ITF 41 | Mastering The Long Game

When mastering the long game, and the waves get rough, what matters is how you surf. Former car salesman Dave Panozzo and his wife, Kim, got bitten by the real estate bug in the late ‘90s. They started doing flips and rentals, but then the financial crisis of 2008 hit. He started a construction company, they managed to recoup their losses and saw great success.

Now, Dave is a full-time CEO of The Panozzo Team Real Estate Group. In this episode, Dave talks with Craig Curelop and Zeona McIntyre to walk us through the highs and lows of his journey to FI, presenting the risks and rewards of investing in real estate. Listen in as he offers advice on scaling a business by investing in a team and proper coaching while sharing his long-term plans.

Listen to the podcast here


Riding The Roller Coaster And Mastering The Long Game With Dave Panozzo

I’m here with my co-host, Zeona McIntyre. What’s up, Z-Money? I feel like it’s been a few weeks since I’ve called you that.

Somebody wrote to me and said, “Z-Money.” I was like, “It’s cute.” I enjoy it. It’s snowing. I feel like we did a Freaky Friday switch. You’re in Hawaii with your shiny tan and I’m over here freezing my ass off in my house and reflecting on decisions.

Believe it or not, even more of a Freaky Friday switch is I got up on the surfboard. Surfing has been a lot more fun when you can stand up and figure out how to catch a wave. It has been a lot more fun here.

Surf trips are in our future. Next time, it’s Costa Rica and then we could surf together.

By the end of the time that we’re here, I would be damned if I can’t at least hang with people who could surf. I don’t know about going to those big waves though.

It’s scary.

We have Dave Panozzo on the show. He and his wife, Kim, have created a real estate team. What’s cool is that they started investing a little bit older. They started investing in the real estate game back in the late ‘90s. They went through the peak of 2005, 2006, went through the recessions of 2007, 2008, and now are coming back and are killing it just as ever. It’s cool and compelling to know their story. He’s got a lot of energy, which makes for a good show.

You might even say he surfed the market.

There he goes, Z. No fear. You have more time to think about it.

When I was listening to him go through his story chronologically, I kept waiting for the date to come up where I started investing, which was in 2014. I don’t know when you got started. It was like, “It’s interesting to know how the market was before,” because I didn’t track it as much until maybe 2012 or maybe a little bit before then. What was your first purchase?

There will come a day when you can laugh and look back at your mistakes and realize the things you could have done differently. Click To Tweet

My first purchase was in 2017. All I’ve seen, like many other people if you’re under 30 or hell even under 40, is up. There’s a bunch of people out there thinking they’re great investors and smart from wrestling real estate. The smart people make it through the downs. It’d be interesting to see how that goes in the next few years if anything happens. Let’s bring Dave on the show.

Dave Panozzo, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for coming on. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you found financial independence.

It’s a crazy story. I have a ton of wins and losses. Our journey in real estate started back in 1998. We sold our first house by doing an FSBO. My wife and I were sitting at our kitchen table trying to make a deal and it was interesting.

FSBO, can you describe what that is?

For Sale By Owner. That’s where everyone thinks they’re going to get rich and good-looking, by doing it themselves to save money. The market back then allows you to be able to do that. Here we are negotiating our first deal at the kitchen table and I’m like, “Do you want this beautiful white fridge thrown in and all this stuff?” The real estate bug bit us at that point.

At the time, I was in the car business doing good. My wife was on the fence about getting her license first. She ended up getting her license. I was the money guy at that time. We were running parallel with doing both working jobs with her learning real estate. One thing led to another and we started doing our first couple flips.

Back then, you were picking stuff off the multiple listing service, putting paint, carpet granite, and putting it back on the market and making $50,000, $60,000, $100,000. This is pre-‘08, so this is ‘03, ‘04, we’re creeping into ‘05. All of a sudden, the rug got pulled from underneath us. At the time, we had ten rental properties.

1998 comes in and you’re in car sales and your wife gets her license. You don’t have your license at this point yet. You then started probably selling some houses. Are you flipping? Are you buying these and rehabbing them?

We were doing some flips and we had some rentals. We had a little bit of both, but we had somewhere around fourteen homes at the time.

