August 9, 2019

JF1802: Staying In Touch With Clients, Pulling Permits, & The 5 10 3 Rule #FollowAlongFriday with Joe and Theo


Follow Along Friday today will be the top lessons Joe learned from his interviews for the podcast last week. Joe also adds his own actionable tips and tactics to the lessons he shares today. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!

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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast, where we only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.

Today is Friday, and that means it’s Follow Along Friday. With us, Theo Hicks. Hello, Theo.

Theo Hicks: Hey Joe, how are you doing today?

Joe Fairless: I’m doing well, and looking forward to talking about some lessons that I learned from the marathon of interviews that I did last week, on Thursday. As a refresher, Best Ever listeners, these are lessons that when I interview — I usually interview about nine people on Thursdays. We batch the interviews obviously on one day, and that allows us to be ahead of schedule in the interview, and then it also allows me to focus on other things throughout the week, specifically buying apartment communities and making sure they’re successfully executed on the business plan.

The way we wanna structure today’s conversation is talking about some lessons that I learned during those interviews that I did. These interviews have not aired yet on the podcast; they will air in 3-4 months or so, so you’re getting a preview of some things that are coming up, and some takeaways, too. Some very practical tips.

I’m very excited to talk about what we’ve got today, because we’re going from talking about nine ways to stay in touch with your clients, whether you’re a real estate agent, whether you’re a multifamily syndicator, or whether you’re just a fix and flipper or a wholesaler – nine ways to stay in touch with your clients, your customers after the closing.

We’re also gonna talk about some construction tips – or a construction tip – as well as something that someone lost $75,000 dollars on, and why they lost $75,000 on the deal, and some personal development stuff.

First, let’s just kick it off with an interview I did with Tony Ray Baker. Tony Ray is based in Tucson, Arizona, has been a real estate agent for 25 years, and he gave (among other things) nine tips that he uses to stay in touch with his clients after he closes on a transaction with them. And again, these nine tips (or really tactics) are applicable to not only real estate agents, but apartment investors, wholesalers, fix and flippers… Really anyone. So let’s go and do the nine quickly…

One is he has a black book of vendors, so anytime one of his clients has an issue with their house, then he gives them a list of vendors that he recommends and that he has relationships with. That way, they can resolve whatever issue that they have.

Two is he and his team are foodies, and as a result they have restaurant recommendations. So it’s more than just real estate-related, it’s something that him and his team really love – food; and good food, apparently… And they have good recommendations.

Thinking about this from your standpoint, when you’re thinking through how to implement this in the business, and my standpoint too, what are some things that I’m passionate about, that In really like, what are some things that, Best Ever listeners, you really like, and how can you make that something valuable that you can share with your clients?

I really like concerts, I also am really into chess recently… I just reached out to someone to give me some lessons, on some tips, which is another story… But I think there are ways to incorporate what we really enjoy, and also make that added value to our clients and our customers or our investors. So restaurant recs is the second thing that he gives, but again, that can be personalized based on what you’re into.

Three, he does a snail mail newsletter, and he doesn’t talk about real estate, he talks about fund things that he does with his team, and places that he travels to. I do a newsletter to my investors – and Ashcroft’s investors – on a monthly basis. It is a snail mail newsletter where we interview an investor and we also profile certain businesses that our investors have who are entrepreneurs, that we want to highlight to high net worth individuals that we mail this out to, because they’re all accredited investors of ours…

So this is something that I am currently doing, and I don’t know what the ROI is on it, but I can tell you that it seems like it makes a lot of sense, and that’s why we do it, because it’s a way to build a relationship with certainly the investor who we’re profiling, because we’re interviewing them, but then also it’s a way to build a relationship – or stay top of mind in a relevant way, I should say – with the investors who receive it via snail mail.

The fourth thing is the email campaign — and by the way, if you are an investor with us and you are not receiving that snail mail newsletter, then you can email and we’ll make sure that you get put on that list, or we get your address correct.

