[0:00:13.9] MF: Welcome to the Investor Four More real state podcasts. My name is Mark Ferguson and I am your host. I am an active real estate investor. I’ve flip 15 to 30 houses a year. I've got residential and commercial rental properties. I’m an agent with nine people on my real estate team who’ve sold thousands of houses over the years, and I talk about what's going on in my career as well as interview other amazing agents, investors, landlords, flippers, wholesalers and companies who can help those people succeed.
So I want to give a quick shout out to my sponsor, Patch of Land. They funded a flip for me in six days. I emailed them on a Sunday afternoon, they responded in less than 15 minutes. They have rates below 8%, work in 45 states, will fund 85% of a deal and fund the repairs as well. Great company who I love working with, Patch of Land.
For my podcast listeners, I have a special discount page for my products, investfourmore.com/discount. That’s investfourmore.com/discount. We’ve got coupons on all my coaching programs. Some of those programs involve calls with me, consulting, video training, and much, much more.
All right, let's get to the show.
[0:01:46.9] MF: Hey, it’s Mark, and we’re back with another podcast. Today is just me. I’m going to give some updates on the brokerage, flipping, rentals, all that good stuff for the year. So I’m going to get right into it and start with updates on the new real estate brokerage I'm starting. So I’ve had a couple of podcasts on this subject. Talked little bit about it on YouTube, on the blog, but we started our own brokerage beginning of April, a little sooner than we thought, but it's worked out pretty good so far. We had to move into a temporary office in the 68,000 square-foot building I bought while our permanent office is being remodeled.
So I was hoping to kind of move into that office, have most of it ready by May 1st. That did not happen for a number of reasons. Our new date is June 1st. So I am making sure we’re in their June 1st. Get everything started going and kind of settled in, although there may be a few repairs, few things to finish after that is done.
So what has happened recently? First off, like I said, we started our own brokerage. So there is a lot to do as far as getting the actual brokerage set up. We had to create a business. It was called Blue Steel Real Estate. Had to file documents with the state for the business side of it. Had to file documents for the state for the brokerage side of it. Had to get all that approved. Then I had to set up manuals, office manuals, different forms, different addendums, contractor agreements for my agents, employee agreements for people who are employees with me, all kinds of things we had to do. So, luckily, there's a really good attorney's office in Colorado and they had most of those forms already set up for people starting their own brokerage, just kind of customize it for our brokerage. So they helped a ton with getting that stuff set up. It saved me so much time not to have to do all those forms and everything myself.
As well as getting the brokerage set up, we had to transfer the agents’ licenses from the old office to our new office. So all of my team came with me except for there's still one agent over at our old office, and he has said he's most likely going to come and join our office as soon as a permanent space is done. But he's at the other brokerage now until that happens, but the rest of my team is here. So we’ve got out agents, administration staff. We kind of just started. Did have an amazing plan for our brokerage, but since I already had my real estate team in place, we kind of just kept doing what the team was doing as far as marketing, as far as different things. We’re the Ferguson team at Pro Realty before. Now we’re the Ferguson team at Blue Steel Real Estate. So we’re kind of keeping that name to keep name recognition for our team, and then we’ll also have the separate Blue Steel Real Estate brokerage as well.
It has been challenging. Some of the things that you don't always think about or that I knew would come about, but we weren’t exactly prepared for just the amount of paperwork, keeping track of contracts, keeping track of dates, those type of things, and we have hired some people to help with that. And there's been private training going on to help those people get on board with what we’re trying to do. So that's been challenging. It’s been challenging because there’s a lot of work with not only getting the brokerage set up, but designing a new space. I'm still flipping houses. We still have rental properties. We still have the team activities. So there's a lot going on. Plus, there’s still the blog, where I'm doing these podcasts, I'm writing articles, doing other things. So it has been a lot to take in, but it's also been really fun at the same time.
I think we’re making progress. I think we’ve done pretty well for the short amount of time we've had to at least get our brokerage itself up and running with the team. Last week, we actually hired a new person, kind of an office manager who actually used to work at our old brokerage. So she's been a ton of help getting us set up, getting everything in compliance, everything done how it's supposed to be done, because details are not my specialty. So I need to have other people who can help with that side of it.
