RG 342 – From Professional Rugby Player to Multifamily Syndicator – w/ John Van Der Giessen

RG 342 - From Rugby Player to Multifamily Syndicator

If you’re a rugby fan like me, you’re going to love this week’s episode. Let’s listen to how John Van Der Giessen, a former professional rugby player for the USA Eagles, went from a pro athlete to a real estate entrepreneur.

John Van Der Giessen is a former rugby union player with a successful 15-year career under his belt. He represented the United States as captain of the USA Eagles in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup, etching his name into US rugby history.

John traveled the world to learn the sport and spent more than a decade building his career as a remarkable athlete. But just like all other athletes, his time to chase another goal came. Today, John is a successful real estate executive and Partner at REM Capital.

John and his multi-talented team now have over $300 million in total assets under management, more than 3,400 units, and $1.5 billion managed by group leadership. While his success as a real estate investor rings clear today, the transition from an international professional athlete to an entrepreneur wasn’t easy.

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

Key Takeaways

  • Keep your body moving; do something every day.
  • Planting seeds ahead of time can ease the transition from one career to another.
  • You have to keep bringing value to your investors to maintain your momentum, but investors can appreciate you taking a break and explaining to them why.
  • Building an effective team is about creating a healthy, supportive work culture.
  • Forming a talented, efficient team is much like sport—attracting and keeping talent and helping them become the best.
  • Lack of engagement is one of the biggest downfalls in any industry.
  • Set clear expectations with your partners to avoid miscommunications down the road.



Listen to Podcast

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,

John Van Der Giessen (00:40):

There was always somebody out there that was bigger, faster, stronger, and had, uh, a higher rugby IQ than me. Mm-hmm. , and I still find that in business today, Reid. And it doesn’t matter when you have the mindset that you’re gonna outwork somebody. Hmm. And that’s, that’s really what I attribute a lot of my success to. I was willing to say yes and keep going when other people that were, you know, more gifted than me, um, didn’t want to, they didn’t want it.

Speaker 3 (01:20):

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 Reid as he interviews go-getters, 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 (01:40):

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, Debbie with us on the show. Now. I’m glad that you’ve all tuned into it. Learned 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 (02:27):

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 there’s absolutely no BS on this show, just straight into the nuts and bolts. 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 reid goons.com, click on the video link, and it’ll take you to the video recordings of these podcasts where 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 in into today’s show.

Reed Goossens (03:13):

Today on the show, I have the pleasure of chatting with John Van Der Giessen. John grow up in rural Idaho, but surprisingly enough, he discovered the world of Rugby Union at the age of 19. He brought a one-way ticket to Australia in 2003, and he played at the University of Queensland, which in fact is the university that I went to. So go the Red Heavies, and anyone who’s listening from uq. And then in 2003, he watched the Rugby World Cup. And through some kindness and a lot of hard work and saying yes to a ton of opportunities, John went on to travel the world whilst playing professional rugby in the English Premier League, the top 14 league, and represented the US National team at two Rugby World Cups. Just to let you all know, if you dunno, I’m a rugby fan. I think you should, should do by now, after listening to this show for seven years.

Reed Goossens (03:56):

But I’m a massive rugby nut. I also played for the Red. He is not as good as John, but it’s awesome to have him here on the show today. John is now focused full-time on real estate investing. He’s a partner at REM Capital. It’s a growing real estate investment firm with over 4,000 units through seven states here in the us and they’ve vertically integrated with property management in-house. I’m really pumped and excited to have him on the show today to share he’s incredible knowledge, but enough outta me. Let’s get him out here. Goodday. John, welcome to the show. How you doing today, mate?

John Van Der Giessen (04:23):

Reid? Couldn’t be happier. And this has been a long time coming. We’ve been chatting for a while and um, I’m excited to talk to you today.

Reed Goossens (04:29):

Yeah, no, and the, uh, mate, not only am a I’m a fanboy of you. Uh, you know, just the fact that you’ve been to a rugby World Cup and a profession ex-professional rugby player, being a huge rugby nut myself. And I still watch all the highlights of premiership, even though I don’t follow the Premiership, but I still watch the highlights of, you know, top 14, the super rugby. And I’m, I’m, I’m, you know, if you go on my YouTube channel, it’s surfing and rugby. You know, that’s, that’s, that’s what the, uh, those, you know, those little bots online are just, Hey, Reid, have you seen this, this surfing video? Have you seen this, uh, this rugby video? So a huge rugby nut man. It’s awesome to have someone on, uh, on the show that’s an ex-professional rugby player. Actually interviewed the gentleman, um, and I’m gonna stuff up his name, but he was the founder of the Austin Elites. His brother was Austin Elite, David, um, oh my gosh, the head of Keller Williams. And I’m gonna really David Osborne and, uh, head of, uh, GoBundance, his brother, uh, was, is the founder of Wars, used to be the founder of Austin Elite, which was that first professional rugby team, you know, iteration. I know Austin’s had a few iterations now, but, um, but mate, I want to get into it. Rewind the clock and tell me how you made your first ever dollar as a kid.

John Van Der Giessen (05:36):

Yeah, so like I mentioned, uh, you know, rural Idaho, uh, my, my family from the Netherlands kind of came over to, uh, Illinois and had a bunch of farm ground over there. And then my dad decided to head over to Idaho and start something out there in agriculture in the seventies. And so, uh, my first dollar as a kid, um, I made $20, um, picking rocks out of a a potato field, which is gonna be funny for some, uh, American listeners, because that’s what they associate Idaho with, is great potatoes. So, uh, yeah, I, I worked the entire weekend, uh, picking up rocks and, and loading them into a, a, a front loader to get off the field before planting. And, uh, I, looking back, um, that was slave labor Reid, but man, it was awesome. , that first 20 felt really good, even though, uh, I think you got a good deal outta me.

