February 21, 2022
Joe Fairless

JF2729: 2 Effective Ways to Work with Lenders During a Recession ft. Glenn Kukla

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Real estate developer Glenn Kukla had closed one of his biggest deals when the 2008 recession hit. Unable to pay his mortgage, Glenn worked out a strategy to help stay afloat and survive the economic downturn. In this episode, Glenn shares his tips for working with lenders during a recession.

Glenn Kukla | Real Estate Background

  • CEO of Kukla Capital Partners, a real estate development company and investment fund.
  • Portfolio: $4M in net value. Over $50M in real estate projects he has developed and/or financed.
  • Grown and privately held his investment fund over 40% annually since 2009.
  • Based in: Cincinnati, OH
  • Say hi to him at: LinkedIn

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TRANSCRIPTION

Slocomb Reed: Best Ever listeners, welcome to Cincinnati’s Best Ever Real Estate Investor Mastermind. We are here recording live at our local real estate investor meetup here in Cincinnati, that happens almost always on the last Tuesday of the month from [6:30] to [8:30], at the Deer Park Community Center. We hope you all have the opportunity to visit us in Cincinnati and join us at the meetup.

Our guest for the episode today and for our meetup is Glenn Kukla. Glenn is the owner of Kukla Capital Partners, a boutique real estate development company and alternative investment fund with about four million in net asset value. He has 25 years of real estate development and finance experience, over $50 million in real estate projects developed and or financed. He’s served on several local government boards. Glenn has been investing and developing real estate for over 25 years and has grown and privately held his investment fund over 40% annually since 2009. Glenn, can you give us a bit more about your background and what you’re focused on currently?

Glenn Kukla: Sure. With real estate or my other career?

Slocomb Reed: With the real estate.

Glenn Kukla: Okay, sure.

Slocomb Reed: We’ll get to the other career.

Glenn Kukla: All right. It’s hard to start in the middle without going back, but currently, as I said, I’ve got a fund of essentially self-made money that I use to invest, some in real estate, some in the stock market, some in hard money lending. I believe strongly in diversity asset allocation. One of the things that Slocomb asked me about earlier on in this process was “Talk about how you survived the market crash.” We’ll get to that in a little bit, but if there’s one piece of advice I would give anybody just off the street for two seconds, it’s don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you’ve got limited capital, or even your time, or whatever skills you have, try to do multiple things with that, not all just on one thing.

So the fund that I have, we’ve got some money in real estate that we’ve purchased, some money in the stock market, and some money, frankly, we’re just holding in cash, because right now is a bit of a risky time. We’ve seen a correction in the stock market, we’ve seen a correction in crypto, there may be a correction in real estate, hopefully not… But it’s always good to have some of your money in cash. That’s essentially what the fund does, it looks for opportunities to grow itself. But generally, I like to make money for myself and other people. Most of the things that I invest in involve bringing in other partners, other investors, finding creative ways to do deals where you’ve got a motivated seller, but they don’t want to leave too much money on the table, so you say “Okay, I’ll pay you something now, but I’ll also pay something later when I make money, so that we make money together.” There’s a lot of deals that when I purchase this real estate, I’m not just buying it and saying, “See you later, I’m never going to talk to you again.” It’s, “Here’s a check now, and I’ll give you a check in about 12 months.”

Slocomb Reed: You said a piece of real estate. Give us some examples of some of your development deals.

Glenn Kukla: Sure. The guy that used to deliver my Christmas trees lives in Lockland, out in Kentucky. Every year he’d drop off a Christmas tree and he would tell me about how he has this little cute garden center he runs out of his big old nasty warehouse in Lockland. And every year, I could just tell he was like a little more depressed and more struggling about what he was doing. He was also a realtor, so he’s doing that full-time; and doing well as a realtor. But running this little garden center was his passion, and he would always drop off the Christmas tree and set it up; it was great. One year he’s like, “I need to get rid of my building. Do you want to buy a building?” I’m like, “Well, I love buying buildings”. As an aside, I assume everyone here is probably a motivated buyer. I mean, we’ve got realtors, we’ve got investors…

Slocomb Reed: If you’re a motivated seller, talk to me first…

Glenn Kukla: No, me, me.

