Hey everybody, welcome back to the show! Today, we’re talking with my buddy, Larry Wagner out of New York. Larry works with his son and they have another partner. They split up their team where they can divide and conquer and focus on what they’re good at. In Larry’s instance, it is the financing side of the business. Today, we’ll learn more about Larry, how their team is built out and we’ll talk about construction and financing. Let’s get started!

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Mike: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. Today we’re talking with my buddy Larry Wagner up in New York. Real estate is a whole different animal up there. We’re going to get into that a little bit today. What we’re really going to talk about is Larry works with his son and they have another partner and they’ve really split up their team where they can divide and conquer and focus on what they’re good at.
In Larry’s instance, it is the financing side of the business, which they have a lot of money out. They need to raise a lot of money for the market that they’re in because the properties are very expensive. The construction projects are very expensive and the construction side. So we’re going to dig into learning a little bit more about Larry, how their team is built out, and we’re going to talk about construction and financing.
Professional real estate investors know that it’s not really about the real estate. In fact, real estate is just a vehicle to freedom. A group of over 100 of the nation’s leading real estate investors from across the country meet several times a year at the Investor Fuel Real Estate Mastermind to share ideas on how to strengthen each other’s businesses, but also to come together as friends and build more fulfilling lives for all of those around us. On today’s show, we’re going to continue our conversation of fueling our businesses and fueling our lives. I’m glad you’re here.
Hey, Larry, welcome to the show.
Larry: Well, thank you. Thank you.
Mike: I’m excited to have you on.
Larry: Yes, me too. This is new territory for me.
Mike: Yeah. Well, you know, I think at one point when we talked I think you made some comment along the lines of, I don’t know if you remember you said, like, I have a face for radio or some comment.
Larry: The first time I met you.
Mike: So we don’t have video here so a lot of people just listen.
Larry: That was your comment to me by the way.
Mike: Okay. I don’t remember how it came out.
Larry:I said you had a great voice for radio.
Mike: Yeah. Okay. Okay. Yeah. So anyway, I’m glad to have you here and excited to learn more about your business and share it with, you know, other people that might be listening in. So before we kind of dive in, why don’t you tell us kind of how you found your way into real estate?
Larry: How I found myself into real estate. It’s sort of my background. My professional background started from when I was a kid. Just a real brief story. When I was eight years old, I wrote my four goals down on a piece of paper and thumb tacked into my door and I got in trouble by my mother for making a hole in the door. My father thought it was wonderful I had wrote goals, my mother was upset about the door. But those goals lasted with me until I reached my fourth goal at the age of 38, which 30 years after I wrote my goals, I finally reached my goals. And one of my goals was to be a cabinet maker and another goal was to be wealthy. I had a defined amount in there and those two don’t go hand in hand.
But I graduated from college. I opened up a cabinet shop. But the 10 months after I graduated from college and I built a very nice big shop, 30 employees. And so when I sold that off, I then went to the world of finance and I joined my father at that point who I was with for 28 years until he passed at 91. And while I was in finance, I . . . financial advisor working with clients. My secretary introduced me to who is now my partner Jamell. She had worked in real estate, and she did deals for Jamell. She would get him deals that he would then wholesale back when before anyone had terminology for these kinds of things. And they had a fascinating relationship. She just thought we’d get along well.
So I met Jamell once, we hit it off like that and we ended up flipping our first deal and bought our first house together. And then within a few months of that, before the house even got finished and sold, we ended up buying an apartment building in Connecticut a 27-unit building. We ended up buying four more buildings after that. And then we started flipping a second, third house. And in three years we flipped five houses and then bought the properties.
And we said, we want to make this a real business. So we decided we’re going to flip 50 houses in 19 months. Now in New York, as you said, prices are very expensive and we didn’t have the wherewithal to do that. But we said, what the hell? So we went from five in three years to 50 in 19 months. Well, we ended up doing 42. That’s pretty damn close to 50. But so my background was as a cabinet maker led me . . . gave me the knowledge I need for construction. Jamell’s backgrounds in real estate and doing deals was never a conventional realtor and together . . . and then with my capital and knowledge of money, it just was a perfect team.
