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May 18, 2021

Why The Greatest Wealth Is Health, With Multifamily Investor Jason Yarusi [Ep. 049]

Jason will teach you how to master your mindset, health, and wealth all at once by focusing on three key areas of your life – physical fitness, mental wellness, and financial stability. The greatest wealth is health! And when you have those two things down pat, everything else falls into place effortlessly. It's not about getting rich quick or being perfect overnight; it's about making small changes over time that lead to big results in every area of your life.

Jason Yarusi is a multifamily investor, author, speaker, and coach. Jason is the author of How To Master A Fit Rich Life In 15 Days. He has successfully completed 9 syndications in four states for approximately 850 units.

Table of Contents:

The Man Who Believes That the Greatest Wealth Is Health

man who believes that The Greatest Wealth Is Health
Photographer: Jenny Hill | Source: Unsplash

Darin Batchelder: Jason Yarusi and his wife, Pili, and their three children live in Tennessee. The two of them have a YouTube channel called The Jason and Pili Project where they focus on helping others with mindset, health, and wealth matters. Pushing boundaries and achieving balance in life is extremely important to Jason. This guy's next stretch goal is crazy. He wants to run in a 200-mile race.

Just a little bit about how I know Jason. First and foremost, I've seen both Jason and his wife Pili, they are all over social media in the multifamily space. These guys are doing great things. A mutual friend put us in touch with each other and we had a short conversation. And I'm excited to have him on the show here today. So Jason, just typically the first question I ask is how many properties and how many units do you guys currently own?

Jason: We have done nine syndications to date spread across four states. It's a little over 850 units. We have two other properties under contract right now which will put us potentially mid-year right over about close to 1,000 units about 975.

Darin: That's awesome. When did you get involved in multifamily? How long have you been in business?

Jason: So 2016, we were doing some active real estate flipping, wholesaling. We bought some small rentals out of state. That was going well, but we realized that if we wanted to scale this, it was going to be very difficult really to get to kinds of scale by really buying a lot of little properties out of state.

Discover How To Save Taxes and Build Wealth

Following All the Steps

Jason: So we said, "What else is there?" And luckily, I came upon large multifamily investing and just followed the steps and the light bulb went off like, this is a great way where we could get leverage, get economies of scale and go big and be able to push the lever in small ways that create a massive impact across these properties.

Darin: That's huge. You said that you followed the steps. Did you end up joining a mentorship program or develop a relationship with a mentor to identify what those steps were?

Jason: Yes. Well, first I started just turning off all the things that are distractors. Because podcasts are fantastic, but sometimes you can get lost because every new thing you hear is the next best idea. And that's usually the start but the stop of your future in real estate because you'd never get started. We were doing that. So we were flipping, wholesaling, we were doing Airbnb, we had small rentals. We were doing all of these and okay, doing good, but not doing great anywhere because how can you win when you're everywhere and not anywhere? And so when we jumped into multifamily, we said, "Who else is doing this successfully?"

Because with many things in life, we ultimately assume that we have to do it ourselves and figure it all out. But that's usually the last way you go. You say, "Okay, who else is doing this successfully especially in real estate that's been tried and true for generations. Who else is doing this? How are they doing this? How are they taking action? What are those steps that we can look at and now start putting them in place for ourselves?"

The Multifamily Live Event

Darin: So did you find a mentor?

Jason: Yes. Found a mentor. And then also had a couple of other friends who were doing as well who were kind enough to give us their feedback and their process and just let us bounce ideas off them to understand how they were doing, what worked, and why maybe they didn't do some of the thoughts that we had in our minds.

Darin: That's huge. For the listeners' benefit, regardless of whatever you want to do in life, go out and find somebody who's already done it and then mimic their success. So what's cool also is that look, you started back in 2016, here we are five years later, and now you're extremely successful. You're successful in nine syndications. You've got two in contract currently, you're going to be over 1,000 units by mid-year and you're big in social media and you're giving back.

And before we started the show, you were talking about how you're starting to educate other people. So five, six years ago you were the guy that was looking for education and now you've gone through it. And so now you're starting to share with other people. I believe you have an event that you're going to be doing coming up. Can you share a little bit about what that's all about?

5 Step Process Ad

Jason: I appreciate that. So we're doing another three-day event. So it's going to be a virtual event, three full days, action-packed content, and buying large apartment buildings. Whether you haven't done a deal yet, or you've done some deals, or you're just looking to scale up, this is going to cover all aspects of multifamily buying apartment buildings. So it's called Multifamily Live Event. That is the URL, multifamilyliveevent.com.

From 35 to 2,500 People

Jason: And like you said, typically we always think there's this wide gap between us and others whether either we're ahead or behind, but most of the stuff you're either a step ahead or a step behind in most parts.

And when we bought our first deal, really May of 2017 is when we closed in our first deal, going from three and four units to a 94 unit. Right after that, we had the impulse to just create a meetup. And it was one of these things where we didn't know we didn't know, we didn't have any ulterior motive with it. We just said, "Let's just get people together." Because we were here in New Jersey at the time and every real estate group was just a mishmash of things.

There were all different kinds of events, whether it was notes or tax liens, or wholesaling, or flipping, or new construction or whatever it was, there wasn't one that was just, okay, let's talk about multifamily. So we started this event. At the first meetup, we had like 35 people in the room and it grew to like 2,500 people.

Darin: Wow, from 35 people to 2,500, where did you even have this?

