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December 15, 2020

NBA Basketball Star To Up And Coming Real Estate Developer With Josh Childress [Ep. 027]

Listen to hear how Josh Childress spent 15 years in professional basketball. He was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks as the sixth pick in the first round. Also, he played in the NBA for 8 seasons and overseas for 7. He used his work ethic and positive mindset to develop a career as an up and coming real estate developer. Like many he started with single family and has continued to scale up. He wants to build a behemoth real estate company so he can give back and help others learn how to level up! Josh proved himself as a basketball player at the highest levels and is taking that work ethic and commitment to the real estate development community. Watch this guy as he grows!

Table of Contents:

An NBA Basketball Star in the Real Estate World

nba basketball star in real estate
Photographer: Edgar Chaparro | Source: Unsplash

Darin: Josh Childress grew up in Compton, California. He lives in California with his wife and two young children. Also, he played basketball at Stanford, and after three years, was drafted as the sixth pick in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks. He played eight seasons with the NBA and seven overseas.

Josh started investing in real estate when he was still playing, and two years ago formed a company called LandSpire. He is focused on building a behemoth real estate company so he can give back and help others level up. Josh, is an ex NBA basketball star, now moving into the real estate world.

This is the first time that Josh and I have spoken together. How we got connected was actually through mutual friends. I interviewed David Toupin on episode 12. And then, through that, I also met with David and his business partner down in Austin. David was kind enough to invite me to an event that he puts on, like a mastermind event with real estate investors. That was held in Jamaica and just got back a couple of weeks ago.

When I was in Jamaica, David just happened to ask me at dinner, "Hey, Darin, man, what are you trying to do? What are you trying to accomplish?" I mentioned to him that on the podcast, I've had all real estate syndicators on so far and that I wanted to try to branch off and get some athletes that are also doing real estate. And he was like, "Hey, man, I've got the guy for you." He put me in and Josh together and here we are today.

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Starting in Single Family

Darin: Can you just share, high level, how many properties you're involved with and where you are, just high level on the real estate side right now?

Josh: Similar story to probably a lot of people. I invested on the personal front in single family residences for many years, buying and selling homes, flipping homes, things of that sort. I did that while I was still playing professionally. Upon my retirement, I jumped into the commercial real estate space a little more seriously. I've invested as an LP in several projects, probably 400 door range on that front. But then, in an active capacity, I now have a 27,000 square foot retail center here in Orange County, California.

I'm working on a 294-unit development project in Las Vegas, Nevada. Just as part of the acquisition of the Newport Beach Marriott here in Orange County as well, which will be a reposition of sorts. We'll be branding the hotel and converting part of the project into for-sale condos, if possible. So working on a few different things. The last thing is more of a passion project. We have a 75-unit affordable housing project we're working on in Compton, California, which is my hometown. So coming out of the gate swinging, if you will, on the real estate front.

Darin: You know what? That's awesome. You said that a lot of people started in a single family. I went from a duplex to a 76-unit and skipped the single family thing. A lot of people do start in the single family world and then graduate going forward. But I give you props because you just keep upping the ante, it sounds like. So that's fantastic. We're going to get back to the real estate side but would like the listeners to get to know you a bit.

Humble Beginning of an NBA Basketball Star

Darin: Maybe we could talk a little bit about how you grew up? How you got into basketball, a little bit about your basketball career. And then we'll come back to real estate if that works for you. You mentioned you grew up in Compton. I've heard of Compton. I've not been to Compton. I know Compton from the movie, which a lot of people probably know from the movie. Help us paint a picture of what it was like growing up.

Josh: Compton, just like a lot of cities, there are good and bad parts. I was fortunate to be in a more family-centric area. There was a park, Enterprise Park, that essentially acted as the buffer, if you will, between a rough area and the street that I lived on. Where we convened usually was at the park and we played basketball there.

That was where two sides of the society essentially met. I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of great people there and had a ton of great experiences. But that park kept a lot of kids off the street and I was one of them, so I was thankful for that.

Darin: Fantastic. What about friends growing up? Were you in a mix of friends where you had some friends that stayed away from danger and some friends that got into the mix? And if so, how did you protect yourself through that?

Josh: Absolutely. I've seen a ton of individuals dealing with that process in a less than ideal manner, and either is imprisoned or deceased. A lot of those individuals were super talented in the sports space and probably could have made it to the professional ranks as I did. But it's about your family structure.

