Surviving The Pandemic With Steve Vigil

Episode 409: Surviving The Pandemic With Steve Vigil

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REIS 409 | Surviving The Pandemic


The pandemic is all new to everyone. We’re all in foreign territory when it comes to dealing with the Coronavirus. In this episode, Steve Vigil, the President of The Wealth Club, joins Mitch Stephen to discuss the changes it has caused, how we can survive it, what to expect, and how to be better prepared. Steve is an experienced real estate investor and teacher in the greater Houston area. In this conversation with Mitch, he shares his love for real estate and the lessons he’s learned throughout the years relevant to outlast a disruption such as this pandemic. They also dive into private money lending versus bank lending and why guaranteeing everything should be a cause to change your strategy. Tune in and learn how you can come out ahead and on top of any crisis.

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I’m here with Steve Vigil. We are going to be talking about the changes in the pandemic and what to expect or how to be prepared. What might happen? Would, could and should, things we don’t know, it’s all-new. We’re out there in foreign territory, but I’d like to say thanks to my sponsor LiveComm.com. If you are into lead generation and want to know how to build a big list quickly and then be able to mass text them, go to LiveComm.com. Check it out. It’s changed my sales into nine days average days on the market and 12% down because I sell 70% of my houses with seller financing. The last 300 houses, I average nine days on the market and 12% down. When you have 24,000 people that have called on your ‘for sale by owner’ signs, and then they haven’t elected to opt out, even though you’ve given them a chance, these are serious people. Whenever I have houses for sale, I don’t do anything else, but post it on my Facebook and send out a mass text to those 24,000 people. It doesn’t take long. Steve, you’ve got to pay the bills.

I definitely got to pay the bills.

You’re in Houston, right? 

Yes. We’re in Houston.

Give us a little bit about your background. Tell us about your love affair with real estate.

My love affair with real estate started many years ago in 2002 where I started buying rental properties. I can tell you everything to do wrong because I did everything wrong back then. In 2012, we got into real estate and started getting a real education on it. Since then, I’ve flipped over 500 properties. We own a pretty large rental portfolio. We sell properties, owner finance, we buy mortgage notes and we have been fortunate to fund all these deals through private lending. Even though I’ve always been able to qualify for conventional or hard money or anything, I never went down that path. Private lending is also a passion of mine in teaching how to find private lenders and teaching private lenders how to vet potential borrowers as well.

That’s a trick. A lot of private lenders are afraid because they don’t know what they don’t know, but if you stay within a certain amount of underwriting guidelines, borrowing some world news catastrophic event you should be fine. There’s not much you can do if Kim Jong dumbass drops a dirty bomb in your town. It’s hard to hedge against that. I have $26 million worth the private money. Most of my private lenders have been with me 10, 15, some of them over 20 years and they’re lifesavers. Like you, I could qualify for bank loans. I qualify for $1 million loans and multimillion-dollar loans all the time when I want to. There’s that little thing at the bottom of that bank loan that you got to sign that line down there. It means you’re guaranteeing against meteors, against the rotation of the earth getting out of whack, against global warming you’re insuring everything. You’re guaranteeing that no matter what happens in this world, you’re going to take care of it, which is ridiculous because there are things that you’re not going to be able to control.

There are tons of things out there we can’t control. Look at what’s going on out there in the world. There are all kinds of things that are going on that’s totally out of our control. We need to try and prepare ourselves for what we think may happen, looking at history and also a gut feeling, staying involved with groups, with people like yourself, and continuing to get an education, no matter what level you’re at in this business.

The recession as always does well for me, because it’s like the stars and the moon line up. People like you and I don’t need the bank money to buy houses because we have private lenders. When the recession happens, the banks climb up. 

They’re the first ones to climb up.

A natural response to the bank tightening up on the purse strings, not loaning any money is the prices of things start to fall, especially things that typically required you to borrow. Houses fall in that department. Not many people go out and stroke a check for a house. When the bank tightens up, the rents, the prices of houses fall. Because the banks aren’t loaning, most people cannot buy a house anymore, then they become renters. When there’s a lot of pressure put on rents, what happens to rents? They go up. My owner finance value, and I might’ve coined the term, the OFV the Owner Finance Value, I use the rents to back into what my sales price would be given a certain interest rate and term, which is 30 years and 10%.