All right. So our team is doing well. The brokerage is doing well. We’re not trying to add new agents right now. After we’re moved, after we’re settled in at that point, then I'll look at adding new agents, but I’m not going out there, going to be recruiting full-time. I want quality over quantity and I want to take my time choosing the right people, ethical people, people who are doing a lot of business, people who will represent our company very well.
So as far as the repairs and remodeling go at the new office, it’s been making progress. It was much, much slower than I hoped it would be, and we kind of – We used one of my crews, contractors who does a lot of work on my houses. He’s been working with me for two or three years. Done a lot of houses remodeling them, and in that new space – Like I said, I have a lot of videos on YouTube, original video, a couple of update videos. So you can check those out if you're interested in seeing exactly what it looks like. But we had to go in there, move a couple of walls, nothing crazy. Had to paint the entire interior and it’s like 4,500 ft.² of space. So there's a lot of there. Paint all the doors, had to install new trim, had to redo flooring, which still isn’t done yet. Had to redo the bathrooms, put on a kitchen, kind of put in a little coffee bar. Had to put in a work room. So there was a lot to do, quite a bit of demo as well.
The guy I was using my contractor, we had been working – Or his crew had been working for almost 2 months, and basically what they got done was most of the paint, they had not finished painting everything, part of the bathrooms, most of the kitchen, and then moving a couple of the walls. I had talked with him at length about how important it was that this was done quickly, that we had a lot of people here working on it and that he is in constant communication with me and his crew about what was going on.
For a while, things would get better after these talks, then they’d go back to having one or two people over there working at a time, painting by hand, with brushes, just moving at a snail's pace, and the contractor was not on the job site. He was not working. He was doing other stuff. So it got very frustrating. Came to certain point, a couple of weeks ago where Nikki, who’s my project manager, went when over there, were making a list of all the things that still needed done. Making a list of paint that needed done, all the stuff.
While were over there, ironically, the contractor calls and says – Talking about something and Nikki is like, “Hey, we got to do this faster. We have to get this done faster,” and he just went off on her. She was not a happy camper and he basically said, “I don't need your guys’ work. I don't need you. I have better clients. I don't care about your project. So you'll just going to have to deal with how fast I'm moving. So after he said that, I told him get his crew out of there. He’s done, and it was kind of cool because that was nine-ish on a Thursday morning, and by 10:30 we had another crew in their working.
I had worked with him a lot, and Nikki was really upset about it too because she had given him a lot of chances, and I probably would've fired them a lot sooner, but she kept trying to give him chances because she'd worked with them so much before and knew he has usually has a pretty decent crew and that usually work really fast, but – Yeah, she was pretty upset about him acting like that and pretty much just saying he didn't care about our project.
So we cut ties with him completely. Told him to get his stuff. He had things stored in my storage unit that I'd let him store there. So all that stuff’s gone, and yeah, we’re done with him completely. So we can kind of tell by the work and the things were done that he did not care, and he was never there and know he got some other new clients who I think he thought were better, more important than us. I don't know what it was.
So I was actually really happy for, not happy because I fire someone, but I was happy because I knew things are going to change. It was really frustrating, really –I was anxious, stressed about how slow things were going, and I knew they could be going faster. So once we got rid of him and we got that new crew in there, I felt so much better about it and I feel like in the first week that new crew got more done than that other crew had gotten done in six weeks before that. I mean, they had a bunch of guys over there. They had painters over there. Just they’ve done a tremendous job. So that's actually another crew I’ve worked with on a bunch of houses as well who’ve done fantastic.
So once we got that new crew in there, things have gone much faster. We have started building a deck out front and it’s going to have a nice covered patio. We’re working on painting the stucco, doing a few minor stucco repairs and then painting the stucco as kind of a peachy color now. We’re going to paint it gray. The ceiling tiles inside are all painted gray. The doors are gray. The reception desk is being built. Now, the bathrooms are being finished now. Lots of progress made. The floor, we’re finally moving forward on the floor. Hopefully we’ve decided we’re just kind of buff the current floor, that’s there, the concrete floor. Put sealer on it and then an epoxy over it. So it should look pretty cool. That should be done soon. So there’s a lot going on. We still have a lot to do.
