Links mentioned on the show
– WA REI Facebook Group
Questions that we used for the interview with Jan Wanot
1. Please tell us about your background, where you are from, what inspired you decided to jump into real estate investing.
2. What did you study in school and what was your job prior to becoming a full time investor? Is RE investing your full time adventure at this time?
3. I think travel and life adventures are important to you. Where are the top 2 places you have traveled to and why?
4. When you started learning about real estate investing, where did you get your information from? Was something like Bigger Pockets your main source of education initially?
5. What was your initial focus when you got started? Did you want to wholesale, flip or did you go straight for buy/hold strategy? What is your focus now?
6. Let’s talk about “your baby” WA Real Estate Investing, why you started that group and your vision for the future? What are the rules of the group if someone wants to join?
7. What type of cool features have you learned that Facebook has that you are using with WA REI to grow, manage and leverage the information from the group? Analytics, surveys and stuff like that?
8. What type of time management system do you use and what type of rules, if any, do you have for yourself in regards to a balanced life?
9. What technology and apps do you use to manage your real estate investing biz and your personal life? Which is your #1 that you can’t live without? Maybe it’s a cheap airline app or something, haa!
10. You “ooze” creativity, how do you infuse art and your need for creativity into your real estate business? Pop Art at your rentals?
11. What are your goals to accomplish in the next 6 months, 1 year and 5 years?
12. Did you have an “a-ha” moment at some point so far or meet anyone in your pursuit of growing your RE biz that gave you the confidence to skyrocket you to what you have accomplished so far?
12. What is your biggest challenge with WA REI and with your personal RE investing biz?
13. What is your favorite book? Not necessarily about investing. Do you watch any TV?
14. Where is your next vacation planned and why did you pick that spot?
If you prefer to read the transcript… here you go!
Joe Bauer: Welcome to the Seattle Investors Club podcast where we talk about the nuts and bolts of real investing. My name is Joe Bauer and I’m here with my co-host Julie Clark.
Joe Bauer: Julie, how you doing today?
Julie Clark: Oh, I’m good guys. Sorry, was taking a long swig of my 20 ounce coffee here so I can be [inaudible 00:00:34].
Joe Bauer: Oh, yeah, I like it.
Julie Clark: I probably don’t even need my coffee today, I’m so excited to talk to our man Jan, who is on the podcast with us today, but before we get to that …
Joe Bauer: Yeah, yeah.
Julie Clark: Hey, Joe.
Joe Bauer: What’s up?
Julie Clark: Where are you at? Where are you at, man?
Joe Bauer: I’m in a van but I’m actually a lot closer to you than I have been in recent recordings.
Julie Clark: Hold on a second.
Julie Clark: I just went outside to make sure you weren’t in my driveway.
Joe Bauer: Nope, not in your driveway. I am down in Enumclaw but headed off to Boise tomorrow morning so I will be further away soon.
Julie Clark: Nice. Boise, are you going to park it in Boise?
Julie Clark: You guys, if you guys don’t know it, Joe is on a year long road trip with his girlfriend Emily and they are living out of a van and it is so awesome that you guys can actually follow along. I think it’s called the Vantastic Life.
Julie Clark: Do I get that right?
Joe Bauer: Totally, nailed it.
Julie Clark: Where can they … Just for, just to get this up and out of the way for these guys, ’cause I know it’s actually just as exciting as this podcast, the Vantastic Life, where do they see that?
Joe Bauer: Facebook, Instagram, I even have a blog, @TheVantasticLife.com but I haven’t done a good job of updating it yet. Just takes so long to write blog posts when you got real estate businesses and all this podcasting to do.
Julie Clark: Heck, yeah. Well, that’s awesome. We’re all living vicariously through Joe, guys, but …
Joe Bauer: Yeah, so what … but, tell me more.
Julie Clark: Us Clark girls are actually getting out on the sticks this weekend. We are going camping out by Salmon La Sac and we don’t know how many days we’re going. I’m trying to be like Joe and leave it open minded.
Joe Bauer: Really?
Julie Clark: Yeah, how about that?
Joe Bauer: Holy smokes.
Julie Clark: Yup, and we’re not in a park, we’re at … We sent a bunch of people up early, they’re already up there and they got like six camp sites on the river in just some sweet spot before everybody else gets up there, but it’s not a formal camp ground so that’s even … I thought you might be proud of me, Joe.
Joe Bauer: I’m so proud, I can’t wait to hear about it next week.
Julie Clark: I will fill you in and, unfortunately, the rest of you guys are going to have to hear about it, too.
Joe Bauer: We might have to have the girls on the podcast, too, to hear what they think about it.
Julie Clark: Oh, my gosh. You know where they are this week?
Julie Clark: Sorry, Jan, we’re sidetracked. As we told you, this might happen.
Jan Wanot: Sure thing.
Julie Clark: My girls are at … They’re at the Seattle International Film Festival Camp down in Rainier Beach at the Rainier Beach Performing Arts Center. This is so cool, it’s a camp hosted by SIFF essentially and they, every day, are making a movie with a group, directing, editing, the whole thing and then on Friday, right before we head out of town, we’re going to go have a screening of all the movies. How fun is that?
Joe Bauer: That is so cool. I mean, I’ve said this before but I want to hire them to do video for us.
Julie Clark: Yeah, that’s right. No doubt. Well, they’re available. I’ll be their manager.
Joe Bauer: Perfect.
Julie Clark: Enough of all that, let’s get to this guy, Jan, who is, probably has more creativity in his two fingers than you and I do in our whole bodies, let’s be honest with that.
Joe Bauer: Probably right.
Julie Clark: Hi, Jan.
Jan Wanot: Hey, guys, how are you?
Julie Clark: We’re good. Thanks for letting us chitchat back and forth there, we just haven’t seen each other for a little while, so we had to catch up.
Jan Wanot: Absolutely, yeah.
