Ian Horowitz is a former professional firefighter turned real estate investor. He and his partner Dan have spent several years building a 70 million-dollar real estate portfolio.

I met Ian at a mastermind meetup this past month in Columbus, OH, and he stood out to me as someone who had a lot of good things to say. Things that got everyone in the room to think differently about their situations.

Since I learned a lot from him, I thought this would be a good opportunity to explore his story and see what the REtipster community can learn from him.

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Episode Transcription

Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

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Seth: Hey everybody, how's it going? This is Seth Williams and you're listening to the REtipster Podcast.

Today I'm talking with Ian Horowitz. So Ian is a former professional firefighter turned real estate investor. He and his partner Dan have spent the past several years pursuing their goal of securing their retirement with a $70 million real estate portfolio. And I wanted to have Ian on the show because I met him at a mastermind meetup this past month in Columbus, Ohio. And he stood out to me as someone who clearly had a lot of good things to say that got people in the room, including me, to think differently about their situations given what I learned from him in just a couple days.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to explore his story a bit more and I'm sure we'll all have some good things to learn from him. So Ian, welcome to the show. How you doing?

Ian: Yes, Seth. Good to see you again. Thanks for having me back. Or I guess not having me back, but having me on the show.

I love the mastermind environment because that's where I feel like things get resolved. You know, most of us are probably too scared to actually go to a psychiatrist, but if we get in a room full of real estate investors, we'll figure out the world's problems. But you know, we used to do that at the firehouse too, so that's why I think I thoroughly enjoy those settings. So I was glad to meet you and excited to jump on your show. And let's do it, man.

Seth: You are in… is it Baltimore?

Ian: Yeah, so our home office is in Baltimore. We're based out of there. My business partner and we were actually firemen for the city of Baltimore for almost 15 years. So you ever watched The Wire? It's all true if you saw the riots that were happening, that's where we worked. The heart of West Baltimore, that's where we spent a lot of our time.

Seth: So you were a full-time firefighter for how many years?

Ian: We were a career fireman for the city of Baltimore for roughly 14 to 15 years, in that timeframe. Came in right at the end of the financial crisis and that's ultimately why we wound up sorting out seeking out real estate.

But yeah, we were there for 14 years, seen some crazy things been a part of some crazy things. It's a great career opportunity for our education and our background. However, in the grand scheme of things, it's just not a sustainable job if you have a desire and passion to go do more, right? Like it's great to give back, the core root of the job of going out there and helping people is one of the most fun things that you can do, most rewarding things you can do.

But in the same sense that you're trying to provide for a family, sometimes if you want to grow as a person, it's hard to do it in those settings. Again, I'm glad that we stumbled on real estate and most of that's probably based on from what the, the error that we got hired at forced our hands to go do that.

Seth: So how long ago was it that you quit that job then? What year was it?

Ian: So we left in 2021. So we rolled out in 2021 during COVID, during all the crazy stuff. We wound up refinancing a multi-family building that we had purchased, wound up basically clearing almost seven figures and proceeds and said, “You know what? This is it. We're outta here. Let's go pursue real estate full-time.” And that's ultimately what we're doing.

Seth: So why don't you tell me what year was it when you bought your first property and how long were you working this part-time, like trying to do your firefighter job while also building your portfolio and what was that like? Sounds like that would be a challenging thing.

Ian: Okay, so to go back on it, we bought our first rental property in 2012. I bought it in 2012. My business partner got started in wholesaling in roughly 2014. You gotta remember all the things that were going on in this timeframe from when we got hired in 2007, 2008. There was a ton of stuff going on. We were getting furloughed, pension systems are going bankrupt, there's no overtime, they're closing companies. Our jobs are at risk, right? Like we took government jobs to do all these different things.

And long story short, I was like, dude, there's gotta be a better way. So we were working two 10-hour days, two 14-hour nights, and then we would have four days off. We were all landscaping, construction, trades, whatever it was. We were always working side jobs. And I was like, dude, I can't, I'm not gonna be able to do this for 30 years. This is crazy. This is no way to live a life.

And I said, “Well, how can we make money while we're asleep at work?” That's what I was trying to figure out. And I just kept coming back to real estate. I was like, dude, real estate, real estate, real estate. If I'm asleep at work, I know that we're earning money. The other thing is, if I die right or I get severely injured in a fire, what would I be leaving my family or my kids? And at that point, I didn't have any kids. It was like, well, what am I leaving my wife if I'm gone, like how does she survive? Like she couldn't pick up like a contracting business tomorrow and go execute that for me. And if we had open projects, it'd be a nightmare. But if we had cash flowing real estate and I pass, she can continue to cash flow it, she can hire a property manager, she can sell it all off and have the cash she needs to support our family.

So that's ultimately how we stumbled on real estate. And in 2012, we bought our first rental property. Like I said, my business partner started in the wholesaling side of things. Bought the first property for roughly 25,000 bucks. I can't say I did it right. Can't say I did it wrong, did all the work ourselves. It was just a big mess. Ultimately we were probably into that project 50,000 or 60,000 bucks. Again, I have no clue because I can't tell you, I was some accounting was there day one, it was a bit of a back of the napkin. I think I spent this tight deal and ultimately we got $1,250 rent on that first one. And I was like, holy crap man. And yeah, it was subsidized housing and we got really good rent. I was like, holy crap, I need to do that again.

Bought another one six months later and wound up growing to a portfolio of 10 really quick on my own. And then my business partner was wholesaling and stumbled on a package of properties. And that's just kind of how I said, “Hey, can we join up and do this together?” Cause we grew up outside of Philadelphia together and that's ultimately what created our company.

But yeah, man, that 2012, just similar economic times to now, like everything was uncertain. I didn't know how I was gonna finance it. I didn't know where the cash was coming from. I had no clue. I just knew if I went out there and did this one project, I could get it done. And I'm glad I took that leap of faith to go and do this.

Seth: Were you guys scared at all with that first property? I remember I bought my first duplex back in 2011 and I know there was just a lot of I wasn't particularly scared because I knew I was getting, it was apparent that there was nowhere effort to go but up. But there was just a lot of fear in the environment. I mean, and the media and the world, everybody was just saying like, real estate is a terrible thing to buy.

Do you have to mentally deal with that at all? And if so, how did you get over it and just make the decision?

Ian: Yeah, I can't say that I had external forces. I would have a little more of that today than I do then, but back then it was a lot of just not knowing. So it was like I had blinders and I was like, well, I would've been 29 at that point. Okay, screw it. If I go and buy this house and I if I lose it, all hell breaks loose. I still have this job to fall back on, whatever. I was just working in the fire department for 30 years. I already had bad credit, whatever, I'll just pay it all off. So I didn't really have fear from that standpoint, but I did have a lot of self-doubt of “There's no way this is gonna work. Well what if this happens? What if that happens?”

You gotta remember I'm in a firehouse full of men, type A personalities, and it's always, “Oh, you're gonna go do section eight, you're gonna be one of 'em slum lords.” We go to those houses all the time. I was like, well no, not actually. Like this is actually how it works. And they're like, no, you're just gonna be one of those ghetto slum lords. We're gonna be at your house all the time. It'll never work.

