On this show, Jason and investment counselor Adam bring on a client for a case study. They also chat with one of the network lenders to discuss the direction of mortgage rates. Later, Jason hosts the client Damon Santa Maria. Damon has purchased 20 properties in 6 years and looks forward to investing in more income properties. Damon talks about his experience of self-managing and provides tips for those looking at doing so.
You’re gonna laugh, but because of your podcast, we’re positioned. Well, I don’t know how else to thank you. But thank you, your podcast and your services are amazing. And I wish I could do more as far as working with you guys, but I haven’t really but maybe in the future, obviously. But once again, our family is grateful to you and your services. And your information is priceless. Thank you so much.
Welcome to the creating wealth show with Jason Hartman. You’re about to learn a new slant on investing some exciting techniques and fresh new approaches to the world’s most historically proven asset class that will enable you to create more wealth and freedom than you ever thought possible. Jason is a genuine self made multi millionaire who’s actually been there and done it. He’s a successful investor, lender, developer and entrepreneur who’s owned properties in 11 states had hundreds of tenants and been involved in thousands of real estate Stay transactions. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to your financial independence day. You really can do it. And now here’s your host, Jason Hartman with the complete solution for real estate investors.
Jason Hartman 1:17
Welcome to Episode 1220 712 to seven. This is your host, Jason Hartman, thank you so much for joining us today. And greetings from beautiful Copenhagen, Denmark. This is my third time in Denmark. It is a beautiful place we stumbled onto some fantastic weather. And wow, the weather all the Danes just keep telling us It couldn’t be better. We had dinner last night with some friends here. One friend who is an American, Iranian born American who got engaged to a Danish guy just hearing about their situation and immigration and all of that stuff because you know he wants to move to the States. With her and going through all of that was interesting to hear the details of it. But it was also interesting to hear and have some discussions about the regulations in Europe. And, you know, my view on this, it just every time I come to Europe, you know, once or twice a year I was, of course born here, I become rather quickly frustrated with the regulatory environment and the way it has put such a big weight on the economy. How you know, you hear from Europeans, when you try to get things done, because it’s a continent that’s largely anchored in the past, and it has an incredible past. I mean, European history is fascinating, to say the least, very, very fascinating, but you know, there’s a lot of anchoring to the past. And it’s fair to ask ourselves, what has us what is our anchor? Are we anchored toward the future, the past the present? Of course, we’re all anchored to all three of these things. But I would say Europe is mostly anchored to its past. And you’ll hear when you try to get things done. You’ll hear the word procedure a lot. It’s not our procedure here, you know, this is our procedure, we have to follow the procedure. And that becomes frustrating to someone like me, but hey, I told you that last time I was here, and the time before that, probably so you’re not hearing anything new for me on that. But hey, we’ve got some great episodes here coming up. I’ve been recording heavily over the past few weeks to get a lot of episodes ready for you. And I’ll make some quick commentaries along the trip here. Coming up next, we are going to Berlin and going to Berlin, Germany, then Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland, I’ve been to both of these places before a few times. Gdansk, of course, is the place of the Solidarity Movement with liquid lens, you remember his name in the news. Last time I was there, I went to the museum and it was quite fascinating. So a lot more Come up and, and we’ve got Finland and in St. Petersburg, Russia, Helsinki, Finland I should say to be more specific. So I’ll have more on that for you as the next episodes come up. I’m not sure if you can hear the crashing waves but greetings from somewhere in the Baltic Sea. As I am sitting on the balcony of our cabin here in route from Helsinki, Finland cruising to St. Petersburg, Russia. We had a great day in Helsinki today and I’ve been there before but it was great to visit again. And now heading back for my second trip to St. Petersburg Russia. And it looks like Coco the dog will be able to get into Russia so very excited about that. The Russian government is sending a veterinarian on board on board the ship tomorrow morning to give her a quick exam before she heads into the country. practices for Russian. So that should be fun. I’ll let you know how it goes. Anyway, let’s go to a quick mortgage update before we get to our client case study with Damon Santa Maria.
Welcome to the July edition of the mortgage minutes. We’re joined today by one of the lenders from the network. Welcome to the show.
