Completing over 500 flips while building a rental portfolio of 300+ properties over the past 3 years makes Xander Cruz of CR Maryland one of the Nation’s Top Investors. On today’s show he’ll share his secrets to mindset, building a real business & where the real estate market is headed.
Dylan: [00:00:00] Welcome back to the show. Everybody. We’re gonna talk about how to go from zero to 300 rentals and from zero to 500 flips in just under three years. Welcome
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My name is Mike Handbright from flipnerd.com and your questions get answered here on the real estate investing secrets show.
Dylan: Hey guys, this is Dylan. TaNaK your favorite real estate investor for Metro Detroit with the real estate investing secret show. And I’m here with my good friend, Xander, Cruz, Xander.
How are you doing today? [00:01:00]
Xander: Great deal. And thanks for having me.
Dylan: Absolutely super excited to have you on the show. Uh, we got a lot of crazy things going on in real estate right now. Uh, but, but what you guys have accomplished, um, is really, really crazy. We’re gonna dig into that. Uh, the audience for our show is.
People who are just getting started in real estate all the way up to, uh, to guys who are doing hundreds of deals a year. So I think, um, what you guys have accomplished is really gonna help some people see the vision to where they can go. So I wanna start off Xander just by asking you, you know, what do you guys have going on primarily in your business right now?
Xander: Sure. So, uh, thanks again for having me, Dylan. Uh, as you mentioned, we’re we’re in Baltimore, Maryland. Our primary focus right now, today is, uh, I’ll say a variation of fix and flip. So we’re, we’re buying properties, we’re doing a full renovation to ’em and then we’re selling them as an investment rental property.
Uh, so more commonly known as [00:02:00] turnkey. Um, but one of the key differentiators being that in, in our market, we’re able to do a, a full blown, full gut renovation to these properties. So our goal for this year is to deliver just over 200 of these properties. Um, honestly I think we’re gonna fall a little bit short of the goal and be in the 180 to one 90 range.
Um, but all things considered, of course it’s still a great number. Um, so yeah, that, that’s the, the high level summary of, of what we’re up to. Uh, we also do some wholesaling, um, at a much lower level. We’ll do probably about 40 wholesale this year. In addition to our, our turnkey product.
Dylan: Yeah, tho those are amazing numbers.
And for those of you guys and girls who are listening and watching the show, you know, we’re talking to somebody today who looks at, um, completing 40 wholesale per year as, as not a primary part of their business and kind of something that just happens as, as they’re going through the motions of, of buying properties, fixing them and flipping them, and then keeping ’em also, so Xander let’s, let’s dig into to, to you, um, where [00:03:00] how’d you get started in real estate?
Xander: Sure. So, um, Baltimore born and raised. I mean, I always point out what’s behind, behind me on the wall. Uh, our, our beloved Lamar, uh, big football fan, by the way. Um, so I got into real estate, I would say almost by chance. I graduated from college in 2011. Um, I actually had a criminology degree. Not a lot of people know that.
And I came home. I had no job and, uh, the, uh, needed to find a job. Um, and my parents happened to be getting ready to sell their house. So they had a broker, a local broker come out, uh, who met with them. And while she was there, she said, Hey, are you looking for some work? And I said, as a matter of fact, I am.
Uh, so started doing some part-time work for her. About two weeks later, she called me and offered me a full-time job as her assistant. Um, it’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds have utmost respect in the world for this person. Uh, she brought me into the business and, [00:04:00] and taught me, um, millions of dollars in knowledge in that year that I spent working for.
Um, and also led me to discover that I’m definitely not cut out for the admin lifestyle. Um, but I learned a lot and it got me started, uh, got me obsessed and in love with real estate. Um, I knew the day that I walked into the, her office for the first time, I could just feel like an energy in the air, uh, and I was hooked.
So that’s how I got into real estate. Uh, it’s a lot of twist and turns along the way to end up where I am today, but that is the story.
Dylan: Yeah, I think we all have our own, uh, crazy story, how we got started. But, um, one, one of the most important things, I think that you just touched on Xander and, uh, again, whether you’re newer to real estate investing or, or you’ve been in it for a long time, it’s, it’s having mentors.
And, and I think that mentors and coaching and that stuff, and like masterminds kind of gets intertwined, but I think that there are three or four or five very different subjects. So. You know [00:05:00] myself, I’ve had a few mentors who were real life mentors. They’re not people that I paid, they weren’t coaches, they, they weren’t programs.
So, um, how, when you said that that working for her for that first year was important and taught you millions of dollars worth of business, uh, what would you say to newer investors who, who seem to be seeking that mentor? How can they find them? What can they offer? Why would someone mentor them?
Xander: Uh, you know, I don’t know if this is the best advice or not, but what.
I wasn’t even seeking a mentor. I was really seeking a job. Um, and I think I got lucky that I ended up meeting somebody that could launch me into a career, whether intentionally or not. Um, so it, you know, Uh, uh, I don’t know that I have a great answer, but looking for employment and looking for, to learn from people who already in the business and, and successful, I think that’s key.
So, uh, kind of like you said, I’m not a big believer. This is not a knock. I think that there are plenty of people that are, are educating people in, in [00:06:00] doing it for the right reasons. Um, but signing up for a guru. That, that wasn’t for me, probably isn’t for me still today. Um, but choosing to work with somebody and, and taking an opportunity to work with somebody because you wanna learn from them and, and at the same time be a part of what they’re doing.
