00:00 - 05:00
What's up military millionaires. I'm your host, David Pere and I am here with the man the myth, the legend Gabriel hamel, who is as I was mentioning, before we started recording one of the most downloaded episodes of this podcast of all time.
Gabriel is a national guard vet. He's also a seller financing master the king of diamond pushups and has done now since the last time we talked, he's gotten into mobile home parks but has never had a syndicated deal and has over 200 doors under his belt. And I would just say financially free and live the life that if you follow him online, you probably know it's a life that a lot of people look up to right you have the freedom to do what you want when you want to post cool quotes and travel cool places and spend time with your family.
And just a cool guy. So Gabriel it's always fun. So welcome back on the military millionaire podcast.
Yeah. Thanks, David. Appreciate you having me back looking forward.
Of course, brother.
So can you give just a short update for those who haven't listened yet? And I'll link in the show notes when you go listen to his first episode, because we're gonna skip past a lot of that and do updates, but, uh, just a short intro to yourself.
Welcome to the military millionaire podcast where we teach service members, veterans and their families how to build wealth through personal finance, entrepreneurship and real estate investing. I'm your host, David Pere. And together with my co host, Alex Felice. We're here to be your no BS guys along the most important mission you'll ever embark on your finances.
You're clear to depart friendly lines.
Roger Vick one Oscar Mike.
Yeah, yeah, I don't want to cover too much of the same stuff as last time, but kind of a quick intro.
You know, high school wasn't my thing. I stayed in high school, mostly for the social aspect. And I was a high school wrestler. And I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad a couple a couple years after high school. And I was like, Yes, makes sense. First, first book ever read where I'm going this, this actually makes sense.
I'm also the backup I had joined the Army National Guard in 1999. So it was the middle of my senior year of high school, graduated in 2000. So I was pretty fired up, like, Hey, I'm gonna invest in real estate. That's how I'm gonna that's how I'm gonna build wealth. And then I ended up getting called up and sent to Iraq in O3 and O4. And so I hadn't bought a property yet. But I was determined and I said this probably last time, but I was telling all my buddies, like, I'm going to come back, I'm going to build wealth, I'm gonna be financially free, I'm gonna do that through real estate. And they were like, Man, you're an idiot, like, How? What are you talking about, you're living in your, in your buddy's attic for, you know, $80 a month or $100 a month, or whatever it was? What makes you think you can do it?
And I said, I have no idea how but I'm gonna find a way, you know, bought a first my first couple houses during the subprime O5 O6 when they were just giving money away, and why when 2008 hit the bank said, you know, screw you, you don't have a job, you don't have money. And I had to go the seller financing route. So not to get into it too much. And to repeat myself from last time, but I basically had a minimum wage job after doing a bunch of admin stuff. And you know, I was tired of it. I was like, how do I replace this income.
So, I did a seller finance deal, it was four units that replaced that income almost to the dollar. And so I became financially free, really fast and really young. But I was, I was poor. I was broke, like I was, I was living off less than $1500 a month, cash flow, but I was essentially financially free. I was like, out of the rat race, and that was kind of that big goal. And that's kind of the start of my real estate investing story.
I think that's cool. Because a lot of people, right, so you mentioned that and you say it almost as a downside, right? But it's like there's, there's all these different components of trying to retire and a lot of people get wrapped up in it's almost like there's like the index fund world of financial independence in the real estate world.
The index fund world of financial independence is like, slash your expenses, live below your means, be frugal, put your money away, take 4% out, be able to live off that just invest, invest, invest, and then live off this little bit, you'll be good.
The real estate side of financial independence is like I need to have so much money every month coming in and it's kind of kind of comical to me, because I'm, you know, I'm exiting the rat race this year. And I am by no means that like, flashy 10s of 1000s of dollars of worth of you know, income through cash flow. In fact, my wife is gonna end up going because she wants to keep working. But I have enough money that I'll be able to cover all my expenses and still continue to put money into real estate to grow that while you know, while she works, I could probably be okay if she didn't work, but I think I think it's just cool to use, like $1500 a month like you were like lean Hey, we're we're free but not like I'm driving a Bentley free. Yeah, I think that's a good spot to be in.
05:00 - 10:00
Yeah, I mean, it was a crazy time, right? Like 2008 I had shut down a little nutrition store that wasn't making money. My first son was born in 2008. And so it was definitely this Oh, shit moment. I mean, like, In 2010, I had a, you know, enough my second child and a two year old, right? And so I was all in, like, I basically put myself in a position to have no plan B, I was like, this is how I'm going to become wealthy. And I wasn't focused on making money, I was focused on building wealth. And I just looked at that differently, like so, you know, I believe in abundance that started out with that frugality mindset of like, I just don't need something that's not an asset.
Like my liabilities now are paid for by the assets that I've purchased over the years. And it took a lot to get my mind out of that, kind of out of that mindset of, of frugality. Right, because I didn't, I didn't own new shoes. I mean, I remember my wife convinced me like, Hey, you, you can buy a $100 rain jacket, you live in Oregon, it rains, like it's okay. Right? You, you can at least, but it's like, that's where my mind was that I was like, assets, liabilities kept it simple. If it's not an asset, I'm not gonna buy it, you know, I mean, I drove a lot of shitty cars. You know, all my friends were financing fancy stuff they couldn't afford. But, you know, it's, I do believe, you know, like, 10 years of investing, right? And investing smart can set you up for a lifetime and potentially generations to come.