Joe Bauer: Yeah.
Jan Wanot: Thanks for having me, I appreciate the opportunity. This is cool. I like what you guys are doing.
Joe Bauer: Yeah.
Julie Clark: Where are you at today? Where are you at, Jan?
Jan Wanot: I am working from home for the morning and then have some obligations on a job site and then doing an in person meeting at … We [inaudible 00:04:39] I like Seattle Libraries. We grab a meeting room for my team that we do development work with and we only need to meet once a week in person so that works nicely, get a nice kind of central spot and so, yeah, I’m kind of popping around Seattle today.
Julie Clark: Sweet, sweetness, awesome.
Joe Bauer: Very cool.
Julie Clark: Let’s get to this, Joe. Let’s learn some new information about our buddy Jan.
Joe Bauer: Yeah, so if you guys don’t know, Jan runs the awesome Facebook group called WAREI and we’ve been a huge fan of him for sometime snow and are excited to get to know him a little bit better on this podcast. Let’s jump right into this and, Jan, I would love to know more about your background, everything from like where you grew up to what you think that process led you to where you are now and what inspired you to decide to jump into real estate investing.
Jan Wanot: Okay, yeah, so background. I was born in a small town in Poland … I actually was, though. I was born in a town near Kasavitsa in the south of Poland and lived there for the first seven years of my life. Then my father was doing kind of international trade, he was always in between Seattle and New York and LA and Poland, Germany. Eventually he just moved us up, so we moved up to the States when I was seven and lived in LA for a bit and then I’ve been in the Seattle Tacoma area ever since.
Jan Wanot: For the last 20 years, I’ve called this beautiful area home and I love it. I still have tons of family sprinkled throughout Europe. I’ve got 27 cousins mostly in Poland and Germany and France. I do love to go back there and spend time with them but definitely feel like Seattle is home base for me and this is where I’ve created my network and created my business and so, definitely love Seattle, but that’s the background, you know. Poland, Seattle, went to UW and kind of enjoyed that and worked at Boeing for a while.
Jan Wanot: Now it’s been real estate all the time, every day, for the past about 18, 20 months that I’ve been doing it. I actually quit Boeing last March, so that was just a little over a year ago that I’ve been doing this full time but I’ve been interested in it for about the last 18 to 20 months so it’s been a wild journey. I love real estate investing and I’m never looking back, this is it for me.
Julie Clark: Awesome, I have one thing to say, though, after hearing your awesome background story and that is, go, Cougs.
Joe Bauer: Ooh.
Julie Clark: That’s right.
Jan Wanot: Ooh, you know what …
Julie Clark: Go, Cougs. All my Coug fans in the house, give me a big, whoop, whoop. Thank you, is all I’m saying.
Joe Bauer: Sorry, Jan.
Jan Wanot: You don’t have to be. Julie, I’m just going to let you be proud of that and do your thing, because I just don’t, honestly …
Julie Clark: Because you’re going to kick our butt in football anyway.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, just like, you know, just look at the scoreboard, that’s [inaudible 00:08:14] … That’s what matters so … No, actually, I’m kidding. I actually don’t watch any sports so people are like, “Oh, Cougs, [inaudible 00:08:22].” I’m like, I studied Marketing and Computer Science, that was fun. I’ve always been … I’ve never been a spectator. I’ve always been a kind of a … I love playing sports. I’ll go out and play soccer or volleyball or … I go skateboard surf. I was doing that this week in California. I love playing, I just never been interested in watching, so you know what, go, Cougs, after all …
Julie Clark: Now we have something in common out of this [inaudible 00:08:49] podcast, we have something in common, because guess what I used to do and I grew up doing it major, skim boarding. I’m trying to get …
Jan Wanot: Really?
Julie Clark: I actually live on the beach out here in North Beach, like I could probably throw a rock off my deck and hit the beach down here, around the corner of [crosstalk 00:09:05] …
Jan Wanot: No way.
Julie Clark: Gardens, yeah. You should come over this summer, if we’re around, when Joe’s in town and we’ll bust out the skim boards and we’re going to teach my kids how to skim board. It’s about time. We have a good flat beach out here.
Joe Bauer: Yeah.
Jan Wanot: I would love to. I had no idea, that’s great. It’s not a big sport, you know, but I’ve … We’ve been doing it for … My brothers and I have been skim boarding for 10 years. My friend started a company down in Dash Point State Park in Federal Way, dashboards that I’m a big supporter of.
Julie Clark: Cool.
Jan Wanot: They’ve taken it global, yeah, it’s Flat Wave but I’m also trying to get into the OG skim boarding, right, where you go out to the waves, that’s fun, too, so …
Julie Clark: Oh, yeah.
Jan Wanot: Try and … so yeah, yeah, a little bit of both but that …
Julie Clark: Dang, see, perfect. [crosstalk 00:09:49] …
Jan Wanot: That sounds great, yeah, let’s do that.
Julie Clark: We have this podcast is worth it because we just made a major connection that we didn’t even know that we had.
Joe Bauer: I love it.
Julie Clark: I might make you wear like Coug swim shorts or something like that. Awesome.
Jan Wanot: Yeah.
Julie Clark: Ask you, so you went to UW and you studied Marketing and Computer Science and then you went you work at Boeing. What’d you do at Boeing?
Jan Wanot: At Boeing, I got a really awesome, unique opportunity to be a part of this rotational program, after I graduated college that was called Business Career Foundation Program and it was basically like a leadership development program where over the course of two years, I got a chance to work in …
Jan Wanot: Every four months, we would move to a different place, work in a completely new business unit with a completely new team. Basically, get a chance to see six parts of the enterprise so that way we were kind of more prepared to handle various types of problems across organizations and just kind of bring that variance in experience to wherever we ended up.