Jason: That would be our all-over member count. We get a couple hundred per meeting, right? So we'd have it at a couple of different spots. At first, we were doing at a real estate office, outgrew that, then luckily enough, my church in New Jersey allowed us to use the hall there. So that was a lot of fun, but it was one of those things where we were just giving back because I find that it helps others but it always helps you too.

The Greatest Wealth Is Health in a Community

Jason: Many times we want to hold back all the information, but then what does that do? That doesn't allow anybody else to expand. And our idea is not always the best and not always the last. So the more you can talk, the more you can have conversations. Whether it's myself talking to the group about how we did it or bring others in to talk about it.

Even today, we've had so many people who came to that group for the first time that are now active out there in the multifamily world. It allowed us to just really give back to the way that others helped us along our journey because typically it's not the big steps.  An apartment building. There's a building. I want to go buy it. I have to find money and have a loan and have a plan. But the little steps along the road, maybe it'd be a question with a syndication lawyer, or fill in the blank. Or some contractual language.

Well, they may sideline you because you can't go into Google and search it out. And so the big steps you got and all of a sudden now you're going along your process. And here comes this little question that at the moment you think is so pinnacle, so important, and it derails you.

So here you are two, three, four weeks down the road, you give up or you delay yourself because you can't find an answer and you're off track compared to somebody in your team, somebody at your side that you've now grown trust with that within three, five minutes, you can send a text to and be back on track.

Importance of Building Contacts

Jason: That's the difference in community because it allows you to continue to move forward and everybody rises together.

Darin: That's huge, building the contacts. You may not have all the answers, but if you know who to call to get the answer quickly, that's critical. And the other thing you said was about giving back and some of the people that were involved in that group that are now often running in the multifamily space. Sometimes, look, you have an education program, you have other things.

Certain things are paid, you're providing value and you're getting value back. But then other things are just, you know what, you're just sharing because you have the information the other person doesn't yet and you're just helping out. And there's just joy in helping other people in life.

I can recall a situation where somebody wanted to have me be a GP with them on their first deal. And I ended up passing, it wasn't in a market that I wanted to be in and I didn't know that market. But then I thought about it when I was back in my office and I'm like, "You know what, I know another guy who's trying to get his first deal and he lives in that market. Let me put them together. Let's see what happens." And sure enough, three months later, they called me back and they said, "Hey, we partnered and we closed on that deal we were talking about." And that’s huge.

Jason: It's one thing you can provide that, but there are other ways too, just like you mentioned, you can be the connector, right? And sometimes with meetups, someone says, "Well, I can't start a meetup. I don't know anything I'm doing." But you can be a connector.

Be the Connector and Start Helping Others

Photographer: Brett Jordan | Source: Unsplash

Jason: You can get a bunch of people in the room and bring other people that can provide value and start being that connector. That can be your piece to start helping others.

We don't always have to be the one with all the answers. We can be the connector between the question and the answer. And that puts us in a great place to where you can build your brand in that way to get yourself out of the gate.

Darin: That's huge. I remember calling, well, I sent an email, so I'm invested in one of Joe Fairless' deals. And so I was thinking, do I start a meetup? Do I start a podcast or write a book? What do I do? So I'm like, look, this guy has done it all. So I'll just send him an email and see what he says. And he said, "Start a meet-up, then start a podcast, then write a book." Now I did not do the meetup. I have got the podcast, but you set it up that way. Meet up, podcast. So you've got two podcasts, I believe. Right? Or podcast and YouTube, kind of talk about that and when did that come about?

Jason: A lot of our life is built on our mindset and just improving our health and growing our wealth all built together. So we started having our podcast just around real estate when we first started because we were doing all aspects and then transitioned over to multifamily. However, on our YouTube channel, we wanted to still talk about a lot of different components. And that’s what we do under The Jason and Pili Project is talk about the fit, rich life.

The Greatest Wealth Is Health and Living Your Own

Jason: When you think fit, rich, and life, that doesn't mean that you have to be six-pack abs. It can be whatever you want to be your ideal life because we have to stop living other people's lives. We have to start living our own. And usually, it's the hard questions that we don't ask. What do we want?

And many times we assume that what we see on our phone is what we want, but we don't know enough about what that person has done to get that or the experience to understand that, no, it's not right for us. Maybe I don't need $10 million. Maybe I just want to have $200,000 a year or $80,000 a year, who knows? Doing something I love that I can have all the time to explore the world in the way I want and spend it with my family?

So two different paths. I have all this money assuming I'm going to be happy, but that's also a goal that's not driven within you. So the reason that you don't get out of the gate to go after it is that you haven't set the context of what that means to you and what will happen if you achieve it.

And most importantly, if you don't achieve it, what will happen? And sometimes the more important question is that, okay, sure, what if what I get, if I do achieve it is one, but what carries more weight is that if you don't do this if you don't go after this goal and achieve this task, this mission, what is the ulterior result or the alternative to your life that happens because you did not do this?

Get Your Mindset Right

Darin: If I'm differentiating, you have a multifamily podcast and then your YouTube channel is The Jason and Pili Project, which is focused both on wealth and health.

Jason: Correct. The Multifamily Live is sold for multifamilyliveevent.com. The Multifamily Live Podcast is our podcast. We still have real high-performing guests on. However, we're targeted on multifamily just keeping the context of what is available in this space, how you can grow yourself to become, whether become a great operator or a great partner of a team or a great passive investor. There are all different parts that we can be involved with, really just opinion to get back to our core values and what's important to us.

Darin: I noticed from your social media that you are big into health. So you've got this YouTube project, talk about why that's so important to you and your life.