We need to finish the reception desk. Finish the bathrooms. Still some touchup painting that needs done. Floors obviously are big part of it. Then we ordered furniture. So I ordered six new desks. I ordered a couple of nicer desks for my office. We ordered bookcases. We ordered file cabinets, all matching. We just ordered a bunch of chairs yesterday. We've got a whole – What else did we have? Oh, we got barn doors for the conference room, which are on the way. We’ve got a little separate awning for the front and it's on its way. A lot going on. We’re replacing all the light bulbs. Making sure all the electrical is done right. The plumbing's all been fixed and done. So we’re making progress.
It will be tight getting in there by June 1st, but I think we can do it now. All of the outside might not be completely done, but we should have the floors, we should have the furniture and we should be able to operate come June 1st. Comcast is providing the phones and the internet. It’s scheduled on June 1st. So we lose internet at our temporary office here and it get switched to the new office on June 1st. So we have to be out of here and done by that date. So that should be really exciting. That should be lot of fun and a really cool day moving in and just being in that new space. This temporary space is okay, but I have a video of it as well. It’s got old carpet. It’s kind of stained. The walls are beat up. The doors are old. I'm doing this podcast in kind of a back office. The doors supposed to have glass, but it's got plywood covering the class, and no actual door handles, so I have to set something against the door so it actually stays shut.
It’s not best location right now, and all our desks are kind of in this giant big open room because it used to be a thrift store and that's what was there before. So nobody has any privacy, and I think we’ll be pretty happy to be in a new space, have her own offices and have something that's nice and really enjoyable. So that's kind of how the office is going.
Like I said, lot of progress being made, design choices. I’ve been a little tricky kind of decide between what I want, what my wife wants, what other people want, but we’re making progress on that side too. So, yeah, hopefully that goes well. We got our signs in. So if you guys follow the Facebook page for Blue Seal Real Estate, you can see pictures of our signs. We did posts with the hanging signs. So they look a lot nicer than most real estate office signs. Yeah, it’s been really cool. So that's the brokerage. That's the update there.
Moving on to my flips. So I set a goal to do 36 flips this year, and we are way behind that goal. Not quite like, not super far behind on flips sold, but on flips bought. So I think – I have to look at my list. We've sold 11 flips so far, but I have six under contract to sell in the next few weeks. So I actually have 16 sold halfway through the year. So that’s really close to my goal of selling 35, 36 for the year.
However, I have only bought seven flips this year. So this time last year, I bought a lot more, something like 12 or 13, and it has gotten much tougher to find deals this year, and part of that is because I have been distracted with the brokerage, with the office, with the commercial building we bought. At the same time if I thought Colorado's market could not get any hotter, I was wrong, because it is still on fire. There are fewer listings than ever. Prices keep going up, and just about everybody wants a whole lot of money for their houses.
You think with direct marketing with our off market properties, some people would be happy that they're making so much more money than what they bought it for. But a lot of people get caught up in how hot the real estate market is and they want even more money than it was actually worth seeing self.
So I've talked to a number of different real estate investors in my area. I've talked to a number of wholesalers in my area, a number of people who move from other states coming to Colorado and they're all just like, “Man! It is so hard to get a deal here right now. It is just crazy. Like, sellers want outrageous money for their properties. There is nothing on the MLS. There's like 50 investors competing for one deal. It’s crazy.”
So it has been tough, but we still have gotten seven deal. So I can't complain. I would've liked to have a lot more than that by now, and maybe we’ll really kill it the second half of the year. I think once we get settled into my new office and getting more routine, I think that’ll definitely help, but it has been tough. So I think until April 30th, I had only about four and I scheduled to buy four that day, three from wholesalers and one from the MLS, and I closed on two of them from the wholesalers and one on the MLS. Another one, the seller just disappeared. The week before, they said they’re set for closing. They’re ready to go. Closing comes around, nobody could get a hold of them. Nobody could contact them. They’re just gone. they vanished. So we could not close in the house.