Yeah, absolutely. I think that's an interesting balance to try to strike too, because people get wrapped up in. Like, there's the keep up with the Joneses. But then there's the like, the side of the spectrum that people don't talk about is when you get so wrapped up in frugality that you don't allow yourself to have any luxuries, like you mentioned, like a $100 rain jacket, when you live somewhere that rains all the time, right? It's like there's this there's this like balance. And there's a lot of people on either extreme of like, there's obviously the people who have no assets and a ton of liabilities. And it's very common, unfortunately. And then there's the people who have assets, but they, you know, it's like the guy I remember in high school, I delivered this pizza to a guy who had a really nice Porsche. I don't wanna say Ferrari, but like, like three cars that were clearly six figure cars and his garage and a gated community and a really big million dollar home and this is an Arkansas's million dollar home is saying something.
And the dude made me drive back to Domino's 15 minutes away to pick up the change because of the like, the coins, like I had dollar bills to give him even change. But he wouldn't let me just give him the extra dollar and keep, like, let him keep the 30 cents. And he wouldn't let me keep the 70 cents as a tip. And he was just straight up like, no, you're going to drive back, I want my 70 cents like no tip. And I just remember thinking like, I don't ever want to be that kind of wealthy where I can't spend 70 cents to tip a delivery drive.
Yeah, no way, you know, and it's like, I found, like, just just the practicality of karma, you know, like, the more I give, it just comes back, you know, you know, tenfold and it's, you know that that was that was a challenge initially, like I remember be like, oh, when I get to a point, right, but it was I found the more giving I am whether it's with my time were or my money like that's it that's valuable, you know, and I'm not I'm not willing to just be focused on all the all the little all the little things right? Like, I want to tip people who are doing their job well, like I want to be able to give it to people because I can and that's important.
Yeah, I like that. What is it? The book, The Go Giver? That talks about, like, you know, the more you give, the more you get back and like the fact that the money money as a currency, I think that's a pretty cool concept. And I've definitely noticed, I think it's almost comical to watch people who worry about money, not like they struggle, as opposed to people who are just kind of like, you know, not to say that you can't care about money, right? But like, the more you try to strangle hold your cash, the less cash you are, it's kind of a weird dynamic, I guess.
No, I agree. 100%.
I mean, I, I look at money as a game, right? And unless, unless someone is willing to, you know, and there's a handful people like I know, one personally, right, that completely lived off grid did their own thing. Like, they had, essentially time freedom, right, like they were living their life that way. But most people in some way, are tied in to money in some way. They either work for it, you know, and I've had a lot of people throughout, you know, especially when I first started, you know, buying real estate would say, I don't care about money. And I'm like, what? I think you care about money more than I do, because you're showing up to a job every day working for money.
So if you're going to be in the money game, why not win? Like, I enjoy building wealth, and I'm not focused on the money aspect of it. I'm focused on what can I do with building that wealth? And what can that provide for my family and my life and it actually provides, what to me is the most important is that time freedom, the ability to do what I want to do, how I want to do it, what I want to do it, and you know, I think a lot of people go into whether it's a job or into investing with the idea of some level of financial security and freedom that they want and then oftentimes, they get stuck in the job or they even get stuck in the business that they built and they forget why they wanted the job or why they wanted to build That business in the first place.
So I think it's I think it's just important to get clear on what you want and then actually build something that supports that.
10:00 - 15:00
Yeah, I agree. 100%.
Alright, so you have a bunch of properties that you own seller financing kind of single family. At what point did you? I guess why mobile home parks? Did you kind of stumble into that? Or is that something that an asset class you started pursuing? What was kind of the transition there from normal seller financing into the bigger assets?
Yeah, it's a good question. So I talked a lot about the last time I was on just the seller financing, you know, everything from 2009 to 2013 was no money down seller financing deals. And that's really how I built a lot of my portfolio up and it was a lot of small medium size, multifamily stuff, two units, six units, eight units, some, you know, a little bigger 15-20 unit type stuff. But I just saw the cap rates were being condensed down to nothing, the returns were being condensed down to almost nothing in the larger multifamily. And I just felt like there's an opportunity in the mobile home park space, I felt like it's fairly recession proof. I feel like they operate a lot like a multifamily. There's a lot of upside. And a lot of the sellers, a lot of the owners of these mobile home parks, they're very familiar with seller financing. And, you know, there is financing for mobile home parks. But there hasn't always been and it's not as it's not as typical as, say, a single family home or even multifamily.
And so the conversation with mobile home park owners on seller financing is pretty easy to have, because those sellers, in a lot of cases have purchased with seller financing, or they sold with seller financing before. So it's just an easy conversation to have.
I didn't realize I mean, that makes sense. Because a lot of banks, I was talking to a buddy of mine, Jeremy just yesterday, who was like the two things that banks he was talking to local bankers, he's like the two things they don't want to land on right now. They don't want to touch hotels, mobile home parks, and I was like, Well, why mobile home parks, he's like, I don't know, they don't ever want to touch mobile home parks like, hmm, it's kind of interesting that that's my guess it kind of makes sense. It's kind of got a stink eye in some ways for you know, lower class, but it's not a good asset class.
I totally understand hotels right now, I mean, that's a, you know, pandemic kind of slashed hotel businesses, I might have a chance to buy one off a bank here soon that starts to turn into assisted living or something. But.
In general too, like I found, I've never. Other than those first three properties that I bought during the subprime O5,O6 and O7, which I don't know if you can even consider those traditionally, finance. I've never traditionally financed the property ever. I've never got a traditional bank loan on a property. For one, I think it's a lot easier to go from seller financing, and refi into long term debt, long term financing. Eventually, you know, after doing this for a decade, I borrowed private money and hard money, same thing, I feel like it's a lot easier to go in with less money, own the property and a lot easier to refi into long long term debt, because you already own the asset. And I think banks are willing, I mean, everything I bought 2009-13 I refinance in 2014. Because all those properties, all those properties appraised out, if I would have tried to buy those during that time, with bank financing, they would have wanted me to bring 30% to the table every single time.
