Dave is a full-time real estate professional (investor, broker, property manager), the author of Youth Renewing the Countryside, Coffee Smuggler and Cyber Fire and a father. He is a man on a mission to use real estate to solve problems and improve communities. Dave is passionate about teaching others how to achieve doing well by doing good.
His first major investment took place when he co-founded a multi-lingual retail chain in Bolivia, The Spitting Llama Bookstore and Outfitter, with the hope of improving the country’s social environment and ecology. Five years later, he entered the world of real estate investing and brokering with a similar mission: to help benefit residents, investors, and the planet.
Dave now co-owns 94 rental units in Southern Maine, enjoying his time working with investors, owners, residents, and contractors to help with energy efficiency, syndications, and property management.
Connect with Dave here:
- Website: https://www.holmanhomes.com/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dave-holman-mba-7254a513/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daveholmanhomes
Click To Read The Transcript
Dave Holman Unique Journey of Becoming a Successful Real Estate Investor
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of underdog. I have an amazing guest here with me today. Dave, how are you?
Doing great. How are you, Pam?
I’m doing lovely Dave is joining us up from Maine. And he’s just radiating and having an amazing day and I’m just like. Pumped to hear all about his story. Because he seems extremely humble and I know there’s a huge and amazing story behind him. And I can’t wait to get into it today. So I’m pumped about that. Dave, thank you so much for being here.
Wow, that great introduction is gonna make it hard to be humble. But I will continue to try. Thank you very much for having me. I’m happy to be here.
So it’s an honor day. And then like speaking of your story, you know, like you’ve had a tremendous journey to where you are today. What inspired you to basically be where you are today if you will. Loaded question. Yes, I know, it’s always the best starting point.
Yeah, so many different things and I’ll touch on a few of them. But I think the number one thing that I can probably point to was impending parenthood. In my case, fatherhood, where I had been pretty content. Did not kind of turbocharge the financial side of my life up until age 31 or 32. When my wife got pregnant with our first child, five years ago. I really decided I have to do a little more than what’s been enough for me now. Because we’ll be a family and I want to be able to travel and pay for college and do these different things. And just getting by is not enough anymore. Even though I’m lucky to have a family that has taken great care of me and would probably help. Whenever help was needed.
I still wanted to do those things for myself on my own. And I did not have the means to do that six years ago. So I had been a stock market kind of investor and very successful at that. But if you’re just investing your savings from a summer job, you’re not going to like to retire early. So, I decided I needed to look in other places. And I always thought about real estate and I’d been introduced to real estate. I guess in college when I took a class called Building the Eco house. It was all about the connections between architecture and the environment. Global warming, energy efficiency, renewable energy. All these things are just kind of light bulbs in my head.
And I liked that class so much that I got paid to take it the next two years as a teacher’s assistant. So I basically had to take it three times. But by the end of it, I was really jazzed about the ability of the built environment to kind of change the world. And make people happier and healthier and the planet happier and healthier. But I didn’t exactly know how and I was thinking maybe. I’ll become an architect or I’ll build green roofs. Which I had done there or done something in renewable energy. However, my other major was Latin American Studies and I had just been down in Bolivia. I had met this wonderful young woman.
We’d started dating and as I went into graduate school, you know. I better go back down and kind of pick that relationship up and see where it was going. And so I was down there for the better part of the next four years and came back here. I needed to go to business school because we had started a chain of stores down there in Bolivia together. My wife and I, then-girlfriend, then fiance, now wife, so yeah. We had this chain of camping and bookstores and got to the point. Where I had 10 employees and a spider web of Excel spreadsheets and stuff.
And I had taken all of one econ class in my whole life and I kind of fought it when I took it. So I was not a natural but in a way we all kind of our natural to business. The buy low sell high concept is not a tough one to understand. Business School is great, but I realized all I really needed for that was accounting. You know, the confidence to know what a profit and loss is and the p&l and balance sheet and all these things. That was nice and I went into the nonprofit sector. Because I’m bilingual, fluent in Spanish and English. So I worked for a nonprofit called safe passage that helped kids in Guatemala. Who live in the garbage dump, actually go to school, get their education, so that was really rewarding.
