RG 318 – The Best & Most Cost-Effective Way to Start Real Estate Investing with Van SturgeonRG 318 - Most Cost-Effective Way to Start Real Estate Investing

Today, another fellow immigrant shares his story of how he got started in US real estate investing. Join me in welcoming Van Sturgeon to the show, renovation expert and mentor with over three decades of experience in the game.

Van Sturgeon is a seasoned real estate investor, flipper, multifamily specialist, and business owner vansturgeon.com. Over 30 years ago, Van’s family bought an apartment building in the middle of an economic crisis. Through grit and hard work, Van and his family made it through by doing the hard jobs.

Thirty years later, Van owns multiple businesses, has flipped thousands of properties, and helps other investors become millionaires through real estate investing.

Interested in becoming an Investor with Reed? Click here to join his Investor email list.

In this episode, we get to hear how Van got to where he is today. We talk about his early days in real estate investing, the importance of building an ecosystem in your business, and how you can get started investing with something you can afford.

Key Takeaways

  • Establishing relationships is the hardest part of real estate investing.

  • Once you build an effective ecosystem in your business, exponential growth starts.

  • Identify areas that can generate cash flow, then look for properties that can generate wealth.

  • Get started with properties that make sense for you financially.


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Podcast Transcript

Reed Goossens (00:00):

Good day Good day guys. Now, before we dive into today’s show, I want you to let you know that some of you may be aware that over the past eight years, I have built a substantial multi-family real estate portfolio here in the US worth over half a billion dollars. And in that time, my passive investors have received fantastic double-digit returns. And now you too can invest directly into my deals for as little as $50,000. So if you’re an interested investor, head over to Reedgoossens.com to find out more that’s Reedgoossens.com. Now back into the show,

Van Sturgeon (00:40):

It is really hard when you’re coming from a market like that of LA, where, you know, the average single-family home prices is $800,000 or something like that. It’s hard to get started in real estate investing when you’re up at that kind of threshold. And there’s several markets across the north America that are, that are like that. And so it’s great. If you’ve established cash-flow, to be able to then transition into an asset like that, where you’re gonna see tremendous appreciation, but in the beginning of your journey as a real estate investor, I strongly encourage you to go into markets and you, you might have to drive through or four or five hours. You might have to go even further than that, depending on where you’re located. Identifying those areas that are able to generate cash flow is the, is the place of where you start your journey. You can sleep all at night and then once you’ve been able to create that portfolio generate, then you can move on into areas that really Tru create wealth.

Speaker 3 (01:43):

Welcome to investing in the US, a podcast for real estate investors, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the US market, join Reed as he interviews go-geters risk takers and the best in the business about their journey towards financial freedom and the sheer joy of creating something from nothing

Reed Goossens (02:03):

Good day good day, a ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another cracking edition of investing in the US podcast from Los Angeles. I’m your host Reed Goossens good as always every with us on the show. Now I’m glad that you’ve all tuned into it. Learn from my incredible guests and each and every one of them are the cream of the crop here in the United States. When it comes to real estate, investing, business, investing and entrepreneurship, each show, I try and tease out their incredible stories of how they have successfully created their businesses here in the US, how they’ve created financial freedom, massive amounts of cash flow, and ultimately created extraordinary lives for themselves and their families life by design. As I like to say, hopefully these guests will inspire all of my cracking listeners, which are you guys to get off the couch and go and take massive amounts of action.

Reed Goossens (02:50):

If these guys can do it. So can you now, as you know, I’m all about sharing the knowledge with my loyal listeners, which is you guys, and absolutely no BS on this show, just straight into the nuts and bots. Now, if you do like this show, the easiest way to give back is to give us a review on iTunes and you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter by searching at Reed Goossens. You can find the show wherever you podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google play, but you can also find these episodes up on my YouTube channel. So head over to reedgoossens.com, click on the video link, and it’ll take you to the video recordings of these podcasts. You can see my ugly mug, but the beautiful faces of my guests each and every week. All right, enough outta me, let’s get cracking and into today’s show.

Reed Goossens (03:37):

Today in the show. I, the pleasure of speaking with van sturgeon now, van is an experienced entrepreneur of over 30 years. He successfully created several different businesses in the real estate industry that covers everything from land acquisitions, to development, to property management, construction, and including renovation. Now, van personally owns over a thousand properties across north America, and he is semi-retired from the day to day operations of the business. However, he’s still really, really, really passionate about helping home owners and other real estate investors overcome their fears and their fears of renovations and rehabbing, but he just loves to be actively involved in helping people figure out how to make their lives better through real estate investing. So I’m really pumped and excited to have him on the show today to share he’s incredible knowledge and insight with me, but enough outta me, let’s get him out here. Good day van. Welcome to the show. How doing today, mate?

Van Sturgeon (04:25):

I’m doing very well. Thank you very much for having me reed, but I’ve been looking forward to having this, uh, uh, exchange and GI jab conversation for a while. So, uh, I, I, I, yeah, I love talking about real estate, just like Q so, uh, yeah, I’m looking forward to it,

Reed Goossens (04:40):

Mate. GI jab is what we do on this show best. Right? So, uh, I always tell people, it’s like, pretend you’re having a beer with your Aussie mate, but without, without being said, let’s set the stage, rewind the clock. And tell me how you made your first ever dollar. As a kid,

Van Sturgeon (04:53):

As a kid, I made my first dollar working for, uh, I, I suppose working indirectly for my father. Uh, we, I’ve got an interesting story in that. Uh, I, my parents started buying their first dream home. They went out and had an opportunity to purchase the apartment building that we were actually living in. Wow. Um, we were living in a one bedroom apartment. Uh, my parents are immigrants to, to the United States and, um, and it was true, uh, that them living there, they ultimately were able to find, I don’t know how they found this opportunity and, uh, they became landlords and through that, and I worked, uh, I worked for my father, so I guess not that I ever saw a dollar from him. Um, but I, I, I was working for, for him.