But that’s how I got involved in real estate. And this last year, just about a year ago, we brought my son in who is involved in technology. And we brought him in and a few months later we ended up joining your organization and because of him. And then we saw, I realized your organization, it wasn’t a meeting about real estate, it was a meeting about business and technology really. And I sat back twiddling my thumbs while Ben knew everything that was going on.
And I realized this business is beyond any one of us and thank God because Jamell, Ben and I all have different skillsets. And I said, Jamell is the real estate guy. He is the one who deals with everything on real estate related. I deal with everything construction-related and raising capital. And Ben basically is our COO, Chief Operating Officer. He runs the company. He’s the one who gets systems in place, which we had none of before. So it really is a perfect marriage this way.
Mike: That’s great. And that’s pretty typical for a lot of real estate folks as they, you know, it’s evolved a lot over the past few years, but one-man, one-woman band or a couple of brothers or a father-son team or husband and wife team, very common as my wife and I. And it’s like it’s a hustle business and you just don’t have a lot of systems and processes in place and then hopefully if you’re going to make it, if you’re going to get over that hump, you have to put systems and processes in place like a real business. I mean, you’re not a fortune 500 company, but you need to have marketing and sales, operations, finance, like all those pieces still have to be in place, right?
Larry: Absolutely, absolutely. We’re fortunate that we all coincidentally happen to have the skill sets, although I brought Ben in intentionally because his skill set was absolutely lacking between Jamell and I.
Mike: Yeah, yeah. And my son turns 12 here in a few days and so he’s got a little ways to go, but what an amazing opportunity to be able to work with your son.
Larry: Absolutely. I had spent 28 years with my father. I can pull off 28 years of my son. What kind of career? With 56 years, that’ll be a story career.
Mike: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So you focus heavily on the financing side and the construction side. I want to kind of dive into the financing side first. You guys are very capital intensive there in New York. Your properties are very expensive. I know you’re doing like, just to give people some perspective, what’s a typical, you know, ARV that you’re dealing with and a typical size of a construction project?
Larry: Sure. We typically pick, I’d say our average house when we run numbers and so on, we usually assume we’re paying $400,000 for a house. Although about three weeks ago we bought a house for I think 180-ish and another house for 1.1 million. So in the same week. And two weeks before that we bought another house for $1 million. So what price point do you want?
Mike: Those are purchase prices, right? And so what’s the kind of ARV or the market value of those houses when [done 00:07:13]?
Larry: The ARV on the $101 million house is between 1.8 and 2.4. So we’re shooting for the $2 million price point. Construction should be about $300,000. So those high price points are exceptionally lucrative, and they’re very hard to come by because they’re exceptionally lucrative but you need deep pockets to pull them off and so on. And it’s a lot of waiting time up in New York, getting permits on projects is for months. Three months, it could be long there. So you’re paying all those bills for all those months. You’re not even swinging a hammer yet.
Mike: Right, exactly. So for folks that are listening, depending on where you’re at, like I know where I’m at Texas that that’s a very different animal. Properties are cheaper here and yeah, a little more friendly on the permitting side and construction side.
Larry: Right. Permits are ridiculous. I hear people say seven days is too long. Go ahead, I’m sorry.
Mike: So you said, I think you said you had around 37 houses in inventory right now. So you have a massive amount of tied up in inventory.
Larry: About $15 million of inventory.
Mike: Yeah. So talk about the, I know you were self-funding a lot of this stuff, then you realized that no matter how much money anybody ever has, it’s never ever enough.
Larry:Right, not that much.
Mike: That’s right. So talk about kind of that transition from self-funding into raising outside funding and what you had to deal with.