Family Structure of the NBA Basketball Star

Josh: I was very fortunate to have a family that made sure I was responsible for my studies and things of that sort. But that's a high barrier. Living in the inner city is, can you navigate the waters? Can you stay out of trouble? Could you make sure that the activities that other individuals are involved in aren't so appealing that you compromise your morals and your ethics to be a part of those, while also providing for your family? And that's a challenge for a lot of individuals. So I'm very thankful that I had a family structure in place that kept me out of those situations.

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Darin: Talk to me about your family. Brothers, sisters, mom, and dad at home?

Josh: Yes. My mother was at home and I have two older brothers and a younger brother. And so, my older brothers are significantly older, 14 and 12 years.

Darin: Were they in basketball also?

Josh: Yes, they were.

Darin: So you were fighting to try to keep up with them.

Josh: Yes. I was looking up to them. They were, like I said, 14 and 12 years older, so I would go watch them in their men's league games and things of that sort. I always looked up to my older brothers, and they were a definite driving force in my passion for basketball, and sacrificed a lot for my basketball endeavors, waking up at 6:00 AM before work to go to the park and work out and all those things that I was fortunate to have those other kids didn't.

Darin: That's awesome. So then, from high school, you're a star in high school, and then you get picked up by nonetheless, Stanford.

Going to Stanford

Darin: And so, what was it like going from there to Stanford and being an NBA Basketball star? I mean, that's like night and day, right?

Josh: It's culture shock, for sure. But I enjoyed it. That first quarter I was on campus was a bit rough, just getting adjusted to a different way of life. I'm coming on into this, obviously, as a basketball player. I had a built-in network of friends if you will. Stanford's a wonderful place, and I think that the type of people that I was around, and the networks, and just the people there just breeds entrepreneurship. It breeds excellence.

You want to be around and involved in people that are trying to do good and make things happen in this world. And that's the place that I think is paralleled. I mean, there's no place like it, in my opinion.

Darin: Yes. My son's a sophomore at Texas A and M, not an athlete. I mean, he is an athlete, but he's not a college athlete. But we went to Stanford. He's a very smart kid. So I brought him there. I think maybe his freshman year set the bar. But the funny story, I live in a town called Prosper, Texas, which is about 45 minutes North of Dallas. My wife had told me the story of this valedictorian for Prosper, I can't remember if it was two years ago, three years ago, four years.

But her dream was to go to Stanford, and she was valedictorian and she did not get in. The mother called up and said, "What's going on? She's number one in the class."

The Hustle of a College Athlete

Photographer: Sean Benesh | Source: Unsplash

Darin: And Prosper has a very good school system. They responded saying, "I understand education-wise, but we have to pick the top of the top. She hasn't started her own company, or has this incredible vision for the future."

I mean, Stanford just seems to pull people that are just big thinkers, big, big thinkers. And some amazing companies have been born out of that university. So being surrounded by people like that must have helped drive you. I don't know, we haven't talked about it yet, but maybe some of those people helped you during your basketball career, think about, okay, what will life be like after basketball? You're at a high-level Stanford. What's the difference between playing in high school and playing college ball mentally?

Josh: It's a full-time job. You're up at 6:00 AM for weights and you have breakfast with the team. Then you're off to the classroom for half the day. After that, you try and sneak a quick nap in if you can and head back to class. Then you have evening practice. That practice is anywhere from two to two and a half hours. You give or take 30 minutes, 30 to 45 minutes before and after for rehab and ice and all that stuff. So it's a four-hour chunk of your day on the back end.

You go home, eat some dinner, try to get some work done, and then you're back at it again in the morning. So it's a full-on grind and I loved it. I loved every minute of it. But people seem to underestimate the amount of time and effort and energy it takes to be a college athlete. It's a different animal.

Drafting to Being an NBA Basketball Star

Darin: You know what? You're blessed to have been given that opportunity. Some so many people would love to try to play college ball, but the glory days are back in high school. But not only did you make that leap, but now you're at Stanford for I think, three years. And then you went into the NBA draft, and if I have it right, it was first-round sixth pick. Do I have that right?

Josh: You do. First-round six picks, Atlanta.

Darin: Atlanta Hawks. That's pretty incredible.

