Bill Manassero is the Host of The Old Dawg’s REI Network and has 6 years of real estate experience with a portfolio of 756 doors. Bill started into real estate a little later in life than most people and decided to start into real estate by buying a couple of turnkey properties. When he started seeing checks being deposited in his account he decided to focus on buying more properties.
Bill Manassero (Man-a-cer-o) Real Estate Background:
Best Ever Tweet:
“Know what your why is, because when all else fades away, it’s going to be your why that keeps you motivated” – Bill Manassero
Theo Hicks: Hello, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Theo Hicks and today, we’ll be speaking with Bill Manassero. Bill, how are you doing today?
Bill Manassero: Hey, I’m doing great, Theo. How are you, my friend?
Theo Hicks: I’m doing great as well. Thanks for asking. Thanks for joining us and I’m looking forward to our conversation. Before we get into that, let’s go over Bill’s background. He’s the host of The Old Dawg’s REI Network. He has six years of real estate investing experience and has a portfolio consisting of 756 doors. He is based in Irvine, California, and you can say hi to him at his website, which is http://olddawgsreinetwork.com/.
Bill, do you mind telling us a little bit more about your background and what you’re focused on today?
Bill Manassero: Sure. I’m an old dawg, I guess that came across real clear in all the URLs so far… I started in real estate actually kind of later in life. I had about 25 plus years in business; both in the corporate side, the entrepreneurial side, everything from technology to automotive to financial services; a pretty broad background. I also spent a number of years as a professional musician. And then my last stint was with a new internet company that seemed to be the last company I was going to work with, because I had the stock options, I was going to retire with the stock options and go into full-time ministry. The bubble burst and I was kind of left, “Oh, my gosh, what am I going to do?” Actually, that’s when I was called in the mission field first as a professional musician, and then later living in Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where I have a non-profit organization called Child Hope International, and I spent the last 12 years with my family there, working with the kids that are abandoned, orphaned, and at-risk on the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
As I was getting kind of old now, I had been doing a lot of different things over a long period of time there, I was kind of looking at retirement, and I’m still in Haiti and trying to decide what I’m going to do, because I just didn’t feel like retiring. I didn’t know what it would mean to just, you know, sort of walk the beaches, collect seashells or something. I like to stay active. I like to do things. I was looking into different options and came across actually an inheritance check unexpectedly. And because I had been in tech in a lot of different areas, I was very active in the stock market.
I got this check and I was pretty heavily vested in stocks. I thought, “Well, you know, I’d like to diversify with this,” and so I was looking at different options, and gold and annuities, a lot of other things. And really, I had some friends, [unintelligible [00:06:39].25] board of directors from a non-profit that are really successful real estate investors. And I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll do that.” But just as a way to diversify my investments. I started researching, reading the books, you know, I came across Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a bunch of other books, and finally said, “You know, I’m just going to do this. I’m going to pick up a couple of rental properties, turnkeys, so I don’t have to worry about them.” And that’s kind of what I did. I hopped on a plane at Port-au-Prince, flew to Atlanta, flew to Memphis, came back with three turnkey properties, and that was it. I was going to focus on other things in life.
But it turned out well. The next month that I’ve got money appearing in my account, and I’m going, “This is pretty sweet.” And I started thinking, “Maybe this is something I could do in my retirement.” That’s what I started doing. I started researching more and looking at what types of real estate investments there are; and I’m still very active in my non-profit, but realizing I’m getting older, and Haiti is a tough place to hang out. So I’m getting ready to move back to the States in sort of a sabbatical, and decide if we’re going to stay in Haiti or move back to the States where a lot of our kids and grandkids are. That’s kind of what happened.
As I got started, I shared with a lot of my friends, who are other people that are looking for investments, and they wanted to hear all about it, “How did you do that? Where did you buy the rentals?” and just all the details, and it got kind of nebulous at a certain point, where I was emailing people and trying to communicate with them. I said, “Look, I’m going to put a blog together, and then in that blog, I’ll share everything; the good stuff, the bad stuff, everything.”
The blog started, then my mentor at the time really recommended that I start a podcast and I was kind of like, “I don’t know about that.” The blog is enough for responsibility. He said, “No, you really need to do it. It really will help you.” I just said, “Well, at least I’ve got a face for podcasting, so that’ll be good, as long as I don’t go to YouTube.” That’s how the podcast started.
My focus on the podcast is for people that are 50 years of age and older, the people that are approaching retirement or are already in retirement, that are interested in real estate investing as a means to supplement their retirement or to create a legacy to hand down to their children, to grow their current retirement nest egg, and that’s kind of where I am today. Of course, you know, I’m still actively investing myself as well.
Theo Hicks: Are you still in Haiti or have you moved back to the States already?