Jason: It sets my mind right. And so many times we defeat ourselves from the moment we get up because either we tell ourselves we are going to get up but then we don't. Then we're late for our day. We get off on the wrong foot. We're rushing. Our whole day starts in a frenzied, chaotic fashion. And our day continues like that. So when things come up that potentially aren't that big of a thing, they become huge because we're not prepared because our whole day has been unsettled and unraveled.

We get to the end of the day tired, overwhelmed, overworked, get back, and the next day repeats. And that's how so many people, unfortunately, live their life. Instead of saying, I have to get back to take control of what I can control. I’m not going to worry about what others are saying, what others are doing. Things I can’t control.

Focus On Things You Can Control

Jason: I'm strictly going to take control of my life, my attitude towards things, my focus on things, how I show up. And a lot with fitness is that I get up and do this because it gives me the clarity to just control the beginning of my day. Set the narrative for how my day's going to take off, and then really set my mind at ease.

So when I do get into the day, of course, everything is not going to go to plan. That's just life. But when things come up that aren't to plan, I have now put myself in a position here where I am controlling what I can control. So when things happen, I can have the time to put my mind to them and focus on them instead of being caught where everything's coming at me from all ways and I'm out of control.

Darin:  Most successful people that I've read about have a workout routine and a consistent routine about that. And the other thing is that it's counterintuitive in terms of like, look, you want more energy, expend energy. You want more money, give money away. Certain things in life don't really make sense, but you work out, and then all of a sudden you crave better food. And then your mind starts working better.

Jason: Everything is in a straight trajectory. So many times we think that it all has been all or nothing, but it's just that first step. So right now if you're out of shape, it's fine. Where most fall off the deep end is they get some kind of new year's resolutions, like, so haven't run in 17 years, I'm way overweight, I'm not eating well, but this month I'm going to run a marathon.

Setting Progressive Goals

Jason: The first day you kill yourself and you can't walk the next day and you give up because you've set unrealistic expectations and it's not trackable. So it could be, today I'm going to get up, I'm going to walk around the block. Okay, cool. Did that. The next day I'm going to do the same walk around the block, the last 15 steps I'm going to run. And so you at least build into something that you can start winning instead of setting the self out of the gate that you just create a loss for yourself and then give up.

Darin: I love that. I'm a total believer in that and progress. Rather than come out of the gate on day one and just a full sprint. Look, progress continues to motivate yourself. So you have created a habit of working out and from some notes I got, you get up at a strange time. Can you talk about that? Why did you pick that time?

Jason: Why? I didn't want to lose the morning anymore. So I set a point where it's very easy. We get up, the first thing we do, I can sleep five more minutes. But then you set the narrative. Start the day with a loss. So how do you think the day's going to carry over? Because it may seem subtle to you, but if you start building these habits into the part where you just accept these little things that just be okay, then where else do you cut corners? Where else do you give in? Then where else do you not go for it? Where else do you not do the tough things that need to be done?

Progression Shows That the Greatest Wealth Is Health

Jason: I said, "Okay, well, what's going to get me out of bed?" Well, four, three, two, one, I get up at 4:32 AM. I go four, three, two, one, go, and I get out of bed. Get up, get going. Once you're out of bed, you're up, you're ready.

Darin: 4:32 sounded weird, but now you say four, three, two, one, it's like a mental thing in your head, pop out.

Jason: Get up. Go. Once you're up, you're up and that's it. You typically aren't going to get up and say, "I'm going to…", you get up, you go. I like to have a glass of water by the bed or chug a glass of water and that replenishes my body. It gets me going.

Darin: You've done a lot of things. Talk about kind of layering, because you ended up moving from single family to multifamily, and then you started becoming successful at that. Then you started to add things on. You added on the meetup group, then a podcast. Then you add on YouTube, then you add on a three-day event. So talk about how that progression took place.

Jason: It's simply staying in line with the trajectory of where we're going. I think where we were not seeing the best results is that when we were trying to do all these things that weren't completely aligning. We may be doing multifamily and then construction, and then new development, and then flipping. Well, they all have the covet of real estate, however, they're all separate practices. But when you get to a point and you look at how other people are successful, most people don't start off the gate and have 15 different income streams at the same time and they all work.

Keeping a Straight Trajectory

Jason: They're typically driving one vehicle. And then on that front, once they get that vehicle, dialed in and it's on autopilot, or at least in a part where it's dialed in, they can now add other things that are parallel with that but also assist that.

The meetup has been fantastic. We've helped all these people, but it also was just surprising. But we started to have, of course, a lot of investors come from there. We started to have lead generation, brand awareness, all the things that come from the meetup. Podcasts, we've now been able to connect with just some of the top-level people like yourself where we could just get out here face to face where we may not have the ability to be in the same room, but now we're connecting with so many other people. So it puts you in front of high-level people that are operating on just another notch because they're stepping up. So you can learn their processes and their places.

And even for us growing a YouTube channel, just understanding how to market in certain spaces, which leads to the Multifamily Live Event. How we can get out there within three days, give people an actual blueprint to go out there and tackle their goals, start with what they want. What's in their mind that's stopping them? And here are actual goals or actual steps that you can take to reach a goal.

Darin: That's great. Look, there are people out there that are going to judge people for everything. You can't do that. Who does that person think they are? And all these, and you just have to get those, for the listeners' benefit, you just have to get those out of your head.

Encouraging People That the Greatest Wealth Is Health

encourage people that The Greatest Wealth Is Health
Photographer: Headway | Source: Unsplash

Darin: All these different things that, yes, add different income streams. It can come across as being like, okay, well, that person is just building an empire for himself. But the reality of it is every one of those income streams, every one of those challenges, every one of those layers is impacting and helping other people. And had you not started the meetup group, yes, you benefited from it. But had you not started that meetup group, some people may never have gotten into multifamily.