After almost four years there. I’d really gotten turned on to the fundraising side of the nonprofit world. Because I was like, wow, this is the engine that makes the whole bus go. And with another million dollars, I could literally save lives, literally. So it’s just really exciting and I went to Bowdoin College, you know. Worked in fundraising there for five years, but fairly soon after that, you know. We had our first child and I had gotten into real estate. And I started just by partnering with a family who had money. But I had no time or expertise and I had spent the last year listening to podcasts like yours. Reading books and networking with people to kind of learn about real estate investing.
So I was finally feeling ready to do something. And we took on a small single-family house as our first investment. I spent a tonne of time, you know, with a residential broker trying to find the right house. You know, we finally found one that I thought the numbers were good. And maybe it had the potential to split off an extra lot. We bought that just by partnering where they put in the money. Because I didn’t really have any and I did all the effort and time and work involved with it. I managed the tenants and fixed them, I mean, I was literally in the tenants house. Banging on floorboards and setting mouse traps and doing all the things that property managers do. So, it’s a good hands-on experience, it went well enough that we decided to keep going.
Then bought a three-unit building, Incidentally, it had a commercial tenant on the first floor. I didn’t want commercial tenants, I thought residential was like the only way to go. And I had kind of gotten to that idea of 50 single-family houses getting you the same thing. But through a heck of a lot more work as a 50 unit building. There’s pros and cons to each, but there’s maybe more economies of scale. If you go into apartments and larger buildings, the three units introduced me to commercials. I suddenly was the landlord for an engineering firm and my broker was like, Oh. You could do a triple net lease with them and I was like, what’s that? And he’s like, they’ll pay your taxes and insurance.
I was like, No, I would do that and he’s like. Yeah, I was like, really cool. Like, residential tenants don’t do that. So it was a neat kind of eye-opening experience, another kind of hands-on experience with landlording. And from there, I kind of took off, you know, and found a deal that was 17 residential units. Again, partnered with family on that and then partnered to buy nine units with a former coworker. Who had been my boss at the college and had left but loved business. We were having a beer one time. I kind of set off, I got these bunch of good deals and I had three good deals on the table. And I wish I had bought all three, but we didn’t have the interest.
My parents wanted to slow down. He’s like, well, the other ones a good deal, right? I was like, Yeah, it’s a really good deal, he’s like, well. Let’s buy it, I was like. Yeah, I don’t have any money. He’s like, that’s okay, I’ll do the money part, you do the work. And it’s like, Okay, great. So that’s kind of how I took off and eventually got into syndication. Where I’m putting together larger groups of family, friends, friends of friends, that kind of thing. To buy and maintain larger buildings and always kind of try to fix them up, add some value. Make the world a nicer place, make the building a nicer place, and not just treat it like an ATM machine. But yeah, we started a property management company. Because I started managing the first few buildings myself pretty quickly.
I had a full-time day job at a pretty serious institution. That I had to take care of his number one priority. No health care, daycare, all these golden handcuffs kind of things that kept my button. So to speak, fundraising, even after a year or two. Kind of wore off and I realized, man. I’m not super happy, being an employee and at a desk job. It just isn’t my hunter gatherer kind of nature to want this setup for the rest of my life. And I learned about real estate, the more passionate I got about it. It just led me to take that path. But while I had the day job, I needed property management.
So when I bought the 17 units in the nine, I kind of inherited a property manager from those. And I was like, Well if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Just let him keep doing it and after the course of about nine months. I decided, yeah, it’s actually pretty broken and I was kind of an A and sometimes B student and I felt like. We were just getting DS and C’s and F’s but just like. There were things happening that I feel like if I was in charge. This wouldn’t have gone this way. You know, it’s frustrating, where it’s like, No, no, I’ve handed it off. But I’m finding myself kind of drawn back into the kitchen to work with the cooking. Because I don’t like how they’re doing the recipe, I need to professionalize.
So I gave my 34 units to a professional property management company in our local town. Thinking that was like the answer to my problem. I was still gonna get C’s and D’s and some B’s and A’s. But it just wasn’t the scorecard that I was looking for where I felt like all tenants were really respected. That vacancies, we just jumped on them aggressively marketed them, God forbid before the person even leaves. I mean, none of them would do that. None of them ever marketed stuff before the vacancy occurred. They’d wait until someone left, then they maybe take another few days or a week. Then they’d throw it up on Craigslist and then, I’d feel like oh and maybe they’re filling their own units first or different ones.