Reed Goossens (05:39):

You, you, you understood the value of a dollar, which is probably the better, the better question. How do you first understand the value of dollar through working for your

Van Sturgeon (05:46):

? Oh, uh, absolutely. Uh, I mean that, in that regard, uh, like when you have to, uh, when you under, uh, when you’re working for, when you’re working, uh, and, and you, yeah, you need to be, uh, definitely.

Reed Goossens (05:59):

So with that understanding, or, you know, I guess fluke that your parents bought that property, did that help set the stage for wanting to always be in the real estate game? Did you go off to university and study something else and then come back to real estate later or was always from, from day one, you’ ve been real estate 101.

Van Sturgeon (06:17):

Um, well, I definitely opened my eyes and exposed me to, to, uh, the, to the industry, to the business, but I can’t say that it had a positive, uh, impact because we, uh, we went through some turmoil. My parents went through some tur turmoil in the acquisition of this asset because it happened in the late seventies where, you know, things were all wonderful and rosy and things sort of quickly deteriorated in terms of the economy. Uh, there’s a mass migration of folks from the city of Chicago out in the suburbs and, uh, this lovely, wonderful building that was fully occupied, started to experience 30, 40, 50 percent’s vacancy over a pretty quick period of time. So back, uh, back then the margins or the, the, uh, the FA the ability, the fat associated with purchasing an asset, like that was much larger than it is currently, uh, today’s market.

Van Sturgeon (07:11):

So they’re able to survive even with these vacancies, but it wasn’t a, it wasn’t a positive experience, uh, grow, uh, during that time. So, uh, ultimately what ended up happening was, uh, um, we were able to hold on and we, we did very well. My parents did very well with the, with the acquisition, but I went off to university and, uh, graduated and, uh, with the some aspirations of becoming a lawyer. And then, um, but I, I just couldn’t see myself pushing paper around and ultimately broke the bad news to my parents that day. This is not for me. And I was really intrigued by this whole idea of, uh, becoming a general contractor and working problem solving, uh, and that’s, uh, in that respect. So that’s what got me started, um, sort of in the real estate field, in that I became a general contractor in the late eighties, um, started going around, working my tail off, trying to on the hustle.

Van Sturgeon (08:03):

And ultimately I created a little bit of a portfolio of, of work. And I kept running into these real estate investors who were doing these flips, were doing these value ads and things of that sort. And that’s what really exposed me to real estate investing. And the first property I actually purchased was in 1991, it was an actual flip that I, that I did at that time. And, um, I think it was over a five month period where I was able to buy this, uh, do a pretty, you know, at the time it was a, uh, it was an extensive renovation. I paid a total, I think, around $17,000 in renovating the place I bought the place for around 40,000. Just give you perspective. And, uh, when it’s all said in on, I was able to clear somewhere around $30,000 from that flip, which was a lot of money back then.

Van Sturgeon (08:53):

And in comparison, like there was a lot of good professionals back in that day that were probably making around that same amount of money for a whole year’s worth of work. And I was able to do it in five, uh, five, six months time. So it really exposed me to the power of real estate and got me hooked. So, uh, living in Chicago as grow as I was growing my general contracting business, I also then, uh, started dabbling, uh, into real estate and started to grow, uh, started to do lots more fix and flips and things of that sort and got into, uh, into buying holds. Uh, I was doing a bur strategy wave before there was even a bur uh, to give you perspective. So this is going way back.

Reed Goossens (09:34):

Awesome. Awesome. And where, what has, you’ve obviously clearly had a long history in the real estate game? What has been some of the, you know, sort of jumping fast forward now, what’s looking back, what’s been the biggest lesson you’ve taken away from, from what you’ve been involved with over the years, and what, and I, I do wanna pick apart all your story, cause I think it’s still, you’ve got a lot other gems of it, just, you know, banner on the war, what would be that number one saying that you’d print out?

Van Sturgeon (09:59):

Well, if I really run it out to the 30,000 foot level look down and what I believe folks should be, you know, the younger entrepreneurs out there, younger folks are trying to figure things out. I, I truly believe that, uh, my successes Le, uh, were as a result of me identifying that one gift that I’m really good at and going out there and exploiting that, um, I’m a really good, I, I love construction. I love renovation. I love real estate. And the problem solving associated like many respects. We as real estate investors are problem solvers in that we’re acquiring assets that typically are maligned there’s issues with them. And we’re trying to problem solve, trying to create, uh, some type of a value out of it to be able to then maximize that and terms of, uh, you know, renovations and, and what we do for our investors or for ourselves.

Van Sturgeon (10:48):

So, uh, I, I, one of the things that I take aways I’m hopefully from, uh, that I’ve gotten in my travels through life is that, uh, I really would encourage people to find their, their genius, their gift, and, and use that exploit that oftentimes I find folks that are running out there with their W2 jobs, and they’re not happy and because they’re not doing what they are meant to be. And we all have, I believe that the universe God has placed at least one gift. Some people are fortunate of, of have multiple gifts, but whatever that genius is, whatever that gift is to go out there and exploit it, cuz that’s truly where you find success in financial terms, it’s just a wellbeing. If you’re doing what you truly love and enjoy, you’re naturally good at it. And you find pleasure in it and, uh, you could drive tremendous success from it.

Reed Goossens (11:37):

Oh, I, I, I think that’s so, so true. So powerful, you know, it’s, I don’t wanna say it’s cliche, but so many people have interviewed in this show. Talk about that or do it talk about mindset and talk about finding the one thing that they’re good at, but, you know, with someone who’s such, you know, a depth of experiences as you, I think that it just rings true. You have to find what you’re passionate and you went from being a lawyer to a general contractor to really scratching that itch of curiosity. I think to really then finding what that passion was. Uh, and that’s, you know, what, that’s what we always human beings put on this planet to do is keep, you know, keep being curious, keep finding that, that itch and keep scratching it as we, we get older and older. So as they say, even at 36, what do I wanna do when I get older? I wanna keep, keep being curious. So really

Van Sturgeon (12:19):

To add really, really does, sorry, interrupt to ad like if I were to have taken the road that my parents want, wanted me to, to be a lawyer, I, I don’t think I would’ve been able to survive. And I don’t, I definitely would not have been as happy anywhere near as happy as I am. I I’m really happy in everything that I’ve been able to accomplish in my life and it was just following. And I just utilizing using that gift that, uh, that I’ve been blessed with. And, and this is where I’m at today.