Josh: Thank you. And then, as you mentioned, it was a blessing to see a culmination of many, many years of hard work and sacrifice. To then be selected with a six pick and realize that dream of making it to the NBA was incredible. There's no other way to describe it because you're elite. You're in the best league in the world, playing against the best players in the world. So that process and that you're being drafted was amazing.

Darin: I have chills right now. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think it's just about you. Your brothers, your mom, all the sacrifices that they put up to get you to where you were, and then to have you land that success. Everybody that surrounded you, they feel like they're a part of it.

Josh: Absolutely, and they were. There were a ton of sacrifices financially, with time, missing out on work opportunities, things of that sort, that my family sacrificed for me. Thankfully, I was able to have everybody in New York at the draft, at the table. But to have everybody there and it just be this culmination of emotions was incredible. I can't even describe how that felt because everybody succeeded in that regard.

Ability to Bounce Back

Darin: Yes, absolutely. I would imagine that there are even people just from your hometown that just gravitate to, "Hey, man, he made it out. He's inspiring the next generation." And so, with that, comes responsibility, but what an awesome, awesome moment. Now you're in the NBA and you bounce around teams both in the US and also international. But if I have it right, a 15-year basketball career. That's some longevity there. I mean, how'd you do it?

Josh: I honestly don't know. It was a lot of work.

Darin: A lot of work. What about self-determination, self-work ethic, habits? Any of those factors? Because where I'm going to go with all this is, a lot of those winning factors that you had in basketball are the foundation of what's starting now for you in the real estate side as well. Talk about how you did it. How did you succeed at that high level?

Josh: I think the biggest thing is knowledge of self, understanding how I work and how I work most effectively. Part of that 15-year journey, I had a bunch of ups and downs in that.

There's the ability to bounce back, there's the ability to pivot and make sure that, as an individual, I'm putting myself in the best position to succeed. I spent eight years in the NBA and seven years abroad. But there was a gap in there where there was a fair amount of injuries. That gap is what actually went back to Stanford and finished my degree, and essentially re-found my passion for the game.

I'd gotten released from the Brooklyn Nets and then went and played in New Orleans and ended up getting injured and getting a sports hernia surgery. So I got released from that team.

Striving to Be a Better Person Each Day

Josh: I said, "You know what? Here's a time for me to go back, finish my degree, and see what happens next. In that time, on-campus while rehabbing, I started playing on campus with the Stanford basketball team and realized that I still had a fair amount of left in the tank. Took that after finishing my degree and went over to Sydney, Australia, where I then met my business mentor who now will be a lifelong friend, a guy by the name of Tony Jans.

And so, you talk about putting yourself in a position to succeed. I told the team in Sydney that it was important for me to be introduced to business people in the community because this was about more than basketball. I'm now on a path for personal growth and personal development and put the onus on them to introduce me to individuals that could help in that process. That was a game-changer for me.

So knowing what I want and how I work best: being determined, being disciplined, being focused, is a large part of it. But also it's thinking about, how can I level up and be a better person that will then help propel me for the future? That is the big reason why I think I'm now in a position where I am today.

Darin: That's huge. What made you make that decision to look for a business mentor while you're playing basketball? Maybe everybody thinks that way, but I'm thinking to myself, a lot of the basketball players, they're just thinking about excelling at basketball, and they're going to worry about the next stage when that time comes.

From Being an NBA Basketball Star to Businessman

Darin: So what made you make that decision to talk to the team and say, "Look, I want you to introduce me to a business mentor and some people in the business space so that I can start learning that process now?”

Josh: The biggest motivator was the fact that I'd had a couple of injuries. But also that I realized that, as basketball players, we have a shelf life. A great career in the NBA is four years, and I was able to double that. But as an NBA basketball star, on any given day, you tear up your knee, you blow an Achilles, any of these things can happen and then I'm back at square one. So why not try and work on those things while I have some years left in the tank and I can transition over those years, pick up some knowledge. And when I'm ready to retire, I can retire and hit the ground running. So that was my mentality.

Darin: Did anybody help you along that way? Were there professors or coaches at Stanford or other people that were in the NBA that were either retired or had been there for a while that helped you to come up with that decision? Or did you just come up with it on your own?

Josh: I believe most of it came from me.

Darin: Good for you, man.

Josh: I mean, YouTube is a wonderful tool if used properly. You can access information on anything.

Darin: You had to decide to look stuff up and spend time reading and looking at videos and trying to research people.

Josh: Yes.

