Speaker 1: Now, here’s your host, active real estate investor and entrepreneur, Chad Duval.
Chad Duval: What is going on, guys? Welcome to another episode of the Start FM Podcast. This is a good one. I wanted to jump in real quick and introduce you to [Ola Dantis 00:01:05]. He is a multi-family syndicator. He’s got over 500 units, but he started in humble beginnings. He’s from Nigeria, started with a duplex, and in a short couple of years has generated up to 500 units in his portfolio. It’s a pretty amazing story. We get into anything from house hacking, where he first started, to the intricate details of how syndication works. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, if you’re interested in syndication. Also, we transition into the importance of mindset and how to structure your day every day to make sure that you can handle the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur and real estate investor. It’s some good stuff.
I appreciate you guys listening along, and I also wanted to just give you a heads up. About halfway through the interview, something’s going on with Skype, and it breaks up a little bit for a couple of minutes, but then comes back. So, if you can push through that, get to the other side, the rest of the show is pretty good and you can hear everything correctly. Again, I appreciate you guys listening, and let’s get into the show. Ola Dantis, what’s going on, man? How are you? Welcome to the show.
Ola Dantis: Thank you, so much, Chad. Doing fantastic. Doing fantastic.
Chad Duval: Good. Good, good, good, man. Good to hear. Good. So, let’s jump right into it, then. I guess I’ll let you introduce yourself and let everybody know who you are and what you’re doing in real estate.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, sure. My name is [Aldentes 00:02:28]. I’m a multi-family syndication investor. We buy apartments, value add, and then sell it. Of course, [inaudible 00:02:38] my journey did not start that way. I started, pretty much, like everyone else in this game, started small, now am building up. We essentially bought a duplex, then did some flips. Now, we’re into multi-family. We just closed on a 160-unit in Houston, Texas, a few months ago. Currently, as this is recording… I don’t know when it’s gonna be pushed out, but we already have a 104-unit under contract in a city in Texas. I don’t want to say the name because I’m giving it all away. It’s still under wraps and under contract, here. So, we’re pretty excited about what we’ve got going on, and we’re just looking to help others as much as we can, as we continue on our journey.
Chad Duval: Perfect. How many units do you have in total, right now?
Ola Dantis: My partners and I, we have about just close to about 500, now.
Chad Duval: Oh, wow. Okay. Wow. That’s a really big portfolio. That’s awesome, and you started with a duplex. That’s very interesting.
Ola Dantis: With a duplex, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Chad Duval: I’m curious about that duplex, how you got into that. I’m actually more curious on the transition into the syndication, it seems like, or the larger buildings. That’s actually where I’m in my transition in real estate, right now. I started with the smaller multis, and now I’m trying to look into that. So, this is, kind of, a selfish question.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I typically start with story. I think a lot of people, by nature, we humans like storytelling. We grasp concepts through storytelling. So I usually have the story. My wife and I moved to the United States about five or so years ago. We got jobs. We got a nice apartment. Life was good. Many people can relate to that, right now, especially people in the millennials or in our age range. Right?
Chad Duval: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ola Dantis: For me, personally, I kept thinking, “I could do more with my life. There’s sgot to be something more that wake up, go to work, come back, eat, sleep, wake up, go to work, come back, eat, sleep-
Chad Duval: Yeah, the rat race, man.
Ola Dantis: There’s got to be. Essentially, there’s got to be something else, but I couldn’t really articulate what I was really thinking. It didn’t make sense, because I felt like I have, pretty much, a good life. I was [inaudible 00:04:57] luxury apartment. My wife and I were living the life. [inaudible 00:05:02] cash flow. Different story for another time, but we were living that life. Then, kind of, out of the blue, my friend called me… my friend from the U.K. called me saying, Ola, can you get to Dubai? I’m meeting some of my investors in Dubai. I really do want you to help me on my business, in terms of structuring, seeing [inaudible 00:05:23] scale, and just helping generally. So, I did what every wise man can do. I obviously prayed about it and then asked my wife. She was like, “Uh, have you guys heard of something called Skype or FaceTime?”
Chad Duval: It’s a little cheaper, a little easier.
Ola Dantis: Right. Anyway, a little bit of back and forth. I was like, “Hey, maybe if I go to this trip, learn something new that I didn’t know, in life, the change begins with the impute of new information.” Your life would never change if you’re not exposed to something you didn’t know yesterday. Right?
Chad Duval: Right, and you wouldn’t even know… Going forward, you wouldn’t even know what you don’t know. There’s a lot of stuff there that you had no idea that might come your way. It’s crazy. You put yourself in a different position.
Ola Dantis: Exactly.
Chad Duval: That’s interesting.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Before you knew it, I was on the plane, going to Dubai. I thought it was going to be the fancy Lamborghinis, helicopters, like you see on Instagram, but obviously not. It was just pretty vanilla. We were just in a hotel room for three days, masterminding on my friend’s business. What I didn’t tell you is that my friend’s business was commercial real estate in the U.K. During that time, I was like, “Oh, my goodness. This guy is making so much money. He’s doing well. Maybe I could do this thing in the U.S.” On my way back, on the plane, I just kept thinking, “Oh my God. What can I do?”
When I got back home to the U.S., I just started Googling, literally Googling real estate and this website kept coming up… started coming up, BiggerPockets, and I go into the podcast, and I started learning everything I could. I kept hearing this book, Rich Dad Poor Dad. Then, I bought the book, read the book, and I got a straight uppercut into life. I was like, “Oh, my God. I can tie this to exactly what I’ve been trying to say, but this guy wrote a book.” I felt like I wrote the book.
Chad Duval: Wait. At this time, before you went to Dubai, you said you had a duplex at that time?
Ola Dantis: No.
Chad Duval: Oh, you didn’t.
Ola Dantis: We stayed in a luxury apartment where we were paying rent.
Chad Duval: Okay.
Ola Dantis: Life was good.
Chad Duval: Okay, okay, so this is prior to everything. Okay, I got you. Okay. Okay, yes, so this is probably mind blowing stuff, to be exposed to that. I remember the same thing happened to me when I first started, too, especially that book. I gets a lot of popularity for a good reason. Anybody who hasn’t read it yet, Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki, it’s definitely… It changes your perspective on live, and is definitely a game changer. I highly recommend it. Sorry to interrupt.
