303 – Joe Fairless–Buy-and-hold Expert

Today I’m interviewing Joe Fairless, the founder of Fairless Investing. Joe controls over seven million dollars in real estate. He’s also the host of a top-rated investing podcast called Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever.

He started investing in single-family homes in 2009 while working a full-time advertising job in New York City. He made the switch to apartments when he realized he could achieve his financial goals much faster by buying lots of “homes” at once. He raised over one million dollars and is currently working on a 300-unit development deal. Joe consults beginning investors who want to buy apartment communities.

Joe’s background is in advertising and his initial plan was to climb the corporate ladder. His career progressed very quickly because he cared about his work. But eventually he found that advertising wasn’t fulfilling him and he didn’t feel like he was growing or contributing to a greater cause anymore. That’s when he decided to make the transition to investing.

In researching Joe’s career for this interview, I got the impression that he’s interested in enjoying life–his business doesn’t rule him and he always wants to be “doing more good.” Joe addresses this in the interview and talks about the importance of enjoying the process. He keeps the balance by doing things he cares about. He spends the majority of his time working on his business, but he says that his business is his balance.

That said, he has learned to automate certain things. He has two interns who contribute work for this podcast, so that he can focus on the content. Joe says that it’s important to bring on someone who is hungry for information and give them a piece of the revenue based on their performance. As they elevate to the next level, so does your business.

In his real estate investing business, Joe raises money and buys multi-family properties with investors. He shifts his focus based on where it’s needed and he describes his method for goal-setting: at the beginning of every month, Joe writes down all the outcomes he wants for that month. If he’s ever confused about what to focus on, he looks back at that list and makes sure that those outcomes are on their way to getting accomplished. His portfolio currently consists of single-family homes in Dallas Fort Worth and a 168-unit apartment community in Cincinnati. He says that he’s not from Cincinnati and he’d never visited it before, but he followed the opportunity. He had a team member introduce him to the deal and he looked at the job growth and job diversity there. He wanted to make sure that he was on the path of progress, and in the interview he goes over the indicators he looks for in a market.

Joe’s business acumen is very impressive and he credits modeling his business after those who have successfully gone before him. He does his research when he goes into anything new.

I asked Joe how he would grow his business if he were stripped of his business right now and dropped somewhere new. He says it’s really simple: he would create a podcast and start adding value. He says that creating a podcast would allow him to exponentially increase his connections in the industry. Then he would find ways to add value in their life: He would focus on multi-family development and partner with someone who is doing that. He would work for free while doing his podcast and try to get in on a deal with them by traveling and doing asset management. He’d build his track record that way and start raising money for his own deals. The important thing to take away from this is to look for ways to add value for other people. What can you do for them? How can you add value for them first? That’s the best way to befriend a successful investor–not asking for them to help you. That is a huge piece of advice. Focus your energy on trying to add value and you’ll be surprised by how open and helpful people will be. Joe says that 80% of people will ask for help instead of giving, and of the 20% who offer to add value, only 5% actually follow up and do something after asking what they can do. If you’re part of that 5% that actually does something to add value for someone, that’s all you need. Joe recommends reading The Go-Giver by Bob Burg on this subject. I wholeheartedly agree with Joe and think that that mindset is so much more important the mechanics of real estate.

Joe’s goals for the future:

  • By his 40th birthday, he will control one billion dollars in real estate. He has a vision board with an image of him on the cover of Forbes magazine and the caption “Billionaire” on his phone, desktop, and room!
  • This year, his development deal is a big area of focus.  He just got the purchase contract from the seller and he’s looking forward to closing on that. Once that’s built, it’s going to be worth 40 or 50 million dollars.
  • This year, Joe also wants to help the clients he works with make deals and learn how to raise money.
  • Joe will continue to build his podcast and he believes that his podcast really feeds his real estate investing business.

Finally, Joe wants to let the listeners of Just Start Real Estate know that he will be interviewing Barbara Corcoran on Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever soon and he’s very excited about that. I highly recommend his podcast and really think that the education you get for free from podcasts like mine and Joe’s is priceless.

If you want to get in touch with Joe, you can call him at (347) 409-3914 or email him at info@joefairless.com. You can also check out his website. If you were inspired by this interview, want to ask him a question,  or want to add value for him, he’ll be happy to talk to you.

About the author, Mike

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