February 21, 2024

JF3457: Hitting Rock Bottom, Neuromodulation, and Becoming a Self-Taught Investor ft. David Lucas




David Lucas, a self-taught investor and neuromodulation guide (trust us, he’ll explain), joins host Joe Cornwell to discuss his journey from working in film, music, and television to eventually becoming an active real estate investor. In this episode, David discusses how he taught himself how to invest in real estate, why he chose the multifamily niche, his early property management issues, and why he chose to cap himself at 29 units as an active investor before transitioning to a more passive strategy.

David Lucas | Real Estate Background

  • NeuroModulation Guide + Real Estate Investor
  • Based in: Columbus, OH
  • Portfolio: 29 units owned and managed
  • Say hi to him at: 
  • Best Ever Book: "Rich Dad Poor Dad" - Robert Kiyosaki
  • Best Advice: "You need to love, trust, believe, accept, and heal yourself, before you can peacefully and successfully run a profitable business."


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Joe Cornwell (00:01.954)
Best ever listeners, welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I am your host, Joe Cornwell. And today I am joined by David Lucas. David is a neuromodulation guide and real estate investor. He is an active investor with 29 units in the Columbus, Ohio market. He is also a limited passive investor in syndication deals. First time on the show, David, welcome and thank you for joining us.

David Lucas (00:26.992)
Thanks, Joe. It's awesome to be here. Really appreciate it.

Joe Cornwell (00:30.69)
So let's start off with my first burning question, which is, what is a neuromodulation guide?

David Lucas (00:38.)
So yeah, I help people change and transform any type of undesirable conditions that they may have.

Joe Cornwell (00:48.302)
Okay, can you give me some examples?

David Lucas (00:50.808)
Sure, it's incredibly wide ranging and the breadth and depth is pretty infinite. So it's I have a bunch of different clients that will come to me with maybe low energy migraines, headaches, just really anything. There's no limit. It's all informational and the mind body is a very sophisticated machine and we can help people change and transform their health. It's all voice calls. It's all done over the phone. So we identify what we call information faults in the mind body, accept and release them, and then we replace them with beneficial information, and a change in transformation is made.

Joe Cornwell (01:40.627)
Gotcha. And so this is more like holistic approaches, not through medication or

David Lucas (01:46.088)
It's more informational categories. You know, there's a lot of energetic techniques, which we've all heard of such as reiki and acupuncture, but this is informational in that we're, the premise is that we're finding information faults that are the triggers or underlying mechanisms that are causing an undesirable condition that a client elects to change that they wanna change.

Often it's stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD, all of the auto-immunes, it's pretty wide-ranging. So I see a host of clients with all of the aforementioned items and many more, but it's informational. We find the information fault, identify, accept it, release it by using different tools, which we call pathways. And the information is transferred and the change is made.

Joe Cornwell (02:43.262)
Interesting. Okay. And that, so this is your full-time business and then obviously you do in the real estate as well, right?

David Lucas (02:51.32)
I see 10 clients a week through Resonate and MT, my company, and the rest of the time I spend volunteering and then managing my company, my 29 units and then also just, you know, walking, hiking, lifting, meditating, take drum lessons, spending a lot of time with my girlfriend, her son and my family. So just really living an optimized, balanced life. My ceiling is like 10 clients with Resonate. I really want to put the rest of that time to volunteer work and helping other people.

Joe Cornwell (03:34.03)
Okay, and let's back up a little bit. How did you initially get into real estate?

David Lucas (03:40.348)
I initially got into real estate, it wasn't calculated at all. I was originally from New York, I'm now in Columbus, and I started off working in the film, music, and television business.

I was producing music videos, managing bands, location managing and scouting, feature films and episodic television. And then that was around 96, I started all of that. And then in 2008, I bridged over into the advertising industry, working for some really big agencies on Madison Avenue, focusing on digital advertising and apps and websites for some big global brands. And I was an independent contractor, producing and project managing, laid off and then it happened again about two years later.

