884: Why NOW Is the Time to Buy Commercial Real Estate with Alan Schnur

February 24, 2020
For the last 20 years, Alan Schnur has been investing in real estate. What started with a single rental eventually grew to over 400 homes and 2,000+ apartment units. Then, one day, Alan decided to sell everything off and go all in on commercial real estate. On today’s podcast, Alan explains why now is the time to buy commercial real estate and outlines steps listeners can take to get started in the commercial sphere. Alan also shares the strategy he used to buy one house per month, the key to overcoming fear as a new investor, and the mindset needed to succeed in real estate.
Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • How Alan narrowly missed the terrorist attacks on 9/11 [1:50]
  • The strategy Alan used to buy one house per month [4:46]
  • Alan’s first multifamily purchase [10:02]
  • Why Alan decided to sell all of his investment properties [11:24]
  • How to overcome fear and take the next step [18:09]
  • Why now is the time to buy commercial properties [18:58]
  • Why not to worry about online retailers replacing brick-and-mortar businesses [23:14]
  • Insight from Alan Schnur’s The Cashflow Mindset [31:06]
  • The question real estate investors must ask themselves [38:34]
  • How to break through your goals.
  • Plus so much more.

Alan Schnur

Singular Leadership Alan Schnur, based in Houston, offers exceptional real estate investment services by changing the very way people buy real estate, create cash flow, and harness their entrepreneurial drive to obtain true financial freedom. Through books, presentations, seminars, and consultations, Alan has shared his Cashflow Mindset with anyone seeking true financial freedom. He has traveled the world as a mentor and speaker, and has lectured at Harvard University. He was honored by Houston Mayor Parker and the Houston City Council for his commitment to providing affordable, quality housing to families in need. Seasoned Expertise Alan offers expertise that is seasoned, and made stronger, through decades of experience in all critical facets of the real estate sector. He is known around the country not only for creating substantial amounts of monthly cashflow through investment properties, but also for sharing his expertise with others who seek the same financial freedom. He recently published the second edition of his book, Creating Your Own Real Estate Cash Machine. Successful Entrepreneurship Alan has successfully produced an impressive real estate portfolio while building a company that reached more than 200 employees. After investing in a few single-family rental homes, he realized he could apply the same principles and techniques to larger properties and achieve much greater financial returns. With partners and syndication he has bought more than 2,000 apartment units and managed more than 7,000 units, along with hundreds of single-family houses. He owns numerous medical, office, and warehouse buildings, along over a dozen shopping centers around the U.S., and builds multi-million-dollar custom homes. He has invested in apartment units and later progressed into other types of commercial real estate, as well as ventures encompassing private lending, student housing, and 55 and older apartments. Related Links and Resources: Thanks for Rocking Out Thank you for tuning in to Pat Hiban Interviews Real Estate Rockstars, we appreciate you! To get more Rockstar content sent directly to your device as it becomes available, subscribe on iTunes or StitcherReviews on iTunes are extremely helpful and appreciated! We read each and every one of them, please feel free to leave your email so that we can personally reach out and say thanks! Have any questions? Tweet meFacebook me and ask Pat anything. Don’t forget to head on over to Bare Naked Agent for Pat’s answers, and advice. Thank you Rockstar Nation, and keep rockin!

Matt O’Neill: Hey, what’s happening, Real Estate Rockstar nation? It is Matt O’Neill, today’s host. Today, we have got an incredible guest that has the potential to change your life. Alan Schnur is with us. Alan was working a corporate job, buying a house a month, and grew it to 400 houses, and started to buy apartment complexes, grew it to 2,000 apartment units, and decided to sell it all and start investing in shopping centers.

There is one day that changed his life. Alan was one day away from being in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and that moment caused him to change everything. Let’s welcome Alan to the show. Alan, thanks for being here.

Alan: Matt, thanks for having me. Looking forward to this and speaking with all your listeners.

Matt: Me too. Alan, take us back. What happened with North Tower?

Alan: Listen, we all have those moments in life that things are going to change, it hurts so much and you just can’t take it anymore. There was this time in my life where I was working on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center in the North Tower for a company called Cantor Fitzgerald as a broker. We were all scheduled on September 10th to leave, 40 of us were scheduled to leave on a business trip to launch a new product, to only find out that the software wasn’t ready on time.

