There are two ways to grow a rental portfolio: occasionally, or continuously. As Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneurs, we want to grow our rental portfolios on a continuous basis—not in sporadic fits and starts. But the mainstream “powers that be” have designed the system to prevent you from this continuous growth; to force you into moderate growth by their standards of what is safe and acceptable. So if you want to grow your rental portfolio continuously, you have to have three key things in place that allow you to operate outside the traditional system: Deal Flow, Loans and Cash.
In this episode, Jeff discusses these three critical categories and how to create continuous access to each.
Mark Dolfini: You know, whether you’re dealing with dealing with a resident that’s being a pill or you know, or whatever, you never want to leave someone without their dignity. There’s no point in that, you know, you might need to make a point. But you don’t need to make a point to where they have lost any shred of dignity in the transaction. And you really don’t need to do that. And there’s even times where I’ll say, Look, I’m not here to beat you up. I’m really not. I just need to make sure I’m sure you understand where my position is.
Welcome to Racking Up Rentals, a show about how regular people those of us without huge war chest of capital or insider connections, can build lasting wealth acquiring a portfolio of buy and hold real estate. But we don’t just go mainstream looking at what’s on the market and asking banks for loans nor are we posting We Buy Houses signs are just looking for quote “motivated sellers” to make lowball offers to. You see, we are people-oriented dealmakers, we sit down directly with sellers to work out win-win deals without agents or any other obstacles, and buy properties nobody else even knows are for sale. I’m Jeff from The Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneur. If you’re the kind of real estate investor who wants long term wealth, not get rich quick gimmicks or pictures of yourself holding fat checks on social media. This show is for you. Join me and quietly become the wealthiest person on your block. Now let’s go rack up a rental portfolio.
Jeff Stephens: Hey, thanks for joining me for another episode of Racking Up Rentals. Show Notes for this episode can be found at www.thoughtfulre.com/e91. Please do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button in the podcast app. That’d be fantastic. I’d really appreciate that. And it really does help other fellow thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs to find the show onward with today’s episode.
Jeff Stephens: In today’s episode, I’ve got a great interview with Mark Dolfini. He is known as The Landlord Coach. And one thing I quickly realized when I learned about Mark is that his approach to managing properties is very, I would say, philosophically and spiritually, perhaps even aligned with our approach to acquiring properties thoughtfully with a people-oriented approach etc. So I really felt like there was great alignment between his way of doing things and ours because the truth is if we’re out there racking up rentals, we’re going to have to start managing those rentals that we are racking up. So I won’t keep you from this interview for too long here. But I think you’re really going to enjoy this. So let’s dive right in to this interview with Mark Dolfini from Landlord Coach.
Jeff Stephens: Okay, Mark, thanks so much for joining me today.
Mark Dolfini: Well, it’s really good to be here. Thanks so much for having me.
Jeff Stephens: Yes, you know, it’s funny, we haven’t known each other long, like not at all. But I think I probably speak for both of us when I say we definitely feel like there’s a lot of alignment between, you know, your approach and my approach. And so I guess my question is, I’m guessing like me, you weren’t born into the world with your current state of enlightenment about the right way to do all things related to real estate, entrepreneurship and property management. So tell us, how did you get to this point where you are now?
Mark Dolfini: Yeah, I would love to say it was I had this, this golden moment where I woke up one morning and was like, wow, yeah, I want to be I want to I want to be, you know, have a bunch of real estate that runs seamlessly and the birds come and deliver me Deliver me a bagel in the morning, before I get out of bed and all that stuff. Yeah, that’s, that might be your plan. But generally, God’s plan is usually a little bit more, a little bit bumpy or along the way. But no, it’s honestly it was. I started with an interest in real estate back when I was in the Marine Corps. And, and I, the thing I loved about real estate is the whole concept of the fact that it was mine, right? It was something that I can do I can I can structure this anywhere that I wanted, I can make this business anything I wanted. And that’s true. It was and what I realized is that it the way I had constructed it was a was awful, it was absolutely terrible. And so to kind of get into the story a little bit. You know, I was I was playing on my back, flat and flat on my back on the hospital bed for three days, it was day three, and I’m lying on my back in a hospital bed from double pneumonia, because I had almost worked myself to death. And I had 92 rental units that I had, that I had pieced together through a hodgepodge of creative financing. You know, wheeling and dealing a lot of lot of off, off bank off balance sheet type of financing, right. You know, contract sale stuff. And piece this whole together. It was a $6 million real estate portfolio. And because I had, I had basically had no business it was no business. It was just a it was a guy who was a really busy guy with a side hustle. And because I had no infrastructure and no processes in place. I lost nearly all of it in about Eight months, I lost about four and a half million dollars of that portfolio in about eight months. So that’s the awful beginning of what I started to realize I needed, I needed to do something different.