The Genesis of an NBA Basketball Star

Darin: A lot of people I've interviewed have pointed to somebody older that said, "Hey, don't go buy your first house. Buy a fourplex and live in one unit," or, "Get into real estate. It's a huge wealth building." And they grabbed a hold of it, some advice that they got from somebody senior to them, and ran with it. You, it sounds like, you just had the inner drive and curiosity to want to figure out what's next.

Josh: Yes. But I had that person. That person just didn't tell me those things. But I had a person that I looked up to that was wildly successful in real estate. He was my scholarship donor at Stanford. He's a very, very successful real estate investor. His name is John Arrillaga. Stanford has this room called the Hall of Champions, but you can see essentially every scholarship athlete. They have a headshot and then who donates their scholarship, who endowed their scholarship.

You walk down this hallway and probably, I don't know, a hundred plus of these athletes are scholarship recipients by Mr. Arrillaga. Buildings are named after him, things of that sort. Here's a guy who grew up in Inglewood, Compton adjacent area. He has had immense success from the real estate space and can impact so many kids' lives and provide a kid like myself the opportunity to go to Stanford. Which I never would have had, from a financial perspective. While he didn't have, let's say, words of wisdom that he imparted in me to help me through that, I saw what he's been able to do on the real estate side and the success he had. And that planted a seed for my future. So that was the genesis.

The Josh Childress Foundation

Darin: Very cool. You know and I know it, and he is the telltale example of it. You end up getting more back from giving than anything else, right?

Josh: Yes.

Darin: That guy just has a heart for giving. I was going to talk about this later, but now it seems like a good time. Did that help you decide to form the Josh Childress Foundation?

Josh: That was a part of it, yes. A definite part of it. But also, that foundation was rooted in opportunity. Kids in Compton, I used to go back and do a basketball camp every summer, free basketball camp. Kids would come out. I had a grade requirement. You had to have a B average or better. Essentially, I provide you with a set of clothes, shoes, and then gifts at the end of it, the two days.

I started to notice that a recurring theme in the Q and A session was when you ask the question, what do you want to be when you grow up? "And I want to be an athlete. I want to be a rapper." So everything was entertainment-based, and that bothered me because there are many more ways to be successful in this country outside of entertainment, sports, and entertainment. So the foundation was a way for me to get in, try to provide mentorship and try to expose these kids to other avenues they could be successful outside of sports and entertainment.

That was why I started the foundation. Since then, I've helped over 40 kids with college scholarships and try to create as much impact as possible, which has been a blessing.

Darin: That's awesome. Where does all this go-to real estate? You started with a single family.

The Principles That Helped Josh

Darin: There's a lot of people that start with a single family and they can't get over the hump to go to the next level. There's a lot of people that want to do a single family, but they're afraid to make their first investment. There's a lot of people that understand there's an opportunity in real estate but have fear. So how do you press on when you have fear? How do you keep leveling up, as you mentioned?

Josh: Well, I applied the same work ethic and the same principles that I had as an athlete to this space.

I realized that I'm not going to win every game. But throughout the season, I'll have success if I put my head down and work hard, work diligently, work smart, align myself with individuals who can help me grow as an investor and be a part of good opportunities. That's what I've done so far.

I think that the model is working so far, and I'll continue to try and build on this over the years. But it's about just being diligent and committing yourself to this process. That is a definite carry-over from my time in sports.

Darin: Fantastic. You're a winner in high school and in college. Plus, you're a winner in professional leagues. And then you go and you decide to make the transition into real estate. You form a company called LandSpire, is that correct. So, talk about LandSpire. When did you start it? What's your focus? Well, you talked about some of the projects you guys worked on, but how long ago did you start it and what's your focus?

Josh: Yes, so I started LandSpire with my former college teammate and roommate, Justin Davis, about two years ago.

NBA Basketball Star Founding Landspire

nba basketball star founnding landspire
Photographer: Alexandr Bormotin | Source: Unsplash

Josh: Our genesis came from the implementation of the Opportunity Zone legislation. We saw that there was going to be a fair amount of capital going into under-resourced communities that didn't necessarily have a vested interest in these communities. They were going to come in, redevelop the area, make a boatload of money. And most of the community stakeholders would get pushed out of the community, and that didn't sit well with us. That was why we started.