Bill Manassero: No, we moved back for sort of a one-year sabbatical. On that trip, we really found out we just needed to stay here. We’ve got people that are running things in Haiti, we’re still active, and that’s part of my ‘why’, so to speak, of why I’m in real estate investing; I also want to help support our efforts there in Haiti, too. So yeah, that’s still very active.
Theo Hicks: You’ve got 756 doors. You mentioned you began by picking up three turnkeys, I’m assuming single-family homes. That’s three of those 756 doors. What is the breakdown of the other 753 doors?
Bill Manassero: Well, two of those are actually were single-family. One was a duplex, and in a really short period of time, and especially I’m just devouring information. I’m doing a lot of research. I’m looking at YouTube videos, reading a lot of books; I want to be a good real estate investor.
In that process, really early on, I paid about the same amount for each of these three turnkey properties, but one was a duplex, and the duplex – I paid about the same as I did for the single-family homes, but it was producing twice the amount of rent. Not only that, but I only had one property tax payment, I only had one insurance payment, and one roof to worry about.
So I’m kind of looking at this and going, “Okay,” I’m starting to see the economies of scale, you know, sort of emerging here. I said, “I’ve got to keep doing this.” I bought another duplex, and this time in Indianapolis, and sure enough, it turned out to be an amazing buy; I bought it near downtown, it was really growing, and it doubled in price in just like two years, and I’m saying, “This is really cool, but why limit myself to just duplexes? Let me look for other properties.” And then I found a 22 unit in Indianapolis as well. I kind of jumped into the small apartment world.
And then from there, I started looking at a hundred plus units, started looking at what was available, ended up partnering with people where I came in as a GP co-sponsor, and got involved with the 529 units in Irving, Texas. And then I moved into this space that I have always been really interested, and that is in the area of senior living. I have, obviously because my audience is in that realm, I’m in that realm. There’s just a strong, strong interest there, and seeing the 10,000 baby boomers a day are hitting age 65, the demand for housing is huge.
So partnering with some others also as a co-sponsor GP, and we are doing ground-up construction on luxury senior living facilities. And right now, we’re in Florida and West Virginia, we’re also looking at Texas and Arizona, and we have other states under consideration. But we’ve already built three and looking at it anywhere from three to six per year. That’s where the rest of the units come from.
Theo Hicks: When you are the GP, the co-sponsor, what’s your role? What are your responsibilities in those partnerships?
Bill Manassero: It’s different in each one. In some areas I’m focused primarily in Investor Relations… Because I know a number of investors, a lot of people have followed my story and what I’m doing, so I have a lot of people that are interested in investing with me. I also have marketing responsibilities, and also involved with administrative roles as they see fit for me to do as well.
Theo Hicks: Do you mind talking to us a little bit — obviously, you’ve got The Old Dawgs Real Estate Network, very popular podcast, and you kind of mentioned that one of your primary roles is Investor Relations… Maybe talk to us about—and you can answer this any way you want, but how that podcast has allowed you to raise more money to buy more deals, or at least be involved in more deals?
Bill Manassero: Well, my mentor at the time told me that that would be one of the advantages of the podcast. Now, I don’t monetize the podcast, I rarely—I’ll have advertisers approach me and it looks like it’s a good fit. But I don’t seek out advertising, or I’m not selling, consulting or any other thing. I’m not selling books or whatever.
I did that on purpose, because when I first started, as I was telling you, I got sucked into every boot camp that it brought me to the next level and then the next upsell, and before you know it, I’ve got bookshelves full of all these home study courses and all these things and I’m kind of going, “What happened?” I didn’t want to create a vehicle that would be that thing, another upsell place for folks. I wanted them to come there without any fear of being pitched on something. It was kind of an afterthought.
When I started looking at syndication, I thought, “Well, I’m going to set up an investor newsletter so that people can see what I’m doing,” and then through that, there was a lot of folks that have been listening to the show for years, and we developed as best a relationship as you can on a podcast, and they wanted to join me in these investments. It was kind of an organic thing. I wasn’t really pushing it. I really don’t mention it on the air, rarely. We have a newsletter that goes out every month, where we announce our podcast shows and the articles on our blog. In there, there’s just a little note if you’re interested in investing with Bill, and you can sign up, and that’s about it. I’m really not pushing anything. If there’s people that are interested and want to be able to share the investments and if it looks like something that would work well with their investment style and their portfolio, then we work together.
Theo Hicks: What are some of your tips for how to grow a podcast, how to attract a large following? Or was it kind of just organic for you as well?
Bill Manassero: It really was. I’m not really intentional in it. One thing that I did do early on though and that was good advice from someone who had a very successful podcast shared with me, he said, “Just make sure the quality of what you’re producing is there; that you’re not just putting out a bunch of stuff. Make sure not only the quality of the guests and the topics and so forth, but the quality of the production, too.”
