There are two ways in which you can go into real estate investing – passive or active. Whether you choose one or the other largely depends on where you are in your decision to break it up with your nine-to-five. Making that radical breakthrough has been quite a ride for real estate entrepreneur, John Casmon. Prior to becoming a full-time investor, John oversaw marketing campaigns for big brands while building his personal multifamily portfolio on the side. He has since grown his real estate business into a large multifamily empire worth almost $90 million. In this conversation with Lisa Hylton, he outlines the things that newbie investors need to learn to set themselves up for long-term success in the industry. You will learn a lot in this episode about mindset, the importance of teams, accountability, and the different things that you should be considering if you’re into passive or active investing.
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How To Build A Real Estate Empire: Passive And Active Investing Principles With John Casmon
I am back with another amazing guest. His name is John Casmon. John is a real estate entrepreneur, who has partnered with busy professionals to invest in close to $90 million worth of apartments. John also consults active multifamily investors to help them start and grow their business. He hosts the Target Market Insights: Multifamily + Marketing podcast and is the Cocreator of the Midwest Real Estate Networking Summit, a no-pitch event to connect like-minded investors. Prior to becoming a full-time investor, John worked in Corporate America overseeing marketing campaigns for General Motors, Nike, and Coors Light while building his personal multifamily portfolio. John, welcome to the show.
Lisa, thank you for having me. I’m excited to level up.
For my readers, I met John on Facebook. He had all of his podcasts and all of the different things. You can’t help but see his offerings. I was like, “I wonder who this guy is?” I started listening to some of these podcasts and believe it or not, when I was in preparation for interviewing some guests, some of the things I would do is ask the guests, “Have you been interviewed by someone that you enjoyed their podcast on the way they interviewed you?” Time and time again, I had a couple of people that referred me to you. I said, “Got it.” I listened to some of the episodes and from that information, I crafted how I wanted to do my show. There you are inspiring people. Coming full circle, now you’re on the show, so I appreciate it.
I did not know that. That is humbling and great to hear. I’m happy that I’ve been able to have those great interviews. It stuck out to those individuals to the point where they could refer me to you.
To get started for my readers, as well as for you, I’ve been doing a series on how people have gotten started investing in real estate and diving into how they play these days. How did you get started investing in real estate?
Like many of your readers, I was hustling and bustling, working a 9:00 to 5:00 job, doing my thing in Corporate America. I was doing well. I realized there was a gap and for me, that became crystal clear early in my career. I’ll take you back several years ago. Right around this time in 2008, the market started to unravel a little bit. I was working at General Motors. I was a young Junior Executive there. Our financials started to get tight. At that time, we didn’t realize this was going to be a US economic thing. We thought it was our company.
If you remember, at that time, for those of you who are old enough, our CEOs went to Washington, and they talked about how we needed some support. It became this big ordeal. Fast forward, we went into bankruptcy. Every day during that time going to work was painful because we didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know if I was going to have a job. I didn’t know if I need to be looking for jobs and it got to the point where my boss literally told me like, “If you’re not looking for a job, you’re too stupid to work for me.” The bottom line is, that was going from one job to another job. I realized that this was not sustainable. I didn’t want to spend the next 30, 40 years of my life wondering about my job or whether I upset the wrong person and now I may lose my job or get sent to a department that I had no desire to be in or whatever.
I realized it wasn’t the life I wanted. I didn’t want to be in Corporate America anymore, but I couldn’t quit cold turkey. I had to have a plan. I got through that. I realized real estate was something that was attainable. It was something I could build on the side and continue to stack these bricks while I continue to work in Corporate America. That’s exactly what I did. I had read Rich Dad Poor Dad years ago back in school. At that moment, it crystallized that you need to take action.
You need to go from being someone who reads books to someone who implements these lessons and these ideologies into practice and that’s what we did. I started to save my money on the side and started looking for smaller properties that are 2 to 4 units. Fast forward, I moved to Chicago. I bought a two-unit building where I house hacked. I lived in one unit and rented out the other unit and that was when I started getting into real estate.
You were into small multifamilies doing duplexes and fourplexes. What were some of the early lessons? How did those impact your journey as you continue to grow?
The first thing for me was fear, understanding fear, preparation, and trying to figure out what was going on. Like anyone else getting started in something like this, I was scared. What if I made a mistake? What if I overpay for the property? What if I couldn’t get renters? There were all those different things going on in my mind. What I had to do was take every single one of those questions or potential fears and address them head-on. Was I investing in an area where I could get renters? Was I looking at the average rents for an area or for a market? Was I buying in a “good neighborhood” based on school, crime and all of these data points?
