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July 10, 2022

103. From Single to Multifamily and Passive to Active with Ruben Dominguez

103. From Single to Multifamily and Passive to Active with Ruben Dominguez

Join Mike Cavaggioni with Ruben Dominguez on the 103rd episode of the Average Joe Finances Podcast to discuss his transition from single-family to multifamily and from passive to active investing. Ruben is the founder and principal of Totem Capital Group. He shares how he got into real estate and tells his firsthand experience in different asset classes and as both an active and passive investor.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • First base in real estate
  • Multifamily is the same as single-family, just a few differences
  • The switch from passive to active investor
  • What Ruben enjoys the most in real estate
  • Ruben’s biggest mistake
  • And much more!

About Ruben Dominguez:
Ruben Dominguez is the founder and principal of Totem Capital Group. Ruben graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and spent over 12 years in IT leadership roles. Most recently, he served as an executive for several Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, where he was able to grow and exit a company successfully. Ruben and his wife, April, have three children and live in the San Antonio Metro area.

Find Ruben Dominguez on:
Website: https://www.totemcapitalgroup.com/

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Transcript
Average Joe Finances:

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the average Joe finances podcast. I'm your host, Mike Cavaggioni and today's guest is Ruben Dominguez. Ruben, I'm super excited to talk to you today. Let's do this.

Ruben Dominguez:

Awesome. Thanks, Mike. I appreciate you having me on.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, absolutely. So the first question I'd like to ask you is the same thing. I ask everybody that comes on this show. We wanna get to know who Ruben is. So if you could share a little bit about yourself, how did this all start for you share your story with us.

Ruben Dominguez:

You got it. So I. I was in the corporate world for a long time. I started in it and I had some various leadership roles. We, I did operations in it and I was in charge of, some support. And then I moved up and, I started to, have a little bit more responsibility and, and now we're in real estate. And to make a long story short, I would look at. I would look at my boss and my boss's boss and I would, it was like, okay, I'm gonna get that role. And it's gonna be a little bit more money and a lot more time and stress. And, I had kids at home at the time and they were little and I would come home from work. And sometimes I'd never see 'em cuz I'd get up in the morning and leave to go to work, get there early, before they wake up and then I come home or they'd be asleep already cuz they're little at the time. And My wife would tell me all the cool things they did all day. And I was like, man, I am missing my kids growing up. And, and working super hard at this job and lots of stress and, over time and traveling and all kinds of stuff and doing very well at my job. But, just the time factor was just, I said, there's gotta be a better way. We started, buying single family houses and renting them out. We learned about the BRRRR strategy, which is basically you buy it, you rehab it, you refinance it, you rent it out and then you do that over and over again. And, that went really well. And then I ran out of money to continue buying single family houses. So we started flipping houses more of a, as a necessity to get some capital, to buy some more rentals. And, we, then started to buy properties from wholesalers and we noticed that. We were paying these big, acquisition fees on those and, to the wholesalers. And we said, Hey, can we cut that out to make these deals work even better? And so we started wholesaling and we picked up a lot of houses. We cherry picked the ones we liked and rent 'em out or flip 'em. And then the ones that we weren't able to do, or we didn't want to do we'd sell 'em to other investors. So we did that for a long. And, it was great, but I looked back, I think this is about 2015. I looked back in our best year. We probably did. I don't know, 50 single family deals that year. And we acquired six rentals that year. And I looked back and I said, I am no closer to retiring from my W2 job than I was five years ago. We have more houses. There's some income coming in. We have a better retirement plan, but as far. Getting that time back, that was no closer. And I was actually working more cuz now I have all these houses and I had to check on contractors and all that good stuff. And so I said, there's gotta be a better way. And I had known a couple buddies that were doing multifamily and so I started investing. First, it was just passively into multifamily projects that buddies were doing. And then I said, Hey, how can I really accelerate that? And so we started actively investing in multifamily family, where we're actually going out and doing the projects on our, as part of a, as part of a group, and doing the work. And so within about 18 months of actively investing, I was able to quit my w two job and, and do that full time. And now I have a lot more freedom of my time. I still work a lot. I'm always gonna work a lot. I'm always, looking for the next thing to. But it is on my terms now, so I can go pick up my kids from school. And I don't know if anyone else sees this, but when you pick up your kids from school, they tell you all the things they did all day in about five minutes and then that's it. They don't wanna talk about it the rest of the day. So now I'm able to get that at least. So it's been super cool to be able to do that.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, that's awesome. I was sitting here taking notes as you were going and just, putting down this timeline of how this all, went down for you and it's just absolutely crazy. Because you, you started getting into real estate right, to get to the point where you can retire and get away from your nine to five and your day job. And it, you wound up just working more at that point. So starting off, doing the whole single family home thing with, doing the BRRRR method. And then you ran out of, being able to buy more. I guess you probably hit that 10 loan limit, right?