I knew this guy that this failed and I knew that guy and at a certain point I just had to compartmentalize it. Probably the same way we compartmentalize a lot of the bad stuff we saw at work. I just compartmentalized it and said, all right, I don't care what you're saying, I gotta go do this for me. I'm gonna go do it.

And I did that first one and we're cash flowing like 500 to 600 bucks a month on the very first one. Everyone's like, dude, how'd you get a new truck? I'm like, “Well, I did this thing that everyone told me not to do.” Right? Like at a certain point you just gotta go like this and say Don't listen man, just don't listen. I did wind up with a mentor for a short period of time that kind of helped me through it. But you know, this is pre-YouTube or university. This is pre-BiggerPockets. Well, BiggerPockets was in play, but I wasn't a big forum guy. I just read, read books is really what I did. Talked to everybody that I knew I was gonna to real estate meetups, just trying to figure it all out.

And that's how I got over that hurdle of taking the action. And again, you have to take the action. Most people are afraid to even take that step. I look it this way, if I didn't take that step, I'd still be working that job today. I would've never advanced forward and it's not fair to my family, right? Yeah, at some point you just gotta put the blinders on and go. And I think that's the best thing that most people can do that are starting out.

Seth:Yeah, it is crazy how many people stop themselves before they even get anywhere. They don't even give themselves a chance to pursue something. They just kinda have this cancel out mentality of just “Ah, it'll never work because of this. I saw this thing on TV once, or I have a friend who failed at that so it'll never work.”

And I mean I can even honestly look at myself and say that I've done that with certain things, like saying no to good opportunities. Because I just wasn't willing to even think about it. It's a tough thing to know when to turn the blinders on. Because on one hand, there's wisdom in listening to criticism. You know, there are ways that we can all be better and we're kind of foolish to just say, forget about everything. But there is a time when you do need to say that. So it's kind of tricky to discern and understand when do I listen versus when do I just proceed and do what I know that my heart tells me is right.

Ian: Yeah. Look, hindsight's always 20/20, right? Hindsight's 20/20. None of us would do that. I, we all believe that we would be as successful that we are today, right? And I think that's why we end up in these mastermind rooms of like, holy crap, how did I end up here? Like, I need to talk to someone else that had this crazy journey? Like we have similar journey, pasts.

And you look back and you're like, “Wow man, I can't believe I did all this in that short period of time.” But then if you go back to yourself then and try to look forward to, say, “In 10 years I'm gonna have almost a nine-figure portfolio, or I'm gonna have this massive following and I'm gonna have this huge podcast like, or a portfolio or flipping land,” whatever it is, you're like, “There's no way. There's just no way.”

And a lot of people ask, how did you you even end up here? And I said, “I don't know, man.” And sometimes it's I don't even know if I could recreate it. But there was something there that motivated us to get to the other end. And when we talk about putting on blinders, we're not talking about putting on blinders and doing stupid deals. We're talking about canceling out all the noise. It might be your mom, it might be your wife, it might be your the most respected person that you know. It says this is stupid. But if somewhere deep down inside you, you know it's right, you're gonna make it work. You have that burning desire, you're gonna go.

Most people give up. And we would see it all the time in Baltimore. Cause we would get a lot of money come down from New York, we get a lot of money come up from DC, Philadelphia, all the surrounding major cities and they come in, I can handle Baltimore. And they throw money at their problems. They give up and next, you know, there's more vacant houses, right? And you would see it all the time. Most people don't have the grit and determination to complete what they set out to do. And those that do that is what gives them the ability to take the next step, to do the next deal, to grow the portfolio, to grow what they're doing.

Seth, I'm sure you can talk about it. Like you probably remember your first first podcast episode. It probably sucked. I look at my first podcast, it sucked. I guarantee you it was terrible. And it's like, “Well if I didn't keep going back and just trying it out over and over and over again, I would never have one.” You would never have one, right?

And most people, again, just they give up on their selves way too soon. It's not easy. Like if it was easy, we would all do it. I'll give you all the cliche sayings, but they're all true. You know, every single one of them.

Seth: So let's talk about this portfolio. So are you saying, is it your goal to get to 70 million or is it already there? Or where are you in that journey of getting to where I want to go?

Ian: Yeah, conservatively today our portfolio aggregate value assets under management of how much stuff we own and control is approximately $70 million of real estate. Our next major goal is obviously the nine-figure one, which if we close this next deal that we're potentially working on, would take us right up to that. We're working on a $30 million acquisition. But yeah, we're already at the $70 million valuation point.

And it's crazy to think, dude, we have no traditional training, no traditional background, just two guys that went out there and did it. And it's beyond achievable, right? Like I remember talking, “Oh, I just want a hundred houses.” And then when we got to a hundred houses like “Oh that's cool. What's next?” You know what I mean? And getting to $70 million, well it might seem like an astronomical number. It's actually not that hard. It's not that hard to get to the level that you want to be at. It goes back to how hard you want to work, how badly do you want it. So, yeah, we're fortunate enough to have a $70 million portfolio. It's pretty cool.

Seth: This is an entity where it's owned by two people, is that right? You and your business partner Dan?

Ian: Yeah, Dan and I own the majority of it. Some of our deals are syndicated. We have investors that come in and invest side by side with us. We have some deals that we just own straight-up. We have some deals that where we have full-blown, you know, equity partners. Like, we do it in every different way and it is like, you know what you talk about in like land flipping or even wholesaling, it's all just a tool in the toolbox.

Yeah, would it be cool that we own this portfolio and it was a hundred percent ours? Sure, but would that portfolio value only be 7 million because we didn't leverage other people's… whether it's their money, their expertise, whatever it is, it allowed us to get to that next step and getting to the 70 million number. I don't wanna say it was important to us, but it's created scale within our business that's hard for things to not stay in motion every single day.

And that was part of some of the motive behind it. We wanted to be financeable but we also wanted to have a business where it operates on its own and it's living and it's breathing and not all the time do you need to have a dollar amount attached to that. But for us, it's like success is when the business can live and breathe on its own. I went on a golf trip last week with a few of our investors and we had some stuff happen. All I had to do was look at my phone at the end of the day. Like I literally put my phone away for eight hours and we played two rounds of golf, which is unheard of. I didn't answer my messages till we got back to the house. I saw we had an issue, our project manager already had it handled.

He had already contacted the insurance agent and a resolution was already in place. Our leasing agent inside of our office, she had already contacted the program to handle the stuff for the tenant. Like things were already in motion, which is really cool. And when you look at it from that standpoint, what does scale give you? What does a $70 million portfolio give you over a $7 million portfolio? It's that full blown autonomy. It lives and breathes and operates on its own and it's harder to stop than it is a one-man band that's like, okay, well I feel like working today, I'm having a crap day. I don't feel like working today. I got this problem, I can't work today. Right? Like having that scale allows you to continue to grow.

