It’s the time of the year to wrap things up for 2022! Throughout the whole year, we are graced with such amazing personalities each week on the show. However, in this episode, the show gets its unique spin as our hosts take over! On triumphs and setbacks, they are covering every key takeaway of their year-round adventure.

In this year-end special of Invest2FI, we get to put our real estate portfolios to rest to sit back and reflect with our very own “The FI Guy”, Craig Curelop, and “Z-Money”, Zeona McIntyre as they venture on a vision quest for the upcoming year of 2023.

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

A Look Back on the Highs & Lows of 2022 with Craig and Zeona

We had somebody reach out, I can’t even remember, I think it was on Instagram, but he said that he listened to our podcasts a lot and he wanted to know if we were going to do a video or something on our 2023 goals and so he wanted us to cover something about what goals we had in 2022, what went well, what didn’t go so well, and then talk about what are we doing differently in 2023 looking forward. And I don’t know about you but I love to reflect. I actually have this whole weekend slated for visioning, my partner’s out on a vision quest, actually, with a group and I got left at home so I’m going to do my own vision quest and so this is perfect timing for me to really sit in what do I want, what’s the clarity, what’s the vision for next year.

Yeah, I think I’m really excited for this episode. It’s a little bit of a unique spin. There’s no guest, it’s just you and me, “And all of the people,” that song, but just you and me and we’re here to just tell you guys a little bit about, like disclose what’s happened this year. It’s so easy for us each week to just get — we get so enthralled with our guests that we kind of forget what’s going on in our own lives, we forget to tell you about all that so we want to just keep you updated. 

The second part of his question, which I don’t want us to forget, is that he wanted to know if we had any advice to give for our newbie selves. So, if we were to go back and start again, what would we tell newbie us? So we’ll definitely put that in as well and all of what we talk about today.

Yay. So excited for this episode. And, Z, why don’t you kick us off. Which were some of the few things that you did this year that you’re very — give us some of your highs first and then we’ll go lows.

 

Yeah, so I’m going to kind of go maybe a little more chronologically, but this year, we’re recording this now at like mid-December and, for me, I got the opportunity to write a book for BiggerPockets right around this time, it was really towards the end of December, and so we started the project, Sarah Weaver and I, the beginning of January and that project took us three months. So, that was something where, luckily at the time, I had a lot of space and I could dedicate about two hours a day on my work days and write. And I got this from you which is so great but you really just said, “Hey, you just gotta time block it. You can do it. It’s not that hard,” and I think that combination of having the accountability of the BiggerPockets team, Sarah, and then just other friends like you, so many of our friends have written books just kind of cheering us on, it allowed it to happen. And so I think what was really, really valuable in writing a book not only is just the experience now of having it out in the world and people saying that it’s helping them but it was such a personal growth experience and I wonder if this is something you experienced as well in your couple of books that you’ve written now. But, for me, there were days that were just beautiful and inspired and so fun and then there were days that were really hard where I had a lot of judgments coming in, a lot of my demons, a lot of impostor syndrome, all that kind of stuff, and so, for anybody out there who wants to write a book, definitely reach out if you’ve got questions, I do think it’s a very doable task, but know that there are hardships too. I’m curious how was it for you, Craig, in the times that you’ve been writing.

 

Yeah, I think we’ve had similar experiences, Z, where the first — like it’s really exciting at first and you probably get off on a really cool roll and for the first couple of weeks, you’re steamrolling, and then you get this, like, “Oh, what if no one reads it?” or, “Oh, what if everybody hates it?” or, “Oh, what if it doesn’t sell?” like you get all these demons, like you mentioned, and then it’s like, “Who am I write this book?” like I only did this many house hacks or I only have this many medium-term rentals or there’s someone that’s more qualified than me out there and there probably is, but the point is that you got the opportunity for a reason and you do just have to like, no matter what happens, make sure you get your 500 words a day or 1,000 words a day or whatever quota you set yourself, make sure you do that, and I think it’s amazing how little pieces, it’s like the compound effect, 500 words a day, after four or five months, you’re going to have yourself a book. And so it really doesn’t take that long to write it, you just have to do the process.

 

Yes. And the key that you told me that I found also was really, really important is just having a solid outline. So, do not just start writing chapters or something kind of willy-nilly. Have a solid outline and if you build out all of the little subsections to really expand on that, then it will help you to go back and say, “Oh, what do I need to write about next?” or, “What am I trying? What are the points that I wanna cover in this section?” so that was super, super helpful.

 

The outline will write the book.

 

All right, so what else I did? So around May and also in July, I ended up selling a property that we had in Missouri, so I had four properties in St. Louis and now I’m down to just the one and I’m selling it right now, but earlier this year, so in May, we did sell one and then with that, we were able to 1031 into a new property and I also bought another property not long after. So that was like, I don’t know, I like to buy at least a property a year and so it was nice for me to just kind of get to do that sort of reorganizing my portfolio and dropping things that are not working as well for us and picking up things that we feel really inspired by. So, that is something that I will be continuing on, but what was really exciting about that is just having numbers that I can give people in presentations that are current, because I think a lot of times what’s hard is that you tell people, “Hey, you can do this too,” but I bought this house five years ago, well, those numbers don’t exist anymore so I really like having something relevant and new that I can be sharing with people and saying, “You know, this happened this year and you can do it too.”

