Ep #104 – AJ is living for free and is on the edge of “job replacement income.” Saving $10,000 for a down payment A.J. purchased a triplex with a FHA loan in Chicago.

Anthony A.J. D’Asaro – AJ is living for free and is on the edge of “job replacement income.” Saving $10,000 for a down payment A.J. purchased a triplex with a FHA loan in Chicago. Refinancing out of the FHA and using a home equity line A.J. found an off market deal and purchased a 2nd building, a fourplex.

Here’s some of what you will learn:

  • What is functional obsolescence?
  • See as many deals as you can.
  • Finding an underpriced property in Chicago.
  • What is PITI?
  • Renting by the bedroom – pros and cons.
  • What is a HELOC?
  • Why to be cautious about a HELOC.
  • The pros and cons of quitting your job.
  • Connect with me on Facebook at: Rod Khleif
  • Text ROD to 41411 or visit RodKhleif.com for a FREE copy of my book, “How to Create Lifetime Cash Flow Through Multifamily Properties.”


Full Transcript Below:

Ep #104 – A.J. is living for free and is on the edge of “job replacement income.” Saving…

Welcome. This is the Lifetime Cash Flow Through Real Estate Investing Podcast. This is where you’ll learn strategies to help you achieve lifetime financial freedom through real estate investment. Your host, Rod Khleif, has owned over 2,000 homes and apartments. And he brings experts in all aspects of real estate investment and management on to the show. Now, here’s your host, Rod Khleif.

Rod Khleif: Welcome to another edition of How to Build Lifetime Cash Flow Through Real Estate Investing. I’m Rod Khleif and I am thrilled you’re here. Before we get to out awesome guest today, I wanna mention a couple of very quick things.

Number one is, I love interacting with you guys, on social media. Please connect with me. If you’re on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, I guess my team is even putting me on Pinterest soon, so connect with me on those ‘cause I really love to hear from you guys.

I also love to hear your stories. If you purchased a multifamily property or you’re taking action on multifamily based on some of what you’ve heard on my show, I’d really love to hear from you, which is actually why we’re interviewing the guest we have today, ‘cause he reached out after he bought his second property. He said that I played a role in that.

That is just such a gift to me. I’d be very, very grateful if you give me that gift, if you take down a property, and I played any role in it at all, in getting you to take action with your psychology, or just maybe some of the mechanical stuff that we talk about on the show, give me that gift. Just pop me an email atHYPERLINK “mailto:rod@rodkhleif.com” rod@rodkhleif.com, R-O-D @ R-O-D-K-H-L-E-I-F as in Frank dot com. let me know about what you bought.

I’ve talked about my book ad nauseam but I’m gonna put it on Amazon here soon. I’ve delayed because, I literally, had thousands of people ask for a copy, so I’m just gonna give it away for free for a little longer. If you haven’t gotten a free copy, make sure you do. I’ve gotten rave reviews on it and it’s helping people buy properties. Get it by texting ROD, R-O-D to 41411; we’ll give you a free copy.

My guest today is A.J. D’Asaro. A.J. lives in Chicago, moved there from Orange County. I know you guys have heard me interview people with hundreds of units on the show, thousands of units, tens of thousands of units, and now, I’ve decided to interview a few people with just a handful of units.

A.J. has seven. I feel like maybe someone like A.J. can relate to more of you that haven’t taken action yet. Particularly in how he bought them and was able to make it happen in the way that we’ll get into in just a minute.

A.J., thanks for being on the show, buddy.

A.J. D’Asaro: Thanks Rod. Thrilled to be here and thanks for all you do.

Rod Khleif: Thank you. I appreciate that. I stole a little of your thunder, you moved from LA to Chicago. I also forgot to mention, A.J. works for Jackson National Asset Management, huge asset management organization. I’ll let A.J. speak to how being at that job has impacted his decision to get into multifamily. With that, why don’t you tell us?

A.J. D’Asaro: Alright. I got interested in real estate after moving to Chicago for work. I kept seeing… Where I sit, we see a lot of economic data, ‘cause the housing sector is really important to the US economy. What I saw was, in a lot of markets like Chicago, the housing prices really hadn’t recovered that much from the crisis. And at the same time, interest rates had gone through record lows.