We did all those things. What I would say is, none of the bad stuff that I was fearful of happening happened on those first deals. That’s what gave me the comfort and the confidence to continue to build and go forward. I will say that there were some things that we learned. We learned everything from how to manage properties, how to interact with residents. The biggest thing we learned was to continue to be proactive and stay in front of issues. If there’s something that is coming up, and you’re concerned with, read about it. Find resources like books, podcasts or BiggerPockets. Find those resources where you can learn more about that specific topic.
As we scaled into multifamily and larger things, that became more complex. You had to have a similar mindset, but sometimes you couldn’t find those answers by going on a forum. You need to have a mentor, someone in your corner that you could talk to. The key is being able to be resourceful and figuring out where the solutions to those challenges are. If you have a question, how to go and get that question answered and resolved. It’s not something that builds and builds to the point where it makes you paralyzed and you no longer want to move forward.
That brings me to the way you invest now. You touched on it a bit that it was moving into larger multifamilies, but how do you invest in real estate these days?
On the small stuff that I was doing by myself, I was saving all the money that we were making and buying smaller properties. We built a $1.5 million portfolio. While that sounds great, the reality is, the cashflow wasn’t there for me to leave my W-2 job. The reason I started was, I wanted to be in a position where if someone tried to let me go, or I got fired, or they wanted to move me to a position I didn’t want to be in, I could look out and say, “No. I’m good.” I wasn’t there yet. I still wasn’t there despite having this $1.5 million portfolio.
At that moment, I sat down with other people that I knew. What became crystal clear was, I needed to find a way to work with other investors so I would take my money, pair with other people, and be able to scale that way. From there, more fear set in. I got concerned on how to do it. Like your readers, you have to find ways to overcome that fear and you have to be willing to take action. For me, the first real set of action was hiring a mentor. I was not someone who was big on paying someone to teach me. I felt like I was self-taught. I did everything myself up to that point.Find ways to overcome your fear. Take action. Click To Tweet
The reality is, when you’re working with other investors, the stakes become higher. It’s not only you and your money, but it’s someone else’s money. It’s someone else’s hours that they put into a job, hours that they sacrifice being away from their family, hours that they sacrifice buying a new car or vacation that they’re entrusting you to help them build. That responsibility was important to me. I felt that I owed everything in my right to do everything I could to make sure I was surrounding myself with the team to overcome any lack of experience I hadn’t worked with other investors. That’s what I did. It helped give me someone else in my corner. Another tool in the tool belt to continue to grow and expedite my growth.
After studying and analyzing lots and lots of deals, hundreds of deals, the next day, the deals were 192 units. We did that as general partners. We came in, brought investors into the deal, did a lot of market analysis, and things like that. That was a way for us to grow and scale. I would say, for anyone reading, if you are at that point where you have some investing experience and are trying to figure out how you level up your real estate portfolio. Also, how do you grow, get to the next level, part of what you have to do is step back before you step forward?
Stepping back is analyzing, what are you doing, what resources are available to you, and what opportunities have you not been paying attention to? Have you had coaching opportunities, but turned your nose up at it? Have you had partnership opportunities, but decided you didn’t want to partner and you want to do it yourself? Have you had passive investment opportunities, but decided you want to stay active? These are all ways to gain experience, credibility, and the confidence that you need to scale a portfolio, and part of what you have to do is get out of your own way.
Ask yourself, what would it take to feel comfortable and confident to move to the next level? Figure out a way to remove that barrier. If it costs you some money, it costs you some money, but isn’t it better to invest in your future, as opposed to spending money on things randomly? I would focus on things that you could invest in. When I say invest, I expect a return on that investment. It’s not paying for education because someone’s going to teach you how to do something. You want to find ways to invest in your future. Those are the things and opportunities that you want to look forward to. If you can earn while you learn, that is the best thing you can do.
A couple of things to dive into here. The first is, you talked about the $1.5 million portfolio that you had of small multifamilies. Where were those located?
They’re all in Chicago.
What kind of assets were they primarily? Were they multifamily? Were they single?
They’re all multifamily.
When you decided that you wanted to move to large multifamily, did you sell any of those or do you still hold that portfolio now?