Slocomb Reed: I’ll give you my business card…

Glenn Kukla:  I’m just saying, where’s the motivated seller meetup? Where can I sign in to that one? I don’t think there is a motivated seller meetup.

Slocomb Reed: I don’t advertise that one publicly.

Glenn Kukla: We’re all looking for those motivated sellers. So my Christmas tree delivery guy who ran his little garden center out of this big warehouse in Lockland – it turns out he was a motivated seller one day. And motivated sellers…

Slocomb Reed: How big was the warehouse?

Glenn Kukla: It was 21,000 square feet, and it’s set on two-thirds of an acre. And it’s right there in Lockland.

Slocomb Reed: Tell our listeners what you think of when you think of Lockland and a warehouse there.

Glenn Kukla: Most people would probably say it’s pretty crappy. But there are green shoots in Lockland. There’s a lot of activity going on with the GE plant that is investing a lot of money in itself. ODOT, Ohio Department of Transportation is putting like a billion dollars in the [unintelligible [00:07:46]

Slocomb Reed: And those development things that were happening when you bought the warehouse?

Glenn Kukla: No. They were maybe a mile up the road or a mile down the road, so I saw some potential. But worst-case scenario, I’m like, “I might not make any money on this”, so when he said “I want you to buy my warehouse”, I said “Well, let’s go through it and look at it.” The roof is caving in, he had work orders, he was really distressed, he was really stressed out. His wife was saying, “You’ve got to sell this property. Get rid of it.” The city was threatening to throw him in jail… And he was doing the best he could; he didn’t have the means to maintain the warehouse, and his business was going under.

Slocomb Reed: So a motivated seller, physically distressed property, spousally distressed seller.

Glenn Kukla: Exactly. Now we’re all salivating. That’s what we look for, right?

Slocomb Reed: Well, tell us what happened next. You bought it? Did you pay cash? Did you finance? Was it creative financing?

Glenn Kukla: Well, it was creative financing. So I knew that there was some money on the table he didn’t want to let go, but I knew I didn’t want to overpay for it in the beginning, because it wasn’t worth anything. I didn’t want to overpay and have something that was worth zero. So I said, “I’ll give you $10,000 now for this 21,000 square foot warehouse sitting on two-thirds of an acre. But when I turn it around and sell it –and I have a track record of that– we’ll split the money somewhere between 33% and 50%. So you’ll have thirdsies or halves and half, depending on how long it takes and what kind of brain damage I have to go through.” He said, “Okay.” So I actually PayPal-ed his wife the $10,000 just in earnest, before he even signed a document. Like, “I trust you. Here’s the money.”

Slocomb Reed: And you took title to the property.

Glenn Kukla: I took title of the property.

Slocomb Reed: Okay. Did he remain on title or have a lien or anything like that?

Glenn Kukla: Nope.

Slocomb Reed: It was your word that he’d get paid out?

Glenn Kukla: We did a memo. At that point, he was trusting me, and I did put it right. I think memos are a good tool, because they’re not binding, but at least it’s that we are on the same page. “Wait, did you say this? Did I say that?” If you put it in a memo, it’s not as intimidating as something that’s legally binding, but at least we can trust each other that much more.

Slocomb Reed: Yeah. So you own it now for 10 grand and a memo that you’ll give a third or half of the proceeds to the previous owner. And then what?

Glenn Kukla: Well, there was one more thing that I promised, and it really sealed the deal, and this is what sealed it with his wife. I said, “I will indemnify you from any other liens that come against you. If the city tries to find you for anything else, I’ll indemnify you from any other creditor that’s associated with this building. They’re going to go through me.” That indemnification was just more of a gentleman’s handshake, but it was also in that memo. So it was kind of that peace of mind that it brought him, “You’ve got a crappy piece of property, you need to get rid of it. This thing stressing you out. I’m going to take it off your hands right now. I’m going to give you money now, I’m going to give you money later, and from this moment forward, you’re indemnified. If anyone messes with you, they’re going to mess with me first.”

