Episode #17 : Secrets to Finding Your Best Property Manager
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There are so many people out there running side-hustles and building wealth outside the hours of their 9-to-5 day job. I found out recently that one of my peers is a longtime property manager and now real estate investor, so of course we had a chat about all things investing. Thanks to his years of experience, our guest Michael McCullough has some incredibly helpful advice for finding the best property manager for you and your investments.
Mike works in tech sales day and is a property manager an real estate investor in his spare time. Working and living in the Bay Area, he has 8 years experience as a property manager as well as working with property management companies in single family and multifamily properties.
Mike begins by sharing a bit about his background and how his family’s generational interest in property introduced him to the industry as a young man. We then talk about why it’s important to have a property manager who incorporates the owner’s perspective, some of his experiences with managers as an investor, and what to keep in mind when you’re looking to hire a property management company or individual.
In this episode, we’re discussing…
Why Mike was interested in managing and eventually owning property from a young age.
How property management from the owner’s perspective differs from more common approach to managing investment properties.
What you should look for in a property manager and some questions to ask yourself before hiring.
Why it’s so important to have great communication and transparent discussions with your property manager.
How Mike balances having a regular day job with his work as an investor.
Mike’s Top Tips:
Make sure you have a good relationship with your manager, or your tenants if you’re managing a property yourself - it will help you maintain clear communication and resolve issues more quickly (and hopefully at less expense!).
Understand your market and your needs before you hire a property manager – interviewing several people / companies is an especially good way to get a sense of the nuances in your market and what to expect at different price points.
If you want to start investing, talk to someone who’s done it – MeetUps can be a great place to meet people who are already doing what you’re interested in starting. Show up, ask questions, and build relationships - you never know how valuable they may be.
Michael McCullough | email@example.com
Like what you’re hearing on The Richer Geek? Have questions you want me to cover? Connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know – I’d love to hear from you!
+ Read the transcript
Nichole Stohler 0:01
What if you could be doing something smarter with your money that creates income right now? If you're an IT professional who is wanting to get ahead financially and enjoy greater freedom of choice, and if you wonder who else in tech is creating ways to make their money work for them? You want actionable ideas with honest pros and cons and no fluff. Welcome to the Richer Geek Podcast for helping IT professionals find creative ways to build wealth and financial freedom. I'm your host, Nicole Stohler and in this podcast, you'll hear from others who are already doing these things and learn how you can too. Welcome back to the Richer Geek Podcast, today's guest is one of my peers. And we casually started chatting about real estate. And I found out that he's been managing properties and investing for several years. As a side note here, it's amazing to me how many people are doing something or own a business or invest in real estate that you're just sitting right next to, having conversations with and it doesn't come up in your day to day work, which is part of what I'm trying to share and get across with this podcast, is that we have normal everyday people that you probably haven't talked to that are doing some amazing things. I enjoyed some of the stories that he had to say my peer, so much that I wanted to have him on the show. So I am super excited today to introduce Mike McCullough. Mike, welcome to the show.
Mike McCullough 1:29
Nichole Stohler 1:29
Let's jump right in, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Mike McCullough 1:34
Sure. So I work with you. And I sell technology products. That's my day job. And then a little bit about my kind of history. So I think I came into the real estate game a little bit differently than other people did. I actually came into my family, so my family's had buildings and going back a number of generations. And then that kind of prompted me to get into the game. So I've been managing properties for almost 10 years now. And then in the last couple of years and started to get into it myself, when I had a good enough job actually started forwarding things.
Nichole Stohler 2:11
I didn't really Okay, so we didn't even talk about that. So that's pretty awesome. You had experience as a result of your family. And then you were what helping out was this kind of like during high school and college and you were helping manage?