The fourth thing is an email campaign that he sends out every month to his clients. This is something that is unique, in that it’s a dynamic email where you can plug in your mortgage information on the current home that you own, and you can determine how quickly you can pay off that mortgage… Or rather how to pay off the mortgage early, and what’s it look like, is it a good time to refinance or not to refinance… So within the email itself you can do different scenarios, and that allows you to see “Oh, should I sell, should I not sell? Should I refinance? Should I pay off the mortgage early?”

I asked him what program he uses, and he said he uses a program called HomeBots. It’s a lender program, so usually agents team up with lenders and they incorporate this service. It is a pay-to-play service. You can check that out if you are a real estate agent, but just the concept is applicable to anyone, and that is having something that’s more dynamic in the email itself, that can pique curiosity about what that person’s situation is currently, and then that curiosity can lead to action to drive more business for you. So that’s the fourth thing.

The fifth thing – and I’m gonna go through the rest of them pretty quickly. Talk on the phone at least once a year with his past clients. Six, involve them in a wine club or a  pet group. Tony Ray loves wine, and volunteers for some pet organization… So involving them – he didn’t really get into details about how they’re involved, but I think it’s pretty straightforward with wine; they’ll drink wine together probably. And pet group – I don’t know, they volunteer or something together.

Six is do appreciation parties. He talks about how he has people over to his house once a year, I believe, and he has local bands that come and they all just hang out. Clearly, it depends on how much land you have, what your housing setup is if you’re gonna host people, but certainly you could rent a place out, or do something else like that.

Black book of vendors, one. Restaurant recs, two. Snail mail, three. Email campaign with dynamic info, four. Talk on the phone, five. Involve them with a wine group or pet group, six. Do appreciation parties, seven. Randomly text them, if he’s thinking about them, eight. And then social media, nine.

So those are nine ways to stay in touch with the clients, your customers, after closing. I thought it was really relevant, and certainly it’s a lot of interesting tactics.

Theo Hicks: Yeah, that first one, black book of vendors, reminds me of a blog post we wrote about how to find off market apartment deals, and it was talking through different apartment vendors. But there’s a guy in my neighborhood, our landscaper, who’s like THE guy with all the different vendors. If you’ve got an issue, you go to him and he tells you “Hey, here’s a pest control person. Here’s a contractor that can help you fix a leak in the bathroom…” (we had a leak in one of our bathrooms).

Anyway, so I was  thinking, another interesting strategy – I guess this would be better for real estate agents, but I’m pretty sure it would work for investors as well – is to find that guy in your market or in your neighborhood, and then essentially find a way to do some sort of partnership with them. Because if everyone’s going to them for recommendations, and you’re an agent and someone goes  to them and  says “Hey, by the way, do you know someone who can list my house? Do you know someone who can help me find a house?”

The reason why you’re gonna want to use someone that has that black book of vendors is if you keep using them over and over again, and they keep giving you good recommendations – if you can be that person for recommendation, it’s basically free business you’re getting from people. And depending on how big they are and how well-known they are in the community for their recommendations… I’m not sure if it’s just like a Florida thing, but there’s certain people out here that are like the hubs of all of the different recommendations for your home. If it’s like that elsewhere, it’d be good to find that person and get in their  black book.

So it’s kind of slightly the reverse of this, how to stay in touch to stay to be the person in the black book, rather than having the black book.

Joe Fairless: Oh yeah, absolutely. So I think it’s being intentional about who you have relationships with, and creating something that has recommendations, and then you reaching out to people who have a wide group of customers or clients, and then saying “Hey, by the way, if you ever need people for XYZ, I’m your person, because I have a lot of different relationships and I can help you find the right person.”

Theo Hicks: Exactly.

Joe Fairless: The second thing is from James [unintelligible [00:11:46].19] is the co-founder which is a brokerage service specializing in building long-term wealth and financial stability for clients. Basically, his company does residential properties, fix and flips, and things like that. Two things that he mentioned that I wanted to point out – one, he said when you’re pulling a construction permit on a house that you’re renovating, he suggests that you pull a permit just for a particular phase of the project, versus the whole building… Because what he did initially is he’d pull a permit for the whole building, and that didn’t allow him to earn income by renting out one of the sides of the building.