Can you go into the first rental property that you had?

Your for-real deal.

It’s nothing exciting. It was a new build.

ITF 41 | Mastering The Long Game
Mastering The Long Game: The client is always number one. You have to go beyond the call of duty to make sure that that whole process is smooth and clean and they walk away going, “Oh my God, what a great experience”.


I love new builds all day.

Back then, it was a couple of thousand dollars to tie it up. I forget what the loan was like. We barely put any money down. We ran a couple of ads and we ended up picking up a renter.

Tell us what market you’re in because that also helps people have a frame of reference. Where are you guys buying at this point?

We’re in Scottsdale, Arizona, the fifth-largest city in the nation. It’s crazy. People come here and are like, “You’re the fifth-largest city?” I’m like, “Yeah, it’s spread out.” “Do you go from one end of town to the other on the freeway driving 60 miles an hour?” “It’s about 1.5 hours to go from one side to the other. That’s with no traffic.” It’s sprawled out. The price point is all over the place. Back then, if you’re in that $200,000, $250,000 up to $500,000, you could buy a kick-ass house. Today, that $500,000 mark is a little challenging to find something as nice as back in the day. That’s where we’re at in this market today.

The early 2000s, you’re buying rental properties, you’re flipping. Anyone in real estate at that time is selling houses. Did you get your license yet at that point?

I didn’t get my license until 2016. I postponed getting my license for a long time. Remember, ‘08, the rug gets pulled out from underneath us. We lost everything, complete devastation. The real estate gods looked down upon my wife.

You said you lost everything, but you had these 10 to 14 rental properties. Did you do your research? Were they cashflowing? Were you forced to sell those properties?

Right when the roller coaster starts to go downhill, we had four in our inventory at that time. We lost two, insurance sold two. It’s super exciting. That makes you feel good about yourself. That makes you feel good about getting up in the morning and being like, “I am a loser.” In life, you go through these things and you learn from your lessons. Now I can laugh about it and look back and go, “You’re such an idiot. You should have done A, B and C differently.” I didn’t because I didn’t know. I didn’t have the right mentors at the time. I didn’t have the go-to people like you have today. Between social media and YouTube channels, you could figure stuff out. Back then, there wasn’t that much. There are some guys doing it and I could have probably reached out to a couple of different mentors, but I didn’t so shame on me.

I want to bump in here a little bit to make you feel a little bit better. I’m wrapping up a loser moment of my own where I had a tenant destroy a house and it was probably preventable. It cost us $15,000 and we’re licking our wounds. I’m curious if Craig has a loser moment because it makes us all feel connected. No one’s above that crap, even if they tell you they are.

My loser moments, there are so many. I have this Jacksonville deal that I did that I keep mentioning here and there slightly. I lost $60,000 on that. I’ve had people smoking meth in my basement because I wasn’t doing tenant screening. Any time that we lost, it was because I didn’t do my research or I got lazy. Z, what do you think?

I wanted to share that. I thought that that was an important thing to have everyone know that you win some, you lose some but generally, if you keep going in real estate, you come out on top.

The biggest thing in life is, if you make a mistake, learn from it. Click To Tweet

You got to learn from your mistakes. If you make the same mistake twice, shame on you. You look at a deal, the profit margins, and what you have to put into it, but then you’re like, “This one feels like that one we did a few years back,” or whatever the case may be. You can lie to yourself and make yourself feel good about buying something or not buying it. It goes either way. We’re degenerate gamblers when it comes down to it. It’s like, “Just one more time. I know this is going to be a good one.”

You got to learn from your mistakes. The biggest thing in anything in life is you make a mistake, learn from it, and you move on. If you do it again the second time, that’s where you got to check yourself. Is it your ego that’s taking over at that point? We’ve all been there. We’ve all looked at a certain deal and gone, “I know I can make some money on this,” and then next thing you know, you’re losing money.

I love what you said. You need to learn from your mistakes. If you make the same mistake twice, shame on you. The best thing to do is not learn from your mistakes, but to learn from other people’s mistakes. That’s why there is this podcast and so many other resources out there for you. However, I find that sometimes you need to touch the fire to make sure that it’s hot. You’ve heard it so many times, but you do it anyway and oftentimes you get burned. Do you feel that?

