One of the hardest life questions to answer is how can you take care of your loved ones when you’re gone? Saving your hard-earned cash in the bank doesn’t cut it anymore in this economy. In this week’s episode, real estate expert Ruben Garcia shares how you can multiply your assets and secure your family’s financial future through real estate investments.
From a dead-end job at UPS to managing multiple rental properties and a successful coaching business, Ruben is living proof that it’s never too late to turn your life around with passive income. As the Proven by Ruben CEO recounts his first steps and rookie mistakes when starting out, hosts Craig and Zeona learn a thing or two about accountability circles, the RV business model, and building a legacy. Listen and learn more about Ruben’s tips and tricks to succeeding and scaling up in the Airbnb industry.
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Futureproofing Your Family’s Income Through Real Estate Investments With Ruben Garcia
We’ve got someone today, Mr. Proven by Ruben Garcia, who lost a tooth, got it replaced, has got tons of wisdom, it’s actually kind of the perfect transition for once. Z, what do you think about Ruben and all that good stuff?
I love Ruben. I met Ruben at EXPCON, I think. Maybe actually I met him at FINCON, but he is part of kind of the Five Pillars family so you guys may have checked out episodes with Shelby Osborne and Michael Glaspie, they are all kind of from the same group and these guys are just killers. They stay so motivated and they hustle and they bring each other up and they’ve all created really, really impressive lives so definitely go back and check out those episodes if you haven’t listened to them already and let’s bring Ruben on.
Proven by Ruben, aka Mr. Ruben Garcia. Welcome to the show, my friend. How you doing today?
I’m doing absolutely amazing. How are you?
Dude, so good, man. It’s so good to have you on. I feel we’ve been trying to catch you for a long time. You’re like the hottest catch in the sea but we finally got you and now to learn from you. So, why don’t you tell us where it all started, man? How did you first hear about financial independence?
Like you guys or — because now I think of FI guy, I think of you, right?
Financial independence as a whole, man, even before me.
Yeah, so it really started to come into place when I was selling real estate, not only selling real estate, I was a coach or a consultant or whatever, however you want to call it, and I went to a 10x Growth Con down in Miami and I got kind of chin checked by somebody in the audience. I was like, “Man, this is how far I am with all of this stuff,” and he was like, “Okay, cool, cool, cool.” He was like, “Let me ask you a quick question.” I say yeah. He said, “What would happen if your plane went down on the way home?” I was like, “Well, I guess I would die,” and he was like, “Yeah, you would die. That’s exactly right. You would die.” He was like, “And you said you have kids, right?” and I was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” and he was like, “Okay. So, you’re the breadwinner?” I was like, “I like to think that I am.” He was like, “Okay, so what would happen to the income if you died?” and I was like, “It would quit coming into the family,” and he was like, “Oh, okay, and you call yourself a father?” and I was like, oh, but it hit me.
That’s probably the worst punch in the face than the one you got 20 years ago.
That’s right. Yeah, yeah. And it really woke me up because he was like, “You need some type of asset or something that kicks off cash with you or without you, if you’re here or if you’re not here,” and that was the wakeup call. And that same day, I was working with a large real estate consulting company. I backed out of that. I started thinking about my exit out of the firm, which were part of the firm we’re with now but it was another firm. I started thinking about everything that same day, including financial independence and how to build cash flow. It was all from that one conversation.
Okay, so what year was this? Like when did this revelation happen? What exactly were you doing at the time?
Yeah, so that was probably four years ago, around four years ago, and I was doing at the time, I think I had 52 coaching clients at that time and I was working at two Keller Williams offices being a productivity coach.
Okay, so you weren’t a real estate agent yet, you were just…
Oh, I was an agent, yeah.
Oh, you were an agent? Okay. So you’re an agent, a coach, and this was back in 2018, right? Maybe in 2018 roughly. Okay. So great, man. So you talked to this guy. What are your next steps?
So, one, I picked my tears up off the floor and I was like, “Holy crap, I really need to fix out — I need to fix everything,” and, even then, Shelby was next to me and she was like, “What do you have for yourself? What are you doing for yourself?”Because I was doing a lot for a lot of other people other than myself, so all of that big hurricane tornado really got me to take action. Click To Tweet
I went back to the Airbnb, like I said earlier, I quit that one position, it was a business development thing. I started to figure out my exit out of Keller Williams and I also started to look at, okay, so what are my monthly expenses in the family? And if I can figure out how to create enough cash flow that hits that number, then at least the family would be good if I died because the cash flow we created would at least cover the monthly expenses in our house and that’s how it started.
So then how were you going to find this cash flow? Did you already have rentals in mind or did you have to like go and do some research and figure out like, “Where am I gonna get this income that’ll be more passive?”?
Yeah, so, luckily, I was already surrounded by Shelby and Mike and Dan the man at the time and it was a big cash flow conversation around real estate. I already had one but that was it and that sure as heck wasn’t going to cover the monthly expenses so we all created a passive income mastermind once a month to figure out what our goals were, we ran goal and actual every single month, but that’s how it started, it was like how can real estate get us there? But we started looking at real estate and revenue share. And just those two things. Of course, it’s kind of expanded then but those were the only two avenues that we saw that could help us cover that. It was around $2,000 a month that I needed to cover.
Awesome. And when you say revenue share, what do you mean by that?
