Opportunities await the brave real estate investor as soon as things start to clear up with the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, get a taste of Mike Wolf Mastery as self-made freedom lifestyle entrepreneur, seasoned investor, and international speaker, Mike Wolf, shares some of his incredible ideas on how to reinvent yourself and thrive in this crisis through real estate investing. A real estate investor from an early age, Mike’s first failure quickly transformed him from being a know-it-all to being a learn-it-all. He doesn’t believe in dabbling. If you are passionate about getting into real estate, you have to educate yourself to succeed in the business. Listen to Mike’s inspiring story as he shares it with host Jen Du Plessis in the podcast.
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Mike Wolf Mastery: Real Estate Investing In Crisis Times With Mike Wolf
I am excited and delighted to have our next guest with us who is Mike Wolf. I had this wonderful opportunity to meet Mike at a two-day intensive that he and I were doing in San Diego speaking from the stage. As soon as he said it had something to do with real estate, my ears perked up, and I said, “We have to talk.” Let me take this opportunity to introduce him to you quickly. He’s a self-made freedom lifestyle entrepreneur, which is right up my alley, seasoned investor, and international speaker.
He’s been investing in real estate for many years and has been involved in several other entrepreneurial adventures. He has an extensive background in business, investing in both the US and Canada. He loves real estate, loves talking to people about real estate, but he also has a great story on how this all happened that he jumped into real estate and how he’s grown this big empire of him. He loves helping people realize their dreams so they can do what they love to do every single day. Welcome, Mike, to the show. I’m happy to have you.
Thanks so much for having me.
We were talking about a disclaimer that all of us will have about how we look and working from home. Mike is going to be on stage at one of my events. If you’re interested in participating in one of my events, you’d be able to meet him in person. Mike, I’m delighted to have you. One of the things that I want to start off with is your story. Tell us a little bit about something interesting or something that was very challenging early on in your life that has created who you are.
If we go way back to the middle of grade twelve when I was in high school, I literally did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up. My parents were always saying, “You should be a doctor or lawyer.” By default, I don’t like blood, so a doctor’s not in the cards. I thought I’d become a lawyer. For anybody who knows me, they know I’m non-argumentative and non-confrontational, so I probably made a bad lawyer. I went to a university to get my first degree, racked up a whole bunch of student loans, and then decided, “Before I go back and get my second degree, I’m going to get these things paid off.” A friend of mine’s mother was a manager of the phone company, which back then was union, government, and paid well. I got a job there. While I was there, I bought my first principal residence and I got a call out of the blue one day from my mortgage broker saying, “I’ll get you another mortgage if you want to buy another home.” I remember thinking, “Why would I want another home?”
Most people don’t make that call. They don’t say, “Do you want to create some wealth?”
I wish I got that call every day. I didn’t know the first thing about real estate investing, but I was very scientific, so I thought, “If I’m going to buy another home, I should get it close to the one I live in. That is easy for me to collect rent.” That was my due diligence. As luck would have it, probably two and a half years after I bought these two properties, the market took off. All of a sudden, I was sitting on way more money than I ever thought I would see back in those days coming from being a starving university student.
That was how I launched my real estate investing career. It’s totally by mistake. Whenever I meet people, they think I came out of the womb as a real estate expert and they always say, “Of course you can do it, Mike.” They think that I was born with some natural talents and nothing could be further from the truth. I didn’t even have any interest in it until I got that first paycheck and I became interested in it. I decided, “If I could do this by mistake, what would happen if I did it on purpose?”Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait. Click To Tweet
The only problem was back then I was in my mid-twenties and my ego back in those days is like, “Of course, I aced real estate investing. I’m obviously an expert at this.” I quickly quit my job. My parents were encouraging me to continue to get my second degree before I had the first one paid off. I called them up and said, “You’re wrong. I don’t need anything to fall back on. I’m a real estate investor now.” On the next couple of deals, I managed to lose almost all of what I made. Back then, my ego told me that I did it because I was skillful.