100%. I made a huge mistake, but I didn’t play. I was a little gun shy. A few years ago, we had a client that came to us wanted to list their home. It was right around the corner from us. We’re like, “That would be a great home for us to throw some renters in it.” We were thinking super long term, like, “When we want to downsize from our home, this would be the perfect home for us to check out in.”

We were thinking of one of those deals. I was thinking, “This is going to be our forever home that we could die in.” They were in a lawsuit with their next-door neighbor on some BS drainage issues, no big deal. I’m like, “Maybe we’ll try to sell it.” We tried to sell this home. It went under contract but then during the inspection period, they were doing their due diligence and ended up not going through the deal because of this lawsuit. I thought we could push it through, but it wouldn’t go.

They’re like, “Dave, we’re going to throw a renter in this for the next year until we get through this lawsuit.” I’m like, “Okay. Great.” In the meantime, my wife and I were like, “For $520,000, that’d be a good little rental. It’s in Scottsdale. Great location.” For whatever reason, we got sidetracked, busy. Two years go by, this lawsuit finally gets settled. They called us and they’re like, “Remember you said you wanted right of first refusal?” “Yeah.” “Do you want to buy that?” I’m like, “With the prices now, you guys would probably make a ton of money. I’m sure you wouldn’t sell to me what you’re going to sell it for.” They’re like, “No.” We put it on the market and we sold it for $800,000.

It was a weird deal. I’m not going to get enough details because it is what it is. There’s a common wall. The next-door neighbor was a dick and I know that probably would have ended up bad. That goes to show you the risk and reward factors. My wife and I talked ourselves into it. We talked ourselves out of it. On paper, it looked great. It was a no-brainer but then you get gun shy, and sometimes you need to push through that. The risk would have been the lawsuit thing trying to get through all that, but look at what the reward was.

It’s funny because it’s so hard sometimes to see the forest to the trees, where it’s like, “It’s maybe not a great deal.” What year was that?


It seems so hard to make that step, like, “It’s not worth it at $520,000. The market has been going up for six years. Who knows when the next crash is going to come?” If it’s a cashflowing deal and it’s something that no one else wants to buy, you should be buying when people are afraid to buy. It’s usually when you get decent deals. Who knows? Maybe the market tanked right after that.

If you guys hold on to that thing for ten years, almost guaranteed that you’ll be a couple of hundred thousand dollars richer. My favorite part about real estate is that even if you do make mistakes, it is forgiving. If you went through with the lawsuit and it still looks like a mistake for those two years, at least you would have been forgiven.

ITF 41 | Mastering The Long Game
Mastering The Long Game: Clients are riddled with hating the process. It’s your job to turn that process around and make it smooth for them.


In hindsight, here’s the problem. I wasn’t a real estate agent back then, but we’re heavily active back in a crazy market that was going up. When it crashed, we remember it like yesterday. The people out there that have not experienced something like that and you’re in this market now going, “High five. I’m rich and good-looking.” We don’t know what we don’t know. Heaven forbid there’s some craziness that happens or we have another 9/11 situation where the economy stops. I thought this pandemic was going to put a kink on things. Look what’s happened in 2020. Who would have ever thought a pandemic would spark this much craziness in real estate? Insane.

I’m curious about this because generally, I get worried when people get too excited about something. When the market is frothy, I felt that way when people were excited about Bitcoin a couple of years ago and they’re doing it again so I’m like, “I don’t know what’s going to happen.” I feel like if the majority is excited about something, you need to be looking in the other direction. Because so many people are hyped on real estate these days, even though I’m gung-ho, I question it. I’m curious if this time around, it feels different than the last crash for you. What are those differences?

Especially with those big in Phoenix, it’s a different feel here. We have people coming from all over the country, all over the world to Phoenix. We have a lot of big industries that are coming here for whatever reason, whether it’s tax advantages or cheap land and they’re able to build these big, huge factory warehouses. Those ones that you drive on the freeway and you’re like, “We’ve been driving by this building for the last five minutes.” There’s stuff like that being built everywhere.

