Have A SERVANT’S Heart With Jamel Gibbs
Episode 555: Have A SERVANT’S Heart With Jamel Gibbs
Achieving financial freedom may seem like such a long shot, but this is only when you’re relying on your 9-to-5 job. You can hack your way through real estate. Start replacing your mailbox money and free yourself up to 2,600 hours a year. In this episode, Real Estate Investing Coach and Consultant Jamel Gibbs teaches us how to get on that path to financial freedom. He shares his own journey in the industry and how he is letting his servant’s heart guide him to help others find success. Find inspiration to take massive action in this conversation as Jamel dives deep into seller financing, passive income, success, and the four pillars of life.
Watch the episode here
I’m here with Jamel Gibbs. We’re going to be talking about your financial freedom and how you might get there. The theme of this show is trying to help people find a path to financial freedom so that they can eliminate their JOB. Step one, find some way to replace your income with some mailbox money. The reason why that’s important is that’s going to free up 2,600 hours a year so that you can start to become the person, fall into the passions where you belong, and stop giving those 2,600 hours to someone else. At 2,600 hours, it doesn’t take you four years to get your 10,000 hours in. You can be the greatest at something. Let’s figure out what that is. To maybe point you in a path or a direction, here is Jamel Gibbs. How are you doing?
I’m doing great. I appreciate you having me.
You’re out of North Carolina. You got four girls and just had a baby boy. That kid is going to be something else. He is going to have four sisters to contend with, but he and daddy are probably dying to have someone take fishing and hunting or something like the boys do.
I’m looking forward to it. He’s five weeks.
You are a handful, don’t you?
It’s a blessing to have a son. It is something that I’ve always wanted. I didn’t think I was ever going to have a son because we have four girls.
If it was a girl, are you going to keep going?
I was done with the fourth one. We had a boy and we’re happy. We are loving it. I got a little sleep these days but it’s okay.
I can imagine. Let’s start from the beginning. You’re in North Carolina. Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about your evolution. Where are you from and how did you start?
I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York. I grew up there. I left Brooklyn when I was 24. My wife and I got married back in 2006. On January 1, 2006, we left New York and moved to Pennsylvania. I lived in Pennsylvania for eight years. I’ve been in North Carolina now for eight years. I don’t know if this is my final stop. There are a couple of other places I like. I like the Texas area a lot. We were considering relocating there. We’re not 100% sold on it yet. I love North Carolina. I’m exploring options. I don’t want to be stuck somewhere forever.
North Carolina is a friendly state for buying and selling with seller financing. You still have very affordable properties there. I have some students in North Carolina.
Especially in my area where I’m located in the triad area. It’s very rent-friendly and seller-finance-friendly. Seller financing is one way to invest in real estate. I’ve done a little bit of everything. I’ve been investing for twenty years. I started off in New York. I grew my business in Pennsylvania, and then I catapulted the business when I came here to North Carolina.
What was the decision to move from New York about?
I didn’t want to raise my kids in New York. It can be.
You say it can be, but you’re from there. You grow up there and acclimated. When I go there, I was like, “This place is rough.” People think Texas is a Wild West and everything, but we got some rules that make sense.
I love New York. It’s tough saying it this way because I grew up there. I just didn’t want to be around so many people, even though that’s what I was used to back then. When I started going outside of the city and I started exploring different areas, I’m like, “there’s a much better life outside of New York.” I wanted to raise my kids outside of the city.
If you moved to Pennsylvania, they had affordable houses there.
When I moved to Pennsylvania, the first house I bought there, I paid $30,000 for it. This was back in 2006. In the Pennsylvania market, the houses I was buying were for $15,000 to $30,000 back then. I probably bought a couple of hundred houses there. Those same houses are $120,000 to $130,000 now. One lesson that I learned over the years is I wish I would have held on to more rather than sold.
That’s an easy 2020-looking-back statement because we all would have said that, but you have to do what you have to do. I’m not an expert at this, but from what I think I know, rent controls and rent are tough in New York City. Seller financing is almost impossible because you can’t get anyone out of a house if they don’t want to go. It’s hard enough to get the tenants out. When you move to Pennsylvania, they’re not a real seller finance-friendly state either. My understanding was they wanted you to practically be a bank. They wanted you to have a bank status.
I wasn’t buying a lot via rent-to-own in Pennsylvania. I was doing more lease options, wholesaling, and fix and flip. The way we were making money in Pennsylvania, we would buy the house, fix it up, and then sell it on a rent-to-own.
After 1, 2 or 5 years, at some point in time, they had to get a new loan and get you out. Is that right?
Yeah, pretty much. They would be blow-payment us out within 3 to 5 years. They’re fixing their credit during that timeframe. As they fix their credit, they’re becoming mortgageable. Once they become mortgageable they would eventually cash us out. They call it the BRRRR these days. We would buy the house and fix it up.
Buy, rehab, rent and refinance it.
Rather than doing full-blown rent, we were selling it on rent to own. That was a small twist to it. That way I can always free up the cash and keep turning it over and over. We would make some upfront money every month for a couple of years, and then cash out on the back end. It was a great model for us. At one point, I was over-leveraged. This was during the 2008 crash. I had too much money out, and I couldn’t keep up. That hurt my business back then. That’s when I discovered creative financing. I wholesale my way out. It took a couple of years to start getting to another level with it again.Rather than doing a full-blown rent tool, sell it on a rent-to-own. That way, we would make some money upfront every month for a couple of years and then cash out on the back end. Click To Tweet
You had to reinvent yourself. That’s one of the things with people. They hit the problems or the economies rolled, they pin it on the strategies. I have two important questions I want to ask you and don’t feel like you can’t contradict my point of view. I’m only telling you what my experience has been. I’m interested in your experience. There are a couple of reasons I didn’t like lease options. I want to know if you experienced this. I’m sure if you become an expert at something, you learn to mitigate some of the problems. Maybe I didn’t hang in the rent-to-own long enough to mitigate it because I found an easier way for me in my state. In the rent-to-own, the more nonrefundable deposit that you got, the better day it’s supposed to be for you. If someone gave you $20,000 or $30,000 down on a $100,000 house, that’s 30% down. That’s a good day and you feel good.