Thanks, brother. How you doing this morning? I am doing well. Now. Can you tell us what is
going on? We’ve been seeing mortgage rates for homebuyers dropping significantly around
the last month or so what’s it looking like for investors out there saying, you know, they’re going to experience some decline as well. Of course, they’re not going to match up, you know, rape or rape just because of the risk associated with the least the perceived risk by wall street for an investor versus a homeowner, but they’re also seeing some decline. Now, an interesting thing that some people don’t quite know, and many will, you know, it’s going to be hard to understand is that there’s going to be different coupons available in the mortgage banks. securities pools for each type depending upon the risk, sometimes you’ll see more decline in the home owner style mortgage or the primary residence mortgage versus an investor one because they they have different pools that investors choose to invest into. So you’re talking about like pension funds, and other like mutual funds and other securities that are deciding to take on some mortgage backed securities, and they will decide where they’re going to plant their money depending upon the potential risk associated with it or the perceived risk. So if they pour more money into the pools that will fund your owner occupied housing, you might see a greater decline, then you might see in investor interest rates because of the availability of funds. Lately, we still have seen many of those decline alongside the owner occupied rates, but not quite to the same extent. And the thing that’s really fueling it now at least a back and forth on the interest rates that we’re seeing some days it’s getting a lot of improved. Britain and other days it gives it all back. And it goes back to where it was a couple of days before as far as the trades are concerned. And that has a lot to do with these talks with China. And that’s feeling majority of it. So what rates are you able to currently get investors in the 15% down realm, we’re probably talking about the the mid fives, 5.5, maybe 5.6, depending upon many other factors, you start getting into the 20%, down probably five and a five and a quarter, you start getting into 25 and breaks below 5% or may just lead right at that 5% depending upon the day. One of the things we’re seeing, you know, the president come out and say I can do whatever I want to the chair of the fed the chairman Sanam, here for four years, this has created, you know, a bit of volatility, how has that been impacting the bond rates, as is going on? Is it causing more fluctuation than normal? Or is it kind of just regular? You know, I think that a lot of that volatility between the executive branch and the banking world over here, the Fed. I believe that it’s kind of been absorbed. Possibly by the market in the sense that they’ve been seeing this going on for a while. So they’re not that I don’t see that as making as big an impact, because it just seems like that’s been happening for what over a year now. But what is making more senses, you know, they’re looking more at the economy and what’s going to happen with the economy. And this whole conversation with China is impacting the economy more than I think the conversation between the Fed and the president. And ultimately, when you’re talking about the Fed, the Fed has some sort of influence about what the market does with the Fed decisions directly don’t directly impact. It’s an inverted impact of interest rates. So because of what they’re indicating, that’s again, more economic indicators that it does additional economic indicator, which would get the end trader whoever’s getting ready to invest their money into the market where they go into bonds, equities, commodities, precious metals, which is another commodity or currency, they’re going to decide on that based upon what they’re gathering in all the economic realms and the Fed is a part of that. So right now, interestingly enough with the Fed putting various Little into the market as far as mortgage backed securities market like they did before with quantitative easing. It’s being more fueled by just the traditional investing divestment pads that was created in the mortgage backed securities world to begin with back with Louis ternary in the 70s. And on up till now, that’s been killed by just the regular market. So it’s interesting, we’re keeping really low rates, even with the quantity of tightening kicking in in 2017, less fed involvement in the mortgage backed securities. It’s the general market that is keeping them where they are now today.
I know one of the interesting thing that’s happening is the rates have been dropping significantly over the past couple months. But owner occupied mortgage starts haven’t been responding the way that they normally do. Have you been seeing the changes in mortgage applications for investors in your office recently,
actually, even the mortgage applications for investors is not as heavy as it was before. I think because of all this volatility in the market. There may be a lot of people holding out. Now we’re still having a lot. There’s still a lot of applications coming in. But if you want to Look at the amount of applications are coming in Africa, Africa, quantitative tightening, when there was the fear of the rates going up and people just jumping in as fast as they could to get ahead of that. And now the rates are coming down people like, oh, let’s see where they settle. I think that’s the problem. And what I really preach in a big way to real estate investors of rates don’t matter. They absolutely do not. When you start looking at how inflation pays off your mortgage for you, inflation is not 2%. As the Fed says, you start getting into the depth of inflation, and start adding back in what they’re taking out exceeds 5%. And if interest rates are in the five, you’re not paying anything on the mortgage, so once the investor wrap their head around, this actually takes control of their business as a CEO of their business, and then gets the right people in the boardroom with them. The right lender, the right real estate provider to discuss these things and understand what their business means and what the business is doing. They can start getting off the fence. You’ve got to Get the right people to work with. I preach it up and up and down. I pretend to be the CFO to their business. So I’ll be the fractional CFO under the trust advisor is in their boardroom to help them to understand. Don’t sit there and wait for the bottom to hit because you’ll never find if you find it, you find it accidentally because you’re involved. But if you’re trying to time at personally, nobody that connected to the market to time it perfectly. Unless you’re manipulating the market, it’s the only way to do it. None of us are listening to this have the billions of dollars or trillions of dollars it takes to manipulate the market.