And it was just not the most satisfying experience, so I listened to a lot of podcasts. Had a friend who was doing syndication and he really turned the light bulb on for me in property management. By saying, because I knew that it wasn’t really a profit center and it’s a lot of hard work. You know very well and I said the reason we manage our own buildings is not for the money. It’s for risk management because now you really can control the risk very well. If you want to fill those units, you can fill them by pricing them right and doing it quickly, and getting right on top of stuff. And those are really the drivers of your profit if you’re going to have a full building with happy tenants who stay.
They’ll stay longer on average, they’ll pay more than average, the world is your oyster. Whereas if you have a grumpy property manager who’s unresponsive. Half the time stuff is not gonna go as planned, financially. So that led me to partner with my best friend for my MBA program who’s looking at a job at that point. And I was kind of like, I think this can kind of be a job. Why don’t we start a company together and I’ll pay you a little extra at first and then once we really get it going. You can give me a discount on my units and we’ll go ahead and we’ve now got four employees. We’re up in the hundreds of units and we’re having a great time. It’s been a journey.
What Dave Wanted To Be When He Grow Up?
Oh, wow, not a journey that you’ve had, thank you so much for sharing all that. So amazing. And there’s so much I want to unpack throughout all of that. Now, my question to you is and I love seeing the response to this, like. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Yeah, yeah, what comes to mind being a little boy, middle class from Maine. I think firefighter, baseball player, definitely professional baseball player, astronaut was probably in that mix. At one point maybe a doctor for a little while, mostly baseball players, and I played really hard up through junior high. But there were two things that set me off that course to digress a little from real estate. One of which was I learned that just like pretty much every family member on either family tree. I was going to be nearsighted and needed glasses. So that impacted the play a little bit and just made it kind of awkward and then I was a lefty, I batted left.
And that meant that the pitchers in junior high in high school. Tended to hit me a lot with the ball and I had one time. Where this big pitcher threw this crazy fastball, which back then was like 70, or something miles an hour. But being very close, it’s coming right at my waistline. So I jumped up in the air to avoid it smacking me right above the knee. I go to the doctor, no broken bones. It was just a bruise the size of the ball. But he said if that had been two inches lower, it would have shattered your kneecap. And you might not have been walking right for the rest of your life and I was like, Oh. I think I’m gonna look at other sports now, I kind of chickened out, I chickened out of baseball.
Oh, no. I mean, those balls come fast. So I don’t blame you. That’s interesting. And like, so what inspired you on your journey to like, want to go down to Bolivia, though? Because I find that super interesting. Like, how did that trajectory play out?
Yeah, so I had taken Spanish classes when I was a high school student in Maine and didn’t make much use of it. I got good enough grades, but you forget what you don’t use pretty quickly. In college, I went on a delegation down to Nicaragua with a nonprofit. To go inside and learn about and teach about sweatshops. And so we learned about them and went inside them and met workers and managers. It was a whole different world and it was very fascinating to me and you know. I thought it was important to let me use my Spanish in a way. That was different from just ordering off a menu and doing stuff in class. So that kind of got my wheels turning.
I studied abroad in Guatemala. And Guatemala is a majority indigenous country and was just fascinated by the dynamics going on there. The politics, the history, the economics. Came back to Minnesota where I was in college at Carleton College and organized a trip during spring break. That would go to two different Indian reservations and do volunteer work. And the same kind of thing, kind of learning about some of the issues and challenges. That their communities were up against and found really significant challenges and issues that make the US, like. Not such a first-world country. If you go to places like that and see the kind of poverty that exists on reservations, it’s really crushing and sad. But at the same time, it was also incredibly inspiring.
The strength of the people, the spirit, they had to resist. They were to resist long before any protesters that are alive today. So it’s part of their DNA, I think, at this point to be worriers. And so on Pine Ridge Reservation Quota reservation in South Dakota. They had started a microfinance organization to do small business loans. To entrepreneurs on the rez and things like that and this is actually kind of transformative. This is very different from the likes, I was literally eating government cheese. Like it was a joke about government cheese like it comes in a big rectangular orange block. And it was getting off that kind of treaty mentality.
