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Real Estate Investing Unscripted: Tim Bratz, CLE Turnkey

"Focus on just being resourceful, not on having the resources."

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Tim Bratz on the Real Estate Unscripted PodcastThis episode we speak with a fellow Cleveland native, Tim Bratz, CEO and founder of CLE Turnkey. CLE Turnkey is a real estate investment company that acquires and transforms distressed commercial and apartment buildings into high-performance investment assets. Tim talks finding success in real estate, which all starts with being resourceful and having the right mindset. Hear the story of how Tim bought his first property on a credit card, why he made the move from brokering to owning real estate and how it's impacted his bottom line.

 

 

Matt Rodak:

Welcome everyone to this episode of Real Estate Investing Unscripted. I'm your host, Matt Rodak, founder and CEO of Fund That Flip. I'm super excited today about our guest today, Tim Bratz, who is the CEO and founder of CLE Turnkey Real Estate which is a real estate investment company that acquires and transforms distressed commercial and apartment buildings.

Tim Bratz:

Matt, I appreciate you having me, buddy. Thank you so much for having me here.


Matt Rodak:

Thanks for being here. To get us started, tell us a little bit more about CLE Turnkey. What are you guys up to? What do you focus on? People working for you? Give us the rundown of the business.

 

Tim Bratz:

We started out C-L-E Turnkey, or CLE Turnkey, we try to be hip to Cleveland turnkey real estate. When I got started in real estate -- well -- when I first got turned on to real estate was when I was going through college. 2003-2007 when nobody was making money. They said, "Hey, if you want to make money, get involved in real estate." That is what motivated a 20-year-old-kid at the time. I actually moved out to your neck of the woods, New York City, where my brother was living at the time, and became a commercial real estate agent. I brokered a retail space that was 400 square feet. It was $10,000 a month, the lease was, with 4% escalations for a 12-year term. I did the math on it. I'm like, "This landlord is going to be making almost $2,000,000 over the next 12 years for something he did one time."

 

I realized then that I was on the wrong side of the coin. Instead of brokering real estate, I needed to be owning real estate. So, I up and moved down to Charleston, South Carolina, on a whim. I bought my first house on a credit card. I didn't have any money, but I was resourceful enough to call my credit card company and ask for an increase on my limit. I bought my first house, a foreclosure, on my credit card in 2009 and made about $14,000 on it in 75 days. I was a punk 23-year-old kid at the time. I'm like, "I don't know what I'm doing, it's the worst housing market ever, and I just made money!" So I did it again and did it again. I got involved in the wholesaling thing. I met people who had money but who didn't have the expertise or didn't have the time to invest in real estate. They ended up partnering up with me in a way that they put up the money, I did the work, and then we split the deals.

 

My first 200 or 300 deals I did, 50% to 70% of the money I was giving up to my private lenders. It was a lot to give up in a deal, but I realized I was in my twenties, not a lot of people are willing to lend me money, and I need to get these deals under my belt, build a reputation, and build a resume. Then I could posture up a little bit more. It was a good way of doing it. A few years ago, one of those partners I was pretty tight with, put up about $1,000,000. We turned it into a little over $3,000,000 of property in a couple of years, but partnerships can sometimes go south. When you start making money, people -- actually, when you lose money people change, and God forbid you make money, then people really change.

 

Matt Rodak:

Yeah, everyone wants more.

 

Tim Bratz:

Yeah, it's unfortunate. That's what led me to here. Almost three years ago I ended up parting ways with that business partner and just focused on building my own portfolio in the meantime. I reflect on my business quite a bit, usually at least once a quarter, where I just take a day and turn off the phone, turn off the email, and I'm just hanging out. I'm reviewing my financials, my net worth, where I'm spending my time, what I'm happy with that I'm doing, what I'm not happy doing, what drives me, and what drains me. All those kinds of things I'm asking myself about. A few years ago I realized I was doing a lot of turnkey stuff.

 

I hated doing the retail flips, I just wasn't good at it. I had the attention to detail, but I couldn't build a team that had the same attention to detail that I had in these retail flips. It was just way too emotional for me dealing with owner occupants and that kind of stuff. I really focused on turnkey and that's where Cleveland Turnkey came from. We flipped about 100 houses a year in the Cleveland market of all turnkey rentals. We'd buy them, fix them all up, put a tenant in place, opened a management company, and then we'd manage it and sell it as a little package property for investors. That worked really well for a couple of years. We made good money, but we weren't building wealth. So, a little over 12 months ago, probably 15 months ago, I sat down and I looked at where was I spending my time and where was I building my wealth?