Ruben Dominguez:

It was more about obviously on every project, get to put some money in. We were at the time, I it's probably changed. I haven't done a single family due in a while, but at the time it was like 10 or 15 K into each property. Yeah. And then it'd be a rental. It'd be great. Cuz you'd get cash flow about $400 a month. Gonna take you a long time, to. Replace that 15 K you put into it. So we started coming up against that. I did run into the 10, 10 loan limit though. I ran into the four loan limit and then I ran into the 10 loan limit. So definitely, I know exactly what you're talking about, but so we had all three capital the loan limit on the banks and, there's ways around that though.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah. Right on. And then after that, you decided, okay. You need to get more capital, right? So you started flipping and as you were flipping, you were dealing with all these wholesalers and saying, Hey, we're paying the, these finders fees. How did we get around that? So you started wholesaling yourself, right? And the deals that. You didn't wholesale, you kept for yourself and flipped them. So that's, that's pretty neat. And it really opens up a lot of opportunity for you that, pretty much it's like win-win situations. It's if I don't get rid of it, I'm just gonna flip it and get rid of it. So that's, totally. Pretty good spot to be in. And then you were like, okay, this really is a lot of work and spending a lot of time. And you said that, that word time several times, that you're losing all this time. And I just said time, like five times you're going through all this and you're losing the time. You're not getting that time with your family. So that I know that plays a huge role. I know it does for me, with my children. I've been in the Navy going on 20 years now and I've spent a lot of time away from them. And one of the things that I like about real estate is that I'm starting to get some of that time back. And I'm getting ready to retire from the Navy, and I'm gonna focus on my real estate investing and, I'll have my pension coming in, so I'll be in a pretty good spot. So I'm excited about that. But at the same time, You had mentioned that you switched over to go more passive in multifamily, right? So I guess you were doing a couple limited partner deals, with some of your buddies that were already investing in multifamily. And it was a pretty good spot for you to be in where you just, you brought the capital to the table and you can sit back and collect your distributions every month or every quarter, which is a pretty good spot to be in. You get that money back when the asset sells in three to five years anyway, plus whatever else was earned on it during that timeframe. So I'm a big fan of that. I recently got into real estate syndications myself, especially with how busy I am with everything else. It was like the perfect thing for me. It's like like the perfect storm. Where I'm still getting my, real estate piece, but at the same time, I'm not really having to do much with it at all, except for maybe look at a couple PowerPoints and some reports and make sure that everything's looking okay. And then I just collect my distributions and it's pretty nice. And I don't have to like, Really be involved with tenants, toilets, or termites, any of the three tees. So that's pretty nice. I just, I like seeing how you had this evolution where you started off with the single families and then, got into multifamily. I did the same thing. I, got into single families at first when I bought a duplex out in Chesapeake, Virginia, not too long ago, like at the beginning of the pandemic. And I realized, it, it was pretty difficult, especially during the COVID times and with me being in Hawaii and the property being back in Virginia, it got painful. So I sold it after a year for a profit, which was nice, and a cash flow. So it was, it was a win-win, but that whole year was painful because every time there was an issue, I was getting a phone call every time there was something else going. I was getting a phone call and I had a property manager. But he was the one calling me to say, Hey, we have an issue and it's gonna cost this much. Are you good with that? And I'm like, yeah, just, just do it. And I was like, there's gotta be something different, something else I can do. And I met up with some folks that were in multifamily and I'm like, this is it. This is what I wanna do. So I took the capital and I just, and I put it into a passive investment and I'm. Really happy about it so far. And, looking to get into a couple more this year. So anyway, enough about that, I just, I really, I wanted to touch on that because I think it's super important for people to understand that there are many faces and facets of real estate. It just. It just depends on what you want to get involved in right now. Some of the things that we were gonna talk about today is, how to find the best investment opportunities, before they're spotted by competitors. So you've got a lot of experience in that realm, especially, with single families and things of that nature, where you were going out and finding and flipping properties and wholesaling properties. So you have to have a good eye for that stuff. Are you also doing that in the multi-family space now that you are an active, multi-family investor.

