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Joel Janis: 35 Years Successful Investing

In 1975 when his small dental practice was being taxed to death, Joel and his wife Vivian started investing in real estate to reduce their tax liability. Twelve years ago they retired comfortably living on the income from their investments.

They have invested primarily in single-family residential properties, and over the last 10 years have also included some commercial properties.

Listen as Joel explains the principles he follows in real estate investing and gives sound advice based on his extensive experience.

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Transcription by SpeechPadDamon: Well, I would like to welcome everybody to the interview today. I’ve got a very special guest. His name is Joel Janis. You’re probably wondering, hmm, that sounds kind of like Damon’s last name, and there’s a reason for it, because Joel is actually my father. He’s been investing in real estate for many years. Much of what I know, I’ve learned from him and my mom who have been doing real estate investing together for as long as I can remember, since I was very young. I’m looking forward to this interview because I’ve never actually formally sat down and asked you, Dad, and I’m just going to call you Dad in this interview instead of Joel. It would feel funny to call you Joel instead of Dad.

Joel: It’s okay.

Damon: We’ve never sat down and formally talked about your real estate investing experience. I know that there are a lot of things that you’ve learned over the years that would be very valuable to the people who will be watching this interview. Let’s start by getting an idea of how long have you been doing real estate investment? Do you remember about when you started investing in real estate?

Joel: Yes, but I’ll have to give you an approximate times. I think it was about 1975. What happened was, we had purchased our home and paid it off. We felt really good about having our home free and clear. But our income taxes, and at that time tax rates were very, very high. I was a dentist and I was making a good income. But after we got through paying our taxes, we just didn’t seem to have much to show for it. So we got the idea that maybe it would be better to get a mortgage on the house and take the money and start bidding and investing in something that would give us tax write-offs. That’s what really led us to real estate. The other thing that led us was we’d had some experience in it. My wife, Vivian, your mother, had observed her mother investing in real estate over the years. We got started about 1975.

Damon: Okay. So in 1975 . . .

Joel: If you go from ’75 to now, it’s been what, 35 years.

Damon: Yeah, about 35 years. Over the 35 years, just a rough estimate, how many properties would you say that you’ve owned over that period of time?

Joel: Again, I’d have to stop and count, but it’s somewhere between 55 and 60 real estate transactions that we’ve bought and sold. Some of those have been our own personal residence, but it, I’d say at one point we had like 10 to 12 houses at the same time. Now we’ve cut back a little bit.

Damon: Okay. And so, how long have you been actually living on . . . now, you’re a dentist, you mentioned that. You practiced dentistry for many years. How long have you and mom been living off of just the income from your investment properties?

Joel: That started in 1998, so that would be 12 years.

Damon: Twelve years.

Joel: 1998 is when I retired from dentistry completely.

Damon: Okay. So there was a period of time when you were still earning money from dentistry but you also had income from your investment properties. But in 1998, that’s when you stopped doing dentistry, and all your income since then has been derived from your investment properties. Is that correct?

Joel: The key to it was that when the income property was producing enough monthly income to equal what I was earning in dentistry, then there was no longer a need to practice dentistry. I might also mention that I was carrying very expensive life insurance policies all those years. It was term life. But when I realized that if something happened to me, that my family would still have the same income that they got when I was practicing dentistry from the rental properties, then I no longer needed life insurance.

Damon: Okay, that makes sense. I’ll mention here too that you have seven children, so you had quite a large family that you were providing for. Obviously, you didn’t want to leave them in the lurch if something happened.

Joel: Right, and I did carry life insurance for many, many years.

Damon: Right, okay, very good.

Joel: Until I didn’t need it anymore.

Damon: Just another kind of ballpark estimate, how much wealth would you say you’ve created just in your real estate investing over the last 35 years?

Joel: If you want it in terms of net worth, today, it’s approximately $1.5 million.

Damon: Okay, all right.

Joel: Some of that, most of it’s in real estate, equity in real estate. We have a fairly large sum of money in the bank just in case we need it. I’d say our net worth is about $1.5 million.