I looked at that, and I saw there’s probably an opportunity there. Lo and behold, when I looked closer, there really was.

Rod Khleif: Yeah. I will say, though some of you listening are like scratching your head… What do you mean the prices haven’t gone up? Well, there are certainly submarkets in this country where they haven’t. And A.J., you’re blessed to have one of those. But that notwithstanding, the interest rates right now are so fantastic.

I remember when 7% was… We did back flips if we were able to get a 7% loan. You’re in the four and a half range right now, so that mitigates some of the pricing irregularity, or high prices that we have because it’s all about your ability to service the debt when you buy a property, and have a decent cash flow; a decent debt service coverage ratio.

So you are blessed that you have one of those areas in your backyard. Those of you who are listening, don’t get discouraged, because when he tells you about where he bought and why he bought there, I think it might encourage some of you. So let’s get into that.

This first deal that… [overlap talk]

A.J. D’Asaro: I would also say, Rod, not all of Chicago was fairly priced. I had to look into up-and-coming areas, and I think that that’s really important for investors to do.

Rod Khleif: Absolutely. You guys have heard me talk about areas that are gentrifying. I absolutely, in my opinion, the best opportunities there are, because I’ve talked about areas in Denver that I was able to buy houses for $20,000 a piece and that are now… Oh, gosh, three or 400,000.

That’s what can happen in an area like that. Particularly when they’re really rough but the whole eclectic crowd is moving in. Then the coffee shops and all that the yoga studios, and all that stuff starts coming in.

But anyway, so that’s what you did. You started looking for an up-and-coming area. Tell us about your process, what your mindset as you were starting to look here.

A.J. D’Asaro: Well, Rod, I started looking for neighborhoods that I could potentially live in. I needed to use an FHA loan ‘cause I only started with $10,000 saved, so really not much. I was looking at neighborhoods that were pretty much the hipster neighborhoods of Chicago.

What you said is pretty accurate; with the coffee shops and the yoga studios…

Rod Khleif: Right.

A.J. D’Asaro: And those were the places that I’d like to live as well, so it was pretty easy for me to move to a place like that.

Rod Khleif: That’s how you targeted the submarket that you were interested in. And then tell us about that first deal.

A.J. D’Asaro: I looked at a ton of properties, and I was even ready to buy a few properties, and my parents tried to talk me out of every single one that I looked at.

Rod Khleif: Why was that?

A.J. D’Asaro: They were kinda in a little bit rough condition, just because of the neighborhood. They’re older houses. They were probably over a hundred years old.

Rod Khleif: Fantastic.

A.J. D’Asaro: They’ve been updated but…

Rod Khleif: Fantastic opportunity in those age of properties in an area that’s gentrifying, which is exactly the area I was describing in Denver… Yeah, sure, I mean it’s scary when you see a property that’s really rough. It’ll turn off most investors and scare them. But when I see that, I see incredible opportunity, particularly in an area that’s gentrifying or up-and-coming.

It was the condition that scared them off.

A.J. D’Asaro: Uh-hmm. Yeah. I’m really glad my parents, they talked me out of some deals that I would have been really unhappy had I gone through with them, today.

Rod Khleif: Really?

A.J. D’Asaro: Yeah,

Rod Khleif: Okay. Why is that? They just needed too much work, or was it the area, or what was it?

A.J. D’Asaro: Just the property where the units were really small bedrooms or…

Rod Khleif: Oh, yeah.

A.J. D’Asaro: Just that it would have been a lot harder to rent, farther from post transit.

Rod Khleif: Okay. That’s a very important caveat. I’m really glad you brought that up. Because, certainly, you can buy properties that need repair but you wanna be very, very careful about buying properties that have what’s called functional obsolescence.

Functional obsolescence is a small bedroom. You can’t fix that. It’s something you can’t fix; a wall in the wrong place. Having to walkthrough… Having the bathroom off the kitchen instead of down the hallway. That’s called functional obsolescence.

Those are the properties you wanna avoid, so your parents were dead on in that. Well so that’s good. Tell us about the place you found.

A.J. D’Asaro: I think those properties, they would have cash flowed but I would not have experienced the same appreciation…

Rod Khleif: Right.