Mike McCullough 2:25
Yeah, so I've always kind of taken the approach of if you don't know how to do something, see if somebody will let you do it for free. And I take this on, on everything, right? If you want to go learn how to build a cabinet, right? Go sit in a cabinet shop is to let you sit around long enough and don't kick you out. And so I had the opportunity where we had a property manager, and I would help out and I would go on the weekends and go after I was in college at the time of you know, go after school, and really start learning what the business was all about. And then I ended up taking over. And I didn't get paid for the first thing it was five years years, where I was managing the property and just kind of want to do one help out the family but to I realized that there's a big opportunity that if you get a chance to learn how to do something, it's going to pay off dividends in the future. And then after a number of years in that then I started you know, friends started moving out of condos needed somebody to rent it out for them. Another friend moved away to another state, they had an empty house, you start learning how fees work and all that kind of stuff.
Nichole Stohler 3:28
First of all few interesting things here. I love how you talk about learning the business. And if you can do it for free. Or if you can slightly get paid for it. It's a little bit of my husband and I Mike our story, which is he went to go work in property management, and he did get paid. But I agree with you 100%, you need to really understand and learn the business, if you're going to be self managing or if you're going to be building a portfolio like this. So you had that great experience. And then it grew organically. It sounds like you're management portfolio, I'll say grew organically through word of mouth and friends that needed help.
Mike McCullough 4:06
Yeah, absolutely. And it was similar to kind of the conversations that you and I had, where it's either a friends, you know, we're going to happy hour, somebody that works in the office building next door, you just start chatting about things, right. And then they say, Oh, you know, my jobs taking me to Denver, but I really don't want to get rid of my condo in Oakland, you know, it's up and coming. What can we do here? Oh, I happen to manage properties, you know, this is all the things that we can do. I think I do things a little bit differently coming from my background, which I'm very grateful for. But I come from kind of the owner side of things, a lot of management companies, they want new tenants and they get paid for a fee. You know, every tenant that comes in, you get x hundred dollars or x percentage of the rent that comes in, I work on more of a percentage of the total income. So my goal is to get the best time and that's going to be very stable at the highest rent possible. And then you give me a percentage of what that rent is going to be. And then I manage the day to day. So a lot less turnover, lot less wear and tear on the properties. Could I potentially make more, you know, pushing through tenants? I guess. So is that extremely difficult to do with a day job? It is. So I take a little bit different approach than a lot of the management companies I've seen, and management companies that I've actually hired for other buildings that I either own or co own with my family.
Nichole Stohler 5:35
So many good points there. Mike and I have always self managed in. And actually when he went to go work for the property management company, they were an owner to they they built and developed their own units that he then would manage in individual properties. And that mentality is what we thought property management was like until we hired a property manager and realized that approach, being kind of owner first is not common. So you you bring up a lot of great points. I have a question for you about the property management. This is something you are doing specific to Northern California. What are the areas?
Mike McCullough 6:15
Yeah, so I live in work in the Bay Area. And I have found, if I can go and visit the places very easily, it makes it a lot easier. For me personally, I don't like managing from afar, it's possible, it's definitely doable. You learn your list of contractors that you hire out, you get a couple of really good people, the internet makes it pretty simple to do. But for instance, like in, I've got a condo in Oakland that I manage and one in Berkeley, they're kind of neighboring cities, I can use the same plumber in both places. So now I've got a long term relationship developed. Also, if I need to meet somebody, I can be in either city within 20 minutes from where I live. But I really don't want to do I've had the opportunity, but it gets challenging, at least for me is I don't like overpaying for stuff. So if I can go over in 20 minutes and take a look at a plumbing issue and realize, Oh, we need to take the trash out, dump it out and put it back in because you know a kid or something dropped a toy down there. And that's what's plugging up the thing that's going to cost me 20 minutes or an hour of my life, not going to cost me $350 for a plumber to go out there. Because they all have minimum fees. Now, being in the Bay Area, it's a little unique because everything's super expensive. So I think getting an appliance repair person out minimum charges about 353 75 depending on where you are. And if you know anything about appliances, sometimes you can just go in and take a look. Tenants I found a pretty hands off, they don't want to go in and even pull hair out of a dream. So some of that stuff you end up overpaying for and you learn those lessons, when you hired somebody they come out, you look at what they're doing. And it's like, oh, was actually really, really simple.