So, I come from — my last firm Keller Williams was just profit share and that I thought was absolutely amazing. It wasn’t life changing money, that’s for sure, and I started to understand the difference between profit share and revenue share. Profit share, the office has to be profitable first then the profit, they have to actually split that with the investors and all of that before passing it back down to the agents so if you could find out, it’s very watered down and it’s attached to the financial responsibility of whoever runs that office. Who knows what they’re spending money on, right? If the office is even profitable. Revenue share is completely different. Revenue share is cut straight from the top. So just as much as let’s use Keller Williams because I just used them but they have a franchise fee, 6 percent. When you close a deal, you pay Keller Williams International 6 percent off the top. Why does Keller Williams International want it off the top? Because they don’t have to worry about the financial responsibility of anybody running an office, right? And for us at eXp, revenue share comes straight from the top. We don’t have to worry about the financial responsibility of anyone.The money comes straight to us and we then can decide what we want to do with that money and it’s highly profitable. Click To Tweet
Okay, so love that. So you’ve got this two-pronged approach to passive income, right? You’ve got rental properties and you’ve got revenue share. And so why don’t we dive into, we already talked about — I mean, if you’re okay with it, let’s talk about your first rental property, maybe the one you picked up even before you met this guy that punched you in the chin, figuratively.
Yeah, so you know what the sounds like?
Yeah, it sounds like…
The For Real Deal.
Ruben, this is the first deal that you do as an investor, whether it’s intentional or unintentional, so we want to get into the nitty gritty. Where’d you buy it? What did it look like? All the good stuff, all the numbers and everything.
Yeah, very good. So I first bought it when I was like 18. So it was a VA foreclosure. I lived in it with a buddy and we just wanted out of our house because we were 18. No heat, no nothing, cigarette stained walls, it was gross, but we were 18 and we were free so that’s all that counted and we had a blast in that house. And, eventually, obviously, I moved out of that house. When I did, I had a buddy move into it and start renting it from me. Worst mistake, he tore it up, his pets tore it up. I had to actually refi the house to pick it back up to its original conditions but I never thought about real estate investing, dude, it was never really a thing on my mind at all. I thought real estate sales was going to be my thing and, before that, I thought UPS was going to be my thing. I never thought about investing. So I kind of stumbled on it. And he started paying monthly whatever for rent.
Do you remember what you picked it up for? Like how much it cost?
Yeah, it was $32,000, I want to say.
Okay, and this is back in the dinosaur age just because Ruben’s super old.
Yeah, I’m like 93. The beard adds age.
The beard adds age and wisdom. I don’t see any grays yet though so that’s good. But when were you 18? What year was that? Just give me a frame of reference on that place.
I graduated 2003 and I was 17 when I graduated so around there.
Okay, so 2003, 2004, you pick up your first property. It’s not really — this isn’t even an intentional investment property, right? Because you’re like 15 years before even thinking about passive income.
So this is why the price is at $32,000. The numbers are just different, rents will be less, price will be less, it all works the same, the concepts are all the same so don’t get too caught up in the numbers. But you bought it for $32,000. It sounds like you rented to your buddy. I’m curious, and you said that was a big mistake, and I’m curious as to like, one, why did you do that? Did you just not know? And also are you still friends with this person or did that kind of kill the relationship?
Oh, killed the relationship. So, we’re no longer friends because of it. But extreme ownership, it was my fault, right? I didn’t know what it looked like to be a landlord, I didn’t know how much to charge, I didn’t know if there was contracts, I didn’t know anything. I said, “Oh, I have a house you could live in,” and I guess, I think it was like $900 — no, it couldn’t have been. It’s probably like $400 or $500, maybe $500 a month. And I was like, “You could do that and that’d be cool and we’ll be friends,” and that was literally it. I was the worst, the worst landowner — not landowner, you know what I’m saying.
Landlord, thank you. I was terrible. And that was my fault. I went in there and the pets really chewed up the carpet and screwed up everything and peed all over the place and kicked them out and we’re no longer friends because of it but I’ll take ownership of that. That was my fault.
So tell us about how you turned it around. So, it sounded like you did like a refi and pulled some money out. How much did it cost you? And then, at that point, how did you rent it out?
Yeah, so I want to say I did do the refi because buying it at such a low price and obviously the market appreciates, that’s why we all like real estate, in most markets, it appreciates, and pulled the money out, got a contractor, negotiated that, number one, learned how to negotiate with contractors. I think we paid like 20 some odd thousand to bring it back to where it was. So I had equity in the home.
Yeah. So I mean, how much did you rent it for after that and did you take maybe a more professional approach of finding a proper tenant, doing a lease, all that kind of stuff?
So check this out. I said, “You know what? I suck. I need a rental manager,” but check this out, I don’t like the fact that rental managers check every six months or so of the property. If this is an asset that I want to take care of, six months isn’t enough. So what if there was another platform that we can have more inspections and maybe cash flow the same? Here rolls in short-term rentals. I started looking at that. I said, “But, damn, I don’t want to take care of like towels and toilet paper,” but we had a rental manager, only one at the time, that was willing to take it on and run a short-term rental and the only reason I got into that game was because I got burned so bad, that this person tore up everything in the house, I just wanted more inspections. It was not a cash flow game. What ended up happening is we put it on Airbnb and ended up getting paid, I want to say at that time, on average, probably $1,500, $1,600, $1,700 a month revenue from that home, which is way more than what I was getting paid before, but it was purely inspections that got me into that game.
That’s so random. So what year was this now? Because Airbnb started in 2008 so did you get in really, really early or a little bit later than that?
Probably a little bit later than that. So, let’s see, four or five, let’s see. I don’t know, what’s this year? I probably got into that game five or six years ago, around that time, if I’m doing my math correct.
