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Grant Cardone has been investing in real estate for over

thirty years across the United States. As this book goes

to press, his company, Cardone Capital, currently has

5,000 units under ownership and over one billion dollars

in real estate holdings.

After earning his accounting degree from McNeese State

College, Mr. Cardone found himself in a career that he

did not see leading him to true legacy-building wealth.

What would later become one of his signature responses

to adverse situations, Cardone doubled-down and not

only mastered sales but created an entirely new sales

approach, strategy, and technique.

At thirty-one years old, Grant Cardone was credited

with transforming the sales process of an entire industry.
Since then, he has worked with some of the largest

Fortune 500 companies in the world on how to increase

revenue and improve their customer experience.

He currently operates seven privately-held companies

with affiliates and offices around the globe. His business

interests range from real estate, sales and marketing

training, coaching and consulting, to social media. His

companies have earned numerous business awards and

accolades. And, Forbes Magazine named him as “e

Number-One Business influencer to Watch”.

Cardone’s career in real estate had a less than auspicious

start with an investment in a single-family home. Quickly

learning that this approach to real estate wouldn’t work,

he transitioned to multifamily units. As he progressed in

real estate investing, his deals became larger and larger.

Today, Mr. Cardone has become well-known in the real

estate world.

To allow friends and family to invest alongside him,

he founded Cardone Capital and recently opened

three successful fund oerings, all of which were oversubscribed in record time. He currently has several more

funds being oered or in development
Year:
2018
Publisher:
Grant Cardone - Cardone Training Technologies, Inc
Language:
english
Pages:
242
ISBN:
9871945661525
File:
PDF, 8.79 MB
Download (pdf, 8.79 MB)

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How To Create Wealth
Investing In Real Estate
By Grant Cardone

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate
Copyright © 2018 Grant Cardone - Cardone Training Technologies, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 978-1-945661-52-5
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced
or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, or
mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by any
information storage and retrieval system, without permission in
writing by the author.
All translations of this work must be approved in writing by the
author. Please contact Cardone Training Technologies, Inc. for
permission to translate and distributions agreements.
Printed in the United States of America
To order more copies for you or your team, go to GrantCardone.com
or contact Cardone Training Technologies, Inc. at 310-777-0255.
Second Edition - August 2018

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

Contents
Preface
Introduction
Why I Wrote This Book
Chapter 1 How I Got Started - My First Mistake
Chapter 2 The Different Kinds of Real Estate
Chapter 3 Why Apartments Are My
Favorite Investment Vehicle
Chapter 4 The Three Ways to Invest
in Apartments
Chapter 5 Mistakes to Avoid When
Investing in Apartments
Chapter 6 Your First Deal
Chapter 7 Cash On Cash (COC)
Chapter 8 Where to Find Deals
Chapter 9 Why I Created Cardone Capital
In Closing
Real Estate Calculator Terms & Definitions
Assets Under Cardone Management
About Grant Cardone

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How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

Preface

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

1

2

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

Preface
Grant Cardone has been investing in real estate for over
thirty years across the United States. As this book goes
to press, his company, Cardone Capital, currently has
5,000 units under ownership and o; ver one billion dollars
in real estate holdings.
After earning his accounting degree from McNeese State
College, Mr. Cardone found himself in a career that he
did not see leading him to true legacy-building wealth.
What would later become one of his signature responses
to adverse situations, Cardone doubled-down and not
only mastered sales but created an entirely new sales
approach, strategy, and technique.
At thirty-one years old, Grant Cardone was credited
with transforming the sales process of an entire industry.
How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

3

Since then, he has worked with some of the largest
Fortune 500 companies in the world on how to increase
revenue and improve their customer experience.
He currently operates seven privately-held companies
with affiliates and offices around the globe. His business
interests range from real estate, sales and marketing
training, coaching and consulting, to social media. His
companies have earned numerous business awards and
accolades. And, Forbes Magazine named him as “The
Number-One Business Influencer to Watch”.
Cardone’s career in real estate had a less than auspicious
start with an investment in a single-family home. Quickly
learning that this approach to real estate wouldn’t work,
he transitioned to multifamily units. As he progressed in
real estate investing, his deals became larger and larger.
Today, Mr. Cardone has become well-known in the real
estate world.
To allow friends and family to invest alongside him,
he founded Cardone Capital and recently opened
three successful fund offerings, all of which were oversubscribed in record time. He currently has several more
funds being offered or in development.

4

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

In addition to being a hands-on CEO, Cardone is also
a New York Times bestselling author of seven books
and his sales training courses have educated over fifty
million students. He is a contributing writer to CNBC,
Entrepreneur.com, Forbes and Business Insider, as well
as a regular guest on Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC,
and MSNBC.
With all his success, Mr. Cardone says his proudest
accomplishments are his marriage of fifteen years to
Elena Cardone, their two children, Sabrina and Scarlett,
and the time he invests in giving back to the community
through his philanthropic endeavors, which have raised
over two hundred million dollars for charities.

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

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Introduction

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

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Introduction
As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with
real estate. I have been drawn to it for my entire life;
and for the last 30 years I have been buying apartments.
It didn’t matter whether it was a piece of land, a house,
or a store front, I have always had an affinity for real
estate and I also had some basic understanding that real
estate was valuable.
I remember my Dad would drive my Mom and us five
kids around on the weekends looking at real estate.
My Dad owned three homes during his lifetime,
and each one represented the fact that he was going
somewhere, succeeding with each move. Just a few
years before my Dad died he bought his dream house
How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

9

and he told Mom, “We’ve made it.” It was almost two
acres, on the waterfront, had lots of big trees, and was
in a neighborhood filled with doctors and lawyers and
people who belonged to the local Country Club.
When he died, my Mom had to immediately sell the
dream house because it was too much for her to manage.
That was a huge lesson that I would not fully understand
until I started investing in real estate myself, many years
later, and one you must understand if you are going to
create financial freedom using real estate. But, more on
that later.
As an aspiring young teenage boy, when I started reading
books about wealthy people, I noticed how many of them
owned real estate. I remember running across a study
done about the real estate holdings amongst the superrich in America. It suggested households who owned
large amounts of real estate had lower educational levels,
were not significantly associated with inheritance, were
not socially connected, and did not have some special
occupational status. That describes me perfectly.

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I didn’t have a fancy education, my Dad didn’t give me
a million to start, like “The Donald”, I definitely wasn’t
connected, and I had never held a high-level corporate
job title or had some great tech idea I could bring to
Silicon Valley.
Throughout history, real estate has proven a viable
investment vehicle and has been validated by some
of the wealthiest families, even institutions, on the
planet. Those that control the real estate end up with
wealth. And by the way this is not a new thing. The
great civilizations of the Romans, Egyptians, Greek,
Chinese, Persians, and Mayans, all had massive real
estate holdings as part of their power structure. In the
1920’s, the British were reported to own 25% of the
world’s land mass.
Here is a little hidden fact for you, known only once you
get big in the game of real estate investing: The largest
insurance companies in the world love commercial real
estate and use income producing real estate to ensure they
are able to pay off the death and retirement benefits of
its premium holders. At Cardone Capital, we will access
insurance companies to partner with us in transactions,
How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

11

reducing the cost of debt and improving our returns.
The insurance companies use the dependability of the
income from the real estate to improve their returns
and pay off beneficiaries when necessary.
Research history and you will see lots of super wealthy
people using real estate to either create wealth, preserve
it, or both. John D. Rockefeller started in oil and ended
up controlling massive amounts of real estate, making
him the richest man in the world. Some say when you
adjust for inflation he would still be the richest man in
the world by many times.
John Jacob Astor invested in Manhattan real estate and
in today’s terms would be worth $138 billion, more than
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. A more recent example
is Donald Bren in Orange County, California, now
considered the richest real estate developer in the United
States. He started investing in real estate in his fifties.
Or how about Stephen Ross, here in Miami, owner of
the Related Companies, who borrowed money from
his mother and dipped his feet into affordable housing?
He is now worth $12 billion and owner of the Miami
Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium.
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Then, there is outspoken Sam Zell, worth $5 billion,
who started buying and fixing affordable apartments
in secondary markets. He went on to create one of the
biggest real estate investment vehicles in the world,
allowing others to invest alongside him. Sam has made
billions of dollars for himself and others. Sam Zell is
who I am modeling Cardone Capital after.
Of course, I must mention Donald Trump, President
of the United States. Mr. Trump is worth $4 billion,
his name is on luxury buildings and golf courses in
New York, Chicago, Miami and around the world.
Whether you like “The Donald” or not, pay attention
to how he got his start. Donald’s Dad, Fred Trump,
didn’t get started in luxury real estate. Fred built 4,000
affordable rentals for servicemen returning from the
war, and ended up owning 27,000 units. Multiply
27,000 units times any monthly rent, and you quickly
see how anyone can produce tremendous wealth over
time while the earth beneath the apartments becomes
more valuable (appreciates).

