September 9, 2022

JF2927: 5 Best Ever Property Management Tips ft. John McGeown

John McGeown is a self-described old soul in real estate. He grew up in Chicago and joined the U.S. Navy after graduation, where he served from 1999 to 2003. At age 24, he decided to enter the world of real estate. 


Today, John is the president of High Fidelity Property Management, a third-party property management company that has 1,000 apartment units under management throughout Chicago’s North Side neighborhoods. In this episode, he shares his top five Best Ever tips for property managers, as well as his experience as a GP in the Chicago MSA.


1. Don’t Underestimate the Time It Will Take

John says that many people who self-manage underestimate the time it takes to properly manage a building, which is why they often come to him for help. “I think the mistake is people try to do too much too fast too soon,” he says. 


2. Make Sure You Have the Right Resources

Others who self-manage their properties tend to struggle because they haven’t yet established reliable connections. “Having a good cast of vendors is one of the hardest things for property owners who are managing themselves,” John says. 


3. Your Existing Portfolio Is the Gold

John admits that he is often in “go” mode and forgets this one thing: “Your existing portfolio is the gold, and new people are silver,” he says. He sees many third-party property managers flip those priorities around, making the mistake of devaluing their existing client base and overvaluing new business. 


4. Know What You Know — And What You Don’t

When asked why he hasn’t ventured into short-term rentals, John answers candidly: “I’m a Navy guy, and I’m very cautious,” he says. “I know what I know, and I know what I don’t know.” It took him a considerable amount of time to discover who he is, what he wants to offer, why he is different, and why people should work with him. Now that he has that figured out, he prefers not to deviate from his plan. 

“There’s always going to be a shiny object that somebody is shaking in front of you,” he says. “For me, it never really felt like something that I wanted to do. So I didn’t do it.” 


5. Three Things to Look for When Evaluating Vendors

“Communication, trust, and competency are the things that we look for when we’re evaluating new vendors,” John says. Additionally, he prioritizes getting the best possible price for the best service he can. 


John McGeown | Real Estate Background

  • President of High Fidelity Property Management, a third-party property management company that has 1,000 apartment units under management throughout Chicago's North Side neighborhoods.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 100 units
    • LP of 36 units
  • Based in: Chicago, IL
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: Never give up! This business doesn't slow down for me, so I have to work hard to keep up. Sometimes tomorrow is about learning from yesterday.



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Ash Patel: Hello, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I'm Ash Patel, and I'm with today's guest, John McGeown. John is joining us from Chicago, Illinois. He is the president of High Fidelity Property Management, a third-party property management company that has 1,000 units under management. His portfolio consists of being a GP and an LP investor. John, thank you for joining us, and how are you today?

John McGeown: I'm doing well. Thanks for asking.

Ash Patel: It's our pleasure. John, before we get started, can you give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background, and what you're focused on now?

John McGeown: Sure. I always tell people, I have an old soul in real estate. I grew up in Chicago, I went to [unintelligible 00:02:12.01] Tech, and right after high school, I joined the Navy. I was in the Navy for four years, from '99 to 2003. Right after I got out of the Navy, I got into real estate, at the age of 24. And it just feels like I've had a lot more times at bat, and swings [unintelligible 00:02:27.21] than a lot of people my age in the industry. And I really enjoy real estate, I like the complexities it brings; there are challenges pretty much every day that you have to solve. And a little trial and error is good, I think, and if you're not getting new business or growing, then the business goes. So we're very focused on growth, but more quality over quantity, I would say for sure.

Ash Patel: I want to ask how you got into real estate at the age of 24, but I really want to know how did you get into property management, because that's the painful stuff that everybody wants to outsource. So let's start with 24 years old, out of the Navy, and thank you for your service, thank you for your family for all their sacrifices as well... But what was it that got you in real estate?