Jeff Stephens: Yeah. So you had to figure out a way to rethink everything.
Mark Dolfini: Yeah, and that’s exactly what I had to do so. So as I’m sitting there thinking about, like, everything that my life was how, like, how terrible My life was, I, I kind of got sitting. And it was, I tell the story really quick. But I’m sitting in the hospital on the first day, I’m in the hospital. And I did, I had double pneumonia. And the hospitalist came in and she looked at me, and she says, and I was 37 years old, and I was otherwise in really good health. And she looked at me and she says, you know, people who look like you do, don’t wind up in beds like this with double pneumonia. She said something in your life is very, very wrong. And she’s like, I don’t know, if it’s, you know, I mean, I didn’t know if she thought I was, you know, had something else going on. But she’s, she’s like, you should not be Why don’t know if it’s stress, or overwork or whatever. But people like you don’t look, you know, who looked like you don’t go, you know, don’t lay in a bed and I was like, holy crap, you know, like this is this is a wakeup call that I had to start doing things differently. So this nurse came in a few minutes later, and she said, you know, she came in with this, this needle. And she said, I need to give you a shot. No, I am not in the needles at all. But she’s I said, Okay, so you know, I have to give you a shot in the stomach. I was like, No, you’re not, you know? And she said, Well, I have to give you the shot in the stomach, because you’re going to be lying in bed for the next couple of days. And, you know, that’s going to get blood clots in your legs. I said, Well, how about I just get up and move around. I mean, this thing’s this thing you’ve got me hooked up to is on wheels, I can get up, move around, right. And she says, okay, and she took her needle, and she went away. And I felt like I just told her, you know, just take, you know, take your time go home. But it’s really funny, because at that point in time, I realized that she was just operating off of a system, she was doing what she was told. And so it kind of got me thinking as I’m sitting there did and I had nothing else to do but ruminate for three days, because, in fact, at that time, I didn’t even know how long I was gonna be in the hospital. But I couldn’t answer the phone, I couldn’t take care of any of the problems that were needed to take care of.
Mark Dolfini: So it was that point in time that I had that time to sit there and kind of ruminate what was what were what were all the issues that were going on in my business in my life and everything else. And it kind of all landed in three different buckets. And the first bucket that things landed in was processes, I really didn’t have any anything written down, it was all up in here, right? Oh, I you know, I have to go make sure I pick up the rent from so and so on the 12th day of the month, because that’s when their money comes in from such and such, right? Oh, and Bobby Sue, I have to go over there. And oh, yeah. And I know their dog’s name, because I go over there all the time. And I have to pick up the rent every other Thursday from them before they go and buy there you know, spend it all on PVR. Right? Like, all this stuff is all in my head, there was no way I could thought I could possibly replicate this, you know, and, you know, do this. Well, that was the problem. So I had all these processes, but they’re all in my head. Secondly, you know, even if I did have help to run these processes, I didn’t have anywhere to put them. Right, there was no infrastructure of my business. They mean, I didn’t have I mean, I was running it off of a laptop that was in my truck. And that was my mobile office. And I had a printer, you know, hooked up to a power inverter. And I thought that was so fancy, but it was efficient in some perverse way, I suppose. But it certainly wasn’t very effective. And I as I thought about this, I’m thinking, you know, even if I had help, I was going to walk them into a room and you’ll do work and then run away because it was, they didn’t know my processes, right? They didn’t even have I didn’t have a desktop computer; I’d have a desk and having a nap anywhere for them to go. I didn’t have a phone system. I mean, my phone system looked like this, you know, so I mean, that was the problem. So I had no infrastructure so no process no infrastructure and last I had no real reason as to why I was doing this all in the first place. I didn’t have a really clean up people call it your why and I but I think it’s different than that. I think it’s deeper than that. I think it’s you know, what was this? What was this whole purpose that I was here for? Was it really to truly work like a like as like a dog like a slave for 22 hours a day? Certainly there had to be more for me in my life. Yeah, so really that’s where I came down with this this vision there that I really needed to do so you know even though it comes out really kind of handy in terms of VIP that’s how the vision infrastructure process the VIP method was born that I wrote about in my book The Time-Wealthy Investor 2.0.
