1: Charles Dobens on Overcoming Multifamily Investing Hurdles




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You can read more about Sam Tamposi here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_A._Tamposi


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A proof of funds letter is a document that is given to an investor from a third-party company that verifies and provides proof to a seller of a property that the funds to purchase their property are available and ready to be used toward the purchase.


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Charles Dobens: [00:00:00] Most great people have attained their
greatest success. Just one step beyond the greatest failure.

[00:00:08] Welcome to the
show. You are listening to the real estate podcast. In this lab, we decode the
stories, secrets and skills of the most brilliant minds in real estate
investing then turn their wisdom into practical advice and knowledge that we
can use to boost our income.

Vee: [00:00:23] And now let’s turn it over to our host,
Vee. Welcomed in an episode of the Real Estate Lab podcast. Our featured guest
today is Mr. Charles Dobens. He’s a principal and owner of Dobens Laws, a
boutique law firm dedicated to practicing multi-family acquisition, specialized
in multi-family acquisition and disposition. He’s a successful attorney,
apartment investor and founder of the multifamily investing academy. Charles
has personally acquired over 20 million in apartment. He has also been involved
on behalf of his clients in over 3 billion in transactions, a pilot and one of
my best mentor. It’s an honor to have you on the show, Charlie.

Charles Dobens: [00:01:10] Vee, is so good talk with you.

Vee: [00:01:13] Awesome. Thank you, Charlie. We start
the show with every guest asking the guests for a favorite success or mindset,
quote. What’s yours?

Charles Dobens: [00:01:22] Okay. So my name comes from Napoleon
Hill and I’ll give you his quote. But then I’ll tell you the the shorter
version, which is most great people have attained their greatest success. Just
one step beyond the greatest failure and otherwise known of as you are three
feet from gold. And that’s whenever I think of that, like what I think about
quitting when I think about, you know, giving up, I think I’m just three feet
from gold now. But believe me, there’ve been times when I should have given up
a lot sooner. But you still have to stay at it. You gotta to give everything
your best effort, that’s for darn sure.

Vee: [00:02:02] That’s awesome. Yeah. Now, so let’s for
the audience to understand where you’re coming from. Can you walk us back to
the Dobens household? What was it like growing up in your household?

Charles Dobens: [00:02:15] Oh, it was great. I had great parents.
My father was in a life insurance agent. He was like the consummate insurance
agent. You know, he knew everybody in town and everybody knew and loved him. My
mother was the smartest person I ever knew. She the most incredible vocabulary.
She knew every word in the English dictionary.

Charles Dobens: [00:02:36] And she was just a great mother and an
older brother who was brilliant and a younger sister who was a pain in the
behind. And she’s one of my best friends now. But it was great. My parents did
everything they could to give us what they needed. You know, we got what we
needed, not what we wanted. And it was a great, fantastic household. And also,
you know, kind of really the entrepreneurial bent came right out of my father.
I mean, he had to work for himself. He could work for anyone else. My mother
was more of, you know, go work for a company all your life and get the
paycheck. And, you know, obviously that I think that my father’s mindset rubbed
off on me and my mother’s might have rubbed off on my brother and sister,
that’s for sure.

Vee: [00:03:26] That’s awesome. So you learn on
entrepreneurial spirit from your father. Yeah. Did you do any of this in high
school? What were you like in high school?

Charles Dobens: [00:03:35] Ok, well, I guess you could say the
first business day I had was a rubber stamp. I bought Warren. Publishing rubber
stamps business. When I was about 13, 14 years old, I made rubber stamps for
printing companies around Maxwell. Give them a 24 hour turnaround. So that was
my first business. Then I got an caddy and out of my paper, boy, a route, that
type of thing. But one of the things I always looked at were the guys in my
town who were successful real estate people. And of course, you had the big
names. You knew who they were. And. But then there are a whole another level
of, you know, real estate investors that you never knew about. But they were
just doing it slow and steady and building up their net worth. And those guys
fascinated me the most is that they were just buying property. We know little
by little and building up that portfolio and I get to know a lot of people like
that as well.

Vee: [00:04:37] All right. So you mentioned about that.
So I hear that at a young age, Bill Gates had access to mainframe computers. So
he turns out to be a huge success in this field. And you had access to see all
this wealthy people in your town in New Hampshire, you know, buying on his
properties and got wealthy. Now, how had your close proximity to those people
and especially access to your family’s friend, Sam Tamposi help you in real
estate game?

Charles Dobens: [00:05:05] You know what? I’ll tell you something.
Part of what I feel is my shortcoming and where I felt I kind of blew it was in
having a lack of confidence in my abilities at a young age. I never thought I
could do these things. I never thought everything was unattainable. You know,
they’re out of my reach. So I didn’t have the confidence to say, you know what,
I’m going after, like right out of college. I’m going after the real estate.
This is what I want to do. I didn’t have that confidence in my abilities. And I
tell you, a lot of people are coming out of college the same way and they get
to a certain point in their life with like, you know what, I’m done. I can do
these things. If that guy can do it, I can do it. And it took me years to get
to that point. So, you know, at most at most what these guys showed was that
anybody can do it. And these guys keep the same humble beginnings that I did.
They were out there not knocking at the door. Becoming a part owner of the
Boston Red Sox from a guy that started by selling insurance. So that’s yeah,
that’s how it works.

Vee: [00:06:05] So Sam was the guy who did real estate
and then became part owner of the Red Sox?

