In this episode, we delve into a unique niche of real estate investing with experienced investor Nick Giulioni. Discover how Nick went from being a tech worker to house hacker, fixing and flipping properties, and even running two wedding venues. Learn about the incredible cash flow and appreciation potential in this niche market as well as how to build a funnel to fill your properties. We discuss the importance of having a strong team, managing properties remotely, and strategies for increasing bookings at your venue. Additionally, Nick shares key advice for aspiring investors. Don't miss this episode if you're interested in expanding your real estate investment horizons and exploring remote management as you get involved in real estate investing.
1. Be around the football - being connected with more people for more deals will progress you in your investing career more than you’d expect.
2. Managing a portfolio remotely is doable with the right team around you. Work with more people who are incentivized to help you, and understand how those team members are incentivized to understand where they will be most and least helpful
3. When getting started investing, there are many factors to consider, such as positive net migration, employment statistics, the presence of major hospitals and universities, and more that can help paint the picture of the need for housing in a market
4. Set your goals before you choose a market and type of property - this will frame your strategy. Find the best team around you for your purpose: lender, real estate agent, property manager, contractor, insurance agent, etc can all help make or break your experience.
Brandon Hall 00:00
This is the hacking real estate Podcast, episode four.
Nick Giulioni 00:05
Be around the football. Even if you don't know how you're gonna get involved, even if you don't think
there's anything that'll benefit you the number of times where I've just had a conversation with
somebody, or I've tried to help somebody get a deal over the finish line and I somehow have gotten
involved in this deal somehow ended up with a 2.67% interest rate on a wedding venue just by being
around the football. It's probably been five times in my career that have helped me gain millions of
dollars worth of equity in that time. So be around the football. Don't always look for how you're going to
get paid in a deal. Just be there and see, see what happens. You're gonna be shocked at the
Brandon Hall 00:40
Welcome to the hacking real estate podcast where we dive into the stories of seasoned hands on and
tech savvy real estate investors. We'll learn the strategies and tools they use to maximize returns and
minimize hassle all while navigating the rapidly changing real estate market. I'm your co host Brandon
Hall and managing partner of Hall CPA and I'm sitting alongside my co host Vikas Gupta, CEO of
Azibo. With our combined 15 years of experience in real estate investing and entrepreneurship. We're
here to help you up your real estate game. Let's get hacking. Following a career in tech sales, Nick
pivoted to real estate investing in 2016. He now has a portfolio of over 150 properties, manages two
wedding venues, which I definitely want to ask you about, and launched a coaching business to help
others achieve financial independence through real estate investing. Nick, welcome to the show.
Nick Giulioni 01:33
Man, I'm so excited to be here. Thanks for having me on, guys.
Brandon Hall 01:36
Absolutely. We're excited to have you on to. So let's start by just giving us a background on how you
got to where you are today. Why transition now to tech sales and do everything that you're doing now.
Nick Giulioni 01:49
Yeah, that's a big question. So if I if I go off on a tangent pull me back in, but yeah, throughout my
entire life, I've just made a habit of being the dumbest guy in the room today included, grew up with
incredible, incredible family members, incredible parents, and a sister who's blowing me out of the
water. Met my wife, USC, who continues to amaze me every single day. But I was never really focused
all that much on my academics- I was always more of a career guy, I worked my way through college,
and then did transition into that E commerce sales where I managed a bunch of different big accounts
for companies like Corsair and Razer. Amazon was my biggest customer Best Buy was another one.
So had that experience. Don't throw anything at me. But my most recent job was actually at Facebook,
or Meta. I ran their direct to consumer sales for for their Oculus products. And my wife hates it when I
say it. But for the last year or so, I have been an unemployed bum. Kind of made that FAANG-to-FI
journey. And the reason that happened was that back in 2016, we had actually just gotten married, just
bought our first house was actually a house hack. We could talk about that, if that's something that
interests you guys. And I was told at my job that if I didn't do something that was illegal, they were
gonna find somebody who would. Now I was able to find my way around it, I was able to kind of find an
alternative. But I had to call my buyer and essentially beg for my job. I called this buyer, this friend. And
he helped me out of a bad situation. And sitting there with tears running down my face in a conference
room, I knew that I needed a change. And I thought at that time that real estate would be a really good
way to make that happen. So I'd been listening to BiggerPockets. I've been reading all the blog posts, I
had a couple of influencers, who I was also listening to on a daily basis, and finally decided it was time
to take action. So it took me a couple months to figure my stuff out. I didn't have two nickels to rub
together. So for a variety of reasons. One of them being the price point I settled on Indianapolis is my
target market where there were lots of turnkey providers. It's where all my influencers were talking
about, and I really wanted that passive income. So I ended up purchasing my first my first turnkey out
here in Indianapolis there in August of 2017.
