This past May, I had the privilege of moderating a joint-podcast panel discussion in front of a live audience at REWBCON. In this conversation, we have Marco Santarelli, Pili Yarusi, Annie Dickerson, Dustin Heiner, and Seth Williams (that's me)!

The objective of this conversation was to get expert insights from some well-known real estate investors and influencers about where the real estate market is headed, what we all have to be excited about, and what we should look out for in the days to come.

Links and Resources

Episode Transcription

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

Seth: Hey, everybody, how's it going? And welcome to The REtipster Podcast. So you are listening to episode 161.

And in today's episode, this is gonna be something a little bit different. I've never done anything like this before, but a couple months ago in May, I attended a conference called REWBCON. It was their second year running that conference.

My second time there, I was a speaker and also I was the moderator of a panel with five other investors (including me) where we talked about the state of the economy, where we see things going in the future for real estate investors. And this was not just focused on land investing. This was about real estate in general. I was the only land person up there on the stage, but it was really fascinating to hear what other people had to say about this.

We were talking with Marco Santarelli, Pili Yarusi, Annie Dickerson from Good Egg Investments, and Dustin Heiner from Master Passive Income. He's also the founder of REWBCON. And we just kind of went around and shared our thoughts on it. It was a pretty informal discussion, a little unusual because we were sitting in front of a live audience of people, but it was pretty easygoing talk and we just discussed things that we thought were worth being optimistic about, things that maybe we should be cautious about out. And I think I was able to ask some pretty good questions, but you'll have to be the judge of that and let me know what you think.

But I'm just going to play this recording. This is also on YouTube as well if you want to see the actual live video of what this looked like. I'm going to embed that YouTube video in the show notes for this episode, it's I'm also going to include links to each of the participants on this panel as well, if you want to follow up with them. And check them out and see what they got going on.

Again,, that's where you can find everything, and I hope as you listen in, you'll be able to get something out of this.

Let's dive in!

REWBCON 2023 Discussion

Seth: Hey, everyone. Everybody in the world, welcome. My name is Seth Williams, and we get to do something really cool today. I'm sitting here on the stage with Marco Santarelli, Pili Yarusi, Annie Dickerson, and Dustin Heiner.

And we're just kind of having this informal chat here. We're actually doing a joint podcast recording as well, and we're doing this like fireside chat thing, so it's fairly informal. And we're just going to talk about our thoughts on the current state of the real estate market, some of the things that we're excited about right now in our businesses, and some of the ways that we see other people doing really well and any thoughts we have about where things are going over the next few years.

So, rather than me introducing these stars here on the stage, I'm going to let them introduce themselves and tell us more about what they've got going on.

So, Dustin, you want to start?

Dustin: Absolutely, yeah. Thank you, Seth. So this is a blessing to have all of my friends up here on stage as we're all talking together.

My name is Dustin Heiner. I have my podcast called the Master Passive Income Podcast, where I love talking about real estate investing, which we all do, and with that, I love coaching people and then now bringing awesome people together here at REWBCON. It's so great having my friends, and then everybody else here is now my friend now, too.

Annie: Well, hey, everyone. If you don't know me, my name is Annie Dickerson. And if you told me ten years ago I would be up here talking about real estate, I would have thought you were crazy. I started as a fourth-grade teacher and then fell in love with real estate investing after having nine jobs in ten years and really wanting to get out of the grind of the J-O-B.

And so I founded Goodegg Investments about five years ago with my business partner, Julie Lam. And we also have a podcast. It's called the Life and Money Show.

Seth: I guess I'll jump in again, just say who I am. In case you don't know me, I run Again, Seth Williams. REtipster is a community, YouTube channel, podcast, blog where we talk about some of the more niche parts of real estate, like land investing, self-storage, investing, note investing, things that don't get quite as much airtime, but they're a lot of fun and they make a lot of good money. So there you go.

Pili: Hello, everyone. My name is Pili Yarusi. My husband and I founded Yarusi Holdings about a decade ago. We have gone through flipping, wholesaling; name it, we’ve probably done it. We're now multifamily syndicators, owner-operators out of Tennessee. We also have The Multifamily Live Podcast. Super excited to be here.