Plus, you got to remember people are putting a lot of money down. We have a lot of cash buyers. We have people from New York, Jersey, Chicago, the West Coast, the Pacific Northwest that are selling their homes up there. Coming down here, putting half their proceeds down, and being able to buy a house for cash. The pandemic opened up this whole other world because if you’re living a miserable life in some big city that sucks, you don’t like the weather, and it’s the grind but it’s the job that’s keeping you there, then all sudden, your boss says, “We’re shutting down the office. You can go live wherever you want.” You’d be surprised how many conversations I’ve had like that. It’s insane to me. I live here. It’s like, “This is where I’m at. This is my lifestyle.”

We were talking about pre-crash and then a little bit post-crash, but to give the chronological order of where you were from there and where you are now, which seems like a 180, tell us a little bit about what happened in that in-between.

Once the crash hit, I got into the car business because then I was doing flipping full-time. My wife was doing retail sales, residential deals for her business. I’m doing flips. I was doing maybe 1 or 2 every 2, 3 months. It crashed. They were sitting around looking at one another going, “Now what?” This guy at the gym goes to my wife, “Would you like to do REO’s?” She’s like, “What’s that?” This was a guy from Countrywide that asked my wife, “Do you want to do bank on listings?” Of course, she said yes. She had maybe 1 or 2 listings at the time and then all sudden, she signs up. Two weeks later, she has 30 listings in her inbox, and then the rest is history.

We were able to survive through that downtime by her acquiring his account through Countrywide, which then Bank of America. We’re on the back end of this ugly situation seeing the riffraff, seeing the destructions, going into these homes, and seeing all the light switches, switch plates, toilets, countertops, and cabinets all being taken out of these homes. We saw the ugly side of that, but we also survived and were able to make some money.

I’m reinventing myself and I’m seeing this big huge need for the back end of these agents needing someone to go in and trash outs, rekeys, and all this other crazy stuff. I formed this construction company to deal with the back end of the REO world, then that led me back into doing flips again because I was doing some work for some investors. I started looking at their deals and I’m like, “These guys are starting to make some decent money.” The spreads are decent. That was back when you could still buy a home on the courthouse steps for a decent price. I got back into that.

In 2013, we had a little bit of a weird dip. We had a legit government shutdown. At the time, we had six homes that were either in the process of being rehabbed or on the market and everything stopped. They were like, “This sucks. I remember this feeling.” It was a little flashback to ‘08. Luckily, we’re able to get out of those and get those sold, did okay, and broke even. We didn’t lose anything, but it didn’t feel good. That was towards the end of us doing some flips and some rentals, and then got seriously focused on the retail side of things.

I’m curious what you mean by the retail side of it. Are you just brokering deals? It sounds like you’ve built a big agent team, too.

On the retail side, residential sales. We’re focused on that aspect of it. I looked at it as like, “Do I invest this money in a home? Do I invest this money in the business?” I invested in the business and invested in the people on a team. Now we’re full-blown. We have almost ten people on the team. We have a transaction coordinator, a listing coordinator, and even a sales manager. Now we’re uber focused on handling the clientele.

People tend to feel the need to touch the fire just to make sure that it's hot, and oftentimes that’s when you get burned. Click To Tweet

At a certain point, I feel like you can’t reinvest in the business enough for all the money that you’d be making from all your team members and staff. What do you do? What are your investment strategies? Are you still holding cash? What are you doing? Tell us about that.

I’ll go back in time. Right before the market crashed, we had this okay rental. It was an older couple. They were probably in the early ‘60s. I remember his rental app and it says something like $2.3 million in a savings account. I’m like, “Your credit came back. Everything looks good. I got to ask you, did you make a mistake and put too many zeros or something on what you had in your savings account?” He goes, “No, that’s correct. There’s going to be a big crash and I don’t want any part of it. I’m going to sit on the sidelines.” I was like, “What do you know? This market is going great.” I’m high fiving myself thinking I’m some great investor. Look what happened. I don’t feel that we’re going in that direction again. I’m looking at the bigger picture for later on down the road.

