Real Estate Investing

Posted on 11 May, 2023 . 16 min read

Let's get started. I want to extend a warm welcome to everyone joining us today. We'll be delving into the world of real estate investing, a subject that my good friend of over 20 years, Rahul, is incredibly passionate about. Today's session will be an interactive discussion, with Rahul primarily sharing his insights on how to approach real estate investment. So, Rahul, it's fantastic to have you here, and I truly appreciate your participation.

To our audience, we encourage you to actively participate by sending in your queries through the chat. We'll address them as they align with our conversation. Rahul, an expert in real estate and an Intel engineer, will provide more insights about himself shortly. But first, let me briefly introduce our platform, Xillion.

At Xillion, we're constructing a platform aimed at accelerating your journey toward financial freedom. If you're wondering how to enhance your 401k, we've got a product for that. Connect your accounts, and we'll provide guidance on how you can potentially accumulate an extra million or two over the next 30 years.

Interested in tracking your vacation budget and its potential impact on your future retirement plans? We've got a tool for that too. It helps you monitor all your finances in one place and project their future trajectory.

If you're currently renting and contemplating whether to buy a house, our scientifically-designed tool can help you make that decision. For those concerned about emergency savings in the face of job market uncertainties, our nuanced tool will help you determine the right amount based on your unique circumstances.

When it comes to investments, our tool can analyze your portfolio within seconds, advising on risk, expected returns, and benchmark comparisons. Wondering whether to rebalance your portfolio or diversify your holdings? We've got you covered.

Moreover, we offer a tool to guide your investment purchases based on our recommendations. We even have a unique score for financial management - the money score - which evaluates how well you handle your own money. If you know your credit score but not your money score, you're missing out on about 90% of your financial picture.

The icing on the cake? We provide mentoring from experts like Rahul who have honed their skills in their respective fields for over a decade. These mentors offer their wisdom and guidance, helping you learn from the best.

So, to sum up, we offer all this and much more at Xillion. Check us out at And remember, we are recording this session and will share it on YouTube. We invite you to be as interactive as possible. With Xillion, you can keep your finances on track by investing less than 10 minutes a week. You don't need to become an expert; just follow a mentor, and you're set.

People like Rahul are integral to our platform. They're here to guide you in areas they excel in. So, I urge you to follow Rahul on

Based on a quick poll we conducted, it appears that most of you are keen to understand how, when, and where to invest. These are areas that Rahul will delve into deeply. There's also significant interest in understanding the steps of investing in real estate. We'll be addressing these areas of high interest throughout our conversation. With that said, let's hand it over to Rahul.

Thank you for the introduction, and I'm thrilled to be a part of the Zillion family. Let me give you a quick background about myself. I'm originally from India and have been living in Arizona since 2001. I moved here for my Master's in Electrical Engineering. Coincidentally, Gagan was at ASU around the same time, and we were roommates. But our friendship goes back even further as we share the same alma mater from our bachelor's studies.

I'm an engineer by profession and by passion. I've been working at Intel for almost 15 years. I adore building things, which is why I find joy in my job every day. Alongside this, I'm an active real estate professional and investor. I assist people like you who are interested in investing in real estate or buying your own primary home. I also invest in real estate for myself, holding long-term investments in Arizona and Virginia.

Moreover, I believe in diversification for financial success and freedom. I have stock ownership and mutual fund investments, which are more passive forms of investment. I look to Zillion as a platform to aid me in that direction.

I'm fortunate to have a supportive family who are involved in my real estate journey, providing feedback and helping me make progress daily. That's a brief introduction to my background.

Now, why did I choose real estate? There are several reasons. First, I firmly believe in the long-term investment potential of real estate. This belief is rooted in the osmotic learning from my parents, particularly my father, who is an architect and an engineer. Their investment in real estate and the dinner table conversations about it solidified my belief in real estate as a pathway to financial freedom and success.

I also wanted to diversify my capital. The timing was right in 2011, as we were coming out of the 2008 recession. I took a calculated risk and started my first investment in real estate. I saw the long-term potential, and I was ready to take that leap.

While I had a full-time job, I also had unlimited skill – the ability to analyze data and understand the ins and outs of real estate. This, along with the teachings from my parents, helped me enter the real estate business.

Knowing Rahul for a long time, I've noticed that people excel in areas they love, and Rahul loves real estate. It stems from his family background. Everyone's journey is unique, so rather than trying to mimic someone else's journey, we encourage you to look within, find your strengths, and double down on what you love. If not, follow a mentor.