Damon: Okay. And would you characterize your investing in real estate as being aggressive or being conservative? Where would you kind of fall on that spectrum?

Joel: Extremely conservative now. Initially, we started out conservative, and for a while we started getting pretty aggressive. It was about 1981, when interest rates went up to like 20% and it was very difficult to buy and sell. We never got really burned in real estate, but the climate was such that it made us more conservative. So I’d say that we went from conservative, and probably currently, we’re in our mid-70s, we are extremely conservative, maybe too conservative.

Damon: At this point you are not looking, you’re not trying to grow your net worth anymore. You’re really just investing for income and making sure that you maintain what you have. Is that right?

Joel: Not looking for what?

Damon: Oh, I must’ve cut out there. We’re having some Internet problems.

Joel: Yeah, it cut out.

Damon: At this point in time, you’re not looking to grow your net worth so much as preserve what you have and derive income from it?

Joel: We’re in a holding pattern. We just want to stay where we are. We’re not concerned about growing it. But if a good investment comes along, we’ll certainly look at it. But we’re not taking an aggressive approach at all now. More of a holding pattern.

Damon: Okay. So let’s talk about what kinds of properties you’ve purchased. When you started investing, what kind of properties were you purchasing, and what have you done over the years?

Joel: We zeroed in on single family residential. Minimum three bedroom, two bath homes with two car garages, that’s where we started. We’ve had some things that didn’t fit exactly into that pattern. I’d say in the last 10 years, we have invested also in commercial offices, so that we’re kind of balanced between the two. But for many, many years, it was all single family, residential.

Damon: Okay, excellent. We’ve laid the ground work. We understand how you got started in investing, how long you’ve been doing it, and what your motivation was initially. What I’d like to talk about now is what has been your approach to real estate investing, in terms of implementation. What’s your philosophy? What was your implementation in terms of actually making the investments to get to the point where you are and have been to retire?

Joel: Okay. I’m going to philosophize a little bit here. I hope your listeners can bear with me. Number one, we had some guiding principles. One of them was that any investment that we had or anything that we went into debt for had to appreciate in value. We have never bought anything that depreciates in value and borrowed money for it. Like cars and things like that. So real estate . . .

Damon: TVs.

Joel: . . . fits into that category.

Damon: Right.

Joel: Things that goes up over the years, sometimes more than others. That was a guiding principal. We would not go into debt for something unless it had a good chance of appreciating in value.

Number two, you might call it the golden rule principle. When we bought a property and we prepared it for someone to live in, our guiding principle there was that we wanted the house to be nice enough that we wouldn’t mind living in it ourselves. In other words, the kind of neighborhood it was in, the cleanliness, the yard, that was our guiding principle. So we would fell comfortable showing it to people and feel that we were providing a good home for anybody that rented it. So that was a guiding principle.

Another thing, I think, that was a guiding principle was that we wanted to provide something that was a good value for the money. If we were going to buy a house and we were going to have to charge, because of the price, we were going to have to charge more rent than the current market would allow, then that was not going to be an investment for us. We had to purchase it for the right price and be able to fix it up so it would be a nice home but be competitive.

So those were the guiding principles. I will add to it that there are a lot of good, potential tenants out there, people that appreciate having a nice home, and there are also some people that will take advantage of you. We’ve had to learn over the years to discern between those two kinds of people.

Damon: I wanted to ask you about that. One of the questions I wanted to ask in a little bit, maybe we should do it now, is how did you determine, how did you make a selection on what tenant to put into a property? What criteria did you use? My recollection is that sometimes you had, you had a few problem tenants over the years. Most of them, I think, turned out to be good tenants.

Joel: I’d say the majority were just fine. There have been some that have been a little bit of a challenge. I think, in my dental practice, when I first would see a patient, I could tell whether they were going to give me trouble or not. You sort of get a sense, you know, the psychological profile of the people that you’re dealing with. Sometimes they can fool you, but I think there are some warning signs. There are some red flags that go up. You have to ask lots of questions. You have to do a background search. You have to call previous landlords. You really have to do your due diligence, and then you can avoid those kinds of problems most of the time. Every once in a while, one will slip through.