So if you own an asset that cash flows, whether you bought it with private money, hard money seller financing, and you've come into that deal with way less money down it cash flows, when you buy it, and there's upside potential, and you can get that property to, you know, function as you plan. I think it's just easier to do that value add and then refi.
Yeah, I mean, I agree completely.
In fact, we talked about it. We mentioned it briefly before the recording. But my best deal, really the only thing I've ever had was seller financing, and I've done a lot of low money down deals where it was either like a cash purchase on a property where I got it for like 20% of the ARV, or maybe even less in some cases. I just bought a property for 12 grand.
Okay, yeah, I'll pay cash for that. Okay. I don't really worry about whatever. But I've also, you know, I've done some other like FHA, whatever. But the one property that I bought with seller financing involved 85% Bank 10% seller, I paid like 4.9% down on a 10 unit. And I was in the process of refinancing and I've already refinanced the paid everyone out, including myself, but I was gonna refinance again and pull more capital out and reinvest it. And I just got an off market deal off market offer that was enough to like, okay, that's 1,000% return I'll yeah, I'll walk.
But, I mean, that was I mean, I paid 10,900 down on a property because of like 20 grand in seller financing and then the remainder bank, and I would have never been able to get into that property. And I mean, that things legitimately change the entire ability for me a, cuz I'm gonna pay off all my bad debt or anything other than mortgages and I'll have almost 100k in capital when I'm done with things off a property that I paid less than 11 grand into. So yeah, incredible for me.
15:00 - 20:00
Yeah. And that's hard to do. That's hard to do with traditional financing. It just is.
So you get into mobile home parks, and you find that the mobile home is there open to seller financing. You've now got four parks, right? How do you? I mean, that's just that's just a scary leap. I guess. Like that just seems kind of crazy like, okay, from Alright, single family home, do mobile home park all seller financing. Like, how does that? Like, how did that go on the operation side? Are you running the operations on that? Did you hire that out? How are you messing with that?
So it's kind of interesting, because I think it parallels kind of my 2008. That's 2009 and 2020 kind of parallels leading up to 2021.
Definitely feels like we're in a peak.
And so kind of going back before I did my first seller finance deal, I spent all of 2008 looking on Craigslist every single night talking to people telling me what I was looking for building relationships, right. So I went through the process, I analyzed a lot of deals until I found a seller finance deal, where I felt very comfortable to pull the trigger. And then it was I bought a property with seller finance, another one with seller finance, another one seller financing.
So a mobile home park similar in the sense of I did one deal, mid 2019, I did a seller financing deal, which we could dive into that deal with a 2% down deal. 200% cash on cash return, it was just a phenomenal purchase, there was a lot of upside. But that was the end of 2019. And then I didn't buy anything for 2020. The 1st year that I hadn't bought a property since 2008. But I was going through the process, I looked at a lot of deals, I analyzed a lot of deals, I was building relationships, I was telling people what I was looking for. And then you know, by on December, December 31, of 2020, I was all sudden in contract on four mobile home parks, two of those I two of those I pulled out of and two of those I purchased, part of that was like, I need to quit fucking around, I'm gonna buy some mobile home parks, like 2021 not that I was actually fucking around. I mean, I was going through that process. But you know, it's as if I was pushing down the dominoes, and so when it came an opportunity to buy these parks, I was ready to pull the trigger. And I just think that's important. Whether it's a high market, low market, you have to go through the process, you have to talk to people, you have to build relationships, you have to analyze deals.
People that say they're going to they're going to sit out and wait until you know, the market corrects or 10 until they find a good deal. They're not going to be ready to pull the trigger when they find a good deal. No one's gonna just say, Hey, you know, here's the deal. And then the market said, the market is at an all time low. You know, by this, it's a you have to go through the process. So you're ready when those properties come your way.
Let's be real people have been saying we're at the peak of a bubble for the last four years, right? I mean, when I was buying this 10 unit, people were telling me to stay out, stay away from the market might you know, who knows where high, I'm going to walk away with three years of my taxable income after taxes when I sell this thing, because of growth. And I mean, that might not have happened but a cash flow the whole time I owned it. So I think it's I think that's the key, right? Can you hold it right now as the numbers are whether it goes up or down?
I think that's huge. I mean, I'm, and if you especially like what you said, if you're getting in the process, and you're talking to people and you're finding, you're not you're probably not finding, I mean, I don't know you might have bought something on the MLS. But I would imagine that a large majority of what you're buying is off market deals or negotiations with people or just people who came and brought something to you or, you know, I mean, the last four or five houses I've bought have been while this market is crazy, hot, nothing stays on the market. And they're all well under market value. Because they're not, I'm not hunting with real estate agents online, I'm finding my own deals, talking to other investors. And that comes from knowing the market and people knowing what you're looking for, right? I mean, the whole reason not selling my 10 unit is because someone knew that I had one and was like, Oh, I know someone who's looking. Hey, would you be interested in offers? Like, sure, what do you got? And then it was a good offer. Okay.
And those relationships, it's all the above of what you just said, right? Like, one of the mobile home parks was it was going to be listed. It was an in house listing. But I had told this broker already because they kept sending me this A class stuff. And I'm like, Look, I'm looking for value add mobile home parks, and they're like, Hey, we have this in house listing. So I got access to this deal, because I told her exactly what I was looking for, right? Like the next one was a guy that I had built a relationship previously with. He was a developer and he said, hey, my buddy is selling a single family home in the town over. Are you interested? And I said, No, I'm not looking at a single family right now. I focused on value, adding mobile home parks, and he said, I have a park, he was I have five parks, I'll sell one of them, I'll sell you and I said, would you sell or finance it? He said, Yeah.
