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The Military Investor Network with Stuart Grazier

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In this episode, Gary Pinkerton hosts Stuart Grazier, founder of the Military Investor Network. They talk about how Stuart ended up focusing on real estate investing and helping members of the military. They also discuss how Stuart juggles his business with his active duty job, taking action and making the first step, and how to take advantage of the VA loan.

Announcer 0:04
Welcome to the heroic investing show. As first responders we risk our lives every day our financial security is under attack. Our pensions are in a state of emergency. A single on duty incident can alter or erase our earning potential instantly and forever. We are the heroes of society. We are self reliant, and we need to take care of our own financial future. The heroic investing show is our toolkit of business and investing tactics on our mission to financial freedom.

Gary Pinkerton 0:39
Hello, and welcome to Episode 154 of the heroic investing show. This is a show for first responders, veterans, active duty members, the military, and really anyone out there who is interested in the content and looking to add some free time to their financial future. And mainly we talk about doing that with passive income, right. And then we teach you how to, or we inspire you to go after your passion, whether that’s real estate or small business, whatever you want to do now that you have money coming in to replace that earned income and you got back the most precious thing of all right, freedom of time, freedom to have some time with your family, and to pursue your unique genius. Our guest today, Commander Stuart grazer is no different. He’s a perfect fit for that. Listen to Stuart’s goals. So his goal is to be able to produce enough passive income through real estate, where he can retire from the military at 20 years, and not have to get a full time job. He’d like to start a cleaning business complete a syndication and would also like to own some commercial real estate, like to flip a minimum of 25 properties per year over the next four years until retirement. And I’ve been watching Stuart we connected on LinkedIn. It seems like just about every other day, he posts an example of having locked down a couple of more properties to go into rehab and fulfilling the dream of an investor by turning over to them rented and turnkey turnkey ready cash flowing property. So Stuart is moving in that direction. I have no doubt this gentleman is going to get there. So Stuart is a naval aviator. And right now he’s Executive Officer at the Naval Operations Support Center in Denver, Colorado, and he’s a 2002 graduate from the Naval Academy. So you know, like one year after me, right? I can’t believe we didn’t know each other that Stewart you know, and I connected really well. We’re very similar. He’s got, you know, an extreme. He’s an enthusiast for real estate investing. He’s a guy who really enjoys his job. And, you know, at the nosc, and he, you know, he feels he’s doing a great job there. But he also really likes to see the twinkle in the eyes of the investor who’s extremely happy with the product that he and his team provide. They’re doing a bunch of stuff up in Wisconsin, they’ve done he has personally done a bunch of multifamily investing in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas area. And you know, he’s just doing great stuff. He also is a large contributor to a real estate investing enthusiast site put on from members of the military, with another friend of ours, Tim Kelly, who’s down in Pensacola, Florida, and will be coming up here shortly. In another episode, I mentioned to you that my podcast production train kind of fell off the tracks mostly because of me and a bunch of travel. But we’re back on and we’ve got a bunch of episodes that are kind of stacked up. So I’m gonna run them back to back. And then we’ll get back to some of the good flashback kind of Friday kind of stuff that I’ve been running from Jason’s episode. So we’re all on board. My name is Gary Pinkerton coasts in here with Jason. And I think you’re going to absolutely love this conversation with Stuart grazer. So let’s get at it. And thanks for joining. Everyone. Thanks again. And welcome back to the heroic investing show. And as I mentioned in the introduction, we’ve got a distinct pleasure for having another Naval Academy graduate in the class of 2002. With me here today, he’s just, you know, a couple years younger than me, but we got Stuart grazer, and Stuart is running a very successful website called military investor network.com. He’s been on bigger pockets. He’s been on several podcasts. And I’m gonna let Stewart talk to you more detail than I gave you in the introduction about what his website what his mission are all about. But it’s exactly in alignment with a heroic investing show. First and foremost. You’re welcome.

Stuart Grazier 4:30
Hey, thanks so much, Gary. I really appreciate him humbled to be on here and be a part of your podcast. This is awesome.

Gary Pinkerton 4:35
Absolutely. Well, we’re the ones that are blessed to have you on board. So can you tell us a little bit you know, well, first, how about your your background like what you’re doing now and how you ended up focusing on military investors and real estate?