Where like we’re owed these benefits, which they literally are I mean. Our government agreed to them in perpetuity unlike Social Security or Medicare. Yeah. Constitutionally, we have an obligation to give that but you know. They wanted to rise up, by their own bootstraps and it just been pushed down economically for so long. But this was kind of finding a way to make those sorts of things happen. So it really fascinated me. I came back and worked there for a summer at the Lakota fund. Just kind of as an intern, just kind of doing. Whatever needs to be done is learning about the culture.
And that’s why I got interested in Bolivia. Because it was the only other majority indigenous country in the Americas outside of Guatemala and I hadn’t been there. So then I learned about microfinance. It turns out Bolivia is actually the birthplace of microfinance, where it all first started. Now, Bangladesh and the Grameen Bank get a lot of credit. But bunco soul started independently in the same year in 1983. When I was born in Bolivia, they shared it 50,50 In my opinion. So I went down there to research my thesis about Bolivian microfinance and the cultural impacts that it has. And that’s why I went there, it’s such a long-winded story.
Oh, no, I love that. And then I like to go there and basically start a business after I think it’s so cool. Because there’s people that won’t even start businesses in the US. So you’re just like, I’m just gonna go to a different continent, so one thing that’s brave.
I guess it is in retrospect, I didn’t feel like it at the time, I was just a way to keep us busy and with money coming in. But it’s funny, I tell people working in Bolivia in a very bureaucratic former Spanish colony environment. With lots of rules and laws and regulations. But also a very poor country where most people live. Don’t follow all those laws and rules and regulations. It’s both like the freest and the most constrained business environment possible. And so when you’re small and you’re just an entrepreneur on the street, you know. Or in a market, like it’s the most free ever, it’s pure red-blooded capitalism at its finest.
There’s no taxes whatsoever from anyone for any reason for anything. You just pay 10 bolivianos to the vendor and they keep the 10. And they bought them for six or seven and they’re keeping three and it’s a very clean thing. Because they’re not paying taxes, even though they technically should. So when we went to get our Certificate of Foundation from the kuzia, from the mayor’s office. I was expecting to jump through a lot of hoops, like a lot of the other things. I’ve been through to get my visas and stuff. And they were like, Oh, where’s your business located? I was like, well, we don’t have a location yet.
I mean, I want to get permission, like, a good American, get all my licences in order before I start. They’re like you can’t get a license without a business. Go rent a place, open a business and then come back to us and get your license, I was like. Okay, I can just go and start. And they’re like, yeah, just go and start to come back later, I was like, Oh, great. Awesome and so I just went and started. I just went and rented a room, basically a glorified room on a street in a building. And started up a store and came back to them and said, okay. I’m in business, I opened, can I have my permit? Now? They’re like, yep, here you go. Five bucks. Okay, off you go. So yeah, there’s some ways that it’s very free.
But when you start registering with all the different ministries. It actually gets very burdensome to the point where it’s crushing and it’s unfortunate. Because when you put too much regulation onto a system, it forces first to trickle. Then a flood of people to work around that system and work illegally for bribes. Through favors through all these negative things that happen. That we stereotype and third world countries. So I think there’s like a happy mix of regulation, where it’s like, not too little, not too much. You can’t just go out and do nothing and pay no taxes. But you’re able to run a profitable business without being sort of overburdened.
Interesting and then from that, you went to pretty much like a corporate job. Then a corporate job, you went into real estate now. Because I know those golden handcuffs, I’ve heard a lot about them. What was your aha moment? And how did you transition, because there’s so many people that I know are listening. That may be right there and just like scared to make the jump. They know that they’ll be so much happier on the other side, but it’s like. What really inspired you to make that transition over into the real estate front? And how to do it, you know, some are petrified to do so.
Yeah, I knew I had to, I just didn’t know the timeline. And I think a lot of people are in that situation. They’re like, Oh, I know, I have to change but I’m not quite. I can achieve that and maybe they have a plan. Maybe they don’t, maybe it’s about saving for me a couple factors. One is that I went and got my real estate broker’s license. While I was still employed at Bowden. Because I had worked with a buyer’s agent when I was making these investments. Who was a really great guy and kind of a mentor, really thoughtful. Had to kind of run the idea by me, a year or two back and I had kind of said. Well, maybe someday we’ll see.