On the other side of that, I’ve heard also a lot of people say that with all of the money and stimulus that’s been pumped into the economy that we could be headed for inflationary times, which in that case, holding cash is probably the worst thing you could do. On the math side, I would like to get some of your thoughts there.

$2.2 trillion is 1/10 of our viewer’s GDP. It has been pumped into the economy through the stimulus package and all that. The Law of Economics, the more money that gets put in, the less value the dollar has, so that’s inflation. In which case, cash is one of the worst things to have on hand. I wanted to see if you thought through that and if you have any strategies that are hedging against inflation.

Not really. 2020 taught me a lot. The long-term, 6, 12 months down the road, I’m at a point now where I’m only thinking 30, 60, maybe 90 days down the road. There are probably some readers out there going, “You’re crazy.” It works for different people. I feel that 2020 was a test round to whatever wackiness else is going to happen down the road.

I saw so much destruction in 2020 with different businesses because of COVID but then here we are in real estate, we didn’t have enough houses. Depending upon who you talk to, “How are you doing?” “I’m doing horrible. I’m about to lose everything.” Here I’m jumping for joy inside going, “We’re having the best year ever.” That’s craziness to me.

What’s going to happen down the road? I don’t know, but I want to be prepared in a way that gives me the ability to either say, “Screw all this. I’m going to go live on an island down in Belize.” Trust me, it’s been talked about. How much can you handle this? We are all human. This is crazy stuff that’s going on. You have certain areas in our nation that are booming, and then there are other places that are ghost towns. It’s like, “What is going on here?” There’s no rhyme or reason.

It is various uncertain times and cash is a good thing to have on hand in uncertain times if and when there’s going to be some asset class that does go down. If you look maybe even broader than real estate, maybe there’s even an asset class within real estate that’s going to go down but we may not see it in the residential side this time. It’s a commercial. Perhaps it’s something else. A lot of people are holding out for this crash. It could happen. It could not. I don’t know if plan is the right word because everyone’s got to plan till they get hit in the face.

I don’t foresee anything crazy happening unless there’s a worst pandemic where you can’t go outside and breathe air. That would be horrific. We’re going to hit a couple of speed bumps to chill everyone out a little bit, which I’d be okay with. Right now, it’s free for all out there. I feel bad for that couple or that first-time homebuyer that’s trying to buy their first home and they’re getting their asses kicked. They want a piece of the action, too and it is tough.

We are both agents, Craig and I, and we work with eXp. I don’t know which company you’re with. I’m curious to know a little bit more about your team and your agent’s strategy with that because it seems like building a team of ten is quite a feat. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that? I imagine we have some budding agents reading right now.

My wife and I’ve created this cool environment. It’s a different type of culture. It’s all about taking care of the client. I’m looking here at my conference room table and it’s like, “I don’t care about you. I care about the client. We have to service the client. Right now, the client is number one.” Customer service has been thrown out the door. I don’t know how many times during the week where I go to certain places and no one can look you in the eye and say thank you or they get your order wrong. Nobody cares.

ITF 41 | Mastering The Long Game
Mastering The Long Game: Technology is going to be the winner on this thing. The faster things get, the more consumers want to be talked to immediately.


You figure in our industry, real estate’s one of the biggest investments you’re ever going to make for the most part for an average Joe buying their home or selling a home. I feel that we have to go beyond the call of duty to make sure that that whole process is smooth and clean, and they walk away going, “What a great experience.” They always have horror stories or maybe something happened to them 10, 15 years ago that now they’re riddled with hating the process. It’s our job to turn that process around and make it smooth for them.

It sounds like your value proposition here is you’re putting the client first and you’ll give the client the shirt off your own back. I want to rewind it back a little bit. I can’t imagine you started off being this kick-ass agent. How many transactions did you do in 2020?

We did 196.

I don’t think you did that in year one. I’m curious, what did you do? Where were you at in year one? When it was just you and your wife, how did that dynamic work? How did you grow and scale the team that you have now?

Part of the deal with me coming on was to find new business. My wife, God bless her, her best year by herself, she had somewhere around 71 homes that she sold. She’s an animal. That was during the REO days, which was crazy. She was a one-man band. She did have an assistant helping on the back end. She had the system and the process all mapped out. It was just a matter of throwing a couple of extra bodies in there and taking that process and going smooth.