Ola Dantis: No, no, no. That’s fine. Then, I just like, “Oh, my goodness. This guy is basically saying everything I’ve been thinking.” It’s this weird… I’m trying to take you upon this journey but, to go back real quickly, and you mentioned it. We’re in this luxury apartment. I don’t have to worry about when the trash gets taken. I don’t know what property tax is. Why should I care? When I come back home, I get parking. Life was good. I’ll get back to that.
Anyway, I got the book, reading. Then I was like, “Oh, my God. We have to do something.” So, two or three months, or so, after that, we got our first duplex. We found this duplex in Baltimore City. It was basically… We had a two-bedroom on the top and a one-bedroom on the bottom floor. When we actually acquired that building, we just moved straight into the bottom floor. It was actually vacant at the time. It was owned by this couple that moved to the suburbs, didn’t really care for so much about the property. So we [inaudible 00:08:57] value add, because I’d been learning. I’d been reading.
So we bought this thing. We bought it for about 240. Then we went and spent another 40, or so, k, 40, 60k into it. We basically just painted, flooring, changed the kitchen countertop. I think [inaudible 00:09:19]. I think it was formica, whatever. We changed it into marble. It’s a Class A area in Baltimore. This is a Class A area in Baltimore. Took out the bath, just took out the old bathroom, changed all that. Then, we did the same thing upstairs, when my wife and I got a child. So, we did all that, and, during that time, we were living in the duplex, my wife and I were at home, one night, doing what lovers do, cooking. Then, my wife and I were talking. We were like, “Hey.” I was like, “I’m noticing that my account is gradually building up.” She was like, “Me, too. Me, too,” because obviously somebody’s paying most of your mortgage, and all the money you make just sits, literally sits in your account. So we had that epiphany like, “Oh my goodness. If we bought more [inaudible 00:10:16], we wouldn’t have to go to a job. We would literally have that financial freedom.”
Now, it’s a long game. It’s not an overnight get-rich-quick scheme, but we realized that if we kept doing this, before we knew it, we would be able to replace our income with rental income. So, when we got that epiphany, we were like, “Oh, my God. Wow, maybe we can do more of this.” That’s when I got exposed to multi-family investing and obviously apartment syndication. At that time, I got a mentor to help me through, and I started learning. Then, we founded our company, dwellyn.com. So, I’ll stop there, just for you to-
Chad Duval: No, no. That’s… Honestly, it’s a great story and, honestly, I think it’s a very traditional way, I think, almost, that a lot of people actually end up in real estate. I was just curious. So, you got the duplex. Did you read about that strategy, basically house-hacking? I don’t know if even house-hacking was a thing, at that time. I know it’s a very famous word now.
Ola Dantis: I did, actually.
Chad Duval: Okay, so you did? Okay.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, I did. I did. I did. I actually did, and it’s funny you said that because it’s fascinating going back to recollect what I did. When I got back, I was reading about real estate. I was like, “Oh, my God. We should buy a condo.” Then, we had this agent that would take us to condos in the area closer to the luxury apartments in suburban Maryland, where we were living, and I was realizing that, “This is not going to work because we have to live in here, and then move out and get a tenant,” and it just wasn’t making sense. Then, I heard of [inaudible 00:11:47]. So I told my agent, “Actually no. No more condos. Basically, look for something called a duplex.” She wasn’t even sure what that is. So, for those listening, not every agent actually invests. Actually most agents don’t invest. So you might have to educate your agent in your local area. Then, she started looking-
Chad Duval: Is it common in Baltimore to have duplexes and stuff like that? I know some markets don’t even have them. Some have… It varies by market, or sure. You can hunt for them and probably find them in every market, but they’re not as prevalent in some. Was it a struggle to find a bunch of duplexes to put offers in?
Ola Dantis: That’s a fantastic question. Remember I was talking about the luxury apartment. I didn’t have to worry about trash. I didn’t have to worry about property taxes. I didn’t have to worry about parking. In the area I was living in, you had no duplex. So, this was Columbia, Maryland. This was suburbia, pretty nice county, very, very nice area, but zero multi-family. It doesn’t exist. Maybe about get one. So, we had to move to Baltimore City from suburbia-
Chad Duval: Oh, okay. Yes, [crosstalk 00:12:51] some big changes.
Ola Dantis: … and that’s where you get the concentration. Yes. That’s where you get a concentration of multi-family, triplexes, duplexes, fourplexes. Just go back when, obviously, we bought this, we get home, we would try to get parking. You have to drive around the block two or three times. I have to, obviously, now care about property taxes. That jacks up my cash flow [inaudible 00:13:14]. I have to, now, take the trash out, even when it snows. My point is you might be living this comfortable life, and you’re looking at real estate at the horizon like, “Well, I could be doing what this guys is talking about right now. I could go buy a house,” but just realize that there’s always a price to pay. I always add this to that. Of course, there’s never a discount. You have to pay the full price. In our case, it’s been uncomfortable essentially.
Chad Duval: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s where the most growth comes from, I think, is uncomfortability. I did the exact same thing. I moved to a very rural area of Connecticut and did the same thing, a duplex house hacked, and that sort of thing. It was very uncomfortable because it was very rural. As you know, and some of the listeners know, I live in downtown Boston, so I’m more of a city kind of guy. So, for some people, it might not look like a big deal to move outside the city and move into a rural area or even, like your situation, moving from a nice area into a different area to actually uproot your family and essentially go through a bunch of pain to go after this dream and know the upside was there, but it was a short-term pain. So that’s super important for a lot of people, because a lot of people feel like want to have their cake and eat it too. Sometimes, it doesn’t work that way. There’s always going to be some give and pull, based on where you want to go.
So, when you bought this property, you went in. You did some light rehabs or some minor rehabs. How did you finance all of that? Was that just part of savings or was that through cash flow, that sort of thing?
Ola Dantis: Fantastic question. In terms of how we funded, there was like from savings, some money that we had. From the finance side, however, we had the leverage was a check.
Chad Duval: Okay, yep.
Ola Dantis: [inaudible 00:15:00] essentially a loan that is backed by [inaudible 00:15:06] Federal government loan that allows you to put 3.5% down on a multi-family building. When I found out, I was like, “Oh my goodness. This is amazing.” So we were able to buy this house for not that much money out of pocket, so that was really helpful for us to actually get out [inaudible 00:15:24].