Had you and your wife not started the YouTube channel, look, there may be people that just give up on the health side or where they want to go. But they need a coach and you're willing to invest your time, your effort, your money to help other people. So that's something that I think gets lost with some people. Some people just want to be naysayers. But once you see that you've helped somebody, that's such a driver for moving forward. So look, you're much further ahead of me on those fronts, but starting the podcast last year, I've met so many people and had coffee with people that have invested in deals with me and said that it came from listening to the podcast first. And look, I feel awesome that it's helped people. So I applaud you guys for doing that.

Jason: Well, it's one of the best feelings, right? You're doing a podcast and other people are taking in learning pieces and being able to apply them through their day. Because you're giving out information that someone didn't know was available to them before. And then when they hear that, it's the same thing too.

Setting Realistic Goals

Jason: It's great feedback in your process because when someone else can take that and say, "Okay, we can use this to better ourselves, to better our lives." A lot of what we talk about is that not everything is going to be perfect.

You would never know a perfect day if they were all perfect. But you have to understand that you're not going to have the perfect day show up for you to get started. And you have to start right now. You have to go out there and take action because the action produces better questions and you get better answers.

So many times in our life, we want to know all the pieces, every piece of the puzzle. We want to have all the questions so we can have all the answers figured out before we get started. And either two things happen. One, we never get to that point. We never have enough information because there's always more information to get. Or two, we think we have it all and then the first day we get slapped in the mouth because we were not ready. Just like Mike Tyson, is that we're not ready and then our whole trajectory gets thrown off. And so it's about starting and understanding that you have at least a direction. So if I'm in New York, I want to go to California, I at least know I got to go west.

I don't know if I have to go four degrees left, 73 degrees right, I just know I have to go west. And at each point, I'm going to have to get to the next step and then pivot accordingly to that next part which is going to give me more feedback to get to my goal.

Every Part Is A Hard Part

Darin: The next step. That's what you said. And I think that that is so key and people have asked me like, and I'm sure you went through something similar. On my first syndication, people were like, "What was the hardest part?" People want to go right to the capital raise and that must have been the hardest part. I'm like, "You know what? Every part was hard."

And because I hadn't done it before. So calling brokers, going on property tours, underwriting, everything was hard at first. But then I look back now and I'm like, man, why was I concerned about that piece? That was not an issue. But when you don't know something. So if you think about all the steps, it could prevent you from moving forward. But I love what you said, just tackle the next step. And then you know there's the next step after that. Then tackle that one. That's huge.

Jason: It's having all the unknowns that scares off the cliff. Before we had all this mapping technology or even if you're driving to a point you're kind of not certain where it is, it feels like it takes forever to get there. It's like a difficult trip and it's a journey that's never-ending. And you finally get there. Then when you turn around and come back, it's like three minutes. Because your mind was so involved that this is so painstaking, it's such a journey for me to be on.

But then when you turn it around and you've done it, you say, "Okay, well, now it's not that bad." Because your mind now understands the journey. And now there are new things that are going to be new challenges.

Staying Humble

Jason: And so for us, that first step is always going to be difficult because why shouldn't it be? It’s something we've never done before. Like some of my kids trying to learn to ride a bike. It's like, why can't I do it? Well, you've never done it before. So we just don't step up and jump on a bike and just ride off into just wherever they're going. It's that step of understanding how things flow together, but you have to get on a bike and falling might happen.

But in that act, you can learn that, okay, how do I not have the worst-case scenario? Well, learn to put my feet down, learn to put my hands down. That's just a lot like life. Instead of just saying, "Oh, the worst-case scenario is going to happen. I'm going to buy an apartment building and it's going to be blown up by fire by one of the residents."

Well, you just say, "Okay, how can I prepare for this to be the best investment possible by really controlling everything that I can control and then setting myself up accordingly with all the pieces of the puzzle to keep carrying my process forward."

Darin: The other thing I would add is surrounding yourself with like-minded people. So if you have not done it before but you either have hired a mentor to coach you on how to do it and how it's going to feel and what you're going to go through, or you're around a lot of other people that have already done it and they encourage you that, you know what? Yeah, it's scary. But I was scared too and I did it, and it worked out.

Raising Capital Fearlessly

Photographer: Micheile Henderson | Source: Unsplash

Darin: With the bicycle example, most kids, how they learn to ride a bike is, at least I did it with my two kids. I think probably a lot of people do this is if the parent is out there with the kid. The parent knows how to ride a bike, right? The parent is giving encouragement and saying, "You know what, you're not going to get it your first chance, but I'm going to push you and you may fall down and may get a bruise, but after a little bit, you're going to get it."

And so when they look back at their mom or dad, they have a lot of trust in them and they believe that they learned how to do it. And so what they're trying to teach is right. Surrounding yourself with other people that can give you that is huge. So how much money did you have to raise for all those deals and syndications?

Jason: I'd have to add it up. The first one was 700k. In November it was 2.8 million.

Darin: So let's just talk about going from 700k to 2.8 million. Raising capital is a fear for a lot of people trying to get into the syndication space. So talk about how your first deal versus where you are now.

Jason: Sure. Luckily, we learned a smart thing to do prior to ever being in a position of having a deal is that you have to start telling people what you're doing and start to create energy and excitement with what you're going after. And we did that by really putting together a mock deal based upon what we're going to be looking for. And so we basically were talking to people who could be potential investors.