 

Literally 10% of my time went towards my apartment buildings. I had about 350, almost 400, units that I was pretty passive in. I had joint venture partners on my team that were kind of managing the projects. Then, I looked at my net worth and 90% of my net worth was in those apartment buildings. So, I made a shift and I said, "Hey guys, we're not buying single family houses anymore. What if we just dedicate all of our resources and our entire team just building up our apartment portfolio?" That's what I did last summer. We doubled down; instead of my acquisitions team looking at houses, we started looking at apartments. Instead of my project management team looking at renovating houses, we started renovating apartments. Instead of selling houses, my disposition team then started managing assets, our own assets, our own portfolio.

 

It was a pretty simple pivot for our business, but it's amazing when you make a commitment like that to the universe, what it responds with. I went from a little over 350 units last year to 1,359 units today, and we have another 700 units under contract right now closing before the end of the year. So, by making that commitment, burning the ships and cutting ties with the whole residential realm, I was able to double down and we were able to find great deals. I don't buy anything retail. All I have are ridiculous deals in the commercial side of things. Most people are like, "Oh, you can't find deals unless you're getting them at a 6% or 7% cap rate." All the deals that I'm getting are value-add, so we need to go in, make some improvements, force the appreciation, and create that little bit of sweat equity. We're at 10% to 14% cap rates in nice, B-class areas once we're all stabilized. There's definitely deals out there. You just have to be willing to do the things that other people aren't willing to do, in order to find the deals that other people then can't find.

 

Matt Rodak:

Wow, there's a lot there I'd love to unpack. It's interesting to me that you started renting out a 400-square-foot retail space in New York. That's not even big enough to really put anything in it. That's crazy. I'd like to wind back in time a little bit. You went from one deal on a credit card to 200 to 300 deals a year. How did you go about scaling up your operations in that way? Going from a couple of flips a year to several hundred a year is a totally different operation. Talk us through how you got to that.

 

Tim Bratz

When you get started, especially when you're bootstrapping this thing and you don't have a lot of money, you're doing everything. I was doing acquisitions, I was raising private money, I was closing on these things. Sometimes, I was even swinging the hammer, doing the work on these properties and pushing it to the finish line because it wasn't moving fast enough. I'm a general contractor, I'm swinging the hammer, and then on the back end I'm renting the places out. I'm managing, I'm picking up rent, I'm filing evictions, and I'm going to eviction court. I was doing everything...

 

Matt Rodak:

Except sleeping.

 

Tim Bratz:

Except sleeping, yeah! Fortunately, I didn't have any kids at the time. I was engaged, then married, and then I had a kid on the way. That was maybe one of the catalysts of it. I was thinking, "Hey, I've got a kid on the way. I'm not going to be able to work 16 hours a day." I attended a mastermind. If you're not familiar with that, I went to a real estate mastermind where there are a bunch of high level performers sitting in a room. It wasn't anything formal. We sat around a table and said, "Hey, here's what I'm pretty good at and here's where I really struggle right now." There's so much brain power around that table of people who have been in the business for a long time. We all deal with the same stuff in business. It's marketing, accounting, human resources, cash flow management and finance. It's all the same stuff. That's why somebody like Warren Buffet can go into any business and turn it around.

 

There's a business aspect of every business, and then there's the technical aspect of every business. You need both in order to have a successful business. So, I hung out at that mastermind and met with people who had the business acumen. I couldn't see outside my box. When you're in a certain situation and you're dealing with a whirlwind of daily activities every single day, you can't see outside of that a lot of times. All I needed was somebody else to tell me something that I already knew. He goes, "Listen, you just need to hire an assistant. You just need to staff out everything that's under $15 an hour to an assistant."