Reed Goossens (12:44):

That’s awesome. That’s freaking awesome. Well, now, now we’re wanting back to the story a little bit. Um, I guess the question comes is, is where, you know, what is, maybe I need to ask what you’re doing today. There let’s do that. Let’s what do you what’s what does today look like? Cause then we can unpack that to get into how you built it to what you’ve built today.

Van Sturgeon (13:04):

Well, right now, um, I’m, I’m semiretired from the day today stuff. I have a number of successful businesses and, and I’ve been fortunate enough to, to help create, uh, through, through the shoulders of employees and also in partnerships. So right now I spend my time earlier in the morning, we hours in the morning, checking in on those things at the 30,000 foot level. And I, and I rely on those folks to, to, to stay on track and, and produce, um, my, my time right now. Uh, reason why I, I, I, I was able to downshift or change course in life was that I had several years ago, a bit of a health scare and it really put my life in perspective. I was, uh, I was, uh, the kind of guy that would jump out of the, out of the house by, at four or five and wouldn’t be home until eight nine. And I did that for a long, long time. And it takes a toll, not only physically, but for the people that we love. Uh, and my family, my wife, I missed birthday parties and weddings and stuff like that. To the point of how crazy and how driven I was. I took, I got married and the following day I closed on a deal and show your wife

Reed Goossens (14:15):


Van Sturgeon (14:15):

Me until a year later. Just give you perspective of how crazy and how passionate I was, uh, in, you know, in my businesses. Uh, so, um, and so right now I spend my time doing these types of things, uh, getting all out the good word about the value of real estate and how it has impacted my life and how it, it can impact anybody who chooses to go down that road. I think it’s the best form of, uh, creating that financial freedom and generational wealth by making that investment in real estate, especially now considering what you’re seeing the carnage out there in the stock market and, and the fear that’s, uh, that’s out there. Hey, if you got a, if you purchase right, and you got a VA, you got a, an asset like real estate, um, you can sleep all at night. You can, you can keep on trucking, whereas folks with, you know, in the stock market and other investment opportunities that are out there, you know, are sweating it out and there’s, and so that’s the reason that’s where my mission in life right now is to get out the good work

Reed Goossens (15:18):

For those of you who are interested in staying up to date with all the latest happenings in my business, or to learn more about passively investing directly into my multi-family value, add deals, then head over to reedgoossens.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter by signing up, you’ll automatically be notified about my new up and coming investment opportunities. You’ll be able to stay up to date with all the latest real estate news here in the United States, and much, much more. So head over to reedgoossens.com and sign up today. Now back into the show, what is, what does the business ecosystem look like? I know I mentioned property management. You, you mentioned you’re semi-retired, you you’re cross you, you keep using the word businesses. What, what are they right now?

Van Sturgeon (16:02):

Well, I, I have a general contracting business still. I still have also have a restoration company that does, uh, commercial work where, uh, for example, if you have a multifamily asset that requires work in the other ground parking garages, and I’m sure you’ve got experiences in there where they’re leaking and balcony repair and things of that sort. Uh, I also have a company that’s dedicated to that. Um, I do also, um, have a custom home side of the, uh, business as well that I do. Um, and on an occasion subtract housing. So sub divisions, if, if they come my come our way and then UN property management, I, all of these things, different FAEs of my businesses, I kind of, uh, fell into as I’d gone along this, this wonderful road of 30 years, uh, like from the general contracting led into starting to real estate.

Van Sturgeon (16:54):

And then from real estate acquired a portfolio properties. And I was using a third party property manager at the time. I got frustrated with them, which is easily easy for me. I got an, a plus kind of personality and I require certain things and I wasn’t getting that. So I said, threw up my hands up in there. I said, you know what, I’m gonna do this on my own Uhhuh . And so I, I put in the team in place and that led to the relationships I had with other, uh, real estate investors who then said, Hey, if you’re why don’t you look after my portfolio properties. And, and that’s how things kind of spiraled. And then as, as things went along, I’ve always been intrigued about building and, and construction. And that’s when I got into new builds, uh, and you know, the house that I’m currently living in, I, I built myself and it was fun.

Van Sturgeon (17:38):

And I had, I don’t think there’s a piece of construction equipment that’s out there that I haven’t been on and fiddle with. And that’s the kind of, that’s, that’s my passions. Those are, yeah. So that’s what, so, so that’s how things Corine of kind of led to one another and have been fortunate in finding partners along the way as well. I can’t say that I’ve done all this alone when I got started long, long time ago, Reed. I, I, I was, uh, the, the syndication kind of model wasn’t really out there. I based my business on the JV side. Yep. Uh, eventually you get to the point where you run outta money so, um, I was able to structure deals, uh, in that regard where folks would come up to me cuz back then we didn’t have the internet. We didn’t have, you know, the closest thing that we had to the internet was the yellow pages.

Van Sturgeon (18:24):

So if you wanted a market, sharessoftware advertise, you had to be in that book, we didn’t have the internet. And so, uh, as a real estate investor, you would get together in these, uh, areas, your network, then there would be, people naturally would come up to me, look at the things that I was doing and say, you know, so, uh, why don’t we partner up so sure, no problem put up all the money and I’ll do all the work. And that’s how I really started to put fuel to the, to the growth behind, um, acquiring the portfolio that I, that I currently have right now. I, I, uh, we’ve kind of slowed down in terms of acquisitions, but I think we’re up to we’re over 12, we’re over 1200 doors right now. That’s and I’m selective. Uh, like I, I can’t say, like, as I mentioned, I’m selective, I’m in four specific markets.