Larry: Sure. Just to finish your other question, our average deal is about 400,000, average construction budgets about 80,000 to 90,000 and the ARV is usually we’re making around 25% on our money. So prior to financing fees. So you can do the math on that one. But as far as raising capital, I started looking, I went traditional banks. I have relationships with three banks we do a lot of business with. We’re big depositors. And I was quickly shot down. We don’t loan money to house flippers. I said, but I have all this money in the bank. No, we don’t loan money to house flippers period. And I ended up calling 19 banks. I give myself an A for perseverance and I got 19 nos.
I then met in the parking lot a friend of mine I haven’t seen in about 15 years. And I guess an acquaintance of mine, I haven’t seen about 15 years. And he said, “Oh, call this bank.” And I called the bank and they said, because he referred me, they’re willing to talk to me. And two months later they gave me a line of credit of a million. I asked for 4 million, they gave me a million-dollar line of credit. I said, “Okay, I’m on my way.” I said, “I’ll only accept it if you will agree to raise it in a year.” So here, 19 banks told me no, I’m now negotiating, “I’ll accept your terms only if . . . ” So you need a level of arrogance in this business, there’s no question about it.
Mike: Especially if you’re in New York.
Larry: Especially if you . . . it plays better in New York than anywhere. I have to admit, it’s true. So with that said, that got us over a hump for a little while. $1 million as you can tell, only goes so far. But then we started borrowing from, we interviewed I think 47 hard money lenders, you know, the national boys and some local guys and so on, which was a job in itself.
Everybody who wants to become your friend over the phone because they want you to be like them, so you’ll do business with them. But to talk to that many people, I had to streamline all the phone calls, get down and dirty. I would tell them, “Let me tell you the way this call is going to work. I’m going to give you my profile in 30 seconds. You’re going to see I am exactly the client you want and then what you’re going to do is tell me your best deal. If your best deal is good enough for me, then we’ll talk further. If it’s not, I’m just move on and we’ll save both of us a lot of time.”
Mike: Like speed dating.
Larry: It was speed dating ultimately. It wasn’t even the two minutes. It was the 32nd pitch from my part and they had just . . . that’s sort of the way I buy cars too. So anyway, so I would do that and they say, “Okay, rates, you know, 10 and 2.” I’d say, “Thank you, I’m not interested. That’s higher than I’m willing to pay,” and I’d moved to the next one. I ended up calling 47 lenders before I settled on a lender who ended up . . . I started working with, never did a deal. I just wasn’t getting the service that I really wanted. I went to my number two choice and we’ve hit it off and we’re doing phenomenally well. So but it took quite a while, even streamlining the phone calls and be constantly finding more lenders. Just finding 47 lenders takes a while.
Mike: Yeah. And you were just basically saying, why did you go through so many? I think most people don’t do that.
Larry: They don’t do that because I wanted to get, because I know I was going to be borrowing millions and millions and millions of dollars and if I can save a half a point or a quarter of a point up front, it’s going to amount to a lot of money. So if it’s a matter of hours, additional hours on the phone, I’ll get those dollars. I’ll get paid handsomely for those hours on the phone. And I did. I mean, if I had stopped earlier, I’d probably be paying a full point more in interest than I’m paying now. So with that said, it was well worth the time.
Mike: Yeah, that’s great. And so, your kind of tip for people that are listening are, comparative shop, but do a bunch of speed dating rounds and just reach out the people that are . . . the truth is a lot of those guys, I say, guys, but a lot of those companies, they are very relationship based, right? So you’re saying they have a tendency to just like, let’s talk about how much we like one another and how we can help you build a relationship. And they get to the rates later and you’re like, hey, just show me what’s behind the curtain there and then maybe we’ll talk some more.
Larry: I use that analogy all the time, show me what’s behind the curtain. It’s exactly how I presented myself and it was to my benefit as well as theirs. Because if they’re going to quote me 10 and 2 after 20 minute dog and pony show, we both lost 20 minutes and that doesn’t make any sense. The rate and points rule, if the rate and points are good, and then the terms are good as far as how you operate, then will have a good long relationship. But until then, let’s not be friends. And it made sense to me. And it’s not an arrogant thing, it’s just an efficient thing. And I knew my profile was going to allow me to get their best rate. So credit’s good, my history’s good and so on. So with that in mind, why play games?