Reed Goossens (06:29):

No, I, I, I, I, I remember, um, doing something similar back in the day. Like they’re sort of those hard labor jobs, uh, um, in Australia, the cotton farms, you gotta get rid of weeds and you chip the chip the weeds out and, um, for prep of, of cotton farms, and it’s just back breaking work, you know, eight, nine hours in the sun. And it’s, uh, it, it, you know, you go to university for a reason. You know, you, you realize that physical labor is not, you know, wasn’t for me. But it’s a good lesson to learn how to, to graft for a, uh, for, for a dollar to, to make sure that you understand the value of a dollar.

John Van Der Giessen (07:03):

A hundred percent. I, I agree with you, Reid. I, what I like to think of is, you know, that that kind of taught me, uh, work ethic and mm-hmm. persistence and consistency. Um, but then it also taught me, you can look at things in a couple of ways. You can look at things as, uh, you know, carrying buckets every day, day in, day out. Or you can look at it as, you know, how am I going to be building pipelines mm-hmm. and, uh, that really transferred for me in, in business.

Reed Goossens (07:29):

Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Well, I wanna transfer a little bit before we get into the business, to the rugby. So yeah, walk the listeners through the, the, the backstory there of, of discovering rugby, because in the intro, in the intro, I said, A kid from Idaho, you know, rugby probably you don’t think of Idaho on the map of rugby in the world, and think that’s where the, you know, international players are gonna come from. But, but, but how did you get into it?

John Van Der Giessen (07:50):

Yeah, no, I, I appreciate that. And, and you know, as a funny story, because I had a really leg growth spurt, Reid, and I’m actually really thankful, even though, you know, it’s tough when your friends in high school are grown men and, and you’re still a child. Uh, but I’m thankful that that took place because I think that if I would’ve grown when everybody else did that, I probably would’ve went on to kind of a typical, you know, playing collegiate sports sort of a scenario, maybe football, basketball, something like that. And then, you know, got done and, and found a job and along my merry way, right. But because I was such a small kid, I mean, my first driver’s license said five seven, a hundred twenty five pounds

Reed Goossens (08:30):


John Van Der Giessen (08:31):

So, you know, I, I showed up to college and I was just kind of getting into my own and, and starting to put on a little size. And, uh, I was like, man, I really wanna play something. And, and a friend of mine from, uh, from uh, uh, Alaska shout out to Brian, he said, well, bud, you should come and play rugby. And I said, what’s that? I’d never heard of the word. Hmm. And so then I showed up for the Tuesday Thursday training, played on the weekend, uh, and it was a tournament. So I actually had multiple games and did everything wrong, Reid , and then, uh, absolutely loved it. And then went back to the computer lab back when they had computer labs and did some research. And found out next year, you know, heads up there was a, a Rugby World Cup. It was every four years, huge sporting event.

John Van Der Giessen (09:15):

And I said, you know, I need to be a part of that. So we bought that one way ticket to, to, uh, oz, uh, via Sydney, which funny enough on the map, uh, Sydney’s only like two inches away from Brisbane, but man, that’s a big space that I had to figure out how to get up to, uh, hitchhiking and whatever else. So, massive learning experience and really an appreciation about just the world in general and, and, you know, more appreciation for where I came from too. So, uh, really cool experience. And, and then after that, you know, it was just a series of, of people, you know, kindly opening doors that didn’t have to Hmm. Uh, which has been in business for me as well, funny enough. And I try to do the same with people opening up doors for them, uh, when I, when I really don’t have to, uh, and giving that person that puts their hand up an opportunity. And that literally just snowballed into another club in another country. And then finally getting on the u s a radar and then getting a, uh, an agent and starting to get a couple of contracts and, and some World Cup looks. So it was a wild 10 years now.

Reed Goossens (10:16):

That’s awesome. And 10 years of professionalism. Like, so that’s, that’s a long time to be in a professional swap give, given the fact, you know, you’d be coming into a sport. It’s like me trying to pick up, or Ozzies trying to pick up NFL when you don’t have those micro skills of playing backyard footy with your brother or your sisters and your mates, you know, the, the offloads and the, just the, the nuances of it, it would’ve been a real steep learning curve to, to come in, you know, particularly sounds like you were in your late teens anyway. Yeah. To pick it up from scratch. So clearly you would’ve had just a natural athletic ability that attracted someone to say, Hey, this, this guy’s got something here. Let’s, let’s, let’s, you know, Coco let’s to nurture him into being a professional athlete. Yeah.

John Van Der Giessen (10:56):

And you know what, Reid, I think just to relate to the folks that maybe aren’t sports people, there was always somebody out there that was bigger, faster, stronger, and had, uh, a higher rugby IQ than me. Mm-hmm. . And I still find that in business today, Reid. And it doesn’t matter when you have the mindset that you’re gonna outwork somebody.

Reed Goossens (11:16):


John Van Der Giessen (11:18):

And that’s, that’s really what I attribute a lot of my success to. I was willing to say yes and keep going when other people that were, you know, more gifted than me, didn’t want to. They didn’t want it.

Reed Goossens (11:29):

Right, right. That’s, that’s incredible. Talk to me, which World Cups did you go to?

John Van Der Giessen (11:33):

Uh, so first one was 2007, uh mm-hmm. , I was, uh, the young buck in the locks, uh, which is the position that I play. And

Reed Goossens (11:42):

That was in France. Right?