We slowly started selling, it wasn’t like, “Let’s sell everything and go into large.” As we had deals and opportunities come up and as we looked at our portfolio, we did strategically sell assets here and there. I’m selling my last duplex and that one I’ve loved. We lived in it for seven years, and it was a phenomenal performer in our portfolio. It’s the last two-unit I own in Chicago. Logistically speaking, it takes more energy and effort. It is necessary and I could take the proceeds and invest that into something that I can scale and put a full-time team in place.
That’s the way we’re building and scaling now. It’s something where we have that scale where we can put in our professional management team so we can run it like a business or enterprise, which is my background. It’s working more at the corporate level from a marketing perspective and putting teams in place and operating that way versus me having to be the handyman, which I’m terrible at or being the guy who has to field all the calls from the tenants. That’s not effective. It’s better to get people in place that can handle those things and allow me to be the captain of the ship.
Listening to your story, I feel some readers might go down the path of like, “He built his own portfolio before he went into full-time and going into larger multifamily deals.” Can you talk about the pros and cons of choosing to take the path that you have, as opposed to choosing to maybe go directly into multifamily, either passively or actively?
I didn’t realize passively investing was an option when I started. I didn’t know anyone who was passively investing back then. In every book I read was all about how to make money with 2 to 4-unit properties or how to buy single-family properties. Everything I read said, “You want to get into multifamily.” I would say that, for me, it was important to do something small, where I felt I could control, learn and be hands-on. I also was keen on this being a transition, knowing that I wanted to do this full-time. This wasn’t about me quitting my job and having enough money on the side where I can go hang out in Barbados, go skiing and golfing. That wasn’t my plan. My plan was, “I’m still going to work, but I want to work for myself, create my own hours and figure out the business on my own.” It comes down to your goals.
If you’re later in life and have kids, I didn’t have any kids when we were doing this. If you have family, other responsibilities, have a great paying job that you enjoy, and you don’t want to walk away from yet, but you want that safety net, passively investing is a phenomenal way to get started. You can still learn while you earn and you can pivot if you decide, “I can do this,” or “I feel comfortable playing a bigger role.” If you want to build a small portfolio, the thing is, it’s going to be more hands-on. That’s the biggest thing. Do you have the time to address phone calls that you’re going to get from tenants, emails, maintenance, requests, issues, rent collection? It depends on the class of assets too.
If you’re doing Class A or B plus stuff, where it’s newly built, higher quality finishes, better neighborhoods, those residents are relatively easy, as long as they have a nice clean place where everything works and it’s updated, they’re easy residents. If you’re more Class C, Class D minus, or Class D plus areas, where you’re going to be dealing with people who are living check to check who have inherent problems, but to be financially, emotionally, or whatever, you’re going to be dealing with stuff. You’re going to be dealing with fights, drugs, evictions and that’s going to be a headache for a lot of people. If you’re trying to work your 9:00 to 5:00 job, you’ve got to run over to deal with the proverbial fire or real fire and put it out. That’s going to be a challenge. It can drain you. That’s something that doesn’t show up in those performances.
No one ever shows you the return on your time or the return on your emotional investment. When I bought that two-unit, that first property, it’s easy for us to manage. The three units are easy for us to manage. I bought an eight-unit building and that’s when I learned that lesson because that eight-unit was a C class property. I had a couple of tenants that were on Section 8 housing. They were fine. It wasn’t them as people, it was the process. I didn’t realize with Section 8, they would fail you almost on purpose. You’d have to come back and fix little things, put in a light bulb, change a battery, and request them to come back out. I got a fine for the grass not being cut as quickly as they wanted to cut.Step back before you step forward. Click To Tweet
It was a whole lot of back and forth when you get into the smaller commercial stuff. That emotional thing became something where you were trying to figure out how you get ahead of this thing versus those easier properties I had before. You have to ask yourself those questions as well. That’s why I say, “Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself the question. Understand what you’re getting into and if you can stay a step ahead if you get into this, how would you pivot? Do you want to?”
A lot of people don’t want to deal with all of that. You didn’t get into this to be a landlord, you got in this to make passive income. You have to be honest with yourself and say, “Am I willing to take a little bit less profit to be way more passive?” That’s the question you have to ask yourself. For many people, it’s probably the better thing for them to do. If you have a demanding job and have other passions you want to do. You want to golf, you want to ski whatever, there’s nothing worse than missing a fun weekend because you had to paint a unit or something like that. Make sure you’re clear on what your goals, passions are and budget accordingly for how you want to invest.