20:00 - 25:00
I didn't know the guy in the mobile home parks. And he didn't know what I was looking up until I told him specifically what I was looking for. Right. The next one was because I told my property manager who manages the other two parks. I said, Hey, I'm looking for parks. And because she's connected she said, Hey, this property is pending, it's going back on the market tomorrow. Here's the financials, here's access to it. If you're interested, let me know. And we'll put something in.
Because I went into the process, because I analyzed enough deals, I was able to look at that and very quickly make a decision to make to make a strong offer. So every deal comes back to relationships and tells you real quick, like you said something that was just like so spot on with the cash flow. Because people all the time, they always have a good time to buy or whatever at an all time high.
I think it's always a good time to buy if you buy right and it comes down to cash flow. And I don't buy properties on speculation, right? Like, I believe in upside and most of my properties, they perform better than when I bought them because I see that upside that's there. I just never rely on that.
A lot of my wealth has been built on the equity and the appreciation of these properties. But I've never banked on that appreciation I've never banked on that equity, it was cashflow first, does it work today? I don't care about the performance really. Because I've never seen a performance I didn't look good. What is it done? What is it doing today? What's it been doing the last couple of years cash flow today? I like the way it works. And there's upside Hell yeah, I'm gonna buy that.
Absolutely, yeah, I tell people all the time. And you know, people want to get into VA loans and buy houses and they want to get their first house and in my facebook group. And I'm always like, Look, I don't care what you buy, but don't ever buy a home, buy an investment property that you're gonna live in.
And if you just have that mentality, just a little piece that like, hey, this needs to cover at least the mortgage, but hopefully all your expenses, right, but at least cover the mortgage. You know, I had a buddy, cool dude, who bought a house in Hawaii. And he owned it for two years and got orders elsewhere. And he was in a spot where if he didn't sell the house, he was going to be out of pocket almost $1,000 a month to rent it to somebody because the mortgage was $1,000 a month more than the market rent. And if you sold it, it hadn't appreciated as fast as it quote unquote, should have. And he had only lived in it for two years, he was gonna have to write a check for 20 grand to sell it. And so here, here's this guy who's in theory done everything right, and you know, but 20 grand out of pocket to sell it or lose $1,000 a month to hold it.
Now granted, I think he ended up what I actually recommended to him was like, Look, if you don't want to hold this, what you should do is because the VA loans assumable you should just find someone to assume your mortgage, and just move on. That's like the win win here like someone else takes your payments, you know, whatever. I think he ended up holding it because he was like, you know, I'm going to come back to Hawaii, eventually. I can afford the $1,000 a month, whatever. bad situation.
But I mean, now over the last two, three years, he's obviously he's good now, but I could have gone the other way. I mean, if the market had tanked in Hawaii, he'd stop paying $1,000 a month or properties underwater on that's just, yeah, that's not that's not the way to do it. Right.
So the way to do it is to buy something that makes sense, no matter what.
Yeah, and I mean, it's, you know, I get people who make large amounts of money in you know, like, banking on appreciation. And, and that upside, I just watched a lot of people get their ass kicked in 2008. And I, I listen to a lot of people, I mean, in 2008, I owned three houses, right?
So I was listening to the people who got their ass kicked in 2008 that were much more experienced to me leading up to that, who said, we lost millions speculating. Now people made millions speculating as well. But a lot of people didn't, they just did. They didn't time it. And they were only banking on this property works. If the rents go up this property works if values continue to go up. And that worked for a while until it didn't.
So this is just how I hedge my risk, right of pay. If the property cash flows. I don't really care that much what the property is doing on paper. I don't I don't sell very often. I mean, I actually sold a couple single family homes this last year. That's how I bought my last two mobile home parks. And, and that's kind of a cool story is to single family homes, I put no money down on sold those all these years later, 10-31 that money into these mobile home parks, I'm basically into these mobile home parks, no money out of pocket, you know, essentially, and it's just but it was, what's interesting about that it's the cash flow, right? Those first couple homes only cash flow a few $100 a month. That's not what made me wealthy, but in 2020, they go Okay, these properties are now worth this much. I can keep cash flow and a little bit off the single family homes, or I can exchange that equity for some larger purchases, right. And if the cash flow that got me to that position in 2020, to say, Alright, what's I have options, and it's really, it's about that I had options, right?
25:00 - 30:00
What's up military millionaires, I wanted to briefly talk about a service I offer that a whole lot of people don't seem to know about. And I guess that's a failure on my part for not having discussed it enough.
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So what I've done is if there's multiple agents in the same market, I choose the best one, and that's who I'm going to hook you up with. But the whole point of this is just to help ensure that you get connected to the best agents. So if that is something that you would like, just go to the website, go to Frommilitarytomillionaire.com/VA-realtor/, or just reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook, whatever, I'll send you the link, or you can find it on the resources page of the website.
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Yeah, I mean, I think that's the huge piece here, right is if you can't afford to hold the property, then it doesn't matter if it's going to appreciate. And people get wrapped up in the well, it'll appreciate Okay, fine. But how many properties can you buy at a negative cash flow? Right. So I think that's, you know, if you want to scale even if it's only 100 bucks a month that you make on this property, if it I mean, real estate will appreciate over time, unless you like to buy in Detroit in the 1970s.
You know, but I think if you buy right, I think that's I think that's the key. Right?
So are you? So you're Park owned homes? So this is four mobile home parks that you have now? Are you doing the old way of trying to try to sell off all the homes and just on the lots at this point?