Marco: Hello everybody, I'm Marco Santarelli, I'm an investor entrepreneur and I started Norada Real Estate Investments about 19 and a half years ago servicing real estate investors that want to build a real estate portfolio anywhere in the country. It's basically a complete one-stop shop. I love real estate, I started when I was 18 years old, just went in heavy in 2003 and I just love it as an asset class. So always happy to talk about it.

Seth: Great, well maybe we just start on a positive note. So what is everybody excited about in your businesses right now? What are some of the good things going on? Take a stab at that.

Annie: Well, I can start. So as you guys know, deals can be kind of hard to find these days, so we focus on primarily multifamily syndications as well and we also do some hotel syndications.

And one thing we've discovered is that right now, with the rising interest rates, a hidden gem in the market is if you can find opportunities where you can assume existing loans with low interest rates. And so we currently have two projects in the pipeline, a multifamily deal and a hotel deal, both with low fixed interest rates, 3.6% and 3.8% respectively, that you can't get with fresh debt in this market.

And so even though it can be a little bit more of a challenging time right now, we love the hunt for those hidden gems. So that's something that we're really excited about.

Seth: How do you hunt those out? Is there an efficient way to find all the assumable loans out there? Any trick to that?

Annie: Lots of conversations and digging and just talking to people and seeing what's out there. I mean, the multifamily deal, that's the 3.8%, we're assuming a HUD loan, so we're buying that direct from the developer and it's a HUD loan. So we couldn't get that if we were just buying a multifamily property. And so it's through a lot of digging, letting people know what our specific buy box is.

So if you don't have a buy box, I highly recommend that is define exactly what criteria that you're looking for so not only other people in the room know, but the universe knows too. So they can send you the right deals. But if you don't know what you're looking for, other people can't go and find it for you.

So I highly recommend that, it’s to make sure you know exactly what you're looking for. So as you're talking to people, you let them know, hey, this is what we're looking for. This is what our investors are looking for. So that they can say, oh yeah, I think I know of an opportunity like that, or I know somebody who does things like that and they can connect you.

Dustin: I'm going to say something that might sound a little weird because I get a lot of people all the time worried about interest rates going up and I actually tell them the opposite. I am so excited that real estate is going to be changing because interest rates are going up.

Now, I love investing in residential, four units and below. And who are my competition or investors like us? Our competition is not other investors. There's not that many of us. In fact, that's why I try to bring us all together, so we can have more of us where we can help each other out.

But who is my competition and other investors’ competition? Homeowners. They are the ones that pay top dollar or pay more than what it's worth. They say, oh, I love the way this layout is, or the location and all that sort of stuff. And they'll pay a lot more. Now, what happens is with interest rates are 2.5% or 3%, everybody only has, let's say $1800 a month to pay for a mortgage or rent. But that $1800 goes a very long way. It goes like $450,000, $500,000 for a house in the desert. Like I kid you not, in the desert, people are spending $500,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house. That is just silly. And so it's because they can afford it because the interest rate being so low.

Now, what's happened, that $1800 doesn't go nearly as far with 6%, 7%, and even 8% interest rate. So that means the price has to come down because the competition is taken out of the market. Now, the most they could spend is $250,000 for that $1800. So I see prices adjusting for me.

But here's the great thing. Rents don't come down. Rents maybe just a little bit, but not precipitously like the prices of homes. So I am super excited. So everybody listening, I want you to be excited. It’s going to be a fantastic time to invest. So I am excited that it's going to be even better to invest. Rents are going to stay high for us as investors, which gives us more cash flow as prices of homes are going to come down.

Pili: What am I excited about? I am excited about teaching people. I know everyone on this stage is excited about that too. Because we are all educators. We get to teach people about what we do. We get to teach investors about what we do. We get to teach people to take that step forward, to believe in themselves, and then to get the information needed to make correct decisions on the market, where we're going, where we think we're going to go.

So that is probably what I'm most excited about right now. It's just the ability to be here right now, talking with you all. I feel blessed.

Dustin: I would add to that, we could see, obviously being here at the Real Estate Wealth Builders Conference, we can see the hunger for this. Just in conversations walking down the hallways, I walk past and I listen to people talking, and I see how awesome it is that they're all working together, they're all talking together, and they've seen the excitement of real estate investing that's possible. So I absolutely echo that.