John McGeown: I had a friend whose father was a business consultant for the company Chicago Apartment Finders, and at the time, I didn't have a car, and I was transitioning from military life to civilian life. And I kind of wanted a job right away. I felt like idle hands make the devil's work, so I wanted to keep myself busy... And my friend told me, he said "My dad's got this company, Chicago Apartment Finders. It's the best-kept secret in Chicago right now." This is in 2004. Yeah, but I don't have a car, so I started on the listing side, calling landlords to list non-exclusively for Chicago Apartment Finders. And through that, I worked there for about four and a half years, and I just kind of like unpeeled the onion. I got to know the psychology of the landlord, I got to know the psychology of property management companies, of people who work there... And I was infatuated with how fast and frenetic the business was.

Ash Patel: The psychology of landlords... Help me understand that. And by the way, my wife used Chicago Apartment Finders around the 2004 time, when she found an apartment on Lakeshore Drive. It was a phenomenal deal... But the psychology of landlords - what did you learn?

John McGeown: More like the pain points and the line of thinking. To elaborate, what I mean is vacancy is a killer. Everybody wants to grow the top line, crunch the middle line, and increase the bottom line, put it in simplest terms. But I think, weirdly, a lot of people in our industry miss that. It's about growing the top line, crunching the middle line, and fattening the bottom line for people. I've found at Apartment Finders I could do that through analysis, like forthright consultation, and then execution; like, making sure that we had a plan, if that makes sense.

Ash Patel: It does. And how do you pitch that to landlords/investors?

John McGeown: The way I would pitch it is that we're a big enough company that there are a lot of policies and procedures in place so that things don't slip through the cracks, but we're small enough and boutique still, where you're gonna get that personalized service from me, your account manager. I'm going to be with you through every step of the way. Assuring them that communication is going to be paramount, and that I value weekly consistent communication, whether it's good news or bad news, just letting people know what's going on. That to me is what wins me the most business. That, and then the results, showing people what I had done in the past and sort of establishing a track record, and having projects or people that they could refer to or talk to, that had success with me. That was very helpful.

Ash Patel: John, are your fees in line with your competition, or higher, or lower?

John McGeown: I don't really concern myself with what the competition does as far as their fees. I charge one month's rent. That's what I have to charge to make the business meaningful for me. I pay for all the marketing, we pay for the photos, I pay the agents, I pay processors and coordinators and accountants to make sure everything is sort of happening as it needs to in sequence. And with that, my fee is one month's rent.

Ash Patel: And that's on the landlord side, right? The person looking for the apartment doesn't pay anything.

John McGeown: Correct.

Ash Patel: Okay. And then do you also manage the property beyond that?

John McGeown: We do. That's sort of the name of the game for me, is to acquire properties, either through ownership or through management, where we like to be in control of the process.

Ash Patel: Okay, so are you in the business of managing other people's properties, or is that not your preference?

John McGeown: Totally, we do that. I'd say about 85% of the portfolio is third party.

Ash Patel: Got it. But you want to control not just the leasing, but the entire lifecycle management of that tenant.

John McGeown: Yes, that's correct. So from the minute we get a new tenant, we lease the apartment, to their move-in, the turnover, getting it clean, getting it painted, the tenant experience, maintenance requests, making sure they're paying rent on time, following the terms of the lease... And then when renewals come again, making sure that we're keeping our eye on the market and we know exactly how much to charge for a renewal rate and how much to charge for a market rate.

Ash Patel: This makes me want to buy an apartment in Chicago, so I can have you guys do it all for me.

John McGeown: Let's do it!

Ash Patel: Do you also draft the leases?

John McGeown: We do. That's included in the one month fee, is the administrative side. So Chicago has a lot of rules, for those of you who are not from Chicago. It's like an addendum to the Chicago lease. It's called the CRLTO, the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance. And it's very important that landlords follow the terms of the ordinance; and it takes someone like me, who has an intimate understanding of the ordinance and how it's applied, to make sure that people aren't falling into pits.

Ash Patel: Yeah, Illinois and Chicago specifically are very tenant-friendly places. Did you have a hard time during COVID?

