October 5, 2020

JF2225: Goldbar Realestate With Abel Curiel

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Abel Curiel is the VP of The Goldbar Realestate Team and has 10 years of real estate investing experience. As a kid, his dad never really made a lot of money but he watched his dad save every penny that he had to invest in properties. He created his team because he saw a need to help beginner investors in the intimidating market of New York. 

Abel Curiel Real Estate Background:

  • VP of The Goldbar Realestate Team
  • Has 10 years of real estate investing experience
  • Currently owns 1 property and has sold over 50 properties totaling $40 million+
  • His team’s investor division has sold 20 investment properties in Brooklyn, Queens, & Long Island
  • Based in Queens, NY
  • Say hi to him at: www.goldbarteam.com 
  • Best Ever Book: Never Split The Difference

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Best Ever Tweet:

“Focus on building your team” – Abel Curiel


Theo Hicks: Hello, best listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I am Theo Hicks and today, we will be speaking with Abel Curiel. Abel, how are you doing today?

Abel Curiel: Doing excellent. Thank you so much for having me on, Theo.

Theo Hicks: Absolutely, thanks for joining us. A little bit about Abel, he is the VP of The Goldbar Realestate Team. He has 10 years of real estate investing experience. He currently owns one property and has sold over 50 properties totaling more than $40 million. His team’s investor division has sold 20 investment properties in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. He is based in Queens, New York. You can say hi to him at https://www.goldbarteam.com/.

Abel, do you mind telling us about your background and what you’re focused on today?

Abel Curiel: Sure. I was born and raised here in Queens, New York. I would say my introduction to real estate investing was just kind of watching my dad growing up. My dad never really made a lot of money. I don’t think he made more than 50 grand in a year throughout his life, but he pretty much saved every single dime that he had.

During his lifetime he was able to invest in two buy-and-hold properties, and they were pretty much in growing areas in Queens, New York. One of them was in Jackson Heights, which is not too far from Manhattan, about a 30-minute commute, and then the other one was in East Elmhurst, New York which is right by LaGuardia Airport. Just kind of watching his example is what led me into real estate.

I previously worked for the city of New York in a city hospital, and I was there for 8 years. One of my co-workers kept waiving this book in front of me, Rich Dad Poor Dad. I was done with college about 10 years before, and I’m not ready to go back and just start reading anything. I was kind of lazy in my day to day.  After a couple of months of him waiving the book in front of me, I decided to read it. I got into https://www.biggerpockets.com/ which is how I get in contact with you guys, and I really never looked back. A couple of years later, I was able to quit my job and go into real estate full-time.

Theo Hicks: Do you mind telling us a little bit about what your full-time real-estate job entails? It sounds like you work for a brokerage, you also invest yourself. Is that the case?

Abel Curiel: Yes, our brokerage is eXp Realty; it’s the largest cloud brokerage and one of the first of its kind. With everything going on in terms of COVID and shut downs, virtual is the way the industry is heading, so our company was formed 10 years ago and I just joined about 2 years ago.

Our day-to-day focus is sales related, but we have an investor division which has put us pretty much at the top of our market in terms of working with new and early investors. Most of our investor clients are house hackers and people who are using the BRRRR strategy to build equity into the properties and start building their portfolio from day one.

Theo Hicks: You guys are the people that the real estate realm, the BiggerPockets realm would call investor-friendly brokers?

Abel Curiel: 100%. Yes.

Theo Hicks: Okay.

Abel Curiel: When we formed our team, my partner and I, we actually met at a Bigger Pockets meet-up and what we realized is, there aren’t too many brokers in our market that specialize in working with first-time investors or early investors who are new to this market… And New York, as you know, it’s a very high price point area and it’s pretty intimidating, especially for early investors. That’s kind of where we built our specification around, just to make sure that we’re educating people who are interested in this market and people who want to get started, but feel like it’s impossible unless you have six figures or a million dollars in cash.

Theo Hicks: What types of things do you want to see out of a client? Obviously, you focus on first-time investors… So is it just someone who expresses any interest in investing you’ll work with, or do you want to see something out of them first before you invest your time into them?

Abel Curiel: Good question. Definitely, we do want to get in contact with anybody who has a general interest, but we all know that the interest alone is not going to help you reach your goal. Most of the people or all of the people that we work with are obviously qualified, in the sense that they’ve saved up enough for a decent down payment. They understand the process, and if they don’t, we just kind of help them along the way… But for the most part, we’re just looking for people who are motivated and not scared to jump in and get their feet wet.

