#025: How to Make it Big with Value-Add Apartments

Welcome to The Accelerated Investor Podcast with Josh Cantwell, if you love entrepreneurship and investing in real estate then you are in the right place. Josh is the CEO of Freeland Ventures Real Estate Private Equity and has personally invested in well over 500 properties all across the country. He’s also made hundreds of private lender loans and owns over 1,000 units of apartments. Josh is an expert at raising private money for deals and he prides himself on never having had a boss in his entire adult life. Josh and his team also mentor investors and entrepreneurs from all over the world. He doesn’t dream about doing deals, he actually does them and so do his listeners and students. Now sit back, listen, learn, and accelerate your business, your life, and you’re investing with The Accelerated Investor Podcast.

Josh: So, hey guys, welcome back. This is Josh Cantwell with Accelerated Investor. Thanks so much for joining us. Whether you’re catching this on iTunes or in YouTube, I’m really excited. As you know, we try to deliver to you guys the best and brightest information, strategies, personal development hacks that we possibly can. A lot of it from my own experience of the good things, the bad things, and the awful dumpster fires that I’ve experienced in my life to help you along your journey. Whether you’re just trying to get more out of your life and perform at a higher level, whether you’re a CEO or an entrepreneur, whether you’re an investor, whether you’re a real estate investor or investing in the markets. This podcast and interview series is my way to kind of just open up, be transparent, tell the world about all the things we’ve done right and wrong, to help other people along with their journey. And I’ve got with me today a relatively new friend, Agostino Pintus who is, I said that right?

Agostino: Yeah that’s right, that’s correct.

Josh: Perfect. All right. So there’s the American way to say it and then there’s the Greek, you know, European way to say it. But he is a very successful investor and he’s been through the proverbial landmine of life and real estate, had amazing successes, been through his own dumpster fires and is having amazing success today as a multifamily real estate investor. He currently owns and controls over 500 units of multifamily apartments, has over a hundred in his pipeline right now. And we’re going to talk today just a little bit about apartments and multifamily and we’re going to talk a little bit about life. We’re going to talk a little bit about things we’ve done right and things we’ve done wrong. And I hope you guys love it and enjoy it. So Augustino, welcome.

Agostino: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Happy to be here.

Josh: Yeah, for sure. So we’ve talked a lot. We’ve got to know each other just really in the last month or so. And for those of you guys that are out there looking at, you know, how do I meet new People? How do I network, you know, of course like real estates hot things are going good, right? And we attend and sponsor all the local REIA club meetings, both in Cleveland and Columbus. We go to lots of meet ups. We met Agostino through some of those groups and I was a speaker at one of those groups and we’ve just, you know, relationship is building and we’re talking about doing some joint venture stuff on some apartments and take it from there. So Agostino, let’s just start with your business today and then we’ll go backwards. Sure, sure. Talk to our audience a little bit more about your strategy for investing in the markets. How do you find deals? What are you investing in? Getting access to capital. What are you excited about right now in the investing world?

Agostino: No, right now, yes. All we do is we buy C and B class properties. Finding the B stuff is a little bit tough for these days. Even finding the C stuff is right. But what we’re looking to do is try to find value add assets that we can go in, improve drive some appreciation, hang onto them for up to 10 years. Pull out a refined, you know, anywhere between three to five and return almost all the capital if not 100% of the capital back to the investors at that refi time. But, you know, we’re looking to target some really good, good numbers for them and yeah, the only time we have, we have issues is trying to find assets these days. Like everyone else’s is, you know, just, it’s all done through networking, right? That’s how we’re doing it now. We’re trying, we’ve built up our own network of brokers.

Agostino: The brokers know who I am, they know that we can close and we know that we always execute when we never put down an LOI unless we intend on taking it down, you know, so unlike other guys out there, they’ll start slamming out LOI’s willy nilly. We don’t do any of that stuff. Then I think many of the brokers are aware that. To them it’s super important that whatever you’re going to bid on, you’re actually going to close. That’s important.

Josh: Yeah. Got It.

Agostino: So it’s mainly built on that.

Josh: Do you have a specific asset that you own in your portfolio now that’s kind of like your crown jewel, your favorite property? And tell us about it. Because if that’s the crown jewel, you probably just want to go find more of those.