So maybe 2017-ish.
Something like that.
So was this before you got punched in the chin you got into the Airbnbs or is this after?
Okay, so maybe a little — maybe like 2018, 2019, you kind of got into it.
Okay. And so, basically, did you just keep this one rental property from 2003 the entire time?
Yeah, exactly, that was it. That’s all I had, because it wasn’t really part of my game plan, you know what I mean?
Yeah, but you didn’t sell it, you didn’t — I mean, there’s like a million things you could — I’m sure that was like in the back of your mind, like, “I could sell it,” like 2007, 2008 happens, or all this stuff, like all this turmoil and you were just like, “No, we’ll just do that for its cash flow and it’s good. We’ll just hold it”?
Exactly, because my idea was, even at that time, I had a car and a truck and the whole idea was if the car breaks down, which it would, I could use the truck. There was always this back of my mind I always needed a backup plan, a plan B, and the house was basically that in my head.It was like if we lose where we’re living, at least we already have a house. It wasn’t an investment, it was more of a safety play. Click To Tweet
Okay, I see.
And then you jump start and you go into the — okay, let’s grow, let’s expand, and so like how do you grow so quick? So I guess, yeah, now let’s jump to 2019 here after you get punched in the grill. What happens?
Yeah, so time on task, right? So we got together when we started realizing this is something we need to do, we built out the — one, you got to have a goal, which ours was $2,000 a month cash flow, and I found myself around accountability partners who could care less about my feelings, and so, for anybody who’s listening, you got to have that, where you can’t have somebody just pat you on the back and be like, “You really tried this month,” like, “Nah, F that, you didn’t try hard enough, you didn’t hit goal. What the hell is your problem?” And that’s the accountability that we had and that I loved and that’s what we did. And we did that every single month and we were able to hit goal in the first year that we focused on cash flow. So, we just started picking up properties, turning them into Airbnbs, which we’re no longer but, at the time, Airbnbs, and then started really focusing on delivering value within our agents when we moved over to eXp to grow the revenue share.
Okay, so this big inflection in 2018, 2019, you moved from Keller Williams to eXp, you’re getting the revenue share, you’re expanding your agent team, I think that’s kind of like when Five Pillars really started taking off as well. Actually, were you part of the five pillars or were you just like the mentor of the Five Pillars?
Well, Shelby and I, we worked together when it was just Shelby back at Keller Williams, and then when I left to eXp, she came over too and signed me as her sponsor and then growth happened.
Okay, I see. And go ahead, Z.
So, I just want to hear what was the first intentional purchase? Because you guys have this great mastermind and I know Shelby built out to like 70 units because we’re good friends. I don’t know as much about your portfolio but what was that first deal that felt like, “Okay, I’m an investor, I have a goal, I’m looking for $2,000 a month this”?
Yeah, so, remember, I moved out of the home that we’re talking about, which we’ll just call it Odom, and I moved into a house called Lexington and, at that time, I was dating my wife and we were like, “You know what,” because we’re starting to create this thing and we said, “Let’s just move out of this thing, turn this into an investment property,” because we looked at the numbers and it just made sense so that became our net. It wasn’t really much as a purchase as it was, “Let’s just leave here and turn this thing into a rental and buy another home that will eventually turn into a rental too.” So that started that progression. So, the house I’m actually in now will be a rental probably next year, but, of course, since we’ve lived here, we’ve been purchasing other properties. But that was my next step after that was like, “Hey, the house we’re in could cash flow and it has enough equity. Let’s leave.” And so we did and, at that time, I was the CEO of that Keller Williams office, I left that position, went into productivity coach so it was full commission, my wife was pregnant and I went on credit cards, but I didn’t care because the long-term goal, your Northern Star was to create passive income and you couldn’t allow any excuses to get in the way, even having a job, right? So I just left, we went on credit cards and figured it out ever since and I’m glad I made that move.
I love it. So I want to hear the breakdown of that place. So you’re already living in it but what did you end up buying it for? What did you end up renting it for? What did it cost you every month? Do you have a little bit of those numbers in your head?
Yep. So we left, I think she bought it for like $85,000 at the time, it was a flip, and it was in Hope Mills, which is a great area, and once we left, we turned it into a long-term rental because looking at the numbers, we could cash flow like $100 or $150 a month or something like that and we said, That’s cool, that’s the beginning. We could start this thing out.” But since Odom was doing so well on Airbnb, we said, “Screw this, let’s turn this thing into an Airbnb,” and we did and then, before you knew it, the revenue was coming in around the same of what Odom was coming in to as well. And what I want to say is like the cash flow that we were getting, we weren’t uplifting our lifestyle. We were literally pumping all that stuff into an account and that’s why we’re not cash heavy because we pumped it into an account and then we started looking at that money and saying, “Man, our bank account suck,” right? Inflation is eaten this thing so if we could park this thing into an asset or a bank account slash house that has a higher return on the money, then that’s a good play and that’s what we need to do. So the money that we were making on both of those properties, we were just holding to look for our next property, which we ended up finding that as well.
And so the income was probably after expenses, maybe like 1,000 bucks a month, right? Profit?
On each property.
Yeah. And for us, that was like —
So people —
— “It’s amazing.”