 

In 2014 I made $130,000 or $140,000 that year, and this is the beginning of 2015. I was like, "If I hire an assistant that's going to be a third of my income. I got to pay somebody 30,000 or $40,000 a year." They broke it down, "No, it's $2,500 or $3,000 a month. If you try it out for 30 days you'll spend $3,000 doing it, not $35,000." I thought, "Okay, I can at least give it a try." So, I hired an assistant in March of 2015. In the next 10 months we scaled up and did over 100 deals that year. I made $400,000 and I tripled my income by making that one hire. When I realized how powerful human capital is, I then got an intern from one of the local colleges. I had them come on and handle acquisitions that summer of 2015.

 

When we started really making money, I talked to some people who I knew had the greatest work ethic, and people in the retail industry who didn't have a way to move up the ladder. I offered them an opportunity to come work for me and it worked out really well. That's how I hired my COO, my project manager and my disposition/asset manager guy. My acquisitions guy actually didn't end up going back to college. He ended up sticking around. I have a pretty lean team. It's the same team I had in 2015. There's only 5 of us, and it's worked out really well. We still opened up a management company so we have 13 or 14 employees on that side. Then, we have a lot of joint venture partnerships on a lot of our apartment buildings that are out of state. In South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and all those areas we have a local boots-on-the-ground partner who has their own operation. I like those joint ventures because it allows us to do more deals without actually bringing on more overhead, which is stressful to me.

 

Matt Rodak:

Totally makes sense. We had J. Scott on the podcast and he talked about spending his time -- and really any entrepreneur -- spending your time where you make the most money for your business. Accounting may not be the place that you make your money. Whether it's raising money, finding deals or whatever that is in terms of driving the most revenue for the company, everything else should be outsourced to specialists for the most part.

 

 

Tim Bratz:

100%.

 

Matt Rodak:

I want to get into one thing you said. You talked about the business skills that you need, and then the technical skills that a business has to have that's specific to that business. Specifically, when you guys made this pivot from the residential space to the apartment commercial space, I would imagine there's somewhat of a different technical skill set needed for that asset class versus what you had more experience with. How did you guys go about learning how to make good investment decisions, buy a different type of asset class and do so as well as you have, while at the same time climbing that technical learning curve?

 

Tim Bratz:

I don't think you can know everything before you get involved. We started out with an 8-unit, then another 8-unit, then a 14-unit, and scaled up into 23-unit, to a 30-unit, to a 60-unit, and then an 84-unit. You go through life, you go through business. I was actually just watching Ray Dalio who owns the largest hedge fund in the United States and who wrote the book "Principles." I was watching one of his videos the other day. He's like, "Take a look at Darwinism. Something happens and then you either have to adapt or you die." You just have to keep on adapting. You are going to keep on tripping and then you are going to keep on adapting. As you adapt, you're going to have higher level problems that now you're more suited to respond to. But, it's still going to be problems. You’ve got to keep on adapting. As long as you can solve a lot of problems, the more problems you solve, the more money you're going to make.

 

The highest paid people, and the most powerful people in the entire world are all problem solvers. CEOs, politicians, these are people who actually solve problems. From my perspective, I tell my team, "Listen, problems are going to hit us every single day. We are going to get kicked in the teeth every single day. We need to be able to adapt and problem solve. If we can critically think and solve that problem better than somebody else, then we're going to be more successful than them and that other company." So, that's all we've done.

 

I've gotten crushed. I've had people with bed bug and roach issues, and bug problems in my apartment buildings. I've had drug dealers come in and scare away all the other tenants. I've had prostitution in the hallways. I've had buildings burned down. I bought a distressed property, a 30-unit building. This was my crown jewel at the time. It was the Santa Maria of all my ships. So, I got this 30-unit apartment building and a bunch of tenants. 20 of the units were occupied and literally 10 of the tenants were paying. That's it. I had to evict about 10 tenants and they're like, "Who the hell is this guy coming in and telling me to pay rent? I haven't paid rent in a year." Now they're mad at me and I'm the jerk because I expect them to pay their rent. One guy wreaked havoc on the building for three weeks. He ended up lighting a fire in his kitchen and burned the whole building down to the shell. Again, this is my crown jewel of my entire operation, and it burns to the ground. It was the biggest punch in the gut I could've gotten at the time and probably one of the catalysts to that partnership going south because it was very stressful because we didn't have the cash coming in. We got into a lawsuit with the insurance company and it 3.5 years later that it finally got settled.

