I see Tom Cruise in a movie, I mean the guy looks perfect. Everything about him, it's like “Man, that's the guy I want to be.” Everything about him is cool, he's successful, he's got it all. But he doesn't even speak his own words in movies. He's reading stuff that somebody else wrote. It's not reality. And for some reason, we've got this twisted thought process where we look at that as though it is real and as though it is something to aspire to be when it's impossible. I don't have somebody to writing my lines for me every day. I think it's unhealthy in a lot of ways. At the same time, I cannot understand why this obsession with celebrities exists.
Jaren: We're wired to need to put our hope and faith into something bigger than ourselves. Whether you're a faith-based person or a religious person or not, you can be a complete atheist and acknowledge that that's true. We are people, we are a species of idealism and to some degree when we're a fan of a band or we're a fan of some celebrity, it's like, “Oh man”. It just gives you this sense of hope and it gives you the sense of inspiration that I think we're hardwired for. I don't think that that's the best fit for it. Obviously, I have a bias towards Christianity and things like that in my own life. But even if that wasn't your thing, joining the Peace Corps, finding some kind of purpose to give yourself to I think would be much better suited to fit that hardwire need for something bigger than ourselves. I think that's really why people admire celebrities so much and they geek out. It's the same thing why people get so obsessed about football. It's the same thing. It's just instead of football, it’s celebrities.
Seth: I remember back when I was in college, I saw U2 in concert. I had followed U2 for years. And I remember seeing Bono on stage. I'm kind of ashamed to say this now, but like I literally felt like I was in the presence of a God. Like it was just this crazy thing to see somebody who I had watched on music videos and listened to music for years and years and there he was in the flesh - 50 feet away from me. It was crazy. I even realized at the time like, “Why am I freaking out as much?” But as I've gotten older and I know just this past year, we went to different conferences for different YouTubers and big influencers in the personal finance industry. And it's actually really interesting, especially, I've gotten to do video interviews with some of these big-name people and I get to see like in person, see them screw up what they're trying to say in front of the video - “I got to start stuff over”. It's oddly comforting to be like, “Man, this huge person screws up just like I do. This is just as hard for them as it is for me”. I don't see that when I watched the video on YouTube, I just see all the takes that went well. But I think as I've gotten older and I've seen more of the world, it's become more evident to me that nobody needs to be put on a pedestal for any reason. If everybody had all their junk spread out and if we saw everybody's imperfections, I think everybody would realize that really quickly. But of course, that's not the way the world works.
Jaren: And if you really want to know what somebody is like, ask their spouse.
Seth: Yeah. We're talking about that. You look at different highly successful people in the world, they may be a famous author or recording artist or actor, something like that. And the reason they've succeeded is that they've put so much of their time and life and energy into that one thing, making that their “thing” that they're amazing at. But in the process, they let a lot of other stuff fall by the wayside. Like their family life is in shambles. Maybe they've been divorced 10 times. Maybe their kids hate them. Of course, they're not going to tell you about that. You don't hear that part of it. You just see the part that they're so successful at and they get worshiped for that reason. Well, it's a good reminder that everything has a cost to it. If you're going to excel in one thing, you better believe you're saying “no” to a heck of a lot of other stuff. So, nobody has it all figured out.
Jaren: Yeah, man.
Seth: Well, again, if you want to check out all the stuff from this episode, you can find it at retipster.com/66. If you want to stay up to date on all the stuff we're doing, you can take out your phone and text the word “FREE”. F-R-E-E to the number 33777.
Thanks again everybody for sticking with us. I hope you have enjoyed this episode and we will talk to you next time.
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