The chances of getting 30% down are rough.
Once in a blue moon, it would happen. Let’s say what was more real. On a $100,000 house, what were you getting down?
I will probably take 10% down. That’s about what I collect.
Let’s say someone came in and said, “I sold my house and I don’t want the money to evaporate. I want to get the whole $20,000 down. I want to have a lower payment.” It’s supposed to be a good day because now I got 20% down. Part of the problem I found was the people that you’re having to do rent-to-own and fix the credit were inherently flawed. They’re never going to get it fixed.
That could be good or bad except if I collected a $20,000 down payment, and they were upset and didn’t want to lose that, and they went to court with me, then the $20,000 was working against me with the judge and the jury because they were like, “That’s a lot of money.” The good day that happened way back when turns into my worst nightmare in court. That money is long since been put into another house or gone. I don’t have it, but I could come up with it. Did you experience that problem? How did it work for you?
I didn’t have any issues like that. One thing I will say is I’ve had people who put down a large sum of money, and then they disappear. They’ll leave the house wrecked, then I got to put that money back into the house. I’ve never had a situation where I had to go to court and someone wanted their money back. I think that’s because of the way we screen people up front. Also, we make it very clear that this is a nonrefundable deposit that you’re putting down on the house.
You double down on the paperwork, signatures, disclosures, and everything.
It’s very clear upfront. That doesn’t mitigate the risk that can evidently happen if someone wanted to push the court system on you. I just haven’t experienced that. I’ve done a couple of thousand deals at this point, but I haven’t been to court for a real estate deal ever. I don’t want to say that is never going to happen, but it hasn’t happened to me.
If someone is making that statement to me, then this is what I know about them automatically. If it’s true that you’ve never been to court, which there’s no reason to doubt you, it is because you’re a straight shooter. The people that are not straight shooters are in court all the time because people are pissed, “That’s not what you said. That’s not the way it works,” or the paperwork is not clear.
I know a guy who would put together sub-tos and everything, but he wouldn’t make it one long document, and then you sign. He would make a document that you acknowledge this, and another document that you acknowledge this. He had a whole bunch of documents that they had to sign and date, or maybe even get notarized so that if they ever went to court, you can say, “This is where it is in this agreement with all this stuff,” then there’s one signature.
People are like, “Who reads all this stuff?” “You didn’t read this, but you signed it and it’s only two paragraphs. You didn’t read this one and it’s one paragraph. You signed it, but you didn’t read the one paragraph, and it’s fifteen times in a row. You didn’t read any of these 1, 2 or 3 paragraphs.” He was able to keep hammering them in court with, “You didn’t read this one either.”
The only time I had been to court ever in my entire life, I’m 41 years old, was during a pandemic.
Let me guess. You’re trying to help somebody.
No. It was a contractor on a rehab project. I had to take him to court. That was the only time I ever had to go to court for anything real estate related. I try my best to be. I hope it comes across that way as well. I tell it like it is, very straightforward, and straight shooter. I don’t try to beat around the bush. I make sure everybody’s clear with everything. Whenever I’m doing any type of business, I’m very clear about it.
I’ve been sued three times in my 27-year career for how many thousands of houses. All three were because I tried to help someone with my real estate. I was taking homeless people, getting them out from under the bridge, and getting them into a mobile home in a park that I didn’t own. Since they had an address now, I could get Social Security and welfare. I thought I was doing a good thing. The problem is the reason why they were under a bridge was they were broke, and putting them in a house didn’t fix their brokenness.
They have $2,800 coming in now and they wouldn’t even make my $350 payment and the $300 to the park. When I went to get them out, they got a free attorney because they were destitute or classified as poor. You would have thought I was Hitler trying to take their house but I’m the only reason they have a house and income. All three were the exact same thing. What I learned was if you want to do charity, write a check to a church or give somebody some money to go buy someone else’s house, but don’t do charity with houses because it doesn’t work out.
It’s business. I learned that the hard way myself, helping a family member. Let’s just put it that way.
I have a rule too. I don’t sell my houses to family members or friends because it’s a business. When the payment doesn’t come in, it knows no relationships. It just knows expenses and income.
I went through to get this guy. He wanted to buy a house. He didn’t have any money down. This was my wife’s in-law, not even related to my wife. I got him and his wife a job. I got both of them raises during the first week at the job, then I help them get into the house with no money out of pocket. I help him fix his credit, then help them purchase the house. The payment was just what they needed. They didn’t make a single payment for eight months and foreclosed on the house. They blame me for it. I’m like, “How is that my fault?”
Of course, you’re the jerk that came to my house and expected payments.
It is what it is. I couldn’t believe it. I was mind-boggled by that. I got this guy a job and a raise within a week. I help them fix his credit and buy a house, and it was my fault that he didn’t make a payment. People have a tendency of pointing fingers when sometimes they’re just lazy. It’s an unfortunate thing.People tend to point fingers when they're just lazy. It's an unfortunate thing. Click To Tweet
I understand. If I want to help someone get a house or whatever, I’ll go to one of my other friends and say, “You got an owner finance deal?” or I’ll make and sell the note that day. I don’t run the note. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. If you got to make your payments, you’ll be fine. If you don’t make your payments, someone I don’t even know is going to handle their business.
I also bought a lot of houses from people that let their in-laws move in as renters. They didn’t want to do that eviction or anything because they were family. They said, “I’m got to sell the house with them in it. You got to do what you got to do.” I bought a lot of houses that way. You moved to Pennsylvania and did a lot of houses there, lease options or rent-to-own. Why did you move from Pennsylvania?
