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9: Starting a Real Estate Business Abroad with Tim Robinson After discovering that the 9-5 lifestyle wasn’t for him, Tim Robinson ventured into the world of real estate, which resulted in him co-founding The Real Estate Concierge, a company with a goal to assist those living overseas purchase investment properties in the States by providing one-on-one coaching, market analyses, networking, and more. Tim Robinson is also the co-host of the REI Concierge podcast geared towards those living abroad and their loved ones who are on their own real estate investment journey (or looking to start one!). In this interview, Tim discusses:
- his thought process in leaving the 9-5 world behind to start working for himself (and how he got his wife on board)
- the trials and tribulations of being abroad and starting your own real estate business in the U.S. from the ground up
- investing through a self-directed IRA
… and much more! You can find out more about Tim and The Real Estate Concierge here: https://thereiconcierge.com/ Music: “Higher Up” by Shane Ivers
Read the interview:
Tanya: Welcome to the embassy wealth podcast. We are joined this morning by Tim Robinson. Tim is an active real estate investor. He’s been investing for about five years. Mostly buy and hold a single family and small multi-family properties. He owns six units in three states. And he is looking to do a 10-31 exchange, but is having some interesting adventures in the DC market right now, which he may talk about.
And essentially we are excited to talk to Tim because he is one of two people that make up the REI concierge. And he can tell us a little bit about that in terms of starting a business while being overseas and working with a partner, all those fun things. And so Tim, welcome to the show.
Tim: Tanya. So excited to be here. Good to see you.
Tanya: So Tim, tell us about how your investment story is done.
Tim: Sure. I always go different directions with the story. So you guys are gonna have to cut me off if I start rambling, but it basically started it, let’s say it started, but didn’t actually start in my early twenties. When I read the classic “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, like everyone on earth has. I said, wow, this is a great idea.
And I think it makes a lot of sense. And this is what I would like to do. But I’m gonna put this on the shelf for a little bit and come back.
So that’s what I decided to do. So 10 years there of working after grad school, in a variety of sales and marketing roles.
And just honestly, just confirming what I had always thought about business in general, just that I’m pretty good at selling things. I’m a hard worker, I’m a diligent worker. I’m reliable, trustworthy, all the things you’re supposed to be. but I just wasn’t. I had no idea. So I think that I made a lot of people, a lot of money, in certain companies that I worked for and I enjoyed some of it.
I’m very much an entrepreneur at heart and wanted to do my own thing. And as I built a family, so I got my wife, Adrian and in 2016 as we were dating and starting about having a family and all these grownup things, I was like I’m out.
So I was at a tech company doing tech sales where I’ve been for about six years and it was fine. I liked the people I worked with. It was going well, I was making good money and I think I started making a little more money than they wanted to pay me at one time. And, they basically restructured my entire commission structure to the point where if I didn’t hit their, let’s just say audacious numbers.
I was essentially going to take a 50% pay cut , which is just too much. That honestly, that moment, when we had that meeting with the three partners, I was just like, oh this is exactly what I knew was going to happen. Like all of these things, all of these things, jobs, all of this W2 that I’ve done for the past 15 years.
This is exactly what I knew was wrong, but couldn’t put my finger on it. And , that’s when everything changed and I was just like I’m done. I’m not going to do this. I’ve given them six good years. Everything they asked of me and it just, it doesn’t mean. so I just shifted my mindset to what can I do now that is going to, going to work for my family.
And I like that my whole mission is anything I sell from now on. I’m a good salesman. I’m only going to sell for the benefit of my family, and that really just led to a lot of soul searching and a lot of conversations with folks that actually enjoy what they do. A lot of conversations with my wife. It was also the state department and you guys got really good benefits in terms of just the training. And I know Tanya, you’re not in there anymore, but just the training and just the…
Tim: you get and travel and the advancement and the, non commission-based structure and stuff like that. Things like that, where you’re a valued employee and that’s something I’ve never felt like I’ve been, I was thinking about this in preparation for this morning, I was thinking about my dad, he’s just the best guy I know. And , he’s actually my property manager for our properties back in Maryland and DC.
But he’s retired now. He’s just turned 70. He is a retired Navy reserve. After 30 years, he worked at the NSA for decades upon decades just, the Patriots and just a hard worker and a good guy and a good team player, and for the last five or six years at the NSA, and this is not to disparage the NSA, this is merely to disparage his boss.
His direct supervisor was just, can I say jerk? I’m gonna say jerk. And I just saw my dad who was like the nicest, gentlest, just come home every day and just be miserable. And this is after 30 plus years of service I’m like, I never want to be in that position.