That’s, uh, for me was how I ended up learning a ton, um, and more than I ever thought possible. So, um, yeah, I’m not sure that’s the best answer, but, uh, I’m, I’m gonna run with that.
Dylan: No, no, I think that’s a good answer. You know, um, you said you’ve been in real estate since 2012, right? Uh, and we’ve seen some twists and turns and, um, so how important.
Our relationships to your business. You know, you guys talk about fixing and flipping 500 houses in, I mean, in, in three years and, and building a 300 property rental portfolio, those numbers are super staggering. You’re in Baltimore, I’m in Detroit. So somewhat similar markets. I, I, I understand a [00:07:00] little bit about what you guys have going on, but for those California or Florida or New York investors, you know, those numbers are just crazy.
So, um, how, how did you guys, how were you. Scale up, I guess, from doing a few deals maybe a month, uh, to, to the point where you’re one of the bigger home buyers and flippers and sellers and keepers, you know, who, who I’ve ever met. So I think you guys are some of the, one of the biggest in the nation.
Xander: Yeah. I mean, to the original point of relationships, you can’t even describe how important it is.
Um, it’s for us, integrity is one of our, our core values. And, uh, I was relatively young. I mean, I am all things considered probably so relatively young today, but I was really young, starting out in the business. So I quickly learned that if I was gonna prove myself, um, I better know my, my stuff and I better stick to my word.
And that’s not just like, not telling a lie that’s if, uh, if we [00:08:00] told if I told an agent or a client or whatever the case was, That I’m gonna do this, or I’m gonna send you an email tomorrow, or I’m gonna call you back. Just the simple stuff you have to do it. It starts that small, um, because in, in our market, it’s really not a big market.
Um, we call it small to more, cuz it has a small town kind of feel at times. Um, it’s really not that small. The, the Metro I think is 2.3 million people or something, but, um, you know, small compared to New York city, but it, it’s not that small, but the space that we’re in, in real estate and real estate investing, everybody knows each other and everybody knows the main players.
And you’re, you’re damn sure that everybody knows the people that don’t keep their word or burn bridges or back out of deals. Um, so we always started with that core belief in the beginning. Like if we say we’re gonna do something, we’re gonna do it. If we sign that contract and say, we’re closing on the house.[00:09:00]
We’re gonna freaking close on time, no matter what, we’re not gonna let that seller down. We’re not gonna let whatever the realtor down. Um, and people know that when they do a deal with CR we’re gonna hold up our end of the bargain and it goes a really long way. Um, and, and people know we’re not perfect by any means, but people know we’re gonna do the right things and we’re gonna, we’re gonna do what we say we’re gonna do.
Um, and that’s, I think a key part of building relationships. We’re not perfect at it. We’re working on things right now, um, to build more relationships that we should have done years ago. So we, we could be more proactive, should have been more proactive and we’re going to be, but the existing relationships, I think we’ve done a darn good job at it and it’s crucial to success.
Um, it’s probably crucial to success in life, not just business, but, uh, it’s really important in real estate because at the end of the. and I think every local market, uh, probably has that small group of, of people that are involved and they get to know each other [00:10:00] and you know, if somebody’s shaky or not, um, and people prefer to do business with people that aren’t shaky.
Dylan: Yeah, no, no, absolutely. I think, um, Detroit or the Metro, I think we’re pushing 6 million, which I didn’t know that we were that much bigger than you guys, but still, we’re still small compared to some of the other markets. And, uh, I’m not saying I know everybody, but you know, I know guys in your market before I ever met you guys.
So, so the world of real estate investing, especially for successful or supposedly successful investors is very tiny. So if you guys aren’t performing and not to say that some guy in Detroit’s gonna know. Those reverberations. I mean, they, they kind of go a lot further and faster than you’d think. And, um, you know, you talked about core belief, Xander.
I think that when we start out in real estate investing a lot of us, we start out just as solo entrepreneurs, right. We’re writing our own letters. We’re like driving for dollars. We’re, we’re skip tracing by hand. So for those, for those newer people, um, touch a little bit more on, on the core values that you guys have and how important they are.[00:11:00]
Xander: Yeah. So as we scaled, um, first and foremost, we had to identify them. And when we first went through the exercise and by the time we finished it, we were like, yeah, I mean, we kind of have been operating by those core values. We just weren’t intentional about it and it wasn’t plastered on our wall or when you walk into the office.
Um, but it it’s how you operate. It’s how you hire, it’s how you fire. Um, it’s ultimately how you hold people accountable. So, uh, whether you’re managing a contractor on your first slip or whether you’re managing 20 employees, it, you have to, at some point along the way, Identify and then hold these core values.
So for us, uh, it’s integrity, community, passion and empowerment. Um, and it’s not in any particular order, but I can definitely tell you that integrity and community are, are like the base of everything that we do. Uh, again, we’re [00:12:00] gonna keep our word and we’ve identified a bigger mission. That is improving our community.
Uh, cuz again, we’re, we’re local. My, you know, my partner are both Baltimore born and raised. Um, the majority of our family and friends are here. Um, so we, we care a lot and we’re out in the community seven days a week, whether we’re going to a football game or, or stopping by a project or, or buying a house.
So, um, we’re, we’re heavily invested in it and everything that we do as a business is gonna reflect back to. So, you know, kind of similar to finding your why, um, is a lot of different reasons for people that to hop into this world and, and what they want, the reason they want to get started. Um, and. We’re in business, right?