Stuart Grazier 4:48
Yes, so I am still active duty Navy. I’ve been in for 16 years now. And like you said, I graduated from the Naval Academy in 2002. And then went to flight school. Got qualified, find helicopters first. And then about 10 years later went and transition to fly the C 40, which is like the Boeing 737. Now currently stationed in Denver, Colorado, as the executive officer of the Navy Reserve center. Somewhere along those rows, I got really excited about real estate. And so I’ve been kind of doing dabbling in different niches of real estate for about 10 years now. My first experience with real estate was actually in flight school. And I wouldn’t really call that true investing. It was kind of just dumb luck, a friend of mine said, hey, let’s, I’ve been buying some some raw land in Alabama. And you should, too. So I was like, What the heck, I you know, let’s give it a shot. And I went out to Alabama, just on the other side of the border from Pensacola, Florida and bought just a new development quarter acre lot. And then about a month later hurricane came through and wiped out a lot of the area. But about six months later, the realtor who I bought it from called me up and said, Hey, have an interested buyer for your piece of land, they want about twice as much as what you paid for it. I said, sweet, this real estate stuff is pretty cool. So you know, I sold it. And that was kind of my first little dabble into real estate. And then after that kind of got busy with flight school and you know, the Navy and kind of took a hiatus there for a little while. But I really got focused on it about three or four years down the road. So been doing quite a bit of different stuff been doing some, you know, private lending and mortgage notes and flipping and buying old rentals. So I’ve kind of dabbled in quite a few different things. On my last tour, I was in Europe, in Italy, and a colleague of mine, also Naval Academy graduate, we started talking one day and kind of got on the subject of real estate, when we started a local meetup there in Naples, Italy, and invited a few of our friends, and just started kind of talking about real estate and what he’s done and what I’ve done. And it was a lot of fun. From there, we kind of said, hey, let’s make a website. And let’s invite others. And let’s see who else is out there, you know, doing real estate in the Active Duty World. And so we did. And so we just started kind of reaching out to people that we knew and come to find out that there’s a lot more people that we knew that are doing real estate. And so that’s kind of where it got started. The idea behind the military investment network is about just creating those networks and building something with people that that you know, and trust, that are in the military that are serving our country. And that also want to learn and create passive income for themselves, build their wealth, and use the advantages that you can have in the military to do that. The military investor network, it’s free for for anyone who is either active or veteran or even their spouses or family members. And it’s really just about, you know, educating, learning, connecting networking, and, you know, creating something that we can build upon. And there’s partnership opportunities or investment opportunities, and there’s just educational learning opportunities through it.

Gary Pinkerton 8:09
Nice. So Stuart, you don’t you said there’s there’s partnership opportunities. That’s really from networking. Right. So this is the big important word about military Ambassador network is it’s for military and it’s a network. Those are two words. Yeah. But it’s not really a source for turnkey kind of products or even deal flow other than from one person to another. Is that accurate?

Stuart Grazier 8:30
Yes. So there is a tab on the page where, you know, members can post deals if they want to have an investment opportunity. Or I have another company that we’ve started providing turnkey single family home rentals. And so you know, if I have a turnkey rental property, I can post it on the website, just you know, if anyone is interested in buying rental properties, or if you know, someone was looking for a lender or a partner, it’s just a place that folks can canal on and post investment opportunities,

Gary Pinkerton 9:02
and a lot of education and blog. So it’s a wonderful resource for millionaire individuals. And, you know, the discussion forum. There’s some great topics that I’ve looked through on there. And then there’s the meetups. Right. And so you’ve got a count of like, close to 10 meetups across the country, and then in other countries, amazingly,

Stuart Grazier 9:17
And like I said, it kind of all started there in Naples, Italy, where a friend of mine, I started it, and, you know, again, just reaching out to different people and found out that they’re doing their own meetups. And so you know, and if anybody else has their meetups going and their locations, I would love to be able to help promote them their meetups, and it’s just a great way to to network and to meet people and to learn, you know what others are doing is pretty good.

Gary Pinkerton 9:45
So what kind of feedback like the most helpful stuff on the website? Have you found from some subscribers? Maybe some recent subscribers?