Mike: Right, right. So I know historically, you were well-capitalized personally, you have a lot of personal money in these deals, and I know you’re moving into more of not using your own money. Maybe share why . . . The truth is, if you had $100 million, it wouldn’t be enough in the business eventually. But just talk about, you know, there’s got to be a mind shift there, a mindset shift going on too. Like you waited a while to seek outside capital.
Larry:We did. You. Investor Fuel.
Mike:Maybe talk about that and why that shit changed.
Larry: Investor Fuel. We think we can grow bigger than we really anticipated we’d ever grow. As a result of our first mastermind meeting, Investor Fuel meeting. It changed the way we looked at the business and we said . . . when we joined you, I remember we said we were doing about 20 deals a year. And just that’s not really enough. You weren’t excited, but I told you the profit we were making, you said, “Oh, that’s another story.” You’re here in New York, our numbers are bigger. So with that kind of profit, okay, let’s talk.
I remember that. And I said 20 deals a year. I felt we were one of the big boys on Long Island here in New York. And so many people do one and do none who call themself house flippers, but do one and two or three or four a year and there’s a few people doing 50, 60, but there’s maybe three of them I would guess on Long Island that I’m aware of. So with that in mind . . . oops, someone’s visiting and that was actually my project manager. So with that in mind, I felt like I was getting pretty big. So I can go from 20 to 50? People don’t get bigger than that. But joining you guys, you said, 50, what’s 50? So that’s a whole different animal but then that’s what made . . . we all said if we want to grow bigger, we got to get our financing in place.
Mike: For sure. Yep. That’s great. That’s great. So let’s talk about construction a little bit. Like you have some very labor intensive, time intensive and of course capital-intensive projects up there. And you said you learned your skill set from construction from your cabinet manufacturing business. And maybe kind of share like, I guess, what are the skills you learned that you applied and then also how that serves you well in your business today maybe.
Larry: Interesting. This may sound crazy, but since I’m 18 years old, I’m 61, I started reading Fine Woodworking and then when Fine Homebuilding came out, Fine Homebuilding. And I know more from reading Fine Homebuilding for the last maybe 30 years, that’s a newer magazine, than many of my contractors. Because the old lines, do the same thing over and over again. They think that for 30 years, you have 30 experience. It’s really 1-year experience, 30 times.
And when you’re reading about new technologies, new ways of doing things, new code, new building code and so on, I’m learning new stuff every day and I have to teach my contractors new things that are existing, the code, we didn’t know or things that are new to the code that they surely don’t know. And it’s somehow become my job. And I learned to do that as a result of owning a cabinet shop, did a lot of installations and they have a lot of electrical stuff and plumbing stuff as a result. I just became interested in the construction end of things, and I’ve never stopped learning about it. I’m constantly reading and watching and so on.
Not one of the construct contracts I’ve ever used has ever read a publication about what they do for a living. When I was a cabinet maker, I read about six of them every month or quarter as frequent as they came out. As a financial advisor, I had 15 publications I received. Every issue, 15 publications. But these guys read nothing. So I think it’s my job.
Mike: Yeah. I think the attention to detail. Like, you know, being a woodworker, you have to have a very fine skill set or be around that, right? And I’m sure the level of cabinets that people that might be installing and the level of houses that you’re dealing with in that part of the country, people have a very high level of expectation. Which, to be good at that for as long as you were, it was a precision role, right?
Larry:It was. It was high end.
Mike:I mean it wasn’t like a tile guy or a drywall guy.
Larry:Correct.
Mike:It was lot of our precise measurements and cuts and installations and all that. Yeah.