Understanding Real Estate Investment

For many of us, the idea of venturing into real estate can be daunting, but it also holds an enticing promise of wealth and financial independence. The key to navigating this potential is understanding the principles behind it and recognizing that not all debt is bad.

When it comes to investing, debt is often seen as a negative term. However, it's important to differentiate between good debt and bad debt. Good debt is the kind that allows you to improve and generate money, often used for investment purposes. Bad debt, on the other hand, drains your resources. A perfect example of this is the debt-to-income ratio, a key concept in real estate investment.

Imagine a scenario where your household income is $200,000 and your annual mortgage payment, car payment, and credit card minimum payments total $25,000. Your debt-to-income ratio would then be 12.5 percent. But, if this ratio is less than 40 percent, you're essentially leaving money on the table.

Why? Because a lower debt-to-income ratio opens the door for more property investment opportunities. Banks will happily lend you money until your debt-to-income ratio reaches 40 to 50 percent. And with real estate growing at 3-4 percent per year, leveraging the bank's loan can increase your returns on investment capital significantly.

This brings us to another important concept - leveraging. The only reason I've been able to grow my real estate portfolio is by taking on debt to build assets. This leads to passive income generation, leverages home equity, and increases the income column, effectively lowering the debt-to-income ratio.

Moreover, real estate investment offers a host of intangible benefits. It's a safer option, providing a hedge against your other investments such as stocks, mutual funds, and gold. Property typically appreciates over time, sometimes at high rates, and offers substantial tax benefits including deductions and depreciations.

Furthermore, real estate investment is accessible to everyone. You don't need a degree or a significant initial down payment. All you need is a team of experts you can rely on and a strategy that aligns with your financial goals.

When it comes to choosing the right property, focus on desirable macro locations – areas close to schools, hospitals, and commercial activities with future growth potential. Seek out properties with a positive cap rate and always take advice from industry experts.

However, avoid properties with major existing issues or potential liabilities, such as pools or problematic vegetation. Be cautious of properties that are larger than needed, as they might not yield the return on investment you're aiming for.

Two things I would, uh, you know, actually double-click on. One is building relationships. That doesn't happen overnight. It probably happened over, for you Rahul, over many many years, right? You cycle through a few handymen before you found the right one, you cycle through a few, you know, like assessors or inspectors before you found the right one. So don't underestimate that time investment as well.

For example, the inspector which I use for my homes and I always recommend to my clients is the guy who inspected my first house. So, I've known him for like 10-15 years. So that's a relationship that I've built. Same with the handyman, same with a plumber or electrician. I know them not just professionally but sometimes even beyond that. Even as simple as my landscaper, I've known him for 18 years. If I have something which needs to be worked on in my rental home, I don't have to worry about him not going. I just text him and he's there. He fixes it and sometimes he charges me, sometimes he does not. Sometimes, I have to prod him to take that money for the value he brings to the table. That's because I've created a relationship with him. So that's really important.

And by the way, this spreadsheet that you see, we have a version of it but we will have an enhanced version of this so you can actually quickly make a decision and see if an investment makes sense for you. So by next week, you will have this in Xillion. If you log in and plug in a couple of numbers, we'll show you exactly how things work and if something is worth pursuing or not.

Great. I've told you all the good things. Now, I've made some bad decisions also which I want to share with you. Some of my worst decisions have been following, you know, sight-unseen investments. I have, at the beginning of my investment journey in real estate, invested in unseen properties. In this case, I invested in the land which at that point in time sounded like a great investment to be in but I didn't do my due diligence of looking at the land, trying to see the layout, trying to see the recurring costs associated with it, and I lost a lot of money. Thankfully, last year I was able to sell it off and get away from that constant bleeding of my resources or my money. But that was a bad decision.

So, you know, never buy a home that you haven't seen. Emotions over logic, you know, don't let your emotions overcome the logic. This is an investment and you want to make sure it is giving you the positive cash flow which you're looking for. If your emotions are taking over the logic, think twice. And, you know, sometimes, like I said, use a sounding board and don't let the emotions go with the logic. Lock too much capital. I have had investments that have locked too much capital and that's come to bite me because I've had future investments which I could not do because my capital was often locked in while investing. That's where the debt-to-income ratio plays in. I was not able to take more debt because a lot of capital was locked in. I didn't have money for the down payment and that's why I wasn't able to invest.

Trusted but not verified. All of us are human, we trust each other. I trust people I work with. But you've got to verify. It's always good to trust but you want to make sure that you are verifying what is being told to you. Always be the devil's advocate within yourself to make sure that whatever is being told, you verify yourself.