Agostino: Yes, yes. You know, the, the crown jewel is a Triumph Tower. It’s a recent acquisition we just did in Euclid. It’s a little one, it’s 126 units. We bought this from a mom and pop operator who, you know, he had some hard time managing it was the only one that he had and plenty of opportunity, plenty of upside. We saw it right away. My partners and I, we went in and took that sucker down and we’re in the process of investing in other $650,000 K into this thing to make it to improve it. It’s literally three minutes away from the Amazon Distribution Center. There’s a whole lot of things happening in Euclid that’s all kinds of great things happening in the community. It’s just going to be an amazing property.

Josh: So tell us about the price. What was the purchase price or putting six 50 into it, what’s the new value going to be? Tell us about the cash flow you said about refinancing and trying to get their investors their money back in three to five years, which is amazing. Tell us about the numbers.

Agostino: So the purchase price on this one is just over $4 million. So a interesting story. It was originally listed at $3,888,000, right? So we ended up, so they’re Asian and so…

Josh: We talked about this.

Agostino: Chinese superstition, right? So I happen to know a little bit about the culture. I traveled to China for a bit for some business and stayed over there for like about a month or so. So I learned a little bit about the superstition and my broker happens to be Asian to he’s Chinese too, right? So he reminded me of these different nuances. So I’m like, okay, so we need to bid that $3,888,000 plus 88 cents. We had an 88 cents to that, right.

Josh: Because that’s like for good luck, right?

Agostino: That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. So they, they pushed back and we ended up bidding $4,028,000 or $28,888 and 88 cents, right. So because two is also a lucky number by the way. So we gave them an extra $30,000 K or whatever it was and still still a great deal. You know, it’s very much in line with what’s going on in the market today as far as cost per door and the return is concerned, right. And, you know, we’re going to put another $650,000 K into this thing. We believe that once this thing is repositioned, and I’m $s conservative with my numbers, I’m thinking it’s going to be somewhere in the realm of 5.45 point $6 million when it’s repositioned and done, right.

Josh: So you’ll be in for $4.6 $4.7 be worth $5.5 make $8 to $9 million of equity created.

Agostino: That’s right.

Josh: And then obviously the longterm appreciation depreciation.

Agostino: Oh yeah, we’ve already started all that. We’ve already started all the cost segregation, all that stuff too. We’re you’re just kicking that off now. But you know, really the big thing is repositioning this asset to not only improve the interiors, you know, clean up the finishes. Also improve the tenant base to drive up that those rents as well. That’s going to be a huge, huge part of it. And also getting the expenses under control too. I mean, on day one we’re able to cut half a million dollars in annual expenses right away.

Josh: Wow. From what, what did you?

Agostino: All kinds of dumb stuff that was going on. They had all these employees that didn’t need, I had my management company and brought them in, they had everything from trash to all these different is different things that they were paying for it they just didn’t need or I was able to use my contracts I already have with these other assets, bring them in at a discount, right. So it was huge.

Josh: Nice. So the question becomes like, how do you go do more of those, right. And you already kind of touched base on, okay, we’ve got to find brokers that know we can put out a letter of intent. We know we’re going to close if we can get it, very competitive in that way we perform when we say we’re going to perform. That’s a big deal. So tell us a little bit more about the pieces about your team. And the reason why I ask is we have a lot of different entrepreneurs that listen to this podcast. We’ve got guys that own ecommerce businesses and do marketing funnels, run marketing agencies. We’ve got executives, of course we’ve got real estate investors.

Josh: And the only way you can scale a business is through people, right? You can, you can say we want to sell a million of these widgets, but unless you have people to run your systems, you can’t sell a million widgets. You can’t grow a business. So tell us about your process. Some of the people that you have on your team, what roles do they play and how are you finding training and retaining solid contractors, employees, staff? Because like, you know, you want to build a massive portfolio, 5,000 doors 10,000 doors. How do you do it? You do it through people. So what are your thoughts around that?

Agostino: You know, the days of solo entrepreneurs over, you know, and no great business ever gets big on their own by one guy. It just doesn’t happen. You know, you can’t even think of one small company, right? And I’m a real believer in that. My team is, I only align myself with people that have integrity and they say, whatever they do, they’re going to say they’re going to do, right? So aside from course, having a great CPA and having great attorneys and great partners as well as far as capital raising and things like that, when it comes to the actual team itself, before all those people even get involved is we have, for instance, on the other writing side, right? We have deals that fly in all the time, right? And for instance, sometimes it comes to me directly or sometimes it comes to someone on my team or even one of my students that were coaching, they’ll get up, they’ll underwrite it and they will analyze it first and they’ll tell me whether it’s a good deal or not.