What I ended up learning, very humbly is that I got lucky with my timing and couldn’t duplicate it. As I had managed to lose most of that money, I took what little I had and I started to get mentors. Going from being a know-it-all to a learn-it-all, I would not be here having this conversation with you. That was an initial struggle to get into this industry by mistake and it was a good mistake, but I definitely had some humbling lessons along the way.
I want to talk about how you then reentered. Imagine that those lessons formed to you are in the second go around. We all have those lessons in life too, where it changes the way that we see the world and the way that we make decisions. Tell us about what you did. Give me a little bit of a timeline on this. You started doing this when you were 19, 20, or 21?
That’s more like 23. I didn’t start until after my first degree.
You have success for a couple of years and then you laid low.
I didn’t even have success for a couple of years. Originally, when I had a conversation with my mortgage broker, how he explained it is, “You buy a property, put a tenant in there, and then over time, your mortgage gets paid off and in the long-term, that’s your retirement.” I go, “That makes sense.” Once I got a taste of that success and I got that paycheck, it was two and a half years later when I exited that property. I went from having this long-term approach to, “If I want to quit my job, I’ve got to be able to do this for every 60 days.”
I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I knew that I didn’t want to keep working at the phone company. I had already told my parents that, “I’m not listening to you. I’m not going back to school.” They’re still pissed at me for this. Once I started to screw up, I couldn’t go back to the phone company because I burned that bridge and I couldn’t go back to my parents to tell them they were right. Being in my mid-twenties, it wasn’t cool. Something is not right. I knew everything. I had to figure it out.
You ended up getting mentored. That was one ceiling that you broke through. It’s important to break through that ceiling and then learn lessons on the backside of it, and then you got a mentor and started doing it the right way. When you started doing it the right way, the second time around, which is what you’re doing. Did you have a slow methodical approach to it now that you had that knowledge or did you go gangbusters like you did the first time?
It was a combination. I started to do some flips but properly because the first one was meant to be a buy and hold. I decided, “I know how to do buy and hold. Of course, I know how to do flips.” I neglected to back the property. There were a lot of due diligence that I didn’t do. “I didn’t do due diligence on the first one and it works. I assume I don’t have to do anything.” I hired somebody who that’s what he did, he flipped homes. I said, “I’ve got a little bit of money left. What if we do a deal together? I’ll put up the cash, you teach me as we go and we’ll split the paycheck.” That made all the difference.
If we were to fast forward, if we were having this conversation many years ago, by then I was successful financially, but I was working my butt off. I was working 14 to 15-hour a day. I’m definitely a workaholic, and I wasn’t there for my daughter growing up nearly as much as I should have been and would have loved to have been. I started to get smarter and I started to think, “It’s time to start creating passive income.”
Going back to what I started to do, which was to buy a property and hold them and start getting that cashflow. I’ve had a lot of different lessons along the way at different points. I’m glad that I had them because I think they’re either knock out of the business or they make you better at what you do and also, more humble. If every deal worked out, I’d probably be a big jerk. I needed some of those lessons to get knocked down. Now, when I meet somebody whose passion is to get into real estate investing, I’m sympathetic and I will take the time to give them some tips, try to help them out, and show them what not to do or the things that I did wrong.
That leads us to what you’re doing now. You do have courses that you’re teaching real estate investors, how to do it the right way. That’s your transition from being successful to, “How do I impact other people?” Make that a passion and utilize what you struggled with that made you who you are so that other people don’t struggle either. Imagine that that’s something important to you and that you don’t want to see from anybody having to fight this and to have struggles.
I know how difficult it is. Especially, when you’re first starting out and nobody wants to help you. A lot of people have this mindset of scarcity and they think, “If I teach you, there’s not going to be enough for me.” We’re seeing that for toilet paper now.
The good thing is a lot of people don’t put things into action because they don’t have the right tools and motivation to do it. You can teach people all the time and they won’t take your business. The other side of it is if you teach them properly, they’ll have the motivation to get started, which is what you’re all about. Since we’re talking about this at a time when our discussion would have been completely different from before, I want to ask you two-fold.