You can only see the bottom on the way back up. Now, one of the one of the things that as rates have dropped, is if you purchase in the last two years or so your rate might have been you know, in the mid sixes potentially. Are you seeing any movement in the refi market,
some and the only time I really pushed an investor to get involved in the refi market is when it comes time to to extract capital from that and reinvest it because of what’s going on, you know, talking about the inflation piece, and all that just jumping in there to drive Your payment for an extra $23 of cash flow or jumping in there to just rock your rate because you feel better about it. That’s not efficient way to run your business. That’s actually a really inefficient way to run your business because you’re spending money to get the loan done. There’s a reason why the banks love to preach refi your loan, right? Because if you ride that loan out for 30 years, inflation literally eliminates the debt. Now Jason talks about inflation induced debt destruction. But if you’re refining every three, four or five years, because the rates went down, you’re paying more money into the system, just so you can feel better about your rate. And you’re really spending way more you’ll ever get back out of that. I don’t care what people say is what your savings is over five years or you get paid back into No, you don’t. You really need to think about that a little bit more. Sit down and understand it sounds great. Thank you for your time today. Thank you, sir.
Jason Hartman 12:53
It’s my pleasure to welcome another one of our clients on the show and this guy has been a client for a long time. He’s done not Not only properties but land contracts, and we’re going to hear about that he’s up to 18 transactions through our network. And it’s great to have him on the show. He reached out I think it was last week and asked to be on and tell his story. Damon, welcome. How are you?
Damon Santa Maria 13:15
Great. Thanks to be here. Jason.
Jason Hartman 13:16
Good to have you on so Damon Santa Maria. You just have such a cool name. First of all, it sounds like a place a movie or something. I don’t know.
Damon Santa Maria 13:26
My wife joke says that was the only reason why she married me was because my last night cuz he
Jason Hartman 13:30
had a cool name. Yeah.
Damon Santa Maria 13:33
Very good. Very good.
Jason Hartman 13:34
Where do you live? Where are you located?
Damon Santa Maria 13:37
live in Houston, Texas. All right.
Jason Hartman 13:38
Well, that’s actually one of our market. Did you buy any properties in Houston through our network?
Damon Santa Maria 13:44
Not through your network, but I currently have one rental right around the corner from my house.
Jason Hartman 13:48
Okay, cool. And when did you come in contact with us? I want to say it was like six years ago, but that’s just a guess
Damon Santa Maria 13:55
it was six years ago and funny enough. I found you While I was scrolling through the iTunes radio shows, there was a continuous loop of your podcasts. And because I worked from home at the time, I would kind of put on either background music or in this case podcasts. And somehow I found you and that’s how I came to know Platinum properties. And then Jason Hartman network,
Jason Hartman 14:22
your first event. I know you came to Irvine or Newport for some of our events, and was it a meet the Masters back in 2012 or something? 2013, something like that.