Brandon Hall 04:05
So when you were house hacking, where where were you living at that point?
Nick Giulioni 04:10
Yeah, good call out. That was in a wonderfully affordable market of Southern California. I'm saying that
sarcastically for anyone who's not not aware, it was in a little city called Laguna Hills, just south of
Irvine, near near where I was working for a bit and yeah, absolutely incredible spot. It was a dumpy little
house that had an apartment above the garage that we were able to rent out, and that covered half our
mortgage. So we upgraded our quality of life while simultaneously while simultaneously getting to build
that equity on a monthly basis.
Brandon Hall 04:44
So you're in tech sales, you are house hacking a property and I'm gonna like accelerate through--,
how long were you house hacking before you picked up your first rental?
Nick Giulioni 04:59
About For eight months, eight months or so not long
Brandon Hall 05:02
started looking outside of the California market. And it sounds like you now live outside of the California
market. You live in Indy?
Nick Giulioni 05:10
Yeah, so it's kind of funny. During COVID, when my wife and I were both still employed in the tech
world, we decided to hide out from COVID. We had a bunch of our investments out here in
Indianapolis, we were tired of paying rent, because we've moved up to the Bay Area, we've left our
house hack. And we were tired of paying $4,000 a month in rent for a dumpy little house in the Bay
Area. And so we said, hey, six months, we're going to move out to Indianapolis, and two and a half
years later, we fell in love with it and aren't going anywhere.
Vikas Gupta 05:38
So you were living in Laguna Hills when you bought your first house and end but then you were renting
in the Bay Area when we fast forwarded. Do you still have the house in Laguna Hills? Or did you sell
Nick Giulioni 05:49
Uh, you know, I was an idiot. And no, no, I would have done really well over 2021 and 2022, at least
until some rate hikes occurred. No, I sold it terrified during 2020. Right, as everything was locking
down, I didn't know what the heck was going to happen. So I decided to cash out and really miss a
great opportunity. But, you know, you live you learn.
Brandon Hall 06:11
So walk me through the decision process to invest in Indianapolis, like why why that market? Because
yeah, and kind of, like, give you a little more context too. So this podcast is for tech workers, people
that are in technology and looking to do exactly what you did build--build a real estate portfolio-- and
eventually retire. We at my CPA firm, we have a bunch of tech workers who are doing this exact same
thing. And they're looking at all sorts of markets outside of California. So tell us why you chose
Nick Giulioni 06:46
Yeah, there were a variety of reasons. One of them is at that point, I had spent all of my money on that
house hack down in Southern California, and just fixing it up and making it livable. And so we really
didn't have two nickels to rub together at that point in our lives. So Indianapolis was a very affordable
market. So that was one big factor. Some of the other factors that were important to us were positive
net migration, that was something that we thought would be an indicator of future value of that property.
A diverse workforce. Meaning this isn't Detroit back when it was basically one industry, they're very
diverse- has a variety of colleges. There's BME out here, there's just a ton of different stuff that's
happening. And then the last one is rent to value ratio. And I know a lot of people calculate it a little
differently. The way I like to look at it is the monthly rent divided by the value of a house. At that point in
time, the 1% rule was something that you could very easily pull off. With a $1,000 rental would cost
about $100,000. We're not in that place today. But we're it's dipped a little bit Indianapolis is probably closer to a point 8% on an investment property. But that was a very important factor for me as I was
looking at it.
Vikas Gupta 07:59
So buying your first investment property in Indy being out of state, how did you identify the property?
How did you find the right people to work with?
Nick Giulioni 08:10
Yeah, I wish I could say it was a super well thought out strategy. It wasn't -- I got lucky and didn't work
with a couple of different influencers that were out here in that region at that point in time, who ended
up being less than... less than kosher for all intents and purposes. But I did find a turnkey provider. And
that company actually had a turnkey arm in addition to a property management. So I found it on
aggregators website called Norada Real Estate. They're still functioning, they've got a fantastic
podcast as well. And they helped to direct that entire process for me and make it pretty easy. So I wish
I could say it was a very well thought out process. It was a math equation, the way I was looking at it.
Brandon Hall 08:51
What sort of issues Did you run into investing out of state? And how would you, like, do it again, if you if
you did it again?