John McGeown: Actually, we fared pretty well. I mean, I think everybody had a hard time during COVID. So to say that I didn't have a hard time at all I think would not be accurate. But it was hard at first, the first couple of months, we implemented a rental deferment plan; the big thing people were concerned about is people's ability to pay rent. So we decided to come up with a blanket deferment plan that we implemented portfolio-wide, and I think that bought us a lot of grace with residents in the portfolio... Because the message was, "Look, if there are people who can't pay, we need you to authenticate that you can't pay, and once that's done, we'll work something out with you. For those of you who can pay, please keep paying, so that those who can't, we can help them." And that message was really well received.

I think, like a lot of other operators in Chicago, we had some vacancy issues for a minute there. We had some rental rate decline, things kind of sharply and steeply fell off as far as those two things. But then, sort of like adapting and overcoming, and just keeping your finger on the market and what's happening in real time is what saved our bacon.

Ash Patel: And John, what's the biggest mistake people make when they self-manage properties?

John McGeown: I will say this, that a lot of people who self-manage and come to me come to me with a tangled mess. No one comes to me and says, "Hey, John, I have this building. It's amazing. It's running perfectly. All you have to do is just kind of keep the gears spinning." I think the mistake is people try to do too much, too fast, too soon, and maybe overestimate the time, or actually underestimate how much time it takes to properly manage a building. It's a lot of work, and I think that's what happens, is people get into real estate... "I'm gonna buy this investment property and manage it myself." It's the American dream, it's a great way to make some extra income and build wealth... But then job number two gets in the way. Or if you're an investment group and you're managing on your own, and you don't have the proper infrastructure, or you're not using the right software...

To simply answer your question though, I would say having a good cast of vendors is one of the hardest things for property owners who are managing themselves, and a lot of people come to me because they know I have in-house maintenance, and they are hoping or relying on the fact that we're going to be able to get to things faster than they would, and it would take us a lot less time. So that's what I see, from my purview, as the biggest mistake - under-estimating how much time, and then not having the right resources.

Ash Patel: And a twist on that question - what is the biggest mistake you see other professional property management companies make?

John McGeown: It's a mistake I make too, sometimes; like I said at the beginning, you're kind of always in go mode, and you're always wanting to grow, and you're always looking at the next best thing... And you have to remember that your existing portfolio is the gold, and that new people are silver. New clients or new buildings are silver, your existing portfolio is gold. And I think that a lot of people kind of flip that, and they devalue their existing client base and they overvalue new business.

Ash Patel: Yeah. And how vertically-integrated Are you?

John McGeown: We're almost there, fully vertically integrated. We have a team of accountants, the leasing team also sells... So we can sell, we can help people buy, help people lease, we have in-house maintenance, in-house janitorial and snow removal, in-house legal counsel... We don't do construction. Otherwise, we're pretty much there.

Ash Patel: Why not sell turnkey properties to investors?

John McGeown: We do.

Ash Patel: Ah, you do. Tell me about that.

John McGeown: In Chicago there are a lot of very talented, very capable multifamily brokers. A lot of them I have an immense amount of respect for, and we trade business with each other... So most of the business we do is 2 million and below. So whether that's a two flat, a three flat, a condo, a single-family home... Sometimes at that price point you can get up to six to eight units, depending on the neighborhood... So we focus a lot on the one-offs, where people have smaller buildings, and they're looking to sell it, and they want us to be the broker to do it. That's sort of with our left hand. We're not out there really megaphoning to the world that we're multifamily -- kind of trying to keep it all within the portfolio.

So one owner will come to us and say, "Hey, I want to sell this building. What are your thoughts on how to get it prepped for sale? What are your thoughts on price?" We go down that rabbit hole, and once we're aligned, part of my pitch to the owner, who I at this point have a good relationship with - I tell him "We can market this to our investors, and we'll see if we get any bites that way. And if that doesn't work, I have a large network of brokers that I know, maybe they have somebody who's interested." And that sort of entices people enough to give us a shot, or at least the first crack.