Charles Dobens: [00:06:10] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the guy he was.
Listen, you heard me. You hear me say all the time Vee. This is a sales and
marketing business that wasn’t successful. People in this business are the
people that that are good sales and marketing people. Sam Tamposi you sold
vacuum cleaners door to door. He sold insurance and then he sold real estate
and then he got into into the game. And yeah, he’s the guy that end up becoming
a part owner, the Red Sox. That’s yes. Incredible. You know, another buddy of
mine, so cool, just to think back that my buddy’s father, good friend of Sam
Tamposi down and they were down in Florida at their place. And Sam Tamposi on
the phone, trying to put together the half a million dollars he’d put, he had
to buy the Red Sox. And, you know, he just told me that whole story that was
fascinating to me. On the phone? Over the phone in Florida, talking the banks
up in New Hampshire so that they could write a check to the Red Sox. They just
named goodbye his partnership.

Vee: [00:07:13] Oh, wow that’s amazing. Yeah.

Charles Dobens: [00:07:15] And so I have to get more details in
that story. When that happened, what was the year, that type of thing that felt
like today where, you know, where I go now, like today, where Sam Tamposi

Charles Dobens: [00:07:25] could have Venmo, the money. he
probably would too. He would have. Yeah, absolutely.

Vee: [00:07:33] So he had access to him. So, I mean, were
you able to learn anything from him? What’s your personal opinion about
coaching a mastermind, you know, from that experience?

Charles Dobens: [00:07:44] Oh, well, that came about later for me.
I didn’t realize that there were you know, you had a need for a coach or a
mentor. I guess the first coach that I could say coach me was John Dobens, who
was, as I described, is the millionaire farmer. He was the guy that I went to
him. John, I want to do what you do. How do you do it? And he gave me the book and
said, go out and do this book. And that was that was his coaching. And of
course, I didn’t do it. I sat on my duff for another 10 years and, you know,
went deeper into the rabbit hole and the insurance business before I finally
said, I’m done.

Charles Dobens: [00:08:21] I know that’s it. I’m gonna burn the
ship. And I gotta I gotta start doing this or I’ll live a life of always
wishing what would have happened. I mean, that’s why I mean Vee and I stress
this to people. I said that’s why, you know, later on life I became a pilot. I
wanted to fly since I was five years old. And I didn’t want to be on my
deathbed saying I wish I had got my pilot’s license. I didn’t want to be the
guy that on his deathbed said, geez, I wish I had bought all that real estate that
other people did. So that’s that’s the way I look at it.

Vee: [00:08:50] Yeah. You actually I when I listened to
you on our weekly call about you getting a pilot license, I actually took
lessons also. Oh, good. And it freak the crap out of me when we did the intro
flight and I did the power on power off stall.

Vee: [00:09:07] Yeah. Oh my God. That was that was

Charles Dobens: [00:09:12] Oh, I love that. That’s fun. I mean,
part of the joy of flying is just that rush that, you know, that your
adrenaline rush like, hey, you’re alive and it’s just between you and the
ground, man. You gotta you gotta make sure you get this thing on the ground and
flight it all the way to the ground. So, yeah, that’s funny.

Vee: [00:09:35] That’s good. So you mentioned John give
you a book. What’s the title of that book?

Charles Dobens: [00:09:40] Ok, I’m going to paraphrase it. I’m not
going to get it right. But I think that I think the author’s name is William
Nickerson. I may be wrong. It’s how I turned a thousand dollars into a million
dollars in my spare time in real estate or something like that. Let me see if I
can see if I can get into five million. Here it is. What’s the guy’s name?

Vee: [00:10:05] Yeah. So is Williams Nickerson. How I
turn 1000 dollars into a million in real estate in my spare time.

Charles Dobens: [00:10:14] Yup, that’s what that’s it. And John
gave that book to me. Listen, the numbers are off. The numbers are dated when
they’re even more dated now, John. I talked I had this conversation with John
20 years ago and he said, probably more than that. And he said the numbers are
all outdated. Concepts are all the same. And that’s this is the book. John.
John Dobens and get out of the chicken farm business and get into real estate.
This is it.

Vee: [00:10:40] And you were in the insurance industry.
And was it at the time when he gave you this book you were doing that and then
you switch over?

Charles Dobens: [00:10:50] And I went to see him because he was a
client of my father’s. And I went to see him to, you know, get him to sign some
documents from my dad. And I walked to office and he’s in his property
management office with his wife. And they just manage the books and run the
properties. And I mean, this is what I want to do.

Vee: [00:11:05] So you saw it as excess and then you’re
like, OK, I’m done with the insurance. I want to do real estate. I’m going to

Charles Dobens: [00:11:13] Oh, not exactly. No, no, no. It was
like I said, I took that book. I brought it home and I put it with all my real
estate books right on my bookshelf. And I got up and went to work every day
and, you know, stayed just about broke and the insurance business. And and it
was just another 10 years or so before I finally said this is not the life I want
to live. And I did not want to be sixty-five years old and wake up wondering
what happened to my life, wishing or waiting for that Social Security check to
come in because I needed it, you know. So that’s why it took a few more years
before I finally said I’ve had it. No way. No way am I going to do this. I’ve
got to move on.

Vee: [00:11:57] So when you switch over was your wife,
OK, with the move?