Yeah, so it's interesting to all these mobile home parks. I have a 43 unit, a 38 unit and a couple 30 units. They all have some stick built on there. So a couple apart, one of them has like an eight unit stick built like eight studio apartments on the property, I have to own that. Some of the parks, some of the parks, came with park on homes, I've sold some of those back to tenants, I've seller finance, some of the back the tenants, some I've sold for cash, one of them I'm about to just give away because I mean, I just don't want it it's there's more value in giving it away than doing all the maintenance required.
You know, and I don't manage these parks, I have great property management. You know, in these parks, I rely heavily on good property management. I don't have on site managers at any of my parks. They're on sites when I bought them for the majority of on site at the parks, the ones that I bought, they have free rent and they're not really doing anything, right. And so that doesn't make sense.
Yeah, so it's, you know, and then the value add component. You know, we mentioned earlier how like with multifamily, the value add component is a lot of these parks, if they're poorly managed or under rented if there's some deferred maintenance. I mean, there's some small things like the first two parks I bought, you rent hadn't been increased in four and a half in five years. And utilities weren't being built back. And they were so below market rent.
So one of the parks is doing a really small increase in rent. And six months later, billing back utilities had a very low impact on the tenants, they're still below market rent, so low impact on the tenants. But that was a $30,000 a year net swing, a net profit on my part without spending any money, right.
Now I've put some money into the parks, but it was literally my property managers sending out a notice to the tenants. And, you know, six months later this property that the noi is up $30,000 a year. And you know, there's just little things I mean, one of the parks had three years worth of leaves covering three pads, a ton of leaves, it costs $600 to clean up leaves. That seems like a lot of money to clean up leaves. But those pads rent for 475 a month. It's a no brainer, right? Like, exchanging $600 one time for $1500 a month forever, you know.
Leaves, that's something you don't hear every day, right? Like that's, I mean, that's a crazy example. So I tell people all the time people get so wrapped up in they buy a property they want to jack up the income because that's the sexy thing of real estate investing but the most productive thing you can do is get rid of an expense like immediately because that's fine. Like that's infinite.
30:00 - 35:00
You can if you cut an expense, like taxes or In your case, getting rid of a home that you would have to renovate and not having to do any of the maintenance on a home. I mean, that's a huge upside compared to yet, okay, you're making less income quote unquote, if you're renting the, the lot instead of the home and a lot, but you're making so much better off by not having to do any of the headache, any of the expenses, any of the maintenance, any of the handyman stuff, like, that's hilarious to me, though, because that means whoever you bought the place from, had 1000s of dollars a month worth of leaves sitting there, and just never like, yeah! Leaves.
And actually, the owner of that particular property is a fairly sophisticated investor, but his time energy wasn't in the mobile home park space. So his time energy was developing. And so he had a manager that managed it, but she lived, she lived far from the property. So even the manager's time, energy wasn't spent on the park, it wasn't being advertised, there wasn't a lot. So it's, it wasn't even that, that he didn't know investing his time energies wasn't on the park, like they that's just wasn't his priority.
So, you know, it created an opportunity. And I kind of, you know, your question was also about, do I own the mobile homes. And, and you kind of answered that, like, I don't want to own the mobile homes, right, because the parks that I bought, when I look at the expenses from the previous owners, it's always on the park on home, there's always maintenance and repairs in the park on homes. And then the tenants when they own it, if they own their own home, their pride of ownership goes up, they want to clean the unit up, they want it to look nice. And if they're renting it, I mean, in a mobile home, sure, the rent might be higher, but you're going to get beat up in repairs and maintenance. That would, you know, not be any different than if you just were paying pad, right. And they were covering their own expenses and making the property look nice. So.
Yeah, I mean, a personal example, I have a home right now, me and my roommate bought it, we bought a small like five unit, four building portfolio that we took over from a lady, one of the homes about an hour east of where we invest, I don't really want anything to do with it, but whatever. So I'm trying to convince the lady who is a tenant, her and her husband to just basically, you know, buy it via lease option for me. And, and we were in negotiations, and you know, it's back and forth. But when I was home, I drove out there. And it's got a lot of deferred maintenance.
Like it's one of those homes where like, the reason I'm trying to get rid of this thing is because I don't want them to move out. And I get stuck with the bill repairing it. But I was talking to the lady and just trying to build rapport. And I asked her what her husband does, and the guy's a contractor. Like, he does drywall and paint and you know, general like home renovation type contractor stuff. Like, oh, she's like, yeah, and there's all this and she was kind of complaining about some of the stuff the previous landlord hadn't done. And we were kind of fixing some of it up for. And I mean, she said it for herself. She was like, Well, you know, I mean, if we've thought about buying this place the guy?
Well, if we owned it, we would just do all this, but because we don't own it, you know, why are we going to do the maintenance ourselves. So we kind of just left it because we figured the landlord would deal with it when we move out. I'm like, that's it. Like that's the golden ticket, like, please buy this house and take care of it yourself. So I don't have to because at this point, like you're literally telling me you're just letting it go to rot. Because it's not yours. I mean, the pride of ownership is huge, because they're gonna take better care if they own it, or even if they don't end up executing the lease, if they think they're gonna own it, or there's a chance they're gonna own it than they ever wills tenants. I think it's true of all of us, I think back to how I treated my dad's minivan when I was in high school compared to how I treat my cars. So for the Honda Odyssey.
Oh, man, that's a really good point. But I think that's I think that's, I don't know what any mobile home parks I would, you know, if the opportunity comes around, I'd love to jump on one at some point. But when I first heard someone mention the idea of selling all the homes as fast as possible to just own the lots. That's such a great strategy. I love that aspect of mobile homes. I mean that's just cool. You can't do that anywhere else.