So what brought me into real estate was at that moment I realized that I wasn't really in control of my future, and I decided that I was going to start a business. I wanted to start a business. I was always very entrepreneurial. During that first decade in film, music, and TV, I had a handful of businesses, which all failed. So it was always in my blood to pursue entrepreneurship. And I started working to get myself out of, you know, the losses that I incurred. And then after I got laid off a few times, to find the next thing.

So when I decided that I was going to start another business, I also decided at that moment that I was going to teach myself how to invest. Hiring a financial advisor wasn't an option for me to invest in equities. So I purchased a bunch of books on stock marketing, investing everything from history to strategy to the psychology of it. And in one of the books the author mentioned, he compared stock market investing to real estate and a light bulb just went off in my head and I said this sounds a lot more interesting.

So I pivoted immediately went on Amazon and I purchased this was circle like 2011 I purchased the four or five highest rated books I could find on residential investing, landlording and then I read them like two three times highlighted extrapolated every one of those notes and hand-written notes and I made my first acquisition about in 2014, which is about two years after purchasing those books. I just kept reading them and studying. And the first acquisition was 16 units straight away. No experience for fourplexes in Columbus. And then in 2018, approximately, I was running the business from New York City. And four years later, I decided to move to Columbus for a host of reasons to be closer to the company, but also just for a bunch of other reasons. So it wasn't calculated, was really studying investing and it was just what I was looking for.

Joe Cornwell (06:38.69)
So a couple of questions there. What, with all the education you're doing, similar story to what I have and a lot of investors I talk to, no family background in real estate, no, nobody really holding your hand to the process. Sounds like it was a lot of self-taught, self-education to get you into the game. But what was it that made you determine you wanted to buy multi-family, small multi-families, or even use buy and hold as your strategy?

David Lucas (07:08.26)
It was really the books I read. Great question. I was really lucky in that each book focused on, residential multifamily and single family. But each book unbeknownst to me really had a particular angle. One book was all about strategy, right? You know, looking at markets. And that was the sole focus. The next book really focused on the nuts and bolts, property management. Another book, formulas, equations and numbers and so on. So it was in one of the books that one of the authors really spoke about the efficiencies of multifamily, shared walls and obviously, you know, at the time you could secure up to 10 Fania Freddie fixed loans. So obviously more doors if you're buying multifamily than single family. So it was to answer your question was from one of the books I read.

Joe Cornwell (08:02.03)
Okay, and what made you decide on Columbus?

David Lucas (08:06.796)
I was specifically looking for a market that had population growth, job growth, business growth, very, very low, unemployment rate and it had to be a diversified economy. It couldn't be a one industry town. And Columbus checked all of those boxes and I was really adamant I wasn't willing to compromise. I wanted to find four fourplexes straight away, nothing less for my first acquisition and I found it in Columbus.

Joe Cornwell (08:42.861)
Okay. And then you said you were self-managing this remotely?

David Lucas (08:48.472)
I was managing the manager so I did hire a third-party property manager based in Columbus.

Joe Cornwell (08:55.79)
Okay. So tell me some of those challenges this first couple of years, you know, obviously walking into a 16 unit, uh, property as your first acquisition is usually probably bigger than most of the people that I've talked to. So, you know, you took a pretty big first step and yeah, so walk me through some of those challenges that you found, um, especially being remote.

David Lucas (09:16.912)
Yeah, I think the biggest challenge was trust, confidence in my manager and letting go. It was, you know, I'm very hands on, and I was far away, it's my nature, and I think it's really important that investors, whether they're doing commercial or residential, you have to know what type of person you are. At the same time, I really didn't have an option because I was living in New York, and I mean, I could have attempted to manage remotely, but I had no experience. So I think the struggle or the issue was trusting, and being willing to let go.

Trust the process and just be present and not constantly thinking about the future or the past, what had occurred, stepping away from the process. Not entirely away, it's our job to manage the manager, but just I think emotionally and mentally being able to optimize and balance and peacefully begin this new adventure. That was the biggest challenge for me. I think it was mentally and emotionally being conditioned and being able to just trust, believe and go for it.