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with saying that I want to get in to make money. And that’s how most people get in. Um, I, I got in, cause I wanted a job. I, I needed to make money. I wanted to buy a car. Like there’s, there’s some, uh, much smaller reasons in the beginning, but as you grow and as you do [00:13:00] more, you definitely need to know why you’re doing this.
Hopefully find a bigger reason why and you better have core values that you’re following. Cuz that’s what your people are gonna follow. Um, but they should follow, uh, if you’re gonna be success.
Dylan: Sure. And if, if you’re not living by your core values, your, your people, you know, aren’t gonna do that either.
Whether they’re your subcontractors or your, your direct employees. I know we talked a little bit earlier. You guys have 29 people on your, your immediate team, which, you know, that’s a big number to, to a lot of, um, to a lot of real estate investors or, or just entrepreneurs in general. But I, I want. I wanna rewind a little bit there, Xander, and for those, um, for those guys and gals listening and watching you, you rattled off those core values super quickly.
So can you go through them again? You don’t have to explain each one, but just go through each one.
Xander: Yeah. Uh, integrity, community, passion, empowerment. Um, I also love PA. I mean, I love them all, but I really love passion because. [00:14:00] I was interviewing somebody today, actually, and for, for an open position. And, um, we’re talking about the pace of the business and cause I wanted set that expectation up front.
This is a fast paced business and we’ve unfortunately hired people in the past that either. Didn’t know that they don’t like fast paced or maybe they did. They just, weren’t being honest. Um, but like I gotta be open and honest. It’s a really fast paced business if you’re not passionate about it and excited about that and passionate, whether you’re.
Writing checks and accounting, or whether you’re a project manager out in the field, or whether you’re a salesperson trying to close a deal. If you don’t have passion, you’re, you’re gonna hate it. Like you’re just gonna be miserable and, and you’re probably gonna end up leading. So, uh, again goes to one of our core values.
So I really like that one. And it, it is applicable in everything that we.
Dylan: Yeah. So again, if, if you’re new to the business or if you’ve been in it 50 years, you should have your core values. I, you should have ’em on the wall. You should, you should [00:15:00] live by them and you guys can see how serious Xander is about ’em because he rattled them off like that.
And, and didn’t stutter, right? um, So that, that starts at the top and, and that washes through the whole organization. And, and you talked about passion Xander and, um, you know, uh, I think a lot of the guys and, and girls that we hang out with at investor fuel, um, who are some top-notch real estate investors around the nation.
Um, I think they’ve started talking a lot more about building relationships and almost every show that I’ve done. Uh, we talk about building relationships and, and how it’s kind of grown and gotten more important. I. Three to, you know, I don’t know, three to 10 years ago, depending on the market. We’re a little slower here in Detroit.
I think you guys are a little slower to catch up in Baltimore, too. Right? We’re we’re kind of in that similar sweep. So it’s been so hot, right? It’s been just crazy and, and flying upward that you didn’t have to make those extra phone calls, have those happy hours send those those cards. Right. Um, kind of be that cool guy who everybody knew you as, because [00:16:00] we were just so busy and running and gunning and getting deals done.
And now it’s like, okay, we, we see there may be some type of market shift coming. Right. and those of us who have been here a long time, we’re gonna be here today, tomorrow, forever. We’re like, wait a minute. I know guys like Xander are gonna be around. So I need to cement my relationship a little bit better with them because you know, we’re gonna withstand any, any bad storms.
And, um, and this, even with the newer people, so we’ll, we’ll meet some great people. Um, Who are coming into the market and you’re like this guy, or this lady’s sharp, like I’d really like to do more business with them. And then you see him again, three months later at some event. And you’re like, oh my gosh, I saw this young guy three months ago.
I never, you know, I never talked to him. What is wrong with me? So I think a lot of us are focusing more on that and, um, Whether you’re doing it when you first start your business or, or doing it, you know, or some of us are at, uh, super important. And, and I think that goes like a little bit back to that passion.
If you love what you do, you know, I love real estate investing. I can’t help it. I love building relationships. I love hanging out with [00:17:00] people, um, and talking business, you know, uh, it’s hard to love the lions as you know, so I can’t love the lions. You guys can love the Ravens. Um, but, but going, going back to your, uh, going back to your passion, What’s something.
Why don’t, why don’t you give us something that’s happened in the last 30, 60, 90 days in your business that you’re super excited about. That isn’t necessarily like a huge home run payday.
Xander: Oh, that’s a great question. And, and wanted to speed the horse one more time on relationships, the
Dylan: best, not the lions, not the lions.
Thankfully. I thought you were coming at me with that one. Um,
Xander: but a, a, a relationship, especially a referral, uh, that kind of deal. The marketing cost is zero. I, I, and look at it, having a massive marketing budget, like a lot of big companies do. Uh, again, we made this mistake for, for years, we didn’t focus enough, uh, spent a ton of money on marketing and, and we still got referral deals.
But if we had been [00:18:00] intentional about it, who knows, we could have had double the amount of referral deals. So, um, it’s, it’s beyond important and again, it’s free. It just takes effort. So, um, You know, anyway, uh, so your question again was, uh, something from the past two or three months that we’re, we’re really excited about in the business.
Um, hard to pick one and it’s ironic timing cuz uh, I’m not sure when this show will go live, but there’s certainly today in the past couple weeks, a lot of doom and gloom in the, uh, in the Facebook groups and in the news and, and you know, the, the feds raising the race again and who knows what’s gonna happen.