I know, that’s a lot of money, because most people are excited about $100 a door, something like that, $100, $200, but the scary part about that is that if you have a furnace break or you need to do something with the roof, it’s like it could eat your profit for the year so it’s nice when you have bigger numbers there. And then the thing I just want to point out to people is that if you have single-family homes, just keep in mind that there’s a lot of utilities and expenses, right? So a single-family home can cost you $400 or $500 a month just because you’ve got to get the lawn care and all of the other things, snow removal, maybe, depending on where you live.
Water, electric, cable, if you desire to do that —
Sewer, trash —
It’s the whole thing.
It’s a lot of things.
It’s a lot of overhead and we’ll get into later though, if you want to, but go ahead.
Yeah, so awesome, man. So you got these two properties now they’re each cash flowing you 1,000 bucks a month and then you decide to move — and you’re kind of like house hacking really, like you’re — but it’s not like you’re — you’re kind of house hacking because you’re buying the house, you’re moving out and then renting it out and that was kind of like it sounds like a strategy for a little bit there but like I know you grew from one, two, skip a few, 99, 100 kind of thing so like take us through that journey of like how did you scale ’cause I know that was a big part of your plan.
So what we ended up doing, which was great is we hit goal, and I think the next thing is we didn’t get complacent with hitting goal. It was exciting that I could die and the family was now, well, at least could pay for expenses, but to surround yourself with people who say, “You know what, have you reached your potential?” and the answer is no. Yeah, go ahead, sorry.
When you when you say hitting goal, does that just mean like you hit your baseline financial independence number or…?
Yeah, the $2,000 a month.
Yeah, it was $2,000 a month.
So we hit that and what was crazy is we hit it fairly easy, right? What you focus on expands, right? And that’s what we did. And your activities fill the time allowed and so we gave ourselves a certain amount of time with this accountability group so we just made it happen no matter what, even including going on credit cards to make it happen, we just did whatever it took. So to scale up from there, the cash that we were making, we were very disciplined on not upgrading our life. And, for me, it’s easy because I didn’t grow up with money and I was like, whatever, like this is too easy not to like spend the money. So we collected the money and what we did was — so my wife and I have a meeting called State of the Marriage once a month and it’s what do we want to invest in next, how do we want to scale, and so we come up with three options, buy a short-term rental, buy an RV to rent out and to scale that, or to go into partnership with somebody. We’ve never been in partnership with anybody. And whichever one of these happened first, we were going to move forward with. Well, within my database, somebody came up and said, “Hey, listen, we might think about selling our house, no one’s lived in it for years.” We went to go check it out. It was a disaster. It’s all documented on my YouTube, if you want to see a bunch of roaches and rats. And we said, “You know what, we could buy this thing cash,” and we have enough cash to rehab it so we don’t need a mortgage on this one. So we negotiated the price at $25,000, which that’s very, very low, but go look at the house, and we put 30-ish, some odd in it and I think the ARV is about 120 in the neighborhood and we put that one on Airbnb as well was the next step and we just kept doing that. We just kept using that cash, finding another property that came from our own database and dumping the money into it. So, out of those three things, it ended up being properties that we found first. One year, we had enough equity that we could purchase the RV, which we started that a little over a year ago and that was cash flowing well now too.
All right, guys, so I’m going to take a pause here and do a little ad. One thing that Ruben is pointing out so well is that having community around you and accountability can make the difference and so if you guys are looking to invest in Airbnbs, whether it’s short-term rental or mid-term rental, we have a group on Facebook called Airbnb Investing so go reach out to us there. There’s now 1,200 people and it’s always growing and people are answering each other’s questions and helping them out, getting to know people and their investing areas and giving them a lot of feedback about what’s working, what’s not working, so it’s a great community and I think you guys will really grow there. All right, back to the show. All right, Craig, what you got for us?
All right, Ruben, so you’re having these monthly meetings with your wife, just a quick recap because you know how much I love recaps. You started off in 2003 with your one little rental property, not even the thing you lived in, just because you needed a place to live. That was your safety net for the next 15 years. You get punched in the chin, you’re hitting goal, $2,000 a month of passive income very quickly. Now you’re looking to scale, right? And so I know that you’ve got a handful of rental properties, you’ve got the RV business, but how were you growing your rental property business? Or how many units do you have now?
We have four. We only have four units and —
Oh, you only have four units? Okay.
Yeah, and this one will make five once we move out of this one.
Okay. And so where is the bulk of your income coming from now then?
So we look at that, we track that, because now we have more than one passive income source. Real estate comes in, where was that? I just ran the numbers for year to date. Came in at, I want to say second place, but first place is revenue share.
Okay. Are you okay to disclose how much you make in revenue share per month?
Yeah. Well, I’ll do a year. So this year, we went over six figures in revenue share alone, which is obviously more than $2,000 a month so I can literally die at any time, which is kind of cool to know that this is going to the family, which is another reason why my wife is licensed, right? Number two is either real estate or the RV rental, I have to go back and look at that and then swap one of those for third place.
So tell us a bit about this RV rental. You’ve kind of been hinting at it. What is this business and how does it all work?
Well, we decided to get into it because of the pandemic, right? The pandemic, we saw a large influx of people that said, “Screw you guys, I’m buying an RV and I’m out,” right? And we said, “Well, dang, if Airbnb is just starting to get too saturated in our market, how could we adjust?” Because too many people complain and, really, there’s an opportunity somewhere with every obstacle and that’s what we found and we said, “Okay, let’s run the numbers on this thing,” and it ended up looking like a great cash flow so we decided to go for it. We just followed the numbers and the numbers have worked out.