Chad Duval: I see. I see. So, because you had the low down payment, you were able to use some of the other cash that you had for rehabs.
Ola Dantis: Correct.
Chad Duval: Okay.
Ola Dantis: Frankly, we took our time, as well. It wasn’t like we went [inaudible 00:15:37] got time. We had the time. It wasn’t like we had to do everything. So we waited for the tenant upstairs to move out. Then, when they moved out, I got my guys in there [inaudible 00:15:47]. It was like a gradual [inaudible 00:15:48]. There was a method to the madness, essentially.
Chad Duval: Right. Yeah, and it all works based on your schedule, too. There’s no rush. It’s better than spending time on the couch watching Netflix every night. If you just put up one sheet of drywall a night, that’s more progress than sitting on the couch. I know, for me, I did the same kind of strategy. I spread it out over two years, and just, as cash came in, we would save a little bit, save a little bit. Then, once you had enough for the next project, you’d go do it. Then, you’d wait and wait, and lived in a live-in flip, which isn’t always the most fun and glamorous, but just, over time, you get there, and there’s no rush for it.
I think that’s such an awesome strategy that, like I said earlier, I think it’s a very traditional way, but I think it’s that way for a reason. It’s very attainable, especially [inaudible 00:16:36] goes up to four units. So you’re essentially coming in with 3-1/2% down to buy all this cash flow, especially for a four-unit. That can be significant cash flow in some markets.
Ola Dantis: Absolutely.
Chad Duval: Yeah, that’s really interesting. So, you got this duplex. You got all excited. You’re building up cash. You’ve got cash coming out your ears. Then, you decided to look at multi-family, and now you’re transitioning, I think, into the larger buildings. Can you walk us through, A, your thought process for that, and actually the steps that you actually did to get to where you are now?
Ola Dantis: Yes. I think that’s really important. There wasn’t a straight jump. That’s actually the very fascinating thing. There wasn’t a straight jump from buying this duplex into multi-family.
Chad Duval: I got you. Okay.
Ola Dantis: So, during that process, I met a partner who was like, “Hey, Ola, we can start flipping and start making bunch of money. [inaudible 00:17:33]
Chad Duval: You’re going to get rich.
Ola Dantis: Right? Luckily, for me, I [inaudible 00:17:38] watching too much [inaudible 00:17:40] TV, at the same time. So, I contracted a disease called Shiny Object Syndrome. So I left all my process of learning with a mentor, actually, for multi-family syndication. I started flipping. That literally sucked out a year and a half of my life, because I bought this flip, and I did another flip, and then it kept going. So, I realized I was spending most of my time going to my site every single day, to execute on this project. For me, I learned a ton that, hey, first and foremost, I didn’t have the temperament to flip. It was just not my thing. A lot of people flip, and they’re great at it and it’s just that [inaudible 00:18:23] that they love it, but I wasn’t interested in all of that for rights of reasons.
Chad Duval: Yeah. No, so there was a positive that ame out of it. You basically realized that you do not like flipping. I think that’s a huge step. Now, while [crosstalk 00:18:38] you were doing these flips, you were already thinking about multi-family, and you just decided to do this because the opportunity came across your radar.
Ola Dantis: Correct. Yes, I was definitely doing the multi-family stuff anyway, but reality of life is that, when you leave something to go chase another thing, there’s always a price to pay, and there’s no discount. It’s the full price.
Chad Duval: Right.
Ola Dantis: So, for me, even though I was still learning multi-family syndication, talking to some investors that could invest, I was flipping, and that’s a job.
Chad Duval: Oh, yeah, that’s a lot of work.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, flipping is a job. For me, that was the price I had to pay. I didn’t want to. I thought I could do both. I thought I was Superman, but the reality is I couldn’t do both, because I was basically generating this [inaudible 00:19:33] time. I was the GC. I was getting the [inaudible 00:19:36]. There was a lot.
Chad Duval: Well, yeah, and also, too, you’re on a time crunch with that, versus your house hacking. House hacking, you take as long as you want. You’re making cash flow every month. You’re good. Flipping, you’re on a time crunch because the longer you hold that, that the longer those holding costs add up. So, it’s a whole different beast. It’s, kind of, funny you had two extremes that you were working at the same time.
Ola Dantis: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and for me, I have to basically make a decision, and I had to when I finished the flips. The first flip that we did, it was a decent place, and we got it for $75,000. We put in another $75,000 and we sold it for $245. It was a good flip. Then, I was like, “This is a lot of work, a lot of effort. I’m not loving… Oh, I love this flooring,” or, “This paint.” I just wasn’t interested. So I realized I’m actually more oriented towards people like investors and finding a great deal with my partners and [inaudible 00:20:40] with the other partners, because syndication is a different beast, as you know. I just was more drawn to that. So I was like, “I’m just going to stop.” It’s something called Creative Abandonment. You have to say, “Hey, this is not something I want to do,” so you can focus on what you really want to do. So that’s what I had pushed myself to do.
Chad Duval: I see. Now, while you’re doing all these… the flip, and you had the duplex at the same time, were you working full-time, too?
Ola Dantis: Absolutely.
Chad Duval: Oh, man. That’s a lot of work. That’s like two-and-a-half jobs, right there, probably. Yeah.
Ola Dantis: Mm-hmm (affirmative), but at the end of the day, reality is, yes, you can take time. You can take time from this place and reallocate your resources time but, at the end of the day, the question is, “What do I want to do longterm?” For me, personally, if I kept flipping, I saw a heart attack in 40 years. So I was like, “Oh, I don’t think that’s a good journey. Let me change. It’s just too much.” The inspectors, the contractors. I call them con tractors-
Chad Duval: Yeah, oh, I like that.
Ola Dantis: … cons [crosstalk 00:21:46].
Chad Duval: We love contractors. Don’t give us wrong, but there are a lot of bad eggs out there, for sure. That’s funny.
Ola Dantis: For sure. Of course, I love contractors. Those are the guys that I was working with [inaudible 00:22:00] but, just for me, I was just like, “This is not something I want to do longterm.”