Jan Wanot: That was an amazing program. I got to do all sorts of crazy different jobs amongst kind of the business units of Boeing. I got to travel around the world and I was sent to Germany to work with a Boeing subsidiary for four months and that was really cool. I lived and worked in Frankfurt, got a chance to support big sales campaigns in Vietnam and South Korea, Taiwan …
Julie Clark: Wow.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, it was just in general an awesome program. After that two years finished up, I ended up working in Airplane Sales and Contracts, so basically, drafting and supporting the negotiation of contracts to purchase lots of airplanes. Then we would also be responsible for actually delivering the airplanes.
Julie Clark: Wow.
Jan Wanot: That was fascinating, too, and it’s a sexy product. It’s this massive thing that you get to be a small part of and it was definitely a very cool job. I just, I never was as … I saw trends there that were crushing it and there was some other thing internally driving them that I wasn’t feeling.
Jan Wanot: Like, they were just excited about the general subject and about the atmosphere. Like some of them are pilots and they just loved aviation and I was like, this is fascinating, for sure, I’m really thankful to be here but I’m just not as driven as some of these other folks because I just … Frankly, I just don’t are, right, as much.
Jan Wanot: With that being said, I was always kind of … I was always trying out the side hustle, like, okay, yeah, I have a nine to five but what can I do on nights and weekends to find something where I feel that same thing that I see my buddy, who’s a pilot who loves … He loves his job and he’s willing to just drive at this and really go above and beyond because he loves it.
Jan Wanot: I’m like, okay, I know there’s something like that for me so I’m going to try to find that. It was just giving a variety of different things an honest effort on nights and weekends … I tried lots of different things, to creating like a unique backpack product. I built a team and we found a manufacturer and did that whole thing. Tried producing … My brother had a watch company and I supported that and he actually gotten, created and sold some units and that was interesting, just always trying to …
Julie Clark: It sounds like you have a serial entrepreneur flow through your body. I mean, you know what I mean? As far as there seems like there’s an element to something that satisfies you to be entrepreneurial about it, is there some truth to that?
Jan Wanot: Yeah, I would say so, for sure. It started in fourth grade, actually. I wish I could create the kind of profit margins, I was experiencing in fourth grade, ’cause I would buy jawbreakers for 10 cents and sell them for a dollar, right, like around lunchtime to my classmates.
Julie Clark: Awesome.
Jan Wanot: I’m like, damn, duh, I should have done more volume. I was crushing it back then.
Julie Clark: Yeah, seriously, I’m listening to you and I’m going, I think this guy is like a serious entrepreneur and I’m not sure that you have fully embraced your awareness that you are an entrepreneur, that you are the lead guy, you know.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, I don’t know. I’m just doing what feels right, you know, Julie.
Julie Clark: That’s good. That’s good. It’s awesome what you’ve been able to accomplish by doing just what feels right, so how did you stumble upon real estate? What’d you see? A commercial or what was it?
Jan Wanot: I was interested in … Yeah, and my main driver in this whole thing was just finding something I can work on … It’s like we spend so much of our lives work that you might as well find something that you enjoy most days, right. That was my big driver. I’m like, okay, I’m going to try all these different side hustles nights and weekends and just give all these things an honest effort and none of them panned out.
Jan Wanot: I had varying degrees of success in some of these things but that wasn’t the … That wasn’t necessarily the goal was like this huge financial success, just again, finding something I was excited about so just being serious, I just kept reading about different types of businesses that I might be interested in. I found this article on Quora.com, which is a website where people just ask questions and experts often chime in and …
Julie Clark: I know about Quora.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, it’s …
Julie Clark: Do people still use Quora? Is it still active?
Jan Wanot: It is, yeah, so …
Julie Clark: [crosstalk 00:16:20] some years ago.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, it’s still there and I would just find interesting questions and answers on there, so I would just browse. I saw someone that talked about … Someone who’s like, “Hey, how do I become a millionaire?” Right, and this gentleman chimed in about how he did it in real estate and it took a while, right, because he wasn’t an aggressive investor. He just purchased the primary residence and then lived in it for eight or 10 years and then had a bunch of equity.
Jan Wanot: Then he bought a small multi-family and then he lived … Maybe he lived there for a year or two and then he sold that and bought a small apartment complex … and it took like 12 or 15 years, but he had like two and a half million dollars in equity after this period …
Julie Clark: Right.
Jan Wanot: In this apartment complex and he’s like, “Yeah, I mean, it was just kind of a pretty simple thing and I had never recognized the power of real estate until I went through this process and that’s how I became a millionaire.” It’s like fairly boring and simple and it sounds like, “Oh, that sounds interesting. Well, I think, why don’t I try that?” Right, so I went and I bought a primary residence, so I started just reading online about things to be aware of when buying a house, right.
Jan Wanot: Then I went, started going through some real estate investing meet ups around Seattle and, yeah, eventually, I just set up some searches on Craigslist and Rent In and etcetera and I ended up buying a house on Rent In … Oh, excuse me … on Craigslist which was interesting ’cause I still haven’t found another one on Craigslist since that first one and that was about … Yeah, that was about 18, 20 month ago.
Julie Clark: Are you talking about a house that you moved into and that you lived in?
Jan Wanot: Yeah, yeah, so I just … I bought a primary residence and it was in Tacoma, 130 grand and got a renovation loan and the bank gave me 30 grand to fix it up and I got a general contractor and it turned out great. I rented rooms out to some young guys that needed a place and I lived there for some time and then I was like, “Hey, this … Like my mortgage is fully covered by the rent that I’m getting from these guys that are just renting a room and there’s some extra.” I’m like, “Hold on, this …”
Julie Clark: A little aha moment there.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, so I’m like, “Hold on, you’re telling me I don’t have to actually do anything and I just make like an extra 500 bucks a month. This is amazing. I’m quitting my job. I’m just doing more of this, this is so great. Like at Boeing, I have to come in for 160 hours month and I make, I net like four or five grand. Here I don’t do anything and I net 500 bucks. This is so much better.”