Since then we've worked on several projects, and that's our passion. But we also are trying to be successful and opportunistic in our approach, and take on good opportunities. And so, that's why I mentioned that the Vegas property, in addition to the Compton property, because I think that you can balance the two if your mind's in the right place and your heart's in the right place, and that's where we are.

It's been a great journey and a great learning experience. I'm also getting my master's in real estate at Georgetown University to try to underpin this business side of things and, at a deep level, understand this real estate space from a finance perspective, from a development perspective. It's a lot more powerful to learn by experience and going through the process, but I also want to have the formal education behind it, just to make sure that I have the best of both worlds.

Darin: Sure. Before, you talked about relationships, and before this interview, I saw a clip with you that talked about your Vegas deal and how that came together. Maybe talk about that from the listeners' perspective. Here, you and an ex-Stanford teammate come together. Did he have a ton of real estate experience, your partner?

Trusting Your Visions

Josh: No but he's a smart guy.

Darin: Great. Smart guy, you guys get along, you've got a vision. Now it's like, "How do we get a deal done?" And so, how did the Las Vegas deal come together?

Josh: It came together organically. Our partner in that deal is a group named Lyon Living, a big firm here in Orange County. I used to train at one of their facilities. One of the things that they have mastered is this highly amenitized lifestyle living. This facility, this particular facility is called the Marke here in Santa Ana. They have a rooftop training facility. And so, it's turf, there's an incredible gym. They've essentially created a one-stop-shop for athletes and agents.

You can come, you can live there. There's a chef up top. You have an amazing training facility. You have a PT there. It just became the place for athletes, professional athletes who lived in Orange County or want to live in Southern California for the summer. I met their CEO there probably about five years ago while I was working out. We kept in touch over those years. Once I made the jump, my partner, Justin, and I created a site plan for a hundred-acre development here in Orange County.

Didn't know what we were doing, but had a vision for what this site could be. Put a lot of man-hours into that vision, presenting that vision to the city. And the city said, "We love it. We think you guys are on the right track. We're going to come out work with our RFP requirements here pretty soon." Those came out. There were five projects of similar size and a $50 million balance sheet. We're like, "Okay, well, we don't have either of those."

Putting Yourself Out There Is Vital

Josh: I called Frank and I said, "I want you to take a look at this site plan that we created." I went into the office. Three weeks later, we signed a joint agreement with them to present to the city. That was just legwork on our part and just making things happen. We didn't sit back and wait for somebody to approach us. We went out and were proactive. Now here we are partnering with a firm with over three billion in assets under management, and we're just a shop that just started up.

That then led to some of these other projects that we're doing, because we provided value on their side and vice versa. This has just been a great partnership so far.

Darin: That's fantastic. Look, you played 15 years in professional ball. You mean people don't just show up at your door handing you deals? You had still had to go out and hustle. That's the thing, is listeners, it doesn't matter if you're going after your first single family deal, or if you're leveling up to several hundred units or a thousand-unit deals, you have to tell people what you're doing.

You have to put yourself out there. And you have to tell people what you're after, and then you have to try to leverage the relationships that you have. You did both. And you let people know what you were doing and you didn't know if that was going to go anywhere. Look, it may have gone somewhere, it may not have, or he may have put you in touch with somebody else. But you called him up and one thing led to another and that's your first deal. And then you're onto your second and third and fourth. So that's something important.

An NBA Basketball Star Who Always Strives to Be Better

Darin: Look, you've proven that you have always been a go-getter, that you have a strong work ethic. But you still have to prove yourself at every stage. When you went from high school to college, you're at Stanford, it's like, "Okay, well, now you've got to prove yourself at Stanford."

Then when you went into the pros, you had to prove yourself. And then when you retire, and some people may just look at, "Okay, he's retired, wealthy NBA basketball star," but are they going to take you seriously on the real estate side? Now you have proven that yes they are, that's awesome. Awesome. It means so much. It means that, to the listeners, look, stand up and get moving.

You grow up and people make excuses every day for why they can't do something. Okay? But Josh is an example here of, you know what? If you get out there and hustle, you can make something of yourself. You can do it. You're going to have setbacks. You had injuries. You had injuries, you went back and you played at Stanford with the boys, and you were like, "Hey, man, I've got some room left in this tank. I'm going back."

And I'm sure you didn't even talk about it, but to be able to get back after that. I'm sure you had to bust yourself in the gym to get yourself conditioned to be able to get back.