Ash Patel: What I meant by selling turnkey properties is basically you take a very busy professional business owner, whatever, and they want some real estate exposure, but they don't want a syndication; they actually want to own whatever it is they're buying. Do you set something up where they buy a property and really that's the last time they're ever involved in it, because you manage everything?

John McGeown: We deal with people from high net worth individuals from both coasts, really all over the country, a lot of people, even international in some instances, and the appeal a lot of times is someone wants to come in, they'll sacrifice cap rate for a building that's sealed up really nicely and is turnkey, and then they hire us to manage it. So whether we're selling them that, or one of my friends and selling them that and then they refer it in - it happens all the time.

Ash Patel: Okay. Do you also do short-term rentals?

John McGeown: Not us.

Ash Patel: Why not? It's hot right now, John...

John McGeown: It is. You know, I'm a Navy guy, and I'm very cautious, and I know what I know, and I know what I don't know, and I had a hard time finding my identity in the real estate space as it is. It took me a very long time to figure out who I am, what I offer, why I'm different, why people want to work with me... And I just don't really want to deviate from my plan. I've got a plan in place, and there's always going to be a shiny object that somebody is shaking in front of you. I don't know, for me it just never really felt like something I wanted to do, so I didn't do it.

Ash Patel: Yeah. You mentioned vendors... During COVID, and really now, I see a lot of multifamily operators on some of our Facebook forums saying "Hey, anybody have a plumber? Anyone have a roofer?" And these are people that have been in business forever, but historically, they treated their vendors as commodities. If you weren't the low price bid, I'm going to find the next person. They do that with lenders as well. What's your advice to people when it comes to working with vendors, whether you are a smaller, newer operator, or somebody that's more established?

John McGeown: I think communication, trust and competency are the things that we look for at a company when we're evaluating new vendors. We're constantly looking. Just because the nature of our business, whether it's my property or a property we're managing from someone else - we're obligated to get the best possible price and the best service we can. So that means oftentimes we have to get multiple bids - you know, water heater replacement today, earlier before the call; HVAC system. These are big-ticket items that owners, and owners who don't necessarily live here or are intimately familiar with what's going on - they always like want to gain a better understanding of what's happening. So when we are talking to vendors, we're looking for responsiveness, we're looking for somebody who knows what they're talking about - that's that competency piece - and then we're not always necessarily looking for the cheapest price, because you do get what you pay for. But we certainly don't pay top-dollar.

Ash Patel: Do you not want to continue to use your preferred vendor, somebody that did a great job for you last time, someone you know that they're not going to cause headaches? They might be more expensive.

John McGeown: It depends on what it's for. Just like property management, all the trades, whether it's moving, plumbing, electrical, you name it, there's a lot of different companies, and there's a lot of different people to choose from. And when you're networked in Chicago with other managers and other owners and other business owners, people like that, you kind of share vendors, and you get to kind of know who's good, and reliable, and gets you a good price... I'm sure -- you've been doing this show for a long time; good news travels fast. So if somebody is really good, and they're reasonably priced, and they are competent, and they communicate well, that word gets around. And then the key to keeping those vendors is making sure that you're not chewing them down on price on every single repair or replacement. And that when it comes time for them to get paid, you pay them as quickly as you can. [unintelligible 00:17:23.01] and a lot of people really, really like that. And you need that. They're not commodities, they're a part of your team.

I can tell you my HVAC person is one of my most valuable vendors, and when it gets super-hot and stuff breaks, because we have a long-standing relationship and we trust each other, when my stuff breaks, and I call him, he picks up the phone, he gets over there, he fixes it, and I bill the owner, and I don't really get a lot of blowback there. So I know that we're doing a good job. And we're trying to cultivate that type of dynamic with our vendors pretty much every day.

Break: [00:18:02.07]

Ash Patel: You syndicate your own deals as well, right?

John McGeown: That's correct. Yeah.

Ash Patel: Talk more about that. What kind of deals are you doing?