 

So, Z, I got a question for you on that. Why did you go ahead and sell, because I imagine houses you bought a few years ago are going to cash flow better, you know, obviously, you’ve probably got some equity built up in there that you could maybe redeploy, but like why lose that cash flow? Or were they just pains in the butt properties? Or…?

 

Yeah, I think that when I started in real estate investing, I bought what I could buy so that took me into St. Louis into a cheaper market and I was buying 100-year-old homes that had a lot of kind of quirks and it was so great to hold those homes and take care of them for maybe five years or so, but after that, I was like, “Cool, I’m gonna send this down the river for somebody else,” and I think none of my properties were particularly bad but I just wanted to find something that was easier. So, in 2019, 2020, I bought a lot of new construction. In 2021, those numbers didn’t work the same so I wasn’t doing that but I knew I wanted to sell some of the older homes and find something different. So I ended up buying a short-term rental in Washington State which was kind of a fun departure for me and then I ended up buying a place here in Denver, I’m in Boulder but close enough, a two-bedroom MTR so, yeah, really, really enjoying that property and we closed in July and I still have the exact same tenants, nobody’s moved yet, so it’s been really easy for us as well.

 

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about like your foray into Washington in the short term and why Washington and all the stuff you did there?

 

Sure. Well, this was really an experiment. So I think 2021 was really the height of short-term rentals. They’ve never been so big, and so in demand and so sexy as that year and so, going into 2022, I was thinking I would love to find a new market that hasn’t popped yet and people are coming from the BiggerPockets world, they’re very familiar with Avery Carl, she was also on our podcast, but she talked a lot about specific markets and every time she would talk about a new market that her agents were in, it would really just explode and kind of oversaturate. So, I was looking for new markets and I ended up hearing about one from one of my coaching clients, one of my consulting clients, and she was analyzing this house and decided to pass on it and I thought that it was really interesting so I ended up moving forward with it. And it’s worked out pretty well, but I think the thing that was hard for a lot of people in 2022 is that short-term rentals did so well in 2021 that people were ending up basing their numbers on something unrealistic for this year and as we’ve kind of slipped into a recession, short-term rentals are just stagnant and they might be for a little while here.

 

So, I think that’s part of the reason why I love an MTR right now is because people are not traveling for vacation, they are traveling for work and so that is a big distinction and that will continue to be important. Click To Tweet

 

Love that. Okay, love that analysis, Z. And then, so what about your place in Denver? Same kind of idea?

 

Yeah. Well, so I had this 1031 and I had to buy something right away and the clock was ticking. We had kind of messed it up. We thought that the place in Washington was going to work as our 1031. It didn’t, we messed up, so I had kind of run out of time and had to buy this other place.

 

Oh, why didn’t it work?

 

So it ended up working out great. Well, we were able to qualify for a primary loan and you can’t do a 1031 with a primary loan, you have to do an investor loan so it was just kind of a tricky thing. So we bought two properties instead. And so, this place in Denver was magic. I ended up finding it at the last minute. I think I had two days left to identify once I was under contract and I got it for a screaming deal and there was no competition, it was just kind of crazy for that time, because, even in 2022 early on, it was really competitive. So we ended up closing in July and I was in Europe at that time but I had a lot of help from my designer and some of my assistants and they put it all together without me being involved. So, it really came together and we got it rented in a couple of days and that tenant is still there. I think they’re going to stay ’til March.

 

Well, I love that —

 

So very exciting.

 

That just goes to show you how important it is to have a good team, have your systems in place, because if you do want that flexibility, like, Z, I know you travel six months of the year, maybe even more than that, something crazy, you need to have the boots on the ground, your people that you trust, and clearly you’ve got that all set up.

 

Yes, and some of the highs and lows, so, in June, I think it was the end of June, I went and spoke at the investor conference and I went directly from that conference to Europe and, at that conference, I got COVID and I didn’t know so I ended up heading to Europe and then having to quarantine in London and so kind of messed up most of our time there. But we were able to spend — I think we spent maybe five weeks in Hawaii and we spent six weeks in Europe going through Amsterdam, London, Sicily, and France. So we do lots of travel and I am just so grateful for furnished rentals because they’re the reason that I can do that. Yeah.

 

Love it.

 

Yeah. And as I look a little bit later in the year — well, what’s your question?

 

I was going to ask you what else you got for us this year, Z?

 

Yes. So as I look later in the year, our book promo started like September, October, I took another page from your book and decided to get on as many podcasts as I could and shooting for a hundred and that is podcasts, YouTube interviews, like Facebook groups, like any kind of thing that I could do to promote the book. And so that was a really exhausting pursuit and I think that’s something that will continue for a couple more months here, but has paid off. Our book has already sold over 10,000 copies and it’s just super, super exciting. So, we’re breaking records, we’re kicking ass, and I thank you guys all who have bought our book and have supported us in it. So thank you so much. It is just so rewarding and such like a pinch me moment to see all these milestones getting hit. So really, really cool. Thank you. The last thing I want to highlight is just that this year really forced me into speaking, and if you guys don’t know, I am terrified of public speaking. I remember one time I had to speak in Denver at an event and I couldn’t even enjoy the event or network with anybody because I was crying hysterically before and then did the thing and then I was like I had a headache and I was totally just like worthless afterward because I just felt so terrible. So, I’ve gone from that to now speaking at the BiggerPockets conference and I’m going to be speaking at Google and having just like so many crazy experiences, speaking in all kinds of masterminds, at conferences, so it really is just putting yourself out there and repetitive action. But feeling proud of myself.