During the recession, I had the only appreciating house on the planet because the rents are going up and I was using this formula to calculate based on the rents what my house was worth. Trying to give the guy across the street that was paying $1,200 for rent a chance to own for $1,200 PITI. My bankers didn’t want to believe me. I said, “I’m going to boom in a recession.” They wouldn’t want to believe me and then the recession came, mind you, I don’t pray for recessions. I don’t pray for these bad things to happen. Even though my businesses do well, a lot of people will get hurt. I like to prepare for them. How are you preparing?

As I said, we’re lining up a lot of private lenders. We have a good handful of private lenders that are willing. We’re out there still doing deals. We’re also doing a lot of education to private lenders about what may be happening. A lot of things are going on around them. We see the stock markets going crazy all over the board. It hasn’t fallen out, however, but at some point, I believe that the economy has got to catch up with what’s going on through unemployment and stimulus package is not happening anymore. All that stuff’s going to catch up to us, which is going to play into our favor. Unfortunately, people do get hurt when that happens, as you mentioned. The banks are the first that are going to shut down in lending money and it’s going to give us opportunities to own finance properties and sell properties that appreciate to the individuals out there that can’t find any finance anymore, but they do have money. They have enough money to put down, they can make the payments. The big talk is a lot of people that don’t have jobs. At some point, that’s got to catch up with us.

Continue to get an education no matter what level you're at in this business. Click To Tweet

I don’t know a single person that doesn’t say, “We’re going to pay a price for this.” It breaks all the rules that don’t make any sense. I hope that the president has some bigger plans. I’ve heard people say, “He’s trying to break the fed. He doesn’t like the fed.” A lot of different things, but it defies all logic. There’s no way you can keep putting money and expect everything’s going to be okay. I’m surprised out of the current system, but I wouldn’t have been surprised out of the other system. Two men right here, our job is to figure out the rules of the game, win and provide for our family and try to help as many people along the way as we can. We’ve got to do an integral, honest and straight-up business. If we have private lenders, we’ve got to look out for them. If we’ve got people moving into our homes, we’ve got to make sure that they’re protected and they’ve got what they’re paying for. Taking care of the neighborhoods, the workers, writing checks and try to get as many wins checked off in every column as possible. 

It’s all about taking care of the people around us. We do have a lot of rental properties. So far, all of our tenants have kept their jobs. We do have a few tenants that lost their jobs and they moved out and we replaced them with tenants. Right now, tenants are easy to find. They’re everywhere and rents are at a high so that’s a good thing. The opportunity I see with that is potentially taking some of those rental properties or finance properties, as I say at some point, everything’s got to catch up to us and people still are going to buy them.

That’s what I would do. It’s been crazy but then if you start to look at it, then it does start to make sense, but right off the top, it doesn’t make sense. We’re booming. We can’t keep a house. We’re still less than nine days on the market because the essential worker who usually collapsed during a recession because of the building and all the work stopped and the banks stop loaning. The essential worker, the blue-collar is who I’m talking about seems to have a job. Now, the blue-collar workers, the essential worker, and everyone’s going home to work from home and the best we can figure is people are going home. While they’re working from home, they’re looking out their back-deck window and saying, “I’m tired of looking at that rotten wood on my deck while I’m here working from the house. I’m going to call someone to fix this.”

They are booming. We sold eighteen houses and collected $250,000 down. When you have your private lenders financing 100% of all your houses and you’re allowed to wrap your mortgage and its collateral only, non-recourse between 8% and 10% between 10 and 15 years and then someone gives you $250,000 down, that’s your money. I don’t have any money in the houses and then when someone wants to buy it, you inflate the price and then you get a down payment. They pay you and you pay your borrower and you keep what’s in the middle. When you collected $250,000 worth of down payment, that’s your money. I don’t understand the owner finance, seller finance strategy why it hasn’t been taught more. Why do you think?

