December 9, 2023

JF3383: 15 Deals in 15 Months: How to Build a 600-Unit Multifamily Portfolio ft. Ross McArthur




Ross McArthur, co-founder of Follow the Deal Investments, shares his journey in CRE investing, from being terrified to invest in a four-unit property in 2020 to closing 15 deals in 15 months to establish a 600 unit portfolio today.

Key Takeaways

  • Treating Real Estate Like a Business: Even if investing is just a side hustle for you, treat it like a business, not a hobby. This means organizing your operations, setting up dedicated email accounts, and implementing proper accounting and tracking software from day one.
  • Strategic Team Building: The key to building a great team is hiring where you’re weak. You don’t have to hire a full team at 40 hours a week right away. Ross shares the transformative impact that hiring a part-time CFO and partnering with a real estate-focused CPA has had on his business and overall bottom line.
  • The Power of Cash Out Refinancing and Local Banks: Ross increased his portfolio by 100 units in 12 months by utilizing the cash out refinance method and building relationships with local banks who gave him favorable financing terms. In today’s environment, having a good relationship with your local credit union may make the difference in getting a deal done or not.
  • Applying a Sales Process to Your Investing Business: Ross has developed relationships with several key brokers in his market. He calls each of them several times a month to review their pipeline, analyzing new deals and returning to ones he may have passed on previously. This gives a steady pipeline of deals to underwrite and off-market access to potential properties.

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Ross McArthur | Real Estate Background

  • Follow the Deal Investments
  • Portfolio:
    • Multiple multifamily properties in Indiana
  • Based in: Indiana
  • Say hi to him at: 
  • Best Ever Book: The Decision by Kevin Hart
  • Greatest Lesson: You have to treat real estate investing like a business, not a side hobby. And that means having some form of accounting and tracking software, having a specific email set up, basic things to keep yourself organized like a business.



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Ash Patel (00:01.49)
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, Ross McArthur. Ross is joining us from Claremont, Florida. He is the co-founder of Follow the Deal Investments, where they focus on 20 to 150 unit apartment complexes in the Midwest, specifically in Indiana. Ross's portfolio consists of multiple multifamily properties in Indiana. Ross, thank you for joining us and how are you today?

Ross McArthur (00:31.572)
Good, and I should have said this in the pre stuff but man you got a voice for this don't you? Thank you for having me I appreciate very much.

Ash Patel (00:40.971)
It's our pleasure to have you, man. Ross, 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?

Ross McArthur (00:49.024)
Yeah, absolutely. So I was born and raised in Michigan, so I'm a Midwest kid. We were talking about Ohio a few minutes ago. So born and raised there, went to college there, but like most people, decided to chase some money and go into the corporate life. And that took me out West in the outside sales role. And I definitely argue that corporate sales is one of the best jobs for a young professional. I mean, it just gives you a lot of flexibility. If you're really good at what you can do, you make a lot of money.

So, definitely chased that, went into a startup company after that, which started to scratch my itch for entrepreneurship, which a lot of those same things I learned back then I applied today. And then I eventually ended up in Florida for the last 12 years, moved on to a large software company for really the better part of my career. So my investing side though started just over four years ago.

Most people, I grew up with at least an interest in it, but I didn't have anybody around me who did real estate to be honest with you. I didn't even have any friends that were really realtors or family members that were realtors. So I literally just thought real estate was interesting and neat. And you'd see people transform these buildings or you talk to somebody, they would know a bunch of things. And I just found it always intriguing. And so I sat on the sidelines like most people until my mid 30s.

Well, shoot, some people do it right away. I waited quite a while and I decided eventually that I was gonna jump in and we decided that the Midwest, one's just kind of a comfort. We knew that type of area, we knew that type of people. And the other thing was, you know, barrier to entry. And I think you know that better than anybody. A lot of your listeners know that. It's a lower cost to barrier entry. So we decided on Indiana for a lot of reasons.

We picked Indianapolis, but we actually don't own anything in Indianapolis, of all things. So we decided anything within a couple hours away, we would, we would entertain looking at, and we really targeted just two to eight unit properties back then. Got into off market stuff and started investing career. 