 

You have to roll with the punches. In one of the "Rocky" movies he goes, "It's not about how hard you're hit, you're going to get hit. Life's not all sunshine and rainbows. It's not about how hard you're hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done." That's the message and the culture I try to convey to my team. We deal with problems every day. The reason that we deal with these problems is because other people can't deal with them, and that's why we're going to be able to be more successful than other companies.

 

Matt Rodak:

Yep, totally. You talked a little bit about it, but I'd like to dig in more to your thinking on this. I think it's super courageous. When entrepreneurs are getting started they have nothing to lose. So making pivots is easy because you're leaving something that's not that big. As you start to build up your business and you have something, the tendency -- and I struggle with this -- the tendency is to hold on to what you have. Even if it's not making as much money or the market is not as big as you thought it was, or whatever that is. Walk us through your thought process there. You've got this machine, it's cranking out 100 or more flips a year, you're probably making some money, and then you're like, "We're going to stop doing this, and do something else." That is a bold and courageous move. How did you get your head around that and how did you get your team to enroll in that move? Talk us through a little bit more about that.

 

Tim Bratz:

Great question. We still had deals in the pipeline and what happened was -- we were going to focus a little bit more apartment buildings, let's see if we can find a couple of apartment buildings. There was about a 60-day time frame where we were still buying single family and at the same time looking at some apartment buildings. Then we acquired an apartment building, and we popped a wholesale deal on another apartment building where we made $100,000 on it. So, that now gave me enough money to pad the bank account to cover overhead for the next few months.

 

That was the catalyst. Once we had that one, I said, "Hey, we're not doing any of the single family." We were dealing with some headaches on the -- retail flips for me are like hangovers. It's like drinking. You go out, you got a real good idea. You're like, "Hey man, we're going to go out and get after it tonight. This is an awesome house, I think we can make a bunch of money on it." Then, as soon as you buy it, you're dealing with contractor headaches. It's like a hangover. You're like, "Oh my God, I'm never doing this again. Worst thing ever. Never drinking again, never rehabbing again." That's my life when it comes to retail, HGTV kind of flips. We were going through that on 3 or 4 houses at the time.

 

It was me being so pissed off about that, and at the same time popping a couple of these wholesale on apartment deals. I'm like, "Why are we even doing this? Burn the ships. We're not doing any of that stuff anymore." We had enough money in the bank where we can cover overhead for the next few months. When we did that, we picked up a 20-unit and then a 74-unit portfolio. We picked up a 48-unit, all within 4 or 5 months thereafter. And, an 18-unit that we flipped and made another $130,000 on that. It was a little bit of that, but I think a lot of it is -- like you said -- when you come from nothing and then you make money and you have assets, now you're almost afraid to lose it.

 

You put a lot of these safety nets in place as well. So, you make sure you have the right insurance, you make sure that all the documents, legal aspects and LLCs and stuff are in place for asset protection purposes. We started out with some smaller buildings and scaled up from there. So, we got a small building stabilized. Then we got a bigger building stabilized. Then we got our biggest building stabilized. We started doing some joint venture partnerships. I was able to raise a lot of capital and let other people do the work, find the deals, oversee the value-add renovations and everything. I was able to have the balance sheet to be able to sponsor other people's deals who are trying to get into apartment buildings.

 

I was able to come in, sponsor, get the loans, get the financing for them and then also raise the private money for the down payments. They didn't have to bring any money on the table. They just needed a good work ethic. That allowed us to take some equity, some of these other deals and diversify our portfolio, if you will, into some other markets around the country and be completely passive in doing so. That was another thing that we started doing. It's worked out really, really well. I actually really like the joint venture stuff.

 

Matt Rodak:

So when you're talking about doing joint ventures, you guys are bringing the money, the expertise, and the balance sheet to get the credit. Then you're looking for people to partner on the operation side, find the deals, and do the value-add. Got it. Yep. That makes a lot of sense.

 

Tim Bratz:

We do some mentoring on that side, and it's a la carte. Some people are like, "Hey, man, I got money, I got my own balance sheet, I just want to make sure I don’t fall on my face on this apartment building deal because I've never done one. Will you come in, coach and mentor, and I'll give you some piece of the equity." I'm 100% cool with doing that. If they need a little bit more help, that's okay too. We can help raise the money, I can sign and get the loan, or whatever that looks like. Based on how much value I'm bringing to the table versus how much they're bringing, we just figured out a way that's equitable for how we split up the equity in the deal.