From a conventional standpoint, those guys don’t make money that way. It’s the same thing as when it comes to private lending.

What guys don’t make money that way? 

The banks don’t make money. We make money. It’s the same when it comes to private lending. Your brokers and people like that, they’re not making commissions off of that so they don’t push that. That’s one of the reasons that they don’t.

You’re saying Wells Fargo doesn’t want to teach you this wealth-building strategy because they don’t want you as their competitor to loan money. They want to loan the money, that makes sense. The slogan for the company that usually hosts this thing is TaxFreeFuture.com, where you do IRAs and 401(k)s and health, retirement plans and stuff. Their slogan is, “You won’t believe what your financial advisors are not telling you.” When I asked them, I said, “What are they not telling you?” They said, “They’re not telling you the greatest money-making proposition on the planet outside of insurance was loaning money. Go to any city and look at the tallest building in the city and tell me what name is on it. “ 

Private lending like I said, it’s an awesome thing. It’s rewarding with our private lenders to be able to put them into deals that make sense that they make money. We’ve got a very strict system of how we vet our private lenders. It’s something that has to be taught and learn to do it the correct way. When you perform time after time for private lenders, they keep wanting to give you money, “Put my money to work.” That’s an awesome place to be. We’ve worked hard for many years to be in that position. We got their money working all the time. We’ve created programs to give them solid assets backed and they were taking all the middlemen out of it. We set up our terms with them and that’s exactly what they get. They see money going into their accounts every single month and there are no fees being taken out. It’s a great thing for people to get involved with.

What rates are you offering your private lenders?

It depends. We’ve got a lot of different programs that we put private money into. We have some programs we offer as low as 5% and we pay 7%, 8%, and 9% sometimes. It depends on what type of a deal it is and the deal dictates what the terms are going to be for every deal that we do. The numbers have to support whatever we’re doing.

There’s an old saying, “Reward versus risk.” Usually, the higher the risk, the higher the returns. Although I do find in real estate, if you’re getting a first lien position and you’re not loaning an extraordinary amount against the value of that property, then you’re safe. It’s against the law to even guarantee anything and it would make sense. There are no guarantees in life about anything. I get that, but there is a minimal amount of risk. If you’re loaning 50%, 60%, 70% on a house and you have a first lien, it’s hard to get hurt.

We put all of our lenders in those types of positions. We’ve got a mortgage note program that we came up with and created. The loan-to-value on all these notes are 65%, 70%, 68%. That lender is sitting in a super-strong position going into the deal. If it’s a note situation, then we want to make sure that we have a good buyer on the end who’s making the monthly payments. That’s what important to keep making those monthly payments.

REIS 409 | Surviving The Pandemic

Surviving The Pandemic: The economy is going to catch up with what’s going on, which is going to play into your favor.


I have the right every day to pay as agreed or to walk my rights to the property or the note over to my lender any time. I know if I do that though, they’ll quit lending to me. I’ve never given a house back to anyone in my career. I’ve always paid as agreed. When you’re paying, I pay up to 10% sometimes for a fifteen-year fully amortized loan, which deserves 10%. I’m not trying to glean the field. Maybe you could do a little better or maybe I could do a little better, but this is down the middle. Ten percent for fifteen-year fully amortized note with a first lien position, no more than 65% of the value of the property. That’s fair. That’s a damn good return. The problem is there are a lot of people out there that need people like you and I. They don’t know we exist.

That’s why I’m doing a lot more teaching in that area because that’s the whole thing is people don’t know we exist. That’s why we’ve got a book that we’re giving away.

What’s the book? 

It’s the Private Lender Roadmap.

Do you ever need someone or want someone to speak in Houston? I’d love to come down there. I’m claustrophobic now. I’d do anything to get out as soon as you open a gate. 

We’ll get you down here and we’re doing all of our meetings virtual anyhow. We’ll set some stuff up with you because we’d love to have you down here. I’ve been at events where you spoke before and it’s always a great event and you bring a ton of value. Everybody thinks in the traditional manner of real estate, and there are many other ways that it can be done and be done much better and getting a little creative, learning, getting educated on other things that we can do out there. We’re in a crazy time with the market. We don’t have any idea where it’s going to go, but we’re all pretty much in agreement that things are going to continue to change. We’re going to need to be a little more creative with some of the stuff that we’re doing. Going out and getting an education on it is important. I know I’m getting an education for myself in areas that I’m not as familiar with.