Larry: It had to be perfect. And we sold high end stuff, we sold through top designers and so on and we had to do good work. I carry that same quality control through here, and we demand really good work from our contractors. They know what we demand. We actually have a job description of every job, which is unique to each job. But in the bottom of every job description is a full page . . . I can’t say the bottom. Behind every job, there is a full page of standards that every job has. That $200,000 house or if let’s say your ARV of 275 or one of $700,000 has the same actually even the $2 million one, could have the same set of details. We may change hardware things of that nature, but the same quality standards are in every one of the houses.
Quality doesn’t always have to cost money. I know what I can get for no money to say, “I want this to be straight, I want this to be this way and this to be this way.” It doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money. It just means your products are better. And I work with the same contractors over and over again so they know exactly what our style is, what we’re looking for, and they know if they disappoint, they’re going to have to fix it anyway.
Mike: Sure. One of the things you do is you really . . . and we did from rehabbing hundreds of houses too was we can pretty much have the same style. We had like maybe an A and a B level based on the market value of the house, the ARV of the house. But maybe talk to that systemization part of simplifying what tile we use, what colors we use, stuff like that and how that’s impacted your business or the importance of that, I guess.
Larry: We try to do, we started with an A, B construction plan. We started with just one plan. So we were doing between ARVs of 250 and 500. So in that price point we stuck with one A, if you will. But as we started getting, not very typical for us to do $750,000, $800,000 house. Well, over a million dollars is brand new. And for those we started trying to step our game up a little bit and I found that if we can pick out really nice tile, it’s really nice tile could be had for $2 a foot, so there’s no reason for me to sit there and have an A and a B.
I could put really nice tile even though it’s not expensive in both houses, size, the same tile on all the houses. We do wainscoting in all of our houses. Just now we’re finding out the lower price houses, it’s getting tougher to sell, so we have to start now cutting out things like wainscoting in the lower priced houses because no one’s doing it but us. And since they are getting harder to sell, we have to really start keeping our price down and that costs that one detail is $1,000 per house.
So it’s fun to out a few of the details, but actually the quality is exactly the same. We do $800,000 house. You put the same brand of kitchen as we do in as a $300,000 house. They are just nice kitchens to begin with and we just may put interior rollouts in the more expensive house that we won’t do in the cheaper house, things of that nature. A spice drawer. But the cabinets are the same. So it’s just a few of the amenities that make the difference and pulling out some things like wainscoting and whatnot. But [inaudible 00:20:19].
Mike: Right. And we use the same contractors. Like they know what the expectation is, right?
Larry: Absolutely.
Mike: They get used to those materials. They get used to those styles. From a business owner standpoint, you don’t have to explain it every time what to do. They just go do it like you did at the last time, right?
Larry: Absolutely. Absolutely. And they know when we do the walkthrough, they know what we’re looking for. We want the doorstops mounted at the bottom of the door, not on the hinge. I mean everything is the same thing over and over and over again. So, as we said, those guys are used to 1-year experience 30 times. So that’s in essence what we’re doing by doing the same thing over and over again. It really works within their wheelhouse.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Hey, Larry, you mentioned having a project description. What does that mean? Is that just a docent that goes through room by room or maybe explain what that is.
Larry: Okay, sure. We start at the outside of the house, start with the mailbox, work our way to the front door. We talk about the roof and the siding. And there’s an order to the job description. It’s the same order every time. So we start at the front of the house, go around to the left, go around the back, go around the right, talk about the roof so they know exactly what they’re looking for. So we’d write the job description as we walk around the house. Then we walk into the foyer. That’s the first room inside the house. Then usually the living room comes next. So it’s really as you walk through the house, you can see the job in your head and when we then go to the job, my project manager, then we’ll walk through the job with the contractor and the job description. And hence, they can make notes on the job description.
We have them take pictures of the job, so that way they go in once they know what they’re doing and they come back with a number. But it tells them the type of hinges we use and the type of fans we use and the type of doors we’re using, the location of the kitchen cabinets, usually in a plan we’ll give them. Sometimes it’s a hand drawn sketch of a kitchen. It’s all we need. Nothing fancy. And not every job requires a permit. The ones that require permits, they get architectural plans.