Stuart Grazier 9:54
There’s a discussion forum and people will post questions or post articles. You know, ways to just learn questions about how to analyze a deal, or, you know, stuff that they haven’t thought about before. And there’s just great feedback through those discussion forums. I have a YouTube video that is connected through there as well. And I’ll try to post videos on how to analyze a single family house or, you know, I’ve done interviews with others that are maybe doing multifamily syndications. And so it’s really just all about educating and finding new topics and discussing and asking questions. So I think that discussion forum is huge.

Gary Pinkerton 10:35
Nice. You mentioned that you were running, if you would just talk a couple minutes about your turnkey providing companies. So you’re doing some rehabs, you’re finding properties, rehabbing them? And then and then selling them to investors? Is that what you meant?

Stuart Grazier 10:48
Yep, exactly. So my college roommate from the Naval Academy, he has been doing some real estate on the side. And I’ve been doing some real estate and he bought some turnkey houses from a different company, and didn’t have a very good experience with it. And I bought a few through a turnkey company in Birmingham, Alabama, and not as bad of a deal as he did. Yeah. But you know, he and I were talking like, Hey, I think we could do this better, you know, and provide a great product for our friends for our network. And so that’s kind of where we started, he had already had a network started in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is where his wife is from and where his investments were. And so we started building a team, you know, we found like a really solid realtor there who’s had a ton of experience from her, you know, we’ve built some contracting companies now talk to a few kind of vetted them. And through just those team members in a kind of create a bit bigger team, and from our lessons that we experienced to the turnkey companies, you know, we decided on how we want to build it. And so from there, we just started buying houses, and we so we buy them, we rehab them, and then turn it over to a property management company, and they put a renter, and then we will sell it as a rented. We have a single family home to someone who wants to buy it. And you know, cash flowing from day one. How long have you been doing this? So we started the company four months ago. Okay, we are buying number 10. At the end of this week. Nice.

Gary Pinkerton 12:23
Congratulations. Yeah, thanks.

Stuart Grazier 12:25
we’re averaging about two to three a month right now. Awesome.

Gary Pinkerton 12:28
So tell me how you do with our listeners, how do you do this, while you’re on active duty, and juggling all the stuff that the military brings,

Stuart Grazier 12:37
it’s a challenge, I’m not gonna lie, I wake up about 04 am, every single morning, I try to knock out as much stuff as I can in the first two hours of my day, and then go to work, do my Navy job, you know, there’s a lunch break or something like that, and I’ll try to get on my email and correspond with our team members, or you know, whatever else is going on, they’ll come home and do some family time. And then as soon as the kids go to bed, get right back at it, and normally stay up until, you know, 1011 o’clock at night. And so I’ve lost some sleep over it. But I think it’s all worth it. A lot of it also is about you know, kind of putting systems and processes in place. Yeah, you know, kind of having the same routine over and over again on a daily basis. And then also going back to that team and relying a lot putting a lot of trust and faith in your team to help out where they can.

Gary Pinkerton 13:29
Right, right. So, audience, one of the things that Stewart didn’t say is that he’s got a three year old and a less than one year old at home. So he’s not someone you know, who is has got a ton of free time, but doing an amazing job, putting together what you have, and what you have done already in these in these first few months. So if you’re out there, and you’re single still, and you’ve got a deployment to contend with, that’s challenging, but on those times around shore duty, you know, even on deployments, or even when you’re assigned to sea duty, think very, very long about what’s holding you back, you know, so this is my kind of call to action is as I continue to interview people who are doing it with busy jobs, small children, run into companies, I think, hopefully, I want to raise threshold of what you think is possible and what you think is normal, because that will get you across the line to just starting. And Gosh, I was going to quote, I don’t remember who it was now, but I think is I mean, at least certainly Zig Ziglar has said is something like you don’t have to get it exactly right to get started. But you have to start to get it right. To actually have anything happen. You got to start taking the first step super important. And so if we can, I think lower the barrier to entry of what people think is possible, you know, raise the bar, I guess what they think is possible, and raise what they think is normal so that it’s just not that unusual to step out there and get that first rental property. Even if it doesn’t go well. You’re gonna learn a tremendous amount by getting that first property rather than waiting to get a much nicer, newer, perfect city. At the next duty station, so that’s kind of my my rant to get out there and try it. Even if you get the timing totally wrong, you’re still going to learn a tremendous amount for very little cost.