And I was like that’s not a bad idea, because I don’t think I want to wait until I have enough passive income. Because it’s great that I have these 34 units. I’m getting like 1000 or two a month and still investing most of the money back into them. The thing is I’m not just taking everything out and leaving the buildings. I’m fixing them up and improving them so that dampens your passive income a little bit. So I didn’t want to wait until I had enough passive income to quit and retire. I knew that I needed active income to replace the W two jobs, active income. And so that’s where the broker idea occurred to me, I was like. It’s in real estate, I’d be learning a lot by helping other people do deals.
I’d be learning the market and the prices. And it’d be super helpful for me as an investor, as a property manager to also be a broker and be helping people. I’ll do that for five or 10 years or however long I do it and then, I’ll probably transition out of that. Because it’s still an active income, where if you stop working as a broker. The money stops coming in commissions, every one-to-one connection there. So you know, it’s not as though I’m retired in any way. Even at this point, yes, I could retire from being a broker and still keep food on the table and that kind of thing but I like it. I don’t want to retire, I enjoy working, I’m seeking the right balance.
But at college, you know, I was sort of passed over for promotions and climbing the ladder. Because, you know, corporate institutions can be slow-moving, but I mean. Academia is like glacier speed compared to corporate America. So if I had hung out for another five or 10 years. I’m sure I would have paid 30 or 50% more salary than I had there. Which was enough to get by and I was very happy in my mid 50s kind of salary range. It’s enough but I’m looking back at it. And I thought, at the time, when I quit, I thought. You know, it’s going to start slow and finish strong.
But I think there’s a good chance that I’m going to realize just like a lot of entrepreneurs. I was costing myself a tonne of money by staying in those two jobs. And sure enough the first year I earned about triple what I did the year before and now I’m on track for like, 10x and it’s like. Yeah, I was costing myself a lot by being in that job. But it was what I needed at the time. Everyone goes through your progression in life. And I don’t regret, you know. Any of these times is like my first nonprofit job. I think I started at 32,000 a year and I was working like 55 hours a week. So, you know, you got to pay your dues in life. You can’t just, you know, get something for nothing.
Absolutely. And like transitioning into the real estate game, I always tell people it’s real estate’s great. It’s glorious, It’s an amazing industry, it’s so dynamic. You could do so many different things within the realm. But of course, there’s challenges in the first few years. The first three to five years. I think of any business, but especially real estate, is when you learn the most lessons, I mean. You’re always continuously learning, but it’s like the toughest through there. So what were some of your biggest challenges? And how did you sort of overcome those hurdles?
I think it’s a big challenge, you know. Starting out in real estate was just not having clients and people talk a lot about deal flow. And for deals that I’m gonna acquire and by myself, I mean. I feel like I can’t really do more than two or three or four a year at most. Because there’s a lot to it, it’s kind of exhausting to buy a property. There’s a lot of T’s to cross. So I didn’t have many clients in the beginning. And I just went out networking and I kind of got enough to come along. My wife was working and still had a little bit of income from that source as well.
But I think I started a meetup group. And that has led to some fabulous friendships and connections. That has led to relationships as a broker that are paying off now, basically. So I think connecting with other people, any business is a people business. But obviously, real estate is particularly a people business. So you can’t just sit on Zillow and expect the world to be your oyster. You have to press the flesh and zoom like we can connect in this manner and yeah. We’re not having lunch and a beer and whatever.
And there’s a lot lost in translation, but there’s enough retained. I think people that have wanted to network, you know, during COVID have done so. And in some ways, it’s like a blessing because we’re all liberated from physically being together now. Maybe before it would have been kind of gauche or rude to do a zoom call with someone in the same zip code. But still, you just saved an hour of back and forth. It’s just time that is saved by being efficient like this. So obviously, I don’t want to spend my whole day on zoom. But I think that was a great tool. You know, for this past year of me kind of getting started, I quit my day job in 2019.
And it was really only by like mid-2020 that I was kind of finding traction and really getting into flow going and now I’m like, Oh my gosh. I’ve got to like to hire people and delegate. Because the flow would overwhelm one human being, no matter how diligent or skilled or whatever. So I am trying to learn to be a better delegator. And trying to learn to be a good boss, which I don’t really like that word that much. Because I just want us to be a team. So I always try to foster that team mentality with our group. Maybe some days I’m the coach, but other days, I’m the freakin right fielder.