I first want to say, we’re in Coronavirus and we know that the economy is stumbling along and crippled. We know that the anticipation is that it will bounce back quickly because it was so strong beforehand. It’s a matter of everyone being released from jail. We all get to go out, buy things, do things, and be involved. What is your strategy as you’re waiting in this? The only reason why I’m asking this is because in the future, there’s someone who’s going to be in their own recession.
Their own situation where they’re looking at this and saying, “Now what do I do? How do I prepare?” What is your strategy as you’re cooped up? Are you deciding, “I can’t go and look at houses so I’m not going to buy any?” What advice would you be giving to someone who says, “I have to liquidate my 401(k) or my IRA because the stock market was going down badly. Now, what do I do with my money? Should I be investing in real estate?” Let’s take a look at that from the perspective of a not so good market, and then we’ll go back to everything’s great. How does that differ?Now is the perfect time to create win-win solutions for distressed home owners. Click To Tweet
You mentioned we get released. That’s a good way to put it. What we’re going to see when we come out of this and obviously there are going to be some people financially in trouble. There are going to be a lot of jobs lost. There are going to be a lot of people suffering. For myself, I’m looking at different strategies I’ve used in the past to try and attract some of these people that are going through tough times and come up with a win-win solution for them so that instead of them losing their home to the bank, we can help them have a much softer landing.
As somebody who wants a fair bit of real estate myself, maybe we’re purchasing their home at a discount, but in return, we’re putting them into another property that’s more affordable to them. We’re putting them in a rental situation so they get back into ownership, or in some cases, maybe even loaning the money to get them over the hump and using the homeless collateral to get them to have a second mortgage or something. The last thing we want to do is take somebody who’s gone through the lockdown of Coronavirus and then kicking them while they’re down.
That’s not what I recommend people do. For people that are sitting at home that maybe aren’t real estate investors, maybe they don’t know if they’re going to have a job when they get out, but they have maybe a passion for it. I start educating myself and not necessarily throwing out offers, but getting the education and learning out. We’re gifted. There are lots of gifts coming from this virus as bad as the negative side to it, there’s also a positive side. We’re gifted with, for me, a lot more spare time than I normally have. I’m still learning, building strategies when this finish, building teams to get ready to help with that.
That’s one side is helping the people that are going to be in trouble and creating a win-win, and getting paid for it. The other side I see is there’s a moratorium on foreclosures, which is great because I don’t think people should be losing their homes under these circumstances. It’s going to be at least a six-month moratorium on foreclosures. Some of the strategies that I use in regular times are going to real estate auctions, like tax deed auctions, where people haven’t paid their property taxes that are a number of years and also trustee auctions where they haven’t paid their mortgage.
When you have a moratorium on something, and then all of a sudden, after six months, there’s going to be a lot of excess inventory. For people once again, that are educated on how to do it properly, because if you go to these auctions, you don’t know what you’re doing, you will lose your money, so don’t do that. If you’re going to get yourself educated during this time that you have and get ready for what’s coming down the pipeline, you could want to be helping people in pre-foreclosure before they lose it. Once the bank does have the home, if you can’t help them before, there are going to be a lot of opportunities there. For me, I am building teams and going to probably put some courses to help people who want to go out there and help other people. That’s what I’m doing.
You’re staging. I use that because my husband is a drag racer. It’s the staging you’re getting up into that tree that lights up in it and inching your way. One of the things that I’m hearing everybody talk about and that I’ve been talking about as well is this is the perfect time to hone in on your soft and hard skills. The gaps that you have in your knowledge around anything that you’re trying to pursue. The important thing is also procrastinating versus preparing.
For the readers, if we’re both at the same place here and someone’s procrastinating saying, “Once we’re out then I’ll start doing all these things.” The person who’s starting to bite at this, pull through, is that much further ahead of everyone. It’s the speed. They already have the acceleration. I love that you’re sharing what you could be doing. This is important too and I want to talk to you about this, is what specifically in real estate? I think it’s so grand to say, “I’m a real estate investor.” What a lot of people don’t realize is there are 1,000 ways to buy real estate. If you focus on 1,000, you won’t buy any. What are some strategies or some thought processes around identifying what passion you have as a real estate investor if that’s something that you want to pursue?