Yeah, and you know, and it's just like, within real estate, right? Like, there's so many ways to be successful in real estate, even in the mobile home park space. I mean, there's guys that are doing large infills and, you know, it's, it's, you know, a high capital expense to bring in new homes, but there's guys doing that and they're and girls doing that, and they're kicking ass doing that as well. So it's, there's not just there's not just one way with, you know, with the parks that I own, it makes a lot more sense to sell these back than me bring in these brand new, you know, homes and to have that huge capital expense. I'd rather get rid of the expense of the home and do it that way. But there's more than there's more than one right way. And that's yeah, that's how I've chosen to do it on these particular parts.
I love it. I love it.
So what are you? I mean? I guess what's next? Are you so you're still obviously prefer the seller financing side of the world. Are you? Is mobile home parks kind of the focal point for this year? Or?
It is. Yeah, it is right now.
I mean, if I don't know if it'll always be that like I'm one that, you know, I'll get focused but I'm also willing to shift when I see changes, you know, I think there's going to be opportunity in the commercial space.
35:00 - 40:00
With a lot of I think is going to be, you know, sadly a lot of businesses shutting down not not reopening. But again, some of that would be speculation. And so yeah, we'll see. But at this time, you know, the mobile home park space is where I'm focused 30 units and above, I really won't look at almost anything else besides 30 units and above, just to keep my focus.
The first time I said that, I kept having all these, like, amazing single family homes sent my way. And I was like, buying them and buying them. And I was like, I gotta, I gotta stop, because, you know, I needed to so I stopped looking at single family and right now focus on mobile home park space.
I like it.
Alright, so I'm going to kind of shift gears a little bit from the real estate side. So you've been effectively financially independent now for a decade. If not a little bit longer, actually.
A little bit more. A little bit.
Which is phenomenal. And so I'm going to ask these questions as a guy who's headed that route. This year, I guess, officially. Although I mean, I'll still be an observer. So I guess 100% but whatever.
Exciting. That's exciting. I'm excited for it.
I'm stoked. Yeah, I can't. I can't, I can't, I can't come fast enough at this point. I'm finally over the last six months we've mentioned before recording, I finally hit the point where I'm like, Okay, yeah, I'm ready. You know, the last year has been like, I think this is the right decision. The people that are saying that this is the right decision, or the people I want to be in 10 years, and the people who are telling me that this is the wrong decision. I don't want their life.
So, okay, I'm on the right track. But over the last six months it has become obvious, like, Okay, this is the right call, I'm in the right spot, this is gonna be good.
You know, and you got, I mean, I've talked to you enough times, no, like, you're, you're ready. And then once you're there, it's like, you have time and energy to be all in like you make it happen.
So that's kind of my question, I've been hearing from people, one of the harder things I talked to guys like Alex Felice or Doug Nordmann, or some of these guys who are completely independent. I've been hearing that it's a lot harder to be completely financially free than you think, like finding stuff to do with your free time and, and keep yourself occupied. I'm curious, obviously, you're still doing real estate. So I think that's gonna be me, I'm still gonna run a business. I'm still gonna keep myself busy. But I guess, is there anything you wish you'd known when you officially were done with the workforce that first time?
I don't know. I mean, for me, you know, for me, like it was, I was really focused on that initial push, right? Like that initially, like, hey, I want to be financially free. And it was about the money, and it was about building the wealth. But, you know, I had to reflect on that a little bit, right. Like, there was a period of time where, like, I was so obsessed with it, that it became an unhealthy thing, right? Like, it almost ruined my marriage, like my wife and I separated for, you know, like, me just getting vulnerable here. Like, you know, we separated for six months, when the kids were, you know, two, two and two, and four, like, two and a half, four out five siblings, you know, and, and that was hard, because, you know, I was so focused on that. And I realized I put all my time and energy into, it wasn't even my time, energy was like, that's where my mind was at.
I was so focused on my dream of what I wanted to do. And it wasn't until kind of that moment, I was like, What am I doing? What am I actually building what's actually important to me, and I realized, you know, I had read these books on real estate I, I'm, you know, studying real estate, I'm focused on real estate, had I ever read a marriage book had I ever read a parenting book, all the other aspects of my life. And it was interesting, once I got away from focusing on the real estate and the money, and that was really more focused on personal development, it was really a reflection of, like, What do I want? I want to be the best version of myself, how do I become the best version of myself?
Once my focus became there, everything in my life started to prosper, including real estate, right? So I was less focused on that, because what I realized is, it wasn't even the money that I was after, like, I didn't want to just women a pile of money, what I wanted was the freedom of my time, I wanted to be able to hang out with my family, I wanted to be able to raise my children, like, be there with them, right. And I, and I've, I've gotten to do that. I want to be able to travel by health, importantly, I want to be able to, you know, work out when I want to work out, you know, and so it was kind of a journey. And it was a journey of being very focused on on the money and very focused on on the wealth. But when I really got real and asked myself, why, like what I really want, it was like, Well, shit, I, like my marriage is important to me. You know, like, my relationship with my wife is important. My relationships with my kids are important, like, I want to be there, so I better remember why I'm doing what I'm doing.
And then I really started to build my life around that around the concept of time freedom, and really, what are the couple things in my life that are most important to me? And when I'm making a decision, I just have to ask myself, does this align with is this aligned with time with my family, the ability to travel, this line with my health goals, but whatever it might be, you know, and in some ways, the real estate is in a lot of ways second to that, but also supports that lifestyle.
I may not answer your question. But that's kind of where my journey went.