Slocomb Reed: That’s awesome.

Glenn Kukla: So I bought the building for $10,000. I ended up putting about another 60k or 70k — well, totaled about 100,000 in stabilizing the roof, going to the village of Lockland and asking for a vacant building maintenance license, which they didn’t even know what that was. The city of Cincinnati had that, so I pulled the code from Cincinnati and said, “Okay, Lockland, you want me to do this.”

Slocomb Reed: Act like a big kid now.

Glenn Kukla: Yup, act like a big kid. So we stabilized the building, and then started just putting the word out on the street that it was for sale. Hamilton County Development Corporation contacted me, and they were worried that I was going to be a slumlord. They were pleased when I told them I was a greedy capitalist, looking to do something nice. But the first thing that I told the community was, “I want to do something with this building that is good for the community. I don’t want to sell it to the first offer. I don’t want to sell it to the highest-paying person who’s going to do something crappy…”

Slocomb Reed: Did you market it for sale publicly?

Glenn Kukla: No. It didn’t even get to that point. A realtor came to me. I called about ten of the stakeholders in the community, the city manager, other landlords, different development organizations, putting the word out… And within I think two weeks somebody from JLL, which is a commercial broker, called me saying, “I represent Pepper Construction. We’re looking for a new headquarters.” They were renting in Blue Ash and they wanted a marquee building that has some kind of historic story, and said “We’re interested in your building.” It took about six months to work through the deal with them. They wanted to lowball me, I wanted to highball them, so we kind of met in the middle. I ended up selling the building to them for about 340,000.

Slocomb Reed: You were all-in for 100k.

Glenn Kukla: I was in for about 100k.

Slocomb Reed: So call it 240k. How much did the former seller get out of that?

Glenn Kukla: He got a third of that.

Slocomb Reed: He got a third of it. Nice. I understand as well – I know we’ll talk about the recession more later, but you were in a pretty big building downtown when the recession hit.

Glenn Kukla: Yes. Several buildings.

Slocomb Reed: Several buildings. Tell us about that. Tell us about what you were doing in ’07 and ’08 when that happened, and give us a taste of how you got yourself out of that situation.

Glenn Kukla: I was involved in a partnership. We owned several apartment buildings, and we were developing condos. We were kind of over-leveraged; a lot of people back in 2007 and 2008 were, when the recession hit.

Slocomb Reed: What does kind of overleveraged mean?

Glenn Kukla: It means you owe more than what your stuff is worth.

Slocomb Reed: Gotcha. Was that as the market was crashing that that happened, or…

Glenn Kukla: It was actually before the market crashed. We just weren’t good managers of our portfolio, as we should have been. And then when the market crashed, it just got worse. Rents went down, vacancies went up, some [unintelligible [00:12:55].05] products we had, people stopped selling, buyers were handing back their deposits…

Slocomb Reed: What kinds of buildings were these in downtown?

Glenn Kukla: These were historic multifamily, 25 units, 50 units, with some storefronts in the first floor, and apartments above.

Slocomb Reed: Gotcha. We’re talking about the central business district.

Glenn Kukla: Central business district, yeah. Right by the Paul Brown Stadium.

Slocomb Reed: This would be the most in-demand real estate in the city now.

Glenn Kukla: Oh, yeah. In 2008, Cincinnati was emerging, but it was somewhat in demand. But when the recession happened in 2008, 2009, the money dried up, the rents went down, vacancies went up, so we didn’t have enough money to pay the bank. We had to default on loans.

Slocomb Reed: Gotcha. Defaults on loans, give the properties back, essentially.

Glenn Kukla: Well, we didn’t want to, because once you’re invested emotionally, you don’t want to give them back. So here’s how you negotiate. If you ever find yourself where you have to default on a loan, you don’t have enough money, and it’s finally that D-Day, where you’re like, “Oh, crap. I can’t pay my mortgage. I fought hard to not have to get to this point, but I’m going to have to not pay my mortgage.” The first thing you do is call your bank and say, “I’m not going to pay my mortgage.” You don’t run and hide; you be very transparent and you say, “This is exactly the situation I’m in.” More times than not, the bank will actually view you as the best person to manage that property, because you’re the one that developed it, you own it, you know your tenants, you know where all the bodies are buried, you know where all the keys are; you can actually be an asset and an ally to the bank.