Stuart Grazier 15:09
Yeah, 100% agree with you, Gary. I mean, it really is all about taking that first step and taking action. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. In the 10 years of investing in real estate, I’ve lost some money, and, you know, obviously gained some money too. But, you know, it’s a lot of trial and error, a lot of asking questions and doing your own research. And just like any job in the military, you know, you go into it, and you figure it out. I’m sure it’s in most military jobs, and you get into a job and you have no idea what you’re doing and a lot of is trial and error, and you figure it out over time, and you just make it happen and get it done. And so it really is just about taking action. And taking that first step.

Gary Pinkerton 15:51
Yeah. And I personally believe it. There’s a great saying out there that, you know, everyone makes mistakes, just learn from them. They’re really wise people make they are able to learn from other people’s mistakes and not make them I’ve never met someone like that. I seem to have to learn most of the mistakes myself, or at least have enough mistakes. And you’re a little enough marks on your back, I guess from the mistakes that you you gain experience that way and experience comes from mistakes, right. So I think you just have to go out there and have those mistakes happen. Just make sure they’re not big enough that they completely wipe you out. And that builds experience base that those the gut feel that you need to be able to go bigger, I think people who are most set up for failure are individuals who buy 10 properties and somehow get lucky enough that nothing happens to any of them. Because those people have yet to build the experience face. And they’re about to make a really big, expensive mistake that could wipe them out because they haven’t learned to go a little bit slower and ask a little bit more questions and be a little more skeptical. And I don’t think you can get that from someone else. I’d be curious on your your perspective,

Stuart Grazier 16:53
I don’t think so either, I think, take some action, and you know, something goes wrong. Hopefully, it was a calculated risk that you took. And just like you said, it doesn’t wipe you out, and you can continue to move on and learn from it and and really make yourself better from those lessons learned. I’ve had a few of those where I thought it might have wiped me out. But you know, through just perseverance and a little bit of grit and determination, you know, kind of just push forward and move on. There’s definitely some times where I could have just quit. But this has been something that I love doing. And and I really want to make it a career after the military, you know, something you just keep on pushing and learning to make yourself better from.

Gary Pinkerton 17:37
Yeah, I completely agree. And I think you have a bright future in this world with what you’re already doing, as you purchase properties to live in, and then hold on to them as you kind of moved around in the military.

Stuart Grazier 17:48
We did. Yeah. The first one we bought was in San Diego in 2005.

Gary Pinkerton 17:53
Nice timing.

Stuart Grazier 17:54
Yeah. Great time. So there we go with that timing and some mistakes. But what we did with it is I was single at the time, I partnered with another guy and we bought it together. And it wasn’t a cheap house. But we had renters, you know, we had roommates. Now Now the phrase is kind of kind of coined as a house hack. And at the time, didn’t really know what we were doing. But we did know that it was helping basically pay our mortgage for us, you know, having those renters and then going on deployment and continue to have renters. It helped out tremendously with expenses and right so that’s kind of our first first go at buying a house living in it and keep it as a rental.

Gary Pinkerton 18:33
I am a huge proponent of that and I push everyone that’s young, this, this kind of starting out to do something like that, you know, buy a four unit or a three unit or duplex, or just bring on roommates. I did the same thing, my first house. And I didn’t continue the method much after that. And we bought a couple houses, suing myself after we got married. But that first one is a single guy, partner and exactly like you did, it was in Connecticut wasn’t quite as expensive but as expensive. And we had renters, other friends who were reading from us I mean, it was tremendously beneficial financially when we went through that process that anyone now can still do that right and it’s a great plan especially when you know even married with very young kids, I think you’re still fine. I mean eventually I think you get worn out and you’re going to want to have a larger three bedroom, two bath or something on your own without renters. And especially when you are single and a bunch of guys in the first duty station that is a perfect time. So learn a lot of experiences and you’ve got some pretty forgiving renters with you with really good incomes, you know, to follow along with you use VA at all,

Stuart Grazier 19:40
yet we use the VA and I think that’s such a huge advantage to military is that VA loan and you know if you can use a VA loan and buy a duplex, you know live in one side and rent out the other and that rent is basically covering your mortgage mortgage, and it’s such a huge step in the right direction to grow your wealth. wealth and just had experience of learning how to be a landlord. And, you know, I think it’s such a big step and taking that to start building your wealth there.