Marco: Well, I guess it's my turn here. What am I excited about? A lot. But the most basic thing is essentially what I was talking about during the keynote this morning, and that is just the fundamentals of real estate housing in the country right now.

We have about a 1.5 to 1.6 million housing unit need in this country just to stay on pace for organic growth. And we haven't been reaching or achieving those numbers for a long time. We've actually been short since about 2010 in providing those numbers. And then that started to turn a corner roughly around 2017 or 2018. So now builders are actually pulling more permits than they have historically in terms of averages, and so that will provide more housing going forward.

But it's what's in the pipeline. Those are housing units that haven't been built yet. But even if they were producing at full capacity right now, and mortgage rates were a little bit better, we'd be meeting the organic demand, but we're still going to be in a deficit until about 2030.

So that means that for me, as a real estate investor, for you, as a real estate investor, for the clients that we work with that are looking to invest in real estate, if you position yourself in the right markets—and I always stress the importance of being in the right neighborhoods because that's where, for me, risk mitigation lies—if you position yourself appropriately, real estate being a very slow moving asset class, but something that can create true wealth sometimes very quickly, will be to your benefit.

So you've got an asset that generates income that'll pay for itself over time. Technically, your tenant is paying for it, and it will create wealth for you because the equity will grow over time. And so if you make some smart moves, you can't help but to be successful. If I were you, just buy as many properties as fast as you can in the right markets and just let real estate do what it does. That means that it'll create wealth, equity over time, and generate income, and that income will grow.

So the fundamentals are what excites me, because the cards are stacked in my favor, your favor, and our favor. And if you just take advantage of that, I think you will be very happy five years and ten years down the road.

Dustin: And to add to that, a lot of people say, “Should I wait to buy real estate? Prices are so high.” I say, you do not wait to buy a real estate. You buy real estate and then wait, because over time, like Marco is saying, fundamentally, you do everything right where you're making passive income every single month. You're buying it well, you have the people that are going to run the business for you. Over time, prices of rent go up. Hopefully your mortgage gets paid off by your tenant, because they're the ones that are paying your mortgage, they're paying your rent. And so with that, we buy real estate and then wait.

Marco: I'm just going to add one more thing to that, because, Dustin, you weren't here this morning when I was speaking at the keynote and I think most of the people in the room here probably were. But one of the things I mentioned on my last slide, one of my many rules for success.

A lot of people often ask us, should I invest in real estate right now? I mean, mortgage rates have gone up, property values appreciated tremendously, especially during COVID. It was, on average, nationwide, 20% per year, two years in a row. Very unsustainable, not a good thing. So that's why we're seeing a correction or a breather in the market. It's to be expected.

But my answer to that question, “Should I be investing in real estate now?” And the answer is yes, because to me, it's not a question of when should I be investing in real estate, the answer is always. It's not a question of when, it's a question of where. There are always opportunities all around the country in different markets and different reasons to invest in real estate. So sometimes it's about price, sometimes it's about terms, but certainly about the demand I was talking about before.

So I think you should always be looking to invest in real estate when you have the deployable capital to invest in real estate. And that's true whether you're doing a syndication like you do, or you're just an individual investor buying single-family homes, duplexes, and fourplexes. There are always deals out there. Just go and find them when you have the capital and the credit to do so, and just keep stacking. Build your portfolio till you reach your investment goals. And at that point, then you'll reevaluate what you want to do.

Pili: Can I jump in? Can we all agree on something? And I think this will separate our mindset from a lot of others, that we believe that there's always deals to be had, that there's always opportunity to be had, no matter what the state of the market is. Can we agree on that?

Dustin: 100%.

Annie: Not me. I tried to time the market. Just kidding.

Pili: But that's true, right? That's what separates our mindset from others. We believe that there is always a deal to be had, that there is always opportunity. You all just got to find it.

Annie: One of the best deals I ever bought was in 2008. I invested in a duplex. It's my first one ever. First duplex ever. I bought out of foreclosure. I didn't even know what foreclosure was back then. The basement had been a brothel before, so there was a lot of cleaning up to do. But because it was 2008, everybody was scared. We got a special loan we only had to put in, I think, like $15,000 down for this $480,000 property in the heart of Washington, D.C. And several years later, we sold it for twice that, and we bought it in 2008.