Agostino: If it is, then I’ll take a look at it, they’ll underwrite it separately from what they do, right? Once we figure that out and then send it over to the bank, I don’t send them my numbers. I say, here, Stephen, tell me what you think about this deal. This is a good deal or not. And then we compare notes. Now I have three numbers to compare, rights So who’s like, are we okay? Are we within the certain thresholds? Once we figure all that out, right then we actually make the move. Then we actually prepare the LOI and handed over to the broker. And I have one broker that I work with primarily. I have a whole lot of brokers out there, a lot of broker relationships, but there’s only one, I only have personally one guy, he’s my go to guy, you know?

Agostino: In my opinion, I mean I always deal with brokers. I always, I don’t, that’s just me. I prefer to do it that way, because they help keep things in line and roll on down the line, a good broker will.

Josh: Hitting deadlines, due diligence, financing, getting to the closing table on time on budget. Yeah they’re good at that. Everyone wants to get paid. Real estate’s a commission business. You know, got to get to the closing table.

Agostino: That’s right. And you know what they’re going to get paid for and that’s okay. I’m fine with it, you know, I’m fine with it. I’m cool with it. As long as they’re keeping everything in line, everything is moving down the line where it’s supposed to go, I’m okay with it, you know, always go with a broker. And but aside from that once that’s all done, of course at the same time too, we also have a great management company. They’re part of the due diligence process.

Josh: Are they third party or internal?

Agostino: Third party. Right now it’s all third party. And they help us with the lease audits to help us with, with utility audits. They look for are there any side deals going on where the previous, the current owner it has like paying for cable TV for, for these four units over here. I mean, you’d be surprised some of the wacky stuff you find.

Josh: The money for laundry that they’re not claiming.

Agostino: The money for laundry that their not claim exactly. Or there’s even those speaking of laundry, those leases that lasts forever, those 10 year leases from CSC for instance, right? Oh my, guys, always make sure that there’s no 10 year lease on your laundry. Make sure, that’s a negotiation point there guys. But you know, but, and I’m serious about that because that stuff it’s already come up on two deals now, right? The automatic renewal thing and you can’t get out of it. But they look for stuff like that and then we, well, while they’re looking for, we also try to find ways of getting out of it or if it’s an agreement that we don’t want but they’re actively involved. They’re helping us with due diligence and again, they’ll do their due diligence we do ours. It’s concurrent happens at the same time, but then we compare notes and see how it goes. So it’s almost like a check and balance type system, right? I don’t want to be the only guy underwriting something, you know, I can certainly do it. I’ve done it in order, I want Gary to…

Josh: But it’s always an opinion, right? It’s like a realtor’s opinion of a broker’s price opinion or realtors of CMA value. What’s the rent? And if you know anything about commercial real estate, each rent and you got a hundred doors, the difference between $600 per month and $650 per month, when you add it all up across a hundred doors, it’s hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars in value.

Agostino: That’s right.

Josh: It’s a big, big deal.

Agostino: That’s right.

Josh: That’s great. So Agostino, tell us a little bit more about are you syndicating your deals? Tell us more about structure as far as like bringing investors in because they’re providing your down payment or your renovation rehab. You know usually, commercial lenders are funding 75% 80% of the acquisition. Tell us a little more about that and then some of the different structures that you’ve done and then how are your investors making some money? Are they staying in the deal for a long time? Preferred returns, you know, we’re not, we’re not soliciting money here, so let’s just make that disclaimer, but our audience wants to know, like different structures. How are people structuring their deals and doing it successfully?

Agostino: Yes, yes, yes. Well, deal structures vary, right? A typical one that we’d be doing would require us or allow us to give up, say 60% of the deal, right? So we’re keeping 40%, we’re giving up 60% to the investors and the investors are the limited partners where the GP, we hang on to it. And in exchange for that, we’re looking for the down payment typically sitting at 75% to 80%, you pointed out earlier. We’re also giving us 6% pref on that money as well, right? Pay outs don’t begin until six months after we stabilize the property and we get it under control. We find out where all the skeletons are, get everything running.

Josh: There’s always skeletons.

Agostino: There’s always skeletons, always something that they didn’t tell you no matter what. And so we’re always cleaning all that up first. And then once we get all that out of the way, we start delivering returns quarterly on a quarterly basis is we’re at, I’d love for us to get us to a point where we’re big enough that we would be able to deliver monthly returns. That’s something that I’d like to do, but for the time being, we’re just doing quarterly.

Josh: Quarterly is good. Yeah. Even when you’re massive, like monthly’s too much of a pain in the butt, stick with quarterly.