Van Sturgeon (19:10):

I don’t deviate from that. I don’t chase after deals. I don’t chase after markets. Uh, these are markets that I have teams in place that I know very well and cuz of relationships that we’ve established within those markets, I’m privy to a lot of great stuff before it hits the, you know, the, the, the wire. So, um, and that’s again through a number to many years and that’s one of the difficult parts of new investors. And I’m sure it is the same with you, Reed, you have established relationships. So for a new syndicate, for new real estate investors to start do what you’re doing, it’s not easy because you have established relationships with the big boy, five star brokerage firms. They know who you are, and if they come across an opportunity, you’re gonna be the first one that they’re gonna reach out to, to look at.

Van Sturgeon (19:55):

And then if you pass on it, then you, you know, then they start searching for other people. And that’s the, that is the, that, that that’s unfortunately the nature of the business. Um, I, I, I went through this trial. I struggles in trying to get up the pecking order and, and I’ve thankfully I’m at that point where I could look at opportunities, I I’ve come across situations interestingly enough, where I help clients, whether it’s on the single family home side and multi-family all faces the real estate. So folks will come up to me and will need my assistance and help and sure, no problem. That’s what I do. I enjoy it. It fuels my soul to help, uh, help folks in particular, in real estate. And so, uh, one particular instance happened was, uh, uh, a client of mine. It was all excited, sends me an people.

Van Sturgeon (20:38):

I got a multi-family firm, one of those five star operators, Marcus and mil shop. I got a, you know, they, they reached out and I’m looking at this particular listing and, and I’m like, wow, how do I tell ’em that I saw this already three weeks ago had already, you know, already looked at it. And like, this is something that we are passing on, but then, you know, being in the same market, these folks, you know, gotta knock on the door saying, here’s your opportunity. Look at this deal, but it’s a deal that didn’t make sense for me. And obviously now is being passed on to somebody else to cuz at the end of the day, real estate brokers need to sell, you know, they need to sell. So yeah. Anyways, I dunno how we got on that tangent, but uh, that’s

Reed Goossens (21:18):

That’s no, it it’s, it’s fantastic. It’s, it’s so many good nuggets there. I think what I want to quickly circle back to is, and a lot of people in the show, I, I like will estate is, you know, you’re right. It’s a, it’s the foundation for creating wealth. But what I hear in your story, what I hear in a lot of people’s story on this show is the, actually the building of the ecosystem, the general contracting, combined with the deals combined with the property management combined with the even maybe brokerage at some point all starts to feed each other. And that that in itself is really where like you nearly become your own Amazon of your own businesses, right? You, you, you’re doing the soup to nuts. You’re figuring it out. You’re getting frustrated with third party vendors. And I know in my growth, I get the same thing.

Reed Goossens (22:00):

I’m, I’m, I’m at a stage now with, you know, three and a half thousand units that I’m like, do I need to bring property management into house? I’m not like kind of liking certain things in the business. I need to control a little bit more and, and, and opportunities start to present themselves. And that is really where it’s an exponential curve in terms of growth, because it’s just, it’s, it’s perpetuating and feeding each other 1, 1, 1, 1 piece. You can keep it all in house more. So I can, I just wanted to, to touch on that. And, and again, so many people who been listening to this show for a long period of time, you know, that I, I, I love ecosystems and businesses. I think that is, I think that is probably when you say you are, you’re curious about something. I think you’re bus, you’re curious about building that business because it helps business a that helps business B that helps business C and it keeps on, it keeps on snowballing.

Van Sturgeon (22:42):

Absolutely. And I, to I’m glad you, uh, have experienced, uh, what I have gone through in my life. And it gets to the point where you start looking at how to create more efficiencies, create more processes and system to implement. And part of that is the branch off. And, and we are entrepreneurs mm-hmm , we are excited by the thrill of the chiefs by creating, by working it by achieving, you know, uh, hitting goals and, and being able to create more goals. And, and that part of that is that expansion of moving on into other areas. So property manager for Mo for me, was the natural extension of it. Why, why ha, why wouldn’t I bring that inhouse? And again, I, my situation is, uh, might be different from others in that my portfolio properties are concentrated in certain areas. And so I I’m able to do that, whereas with a lot of syndicators out there, I’m not sure which your cases, but a lot of indicators have, have a difficult time in doing that because their properties are all over all over north America in some cases. So, right. Uh, so anyways, you understand the, the, the, the, I totally agree with, uh, with what you said,

Reed Goossens (23:46):

Uh, I want to touch a little bit on, you mentioned four markets. What are those four markets you currently focused on or have been focused on? Uh, historically,

Van Sturgeon (23:52):

Well, I, I got, when I got started, my, my, the four, the markets that I concentrated on originally were, I, I, I, a big fan, uh, proponent of cash flow before we started moving into markets that are on a, that start that are more prone for appreciation. So I, I, uh, working class C class kind of buildings, the 40, 50, 60 unit was my bread and butter, and that’s how I create portfolio. And ultimately then, uh, ladder, once I’ve established that base, then I moved into more higher appreciating area. So, uh, I’ve got, uh, I’ve got assets in, uh, the Detroit and in Cleveland area. And then I also have things in Tampa, Florida as an example. So that is an area that’s more, uh, definitely is of a, an appreciation play versus a cash flow. I always encourage folks, um, that when they’re getting into real estate is I just had a potential client come reach out to me, they’re struggling.

Van Sturgeon (24:48):

They are in Los Angeles and they’re looking to get started in real estate. And it’s really hard when you’re coming from a market like that, of LA, where you, the average single family home prices is $800,000 or something like that. It’s hard to get started in real estate investing when you’re up at that kind of threshold. And there’s several markets across north America that are, that are like that. And so it’s great if you’ve established cash flow, to be able to then transition into an asset like that, where you’re gonna see tremendous appreciation, but in the beginning of your journey as a real estate investor, I strongly encourage you to go into markets and you, you might have to drive through or four or five hours. You might have to go even further than that, depending on where you’re located. Identifying those areas that are able to generate cash flow is the, is the place of where she starts your journey.