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

13

Andrew Carnegie, the wealthiest man in America
during the early 20th Century, once said, “Ninety
percent of all millionaires become so through owning real
estate.” He went on to say, “More money has been made in
real estate than in all industrial investments combined.”
Ray Kroc, who held a minority position in a company
called McDonald’s, figured out if he controlled the
real estate beneath each of the McDonald’s franchise
locations, selling french fries and milkshakes, he could
get control of the company. It worked and the original
founders of McDonald’s surrendered the worldwide
franchise ownership over to Ray Kroc, who built the
largest restaurant chain in the world.
I am going to give you one last example because it
blew me away. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Universe,
The Terminator and Governor of California, now
worth $300 million, did not make his first money as a
weightlifter or as an actor. In 1970, he was using all his
surplus money to invest in buying apartments in Santa
Monica and soon became a millionaire as an apartment
investor. The income from the apartments allowed
Arnold to create financial freedom so he could focus on
his acting career.
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Clearly, you can tell I love real estate. But what attracts
me the most is that every time I meet successful real
estate investors I notice they have a different lifestyle
and freedom than other business people. They seem less
stressed, calmer, and overall more relaxed.
Even during the housing collapse of 2007-2009, without
question the most severe real estate contraction since
the great depression, those invested in real estate didn’t
sweat it. They didn’t like it, but they knew it would pass.
And by the way, it did pass. If you owned apartments
during the worse part of the greatest housing bust in
our history and even if you were buying at the top of the
market at that time, your investments would be worth
more today than they were when you bought them.
Louis Glickman, a well-known real estate investor,
made popular the saying, “The best investment on Earth
is earth.” If I could tweak Mr. Glickman’s quote, I
would say, “The best investment on Earth is earth that
produces cash flow.”
If you study the people listed above they weren’t the
smartest students, had minimal political connections

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

15

early on, no technology background, no patents, no
franchises, and were not complex strategists. What they
all do seem to have in common is they were all fairly
simple in their approach, hard workers, frugal, riskadverse, and made big bets on real estate that produced
real income.
My real estate investing career is limited to buying cash
flow producing real estate in good markets. To date, I
have bought and sold almost $1 billion of real estate
over my career and I currently control about $700
million in properties. Hopefully, by the time you finish
reading this book, that number will have gone up.
It all started with one deal; in fact, it all started with
one bad deal. My first purchase was a $78,000 singlefamily home and as I write this, I am under contract on
three deals that total almost $300 million putting me
over $1 billion in holdings. Mind boggling, right?
My goal in the beginning was to accumulate 20 units
and make $100,000 a year in passive income from the
properties, and at that time, I knew nothing. Now, the

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How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

goal is 10,000 units, change the way people invest in
real estate, and to one day take my holdings to Wall
Street as a REIT.

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

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How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

Why I Wrote This Book

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

19

20

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

Why I Wrote This Book
My main goal with this book is to 1) convince you to
start investing in real estate that pays, 2) show you how
to get started buying deals, and 3) prevent you from
making costly mistakes. This small book clearly cannot
answer every question you might have, but will get you
on your way. Remember another quote from Andrew
Carnegie, “The wise young man or wage earner of today
invests his money in real estate.”
If you are an experienced investor, you may find some
of this elementary, but I assure you that even the most
advanced investor will learn some strategies we employ
at Cardone Capital that improve our returns to our
investors, increase positive cash flow, and assure us of
2X and 3X returns.
How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

21

“The wise young man or wage earner of today
invests his money in real estate.”
- Andrew Carnegie

What you will see me do here, is make a case for why
income-producing real estate is probably the most secure
investment available today for everyday hardworking
people and to help you sort out and simplify the kinds
of deals you should be buying. I will also show you how
to find deals, assess their value, and how to buy the
right deal.
If you don’t want to go it alone and would like to be
involved in larger deals from the get go, you should
definitely look into what we are doing at Cardone
Capital, where we are changing the way people invest
in real estate. I created Cardone Capital not to play the
game, but to change the game of real estate investing for
large and small investors.
The fact is, the little guy almost never gets the great
deals because most investors don’t know what to look
for, who to call, and where to get the best debt. I want
to help you get in the game of real estate investing and
22

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the more knowledge you have, the more confidence you
will have to invest.
One last thing, and something I will repeat over and
over in this book: I believe investing in cash flow
positive real estate may prove to be the best financial
decision of your lifetime; I know it has been for me.
Of all my businesses, my real estate business provides
me with the most financial security. The other six
businesses are great, and I value each of them very
much, but none of them offer the advantages real estate
investing provides. Investing in income- producing real
estate provides leverage, cash flow, tax advantages, and
explosive upside.
And while real estate needs attention, like any
business, I assure you, when you purchase the right size
properties, in the right locations, with the right debt,
and assign the right management team to handle the
properties, this investment will still prove to be less
work than an ordinary business. More importantly, 10
to 20 years from now, someone will pay to live in and
use the properties we are investing in today.
How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

23

If I died tomorrow, my real estate holdings will produce
income for my wife, kids and the charities I love for
decades to come. That’s right, long after I am done
with this body, my real estate holdings will continue to
fund a lifestyle for my wife, kids, their kids, my church,
charities, and whatever I direct the estate to do with
the free cash flow produced from the properties. This is
called generational or legacy wealth.
But you may not be thinking about generational wealth
at this point. You may just be getting started, so I want
to simplify apartment investing for you and help you
avoid the mistakes I see most people make. By avoiding
these mistakes, you can make sure your first deals work
and you will be off to a great start. To do that you need
to know what you are looking for, what works, what to
avoid that doesn’t, how to find the right deals and then
how to buy, manage and sell them.
If you have been dabbling with smaller deals or singlefamily residences, my goal for you is to open your eyes
up to how to invest at levels that can truly change things
for you and your family.

24

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

I want to help move you from the landlord collecting
more headaches than rent, to a knowledgeable investor
who knows how to create a real business around real
estate. My goal is to change the way you think about
and approach real estate investing, so you aren’t buying
deals that never create financial freedom for you.
I want you to understand how I see a deal and why I
invest ALL my money in these types of assets. You
should know what I know so you can have the confidence
to invest with me. Cardone Capital is for those who
love the idea of real estate investing, but don’t have
time, because they’re juggling their primary business
and family, to ever get around to finding deals, getting
brokers on the phone, and managing tenants.
At Cardone Capital, we are allowing everyday people
access to extraordinary deals and changing the entire
industry of real estate investing, where the big guys get
all the great deals and the little guys get the left overs.
And that, by the way, is a fact you already understand, or
you will take my word for, or you will learn the hard way.

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

25

Keep in mind while reading this that I openly detest
Wall Street stocks, 401k’s, and bond investing. I despise
the banks, who pay almost nothing to hold my cash,
and then lend it out at 9X. Also, it is important you
understand my mindset: I am a complete coward when
it comes to investing and I never speculate; I refuse to
lose money.
I only invest my free cash (extra money) in one thing:
real estate. And I only invest in real estate that produces
income. A very successful business man in London
recently asked me, “How much should I invest with you?”
My answer was, “Everything!” How can I tell someone
that? Because, I have everything I have created, invested
in real estate, because I believe in the fundamentals that
make it viable long term.
Remember, I don’t speculate and I don’t gamble with
my hard earned money. I have worked very hard for my
money, as you probably have, and I only invest in cash
flow producing real estate. This is an asset I can leverage
with good debt, the property covers all operational

26

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

expenses, improvements, insurance, taxes, and debt
while I patiently wait for the rents to increase and the
value of the property then appreciates at which point
we sell or refinance and own the property with no
money invested.
I never deviate from this criteria. I invest my surplus cash
into income-producing machines, in great locations,
where the rent is less than the cost of home ownership,
and I am buying at or below replacement cost. When I
do invest, I buy very large deals, typically 200 to 1,000
units at a time, in markets with decades of projected job
growth, and market demographics more likely to rent
than own.
So, keep all this in mind while reading this book. You
need to know how the author thinks when he/she
gives you a strategy. I’m just sharing with you what has
worked for me. I am sure there are other ways to make
money investing but I can only share with you what
has worked for me for 30 years, across seven states and
through different economic conditions.

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

27

Also, as you are reading if you have questions all you
have to do is call into our live show every Monday. If
there is something you don’t understand I will do my
best to answer your questions. I want to help you get
your money to work as hard for you and your family
as you worked to earn it. It kills me to watch people
lose money gambling on the stock market or simply
ignoring their money, leaving equity in their home or
giving it to a 401k to sit and decay for thirty years until
they are old and can no longer use it.
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed
writing it.
Let’s go.

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How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

Chapter 1

How I Got Started My First Mistake
•
Remember, if it has one door live in it,
don’t invest in it.

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

29

30

How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

Chapter 1

How I Got Started - My First Mistake
The first real estate deal I bought was a $78,000 singlefamily home. I put $5,000 down and got a loan saying I
would live in the house. By the time I closed the deal, I
changed my mind (wink-wink) and rented the property
to this nice girl and her sister. I thought I was so smart.
For the next 6 months I made $140 a month positive
cash flow and it was looking like the investment was
a great one. I did the math: $140 per month positive
cash flow times 12 months equals $1,680 for the full
first year representing a 33.6% return on my invested
dollars, if I didn’t incur any additional expenses and if
the tenant stayed.
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31

I was so excited and was experiencing illusions of one
day becoming a real estate mogul. But, before I hit
mogul status, 4 months later, reality set in. The sisters
started calling every 3 days or so with some sort of
complaint. First, it was the toilets, then termites, then
roaches. A week or so later the neighbor called saying
the girls hadn’t mowed the lawn in 10 days. Then, I
received more calls, this time about the electrical issues
in the garage, the sewer backed up, and the garbage
disposal malfunction. And that was all over the period
of just a few months.
The time I was starting to spend on this one real estate
deal was taking time away from my main job. I was a
successful salesman in retail and I had to be there when
the customer was. In retail, the customer demands your
full attention and a great attitude, and you have to
deliver on that to have any shot at success. Fixing stuff
and handling tenant complaints was quickly wearing
on me. I am the first to admit: I am good at solving
problems and math, but I am terrible at fixing anything.
So, every time something needed to be fixed, I called
someone out, and plumbers, electricians, and service

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people aren’t cheap. Not to mention, I wasn’t able to
pay attention to whether they were doing a good job or
over-charging me. I didn’t have time to get three bids,
shop around, or check reviews. I was one person trying
to handle my main job and this new real estate career.
The dreaded “Three T’s” of real estate were hitting me in
the face: Tenants, termites, and toilets.
That was only the beginning of my issues. Then I was
hit with the reality of “one door renting.” One of the
sisters called me to tell me what I feared the most, “We
are moving.” I was devastated and furious. I thought,
“How dare they move out, when I had done so much for
them.” I was angry, disappointed, and discouraged, but
more than anything, I was mostly scared.
It was November, and I knew I was going to have to
make the payment to the bank without any income
from the tenant. I hopefully thought, maybe I can get
a tenant in next month, but I knew there was probably
no way I would get a renter in before the next bank
payment. I was worried about how long it would take to
get a tenant during that time of the year.