I might say this too that real estate investing to me is very similar to dentistry, because you’re providing a service but it’s still a business. You have to be fair, but you have to be business like. If people start asking for things, they want this and they want that and they want to do something, it’s usually a red flag that there’s going to be more coming down the line. I think you just learn. It’s a study in psychology really.

Damon: When you had a tenant that would start asking for things or maybe even a potential tenant, let’s say they’re filling out an application. You’re talking to them, getting to know them a little bit. You would be looking for these red flags. They would kind of indicate whether they would be problematic or not?

Joel: Yes, and the references are very important. When you call the references, whether they’re personal, business, or previous landlords, you have to read between the lines a little bit, because if they’re really enthusiastic, then that’s a good sign. If they’re reserved, you have to take that into consideration. Sometimes people will be very blunt. We always ask this question: If you had a nice house and you were going to be renting it to this person, would you have any reservations? People will usually give you an honest answer. We’ve developed a checklist. Every time we’ve had a problem over the years, we’ve added that question to the checklist.

Damon: It’s a pretty thorough list at this point?

Joel: It needs to be thorough.

Damon: In the rare case that somebody slips through the checking, and they’re in your house. They’re problematic. Maybe they’re not taking care of the house. Maybe they’re not paying their rent. What do you recommend that people do to deal with a bad tenant?

Joel: First of all, in your rental agreement, you have to protect yourself. For example, if the yard’s not being kept up, we have a clause in there that says if the yard’s not being kept up properly, then we have the option of hiring a professional landscaper to take care of it. They, the tenant, will have to pay for it. That’s usually incentive enough. There are some safeguards. When somebody stops paying their rent or they’re late on their rent, we have a late fee. If they don’t pay the rent, then we go through the legal procedure, three day notice and eviction. We’ve had to do that occasionally. We don’t like to do it. Particularly if the tenant will communicate with you and say there’s been some problem but we can have the rent by the 15th or 20th, we want to be understanding and go along with that. But if they won’t communicate and they’re giving us tall tales as to why they’re not paying it, then we just follow the rental agreement. There’s things in there that says they can’t stay if they don’t pay. We’ve had to go the legal route a few times, not too many. It is part of the business. It’s happened.

Damon: Okay. You said you’ve owned about 55 to 60 properties over the years. How many evictions do you think you’ve had to actually do? I just want people to get an idea of what the ratio is, what their expectations are.

Joel: I’m going to have to just estimate here, because I really haven’t thought about it or done research on it. I would say that for every ten tenants that we have, maybe one. Maybe it’s not even that much. It happens like once or twice a year. If we’ve got ten properties, that’s not very many. It’s not like 50% or anything like that, but it does happen.

Damon: It does happen but not very often. When it does happen, there’s ways to deal with it in a business like manner, is what you were saying.

Joel: Exactly. Now, when we were invested in California, there was an eviction service that we worked through. They were paralegals that ran it. They seemed to be able to work it just fine. Now, we’re in Utah. In Utah you usually have to get an attorney to do it, but it’s not very costly. Since we’ve been in Utah, which is since 1992, I think we’ve only had to do it once or twice, I think, that we’ve had to go the legal route.

Damon: I see, and that’s been 18 years you’ve only had to do that two times.

Joel: That’s a pretty low ratio, I guess.

Damon: Of course, I invest my property. My property . . .

Joel: It’s not something . . .

Damon: I’m sorry, go ahead.

Joel: Well, I was just saying it’s not a major problem, but it’s one that you are going to deal with when you’re investing.

Damon: Okay. And just a side note. . .

Joel: As you’ve probably already experienced in your investment experience.