Van Sturgeon (25:37):

You can sleep all at night, and then once you’ve been able to create that portfolio generate, then you can move on into areas that really Tru create wealth. Like when you buy a property, I’ve seen tremendous growth from things. And I, I kicked myself. I, I I’ve, I’ve looked at properties, I’ve sole properties in these high appreciating areas. You one give your perspective. One, I actually talked about on, uh, on a video on Instagram, tick TikTok, and the thing is blowing up to be to go on what these kids call viral. It’s I think I like two and a half, 3 million people that viewed it. And it was really an honest, uh, what happened in 2001. I purchased this 48 unit. I think it was, yeah. Uh, building for 4.7 million did a little renovation. And in 2007 at a cusp, I started getting a little, uh, storm clouds, Ari, uh, on a horizon. And I thought, okay, maybe I should cash out. I did. I made, I sold it for seven and a half million. And I did really well on it, but that same asset. And if I had to haul out to it is worth probably 18 20 million, but who had the foresight reed be to get into that, right?

Reed Goossens (26:43):

No, I completely agree with you. I, I, I, I it’s, it’s so many things in what you’ve just said there, uh, resonate with me in terms of when I got started. So when I first moved to this country, living New York city couldn’t afford New York city, where could I afford Syracuse, New York, right? Yep. 38,000 bucks. That’s what I could afford. I remember getting on the Greyhound bus from Penn station traveling up there, cause it was four hours, couple hours being driven around by a broker four hours back enough time to have some beers with the boys in the pub. Right. And it, it it’s what I could afford. It’s it’s I had it, I’d only saved about 30 or $40,000. And it was like, I can’t no one’s lending to me. I’m fresh off the boat. I’m from Australia. I’m this foreign guy. Don’t even know what the fricking hell, you know, a credit score is.

Reed Goossens (27:23):

Um, but, but, but you, you are right. You start in markets where they cash flow and that’s because the barriers to entry are probably a little lower, right? You don’t have super amounts of growth. Now I know in my last 10 years about living here, I’m now like a place like Austin, Texas, right? I’ve been investing in Austin since 2015. Well, I’ve just exited a bunch of deals out there. And Austin has completely become like a tier, like has become a high appreciation market, right? It’s a, it’s a classic go from secondary to primary market. And, and I live in Los Angeles for example. So I’m, this house I’m living in. I bought it in C. Right. So now I’m, I’m sitting pretty nice with a little bit of, uh, a little bit of equity, but I hear exactly what you’re saying. You’ve gotta get started where it makes sense for, for, for the investors, you know, where, where your money’s gonna, you know, maximize and like me, like you like many people listening to the show, you gotta go where you can afford it. And that typically will be your more cash flowing markets where you may not have as higher appreciation, but the barriers entry are a lot, lot lower. So you mentioned, I think you said Cleveland, Tampa, where are you based? Actually right now, I didn’t even ask. Where, where, where are you coming from?

Van Sturgeon (28:26):

I, I, I spent half of my time up in Toronto, Canada. Uh, uh, I got a lot of family and my wife, uh, is Canadian. And, uh, so we got a lot of family up here. So I spent half my time, typically the warmer months, uh, up here. And then I had over, down to Florida during the wintertime. Um, so that’s what I do. So I’m, uh, uh, uh, I’m a bit transient and I’m looking at doing something else, uh, purchasing perhaps another, uh, home maybe in Europe and be able to spend some time over there too. Um, lovely. So one of the beautiful things about this whole technology with the zoom thing, like what we’re doing right now is truly, totally revolutionize our ability to be able to reach out and connect with people. Like I have currently clients that are, you know, places like, uh, New Jersey and in Florida and in, uh, Kentucky. And I’m able to, they have me put on, uh, their phone and I’m actually pretty much side by side with them as I’m looking at their asset and trying to determine issues and questions that they might have and stuff like that. It’s, it’s a game changer. It’s phenomenal. So I’m able to do and reach out and help people anywhere in north America, in the confines of my little house, anywhere my house could be anywhere. And it’s, it’s amazing. Uh, it’s amazing what technology has done.

Reed Goossens (29:44):

No, it, it completely is. And, and first and foremost, hello to all our north American Canadian, uh, listeners. I know we have a few fair few of ’em. I was actually in Vancouver, myself just recently visiting some good family, friends, um, who actually

Van Sturgeon (29:56):

Read huge appreciating area by the way,

Reed Goossens (29:59):

DEP appreciation market, crazy

Van Sturgeon (30:00):

Toronto, crazy. Uh, just like the LA’s and the phoenixes of the world. Crazy. Crazy.

Reed Goossens (30:06):

Yep. Well, I will say when I compare from my home country, Canada and the us Canada is the hybrid between the us and Australia. So Australia doesn’t have multifamily like we do here in the us. It just won’t get into it. Cost of housing, all that sort of stuff. But you know, Canada and Australia are still part of the Commonwealth, but you still get some more on the multi, larger multifamily stuff in, in Canada. And your lending practices are just a little bit, you know, you have more people, so you, you sort of being nor a neighbor to America, you, you just sort of things permeate up there that that may not permeate as much in Australia. So when I, when I compare everything, when I say I come from Australia, Australia’s on one in America’s on the other Canada’s right in the middle when there’s a, the, the baby between the two of them.

Reed Goossens (30:44):

So, um, awesome, awesome stuff. What are you seeing now in today’s market? We’ve, we’ve obviously had huge changes. We’re sitting here on June, June 16th, the, the, the feds increasing interest rates to, you know, ease, um, you know, to offset the quantitative easing and the, the inflation that we’re seeing. What is your crystal ball being involved? And you you’ve been involved since the, the early nineties. What are you seeing right now? Where, where do you think we’re headed in terms of, um, you know, are we heading to recession? Are we headed into a major real estate crash? Are we not, do we keep, you know, doing what we’re doing and, and buckling down?