Ruben Dominguez:

Yep. We definitely some of the same principles apply. It's it's a little bit different in the multi-family world, in the single family world. It's, you're normally buying from homeowners, especially if you're buying direct to seller it's a homeowner. If you're not, it's probably a wholesaler. And maybe if you're lucky, not usually in this market, you'll find something on market. That's rare if you're an investor. And in multifamily, Most projects and we're buying large, we're buying hundred plus unit projects. Some of the smaller ones, you can still find direct to owner, but those big ones, those are all traded by brokers. And it makes sense, cuz it's guys that, most of 'em are called what's called a syndication. So it's where you got a bunch of people pull their money together and then you go out and buy this property. And so the guy running it, You're putting a lot of money into it. You got investors. So you have a, you got a duty to make sure that property sells at the top of the market. And so usually that's gonna be a broker cuz they have the most clients that can put the most eyes on it when you're taking it to market to sell. So that's where we're getting 'em. Now some of the tips that we've found is, most of these projects that come in, we analyze it, right? We run the numbers, see how it's gonna work. It's gonna be a good investment. And initially probably 95% of those don't work on paper. And so what a lot of people do is they'll just say, ah, it's not gonna work, move to the next one. And which I think may be a mistake because sometimes when you go out to the property, you might see something that you wouldn't see on paper. For instance, we saw one that had, five acres. On the property, just raw land sitting there. It's we can do something without five acres it's included in the price. Maybe we can make that deal work. Or we went to one, we're buying it right now. Actually we went to one and. It's in a, the numbers didn't quite work, but once we got there, we realized wow, this is a very well taken, maintained, taken care of maintained property. We don't need to do anything on the outside. There's some interiors, we got a rehab. So our in our rehab budget came way down to what we thought it was gonna be. And it actually made the property work for us. And on some of the units, they had done a partial rehab and we noticed, Hey, we don't have to replace flooring or appliances on 84 units. It's 170 units, 84 of 'em went to place flooring or appliances. Our rehab dollars came down from like 7,000 per unit to 3000. And getting out there and looking at the property and putting eyes on. It'll definitely help you decide if you wanna pursue it or not pursue it. And that means you're gonna see a lot of properties, but, it also means you'll probably find things that other people are just passing on.

Average Joe Finances:

That's huge. I think the key thing you're saying though, is, just because something looks a certain way on paper, there's always more to the story. Cause something could even look great on paper and then you go look at it and you're like, Ooh, totally. We have some issues here. There's some, that's usually how growth just didn't even know about. Totally. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. That's huge, man. Especially, yeah. You're probably. Putting in a lot more effort, to, to making these deals work. But it's not that you're forcing it to work. It's just that there was unknown things, underlying things that make the property a better investment. That first one you mentioned, showing up and not realizing, oh, there's five acres of property here. You could build more units, you could build some self storage. There's so much stuff you could add to that. Can you imagine, building storage units for the tenants back there and then they can, rent storage units as well. That would be huge, totally. Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome, man. Awesome. Okay. Now, when it comes to investing in multifamily real estate, right? So you made that switch, you came over and you started off passive. What made you switch from being a passive investor to wanting to become more active?

Ruben Dominguez:

It was really acceler. I was really like, I have to get out of this job. I have to get out, have to get out. I worked really hard. For a few years, it was a startup, software is a service company. It just means subscription based, software is a service. And it's a fancy word for it. and they, we worked really hard and we had an exit at a company. I had some stock and it wasn't as good as I thought. They get you with the stock to stay there. And at the end when we sold it, I was like, that was okay, but it wasn't as good as we all thought it was gonna be. And so I had an opportunity to go back into another company as an executive, that it was a, they had a portfolio of companies. And, I was thinking, do I wanna do this? Cuz it's a lot of time. It's a lot of stress. And it's a lot of, not seeing my kids and or do I want to really accelerate and I had buddies, that were out there doing this actively. I was investing in their projects. They're out there killing it. They're working hard. But, and I was a past and as a past, investor's great returns, anywhere, probably between, depending on the market, but 15 to 25% return annually, which is great. Cuz you're not really doing anything. You're just signing some documents and watching some reports come in and getting some checks every quarter, hopefully if it's the right investment and, And so I wanted to get more active, cuz I'm used to being active. wanted to get in there and do things. And so I thought it was a good time for me to start getting active. And, it was really accelerating my way out of my corporate job was like, I gotta get active if I really wanna accelerate my growth. And and it was great. It's been great ever since. And that's really why we went from passive to active. Cause I said, P passive's great. I don't have $4 million to go throw on passive investments. So I need to get out there and do the hard work until I have money where I can just throw a bunch of money in passive investments and not really do a whole lot. On the active side.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah, that was more of a selfish question for me. As I just got into, more of the passive side of multifamily and just curious, cuz you know, as I'm coming up on my retirement from the Navy, I got my real estate license. I'm gonna be doing that when I retire. But at the same time, it's man, I really want to get, active on some deals and I've got a partner back in Virginia. So him and I have been talking a lot about. What we should look at when I retire and look at getting into, so it's a pretty exciting time. So I just, I wanted pick your brain a little bit on that, and that's one of the benefits of having a podcast, is I get to ask the questions I want ask. Totally. And, and hopefully it provides value for the audience as well. Definitely provides value for me. I can tell you that much.