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33

Over the next 2 months, I would wipe out what I
thought was going to be my full year of positive cash
flow. Now, pay attention to this story because you don’t
want to repeat it.
It was November and going into Christmas Season.
‘Tis the season to be merry, but not the season to
find a tenant for a single-family home in cold, wet
Houston, Texas. I had no advertising campaign and
the property was hidden in a little neighborhood with
almost no drive-by traffic. I had a full-time job that
took a tremendous amount of attention and now I had
an empty house, with no tenants, and a note due every
month for the next 352 months.
I was planning on going to Mexico for a short vacation
of warm sun and some fishing and that had to be
cancelled because I had to get this place rented. On top
of all that, I quickly realized I didn’t know anything
about the responsibility of being a landlord. I hadn’t
planned or prepared for any of this. I didn’t know how
to find tenants, how to maintain the property, manage
the property or even how to place an ad. I hadn’t fully
understood the risk associated with renting one door.
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How To Create Wealth Investing In Real Estate • CardoneCapital.com

I thought because I was only buying one unit, I had
reduced my risk but, in truth, I had increased my risk
because I was dependent upon one tenant. Remember,
if it has one door live in it don’t invest in it.
So, what did I do? I immediately put the single-family
home on the market and did everything possible to sell
it. By March it was sold, I licked my wounds and did the
math. After fees to sell, I barely broke even and that is
only because I managed (in my case mis-managed) the
property myself. Technically, I only broke even because
I refused to count any of the time I spent handling the
property. The real estate brokers made more on the deal
than I did and they only made $4,200. If it weren’t for
the speed at which I sold the property and the little bit of
positive cash flow I did receive, I would have lost money.
My first deal wasn’t a disaster, but it could have been.
Fortunately, I paid attention to it and this experience
changed my investing criteria forever. I realized quickly
how little I understood about real estate investing and
it reinforced all the warnings I had been given about the
headaches of being a landlord. Rather than writing off

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the real estate investment vehicle as unviable, I elected
to look at what I did wrong. I went back to study some
of those earlier names I mentioned in the Introduction,
who had created mega wealth with real estate, to see
what I had done differently than what they had done.
Remember, if it has one door live in it,
don’t invest in it.

Immediately it was apparent to me. They all had created
financial freedom with real estate and none of them were
buying single-family homes, dependent upon one tenant.
My deal had gone bad because I was dependent upon
one tenant. Those real estate moguls were not dependent
upon one tenant for cash flow. They could have 10% of
their units vacant and still be cash flow positive, where if
I lost one tenant, I was negative.
They built businesses that were based on renting many
doors to many tenants, using the income to cover the
expenses of operations, while they paid down debt and
waited for appreciation.

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Some people say they learn more from their mistakes
than their successes; I highly suggest you don’t try that
in real estate. Learn from the mistakes of others. When
investing money in anything, you cannot afford to learn
from your own mistakes, you will end up broke! There
is an old proverb that goes something like this: “A fool
learns from his own mistakes, the wise man learns from
the mistakes of others.”
Most people lose money in real estate and blame the real
estate, but I knew the real estate wasn’t the problem.
The way I was approaching the real estate was the
problem. I had gone small and bought based on what
I could afford. I was dependent upon one tenant and it
cost me. I bought a small deal because I was scared to go
bigger and it cost me. I had an immediate victory and
quit learning and it cost me. I went in half-cocked in a
hurry to brag about being a real estate owner and it cost
me. And this is what most of us do on our first deals.
You see, I had bought what I could afford, based on
the loan I could get and the money I had to put down.
That limited me to only what I could afford and not
necessarily the best investment.
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I went back to the drawing board and spent the next
3 years learning everything I could about investing in
real estate.
Just so you know my entire education has been on the
ground walking deals, and without exaggeration, over
the last 20 years I have walked tens of thousands of
properties and interviewed hundreds of commercial
real estate agents in Houston, San Diego, Tucson,
Phoenix, Austin, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Nashville,
Savannah, Richmond and more.
In addition, I studied as many as 20 operating statements
in a day and interviewed lenders from the biggest
financial institutions in the world to learn the tricks of
acquiring the best financing. When I was exhausted,
I walked more properties and wore out brokers with
more questions.
When I was first getting started, if I wasn’t physically
walking a property on the weekends, I was working my
main job stashing cash.
I was committed to finding a GREAT deal, and knew
I would need the cash, the courage, and the knowledge
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to pull the trigger. At the age of 31, I knew owning
real estate was my financial freedom vehicle. I avoided
investing in Keough’s, IRA’s, mutual funds, and
individual stocks and bonds. I was keeping my powder
dry for when I ran into my first deal, and while I did so,
I was studying financial statements to understand why
some deals worked and others didn’t.
It would be 3 years before my first real apartment deal
came along, but when it did, I was ready. I had the
courage and the confidence and the cash. After looking
at hundreds of properties and investing thousands of
hours of studying, my first real deal was 48 units.
I knew the second I saw it I would buy it. I put the
deal under contract the same day and was closed in
under sixty days. My first real deal in the bag. I owned
it for 4 years, and while I did, it paid for itself every
month and provided me with positive cash flow
and no headaches. I never took one phone call from
one tenant about one problem, because I put a good
manager in place. Four years later, I sold the property
for an almost $4 million profit.

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The belief that I would create wealth with real estate
was validated with this first deal, and I knew one day
I would get super rich with this vehicle. Since that
first score, I have been buying apartments, repeating
and perfecting how I buy deals, and studying more
markets, financing, management, and all along the
way, improving my connections within the real estate
market in order to get better access to great deals.
Since that first deal, I have been through the savings
and loan debacle, the internet bubble, and the housing
collapse in 2008, and I have never lost money on an
apartment deal. That original $350,000 investment
in those 48 units was the seed capital for what is now
almost 5,000 units worth almost $700 million and
growing every day.
You can do this too, and you should. The real estate
business is not super complicated but there is a lot to
learn and also there are some myths (mistakes) you must
avoid. I will cover this in more detail under “mistakes to
avoid,” but for right now; A) you aren’t going to do this
with no money down, B) you can’t manage the property

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yourself, C) small properties don’t work, D) debt is
critical to your purchase, and E) be willing to invest for
the long term.
The other thing is, you either need to become an expert,
or find and partner with one. Lastly, you owe it to your
legacy and estate to invest in this asset class; in 20 years,
you will have wished you did. The best days, months,
and years of investing in cash flow positive apartments
are in front of us, not behind us.

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Chapter 2

The Different Kinds of
Real Estate
•
“Homeownership is not
a way to build wealth. It may be a place to
save money - not make money.”
- CNBC

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Chapter 2

The Different Kinds of Real Estate
There are many kinds of real estate and I want to
quickly touch on them, so when you are out doing your
homework, you will understand why I like apartments
so much.
Single-Family Residence or SFR – Is a type of
property where a person should live, not where you
should invest. You will hear a lot of people talk about
a home as an investment, but in reality it is not an
investment, it is liability. Houses were created for
banks to profit, not for people to profit, and are mere
traps where you and your family are forced to stay.
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I understand you have to live somewhere and your
argument that it is cheaper to own than rent, but this
isn’t true.
A study covered by CNBC suggests, “Homeownership is
not a way to build wealth. It may be a place to save money
- not make money.”
When you consider property taxes, upkeep, roof repairs,
air conditioning/heat repair, insurance, real estate
fees and opportunity cost, not to mention your loss of
mobility, a single-family home is a terrible investment.
“Homeownership is not
a way to build wealth. It may be a place to
save money - not make money.”
- CNBC

Flipping or Wholesaling – This refers to taking a
single-family home, improving it in some way and then
reselling it, either before you close (sell the contract)
or after you close. This, in reality, is not real estate
investing but a form of speculating, or at best, another
job whereby the investor buys a single-family home,

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improves it in some way and then sells it either to an
end user, homeowner or to an investor who wants to
rent it.
Every wholesaler I have ever interviewed ultimately
wants to do what I do – own apartments that pay you
every month for long periods of time. Wholesaling
could be a good vehicle for getting the cash down
payment to start buying apartments.
Single-Family Home Rental – This requires collecting
single-family homes in your market and then renting
them out, one at a time and keeping them for long
periods of time. There was a rage across the country a
decade ago where investors were collecting homes in
their market, typically in low income neighborhoods,
and the real estate investor would buy a home, and
provide the tenant with an opportunity to lease with
an option to purchase in the future. If they missed a
payment they would remove the tenant from the home
and do it again.