Jeff Stephens: Yeah, yeah, that’s amazing. isn’t funny and by funny, I mean, not funny. Haha, but funny, odd that entrepreneurship in general and probably real estate and entrepreneurship specifically People get into it for this desire to have freedom. And then ultimately, ironically, it can be exactly the opposite, right? It’s more controlling of you than any of the other stuff you’ve been involved in and like yet, at the same time, like this seems like the raw materials are right there for me to have this independence, have time and money and relationships and purpose and all that kind of stuff yet. It’s hard to grasp onto so it sounds like you’ve kind of I don’t know, codified or codified, however, you want to pronounce a word.
Mark Dolfini: We’re being very fancy today.
Jeff Stephens: Yeah, super fancy. Yeah. But an approach that kind of gives you sanity? It sounds like I mean.
Mark Dolfini: Yeah. And I’d love to say, like, Oh, I came, you know, it was written in a sky VIP, you know, in a letter, you know, and clouds, whatever. It wasn’t like that at all. But it was kind of it kind of came to me, you know, little bits and pieces, where I really needed to get clarity in terms of what it was, I was trying to do. But it was, it’s interesting that I go through this with my students now. And they and you know, a lot of times, especially early on, they’re thinking, well, I don’t want a job. You know, that’s why I want to get into the real estate business. And I said, Okay, you don’t want a job. I said, Do me a favor. I said, Do not think of a bowling pin. And they’re like, looking at me, and I said, what do you think about their like, bowling pin, you know? And I’m like, okay, is the bowling pin white? I said, like, yeah, I said, Did I say think of a white bowling pin? No, you know, they’re infusing all this extra crap on this bowling pin. And I’m thinking, you’re probably even thinking about the little red, red thing around the neck of the bowling pin, aren’t you? And you’re like, yeah, you know, and because our brain doesn’t process, it processes subjects, it doesn’t process all the other stuff around it. It’s like Dell sees his job. So it’s, and I know that sounds really, really basic. And maybe, you know, some of your listeners have heard this before. But you know, when you have to process it in the positive, that’s my vision has to come first. Because when we when you’re looking at vision, you know, vision is specifically what you want to accomplish. And it has absolutely nothing to do with business. It really has nothing to do with I mean, you can have a vision that involves business as what I do in landlord coach, I absolutely love it. You know, I just came off of a weekend mastermind with my students. And I, I mean, Saturday, I was wiped out. But Sunday, I was jazzed. I mean, I had an amazing, amazing weekend with them. And it doesn’t seem like work to me. But you know, you can have that as part of your vision for sure. But it’s not. That’s not the only thing. I mean, I have lunch with my bride every weekday. And you know, and that’s done more for my marriage than any vacation or, you know, date night or whatever else it is because we sit at home and, you know, eat salads and watch, you know, get freaked out over Criminal Minds rerun or, you know, and then go back to our day, right? Yeah, but that that, to me is part of my vision. And that happens that only happens through intention through being deliberate. Because I want to have a closer relationship with my gal. I want to have a closer relationship with my God, my sons, right? Like, these are all pieces of my vision that are very, very, very well defined. And if it’s just like, well, I’ll do that someday. Well, last time I checked, I mean, I’ve checked a couple times some days, not a day on the calendar. Never seems to come around.
Jeff Stephens: Yeah, that’s for sure. You know, sometimes when people hear the word thoughtful, they said, Well, what is thoughtful real estate mean? And I said, I think it means two things it means First, it means intentionality. Just being very deliberate with what you want out of your business out of your life out of each individual deal each individual person cell you might be working with. And then the second thing though, is, is relationship people orientation, a desire to, to achieve our success by way of working well with others. And so, you know, we’ve kind of talked a little bit now about the intentionality side of things of designing, designing the business to facilitate the life you want to have. But I also know that we have this common spirit about the idea of having a people-oriented approach. And while it’s, you know, it’s so funny, it’s it sounds so trite to say, oh, we’re in a people business, but it is 1,000% true from the perspective of real estate acquisition, the way that we do it here, but I know it also applies to you and how you sort of advice people to be interacting with tenants and to form those relationships. Can you speak a little bit to the people orientation on the property management sort of side of the equation?