My wife’s family was here in North Carolina. We’ve been coming here for twenty years. I’m with my wife since I was nineteen years old and we got married. I’m 41. We got married at 23 or 24. I’ve been visiting North Carolina for twenty years. We live in Pennsylvania. We will still come and visit. I said, “Why don’t we just move?” She wanted to be closer to her mom. My mom passed away from cancer. It’s the same cancer that my mother-in-law passed away from a couple of months ago. For the most part, we moved here to be closer to family. I literally had to sell everything in Pennsylvania and we start fresh here. That’s what I did.
You didn’t check off the real estate market before you move.
I didn’t. I just moved. Real estate is the same everywhere you go, in my opinion. It’s the strategy, knowing how to talk to people and finding the right people to negotiate with. With a small tweak of certain laws in areas, you can pretty much do the same thing wherever you go. With the exception of New York and certain other areas. In New York, it is tough to do owner financing, short sales, and fix and flip.Real estate is the same everywhere you go. It is just a strategy of knowing how to talk to people and find the right people to negotiate with. Click To Tweet
You can always learn a strategy that works. That is what you’re saying.
You can. New York is in an appreciation market. You play that market differently than you would in the Southeast. In the Southeast, you have more of a rental market. You can have positive cashflow here. In New York, you’re betting on the appreciation. I’m talking about New York City. It’s different inside the city because even if you go up to the Wallkill area, Buffalo, or something like that, you’re talking about a different type of market. You got to learn the area. It took me a couple of months to learn this area, and then I started crushing it here.
There are some affordable houses in North Carolina, $30,000, $45,000 or $50,000 houses exist. The seller finance model works well in affordable housing like that.
It is perfect for this type of area. Pennsylvania worked well before that. I didn’t do a lot of owner financing in Pennsylvania but we did lease purchase, buy and hold, and buy and sell as well. In North Carolina, that owner-finance model is fantastic. Anything creative finance here, you can crush it. To me, anywhere in Sun Belt, you can kill it if you’re doing seller financing.
You can do pretty well in most of the flyover states. You’re offering a free owner-finance sale agreement where you’re getting the seller to finance your deal. I want everyone to go to 1000Houses.com/Jamel. They’ll get you a copy of this owner-financed or seller-finance sale agreement, just a little roadmap to map out. Do you get a lot of your sellers to finance you?
I did a fair amount. I want to say 30% creative finance, 30% wholesale, and 30% buy and hold. That’s about what we do in my business. I’m always going to keep the creative finance and wholesaling model going. I’m transitioning from buy and hold to build and hold at this point. I’m building to rent.
Is it duplexes, fourplexes or single-family houses?
I personally like multi. When I say multi, small multi. I like duplexes and fourplexes. I got a friend. I went and saw him. He’s about two hours away from me in the Virginia market. I spent a couple of days with him. He invited me into one of the Airbnbs he has. I shot a video with him on my YouTube page. He has about $100 million in projects backed up at this point. He was building a 30-unit or something like that. He started off with duplexes and quads.
Buy off a smaller little piece, learn your contractors, and learn your art because there’s a minutia to everything. You learn duplex or triplex before you go out and have to learn the minutia on 30 units.
What I love about what he does is he uses his own money to do this stuff. He’s not borrowing private funds. You have a lot of free and clear stuff. I’m along that line as well. I’d rather go slow, pay stuff off, and not have the debt, and then move on to the next project as I get more money out. That’s the way I work my business at this point.
I learned it by watching a lot of people over-leveraging. Even a lot of the gurus out there have filed 1, 2 or 3 times them. I keep thinking, Slow down a tad. I might look at it like this. Tell me what you think. I love this analogy. I think it’s good. You can tell me if you think it’s good or not. Don’t be afraid to tell me if it’s thumbs up or thumbs down. You can keep using this debt and keep building a skyscraper. You can get it 30, 40 or 50 stories high. The views are good from there. You can brag about big numbers and all that.
At some point, you got to sell off the top 25 units to go pay it. I want my business to look like a pyramid. The base is wide. Here’s the analogy. When the strong winds come, those skyscrapers can blow over. You can’t blow a pyramid over. It’s not going to blow it. I even talk to my partner Mike sometimes, “Are we getting a little too skyscraper in this apartment? Do we need to pyramid up a little bit or what?” He goes, “I probably need to take a little bit off the top and put it at the bottom.”
That’s the best way to run a business. That’s how you create true time and freedom. If you have tons of debt, unless you’re doing infinite banking or something like that, then you start getting insurance to pay for your stuff. If you’re operating from a standpoint of time and freedom, which is what I like to teach my coaching clients, go slower. Don’t worry about anything. This isn’t social media. This is real life. Build a strong foundation. Pay off as much debt as possible.
Even then, debt can provide tax benefits and stuff like that. When we think about it from a long-term standpoint, I rather have the cashflow coming in and not have as much debt. Even if you don’t have as much as many doors as some of these other guys, your foundation is a lot stronger. You’re probably making a lot more money by staying lean.
The view is nice with a skyscraper. You can talk about big numbers, stick your chest out, and see this tremendous view. You want to go a little higher with a better view and bigger numbers. I’m a cashflow guy. I don’t care how much money I have. Sometimes people are like, “There are so many strategies. What do I do?” I said, “Why don’t you do some study and find out if you’re a cash guy or a cashflow guy? It depends on which one you pick. You can eliminate half the other strategies.” I’m a cashflow guy, but there is always a mix. You need to have some wholesales, wholetails, and retails to have an influx of cash sometime, but you can take it and build the cashflow up. The cashflow moves slower.
It’s a long-term play at the end of the day. Real estate is interesting because what you do in real estate depends on what you want out of life. What you do in real estate depends on what you need at a certain point in your life. For example, most people coming into the business don’t know how to find good deals. They should probably start off building up cashflow or cash wholesaling. They should probably do that for a little while. This doesn’t apply to everybody.What you do in real estate depends on what you want out of life. And what you do in real estate depends on what you need at a certain point in your life. Click To Tweet
I love the track you’re on because the first thing you do is you need to prove that you can earn some chunks, and then you get those chunks in the bank. It gives you a little kit. You have some breathing room.