A.J. D’Asaro: And I wouldn’t have as much fun doing it, so that’s…

Rod Khleif: No, and you would’ve had more turnover; people don’t want small bedrooms. I mean, yeah, you’ll get people in there for a while but then they’ll finally say, “You know what, this is no fun, I wanna go somewhere else”, and you’ll have a lot of turnover. And turnover kills you in rental real estates. That’s the one thing you wanna avoid at all costs.

Your first property was a triplex. Correct?

A.J. D’Asaro: Correct.

Rod Khleif: Okay. Tell us about that deal.

A.J. D’Asaro: Alright, so the first properly, it could not have been a better deal. I got extremely lucky. Once I found it after being ready, prepared to put an offer down on all these other properties, once I saw this one, I knew it was a great deal.

I ignored my parents and bought it.

Rod Khleif: Okay. So there’s a lesson there. Right there. Okay, guys, those of you listening, ‘cause he was out there busy looking at deals, he recognized the deal when he saw it. That’s the only way you guys will, that are listening. Okay? You have to be out there mixing it up, looking at deals.

When I get coaching calls from you guys, I always tell you to go on two tracks; you need to get my book or a book about multifamily. Maybe even take a course or two. And simultaneously, be out there looking at deals like A.J. was doing here. Very, very important distinction there that because you been out there looking a deals you were able to recognized one when you saw it.

Frankly, if you just started this with this one that you ended up getting you may not realized that the deal that it was. Does that make sense?

A.J. D’Asaro: Yeah. No, you’re absolutely right. It was only because I had seen so many other deals that were good but worse than this that I knew it was something that I should pursue.

Rod Khleif: Alright. So continue… You found this property, what kind of shape was it in?

A.J. D’Asaro: The reason that this property was such a good deal is because it had been on the market for over a year, the owners had been trying to sell it, unsuccessfully, and in the year – period that it had been on the market, and people have started ignoring the property on MLS.

The owners had actually made updates to one of the units. They be fully renovated one of the units to make it look really nice. And in that time period also, the market had appreciated pretty significantly. So those combined, meant that this property was under priced compared to anything like it in the neighborhood.

Rod Khleif: Fantastic. They had started the renovation. How did you take it down?


Rod Khleif: Talk about the deal; the numbers the financing, and all that.

A.J. D’Asaro: I did not have a lot of capital so I used FHA financing and…

Rod Khleif: Fantastic. That means you had to move in.

A.J. D’Asaro: I had to move in, and I had to work with the seller to make some minor updates, put in some things that were required by FHA code.

Rod Khleif: Right.

A.J. D’Asaro: But I end up paying for those myself ‘cause I wanted the property.

Rod Khleif: Okay. So that was part of your negotiation. While you were under contract, when the appraiser came out and said, “You got to do this, and this”, and you agree to pay for it to keep the deal?

A.J. D’Asaro: Uh-hmm.

Rod Khleif: Okay.

A.J. D’Asaro: Yup. That’s exactly what happened.

Rod Khleif: Okay. Alright, got it. What did you ended up paying? What kind of rent are you getting on it?… Well, tell us the financial side of it.

A.J. D’Asaro: This property is a three-unit. There’s two single units on the lower level…

Rod Khleif: What do you mean by single units?

A.J. D’Asaro: Single apartments.

Rod Khleif: Like one-bedrooms?

A.J. D’Asaro: There’s two one-bedroom apartments on the lower level. And then on the upper level, there’s a duplex up, so it’s second and third floors. It’s one giant apartment with five bedrooms, and three and a half baths.

Rod Khleif: Wow.

A.J. D’Asaro: It’s an odd property. I think one of the reasons that it was so successful is, young people have a huge advantage with units with an oddly large number of bedrooms, because if you live there, you can rent out those individual bedrooms. It’s actually pretty easy if you’re living in the property.

Rod Khleif: Which unit did you move in to?

A.J. D’Asaro: The large unit.

Rod Khleif: So you moved into the large one. Are you still there or did you move into the next building that you bought?

A.J. D’Asaro: I’m still there but I’m gearing up to move into the next property. I also used owner occupied financing on that one.

Rod Khleif: Okay. Though don’t play around with that. Make sure you move in there. They don’t play with you when you don’t, so make sure you do.