It’s all about continuing to grow, which is why a lot of the people that tune into this, or why we tune into podcasts when we’re not making them. We want to find that nugget. The longer you’re in the business, the more you know about the business, and the harder it is to find a sliver of something that you didn’t know or a new thing. The world’s changing all the time. Technology and laws, economics are changing. Who would have guessed this pandemic? There’s a saying that I love, I didn’t invent the saying, and it’s from an anonymous source. I’ve only seen it where it was monikered anonymous. It says, “Wealth comes from chaos.” There is a lot of chaos going on.

You have to figure out how to solve a problem. I talked to people that were making commissions off of rubber gloves that you wouldn’t believe, Hundreds of millions of dollars of commissions on rubber gloves. I’m like, “Holy cow.” It makes me want to go out and beat myself with a stick. Here I am and then someone’s selling rubber gloves and making $1 million, right place and right time. I’m happy for them. I wish I would get that lottery ticket one day. I don’t know about you, Steve, but I had to crawl and beg and scratch for every inch I ever got. How about you? Were you given anything? 

I’m still scraping and crawling sometimes.

Did you ever win a million-dollar lottery or get a super huge gigantic inheritance or anything? Not me so far.

No, but that hasn’t come my way by any means.

There’s good and bad about that. One is we’d all love to have a little luck, but sometimes having to earn it makes you appreciate it and damn sure get you in a position where you’re more likely to keep it. The horror stories about people that have won the lottery, it’s horrible. They win the lottery, get all this money, go way up to the top but they don’t stay there 2, 3, 4 years enough to get addicted and not know anything else and then it runs out. Those stories are full of endings with suicide and addiction and all stuff. I don’t like to complain about having to crawl and fight for every inch that I got, because I’m secure where I’m at. It’s hard to take this away from me because I own it in my heart and the same with you. When you build something, you own it and not physically or have the detour, but you own it in your heart. You own the concept. If I did it once, I can do it again. If I can do it twice, I can do it a million times.

That’s how I was raised. I was raised by a single mom and my mom was like, “If you want something in life, you got to go get it. If you’re sitting around expecting someone to give it to you, call it quits. It will never happen.” By going out and going through the struggles that you go through in life to have success, the self-accomplishment that you give to yourself, it’s fantastic. You learn the responsibilities of success and making money. When you make money, when you do this stuff, it is a responsibility. You have to be responsible and plan what you’re going to do with it. How you’re going to use it wisely and how you’re going to maintain it. You see a lot of investors out there flashing $100 all over the internet and driving the fancy cars every day. They don’t have a pot to piss in.

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If I was a private lender and I saw that, that would scare the living hell out of me.

If you’re a private lender and you see that, you better run the other way. Those are the people you do not want to do business with.

I had a mentor one time and he was going to be my partner. He was courting me up in St. Madrid. He wanted to go and loan us a bunch of money. We didn’t have any idea how much. Later, we would find out why he was courting us hard because he had a lot of money to put out. He would take us to dinner, to the bar, and different places. I was much younger then. I was in my twenties. He even took us to a gentleman’s club. He wanted to see how we were in different situations. One day he asked me after several beers, “Why are you still driving it a seven-year-old truck that has 200,000 miles on it? You could drive any car you want. Why are you driving that old truck?” I said, “I’m not interested in cars. I’m interested in financial freedom. I don’t give a damn about a car. I don’t give a crap.” If a Lamborghini’s in my future, it’ll be when I can stroke a check for it and not even notice it’s gone. That’s when I’ll do it. It hasn’t happened yet. 