40:00 - 45:00
No, that's, that's good. So, I mean, while we're being somewhat vulnerable, right, I'm geo bachelor right now. So I, but a year and a half ago, I moved to California. And in the timeframe of moving here, my wife got a job offer at her old school in Missouri and I have a stepson, and dad didn't really want a kid not living in Missouri, and there's just a lot of stuff. So they moved back to Missouri about a year and a half ago, with the intent that you know, she's a school counselor, so she can come out for the whole summer, she can come out for Christmas, spring break, fall break, I can go there, yada, yada, yada, then pandemic happened, and we saw each other twice last year. And it has been, I mean, terrible.
Like, I thought in my head like, Oh, yeah, let's just be like a deployment, you know? Yeah, yeah. Six months a year, don't see your kids like, Yeah, but you forget on a deployment. It's like a mission, you got all this cool stuff, you're hanging out with guys. And I was basically coming home to an empty house every night, finally got a roommate, things started to go. It hasn't been easy at all. And that's kind of one of my fears is like, I'm kind of a workaholic, I guess.
So. Like, okay, I'm going to find things to fill my void. So I'm going to be very intentional when I go back about Okay, you set like specified work hours, I need to make sure there are days or, you know, months or whatever, where I am not doing the grind and hanging out with the family because I've seen that suffer. I mean, we've not been great over the last year, not because we aren't per se but just because of circumstances so I could totally see.
So I appreciate the vulnerability there because I can see getting wrapped up in that focus and be like, Oh, man, so.
Yeah, when it came down was my own bullshit. Like I was so focused on my dreams, right? Like, I I didn't, I didn't make it a wee thing, right. And so it's once I got clear on Hey, what's really, really important that it's easier to make that decision, right. So like, now, it's a lot more like, we're a family unit, right? Like, we actually pulled our kids from school, we bought an RV today. And like we're gonna, you know, only get back from Hawaii, we're gonna we're gonna hit the road. Like, because I'm clear, it was easy to make that decision. It was so well, I shouldn't say it was easy, because there was some time leading up to a lot of conversation. But, we chose to do that today. Because it's, that's, that's my family, right? That's my wife. That's my kids. Like, that's, that's what's important to me.
And so it's easy to make those decisions when you're clear on those things that are most important. Because then you can say, Hey, does this decision do this thing I'm being asked to do? Did that align with these couple things that are most important in my life? If they aligned with that, say yeah, and if it doesn't, say no, as fast as you can and move on to something that supports the things that are most important in your life.
I like that.
I mean, that's a concept that a lot of people talk about on the business side, but not a lot of people mentioned it on the family side. And it's just as important to be clear on what adds your relationship and I love that you mentioned marriage books. I mean, I've definitely read a couple of those types of books this year. And that's helped a ton. You just need to buy some mobile home parks all around the country. So you can park your, you know, RV in your own place as you travel.
That's cool man.
You know what? I didn't even until you just said that. I realized like, I'm gonna have to park this thing somewhere, right? Like, I'm gonna get to see a lot of the countries, so.
Just call Brandon. He's got some places all over the place now. Right? So.
Driving for dollars.
That's, I mean, that's valid. Right? That’s funny you say that? I mean, it's kind of funny to say but legitimately. Yeah, what better way to get to know Park owners, I guess and staying in their Park. You never know what you're going to come across if you're looking for it. That's cool.
Well, I guess you know, before we kind of wrap stuff up, I would just ask you what, what's next? Is there anything we missed in this? What other sounds like you've got some pretty cool things going on in your life these days?
Yeah, I mean, I don't know the biggest thing is like I enjoy just encouraging others man, I get really excited when I hear you know, young young, not necessarily age, but newer investors just getting excited about about real estate, you know, like, that's one of my favorite things when someone reaches out and they tell me like, Hey, I just did my first, my first real estate deal. I just did my first seller financing deal, where every once a while, like, Hey, I'm financially free like that, that excites me.
And so I mean, for your listeners, like I just want I mean, I truly believe if someone wants it bad enough, if someone really, really wants that financial freedom, and I think real estate is a great if not the greatest tool to do that with and I encourage anyone like I don't know anyone, I guess, who has done has invested in real estate long term stuck with it and not found some level of success.
So and, and kind of break that down even like every single property I've ever purchased. There's not a single property I purchased that I regret buying and every single one of those, I also could have found a reason not to buy it. I just can't think of a greater vehicle of building wealth and a more leverageable asset than real estate.
45:00 - 49:58
I agree. And I think that you just hit the nail on the head with the phrase, every property you could find a reason not to buy, because there are definitely people out there who talk themselves out of buying stuff. And you know, there's always a reason not to do something. Right.
There's, there are plenty of mornings, there's a reason for me not to go run. There's a lot of benefits to running and just kind of playing the long game. Right.
All right, I got a couple questions. I ask everyone before we before we roll up the first and I think you might have already mentioned this, but if you have, like, what's one piece of advice that you would give to an E one, E two 18 year old about life in general, I guess, but real estate too, you know, whatever.
Yeah, I mean, the biggest thing is if you have a dream, like if there's something that you want in life, go for it go all in. I mean, I'm a big believer in triple down, you know, tripling down on your strengths and knowing what those are knowing what's important to you, and going all in
I like it. And then what's a resource, book, course, website, whatever that you'd recommend anybody getting started in real estate?
Gosh, I mean, there's this great podcast military to millionaire I mean, not not a bad place to start.
You know, I know I do think the podcasts are great because you get so many different you know, they I didn't know of, you know, podcasts, I didn't know bigger pockets when I got started. But I think all these podcasts are such a great resource, especially ones where you're getting guests on, because they're all doing it differently. And there's so many different ways to be successful within real estate.
You might hear one person say one thing and it just clicks right like it just clicks and, and that's what you dive into. And so I think the podcasts are really a great way, a great way to learn.