Charles Dobens: [00:12:02] Oh, yeah, very much so. You got me at
issue. Her family had been they had done a lot of real estate investing as
well. They own a couple apartment complexes and what have you. So when I told
her, I said, I can’t do this anymore. She’s what I want to do. I said, I want
to want apartments. I’ve always wanted apartments. Okay, let’s do it. So I sold
the insurance business and we went to buying apartments. And that was you know,
I had owned my own insurance firm. And, you know, at that time, I had about
thirty five employees working for me. I you know I would get up and go to work
all seven days a week. And I just dreaded it. I hated it. I hated the business.
I hated the cutthroat ness of the business. backstab of the business. And I
just didn’t want to live that way. It’s just not a healthy existence. And so I
found a buyer of my business and I sold it. And as I say, I burned the ships.
And for those of you that don’t understand that, that expression, you should
get out there and look it up because it’s a great, great euphemism. Great
analogy to you is what you’re deciding that I’m getting out of what I used to
do. Never going back to it. And now I’m going into something new. I burnt all
the ships. There’s there’s no return.

Vee: [00:13:17] That’s great. You burn the ship. So now
it’s all apartment. You’re going at there’s 100 percent.

Charles Dobens: [00:13:23] Yeah. Yeah. That’s exactly what
happened. And we started you know, we’ve bought probably at the high, I think
we had about eight hundred units that we were holding and operating. So yeah,
we got that. It was a different world back then. First get started. It’s
changed quite a bit since then. But you know, it’s all boils down to the same
thing. You know, you’re taking a dollar, you pay out 80 cents. And you’ve got a

Vee: [00:13:50] Right. So your first year after you
switch. What was your goal for that first year?

Charles Dobens: [00:13:56] Ok, now I teach people how to own a
thousand apartments in five years. And the concept behind that number was the
exact same concept I had when I first started. Let me just click on this. When
I first started going after deals, now was all I wanted was to own 20 units in
the first year. That was my goal. I didn’t want to do anything else. And what
happened was that turned out to be a little easier than I expected. I mean, my
job, from an operational standpoint, was to make at least two offers a week
that I knew because of the sales and marketing background that I came from. I
knew that I had to make offers and if I wasn’t making offers, this business
would never get off the ground. So I really set it as a goal to make two offers
a week and see what happened. And I know what happened is you start to expose
yourself to the multi-family world and you start to have other people realize,
hey, this guy’s in the business, so let’s go help him out. Keep our eye on him.
And what happened was by doing all these offers, I met a broker out in she was
in Cincinnati.

Charles Dobens: [00:15:10] And she said, listen, I know what you
want. I know what you’re looking for. I will find it for you. And as soon as I
find it for you, I will call you up you better have you check ready, because
you’ll have to write it in earnest money deposit check.

Charles Dobens: [00:15:23] When when I call you and said, OK,
fine. Sounds good to me. Let’s do it. And about. I want to say two months, but
it might have been as quickly as two weeks later, I got a phone call from Rice.
I found your property. Come on out. It’s in Michigan. And now you’re buying it.
And so I go out there and here is a 40 unit property. Now, Vee. That’s twice as
much as I expected to buy in the first year. I mean, how can this possibly be?
And we looked at it and it was a great property, and and we decided to buy it.
And that that’s how we got started.

Vee: [00:15:59] Was it A class A, B or C property?

Charles Dobens: [00:16:02] This one was A minus. You know, about
10 years olds were starting to move down the food chain a little bit. It was
about I was I would consider it still in the A category. Nice property.

Vee: [00:16:16] So you bought this 40 units. And how
long did it take you to get the next one?

Charles Dobens: [00:16:20] 60 days. Because what had happened was
the bank that we bought. Well, we didn’t buy it from the bank. We bought it
from an owner who was in trouble with the bank. And the guy owned 128 units.
Well, I was in no position to buy 120 units, so I went off and bought the nice
part of one hundred twenty eight. I bought a calved off the forty. I bought the
forty. And we started having a good relationship with that bank. And we went
out to start just raised money among friends and family. And then about a month
or so later the bank came to us said, hey, you want to buy the 88 units across
the street? Because we’re going to take it back from the guy. And I said I
said, geez, I don’t have the money to do that. I just ran out of friends and
family who have cash right now. So I don’t think I could do that. The other 88.
And they said, how much you think you need? And I said probably about seven
hundred thirty thousand dollars. And they said, well, what if we lent to you?
And you know what that means me. They were talking no money down deal, and I
covered up the mouthpiece and turned to my wife and said, hey, they want to
give us the seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars to buy the 88 across the
street. What should I tell them? And my wife said, ask him how quickly we can

Charles Dobens: [00:17:37] And so shortly thereafter, our first
quarter, we now own one hundred twenty eight. And it all goes back to activity
Vee. We gotta get out the you gotta make the offers if you don’t make any
offers. Nothing is going to happen.

Vee: [00:17:51] Right. When when you take your first
deal was down, it’s like a lot of doors open for you.

Charles Dobens: [00:17:57] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And the
thing is, if you’re not doing this is just you and me talking. And if you’re
not making offers is equivalent, you sitting above your mother’s garage. Nobody
nobody’s gonna give me any credibility.

Vee: [00:18:12] So then after you crush it in your
first year, what happened next that you buy more?

Charles Dobens: [00:18:17] Yeah. We want more. We did it in a
couple of different ways and with some deals were master lease option. Let me
see. Another property with we went on Ray syndicated deals, a couple of

Charles Dobens: [00:18:28] And then what happened is we got
involved with partners in order to help us grow faster and that I’d never do
that again. Not to say that there aren’t great partnerships. But I mean, I can
tell you the mistakes that I made dealing with partners that cost me so much.
You know, that really set us back.