They kind of been wishy-washy before that, extending things and extending things. That was a little crazy thinking I was going to close in the house and then nothing happened. With that type of deal, I bought it from a wholesalers, so it's not like I can sue the seller and force them to sell it to me, because I'm not buying it directly from the seller. I’m buying it from the wholesaler, and the wholesaler has all kinds of clauses and stuff in their contracting saying that if they can't get quick title, blah-blah-blah, then they're out of it, and the wholesales doesn’t want to go to the work of suing someone. So just have to chalk that one up as a dead deal, maybe it will come along eventually again. Who knows? But that happens. So never count your chickens before they hatch. That's for sure.
So, yeah, we did buy three that day. So that was nice. Like I said, I’ve got before-and-after videos of just all my flips on YouTube. If you want to check those out and see what those houses look like, I don't have any under contract to buy right, which is a little scary too. I wish I had three more ready to by next month, but we don't have anything.
However, we have been ramping up the direct marketing again. So I hadn’t been doing a whole lot of the direct marketing with everything going on, but we sent out some more letters. I’ve been doing some more – Just marketing with direct marketing, checking Facebook, checking Craigslist, checking Zillow, checking MLS. Just being more diligent about really looking for those deals, because I wasn't doing as much as I could. The last couple of months, I’ve had so much going on. So to make sure I'm in the right place finding those deals, because that's one of the primary ways we’re making money in our business.
So like I said, we did our direct marketing. I have maybe three or four decent leads that I'm working right now who may or may not sell their house to me in the next couple of months. So hopefully those will come through. I have some other lead sources from some other places that may come through. We still have wholesaler sending us the occasional deal. So I had one just Facebook message me today about a potential deal. I will see if anything happens with that. So there's still stuff going on, but it's tough.
Like I said, I've talked to a number of other investors in my area who do close to as many flips as me. Some maybe even have done more in there in the same boat. They’re just like, “Man! It’s tough to find deals.” People have their own huge crews to rehab houses and they’re like, “Well, we don't have any houses to rehab.” They’re like, “We don’t have any houses to rehab. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” so him definitely tough in a hot market, but we’ll survive. We’ll keep making it and we’ll be okay with the flips.
All right. So moving on, let’s talk about rental properties a little bit. So things have been kind of quiet with rental properties prior to last year. There’re a few years I took the time off. I wasn't buying any rentals because prices got so high. Then last year we ended up buying for commercial properties that ranged in value from 70,000 to 292,000. Those properties have re done fairly well. All of them are rented or I use one of them, the small 70,00o one to store materials and one of my cars for personal use. So that’s been awesome having that space just to where things at. Then some good news, I’m going to do a full ride up, maybe even a podcast on my rental that I bought for 292, 000, but I’m getting that refinanced and it should be a fantastic investment once I’ve got it all finalized.
Like I said, I bought that for 292,000. It was about a 7,000 square-foot building. The upstairs is finished. The basement was unfinished. So we went through, had to redo the heating system, paint. Put in some flooring. We did quite a bit of work there. We probably spent 50 to 60,000. I try not to pay attention to exactly how much we spent, because it depresses me sometimes. But Nikki could give me the exact number. But we spent a lot of money there, and that was kind of like my first commercial property. I really tried to rent on my own. So that’s kind of scary. But we get it rented right away for 4,500 a month to an oil company and they’ve signed a three-year lease just for the upstairs.
We still have the vacant basement we can use for storage. Eventually, we might finish one of the units. It’s zoned, a mixed-use. So we can put a residential apartment down there if we really want to at some point. It has its own separate entrance, kind of a cool space, but they're renting it for 4,500 a month and that happened in January. So after a few months I’m like, “Oh man! I should think about refinancing this,” because I used private money to buy the property. I had it – One of my investor friends loaned me 90% of the purchase price at like 10% interest, something like that. So I've had this loan on it where I’m paying 10% interest this whole time. Plus, I had to pay for all the rehab, repairs out of my own pockets. So I’ve have had a lot of cash invested in this property.
So I talked to one bank about refinancing this property. They said, “Oh, sure. No problem. We can get it done.” I’m like, “It hasn't been a year. Many banks require you to own a property for a year before they'll do a refinance based on your appraisal.” Before year, they’ll make you use what you bought the house for, or property for, or the prior appraisal, whatever's lower. So I said to make sure, I’m like, “Okay. You don't need a full year of seasoning period.” Like, right? No. Went to the process, got the appraisal done. I was really worried about the appraisal because I did not know what it would come in and I was hoping it would come in around 450, but I could see it coming in as low as 350. It’s just real tough to appraise commercial sometimes. And the appraisal came in right – I think it was 445. So I was really happy. Like I said, bought it for 292. Put 50 to 60,000 into it, and it appraised at 450. So that was a pretty good deal. It would have appraised for even more if we had the basement finished and rented, but that's more work, more money. We'll worry about later.