Gary Pinkerton 20:09
Yeah, that is certainly not something that is uncommon. So you know, members, young members in the military buying a first home, and then moving on having a VA on that move into their next one renting that out using the remainder of their VA, a lot of people have big misconceptions about being able to use VA more than once. And I invite you to go back and listen to some of the broken vesting stuff that I did last fall. And we focus on that topic for three or four episodes. So listeners go back and kind of talk about our go back and listen to those if you’re interested. But the VA offers some substantial opportunities. And for veterans who came out, if you had any kind of a disability, they’ll waive the VA funding fee, which is the only, you know, drawback if there are any with VA. And so it becomes very easy to kind of refinance properties and things like that. So kind of moving away a little bit from funding, what’s the outlook for you for, you know, the next, let’s say, five years with respect to these businesses,

Stuart Grazier 21:03
I have four years left, until I can retire, I’ll probably, you know, the plan right now is to retire at 20. And continue to grow on a couple different businesses that I have in real estate, I have a business that owns rental properties, I have a business that is doing the turnkey, you know real estate out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And then I also have a private lending business where I do some private lending, and then own mortgage notes as well. So you know, I’d really like to kind of just build on all three of those, you know, continue to grow and help people get into real estate through the military investor network. If I had my way, I wouldn’t have to go get you know, a nine to five w two employment kind of job after I get out of the Navy. And just to kind of grow, these real estate companies continue to do what I’m doing now, but more on a full time scale.

Gary Pinkerton 21:54
That’s awesome. So sure, what do we not covered, as we come near the close here with this awesome conversation.

Stuart Grazier 22:00
I think it just kind of goes back to what we talked about already is just taking that first step for our listeners that that are just starting to think about getting into investing in real estate. And, you know, you can do this while you’re in the military, or while you’re a firefighter or policeman or, you know, just learning as much as you can, growing your network as much as you can, you know, there’s there’s something to be said about the people, you, you put yourself around enough you can go to real estate meetups on the weekends, listening to podcasts and reading and you know, instead of just sitting in front of TV at night, after your day job in the military, or put yourself out there and learn and get yourself around some people that are doing it and find a mentor and take that action to start investing in real estate.

Gary Pinkerton 22:49
That’s awesome. So I named military investor network.com Is there another or better way to reach out and contact you? So that’s

Stuart Grazier 22:56
it really military investor network comm you can email me it’s just Stuart’s stcu ar t at military investor network.com. We also have a Facebook page, we have an Instagram account. We have a YouTube channel with all that can be you know, linked through the website there.

Gary Pinkerton 23:15
That’s awesome. So any book recommendations for listeners that are interested in real estate investing? Wow, there’s a lot of really great books

Stuart Grazier 23:24
out there. There’s a recent one that David Greene wrote. Is it bigger pockets? Yeah, he’s on our show.

Gary Pinkerton 23:31
Yeah, yeah.

Stuart Grazier 23:32
Okay. Awesome. Yes. The one he wrote about investing out of state, you know, putting teams together and just like if you’re in the Navy, you’re mostly on the coast you’re gonna be living in, you know, San Diego or Norfolk or Washington DC and some of those places not gonna cash. Yeah, not not the best places to be really investing in real estate. So you know, learning how to put teams together and finding other markets i think is a really good book.

Gary Pinkerton 23:58
Got it. Okay, perfect. And of course, Robert Kiyosaki and many of you know that the cashflow investor there’s a lot of them out there and, and Stuart for you. Thanks so much, my friend. I appreciate it very much having a Naval Academy graduate honors and then a few episodes.

Stuart Grazier 24:13
Yeah, thank you so much, Gary. It’s really been a pleasure.

Jason Hartman 24:18
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