Michael served in the US Army Special Operations and is a commercial real estate broker who also invests in real estate holding over 35 rental properties, with over $1.5M assets under management. He started out house hacking his first property and gradually went into wholesaling where he actually lost money. This lesson helped him grow and pivot into focusing more on rental properties which led to him getting his license and partnering with a realtor.
Michael Glaspie Real Estate Background:
- Commercial Real Estate Broker, served in the US Army Special Operations
- Invests in real estate for himself too, holding over 35 rental properties, with over $1.5M AUM
- Based in Fayetteville, NC
- Say hi to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Best Ever Book: Go Giver by Bob Burg
Best Ever Tweet:
“There are many creative ways to acquire real estate.” – Michael Glaspie
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. With us today, Michael Glaspie. How are you doing, Michael?
Michael Glaspie: I’m doing great, Joe. How about yourself?
Joe Fairless: I’m doing great as well, and looking forward to our conversation. A little bit about Michael – he’s a commercial real estate broker, also served in the U.S. special operations; thank you, sir, for keeping us all safe when you were in the Army, and a thank you to your colleagues as well. He invests in real estate himself too, and in fact, holds over 35 rental properties, with over 1.5 million assets under management. Based in Fayetteville, NC.
First, Michael, how about you give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your current focus? Then we’ll go from there.
Michael Glaspie: Absolutely. I am based out here in Fayetteville, NC. I’ve been active duty military for a little over 11 years. When I first started investing, it was in 2014, and I purchased a standard single-family home, 3-bedroom/2-bath, 1,200 sqft. Now, I know many people listening are thinking “That’s not an investment, that’s a liability.” Well, at that time – single soldier, I was young, I rented out each one of the rooms to other people in my unit. And I didn’t know it at the time, but obviously I was house-hacking.
During that period I was looking for many different ways to create revenue, so MLMs, Uber driving, Lyft driving, whatever the case may be… But as I began to do more research, I saw that real estate was a common denominator in many people’s success stories. So I just dove all in and I started to wholesale during that time, because from all the research, it seemed like just the natural progression. Well, the first two wholesales I completely bombed, lost a lot of money on those. I learned a lot of good lessons…
Joe Fairless: How do you lose money on wholesale?
Michael Glaspie: I’m gonna tell you how. Here in the market, now working with wholesalers – they exchange money upon the signing of the initial contract with the seller. And as long as they put down any type of money, it’s considered a valid contract. Here, they’ll put down a dollar. But me, being so anxious getting started, I’d put down $500, $1,000 on a home that I obviously had under contract for way more than I should have, because I couldn’t pay a buyer to take if off me.
And it actually ended up being pretty bad, because not only did I lose the money during the contract, but I had asked the seller to force her brother who was living in the property out of the property to make it more marketable. So I’ve learned a lot, and I apologized profusely to her back then. Hopefully she’s not still mad at me many years later.
Joe Fairless: So you’ve lost money AND karma points.
Michael Glaspie: And karma points. A lot of karma points. So I stuck with it a little bit longer and I ended up doing (I think) two more successful deals where collectively I made a little over 5k… But ultimately, I realized that the reason that I got into real estate in the first place was to create that passive income, and ultimately I wanted to do that through buy and holds. So I really started to focus on “Okay, the wholesaling thing – that’s fine. But if I’m gonna continue this energy and this focus here, then that needs to be my primary objective”, so I decided to just go ahead and focus on buy and hold.
At that point in time I didn’t have capital, so I started to research more creative ways to acquire real estate. Luckily enough, being here in a military town, we have something where the military forces you to move from location to location. We call it a PCS (permanent change of station), and there was a couple who bought a house one year, the next year they refinanced it, and the third year the military forced them to move, so they had zero equity on the property. If they were to sell it, they would have to pay somewhere around 10k in closing costs, realtor commissions etc. So I decided to go ahead and approach them with a subject to, or a deed in lieu of… And it worked out in our favor.
Joe Fairless: How did you know about subject-to’s at that time?