Agostino: That’s right. And you know, typically we tell investors are doing like a 10% cash on cash return and we usually targeting a 15% IRR. We do much better than that. But whenever we’re talking to investors, that’s what we tell lies. That’s where we’re at.

Josh: Nice. So let’s talk about the future. Like you have 500 doors now another 100 and your pipeline. What are you trying to get to? And the reason why I ask is we’re going to have new investors, intermediate and advanced full time real estate investors that hear this. We’ve also got executives and CEO’s and business owners who are, have a lot of net free cash and they’re thinking, well, how do I invest in real estate passively? And I want to talk a little bit about like, we know where you’re at today. Let’s go to where you want to be in a few years from now. And then let’s, we’ll, go all the way down way back to the past and we’ll talk dumpster fire stuff. So what does the next two to five years look like for you? Like do you have a number of number of doors, assets under management? And tell me about that.

Agostino: Number of doors has 3,000 units.

Josh: By when?

Agostino: Write it down. This year. So it’s a very aggressive timeline. Fortunately through the training that I do, we do coaching and training. We actually have our students out there, they’re looking for deals to so…

Josh: So you leverage yourself that way. Good for you.

Agostino: Exactly. Get to help them get into deals and they’re happy because they actually get to leverage our team to get into these deals as well. And they’re getting the experience that they need to get into a deal too.

Josh: Yeah. Joint venture partner. A lot of your systems, co-sponsor, a personal guarantee on the loan, contractors, third party management, all the stuff that you’ve figured out, and their bringing in deals in it’s great. I actually started back in 2005 and went fulltime did exactly that. We called them, I can’t remember the name but we had apprentice partnership. 10 guys in groups of two so five teams out looking for residential deals. Same thing. Like we were actually relatively new to the business but we knew enough to be like a couple steps ahead of some of our friends who wanted to get into real estate. They would come in Thursday nights, we’d get pizza, we would train them, we gave them all territories and they were finding crazy deals. Back then we’re doing all wholesaling and short sale negotiations and things like that. And we were maybe only six months or a year ahead of them. But that was enough that we had some credibility and some authority and about 50 deals that we closed and they became amazing like bird dogs and acquisitions guys. So I love the love the strategy.

Agostino: And, you know I thought, there’s real value there. I mean, you touched on this earlier about guys, you know, if you’re just starting out, you have no idea what it costs to paint a room. You just don’t know. Is it $100 bucks is a $400 bucks? You’re going to buy a house or buy to buy a building and have a contractor show up. You’re going to say to him, you’re going to make the mistake of saying to them, well, Joe, what do you think is going to cost to paint this? And Joe’s going to answer with the highest number possible.

Josh: Whatever he can get away with.

Agostino: Whatever I can get away with. He’ll look at you, look at your shoes. Oh, he’s wearing Gucci. You know what for you $800 bucks.

Josh: Yeah, you get a Gucci room. Gucci paint.

Agostino: That’s right. And that’s exactly it. You know? But if you have, if you have that experience behind you, the experienced guy would know cost per square foot, the pain is X is costs to paint trim is Y. Joe, here’s your list, It’s going to cost you $200 bucks to paint this room. Joe says, no, tell to pound salt, find another guy. I mean those are the sorts of, it’s a little, little thing, but it’s those little things that’ll keep you from getting killed in this whole business.

Agostino: Many people overlook those things, you know, they just hand it off to the property manager and step away.

Josh: Step away. And that’s what I would do because I’m just thinking, always way up here and strategizing way up here. And that’s why I’ve got to bring in great people because I honestly could easily be taken advantage of because I’m not, like, I’m not always familiar with price per square foot of this or price per square foot of that. But I’ve got Tim Roth’s sitting a couple rooms over that’s his job. He’s our rehab underwriter, project manager. That’s his job. Does an amazing job for us. So, 3000 doors by the end of the year. Fantastic. Hopefully we can JV on a whole bunch of them.

Agostino: Absolutely. Great. Looking forward to it.

Josh: So Agostino, let’s go back then let’s talk about your entrepreneurial journey. And this is really my favorite part of the discussion to get in with a new gas or a new friend is there the journey, because we’ve all go down these different paths and sometimes we do it right out of the gate. Can’t believe how many people I’ve met who did it right out of the gate and then screwed it all up. Or the guys that struggled forever and then finally hit a grand slam. Or the guys that just kind of methodically went about their business and it just seemed to all grow, grow, grow, and then all of a sudden it was hockey stick. Everybody’s got a different path. So where does your path begin? I know you started in the corporate world as a very young CIO. Tell us a little bit about that and then how did that pivot into your real estate journey?