Delayed evictions. Like I said, I've been involved in evictions in the past and one of the things which I did wrong was delay the evictions, thinking that the rent is going to come in. I trusted my tenants to give me the rent but I did not verify the situation enough for me to really start the eviction process early. That came to bite me. The silver lining to that was I got to know what the eviction process was, but again, I lost a lot of money in that.

I did not move with the market. This is specifically for if you have rental homes. The rent rates have gone up. Did I increase the rent based on the market? I did not. That came to bite me because my ROI was not what it should be.

And the last thing, which is a big thing, is no exit strategy. Anytime you go into an investment, you always need to think about what your exit strategy is. When would you want to get out of that? Is it five, seven, or ten years? Or what happens if the market goes down, are you going to get out? So think about the exit strategy. It's always good to write it down, note it down. What are the things which will make you exit out of that investment? So, having no exit strategy is something that I regret and it jives with the first bullet. I did not have an exit strategy for the land investment which I did and that came to bite me.

So, a real estate investment caters to every budget, allows different appetites, is an income-producing asset, easy to start with. You don't need to get a degree to invest. It provides huge tax benefits and creates value consistently over time. I can say that for sure because I've invested for the last 10 to 15 years. So, if you ask me, there is no reason for you not to invest.

I would highly encourage, and you know, Xillion is a platform where you can go in and get the first tips on what to do and where to do it.

Trust and verify. Rahul is trusted... I've known Rahul I don't know, since '95, a long long time, you know, 30 years and he's trusted and verified.

So if you don't want to spend the time, the next best thing you can do is partner with someone who spends the time and you provide the capital, or at least say 50-60% of the capital, and the other person provides the rest of the capital. That's what I did. I bought a property in 2014 and I partnered with a realtor friend of mine. Again, I've known him for 30-plus years and he lives in Virginia. I didn't know the market, but we pooled our money and he was the eyes and ears on the ground. I was the half partner in terms of capital, and we got 15-plus percent returns on that property when we sold it earlier this year.

So if you are not, like I was not, willing to spend the time, I didn't even, I couldn't even spend the time because the property was in Virginia, but you know, he was an expert and he did that. So find a mentor. Param is that mentor's name, he's also a Xillion, Rahul is on Xillion. If you want to get a taste of real estate investing and you are not ready to jump, like you know, both feet in, but you want to partner, we are more than welcome to partner with Rahul.

Great. A couple of questions. Thank you so much Rahul, this was very informative. I learned something new every time you open your mouth, so thank you. A couple of questions. Chanchil is asking,

What's the difference between primary home versus investment home ROI? I'll give you my quick 10-second thing, I don't think a primary home is an investment. The primary home is something you buy to enjoy and you know, raise your family, and I'll let Rahul take it from there.

That's absolutely right. I mean, a primary home is not fetching you any income, so it's not an investment. Your investment is something that fetches you income on a consistent basis. So primary home is not, you know, a lot of people think primary home is an asset, it is not, because it's not fetching your income. What you invest in as an investment home, where you have income being generated, is what an investment home would be. And if you have a primary home and if you have that debt-to-income ratio which allows you to take a segway and buy more homes, for all intents and purposes, go and do it.

Correct, any other questions, feel free to unmute yourself, ask your question, we have a few minutes, please.

What is the difference between single-family and multi-family homes and what is the right strategy for multi-family homes? It's mostly like duplexes and multiplexes where you have a single tract of land and you would have two or three units or a four-unit place. The ROI for multiplexes is bigger than a single-family home, there's no doubt about that. But at the same time, you're dealing with multiple tenants. The ROI typically, if you look at the cap rate, sometimes goes beyond 10 for multi-family. For a single family, it generally lies between five to ten percent. So that's the difference, a tangible difference. And I do recommend multi-family, but again, you have to understand that you'll be dealing with multiple tenants, which also means you will be dealing with multiple vacancies, multiple evictions, things like that. When a situation like that happens, it's always good to have a property manager. I think there was one of the questions on whether it makes sense to have property management. Sometimes it does, especially in the duplex or multiplex situation. In fact, I'm in the process of getting a multiplex for one of my clients and the ROI when I looked at it, I was like, 'This is huge.

I did see a question that talked about paying down your primary home mortgage. I would not recommend it unless you have a very high-interest rate. Use the debt-to-income ratio and leverage that to buy more investments. Use that good debt to buy more investments as opposed to reducing your mortgage for the primary home. That's one of the decisions which I did not have here. I locked all the capital in by paying more towards my primary home and, as a result, didn't have the capital to invest.