Early on, I got a producer from the start, so that he could ensure that the sound quality was good and that the edits were there, and just all the stuff to keep the quality of the sound up and so forth. That really made a big difference, because a lot of the reviews that we’ve had – I don’t know, hundreds and hundreds of reviews – the primary focus is they like the quality of the speakers, the quality of the sound, and so forth. That has really paid off, but I haven’t really done any marketing per se to try to grow my base. I have a pretty loyal base of folks that listen all the time and they’re spreading the word to others, and that’s just kind of growing organically, like we said.
Theo Hicks: Thanks for sharing that. I want to transition really quickly back to what it sounds like is your main focus now, which is senior living, right?
Bill Manassero: Right, I’m still looking at apartment buildings, but in the process, when I started looking—it was getting to 2016/2017, it was getting harder and harder to find the kind of deals that I had. My criteria was to always buy something a little below market. As you know, because you guys are very active, finding below market properties is pretty rare.
As I was looking around, and the senior living thing came in front of me, I said, “Gee, I can get amazing returns on this”, because it’s very different and we’re dealing with construction, and in fact, all we do is really get a construction loan, and we buy the land, and then we raise money to develop the land, right?
In that process, we get a construction loan and a five or 10-year loan, but we usually sell the property within three years. So we never really have to go to agency loans or anything of that nature. These construction loans are easier to get, they’re still great rates, and then we can do interest-only on them for the first two to three years. There’s a lot of options there, but it’s a lot easier and quicker, especially in light of COVID and all the things that have happened that have impacted the economy. It’s relatively seamless, and we’re building these facilities in 12 to 14 months. We have offers on these things, especially from healthcare REITs, sometimes within six months into construction. It’s a pretty good little formula here.
Theo Hicks: Are those REITs proactively reaching out to you or there’s someone on your team who’s there doing that?
Bill Manassero: Well, one of the guys on my team, he’s built 23 of these things, but most of them in Michigan. He wanted to broaden out, and then my other partner and I were able, because we were in other states, and we were able to sort of help him broaden out. But I think his experience, not only just constructing and designing them and all the elements that go into the actual development of the facility, but he also came up with the operation manual for operations of these facilities. Even during COVID, and all of them that this guy has built and managed, there was not a single COVID case in all of these homes. A lot of it was because of how well this guy has designed the operational side.
What will happen is some of the REITs will buy them and they asked our third partner if he’ll manage these for them, and he does. Out of the 23, I think, he manages 14 or 15 of them.
Theo Hicks: How did you meet this person?
Bill Manassero: My contact was not him initially. But my friend that I’ve known for about six years, he actually it was a guest on my show early on, and then he introduced me to this guy that he made contact with that had built these, and that’s kind of how that connection came together.
Theo Hicks: Had you already been interested in senior living, or was it after you met this guy that you were like, “Huh, I think this is something I want to do”?
Bill Manassero: No, I’ve been looking at senior living, I don’t know, probably for the last four years or so, and I thought I might get into the residential aspect of it, where you take a home in a community and you convert it into a senior living house. And you can add maybe six or eight or 10, depends on the size and the state you’re in. That really appealed to me, because I knew guys that were buying single-family homes and making $10,000 a month after expenses, just as cash flow with these homes. That really sounded appealing to me, too.
My wife actually happens to be a caregiver, I have a daughter that’s a caregiver and a son that’s a caregiver, so we’re very into this area. One of the reasons we came back from Haiti too and kind of started this is that while we were on sabbatical, my wife’s parents took ill, and so we kind of stepped in to take care of them, because we’re the only ones that really weren’t nailed down to jobs and so forth, because we were on sabbatical. And in that process, it was a really moving thing for us emotionally and it was just a really great experience to be able to spend that time with my wife’s parents when they were moving into this need for assisted living.
Yeah, a lot of things kind of birthed out of that, but there has been a strong interest for a while for me; you know, Gene Guarino, Gene does this RAL Residential Assisted Living, and I had him as a guest on my show a couple of times too.
So I didn’t think I would ever do ground-up construction. In fact, I’ve avoided ground-up construction because of how long it takes, and trying to keep things under budget, but this third partner of ours really has mastered that and he always keeps it under budget; just amazing. That was one of the appeals for getting involved.
Theo Hicks: Alright, Bill, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?
Bill Manassero: Well, I think the best thing I can say to anybody that’s going to get into real estate investing is to really know what your ‘why’ is. Because when all else fades away, it’s going to be that ‘why’ that’s going to keep you motivated. I honestly believe you need to take the time in putting a plan together, getting a mentor, doing the research and education and all of that, but the core of that, your mission statement has got to be that ‘why’; why are you doing this in the first place? Why are you getting involved in real estate investing?
Theo Hicks: Alright, Bill, are you ready for the best ever lightning round?
Bill Manassero: You bet.
Theo Hicks: All right.