Agostino: Sure, sure, sure. Well, I’ve actually been an entrepreneur my entire life since I was like nine years old, started writing. I was one of those kids that wrote code, you know, that kind of thing.

Josh: And there was code when we were nine? Because we’re probably about the same age.

Agostino: Yeah. There was this basic.

Josh: This basic code.

Agostino: Basic code on the Commodore 64.

Josh: Right. I love Commodore 64. Space Invaders man.

Agostino: That’s right. But I use to code that stuff. I use to write it, you know, and at nine years old trained myself on how to do it. And I’ve always wanted to do something on my own.

Josh: Kids, if you don’t know if you’re listening to, you’re young, you don’t know what Commodore 64 is. Go ahead and go ahead and look it up.

Agostino: There you go. Yeah, it’s awesome.

Josh: Cave man computing.

Agostino: Those classic games are back in now too. It’s crazy.

Josh: Yeah they are.

Agostino: It’s crazy.

Josh: Vintage.

Agostino: Yep. But you know, I would say that my journey when it comes to real estate, only started about 16 years ago. So back in 2004 but at the same time you got started.

Josh: Yeah, sure.

Agostino: And you know, I think the, but the most relevant time was, was when everything just went south. That’s probably more the most relevant, you know, because at the time I was living in Florida doing a consulting gig to work at some bank down there right after the crash. Right up until that point, I was a CIO, a young CIO in my early thirties helping, we just went public, you know, helping this, these guys grow their business, you know, it was insane.

Agostino: It was a debt collections, asset, purchasing, that kind of thing.

Josh: Big salary.

Agostino: Big salaries, Corvette’s, Hummers all kinds of madness going on, right? And then, anyways, so now I’m consulting in Florida, right? And I get to the house, I’m renting, turn on the light switch there’s no lights. And I know why. You know, I know why. It’s like I realized that I have a sinking feeling in my stomach, I didn’t pay the electric bill because I have no money to pay for anything. I had nothing, right. The reason why is I’ve just gone through a divorce. The crash just wiped me out, right.

Right after the economic crash was terrible, right. And you know, I was frustrated, I was lost. I was broke, I was broken, you know, as well, you know, especially, broken everything, everything, everything was gone right.

Agostino: Couldn’t even pay the electric bill. This is probably one of the darkest moments, but it took making a vow, making a promise to myself that that would never, ever, ever happen again, I can’t do this anymore. I won’t do this anymore. How do you go from C level executive at a publicly traded company to now he can pay your electric bill?

Josh: Fall from grace.

Agostino: That’s a big fall. It’s a big drop, it’s a huge drop, you know?

Josh: So what did you learn, like what coming out of that like personally, mentally, physically, relationship wise, like it’s often in the biggest dumpster fires of life. Like when I had cancer, right? That you learned the most about yourself and you learn what you can tolerate, how much pain and suffering you can tolerate. You also learn about all the things that you won’t do again. And that’s often the best lesson is, I’m never going to do this, this and that again. So what was that like for you? What lessons did you take from that?

Agostino: You know, I would say this, that there’s a great deal of commitment. You really have to make a commitment. I’m not just talking about committing like, yeah, I’m committed it’s fine. No, no, no. I mean, you wake up in the morning, you get your workout in on time every single day and then you work, that’s it. That is what you’re doing. You don’t take days off. You don’t sit down.

Josh: You demonstrate commitment by doing not just by saying.

Agostino: Right, exactly. And you’re not sitting on sitting on your duff watching Game Of Thrones. No offense to people watching Game Of Thrones. I heard it’s a great show. I’ve never seen a single episode.

Josh: Neither have I.

Agostino: I don’t know, I don’t have time for that. I mean right now I’ve got this burning passion is burning ember, that sit’s inside me every day that keeps me focused on this because to get to 3,000 units, there’s no time to watch TV. There’s still time to chill. There’s no time to relax. I mean, it takes sacrifice to get there, but once I get there, then yeah, maybe I’ll catch a show. For the time being, that’s not it. And that’s what happened, you know, early on when I was the CIO earning all kinds of money, I relaxed. Everything is okay. You don’t have to worry about it. It’s fine. It’ll last, it’ll be here forever until it’s not until they hand you the box. The box you put all your stuff in and you go home.

Josh: You get the box they get your keys and your computer.