Ruben Dominguez:

I recommend, definitely get active. We always tell people like passively invest. It's I'm getting a ticket on the plane so I can see what flying look. Okay. What is this about? And you're gonna, they're gonna, somebody else is taking you to destination. And then my next step is you should partner with somebody and it's super common in multifamily. They have multiple partners on the active side, cuz it's really hard to do these multimillion dollar deals on your own. And and it's a team effort, right? You gotta have a team it's unlike a flip where you're like, ah, you might make 20, can a flip good luck. It's not gonna be very fun splitting that between four people, but on a multimillion dollar project, it there's a lot of work. There's a lot of things to do. And there's a lot of equity also to go around. So it's okay to split that between three or four people. And so we say partner with someone that's experienced. You're gonna learn so much, all the things you can't learn off podcasts and books and coaches and things like that. You learn by actually doing without all the pressure of you having to close this big deal and run it. And then the next step is go out and do it on your own if you want. That is what we've found is the best way. And there's so many benefits of partnering on your first deal and not being the guy that's completely responsible. It's like you get to, you're gonna have to raise some capital so you can raise some capital, you can test your investor list and see who's actually interested in, investing and most people they're, they probably wanna invest with you your first time. They're gonna watch and see what happens ah, Let me see how Mike does on this deal. He's doing multifamily now. And then the second or third time, they'll be like, okay, he's actually doing this. I'm gonna invest. And they'll call you up and be like, Hey Mike, tell me about this deal. And so that's a great part, cuz you can build your, invest your list without having all the pressure of raising everything yourself. And then also, just being on the calls with the lenders, being on the calls with asset management, we were talking to proper management company, all that is so great experience. Before you have all the pressure of doing it yourself. And some people stop there. I know a lot of people that they just wanna partner and they don't wanna have to run the whole thing themselves. They just wanna, Hey, I'm just gonna partner with you. I'll provide a little bit, here's my expertise area. Like it might be analyzing the deal. They're a spreadsheet person. And then they run the finances through the project and, or somebody might be really good at talking to investors. Like I'm gonna go to all the conferences and I'm gonna talk to investors and try to bring some cap, more capital to all our projects. And so people just stop there a lot of times and partner. But some people wanna do it all on their own. And that's great too. I'm like the partner guy I love to have, cuz I, I'm not skilled in everything. And I, so I like to bring in people that are skilled in something I'm not cuz we work so well together do that. That's really like how I recommend for people that are trying to get into multifamily, get that way. Those three steps, passively invest partner and then go out and do your own deal.

Average Joe Finances:

I like that a lot, especially, because I love to network. I love to meet new people. I, it's one of the awesome things about this community in general is how, there's so many, I would say probably 97%. I've said this several times in the show too, about 97% of the people in the real estate investing community are just so willing to give back and so willing to help. I'm not saying they'll sit here and hold your hand and give away handouts, but people are so like, liberal with giving away, like their knowledge on certain things or saying, Hey, this is what I did that worked for me. It might not work for you, but you can try, and it's just been, an awesome experience and an awesome community to be a part of. And that's why I love going to real estate meetups. And going to like different events and conferences and things like that. It's just a great opportunity to meet people that are doing awesome things. And. When you go to these meetups, you meet people that are well versed and well experienced and have been doing this for a very long time. And then you meet people that just started not too long ago. And those are the ones. If you're a brand new investor that you wanna go talk to and possibly shadow because. The guy that started 20 years ago is gonna be like, oh, I don't remember how, how I did that back then, because 20 years ago was way different. The way we, we raised capital was different. The way the lenders worked was different. It's, everything changes. So totally. So yeah, that, I think that's a super important thing, especially, if you're just getting started out, you gotta build that team. You gotta build that network and. You're gonna, you're gonna make it happen. Okay. I want to ask you, especially because you've had so many different experiences in real estate, from single family, wholesaling, flipping, and now multi-family, what would you say you enjoy the most about each one of those?