Nichole Stohler 8:02
So something that you're talking about, and you've learned along the way, and you found some ways to be efficient. That's the other thing that can be very frustrating about property management is if you feel like as an owner, they just take the call from the resident and they automatically make a call to you know, whoever the trades or or the repair person would need to be without deeper inspection or even deeper questioning. I think that's that's something we found and you're so you're describing, these are sometimes very simple things that can be fixed, or just an awareness that this is the same call that you've been getting from a particular resident for the past three months, and questioning it and saying, Okay, at this point, we've done X, Y, and Z, do we really what is going on here that we're continuing to have issues with this particular either appliance or something's happening? So that deeper inspection and like you said, the ability to go see in person yourself before you're wasting the the money or the time in hiring a repair person?
Mike McCullough 9:11
That's exactly right. I also look at what is I always found that there's a tenant responsibility. Now, it helps to have a very good relationship with that tenant. And I'm probably pretty friendly with a number of the people that I manage. And that's because in Northern California, specifically, we have very strict rental laws that favor the tenants. So having them kind of on your side, having them pleasant with you is helpful. But there's still ways to push back. So I've had tenants with kids. And we started the conversation pretty early of like, hey, if the plumbing breaks, I'm happy to fix the plumbing. If you've got a kid and he takes an entire roll of toilet paper and shoves it down the toilet, and I'm going to go buy a new toilet or what have you. There might be some charge back on this like that we need to have this conversation of what is destroying the property and what is, you know, a normal wear and tear on certain property managers I've seen to your point exactly. Well, we didn't even ask how this happened. We didn't look into how this happened. We didn't even ask the repair person, what they found, they find like, I don't know, a handful of Legos in the bottom of the things. You know, that's not normal wear and tear. So I think there's a line into your point, how do you get to inspect that a little bit further? And this goes into how do you choose your property manager or property management company that you have working for you?
Nichole Stohler 10:38
There's so many paths I want to take from what you just said. But let's take that you just mentioned how do you choose a property manager because I have had a couple of folks asked me here locally in the Phoenix market for property management recommendations. Since we have always self managed, I have people that I know and then I trust, but I don't have my own firsthand expense. So it's been a little bit challenging for me to make those recommendations. And since I haven't hired a lot of property managers, I don't know if I would come up with a good complete list of criteria. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on okay, if if someone's in, let's say Tennessee, so they can't hire you. What should they look for in hiring a property manager?
Mike McCullough 11:21
So first things first, check your local laws, where I'm at in Berkeley, if you have a building that is over X number of units, I believe it's 10. I don't have anything that large anymore, I think it's over 10, you have to have an onsite manager. And there's costs associated with that usually give them a break on an apartment or something like that. Every place is different. Some places allow you to self manage extremely large places without living on site. So check your local laws to I would say, do you want to go with a company? Or do you want to go with an individual? Right? And there's pros and cons for both? I'll kind of go into what those are. But those these are going to be the big pointless. So what are your local laws? Do you want to go individually? Do you want to go a business that is a property management company? And then the last thing I would say is really interview them or interview a couple of people? Because you'll start to see what those nuances are for your local region. We talked about it a little bit earlier, do you do a percentage based? Or do you do a per unit flipping see right. Now, I would say that depends on your type of property. But in Berkeley, specifically where I'm at, there's a lot of rent control, you can't really get people out. So getting a property management company that is focused on maybe a small percentage of the rents, but they want really good long term tenants going to be really beneficial in that kind of market. You're in a market with no rent control laws and the rents are skyrocketing. You may not want people there for very long. Maybe you want somebody that's going to focus on students or an update or discriminating in any way, shape or form. Because that's another concern you got to look at too, is is there a bias, right? Because sometimes people will call that out. But do you want to try and find people that are going to be a little more turnovers a little bit higher? Do you even want to potentially