John Van Der Giessen (11:43):

That was in France, yeah. Mm-hmm. and some huge hitters, four, four guys ahead of me. And Peter Thorburn, the old, uh, Kiwi All Blacks, uh, selector, who was our coach at the time. Um, he said, John, you know, you’re not gonna be going, but you’ve really shown well, and we’re really excited to keep developing you and just stay ready too. And Reid, I had a weird inclination that I might get a crack if somebody got hurt. And sure enough, I think, you know, just a handful of days into the Rugby World Cup, uh, one of the locks, one of the, the, the starting locks, Luke Gross, great human being, uh, came up with a pretty big injury. And so I got a call at, uh, two o’clock in the morning, um, and they said, you know, John, you’re coming to the World Cup. Wow. So I got to watch, uh, you know, people that I had a high degree of respect for in the game really kind of performed. And that just lit a fire with me for the next four years about, okay, what do I need to do to be that guy running out of the tunnel?

Reed Goossens (12:42):

Mm-hmm. A a and at that stage, were you professional?

John Van Der Giessen (12:47):

Uh, no, but because, you know, taking those chances and doing those things, uh, that then put me in, you know, a direct, uh, pipeline to be professional, got the agent, got the opportunity, step into the French Top 14 league. Uh,

Reed Goossens (13:02):

What, who, who was, what was the first game? What did you run out to?

John Van Der Giessen (13:06):

Uh, with the US team? Yeah. Oh, man. Um, that’s a really, was it,

Reed Goossens (13:12):

Was it at the World Cup? Cause that would’ve been pretty magical. It wasn’t. Okay. Okay.

John Van Der Giessen (13:16):

Interesting. No, I didn’t, I did not suit up for the World Cup, uh, injury, you know, reserve. Um, you know, and then they just brought in and kind of mixed and matched cuz Peter was big on experience, and he said, mm-hmm. , I want you here, I want you observing. I want you learning, you know, and you may get a look, but probably not. Um, and I didn’t, but, you know, I’m glad I didn’t because I had to go back for four years and earn the next time I ran out onto the field for a World Cup.

Reed Goossens (13:42):

Right. Which was 2011. Right.

John Van Der Giessen (13:45):

New Zealand. In New Zealand, yep.

Reed Goossens (13:46):

Yeah. Wow. So what was that first game like running out at the World Cup? That would’ve been an incredible experience, you know, pulling on the US jersey for the Eagles and, and who was it against? Can, can you remember it?

John Van Der Giessen (13:57):

Yeah, so we, uh, we actually had, um, we had Ireland, uh, September 11th and Wow. We had the New York Fire Department, um, and police department cut a video for us. Hmm. And we, we watched that ahead of running out onto the field and played a very tight game with Ireland, um, and ended up losing. But, uh, yeah, that was a big moment. And then we had, yeah, the way that they structured the World Cup with the pool games, at that point in time, we had a, a, a four day turnaround to, uh, playing Russia and mm-hmm. , um, and then ended up beating them, investing them, and, you know, there was people in the fans with, uh, you know, uh, cosmonaut outfits on all sorts of things. And, and Rugby’s just fun like that too. Right. So, uh, right. You know, it’s, anytime you get to represent the, your country, it’s, it’s fantastic.

Reed Goossens (14:45):

Oh, mate. I could only imagine. And, and that’s, that would’ve been a pretty, yeah. Island would’ve been a big step up, but, you know, on September 11th, they would’ve pretty, you know, pumped you up and four day turnaround on a, on a full contact sport, you know, in that, but you’re probably in so much adrenaline at that point. You’re like, you injuries don’t even matter. , you know, like they’re just sort of, you, you, you sort of walk that off getting the ice bath and, and next time. But that, that first win would’ve been pretty sweet against Russia on like, at, at a World Cup because Was that the, that wouldn’t have been your fir that wouldn’t have been the USA’s first win, right? Ever? It would,

John Van Der Giessen (15:15):

It wouldn’t have been. No. They, they’ve had other wins, uh, previous, but, uh, uh, you know, to your point about the celebration, yeah. You know, you get on the, the bus after, you know, and leave the stadium and, you know, we had, I don’t know, 20,000 odd people, you know, cheering and I, I can specifically remember, uh, fireworks by Katy Perry absolutely. Being screaming by at the top of, uh, the US guys’ lungs. And, uh, it was a, it was a good ride home for sure. But any, then you have a, a small, you got a small win, you got a small window to celebrate. Yep. And you, you’re back on the job too.

Reed Goossens (15:48):

Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s, that’s, that’s incredible. Mate. Any, uh, any stories from that bus ride home, sort of, you know, na naked, uh, naked up, up, up, up, up, up and down? The, the, you know, who the, the young buck, you know, anything, that sort of stuff? Uh, any pg versions,

John Van Der Giessen (16:03):

? Yeah, no, you know, you know the, you know the stories man, but, uh, ’em are true. Some of ’em aren’t. And , you know, I, I gotta run it by my, uh, my boys before I let anything

Reed Goossens (16:12):

, as they say. What sta what happens on tour stays on Tuesday. That’s

John Van Der Giessen (16:15):


Reed Goossens (16:15):

That’s right. Yeah. That’s awesome, mate. Well, look, let’s, I, I could talk to you, um, as a pure rugby nut. Um, I actually listened to the, the rugby pod, uh, with Big Jim and, and Andy Goo, you should definitely listen to it. Big shout out to those boys. Um, but yeah, look, we could keep talking to you all day about that, but let’s get into what you’ve built with r e and, ad that transition, because I, I’ve, I know a little bit about your backstory, but what, tell us how you got involved in multi-family, cuz coming out of sport and, and maybe just touch a little bit on coming outta professionalism, because that is also a hard thing to do mentally getting back into the workforce after being a professional athlete for, for, for 10 years.