We got our first property January 2020. Typical MLS buy, 25% down, scariest thing I've ever done, Ash. I mean, honestly, like, I mean, it kept me up at night, which is funny looking back then, and now we're buying like multi-multi-million dollar properties and raising a bunch of capital, but that was scary back then.

Ash Patel (03:26.602)
Russ, what was that first property in 2020?

Ross McArthur (03:29.812)
Yeah, so it was a four unit property. I think we bought it for about $170,000 and a small tertiary market in Indiana. So about as blocking and tackling as you get.

Ash Patel (03:41.826)
Did you raise money for that or did you just do traditional financing?

Ross McArthur (03:46.292)
So we did traditional financing, no money raised on that. That actually, that concept scared me for a long time, which we'll get into I'm sure later. But no, it was traditional. So one of the benefits to working up the corporate creditors, we did pretty good for ourselves, my wife and I. She works as well. So we had enough money saved to go in and put a 25% down.

And then eventually as we grew, we tapped into some creative financing things, or not even really creative financing, other ways to access your wealth like 401k loans and HELOC loans and things like that when we started to scale.

Ash Patel (04:19.606)
Because this was four units, I'm assuming lending was not a big challenge.

Ross McArthur (04:23.856)
Not at all. Actually, to be honest with you, it's funny when I think back then, I didn't know who to call. Like, who do you call? Like, I don't know. I've never bought an investment property before. Like, I was like, well, let's say it was essentially like a quick and loans type of, you know, mortgage broker. So I called up and it was the most painful thing I've ever done. Eventually, as we get into, I learned about small credit unions and localized banks who kind of specialize in investment properties. But back then it was it was super painful and it was just dialing somebody on the phone to some random person.

Ash Patel (04:55.37)
I get it man, I think you're bringing back a lot of first deal jitters memories for our best ever listeners. Your first deal, whether it's your personal residence, your first investment property, that's a big deal. Ross, you're from Michigan, you live in Florida, why did you pick Indiana?

Ross McArthur (05:11.828)
Yeah, so we touched on it early, but it was buried entry and it was cash flow. I've never been a big fan of buying for appreciation. Now people have done it, you know, obviously in the sun coast and where we live down here in the sun belt, you know, Florida has been a hot center for investing for a long time, but good luck finding cash flow these days. And so I wanted to invest for cash flow and if it appreciated, great.

So that was always just my belief and most areas in the Midwest can provide that I had some friends who I met through You know kind of over the years investigating in real estate and they were doing Indiana And so I had a leg up on just learning a little bit about the market from them and ultimately made us feel comfortable.

Ash Patel (05:56.094)
Another benefit of Indiana post COVID is just like we had New York people moving to Florida, California people moving to Arizona and Texas, Illinois people are getting the hell out and moving to Indiana. So those north western suburbs near Chicago are on fire, right?

Ross McArthur (06:13.248)
Yeah, Michigan City, going to Mishawaka, all those areas up there have been really, really hot. That's a great point. And that wasn't, you know, three years ago when we started, but like you said, as COVID kind of came and slowly exited per se, yeah, it's became fire for sure.

Ash Patel (06:29.066)
Is this your full-time gig now or do you still have a sales role?

Ross McArthur (06:32.116)
Yeah, so I did up until March, I was the vice president of a large software company. So I'm a big believer of not exiting your main income until you feel incredibly comfortable with what you're doing. And so at that point in time, when I exited, we owned about 500 rental units at the time and I did about 25 flips a year. So I felt uber, uber comfortable exiting that large paying W2 job into this full time. But for the last almost nine months, I've done real estate full time.

Ash Patel (07:02.206)
Yeah, that's a good point. You know, you see a lot of social media posts where people will tell you, you know, don't be afraid of taking big risks, go for it, follow your dreams. Listen, if you got a good W-2, relax. Do this as a side hustle. When you're running out of time, where there's no more time in the day where you can look for deals or manage your properties, consider the options of hiring an assistant or quitting your W-2, right?

If you've got a high paying W2 gig, don't make drastic decisions. Do it calculated is my opinion.