So how do you evaluate, how do you analyze an RV deal? And like maybe that’s something that someone who’s just getting started could do, because it’s probably cheaper to buy an RV than to buy a house. Could that be a strategy for someone just starting out to make some extra income?
You know, no financial adviser, but, I mean, yeah. I just got off the phone with one of our agents in Georgia and she’s literally going to an RV dealership today. But, yeah, I think so.The way that we looked at that is like any other agent or investor, what do you do? You go to Zillow or the MLS and you just see what the market’s accepting. Click To Tweet
So we went to outdoorsy.com, rving.com, blah, blah, blah, blah, and said, “Okay, so what is the market accepting in our area? Is it a real thing?” and it ended up being a real thing, but not saturated like Airbnbs in our area. So we said, “Okay, so if we were to finance it, it’s real estate. If we were to finance at this point, what’s our monthly payment? Oh, okay, that’s your monthly payment? All right. Is that insurance too? Okay, that’s insurance too, okay. And what if we brought in a manager at 25 percent? Okay, that works well too.” And we start looking at all of this and you say, man, we could still cash flow this X whatever it is a month and we get to have an RV if we decide to go off anywhere and test some places for guests, yes.
Oh, my God, I think it’s so funny. You have an RV rental manager? Did you just train somebody to do that?
So we researched RV rental managers in our area, because the whole idea is if I’m dead, right? I can’t run this thing if I’m dead. And so a guy agreed at 25 percent and then when we bought it, he was like, “Oh, yeah, I can’t do that.” We just bought this thing. By the way, disclosure, 109 was the price of this RV, $109,000, 2021 Jayco Redhawk 31F, and we’re like, “Man, we’re on the hook,” but what we decided to do was say, I mean, since we bought it, we’re just going to run this, we’re going to build the SOP, blah, blah, blah, so if I die, it’d be easy to put somebody into place. And, yeah, we did run numbers for a rental or a RV manager first and everything works well.
So I’ve got a question about RVs, like do you get — like I know with real estate like real estate appreciates, you get tax benefits because of the depreciation, all that stuff. Do you get the same benefits with RVs or is it more of just like a, hey, this is a good side hustle to get you into real estate because that’s where like the real gold is?
Yeah, that’s a great question. So we wrote off 100 percent of it first year. Now, that was an option versus something else you can do, because it exceeds that was a $6,000 or 6000-pound vehicle thing. And it’s a business, we run it like a business. If you go into it, it is legit a business so, yeah, we were able to write that off. The cool thing is the money that we make on that RV, we just dump on the principal so we don’t see any money from that business, it literally goes straight to the principal, but if somebody’s starting out, that could be easy cash flow for them to start investing with but for us, where we’re at right now, goes straight to the principal, which now we have equity in this so now it is an asset that has equity and cash flow in it and we’re not paying down the principal, it’s the guests who are paying down that principal, like real estate.
So let’s get a little bit of the numbers because I imagine people are really curious. So you bought this one for 109, how often is it rented and like what does it rent for?
Yeah, so just broke down these numbers for the person I just got off a call with so this is cool. It rents for 220 a night, $220 a night so we’re trying to price out knuckleheads, and there are other ways you can get paid on Outdoorsy, you can get paid through miles, you can get paid through generator hours, like there’s other ways, so there’s that. So you got to track gross and net so we had gross bookings of I want to say 25, maybe around 22 to 25 gross bookings this year year to date. We had 11 net. So you’re going to have a conversion of two to one. Two people are going to say, “Yeah, let’s do it,” one person is going to fall off because of life, so there’s that. From that, I want to say we grossed around 22,000 on it so that equals to about, if you break it all down, we net around $1,000 a month on it. But, again, we don’t look at it, we don’t touch it, it goes straight to paying down the principal and that’s it. And it should give us about five years, we’ll have a paid off.
Okay, and then like how much did you have to put down to like get the vehicle?
Why don’t I remember that? I don’t know. I don’t remember. I’d have to go back and look at that. That’s terrible. Yeah, I don’t know. 10 percent, maybe?
I imagine it’s just like anything else, yeah, that you probably could put a very little down and then have a higher interest rate or you could put more down and have a better rate.
Oh, yeah. So our monthly payments are around seven something a month, because the great thing, another thing that got me attracted to RV is it’s not like an automotive loan. It’s not like a six- to eight-year loan. As this thing got pushed out, I want 10 or 12 years or something like that. Again, I had to go back and look but it’s definitely pushed out for RVs, which obviously pulls down that monthly number which helps us increase money, cash flow.
So who’s paying for gas, if something goes wrong when they’re driving, if there’s an accident? When I think of a thing on wheels that moves, I just think of like something that’s just going to keep breaking down, like a tire is going to blow, the toilet’s going to go, whatever, all the stuff, so are you having to factor in a big cost there or is that something that the guests pay?
Yeah, so it sounds like real estate, right?
Same deal. I mean, yeah, we’ve had a lot of issues with it, because although it’s brand new, they threw these things together because of the demand after the pandemic. These things aren’t made like they used to be. We’ve had problem over problem over problem with this thing. It’s all under warranty. So thank you, that’s awesome. In terms of the gas, you have to fill it up before you return it. If you don’t, it’s $100 charge so everybody fills it up. So when I get it, it’s filled up. And guess what? When the next guest takes it, it’s filled up and they run into that same charge as well.
Okay, my question is around cleaning, because I know that’s kind of a pain but if you have it, I guess you could just have a cleaner that shows up, right? So how do you guys manage that?