What do you anticipate… What’s your debt on that first one? How much is your PITI? Principal, interest, taxes and insurance.

A.J. D’Asaro: It’s changed a bit ‘cause I was able to refinance after a year and a half, and get out of FHA.

Rod Khleif: Okay. Oh, that quick.

A.J. D’Asaro: Let’s just say, right now, my fixed cost is… My mortgage is about 1750, mortgage and interest with taxes and with…

Rod Khleif: Insurance.

A.J. D’Asaro: Other things that I’d call fixed costs, probably 2300 a month for fixed costs. Compare that to the rents, the two single units rent for 900 a piece.

Rod Khleif: Wow.

A.J. D’Asaro: And the top unit, this is what I was talking about earlier with the advantage of being young, and being able to rent out individual bedrooms to millennials. That unit should probably get a between 1500 and 2000…

Rod Khleif: Oh, so you are personally gonna rent each bedrooms versus having somebody rent the whole place and rent the bedroom out themselves. You’re gonna be the one that rents the bedrooms.

A.J. D’Asaro: Yes. I’m not sure what I’m gonna do yet with moving to the new property.

Rod Khleif: Okay.

A.J. D’Asaro: But just to give people an example of what they can do with that kind of property, that top unit should probably get 1500 to 2000 in the market. But by renting out individual bedrooms, because there’s so many, I was getting 700 per bedroom.

Rod Khleif: Wow.

A.J. D’Asaro: So I was getting 2800 and I had a bedroom to myself and I was living for free.

Rod Khleif: You’re already doing this. Wow. Fantastic. That’s big money. I mean, that’s big cash flow. It’s more work, obviously, renting bedrooms. There’s some other challenges – personality conflicts, things of that nature, and using the bathrooms, and all that stuff, but that’s big money. Good for you.

A.J. D’Asaro: Yes. Definitely.

Rod Khleif: So you’re talking 1800 on the two below, and then your nut’s only 2300 that’s pretty significant cash flow with that top unit. Fantastic.

Let’s move on to the next one. Tell us about the second one. It’s a four-plex?

A.J. D’Asaro: The second one, I was able to, again, to plug buying in the path of appreciation. The reason I was able to buy a second property is ‘cause I refinanced out of FHA and got a home equity line of credit on this property, on the first property. With that, I started looking for new property…

Rod Khleif: Let me understand something, so you got a new first mortgage, or you just got a home equity line of credit – paid everything off? Do you have two loans on the first one or one?

A.J. D’Asaro: I have two loans now.

Rod Khleif: On the first one…

A.J. D’Asaro: I got out of the FHA because FHA has…

Rod Khleif: You got an FHA… ‘cause they have the private mortgage insurance, which adds to you payment. That was a smart move, once you’ve got your value up. You refinanced that first FHA mortgage with the new conventional loan. Correct?

A.J. D’Asaro: Yes.

Rod Khleif: Okay, and then you got a home equity line of credit, over and above that because you had additional equity? Am I speaking correctly?

A.J. D’Asaro: Yes.

Rod Khleif: Okay. I just wanna make sure… [overlap talk]

A.J. D’Asaro: Rod, you might get a kick out of this. The HELOC that I was able to get was 95% loan to value.

Rod Khleif: Wow.

A.J. D’Asaro: And right now, the rate is 3.9…

Rod Khleif: Holy cow. Holy cow, that’s fantastic. Wow. That’s really fantastic money. That’s practically free money. But be careful. When you’ve got 95% debt, be very, very careful with that. Those of you listening, don’t over leverage. You wanna be very careful.

I’ve gotten that memo more than once, and it’s not a fun memo. Trust me on that one… But that is very cheap money. Holy cow… Let’s talk about the four-plex. Tell us about that deal.

A.J. D’Asaro: I got to give you credit for this. You encouraged me through your podcasts and your book, to look off-market…

Rod Khleif: Well, thank you for that.

A.J. D’Asaro: With the appreciation that has happened in the past year has… [bad audio] so yeah…

Rod Khleif: How did you find an off-market deal? What’d you do?

A.J. D’Asaro: I started looking at… Actually, I found this online. [chuckles]

Rod Khleif: Okay.