What can I say? 39 out of 40 people canceled their trips. I was the only one on the group that decided I was going to go out to the West Coast, spend some time with my traders who were my clients, and make the best of a tough situation. Then, of course, the following day changed everyone’s life. Unfortunately, we lost 700 out of 1,000 people in the company, and I lost 40 out of 44 teammates.

I found myself in this room, in this hotel room by myself for a week. That was a very difficult week for me, some survivor guilt. I really appreciated all the first responders, why wasn’t I there, or what can I do to make the situation better? I also took time to take a good look in the mirror and see if I was happy with myself with directions I was taking. I decided then and there I was sick of few things, that I was going to make changes immediately in my life.

I turned the situation around, and when I was able to– like three, four, five weeks later, Cantor parted ways with me, I started and launched some of my own businesses which we’re about to start talking about. It was just one of those awful situations where I said, “You know what? I’m sick and tired of not having everything I want in life and I’m going to go out and grab it.” I grabbed life big, right? It’s one of the mottos here.

Matt: Grab life big, yes. Alan, thank you for sharing that story. I couldn’t imagine being in your shoes. I think it would be impossible for anybody who wasn’t in your shoes to really know what that was like. What I love that happened for you is you said, “I’m here, and I’m going to go make a difference.”

Alan: Right.

Matt: “I’m going to go big.” I’m putting words in your mouth here, but I would imagine that something said, “Life is short. Life is precious. Why the heck am I doing anything other than what I want to do?”

Alan: Great. You’re so right. I have a motto, “Go big, simplify, and refine.” That’s what I was working on and it got super tunnel focus going. I decided to play a bigger game in life because of that event.

Matt: Wow. Let’s look at what happened. How’s your evolution of real estate investing? Take me through, how did you start? Let’s just start with the first house.

Alan: The first house, gee. I ended up in Houston. I’m New Yorker, I ended up in Houston and I picked up a Robert Kiyosaki book like a lot of us did. Robert said, “Go to an investment club,” and that’s exactly what I did. I’ll never forget, I was listening to some gentleman on stage talking about buying houses 50 cents on the dollar.

I was totally mesmerized and had to go to the bathroom. Type of..you have to go but you don’t want to miss anything, so you hold it in. [laughs] Finally, I can’t anymore, so I’m running out to the bathroom. While I’m running, someone’s selling a $10,000 program, and they’re going to teach me and mentor me and do all this stuff. I didn’t have a lot of money. I was just out of a job. I’m living in a new state. I took out my credit card.


You know what? It worked. It worked. This guy taught me how to buy houses. I started my own firm in the commodity business, which is another part of the story, but the houses, that’s it. Every Saturday morning, I showed up for my lessons. We started knocking on doors, grassroots organic, weather campaigns, and all that stuff. Before I knew it, I had a pipeline of flippers wanting to sell me houses, and I also had my own pipeline working.

I got in the midst of bankers, hard money lenders, whatever it took. Get a bonus, buy a house, you name it. I was all over. I had to have a house a month. I actually have a joke. I was a housaholic. I was an apartment addict. If I didn’t have a new house every 30 days, I was in the worst freaking mood. I had to have a house because it symbolized freedom. It symbolized cash flow. It symbolized that everything I was doing in my life was finally working, because I believed in it.

Matt: You got obsessed.

Alan: Yes.

Matt: We just saw Ed Mylett talk and at GoBundance [crosstalk].

Alan: Oh, wow.

Matt: I had the chance to look him in the eye and say thank you because he’s been a big inspiration to me.

Alan: Awesome. Yes, he’s awesome.

Matt: Ed said at his talk, “Your obsessions become your possessions.”

Alan: I like that, for sure.

Matt: You got obsessed. You’re a housaholic. You had to have a new house. You’re obsessed on passive income, and because you were obsessed, it had to become your possession.

Alan: I’ll tell you what, there wasn’t really a lot of money in the cash flow of the houses in the beginning. I was buying $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 houses. I had to go on there and fix them all and get tenants and all that stuff. I was lucky to make $50,000 to $100,000 a month, but even just that $50 which is recognizing the fact that this is possible.