And I wanted to go talk to his boss, like my 65 year old father’s boss.
I wanted to go have it out with her because I’m just like, listen, this guy has done everything for this country, everything for this organization. has to limp to the finish line with you, belittling him for five or six years, so he can get his full name.
And I was like, everything about this is wrong. And this honestly all happened at the same time and it was just light bulbs going off left and right. And I was like, this is wrong. So I got into the whole mindset of starting my own business. And then I just dove head first back into real estate.
I picked up “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” again, flipped the light switch from the employee to the investor mentality and just started thinking of ways I could build around. Real estate, not necessarily jumping right into investing, but I got my real estate license. I started…
Tim: with other realtors and investors and commercial brokers and flippers and anyone I could talk to that had their own businesses and multiple streams of income through real estate, which I think is one of the beauties of real estate is I have the consulting business with Lisa, the REI concierge.
I’m a realtor, I’m also an investor, and I provide private equity for flippers. There’s all kinds of different income streams. If one goes dry, there’s still so many more that are there. And that’s all based upon the fundamental principles of real estate. I just started building these different branches of business and processes to cement my family’s future in my head, like Adrian really likes to work.
She does, but one day she decides she doesn’t. I want to be in the point where I can say, Okay, go do what you really want to do. She’s very much into conservation and environmental protection. If you want to go work for the EPA, or if you want to go work for a nonprofit and, go work with the rainforest or get plastics out of the ocean.
I want her to be able to do that. I think that real estate investing and just real estate in general will hopefully allow us to get there. So that was a long story, short story long,…
But I think it was just very much a series of dominoes that fell in very success. That led me to totally shift my mindset and really poor, all of my efforts into real estate, starting with investment and the building multiple branches of service and business from there.
Tanya: So you’re investing really heavily in a business that was going to be located outside of the country with a partner who was also in another country, focused on investments in a third country with clients from all around the world. How do you wrap your mind around all that? Or how did you wrap your mind around all of this at that time?
Tim: Yeah, Adrian and I first met, we hadn’t taken this assignment yet, so we weren’t necessarily about to head abroad, like imitate. We had a house in Shaw, in DC, and we knew it was definitely a possibility. We ended up doing a TDY to Paris for a few months to cover for one of her friends that was out on maternity leave, for, I dunno, three months.
About two years after we were together, but we were very much in DC, for a couple of years when I started this, and then once we started, talking about moving to the Netherlands or, we’re thinking about London at the time, then things changed and I escalated quickly, and let me take a step back and just realize that another domino that fell is this happened while Adrian and I were together prior to us this whole job switch and mindset switch happened.
Tim: And just, one bit of advice I can throw out there to new investors, whose significant others are not on board yet, it’s, don’t just start throwing books at them from across the room. Cause I definitely did that. Where I was just reading books. I’m like, this makes all the sense in the world.
Read this and read this. And here’s this article. It’s just I don’t care.
Tim: I’m excited. You’re excited. And I got frustrated by that just to be honest for a little bit, I realized, of course she doesn’t care. This is brand new and completely out of line. It’s you gotta take a step back and just be like, listen this is why I see this future for our family.
And I, I really believe in these founding principles and just building passive income. That’s going to allow us freedom. And once I started, doing that, rather than just throwing spreadsheets at her, she was like, oh, totally let’s do this. And then that was it. So we started moving from there and it was just this way again, ramping up to, we were about to buy a bigger house up in Petworth because we were looking to have a son or son, Adam that is now two and a half. So I’m going to jump all over the place here guys, because this all is very muddled in my brain. Because I haven’t been very fast. But we ended up taking out a home equity line of credit on our condo in Shaw, that Adrian bought in 2010.
So it had appreciated double, so we were able to get out a large chunk of money there and put it down on the house, up in Petworth. And then we still had some money left over. And we knew we were coming to the Netherlands and I was like, we need one more property. So I ended up buying a triplex up in Baltimore because I really wanted to get into the small multi-family space, with the remainder of that he locked and…
Tim: I did hands-on renovations on that myself. I’m totally gutting one of the units that hadn’t been touched in three or four year, and in the meantime, we also got into private equity lending. I have a good friend, that’s a flipper in Maryland and Southeast DC. And , he would just take a chunk of money and then redo a house, flip it, and then give it back to me with significant interest.
So I started doing that as well. And now I still do that with them through my self directed IRA. Which is a good source of accelerating funds to put back into investments.
Tim: You just asked really pointed questions and I don’t think I answered any of them, but I hope some of that made sense.