 

That’s amazing, Z. Honestly, you crushed it at BPCON. I was there front and center watching you guys and I think you did a great job. What is this Google thing? I haven’t heard about this.

 

Yeah. So Google has a campus here in Boulder and I’m just going to speak to some of the Googlees. I think that will be really fun.

 

Googlers? Googlites?

 

Little Googlers, Googlees. Yeah.

 

That’s so cool. About medium-term rentals or what?

 

Yes, it’s getting a lot of fun opportunities to speak about medium-term rentals. I’m going to be doing that at Amazon. Just a lot of really cool things. So feeling really excited.

 

That’s amazing.

 

But let’s talk about your year because people are probably tired of me and then I can talk about the future. So, let’s hear how did your 2022 go?

 

It’s funny, I was reflecting back on 2022 and it’s crazy. You know like when you look back on the year, you’re like crazy all of the stuff happened and like it’s only been a year, like it hasn’t been a year.

 

Yeah.

 

I feel like I just did a lot of things this year and I’m very grateful for it. And I will say that the last four or five years has been primarily money, business focused and all of that. This year, for me, it’s been a focus but it hasn’t been like my go to, like it just isn’t even in my top seven or my top six of things that happened this year. And so, first thing, I’ll kind of go chronologically as well, the first thing we did is we bought our forever home up here in northern Idaho, or at least we’d like to think of our forever home. It’s not an investment property.

 

We are still house hacking it but we didn’t buy it for the numbers. Click To Tweet

 

We bought it for our own happiness, believe it or not, and settling in there and that was kind of crazy because we didn’t think it was going to close and there was some crazy things happening there but we were able to get in before the interest rates jumped. So super grateful for the lower down payment in what is going to be a long-term play for us. The second thing that happened just after that is I got married to my best friend and my beautiful wife, Grace. That was amazing and crazy to think that it’s — obviously, time flies, but it’s also crazy that was in February. Third thing we did was we ran — I ran an Ironman, me and a few buddies trained and ran an Ironman in the Ironman World Championship in St. George so that was probably the biggest athletic feature of my life.

 

Yeah.

 

While running the Ironman, we were doing —

 

Tell us a little bit about that, like what did it take for you to get to the mental ability to do that? I feel like I could never do that. I can barely finish a 30-minute workout.

 

I tell you what, the human mind is an incredible thing and it was really just a test of mental fortitude. So I signed up for this because I felt like I hadn’t done anything hard athletically in a really long time, like, sure, I go to the gym regularly and all that but it wasn’t like — I didn’t push myself beyond what I thought was possible and I wanted that. And so someone said, “Hey, if you could do a fourteener,” which is like a high mountain climb here in Colorado, which I do a lot of, “you can easily do an Ironman,” and I was like, huh, okay, and so I went and I looked at what Ironman races were available and it turns out that Ironman St. George was available and, at the time, it was not the World Championship but it was the hardest race and it was the most beautiful course that they offered. So I’m going to go for pretty over easy. So we decided on that one. The one on Maui — or not Maui, on Big Island, which are usually the World Championship got canceled because of COVID so they moved the World Championship to St. George so they made that course even harder than I was anticipating and I was, you know what, if I can do the hardest course of Ironman, I don’t have to do another one in my life and I only want to do one. So, I went ahead and just started training. It took 10 months of training, running, biking, swimming, doing each one of those activities two days a week. And you’d be surprised, honestly, I think anybody could run an Ironman. I really sincerely believe that because you have 17 hours to do it, you know what I mean? And so like if you just — it’s just about taking that next step, that next step, that next step. I mean, it sucks. By the end of the day, you’re horrible, but it’s one day of hell for a lifetime of achievement. And so I like those kind of like big leverage things where I can just have one day of pain and I can say I’m an Ironman for the rest of my life. So, yeah, I mean, it was incredible.

 

You heard it here first, people, he leverages every part of his life, not just his real estate portfolio.

 

Not just my real estate portfolio. Yeah. So that was crazy. And that Ironman was actually in the middle of a six-week long road trip that Grace and I had gone through kind of like the Southwest, I guess, like we started in Idaho and down to Denver but then did like Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, all the way back up to Idaho and that was just incredible.

 

Wow, I didn’t even know you guys did that. That’s awesome.

 

Yeah. We were recording the whole time too, Z. That’s how stealthy I am.

 

You’re so sneaky. So sneaky.