John Van Der Giessen (16:50):

Huge. And you know what, um, we’re going to a few different wormholes on this, on this podcast, but I will take a moment to say anytime that you have a big identity into something that you are mm-hmm. or you are that I was, I was the rugby player, you know, and, you know, it was cool cause I was on, I was on, uh, I was on TV every, every weekend, uh, in Europe. And people would ask me for autographs and, you know, all these kind of crazy things that I never got really comfortable with. But, uh, you know, I I I turned off the lights on that and walked away, you know, pretty satisfied. But I underestimated how hard it would be to transition and it, it can get really dark really quick because you’re not in a limelight anymore. You know, the forensic convenience don’t show up as much.

John Van Der Giessen (17:35):

Uh, you know, and you kind of really find out a lot about you and you lot, a lot about, uh, uh, you know who your friends are. And, and you know, it, it was a big redefining moment in my life and Hmm. Uh, you know, one thing you gotta do is you gotta keep the, the body moving, man, , you gotta show up and you gotta do something every day, cuz you kind of get into this funk where the adrenaline was pumping all the time. You know, you, you knew what you were gonna do every day. Your days were pretty much set out and scheduled, and then you retire and you don’t know where you’re gonna go and what you’re gonna do. So yeah, it was a, it was a big period for me, no doubt. And so I looked around and got into a, an entrepreneurial situation very quickly with a startup company in agriculture.

John Van Der Giessen (18:13):

And, uh, that was a wonderful, wonderful, uh, crash course MBA Reed for five years. Um, and at, at the time that that kind of, uh, finished, I needed to, uh, get more control over my life. And real estate’s been around me since I’ve been a kid in one fashion or another. And so I said, you know what? I think I’m gonna go down this real estate path and went into residential. Mm. And, you know, lightning strikes and people open up doors when they don’t have to. Like I said, and I, I rodee an elevator with the founder of one of Keller Williams top, uh, teams, uh, Lisa Bishop Real Estate. They do about 300 million in volume per year just out of Boise, Idaho. And, uh, that spurred about six meetings. And then after that, it was just glaringly obvious that we needed to be working together.

John Van Der Giessen (19:02):

So I came on, uh, on that team and really kind of helped transform that organization to a bit of what it is today. And it’s a pretty exciting organization with, I dunno, 50 odd and, uh, team members. And, you know, they’re doing massive stuff in, in the residential space. So that was a lot of fun. But yeah, I will say Reid, and, you know, I know I have friends that are still in residential today, and they’re incredibly successful. I always felt like there was something else out there in real estate, and I always liked the notion of having cash flow mm-hmm. , I didn’t like being as good as my next sale and always kind of chasing that in, in residential, and it, it just wasn’t gonna be for me. I wanted something that was very scalable, and I also wanted to be more of an integral part on the leadership level too, of an organization.

John Van Der Giessen (19:55):

Um, because I believe that I have some things that I can help people with. Hmm. You know, as, as far as, um, skillsets. So anyway, uh, ended up kind of listening to some podcasts and talking to the right people and, and then all of a sudden, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m an unlimited partner in some multi-family, which it’s funny when you, when you put a, uh, I will say this to limited partner people listening, when you put an investment out there and it’s 50 K, it’s a hundred K, you’re like, oh man, this doesn’t seem like it’s gonna go anywhere. It’s so slow. , I can tell you that three, almost four years, three and a half years, when that was invested, that went by so fast. And then all of a sudden you get that check in the mail where you’ve doubled your money, uh, you know, and, and cashed out really nicely. Man. It, it’s, it’s a lot like farming in my upbringing. You know, you gotta plant those seeds for them to reap the harvest and it just takes consistency to do so. So,

Reed Goossens (20:47):

No, I I okay. So much to unpack there. And, and, and I wanna, I wanna unpack, but just before you, we do, um, back to your mindset of coming outta professional rugby, being a, being a huge rugby, nu myself and you probably, you, you, you would’ve heard about this, but Dan Vickerman took his own life. Yep. Um, and you, you, you may may play against him, you may have known him, but you know, there’s, he’s a second row same position as yourself. And, and a lot of guys, not, not Andrew in rugby, but across multiple professional sports guys and girls struggle with coming out of, um, professionalism. And it’s, it is, it is a massive thing. And people, you gotta un you don’t underestimate under, I want to just sort of just not let that go because I could only imagine it. I’m not a nowhere near having touch professionalism, but I’ve just seen it take people’s lives and it can be a real, you’ve gotta like, be in the right head space to come out of a sport doing it, as you said, grinding day in very scheduled day in, day out, and keep the body moving.

Reed Goossens (21:41):

Um, and then, you know, having your identity taken away from you Right. To then re re determine what your identity is. And, and I think that’s, you know, kudos to you to be able to do that, but it’s not, I’m just sort of saying it to those listeners. It’s not like it’s an easy thing to do. No. And, and, and, and, and there has been tragedy around that, you know, particularly in the rugby scene.

John Van Der Giessen (21:59):

Yeah. I, I think as a, a, a sport fan, you’re like, oh, what do you mean you had a wonderful career in, in sport? Like, how, how hard could it be to transition? But it is a massive, massive, uh, transition and it, and it can be very challenging. And I’ve seen a lot of, uh, relationships wrecked. I’ve seen a lot mm-hmm. a lot of things happen that are, that are tough. And you know what, you don’t have to go that alone. I would say in retrospect, uh, I’m sure that you have a good support system and you’re staying active. You’re, you know, meeting people for coffee and you’re talking about, Hey, what can I do even before you retire? Mm-hmm. Um, and that could be, you know, there’s a, there’s a transition there with, with business in general. Like, if you’re thinking about making a change, you know, while you have your current gig, make sure that you’re planting seeds ahead of time so that you can just step off of that boat onto another boat and, and you don’t have to make such a huge gap out of it.