Michael Glaspie: Just research. When I started, I read a lot of blogs, read a lot of books, but I went to a lot of local real estate investor meetups… And there was one person who mentioned it at one of the meetups, and he said “Have you ever thought about subject to?” And as soon as he said that, I just deep-dived into it [unintelligible [00:04:50].09] was my best friend then; Bigger Pockets was instrumental in that development as well, and… It kind of worked out.
Now, the way it really worked out was I had an attorney. I knew that I couldn’t really figure this out by myself throughout the whole process, so I found a local attorney who practiced subject to regularly, and I had him actually carry me and the client (the seller) at the time through the entire process. So it worked out in all of our favors. But once I’d accomplished that, I said “This is a no-brainer. There’s many creative ways to continue to acquire real estate.”
So I continued to go forward. I do multiple – subject to, owner finance deals… I did a VA live-in-flip. Essentially, I used my VA loan to purchase a foreclosure. I fixed it up while I lived in there, and I sold it in less than a year. At that time I made a pretty decent net profit; a little over 20k. But when I looked at the closing disclosure, I noticed that I paid my friend and my realtor at the time very close to $12,000. That was the time that I decided to go ahead and get licensed.
I got licensed as an agent, so I continued to invest myself, but I actually partnered with my current business partner now. She was a dominant real estate agent in the area, that focused primarily on investors. So once we kind of joined forces, we decided to go ahead and build the team as it stands now to cater to not only investors, but to fellow veterans to kind of educate them on the whole mindset of passive income.
Joe Fairless: So you’ve got 1.5 million in assets under management. 35 rental properties. What property is worth the most in that portfolio?
Michael Glaspie: I would say it’s probably an 8-unit that we have. It’s a little over $500,000. Right around $550,000. But when we purchased it, we purchased it collectively in a 21-unit portfolio. It was two 8-units and a 5-unit that we collected all at once, from the same seller. But I would say that that one eight-unit property is probably the most expensive.
Joe Fairless: And how much is that worth?
Michael Glaspie: That’s a little over $500,000. I think last it appraised for $535,000.
Joe Fairless: And will you talk to us about how you came across that deal and what the business plan is with it?
Michael Glaspie: Yeah, absolutely. We started off cold-calling. We all come from a background of being investors first… So I actually drove by a beautiful little 5-unit in a small subdivision that I constantly drove by throughout my time here in the area… And I decided one day I’m just gonna cold-call them.
I cold-called. Nice, elderly lady, who was just going through a situation where her husband had just passed. She wanted to let go of the property, she didn’t really know how to go about it, she didn’t really trust realtors in the area… So we kind of just — over the course of about six months we continued the negotiations until she was finally ready to accept our offer. Once we got that property under contract–
Joe Fairless: How do you continue the negotiations over that period of time, and not be a pest, but also still be relevant?
Michael Glaspie: Yeah, so I found a good medium of about every 2-3 weeks we’d follow up, but every time I followed up, I tried to provide a solution for her. As I mentioned, her husband had just passed; she was trying to go through some of the tax liabilities involved with that, and getting next to her daughter who lived in California, which is across the country… And there’s so many different things going on that every time I called her, I tried to provide her with a new solution. I gave her contact information for CPAs, I gave her contact information for 1031 specialists. I offered to help her move some of the equipment from one of her properties to another one of her properties… And I just continued to provide as much value as possible.
Over time, I believe that that rapport was built up enough that she just wanted to continue the conversation… And then she became accepting or trusting in me and what my intentions were.
Joe Fairless: That’s a great tip. That’s really good. So I interrupted you… You were negotiating and staying in touch with her in a relevant way by providing a solution every time you talked to her, every 2-3 weeks… And then what happened?
Michael Glaspie: From there, once we got it under contract, I made sure that I took the burden to handle everything – coordinating with the tenants, getting the inspectors in there, getting the attorneys on both sides on board… I coordinated everything, and I ended up making it so easy for her, and so smooth, that she actually came to me and said “Hey, I have more properties that I’d be interested in selling.” And she actually owned quite a few, but we were only interested in a select few of them.
So we identified those other two 8-units, and once we started the process with the first 5-units, we just continued forward and closed them all up. Now, how we financed them – that’s a different story. We did find a commercial lender who was willing to do 25% down, 30-year amortization, so that was good. Interest rates were a little under 6%, so a little higher than normal, but not all too bad… And collectively between me and my partners – there’s four partners – we just raised the money any way we could, because we still didn’t have the money when we were starting to acquire those.