Nick Giulioni 08:59
I probably wouldn't start with a turnkey provider. I don't think that that's probably your best course of
action. I think that, you know, if somebody's doing that many different services for you, they're probably
a master of none of them. So my rehab wasn't terribly well done. They put a bad tenant in there, and
then they were not responsive on the back end. So wouldn't necessarily recommend at least that
turnkey provider. What would I do? Well, I think it's really important that you go through and identify
several things. And I like to think about it like a pyramid -- you have to set what your goals aren't what
you're trying to accomplish. That helps to pick your investing criteria, you then move up to what that
strategy is going to be. And assuming you're trying to buy something turnkey, that pretty easy, and then
you have to build your team up from there. And so you're going to need to find a fantastic lender, a
fantastic agent, fantastic property manager, maybe a contractor depending on kind of what you're trying
to accomplish, and then an insurance agent as well in order to get across that finish line. And only once
then you've kind of built that team or at least have the contacts and have networked your way to that
team would I then go and look at the property to find that particular property.
Brandon Hall 10:05
So how I mean, how do you go about doing that, though? Because if I'm if I'm in San Francisco, and
and I'm working 40 5060 hours a week, how do I create the time to build that team? Or maybe like, in
what order? Should I build that team? Let's start there. What what order? Should I build that team? And
how do I create the time to do that?
Nick Giulioni 10:25
Yeah, very tough to find the time at that point in my life, I was terrified. And so I was I was putting that
40 to 60 hours a week, in addition to probably another 20 into my real estate. And so I was trying to get
my 10,000 hours as quickly as I possibly could. Now, I think there are probably more efficient ways of
doing that. At that point in my life, I wasn't using networking to the best of my abilities. I kind of viewed
every other investor out there as my competition. And so I definitely don't recommend that. Us
investors, it's a rising tide lifts all boats type of situation. Yeah, you might lose one deal from somebody.
But if somebody fixes up a house right next to yours, the value of your house just went up. So don't
don't view everybody that's doing what you're doing is your competition. And I would network my way
to, to that team. So bigger pockets is a fantastic resource. Facebook groups that exist out there-- I can
speak to Indianapolis, there's one called the Indianapolis Out Of State Investors Group, is the nicest
group of people I have ever met my entire life who are all trying to help each other. There are, there's
the occasional jerk out there, but they get flagged up pretty quickly. And so I would really utilize those
different networks in order to find who people are using. With agents, that's usually something that
people are willing to share quite a bit of. Property management, same thing. People might not be
necessarily as willing to share a contractor. But for those other roles, people tend to be willing to share
those. So I would really try and network and figure out who's doing good stuff out there. And who is
very investor friendly, because that's going to be the key to your success. You don't want a traditional
real estate agent, you want somebody who's focused on long distance real estate investors and
understands the requirements of a long distance real estate investor, understands the math,
understands that you're not going to walk that property, that it's a math equation for you. And if that
math equation doesn't work you're out.
Brandon Hall 12:13
So I don't want to go through the process of building my team too quickly. But I also don't want to run
into analysis paralysis. So like, how long should I really spend at this phase of building my real estate
Nick Giulioni 12:26
Yeah, totally depends on how much time you're investing in there. My general recommendation is find
your lender that you're going to use in that local market, the person that's supporting you, there in San
Diego, in that, you know, million dollar shack that you live in, is probably not the same person that's
going to help you with your $100,000 property in Indianapolis. They're not going to prioritize your
$100,000 loan the same way they would a million dollar loan. And for that reason, I highly recommend
going finding out your local lender who is willing to lend to out of state investors, that's a local, that's
going to have the local local appraisers, potentially local agent contacts who can help start that
process. I would call around the credit unions, local banks. And once you've locked in who jives with
your particular way of working, then I would get get that pre approval letter. And that's when you start
having those conversations with the agent. That agent, if they are truly investor friendly, I would have a
bunch of interviews that ask them a bunch of questions. But if they truly are investor friendly, they're
going to know property managers, they're going to know contractors, so they can really help you build
out that team very quickly. I would say that, you know, if you're willing to invest several hours per week,
you could probably get that done in a month, month and a half, two months to get that team built up.
But it really comes down to your dedication and your willingness to get off the texting, get off of social
media, and actually pick up the phone and build a relationship with somebody. Get on Zoom. Build a
relationship with somebody, you just you can't do it via via text messages and emails, no matter how
much we all like to think we can.
Vikas Gupta 14:00
Got it. So to recap, make sure I got this right. It's lender first, then agent, then through the agent, you
get the property manager through the property manager, you get the contractors. And then you had
mentioned insurance agent. How did you go find the right local insurance agent?
Nick Giulioni 14:17
Yeah, that was actually just a recommendation from Norada again. And they are the only team member
that has been with me this entire time. I've literally changed out my agents, my property managers.