Jan Wanot: That was, kind of yeah, that was the big aha moment and it was like, “Wow, this is powerful, I should just focus on this.” I’m young, I can …
Julie Clark: That’s so interesting.
Jan Wanot: Yeah.
Julie Clark: ‘Cause most people, who I feel like get into real estate these days are like, have the opposite mindset of your approach and introduction to real estate, right. They’re like, “How can I make a quick buck? I’m going to be a wholesaler,” right?
Joe Bauer: Yup.
Jan Wanot: Right, right.
Julie Clark: To me, it’s so broken. The whole real estate investor message, the model everybody’s following, all this crazy guru stuff is … It’s broken. It’s like a factory of yuck. That’s how I feel about it at this point. I feel like I want to rein it in and start with … It just seems like people are doing it fly by night to try and make a quick buck, where how you got into it, which I haven’t heard in a long time, somebody having a story like that, is the right mentality, right. Is that you’re like you see the long term.
Julie Clark: Long term, people, not short term value in real estate investing and going slowly and growing your wealth over a long period of time rather than trying to make a quick buck. Because I’ll tell you, for everybody trying out there to make a quick buck, it costs a quick buck to keep that going, so having a long term mentality is a much better approach to getting started, that I think we need to all reel it in and start focusing.
Julie Clark: Almost like start teaching real estate investing, like flipping the coin over and doing it backwards. Instead of teaching people how to wholesale and flip, we need to teach them how to buy and hold, from the start, from the beginning and start with that in mind and if you can’t … You come across something in your pursuit with that in mind that happens to be a wholesale or a flip, then maybe you go for it, right.
Jan Wanot: Yes, right.
Julie Clark: It’s all backwards to me, Jan, and I hope that somehow between all of us that are out there educating all the real estate investors that we can slow it all down and put a spotlight on the truth of what it needs to be. Your story is inspiring because it’s pure. We’ll say it’s pure.
Jan Wanot: Thank you.
Julie Clark: Let me ask you, so you got started. You went to some meet ups, I know one of them was ours at Seattle Investors Club, ’cause I remember seeing you there and I’m, “Who’s that tall and handsome guy? Who,” you know, “Who’s that guy?”
Julie Clark: Yeah, and you know, thanks for coming to our meet up at least in the beginning there and …
Jan Wanot: Absolutely, yeah. I love what you guys are teaching.
Julie Clark: Appreciate that. Where else do you get information from these days, right? We know about … We’re going to talk about WAREI which is Washington Real Estate Investing, your own awesome venue for helping investors and staying plugged in to what’s current but aside from that, ’cause we’re going to highlight that in a minute, where do you like to get information these days?
Jan Wanot: Yeah, sure, so my primary information sources are pretty boring. They’re pretty dense and not a lot of other people are kind of getting their … a majority of their information from these sources, but I’m happy to share them. I mean, so we focus on development related work now. I’m often reading proposed legislation, existing development standards. I’m interested in macro economic trends and insuring that I’m aware of market forces that could affect my business.
Jan Wanot: I’m interested in geopolitics as they relate to my business. It’s really, I’ve gotten a little, kind of a little … I don’t want to say like completely blind to anything else but I’m very interested in real estate investing and so I do a lot of research on things that could affect our industry, but I’m just not very interested or focused on things that I know are completely unrelated or don’t have an effect, like …
Julie Clark: Got you, so your business model right now is to be involved in projects that may be have a higher and better zoning that … or is that what we’re saying? Your development entitlements and that sort of thing? Repositioning properties with, that could have a higher and better use? Is that fair to say?
Jan Wanot: Yeah, so definitely our primary focus right now is in terms of development, work, we are interested in acquiring and developing land or property that has value and equity that we are able to find through unique means. Sometimes that’s exceptions to certain rules. Sometimes that’s being able to maximize a plot of land or a property based on specialized knowledge or a unique creative strategy, but in general, yeah, we, essentially, are soon creating economic value. Not necessarily, that’s kind of our first and foremost goal is, yeah, how do we take this and perform processes …
Julie Clark: Which requires, which absolutely, I see what you … I feel you and that requires you got it right, being ahead of the curve on knowing when there’s going to be some up zoning or some changes that might benefit certain properties or areas that … or like you said, exceptions or specialized rules that on the surface, unless you spend time understanding, learning, and studying the properties and looking for those exceptions and rules, most people are never going to see, and probably don’t want to spend the time to, like I said, become that expert in those specialty areas.
Jan Wanot: Right.
Julie Clark: Which is smart because everybody else, like I already said is like, “Let me get that quick money wholesaling and flipping and …” Even the buy and hold thing has gotten a little crazy.
Jan Wanot: Right.
Julie Clark: Have you noticed, everybody and their brother all of a sudden is like, “I’m a buy and hold investor.” I’m like, “You are?” I mean, okay.
Jan Wanot: Right.
Julie Clark: It’s almost comical to me when somebody puts out like, “Hey, I’ve got this property out on a thread,” and then 20 people say, “Send it to me.” “Send it to me.” “Send it to me.” I mean, I don’t know, I don’t get it.
Jan Wanot: Yeah.
Julie Clark: I applaud you for being smart as a young guy, young in this business, I’ll say, having the foresight … if that’s even a word, cause it kind of sounds like foreskin.
Jan Wanot: It is.
Julie Clark: I don’t want to say that.
Julie Clark: Sorry, guys. We got to mix it up. We’re all experienced here. That’s right.
Jan Wanot: No, I like it. Yeah, I know it’s …
Julie Clark: I just said foreskin and I’m not really sure … Now I’m so embarrassed that I was thinking foreskin instead of foresight that I’ve thrown myself off here, but anyways …
Julie Clark: Narrowing in on a niche that that’s the whole … not … that everybody’s focusing on is spectacularly awesome but what …
Jan Wanot: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s where real impact and that’s where real money is made. I think, if you are gunning a target that a hundred other people have their sight on, it’s like, that’s not a game that I’m interested in playing. Yeah, I’ve done … yeah, I’ve gotten great deals that are buy and holds and I’ve done a flip that was really successful.