Building on that, as people know that they might be intrigued. They’re like, “This passive investing sounds interesting.” As they continue to dive deeper, maybe a question that might come up for them is, how do they get comfortable assessing and looking at deals? Perhaps you could share maybe a couple of key things, as they enter the world of passive investing that they should look out for?
We put together a sample deal package for this reason. If anybody wants to check it out, you can go to CasmonCapital.com/sampledeal. What you will get is a sample deal package. In the follow-up emails, we will explain the things to look for. A couple of things here, you want to understand the deal itself. What is the structure of the deal? What’s the equity split? How do you get paid? How to be operators? You’ll hear terms sponsors, operators, general partners. There’s the passive and there’s the team that oversees the deal. They may be called sponsors, GPs or something like that. Either way, how do they get paid? You want to understand that.
What you’re looking for is you want to make sure there’s an alignment of interest. If the general partners, if the sponsors get paid, no matter what happens, they’re not incentivized to make sure they do everything they can for the passive investors to get the maximum return on their investment. That’s one to watch out. How is the deal structured and how do the general partners get paid? The other thing you want to look for is, you’re looking for a deal that’s conservative. A couple of ways I want to do that is I want to understand the market, I want to understand the rents. I’m looking at the projected rents for whatever the business plan is.
A lot of times you’ll hear a value-add deal. They’ll say, “We’re going to buy this property. Rents are currently on average $800. We’re going to invest $5,000, and rents will be $1,000 and we’re done.” You want to understand, is that realistic? Are there other properties that are getting $1,000? What condition are those units in? What’s the proximity to the subject property? Also, try to understand, are these guys aggressive or is this pretty conservative based on the area and what you’re seeing as far as the comps? I would say the last thing is, understand the timeline. If someone’s going to go in and say, “We’re going to do all this in twelve months,” they’re going to renovate 200 units in twelve months. That’s hard to do. If they’re saying, “We’re going to come in and renovate 40 to 50 units in the first year,” that’s a little bit more realistic, as far as what a team should be able to manage and go out and do.
Understand the timeline, rent projections, and the deal structure. I would say those are three things you can do to start to get comfortable with the deal. The number one thing, even on top of those three, is get to know the team. Get to know the operators and sponsors. Understand them as people. Understand the way they think and approach a deal. Are they conservative? Are they aggressive? What motivates them? What gets them excited? How do they select markets? What are they looking for in a deal? What makes them say yes? What makes them say no?
The one question I like to ask everyone, sponsors, and I tell even my passive investors, ask me, ask my peers, ask them about a deal that didn’t work out. Ask them about a time where they failed or something didn’t work out. What I want you to pay attention to is not so much the fact that the deal didn’t work out and the circumstances there. What I want you to listen for is accountability. I want you to listen out for, is this someone who’s going to blame others if things don’t go well?
Is this someone who is reasonable and is telling you something that happened where they couldn’t have predicted it? Was it something that they messed up on, they flat out dropped the ball? Do they own up to it? Do they talk about the changes they’ve made to their process to prevent issues like this from happening again? Did they tell you that they’ve never had anything go wrong, ever? They’re flawless, they’re perfect, and they’ve never had a mistake.
You’re going to look out for things like that. If someone who says they’re perfect, they’re probably not somebody you want to invest with because either they’re lying or they haven’t tried anything to make mistakes. Anyone who is trying to get better, who is trying to be great, they’re going to make some mistakes at some point. It’s a matter of understanding what they are, the way they approach it, and how they overcome it.
If I’m a passive investor, I want to understand the mistakes that operators make. I want to listen to them and whether or not their temperament and personality is a fit for me in the way I want to do business. I want to look at the deal structure and make sure I’m clear on the deal structure and the alignment of interest there. I want to understand their rent projections, the rental growth, and make sure that’s conservative. Lastly, I want to make sure I understand the timeline to implement those renovations.
Moving from there, once again, some readers at this point think, “That’s from the view of a passive investor.” Maybe they now feel like, “I would like to be an active investor. I’d like to become someone yourself, John.” You spoke about leaving Corporate America and mentors. Can you talk about what the process has been like for you and advice you would give to someone else as they think about pursuing actively playing in the multifamily syndication space?