Damon Santa Maria 14:34
Yeah, I think it was a little rock property event, creating wealth. And that was my first event and then meet the Masters Later that year, or the following year in Irvine. Oh,
Jason Hartman 14:46
okay. I remember that. Yeah, we had a little property tour in Little Rock. So that was great, good stuff. So that was your first time. What got you interested in real estate investing,
Damon Santa Maria 14:56
if I can kind of back up and provide some context You know, I grew up with very little financial education. I didn’t know anyone in real estate and my parents had limited financial tools to kind of teach me what made things worse was I was a horrible student. Somehow I had, you know, a 2.5 GPA could get you into college, you know, back in the day, and, you know, I’m happy to say that after six years, I graduated with a degree that I never ended up using. But despite, you know, all of the cards kind of being stacked against me, I always had a drive to make money. And it really became my passion to hustle and ground. And, you know, after graduating from college, I got into, you know, medical sales and surprisingly, I did, you know, very well, and before long my, my wife and I, you know, we started making more money than we could spend. And this was before the great, you know, recession. So, we in vested in things like, you know, poor one K’s, Roth IRAs, mutual funds, etc. But as all of us know, after the Great Recession, we realized how quickly our investments could disappear. And we had very little control. And so when I started listening to your podcast, things just made sense your 10 commandments and then 20 commandments of real estate investing,
Jason Hartman 16:25
we’re up to 21 Now, do you know that we have 21 commandments now?
Damon Santa Maria 16:31
Jason Hartman 16:32
21st? Well, the 21st one is thou shalt avoid manias. So whenever anything’s a mania, that should be a warning sign to us that a bubble is forming. That’s my point.
Damon Santa Maria 16:45
Yeah. I like it a lot. And that’ll become my favorite investment or a commandment but so yeah, yeah. So you know, in 2013, I finally pulled the trigger and you know, after reading books and listening to so many podcasts and going to great events that you put on, I finally found a house that I liked that was right around the corner. It was a great time to buy, I wish I could go back and go buy 10 or 20 more when the prices were low interest rates were low. To this day, you know, I still have the same tenant from 2013. And so they’ve been there, they’ve never missed a payment. And I just got an email from them last week, asking if they could stay till 2022. So that’ll be nine or 10 years, the same tenant in place, and it’s been a great investment. That was my first one. And where’s that? Where’s that one located here in Houston? That’s
Jason Hartman 17:40
Houston. Okay. I gotta tell you, you know, I had a tenant in one of my properties stay for nine years. My mom is finally losing her tenant that she talked about on the show. You probably heard a couple of those interviews, and the guy has been there since 1989. He’s finally moving You just told me Yeah, yeah. So it is amazing. Some of these tenants will stay a really long, long time. But I’ll tell you, Damon, sometimes they stay too long because the owners lazy and they’re not raising the rent enough. So there is a balance to that.
Damon Santa Maria 18:15
Jason Hartman 18:16
yeah. Okay, so you still got that same tenant, you just kept buying properties, you’re up to 18. Now, you also bought some of the land contracts, which is something we did, we did a fairly small number of those deals, but I think the listeners would love to just hear about your experiences along the way. Sure.
Damon Santa Maria 18:34
So I’m actually not to correct me but I’m actually up to 20 properties, oh, 18 through us 18 year network, which, you know, that’s a fair amount. It kind of I think goes to show how happy I am, you know, with Platinum properties and the service that you and Sarah have provided over the years. At one of the meet the Masters, you know, I had a bunch of IRA money sitting around That I converted to a self directed IRA. And I liked the idea of getting, you know, a 910 percent cash on cash return within my IRA by buying what’s called the land contract. And essentially I’m acting as the bank, where a person who may not have stellar credit will come to someone like me and say, hey, I want to buy this house, I’ll pay you nine or 10% interest and you act as the bank for me, because I can’t get traditional financing. Those deals have worked out very well. Most of those deals have doubled in appreciation and doubled in value. I sold one about a week ago, I’m in the process of selling another one and we’ll do very well on each one of those property. Now those
Jason Hartman 19:50
are inside your self directed IRA. Right? They are okay so you don’t have to worry about a capital gains problem until you know I mean, the account will be bigger because capital gains. And then when you ultimately take distributions, you know, you’ll sort of pay for a little bit of that later. But that’s great. That’s a good way to do it. So, and then the buy and hold properties, I’m guessing most are all are outside of your IRA.