Joe Cornwell (10:54.062)
And when you were working with this initial manager, what was the process for finding that manager? You know, did you interview multiple? How were you getting referrals?

David Lucas (11:04.824)
Yeah, I had a manager and it lasted about six months and I was referred to that manager through the agent that I was working with that helped me find the 16 unit. And we had an amicable split after about six months. And at that moment, I went on to BiggerPockets and I actually posted that I was looking for a residential property manager, and there were a few recommendations put forth and I interviewed two or three property managers and then I hired someone and continued managing the manager from New York City until 2018.

Joe Cornwell (11:51.606)
So what were the main differences that you found with the manager ultimately decided to go with long-term versus the one that you had to let go?

David Lucas (11:59.784)
The big differences between the managers. I think the main difference between them was the second manager I hired was just really enjoyed his work, you know, his art and his craft, what he was doing. He was very happy, very peaceful.

And the first manager didn't really seem like he enjoyed the job. It was almost like he was doing it maybe for money or other reasons, you know, but I think it was account management. Account management, client relations was the big difference. Communication and just demeanor. Energy. Yeah.

Joe Cornwell (12:47.154)
Yeah. That's an interesting, um, takeaway, you know, I mean, I think you find that in, in almost all aspects of life, you know, when you're, when you're dealing with somebody and, or, you know, the, the famous examples going to the DMV, right? It's like everybody in there hates their job, they're all miserable and they make you miserable as a, as a result. Right. Um, and so I think that, you know, you could probably take that lesson applied to almost any field industry, whether it's real estate related or not, finding and working with the people who actually enjoy what they do or have a passion for it is certainly going to help raise everybody's moods while you're interacting with whatever the nature of that business is.

Now, not to say that everybody's going to be in a great mood and love their job every day, but I understand your point where we've all dealt with those people, worked with those people that you can tell just genuinely don't wanna be there and hate what they're doing.

David Lucas (13:44.272)
Yeah. And you know there's times in our lives where we all have to go through that. I mean generally now I'm at the point in my life where you know I'm just fortunate enough where I can just do what I want to do, and focus and really do what I want to do. And there were times in my life when I couldn't. I never had the intention to work in the advertising industry. Right. But with the stock market crash of 2000 and the economy crash, the entertainment music imploded with the rise of Napster and file sharing and all that money that was in the music industry and commercials. It all dried up. Right. So it was out of necessity.

And, you know, if it wasn't for that time, I wouldn't have been able to start my real estate company. I didn't really enjoy it. So sometimes, you know, we have to there's certain moments But by and large I try to live a life where I'm really doing, you know What I want to do the neuromodulation technique work I do resonate and empty that story is very close to home It's very close to my heart. I wasn't looking for another business on top of second life real estate I wasn't looking like to pivot. I was very happy.

I was successful I was very comfortable, but I went on this journey for 10 weeks across America, and when I came back, I wasn't the same. I had food sensitivities, you know, which lasted 10 years. I was broken for 10 years, mentally, physically, emotionally, and one NMT session changed my life. So I share that because the only reason why I decided to enroll, study, learn neuromodulation technique was because it gave me my life back. I lost like a decade of my life. It was almost like my life was on pause.

I was just mentally, physically, emotionally broke, depressed, crushed my self-confidence, I was malnourished. So when this change or transform happened, when I was able to reverse my food sensitivities, I can eat anything I want again, anytime I want, anywhere I want, I said, you know, how can I not enroll, learn, and study this? And I set the attention of trying to find the other David Lucas's out there, which is to say people that are struggling or suffering from some kind of undesirable condition, right? Whether that's stress, food sensitivities, allergies, depression, but it was purpose-driven and I love it and it's fantastic and I'm at the point now with you know my syndication investments and MTA where I only engage and I'm only really pursuing things that I love but there was a time where I wasn't as fortunate and lucky.