So the bathrooms, we give them the details of the bathrooms. We use the same toilet in every house, the same tub in every house. So the vanities can change from 24 to 36 inches typically. Sometimes we get big double vanities and so on. So all that’s outlined in there.
But if the contractor comes back, says, “Larry, can I use this tile on a job because Home Depot has it for 69 cents?” and we’re doing a basement and it’s fine tile is two by four. I don’t like 12 by 12. They know what I don’t like. They won’t ask for 12 by 12. If it’s a two foot by four-foot tile and it looks fine in the picture when they’re there, I’ll approve it. So they know I’m flexible because I want them to make money. I always say to my contractors, if you don’t make money, you’re of no good to me. You have to make profit. So if they can save money by saying, “Larry, this is the vanity we use but I can get this one and save 75 bucks,” go ahead as long as it’s nice enough.
And so we try to be flexible as well, but the job description is parameters we’re entitled to stick to, but we’re willing to be flexible. So that’s important too. Your, [inaudible 00:23:05], your contractors are really a team member that we . . . they’re on your payroll so . . .
Mike: They have to be. Yeah. You just said something I wanted you to elaborate on a little bit and I feel the same way as I’ve had a contractor that’s rehabbed of a couple hundred houses for me. And one of the challenges, we do a lot of coaching of new students in our FlipNerd program, but one of the challenges that a lot of new people or small volume people face is that they never become important to a contractor and then therefore the contractor might provide inferior quality because they’re trying to find the next job or they’re doing five other jobs for other people.
And when I was doing much higher volume rehabs, I had crews that were dependent upon me and they were very loyal and they did a higher quality job because they spent no time looking for the next job because the next job would come from me. But talk about that kind of, that dance, that reciprocation of being important to other people. And maybe for the people that are listening, if they’re not doing as much volume as you are or a really high volume, how they can maybe emulate those relationships even though they don’t have the volume to keep them busier and just kind of share your thoughts on that.
Larry: Surely. You said something a moment ago, but it’s true. It’s a give and take and I always say to my guys, I don’t want to be billed for extras unless they’re serious. You open a wall and there’s no insulation. Okay, that’s an extra. But I don’t want to be nitpicked with extras. I don’t accept them. They know that. But the same token, when they can buy a cheaper tile, I don’t ask for a discount or if we find you know something, we don’t have to do this. We planned on doing something, moving a wall, I said, we don’t need to move that wall. It could save them $1,000. I’m not going to ask for that money back. I figured it’s an absolute give and take and if you work with the contracts and let them know, you know, they need to make a living, you get a whole different relationship, build a whole different relationship.
I don’t think that you have to do a lot of business with them to get to get them on your team, but as long as you’re willing to have that give and take relationship. I’m allowed to sit there and say, don’t nickel and dime me because they want my business because I give them plenty of business. But if you say, “I’m not going to dime you but please then don’t nickel and dime me,” because that’s what contractors really, I find can be very, very difficult. It’s the extras at the end that they never discuss. And I think that’s what kills many relationships.
We almost never have a problem with extras at the end of our job. If they bill them for us, they’re usually fair. If they’re not, we have our own little dance that we go through and it’s one of the contracts. It’s every job, but we’re both equally unhappy or equally happy at the end. So we know it’s fair.
But the best thing to do is make sure that you let the contractor know that they’re an important part of what business you’re building because you’re first building a business and that you want them to be fair to you and you want to be fair to them. And I think if you do that, those are not words that contractors usually hear from retail clients.
But the other issue is, we’re just now looking for new contractors. We’re getting beyond and moving into Brooklyn and Queens and our contractors aren’t in Brooklyn and Queens. It’s all different licensing everywhere on Long Island. I don’t know about [inaudible 00:26:07]. And it’s not a state license, it’s very local and we have all these villages with different licenses. It’s a mess here. Anyway, and we’re into giving contracts from craigslist, and we’re getting some pretty interesting people in a good way. That can go both ways
Mike: More commonly interesting to know in an interesting way.