Right. but I I’ll, I’ll say this and I think it’s, um, this is true again, in business, we can’t control. Anything that’s happening in the world. There’s very limited things we can control. Um, so one of the messages I, I Dr. Tried to drive home from our team just last month, we have a, a, a town hall [00:19:00] every month and I said this, and we’ve been talking about, you know, this kind of storm that’s coming for most of the year.
Um, what can we control? Like, let’s go, literally go through the list. And some of the things were our professionalism, our responsiveness, the way we handle situations, the quality of our renovations, um, Certain aspects of pricing. I can’t control the price of lumber. But we can control how much we’re paying a contractor to frame a room.
So things like that. So being hyper aware of these things and controlling what we can control, um, and we’ve had some really hard conversations in the past couple months. So what I’m excited about is our people haven’t blinked. They are. They’re rallying. They understand it. They’re aware of where we’re going.
They, they get the big picture. Um, somebody in property management understands how, what they’re doing impacts construction and vice versa. Um, and I think that number one, we’ve done a really good job. So pat ourselves on the back, a little of [00:20:00] preparing people and making them aware and not hiding from bad news, but embracing it and treating it as opportunity.
Um, and then two, I think we’re just fortunate. And again, some of it was intentional, but we just have a really good group of people, um, that are passionate and they, and they wanna do the right things and they’re there for the right reasons. And that’s why, uh, I’m more than confident that whatever storm we’re kind of sailing through right now, we’re gonna sail right through it and, and be here on the other side, uh, looking back, uh, and I think we’ll even be better for it.
So, um, I’m I’m excited about the doo and gloom, because I think we have the right people in place and we’re, they’re doing the right things.
Dylan: Yeah. The, the important thing is, um, you know, you guys have been in business a long time and, and. You know, you’re pretty established. So, uh, the newer people seem to get stretched out and, and they take huge risks.
Not to say that we don’t take risks, but, um, when you’re newer and you’re, and you, you have ditis and you [00:21:00] just have to do a deal you’ll, you’ll kind of do anything to do a deal. So sometimes when you have a correction like this, and the tide goes out, you see who is wearing a bathing suit and who’s not, you know, and.
You have to be prepared and there’s always a storm coming, you know, uh, if you look at the business cycle and if we had a whiteboard up and got really nerdy, which isn’t. Get us any, any more viewers or listeners, but we could see that every so often this is going to happen. And it doesn’t mean that there’s gonna be a severe crash, but there’s just corrections coming, but you have to be nimble.
You know, I, something that I’ve spoken to, to all my different coaching students and at my groups about for years is. Um, you know, staying nimble and a lot of the people are like, I don’t know what you mean. And I’m, and I tell ’em you gotta be on the, on your toes. And like, I wasn’t like a super jock or anything Xander, but I was pretty decent at a couple different sports.
Right. So it’s like, if you’re on your toes, you can go, you can go a lot of different directions, but if you’re, if you’re leaning back or if you’re bloated and bulky, like there’s not a lot of ways to go. Um, so I try to teach some of these newer, real estate [00:22:00] investors, and even some of the old dogs, like you have to have different strategies.
And, um, again, you guys are pretty established, so you’ve got some buyers probably that have been in place for years and bought dozens, or maybe even hundreds of properties from you guys, but newer people don’t have that. So they need to know how to shift from one, um, Acquisition strategy to the next marketing strategies, disposition strategies.
And I think, again, this, this crazy market that has just been going up and up and up has made people weak. So, you know, when, when you’re on the, on the floor getting choked out, that’s that’s when you learn how to, um, you know, wiggle out of it and, and keep breathing, kinda move onto the next, uh, you know, to the next round.
Sure. So you talked, you, you talked about your town hall. Um, so culture inside your organization is really, really important. And you guys have a, a really big organization compared to most real estate investors. So, um, what have you guys done to build that? And, and you know, how important is that to your, to your day to day [00:23:00] business and success?
Xander: Yeah. Um, so a few years back, let’s say maybe. Ish years ago. Um, I’d say we weren’t very aware of it and, and definitely not intentional about it. Um, so, uh, to be very honest, we ended up getting connected with, uh, sharper business solutions and we’ve worked with them ever since. Um, and they are credit to them.
The ones that helped us lay out for values, uh, our, our, our style, our operating system inside the business, our meeting schedules, um, And that was the, the, I’ll say the start of the journey. And they’ve been a big part of, of going along in the journey. Um, but then continuing to learn from there. So, uh, investor fuel again, to, to use another group that, uh, obviously that’s how we know each other.
Um, we, we are constantly, I especially, um, I didn’t like school. But I love to learn what [00:24:00] I’m passionate about, actually hated school, to be honest. But, um, so I love learning about business and I love learning from other investors and seeing what other guys and girls are doing and, and doing successfully, um, Because it’s in real estate investing, it’s a, it’s a big enough world that we can copy and paste things, um, and, and not have to start from the ground up or from scratch every time.
So, um, I think that’s really important, um, and been a key part of building our, our culture and, and our way of doing things is because other people have helped us and shown us things we could do better. Um, and, and I always try to return. That favor to anybody, um, or of course pay for a service. I mean, you know, sometimes business is business.
So, um, but as we learned more and as we learned how incredibly important it is, um, number one, we realize that unfortunately at times throughout the business, and I don’t think anybody’s ever gonna be perfect at this, especially as you grow, but we [00:25:00] realize sometimes we have the wrong. They don’t align with our values, um, or maybe they’re a good person, but they’re just not in the right position.