“I can’t pay your mortgage, but I can still protect the asset. Let’s find a way to work it out together.” That’s what we did. We went to all the banks and we said, “We can’t pay our mortgages. But here’s the interesting…”

Slocomb Reed: Did all the banks agree to that?

Glenn Kukla: About a third of them said, “We’ll take the keys”, and took them over. About two-thirds of the banks said, “Okay, you send in whatever you can send in, and demonstrate to us that you’re doing as good a job as you can managing the property. We’ll accept a cash flow mortgage, a partial payment, and the rest we’re going to do a forbearance.” So the part that you don’t pay, they just add to the principal. So your principal balance actually goes up, because you’re not paying it down, and you’re not paying interest.

Slocomb Reed: Forbearance is a term we’re a lot more familiar with now than we were two years ago.

Glenn Kukla: Yeah. And a lot of people were very familiar with it in 2008. So the key to surviving any kind of recession, whether it’s a macro recession that we would all go through if the market ever corrected or crashed, or just something personally you’re going through, just go to your bank and say, “This is exactly what’s happened. Would you please work with me? I’m actually the best person to keep managing the property. I want to own it long-term. I need a forbearance, I need a refinance, I need some kind of help here.”

Slocomb Reed: This is primarily a commercial real estate podcast, but we have a lot of residential investors in the room. Correct me if I’m wrong, expand on this for me, Glenn… We’re really talking about the kind of communication that you want to have with a commercial lender. You’re talking about commercial lending is much more relationally driven, so these are people who know you much better than Wells Fargo does, for example, and these are people who have decided to bet on your success by giving you this loan in a way that a residential mortgage lender who just punches numbers into a computer and gets a yes or no spat out. Those are not the people that we’re talking about going back to and saying, “Hey, my four-family is not working out. Work with me.”

We’re talking about lenders with whom you had taken the time to develop relationships already, who you had demonstrated your track record to so they were much more willing to look out at the broader landscape of commercial real estate during the recession and realize you’re not making your payment, but you’re still probably the best person to help us, the bank, made good on this loan. Is that all correct?

Glenn Kukla: Yeah, it’s very correct. All of the lenders that we negotiate with were local people. Like I said, in commercial lending, these are local people that we’ve developed that relationship with.

Break: [00:16:29][00:18:25]

Slocomb Reed: Your investment fund – did you say that it’s exclusively your capital, or do you raise capital for that?

Glenn Kukla: Right now, it’s my capital. At some point we would raise capital, but then you get SEC regulations and a whole other level of accountability, where if you use someone else’s money and it goes down, how do you deal with telling someone else that you lost it. I can tell my wife I lost money, because she trusts me, but if I had to tell you, you’d probably kick my ass. It’s a whole different level of accountability. I don’t know, someday I might.

Slocomb Reed: If you do lose my money, Glenn, please call me and say “Hey, Slocomb, I’m not going to be making my payment this time.”

Glenn Kukla: Work with me, huh?

Slocomb Reed: Work with me on this.

Glenn Kukla: So yeah, give me more money.

Slocomb Reed: Yeah. And 1/3 of the time I’ll ask for the keys. What has been your largest development deal to date?

Glenn Kukla: So we developed Parker Flats, which is a condo building on the corner of 4th and Central. We broke ground I think in 2005, and started selling the first condos in 2007. Great timing, when the market crashed in 2008. The Parker Flats – you actually see it if you’re in Paul Brown Stadium and you look North-West; sometimes you even see it on TV. It’s the very last building in the skyline of downtown. It’s on the corner of 4th and Central right, across what used to be Tina’s Lounge.

Slocomb Reed: It’s a pretty important part of the skyline now.