Yeah, so I’ll answer that question after answering one of Craig’s questions that I just left out, which was basically the liability, and that’s my fault, I’m sorry. It’s the liability, a thing on wheels, could something happen to it, and of course. So we’ve had someone hit a Quik Stop with it, we’ve just had some stuff, but just like Airbnb covers your properties up to a higher amount, so does outdoorsy.com, so that and the insurance company we use, they said, “Since you’re gonna be renting it out, you have to put it on Outdoorsy and that’s how we’ll cover to a certain amount as well.” So we’re well covered on the insurance part. We’re good there. We made sure that the numbers worked behind all that and Outdoorsy would support us. So now back to your question. We clean it. So this is what we do. We could pay someone to do it but you got to think, this thing is 200 square feet, so it’s not a house, it’s a very small thing but it is on wheels so we clean it for now, but we have this thing, so as you return it same day, it basically says, “Make sure that you clean this, this, this, this,” and we give them a list of things to take out. Same thing, Airbnb, right? So think Airbnb, “Do this so you don’t get $100 charge.” So everyone cleans it out.
So like when we go in there to clean, it’s a couple of wipe down things, it is not what you think it might be because we’ve learned to prep and to educate our guests to clean it up before we show up or you will get charged so, yeah.
Okay. I just feel like I have endless questions about this but —
Bring it on. Let’s go.
What about like black water and filling up the new water and the propane tanks? It just seems like all that stuff is a lot of running around and pain in the ass.
Yeah, so the guest has to dump both black and gray tanks. If they don’t, that’s $100 charge as well. So those are empty when we get it. So, propane, yeah, that’s a charge to them if it is empty but you’d be surprised on how efficient it is, it doesn’t use — for a year and how many people we’ve had, we probably filled it up four times so once a quarter.
That’s not bad, yeah.
But the guest has to be responsible for the tanks. If not, they get charged $100.
Do you basically have them fill it up? Like you give it to them full and then they have to fill it up when they’re done? They go to Ace Hardware, or how does that work?
Yeah, the propane, so the cool thing is the location that we’re in right now, which is why we bought this property because we knew it’d be a great rental property. Also, another great thing is we’re right next to 301, which is a major highway but Camping World is literally three minutes from us so we just can dump it there or fill up propane there and it is literally right down the street for us. That’s how we do it.
Cool, and so what does it look like if someone wanted to like scale this, if they wanted to have a fleet of RVs instead of rental properties, would you recommend that or is it just like kind of a recommended, it’s kind of like a fun little side hustle, probably not the end all be all, but like it’s cool to bring in an extra 20k a year, whatever it is?
Yeah. So I would say assess your own goals. For us, no, we’re not going to scale that. I mean, for us, we’re going to dump more money in real estate. This is a hedge against Airbnb inflation in our area, I guess. It’s a hedge against someone who wants to move and not be tied down by a real property. That’s all it is for us. Now, for somebody to scale, absolutely they could scale this just like real estate. But for me, there’s so many more benefits in investing your money in real estate over an RV and that’s just because of my own goals. But you’d have to assess that. But, yeah, absolutely you could scale this, 100 percent.
So let’s talk about some of those benefits. What are the benefits that you’re seeing in investing in real estate? Like if somebody’s kind of on the edge right now thinking about that or doing something else, why invest in real estate?
Again, it has to align with whatever their goals are. If they desire to kind of live a mundane life and not to knock that or anything but kind of comfortable where they’re at and they are going to die happy, fantastic. For us, we find that we work hard for our cash and once we get that dollar bill, for example, to hold on to it and turn it into mattress money doesn’t make sense because what we just worked hard for is dying at, what? 12 percent right now because of inflation? So we take that as an insult. So we’re like where could we park our cash? Definitely not the bank.So when we look at real estate, I would say one of the majority things we’re looking at is where can we park our cash to where we have something that can give us a much higher return on the money we just worked so hard for, hashtag Billionaire Row in… Click To Tweet
We got these tall, tall towers of real property that nobody lives in but billionaires are buying them up because they’re dumping their cash in real estate because of the appreciation and the cash flow and someone rents it blah, blah, blah. Same deal for us, I’m just not a billionaire. We’re buying real estate, we’re dumping this money into an account called Real Estate that gives you a higher return that actually you got people paying down — you know all this, pays down the principal so now we got this magic money thing that happens, like for the house we’re living in now, in four years, we have $100,000 of equity, that makes no sense. How did we make $25,000 a year that just vanished into something called equity? It’s made up, it’s weird, but real estate gives it to you. And if it gives it to you, why not take advantage of it? Also the depreciation you can write off, also the damage done by renters, also the overhead that we pay every single month for these Airbnbs, so not just the cash flow because of the high return because it’s a bank account we’re looking at it, we’re also looking at it as a net worth play too. And just investing in one home gives you all of that. So why not? We can either put it in mattress money, we could put it in the bank, or we could put it in real estate, and if you write the pros and cons on all three of those, you might just find real estate is the pro.
That’s right. I do know all that but not everybody listening knows all that so I appreciate you for going down through it.
Yeah, of course.
Yeah, no, I love that, man. And, obviously, we’re big real estate — sorry, Z, but I just want to just affirm what Ruben is saying how we’re all big real estate people for that very reason, because there’s really no other investment vehicle out there that spits out dividends like real estate does where that same asset also appreciates like real estate does, because all the stocks that yield dividends don’t really appreciate. I’ve got a few of them. They go up and down 3, 5 percent. Real estate is always going up all the — and not to mention that but you can buy real estate, you can buy a $500,000 piece of real estate for like $25,000, right? You can’t buy an a $500,000 of anything for $25,000. So, again, just love, love, love, love, love, love this whole real estate game. Sorry, Z, I cut you off because I was getting excited from what Ruben was saying.