 

Matt Rodak:

Very cool. You talked a little bit about some stories here that are, what I would consider to be, unscripted, getting punched in the face and having to improvise your way through to solve the problem. I'd love to hear another one from you if you have one. It sounds like you've raised a lot of private money. Sometimes private money goes well, sometimes it goes less than well. I'd love to hear a private money story obviously without naming names.

 

Tim Bratz:

I have an infamous one that I was posting about on social media a few months ago. A good buddy of mine, real good friend, sold his eCommerce business for tens of millions of dollars. He put $2 to 2.5 million with me in the span of a few months. I think he's got all this money set aside. I tell them about a big portfolio I'm buying down in Georgia and I need to raise $4,000,000 for it. I shoot him a text message. He goes, "Hang on a second, let me make a few phone calls. I'll get right back with you." He makes a couple phone calls -- I figured it was to his financial advisor -- and he texts me back 30 minutes later and says he is good for all $4,000,000. I thought, "Okay, this is the easiest it's ever been to raise private money."

 

Matt Rodak:

That should have been red flag # 1.

 

Tim Bratz:

Right, something that is too good to be true. So he calls me up. I'm sitting on my hands for the next 90 days because my joint venture partner in Georgia is handling all the due diligence. We got the loan already lined up, everything's squared away, so we're ready to take this thing down in June of this year. I fire them out a message in the middle of May and I'm like, "Hey man, we're closing in three weeks. I just wanted to let you know, and to give you a courtesy to queue up the money. Plan on the first week in June. He calls me back, "Hey man, I don't have it yet, but I think I will." I was like, "What do you mean you don't have it yet?" He goes, "No, I'm launching a crypto-currency and we've got an ICO happening. I have a bunch of commitments for the money, but it hasn't hit the bank account yet.

 

I was like, "Okay, that's cool, just keep me posted." I'm a little bit nervous at the same time. So a week goes by, then two weeks go by. I asked him, "Hey, how are we doing?" He goes, "I got some but not all of it. I'm going to this conference in Africa. " I guess that's where all the cryptos are or something that.

 

Matt Rodak:

Red flag #2: funding coming from crypto-currency in Africa!

 

Tim Bratz:

And he said, "There are pension funds and some royal families that are going to invest in this." I was like, "You have a Nigerian prince? Is this really where this is going?" He is still in the process of doing this, but I'll fast forward in a minute. So, he was speaking at this conference on a Wednesday before we close on Monday, and he's supposed to have the money Wednesday night. He's seven hours ahead. I'm texting him, "Hey, how'd it go? How'd it go?", all day Wednesday. I hear crickets. I text him all day Thursday and hear crickets. Friday morning he texted me back, "There is too much red tape, there's too many legal issues. It's going to be a little bit while longer. I don't have any of the money." And I was like, "What? None of it?" He was like, "No, I don't have any." So I had to raise $4,000,000 in essentially 48 hours as we were closing on Monday.

 

There's a couple things that happened in that situation. First, you're like, "Oh my God, what's going to happen? I got this big deal. I'm bringing the money. This is unbelievable. I don't know what I'm going to do. The world's crumbling, the sky is falling." Then, you're like, "My family is healthy. My kids are happy. If my biggest problem right now is raising $4,000,000 to go and make $15,000,000 on a deal, that's a pretty damn good problem to have." So, I just changed my vision of how I wanted to attack this, and then I got into problem solving mode. I made a list of everybody I knew who ever invested in a deal of mine and anybody I knew who had money or access to capital. I put an email together with an overview of the deal, all the financial information on the deal, along with a Dropbox link to all the due diligence because I realized I needed to hit a lot of people with this and I wouldn't be able to answer all the questions. I put all of it in one specific location so that way I can send that single email out to them, and they'll have everything to make a decision on this deal. Then, I started banging out calls. Man, I was on the phone and on emails all day Friday. I slept for like 3 or 4 hours that night. I was on the phone all day Saturday answering people's calls. Finally, Sunday morning, I started getting commitments and I was able to get $4,000,000 raised up by six different people that I had already done business with. Who already trusted me on a smaller level. $200,000 up to $1.5 million is what these six people brought. I was able to roll that into the deal and it happen.