A lot of what we see, especially on online forums, let’s just say Bigger Pockets for instance, a lot of people get analysis paralysis, right? There’s a lot of information out there and it’s very easy to gather a lot of information on a particular market and gather information on the process, and then get kind of nervous as far as taking the next step. We’re not pushy. This is my first time ever in sales and I just started four years ago. But what we pretty much centered ourselves around is just providing education and providing value.

We also have an investor club. The Queen’s Real Estate Investment Club was founded about three years ago. This is more for, I would say, people who are brand new and just trying to gather information. The people in our club that are ready to get out there and see what opportunities are out there – these are the people that we put through our vetting process, we introduce them to our vendors and just kind of get them prepared for the whole process.

Theo Hicks: In the intro, I said that your investor team has sold 20 investment properties. Does that mean you’ve worked with 20 clients?

Abel Curiel: For the most part, yeah. We’ve had one or two repeat clients and we bring on about anywhere from four to six new clients per month. We just try to keep the number a little bit smaller. Our team is only a team of nine right now. A lot of our team focuses on traditional home sales, condos, co-ops, and that sort of thing. But our investor division has just two agents, so we focus just on bringing on new clients that are looking to house hack and use the BRRR strategy for the most part.

Theo Hicks: Okay. So you’ve got your investor club… How many on average — you said you’re bringing on four to six per month; how many of those are coming from this investment club? Then of those that aren’t coming from the investment club, how are you finding these clients?

Abel Curiel: Good question. From the investment club, I would say about one or two a month convert to clients. Our club, right now, we have about 80 members, and like I mentioned, a lot of them are just kind of starting out. Many of them are investing out of state. From that group, we get about one or two that convert over and become clients here in our New York Metro market. The other clients that we bring on, it’s either through word-of-mouth, personal circle referrals, social media, but we have a pretty decent following on Bigger Pockets as well, so we got a lot of perspective clients from there.

Theo Hicks: Okay. So for the investment club, obviously they show up, you get them from in-person; the word of mouth, social media, Bigger Pockets, I’m assuming that comes from what you said earlier, which is providing education value. So besides the investment club, what are some of the other things that you’re doing on a weekly basis to provide value, provide education so that you’re able to attract clients on social media and Bigger Pockets?

Abel Curiel: Well, we’re pretty active. We write blog posts every week on Bigger Pockets. We also just got on Medium, which is another blog form that we contribute to. In addition to that, we post a lot of information as far as our closed deals on social media. We kind of give a little bit of a breakdown on transactions that we’ve had with clients in the past. We pretty much go over the beginning to end for house act deals.

For the most part, I think what’s really intimidating in our market is that the medium price point that we’re seeing in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island is right around the 700k to 800k mark. For somebody who’s just jumping in, even if you’re going at a 3.5% or 5% down payment, you’re looking at about 25,000 to 35,000 down, which once you kind of bring it to that number, it’s less intimidating than looking at a property that’s three-quarters of a million dollars.

What we’ve done is we pretty much just break down what the deal is like from beginning to end, we’ve broken down the process, and more importantly, just introducing our team members from the beginning.

One of the things that we do is we don’t only teach courses for other realtors, but we also have investor seminars where our preferred vendors, attorneys, wholesalers, house flippers, inspectors and expediters… We pretty much get our entire team involved and they’re able to break down the entire process from beginning to end and just show everyone just how doable this is.

Theo Hicks: Sure. You’ve kind of already mentioned this a little bit in that last statement you made about team members, but for your clients, are you offering a full-service experience, I guess? If they come to you, clearly, you’re helping them meet team members, meet lenders… Then once they have a deal or a contract, with due diligence, and I’m sure if they need help with the backend contractors, things like that. But are you helping them actually find the deals, too? And if so, what are you doing to find these deals?

Abel Curiel: Great question. We have a full-service team in terms of contract to closing; we have a full-time transaction coordinator. She pretty much holds the clients hand until closing and explains every step of the process during that entire escrow period. We walk them through the appraisal, and anything that pops up, let’s say with the title report, we kind of walk them through the whole process, just because we know that this is not going to be their first deal and their last deal. These are people who are thinking about long-term and building wealth, so we’re always kind of educating them throughout the process beforehand, as far as helping them analyze a deal.

We have two main resources that we use. We have an in-house admin who runs comparable market analyses all day long, and pretty much is able to provide our clients with a good estimate on ARV, and also give them a good idea as to what we think a good offer price would be before we even go out and see the property.

We’re also running rental comps to give them a worst-case scenario and also a best-case scenario as far as what they’ll be able to cash-flow every single month once they close on the property, and we pretty much walk them throughout.