Van Sturgeon (31:15):

Oh, there’s so many diff uh, I get this question asked so often from clients and from podcast appearances I’ve been on. And so, uh, I will try to unravel this as quickly and as best as I can, first and foremost, I don’t have a crystal ball. I’ll put my, I’ll give you my 2 cents worth. But before I get to that point, though, uh, uh, real estate, the beautiful part about real estate is that we are always, uh, I there’s two pillars that I believe a successful real estate investor needs to stand on. One is to find a fabulous off market, great deal. The second, uh, pillar of that is to find an op, uh, is that whatever opportunity you are able to acquire, you gotta do some type of a value, add renovation to, to be able to do something successfully with it. And I can, uh, you can’t work one without the other.

Van Sturgeon (32:04):

I can give you a great deal and you can screw it up on a renovation by choosing a back contractor over, renovating all that stuff. And I, you can take a great, uh, you can take a horrible deal and do a fabulous renovation value at whatever, and you still end up screwing it up. So those are the two pillars that successful real estate investors should bank on. So even in this day, even in this tumultuous time that we’re in, there are opportunities that still exist today in particular right now, Reed. And I’m sure you see it there’s fear out there. Mm-hmm . And my grandmother told me the way to catch fish is in muddy waters, not in clear waters. Mm. And so now that there’s all this interest rate hula and then inflation and the economy and recessions, and, you know, these Bitcoin people are scaring everybody and all that kind of stuff.

Van Sturgeon (32:52):

Um, there’s opportunities out there in real estate, and there’s always opportunities in real estate, no matter what, you know, I want to dumb it down to like the single family home site, just keep the perspective and is applicable to multi-family as well. There are opportunities out there in every market and cash flowing markets and appreciating markets. I don’t know the neighbor across the street that is going to a marital problem, or the house five doors down that, you know, somebody passed away and they’re checking, looking to sell their assets, collect on an inheritance. There’s so many opportunities out there every single day. We just gotta go out there and work it and find them with regards to the overall economy and where direction is real estate market is the most stable asset, uh, that you can, uh, that you can be invested in. Uh, and, and the reason why I say that the only area at that time in my life that I saw this major blip downwards was in oh 809, which is historic.

Van Sturgeon (33:47):

And, but if you look at other downturns in the real estate that co uh, in serious estate market, there’s just things that’ll slip down a little bit and sort of lie it around. They won’t appreciate, they won’t grow up down. They kind of, and then all of a start take off, there’s only an oh 809, where we have something Georgia disastrous the, uh, we need housing and people need to live somewhere. And I don’t see that with interest rates going where they’re going. All I can see is that valuations on properties, cuz there’s so much money floating around that the government printed out and handed out all over the place. All I see is real estate going up as an asset class and with interest rates, unfortunately, because of all this money that’s sloshing around, not only in the United States or around the world, there’s a limit to how far interest rates can go.

Van Sturgeon (34:32):

They can’t go back where I got started. Well, not back what my parents got started in 79, 80 interest rates had gone all the way up to 18, something percent. You could have bought property with a credit card. we’re not gonna see that happening anytime soon. And the reason for that is there’s so much debt that the federal governments around the world have accumulated that an interest rate that go up that high would be catastrophic government’s revenues couldn’t possibly pay any of that down. So there’s going to be a cap how far this is gonna go. I think my crystal ball, uh, forecast of what’s happening right now, what’s going to happen is that we are in a recession already. Mm-hmm really weird. One in that the economy is overheated. Uh, we, uh, I’ve got a friends of mine who own factories and businesses that can’t find employees and that all these combined things are leading to our recession.

Van Sturgeon (35:23):

If we’re not already in one. So this, you know, I see we will see a couple of more interest rate hikes and which I believe will stop by the end of this year, beginning of next and things will calm down and they need to calm down. We’re really in a very precarious situation. And I’m glad to see, I’m happy to see that the federal reserve board was proactive much more than what they were, you know, month or two ago. Um, the market has already spoken. If you look at the 30 year and tenure, anyways, that interest rates need to be hacked up. And eventually they’re gonna, we’re gonna hit a stable point, that things will start to the economy will slow down and then we’ll transition into growth. And we wanna be, uh, we wanna get into that whole period of time because it’s not healthy one direction or the other. And I think we’re moving toward that. I’m hoping so

Reed Goossens (36:10):

Love it, love it. No. And the only other thing I’ll add there is, and which is interesting about what you mentioned before, and you said it before, which was really key. And if you didn’t pick up people, every country around the world’s having the same problem, I was just in Australia, the federal equivalent of the fed in Australia’s raised a cash rate, one of the highest it’s done in 15 years in the Australian history, same happening in Europe, same happening in Mexico, same happen in Canada. We all had the same problem with the, this COVID 2008 was an American problem that percolated around the world today. We’re all the same starting block. We’re all trying to figure out the same thing. Right? My only hesitation, I don’t know, not even hesitation. I don’t know how you solve for those factories, getting those workers back into, to work.

Reed Goossens (36:51):

Right? Yeah. I, I, I don’t know how, you know, again, unemployment in Australia is people got signs up in the local cafes and we need help. We need help. It’s same here in, in, in America and probably in Canada. Same thing. I, I don’t know how the workforce you just solve for that instantly. I, I, I don’t know, rising interest rates. I don’t know what that fixed. I’d love. Do you have any 2 cents on that before we close out the podcast on just your interest rates will slow down. You can, you can jam interest rates, you can stop liquidity. I get that. And it’s a really prudent way for economies to slow growth, but supply chain and employment. How do you, how do you that doesn’t no one government can fix that instantly. And it seems to be a problem across the globe.