Yeah, literally every single person on my team except for the insurance agents. So find a good one. I
can recommend one. I'm sure everybody here has a recommendation of somebody good who's an
insurance agent in their life. I know that there are local guys that do incredible work out here. So yeah, I
would just find, find somebody who can get you over that finish line and is willing to be a teacher -- in all
of these team members, actually. I think it's important that they are willing to be a teacher through the
process, that you are vulnerable and say, "Hey, I don't know what the heck I'm doing. You're the expert,
teach me and I will take your guidance". You know, I'll tell you what I'm trying to get to, but you're going
to be the one that helps get me there. Same with the insurance agent, you want to make sure that
somebody who can teach you what actual insurance products you're going to need.
Brandon Hall 15:10
How long were you investing at a distance? Or were you ever? Were you ever in California building this
Indianapolis portfolio? Okay, how long? Building that Indiana portfolio before he moved out there.
Nick Giulioni 15:22
August, August of '17, all the way through June/July of 2020. So, and I had built up a portfolio of 60 or
70 doors by that point.
Brandon Hall 15:33
So uh, wow, that's, that's impressive, all at distance. Okay. So what I would like to do is come back to
building your own team. Specifically, how do you manage them at a distance? But what I want to jump
to is, how do you manage a turnkey provider at a distance? Because I think what I have seen is people
will build a portfolio from a distance because it's cheaper in that area. And like, like you said, the rents
to purchase price are much better and much better ratio there than you're ever going to get in
California. Oh, yeah. So they look to other markets. But I think what happens with turnkey providers is
people get lazy. And they get lazy because the turnkey provider is doing everything for them. And so
how do you how do you make sure that your turnkey provider is actually doing a great job? Like you
went through some stuff. What would you have done differently? If you could only use a turnkey
provider in the future?
Nick Giulioni 16:31
Yeah, yeah. Great, great question. There are a couple of things that I would really like to think through.
And this is actually my recommendation with your team in general. If you were to build a team that
wasn't part of the turnkey, is you want to understand the incentive structure of these entire entire
scenarios with that turnkey provider. Yes, they were going to make money renting it out for me on a daily basis or on a monthly basis. But that wasn't going to pale by comparison to that, that purchase
that actual initial purchase. So they were going to care a whole lot more about getting the across that
finish line than they were about getting that 10% of my $700 a month rental like $70 a month versus
what I'm sure they made on what was a flip in that scenario, had to be just astronomically different. So
understand the incentive structure would be the first thing. And then I would have people kind of looking
over each other's shoulders and trusting but validating. So yes, I did do a third party inspection that
helped me get some things fixed up, that wouldn't have gotten done. But I probably would use a
different property manager than I did, then the actual seller of that property. The reason being, I want
more people on my team, looking at every single deal more people responsible for the performance. If I
had had a separate property manager walked that property versus that initial turnkey provider, they
would have told me, "Hey, this thing is POS, hey, like this rehab looks good in the photos. It's not as
good in real life. And it's going to be tough to find a great tenant to move in here." If I wouldn't use a
third party property manager, I wouldn't have necessarily been as gung ho, hey, this needs to get
rented out as soon as possible. So I can begin paying my mortgage, because the only way that
property manager was going to get paid is if they got paid from the tenant. And that would have created
a little bit of friction there in that process that would have slowed things down and found us better
tenants through that process. So I highly recommend get more people on your team, more people
looking at your deals, more people watching your back with different incentive structures.
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Brandon Hall 19:11
I think managing expectations is really critical, in my own experience, because I think that you come
from a job where you're probably pretty good at what you do. And you carry these like high achiever
expectations into your real estate investing. But you're working with a bunch of different contractors
who do not have the same level of quality and output expectation, they're not going to meet that
expectation. So you either have to temper it, or you have to find ways to hedge kind of like what you
just described. I'm gonna go get another property manager to double check this to make sure it's up to
my level of expectation. And I think also Nick along those lines, you just said something really
interesting that I have fallen victim to myself. I think what happens when you buy your first couple of
rentals. You you kind of start to you freak out a little bit, because you're like, Alright, I just put 50,000
75,000 $100,000 into this deal. It is, isn't he and he's making money tomorrow. Right? I can't like it has
to make money right now. But I have also made that mistake where we put tenants in. And then it goes
for eight months, they stopped paying for two months, you kick them out, you can never get your
money back, it doesn't matter if you follow them around or not, you're never gonna get paid. And now
you've got to do repairs, and you've got to do another turn. So I have -- and I still struggle with this with
my like, anxiety related to investing in real estate. Now, I've like 25 units now. So I think I'd be over it.