Reed Goossens (22:48):

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 date. Now, back into the show.

Reed Goossens (23:24):

Talk to me about the, the residential jump. You, you mentioned Keller Williams and, and I think, you know, there is an element and, and you know, this being in the syndication space, but you, you, you sort of touched on it, and I wanna, I know I struggle with this a little bit as well, and it’s the constantly trying to outdo or get the next deal, right? Because there’s the, there’s, there’s cash flow as an LP investment, right? And there’s living off that cash flow and investing in deals, but then there’s the art of actually and the business of syndication. And it is not dissimilar to residential real estate in that you have to keep the deals coming through Sure. To keep people, you know, your investors satisfied. And it, it’s, you know, you know, to try and build a sustainable business around where’s the next deal coming from?

Reed Goossens (24:05):

And it is deal junkie, but how does that sustain over 20, 30 years? That is, you know, the underlying power of what a business means. Um, there’s still an element of that, and I just wanted to just dive into that just, just briefly because it, it not multi in commercial real estate isn’t, um, you know, it’s not, it, it, it doesn’t, you know, it still has the same problems, you know, in in that you’ve gotta go and continue to do the next deal and the next deal and the next deal to build the portfolio to build those momentum. Otherwise, if you don’t, Pete, you know, investors could go off and invest somewhere else.

John Van Der Giessen (24:35):

A hundred percent. Yeah. I, I think that you, you’ve gotta keep bringing value to your investors, and they’re only gonna wait for so long before they start getting into something else. But on the other side of the coin, Reed, I think that, uh, really kind of savvy investors, uh, investors that have a lot of trust in you, they’re gonna appreciate that, you know, maybe for a quarter or two you’re kind of pencils down. And when you’re educating them about why and making them a better limited partner investor, they’re gonna appreciate that.

Reed Goossens (25:06):


John Van Der Giessen (25:06):

Right. They are, they are. And there’s always a deal in any market too. So you, there

Reed Goossens (25:11):

Was always a deal in, you

John Van Der Giessen (25:12):

Gotta be hunting, you gotta, you gotta unearth it, you gotta, you know, it’s always the, you know, a hundred deals to find one, you know, maybe it’s two 50, you know, it depends. It depends. Right.

Reed Goossens (25:22):

C coming in the green room before we press record, you know, we talked about, um, you’ve grown really quickly, 4,000 units today, you’ve vertically integrated, how’s that growing pain been growing so quickly? Because I, I, I’ve had, have observed companies that I’ve been al, uh, intimately involved with grow really quickly, and it, it, it can have its growing pains, right? It looks great on the outside. It’s saying 4,000 units in three or four years, but that comes with a lot of learnings and, and, and probably some few skins on the knees, right? So, yeah. You know, what, what, what is some of the things that you are taking away as you’re now building in 2023 around the team, uh, and what you wanna focus on?

John Van Der Giessen (26:01):

Sure. I think from an internal perspective, uh, with teammates, it’s really about how do we build a winning culture where people wanna show up, uh, they wanna show up for the person on the left and the right of them, and they won’t, you know, how do we, how do we empower our teammates? How do we make them feel valued? How do we create systems and structure so that there’s really effective and efficient communication and we condense time on, on projects and turnarounds? Because, you know, if, if we’re doing a renovations project and it’s gotta be bumped over to accounting to figure out, you know, or we know we need to involve the lender for, um, a disbursement, all of those, those sorts of things, how can we really make that efficient and effective? And also, quite frankly, I mean, just like sport, there’s a bit of accountability in that too.

John Van Der Giessen (26:52):

You know, how, how can you coach up and lead people? And I mentioned, you know, before we push play, it’s really about, in this market especially, it’s hard to find talent, but how do you attract talent? And then once you attract the talent, how do you, uh, keep the talent? And then, and, you know, dovetailing off of keeping the talent, how do you ascend the talent? Because really an organization from a leadership perspective, you’ve gotta be finding ways to get the help people get the best out of themselves, right? So, I’m not a big motivator guy. I’m not like, you know, the motivation’s gotta be within you, but from a leadership perspective, if you can help teammates, uh, you know, find ways to, to problem solve and kind of remove their own hurdles that are in front of them, then, you know, get out of the way themselves is, is the comment, right?

John Van Der Giessen (27:41):

Like, how do you help people get outta the way of themselves and, and make a better business with people? Um, and I’m, I’m pretty excited about that portion of things right now, to be fair. And, um, uh, you know, and we have a massive development pipeline too. We, we’ve got, you know, well for us, you know, 250 million in development, um, in our pipeline. And that’s been som ething we’ve been working on for a long time. So, to be fair on the, uh, value add side of things, being a little bit conservative right now, and maybe pausing is actually really well timed because that’s going to allow us to work internally, but also, uh, focus in on that development opportunity too,

Reed Goossens (28:17):

For those people listening. You, your team is remote. Yeah. Right? Your, your, your, your, your, the nucleus of the, the team is remote. So how do you build the culture? And this is a more of a question post covid, you know, a lot of people are remote. And my team, my whole at rsm, we are com, I’m, you know, my, my business partners in New York, I’m in la I’m got my head of acquisitions in central Texas. I’ve got head of asset management in, in Phoenix. I’ve got my investor relations in Mexico City. You know, and I’m building constantly. Like you, I’m, I’m, I’m not probably at the scale of you’ve got it yet, but I’m also at a point where, you know, you have to build that culture right in the beginning and lay those foundations for, you know, the keeping and the sending and the attracting of good talent. But what, how are you doing that as on a remote basis and, and keeping, keeping the people sort of rowing in the same direction?

