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Oct. 10, 2021

The HouseHacking Strategy: 2.5 Years to Financial Independence | Craig Curelop

The HouseHacking Strategy: 2.5 Years to Financial Independence | Craig Curelop

Today's Guest is Craig Curelop - Author of "The Househacking Strategy: How to use your home to achieve Financial Freedom".

Craig  started with $90,000 in student loan debt and a NEGATIVE $30,000 net worth in 2017. Utilizing the strategy in today's episode "HouseHacking", Craig became Financially Independent only 2.5 years later in 2019 through the passive income created and increased ability to save!

Today Craig ( @TheFIGUY) Leads his own real estate team in Denver "The FI Team" to help empower others to accomplish the same as him. 

Top 5 Ideas/Action Items from today's show:
- Read  "Househacking" article by Brandon Turner on Biggerpockets blog (7 min)
- Read "The Househacking Strategy" by Craig Curelop
-Join local FB community to meet potential friends/mentors
- Schedule "coffee dates" multiple days per week to learn from people above
-Connect with local realtors to discover Househack Options

Transcript
Unknown:

In 321, Mr. Craig Curelop, we are live my friend, ude, Brian, thanks for having e on the show an honor to be ne of the earlier episodes. So, ude, yeah, it's great to have ou, man. I can't I can't see hat mustache and stare directly t it and not have you on this odcast for those of you that re listening right now. I'm orry to say you're missing out n the eighth wonder of the orld. And that is Craig's ustache. That's right. It's uh, eah, I think I think it was ust put in like the World ecord books or whatever you all it the almanac, as the ighth wonder. So look that look hat up. Anyways, brother, I appreciate you taking the time with me. So we're taking the mic off this time, y'all let me know when you're listening. If this is a little bit better audio, we'll see it in post production. But uh, Craig, man, great to have you on. Obviously, you know, probably we're gonna take this with House hacking with your stand over at bigger pockets. And where you're going next? What's up with the fire team? What's up with the new content? So to get us started off, man, tell us about you know, who's Craig Curelop. here did you come from? What's our story? Yeah. So, you know, y name is correct. Carla, born nd raised Massachusetts, went o California to work in venture ebt. And that sucked. Insert hat venture debt. So you've eard of venture capital, right? ou traded money for equity. enture debt is basically like ard money loans for startup ompanies. So they we would give oans out to startups, they pay s back with interest, points, nterest, all that. So it's xactly what it is. It's hard oney loans for startup ompanies. So I would do a lot f underwriting with them. And t's tough, man. It was like 0 7080 100 hour weeks. You know, the pay was good. But that's it, right? You kind of just get beat to death at work. And I was like, man, there's just no way I want to do this for the rest of my life. So I stumbled upon real estate investing some of the pot bigger pockets and was like, Yeah, this stuff is the real deal. Early financial independence is totally in my future. Anyone can absolutely do this. And so I went on to biggerpockets tarted listening to the odcast, watching the webinars eading the books, all the all he whole nine yards. Yep. And learn about House hacking man. Like I think I probably heard Brandon and Josh, talking about House hacking, and just how powerful a strategy that was. Low Behold, I moved to Denver got a job at biggerbipockets. An before I knew it, I was sittin next to Brandon and Josh, unde contract on my first house hack So it all happened really quick And I really haven't looked bac from there. Dude, that is tha is awesome. Wasn't there som kind of What was the story about you actually going over to bigger pockets? Like didn't you leave something specific? Like, I know, you left the job, but wasn't there like some friction like with you transitioning over there to find a Denver? Um, I don't know. I mean, I guess like, there wasn't any friction, like just the job. I mean, there's like, a story of how I kind of like, basically, I went to my CIO, or the chief investment officer at the last company. This is like a billion plus dollar company right away. So this guy's kind of he's, well, he thought he was a big deal, at least. Yeah. And I basically went, I tried to Chris Bossen. I don't think I've told the story. Actually. Basically, I got I got I did like that year, I did the most deals. I did like over $100 million worth of deals. That's a great book. Yep. And I didn't get paid my full bonus I like was the most used as an agent do the most work, all this stuff. And I only got paid like, you know, 25% Is that a 50%? And I was really hoping for 50%. And so I went, had a meeting with him. I went in and just said, How am I supposed to accept this? And he was like, Dude, what the hell are you talking about? Like, you can resign? I don't care. Like what what? showed that back in my face. And so a couple of weeks later, I did resign, I got bigger pockets. And that was that was that I haven't really told that story, which I think is kind of a funny one. But that was the only animosity that I thought, you know, kind of happened in the transition. there that that is fantastic. So for y'all that don't know and that are listening right now. He's talking about Chris Voss. The book is called, what is it? I've got it right here. I never split the difference. He was an FBI hostage negotiator. And he teaches different like tactics and strategies for negotiation. And one of them that he does that's the most popular is asking how am I supposed to do this? How am I supposed to accept this Craig? Craig got boss man. I got that shit thrown back in my face. To say I wound up with the exact amount that I was given originally so that that meeting did nothing for me but it just made me realize that you know, kind of like they talked about Rich Dad Poor Dad right. How are you? You can like work your ass off. And I made the company. I mean, I did $100 million worth of deals, right? Like, even if the company made 1%, which is where they make way more than 1%, right price close to 10%, I gotta probably help the company make 10 million plus dollars, and the only thing they could give me is 25. Grand. Right? And it was like a lot of work. Like, I viewed like that, that bonus at the end of the year as all of the overtime that I did, right? All of the anything over 40 hours a week. And if you actually calculate that out, I get paid like, geez, like, a fraction of a percent. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And the people listening to this right now think, think about that. And think about how many times have you witnessed that in your own job, because I know that I've gotten shafted, and they didn't even take me out to dinner first, they just, they just hit me with it. So all of us have experienced this. And then this is going to lead into the next couple of questions that I'm asking because Craig had a job where it was a thankless job, you go, sit down, put your head down and grind out, do what you're told. And you're going to have a little bit of the table scraps at the end of the feast. So the entire C suites going to eat, then your managers are going to eat, your VPS are going to eat and then you're going to eat whatever's leftover on the bone. So the entire idea of behind all of this that Craig's about to talk about today is going to be from taking to the table scraps to now we're setting our own table, we got our own table, sit at the big kids table, graduated a lot of that Fisher Price bullshit. Now we're on real deals. Yeah, we're throwing it out. So we're obviously gonna get into house hacking. And then we're gonna get into the nuts and bolts in the strategy of it. But behind that, I want to talk a little bit about two topics. First of all, it took balls to do that. So I don't want to I don't want to like gloss over the fact that it you were in a situation between kind of like you, I mean, it was a comfortable job, right? Yeah, I was making six figures. Exactly. So you took a comfortable job. And you said, Hey, this is not fitting my lifestyle and like, I can do better. So then you you put it out there. And then you took the risk. Honestly, it was a calculated risk. Go into bigger pockets, because it was just like a startup phase still kind of right. Yeah. I mean, it was it wasn't quite I mean, it was clearly momentum. Yeah, it was kind of in the middle, like Josh was still the CEO. You know, it was it was still a really fun, fun company to work with. It didn't get so corporate at the time. And so yeah, I mean, I took a pay cut, right. So I basically, I took a pay cut like a almost a half pay cut to go work at bigger pockets. But the opportunity there was just so obvious, right? Because I was trying to get into real estate I had applied for like, was 250 jobs in one weekend, all in real estate being like, someone's assistant real estate agent, like being a real estate agents assistant. Just so I can get in making eight bucks an hour, 10 bucks an hour. Like that's what I applied for in 249 of those jobs for jobs like that. The one job that I had that had any sort of like decency was that job at bigger pockets, where I got where it was a normal wage, I think I started at like, 65,000 a year. And I was like, and I get to sit hang out with, you know, I get to call Scott trench and Josh Dorkin and Brandon Turner, kind of like my friends at the time. I was like, hell yeah, I'm doing that right. No question. Yeah, no, that's awesome. And I'm glad you made the movement everyone is. And that was actually gonna be one of my next question was What took you to bigger pockets specifically, instead of going like, I guess the first route would be, oh, I want to go into real estate. I'm going to be a realtor. So I guess the answer that I guess this was lucky number 249. Craig? Yeah. Yeah, it really was it was I just, I kind of just looked on the website, I submitted an application kind of into the abyss of like, you know, when you apply on a website, like no one, I assume no one ever looks at those. But I got an email back. And I was like, pretty excited about it. And yeah, very cool. So you go when you join bigger pockets for those of you that are getting into podcasting, or you're just now listening to this, and you're not familiar with real estate at all, biggerpockets is he biggest online community for eal estate investing. And the iggerpockets podcast is the b ggest podcast for real estate i vestors. And they have a lot o books and a lot of good stuff l ke that. And Craig actually w ote one of them, which is the h use hacking strategy. And w 're going to go into that a ter this final question that I h ve leading up to it is Craig, w y do you do all of this? What i your vision? What is your w y? Why do this? So my initial v sion, I think my vision always c anges right? So when I first s arted, I wanted to get to be f nancially independent as soon a possible, because no one I no l nger wanted to rely on having to work to live my life. Wait, sorry, can you cut this? Are you still there? Yeah, my computer screen just went all shitty? Sorry, let's get that. Got it. I'm gonna try to take where I left off. Are you talking about you don't want to work to live? Yeah. So yeah, so I wanted to become financially independent as soon as possible I wanted to. And so my whole thing was like sacrifice sacrifice sacrifice. And it is get to a point where I no longer have to rely on income to live. And so I mean, my story starts many if you've ever heard me before know the story of my first place where I bought a duplex rented out the top lived in the bottom, it still wasn't cash flowing me but I was damn determined to make that thing cash flow. So I basically put up a curtain in a room divider and live behind a curtain for a year while me being out my bedroom. And that made me like, you know, $700 a month plus I was living for free. Right? And so like, what I do that today? No, but like if I was 2324 When I first started, but I do that when I do it all over again. 