In All Deal Projects, the Greatest Wealth Is Health

Jason: Because if I come to you today and you've never heard about investing in apartment buildings, then I think that I'm going to explain who I am, learn what you want, tell them about how multifamily works. Tell them about the projects that I'm looking for and then tell them about the property that I now have and will you give me $50,000?

Darin: In the next two weeks.

Jason: Yes. In the next two weeks. That's a lot because people's minds are overloaded, they shut off. And then you have to come from a position where you need money. But if I can do this, I can learn because if I came to you today and say, "Hey, that is a fantastic investment. It's going to be a seven to 10-year offering." And you'll be like, why don't we want to put my money to work for six months? Well, it doesn't matter how great my investment is. It's not right for you. So I want to have conversations and learn how I can help you. And ultimately I'll raise money without ever asking for it.

Because ultimately, by the time we get to the point of the conversation, I've explained who I am, explained what I've done, explained what I'm looking to do, understood or understand what you have done with investments or what you're looking forward to invest in. Allowed you time to understand why multifamily. Then left you or maybe came back for another conversation to explain about investing in the apartment buildings that we're looking at. Leave you with the type of deal, allow you time to understand it. Then come back and see if this is something that's going to make sense for you.

First Deal vs the Succeeding Deals

Jason: Where this works is that imagine you do find this fantastic deal, which you will, well, here you are, you've never talked to anybody. You've never raised money and now you have to go somehow raise three million dollars, but you don't know if you can do it. So you're already telling your mind, "I don't know if I can do this." But if you have all these talks with investors, to begin with, and now you've talked to 60, 80 investors and potentially you've gotten commitments, soft commitments, or at least interest, that could be three million dollars.

Well, now when you find that property that needs three million dollars, well, you're going to feel a lot more comfortable going back to have those conversations. Because you've already had them instead of saying, "Hope I can raise these three million dollars and hope I can do this." So it gives you an idea of what kind of property you can go after and how much money you can raise. So it's really those five steps to raise money without asking for it or needing it right now.

Because if I need the money, everybody feels it. And I don't want to be putting investors in a position where I need them to make a decision that ultimately may not be their best decision because they're under stress. And their best decision may be to invest when it's not right for them or to not invest because they don't have enough time to understand either me or the deal or space in general.

Darin: That's great. I've heard people talk about talking to people ahead of time and building relationships ahead of time. I haven't really heard people talk about the mock deal and that's good. I like that.

Taking Out Uncertainty From Your First Deal

Darin: I have another business that trades loan portfolios between banks. And in that business, a lot of times the first time presenting a portfolio, the bank ends up. I say it's almost a good thing if it trades away. So another bank buys it before this new bank can buy it because it gives that bank confidence that, hey, somebody else wanted it and that it was priced accordingly and that he wasn't pressuring me to do it.

Those similar type feelings happen in the multifamily space both from a syndicator perspective. I remember the first deal I put an offer on. I told my wife, I said, "Oh man, I just put the LOI." And she's like, "Are you excited?" I'm like, "No, I'm so scared. What if I get it? I don't know if I'm ready." And then for the investors, sometimes they're looking at a deal for the first time, a passive deal. They don't fully understand it, but there's a time constraint. The syndicator needs the money within a few weeks and they may not have had enough time to really get comfortable with it. So I like that approach of talking to people and talking about a mock deal.

Jason: It gives you a lot of comfort going into when you find that actual deal because you're not stuck to a point that there's enough uncertainty with you doing your first deal. Why not take some of the uncertainty off the table so you can really focus on the things that are going to come up that you don't have the ability to prepare for ahead of time?

Darin: Absolutely. So another piece of advice I would give to listeners, and you're out looking for your first deal and you're trying to build relationships.

Talk Up to Your Team Believing That the Greatest Wealth Is Health

Darin: Why is your aunt and uncle or your neighbor or somebody else going to invest with you when it's your first time? And in that instance, I would say also talk up your team. So if you are going to use a property management company that manages 10,000 units in the market, well, make sure you're telling people that, because then they're like, oh, these guys know what they're doing. We're going to use an attorney that just focuses on these syndication multifamily deals. Now all of a sudden it's not just about you doing your first deal. It's the team that you're building.

You're going to partner with some guy who has already done 100 unit plus deals for the last 10 years. Well, that's a different story. So all those factors are part of the story that you talk about when you're talking to your contacts.

Jason: Yes. It's exactly true that your team creates the basis for how your deal can look and be to other investors. Because at some point you have to start somewhere. But if you surround yourself with people who have been knowledgeable and been active in this space, what do you think that does to your credibility? How does that help you come up? And how does that set people's minds at ease when they know that you're taking the preparation? Because if you just said, "Oh, well, who's your team?" "Well, I don't know. We're going to figure it out. We're going to figure it out when we get there. But don't worry. Just give me 50,000 dollars. We'll be good."

Darin: Maybe I'll catch you on the next one.

Roles and Responsibilities

Jason: I've heard that before. Who's your end buyer going to be? I don't know, we'll figure it out. Well, that might be an important piece. You want to think about like, who's your team? We're going to think about it once we get it. We've got a little bit more to figure out. Well, okay. But if you come to the park, hey, we've interviewed these four companies, this company's got a great track record, has as you said, 10,000 units under management, really first in the BC space, it's really, really well ingrained here in this sub-market, in this market. What do you think that's going to say about you and what you've done to prepare yourself for this investment?