The opportunity that’s coming down the pipeline, I never liked the term real estate investor. I liked the term problem solver. There are going be a whole bunch of people coming out of this with various different issues, many of them financial, obviously. It’s an opportunity for people who want to create win-wins and that’s all I ever teach. I never teach somebody to take advantage of a little lady who doesn’t know the value of her home and leave her. You should never leave her in a bad spot, so you can make a paycheck.
These people that maybe didn’t lose their home yet because the government is saying they’re not paying their rent or they’re not paying their mortgage and there’s a moratorium, so they’re not getting foreclosed on, but these people are going to come up with an awful lot of stress. Some of them will not be going back to work, unfortunately. My main priority is to come up with solutions for them, come up with marketing to attract them. Not from the perspective of, “We buy ugly homes,” or from a perspective, “I can help you bail you out of your mess.”
That’s my main priority, but also, I specialize in tax deeds and foreclosures for so many years. What I say for somebody who’s reading this, if you don’t have any of this experience or maybe you’re thinking, “I’d love to get into real estate, but I don’t have a lot of money.” There are a lot of strategies that require very little, like something called wholesaling. Where you put a property under contract and you sell that contract to another investor. There are lots of different ways but don’t try to focus on 1,000 different things. Pick one, get good at it, get known for it and after you do that, then progress to the next thing.
My strategy has always been step investing. We buy and hold, pay off the debt, use the cashflow to pay off the first property, then the second, then the third as we accumulated more over the years. In any market, I could sell the house at any price. I may have to discount it, but I don’t have a mortgage. It’s all cashflow. Step investing is something that we’ve done, buy and hold. We don’t buy ugly places. We only buy nice places.
The other strategy for me is buying subject to, doing reps, and sandwich options and things. That’s a strategy I’ve taken. The only reason I throw that out is because there are so many strategies most people don’t know about and you have to have a mentor in order to make this happen. A realtor is fine. If you’re going to buy and hold and talking to your mortgage company, that’s fine. If you’re trying to accumulate many homes with less money, then you want to maybe look into some other options, other than the traditional way of buying property.
For the realtors that are reading, and we’re talking again about you breaking through some ceilings, but we’re also talking specifically about this real estate market, given the timing that we’re putting this out. The funny thing about realtors is not many realtors own a lot of property. I don’t understand that. It’s the product you’re selling, but if you were a realtor and you’re in Coronavirus Ville, and you’re saying, “Do I procrastinate or I start preparing?” What are some of the things that you would recommend for them to start doing, to become problem-solvers for people that are most likely going to be calling them about putting their house on the market if God forbid that to somebody?
They have a big advantage in that. They already have people calling them, people are coming to them. If they were to have both caps, if they had an investor cap and a realtor cap at the same time, they get a lot more people and monetize it a lot better. For example, if I was putting out marketing as an investor, obviously I’m looking for a good deal on the property. If I was also a realtor and I got to their property and they weren’t willing to sell it to me at the price that made sense for me, I can say, “It doesn’t make sense we buy as an investor, but I have this great marketing program. I’m a realtor and I can help you get your home sold quickly that way.” There’s a little bit of an advantage.
I used to be a realtor way back in the old days. What I noticed about the other realtors in my office is most of them would do the bare bones, minimum education to keep their license, but they wouldn’t do much more than that. If you are willing to put in a little more effort, it can be a lot more income for you and you can help a lot more people. For me, when you’re definitely not out showing homes, not in the traditional way. I would take that downtime to start educating yourself on different ways that you could potentially be an investor and help some of these people that are going to be distressed instead of putting it on the MLS. There are going to be a lot of other ways that you can potentially help them and get the money flowing.There is a lot of money in real estate if you do it right. Click To Tweet
I see Groundhog Day back from the Great Recession in 2007, ‘08, and ‘09 coming about. I’m starting to read an article. They are talking about the fact that this could have a negative impact in the real estate market. I have not had that outlook. Where do you stand on that as far as values going down and it being this big debacle?