Chad Duval: Right. Right. Okay, yeah, so you’re flipping that. You had some self-awareness. You wanted to make a pivot. You liked the value of the multi-family, however, you wanted to start the syndication model. Now, I’m assuming you were reading about that through BiggerPockets. You said you had a mentor. I’m not sure if you had the mentor at this point. I hate using that word, mentor, because it gets thrown around a lot. So, am I correct in saying that you had a mentor at this point? Was your mentor that flipper or was it somebody else, that guy in Dubai?
Ola Dantis: Yes. Yes. No, no, no, no, no, no. My mentor was actually a multi-family syndicator.
Chad Duval: Okay.
Ola Dantis: We’re still doing deals to today. He’s [inaudible 00:22:39] and basically I just heard him on a podcast and at the end of the podcast, he basically gave out his cell number, and he was like, “Oh, nobody’s going to call me anyway. So, here’s my cell phone number,” and obviously, I’m nobody.
Chad Duval: Wow.
Ola Dantis: I called him, and he took me under his wing, got me [inaudible 00:23:05]. I learned a ton from him, still do. I like to [inaudible 00:23:09] because multi-family syndication is, by its nature, complex. So, it’s not like wholesaling or, maybe, flipping. You can still stumble your way through but [inaudible 00:23:26] with moving parts. So you need a more structured approach. You need a team of folks. You need partners that you can trust. You need to understand asset management. I was in a meeting. I think it was a couple of weeks ago, with my partners, and we had to essentially go through our July statement for one of our buildings, and this is a 43-page document.
Chad Duval: Sorry to interrupt this episode but I wanted to ask you a huge favor. If you’re enjoying this episode, so far, or you’re a big supporter of the podcast, can you go the Apple Podcast app and leave a rating and review for the show? I didn’t realize how easy it was until the past couple of weeks, I’ve been going in and rating and reviewing all of the podcasts that I actually listen to on a daily basis, and it’s super easy.
If you just go to the show in the app and scroll to the bottom, it’s literally just two clicks. All you have to do is click on the stars to leave a rating. Then, there’s an area there where you can actually leave a comment or a review on the actual show. So, I would love your help. Leave some feedback, and it’ll only help the show grow. I appreciate you guys listening, and let’s get back to the show.
Ola Dantis: Then, we have to tally our numbers on the credit and debit lines to our balance sheet. That’s a specialized skill. So, I’m just going to throw that example out there. This is a little bit of a different piece, so it’s always nice to have… If you want to obviously really [inaudible 00:24:52] your learning curve will, I guess maybe… You want to learn quicker and you need someone to hold your hand, I think that’s a definitely better approach. You don’t want to be a doctor and perform surgery-
Chad Duval: Right, right.
Ola Dantis: … without a professor or university showing you how to do that. I think that’s a good way to describe it.
Chad Duval: Nice. Okay. Yeah, so you got this mentor. Then, so let’s walk through your syndication. Was your first syndication used solely by yourself, actually being the general partner, or did you actually invest in one, like a deal with this guy or girl, and trying to understand it that way?
Ola Dantis: Great question, actually. We actually have a syndication group. Essentially, we’re a bunch of innocent [inaudible 00:25:43]. We all know each other, and we all know who we are, who are doing deals and stuff. So, I’m actually part of a group, and [inaudible 00:25:51] I was actually on the GP side. Essentially, what I did for that use, brought some investors and help here and there with the asset management. That’s typically the kind of [inaudible 00:26:00] I’m going for, for the most part because, at the end of the day, most syndications required a lot of people, anyway.
So, even if you were to have a deal where you were going to be the lead GP, you would still need other GPs. You would still need a bunch of LPs because the last deal we did was $11.5 million. What I normally say [inaudible 00:26:30] is, “Unless you’re a Saudi prince with a gazillion dollars or whatever, that you can trough this by yourself or, even with that, you still need good lawyers. You still need people to help you. It’s not just like, “Oh, I want to go buy a single-family down the street.” It’s just different, by nature. So, a partnership is the [inaudible 00:26:54].
Chad Duval: Yeah, and with syndication, took. It’s a great strategy, but it’s more complex, from my perspective. I have never done one, but you’ve got two sides of the deal. You’ve got the deal, itself, but then you also have the investors in doing… It’s almost like, in my head, you actually have deal with the investors and that side of the finances and everything as a separate business from the actual acquisition and the management of the actual building. Then, trying to marry the two is where the skill comes and the complexity comes, trying to manage those two together. Am I correct in that?
Ola Dantis: You’re absolutely correct. I think there’s actually… If you look at some of the well-established [inaudible 00:27:30] syndication companies, you would actually see… In their organization chart, they actually have IAR, which is investor relations. That’s a thing.
Chad Duval: Yeah, yeah.
Ola Dantis: It’s totally separate to AM, to asset management. So, yeah, you are absolutely correct. You have someone to actually deal with all the investors because you have all those investors giving you 50, 100, and 200,000 checks. Then, you have to make sure you give them quarterly or monthly updates through structured mechanism. It could be like a email or newsletter or just some metrics update of [inaudible 00:28:04] at this level. So that’s a thing. Then you have to have the Asset Manager, which is managing the building. So you have to make sure you’re constantly speaking to your Regional. Make sure speaking to them. Make sure they hit in your matrix, leasing expectations, leasing activities, making sure that the value [inaudible 00:28:22] and trying to execute is actually in line with what’s actually going on under ground. So there’s just a lot going on that, for the most part, you need just a bunch of different brains and a bunch of people and boots on the ground, like we obviously do right [inaudible 00:28:42].
Chad Duval: Now, I’m just curious. Where do you sit within that, normally? If you’re a GP and you’re putting this deal together, do you have your fingers in both sides or do you create a team for one or is it, you can do whatever you want, type of thing? I’m just curious on how that typically works.