Vee: [00:18:49] Yeah, I’m the same way I’ve had one
deal that our partner is just not let’s just say he’s not that good at as good
as we thought he was.

Charles Dobens: [00:18:59] Oh, yeah. They never are. I mean,
there’s. Turns out they’re great salespeople, too. You know, they’re trying to
sell themselves to you. And, you know, that’s the thing about getting involved
with a partnership. If there is something that the partner can do, that you can
that you can outsource to somebody and pay them a fee, pay the fee, get the you
know, like, I love these guys.

Charles Dobens: [00:19:21] I know this one guy who thinks that
every deal he gets into, he’s going to cut his lawyer in on the deal because a
lawyer is going to do the work for them and then we’re going to give him a
slice of the action. Why? A lawyer is a vendor. He’s just a you know a wage
slave. He you know trades his time for money. He’s not a partner. Pay him and
get him out of the way. Don’t give away.

Charles Dobens: [00:19:44] Now, when you when you are getting
involved in a partnership and giving a part of your equity with another
partner, you are giving away some of your children’s money. Be very, very

Charles Dobens: [00:19:55] You know, if that you have to look at
that equity that you’re attaining today as being your kids tuitions 10 years
from now. Would you ever give this partner your kid’s tuition account?

Charles Dobens: [00:20:14] Like hell no. Well, then why are you
doing it now? So, yeah, hoard your equity. Yeah.

Vee: [00:20:21] Now, you mentioned that you did some
syndication and raised private money from other folks. I understand that there
was an actual lawsuit out there from the SEC.

Vee: [00:20:32] Against you and your wife.

Charles Dobens: [00:20:34] Yeah, and a partner, which is which is
the whole reason why I’m so down on partnerships is that this guy came along
and said, hey, you know, let’s be partners together on these deals. And we’re
like, OK, we know I’m going to go up, that I’m going to raise the money. You
guys got to find the deals you got. Wait, I’ll raise the money.

Charles Dobens: [00:20:53] So we hired this guy to go out there and
and and put together this convertible note scheme. It was legitimate. And sense
it was very good. But there was a disconnect on the Website from what the note
was secured with versus what we own. So it was it was nothing more than that. A
problem on the Web site. I’m not kidding, folks. You can read the read the
legal documents. You’ll see it. But the S.E.C. came after us and wiped me out.
And just, you know, it destroyed everything. It hurt the properties. And it all
boiled, in my opinion, and all boiled down to the fact that the SEC, the Boston
office of the SEC, if I was in any other part of the country, this never
would’ve happened. But they were looking for a scapegoat because Harry
Markopolos, the guy that wrote the book on on uh on uh  Bernie Madoff, the guy who showed the Boston
office of the S.E.C. five times that Harry Mark that uh Bernie Madoff was
running a Ponzi scheme. He was coming out with a book that was going to slam
the Boston office.

Charles Dobens: [00:21:57] The S.E.C. and they were looking for
something to get off. Get them off the headlines. And I was the guy. And, you
know, I ended up in years out of my life getting that thing resolved. And so
now I teach people like, this is how you do it. This is not what you do. Be
very careful about partnerships. Know who your partner is, because the reason
why we got to do it was because of something that this partner had done that I
didn’t even know happened. I didn’t know that was a disconnect on the Website.
I didn’t even read the Website. We didn’t need a Website. And that’s what they
came down. So I have a whole thing, you know, sandbagged by the S.E.C. I think
if you go Google, you might be able to find it tells my side of the story. And
it’s a very eye opening experience. And I want people to learn from it so that
they don’t have the same make the same mistakes I made.

Vee: [00:22:48] So ultimately, how did the case play
out and how did you overcome that setback?

Charles Dobens: [00:22:53] You know, we settled with them just to
make it go away, because, I mean, they’re a billion dollar law firm. They can
out lawyer me all day long.

Charles Dobens: [00:23:03] And we just finally settle it with them
and agreed to a fine and paid the fine and are in the process of paying the

Charles Dobens: [00:23:10] So it’s just it’s just a royal pain in
the ass. And this is nothing will make you a libertarian faster Vee, than
getting sued by the US or some other government aid.

Vee: [00:23:25] Well, I’m converted already.

[00:23:26] So I went.
That was easy. Took me a little bit more and a lot more money.

Vee: [00:23:32] Well, I come from a communist country,
Vietnam. So, you know, when I came over here, I was thinking like, what the ?

Vee: [00:23:39] A lot of the folks from the Socialist
Party now in the US are thinking.

Vee: [00:23:44] But then I’m like, well, OK. I I didn’t
like it back there in that country. I came here. Why should I even think that
this is a good idea now? Yeah.

Charles Dobens: [00:23:54] Yeah.

Charles Dobens: [00:23:55] Whatever the government can give you,
they can just as easily take away. Right!

Vee: [00:24:00] Yeah, that’s that’s so true now. Then
you were able to now come to present time. You have built all of this back. You
now have a successful life. Then I think you can easily retire. Yet you took on
another role. You took on you and your late father’s Medicare business, and
then you send monthly check your siblings. Oh, yes. You have a successful
boutique law firm. You’re still coaching new investor. So what’s your drive,

Charles Dobens: [00:24:30] Oh, my gosh. All right. This is, you
know, the wisdom of years and also Kiyosaki with multiple streams of income.
But the wisdom of years when I was 22 years old, right out of college and I
went to work for New York Life without my sales manager was guy by the name of
Tim Miller. Tim Miller. Great. He just wants me for the country club here in
Nashua. We’re still good friends to this day. Class Act, nicest man in the
world. And he was a very successful insurance agent.