 

I know. These were all great things, I guess nothing to like — I mean these are all the great things that financial freedom has gotten me. So I started with real estate when I was 24 and I made a lot of decisions that put me in a position of almost it felt like struggle but not really, like I was sleeping behind the curtain, I was living with roommates, I sacrificed a lot and this year felt like I was reaping the fruits to a lot of my labor. We’re doing all these fun things. So another thing we did is we did two trips to Hawaii this year. I didn’t even realize they were both this year until recently. That’s how long the year has felt but, yeah, we went to Big Island, spent it with some friends at this mansion that they let us have for a crazy good discount. My wife just surprised me with a surprise 30th birthday trip to Kauai so we’ve been to now three of the four main Hawaiian Islands and, yeah, so it’s great. We love Hawaii. But, Z, nothing beats, in our head, nothing beats Maui and we’re attributing it to the fact that we knew all the good places to go because you were the best tour guide ever.

 

That’s right. I love that. Thank you. Great. Are those all your things? Do you have more things?

 

So those are like the fun things. Then there’s also the business things. One more thing too is I’ve also grown a lot in my faith this year and so, in September, I made the decision, after about a year of really contemplating it, to get baptized so that was like a whole new journey and a whole new spiritual awakening that I’ve had and I’m growing in that and learning through that and, yeah, that’s been really exciting as well and I know some people are left or right on that but it’s okay, I love everybody for who they are, it doesn’t matter, but, yeah, so that was a big thing. And then now, so that was my top six and now we’re talking seven, eight going down. These are more business stuff.

 

And so the FI Team has grown. We now have 12 to 15 agents in Denver, all of whom are really excited about helping people achieve financial independence through real estate investing. Click To Tweet

 

We’ve grown to Seattle. We’ve already done five or six deals in Seattle in the first couple of months.

 

Amazing. I love that.

 

Yeah, it’s been great, as well as in the Inland Empire in San Diego. And so we’ve done about three deals down there and still growing, still looking to grow down there as well. And so, yeah, the FI Team is growing. It’s been really, really fun expanding to other cities and watching the team grow and watching our agents take on some leadership positions. We’ve got one guy, his name is Ian, and he hosts a podcast called Invest in Denver so we’re empowering him to do that. We have one woman named Annick, she’s starting to throw some kickass events in Denver for us. She’s been loving that. And so just really empowering the agents that are going through to actually make them feel like and show that they’re super valued as well as leaning into them and doing what they want to do so we get to help them generate more and more leads for us and for themselves. So, it’s been great. Just love being part of the team. And then the last and final, I’m sure there’s more, but this was kind of the biggest one for me was speaking at the BPCON not on house hacking, which is something that I’ve done for the past three, four years and I love house hacking and I’m always happy to speak on it, but I was actually on a panel with Tom Ferry, David Green, Sarah Weaver, Mindy about how to be an investor friendly realtor and I think like might be — it was kind of an inflection point for me where a couple of people came up to me after and said, “Hey, I really wanna learn from you. I really wanna grow and scale my team like you have,” because I never thought what I was doing as being a real estate agent was even special, I thought like how I was helping people was special but not how I was helping agents being special. And so that helped me think like, oh, maybe I could help agents out as well. And so now we’re looking to think about, okay, how can I help agents, help house hackers and real estate investors achieve financial independence through real estate investing, because that’s such a bigger lever, right? Like when I was just an agent by myself, I did maybe 90 or 100 deals in my first year and that that was crazy and I was running around like a chicken with head cut off but that was my cap. It was probably like 100 deals in that first year. But, now, I can have 15 agents each doing 10 or 20 deals.

 

Now we’re looking at 150 to 300 people that we’re able to help and if I can keep growing the agent count, that’s so much scalable, we can help so many more people that way. Click To Tweet

 

And that’s the goal is help as many people achieve financial independence as soon as possible. So, yeah, that was my big year.

 

I love that. I thought that I would model my business after yours when I started and we’ve really diverted to such different businesses, but it’s really beautiful, right? So it’s like I tried nurturing and building a team and realized that it’s not my zone of genius. That’s something that your chief of staff, Karta Elise, loves to say, zone of genius, but I was able to pivot and realize, wow, I really like doing referrals instead and I like having more consulting and doing more of a digital online business than an agent business. So even though I am a real estate agent and I am in a few markets with my team, it’s just not the same. So I love seeing how far you’re able to take it and I also just want people to see that if you’re an agent and you want to leverage, there’s so many different paths and it doesn’t all look the same.

 

100 percent. Yeah, and it’s so funny because you can always go down one path and realize it’s not for you and go down a different way, which, if it’s okay, I can get into some of my lows too. There’s some things that I said I was going to do this year that I didn’t do because I decided to pivot. And the biggest thing that I said earlier this year that I wanted to do was I wanted to get into commercial property by the end of the year and as I was doing research and I went to conferences, I did all of the things needed to get into it education wise, and I feel comfortable if someone’s going to come to me with a commercial property, I think I know how to do it, but it came down to when I was in Hawaii with a group of friends, one of my good friend, Nate Smith, he was on our podcast, he said to me, he’s like, “You should just stick to your lane,” and he’s like, “You’ve learned how to do residential, you’ve learned how to buy properties in Denver and all these other areas, you built your team, why not just like make it easy on yourself and just keep investing in places that you know, keep investing in things that you know?