So there is no bad time. There are always opportunities to be had.

Dustin: And I'll echo that because my students and myself, we're finding deals now. The deals, when the market is high and it's a seller's market, they're harder to find, but they're out there.

And a lot of students ask me, well, should I do this or look for this property? No, whatever deal comes your way, we figure out how that's going to work with us in our investing business.

Seth: So what I'm hearing here is very much like, yes, go buy the house. Go do this together. But I know what holds a lot of people back is just this fear that, “Well, what if I pay too much? Or what if I can't find a tenant? Or what if something's wrong? What if the market's bad? What if everything falls out?”

And it just makes you wonder what would have to be true for you guys to say, no, don't do that. That's a bad deal. What's considered a bad market? When you look back at 2008, I remember just the mindset of the media and everything out there was so much doom and gloom. Like, the real estate market is never coming back, this is the end, the world is ending (which obviously was not true; it was an incredible time that I wish we could go back there because there were so many great deals).

But just makes you wonder, looking at where we're at today, what would you warn people against? Like, “Be careful about this. Go buy the property, but don't make this mistake, because that's what's going to get people hurt.” Anything come to mind about what they shouldn't do, rather than just like, “Charge forward and buy everything”?

Pili: Definitely don't charge forward and buy everything.

But the number one thing is don't let fear stop you. That's my number one guideline. Don't let fear stop you. You can find the numbers. You can find the market research. Apparently, you can use AI for that now. You can study the markets. You can get yourself out there. You can surround yourself with other individuals that do things better than you, and you can find that deal.

And again, going back to this really no bad market in 2016, when Jason and I were first learning about large multifamily and going to early 2017, when we took down our first one, it was a 94-unit. Basically, we went from two duplexes in Indianapolis to a 94-unit in Kentucky. Long story between those two, but that was a mindset of taking that leap forward.

But then we didn't buy another one for another year. And it wasn't because of fear… well, maybe a little bit, but it was because we thought that we were looking at deals and we're being really conservative and maybe a little fear crept in there. Come on, guys, it was 2016. We could have bought anything! Again, we let fear take hold and didn't let us take that next step.

So take that next step and don't let that fear guide you.

Seth: If there is a recession like in 2008, or even half as bad as that, if things are going to go down at some point (and based on your presentation, Marco, I don't know if that's going to happen—just seeing all the pent-up demand, which I thought was very illuminating to see that just like, wow, I kind of knew it, but just seeing your numbers really helped crystallize that for me), but if things go horribly wrong somehow, is there a way that we can protect ourselves? Like, stay within this box and you'll be fine? What would those parameters be?

Dustin: So I started investing in 2006, started buying properties, and I didn't know what I was doing at all. But the only thing I did know was I wanted to make money.

And in 2006, all the gurus were saying, you want to buy and then you're going to get appreciation. That's what you're going to get, because remember, the market was taking off. It was so exciting. That's when the flipping shows came out, everybody's making millions of dollars. I was like, “That's exciting!”

But I don't want to flip. I have a full-time job and a full-time family. I don't want to flip, and I want to make money passively. And I realized I can't eat appreciation. I can't feed my family with that or put a roof over our heads with that. So I thought, I just need to make passive income. I want to make money every single month.

And I kid you not, when I saw—this is the way I invest—I saw countless investors go broke because they got over-leveraged. They were hoping for appreciation. They literally went bankrupt. Countless ones, even ones that I meet now. “Oh, man. In 2008, I went bankrupt because of this, this, and this.” It's literally because they were investing for appreciation.

What I do, and what helped me in the long run, is because I created a business that makes money every single month. Like, the principle is we're making money. We're in this business to make money, not hope something comes in the future. We want to be making money every single month because my family can eat from the passive income that my properties make.

So that's what helped me when everything was going bad, was making sure I have the business that runs itself, but then also making money every month.

Seth So cash flow.

Dustin: 100%.

Seth: Makes sense.