Josh: Absolutely. And the mental component. I want to touch on something you said. Spending 15 years playing pro ball. As a professional athlete, people bombard you with opportunities. A fair amount of those opportunities are bad because they think that there's low-hanging fruit and you can just go get an investment from these guys.

Be Proactive in Looking for Opportunities

Josh: And so, navigating that is difficult, in addition to now post-retirement, having to make sure that people understand that I am a serious investor and I'm not just a former athlete. While I think having that MBA tag and being from Stanford, all those things help open doors. I still have to do the work. I can get a meeting. Can I get a second meeting? That's where the work ethic and educating myself and being a prepared professional comes in.

Darin: That's a great, great point. Two things come to mind there. One is not real estate related. I'm at the age when my son is a sophomore in college and I've got friends, golfing buddies where their kids are graduating college. They're just starting their career and whatnot. I might be hanging out with them and I'm like, "Look, leverage your dad's relationships, okay? Leverage your dad's relationships."

I said, "He's going to help you get the meeting. But once you're in front of whoever it is, they're not going to hire you if you're not qualified. Why not leverage your dad and his friends and other people's relationships to help get you in the door? Because it might save you one, two, three years of your life in terms of you may get a job that you didn't think you can get because you got in the right door."

Josh: Absolutely. I agree with that 100%. I think that's part of my mission. It's reaching back and providing those opportunities to my children, my friends, and things of that sort because there's a ton of opportunity out there if you go and try to find it.

Darin: You have to be looking for it.

NBA Basketball Star Building a Behemoth

Josh: You have to be proactive and have to find it, and understand that your golfing buddies are probably successful individuals. They have built great networks over the years, and tapping into that is how most successful people stay successful. And how their families stay successful, and how they create generational wealth. It's making sure that you're allowing that network to grow and grow organically and extending the olive branch to your children or those in your network that you deem are capable of carrying that torch.

That's definitely something that I wanted to make sure I implement in my business. A big driver in my business, moving forward, will be: how can I then create this behemoth and then be able to give back? How can I bring the next generation of real estate investors and successful individuals out of the City of Compton and Oakland and some of these inner cities and help them on the path to success?

Darin: I love that you use that word behemoth.

Josh: That's the goal.

Darin: You could be sitting on a beach, I'm sure, but you're not. You want to build not just a good or comfortable place. But you wanna build a behemoth so that you can give back, which is huge. Are you married, with kids?

Josh: Yes.

Darin: How old are your kids?

Josh: My oldest is three and my youngest is one and a half.

Darin: You have young ones.

Josh: I have little babies.

Darin: When they get to the age, you're going to be coaching dad.

Josh: I don't think so. I don't know if I can do it.

Darin: We'll see. When you were doing all that travel then, you didn't have a family in tow when you were doing that.

Initial Investment Experience of an NBA Basketball Star

nba basketball star innvestment experience
Photographer: Mathieu Stern | Source: Unsplash

Josh: No, I didn't. In the latter part, when I was in Australia my last year, I had my eldest daughter and they came over for that season. But outside of that, no.

Darin: Talk about the first single family residence investment that you made. Now, look, you've got an NBA contract, you're an NBA basketball star. Some people listening are going to be like, "Oh, I don't feel sorry for this guy. He's got a huge contract. They may never be able to see themselves there. But maybe I'm wrong. I think the first investment is still always scary. How did you go about looking at that first investment and how'd you pull the trigger?

Josh: My first investment property, if you will, it was funny when I think back to it. It was a duplex. I bought the duplex for 345 here in Southern California. It's a very small duplex and it's not too far from Long Beach state. But I bought it with the intent of just renovating, doing a renovation, and renting it out, and just building a portfolio of those and creating some cash flow.

I get into this process and I'm dealing with the city with permits. I'm dealing with contractors. They're annoying me, and it's just a difficult process. Here I have this, I think it was a 1,200 square foot duplex that probably should have cost me, how do I say, 40,000 to get it up to where I could get it rented out. Just dealing with bad people and this is the learning experience. I ended up spending closer to 85,000 on repairs.

Darin: Wow. More than double.

Josh: More than double. Of course, I'm not happy about that. It finally gets done.

Continuous Learning in Real Estate

Josh: I anticipated taking four months. It ended up taking about eight, so double there as well. I talked to a realtor buddy of mine. I said to him, "How's the market here? Is it solid? Is it not? You think we could just flip this thing?" He said, "Let's take a look." Posts pictures, got it up on the market, and got an offer in two days.

