Sovereignty: The Ryan Michler Interview

This post I’m doing something completely different…an interview…with someone I’ve been following and looking up to for some time now, Ryan Michler. AND, we barely scrape the surface on the topic of real estate investing, so completely different. Fair warning, I eventually loosened up but I was a bit anxious during the first few minutes of the interview. Bring in Ryan Michler….

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Ryan is an Iraqi war veteran, trained financial planner and Founder of The Order of Man. Since 2015 he has gained a massive social media following (learning how he did this is of my personal interest; reference 2018 Goals).

  • Over at OrderOfMan.com, men can engage with a brotherhood of like minded men who are interested at improving all facets of their life; manly skills to become a better father, better husband, improved leadership and improved financial status to name a few (actually that is my personal short list). Ryan hosts a weekly podcasts where he and his guests talk about their personal experiences in just about everything that it means to be a Man.

On February 1st Ryan is releasing his first Order of Man book, Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men. Available via hard/soft cover, kindle and audio, you can download an intro chapter by visiting OrderOfMan.com/Book.

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Ryan and I connected via Facebook where he graciously agreed to give me 15 minutes to talk about his book #Sovereignty, but just as I thought we were done, he spends another 20 minutes allowing me to dive into a few business and personal questions. Had me so stocked I even used the word Solid during the interview. Ryan IS a solid guy and overall just gets it. Someone I will to continue to learn from. So, stick around after the 15 minute Closing Comments remark for the full discussion. Ryan has upcoming deadlines that I want to help him meet so I did not edit the audio, the full raw version is below.

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supreme power or authority; authority of a state to govern itself or another state



Items we cover:

  • What do you hope every man obtains from reading your book #Sovereignty?
  • What was the most rewarding aspect of the writing process for you?
  • Writing 60,000 words in 60 days
  • What is your favorite chapter and why?
  • Will there be an audio version?
  • Who are your mentors and men you look up to?
  • Financial advisor by trade, are you still active in that business and do you advise your clients to invest in real estate?
  • Best Fatherly advice you give your sons on their journey to become Sovereign Men?
  • Birds and the bees?
  • Confidence: historical baggage that holds you down (example of $1.3 million in 2017 transactions but lack of confidence in a discussion regarding a $50k property).
  • “My objective as a father, is to render myself obsolete. That’s my job.”

Action Items:

 

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#HelmsREI

Does Your Realtor Analyze Deals Before Bringing Them to You?

I hear this question a lot. The quick answer is No.

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Since the World Series (Congrats to the World Champion Houston Astros!) just wrapped up, I’ll use some baseball analogies to help answer this question. Long has been the day since this 5’8, 120 lbs high school junior kept the pine warm for those starters – wow, I’ve gained 100 lbs since then…all muscle! In the real estate investing game, I’m the player and the Realtors/Brokers are my coaches. They advise me on why they like the deal, details on the neighborhood and potentially an exit strategy.  In some sense, they are also my general manager, helping to ensure a transaction or trade goes as smooth as possible. Let me explain.

Here’s why my coaches don’t analyze deals before bringing them to me:

#1 – I want the BP!  The analytical part helps me stay current on our sought after markets and helps keep my analytical skills sharp. This is me taking swings in the cage. My daily BP! That stands for Batting Practice…or Bigger Pockets! My dad’s a huge baseball fan. Huge is probably putting it lightly. Growing up, one of his many tricks to get us invested in the game involved hanging an old tire off the back fence. I remember him wanting my brother and I to throw 100 balls a day into that strike zone. I was too interested in the couch and TV (and a little fishing) at the time but I wish I would have. Learning from that, instead of throwing balls, I’m analyzing deals, daily!