And growth is not just acquisitions, growth is success of other people, monetary, purchasing, new properties, but just great operations in general. That's all what growth is and having this allows us to have that growth.

Seth: When I hear $70 million, even though that you know was built up over 10-plus years now, that number does kind of sound astronomical. I mean, it just seems like so far beyond anything, I'm just putting myself in the mind of a new person who's starting out. Maybe they have one rental property or something to get to that point. I assume there were probably certain pivotal moments that helped you get there. Like, maybe when you decided to do syndications or upgrading to a certain property type.

If somebody wanted to replicate your journey or, as you just look back at how you started with one rental property and now you have what you have today, how did you do it? Like, what were the things that really helped you get there and move the needle?

Ian: I would say there are a few things. One was always having an open mind. Not always saying yes to every opportunity, but always having an open mind, understanding what other people are doing. I used to tell people we had an unfair advantage towards the end of our career. We were working 24-hour shifts. I'd be up all night, we'd be on out on runs or fires, I'd just be scrolling other people's deals, how'd they break 'em down? What's going on? I was like literally consuming information 24/7, right? So to me that's one, it's just having an open mind and understanding what everyone's doing.

Number two, and this is what I tell a lot of people, is we hyper-concentrate on single-family real estate. That is what we did. That is where we cut our teeth, that is where we learned everything, acquisitions, dispositions, capital improvements, leasing agents, how to set up our leases, bank financing because it's such a smaller amount.

You get to understand the inner workings of the bank, how to set up a personal financial statement, all these different things. And in that growth process, it's like, “Okay, I'm doing all this work for a $100,000-dollar house. What if I could just find one multi-family property at a million dollars? It's all the same work.”

Well, we had that opportunity. We had a deal come up that was about half a million bucks. It was the biggest purchase we ever did. We never did a commercial transaction. We just kept saying, “All right, well it's just seven houses at once, right?” That's how we looked at it. And I was like, okay, cool, we're done. Now here's the next set of hurdles. And by us cutting our teeth inside the single-family space, we knew our process well. We knew what our team could handle.

We knew that capital improvements is our favorite thing to do and that's the best thing that we do. And we can handle capex better than most people. There's a burnt-down shell, we bought a burnt-down commercial building and renovated the whole thing. Everyone else was too scared to do it. We jumped in there and got it done. We knew that from doing our single-family stuff.

And I'm not saying everyone needs to get into single-family, you can get into flipping land, you can get into multi-family or self storage, you can get into all those different asset classes. Day one, whatever asset class you get into day one, go and dominate it. Become the number one in your asset class. Then you can start to look and say, you know what man, this is nothing more than a widget machine. I stick a cog in the top and a widget comes out the bottom, right? And you're like, oh man, that's cool.

So now when we look at it from our standpoint. We did single-family real estate. Great. The next natural progression was into multi-family. So then we did a multi-family deal and we're like, “Man, we just did a commercial transaction.” What does that look like? Oh we kind of toyed around some industrial spaces and some other stuff that we like, some stuff that we don't. And then we stumbled on storage and now it's like, okay, well we're really good at storage, we're really good at multifamily. Those are our two favorite things to do.

But right now at the time of this recording, April of 2023, we're literally wholesaling a single-family house because it came through our network of people that we know and they said, “Hey, I got this deal, I got this property that I inherited. Do you want it?” And we said, yeah, and we're about to make almost 70 grand on it.

But again, it's a tool in the toolbox, you know, so by doing single-family real estate really well it has graduated us into other asset classes that are much bigger and better and have more growth opportunity. But we're still not also too good to not do what we know how to do really well. And I would say to me that's the number one thing you can do is get really good at one thing.

Seth: What are all the different property types currently in your $70 million portfolio?

Ian: So we hyper-concentrate on self-storage and multi-family. We have a lot of that. We have a pretty decent-sized single-family portfolio. And then we have a few Airbnbs and some industrial stuff and some commercial space. Pretty eclectic. But we spend the majority of our time sourcing multi-family deals in the Baltimore metro area within a two-hour radius and self-storage properties pretty much east of Texas.

The majority of the markets that we look at, that's where we spend most of our time. And again, we started dabbling in industrial and office space and all these different things. There's great runway in storage, there's great runway in multi-family. Let's just capitalize on those two things and be really good at them. And yeah, if we stumble on some of this other stuff like land development or anything else, yeah, we'll we'll pop our heads in, we're not too good not to understand it.

But, in the same sense, if it's too complex of a hairy of a deal, I'm out or I'm gonna call one of my boys, “Yo, Seth, a piece of land, what do you wanna do here?” Or whoever it is like, “Yo, I got this, what do you want to do with this?” Again, that's going to masterminds and building networks and understanding what you're good at or what you're not and also saying, you know what, do the right thing by other people.

So that's really the breakdown of portfolio plus some of my spin on life. So didn't mean to get off-topic there.

Seth: But it doesn't make wonder a couple minutes ago you just said to hyper-focus on one thing, but it sounds like you're doing a lot of different things. So when you say thing, are you not referring to property type? You mean something different by that, or…?

Ian: No, no. I would say that initially you wanna hyper-concentrate on one asset type, right? And then you kind of go through phases. Like, you get bored. Like, you can only do so many storage deals or so many single-family houses. You're like, “Oh this is boring, what are the Airbnbs doing? Because they're sexy and everyone's talking about it.” And you go to an Airbnb and you're like, “Eh, I should have just stayed in my lane.”

So that happens. And you might even do single-family real estate really well and you might do capex really well and you're a terrible property manager. Okay, well, now you know in your process, “I can buy 'em and fix 'em, but I'm a terrible manager, great. I need to find a management option.”

So then when that multi-family deal comes up, guess what? You're not magically overnight gonna become a better manager. You're gonna look at it and you're not gonna buy a deal that needs management improvements. You're gonna buy a deal that needs a ton of capex and you gotta go source a property manager. And again, by doing your one asset class or you're one thing really, really well, then you can start rolling that into different deals.

So for us it's been when we cut our teeth in single-family real estate, my business partner and my project manager, super good operators from the capital improvement standpoint, from keeping tenants accountable. They're really good at that. I got really good by default of doing the capital stack and all the other crap. So with that said, when I look at a deal, I look at it and say… let’s just say like we go from single-family to multi-family natural progression, right? So I always look at them from a financial standpoint. Then I would take it and say, “Hey Dan, I think this makes sense. Can you and Ryan handle the capex and operations side of things?” And he would say yes or no.

And then that's how we naturally progressed into a deal. It was like, okay, we can do this. Collectively, they're really good at that. I'm really good at this now let's go do that deal. And we grew and that's how you grow over time naturally executing what you're really good at.

A friend of mine, Jason, who's a co-host on my podcast, he's a hard money lender and he's a terrible, terrible property owner. This terrible property owner, he actually sold all of his properties and was like, “I'm never owning another property again unless I have an operator in place.”

And he took his money and he rolled them into his hard money loans. Then when we started doing bigger storage deals and multifamily deals, I said, “Hey Jason, we always wanted to work together. There was never enough money to split on single-family, but now I have this opportunity with storage and multi-family. Are you interested in investing?”