Ola Dantis: Yeah. I think that’s a good question. For us, we have [inaudible 00:29:04] in a dwelling. So, typically, for our deals, we’ll still basically… We have some other [inaudible 00:29:11] partners. So they basically bring equity to the capital [inaudible 00:29:15]. So those would basically manage their investors. So, that way, we don’t have to manage them their investors. Some people that raise funds don’t want you to manage their investors because it could be seen as you’re taking their investors. So, you could provide them with the matrix and they’ll redistribute that to their investors. Then, on the asset management side, of course, we own that process and we obviously constantly deal with the property management company and we have to be on them, essentially, to make sure that whatever we promised our investors, we’re on track to it. There’s [inaudible 00:29:54] cash [inaudible 00:29:54] for whatever structure we have for that particular deal. So, for the most part-
Chad Duval: Oh, yeah. That’s a really good point. You actually have to make sure that your asset management plan is on point, because whatever you told your investors, they need to align with each other. You need to be forcing the asset management team to be doing things for the investors, basically, and to that plan. That’s got to be a constant struggle, too.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, yeah, yeah. For the most part, the good thing is we have a great partnership with our property management companies. They’re pretty good at this, and it’s just really understanding that is in alignment of interests, not only with the PM, but also with our investors, like this is what we think we can offer, as opposed to trying to over-promise and then under-deliver. So, it’s really marrying or making sure that [inaudible 00:30:44] interest with the investors also feeds over to the asset management side with the property management company. If they don’t have that owner mentality, or they don’t understand that they need to basically deliver because we have other people’s money, in some cases, they are the 401Ks in this deal, then you can have a mismatch, and you could actually struggle. When it happens that owner mentality, it makes it a little bit more easier to get things moving and things don’t [inaudible 00:31:12].
Chad Duval: I see. Okay. Yeah, yeah, those are all great explanations. Of course, some of this is very, very selfish because this is the model that I want to go, and I didn’t even realize, until you just said this, that you can basically sub out your investors under some stack program. I’m a big proponent. I like hiring out every aspect of the business to professionals. That way, you can swap them out easier. It’s a lot less to manage for me personally, but I didn’t realize that the investor part of it could be pulled into that type of category, as well. I always thought I would spend most of my time managing all of those investors and investor relationships, which is a lot of work, too, and keep building those relationships. I didn’t realize that I could just build a relationship with one company that manages it all for me. That’s so awesome. I didn’t even know that. We’ll have to talk afterwards and let me know what…
Ola Dantis: Yeah, there’s so many different ways, so I just want to jump on that before we move on [inaudible 00:32:15]. Let’s say you called me and said “Hey, Ola, I’ve got this fantastic deal in Texas, whatever, and hear maybe you can bring some equity. So, I say, “Okay, yeah, that’s fine.” So I bring equity. Then you basically don’t have to talk to my investors. You just have to talk to me-
Chad Duval: I see. Yeah.
Ola Dantis: … and I’ll to them.
Chad Duval: Okay, that’s a-
Ola Dantis: So that’s one way-
Chad Duval: Yeah, that’s a much easier way to look at it.
Ola Dantis: The second way is you have a lot of third-party, basically what we call… It’s called investment management software, IMS. In the software, you can basically say, “Ola, just give me the emails of the investors, and I’ll tag them in my system as your investors.” So, I can just log into your platform-
Chad Duval: Oh, interesting.
Ola Dantis: … and then send out emails to my guys. There’s a lot of really, really amazing software out there that actually does this anyway, now. So, I’m just trying to get back to you having that somewhat hands offish approach to investor relations. That’s a thing, too.
Chad Duval: Yeah, I know. It’s crazy [crosstalk 00:33:22]. Talking about that software. If you’re tagging other… Say you have John Smith over here. He’s tagged as your investor. I log in. Do you basically tap into your investors to make sure the deal gets done, as a last resort type of thing, or to you bring them into the deal and then I get a small cut of it, and you get most of the cut of that type of… How does that typically work, the [inaudible 00:33:48] split?
Ola Dantis: That’s a great question. It really depends on the structure that you have with the sponsor syndicator. What if you can have, maybe, a slice of the GP. There’s different ways to skin this cat. At the end of the day, it goes down to this is something that you partner with other people. This has been done for decades. What we’re talking about isn’t new, in any way. The software might be new, but it’s just got to work with people like [inaudible 00:34:18] like all these other guys that we see, even all the way to the Trump family. This is not new, like you can just bring capital. You’re just trying to… It’s like… Here’s a good example. You’re trying to get a flight. You don’t call United or Delta and say, “Hey, can you come grab me in front of my house and take me to… I’m traveling to Las Vegas.” No, you buy a ticket with 300 other people because you can’t afford to charter the plane-
Chad Duval: I got you.
Ola Dantis: … to come to your front door.
Chad Duval: Yeah, that’s a perfect example.
Ola Dantis: It’s the same thing. That’s why you have travel agents. They’re not United or whatever, but they can say, “Hey, Chad, this is a good deal.” It’s, kind of, the similar-
Chad Duval: Okay, yeah.
Ola Dantis: … kind of thing going on.
Chad Duval: As a syndicator, basically, yeah, like an agent trying to sell multiple tickets on one airplane, basically.
Ola Dantis: Something like that. That’s a good way to look at it.
Chad Duval: That’s a really good way to look at it, especially because I work in aerospace, too, so I get it now. That’s awesome. Actually, everything seems to be going well. You’ve transitioned into syndication. That’s your model, now. It doesn’t have to be syndication. It could be the duplex or smaller properties, but do you have a specific horror story that you’ve had to deal with that all the listeners could learn from? Everybody’s got at least one.
Ola Dantis: If you’ve done this thing long enough-
Chad Duval: Yeah.
Ola Dantis: Okay, I think, for me is a pivotal moment in my career, or… I actually like to call it a real estate investing game, because it really is a game. Not like a game in a bad, negative connotations. It’s just a game you have to understand is flipping. My second flip, was just… It wasn’t a horror story, but it just taught me a lot about, like I said, myself and what I really want to spend my life doing. We bought this 2400-square feet home, Class A area in Baltimore, I’ve got to say, in Baltimore City. Our flips are gut-outs. When we have flips, people think of, “Oh, maybe a lipstick on the pig on the fire,” or maybe like, “Oh, just a light…” Not light. We strip out everything. I have pictures of this, actually, I can share with you, Chad. We literally stripped out the whole house, down to the [inaudible 00:36:41]. We took out the wires. We take everything out. So, essentially, this is [inaudible 00:36:46] that I’m building a new house because, with a new house, all you have to do is go to City. You’ve bought the dirt. You lay the infrastructure, and you just, kind of… It’s like LEGO, but when you have that existing breaking apart structure…
Chad Duval: Now, these stripping out of these properties, is that a by-product of the market or is that a strategy that you guys move forward with?