Mark Dolfini: Yeah. 100% and, you know, just like your listeners, you know, they’re, they’re entering into relationships with people. Now the last time I checked an empty building does not pay rent. You know, who is that paid by someone who is paying rent by going out and being in the world and generating revenue to pay you right? Pay your rent money, and, and generally, I’m assuming that’s what that’s what your listeners are doing. But that side of that people orientation is very, very important. And this is why, you know, whenever I say, you know, the system piece, so in the VIP method, the system piece is not the V, it’s the I in the P, it’s the infrastructure in the process. And, you know, even though people may say, Well, I just like giving that personal touch. Right? You know, that’s why everybody has my cell phone number. Right? Well, and that’s, that’s okay. I guess. But, you know, let me ask you something. You know, Jeff, do you have a, a favorite restaurant that you may be like to go to?
Jeff Stephens: Yeah, absolutely.
Mark Dolfini: Okay. All right. Do you know the owners phone number and home address?
Jeff Stephens: No, I don’t.
Mark Dolfini: Do you know their name?
Jeff Stephens: I don’t know that either. No.
Mark Dolfini: Okay. I’m shocked. Jeff, I’m gonna be honest with you, I’m a little shocked. Why not? Because you know, you, you eat there, you spend money there. And if you had a bad meal, gosh, darn it, you should be able to call them at home, whenever you feel like it. Right. And saying it? Of course, I’m teasing. That’s ridiculous even to think of that. But no, but why then don’t do you know, on this people side of the business, why are you handing out private personal information to residents, these are your business associates. And it’s the reason, you know, the point I’m making here is that there’s boundaries, that restaurant owner has boundaries. And it doesn’t mean that they’re not well taken care of. In fact, you may, it may be your favorite, because they make you feel like, like a big shot when you go in there. And the food is always very consistent. And consistency is what people are, is what people care about consistency. And that is all they want you to do is do what you say, right? You go in there, and that’s fine, you go the extra mile. But if you’re not even doing the basics, you’re going to struggle and you’re gonna struggle in whatever business that you’re in. So, you know, in your case, you probably go there to this restaurant over and over, because your experience is very consistent. Right. So what from what aspect that I look at and, you know, if you think of if anybody on know, if you have ever read persuasion by Robert Cialdini, you know, the second, the second component in the book is commitment and consistency, because we human beings want to be consistent. And we view consistency as a positive trait. Right? So, consistency is really all they’re looking for. And you can give consistency through a good system. And that system just needs to be that’s why or the infrastructure and process part comes from. Yeah, so that’s why I say you can design a system that that delivers that and is still personable, it doesn’t, it doesn’t need to be a robotic thing where you never talk to a human being get it. When I say system, it just means Okay, they’re being put into a process where they’re being handled very consistently.
Jeff Stephens: Yeah, I love that. I think, I think that a lot of people, especially newer landlords, in their mind, there’s this sort of, like binary dynamic where they say, either I have to treat these people like they’re my cousin, or I have to, you know, such an arm’s length kind of thing. And I’m sure you’ve seen the following come up many times. But I see, you know, in Facebook groups and forums and stuff, people say, Oh, I’m gonna, you know, I’m going to house hack this triplex, I’m going to live in one unit renting out the other two, but I just have so nervous about, you know, dealing with the tenants, I don’t think I’ve got the heart for it. What should I do? And inevitably, somebody comments, I think you probably know where I’m going with this. They comment, they say, Oh, just tell them you’re the manager, you’re not the owner. And that, then they won’t look to you. They won’t hold you accountable for making decisions. And I just look at that. And I like I get a gag reflex. I’m like, Are you kidding me? You’re, you’re too I guess, afraid to build a proper relationship that balances both being empathetic and business like, to the point where now you’re going to, you’re going to build a foundation of your relationship with these people based on a lie. And it just always gets to me now. I guess I’m making a big assumption mark here that you see it kind of like I do, and I could be this could go off the rails in a second place.