Jan Wanot: I’ve done a bunch of wholesales and that’s all well and good but there’s a lot of competition for all that stuff, especially in a market like today where Seattle is absolutely insane with the development and growth and everyone … Like, you said, everyone and their mother thinks they can get a piece of it. They can in a market like this but in a down market those strategies that work today don’t work tomorrow and I’m interested in the 50 year outlook, the 100 year outlook, right.
Jan Wanot: That’s why we’ve shifted focus and are focusing on things that do have, honestly, a very high barrier to entry, because first of all it’s fascinating to learn those complex subjects. It’s interesting. I’m really a curious guy and, second of all, when we’re doing our work and when we’re doing our acquisitions, some of these people that we’re buying homes from, they’ve never gotten a letter from any investor, right.
Julie Clark: Right.
Jan Wanot: That’s a great place to be without competition, right, so I’m interested in the development work I’m doing now but I’m also interested in pushing it further and getting into asset classes and investment strategies that even less people are doing, right. I think syndication is …
Julie Clark: Here’s a question for you.
Jan Wanot: Yeah.
Julie Clark: What you have, what a lot of investors who are getting started or even been around for a while, everybody’s had the benefit of this market that we’re in, right?
Jan Wanot: Right.
Julie Clark: We are at the end of June 2018 here, right before the Fourth of July, that’s when we’re recording this podcast and the market has just shifted. Now whether it’s going to shift and just settle, or it’s going to shift more, we don’t know, right, but something’s going on.
Jan Wanot: Yeah.
Julie Clark: We’ve slowed down for a minute and everybody needs to take a moment to think about, well, if this is … If there’s something else going on here, than just summer slow down or a little bit of leveling out, what my plans are. You know what I’ll say about you, which makes you unique and for everybody listening, on why he will succeed is because he … right, as you have patience … takes a long time to pull off.
Jan Wanot: Right.
Julie Clark: I mean, you know, you got into this with patience in mind. You’re not working in a real estate that has big payoff if you if you can be patient. I give you props for not being somebody who’s jumping in to make a quick buck and I wish there were more of you out there. There probably will be as things change around here but let me … Let’s shift for a second and let’s talk about your baby. WAREI, Washington Real Estate Investing, which is your Facebook … What do we call it? Facebook forum? I don’t know … I am not a tech person.
Jan Wanot: Sure, yeah, it’s technically … but Facebook is fine, it’s just a Facebook group. Yeah, it’s just a online community for real estate investors to connect and create value for each other. It’s called the, as you mentioned, WAREI or W … If you want to find it in Facebook, it’s a … You can type in the URL Facebook.com/groups/WAREI, W-A-R-E-I, or if you just search in the search bar, you can find it by going to … by just typing in WA Real Estate Investing and we’ve got like 2800 people in there now.
Julie Clark: [crosstalk 00:31:49]
Joe Bauer: It’s pretty active and it’s just a cool place for people that are existing investors or are interested investing in Washington or in the Pacific Northwest to connect and help each other grow their businesses. We have theme days where I ask everyone to share what they’re doing, for example, Thirsty for Progress Thursdays and it’s a fun place to see kind of what your colleagues are doing or what people are just crushing it in the game, what they’re up to, right.
Joe Bauer: It’s a great place to network and if you need recommendations for anything just hop on on the Facebook group and ask away. That’s why I created it and it’s just to … I actually kind of created it … Yeah, it was just, again, what felt right. I was like, “Hey, I’m going to these meet ups,” and I went and saw Joe and Julie. I went to Carl’s meet up and I went to like the Bigger Pockets unofficial met up and I’m like, all right, this is cool, but like I have more questions and I need a place so I can ask these questions to people online.
Joe Bauer: Not everyone’s on Bigger Pockets locally, so like, all right, I’ll make a Facebook page and just add the people that I met in person and maybe they’ll want to talk to me. I did and I just added 20 people that I met in there and I was like, “Hey, you guys want to talk about real estate?” They like, “No, what is this Facebook group? Leave us alone.” I’m like, “Wait, hold on, hold on, I thought this would be fun.”
Joe Bauer: Then I was like, “Oh, wait, no one’s going to want to be a part of this unless they recognize that there’s value to be had here for them,” right. It’s kind of “What’s in it for me?” and I’m always happy to figure out like, “Hey, what are people interested in? What do they want and need?” and, yeah, maybe if I just give that to them then I’ll get something back right.
Joe Bauer: Yeah, I just started kind of thinking about, all right, how do I add some value? I can share things that I’m learning in my investing journey. I can highlight other successes, etcetera, and then maybe people will stick around and also add some value to the page. That’s what it’s become and now it’s grown quite large from its humble beginnings about a year ago but I’ve added some structure and had a ton of fun with it.
Joe Bauer: Yeah, guys are all … Anyone listening, more than welcome to join just answer our intro questions and we’ll get you at it.
Julie Clark: It’s definitely undeniable, the … I mean your group came on the scene, kind of out of nowhere and what’s awesome is that you guys can all hear this, this guy, he comes from a place of just genuine … There’s no game to it. There’s no intention behind it other than just pure intention of sharing information. There’s no … That’s how we started it. I think it’s taken on a … It’s probably …
Julie Clark: Has it surprised you, Jan, on how popular and how much everybody … I think, honestly, everybody’s … I mean we all have groups. We have a … Seattle Investors Club has a page and that’s great. We all share different information and [inaudible 00:35:15] fixated on real estate. One of our buddies, we’ve had him on the podcast, he has his group, but undeniably, right now, yours is, I think, the most valuable and I don’t know if that’s taken you by surprise.