100% Like, no question about it. So yes, I was just so aggressive and getting there after like two and a half years or so I finally hit that like base level of financial independence. And that was it. I was like, okay, like, I'm good. But then, you know, you're at like, $3,000 a month of passive income. Like, I don't really want to live my life on $40,000 a month of passive income, right? You start to look up and you're like, oh, okay, like, the house looks nice. I can start buying organic foods, I can start maybe wearing some nicer clothes, but you have a nicer gym membership. Like, the lifestyle creep kind of happens. And I'm still young, and I'm like, Well, I kinda want to still work. I want us to build something. And so then I got my real estate license and started helping some other people out. And yeah, that's just really taking off. So spend Yeah. And then five team is, is that just your online brand? Or then what's your what's your actual real estate team name? Yes, I'm, so the team name. Our team name is the fire team. I'm the fire guy. Right? That's me on Instagram. And, you know, the, the fire guy brand is just like, hey, we're helping people achieve financial dependents real estate investing, kind of like a one to many, right? Like, we're putting out content, were putting out all this kind of stuff. We just launched a course there's a product like all this stuff is just like one too many. The fight team is more like, Hey, we've got a team of real estate agents that have house hack that understand house hacking, that know everything. And we can guide coach and mentor you through that entire process, we'll get you into our community of house hackers and real estate investors. So you've got other people dealing with the same problems, you can have friends that are house hacking. So we all know a rising tide lifts all ships and you are the people that you surround yourself with. So we're just trying to like, make everybody a super successful house hacker and basically have everyone achieve early financial independence through real estate investing. So you can go out and you know, live their dreams. Dude, I love it. So let's, let's take a back step here. For anybody listening, we've thrown around house x, and now it's the it's the moment of truth. There's drum rolls in the background. And if I knew how to edit audio on a podcast, like out throw it in a thrown in our account, I'm gonna count on you to figure it out for this one. It's okay, man, we ready fire aim, baby. That's what we do. So Craig, tell the people what is a house hack? Yeah, so house hack is it's the whole idea that you buy a one to four unit property, with a low percent down, you're gonna buy it with, you know, as low as 0%. If you're like, a veteran up to maybe 5% down, if you're just a traditional person, zero 5%. Down, you live in one part, live in, rent out the rest. Your tenants cover your mortgage, and you live for free. So if the single family house, you're going to live in one room when the other rooms maybe live in the upstairs, rent out the downstairs, whatever. And if it's a duplex, triplex or quad, you're going to live in one unit, right that the other units and all of that rent is going to hopefully cover your mortgage, or at least subsidize your mortgage, and you're going to live extremely cheap or free. Craig, who would want to do something like that? What if I tried to get tenants and they don't want to live in the same house as somebody else? Yeah, great question. So really, what you have to do right is you have to do your research and you have to do your tenant screening, you got to make sure that, you know the tenants that you're coming to that are coming in, are going to be high quality tenants, you got to do your background checks, your credit checks, landlord references, like all of the things you need to do, and make sure that you know you're never going to reduce those odds to zero but you can reduce them to very, very small that you're gonna end up with a bad tenant. And the whole point of it is to eliminate what likely is your largest expense, which is your rent or your mortgage payment. And so by doing that, you're able to save and save and save so you can buy another house in another year. Repeat that process and over the course of five, six years, you start to generate quite the portfolio. Yeah, and then a good a good way to tack on to that is, so I do the same thing. So I'm a couple of steps behind Craig, I'll never, I never made it to the level of badass Three, two, I don't even know if that's a word, but we're gonna make it a word badass hurry, I don't know if I made it to that level to where I did the whole curtain closed off closet in the living room while I was running out the bedroom. But that is that's pretty metal man. But uh, I'm on my second house hack. Right now I'm getting my third in December. So what he's talking about, to kind of put numbers to it is you can sell a lot of people have it in their head that you can buy a house that you have to save 20%. Right. That's not the case when you live in the house. So right now the conventional loans in Atlanta, I don't the probably the same in Denver, but they're like 5% for like, second conventional loan. If it's your first one, like you said, like 3%, right? Yeah, you put 3% down. So you have a $300,000 house, and you're putting like, seven, eight grand into the house to be able to live in it. So you live in it, you run out the other side. And you're able to easily save that money, like over and over and over again to be able to keep funneling and other houses keep funneling and other houses. And then also, now you don't pay rent. Now you don't have a mortgage payment. I haven't made a mortgage payment, technically, myself in two and a half years. So, so talk a little bit more about kind of some of the questions that you hear about, because I'm sure you've talked about this on dozens of podcasts, you've talked to dozens of conferences. And I could have talked about this myself, because it's what I do. But the reason I wanted to bring you on is because like you've got the book and I thought this would be even bigger, like splash in a take home. So what are the biggest things biggest obstacles that you see people running into that prevent them from doing this? And what do you kind of tell those people, those specific obstacles, maybe like two or three of them? Because I can already think of? Oh, yeah, there's a whole bunch. I think we actually have a whole section of the book on this like, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. And so, I mean, a big one is I don't want to live with other people. And you don't have the other people, right, you can do like a luxury house hack where you, you know, you rent out the basement and just live in the upstairs, you know, actually sharing space with people. You know, they don't want to do the work. But a couple years of work was a lot shorter than like 40 years of work. Some people don't want to pay PMI. So they want to save 