For those folks who are looking to be an active multifamily investor syndicator working with other investors, one of the biggest things you can do is get started. Part of what you’re going to have to do is to position yourself as someone that people want to invest with. There are a couple of ways to do that and I call it the 6 C’s of Attracting Capital. The first thing that you have to do is you’ve got to be pretty confident when you’re talking to people. You’ve got to know your stuff and that confidence comes from knowledge, and rehearsing and making sure that you are comfortable in the things that you’re doing.
The second C is credibility. If you’re going to tell me that this is what you want to do, the next question is, “What have you done?” They won’t understand who you are can be confident without being credible but that means that you’re cocky. If you’re out there, you think you know it all, you can do it, but you’ve never done a deal. You never passively invested in a deal, you heard one podcast episode and decided you’re going to launch this syndication business, you’re cocky. That’s not one of the 6 C’s. I would say that the important thing there is a team. One of the ways you can build credibility is, if you don’t have that experience itself, you can build a team. You can get a coach or a mentor, a property management company. You can work with lenders and brokers so far. You find other partners. Find other people who have a bit more experience.
Surround yourself with a team, that’s a great way to build credibility if you don’t have any yourself now. I won’t get to the rest of 6 C’s. Part of what you want to do there is to find ways to build momentum, build yourself as credible and build up your confidence so you can start approaching people in your network about this. This is assuming that capital is the thing that’s slowing someone back. If you need investors, you need to raise $1 million for a deal. These are the ways you would build that confidence and start connecting with these people.
As far as getting the deal, that’s the hard part now. Coming across a great deal is the hardest part of the business now so you’re going to need some great broker relationships. You will want to explore trying to get deals off-market, depending on the size of the deals we’re talking about. We’re trying to get some off-market deals, but building that team is a huge component. The best thing you can do is get a team together that can help you navigate the waters, and continue to put yourself across as a confident and credible person and continue to reinvest in those things all the time.You don’t need a job. What you need is money. Click To Tweet
For you, as you continue to build your business, have you focused on a particular area of the business and created relationships with other team members to focus on some other different aspects of the business? Could you explore that and share that with readers as well?
One of the biggest differences between large apartment investing and small apartment investing 2 to 4 units, is the fact that this is a team sport on the larger stuff. There is not a single operator I know that does this by themselves on a large scale now. I don’t care who you’re talking about. You can throw out whatever name you want to throw out and I promise you, I will tell you the 2 or 3 people behind them behind the brand or the name that are actively involved in finding deals, underwriting deals, submitting offers, and all those kinds of things.
To think that you can do this by yourself and if that’s the perception that many people put off, it’s wrong. It’s a fallacy. It’s not true. You do have to understand the team dynamic and who you can surround yourself with and what your skillset is. For me, my marketing background helps with understanding the markets, market analysis, rent comps as well as the promotion side. Also, understanding if we wanted to go directly to the seller or if we want to work with investors trying to build up those investor relations. Our investor database is connected to them about what’s happening with deals. Those things are transferable skills that I’ve taken from my time in Corporate America and brought them along to multifamily syndication or multifamily business.
Outside of that, it’s understanding project management skills. Lining up the team, getting the people in place that we need for operations, and overseeing all those aspects. For me, it’s more investor relations, marketing, and all aspects of marketing, as well as some project management. I do some underwriting as well. I do a lot of underwriting, but I don’t claim to be the greatest underwriter in the world either. There are people who certainly are better at certain tasks and that’s the thing that this takes.
You have to be honest with yourself and your skillset. If there’s someone else who is more suited to do something, hand in that responsibility, but finding the team is the key thing if you’re going to play in a big space. If you’re trying to do it by yourself, you’re going to fail, because there’s no way you’re going to find deals as quickly as other people, underwrite deals as quickly as possible, and submit offers as quickly as other people are doing that. You’re not going to do that as a one-person shop, going up against a 5 or 6-person team.
This leads me to leaving Corporate America because you mentioned it a couple of times about leaving Corporate America. For people who are thinking about leaving Corporate America to pursue a business, maybe it’s real estate, maybe it’s something else, but they’re interested in maybe investing in real estate passively, and getting into their other types of business. What advice would you give to them as they look out to the landscape of trying to leave Corporate America?
I would say there are a couple of things. First and foremost, you don’t need a job. We’ve got to step back a little bit and understand that you don’t need a job. You don’t even need an income. You need money. You need money to pay your bills, invest, travel, or whatever you want to do. Once you break it down, the next question is I was making money by working this job. They were paying me let’s say $10,000 a month, you ask yourself, “How else can I make $10,000 a month?”