Ross McArthur (07:39.08)
Yeah, I think you nailed it. I couldn't have said it any better. I mean, people, the social media world, and even some of these guests that we've had on podcasts, or you've seen on other podcasts, I mean, a lot of these people are like, man, I wish I did it when I was 22 years old, blah, blah. I wish I stopped working 10 years ago. I don't wish any of that, actually. To be honest with you, my path was perfect for us. We were able to pay off all our debt. We were able to live in, you know, I would say a house that, you know, most people dream of because we weren't taking risk, huge risk early. And now when we were able to, we were able to put the, you know, kind of pedal down and really scale. So you're right. I mean, my opinion is exactly yours. Tune it out. If you can do both, do it as long as you can to the very last second. That's ultimately my wife said. You're burning the candle at both ends. You need to pick.

Ash Patel (08:25.882)
Yeah. Let the circumstances dictate when you quit your W two. Good. Josh, you bought your four unit. I'm assuming it's cash flowing. Well, did you do any renovations to it?

Ross McArthur (08:37.823)
Just minor, I mean that was a pretty turnkey one. I mean just minor turns, eventually we did a roof, but I would say in our world now we would call it pretty turnkey.

Ash Patel (08:47.382)
All right, so you've got that thing cash flowing. What's your next step?

Ross McArthur (08:50.376)
Yeah, so when I say cash well, you know, we're buying a Chipotle burrito like every month off of it. You know, we're not getting rich by any means, but that was right in COVID. So like a lot of us who have been investing and listening to the show, you know, that's, you know, we had some time to dedicate to this kind of stuff. And so we did as well. So that summer we decided let's try it out on one. And that's when we started learning about off market deals, wholesalers, that whole genre.

We dabbled a little bit in it, but we decided we were going to take the bull by the horns and we were going to go find our own properties and negotiate our own deals. So in that timeframe, I learned about credit unions and localized banks. And this is where the power of cash out refi came into play for us personally. And we found local lenders that would allow us to buy a copy cash, turn around that same month, go get an appraisal, get a loan on it for what it appraised for, not what we bought it for instantaneously. No seizing period, no nothing. And so we knew we wanted to buy a property that we felt like was valued at 100. We want to buy it for 75, right? So we can buy it cash, get our money right back out. And so that's when the light bulb officially went off on the small multifamily. And we grew that portfolio over the course of 12 months, just by rinsing, repeating our money through our HELOC and also our 401k loans to about, you know, just over a hundred units. So, that's a, we scaled very, very quickly between 2020 and 2020.

Ash Patel (10:17.954)
I want to stop you for a second. You earlier mentioned you paid off all of your debt. And now I hear you're taking out 401k loans. What is your philosophy on debt?

Ross McArthur (10:29.588)
Yeah, so when I say debt, like my wife has her doctorate and she's a doctor of audiology, so she had quite a bit of student loan debts. We paid that type of debt off. What we didn't pay off is, you know, I had a company car, so we only had one car, and we leased it because she never drove, so that's low debt, and we had a house payment. Essentially, we had no other debt. So all other debt was done. I'm a huge belief in leverage. Actually, I have a huge belief in leverage, but the right type of leverage.

If I'm taking money that I have to pay 5% on, but I can make 15% on, that's a net 10%. Like, I love that type of debt. That's the type of debt where I can velocitize our money that I'm into.

Ash Patel (11:11.998)
Yeah, for a lot of the best ever listeners that struggle with how much leverage, how much debt, my simple answer is don't ever get over leveraged. Borrow as much as you can for as long as you can, but have enough cushion, enough runway. Never get to the point where you're over leveraged. Very simple, right? There's no magic formula. It's just within your comfort zone, do some risk assessments.

Ross McArthur (11:31.602)

Ash Patel (11:41.69)
Staying with it for quite some time and make sure you've got enough cushion. It's pretty simple, right?

Ross McArthur (11:47.272)
Yeah, I think we see a lot of flash in the pans of people who don't do that, where you'll talk to somebody and they said, oh, well, I bought two properties or I bought three properties over the years and, oh, they went horribly and I sold them and I took a bath. It's because, you know, one, they probably didn't treat them like a business. They treated it like a hobby, right? First and foremost. And then second, they probably didn't have the reserves and all the other things. The cushion is, to use your word, and runway that they needed. I mean, if you do those blocking and tackling things like you just mentioned, and generally define.