Line is, we were not sure we were imminently going abroad. If I knew that I would have done the exact same thing, once we did know that, I did the same thing anyway, and then once I got here, And I’m sure we’ll go into this later, but that’s when I met Lisa, and was just stoked because I knew someone else at the embassy in the Netherlands that invested in real estate while living abroad.
And I was like, oh, that’s something we can do.
Tanya: Before we get to REI concierge, if I could ask you really quickly, because I think most people don’t know about investing through a self-directed IRA. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Tim: Sure, take everything I say with a grain of salt, because I just do what my self-directed IRA custodian says. And I don’t want to misspeak because I just recently learned about this myself. I had a SEP IRA. So it’s basically a self-employed IRA that I had transferred over from an old 401k…
Tim: advisor many years ago.
Then once I learned about this whole self-directed IRA thing, the way it works is you need to get a self-directed IRA customer. And there’s multiple companies out there that do this, what you can do is just wherever you have an IRA, I don’t know how the fund transfers work. You can transfer some sorts of IRAs and maybe some 401ks to self-directed plans.
So talk to your financial advisor. but I basically talked to my financial advisor and said, Hey, I don’t want this SEP IRA invested in mutual funds that you choose for me anymore. I want more control. And so I just had a series of between him and the new self-directed IRA custodian and had that lump sum of money transferred over.
And now you can invest in all kinds of different asset classes. Obviously I’m going to choose to invest in real estate. So I am currently doing a flip with my friend in DC. He basically gave me a promissory note. And when you can release the funds through your self directed IRA, he does the flip and then he sends it directly back to my self directed IRA.
With interests and obviously it is tax protected there, but you can do all kinds of stuff. You can buy things like gold and silver. You can buy crypto, there’s all kinds of stuff you can buy. But the benefit of it is obviously you can just
Tim: control what you invest in, rather than just leaving it up to the advisor.
Tanya: But how did you select the company for the self directed IRA? If somebody wanted to go about doing this and how’d you come across a company that you used
Tim: I heard them on…
Tim: was a guest on the old school BiggerPockets podcast. And I was like, I really liked this guy and he has a lot of good ideas and I just, straight up called him and said, Hey, I heard you on the podcast. And he was great. and…
Tim: whole process and I transfer my money.
Tanya: And what kind of fees are involved just for people? Because I think a lot of people have not heard of this way of investing and they’re is that even something I should investigate? Is it expensive? Is there a monthly fee? Is it a set up fee? Like how they make them.
Tim: Yeah, it’s a good question. There is a setup fee. It’s pretty minimal. I transferred over and I’ll get into numbers. I don’t care if it was like 45 grand. and I think to set it up was like 30 bucks
Tim: Yeah, it’s nothing. And then every quarter I see 25 bucks come out of my account for like a maintenance fee.
And then the way it works, you can set it up, in a couple of different ways where depending on how often you make I’ll just call it a tree let’s call them…transactions. How often per year you make transactions. If you buy crypto and just let it ride for a year, there’s a way to set it up where you just pay for that one transaction, or you can pay like a percentage of the transaction.
So there’s different ways to set up depending on how often you. Change your strategy, so you can find the cheaper way there, but the fees are, they’re very minimal there. I honestly haven’t noticed them.
Tim: Yeah, no, I think it’s great. And honestly it is you said it’s new And my CPA heard of them, but knew nothing about it.
And I just found that out this year when I was filing taxes he was just like whoa, what are you doing with this? Why would you do it? And I’m like, listen, man, like I’m a grown man. I know how to do stuff sometimes. No
Tanya: Not all that new. No, but it’s just, it’s not a vehicle
They just don’t know about it yet. People don’t know about it. Especially people who are working more of a W2 job. That kind of stuff is usually set up by their employer. And this is something that you can set up on your own that you get to manage and you get to direct and back to your comment about autonomy, right?
It’s the same. I’m exactly. I feel exactly the same way that you do, which is I like to be in control of my own investments. Like I don’t want someone to invest in me. Yep. That’s exactly Right.
Tim: Yeah. And that’s what this gives You I wouldn’t say full control over, but 90%
Tanya: more options.
Tim: typical IRA. great. It’s a great product. I encourage everyone to at least look into it. Not necessarily make the move, but see if it’s the right option for you.
Tanya: And it doesn’t have to be a big chunk of your portfolio either. It could be part of it where you’re still growing things. Tax-free and you have the ability to select your investments, whether it’s real estate or and FTS or whatever it is,
Tim: Yes, exactly. But some people are into that and
Tanya: they are something for everybody.