That happens too. Um, so by being really intentional and focused on these things, it’s allowed us to, to build out and allowed our team members to build. It’s not just us dictating the culture, but the team has grown and meshed, uh, into an organization. Uh, is professional, um, can, can, can, and will have fun at the right times, um, but really focused on the goals and, and growing, and then having that deeper impact I talked about earlier, um, you know, I’d say 95% of the people in our business right now, at least 95% really do care about the community.
And they know that their job has tangible impacts. And not only that they have the opportunities. Uh, because of their job to do community events or, or, uh, volunteer events and get out there and, and know that, you know, we’re not just doing [00:26:00] it to check a box. We care, I I’m out there, whether it’s picking up trash or handing out food or walking dogs, we do a lot of different stuff, but we go to, uh, we just went to an Orioles game with a, um, uh, a nonprofit that works with, uh, children that need guardians from the state, all kinds of stuff.
Um, and they know that we’re not just doing. To do it. We really do it cuz we care and we have the ability to have an impact in a lot of different ways. So that’s all part of building a culture. Um, and there’s probably somebody listening right now. That’s like, dude, I I’m just trying to do, you know, my first couple flips.
I, I can’t even think about building a company culture. Um, but again, awareness is, is part of it. Um, and the second that it’s no longer a solo, what do you call it? A solo printer. Yeah. The second, you’re no longer a solo entrepreneur. It matters. The second you have that first person working with you, it matters it’s, um, arguably like raising a child like that, child’s watching you and they’re [00:27:00] absorbing what you’re doing and you’re effectively conditioning them, uh, with the way that you’re behaving in what you’re saying and your actions.
So I think it all ties together, uh, in the way that we run our businesses and the way we treat people and all that fun. Yeah,
Dylan: that that was, that was really a great answer. You kind of stole the, the answer to my next question, but, um, just to back up a little bit, I’ve been involved in nonprofit for over a decade where I mentor high school kids, um, you know, specifically through a nonprofit and there’s a whole.
Program that we follow. And when I first started, I didn’t know what I was getting into. And it ended up being literally the whole school year for an hour a week. I can make an hour a week work. Right. But when I looked at that commitment initially, I was like, holy moly to date. I’ve probably had about a hundred kids because sometimes you’d have like two sets of kids per year or whatever.
I still talk to some of these guys, some of ’em are like 30 years old now they’re getting married. They’re having kids. And, um, and people after a few years, you know, guys like you would be like, man, Dylan, you’re still doing that thing. Right. I’m like Xander, I don’t have a [00:28:00] choice. An hour a day, make it call it two hours a week because you gotta drive there.
Right. It was pretty close to my office, but it was like, sure. What I got from that was huge and, and the impact it made on other people, which there is not, not the people who I was truly impacting, but my contemporaries friends, you know, people I meet at title companies or whatever. They’d be like, wow. You know, that’s, that’s really great.
And I was just blown away by the way, they would look at me and, uh, I’m like almost in my head, like, doesn’t everybody do this? You know, I come from a pretty good family, very lucky, like good parents. And I’m like, you know, we would take in all the strays and they could have dinner with us. You know, when, when I was a high school kid, right.
Somebody didn’t have parents at home. So I kind of thought that’s how everybody should be. But it’s surprising when I talk to new guys, it’s one of the first things I say, going back to, to culture. And I, I have a question for you. Um, people ready to make their first hire, but I tell these new guys, if you want people to look at you differently, do things for other people, selflessly.
I don’t care if it’s getting flowers, you know, and, and going to the old folks home and, and handed them out or. [00:29:00] If it’s doing something in front of a store, helping whatever it is, or getting involved in an organization, if you have that, that time availability, you know, and you have that in your heart because it’s not for everybody.
Um, but the impact that that makes on other people, it’s, it’s just a side benefit, but there’s nothing better for me than when I get a Facebook message. Cuz these, get these kids are all young, right? They’re like. Young enough to be my kids now. And, uh, and I get a message and, and they’re like, Hey, man, just wanna let you know, I watch your crazy real estate videos.
And like, you had a huge impact on me. And I’m like, oh my gosh, like I’m not tearing up. I’m more like, yeah. You know, because, um, at 18 they can’t, they can’t say that to you. You know, they they’re just like, ah, they’re tough. They’re like, they’re feeling their testosterone. Yeah. I always have like male students.
So, you know, a lot of ’em were football players and baseball players, whatever. So you hear that and it, and it makes you feel good. But, um, for those switching gears, for those, uh, for those guys and gals who are, are kinda at that next step, and it’s like the toughest, the toughest, uh, spot when you’re building a business is kind of [00:30:00] when you’re right in the middle and you’re having success, but you’re looking up and you’re saying, oh my gosh, to get from 10 or 12 deals a year to that 40 or 50, where it’s really gonna make that difference because doubling them.
Isn’t really gonna double your, your income, right? Because you’re picking up so many extra costs, but for those guys who are ready to, to kind of jump to that next level, what would you say? Like the best hire is, um, best first hire for, for a real estate investor.
Xander: Two part answer. One is I think it’s been really well defined that that most important first hire is, uh, we’ll call ’em an EA, an executive assistant.
Somebody that’s gonna take over a lot of the admin, the minutia, um, the stuff that has to be done, but it isn’t really moving the business forward. It can slow you down if it’s not being. Right. But, uh, I’ll use, I used cutting checks earlier, like has to be done every single week. We have, we gotta pay our [00:31:00] contractors or they’re not gonna show up and work on the house.