Julie Clark: I think it’s because, it’s not like people can’t find that information and about what … People are sharing what they do and all that stuff. It’s literally, I think, from my perspective, it’s your format and just your genuine authentic no game, you know.
Joe Bauer: Right.
Julie Clark: It doesn’t feel like you’re trying to turn it into anything than what it wants to be by itself, other than have it be pure and not some business model … Now for you, it might turn into a business model whether you started it that way in the beginning or not. There’s some absolute value there for you to do something with that. I’m sure you’re aware of that, but from the outsider’s point of view, you guys all need to jump on WAREI, Washington Real Estate Investing on Facebook and check it out for yourselves because it’s just … It’s a unique venue and it is …
Julie Clark: I love how you have rules. What are some of the rules that you have on there?
Jan Wanot: Just three simple rules, really. It’s, first of all, well, the rules are honestly, they’re based primarily on so the Facebook algorithm which Facebook is a platform for people to connect and share stories, right.
Jan Wanot: My intention with the group is to be aligned with Facebook and their mission because ultimately it’s their platform. I recognize that’s how you get organic growth and that’s how you keep an engaged audience is by aligning with the platform. My rules are based on that and my own desires, because it’s my group, right.
Jan Wanot: First and foremost, no links are allowed so I don’t … You hop on a Facebook page and you see like, “Hey, look at this home on the market. You want to buy it?” Right, it’s just like … It’s a complete ad or, “Hey, we’re selling this course and you can become a millionaire and four days. Here’s the link and …” I don’t want any of that. I don’t think anyone wants any of that, so no links are allowed.
Jan Wanot: Number two is just no self promotion and advertising, so even if it’s not a link, just please don’t spam us with your advertising. Again, Facebook doesn’t reward that kind of post. It rewards stories, right, so share stories with us. Tell us about what you’ve learned. Tell us about like what went wrong, what went great. That’s what people actually …
Julie Clark: What about videos and stuff like that, so there’s no … It’s just straight up story, text? Is there … I mean people love video stories, right? I mean …
Jan Wanot: I mean, totally, yeah. I mean, it’s just about the central theme of sharing a story, so I think … ’cause that’s … Yeah, so I ask for no link, no self promotion or advertising, in terms of like … If you just copy and paste your Facebook ad into a Facebook group, it’s just not going to perform well.
Jan Wanot: Number three is don’t be a dick, you know. Just like be respectful, be open, be honest, and if you have an issue with someone, like talk it out privately. Don’t ever undermine people. Don’t ever disrespect them. It’s just not a place for that. I do what I can to moderate in terms of insuring those three rules are met. We also have a couple of other admins and I’d like to add more, just so we can continue with kind of the a great place and a place where people can know they can come and ask questions and not be put down and they know that they’ll get good answers so that’s it.
Julie Clark: Do you have … It is awesome. It’s just, it’s so pure but do you have a sense of like what have been some of the most impactful stores or do you find that there’s themes of what people are interested in talking about or is it all kind of just a melting pot of information or do you … Can you see trends and topics or can you see … What kind of analytics, I guess, are you able to or are you even looking at that? I guess is the question? Do you even look at that?
Jan Wanot: Yeah, so Facebook, their suite of tools in terms of data and analytics it’s fairly limited as it relates to groups. They are recognizing the power of groups and they are slowly rolling out … Over the last couple of months actually, I’ve seen a couple of new features that I’ll be incorporating with my group. Like learning units, hey, this is … Here’s the structured way that you fuse people to maximize their time in your group, right. You’ll see that from our group next week, right.
Jan Wanot: They’re doing things to try to improve groups but in terms of the data they provide you, it’s pretty limited so I do use like outside software and third party stuff that plugs in and does provide some analytics so I can track activity and engagement and kind of act accordingly.
Jan Wanot: In terms of content in the group, I mean I’m definitely aware of what is most effective and what has performed the best for myself and for others and that’s, again, sharing an impactful story. If you can … and the thing that I … Here’s a trend that I found interesting.
Jan Wanot: I’ve had multiple people like at least five to eight people over the past few months reach out to me and tell me, “Hey, Jan, like I posted just some information from my normal daily life that was just like very common place to me and kind of how that impacted me or what the … I kind of share the story about like what happened or try to give some value to people and so many people responded that inspired me to go and write more content about this thing, right.”
Jan Wanot: I think we get caught up in our daily business, in our daily life so we don’t recognize that the things that we take for granted as, “Hey, yeah, this is just part of my process. This is what I do, like it’s part of my job,” not everyone does that. Like most people in fact don’t do that, so most people are interested in understanding what you do and in a medium length format with … Maybe with a photo and that’s … and Facebook recognizes that and they share that with … That kind of content shows up higher in newsfeeds, in groups, etcetera.
Jan Wanot: It’s, basically, prioritized over less valuable or story kind of centered content. That’s kind of a trend that I’ve seen is like, yeah, if you have a story, if you have something interesting or you learned something, like just go and share that in a group that people have visibility to. It will be rewarded and you get a lot of … You give a lot that way but you also are able to connect with people that might see you as an expert now, because you were able to share that valuable content and maybe you’ll get business that way.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, those are some of the kind of things I’ve noticed with Facebook groups.
Julie Clark: Cool. Man, seems like a full time job. How much time you have to spend on managing the group these days?
Jan Wanot: I don’t spend too much. I probably spend like … That the thing, like I’m a user of the group, too, right. Like, yeah, I definitely manage it but I also just like being there and seeing what people are talking about. I’m probably in there for 30 to 60 minutes a day or I spend some kind of … About 30 to 60 minutes a day and either engaging in the group or planning for the group. Currently, I have … I’ll be working on creating some additional free resources for people and then I’m starting to work on some paid content.