And you also have a podcast which we’ll talk about as well, a little bit later on because you are one of our podcast, crossover, guests. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about the progression there, right? So you’re in the Netherlands and you’ve got this idea and you’ve got all these connections back in DC, which is an ocean away.
Tim: if I bought my masters in international management it would finally make my dad proud cause he’s oh, you have an international business.
You’re finally using that degree. I’m like, Yes, dad. Thanks. Thanks for continuing to remind me of that degree. Anyways, we were talking about meeting Lisa, so it wasn’t an embassy cafeteria. It was better than that. It was the Marine Corps ball in Amsterdam.
Tanya: I love it.
Tim: So we were at the schmancy hotel up in Amsterdam and we had only been here.
My wife and I had only been here maybe a month. cause I think we got here in November of 18. And the Marine Corps ball is typically in December-ish. So we had just arrived and we were there all out in our black tie, regalia and I met John Lisa’s husband. Who’s a good friend of mine as well.
Worked with Adrian at the embassy. so I don’t know. Lisa’s very, for those of you that know we’re incredibly gregarious and just the connector of all connectors and wants to meet everyone. So I don’t even remember how it happened, but I think she just honestly walked up out of the blue and said, you’re Adrian, and you must be Tim.
And I was like hi, Lisa and I met Lisa Telstra, who is my business partner and dear friend.
Tim: I met John and we became close family, friends, and sure enough, obviously as real estate investors do during our first conversation, one of us brought up real estate and it was off to the races from there.
I just heard it. Lisa’s yeah, I think she had just bought her fourth house in Kansas city that year from the Netherlands. And they had bought from the Philippines and from Saudi and all these other stations they’d been in. And was just like, oh this is wild. Let’s talk immediately.
And so we ended up going to get coffee. My son was an infant. He was like three months old. And so we went to this coffee shop while he was like dead asleep and just talked to real estate for a couple of hours. And, just talk about different ways that we can get involved while we’re still abroad.
So we’re not sitting on the sidelines the whole time, and then it just grew from there. I can go into more of the story. I’ll do a fast forward version. So we were very good friends and both John and Lisa ended up going to Iraq for a deployment. got stuck back in the U S during COVID.
They now live in Sri Lanka. They’re working at the embassy in Colombo. And while they were, while John was back from Iraq and quarantining and they were in a hotel in Virginia. John was really the impetus like we were having. I dunno, just like a zoom call, just catching up and John’s y’all need to do business now.
Like we had talked about it.
I dunno, four months ago when Lisa was visiting Adrian and I here and picking up some stuff, she left it in our garage and we talked about it. At least we should start this business together. Because she was always talking about how she was telling people how to invest from abroad, just conversationally.
You should start a business and she’s no, we should start a business. And I’m like, Okay. Okay. And so we thought about it for awhile and didn’t do anything until John kicked us in the pants, during quarantine and we just we were off to the races, just throwing together plans and reaching back out to my contacts in DC and just calling and introducing ourselves to two partners in 20 plus markets across the nation, trying to see if we can make this thing work. And luckily…
Tanya: You make it sound so easy. Starting a business. A small thing, right? There’s a lot of paperwork involved. There’s a lot of decisions that need to be made about who does what? And then how do we handle this thing? And of course, sometimes even with all the planning, there’s stuff that comes up that you’re like what do we do with that?
So I’m curious what have been some of the challenges of starting up a business? Is this something that you think is pretty attainable for most people to do while overseas? Granted, it may not be exactly the same type of business. But something consulting related. How did that sort of process work?
Tim: Yeah, let me start with your last question first. Let me preface it by saying none of it was easy. I just, maybe I’m good at making things
Tanya: Amen. Yeah. It just sounded very easy.
Tim: Yeah. no, very blahzay, but no, it was very hard.
Tanya: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been there too. Yeah. To answer your last question. Yes.
Tim: I fully believe anyone that wants to start a business can, I think a good idea is a good foundation and mindset that things will absolutely go wrong is essential. It’s very much like real estate investing,
Tim: Know when we buy a property, this water heater will explode at some point
Something insane is going to happen to this property while I own it. And you accept that and internalize it and know that’s the case, It’s not like a, maybe it’s just a, yes, it will happen.
Then you can make moves and move forward. , knowing that everything was going to be difficult and knowing that, , probably most of the stuff we wanted to do, wasn’t going to work out right. The first try. , we just dove in and. The challenges are multiple. Yeah, you, I am not a detail oriented person.
Lisa is not very much either. So registering it was a nightmare, like out how to file taxes, all these little like mundane..
It’s very difficult. Yeah.
Can you talk a little bit about picking an entity and sort of the state, right? Because this is what business owners have to go through, especially like a lot of EFM businesses, you have to pick a state to be registered in. And you have to pick what kind of entity your business is going to be.