Joe Cornwell (16:18.678)
Yeah. And I think that story highlights the motivation for hopefully the listeners of this show and anyone who's seeking that financial freedom and their life is it empowers you the freedom to live a life where not, you know, for the most part, not always, but for the most part, you get to do the things you want to do, you know, as something you stated. Um, and the way I relate to that is I'm an agent, and I have a construction business, but I'm financially free, which affords me the ability to only work with the people I want to work with, you know, in a similar freedom.

Obviously we, you know, we all want to make money. Um, and we have our different motivations for that. And we have other ways that we achieve fulfillment within our careers or our businesses or our investments. But when you have financial freedom and you're able to live and work and, and play the way you want to, it opens up, you know, an entirely different life that obviously most people don't have. And I'm hoping that's one of the reasons why the people listening to the show are here. Um, if they're not there yet, that they're on their journey to do that.

David Lucas (17:27.464)
It's also one of the main reasons why I'm solely focused on syndication investments, passive investing. I absolutely love operating and I love the portfolio I have, but when I reached 29, I knew that was it. That's where I wanted to be. I didn't want to scale anymore. And I'm just super excited about continuing to invest in syndication opportunities, commercial real estate me to create that mental, emotional space, that freedom to keep pursuing more opportunities, more inspiration that strikes when I'm not expecting it to strike. What's the next thing going to be? I'm always focusing on learning and educating myself and just pushing the boundaries.

I don't know what's going to be next, but there's going to be something else. And it's going to be something that I'm really passionate about, like I am with the passive investing and the NMT.

Joe Cornwell (18:34.934)
Yeah, let's, let's touch on that a little bit. So why, why the 29 units, you know, and this is again, your active portfolio. Um, why did you decide on that? What was that process? You know, what did that look like?

David Lucas (18:49.684)
Again, that number wasn't really planned. I kept scaling and scaling. I almost doubled in about seven years. Started off with 16 and then got up to about 29. And a few things happened. The market got really tight here as in many other markets across the country and the numbers no longer work as well as they did when I first started clearly in 2014 coming off the edge of the 2008 recession. So that's one of the reasons. But more importantly, it really comes down to that. I started my own in-house management company now called Beyond Property Management.

And I'm not a service. I'm not servicing any other companies. It's just an in-house company. And it's very efficient, very smooth. My operation, it doesn't require a lot of time. It's pretty effortless. The most time-consuming part is when a tenant moves out and I need to get a unit rent ready. You know, aside from that, it's, you know, 15, 30 minutes a day. And, you know, those move-outs only happen maybe four or five times a year.

So it was really just about not wanting to do and spend any more time putting, you know, more roofs over people's families heads one at a time where I can impact a lot more families, you know, going commercial and then spending my time doing other things. I'm at the point now, I think, where I want to impact and help more people than I ever possibly imagined. That's where I am now. I'm pushing myself. I'm setting the intention to help more people than I ever possibly imagined I could help, whether that's the real estate, putting roofs overheads or through neuromodulation techniques or whatever comes next. So I realize just you know continuing to acquire homes, fourplexes, duplexes, single families, isn't really the it's not gonna have the impact that I'm envisioning right now that I'm working on manifesting for my future. It's not the best use of my time.

Joe Cornwell (21:06.89)
Yeah, I think that's a good point. And you know, it's almost a philosophical question, right? It's like, I have friends who have hundreds of units, thousands of units. I work with a lot of investors of various sizes and the question, you know, sometimes comes up, it's like, well, you know, why are we doing this? What's the end game? What's the motivation? And when you're talking about self-managing an active portfolio, and that's exactly what I do as well, it's, it's a situation where you can only scale so much and kind of be a solo preneur.