Darin: Absolutely. And so for you, one of your key team members is your wife, Pili. There's not a lot of people that can work as a husband and wife team both at home and at work. So talk a little bit about how that works out between the two of you and the kind of exchange of roles and responsibilities.

Jason: Pili and I met working together. Living in New York City in a bunch of different spaces. So we worked in nightlife. I had some restaurants, I had opened a brewery and sold a brewery there. So we met in that space. We met on that side and then, later on, almost nine years later became a couple. So we knew that side first and then the other side became. But where I see most husband and wife disagreements is that they don't actually ask the questions, is what I'm doing, in my mind, am I assuming what I'm doing is right or am I asking the question if it's right?

Pili Shares the Same Value: The Greatest Wealth Is Health

pili's values: The Greatest Wealth Is Health
Photographer: Ben White | Source: Unsplash

Jason: Because if I'm doing what I see as the greatest thing to help our family and make this the best ever, well, to me, it might be great. But if I don't ask my wife, "Hey, is it okay that I haven't seen our kids in two weeks and I'm working 22 hour days?" Where the wife may say, "I don't care about any of this part of getting a billion portfolio, I just want you around the kids to watch them grow." Or any of those parts or the husband doing one thing and he's not understanding why the wife is really targeted on multifamily syndication.

Because we don't have the questions or talk track that seems tough, but actually it makes it very easy when both understands why the other is doing it. Because usually by the time it comes up, it becomes a collision point where everybody's not happy because no one's talking about what they're doing. They just assumed that what they're doing is the best.

Darin: That's so funny. Communication between husband and wife, between business partner and business partner, between the general partner and limited partner, between general partners and a property management company, all that communication is so key. And assuming things that everybody is on the same page as you can get you in trouble. So that's great. And I didn't realize you guys already had that connection before, and then you built. Usually, it goes the other way around, so that's cool. Hey, I don't know if you have one of these, but if you do, I would love to hear a challenge that happened in one of your properties and how you guys overcame it.

A Stake Out Place

Jason: You have a building with 100+ people living in it, of course, there's going to come up to be challenges. We had one, actually, the first one we ever did ended up a neighboring building being run by the city, owned by the city had a shootout. Not an area where there's a shootout.

Darin: A shoot-out right next door?

Jason: Right next door. Scared to death of our tenants, which you should be. Right? Because now you have these people, it turned out there were a bunch of people that were living there unleased. That was just staying there and creating a bunch of bad activities. So drug activity, all sort of stuff in this area where it wasn't commonplace. It was an anomaly. There were five buildings which we owned, a total of 94 units. One of the buildings backed up to this building, had the happenstance that one of the units just came vacant. So I called up, it took me about five or six calls to say, "I need you to call back because someone's going to be hurt. Someone's going to die."

Finally get back to Louisville Metro, which got me in touch with their detective board in charge of this. And they use this unit as a stakeout while we were turning the unit to really just survey this property next door.

Darin: So your vacant unit, you actually gave to the detectives to go in and do a stakeout?

Jason: Correct.

Darin: And so they were able to use that. Wow. That's a cool idea.

Jason: Yes. It worked out just, it was fantastic. So three or four weeks, whatever it was apart, they were able to get enough information or whatever they needed to go over there.

For Your Tenants, the Greatest Wealth Is Health

Jason: I think they made something like nine or 10 arrests over there. But really just changed the dynamic. Because we went from, this could be a real problem. This could really not only hurt our tenants but also make them uncomfortable, fill in the blanks, right? To the point here where we're able to find something where tenants can now go back and live their lives and not worry about something. Because no tenant wants to be like, "Yes, I live here. It's completely unsafe. I'm cool with it." No, they don't.

Darin: Right. Nobody is going to say that.

Jason: They want to be happy where they live. Even if it's not a four-million mansion or a class A or new construction, they want to be able to live in a good community. Well, you can go and show that you're trying to make this the best community for them to live in. It sets the narrative and really creates an impact.

Darin: Well, earlier you talked about taking action and most of the time I talk on the show about different investors that are at 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 units and how they took action even though they didn't have all the information and got them in the game where so many listeners or people want to get into real estate but they're afraid to pull the trigger. But there's more to it than just buying the deal. So in this instance, you could have handled that a lot of different ways. You could have handled that very passively where you heard about it and you're like, oh man, I hope that doesn't leak over to our property. I hope nobody gets hurt. I hope our tenants don't leave because of what's going on next door.

Take Actions to Get Results

Darin: You could've just sat back and just hoped things worked out but you didn't. But you took action. You actually made calls and did something that ended up helping the community. So that's huge.

Jason: We take the first no as just so concrete. Usually, the first no comes for a lot of reasons. One, they just don't feel like dealing with you. Two, they're not in the power to give you the yes. Or three, they just don't know there is a yes. But if you believe there's a yes out there, you have to keep asking the question until you find the yes. And I take a lot with life is that the first roadblock that I got, that's it. It wasn't right for us. Not meant to do. Not meant to happen. So forget it. We're not going to do it.

But if you believe there's a yes out there and your future relies on it, you're going to figure out the steps to get to where you have to go just by understanding that you'll hear no so many times, but lots of times it has nothing to do with you. It's just the situation. So if you believe there's a yes, well, find the yes.

Darin: So in real estate, I was told this, and I could vouch for it in my short experience of three-plus years, look, there are going to be challenges and there are going to be nos. You're going to have people that are going to say no to you. Whether that means look, you go after a deal hard and there are 15 offers and you don't get it, that's a no. Or it's you get the deal and you're looking for investors and you get no.