Larry: In an interesting way, right. And so we think that’ll help build our business as well. And I have the same discussion with these new people that I’m having with you. I just tell them the same thing now that I tell my other contracts is just to give and take. If I make money, you make money. And they’re being very receptive because I tell them I need wholesale pricing. And that’s key.
By the way, when you’re looking for new contractor we advertise that we’re house flippers and we need wholesale pricing. We write that in our ad. I don’t want a contractor saying, “I’ll work with you,” and wants to bill us retail, you know, we do kitchens for $10,000. That’s not retail up here. So we can’t pay retail ops. We make our money in our buys, our sells and our construction. It’s a three-legged stool. So that to me is very important. It’s about the relationship you build and you’ve got to be fair.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve kind of found that too. I mean the truth is, is my contractor that’s rehabbed hundreds of houses for me, he’s one of my very best friends now. Like we have season tickets to the Dallas Stars together. He’s like a brother. I would literally do anything for him. He would do anything for me. And it’s just the relationship that we build. And not everybody has to build that relationship like that. But I think it wasn’t always that way either. It was more of like trying to get maybe get one over on each other and then we had some challenges. It’s like it was almost like a marriage. I make some jokes about us. At one point we broke up and we started seeing other people and then eventually we got back together and we had a mutual respect for each other. And I think that once that happened that that kind of changed everything.
Larry: I had a contractor who did a beautiful job on a house. We sold the much away than I expected and I dropped them a check for $10,000. He was in tears. He couldn’t . . . “What’s this for?” I said, “You did a great job. We got more than we expected. I have to attribute some of that to the work you did and thank you.” And he didn’t know what to do with himself.
Mike: That’s amazing how far stuff like that could go. Yeah.
Larry: Absolutely. You don’t even need that much money but it was a fair amount. I know he didn’t do really well on the job, and I wanted to make sure he made money because I made plenty. And again, we both got to win. You talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.
Mike: Yeah. Well, Larry, you guys, we’re actually about to meet here in a couple of weeks for our Investor Fuel Mastermind. This I think would be your third meeting as a member of . . .
Larry: Yes. My second. Our company’s third.
Mike: Yeah. Company’s third because you sent Jamell the last time. But a third meeting. So you’ve been with us for approximately nine months. Right? So talk a little bit about how you guys have a lot, you have a lot of experience, you have a lot of knowledge. And you joined Investor Fuel and I think it’s probably impacted your business in some positive ways, but maybe just kind of share experience-wise, like maybe what you thought coming in and what it’s meant for you guys over the past nine months.
Larry: Absolutely. I walked in early. I was with the first group when I came to the first meeting because I got there hours early or a day early. And I couldn’t believe how well versed these people are, how knowledgeable they were, how driven they were. And I felt like a neophyte when I walked in that place. I was so humbled and you said, “Oh no, that’s not your group. That’s the group that wants to become your group.” And I guess, it was the, I’ve got the . . .
Mike: We have the gold and a platinum group.
Larry: The gold. It was the gold group.
Mike: Generally, the less experienced group is the gold group. Yeah.
Larry: And I was so blown. I was humbled sitting in the room with them. And then I go to the platinum group and then I felt an . . . then I went to the platinum meeting the next morning and I was extremely intimidated what I’m hearing at the hotseat presentations. I was very intimidated because I said we’re doing 20, 25 deals a year, which is not a big number in this room. And some profit margins melted away for me. It was just the organization that these people had, you know, who are members of Investor Fuel. And they all couldn’t have come in this way, so I’m sure they morphed into this as a result of being Investor Fuel members and that’s really what’s happening to us.