 

And then when you get to a point of having $5 or $10 million net worth or whatever that is, then you can maybe start leveraging into the commercial space and start playing a little bit more. Click To Tweet

 

But until then, why don’t you just like get there?” And I really kind of like weighed in on that and like sat on that for a long time. Because it’s easy to get that, not impostor syndrome but it’s like you start comparing yourself to other people and I see all my friends going into commercial and seeing all this stuff and it’s so easy to compare yourself and I’m like, you know what, that’s not my goal, my goal is not to have 6,000 units and 100 million dollars in assets under management, like I want a simpler life with enough passive income for me and my family and so I pivoted and first to admit that I didn’t do what I said I was going to do but I think it was for a reason and it took me a long time to come to that decision. So, yeah, that was like one thing, I guess, like low-ish point.

 

Wait, I want to talk about a low too. I’m going to leave in some lows. One low, it’s something I’m experiencing right now, I went from being so balanced and so perfectly financially independent to getting to a place, and I think this is probably something that a lot of agents can resonate with, that it is confusing where to invest your money, marketing or this or that or coaching or different programs, it’s just a lot. There’s a lot out there and you’re building this new business and almost seems like you’re throwing spaghetti at a wall and trying to see what’s going to stick. And so that has been a lot of learning with that and I think I am getting clearer about it, but I think the other low of it is that since the book launched, it was such an influx of promotional opportunities and people coming in that I have really lost my balance and my really sweet like 20 hours a week of work, I am not doing that anymore, but it is going to come back and so I think one thing that you may have seen from — oh, I don’t know if that episode will have come out yet so maybe I won’t mention it but what I will mention is having a strong vision and a maybe a North Star of saying this is where I want to go and is this opportunity taking me closer or further from this place I want to get to.

 

And so I think that’s something that I’m really having to focus on now is weeding out what to do and getting clearer and clearer about where I want to spend my energy and just kind of holding good boundaries around that. Click To Tweet

 

All right, you give us another one.

 

Well, I want to just reflect on what you just said there, Z, and how important it is to just like — Stephen Covey says reverse engineer what you want and so if you start thinking about what you want to do in your life and how you want to live your life and, Z, I know you’re kind of like frugal boujee, like you like to save money but you like to spend every once in a while too on some nice places or whatever it is and so what is it going to take you to get there, like most people don’t need to have 10,000 units, most people don’t need to have X many property, whatever it is, figure out what your goal is and just get there and know that real estate is not supposed to be your life, real estate is supposed to fuel everything else in your life, that is like your relationships and your experiences. Those are the only two things that you get to take with you when you go, relationships and experiences, and so make sure that you’re just really spending time and money into those things and, Z, I think you’re a perfect example of that. I think we all need to be more like you in that regard.

 

Usually, but this is a good reminder and I do love that term, that term “frugal boujee” is great. Thank you for that.

 

So, yeah, I guess one other one of my lows is that I told myself this would be a year of leveling up and it has in many ways, like I said, like the Ironman was a level up, getting married was a level up, getting baptized was a level up, forever home was a level up, but one way I didn’t level up was this commercial investing and really my whole investing portfolio in general. We spent a lot of our excess money that we would typically go ahead and invest in rental properties, we spent a lot like on like settling into our house between like buying furniture and I built a chicken coop, which is actually kind of expensive, and like —

 

Bought a cow.

 

Bought a cow, building things for that, and so like we bought this — like we’re just kind of setting up our property so I sat down with my wife and was like, “Hey, this year has been a year of, you know, we’ve grown our house we’ve settled in but like this coming year, 2023, I really want it to be something of, hey, we need to like expand our portfolio more.” And so hoping to grow the portfolio more in 2023. That was definitely something that took a back burner this year where life kind of came in. And like you said, Z, too where it’s like hard to figure out where to spend your money and we definitely elevated our lifestyle this year, it’s like we’re still financially independent but it’s a lot closer now than it was and so now we’re like, okay, we want to get more rentals so we can have more of that buffer, because I’m not really comfortable making $10,000 in passive income and spending $10,000, like I want to be making double in passive income.

 

I want to make double passive income as I’m spending, because also I like to keep saving that and investing in more and more and more. Click To Tweet

 

Yes, agreed. I love to keep investing because my whole goal is that my active income will become passive income, so that’s always the way that I’m looking at it. It’s interesting, I’m not someone who dwells in the past, I’m such a forward thinker that sometimes it’s hard for me to think about lows so there’s none that are really standing out but maybe some more will pop up. Was that your last one? Should we move to 2023?

 

Yeah, that was the big stuff, for sure. Third one is I sold a property that I didn’t want to sell. Well, I originally thought was going to be like my best cash cow and all these things. It turns out, it was a hellhole, structural issues, all that stuff. I talked about in previous episodes. And I ended up selling it though, sold it for probably like 70 percent of market value to a wholesaler and then, luckily enough, got the seller to give me 80 grand because I think he hit some stuff. So that was kind of a low. I didn’t really want to sell that property. And then the last thing, number four, is, a few years ago, I was doing a BRRRR out in Jacksonville and this contractor totally screwed me out of $30,000. I took him to court this year and the court actually put a judgment on him for three times the amount that he owed me so $90,000. However, he just filed for bankruptcy and he has like debtors ahead of me that he owes and, basically, I’m never going to see that money ever again. And so I could keep throwing bad money, bad money at it but I ultimately just said, “You know what, I’m done with this guy, just let it go,” and so I guess that’s a positive and a negative that I’m letting it go but also I spent a lot of money to try to get this money that I was never able to get.