Is it going to be an LLC? Is it going to be a corporation? Is all these things. Can you talk a little bit about how you decided on, on those, items for your business?
Tim: Sure. We decided on LLC, honestly, because Lisa said that made the most sense. We did a brief amount of research and Lisa, I have an LLC that holds some of my properties and Lisa had an LLC before this as well. So we were somewhat familiar and we wanted to keep it as
Tim: as possible. so just for tax purposes and liability reasons, LLC made the most sense.
There’s like an S Corp and a C Corp and all these things that are just more complicated than we needed. so just honestly, a brief internet research session between both of us. And we were able to come up with an LLC in terms of where to file it. You need a registered agent for most LLCs.
And that just basically means someone that can.
Tim: So good, old, good old data. Robinson
Tim: again, now he’s retired. He can just do all kinds of stuff for me. It’s wonderful.
Tim: we honestly like REI concierge LLC is registered at my parents’ home,
Tanya: you’re in Maryland then. Because there’s a lot of discussion about, oh this state is better for LLCs and that state, it was just a sheer decision of this is where someone can help us with the actual physical mail. And that was how you decided or,
Tanya: okay. Fair enough.
Tim: do have an LLC in Maryland. LLC is registered in Maryland. So I’m familiar with the tax filings and the fees that are associated and they’re pretty minimal. , and yeah, the fact that in order to do certain things that you would never think necessary, , sometimes you need to reach out to your quote unquote registered agent and knowing that my dad is in Maryland and is more willing to do it than most of my dumb friends.
I figured that was probably the best thing to do was just have it in Maryland.
Tanya: Cool. And then the actual, like setting up of the business so for somebody who’s interested in, let’s say that someone’s overseas. They’re like, Hey, I have this really great business idea. I want to set up an LLC. Can that be done just online? Do they have to go in person? I guess a lot of it’s going to be state-related, but is it fairly easy to set up a business?
Tim: Yes. Easy. Yes, lots of steps. Yes. So it’s easy, but just, it’s a little frustrating, to be honest. I It’s just, again, the details and like it’s very weird with us. Certainly with DPOs that we have on our addresses and
Tanya: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.
Tim: where things can’t, they can’t send us texts because it has a plus in front of it.
Like it’s just nonsense like That it is very frustrating. But Yeah.
So you can form an LLC online pretty easily. There’s also a lot of services out there, like rocket lawyer and legal zoom and all these kinds of online, knowledge based platforms where you can just go and get legal, like boilerplate legal forms and then custom tailor it to what you’re looking to do, go on like legal..
Tim: And look at LLC incorporation papers, like you can download that for 10 bucks and then you can change up the names and it’s like a fillable PDF and you can do a purse. And then you just reach out to whatever entity in your state handles the articles of incorporation and set it up that way you get an EIN or employee identification number.
from what I remember there being some hiccups. I wish I could remember the specific ones, but overall the whole process took us a couple of weeks with the mailings and getting everything filed and stuff like that.
Tanya: Exactly. Yeah. You need that employee identification number for IRS purposes, and then that, with that number, you can go ahead and form your LLC in the state. And then after you get all those paperworks then comes the fun part about setting up a banking account. So you were going that way.
So tell us about that.
Tim: Tanya, the banking, dear God.
Tanya: I’ve been there. I’ve been there, especially where I can’t even imagine from overseas, like how you even did that. It’s a disaster.
You have to be in person for so many US banks, to open up a business account, they will not let you do it. Even if you’re in the States sometimes like them, they will not let you do it unless they see your physical face.
Tim: Absolutely exactly right. It is wild. Let me tell you this story about our online banking, continuing online banking adventures with the REI concierge.
Tanya: Please do
Tim: I want to segue and warn international real estate investors about certain things you might want to take care of before you leave the United States of America.
If you want to use your own money on it down. so stay tuned for that.
But we ended up choosing there’s a million online banking platforms out there now that are just, they don’t have any physical locations because there’s 20, 21 and they’re unnecessary. However, in my brief experience, they’re all terrible.
And that’s not to disparage everyone from doing online banking because you re you really have to, because like you said, Tanya, if we do like a PNC Or a Wells Fargo or something, they’re like…
Tanya: Or chase. Yeah.
Tim: When can you stop by? And the answer’s never, so
Tim: So we ended up going with, and I don’t, I’m just going to say it’s access bank X O S and they’ve been terrible. I’m just going to be honest for people that are looking at online banking platforms, we get locked out constantly. Some reason they keep mixing up Lisa and I. Like her mother’s maiden name ends up being mine and like it’s
Tanya: Oh, my gosh.