Well that got his itch for wanting to own properties without the headaches. And then we started doing deals where it was like, “Hey Jason, you can do a hard money loan and you can buy some equity.” And it kind of like gives him the best of both worlds and all if we went. So that's been pretty cool and fun to execute on that side of things because you'd start to notice what people are really good at and he would tell you the same thing as like, “I don't want to own properties, I'll lend on them. I'll find a way to do equity in deals, but I will never personally own and operate a deal on my own again.”

And I think that's the level of maturity that it takes after a while of just being like, you need to recognize who and what you are. And again, I think, you know, just sitting in the mastermind room, most people aren't honest with themselves and that's why you need to sit in that room so someone can call your BS out and just be like, dude, you're lying to yourself. Like you're telling us one thing but your personality's coming out the other way.

And that's what's so fun about those rooms. Because then when someone goes, Ooh, you guys are right and you see it click and then it's just like a mind-altering experience for them and then they go out and crush for the next several years and it's a beautiful thing to watch and that's what's helped me advance. I'm sure it's helped you advance and many other people advance just being in those rooms and having people hold you accountable.

Seth: Yeah, it is pretty crazy how easy it is for me to see and diagnose another person's problem. But how hard it is to diagnose my own problem. It's like I'm too close to it, you know? Even though like it actually is kind of obvious to me deep down, it's like I still don't see it because I have my biases and I have a vested interest in things going a certain way and there are so many blind spots. But other people who can just kinda point out your flaws and problems, it goes a long way.

Ian: Yeah, there's nothing worse than getting, like, you spend the day in the room and you're like, Hey man, you should try this. Or hey man, you should try that. And you get up there and you tell the same exact problem you just heard for like the last two days and you're like, I am the world's biggest front right now. A lot of times what happens is it's like self-reflection. I'm like, Hey Seth, try this. And then I'm like, “I just told Seth to try that. I'm not even doing that in my own business. What a genius idea.” Or I get up there and I'm like, “Hey, I got the same problem as you, Seth” and I just say it in a different way and you're like, “Ian, you just told me how to fix your this problem!”

And you're like, darn it, you need to be humbled every once in a while, right? Like, everyone needs it and it happens. I know this isn't a mastermind conversation, but that's where we met and it's like most people are too afraid to even explore their weaknesses. And again, like going back to the beginning of this conversation, most people are afraid to try something, but if they would've sat in a mastermind room before they ever got involved in real estate and really spend the time to say, man, like if time and money were no object, what do I really want to do? Well it's not to sit there and go work for… You know, Columbus, Ohio, they have a bunch of big brands out there. I think a couple guys were from Bath and Body Works or whatever it was. Like, it's not sit there and work for Bath and Body Works is I wanna be at all my kids' games. I wanna have the freedom and the time freedom to go out to all my kids' games and coach football. And all right, cool, let's build a lifestyle around that. You know what I mean?

And I just think it's important and people should concentrate and invest in themselves, whether it's going to mastermind rooms, it's journaling, meditating, whatever your morning routine is, it's working out whatever that outlet is for you to free your brain and allow you to break the mold of what they consider normal. And that's for me, the college route. I'm out on college, the WT route, I'm out on the WT route, right?

Like whatever it is for you to break the mold and control your time. I think that's uber important for people to spend time and do. And it will change the trajectory of your life more more than your wildest dreams. I should go find pictures and give them to you, of me when I was literally just a dumb fireman that wanted to go to fires, and now we've built this massive portfolio. Yes, some of it's by pure accident and a lot of it's by grit and determination, but knowing what we want that we didn't want to go work for a department for 30 or 40 years and being stuck in a slave than the man, you know? Sorry, you got to be on a rant. I apologize.

Seth: No man, I do that all the time. Rants are fun, aren't they?

Going back to your journey here, and maybe I've sort of asked this but just in a different way, but if you were starting over today, given all of the different types of properties you worked with, if your goal was to recreate the wheel and go from one property to $70 million portfolio as quickly as possible, is there a certain property type or strategy or anything that you would focus your efforts on and double down on to get there faster? Or did you just have to bump in the walls and do all this stuff to make it work?

Ian: No, I would say it's not so much of like what I would've done, it's having confidence in myself earlier.

If you don't mind, I'll rephrase the question. If I lost it all today and I had to go build it again today, what would I do? I would go back, I would do some single-family real estate, get my feet wet again, right? Like make sure I had my team and my processes in place and I would jump to commercial assets much quicker. We've always been legacy owners, cash flow owners, that's always what I look at. I would make the jump from single-family real estate to commercial real estate a lot quicker. The rewards are much larger. The willingness for people to invest in you invest in your deals, the room for people to invest in your deals, the opportunity is much, much larger.

And the other cool thing is, and I I think this gets missed a lot in single-family real estate, like it's consumer to business owner. Where in commercial real estate it's B2B. So when you ask for owner financing or you ask for help or whatever it is, generally speaking, most business operators wanna see other business operators succeed and they, they're like, oh yeah, you know what? I remember when I had that issue. Yeah, I'll hold a note for you, but here's the terms.

I think there's more creativity inside of commercial real estate and I would hop on that train a lot faster than I did from the single-family world. I'd pick up a few single-family houses to get immediate cash flow because it is the easiest and the path of least resistance. And then after that I would jump to commercial real estate as humanly fast as possible and get in there and do it because like I said, the opportunity's much greater than it is in the single-family world, in my opinion, from a growth standpoint and a legacy ownership standpoint.

Seth: I don't know why I've never put that together. The significant difference between business to business versus business to consumer. Because you're right. I mean that's just a totally different mindset. Although when you're dealing with like apartment buildings or self-storage, that's not necessarily business to business, right? So when you say commercial real estate because of that benefit, is there a specific kind that you're thinking of, like a office space or a triple net lease or…

Ian: Yeah, the owner, the owners, are just a little more sophisticated in multi-family storage, commercial real estate in general, right? Like when I say B2B, they have more of a business mindset. Let's think about this situation.

Seth: You're talking about like purchasing a property, right? Not renting a property.

Ian: Yeah, let's think about this situation, right? Grandma has a house, she dies, she leaves it to her four kids. Those four kids are fighting over because they inherited this house, it's worth a billion dollars. It's gonna get 'em all outta debt.

Okay, well that was just grandma's house. It's worth 50 grand, y'all outta your mind. And I'm not dealing with all this drama now. Grandma owns a self storage facility or the multi-family property in town. She dies, but she's had such a successful life. This wasn't her only prized possession. She passes it down to her kids who are successful. They say, you know what, this was grandma's business. I don't want to own it, I want to sell it. Okay cool. We come along and say, hey, we want to buy your, your multifamily or your self-storage property.