I said, we were really working our asses off, which we still are. We haven’t gotten that part yet, but we’re still building and developing. But working 60 hours a week, which I love working anyway, but 60 hours a week and Jamell more. And my goal is I’m 61. My goal is . . . my wife retires in four years . . . to be able to work three days a week. That’s my goal. Not this four hours a week on your business. I like working.
But I never would’ve thought I could have done that and gotten as far as I think we can go without being part of your group. I reached out to Stinson about a month ago about this private capital and he connected me immediately with four other people. Within an hour, I was getting emails and communicating with other people through all members, all people I’d spoken to before at the first meeting. So the group of people are so nice, and they’re all successful in their own way, but no one comes across as being better than anybody else. No one’s bragging about their business or anything of the sort and everyone is so willing to help. I would never thought something like this actually existed.
I interviewed three different mastermind groups and I like you guys. And then I walked in and I liked everybody. And I speak to people from other groups or people who are in multiple groups and they say that your group is the most down to earth out of all of them. And it absolutely shows. It’s a pleasure going to the meetings. It’s a pleasure dealing with you and Stinson and our business is going to go to places that I don’t think I would’ve expected it to be able to go if I didn’t join. And we’re going to hopefully do it more easily as well. So I can’t give a better recommendation for this organization. As long as you’re not coming from Long Island, Brooklyn or Queens, it’s a great place. If it doesn’t apply to New York at all, don’t go. It’s no good for you over here. But other than that, it’s an incredible organization.
Mike: Yeah, no, we appreciate that. And the truth is, you know, we’ve just put the right people in the room and I think we do a good job of weeding people out that are not a fit. And we’ve done a good job, I think, I’m not trying to pat ourselves on the back here, but of creating this culture of, this isn’t about ego. Like we’re all in this to live better lives and build better lives and have stronger families and all that. The underlying theme we have together is we all work hard. We all have obstacles to get to this point no doubt. And real estate is our common theme, but let’s not forget that this is all to live a better life for us in our families, right? And so this is one of the things we do, but, you know, we try to keep the chest thumping out of there.
Larry: I haven’t seen any. I haven’t seen any and that just blows my mind. It’s such a successful group. And not have any chest thumpers in the room, that just very shocking. So yes, you very well succeeded in putting a good group together. I said you weren’t going to take me. See, so you are very, very particular. You’re very particular.
Mike: Well, I’m glad you made the cut.
Larry: I’m glad I made the cut.
Mike: Thank you so much for the kind words and thanks for joining us on the show today.
Larry: Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure.
Mike: Yeah. I don’t even know. Do you do much on social media if folks wanted to connect with you?
Larry: Well, we have our website that people can reach me if they want at [email protected] and our company is, we just changed the name to leavethekey.com. We have multiple names like we all do in this business for different parts of the business. That’s the new one. So, if anyone wants to reach out to me for any reason, they can reach in my emails the best way. My son’s starting to deal with social media. It’s not my thing at all. He set me up at LinkedIn. I had never been on it. Facebook, I’ve never seen it in my life. So not my world.
Mike: That’s awesome. Good for you to avoid some of those things, honestly.
Larry: I have my own poisons. I don’t need additional ones.
Mike: Yeah. So Larry, thanks again for spending time with us today and sharing your information, getting to know you better. We really appreciate it.
Larry: Well, thank you very much. Thank you very much.
Mike: And I guess we’re going to see you here in just a couple of weeks.
Larry: Absolutely.
Mike: And everybody here, thanks for joining us today. Hope you’re getting some value out of the Investor Fuel show. We’ve just really been doing this show for the past couple months. If you haven’t yet, we’d love it if you subscribe to us on YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, wherever you might listen to us. And, of course, on flipnerd.com and investorfuel.com you can find the shows as well. So appreciate everybody for following along. See you on the next show.
Are you an active real estate investor? If so, and you want to latch onto the power of surrounding yourself with over 100 of the nation’s leading real estate investors, all committed to building stronger businesses and living richer, fuller lives, you should jump on a call with us to learn more about Investor Fuel. Simply visit investorfuel.com to get started.

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