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This is a combination of providing financing and renting,
and in my opinion is predatory. This requires a handson owner and demands tremendous attention, making
it very difficult to scale. You better be very tough to do
this. While this can provide big percentage returns, you
are simply trading time and stress for that return.
Another way to do this, is to get involved in government
programs, whereby the landlord focuses on low income
housing. In this arrangement, the landlord collects a
portion of the rent money from the government (called
“Section 8”) and a smaller amount from the tenant.
In addition to requiring lots of your attention, the
upside appreciation of these types of properties will
be held down because the enterprise depends on the
government for its revenue.
A relative of mine did this, collecting affordable
housing where he lived, and over the years he collected
three dozen or so single-family homes. Each deal had to
be closed separately. My first apartment deal (48 units),
required one closing and one loan and one address. I
literally acquired more in one transaction than he had

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in a decade. This was one location to manage, not 48
different locations, and when I sold the property it was
one sale, not dozens.
Duplexes & Fourplexes (not commercial) – This
category of property type consists of two to four unit
buildings, where the investor might live on the premises
and rents the other units. This is the kind of investing
most people start with, because they are investing on a
budget rather than investing wisely.
While you can do this with less money down, it really
is more like another job than it is investing. While
everyone needs to start somewhere, I don’t recommend
this as the place.
Because the properties don’t produce enough income,
you will continue to be dependent upon your time and
energy to make it work. And real estate values depend
upon cash flow and location for its value in the future.
The loan you can get on these under four units deal are
very attractive, normally requiring only 3% to 5% down

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with good credit. This is why so many people make this
their first purchase – but it’s a shortcut. People are lazy
and go for the easy thing rather than the right thing.
The single-family homes, duplexes and fourplexes
occupied by the owner are the first properties to be lost
in foreclosure. Why? Because when the economy gets
bad the investor doesn’t have the money to continue to
improve the property, and when one person moves out
they are at least 25% vacant immediately. Remember
that includes the owner renting one of the four units.
So, now only 50% of the income of the property is
covered. Two people move out and you are 75% vacant.
Commercial Property (5 units and above) – Just
remember, while fewer units would appear easier to
buy, they are harder to keep long term and much more
difficult to make money on. Why? Because fewer units
reduce your economies of scale and will never allow
the property to produce enough income to warrant the
work involved. What do Walmart, Amazon, Facebook,
Coca-Cola, Sprint, and AT&T have in common? They
have scale. They sell lots of units every day, not just a few.

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In real estate, the fewer the doors the easier it may be
to buy and the harder it is to make money. This is why
I say the deck is stacked against the little guy and why I
created Cardone Capital. The big guys don’t spend time
and energy buying little deals, they only buy the big
stuff in great locations.
Do the math on eight doors and you can see why:
8 units x $800/month =

$6,400

$6,400 x 12 months =

$76,800

Expenses & Vacancy

$38,400

Cash Flow Before Debt

$38,400

That all assumes every unit is filled all year, you paid
cash for the property, and have no debt. Depending on
what you paid for this property and what you can sell it
for (exit) determines whether you got a good deal.
If you paid $384,000 for the 8 units you are making
10%. If you paid $768,000 you are making 5%. This is
the cash flow you receive while you wait to sell.

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But the biggest problem here is scale. You can’t scale
this model and for real estate to create wealth for you,
you must have these four ingredients:
1) Cash Flow
2) Time
3) Location
4) Scale
Eight units can only produce so much cash flow and
will only be worth so much money to the next buyer.
If you figure expenses at 40% and vacancy at 10% and
the deal now makes $38,400 a year before making any
loan payments. Not bad, but there is one thing you
missed; you have to manage this deal.
Now, before you think this is a good deal consider this:
The expenses and vacancy are equal to $38,400 a year.
How much does that allow for the property manager?
If you pay the manager $38,000 a year, you have no
money for the maintenance, repairs, taxes or to run
the property. If you don’t pay a manager, then you are
working for $3,000 a month.
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Figure you get a manager to run the deal in exchange
to live at the property for free, and I assure you, you
will not get the best tenants, your property will not get
the best attention, and you will overpay on every bill.
The average property management fee in the industry
for a deal this size would be closer to 10% of the gross
revenue, adding another $7,680 a year to your expenses.
Any manager who works for $7,000 a year is worth
nothing and just this penance cuts your return by
almost a third.
Trust me, you need deals big enough to produce enough
income to pay a good manager. If you pay the manager
$4,000 a month ($48,000 a year), you lose money on
this deal. If you don’t pay $4,000 a month, you will
be replacing managers all the time. And trust me, any
manager that stays for less will be stealing from you.
Trust me on this from personal experience.
The other issue on commercial loans is the banks require
25% to 35% down payment and good credit.

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Any bank that does commercial real estate loans is
going to measure four things to determine whether
they will give you a loan:
1) The property.
2) Trailing 12 to 24 months of income.
3) Your credit score and net worth.
4) Your experience managing properties.
I know people with lots of money and perfect credit
who have been denied commercial real estate loans
because the bank felt they did not have the experience
to manage property.
By the way, managing the property, requires a special
temperament, a depth of knowledge, and special talents.
Ask yourself if you want to handle peoples calls,
property tours, leases, and lease expirations. Do you
have the time to build budgets, plan for rehabilitations,
tenant turnovers, advertising, collections, complaints
and more?

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There is a saying in real estate that refers to “The Three
T’s - Tenants, Termites, and Toilets,” but really, it is much
more than just those three things. Managing a property
is like being in retail and not being paid a commission.
The lower the rents the more difficult the property. The
higher the rents, the more the tenant expects. You have
to find the sweet spot in the middle and even then, you
still better have a good location and a great manager.
Other Assets
Retail Properties – These are pieces of real estate like
strip shopping centers and malls. The owner is renting
to other business owners to operate their businesses.
There are 28 million small businesses in America and
most of them barely make any money. The investor of
the strip center leases out to small businesses such as
barbershops, restaurants, toy stores, clothiers, coffee
shops, cosmetologists, tanners, yoga studios, and the like.
Coupon Clippers – This is where you are buying a
property, building it out to suit a long-term lease from
one tenant such as CVS, Starbucks, national restaurant

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chains, Sprint, Mattress Firm, banks, Walgreens, a
grocery chain or the like. These big companies don’t
want to own the real estate. Their business isn’t real
estate, it is selling their product. They don’t want the
liability of the real estate on their financial statement
to their investors, so they sign a long-term lease. This is
where the real estate investor is again dependent upon
the tenant doing well and continuing in business.
Here, you are very susceptible to economic conditions,
but more concerning, is the disruptive changing
technological culture we live in today. Consider you
owned a property with a CVS anchor tenant. Just a year
ago that was considered a very safe investment. The day
Amazon announced they were going to get into the drug
business, that investment became less desirable.
Office Buildings – Single or multi tenant building for
the use of businesses renting space rather than owning.
This can be a very capital intensive endeavor, requiring
the owner to get a long term lease of 7 to 10 years,
while managing capital to be invested for new tenants,
referred to as “tenant improvements.”

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Property Classes
Before we leave this section, let’s quickly cover the
property classes. Property classifications were created
to make it easier to communicate among investors
and lenders to the quality and rating of the property
amongst themselves. The class can refer to the property
and the location.
A Class – Newest, shiniest asset and represent the
highest quality building in the market. These are
generally newer buildings under 15 years of age and
contain many amenities catering to white-collar
workers. Expect lower cap rates, around 2% to 4% on
this asset.
This class of asset won’t generate as much cash flow but
has the ability to appreciate greatly. Class A Properties
are great for preserving wealth, while investors wait
patiently for appreciation. This investor has a reduced
need for cash flow. * (I wish I would have bought more
A Class over my career.) *

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B Class – One step down from A and built within the
last 20 years. This class caters to a mix of white and
blue-collar workers and the property may show a bit of
deferred maintenance, but overall, it has a nice mix of
cash flow and potential appreciation. Look for returns
on cash invested of 5% to 7%, before appreciation.
C Class – My first real estate broker defined C
Properties as “crap” properties, but loved their ability to
generate substantial cash flow. I tend to agree with his
candid analysis.
These properties are usually 25+ years old and have
deferred maintenance issues and are located in more
difficult areas as well as needing big capital expenditure
investments (new roof, interior remodels, etc.) to
remain competitive. Look for cash on cash returns on
cash invested of 8% and above on these properties,
before appreciation.
D Class – The lowest class of properties usually located
in cities with lower employment opportunities making
it more difficult to collect the rent and more difficult to
exit but greater cash flow for your trouble.
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These properties are highly management intensive, and
the tenant base is often difficult to deal with. Investors
get lured into investing in these properties due to the
low prices, but soon realize they got more than they
bargained for.
The assignment of Property Classes A, B, C, & D
are complete arbitraries and these descriptions are
generalizations used more to communicate than
anything. This is more opinion and less science and
should only be used to give you an idea of the quality
type and the location rating of the property.
Sometimes whether you are buying or selling impacts
the property class used to describe the property. When
I am buying the A Property, I see it as a B Property for
negotiating purposes, and when I am selling, I described
it as an A+.

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Chapter 3

Why Apartments Are My
Favorite Investment Vehicle
•
Apartments allow ordinary people to
protect their hard-earned money, and
get positive cash flow, while they wait
for appreciation and pay down debt. This,
I call “The Ultimate Multiplier” or what
others refer to as leverage.