That’s why I say when having money as a responsibility when you’re dealing with a private lender in someone else’s money, the responsibility even goes up higher. You’re taking someone’s money. Someone’s worked hard to put that money away and now it’s your responsibility to take care of that money and that person. We’ve got a record with all of our lenders. Payments are never late. We’ve always had a motto that, “Our lenders get paid before we eat.” That’s in stone. That’s the way it works. When you’re dealing with someone else’s money, you’ve got to take care of that person at all costs. Through everything that’s going on, I’ve seen many things going on. I know a lot of people that immediately started deferring all their payments or rental properties. We had a number of our lenders come to us and say, “You need to slow down on payments or something right now.” I’m like, “Absolutely not. There is no way.”

A couple of my private lenders and banks called and they were offering that. One of them, I remember in particular. He says, “Call if you need some help.” I said, “Yeah, I need some help. This is the first thing I needed you to do. I need you to get a pen so you can help me.” He says, “I got a pen.” I said, “Do you got some paper?” He says, “Yeah.” I said, “I want you to write down in the description of this meeting that you called me. I did not call you and that I do not need help. My goal through this whole pandemic is that we never talk and you get payments.” At the end of the day, I want you and your board to go.

When you’re going down through the list of everybody and go, “There’s that Mitch Stephen file. He sent payments. He never even called. Make sure when you know this phone call that you put up there, that you called me. I didn’t call you.” I’ve been meaning to ask you this question. I had a little trouble even getting the nerve to borrow private money for a while because I was petrified to lose someone else’s money. It would kill me. I didn’t want to do it unless I knew exactly how it could work plans A, B, C, and D. All of them had to end up with, “They didn’t lose their money.” Did you ever have any trouble getting over that at first? This was a long time ago.

I had that fear but I know in my early days of investing, when I made some poor investments because I had no idea what I was doing and I lost lots of money on those deals or those early years, even though I lost lots of money, I’m talking six figures on one particular deal. There was never a late payment and no repair ever went undone because the tenants needed that to be done. I knew as a person who I was in my integrity, I would not allow that to happen no matter what. Was I still scared and nervous? Yes, I was. Knowing who I am and knowing that there was no way I would not make those payments, that no matter what I had to do, if I had to go get a job, if I had to work three jobs, that lender would be paid. It was that mindset that helped me do that first deal. Once I did that first deal and it worked out well, everything went according to plan, then I lost that fear quickly.

The hardest part is when you’re first starting out because if your first one or two deals go bad, you don’t have a cashflow. You don’t have a system. Now if a deal goes bad, there’s cashflow beyond cashflow. It’s like, “Write a check for that thing. We’re going to take a hickey on that deal,” but the month will still be a good month. When it’s hard as in the beginning when you’re doing your first houses and if one of them has a hiccup, there is no cushion there is no $20,000, $30,000 or $100,000 a month cashflow and go, “We’re going to have to eat some of this.” It’s not like that. That was my biggest thing. I hoarded and hoarded and for the longest time, I didn’t even know what I was worth. One time, I finally got financial. I get my own personal financial and I got it all straightened out. It was good that I didn’t know because I was always functioning like I was broke, which in a way can be good.

It is good. In my mind I was like, “I’m broke the next day.” I have hard time thinking otherwise. I want to have that drive inside me constantly. It could all be gone in a heartbeat if I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing.

It was good to have financials and know how far ahead of the game or what you were worth because there were deals that would come by that if I thought I was broke, I would have never jumped out and done because they’re a little bit bigger deals. When you look and go, “Even if that deal goes sideways, I can handle it.” I like to talk a lot about sideways and upside down, but I haven’t lost on that many deals in my career. Probably 24 years, 2,000 houses, maybe I’ve lost $60,000 in over four mishaps. It’s not a lot. One time I had a house burn down before I got the insurance on it.

That’s not good.