I’m like, “Great!” Appraisal came in and then the lenders like, “Oh, yeah, but unfortunately you just have a three year lease. So we can only give you a three year balloon on this, and we’re only going of finance based on your purchase price, plus your cost into it.” So they aren’t only going to base the lone on like 350,000.
So I do 75% of 350, and I was only going to have a three year terms. So I could call the loan doing three years, and that was not at all what they had told me the terms would be when I first applied for the loan. They’re talking about 10 year balloon and lending on the full appraised value. So I was not real happy with that.
In the end, I talked around, talked to some different lenders and I went with a different lender. I had that appraisal. It cost me $2,500 for a commercial appraisal, but I paid for the appraisal. Took that to another bank and we don't have it official yet, but from what I know, everything's approved. We just have to sign docs here sometime soon. 75% of the full appraised value. Since it is doing 350, we’re like 445, whatever it was. 10 year balloon on a 20 year amortization, I believe.
A balloon means after 10 years they can call the note due. Do they can make you pay it off. Sell the property or whatever. So having a three year balloon is not much time at all. 10 year balloon is much better. Now, with the new loan, they can reprice it after five years. It’s basically a fixed loan for five years and I can reprice it once at the end of that five years based on current rates. But they can call it due for 10 years. So that was such a better loan for me and very happy to see that.
So I should be getting quite a bit of cash back on that property, and then I'll have a lower payment, because were refinancing like 5% instead of 10%, and at that point I’m going to do a full post, like I said, recapping the money we had into it. How much money we were able take back out of it, the money invested, the cash flow, my rates of return, all of that after I completed the refinance. So it really has been a great investment. It was scary at first, and ironically I didn't even want to buy that property. It’s actually, but someone on my team that caused me to buy.
When I first put it under contract I sent an email to my assistant who was writing my contract. I said, “Hey, write an offer on this property for such and such price. 30 day loan conditions or something.” I think I said, “Give me 45 days for loan conditions. 10 days for inspection period,” and he was so used to me writing contracts on my flips where I had no inspection, no loan condition, no nothing. He didn't put those in the contract. He had no inspection, no loan conditions, and I made a mistake by not reviewing the contract before I signed it. I just assumed he did it right and I signed it and sent it off.
So after I sent that contract in and we got accepted. I could not get the right financing, the original loan. My bank was kind of like, “Oh, we don't want to do this anymore. I’m like, “Oh, great.” So I’m like, “Okay. Well, I’ll just cancel it. It’s kind of a lot of money. It’s kind of a risky deal anyway,” and I found out that my $10,000 in earnest money would be gone if I canceled it because we can’t have an inspection period. Like, “Argh!” So that's when I reached out to my friend, the private money investor and said, “Hey, do you want to lend on this or even be my partner?” He’s like, “I don't really want to be your partner, but I’d be happy to lend on it.”
So it end up working out really well in the end. I'll have very little invested into it. I’ll have it on a long term loan and should be making couple thousand dollars a month in cash flow almost on it. Maybe not quite that much, but quite a bit. So really turned out to be a great investment.
All right, so that’s the highlight of the commercial rentals from last year, and then of course this year I talked about before, but I bought a 68,000 square-foot building actually with that same investor we partnered on this one, 50-50, and has a grocery store, a coffee shop, restaurant, little other office. As I said, the temporary office I moved into now and another permanent office we’re working on. So this was a scary purchase as well. This was brought to me by my commercial agent, but it has been fantastic investment so far.
All [inaudible 0:25:10.5] are on triple and leases. So they pay for pretty much all the expenses. The rent has been coming in on time with no problems. Tenants have been awesome. There’s a few deferred maintenance items that we knew about which we’re working on, and it's just been really cool owning this building. The more and more that we’re looking at the market, we’re looking at other sales, we’re seeing what’s going on in the commercial, more realizing how awesome of a deal we got on it.