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Chapter 3

Why Apartments Are My Favorite
Investment Vehicle
Admittedly, I am a coward when it comes to investing
and that is why I love apartments. Everything I have
today I worked hard to get and I am extremely protective
of it. Like you, I feel like I’ve worked really hard for my
money and the last thing I want to do is blow it.
I was taught to have respect for money. My Dad taught
me the value of money and stressed the need to be
disciplined and responsible with it. I still remember the
quarter my Dad trusted me with at the age of eight. I
lost it when I was playing with it and will never forget
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my father saying, “Don’t play with money! Don’t waste
money! Don’t lose money!”
I know how hard a person must work to have money. I
didn’t come from money, I started from zero and I have
a massive appreciation for anyone who can accumulate
wealth. There is another level to money that most never
learn, and that is the art of multiplying money.
This is the genius of money and why I love apartments
so much. Apartments provide a safe place to keep
money, receive income and multiply money. All the
requirements necessary to create wealth are present in
this investment vehicle.
Warren Buffet said, “The first rule of investing is ‘Don’t
lose money.’ Rule number two is ‘Don’t forget rule
number one.’”
He’s also said, “Never invest in anything with the idea
it’s ok to lose money.” These simple concepts have shaped
my commitment to apartments as the best investment
for me.

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So, let’s see if apartments pass Warren Buffett’s test
(“Don’t lose money.”) When you buy an apartment
building that produces positive cash flow in excess of the
cost to manage, will that property be there tomorrow
and in the future?
We all know the value of money goes down over time
(depreciates) and most people would agree that real
assets, property, in good locations will go up in value
over time. This passes Warren Buffett’s first two rules.
Now, if we look at Warren’s next criteria, he buys
companies that produce cash flow. He buys Coca-Cola,
See’s Candies, Burlington Railroads, Wells Fargo, and
now Apple. Why? These companies produce positive
cash flow.
Contrary to popular belief, Warren Buffet is not an
investor in stocks, he invests in companies that are
indestructible, produce dependable cash flow, and
which will increase (appreciate) in value over time due
to their ability to produce cash flow. Warren Buffet
uses a depreciating asset (cash) to buy appreciating
companies that produce more cash.
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Now, understand that most of us cannot take major
positions in Coca-Cola or Wells Fargo, but we can
buy apartments.
Here are the four main reasons I love apartments:
1) They’re real assets, not paper, and they can’t be
easily replaced.
2) They produce positive cash flow.
3) Apartments appreciate when rents rise– the
Multiplier.
4) Leverage of debt to increase your position.
Let me explain by using an example: I am buying an
apartment building in Orlando, Florida; let’s see if it
stands the test of the four main reasons I like apartments.
This property is 240 units, in a great location across
from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, with great street frontage,
is 95% occupied, and produces a positive cash flow in
the first month of ownership of 8% annualized.

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First Rule - Cannot be easily replaced – Don’t lose
money. Short of some worldwide devastation, this
property will not suddenly disappear and is built to last
hundreds of years. No technology can suddenly replace
it. The property is in a great location where there are lots
of good jobs and where people want to live.
Second Rule - Produce positive cash flow – The
property produces 5% to 8% positive cash flow per year,
based on current operations. I will put $15 million
down to buy the $50 million property, which should
pay investors at Cardone Capital from $900,000 to
$1,200,000 per year.
Third Rule - Appreciation: The Multiplier – Now,
this is very important. Our target for all our investments
is to sell the property, at some time in the future, where
we make a minimum of 100% on our investment, in
addition to the cash flow.
Fourth Rule - Leverage: The Ultimate Multiplier –
The ultimate multiplier is the fact that we can use one
dollar and buy four. What investment allows you to

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invest $1 million and own $4 million in assets? Add to
that: these are real assets that can’t be easily replaced or
lost (1), plus cash flow (2), meaning we are paid to wait
for appreciation (3).
So, we receive cash flow on the down payment, and
waited for the entire $4 million to appreciate; this
is the ultimate multiplier combining leverage and
appreciation with cash flow.
So, at what price would I need to sell this $50 million
property for us make 100% on our money? At first
glance, you would think I need to sell for $100 million
to make 100%, but in reality, because we used leverage
(debt) I only have to sell it for $65 million to accomplish
our 100% target. Investors paid $15 million to buy the
property, not $50 million, as I was able to leverage my
relationships with lenders and get a great loan.
So, lets say it takes me 10 years to accomplish this to see
if it is even reasonable.

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1) Will the property still be there in 10 years? 99.99%
chance it will and insurance covers the .01%. Can it
be easily replaced? It can’t be destroyed and it will
cost more to build in 2028.
2) Positive cash flow of just 6% a year (very
conservative) will produce $900,000 ($15 million x
6%) in free cash flow to investors and this assumes
current cash flow percentages without rent growth.
Remember, this is for 10 years, which represents
60% of our down payment.
3) Appreciation – The future value of apartments,
unlike homes, is determined based on the future
value of the rent. The current rents on the property
are $1,500, is it possible that the rents in 2028 would
be conservatively closer to $2,000 or more? This
increase in the rents of only $500 ($50 a year) will
increase the value of the property because the income
of the property has increased.
4) Leverage – Remember, this is the ultimate
multiplier. We paid $15 million for an asset worth

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$50 million. If it only goes up in value by $15 million,
and sells for $65 million (easy to imagine) we’ve made
100% on our money. Our capital invested doubled
without the asset doubling. Get it?
And this brings me to the calculation of your exit
formula. If you don’t know how to calculate this, you
will be stuck in the deal forever. When I buy a deal, I
have an idea of what I am going to sell it for and even
who the likely buyer might be.
It seems impossible to predict the future but in reality,
if you can’t calculate the exit, future value, and possible
buyer, you shouldn’t buy the deal.
Rents will determine future value of your asset and the
ability for someone to pay you a profit going forward.
This is another reason why I love this asset class so much.

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The EXIT Formula (future value calculation)
To properly calculate the exit of your purchase you
have must know how to calculate future values. The
only way the property will be worth more money is
because it produces more NOI. The NOI can only be
increased because the rents increased greater than the
cost to operate.
Let me use the example of the 240 units I recently
bought. Assuming, over the next five to ten years I can
increase the rents only $50 per month, which by the
way, only means I need to increase rents 3% per year.
Over five years that would be a 30+% increase on the
current rent of $1500. Easy for me to assume the rents
might be $2000 a month in 2028.
So, this is how future value would be figured:
240 units
x $500 (rent increase)
x 12 (months)
x 95% (occupied)
= NOI increase of $1,368,000
Increase in Value = $22,800,000 (NOI/6% Cap Rate).
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Remember, we bought this deal with $15,000,000 and
financed $35,000,000. When we bought it, the property
was doing 5% to 8% cash flow after all expenses and debt.
In 2028, if the rents increase by only $50 per year,
this means I could sell the property for $72,800,000
based on the same cap rate or even a little higher cap
rate in 2028.
So, what did we make on the deal?
1) Return of Capital
2) Cash Flow
3) Profit

$15,000,000
$9,000,000

($900,000/year x 10 year)

$22,800,000

It would appear that our $15 million investment is now
worth $46,800,000, an increase of 312%.
BOOM!
Since this might be confusing, take a few moments and
go back over the math. I know you don’t believe these
kinds of returns are possible because you have never been
in deals that do this. See why I am going to change the
real estate investing models with Cardone Capital?
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By the way, I have delivered these kinds of returns on
over 30 different deals in 7 different states.
While I would never promise every deal can or will
achieve these kinds of returns, I can tell you I put
my money where my beliefs are. Almost 95% of my
net worth is invested in the types of real estate deals
I am describing in this book or that you will see at
CardoneCapital.com
When I buy a property at Cardone Capital, I purchase it
with my funds, and then let other investors in after the
fact. The seller of the property knows I am buying their
deal and assured of closing because my funds and credit
ability are backing the purchase, not whether investors
come in with me or not. I am the one signing on the
loan and promising the $35 million loan gets paid back,
not another group, and I don’t have to go to anyone for
approval, which gives the seller more certainty. This is
how you get the great deals.
You see, my Dad taught me how to work hard, respect
money, save the money I made, and not buy stupid stuff

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with it, unfortunately, he did not live long enough to
teach me how to multiply money. I had to learn that on
my own and it took me years to figure out the model.
Years ago, your parents and grandparents put their
money in the bank and earned 8% to 10%. These rates
have not existed for 20 years and won’t in the future
so you must find other ways to multiply money. You
are losing money while it sits in checking and money
market accounts. The average bank pays less than ½ of
1% on your money today. The average return on our
apartment projects suggest a 15% return which is 30X
what you earn at the bank or Fidelity or Merrill.
In my last best seller, The Millionaire Booklet, I write
there are three things you must learn about money to
create wealth:
1) How to get it,
2) How to keep it, and
3) How to multiply it.
You must learn to multiply your money and apartments
are one of the best vehicles for doing this. Apartments
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allow ordinary people to protect their hard-earned
money, and get positive cash flow, while they wait for
appreciation and pay down debt. This, I called “The
Ultimate Multiplier” or what others refer to as leverage.
Let’s look at my first apartment deal, so you can learn
from what I did right. My first apartment deal made
me $4 million in 39 months, so clearly, I did something
right. The real success of this deal was done before I
even bought the deal, by knowing the market so well
that when I stumbled across the deal, I knew it was a
steal. I had cash ready and I knew enough about the
market to have the confidence to move with speed and
certainty before someone else did.
Apartments allow ordinary people to
protect their hard-earned money, and
get positive cash flow, while they wait
for appreciation and pay down debt. This,
I called “The Ultimate Multiplier” or what
others refer to as leverage.