Damon: I did. I had one tenant that, actually I didn’t have to evict them. They came to me and told me that they were not going to be able to afford the rent. So we were able to create an agreement that they were able to move out. I worked with them on their timeline. I think I gave them an extra week or so to do that. It was very friendly and amicable the way that it worked out.

Joel: That’s really the ideal way to handle it, and most of the time it can be handled that way.

Damon: Right. So you mentioned that you owned property in California. Then in 1992 — so that would have been 1975 until 1992 — you started to purchase properties in Utah. That’s where you’ve done both residential and commercial properties, correct?

Joel: Yes, and we were able to do 1031 exchanges on all those properties, so the taxes on them, the capital gains taxes were deferred.

Damon: Okay, I think we’re back. Our connection dropped there for a moment. The last thing that you said was that you had done a 1031 exchange so that your property taxes were deferred when you were purchasing these other properties.

Joel: Right.

Damon: Okay. So that brings up another area I wanted to talk to you about. What do you see are the advantages of investing in real estate as opposed to . . . let me ask it a different way. Why did you choose to invest in real estate instead of say get a 401K or create some kind of retirement account and invest in the stock market like most people do?

Joel: Well, as I said before, initially we had a tax problem. I was in about a 50% tax bracket. So all the money that I earned in dentistry, half of it was going to run the government. It was very confining for us. Real estate was ideal, because not only do you get the income from the real estate but you can get tax write-off for depreciation. That was an advantage back then. Now, that we’re retired, it’s really an advantage because whatever Social Security you get, you don’t have to pay taxes on that if you’re in your own business like investing. If I had a W2 type job, I would be taxed on it. We’re very independent and we’re left alone being in that kind of situation. Our taxes are very, very low because of the depreciation that we claim on the rental properties. So the upside of having this type of a retirement is that it saves you a lot of money. The only downside is that you still have management, and we prefer not to pay for management. We do everything ourselves. But as we’ve gotten older, we begin to hire more and more. I use to take on everything. Sheetrock, plumbing, electrical, whatever needed to be done, I’d do it. We had teenage sons that helped us out with all that work. I don’t have that kind of help anymore. So now I tend to hire more for those things particularly the things I didn’t really like to do. We can afford to now because we got to a point about six years ago where all the mortgages were paid off, and so we could afford to do that. We still like to be hands on with the management. We don’t like to turn those decisions over to somebody else.

Damon: Right. So you stay very involved in your properties.

Joel: Yes. But with a 401K or an IRA and those kinds of things, I had some of those things when I was involved in teaching at a dental school, and I got very frustrated with it. I didn’t feel like I really had control of what was going on. So I just cashed it out and bought another rental house.

Damon: It’s probably worked out better for you in a number of ways, for example, the taxes that you were talking about.

Joel: Right.

Damon: Okay. I had another question kind of related to this whole idea. On the mortgages, you mentioned that about six years ago all of your mortgages have been paid off. Just for our listeners to understand, how has that benefited you in terms of you borrowed money to get the properties. You owned some of them for a long time, but you did pay the mortgages off. So what’s the advantage of being in that kind of position that you’re in now?

Joel: Well, think about it. It’s fairly obvious. You don’t have to write those mortgage checks out each month. That’s a big advantage. We’d done a lot of buying and fixing up and renting and selling and exchanges over the years. We’ve done a lot. It’s not like we went out and bought ten houses and sat on them for 30 years and let the mortgages get paid off by the rents. The basic philosophy is exactly that. If you purchase houses and the rents are making payments on everything, taking care of the mortgage, and you have 50 year, 20 year, or 30 year mortgage, then theoretically at the end of that time period you own everything clear. Then the rents are your income. That’s the basic underlying plan. It wasn’t that simple but it works.
The people that are renting the houses are making the mortgage payments, but there is more risk involved that way. Now, if we have a vacancy and we have no mortgage, then we’re not as intense about getting it rented. We can be more careful about who we rent to. It’s a plan that works. As long as the tax laws don’t get changed drastically by the government, it should continue to work.

Damon: Right.