Charles Dobens: [00:24:58] And I said to him, why would you get
out of the field and go into management? You know, why would you want to do
that? And he said this to me, which. At the time was this. I thought the
stupidest thing you could possibly think, he said, because I really enjoy
helping you become a successful.

Charles Dobens: [00:25:18] And as a 22 year old kid that we don’t
even know you’re doing that weekend, to think about it that way was so foreign
to me. I thought, that’s crazy. Fast forward thirty three years or what have
you. And I know exactly what Miller was talking about. I love helping my
students get into this business right now. Vee I can tell you, I think I’ve got
about seven students who are under contract on deals will be closing. So not
only am I going to close, but most of them are going to close. And I love
getting involved in those deals and helping make sure they do everything right
because there are so many pitfalls in this business. You got to know what you are
doing. And I always tell my students, you know, you’re only going to need me
for the first two deals. After that, you’re going to figure out how this
business works. But for those first two deals, I want to make sure you do it
correctly and you’re off to the races. And doing it right. So what happened was
way back when we were buying, the market crashed and I kept some properties, I
lost some properties. But at that time, I had a lot of friends who were in the
business as well. And they were the same boat. They were losing some, keeping
some. And the couple who contacted me and asked me to represent them as their
attorney through the disposition process. And I got in there and, you know,
I’ll be straight with you Vee. There’s really not much you can do at that
stage. Kind of a foregone conclusion. This is what’s going to happen to that
property. But I got to see a lot of the deals and a lot of the numbers that
they were looking at.

Charles Dobens: [00:26:52] Think to myself why would you have
bought this property? This property is not a good property. And then, of
course, they’re like, oh, no, we’re going to do this to the prop. We’re gonna
do that. I was going to make all this money and I’m just shaking my head,
things like that. It doesn’t work that way. That’s that wasn’t a good deal. And
I realized that after the problem happened. I’m really not that helpful. I’m
just holding your hand. But if I can help you out before you get into these bad
deals or before you get into that into a deal and make mistakes throughout the
process, that’s where my real help and my real forte can be. And that’s when
I’ve started coaching and mentoring. You know, this is an addition to my
regular practice, owning and operating my properties. And then, you know, like
you said, my dad passed away and he left behind a nice little golden goose
insurance agency that just keeps spitting off money every month that I you
know, I’m my sister and I just kind of keep our eye on it and cut checks to the
to all the siblings every month. And everybody’s happy. So. Yeah, so that’s
that’s where I am. And I get to my my whole day all around the multifamily
investing academy helping my students. I do this the right way. I run it like
it’s my law practice. Like like every one of my clients is a legal client and
I’m helping them do this. I think every lawyer wants wants my business wants to
be like me, cause I actually love what I do. Love it. You know that Vee, you
see me every month. You know how much one I have.

Vee: [00:28:19] Oh, yeah. Every every call full of

Charles Dobens: [00:28:23] Yeah, it’s good.

Vee: [00:28:24] We got a show coming up this Monday
too. Awesome and folks, for those of you who are listening. He does write those
checks out to his siblings. I actually went on YouTube and I saw your brother
confirm it.

Charles Dobens: [00:28:37] Oh, really?

[00:28:40] This is one of
those videos that I was going through. And I’m like this guys has the same last
name. And he said, Yeah. He does paid those. You know that those checks. OK,
that’s cool.

[00:28:51] He confirms
it. It’s so funny I didn’t even know that it was out there. Yeah, I know. I
actually I love I love  sending my
brother money. I mean, he’s a college professor out in the Midwest. Doesn’t
make a whole ton of dough. You know, he’s lived a very nice lifestyle there.
But, hey, I got to send them some nice checks every month, and it probably
helps him out a lot. And that’s cool by me. My dad did it for us. And I want to
keep doing it for them right now.

Vee: [00:29:16] So for your coaching and mentoring side
of things, you’re your main objective is to help people in the owner’s form to
buy multifamily and to get them away from all the mistakes that you did.

Vee: [00:29:31] Yeah. You know someone else. That’s for
someone who is new to the business. Besides that wisdom, is there anything else
like can you break down some barrier of entry, to the to the apartment building
buying business?

Charles Dobens: [00:29:45] Yeah. So what happened was, you know, I
saw all of these new investors making mistakes and I thought I can create a
program where, you know, they can sign up with me and I will act as their
mentor, like an attorney.

Charles Dobens: [00:30:04] I look I can feel like an attorney and
I will take them through the process and make sure they do everything
correctly. And I know my competition out there are those big gurus that charge
like forty or fifty thousand dollars for a coaching program.

Charles Dobens: [00:30:18] And I think that’s, you know, if you’re
looking to get in this business, the first mistake you make is writing a fire.
Get your check to some mentor that just, you know, you’re going into a
business. Every business needs cash. You need to hoard your cash and not give
it to some guy you met over a three day bootcamp weekend. So I set my program
up to be a monthly fee that, you know, you pay. There’s no contract. You know,
jump in jump out. I just had somebody leave Vee. That uhm and this is typical
what happens when people leave. They’re apologetic. They’re Sather. Let me hear
let me see if I can find it for you. I’ll even read you what this guy wrote.
But what I do is, though, I I tell people. Hold on. Let me. Oh, shoot. All
right. It might take me over the line.