Most investors miss great deals because they aren’t sure,
and by the time they are ready, someone else owns it.
Just consider how many great deals you have already
missed because you weren’t sure.
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I looked at hundreds of deals in the market before
I bought my first deal. Over my career, I have looked
at hundreds of thousands of apartments, that’s right,
hundreds of thousands. I know the moment I walk on
a property whether I will buy it or not. With my first
deal, I knew within seconds it was a great deal and that
I could trust it to provide me positive cash flow in all
economic environments, and appreciation in the future.
It was in the right location, convenient to jobs, highways,
easily visible from street traffic, more affordable than the
homes in the surrounding neighborhoods, priced below
replacement cost, in a market with high barriers to entry,
probably a B Class product in a B Class neighborhood
and it felt good with great street presence. Until you are
able to spot these indicators, you are not ready to invest
on your own.
I found out in due diligence, management wasn’t really
paying attention; the seller was tired, and I was able to
buy the property for less than the cost to build it. This is
referred to as “replacement cost.” Because of its location
in the country, the cost to build new product, as well
as the political environment, this created barriers to
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entry preventing new competition (new construction),
that might underprice my rents and steal my tenants.
If anyone could build next door, it would be a much
higher price, and because their cost would be higher,
they would be forced to rent at higher rates and the
competition would help me, not hurt me.
Because I had done extensive homework on the market,
had my down payment ready to go, and banks were
comfortable providing me with financing, the seller
took me seriously and immediately accepted my offer.
I got the deal under contract (an art in and of itself) and
closed the deal thirty days later. A quick close almost
always means you can buy a deal for a discount.
My first deal wasn’t just bought at a discount, it was
a steal. 48 units for $1,950,000, and I put $350,000
down. I financed the difference and the rents from
the properties paid all the expenses, management fees,
utilities, repairs, insurance, taxes, the loan, and I still
had money left over to pay myself every month for the
entire time I owned it.

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Remember the first rule, don’t lose money? Remember,
I want cash flow while I wait and I want it every
month. I have also insisted this for our investors at
Cardone Capital.
It is not enough for me to not lose money or wait long
into the future for a profit. My investors and I deserve
to be paid monthly on our invested capital, as long as
the property has positive cash flow.
The right apartments, in the right location, bought
at the right time, at the right price, should provide
investors with consistent positive cash flow, while we
wait for rents to go up and the loan amount to be paid
down and appreciation to take place.

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Leverage Explained
Real Estate Riddle:
If you and I buy a $20 million property with
$5 million down and it cash flows at 10% a year
what did the property cost us?
Answer:
The $20 million property cost us nothing.
The $5 million less the cash flow of the 10% per
year for 10 years ($500,000 a year) means our
original investment is returned in 10 years. Now,
we literally own the property with no cash.
Real Estate Riddle:
If we buy a $20 million property with $5
million down and it does not cash flow what
did it cost us?
Answer:
$5 million.
This is leverage.

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As an investor, you want to get your down payment
back as fast as possible. I look at cash flow as a way to
reimburse myself over time for the money I put down,
ensuring at some point in the future, me and the
investors no longer have money in the deal.
That’s right, my goal is to own a deal with no cash in it,
then we wait to sell for a profit.
Now, I want to share with you the power of cash flow,
to simplify your investing and ensure the property is a
good investment.

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Cardone Cash Flow Formulas for
Zero Cash In Calculation
I am going to share with you a simple calculation to
figure out how long it takes to get your investment back
at different cash flow levels. This is how it works: divide
100% by the annual cash flow to determine how many
years it takes to get your down payment back.
How do you lose money if you’re original money has
been returned?
Now, stay with me here, what are the chances the rents
will be slightly higher in 5 years than they are today?
As the rents go up, the property will produce more cash
flow to investors and this is what causes appreciation.
The apartment’s value is not determined by comparables
like a house is. The apartment’s value is determined by
the rents and the cash flow produced by the property.
In the example above, I showed a never changing cash
flow which would be almost impossible considering the
upward trajectory of rents over the last 30 years.

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Let’s assume the cash flow is the same every year. Use the
formula below to determine how long it takes to return
your original investment. 100% divided by the percent
of cash flow = years to have investment returned.
Cardone Cash Flow Formulas for Zero Cash In Calculation
6% per year

100% / 6%

16.7-years

10% per year

100% / 10%

10 years

15% per year

100% / 15%

6.7 years

20% per year

100% / 20%

5 years

(definitely doable)

At this point, we haven’t even considered things like
forced appreciation, property enhancements, upgrades,
debt pay down, depreciation, and tax benefits.
All I am talking about here is CASH FLOW.
Why do I believe apartments are the best investment
available over the next 30 years?
1) Demographics heavily suggest people are more
interested in using (renting) than owning. You
can see this everywhere. Home ownership is at the
lowest level in 40 years. The leasing of automobiles,
once frowned upon, is at the highest level ever.

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2) 80+ million aging baby boomers are more likely
to move into rentals in the future, than to buy a
new home.
3) Millennials are having families later than any
time in history and delaying the home purchase
and are more likely to rent.
4) Affordability of home ownership continues to
get out of reach for most Americans due to flat
wages, no savings and poor credit.
5) The fantasy of home ownership as “The American
Dream” was scathed in 2008 when millions of
Americans lost their homes.
6) America has experienced 26 years of flat wages
nationwide and this will continue as we move
into automation and higher unemployment in the
future.
7) Rental property has outperformed stocks, bonds,
and cash over the last 20 years.
8) There is a shortage of affordable housing stock in
almost every growing city in America.
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9) New housing product cannot be built affordably,
putting continued upward pressure on rents.
10) Leverage – Unlike stocks, bonds, ETFs and
mutual funds, the bank will lend you 65% to 75%
of the purchase.
Consider this: Bank of America will not lend you
money to invest in Bank of America stock, but
they will lend you money to buy an apartment
building.
11) Cash Flow – Apartments bought correctly will
provide positive cash flow monthly, unlike other
investment vehicles.
12) Debt Pay Down – The income of the property,
less expenses, should provide enough Net Operating
Income (NOI) to pay the principal debt down.
13) Tax Benefits – All interest, expenses,
maintenance, repairs and depreciation, are taxdeductible items.
14) Capital Gains – Properties held longer than 1
year are taxed at lower rates than personal income.
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15) New tax laws – Cash flow produced from real
estate is taxed at the lower rates.
16) Apartments are real investments – Unlike most
of what is offered by Wall Street, apartments are
real property, with real tenants paying real money,
who have a real reason to continue to do so.
Buy the right deal, at the right time, in the right location
that has the right size to it and as long as you take care
of the property, and there is no urgent need to sell you
are almost guaranteed to see appreciation in the future.

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Chapter 4

The Three Ways to
Invest in Apartments
•
Remember this rule: if the deal is
easy to get, it probably isn’t any good,
and the more interest in the deal,
the more value it will have
to the next set of buyers.

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Chapter 4

The Three Ways to Invest in Apartments
There are basically three ways to invest in apartments:
1) Do It Yourself
2) REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust)
3) Partnership
1) Do It Yourself – Buying apartments on your own is
for a much smaller number of people than you would
think, but you won’t know that until you read the next
chapter on mistakes.

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The mistakes you will make in real estate are not as
obvious as you might think, and most all of them are
made because people go it alone. However, the biggest
mistake of all, is to never buy income producing real
estate at all.
This is what you will need to do if you are going it alone:
1) Find a deal
2) Negotiate the terms
3) Set up an LLC
4) Get a loan
5) Close the deal
6) Find tenants
7) Turn units
8) Manage the property
9) Rehab the property
10) Provide reports to the bank
11) Take phone calls from existing
and prospective tenants
12) Fix the property.

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Of all things on that list, the hardest part of investing
in apartments isn’t the tenants, the termites, and the
toilets, it’s in finding the right deal. Finding the deal
(on-market or off-market) is the most difficult part of
buying apartments. Sometimes just getting the seller or
broker to take you seriously is difficult.
I remember when I told my Mom I was going to start
buying apartments and she said to me, “People are going
to be calling you at all times of the night.” I thought to
myself, “No one is calling me; I am buying deals big enough
whereby the property can afford a management team.”
On most of our properties the tenants don’t know the
names of our investors as the property is under an LLC
ownership, not our personal names. When a tenant
calls for assistance, he or she gets a well paid manager
who is well trained on how to resolve the tenants issues.
No one calls me or the investors, because the property
produces enough income to pay a great manager to
deliver a great experience (more about this in the
chapter on mistakes).

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Finding deals would seem to be the easiest part when
buying apartments, but in reality, finding the deal is
the most difficult task of all. Remember this rule: if the
deal is easy to get, it probably isn’t any good, and the
more interest in the deal, the more value it will have to
the next set of buyers.
I have bought deals before just because of the amount of
interest, knowing I could sell it the next day if I wanted
to. I recently bought a 500 unit deal for Cardone
Capital and within 2 months of closing I was offered an
$11 million profit.
Remember this rule: if the deal is
easy to get, it probably isn’t any good,
and the more interest in the deal,
the more value it will have
to the next set of buyers.