20%, which is just total BS, because like, literally, your wealth will grow 10 times before you can even fund the down payment on a 20% down during a hashtag. So it's just a Yeah, I'm looking at some of the ones off the top of my head. I mean, there's probably like seven or eight that are fairly legitimate. But once you kind of dig into them, it's like, you're just limiting beliefs. Exactly. And a lot of people come to me, and they asked me, Hey, what's the easiest way to get started in real estate, because a lot of people feel in America and obviously, outside of Atlanta, outside of Denver, like these are two of the hottest markets. But all across the country, people are getting priced out of the market, quote, unquote. And they say, Hey, how can I do this? How am I going to be able to afford that house to live in for the first time. So Craig said luxury house hack, which is what I do. So what I do is I buy five bedroom, four bed bathroom houses with an in law suite. That's what it's called in the basement where they have an extra kitchen. And that's where back in the 70s and 80s, they would have their in laws live in. So I live in the basement. Right now I'm filming this from the basement of my house. And I've got a family of three that lives above me and pays me more money than my mortgage is worth every single month. And so Craig did that at an accelerated rate. He actually does rent by the room. So that's something I haven't had the balls to really do yet. So talk to me about some of the pros and cons of renting the room. And are you still doing that? Are you starting to move away from that event now? Yeah, so rent by the room is a phenomenal strategy for when you are starting out. House hack 123, right. You're gonna get at least in the Denver market, you're gonna get probably $1,000 More in rent to rent by the room that you want as traditional rental. And you can you can buy a single family house right? You don't even need to in last week. And so you can buy you know, these days, it's like 404 and $50,000 house, five bed three bath, live in one room rent out the others. And you know, your mortgage payment on that might be 20 to 2300. You're, you know, you're you're gonna get seven 800 a month from these four tenant, these four other tenants. Right and so you're already looking at just one living there, you're going to be cash flowing for $100 a month, then when you move out, that's another $800 a month on top of that, right, you're looking at over $1,000 A month over the mortgage went to in rent by the room. And so it is it is a little bit more time consuming, it's harder to find a property manager that will take these on, it's there's definitely some more trauma you have to deal with. So you know, the $1,000 isn't a free free $1,000 Like you're putting in more work to get this extra money. But now I'm at the stage where I no longer have any rent other properties. So I've got, you know, I've got six properties here in Denver now. And so it just became six properties. And that's like, probably 12 units. And it just became too much on the management side. So I decided, hey, I'm okay, forfeiting this $1,000 a month. Yeah, I just want to rent it out. I want it to be sustainable. And I just don't want to deal with it. I don't want to hear anything, I want to focus on growing our brand growing the fire team coming on podcast and chatting with you. Like, that's the stuff that I like to do. So anything that's a heavy task, I outsource now. So talk a little bit more on that. Let's do let's dive deep into heavy tasks versus light test. Because I think that's something that people can apply. Now, in whatever they're doing, and I think this can be applied to w two jobs, to hobbies, anything that they're currently doing right now. Yeah, so heavy task is something it's just it feels heavy, right? It's like it's draining you down. You don't want to do it. For me, it's like picking up the phone and calling anybody like, I just hate calling calling the bay calling center of appointments, stuff like that. And so, oh, yeah, I don't do I don't do that anymore, right. Like, I've got an assistant and they do all that. You know, one thing that we're working on now is like setting up some email lists, and, you know, do it like even post it on social media, it's like, those are heavy tasks for me. So I don't want to do them, right, I will be the brains behind them. I will kind of orchestrate it. But I don't want to be the one actually hitting the Post button. And so, you know, like tasks, I think that you'd like to do coming on this podcast, talking about real estate writing, exercising, reading, all those kinds of things. You can't really outsource exercising, at least I haven't. But yeah, you got to do that no matter what. But you know, it's those things that you actually like to do. And so, you know, I think like when you when you're about to do a task, and it's like you're just procrastinating it. That's something that you should try to outsource in. In the beginning, you can't, right you don't have the money to. But as you grow and scale and after you get your second, third, fourth property, the money's coming in. Don't be afraid to pay $100 To have someone come up, come over and put together that damn IKEA bed, right? Or the whatever it is, right? Yeah, I heard. Do you follow navall Raava Khan on Twitter or anything or heard of him before? No. So he he's like, angel investors slash philosophers slash tweeter. And he said something to where he was like, he puts $1 per hour rate on anything that he does. And if that rate would cost, if that task would cost less than his own ideological dollar per hour. So I think he put like, started with like, $1,000 per hour is what his time is worth. So he was like, anything that takes that would cost less than $1,000 an hour to outsource. I'm gonna outsource it. Not getting groceries, running errands, cleaning the house, just want to clean the house. So he hires a maid. Yep. And so he kind of goes down that. So you think that that's kind of what you're talking about there? Yeah, that's that's a way but sometimes there's things that you know, would be cheap to hire. The higher up though, that I just like to do it. So I'll do this, right. Like, I don't have that many examples from being honest. But like, for example, my girlfriend loves grocery shopping. I personally hate it. But I can't outsource her grocery shopping