Ash Patel (12:18.526)
Ross, tell us about the benefits of using credit unions or smaller banks.

Ross McArthur (12:23.62)
One, they're just easy accessibility. Like I can call and talk to the vice president of commercial lending today without ever having an appointment or talking to him before. So just the accessibility is a big thing. It becomes more of a personal relationship, but their terms are so much different. So generally we're gonna get 80% loan to value even in today's market, which is getting a lot more, I would say stringent.

And you're going to get usually 12 to 18 months of IO, maybe even 24 of interest only, I should say. So you're paying only interest for that time as you ramp up the property. And you're almost always going to get at least a 25 year amortization with a five year term. And so they're very flexible on term. And as you build that rapport, it becomes even more flexible. Most likely, there's no prepayment penalties and things like that as well. So.

For us, as we continued to grow, we had certain banks that were really good at small multifamily, credit unions and local banks. And then we found others when we moved into the larger apartment complexes that specialized in that. And so there's also two different types of banks even within that. So there's ones that are kind of used to the smaller purchases, couple hundred thousand dollars. And then there's the larger credit unions and local banks that are used to the five, ten, fifteen million dollar purchases.

But they're both, either way it does, if you haven't gone out and investigated the area that you're going to buy in, those local banks, then you're missing out probably the best leverage you can get.

Ash Patel (13:56.074)
And some of the best deals you'll find is find the closest small bank to that property. If the property is in their backyard, they're a lot more aggressive. Good. Okay. So you said you started hitting it hard after your first four unit. What was your next deal?

Ross McArthur (14:06.944)
Great point.

Ross McArthur (14:13.856)
Yeah, so next deal was two duplexes. So that kind of got us that quick eight mark. And then we were really buying three, four, five deals a month. It was as many as we could find we were buying. And so as kind of part of that, what we would find, because we were targeting a lot of off-market sellers, is we became also the, I guess, the mecca of finding single families. Just happens, guys got duplexes, it also has three single family houses. We didn't buy single family.

Like most people, we had a target that we were looking at our type of problem or it wasn't single families. So I started to wholesale a few of those, but what I learned very quickly was, wow, man, I'd sell this to a flipper and they'd go make anywhere from 25 to $40,000 on some of these small, tertiary market flips. I was like, I feel like I can do that, like out of Florida and Indiana, like, can't be that hard. You know, so I decided to try one, and like most people, you get taken a little bit of advantage of for not being there, so the first contract event worked out.

We made really good money on it still. And then we ended up finding a really good contractor team that has 12 people on staff. And so they're not per se on my payroll, but at this point in time, that 99% of the work comes through us. And so we also moved into that same period as we're growing into, I call it accidental flipper. So we do about 25 to 30 flips a year, along with that small multi-family portfolio. So that that whole story right there takes us up to about January 2022.

Ash Patel (15:45.55)
How are you funding all of these deals? You're buying three to five deals per month. How are you not running out of capital?

Ross McArthur (15:53.796)
Yeah, that's it. So $50,000 loan from 241K, so there's $100,000. We were able to take $250,000 out of the HELOC, so that's $350,000. In tritiary markets, particularly in the Midwest, a lot of times you're buying a duplex for $60,000, $65,000, $70,000 in that range, maybe a little bit more, maybe a couple bucks less. And so you can buy quite a bit of that pretty quickly.

And so we were able to buy it and I would already have a relationship with the bank like we were talking about, VP of commercial lending. I'd send them all the underwriting, I'd send them the purchase agreement, any information leases that they needed and I would refi that property almost within four weeks from the purchase date. So I was able to rinse and repeat $350,000 almost 12 times that year. So it really had to go out and find a lot of money.

Ash Patel (16:46.038)
So now you've got, yeah, you've got some good cashflow coming in and going out. What was your next multifamily purchase?

Ross McArthur (16:55.056)
Yeah, so that took us to January 2022 and there's a lot of small multifamilies and we gravitated and grew to larger stuff. But really our next fork in the road, like, I mean, the story happens all the time anytime you talk to somebody, Ash, but we wanted to grow faster and bigger and scale more efficiently. So a good buddy, now my partner, Stan Remling, who's a neighbor of mine a couple blocks over.