In my book that we’ll talk about later, I had this, “If you could do it once, you could it 10 times, and if you could do it 10 times, you could do it 1,000 times.” That’s how I scaled up. I was only considering the $100 a house, 400 houses, $40,000 a month. [chuckles]

Matt: That’s fantastic. You had a vision and the vision was, “I just want half a million a year passive.” That’s an amazing vision especially when you’ve been working in the corporate America and grinding and saying, “Man, I got to give my blood, sweat, and tears to make that kind of money. What if I can get my asses to work for me?” Of course, once you started to see, “I could scale and scale and scale,” you said, “I can get a lot bigger on my vision.”

Alan: It’s true. I learned one formula and all I did was rinse and repeat, and I did it over 400 times. I did it a lot of times because I flipped too but I was also cash flowing. I’ll never forget. I call this a Tokyo close. I was in Japan one summer, got a phone call from a bank. They said, “Alan, we got 20 houses we just took back. Can you take them from us? We’ll give you 80% financing, 20% down.”

I’m like, “Sure, great, but I’m in Japan.” They needed something notarized, so Tokyo close, I go over to the American Embassy. I get it stamped and notarized and just sent back there all the closing docs in a DHL envelope, and now I’m a proud owner of 20 houses. What did I really do? I totally captured a million dollars in equity, but more importantly, I captured $5,000 a month in cash flow.

Now, I’m walking back from DHL in the middle of Tokyo and I’m saying to myself, “Gee, this is awesome. How can I ever do that again? What are the chances someone’s going to call me up?” I’m kicking the can down the road, saying to myself, “What’s next? What’s next? What’s next?” I look up and I’m standing in front of an apartment building in Japan. [chuckles] I’m like, “Yes. Yes. Maybe that’s a sign from the universe or something.”

Matt: It was. It was a sign.


You listened. I’ll tell you, the sign– Totally, that’s me. I think they’re signs. I think that we’re being guided many times. You looked at this apartment building.

Alan: I ran with it. I got online, I did some research. I like this area, Pasadena, Texas, where I own the majority of my houses. I found something on LoopNet.com, got in touch with the broker. He’s like, “Alan, this deal just fell out of contract. The owner’s so desperate, he’s going to owner finance it.” I’m like, “Great.” I fly home a week or two later, I closed that thing. Very, very little money down. The credit’s back.

I know a lot of your listeners know, the tax is back, the deposit’s back. It was such a small amount of money to control a $2 million asset in the middle of my housing portfolio. We used the leasing office, not just for the apartments, but we also used it for all the houses too so people could come and go. It just gave us a much more professional front.

Once I mastered the apartment formula, I spent a lot of time in the leasing office, then I went all out. Every 90 days, I was buying an apartment complex. Of course, as any real estate entrepreneur knows, I started running out of money, then I figured out the power of syndication, which is so powerful. I hope our listeners here today, if they really want to make a difference in their lives, if they want to scale up and make a lot of money, they need to become syndicators. Responsible syndicators. That’s it.

I syndicated a good dozen to a dozen and a half apartment complexes over a five-year period. Then one day I woke up and I realized I had around 2,000 units and a few hundred houses, and I just decided to sell everything. I believe in– coming from Wall Street, buy low, sell high. Don’t try to pick the top. Don’t try to pick the bottom. Average in, average out. That’s all I was doing. I was just selling a few houses every month.

I was selling an apartment building every quarter. I guess if I look back right now, Matt, they’d be worth a lot more, but it allowed me to scale up and evolve into the next idea, which we’re about to start talking about. Just to let everyone know, in the apartments, we bought around $50 million of apartments with the power of syndication, and sold everything for around $80 million. That worked out well. I took my share from being the general partner in that deal, and I started reading about retail shopping center strips. Nobody wants this stuff.

It’s at the bottom of the asset class, and I’m just scratching my head, I’m like, “Well, I know what it’s like to be in the housing business and chase rent money. Would I rather chase rent money from a bunch of guys that probably don’t make, I don’t know, $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 a year cutting grass in a Class C apartment buildings, or pick up the phone and talk to Starbucks to start negotiating a new lease?” I said, “You know what, I think I’m going to give this a shot.”