Finding Opportunities

Darin: You have to have thick skin and just move on to know that there are other people that want the opportunity that you're presenting. It may not be right for some people, but then there's somebody else that has no idea, they have this opportunity. You have to find that person.

Jason: It's that you're offering opportunity and not every opportunity is going to be perfect for a person and most of the time it has nothing to do with you. It could be they just started a business or overcapitalized, they just started a business and didn't understand their tax expense. They don't have liquid capital right now. They're just buying a home. Think of all the reasons that could potentially be something that's keeping them back from doing it and it has nothing to do with you.

Darin: I remember when I was doing my first capital raise, a few interesting things I learned from it. One was, my wife was like, "Hey, don't go to friends and family." I'm like, "Why?" "Well, what if it doesn't go right. We don't want to burn bridges." And I'm like, "Look, I'm just not wired that way. Look, we're investing. I believe this is a great deal." All it is is an opportunity. I'm totally fine with them saying, "No, it's not for me."

Here’s what I found out. You brought up a few good things for all the varying reasons. There were certain people in my mind that I had relationships with. I'm like, this guy is a no-brainer. He's wealthy. And he's got money. He's going to invest like no problem. I call up and it's, "Hey, Darin, man, we just put a ton of capital into this business." Or, "I just bought this other business," or whatever.

Leaving the Final Decision Up to the Person

Darin: The timing just wasn't right. Then there are other people that I'm going through my cell phone and I'm like, "I don't even think I should reach out to this person. This person's never going to invest." That's the negative thought in my head. And I'm like, you know what? Let that person make the decision, not me.

Jason: That's correct. Don't judge the jury. So let them make their own decision.

Darin: Then all of a sudden it's like, "Hey Darin, man, how does this work? Can we get together for coffee?" And then that person ends up investing. And I'm like, holy cow, I never would've thought that. But it taught me a lesson about not judging because there are certain people that you just hit them at the right time and it's an opportunity that they have never been presented with. And they just need some knowledge.

Jason: Exactly right. That's exactly right. Sometimes people don't get the opportunities and when you can show them the other ways out there, it's the best thing. Not only for you, of course, but for them. It gives them something that can help them to their future goals that they didn't know existed prior.

Darin: Absolutely. So look, you're a big mindset guy. You're a big learning guy and you're giving back and teaching other people what you've learned, what are you focused on? Obviously getting more deals is a focus. But from a learning perspective, what are you guys focused on for you personally to continue your growth?

Jason: That's a good question. I'm always being an open-minded learner. I think right now I'm just trying to make sure that you have to be in two ways. That you have to be careful with your words with your kids.

Don't Get Tired Of Trying and Remember That the Greatest Wealth Is Health

Jason: Because you want to put them in a position to take action, but you want to care for them too. But you have to always curb your thoughts. If the kid is climbing over in a jungle gym, your whole thing is like, "Okay, don't move, don't move, don't do this." You're going to make them so timid about their future reaction. So I've been trying to watch myself and train my mind, train my thoughts to make sure that the wording I'm using is allowing them to look for it.

And even with them, you're a lot like, I can't. I can't get my seatbelt and I can't do this. I can't do that. And if you can start to simply just sway those terms to how can I?

That's something that's really on my mind a lot because it goes back to myself. I didn't have that upbringing where it was that, its influent possibilities. And just, you have to understand that at some point what's the worst that could happen if I try? You don't succeed. So try again. But if you don't try, well, there's no chance it happens.

Darin: The other thing I would say about the trying thing, I liken it more to maybe starting a business than the real estate thing. But it applies there as well. Is that look, somebody, they go to start their own business. They go down the path and maybe three months in they're like, "This isn't going to work." But they see another opportunity. And then they pivot and they go that way. And now all of a sudden they make that a success and that person never would have gotten there had they not taken action on the first idea. So stepping over that ledge.

Jason's Mindset Growing Up

Photographer: Fernando Hernandez | Source: Unsplash

Darin: There's no guarantee in investments. No guarantee that you buy the multifamily property and it's always going to straight-up be a straight valuation increase. There are going to be challenges.

But if you don't try, there's no way. Talk about, you alluded to it before that you didn't grow up that way. How did you grow up? Where did you grow up? What were your parents like? What was your mindset when you were growing up?

Jason: Sure. I have a great family upbringing, so it's nothing under par. It's just, we come from a generation where our parents weren't trained that way. So typically my dad had his own construction business. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, helped with the family business, but part of social media has been great or part of things with being potentially available for more information is that there are more ways for us to make informed decisions.

You grew up where there are four channels, right? And now you start getting into a part of an age where now there are limitless possibilities. You can go both ways. You can look at all the negatives or you can look at all the positives or you can try. Because a lot of decisions out there today, it's crazy to say it, is that someone's decision is based on someone else's Instagram posts and that's not even been researched and they'll assume their entire thought on a topic based on someone else's post that hasn't been researched. And so for us, to be able to look at our life and our actions and look at, okay, what are my options to understand this and how can I grow to build upon where I am?

When Making Decisions, Keep in Mind That the Greatest Wealth Is Health

Jason: Am I always making the right choice? No, but am I trying to understand, okay, when I don't make the right choice, what would have been another option? What would have been a better choice? And sometimes you find out that you’re not the right choice happened to be the best choice because the ulterior or the other choice was worse. And so you made the best of what you have with the information. But that's what it takes to get going. Like if you're talking about opening a business or buying a multifamily is that you have to get to a step that gives you more information so you can get better at your questioning to get better answers.

Most of the time we don't take the step. And so all we have is an assumption, but we have no information. We just assume all of these things whether negative or positive because we have no tactical or action that's happened to get us to good information, we honestly have no idea.