Um, but the high, the, again, whether you’re a solo printer, really struggling with that one, or you have 10 employees. I don’t think that the, the, the number one guy, the CEO should be spending time, you know, cutting the checks. Maybe he’s gotta sign ’em for a minute. Like, that’s fine. Um, but to do the accounting and then write, sit there and write it out or type it out or whatever system you have, it’s not the best use of their time.
They should be building a relationship, finding a deal, um, whatever, making a sale, gotta do the bigger dollar activities. Um, so I think that. Admin becomes that it has to be that first hire, um, to use a quick example, if, if I’m the solo entrepreneur and I want to think my first hire is a sales guy. Um, I think that’s a mistake because now you got two guys that are running around calls in a mess making deals, and there’s nobody to keep it organized.
Dylan: There’s no transaction manager. [00:32:00]
Xander: No, you’re just gonna create, uh, a bigger mess. So you’ve gotta have an admin support. Um, hopefully they’re a little dynamic. Maybe they can talk to people on the phone. They can deal with a client issue, whatever I, the more they can do the better, but that’s gotta be the first hire.
And then when it comes to hiring, um, can’t tell you how many times learn the hard way. Um, first and foremost, there’s an old saying. Higher slow. The back end of it is fire fast, but hiring slow is key. And what does slow mean? So it doesn’t mean you take six months, hopefully, but you gotta slow down and actually have a process and follow it because otherwise you hire the wrong person or you do what we did for years, which was, um, Dylan.
You’re great. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. You got an impressive resume. I like you. Like, I really like this feels good. Like this is awesome. We were all great together. Um, I can’t wait to make you our new head of accounting and, uh, hopefully that wouldn’t actually [00:33:00] happen. But, uh, Dylan is probably been a hate accounting cuz he is a real estate investor and that’s not what he does.
Um, So we hire people. We used to hire people a long time ago, cuz we liked them. We didn’t have any science or methodology to it. So the disc assessment is free. It’s a great starter way to at least get a basic read on people. And that is one portion of the hiring process. Um, it’s gonna show you a little bit more about the personality and hopefully everybody’s familiar with it, but if they’re not, uh, again, Send Dylan a disc.
I would get the disc back and be like, oh boy, he’s not made for accounting. Um, neither am I. I’m not made for that first admin hire either. Neither am I, as you can tell, my first boss didn’t use the disc assessment on me. Um, we now use predictive index, but that’s a paid service. If you’re just starting out, go with the disc.
If you’re more advanced to have a bigger company and you’re not using predictive index, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. I’m a huge believer in it. Um, so beyond that, then. If I’m [00:34:00] can take one step back. You don’t have to, well, you can kind of copy and paste this a little bit, but go find somebody that’s good at hiring and ask how they’re doing it.
There’s enough investors that are doing it at a high level and doing it well. Um, just ask them, you don’t have to figure this out the hard way. Like we did the second that we found somebody that had a good process and we implemented that we got a hundred times better at hiring. And it’s evolved. Just like you said, you gotta be nimble.
You’re gonna have to evolve with the market. Um, what we did five years ago is different than what we do today. Um, so having a, a true purpose with the hiring, um, we steal a lot of questions or copy and paste, probably shouldn’t say steal
Dylan: model, we call it modeling go. I,
Xander: yeah, I, I, I have been able to reuse a lot of the questions that we got from the Keller Williams hiring process.
We don’t use the Keller Williams hiring process to a T. But I’ve implemented a lot from that. And it’s been huge. Um, the last just tidbit I would give [00:35:00] somebody for hiring or interviewing is you shouldn’t be doing much of the talking still fall into this trap every once in a while. And, and uh, sometimes I gotta kick my, my CLO under the table, like shut up and stop talking.
nicely. Um, if you’re sitting there talking and telling them how great you are and how great the company is, and we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do. What’s the person on the other side doing. Oh, that’s awesome. I’m in. Yeah, let’s go. Let’s go. you, haven’t learned a single thing about ’em. You don’t know that they’re gonna fit your culture and they don’t know that they’re gonna be any good at the.
The interview is supposed to be about them. Not about you, you gotta learn everything. You gotta uncover those stones. You gotta dig deeper. You gotta understand why they’re sitting in front of you. Why they didn’t like their old boss, which by the way, if they’re sitting there telling you how much they hate the old boss, that’s probably a red flag.
Um, so you need to have a process and it can’t be about you. You gotta dig deeper into the candidate. So
Dylan: that’s why. Yeah. That’s uh, that that’s
Xander: super great advice. Still hiring. it will hurt a lot. So, uh, [00:36:00] don’t ask me how I know .
Dylan: Yeah. Tr training guys and, and, uh, and, and falling in love with them, especially sales guys, right.
Again, being, you know, being, being a guy and playing sports and you’re like, yeah, it’s like the team and it’s gonna be great. And then they’re like, ah, I don’t really like to make phone calls and you’re like, whoa, wait a minute. I thought you’re a sales. And you’re like, oh my gosh. You know, and we did this whole big spiel, like you said, and sat in a boardroom and talked, you know, brought other employees to, oh, what a mess.
Right. So, um, going back to your predictive index, what, what does the predictive index say about Xander? Uh,
Xander: I am, uh, extremely independent. I’m actually off the chart, uh, which is apparently like I’m in like the, something like the 0.5% of people that take the, this test, uh, in terms of my independence. Um, it, oh my gosh.
