I recently returned from a river rafting trip, and it inspired me to see the river as a metaphor for life. Stay with the current; go with the flow; and you’ll get to your destination. If you choose to go against the current, you can work hard without making a lot of progress. Bottom line: stay with the current knowing your goal, and you’ll get there sooner or later.
With that in mind, I’ve been reviewing my goals for 2021 to see how much progress I’m making. These are the goals I wrote in The 2021 Guide to Colorado Real Estate Investing Strategies that I talked about here.
- Listen to the podcast “#321: 2021 Goals Status Check with Chris” on the Denver Real Estate Investing Podcast
- Watch the YouTube video (at the bottom).
- Read the blog post. Note, the blog is an executive summary. Get the in-depth breakdown from the podcast or video.
Goal 1: Health Savings Account (HSA)
This is an easy one to check off: my goal was to max it out at the $7200 contribution limit, which I did.
HSAs are great for those with a high deductible insurance because you can to use it to pay for medical emergencies. They also come with some pretty amazing tax advantages—the money you put in lowers your taxes for that year, and you can reimburse yourself for any medical bills years’ after the fact.
Every year, I put $7200 into the account that I can use if I need to. Otherwise, the money in the account grows and compounds. If you have the right health insurance, this is a really cool tax vehicle. I was able to set up myself through Fidelity.
Goal 2: New Retirement Account
This year, I set up a 401K retirement account through Vanguard. There are a lot of different options for retirement accounts, and you can roll them over into different types of accounts throughout the years, too.
I set up a solo 401K that gave me tax savings today, and I can eventually use it to invest in real estate. The solo 401K allows me to be a limited partner in a larger deal, which is a good way to diversify away from my own rental properties.
Goal 3: Buy Two More Rental Properties
I recently purchased a property that has an ADU and is in a transitioning part of town with good schools and close to the light rail. I’m probably going to stick with buying just this property for the year.
I learned a lot about diversification through BiggerPockets this year, and I saw that I could put my extra capital into a 401K. This would allow me to get to the point where I could invest in bigger deals, instead of having that money sitting in a regular account until I could make a down payment on a second property. This was a better use of my funds to get to my ultimate goal.
Goal 4: Create a Documenting-Content Creation Machine
The best content isn’t hypothetical PowerPoint slides, but capturing what’s actually happening. Last year, we had the idea to put out more videos, so we remodeled the studio to take it from a good place to record podcasts to one where we could make videos, too. While the podcast is phenomenal, using YouTube and social media gives us more avenues to get the content out there. This year, I hired a social media manager and videographer to help improve the quality and create a media company.
This media company allows me to document the things that I, and my clients, are doing. Sharing this information provides networking at scale. I’ve learned in business and real estate that the bigger your network, the more deals you can make and the more access you have to things that are happening.
It takes a lot of time and manpower to get this stuff done, but now that it’s in place, there’s so much potential out there. If you have an interest and skill that you think can contribute to the company, listen to episode 300, 10x Your Career. Over the next three months, we’re looking at hiring people who will allow us to expand into more platforms and niches to facilitate networking.
Goal 5: Rebuild Our CRM and Internal Processes
One year ago, we rebranded our brokerage to Envision Advisors and went from 4 to about 16 people. Because of our huge growth, we started breaking our current systems and processes. My goal was to figure out how to streamline things while keeping a strong attention to detail. We have such high client satisfaction because we’re able to minimize things slipping through the cracks.
Walker Noon has been a great help with this—he’s a math major who knows programming and was able to crank stuff out that allowed us to rebuild. We’re now moving into the next phase for Q4, which wasn’t planned for, but continuous improvement allows us to scale.
Everything we do is with the client in mind. This sets us apart in a way that doesn’t make it into the sales copy but is felt by our clients.
Goal 6: Colorado Springs Real Estate Market Growth
Last year, Jenny Bayless reached out to me about expanding to the Colorado Springs market. She was an investor down there who was making some life changes and moving into real estate. She’s been able to piggyback off of the systems we had in place for Denver, and the growth in that area has been phenomenal.
Our goals were centered on expanding the team and the podcast. We wanted to add 1-3 agents, and we hired Leah in February. She’s a key member of the team down there and has been doing great. We also planned on doing 50 episodes for the Colorado Springs podcast, and we’re on track for that.
The podcast has been so great for Denver; it’s our newsletter. This is how people consume content, and it’s much more enjoyable than a regular newsletter format. Jenny has done a great job of creating content focused on Colorado Springs and getting things lined up down there.
For those interested in investing in Colorado Springs, both the Springs and Denver have similar trends. It’s amazing how much the 2 markets mirror each other. What attracts investors to the Springs is that the price points are lower and the returns slightly higher than in Denver. The strong military presence and market growth from Denver make it a solid place to invest.