John McGeown: I've got rehab, a lot of value-add, we've done three-units, a lot of six flats... I think our biggest building is like an eight-unit; nothing too big, but a lot of littler ones. And we look to add value to buildings in neighborhoods that are emerging, or at least that was sort of the modus operandi before COVID.

Now we're just looking for good deals, where maybe we can push rents; maybe something's under-rented, or it has been mismanaged, or there's deferred maintenance that we can justify a price where we can come in and fix it, and it still works for us... So pre-pandemic we were more "Let's go hard at the gut rehab, to the studs, basement to the roof, get everything brand new, stabilize it, and then hold it." Our strategy is always to hold, we don't really flip or sell. During the pandemic, I bought three buildings, and all of them were in really good areas. It just seemed to be a good time to buy buildings in good areas. But most of the stuff we were doing is in emerging neighborhoods in Chicago, and we're looking for stuff that we can just buy and manage, and then in five to seven years from now, if we wanted to renovate then, we could. So that's what we've been chasing these days.

Ash Patel: What are the emerging neighborhoods in Chicago?

John McGeown: Personally, I really like Pilsen and Little Village, I like Avondale, Logan Square, I like Uptown and Edgewater... Those are kind of almost there. A lot of these neighborhoods I'm mentioning I got into in 2015, so they've kind of come a long way since then... But those are my favorite neighborhoods right now. And I'm always looking for the next top neighborhood.

Ash Patel: Out of my own curiosity, how's that Wrigleyville Lincoln Park area doing right now?

John McGeown: That's where I'm talking to you from, my offices in Lincoln Park.

Ash Patel: Still hot?

John McGeown: Oh, hot as hell, yeah.

Ash Patel: Okay.

John McGeown: To put it into perspective, we're at Fullerton, Lincoln and Halstead, which is right where the DePaul University is, and the building that I manage and I lease from the owner here at Lincoln Park - during the pandemic, the rents for a three-bed/two-bath, this is a new construction building, 2020, three-bed/two-bath, 1,200 square feet, we were getting 4,700 on average. We're re-renting these things now for 5,500.

Ash Patel: What a jump, yeah.

John McGeown: It's a big jump, yeah.

Ash Patel: Is that burrito place still there called Alande?

John McGeown: Yes, it's there.

Ash Patel: It's still there. One of the greatest places ever. Best Ever listeners, if you're there, it is incredible. Back to real estate... So what kind of deals do you put together for syndication? What does a typical syndication deal look like in terms of returns, hold period etc?

John McGeown: Are we talking like structure?

Ash Patel: Yeah.

John McGeown: I don't really like the whole pref game; the preferred return thing. I try to make things as straightforward and fair for everybody as possible. Early in my career, somebody -- I think the saying goes (I hope I don't screw this up) hogs get fed, pigs get slaughtered. So if you want to shoot yourself in the foot - asking for too much. So my strategy is to identify a building, lock it up under contract, and then go through my rolodex of investors or partners and ask them if they're interested in the deal. I kind of tell them broadstroke what I'm thinking.

Generally, the way I like to do things it's I'll sign on the debt, you sign on the debt, I'll put in some amount of equity so that it's meaningful for you - normally about 5% to 10% - and I'm looking for like a 60/40 split, and the strategy is usually - loan terms are normally five, seven years, so we're probably looking at holding for five to seven years, and then... I haven't sold anything yet. We just refinanced everything during the pandemic. That's like terms and how we try to set up the splits with the partners.

Ash Patel: How many partners do you typically take on on a deal?

John McGeown: Like one, two max?

Ash Patel: Okay. So this is more of a joint venture than it is a syndication?

John McGeown: I guess you could say that.

Ash Patel: And what is typical return that these investors would see? Let's say an annualized cash on cash return, or IRR.

John McGeown: 8% to 12% is pretty typical for the deals I do. The bigger deals, you get a larger economy of scale, but they require more capital and maybe they're a little more risky. So I like the smaller deals and spreading out the risk throughout multiple neighborhoods or blocks or buildings. And then there are some investors who are with me on four or five buildings. There are others that we've just started and we've done one, maybe two.