Jan Wanot: I will be developing a course over the next six months or so, maybe shorter, where I will teach people on how to do the only thing that I’m an expert in, which is scaling quick, right. I’m not an expert in development. I’m not an expert in wholesale. I’m not an expert in buy and holds but I’ve done a little bit of all those things and I’ve taken my real estate investing business in general from zero to a hundred fairly quickly so that’s what I will be discussing, right. Strategies to scale and grow quickly and that will be probably the first paid content that I will have on the website.
Jan Wanot: I’m deciding to do that because I asked people what they might be interested in learning and if it was a course and that was the answer. It was fairly organic and I enjoy kind of sharing what I have and what I’ve learned and so this will give me an opportunity to structure that and make it a really valuable thing for people where I have experts chime in. I have video trainings. I have in person and a special Facebook group for people that want to be a part of this group.
Jan Wanot: That’s kind of the next step in actually monetizing the groups directly, but it will be a very much …
Julie Clark: Cool.
Jan Wanot: Hey, I have this thing, feel free to take a look, but if not, feel free to enjoy the free content. I will always produce tons of great content for you guys and try to make this place helpful for you, regardless of whether you pay or not.
Julie Clark: Speaking of time management and all that stuff, do you have any, a time management system, that you use for yourself, at all, in regards to having [crosstalk 00:45:56] life?
Jan Wanot: You know what, I’m actually … I’m not great at time management, so it’s really just like … Yeah, you know everyone’s …
Julie Clark: See, see, I love the honesty. This is the whole thing about you, man, is that some people say, “Oh, yeah, this and that,” but you’re like, “Nope, nope, I’m not that good at that.” I love it.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, I mean, I know what my strengths are, like I know what I’m good at and I rely on others to support the things that I suck at. In terms of time management for myself, like yeah, I try, I do my best. It’s still not very good, but yeah, I use Google Calendar. I use a yellow piece of notebook paper where I write out my daily to do list ’cause there’s … Even with all the technology, that’s available these days and all the cool apps and things you can do, there’s just nothing like physically crossing out an item on your to do list with a big black marker, like, “Yes, I did that thing.”
Julie Clark: I feel you, I feel you.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, that’s the extent of my time management tools is, yeah, a calendar and a yellow sheet of paper.
Julie Clark: That’s hilarious. I think that’s awesome and more power to you. I think anybody can do anything they want if they just do it … If, you know, consistently, I guess, I would say, right.
Julie Clark: Let me jump into your creative side. I see on WAREI, I see you posting photos and things like that of how you … You just ooze.
Julie Clark: If you guys ever meet, Jan, you’ll see he oozes creativity. Just looking at the guy, he looks like he’s a creative guy. He’s a Marketing major, he’s just …
Julie Clark: Here you are, what is this thing you’re doing with all this pop art? Are you putting those in rentals? I mean, what the heck are you doing?
Jan Wanot: Yeah, so thank you for that. That is very nice of you to say, first of all. Yeah, I think, yeah, that’s one of my strengths is like creativity and creative problem solving and I love that real estate investing allows me kind of a platform to utilize that strength and that’s like, I think, the most critical thing in finding something you like is, okay, something that utilizes your strengths.
Jan Wanot: That was a starting point for me is like, okay, well, I like creativity. I like creative problem solving. I like facilitation. I like sales marketing related stuff, so what can I do that allows me to use those strengths and when I found real estate, I was like, oh, okay, this is the thing. This allows me to do all those things, unlike any other job I’ve had before and so in terms of creativity, like, yeah, I started out with just the … a primary residence and turned into a rental and then some small multi family and flip and …
Jan Wanot: It was all fairly standard stuff. Yeah, I definitely had to get creative in structuring things and finding the right deal, but it’s like I got 10 rental units that are like gray walls and white trim and the same damn laminate flooring and it’s like, okay …
Julie Clark: Yes, you got bored.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, these are making money but it’s like, “Dude, yeah, I’m bored of it, right.” I was like all right, I want to do a crazy themed like pop, crazy art themed Airbnb. Yeah, I just kind of … I was like, “All right, well, since this is a little risky,” since I don’t know if people will respond well to the theme or how people will take it, ’cause it’s just really like my thing that I like and I want to do …
Jan Wanot: Like, all right, well, am I willing to spend all this money in doing this renovation with this crazy colorful theme. It’s like ’60s Andy Warhol, Gloria Lichtenstein style.
Julie Clark: I saw. I was like, “What the heck is he doing?” Tell me what happened? That was an Airbnb or what?
Jan Wanot: Yeah, so it’s a … I figured, “Hey, this is going to be a little bit risky, ’cause I don’t know if people are going to like it, so I’m just going to start with a nice cheap house.” My girlfriend bought … Like I found a cool place. My girlfriend bought the house and we kind of planned it out together and, yeah, we went all in on the theme and we’re like, “Yeah, well, screw it. We’ll see if people liked it. Worse case, maybe we could just like have a crazy rental or just have a place for us and our friends and family to stay.”
Jan Wanot: Yeah, I just went, I designed it in 3D modeling software called Sketch Up which I keep classes on that, on occasion if you guys are interested in learning some basics of 3D modeling, come out to one of my events. It’s like 10 bucks and I’ll teach you guys how to create pretty intricate models within an hour and a half.
Jan Wanot: I just had ton of fun playing around with like what’s possible in the space, like how do I get some custom pieces in here that are like my own pop art and I just wanted to have … I mean …
Julie Clark: What happened? Did somebody rent it?
Jan Wanot: Oh, yeah. We … Yeah, stuff on Airbnb and it went live like a week ago and we have gotten about like $11,000 of bookings in the first 10 days or so.
Julie Clark: Wow. Awesome. You know what my thought is for all you guys listening here today, obviously, Jan is … beats to his own drummer, right, which is refreshing, which is why we’ve asked him to join us here at Seattle Investors Club, right. We’re seeking out everybody’s perspective and this is such a refreshing perspective because you, basically, have become successful doing, following your heart, doing what you like to do and going for it.