Matt: Yes, you don’t have to chase Starbucks.

Alan: No, Starbucks sends me checks. How cool is that? Speaking of Starbucks, I’m net positive on them. [laughs] That’s what really got me involved in the retail shopping center strips.

Matt: I want to ask a couple questions.

Alan: Go ahead. Sorry, the Starbucks is kicking in.

Matt: I’ll tell you what, it’s impressive. One of the things that’s most impressive about you, is you take action. You don’t just take a little action, you take massive action. You’ve got, in my opinion, based on the story that we’re talking about here, you’ve got a lot of bravery and you act in the face of risk with courage. Where do you think that came from?

You came back from Tokyo and just jumped on LoopNet, talked to a broker and bought his apartment deal, when he said it was a good deal. You walked down the hallway, having to go to the bathroom, bought a $10,000 coaching program, when you didn’t really have the money to do it. Why do you think you have that, and how can other people develop that kind of courage to take risk?

Alan: Great question. Probably because I’m afraid. Whenever I feel myself being afraid of something, or a little fearful, I know that I have absolutely no choice but to take the next step forward. I had to lean into it, or else–

Matt: When you are afraid, you have to take action.

Alan: You have to. That’s life inviting me into the next level, the next phase, the next adventure, the next chapter.

Matt: That’s so powerful.

Alan: That’s the universe just knocking on my door.

Matt: What you’re saying is that feeling of fear is actually the universe telling you that it’s time for you to act?

Alan: I like that. Can I write that down?

Matt: Yes, go ahead. You just said it.

Alan: [laughs] For sure. I don’t consider myself the bravest person. We all lack certain things in life, and you’re just going to have to make some choices. Do you spend all your time trying to figure out what you’re not good at, or do you run with what you possibly could be good with? When you mix that up with fear and emotions, you’ve just got to go for it.

Matt: I love it. We talked just before we got on the podcast today about how you’re a contrarian. Most of the people in the world right now are saying, “I don’t think we should be buying retail. In fact, run from retail, all the retailers are going out of business because online is putting them out of business.” Talk with me about your feeling about being a contrarian.

Alan: Sure. I did spend 15 years in the commodity market. I’ve literally watched billions of dollars fly through the air in certain commodity products. I’m a true believer in buying low and selling high. That leads me to be a contrarian in how do you get to buy low when no one else is really buying and no one else wants it? When we take a look at the asset classes out there, you have your multifamily asset class, you have your warehouse asset class, and you have retail.

Right now, out of those three, retail is on the bottom, nobody wants it. Everyone’s chasing yields right now in real estate. These Class C apartment complexes can easily be trading for four cap, five cap, six cap, percentage returns. Same thing with warehousing. Warehousing is so hot right now, because of all the jobs coming back to America and all the manufacturing happening here in America.

Now you have retail and everyone thinks it’s down in the dumps. Nobody wants it. I’ve got to tell you something, Matt, I’m buying 8, 9, 10 cap deals. Just like I was buying 10 cap deals in the apartment business when nobody wanted it. Just when I was buying houses for $30,000 or $40,000 a piece when nobody wanted it. I’m closing a deal next month and in the middle of syndication.

I’ll give you an example. It’s in Gilbert, Arizona. It’s $16.5 million dollars, and I’m borrowing the money at 3.5%, five years, interest only. It’s a nine cap. It’s a nine cap. That’s a five and a half point spread. Think about that’s more of a spread than a cap rate. What are you going to make in an apartment building? You’re going to borrow money at 3.5% and buy it at a 4.5% cap rate, you’ve got one point spread.

Let me go back to the retail shopping center in Gilbert, Arizona. We’re borrowing $10 million at a five and a half point spread. That’s $550,000 a year just on the spread of the money and the return on the deal. I don’t mess anything up, which I don’t, because this will be my sixth retail deal, I have around a million square feet, I get to add value. I’m going to bring that 9 cap really up to 11 or 12 cap by the time I’m done with it.