Agostino: And all your stock that they promise you. But that’s what I’m saying though, there’s no time to relax. And that’s, and you know in my coaching that I do, I make sure that I tell my students, I say guys, this is requires a whole lot of work and a whole lot of commitment. If you can’t do it, you don’t need to be here. Simple as that. It’s that kind of commitment that’s required to build success. You have to be committed 100% that’s one big commitment.

Josh: You’ve been committed for the long haul. Even if you have like people think, well look, my first calendar year of investing in real estate primarily doing wholesaling in short sales and flips and we did over $1 million of gross income that year. First year in 2005 ,2006 me and my partner were humping it busting it, but at the end of the day, paid some employees, not a lot, but then you split that up between partners, really not like tremendous. Even if you’re making hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s really not, it’s not legacy money. It’s just like you paid the bills, you put some money away, you probably overspent, wasted some of it and that million bucks really goes boom like that it’s gone.

Josh: So knowing that like I think for a lot of people it’s about expectation. Like a lot of people are thinking like, oh, if I can make $100,000 I remember my dad 25 years ago saying like I mean I made six figures and I tell people today like to quarter million dollars a year is the new six figures easy, right? So $250 is the old $100 and if you’re not there, like you’re not really making a massive dent in the world or any kind of legacy stuff for your family, certainly could be having a great income. And not everybody wants to strive for that because it takes a different level of commitment, right? But for entrepreneurs that are like, I want to make a large income, I want to get to the point I’m making six figures. Like that’s not really in my world, that’s not in alignment.

Agostino: That’s exactly it. I mean, and part of it is, is that, and you just touched on this, aside from the commitment next is those goals. But what are you promising yourself? What are you promising your family that you’re going to deliver? You know, what are those? I mean, I write my affirmations on every single day, every day I’m writing them down. I remind myself, I’m subconsciously programming myself with what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it. That’s so, so, so important to making whatever you want in your life to happen, happen. It has to be that way. And you know what though? And if you’re going to build something legacy, what you’re referring to, if you’re going to build a legacy, $250,000 is not going to cut anything. It’s not going to do it. I mean, you’re talking 3,000 units is just the beginning to get to legacy, right? You know, and to get to that, that requires a whole lot of energy and a whole lot of action. And when you’re sitting, sitting around you know, waiting for stuff to happen, nothing will ever happen to you.

Josh: Yeah. Yeah. That’s amazing. We talk all the time with our people about taking inventory. So setting goals, knowing why you want to do, what are the reasons why you want to do what you say you’re going to deal with. What are the reasons behind owning 3,000 doors? Like what does that do? And I imagine for you it might be the pain, the fear of going from up here to having nothing and even less than nothing, debt and going like way into the red. But is that what drives you? Like what drives you to 3,000 units? Is it the pleasure of that or is it the fear of what happened back in 2000?

Agostino: I think it’s a little bit of both. You know, I grew up too I was raised by immigrants. All right. My family is from Italy, right. And we didn’t grow up with much, you know, so I don’t come from any money. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth or anything else like that, you know we struggled. I put myself through school, I financed the whole thing on credit cards is how I did it. An undergrad and two master’s degrees all on my own.

Josh: You’re a smart guy.

Agostino: No government, no government money, no nothing. I did it all on my own.

Josh: Good for you. That’s great. I love to hear that.

Agostino: That took a lot of work. I did my first master’s degree in a year and a half while working full time, you know? So it took a lot of effort to do that, right. And so I’m used to hard work and you know but when that crash happened, that totally wiped me out, that’s one thing that promise I made myself years ago. I still remember it like this yesterday. I’m sitting that living room in Florida, you know, in the darkness, it’s ridiculous. But secondarily though, I mean I want to build a legacy. I want to build something for my son to pass on to him and he can pass on to his family. I do have our podcast too, that we do. It’s not just a podcast, it’s a set of instructions. They are instructions on how to run this business long after I’m gone. Imagine listening to your dad tell you how to run your company, wouldn’t that’d be cool.

Josh: That would be so cool, man yeah.

Agostino: And that’s when I’m programming him for right now. You know, it’s like, and I made a vow to my wife that I’m going to take care of things and that’s what I’m doing, you know? And that’s why we do what we do, you know? But right now it’s about legacy and not being the way it was before, because I won’t do it again. It’s not going to happen no way. It’s a very different mindset. I’m not the same guy that I was back then, I’m just not.