Part of my deal was looking for different avenues. Yes, she is part of relocation and has REO accounts, past clients, past referrals, but my job was to go out there and find new business. Signing up for the HomeLights of this world, UpNest and the Opcity stuff, that was my deal of like, “What can we do to sign up and get more activity?”

It got to a point where we have more leads than we knew what to do with. It was getting to a point where it’s a lot for both of us. She’s been a mentor at HomeSmart. We were mentoring a couple of new agents and a couple of them are a good fit. We brought them on the team, then a couple of more. That’s how we built the team over the years.

I don’t believe in flooding the floor like, “Let’s have 30 agents. If they all sell ten homes a year, we’re rock stars.” I want total professionals that can take a deal from start to finish and can handle a large bandwidth of dealing with clients. That’s important. It’s almost like a SEAL Team Six. I’d rather have a smaller group of hardcore professionals versus a bunch of agents being okay if that makes sense.

There are definitely strategies to go. I’ve talked to guys that have brokerages with 900-plus agents in it and they’re like, “We’re there to help. We’re there to support. If everyone does a deal or two a year, that’s great.” Rather than doing 900 deals or whatever with everyone doing one, you’d rather have ten agents that’ll do 90 deals. Maybe not to that extent, but you get the idea.

In 2020, we had one girl who did 41, another one did 30, and the other one did twenty-some. They’re high-level producers and I’m super proud of them. A lot of them are single moms with kids or working families and stuff. It’s not easy. As you guys know, our lives are crazy sometimes, especially since a lot of the business comes out after 7:00, 8:00 PM.

It’s bartender hours, nights, and weekends. What are you doing for your agents now? Are you providing them leads? I’m sure you’re doing that, but what else?

You can be the best of the best, but you are still human. Click To Tweet

Leads for sure. We use BoomTown on the front end to track everything that’s going on. We have to have something. BoomTown is something that we started in 2020. It’s been a lifesaver. We’re still getting to know it. We’re still getting to make it work for us. When you’re dealing with a lot of leads, it’s hard. I’m an old-school guy. I still run on paper and I still have my little stack on my desk. Technology is going to be the winner of this thing because the faster things get, consumers want to be talked to immediately. A lot of these lead services track you on how long it takes you to answer that call. Sometimes it’s mind-boggling, especially on those days that you’re trying to get things done. You get a couple of sales calls. Next thing you know, two hours vaporize.

CRM on the front end, and then one thing that’s been a game-changer for us is, a few years ago, we switched over to an actual business coach, not a real estate coach. That business coach has now taken us to a whole different level. That was something that started off with my wife and me on a weekly basis. I was getting so much out of it that I’m like, “I got to get my team on this.” Everyone on the team, one hour a week, gets to talk to Coach Glenn. That’s where they can fine-tune, work on things that they’re lacking, or try to get to that next level. That works up well for us. It’s been a cool experience watching everyone grow, especially us getting to that next level because it’s all about going to the next level.

Coaches are super helpful. They always say Tiger Woods, LeBron James, all the best athletes, or best people in all their fields have coaches. It’s different when someone else is looking at you and critiquing you from a different angle and giving you a different perspective. I love that. I’ve got a life coach myself and my life has gone from damn good to a whole lot better, so I’m excited. I might have to look into the business coach thing.

It’s accountability. We all need accountability one way or another. You can be the best of the best, but we are human. Sometimes when my Thursday night at 5:00 rolls around, usually at about 3:45 PM, I’m in that mindset of like, “I don’t want to do it,” and then I do it. Usually, those are the best calls. There’s a breakout or something that comes up that I’m like, “That’s how you deal with that,” and then I look back and go, “I’m so glad I did it.”

To recap your story, you started back in 1998, you’re a car salesman, your wife was getting into the real estate business. She did well. You guys start picking up some rent and doing some flips. Everyone was amazing. You’re on cloud nine, and then the rain started to pour. The cloud evaporated, you went down with all the rain, then you started to recover. You’ve got your own license, straight out hustling in terms of lead gen. Your wife sounds like she had, over her tenure, relationships that got her some business.