First of all, you have to ask yourself, “Do I need to make $10,000 a month or could I live off $5,000 a month?” Is it worth it to take a 50% reduction to not have a boss, to not go into the office and all that? You have to ask yourself these questions. Once you ask yourself that question, the next step is to figure out what that number is you need. We’re in a world where if you have a skillset or knowledge of something, you can monetize that. You can create a course on Kajabi. If you are a marketer, let’s say you can do consulting work. If you understand different systems, you can train people on it. We saw when COVID-19 hit, anybody who had kids tried to look and say, “Who’s going to help me teach these kids? I don’t know how to teach these kids. I never taught a six-year-old before not at a school level and a classroom type setting.”
We were turning to those teachers, and anybody who created a curriculum and an online curriculum that allowed us to engage and teach, that was something they could monetize. People who are working out, going to a gym have never used a virtual trainer before in their life. Here they are now looking for virtual trainers and saying, “This is much easier than getting dressed, going to the gym, driving fifteen minutes to the gym, taking another five minutes to put my stuff in a locker, working out for an hour, and spend 2.5 hours versus a 30-minute time I need to work out.
If you have a skillset or a passion that you love, you can monetize that between blogs, podcasts, and everything else. You can find a way to get to communicate your passion to other people to teach and educate so I would look at those things. We live in a gig economy, where you can do consulting work, you can do other things on the side and make some money. There are ways to make money, where it’s not like, “I need $10,000 from real estate income passively each month to quit my job.” You can find ways. Maybe you can get $3,000 from real estate and another $1,500 from consulting or a gig. You can create a book or another product that you can monetize.
There are other ways to stack it where you can get to your end game. I love real estate and it’s a great way to grow, but if you are waiting until you can make $10,000 passively each month from real estate, depending on how much money you have to invest, you might be waiting a long time. You need to map that out and say, “How many units do I need to buy? How much money am I making? How long will it take?” If that takes you twenty years, are you going to wait twenty years or you’re going to find a plan that helps you get there in three?
That’s what I would ask anyone to do and there are different ways you can accelerate that through multifamily. You probably want a baseline of something where you’re not hinged on doing a big deal. If you need a big deal to pay your bills, you’re going to be in trouble so you want to find other things you can do to make money and sustain yourself while you find something while you shoot for these big deals and these big opportunities.
From the answers to that question, it felt a lot of creativity. It came with people willing to think outside the box. At this point, is it anything else that I didn’t touch on that you feel would be beneficial to share with my readers here before I move into the level up questions, the last questions?
The biggest thing is mindset. I know that sounds either canned, broad, or vague but this stuff works. This mindset stuff works. I like to dumb it down. You can get in the clouds and get all spiritual, that’s fine if that works for you. My point is if you believe you can, you can, if you believe you can’t, all you see are obstacles and challenges, but you’re never going to take steps forward. If you see me doing this, or you hear my story, you see other people that are like you or people that you have any connection to, that means it’s possible. All you have to do now is to start breaking it down. What obstacles are you facing? Overcome them. If you have the mindset to grow and to overcome obstacles, you absolutely can do it. I don’t care what your strategy is. You can do it. You need to be ready to overcome the obstacles you face.
Before I go into that, one of my level up questions is what are you grateful for?
I’m grateful for the hard times. I’m grateful for being challenged, failing frequently, and having the mental capacity to recognize it for what it is. It’s an opportunity to learn and get better. That’s something I’m grateful for.If you believe you can, you can. If you believe you can’t, all you will see are obstacles, and you will never take a step forward. Click To Tweet
What has attributed to your success and continuous growth?
My wife, because she’s supportive, even when I fail, even when something doesn’t work out. She’s right there and she doesn’t criticize the business failures, which I appreciate. She’s always supportive from that standpoint. She understands the vision and that’s important. Anybody wants to invest, and I hear this question a lot from couples, one person wants to invest in real estate, the other one doesn’t see that it’s risky and it’s tough. If you’re trying to do something big and trying to create this life that you dreamed up or you envision and the other person wants to take it easy, slow, and predictable, that’s a tough thing. I appreciate the fact that my wife is alongside me with the vision.
Lastly, what do you now know that you wish you knew at the beginning of your journey?