Charles Dobens: [00:31:04] But the point is that people, you know,
you get in my program and you become we become friends and we help you on every
step of the way. You have my direct access. You can contact me on my cell
phone. Text me. You can slack me or WhatsApp me. And my job is to make sure
that you get your questions answered. We don’t have those, you know, twice
monthly coaching calls where, you know, sit on the phone for half an hour, I
would go out of my mind if I had to do that. I mean, if you need me, you just
call me and I answer your question. We move on to the next thing. And that’s a
great program. But what I found out when it’s when I put this together is that
the roadblocks that people come up against in this business are the same.
Everyone comes up against the same roadblocks. So if I could come up with
vehicles to overcome those roadblocks, that was how I was going to solve their
problems. And so, you know, I’ve got down to four rock blocks. First one is
proof of funds letter. First off, you should not have to have a proof of funds
letter to submit to you with your with your offer. If you’re if you broker
constantly ask you for a POF, you’re doing something wrong. And, you know, I
had this one, one student that reasoning time, she sent out an offer. The
broker would come back and ask for a POF

Charles Dobens: [00:32:21] And I said, you know, they never ask me
for a P.O. F. Why do they always ask you?

Charles Dobens: [00:32:26] And so I actually got on the phone call
with her acting as her partner. And we call the broker and we went through the
whole thing. And by the time we hung up, the broker was accepting my offer. I
didn’t need a P.O. F and she realized that she just it was just a confidence
issue. And that’s really what all this whole thing is. It’s just a confidence issue.
And once she felt confident, she could speak directly to the broker. She never
needed a P.O.F again. But if you need one, we can over it, we can solve your

Charles Dobens: [00:32:52] Second roadblock is the earnest money
deposit. Now, a lot of people. Okay, I want to make an offer to $5 million
property. Can you stroke a check for $50,000? Because that’s what you’re gonna
need for the earnest money. It’s like no I don’t have that kind of money
because I just gave it to some guru. And so what you need is that the ability
to have more earnest money available to you when the time comes so that you can
have it ready to go. And my program uniformed members have up to fifty thousand
dollars available to them for the earnest money deposit. So they know they can
make offers with the confidence that the earnest money will be there when they
need it. It does not mean I’m giving you a check for $50000. I will get you the
$50000 strings attached. OK, so that’s number two. The third one is. And this
is something that those other gurus just never teach you, is that let’s say
you’re going after that five million dollar property.

Charles Dobens: [00:33:55] There is no mortgage company that’s
going to give you a loan for a five million dollar property when you’ve never
been in this business before.

Charles Dobens: [00:34:07] So now what they need is not just a
down payment, but a key principal, someone who’s qualified, who can get you
over the hump, who can who can sign on the dotted line and read and and vouch
for you and other members of the owner for qualified key principals. They will
partner with you on these deals and you will be able to get them get it done.
That’s the third roadblock. The fourth roadblock is the down payment. And what
we do is we do everything it possibly can to help our student to find a down
payment, whether it’s blasting out an e-mail for you, whether it’s using what
we call our equity assist program, where the where we find you debt lender who
can also provide you equity as well. We do whatever we can. No guarantee you’re
going to get it, but we definitely assist our own forum members every chance we

Vee: [00:34:54] So for the earnest money deposit you
mentioned, you know, students have access to fifty thousand dollars in earnest
money that risk capital. Now, for those of you that are listening. 50000 is
typically a 1 percent for a $5 million deal that you can go and take down.

[00:35:13] Yeah. And you
know, if you need more, I can get you more. But I’m. I ice sell my services by
saying I give you 50. You know, if you need 100, that’s a little stretch. But,
you know, if I have to, I can get it. So who who hold on to this. Earnest
money? I do. My law firm escrow account holds that money and that is written
into the purchase and sale agreement. That’s why when I said that there are
there are strings attached. That’s the number one string. So what we do is in a
letter of intent on the purchase sale agreement, we say the buyer chooses the
title company and the escrow agent. Which is the way should be.

Vee: [00:35:59] So now you’re giving you’re holding
escrow, you’re giving a template for the letter of intent, you’re giving
template of the purchase and sales contract. Do we need another lawyer?

Charles Dobens: [00:36:13] Oh, yeah. OK, great question. Yes, you
do. Because I am a lawyer.

Charles Dobens: [00:36:18] That’s the one! You want to say it with
me Vee? I’m a lawyer. I’m not your lawyer. Hire a lawyer.

Charles Dobens: [00:36:26] I mean, you. I will work with your attorney.
I have all the template documents that I want you to use because they’re
drafted in such a way that they protect you. So we can use my documents, but I
want your local council to give a blessing on that document, OK? Because there
are things, you know, certain provisions in different states that might. My
template document is not legal in all 50 states. It just isn’t. It can’t be.
That’s why you need local counsel to say, hey, this is this is what I said. We
need to add this provision and that provision and we’re good to go. So that’s
how we do it.

[00:37:03] So it sounds
like from the back end of stuff, your take, you basically taking care of the
student every step of the way. The student only has to go out and find deals to
make that happen then. Yeah. So what are some ways that you suggest people
finding abuse in this hot market right now?

Charles Dobens: [00:37:22] Ok. Great question, because this is a
very, very hot marketplace. And I got to tell you, I’m a student of economics
and I love multi-family economics.