I ended up selling it for, what was it, 515. So I made a little money and feel good about that. I didn't have to wait a certain period of time to have it on the market. An individual whose daughter was going to Long Beach State, he was going to actually rent her a place, but felt like this would be a better option for them. I was very fortunate that my first deal was a success. And I know that always isn't the case and I had a ton of heartache throughout that process. But I was able to come out of it unscathed and made some money.

After that, I was hooked. Started doing a few more of those and then got into the commercial space, which is my, I guess, first larger investment on a personal level. Bought a commercial retail center, as I mentioned earlier, here in Orange County.

Darin: Wow. People can relate to buying their first duplex or looking at their first duplex and being fearful. My first investment was a duplex as well. People say, "Are you bummed out that you bought that duplex?" And I'm like, "You know what? I'm not going to make a ton of money off the duplex. But it got me in the game and I learned. Then I went syndicated a 76-unit deal afterward.

Take-Action Moment of an NBA Basketball Star

Darin: Had I not bought that duplex, I don't think that I would have gone to the next step. Had you not bought that duplex, you might not have talked to the guy about the Las Vegas deal, and the Orange County deal, and now the Compton deal. One thing leads to another. You're lucky that you made money on that deal. But even if you didn't, you learned a ton and you probably were still going to stay in the game because you saw how it was done and you saw some of the things that maybe you were taken advantage of or whatever, that you could do better on the next deal.

To the listeners, at some point, and you haven't said it yet, but at some point, you have to take action, right. I mean, you have to take action.

Josh: I'd love to talk about that retail acquisition because that was very much a take action moment. So, I'd invested in smaller properties like the duplex and single family flips and things of that sort. You'd make a couple of dollars here and there. But for the amount of time and effort put and where I was in my life, it wasn't necessarily worth it to have the headache to then make what I was making. I looked myself in the mirror, I said, "Josh, you're either going to do this seriously or you're not." There's just a point-blank.

I got online that night and just started just hunting, hunting properties, looking at stuff, trying to find that next jump, and found this particular property. Reached out to the broker, and asked him to send over the OM. Took a deep dive into the numbers. I asked him to go out to lunch and talk through it.

Building Good Business Relationship Is an Important Factor

Josh: We sat down, had a great lunch, and he said, "Josh, I want to let you know, you're the first person that's actually met me face to face. I've had a ton of people reach out via email, a ton of people call me, and all those things. But you took action and wanted to talk face to face with me on this. I want to help you get this property."

From that point on, we developed a great relationship and ended up taking the property down. I shaved off a million bucks on the purchase price, and that was through relationship development.

And I think that's an important factor in this business. It’s building relationships and understanding people. Making sure that everybody leaves a deal feeling happy.

I think there was a bunch of shrewd negotiators that feel great about taking their lion's share of deals. But if both sides leave happy, I think that's at least my way of doing business. And I was able to do that on this property and I'll plan on doing that moving forward.

Darin: I like that a lot. What was the net purchase price that you purchased at?

Josh: 9.54 million.

Darin: 9.54 million. That duplex, 350K duplex to 9.54 million. I can't tell people enough, that you have to start somewhere. And if you don't get started, you can't get to the big time. You have to have these mental building blocks. So, now you're there. How big was the Las Vegas deal you guys put together?

Josh: That's a $100 million development.

Darin: $100 million in development. From $350,000 duplex to 9.54 million, to $100 million development deal. Seriously, it's a matter of mental.

Create Your Own Value

Darin: Can you believe that you can achieve it? And then, secondly, relationships. Who can you partner with to help you get to the next level? Some people will reach out to me on Instagram. They're like, "Hey, Darin, I want to get into this." But why would anybody want to partner with me? Some people have a limiting mindset that they don't feel that they're worthy.

The reality is, look, there are always people that are ahead of you. There are always people that are behind you. But we all have different skill sets, and there's somebody that you can benefit. One guy may not be looking for the skillset that you have, but a different guy might be the perfect partnership. So you've got to believe in yourself and then you've got to go out and hunt to find the right partners.

Josh: Absolutely. Find your lane and create value. I think that's another thing that people lose sight of. On our proposal to the city for that hundred-acre redevelopment, we partnered with two groups that are massive groups. Massive, multiple billions in assets under management. In our conversation with the city, there was a community benefit and a community element that we spoke to, I believe, in a way that they couldn't, and that opened the door to these other opportunities.