John Van Der Giessen (29:05):

Sure. Well, I will say that anytime that we have an opportunity to get together, whether that’s as a, um, you know, a leadership, we have an annual leadership conference. Those are nice, but that’s two, three days outta the year. Reid, like, that’s not mm-hmm. really how you’re gonna build true culture. And I’m gonna preface this by saying we haven’t gotten it right all the time. Mm-hmm. , you know, we’ve, we’ve had a few missteps and we’ve done some things wrong with personnel, and, and that’s been a challenge. Uh, but what you can do, and I know that there’s business owners, you know, people that are in business listening to this, even if your culture’s not right, right now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t start steering that ship in a different direction. Um, so I think that when you, you start effective and, and efficient communication with people, it’s starting out with, you know, having those one-on-ones with people and saying, Hey, look, I’m gonna recognize that maybe you haven’t had the support that you need, um, but you know, you’re super valued with what you’ve been doing, and we’re gonna, how can I help you?

John Van Der Giessen (30:04):

And start asking some super powerful questions about getting them the tools and resources that they need mm-hmm. so that they feel like, Hey man, I’m, I’m, I’m in a good place. I’ve got good leadership. I can focus on my job. They’ve got my back. They’re giving me what I need to, to be effective. And, um, you know, it’s daily incremental things. And it’s not big long drawn out meetings either. I mean, you can have a five minute talk every day and keeping people, um, focused and accountable and, and collaborating on things and, you know, bringing different team members, uh, divisions within your team together, making sure everybody gets that, uh, that connection. And sometimes it doesn’t even have to be about, uh, the job, right? Hmm. Because there, there is that element of the, the water cooler that you’re never gonna get, uh, when, when you don’t have that, that brick and mortar. And so you have to create that and, and, you know, just calling people up, making sure that, Hey, man, what’s going on? What are you doing for the weekend? Um, you know, there’s that, that acronym Ford, right? Um, and, uh, family occupation, uh, and, uh, recreation and Dreams, you know, you just hit on those with people and, you know, it’s fun to just see what comes out. It’s a, it can be a good conversation. Reid and I, you know, man, that’s how we got connected ,

Reed Goossens (31:21):

Right? Well, look, look, a lot, I know a lot of people coming out of building organizations are scared that they don’t see the person. They can’t go and look over that analyst’s shoulder, and they’re not sitting in the same room. And I think it comes a little bit different mindset of how, as a leader you approach that mm-hmm. , because with freedom comes a lot more responsibility. And I think the communication, as you’re saying, you know, you know, you are remote. Okay, so how do we do this effectively? You’ve got, obviously you have your meetups every year and, and whatnot, but how do you also make sure that people are feeling seen and heard, and, and there’s a little bit of, you know, responsibility on the, on, on the individual’s shoulders who are below you to, to take on that, to take the baton and say, yeah, I’m gonna take this and, you know, give back and, and give my all to the, to the team, because I’m am not, I’m not in an office, I’m not in a cubicle.

Reed Goossens (32:08):

I’m not being overseen by John every single day to make sure I’m doing my work. So there’s always that different, two different mindsets of what’s, what’s best for the organization. I assume that you are, as you said, you mentioned you made some mistakes. I assume you’re still wanting to continue to be remote. Is there any ever a point where you, where you come to, you know, bring the office back in? Or is it always gonna be that remote scenario and continuing to manage and, and, and evolve to the new way in which we work these days?

John Van Der Giessen (32:34):

Sure. No, I, we have no intention of shifting from remote because we’ve got three divisions, you know, Texas, the Midwest, and the southeast. Uh, you know, Robert, our managing partner, he’s down in Sarasota, Florida, which is very strategic for me. You know, I’m, I’ve already been down there once, uh, during the wintertime and I’ll go down there again, . Uh, but, uh, you know, no, it, it, it really is about really effective and clear communication and expectations and making sure the people are prepared when, when it’s meeting time, bring your numbers mm-hmm. , because numbers are important in the business, right? And, and then, you know, yeah. You, you can say, well, I don’t like the fact that I can’t look over to their shoulder. Well, there are different ways to make sure that accountability and quality of, of workmanship, if you will, is, is still being met.

John Van Der Giessen (33:18):

Um, and if you can combine somebody that feels respected, they feel heard, they feel valued, they’re excited to show up, uh, they’re engaged. You know, I think engagement is probably one of the biggest downfalls or lack of engagement is one of the biggest downfalls in any industry. You know, somebody just doesn’t really care. They’re just sort of coasting. Um, you know, when you can get somebody engaged and remote quality of life is probably fantastic. And, you know, job satisfaction’s up there too, so they’re probably doing a really good job for you. So, I mean, a few different factors there.

Reed Goossens (33:51):

That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. Well, I want to, or keep talking to you forever, but last thing before we get into the lightning round, what’s the plan for 2023 and beyond?