Then the next step is you have to start building out a business where you have employees, full-time employees, multiple full-time maintenance people as you scale up. And then it becomes a thing where you can't do it by yourself anymore. And you have to decide, do you wanna stay at a manageable level or do you wanna scale it to a point where, I guess the end game for a lot of people is get to a point where you can kind of step away from the day to day activities and have a large enough portfolio to support that. And so, you know, I totally understand your thought process on that. I guess my follow up question would be, what point did you start doing the passive investing and, you know, how did that come about? What was your first passive investment like?

David Lucas (22:31.856)
The first deal I did was a unit in Dallas, and it was with Ashcroft Capital.

And that was around 2018, 19, I'm thinking. And I was listening to the show, I was a fan of the show. And Joe was hosting back then the majority of the shows. And I think I jumped in around episode 200 and I hung around until about episode 800 or 1000. And I just really trusted Joe like he was kind of hanging out in my living room. I thought he was a really authentic, super nice guy and trustworthy.

And my sixth sense just told me that he was, he was the right operator, the right manager to start with. And at the same time, I was well aware of the business model of syndication. I had been educating myself, listening to a lot of shows. So with again, the lack of supply in the market, and really most importantly, the intention to want to free up more space to continue scalling my philanthropy efforts and just my efforts helping people, it seemed like the next logical move. And that first investment was very successful. It was supposed to be like a four or five year hold. I think we exited in three years and still had all the projections in the pro forma. And then I continued with Ashcroft Capital.

Joe Cornwell (24:13.814)
What would your advice be to the listener who may be considering a passive investment? Did you interview or talk to any other operators or companies? And either way, whether you did or not, what would your advice be to someone who may be considering that? What would you look out for? What sort of questions would you ask?

David Lucas (24:32.504)
I did, I actually did speak with a lot of operators and I also considered very briefly of starting my own company operating. And I did, it was very short-lived and I was looking at deals and talking to other operators that I could partner with. And I realized after one or two months that it wasn't really what I wanted to do. I didn't wanna be a general partner.

I really wanted to just keep investing passively. So I learned a lot to your question about syndication because I actually started a company, a syndication company and was looking at deals. And I also interviewed a lot of other general partners as well that were offering funds and or accepting investments for particular units.

But lastly, there was a lot of information, just like when I first started, I read the handful of books on residential. I did a ton of work. There was a lot of information you can get out there from the best ever site, blogs through Ashcroft and other general partners. There's a lot of books you can find on syndication. So my advice is, you know, read the you know, 
before you do it. You've gotta read, don't just invest because you have the money. You need to understand the process. And then, so it's 50-50.

Then you've gotta actually try. You can't procrastinate forever. You gotta get off the sidelines. So I'd say it's really, the formula for me, it's 50-50. You have to read, study, take a course, have a mentor, talk to someone else, a successful entrepreneur who's done it before. Really learn and understand it. And then take action, do it, but also like you know you don't invest more than you are willing to lose. So that's my advice, those three things. It's not just you know read and learn. It's not you know just jump in, educate yourself. There's blogs, there's books. You can reach out to other people who've done it before and talk to them. You know I reached out to a lot of partners, very successful partners that I track record quick to reply and carve out time for me and you know I met with many of them in person so I learned a lot through meetings and conversations too.

Joe Cornwell (27:02.006)
Very good. Are you ready to transition to the best ever lighting round?

David Lucas (27:06.172)
Sure, let's do it.

Joe Cornwell (27:07.842)
What is your best ever book recommendation?

David Lucas (27:11.468)
So I'm going to break the rules here for a second. Best ever book recommendation for me was Rich Dad, Poor Dad on a philosophical mindset. But during that time, as I mentioned, I purchased three or four books. I didn't have a mentor or a coach, and it worked out for me. So the books that I read that taught me everything I knew was Two Years to a Million in Real Estate, Investing in Real Estate by Gary Eldred, Buy it, rent it, profit by Brian Chavis, and what every real estate investor needs to know about cash flow. And then lastly, the Wall Street Journal complete real estate investing guidebook. 

