Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate
Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate

Best Of 2021: The Best Real Estate Investing Lessons

Written by JD Esajian

We’re celebrating 25 episodes of The FortuneBuilders Real Estate Investing Show with a special episode highlighting some of the best moments from the show! Over the last six months, hosts Jeff Rutkowski and JD Esajian have shared systems and strategies to help support you on your path to getting started in real estate. From raising money to executing rehabs to purchasing rental properties, there’s no shortage of information to gain from tuning in to the show each week. In this episode, you’ll get to see some of the best, most impactful moments from the show thus far.

Listen to the podcast here:

Episode 5: Than Merrill

I got to know: why are you so passionate about teaching others? You’re very successful on your own. I’m with you, as you leave family and travel across the country to teach students and these one-day virtual events. Why are you so passionate about that?

You know, real estate changed my life, it changed my life. It gave me something to be passionate about. Before, really, my only passion was football. And that was my greatest joy. Yeah. And, you know, after football, I was searching for something that I would have any sort of passion for, and I couldn’t really find it until we got involved in real estate. So financially, it changed my life, but more importantly, I think it gave me purpose. And what I’ve realized with teaching, is that’s the gift you’re giving other people.

You’re allowing them to change their lives financially, which transforms their lives personally. We have students who do business with their sons and daughters and create this special relationship. They’ll remember for the rest of their lives. We have students who do it with their best friends, we have students, husband and wife teams, and yeah, getting involved investing, having a common purpose, a passion, gives them more life fulfillment.

And so I think it really empowers people to become the best version of themselves. And I think it’s very rewarding, obviously, to improve your own life financially. But

“It’s equally rewarding, if not more rewarding, to help other people transform their lives. So that’s why we teach.”

That’s what we’ve been doing for a long time and we love doing it.

And we talk a lot about (at FortuneBuilders) what is your why? And obviously, I’ve watched you over the years, man, and you’re so driven. Anything you put your mind to, I mean, you focus on whether it’s real estate. I mean, two years ago, you said I want to start playing basketball, right? And in two years, you’re almost as good as I am. It’s just amazing.

If the people are wondering why I have this black eye, it’s from Jeff. He has very sharp elbows when we play basketball.

Yeah, he tried to bring the ball into my house. And, you know, I don’t remember it that way. I remember a lot of flailing on your part and wailing and elbows flying. But that’s it.

What Drives Than?

All right. We’ll leave that for another show. But what is it that drives you?

Ah, you know, today it’s, it’s my family, my friends, and students that we serve. I think those are the three areas that I focus the majority of my time on, and I enjoy doing it. We teach people around the country and it’s really inspirational to hear people’s stories and what they do with the information. You know, I’ve always believed in giving people an opportunity. What they do with it is up to them.

You know, we have some students who don’t do anything with the information. We have other students who change their lives. So it’s amazing when you get with somebody who’s motivated and driven, and you give them the tools and a process to go out there and follow and they have success doing it.

And I’m a student, I love learning. So every single day I’m reading, I’m trying to better myself in some way, just like a lot of people listening right now. One of the reasons you’re listening is you’re doing the same thing: you’re trying to improve yourself as opposed to watching a show on Netflix. Yeah, it might be an entertaining show, this type of show can make a profound difference if you continue to self educate yourself, and I think self-education is really what can transform someone’s life.

Agree. I mean, that’s one of the things I’m very thankful to you for in my life. I hated learning growing up, wasn’t the best student, and just had a hard time engaging in traditional education. But you really taught me to fall in love with learning, right, and we got a cheesy little slogan we use, but it’s so true. The more you learn, the more you earn. Very true. Now, just as you keep learning you’ll see your finances (usually) rise alongside that.

But two more questions (we’re gonna get you out with this) is, you know, I heard you say one time, obviously, you’re talented in many areas, but I heard you say one time that you are put on this earth. Like the one thing that you can do better than anything else is to help people (or for yourself) is to set and hit goals. And we actually have an ultimate entrepreneur camp, we, you know, do once a year, and you know, you teach a series, but a couple of quick tips on somebody getting into the business how-to, or forget the business just in life setting and hitting goals.

Yeah, so I think the first thing is forming an identity around what you’re trying to accomplish. So if you’re a lot of people, let’s say they take up a new sport, and they’re trying golf for the first time, I think people have a hard time becoming a good golfer until they self-identify as a golfer. So getting into real estate investing, it was new to me. But I realized, you know, I’m an investor, that is who I am, this is my identity. And that gives you a greater sense of passion and purpose.

And so whatever field you’re looking to improve upon, I think you first have to identify that that is you if that is in your core system, your blood, that is who you are. You know, you meet the best athletes, you ask them who they are, you know, “I’m a basketball player. That’s what I am”, and they truly believe. And so I think if you want to be a good investor, the first thing you have to do is, you have to really, truly believe you’re a good investor. And you have to identify as an investor when people ask you what you do for work. You may do something else on a day to day, but hopefully, in that conversation, you let them know, I’m an investor. This is what I do.