Glenn Kukla: Yeah. So that was 51 condominium units on top of a three-story parking garage. It was my idea to buy the land. So we owned the apartment building next door. Again, this is when I was involved with a partnership, equal partners called Middle Earth, back in the 2000s. So we owned an apartment building next door and we were renting the parking lot next door from the city of Cincinnati. We went to them one day and said, “Give us this parking lot and we promise to build condos. We’ll increase the tax base and bring more people downtown.” They fell in love with the idea and the proposal, so they gave us the parking lot for free.

We borrowed money from then LaSalle bank; they’re the ones that also financed that one office building, Office 71, that was rusting for about four years by [unintelligible [00:20:17].05] So they were just throwing money out; LaSalle bank back in 2000 were like “Here, take money, take money, take money.” That’s part of what caused that 2007, 2008 crash. So we only had a 25% presale requirement, which is pretty low on condos. So we built the Parker Flats, which – gosh, I mean, really, it ended up being an 11-story building, but each store was a loft, so it was like five double stories in this thing. The top story was a one-story penthouse of two units.

What was crazy at the time – I think the total construction cost for 55 units was only 11 million. Now it probably costs 30 million to build. We sold about half of the units, and then when the market crashed, that’s one where we wanted the bank to take it back, because it wasn’t cash-flowing, and there was no light at the end of the tunnel for us. We called the bank and said, “Would you please take this off our hands?” They said, “Sure.” They literally just said, “Give us the keys, we’re not going to [unintelligible [00:21:06].00] your credit.”

It’s funny, because that whole time the market crashed, my credit didn’t get [unintelligible [00:21:11].11] except for one little crappy loan that I co-signed with an out-of-town lender, somebody who wasn’t local, and they trashed our credit. My credit went all to hell; my credit got down to like 520 back in 2008-2009, from one loan that I co-signed, even though we’ve defaulted on 10 other loans, that we didn’t mean to default on, we just didn’t have the money. Nobody had money back then, everybody was losing their butts. Banks were working with people, but it’s because we were transparent and worked with those lenders that they gave us that second chance.

Slocomb Reed: What about your largest successful development deal? Partner Flats is pretty well known now, especially with people who live or are familiar with downtown. And if it weren’t for macroeconomic factors, I imagine that would have gone very differently. Tell us about your largest deal that did go well.

Glenn Kukla: So we developed the Marx Cromer Warehouse Lofts, which is 41 apartments and 10,000 square feet of commercial storefront, and a parking lot with about 30 spaces in downtown Newport. And I found that by driving around with an intern and a notepad, looking at buildings. You all know this, if you see long grass or a broken window, you’re like “That guy might be a motivated seller, I better call him.” So it was a building that was all torn up, and I was like, “Okay, but that’s a big building. That’s a big, beautiful warehouse. You can use historic tax credits for things like warehouses, and new market tax credits. With my background in financing, I know where all these extra pots of government money are.

So when we saw that warehouse in Newport, I told the intern, “Pull over and we’ll run in the City of Newport building.” I ran into the City of Newport building, I said, “Who’s your zoning administrator?” They said it’s a guy named Greg Tully. And Greg Tully pops out. You know who Greg Tully is, [unintelligible [00:22:40].07] and he’s also drummer in a band, so we had a musical connection… I said, “Greg, what’s going on with that building?” He said, “Well, the housing authority was trying to develop it, but they can’t get their funding. It’s probably going to go for sale tomorrow. Do you guys want it?” I say, “Hell yeah, we want it.” So we ended up buying it.

Again, when it’s owned by a municipality, you should pick these things up pretty cheap, if you make the pitch that you’re going to increase taxes, eliminate blight, and that kind of thing. So we renovated the Marx Cromer Warehouse, which was formerly a furniture factory, and turned it into 41 apartments, 10,000 square feet of storefront. We put about $5 million in it; Chase was the lender, we used federal historic credits, state historic credits, new market credits.

Slocomb Reed: When was this?