Mark Dolfini: I’m out.
Jeff Stephens: It’s been nice talking to you. Thanks.
Mark Dolfini: No, I look at it a little differently. I don’t, I don’t know. I mean, I agree with you. I don’t like the whole manager aspect of it. But I do, I do want to put boundaries in place with those people and say, Hey, you know, if you are going to live in that other side, I think it’s really important that they understand what the processes are in. The last thing that I want them to do is to come and knock on my door. And you know, two in the morning, like, you know, there’s no reason at ever, ever for you to come knock on my door literally ever. Like and that’s where the boundary Park comes in. I think people maybe are confusing that because it’s like, Hey, I live over there. And just letting you know, like, I’m not the one you call. There’s a number that you call which rings to some buddy who handles the phone calls for you? It’d be no different. You may as well knock on the other neighbor’s door. Because there’s no there’s no, there’s no reason to knock on my door unless the buildings on fire, then I would appreciate it. I know. But other than that, you know, there’s really, there’s not any reason to contact me, you know, I will make sure things are handled. But yeah, I don’t, I never, I never appreciate people stepping up in that way where people are going to start to start in a relationship where they’re not being honest. And, and I’ve heard that and even times, I might have said that, just because, you know, people were like, Well, you know, I really don’t have the, I never budgeted and this is where the cash flow analysis is really important that the when you’re doing your cash flow analysis, these are the sorts of things that you need to budget for in advance. Yeah, right. Because every bend, this is a point that I would like, you know, I think it’s important to make that, you know, as you’re doing your cash flow analysis, every line item that you don’t budget for becomes a job you create for yourself. Good point. So if you don’t budget for an after-hours, you know, VA to handle your phone calls, then guess what? You just created a, you know, however, whatever cost $100 a month job for yourself, you know, I now if you amortize that at over 24 hours over 30 days? I don’t know, that’s like, not a lot of money. But my point is that, you know, you just created a 50 cent an hour job for yourself, where you never can step away. I hope to God that that’s not what you did when you mean that you bought yourself a job that was literally paying you 50 cents an hour. Or whatever, whatever they were turns out to be.
Jeff Stephens: So before, before we hit record, you and I were doing a little warm up, riffing there. We talked about something I think is, I think, related to this, and I think is a really important distinction. The difference between empathy and sympathy when dealing with tenants or I mean, also when dealing with sellers and stuff, too. But in this case, tenants, can you can you share just a little bit about kind of what you think the distinction between those is, and why is it so important to understand which is which?
Mark Dolfini: Yeah, I mean, and this is my truth. So don’t, you know, I don’t want someone beating me up with, you know, with a photograph of what Webster says, but this is my truth. So sympathy is about you. Empathy is about them. And because if you know anything about the communication, the communication pie, you know, 55% of how we communicate our feelings is through body language, right? 38 is through our tonality, meaning how we say things like, what’s tone and tone of voice, but only 7%? are words, only 7% are words, and people think, Well, you know, if it’s only 7%, our words, the words don’t matter that much. Quite the contrary, if only 7% comes through our words, and we need to be careful about the words that we’re choosing. Right? Where, you know, if someone calls me with a problem, right there, you know, their, their cat needs a whiskerectomy, and the vet won’t let them you know, pay it over time that mean, veterinarian, right. And I wouldn’t Mr. Whiskers has to get his whiskerectomy, and that’s going to cost $2,000. And you say, Oh my gosh, that’s awful, right? At sympathy. When you say, Oh, my gosh, I understand how that could be upsetting to you. Now, how do you plan on handling that? That’s empathy. And my words, sound might sound pretty much the same, but they’re very different meanings. And one takes on their pain as their, you know, now you’ve created a drama. And now you’ve got inside the drama triangle, where you’re the hero to their antagonist, and then being the victim, now you just completed the triangle being their hero. And now you’ve got drama. And now you have no one else to blame but yourself. Yeah. So the empathy piece to me is very, very, it’s, it’s very important to make sure that you’re putting it back on them. And one of the things that I learned a good friend of mine who has a restaurant near produce campus, now, she, she just said something which I absolutely loved. She said, you know, this might not be your fault, but it is your problem to handle. So you know, how I might be able to help you with it. But how do you plan on handling it? Yeah, and it was one of those things that good puts it straight back on them?