Annie: And to stack on that, I would say, just as Dustin saying, it's super important now more than ever to know your lane and to stay in your light. Because especially here at REWBCON, you're talking to all sorts of people, doing all sorts of different things. And I've been there. It's easy to get caught up in shiny object syndrome and be like, oh, my gosh, I want to do that. Oh, I want to do that. Oh, and this and that.

And very quickly, especially in a market like this, if you're dabbling in a lot of different things that you only know the tip of the iceberg about, it's a lot easier to make mistakes versus if you choose. You're like, you know what, this is the path I want to go down. Maybe it's rentals or short-term rentals or land or whatever it is. You're like, “I'm committing to this and I'm going to get to know this really well. Just this one. I'm going to put my blinders on for a little while and I'm just going to focus on this. I'm going to master this.” And once you do as you do, then you'll be able to find those hidden gems that nobody else is looking for or knows to look for, because they only know the tip of the iceberg.

So that's what I always counsel people to do. At a time like this, know your lane and stay in your lane.

Dustin: I'll add one quick thing to that. Also, have awesome people that are in different lanes. I invest with Annie. I don't want to do this stuff that she does, but I'm like, “Let me give you money so you can make me money.” So get with other people that are in other lanes too. That's going to help you to be broader outside that.

Marco: One of the things I like to say that addresses the last two questions brought up, Seth, is don't be a speculator. It's actually my 6th rule of my 10 rules of successful real estate investing. Dustin started investing in 2006. There was probably no worse time to get into it.

Dustin: it was.

Marco: Right? I mean, you were literally investing right before credit dried up and we went into 2007, where real estate was just depreciating very rapidly.

But the fifth rule: investor cash flow. That doesn't mean you have to have a lot of cash flow in your property at the get-go because that will adjust and correct itself over time. But I often refer to cash flow as the glue that holds your real estate deal together.

Cash flow is not going to make you rich. It will provide financial independence and financial freedom over time. And as you build your portfolio (wide) and then the cash flows increase, which is depth over time, those provide you passive income and your financial freedom. But you want to invest for cash flow because that cash flow is what is going to pay for your real estate investment over time.

The other thing you don't want to do is become a speculator or a gambler and just invest in the hope that you're going to see capital appreciation. It will come, it will happen over time. And if you actually play your cards right, you can actually pick markets that will certainly show you strong appreciation just because of what is going on in those markets in terms of jobs, job growth, population growth. And we're seeing that in the Smile States and certainly in the Southeast at this point in time.

But don't be a speculator. Don't invest solely for that reason. You have to make sure that your investments are made intelligently and prudently. So that's how you avoid problems. That's how you stack the cards in your favor and assure success. I had something else to say about that.

Seth: So when you say speculation, you're talking mostly about appreciation, that piece of it. Right?

Marco: Right. And that's what people were doing in, in 2004 or 2005. They were looking to buy a property, knowing that pretty much every market across the country was appreciating in some places, appreciating very rapidly. And they were looking like they were getting rich and feeling they were like they were getting rich because they were gaining. in some cases, I know people were gaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity because they were putting down payments on a whole bunch of new construction homes. It's a little harder to do that today, but they were equity-rich and cash flow-poor. They look great on paper, but those people that flipped those properties, they walked away with some pretty good capital gains.

But the ones that didn't think that way didn't sell, weren’t smart enough to sell, and/or didn't invest for cash flow got caught with their pants down. Now they were upside down. That's why there were so many foreclosures because these people bought property for capital gains. They were speculating. And then they couldn't afford to carry them because they had negative cash flow. And so they basically had to give them back to the bank. That's why there were so many foreclosures; everybody was speculating.

And back then, we also had ninja loans. No income, no assets, no job. You fog a mirror, you get a loan, great. But that just leads to more speculation in the market and that continued to drive the trend. It was a problem that was fueling itself.

Annie: I like the image of lots of these novice real estate investors with their pants down. That's a good one. Good visual.

Seth: Is there ever a point at which at what point are you not speculating? How do you know, okay, this is a sure thing, this is going to happen. Where is the line at which you're guessing?

Because I mean, when you think about it, everything's speculation. Even when you're really sure. Nobody knows the future. So where would you say the line in terms of like, yes, now you're safe?