Now, the second resource that we have is one of our vendors. We have a lender who’s been in the industry for about 12 years, and his dad got him involved in the business, and his dad’s a full-time investor now. They’re pretty much our best resource when it comes to getting in contact with appraisers, and giving us a good idea of what the property is worth, before we even get into contract. All of this is pretty much full service that we handle for our clients. And for the most part, that’s how we’ve been able to locate the deals before we get any kind of commitment.

Now, on the other hand, we also have a seller division, which is completely separate from our investor division. The seller division is pretty much in charge of getting off-market deals. They’re prospecting anywhere from two to three hours a day, and we have six people doing that. We’re talking about anywhere from 12 to 18 hours a day, we’re hitting the phones and we’re finding properties before they hit the market. Some of these are short sale properties which go to our more loyal investor clients, and then some of them are something in between, right? Something that would fit that BRRRR strategy, distressed property where the seller is looking to sell but doesn’t really know how to get the process started, or sometimes they don’t even want to make it public, they don’t want to put their property on the market. This is where our investor division and seller division kind of work together, to get some of these deals done before they hit the market.

Theo Hicks: Okay, Abel, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Abel Curiel: The best advice I could give is focus on building your team and take the time out to make sure that you’re dealing with the top professionals in your market, so that once you’re ready to hit the ground running, you have all your ducks in a row, you have everything in line to be able to capitalize on an opportunity the second you come across it.

Theo Hicks: Okay, are you ready for the best ever lightning round?

Abel Curiel: I’m ready. Let’s do it.

Break: [00:15:40] to [00:16:31].

Theo Hicks: Okay, what is the best ever book you’ve recently read?

Abel Curiel: Best ever book I’ve recently read, I’m just finishing up, for the second time, Chris Voss – Never Split the Difference. It’s one of the best books I’ve read.

Theo Hicks: If your business were to collapse today, what would you do next?

Abel Curiel: Man, what comes to mind is a big passion that my dad had. He was the president of a softball league, where he got hundreds of people in our community… So what comes to mind for me is coaching baseball, and specifically, little league.

Theo Hicks: What’s the best deal you’ve done for an investor client?

Abel Curiel: The best deal we’ve ever done, it was a single-family deal with an accessory unit. Essentially, it was a two-family deal, and we got it for 12% below market value. New York is a pretty high price point, so 12% in this market, I believe it was around 135k off of the original asking price. In addition to that, we negotiated a $7,000 credit at the closing table, just because we had some nosy neighbors putting up complaints with the New York Department of Buildings. We got a pretty nice credit on that deal as well on top of the savings.

Theo Hicks: What is the best ever way you like to give back?

Abel Curiel: The best ever way is just giving information. Anybody who finds me online on Bigger Pockets, it’s pretty easy to just set up a time to talk, and whether they want to work with me as a client or not, I could care less. I’m always kind of giving out information, anything I know about my market or just sharing resources. I also like to donate a lot. So constantly just donating clothes and food and stuff like that.

Theo Hicks: Lastly, what’s the best ever place to reach you?

Abel Curiel: The best ever place, I would say https://www.biggerpockets.com/ is probably the best place. Other than that, Instagram. My handle is @abelcurielny. Either one of those places is totally fine.

Theo Hicks: Abel, thanks for joining us on the show today and giving us your best ever advice. A few of the takeaways that I got was number one, how prospective investors can be prepared to work with investor-friendly brokers. So making sure that you understand the process and actually have the money to buy a property before you begin reaching out to the investor-friendly brokers, so that you’re not wasting their time and ruining that relationship up front.

You also mentioned some tips and tactics that you’re implementing to attract clients; anyone who’s an investor needs to attract some sort of clients or some sort of customer… So your strategy is to have an investment club, like a meetup group, and then also writing blog posts on Bigger Pockets. You also just signed up for Medium, and also putting information about the deals you’ve done on social media. Specifically, you’ve talked about house hack deals. And also hosting investor seminars, where you’re introducing members of your team to prospective clients. I really enjoyed that.

You also talked about how you’re able to find deals in New York, and mentioned that you have a seller division who is constantly looking for off-market deals all day long, and they focus on short sale properties, distressed properties, and really everything across the spectrum for off-market deals, and that you work with them in order to provide your clients with good deals.

Lastly, your best ever advice, which was to focus on building your team and networking with the top professionals in your market so that when you are presented with an opportunity, you will have the groundwork laid, so that you can actually pull the trigger on that deal, as opposed to having to scramble and put together your team.

Abel, I really appreciate you coming on the show. Best Ever listeners, as always, thank you for listening. Have a best ever day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Abel Curiel: Awesome. Thanks for having me, Theo. I hope you have a great day.

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