We were having a beer one night and he's like, same conversation, he was dabbling some real estate, he says, you know, how do we do this? And so we started following the deal that month, just as an investing company for me and him. It was just gonna be a JV partnership, nothing more, nothing less. And we spent the next really three to six months doing a little bit of small multifamily still, but most of our energy went towards, you know, broker relations, trying to direct to seller marketing, really building a foundation of that company.

And finally in May, a light bulb went off after having dinner with some friends. And because we worked in W2 jobs, he works for Disney, we have a lot of high performing net worth people around us who always ask what we did, you know, asked about real estate and we'd have deja vu conversations with them. Next Friday we'd have the same one. They'd be like, teach me everything you know Ash, and you tell them.

Then next Friday, they'd ask you the same thing. They'll never do anything. And so one day my buddy Ryan's like, man, how about this? And we're drinking, I mean, we've had five or six drinks at the time. He's like, hey man, how about I give you a hot drink? Yeah, exactly, maybe 12 to 15. So we're feeling pretty good. And he says, how about I just give you $100,000 and you just do this for me, man? Like I'm never gonna do this. And that's what me and Stan kind of had, you asked earlier about raising capital and things.

That was the first time raising capital became even an idea. And so we started researching group investing companies, syndication companies, read all the books that, obviously from your guys' group and others. And we decided at that point in time, it was gonna become a syndication or group investing company, mostly just friends and family, close network. And in June, 2022, we got our first larger multifamily deal, which was a 31 unit property. But from that moment, so now we've been very, very focused on, you know, that 20 to 150 unit apartment complexes. And even with the market, the way it's been, we've acquired 15 properties in a little over, you know, let's call it 15 months.

Ash Patel (19:29.247)
Is that the last 15 months?

Ross McArthur (19:31.176)
Yes, the last 15 months. So we grooved about 100 units.

Ash Patel (19:33.574)
Alright, hold on, wait a minute, in 15 months you found how many deals?

Ross McArthur (19:39.736)
Yeah, so we did 15 deals, all ranges of size. Largest was 129 unit property. Smallest was a 15 unit property. And we added about 600 total units to our portfolio in the last 15 months.

Ash Patel (19:55.498)
Now what's your answer to everyone that says there's no good deals out there?

Ross McArthur (20:00.776)
Well, I mean, there's not a lot. I mean, 15 out of however many traded, but you know, there are, you just, one, you have to stick to your guns a little bit, first and foremost, and you have to underwrite and look and work to get those deals. If you're sitting back waiting for Ash Patel, the broker, to call you with this great, fantastic deal that's a home run, it's not gonna happen. Like, you have to literally run this acquisitions like a sales cycle in corporate sales America. Like, you have to call these people.

Ash Patel (20:03.179)
How are you finding them?

Ross McArthur (20:30.44)
You have to go find your own deals sometimes. And sometimes you have to get very creative on how to even structure a deal to make it ultimately get done. And so we figured that out early and often, and honestly, some of our best deals, the first look at them, we turned them down. And then we continued to stay in touch with them as they would fall out of contract. We'd get creative on how we'd structure it and we're able to get it done. Now we look back, we're like, we wish we had 30 of those deals. So it takes a lot of work. And again, you know that better than anybody. There's deals out there. You just certainly have to work for them. It's not easy anymore.

Ash Patel (21:09.814)
Russ, when you were offered that first $100,000 check, was there a mindset struggle on whether you should take other people's money or just keep doing what you're doing?

Ross McArthur (21:20.456)
Yeah, no, very much so. There's a few moments in my investing career and really in life where you think back and you're like, is this the right thing to do? Because these are like really good friends and family. One of the proudest moments I ever had was when my mom said, I would like to give you $100,000. We have to pull from our retirement fund. I don't want to sit in the market anymore. That was like the proudest moment ever because that meant she believed in us too.