Then the tenancy. I get the opportunity. Here’s a strategy for people that want to get involved in retail. Where do you make money? Rent bumps. Rent bumps are built into the leases like 1% to 3% annually, you don’t even have to go knock on their door, it just kicks in. It’s already programmed in. Then there’s an outparcels strategy. I just did a Krispy Kreme deal last year in College Station, in my T.J. Maxx shopping center.

I took 30 parking spaces that nobody wanted. I did a land lease for 20 years with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, they put up a $2.5 million structure and they send me $8,000 a month, and that’s it. I don’t have to do anything. $8,000 a month times 12 is $96,000 a year, divide that by an 8 cap. It’s actually probably a 6 cap, but divide that by an 8 cap. I just added $1.2 million of value to the shopping center. Outparcels and then vacancies.

I like to buy stuff that’s 20%, 30% vacant trades on a true net operating income number. Let me go fill up the vacancies 50% to 75%. Let me say this differently. In all of my shopping centers, 50% to 75% are national names. I’ve got around 150 national tenants that trade on the exchanges from Krispy Kreme to Discount Tire, T.J. Maxx, Ross, I’ve got doctors, I’ve got chiropractors, I’ve got optometrists, I’ve got ER clinics, I’ve got Subways, Burger Kings, restaurants.

Alan: It’s been an evolution. We were talking about this earlier, from collecting, I don’t know, $800 a month in rent on a house to $8,000 a month in rent from Starbucks.

Matt: I’d rather have 8,000 from Krispy Kreme Starbucks than 800 from the guy that’s walking in your leasing office because he doesn’t even have a bank account because his wages are being garnished.

Alan: He’s bringing you a money order, exactly.

Matt: What needs to be emphasized is that you learn so much along the way that it’s hard to just go from, “I’ve never bought any investment properties,” to, “I bought a $16 million syndication deal, where I’m going to figure out how to put all these national people into my shopping complex.” You learn to syndicate through apartments.

Alan: I did. This all comes from the apartments. If you think about it, 16 million sounds like a lot of money, but what does an apartment complex cost these days?

Matt: 15 to 20 million. Yes.

Alan: Then talk about credibility. Now, let me just be clear. I like all real estate and I invest in all real estate, but I’m buying shopping centers that are 80%, 90% full with national tenants with national names, with leases that stand up in the court. When it comes to the apartment buildings, it’s the same thing. You got to get people over their fear. I hope something bad doesn’t happen to them, where they are forced to get over their fears, like what happened to me during my 9/11 days, but if they’re going to buy, I think it’s fearful to buy an apartment complex for 20 million in a five cap world.

Matt: Yes. [crosstalk]–

Alan: I have a shopping center here in Houston. It’s 150,000 square feet. One of the anchors is Discount Tire. I sit on Highway 59 where 300,000 cars pass a day. Do we really have to worry about Discount Tire being replaced by Amazon in front? I like these neighborhood centers. I like the centers that just don’t go away. You pick up 15, 20 acres of land. It’s almost like a covered land play as well.

Matt: Absolutely. Yes, you’re not going to buy tires on Amazon.

Alan: Not when you need them. You know what? People still want to get out. They want to touch. They want to taste. They want to feel. They want to be entertained. They want to go to a restaurant. They want to see a movie. They actually want to walk into a store and put something in a bag and carry it to their car.

Matt: You mentioned something earlier that I think would be worth noting. Everybody’s afraid of Amazon. Talk with me about how Amazon and the online retail business relates to the catalog sales business today.

Alan: Interesting. I was reading that fact the other day, the article was referring to Sears Rowan, but Sears catalog service. If everyone can remember back in the day, catalog services and all those catalogs you received in the mail, it’s coincidentally, they took 10% of all retail business, and it was going through the US mail system, 10%. To this day, right now, Amazon, or I should say, all online sales are approximately 10% of all retail sales. The numbers are identical.

One more little fact that the article mentioned, retail sales were up for stores this Christmas season. More people went into stores in last year. It’s almost like the gap got a little smaller. I know things are going to be bought and sold online, but I’m telling you, this retail, it’s not going away. The biggest buyer of brick and mortar right now is Amazon and internet retailers, because they’re trying to figure out how to grow their businesses.

Matt: Yes. I love that you shared that because 10% to me was really surprising. I would have suspected it was much higher. I would have suspected we were probably even close to 50%.