But I still struggle with the calm down, it's okay, if it's vacant for 30 to 45 days, if you get a strong tenant
in, especially if you can, like lock him into a two year lease, like, it's okay. I mean, how do you? How
did you? I don't know, like how do you get over that sort of fear, "this thing's not going to rent" and slow
down a little bit to make sure that you're getting high quality tenants?
Nick Giulioni 21:08
Yeah, well, I just want to I want to take a moment there - and trying to get pithy with it for a moment- but
gosh, a vacant unit beats a financially vacant unit. And what I mean by that is, there's two ways of
looking at vacancy. One is if somebody is paying, and one is whether there's a head in the bed. Getting
somebody out of your unit is ridiculously expensive, you're never going to get that money back, it's
going to take a long time, you're gonna have to turn the unit. So I would much much, much rather just
have a physically vacant unit than a financially vacant unit, because at least I know, the property isn't
degrading nearly as quickly. And, and so that's kind of the first thing that I always like to take a
breather, and be like, Alright, okay, yeah, take a breath before I talk to my property manager, because,
of course, yeah, we all have bills to pay, we want those things rented out as soon as we possibly can.
So that's the first thing. Second thing is you got to approach your buying with ranges, like there is no
like, this is the perfect rent rate for this particular house, whenever I'm doing an analysis on a property, I
know, it's going to be somewhere between, for instance, 650, and $800. And so I need to make sure
that it's okay, sitting there at 650. If that's the low end, where I know hate 650, it's for sure, gonna rent,
but I'm gonna go, I'm gonna try that $799 first, and then work my way down over time. Understanding
that, you know, hey, if I've got to, I've got to move it down, I've got to move it down. But if you walk in
there with a one way a deal makes sense, one way to deal can work, you're going to be in a really
rough spot, because unfortunately, none of us are that good at planning. The other thing you said there
that I really appreciated, really liked was, you commented that so many of us come in here, with high
achievement, you know, we're in my example, I was surrounded by FAANG talent, like I was the
dumbest person in the room in a lot of those situations. And what I think you have to understand when
you go into the real estate world, is most of the people you deal with, aren't going to be at your same
level of achievement, or, and I'm not just talking about contractors, I'm talking about agents, it's one of
the easiest jobs to get started one of the hardest jobs to master. Same with property management, you
know that the good are really, really good, but it's very, very easy to get started in both of those. And be
be there willing to, to kind of learn from people who probably aren't at your same level of raw IQ, but
could still have have something to teach you in those particular scenarios. I think that's just a really key
key thing as you're going through that.
Vikas Gupta 23:47
Thanks, Nick. I think that's that's a common theme that we hear you know, that a, that no tenant is
better than a bad tenant. But I like the way you put it better. That's much pithier. Financial vacant.
That's a that's a great term. I think I may steal that. I'd love to fast forward to where we are today. What
does your current portfolio look like?
Nick Giulioni 24:06
Yeah. So over the last several years, I've touched over over 150 properties, currently sitting at
anywhere from 60 to 70, single family, small multi families at any given point in time, it does tend to
change a little bit by by the day by the week. Most of that is long term, I do have a couple of short
terms, a couple of mid term rentals, and we could talk about that if you want. And at any given point in
time, we're doing anywhere from 10 to 15 flips at a time. And so doing what we can to to kind of force
that equity. And then like we talked about earlier, been lucky enough or unfortunate enough depending
on who you ask to stumble my way into two wedding venues which has been just absolutely bananas
and not something we would have scripted out if we would have been asked to a year ago.
Brandon Hall 24:55
So the flips are you are you flipping and then holding and renting or are you actually flipping buying and
selling a little bit of both?
Nick Giulioni 25:03
Usually, we actually don't know what we're going to do on the front end, we just find areas where we
can force equity. And if we've got, if we've got the capital, then we'll hold it. If we don't have the capital,
though we'll sell it, it's a pretty, pretty darn good place to be.
Brandon Hall 25:16
Are you self managing your portfolio?
Nick Giulioni 25:18
No, I fully understand that I want more team members. On my side, despite having touched 150
properties, I fully understand that I am not an expert. And it's not the best use of my time, I would much
rather pay somebody the eight to 10% to property manage on my behalf. Versus versus doing it myself
and having to schedule handymen to go out to properties to actually go show the units myself, you
couldn't pay me to do that. It is the best 10% I pay on a monthly basis.
Brandon Hall 25:47
So it sounds like you are outsourcing to third party property management. At what point do you
consider vertical integration?
Nick Giulioni 25:55
It's a great question. And you know what we're probably at the point where that's something that we
could think about just the end, it would probably save me a little bit of money. And I probably could go
start my own property management company and do all of that. But that's not where my skill set is.
That's not where my superpower is. And I feel like buying my time and not having to manage that is
probably a better use of my time than than, you know, doing it internally.