Marco: Are you asking me that question?

Seth: Yeah.

Marco: I don't think you're always speculating. You're always making assumptions, especially when it comes to appreciation. You might say, okay, well, I expect this investment to appreciate 4% or 5% per year on average over the long term, because historically, that's what we've seen in real estate. Some years have been crazy, some years have been negative. It depends on the year and the market you're in. But over time, it's not unreasonable to expect 4%, maybe 5% per year.

But that's an assumption you're making. You're not investing in that real estate because you expect to get 4% or 5% per year every year, like clockwork. You know what's going to happen, it's going to be there.

But if you're investing in, like I said before, good markets, great neighborhoods, you have positive cash flow ideally (or worst case scenario, break even), if you position yourself well with a prudent, well-chosen, well-oiled real estate investment, it will create wealth for you, it will build equity, it will generate cash flow. It will be a strong investment going forward. It will be something you can hold in your portfolio that you could put into your trust or pass down to your heirs. You're not really speculating when you're doing it that way.

If you do your research and you base your investment on, one, the fundamentals, and two, you look at the numbers, and the numbers do have to make sense. You'll do well, you might have a bad deal every once in a while, like one out of ten, but real estate is very forgiving if you invest right, if you go in right. But that's not speculating, in my opinion.

Seth: Would you say, maybe there are levels of speculation? Or it's like a black-and-white where you are and you're not?

Dustin: I find speculating is hoping. You're hoping that something happens. We're business owners. Like, if you're here at REWBCON, we need to realize that we're business owners and we need to act as if business owners. You're not going to get into a business hoping that something's going to happen. No, you're going to get into business because you've done an educated estimation of what something's worth, how much you could sell it for, or rent it for.

But being business owners, we're in business to make money. Now, that could be cash flow. It could be over time, the value of the home goes up. So you have that. You can pull money out if you want to buy more properties. All of the above. And what we try to do is, as business owners, always, in every single way, we can make money. But we're not hoping anything happens. We're making the best, educated decision from all the information we get and hire experts that are giving us even more information so we make the best decision.

Pili: I also want to talk on, as you said, a well-underwritten property, definitely numbers have to work, but also your partners need to work. I want to make sure that when you are looking for partners, not only to get into a real estate investment, if you're going to go on the active side, but if you're going to go on the passive side, make sure you are underwriting your partners. Make sure you are digging into them, make sure you are talking to their investors. Make sure that you are, because you all know that a very well-underwritten property and a property that looks like it's going to do well can be taken down so quickly by a bad sponsor, by a bad investor. So make sure that you are looking into the people that you are partnering up with.

Seth: Yeah. Well, to kind of bring this to a close, do you guys see any people that are having success in any specific strategy or just given where things are at right now? Like what is working either for you or for people in your communities that you know?

Dustin: I'm going to actually turn our head back around on you. I am excited about what you're doing. Can you share with us? Because if there is a recession, storage units and facilities are going to be amazing. Could you share with us this exciting project that you're working on?

Seth: Yeah, sure.

So I bought a piece of vacant land a couple of years ago and over the past year we've been building a new self-storage facility on it. And it's opened a couple of weeks ago and we're doing a grand opening in the next month. And, yeah, for me, it was just kind of a long-term strategy where I wanted to create some more long-term passive income. Got a partner who's going to be managing that.

The reason I was asking about the speculation thing is because it's kind of hard to figure out where is the line? When is it enough? When have I done enough homework? I remember I had spent a ton of time doing my own version of a feasibility study and then I paid $7,000 for somebody else to do it independently. And they looked at a ton of data and we did a ton of research and we felt like we had everything we could ever need to go forward and be confident in that.

And that was a year and a half ago and before interest rates went way up and things started to change. So we're kind of making decisions based on stuff that was a little old (but still valid, I think, anyway). But in our soft opening, we've got four tenants already in the first couple of weeks and got 166 more units to fill up and hopefully, they do.

Pili: Thing is, Jason and I just took down three facilities this year also.

Seth: Where'd you find them?

Pili: All of them are in Murfreesboro.

Seth: Cool. Very cool.