purchase in a part of town if you're intending to rent, where there might be a little more turnover, Berkeley as a college town, one side of campus is all students and apartments flip every nine to 12 months. The other side of campus is a lot older, much nicer part of town lot quieter. I've had tenants in my building for 37 years. So you kind of have to look I think to is where's your property situated? What is the surrounding areas like in a really good property management company should know about that. Now, let me get into a couple of the pitfalls. You can see what's the other ways that you go about this. So we hired at one point in individual who was kind of running a property management firm like myself, and he was just running one building for us lived on site. Now, he was doing some things we didn't really like we started to part ways. My uncle had hired him originally, they were good friends. My uncle passed away, I ended up taking over part of it, my mother took over part of it, we really didn't like this day. So we were on the process of getting him out and finding a new property manager. And he decided that a couple of people were going to move into unit for $400 a month, signed an official lease got him in there. Now we're in a city with extremely tight rent control laws. We can't get that personnel, that unit should be 14 to 1800 dollars a month. So we took a significant hit in what that rent would be and potential future income because of that issue. Now, a bigger, larger business probably isn't going to do something like that for fear of legal ramifications, or even future business, right, getting bad reviews and things like that. An individual might be a little more reactionary, right. So that's one thing to take a look for. And watch out for that something that happened to us pretty dramatically. The other thing is, what is the fees that they charge to do they charge I've had property when we were looking for an interviewing, we had property managers that took both a fee when they found somebody and the sea on a monthly basis of like 5% of all the rents, we found other people that were a little bit lower, didn't get as good reviews, we didn't like them as much other people that were higher, but didn't take on the percentage but didn't take a one time fee. And so you've got to kind of have your calculations built out as well, because that's going to really play into this game. property managers are on a month to month basis. they've figured this out, they've been doing this for quite a while usually. And they know exactly how they're going to get paid and what's going to maximize money going into their pocket. And I would say as an owner, you need to on the other side of the very aware of what that is, and how you can work with that and leverage that. in your conversations.
Nichole Stohler 16:08
That story you just told is it so that I've heard worst nightmare stories? But that that is? There's a lot of factors in that, that you're talking about the rent control, you know, specific laws in the state. I don't, you wouldn't have that in Arizona, per se because we we don't have rent control. And we're extremely landlord friendly. So it's pretty easy to evict someone if they didn't pay their rent, although in that case, I guess they always would pay their rent. I mean, it's $400 a unit, but you could you have an amount that you could raise it per year, so you could get there eventually. But Wow, that's a nightmare situation, for sure.
Mike McCullough 16:48
And again, we're in a very unique kind of space. But these are things to look out for. Right. And if you're not paying a lot of attention, I'll give you another example. We had a fairly reputable company, I just didn't like the guy. But my grandmother owned a piece of property for a while. This was when I was first getting started. And he realized she wasn't going down there. She was sick, she wasn't really mobile, she wasn't viewing the property, she wasn't paying attention to it. He kept collecting rents and didn't really fix anything. Right. So he was making a lot more money because we didn't have any spend any time any management of it at all, really. And so you've got to look at that piece too. If you become a really absentee owner, I've seen managers take advantage of that as well.
Nichole Stohler 17:30
That's a great point. And along those lines, can you share a little bit about communication? And let me explain what I heard from someone else. Here in the Phoenix market. One of my other peers has a 12 unit apartment complex. And she was asking me Well, how do you manage? How do you handle it? And I was giving her some examples. But in her case, she travels quite a bit. So she had to hire a property management company. And she vetted them looked at the agreements, that one whole thing. And I think when when she was describing the challenges that she's having, I feel like it comes down to communication that's not happening. It's kind of suddenly she's getting an invoice or suddenly she's getting the accounting and there hasn't been a lot of back and forth, as to you know, what were some of these charges, what has been going on? So tell us a little bit about how you communicate? And maybe I don't know how people can put something in place or, or have that be a factor for their decision?