Vikas Gupta 26:21
Nick, I'd love to hear about the wedding venues. You said you stumbled into that. How did you stumble
Nick Giulioni 26:29
Yeah. All right. So this was a weird one. I had these properties that I got an offer from a hedge fund
back in April of 2022. And right after I just quit my job. And so they offered me about 10% more than I
thought these, this portfolio of about 17 homes were worth. And so just by pure dumb luck sold it right
before we started seeing some softening in the market, sold these suckers. And then I was sitting there
having to do a 1031 exchange for anyone who's not familiar, that is a strategy by which you essentially
don't take that capital out of that sale, you leave it all in, in the transaction, and then you have to go and
find a similar or more amount of real estate to essentially redeploy those funds, lots of rules. I'm not
going to go into the particulars hire a 1031 individual to manage that process for you. But I was sitting
there realizing I had 180 days to buy these, these potential new homes. And I was just thinking, Gosh,
darn it, it's gonna be such a pain in the butt to replace 17 homes. If I go the single family route. So I
was just thinking, Alright, I'm just gonna go park some capital in an apartment complex or something or,
and so I just cranked my Zillow minimum price up to the price point that I needed to hit. And I stumbled
across a wedding venue. It's called The Wilds down in Bloomington, Indiana, which is where Indiana
University is based. And it was stunning. It's 125 acres. It's got a wedding venue, two houses on it. And
I told my wife that I was gonna buy wedding venue. She said, "You were barely involved in your own
wedding. What the heck you thinking?" But once I kind of showed her the math and made a lot of
sense. Like I said, She's way smarter than me. And so, ya know, she, she got me. But then her only
requirement was that I needed to hire a team, and that I wasn't allowed to talk to any brides. And so I
agreed to it. We ended up purchasing this thing. And I hired the best team I could possibly imagine.
And I hope that's the thing people are taking away from this episode is team is everything. Surrounding
yourself with high quality people is everything. And so I've got this incredible group of people sitting
there running that thing. I come at him with ideas, I can bust down doors for him. For instance, we just
got our own liquor license. So we're going to be able to serve our own liquor, really do some some
revenue generation. I never talked to brides, my wife's happy. But what's kind of funny is how, and this
has been the theme of my entire investing career, is to be around the football. I was just around the
football. I bought that wedding venue. And I had a woman reach out to me asking for my advice on
selling her wedding venue not far away. And she was like, Hey, I know you just bought The Wilds. Are
you willing to hop on a call with me? Just tell me like what you were thinking about when you were
selling it so that because I need to sell my place. And so I hopped on a call realize that this thing, this
this wedding venue is beautiful that she's selling but it's not it's virtually worthless from a business
perspective, because it has to be owner operated unless you have local infrastructure like like we did.
And so I ended up getting this thing under contract and put, you know, eight, I think it was $825,000
purchase $50,000 down and she seller financed the rest of me at 2.67% Just because I was around the
football and I answered her questions and so yeah, I'm one lucky son of a gun and I still don't have to
talk to any brides. And I just get to go bust down doors and, and manage an incredible team that
manages those properties for me.
Vikas Gupta 30:09
Yeah, I got, I got a bunch of questions too. I'm curious though, in the wedding venue, the two
businesses that you own, how much of running those businesses resembles a real estate investment,
versus running like a small business operating company.
Nick Giulioni 30:29
That is a fascinating question. Having never run a small company until this moment, I can't tell you what
normal one looks like. What I can tell you is the way I viewed and how I underwrote both of these
properties was very similarly to how I underwrite a, like single family home that I was going to own and
add to my portfolio, the thinking was, I went and I did a rent to value ratio where the rent is the number
of bookings that we were getting, and ways that I could generate new bookings. And the value of the
property was, obviously the cost that I used to acquire it. And, you know, we were talking about a
moment ago, those 1% rent to value ratio types of deals, these deals are probably sitting closer to two
and a half 3%. Now, there is a lot more overhead, my management company is that team that I have to
pay a full full time salary to and, and all that. But um, but yeah, it's the way I viewed it was very much a
real estate transaction. And the way I'm looking to add incremental value to the properties, I'm trying to
add those ADUs, which is I'm trying to add that liquor license, I'm trying to add potentially additional
units on the property so that people are able to sleep and turn it into a hotel. So I'm viewing it like a real
estate business, I would almost guarantee my team that works at those places would say I'm absolutely
bananas for thinking about it that way. But that's just how my brain works.
Brandon Hall 31:49
How much more of a lift is it to manage this versus your like rental portfolios? I presume that this takes
a lot more of your time. Is there like leadership and coaching that you're doing with your team? And
stuff? Like are you really investing in, in that? Or is it still relatively fast?