Ola Dantis: No, that’s just a strategy we move forward with.
Chad Duval: Okay, I got you.
Ola Dantis: So, don’t forget, when we gut this house, there are different markets. You’re looking at a single-family, maybe in Texas in San Antonio or wherever, Houston, you can still find a house that built in 2005 or 2000 or ’95. Usually, Baltimore City is like 1900, like 1920, like these are-
Chad Duval: Old.
Ola Dantis: … old, old. Yeah, they may have been flipped here and there, or whatever, but they’re old. So you’ve got to work with that structure, but for us, my point is we didn’t have to go in and go in all guns blazing. We could’ve just make it look nice a little bit, do this, do that. Leave the fireplace. Don’t touch the fireplace. But, no, we’re like, “No, take the fireplace.” [crosstalk 00:37:53]
Chad Duval: Oh, man. Yeah, you guys were going crazy, then.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Literally everything, just give us the shell. It was just a lot, and we got this house. Like I said, it’s in the [inaudible 00:38:03]. It’s a really nice area. Then, obviously, we have architectural plans for all of our drawings. We have 3D imagery for all of our drawings. You might have seen some of them on the Dwellyn Instagram page. So we, basically, started from the top a little bit. Some of the neighbors saw something going up on the roof but, essentially, [inaudible 00:38:25] called a dog house on the roof of the house, which is basically where you go to get through to the rooftop deck, which we were erecting. There wasn’t a deck. We were building a brand new deck.
Apparently, somebody rich called their friends in the City and said, “Hey, these guys are building an addition to this three-story massive house.” We were like, “No, it’s just a tiny little dog house.” Anyway, that was the first thing. There was a time I went to my property and somebody actually called the cops on me. If you’re listening to this on iTunes, check the video out, so you can see how I look. The cops were called on me in my property, with my contractor. I was like, “Hi, Mr. Cop. This my house. We have to do some work,” and he just left right-
Chad Duval: Are you serious? That’s insane.
Ola Dantis: I made it out alive. It was very fascinating and obviously, eventually, anyway, we got shut down because the neighbors were like… There was this young guy. They were trying to… I don’t know. I don’t know, but I don’t sign up for that class of, “Why this happening to me?” I never have the victim mentality. I just get on with it, and that’s what I did. So, we were shut down by the City, and they gave us an excuse, but it doesn’t matter anyway. Then, we go back in there. We were working. We got the stop notice off. We did everything they wanted us to do. We finished the house. Just to give you quantitative side. We bought the thing for 150. We ended up spending just over about, almost 200,000, believe it or not. So that brings us to… Yeah, don’t strip down a house. So that brings us to 350. Then, we basically got an appraisal for the house, and I think we appraised it for about 460. So, pretty good, pretty good-
Chad Duval: How long did it take you to do this?
Ola Dantis: … but it was just the amount of… Oh, man, how to think… Maybe five months, or a little bit more. Actually, it took a long time, in my opinion, even a little bit more than that, but it wasn’t just so much the time. It was the emotional expenditure and what’s that return on emotions deployed.
Chad Duval: Right. Right, and that’s different for everybody, but it’s definitely something that you have to take into account when you especially flipping. That’s crazy. Did they make you take down that quote unquote “dog house”? I’m assuming that was just housing the stairs to get up there. Right?
Ola Dantis: Correct. Yeah. No, they didn’t. Come on. It’s me. No. It went up, and I’ll show you pictures of it.
Chad Duval: That’s awesome.
Ola Dantis: It went up. No, and that’s the other thing, as well. As an entrepreneur, you’re going into whatever this is. I don’t care if you’re buying Bitcoin, or whatever it is you’re doing, you’re into Crypto. What? You have to have resiliency. You have to make sure that your mindset is where it should be. You have to understand that adversity is just a stepping stone to success. All of those things are actually what makes you successful.
Yeah, you can learn about a tactical things, all day, every day. That’s why we have Google. I mean the proliferation of information, online, it’s just astonishing, where I call it like a data tsunami. If you want to learn how to design a robotic maid, or whatever, you probably can learn about it online, right now. So, the information is there, but what about… How do you mentally prepare yourself for this journey? I’ve got to say this, lastly, is most people who jump into real estate fail because they skip the stair of working on themselves.
Chad Duval: So, what do you do to work on your mindset? I know I have my own routines, every day, that I follow. Do you have any tips for anybody listening that are struggling with the mindset side of thing or the trying to deal with the adversity, and trying to work your way through all this? It isn’t easy. You see it on Instagram. You see it everywhere. Everybody thinks it’s super easy and fun and tons of money, but they don’t see a lot of stuff that happens 90% of the time, that’s not good. What sort of things do you do?
Ola Dantis: How much time do we have? There’s a couple of things. Depending on how you were brought up, where you were born, where you lived, what your approach is to life, what you think of life. First and foremost, what I say is, “Challenge your conventional thinking. Distort the lens in which you see the world.” A lot of people don’t even realize that there are a lot of mind contaminants, taking up space in their mind. The reason people struggle with this is like, “Oh, I don’t think I’m good enough. I don’t know if I can do it. I might fail. I don’t want people to think about me.” There’s a lot of that and, if you don’t tackle that first, first… Forget the mindset stuff. The mindset stuff is what you have to do for the rest of your life. I meditated for 30 minutes, this morning and I try to do that every single morning. That’s later. Don’t go start meditating, now-
Chad Duval: Because they’re just tactics.
Ola Dantis: That’s not.
Chad Duval: Right.
Ola Dantis: Yes, first is distort the lens in which you see the world, and challenge your conventional thinking of the world. Now, you might say, “Ola, what the heck is that? What do you mean?” Read. Start reading like a mad person.