with me. Like she likes that quality time. And so I have to grocery shopping with her. And there's there's just some things you can't outsource, right? You can't outsource that you can't outsource calling your mom, you can't outsource going grocery or what's it called? Exercising. And so these things that you just can't outsource you have to do. But I would agree that like yeah, you know, I definitely think of the dollar per hour thing. And sometimes I'll even pay more for the game units for the convenience and like get it done better. Right. I just got a visual of hiring like one of those telemarketers to ask you about your car's extended warranty. And like having them call my mom and be like, Hey, this is Brian, how are you? How you doing? Mom? He's like, What the hell? Yeah. She's like, What the hell is? Yeah. So I mean, but that the whole concept of what you're saying it's powerful because it kind of goes into it ties into a why because when you start the journey, and I'm in that journey right now, too, I'm in that middle spot to where it's like Craig was probably Probably like a year, like two years ago is where I'm at right now. And you get to the point where it's starts with cash flow, it's all about cash flow to begin. And then once you have the cash flow start coming in, you realize that money is a tool, then you start, you start caring more about like quality, convenience, stuff like that. And then now the cash allows you to be able to move kind of in that avenues that kind of hitting on what you were saying. Yeah, you know, once you become financially independent, right, so like, I think everyone's first goal should be to become financially independent. And what that means is your passive income exceeds your expenses. Right? Once your passive income exceeds your expenses, you can keep your expenses low and keep increasing your passive income, you can start introducing some luxuries into your life. Some people think, look, think of luxury as like they're gonna buy the nice cars, a nice house or whatever. Honestly, my first luxury was, I'm gonna hire a maid, or whatever, a cleaning person to concrete my house because I hate cleaning. And that's not like a thing that I can show people. But it's something that I don't have to do, right? Something that my girlfriend and I do is I buy the groceries, she cooks them, you know how much stress that is relieved from our relationship. We don't need to figure out who's making lunch. We don't need to figure out who's buying groceries this week, I buy the groceries, she makes the food, the food tastes way better. And there's, there's no stress, right? And so like, there's stuff like that, that that was my first thing is like, who am I going to call a cut my lawn? Who am I going to call a shelf in my driveway? Who am I going to call like, those are the things that I started outsource first, like the service base things to get back my time, because I think that's more valuable than any thing. I love that. And then the concepts you're talking about, they're kind of like the money dials from like remote set safety or whatever I'm talking about. Yeah, he talks about where you want to spend lavishly on things that excite you and things that pump you up, and then cut ruthlessly back on every single other thing. Craig and a lot of the other guys for everybody listening, Craig and a lot of the other guys that I run with and we're friends with and that we're gonna have on the podcast, we're all kind of cut from the same cloth and the fact that as you make more passive income, none of us are to to material. I wouldn't say we're all more about the traveling. We're all more about the convenience we're all more about. If you if you saw us walking by on the street, like you wouldn't think Oh, that guy's flexing. You know, there's no Yeah, I mean, flexing. Yeah, I mean, we just got back from a conference filled with millionaires, right? And Yep. Did you notice any friggin Gucci purses or any like, whatever, like, Brandon, Brandon Turner had a Gucci purse? Yeah, I thought Brandon had well, he could he could have one because he's, you know, him and David Green, maybe our next level. But you know, most people, they're just looking like your normal dudes. Right. And I think that's, that's the kind of crowd that I like to be part of. exactly to where we're more so about the freedom part of it and not having to submit a PTO request, instead of having to have a name brand that's on us. I got this from Goodwill, man. I love but, um, to kind of kind of hit back. What was your moment where you realized that early financial independence was possible? And then what was your moment where you realize that hey, this is something I want to actively pursue? What was your aha moment in that journey? Because how old are you, Craig? I'm 2828. Okay, so for people listening to that can't see him in this marvelous moustache. Man. Right, here's 28. So what did you so what was your aha moment that made you realize, oh, crap, this is all awesome. So I was 23 years old at that job, but I hated that I talked about previously and I was actually going on a walk with my intern at the time. And he told me how his dad invest in real estate invest in like a nine unit 20 or 30 years ago, it's fully paid off, pays him like 10 or 15 grand a month. And that's like, what he lives off of. And I was like, shoot, that seems like, easy, but that seems like that's one property. It's one property nine units. See, like, he just does it and he's got like a property management company and stuff now but like, you know, that was it though. That was what got into financial dependence. I was like, huh, your intern? My interns dad, interns. Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so I actually got coffee with him or launch actually kind of picked his brain a bit and he was like yeah, man like it's a really it's a fun industry to be part of like, for some reason not everybody does it but it's just definitely a really good way to get wealthy in it get rich and then I started looking and I was like, Shit, I'm in this place right now. That's 20 units. It's those Mom and Pop. You know, a little you know, little Latino like older lady coming in, heard her husband come in and collect rent, like like every month and I'm like, seeing paid off, and I'm paying like, two grand, there's 20 of these units, are they making 40 grand a month? Right? Like, holy crap, shit. It just like that's my like, holy crap, anyone can do this right? And when I started listening to bigger pockets, and I thought bigger pockets is a total scam at first. And then I dug deeper and realized they were legit. And I was like, okay, for us like this, this is a real deal. And this is like the path that I'm gonna go down and we'll see what happens. Like, let me get three to 5000 passive income, and we'll see what happens from there. So then, yeah, I just started like doing crazy amounts of education. Like, I would watch Brandon's like webinars, like literally every single week, I had them to, I still have notes on like, 40 different webinars. And they were like the same webinars, the only there was like 10 webinars, but I still watched like, on them on repeat, I didn't realize it. And so like, all of that learning and education just prepared me for getting that first one, the second one, the third one into where I am today with, you know, decent with our rental properties and in a good amount of passive income. And I feel, you know, like, life is good, right? Yeah, it's like future voice. You know, life is good. You know what I mean? Yeah, life is good. Hey, that was good. Um, so, tell me if this has been your experience, because it's kind of been mine. So I'm a big self development junkie, do a lot of books, seminars, webcasts, podcasts, all that good stuff. After you listen and read to enough of them, it's kind of like the same recurring 20 to 50 things, concepts, ideas between everything once you listen to enough of them, and you kind of realize that like, information isn't necessarily the answer. What is Brandon what it says phrase day says like, if information was the answer, everyone would be a billionaire with six pack abs. So how did you go about taking the action because I read the foreword to your book and Brandon hits on you for action. And so you just went and did did the damn thing. So can you handle it on about what separates you from actually acting on the information that you learned and somebody that's just going to sit and try to read another book? So there's, there's it's funny, right? It's because the information that I read it told me it made me realize that I would run into analysis paralysis and would be afraid to not take action. And so I realized, I was able to kind of like inwardly and via inwardly reflect and be like, I'm at the stage where, like, there's nothing else I need to know, I just need to go do it. And so it was just like, I kind of looked and I was like, Okay, there's a lot of dumb people that buy houses, like I'm not the stupidest person to buy a house. So if they can figure it out, I can figure it out. And so I just kind of went with it right? I'm like, I got a whole community of people around me I'm surrounding myself with real estate investors I ever have a question I can go on bigger pockets and ask or I can go wherever chat with Scott or Brandon or whatever. And it but people like you don't need to talk to us. I didn't talk to Brian or Scott very much like I did not bogged down with my silly little one time house hacking questions, right? I figured most of the shit out on my own without their help. And like the minutia stuff, and that's just like you just figure figure it out. Like you gotta have faith in yourself. And that discomfort that that like pit in your stomach when you feel uncomfortable, like that's that's growth right there. Like that is the sign of growth. And I just try to always have that kind of mentality of like just push myself out of my comfort zone every day. Hmm. And I want to I want to go back to the fact that because you just said you said that it was very powerful and important for you to be around the Brandon Turner's to be around Scott trench is the CEO now biggerpockets, and round all these people. I think ou're drastically under playing ow badass it was that you quit our six figure job to go to be n that environment willingly nd intentionally at bigger ockets, to be able to put ourself in that environment to here this was possible. Can you peak a little bit about how nvironment may be the make or reak factor for a lot of eople? Oh, for sure. Like I lso like I was I was kind of a hithead in San Francisco when I as living out there. You elieve it or not man drinking very Thursday, Friday, aturday. Trying to sleep with any female that was like that was like WHAT I DID IT Mike 2022 23 and then I was like, Denver is a time where I can wipe my slate clean. I stopped drinking. I was like reading like crazy. Saving money like crazy. All of my friends were real estate friends. Like I did not have a single friend that was not somehow tied to real estate. It just elevated my game so much and just being around those people made me realize like whoa, like I don't have to be a shithead like there's I don't need to escape my life because I like on a Friday night to At the bar, like I can actually enjoy my life Monday through Friday. Right? So, yeah, the environment. I mean, you are the five people you hang out with is just such a true statement. Like, what there's no say to it's like that. It's like, I can tell you your net worth, I can tell you who you are. Just show me your friends. Right? Those lines. And it's so true. So true. Man. Yeah, that's crazy. Was there any specific moment that kind of led from 20 to 23 year old Craig to that? Or was it just the job transition, and it just happened to be taught right time, right place. I'm sorry, time, my place, I was ready to make that move. And I was ready to pursue financial independence. And I figured moving to a new place, it's just a perfect time to wipe the slate clean, because I just, again, right, it's like I knew nobody in Denver. So the people that I knew it's only going to be real estate people going to real estate meetups, I'm gonna try to find some people that are my age, which are few 2324 year olds, like, in real estate, but there were a couple, right, and I'm friends with those people to this day. And now there's more and more like now we've got a whole community of people, real estate investors, financial freedom seekers, all that just hanging out here never right. It's a it's a it's a fun place to be. Yeah, and from your experience, for me, it was kind of it's kind of difficult still to find that kind of sweet spot, where it's like trying to find people that you still enjoy hanging out with, but are