And we start talking to 'em and be like, yeah, you know, like this is a family business. We wanna create the family and whatever else and you know this, this is what we're gonna do for our kids and this, that, and the other thing. And they go, you know what, like we would never have the opportunity to sell this multimillion dollar asset to you without grandma. And I recognize that or Grandma had such massive success, we would love to see you have success with it. We just never had the opportunity to follow in grandma's footsteps so we're happy to sell it to you. There's a much more motive to do business, whether it's getting the assets sold there's pressure from banks, like there's a lot more reason for commercial real estate to move. Whereas in single-family, it's a lot of the D's, right? Divorce, death, and I forget the other one, whatever it is.

But divorce and death are the two motivators for people to trade. Versus in commercial real estate, yeah you got those two things, but you also have like, hey it's time to move on. I wanna upgrade asset classes or the banks. Calling my loan or Grandma did pass on and she had such great success with it and we all have better lifestyles because of it. I'm happy to sell this to you at a reasonable price. Unreasonable terms, right?

I'll give you an example. We bought a 76-unit multi-family property and when she called us she said, Hey, I saw you guys have written a book and whatever, like I'm really interested to talk to you guys. And the short story long is she's look, my mom's sick. It costs her about $20,000 a month for her to survive.

I want to owner finance this property to you. So I have cash flow and we're talking about a $5 million asset. And I'm okay, how much do you wanna owner finance? I'm thinking like 10% or 15%. She's like, yeah, I wanna owner finance 90% of it for tax benefits and the cash flow. So me and Dan sat down and we're like, okay, well how do we get our $20,000 a month? This is what the loan terms would look like. Because she told us like, hey, like my parents had great success with this. It made 'em a lot of money. I have no heirs under me. I just want to get this sold. So my mom has cash flow every single month to take care of her and her family or take care of her with the full-blown nursing staff in her house, because she didn't want to put her in a nursing home.

So when we figured that out, it was like a true B2B-type situation in my opinion because she had to get this deal done to get the cash flow to pay for her mother. And I was like, okay, well we have the cash and we want this property and we're happy to pay you on a monthly basis because you're giving us this massive jump into the next asset class for us. So it was a win-win for both of us. Whereas I remember fighting on the phone with people on over $25,000 houses and they think it's worth 26. And I'm like, dude, I'm not giving you a dollar more than 25 and blow deals up over nothing. You know what I mean?

And that's why I think commercial real estate has more motivation and the more likelihood for deals to get done on a larger scale with more reasonable returns. Yes, you're gonna run into the Donald Trumps of the world or whoever who’d say, I control the situation, I'm top dog. But there are still very reasonable people out there to do deals in the commercial world. And I, I think that's why it provides the opportunity that'll allow everyone to succeed.

Seth: Got me curious, how do you find your deals? I know it probably varies when you're talking about single-family homes versus $30 million purchases, but what’s your secret sauce? Is it like direct mail or are you just working through brokers?

Ian: I'm gonna tell you the most bland answer that you have ever heard. The number one way we get deals in the commercial space… I invest in the broker network. I know it sounds stupid, it sounds crazy. We spend most of our time curating relationships with brokers. And I'll tell you why.

In the commercial world, there's a few things. Like that 76-unit apartment building, when we bought that off-market, that was a unique situation. Every broker was calling us saying, yo dude, like how'd you get that deal done? So the brokers are paying attention to who's buying and selling. You get credibility when you do that, number one.

Number two, did you find a broker that's similar in age or a little bit younger? Like I got this buddy of mine, Jake outta Alabama. We've connected, I'm a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. So Jalen Hertz, Devonte Smith, a few other guys are on the team. So we talk about that type of stuff. But then we did a deal, we did a $12 million deal together. He calls me all the time, like, “I got this deal.” I'm in his first five contacts of people to talk to. He got this $27 million deal that's never going to market. And he called me and Dan, I'm like, “Dude, you got much more sophisticated buyers. He's like, “Yeah, but I like working with you Because you don't play the retail game, you get deals done.” Well then he starts, his boys and his and that whole crew of people are like, “Yo Jake, how you selling all these deals?” And he says, “Oh, I got my boy Ian.” Well next thing you know, they're all calling me with “I got this deal, I got this deal, I got this deal.”

Securing that broker network, that's one side of it. The other side of it is, it goes back to what we were just talking about, the whole B2B thing. They got what I want, I got what they want. We just need to find that strike price, right? Like, I want the property, they want money. Brokers need their money because they're always spending it. Okay, well broker, you're spending your money, do your thing. I'm gonna come along and buy a deal. And guess what? Like if the market just got a little hairy, they're like, “Hey, I got all these deals, you know, just make an offer. Just make an offer.”

I'm like, oh, now all of a sudden you want offers from us, that's fine. I'll start shooting you offers that I believe are right for the price. Next thing you know, they're going to bat for us because the market is turned and they know that they need us, right? So I always spend a lot of time curating broker relationships. It's not just buying deals. It's like, if I see a deal and I'm like cruising CRUK and LoopNet and all the other different sites, I'm like, man, it seems like an interesting deal. Hey broker, what's up? Oh yeah, yeah, I'm kind of interested in that deal. Like I'm just not at your price point. Like what do you think it takes to get done? Just open the conversation. And I always like to just tell 'em some stupid price and they're like, yeah, you're so off, so far off-base. Like all right, cool, well you just let me know if it doesn't trade. And when it doesn't trade, guess what, they're gonna call you and be like, Hey listen, like I know you made that like ridiculous offer, but like, did you come up by a few bucks? I think I can get it done.

Like they don't want to have that tarnish on their record that they didn't get a deal done, right? So with that being said, it's uber important that, you know, working the broker network, getting the deals done, knowing what they have at market and staying in tune. I just talked to a broker the other day I haven’t talked to in about a year and he reached out and he said, Hey man, I'm thinking about you on this deal. It's kind fits your buy box. You should take a look at it.

I said, “Hey man, it's in South Dakota. It's not in my buy box, but thanks for thinking of me.” The fact that he even thought of me and his Rolodex of people, that means a lot that he knows to rock the buyers.

So I would say the number one thing you can do is work that broker network. That is the most important thing that we do on the commercial side of real estate to get deals done. Let me just finish this statement out. That's why I like using them when I curate that relationship with them. This is a career-long relationship. Think about that 76-unit apartment building. Well it's blossomed into a lot more today. What if that was just a one-off transaction? There's nothing to say when you curate that relationship with a direct to market seller that there's gonna be anything behind it. There isn't. They might only own one property. They want their money and they're gonna go run to the hills and you're never gonna hear from them again. I have to restart the process every single time with them: “Hey, my name's Ian, we're firemen, here's the story, here's the song and dance.” And you're just like massaging 'em. I’m willing to pay a few dollars more to the brokers to get the deals done, but they already know my story. They know my buy box, they know everything that I wanna do and I don't have to restart the relationship. That relationship is growing and blossoming at all times.

Seth: Yeah, it makes a ton of sense, man. So it sounds like something that you know what, just turn that on overnight. That takes years to curate that and make it turn into something substantial, right?