You know, but that first one, it was a battle. It was a devil and angel on both sides. And I think ultimately, if you know what you're doing and you're cautious and you look at pros and cons and every deal and you can live with the con and the pros are awesome, then you should feel confident taking somebody else's money like it was your own. But you need to treat it like it's your own. I think there's a lot of wild, wild west people out there right now and we've seen them all. They're all on social media and it's scary.

But for me, I felt good about that because of the way we were being conservative.

Ash Patel (22:22.358)
Ross, you're a corporate sales guy. Explain to me what your sales cycle is with your real estate investing, please.

Ross McArthur (22:30.064)
Oh, yeah. So I mean, so I have a list of really why call core brokers. And each one I generally meet with at least two to four times a month, I'll call it about 10 to 12 brokers total. And we go through their pipelines of what they're bringing to market and what they have either off market touch base with somebody got a rep role. And we go one by one to see what those really look like. And if we want to pursue it.

Some they have to bring the market like it's just in the best interest for the seller and it's in the best interest for them. You know which I totally understand but I try to get in front of them early and often but we literally do pipeline analysis with 10 to 12 brokers every month. And from that point we it might be early in their conversation and if it is that same property that maybe peaks our interest is brought up on the next call and the following call all the way to it's a yes or a no from us whether we want to pursue it.

Ash Patel (23:29.598)
And to be clear, these are not emails. These are phone calls. Yes.

Ross McArthur (23:32.928)
These are phone calls. The reason why we get that level of attention, and there's a lot of people who are listening to this right now probably do something similar or some form of that is because we, that first deal, which is a whole other story for a different day, first followed the deal, investment deal, was when you prove yourself to a broker that you're a good buyer and you do what you say and you're relatively easy to work with, who do you think they want to sell the property to?

They want to sell it to you. So they're willing to take out 30 minutes, two or three, four times a month to go through that because they would prefer you buy it or someone like you buy it. So they're willing to dedicate that time. If we were a huge giant pain in the ass, sorry, we would not get that time. We just wouldn't. And so I think a lot of people don't understand that you have to be a great buyer and do what you say and then execute if you actually get a deal under LOI and purchase agreement, that earns your stripes and that gets you more deal flow. And that one first deal is one of the many reasons why we got to 15 in 15 months.

Ash Patel (24:44.246)
Russ, what does your team look like today?

Ross McArthur (24:47.016)
So I just talked to somebody who's in the same industry as us in real estate investing, has a syndication company, and we're talking about personnel, people, right? Which is by far the hardest part of this business, and really any business. And so I think there's a lot of people who go out very early and try to build a company zero to 60. Everything from I want a marketing person, I want a accounting bookkeeper, I want this, I want that, and they did acquisitions, asset managers.

All that, literally it was me and Stan. That was it. I did all the bookkeeping, I did acquisitions. Stan did a lot of the marketing stuff for us. I had a good friend who owns a website in internet marketing company in real estate actually. And so he helped us out with a lot of that, just kind of pro bono or small fees. So that kind of helped with some branding. But early on, it was literally us until about three months ago when we finally hired a CFO, which was an absolute game-changer. So this entire time it was my wife helping, my buddy Stan, and partner and me up until three months ago.

Ash Patel (25:56.782)
The first hire is rarely a CFO. Why did you choose that?

Ross McArthur (26:01.44)
Well, hire where you're weak, right? I mean, I'm pretty good at financial analysis, underwriting, but really like P&L, bookkeeping, forecasting, all that, like that is, that is incredibly detail-oriented work. And if you screw it up, it literally screws up everything going forward. And so, you know, that for me, she was a friend. I've known her for years, 15 years. I'm good friends with her brother. And she worked for a hedge fund company on Boca Raton, and she was looking for a way to start investing with us, so she did, and that's how we kinda got talking about the CFO role, and no joke, that was the most time consuming thing I did as well. So not only am I not great at it, it's a very heavy lift for me, which means you don't wanna do it, so you put it off, and then you finally do, and you're probably doing it quicker than you should. Having her take that over, I was able to go back to the things that, who not how, right?

I was able to go back to the things that I was really good at, which was acquisitions. You know, that's really my forte and a lot of things that I do. So every hour I spent on the accounting side, I gave up and replaced it now with acquisitions and broker relations and all the other micro jobs.