You want there to be competition on every deal you buy.
I will even tell you this, having to pay more to get a deal
is a good sign of the value of the deal. The old adage,
“Buy low and sell high” sounds good, but it will not be
your best strategy with apartments. Warren Buffet says,
“Far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price
than buy a fair company at a wonderful price.”
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2) REIT – Real Estate Investment Trust. This is like
buying stock or paper and not investing directly into
the real estate. This is great for those who want the cash
flow yield but don’t kid yourself this is not a real estate
investment. And in fact the IRS does not allow owners
in a REIT any of the great tax advantages offered to
owners of real estate.
3) Partnership – This is where you either create a
partnership or become an investing partner with other
professional real estate investors who are investing in
real estate.
A) Create your own partnership and do all
the work. You find the deal, negotiate and
manage it, and raise funds from friends and
family. This is a lot of work for you and is a full
time job. Now, you aren’t just buying deals and
managing them, you also have to do fundraising.
Typically, you will pay them 6% to 10% on their
investment, unless you have to get hard money
loans that can cost 12% to 20% and then do some
kind of split on the profits above those payouts.
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B) Syndicator. You invest money with a professional
real estate investor who is basically doing (A) above
and he raises money from others to buy and manage
deals. The syndicator makes most of his money
from fees. While the syndicator will also benefit
from selling at a profit, the person investing in this
model is typically less interested in the upside profit.
The downside of this model is, the syndicator has
to sell out of the property at a certain date in the
future. While this is sold as a benefit to the investors
it is actually a detriment in bad markets.
C) Partner on a Profit Sharing / Cash Flow
Formula. This is what we do at Cardone Capital.
This model is different from other investment
models as it makes extraordinary deals available to
ordinary investors.
Investors partner with me on real estate deals
experiencing all the benefits of real estate and ride
as passive investors, experiencing all the upside of
investing and none of the headaches. I will tell you
more about this in the last chapter.
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Regardless of the ways you elect to get involved, if you
learn the investing game, avoid the mistakes, do what I
say, and never find yourself forced to sell in bad markets:
you will make money.
Remember, there is a shortage of larger, affordable
apartment complexes in America and this will continue
to reveal itself over the next 30 years. Look around your
city and count the number of 300 unit complexes that
offer affordable rents.
This shortage will make the large, affordable, quality
apartment complexes more and more valuable over
time. As we move into the future, rents will rise in
markets where there is job growth. Also, as we move
into the future, inflation increases the cost to build, thus
making it more difficult to build affordable apartments.

What you should know by now from reading this is:
you must figure out how to get yourself in bigger deals.
Small deals don’t work.

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I have a buddy who owns 1,000 units on his own. I
showed him some of the deals we are buying at Cardone
Capital and he wrote me a check for $1.5 million on
the spot. He said, “I can’t get these bigger deals, and the
bigger deals are where the big returns are.”
I will show you how, and more importantly, I will show
you why you don’t want to do anything other than the
bigger deals.

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Chapter 5

Mistakes to Avoid When
Investing in Apartments
•
Cheaper is not better. I have made my best
deals, and best returns, on buying high
and selling higher.

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Chapter 5

Mistakes to Avoid When
Investing in Apartments
I have made so many mistakes in real estate. The one
mistake I have not made is losing money. 25 years, over
$700 million in transactions, and I have never lost money
on an apartment deal, but I have made many mistakes.
My first deal was a mistake because it was single-family
and relied on one tenant. I broke even on that deal, and
only because I didn’t account for the time I invested in
managing and getting rid of it. If I included all my time,
it was a loser.

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Here is a list of mistakes you want to avoid when investing.
I tried to write them in the order of importance.
Mistakes Made When Investing in Apartments:
1) Not Investing – Not investing in this asset class
is the ultimate, biggest mistake you will make with
your finances. While it may seem difficult right
now, due to limited funds, credit, experience and
confidence, you owe it to yourself to figure this out.
Whether you buy deals on your own, or with me, get
involved. When done right, apartments can produce
passive income for generations and mind boggling
returns, without the risks of other investments.
2) Buying Too Small – Anything under 16 units
will not produce enough free cash flow to warrant
doing the deal. 2 units, 4 units, 6 units, and 8 units
are not enough scale to make sense of the deal,
unless you are buying to merely flip the property,
but now you are speculating not investing.

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3) Single-Family Home Rentals – This is an issue
because you are dependent upon one tenant. Never
invest in one door. Live where there is one door and
own where there are many.
Never invest in one door.

Single-family homes are bad investments for
the most part and have proven to be for the
last 30 years, earning about 1% per year when
adjusted for inflation. Millions of people found
this out in 2008 when they lost their homes.
Single-family homes are terrible investments
for rental income but they are easy to purchase.
Remember, easy to purchase means hard to keep.
4) Using Too Much Debt – Using too much
debt will resort in the property being unable to
service the debt at some point in the economic
cycle. If you can buy it with 95% financing,
that means other people can too, and the more
people, the fewer barriers to purchase, the less
valuable the property will be in the future.
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I watched so many real estate guys lose
everything in 2008 because they over-leveraged
and speculated. I only use 50% to 75% debt on
my deals. So, if a deal is $50 million, I expect to
put down up to $25 million to buy the deal.
This kind of commitment to capital investment
excludes a lot of buyers and becomes a built-in
barrier to entry. This is what the big guys know
that little investors don’t and why the big guys get
the great deals and the little guys get the left overs.
This is the simple economics of supply and demand.
I now own something most people can’t buy which
will make this asset more valuable in 5 to 10 years, or
more, when I go to sell. Now, that being said, too much
money down may mean the product is overpriced.
At Cardone Capital we have created relationships
with the largest lenders in the world and receive
debt terms not available to the public at large.
Know what you are doing when it comes to
picking your debt partner. By the way, you need

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a number of different lenders for different asset
classes and different cycles. Never rely on one
lender, the debt is a critical part of your investment
and developing relationships with lenders is vital.
I can’t tell you how many times a seller has asked
me, “Have you ever assumed a Fannie Mae or Freddie
Mac loan?” The seller wants to know if you can get
financing done and that your equity is ready.
5) Buying on Price and Cap Rate – If you
only buy deals based on the lowest prices or the
highest cap rates, you will never get great deals.
The great deals always come at a premium price
and a lower cap rate. As crazy as it seems, my
best deals have been the ones I paid the most for.
The old adage, “Buy low and sell high” is true,
until it’s not. I have made my best deals, and
best returns, on buying high and selling higher.
The lowest price in apartments is not an
indication of a great deal. It is an indication

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that something is wrong. I can buy property at
cheaper prices and higher cap rates in suburban
Detroit than I can in the Galleria of Houston.
Cheaper is not better. I have made my best
deals, and best returns, on buying high
and selling higher.

I once bought a deal in Austin, paid the asking
price, didn’t negotiate a penny, and closed quickly. I
knew when I bought it someone else would pay me
more. I sold the deal for 115% return in 6 months.
I knew there was a trend for tech companies to
move to Austin at the time, and knew it was
only a matter of time before someone paid me
a profit. I just miscalculated how soon it would
be. I bought the deal, closed on it, got great
financing, and spent $5,000 resurfacing the
parking lot when a buyer came along and offered
me $4 million more than I paid. I put $4 million
down and he gave me $8 million to go away.

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I was also the top bidder, and paid the highest price,
on a portfolio in Florida. This was my first purchase
in the state and no one knew me, so I had to pay
more to get the deal. There were 38 other groups
bidding on the deal. Why was I willing to pay the
most? The amount of interest on the deal led me to
believe I could later sell the portfolio to one of the
other 38 who wouldn’t stretch to get the property.
I paid $58 million for the portfolio. What does it
matter if I overpaid by $100,000 or even $500,000?
If you are going to be in a deal for 5 to 10 years
$500,000 should not change your opinion of the
deal. A great deal is not determined by the price you
pay, but rather, the price the next guy is willing to pay.
A great deal is not determined
by the price you pay...

I have owned that deal for 5 years now. It pays me
an average of 26% cash on cash and I could fire
sell the portfolio for $150 million. By the way, I
guarantee you one of the 38 who bid against me
5 years ago would try to buy it from me today at
the higher price.
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Talk about a good deal for the investors. My sister,
one of the first investors in Cardone Capital, who is
10 years older than me and retired, has made more
money from this one investment than she made from
all her previous jobs and investments combined!
Every month for the last 5 years, she has received
a check from her investment twice the size of any
salary from any position she held as an executive
assistant to oil executives. This was a game changer
for her and provided her with an opportunity
she could never do on her own. But she has
also been a good investor, positive, patient and
believes in what we are doing at Cardone Capital.
When you are buying deals no one else is competing
on, you have to wonder what’s wrong. If no one else
will eat it, you might want to leave it alone. Why
does no one else want this? Is everyone wrong but
you? That could be the case by the way. Maybe you
see or know something no one else can see or know.
This has happened where I was the first to see the
value in a market, a location or an opportunity.

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Also, too much action should be a warning.
You have probably heard me say, “Cranes in
the air: Beware.” When the builders start
building new apartments in the market you
will be smart to become extremely cautious.
Builders, for the most part, are not great
investors; they are great builders, most of
which, at some point, go broke. They tend to
lose all the money they made in the deals they
built in the last few they should not have built.
New apartments serve as competition for existing
product. There is, however, a time in the market
where the building stops and will then stay
dormant for too many years in the future, creating
another opportunity for the smart investor.
That is one of the reasons I am so excited about
Houston at this time. They overbuilt and
the next response by builders and investors
will be to avoid that market and wait until
the new apartments are absorbed (rented).

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I will go there early, find great opportunities
and sit and wait for those investors to come back
when they realize there isn’t enough new product
because the builders all abandoned the market.
This takes patience, foresight and the ability to
move from market to market, which the small
investor cannot do.
6) Not Using a Broker – Trying to buy the
deal without a commercial broker is a pure
rookie mistake. The broker is your friend in
this game. I use a broker on every deal and
prefer to only use the listing broker and hope
he/she makes a bunch of money on the deal.
I recently bought a deal that was not on the market
(off- market) and I had a broker in another city
represent my offer only because he knew the seller.
I paid him $250,000 to do this for me when I
could have probably done it for myself. Why?
Because, I need a buffer between me and the seller.
We did the deal and I assumed an unbelievable loan

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of $63 million on 500+ units in the heart of one
of America’s great cities. 60 yards away is Amazon’s
office, Whole Foods, Starbucks is walking distance,
there are $800,000 townhomes across the street
and you have to drive past $2 million homes to
get to the property where the average tenant is a
professional making five times what they pay in rent.
(Income to rent ratio is a very important metric.)
I think my partners and I will hold this asset and
sell it for double what we paid for the entire deal,
returning 400% to the investors in a deal that
cash flows. If I am going to make $60 million
on a project, I don’t worry about paying a broker
$250,000 because he helps me secure the deal. Pay
the broker and know them all and make sure they
like you.
7) Not Looking at Enough Deals – I look at 100
deals to buy one, so unless you are smarter than me or
luckier than me, be prepared to look at that many deals.