You understand what a real deal looks like at that point. You then go out there. Maybe do some fix and flips that build up cash a little bit more. That’s not necessarily. To me, fix and flip was one of the biggest headaches ever in my business. That’s just my personal preference, but some people like it. You then get into creative investing, buy and hold, build and hold, and things like that to build up your cashflow. You got to learn the business. You got to build up cash and know what a true deal is, and then you can take that knowledge and be able to build your empire from there.
Don’t look at everybody else’s situation and think that has to be yours. Maybe you’re happy with ten houses paid for. You don’t need 1,000 doors. Maybe you’re happy with $10,000 a month. Somebody else is making $100,000 a month or $1 million a year or whatever the case may be. If that’s not what you want, don’t go after it. Go after what you want. That’s important. People need to understand what they want coming in, and then create the game plan and get there as quickly as possible.
I’m going to tell you how I used to set my goals, then I want to know how you set yours. I never had a goal to have $100,000 coming in. My goal was my cashflow situation needs to be better next year than it is this year. It needs to keep improving. I’m going to keep putting another layer on that pyramid. If I get to that point, then I’ll push out the base and we’ll start running at it again. Some people would say that’s a fault. I never made a goal to be a multimillionaire. I never put a number on it.
I just said, “I wanted to be better next year than I am this year, and let’s see where we go.” I want to take every opportunity that I have to make money. I want to apply myself the best I can and see where it goes. I never dreamt of where I would be where I’m at. I want everyone to know that somewhere not very far from me, maybe even a couple of 100 feet, is someone who can wipe their backside with my financial statement.
There are a lot of people that like to be where I’m at too. I’m under no illusions. I have not done awesome. I may never beat all. Chances are I won’t, but I’m happy. I got what I need. I’m certainly not going to risk everything I have right now so I could become a billionaire. I’m just going to be better next year and see if it gets there. If it doesn’t, I’m going to die a happy man.
I was broke. I started a real estate business when I was 21. My goal was to make $10,000. If I could get to $10,000 a month, I was happy. When I hit $10,000, I’m like, “This $10,000 is like being broke because I can spend it and it’s gone.” I like the fact of building up $10,000 a month, then if I spend $10,000, it’s like hitting the lottery every month, I have a new $10,000 coming every month. I’m smartened up very young. I never had a goal of being a millionaire or anything like that. It just happened.
Over time, things happened. My point was, I was more interested in cashflow. How can I create more time for myself? I don’t care about fancy things. My time is valuable. I have five kids and a wife. We live below our means. At the end of the day, as long as I can keep that going, it gets better by itself every year. As long as my cashflow exceeds my expenses and I don’t necessarily have to get up and work, I’m happy. I don’t need a whole lot.
That’s an important statement there because the reason why cashflow is important is you’re not going to be 21 or 41 forever. I don’t even know if I could burn the way I used to burn. Luckily, my deal was cashflow. What you need in any go-getter, super hustler, or triple-A entrepreneur is you’re going to need some downtime. It’s a bad feeling when you take a month or two off because you got to recuperate, and nothing is coming in. It sucks.
I learned the hard way through wholesaling. I was doing nothing but fix and flipping when I first started, but then I got into wholesaling. That’s a full-time job. If you don’t have cashflow coming on top of that, you’re going to burn out. Especially if you don’t have a team to help you, you’re going to burn out quickly. Recuperating from that is going to be like starting all over again. You literally have to have cashflow coming in. You have to have that passive income. If not, you’re shooting yourself in the foot long term.You have to have cash flow coming in. You have to have passive income. If not, you're shooting yourself in the foot long term. Click To Tweet
I also believe that if you’re a real triple-A and you don’t take much time off, you probably haven’t had a vacation in two years. I see people bragging about that. I go, “You’ll fall down one of these days and it’s going to be rough.” You need to take at least a 4 or 5-day weekend every quarter, and then maybe one longer vacation for 1 or 2 weeks. I was never good at that until the point where I got sick because I was working too much. I got disheveled. That’s how I learned about everything. Maybe you’re the same way. I can read about it, but until it happens to me, I don’t get it.
Let me explain something. It was the 2008 market crash. I realized I needed cashflow over cash. Not too long after that, this was like a second smack in the face, I took my wife on vacation. When we got there, I left my debit cards at home. I didn’t have access to a lot of cash out there. I had the cash but if I would have spent all that money, I wasn’t getting home. The point is you got to have access to capital and funds. If you don’t have it and you spend that money, you’re done. You got to start all over. You got to start from scratch.
Rather than doing that, if I go on vacation and spend all that money, when I come back, I would have another check coming in and things would be fine. My point in bringing that up is you got to have passive income. You still want to have the active money coming in. The active money should be used to fund more passive investments until you get to a point where money is not necessarily an issue anymore. At this point in life, money is the least of my concerns. I’m more concerned about my spiritual well-being, physical health, and my family’s health. Finances are always going to be a part of the factor but are the least important of the other four.
Most people don’t want to be rich. They just don’t want to worry about money. If I need a new car, get a new car. If I want to go buy a suit and it’s $800 or $1,500, I’ll go buy a suit. I don’t want to have to worry or plan or budget for this suit.
I like how you said, “Most people,” because some people truly want to be rich. There are people out there who are competitive people that want to be rich. They live their life like that. They’ll step on anybody just to make some money. This is why people play the lottery. They want to get that abundance relatively quickly. The problem with the lottery is you didn’t earn it so you don’t know what to do with the money once you get it.The problem with the lottery is you didn't earn it, so you need to figure out what to do with the money once you get it. Click To Tweet
If you earned it, you went out there and built up this thing that makes the money that you need, then chances are you’re going to know how to keep it. Most people want a comfortable life at the end of the day, but there are some people that are competitive. They want to be the best. They want to be considered number one and everything. Just don’t step on anybody to get it. If you’re one of those people who want to live a comfortable life, that’s your goal. Why don’t you create a game plan and get there, know what your end goal is, backtrack off of it, and take baby steps to get there every day?