John Van Der Giessen (33:59):

Sure. Yeah. Uh, we always say we’re, we’re looking to do good deals, uh, with, with with good people. And you know, that that’s, uh, pretty simple, but there’s a lot there. So when we can find the right deals, uh, we’re gonna do those deals and that’s gonna have to be with the right people, or, or we just don’t do it. Um, so, you know, with that, we’re really not earmarking a specific door count because it’s gotta meet that first thing I talked about. You know, if, if, if, if we say we’re gonna do 5,000 uh, doors, then you know what, I, I didn’t hear anything about quality in there. Hmm. You know? Hmm. But the right deal and the right people, that makes a lot of sense for growth. And then after that, when you execute, you know, good things are gonna happen. So, uh, for us it’s gonna be, uh, being conservative, really watching the market as there’s price discovery mm-hmm. and really focusing in on our internal systems and structure and culture as well as, uh, capitalizing on this awesome development pipeline that we have. So where,

Reed Goossens (35:00):

Whereabouts in that development pipeline, where, where are you building?

John Van Der Giessen (35:02):

So we’ve got, uh, a couple of different projects in San Antonio. We’re a big fan of that market. Mm-hmm. , I think it’s a great value market, and the, the data coming out of there for jobs and people is fantastic. Uh, and we also have, uh, 220 units in St. Pete that we’re gonna be rolling out pretty quickly. Uh, St. Pete, Florida, if you don’t know, uh, Tampa area. Mm-hmm. , uh, you know, you are, you know, from the site, less than 20 minutes from the number one beach TripAdvisor voted, uh, in, in America, and number five in the world, St. Pete Beach. Um, you know, so, I mean, there’s a lot to talk about there and, and Florida speaks for itself right now. So, uh, we’re looking at that. And we also have a couple other, um, you know, further out in 2023 deals in Texas that we’re gonna be starting to develop as well.

Reed Goossens (35:45):

Nice. Nice man. Well, it’s all gr we’re all great markets. I’m very, uh, very familiar with San Antonio’s where I cut my teeth, so, um, you know, everyone seems to be attracted to that market right now, so I wish you all the best. Um, with that being said, we’d like to dive into the top five investing tips. You ready to get into it?

John Van Der Giessen (36:01):

Let’s get it,

Reed Goossens (36:02):

Mate. Number one is what’s the daily habit you practice to keep on track towards your goals?

John Van Der Giessen (36:09):

Daily habit that I practice to keep on top of my goals, making sure that the night before I’m, I’m set up and I’ve visualized what I need to be doing.

Reed Goossens (36:20):

Gotcha. Love it. Love

John Van Der Giessen (36:23):

It. Because if you show up to your desk at whatever 8:00 AM or whatever you’re doing, and you’re like, okay, what do I do now? Mm-hmm. , you’re behind the ball. Like, you, you aren’t thinking about what needs to be executed. Uh, you know, you’re, so, you gotta think about that the night before.

Reed Goossens (36:37):

I love it. We’ve been prepared and it sort of probably helps you. I know with me, I do a Sunday, uh, evening type of thing, like I get the Sunday scaries, but if I write it down for them a week, then I, I’m like, I know where it is. I don’t have to think, keep thinking about it because it’s in the book or it’s in, it’s been written down somewhere, so. Yep. Yeah, being planning ahead is helps with the management of your mind going in a million miles an hour. So Love that. Uh, question number two is, who’s be the most influential person in your career to date, and that includes your rugby career?

John Van Der Giessen (37:06):

Well, wow, that’s a really fantastic question, Rita. And, and, and by the way, I didn’t listen, I knew you did a lightning round and I didn’t listen to , uh,

Reed Goossens (37:17):

These questions. And I don’t give, I don’t give the questions out. Cause I don’t wanna pre I want to have the, the awkward con, the awkward pause and the, the, um, yeah, let me think about that.

John Van Der Giessen (37:26):

Sure. Uh, you know, for, for rugby, I’m gonna say, uh, Dr. Carter Croft, uh, just your, your, your, your 100%, uh, true blue rugby guy that opened up so many doors for me in his life and he didn’t have to, uh, you know, coming from coming from England and, and just believing in me that there was something there that, um, needed to, needed to come out. So for sure there, and then for, for business, that’s a tough one, but I’m actually gonna say Lucy Bishop, um, the founder of, of Lucy Bishop Real Estate. And, you know, she’s a, a, a powerhouse within Keller Williams International. And, uh, Lisa is just one of those anomalies in real estate and business where you just have to scratch your head and say, how in the world does she do that? But what she taught, uh, what she taught me about, uh, urgency, communication, uh, doing what you can today, don’t put it off tomorrow.

John Van Der Giessen (38:23):

Um, and, and just the art of real estate in general, I mean, priceless. I mean, I, I, I legitimately got a PhD in residential real estate in such a short amount of time because, uh, she is such a hard charging human being. I mean, for perspective, I mean, thing, a really great agent’s gonna do 50 listings a year, you know, sh she’d do 120 by herself outside, that’s outside of the team. Right? Right. And I also, I mean, just those sorts of things. What are those secrets that those next level people are doing? And so I’m always curious about that. And she was kind enough to give me that, that floor to mentor me.

Reed Goossens (39:00):

That’s, that’s mate, that’s incredible. And to have that from day one, it’s, uh, when you got involved in the, in, in, in the space, I think that’s such a incredible way. And there’s a little bit of, um, you know, woowoo around people you attract. So it’s probably a little bit of a reflection on yourself. You’re attracting the right people at the right time. So, and then, and then having the ability to say yes at the right time. Cuz I think, I’m sure if you said, no, you may not be in this position you are today,

John Van Der Giessen (39:23):

You can’t count out the wheel, Reed, you can’t

Reed Goossens (39:26):

you can’t count out the wheel. I’ve gotta quote you on that. I love it. I love it. Question number three is, what’s the most influential tool you use in your business? And when I say tool, it could be a physical tool, I could journal, uh, or a phone, or it could be a piece of software that you just can’t run the business without. What is it?