One day, my doctor goes, “Do you ever have a house burned down?” I said, “Yeah, one of yours burned down.” He still has a lot of money with me at this time and he goes, “Which one burned down?” I said, “Calm down. I don’t know. It was a long time ago.” He goes, “It was a long time ago?” I said, “Yeah, about 10 or 12 years ago.” He goes, “Which one was it?” I said, “I don’t remember.” He says, “It burnt down?” I said, “To the ground, to the slab, to the nothing.” He goes, “What happened? Did the insurance pay for it?” I said, “No, we had a little problem. It fell in a crack somewhere and we didn’t have insurance.” He goes, “What happened?” I said, “I paid you off.” He goes, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

I said, “It’s none of your business. You don’t loan me money to go through that stress. You loan me money for what? To get the payment at the end of the month or get your principal back.” He says, “What happened?” I said, “I do remember that amount was $38,000. We paid $38,000 at foreclosure. The next day, the people that got foreclosed on moved in next door to their families’ rent house, and then they set it on fire and watched it burn. We foreclosed on and owned it that day and they burned it down that night. We were getting insurance the next day, but it didn’t work out.” He goes, “What happened? You lost $38,000.” I said, “No. I owner finance a lot for about $25,000.” It works out.

REIS 409 | Surviving The Pandemic

Surviving The Pandemic: Having money is a responsibility. When dealing with a private lender and someone else’s money, the responsibility goes up higher.


Stuff happens. If you’re in this game, you’re going to lose on deals here and there. In business, we have losses. We just have to have a whole lot more wins so we can keep the losses at the biggest minimum as possible as you had mentioned.

I know that a lot of readers out there aren’t going to believe this, but at some point, if you have a successful career. It’s monopoly money. It’s like, “We did good over here and this is not good. Take some out of the good pile, take it over here. What do we get leftover? It’s still great. Keep living, keep going.” Where people get in trouble, and this is the entrepreneur I’m not. I am not a big put it all on the red gambler. I do a lot of little deals. I might do a lot of them at one time, but not any 1, 2 or 3 of them are going to collapse me. Even if they vanished off the face of the earth, they wouldn’t kill me. Ehen you look up one day and you turn around and look behind you, you have this big pile of little cashflows, which adds up to a lot. You step out there and you buy a $1 million storage facility or something for yourself for forever cashflow. What do you invest in? What do you like for a forever cashflow strategy? Are you into rent houses, apartments, or storage?

We’ve been into rental houses for quite some time. We’ve got a large portfolio we’re working on. I picked up three rentals and we closed on three rentals and I stay more in the lower end category. My sweet spot for rental properties is ARV from $85,000 to $125,000. That’s my sweet spot even though we’ve got some, a little higher than that.

Some, a little lower.

That’s a great spot for us. We’ve always been able to do well with it. We can still find properties that fall in those price ranges, and we can still find those deals in this market. We still find those at 65% and 70%.

What’s your favorite strategy for marketing to find distressed buyers or to find good deals?

We’ve been going through a lot of that. I’m trying to figure out what is a better way of marketing and to be quite honest, I’m finding that we’re getting the most phone calls from flyers on doors.

It’s funny how it rotates. We used to get everything off bandit signs then nothing for years. Bandit signs are working again. 

The basics is working better than anything right now. We’ve been doing some testing, sending out some postcards and I’ve got some guys that put out flyers for me. A quick example, we sent out 2,500 postcards, not one phone call. We put out 300 flyers on doors, six phone calls and one contract.

That’s a great ROI on 300.

We’re going to be putting out a lot of flyers.

It doesn’t take hardly anything at all timewise to put out 300 flyers. You’d be amazed at how many flyers 2 or 4 people can put out in a day. 

We target neighborhoods. The shotgun method of marketing you’re going to spend a whole lot of money and get little return on that. We select neighborhoods and areas where we want to be. Where we’ve already got rental properties, we keep marketing to those neighborhoods because we want to buy more in those same neighborhoods as well.

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You’re a member of a real estate investment club there. You got some offer coming up for your real estate club there in Houston? 

We’ve got The Wealth Club here in Houston and we offer a lot of different things with The Wealth Club. We have lots of great training. I do a little bit of personal coaching, not a ton of it because we’re busy being investors. I’ve got a video series that we offer and you can go on our website, TheWealthClub.org, and find out about that. For anybody that’s on the show, we’re going to offer some memberships. We’ve got a Basic and a Platinum membership. These are monthly memberships. We’re talking $20 and $45 a month memberships. They are not expensive. With our Platinum membership, this is a great membership. I do a monthly mastermind for our platinum members with that. I offer a one-hour virtual coaching call with any Platinum member once a month.