Glenn Kukla: This was 2006 when we renovated it, and it went online right in 2008. Again, terrible timing. We had this $5 million mortgage on this big beautiful building, we just renovated it, we’re starting to rent apartments, they’re starting to fill up, the market takes a crap, and the rentals slow down. And we had to default on the mortgage; the mortgage converted to an amortized mortgage. So the mortgage payment was $12,000 a month. We don’t have $12,000 a month in rent, and none of our rentals are generating money. So again, we went to the bank and said, “Okay, this is really bad timing, but we’re not going to be able to pay the mortgage. We’re going to send in what we got and we’re going to keep 8% for management fees, to pay for the insurance, pay for the leasing agent.”

The bank said, “Okay, that’s fine”, because they’re all doing that. So we dropped the rents and made sure that the whole building was stabilized. We leased it up as well as we could; we just made sure that we want to stabilize this property and get it leased up. Got it leased up, got all storefronts rented, still negatively cash-flowing. Chase bank sells the note to some capital company for about 20 cents on the dollar. Four years later, we buy it back for 40 cents on the dollar. So we ended up owning a $5 million building for about $2.5 million after that whole recession. And what I learned from recessions is that they’re very chaotic, and with chaos brings opportunity. So if you ever find yourself going through anything like that, somehow you might land on your feet, and actually, you might be better off.

Slocomb Reed: That’s a great story.

Glenn Kukla: Yeah. So we ended up developing a $5 million property and only paying $2.5 million for it through that whole nearly going bankrupt process.

Slocomb Reed: That’s exciting. What kinds of projects are you working on right now?

Glenn Kukla: I own a school building over in Arlington Heights, it’s 15,000 square feet, it sits on an acre and a half. It’s in an opportunity zone, which means that there are some advantages to using deferred capital gains. We’re going to market that probably in the spring; we’re kind of taking a slow approach. Commercial property is a much slower process than buying and flipping. Buying a flipping house, you want to buy it, you want to flip it, you want to sell it in four months; commercial properties sometimes take three to five years.

Slocomb Reed: So you bought this for the sake of reselling it.

Glenn Kukla: Yeah.

Slocomb Reed: Okay. You just got a good deal, found an off-market seller? Tell us about it.

Glenn Kukla: So once we sold the Stearns and Foster Warehouse, the one that I bought from the Christmas tree guy, and we sold it to Pepper Construction, they are putting $8 million in the deal and they are bringing in $2.3 million in payroll to Lockland. So Lockland was super-happy, and they said, “We’ve got this school down the street. Could you do the same thing to it?” They said, “We’ll give it to you for $1.” I actually paid $20,000 for the building, so I thought it would be more politically okay. “Why are they giving away buildings for $1 to this guy?” We don’t want that story getting out there. So I voluntarily paid $20,000 for a building that I could have paid $1 for.

Slocomb Reed: $19,999, for good PR.

Glenn Kukla: Exactly, $19,999 for PR. So now we own the building, we’re going to put together a marketing plan with some renderings, and essentially look for the unicorn tenant, which would be a company or maybe another developer who wants either a joint venture or just simply buy it.

Slocomb Reed: Not necessarily an ideal scenario, but what kind of tenant are you expecting? What kind of rent are you expecting? And then, if you’re looking to sell afterward, what are you expected to be able to sell this building for?

Glenn Kukla: It really depends on what the tenant needs. It’s kind of hard to answer, because each tenant is a unicorn. In a commercial property, tenants are like unicorns; each one is different. So for the Arlington school, likely it would be somebody who needs distributions, so we would build a high-bay warehouse attached to the school, or it might be a company like a plumber, an electrician who wants to locate their offices there, or just some local medium-sized business. And they would either buy it from me, I’d probably sell it for a couple hundred thousand dollars. Hopefully, the buyer is not listening to this podcast, because I’d ask for more first.

Slocomb Reed: That’s not a bad return on your $1 purchase and marketing budget.

Glenn Kukla: Sure, that’s opportunity cost. But I can start selling it for a couple hundred thousand dollars, but I really like a joint venture where maybe they would hire me to be the developer, we would renovate the building, we would add on a new warehouse, and then I would lease it back to them. Maybe they would lease it for five years with the option to buy it at some predetermined amount.