So those worked out incredibly well for me. They were each very unique, as I mentioned, some of them focused on nuts and bolts and property management. Others were strategy markets, what to look for, and so on and so forth. I also really like the compound effect by Darren Hardy. That one really resonated with me as did the richest man in Babylon.

Right now what I'm reading, which I really am enjoying and finding really useful and valuable, is Notes for the Journey Within Essentials of the Art of Living by Srisri Ravi Shankar, and then The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton. And then my all-time book on money is called Money Love, Money Love, Money Hyphen Love by Jerry Giles or Gillis, G-I-L-L-E-S. It's a very old book. It early 80s, but a really, really fantastic book on money.

Joe Cornwell (28:52.322)
What is the best ever way you like to give back?

David Lucas (28:55.832)
I feed the homeless twice a week, so I carve out time to serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the homeless shelter minimum two times a week. And I also donate 10% to Care for Children, which is an organization in India that builds schools in lower income rural areas or almost next to no income rural areas. And in addition to teaching the core subjects, history, science, and arithmetic and such, mindfulness classes. So the children learn breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga practices. So it's a holistic education and it's for free. And over 90% of the money goes to the cause. Most of the teachers and everyone working at these schools, which they're building from scratch, are also volunteers. So care for children.

Joe Cornwell (29:54.726)
And give me a mistake you made in one of your deals and the lesson you learned from it.

David Lucas (30:00.164)
One of the deals. I'll give you three mistakes that weren't in the acquisition process, but after acquiring them. First one was, actually this first one is a deal. I acquired a home and it was all cash deal when we acquired it. And I didn't know and I didn't ask the title company to see if the home was located in a flood zone.

And it was, and I didn't find out until later after when I tried to attempt to do a burr on it. The bank required flood insurance and I had no clue. That was one of the lessons that wasn't in the book. That's the one, you know, the one I one of the lessons I learned from experience. So had I financed it straight away, it would have come up. But being that it was at all cash deal, we just hired a title company and they didn't elect to look and I didn't ask them to look.

So it's my fault. But that was one. The second biggest mistake was just, you know, not taking care of my health, making my mental, emotional, and physical a priority. And one other lesson or a mistake was, it was unbeknownst to me that certain type of bankruptcy filings would require a property manager, an owner, or a landlord to stop in federal courts first before being able to file an eviction court. And I didn't know that. There's several different types of filing. So check with your attorney, check with your lawyer, check with your property manager and or the local powers that be, but I didn't foresee that.

And it's worked out, you know, fortunately we have not had to go to eviction court. And with the former example, it's a rental. So being that it's in a flood zone, it's okay, but it could be a potential risk if we elected in the future to actually sell that home to a homeowner and or an investor that wanted to secure financing because flood insurance is very expensive. So they were really just seminars and lessons learned and they're working out, insurance and knowing the proper process and trajectory to kind of maneuver through the court system with bankruptcy filings.

That and the health, you know, without the health, you know, once we have the mental and the emotional, especially physical too, but especially the mental and the emotional just makes everything so much easier, right? All of the problem solving we have to do every day with contractors and tenants and our property managers, gives us more energy. So everything is just easier, everything's better. Revenue increases, it's the most important thing. And there was a time in my life where I neglected it.

And it's now front and center. Important not to be feverish over it, but need to keep it front and center, pay attention to it, it's really important.

Joe Cornwell (33:04.67)
And where can our listeners connect with you and learn more about what you're doing?

David Lucas (33:08.484)
Website is resonate.com, R-E-S-O-N-A-T-E.com, and there's also links on that site to all my socials, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Joe Cornwell (33:20.606)
Awesome. Well, David, we really appreciate your time today. Thank you for joining us.

David Lucas (33:25.229)
Yeah, it's a pleasure. Thank you so much.

Joe Cornwell (33:28.29)
Thank you for turning in best ever listeners. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to leave us a five star review and share this episode with someone you think could gain value from it. Remember to follow and subscribe to our podcast so you don't miss anything. Thank you all and have a best ever day.

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