A.J. D’Asaro: Which is kinda funny. I started asking different real estate investors that I knew, not that many, where I could find off-market deals. I started looking on online forums like the BiggerPockets forum…

Rod Khleif: Oh, wow.

A.J. D’Asaro: Through that, I actually found an investor that had taken down 13 properties from an estate sale, and took out a huge hard money loan to get those. They were trying to rehab them quickly, and sell them to pay off this loan.

I ended up connecting with this guy through the online messaging thing, and we got a beer in my neighborhood. That’s how I found this property.

Rod Khleif: Fantastic. Fantastic. Wow. Great tip for the listeners here. That’s one that I hadn’t even talked about in my book. I mean, I tell you to go to meet ups, and I tell you to go to our local REA meetings but just going to BiggerPockets, they’re a fantastic platform that do… {bad audio]

That’s awesome that you went out, you thought outside the box and you went out there and found it. You found somebody; they had a need. They found a great deal on an estate sale but they needed to carve out this four-plex. You just went ahead and had a beer, and you were able to put a deal together. Awesome. Awesome work A.J. So tell us about the deal.

A.J. D’Asaro: This deal, it’s a four-plex; four units, two are two-bedroom, and two are one-bedroom…

Rod Khleif: Is this an older property? Like a hundred-year-old range property?

A.J. D’Asaro: It’s another older property, and it’s a little bit farther. It’s about 10 minutes north, so more outside the city than the property I have.

Rod Khleif: Okay.

A.J. D’Asaro: It’s also really close to public transportation. I tend to really value that. I don’t have a car, so I use that.

Rod Khleif: Well, especially in Chicago, yeah, no question. Yeah, that’s great. And that’s in the path of progress; the direction that you’re headed? Are things moving in that direction, I hope?

A.J. D’Asaro: Yes. Yeah, there’s a corridor that’s all along this Blue Line; transportation corridor of Chicago. It’s in between the city and the airport and so the appreciation is just moving away from the city towards the airport, that way.

Rod Khleif: Fantastic… Fantastic.

A.J. D’Asaro: It’s right in that avenue, and it’s a great property. There’s nothing that needs to be done, right away. It’s fully stabilized.

Rod Khleif: So you can move right in. What do you anticipate the market rents for that property will be in? And what’s your debt on it? You’ve already closed, right?

A.J. D’Asaro: Yes.

Rod Khleif: Okay. What’s your debt on it?

A.J. D’Asaro: Yeah, so my debt on it is 400… sorry that’s the purchase price was 480,000, and my loan is 376,000.

Rod Khleif: Okay, and you were able to put that amount down using your HELOC?

A.J. D’Asaro: Yes.

Rod Khleif: Okay. Wow. Fantastic. So you’ve got your payment on your HELOC as well. What’s all of that costing you for this property? The first mortgage and the HELOC payment.

A.J. D’Asaro: This property is fixed costs are close to 2500.

Rod Khleif: Okay. What do you anticipate to get in rents?

A.J. D’Asaro: About 4000, I’m getting right now.

Rod Khleif: Oh, fantastic.

A.J. D’Asaro: It’s actually fully occupied, and it has a three-car garage in the back that’s also renting.

Rod Khleif: So you’ve got to move somebody out to move in, then ultimately you’ll be getting $4000 a month in rent, when you find your next place. Fantastic, buddy. That’s fantastic. Good for you.

The one word of caution I will tell you is that HELOC. You wanna finance that out as soon as you can. As soon as up you’ve got enough equity in that second property where you can maybe refinance that out, I would do it. Because when the market goes into a contraction the banks get really skittish, and sometimes, they’ll lock those things up…

Tell me the terms of the HELOC. What kind of a time frame does it have on it? At what point can they… I assume it’s a five-year… You have to pay back principal in five years, is it one of those?

A.J. D’Asaro: Rod, I’m not completely sure.

Rod Khleif: Okay.

A.J. D’Asaro: You’re inspiring me to go look at it again.

Rod Khleif: Alright. Please do.

A.J. D’Asaro: I think it’s 20 years.


Rod Khleif: Please do. Be very careful with that. It’s typically a 20-year AM. Typically, they’ll reset in five years. In fact there are a lot of them resetting right now, which we anticipate some of the foreclosures to kick up again. Because when they reset, the payments go way, way up.