Goal 7: Investment Real Estate Portfolio Analysis
The idea for Portfolio Analysis came to me because of my own desire to for something akin to a financial advisor for real estate. There’s so much focus on buying a great deal—which is important—but 5-10 years later, the initial purchase price isn’t going to help you know where to go from there. A lot of people are in the situation of having huge appreciation but not knowing what’s the best use of their equity.
Our Portfolio Analysis helps clients analyze their properties and figure out different moves to achieve their goals. Sometimes it makes sense to trade up and do a 1031 exchange, but sometimes all a client needs to do is pay off a property and get rid of some debt. It’s all about individual goals and risk tolerance.
Chelsea Scott is taking the lead on building out our Portfolio Analysis division, and she’s doing an amazing job. The spreadsheet she created for it is dense and high-level; it allows you to plug in all of your information and see both how each individual property is performing and to look at your portfolio as a whole. It flags certain factors and shows you how to optimize them, such as high equity or low rent.
There’s nothing like this in the marketplace, and it gives our mom-and-pop investors the opportunity to meet with an advisor and see what options they have. We’re working on the frequency our clients should meet up and review their portfolios, though it likely depends on how many moves they’re making.
A lot of clients have asked for a copy of our spreadsheet, but it’s proprietary in addition to being very complex. We started looking into a way to make a web-enabled version, which snowballed into something bigger. One of our clients is a programmer and developer, and he reached out to us to bounce some ideas around about turning it into software. We’re about to start beta testing to make a fully online version. It will be a blend of tips for what to do, a centralized place to view your portfolio, and a repository to store lease information and photos for estate planning and financing statement purposes.
We didn’t expect to take our portfolio analysis in this direction, but it’s been a very fun ride.
Goal 8: Commercial Real Estate Expansion
Years ago, I spent about 3-4 months working as a junior broker at a small, boutique commercial brokerage and learned a lot about the industry. There were many inefficiencies in the commercial space, a major one being that it relied on cold calling. I wanted to implement new marketing strategies but was told to stick with cold calling.
I know that Google and YouTube work and that commercial real estate owners are online. It’s been in the back of my mind that there’s a real opportunity here, not necessarily to break the market but to more effectively communicate with owners and provide more value.
As I’ve been wanting to get into bigger deals myself, I see a great opportunity for our clients, too. For investors with a great residential portfolio, it might be time to sell and trade up, and expanding into commercial is a great way to help with that.
Nothing is going according to my original mental plan, but it’s better in a lot of ways. I’m looking forward to talking much more about it in the future.
Goal 9: Multi Family Mentors Show with BiggerPockets
I can’t believe we hadn’t recorded the first season when I wrote this goal. I’ve loved doing this show, and the YouTube stats have been very good; we’re in BiggerPockets’s top performing videos on YouTube. The multi family mentors show has been a great experience, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount from BiggerPockets to see how a large organization operates.
Working with BiggerPockets has opened the doors to meeting other people, and we’ve had amazing guests who flew into Denver on their own dime to spend a day with us and teach what they know.
As we start season 2, we’re changing the format to make it shorter and more engaging. Instead of a 1-hour long interview, we’re doing 2 episodes per guest. We’ll do a mini-interview and then some field activities, similar to our real estate ride along shows. After walking a property, we’ll come back and analyze it. We’re targeting the next generation of real estate investors, 18–24-year-olds who want to know more about real estate. We’ll go deep into management, acquisition, and all other aspects of investing.
Look for season 2 on BiggerPockets in mid-November.
Goal 10: Masterminding
Having regular masterminds is a helpful tool. I think of it as having a gym buddy—if I’m by myself, I might stay in bed and skip the workout, but if I know someone is waiting for me, I’ll follow through. I’ve had mixed feelings about spending thousands of dollars to join a paid mastermind group. A lot of people I’ve met through BiggerPockets make huge investments in these groups, so I’ve considered it.
Personally, though, I really love more organic masterminds with people who share my values and are in a similar stage of life. These relationships lead to more opportunities, and we can challenge each other because of how well we know each other. I’d rather spend $50K investing than having a masterminds coach, and I believe I’ll learn more by investing money.
I’m doing a better job this year of facilitating masterminds for my team members and helping them achieve their goals. I want to expand this to clients, too, by scaling up and building an infrastructure for it. By keeping it free and organic, it will be more enjoyable and I’m hoping that in the long run, the universe’s karma will reward me.
Looking Ahead for 2022
I can’t believe we’re in Q4 and it’s time to start working on goals for 2022.
Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, I encourage you to start thinking about your goals for next year. Keep yourself accountable by putting them in 2022’s book. Reach out to us for more information and writing guidelines for the 2022 submissions.