Josh: Yeah the fear, I think for a lot of people is the fear of getting stuck or not having, or going back to where they were telling themselves like, I’m better than that. Like I’m better than I was back then. For me it’s definitely about fear. Like I think of the fear of surviving cancer, the fear of my business going dumpster fire around the same time I was having cancer and my father, him selling his business right before he about to retire, it was basically retired for a year, then was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. And so I also think about, I also don’t want to do the 40/40/40 deal, right? Worked for 40 years, 40 hours a week for 40% of the income that we used to make. That’s what our parents all grew up with, right. And if they save that extra money and maybe they had a little bit extra money afterwards, but at the end of the day, like it’s the fear of actually seeing what my father went through of basically being retired for a year, selling his business for not quite what he wanted to get out of it.

Josh: And then now all of a sudden he’s in the middle of a Parkinson’s diagnosis and never really able to actually retire. So I looked at the fact that, you know, he took us on these amazing, great vacations when he was an entrepreneur and his business started going really well. We went to Jamaica, we went to Cancun and we went to California. We went to all these different, amazing, fun places. And I think like, well, I’ve got to have that. I’ve got a work hard hustle, really, really, really commit to with my goals. But I also want to have these like mini retirements while I’m young because there’s no guarantee, especially if after being a cancer survivor, knowing that my grandmother had Alzheimer’s and diabetes and Leukemia and my dad has Parkinson’s, that I don’t know that there’s a retirement for me.

Josh: And I think a lot of people are living to be 80 and 90 years old, but the retirements are not always like they don’t have the energy. They’re not in their youth anymore. So tell me a little bit about that. Like how were you managing your personal goals of building 3,000 units, hustling your face off, but taking time to enjoy life now, keep it all balanced? Because I think at the end of the day, like working 60 hours a week and building 10,000 units would be great, but what are you sacrificing along the way? Because there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to enjoy the 3,000 units or 10 so how are you managing that in your personal life, your entrepreneurial journey?

Agostino: I’ll tell you what, right now, I think the difference between an entrepreneur and non entrepreneur is what you do with that fear, first off. If you take that fear and you use it to drive you as opposed to let it debilitate you, then that’s what makes all the difference in the world right there. And I think for most people, that’s what the fear just overtakes them. And that’s what causes them to do nothing, do nothing, right. So that fear, I used that fear to help drive, you know, it’s not just fear. I mean, I have other things that I want do. Having true financial freedom requires a great deal of work, you know? And so I’m very fortunate that I actually get to work with my wife every day. So we see each other every day. We work in the home office, we look at deals, I take her with me, look at deals.

Agostino: Sometimes we actually, she’s my partner when it comes to doing this sort of business. So in that way, it’s actually not that bad. It’s just only just her and I right now and my son of course. But you know, it’s right now, at least for this year anyway, our plan is just to bust it as hard as we can and that’s it. Yeah I mean, we’ll go to the occasional trip to Columbia or we’ll go down to Florida for a quick getaway, whatever. Right now it’s just work. That’s it. I mean that’s all I can tell you. There is no work life balance. It’s just life, it’s just life. And we just got to, we’re just pushing it as hard as we can to get to that goal. I think once the goal is hit, we’ll be able to shove off different aspects to take a breath, but for the time being, no that’s it.

Josh: That’s it. Yeah. My mom said something to me years ago that I’ll never forget and I’ll share it with you and share it with our audience and then we’ll wrap up. But she said to me, you don’t mean me and your dad have been married 50 years. We celebrated our 50 year anniversary last year and now 51 years, it’s amazing. Awesome. And we planned a great party and it was just really, really fun. And all the videos and all the things with my, these two amazing aunts, my mom’s sisters that are really funny. But my mom said to me around that time, she said, you know, I feel like I was married to a different man every five years for the last 50 years. So 10 times, you know, 50 divided by five every five years I felt like if I was married to someone different, because sometimes we were in sprint mode, sometimes we had extra and we took our foot off the gas.

Josh: Sometimes you kids were young, sometimes you kids were in trouble, you know, my brother, Matt went through a divorce and then he had that five year phase. And we’ve had other business successes in business failures. And so I think for anybody, it’s not possible to just constantly keep your foot on the gas. But you go through phases and sometimes you are just in sprint mode, right. And that’s where you’re at now. As soon as you recognize that and say like, we’re good with that as a family, I think that’s a family decision.

Agostino: You got to have your family on board absolutely. Got to have them on board.