Joel: When it comes to 401Ks and IRAs and these kinds of things, they’re changing the rules all the time. That’s one of the reasons we weren’t comfortable with it, because it’s very subject to change. But real estate probably is not going to change because the elected officials are also, most of them are real estate investors.

Damon: Exactly, that’s exactly right. Most of the law makers are real estate investors, and they so far have kept that as a nice way to invest. There are lots of good things that come along with that.

Joel: There are no guarantees in anything, but I think that this, that’s about as solid of guarantee as you’re going to get.

Damon: Right. Now, I want to go back to something you had mentioned, because it reminded me when I was a teenager and I did work on some of the houses that you and mom had purchased. Personally, I just didn’t like to go in and do the rehab work. So I developed an attitude towards real estate investing that was negative. I’m not saying that you and mom are responsible for that, because I knew as I had invested in some of your properties and I saw that I was making money both in net worth and in passive income from those properties. This was when I was about 18 years old. I saw how the whole thing worked. I thought, you know, I’m smarter than my parents. When I’m doing my retirement, I’m going to go out into the stock market and I’m going figure out the right stocks to buy. I’m going to get really rich. That’s how I’m going to retire. I figured out, I’m 44 years old now, I figured out about 10 years ago after trying that route that I started looking at all the advantages that you have in real estate investing. I saw what you and mom had done in terms of successfully investing over the years and retiring on that. What I had done in the stock market was really no better than breakeven. Sometimes I made money, sometimes I didn’t, but I felt like I had very little control. It almost felt like gambling.

So I went back and revisited what you guys had taught me about real estate investing, and now that’s what I’m doing. It works so much better. I’m saying this for people who are, maybe were in the mindset that I was. I don’t really want to do rehab. I don’t want to deal with tenants. My experience has been that that’s a lot less work and a lot more successful than trying to provide for retirement in the stock market where you’re really just guessing and you can’t control the asset, anyways.

Joel: Well, I agree completely, Damon.

Damon: So I’ve come around to your way of thinking.

Joel: I wish some of your brothers and sisters would have the same awakening.

Damon: I think they’re coming around. Maybe they’ll watch this interview and it will help them.

Joel: Time will tell.

Damon: That’s right. Okay. Another question then, when you have a property, what criteria have you used to determine that it’s time to sell that property?

Joel: There are a couple of things. One of them is that you can depreciate something over a certain period of time. Then after that period of time, you don’t get as much depreciation, so that can be a factor. I don’t remember the exact rules and timing on it. That’s something that you should look into. Let’s say, for instance, you depreciate something for ten years. At the end of that ten years, it might be well to find another investment and do a 1031 exchange into that and start the depreciation cycle over again. So that definitely has been a factor.

Another factor was that when we moved to Utah, then it didn’t make a lot of sense to have rentals in California because we’re hands on. So we started selling those properties and doing 1031 exchanges in Utah so that way we could be hands on in management. That precipitated some sales. Every once in a while you have a property you just have problems with or you don’t feel good about and that can prompt a sale too. When it gets to the point where it becomes an irritation and not something that you look forward to dealing with, then it’s a free country. We can sell it and buy something else.

Damon: That makes complete sense. Now, let’s talk about financing. How did you finance your properties? Some people have very creative financing ways that they go about purchasing their properties. What did you do?

Joel: Well, I’ll go back to the beginning. We had a home that we paid $95,000 for in California. Incidentally, that home’s worth about $2 million now. We should’ve kept it, I guess. We got an $80,000 mortgage on the house. We took that $80,000 and we bought two investment houses. That’s how we got started. After that, it’s really hard to keep track of, but along the line I sold a couple of businesses, some dental practices when we moved. We took that money and used it to invest in real estate. So anytime that we had discretionary income, we used it for either down payments, or when we got to the point where we could pay cash for an investment, we’d do that.