We have a deal support line. If you’ve got deals, you send them and I will personally look at every deal. I help you evaluate it and help you give you an exit strategy to go talk to that seller and try and get it under contract. We’ve got a Facebook group. That’s a few of many things that we do. For anybody that would like to get involved with us at The Wealth Club and anybody that signs up or wants to come and check us out, we’ve got a coupon code is 330Free. We’ll give you a 30-month free membership to check us out. We’d love to have you. Come see who we are and see all the great things that we do with The Wealth Club.

Tell us about the monthly mastermind is this in a physical location? Is it a Zoom meeting? What is it? 

We’re doing a Zoom meeting. It’s a private Zoom call to our platinum members. We structure it for an hour, but as always, if anybody has questions or wants to stay on, I stay on as long as anybody needs me. The great thing about a mastermind as you well know is masterminds are all about everybody collaborating together. I might not always have the answer, but somebody else on the call might have an answer for a specific question or a call. If people don’t have a lot of questions or anything, then I’m going to educate on whatever’s going on out there. I have a million different topics I can talk about. I let our platinum members guide what they want to talk about. It’s a good meeting. There’s always a great conversation and everybody always walks away with a lot and I always walk away with a lot after a meeting like that.

People ask me why I do these shows, “If you’re successful, why do you do all this stuff?” I said, “It keeps me sharp. It keeps my company on top.” I can’t know everything all the time by myself. There are a lot of people chiming in a lot of people with great ideas. I’m able to help other people that aren’t as far along as we are. There’s always a person and some people we need to look and give a hand up to. We always got to have our hands up getting some help from someone who’s gone further than we’ve gone. I paid $30,000 from my mastermind for a year one time. It was the best thing I ever did. I could show you where I got that $30,000 back in spades over and over again. It’s always scary, but you need to do a lot of research on who you’re considering and make sure they’re doing what you want to do, make sure they’re doing the strategy.

Make sure that there’s a person that you want to be on and off the field. If you can find those two things and you like the price, it’s fair. I tell everyone in my mentor program, on the one-on-ones, I won’t even take someone at that level if I don’t think that I can help up their game and at that level, they already need to have a game. If you don’t have a game, we’ll go down to some other level, because I don’t want to take a bunch of money from someone to see if this business is a fit for them. It’s too much pressure for me and for them. If they don’t have a game already, and when I say they have a game, they have 25, 30, 40, 50, 70, 80, 100 rent houses. We can figure out how to up that. I don’t want to charge the money that I need to charge to see if you have a game.

That’s one of the biggest problems many coaching programs don’t fail is these programs are set up to get as much money from you as they can. I always tell everybody, you’ve got to align yourself with the right person, as you said, that’s doing the strategies or doing the things that you want to do. If you want to learn how to flip houses, I can teach you how to flip houses but don’t come and ask me to do something else I don’t know how to do. We do a lot of different things, but I don’t necessarily do a lot of different things at a level to coach you at it.

The other thing is when you talk to someone like Steve or me, we’re talking direct. That means the hundreds of houses that we’ve done when you’re talking, we’re drawing from that well. A lot of the mill houses, they’re assigning you to some students that did twenty deals in their whole life. There are things that people they don’t have enough life experience to help you. It’s not that it’s their fault or that they’re bad people or anything. When people are trying to have thousands of students, there’s no way they can communicate with each one of them individually. How many students do you take a year maybe?

A dozen.

Maybe this year, I’ll take seven but when they call, I answer the phone and we talk. We become friends. First of all, I wouldn’t even take them on as a student if I didn’t know I could help them. Usually, what I’m looking for is people that are quick with a theory. You know they’re doers. They get off the sofa and they’ve already done. They don’t need to know how to write a contract. They’re a long way down the road. They haven’t seen where I’ve lived and I can tell they have it. I would say, “Let me show you a little further back in the woods over here what’s going on. You haven’t been this far in the forest but let me show you this. There are some neat stuff in here. Look at all these salmon in this pond.” Tell me about your book and then we’ll wrap it up here.