Say you’re doing construction on the floor units – he would initially do the full building, and then he was out income during the construction phase of units 1, 2 and 3, even though he’s only working on the fourth unit… Whereas now he pulls the permit for the particular unit that he’s working on, or a particular aspect of the building he’s working on, and he’s able to still get income from the other side, or other sides. That’s one thing that he’s learned… Because I asked him “What are you doing differently now, versus when you started?” He said “Well, I’m not pulling the full permit on the building, that way I can make money along the way, during the construction phase.”

Another thing on a separate note is I asked him “What’s a deal you lost money on?” and he said he lost $75,000 on the house, and there were two reasons why. One is he ran into contractor issues, so he went through two GC’s and a subcontractor. That happens, right? But the second thing he mention is on that same property the driveway was steep and he thought he could grade it, but he had put $35,000 in structural concrete walls, and he also had to get a permit… And he said if it’s a structural item, slow down during the purchasing process or during the evaluation process, just to make sure that you’ve got all your costs estimated properly. He said it was so steep that one of his project managers a week on the job actually totaled his car trying to pull into the driveway, because it caught the tires and then the tow truck came, and the tow truck pulled the axel off, or something like that…

Theo Hicks: Wow…

Joe Fairless: Yeah, crazy. So just cautionary tale for that… Any comments on that one?

Theo Hicks: I do not know.

Joe Fairless: Okay. And then lastly, Gary Boomershine. I really enjoyed our conversation. We talked about probably a direction he didn’t think we were gonna go, and I’m glad that we went this direction… We talked more about how he has built his company and some things that he has in place. He mentioned at the beginning of our conversation — Gary founded in 2005, and, he also has that… So he’s got like 90 or so employees, I believe; don’t quote me on that part. But he’s got a decent-sized team, and he talked about how he is in I wanna say nine masterminds, and they range from $15,000 to $50,000. I asked him some things that he’s learned from those masterminds, and he mentioned a couple of things… That’s what I wanna share with everyone.

One, he mentioned the 5/10/3 rule. So wake up at 5 AM, don’t start the business day until 10 – so from 5 AM to 10 AM he journals, he reads, he cleans, he comes up with one thing, or now three things that he’s gonna do today that will move the marker in the business. That’s kind of business, but still, it’s more planning, not executing. He’s in the gym for two hours… That’s a lot of time, by the way; 5 AM to 10 AM – what the heck are you doing? He’s like “Well, I’m in the gym for two hours.” He said he journals for about an hour and a half…

And then the three is he finds three things that he’s gonna do today, that will move the needle. I’m not gonna do the 5/10/3 thing because that 5 AM and 10 AM gap is too much for me, but I’ve found it interesting, and maybe that’s something that some Best Ever listeners wanna practice. Certainly Hal Elrod’s approach for the Miracle Morning is noteworthy to mention during this conversation too, so checking that out… That’s one thing.

Two is that once a quarter he flies his team to meet in person, and Theo, I think I’m gonna start doing this, once a quarter having you fly in to meet, along with Cody and some other team members… Because I think it’s important for us to meet in person. Four times a year, it’s not that big of a deal to get together four times a year… But it will be important just to recap what that quarter looked like and where we’re headed.

He also mentioned that he noticed that he has initiative in business, he’s initiator in business; he’s very proactive… But not as much in his personal life, so he’s working to correct that. And I noticed I’m the same way. I’m an initiator in business, but I don’t take as much initiative planning things, or doing certain things in my personal life. So I took a page from his book and I’m gonna be more intentional about that.

And then lastly, he has a family calendar, and I thought that was a useful thing to have. I’ve got a business calendar clearly, but what about a family calendar for things that we wanna do or experiences we want to have, or people we want to see. I thought that was something that was worthwhile to do.

Theo Hicks: I’ll work backwards… With the calendar part – I remember growing up we had a family calendar, and we had different-colored markets for all the different personal things the kids got to do for that month… So that’s something you can do too, have a calendar and just color-code it for business and for personal. I guess you can do it on your phone, but I think it’s better to actually have it, maybe put it on your backwall, or whatever.