Van Sturgeon (37:33):

I, I, it is. And unfortunately, uh, the problem is not that there, we don’t have enough bodies out there to fill these positions is that, uh, federal governments all around the world have made it to the point where it’s easy for folks to make a decision to stay and sit and not go out to work. And if there is, uh, uh, and I think there will be, and we’ll see, I think there’s gonna be a day of reckoning associated with that, where there’s gonna have to be some drastic cutbacks in government spending. And ultimately that will result in people having to go back into the workforce. I, I, I think that’s the only solution. It’s not an American problem. It’s a, it’s a Western democratic, continental capitalist problem. We’re right across the board. We’ve built a social net to the point where, uh, we can’t allow anybody to fail. We can’t allow anybody to, uh, but we need to create some accountability with regards to that. And I think that’s the only solution be, uh, whether we’re gonna have the political will to get to that point. We’ll see. Uh,

Reed Goossens (38:29):

Well, that’s the other thing you gotta, you gotta add in there is there’s gonna be a, there’s gonna be an election cycle coming around at some point, you know, that, that always seems to, oh, you know, regardless of what side of the political speed you, you’re gonna, someone’s gonna bang on a drum somewhere. Uh, the other thing I, I know, and I don’t, if you, you read this stat, there was, and I, I know, I just know from personally like my dad, for example, with the crazy growth of the superannu way, it’s called superannuation Australia. But, but the IRAs here, there’s a lot of people in COVID and I don’t know how much we’re talking about this, but I know there’s been some reports out there. And, and I don’t know the statistic between someone who’s just been a dull blogger and someone who’s just, you know, left the workforce, but there’s a lot of people that left the workforce in that 50 to 60 age range, because they’s, they’re like, why would I go back?

Reed Goossens (39:11):

I don’t wanna risk myself. I saw a stat of 5 million. I don’t know if that’s even correct. I got no idea, but it’s interesting to think on that spectrum where you’ve got these experienced workers leaving the workforce because their, their savings have gone up because the stock market did really well. Well, I don’t know if this change in the stock market, across the global force them to come back and if they will be even employed, but on the other side of the spectrum, how do you replace those people with unskilled labor? You know what I mean? So it’s like, there’s that element as well, which is this, I just know that cause my dad retired in, in COVID cuz he’s fricking superannuation and went through the roof, you know, like, so you have these experienced people who are at the end of their career and like, well it. I’m not going, I’m not going back. You know, why would I go back? You know, it just, those are

Van Sturgeon (39:53):

The people reed, but those are the people that are, uh, are in an organization the most valuable because they bond through it. That’s and you need them to 56 year olds. That’s, you know, old FOS like me, who’s 56 years old, you know, the wealths of experience and stuff like that. You can’t run off into YouTube land or read a book on

Reed Goossens (40:09):

Or, or get someone 18 years out of university.

Van Sturgeon (40:12):

And those people are important to the economy. Yeah,

Reed Goossens (40:13):

Exactly. You can’t replace a 56 year old with 30 years experience with an 18 year old. So there’s, there is that, there’s that interesting. And I, again, I’m not, it’s not a, it wasn’t a, a, a counter to your argument of, of, of the doll bludgers or you, whatever. But it just was an interesting, I read an article probably six or seven months ago. That was like, that’s a, that’s a good point. How do you, how do you replace skilled workforce if people have exited the workforce because they just like stuff, it I’m in my old, you know, whatever I don’t wanna get COVID I wanna fricking, you know, so it’s, uh, it’s an interesting time to say the least and I I’m I’m I’m I, but a hundred percent agree with you that there’s opportunities in every single market and you have to be active one, right?

Reed Goossens (40:58):

You’ve gotta continue looking at deals because you hanging around the hoop long enough, something will fall off and you’ll get a rebound. Even with those bigger brokers. Trust me, I’m getting calls from brokers. Like who the hell is this? You’re calling me now. you wouldn’t pick up my phone call six months ago. So I completely agree with you. Um, just to wrap up the show, where do you see, what, what what’s the sort of next year, three years have in store for you personally and professionally, as, you know, as you sort of in, you know, drift off into sunset in terms of, uh semi-retirement

Van Sturgeon (41:26):

I I’m really, uh, I, I, I’m developing, uh, I’m developing these outreaches, uh, to be able to get the good word out of our real estate investing in particular on that renovation value, add a fee. I think it’s a particular, uh, topic that isn’t really discussed by these real estate gurus that are out there talking about how wonderful it is to, you know, acquire a property. I’m talking more so in the single family, uh, space, and really not a lot of focus is placed on that whole, how to plan and manage a successful renovation rehab to an asset. Um, and, and that’s where I, I, I think that’s where my calling is. And I see a void in the marketplace and that’s where I’m over there, pounding the drums to, to get as much information, good content out there with regards to that HGTV and the Hollywoods of the world, make it so wonderful to grab a house and flip it in 30 minutes, uh, the house is done and they go kind of bypass or fast forward, a whole prospecting of finding contractors and being able to find good quality ones, keeping them accountable, making sure that, you know, the deposits are given that they don’t skip out on you and all that wonderful stuff.

Van Sturgeon (42:32):

The HG TV, Hollywood kind of bypasses that, oh, they show this beautiful wall that comes down, you know, demo the wall and Huray, but nobody, you know, then the pan, the cameras pan away from that drop wall. And they don’t talk about all the dust that went up in the air and all those millions of pieces that somebody’s gotta pick up and take out to the dumpster, that kind of stuff. So I’m out there talking, uh, talking about it. And, uh, I, I, and I, and I, and I hopefully I’m delivering tremendous value to people, uh, with regards to that, especially new real estate investors who are struggling, uh, to try to get the, you know, take the next step. And ultimately at the end of the day, no matter what fashion you get involved in real estate, you should get involved in real estate. It should be a huge percentage of your overall portfolio. Some of it should be placed in assets like stock market and stuff like that. But I think the dramatic, uh, uh, a percentage of that should be placed in real estate. And if you can’t do it on your own, there are some great, wonderful people that you read, who does the fabulous jobs of taking the, taking their dollars and putting it to work and doing really well with it and phenomenal returns that you’re returning that you’re giving to investors.

