Study your local market. Invest the time to educate yourself. Spend time studying property values. If you don’t have an understanding of your local housing market, then you cannot offer value to those in need. If you have no value to offer, the doors of your business can’t remain open for long. I have heard horror stories of individuals who have been victimized by those who claim to be real estate “experts”, but really lack even basic understanding. Due to this lack of knowledge, they provide false expectations to their clients and can’t deliver on their promises. This makes their clients angry, and rightfully so. These victims feel that everyone is out to harm them, even the most reputable companies. This is the #1 most frustrating situation I come across.
As a part of my series about the ‘Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Real Estate Industry’, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan David.
Ryan David is a successful a real estate investor, entrepreneur, and buys distressed houses for cash in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming counties of northeastern PA. He serves on the board of directors for his local Real Estate Investors Association to better educate the public. Ryan enjoys working with people and his real estate expertise has helped many folks in Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
I couldn’t find steady employment. Every job I came across kept laying me off. At my lowest point, a family member gave me a book to read, which was Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. After finishing that book I was convinced I could take control of my future. At that moment I decided to become an entrepreneur. This led to my business, which I conveniently named We Buy Houses In Pennsylvania.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
The fastest transaction I’ve ever put together was in about 60 minutes start to finish. I was thrilled to put together everything so quickly, but then realized it only proceeded so quickly because the seller was in more of a desperate situation than I was led to believe. Once I realized this, I made a few adjustments to the offer to favor the seller (at my own expense), and I took less of a profit to ensure my client had extra funds padded in his favor. When a situation presents itself to help someone, I’ve learned to think on my feet. It’s helped me make better, more effective decisions. My client didn’t even ask for an adjustment, but in hindsight, I’m glad I did because it has helped him tremendously.
Do you have a favorite “life lesson quote”? Can you share a story or example of how that was relevant to you in your life?
My life quote is “Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.” That line was used by Benjamin Franklin. I like that quote because I firmly believe the gold nugget to take away from that saying is that you can learn from your competition. Sometimes it can be a humbling experience. If you are willing to listen with an open mind you can learn what you can do better. This applies not only to your business, but through your relationships with other people. Always strive to do better.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m always working on new projects. I’m currently working on building a knowledge base for new real estate investors. It’s basically an educational program designed to help new people break into this business. I’m encouraged when someone thanks me for helping them out. It gives me the drive to keep going.
The other exciting project I’m working on is called We Fund Your Deal. It’s designed to help people get private funding for their real estate deals. Funding is usually the reason why transactions fail to happen, so I’m trying to launch this new business to help those in need of funding.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe I’m the only cash home buyer from NEPA (northeastern PA) that actually uploads photos of myself to https://www.webuyhousesinpennsylvania.com the business website.The reason I did this is to provide complete transparency and build credibility. I don’t use an answering service either. Anyone who calls my business is going to get to speak with me personally. I think people appreciate that. My #1 goal is to build trust and familiarity before someone even reaches out. I don’t see many businesses providing this kind of personal touch.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Some years ago, my brother-in-law Dan gave me a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for him doing that. Reading that book kickstarted a passion and desire in me to start my own business. I never thought there was a way I could repay him for the world he opened up to me. Thankfully, I was able to give him advice on one of his real estate projects, which helped him make a sound business decision. Knowing that he trusted in me enough to ask me such a weighty decision really means a lot to me.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry? If you can please share a story or example.
Rising home prices. I’m very encouraged to see rising home prices in my local area of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA. It was a depressed market and now it’s seeing a surge in the housing market, people are beginning to move into the area, and Lackawanna and Luzerne counties are starting to benefit from this economic growth, which is encouraging. The value of my rental property has drastically increased in a short amount of time.
Relationships.The real estate industry is all about building relationships. I have the opportunity to meet with and talk to local business leaders and help clients solve their real estate problems. I’ve built friendships and acquaintances with a lot of great folks, too numerous to name.
Flexibility. The flexibility of real estate allows for hundreds of ways to make money and establish businesses that will help the local community grow and be a better place. There are fantastic opportunities to build a “niche” and become an expert on a specific topic.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest? Please share stories or examples if possible.
Lack of inventory — Unfortunately a booming real estate market means that that inventory is becoming difficult to get. There’s only so many individuals looking to sell their properties with the demand for them many, many times higher. I’ve witnessed people offering crazy amounts over the asking price of properties that simply are not worth what they are being bought for. I feel this is going to set up many people for failure. Perhaps the private sector can get a tax incentive from the US Government to build new homes. This may alleviate the problem. We do have vast parts of untapped countryside in the United States. If we can somehow build more homes perhaps the lack of available housing inventory will begin to correct itself.