We’re going to see some corrections. Not necessarily down though. I was heavily invested back in 2006, 2007, 2008 in Las Vegas. The values have dropped tremendously, but I didn’t have to sell. All my properties were cashflowing and I held onto them. What I was finding is, the United States became a nation of renters. A lot of people were losing their ownership in their homes and they were turning into renters. It allows me to raise my rent and I had a much bigger selection of rental pool and of course, it’s always come back and everything is cyclical. Definitely if you have the money to buy and hold, start buying some properties, start creating passive income.
Some of the markets like in New York, California that are expensive and overpriced, they may have a correction downwards. My favorite market is Atlanta. It could benefit from this because when people lose everything they have and they have to rebuild, they’re going to look to lower their cost of living. I sell turnkey properties. Some of the homes start in nice areas for like $70,000. In a place like Northern California, that’s not even a downpayment on a shed.
When you look at some of the stuff going on behind the scenes is a place like Georgia. The government is business-friendly. There are a ton of head offices there. They’ve got Coca-Cola, Turner Broadcasting, Home Depot, Delta Air Lines, etc. If somebody is in New York City and they just lost their job, then they’re traumatized because that’s the hardest city with the Coronavirus and you’re looking to lower your cost of living and get a job. I think a lot of people may end up relocating some of the places that are less expensive and they may correct upwards where some of these markets that are heavily inflated, they may correct downwards as people leave.
They may compress this a little bit. We all know that there is a mass exit out of New York, even pre-Coronavirus because of taxes and other things. I think that’s a good perspective and that’s something that people should consider as they’re going through. As we continue this conversation, I want to talk to you about the advice that you would give to someone who’s thinking about making real estate their side gig, and then ultimately moving into something that’s full-time. You did this as a youngster and you probably didn’t have the 15, 20, 30-year career with the family and all those things to be considered.
Part of breaking through glass ceilings is the desire to transition, but then the risk factor associated with that. When you are working with the people that are trying to learn about real estate and some are saying, “It’s just my side gig and that’s what I want.” Others are saying, “It’s my retirement.” Others are saying, “I want it to be my retirement, but how do I make that transition?” What advice do you have for them on how to not be a real estate want to be? We both know about that, where everybody takes the courses and then they don’t do anything. What advice do you have on how to make that transition come to fruition?
A lot of people don’t love what they’re doing. It makes me feel sad to think that people are doing something they’re not passionate about. They fight rush hour traffic to get to an office where they spend eight hours a day doing something that they don’t love. I think this is a wake-up call. Maybe there’s an opportunity to create the new version of you. How do you want to come out of this after this virus is over? What do you want things to look like? Now’s the time to reinvent yourself. One thing is if real estate is one of your passions or whether if you want it to be your big gig, real estate can be profitable. There’s a lot of money in it if you do it right.
Don’t do trial and error, get yourself educated there. As soon as they open those flood gates, get out there and start putting into practice what you’ve learned. I’m not a big fan of dabbling in anything like, would you go to a surgeon that was dabbling in surgery? Probably not. I think everybody should invest in real estate, but not everybody should be a real estate investor. What I mean by that is like, for example, I sell turnkey properties and a lot of my clients are doctors, lawyers, engineers, or people that don’t want to learn the ins and outs of real estate, they just want the tax benefits rolling real estate, the cashflow, and the security.
Times like this, if your lawyer and your office is shut, you still have to have money coming in passively from your properties. I think that’s okay. Somebody wants to maybe flip a home in their spare time. When you don’t have the bandwidth and you take on a whole bunch of different things and you’re Mike of all trades and you’re trying to do, “I’m going to flip a home, but I’m also going to run my business,” it doesn’t work.