 

Matt Rodak:

Very nice. I like to say, too, that money is easier to raise when the deal's a good deal. A $15,000,000 proforma probably helped some there as well, I would imagine.

 

Tim Bratz:

For sure, it was a smoking deal. I gave up more equity and a better return than I thought I had to. Those actual six people, most of it was short term cash, actually. I was paying a pretty penny for the money. I was able to borrow it for 90 days and then get it all swapped out with long term equity investors over the course of that 90 days. We actually just wrapped it up. Finally that's off my plate now, but now we're slamming out the value-add on this thing. We're all into this deal for $24 million and it's worth about somewhere between $40 to $45 million depending on what the lending environment and everything's going to be like in middle of next year. It's a sweet deal, and it was a kick in the crotch when it happened, but it was also a lot of fun.

 

Because I reached out to all those people talking about this deal, what you'll find is that all of a sudden it opened up conversations with people that I would've never opened up a conversation with before. Now it's easier for me to raise money today than it was 4 months ago. Now I have money queued up for all these other deals that I have in the pipeline, and it's something that I didn't really expect to come out of it. A lot of times people are like, "Hey man, I'd be involved in this deal but I'm not liquid right now. I have to wait for this to sell, or that to open up, or whatever happens." It's all about timing with private lenders. Staying in touch with your private lenders, touching them once a quarter or even more often if you can, is a great way to make it easier for when you do come across a situation like that. They already know what you have in the pipeline. So, it was really cool.

 

Matt Rodak:

That's a cool story, I appreciate you sharing. Last question, then we'll get you out of here: it seems like you're a super networked guy, both on the capital raising side of the business as well as getting looks and deal flow in from others. I'd love to learn a little bit about how you build your network. How have you built your network? For those people that are out there listening to this, if they want to get ahold of you, if they have a deal, if they have capital to invest, what's the best way for them to get ahold of you?

 

Tim Bratz:

I appreciate that. I'll answer your question first, then I'll go over some ways that we can connect. I'm pretty big on social media, and I wasn't 12 months ago.

 

Matt Rodak:

What do you mean? Twitter? Instagram? Facebook?

 

Tim Bratz:

Facebook is really the only one I'm on. I have accounts with all the other ones. What I'm trying to do is get my assistant, or hire a marketing company, to then post all my Facebook content onto these other social media platforms so that I'm not doing it 100% of the time, but it's usually on Facebook. So, on Facebook, one of my buddies was like, "Dude, you can have 5,000 friends on Facebook, and it doesn't cost you anything.” And I thought that was a pretty good point.

 

I always thought that I'm not going to start friending people, but then I went through and I friended everybody who was involved in real estate, or an entrepreneur. Pretty much all entrepreneurs is who I friended on Facebook. I started providing so much value and content on deals I was doing, on the breakdown of it, on a podcast I was on, on Facebook Live, personal development stuff, and tactical real estate things just to provide value. I never asked for anything. I was just trying to help other people realize that they can get involved in commercial real estate, but it's not as complicated as they might think. It's a lot simpler than they might construe their mind. How I'm finding deals, how I'm structuring my private money, how I'm managing contractors. All of that. It's just providing free value. I got this organic following that occurred on social media and then people started friending me. All of a sudden I'm up to 5,000 friends and 1,200 and 1,500 followers.

 

Then I get more attention, I'm invited out to speaking engagements and I'm invited on more podcasts. It starts compounding, it's snowballing, when you give and give and give. I had some stuff going on so it was easy for me to do that. Even if you don't have a lot of stuff going on in your business, you can go call up a Matt Rodak or a Tim Bratz or somebody else who has things going on in their business, and interview them on a Facebook Live. Then, all of a sudden you're cross pollinating your followers with their followers and you're going to organically build your own following. I've done a lot of that too, connecting with other people on Facebook Live and other influencers I know in this space.