How do you expand through these different kinds of resources and a bunch of different things to get those first initial clients? If you can get maybe 50 to 100 first-time clients, you’ll probably be set for a long time because you’re going to get maybe 1 or 2 referrals for every one of those. It becomes a barrage of referrals.

You got to realize some of these lead services, you’re spending 25%, 30%, 35% of your commission on obtaining these leads. That’s a lot of money. I want to make sure I retain them as my client. I don’t want them to wander off again on some website looking for top agents in Arizona. When a family member or a friend or a co-worker thinks anything about real estate, I want them to say, “You need to go see Dave and Kim.” That’s hard to stay in front of those people’s faces and be consistent without being a naggy door-to-door salesman to make them feel comfortable and being able to reach out to you and say, “I need some help with my cousin that’s moving here from Kansas,” or whatever.

You were talking a lot about how tech is taking over. You’re an old-school guy, you write on paper, but you’re noticing that you got to absorb the tech. It seems like a lot of people in real estate are saying that technology is going to take over. These places like Redfin where they leave a locked box and people could let themselves in. I’m curious what you think’s going to happen over the next couple of years and if you have a plan after real estate. What is your long-term look like?

I’m looking at it like this. In the next several years, I have to have myself together. Where it goes from there, who knows? I always joke with my wife, “Why don’t we just go hide out somewhere and be a digital nomad? Just send me referral fees.” By the time I’m 60, I want to be able to still enjoy life, do some traveling, go see my grandkids, have some fun, but I still also like this business.

In the next few years, it’s going to get even crazier. The solo agent is going to be the first one to either cave and jump on a team because that’s going to be the new way to do business or they’re going to go by the wayside and be like, “I’ve had enough. I’m done.” For us guys, here in Phoenix, we have 60,000 real estate agents. It’s crazy here.

More agents than available homes.

ITF 41 | Mastering The Long Game
Mastering The Long Game: It’s different when someone else is able to look at you and critique you from a different angle and give you a different perspective.


Everyone thinks it’s easy and you’re going to get rich and good-looking. It’s a lot tougher than that. That’s why technology-wise, with everything going on, we know that there’s compression. The commission compression is going on. Wall Street wants a piece of it. Think about Zillow and everyone else, they’re wanting a piece of the pie. As that starts to get chipped away, we will start to see people go, “Screw it. I can’t handle this anymore.” I look at it like this, a little bit of something is better than nothing so I’ll stay in the game. It’s the longevity game.

Dave, we’re going to head into the last part of the show now that we got a good idea of who you are and your story. Are there any other words of wisdom you want to leave the readers with before we head there?

No, we covered a little bit of all.

Let’s head into The Final Four. Z, kick this off.

Dave, what are you reading right now?

This is a great book by Patrick Bet-David. It’s Your Next Five Moves. This is a good book. If you’re looking to grow your business and skill your business, he gives it a completely different mindset on how to look at it. I’m not a huge reader, but I do like to read. I ended up reading the whole book, which my wife was like, “I’m impressed.” Sometimes I’ll read a couple of chapters and go on to the next one. This one, I went from top to bottom. Great book.

Dave, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be afraid to fail. What’s your worst-case scenario? I even tell to my clients, “What’s your worst-case scenario?” “We don’t find a house.” “There you go. That’s your worst case.” Know what your backstop is and don’t be scared of it.

I find that more often than not, your worst-case scenario is the exact scenario you’re in right now. You’re doing something to get better in life. You don’t get the house, don’t get the job, or the girl you want to ask out says no. If you don’t ask, you never get the answer. I love that.

Dave, what is your why? What keeps you going?

I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. My why is being able to keep moving regardless of whatever has happened to me and to be able to provide a legacy for my family because now I’m on the legacy type thing to where I have 2 daughters and 2 grandkids. It’s not about the money anymore. It’s about what am I going to leave behind for them? Whether it be looking on my YouTube channel going, “Grandpa was crazy. People really listen to him?” My why is to leave behind something for my kids and grandkids to fall back on.