Reed Goossens (43:37):

Love it, mate. Absolutely love it. Well, look at the end of every show, we’d like to dive into the top five lightning round tips. Are you ready to get into it?

Van Sturgeon (43:44):

I’m scared, but I’ll do the best that I can.

Reed Goossens (43:46):

question number one is what is a daily habit you practice to keep on track towards your goals?

Van Sturgeon (43:52):

Uh, I go for a daily walk and I find that these walks, whether it’s, uh, uh, I dunno, depending on between, anywhere from a 30 minutes or an hour, really kind of resets me, gives you an opportunity to kind of reduce some reflection, people, uh, people go into the meditation thing. I’m more, I’m a, I’m a Walker,

Reed Goossens (44:08):

You’re a Walker. Love it. Question number two is, uh, what has been, or who has been the most influential person in your career to date,

Van Sturgeon (44:17):

Uh, to be aside from my parents, which would be the easy kind of, uh, answer to your question. Uh, I, I will tell you that there was one particular gentleman United in Chicago that, uh, I was able to get some mentorship from that really put me on the track to where I’ve enjoyed the, the successes. Um, I’m a huge proponent of mentorship, uh, going to people who have already done it and soliciting their, uh, help and assistance. And it’ll cost you money, perhaps even a lot of money, which in my case, it did, but it was, it it’s an akin to the analogy I use to learning how to play the guitar. You can go on YouTube and you can read a bunch of books and try to figure it out in a couple years. Maybe you might learn how to play the thing, or you hire a guitar teacher, sister side sits right beside you and goes you through the whole motions and making sure that you’re doing it properly. I think that’s a much better way to go. So in my regard, uh, that mentor in Chicago was the one that made the most profound impact.

Reed Goossens (45:14):

I love it. Love it. Question number three is in your real estate business, what is the number one tool that you use? We wanna say tool that could be a physical tool, like a phone or a journal, or it could be, um, a piece of software that you just can’t run the business without. What is it?

Van Sturgeon (45:28):

I, I I’m, I, what I suggest to lots of folks when they get started in real estate, I, I, I, I’d not, I I’d like to touch on this is that you needed to get into systems and processes associated with you being a serious real estate investor. And part of that is getting into a co into a client resource management CRM system where any outreaches you’re making. And I know you’re doing it Reed, when you’re reaching out to a new real estate agent to mortgage broker, to investors, whatever you input, that information, you make notes of that conversation. And then you get into a habit that continuously maintain that relationship, or a little arm brow goes off every two weeks, three weeks month, whatever, to, you know, go back to that contact and reach out to them and have that conversation. This is a, every business is a personal, you gotta create relationships. If I like you reading you like me, we will do business, but you gotta create that relationship. And that’s one of the things that I’m a proponent on that we use in our business extensively is CRM systems. And that’s what I encourage, uh, your listeners to get involved in, uh, as well.

Reed Goossens (46:32):

Love it, mate, look, last question here is where do people reach you to continue the conversation they wanna be in your sphere? Where do they go?

Van Sturgeon (46:38):

I’m a real, I I’m all over the place. Uh, I I’m really, I’ve started to get really active on Instagram and TikTok van sturgeon look me up. Uh, there’s a lot of great content I’m putting out there and post and videos. And, and if you really wanna reach out to me, that’s one place. Also. I have my website, van sturgeon.com. Um, it’s, uh, it’s a place where I’ve got a bunch of podcast appearances I’ve been on as well as articles and things of that nature that I’ve, uh, that have been, uh, printed. And it’s a place where you can get some information. So if you need any help with regards to real estate investing by all means, reach out to me. I’d love to be able to, um, help you.

Reed Goossens (47:18):

Awesome, mate. Well, look, wanna thank you so much for jumping on today’s show. I just wanna reflect some of the things that I took away from today’s show. I think, you know, you’re crazily passionate about what you do. You have been, you’ve still got that passion today. I can definitely feel it coming through the camera right now. Um, and just your, your, your, your sheer experience and, and just be able to sit here and tell us, you know, all our, all us youngsters, including myself, you know, how, how to go out and, and, and have that one thing and be curious and scratch it and, and keep, keep on learning. I do love, and I will always go back to the, the, the business E ecosystems that you’ve created and now coming full cycle into, you know, our conversations in and around the economy and how you see that playing out. But, but still investing in the fundamentals of real estate and still knowing how to make money in every single cycle, not just the up cycles, not just the down cycles, but in every single cycle. So to deliver anything out.

Van Sturgeon (48:06):

Oh, I, I love the fact that we had this wonderful conversation. You you’ve nailed it on the head with, with regards and, uh, you’re a smart guy. Really appreciate the viewpoint that you brought to, uh, with regards to, you know, that older generation like me and how it relates to what’s going on in the economy. It’s an excellent, excellent point that I never thought about. And just goes to show you how smart of a guy you are.

Reed Goossens (48:26):

just, just trying to learn from other people, my friend. But look again, I wanna thank you so much for jumping on the show. Enjoy the rest of your week and we’ll catch up very, very soon. Thank

Van Sturgeon (48:34):

You very much for having me and the same to you.

Reed Goossens (48:36):

Well, then you have another cracking episode JAK with some incredible advice from van. Remember jump out van sturgeon.com that STURGEON.com. Checking out on Instagram and TikTok. I wanna thank you all again for taking some time outta your day to tune in, to continue to grow your financial IQ. If you do like this show, the easiest way to give back is to give it a five star review on iTunes. You can head over to my website and all the links from today’s show will be up there on Reedgoossens.com. Don’t remember, or don’t forget to share this show with your friends. If you want to get the voice out and we’re gonna do it all again next week, remember be bold, be brave, and go give life a crack.