I’m out there with you guys as well and we’re all gonna play different positions on this team. But I don’t like this sort of very hierarchical sense of the world that a lot of organizations kind of instill in us. Because it can breed resentment. Yes, it gives you a ladder to climb, but you’re always envious and looking up and feeling like you’re not good enough or whatever. And, you know, I don’t like that.
Amazing. I mean, and it’s like that due to like and I’ve told people this before, I’m like, you know. There’s a way to build your business on the side, as you’re sort of transitioning. You don’t have to just drop everything and go, you can minimize mitigate your risks pretty easily these days, you know. When it comes to this, there’s a way to do both, right?
That’s very smart. Well said, Yeah, I would encourage almost anyone listening unless you have a really big kind of pile of cash to fall back on. You don’t need to jump out of the plane and build your parachute on the way down. Because a lot of people go splat when they do that. And then the problem is, they’re gonna think, oh, Real Estate’s risky. It’s bad, I went bankrupt in 2021. When I tried that, I’m never gonna do it again, my whole life, It’s like, No, no, no, you just kind of did it wrong. Like baby steps and I think there’s so many kinds of side hustles. And side gigs in real estate that can lead to the full-time thing, if that’s what you want.
Absolutely. And with that being said, like, this is always one of my favorite questions, but like, based on what you know, now. What would your older self tell your younger self?
I would say you can change the world in almost any industry that you’re in. So you should not write off whole categories of life and business. Would have looked down on pretty much anyone who was The L Word. A landlord and I thought there’s the play rent, like. Landlords are evil and greedy and bad and they’re just associated with greed in general. They’re like a step below, you know, used car sales or whatever, it’s just a parody almost. And so I really thought of it as kind of icky. I mean, I kind of thought of all of business in that way, too. It’s like, Oh, it’s just icky, It’s for greedy people or whatever.
And it really made me understand that no business can be done in a really ethical way. That makes the world a better place. Or in a really crappy way that makes the world worse. You know, like, you can do it either way. It’s your choice. But I think property management being a landlord is an area where there are a lot of bad actors, underperformers, etc. Which is why the stereotype has developed. That’s why it’s all the more important that good people get into that field. And like overperforming, you know. People can be happy in their homes and be like them. Whoa, my landlords are the best, all my landlady is awesome. She’s great or she’s the best.
And it doesn’t take all that much to garner that kind of relationship, where it’s kind of mutual respect. That has been something I didn’t know, as a young person. I had this stigma or stereotype or prejudice that it was like, oh, landlords are bad. And I think what helped get me over that, too, was thinking environmentally. It was like, well, it’s all well and good if I put solar panels on my own personal home and make it more energy-efficient and so forth. But what if I could do that in 100 people’s homes. They would kind of pay for it for me, through their rent payments that I’m using to improve the property.
And those improvements would lower my operating costs and make me more money, like. Oh, my God, like this really works. Whoa and so I’ve taken great pride in killing off old oil-burning fossil fuel heating systems in the main buildings. Which are often their heating, basements heating, the whole building, and stuff. And it really is outdated technology. But again, it’s that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mentality of like, well. These are actually kind of broken and especially when they really break and need an HV AC technician to do 1000s of dollars of repairs.
Like you might want to look at heat pumps. You might want to at least look at natural gas or insulating the attic or the basement. There’s a certain kind of low-hanging fruit, the insulation jobs we do. It’s like 100% ROI per year. I’ll spend five or 10 grand on installation, you can often save that much on heat in one year. So not wanting to go down that road is just self-sacrifice. It’s cutting off your nose to spite your face.
I love your advice. And now Dave, like, what are you up to in your world? Like what’s next? In the next year or so for you?
Yeah, a couple things are exciting just getting a new property under contract. So that’s exciting, you know right in the downtown of Brunswick, Maine, the town where I do a lot of work. And we’re planning my first new construction development project. Yeah, cuz my friend JLo in Minneapolis, not the singer. Jlo. This is Valle de la Jason, Lord, we’re best buddies from college. He’s been doing these syndications, building hundreds of units. I’ve always said Oh when I’m full-time, let’s do something together and help now I’m full time I have no excuse. So we’re gonna do something together in an opportunity zone. And do about 60 units to start with and see where it goes from there.