So we took lines of credit, depending on which partner’s approach — some of us took out lines of credit, some of us just had personal money from friends or family… Whatever we needed to do to raise that 25% down payment, and the reserve requirements… And we closed.
Joe Fairless: How did you divide and conquer the responsibilities among four partners?
Michael Glaspie: That’s a really good question. It actually came through some headaches in the beginning. As I’m sure everybody out there knows, once you work with other individuals there’s a lot of opinions that may go around. But what we decided to do was we highlighted everybody’s strengths. Then we just essentially made an organizational chart. And I have to thank the military for that, because that’s how we were groomed, and all four of us are all from the military, so we understood this very well.
Once we divided those tasks based off of our strengths, we made that organizational chart. We then had monthly follow-ups where that individual was ultimately in charge for that section. For example, when it comes to the accounting and the bookkeeping, that’s my realm. So I talk specifically to the bookkeeper and the accountant about these properties, and I report back to my partners about the results. And so on and so forth.
We have another individual that’s specifically in charge of coordinating with the property management company, and so forth and so on.
Joe Fairless: What do the other two do?
Michael Glaspie: We call that investment relations, and the reason why is because we’re looking at bringing in more investors to invest in that specific LLC. So we currently have 21 properties in that LLC and we’re looking to acquire. I’m sorry, we have 24 properties now in that LLC. It was a 21 acquisition just that time. So he’s constantly bringing in more and more investors to potentially partner with that. And the second one is just capital. He was the only one that was extremely liquid, and we used him. [laughter]
Joe Fairless: Well, did I hear you correct, that you have over 20 properties — I think you said 21 properties owned by one LLC?
Michael Glaspie: Let me rephrase that – it’s 24 doors.
Joe Fairless: Owned by one LLC.
Michael Glaspie: That is correct.
Joe Fairless: Why not have one LLC own one property?
Michael Glaspie: We’ve thought about this long and hard.
Joe Fairless: I bet you have, yeah.
Michael Glaspie: Individually, we have our own portfolios as well, so those are divided up however those individuals chose to divide it up. The reason we wanted to keep it all under one LLC is because our strategy is not to hold these indefinitely. We’re actually looking at repositioning a few of them and then selling them.
We didn’t really see the necessity to do that with such a short turnaround. We’re looking over the next 3-5 years to sell off at least two of the four; because they’re four different locations. So we’re looking at selling off at least two of them. And then from there, we gave the option for some of our partners to actually be bought out as well. That’s built into our operating agreement.
So because we really wanted the flexibility of how we can kind of move around, we wanted to keep it under one roof, because we don’t expect them to stay there that long. We do understand the risk involved in that, and that now all doors are subject to any sort of lawsuit or claims against us or whatever the case may be… But it was a collective decision where we sat down and said “Maybe it won’t be too bad.”
Joe Fairless: What’s been the most profitable property to date?
Michael Glaspie: Actually, for me in my personal portfolio is was one straight off the MLS. It was priced at 60k. I got the seller to pay all the closing costs. It was turnkey, for all intents and purposes. I bought it for 15% down using a regional lender, and I rented it out in less than three weeks at $975/month. That’s been my best cashflow.
Joe Fairless: Do you still own it?
Michael Glaspie: Yeah, I still own that one.
Joe Fairless: Is that in Fayetteville?
Michael Glaspie: Yes, it is.
Joe Fairless: What about the least profitable, other than the two wholesale deals?
Michael Glaspie: The least profitable would still be that first property that I purchased originally. It’s still, to this day, the least profitable. I used a VA loan on it, so there’s still barely any equity in it, back in 2014, and it rents out now for $1,100/month. The mortgage is somewhere around $900, so it’s a very low cashflow margin.
Joe Fairless: What’s a part of your process that you’ve optimized over the last year or so?
Michael Glaspie: For me, I’ve really learned how to optimize the leverage. There’s many different things going on – still active duty currently; I’m on my way out the door, but that’s still an obligation. We do have the business that we’re running as real estate brokers, we have our portfolios that we’re overseeing, and I’m also currently working on my MBA…
Joe Fairless: Dang.