John Van Der Giessen (39:41):

Teams, Microsoft

Reed Goossens (39:44):

Teams, mi Microsoft teams. Yep.

John Van Der Giessen (39:45):

Yep. Just because, you know, one, you don’t want to drown everybody in emails. And two, being able to just pop in and, you know, in and out of calls all day and seeing people’s faces, um, you know, in a, whatever we wanna call it a post covid world in a, you know, a tech world, uh, remote world, you know, those are invaluable because you, you can be very efficient with communications, which is a bedrock of, of, in a successful business.

Reed Goossens (40:13):

Right. Yeah. Well, I I complete level, we, we use Zoom, but yeah, being, being able to quickly check in and out as in a remote situation is, is, is really, really important. So, love it. Uh, question number four is, in one sentence, what’s been the biggest failure in your career? When did you learn from that failure?

John Van Der Giessen (40:29):

Biggest failure of my career. Um, not setting expectations ahead of time. So I think, you know, some nuggets here for people listening that are in business or they’re in multi-family, maybe they’re, uh, aspiring or currently involved in, in multi-family, if you do not set very clear expectations with your potential partners, you are setting yourself up for, um, some rough roads. So always front loading communication so that you truly understand, hey, where are you at from a values level? And you know, let’s talk nuts and bolts about the business, let’s talk numbers, etcetera. How’s that gonna play out? But also understanding, hey, what are your expectations of me and, and vice versa. And, and how you see this playing out in the next year. What are your expectations there? What about five years, what about 10 years? All of those sorts of things, because you don’t want to get into a really, uh, big relationship with somebody, especially when you’re dealing with other people’s money as well. And then things really go pear shaped pretty quickly. That’s just not fun. And, and so I would, I would counsel people from my own experiences making sure that you are taking the time to set those expectations and really map that out, um, and put it on paper. You know, anybody that’s gonna match you from a professionalism standpoint and, uh, they’re, they’re gonna appreciate that and that’s gonna be the right fit for you as far as a partner.

Reed Goossens (42:03):

Yeah, no, we, we, we are implementing just behind us is, um, traction, which I’m sure you probably have, you know, the EEO s system and talk about rocks and Oh yeah. It’s, it’s essentially setting up your expectations and then through those rocks, you’re, you’re, you’re measuring KPIs, key performance indicators, and then that helps people keep on track. And with a remote situation, which has been the underlying theme of this con entire show today, it’s like that helps people feel what they need to achieve. And you don’t need to be looking over their shoulder every single day. You can be remote because you have set your expectations very clearly if you hit that in the, in the first quarter, second quarter, whatever it is, you’re doing your work. And that’s what we will’s what we ask of you. So that’s, uh, that’s awesome stuff, mate. Last question. Where can people reach you to continue the conversation that will be in your sphere? Where do they go?

John Van Der Giessen (42:45):

Yeah, you can reach me on LinkedIn. I think you’ll probably check that into the show notes, and you can come to remcapital.com and, uh, schedule a call there. Glad to hear from anybody that’s, uh, wanting to speak more. And, uh, it can always be about rugby or, uh, or field estate , or just life in general. I don’t mind connecting with people that way too.

Reed Goossens (43:04):

That’s awesome, my friend. Well, look, I wanna thank you so much for jumping on the show today. I just wanna reflect some of the things I took away. Look, massive rugby nerd and, you know, fanboy over here. So awesome stuff to, to, to meet, uh, an ex-professional rugby player and, you know, thank you for opening up about all the, you know, the challenges of, of coming in and outta professional sport. I think it’s a really big thing that people probably don’t talk about, but you’ve clearly nailed the transition. Well, and, and having the right mindset around that, surrounding yourself with people who, you know, can help you. And, and you mentioned, you know, saying yes to many things and, and being grateful to those who have opened doors for you. It clearly sees that, as you said, you can’t count out the woowoo, but that has helped you in a way that is b both through professional career and rugby, but also into the transition into residential, uh, commercial real estate and then in, sorry, REI real estate and then into commercial real estate and now what you’re doing today. So definitely something that there’s there for people to, to, to take away that, you know, you can’t plan it all out, and I’m sure you probably didn’t plan any of this out when you look back over your career and, you know, being a little bit comfortable in the uncertainty. And I think that, that, that bodes well for you and has bode well, you know, over the last, you know, 20 odd years. So did it leave anything out?

John Van Der Giessen (44:14):

No, you hit the nail on the head. I mean, I, you know, Tony Robbins quote, you, uh, people’s, uh, people’s remuneration in life, you know, what they get out of it, um, you know, in business especially, is directly cor correlated to the amount of adversity that they can deal with. Right. You know, so when you put yourself yourself out there, it can be super uncomfortable, but, you know, you’ve gotta take some risk to get some reward and, uh, you know, be a little bit bold sometimes.

Reed Goossens (44:38):

That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. Well mate, thank you again for jumping on the show. Enjoy the rest of your week and we’ll catch up very, very soon.

John Van Der Giessen (44:45):

Thanks, Reed.

Reed Goossens (44:46):

Will they having another cracking episode? Jump back with some incredible stuff from John. If you do want to check him out, please check him out on LinkedIn or go to remcapital.com to see what he is doing over there and all the awesome deals he’s buying across seven different states here in the United States. I wanna thank you all again for taking some time add day to tune in, to continue to grow your financial iq, because that’s what we’re all about here on this show. If you do like this show, the easiest way to give back is to give it a five star review on iTunes, and all the show notes from today’s show will be up on my website@reedgoons.com. And we’re gonna do this all again next week. So remember, be bold, be brave, and go give life a crack.