#2 – I don’t want to be traded to the Detroit Tigers!  By that I mean, I have to love the deal! And for the longest I can remember the Detroit Tigers have been the worst team in  the MLB. Analyzing is only a piece of the puzzle. Love is an emotion and if you’ve been following us I suggest removing the emotion out of the deal (something I continue to work on). However in this case, loving the deal (the location, cash flow, portfolio balance, & value add) is highly motivating. Just don’t let the love emotion compromise your numbers – be willing to walk away. For example, in the last 2 months I’ve submitted four LOI’s. Two of which are still pending but the other 2 we could not come to terms.  I loved these deals but wasn’t willing to compromise on our numbers as doing so wouldn’t yield our anticipated return.

#3 – Extra Innings.  In my dad’s words, it’s “Free Baseball” but, working a full-time job, family w/2 kids, 48 units under our umbrella and currently undergoing a personal home live-in-remodel, I don’t have a lot of spare time to filter through every deal my coaches send my way. Sad to say there are probably some gems that I quickly push to the trash bin because I knew I wouldn’t have time to review and now I’ve wasted my coaches’ time to find and send it to me. The current process I like to follow is finding the opportunity and reaching out to the realtor/broker in that market and so far that has worked very well.

#4 – Pitching Change.  We started out wanting to buy single family homes that cash flowed really well, which are typically C Class properties/neighborhoods and below and we only looked in Pensacola, because it’s local for us.  While I still look at those properties our evolution of investing has progressed like this: single family in one city -> small multifamily in another county -> apartment building in another state. All within a relative easy drive, we now own assets across 3 counties in 2 states. Staying with the value add properties the size of our deals have increasingly grown in size.

#5 – I Simply Don’t Expect Them To It’s not Brent Strom’s responsibility to throw any pitches for the Astros, that’s the players job. I understand how realtors/broker get paid – when a deal closes, not when they send me a listing. I’m very conservative on what we buy and we haven’t sold anything (except our personal home) since we REALLY started investing in 2014. In my opinion, my coaches’ or realtor’s roll is to help educate & advise me, negotiate the deal and ensure a smooth-ish transaction. If they perform these things, then they’ve represented me very well.

Related Articles:

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How Do You Know How To Invest in Real Estate?

As I continue to talk with more & more people about our buy & hold real estate investing in Pensacola, I find myself running into a similar question: How do you know how to do this? How do you know how to successfully invest in buy & hold real estate?

Fair question. I have spent most of my career in the IT world, I did not study REI in a MBA course, and we just started actively investing in 2014. Self-education is the actual answer; self-education and being strict on the tripod of acquisition criteria that we have adopted.

Years before we purchased our first Pensacola property we started learning. Learning about the Pensacola market, different ways to invest, and trying not to repeat what I consider a false start to my real estate investing career in 2006. It seems like Real Estate has always interested us and it really wasn’t until after our first full year of investing did our focus become clear – thanks largely in part to the REI social network @ BiggerPockets.com.

We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, just follow the pros!  The best source of learning is from people who have and are successfully investing. At the time of this original post (I’ll add more books as I continue to educate myself), I’ve listened to over 250 hours of audiobooks & podcasts that are focused on real estate investing/wealth building and held countless conversations with local realtors, lenders and real estate attorneys.

Below I’ve listed the books/links that I credit the most in helping shape my mind around our real estate investing. As I run across additional, paradigm shifting material, I’ll be sure to update this post. Enjoy!

 

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The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey

Biggest Takeaway: Create a budget that will assist you in meeting your financial goals and stick to it.

 
 




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The 10X Rule – Grant Cardone

Biggest Takeway:  Write down your goals often and dream big! Being financially successful is my duty & obligation. #DBALB

Biggest Takeaway: Overall different way of looking at money and putting validation around making your money work for you. This book is a perfect gift for anyone, especially new fathers. 