Episode 12: Big V

Like I mentioned in the beginning, a variety of people that are gonna listen to this episode, you know, watch it on social media, etc. You’ll have people like yourself experienced investors all the way down to somebody looking for their first commercial deal. Going back, knowing what you know now – 30 years of experience 20 years, what would be your top tip, your top piece of advice? For those listening today? Who wants to start?

First Top Tip

I’ll start. You know, we’ve talked about it already. Education? Yeah. Right. I mean, that in the end, you know, that’s what Jason and I are talking about. Educating yourself, understanding your business, and really taking a deep dive and spending the time, effort and energy to really know what you’re involved in, because then you can make a decision like we made last year, right. Because that decision was not made in a bubble, right? Our decision to acquire in that environment was not made in a bubble. It was made because as Jason shared and we shared,

“We’re educated. We understand our business, we believe in what we do.”

And it was, what we thought, was a reasonable risk.

Second Top Tip

I love it. I love it. What about you, Jason? What’s your top tip?

Well, I’ll play off of that a little bit and say that it’s about pulling the trigger when you’re prepared. And you’re, and you’re convicted versus this, we call it, paralysis of analysis. Sitting over here, whether that means you’re buying your own property, or you’re investing with someone, or whatever that is. To sit on the sidelines and just think through all these different reasons why not to do it instead of just doing it. And I’ve always found, for us, once we’re prepared, we’re convicted in our beliefs of how this is going to work and why it’s gonna work. Yes, we pull the trigger. And it’s worked out well.

I love it. And you have the system we have, you know, if it checks these boxes, nothing else to think about, right? Yeah, you take action. And that’s, that’s a great tip. I see. So many investors, you know, just get caught up with, alright, you know, everything looks good, but you know, why? You know, and the bottom line is, if you think of a reason not to do something, you’ll find lots of them.

Episode 23: Justen Brown

You know, say I have a property locked up, and I’m gonna sell it to you. But Jeff, he found a 17 unit in Idaho. Hey, I don’t want to buy your condo anymore. You know, but JD, you know, he’s behind me. At least I get that information to the escrow company as quickly as possible. So identifying that would be really, really important.

That’s good stuff, man. I think a good question that would actually help the audience is obviously I mean, if you’re doing business here in Southern California, we would highly recommend Justin. If you’re working in one of the 49 states across the country outside of California, what are some good questions and investors should be asking an escrow company? Because you mentioned earlier, obviously, you’re doing 1000s of transactions. You talked about assignments and wholesaling. I’ve talked to a lot of Escrow title companies that aren’t even familiar with that process. So we’re running a wholesale business, but what do you think are some of the major questions that should be asked to an escrow company?

What to Ask an Escrow Company

Yeah, it’d be great. Well, what type of Escrow transactions do you guys do? Okay, you know, whether it’s a condo, mobile, home, commercial, business, bulk, assignment, wholesale, double, all that good stuff. Ask them, what type of transactions and are they comfortable doing them? You know, and it’s okay, there’s no right or wrong answer. Honesty is the best policy here. And then also, having a meeting with them, “Hey, this is who I am. This is what I’m looking to do. How can you assist me in my business? Or how can I become better?”. Again, it goes back to being a student, right?

One thing would be, what do you work with any other investors? You know, it’s one of my qualifying questions with contractors or subs. Have you worked with another investor? If they say no, and they only go directly to the consumer, might not be the type of person I want to work with as an investor. Investors are typically nimble, they’re quick, they want to move things a little bit faster, and they work nonstop.

The other thing would be, what are some of the pitfalls that they have seen? Sure, in their state while working with investors? Because a lot of times they’re gonna say, “Hey, we work with, you know, a fortune builder student in Arkansas”. And this guy, well actually, let’s call it a girl, “Jessica. She does a ton of deals, and she’s uncovered this” That’s good information. That’s really important information to add to your checklist.


Yeah. All right, there you go. Those are the top clips of our first 25 episodes. Hope you love that. Hope you enjoyed it. We are excited to keep this show going. We love your feedback. Many of the guests that we bring in are based on what you want to hear more about. So keep sharing that feedback with us on Facebook, Instagram, wherever direct message the team, myself, whoever, we want to hear your feedback. And in 2022, We have some big things in store. We’re going to get fan Paul Conrad back in here. These guys are in the game every single day doing it at the highest level. So we want to continue to bring hot off the press fresh content from them. We have some big-name guests that we’re working on lining up. Just actually some of Than’s mentors that we want to bring in exposed to this community. But we appreciate you following us and we appreciate you sharing us with others. Our mission here at FortuneBuilders is to empower your purpose through financial education. So if you know somebody in your life in your world that could benefit from this type of education, this type of content, we will be honored if you share us with them. Take care everyone, see you next week.