Theo Hicks: Okay, what is the best ever book you’ve recently read?
Bill Manassero: Best Ever book recently, okay… I don’t know if you know who Michael Michalowicz is, but he is the author of Profit First and The Pumpkin Plan and a few others. And he wrote a book called Clockwork, which is a great book for people in business. It’s sort of a simple approach to making business ultra-efficient, eliminate stress and just get your time priorities right.
Theo Hicks: If your business, I guess in this case, businesses, were to collapse today, what would you do next?
Bill Manassero: Well, I would rebuild. The great thing about it is if you lose something that you’ve had, that you’ve built up, you already know the process about building them up. A lot of people say real estate is all about location, location, location. I believe it’s about relationships, relationships, relationships. If you have relationships, then you can go to those people and help rebuild what you had before.
Theo Hicks: If you don’t mind, can you tell us about a time that you lost money at a deal, how much money you lost, and then what lessons you learned?
Bill Manassero: It’s kind of a general thing, but one of the struggles I’ve had – I’m an out of state investor, I’ve always been an out of state investor – is dealing with property management firms. And property managers can be your best friend and your most important partner, but if you choose not so wisely, you can end up losing a lot of money. In that is things that happen – not only up charges on things that they do for you in that way, but they can help bring in some bad tenants for you. When you have to deal with bad tenants, the costs can be exponential.
That was for me, one of the key things that I had to get a hold of early on, is that you really, really need to screen your property managers and make sure that these are people that you can prove that they’re good if you’re going to hire him.
Theo Hicks: You’ve already answered the best ever way you like to give back with the non-profit. Do you want to talk about that a little bit more?
Bill Manassero: I think it’s something a lot of real estate investors should see. First off, it’s really easy to establish a 501(c)3, and it’s a great tool to be able to do the kinds of things you’ve always dreamt of doing to help others. I had my 501(c)3 for a long time and it has been a great tool and has helped just hundreds of people and families in Haiti. We were rebuilding homes for people during the earthquake, we’d set up a school and a hospital and all these other things there. It’s a great vehicle if you’re ever thinking about getting serious about helping others.
The other part is giving back. I love giving back… And granted, my audience is targeted 50 Plus, so I love to be able to help people get started later in life, but I also work with a lot of younger folks too. Through Bigger Pockets and places like that; I try to make myself available if somebody wants to meet, have coffee, and just ask questions. That’s another way to give back as well.
Theo Hicks: And then lastly, what’s the best ever place to reach you?
Bill Manassero: Best ever place is at The Old Dawg’s REI Network, and the website is http://olddawgsreinetwork.com/, and you can write to me if you’d like at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can go the website and check out the content. There’s also a Contact page there as well.
Theo Hicks: Alright, Bill, thanks for joining us today and giving us all of your advice on all that you’ve done in your life, I really appreciate it. It’s always fun to talk to another podcast host as well.
We talked about your background, how you actually started in real estate later, which is why you created that Old Dawg’s Network, to help others start real estate later in their lives. You kind of talked about the breakdown of your portfolio, and how you’ve been transitioning into Senior Living lately, in part because of the fact that, as you mentioned, 10,000 baby boomers are hitting the age of 65 every single day.
You focus specifically on ground-up construction on luxury senior living facilities across the country. We talked about what your roles are in the GP. It seems like it’s mostly Investor Relations, because you know a lot of investors from your podcast. We talked about the podcast, why you started it, how you just organically, over time, without asking people to really invest, have had people come to you wanting to invest just based off of listening to your podcast for a long time, and you gave us a few tips on how to grow a podcast.
I really liked how you talked about focusing on quality and that a lot of your reviewers said they really liked the podcasts because of the quality. And it’s not just the quality of the guests and the content, but also the actual quality of the production. You hired a producer who would help with the sound quality and make edits on the backend and things like that, and then you also attribute your podcast success to a lot of word of mouth referrals from listeners.
And we got in a little bit more specifics on your senior living investing. My biggest takeaway there was – and you can really apply this to any new niche you want to go into, is finding someone who’s super experienced at what you want to do, and then work with them, partner with them, and have them be your mentor. You had met someone – maybe a friend of a friend – you had met through the podcast, and he had a bunch of experience with senior living facilities, had built over 20 of them. You mentioned that he has not had a single case of COVID at any of those, and so you continue to partner with him for these deals.
Lastly, we talked about your best ever advice which is, it’s important to have a plan, it’s important to get a mentor and educate yourself, but at the end of the day, the core of all that and the thing that’s going to keep you motivated when you’re kind of in a rut is to know what your ‘why’ is, have your mission statement and you kind of explained what yours was as well.
I really appreciate it, Bill. I know the best of listeners are going to enjoy this conversation. I sure did. Best Ever listeners, as always, thank you for listening. Have a best ever day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.
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