You have no windfall. You earned it in increments.
I had a windfall. I learned that the hard way. I was over-leveraged in The Great Recession.
When I say windfall, I meant you made a deal and you made $500,000.
You didn’t have a windfall of money. You earned it like increments and so did I. I wouldn’t change that experience at all because I grew my success one little advancement at a time. I knew how to manage the money. The stories of the lottery winners who had $50 million, and they are broke in five years. That’s a windfall.
I’ve had increments of money coming in consistently over time. I haven’t had huge amounts of one-time payments. If we’re relating this to baseball, a majority of your success is going to come from a base hit here and there. Once in a while, you’re going to get the home run. That’s going to help you bring yourself up to the next level. Most of your success comes from being consistent over a long period of time.
I tell people this all the time, maybe you agree with me or not, becoming successful is very boring. You have to do the same thing over and over again consistently over a long period of time until you hit your goal. Most people think success is starting from zero and catapulting with a $1 million or $10 million check, or whatever the case may be. It doesn’t happen that way. For some people it does. For the majority of people, 99%, we’ve built it up over a long period of time. Success was very boring and it was very consistent. Would you agree with that?
Yeah. I was listening to someone. They had done all this market research. Only 5% of the multimillionaires in the world had it given to them or bestowed on them either through some kind of lottery or inheritance. Most of the multimillionaires in the United States, 95% of them, earned their way up from zero.
They know how to keep it at that point. I heard somebody mention this the other day. I didn’t do the research myself. Let me put that out there. He said, “The majority of people who will become successful don’t trust their kids with the success that they built up.” They put things in place in order to protect the funds even after they’re gone so that kids can’t blow the money. When the money is given to you and you didn’t earn it, your thought process or the things you do with the money will be drastically different than the person who earned the money and who knows how to keep it.
It’s a well-proven fact. It takes one generation to make it, another generation to hang on to it, and then the third generation to lose it. More than a few times, the second generation doesn’t even figure out how to hold on to it. What are your aspirations going forward? Is there anything bigger, keep making base hits and doubles, and see where you go?
I’m just floating. My biggest goals are wrapped around helping other people do the same thing. I’m 41 and I’ll be 42 in a couple of months. I’m living life at this point. I’m happy. I enjoy my kids and my wife. My wife is a stay-at-home mom and always has been. I made her that promise when we got married. I said she would never have to work a day in her life and I kept my promise.
If she’s having five kids, that’s working.
That’s a job in itself. It’s tough. Sometimes I don’t know if she’s the superwoman in this house. For the most part, I’m still setting small goals, but nothing like when I first started. When you’re doing well financially and you’re well off, your thought process on things changes. It doesn’t become about the money all the time. It becomes about other things, “What else can I accomplish in life?” I have financial goals. Some people want to have a billion-dollar company. I’ve never had an aspiration of having a billion-dollar company.
I know several people run in that way. They’re very young. Their eyes will get open as they go because right now they’re bulletproof and invincible. They are not even married but they want to be billionaires. There are going to be some interruptions here that are going to cause you to rethink this, but I don’t, so go ahead and go for it.
I love the way you operate your businesses, cashflow, living life, happy, and helping other people. That’s what it’s all about at this point.
Why do you coach? Is it for the money?
I coach because I want to see other people become successful. You could probably relate to this. There’s nothing like seeing somebody start from scratch. I got a student named Anthony in Georgia. In January 2022, he contacted us. He said, “I want coaching.” We signed him up for the coaching program. He’s on pace to do over $1 million in 2022. It’s his first year in a business and never bought a house outside of his own residence.
$1 million net or gross?
He’s going to have $1 million gross in 2022. He’s buying wholesale deals. We’re BRRRing deals. That’s what we’re doing with him. I say, “Build up to a certain amount. Maybe you get 25 houses. You pay yourself 15, pay off the other 10, and you’re good. Build up a certain amount. Sell off 60% of it. Keep 30%. Keep the cash and you’ll have more money than you need to know.
The next 25 houses are going to be easier because you got a base now. The hardest thing is the first goal. I suggest the first goal should always be to figure out what you’re making at your job, and how to get enough money coming in to replace the job so we can free up 2,600 hours. If you do it part-time, then how fast are you going to repeat when you have 2,600 extra hours a year?
On top of that, a lot of people want to come into real estate and they want to quit their job right away. Most people don’t even have $1,000 saved up. Put a year’s worth of income or at least six months’ worth of income in the bank before you even consider leaving.
Make some deals and prove that this business is for you. Don’t just jump and then, “Let’s see if it works.” You got to learn them. You got to burn the midnight oil after work on the weekends. You got to prove that the concept works for you, and then you can start thinking about that. They say, “I quit my job and go full-time.” I said, “Why? If you’re going to be good at it, you’ll be able to make a few deals part-time. Let’s do deals part-time.”
Don’t leave guaranteed income for hopeful income. You’re hoping to make money in real estate. Until you prove that you can make that money, don’t leave the money that you have coming in. I don’t care how much you hate your job. It’s money. You need that. That can be used to fund what you’re trying to do in real estate. A lot of people don’t realize that it is a lot easier to get bank loans and stuff like that for real estate when you have a W2-paying job. For guys like Mitch and I who are self-employed, it’s tougher for us to get these types of loans in the beginning.
It can take a long time if you don’t have your accounting in order. I made that mistake. I make a lot of money, but I couldn’t take it to a bank in a format that they would accept because I didn’t have good enough books. It cost me a fortune and low-interest-rate bank money because I could never catch up. My bookkeepers didn’t catch up to me and my financials were never in order.