Chad Duval: I was just going to say that, because a lot of people might not even understand what you mean by disturb the lens. I know, for me, the first time that ever clicked for me was when I read Rich Dad Poor Dad. It was the instant… Oh, my God. There’s a whole ‘nother lens out there. Completely changed the way that I thought the way things are supposed to be, and there’s multiple things in my life, that I’ve gone through, that have been different lenses. There’s travel. Travel to different countries is another big, big, big one, and reading books. I hundred percent agree. So, yet, get your mindset straight. Then, you can start working on those tactics.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, there are a bunch of things. There are a bunch of books, and the funny thing is when [inaudible 00:44:46] have reached that quota, they think real estate. It’s not really just about real estate, actually. I read about philosophy. I read about economics. I read a lot of… I love psychology. So, it’s just really telling yourself that you are committed to be a lifelong learner. That’s how you change how you think, because if you think, “Oh, I was born into this family. My family has issues. Nobody has been to college, in my house. Oh, I’m not going to make it,” your brain is eavesdropping on everything that’s coming out of your mouth, and it’s making that into your reality. So if you don’t tackle all that first, you can do all you want every single day. You can do the love attraction. You can talk about why you want to be successful, in front of the mirror. T does not matter if you don’t tackle that part. Do not skip this step.
Chad Duval: Man, Ol. Why do you make it so easy to understand? You must have a podcast or something. These are all such good points. Oh, my God, and that’s so true. If you commit in your head to lifelong learning, it allows a lot of other things to come into your life, and it allows those lenses to flow in front of your eyes and your thinking. It’s almost like you’re letting your guard down because if you know you’re trying to learn the rest of your life, you’re definitely more apt to listen to other people, see other things, experience other things, and, kind of, shape your perspective of the world, for sure. That’s such a good spot.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, and just to define mostly tactical stuff or mindset, I just wanted to ask you a question. How much do you think a library card costs?
Chad Duval: I know. Right? Isn’t that crazy?
Ola Dantis: Free. It’s free.
Chad Duval: Yeah.
Ola Dantis: And I think the number [inaudible 00:46:39] is like, I think, two to five percent of Americans actually own one. So, somebody might be saying, “Ola, I cannot afford to buy a book. I cannot afford Audible. I cannot…” So, go on YouTube. There are free books on YouTube, that you can just literally listen to, or go get a library card. In terms of what advice it is you’re trying to tell yourself, or your brain is trying to tell you, that’s an answer. Go on YouTube. Go get a library card. Library card is free.
Then, when you literally swept away… You’ve done a mind sweep of all the crap in your mind. I’m living proof. I was born in Nigeria, in Africa. I lived there. I tell people I’ve smelled poverty, but I realize that. So, you have to sweep that away first. Then you can start talking about, “Okay, what are the things I can try? Can I try meditation? Can I try jotting down five things I’m grateful for when I wake up? Can I try goal-setting, writing down my goals? Can I stop telling myself things that are not true?” These are things that you, as a person, have to now be aware of.
Up until this moment, that you heard my voice and Chad’s voice, you maybe never heard of this before. Good. Now, start finding voices like mine, like Chad. Go on YouTube. Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, all these amazing speakers, Les Brown. Start listening to them. People jump into their cars in the morning. They’re not even thinking about it, and they turn on the radio. Why? Why? You’ve heard that song five days in a row, dude. Something else. There are podcasts. Listen to a YouTube video that would actually tell you something. Listen to a book from YouTube or get the Audible subscription. Whatever works for you, but start to utilize what I call dead time. When you’re driving a car, you can’t really be listening to a book or doing back flips. You’re driving. So, use that time to listen to YouTube, to all this content.
Chad Duval: Yeah, even if it’s passive. I feel like, like you were saying before how your brain eavesdrops on a lot of stuff, and even if you’re passively listening to stuff, like you’re cleaning the house, or driving the car, even that’s a little bit less passive, but I know I always have stuff on. I listen to music a lot, too, but I usually prefer to have either a podcast or Audible or something like that, because even if I know that I’m not going to be able to pay attention to it, I somehow weirdly feel like my body and my mind is going to remember pieces of it, that is subconsciously going to come to fruition, some day. You know what I mean? I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s how I feel. So, I definitely subscribe to your-
Ola Dantis: It does, actually.
Chad Duval: Yeah, yeah, so crazy. That’s so crazy. I love this. I love getting into the mindset side of things. It’s so important, and I’m starting to realize that the more and more I get into this real estate journey, because you have to be mentally tough, every day.
With that being said, let’s pivot into the last section of the show, real quick, because we’re running out of time. I know you’ve got to get rolling. We usually do the last four questions, the final four. They’re just fun, just something light. I like to break up the talk about real estate and bring a little bit more… Sometimes, it can be pretty funny, to these last four questions. You ready?
Ola Dantis: Let’s do it.
Chad Duval: Okay the first one, question number one, if you were to get rid of any U.S. state, what would it be and why?
Ola Dantis: Aw, come on, man. Don’t do this to me.
Chad Duval: I always preface this with everybody. We don’t hate the state. It’s just one man’s point of view, and a lot of people get into this and say, “Oh, you know, landlord tenant laws suck here,” or anything like that, but I’m just curious. What state would it be?
Ola Dantis: I don’t see the point of Montana. What is going on there? I’ve never been to Montana, but-
Chad Duval: Me either.
Ola Dantis: … I feel like every time I get any [inaudible 00:50:46] to Montana, either on a film, or something, it’s just like land, and it looks… I don’t know if I’m right, but it looks arid, just land. I’ll probably go with Montana. That’s my answer.
Chad Duval: Yeah, and there is no right or wrong answer.
Ola Dantis: No offense to Montanians.
Chad Duval: Yeah, we love Montana.
Ola Dantis: Yes.
Chad Duval: Actually, no, that’s funny. That’s one of my mom’s favorite states. She goes there, because she’s into horses and she likes all that sort of thing. So that’s what you do in Montana. Question number two. We finish this interview. You walk outside, and you find a lottery ticket that’s worth a hundred million dollars. What would you do with the money?
Ola Dantis: A hundred million dollars. There’s a book called, The Richest Man in Babylon, and it talks about how to split a dollar. So, I think I’ll probably do that. That’s a lot of money, so I definitely would split it that way. I’d just go through it. It’s seven percent you save. You keep essentially 10%, [inaudible 00:51:47] 10% other investments, and I think 10% you put into a business or a venture of your own. So, yeah, I’ll go with that.
Chad Duval: Okay, perfect, perfect.
Ola Dantis: Great book, by the way. Richest Man in Babylon.
Chad Duval: Man, I’ve wanted to read it. I hear so much on other podcasts, other friends, other people in the industry. So, I’m going to write that down, right now, because I definitely want to read this.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The Richest Man in Babylon. That’s a good one.