Tim: Seriously, this happens every week Lisa’s currently locked out.
Tim: And it’s honestly terrible. This is the most frustrating thing about all the business that you do. In my opinion, outside of the U S is the banking infrastructure. And this is not just us, our VA, who does like our Facebook and some of our administrative stuff.
She’s also an EFM. She lives in a syllabi. And she’s had the same thing. She’s on her third bank now, because the first two were just a nightmare. , so that’s honestly way harder than setting up an LLC or filing your taxes or getting an EIN. In my opinion, banking is so hard because they ask just questions that don’t apply to us. You talked to Wells Fargo and they’re like, can I send you a confirmation code to your cell phone?
And I’d like, you to pass international numbers, but you don’t.
Yeah. It’s not designed to do that.
Tim: It’s like Lisa, actually my partner keeps a SIM card, like just handy. She has a buyer phone and when a banking institution in the US needs to text the code, she swaps out her SIM card so she can receive it.
There’s little stuff like this that just, you would never think about because it’s so silly, but like
Tanya: There’s no reason, yeah. To think about it when you’re in the states, because that’s what the system is designed for. It’s designed for people who live here, so the banking’s horrible. And then, I’ll tell the story quickly. When I went to purchase a
Tim: Alabama late last year, it was my real estate account and my Wells Fargo account back in the state. To reserve a property in this hot market, I had to put down a $2,500 earnest money deposit.
And despite three hours on the telephone with everyone at Wells Fargo, they would not let me spend my own money. because I had not filled out a form prior to leaving the states that I had no idea you had to fill out in order to be able to wire internationally.
Tim: efforts to. Explain to them that I’m not writing internationally.
I just happen to live in the Netherlands. My money’s in the states, it has to go to Alabama, in their minds, that’s an international wire transfer. I couldn’t do it because I hadn’t filled out a paper that I didn’t know existed before I left the states. So that ended up being a disaster…
and then the same exact thing happened for my down payment. We’re talking 30 grand now and I couldn’t use my own money. And so we had to come up with crazy workarounds through my lens. And like my parents got involved and pulled some savings out and had to send it down there at the 11th hour.
And I’m not bitter.
Tim: I just want to vent on podcasts. So I just wanted to tell you guys that story, you’re leaving the plate to
So the banking’s a big one. The cell phone is the bane of my existence. The fact that every online banking portal, whether it be your brokerage account to mint, to TSP account, every time you sign on anything, they want to text you a code and you just can’t get it.
If you’re international, that’s a nightmare, but I don’t know what to do about that except to have a US SIM card. The banking thing is a very serious concern. And now I know that, but like you said, Josh, I wouldn’t have known that prior to leaving, or I would have done that. I would recommend anyone that’s about to deploy or as back home for any extended period of time, just go to any banking institution you have accounts with and say, listen, maybe I didn’t make it clear that I’m living internationally, but might want to spend a big chunk of this money while I’m there for a property or something else.
Is there anything I need to fill out while I’m here in person in this brand? Because that’s something you simply can’t do when you live overseas. Obviously. Another thing that sometimes poses a problem is using your DPO, so I’m trying to think of specific examples. I know I’m applying for a mortgage now, right?
Cause we’re thinking about potentially moving when we go back to the states, moving from DC to Maryland, even though we’re probably not going to do that as I’m getting pre-approved for a mortgage. All these mortgage companies typically use the same software or the same online platform to gather your information on application.
And the DPO just doesn’t fit in there. Like physically, they cannot type in, , DPO. So they have to type in a lot of cases, my previous address back in DC. , and these are things that are weird like when you go to get notarized at the embassy for closing on a property and they see your address.
New Hampshire avenue in DC and they’re like, you obviously live here. That’s not Right. And you’re like their systems from 1978, that’s all they can plug in. Like weird little things like this that just take, just take patients and explanation. I don’t, I wish I had a solution to them, but I don’t know what it is. These things are going to come up to you just, I think communication is key, especially when you’re talking with financial institutions that don’t understand what it is to live overseas. Just say, listen, this is how it is. I don’t have a physical address. I’m going to give you it’s a DPO and we just have to find a workaround they always can.
It’s just a little uncomfortable for them. So I think just being open and communicative, helps with that process somewhat.
Tim: Thanks yeah, we were lucky enough to have Tanya back there on an episode and she was a big hit. So thanks Tonya for coming on. We had a lot of fun.
Tanya: I think I had too much coffee when I talked to you, I was like super hyper.
Tim: Everyone loved it.