Charles Dobens: [00:37:31] And I’m trying to figure out what’s
going on with this with this market, because and we’ve been through this as
more than seven years now. Typically, everybody talks about the seven year
cycle and there is no end in sight to this market. You know, I think they’re
going to be blips and they’re going to be corrections. But I don’t think we’re
going to have a crash like we did before. I think, you know, my son Isaac is an
economics major at George Mason, and he and I were having a great conversation
about what’s going on.

Charles Dobens: [00:37:55] And he says, you know, what they’re
thinking is that those those spikes and troughs and crests are flattening out
over time because the information that we’re able to receive is so perfect so
quickly that we can make corrections a lot faster than we than we ever could
before. So this particular market is still hot and it may be hot for years to
come. And I think part of that has to do with the demand.

Charles Dobens: [00:38:29] The demand, I mean, whereas you’ve got
to look at Orlando, Orlando’s 95 percent occupied. I mean, it’s tough to find
an apartment. And they’re just not building them fast enough. And, you know, as
much as you think, you know, we got people coming over the border and what have
you. Hey, they’re going to get assimilated into this country at some point and
they’re going to need a place to live. And there aren’t enough places to live
right now. We’ve got to keep building more. So everybody’s out there trying to
get into this into this business. Everybody is trying to get out there, trying
to find the next deal. And what I’m finding out here is that remember I said
before Vee this sales and marketing business, if you are starting a sales and
marketing business and you think that the most important aspect of this
business, prospecting for your customer, which is the seller, in this case, you
can outsource to a third party who you don’t pay, who doesn’t work for you, who
has no fight.

Charles Dobens: [00:39:33] Do share his responsibility to you has
a hundred other people calling his phone to asking for the same thing? And most
of those guys don’t work all that hard.

Charles Dobens: [00:39:43] If you think you can outsource your new
business to that kind of guy and achieve success, you’re in for a rude
awakening, especially in this type of market. You’ve got to get out there and
and work harder than the next guy. And the way you have to do that is by
identifying your market and then focusing strictly on the multifamily property
in that market. Month after month, year after the owners directly, no broker

Charles Dobens: [00:40:13] You’re gonna go after the owners
directly and speak to them. That’s how you’re going to get ahead of the
competition. And that’s how you’re going to find that. That first deal that you
that you need.

[00:40:23] So you’re
suggesting sending letters out to owner directly? Direct mail has worked every
single time it’s been tried.

Charles Dobens: [00:40:32] But the thing about direct mail is it
has to be on a systematic basis. You can’t just do a one. So it didn’t work?
Nope, not going to work.

[00:40:41] Got to be
consistent. Kind of falling out of me. Yeah, I did that in the single family
home world as well. Yeah. And at the height of it, we spend a few thousand
every month just to get it.

Charles Dobens: [00:40:55] Know that the multi-family world is. No
different especially if you’re looking in that 10 to 50 unit range. That’s a
tough range for brokers because it’s you know, 10 is too small for Marcus and
Millichap, but 10 is too big for a residential realtor to even understand how
it works.

Charles Dobens: [00:41:21] So you’re really you have to have a
direct conversation with the owners kicking out the brokers. And that’s why if
that’s the range where you should be looking to start in, you’ve got to go
directly to the owners.

Vee: [00:41:33] And for those of you who are brokers
listening to this call, we still love you. We’re not hating you.

[00:41:39] Just say
absolutely. Yeah. Just pointing out the guys inefficiency. You know, you guys
are in a very hot market and, you know, anything you touch can sell.

Charles Dobens: [00:41:50] So we’ve got to get to work twice as
hard as you guys do.

Vee: [00:41:54] That’s true. That’s true. Now, so also
for some of the market, like you mentioned in Orlando, since it’s too hard,
does it make sense for some of us or in some newer folks to go in and build
apartment instead of looking for older apartments, to buy?

Charles Dobens: [00:42:10] Well, yeah, I mean, if you can do that.
Remember, building takes so much. I mean, you got to do all the site prep. You
got to do all the permitting renovations and renovations, but excavations, all
that type of work. So there’s a lot involved in getting it started. I mean, I
can tell you that’s that’s our next focus for our business is to start building
in a particular area of the country. But, you know, that’s that’s coming coming
down the road a little bit.

[00:42:37] So and you are
moving to this market, too, right? Which might hit the market, but you’re going
to build.

[00:42:44] Oh, yeah,
yeah, yeah. Are you going to tell them everybody? What market is it? No, no.
Not until you are there. I know, as you say, I’m not wearing the golf shirt for
that area today.

Charles Dobens: [00:42:57] I almost put it on. I’m glad I didn’t.
So somebody would recognize it. But the other thing to add, a new investor, you
know, because I said Orlando’s hot. Don’t go to Orlando, go to the secondary
and tertiary markets around Orlando and get started. I love the story of Paul
Westerner’s and his family. They were out in Washington West Area and they
couldn’t afford to get out there. So they packed up the whole family and they
moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and they got to Kansas City. They couldn’t
afford the city.

Charles Dobens: [00:43:31] So they started going to secondary
tertiary markets of Kansas City. Now, I think they have over 3000 apartment
units in Kansas City because they got started. You got to get started.

Vee: [00:43:41] Were they one of your first students?

Charles Dobens: [00:43:43] They.