Mike McCullough 18:32
Absolutely. So communication is key in any business relationship, whether, you know, if you're if you're selling things, and you've got to work with other specialists, like kind of your in my relationship, we've got to be able to talk to each other. If you've got somebody working kind of for you as a management company, you got to understand what they're doing and what those processes are in place. But sometimes it can be challenging to understand what am I looking for? So I actually had a really, really good really relationship with a company. And it took us a little while, but we started to discuss what do we want to see as an owner? And what's going to make this? How do we understand what you're doing? Right? This is a multi owner situation. So we had a couple of owners, and we couldn't all be on the phone at the same time. We all trust each other. We needed that property management company to help us out. So we came up with a plan where they would send us regular updates, and they would send us photos, which was extremely helpful for us. Hey, Mike, we needed to change out this light bulb repair guy, every single person has a cell phone nowadays, you would snap a photo of a light being out in the hallway, he would go and fix it. And then it would snap a picture of the light and the light fixture would be replaced or the light bulb would be replaced. And then he would say this is on the fourth floor. hallway be third light down the row. Well, now we've got a photo now we've got a record if anybody questions that we know exactly what we're doing. And it made us feel a lot more comfortable that these things weren't superfluous. Also, it was helpful if they went to go change a lock on a door. And then they said, Well, I've $900 like, no quick google search says the lock is 50 bucks at Home Depot. And your time and labor doesn't take that long to turn it in. So what do you what are you charging me? $900? For? Right? So not that that ever happened with us? But just hypothetically, having the photos having a picture having a description of every single activity? Was it a little bit more work on the property manager? Absolutely. Was it something that we kind of got in place and got a rhythm going? It really, really made us feel a lot more comfortable. And it helped us justify everything that they were working on.
Nichole Stohler 20:47
That is such a great idea. If I were ever opening a property management company, I would do that. That's such a great idea. So let's say you're on the other side, you're the owner, you can make the request. And then I'm also wondering in this probably depends on state and laws and that kind of thing. I'm wondering if you make that request, which is brilliant pictures, prove you know, documentation, if you as an owner, do not have to pay until you receive that. That might I don't know if there's rules around that.
Mike McCullough 21:18
Yeah. And I mean, that's going to be something I think you negotiate with them. Right? I will say that the property manager that we worked on this list was not the cheapest person in town. But they were very focused on us having a really good experience with them, and potentially utilizing them for other properties or recommending to other people. And they were very kind of owner first, in that regard. But I would say it all comes down to a negotiation. If they want your business, and they're trying to grow their business, are they willing to work with you? If they're not willing to work with you? I'm going to guess there's somebody in town that might be now you don't want to go overboard with some of these requests, right? But I think it's pretty reasonable, especially if you're traveling a lot to say, hey, do you just snap a photo of what we're doing? It just helps me understand what the problem is where this occurs. And then to your point earlier, does this tenant have this come up every single month. And if I've got the same picture, the same light fixture every single month, something's going on here, that's a bigger problem. And it's a lot easier to identify than just, we fix something and unit 17 be
Nichole Stohler 22:24
brilliant. It's a great, great strategy. And I love it, and they need to use technology. And you could you could be you know, in group collaboration, you could be seen all these things. So I have, I have all these ideas in my head, I love it,
Mike McCullough 22:37
I'll keep going a little bit on that same, that same track. So I was in a multi owner situation where this property out here is insanely expensive. So we have multiple people that own each of these properties. We set up Gmail accounts, because they were free, and everybody can access them. So that property had a Gmail account for all three owners. We had all of our files saved there. You anybody that got the invoice could upload it, and then everybody can see what we're doing. We can see rent rolls, you've got Excel spreadsheets, you've got all the email communication back and forth in one place.