I wish I would have been more open-minded to work with other people. I spent the first probably six years of investing and saving my own money, nonstop investing. I did not want to work with other people. I was fearful of taking all that responsibility and I wish I would have been more open-minded to it, not saying I wish I would have done it. I wish I would have been more open-minded to it, because it would have allowed me to see different opportunities earlier on, than when I started to see them.
If my readers want to learn more about you, your offerings, podcasts, the whole nine yards, where can they go and find you?
If you want that sample deal that we talked about and that works for both active investors and passive investors. If you’re active and you’re trying to figure out what you need to communicate to investors in a deal, it works for that too. You can check that out at CasmonCapital.com/sampledeal. Outside of that, I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I don’t use Facebook as much, so LinkedIn and Instagram are probably the preferred means of connecting. You can check out my podcast, Target Market Insights: Multifamily + Marketing show. We are available anywhere you listen to podcasts. We’ve got to get Lisa on soon. Hopefully, we can get her on the show as well. It’s a great show. We try to help anybody who’s learning about the multifamily space and how to take it up another level and attract capital for deals, how to find deals, how to partner with people. It’s all those things you need to succeed as a multifamily investor.
I highly recommend it so go check it out. Thank you so much, John, for coming on. I appreciate it.
Lisa, thank you for having me to the show. Everyone, I hope you are ready to level up. This is good. I appreciate it, Lisa.
I appreciate it.
Thank you, John, for coming on the podcast. That was an amazing episode. It’s chock-full of so much good information and insights. By having that podcast, I do feel that coaching vibe from John. He’s definitely providing lots of value and helping people to break through some of those blockages. The first of the key takeaways that I had was when he talked about mindset. There were so many times throughout the podcast, he talks about the fears that people experience through may be making that first investment, investing in real estate straight out, or moving from single-family to the bigger leagues to multifamily, or making the decision to leave your job.
When he talked about it later on into the episode where he was like, “You don’t need to have a job.” It’s thinking outside the box with all that creativity about all the things and the skills that you have probably developed over the 10, 15, 20 years of working in Corporate America or working for someone else that you could potentially teach, coach or help other people to do. For me, at least, it was about thinking outside the box, and seeing the opportunities and other ways of being able to build the amount of cash that you need to live off of, and as well as your life in general, the kind of life that you’re trying to live.
The second key point that he talks about was putting teams in place. He talks about being honest with yourself about your skillsets. He mentioned that he, for the first six years, struggled with this himself. He’s coming from a place where he understands, relates, and resonates with the fear of having to work in that team and depend on other people and build that team to help you to build your business, ultimately. It’s such a key point, to continue to think about an employee and implement and consider, as you are thinking about building your team and playing in real estate, either big or small. As you get bigger, it’s definitely a team sport.
The third thing that I found was key was when he spoke about assessing the deal sponsor. He mentioned asking them about deals that didn’t go well. How did they handle that deal that didn’t go well? How did they handle things in their life that didn’t go as planned? Also, looking for accountability, looking for how they have taken into account, taking responsibility, and stepping up to the plate for the things that they probably have brought to the situation as a result. They corrected things that they’ve implemented as a result of that experience and moving forward. It’s such a great episode. If you want to learn more about John, you can definitely go and learn more.
Before you leave, I want to encourage you to please subscribe to my YouTube channel. My channel is Lisa Hylton, hit subscribe. If you’re on any of the different podcast distributors, like Spotify or iTunes, please subscribe and leave a review. I appreciate it and would visit my website which is LisaHylton.com. Sign up for my weekly newsletter to learn more information about podcasts and new things that we are coming out with. Get on our list to learn about information about new investment opportunities that might be coming out as well. Until next time, thank you and keep leveling up.
- Target Market Insights: Multifamily + Marketing
- Midwest Real Estate Networking Summit
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
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- Lisa Hylton – YouTube Channel
- Spotify – The Level Up REI Podcast
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About John Casmon
John Casmon is a real estate entrepreneur, who has partnered with busy professionals to invest in close to $90 million worth of apartments. John also consults active multifamily investors to help them start or grow their business. He hosts the Target Market Insights: Multifamily + Marketing podcast and is the co-creator of the Midwest Real Estate Networking Summit, a no-pitch event to connect like-minded investors. Prior to becoming a full-time investor, John worked in corporate America, overseeing marketing campaigns for General Motors, Nike and Coors Light, while building his personal multifamily portfolio.
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