Charles Dobens: [00:43:45] I’m trying them how I came to my due
diligence seminar, and that’s a great class. I mean, I don’t even do the due
diligence seminar anymore. I recorded it all and it’s all on on my membership

Charles Dobens: [00:43:57] But he came to see I want to say we
were in L.A. or that. And and that’s when all I was doing got the whole story.
I want to try to get him on my podcast coming up, but he’s just an amazing
story. Absolute success. Amazing success story.

Vee: [00:44:14] Awesome. Well, thanks, Charlie. Now,
this is the time for our rapid fire rounds. Fast and easy. Question and answer.
I ask all guests. Okay, ready guy?

Charles Dobens: [00:44:25] We go golfing, guys.

Vee: [00:44:27] What is the one special ability that
you wish you had?

[00:44:31] Oh, to travel
back in time. Travel back in time. You need the flux capacitor. I do.

[00:44:44] I’m all I’m
ever going to get as a DeLorean as they’re good, though.

Vee: [00:44:49] Now, which single habit give you 80
percent of your success or your result?

Charles Dobens: [00:44:55] Oh, make, you know, just getting up
every morning and getting into a routine. I’m a pretty automated organ play
person. I come I go to the same place every morning. My my smoothie, I get my
coffee. I go to work on the Y, you know, six o’clock in the morning. It’s a
very automated business. And that’s the thing I’ve found out about success.
Successful people are those people who do things that other people don’t like
to do, and they do it on it on a regular basis. So that is I saw my dad do
that. I saw the other successful people do that. So that is probably, you know,
just get into a system and you make the system. But you’re got to keep doing
every day.

Vee: [00:45:38] So have a morning routine. Yep, yep,
yep. And then what’s another profession other than your own that you think
would be fun to attempt in?

Charles Dobens: [00:45:51] Okay. So we can’t like I would love to
have worked in a courtroom. I didn’t know I didn’t go down that path with my
law degree, but I think being a defense attorney would have been a blast. But
listen, I say that and then I tell it to my friends who were defense attorneys
and, you know, you were so wrong.

[00:46:16] So we’ll say,
well, yeah, defense attorney. And you’re like that Jim Carrey character. Oh,
and couldn’t lie then.

[00:46:24] Maybe not.
Well, I don’t lie anyway. That’s what gets me to trouble is I don’t lie I can’t
lie. I tell my students this deal stinks. Don’t do this deal. Oh, not what
you’re talking about. How dare you say that, Mike? Tell me. Let me tell you
something. This is how it works. Yeah, that’s. And I see so many of these gurus
out there that do lie.

[00:46:44] And it’s
ridiculous now.

Vee: [00:46:48] And so you’ve been investing in real
estate a longtime. How has investing in real estate help you fulfill your dream
or your life goal?

Charles Dobens: [00:46:56] Oh, I am living my life right now. I am
just I’ve got a phenomenal business. I work because I want to I love what I do.
I get paid so well for it. I’m buying my own. I’m. I get my kids college.
Everything’s paid for. I listen. I am doing. I am living the life that I’ve
always dreamt. Dropped a living all because of the real estate business.

Vee: [00:47:21] That’s great. That’s great to hear. Who
do you think I should interview next on a future episode of the real estate podcast?

Charles Dobens: [00:47:29] Ok. Well, listen, if you’re out there
teaching people about new concepts in real estate. You heard my podcast the
other day with Brett Swarts. Yes. Listen, the feedback I’m getting on that call
is unbelievable. You gotta talk to Brett Swarts, about deferred sales trusts
and how you use as a buyer use it and how you can educate sellers for it or
whether you’re a realtor or a broker. What you need to know about these things.
It’s a game changer, as you know. You know, Vee, Bob Bryenton in one of my
clients, he owns over 6000 apartments on the chat box on that podcast.

[00:48:14] After he heard
Brett talk just typed in, this is a game changer. And he’s absolutely right.
It’s true. It was truly a game changer and was eye opening to see this concept.
Yep. So can you help me make get an introduction to him?

[00:48:31] Oh,
absolutely. Oh, I can do that. Yeah. So as soon as we get out the call, I will
send them an e-mail and connect the two of you.

[00:48:38] Awesome.

[00:48:39] Yep. Ladies
and gentlemen, that’s all the time we have for today’s show. Charlie, thank you
so much for being with us. You have been awesome by your time and truly honor
and to have you as a guest and mentor.

Charles Dobens: [00:48:52] My pleasure. Vee, you’ve been an
awesome friend and I really love working with you.

Vee: [00:48:56] Hey there. Let me. You have just
finished listening to this episode with my mentor and attorney Charles Dobens.
If you want to follow him, you can go to W W W Dot Multi-family Investing
Academy dot com. You can also reach out to him. His email is Charles at Dobbins
deal b e n s law dot com.

Vee: [00:49:21] Hey. And also if multi-family is
something that you are interested in learning more. You heard Charlie’s mention
on today’s episode about his owner’s forum program. You can join the free trial
that Charlie’s offering. Just go ahead and email info at Multifamily Investing
Academy dot com and mention my name on the show’s name to get your 7 days free
trial to sit in on our weekly calls with other investors in The Mastermind.
That’s all I have for today. Have a great day ahead of you.

[00:49:55] Love this
Episode of the Real Estate Lab podcast? Share the show with all your friends.
Subscribe and give the show a five stars rating on iTunes.

[00:50:03] Until next
time. I have an awesome work week.

Check out next episode: Rajesh Tekchandani: Marketing Exec Turn Incredible Syndicator

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