They’re a great tool to buy the property, but you don’t wanna leave them on there forever because it’s the first thing that the banks will tighten up with and they’ll call them due, and they’ll just screw with you when the market tightens up. So you wanna just be careful that you don’t leave them out there forever.

Even though the rates are fantastic, it can just get fog over your eyes. You don’t want to let that happen. You ultimately, you wanna cash that out and pay that back because, although, like I said, sounds great when you hear that rate, it’s definitely not a secure debt as just a new first mortgage on that second property. Let me flag that for you and everybody listening…

But wow, you did it. I mean you bought these properties, you’ve got fantastic cash flow. I don’t know what that all adds up to between the two properties but you could certainly, certainly live for free if not actually probably supplement a decent chunk of your job’s pay.

A.J. D’Asaro: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I feel like I’m finally on the edge of a job replacement income. It’s about 4000 of cash flow – before repairs.

Rod Khleif: Wow. That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic. Now you’re gonna have more repairs with hundred- year old properties for sure. That’s just a given but still that’s a huge cushion… What’s next for you buddy?

A.J. D’Asaro: Actually, I think I really wanna start looking at commercial deal next.

Rod Khleif: Great.

A.J. D’Asaro: I really agree with everything you said in your book about the gains from having more scale, and I really don’t wanna own that many different properties. I would rather own one big property. I think that’s easier to manage for me.

Rod Khleif: Halleluiah. It’s a shame that I didn’t have that mindset 20 years ago. [chuckle] I completely agree with you… Well good for you.

A.J. D’Asaro: [chuckle] How you ever managed 2000 houses, I have no idea.

Rod Khleif: Well, I only had about 900 at a time, at my max but 2000 over my lifetime. But yeah, I had 800 when the market crashed. That was, as I may have mentioned on the show, my largest seminar ever, which is why I started this show.

Well, that’s awesome buddy. You took action, you made it happen. You got fantastic cash flow. Now one thing I wanna note, because you said, you talked about how it’s almost replaced your income. I do not recommend you quit your job. Do not do that. Even though you could, do not do that because that income really helps when you’re out there qualifying for deals and shows your financial strength.

Particularly, even when you get in the larger deals. You put a team together maybe and start taking the commercial deals. You don’t wanna, I know the allure of quitting your job and just doing this full time is strong but I wouldn’t do it yet.

This is my advice to any of you listening that are in similar situations. I would wait because it just makes you stronger, until you really get some momentum and really have significant assets, I wouldn’t recommend quitting your job to do this. I always suggest that to everybody I talk to, that ask me.

That is pound it out, work both until you really are to a point where it absolutely makes sense that you’re actually losing money by not doing it. When you’re in your first few deals, the banks like to see W-2 income. They just do. It’ll really help you in qualifying for deals, even commercial deals for that matter.

With the commercial deals, the bank are gonna look more at the property but they still look at the team. If you’ve got a stable W-2 source of income, it just gives them comfort. Keep that in mind.

What advice, A.J., would you give somebody that hasn’t bought a property yet, that’s thinking about it, has not taken action? What would you tell them?

A.J. D’Asaro: I would tell them, now is still a great time, because the interest rates are a really low. And there’s usually places in your city where you can buy an affordable property that cash flows. You just have to look in… you wanna look in the path of appreciation.

Rod Khleif: Right.

A.J. D’Asaro: That is so key. That’s what’s gonna get you to your second deal. Yeah, cash flow is great, but path of appreciation is really something you should keep in mind.

Rod Khleif: Love it. I completely agree. Even here in Sarasota, there’s a tough area in town but there on the fringes of it are opportunity. And if it weren’t nothing but houses I’d be buying in there. I’m just not doing houses anymore but…

Again, here you’ve got somebody that bought a triplex, and bought a four-plex, and has income property. That’s just, if you’re young and you’re listening to this show, go there guys. Don’t go to a single-family house. Go to a plex like this, ‘cause you can hear the advantages, and the cash flow on these deals.

Well, listen A.J., I really appreciate you being on the show. I’ll be interested to follow your progress. Please let me know when you take down your next one buddy.

A.J. D’Asaro: Thanks a lot, Rod.

Rod Khleif: Alright, I appreciate it. Talk to you soon.


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