The point is to use the resources you have to catapult what you’re trying to do, then you can restructure your situation at that point. Have some money coming in. Have some money in the bank. Don’t come into this thing broke and expect to be a millionaire. You can do it, but 99% of people are not going to do it. Let’s talk to the 99% of people who are average. Average is not a bad word. That’s not a derogatory term. It is being realistic.
Most people should save money. Most people should keep their job and should understand how to do a couple of deals before they consider coming into this thing in full force. Once you do come in full force, keep your job for a little longer. Make sure you replace your income. Once you replace your income, then you can start restructuring your life and say, “I want to drop this because it’s costing me more money to stay in my job than it is for me to continue building my business.”
It’s important to also have a bookkeeper from the beginning. A bookkeeper only charges you for the number of transactions they do. If you’re doing one transaction a month, how much could your bill possibly be? If you are spending $8,000 on the bookkeeper or something, but you made $15,499, so what? Be in order from the beginning. The other thing is I had to live like I was broke all the time because I knew I was making money, but I didn’t know exactly.
One time when they finally got my financials together, they came to me and I saw it. I said, “I could have done some other things years ago.” I had no idea. I put my head down. Someone goes, “Why don’t you do bigger deals?” I said, “This has been working for me. I’m going to stay where I’m at.” They go, “How many deals do you do?” I said, “I’m doing 120 this year.” Little deals can amount to a big thing. I go for smaller deals because no 1 or 5 deals could kill me if I made mistakes.
I love the fact that you say you kept your head down. Once you pick that head back up and you realize where you were, you’re on a different level at that point. Keep your head down, folks.
It rinses and repeats.
That’s what I mean by success can be boring. Keep your head down. Don’t worry about the end goal. Know what it is, but then go to work. Roll up your sleeves and say, “I’m not going to worry about that. I’m just going to do what I have to do every single day.” When you pick your head up, you’re going to realize you probably surpassed the goal at that point. Now it’s time to set another goal.
It helped me one time. I had a lot of trouble. One of the biggest revelations of my life was when I figured out how much I was worth. I had read The Millionaire Next Door and listened to it on cassette tape back then. I learned that if you made $250,000 a year, I want to say you were in the top 5% of the world. I might be 3%. These multimillionaires and billionaires are all divided by 1,000th of a point at the top and it falls off fast. I’m pretty sure if you make $250,000, you’re at least in the top 5% of the world. If you still aren’t happy or still have problems, it’s not because you’re not making enough money. I went to my wife and I said, “I learned we’re probably in the top 3% or 2% of the world. If we have problems, it’s not because we don’t have enough money.”
It’s interesting that you said that because I read somewhere that the average poor person in America makes more than rich people in other countries. I don’t know how true that is.
Our poor people have cell phones and cable TV.
We have nothing to complain about. All we have to do is use the opportunities that are in front of us, get out there and go to work. Most people don’t want to work. That’s what it is. If we work hard enough, we can accomplish anything right here.
The other thing that people don’t understand until they get there is having a lot of money can cause as many problems as it solves. It’s unbelievable.
That’s why it says, “More money. More problems.”
I have a ranch. I have ATVs, golf carts and four-wheelers. I thought that I own those things. I came to know that those things own me. I’m going to go on the pontoon boat and the battery won’t start. I have to go and they’re calling the guy. By the time I got on the boat, I’m pissed off. If it flies, floats or faces the ocean, maybe you should just rent it. That’s my theory.
We call those first-world problems. Those are good problems to have.
If you’re going to go buy a bunch of toys and everything, they own you. They cause problems. Not just the acquisition costs but it goes on. You have to store the boat and winterize it. You don’t know how much there is. You get into it and you’re like, “How many times I go on the boat this summer? Four. I should just have rented.” There’s a place where you can rent a boat for $500 a day. I should have paid $2,000 and left them the keys when I left. The problems that it couldn’t solve are family issues or the god problems. The only one that can fix it is God.
There are four pillars in life in my opinion. Everybody is different, but it’s the way I live. I mentioned it already. I put my spirituality first, my health and fitness after, and then my family and my finances. The reason why my health and fitness comes before my family is because if I’m not healthy, I can’t take care of my family. I need to be able to be spiritually and physically healthy to be able to support my family and then worry about the finances last.
Money is the least important part of the whole thing. Nobody is worried about how much they made, how many hours they worked, or how many toys they bought when they were on their deathbed. People are more concerned about, “Did I live a good life? How many people have I helped? Did I raise my kids the right way? Was I a good husband or spouse to my spouse?” These are the things that we think about. We are not thinking about, “How much money I’ve made throughout my life?” That’s not important. It’s amazing how important money is during your life, and how least important it is when you’re on your deathbed. Would you agree with that?
Absolutely. I’ve been on my share of funerals at 61 and it’s happening more and more often. I find this telling. I go into the funeral home. This man is rich beyond rich, and there are 30 people there. I go to this other guy’s funeral, and he wasn’t very wealthy at all. He was okay. There were 270 people there. I’m like, “What was this guy doing that had all the money, and they only had 30 people show up? What is this guy doing over here that wasn’t rich by any stretch of the imagination, but he had almost 300 people? There was no place for anyone to sit. I want to be like that guy.”
This is good stuff. I’m enjoying this. This is a great conversation. I hope the audience is picking up some nuggets because these are real-life examples of how business owners should be thinking versus just the money.
Maybe some people are saying, “I got on here to learn how to make some money and all you are talking about is crap.” You got to get your head straight first. You got to get this right first. If you want to make money, then Jamel has Real Estate Investing Academy. It’s over there at
Once you get your head straight, you’ve got some moral compass and direction on what it takes to be successful, it’s not hard to find the coaches. They’re a dime a dozen now. Just be careful and do your research. They’ve done eleven houses and now they’re telling you about million-dollar homes. There are several of them in my town. They’re all talking about million-dollar mindset and they’re getting their car repossessed.