Alan: No way. Oh my gosh. Not at all. If you think about it–

Matt: That’s the way that I think that I shop. I think that I shop everything online.

Alan: Let me put this in perspective. Most people don’t even have a checking account in the United States. If you think about the demographics. People want to buy a shmata for like $5, $10, $15, a pair of pants or a shirt or a t-shirt. You’re not getting that. You’re not getting them online. Or most people aren’t. You’re walking into a store and they’re picking up their underwear and their socks.

Matt: I think it’s a good point. It’s possible that just because of where we’re at in our life and where my family’s at with our life, time is much more valuable than money.

Alan: For sure.

Matt: People I hang around with and my peer group, we may be more likely to just not walk into a store and it’s okay if we buy the wrong size, we’ll just buy another one and have it shipped to our house and that’s probably not a good skew of what the overall population is like.

Alan: Actually, I don’t know how I just came out with socks, but have you ever had socks shipped to your house? I think you have.

Matt: Yes.

Alan: I haven’t. I’m 50 you’re 40, there’s a difference there. I have more buying power.


Matt: Yes. Okay. I’m using my bias, my personal bias.

Alan: No, I like it. I like it. It’s all good.

Matt: It’s awesome to hear that only 10% of retail is online. It is killer and you can buy retail shopping centers at a massive discount right now. You said that in 10 years, everyone will be looking back at these eight caps they could have had at retail and kicking themselves they didn’t get it.

Alan: Yes. It’s unbelievable. You can borrow money for right now so cheap. You can borrow cheaper money now than Fannie and Freddie, and that wasn’t the case over the last few years. I’m calling this opportunity right now. You can get CMBS money at like three and a quarter to 375 interest rates, interest only for 5 or 10 years.

Hey, listen to this one. Over the summer, I bought 125,000 square foot shopping center anchored by Planet Fitness in a few restaurants. I borrowed the money at 3.85% interest only for 10 years. It’s huge.

Matt: Oh, my God. 10 years interest only?

Alan: It’s huge. It’s like a $60,000 a month free flow cash flow, $720,000 a year free flow cash flow.

Matt: Congratulations on that. It sounds like free money to me. What’s inflation? Isn’t inflation 2%?

Alan: I love when people ask me that because then we talk about 5 or 10-year leases and they’re like, “Alan, what are you going to do about the inflationary pressure here?” Each lease, like we just said, as like %1 to 3% annual rent bumps kicked in. Five years goes by, you’re at 3%. All your leases, all your revenue just went up 15%, maybe with a little cap rate compression, you could really double your money, just like that if you don’t do anything but raise rents.

Matt: I want to talk about your book, Cashflow Mindset.

Alan: Thank you.

Matt: You wrote the book, Cashflow Mindset. Yes.

Alan: It’s on Amazon and it’s on Audible.

Matt: Alan Schnur, Cashflow Mindset. Fantastic book. I want you just to dive into the biggest philosophies that you teach in that book.

Alan: A lot of us are about scale. I know a lot of our listeners are brokers, right?

Matt: Yes.

Alan: I’ve always used brokers. I was a commodity broker and owned a firm for 15 years. I had one broker buying me 200 houses. I had another broker buying me six apartment complexes. I have another broker who has probably bought me over a dozen shopping centers. I’m a true believer in the client-broker relationship. It’s all about scale. It’s all about scale.

One thing in my book that I talked about a lot is if you could do something once, you could do it 10 times, and if you could do it 10 times, you could do it 100 times. What’s so wonderful about real estate and it’s almost like a religious experience, it’s because you get to measure things in dollars and cents. The proof is in the pudding, proof is in the numbers. It’s right there, grouping position.

We say, “You can’t cheat the music.” You can’t cheat the numbers either if you’re looking at a balance sheet or a spreadsheet or a profit and loss statement. I’m a big believer in scale. It’s up to you, the individual, how far you’re willing to take things, how far will you go being uncomfortable, and what do you have to do to keep your life balanced. It’s a very cool puzzle that I enjoyed putting together all the time.

Matt: I love that you said that if you can do it once, you can do it 10 times. That’s the first step. The first step is do it once.

Alan: Yes. Do it once.