 

Yeah.

 

There you have it.

 

I think that’s like a great reflection for people. It’s like we’re out here and we’re sharing our stories and some people would say we’re kind of like gurus out there talking about real estate but it doesn’t mean that we’re immune to hardships and it doesn’t mean that we don’t make mistakes, we don’t have bad tenants, we don’t lose money on something, but, luckily, real estate is such a forgiving asset and that, luckily, you are able to just cut your losses on some of these things, like sell off that house that was a little bit of a money pit and just move forward and know that that money put elsewhere is going to help you grow and you’re going to keep growing because you’ve got diversified assets. I can talk about a low now because I’m remembering it but we had a flood on one of our houses this year and it was literally like from one day to the next, no real warning, and not even in a floodplain or anything, it was one of those kind of like 100-, 500-year occurrences, but it just kind of evaporated and I’m not even sure what the total amount was but probably around $12,000 and we were so fortunate to have that in the bank account because I like to keep at least $10,000 for each of my houses just sort of sitting there waiting, but it pretty much drained our bank account and that could have seemed like all the cash flow we’ve made over years if I really think about it, so it’s really sad to have that but, luckily, this home has appreciated for us, we got it back up and running, it’s in great condition now again, we’ve got tenants in there and everything is happy, but it was about a month that was really, really hard. Just not really knowing what’s going to happen, is this home going to be condemned, will we have to get rid of everything, so it was a tough moment.

 

Did insurance cover that?

 

No, because it’s water entry so something good for people to know is that there’s two types of water issues that can happen. One is backup, so if like too much water fills the pipes and it backs up, you can have that covered. Unfortunately, that wasn’t covered either because of, I don’t know, a glitch in the system or something. But we also had water entry so the water came in from the street and just like under the doors, essentially, and that is considered a flood and most people don’t have flood insurance unless you live in a flood area so that is not covered. So, no, this was all out of pocket. But, again, we’re here on the other side, so things do happen.

 

Yeah, real estate is hard but usually there’s a silver lining because there’s a reason why people do it. The hardships are usually worth it.

 

Totally. All right. Well, let’s look forward to 2023. I imagine it won’t be so long because we will have more of a vision and less of all of the things that we’re going to do but why don’t you tell me a little bit about what you’re hoping for for yourself?

 

Yeah, that’s a great thing. So I’ll kind of start with the business stuff because I think that’s always where the big goals come from. So, for 2023, like I said, we really want to expand our rental portfolio a little bit more so I think I’d like to pick up maybe four or five houses this year, probably three in another market, a cheaper market, we’re kind of still looking potentially somewhere in Indiana or maybe go back to Fayetteville and maybe one or two here in northern Idaho Coeur d’Alene area and just keep kind of like building the portfolio as we know how to build it. And, yeah, so that’s kind of like where we’d like to be by the end of this year. In terms of the FI Team, I want to be totally grown out in Seattle and in the Inland Empire San Diego so if you’re listening to this and you’re in Seattle or you’re in Southern California area and you want to be part of the FI Team and you want to partner up, like I would love to talk with you guys about this, but really looking to grow the team and help more and more people out in those areas as well as grow in northern Idaho as well. I’m licensed here in Idaho. And so, yeah, I’m actually looking at houses with my first client today so, yeah, excited to get going here and kind of get back boots on the ground.

 

Oh my gosh, Craig is out showing houses?

 

Yeah, yeah, getting back to it.

 

I didn’t think I’d ever see the day. Love it.

 

Yeah, it’s kind of fun. A small part of me misses it a little bit so excited to kind of check it out. And then, of course, ideally, we’ll grow a team out up here as well. And so that’s kind of it from a business perspective. From a health perspective, I want to get to —

 

Wait, let me ask a question about your business. So, how did you guys do your goals? Because I think probably people are thinking, “Okay, I wanna have a vision for next year but how do I figure out what I even want?” So did you guys get together as your team and did you do like a retreat? Did you go away? Did you have a brainstorming session? What helps you find your North Star?

 

Yeah, so I guess from like the FI Team perspective, we run off of EOS, so that’s like the traction entrepreneur operating system and so our 30-year vision is to reduce the US retirement age from 65 to 55 and so that’s going to take a lot of people retiring much earlier than 65 to get there and we’d like to be a big part of that and so what that looks like is, okay, like if we can help 200, 300, 400 people in each market to start house hacking and educating them on financial independence, that’s just us, right? If we get 200 or so, that means there’s probably at least 2,000 and maybe even 10,000 people actually looking to make a big dent in this and then it’s just a networking effect. And so our whole mission is to help people — and so then that’s the North Star, that’s like way, way far away. And so now it’s like our next step is, okay, let’s conquer Seattle and let’s conquer San Diego and we’ll just keep moving from place to place to place. Another thing that we’re going to do this year that will really help our lever point is that one of my friends who also runs a team of investor-friendly agents out in Austin, we’re thinking about joining up and creating a mastermind for investor-friendly real estate agents and so that would just be something along the lines of, again, pulling that lever. If we can help more agents build teams that can help 100 to 200 people a year, that’s an even bigger lever to really go towards that big North Star of helping people achieve financial independence. So, yeah, that’s kind of it from the business side.