Damon Santa Maria 20:14
Correct. All of the long term buy and hold are outside of my IRA that my wife and I have bought, we kind of stagger you know, she’ll buy one and her name, then I’ll buy one of my name so we can kind of maximize the Fannie and Freddie loans up until 10. Good stuff. So your wife is working unable to qualify for those loans, too, right? Correct. Excellent. Yeah. So you can get out you can go up to 20. That’ll be great. So yeah, good stuff. What about the regular rental properties to buy and hold properties, share any of the lessons you’ve learned there or the experiences you’ve had? It’s very exciting. to kind of look at properties. Look at pro formas. Calculate the numbers. That’s where I kind of get a little bit nerdy And I enjoy that process. But I think some of the learning lessons that I had was, you know, early on, I wanted to just get into the game. So I would buy lower price properties that I could afford see properties that had a higher ROI on them higher cash and cash return. But I’ve learned over time that sometimes when you have a $60,000 property, you don’t have the highest quality of tenants. And subsequently, sometimes the property managers are a bit challenging as well. So.
Jason Hartman 21:39
So not only in the cheap properties, can the tenants be challenging, but so can the property managers?
Damon Santa Maria 21:47
Right. Absolutely. And, you know, I think you’ve pointed out on several podcasts that you’d rather have a property manager with a B property than an a property with a B level Property Manager. And that’s entirely true. I can’t kind of overstate that enough. Property Management really is so key to this industry. Or as you kind of pointed out, you know, the lack of property management and kind of letting them step out of the way. The tenants many times are great folks, and I enjoy, you know, having the tenants in all of my properties. But the property managers can sometimes step on on toes a bit.
Jason Hartman 22:29
Right, right. And so what just to clarify what we’re really referring to when I say lack of property management is referring to self management of not having a property manager at all, because I’m really more and more convinced that that is the way to go. We just keep hearing such good things from our clients about it. I’ve had good experiences with it. You know, I don’t know some of the property managers. They’re great. Some are just terrible. But regardless of whether They’re great or terrible, or whatever they are in between mediocre, you know, wherever they end up on the spectrum, there’s still just a natural built in conflict of interest where everybody doesn’t want the same thing. And whenever you have that, you know, you have the same problem in many businesses, right? financial planners, obviously, financial advisors, they don’t necessarily want the same thing their clients do. Yeah, it sounds good. They say they do. You know, I want you to make money. So you’ll have more to invest. Yeah, but, you know, there’s a short term and long term trade off there, right. And usually everybody will take the short term trade, and lawyers, same thing. You know, they want to build as many hours and the client wants a result. And so there’s a conflict of interest, right, and it just doesn’t work. So whenever possible in life, try and have interest aligned as much as possible. That’s the lesson and sometimes you just get How to get them out of the way and just self manage. Now, are you doing any self management yet?
Damon Santa Maria 24:05
I am with the property that’s closest to me here in Houston. I am self managing that property and working out. It’s working great again, the have never missed a payment. I’ve come to know they’re their family. And we’re not best friends or anything, but we have a mutual respect for each other. And there’s certain expectations that I’ve outlined that they adhere to. And it’s been a very good relationship, and I’m happy that they’ve stayed as long as they have.
Jason Hartman 24:37
Yeah, good. But yeah, not doing any self management yet on the other properties on the long distance stuff. Hmm.
Damon Santa Maria 24:43
Now, that’s probably one area that I’m a little less confident in because all of my properties are so far away. And you know, maybe just not having the education or the tools or maybe Even just the time because I think once you start to self manage, you do get perhaps more interaction, more contact with your tenants. As you know, things arise. And, you know, the last thing I want is to have a bunch of deferred maintenance where the tenants are afraid to perhaps contact me if something does go wrong. And then you find out years later, there has been a leak or, you know, some, again, deferred maintenance that has gone unnoticed or unreported.
Jason Hartman 25:32
Yeah, and I understand that as a concern, Damon, you can overcome that though. There are ways to handle that and, you know, do inspections and all sorts of things like that, but most of its just communication, you know, if your tenant is not going to report a leak to you, that would be pretty amazing to me that they would just suffer with a leak. And by the way, how’s the property manager gonna know? It’s gonna have to come from a tenant report. Anyway, right? The funny thing is the managers. I mean, they might do inspections every year. But not all of them do that. And even if they do, it doesn’t mean they’re going to catch everything. And usually it’s all based on the tenant reporting and issue. Right? And so, just something to think about now. Good point. Okay, so any other lessons or things you want to share or goals for the future?