Matt: That’s the step I think that the majority of people who want to invest, who want cash flow, that’s where they get hung up on, is even starting once. Then once they do it once, I’m hoping that this particular podcast episode inspires somebody or multiple somebodies to get out there and just take action. When they feel the fear, know that God and the universe is saying you should do.

Alan: I like it.

Matt: They buy one, and when they buy the one, say, “I could do that 10 more times.” Then when they do it 10 more times, say, “Man, I could do that 100 times.” What an awesome philosophy.

Alan: I got to tell you, everything in perspective, the first house I ever bought was $23,000. I fixed it for $7,000, for $30,000. It appraised at $75,000. I pulled out the $30,000, then I never looked back ever, ever, ever.

Matt: You had the $30,000 to do the next one.

Alan: Exactly. Then you get to the point where you do that one at a time for each house, then maybe you get to the point where you could do it 10 at a time, you get commercial loans.

Matt: Yes, when you got that call in Tokyo and got the 20 homes at once.

Alan: Yes, and go and figure, the name of the bank was Prosperity. Was Prosperity. [laughs]

Matt: Perfect. Let’s dive into another one of the principles you teach in the book. What something else would be really valuable to share?

Alan: You really got to systematize. Look, I’m looking at my iPhone, we’re always looking for the next greatest app that’s going to help better organize our lives and perhaps simplify our lives or cut out the clutter. You need to create your business systems. I don’t want to sound cliché because we all talk about it. It has to happen. You got to decide.

For me, I spend two to three hours by myself every morning. I do my meditation. I do my prayers. I work out. I exercise every day. That’s part of my system. Next, I’ll hit the text. I love texting especially when people are sleeping. That’s part of my system. I’m sending out the matching orders. When I’m done with you here today, I’m going to go and visit my CPA. I do that once a week and we go over the numbers. That’s part of my system.

I have my brokers that I’m always checking in with. That’s part of my system. You got to decide what works for you and you got to systematize. You really have to do it if you really want to organize your life and make it bigger than yourself, because it’s not all about me anymore, it’s about me seeing other people row their lives through inspiration but also growing with money. Money matters.

Matt: It does. You can do a lot more good in the world when you have a lot of money than if you don’t have a lot of money.

Alan: For sure.

Matt: This is something that you’re teaching about systemizing every single day. My alarm goes off at 04:15 in the morning.

Alan: I like it.

Matt: Typically, I wake up before it just because, I don’t know why. I guess I subconsciously don’t want my wife to wake up. I spend that quiet time every day trying to listen to what’s next. What’s for today? What’s important today? What’s my priority? Exercise in the morning as well. I like what you talked about with systemizing the aspects, your business, your finance. It’s so important that you look at it every single week with your CPA. Man, that’s fantastic.

Alan: Every single week. It’s so important. We talked about the universe and I don’t want to get woo-woo here. I’m a believer in if you ask for something, you’re probably going to receive it, but you have to be able to handle the responsibility and help other people out as well. If I’m going to make a shitload of money, that money needs to go back out, circulate, and we got to keep those lives better as well. It’s so fulfilling.

Matt: Let’s talk about how you are improving others’ lives. How can people learn more from you and be part of what you’re doing?

Alan: Listen. Right now, in the middle of the capital rate syndicator, I’m raising money. I believe I’m helping people retire. I believe that I’m helping build people’s cash flow. I also believe that I’m teaching them something while they watch me go through the process because I’m pretty modest, down-to-earth. I don’t consider myself as superhuman being. I’m just using everything I possibly can within my means. I want to help and I want to be helped.

Matt: You’ve got this indication you’re raising money for. I know that most likely we have to have accredited investors, right?

Alan: Yes. Let me just say this. If anyone’s interested in learning more about retail, you like the stories I’m telling, I always give out my phone number, if you don’t mind. 713-503-5908. That’s 713-503-5908. The name of my firm is GR8 Partners. We’re at gr8partners.com. That’s G-R-8 partners.com. You could see all the projects that we’ve invested in. You could see what we’re working on. Join the syndication.