Nichole Stohler 23:12
That's brilliant, too. I would love to explore that, actually, on a future episode, all of the ways that you could leverage technology. And this is again, coming from the standpoint of being an owner who's busy, who's going to have to hire property management, because you're you know, you're traveling or whatever the reason might be, we'll take that for sure. As a future episode. I do want to go backwards a little bit because we talked about your family, the organic growth, the fact that you're managing properties now for you know, that's kind of grown. Why? Because you talked about as you accumulated your own funds, then you started investing on your own. Tell us the why behind that, especially because you you saw all of this going on, and you were part of it.
Mike McCullough 24:00
Yeah. And that's a very good question on the why I decided to get into it, I think part of it was I somewhat understood it. And you go through a process enough times, and when you feel comfortable with it, especially when you're playing with your own money. For me, I wanted to feel like I knew what I was doing before I started investing large amounts. And I'm in the California market, right. So we're not talking about $100,000 house, I can go pick up rent for a little while flip over, not saying $100,000 is a not meaningful amount of money. But we're talking about $801.2 million homes in these marketplaces. And so a lot of the times when you get into these, as a young investor, you've only got capital for maybe the down payment, you're making the payments on that. And you either have to flip it or make money on it, or you're going to lose out, right. So you've got X amount of time before you can go over because you're not necessarily funding it for a 30 year mortgage type of thing. So I mean, why I got into it, I just, I knew about it. My brother in law is a house flipper. So he had a lot of meetings that we went up to meetups we went to. And I think I was just paying attention to the market, I was in the kind of field, I was going to meetings with other people that were doing this. I just talked to anybody and everybody that will listen to me about this stuff. And it was really just an organic thing that happened. In that regard, though, and I do manage a number of places. Currently, I actually got into a house, my intention was to renovate it and start renting it out. And I had all these plans and I have looked at the market and they knew how much that I could rent the house for and I was really excited about it, it happened to be a little bit too far away. It's about an hour and a half without traffic, they area traffic, it would be two and a half hours to get to this piece of property. I was talking with some of the neighbors asking them what they do to maintain their yards, who they know, all this kind of stuff. And one of the neighbors offered to buy it. And it was the right price. And I said great. Let's do it done. I'm out of it. I'm gonna wipe my hands with this whole place, right? And again, I put in six months of work into what's my rent going to be? What are the surrounding properties look like? Do I need to go hardwood tile color, this that amenities, we have to have to fit into this neighborhood? What really what do we need to do. But at a certain point, especially being a professional, who's doing this as a side project or side work, you got to leverage your time to that's a big piece of it. That's why I do properties that are within 2030 minutes of where I live, I can be on top of it, I can make sure I know what's happening, I still hire a lot of contractors to get work done for me. Because I'm not going to go electrocute myself trying to fix a breaker panel or something, I probably could figure out how to do it. And I know electrical pretty well. Not worth my time. Right. So pay somebody get it done. Let's move forward.
Nichole Stohler 27:05
Great example of knowing what fits for where you are currently in the you know, in your full time job, etc. And, and I bring that up we talked about on episode 12, Mike and I talked about, before you even get started in anything, whether you're going to buy a business or a franchise or invest in real estate, you, you should take the time to figure out your plan and your criteria. And one of the key questions is how much time do you have? What is your lifestyle like, you know, if you're, you're doing a ton of sporting events with your kids, or you have a very intense job, that dictates a lot of things. And what you're describing there is realizing, hey, this isn't probably this is a great opportunity. And this if I continue down this path, though, it's not going to fit my, my life and what works for me.