That’s another thing that I probably should mention. I know a lot of these real estate investment seminars are really, get people excited. They’re just seeing dollar signs. I don’t really see it that way. I guess you could do that, and in ten years you can retire. But we didn’t take that approach. My approach more is that it’s a consistent thing that you’re going to do over a period of 20 or 30 years. If you don’t have that much time, then you can be more aggressive. The financing thing, a lot of it happened because your mother and I live very conservative lives. We did fun things. We had a boat. We took you guys waterskiing, and we took vacations occasionally. We went skiing and things like that, but we didn’t do it as much as some of our neighbors did, and our children let us know about it. We made sure that we lived in such way that we could save money and have some discretionary income. That’s where a lot of the financing came from. We didn’t take very many trips as a family to Hawaii and taking cruises and things like that, as you know.

Damon: We took zero trips to Hawaii.

Joel: We all survived.

Damon: We did survive. I remember we did not ever go to Hawaii and we never went on a cruise. But we had a great time doing other things that cost less money. There are no complaints from me. I think it was a wonderful way to be brought up. I think a lot of people in our culture and our society struggle because they feel the need to be purchasing things a lot.

Joel: Yes.

Damon: They are living at the edge of their means. While they have income, they’re not managing it in a way that frees some of that up to go invest it and use it productively. Your advice, I think is very well founded. Your example of how you lived, which was very conservatively, you lived within your means. The extra money that you had from your savings or from selling a business, rather than go out and spend on things that didn’t maintain value or whatever, you would take that and put that into investment properties. So now, here you are now in your mid-70s and able to live comfortably, completely on the retirement that you have. I think it’s a great principle to live by. It shows in the example that you have set and what you have accomplished with that.

Joel: I don’t want to plug Dave Ramsey, because I don’t agree with him on everything. But I’m sure most people are familiar with Dave Ramsey. There’s one thing that I really agree with that he says. He says, when you’re young, live like nobody else. Meaning that you live conservatively and you don’t get into debt. So that when you’re old, you can live like no one else. Boy, I’ll tell you that’s really true, because if you want to be, if you want to enjoy your golden years and have financial security, you’ve got to pay a price somewhere along the line unless you win the lottery. But most people who win the lottery wind up spending it all anyhow and lose it. But I think that’s a good philosophy.

Damon: It is. I agree with that as well. Hopefully, when I’m at your point in life, I’ll be able to look back and say, well, I did live conservatively and now I can, in my retirement years, still enjoy life and do the things that I want to do.

Joel: Well, you can still have fun. Again, this principle of only going into debt for things that appreciate in value is something that can be followed and keep you out of a lot of trouble. We never bought an RV, things like that. If we could afford it, then that’s fine. You know, pay cash for it, but we didn’t feel we could.

Damon: That makes sense. All right. Let’s talk about some of the mistakes that you made. Maybe you can think of an example of a mistake that you made in your real estate investing and what did you learn from it?

Joel: I can’t really think of mistakes necessarily, but I can tell you one time that we actually lost money in real estate. That one, obviously, was a mistake. We bought two and a half acres in California. It was a walnut orchard. The idea was, in buying it, to be able to subdivide it and then build some spec homes on it. The timing was not good. We bought it in 1980. When we bought the property, it had some owner financing on it and there was a balloon payment due in about a year and a half later. In 1981, that’s when the interest rates went way up. You couldn’t buy things. You couldn’t sell things. You couldn’t refinance. You couldn’t do anything. We had that balloon payment. We couldn’t figure out how to pull some money from somewhere to make that balloon payment. So we put the property up and we sold it. We lost $15,000 on it. That’s the only time we’ve lost money.

Damon: The only time.

Joel: That was a mistake. Maybe it wasn’t really a mistake, because we didn’t know what the government was going to do. The politics, I think Jimmy Carter was the president at that time, there were all kinds of problems going on. Remember we had the long gas lines and everything?

Damon: Yes, I do remember that.

Joel: I’m not blaming any particular political party, but you never know what’s going to happen. It was pretty aggressive. It was a risky thing. We weren’t able to pay cash for the property. So I think that was a mistake. From then on, I think we became more conservative in our investments. We started doing more due diligence, more research, just being more conservative than we were up to that point. That was the only mistake I can think of.