Ruben Dominguez:

I would say, the most I enjoy is what I'm doing now. It's great. I. It's a win. I always talk to people. I'd say it's win, and that's, it's a win for our investors because there's a lot of busy people out there that don't have time to go out and do real estate investments, but they wanna get in. They know it's a great investment. It's safe investment. It's re if you do it right, it's recession resistance. It's not recession proof, it's resistant. And if you look over the last 30 years, it's been pretty good, especially the multifamily business. And so they wanna get in. But they just don't have time. Like we have a lot of physicians and attorneys, people that have money and they just wanna put it in real estate, but they don't have time. They work 80 hours a week. They can't do it. So that's a win for them. And it's a win for our tenants. Cuz a lot of times we're buying properties that have been neglected. When we bought in Septembers, we had a big ice storm here in Texas. So they had fixed the plumbing, but left big holes in the roof. And, it was just, some people didn't have electricity in half their units. Like we haven't had electricity in six months. It's wow, what happened? And so we go in there and we fix it up and we make it nice for them and give 'em a great place to live. Fix things fast. We love to provide a great tenant experience because. They're gonna renew the next year. They're not gonna go look somewhere else, cuz like they're taking great care of us. If you fix an AC in Texas, it takes you three days to fix it. Not a great tenant experience. If you fix it within a few hours, then it's a great tenant experience. And so it's a win for our tenants and that it's, and it's also a win for us, right? Cuz we get to go out there and be active and provide a lot of value for our tenant and our investors.

Average Joe Finances:

That's super key. And, especially when you're talking about keeping your tenants happy because when it comes time for you to have to raise rent, to try to keep up with the market, you'll, if you have a happy tenant, they'll gladly pay the extra 50 bucks or extra a hundred bucks a month, to stay in a place that they know that they're safe and that, the maintenance and, management there will be responsive if there's an issue. So that's, that's super important to, to definitely keep your tenants and your residents happy for sure. Totally. Okay. This is man, this is all valuable stuff, man. I really appreciate it, Ruben. And I wanna ask you some questions now. This is something I started doing. It's four questions. I, I like to ask everybody that comes on my show. I don't have a name for. Yet, some people call it a bonus round. Some people call it a fire round. I don't know what to call it yet. So right now you're just getting my four questions. sounds good, man. Maybe that's what I'll call it. My, my average Joe finances, four final questions. I don't know. Whatever. Love it. Final round. Ooh, I like that. Yeah. We're gonna go into the final round right now. I just figured it out right here on this episode. So Ruben, congratulations. You just helped me set something, here for the podcast. That's awesome. Love it. Okay. So going into the final round. Yeah. Okay. Four questions ready? So the first one is what's the biggest mistake you've ever made?

Ruben Dominguez:

I was so confident when I was buying single families cause we had den so many deals. And it's I felt, oh, I can walk into a neighborhood. Cause I know their area. I know the comps and I can buy a house and I don't really have to do a whole lot. I don't need a contractor out there cuz how many of these have I done? And so we bought a house that was meant to be a rental. I'm sorry. It was meant to be a rental. And I didn't bring a contractor and I was like, oh, this is about 30 K. I mean I did some, I just walk in let's buy it. But I have bought a house side on scene before if you ever wanna talk about that story. But, we, we walked in and I looked around, I said, Hey, this is probably a 30 K. And I thought I was great. We bought it. We started doing rehab on it. It was probably February. We bought it. And, the rainy season hit in March in San Antonio. And, it started raining and what, I didn't know. And the neighbor tried to warn me. I saw the neighbor, I was out there living at his house. He goes, there's a lot of flooding in this neighborhood. I was like, oh yeah, whatever neighbor, and cocky, confident thought it was the, no at all for single family. I learned a lot from that, this mistake and it started flooding. This house had a sunken living room and that thing, two inches of water in the entire thing, we tried everything to get the flooding to stop in this house. We, Did the back, we did landscaping in the back. We put a metal plate down by the foundation. We did all kinds of stuff and probably spent $15,000. Other option was a French drain, which is not a great option. It's just a really bad, this backyard, this yard was really terrible for holding water. And by the time it was all said and done it wasn't gonna be a run saw. Cause it had to get out of it. We had so much money tied up. We had to replace the flooring in that room like four times, cuz every time we replace it, we thought it was fixed and it rained it flood again. I still think about this house every time it rains hard in San Antonio, I think about it. And I was very, we disclosed it to the buyer cuz we flipped it. We had to get out cause we had so much money in it. And we did one last thing in the. I hired this like survey company. And they came out and they did all this stuff to it and it stopped raining. By the time we sold it was June and, it stopped raining. And, I disclosed it to the buyer. I was like, Hey, just a heads up. We it's, this place is flooded four times. Here's all the things we did. Here's all the invoices. And, I ended up not losing money, but close to it. I think we made a couple thousand dollars on the house, but for all the pain. Agony that house caused me. It was just not worth it. And that was my one time I said, okay, I can never go into another I need to cross all my Ts and dot all my eyes no matter what, no matter how many deals I've done. Like you never want to get too confident in what you're buying.