Tanya: Oh, thank you. I appreciate that.
no, honestly, it’s just something we started because we want to have fun. Lisa and I thought it would be interesting. We consume being a full-time father two and a half to a two and a half year old, I’ve listened to podcasts. While I’m playing Play-Doh and sparkling glitter.
I’m just trying to think of the things we did this morning. We poured glitter and the whole book, and we went for a little bike ride , but Yeah.
I constantly have in air pods and listen to podcasts. So it’s just something I like. To a lot of people.
Real estate is more conversational than it is educational. You know what I mean? And I think that what we wanted to accomplish was cause we’re, we publish a lot too like I write a blog every week and we send out, Lisa sends out an email newsletter to our subscribers every week and we’re putting out an ebook soon.
And so we do a lot of content and we hope that people are reading it, but at the same time, Sometimes we just want to talk about stuff and sometimes we want to be a little bit more timely. So like we had Fannie and Freddie came out with that wild thing about the 7% rule and I won’t go down that rabbit hole, but essentially.
To ensure that banks aren’t lending more than 7% or their loans. Don’t total more than 7% of the
Tim: investors. that kind of threw a wrench in the works of all the lending institutions in America. So we had a lender come on the day after that happened and walk us through that. Because we wanted to learn too, , so it’s very much something where we have guests that we want to learn from, that we want our listeners to learn from.
And we just want to talk about real estate, as real estate investors. That’s how our company
Tim: was Lisa and I having a conversation other people
our conversation and wanting to do the same thing we were doing our business
Tim: born. So we figured if that’s how we started, let’s keep it going.
We just, we have a lot of fun doing it, I can’t even say what we talk about. Cause we just talk about everything. It is all very real estate centric. We have property managers and lenders and realtors and people all over the space to just lend their expertise, especially in the international field and we have a lot of fun and hope people learn from it.
Tanya: That’s awesome. I love the podcast too, because, and I think it’s a great format, right? Because you’re right. It is very timely. And you can talk about things as they happen. Shifting a little bit, speaking of being very timely, we hear that you were looking for a house in the DC market.
How’s that going?
Tim: Oh, Tonya. I’m so glad you asked because it’s wild. It’s wild.
Tim: Yeah. Talk about timely is right. This is something I’m very much smack in the middle of. Current situation, 30,000 foot view. We have a beautiful house that we very much love in Petworth, back in DC.
That is, it is currently an investment property, but obviously will be our primary residence when we move back this summer. , what we were thinking prior to everyone on earth wanting to buy a house is that we would like to move closer to my family on the Maryland side of the book. , when we moved back and rolled our DC house into a series of properties in the Midwest through a 10 31 exchange, that was the dream because it is now an investment property.
So it’s been rented for more than two years. But with the way the market is, we are pre-approved for a loan. We have a realtor looking for houses for us that meet our criteria in Maryland. But just recently I honestly in the past couple of days, my wife and I have had a heart to heart and just said, listen, this is wild.
People have lost their minds in the market, in DC, in particular. And Tanya, you can speak to this better, but you’re going in with no contingencies. You’re going in at a hundred over asking and you’re getting out. And in my mind, that’s absolutely not worth it. Especially when, we have a house that we love and a neighborhood that we very much so while it would be great to be able to 10 31 and max out the ridiculous appreciation we’ve got on this house over the past couple of years, the stress that it’s going to put on us to try to make these offers from abroad, with ability to see the neighborhood physically, except videos from our realtor.
And the whole no contingency thing and paying over, asking by six fingers, just, it doesn’t make sense. And we have a friend that’s moving back right before us here from the Netherlands and they didn’t have a house, so they have to buy a house. and that’s very much a different ball game, so they’re luckily under contract and a beautiful house that they love. But , it was a whirlwind to try to get that thing and they use the same realtor we did. And it’s been so we don’t want to do that. And currently the plan is to move back into our house like a unicorn pops up and it’s the perfect house, the perfect price in the perfect neighborhood.
We probably put an offer in. but yeah, we’re in limbo in terms of where that is, but I think we’d just like to move
Tanya: Yeah. Makes sense. The market is pretty rough right now for most buyers. And especially for homes close to the DC area, it’s pretty brutal and I’m still scratching my head about who these people are that are offering a hundred K over list? I’m like, I don’t know any of them.
And I I work with quite a few clients , I have to say like our colleagues, when they go overseas and come back they’ve got some money saved up, so it’s not like they’re doing little teeny down payments and they have ability to compete with a lot of these people. Sometimes it just takes awhile and a lot of people aren’t willing to take anything that’s less than what they really want, because it is expensive.