Everybody is a guru these days.
They are life coaches and they’ve been divorced seven times.
It cracks me up every time I see it.
What you want to do is you need to find someone who’s actively doing this strategy that you want to do that’s been doing it for quite a while, but they’re still doing it. They’ve been down the road, not 10, 11 or 25 houses. The one you want has been down the road 400 or 500 houses at least. That’s what it takes to go through the gauntlet and learn where all the mines are. I’ve been for 27 years and 3,500 houses. I’m still finding some landmines.
I’ve been doing it for twenty years with a couple of thousand houses. I haven’t done as many as you have.
It’s not a measuring contest. At 1,000 or 2,000 houses, your best to do good. You got 20,000 hours in.
I’m still learning.
You never quit learning. If you’re done learning, then you stopped at the level because there’s always another level. When you get to the top of your mountain, what do you do? You find a taller mountain to find that one.
There’s always going to be another mountain.
If you want to get this giveaway, the seller finance or owner finance sales agreement, how you could write up for your seller to finance you, go ahead and get that
The information is on his Real Estate Investing Academy if you want to learn from him. What’s cool is you can find the right guy in your state. Not to shoot myself in the foot because I’ve helped a lot of different people in a lot of states.
If you want to do something in North Carolina, and there’s a guy that has done 2,000 houses, and he’s currently practicing, and done hundreds of houses in North Carolina, that’s not a bad choice. Make sure that guy that you pick is the kind of person you want to be on and off the field. If the person’s doing well, but out of the business and off the field, they’re not the kind of guy or person you want to be. Maybe you ought to look for someone else because it tends to bleed over. We know there are no perfect men or women. There’s no perfect person but there are some people trying harder than others. Let’s give us someone who’s trying hard to be good off the field as well as on the field.
The only man outside of Adam who never sinned is Jesus. We can’t compare ourselves to Jesus. Nobody’s perfect. We have to do our very best, and then help other people along the way in this thing that we call life.
I’m a little moved to bring something a little off-track, but I quit smoking and drinking after 40 years by myself, with no therapist or anything.
Yes. I want to caution everybody. Don’t do that. You probably got to wean off. A lot of people have died in the first 24 hours of cutting themselves off. I learned that later. In my book, I put a big red warning, “Don’t do it as I did it. You might kill yourself.” I wrote a book called Enough. Out of my six books, it’s the only one not real estate related. I didn’t want a lot of pressure. I didn’t want to go to the AA meeting. I wanted to see if I could do it myself first.
I had plan B and plan C, which is to go to the groups or go get therapy. I wanted to see if I could do it with one person on my team. I was able to do it. It came incredibly easy to me. I don’t know why. The only thing I can give is up to the man upstairs. I quit. In the first seven days, I had to learn how to live did not go places I went. I had to try to figure it out. I had 40 extra hours a week, but I couldn’t do what I was doing. I had to reinvent my life.
I wrote a book called Enough, I give it away in a digital format called 1000Houses.com/enough. I give it away. I sell it on Amazon for whatever it cost me. This is like a calling book if you have some vices you want to break or you want to know how I did mine on my own between me and the man upstairs, and my thought process. Many people wanted to know. I tried to call them all but I couldn’t call them all. There were too many.
I said, “Many people want to know. I’m going to write it.” It’s 81 pages. It was everything I knew to say about it. My phone number is in there. If I didn’t answer your question and you want to call me, just call me and talk about it. This is one of my givebacks. There are many people struggling with different kinds of addiction, alcohol and drug abuse. I drank every day. I only smoke when I drink but I drink everyday. I was highly functional but I was killing myself.
That’s a great giveaway. A book like that is going to help people break other bad habits like belief systems and things like that as well. For example, you might believe that there’s no way you can make $10,000 a month. Maybe that’s a vice that’s in your head. You can break that by following the same steps that are possibly in that book.
That’s one of the things a great coach does, destroy your limiting belief system. A lot of people I know think they can’t raise private money like, “I don’t have good credit. I filed for bankruptcy last year or six years ago. I’m new in this business. I don’t have a track record. I’m too young. I don’t even own my own house.” There are a whole bunch of reasons why people think they can’t raise private money. One of them was my business partner at the time. He was 25. He wasn’t my partner at the time. I was coaching him.
I said, “You did well when you had the family’s money. If you run out of family money, and now you don’t have any money and you’re not getting any money. What’s the problem? Why can’t you get money outside of your family?” He says, “I don’t know. Let me think about it.” He came back to me and said, “I figured out where my block is.” I said, “What?” He goes, “I’m 25 years old. I don’t have a track record in this business. I don’t even own my own house. Why are these people with money going to loan their money to me? I haven’t done anything.” I said, “It isn’t about you. It’s about the deal. What do they get if you don’t pay them? You should be able to go out and get $500,000 within four phone calls. All you got to do is find a $1 million place that you could buy for $500,000. Someone ought to give it to you.”
I didn’t buy my first house until I moved to North Carolina, the first house that I live in. I bought hundreds of houses before I bought my first personal residence. That is a limiting belief. I didn’t buy my first personal residence until I was 33. I’m 41. We’ve been here for eight years. Before that, I had done a ton of real estate deals. It is a limiting belief. If you continue to believe those things, you’ll never do a deal. People put these beliefs onto themselves as a way to say, “I can’t do it,” so that they don’t have to take action. If you stop thinking so much and you start doing, you don’t have time to think. If you don’t have any time to think, you will succeed.
It wasn’t that he wasn’t capable. He just didn’t understand how to phrase it or why someone would do it. I had to smash the limiting belief by going, “It’s not about you. They want to know how much you’re going to pay them if everything goes right and what are they going to get if it goes wrong. If what they’re going to get when it goes wrong is better than what they’re going to get when you pay them as agreed, then there’s no problem. What’s the issue? It has nothing to do with you.”
That’s my asset-based lending. That’s what that is.