We may have rented houses to the wrong people on occasion. Usually it was because they deceived us and we didn’t see through it. I think now it’s harder to deceive us, since we’ve been around the block a couple of times. Those are the only mistakes I can really think of. Now when you interview your mother, she may think of some. We’ll see.

Damon: I do remember the property that you referred to, and there was one good thing that came out of it. That is that me and some of my brothers were able to cut down some of the walnut trees and sell the firewood. So we made a little bit of extra money on that.

Joel: Yeah, it gave you guys some work to do. We had a lot of firewood.

Damon: Yep, we did. What advice would you give to somebody who’s not investing yet but they are just starting out. They know that it’s something that they want to do. What advice would you give to them?

Joel: I would just reemphasize that this is a business. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. It has to be approached as a business. If you want to be successful, you have to provide a good home or office or whatever it is you’re investing in, to provide a good environment at a fair, competitive price. When you’re looking at something to buy it, don’t be fooled by the real estate agent telling you that you’re going to pay $100,000 for this property and it’s going to rent for $1,500 a month. Don’t always believe that. You do your own research and find out what it’s actually going to rent for, what similar homes are going to rent for. Then if you get a range, plan on the rent being on the lower end of the range and not the higher end. You have to temper those. You just have look at it realistically, be business like about it, and plan ahead of time that you’re going to be fair, you’re going to treat people the way you like to be treated.

You know, I had an uncle once who was very successful. He was in the restaurant business. He said that there’s two things that people have to have. They have to eat, and they have to have shelter. You need to be in the food business or provide housing. That kind of stuck with me. I thought my father was in the restaurant business. I grew up in it, and I didn’t like it. I wasn’t interested in the food business. Providing homes for people is definitely a good business. But you have to go about it the right way. You can go to seminars and get ideas. You always have to temper things a little bit and be careful.

Damon: That’s very sound advice. I heard about six or seven real key pieces of advice in what you just said. I think anybody that listened to that will be well served by following your advice.

Joel: Now, I’m familiar with the company that you’re involved with and the kind of seminars that you have. Frankly, I’m very impressed with it. Had we been involved in that kind of a program early on, I think we could’ve probably been a little more successful than we were. We were successful enough. We have kind of learned over the years the same basic principles that you guys teach people from the outset. My only hope is that if they join Lifestyles that they will listen to you and do what they’re actually told to, because if they don’t, they’re going to have learn the hard way.

Damon: Yeah. Real estate is forgiving, so you can learn the hard way and many times come out okay. But why do that? It’s much easier if you can learn from people like yourself who have experience, who have done this, you know how to do this successfully. So when you say this is how you should do it, people really ought to listen. You can avoid a lot of those mistakes that can be painful. Of course, the group, Lifestyles Unlimited, that I’m associated with, we teach what works and primarily here in Texas. We find that people that follow what we say are successful and they have success with it. There are multiple ways of doing things. There’s not just one way of doing it. The principles, I think we started off the interview, where you mentioned a couple of the principles that you followed in your investing. Those principles are always the same regardless of where you are or what you’re doing or exactly how you’re doing it. So I think if people will stay true to those core principles, the things that work, that they’re going to be just fine.

Joel: I agree.

Damon: Well, Dad, this has been a great interview. I really appreciate your time. The information you’ve given is very valuable, very helpful. Is there anything else that’s on your mind that you would like to say before we sign off?

Joel: I think my mind is emptied.

Damon: We’ve gotten all the good information. Is that right?

Joel: If I think of something later, I’ll give you a call.

Damon: Excellent. Thank you again so much for doing this interview.

Joel: Thank you, Damon.

Damon: Take care.

Joel: Bye-bye.

Damon: Bye-bye.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tami Kagy March 3, 2011, 6:12 pm

    Good stuff! Thanks for providing so many great interviews, Damon!

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