Purchasing a house in a high-interest market with limited inventory,

Limited Inventory: When the market inventory is low, it's useful to work with real estate professionals who might have access to listings that aren't yet public. You can also directly reach out to homeowners in the area you're interested in to see if they're considering selling their homes.

High-Interest Rates & Rising House Prices: Despite these conditions, you can still make a successful investment if you're able to secure rents that justify a positive ROI. Even if you're buying at a high price and with a high-interest rate, if you're generating positive cash flow every month, it can be a good investment. Property appreciation over time can also yield substantial profits.

Benefits of setting up an LLC for real estate investments.

This can be beneficial mainly for liability protection. For example, if a tenant in your property had an accident and decided to sue, having an LLC could protect your personal assets from being involved in any legal disputes. However, to ensure the LLC provides this protection, it's important to keep its finances completely separate from your personal finances. You can either buy the property in the name of the LLC or transfer the deed to the LLC after purchase.

Tax Benefits: Investing in real estate can provide several tax benefits such as deductions and depreciation benefits.

Thank you, I appreciate all the great questions and the opportunity to share my insights on real estate investment. It's a pleasure to work with such an engaged and curious group. If you have more questions, or if you're interested in getting started with investing, don't hesitate to reach out through Xillion. I look forward to possibly working with some of you in the future. Thank you again for your time and I hope you all have a great day.


Finding deals with built-in equity requires a combination of market knowledge, networking, and sometimes a bit of luck. It's important to understand your local real estate market and its trends. Networking with real estate agents, other investors, and individuals in the real estate industry can also lead to potential deals. Additionally, consider looking at distressed properties or properties that need some work, as these often offer opportunities for built-in equity.

There are several strategies to finance an investment property without the traditional 25% down payment. These include seller financing, private money lenders, hard money lenders, and partnerships. Each of these options has its own pros and cons, so it's important to do your research and possibly consult with a financial advisor or real estate professional before proceeding.

Finding a reliable contractor involves doing your due diligence. Ask for recommendations from other investors, real estate agents, or friends and family. Once you have a few options, check their references, look at their previous work, and ensure they are licensed and insured. It's also a good idea to get multiple quotes for the work you need to be done to ensure you're getting a fair price.

Yes, investing primarily in the local market can be beneficial as it allows for a deep understanding of the market trends and dynamics. However, diversification can also be beneficial, and investing in other markets can be considered based on the opportunities and potential returns.

Hiring a property management company can be beneficial, especially if you have multiple properties or if your properties are not in your local area. They can handle tasks such as tenant screening, rent collection, property maintenance, and dealing with tenant issues like evictions. However, it's important to consider the cost, which typically ranges from 5% to 10% of the monthly rent, and whether this makes financial sense for your situation.

The Case-Shiller Home Price Index is a measure of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate both nationally and in 20 metropolitan regions. It doesn't directly track mortgage interest (MI) rates, but there is often an inverse relationship between home prices and interest rates - when interest rates are low, home prices tend to rise, and vice versa.

The return on investment (ROI) for a primary home vs an investment property can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. With a primary home, the ROI is often seen in terms of appreciation over time and the enjoyment and use of the home. With an investment property, the ROI is typically calculated based on the rental income generated and the appreciation of the property over time. It's also important to consider the costs associated with each, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.

The current real estate market is experiencing a supply and demand imbalance, with demand for homes outpacing the supply. This is driving up home prices, despite rising interest rates.

The real estate market might still be a bit overheated and might fall a bit more before stabilizing (possibly 15%-20% nationally, maybe a bit more in the hottest markets). However, the current situation might be different as current homeowners don’t want to sell because they locked in ultra-low interest rates from 2012 onwards, especially 2020-2021. Two-thirds of mortgages have an interest rate below 4%. It's uncertain what will happen over the next couple of years. Prices might decline, as they did in the 2009-2012 cycle, or they might stabilize because the supply of homes is severely restricted. COVID might have changed the trajectory of real estate in the US drastically. It's a possibility that we might go back to a 3%-4% annual price increase in real estate long term.

Investing in a local market can be beneficial as it allows for a deep understanding of the market trends and dynamics. However, if the local market is too expensive, it might be worth considering other markets. The key is to find a market that fits your investment strategy and budget. It's also important to consider the rental market in the area, as high rents can help offset the cost of expensive property.
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