Dustin: And I would definitely encourage anybody. It was phenomenal. So Seth is actually like an artist as well. The videos that he created literally document this, you got to check out the REtipster website and his YouTube channel because he's documented this from the very beginning, from when it's trees to now, where he's launching it. And I can't wait till we'll see the finished product. So I'm super excited about it.

Seth: Thanks for the plug. Check out the YouTube channel. It's a lot of fun to make those videos.

Dustin: So what I'm seeing in the overall market is people are, as I invest and as my students invest, I'm seeing that there are deals and deals are coming actually more rapidly. In fact, I just talked to Matt. Matt's in the audience. Matt, are you still here? There he is.

Matt just told me Tuesday he is taking down… a duplex, right? Yeah, he's taken down a duplex. About $500 a month of passive income is capturing equity. It's phenomenal. And he has a nice property manager managing the property.

So deals are out there. You just need to know how to find them, how to take them down, and how to actually make sure that your business is going to be making money. So deals are out there. So if somebody's telling you, oh, you can't get them. No, investors know how to find them. In fact, I love having other people find them and they bring it to me and then I buy them.

Seth: Maybe that's a good question to end this on. So go down the line. If you could only choose one way to find a great deal right now, what would you do to find that deal?

Annie: ChatGPT.

Seth: The deal was pre-2021, right?

Annie: So for me, if there's one way, I'm going to lump up all into one, letting other people find them for me. So I love wholesalers, Realtors, other investors.

Well, here's the big thing. When I first started investing, I wasn't telling many people that I was an investor, so no deals were coming to me. As soon as I started telling people I was an investor, deals started flooding in my door. Now that people know me as that investor. Investor Dustin. They know that. And so deals come to me.

So what I love to do is let people know, if there's one way, let everybody know that I'm an investor, and then deals come.

Seth: If somebody's starting from scratch without Master Passive Income, without the audience you have, what would you say is the best way to let people know? Is it like networking? Is it social media? Email your friends and family? What would you do to get the word out?

Dustin: 100% it’s networking.

For me, social media is great, don't get me wrong, but you get followers. Good or bad, I'm just not a social media person. I guess I'm older, and it's just like, oh, I don't understand this thing.

But I love networking and coming to events like this. Coming to go to your local RIA, like, literally find where other investors are. Let them know you’re investors, your friends, your family members, every single person you know.

Well, here's what I did. Whenever anybody asked me the question, “Dustin, what do you do?” And we get this question all the time. I would reply, “I work for the local county government doing technology.” I'm replying with my job. I'm projecting that out to everybody. This is who I am. This is the value that I put on myself. As soon as I realized that my value doesn't come from my job, comes from my God and from myself and from my family, I changed it. Even though I'm still working that job, 100% of my money comes from my job, I'm now a full-time investor. That's my part-time job, but I'm a full-time investor. So I started telling every single person.

So for me, anybody that I meet, I'm always telling them what I do.

Seth: Yeah. And I think, your superpower, Dustin, is that people who network and say, “Here's my business card. Here's what I do.” Like, those people are a dime a dozen. But you seem to be gifted at going out of your way to find ways to help people that doesn't necessarily do anything for you. He just labels you as a very helpful guy that adds value, and it makes you stand apart. “That's unusual, that he cares that much about me, that he would try to help me.”

So that's, like, one of my biggest lessons I've learned from you, is just, how do I help somebody where there's nothing in it for me? I can just help them, because I think that leaves a huge impression on people. So thanks, man.

What about you, Annie?

Annie: Yeah, I would echo that. That's how I got started, too, was just talking to friends and family and not pretending that I knew anything about anything. They would ask me, “Hey, Annie, how's it going? How are you doing?”

And I'd be like, “Oh, my gosh. I'm looking at this real estate market. I just started looking at it. I don't know much about it, but here's what I know.” And I'm looking at these deals, and just that enthusiasm, that passion, they would be like, “Oh my gosh, that's fascinating. Tell me about it. I want to learn, too.”

And so it would create this conversation, and I was only, at the time, maybe a step or two ahead of where they were, but it created this conversation. And what it did was allow me the opportunity over and over again to practice. Okay, what am I actually doing, what are my goals, what am I looking for?