Damon Santa Maria 26:27
Yeah, I think just in general, we kind of live in a time where for me personally, it you know, I have to be careful not to chase those shiny objects, like buying a business or Bitcoin or whatever the, you know, the shiny object of the day is and really have that long term focus on building, you know, income producing prudent properties, that cash flow, and that’s been something that there’s all these distractions out there and And for me, you can easily become distracted by those shiny objects. So that’s kind of been my focus from from day one is to, you know, build that portfolio of, of cash flowing properties and I’ll continue to do that here in you know, in the future.
Jason Hartman 27:16
That’s awesome. Yeah, the long term focus is a very good thing. It’s a very sure thing compared to the speculative today it’s Bitcoin tomorrow it’ll be gold and the next day it’ll be something else. You know, it’s really crazy how that and that’s commandment number 21 about manias right there. Thou shalt avoid manias. Absolutely, absolutely. Absolutely. Do you have any metrics you want to share Damon of your properties, you know, cash flow metrics, I know you’re, you’re buying and selling a little bit too. So you know, when it’s kind of a moving target. It’s not always easy to have some really good numbers but anything you want to share on the metric side,
Damon Santa Maria 27:56
from a metric standpoint, I think the performance that you put out on each property do an excellent job of outlining each financial indicator. I mean, for me cap rate is not as important as cash on cash return. Yeah, good, good. I tend to look at cash on cash return is kind of a primary metric for gauging how a property will perform today and into the future as well.
Jason Hartman 28:26
It’s definitely a better metric, and overall return on investment too.
Damon Santa Maria 28:30
Right. You know that that number, I think can be a bit nebulous at times because I think if I’m not mistaken, that includes appreciation. Yeah. Right.
Jason Hartman 28:42
Yeah. So the appreciation is obviously speculative, because you don’t know if that’s going to happen or not, which is why we say appreciation is the icing on the cake. And so you don’t see that until you have a liquidation event or at least a refi or Wi Fi or die. Yeah,
Damon Santa Maria 28:57
yep. Good stuff, okay. Any other metrics or anything Like that, so you you like cash on cash return the best overall cash flow is king for me. And when I look at a pro forma, you know, the other metric that’s kind of hidden is the maintenance. And we, I tend, I have tended to gloss over that in the past saying oh, there’s not going to be any maintenance. It’s a brand new property, newly rehabbed, etc. But if you don’t build that into your cash reserves, you know, sometimes that can sneak up on you, especially with a tenant turn or, you know, those unexpected events were an H Draco’s, or the water heater goes, whatever the case may be. And so sometimes taking that defensive calculation is just as important as you know how much money you’re going to make as well.
Jason Hartman 29:52
Hmm, yeah, very good. What are your goals for the future? Are you gonna keep buying more properties or is is 18 while 20 Is 20 enough for what’s the next plan?
Damon Santa Maria 30:03
Actually, I you know, I’ve been at a steady clip of, you know, buying three to four properties a year. And this year I’d like to do maybe five or six before the year is up. And I’m taking some some steps now working with Sarah to potentially buy a package of properties. But my goal is to continue to build that up for the foreseeable future. And, you know, have it help pay for college as well for for my three children.
Jason Hartman 30:35
Fantastic. And Damon, one thing I didn’t ask you is what markets you’re in. I know you mentioned Grand Rapids, of course, Houston, where you live. Did you buy in Little Rock on that tour?
Damon Santa Maria 30:46
I did. I bought a house in Little Rock. That’s been a great performing property there. Most of my properties are in Memphis. Memphis has been a great market over the years and it continues to perform Lot of inventory there. I also have a house in Indianapolis as well, as well as Florida.
Jason Hartman 31:09
Good stuff. We’re in Florida,
Damon Santa Maria 31:10
just north of Tampa.
Jason Hartman 31:12
Okay, so yeah, you did Port Richey, probably right?
Damon Santa Maria 31:15
Jason Hartman 31:16
Yeah, I wish we had more properties there. Those sold like hotcakes. So well, that’s great. So you’re nicely diversified. And you’re just going to keep building your portfolio. And that is a great story. And you did this all in six years. Sounds like it’s just going very, very well. Thank you for joining us on the show and sharing your story. Really appreciate it, Damon,
Damon Santa Maria 31:37
appreciate your time, Jason, and thanks for having me.
Jason Hartman 31:42
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