I’m not saying quit your job right away, but put in a lot of effort, as if that was going to be your full-time gig and make that your full-time gig, as soon as you can. Don’t quit your job like I did because you’re not going to fall back to mortgages as I learned after I quit. I wouldn’t say that you should dabble in it and, “I’ll do one deal a year.” Either do it well and get good at it so you’re making more money in doing that than whatever else you’re doing or get somebody else to do it for you by buying turnkey or go full speed ahead. If that’s your passion, maybe that’s your new version of you that happens after this is all over.
I think part of it is, it’s a hobby, not a habit or it becomes this little hobby that someone has. If it’s a hobby, you might as well put your money in the stock market. Make it a business. It truly is a business, it’s not a hobby. That’s a strong advice. I want to say thank you so much for all this time that you shared with us learning the basics of it. If someone wants to get in touch with you and they’re interested in what you’re offering and they want to follow you, what is the best way for everyone to do that?
They can go to my website, which is MikeWolfMastery.com or email at Info@MikeWolfMastery.com. I’ve also got a YouTube channel with a bunch of free videos. Just google YouTube and Mike Wolf Mastery and that should take you there.
I know that you have a lot of little quick webinars that people can register to go to and put their toes in it and see if it’s something that they want. I want to encourage everyone who’s reading to take the time to go to a two-hour session to see what Mike has to offer. See what he’s teaching, see if it resonates with you so that you could follow in his footsteps and let him hand hold you on the way, because I’ll tell you, it’s harder to do it on your own than it is to have someone show you the way. Also, I love asking everybody about a mantra that you live by, or a quote that resonates with you, that you might be willing to share that maybe someone would take this as their affirmation as well.
My favorite quote of all time is Henry Ford’s, “Whether you think you can, whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” Many years ago, somebody would have said, “You’ll be traveling the world and speaking on stages and teaching people.” I would’ve never in a million years imagined this. Believe in yourself, get out there, and take little baby steps. You never know what that’s going to lead to. There was a time where I’d been terrified to speak on a stage. Now, I love speaking on stage. I never used to like getting in front of a camera to shoot a video. Now, I love doing it. Get out of your comfort zone a little bit, believe in yourself and that’s where the magic all happens.
Thank you so much, Mike, for sharing your wisdom with us. I cannot wait for you to have 45 minutes where I’m not asking you questions, but where you’re actually telling people how to get these things done on one of my stages here coming up. I want to say thank you for joining us.
Thanks so much for having me. It’s great to see you again.
Everybody, thank you so much for reading. I want to remind you that there is a new app out there called Goodpods. It’s a great app where all podcasts are now being aggregated into one place. Instead of you going to Apple iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify, you can go to one magic place and find the iTunes that you’re looking for in the interest that you’re doing. You can go in there and type ‘Real estate,’ and all of the podcasts will pop up. I want to remind everybody to please grab that app, make sure that you find this show and subscribe. Give us your feedback, your comments, and share it with other people in the group as well. I know that Mike will be there. If you put something in there, he’d probably respond to you. We will catch you next time.
- Mike Wolf
- Mike Wolf Mastery – YouTube
About Mike Wolf
Mike Wolf is a self-made freedom lifestyle entrepreneur, seasoned investor, and international speaker. He has been investing in real estate for almost 30 years and has been involved in several other entrepreneurial ventures.
He is a regular contributor in the media with his extensive background in business, entrepreneurship, and real estate. His experience investing in the U.S. as a Canadian has given Mike a unique perspective on taxation and other cross-border investing issues.
Mike not only loves investing in real estate but he loves teaching his students about it as well. He has helped thousands of his students successfully invest in his turnkey properties and as well as teaching others strategy on how to do it themselves.
Mike is passionate about showing people how to successfully invest and grow thriving businesses. Mike has a passion for entrepreneurship and sharing that wisdom with his students.
As a heart centered entrepreneur his passion is giving back to the entrepreneurial community to help people make informed, educated business decisions to build long term passive income and wealth for themselves and their families.
Mike helps people realize their dreams of creating both time, location, and financial freedom by teaching strategies to achieve passive income. Mike believes that you should love what you do every day and really enjoy life!
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