 

All of a sudden, some of their followers are following me, so my followers are following them, and we're providing even more value to everybody who's trying to scale up in real estate. I plug into all these national mastermind groups as well. That turned into a coaching program as well. Every time I post a deal, somebody wants to sell me a deal, somebody wants to buy a deal from me, they want to joint venture with me, they want to lend me private money or they want to pay me to coach them and mentor them on how to do this. So, I had an education company hit me up in the beginning of the year. That was never really my thing -- I don't want to be a guru -- but if there's a way that I can educate people on the right way to invest in apartment buildings, hold their hand and walk them, and do a deal with them, now I know I'm confident in their ability and I can take the hard stuff off their plate. I can help teach them how to market. I could bring all the money, I can bring the financing -- that's the biggest hurdle in a lot of people's minds. That's how I've done a lot of my joint venture opportunities now. It's with people who come out to my coaching program. That's called CommercialEmpire.com. Fill out an application. I do events once a quarter or 4 or 5 times a year. It's really fun, it's a 3-day intensive. It's usually up here in Cleveland where I take you through a couple of the apartment buildings that I have. Also, we pair it up. We rented out the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame one night and did some fun stuff there. We rented out the Browns stadium one day and actually met there.

 

So, we do some cool stuff that's fun, and then the networking is very high level residential investors, people who are making good money flipping a lot of houses on the residential side. Just looking to scale up. I think a lot of people get involved in real estate for the allure of passive income and residual income. And then we all get stuck in this transactional mode of wholesaling or flipping -- and that's cool, you could make a great living doing that -- but to build wealth I think you really need to own assets. I have a lot of people who like to keep on wholesaling because you're crushing the wholesale game. Take that money and either privately lend it into apartment buildings or passively invest in some apartment buildings, joint venture, whatever that looks like, or to do a little bit of both. Especially with the climate being good and the economy is good right now. What happens as things change, as things shift, it's good to have a little bit of both in your arsenal. It's a lot of really sharp residential investors who want to parlay into apartment buildings who usually comes out to my courses.

 

Matt Rodak:

Got it. CommercialEmpire.com. Check it out. So Tim, I really appreciate you being with us today. This is super insightful. Pulling out some summary points here, the couple things that resonated with me is get involved with a mastermind, some type of advisory board, someone to help you see outside of your own universe. For Tim, it was seeing that, yeah, he's making money and he's got a business, but perhaps there's other ways to make money and spend his time more wisely. Especially as you start to build something up, you've got to continue to be courageous around looking at "Am I doing the right thing with my time?" Tim, you did a really good job of identifying an opportunity and not 'betting the house' on it, but easing your way into it until you're like, "Okay, this makes sense, this works." All your chips on the table after you're sure that you see the data, you see that the business model, and it becomes more clear to you. The last thing I think that you talked about, which I love a lot, is this idea of running into problems. We talked about this a lot at Fund That Flip. You get kicked in the face, and it's easy to want to crawl under the table. The reality is, that is not going to solve the problem and it's also why you've got the business that you've got and why you get paid to do what you have to do -- because no one else is doing it right. No one else is solving the problems. It was a great story with the private money. Anything else you'd like to add to the summary of what I got out of the conversation?

 

Tim Bratz:

I think you hit on everything. Don't let your reasons for doing something be your excuse for not doing it. "I don't have money, I can't get involved in real estate." That's why you need to get involved in real estate because you don't have money. How about never having to have that conversation ever again? "I don't have time, that's why I can't get involved in real estate." That's why you need to get involved in real estate. Start buying assets so that way you have time to do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want to. A lot of people focus on not having the resources, and they need to focus on just being resourceful. You know, I heard Tony Robbins say, "Resourcefulness is the ultimate resource," and that stuck with me hard. It's probably my favorite quote for the past year. Be resourceful. You will figure it out. You will solve the problems. Ask yourself questions that get your mind thinking on how to solve problems versus saying, "I can't do that," or "There's no way that could happen." That shuts off your brain versus stimulating your brain. I'm thinking about solutions. Be solution oriented, be resourceful and you'll rock and roll and have a ton of success. So, I wish everybody the most success. Matt, I appreciate you having me, buddy. Thank you so much. This has been a lot of fun.

 

Matt Rodak:

Awesome, I appreciate it. Thank you all for listening to this episode of Real Estate Investing Unscripted. For more great resources or to get funding for your next project, head on over to FundThatFlip.com. Otherwise I look forward to having you listen to the show next time. Thanks a lot, guys.

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Thank you everyone for listening to this episode of Real Estate Investing Unscripted. For more resources or to fund your next project, head on over to FundThatFlip.com

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