Average Joe Finances:

Yeah. Wow. That property gave you PTSD, man. I still wish about it. every time it rains. Oh, totally. Yeah. I can't imagine. That's that's pretty rough. That's pretty rough. Okay. Wow. next question. What is something that you've learned that you wish you knew when you first started?

Ruben Dominguez:

It was, gosh, this is a huge one for me. I was the guy that was out there and I said, I can save a few bucks. I know how to do that. I can take this door out and replace this door. It's not that hard. I can save, I can save $300 doing that in my pocket. What I didn't realize is, and you really this is a, this is super important for anyone that's starting is that you gotta figure out what's your most valuable. I call it dollar per hour activity. I think I read it in a book somewhere. I can't remember the book, but you gotta figure out what is the most important thing that you're doing and focus on that and give the other things away to people that are more skilled at that. I should hire a contractor to replace a door. I shouldn't be out there doing, it's gonna save me 300 bucks, I think. But what I should have been doing is out there trying to find, instead of spending five hours on a Saturday, doing that, I should have been out there. Trying to find another project when I was a single family and in multifamily it's I should be out there talking to investors or talking to brokers, trying to find a project, cuz I figured out what's my highest dollar prior activity. Now it's talking to brokers finding another project or talking to investors so we can go fund another project. And I shouldn't be spending my time doing any of that other stuff. I should outsource all that other stuff and it might seem man, I'm gonna pay $300 to replace the door. Yes. But. Your dollar per hour should be spent, finding another project you can do cuz the whole project, if you don't have. It's a opportunity loss. That's probably my biggest thing. And I learned that the hard way, right? Trying to save a buck here and a buck there, which really doesn't when it adds up, it's not really gonna get you that far. So my advice is go out, find out what's gonna actually get you paid and try to focus all your time on those two or three things and outsource everything else. So we use a lot of VAs. Now we use a lot of, we use a lot of other people's time, right? Other people's time is huge and they're expert experts at it. A contractor can go out and replace a door in an hour. And for me, it's gonna take five hours cuz I'm not good at it. And I probably, the door is probably broken now that I replaced. Cause I didn't do a great job. That's probably my biggest lesson that I've learned.

Average Joe Finances:

That's a huge lesson learned because, and I've heard something very similar, to, answer to this question several times, when I've asked this, because the, your time is valuable, right? We talk a lot about in real estate, We talk about OPM, right? We talk about other people's money, but what about op P T right. Other people's time. You gotta spend your time on, what's gonna provide the most value and opportunity, for you and your business versus what's gonna save you a few bucks. And it's funny too, because my, my podcast it's called average, Joe finances. One of the prefaces of this is that. We're trying to, get people outta that rat race and out of that, like consumer debt, where folks, a lot of folks get stuck and they're stuck working in their nine to fives, trying to pay off their debt constantly and constantly where, you know, when you talk to people that have broken out past that, and now they're investing and they're in like this whole different mindset, right? Because there, there has to be several mindset shifts on your journey, right? The first one, you gotta get yourself in a good spot where you can invest. So you gotta get rid of that credit card debt. You gotta get rid of all that other stuff, but then you get to a point where. Hey, you might actually need credit card debt again, because you have to pay for a specific thing that has to get done and you need to outsource it because your time is better spent doing something else than trying to save that little bit of money. So I, I think that's huge, man. It's part of this evolution process of an investor, right? It's not, It's not gonna be the same for everybody depending on where they're at in their journey. It there's a certain point in time where that shift happens, where you doing the work yourself is just not worth it for some people it's very early on for other people. It's I like doing it myself. I'm good at it. And, my time is worth it at this point, but then as you scale and get bigger and grow, you realize that your time is much better spent elsewhere. So I think that's a super important, lesson that you learned that a lot of people can get a lot of value out of. Thank you for that. All right, you're welcome. So the next question is, do you have any tips or tricks that you would recommend to someone who is just getting started today?