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I have friends who are financially very successful
and could buy deals on their own but quickly
realize they don’t have time to look at enough
deals to know the right deal. Because they are
successful they have their hands full operating
their successful businesses and their families.
To find great deals, you have to be in the market
everyday looking at deals, sometimes it takes
years before the market is even ready to invest in.
I have bought and sold deals in 7 states now and
to buy deals in just your local market takes more
energy, time and resources than you can imagine.
Just getting brokers to call you back, is an art.
To buy a deal in a market outside of where you
live requires trips, hotels, nights away from home,
appointments, and planning. The deals we are closing
right now are both monsters outside of where I live,
and were the result of looking at over 6,000 units.
Interestingly

enough,

neither

deal

was

something we went to look at, but were both
the result of either stumbling upon a location
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or developing a relationship with a broker on
other deals. The one we stumbled upon, and I
immediately knew I would buy, was not even on
the market. I would not have found this jewel
had I not been actively looking in the market.
My wealthy friends who partner with me on deals
do so because they simply don’t have the time to look
at the number of deals we look at. They can also do
bigger deals with me than they could on their own
and tap into the great financing we have access to.
One of the reasons I bought my jet a few
years ago was so that I could fly into markets
at a moment’s notice and look at deals.
Again, my formula requires we use tremendous
discipline and research, looking at some 100+
deals for each one we close. For that reason,
other real estate professionals invest with me
at Cardone Capital because of the number
of deals we see. My social media presence
hasn’t hurt in helping us find deals either.

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If you watched the 2017 World Series you noticed
I was sitting in the front row of Game 7. Yes, it
was the best seat in the house. Location matters
in real estate and you want to be seen. I wasn’t
doing that to show off but because I wanted
to get the attention of every major commercial
broker controlling apartments in Houston, Texas.
Remember, the Astros won the World Series, and I
bought the deal of the year. Investing in real estate
the right way is a full-time job; it takes money, energy,
effort, relationship building, and anyone that tells
you it doesn’t isn’t doing their due diligence.
8) Unable to Move to Other Markets – I
have bought in eight different markets. I
knew when I started I would only be able to
do so much in the one market where I lived.
In the beginning, as a real estate investor you
should stay local. But, what if where you live
the market sucks or is already overbuilt or even
dying? People in Canada for instance, don’t have

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a lot of apartments to buy. There is very little
of this stock, so not a lot of trading going on.
People in European countries don’t have this
asset class to invest in the way we do in America.
Remember, not everyone makes money in real estate
because not all markets are good. If you had invested
anywhere around Detroit in the last 20 years, you
had dead money unless you were in downtown where
money recently started being invested; and that play
is still up in the air as to whether it will work or not.
I am not a speculator;
I am an investor...

Don’t speculate; invest in sure things. I am not a
speculator; I am an investor, and that means, at
some point, I’ll have to move to markets outside
of where I’m living and raising my kids. To move
outside means you will need a team to research
other markets, find deals in those markets, and
then manage the property there.

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9) Not Knowing the Market – Know your
market completely. You need to know every sale,
every comp, every rental, what properties are
under-rented, what properties are over-leveraged,
what that property sold for in the last cycle, the
vacancy in your market, and the cost of every
expense. Insurance, utilities, management fees,
the cost to turn, how long it takes to turn, the
cost to advertise, which ads work, foot traffic,
closing ratios, trailing 12 months of operation,
and then you need to know and have relationships
with the top 3 controlling brokers in the market
to find the best apartment stock in the market.
Look, I am not trying to scare you here, but
there are so many courses out there suggesting
real estate is easy when, in truth, there is a lot to
know. There are a number of tools you might
want to invest in, like Real Capital Analytics,
which gives you the selling and financing history
of a property. Axiometrics provides you with rent
comps and Co-Star breaks down property detail
information, rent comparable and sales history.

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These programs can cost up to $20,000 a year for
your local market and can give you a lot of intel.
LoopNet is free and is basically for amateurs
(Loopsters), but can be great source to find brokers.
The top brokers don’t typically list their properties
on LoopNet but only on their sites. When you call a
broker, don’t even mention you saw it on LoopNet,
you will lose credibility.
10) Financing – You need debt (financing) arms
(not one) that will provide you with great terms
and the confidence that you can close the deal.
Buying apartments without using debt makes
no sense. If it wasn’t for the debt, I wouldn’t be
able to do the big deals and max out returns.
On my first deal, I had to go to 3 lenders and the
first 2 told me no. I took the “No’s” personally,
only to find out later these banks didn’t lend on
apartments and that is why they told me no. But,
the banks almost never say, “We aren’t lending on
apartments at this time.” They will give you some
other lame reason why they won’t do the deal.

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You need to know who is lending on deals, and who
is not, and you also need to know their underwriting
criteria for approving the loan. Understanding the
debt component is vital to deal-making as it will
provide you with the confidence in your financing
to give the seller assurance you can close the deal.
I have been borrowing money and creating
relationships with the biggest apartment lenders in
the world for 30 years. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, life
insurance companies, and banks, all know me now,
and assist me in understanding and underwriting
my deals. They are partners with me in helping me
make my deals work. The lender is not an adversary,
it’s your partner. I did not understand this early on.
The lender is not an adversary,
it’s your partner.

I have borrowed some $550 million dollars from
lenders, all of which, at some point in the future,
is being paid down by the operations of the
apartments. In many cases, the debt I use on a deal
can be worth more than the deal itself, but I will
save that for another book.
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11) Not Buying Through All Cycles – To play
the real estate game, you cannot just buy at the
bottom. You must be able to buy at the bottom, the
middle, and yes, even at the top. As long as you have
enough cash flow, the property will make a new
top as long as you are in the right market and have
cash flow to carry you through economic cycles.
“Why not just wait until the bottom?” I hear this all
the time. If you aren’t buying through all the cycles,
you won’t buy any of them. The brokers won’t know
you and no one will take you seriously if you are
just coming in when there is “Blood in the streets.”
When the market is bad, the seller and broker
become even more concerned about the ability of
the buyer to close. The highest price does not get
the best deals in bad markets; trust and confidence
to close get the deals. Whoever has the most
confidence to close gets the great deals. If they don’t
know you, they won’t close with you.

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In summary, buy apartments. Don’t go small, don’t buy
the junk, buy the best product in the market place, make
sure you have cash flow, and take care of the property
and the tenants. When you find that deal: move fast.

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Chapter 6

Your First Deal
•
Pay attention to this recipe
and your first deal has a
better chance of being a winner.

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Chapter 6

Your First Deal
Let me show you what your first deal should look like,
so you have specific criteria and don’t waste time on
deals that won’t be good for you. Pay attention to this
recipe and your first deal has a better chance of being
a winner.
Before I walk you through the criteria of your first
deal, let me give you some basic terms you will need to
get accustomed to hearing and using to understand a
financial statement.

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Gross Rental Income – This is the total possible
income if every unit is rented at the full price. This
figure is used by the broker and is almost meaningless.
Effective Gross Income – This is the amount of rental
income actually collected and is a very important number.
Other Income – This would include collections from
utility reimbursements (water), laundry, application
fees, late fees, pet fees, parking, valet, trash, etc. These
numbers can indicate issues with the property when
you see late fees.
Expenses – Expenses from the normal operations of
the property. Basically, this includes those things you
have to do to keep the property going. This does not
include debt or major capital improvements (new roof,
for example).
NOI – VERY important calculation to understand.
This represents the effective income, less operating
expenses before debt payments. This figure is what
determines the value of the property. Increase the NOI
and you increase the price the next investor can pay for
your property.
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Cap Rate – This represents the rate of return the
property would pay the investor if there was no debt
on the property. It is calculated by subtracting expenses
from effective gross income.
Effective Gross Income

$95,000

Expenses

$30,000

NOI

$65,000

Cap Rate

6.5%

If you pay $1,000,000 cash and the property was bought
at a 6.5% cap rate, it would pay the investor $65,000
a year for their investment (6.5%) before the investor
raises rents or improves operations by lowering expenses.

Leverage – This is referred to as the benefit the investor
gains when they add debt to the return calculation, and
it should improve investors’ return. Leverage is only
available if you can get great financing and great terms.

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So, if I used debt in the example above, watch to see if
the percentage return increases on the cash invested.
Effective Gross Income $95,000
Expenses

$30,000

Price

NOI

$65,000

Down

Debt Payment
Cash on Cash

<$39,000> Debt
$26,000

Cash%

$1,000,000
$300,000
$700,000
8.66%

(cash on cash / down payment)

That is the value of leverage. The investor picked up
two points by borrowing money from the bank. That
may not seem like much, but you notice you were paid
half the cash but only put down 30% of the money
and have $700,000 left to invest in another deal or buy
bigger deals.
When the interest rate you borrow at is lower than the
cap rate, you will increase the return to the investor.
The bigger the spread between the two, the bigger the
return to the investor.
Cap Rate > Interest Rate = Increase In Return to Investor

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Vacancy – The pro forma produced by the broker and
also by the existing owner may show the amount of
vacancy. This number is an abstract, almost meaningless
number because if it is vacant it wasn