So there’s that too. So the good thing is you’ve got a place to go back to, which is.
Tim: It is great. And that’s just the thing, Tanya, this isn’t an investment property and I think there’s the whole. Buying an investment property versus buying a home is a very different thing. If this was an investment property in a crazy market, I wouldn’t have as much hesitation as I do moving my wife and small child into it.
a little bit of a different purchase. And when you’re dealing with buying the stresses of buying a home in general, then add on all the chaos of the market, like it just, I don’t think it makes sense right now, but.
Why do I emphasize the why?
I think mainly. It gives you staying power more so than anything else. I think if you do something, just because it sounds nice or, oh, that could probably work out or, , I’ve seen other people do this. , when you have that water heater that explodes or the tenant that just decides to stop paying rent, , or the dog on the property that bites someone and you get sued for all you’re worth, these kinds of things will happen.
They do happen. And if you don’t have your wife firmly entrenched in your strategy and your mindset and your conversations with your significant other, , You’re going to bail. , I think that Y is what kind of sees you through the tougher times, because honestly, it’s like a man, , another segment of ours is Tim butchering quotes.
I was going to say a quote. It’s like someone said at some point they are usually smooth, highlighted by brief moments of terror. Someone said that in regards to something it might’ve been crab fishing where it might’ve been football or it might’ve been war.
It’s like choosing your own adventure quote. What I’m getting at is real estate for the most part is very hands off. People that. say it’s completely a hundred percent passive. Haven’t been in real estate long because that’s never the case.
But for the most part it’s relatively uneventful, when things happen, they tend to happen big. And in my experience, they tend to happen in threes. Like you’re going to. A Roach infestation and a sink is going to go and the toilet’s going to explode and then you’re done for six months. , but if those three things happen in rapid succession, which they have to meet multiple times on multiple properties, , and you don’t have your wife firmly entrenched and you can’t go back to it and say, oh, yes, that’s why I’m doing this.
Then you’re going to be out. You’re going to throw up your hands and say, let me buy index funds. And that’s fine, but I don’t think you’re going to be able to get the outsize gains. The real estate provides. If you don’t have your why set up what?
Tanya: So what is yours, why?
Tim: My, why would I like Adrian and I to be able to do whatever we want whenever we want for as long as we want to do it. My why is not to just be able to not work. I think I’m always going to work. I really like the work that I do. I think Adrian’s always gonna work at what she wants to work at.
So I would like to take money out of the picture and be able to do the work that we love as long as we want to do it. And only when we want to do it. , and I think that’s really the goal of financial independence. so when our expenses are covered by passive income, we can say, oh, we don’t have to go to work today.
Let’s go right by. That’s why I want us to be able to do that. I don’t want us to become lazy and just watch movies for the rest of our lives. on the couch, eating, God knows what I want us to be able to engage fully in the work that we want to do and not have to do things that we don’t want to do because honestly, as cliche as it is, life’s too short.
So that’s why it keeps me going all the crazy, the craziness of being a landlord.
Tanya: So here’s the ridiculous part of the ridiculous hypothetical segment. You wake up tomorrow right after. I guess I don’t know what time it is, but where you are, but you wake up tomorrow, whenever that is, and you log on to Zillow or whatever, and you get your a Z estimate and it turns out that your property in Petworth has appreciated to $1 billion.
Yes, it is worth 1 billion with a B what do you do? What do you do next? Let’s assume that you can sell it for a billion dollars. What do you do now?
Tim: Okay. Stipulation. So being married, my answer number one is to talk with Adrian. my answer number two is in my
Step number two is sell that puppy. Get a sweet camper van and head on down to New Zealand with our bikes. a camper van lifestyle guy.
If I could just convince Adrian to just live in a camper van and we’d just cruise beautiful country with bikes, I’m good to go. And the beauty of the REI concierge and real estate investing from abroad is we’re not gonna run out of money with a billion for our Petworth house, but if.
You can keep these things going. And I really enjoy the REI concierge. I really enjoy investing in real estate. I really enjoy being a realtor. So these are things that even if we are financially independent, I’m going to want to do. but a lot of what I do can be done with an internet connection from my campervan anywhere.
Yeah, I would love to ride mountain bikes for as long as I can until I get too old to do it. and beautiful different countries around it.
Tanya: Tim, thank you so much for joining us today. We really appreciate it. We had a lot of fun and learned a lot for those of you who have not checked it out yet, you should definitely check out Time and Lisa’s podcast. The REI concierge. You can find it on any podcast app, just like you can find hours.
Tim: Thanks for having me. It was a lot of fun. Congrats on your podcast.