We paid $2.1 million for it. Like I said, it wasn't really listed. It was kind of a pocket listing type a deal, and our appraisal came in at $2.4, which if you're in the real estate business and you have an appraisal, it comes in higher than contract price. It is so rare. I mean, appraises almost always come in right at or just barely above contract price, sometimes lower. To see one coming 300,000 more than contract price was really cool, because it obviously showed the appraiser thought this property is worth a lot. He even kind of said in his report, he's like, “I had a really hard time getting my value down that low,” and if this property was fully rented, it would be worth 2.7 or 8 million I think is what he said in the report.
After looking at different things and what's going on around here, I think this is a $3 million property right now. If I were to move into the new space, I'm paying rent to myself, and we rented this temporary space to someone else, I mean, it could be a $3.5 million property. So one of my new goals is to find more of these. I don’t know how hard that's going to be, but really it’s been awesome investment. It’s really fun. It's exciting and it was a really good deal. So if I could find deals like this all time, I would be one happy camper and just have to find a some more investors, some more people to going on them with me, but I think I might have that already too. So this has been a good one.
Like I said, future plans. I had a goal to create $5,000 in passive income this year from rentals, and we’ve pretty much done that with just this building. I was kind of thinking it would be around 2,500, but it's been more like 5,000 a month from buying this property and with me occupying one of the spaces and paying rent to myself. It’s just been awesome.
So I still want to buy more rentals. I still have my eyes open. Residential is really hard still in Colorado. Almost impossible to find good residential rentals. There still some commercial stuff out there. It's really hard to find too. I mean, now the rentals I’ve found were just waiting there with a bow on them for me to buy them. It took some work to find them and to get them, but there are still deals out there. So I've actually been sending direct marketing out to some commercial properties as well to see if we could get any deals that way. Nothing’s worked out yet, but we have had a few calls, a few conversations. So hopefully we’ll be buying some more rentals too and not just focusing on the brokerage, on the flips.
I just did a video the other night, they’ll be posted next week, about renting versus flipping, or owning rentals versus flipping houses. I love flipping. It’s a lot of fun, but it really is a job. Once you flip a house, you're done. You got to find more. Selling houses as a real estate agent, and it’s kind of more of a job too. Setting up your own brokerage building, a business is more of a business it works, but the real true investment I love is rental properties. So I love to be able to make money, invest that into rentals, seen that money grow, seen my passive income grow, seen my net worth grow. It’s just a lot of fun. So that really is kind of the ultimate goal still, even though as many of you know, last couple of years we haven't been doing as many rentals. We’ve been doing more flips. a lot that is just the market’s been crazy here. So hopefully with this new niche in commercial we can keep going with that, keep buying some cool properties and having a lot of fun with it.
All right, cool. I think that is all I've got for this podcast. We talked about the brokerage. Talked about the flips. Talked about rental properties. I still have a lot going on with the blog. Have a lot of resources, a lot of things happening there. If anybody needs help with finding a deal, I’ve got a super cool program if you look under my resources page that I created on just how to find deals, on how to flip houses. Have my complete blueprint on how to invest in rentals, and then we do conference calls on those at least once a month, sometimes more. I don’t know if people understand, but I am not a crazy marketer. I'm not out there trying to sell myself constantly. I have it there to try and help people, but I'm busier obviously with my brokerage and other things.
On some of these conference calls, they'll be one other person or two other people on the call and we’ll just talk for like half an hour about different things. It’s pretty cool. So sometimes there's more people, but a lot of really good conversations, a lot of great things going on those calls. I also have a real estate agent system as well, the six-figure real estate agent success system that I do calls on as well. In the last two calls, there's been one person on those calls. So I’ve been able to kind of been like personal mentor to her, Elisa, who is an agent starting out.
So if you guys are interested in those programs, check them out. They’re pretty affordable and I feel like it can add a lot of value to those calls, because we don't jam pack them full with as many people as we can just because I'm not spending a ton of time marketing and trying to focus on that stuff.
All right. That’s all I’ve got. I hope you guys enjoyed it. If you like this podcast, please leave us a review, give us a thumbs up, and we really appreciate that. Thanks a lot.