Ash Patel: Have you thought about starting a fund?

John McGeown: I've thought about it. I'm not interested in starting a fund.

Ash Patel: Why not?

John McGeown: I think even if things go right, it's too many cooks in the kitchen for me. I don't know enough about it, to be truthful with you, to really expound on it too much. I've explored it, poked around with friends of mine... Maybe I'm just not there professionally to stomach something like that... But I just don't feel like I need to.

Ash Patel: Yeah, I get it. And the reason you don't like prepfs - why is it specifically that you don't want a pref? You don't want to be obligated if the deal is not making money yet, is that part of the reason?

John McGeown: I think it's very traditional. It's kind of like one of those things that everybody does. So if you're a seasoned real estate investor, you're going to expect that. But I would rather give up more of the deal than look at like a preferred return for somebody... Just because I don't want to chase that. I want to chase the deal. I want everybody to succeed, and it almost makes me feel subservient, or more subservient when you have a 6% to 8% preferred return; you can end up cutting corners or making bad decisions when you're motivated by making sure that you're getting somebody a preferred return back, is sort of my philosophy on it.

Ash Patel: And I love that, because everybody is 7%, 8% pref, whatever IRR; it's all the same out there. So I like that you're going against the grain. Do the investors typically have an issue signing on debt?

John McGeown: Not mine, no. Because I'm signing with them.

Ash Patel: Okay. And then the tax benefits to them - is that part of the explanation to them?

John McGeown: Most of the people that I'm dealing with are in real estate already, and they understand that... But yeah.

Ash Patel: John, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

John McGeown: I think acquisition cost covers a multitude of sins. So if you can get a property at the right price, you can kind of, for lack of a better term, screw up construction; time and construction can crush your returns. So I would just say if you're just starting out, buy something that's a home run, or don't buy anything unless you're absolutely sure it's a home run. And my other advice would be find the property, and the money will follow. That's something I learned really early on, is that don't concern yourself with "I need millions of dollars to start in real estate." It's not like that. You can really do it with no money if you wanted to.

Ash Patel: I love that, because I was on a real estate forum, and I read a post where somebody said, "Does anyone else think it's BS that people always say "If you have the deal, the money will come"? And literally, 99% of the responses were "Yeah, only people with money say that. Yeah, that's not true. I've tried, it's not true." And really, if you don't have the network, it's not going to be true. But if you have a great deal, and you have even the smallest, high net worth network, or really just the right network, the money will come. And it's so important for people to understand that.

John McGeown: Can I tell a quick story?

Ash Patel: Yeah, please do.

John McGeown: My very first deal that I raised money for and I invested in and partnered up was in West Side of Logan Square, towards [unintelligible 00:27:50.04] for people familiar with Chicago. A broker friend of mine had an off market 4-unit that had tons of space in the basement. The seller was living in the basement, wanted to get out of this deal, had owned it for a long time, tried to rehab it himself, could not succeed, if he tried... And they brought me the deal. They said it's a four-unit... I forget what they said he wanted for it; I ended up paying $365,000 for it. And we put initially 400k of construction dollars into the deal.

So my plan though - it was a huge basement space, and so I'm like "Maybe we can add a unit." We're not going to know that until much later... We'll never find that out during due diligence. So does the deal work as a four-unit? Well, I brought my architect to it and he's like, "You know, there's a lot of dead space; you can add an extra bathroom. These two-bedroom/one-baths can become three-bed/two-baths." And I got really excited. I'm like, "Oh my gosh, this is the deal I've been waiting for; this is the one."

I knew the value in Logan Square at that time, gut rehab stuff's like 100k to 125k a door. I'm getting it for much less than that. And I picked up the phone, and the first guy I called is my first investor. I've invested in five deals with him. I called him up and said, "Hey--" I had prepped him, telling him what my plan was, that I was looking for stuff, and if I found something that I thought was awesome, I'd call him... And I found this deal, and I put it under contract, and right as soon as I put it under contract, I made one call, and he was in. We set the deal up in like two seconds for the attorney.