Mike McCullough 27:58
Absolutely, I will get real estate and property management and kind of that investing portfolio as a very key part of what I do. But its wealth building. On the side of my day to day, my day to day job is what pays for everything that I have, you know, the salary is what gets us through. And then all of this is kind of ancillary. And so I can't lose focus personally, on what pays the bills, what keeps my car on the road and the tow truck not coming into my driveway to drag the thing away, right? What keeps my personal mortgage paid. And for me, that's the day job. But then all this other stuff, you got to figure out a way to manage it. And that's really where where that comes in and manage it to a place where you want to be. You know, I know people that are very, I've got a friend. It's actually an old family friend, they have like 10 houses. The guy that was in most all the lights on the weekends. I don't know if he just loves mowing lawns, but that's kind of his investment. He drives around in his truck, pulled his mower out and goes and mow the lawn. And it's the only owner I've ever met that doesn't hire somebody to do that at 20 bucks a lawn or whatever it is. But that's his level of involvement. He's getting close to retirement age, I don't think he works as much anymore. Like he enjoys it. Right? I would never do that. So
Nichole Stohler 29:20
now you you've described and I have this question, and you've answered some of it. But maybe there's some other tips and maybe other technology components that you're using. How do you balance? And you've already talked about your location, okay, those kind of things. But how do you balance, working full time and investing and little talk not so much about the property management? Because I would say the folks listening probably aren't going to develop a property management company, but they will have properties that maybe they want to self manage. So how do you how do you balance that?
Mike McCullough 29:55
Yeah, that's a good question. My wife would say I don't want to it that way. Lots of weekends, lots of after work time. And I think getting into this, you've got to understand that that's when these things happen. So I do a number of real estate meetups. If I had one tip for everybody, go talk to somebody else who's done it first, go talk to anybody, and everybody you can talk to, because they're going to tell you the pitfalls by that person, a beer, whatever it is. But there's a ton of meetings that happen, at least where I'm at, I'm sure they're happening all over? Do you look up real estate investing meetings, home flipping meetings, those kinds of things, you can start chatting with people, they almost all happen at seven or eight o'clock at night, you have young kids, you can put them to bed, you're done with work, you can go out and meet up with these people start chatting, if you're going to be looking at properties, you probably can't do it during the day, you're going to have to understand that you do that at night. Now, I try and balance it to one weekend a month type of thing, almost like the Army Reserves right one weekend, a month, two weeks a year. Not that it's that little. But if I can get somebody to do something else, for me at this point, I'd rather pay them to get that done, and take the time back. But it all depends on your schedule, right? It also depends on what time of year it is for you to that's another big thing to take into consideration. Being in sales fiscal year ends gets really really hectic, I push everything off, and I hire contractors for basically the entire fourth quarter. The rest of the year, I'm happy, I'll go out there, I get home at five or six o'clock. And then I can run over to a property I can take a look at some things. You know, part of it is understanding when things are open and available, or making things available, right. A lot of people in the home game they realize people work. So you can talk with real estate agents, after working hours at happy hour times meet up at five or six o'clock when they're done with their day when you're done with your day. I don't think I've met my real estate agent that I work with on buying properties. We've met for lunch once. And I think every other time has been five or 6pm. They either come over to my house, we meet up at a bar somewhere, whatever it is. So I don't know if that fully answers your question. But that's kind of how I've done it. I will say it is very taxing. And the reason I sold this other property was I was getting up at seven in the morning, I was driving two hours to this property. I was working all day. And then at four o'clock, I would drive the two hours back home. And my wife would look at me and say it's Saturday and you've been gone from 7am to 6pm. Like, how much more are you going to do this? Is it really that beneficial? I know we might be making 600 bucks a month on this property. But I'd rather you be home, right? And I said yeah, well, I'd rather be home too. And then there's also time, friends duration, how long is that going to be? Do you have a plan, if you're going to buy and flip and remodel a home, you say, Hey, this is going to be the next three months of this project. And then I'm done with it. And I've made some money, and then we're on to the next project. But I'm going to have a downtime. So you've kind of got ebbs and flows.
Nichole Stohler 33:09
I love how you described that you'd rather be home. And that's when you do have to make that just because there's so many, there's actually so many ways to invest your money to have that money work for you. It doesn't have to be quite in that way. Or you can give up a little bit of the return for someone else to do the work as an example. So thank you for talking us through that. Now you also share the you highly recommend meetups, I agree I host a meetup for women who want to invest in real estate, I think it's a it's a great resource. And all we're doing in that meetup is bringing educational resources and sharing ideas and developing relationships that you you don't know that you may need that relationship at some point in the future, or you might be able to help provide value to someone else as well. So I recommend those also, are there any other resources is that you would recommend for others that are looking to get started investing in real estate.