Jeff Stephens: I think that, to me, is a great summary. And that’s how I think about it too. I think I think empathy is an appreciation for the human condition, right? The appreciation for the human experience and like yeah, oh, boy, that that does sound hard. Yeah, I’m sorry, you’re going through that but then there’s like, I feel sorry for you, which is into me that’s a really slippery slope because if you start feeling sorry for somebody, everybody’s got a list of mile-long and stuff you could feel sorry for them about and then pretty soon like yeah, you are kind of in charge of you know, their well-being and that’s, you know, you can’t really recover from that if you go down that down that road.
Mark Dolfini: No, you’re, I can’t tell you how many times I have, you know, I’ll be in a, an event I might be speaking and saying, you know, what kind of problems do people have, and they’re almost always universally, you know, getting residents that won’t pay, you know, getting in the destroying units, those sorts of things. But every now and again, I’ll get one that’s, you know, well, I’ve got this, you know, family that’s living in there, and, you know, you know, and they’re trashing the place, they’ve got three kids. And I just, you know, I know, I shouldn’t have ran into them. I knew I shouldn’t have ran into them. But I felt sorry for the kids. And I can’t tell you, I mean, I’ve done them. I mean, this isn’t, this isn’t judgment, this is confession I’ve done, you know, I’m looking at the kids that are standing there with their sad face, and they’re no shoes, and their you know, and, you know, their dirty clothes, I’m thinking, gosh, you know, I’m looking at the car, they’re probably living out of the car, and like, oh, man, you know, these are the sorts of situations and I’m thinking, like, you know, like, I feel like, I need to save them in some way. And unfortunately, it’s just, you know, you have to be able to put that emotional barrier. And if you don’t have that ability to do that, this is why you hire this out, and you have a process to make sure that there’s people I mean, you putting them in a house is not, you’re not doing anything for them, you’re actually hurting them. And it’s not even a question of enabling, it’s like, okay, so they’re going to live in a place for what, two months, and destroy that place. And now, and now what now they’re gonna be evicted. And that’s gonna make it even harder for them to find a really good place at some point. It’s a, it’s on and on, but..
Jeff Stephens: Absolutely. I just think that threading the needle somewhere, but somewhere between having empathy, but also being business like is, to me, that’s, that’s the strike zone. That’s kind of that’s what’s right, you know, right down the middle of that. It’s easier said than done, though. But I guess one thing I found myself saying many times, I’ve thought it many times, I’ve said it many times, too is to, you know, to, to an employee to intended to anything, anybody in those circumstances, I might say, I can’t promise that I will always tell you what you want to hear. But I can promise that I will always tell it to you with respect and compassion. And, and in most ways, to me that sort of addresses that idea of like, I’m going to be empathetic, even if I have to say that, like, you’re not welcome to live here any longer, or the rent is changing, or you’ve made this violation or whatever it might be, you know, we can do it. Like, to me empathy comes across, not necessarily what you say, but the way that you say it. Anyway, I, we could probably talk for hours about this topic, I guess. But..
Mark Dolfini: Well, I think you bring up a very valid point, though, is that I don’t think it’s a like in terms of negotiation, you know, with your, you know, with your folks and doing deals, you know, you know, the non-traditional way, we’ll call it, I suppose, I mean, I did a lot of deals that way, and, you know, but even when I’m negotiating, you know, whether you’re dealing with a resident that’s being a pill, or you know, or whatever, you never want to leave someone without their dignity. There’s no point in that, you know, you might need to make a point, but you don’t need to make a point to where they have lost any shred of dignity in the transaction. And you really don’t need to do that. And there’s even times where I’ll say, Look, I’m not here to beat you up. I’m really not, I just need to make sure I’m sure you understand where my position is. And, you know, and even though I know, and there’s times where I’m like, you know, I don’t need to, you know, prove that you’ve got three dogs living in this property. You know, even though maybe neighbors have confirmed anything, we don’t even need to discuss that. I’m just saying, Let’s start let’s start a conversation where we can be honest with one another. And I’m telling you what, even though they know, I know. And they don’t know how I know, the fact that I’m just going to sit there and go and let them off the hook. I build so much more rapport with them at that point that they’re like, you know what, yeah, I do have three dogs. And I’ve got two chickens and a bear and I’m I got two chickens in a bear. Where’d that come from? Right, my man stop telling, stop talking. I don’t want to hear anymore. Right? So yeah, that’s uh, but leaving people with their dignity is always something that I just I think is needed more in this industry.