Ash Patel (27:15.144)
I bet the lenders love the fact that you have a CFO on your team.

Ross McArthur (27:19.028)
Yeah, it just sounds cool, right?

Ash Patel (27:20.954)
Well, look, not only does it sound cool, but if that's the point person that they interact with, they always get clean financials, they get future projections. That's incredible. How many hours a week does the CFO put in?

Ross McArthur (27:31.773)

Yeah, so it's kind of interesting. She probably only does about 20 to 25 hours a week today. One, she's very good at what she does. So what she does in 25 hours probably takes somebody with less skill set 40. So she's really effective. And we're actually investing in a water park. Actually, you might even know it, in Old Forge, New York. So we're in the midst of closing on that in a couple of weeks, Family Fund Center Water Park. And she's gonna take on the CFO job that too, so she's going to split her time. So it's kind of nice. Now she has a really well-rounded full position, but you don't always have to hire somebody at 40 hours a week. I think that's something that maybe a lot of entrepreneurs always gravitate to. There's so many people that just want some flexibility, make some extra money, be involved in a cool startup company. Her will to put in 15, 20, 25 hours, and that's exactly what this was. You know, and she was a perfect hire for.

Ash Patel (28:33.354)
I'm going to table the waterpark questions for the next time that we have you on here. We'll get to the bottom of that one. But you know, look, you've had an incredible run. Even in this market when a lot of your competitors are sitting on the sidelines, you guys are crushing it. Russ, if you look back, what's something that you wish you did differently that would have put you in a better position today?

Ross McArthur (28:59.276)
Man, that one's tough. No one's actually asked me that before on doing these podcasts. I don't have a great answer. And I think part of it is, when things go bad in the moment, they're awful. I mean, they're very, very painful. Like we've been stolen from by two different flipping crews and two rental crews to the tune of like probably 60, $70,000 over the years. It happens. Super painful in the moment.

But what that now has caused, is we have very stringent processes on how we inspect each project and how we set expectations upfront with the contractor. So do I wish that didn't happen? Yeah, I wish I had my $70,000 back. Absolutely. But would I be as good of a hands-on operator as I am today? Probably not. And so I don't think I would change anything. I think there's a, it's a programming.

So people who do programming and software use this term, but essentially you want to fail fast, right? And so I'm glad those lessons and those hardships, things that I wish maybe I did differently, happened very early. And so when we got bigger, and where we're scaling to this point, we're better operators. So I'm glad we failed or made mistakes early, so we're better now with the big stuff.

Ash Patel (30:17.45)
Ross, let's rephrase that question. What do you think you could have done differently in terms of hiring or building out your team sooner to put you in a better position today?

Ross McArthur (30:30.48)
Honestly, there's really only one. And I hired and found a really good CPA. So our CFO is not our tax strategist. They are different people, right? So our CPA and tax strategist, I used a couple for early on for the first year and a half or two years, and they were good quote unquote CPAs, but they weren't real estate tax strategists.

And I feel like if I hired that, found that person and made a move a little quicker to somebody that's really aligned to us, it would have helped us realize the benefits of real estate faster. And I think that's one of the ones that, that's a third party hire that's not even, you know, they're not paid by me per se on my payroll, but that's a partner that is so crucial to have that people cheap out on. Like we're going into tax season coming up.

And if you don't have somebody that you can literally text right now and ask them a tax strategy question and get a really great answer back immediately, you gotta find somebody else. Because that's the type of partner, if you're gonna do real estate, that you need.

Ash Patel (31:36.91)
I'll share a quick story with you and that resonates with me a lot. And I'm sure with our best ever listeners, what you said is so important. And that's one of the most valuable people you will align with is your CPA. There was a local CPA who was killing it in real estate, but he was overwhelmed. He was not taking on new clients. So we're out at a happy hour, you know, probably six beers deep.

And, uh, I said, hey, you know, why not focus on your top clients and get rid of your bottom 80%, charge them whatever you want. I said, people like me, I don't care what you charge me. I'll pay whatever. I won't even look at the bill. I just want the best advice because I know you'll save me money. He ended up doing that and I got on with him. I know he charges me through the roof. I could care less because already it's a ridiculous amount of savings. So best ever listeners align yourself with the right real estate specific CPA.