We ended up closing it, we rehabbed it, and I was able to get the fifth unit added, which increased the value of the building significantly, probably by at this point $200,000. So it just goes to show you, if you have the deal, the money will follow. Most of the stuff I do, it's one phone call. I'm not going through calling six to eight people. I'm making one or two phone calls. "Ah, let me think about it..." "Alright, hurry up though. I've gotta do this. You're either in or you're out. I don't really care. It's no harm, no foul. If you're out, I don't care. I'll still bring you stuff if you want me to."

So people know one way or another I'm on my path, and I'm going to buy real estate and I'm going to partner with people. If it looks good to them, they should pull the trigger.

Ash Patel: Yeah, and even people that don't have the network to raise all the money... Let's say they're just starting out, "If you have the deal, the money will come" still holds true, because you can always sell the deal to somebody; get a finder's fee. And even if you get nothing in return, you just hooked somebody up with a really good deal. They'll remember you, and maybe they'll mentor you. Or maybe they'll bring you in on a next deal, or whatever it is... But just having a great deal - there's so many ways to get returns on it, even if it's not monetary. So yes, great advice, and thank you for that.

John, when someone's doing a proforma, what should their property management fee be, typically?

John McGeown: 5%.

Ash Patel: Okay.

John McGeown: That's where I'm at. It depends on the neighborhood and it depends on the scale. Sometimes bigger buildings, it's going to be a lower management fee, because again, there's that economies of scale there. Most of the deals that we do are in the six to 50-unit range, and we're charged between 4% and 6%.

Ash Patel: Of gross rents.

John McGeown: That's correct. Yeah.

Ash Patel: Okay, got it. John, are you ready for the Best Ever lightning round?

John McGeown: Let's do it.

Ash Patel: Alright, John, what's the Best Ever book you've recently read?

John McGeown: "The obstacle is the way" by Ryan Holiday.

Ash Patel: What was the big takeaway on that?

John McGeown: That life is full of challenges and obstacles, and unless you can figure out a way to make them into opportunities, it's going to be hard for you.

Ash Patel: "The obstacle is the way"?

John McGeown: 'The obstacle is the way." Basically, [00:31:38.26] stoicism, I don't know if you've heard it... It's founded in stoicism. A lot of it's based in the philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. And the business is like a thousand-pound weight sometimes. And every day, like I said, there are challenges. And if you don't know how to take these challenges kind of with a grain of salt, and make them into opportunities for you or your company or your partners, it makes things tough, and you lose that way. And we want to win.

Ash Patel: Yeah, that's a great outlook. John, what's the Best Ever way you like to give back?

John McGeown: I'm a military vet. I'm a member of Disabled American Veterans, I'm a member of Veterans [unintelligible 00:32:16.20] We like to donate and give time to some of the local homeless veteran housing organizations in the Chicago area. I wrote it down... Safe Haven is one, and Inner Voice is another one. And then my wife, she spends time with Off the Street Club, which is another organization that we're involved with.

Ash Patel: And John, how can the Best Ever listeners reach out to you?

John McGeown: Well, I'm on Facebook, I'm on Twitter, we're on the web, you can find us at But really, the Best Ever way to get in touch with me is to email me directly at john [at]

Ash Patel: John, I've gotta thank you for being on the show today. Thank you again for your service in the Navy. At 24 somehow you knew you wanted to go into real estate, and you took on what many consider the worst part of multifamily, which is property management... So thank you for all the tips and tricks that you've given us, and we wish you the best of luck.

John McGeown: Yeah, thank you. Anytime. I loved being on the show, and I had a good time. I appreciate you having me on.

Ash Patel: Thank you. Best Ever listeners, thank you for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a five-star review. Share the podcast with someone you think can benefit from it. Also, follow, subscribe and have a Best Ever day!

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