Jeff Stephens: Yeah, that’s a great way to put it too. Okay, so one more sort of broad topic. I’d love to get your take on which is I something I think probably a lot of our listeners think about often, which is how do I decide whether I should be self-managing or hiring this out? Right? I mean, our shows called racking up rentals, if you are if you’re racking them up. At some point, you know, there’s going to be a lot of things to deal with. I would say generally our audience here is probably if they’re if they’re appreciating this message of, you know, we buy properties by sitting in people’s living rooms and having very personal conversations. without, you know, intermediaries, that also might suggest to them like, yeah, maybe I should manage my own properties too. But how does a person make a really, I guess, informed, intelligent, educated decision about which path to go down?
Mark Dolfini: I think the best thing to do is to educate yourself on terms of what a well running business looks like that’s like that. And, and the irony is that even though I have the moniker landlord, coach, the last thing in the world that I want people to be are landlords, I want them to be business owners, I want them to be investors. And if you’re operationally bound, then you all you’ve done is created a job for yourself. So and somebody’s like, well, I just don’t I don’t have the, you know, the tolerance for that I’m too impatient, or I’m too lax, or whatever that is, but all of that emotional stuff can be handled with systems, I, in my opinion, and, you know, I’m, I don’t like you know, evicting people. I mean, that’s, that’s terrible, I have to do that. And we had an eviction not too long ago with a really good guy. And but I’m like, man, I just can’t extend you any more credit. This is unfortunately, who totally got it, you know, you and, and, you know, we’re gonna work with the guy, you know, on the back end, but he couldn’t live in the property anymore. But as a result, he left the place really, really in good shape. And, you know, it sucked. It was a sucky situation that just, he was a good guy, but he got hurt, he couldn’t keep it up. And, you know, that was the, that was the thing. But those are the, those are the sorts of, you know, even if you’re even if you’re not necessarily thinking, well, I got to be a, you know, a hard screw, you know, on these people, and don’t take anything that’s not that’s not the people orientation side of the business, you know, and the other thing is more about not like that, and I hear this argument all the time. If I’m not like that, then I’m never gonna get paid rent. And I would ask, then, you know, is that the avatar that you really want to be working with? Yeah, I, you know, I was working with that avatar, that was they weren’t making, they were living paycheck to paycheck, they were living moment to moment. Yeah. And, and I didn’t want to deal with that avatar anymore. I mean, this this, you know, it was just, it was awful, you know, dealing with very low and running rentals. And it was just very, very tough, tough market to be in. So my, my suggestion is to educate yourself, as best you can. And I’m not trying to plug my book, I’m really not and actually can get it on my website, you know, for eight bucks, and just cover the shipping. But not, not selflessly plugging that it’s just that but that book goes through completely from front to back the systems. And it’s the reason I’m telling you that it’s because there was a guy who he, he was used to be in the NFL, and he bought a bunch of rental properties. And but he had them, he was partners with someone else. And they kind of managed them, right? And he read the book and he goes, man, that book was so eye opening, he goes I didn’t know realize even half the stuff that you did. And I’m like, Really? That’s cool. He goes, Yeah, I am never getting into that business. Because he realized then what it would all take. So I’m not suggesting that, you know, I’m not trying to plug it Trust me, I if you know anything about books, sales, you don’t get rich on, you know, selling books, read books. But I think that the message in there is so important, because it really does educate you on terms of how to how to do that. And if nothing else, if you are going to hire a property manager, or really early you can you’re in any other business, that vision infrastructure process method, when you look at that, now you have a now you have a lens to look through when you’re looking for a property manager. And you’re gonna say, Oh, really? How do you handle your your after, after hours maintenance calls? And I was like, Oh, well, you know, we have a guy, you know, on call, oh, really, you have a guy with a cell phone that can get left in the truck, that could just not ring, right, that happens? What if he falls asleep and it’s on silent? Meanwhile, I’ve got three inches of sewer in my in my property, and you’re not taking care of my resident? Like, that’s not okay. That’s you need redundancies and things like that. So, you know, all these different pieces of infrastructure? So to answer that question, it’s not a straightforward one. But it’s just I mean, it’s one that I think educating yourself in terms of how a how a business looks. And you being the business owner, not the operator. I think that’s the lens that most people should look through when they’re at least or they’re trying to make that decision.