I’m stuttering now. Um, this is, and I don’t know this as well. My core values, but I. Um, in terms of how [00:37:00] social or reserved I am, um, outside of work, I, I lean towards being social. I can definitely hang out at the bar, have a couple drinks, you know, talk to people, um, inside of work, I start to get into like mission critical.
Like I don’t really, definitely don’t want small talk. I’m not hanging out with the water cooler chatting, um, like on a mission. Um, so knowing that about myself, uh, I’ve been working a lot for a while now. Making myself slow down and talk to people and connect with them. Cause it means a lot has a big impact.
Um, so I, I have to slow myself down. Other people might have the other issue. Like you can’t sit here and talk to people all day, you have to work. Um, so, and this is like really key of, of reading people and, and a guide, so to speak of, of how they operate. Um, The next sign down. I’m extremely driving. Um, I want results.
I want to, I want to do a good job. I wanna succeed. Um, like I wanna steer the ship. I don’t want somebody else steering. Um, if I’m in the car, I’m driving every time nobody else drives. Not because I’m like a [00:38:00] psycho about my car, just cuz I like to be in control. Um, riding the mega bus was one of the top 10 least favorite things I’ve done in my life.
The bus driver’s doing like 50 miles an hour. I’m like I could have been home by now. This is ridiculous. um, so I like to drive both in business and in cars and, uh, boating, whatever. So, uh, and then last but not least is the final line. Uh, the D is about detail. Um, I am okay on details, but I’m not. Um, and you have to focus on it.
If I’m gonna be doing something that requires my detailed attention. Uh, it’s definitely not a natural strength of mine. Uh, whereas other people have extremely high D and they’re great at details. Those are your admin people. That’s absolutely the position where they should be. Uh, if you put somebody with a really high D and a sales physician, they’re not gonna like it, they’re not gonna do well.
Um, they’re gonna be miserable. Uh, actually, so again, that guide has been key. AQ part, not the key part, but AQ part, getting people in the [00:39:00] right seat, uh, and putting people in a position to succeed, which is good for them. And it’s good for.
Dylan: Yeah. Yeah, I can’t agree more. So if you guys are, are listening and watching, um, pay attention to what Xander says about this part.
And then when you’re interviewing someone, literally the hardest thing for me to do is to not talk almost the hardest thing. Right? So when I’m interviewing Xander, I wanna, I wanna throw ’em a really good. Really good question. And let him run with it because I can’t run with my own questions or you guys don’t wanna listen to me talking the whole time we wanna listen to Xander.
Um, but yeah, the predictive index or using disc we’ll have links to both of those in the show notes below super important to use that stuff. And, uh, you know, like you said, I’m similar to where you are. I don’t think I’m in that 0.5, um, percentile that in that, in that top caliber there, but I am a terrible admin, unless it’s four 30 or 5:00 AM in the morning and I’m the best admin I’ll ever, ever have.
Right. And then. Really six 30. Well, because nobody’s bugging me and like, there’s something really important I have to get done. There’s no distractions. No. And as soon as there’s a distraction, like [00:40:00] I need to be talking to Xander about deals or money. I do not wanna do paperwork. I don’t wanna fax, I mean, not really fax anymore or scan or do any of that bologna.
Right. I wanna be like, how can we do more deals together? What are you working on? You know, who do you know that I need to know vice versa? What can I do for you? Um, and I think that just traits of a, kind of a natural entrepreneur.
Xander: Absolutely agreed.
Dylan: So, so what is next for, for CR in, in, in the next, uh, 12 months, let’s say.
Xander: The next 12 months. Well, again, I’ll be extremely honest with you as promised, um, when we’ve been in a things like this before, and actually the, uh, had a lot of conversations about this because when the world, when that wave comes down a little bit, right, that, that wave of momentum that we were all riding for the past, um, last, um, two years ish, um, I’m dating back to COVID is where I’m going when COVID first hit it.
Temporarily, but it was no longer, [00:41:00] we were not planning things based on where we were gonna be. In 12 months, we have our 12 month goals and we have our, our, uh, two year and five year vision. Absolutely important to have those. But when, when it becomes a really unsettled time, I think it’s important to start looking at things literally by 30 16, 90 days.
And like, We gotta make sure that we are steady. We through this time. Um, the last thing we ever wanna do is end up in a position where we’re we’ve made mistakes or now, you know, we have to lay people off or anything like that, which we didn’t, we didn’t do it in COVID and we didn’t do it now. We’re not doing it.
Um, like you said earlier, extremely nimble is key. So we’ve made some changes, nothing drastic, but we’ve, I’ll say tightened up a little bit and we’re extreme. You should be extremely focused on your numbers all the time, but we’re like extremely focused. Um, myself, my partner and our COO. Typically we have a call once a week.
We’ve now doubled it to [00:42:00] twice a week. We meet now on Tuesdays and Thursdays one day. Uh, we get like really specific in the nitty gritty details and the other day we’re, we’re staying pretty high level and kind of zooming out if you will. Um, So, uh, it, the 12 month answer is making sure that we get through the next three to six months, cuz we don’t know how they’re gonna go.
Um, and making sure that we’re stable and we’re not over leverage. Um, we’re not buying, uh, big, heavy duty projects that you know, are gonna take six months or more, none of that at this time. Um, so. Getting through this period, let the dust settle a little bit and then figuring out how we scale to that next level.
Um, so that’s where we are right now and hopefully what we’re gonna be, you know, hopefully sooner than later, we get back to scaling to the next level. But today it’s like, we’re cruising through that storm sort of like I said earlier.