But it was, how can you create value for somebody else? And then leverage that value to open doors elsewhere. I feel like people need to keep that in the back of their minds, so how can I create value? That's a major key.

Darin: You read any books on building wealth, they say, "Go out and help others and it will find you."

Raising Capitals as an NBA Basketball Player

Darin: How do you raise capital for your deals?

Josh: Primarily through family and friends so far. I've been fortunate to have some family and friends that have done all right for themselves.

Darin: What percentage of that comes from the basketball world?

Josh: I have zero basketball NBA or former basketball players as investors.

Darin: Oh, wow. I would have thought that you would have. Because some of them may not know how to manage their money or not focused on managing their money. And they know, like, and trust you, and you could help them there. So maybe that's an untapped reserve right there.

Josh: Yes. It will be, eventually, as I continue to build out my platform, improve my track record. When we're dealing with athletes, you have that barrier, which is their financial managers. I've used those guys as well to act as a barrier and make sure that they're that first line of defense for me. People are always leery of individuals that are just starting out in space. So, we're dealing with that.

We have a sports team owner as an investor, so think about that. One of the guys that's writing their checks feels confident enough to invest in what we're doing. But it's been that. Now as we continue to build, we're branching out to institutions and larger pockets of capital family offices High networth individuals. As we continue to grow, raising capital components will become easier. But it's what I spend probably 90% of my time doing. It's a grind. I've never heard more no’s in my life. It's definitely a humbling experience, but you've just got to do it.

You'll Hear Rejection But Keep Going

Darin: That's so funny. Again, listeners, you have to understand. Here's a guy who is an NBA basketball star. He's played basketball at the elite levels and he still hears rejection. But it doesn't keep him down. After you hear rejection, you go on to the next person. The way I look at it is its opportunity. You're presenting an opportunity to other people and some people get it and some people don't, and some people might wait for you to do your first deal or second deal and watch you, and maybe they'll come in later on. And there are some people that just can't ever get off the fence.

But I guess one word I would probably use for you, based on what you've had to deal with, is grit. I mean, you have to be willing to really push the boundaries on what you could achieve. Physically, for you to have played for 15 years, and then now taking that mentally also and taking that into the real estate world. Well, how do people reach out to you if they want to get to know you?

Josh: I'm on all social media platforms. My Instagram is jchillington. I'm on LinkedIn, and via email josh@landspiregroup.com. I'm very accessible. Love to have conversations with other real estate investors. Hopefully, do deals together. I'd say, one of the things we're running into now, which is a crazy problem to have, if you will, is institutional investors. They invest in larger chunks of cash. And so, I was speaking to a couple of groups that won't write an equity check less than $50 million. It's crazy to think.

An NBA Basketball Player and a Golfer

Josh: We're presenting a deal for a couple of million dollars of equity, and it's like, "Ah, that's too small, Josh. Come back to us when you level up." But to that point, we're looking for opportunities to fit into that box and start to offer them access to deals that they necessarily wouldn't get access to. That's obviously the other difficult part of this business, is sourcing opportunities. We're actively out doing both and looking forward to building a strong portfolio.

Darin: That's fantastic. Well, besides basketball, what do you do outside of work?

Josh: I am a terrible golfer.

Darin: Are you? Terrible, how do you define terrible?

Josh: I base my success on the number of balls that I lose.

Darin: All right.  Maybe you're on a different level. I'm on 85 to 95. I don't know who's going to show up on any given day. I try to get out once a week with my boys.

Josh: 105 to 110 is if I had to.

Darin: All right. Well, look, if you're ever in the Dallas area, definitely look me up. I'll do the same if I'm out in California. I really am excited that David put us together. You never know what somebody's going to be like until you actually talk to them. You're a successful guy but you come at it from a humble perspective. I think that you are an inspiration to your hometown, to your family. And I think the listeners are going to get a lot out of what they just heard. So, listeners, I hope you enjoyed that one. Until next week, signing off.

How to Reach Josh Childress

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Darin Batchelder

Wealth creation through real estate provided me with a new passion to get the word out and let others know that they have an alternative to investing in the stock market.

If I can inspire and educate just one person to take action that results in life changing wealth creation then the work to launch and grow this podcast is well worth the effort.

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