Jeff Stephens: Yeah, yeah, that makes great sense. And I just want to sort of reiterate and highlight the connection you mentioned there between understanding what your sort of tenant avatar will be based on your investment strategy and like that those you’re acquiring, and then the experience you will have with those tenants afterwards. Those are very related topics and yeah, it makes me think part of my philosophy definitely is erring on the side of quality. I don’t I don’t necessarily mean luxury penthouse condos, everywhere. But I do mean good locations, well maintained properties where the tenants themselves before market rents you know all those things, I think they sort of I believe attract a higher quality tenant but it also projects to that higher quality tenant. You know, we run things well here it’s a it’s a, it’s a relatively tightly run ship and like if you’re the kind of person who’s looking to, you know, get away with some stuff, this might not be the right sandbox to be scratching around in.
Mark Dolfini: That’s a great way to put that. Absolutely. Yep. Yep. Cool. And then there’s a reason why I mean, if you go on to those Facebook marketplace forums, there’s a reason why individuals, you know, individual renters, they’ll go out and they’ll specifically say we’re looking for a private landlord to rent from Yeah, and there’s a, I mean, it might just be my paradigm, but, you know, I think that they’re asking that because they know they can get away with stuff.
Jeff Stephens: Yep. Yeah, absolutely. So I do want you to shamelessly plug the book tell us again, what it’s called and the website where people can go check it out.
Mark Dolfini: It’s The Time-Wealthy Investor 2.0, if you go to www.landlordcoach.com and go to there’s a link there you can just you can just go to the video section. The website’s going to be changing here soon so I don’t want to give like a direct link but if you go to the website, it will not be hard to find it’s a it’s going to be we’re getting ready to change at some afraid of by the time you guys see it or if you see anybody sees it on replay may be different. But it’s The Time-Wealthy Investor 2.0. I had an original version, which was the time wealthy investor but I upgraded updated some things and re-released it back in 2019. So yeah, The Time-Wealthy Investor 2.0. All I asked is that you just play pay shipping, and you can get it directly from my website.
Jeff Stephens: Okay, awesome. And if people want to reach out to you in any other way, just go to the website to is at the best path.
Mark Dolfini: www.landlordcoach.com is, is the website, of course, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. And for those of you who are on Facebook, you can reach out to me that way. But email is good market landlord coach calm or, and also, I’ve got a YouTube channel, you can reach out to me any number of ways. But, but that’s probably the best is just drop me an email, and I’ll be happy to engage with you and help you out with anything that I could possibly help you out with. I’m I. I think that though, because we are a very large population of you know, we’re at the largest population ever. Actually, we have 100, and roughly 120 million renters out there. We have a very large the largest population, not only in percentage, but also a number of residents out there have renters, I think we are obligated to provide a good service otherwise, big brother, Uncle Sam’s gonna step in and tell us how to run our business. And that is absolutely not what we want. So if I can help you guys out and do things, right. I’m more than happy more than happy to help you any way that I can.
Jeff Stephens: Wonderful. Awesome. Well, it’s been fun chatting. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Mark Dolfini: Yeah, thanks so much. I appreciate it.
Jeff Stephens: Well, I hope you enjoyed that interview, I really felt like there was great alignment kind of between the way mark approaches property management and the way that we approach acquisition. And we think we all know that if you don’t have kind of alignment between those two things, there’s going to be pain kind of associated with a disconnect between the way you’re buying properties and the way you’re ultimately managing them. So grateful to Mark for being on today’s episode.
And that’s a wrap for today’s episode. So again, show notes for this episode are at www.thoughtfulre.com/e91. Please do us a huge favor by hitting that subscribe button in the podcast app. And please take a second to rate and review the show on whatever platform you like to listen on.
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