Ian: Yeah, a hundred percent. And I would tell your listeners, I don't know what your audience is, how sophisticated or non-sophisticated they are, but if you're just getting started in real estate and you like truly want to be in the commercial space, whenever that is to you, pick up the phone and talk to a broker and be like, “Listen, I'm not gonna lie to you. I'm completely new. I'm looking at this deal.” Don't go and ask 'em what does NLI mean and cap rate and all these other silly things, but look at the deal and call 'em up and say, “Hey man, I'm interested in this deal. I see your cash flow numbers, they don't really make sense to me. Can you, you know, gimme a little idea.” Some of the brokers, they, they're just as clueless. Other brokers will really take the time like, “I think if you do X, Y, and Z, it's really worth this. But the current owner doesn't want to do that.”

And then you start putting the things together, just having the conversations and people recognize you every once in a while you get a broker who's like, yo dude, like I wanna see you have some starting power. Like let's go. And they'll help you launch to that next level. Again, if you have success, they have success, they have another buying client and off they go. You know what I mean? So I would say, if you see a deal, don't be shy. Go take a look at it, keep it moving, you know.

Seth: In your experience, are brokers not a fan of seller financing? Like do they try to steer you away from that or anything? Or is it not really a material thing?

Ian: Yeah, usually they are so worried about how they're gonna get paid. So let's just say there's a seller financing deal and you're going for a hundred percent seller financing. It's hard because they want the transaction. That's the path of least resistance. And they know there's enough cash for them to get paid and they start looking at it going, well there's not enough money for me to get paid. Like how am I gonna have this conversation? So I would say most of the time, excuse me, that they don't understand and they don't want to present it. They don't want that layer of complexity. They want the path of least resistance to get a deal done. So usually what I do early in the conversation, it's like, “Hey, is the owner available? You know, open to any owner financing?” Like, I don't need it because we have the wherewithal to do the deal, but is it something that they would entertain if I could get 'em a little higher price?

Because owner financing is a huge deal, right? You might be willing to pay a few more bucks and just like pacing it, I think that's what it's called. I'm not a big sales guy, but, you know, pacing and leading is you kind of put it out there, you let it die, then there's some hair around the deal and you're like, no, I'm stuck at this price. And the broker’s like, well he's stuck at this price that's with a great time to bring it up to be like, I might give him most of his price if he or she is willing to earn finance X, Y, and Z. Like you had the conversation early on, it went nowhere, fine. You continue looking at the deal and then you try it again. But a lot of the times early on, most of them just put it to bed cause they don't feel like dealing with all the terms and the crap and they're not bankers, you know what I mean? They don't want the back and forth if owner financing is better suited one-on-one situations with sellers.

Seth: Thinking back to when you got started to where you are now, like what were the biggest challenges back then and what are they now? How has that changed over the years?

Ian: The biggest challenges back then was how are we gonna finance this? How are we gonna get paid? How does all this crap work? Now our biggest challenge is I can go more in-depth to that if you want, but now our biggest challenges is personnel, right? Our job now is to recruit the best talent, recruit the best deals, recruit the best vendors. So a lot of our time and a lot of our challenges revolve around, you know, finding talent, growing a team, you know, executing at the next level of like, what does growth look like? You know, we went from flying by the seat of our pants to having to have budgets every year. We went from, we don't need any employees to, now we have 13, you know, we never worried about unemployment. Now you gotta worry about unemployment, right?

So the challenges, they remain the same. You just view 'em in a different standpoint because like, the budget component revolves around how do we get paid, right? Like, that's still an early on challenge. It's still a challenge tomorrow, but now we gotta do a lot more projections to make sure that that happens. The challenges are a little different. They're a little more like, I was never a corporate guy, but I would presume more of C-level suite type stuff of like, you know, talent and growth and what does the next phase look and, you know, dispositions of assets. That's the challenges we face today. Whereas at the beginning, I think the challenges are all of it at the beginning, you know, and once you start to hit some stride, your first, your next major hurdle is hiring someone. Once you hire that one person, that challenge remains the same all the way through. It’s just recruiting the best talent you can find and the best deals that you can find.

But yeah, man, it's, it's a little different, but it's all the same. It's problem-solving, it's firefighting, right? Like that's what we do. We put fires out on a daily basis and try to remain proactive. And if the fire's burning, we don't go to bed until the fire's out at the end.

Seth: How many people are on your team now?

Ian: We have 13 employees and technically we have one overseas employee. Rowena, love you. She does all of her social media content. So technically we have 14 team members that are with us. Some of 'em are part-time, some of 'em are full-time.

It's just crazy to think, man. It is absolutely crazy. We have a head of management, we have a head of operations. It's growing into a true tree and it's just amazing what it looks like as it grows. Because then it's like, oh, well it wouldn't be hard to fill this position if we just do this and we can monetize this here. Boom, next thing you know, you got bookkeeping or accounting, you got in a full-blown accounting department at a blink of an eye. You know what I mean? So it's real interesting to watch that side of the business grow and growing a team.

It's fun, man. And now it's not growth because we want to buy more. It's growth because Ryan, who runs our operation, “Hey Ryan, like you wanna buy some deals this year?” Yeah. Cool. Great. We go out hunting. Hey man, I'm overwhelmed. All right, well cool. Like the growth is behind the people. Like we truly concentrate on the people now, what they want, what their growth looks like. And the growth trajectory is not just about me and Dan anymore, it's about the team. It's about family, dude. Like we look at it as we're responsible for 14 families, dude. Like we have a lot of mouths to feed every single week. And that takes a lot of work to put the food on the table. It's just crazy to think, dude. But it's also awesome. It's beyond rewarding. It's how we look at it.

Seth: How do you spend your typical day now? I mean, if you got this huge team and they're doing all the, these odds and ends, like I assume you get to choose how you wanna spend your time or you get to choose, I'm gonna make this job for myself in the organization. Like what job have you chosen and, and why?

Ian: So oddly enough I end up, maybe not oddly, I am the face of the company. No, I spend most, most of my time going out. I'm kind of like the chairman, the board, the president. I like to go out and talk and promote our company. I do a lot of the investor relations stuff and the acquisitions and the capital stack. I like the finance side of things and I like talking to people.

Naturally, early on, my business partner, he wound up going down the operations and route. I went down the everything else route. So I wound up doing the acquisitions. I wound up doing investor relations. I do the taxes, right? Like I do all the… everything else that falls to the bottom. So a daily day is usually, you know, get up relatively early, do my thing, go for a walk.

I like to get in between eight and nine, kind of do all my important tasks in the morning, lunch hits, and then usually the afternoon's creative, freeform, free-flowing.

I still go to the office every day. I haven't really figured out how to let go because I enjoy this a lot. I really do. I like being here. I like being surrounded. I'm in our Philly office right now. We're both moving back to Philadelphia. So we have one employee up here. I spend a lot of time with her. Dan's still in Baltimore for the time being. So he spends a lot of time with our team down there.

But I like going to the office every day. Like, I can't imagine going and sitting on a beach every day. It's just not who we are. I will continue to grind till the day we die, which I hope is another 40, 50 years from now, going out there and killing and doing deals because you know what? It's fun. It's easy, it's rewarding. And I just enjoy being in the office and having conversations. Look, we all have crap days. Everyone does. We're all human beings. Some days it's like, I'm blowing the day off or I'll just sit here and watch YouTube all day. I'm a human too. It happens dude.