Darin: For you, you've done nine syndications. So on your ninth one, you had a lot more knowledge than on your first one. Right? But had you not done the first one, you wouldn't have built up all that knowledge over the next eight or nine, you just have to get in. And some of the ways to mitigate the risk on that first deal is partnering with somebody that has experience. So they're kind of looking over your shoulder and the team that we've talked about. But where did you grow up? And brothers, sisters, kind of where did you fall in?

Jason: So I grew up in New Jersey. I was the oldest.

Darin: New Jersey.

Growing Up in New Jersey

Jason: My sister and brother were seven and 10 years younger than me. So I spent a lot of time almost as the only child because you're out there and apart. So really close to my family, but we did have that wide gap. And so I've always been out there just trying to understand what else is there and trying to understand how things have worked. And that's been something I've carried forward.

Darin: So your dad was a business owner. Did that influence you in becoming a business owner?

Jason: Yes. In its own way. So he was in the construction business and he still is. He's still in the family construction business that's active in New Jersey. But it gives you the things you like and the things that you don't like about business. I knew and it was interesting, but I could constantly see that my dad has all the knowledge in the world, but he would put himself in a position where he would have to do all the pieces or choose to do all the pieces. And so if you have, I don't know, 10,000 dollars an hour of knowledge but you're determined to do the eight dollars an hour task, well, then ultimately that's going to leverage how successful you can be because you're stuck doing a lot of things where you have to put your energy on better tasks.

So from a multifamily perspective, what could that mean? Okay. If I'm out there trying to go over every piece of the puzzle where a lot of my teammates could do, and I'm not doing two things, finding deals or raising capital, then I'm not going to get anywhere. Because those are the two drivers.

A Piece of Advice for the Listeners

Jason: If you're not doing those two deals and you want to do multifamily syndication, well, you really need to have a great teammate who's going to do that or you're not going to go anywhere because you need those two pieces. So if your energy, those are the two most important pieces and you're doing everything else but those two pieces, well, then your energy is not best spent.

Darin: Right. In this world, it's finding deals and finding investors and if you're doing all the other stuff, then you're low value on the totem pole for sure. So what would be your advice to passive investors if they wanted to get involved for the first time?

Jason: Ask themselves why, why do they want to invest? Does it just sound like some novel thing? Because this is something where you're going to be invested, if it is multifamily syndication, it could be three, five, seven, 10 years. So you have to understand what it is that you're looking for to have this investment? There's a lot of different ways you can win with multifamily, appreciation, cash flow, depreciation, tax advantages, portfolio diversification. But what is it that's going to be important for you? And then the operators. This is something where you're going to be invested with this person for a long time. So do you like this person? Do you like what they're doing?

Wait, what is it that's going to be important to you about that investment? Because if you can't answer that, then you're probably going to be disappointed because most of the time, if we don't have an idea of what we want, then when we get it, we didn't have an idea of what we wanted, so we'll be disappointed in the results.

Questions to Ask Yourselves

Jason: So that's why some of our big questions upfront are we'll talk with investors, what have they invested in before? If they've done syndications, what did they like or haven't they liked about the process? What are some of these pieces? So we can learn forward but also learn how we can help them. And honestly, sometimes we might be a great fit for them, and other times we might not be a great fit and it's better to know now and give them good feedback that we are longer-term holds.

Right now this is just a passive investment. It's not for active participants. We're not looking for active participants. It's better for us to have that conversation upfront so we can all make sure that we're pushing them or giving them the best guidance to get to their results.

Darin: I love those questions. What is it they're looking for? If they've done another deal in the past, what do they like and what do they not like? Because it may be something that is a good fit or may not be something that's a good fit. Most of the time, I've heard people talk about all the financial advantages to why getting into syndication makes sense. All those are important, but these questions are very important as well. I think a lot of times they're not asked. Jason, if people want to get out and reach out to you and Pili, what's the best way for them to get a hold of you?

Jason: You can join us at the live event on June 10th, 11th, and 12th at multifamilyliveevent.com. If you want to talk more about us, about passive investment, or just learn more about us, you can go to yarusiholdings.com. And our emails are jason@yarusiholdings.com, pili@yarusiholdings.com

The Next Big Stretch

Darin: What's your next big stretch goal my friend before we jump here?

Jason: The 200-mile race. I did a couple of hundreds last year, did 2,500 miles last year. So that's my next stretch goal.

Darin: That's one race, 200 miles? How long does it take?

Jason: Yes, one race, 200 miles. That could take three to four days depending. So depending on the race and the terrain.

Darin: And what's the longest you've done so far?

Jason: 101 ends up being, but over 100.

Darin: So you can get a double. You've done a 100-mile race and now you're going to double it.

Jason: That's my next stretch.

Darin: Wow. The 101-mile race. How long did that take you?

Jason: A little shy of 21 hours.

Darin: 21 hours. And what state was that in?

Jason: That was in New Jersey. So I've done New Jersey. I've done New York. I've done, where was the other one? It was the border of Indiana and Ohio, that went out there and I did run a lot of miles in between.

Darin: That's awesome. Well, better you than me. Jason, I really appreciate you coming on the show. Listeners, I hope you enjoyed that one. Definitely tune into his podcast, into their YouTube channel, and take a look at that live event, multifamilyliveevent.com. And these guys are good people and sometimes it's nice learning from somebody that has the success but isn't so far removed that they forget what it feels like to be a new guy in space. So hope you enjoyed that one. Until next week, signing off.

How to Reach Jason Yarusi

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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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