 

Well, and I would love for you to talk just a little bit about how do you personally find your guidance, like are you using — just because people might be out there going like, “I’m thinking of doing something where I want some accountability,” are you using a coach? Are you doing stuff in a group? What kinds of things do you use for yourself?

 

I think of coaches as absolutely indispensable. So I’ve had a coach now for the past two years and they’ve changed, but now I’ve got one that’s really helping me grow my real estate agent team, and so once you get to a team of 15 or so, it’s hard to find people that are house hackers but looking just for you, so now it’s like we’re expanding into more of the residential space and educating those people about, “Oh, hey, look, you could house hack this place.” We’re kind of looking to kind of capture some people that way and so we’re looking to kind of grow that way. The coach, I think, is insurmountable. Also, being a part of a mastermind, like a part of GoBundance, a lot of the guys there keep me in check, keep me accountable, and all that good stuff too. So I definitely — and surround yourself with people that are older than you and that are where you want to be, maybe not even necessarily older than you but like they are where you want to be and you look up to see how they got there and what their values are and what they say and do what they say.

 

Nice. Okay, awesome. Thanks for sharing that.

 

Yeah. How about you, Z? What are some of your business goals?

 

I think what’s really important to me now is realizing that this is like the first time in my life that I’ve had more opportunities than I can say yes to. I’ve definitely had a lot of varied opportunities come in, come across my desk, and I’ve been able to just say, “Hey, I’ll try this out and then if it’s not a good fit, change,” similar to building an agent team, but now there’s just too many and I’m realizing I’m spread really thin so I am learning how to leverage my time and this may look like doing things like here where we are on a podcast where there’s maybe 10,000 people listening instead of something where I talk to people one on one, so just trying to figure out how can I leverage my time, how can I leverage my reach and be able to impact, inspire, share, and just like help as many people as possible, and I think just doing it one on one is harder so I’m definitely going to be doing a little bit less of that. The second thing is I really want to reconnect with what I love, so reconnecting to hobbies and reconnecting to being a whole person. I think it’s really easy for me to just get into a workspace. I get so excited about investing, about learning something new and just like really geeking into the space that I can lose myself and I can become such a one note person that it’s all about business and finance and not so much about, like you said, expanding into your spirituality, having friends, relationships, travel, whatever feels really important to you.

 

And so, for me, I know that I’m out of balance right now and that it’s going to be really important for me to take the next month or so to bring that balance back. Click To Tweet

 

So that is really, really important to me.

 

So we’re going to keep you accountable, Z, so work less.

 

I love it. Okay. One of the things — ooh, I lost my train of thought, I think. Maybe I’ll let you speak for a little while. Do you have any other things?

 

Yeah, I can talk a little bit about from like investing perspective, like I said, we want to pick up a few more houses. What our North Star is there is we just have like a passive income number that we want to get to and it’s hard because passive income is such a flurrying thing, like you have one expense and then the whole number is turned off for that month and so how do you know how much passive income you really have per month? So we just decided that we want to have like $20,000 of rent over our mortgages every month and so everything else is like, okay — oh, no, sorry, $30,000 of rent over our mortgage every month, like before property management, before everything, so after you take into account property management expenses and all that, we’re somewhere around that $20,000 a month that actually would come to us and so that’s kind of like how we’re looking at it just on a broad perspective and so we’re kind of slogging towards that goal. And, yeah, and that’s just kind of like — because I’ve always looked at it as just the passive income number and I was just like, “Just so confusing because it always changes,” especially with Airbnbs and all that kind of stuff.

 

Yeah, so, for me, I feel less inclined to have monetary goals. And I know it’s this kind of like difficult thing that measuring by number of doors and measuring by income or how much money is coming through something is just an easy way to measure, but I find that I don’t want to put so much importance in that space because I can get to a place, like you said, where you’re comparing yourself, especially in social media where we spend a lot of our time because of what we’re promoting all the time. So I don’t really want it to be that I have this big goal towards number of doors, I just want to continually be improving my portfolio so picking up things when I find good opportunities and letting go of properties that are not serving me or that my goals have changed.