No, you’re chilling.
I love it.
I just want to hear what’s next. Before we wrap up and go to the final part of the show, where are you guys putting those meetings now, like when you’re sitting down with your wife, where are you guys headed?
It’s exactly what — point us in the direction of what’s next. We have our State of the Marriage. So we come up with a few options and we decide which one we’re going to do. Right now, this year was stabilization so a lot of money to stabilize your stuff because when you just dive into it, you just go for it, you just lean into it and you don’t realize what all the stabilization, trust, S corps, like all that madness. So now what we’re going to roll into is two things. One, we have a net worth goal that we want to hit. And then also we want to purchase a property next year. So this property will be the rental and we’re actually just going to purchase the property that could be our forever home and fast forward the five year or four to five year-ish thing, we’re going to use the RV to travel and go to schools and talk about entrepreneurship and we’re going to go to real estate firms, no matter what firm, and just teach, just teach them how to scale a business and all that so we’re just going to hit the road and give it all away basically.
I love it. Yeah. What is better than that, giving back? Feels good, huh?
It’s amazing, yeah.
That’s why I’m on y’alls podcast, right? Gotta give it away, give it away.
Hell yeah, dude. Give away the shit. Love it, man. Always so generous, that’s why we love you — well, one of the many reasons why we love you so much. All right, well, Z, are we ready to hit into…
The Final Four.
All right, Z, kick us off.
All right, Ruben, what are you reading right now?
I am reading — I’m not reading because I’m not a reader, I will fall asleep mid book, but I am listening, I don’t know if you can see it. Oh, it’s blurry. It’s David — Never Finished, it’s David Goggins’ new book.
How is that? Is it as good as his first one?
Yeah, dude, it’s really good. I love it, man. He has three out.
Is it as good as Can’t Hurt Me? Because I didn’t think you could get better than Can’t Hurt Me. I was afraid it was going to be like a hangover thing.
He says that in the book. He says, “Man, I didn’t think anything could touch Can’t Hurt Me.” What it does, at least where I’m at in the book, it exposes a lot more of his journey to writing the book, his health problems that he ran into, where he’s at now in terms of the accountability of how he has to keep this thing moving forward because he inspires so many people so what does his day to day look like now, a lot of demons he brings up that he didn’t have in the first book, although I don’t know how you could beat everything he went through in the first book, but I’m only, let’s say, one-fourth through it right now but I love it, man. Hearing him — and he’s even got this one too and I don’t know how deep you want to go, he’s even got this one thing of like how can you expose your own demons and he does a lot of that in the first book but this one, man, you know what he does? He listens to his comment — or he reads his comments on, like he records his comments on his hateful comments on his videos, makes a track and plays it in his house and listens to his haters all the time to amp him up. Dude’s insane.
Dude’s insane. So he goes over a lot of that stuff. And also like — so that stuff that’s being said to you that you’re saying to yourself in your head, if your friend was saying that to you, how would you combat that? How would you say that to that person and then record yourself saying it? So now you’re kind of coaching yourself. He’s got a few things like that. I love the book. It’s a good book for me right now.
That’s good, man. That’s good. Yeah, I think David Goggins knows how to hype anybody up but it’s interesting because, yeah, like once you get to be that hype man and you’re running ultras every other month, he’s like pigeon holed himself to having to keep doing that even through like his older age.
Yeah, exactly. And I tell you what, like for all the new investors and stuff, you’re going to need that. For you to say that you don’t have like a circle, like the circle that I explained, when I first had a circle when I got my real estate license, I created my own circle, like I had the David Goggins, the Gary Vs, the Jim Rohns, all those people, you could create your own circle even if you don’t live in a place where you can physically create your own circle. You can listen to these people all day that push you and tell you to exceed and tell you you’re being a little right now and that you can do more and you can do more and less sleep’s okay and the grind is worth it and so is the hustle, like you can have those people in your ear at all times telling you. And in the future, you will upgrade yourself which will upgrade your circle naturally.
Awesome, Ruben. All right, man, tons of advice that you’ve got and you’ve given but I want to know what the best piece of advice you’ve ever received is.
Man, so many pop up in my head. The best piece of advice? I think about probably some of the riskiest things you’ve ever done and it came from some thought and the thought probably came from someone’s advice. And I think one of the things that keeps resonating with me is so I was talking to this old Mexican dude named Pedro in our market that came from the fields and retired a millionaire in real estate and one of the first things he said was you can never control the first thought in your mind but you can always control the second. And at that time, you have all this self-doubt. Will you make it? Is the risk worth it? And he basically said, “I had all those same thoughts, you see the end result now, but what I had to tell myself a long time ago is that I can’t control the first thought that comes in my mind, which is probably negative, but I can always control the second.” So beat up that first thought with your second thought with something positive, something that’s going to uplift you. Even if you don’t frickin’ believe it. Who cares? Just like working out in the gym, you have to work out your brain because it all, you have all heard this, it all starts here. That’s why it’s think and grow rich from Napoleon Hill, right? You got to you got to work on this bad boy first. And I, at a young age, I needed to know that and hear that because my thoughts were my reality and my reality was I’m going to be where I’m at forever and I’m going to die at this company I don’t like and I’m not going to be there for my kid because I’ve worked so much and that’s what I needed to hear at that time. And then shortly after, I built a plan to quit UPS after 12 years and go into real estate.