Crazy risks from home buyers — I spoke to a woman just the other day who purchased a home without any inspections. She only did this because the craziness of the market, where homes are selling in a matter of hours. This woman now regrets her decision because she has run into many issues with her house, most of which would have been known beforehand if she had only had a property inspection. But in this blazing hot housing market, people are starting to feel that if they get an inspection it will take them out of serious consideration when making an offer to buy a property. This could easily lead to another real estate crash and it’s something that concerns me. It’s setting up current and future owners and buyers for failure. At what point will prices get so high that people simply cannot afford to even buy a home? In my opinion, the banks shouldn’t fund any transaction that does not consist of a home inspection. They should do this to protect the home buyer and themselves. I would even go so far as to say that states should consider making laws where home inspections are mandatory for any purchases made using a bank which involves the buyer taking a mortgage.
Housing prices — Another cause of concern in this white-hot housing market is the rising home prices. Will the prices go so high certain people cannot afford to buy? Is inflation driving the prices up, or is it just demand, or perhaps both? Unfortunately, there’s no real solution to this problem. Not unless there’s a market crash, which would by default reset the market, something similar to the housing crisis of 2006–2008. Nobody wants to see a housing crash. It’s a terrible situation. Unfortunately, it might be the only situation that has the power to reset crazy market prices. I do believe prices will eventually come down, if there’s enough people who regret making a questionable purchase and decide to put their home back on the market to sell, thus creating more inventory and lowering home prices.
What advice would you give to other real estate leaders to help their teams to thrive and to create a really fantastic work culture?
I would ask them to go to work every day with a positive attitude. When you’re around positive people, it’s contagious. More people have a positive outlook, and suddenly there’s a lot of positive energy. Teams function best under positive conditions. Leaders might even want to consider team building exercises, or finding small ways to encourage their teams to perform at higher levels.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
First, study your local market. Invest the time to educate yourself. Spend time studying property values. If you don’t have an understanding of your local housing market, then you cannot offer value to those in need. If you have no value to offer, the doors of your business can’t remain open for long. I have heard horror stories of individuals who have been victimized by those who claim to be real estate “experts”, but really lack even basic understanding. Due to this lack of knowledge, they provide false expectations to their clients and can’t deliver on their promises. This makes their clients angry, and rightfully so. These victims feel that everyone is out to harm them, even the most reputable companies. This is the #1 most frustrating situation I come across.
The next thing someone who wants to be successful in real estate should do is to study the terminology of real estate. For example, what does the term ROI stand for? Do you know what ARV means? Have you ever heard of a “comp”? Anyone desiring a career in real estate needs to build an understanding of these basic terms. This is critical. If you don’t understand basic terminology, your peers will have a difficult time interacting with you, and quite frankly, might not take you seriously. People respect honesty. If you don’t understand, just ask questions. Asking questions should not be embarrassing, but an attitude of “I know it all”, that IS simply an embarrassment.
After you’ve spent the time educating yourself, you’ll need to formulate a plan. What is your end goal? Do you want to be a real estate investor? Would you rather wholesale real estate? Are you interested in flipping properties? No matter the situation, you should seek out someone who is successful in the “niche” you are interested in. Ask your acquaintances if any of them would be willing to mentor you. This is exactly what I did when I was just starting out. If I didn’t have a mentor, I could have never tasted success. It’s my philosophy, that success breeds success. Surround yourself with as many successful people as you possibly can. Soon, you’ll find you too are having success.
How much financing will you need to achieve your goals? It’s difficult to begin a real estate career without funds. One of the best ways to acquire working capital towards your real estate goal, is to learn how to wholesale properties. When you “wholesale” in real estate you can make money very quickly. I recommend asking your mentor how they got started and what tips they have to share for building up your funds. Once you have available funding, you will be able to take that first steps towards achieving your goal. You might also want to consider “private money lending” sources. These are people who lend out money to others. Use this as a tool in your toolbox to build towards your end goal.
Shadow your mentor. There’s nothing like real life experience. I suggest asking your mentor if you can make calls and write emails for them. Also, ask them to invite you to business meetings. Even if you just sit there without saying a word, you will gain valuable real life experience. There’s nothing better than actual hands on training. Devote as much time as you can to sit in and listen and learn. Soon you’ll be assisting in the meetings, and even perhaps even contributing to them. This is how to ensure you are learning at your own pace and understand what’s actually happening. Once the meeting is over, ask your mentor questions. I personally feel this is the most effective type of training. It will prepare you for success.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand these steps. In fact, they’re pretty basic and fundamental. So few people actually make the effort to prepare, plan ahead, and put in the work but if they do these things, I have great confidence anyone can be a successful in real estate.
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am a huge advocate for better training within our schools. Why isn’t creating your own business a curriculum in our schools? If only our schools across America would unite, they could form a powerful voice that would begin to change the curriculum landscape, making it more common for people to start a business. The greatest reason people fail is because they are too afraid to start something new. Fear must be conquered. Think of this: Busy downtowns. Booming local commerce. More jobs. More growth. Revitalized neighborhoods. That’s just the beginning. Business and entrepreneurship needs to be an offered curriculum within our school system. From elementary school through high school and even college.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can follow me through all our social media profiles, my website, and of course my YouTube channel.
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.