I like it. I'm a fan. I mean, obviously, but I'd become even more fans since hosting one. I didn't when I first started this podcast was like, Oh, yeah, it'll be cool. Basically, someone who was more successful than me told me I should start a podcast. So I did.
And I very quickly realized that the benefit to podcasting was that I would get 30 to 45 minutes where I could ask questions of people who I might not normally get their time, right.
I've had some people on the show before where I'm like, man, if I'd call that guy, I mean, like, Hey, can I have like 45 minutes to an hour of your time where I just ask questions? No, not happening. Sorry. Like, I ain't got that time for you to pick my brain.
But if you're like, hey, I've got this podcast that reaches a whole bunch of people. And I'd like to, you know, share your expertise. So win win and then and then I still get to ask people like you questions about like, hey, how do you survive financial freedom? Like without going crazy. It's been incredibly beneficial. And I still listen to podcasts all the time. I love it.
Same, same here. Same here.
I mean, there's, it's that continuing the continuous education, right? I mean, there's things all the time, like, I never think I'm gonna know it all. In fact, the more I learned, the more I learned, I don't know. And so it's, I mean, I, I want to keep learning more, and I hear things all the time. I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I didn't think of it quite that way.
I never I've never I've never heard of that. I never heard of that way of doing it. You know, and it's I think that's important to just have in your ear.
I agree. I agree. 100%.
All right. Where can people reach out if they want to get a hold of you? I know you have an awesome Instagram what's your what's your Instagram?
Yeah, Gabriel Hamel if you just if you just search Gabriel Hamel you'll find me so I'm fairly active on Instagram. That's probably the best way to message me. I have a website. It's just Hamelinvestments.com I’ll load up this podcast when it airs its episode where there's a bunch of other podcasts I've been on there as well.
And your Instagrams is great, you got some good quotes on there, you're a bigger account than I am and you're always showing cool stuff that you're up to. So I follow it for sure. One of the one of the probably one of the few Instagram accounts that I actually see on my feed because I actually engage with it. The more I the more my pod my channel grows, the more I'm like, Okay, I gotta get rid of that distraction and that distraction, I need to just post and not focus on things. So I don't follow too many people anymore, but I definitely see your stuff. So.
no, I appreciate that. And I know I enjoy your content as well.
Gabriel, this is a pleasure. Always a pleasure. I look forward to you know, post pandemic whenever meetups start happening again getting to hang out again. It was Bp con or wherever we ran into each other next Maui. Who knows? But, um, has it been a good brother and thank you very much for being a guest.
Yeah, thank you, David. I appreciate it. Truly.
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Join your hosts, David Pere and Alex Felice, with their guest Gabriel Hamel as they talk about how he went from a minimum wage job to seller financing and everything else that it opened for him right after. From himself, we’ll get to hear how Gabriel, at such a young age, became financially free pretty young and fast.
In this episode, Gabriel talks from experience and wit about why it is essential to know when to be frugal, when to give, and when to throw in whatever it is that you’ve got when it comes to real estate and investing. For him, there is practicality in karma. The more he gave, the more comes back to him in folds. A little along the line, David also shares why investors, and any individual in general, must learn how to see money for what it is – currency!
As you tune in further to this packed exchange, listen as Gabriel unfolds the most crucial factor that makes decision-making easy and about the journey he took to build time and freedom for himself and his family through the vehicle that is real estate. In all of his deals, Gabriel knew that it all comes back to the relationships he possesses and the sense of clarity that aligns him back to whatever it is that’s most important.
About Gabriel Hamel:
Gabriel Hamel is a Real Estate Investor whose passion for Real Estate, Business, and Financial Freedom has helped him to amass a Multi-Million dollar Real Estate Portfolio consisting of Single Family Homes, Multi-Family Apartments, Commercial Real Estate, and Mobile Home Parks.
From humble beginnings, a book on Real Estate, and a strong desire for financial freedom, Gabriel set out to find creative ways to start purchasing income-producing investment Real Estate. Gabriel is a strong advocate of financial literacy through self-education.
Outline of the episode:
- [02:22] I was out of the rat race, but I was poor; I was poor, but I was out of the rat race.
- [05:20] Focus on building wealth with a frugality mindset.
- [07:49] On giving value when you can.
- [09:01] If you’re going to be in the money game, why not win?
- [10:55] The opportunity in mobile home parks.
- [15:10] How the transition to mobile home parks happened operation-wise.
- [20:27] When is the good time to buy?
- [26:33] If you can’t hold a property, appreciation won’t matter.
- [33:40] Sell the homes, own the lots.
- [37:00] The specific focus that straightened out everything.
- [42:00] Alignment – a factor to decision making.
- [44:27] Real Estate is a vehicle in building wealth.
- [45:54] Piece of advice: Triple down on your strengths!
Advice to an 18-20-year old:
Go all in!
Need help in finding an investor-friendly realtor? Check out:
Check out Episode 57 of The Military Millionaire Podcast with Gabriel Hamel:
Rich Dad Poor Dad Book by Robert T. Kiyosaki:
The Go-Giver – A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea Book by Bob Burg:
Bigger Pockets Podcasts:
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My name is David Pere, I am an active duty Marine, and have realized that service members and the working class use the phrase “I don’t get paid enough” entirely too often. The reality is that most often our financial situation is self-inflicted. After having success with real estate investing, I started From Military to Millionaire to teach personal finance and real estate investing to service members and the working class. As a result, I have helped many of my readers increase their savings gap, and increase their chances of achieving financial freedom! – Click here to SUBSCRIBE: https://bit.ly/2Q3EvfE to the channel for more awesome videos!
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