Biggest Takeaway: All about stats.  Create a budget and not a flashy lifestyle; live within your means. Focus on being an exemplary builder of personal net worth. Exemplary Net Worth Equation: 

Exemplary Net Worth > Your Age / 10 X Current Salary

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BiggerPockets Podcast & Social Network 

Biggest Takeaway: Too many to count here. Always great to have a network of like minded people seeking similar goals to bounce ideas and directly learn from. Free to join – send me a colleague request. They have published a few Amazon Best Selling Books on REI

 

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What Serving On My HOA Board is Teaching Me About REI

I have to hand it to my wife. She knows me better than I know myself…
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In September 2015 I was convinced to serve on the Board of Directors for my HOA in Pensacola, FL. Before throwing my hat in the ring, I inquired with people whose opinion I value and there are times where I wish I would have listened to everyone of them. They all told me “don’t do it!” I tried to convince my wife that this wouldn’t take much time, wouldn’t be a hassle, etc, but she knows better. “You’ll go at this full force like you do everything else.” She was right and what I’ve learned will help me when I run across that opportunity to Buy-Renovate-Hold a large multi-family that’s in need of deferred maintenance attention.

First, all of my interviewees had current or previous BOD experience not in our neighborhood (friends who live in Daphne, Navarre, and Pensacola). Second, their advice was solid and so far, on point: it is the most under appreciated role you’ll ever have – don’t do it.  A few things to note that makes this such a good opportunity for me to learn: (1) not a single member of the previous board that served for the 3 previous years lived full time in our neighborhood, not even in the southeast actually (2) we had 3 property management firms in the last 2 years (3) I’m currently the only serving BOD that lives full time in our Pensacola neighborhood (mostly rental properties).

In the short 8 months of serving as Treasurer & Secretary, here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Not going to make everyone happy. This volunteer position doesn’t allow you to make every one happy. I can’t imagine taking over a large multi-family in need of deferred maintenance attention will provide much opportunity to make everyone happy either.  There are those that welcome improvement and there are those that are against anything that isn’t their idea and unwilling to serve. The later makes me smile.
  • How to resolve deferred maintenance items while working within a budget. With the previous, physically distant board attempting to take on large projects (i.e. grass replacement for entire neighborhood) while changing management companies each time the sun came up (not really), our neighborhood resulted in lots of deferred maintenance items. My wife and I joked a lot because each week before the HOA meeting it was like a scene from While You Were Out around here. Rush a years worth of work into one week. This part I’ve enjoyed the most and it has brought the most criticism (from none other than the previous board members).
  • Enhancing relationships with quality vendors. Once I came on board, it took some time to identify which vendors wanted our business with us and which ones didn’t. The quality ones are still around and we make sure to treat them like they deserve.
  • Expanding my knowledge/experience of replacing sub-par vendors.  Change always has a FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) feeling, but we’ve made a few sub-par vendor changes that have led to easier management and less involvement from our board. We have a couple more to go but the deferred maintenance items are certainly dwindling down.
  • Resolving deferred maintenance items to improve overall property value. Just to name a few…dying to dead brand new sod, common area buildings that need painting, homes that need painting/cleaning, 10 year old irrigation system with little to no maintenance (ever), website with a 1980s look & feel, dying pool & spa equipment. More than a few, but we’re getting there.
  • It takes a team. Like managing any property, trying to take on HOA BOD duties solo is #1 illegal (due to our governing docs & FL statues) and #2 is just plain crazy. Having the proper team (board members, property management, maintenance, lawn care, pool service, HOA members that have previously been silent, etc) is the best way to accomplish improvement.
  • Increased my knowledge of FL Statues. While this won’t help me as much owning/managing a large multi-family, I’ve learned more than I really wanted to know about the legal processes an HOA BOD has to operate. Interesting process and glad the statues exist to provide the framework to operate. Thankful for our Pensacola legal team for all the guidance!
As we’re addressing many of the deferred maintenance items, I hope to continue to be able to serve for the education. I expect there to be endless tasks to be done or, as I like to look at it, endless opportunities to learn. If you’re looking to invest in Real Estate in Pensacola, or any area for that matter, I encourage you to serve on your HOA BOD. It will come with heartache, stress, and time away from other important items in your life, but it will be an education that you can translate into your investment properties.

 

#REI  #RealEstateInvesting #HelmsREI