Michael Glaspie: So there’s a lot of different — hands are in the bucket everywhere. So what I’ve learned is you have to leverage and you have to lean on others for support. I would not have been able to accomplish anything up to this point without my partners, without finding key individuals. And yes, that comes at a premium. I do pay for my leverage. But ultimately, when you double down on your strengths and you leverage out your weaknesses, you find that you become ten times more productive and efficient.
Joe Fairless: Based on your experience, what’s your best real estate investing advice ever?
Michael Glaspie: Best advice ever is that there is no such thing as no. If I would just accept no at face value from somebody who said “No, that’s not possible. We can’t do that. That’s not within the scope of our work” etc. then nothing would ever get accomplished. I’m a firm believer that there’s always a how to anything. So yes, we may not be able to go directly with the standard approach of a transaction, but there’s always a workaround. And if you’re willing to do the work and the research, there’s always a how. Don’t take no for face value.
Joe Fairless: Will you give an example of how you’ve applied that in your life?
Michael Glaspie: Absolutely. Wholesaling – here’s a great example. We had actually switched firms. As I’d mentioned, we’re investors first, and we work primarily with investors, so we have a lot of internal wholesalers on our team, we have a lot of other attorneys and things like that who specifically know these investing strategies of subject-to’s, owner financing, auction properties, you name it.
The last firm that we were at, they actually pulled us in the office and they said that we couldn’t do wholesaling, because wholesaling is illegal. Obviously, we know that wholesaling isn’t illegal; it’s just about how you perform it. Especially as a real estate professional, we have to disclose what our current position is.
So that right there was a simple no, and if we had just accepted that no at face value and said “No, we cannot do a wholesale”, or the way specifically they said “As a realtor, you cannot conduct a wholesale” – we know that to be false. But if we had accepted it as a no, then we would have stopped all production in that part of our business and we would have lost a lot of business… Because that’s a large chunk of our revenue.
Instead, what we did was we went to many different attorneys until we found a local attorney who was very well-versed in wholesaling specifically. And he knew all of the documents that were necessary, all of the rules and regulations involved around it in the state of North Carolina, and then we developed and designed that portion of our business based off of his insight. That’s more so what I mean by “Don’t take No’s.”
And then we also switched firms… Because obviously, that broker in charge was just not willing to evolve with the times. So we switched firms to somebody who could understand it, we explained it to them, we partnered up with an excellent real estate attorney, and so forth and so on. That’s just kind of an example.
Joe Fairless: We’re gonna do a lightning round. Are you ready for the best ever lightning round? Let’s do it. First, a quick word from our Best Ever partners.
Joe Fairless: Alright, best ever book that you’ve recently read?
Michael Glaspie: The Go-Giver by Bob Burg.
Joe Fairless: What’s the best ever resource that you use in your investing business, that you think might be helpful for others to know about?
Michael Glaspie: Bigger Pockets. The calculators in the forums are paramount.
Joe Fairless: What’s the best ever way you like to give back to the community?
Michael Glaspie: Two ways. We do have a local investor meetup, that we call Pints and Properties. We do that once a month, and that’s really to share and support any of the local real estate professionals. The second way is any time we do a charitable benefit, our charity of choice is the Green Beret Foundation. It’s a military foundation specifically for the special forces operators out there in the world.
Joe Fairless: How can the Best Ever listeners learn more about what you’re doing?
Michael Glaspie: You can reach me on Instagram at @michael.s.glaspie, or you can go directly to the Five Pillars Website and you can get in contact with me, or anybody else on my team.
Joe Fairless: Michael, thank you for being on the show, thanks for talking about the large deal that you have, as well as how you structure that partnership, where you highlight the strengths, and based on those strengths everyone has certain tasks. Then there’s monthly follow-ups. Such a simple, but effective process. I’m a simple-minded person, so I like simple processes… And especially if they’re effective, even better. So thank you for that, and thank you for talking about how you’ve built a portfolio with partners, as well as your personal portfolio.
I really appreciate you being on the show. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you again soon.
Michael Glaspie: Thank you very much, Joe.