But yeah, man, that's what we do. It's a lot of, I wish it was sexier. I wish I told you I flew on private jets and I spend my days on yachts. I don't think I can let go. They're seasons. My season right now is to execute this summertime. I might slow down a little bit and spend a little more time on the boat and golf and go flying. But I still need to be… I tell everyone I need four hours every day. Just gimme four hours, three to four hours. Let me type on the computer. It could be from 6 to 10, it could be from 10 to 12. It could be whatever the timeframe is. Just let me sit in front of the computer for a few hours. Let me get my work done. I feel completed for the day. We can go do whatever else you want after that.

I'm not good at going to do fun stuff and then trying to turn it on later in the day. Because to me at that point, the day's blown. So that's why I like getting in the office every day and and grinding a little bit and then going out and having fun afterwards.

Seth : Yeah. Well that makes perfect sense.

So with this big team you've built, I assume you must have a way to reliably and repeatably find good talent and manage these people so that everybody's functioning at their highest level and all this stuff. How do you do that? Like how do you know you're talking to the right candidate? I'm sure you probably haven't always gotten it right, but do you have any tools for that or any methods or processes you go through to feel confident about who you're hiring and knowing you're getting the A-player?

Ian: We've lucked out in our network so far. Talent usually presents itself. I think we're relatively good people. We’re good at recognizing personalities early on from the fire department, from dealing with some days the worst of the worst and the best of the best people in their worst situation. You can immediately recognize how people are gonna act. And I like to think that we're relatively good at identifying that early on through interview processes.

We use the power of our network. I know, again, likeI think I've hit every single cliche today, so I apologize to your audience. I'm normally not like this, but it's true, it’s the power of your network. Like, we have a few guys that work with some guys that come from the recovery scene. We've had really good luck with people who are trying to start over and they've been clean and, and it's been powerful because it's also a give back, right?

Like we are able to navigate that process and it's been able to help people build a new lifestyle. And with that being said, it's like we've always just talked to our network like, hey man, we're looking for so-and-so, or Hey, we're looking for this or we're looking for that. Some of our stuff's come from Indeed just having good job descriptions, but a lot of our like top-level team players have come from people we've known, telling people what we got going on, wearing our heart on our sleeve. Hey, like we're looking for this person, like Ryan, the guy who runs our operation, he was a contractor that we were working with all the time and we approached him and just said, Hey Ryan, look, we're looking to hire a project manager. That's what it was that the position was at the time. You interested in converting?

And he was like, “Eh, yeah.” You know, like interested. And that blossomed into a lot more our head of management. It's a friend of ours, his wife. And it was just like, I was talking to him about the problem. He's like, Hey, you should talk to my wife. Like we're childhood friends. He was like, look, I don't want there to be any beef. Okay fine. So we sat down, we had a few discussions and it was like immediately we knew it was the right fit.

So it's, I tell people it's almost like when you get married, like you just know, you know, and again, interviewing a ton, just interviewing a ton. Don't make a rash decision and just be like, Hey, I'm gonna hire this person. Unless you're one of those people that are willing to hire and fire. We're not like, we're a cash flow guys, right? It's the same thing when we hire someone like, we're hiring you into the family and like, hopefully you stay with us for a long period of time. We're not interested in playing the hire and fire game because it's a lot of freaking work to be hiring and firing all the time.

Seth: I've heard you mention the the DISC profile before. So what are you, and why do you think it's so important for a person to understand who they are?

Ian: Yeah. DISC personality, man. I think that's the best thing you want. This goes into hiring, this goes into investors, this goes into contractors, this goes into everything. Once you understand the DISC personality test, go Google search Tony Robbins DISC personality. Go take the test. You'll find out who you are.

I'm personally a D and an I, coincidentally, that's our parent company name is D&I Development. But I'm a high D decision maker and I'm aI'm a talker. I'm all over the place kind of guy. My business partner's a D and an S, they're a great couple because he's supportive, wants to get stuff done, makes he's gotta trust to verify, get stuff done over and over again. Where I'm like, let's go, let's go, let's go. So we push and pull each other, but we're both Ds and we have the ability to make decisions.

Cs are great for accounting and lawyers and engineers and stuff like that, but you wanna recognize who you are. You wanna recognize you're investors. Like you're never gonna tell an investor go take a DISC personality test. But when you understand a DISC personality, you see a C personality type come through the door, you might be like, man, that's it, I'm out. Like I'm not gonna deal with you Because you're gonna ask me way too many questions. Whereas someone's comes in through it as an A or a D or an S, you're like, they're gonna make a decision and they're gonna support everything we're gonna do. I'm in.

So yeah, this personality is really key to understanding who you are and recognizing what type of talent you should surround yourself with.

Seth: I am a pretty strong S which first time I heard that I was like really disappointed, because it's like, man, that's like the employee, that's just a soldier that follows orders all day and just gets to work. I felt like a lack of significance in that, but it's true. Like I rock and roll, get stuff done all day long. Like if you tell me what to do, I'm gonna knock it out. But that's kinda where I thrive and I'm actually pretty weak in the D category. Like I have a hard time thinking big picture and direction and dreams of ideas and that kind of thing. Like, I actually need somebody like you in my life to like give me ideas on what to do and then I can execute it. It's helpful to understand this, you know?

Ian: Yeah. But the fact that you recognize it now, it's like, okay, I gotta go challenge this piece in me to try to get to the next level or fix whatever problems I have inside me. But yeah, man, that's huge. Once you recognize it, then it's like it'll keep coming back over and over and over again.

Seth: Well, Ian, we're kinda getting to the end of our conversation here. I haven't done this in a while. When we have time I like to ask three final questions of the people that we interview just to kind of figure out more about how you tick and how you think. So I'll just jump into those. So the first question is, what is your biggest fear?

Ian: Straight up is just failure, man. I feel I fear failure a lot now, I'm just gonna unload on you here for a second, but the reason I I feared is, you know, just some childhood stuff and, you know, where we came from is… I don't want to go back, you know? And I think that's what motivates us a lot is that fear of failure and wanting to have this success. I know it sounds stupid. It's like, oh, if you fail then you're learning. But there's also a fear of like failure of like what it does to the soul. So for me that that's a huge fear of mine.

Seth: And what does what does failure mean to you? Like how do you define that?

Ian: Yeah, fail. Shoot, I see I almost cursed again. See now you just get way too deep. what does failure mean to me? Honestly,

Seth: For a lot of people say “failure” to this question and it just makes you wonder, how do you define that and why don't you call it a lesson learned instead of a failure? Because failure is conclusive in a lesson as like, Hey, I'm getting better.

Ian: Yeah. And I think that goes to some of the stuff that is compartmentalized in here somewhere. I don't know where, but it's like, yeah man, like you're right. If I said, well it's just a lesson learned, then it's like, okay, well then failure is nothing to be scared of.