Nick Giulioni 32:07
It's pretty passive. I'm intentionally trying to uplevel my team. And so I do Lean In, I probably have two
and a half hours of meetings with that team per week. And if I'm doing things to try and add incremental
value, like I said, going and getting that liquor license. That was that was a headache, I won't lie. But it'd
be the same thing if you were doing things on real estate to add incremental value to your properties.
We had about two and a half hours of work that that I put in on a weekly basis there. And I hand the
Brandon Hall 32:36
Fascinating. You said you you have the second venue that you purchased. It was worthless, unless you
owner operated because you needed local infrastructure. What local infrastructure were you
Nick Giulioni 32:50
Yeah, I already have an entire team built out, we were able to utilize all of our existing employee base,
we were able to utilize our existing infrastructure with regards to invoicing and, and getting people to
the wedding day, which is, again, I was barely involved in my own wedding. So I was stunned. Once I
purchased this wedding venue, the number of steps and the number of decisions that have to get made
before that wedding day. If we weren't able to utilize a a group of people that were managing inboxes
and sharing responsibilities, it would have been ridiculously difficult to to operate unless you were
Vikas Gupta 33:28
Got it. So to dumb it down for me, to make sure I understand is that just mean that that second one you
bought, was too small to support its own full time team.
Nick Giulioni 33:39
In its current structure, yes. And it's not size, it was revenue -- the revenue couldn't justify it. It had been
poorly run up to that point. It had been run by somebody who was an idealist and loved weddings and
not a business person. And they've made a lot of decisions that minimize the amount of profit and
revenue they were able to generate. So what we're doing is we're bringing that that infrastructure from
a more successful venue, that the thinking and and the sales tactics that we use there, we're going to
implement them over at the second venue and, and by the time by the time we're done with it, by the
time we've stabilized it, it's going to it's going to be at a point that it could stand alone, not that I'm
looking to sell.
Brandon Hall 34:21
So obviously when you buy a business, there's a lot of things that you can do to improve it, some of
what you've touched on here. But let's let's say that I need a way to get bookings as fast as possible or
in a more consistent way to get bookings. How would you do that? Like, like if you're buying a wedding
venue now and you're saying, Man, we need to get bookings up. What are you doing to do that?
Nick Giulioni 34:47
Yeah, it's actually the same thing that a lot of wholesalers, think about when they're going about the the
entire process of building out their funnel. You have to think about it like a big old funnel where there's a
population of potential brides out there. And really, probably over gendering, I'll say couples, couples
that are going to have been engaged are about to get engaged. How do we get our awareness up with
that group? Same thing wholesalers do on the potential distressed properties, there's a certain amount
of distressed properties out there. How do we get awareness up that you are a wedding venue in that
particular area. There are a variety different tactics we use, we use Google ads, we use Facebook ads.
On top of that, we hold events at the at the venue we try and draw people in. So we're now involved
with local local groups that we actually hold events for those like the Economic Development Council,
all of that kind of stuff in order to get people into the property. It's also near IU, both of these properties.
So we hold events with sororities and stuff again, we're just trying to, to get the awareness is yeah,
there you go ahead. I saw that on one click there. Yeah, we try and get the awareness as much as
humanly possible as early as possible that we've got an incredible venue. And then on top of that, then
we just try and get people to book tours. Tours then convert down into actual bookings after that point.
So it's it's awareness, tours, bookings, same thing on the wholesale side, it's awareness, contact with
the seller, and then eventually getting an under contract.
Brandon Hall 36:24
Is this something that you can do at a distance? Like, like, let's say that I'm in California right now. And
I'm going, Man, this is awesome. We're going to start looking at wedding venues. Instead of maybe
buying a short term, or long term rental? Is that something that I should do? Or should I get my feet wet
with real estate first? Because it because it sounds like, it sounds like you've got some competitive
advantages, because you're local, you've got the local infrastructure built out sounds like there is an
operating part to this.
Nick Giulioni 36:51
I actually disagree with that. I am 90 miles away from my closest of the two wedding venues. Okay, I, I
would love to see my wedding venues more. There are two houses on that property. I love crashing in
those places, and let my two Golden Retrievers run around and enjoy the 125 acres. But no, I basically
run it as a remote investor. That's how I run my real estate business too. I very rarely leave these four
walls. This is my prison. This actually isn't a an office. And so no, I actually think you can do it at a
distance. Now there are a variety of things you need to think about. Again, can you build the right
team? From a distance? Can you find the right people to run that place for you, if you can find that
incredible team that is willing to be hands on can be service oriented, can be sales oriented. And that
won't drop the ball on you? Absolutely, you can run it as a remote individual. I've been lucky enough to
to essentially do that. I probably only get down there. Oh, it's less less recently. But I was going down
about once a week as I was setting things up. But now I'm probably down there once a month.