Julie Clark: I think that that is the message today that I want everybody to understand is that you have to take a minute and sit back and think about what you’re doing. If you’re in this business to make a quick buck …
Julie Clark: I don’t know, do you guys hear that. I’m getting a buzz on my side of things. Do you guys hear that?
Jan Wanot: Nope.
Joe Bauer: Yup.
Julie Clark: Okay. The point is is that it’s not an overnight business, so you might as well do what you want and understand if you’re just getting started that if you are of the mindset that you’re going to make a quick buck or two wholesaling or flipping, you might want to take a step back for a second and have a more long term approach. Make sure that you love this business because the only way to be successful is to stay in it long term, is I think what my point is to you guys today.
Julie Clark: Jan is unique. He is … showed us that you can make it by just following your heart and following your mind, as long as you take action. That’s the thing he’s doing, he’s taking action, so I don’t know. I’m starting to … It is actually calming me down, just by listening to you how relaxed you are about everything is relaxing me.
Julie Clark: I know Joe’s relaxed, ’cause he’s sitting in his van, probably …
Jan Wanot: I think Joe might have fallen asleep in the van. He’s just like chilling by the river in the van and …
Joe Bauer: Yeah.
Julie Clark: What’s up, Joe?
Joe Bauer: That’s what people say, but I’m here like feverishly taking notes and …
Julie Clark: Yes.
Joe Bauer: Making sure there’s links for the podcast and all that fun stuff so when I get a chance to say stuff, I’ll … and I need to say it, I’ll jump in but I’m just in here learning from you guys.
Julie Clark: That’s right.
Jan Wanot: Cool, man. I love what you’re doing, too, man. That’s great.
Julie Clark: I’m the amped one. Out of Joe and I, I’m the one that’s amped up, so we’re like Yin and Yang, which is nice, because if I was left to my own device, I’d spin in circles but Joe keeps me [crosstalk 00:54:08].
Jan Wanot: Oh, yeah, no, that’s critical. That’s critical, yeah, I’m like you, Julie. I’m like go, go, go and my partner in our development company who’s very much so the opposite and he kind of brings us back down to earth and kind of slows things down. I think it’s critical just to have that …
Julie Clark: Well, I actually think Joe is more go, go, go than me. It’s just that he’s much more organized about it.
Jan Wanot: Oh, really?
Julie Clark: I think the problem with you and me and is that we’re not organized. Joe is organized and so he is go, go, go …
Jan Wanot: Yes.
Julie Clark: It’s just that he is calm about it because he’s organized about it, right.
Jan Wanot: Right, right.
Julie Clark: Props to you, my brother. Props to you.
Joe Bauer: We couldn’t do without the other halves though.
Julie Clark: That’s right. That’s right.
Jan Wanot: Yeah.
Julie Clark: Jan, awesome stuff, man. I’m starting to get hungry here. I’ll be honest with you, so I’m going to start wrapping us up here so we can all …
Jan Wanot: Cool.
Julie Clark: Go, follow our passion. All, everybody, follow their passions that’s for sure and stay connected. Everybody should be on WAREI, if you’re not on there, because he’s rolling out new and cool stuff all the time. Just the format is refreshing, right.
Julie Clark: If you guys need a break from the norm, jump on there and if you have crazy properties that you can’t figure out what to do with, that you think that there could be some sort of development potential or some creative structure to it and that’s not your expertise and you don’t want to take the time to dive deep on that, ’cause it does take time, maybe you guys should throw that Jan’s way and see what him and his team can do for you, right?
Jan Wanot: Totally.
Julie Clark: How do they reach you if they want to do that?
Jan Wanot: Yeah, feel free to … if you just have a question, I mean, honestly, the easiest way to reach me is on Facebook because we have WAREI and it’s a group form and so I’ll often … I mean people reach out to me every day. I can’t unfortunately help every single person individually because, again, I’m not an expert in a lot of this stuff.
Jan Wanot: If we think I can help you, I’ll do my best to help you. If I think there’s a deal there, then I will underwrite it and see if it’s a good fit for my company. If it’s not, I will give you all the information I’ve compiled and you take it elsewhere and I’ll give you some guidance on what’s possible there. Facebook, reach out to me there. I’m pretty active.
Jan Wanot: Otherwise, if you want to email me, if it’s anything like value add, like rentals or flips or [inaudible 00:56:48] questions about, things that are kind of related to adding value to an existing property as opposed to demolishing something over here, then hit me up on my email. That’s [email protected], that’s J-A-N, @WA-housing.com.
Jan Wanot: If you think you have a lot that has development potential or you have questions about development or you’re interested in chatting about that then, hit us up on [email protected] [inaudible 00:57:19] capital.com. Those are the easiest ways to get a hold of me. I’m happy to help where I can and if I can’t help then I know a lot of people and I’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.
Julie Clark: We’re excited to see what happens with WAREI and what your next moves are there. I mean, we want to call moves, we’re just excited to see where it goes and what kind of stuff that you roll out.
Julie Clark: Thanks for letting us be a part of your journey and other than that, that’s all I got for today.
Joe Bauer: Yeah, yeah.
Jan Wanot: Cool.
Joe Bauer: Last thing to wrap us up, guys, is that if you would like to get the show notes, if you’re driving right now and you need to get show notes at a later time or whatever, you want to read what we’ve all been talking about for the last hour, go to seattleinvestorsclub.com/39, that’s at seattleinvestorsclub.com/39 and remember that we love iTunes reviews and you can do so by going to seattleinvestorsclub.com/iTunes.
Joe Bauer: Guys, I really appreciate it and I hope that you all have a great day.
Julie Clark: Over and out.
Jan Wanot: Yeah, thanks guys.
Julie Clark: Thank you.