But I think the reason I'm scared of it is I've had some other failures in my life and fallen flat on my face and it's like, man, I just don't want to go back there. So if like failure to me is like setting out to go do something at a high level and then just it completely like blows up and it's like, man, it's a failure.

And sometimes, yeah, it is just a lesson learned. And other times when it crushes the soul to me, that's when it's truly defined as a failure. And those are the ones that you gotta watch out for that don't take you down the rest of this nasty road of I'm never gonna do this again and the whole nine yards. And that's when people get stunned, and don't want to try, and don't want to put themselves out there. And I think maybe just my personality type. I like being out there and I like doing things that if that type of failure happened and I couldn't have outlets like this, that'd be really, really scary to me.

Seth: Yeah, there's a guy named Francis Chan, he's got a famous quote where he said, “A greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't matter.” And that's another way to think about it because there's a whole lot of stuff that we place a lot of importance on, but it doesn't matter. Like it has no lasting consequence. It's a very material temporary thing that just doesn't add up to much. I think a lot of life is like that, especially for people who are achievers. We work so hard and place so much emphasis on these certain goals and we get 'em and we're like, that's it. Seriously. Like I just I put all that effort into this. Things just don't have the same luster when you actually have them and you've achieved them. So another thing we're thinking about.

So question number two, what are you most proud of?

Ian: I am most proud of, this will be a selfish answer, because I'm always proud of my girls and my family and everything that they do. But selfishly I'm proud of everything that we've created when again I think we talked about it earlier in the podcast, to sit there as a new investor and try to look 10 years in the future. I only could think about having a hundred houses and now when I look backwards, a hundred house was such a stupidly small goal and what we have today to be proud of our 14 team members, the lives that we've created for all of them, the lives that we've created for ourselves. I'm like literally speechless, right? Like it's huge to me. And I can't even imagine what we've accomplished and now I can't imagine what the future looks like knowing what we know that we've done in these 10 short years.

Seth: Now suppose you just got a hundred million dollars wired to your bank account and you're not allowed to stay on your current career path. So real estate is out, but you can do anything else you want for the rest of your life. What would you do?

Ian: I would probably be an investor in other people's deals. It's my way around not being in real estate, but I would invest in other deals or other businesses, right? I like that team effort. I like being a part of something. I like helping other people and motivate them. Getting to where they're going, right? If you look at it, I motivate my investors to go do their own deals too. Cause I want them to make more money so we can all invest together and we can grow together. So for me it would be investing in some sort of business.

If I had that kind of money, I'd probably look at the airline industry because I like flying. I've recently gotten my private pilot's license and I enjoy flying. But anything that is really something that's fun and that we can explore what we are and utilize what we do well from, you know, stacking capital and standpoint and just getting out there and doing it.

And I guess maybe, maybe like with a hundred million of like free cash, like maybe I would take like a day off and go do something fun with the family. But I can't guarantee that would happen.

But I would definitely want to be a part of some sort of operating business and just exercise our brain power that we have today. And you never know, maybe we all get that one day, just magically boom in the bank account. So I'll let you know when that happens.

Seth: Just from what I've observed of you and heard you say, it sounds like you're a gifted team builder. That's true. That's an amazing thing. That's a gift that many people don't have, including me. I've thoroughly assessed myself. That's not one of my core areas of competence. But I know other people like yourself who are very good at that. And I gotta tell you, it's a huge service to everybody who gets to be on your team. Because essentially what you're doing is you're making room for them. You're giving them opportunity that they wouldn't otherwise have and especially when you enjoy it and when that's, that's a life giving activity for you, it makes it all the better. Like people on your team recognize that and I think it brings them to life too. And I just, I wanna encourage you, if that's something that you know you're good at, like keep doing that. Like, I would say do it until your last breath because it doesn't just serve you, it serves everybody who gets to work with you

Ian: A hundred percent. Oh yeah. I've been in some conversations with people who are not just in business and sometimes it'd be around the firehouse, people are like, dude, I'm ready for war. I'm gonna go run through a brick wall. Like after that I'm like, ah, man, I'm just talking and having a good time.

Like, but you know what, if you can motivate someone and whether it's on your team to go break down a barrier or it's in a mastermind room or someone on this podcast, it's like, you know what, screw it. I'm gonna go take action today. And they change their lives, dude, that's like, that's more rewarding than that. A hundred million dollars. Like I know we gotta put some monetary value on it, but like that stuff's more rewarding than any dollar amount that comes through the front door and seeing people break down their own personal barriers and get into the next level. I think that's beyond cool.

Seth: So if people wanna find out more about you, I know you've got a podcast, do you have a website? Like how can people get connected and stay in touch with you?

Ian: Yeah, the best way to find us is we're equitywarehouse.com, and you can find us pretty much anywhere, EquityWarehouse on all the different social sites. Instagram's my favorite place to communicate with people if you wanna reach out. But we're on all the channels you'll see a lot of our content. We also host, Jason and I, we host the Real Estate Reserve Podcast. We're on all the podcast platforms and you know, just like this, we go out there and interview real people that are doing real stuff. We're having Seth on here in a few weeks and, you know, doing that is fun.

So yeah, if you wanna find me, I'm pretty easy to find on social. Like I said, Instagram's the best way to reach out in DM or you could check out some of our case studies on how we co-invest with our investors on deals@equitywarehouse.com.

And Seth, I appreciate you having me. This was a fun one. It was like a mini-mastermind live Because we were going deep and I thoroughly enjoyed it, man.

Seth: Yeah, man, me too. Well, I'll be sure to link up to all that stuff. The websites, the Instagram, all this. This is episode 157, so if you go to REtipster.com/157, you'll find the show notes with links to all this stuff. Be sure to check that out.

Ian, thanks again for coming out. It's awesome to talk to you again. Hopefully we can talk more in the future. To all those listen out there. If you're listening on your phone, go ahead and text the word free, F-R-E-E to the number 33777. You can stay up to date on everything going on in the REtipster world. So thanks again for listening and we'll talk to you next time.

Promotion: Hey there, it's me, Seth again, and if you're still listening, I can only assume you enjoyed what you heard on today's episode. And if you liked what you heard, you also might want to know that this May, I'm gonna be meeting up with a bunch of other real estate investors at an in-person event called REWBCON. That's R-E-W-B-C-O-N. It stands for Real Estate Wealth Builders Conference. And this is a conference where we can connect with other real estate investors, get around experts who will show us how they're succeeding in their business, help each other pass roadblocks and struggles and analysis paralysis, and find others who can invest with us in our deals.

REWBCON is happening on May 4th through 6th in Phoenix, Arizona. And I wanna invite you to hang out with me because I'm gonna be there. I'm gonna be a speaker. I'm giving a presentation all about seller financing, the pros and cons of it, who it is for, who it's not for, and how it can really open up a lot of doors and opportunities in your business.

If you decide to go check it out, again, just go to REWBCON, rewbcon.com. And if you enter in the promo code, Seth, S-E-T-H, you'll get a 10% discount off your ticket price. Be sure to check it out and I'd love to see you there.


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About the author

Seth Williams is the Founder of REtipster.com - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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