Everyone thinks it's easy and you're going to get rich in good luck. But it's a lot tougher than that. Click To Tweet

Last “real question,” what is something that is popular now but in five years, everyone will look back on it and be embarrassed by it?

Probably TikTok.

That’s what I was thinking.

I was thinking the same thing. I was like, “All of these 13-year-old and 14-year-old people shaking their butts and stuff are going to be looking for jobs, being moms at some point, and all that kind of stuff.”

If I’m an employer and I’m looking on TikTok, “What the hell is going on here?” Alter ego is to go on TikTok, some of that stuff. It’s too crazy for me.

I’m with you. Dave, where can people find out more about you?

You can find me on Instagram, @ThePanozzoTeam. You can look us up on the web at and Facebook. I don’t do Twitter. That’s too much. I have to draw my line somewhere. You can google The Panozzo Team and you’ll see a bunch of stuff pop up.

If you’re in the Scottsdale or Phoenix market, definitely check them out. It sounds like they put their clients first, so you’ll be in good hands.

That’s what it’s all about.

Dave, thank you so much for coming to the show. It has been a pleasure having you. We’ll have to be in touch as fellow agents. We always like to brainstorm, throw ideas off each other, and help each other grow.

Thanks for having me on.

ITF 41 | Mastering The Long Game
Mastering The Long Game: Everyone thinks it’s easy and you’re going to get rich in good luck. But it’s a lot tougher than that.


We’ll see you soon.

That was Dave Panozzo. Z, what do you think of that episode?

I loved it. I felt like there were a lot of good nuggets. It was a non-traditional show for us. I get excited about hearing different people’s stories and how different people are thinking about investments, long-term, and the real estate market. I love his experience with his agents. I’m blown away. Building a team of such high performers or they’re closing 30 to 40 deals a year is an impressive stuff.

He said 196 deals in 2020. That’s an impressive number. I’m sure it’s in the top 1% or 2% of agents or teams in the entire nation. You can hear in his energy that he’s passionate about it and you can hear that he put in a lot of work upfront and paid a lot of money for a lot of those leads that he got. He was able to foster them and get the most out of them.

That’s some of the most important stuff. Make sure that you’re fostering people that you’re with. Whether you’re a client or if you’re an investor and you’re investing other people’s money, you can take things from this episode. If you’ve got investors or you want to do syndications and get investors, make sure you update them weekly. Give them updates. Give them the things that you need to make them feel comfortable lending you money. Don’t just take their $100,000 and hopefully give it back in a year. That’s my two cents. Z, what do you got going on for your snow-filled days?

Not a whole lot. My partner, Ben, closed on his third house so I’ve got some sparkling wine chilling in the fridge. We’re going to celebrate. He ran off to the bank to do his wire at the last minute of the day. It warms my heart. I’ll probably post about this on social media. When I met him, he never thought he would own a property. In 2020, he’s bought three places, so I’m feeling super proud to see our impact.

It’s infectious. Cheers to you, guys. Go enjoy. You certainly deserve that chilled bottle of wine. We’ll see you next episode, Z.



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About Dave Panozzo

ITF 41 | Mastering The Long GameDave is a full-time Professional Real Estate Agent and a member of the National, Arizona and Scottsdale Association of Realtors.

Dave is familiar with Scottsdale and the surrounding areas of Phoenix. He brings value to the buying/selling experience because of his many years of purchasing auction properties and completing construction projects around the valley.

Originally from Gary, Indiana, Dave joined the United States Army and lived in Germany for over two of his three years of service. After leaving the service in 1991, he and his wife lived in Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois before moving to Scottsdale in November of 1994. Dave started his sales career in the automobile industry, where he was Sales Manager for 13 years. He also owned a construction company and flipped over 40 homes.

When he is not working, Dave enjoys spending time with his family, working out, hiking and doing hot yoga. He is a proud father of two girls: Courtney, who is currently an Officer in the United States Air Force, and Nicole, who is currently at Desert Mountain High School.

Dave’s company, HomeSmart, employs 10,000 REALTORS® Worldwide, making it the largest Real Estate Brokerage in the Phoenix Metro area. HomeSmart holds leadership positions on Local, State and National Boards of REALTORS®