A book right here, Private Lender Roadmap. This talks and teaches you about what private mortgage lending is. It gives a ton of examples in there and it goes through the pros and cons. It’s important that everybody always knows there are no guarantees. We have to know the good and bad things. We have to know what we need to do when things do go wrong. As long as everything’s going great, everybody’s happy. What happens when something does go wrong? What are the steps we need to take? Not only do we have it in the book, but it’s something that we’ve been teaching for years long before the book.

You were living it before that.

REIS 409 | Surviving The Pandemic

My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom

Anybody that knows me or has heard me before, everybody knows that every presentation I do, everything I teach is from my own experiences. I use myself as an example a lot. We’ve got to talk about the good things in this business because it’s a fantastic business, but I also am not afraid to share when things go wrong and tell you why they went wrong. When you’re listening to the gurus that just talk about everything going great all the time, it gets you excited, all pumped up, but it doesn’t teach you a whole lot.

That’s what my first book was about My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom. One of the descriptions of the book was, “This is what happens after the get rich seminar.” They showed you a bunch of piles of money, nice boats with these good-looking girls and these fast cars. I’m going to tell you what they didn’t tell you about which is not insurmountable, but it would’ve been nice if they’d have prepared you or helped you to avoid it. Many of those things are flashing money and big checks in your face. I understand the salesmanship of it. I just don’t like it.

When we tell how things went wrong, we never set out for a deal to go bad, but things happen that are out of our control. Sometimes we make mistakes, but that’s how we learn. We make that mistake so we can move on and grow from that. That’s what the book is all about. That’s what anything we do. That’s what we teach about. That’s what The Wealth Club is all about. The Wealth Club, we’re in our eighteenth-year of being around. It’s not like we popped up the other day. We’ve been around a long time. The founder was a great man and knew a lot of people, Gordon Appleby. He sold to Tom and Melissa Berry who became good friends of ours. We took over the club from Tom and Melissa. The tagline has always been, “Investors helping investors.” We hold that to heart. That’s one of the greatest compliments I always get any time I talk, or when people come to our meetings and the people like listening to me is because I’m straightforward. I tell it like it is. I don’t throw a lot of fluff out there. It’s not my style. I want to teach you the right way to do things. I want to see everybody have success. There’s plenty for all of us out there. Let’s all go out and have the best success that we can.

That’s a good note to wrap it up on. Speaking of Tom Berry what a good and successful man he is. I liked Tom Berry. I didn’t realize he was the owner of this club before. We’re going to wrap it up. I’d like to thank everybody out there for stopping by to get you some Steve Vigil. Check out the Platinum membership for The Wealth Club there in Houston. You don’t have to be from Houston to enjoy a membership online, do you?

No. That’s the great thing about it is you don’t have to be in Houston. We can still do all the same things that we do for anybody here. Anywhere in the country we can do the same type of coaching that we do.

These clubs are great sounding boards because when you have that question like, “I need a good insurance guy,” you can talk to that group. Do you have a chatbox on that website? 

We’ve got some Facebook Groups for the different levels of membership.

Where can they get the book?

If you go on our website, there’ll be a QR code where you can click on it and you can get the book.

I like to pay homage to our sponsor, TaxFreeFuture.com. You won’t believe what your financial advisors aren’t telling you. We’re going to tell you what they’re not telling you. We’re going to tell you why they’re not telling you, and then you can make your own mind up, but it’s going to be eye-opening. Check it out there our 37 video vignettes at TaxFreeFuture.com. Boys and girls, we’re out of here. Bye.


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About Steve Vigil

REIS 409 | Surviving The Pandemic

Steve Vigil and Suzan Meaux are the proud owners of The Wealth Club and founders/owners of SVSM Enterprises, LLC. Like most people, they started investing in real estate with little background in the industry while working full-time. Today, with 16 years of experience behind them, Steve and Suzan take great pride in educating and assisting fellow entrepreneurs in reaching their goals and achieving wealth.

Steve Vigil started his real estate education in 2002 when he bought his first rental property. Over the next 10 years, he picked up an additional 5 single-family homes along with 8-unit and 10-unit.



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