also like, airtight in business. And they've got like the same vision and ideals that you have, like, for me, it's going to like networking events, and like local RIA meetups and stuff like that. Um, is that something? Yeah, you're kind of doing too. Yeah, real estate events. That's the biggest thing like, I meet the real estate meetups nearby. That's something where I made most of my friends, honestly. And then you just kind of meet people through there, right? Like you go out with them. And then they've got a friend that's in real estate or whatever. And I don't know, it just kind of grows, right? You start hanging out with your realtor, maybe and like your realtor knows people in real estate and you're just like, like the real estate community in any individual city is probably pretty small. And everyone kind of knows everybody. So yeah, once you get in, it's just, it's just fun. I used to when I first moved to Denver, I was my goal to get five coffees a week and so I'd reach out to people on bigger pockets instead of coffee, or day of the week. 7:15am. No one is, you know, no one's got anything on at 7:15am. Right. So are we get coffee or bimah? Coffee? Can we just chat? And before you knew it, I knew pretty much everybody the BiggerPockets community in Denver, and you just learned a whole bunch that way? Man, I think you're I think you're underplaying that. I think that may be one of the most powerful things that you probably did. I know. And I honestly forgot that I did it until right now. But yeah, that was something that Scott told me to do. He's like, go and have coffee with someone every, every day to 15 am like your goal should be five a week. And I did that for about six months. So five weeks times 20. That's like 100 people that I got coffee with. And that I mean, that's like the big people in the community. Right. And so, you know, then I started seeing those people again at the meetups. And I saw him again, here and again there. And it was like, Hey, I fit in. I know everybody. And if you can just be a likeable person. And you don't need to get anything from them. Like my goal wasn't to get anything from them. It was just to, like, get to know, right, just be a friend. And then when you need something, they're there for you. And so that's really, in vice versa. And that's kind of how relationships start. Right? Yeah, exactly. And it's like a lot of the networking events that you go to, it's kind of like you see, and this is advice to people that are listening to this right now is like if it's because some of you haven't been to a quote, unquote, networking event, you see a lot of business card exchange, you see a lot of like two minute conversations like hey, man, what do you do? Hey, what do you do? Oh, I do this, I do this. And then you change, exchange business cards, and then most of the time, let's call it what it is, they probably end up in the trash can. Like, there's no there's, there's nothing that really happened there. There was no authenticity, there was no connection. There was no because your agenda was business. Yeah. So I I think that relationships are better served coming from that, like, you know, you've got like b2b sales it's like more so like doing human to human I totally agree. I think like my I've aimless my friends just by kind of being in their circle at that time, right? Let's say I really want to meet someone like Brian, I really, really want to meet you. And I see you I see you like across the room and you've got a group of people around you. Like if I cut slash, yeah, with a mustache like if I come up to you and like Brian, I'm so happy to meet you. I can't I can't tell you I'm so a fan of your stuff. It's like there's like this like, you're not going to be my friend. Right? Like there's this like authority thing that's going on here where like there's a power imbalance. Yeah, exactly. So it's like, I would rather treat you like I would anyone else. And like, hey, when we're the same place the same time, I'll be sure to like shake your hand, make an introduction. We'll get along because I get along with most people. And like, that's, that's it, right? And then you become friends. And then like, someone's more likely to help out a friend. And they are someone that's like obsessed with them is just gonna praise them all day. Right? So yep, so my advice to anybody listening to this podcast would be to go to your local Steamboat Springs Colorado bar, just look around, look around the room and just start buying dude's beers, and then all sudden, they're gonna be on the podcast with you about did you buy me a beer? I don't remember that. Yeah. It was a fun night, I guess. Yeah, man, it was a good time. I want to be conscious of your time here as we kind of wrap things up. So I want to talk about the book. Because it's one thing for you to do the house hack, like I've done the house like a lot of other people, probably 100,000 people in the United States, if not more, have done the house hack. But you wrote a freaking book on it that had the foreword from Brandon Turner that wrote the original book on House hacking. How did that materialize? How did that come to be? And what different spin did you have that they were like, Hey, this is good enough to be its own separate thing. And it has legs to run? Yeah, so it's funny. So Brandon was initially going to write the book on House hacking. He was too busy. I don't know if he was starting his his mobile home font or he was too busy, right? I think he just had a kid, like he had a lot going on. He didn't want to read a book. And so they went to Scott trench to write the book, Scott was the newly anointed CEO of BiggerPockets, he also had a lot going on, and just like, never got around to writing the book. And so I was actually third in line to write this book. And so I couldn't let my pride get the best of me, because at the time, like, Scott and Brandon hadn't house hacked in a few years, I was like, in the flesh and blood of it, living it, living it. And I was also helping, I was starting to help other people as an agent do it too. So like, I've done, you know, five house acts myself, but I've helped hundreds and hundreds of other people directly house hack. And so I was like, I feel like I'm gonna write this book. And so like, when they gave me the opportunity, I was like, hell yeah, I'll write the book like I am. Like, no one's gonna know that like they