But you’re really excited about that kind of challenge. I’m not able to specialize. A lot of people are really good at specializing. They say the riches in the niches and they niche right down and I get bored too easily. You know, it’s like, okay, I’ve learned this, I kind of get it enough to feel comfortable. And I want to kind of go on to a new thing. So I’ve always bought used buildings and now I’m going to build new ones so it’ll be a new adventure.
I love that. Dave. Yeah, cuz you mentioned you’re getting deeper into syndication. And for anyone who doesn’t know what syndication is. It’s basically when funds are pooled together. So that larger assets can be purchased and rates of return can be brought back to the investors. It’s almost like a fund. And so that’s super exciting that you’re getting into these bigger deals now, which is amazing.
Yeah, it is. But it’s a slow progression. I think the first house we bought was $230,000. And we’re working up and now numbers in the millions. Don’t scare me as much anymore, because the math is really the same. There’s just an extra zero or two but it’s the same concept of, I would say buy low, sell high. But I’ve never sold and I don’t really ever want to sell. Which is very different from most real estate investors or syndicators. We’re kind of constantly trading horses and I feel like that is kind of a shiny object syndrome. And yes, you get a big gain, especially if you do a tax-free exchange, but you’re also leaving money on the table.
Because you’re paying brokers like me, a pretty big commission. There’s taxes to consider that are unavoidable, like transfer taxes. The thing people really don’t think about in sales is that you lose the management efficiency. That you gained in a year or years with that property, It’s like. If you have everything running smoothly. It’s not generating a lot of psychic energy for you to deal with it. And profit from it and if you’re only getting 9%. Because you think something else might be 10, that transition may make it not worthwhile. So I’m big into refinance, I’m doing seven of them right now.
I feel like half my portfolio is going to appraisers and getting refinanced. And that, I think is similar to selling except that you get to keep the building and the money is tax-free, automatically. You don’t have to do a 1031 exchange. So that’s my strategy as a buy-and-hold investor. And I encourage everyone else to give it some thought and if flipping or wholesaling. Or whatever strategy helps you get there, you know, great, but to me, those are all jobs. They can be lucrative jobs, but hard work definitely wears you out. You can actually get to like a cruising altitude and you know, relax.
That’s awesome. I’m pumped to see where you go in the next few years and these major developments that you’re working on, Dave, that’s awesome. And now for everyone who’s listening like where can they find you and your awesomeness?
Yeah, holmanhomes.com is my website. And I always give out my personal cell phone number. No one ever calls me. So I’ll challenge your listeners. I mean, give me a shout if you want 20 75175700 happy to chat, you know, for a few minutes learn about you. And if I can be helpful, happy to help. So yeah, those are the best places.
Yes. And also to Dave, you forgot to mention your books.
So we got coffee smuggler, which is the true story of Gabrielle dequeue. Who in 1723 brought coffee to the Western Hemisphere. And it’s a story, it’s a swashbuckling tale. You know, there’s romance, hurricanes, pirates, snakes, he got the whole thing. It is historical fiction based on the true story of Gabrielle NYCLU. Who brought us coffee and it came to the Caribbean and Martinique, you know. Everyone thinks that was from Brazil or Colombia or Guatemala. But came to the Caribbean stolen from King Louie the 15th. And then more recently, I wrote about cyber fire. Which is a thriller about cyberattacks against our electric grid that brings down the Southwest electric grid during a record heatwave. So nobody has a seat there.
You know, elderly people are dying in their homes. It’s kind of like a hurricane Katrina type of situation. And a ragtag band of heroes has to save the day as any good thriller would have. So definitely check those out. Gonna be writing a biography of an ultra runner that no one’s ever heard of called mensen earns two. Might have been the best runner in human history running from Paris to Moscow in 14 days. This was in the early 1800s before sneakers, so pretty cool guy, I’m a terrible writer. Because it takes me like five years to write a book. I’m too busy with other things. So I need to be more disciplined, plenty of room for improvement. But those are the side projects that I’ve been up to in writing.
I love it, I know. You’re super humble. That’s why I was like, I know he’s not gonna plug in his book. But I just want to mention it.
Thank you. I do appreciate that they need to get out. And I’ve got a box of cyber fires. If anyone wants a signed copy, shoot me an email Dave at holmanhomes.com. I’ll send you a copy If you can just pay for shipping. You know, we’ll get you something to read.
Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with the amazing Dave Holman.
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