Mike McCullough 34:04
I don't know about specific resources, I found all my resources through other people, I'll be honest, I go to meet ups, I talk with people, I figure out who they're using for what, and I test a lot of it myself. And I had a concrete contractor. And we were looking at a piece of property that potentially needed a new driveway, we're going to put a patio out back, that kind of thing. We didn't go through with it. But I wanted to see what this contractor could do talk to a couple times seem like a nice guy. I had them do some work at my house now much smaller projects, right, which can be challenging for some of these bigger contractors. But he came out did a phenomenal job. And well now I got a concrete contractor, right? plumbers, electricians, those kind of people, I've always found they'll do really big jobs. But if you can get them to do a little job, you can kind of see what their work product is like, before you invest in them on a big scale project or before you got to really strict timeline and I've got to get this thing done. And it has to be done in three months. When you start pushing projects, those costs just go through the roof. But talk with people go to meet ups understand that every meetup is not the same either. That's a big thing. I showed up at one and it was all just off market listings. Nobody really wanted to talk. They just wanted to buy properties. There were a couple of sponsors there. I really didn't get much out of it. I went to one similar to what it sounds like you do met a lot of great people. We chat all the time, we text back and forth. Hey, do you know this person? Hey, have you been in this situation? What's your experience here has been great.
Nichole Stohler 35:40
So I think the lesson for everybody listening is go to meetups, because this is where you will find amazing people and resources. But you may have to do a little trial and error because not all of them are the same. And sometimes they're big. They're big sales pitches, too. So you don't want that either.
Mike McCullough 35:55
Absolutely. One other thing. And this is more focused on the property man management side of things not if you're an owner, or if you're hiring somebody out or you're doing it yourself doesn't matter. Like California, for instance, has a California Apartment Owners Association. They have everything under the sun. I imagine other states have the same thing. But this is where they've got a whole list of resources. They've got leases ready to go for you. They've got sales documents ready to go for you a dentist. There's so many Eminem's I don't even know what some of these things are. But you're getting into a property and they want pets? Do you have a pet attendant, if you know these, and you're trying to hire somebody out, it can really give you a lot of ammo. When you're looking at leases when you're looking at buying and selling properties. The government sites as hard as they can be to manage sometimes they can be extremely beneficial.
Nichole Stohler 36:48
That's a great tip and resource as well. For everyone listening in the show notes will have links to some of these things that Mike is talking about. So let's wrap this up. Mike, how can listeners get in touch with you or learn more?
Mike McCullough 37:02
Yeah, I would say I don't really have a website or anything but McCullough management firstname.lastname@example.org you'll see my name in the title I guess. So this podcast but yeah, Michaela Management Group at gmail. You can shoot me an email might take me a minute to get back to you. But always happy to talk with other people that are interested in investing and getting into this fun game.
Nichole Stohler 37:25
Excellent. Thanks so much, Mike. It was great to have you on and I learned a ton. We have a lot of notes that will be sharing.
Mike McCullough 37:32
Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Nichole Stohler 37:37
Thanks for tuning in to the Richer Geek Podcast. For today's show notes including links and resources, visit us at the richer geek.com. Don't forget to head over to iTunes, Google Play stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts and hit the subscribe button. help us spread the word by sharing with others who could benefit from listening and leave a rating and review that'll help us get the podcast in front of more people. I appreciate you. Thanks so much for listening.
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ABOUT MIKE McCULLOUGH
Mike works in tech sales by day and is property manager and real estate investor in his spare time. Working and living in the Bay Area, he has 8 years experience as a property manager as well as working with property management companies in single family and multifamily properties.