I love them, man. I never heard that piece of advice but it’s so true. That first thought, you can’t — yeah, it’s great. That’s why we ask it.
Okay. Question number three, what is your why?
Yeah, so that thing changes. So we call it your Northern Star because my why was I need to create something in case I die, right? That was a huge motivator that pushed me. The why now is honestly starting to figure out how do I, in a purposeful way, give to enough people that I could die and my name never dies, because they say you die twice, right? You die physically and then you die when the last person says your name for the last time on Earth. And Lincoln will never die. These people are stuck in history because of what their impact was and I’m wondering if that is what the RV is going to be for us, my new Northern Star, which is give it all away. How can I give it all away and literally change people’s family trees through what we teach and what we hold them accountable to? But I need to go out in the field and I needed to make that happen and that’s another side reason why we bought the RV.
I love it. Yeah.
Very deep. All right, man. Last and final question.
If you were to spend your 30s in any decade, what decade would that be?
So this would be two things. I would love to see my great grandfather struggle and make it because he was German, he came up here with nothing and became a millionaire and that was a hustle as an immigrant and I want to see the struggle, the hard, I want to be with him through those first 10 years of nothing to something. Whatever year that was, I would love to sit with him and watch his tears, the people stabbing him in the back and just being there for him, whatever that capacity is, and see what that looks like. I think that’d be really cool, which here goes the second thing, if you go to my YouTube channel, you’ll see we’re documenting our real estate investments. There’s a reason for that. The fact that I want to see and I wish I could have saw my great grandfather create what he’s created, I want to be that great grandfather for somebody and I want them to be able to see the journey from suck to being backstabbed to firing people to character assassinations on me to all of this struggle to get up to that certain point and that’s why I’m documenting everything on YouTube. Yes, it’s cool leverage, but how cool is it when my kid’s kid’s kid is able to go back and watch what the family did and what it tried to create at such a long time ago and know that that piece of property that they’re getting isn’t just a piece of property. How many y’all know it takes two generations for someone to start getting rid of someone’s property that they worked so hard for, right? So if we could create a story and actually show the struggle to show what it took to get to that point, I think that’s where I then come in of that question you just asked that I can show what it took, those 10 years to create nothing to something, and YouTube’s going to be the leverage for that.
I love that, man. You’re looking at another level of deep. I love it. All right, man, final question is how can people find out more about you?
Oh, I’m everywhere. I try to be. I try to be. Proven by Ruben so just Proven by Ruben everywhere, YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, it doesn’t matter. Just look me up, I’m Proven by Ruben. If you want to really kind of get a hold of me, DM me on Instagram, I think that’s the best way but just any of those avenues, it’s all good. I give a lot of way.
Awesome. Definitely hit up Ruben if you’ve ever — I mean, if you ever need any sort of advice for real estate investing, you’re thinking about becoming a real estate agent, he’s just — dude, you’re the man and I think you give good advice to everybody. Sorry I can’t smile this whole thing, you probably think I’m like doom and gloom right now, but these wisdom teeth got me frowning the whole time because smiling hurts real bad.
Well, thank you for making it here, man.
All right, man. Well, so good to have you on the show, dude. Spent, again, a long time coming but so glad to have you, definitely worth the weight, and, yeah, man, I’m sure we’ll be in touch and seeing you soon.
I love you, guys. I love everyone out there. Take the first step. That’s all it takes. Just take the first step.
And that was Ruben Garcia, Proven by Ruben AKA. Z, what did you think about Proven by Ruben Ruben Garcia?
He’s got so much groundedness and wisdom, it seems like he’s just got the perfect balance. I just love just listening to him and seeing how he’s really planning things with his family in mind and working together with his wife. It just — it seems so great. I am in a space right now in my life that I feel super imbalanced. There’s been a lot of really good stuff that came in from the book launch and it’s also really, really busy so I just admire someone like Ruben where I feel like he really controls his calendar and he makes space for himself and holds really, really tight boundaries.
Yeah. One thing that I really love about Ruben’s story is that he said it, he did 12 years at UPS in what seemed like kind of like a dead end job before really taking that jump into real estate. So that’s like 12 years is a long time. Think of we’re — 12 years ago, I graduated high school, like there’s a lot that’s happened in the past 12 years. And so like just because you’re maybe starting off a little bit later than somebody else doesn’t mean that you can’t drastically change your family’s trajectory, like look what Ruben has done just in the past four years just through some rental properties, some Airbnb, and now going all out being a real estate agent and being a mentor. And so like I just love his story because it really does come from kind of like humble beginnings in a way, like I don’t think he was like destitute or poor but he wasn’t leading a fulfilling life. And now he’s got the wisdom, he’s so eloquent and can basically tell you what he’s thinking very clearly, and he can coach a lot of people, just like you said, he’s so grounded and knows what his North Star is and everything he does just is going towards that North Star.
Yeah, and, bonus, if you are a real estate agent and right now, maybe things have slowed down a lot for you and you want to just refine all of those principals, reach out to Ruben because they have a whole coaching program for agents and these guys are masters at doing agent attraction so building out your downline and also just selling homes and having great systems so that is a great advantage.
100 percent. And, also, if you liked this episode or you like our show, you’ve been listening for a while, please, please, please leave us a rating or review on iTunes. It totally helps us out, brings more listeners to the show. And also hit us up on Instagram. I’m at @thefiguy, Zeona is…
@zeonamcintyre and we will see you next week.
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