Ross, are you ready for the best ever lightning round?

Ross McArthur (32:35.853)
I am.

Ash Patel (32:37.014)
All right, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Ross McArthur (32:41.46)
Man, I give this one often, but you know, if you're going to get involved in real estate, or anything, you know, there's a statistic that, you know, 62% of earners that make over $100,000 a year have a side hustle. You know, whatever your side hustle, or main thing that you're trying to do, you gotta treat this thing like a business. It doesn't mean overcomplicated. There's two different things, like, you know, treating it like a business doesn't mean it has to be complicated, but you have to treat it like a business.

And that means, you know, having some form of accounting and tracking software, having a specific email set up, like basic things to keep yourself organized like a business. And so many people jump in, treat it like a hobby, and guess what? There's a saying, if you treat it like a hobby, it's gonna pay you like a hobby. If you treat it like a job, it's gonna pay you like a job. So, you know, treat it like a job and a business, and it will definitely make your life a hell of a lot easier and it'll help you scale.

Ash Patel (33:40.206)
Amazing advice. Ross, what's the best ever book you recently read?

Ross McArthur (33:44.276)
So I'm gonna say I had to write it down because I always screw it up. But somebody, actually the guy who said I'd give you $100,000 and go invest with you, he suggested it. So it's called The Gap and the Game. It's one of Dan Sullivan's books, which I've read Who Not How before, and I actually wasn't even familiar with this book, but I talk a lot about envy, and the podcast world, social media world.

I mean, you have guests on here that I mean, honestly, I listen to you, even you as a host, you listen to people and you're like, wow, they're really good at this. And you become envious and you don't really appreciate where you've come or even your kids in parenting. You know, like, wow, my kid started at A and he went to B and then to Z. Yeah, he hasn't made it to Z yet. He hasn't gone the full way, but look how far he came. And so there's a lot of, I think it's a little bit of a long book, but there's so many stories in there as parents, as husbands, and as entrepreneurs that you can relate to, to really live in the game and appreciate where you started, where you're going, or where you've been and where you're ultimately going.

Ash Patel (34:51.042)
Ross, what's the best ever way you like to give back?

Ross McArthur (34:54.144)
So we, my wife's uncle is mentally challenged, I guess, for I don't know what the proper word is. So he's in his 50s, 60s, and he lives at a assisted community home. And this time of year, we like to really go in that the kids make up these goody bags for all the residents. And there's things like lip balm, lotion, day-to-day things. They create these little gift bags for them and during their lunch hour or dinner hour, we'll go, and we did it last weekend actually, and they'll go to each table, and you know, again, a four and a half year old and an eight year old, like what grandparent or 70 or 80 year old doesn't love to see a little kid around the holidays, and they go to each table and they talk to them and they drop off the bags, and that is, if you have assisted living home in your area and you got kids, go do that. I mean, it's the most gratifying, I don't even hand them out, I just sit there and watch.

I let them do it all. It's the most gratifying thing you can do. So, especially this time of year.

Ash Patel (35:54.09)
Ross, what's the best way for our best ever listeners to reach out to you?

Ross McArthur (35:57.768)
Yeah, so if you want to reach out to our group and as a whole, obviously our website, If you want to reach out to me, I am awful on social media. So I'm not on Instagram, TikTok, you know, I have a Facebook account, but really LinkedIn. I do thrive on LinkedIn. I think it's one of the best platforms for people like us, investors, or entrepreneurs to connect to people. So definitely find me there.

I try to be super accessible like you are as well, so feel free to reach out accordingly.

Ash Patel (36:29.558)
Ross, I got to thank you for your time today, man. You've killed it in a very short amount of time. 15 deals in the last 15 months. Thank you for sharing all of your great lessons with us.

Ross McArthur (36:40.384)
Thanks, Ash. Pleasure meeting you, too.

Ash Patel (36:42.418)
Hey, best ever listeners, thank you as well for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a five star review. Share this podcast with someone you think can benefit from it. Also follow, subscribe and have a best every day. Awesome, man. You killed it.

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