And so each time that I was able to practice that, I was able to refine what I was looking for and that really helped me. And so, I highly recommend that even these days, networking is the number one way we find deals. Because ChatGPT is great, Google is great, but the best deals aren't going to be found there. The best deals are going to be found through relationships. As Dustin said, real estate isn't location, location, location; it’s people, people, people.

Seth: Awesome. What about you Pili? What do you think?

Pili: So I am also going to echo that sentiment, but you particularly asked about deals. Brokers, broker relationships, that's literally their job. And for anybody that doesn't like or is really not against, but fearful of talking to brokers, they want to talk to you, they want to know if you have relationships or have done it before, of course, but it’s literally their job.

So I network with as many brokers as possible, I talk to as many brokers as possible. I have my team talk to as many brokers as possible. I love the brokers. I love all of them.

Yes, you can go straight to seller, yes, you can do your marketing campaigns and what have you. But brokers? Their job is to go to the seller to get the deal. They want to make the sale to you. So that's where you go and get the deals.

Seth: Awesome. How about you Marco?

Marco: So your original question is where would you start or where would you go?

Seth: If you could have one way to find a deal right now, what would you do?

Marco: Well, I'm sorry, I'm going to be biased, I just have to answer it this way. My opinion, of course, but if you're just getting started or you're a seasoned real estate investor and you want to add or build to your portfolio, this is exactly what I set out to do 19 and a half years ago. I just say go talk to my team at Norada Real Estate because we've got a pipeline of 25 markets of available turnkey ready-to-go, tenant-occupied, professionally managed investment property.

It's the least amount of brain damage. I mean, I've done the other avenues, talking to people, networking, going to meetups and real estate clubs, and they all work. They all take varying degrees of time, they all work. But I just want something a little simpler, systematized. And so that would be my biased answer.

Pili: So, Marco, I'm actually going to uplift you because our first multifamily, those two duplexes in Indianapolis, they were turnkey rentals and that's how we learned how to get into multifamily.

Marco: Congratulations.

Seth: It also probably depends on the type of property you're going after. What I'm hearing here makes a ton of sense for commercial, residential, that kind of thing.

For land (or even self-storage, in some cases), direct mail, text marketing campaigns, stuff that's kinda off-market, maybe not the most conventional way to do it. But you have a good strategy on where to find a list and what to say and how to handle those leads as they come in. That could be pretty effective, too, if you're looking for, like, super bargain based on prices.

But yeah. Thanks, everybody, for being here. This is a lot of fun. Glad we could hang out here and do this. And I think it's lunchtime, right?

If people want to follow along or get in touch with anybody here, where can each other, where and how to do that, I will start. Go ahead and scroll to the bottom of the website, and there's a little contact button there. You can feel free to reach out to me there or anywhere on social media. Just look for REtipster and you'll find us there.

Dustin: Yeah. So you could find me on Instagram. Even though I'm not big on social media, I actually play on there a lot. So @thedustinheiner, and trust me, I'm not that arrogant. T-H-E, thedustinheiner. It’s the only handle I could come up with everything else was taken, and I don't want a bunch of numbers and stuff. So obviously, my podcast, the Master Passive Income Podcast, I think I've had literally everybody here on the stage here on the show. It’s so fantastic to have amazing people as friends.

Annie: If you're interested in learning more about passive investing through syndications, the best place to go to is our website, And if you go to, it'll take you through a bunch of resources to discover if passive investing is right for you.

Pili: You can find Jason and I at That'll take you directly to our investment website, and you can get all the information from there. Or that QR code that we had up during our presentation that actually takes you to a link where you can have a one-on-one call with Jason and me.

Marco: Just a couple of places, either Norada Real Estate, N-O-R-A-DA,,, or just my personal website at

Seth: Great. Thanks, everyone.

Everyone: Thank you.


Key Takeaways

  • Discover innovative approaches to real estate investing in the current market landscape.
  • Learn why focusing on cash flow can be more important and profitable than property appreciation for long-term success.
  • Gain insights on identifying and establishing reliable partnerships for a thriving real estate business.
  • Uncover effective ways to safeguard your investments during economic downturns and unfavorable market conditions.
  • Explore unique techniques to source lucrative real estate deals, focusing on turnkey properties and leveraging networks.

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About the author

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

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