That’s how I learned how to buy apartment buildings, too. I joined someone else’s syndication and, oh, a few months later, I went out and bought my own as we just talked about. You got to take action. You got to jump in. You got to look on the side of the pool and you got to swim away from the edge. Look, if your listeners are listening to this, clearly, they want a better life. Clearly, we have real estate in common or methods of cash flow.

It’s a wonderful thing. I believe in matching up a physical goal and a financial goal. It’s like a great marriage for me. Right now, I’m hiking the Seven Summits of the world. I’ve done Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Me and my real estate group, we did Mount Elbrus in Russia last summer. We’ve gone to Base Camp at Mount Everest.

We’re getting ready to go to Chile in six or seven months to a mountain called Aconcagua, which is 22,000 square feet which is one of the largest mountains I will have ever climbed. client. At the same time, we’re talking real estate, we’re buying shopping centers. I have this idea of conquering this mountain. I have this idea of conquering X amount of square footage in retail shopping centers. Call me crazy but– I don’t know. When I’m exercising every morning, I’m thinking about the shopping centers and I’m thinking about climbing a mountain.

Matt: That is so inspiring. The seven highest summits. That is crazy. Did you say 22,000 feet? That’s the elevation?

Alan: Yes. Kilimanjaro is– I know a lot of guys from GoBundance have done it too, is 19,500. Base Camp was around 19,000. Mount Elbrus, which we did last summer, is the largest mountain in all over Europe. That was 18,500. Now, we’re going for 22,000 feet. No oxygen masks.

Matt: That’s called being a beast. That’s beast mode, Alan. Dude, you’re so inspiring.

Alan: If you could climb the mountain, you can climb a lot of other things in life. More importantly, we can inspire people to, perhaps, buy more real estate or buy their first deal, change asset classes, experiment. We’ve only talked about a few things here. I got 100,000 square feet of warehousing. I got half a million square feet of storage facilities, lending. I am a believer.

I know we’re starting to get all over the board here but I’m a true believer. I got this from the commodity business. Let me just paint this picture for everybody. You go on some of a floor where maybe there is gold trading and one pit silver, natural gas, oil, and any given date, it’s complete pandemonium in one of those pits. Maybe there is some worldly event that might drive at the price of oil.

Everyone is just staring at the oil pit wishing they were part of the oil pit so they can get in on the action while everything else is completely dead because it sucks the liquidity away from all the other pits. I always carry that idea forward in everything I do. Let’s just take single-family housing, for example. Right now, I’m building one spec house for $5 million. I’m making one bet, one house. It’s a slow moving market, it takes like two or three years.

I’m not going to sit around every day and just stare at his house going up. I got to go do something else. I asked myself, “Where’s the activity?” Well, right now the activity for me is in the shopping centers, but you know what? I’m not in love, love with shopping centers. If the returns and the activities are going to be back in multifamily, then I’ll go to multifamily.

My point is, I’m not going to just sit around waiting for things to happen. I’m going to ask myself, “What’s my best fit? Where can I go and make the most money? What’s the most liquid at the moment?”

Matt: Yes, and you’re able to ask yourself those questions when you take the time every day, like you do, and create some space in your life to ask yourself those questions?

Alan: Absolutely right. You got to make the space. You’re bringing me down, you’re right. It’s like you making it real. You got to make space in your life to figure out what’s best for you, what’s next, and what’s worthwhile doing and what’s, more importantly, worthwhile giving up.

Matt: Alan, this has been an honor, you’ve inspired the heck out of me. I think I got to climb a mountain.

Alan: Hey, listen, the name of our little group is 10X. I’ve always told Mike McCarthy and David about it. They actually helped me try to recruit a few GoBundance guys. There’s like 10 of us that go. It’s 10X Adventures, not the most original name but we’re not trying to be original here, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re trying to match up our physical goals with our financial goals, create camaraderie, everything your groups about.

Matt: I think anyone who is lucky enough to join you guys on a mountain climbing trip will come away with a bigger and better life just being in your proximity.

Alan: Awesome. I had a blast today and again if I could do anything to help anybody, I’m not kidding, 713-503-5908, send me a text. I got a lot of different things going on. I love the camaraderie, the banter. Yes, it’s all good.

Matt: Awesome my brother. We’ll talk to you soon.


Alan: All right.

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