Dylan: Yeah, no, thanks for being transparent with that. And I, I think what he’s saying, guys is, um, [00:43:00] As, uh, you gotta look at it as like the book everybody kind of talks about is the, the three month year, right?
I think that’s, that’s the, the, um, the name of it as. Kind of coming into possibly turbulent times. You just don’t wanna get stretched out heavy capital, intensive time intensive projects. Uh, if you’re maybe in some of those super hot areas like Scottsdale or Tampa, Austin, you can kind of get away with being sloppy, uh, in the Northeast, in tough cities like Baltimore or Detroit again, or, or Cleveland, you know, Buffalo.
Uh, we gotta, we gotta tighten up our belt a little bit and make sure that, that we’re getting things done quickly, keeping our eyes, you know, on what’s important. And. Just making sure that that we’re being stewards of, uh, of our companies because there’s people counting on us, uh, including ourselves. Right.
Because we’re not gonna go back into criminology, whatever, whatever that means. We know that we’re not going back there. we’re never going back. right. So, so Xander at, at a little bit, um, Uh, kind of [00:44:00] more normal level for, for the guys and gals who hang out at the real estate meetups and who are newer to real estate investing.
Uh, what is your absolute best piece of advice that you can give to someone who, um, is now calling themselves a real estate investor?
Xander: Um, my best piece of advice and might be a little bit of an echo of what I said earlier. Um, my butt is you have to do things the right. There’s not a single deal. That’s worth burning a bridge or burning somebody on, uh, the world, even though it’s a tough market and it’s competitive, the world is big enough that you never need to cross, uh, your morals or, or anybody else.
So do things the right way. Um, and that comes out in a variety of different examples, but, um, I’ll, I’ll pick on a local investor, not Amy, any names, but a guy was bragging in, in the Facebook. Uh, that he just did a full, uh, Baltimore city got rehab and he was done in, in and out in four weeks. [00:45:00] And I’m like, you can’t even pull permits in four weeks.
So I know that you are now bragging that you didn’t pull permits on your job. And, you know, I don’t think that’s right. I, there’s a reason that the permits are there. There’s a reason. Investors who don’t pull, permits, get a bad reputation. Uh, same with the contractors who are working on the job. Um, it’s just not worth it.
I mean, yes. The four weeks of time that you saved, uh, probably made you a little extra money, but you’ve created, uh, a liability on yourself. The buyer who’s buying that property could have serious future issues. If there’s anything wrong with the house and the city comes out and says, well, there’s no permit.
You have to pull a permit now. I mean, it, it creates a huge multitude of, of issues in our local market. Um, and it’s, there’s just a reason to do it. Uh, so I go back to saying, uh, do things the right way, figure out your core values and stick to ’em. Um, and if you do that, I [00:46:00] think you’re more likely to be successful.
Um, and then the last thing I’ll, I’ll just throw in. People kind of go one way or the other they’re either like, so deal hungry that they’re just gonna jump on anything and, and eventually make a big mistake. There’s other people who have been thinking about investing for three years and never done a deal , um, analysis by paralysis that don’t do it.
Like you gotta, you gotta, you gotta move at some point. If you have the ability to, you gotta get started. Uh,
Dylan: sometimes it’s 10 years Zander, not just three.
Xander: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Um, but you, you’ll never not sitting on a podcast is not a measure of success, but, uh, typically podcast interviewees have done at least a deal or two.
So, uh, you gotta get off the pot too.
Dylan: Yeah, no, that’s, that’s super duper great advice. And, uh, everything that you delivered today from if you’re a new guy to, if you wanna scale up to doing 3, 4, 500 deals a year, we appreciate you. You giving all that all. [00:47:00] Knowledge and your time Xander. So if, uh, if our listeners and Watchers wanna wanna follow you guys or wanna connect somehow, what’s the best way for them to do that.
Xander: Sure. Uh, so we do have an Instagram and a Facebook. Uh, I think Instagram is CR of Maryland homes. Facebook is just CR of Maryland. Um, and if the actually wanna get in touch with me directly, um, you can send a message there, maybe reference that you heard me on the podcast and you want to. So that’ll make sure that, uh, the person who’s reading ’em, which is not me, uh, definitely gets it over to me.
Um, you can also get in touch on our website, just go to CR of maryland.com. There’s a contact us page, uh, that I do get straight to my inbox. Uh, again, just reference that you heard me on Dylan’s podcast and you wanna chat. Um, I would be happy to, to talk to investors anywhere. Um, I really do enjoy talking to other investors.
Um, I love connecting with the guys from investor fuel, uh, investor machine, and even local groups. So, uh, happy to chat with anybody, especially about anything we talked about. [00:48:00]
Dylan: Yeah. And we’ll have links to all that stuff below. So, you know, if you guys have deals and you’re in the Baltimore area too, make sure you send ’em to Xander because they buy a lot of houses and that’s the kind of, uh, company you wanna be connected with, but pay attention to what he said, make sure you’re doing things right, because if you wanna stay in this business or any business for a long time, you want people to say good things about you.
All the way around. So if you guys are not yet subscribed to the real estate investing secret show, make sure you subscribe. We are on iTunes, Spotify, uh, YouTube, anywhere that you can possibly watch or listen to a podcast. And again, Xander, we wanna thank you for giving us your time today. And for everybody else out there, we will see you on the next show.
Xander: Thanks Dylan.
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