Vikas Gupta 37:59
Are you looking to buy more wedding venues?
Nick Giulioni 38:03
I wasn't looking to buy a second wedding venue. So I don't plan past dinner. If a good opportunity
came, I wouldn't turn it down. I feel really blessed that I've got an incredible team. And they like new
challenges. They get bored if things are the same too often. So if I found a great opportunity, and I felt
like we could do it right, then absolutely. I would buy more wedding venues. So anybody who owns
wedding venues, feel free to reach out I will take the call. I'll tell you tell you what people are looking for
when they're buying a wedding venue.
Brandon Hall 38:32
Nick, this was an awesome, awesome episode. Thanks for coming on and joining us. We have three
final questions for you. The first is what is your favorite book? What would you recommend the top book
that our audience should read?
Nick Giulioni 38:46
Yeah, so I've got two answers. One is the one I'm reading today. I'm really excited about it's The
Expectant Father by Armin Brott. We're expecting a little one here any day. He's done an awesome job.
Thank you. But then if I had to choose my favorite book of all time, it's a book that yes, it's about
negotiation, but it's about so much more than that. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. I reread
that one probably once a quarter. It's helps me with my relationships, my family with my wife, and then
obviously in the real estate and wedding game as well. It has just been an absolute game changer for
the way I view the world.
Brandon Hall 39:20
Awesome, awesome. That is a great book, by the way. So our second question is, do you think that
cashflow or appreciation is better?
Nick Giulioni 39:31
Man, you're gonna get me in trouble here. I'm gonna alienate somebody with with this answer. I actually
think that that isn't necessarily the right framework to think about things. The framework I like to look at
things is the cash flow keeps the lights on, it's an absolute imperative. But if you're just focusing on that
you're missing the other four wealth drivers of real estate. You've got loan pay down, appreciation,
inflation hedging, and tax benefits. So if you're just focusing on the cash flow, you're you're missing out
on some some really good things. So the way I like to think about it is where you are in your investing
career. If you're early on, and you can, you can keep the lights on yourself, you don't need to live on
that food, you wouldn't notice that extra 100 bucks of cash flow in your income on a monthly basis, then
I think you should be focusing on those other four wealth drivers more. Now, it's very easy, then once
you've built that equity, once you've got all that, that, that equity over time to convert that into cash flow
in the future by delevering and finding opportunities to do that. So with that in mind, I think you know,
early on you focus on ROI later you focus on on kind of that cash flow and living on that and because
you can't eat equity, unfortunately.
Brandon Hall 40:37
I wonder too, how less of a problem cashflow actually is when you have an operating business like a
wedding venue, because if you if you figure out how to right size wedding venues and your cash
flowing, you're seeing monster cashflow there, I mean, that's even more of an opportunity that you can
take on the appreciation side of real estate invest.
Nick Giulioni 40:58
Yeah, well, you're not wrong, that that's actually my strategy moving forward. I would say it's more of A-
class stuff that doesn't necessarily cashflow. But that again, I don't have to think about.
Brandon Hall 41:07
Right. Right. That's, that's awesome. I love that. All right. Last Last question. What is one piece of
advice you want to leave with our audience? What what's the big idea that you want them to take
Nick Giulioni 41:20
Yeah, I said it, I think once before hear on the podcast, but it's be around the football. Even if you don't
know how you're gonna get involved, even if you don't think there's anything that'll benefit you the
number of times where I've just had a conversation with somebody, or I've tried to help somebody get a
deal over the finish line. And I somehow have gotten involved in this deal. somehow ended up with a
2.67% interest rate on a wedding venue just by being around the football. It's probably been five times
in my career that have helped me gain millions of dollars worth of equity in that time. So be around the
football. Don't always look for how you're gonna get paid in a deal. Just be there and see, see what
happens. You're gonna be shocked at the outcomes.
Brandon Hall 41:58
Nick, really appreciate you coming on. This was an awesome episode. How can people contact you if
they have any questions coming out of today's episode?
Nick Giulioni 42:06
Yeah, absolutely. The easiest way to get in touch with me is email. I'm pretty good at it. It's
email@example.com. You can find me at @offleashinvestments on Instagram. You can find
me @NickGiulioni on Twitter. I'm pretty darn accessible. Don't hesitate. I'm down to help people get
started in real estate investing and absolutely loved the interview today. Thank you.
Brandon Hall 42:25
Thank you very much like this episode. Appreciate it. Nick
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