You got to find good enough deals. They don’t care about you. This is when I originated this thought. I said, “Charles Manson should be able to get the money from prison for the deals that I get.” It doesn’t matter how many people he murdered. He’s going to call the warden and say, “I got a $100,000 house and I need $40,000 In a first lien position. I’m going to pay a 10% interest annually. If I don’t pay your $40,000 as agreed, you’re going to get my $100,000 house.” The warden is going to go, “I know the man is crazy but what do I have to lose? I might get rich. I might get a $100,000 house for $40,000.”
Once we crush that money, he is a money-finding mofo. He didn’t think about that. I said, “That’s why you hire a coach. I’m supposed to break this stuff. It’s my job to ruin these beliefs that are holding you back.” You’ve been a real pleasure. I enjoy your spirit. I can see why you’ve had very few judicial problems in your life. You probably handle yourself very well with other people. Anything you want to say to these people that are struggling to replace their job before we wrap it up?
Have a goal. Know what you want and then go after it. You got to take massive action in order to get massive success. You have to be consistent. Don’t expect it to be the most exciting thing. The longer you’re consistent, the more successful you’ll be. The person who wins the game is the person that stays in the game the longest. If you leave and quit, then there’s no way for you to win. Stay in the game and be consistent.You have to take massive action to get massive success. The longer you're consistent, the more successful you'll be. The person who wins the game is the person that stays in the game the longest. Click To Tweet
We have the internet, blogs, podcasts and YouTube. Skip around. Maybe your first commitment is, “I’m going to spend the next six months trying to figure out what it is I want to do. I’m going to listen to everybody’s program,” and then figure out which one comes naturally to you and what you gravitate to. When you figure out that one strategy, quit listening to everything else, and then start honing in on the people that are talking about that. Drill down for free as far as you can. When you’re sure that’s what you want to do, and that your market is good for that strategy, then that’s when you go hire a coach.
There’s no way in hell should you not hire a coach when you know what you want to do. When you know that’s what you want to do that you’re in the right place, the right market, and that’s your passion, then you owe it to yourself to go get the coach because you can have something happen to you that almost happened to me. I had 25 rented houses and they were killing me badly. I was about to get out of the business and run like hell. I hired a coach to get me out so I wouldn’t ruin my credit because where I bought these houses, no one could get a loan to cash me out. I was struggling badly. I was trying to figure out how to exit the business without losing my good name.
The man taught me how to seller finance them. That was many 27 years ago. I almost got out. It was almost smashed by a business because tenants and my inexperience were killing me. The coach showed me how to stay in the game and make money. I was forced to hire the coach because I didn’t know what to do. I was panic-stricken. He took $10,000 from me. It was the last $10,000 I had. I don’t care how much it is. When it’s the last amount you have in your bank account, it’s monumental.
He showed me how to solve the problem. In 1996, houses are selling for $30,000, $40,000 or 50,000. I was getting $3,000 down a house, times 25 houses. That was $75,000 in my bank account. The spreads I was supposed to make as a landlord, I started making because I was the mortgage collector. I didn’t have any reason for that money to go out. It wasn’t my air conditioner. People quit moving in and tearing my house down because they were owners. They were moving in and they were fixing the house. It changed everything.
We call that slow flipping. It’s almost like a flip, but you’re financing houses for them. That’s a great business model especially nowadays. Hiring a coach is the cheat code to success right there. Educate yourself and make a few mistakes, but not too many. Hire that coach. That’s the cheat code to becoming successful quickly, but hiring the right person to do it. It has to be the right person because there are a lot of people who have done five deals, and all of a sudden, they’re teaching people how to do it as well. Hire the right person and you’ll have the cheat code to become successful. It’s like playing a game, and you got 2 ups and 1 down, if you know anything about Nintendo, circle and a square. That’s the cheat code. You got the cheat code to the game when somebody’s giving you all the answers.
The point is you’re going to pay one way or the other. You’re either going to pay the street for the mistakes or you’re going to pay the coach and it’s way less anxiety. You have a much better chance under tutelage than you do going out and taking your chances with the street. The street is ruthless. It’ll kick you in the teeth, knock you down, and will give you no encouragement to get up. It’ll pile on you. What I like to tell people is I graduated from La Calle U. I didn’t go to college. That’s street in Spanish.
I have been threatening this for a long time. I’m going to do it before the end of 2022. I’m going to go get a college-style looking ring and I’m putting La Calle U on it. When everyone is holding up their ring going, “I graduated from A&M, Texas or Alabama,” I’ll say, “I graduated from La Calle U,” and then I let them figure it out. Some of them will look at me who know Spanish and go, “That’s funny.” The other ones will look at me and go, “Where’s La Calle U?” I’ll say, “It’s right out that door. It’s right off the sofa.” I appreciate you.
I like to thank everybody for stopping by to get you some Jamel Gibbs and tuning in to the show. Go to
and get your free seller finance-to-sale agreement, where you can write up an agreement where your seller finances you. Also learn about his podcast, YouTube channel or whatever he’s got. Learn about his Real Estate Investing Academy. If you want to learn from the man himself, go out there. Whatever you do, me, him someone else, figure out how to replace that job. In my humble opinion, that’s the first step. Get that 2,600 hours in your control.
About Jamel Gibbs
Jamel is a true visionary who has been coaching and consulting high-performing REI professionals all across the country, helping them to achieve true financial freedom through real estate investing. He proves that it is possible to turn your passion into profits through his highly accredited real estate investment education firm and publishing company that teaches their clients how to build successful real estate investing businesses. Through his best-selling Real Estate Investing Courses and thriving top-ranked podcast with the Real Estate Investing Education Academy, Jamel has inspired over 175,000 active real estate investors to take massive action and achieve massive results.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the Real Estate Investor Summit Community:
- Real Estate Investor Summit Facebook
- Real Estate Investor Summit Twitter
- Real Estate Investor Summit YouTube
- Mitch Stephen LinkedIn