Chad Duval: Perfect. It’s more Audible that I can listen to while I’m working out in the morning. That’s perfect.
Ola Dantis: And it’s a small book.
Chad Duval: Oh, perfect. Even better. Question number three. If you could have a beer with any person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? Beer, wine, vodka, soda, whatever you want.
Ola Dantis: Probably… I like water a lot.
Chad Duval: You could have water, coffee, tea.
Ola Dantis: Yeah. That is such an interesting one, actually. The first person that comes to mind is Barack Obama, but I think I’ll actually go with Jim Rohn. I think I’ll go with Jim Rohn.
Chad Duval: Okay, perfect.
Ola Dantis: And why, you said. I think Jim is just a remarkable person. He’s fascinating, his story, and his constant service to humanity. I think he died at the age of 92, and I still listen to his videos and watch his videos almost every day. That level of legacy is just something I really admire. So, I think that’s probably the reason, and what would I ask from him? I just feel like, “How did you do it?”
Chad Duval: Right. Yeah, yeah, totally.
Ola Dantis: That’s what I’d ask him.
Chad Duval: Yeah. No, so I know the name and I might sound a little naïve, but is he more like a Tony Robbins type of figure?
Ola Dantis: … is fantastic point. He’s actually Tony Robbins’ mentor.
Chad Duval: Oh, well, there you go. Perfect. That was a total guess, by the way. I had no idea.
Ola Dantis: Well now you do. Now, you’re going to check his… You’re going to be like, “Oh, my God. I did not know this guy. It is new information.”
Chad Duval: Yeah, this is perfect. This is perfect. More things to add to Audible and my workout time, for sure. So, question number four. This is a very funny question, sometimes. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what it would be?
Ola Dantis: Man. Does it have to be healthy?
Chad Duval: Hell, no. Mine wouldn’t be.
Ola Dantis: Okay, so if it doesn’t have to be healthy and it wouldn’t kill me, is bread, completely all day.
Chad Duval: Just bread. Really.
Ola Dantis: I love bread.
Chad Duval: Like sliced bread?
Ola Dantis: I go with a variety of bread like a [inaudible 00:54:35] bread. Do you guys know like [inaudible 00:54:37] bread that you buy? It’s a little tiny bread. It’s like a bun, and it’s like-
Chad Duval: It’s like a square, almost? Yes.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Those ones. If I could just [inaudible 00:54:46] on every second of my life, and I would be fine. I love those things.
Chad Duval: Yeah, people go nuts over those things. They’re crazy around the Holidays. Is it Thanksgiving that… Yeah, I think Thanksgiving… Everybody goes nuts with those things and, honestly, I’ve never even had one. So, I’m going to have to try one of those out, this Holiday.
Ola Dantis: I love bread.
Chad Duval: Bread. I love it. I think you and Holly would be friends. Holly loves bread, too.
Ola Dantis: Oh, really? Yeah. [inaudible 00:55:10].
Chad Duval: Yeah, there you go. Perfect. Well, that concludes our final four. I guess we could move into final thoughts. Basically, where can people reach you? That sort of thing. I know you’re on Instagram. You have a podcast, if you want to talk a little bit more about that, let’s do that.
Ola Dantis: Yeah, definitely. I appreciate it. You guys can… I’m pretty ubiquitous online, so just type in Ola Dantis, kind of the only one in the world. You can’t miss me, so check me out. Reach out to me. I love when I hear from people, actually. They’re like, “I heard your podcast.” I’m like, “Thank you for reaching out.” You weren’t just like a lurker and you didn’t reach out. [inaudible 00:55:53] I’m not going to sell you anything just because you say, “I heard you on Chad’s show.” I love to hear and get those messages. Also, our website is investwithola.com. That literally just redirects you to our Dwellyn site. So, check me out there.
For the Dwellyn show, of course, Chad, you’ve been on. I think your show actually went out a few weeks ago. Thank you for coming on. So, the Dwellyn Show. Check it out. Subscribe. Review. We’ve got a Amazon gift card thing going on right now. So if you actually give us a review, you can put into this draw to win an Amazon Gift Card. Yeah, I really appreciate the time, Chad. If anyone wants to reach out, feel free to do so.
Chad Duval: Yeah. No, that’s awesome. Yeah. No, I appreciate you coming on, and yes, share some love with him. Again, his podcast is really, really good. If you liked anything about this podcast, it’s very similar on his, a lot of mindset, a lot of good real estate stuff.
Ola Dantis: Thank you.
Chad Duval: So, check him out, and yeah, Ola, I appreciate you being here.
Ola Dantis: Thank you, Sir. Thank you, so much.
Chad Duval: All right. We’ll be in touch. Thanks, man. Wow, you guys. I really hope that you guys enjoyed that conversation as much as I did, with Ola. Man, he always has a really good way of articulating his thoughts that are just slightly different and slightly different perspective than a lot of other people. I know he resonates with me really well. He’s taught me a lot, especially with this interview. If you can, follow him on his [inaudible 00:57:12]. I’m going to link all of that contact information in the show notes. So, show him some love. He’s a really good dude that you can learn a lot from. I know I have, in the past, for sure.
I also want to shout out to a few of you guys. You guys have been showing so much love on the reviews and ratings on iTunes. I wanted to say, thanks for all you guys… [ryeguy66 00:57:32], [the cuse master 00:57:32], [rjvet 00:57:32], [danrout 00:57:32], [mjholdings 00:57:32], [alanw3 00:57:32], [crazyhorsecompanies 00:57:32], [bakustic 00:57:32], [marksergusa 00:57:32], and [kishelly 00:57:45]. You guys killing it. I love it. I appreciate all the love that you guys are giving me in the review section of iTunes, and that’s another reminder. I know there was a little commercial between my interview, but if you can, show some love and go to iTunes and rate, review, and I’m sure you’re subscribed if you’re listening to this, but go ahead and do that. I’m trying to get into the New and Noteworthy section of the iTunes Podcast Store. So, with that, you can also hit me up over on Instagram. That’s where I’m spending most of my time. It’s @iamchadduval, and as the famous Zig Ziglar always says, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Have a good week, you guys. We’ll catch you next Thursday.