went to Universal discoveries. Now is the third line. I'm telling you this, because that's just how it was. And the moral of the story here is sometimes opportunities come when you're third in line, right? And then you just have to seize those opportunities when they're when they're, when they're presented to you. You're ready to go. It's like luck is when preparation and opportunity meet. Yeah, I mean, your football guy, you're gonna hate this analogy. Especially if you're from Atlanta, but like Tom Brady, right. I mentioned him a lot. I grew up in New England. So I know you hate him. I know you're still hurt. But his action Academy podcast? No, but for those that don't know his story, right? Like he was the third string quarterback. And he so like this one guy got hurt. This other guy got hurt. And then he came in, he was ready to go. And I think like, if you can just be ready to go with opportunity. That's itself. You'll be good. So be prepared. Dude, that was a that was a bomb right there. You just dropped? Yeah, I'm right. I'm over here on a down. I'm also sad note, Tom Brady. I'm a huge Tom Brady guy now. You may not be now but he's just so likable. And now that he's in Tampa Bay. Oh, I love him just as much. How do you I just can't like if we can't be mad, no bowls, and also, the fact that he just keeps winning. It's just like, so much fun to watch that. Like, let's just have him keep winning him and saving to where it's like, it's such a cyclical sport where you're like, how do they like continuously win over all these years over all these decades? They like That's insane. That's great. Yeah, but um, so what's so what's next for you? What's what's the vision coming up? What's the vision with the fire team? What's your gonna write any more books? What you got? Yeah, so I guess there's a lot kind of coming on coming coming down the pipe here. The pike whatever it's called. So doing great. We get the fight. Yeah, we got we got the fight team. We're growing. We're investing from the agents. We're going out a residential arm. So we're going to help first time homebuyers buy and sell their houses. That's the next big thing on the fire team. As for the FY guy, like kind of like my own personal brand. I've gotten a book coming out soon. It's basically all about this complete disaster deal that we did in Jacksonville. send that out to the editor. So hopefully in a few months, that'll be getting launched. We've got our podcast, it's called the FI Team podcast. e're actually gonna be ebranding that any any day now. ut again, just helping people chieve financial independence hrough real estate investing ife, it's everything that I do ind of goes into that. So it's hether it's the podcast, hether it's the book, whether t's the other book, the course, our team, like everything we do is just kind of focused towards that. Cool, so it's like, a giant like umbrella theme that you can kind of do now. I love that man. And I love watching you do what you do. I loved hearing you. You should have named the book The House hacking strategy, pulling the curtain back, pull the curtain back on the curtain back. So next time, give me a shout, man, I'll get I'll give you a hand on that. I think it is like my next book after this one might be called behind the curtain in talking about like, but what it actually takes to be successful. Like, how, what, what you do versus what you see. That's actually that actually could work. Yeah, I know. That's why I'm like, that's your origin story. Yeah. supervillain origin. superhero origin origin story. Yeah. Yeah. So we'll see. We'll see. I think, Well, I think I'll probably do it. I just like to write so it'll be it'll be fun. Now, that's awesome. But yeah, Greg, one of the reasons I had you on and like this is kind of my focus. And it's going to be a recurring theme for the first couple of guests on this podcast is having people that are younger, that are killing it when they're young, because that speaks to intentionality. And, you know, a lot of people that are going to be listening to this in the beginning are going to be a little bit younger, kind of trying to figure out how to get started. They're interested in the concepts and they want to start go from zero to two or zero to five and then start running down that line to 100. So man, it's been awesome watching you run that race. I'm coming up right behind you, man following your footsteps, and I love it. Love every single bit of it. Every single time that I feel like bitching about living in my house hack, I just remember Hey, Brian, shut the hell up. Craig live behind the curtain in his own living room. Yep. And so just remember that your thought about often man Well, I appreciate that my theory back in the day was own everything us nothing. Yeah, would rent out like pretty much everything ahead. So no, I love it man. And I know you're in the basement. I felt that pain upstairs noise when you're downstairs. Yep, that's the only downside read through and you got to breathe through it. I know. But the only thing that any anybody that listens to this that is like okay, cool. Well, there's noise I'm not doing it. You know, screw it. I'm not doing it. You live in an apartment. Like there's noise to the up by upstairs downstairs from you to the left and to the right. I remember I got smoking a blunt in the bathroom next where my like I could smell it every single day. You know, parts of me were jealous. But like you know, anyways, brother. I want to be conscious your time here. So man, I appreciate the absolute hell out of you Craig. So then you are at the fi guy. Is there any other handles platforms you want people to look you up on? If you want to check out our team, it's you can go to the fi team comm if you want to take our course in house hacking the fire team comm slash course, on the fire guy on Instagram. That's the or our podcast, the FI team podcasts. So all fun stuff. I'm just Denver market for investors that you help or is it all across the country that can just reach out to you. It's like a local boots on the ground. Yeah, we've got pretty much connections everywhere. So if you need help, wherever you are, you can reach out to us and we'll hook you up. Perfect. Correct. You're the man. Yeah, man. We'll we'll be in touch. Cool. Thank you, sir. And then this is Brian Luebben Craig Curelop signing off on the econd episode of The otherfreakin action Academy.