Joe Fairless: Yeah.

Theo Hicks: And then for that 5/10/3 rule – I think that’s interesting. Obviously five hours is a long time. I think the whole idea behind it is figuring out and dedicating a block of time to those tasks that might not seem super-important by doing them each day, but they definitely add up over time. So you can tell yourself, “Well, I can work out tomorrow”, but if you don’t ever do that and you go months and months without working out, that’s gonna be an issue. Same with obviously cleaning your house, same with journaling, reading, things like that.

And then also, for me just figuring out what time of the day you’re most productive. Most people can work 2, 3, 4 hours straight, depending on your attention span. And just figuring out “Okay, if I start working at 10 and I work from 10 to noon, or 10 to 2 non-stop, working that 2-4 hours will be more productive during that time than if I started working at 6 AM till 10 AM, or 6 AM till 11 AM, 12 AM, or whatever. Just figuring out when you’re the most productive, I guess, is my point. And then – I agree with you, 5 AM is a  little bit too early for me, but I can maybe do like a 7/9/3, or something like that.

Joe Fairless: What about the quarterly meetings?

Theo Hicks: I’m down with this. Try to do it on poker was the first thing that came to my mind. I keep seeing those on Facebook, and I can’t play… I haven’t played poker in a while.

Joe Fairless: For some context, Best Ever listeners, I run a monthly Cincinnati meetup, and from that meetup has spawned a monthly poker game, where we just rotate at different houses and we all play poker once a month. Low, low, low stakes.

Yeah, well, I would love to schedule it during a poker night. Cool.

Theo Hicks: Alright, let’s move on to the trivia questions. Last week’s trivia question ended the month of international questions… The question was “What country is home to the most expensive house in the world?” and the answer was the United Kingdom. Buckingham Palace, which is valued at 1.55 billion dollars. So if you’re interested in moving in there, I guess you need to raise a ton of capital.

This week’s question —

Joe Fairless: Is it for sale? I don’t think it’s for sale.

Theo Hicks: I don’t think it’s for sale, but I think if you offered 1.7 billion they’d probably sell it to you.

Joe Fairless: Okay…

Theo Hicks: All cash… So this month we’re gonna do Jeopardy-style questions, so the answers are gonna be “What is…” and then the answer.

Joe Fairless: I hated Jeopardy… Go ahead though.

Theo Hicks: The city where 63% of the people who are searching for a place to rent are from outside that particular city? So this is a city that’s attracting the highest percentage of people in the country. What is that city?

Joe Fairless: The city where 63% of the people who are searching for a place to rent are from outside the city… Well, New York City is the number one thing that comes to mind. If I was having to put a dollar on this, I would say New York City. But since I don’t have to put a dollar on this, I’m gonna say San Francisco.

Theo Hicks: Okay. So the first person to answer this question correctly – you can either submit your answer to the YouTube comments below, or at and you’ll get a free copy of our first book.

Then lastly, we’re going to discuss the free apartment syndication resource of the week. Each week, every Wednesday and Thursday we release two Syndication School Podcast episodes – they’re also on YouTube as well – where we talk about the how-to’s of apartment syndications. For all of those series we release some sort of free document for you to download.

This week’s document is from series number eight, which is about how to build your all-star apartment syndication team. That starts at episode 1548. We’re basically walking through all the different team members that you need to bring on, in what order, and then how to interview them, and then what to expect them to ask you. The document we gave away for the episode that we’re highlighting is the team-building spreadsheet. Essentially, it’s a spreadsheet that lists out all the team members that you need, and it’s a place for you to track your progress for building your team, so you know who you’ve talked to, who you’ve actually decided to hire, and then all of their contact information. You can download that at the show notes of this episode, or at the show notes of 1548, or at

Joe Fairless: Theo Hicks, I enjoyed our conversation. Best Ever listeners, thanks for hanging out. I hope you got value from it. We’ll talk to you tomorrow.

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