Ruben Dominguez:

Yes. And I think it is really comes down to people, right? Everything comes down to people, but if you're just getting started, like you gotta get out there and you gotta meet people and surround yourself with people that are successful. And I think the, one of the big mistakes that people make a lot is you're getting advice from the wrong people. And it might be your parents. It might be your brother or sister or your uncle or someone that loves you and you love them. But you can't take advice from people that are not successful in what you wanna do. If you want to do something. If I wanted to be an air traffic controller, I can't take advice from somebody that wasn't ever an air traffic controller. It sounds like, oh, that's of course you can't. That's ridiculous. But the same thing applies to like financial advice. And if I want to go flip a house, I shouldn't take advice from someone that was not successful at that. I should go find the people that were super successful and try to hang around them. And so try to surround yourself with people you wanna be like, and always, I always make the analogy, like when you're growing up, your parents might have told you, don't hang out with those people at school, cuz you're gonna be just like them. The same applies in the positive way. If you wanna be like somebody go hang out with them. And podcasts and books and things like that are great. But now that pandemic hopefully is gonna get better. Get out to some conferences, get out to some meetups. Surround yourself with people in real estate. If you want, if real estate's your thing, go out and surround yourself with those people that are doing it. And it's like by osmosis, you'll end up starting to do this yourself, just cuz you're hanging out in those. It just seems normal. And it's more of a mind shift thing, right? You're gonna start acting like those people and doing these deals. And on, on top of that, you pick up a lot of stuff from them on their successes. That's one of my, one of my pieces of advice, get around those people you wanna be like, and, you'll start being like them.

Average Joe Finances:

Significant. And that's one of the things I talk about a lot, because I think that's super important. You wanna surround yourself with like-minded people because, if you keep hanging out with the people that are doing the same thing and not getting anywhere in life, Then that's where you're gonna stay. But if you surround yourself with the people that are breaking out and making moves and making it happen, you're gonna wanna be like them. And you're gonna push yourself to stay at that level and keep up or surpass them. And, they always say that, you are the average of the five people that you surround yourself with. So surround yourself with people. You want to be just average compared to them, because that means you're killing it. And I love that you said that too, about going to meetups and conferences. I think that's huge. By the time this episode airs the real estate wealth builders conference that I'm speaking at in March is, will have already passed, but there's another one out here in Hawaii in July. It's the Hawaii millionaire mindset conference, that I'm also going to, and I'm super excited about that. So there's so many different. Things you can get yourself involved in, it could be a local meetup. It could be a larger conference that you, you go fly out to and make it a trip, make it a big deal and make it part of your vision board and your goal list, because it's gonna help accelerate you to that next level. And key thing is meeting people and educating yourself. I, it's absolutely huge. So totally huge speaking. Speaking of educating yourself, this kind of ties right into the fourth and final question of the final round here and, that is, Ruben do you have a favorite business investing or real estate related book or podcast or both?

Ruben Dominguez:

Oh, man, I've got all kinds of stuff. Can we try to narrow it down? Okay. There's for anyone looking to get into some type of real estate, the book that I always look back on, that was huge for me was called the million eight, the million there real estate investor. It's written by Gary Keller. Of Keller Williams. And it basically is a 19, I believe it's 19 year plan of how you can go from just working a regular job and become a millionaire by the time by, I think it's 19 years now, he uses very conservative numbers and this is back. He wrote this book back when interest rates were 7%, 8% to buy house. These are on market houses that they use it in, use it for examples. And so that's really what helped me understand, okay. I need to start going out there and buying some real estate. So I'd recommend that book, for multifamily, if you want to get involved in multifamily, a lot of it has to do with, it's really you have to raise a lot of money, right when you're in multifamily. So you have to talk to a lot of investors and, a lot of people are apprehensive cuz they think it's too good to be true. what are you talking about? 15 to 20% returns tax benefits. There's gotta be what's the catch. You're gonna take all my money. So they think it's a scam and there's some valid reasons why people don't, haven't heard about these investments. Mostly because the SCC doesn't let us talk about 'em right. I couldn't tell you about an investment. I had open right now. It's against the rules. I can't do it. There's a book called, pitch anything it's by, or it's a great book on how to present your idea, because what I run into a lot of time when I'm talking, raising capital out, People are immediately gonna think you're trying to scam 'em and, they're they have this block they put, and they will not go past that block. And that book's really great about telling you how to get, and it's just a fight or flight instinct that people have, right. There's a bad investment if it's too good to be true. And so that book really helped me get past that to, to really have investors feel comfortable and understand that, Hey, this isn't scam, this is actually really good deal. That, book's great. I don't know if you read it, but it's a great book. And if you read, if you listen to the audio book on that, it's actually the author. He's he's the one that's, talking. So it's really good. Cuz he goes a little bit further than the book does and I've done both. I read the book and listened to the podcast, the audio book version of it. They're both great.

Average Joe Finances:

I like audiobooks, because I like to, listen to in my car, like during my commute or just pretty much any time that I'm listening to something, I don't really listen to music too much anymore, except for like when I'm working out. But even sometimes when I'm working out, I'll be listening to a podcast or an audio book and same because it's super important that you keep yourself, you keep learning, and you keep. I like to call myself a content sponge. Most of the stuff I watch on YouTube, or even on TikTok and stuff like that is all stuff that would add value. It's business related totally. Or it's real estate related, investing related, of course there's every now and then a stupid cat video pops up and, you laugh and you giggle a little bit and then you swipe away and then something else of value comes up. Totally. It's, Keeping your mind open to, to continue learning and just being, like I said, a content sponge can really help you accelerate what you're trying to do, in business or in life. There's even a lot of really great wellness, podcasts and books out there that can just help you be happier in general, because what happens when you start making all this money and you free up your time. You need to focus on other things you need to focus on your family. You need to focus on your health. You need to focus on things that will make you happy and prolong your life and different things like that. Super important. And, those are two great book recommendations for everybody that's listening. Go check 'em out. Yeah, so Ruben, this was absolutely awesome. I do have one more question for you now that's outside of the final round. But this is probably the most important question of all, because we've been sitting here chatting about some really awesome information. You've been putting out some valuable information, and the people that are listening probably wanna know more about you, who you are, what you're doing and, and how they could find you. So if you could, this is your time to shine and tell us, where can people find more information about you? Do you have a website you could share with us any social media or anything like that where people could follow you?

Ruben Dominguez:

Absolutely. Probably the best place is our website. It's totem like a totem pole, totemcapitalgroup.com. And there's a, you can set up a call with me on that website. You can set up for our newsletter so you can see what we're doing out there. And then we also have another company called apartment educators. It's apartmenteducators.com. We started that. We, we give away a bunch of content on that. People are interested in getting active in multifamily. That's a great place to. And if you're looking to just sync up with me, my, my website, it's probably the best place to, to catch me. Also, my email is Ruben totem capital group.com. I'm happy to engage anyone over email. If you have questions or you're interested in investing, or you just wanna you're in San Antonio, you wanna go out for coffee and get some advice. Happy to do that with anyone. I love helping people. I really do enjoy helping people in their real estate. So anyone has quite, I'm happy to show all my spreadsheets and all my stuff that we use, especially in the single family. I had it, I had a big system. But except if anyone's interested in any of that, happy to just give that away for free, we don't, I try to help as many people as I can.

Average Joe Finances:

That's fantastic. That and super valuable. So Ruben really appreciate that really enjoy, really appreciate you taking the time on a Saturday to sit here and have this conversation with me and, an awesome conversation at that. And then also being so generous with everything that you do. So everybody go check out his websites and, we'll make sure we have links to all of that in the show notes below to make it just a little bit easier for you. So if you're driving, don't sit here and try to write that down or try to go to the website. Wait till you're in a good spot and just go to the show notes. It'll be there. And, as, as well as Ruben's email, so you can get in touch with them and, yeah. Hey, again, Ruben, great value added in this podcast episode. Again, thank you so much for chatting with me today.

Ruben Dominguez:

Thanks for having me, Mike. I appreciate you.

Average Joe Finances:

Awesome. Aloha from Hawaii.