 

I think one thing that’s really changing for me now the more and more I learn about the medium-term rental space is that I want to get really into corporate housing and so one thing I teach people about is that there’s kind of the basic way that you can get into MTRs and that’s just doing renting off of Airbnb and Furnished Finder but there’s a deeper place where you can be getting contracts and that can be insurance, it can be medical placement, it can be government contracts, a number of things, but they pay so much more and they actually pay more than short-term rentals so it’s a place that we are dabbling in right now. And so, to do that well, it feels like we need to have all of our portfolio kind of in one or two places concentrated so that we can be the guy to help anybody. So if you’ve got a referral for us, we can say yes. And so I definitely do want to have five to ten places in the markets that I choose. And so I’m still figuring out what is that market? What is going to be the best for me and, time and again, I’m really excited about Colorado, even though the numbers are hard here, even though it’s a very expensive market, but one thing that is nice is that I feel like there’s a certain privilege that we have once you’ve been an investor for a while. You can say, “Hey, I am gonna invest in this market that is an appreciation market or it’s more convenient for me and maybe it’s an expensive market and I don’t get as many properties but I can do that because I have access to those funds now,” and so I think that’s kind of where I’m going. I do love Colorado, so we’re going to see.

 

Yeah, we had — who was that guy that came on the — I follow him now on Instagram. He came on —

 

Jesse Vasquez?

 

Yes, Jesse Vasquez. That was a great episode about that. Did he inspire you at all?

 

Yeah, Jesse has inspired me. He does mostly nurse contracts, which is also great, but I think it’s just been that the more and more I hear about corporate housing and the couple people that I suss out that are doing it, I get very inspired by the ways that they can leverage their portfolio to have less properties but just make so much more. So, those are things that are very interesting to me right now, yeah.

 

Got it. Cool. Awesome, Z. That sounds like a fun year ahead. Do you want to talk about like non-business goals or…?

 

Well, I mean, I think there’s things that I would like to do but I don’t know if I really want accountability around them. Like in COVID, I picked up the ukulele and I was like really into it and jamming out in my house and then I just totally let it go this whole last year, so it would be kind of fun. I see it around and I feel like it’s just collecting dust and like staring me down, like why haven’t you played me in a while? So there are definitely other things that I would like to build out in my life. And I’m getting super geeky about longevity so maximizing like how long you can live and like your health so it’s been really fun to kind of like geek in that space and learn more there.

Have you read Lifespan and David Sinclair and have you gone through that?

 

I am reading Lifespan as we speak, and so fun. Yeah, so it’s very, very cool.

 

I’ve been taking NMN now for like a year or so and trying to do some of that stuff as well and, yeah, it’s a fun journey to go down.

 

Awesome. Yeah, there’s a longevity clinic here in Boulder but, of course, it’s just one of those things where everything in life I feel like is like $5,000 and you’re like do you want to spend it here or here or here?

 

Oh, my gosh, yeah.

 

There’s a lot of expensive ways but optimizing my health doesn’t seem like there would be a better way to spend my money.

 

There is 99 things that a healthy person wants and only one thing an unhealthy person wants.

 

Yeah, that’s true. So the last part before we go, because we’re here almost at an hour, is that they wanted to get any information or recommendations of what we would advise newbies coming into today’s market and like how to get started. I’m going to start with just saying that, forever and always, I love a house hack. I know you feel the same. And it doesn’t matter if you’re house hacking by rent the room, by leaving your apartment and Airbnbing or having a mid-term rental roommate, however you want to do it, but it is just the best way to get started. If you can have a low down payment and a low interest rate, you just really can’t lose.

 

Yeah. I mean, obviously, you guys know I’m a big proponent for house hacking. Even before that, though, like what are you going to do? I think the first thing you need to do is find yourself somebody that gets you into the community of where you are, the real estate investing community, go on BiggerPockets, find somebody there, reach out to some investor-friendly real estate agents. If you don’t have one, let Z or I know, we will find you one in your area. We do it all the time. We have a huge network. And just get that — you need that one connection, right? Like I know, me personally, if someone comes to me in Denver and they want to look, for a house hacker who want to be part of our community, I’m like, “Oh, well, yeah, come on here, we have these meetups, you can meet a bunch of people. Oh, you gotta meet this lender. You gotta meet this contractor. You gotta meet all these people. And, eventually, you’re gonna be in the community within a month.” So you need to find the one person that can introduce you to everybody in your market so you can be in the community, you can see people investing and then you’ll be like, “Oh, if this guy can do it, I can do it,” and then that’s what gets you behind. So find that person.

 

Yes, and one way to find that person or just to kind of start building up your group and your inspiration is through meetups. So there are virtual ones, there are in-person ones, so definitely reach out and go find those. You can go to meetup.com. You can check out Facebook groups. They even have meetups and events listed in BiggerPockets. So definitely check those out.

 

Yes. Awesome, Z. This was such a fun episode. I love hearing about your year. I think you hear about all this stuff kind of throughout the year but it’s nice to get a recap and really kind of like solidify in our memories as to what happened. And also super exciting to hear what you got going for next year and I’m excited to live this next year with you on this podcast and maybe some other things coming up as well.

 

All right, guys. Well, share some of your goals and dreams with us. We’d love to hear it. I had a post just recently in my Facebook group called Airbnb Investing where we were doing just that and people were sharing what markets they’re looking in so they can connect with other investors. That’s a great way to do it. You can also share and tag us on Instagram and just let us know what you’re visioning for this year. We’d love to see.

 

Absolutely, yeah, tag us on Instagram, follow us, I’m @thefiguy. Zeona is…

 

@zeonamcintyre, and we will see you guys soon.

 

See you next week.

 

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