Josh: And that’s, I think for a lot of entrepreneurs I’ve made this mistake and is, you know, I’m in this mode but I’m not taking my family, my wife, my kids along with the journey. They don’t know where my head’s at. And so now when I’m saying like, this is what I’m doing today or this is what I’m doing this week, this month, it’s not congruent with where they are. And so I think part of the challenge of being successful entrepreneur is to first of all say like, I don’t have all the answers, right? Especially being vulnerable to your wife and your husband, your kids being vulnerable. Say I’m going to do the best I can to provide for you guys, but I don’t have the answers.

Josh: So this is how I think I’m going to attack it. What do you think? It’s been very, very helpful for me. And then other times they say, well listen honey, like we need to sprint right now for the next year or two, five, whatever it is, we’re in sprint mode. And then, you know, there’s times we could take our foot off the gas a little bit and take longer vacations and take more time off in sprint mode. Sprint mode kind of stops for a minute and you’re kind of in jog mode if you will. But inevitably, I don’t know why it is, but sometimes when I feel like I’ve been in jog mode, that’s kind of when like the crazy cracks, the problems start to creep in,right?

Agostino: If you stay in there too long.

Josh: If you stay in there too long. That’s right. Yeah.

Agostino: That’s the thing. I mean, and part of it is developing the systems and the processes that things are still running, you know, so maybe you know what, maybe I won’t look at a hundred deals this week. Maybe I’ll cut it down to 50, you know, or whatever, right. But that’s my version of jogging as opposed to sprinting. But I think, but you just hit the nail on the head. If the family is not on board, if the wife is not on board with what it is you’re doing or your spouse or whoever, right? If your spouse is not on board with what you’re doing, you’re going to fail or a good chance that you’re going to fail, right? They have to be on board. If they’re not, you better either fix it or change direction or do something unless that relationship’s not important to you. And that’s a whole different story. You shouldn’t be listening to this podcast.

Josh: Right. I see, you’ve never heard of like a Ted Talk or amazing YouTube video with millions of views and shares where, you know, the entrepreneurs up there and say, yeah, we did it. And, you know, and my wife was not on board and my family was not on board. I don’t want to think of what I was going to say like, those videos don’t exist.

Agostino: Don’t exist. Absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s 100% true, guys. I’ll tell you right now, the life of entrepreneur, it can be hectic, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Josh: Wouldn’t have it any other way. No, absolutely for sure. So Agostino, listen, thanks for joining us. Before we leave, we’re going to have people that listen to this, that want to be mentored by you. They want to join venture with you. They want to invest with you actively, passively, whatever. How can people reach you? You have your own successful podcast. Tell us about that.

Agostino: Yes, yes. BulletProofCashflow.com found on all the major platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube, we’re everywhere, right? Check us out subscribe. Leave a comment. If you’re listening, if you’d like to stuff. If you don’t like the stuff, let me know. Leave a comment, tell me, tell me you don’t like it. Tell what you want to hear, right. But BulletProofCashflow.com go there. You can reach me there as well. That’s the best way to get me.


Josh: Fantastic. Agostino, thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for being on Accelerated Investor and we’ll see you guys in the next episode. Take care.


You’ve been listening to Josh Cantwell and the Accelerated Investor Podcast. Leave a comment on our iTunes channel and let us know what you want to learn next, or who you’d like Josh to interview. While you’re there, give us some five star rating and make sure to subscribe so you can be the first to hear new episodes. Follow Josh Cantwell and his companies, the Strategic Real Estate Coach and Freeland Ventures on all social media platforms now and stay up to date on new training and investment opportunities to start your journey toward the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. Apply for coaching at JoshCantwellCoaching.com.

Agostino Pintus’ entrepreneurial journey is nothing short of remarkable.

Prior to beginning his real estate investing business, he struggled to pay the bills – so much so that the electricity in his home was turned off.

When Agostino turned to real estate investing as a career, his life changed dramatically (for the better).

Today, he owns 500+ units in multi-family apartment buildings, with an additional 100+ in his pipeline. He operates a successful investing business, focusing mainly on value-add apartments that he can fix up and own for the next 10 years or so.

Agostino also has a coaching company, Bulletproof Cashflow, for entrepreneurs and real estate investors (particularly those who are interested in multi-family properties).

In this podcast, Josh chats with Agostino to learn more about his story, as well as his current business prospects. Whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or real estate investor, Agostino has some insightful advice on how to achieve financial freedom through your efforts.

What’s Inside:

  • Agostino’s story of acquiring the Triumph Tower in Euclid, OH for $4 million
  • How Agostino build a team of talented people to help drive his business
  • How he structures his financing and works with private investors
  • Agostino’s entrepreneurial journey and background
  • How to use fear to drive you, not debilitate you

Mentioned in this episode​