Slocomb Reed: Gotcha. What would you say are your top lessons learned from your 25 years of experience?

Glenn Kukla: Oh, gosh. Well, surround yourself with good people, which is why we’re all here. We’re all here to network and meet some good people. Diversify your assets, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. And don’t be afraid of risk, but understand that there are different profiles of risk. Some people think that without risk there’s no reward, and that’s not true. There are some risks that have much more downside potential, and there are other risks that have very little downside potential.

Slocomb Reed: Asymmetric bets.

Glenn Kukla: Asymmetric bets, exactly.

Slocomb Reed: Low downside, lots of upside.

Glenn Kukla: Yep. Heads, I win a lot, tails I lose a little. So I would say look for investment opportunities that have little downside. Warren Buffett’s famous for saying that he only follows two rules. One, don’t lose money, and rule number two, see rule number one; don’t lose money. So think of your capital as something not that you first want to grow, but you don’t want to lose. Look for investment opportunities that have very little downside, before you look for the upside. Real Estate, by the way, is a great place to invest, because even if you overpay for something, eventually it’s probably going to catch up in value. You were just talking about, John, you did a deal where the investor overpaid, then they ended up having to go to closing and putting money into it. But eventually, even if you overpay, you wait, and you wait, and you wait, and time will increase the value of your asset. That’s why I love real estate.

Slocomb Reed: Glenn, your natural storyteller. The common thread that I’m hearing in all of your stories, thinking about what may be the most important skill that you’re sharing with us right now – correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re a natural relationship builder. And the stories that you’re telling about your successes, but also mitigating failure come down to you built a relationship, that relationship resulted in someone who wanted to sell you a building, the guy who delivers your trees, or the city of Lockland, or someone who wanted to give you a loan based on the relationship that you built with them. And those relationships have not only led to your biggest successes, but also those are the things that helped you stay afloat in the recession, when a lot of other investors drowned. Would you say that building relationships with key people is the most important skill that you’ve developed over 25 years in real estate investing?

Glenn Kukla: 100% Well, it’s one of the most important. It’s tied for one of the top. But yeah, every good real estate deal that I’ve ever done was a result of a good connection I made with a person.

Slocomb Reed: What about other skills?

Glenn Kukla: Understanding financing, understanding risk, just understanding the law, how to re-lease, developing some bravery, not being afraid to take a chance.

Slocomb Reed: This is really good stuff. I feel like I could ask you questions for another hour.

Are you ready for the Best Ever lightning round?

Glenn Kukla: Sure. Let’s do it.

Slocomb Reed: What is the Best Ever book you’ve recently read?

Glenn Kukla: All I read is children’s books. My son just got a book about every creature has a butt, so probably that one.

Slocomb Reed: Every creature has a butt.

Glenn Kukla: Yeah. I’m paraphrasing the title. But yeah, everybody has a butt.

Slocomb Reed: Great. What is your Best Ever way to give back?

Glenn Kukla: Charity is a good way to give back. I give my wife backrubs at least three times a week, so investing in your family, investing in your friends. Really, the best way to give back is to invest your friends and family, time.

Slocomb Reed: Awesome. And what is your Best Ever advice?

Glenn Kukla: I don’t know. There is no Best Ever advice. There’s so much good advice to give.

Slocomb Reed: You’ve given a lot of advice already.

Glenn Kukla: Okay, my Best Ever advice would be that old-school xerox [unintelligible [00:31:00].18] It’s the frog choking the stork. The frog is about ready to die and gets swallowed by the stork, and it says “Don’t give up.” Never give up what you do. Stay focused and work hard. If you never give up, things will work out.

Slocomb Reed: Awesome. Thank you, Glenn, and thank you Best Ever listeners for tuning in. If you got some value out of this conversation with Glenn, please follow and subscribe to our podcast, leave us a five-star review and share this episode with someone who you think would receive a lot of value from listening to what Glenn has shared with us today. Thank you and have a Best Ever day.

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